Which Bills player could put up career stats in 2012, Part 6 - The Finale

By Steve B.  |   Wednesday, September 05, 2012  |  Comments( 72 )

Buffalo Bills
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The final player on this series that we’ll be discussing is Free Safety (FS) Jairus Byrd. Byrd was an anomaly in his first season with the Bills as he recorded nine Interceptions (INT’s) in his rookie campaign. But, after the 2009 season, Byrd’s INT’s total went down considerably. What made Byrd’s nine INT’s more impressive, was the fact that he played in 14 games, and started in 11.

In the 2011 season, Byrd put together his best complete stats to date with 98 Tackles (T) (75 solo/23 assisted), 1 Sack, 8 Passes Defended (PD), 3 Interceptions (INT’s), 1 Touchdown (TD), and 3 Forced Fumbles (FF).

Now, for the big question, why did Byrd have so much success in 2009 with INT’s, but not so much the following two seasons? The answer: lack of a pass rush. 2009 was the last time the Bills employed a consistent pass rusher in Aaron Schobel. In 2009, Schobel had 10 sacks in his final season in a Bills uniform. Since then, Defensive Tackles (DT’s) Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus led the Bills in sacks as Williams had 5.5 sacks in 2010, and Dareus repeated those numbers in 2011. At the time when Williams and Dareus had 5.5 sacks, they were playing as Nose Tackles (NT’s) in a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense. If the NT’s are leading the team in sacks, that means that the defense is creating no pressure from the edge, meaning that there are no elite edge rushers that the offense has to worry about double teaming, and the line can focus even more attention to stopping the nose tackle.

As stated in the previous articles, the Bills finally have four guys on the defensive line that can generate pressure, close in the pocket and force the opposing Quarterback (QB) to throw the faster than he would like to, as well as getting bodies/arms/hands in the QB’s throwing lane. Add in Bills new Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt implementing his 4-3 defensive system where the Defensive front four’s specific jobs are to penetrate the Offensive line and create pressure. With everything put together on defense this past offseason, we can expect Byrd’s INT total to go up again and look for him to put up the best numbers of his young NFL career to date this season.
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About Steve B.

Born and raised in South Buffalo. Currently living in VA.
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