The NFL draft is now in the rear-view mirror. It’s time to breakdown the Bills’ offense to see if it is ready to take the next step forward.
The pressure is on Josh Allen to take the next step as a player. The Bills’ roster around him is in place to aid Allen in doing just that. As Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott recently put it, “Most times, how the quarterback goes is how the team goes.” Therefore, Buffalo will only go as far as Josh Allen takes them.
Matt Barkley and Davis Webb are back with The Bills. However, Rookie draft pick Jake Fromm has joined them in the teams’ quarterback room. Fromm’s fall from grace in the NFL Draft led to Buffalo selecting him in the fifth round. Fromm is a player that the Bills never planned on drafting.
“I wouldn’t have told you going into today (draft day three) that he was on our radar, but we had him in a spot that you just can’t ignore and we gave him his due,” Beane said. “This guy, he’s a winner at the highest level of college. You look at all the guys that come out of the SEC … He’s got all the intangibles. He’s smart.”Bills General Manager Brandon Beane on his teams’ selection of Georgia Quarterback Jake Fromm.
The one-time potential franchise quarterback, Jake Fromm, is now poised to backup a player that’s the polar opposite of him in Josh Allen. Fromm doesn’t possess the physical traits that Allen does. As a result, it’s the reason that Fromm’s detractors soured on his long-term potential. On the other hand, Fromm does possess some characteristics as a quarterback that Allen doesn’t. For instance, Fromm’s accuracy and decision making. It’s these traits that could propel Fromm into a legitimate backup plan if Josh Allen falters.
The Bills offense has a new one-two punch at Running Back with last year’s rookie sensation Devin Singletary and this year’s third-round pick Zack Moss. Future Hall-Of-Fame Running Back Frank Gore is no longer on the team. Gore provided excellent leadership during his time with Buffalo. Last year, Gore and Singletary combined for over 300 carries and 1,300 yards on the ground. The Bills believe that Moss and Singletary will match or better that level of production.
Consider T.J. Yeldon as veteran insurance. A role that he played last season for Buffalo. Former Rugby star Christian Wade flashed big-play skills in the preseason. If Wade can carve out a role on special teams, he might get on the field this year. Veteran Taiwan Jones brings value as a special-teamer. Patrick DiMarco is one of the league’s best lead blocking fullbacks.
It’s been a long time since the receiver position was a strength of the Bills offense. Buffalo’s front office has used free agency and the trade market to upgrade this unit. Diggs, Brown, and Beasley should field a formidable trio. Recent draft picks Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah Hodgins bring much-needed size to this group.
As a former Pro Bowl kick returner, Andre Roberts has a safe spot on the roster. However, some of the Bills younger receivers like McKenzie, Foster, McCloud, and Duke Williams are going to have a hard time making the team. All of them have shown promise, but the difficulty in securing a spot is a real sign that Buffalo has considerable depth at wide receiver.
Dawson Knox showed flashes of brilliance last season (28 receptions for 332 yards and 2 TDS), but he suffered plenty of growing pains along the way. Knox has world-class athleticism and is a highlight reel type player, but it’s his lack of refinement that is holding him back. In the NFL, technique wins over talent, and until Dawson Knox learns that, he’s not going to reach his full potential.
The Bills signed Tyler Kroft to a three-year 18.75 million dollar contract in March of 2019. The expectations were high, but Kroft has been unable to stay healthy. Because of this and the uncertainty with Dawson Knox, it’s surprising that Buffalo didn’t address the tight-end position in the draft. Lee Smith and second-year player Tommy Sweeney bring value as in-line blockers.
Mitch Morse (C), Quinton Spain (G), Jon Feliciano (G), Dion Dawkins (T), Cody Ford (T), Daryl Williams (G/T), Spencer Long (G/C), Ty Nsekhe (T), Evan Boehm (C), Victor Salako (T), Ryan Bates (T), Garrett McGhin (T), Ike Boettger (G) Brandon Walton (T), Trey Adams (T), Marquell Harrell (T) (16)
There are many reasons to like the Bills offensive line. Above all, is its continuity. After an overhaul of the position last offseason, Buffalo is returning with their entire starting offensive line intact. The Bills top two players on the front are left tackle Dion Dawkins and center, Mitch Morse.
The team was pleased with the performance of their interior players. Jon Feliciano is solid, and the Bills resigned Quinton Spain in the offseason. On the other hand, The question mark is at right tackle. Cody Ford hasn’t reached his full potential, and the Bills brought in Daryl Williams from the Panthers as insurance. Buffalo likes its overall depth, but the hope is that the continuity up front leads to better play in 2020.
After years of rebuilding, losing, and futility, you get the sense that the Bills feel like they have arrived as legitimate contenders. The team is finally in a premier position because of the building blocks set in place. The Buffalo Bills see themselves as Superbowl contenders, but they know that unless their offense takes the next step forward. The team will fall short of expectations.
There’s no getting around it. The team’s offense held the Bills back last year. The numbers don’t lie. Last season, The Buffalo Bills were 23rd in the NFL in scoring per game (19.6) 24th in total yardage per game (330.2) and 26th in passing (201.8). Buffalo’s saving grace on offense was their eighth-ranked rushing attack (128.4).
Complacency is an enemy to all, but when it comes to NFL teams, it can kill a franchise. If you are not moving forward, you fall backward. The window to win it all doesn’t stay open for long.
To their credit, The Bills didn’t sit back and rest on their laurels, and the evidence of this is the risk/reward trade administered for Stefon Diggs. You don’t make that type of move unless you believe that you are closing in on a potential championship.
Above all else, It’s do-or-die time for Josh Allen as the teams’ franchise quarterback. One way or another, in 2020, the Bills are going to find out if Josh Allen is the right quarterback to lead their offense to a Super Bowl.
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