Before training camp begins in late July, these NFL analysts talk about why they are excited about Buffalo's chances for success in 2020.
1. NFL Network's Steve Mariucci thinks Josh Allen has a lot going for him
Out of all the quarterbacks from Josh Allen's 2018 draft class, NFL Network’s Steve Mariucci thinks Allen is ready to take a leap in his third season due to his supporting cast
"I think the Bills have the best defense, first of all," Mariucci explained. "That really helps Josh. I think outside of Lamar Jackson, he's probably the most athletic guy we're talking about in terms of escaping, extending plays, running with the ball, making first downs with his legs and all of that. In his third year, adding weapons like Diggs. I like their running backs — Zack Moss is a good player from Utah. It will be a nice 1-2 punch with Devin Singletary and Yeldon. He just has a lot of things going for him. I think they're all going to take a leap forward. Hopefully he is what everybody expects and he becomes the franchise quarterback for a long time."
2. NFL Network's Brian Baldinger on how Josh Allen will improve his accuracy
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger says improved accuracy from Allen alongside a true No. 1 receiver will help the team win more games this season.
"First of all he made a big jump between the first year and the second year, I think a big part of the jump was what they did around him," Baldinger said. "I think adding John Brown and Cole Beasley, you can't deny the affect that both players had on the offense. They were No. 1 and No. 2 in receiving and they both caught six touchdown passes from Josh last year. Now if you add a true No. 1 receiver, I don't think John Brown or Cole Beasley are true No. 1 receivers, Stefon Diggs is. You have a guy that can beat most man coverage, that's what he's going to be asked to do. He's going to go up against Stephon Gilmore and the league's best corners week in week out. He's going to be asked to beat those guys, and he's going to take coverage with him which is going to open up things for other guys. I think building around him is paramount for Josh. I think they understand that and have continued to do that.
"Ultimately, Josh Allen has to become more accurate. The deep ball accuracy has been missing. We all know he has a cannon for an arm but either not take as many deep shots as he has or connect on a few more, I think that would be a big part of his success. I don't want to take any of his aggressiveness away from running with the football. He ran for nine touchdowns last year. I don't want him to take any of the aggressiveness away. I think he's going to find out as seasons go on and games go on that run less and throw more. I think everybody kind of learns from that."
3. The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia thinks Buffalo will be better against man coverage
The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia did a deep dive into Buffalo’s stats from last season and found 10 things that every football nerd should know about the Bills. In the article, Kapadia outlined the Bills struggled most against man coverage last season ranking 27th . Kapadia does think Buffalo has reason for optimism this season because of receiver Stefon Diggs' skillset versus man coverage.
"They did struggle against man coverage," Kapadia said. "Specifically that's important in the AFC because if you look at the teams they are going to have to beat to make some noise in the playoffs it's going to be the Ravens and the Patriots, those are two teams that play a lot of man coverage. I think a lot of it really is this is where Stefon Diggs can have a huge impact on the Bills offense. He is so good in a number of ways against man coverage. He's going to create space against opposing cornerbacks, you mention those contested catches and that's true. There's also going to be other situations where he's just going to be open and be one of the best route runners in the NFL."
"I thought John Brown was one of the most underrated players in the NFL, certainly one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL last year we know he can beat man coverage, Cole Beasley can do that in the slot," Kapadia explained. "Dawson Knox I'm sure for Bills fans was kind of a frustrating player. He's a fascinating player who can make some plays, obviously he had an issue with those drops last year. If that trends in the right direction there really are a lot of pieces around Josh Allen to help him be better against man coverage."
4. Around the NFL's Gregg Rosenthal sees an upgrade in Buffalo's offensive weapons
Due to general manager Brandon Beane's ability to find talented players, Around the NFL's Gregg Rosenthal believes the Bills will see improvement in Allen's third season.
"It's hard to find skill players in the NFL," Rosenthal said. "I think they've done a good job, I like that the offensive line has some continuity too. If you look at it compared to two or three years ago, it's very improved too. That's a weapon for Josh Allen. I like what they've done. Not saying he has the best weapons in the entire league, but they're average or better than average and that's a big upgrade from when they started with him."
5. GM Brandon Beane + HC Sean McDermott's vision is paying off
Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are entering their fourth year together in Buffalo. Rosenthal says the two are reaping the benefits of what they started when they began the rebuild of the Bills.
"For the most part, this is their vision," Rosenthal said. "It's impressive to be able to do that. They're a fast and smart team. If they can do it again, it's tough a lot obviously riding on Josh Allen but to me they look like a team that's built for the long run. I've watched teams that I think are like that fall apart too often to just assume that will happen. They have a lot of good young talent that you think they would be in the mix and very competitive for the long run and not just this year."
Kapadia agrees with Rosenthal, adding the Bills roster looks pretty complete heading into the season.
"When you look at it, there's talent in really every area you can look at," Kapadia said. "I think Josh Allen is really set up to succeed with five offensive linemen returning. As you mentioned the defense we know has been very good over the past few years. They haven't had any, what I would call, major losses. It's a complete team. I think they've done a good job. Now it's just a matter of what is the quarterback feeling, how much better can they get this year in 2020."
The question remaining, can Allen take the correct steps forward in his third season?