2022 Team Reports
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Buffalo Bills Writers
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Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll left this offseason for the New York Giants, but the Bills have promoted quarterback coach Ken Dorsey to replace him. Dorsey was also the passing game coordinator in 2021, which should ensure continuity in an offense that is firing on all gears. The Bills run their offense more through their quarterback than nearly any other team in the league, passing at a high volume and also relying on him for a significant portion of their running attack. They're not afraid to keep extra blockers back and focus their passing game on fewer eligible targets while trusting Allen to take off and run if nothing is open.
While Josh Allen's stats took a bit of a dip in 2021 with 15 interceptions compared to 10 in 2020 and a completion percentage down to 63.3 from 69.2, he continues to improve overall as a passer and consistently puts his team in a position to win games. The one column he drastically improved in was rushing yards, going from 420 in 2020 to 763 in 2021. The Bills seem to recognize that isn't sustainable and know that they cannot risk him getting badly injured, so they have they will have him run less this season to try and protect him. However, as head coach Sean McDermott said this past March, "[T]he one thing we will never take from Josh is his competitive nature and spirit. So, he's gonna do it when he's gonna do it." Allen will continue to threaten defenses with his legs and keep them guessing when he leaves the pocket. While he will not hit 700-plus yards this year, he will still get plenty of rushing yards.
With the loss of Mitch Trubisky to Pittsburgh, the Bills had a backup quarterback hole to fill, and traded a seventh-round pick to Cleveland for Case Keenum and signed Matt Barkley. Both quarterbacks will have a shot to hold Josh Allen's clipboard and keep his seat warm if he gets hurt, though Keenum is the favorite. Not only is he one of the higher-paid backups in the NFL, he played well in two wins for the Browns last season, once against the New England Patriots and once against the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, neither team being a pushover. Barkley was Allen's backup from 2018 to 2020 before bouncing around the league last season, getting jerseys from Tennessee, Carolina, and Atlanta without seeing the field. He may know the general system a little more than Keenum, but he is nowhere near as reliable.
While the Bills did select Georgia's James Cook in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Singletary will still carry a good chunk of the load, at least to start the season. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Singletary is coming off his best year yet, having carried the ball 188 times for 870 yards and seven touchdowns, with a per-carry average of 4.6. The Bills have brought back former offensive line coach Aaron Kromer to reboot the blocking schemes on the offensive line, moving to a more zone-blocking scheme than in the last few years. He'll be a ceremonial starter, but there's a strong possibility that Singletary is in a three-back committee
Zack Moss has resurrected his career with the Bills in training camp, and should have a dedicated role, including on short yardage. His ankle injury from 2020 never allowed him to be 100% in 2021, but he has regained his footing and spot in the backfield. Moss could be the starter in 2023 if the team lets Singletary leave in free agency.
While at Georgia, Cook showed a bit of everything - speed, agility, pass-catching ability - and if he has a good camp, should take over the role of pass-catching back, although his pass protection is questionable, which could limit the size of his role in his rookie year. Where that leaves Duke Johnson Jr who was brought in as a pass-catching specialist? Johnson is capable of more than just catching the ball, though, as evidenced by his 22-107-2 stat line against the Jets in Week 15. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem consistent enough to be totally trustworthy, and The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia thinks he may not even be a lock to make the roster - and that was before the arrival of Cook. Add in his tiny deal, and Johnson seems to have as much downside as upside. After seeing a solid but unspectacular 112 carries for 481 yards in his rookie year. Taiwan Jones was brought back on a one-year contract but saw no carries in the two years he has been with the Bills and is merely a special teams contributor.
In case someone didn't get the memo that Stefon Diggs is a critical piece to the Bills' offensive success, a four-year, $104 million extension that keeps him in Buffalo through 2027 should be the final note they need. Since arriving in Buffalo and hooking up with Josh Allen, Diggs has totaled 2760 yards, 18 touchdowns on 230 receptions and 330 targets. He has amassed nine games of 100+ yards and a 69% catch percentage. While he did lay an egg in the Bills' Divisional Round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, his presence opened things up for Gabriel Davis, who totaled an eye-popping 201 yards and four touchdowns on eight catches. If Davis continues to develop, Diggs will find plenty of room to move and should easily make his fifth straight 1,000+ yard season in a row.]With Cole Beasley gone, Isaiah McKenzie has had a strong summer and should pick up most of the slot duties, but there are several receivers behind him who could step up if he falters, including Cook. Jamison Crowder is the most prominent name behind McKenzie, but he has done little to stand out since joining the team.
The team took Shakir in the fifth round this year and is very high on him. Expect him to be the slot receiver in 2023 and perhaps get more work this year as the season goes on. Marquez Stevenson missed the first 11 games due to a foot injury during the preseason, and the rookie never got much of a chance to crack the lineup after that, making him an unknown commodity. The former sixth-round pick has plenty of speed and was a dynamic playmaker in college, and the Bills are hoping to see some of that in an NFL game this year. Isaiah Hodgins was a sixth-round pick in 2020 but missed the whole year with a shoulder injury and then was released in training camp last August. Hodgins has good hands and was productive in college but has yet to show anything in the NFL. Tanner Gentry was on the practice squad last year and has bounced around since entering the NFL in 2017. He is really just a camp body and is unlikely to have an impact on the offense.
Dawson Knox's touchdown numbers exploded last season, leaping up to 9 from just 3 in 2020 and 2 in his rookie season of 2019. It's hard to read how likely that is to repeat. He was Josh Allen's favorite red-zone target last season, but with slot receiver Jamison Crowder in the house and Isaiah McKenzie champing at the bit for more work, will that continue? We may know more if the team locks Knox up with a long-term contract during camp this summer. If they do, it's a good sign that they will continue to use him as much as possible.
