Weekly Feature

2008-01-02 / Sports

Bills hungry to get defense back on track next year

by MATT KRUEGER Reporter

Surrendering 362.9 yards and 22.1 points per game landed the Buffalo Bills second worst in the league on defense this year. Only Detroit (377.6 yards and 27.8 points per game) was worse.

Those kinds of numbers, along with losses in the last three games, have Buffalo's defenders looking at next year with the motivation to turn things around and boost the team into the playoffs.

"It's kind of somber knowing that our professional goal was not achieved," said cornerback Jabari Greer, who made 45 tackles and two interceptions after moving into the starting lineup. "But we have positive aspirations going into the offseason. And anytime you end the season like this you go into the off-season with a new found goal, doing what it takes to get what you want. We realize that the ultimate goal is the playoffs and that we have another opportunity to get into the off-season and prepare ourselves for a playoff birth next year.

The biggest black mark on the Bills' defense this year was the plague of injuries. Buffalo placed 10 defensive players, including starters Jason Webster, Ko Simpson and Paul Posluszny on the injured reserve list this year. That opened the door for guys like Greer to make the most of an opportunity, but is also kept the team submersed in a lack of continuity. The lineup changed from week to week, creating communication issues.

"If we didn't have so many guys on IR, we would have had a greater chance of making the playoffs this year," said safety Donte Whitner, who missed Sunday's 17-9 loss at Philadelphia with an illness. "But we didn't. We lost a lot of guys. We had a lot of close football games. Maybe experience played a part and maybe it didn't. But we had a lot of close football games that we lost at the end of the game."

Buffalo ranked 29th against the pass and 25th against the run this year and will need to address its needs during the offseason. Surely the draft and free agency will bring in new players to bolster a defense that gave up 124.6 rushing yards and 238.4 passing yards per game.

"With everything we've been through this year, with guys stepping up and having to fill roles, we know what type of guys we have here now," McGee said. "There are going to be changes made, but I feel like we're building in the right direction to where we want to go."

Return to top