This time last year I sat and wrote an article titled “ How to cure the Buffalo ills”. Turns out my prescription was spot on! What I didn’t know at the time is Buffalo would then go and destroy all their hard work with some head scratching decision-making.
Reasons to be cheerful?
Well, this section will be brief… LeSean McCoy will be the lead back again, and he is always a dependable scorer/difference maker. He comes into the season with legal issues pending so the Bills should use him as often as possible early in the year just in case they’re deprived of him later. If McCoy is suddenly unavailable then the drop off at RB isn’;t as steep as in many team, with the capable Chris Ivory at no.2
Defensive Tackle Star Lotulelei has signed on a 5 year deal from Carolina, he’s a brilliant run-stuffing piece to have on the D-line who has missed only 4 games in 5 years so far. The Defense itself will be the strength of the team, as it has been for several years, Lorenzo Alexander, Micah Hyde and Tra’devius White (6th best rated cornerback last year) all coming off of an excellent year.
Reasons to be fearful?
The Bills binned of Tyrod Taylor-the first QB to guide them to the playoffs since 1999. His replacement, Josh Allen (3rd QB taken in the draft this year) has not beaten out Nate “5 interceptions in one half” Peterman for the starting QB role. There is no doubt that Allen plays and plays soon but if he hasn’t surpassed a well-below average backup already then maybe there will be huge complications along the way.
The lead wideout is Kelvin Benjamin who, whilst physically gifted, failed to make the most of playing with Cam Newton in Carolina for 2 and a half seasons before seeing out the end of last year with the Bills (217 yards and 1 TD in 6 games). He has been outspoken in his criticism of Newton and Taylor in the offseason claiming that he’d have better numbers with better QB play around him…so yeah, he’ll be grrreat this year then..! Behind Benjamin the receiving group isn’t inspiring, Jeremey Kerley and Andre Holmes are squad players and Zay Jones needs to up his game to be anywhere near productive after just 2 TDs last year.
Coach McDermott does nothing for me, I don’t see any set direction or definitive style on either side of the ball and his determination to oust Taylor from the starting role last year nearly cost the Bills a playoff appearance. This team could’ve been so much better, give me Rex Ryan any day.
How does the season shape up?
Despite the weak division the Bills season is set to be an ugly slog. Peterman against the Ravens D in game one is a shocking miss-match and that trend looks to continue into wks 2 and 3 v the Chargers and The Vikings before they face the High Powered Green Bay offense in week 4. Its going to be a poor start, a difficult middle and a tricky ending (@N.E and home to Miami who may both have playoff implications in mind). Yikes.
Playoffs? Not a chance. It could be a long wait under this regime. No.1 pick next year is far more likely.