10. Veteran leadership is valuable
“The biggest thing is just their experience of how to read what’s happening in a split second and knowing how to position themselves or the team for success,” said P
9. Williams and Brooks are emerging gunners
8. There’s depth on the units
“Some guys have really stepped up with Marcus Easley being down the last couple of weeks and Ty Powell being down,” Crossman said. “Then with Boobie having to play more on offense the past couple of weeks. Those are three of our main guys who really were either limited or not doing anything. With Corey Graham, who is outstanding, he’s been up and down with his role for us because of how much he’s been playing on defense. Those guys playing and establishing the culture early has really helped the guys who have had to fill in and they’ve done a nice job.”
7. A kickoff specialist can make a big difference
In addition to keeping Carpenter’s leg fresh for field goals, he also saves the bodies of the coverage team from one less violent collision with a touchback. Only 10 teams have more than the Bills.
“Eighty percent touchbacks are my goal,” said Gay. “Obviously they brought me in to skip a play so to speak and rest those guys up and take hits off of them. The more we can rest those guys the better.”
6. Schmidt solid, and still learning
“I think we still have a ways to go mainly because I’m still learning and trying to improve my own technique,” said Schmidt. “I think it’s a great start and I just need to clean it up so it makes it easier on them. That way we can keep our net and gross average with as small of a gap as possible.”
5. Easley and Powell should return soon
Two of Buffalo’s special team stalwarts are expected to return from injury soon. Easley stands a good chance of returning after the bye week.
“Guys have done very well stepping up in their absence,” said Crossman. “If we can get those guys back and be healthy and they play like we expect them to I feel happy with where we can go.”
4. Bills have among the best starting field position in the NFL
Buffalo’s coverage units need to tip their cap to the defense, who made this figure look even better after their six takeaway performance last week against the Jets, but the Bills were near the top of the league already when it came to best average drive start in the NFL.
Currently they’re second in the league averaging a bit more than their own 31-yard line (31.1). For away games they’re first in the NFL (33.8).
3. Buffalo is tied for the longest kick return in league this season
2. Carpenter’s leg as strong as it is accurate
1. Buy in is strong
Crossman had some players willing to commit and make a difference on special teams in 2013, but he felt he needed all the men in his phase of the game to be all in. With the help of the veteran players the buy in is now complete to make Buffalo’s special teams units among the best in the league.
“He needed guys to be accountable,” said Corey Graham. “He needed guys to know it’s very important and we’ve got to go out there and help our team win games on special teams. Guys have bought into this system. They bought into what it takes to be a good special teams unit. We’re playing really good right now. We just got to continue working, continue to get better and better every week. I think we’ll be a good unit.”