After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
Today we take a look a the Buffalo Bills.
How Did Last Season Go?
Well, like a few of the team around the league, it was the start of a new era under center for Buffalo with Josh Allen being drafted in the top 10 of the draft. The new era wasn’t ushered in immediately… It took 3 quarters of a game for Nathan Peterman to be benched. I mean, he did go 5/18 for 24 yards and a couple of picks… that’ll be a 0.0 pass rating, boys and girls and that *is not* good.
This of course meant that Josh Allen started his first game against the Chargers, at home is Orchard Park. It did not start well either. Obviously we knew coming into the season that Josh Allen was a project who needed work and he did struggle with his accuracy, as everybody should have expected… what Bills fans probably wouldn’t have expected would have been to be 28-6 down at half time. What was even less expected, was for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis to retire at half time.
Could there be a more rocky start than having your starting QB open with a 0.0 passer rating, then have to force your rookie in and then a leader quit on his team 6 quarters into the season?
Oddly, next up was a win against Minnesota. Strange huh? Football is a weird sport. However, they were back down to earth with a bump, being shut out by the Packers in week 4.
Even with a win in week 5, it was followed by a 5 game losing streak and, the season was over before the bye week, which came in week 11… a week after the Bills putting a stomping on the New York Jets.
The Bills closed out the season 3-3 to finish out the year after the bye, so maybe things are looking up a little bit in Buffalo when we look forward to the 2019 season.
Cap space: $32m
Draft picks (10): Round 1, 9th overall, round 2, 40th overall, round 3, 74th overall, round 4, 112th & 131st overall, round 5, 147th & 158th overall, round 6, 181st overall & round 7, 225th & 228th overall
The biggest departure was that of franchise legend, and heart and soul of the Bills, six time Pro Bowler, Kyle Williams.
This is a massive hole for the Bills to try to plug the off season.
The good news is that the Bills lost literally no one else of note. Ryan Groy was popular with the fans and I’m not sure why the opted to sign Russell Bodine instead of promoting Groy last year but they did and now Groy is looking for a job… like I said earlier, football is weird.
Literally the only other player worth mentioning is offensive tackle, Jordan Mills, who at the time of writing is lining up a visit to Cincinnati… which is weird again, because you’d have thought they’d have learned their lesson when it comes to having bad tackles.
Oooooh well this is where it gets interesting! Well, sort of.
We know that Allen is a project and still struggles with the mental processing aspect of playing quarterback, so therefore he holds on to the ball for too long. So you have to protect him for longer and perhaps give him some guys who can separate from defenders…
So to my mind, the M.O for the Bills this off season should consist of two things; protect Josh Allen and second, give him some guys to throw to.
The Bills brass obviously think the same as me given the business they’ve completed so far this off season.
On the offensive line, Mitch Morse has come over from Kansas City to be the pivot and he’s joined by Spencer Long and LaAdrian Waddle (amongst others).
In the pass catching department, in come John Brown and Andre Roberts, so Josh Allen can heave YOLO balls and one of them will be down there somewhere.
I can kind of see the thinking here. I like the Morse signing but otherwise they’ve thrown a load of mud at the wall on the O line and they’ll see what sticks and at least Brown can get some separation on the vertical plane and Allen excels at throwing the ball vertically… in a certain sense. They also added Cole Beasley to play in the slot… Which isn’t exactly Allen’s game but worth a go huh? [insert Bart Simpson, at least you tried meme].
Anyway, what else helps out a young QB..? A strong running game, right? Right!
So Buffalo also knew this, so they went out and got Frank Gore. That’s right. 396 year old, Frank Gore.
On a serious note, they could have done much worse. I know he’s been around since God was a lad but he’s still going out on Sundays and churning out yards. It’s just a bit odd that the Bills top 2 running backs are now over 30.
Again, the Bills had the correct idea but did it a different way.
Nevertheless. I feel that this is a decent start to the off season for a Bills and they are looking like they’re in better shape now than they were.
So how are they going to attack the draft sitting there at 9th overall? I feel that they have to do out and get a game changer on offense. That could be getting a tackle who can protect Allen for the foreseeable future or a pass catcher who can go up and get passes and give Allen a helping hand when his radar is slightly (or more) off.
Personally, if one of them are there, go and get DK Metcalf or one of the Iowa tight ends.
Outlook For Next Year
As I mentioned earlier in the week when talking Patriots, the schedule for the AFC East is pretty favourable given that they match up with the NFC East and the AFC North, which is going through somewhat of a transition. The Bills also face the Broncos and Titans, which are both winnable games.
Ultimately though, it all depends on how much a leap Josh Allen takes and/or how much of a good quarterback they can make him look by covering his deficiencies.
If the moves on the offensive line work, great. John Brown, could make a comeback as a legit deep threat and Buffalo could have a great draft; picking up a difference maker or two on offense and reinforcing a defense that was pretty good last year.
Look, it’s a work in progress but the trend does seem to be upwards on Western New York.
Given the easy schedule that I’ve just mentioned, I reckon the Bills could hit 7-9 next year. It’s not a huge improvement from 6-10 this past season but it’s a solid base off which to work from when they’re moving into year 3 of the Josh Allen era.
Not much to see here Chief. I don’t think Allen will scramble as much in 2019 so his fantasy stock will take a hit on that score and unless he makes a gigantic leap he’s not going to be amongst the top passers in the league either. He might be worth a stash in dynasty if you don’t have an immediate need at the quarterback position.
Shady and Gore kind of take away from each others snaps, even though they’re different types of backs which limits their value again.
John Brown and Beasley may turn out to be astute signings in the most ideal or worlds but again, even if they both reach their ceilings, they aren’t going to be worth taking early on in your fantasy drafts. You’ll be taking a flyer on them as much as the Bills are.
Essentially I feel like we’re waiting to see which offensive rookies are on the Bills in a month’s time and going from there in terms of searching for fantasy value.