Skip to main content

Bills backs look to lead

They know their half of the offensive workload has not been up to snuff so far this season. Rushing yards have been hard to come by on game day and Buffalo's offense has struggled as a result. The coaching staff has maintained that the blame does not lie solely on the offensive line. Buffalo's running backs accept that and are out to put up a second half of the season in which they prove they can be relied upon for yards.

"We definitely think we're better than we're playing," said Fred Jackson. "We're just not making the plays on the field that we should be making."

And they've been reminded by their head coach, who believes in his players but also needs results.

"We have to get the whole thing back together more consistently, synchronized better, everybody on the same page every play and then we have to give ourselves a  chance to run it consistently," said Dick Jauron. "I have confidence in the guys. I think they have confidence in it, but it's got to get done. We have to do it on the field."

Jackson and Marshawn Lynch went back to the basics in practice Wednesday as they have taken it upon themselves to recapture some of the success their run game had last year.

"We want to finish plays," said Jackson. "We have to work on finishing plays. Marshawn (Lynch) and I finished 30 yards down the field after the last guy (in practice) because when we get to that second level, we want to be able to make a move when we're 30 yards down the field. It's just things that… We have to get back to little things like finishing plays and finishing blocks. And that's going to help us in the run game."

And if Buffalo's ground attack can be effective enough it will force opponents to pull a safety down into the run front. The Bills haven't been able to do that of late, allowing opposing defenses to play both safeties deep leaving Trent Edwards with fewer places to throw the ball.

"It's tough," said Edwards. "If you can't run, they're not going to bite on the naked fake. They're not going to put everyone in the box and they're going to drop into coverage because they know they can stop the run without bringing their safeties down. It kind of…I don't know if handicaps is the word, but, I mean, we still have pass plays that can break those defenses that drop into coverage, but we want to run that balanced attack, which I know Turk (Schonert) wants to do, we need to be able to do both consistently."

Thus far Buffalo's offense has been balanced from a play calling perspective as Schonert has called 227 rushing plays and 267 pass plays. The scoring production from both has also been balanced with eight touchdowns on the ground and nine through the air this season.

But just over 29 percent of Buffalo's total offensive yardage this season has come on the ground. Naturally passing yardage outperforms rushing yardage on every NFL team, but most teams have a yardage percentage that is between 65-35 and 55-45 in favor of the pass.

Last season after nine games Buffalo had a better yardage balance with 39 percent of their yards coming on the ground and 61 percent via the pass.

Right now only four other NFL teams get fewer yards per game on the ground than the Bills. But Lynch and Jackson believe they can make a difference starting this week against the 26th ranked run defense of the Browns.

"It's something we definitely notice," said Jackson. "We've seen that they struggle with the running game but we know that they're going to come play and they're going to think the same about us as we struggle to move the ball on the ground. So they're thinking the same thing that they can stop the run and make us one-dimensional. We think about that too. We don't want to put it all on Trent (Edwards). We want to give him the best opportunity to throw balls down the field so we feel like we have to get it started."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.