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State of the Bills - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 17, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: July 25
Head Coach: Dick Jauron (4th year)
Stadium: Ralph Wilson Stadium  Surface: AstroTurf GameDay Grass
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 7-9

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 67 153 1 523 328 63% 3535 10.8 21 14 13 14
2007 41 175 1 556 341 61% 3308 9.7 13 14 24 28
2008 61 204 2 432 260 60% 3053 11.7 15 12 27 25

Quarterback - This will be the best year yet for Trent Edwards but what that really means is difficult to say and even harder to rely on. Edwards has played two seasons and has 18 passing touchdowns over his 24 games played against 18 interceptions. Last year saw him last for 14 games and total 2699 yards but 2009 witnesses Terrell Owens Magical Mystery Tour stop in Buffalo. Edwards has used Lee Evans with some success but certainly has never had a receiver with the qualities of Owens (good and bad). It should help the Bills get higher than 25th in passing but how much higher remains to be seen.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 401 1518 3.8 10 94 74 79% 503 2 23 20 17
2007 404 1623 4.0 10 102 85 83% 520 2 16 17 16
2008 523 2079 4 17 119 83 70% 604 1 6 5 12

Running Backs - The Bills had one of the easier rushing schedules in 2008 and it showed - Top 5 in rush yards and 17 touchdowns. But it wasn't just Marshawn Lynch (250-1036, 8 TD) getting the job done. Fred Jackson (130-571, 3 TD) occasionally looked like the better runner and ended his year with 136 yards against New England. Lynch will miss the first three games of the season thanks to a misdemeanor gun charge and that gives Jackson a nice start to the season while penalizing any Lynch owners. Jackson only had two games with more than ten carries last year so these first weeks will be a great opportunity for him to show what he can do and hopefully buy more playing time when Lynch returns.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 276 159 58% 2086 13.1 10 18 20
2007 343 191 56% 2281 11.9 8 19 26
2008 237 135 57% 1955 14.5 10 24 25

Wide Receivers - Granted this unit has never been that great and it has always been little more than Lee Evans as the most productive wideout. Evans had 1017 yards last year - more than all other wideouts combined. Josh Reed remains little more than a warm body across from Evans but 2009 harkens a new era (which may only last a year). Throwing caution to the winds, the Bills have signed Terrell Owens after his ouster from the Cowboys resulted in scores of offers just settling for a career cool down in the wintry winds of Buffalo. Owens has always been productive but he also trades Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo for Trent Edwards. That may not be as apocalyptic as it may seem to dynasty owners but it is reasonable to expect some step down. Quietly in the background, Evans could really benefit from no longer being the sole object of the defensive game plan but then again - how many balls are there in Buffalo? Owens has not had a positive affect on his fellow wideouts in either Philly or Dallas.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 147 95 65% 946 10 9 5 2
2007 102 65 64% 507 7.8 3 24 28
2008 72 41 57% 447 10.9 3 25 20

Tight Ends
- Since Edwards started playing the tight ends in Buffalo have been far less productive. Robert Royal led the group but only had 33 catches for 351 yards and one score - hardly any fantasy significance. This year has the Bills welcoming Shawn Nelson who was drafted with their 4.21 pick but a rookie tight end in Buffalo has no real fantasy value this year.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - There will be the same committee backfield with Jackson and Lynch once the three game suspension is over. That has really driven down Lynch's fantasy stock and yet not really improved Jackson's standing because he is limited to the three games as a starter. All eyes will be on Edwards and Owens in training camp and hopefully preseason games as well. The most interesting aspect of this camp is Owens and how he will affect Lee Evans. This will be the first time that Edwards has played with two viable receivers and that should perk up his fantasy stock as well.

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