Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!
#6 – The Buffalo Bills (9-7, 2nd AFC East)
I need to start a running list of teams that I fixed in my head prior to free agency with the major move being signing Sam Bradford. These teams all have two qualities: they need a QB and they have an offensive line.
The Bradford thing didn’t happen (obviously). Instead, the Bills gave AJ McCarron a backup contract and traded LT Cordy Glenn and their 21-pick to the Bengals for their 12-pick in the 1st round. Rumors continue to swirl that the Bills may make another trade up to make a run at one of the Big 4.
Regardless of who’s under center week one, they have a pretty good offensive line, LeSean McCoy, and no WRs to work with.
At least one can do that.
2nd-round LT Dion Dawkins was NFL.com’s “Unsung Hero” for the Bills last year. The rookie replaced an injured Cordy Glenn and excelled. Richie Incognito and Vladimir Ducasse have the guard positions locked down. Jordan Mills is likely to get competition from newly-signed Marshall Newhouse at RT. Center Eric Wood unfortunately had to retire due to a neck injury, but the Bills signed Russell Bodine from the Bengals, who’s had his problems with performance but has never missed a start in his career. This offensive line is at least 3/5 for the time being, and could end up with 5/5 starts being pretty good this year.
Paired with the OL, LeSean McCoy is going to make either McCarron, a rookie, or (more likely) both’s lives much easier. The WRs are the issue, with Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones coming off a year in which they made folks think Tyrod Taylor was bad. The depth guys even being called “depth” is a stretch.
Tight end isn’t much better, with Charles Clay still hanging around and Nick O’Leary behind him on the depth chart. Expect the Bills to hopefully get some weapons in the draft so that McCarron/Allen/Mayfield/Rosen/Rudolph won’t just stand around for 5 seconds and get dropped.
Movie TV Comparison: Season two of the Leftovers. Ditched the supporting cast but still great (this is an elite season of television).
The Bills had the chance to have the best defensive backs in the NFL, but they let EJ Gaines and Shareece Wright walk in free agency. Instead of bolstering their secondary, the Bills decided they’d roll with 2nd-year CB Tre’davious White (the #2 CB in the NFL according to PFF) as their CB1, free agent signee Vontae Davis as a plug-and-play at CB2, and Raider outcast Breon Barber as their nickel corner.
While you would like to have a great secondary, which they still do, this route is actually more desirable considering the Bills’ 2018 opponents: Tom Brady twice, Ryan Tannehill twice, the entire NFC North, the entire AFC South, the Chargers and the Ravens. McDermott is electing to invest in the pass rush, resigning Kyle Williams and bringing in former Panther Star Lotulelei, who’s perceived talent may have come as a result of being placed next to Ku’waan Short on the Panther’s DL, and signing Trent Murphy to purportedly place at the DE spot across from Jerry Hughes (or to insert into a rotation of sorts). Pressure is going to be key for the Bills in 2018.
The linebacker situation isn’t great, with the Bills losing MLB Preston Brown in free agency. Matt Milano returns after a successful rookie year to play WILL, and 35-year old Lorenzo Alexander, who played better as the season went on, is back at SAM. Buffalo signed Julian Stanford and Ramon Humber as depth guys. As of now, last year’s 6th-round pick Tanner Vallejo is the favorite to start, but that could change.
I don’t think Sean McDermott would let Preston Brown walk if he didn’t see something in Vallejo, or have his eyes on a rookie (although they’re more likely to draft Alexander’s replacement). I think it’s fair to say McDermott, aside from being a notable Bill Burr doppelgänger, is superb at developing players to fit his system. Case and point: McDermott worked directly with the secondary this past season, and Tre’davious White became one of the best CBs in the NFL. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, signed last offseason away from different systems, became one of the bets safety duos in the league.
The Bills are going to have a great defense this year. It just depends if the offense can keep the defense off the field.
Major Draft Needs: QB, WR, TE
Played Far Cry 5 yet? – Jake from Farmington
No. My goal is to get a job when this semester ends ASAP so I can afford to buy video games again. But I’m not thrilled with the deflategate joke they forced into it.
In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.
Guy literally posts a screengrab of all the receivers being covered then criticizes Tyrod for throwing to the checkdown. Prisco has also said Tyrod bails on plays after one or two reads, but it looks like he went through them all here. He’s a good enough QB that he would’ve thrown it to a receiver is he was open, considering the cleanliness of that pocket.
Also, I’ve never grasped how someone who doesn’t have one of those Black Mirror cameras in the QB truly knows if the QB went all the way through his reads or not. Sure, his head turned, but are you looking at his eyes? Can you tell where they looked? Can you tell if he knew before the play that certain receivers wouldn’t be open, based on what he saw pre-snap, or where defenders ran at the snap?