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About zanthrax54

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    Sacked! By yours truly!
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  1. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Sean Murphy joins the show to chat free-agent RB options for Buffalo In this week’s episode of Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, the conversation is focused on some free-agent running backs the Buffalo Bills could consider this offseason. Sean Murphy joined the show to discuss his recent article, and some of the popular names in free agency. Give the most recent podcast a listen to hear what we have to say about Matt Breida, Melvin Gordon, Adrian Peterson and others who will likely hit the open market in March. Be sure to share your comments below on the free agents you want Brandon Beane to pursue, and any that you prefer the team stay away from. Thank you for listening to Breaking Buffalo Rumblings and go Bills! Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this article on Apple News, the embedded audio will be removed. Click through to the site in your browser or listen on iTunes. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Blitzed Bills, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Mafia Mavens, Circling the Wagons, and the Nick and Nolan Show: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone View the full article
  2. Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports Who muscled their way to the top of the pack? The 2020 Senior Bowl is upon us, and Tuesday’s activities started with the infamous measurement and weighing of the college prospects turning pro. Size isn’t everything, but it’s still an important pass/fail factor that teams use to classify potential draft picks, which is why hundreds of people sat in bleachers to watch athletes in spandex stroll along a stage onto a scale. The event usually features standouts at both ends of the size spectrum, but all-in-all the players at this year’s Senior Bowl had very few weaknesses to pick out. Even the players among this year’s “losers” have a body composition that could play in the pros. In contrast, there were plenty of players whose height, weight, and reach (not to mention their muscle to fat ratio) were exceptional. Here are the highlights from the full list of players: Winner: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State Unfortunately we won’t see Aiyuk play this week due to a medical flag, but the speedster’s measurements bolstered his first round claims. He came in just shy of six feet, weighing 201 pounds. With 10-inch hands and 33 1/8” arms, Aiyuk had the longest wingspan of any receiver at the event, even the 6’6” Collin Johnson. Loser: Nick Harris, C, Washington Harris was the smallest offensive lineman on the roster this year, at 6’1” and 293 pounds. Unless he bulks up heading into the Combine, it’d be tough to find an NFL fit outside of teams that run plenty of outside zone blocking. He did struggle to anchor in one-on-ones Tuesday. Winner: Terrell Lewis, ER, Alabama Lewis would probably be a first round pick if not for his injury history, and his weigh-in was one demonstration of his potential. He came in chiseled, standing 6’5” and 258 pounds, with an 83 1/2” wingspan. He looks the part of a strong, explosive edge rusher. Loser: Essang Bassey, CB, Wake Forest It was expected, but Bassey unfortunately measured at 5’9” and only 191 pounds, with small hands and a short wingspan. While Bassey has excellent ball skills, he was often outmuscled on contested catches and blocking reps in college, and the list of successful cornerbacks with his size is not very long. Winner: Khaleke Hudson, S/LB, Michigan Hudson wowed everyone in the audience when he walked onto the stage looking like a professional bodybuilder. He only measured 5’11” and 218 pounds, but his frame was pure muscle. The question with Hudson is where to play him - he might fit best as a roaming box safety, like a Derwin James. Winner: Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State As Jeff Risdon put it on Twitter, “Taylor can almost touch his knees without bending.” Not only did he measure almost six-foot-nine, but he has 11-inch hands and 36-inch vines for arms. View the full article
  3. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Will anyone on offense represent the team in the 2020 season? This year the Buffalo Bills will be represented by linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and cornerback Tre’Davious White in this year’s Pro Bowl alongside newly-added returner Andre Roberts. However there were players who showed Pro Bowl potential and others who, some would argue, got snubbed. With that in mind lets look at who we might expect in next year’s Pro Bowl. Note: We excluded White, Edmunds, and Roberts from the list since they’re clearly already on the radar. Devin Singletary Devin Singletary had a break-out rookie season for the Bills and became the feature back during the back end of the season. Singletary finished the season with 969 all-purpose yards and four scores in eight starts for Buffalo, and ranked fifth in the league in yards per carry. His playmaking ability was on full display in the Bills’ Wild Card playoff game against the Houston Texans, tallying 132 yards on 19 touches. Singletary put teams on notice last year, and with a bigger work load next year it will be hard to keep the young playmaker out of the Pro Bowl in 2021. Jordan Poyer Poyer is one of the more underrated players on the Bills’ roster. He posted over 100 tackles for the second year in a row while also forcing eight turnovers on the year. Poyer showed in 2019 that he’s one of the league’s elite run-support safeties while also being reliable on the back end. Jordan Poyer is one half of the league’s best safety duo and eventually Pro Bowl voters will have to take notice as the Bills begin to play on bigger stages and hopefully establish themselves as one of the league’s best teams. (The other safety, Micah Hyde, was selected to the Pro Bowl two years ago.) Matt Milano Milano has been one of the Bills’ best-kept secrets for the past three years. With the defense establishing itself as one of the league’s best, teams and media began to take notice of Milano’s nose for the ball and his ability to play the pass at a high level. With another year under his belt and in Leslie Frazier’s defense, its only a matter of time before the votes begin to roll in. Josh Allen Assuming he continues to develop and takes another step in year three, we may very well see the Bills’ quarterback representing the AFC. Josh Allen was the face of the Bills this season and showed that he has big-play ability. Regardless of whether you think he's the guy or not, he has won the hearts of fans across the country and with fan voting playing a big part in who makes it in, Allen might only be one good season away from a Pro Bowl visit. View the full article
