Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Bills’

AFC East Preseason Grades

BUFFALO BILLS

Key Acquisitions: QB Josh Allen, QB AJ McCarron, DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, CB Vontae Davis, C Russell Bodine, RB Chris Ivory, LB Tremaine Edmunds, DT Harrison Phillips

Key Losses: QB Tyrod Taylor, OT Cordy Glenn, OG Richie Incognito, C Eric Wood, CB E.J. Gaines, WR Jordan Matthews, LB Preston Brown, OT

BUFFALO BILLS

Key Acquisitions: QB Josh Allen, QB AJ McCarron, DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, CB Vontae Davis, C Russell Bodine, RB Chris Ivory, LB Tremaine Edmunds, DT Harrison Phillips

Key Losses: QB Tyrod Taylor, OT Cordy Glenn, OG Richie Incognito, C Eric Wood, CB E.J. Gaines, WR Jordan Matthews, LB Preston Brown, OT Seantrel Henderson

Give Buffalo credit for recognizing that its playoff run, after being outscored by 57 points in the regular season, was a little fluky. The front office wisely took a longer view this offseason rather than spending to fight for a wild-card spot again.

Shipping off Tyrod Taylor (for the 65th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft) and Cordy Glenn (to jump nine spots in Round 1) was a start, and the returns helped the Bills trade up for Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. Buffalo found bargains in AJ McCarron (two years, $10 million) as a bridge quarterback and Vontae Davis (one year, $5 million) as a buy-low cornerback. That said, the contracts for Star Lotulelei (five years, $50 million) and end Trent Murphy (three years, $22.5 million) were steep for players who affect quarterbacks less than they clog running lanes. Russell Bodine (two years, $5 million) doesn’t move the needle much, but the line was in desperate need of bodies.

That line didn’t get as many reinforcements as needed, in part because of the team’s trade-ups in the draft. It’s also fair to question the choice of Allen over Josh Rosen, who is clearly more pro-ready at this stage. If Allen can’t fix his accuracy issues and work through reads more quickly, it won’t matter that his arm can cut through Buffalo’s worst weather.

Our Take: The Bills were smart to exercise patience, but the offensive line remains leaky, which is worrisome as the team tries to develop its QB of the future — C

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Key Acquisitions: DE Robert Quinn, WR Danny Amendola, WR Albert Wilson, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, OG Josh Sitton, RB Frank Gore, TE Mike Gesicki, C Daniel Kilgore, LB Jerome Baker

Key Losses: DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Jarvis Landry, C Mike Pouncey, QB Jay Cutler, TE Julius Thomas, TE Anthony Fasano, OG Jermon Bushrod, K Cody Parkey

Adam Gase and the Dolphins were determined to “change the culture” in Miami, but the result was an awful lot of talent walking out the door. Three players whose resumes include a combined 11 Pro Bowls are gone after Jarvis Landry (three) was traded and Ndamukong Suh (five) and Mike Pouncey (three) were released.

The $14 million that Miami didn’t want to spend on Landry went to Danny Amendola (two years, $12 million) and Albert Wilson (three years, $24 million) in free agency. Meanwhile, Mike Gesicki was drafted to replace the ineffective Julius Thomas as the team’s receiving tight end, so Ryan Tannehill has some options. The QB, who has Gase’s full support as he returns from a torn ACL that kept him out for all of 2017, also received extra protection up front in Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore, who will replace Jermon Bushrod and Pouncey, respectively. Frank Gore should still be able to help the offense a bit, even at age 35. The trade of Jay Ajayi opens up an avenue for Kenyon Drake to take over as lead back.

Suh’s absence will certainly be felt in the interior pass rush, though Robert Quinn’s arrival via trade could bring more heat the edge. Drafting Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jerome Baker gives Miami better matchup pieces against opposing passing games, and their versatility could help defensive coordinator Matt Burke mix things up if he chooses.

