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NFL report shows Bills trending bigger, older

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have continued to morph each season under General Manager Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey.

The NFL released its annual opening-day demographics report that breaks down rosters by every category HIPAA will allow.

Because I'm a pack rat and can't bare to throw away press releases, I was able to dig back and compare this year's vitals to every season since 2009, when Dick Jauron was head coach. There's a noticeable trend.

Here is what the average 2012 Bills player looked like on opening day: 6 foot 2 on the dot, 247.3 pounds, 26.7 years old and has 4.62 seasons of NFL experience.

The Bills had eight players who weigh 200 pounds and under. Only four NFL teams had fewer. The Bills had five players shorter than 6 feet, tied for 31st in the league.

They also had 13 players who weigh at least 300 pounds. That's tied for second in the NFL. The Bills led the league last year with 16 players of 300-plus pounds.

The Bills were taller, bigger, older and more experienced than the NFL average last Sunday.

The Bills were smaller under Jauron because he preferred sleeker, more mobile defensive players in his 4-3 base. The Bills switched to a 3-4 under Chan Gailey.

On Jauron's final opening-day roster, the Bills had 10 players who weighed 200 pounds and under. Only five teams had more.

They had 12 players shorter than 6 feet. Only six teams had more.

The average 2009 Bill was more than a half-inch shorter and nearly seven pounds lighter than this year's version. Last year, the average Bill weighed 12 pounds more than when Jauron was coach.

Buffalo led the NFL this year in fewest rookies and first-year players on their opening-day roster with six, although two of them -- cornerback Stephon Gilmore and left tackle Cordy Glenn -- started at critical positions. Buffalo had 14 last year and 11 each in 2010 and 2009.

The NFL average for rookies and first-year players was 10.6. The St. Louis Rams fielded the most with 18.

Buffalo had 13 players who are at least 30 years old, tied for fifth in the league. The San Diego Chargers had an NFL-high 18. The Miami Dolphins had just three.

The Bills were the second-most experienced AFC club behind the Chargers and sixth-most experienced overall.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |