Buffalo Fanatics Podcast: Buffalo Bills who need to step up moving forward

O.J. Howard, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle)
O.J. Howard, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle) /

Rico is back at it again! In this episode of the Rico Report, Rico dives into a plethora of topics! He is also joined by Evan Harrington! They both dive into Buffalo Bills player props, players that they think need to step up and look at the Bills roster cuts! They also take a look at the battle between Isaiah Hodgins and Jake Kumerow for one of the last receiver spots on the roster!

Tim Settle Has Arrived!! (9:00)

The Buffalo Bills brought in Washington FA to Buffalo this offseason. Giving him a 2-year, $9,000,000 contract. Including a $4,050,000 signing bonus, $7,000,000 guaranteed. While the average annual salary is $4,500,000.

In the first preseason game of the year against the Indianapolis Colts, Bills fans got to see Settle in a Bills jersey for the very first time!

There is a viral clip going around of Tim Settle dominating the Colts’ offensive lineman.

This clip was Tim Settle pushing back Colts All-Pro lineman Quenton Nelson.

Settle pushed Nelson about 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage!

Settle impacted Matt Ryan’s pass attempt on the play. Which resulted in a turnover on downs. As it was 4th and 4.

In this clip, Tim Settle continues to display his dominance, as he is battling in the trenches against Colts Pro-Bowl Center Ryan Kelly!

Not only did Settle show his dominance against 1 Pro-Bowl lineman, but he also did it against 2!

What Buffalo Bills Take The Leap?! (15:15)

Rico and Evan take a dive into the players, that they feel need to step up entering week 2 of the preseason!

Rico: A.J. Epenesa has a lot of pressure on him coming into his 3rd season as a Buffalo Bill. Epenesa was drafted with the 54th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old out of Iowa has had an up and down start to his NFL career.

Year 1 for Epenesa was a tough one. A.J. appeared in 14 games, but only started 1 for the Bills. Posting only 1 sack in his rookie season.

Year 2 A.J. had a red hot start posting good performances against the Steelers and Dolphins. After those 2 games, A.J. saw a reduced role in playing time and even got healthy stretched a few times. Only appearing in 14 games. Epenesa ended the season with 1.5 sacks.

Year 3 is a big one. Brandon Beane isn’t waiting anymore on development from a 3rd-year player. This team is a Super Bowl contender and Epenesa is going to need to be that guy going forward for the Buffalo Bills.

Evan: O.J. Howard is a player that needs to step up for the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills signed Howard to a 1-year, 3.5 million dollar contract with $3.195 million of that is guaranteed.

Bringing in Howard as a free agent excited Bills fans. Rightfully so, Howard is a guy that ran a 4.51  during his 40-yard dash. Howard has flashes of athleticism that many tight ends don’t possess.

Howard was brought in to be the TE 2 in Buffalo behind Dawson Knox. Howard has been lining up as the TE 2 throughout camp thus far but hasn’t made any noticeable plays yet.

In the Week 1 preseason game against the Colts, Howard didn’t record a catch. Had a pass intended for him in the endzone, but it was an overthrown pass from Case Keenum.

Later in the game, Howard was playing with the 3rd stringers in the 4th quarter.

Howard needs to step up for the Bills. If he does, he could make a huge impact on this offense.

Returner Battle! (47:15)

The returner battle for the Buffalo Bills is the most open positional battle that is taking place throughout camp and preseason.

As of right now, there is no clear-cut man leading in the returner battle.

Here are the players battling for the returner spot:

  • James Cook
  • Duke Johnson
  • Khalil Shakir
  • Raheem Blackshear 
  • Isaiah McKenzie 
  • Tavon Austin 
  • Marquez Stevenson (Injured) 

Duke Johnson did look good with 2 very nice returns against the Colts.

James Cook took the first return of the game against the Colts.

Shakir had a few reps as a punt returner versus the Colts.

Blackshear did see one return versus the Colts.

Austin and Stevenson were out against the Colts.

McKenzie is least likely to get the return job, due to the fact he’s taking a larger role in the offense. He was the Bills’ primary return specialist last season.