Heading into his fourth year as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Sean McDermott has helped turn around a football team that has been a nightmare to watch for what seems like forever. With the help of the magician general manager in Brandon Beane in cleaning up the cap room disaster, the Bills have had the ability to bring in the right players that fit the scheme and the culture.
McDermott led the Bills to the playoffs in 2017 for the first time since 1999. Sure, they went through the back door but they fought hard all season long to get into the dance. The 2018 season was on pace for a long and painful ride for Bills fans, after the first two weeks of blowout losses. Down the stretch later in the season, the Bills showed signs of promise for the future through the talent that Beane and McDermott brought in, which includes quarterback Josh Allen.
While there was high hopes for the Bills, it’s safe to say that the team was a step below from a playoff level. They proved all the naysayers wrong by not only clinching a spot in Week 15 on Sunday night football, but they also competed for the AFC East division going into Week 16 against the New England Patriots. Finishing at 10-6 in the regular season, the Bills were one good play away from winning their first playoff game since 1995.
Under the McDermott era, the Bills have turned around the culture and have shown to fight through the end of the regular season, but have been one and done in two of the past three years of the playoffs.
McDermott is not under the type of pressure of losing his job, but he needs to take the Bills farther into the playoffs than just the wild card round.
Tom Brady is out of the division, the Miami Dolphins are young and the New York Jets have a lot more questions rather than answers, so 2020 is projected to be the year for the Bills and take the division. It could be the first time since 1995 where the Bills take control of the AFC East. After a successful 2019 season and a strong offseason that includes securing a number one receiver, the Bills are expected to take a step or two forward. Can they handle that pressure? Will McDermott live up to keep growing rather than just settling?
Just because a team has a great offseason, it does not mean it will transition on the field. There has to be chemistry, trust and the will to succeed. The Bills have more upside than ever but they will be watched by every critic and analyst to see how they perform under the pressure, and it all starts with McDermott.