Buffalo Bills: Offensive Preview – Will a new regime bring results?
The Buffalo Bills could be the NFL’s dark horse this season. With the talent pool, they have on oﬀense; with enough direction, they could challenge many the good teams. Teams have had trouble stacking up against the Bills rushing attack, and now they will have a few more pieces to attack with. Buﬀalo was a team on the rise a few seasons back until head coach Doug Marrone bolted. From there, they hired Rex Ryan who often underperformed as a head coach. Rex has never had success ﬁnding a franchise quarterback, a trend that continued in Buﬀalo. Tyrod Taylor has had ﬂashes of talent while with the Bills but never came into his own. The Bills have given him the tools to succeed, so how will they pioneer his success?
Wide Receiver Duo
When healthy, Sammy Watkins has shown he can be the all over the ﬁeld, speedy receiver the Bills need. Unfortunately, for him, the team has not gone out of their way to provide him with a stand out #2 receiver. Enter the 2017 NFL Draft where they picked stand out wide receiver Zay Jones out of East Carolina. Between his solid route running and sure hands, Jones ought to expand the opposite side of the ﬁeld. Having a second receiver who should stack up the yards for the Bills should add a completely new set of wrinkles to their oﬀense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor should not be the only one who beneﬁts from Jones’ presence. Opening up the ﬁeld more than likely will give tight end Charles Clay more room to work. Look for a more attack friendly oﬀense out of Buﬀalo this season.
League Leading Run Game
With one of the league’s, best oﬀensive lines in the run game, the Buffalo Bills led the league in rushing yards the past 2 seasons. LeSean McCoy turns 29 this oﬀseason shows no signs of slowing down in being the primary workhorse for the oﬀense. By saying that, the Bills will also strongly push their backs this season to ﬁnd a strong backup/complimentary back to McCoy. They have shuﬄed the cards as far as backups go the past few seasons, but they may have the depth to ﬁnd a long-term answer.
New Coaching Philosophy
Rex Ryan has always centered his coaching style on ground and pound football. Buﬀalo’s defense took a step backward under Ryan but with new head coach Sean McDermott, a former defensive coordinator with the Panthers, it should get back on track. With a rebounding defense, Buﬀalo will not have to control the clock as often. New oﬀensive coordinator Rick Dennison should have no problem recreating the success he has had in Denver. Dennison will have to ﬁgure out how to get struggling quarterback Tyrod Taylor up to franchise QB form. Taylor served as the backup quarterback to Joe Flacco when Dennison was the QB coach with the Ravens so the two should be familiar with expectations. Getting the passing game balanced along with the run ought to be a focus for the Bills this season.
The Buﬀalo Bills have been on the outside looking in for too many seasons now. Their league-leading playoﬀ drought has spanned 17 seasons and fans have grown impatient. The Buffalo Bills hope this season will be the year that stops the bleeding on the coaching carousel. Since 1960, the Bills have had two head coaches at the helm for five consecutive seasons. Without consistency, they will never be able to break their Super Bowl woes and be consistent competitors. As a ﬁrst-time head coach McDermott will have an uphill battle. However, the Bills were not as bad as their record showed. With the right pieces in place, the Buffalo Bills should have no trouble reaching at least 8-8 this season.
Editors Note: This can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.