Skip to content

Bills’ improved depth could mean better special teams

Buffalo+Bills+v+Dallas+Cowboys+CbTqIx-1-Lbl Getty Images

As the Bills’ roster quietly improves, the team’s special teams could truly become, well, special.

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News explains that improved depth not only means greater competition for starting jobs and playing time on offense and defense, but also could translate to a higher quality of performer on special teams.

Graham points out that, in 2011, the Bills ranked 23rd on kickoff returns and 22nd in net punting yards with an average of 38.1.

The good news is that the Bills had the top kickoff coverage unit in 2011, allowing only 20.4 yards per return.  The less-good news is that they also had the third-worst touchback ratio with 24.1 percent, a weakness they addressed by using a draft pick on kickoff specialist John Potter.

Also, the Bills finished third in the NFL with a 12.7-yard average on punt returns.  Skewing that number, however, is the fact that the Bills returned only 26 punts, lowest in the league, and Leodis McKelvin took one of them 80 yards for a score.

So with the roster generally better and with enhanced competition pushing players to work harder, the guy to benefit the most could be special-teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven.

And with the offense potent and the defense improving, a possible bump in the performance of the special teams gives Bills fans yet another reason to hope that this year could be the year that a 12-year playoff drought ends.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Buffalo Bills, Home, Rumor Mill
13 Responses to “Bills’ improved depth could mean better special teams”
  1. fitzmagic1212 says: Jun 25, 2012 1:06 PM

    i was in 1st grade when the bills last made the playoffs…im in college now its time for a die hard fan to see his team in the playoffs

  2. citizenstrange says: Jun 25, 2012 1:17 PM

    I often wonder what would have happened if the Steelers had taken Bill Cowher’s advice and hired Chan Gailey to replace him.

    Imagine having Dick LeBeau as defensive coordinator and Gailey tending to the offense.

    I bet the Steelers would do better than 13-9 wins against crap teams and blowout losses to good teams.

  3. jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 25, 2012 1:34 PM

    I just can’t get on the Bills bandwagon. Year in and year out the just flame out. start 6-0 last season, whip the Redskins by 24, then don’t win another game.

    Sign the biggest free agent this season, pay him major dollars…..I hope he produces.

  4. buffalomafia says: Jun 25, 2012 1:42 PM

    Hello! The Bills need another WR taller than 6′ tall!

  5. jpmelon says: Jun 25, 2012 2:05 PM

    Forgive me if I put little to no interest in kickoff stats. Last year, that aspect of the game was ruined. Most teams just kicked the ball deep or out of the endzone and essentially removed the kickoff from the game altogether.

    The added depth is going to be nice when the injuries start to pile up….they always do.

  6. buddysguys says: Jun 25, 2012 2:07 PM

    buffalomafia says: Jun 25, 2012 1:42 PM

    Hello! The Bills need another WR taller than 6′ tall!

    Really??? Lats i checked the Giants just won the Super Bowl with 3 wrs with the tallest being 6’1….seems like the bills have 3 taller than that…stevie 6’2 easley 6’2 and nelson 6’5….just sayin’

  7. bills56shout says: Jun 25, 2012 2:19 PM

    How about that defensive and offensive line depth!!!!! Best in the league

  8. bills56shout says: Jun 25, 2012 2:21 PM

    jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 25, 2012 1:34 PM

    I just can’t get on the Bills bandwagon. Year in and year out the just flame out. start 6-0 last season, whip the Redskins by 24, then don’t win another game.

    Sign the biggest free agent this season, pay him major dollars…..I hope he produces.

    GOOD! WE DON’T WANT YOU. ONLY TRUE BILLS FANS CAN CIRCLE THOSE WAGONS

  9. EJ says: Jun 25, 2012 2:26 PM

    The last time the Bills made the playoffs, I had just became of age to legally drink alcohol, my first born was in her momma’s baby belly oven, and I had just gotten married. Man, It has been forever! I hardly drink anymore, My daughter is 11 years old, and I’m now divorced. Things have changed, the only thing that hasn’t is my love for the Buffalo Bills. How much longer will I have to wait to see them in a playoff game again? Frustration at the highest level.

  10. mindcrime401 says: Jun 25, 2012 2:46 PM

    jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 25, 2012 1:34 PM
    I just can’t get on the Bills bandwagon. Year in and year out the just flame out. start 6-0 last season, whip the Redskins by 24, then don’t win another game.

    What season were you watching that they started out 6-0? Last year they lost in Week 4 to Cincy by 3, and again in Week 6 to the Giants, also by 3 points. Through their first 6 games, they were 4-2. Way to continue to not know what you’re talking about post after post.

  11. sportfan23 says: Jun 25, 2012 3:38 PM

    I feel like that touchback ratio doesn’t matter. They usually attempted to pop it up short of the goal line inside the 5. With the kickoffs from the 35 it allowed the kickoff unit to get down and cover very well as opposed to other teams that kicked it 8 yards deep and gave time for the return team to set up their run back. Just an observation.

  12. marvsleezy says: Jun 25, 2012 4:01 PM

    I agree sports fan, the Bills got a lot of stops INSIDE THE 20 last year.

    But with Potter, at least they will have the option of the touchback against good return teams, and can still hit it high to the 5 if they want.

  13. JSpicoli says: Jun 25, 2012 4:23 PM

    Or….

    Maybe not

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!