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Bills Today: Bills 2004-05 special teams among best units since '87


Here's the Bills news of note for June 22nd.

1 – Bills 2004-05 special teams among best since '87On Wednesday we highlighted how the Bills 2004 defense ranked fourth overall in the last 30 years among the league's best defensive units according to Football Outsiders. They have since ranked the top 30 special teams units over the last 30 years and Buffalo's special teams units of the mid-2000's under the direction of Bobby April hold two spots in the top 30.

The 2004 and 2005 Bills special teams ranked 12th and 11th respectively led by Pro Bowl special teamers Terrence McGee and Brian Moorman. Here was their synopsis on one of the best special teams units in the NFL since the turn of the century.

12. 2004 Buffalo Bills and 11. 2005 Buffalo Bills
+8.7 and +8.8 percent

The Bills finished No. 1 in special-teams DVOA two straight seasons, powered primarily by kick returns from cornerback Terrence McGee. In 2004, he averaged 26.3 yards per return and scored three touchdowns. In 2005, he was even better: only one touchdown but 30.2 yards per return. That's the second-best kick return season in our database. Punter Brian Moorman was the other star of Buffalo's special teams and was selected first-team All-Pro after averaging 45.7 gross yards per punt in 2005.

Football Outsiders' special-teams ratings took a cumulative measurement of five main phases of special teams: field goals, kickoffs, punts, kick returns and punt returns.

They took into account several factors besides just the average expected value of each field goal for example. They also accounted for altitude (easier to kick in Denver and domes knowing it's easier to kick indoors).

**2 – White asking questions, taking names

*Bills first-round pick Tre'Davious White had a very successful spring as it appears the starting right cornerback job will be his to lose in training camp this summer. White's lofty status on the depth chart however, is not something he's counting on. In a recent appearance on the John Murphy Show, White said his approach will remain the same.
**"Just asking a ton of questions and taking every practice and film sessions seriously," White said of how he went through OTAs and minicamp. "I've picked up the playbook. I know what the linebackers are doing and what the safeties are doing behind me. So I'm comfortable with what I'm doing and I'm able to play fast."

As for who he seeks out to ask questions they're not just vets in his position group.

"I've been asking Ronald Darby and Micah Hyde, who has played corner and safety," White said. "It also never hurts to ask Kyle Williams who's from my alma mater and is from Louisiana and knows what it's like to transition from Louisiana to Buffalo."

White's questions of Williams deal less with his responsibilities on the field and more on how you build a career that lasts a dozen years.

"I just ask him about how you stay in this league so long because I want to play as long as my body is able," said White. "He said to just take it one day at a time and go out and work hard every day. He said after doing that he looked up and it was 12 years later."

White is also taking notes on the receivers he's facing every day in practice. Thus far he's got a few that he feels are tough to cover.

"We've got a lot of receivers who can do a lot of different things," he said. "Zay Jones is a guy who has caught my eye. We're both rookies, but he's caught my eye. Philly Brown, and Andre Holmes. That guy he can run. He's a long guy so once he gets into his route running he can leave you."

With a newborn at home and training camp coming up, White has a lot on his plate, but is embracing all of it.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "It's what I asked for and I'm extremely blessed to be in the position I am so I'm going to take it all in stride."

3 - Shady ranks top 3… againBy now every Bills fan knows how dynamic a back LeSean McCoy is and has been, especially when given just enough space to get to the second level. When that happens McCoy often takes it the distance. Evidence of that comes in one of ProFootballFocus' most recent advanced metrics. According to PFF's research, McCoy ranks third in the NFL since 2008 for most yards gained on breakaway runs with 3,096.

The only backs currently in the league who have most yards on breakaway runs are New Orleans' Adrian Peterson (4,114) and free agent RB Chris Johnson (3,631).

That means more than a third of McCoy's 8,954 career rushing yards have come on breakaway runs (34.5%).

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