2019 BUFFALO BILLS CAPSULE
HEAD COACH: Sean McDermott
RECORD WITH BILLS: 15 – 17
CAREER RECORD: 15 – 17
FIVE YEAR WINNING TREND
September 8 at New York Jets
September 15 at New York Giants
September 22 Cincinnati
September 29 New England
October 6 at Tennessee
October 13 BYE
October 20 Miami
October 27 Philadelphia
November 3 Washington
November 10 at Cleveland
November 17 at Miami
November 24 Denver
November 28 at Dallas (Thursday)
December 8 Baltimore
December 15 at Pittsburgh
December 21/22 at New England
December 29 NY Jets
At Baltimore 3 – 47
LA Chargers 20 – 31
At Minnesota 27 – 6
At Green Bay 0 – 22
Tennessee 13 – 12
At Houston 13 – 20
At Indianapolis 5 – 37
New England 6 – 25
Chicago 9 – 41
At NY Jets 41 – 10
Jacksonville 24 – 21
At Miami 17 – 21
NY Jets 23 – 27
Detroit 14 – 13
At New England 12 – 24
Miami 42 – 17
2018 TEAM STATS
THIRD DOWN PERCENTAGE: 31.6
PUNT RETURNS: 6.7
KICK RETURNS: 21.2
TURNOVER MARGIN: -5
2018 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
PASSING: Josh Allen, 169 – 320 – 2,074– 10TD – 12INT
RUSHING: Josh Allen, 89 – 631 – 8TD
RECEIVING: Zay Jones, 56 – 652 – 11.6 – 7TD
TACKLES: Tremaine Edmunds, 121
SACKS: Jerry Hughes, 7.0
INTERCEPTIONS: Jordan Poyer, 4
NUMBERS TO KNOW
1.40….The Bills averaged 1.40 points per offensive drive, third fewest in the league
26.18….The Bills defense allowed just 26.18 yards per defensive drive, second fewest in the NFL
11.0….Josh Allen had the longest average intended air yards per throw in the NFL
KEY PLAYER MOVEMENT
WR Cole Beasley, Dallas
WR Josh Brown, Baltimore
OL Jon Feliciano, Oakland
DB EJ Gaines, Cleveland
RB Frank Gore, Miami
OL Spencer Long, NY Jets
C Mitch Morse, Kansas City
OT Ty Nsekhe, Washington
TE Charles Clay, Arizona
RB Chris Ivory, FA
OL John Miller, Cincinnati
DT Kyle Williams, retired
1st Round, No. 9 overall | Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Analysis: I was a big fan of Oliver and Josh Allen as defensive line prospects. Please don’t compare him to Aaron Donald; Oliver will be fine without it, and will carve out a disruptive presence in Buffalo’s defense.
Instant Grade: A
2nd round, No. 40 overall | Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
Analysis: The mini-run on linemen continued with a nasty interior lineman. Ford and the Sooners offensive line leaned on defenses in the Big 12. Ford is the biggest, meanest mover of the bunch. He’s probably more suited at guard.
Instant Grade: B-plus
3rd round, No. 74 overall | Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic
Analysis: Singletary has been a star in Boca Raton for three years, and it is satisfying for him to be a Day Two selection. He is a stout, physical back that NFL teams have grown to love. Can he help out in other ways besides carrying the football?
Instant Grade: B-minus
4th Round, No. 96 (compensatory via Washington)| Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss
Analysis: The Nashville native was a solid pass-catcher in 2018 for Ole Miss. He will have the opportunity for snaps behind Tyler Kroft. It would not be a surprise to see him as the starter in 2020.
Instant Grade: B
5th round, No. 147 overall |Vosean Joseph, LB, Flori
Instant Grade: A-minus
6th round, No. 181 overall | Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami (Fla.)
7th round, No. 225 overall | Darryl Johnson, EDGE, North Carolina A&T
7th round, No. 228 overall (from Carolina) |Tommy Sweeney, TE, Boston College
BUFFALO BILLS CAMP NEWS: WHO WILL BE THE NEW STARTING LEFT GUARD?
(BUFFALO BILLS NEWS)
There are endless possibilities for the Week 1 starting offensive line but for now we take a closer look at left guard.
The Bills have three newcomers, all veterans, competing for the starting role this summer.
One guy under consideration is free agent signee Spencer Long. Long was hindered last season at center with the Jets due to a hand ligament injury, but his versatility is what head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane liked about him when they signed him at the beginning of the offseason.
Long can back-up Morse at center but has experience at guard. He started 32 games there at Nebraska and 13 games at left guard for Washington in 2015.
“Of course, that’s where I originally started,” Long said. “When I was in Washington we had a need for center. I started doing both in practice. Once our center went down, I took it from there and never looked back. I definitely feel I can do all three interior positions. I’m willing to do whatever the coaches feel is my role on this team. We’ll see how it shakes out.”
