The Buffalo Bills have been in a great position since 2017 when they finally broke the streak of 17 straight seasons without a playoff appearance. Much to the delight of the Bills Mafia, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have been able to sustain the good position that has made the Buffalo Bills the most exciting team in the NFL. The four playoff appearances in the last five years give the premise to this very thought. But with all the success, there is always room for improvement. This must-read article will touch on what positional group needs the most improvement.
What Bills Positions Need An Upgrade?
Bills’ Quarterback Group
The Buffalo Bills’ backup quarterbacks haven’t really even sniffed a lot of playing time since Week Six of 2018. The current Bills’ backup quarterback is Case Keenum. Other backups such as Matt Barkley, Nathan Peterman, and Derek Anderson have all been afterthoughts due to the astronomical strides quarterback Josh Allen has made. Since the acquisitions of current offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and star wide receiver Stefon Diggs in 2020, Allen has been the most exciting quarterback to watch.
Even though Josh is winless in close games since 2019, he has been electrifying football fans with his strong arm, great athleticism, phenomenal leadership, and hunger to get better. Since 2020, according to lines.com, Josh Allen has thrown for nearly 10,000 yards, 82 touchdown passes, and a quarterback completion rate of 67.8 to go along with a quarterback rating of 103.0. Now with that being said, the quarterback group does not answer to this topic of discussion.
Bills’ Running Back Group
During the 2022 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills drafted James Cook in the second round at pick number 63 in hopes of boosting their running back room. This season currently, the Bills are ranked 15th in rushing according to pro-football-reference.com. James Cook has 13 carries for 58 yards in three games for the Bills. Devin Singletary, who is a fourth year running back for the Bills has 80 yards on 23 carries for the season. Zack Moss is a third-year runner for the Bills and on 13 carries has 78 yards. Josh Allen on 19 carries has 113 yards rushing.
In 2021, the Buffalo Bills were ranked sixth in rushing, averaging 131 yards per game. Josh Allen had 763 rushing yards in 2021. Devin Singletary had 870 yards rushing in 2021. Zach Moss had 345 yards in 2021. The question that lingers is if the Bills running backs are getting enough opportunities. In order for Josh Allen to have longevity in this type of passers league, he cannot be the most successful runner on the team.
The Buffalo Bills have lost many close games due to not being able to effectively run the football on goal line situations late in games. They also have not been able to control the clock in pivotal close games including last year’s losses to Tennessee, Tampa Bay, and the AFC divisional game against Kansas City.
Buffalo’s Defensive Line Group
The ability to get to the quarterback and stop the run is two of the most valuable abilities to have, as we all know that defense wins championships. The Buffalo Bills in 2021 compiled 42 sacks and a 17-game season. No player on the team had more than five and a half sacks which created a complete change in the defensive line. The defensive change included the dismissal Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson, Jerry Hughes, and Star Lotulelei.
In 2021, according to ESPN.com, surprisingly Greg Rousseau was top five among defensive ends and outside linebackers in run stop win rate. Ed Oliver was seventh for defensive tackles for pass rush win rate and ninth in run-stop win rate. This season with the addition of Jordan Phillips, Shaq Lawson, Tim Settle, and the two-time Super Bowl-winning champion Von Miller, the Buffalo Bills have already tallied 11 sacks and anchor the NFL’s second-best defense in points per game and total defense.
Buffalo’s Secondary Group
Last season, the Buffalo Bills’ pass defense was ranked number one, allowing 12 touchdowns through the air. This defense was without the All-Pro cornerback Tre White for the majority of the season. White tore his ACL on Thanksgiving of 2021. Tre White could possibly be back between Week Five and Week Ten.
In his absence, Dane Jackson is excelling in his leadership role. The Bills also selected Kaiir Elam in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Elam possesses amazing speed and the physical attributes that should help the Bills secondary. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde have been the NFL’s best safety tandem, but Micah Hyde’s recent neck injury now creates a new challenge for Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson. The Bills currently have the fourth best pass defense in the NFL.
So what’s the conclusion as to which positional group truly needs the most improvement? It would be very easy to say that the running back group needs the most improvement but in reality, the Bills’ offense is predicated on Josh Allen’s arm so the opportunities for the running back group are limited. It’s not like the running backs for the most part are having problems producing when their opportunities arise.
The biggest issues surface when it comes to decision-making, late-game play calling, and winning close games. Those issues start at the coaching position. Sean McDermott is a great coach, but he still has room for improvement. If some of these improvements are made in the coaching position, Buffalo could have been and can be Super Bowl champions.
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