- LT Dion Dawkins
- LG Rodger Saffold
- C Mitch Morse
- RG Ryan Bates
- RT Spencer Brown
- Cody Ford, Ike Boettger, David Quessenberry
Left tackle Dion Dawkins made his first Pro Bowl appearance last season. He and right tackle Spencer Brown form effective pass-protecting bookends. Center Mitch Morse will have veteran help to his left, as former Pro Bowl guard Rodger Saffold joined the team this offseason from Tennessee. Right guard Ryan Bates has impressed coaches, and the team retained him after Chicago signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet. This line grades about top 15 before the season but will be a top-10 group should Saffold stay healthy.
Bass is going off of the board as one of the first few kickers taken in some drafts. While he did finish as a top-10 scorer in points, the Bills don't give him as many opportunities from 40+ yards as other kickers, which hurts him in leagues that score field goals by distance. He is attached to one of the best offenses in the league and should be in the top 10 at the position again, but that probably isn't worth taking him at ADP.
With over 100 career returns, Isaiah McKenzie is one of the most experienced return specialists in the league today. He's a capable kickoff returner, though he's more natural fielding punts. James Cook could have most or all of this role if the team decides to lighten McKenzie's special teams load in light of his larger role on offense.
With over 100 career returns, Isaiah McKenzie is one of the most experienced return specialists in the league today. He's a capable kickoff returner, though he's more natural fielding punts. Khalil Shakir could have most or all of this role if the team decides to lighten McKenzie's special teams load in light of his larger role on offense.
The Bills team defense was a smashing success last year, finishing in the top five in most formats and No. 1 in leagues that score points and yards allowed. They tied for third in takeaways, just outside of the top 10 in sacks, and #1 in points and yards allowed. The Bills also had only one D/ST touchdown, a fluky stat that is likely to go up by at least one or two this year. The additions of Von Miller in free agency could take the defense to a new level, and they will get back shutdown corner TreDavious White, who suffered a torn ACL on Thanksgiving. They should go first off of the board among team defenses in most drafts or soon after if they are not the top defense chosen. The season opens with a tough matchup against the Rams, but the Bills team defense is one of the few set-it-and-forget options.
Despite investing multiple high picks at the defensive end position over the past two years, the Bills made a big splash in free agency with the addition of Von Miller. While he has played as a 3-4 outside linebacker throughout his career, he's coming off a dominant playoff run with the Rams and remains an elite pass rusher at 33 years of age. He should provide a clear upgrade over Jerry Hughes, play a large percentage of snaps, and help make things easier for the players around him. Ed Oliver has often played better than his numbers indicated, but he appeared to turn a corner late in 2021 and could finally be poised for a breakout year. He's been held back at times by the team due to a limited workload or being forced to play out of position, but the team picked up his fifth-year option. Miller's presence could help unlock his potential. DaQuan Jones is a nine-year veteran who has shown some flashes of fantasy relevance in the past but is primarily a good support player who is likely to handle more of a run-stuffing role after the loss of Harrison Phillips. Last year's first-round pick Gregory Rousseau has clear upside as a pass-rusher but often had trouble generating pressure as a rookie.
The Bills brought back some familiar faces in Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips, who will provide quality depth. A.J. Epenesa and Carlos Basham Jr are both former second-round picks with untapped potential who will get a chance to earn more playing time. Tim Settle was an underutilized player in Washington who hopes to earn a larger role in Buffalo after signing a two-year contract.
There isn't a whole lot of mystery with the Bills linebackers as Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds are two of the best coverage linebackers in the league and likely to handle a full-time role. Matt Milano hasn't posted huge tackle numbers in the past but often makes up for it with his ability as a blitzer and overall playmaking skills. The one knock against him has been durability. He has missed time in the past four seasons. Edmunds is a talented former 1st-round pick who excels in coverage but has been inconsistent against the run. He's still very young at 24 years old with 4 years of experience and has a lot to play for with free agency approaching in 2023.
With the release of A.J. Klein in a cap-saving move, there is an opening for someone to fill his role but the Bills were one of several teams who spent far more time in nickel than their base package. Terrell Bernard is an undersized and athletic rookie third-round pick who may not be an ideal fit to replace Klein but could offer long-term upside. Tyrel Dodson and Andre Smith are veteran backups, while Tyler Matakevich is a core special teams player.
- CB Dane Jackson, CB Siran Neal, CB Cam Lewis, CB Christian Benford [R], S Jaquan Johnson, S Damar Hamlin, S Josh Thomas
This could potentially be one of the best secondaries in the league, led by a dominant safety tandem and an All Pro corner in TreDavious White. Jordan Poyer has emerged as an elite fantasy safety during his time in Buffalo, but he's entering the last year of his contract and could be a holdout risk as he tries to get an extension. Micah Hyde excels at preventing big plays in the secondary, but that sometimes prevents him from showing up consistently on the box scores, so his fantasy value is hindered. White is a rare corner who posts above-average tackle and interception numbers at the position, but he sometimes suffers from shutting down his assignment too thoroughly. He's returning from a torn ACL suffered last year, so he may not be ready for a full-time role in week 1. The biggest wild card here is the other cornerback spot, which will likely wind up with this year's 1st-round pick Kaiir Elam. He is a great athlete who figures to show some growing pains and figures to be a popular target of opposing quarterbacks. Nickel back Taron Johnson plays close to a full-time role and is one of the most productive tacklers at the position in the league.
Dane Jackson had an opportunity to start last year and proved capable as a zone defender but is somewhat limited. Siran Neal provides additional depth inside as more of a big nickel player who can help against the run or against heavier formations. Jaquan Johnson has not played much but has shown well whenever he's been given an opportunity.