  4. Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Buffalo improved in its overall special teams efficiency. Should they keep the band together? The Buffalo Bills finished the 2018 NFL season ranked No. 31 in special teams as per Rick Gosselin’s overall rankings. Danny Crossman, who had been Buffalo’s special teams coordinator since the 2013 season, was let go in an attempt to improve the unit overall. Heath Farwell, who had been with the Carolina Panthers as a special teams assistant, joined Buffalo’s staff as a coordinator for the first time this year, and his unit did not disappoint. Gosselin’s 2019 rankings were released on Monday, and the Bills jumped all the way to No. 12 overall this season. While the Bills clearly made strides in the “third phase” of the game, the team is also obviously committed to improving in all phases of the game. Last offseason, they concentrated on fortifying the coverage units as well as the return game, signing free agents like Senorise Perry and Andre Roberts. The next step could be replacing some of the more visible specialists—namely, the kicker and the punter. In one of the shorter looks at the state of the Buffalo Bills’ roster, we examine those who play solely on special teams. K Stephen Hauschka Contract status for 2020: Signed; second year of three-year extension ($3.05 cap hit; $1.25 million dead-cap charge if cut) Age: 34 (35 on 6/29/2020) Playing time: 16 games, 134 ST snaps (32.4%), 1 offensive snap (.09%) Key statistics: 22/28 FG attempts (78.6%), 30/32 PAT (93.8%), 42/73 kickoffs for touchback (57.5%) Buffalo inked Hauschka to an extension this offseason even though he was coming off a year where he connected on less than 83% of his field goals for the first time since 2009. For the first half of the year, the contract looked to be a disaster, as Hauschka was just 8-for-13 on field goals through nine games; that ninth game saw him miss two field goals in a 19-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The following week, Hauschka began a hot streak and finished the year making 14-of-15 kicks, including nailing four field goals on four attempts against the Houston Texans in the playoffs. While that end looks good, it’s important to look at the big picture, especially as it pertains to Hauschka’s struggles from distance over the last two seasons. After hitting 14-of-16 kicks from at least 40 yards out in 2017, including 7-for-9 from 50 yards, Hauschka is only 21-for-32 from that area of the field over the last two years, including a miserable 5-for-12 from 50 yards or more. Head coach Sean McDermott has all but given up on attempts from 50 yards or more, electing to try for fourth-down conversions rather than kick field goals more often than not. Hauschka is a great guy, but he appears to be trending downward as he approaches his mid-thirties. LS Reid Ferguson Contract status for 2020: Signed; second year of three-year contract ($900,000 cap hit; $250,000 dead-cap charge if cut) Age: 26 (27 on 3/24/2020) Playing time: 16 games, 143 ST snaps (34.5%), 1 offensive snap (.09%) Key statistics: N/A The man who delivers the ball to punter Corey Bojorquez has done a darn good job since taking over the job from longtime Buffalo long-snapper Garrison Sanborn. He isn’t going anywhere. P Corey Bojorquez Contract status for 2020: Signed; final year of rookie contract ($660,000 cap hit; zero dead money if cut) Age: 23 (24 on 9/13/2020) Playing time: 16 games, 144 ST snaps (34.8%), 1 offensive snap (.09%) Key statistics: 79 punts, 41.9 yards per punt (37.7 net yards per punt), 15 punts out of bounds, 26 punts fair caught, 13 punts downed, 34 punts inside the 20, 7 punts for touchback, 18 punt returns allowed, 157 punt return yards allowed, 1 kickoff, 50 yards Who knew that you could find so many stats on punting? Thanks, NFL.com! Anyhow, Bojorquez was maddeningly inconsistent at times this season, as he had a few games where it seemed like every other punt that came off his foot was a shank. The loss to the Baltimore Ravens comes to mind, where he uncorked a 67-yard punt for a touchback, then followed it up with a 35-yard punt from his own 10-yard line to give the Ravens great field position on their first scoring drive. He had more good moments than bad overall, but it’s that unpredictability that can shorten a career as a specialist. The Bills have already brought in some competition for Bojorquez this offseason. P/K Kaare Vedvik Contract status for 2020: Signed to reserve/future deal on 1/7/2020 Age: 25 (26 on 3/16/2020) Playing time: 1 game (with New York Jets), five special teams snaps Key statistics: 0/1 field goals, 0/1 extra points, 3 kickoffs, all for touchback Vedvik signed with the Bills on a reserve/future deal, and while he single-handedly gifted Buffalo a victory in his one game last season with the Jets, that certainly isn’t why general manager Brandon Beane opted to bring him in. Vedvik’s agent shared via his Facebook page that Vedvik is not competing for Stephen Hauschka’s job as a place kicker; instead, he’ll try to unseat Bojorquez at punter and also fill in for Hauschka on kickoffs. Vedvik has an insanely strong leg, as he once uncorked a sun-aided 92-yard punt while in college at Marshall, but he struggled, to put it mildly, as a placekicker last year. He punted against the Bills in a preseason game while with the Minnesota Vikings, allowing Marcus Murphy to return a punt for a touchdown (and making a pretty lame “tackle attempt” in the process). It will be interesting to see whether the Bills go with the one they know at punter or they turn the reins over to the new guy next year. Positional Outlook The Bills clearly aren’t settled here, having already signed competition for Bojorquez and even looking for a potential Hauschka replacement in December when they placed a waiver claim on Chase McLoughlin, who was with the team during the preseason. The only name guaranteed to be here come September is Ferguson, as I’m willing to bet that the Bills are looking for a replacement for Hauschka sooner rather than later. While Bojorquez improved overall, his inconsistency leaves him vulnerable to challengers, as well. Changing out the specialists may be the next phase of the Bills’ special teams overhaul. View the full article
