Welcome to the third and final part of my series about why the Buffalo Bills will be AFC East division champs this season.
Here is where I cover the defensive side of the ball. When you look at who is on this defense, it is hard to imagine how difficult it can be to improve an already solid D. Not for Big Baller Beane! This guy did some serious shopping during free agency and also drafted a guy that fell to him in the second round. Let’s dig into that shall we?
First let me rehash how the Bills performed defensively last season. They finished second in the league in total points allowed with 16.2, third in total yards allowed with 298.2, fourth in passing yards allowed with 195.2 and tenth in rushing yards allowed with 103.1. That last one can and will be worked on when you see who Beane picked up. All of that was good enough to have the second best defense in the NFL led by young playmakers like Matt Milano, Tre’Davious White, Ed Oliver and Tremaine Edmunds. This defense will be high up in the rankings for years to come.
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During every offseason, players and brass must make decisions that is best for themselves and the team. It’s normal and it’s the nature of the business. Some key players that departed the Bills organization were Shaq Lawson, Jordan Phillips and Lorenzo Alexander. Those are some big names, big guys and big holes to fill for any GM.
But hang on a second, the Bills don’t have just any GM. Look at the list of guys that were brought in to help fill those holes and fix that aforementioned run defense. Defensive tackles Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson, defensive end Mario Addison, linebacker A.J. Klein, cornerbacks Josh Norman and E.J. Gaines.
The moves in free agency didn’t stop Beane from adding more talent in the NFL Draft. Thanks to the Stefon Diggs trade, the Bills were left waiting for what seemed like forever for their first pick, which came in the second round. And who falls into their lap but a highly rated defensive end out of Iowa named A.J. Epenesa.
Didn’t have to move to get him, he was just there. Sure he didn’t score well at the NFL Combine. But when you watch the tape and the way this guy plays with his never-ending motor, he fits the Buffalo defensive scheme like a well-fitted suit. Leslie Frazier is going to have a field day with this guy setting up different looks every Sunday. It’s only fitting that Epenesa’s first sack in Iowa came against somebody on Wyoming by the name of Josh Allen. Where have I heard that name before?
This seems like the perfect story that is written for a team in need of a big boost to get them over that hump. You heard the saying that defense wins championships. Let’s see if Buffalo can add to this adage and put a cherry on top of what has already been an exciting offseason in Western New York.
I was scratching my head once the Buffalo Bills’ season was over and wondered how this defense can get stronger. I guess Brandon Beane answered that question for not just me, but for all of Bills Mafia out there. So here we are with the main part of free agency over and the draft behind us and I am sure I am not the only one salivating for the new season to begin.
If you have seen the Bills schedule next season, all the moves that Brandon Beane made, have been nothing short of spectacular. But most importantly, they are key to pushing a competitive defensive team over the top to reach that elusive summit on the mountain that has been occupied by Tom Brady and the Patriots for nearly 2 decades.