We’re wrapping up the AFC East preview with a team that has a bright future ahead. A team that is looking to end a miserable playoff drought and shake off the mediocre Rex Ryan era; the Buffalo Bills.
One of the first and best strengths of the Bills is new head coach Sean McDermott. McDermott is a name that I was really excited about in the head coaching hirings this offseason. He is a defensive minded coach, and a good one at that. He did wonders as the defensive coordinator in Carolina and was responsible for creating that shut down defense that propelled the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015. McDremott will bring his wealth of knowledge and experience to an already very talented group. Buffalo might have lost start cornerback Stephon Gillmore, but they did a great job replacing him with rookie Tre’Davious White in the first round of the draft. Buffalo also has a slew of playmakers on offense with running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and tight end Charles Clay. They also added wide receiver Zay Jones in the draft, a guy I am really high on. It’s worth nothing Buffalo was second in the league last year in rushing; LeSean McCoy even at 28 is still getting the job done and giving Buffalo a consistent rushing attack every single week.
The big weakness with the Bills always comes down to health. Believe it or not, this team is actually extremely talented. I’m a big believer in quarterback Tyrod Taylor so I’m not going to mention him as a weakness, I believe he just needed some more weaponry and Buffalo got him that in the draft. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins can never seem to stay healthy and that’s the biggest issue here. When he is healthy, he’s a top 10 talent and almost unstoppable on one on one situations. Last year, rookies Reggie Ragland (linebacker) and Shaq Lawson (linebacker/edge rusher) were both top talents who were shelved for considerable amounts of time with injuries. Remember those names, because McDermott is a guy who really gets the best out of his linebackers, its just all about health. Lastly, I’m a bit concerned with the safeties in Buffalo. Corey Graham is okay but beyond that, they’re thin. With two young corners in the mix, the Bills will need their veteran safeties to really step up and take the pressure off of the corners.
Players To Look Out For:
Like I said, I’m high on Zay Jones. Sammy Watkins, even if healthy, can’t do it all and it has shown in the fact that Tyrod Taylor hasn’t had many other weapons. The Bills lost both Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin in free agency, both who started last year, so Jones will have a chance to make an immediate impact. I love his size, speed and hands and especially his tenacity in going for the ball. No more double teams on Watkins, because teams will really have to key in on Jones. On defense, rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White is going to be a top talent in this league. He was a guy I wanted my Eagles to get in the draft, but Buffalo traded back, added more picks, and got their corner. White is a tremendous man-to-man cover guy and has incredible size and agility to keep up with quicker receivers. I love what he brings and he could really be the backbone of the Bills secondary for the next decade.
I actually believe Buffalo could be a wild card contender if they stay healthy. Again, I actually think Tyrod Taylor is a capable quarterback; one who needed some more weapons and his star guy to stay healthy. The Bills have a great rushing attack and a great offensive line. Their defense has a ton of pieces and is now led by one of the more knowledgeable guys in the NFL in McDermott. In a more realistic sense, I could see one more strong offseason from the Bills before they make a serious run at this division. Just tighten up that secondary and pass rush and this team could really be a force in the near future.
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