  5. The past, present, and future in today’s episode. Lots of Patrick Mahomes talk this week as he leads his team to the Super Bowl, plus we discuss upgrading the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line, Brian Daboll’s play calling, and the free agent defensive linemen. To have your Bills questions answered on the next podcast, you can call 24/7 and leave your questions at 716-508-0405, email us at BuffaloRumblings@SBnation.com, tweet us at @RumblingsQandA, send us Facebook or Instagram messages, or leave your questions in the comments section below. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Blitzed Bills, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Circling the Wagons, Mafia Mavens, and The Nick and Nolan Show: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this article on Apple News, the embedded audio will be removed. Click through to the site in your browser or listen on iTunes. View the full article
  6. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports The Bills’ GM is in Mobile, AL to scout some of the top seniors in college football Brandon Beane met with members of the media on Tuesday during his trip to Mobile, AL for the 2020 Senior Bowl. The Buffalo Bills’ general manager discussed a number of topics, and you can find the latest from his session below. There are also updates on Andre Roberts, Corey Liuget and much more in today’s edition of the Bills Links. Beane addresses Bills pending FAs, Senior Bowl process | WGR 550 SportsRadio “The Bills GM spoke with the media in Mobile” Bills’ Brandon Beane puts Senior Bowl into massive draft-prep perspective – The Buffalo News A reminder to fans: Let’s not get too carried away with the first-round decision. (Subscription required.) Buffalo Bills DT settles lawsuit against trainer over suspension - newyorkupstate.com Corey Liuget served a four-game suspension, but claimed that his trainer was at fault. Senior Bowl 2020: 10 players the Buffalo Bills could target in NFL Draft - newyorkupstate.com After three days of practice from Tuesday to Thursday, the Senior Bowl game happens Saturday at 2:30 ET. NFL Mock Draft 2020: Buffalo Bills take playmaking wide receiver at No. 22 in expert’s mock - newyorkupstate.com NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft and has the Bills adding a big playmaker. Bills 2019 running backs in review: The featured future is here – The Athletic Devin Singletary is the clear top option in the backfield heading into the 2020 season. The big question is who fills in behind him. (Subscription required.) Andre Roberts named to Pro Bowl | WGR 550 SportsRadio “Buffalo's wide receiver and return specialist will make his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance” C1 BUF: Senior Bowl Day 1 Take-Aways | Cover 1 Join Erik and Greg to discuss initial thoughts, takeaways and winners/losers from Day 1 of the Senior Bowl. Featured on Buffalo Rumblings I don’t blame the Buffalo Bills for missing on Patrick Mahomes - Buffalo Rumblings It’s a hot topic this week. State of the Buffalo Bills’ roster: Interior offensive linemen - Buffalo Rumblings 2019 was an improvement, but the team has some decisions to make moving forward. Andre Roberts added to Pro Bowl as return specialist - Buffalo Rumblings A third Bill qualifies for the "all-star" game. 2020 NFL Draft: Here is the full list of underclassmen eligible to turn pro - Buffalo Rumblings Here’s who can be drafted from this year’s underclassmen. View the full article
  7. Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images Here’s who can be drafted from this year’s underclassmen: The NFL has announced a list of 115 players cleared to enter the 2020 NFL Draft this year, though they still had eligibility remaining as NCAA players. The list, with 99 underclassmen and 16 early graduates, includes the sons of Randy Moss and Antoine Winfield, the first man to rush for 6,000 yards in only three seasons, two quarterbacks who each flourished after competing for a starting role with the Georgia Bulldogs, and a 20-year-old pass rusher who just won a national championship. With 99 underclassmen entering the draft, the league saw a small dip in early entrants for the second consecutive year. After an all-time high of 106 in 2018, there were 103 underclassmen in the 2019 draft. National Champion LSU leads the way with eight early entrants, and Alabama and Georgia tied as runners-up with five each. Not every one of the hottest NFL prospects made the decision to turn pro. Several chose to return to school, and we’ll call out a few of those noteworthy players here: Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State Najee Harris, RB, Alabama Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State In addition to the list of 99 early entrants, 16 players qualified for the NFL draft by fulfilling their degree requirements early. Quite a few of those players are currently in Mobile, Alabama as part of this week’s Senior Bowl. That full list of players: Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State Oluwole Betiku, DE, Illinois Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M Alohi Gilman, DB, Notre Dame Matt Hennessy, C, Temple Darnay Holmes, DB, UCLA Keith Ismael, C, San Diego State Jaylon Johnson, DB, Utah Tony Jones, RB, Notre Dame Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama Jordan Love, QB, Utah State Elorm Lumor, DE, Rutgers Houston Miller, DE, Texas Tech Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson The list of 99 early entrants is embedded into the table below. If you’re viewing this article on Apple News, you may need to open the link to our website to see the list render correctly. View the full article
