From A to Z through the Bills offseason

May 18, 2020 - 10:46 am
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While many of us stay at home and help our kids with their online schoolwork during this COVID-19 pandemic, it's easy to have a great appreciation for our teachers and the job they have to do every day. So, in honor of those teachers, but also to have some fun, here's an A to Z rundown and guide of the Bills offseason, from players they've acquired, to statistics they need to improve on, to expectations for the 2020 season, and more. Read it along with your kids for a fun way to learn about the Bills:

A - Allen, Josh. It's fitting we start here because the 2020 Bills could very well be defined by how well Josh Allen plays.

B - Brandon Beane. Not just one B but two for the general manager here, fittingly, since he's had so much to do with their turn around?? since arriving in 2017.

C - Cornerback opposite Tre'Davious White. This may be the only spot out of 22 offensive and defensive positions that is open and up for grabs. Levi Wallace, Josh Norman, and E.J. Gaines will all be vying to start.?

D - Depth. The Bills have plenty of it. In fact, many believe this is their most complete and talented roster since the 1990s.??

E - Epenesa, AJ. The team's first draft pick, taken in the second round, should step right into a rotational role at defensive end and hopefully provide a boost in pass rush.???

F - Favorites. ? That's what the Bills are as of right now to win the AFC East.? The website Betonline.ag currently has the Bills at +125 to win the division, with the Patriots at +130 and the Jets and Dolphins +800 longshots.

G - Go west! Something the Bills will do four times this year, including trips to Las Vegas, Arizona, San Francisco, and Denver. Part of a schedule that requires them to travel roughly 20,000 total miles.

H - Home sweet home. Something the Bills have to do a better job of protecting this year. Last season, they went only 4-4 at home??. And with teams like the Chiefs, Steelers, Rams, and Chargers coming to New Era Field this year, it won't get any easier. ?

I - Isaiah Hodgins. The sixth round wide receiver brings much needed size at 6-foot-4, and has terrific hands. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper called Hodgins the team's most underrated pick of this year's draft.??

J - January home game. That's what the Bills are after. Of course, they'll have one in the regular season finale (January 3 vs. Miami), but I mean a home playoff game. It's time they took that step.

K - Kicker Tyler Bass. After Stephen Hauschka's struggles last year it's going to be tough for him to hold down his job after the Bills selected the strong-legged Bass in the sixth round.

L - Leadership. One year after Kyle Williams retired, Lorenzo Alexander did the same. That's a heck of a lot of leadership gone in 12 months. How others step up and fill that void will be a key to continuing the culture Sean McDermott has built.

M - Murphy, Trent. The Bills can save over $7 million by releasing Murphy prior to the season, and after selecting Epenesa many believe they could very well do that. But Murphy recorded five sacks and 17 tackles over the final four games, including two sacks in the playoff loss at Houston. So his situation is one to monitor.

N - No major changes. Same head coach. Same defensive coordinator. Same offensive coordinator. Same staring quarterback. Considering the kind of turnover that takes place year after year in the NFL that should be a benefit and advantage during a shortened offseason.

O - Offensive line continuity. Piggybacking on the above about coaches and coordinators, the Bills also have all five primary starting offensive linemen returning from last season. According to Thomas Emerick of The Sporting News, they are one of only five teams with that distinction headed into 2020.

P - Primetime. The Bills are scheduled to play four national television, primetime games, the most for the franchise since 1996.

Q - Quintons. Spain and Jefferson. One was re-signed on the offensive line and the other was signed a free agent on the defensive line. But both will have a huge role in the trenches in 2020.

R - Run defense. The Bills need to improve on their yards per play given up on the ground. While they ranked 10th in overall rushing yards per game allowed, they were 18th with 4.25 surrendered per carry.

S - Safety Jordan Poyer. The Bills rewarded one of their better players with a two-year, $19.5 million contract extension, tying him to the team for another three seasons.

T - Turnovers. QB Josh Allen turned the ball over NINE times (seven interceptions, two lost fumbles) in the first five games last season. Over the final eleven games, he turned it over a total of only four times (two interceptions, two lost fumbles). If that trend continues, it will go a long way in Allen taking another big step forward.

U - Undrafted free agents. The Bills signed eight UDFAs to compete for roster spots, including Washington OT Trey Adams, who was considered a potential early-round draft pick by many before suffering several injuries in college, and Toledo fullback Reggie Gilliam, who blocked six kicks in college.

V - Vedvik, Kaare. While a lot of focus has been on the Bills selecting Tyler Bass to compete for the kicking job, they also signed the strong-legged Vedvik to compete with Corey Bojorquez for punting duties. Vedvik can also kick field goals and kickoff.

W - Wade, Christian. Everyone's favorite rugby-tuned-NFL player will be back with the team in training camp in 2020 as part of the league's International Pathways Program, and all the rules stay the same. Wade can make the club, but if he doesn't, he can be signed to the practice squad as an extra, exempt player, but then unable play in a regular season game in 2020.

X - X-receiver. The X-receiver is the split end (as opposed to the "Z" receiver who plays the slot). The Bills have John Brown, mainly an X-receiver who can also play the slot, and Cole Beasley, a slot receiver. By trading for Stefon Diggs, who can play both, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll now has plenty of options of how he wants to deploy his personnel.

Y - Young. What starting middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds still is. Edmunds has been in the NFL for two full seasons, already started and played 31 NFL games. He just turned 22 years old this month, which means he's still the youngest player on the roster, outside of their 2020 draft picks and UDFA signings.

Z - Zack Moss. By selecting the Utah running back in the third round, the Bills now have a solid, young, one-two punch backfield with Moss and Devin Singletary. But who will be the one and who will be the two?


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