Leslie Frazier hoping for more consistency from young Buffalo Bills DEs

A.J. Epenesa, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle)
A.J. Epenesa, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle) /

This season is a big one for the Buffalo Bills and if they hope to reach the Super Bowl, which they certainly have the roster to do, the defense is going to need more from the defensive end position than they have gotten in year’s past.

The Bills tried to help that by signing Von Miller but the improvements likely are going to come more from their young group of defensive ends, which includes A.J. Epenesa, Greg Rousseau, and Boogie Basham. All three of those players were drafted in either the first or second round of their draft and this is a year that they can take that next step.

Prior to the final week of OTAs, Leslie Frazier described what they could do to help, and it comes down to consistency.

"“They’re going to be relied upon alot during the regular season so probably the consistency piece, you know where you kind of know what you’re going to get every day. That’s important and they are past the point when they were rookies and it was kind of up and down.”"

Frazier first mentions Greg Rousseau, who did start every game as a rookie last year and in large part had a promising rookie season. However, the production wasn’t consistent and after he had three sacks and four tackles for a loss in five games, he had one sack and four tackles for a loss in the final 11 games.

Boogie Basham was another player who didn’t show much consistency as a rookie and this resulted in him bouncing between active and inactive on game day for most of the year.

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However, among the three defensive ends this season is probably the most pivotal for A.J. Epenesa, who will be entering his third season in the league. Later in the press conference, Frazier was asked specifically about Epenesa and talked about how he would have big games that looked like they were going to be the start of the breakout season but then he would disappear for stretches.

Similar to Rousseau, Epenesa started the year very well and had 5 QB hits in the first five games but then in the final 11 regular season games had only 1.5 sacks and 4 QB hits.

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The Buffalo Bills have always been a team that rotates at defensive end so Greg Rousseau, Boogie Basham, and A.J. Epenesa all have a great chance to be big parts of this defense but with Von Miller and Shaq Lawson added this offseason, they will certainly not be handed a spot in that rotation.