  8. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports A third Bill qualifies for the “all-star” game. Buffalo Bills return specialist Andre Roberts will be a late addition to the Pro Bowl, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Mecole Hardman qualifying for the Super Bowl. Roberts was the first alternate at the position in 2019, a year after his first career Pro Bowl selection (Roberts was also awarded All-Pro honors as a returner in 2018). While Roberts didn’t spring any touchdowns this year, he was still a consistently effective returner for the Bills. Roberts had the fourth-best kick return average and the seventh-best punt return average in spite of his lack of long touchdown returns. He was the only player to rank in the top ten in both categories. Roberts will join Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmunds in Orlando for the game. Two more Bills have an outside chance to qualify: Mitch Morse, a second alternate, would need Rodney Hudson or Ryan Kelly to bow out (starter Maurkice Pouncey already dropped out due to injury). Josh Allen, a third alternate, needs a little more help. While Patrick Mahomes has been replaced by Ryan Tannehill, Allen would need two more names among Tannehill, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, and the second alternate to skip the game before his name would be called. View the full article
  9. Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports It’s a hot topic this week. On January 11, 2017, Sean McDermott was hired as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. a few months later, the team traded their first round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, who used the pick to select Patrick Mahomes. With Mahomes leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowl after winning the AFC Championship this weekend, there has been a lot of chatter on how the Bills screwed up by passing on the stellar young quarterback. I don’t agree with that. If McDermott had gone ahead and drafted a quarterback in 2017, he would have been using the information obtained by a personnel department he was preparing to overhaul. Mahomes was drafted on April 27th and Bills general manager Doug Whaley was fired on April 30th. It wasn’t until early May that McDermott put his hand-picked GM in place when Brandon Beane was hired. If I was going to make a career-defining decision, I’d want to trust the intel I was reading and he clearly didn’t feel that way about Whaley. Without the guidance of a scouting department, McDermott would have been at least partially on his own making the decision. Given his background, that would have been a poor choice. Prior to January 2017, McDermott was running the Carolina Panthers defense. He wasn’t scouting players as a head coach or a personnel man, so having his own information independent of Whaley would have been woefully inadequate. When he was hired in Buffalo, he was essentially given the keys to the organization. By the time McDermott’s first NFL Draft rolled around, he had hired a coaching staff and signed some free agents, not to mention scouted the Bills’ roster to see who he had to work with. In short, it would have been an incredibly under-informed decision. McDermott wasn’t prepared to pull the trigger on a quarterback. It’s usually a once-per-job opportunity for an NFL head coach. Mess up the QB, find a new job in a couple years. Not too many folks get another bite at the apple. How McDermott was supposed to know and understand the college tape of Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes when he had just a couple months to get up to speed on so many things seems like a big ask. Instead, McDermott did the judicious thing and waited until he could obtain more information that he trusted. McDermott is not a guy prone to shooting from the hip. That’s one of the reasons he was hired and has been successful in the NFL. Now some folks want to use their hindsight to ding him for the very thing that was able to get him the job and taken him to two playoff appearances in three seasons. Would having Mahomes or Watson be paying off for Buffalo right now? Maybe. There’s no way of knowing what offensive coordinators Rick Dennison and/or Brian Daboll would have done to their development. Buffalo was able to turn the pick and veteran QB Tyrod Taylor into All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White and Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds while drafting Josh Allen in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s hard to say the trade was an abject failure by a first-time decision-maker. I’m not one for revisionist history. In 2017, I said the Bills received good value for the Chiefs trade and reports are that Buffalo wasn’t targeting a quarterback, instead looking to add a cornerback even if they stayed at 10. They got a great cornerback and were still able to get their hopeful franchise QB a year later with a stronger organizational foundation in place plus add the quarterback of their defense for the long-term. Decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. In a room with a scout on his way out the door wasn’t the right time for McDermott to take his one big swing using incomplete information. View the full article
  10. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images 2019 was an improvement, but the team has some decisions to make moving forward In 2018, the Buffalo Bills started the year with Vlad Ducasse, Ryan Groy, and John Miller as their interior offensive linemen. The backup center was Russell Bodine. Wyatt Teller was the backup at left guard. What do all of those players have in common? Not one of them remained with the team in 2019, as the Bills went with a full-scale redesign along the offensive line rather than a slow and steady approach. The Bills added plenty of veterans to the mix, giving quarterback Josh Allen a much better unit up front than the one he had as a rookie. With the 2020 season looming, the Bills face another turning point regarding their offensive linemen. Will they stay the course and keep together a unit that managed to stay relatively healthy for essentially the whole season? Or, will they retool the offensive line yet again? In our latest look at the state of the Buffalo Bills’ roster, we look at the interior offensive linemen—as group that was a point of strength for the Buffalo offense. Quinton Spain Contract status for 2020: Unsigned; unrestricted free agent Age: 28 (29 on 8/7/2020) Playing time: 16 games, 16 starts, 1063 offensive snaps (99.4%), 61 ST snaps (14.7%) Key statistics: 2 penalties, 20 penalty yards, 1 sack allowed, 9 sack yards allowed “Mr. Undrafted” was an unlikely addition to the roster, the last offensive lineman to sign with the Bills last offseason. After languishing in free agency for longer than expected, Spain inked a one-year deal worth only $2.05 million. Spain outplayed that contract significantly, as he appeared