Here's the Bills news of note for July 24th.
**1 - Beane, McDermott plan steady dialogue with Pegulas
**At the highest levels of any organization communication is critical. Naturally Bills GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott plan to be in constant contact with owners Terry and Kim Pegula as they work to transform the franchise into a consistent winner. The issue at hand however, is the Pegulas also own a few other sports franchises and businesses besides the Bills. To say the Pegulas are busy is like saying the pope is religious.
But Beane and McDermott are putting plans in place to best inform their owners on anything and everything pertaining to the product on the field, knowing that they still do a bulk of their daily business out of their offices in south Florida.
"We'll set something up during the season that I think Sean and I talked about a little bit depending on what they've got going on and where they're at," said Beane. "If they haven't been in town for the week, we'll set up a call to talk about how the week went and a little about the opponent and what to expect in the game based on who we have available injury-wise and what's going on versus them. Anything that could be changing roster-wise (will also be communicated), but Terry and Kim are better than I realized the day I signed up. That's the God's honest truth.
"Thus far we've communicated when needed. It hasn't been a particular day of the week through this point. I think during the season everything for everybody's schedules are Mondays are this, Tuesdays are this, Wednesdays are this.
"I think we'll pick a day, I would imagine Friday or Saturday to give them a call. I'm sure we'll talk immediately after games, what went right, what went wrong and injury-wise. We'll have fairly regular contact depending on their schedule."
2 - Bills excel in two-back & when trailingAdvanced metrics can slice up an NFL club's performance a countless number of ways to assess effectiveness. Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz decided to crunch the numbers to see what the hidden strengths were on offense and defense for each NFL team from 2016.
For the Bills to no one's surprise the run game was related to Buffalo's offensive strength, but it was a specific personnel grouping that was singled out in the analysis. On defense, where the Bills have largely underachieved the past two years, the strength came in a surprising area.
Here's what Football Outsiders put together on the Bills hidden strengths.
*Offense: Running from two-back sets
The Bills were much better when they had a fullback or tight end in the backfield: 5.7 yards per carry and 24.4 percent DVOA from multi-back sets, compared to 4.6 yards and 7.4 percent DVOA from single-back sets. Fifty-seven percent of the Bills' runs come out of multi-back sets last year, the highest rate in the league. Buffalo and New England were the only teams over 50 percent. Just five years ago, more than half the teams in the league were over 50 percent.
*Defense: Play when trailing
One reason the Bills really weren't blown out until the last week of the season: The defense never let opponents run away with a game. Although the Bills had one of the league's worst defenses overall (27th in DVOA), they ranked third in defense when they were losing by more than a touchdown.*
3 - Hope strong that Dareus can leadDT Marcell Dareus has had some monster seasons in a Buffalo uniform, but the last two seasons have proven trying at times for Dareus to exert his influence on a game in a 3-4 scheme. The hope moving forward is Dareus' play can return to Pro Bowl form in the new 4-3 scheme that stresses getting defensive linemen up the field to put pressure on the quarterback.
GM Brandon Beane is also hopeful that Dareus steps forward in leading the defense and not just with his play.
"Hopefully the new regime, the new culture, the new way of doing things, what you'd like to see is for Marcell to jump on board," said Beane. "And not only do it himself, but he's been in the league long enough where he can lead some others. First of all before you can lead you have to do it yourself. And I'm not just talking about Marcell, that's everybody.
"He's going to be given every opportunity. He's very talented. Where he was drafted, along with how he was paid, he's a talented guy and has shown what he can do. It's up to us to get that out of him and find out what makes him tick. We have to communicate with him and help put him in the best situation. It's a two-way street. It's on us and it's on him.
"I'm looking forward to continuing to get to know him. I've been running 100 miles per hour. I can't say I know him well yet, but he's so talented, you want to see him be the leader of that D-line and that defense at some point."