Long saw a healthy amount of time at the starting left guard spot in the spring practices and is expected to man the spot at the outset of camp.
Quinton Spain was one of the latest signings the Bills made in free agency and will now compete for a starting job after finishing up his time in Tennessee. In four seasons, he made 48 starts and appeared in 50 total games. His first career start came against Buffalo.
Spain has been a starter since his rookie season and doesn’t want that to end. He went undrafted in 2015 and wants to be the last offensive lineman in the league from that draft class.
“It’s going to be a great competition and I just want it like brotherhood,” Spain said. “I hope we can get on and I hope I can bring everyone together like I did in Tennessee and have that bond. If you have that bond then you know you can count on that guy beside you.”
Spain alternated snaps between right and left guard with the first and second units before thumb surgery at the tail end of OTAs cost him the remainder of the spring practices. He’s expected to be ready for the opening of training camp.
Last up is former Raider Jon Feliciano. Feliciano was mainly a backup but could have an edge due to his familiarity with offensive line coach Bobby Johnson.
Feliciano is known for his nasty on-field demeanor at the line of scrimmage and physical drive blocking style that he’s displayed throughout his career. Feliciano has earned praise for his play from past teammates.
“He is a starter. For one, he’s always ready, mentally and physically ready. He’s grimy — in a good way,” said Oakland right guard Gabe Jackson via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They’re going to get a lot from him.”
Feliciano also lined up at center while Mitch Morse was recovering from core muscle surgery. But when not in the pivot, left guard was where he saw most of his reps in the spring.
With both guard spots currently open there’s a chance more than one of these players could be starting come Week 1.
“We have a lot of guys who are experienced, have played a lot of football, and it’s going to be interesting how it shakes out,” he said. “I think it’s going to breed a competitive environment. Not only that, but we have a lot of good dudes in here who are going to work the right way. I feel like that’s going to elevate all of us.”
5 ways the Bills defense made progress this offseason
The Buffalo Bills defense ranked among the best NFL defenses last season. The Bills allowed the second-fewest amount of yards to opponents and led the league in opponent passing yards per game. The Bills also held teams to the least plays per drive and least yards per drive.
Still, head coach Sean McDermott needs the Bills to be better.
“All of it. We have to be better defensively. Last year’s defense was last year’s defense. This year’s defense is a new defense made up by different guys even though there has been a lot of continuity to your point. I say this respectfully, we’ve got work to do on that side of the ball also,” McDermott said.
Now the Bills will have to find a way to maintain the same success with almost the same roster as last season. Here are five ways the Bills defense made progress this offseason:
- Tremaine Edmunds growing as a leader
Edmunds first year in the NFL went by in a flash and by December of his rookie season he began to earn accolades for his effort on the field. Edmunds was named the Defensive Rookie of the Month for December and recorded 43 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed in five games.
As the game slows down for him, there’s a bright future for the 2018 first-round pick.
“Probably the biggest thing is the confidence. It’s extremely high now and you see it in the way he communicates, he has a much better grasp of what we want to get done on defense and what his role is within that,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
Edmunds has received help from veterans like Lorenzo Alexander and Kyle Williams.
“I’m trying to leave a legacy for the future Buffalo Bills and a big part of that is how much of a leader Tremaine becomes,” Alexander said. “So I’m trying to help that process along as fast as possible.”
Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Frazier saw Edmunds as that future leader.
“His ability now to communicate with no hesitation, to know exactly what we’re looking for as a coaching staff, you see the evidence in the way he’s practicing and the way he’s communicating with his teammates, which gives those guys confidence in our middle linebacker,” Frazier said.
- Finding Kyle Williams replacement
The Bills were thrilled when they landed defensive tackle Ed Oliver at No. 9 in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he hasn’t earned the starting spot yet, for now that belongs to Jordan Phillips.
Phillips signed a one-year deal with the Bills in March and will now compete with Oliver for the starting three-technique position. Since signing his deal, Phillips has been determined to earn the starting role and prove he’s can be a top defensive tackle.
“Buffalo gave me an opportunity and I felt that they should reap the benefits of the success that I’m going to have,” Phillips said.
Oliver is no slouch on the second team. The Bills are confident he can contribute as they watched him play throughout the offseason
“Ed’s done a really good job up to this point,” Frazier said. “I don’t think it’s been overwhelming for him, with the meetings along with what we’re doing on the practice field. You see his quickness, you see his burst. As he continues to get a better grasp on what we’re asking him to do on defense, I think you’ll see more of his athleticism as well. Up to this point, we’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen and we’ll just keep watching his maturation over the next few months.”
