Human resources

Carucci Take2: Bills have more resources to help all football decisions with expanded analytics

WGRZ Bills/NFL Insider Vic Carucci shares his thoughts on the Bills expanding their analytics department amid front office moves.

BUFFALO, NY — Analytics isn’t new to the Buffalo Bills, but three front office changes the team announced Tuesday reflect its biggest commitment to them yet.

The expansion, as general manager Brandon Beane explained to reporters earlier in the week, is part of a plan put in place when he joined the Bills in 2017.

“We kind of wanted to build it and grow it and it could continue to grow,” Beane said of Dennis Lock’s promotion to senior director of football research and Drew DiSanto’s hiring as a senior manager. as a sports performance data analyst and Malcolm Charles as a data analyst.

There are fundamental reasons for incorporating metrics and algorithms into all aspects of an NFL franchise. They help with talent assessment, regulating the physical exertion of players in practice to reduce injuries, negotiating player contracts, structuring game plans and making decisions in the Game.

It’s that last part that makes the front office moves particularly noteworthy, given the immense hesitation that has lingered since those fateful last 13 seconds of regulation in the playoff loss to Kansas City last January.

Without a doubt, the decisions of the coaches played a major role in allowing a certain victory to evaporate into an overtime loss. Sean McDermott and his team have spent nearly five months questioning themselves as much as they have been guessed by a number of outsiders. It’s fair to say that Beane and the rest of the Bills organization also put a lot of thought into finding ways to improve the management of the game.

Including more statistical data in this process certainly can’t hurt.

“We use it more as checks and balances,” Beane said. “Whether it’s game planning – you know, coaches are always going to follow their eyes – but we use it to, from that perspective, with our opponents.”

Although DiSanto’s hiring goes directly to the effort of minimizing soft tissue injuries that result, as Beane put it, “from overuse, wear and tear, high-speed running and all that volume,” the roles of Lock and Charles allow for the Bills to place greater emphasis on analytical input into scouting and playing strategies. This would also bring the club more in tune with substantial use analyzes that Terry and Kim Pegula have long adopted for their other major sports property, the Buffalo Sabers.

In his early days with the Bills, Beane was not a big fan of analytics in scouting, trusting scouts to rank players more based on what they saw rather than what the numbers told them. This thinking has gradually changed, with analytics becoming a more important part of Bills player evaluation.

Now, it seems clear the Bills want this expansion considered to put players in the best position to succeed.

“There’s a lot of information out there and you need to know what’s valuable and what’s not,” Beane said. “There’s a lot of stuff that you’re not using, but ultimately you’re trying to figure out what are the indicators of all that data that you’re getting, whether it’s player ratings, data GPS etc…. We put a lot of stuff into it here and I think we have a good team of people doing a really good job with that.