on more snaps than any member of the Bills’ offense. He was consistently among the team’s best offensive linemen all year long. As an unrestricted free agent, it will be interesting to see how his market develops this year—it’s unlikely that he’ll have to settle for a “prove-it” deal for a second consecutive year, and just how much he’ll command may determine whether he returns to Buffalo or not. A top-ten guard salary in terms of annual average value (AAV) is at least $10 million per season, and a top-20 salary comes in between $7 million and $10 million annually. If Spain is looking for that kind of money, it might not come from the Bills. Mitch Morse Contract status for 2020: Signed; second year of four-year contract ($11.625 million cap hit; $10.25 million dead cap charge if cut) Age: 27 (28 on 4/21/2020) Playing time: 16 games, 16 starts, 908 offensive snaps (84.9%) Key statistics: 3 penalties, 24 penalty yards, 2 sacks allowed, 18 sack yards allowed Morse was a tremendous upgrade from his predecessors at the position, and he was able to start all 16 games for only the second time in his career. While he did miss some time in games due to minor injuries, none of them were severe enough to keep him from appearing in a contest. His contract is obviously tremendous, as it reset the market for center contracts in the league. At the time he signed it last March, it was the richest contract ever given to a center; now, his overall contract value is the fifth-highest in the league. For helping to settle one of the most important positions on the field, Morse has been worth every penny. Jon Feliciano Contract status for 2020: Signed; final year of two-year contract ($3.75 million cap hit; $750,000 dead cap charge if cut) Age: 27 (28 on 2/10/2020) Playing time: 16 games, 16 starts, 947 offensive snaps (88.6%), 56 ST snaps (13.5%) Key statistics: 6 penalties, 60 yards, 3.5 sacks allowed, 24 sack yards allowed This one was a wild card last year, as Feliciano wasn’t held in terribly high regard during his tenure with the Oakland Raiders. Most saw “Mongo” as a depth piece, but after he earned the starting right guard job coming out of the preseason, he was a tremendous contributor up front. Feliciano is the guy who brings the “nasty” to the Bills’ line group, as he is always involved in some sort of tussle with opposing players. He plays hard through the whistle, and he is always willing to stand up for his teammates on the field. Feliciano’s current contract is a bargain, and while I don’t expect the team to rework it given the other needs they have, it wouldn’t surprise me if they give him an extension once the roster is more settled. Spencer Long Contract status for 2020: “Contract limbo”—Buffalo holds a club option for 2020 that would pay Long $4.125 million; if the team declines the option, he is owed $700,000 (two roster bonuses of $350,000 each for 2020 and 2021) Age: 29 (30 on 11/9/2020) Playing time: 14 games, 0 starts, 174 offensive snaps (16.3%), 54 ST snaps (13%) Key statistics: 0 penalties, .5 sacks allowed, 3 sack yards allowed This is the second “big decision” the team has to make at guard, though I imagine this decision depends entirely on what happens with Spain. If the Bills are interested in re-signing Spain and they can come to terms on a contract, then it makes sense to decline Long’s option. If they can’t re-sign Spain, then the team should exercise Long’s option in order to preserve depth along the line. Long was an expensive reserve last season, but the team had the cap space and it was wise to invest in the offensive line given the struggles there in 2018. Just because the team had a good run of health and didn’t need to cash in on the insurance policy doesn’t mean that it was a bad idea to have the insurance policy there in the first place. At worst, Long is a good fallback option to start in Spain’s place if he leaves. Ike Boettger Contract status for 2020: Signed; final year of rookie deal ($660,000 cap hit; $0 dead money if cut) Age: 25 (26 on 10/5/2020) Playing time: 2 games, 0 starts, 54 offensive snaps (5.1%), 4 ST snaps (1%) Key statistics: N/A The inactive guard on game days, Boettger is a solid developmental piece with plenty of experience in the offensive system. Even if Spain and/or Long leaves, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills sign or draft some competition for Boettger. Positional Outlook Buffalo has a major decision to make regarding Spain, who was one of their best, most consistent linemen this season. He played on a one-year deal often referred to as a “prove-it” contract, and he most certainly proved that he is due a raise. The decision, then, is whether the Bills will be the ones to pay him that raise. The team has multiple in-house options to replace Spain in Spencer Long and Cody Ford (if the team decides to move the second-year man from right tackle, that is), but one could argue that neither option is as good as Spain is. The team also has to decide what to do with Long, whose club option would pay him $4.125 million this season if exercised. It’s unlikely that the team would pay Spain enough to convince him to return and pay Long that much to be a backup, but it’s also unlikely that the team decides to make Long a starter—unless, of course, they decide Spain is expendable and Ford is really a right tackle, which would leave Long to slide in at left guard. Buffalo’s versatility along the entirety of the offensive line puts them in a good position overall here. They can (and should) make an attempt to re-sign Spain, and if they can’t come to an agreement, then they need to decide a direction along the line. At worst, the Bills will be able to choose between two quality options in the hypothetical scenario where Spain leaves, and that’s without even considering outside additions. With Morse and Feliciano written in the starting lineup with Sharpie®, the team is in great shape overall. View the full article
