If one thing is certain about the Buffalo Bills, it’s that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have their jobs secured. That’s not the case for players on the roster. After finishing 9-7 last season, each player that played last year made some type of impactful play that helped the Bills reach the postseason. While they accomplished this goal, some players are still possibly on the hot seat going into 2018.
These players must have a breakout year and show that they are worthy of being kept with this process that’s occurring in Buffalo. If these players fail to live up to the expectations, they might be handed the pink slip and see their way out of Buffalo.
DE Jerry Hughes
Since being traded to the Bills back before the 2013 season, Hughes has been a force to be reckon with for offensive linemen. In his first two season with the Bills, Hughes tallied 19.5 sacks, 99 tackles, 5 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. A dominant force for the Bills defensive line, and was a big contributor for the Bills during these two seasons as part as arguably the best defensive line in football under ex-head coach Doug Marrone.
Since the arrival of ex-head coach Rex Ryan and now current head coach McDermott, Hughes has not played the same. Since 2015, when Rex Ryan came in as the head coach, Hughes has just just 15 sacks. To be fair, Ryan ran a totally different 3-4 scheme than a 4-3 in which Hughes does his best in.
Even last season when the Bills went back to a 4-3 scheme, Hughes only racked up four sacks and 44 tackles. He also almost caused a penalty every single game. There is no doubt that Hughes is a physical player, but with what McDermott is trying to build in Buffalo, it almost seems like Hughes is near the exit door and he’ll have to do everything to make sure his spot on the roster is safe for next season.
TE Charles Clay
Clay was one of the bigger free agent pick ups for the Bills in the 2015 offseason. Coming from a rival Miami Dolphins team, Clay was bringing in underrated talented and the Bills needed the tight end help desperately. The biggest problem with him coming to the Bills was that he was coming to a run-first offense who’s main focus is around LeSean McCoy. Since joining the Bills, Clay has caught the ball for 1,638 yards and 9 scores.
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Although, Clay did not have a pass happy quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. Taylor rarely threw the ball down he field. Most of the time, Taylor either threw down-and-out passes or dump offs to the running back or Clay himself.
Let’s not forget that the Bills have Nick O’Leary, who can be just as productive as Clay on a cheaper contract.
Now that it looks like the Bills have their potential pass happy quarterback, this will open up opportunities for Clay in the passing game. Depending on how Brian Daboll uses him in his system, Clay will have much to prove or the Bills could be looking for his replacement next offseason.
OT Jordan Mills
Mills might be the biggest name for the Bills that is on the hot seat going into this season. He has displayed himself as one of the weaker links to the Bills offensive line, if not the weakest. The last three seasons has been a train wreck for Mills. Many false start and holding penalties and he has given up the most yards per sack that was given up by him.
Mills slightly improved last season but not by much. This season is a big boom or bust season for Mills. He’ll have the most to prove out of everyone on the Bills.
Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL and the Buffalo Bills. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_ray79 and @FPC_Bills for Bills coverage.
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