- Deeper group in the secondary
With Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Levi Wallace already leading the charge for the Bills secondary, Buffalo focused its defensive free agent acquisition effort by adding depth for this group. The Bills brought back E.J. Gaines and added former first-round pick Kevin Johnson to add more competition at the cornerback position.
White, Poyer and Hyde are locks for their starting spots but the competition heats up at the No. 2 cornerback spot and the nickel. Johnson was named a standout for the Bills by ESPN this offseason and second-year corner Siran Neal has been making his presence known as he converts to the nickel spot.
“You saw the ability coming out of college,” Frazier said on Johnson. “He did a really good job in his rookie year, off to a really good start. The injuries have kind of creeped up. We’re hoping that he can stay healthy, we know he has the talent to really help us.”
Wallace still holds his starting spot from last year and earned the highest Pro Football Focus grade of any first-year cornerback, along with the highest coverage grade.
- Keeping personnel the same
The Bills have stressed continuity and building a familiarity between teammates. It’s been tough on the offense with multiple players missing time due to injury but the defense has stayed injury-free throughout OTAs and minicamp.
The Bills first-team defense has stayed relatively the same as last season and the ability to come in and work with the same group has been beneficial for Hyde.
“It’s huge for communication purposes,” Hyde said. “I know where Poyer is going to be at all times, I know where Tre’Davious, Tremaine, the D-line, same thing. I know what they’re going to be in so once you can pinpoint where everybody’s going to be and you know your job, the sky’s the limit.”
Specifically, it’s helped Hyde and Poyer. The two safeties describe their play sometimes as “freelance” and are able to give Josh Allen different looks and figure out what works.
“We have a good understanding of what we are doing on the football field,” Hyde said. “We’re always talking and communicating and that goes for whoever is on the back end. As long as we keep communicating and keep talking we can be a great defense.”
- New mindset
Be more physical and be nastier has been McDermott’s emphasis to the defense this offseason. McDermott was unimpressed with the physicality of the defense last year and wants it upped for 2019. The main goal that comes with a more physical and nastier defense? More takeaways.
“I’m seeing just a lot of guys flying around, a lot of guys making plays on the ball,” linebacker Matt Milano said. “That’s been the emphasis is just getting takeaways and making sure everybody’s running to the ball because you never know what can happen. Somebody strips it out, whatever it may be, but just good things happen when you do that.”
“Knowing the situation and obviously anticipating is really what it comes down to. If you know the situation that you are in, you can anticipate not only what you are going to do but what the opponent is going to do. That gives you a chance to be a step ahead or half a step ahead and, in this case, and that’s where turnovers happen,” McDermott said. “When we can put people behind the sticks and put us in favorable positions where it’s third and long, fourth and long, or second and long, usually when you can do that that’s putting pressure on the offense on the opponent and that’s where turnovers tend to happen.”
WHAT THE SCOUTS ARE SAYING ABOUT BUFFALO
Buffalo made the playoffs in 2017, but they knew last year would be difficult. Most felt they took a huge step backward. Quarterback Josh Allen showed a strong arm and surprising athleticism; however, two things will be a must in 2019: Buffalo must increase talent around him and he must be more accurate on short to intermediate passing. They did sign Center Mitch Morse and two wide receivers that had different skill sets including John Brown and Cole Beasley. Losing Kyle Williams on defense will be a huge blow. Drafting Ed Oliver out of Houston will give the Bills a super-quick, 3 – technique defensive tackle. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds had an impressive rookie season and he will be joined on defense by Harrison Phillips and Lorenzo Alexander. Despite finishing second in total defense the Bills managed only 36 sacks which ranked 26th in the NFL. They are hoping Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy and Shaq Lawson will increase their production. Everything hinges on Allen and his growth at quarterback. On paper, this looks like a sub –.500 team, but not by much. If they can stay injury free Buffalo could surprise some people this season.