  11. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports The division had two great defenses this season Last week on the AFC East Roundup, we reviewed each of the teams’ offenses in the division and how they compared with the rest of the league. This week we look at the other side of the ball. The division had two really great defenses in the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, while the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins dealt with inconsistency during the season. We begin with the Patriots who, arguably, had the best defense in the league and allowed only 14 points per game. They also held opponents to 275 total yards per game. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore led the way for the defense as a shutdown corner who followed the opposing number-one receiver all over the field and shared the lead in the league with six interceptions on the season. This group would generate a lot of turnovers that would either be returned for a touchdown or set up the offense in great field position. Not to be outdone, the Buffalo Bills fielded a defense that only allowed 16 points per game. Tre’Davious White was just as good if not better than Gilmore in most aspects—he, of course, shared the other half of NFL’s lead in interceptions at six. Buffalo made passing difficult for opposing quarterbacks because the secondary was so good at preventing the deep ball. This defense has room to get even better with most of the starters returning to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s system for the 2020 season. The New York Jets had a defense that looked great at times while vulnerable at others. The good news was that the unit allowed only 86 yards on the ground per game, which ranked second in the league. However, they still surrendered 22 points per game. Part of that was because linebacker C.J. Mosley missed a large portion of the season with a groin injury that he suffered Week 1 against Buffalo. Against the Bills, you could see the impact he was having on the game and how much of a difference it made when he was injured. Lastly, we have Miami who, you have to remember, traded their former first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which had a huge impact on both defenses. Miami surrendered more than 30 points per game but played much better during the last quarter of the season while defeating teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and the Patriots. The run defense has to improve after giving up over 130 yards on the ground per game, which ranked in the bottom half of the league. View the full article
  12. Are you bent that the Bills didn’t draft Mahomes? Let’s talk about it! We discuss the AFC and NFC Championship games, discuss the Buffalo Bills’ ties to Sammy Watkins, and should we worry that we didn’t draft Patrick Mahomes? We do our “This Week in Bills History” segment and discuss some recent Bills news including four Bills players undergoing surgery and the Buffalo denying Brian Daboll a chance to interview with the New York Giants. We also announce a new winner for the Bruce Smith autographed football! Listen now and Go Bills! Half of Bills fans for the next 2 weeks: pic.twitter.com/GM2Xuo7GMX — Circling The Wagons Podcast (@CTWpod) January 20, 2020 Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this article on Apple News, the embedded audio will be removed. Click through to the site in your browser or listen on iTunes. Email us questions, comments, or Bills stories: ctwpod@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter: @CTWpod Like us on Facebook: Circling the Wagons: A Buffalo Bills Podcast Follow us on Instagram: CTWpod Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Blitzed Bills, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Mafia Mavens, Circling the Wagons, and the Nick and Nolan Show: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone View the full article
  13. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports The return specialist appears to be heading to the Pro Bowl While nothing has been officially announced yet, it appears as if Andre Roberts may represent the Buffalo Bills in the Pro Bowl. Roberts was named a first alternate, and it looks as if he will be the choice to replace Mecole Hardman (who will be preoccupied getting ready for the Super Bowl). You can find the latest on Roberts and much more in today’s Bills Links. Buffalo Bills KR Andre Roberts appears to be Pro Bowl bound following AFC Championship - newyorkupstate.com Mecole Hardman is heading to the Super Bowl so Roberts should be Pro Bowl bound. State of the Bills: Tight end | WGR 550 SportsRadio “There will be a lot of competition at the position heading into the 2020 season” Should Bills’ Cole Beasley expect increased workload, production next season? – The Buffalo News Beasley caught 67 of 106 targets for 778 receiving yards and a career-high six touchdowns this season. (Subscription required.) As Patrick Mahomes heads to Super Bowl, Bills’ Tre White sees ungratefulness from some Bills Mafia members - newyorkupstate.com White has been an outstanding selection in his own right. NFL rumors: Luke Kuechly mulling coaching/consulting role | Could Buffalo Bills be match for former LB? - newyorkupstate.com The Bills have no shortage of ties to Luke Kuechly Senior Bowl presents loads of second-day draft options for Bills to consider – The Buffalo News The Bills’ two biggest roster needs are wide receiver and edge rusher. (Subscription required.) 2020 Mock Draft Watch 1.0 - BuffaloBills.com Here's a look at who NFL Draft analyst are predicting the Bills will select in this year's draft. Featured on Buffalo Rumblings 2020 NFL Draft: The draft’s power-backs to replace Frank Gore - Buffalo Rumblings Which of the draft’s tailbacks can replace Frank Gore? Opinion: Frank Gore brings more to the Buffalo Bills than 3.6 yards per carry - Buffalo Rumblings But is his role worth it? BBR: Brian Daboll is staying put in Buffalo, but what about Jordan Phillips? - Buffalo Rumblings Plenty to talk about Daboll and Phillips in this week’s podcast. Fan opinion: What should the Buffalo Bills do with Frank Gore this offseason? - Buffalo Rumblings Vote now! Buffalo Bills have plenty of options to replace Frank Gore via free agency - Buffalo Rumblings Big backs? receiving backs? Veterans? Young guys? They’re all out there. Buffalo Bills can survive a Frank Gore departure this offseason - Buffalo Rumblings The Bills have some running backs they could use. Buffalo Bills 2020 Mock Draft Monday: The Laviska Shenault Jr. Edition - Buffalo Rumblings Guess who’s a popular mock draft pick for the Bills? Billieve Podcast: What to do with free agents Shaq Lawson, Jordan Phillips, Quinton Spain? - Buffalo Rumblings "On the latest episode of the Billieve Podcast, host John Boccacino and co-host Jamie D’Amico begin the fun conversation of which free agents the Buffalo Bills should bring back for 2020." View the full article
