Dan Carpenter has accounted for forty percent of the Buffalo Bills total points scored this season and I am thoroughly convince that he is on Nathaniel Hackett’s fantasy football team. It is the only explanation I could come up with to explain the Bills offensive struggles this season and why our kicker is scoring almost half our points.
In a weird way I want to believe in Hackett as the Bills offensive coordinator, but thirteen regular season games into the 2014 season and the offense looks just as abysmal as it did last season when the team had a rookie head coach, a rookie offensive coordinator, a rookie quarterback and two undrafted quarterbacks all playing significant roles. This season things were supposed to be different, players were supposed to have a better grasp of the offensive scheme having already spent a year in it, the duo of running backs from the second ranked rushing attack during the 2013 season were returning. Quarterback EJ Manuel was supposed to progress after the team decided to hire a quarterback coach, the Bills had an outstanding draft obtaining players who had value and could help immediately. Fast forward to week 14 and the Bills are 8-6, which is absolutely great don’t get me wrong but it seems like we’ve wasted so much in that time.
The Bills initially made Manuel the scapegoat and he was benched after four games, a 2-2 record and inconsistent performances. Running back CJ Spiller received his share of blame before he broke his collarbone after getting off to a slow start to the season. The common denominator throughout all of the issues facing the team is the inconsistent coaching on the offensive side of the ball. The Bills initial offensive attack last season was to be a volume team which consist of running an uptempo scheme and running as many plays as possible at the quickest possible pace. Last season the Bills ran the third most plays in the NFL with 1116 and led the NFL with 214 total drives, the majority of which were probably 3 and outs, but this season the Bills game plan has changed and they no longer employ that fast pace run and gun offense that was supposed to keep defenses on their heels. Kyle Orton needs enough time to regroup and take a quick dip before we get the next play off. Based on last season rushing statistics the Bills should be an effective running team but this season the Bills are ranked just 20th in rushing attempts.
The coaching staff is simply not putting the Bills offensive players in the best possible position to succeed. Manuel attempted a total of 48 passes in each of the Bills first two games both of which were wins, in contrast during the next two games Manuel attempted 39 and 44 passes in each game individually, both losses. Sammy Watkins, CJ Spiller and Marquise Goodwin are not involved in nearly enough screens and misdirection plays. What Chan Gailey was able to do in terms of offensive production with the offensive players he had during his tenure was almost genius. The offensive line was average in pass protection so Gailey ran plays designed to get the ball out of the quarterbacks hands as quick as possible. Gailey ran plays that were designed to get Spiller in space, Steve Johnson was born to run slants so Gailey designed plays that complemented Johnson running slants, I bet Johnson ran a million slants when Gailey was head coach. Coming into this season there is no reason the Bills offense should have not mirrored the offense Russell Wilson runs in Seattle or the offense that Colin Kapernick runs in San Francisco, Manuel is just as athletic as those quarterbacks and their offensive game plan is run first.
The Bills season is not over just yet, 10-6 is unlikely but absolutely possible, after two years I expect to see Doug Marrone return as Buffalo Bills head coach next season, building a team takes time. The turnover rate for offensive coordinators however is higher than that of head coaches and Hackett is not on the hot seat, no.. his chair is on fire! Hackett is stubborn and in a league where adjustments are crucial and he has been exposed at numerous times and it is no coincidence that Manuel and Orton have both regressed over the course of their starts with the team. As long as Hackett is our OC you can expect Dan “Money” Carpenter to keep racking up our points on offense, and you can expect Hackett to keep him on his fantasy team.