Our Take: The Dolphins had a clear plan to prioritize character over talent, but it’s hard to see how they actually got better in the process. — C-

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Key Acquisitions: DE Adrian Clayborn, OT Trent Brown, OT/G Isaiah Wynn, RB Sony Michel, CB Jason McCourty, RB Jeremy Hill, WR Jordan Matthews, CB Duke Dawson

Key Losses: OT Nate Solder, WR Brandin Cooks, CB Malcolm Butler, RB Dion Lewis, WR Danny Amendola, TE Martellus Bennett, OT Cameron Fleming

It would easy to panic at the slate of names walking out the door, but each of the departures is understandable. New England wasn’t going to make Nate Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history, nor was it going to hand Brandin Cooks the five-year, $80 million extension he received from the Rams. Malcolm Butler’s fate was sealed at the Super Bowl, and Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola each got much more money elsewhere than New England would offer.

The Pats did manage a Hail Mary to keep offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (and special-teams coordinator Joe Judge) in house, and they restocked the offensive line with Trent Brown (via trade) and Isaiah Wynn (first-round pick). One of the two should be the answer at Tom Brady’s blind side, while the other could provide an upgrade at guard. New England also jolted its offense (which didn’t need jolting) with the drafting of the dynamic Sony Michel, and Jeremy Hill or Jordan Matthews could pop as well.

On defense, Adrian Clayborn and Jason McCourty are typical Patriots additions — reliable veterans who do their jobs without much flash. Clayborn isn’t an explosive pass-rusher, but he sets the edge exactly how Bill Belichick prefers, and McCourty should pair with his brother, Devin, to soothe some of the communication issues that cost the secondary last year.

Our Take: The Patriots lost more talent than usual, but they regrouped and reloaded like they do every offseason. Until No. 12 declines, they aren’t going anywhere. — B-

 

NEW YORK JETS

Key Acquisitions: QB Sam Darnold, CB Trumaine Johnson, QB Teddy Bridgewater, OG/C Spencer Long, RB Isaiah Crowell, LB Avery Williamson, WR Terrelle Pryor, C Travis Swanson, K Cairo Santos, DT Nathan Shepherd

Key Losses: DE/DT Muhammad Wilkerson, LB Demario Davis, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DE Kony Ealy, RB Matt Forte, C Wesley Johnson, K Chandler Catanzaro

The Jets’ offseason will ultimately come down to the future of Sam Darnold, who the team was delighted to nab at No. 3 overall despite having to burn three second-round picks to get there. Combined with the re-signing of feted mentor Josh McCown and the arrival of Teddy Bridgewater — who drew rave reviews for his play in offseason workouts — the quarterback depth chart is markedly improved. Elsewhere on offense, Isaiah Crowell should help replace Matt Forte, and Spencer Long and Terrelle Pryor could each pay dividends after arriving from Washington via free agency.

GM Mike Maccagnan spent even more of the team’s wealth of cap space on defense, inking former Ram Trumaine Johnson (five years, $72.5 million) to be a matchup man-coverage cornerback in a blitz-heavy scheme that demands one. That should push Morris Claiborne, who re-signed at a reasonable price (one year, $7 million), and Buster Skrine into friendlier matchups, giving Todd Bowles more freedom with his game plans and play calls.

Bowles would have loved to reunite with former Cardinal Tyrann Mathieu, who opted instead to join Houston, but the defense still gained disruptive front seven pieces in Avery Williamson (free agency) and Nathan Shepherd (draft). The release of Muhammad Wilkerson was a necessary evil given his lack of commitment since receiving a big paycheck.

Our Take: The Jets were surprisingly competitive in 2017 and probably improved this spring while grabbing a possible QB of the future. Not a bad offseason’s work. — B-

–Field Level Media

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Three Potential Landing Spots for Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy

As the regular season draws closer, one big name free agent is still sitting on the open market, defensive end Greg Hardy.  Despite his struggles, which include lackluster play during his one season in Dallas and his continued misbehavior on and off the field, which he has been in counseling

As the regular season draws closer, one big name free agent is still sitting on the open market, defensive end Greg Hardy.  Despite his struggles, which include lackluster play during his one season in Dallas and his continued misbehavior on and off the field, which he has been in counseling to deal with, Hardy is still a 28-year old with 40 sacks in his career (27 of which came in his last two full seasons) in a pass happy league that craves pass rushers.  

