Part 18 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise.
The Buffalo Bills 2007 season ended with a 7-9 win/loss record which is respectable for a re-building team but not what the team expected. The Bills started 2007 looking like one of the neediest in the league but need to be commended for finishing with 7-9 mark.
The Bills had three games that they lost by a total of 10 points, that they should’ve won. If the Bills could've pulled out a couple of wins out of those games, the entire outcome of their season would have beeen different.
Their losses to Denver, Dallas and Cleveland were the difference between 7-9 or a 10-6 season and a run at a Wild Card playoff appearance. The Bills finished second in the division. A three-game losing streak to finish the season has left a bad taste in the mouths of team and the fans.
The Bills as a team rushed for 112.5 yards per game.
· Marshawn Lynch: 5’11”, 215 lbs, 280 Att, 1,115 Yards, 4.0 YPC Avg, 7 TD’s
· Fred Jackson: 6’ 1”, 215 lbs, 58 Att, 300 Yards, 5.2 YPC Avg.
· Anthony Thomas: 6’ 2”, 221 lbs, 36 Att, 89 Yards, 2.5 YPC Avg.
· Dwayne Wright: 5’ 11”, 228 lbs, 29 Att, 94 Yards, 3.2 YPC Avg.
· Jonathan Evans: 6’ 0”, 240 lbs. rookie free agent from Baylor
The running back position is solid with first round pick Marshawn Lynch having a solid rookie year gaining 1,115 yards & 7 TD’s while averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Lynch needs to be more involved in the passing game after catching only 18 passes. Fred Jackson, one of Lynch’s backups, is a former practice squad player, who gained 197 yards in two games against the Redskins & Dolphins. Fourth round pick Dwayne Wright is a tough, north-south runner who was buried on the depth chart, should be able to gain more playing time in 2008.
The play of Fred Jackson could also mean the end for Anthony Thomas’ time in Buffalo. The Bills don’t have a huge need to draft a running back. The team can go in several directions on draft day. The Bills need a WR opposite Lee Evans; and first round targets could be Malcolm Kelly, James Hardy or Early Doucet. If the Bills decide to select a DE Phillip Merling is a good fit or Mike Jenkins if the decision is to draft a CB.
Marv Levy has stepped down as the GM and a new GM hasn’t been appointed
The question for the Bills: If the Bills run a conservative 4-3 defense, will the Bills blitz more with the added beef at the Defensive Tackle positions?