2010 Was Hopefully A Year To Build On

The 2010 season was the 11th straight year that the Bills missed the playoffs. Unlike 2009 however the team has a GM and coach in place that they feel will complete a rebuilding project. They have a long way to go so look for another huge turnover of the roster in 2011. Now for the 11th year in a row we do our position by position final exam grades as well as individual player grades for key players at each position. There were several players who left the team during the year; we are not grading those players. We also will take a look ahead at what might happen with next season's roster:

Quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm, Levi Brown

The year started with Trent Edwards at quarterback despite the fact he proved in 2009 that he isn't a starting caliber NFL quarterback. Chan Gailey quickly realized his mistake and replaced him with Ryan Fitzpatrick week three and then quickly cut Edwards. Fitzpatrick and Gailey developed a nice relationship and Fitzpatrick had a breakout season where he threw 23 touchdown passes in 13 games.
Final Overall Grade C: Fitzpatrick may not be the future but he is ok for the present.
Fitzpatrick B: Will be the starter next year but hopefully he has a young stud he can groom for the future.
Brohm F: Got the start in the finale and was awful. Consider the Brohm experiment over.
Brown Incomplete: Played the final few minutes of the season and struggled but has a strong arm and will likely be number three again next year.

Running Backs: Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Quinton Ganther, Corey McIntyre

The year started with the rookie Spiller and Marshawn Lynch splitting time in the backfield. Lynch was traded to Seattle and Jackson finally became the start in week five. He nearly pulled off another 1,000 yard season despite limited playing time the first month of the season. Spiller was not the impact player they hoped for from the first round draft pick.
Final Overall Grade C+: Didn't make enough plays on the season.
Jackson B+: Should be the starter from day one next year.
Spiller D: Needs to step up his game next year or he can be the next 1st round bust.
Ganther C: Saw spot duty and could be brought back as number three guy but is a free agent.
McIntyre C: Solid special teams player and lead blocker. Will be back.

Receivers: Lee Evans, Stevie Johnson, Roscoe Parrish, David Nelson, Donald Jones, Naaman Roosevelt, Shawn Nelson, Jonathan Stupar, David Martin, Scott Chandler

Johnson was a breakout player this year for the Bills as he went over 1,000 yards receiving. Evans had a down year before it ended with an injury. Parrish was finally being used properly before his season ended with a wrist injury. That opened up the door for successful seasons from undrafted free agents Nelson and Jones. The tight ends were non factors again this year.
Final Overall Grade B: The WR position excelled in the offensive scheme of Chan Gailey. No matter who was plugged in, they produced. Tight Ends were awful though, bringing the grade down.
Evans D: Will likely be back as the number two wideout. He's no longer a number one.
Johnson A: Likely to be the top cat at wide receiver in 2011.
Parrish A: Look for more production next year as Gailey loves this type of player.
Nelson A-: Constantly made plays on third downs. Looks for a bigger role next year.
Jones B+: Could also battle for more playing time next year.
Roosevelt Inc: Will have to battle in training camp next year for a job.
Nelson F: Lost year with suspension, injuries, and migraines. Will have an uphill climb to make the team next year.
Stupar F: Could be easily replaced.
Martin D: Didn't do enough to warrant being brought back.
Chandler Inc: Interesting prospect that could challenge for a bigger role in 2011.

Offensive Line: Demeterius Bell, Eric Wood, Adam Levitre, Geoff Hangartner, Mansfield Wrotto, Erik Pears, Cordaro Howard, Kraig Urbik, Chad Rinehart

This unit wasn't as decimated with injuries as it was in 2009 but it got pretty close late in the season. The signing of free agent Cornell Green to start at right tackle was a disaster as he was placed on IR and then cut in mid-season. That started a revolving door at right tackle. Injuries late in the year caused a revolving door at guard which hurt the effectiveness of the line.
Final Overall Grade D: Still need a high caliber tackle or two to help upgrade the line. Fitzpatrick's pocket presence hid a lot of deficiencies.
Bell C+: Showed improvement despite not being 100 percent recovered from knee surgery. Could be better with a full offseason of work.
Wood B-: May end up moving to center permanently next year but not likely.
Levitre C-: Needs to make a huge jump in his third season, way too many penalties.
Hangartner B: Solid, underrated center may be out of a job if Wood moves to the position. Would keep him at center and Wood at guard.
Wrotto D: Overmatched when thrown in there. Likely a backup next year if he's on the team at all.
Pears Inc: Started the finale at right tackle and graded out well according to Gailey. Could be in the mix for a roster spot next year.
Howard C: Played well despite being hurt and being an undrafted free agent. Could be a useful backup at guard and tackle next year.
Urbik B-: Has potential as a backup guard and center and could be a possible starter down the road.
Rinehart D: Forced in the lineup because of injuries, likely won't be around next year.