  14. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images Vote now! The Buffalo Bills have a decision to make at running back, where 37-year-old Frank Gore is set to become a free agent. Do they bring back the veteran for another bite at the apple to play the steadying force on a young team, or do they move on to someone who might be able to provide a bit more spark on offense? We break down all the angles and it’s your turn to vote. 2019 All-22 Review (By Jeff Kantrowski) I was actually astonished at a lot of the film I was looking at with Frank Gore. Never known for elite agility and change of direction, I figured there wouldn’t be a whole lot of that left. I got that wrong didn’t I? The power running has fallen off though. If not a whole cliff, it’s at least fallen off the roof. I’d still trust Gore to lean forward and force another yard or two, but only if the pile he’s facing is a small one. A lot of fans feel the predictability of the Buffalo offense is a major culprit. Specifically, the high percentage of carries when Gore is present on the field tips their hand. Gore closed the season with 166 carries on 370 snaps, or 45%. There are three players with a higher percentage of their snaps being carries, including Derrick Henry who kinda kicked ass this year. There’s three others very near Gore’s percentage. So it’s not predictability, or at least not entirely. I will say I wasn’t a big fan of some of the called runs in the games I watched. Read the full article with GIFs here Contract Projection (By Matt Warren) One year $2 million including $500,000 guaranteed We’re going less on production and more on age at this point. Four 31-year-old or older running backs were under contract in 2019, including Marshawn Lynch who signed late in the year. Yeah, it’s the exact same contract he signed before. Darren Sproles was slated to make up to $2 million. Frank Gore made $2 million. Adrian Peterson made $2.5 million but is younger. Structure it the same way as last year’s contract and then you’re out just $750,000 if he doesn’t make the team at the end of training camp. Read the full article with player contract comparison data here. In-house replacement options (By Matt Warren) This conversation starts with Devin Singletary, who eventually took over as the lead running back for Buffalo in 2019. While he was great during his time in the game, he still needs a platooning player to keep him fresh. If he takes over as the full-time lead back, Buffalo would then need a complement. T.J. Yeldon is the most likely candidate for an increased role. He only appeared in six games in 2020, and they were the first five as Singletary was adjusting to the NFL and the last game, where the Bills rested a majority of their offensive starters. When he was in the game, he was able to make an impact. In the four games where he saw more than three offensive snaps, he was successful as a receiver out of the backfield with 13 catches for 124 yards. He added 17 rushes for 63 yards on the ground. At 6.2 yards per touch, he’s a guy who could be in line for more playing time in 2020. It’s unlikely the other running back on Buffalo’s roster will be able to make a significant difference next season. Christian Wade was signed as part of the International Pathway Program. While he’s a very talented runner, he only started playing football a year ago. He spent the 2019 season on Buffalo’s practice squad and lots of folks are clamoring for him to play. I think that’s foolish. He won’t bring special-teams ability, he’s never blocked before, he’s never run routes. The pathway program is two years for a reason, and Wade will best be served back on the practice squad. Read the full article here Free agent replacement options (By Sean Murphy) Matt Breida As a restricted free agent who entered the league as an undrafted free agent, an original-round tender would cost San Francisco $2.1 million, but would net them zero guaranteed draft-pick compensation if he chose to sign with someone else. It’s unlikely that the 49ers will offer Breida a second-round tender ($3.278 million) or a first-round tender ($4.667 million). As a part-time player over the last three seasons, Breida has shown himself to be explosive as both a runner and a receiver, averaging at least five yards per touch over the course of his career. Carlos Hyde Buffalo loves veteran running backs, and Hyde is a veteran coming off his best professional season. For the first time in his career, he eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing and, at age 29, he still has a good year or two left in him. Hyde has never carried the ball more than he did this season, toting the rock for 245 carries at an average of 4.4 yards per rush. At 6’ tall and nearly 230 lbs, he’d bring a bigger-bodied back dimension to the mix, serving as the thunder to Singletary’s lightning. Peyton Barber He has been a remarkably inefficient runner since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2016, averaging only 3.6 yards per carry on his 551 career rushes. He hasn’t shown a ton of ability as a receiver, managing only 57 catches for 349 yards so far. As a team, the Bucs haven’t averaged four yards per rush since the 2015 season, so it hasn’t been all Barber. Adrian Peterson Would there be a more Billsy signing than adding a future Hall of Fame rusher who is closer to earning an AARP card than he is his college days (not literally, but you know what I mean). Peterson would fit the profile of the kind of free-agent runner Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have sought in the past—bruising, bigger backs who are veterans with great track records. Jordan Howard Another buy-low candidate, Howard’s career started with a bang as a rookie with the Chicago Bears in 2016, where he made the Pro Bowl, rushing 252 times for 1,313 and six touchdowns, adding 29 receptions for 298 yards and a touchdown. After seeing his yardage total decline in the next two seasons (1,122 in 2017 and 935 in 2018) as well as his average-yards-per-carry number (4.1 in 2017 and 3.7 in 2018), Howard was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round pick. He was having a nice bounce-back year for the Eagles, but a shoulder injury kept him out for the back end of the season. Kareem Hunt While he’s probably the best player on this list (at least at this point in his career), there is almost no chance that the Bills look to pursue him given his legal troubles. Hunt exploded as a rookie by combining for 1,782 