Buffalo Bills: Offense Predictable in 2008; Explosive in 2009?

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Buffalo Bills: Offense Predictable in 2008; Explosive in 2009?
(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

In 2008, the Buffalo Bills got off to a running start going 4-0 and thought they had turned a corner; but as it turned out, it was stacked up and the team lost.

In 2008, Turk Schonert took over as offensive coordinator and things improved but the offense was still too predictable and often inconsistent. Now he has new weapons like Terrell Owens and a quarterback ready to be trusted with more responsibility. The perfect solution, the no-huddle offense.

The no-huddle offense does a variety of things and was a staple of the 1990's championship teams, better known back then as the K-gun, (which was named for tight end Keith McKeller whose nickname was killer). This will allow a change of pace and keep defenses guessing instead of sitting on certain routes and causing a turnover. Secondly, it will allow Trent to just read the field and instinctively react instead of over-thinking.

Here's a look at what made the Bills effective in 2008:

1. HB Draw

The Bills had one of the top running back tandems with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. Teams will see more of the same in 2009 and they have added Dominic Rhodes. This was effective because despite having the biggest offensive line in football, the team had its struggles running the ball so defenses had a tendency to play pass first. They used it out of shotgun and single-back.

In 2009, with the addition of T.O. and a potentially more potent attack, this play could be used often. Also the offensive line is completly new and will buy Trent more time as they may work more out shotgun formation then in recent years.

2. Three-Receiver Set

The Bills would use this to get some coverage off of Lee Evans. It was also an effective way to get Josh Reed open over the middle and get the tough yards. In 2008, the drafted James Hardy, who struggled most of the season, used this type of formation to help him find some open field.

In 2009, this should be used often. With Owens and Evans on the outside, the Bills will have many options. They could use Josh Reed in the slot doing the dirty work. Hardy could play along side these two and get open looks and he is such a big physical presence he could handle going up and making the tough grab over the middle. It might benefit Roscoe Parrish the most. With his speed he can be electrifying and game changing and the open field this set would generate could lead to a breakout year.

3. Gadget Plays

The Bills didn't use many of these in 2008 but when they brought them out they were effective. Most notably in week one when they lined up for a field goal with Ryan Denney lined up on outside, the Seahawks never saw him (nor did they have 11 guys on the field), and Brain Moorman hit him for touchdown.

In 2009, the Bills will need to be more agrressive so look for more trickery out of them.

4. Deep Ball

You didn't see this a whole lot but with the speed of Lee Evans it was effective. It can be used out of any formation, but the best one was out of shotgun with max protection. It was seen between  Evans from J.P Losman, who entered the game when after Edwards left with a concussion. It went for 87 yards and was one of the few highlights in a blowout loss to Arizona.

With a fresh start and Trent's confidence at a high level, look for the Bills to use this more and have more explosive attack in 2009.

5. Play Action

This was an effective way of getting Trent some easy reads. Used primarily out of the I-formation; it gave Trent multiple options, depending on what the defense does. If the strong safety bit on the fake or slid out to help in pass coverage, Trent could do a simple dump down to the tight end. The free safety would possibly slide into the vacated hole, leaving Evans in a one-on-one match up and the Bills would take that every time.

In 2009, the offense will have so many options and this may come into play more often especially down in the red zone.

No matter what happens, 2009 should be very interesting at One Bills Drive.

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