Defensive Line: Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams, Spencer Johnson, Dwan Edwards, Torell Troup, Alex Carrington, John McCargo

There was a major shift in this unit as the Bills went to a 3-4 defense. That turned some linemen into linebackers and moved defensive tackles like Stroud and Johnson to defensive end. Stroud struggled outside but Williams became a Pro Bowler in the middle despite some people questioning his size for the nose tackle position. Edwards was a nice free agent pickup before an injury ended his season. Troup and Carrington have some potential for the future.
Final Overall Grade C-: Struggled against the run and with the new scheme.
Stroud D: It appears his career is winding down. May not be back next year.
Williams A: The lone Pro Bowl player and our Defensive MVP will be a fixture in the middle next year again.
Johnson C+: Nice role player who should be back as a backup.
Edwards B-: Should start at end again next year but needs to be more of a playmaker.
Troup C: Should get more playing time in his second season.
Carrington C: Showed some flashes down the stretch. Could move into starting role in year number two.
McCargo F: The former first round pick was active for only one game. His Bills career is over.

Linebackers: Chris Kelsay, Andra Davis, Paul Posluszny, Akin Ayodele, Reggie Torbor, Arthur Moats, Antonio Coleman, Aaron Maybin

This unit also struggled with the change to a 3-4. The linebackers as a whole struggled in pass protection, something they had to do more of in the 3-4 defense. They also made way too many tackles down the field as teams ran wild on them. Posluszny made a lot of tackles but was beat soundly in the passing game. Moats showed a lot of promise in his rookie year after being moved outside. Maybin was a non factor. Davis did a nice job before his season ending injury. Tobor and Ayodele were nice late pickups.
Final Overall Grade D-: Really struggled in the 3-4 defense all year long.
Kelsay D+: Struggled in his new linebacker role but played better as the season progressed. Will be back as he is a leader but may backup Shawne Merriman if he's healthy.
Davis C Nice free agent pickup but will have to do more in the middle next year.
Posluszny D-: Totally unsuited for 3-4. Unrestricted free agent that will likely move on.
Ayodele C: Was a tackling machine late in the year but that was overrated. Free agent could be back on the cheap as a backup.
Torbor C-: Was a stabilizing force to the linebacking corps when in there but didn't make any big plays. Should be back next year.
Moats B: Rookie of the year, should be starter next year on the outside.
Coleman D: Forced into more playing time than he could handle as an undrafted free agent.
Maybin F: Another first round bust, his Bills days appear to be over.

Secondary: Terrence McGee, Drayton Florence, Leodis McKelvin, Jairus Byrd, Donte Whitner, Bryan Scott, Reggie Corner, George Wilson

On the surface it looked like a great year for this unit as the Bills finished with the 3rd ranked pass defense. The reason for this is they faced the second least amount of pass attempts because teams ran wild on them. McGee was hurt most of the year, making Florence the top corner. McKelvin was inconsistent in the starting role, not what you want from a first round pick. Whitner had his best year in Buffalo as the new scheme fit his playing style. Byrd came back to earth from his great rookie season.
Final Overall Grade B-: Solid season despite not being challenged too often.
McGee D-: Injury plagued season. Need him to be healthy with possible free agent defections.
Florence B: Solid cover corner that is a free agent. Team will likely try to keep him but he could move on.
McKelvin C: Needs to become more consistent. Could be a starter next year if Florence doesn't return.
Byrd C: Only had one interception but forced a few fumbles. Will start again next year.
Whitner B His Bills career is over as he wants top safety money despite not being a top safety talent.
Scott C: Saw playing time decreased this year but could see more time next year if Whitner and/or Wilson doesn't return.
Corner D: Will only return if they don't find upgrades next year.
Wilson B: Didn't play much but made plays when he got in there. They love his character and special teams prowess. Likely try to keep the unrestricted free agent.

Special Teams: Rian Lindell, Brian Moorman, C.J. Spiller, Leodis McKelvin, Roscoe Parrish, Garrison Sanborn

Lindell and Moorman each had a bit of a down year. Moorman had his worst year in Buffalo. Lindell struggled some midway through the air but finished strong. Spiller did make some waves as a returner including a kick return for a score. McKelvin had a fumbling problem as did Spiller.
Final Overall Grade C: Average play by a very average unit.
Lindell C: Not his best year but will be back.
Moorman C-: Down year but will be back.
Return Game C: Average return units with fumbling problem.
Coverage Teams C+: Gave up no touchdowns for a second straight season.
Sanborn A: Becoming one of the best snappers in the league.

Coaching: Chan Gailey, George Edwards, Bruce DeHaven

Chan Gailey had his team fighting hard until the final two games. He handled the head coaching duties and offensive play calling responsibilities and the offense did show improvement over last year. Edwards never had an answer for stopping the run and struggled getting the team to succeed in the 3-4 defense. DeHaven was just average in his return to Buffalo.
Final Overall Grade C+: Have some building blocks in place for continued improvement. Where they go from here is critical.
Gailey B: Potential for growth is there.
Edwards D: He's coming back but I don't know why.
DeHaven C: Needs to improve next year to get back to the special teams prowess the Bills are used to.

Print Friendly Version