After being projected to go into “tank mode” before the beginning of last season, the Buffalo Bills shocked the league by finishing 9-7 and clinching their first playoff game this millennium. They had their major struggles throughout the season, but managed to prove doubters wrong. After their 10-3 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the wild card round, the Bills now look to focus their attention on every aspect that they need to fix about their team.
They already took care of finding a new offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll after firing Rick Dennison. Daboll has connections with Western New York which can help him in his run with the Bills, but based off of last season, Daboll has work to do.
Full Press Coverage writer, Scott Bryk also gives his inputs on the Bills’ biggest needs this offseason.
There are more areas of improvement that need to be fixed than most think.
Find The Franchise Guy
Now that the expectation is set for the Bills to go back to the playoffs, it’s time to see a quarterback for the Bills that is there for more than two to three years. Since the Jim Kelly era, the Bills have gone through numerous of quarterbacks. The two quarterbacks that have been somewhat successful for the Bills since Kelly was Doug Flutie and Kyle Orton.
Trent Edwards, J.P. Losman, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and E.J. Manuel had their shot but failed to produce. While they each had individual times of success, they led the Bills nowhere.
When it comes to current Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, yes he is the man who helped the Bills get to the playoffs but he had major help on the way. Whether it was from LeSean McCoy or the defense making big plays, Taylor had help the entire season.
If the Bills decide to move on from Taylor, the team can look at either free agency or the draft. They could bring in a veteran but it most likely won’t be long term. With the draft, their first pick is 21st overall and the top quarterbacks in the draft are projected to go high. Whether they decide to take the risk and trade up or hope that someone like Mason Rudolph or Lamar Jackson fall to them, the Bills need that quarterback that they can call their franchise guy.
Bring In Run-Stoppers
The Bills run defense was atrocious this past season. Ranked 29th overall and allowing approximately 125 rushing yards a game certainly weakened the Bills. After trading Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars during the season, this is where the Bills defense took a major slump.
The Bills may not bring back Kyle Williams, their best defensive run stopper who is 34 years old. The Bills need to utilize free agency and the draft to being in defensive talent. Players like Vita Vea from Washington should be a force to be reckon with in the NFL, much like Maurice Hurst and Taven Bryan.
The team may look in free agency for defensive linemen, but the point is that signing run-stoppers are a big priority for the team.
Address The Weaknesses’ at Wide Receiver
Ranked as the 31st worst passing offense ahead of the Chicago Bears, the Bills not only need to find their franchise guy but also find healthy and reliable weapons. Kelvin Benjamin’s arrival to Buffalo was nothing but hype. The wideout was injured and diagnosed with a torn meniscus after the Los Angeles game and his only true productive game with the Bills was against the Indianapolis Colts in the blizzard.
Jordan Matthews was placed on injured reserve, Charles Clay was battling through injuries and Deonte Thompson hit a slump as the season progressed. At one point, the teams’ best receivers were LeSean McCoy and tight end Nick O’Leary.
The Bills have always been a run-first team, but the running game can only go so far.
Find The Successor to LeSean McCoy
It’s extremely difficult to find a productive and talented running back in the NFL. McCoy has been dominant in his career and with his time with the Bills since 2015. No one knows how much longer we will continue to see this Shady McCoy. Going into next season at 30 years old, it may be time to find someone who can learn from McCoy or can take the reigns once McCoy starts to slow down.
Buffalo Bills Full Press Coverage writer, Scott Bryk gives his insights on the Bills’ biggest needs going into the offseason:
No matter what the McDermott’s other urgent needs are, the quarterback position absolutely needs to be addressed by general manager Brandon Beane. Taylor has not been consistent in his time with the Bills. He’s a dynamic runner. He had a good deep ball when he had another coordinator and receievers. But he never could score in clutch moments when it mattered the most. There is no accuracy consistently on his end. Can he be a bridge gut with a new coordinator who maybe uses him properly if they draft Louisvilles’ quarterback, Lamar Jackson, and let him sit or even get Louisvilles’ former guy in Teddy Bridgewater?
They do have many needs. They made the playoffs on other teams failures or Andy Dalton’s sucess. They were actually a better team Doug Marrone’s last year or even under Rex Ryan, they had more talent. The Bills need a pass rusher without doubt. The teams should also invest in an offensive lineman. They will be fine at center for now. The biggest needs include both sides of the ball in the trenches, quarterback, running back depth and at wide receiver. Nathan Peterman is still an option, but not as the starter unless he takes a major step forward. The Bills should try and invest in a trade for one of the many quarterbacks that are going into the draft this year. That’s a tough job to pull off. Whatever they decide to do, the quarterback position must improve. Taylor is a hard working, class act. He’s not a pure passer. Beane and Sean McDermott will pull something off that could benefit the Bills, but it’s time to bring in the franchise guy instead of another average quarterback.
Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_ray79 and @FPC_Bills for Buffalo Bills coverage.
Scott Bryk is a contributing writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Follow him on Twitter at @skotbrick1970.