2016 Record: 7-9, Third Place in the AFC East
So the Buffalo Bills fired general manager Doug Whaley and gutted the scouting department, surefire signs new head coach Sean McDermott is in charge here.
This would have been more interesting had it happened prior to the NFL Draft. Now it stands as little more than an afterthought.
Regardless, Buffalo was wise to bring back quarterback Tyrod Taylor. It wasn’t as if the Bills would find any better an option. Quarterback Nathan Peterman is an interesting developmental option. But don’t expect him to see the field in 2017.
Running back LeSean McCoy remains the staple on offense. But Buffalo got a potential steal in the draft with wide receiver Zay Jones out of Eastern Carolina. He’ll help take pressure off No. 1 wideout Sammy Watkins, which is a much-needed thing.
Cornerback Tre’Davious White is also a nice draft pickup too. He’ll replace veteran corner Stephon Gilmore.
Having McCoy on the ground is a tremendous asset. And the Bills now have two legitimate receiving threats to bolster the passing game. All this should help Taylor’s numbers improve from last season.
And while Gilmore’s departure is a bit of a concern, McDermott worked wonders with the Panthers defensive backs before taking over as head coach here. It isn’t as if Carolina’s secondary was strewn with well-known names outside of Josh Norman prior to 2016.
The run defense. Plain and simple.
Last year, the Bills finished 29th in the NFL with 2,130 rushing yards allowed. That’s over 130 yards per game.
Buffalo didn’t do too much to address this via the draft, so one can only hope McDermott’s defensive mindset can make up the difference.
Can Watkins bounce back from a disappointing 2016 campaign? He’ll have some help, with Jones in town, but that could also mean a drop in production.
Additionally, the Bills second-half schedule is absolutely brutal. Four AFC East showdowns — the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins — take place after Week 12. And that Week 12 matchup? A road contest versus the defensively tough Kansas City Chiefs.