Free agency is underway and the Buffalo Bills were busy. Here is what we know this week after the initial surge of new additions.
The Super Bowl is very much in the rear-view mirror with a colloquial champion. A boring game by two teams that were not boring during the season.
Suggesting it was entertaining would require crossing my fingers abaft my back. Mock drafts are ubiquitous, as expected. The NFL is a 12 month per year entertainment business.
Unfortunately, after a quick glimpse of the postseason, a Wild Card cameo last year, the Buffalo Bills resumed the standard position of an outsider looking in.
The Bills season has been officially done for some time and you could say unofficially it was finished before it began. No surprise considering seven of previous season’s starters were no longer employed at One Bills Drive.
The primary impact felt was on the offensive side of the ball. The starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, center Eric Wood, guard Richie Incognito and tackle Cordy Glenn highlighted the vacancies on the offense.
It was not a wasted season. A doleful start was highlighted with Nathan Peterman doing what he does worst, play quarterback at the NFL level. Jon Gruden was a raving fan calling him the most NFL-ready quarterback in that draft before Buffalo selected him. Ironically, he now has him on his Raiders roster and can live with that prediction of his strong words that in my opinion already were enormously embarrassingly incorrect.
‘NFL-ready” does not equate to failing miserably as the worst quarterback start in NFL history in season one. Somehow evaluated as the capable starter by the Bills in year two is about as wrong as Gruden was.
Multiple starts in season two did not fare much better. (On paper or eyeballing it). Even if he saves face with some kind of adequate pro career, that is a raw project quarterback with signs of upside, not ever put in the situation to take any snaps outside of a development league or a practice squad for several seasons. One could say his results were equal to or worse than anyone who ever stood behind center professionally. “NFL-ready” is nowhere in any way on record for two seasons.
Coterminously was a starting cornerback, Vontae Davis, abruptly retiring at half time of game two. It looked like it was going to be a season of being the laughing-stock of the NFL. Potential tank? I will not open that can of worms. The Bills opened the season at 2-7, the defeats coming by an average of 32-8.
Mr. Clean and Mr. Beane did not help the situation by going in to the season planning on letting Josh Allen watch and learn but having unproven Peterman as number one and Allen as number two. That is really a pathetic way to forecast in preparation of an NFL season as far as any kind of depth goes.
If you plan on having Allen sit and learn, you keep a journeyman veteran as the starter. (Tyrod Taylor?) and someone capable at number two, with Allen being the disaster quarterback at number three. If you really are confident in zero injuries as a possibility, the player in front of the rookie to mentor should not be the quarterback who was known for the worst quarterback display in NFL history.
The sluggish reaction timing to bring in Anderson and then Barkley was ridiculous. I shall say it again, ridiculous. Did I mention that I really think Buffalo was improperly staffed at the most important position in the industry? I digress.
It is safe to say that I am glad that Allen got in there for some real playing experience. The Cinderella story in Kansas City is not common in this age of the NFL as far as grooming a quarterback for a year and having him turn out to be a superstar the next.
That happens about as often as getting a “Tom Brady” with a compensatory pick at say…selection numeral 199 in the sixth round. There is no worse situation than to waste an entire year with your potential future quarterback sitting on the bench only to come in for year two and be horrible or suffer an injury and delaying the very important evaluation of the prospect.
So not only am I glad that Allen got in there and looked great against the Minnesota Vikings and looked like a rookie in other early on games, but the injury could have been a blessing in disguise.
No one wishes an injury on any player. Well at least I hope not. The timing for him to assume duties of watching and learning every single aspect of the NFL quarterback position after playing some could not have been scripted any better. To be able to get another shot at starting after recovering was such perfect training on the job.
Allen returned from the elbow injury going three and three, and other than the loss to New England, showed promising progressive improvement. An unexpected superior talent was discovered for running the ball. Allen ran for at least 95 yards in four of his final six games played.
The defense really played at a playoff level after a couple of the early season beatdowns. Despite being manhandled in seven of the first nine games, it finished second in the league as far as average yards against (295 per game).
They were first in fewest passing yards surrendered at 179. In the words of Forrest Gump “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Things We Know About the Buffalo Bills This Week:
- Buffalo inked the Jets’ Pro-Bowl free agent Andre Roberts Thursday. It has been reported on the Bills website that it is a two-year deal. Roberts returned both a kick-off and punt for six points this past season in New York. Roberts is 31 years old and was a handful to Jets opponents last season.
- The Bills added much-needed receivers for Josh Allen signing John Brown and Cole Beasley. Brown has the ingredient missing this past season which is the speed and ability to create separation allowing Allen to test out that huge arm. Beasley can be that safety net for Allen being a slot possession receiver who is open for safe throws to move the chains.
- Frank Gore joins the Bills adding to their depth and experience as well as to the overall age at the running back position. It has been talked about that Shady McCoy was actively involved in recruiting Gore. Gore has done nothing but move the chains and run through opponents getting first downs and landing in the end-zone, gathering six points in the process. He is a stud blocking running back which can make Allen much more successful.
- Center Mitch Morse, guard Jon Feliciano and tackle Ty Nsekhe added much-needed talent and depth on the offensive line. With a new line coach and some weapons that can get open and make catches, the offensive line needs to be solid to get the running backs involved in keeping teams honest. Allen staying healthy is another key priority that these signings should aid with.
- Tyler Kroft is an important signing as the tight end position can make or break a youthful quarterback. He can be the “Linus blanket” for Allen to ditch the ball to when in trouble. Kroft can also be impactful with key protective blocks both planned and when the play breaks down.
- A player on the defensive side of the ball was signed as well. Kevin Johnson is a cornerback who should immediately compete to start opposite Tre’Davious White. The Bills have been very active in free agency and have been referenced by several sources as winning free agency. I would not disagree, but I do not feel any need to proclaim that as it brings back the horrible memories of Rex Ryan’s claims to the Bills winning the offseason.