2019 BUFFALO BILLS ROSTER
|41||Alexander, Maurice||DB||ACT||6’2″||220||2/16/1991||5||Utah State|
|10||Beasley, Cole||WR||ACT||5’8″||174||4/26/1989||8||Southern Methodist|
|84||Becker, Nate||TE||ACT||6’5″||264||3/24/1996||0||Miami (Ohio)|
|66||Bodine, Russell||C||ACT||6’3″||308||6/30/1992||6||North Carolina|
|9||Bojorquez, Corey||P||ACT||6’0″||208||9/13/1996||2||New Mexico|
|13||Bolden, Victor||WR||ACT||5’8″||178||4/4/1995||3||Oregon State|
|2||Brown, John||WR||ACT||5’11”||178||4/3/1990||6||Pittsburg State|
|20||Bush, Rafael||DB||ACT||5’11”||203||5/12/1987||9||South Carolina State|
|7||Carter, Cory||P||ACT||5’11”||220||3/5/1994||2||Texas Southern|
|42||DiMarco, Patrick||RB||ACT||6’1″||234||4/30/1989||8||South Carolina|
|53||Dodson, Tyrel||LB||ACT||6’0″||237||6/25/1998||0||Texas A&M|
|49||Edmunds, Tremaine||MLB||ACT||6’5″||250||5/2/1998||2||Virginia Tech|
|76||Feliciano, Jon||OG||ACT||6’4″||325||2/10/1992||5||Miami (Fla.)|
|48||Foggie, Juwan||LB||ACT||6’0″||235||11/2/1995||0||North Carolina-Charlotte|
|28||Gore, Frank||RB||ACT||5’9″||212||5/14/1983||15||Miami (Fla.)|
|4||Hauschka, Stephen||K||ACT||6’4″||210||6/29/1985||12||North Carolina State|
|55||Hughes, Jerry||DE||ACT||6’2″||254||8/13/1988||10||Texas Christian|
|92||Johnson, Darryl||DE||ACT||6’6″||253||4/4/1997||0||North Carolina A&T|
|46||Johnson, Jaquan||DB||ACT||5’10”||191||11/13/1995||0||Miami (Fla.)|
|24||Johnson, Taron||CB||ACT||5’11”||192||7/27/1996||2||Weber State|
|36||Johnson, Kevin||CB||ACT||6’0″||185||8/5/1992||5||Wake Forest|
|11||Jones, Zay||WR||ACT||6’2″||200||3/30/1995||3||East Carolina|
|44||Lacey, Deon||LB||ACT||6’3″||235||7/18/1990||3||West Alabama|
|56||Love, Mike||DE||ACT||6’3″||255||1/22/1994||1||South Florida|
|31||Marlowe, Dean||SS||ACT||6’1″||208||7/25/1992||3||James Madison|
|64||McGhin, Garrett||OL||UDF||6’6″||316||//||0||East Carolina|
|58||Milano, Matt||OLB||ACT||6’0″||223||7/28/1994||3||Boston College|
|29||Neal, Siran||DB||ACT||6’0″||206||8/4/1994||2||Jacksonville State|
|77||Nsekhe, Ty||OT||ACT||6’8″||330||10/27/1985||5||Texas State|
|94||Peko, Kyle||NT||ACT||6’1″||305||7/23/1993||2||Oregon State|
|87||Phillips, Cam||WR||ACT||6’0″||201||12/16/1995||1||Virginia Tech|
|21||Poyer, Jordan||FS||ACT||6’0″||191||4/25/1991||7||Oregon State|
|37||Rice, Denzel||DB||ACT||6’0″||185||3/31/1993||3||Coastal Carolina|
|8||Roberts, Andre||WR||ACT||5’11”||195||1/9/1988||10||The Citadel|
|15||Scott, Da’Mari||WR||ACT||6’0″||205||8/8/1995||2||Fresno State|
|1||Sills, David||WR||ACT||6’3″||211||5/29/1996||0||West Virginia|
|40||Singletary, Devin||RB||ACT||5’7″||203||9/3/1997||0||Florida Atlantic|
|67||Spain, Quinton||OG||ACT||6’4″||330||8/7/1991||5||West Virginia|
|89||Sweeney, Tommy||TE||ACT||6’5″||251||7/1/1995||0||Boston College|
|75||Teller, Wyatt||OG||ACT||6’4″||314||11/21/1994||2||Virginia Tech|
|52||Thompson, Corey||LB||ACT||6’1″||222||12/23/1993||2||Louisiana State University – Shreveport|
|74||Waddle, LaAdrian||OT||ACT||6’6″||315||7/21/1991||7||Texas Tech|
|45||Wade, Christian||RB||ACT||5’9″||196||5/15/1991||1||No College|
|96||Walton, L.T.||DE||ACT||6’5″||305||3/31/1992||5||Central Michigan|
|74||Wesley, De’Ondre||OT||ACT||6’6″||331||7/28/1992||3||Brigham Young|
ACT = Active
RES = Injured reserve
NON = Non football related injured reserve
SUS = Suspended
PUP = Physically unable to perform
UDF = Unsigned draft pick
EXE = Exempt
Buffalo struggled on offense in 2018 scoring in single digits on five separate occasions. They could have as many as eight new starters on offense in 2019. A new beginning and a fresh look was needed in the off-season. If they are to succeed the new – look offensive line must jell quickly and Alan must develop a deep passing game to take advantage of his strong arm. The defense is good enough to take this team to the playoffs. Buffalo fans have watched this franchise miss 18 of the last 19 postseasons. Winning this season is a must for head coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane.
AFC EAST FORECAST: 3RD