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. His second season was just as successful on the field, however, video surface of a domestic incident where Hunt physically assaulted a woman in a hotel room, and he was released. This year, he resurfaced with the Cleveland Browns, and he showed plenty of ability in limited action. If the Bills are willing to put their morals aside, Hunt would be a great addition from a football perspective. Personally, I’d pass. Kenyan Drake After escaping Miami, Drake carried 123 times for 643 yards and eight touchdowns in Arizona, winning plenty of people some fantasy championships this year. Given his excellent performance, it would make sense if the Cardinals didn’t want him to go, but they really don’t have much of a choice given the financial commitments they already have at the position. Of the players on this list, Drake will probably command the biggest contract, as the big-bodied back (6’1” and 211 lbs) will only be 26 heading into the season. Read more about the free agent options here 2020 NFL Draft options (By Andrew Griffin) Tier I Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) Taylor is the 2020 Draft’s premier power back, with an impressive blend of size, power and speed. He has sprinter speed in a straight line, and even showed that he can be an adequate pass catcher this season. Taylor has struggled a bit with fumbles, and has a lot of tread on his tires, but he’s likely to be a first-round pick. Tier II Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt) Zack Moss (Utah) Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) Cam Akers (Florida State) Tier III AJ Dillon (Boston College) Lamical Perine (Florida) Read more about the tier II and tier III options in our full article here Opinion: Gore brings more than 3.6 yards per carry (By Matt Warren) With a second-year quarterback and brand-new-everything around the entire offense, Gore was a stabilizing veteran presence. He’s been there, done that in every scenario. He was McDermott’s leader on the field and in the meeting room. The season started well, with the high-water mark being a 100-yard game against the New England Patriots where he averaged 6.41 yards per carry in Week 4 with Singletary out due to injury. Buffalo has a leadership void with the losses of Eric Wood, Kyle Williams, and Lorenzo Alexander over the last three offseasons. Gore could be that guy in the locker room, but folks aren’t looking to the vet, they are looking at third-year quarterback Josh Allen. Allen is the go-to guy for comments as the leader of the offense. Left tackle Dion Dawkins is the quote machine. You WANT those two young leaders to step up, which might not be wholly possible with the very well-respected Gore in the room. If Gore wants to play another season, it’s probably best that he does it somewhere else in 2020. Find a young team that needs stabilization at running back and be that rock. It’s not fair to Gore to re-sign him just to be an offseason presence. No one wants to see him as a training camp body who gets cut at the beginning of September or as a game day inactive who barely makes the team. With the Bills in need of more pop from their number-two running-back position, it’s unfair to expect that from Gore at 37. Read the full opinion piece here. Now it’s your turn to vote. You have all the information you need to make an informed decision on the veteran. Editor’s note: If you’d like to vote in the poll and you’re using a mobile device, you’ll need to click through to the site. Apple News and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) strips the poll from the page. View the full article
  15. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images But is his role worth it? The Buffalo Bills signed 36-year-old Frank Gore to their aging backfield a year ago, and the team boasted the oldest running back room in the league by a long shot. Head coach Sean McDermott made fun of it from the league’s owners’ meetings. When the smoke cleared, the oldest was the one left standing. Gone were Chris Ivory, who was released a couple weeks after the signing of Gore. Gone was LeSean McCoy, jettisoned at the end of training camp. Now Gore was the lead back, mentoring a third-round rookie in Devin Singletary and young veteran T.J. Yeldon. That wasn’t the only role he had. With a second-year quarterback and brand-new-everything around the entire offense, Gore was a stabilizing veteran presence. He’s been there, done that in every scenario. He was McDermott’s leader on the field and in the meeting room. The season started well, with the high-water mark being a 100-yard game against the New England Patriots where he averaged 6.41 yards per carry in Week 4 with Singletary out due to injury. As the 2019 season wore on, Gore struggled to gain tough yards down the stretch. On Thanksgiving, he averaged 1.22 yards per carry. The next week it was 1.5 yards per carry against Baltimore and the following week, 1.5 yards per carry against Pittsburgh. He didn’t receive a carry the next week against New England, playing only two snaps. He ran 8 times in the Wild Card game for 22 yards. Now Gore enters free agency set to turn 37 this offseason. Clearly he’s not the back he once was, but is he good enough to bring back to the Bills? Is his role big enough as the savvy veteran? Buffalo has a leadership void with the losses of Eric Wood, Kyle Williams, and Lorenzo Alexander over the last three offseasons. Gore could be that guy in the locker room, but folks aren’t looking to the vet, they are looking at third-year QB Josh Allen. Allen is the go-to guy for comments as the leader of the offense. Left tackle Dion Dawkins is the quote machine. You WANT those two young leaders to step up, which might not be wholly possible with the very well-respected Gore in the room. If Gore wants to play another season, it’s probably best that he does it somewhere else in 2020. Find a young team that needs stabilization at running back and be that rock. It’s not fair to Gore to re-sign him just to be an offseason presence. No one wants to see him as training camp body who gets cut at the beginning of September or as a game day inactive who barely makes the team. With the Bills in need of more pop from their number 2 running back position, it’s unfair to expect that from Gore at 37. Ultimately, all signs point to Gore being somewhere else in 2020. View the full article
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