Despite that, the Cowboys let him walk, the Redskins decided not to take a flier on him after another season-ending injury to linebacker Junior Gallette and there hasn’t been much of a market for him to this point.  While things can certainly change in a hurry thanks to injuries or teams seeing that their current crop of sack artists don’t quite live up to the hype, there are three spots right now that make sense for Hardy and his potential suitor.

First up are the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Despite having a defensive-minded coach in Gus Bradley, the Jaguars only mustered 36 sacks last season (ranked 20th in the league).  It’s true that last year’s first round pick Dante Fowler is back from injury, but if he isn’t 100 percent or gets injured again, the Jags will be in need of help off the edge.  They’ve already had Hardy in for a fact finding workout, but they don’t have immediate plans to sign him.  The Jags have an offense poised to score a lot of points, but they need to be able to stop teams too.  With their sack numbers seemingly tied to the health of Fowler, Hardy makes sense here.

Next up are the Buffalo Bills, whose putrid sack total of 21 ranked them 31st in the league.  Head Coach Rex Ryan and his brother, Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, certainly wouldn’t shy away from a controversial player, especially if they thought he could help.  After all, Ik Enemkpali was signed by the Bills after he was released by the Jets following his cold-cocking of Geno Smith. The Bills are also dealing with key injuries to top draft picks Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland, further weakening an already suspect defense.  Looking at the team on paper, Hardy’s potential for disrupting offensive backfields is sorely needed in Buffalo.

Finally, you have a team that is always a dark horse candidate, but really shouldn’t be with their history of taking fliers on players others thought were washed up physically or mentally; the New England Patriots.  It usually doesn’t matter who they bring into the fold, with the way the team is run, everyone on the roster ends up doing things the “Patriot Way” very successfully.  Randy Moss was seemingly done after two sub-par years in Oakland, but then came to the Patriots in 2007 and caught 98 passes for almost 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns.  Corey Dillon wore out his welcome in Cincinnati, but came to the Patriots in 2004, rushing for almost 1,700 yards and 12 touchdowns. While the Patriots 49 sacks last year were second best in the league, 12.5 of those were traded to the Arizona Cardinals in the form of Chandler Jones.  With nobody else in double digits, the Pats could find a spot for Hardy.

While it may take some time, the NFL is a league of many second chances (if you can still play) and Hardy is likely to get his.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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3 reasons the Bills could beat the Patriots this week

Rex Ryan

The Patriots have dominated the Bills for the better part of the past 15 years, and they’ll look to add another chapter in that saga when they visit Buffalo in week two of the 2015 NFL season. This time, however, things could be different. With a new coach in Buffalo, a new starting

The Patriots have dominated the Bills for the better part of the past 15 years, and they’ll look to add another chapter in that saga when they visit Buffalo in week two of the 2015 NFL season. This time, however, things could be different. With a new coach in Buffalo, a new starting quarterback, and significant changes in the Patriots roster since they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy last year, there is reason to believe that Buffalo can win on Sunday. Here’s why.

The Bills defense could be really, really good this year

Hey, have you heard about the Bills defense? Of course you have – pundits and observers are falling over themselves to mention it. But they have a very good point here: the Bills defense really could be something special this year. They were a top five squad by just about any measure last year, and they’d added defensive guru Rex Ryan as a head coach. Ryan’s defenses play great fundamental D, usually limiting offense rather than going for explosive turnovers and big plays. Ryan also loves to bring pressure, which is the best way to play Tom Brady (it’s the best way to play any pocket passer, really). If the Bills can limit the Patriots’ scoring and keep their offense off the field, they’ll give QB Tyrod Taylor a chance to win the game.

