Welcome to January, a month in which many other NFL fans enjoy with playoff football and meaningful Sundays. Bills fans are yet again graced with the pleasure of reading mock drafts and arguing over Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley and other draft prospects for their first round pick.
Over the course of the year I threw out quarterly awards for the team and I’m happy to bring the final set of awards for the Bills 2013 season.
MVP – CJ Spiller: This was an easy choice. Spiller was a dynamic home run threat each game and proved that is also capable of carrying the ball 25 times in a game when necessary. Spiller finished the year with 1,244 rushing yards (over 1,700 all purpose) on just 207 carries. That is 141 fewer than rushing champ Adrian Peterson and 51 fewer than the next closest back in the top ten (Frank Gore, 10th).
Defensive MVP – Jarius Byrd: This is a difficult choice. The Bills defense was historically bad once again. Outside of some strong individual efforts, there was no cohesive success from the unit as a whole in 2012. Mario Williams had some impressive outings and would certainly fall in as the team’s second best defender, but Byrd was a difference maker. He finished tied for seventh with five INTs and picked up a pair of fumbles along the way. He was responsible for the win against the Cardinals and has evolved into a dangerous player against the pass or run.
LVP – Mark Anderson: This isn’t necessarily fair since Anderson was hurt for so long, but I wasn’t all that impressed with him when he was healthy. Outside of one strong game, he was a massive disappointment. When compared to his offseason free agent counterpart, Anderson’s lack of production was more prevalent.
Offensive LVP – Ryan Fitzpatrick: This season isn’t all his fault. In fact, there were a few games that the Bills should have won had their defense actually played defense. Yet, his weekly interception became more predictable than the end-of-the-world and he just wasn’t capable of making the plays needed to win games. The same success wasn’t evident from last year’s hot start either; he was a definite letdown as the starting QB.
Rookie of the Year – Cordy Glenn: This was a dead heat between Glenn and Stephon Gilmore. However, the Bills have finally found an offensive line they can count on and Glenn was a major part of that building process. His success really solidified the left side of the line and pair with a healthy Erik Pears, the Bills seems to have an impressive set of bookend tackles. I’m looking forward to seeing him block for an effective quarterback.
Time to Change – Aaron Williams: Williams and Ryan Fitzpatrick shared a nasty habit of a brutal play each week. While Fitz found a way to pass the ball to the other team, Williams was good for getting torched at least once per game. It would seem as if Williams is better suited to play safety in the NFL, hopefully the coaching staff agrees.
Most Improved – Kyle Moore: A player who was an afterthought in training camp, Moore became a strong pass rusher this year. He isn’t effective against the run but appears to be a very strong situational player. He is a perfect fit as the third defensive end in the rotation.
Play of the Year – Leodis McKelvin 79-yard punt return TD vs. Miami: In a season without many victories, and even fewer big plays in those wins, this play rings as the most impressive to come in a victory. McKelvin is a deadly return man and he proved it with this play. It was a well-blocked return that McKelvin managed to spring up the near sideline.
Highlight Package Cameo – Russell Wilson’s three rushing TDs: Wilson’s three rushing TDs were not only an impressive feat but will certainly show up on a few postseason highlight packages. Hopefully the Bills unis were clean for that game in Toronto, as plenty of people will see them chasing Wilson around the field.
Super Mario Moment – Strip, sack, and fumble versus Jacksonville: His three-sack game against Indy was equally impressive, but this play was the type that the Bills signed up for with that big contract. Williams has caught some flak this year, but realize that 7 of his 10.5 sacks came in the period after the bye that the Bills needed most in hopes of making the playoffs. He was equally productive in wins and losses too, splitting the 10.5 evenly between the six wins and seven losses.
Most Fireable Moment – Timeout before pulling field goal team against St. Louis: The Seattle loss as a whole was enough to get any coach fired, but the height of Gailey’s failure was when he burned a timeout to pull his field goal unit before they attempted a 50+ yard field goal against the Rams. Not getting the points, combined with the wasted timeout came back to bite the Bills in the three-point loss.
Offseason Predictions: Despite going o’fer on each and every prediction I made for the regular season, I will take a stab at what could be coming between now and OTAs. The Bills will draft a QB (although maybe not with the eighth pick) and they will sign at least one linebacker in free agency, possibly two.