While the 2012 Buffalo Bills season was a major disappointment, there were various players that stepped up and performed above and beyond the expectations set for them at the beginning of the season.
While much attention was paid to the big-name players such as Mario Williams, Stevie Johnson, and Jairus Byrd, there were several pieces of the team that received very little publicity throughout the year.
These players were the unsung heroes of the team, so get to know them, and pay attention to their play in the 2013 season!
Scott Chandler was acquired as a waiver wire pick up in 2010, and established himself as a full-time starter in 2011. He carried that success into 2012 and had arguably the best season by a tight end in Buffalo Bills' history, catching 43 passes for 571 yards and finding the end zone six times.
Chandler was a threat down the seams, as his 4.78 40-yard dash speed was too much for linebackers to keep up with, and his 6'7" frame was too tall for defensive backs to cover.
He moved the chains 36 times, converting a first down on 83.7 percent of his catches, the highest rate in the National Football League by qualifying tight ends. Chandler tore his ACL in a Week 17 game against the Miami Dolphins, and the timetable for his return isn't clear. If he misses significant time, he will be a tough player to replace.
The Buffalo Bills used their No. 41 overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft to select offensive lineman Cordy Glenn out of Georgia. Many pundits projected Glenn as a guard in the National Football League, worrying that his massive 6'6" 345 pound frame would be too much to carry as a left tackle.
However, the Bills saw potential in Glenn, who started 18 of his 50 games at Georgia as a left tackle, and made him the starter at the position on opening day. Glenn performed admirably throughout the year, displaying excellent footwork, especially considering his size. He flashed potential throughout the year and the team is confident in his future at the position.
Glenn allowed just six sacks throughout the year, and ranked 16th in pressures allowed, surrendering 32. These are impressive totals for a player that wasn't expected to play the position, and he should only improve in coming years.
Rookie strong-side linebacker Nigel Bradham made his presence known on special teams very early in the year, but saw increased playing time on defense as the season wore on. One of the more athletic linebackers on the roster, Bradham recorded 57 tackles, despite playing just 402 defensive snaps.
Bradham was a force at linebacker, forcing 19 stops against the run, a stat constituting a "loss" for the offense, according to ProFootballFocus. He added another nine tackles on special teams as well.
Bradham was the 10th most efficient tackler among outside linebackers in the National Football League against the run, attempting 20 tackles per miss. Bradham clearly secured his role as a starter going into next season, and should only see improvement in his sophomore campaign.
With nearly all of the attention on the defensive side of the ball being awarded to defensive end Mario Williams, Kyle Moore flew under the radar during the 2012 season. After Chris Kelsay and Mark Anderson went down with injuries, Moore was asked to step into an unexpected full-time role, and served admirably as a pass rusher.
Moore recorded 25 tackles and four sacks during the season. He pressured the quarterback 33 times, despite playing only 501 defensive snaps. He disrupted the quarterback on 8.8 percent of his snaps, ranking him as the 26th most productive pass rusher, according to ProFootballFocus.
Moore is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but should be brought back at a relatively inexpensive price tag. While he needs to greatly improve on his run defense, he was consistent in bringing pressure against opposing quarterbacks and his play was highly overlooked throughout the year.
Bryan Scott wasn't one of the Bills' starting linebackers this year, but the hybrid outside linebacker/ strong safety definitely played a major role for the Buffalo defense. Serving in the nickel defensive front, Scott played 604 snaps, and picked off four passes, placing him second on the team, behind Jairus Byrd.
Scott excelled both in pass coverage and run defense, racking up 66 tackles and forcing two fumbles, while defending eight passes. He made 14 stops against the run, and placed 13th in the National Football League among 4-3 outside linebackers in tackling efficiency, missing a tackle once every 15 attempts.
Scott is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he hopes that his versatility and playmaking ability can earn him a spot on the 2013 roster. A consummate professional, Scott adjusted to play wherever the coaching staff needed him, telling BuffaloBills.com's Chris Brown
“In going forward I’m one of those guys it’s whatever cap they need me to wear. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, if they think I’m a better safety or need me to bulk up more to play linebacker it really doesn’t matter to me. But my heart is in Buffalo.”
A former third round pick of Buddy Nix’s first draft with the Buffalo Bills in 2010, Defensive Tackle Alex Carrington was believed to be a bust prior to the 2012 season.
Despite his limited playing time, he was one of the most efficient defensive tackles in the NFL. He was a force on special teams, especially field goal coverage, as he blocked a team record four field goals, and getting a hand on another that ended up going through the uprights.
Carrington recorded 18 hurries, despite playing just 181 defensive snaps, ranking seventh in the NFL in pass rushing productivity, hurrying the passer on nearly 10 percent of his snaps. He recorded 19 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, defended three passes, and forced a fumble.
Since Carrington is playing behind two great defensive tackles in Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, becoming a starter on the Bills’ Defensive line will be difficult. However, he should definitely see increased playing time next year as a wave defensive player due to his dual productivity in his limited role with the team.