The Patriots secondary is questionable

It’s not necessarily fair to point to the Pittsburgh game when criticizing the Patriots secondary – Roethlisberger’s Steelers are expected to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and some of those points were scored in garbage time anyway. But the Patriots secondary has been a question mark ever since they let Darelle Revis walk, and it’s fair to at least say that they didn’t assuage any of those concerns against Pittsburgh. Tyrod Taylor is no Ben Roethlisberger, but he looked pretty good last week against Indianapolis and won’t face exceptional hardship dealing with a secondary that’s led by Malcolm Butler. Butler is good, but unspectacular – most fans hadn’t heard of him until his Super Bowl-winning catch last year. The Patriots will miss Revis this year, and the Bills could make sure they do in week two.

The Patriots have issues defending the run, too

The Patriots last year were better at defending the long play than they were at defending the run. This year, to be frank, they’re not going to be stellar at either. This isn’t a bad front seven, exactly, but it’s one that got pushed around early by the Steelers (though they got a reprieve when, inexplicably, the Steelers called a trick play that soon killed off the drive). The Steelers did well early with RB DeAngelo Williams (Le’Veon Bell is suspended for the first two games), and Williams is probably past his prime. Bills RB LeSean McCoy could be poised to have a field day against the Patriots. Buffalo used a ton of power-running plays against the Colts; expect to see that again when the Patriots come to town.

This would be no upset

The Bills could very well lose the Patriots, as they’ve done in all but three of their meetings since 2011. But if they do win, it will be because the Patriots lose the defensive battle. And if that happens, don’t let anybody tell you that this was an upset. These Bills are for real, and there are plenty of reasons to think they can get a rare win against their division rivals.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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Opening bid for Bills over $1 billion

<p> The opening bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills is over $1 billion, according to the New York Post.</p> <p> The bid was made by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, who would keep the team in Buffalo.</p> <p> Morgan Stanley is running the bidding process.</p> <p> Another group, led by rock star Jon Bon Jovi,

<p> The opening bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills is over $1 billion, according to the New York Post.</p> <p> The bid was made by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, who would keep the team in Buffalo.</p> <p> Morgan Stanley is running the bidding process.</p> <p> Another group, led by rock star Jon Bon Jovi, is also bidding.</p> <p> Other rumored bidders were eyeing a move to Los Angeles, which has been without an NFL team since 1994.</p> <p> The Miami Dolphins’ sale price of $1.1 billion is the NFL record.</p> <p> The $1.1 billion sale of the Miami Dolphins in 2008 is the highest price ever paid for an NFL team.</p> <p> Donald Trump has also bid on the Bills, but isn’t expected to land the team.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href=”http://www.twitter.com/RavensInsider”>@RavensInsider</a></p> <p> Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun</p>

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he’s a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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Donald Trump says he’s unlikely to buy the Bills

<p> Billionaire Donald Trump says he's unlikely to purchase the Buffalo Bills due to the high price.</p> <p> "We'll see what happens, everyone knows I'm bidding," Trump told FOX News. "But many other people will be bidding. I would say the chances are very, very unlikely because I'm not goingto do something totally stupid --

<p> Billionaire Donald Trump says he’s unlikely to purchase the Buffalo Bills due to the high price.</p> <p> “We’ll see what happens, everyone knows I’m bidding,” Trump told FOX News. “But many other people will be bidding. I would say the chances are very, very unlikely because I’m not goingto do something totally stupid — maybe a little bit stupid, but not totally stupid.”</p> <p> Trump is among the bidders and has said he would keep the Bills in Western New York with the franchise being sold following the death of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson. Trump is competing with others that include rock star Jon Bon Jovi and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.</p> <p> It sounds like Trump is happy to get the publicity of being a prospective owner, but doesn’t want to spend a billion dollars to become the new Bills owner.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href=”http://www.twitter.com/RavensInsider”>@RavensInsider</a></p> <p> Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun</p>

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he’s a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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