Here’s the Bills news of note for May 23rd
**1 - BR ranks Bills backfield high
One of Bleacher Report’s featured columnists, Doug Farrar, recently wrote an article breaking down every NFL teams’ backfield. The Bills have led the NFL in rushing the past two seasons respectively under lead back, LeSean McCoy.
Here is what Farrar had to say about the unit:
#5. Buffalo Bills
*Starter: LeSean McCoy
*Depth: Jonathan Williams, Joe Banyard, Cedric O'Neal
Fullbacks: Patrick DiMarco, Mike Tolbert
The Bills led the NFL with 2,630 rushing yards in 2016, and though they lost high-potential running back Mike Gillislee to the Patriots in an avoidable restricted free-agent snafu, the backfield is in good shape—and has a few new cogs.
Of course, it all revolves around McCoy, who gained 1,267 yards and averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2016. McCoy can run with power, but his primary attribute is that he's as slippery, agile and hard to tackle as any back since Barry Sanders. When he's behind a good line, as the Bills have, he's tough to deal with. McCoy's 2017 salary-cap charge of $8.875 million is high for his position, but at age 28, he's still worth it as long as he's healthy—though he has missed time to hamstring injuries in each of the last two seasons.
Williams will replace Gillislee as the second halfback, and the 2016 fifth-round pick from Arkansas has potential as a power back. But the real interest in the Bills backfield will be how they deploy both DiMarco and Tolbert, two veteran fullbacks with wildly different characteristics. With the Falcons, DiMarco was a great blocker, but he would also flex from the backfield to the formation as a receiver everywhere from the slot to out wide.
Tolbert, who signed with the Bills for the veteran minimum in March, is more of a traditional fullback: He blows open rushing lanes for other backs and has some red-zone ability. It's clear that new head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison want to feature power in the run game.
And when we're talking Bills rushers, don't forget quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who finished second on the team behind McCoy with 580 ground yards. Dennison has all kinds of interesting options at his disposa
2 - Hiring of Beane is well received
The John Murphy Show recently hosted Tyler Dunne, who is now a reporter for Bleacher Report. Dunne gave his league-wide perspective as to what he thinks about the hiring of GM Brandon Beane.
“I think its music to the ears when you hear what the guy has had to say this far. When you talk to people who know him. Really around the league, people see some real clear direction from the Bills,” Dunne said. “That hasn’t always been the case. Over the past two decades, there have been questions of who exactly is in charge? Not having a GM, the tendency to want to make a big splash – give T.O. a key to the city, bring back Marv Levy, hire Rex Ryan.
“There is some real long-term vision here. I think that everything that what Brandon Beane has said, what Sean McDermott has said, seems like everyone is in lock step. We will see when they start stacking these drafts together, acquiring free agents together, how everything comes together. Let alone, who’s the long term answer at QB. I think right now it is very encouraging to really see where this franchise is headed”
3 - UDFA Lindsey has connection with Eric Wood
The Bills recently signed undrafted free agent linebacker, Jacob Lindsey, to come in and have a shot to contribute on this defense. Lindsey went to Harvard University where he played over 30 career games and contributed 185 tackles.
Although their connection wasn’t at Harvard, Lindsey and Eric Wood’s roots go back to their high school days. Wood and Lindsey both attended Elder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Yeah, I grew up watching him and they won a couple state titles back in the day. To finally be on a team with him, it’s just something I never thought would happen.” Lindsey said eagerly.
Lindsey recently appeared on the John Murphy Show to discuss their relationship.
“I’ve met him a couple of times. He had a younger brother who was just a year older than me so I’ve known him. We went to the same grade school, Catholic Parish, same with Kyle Rudolph as well. We kind of grew up in the same neighborhood,” Lindsey said. “So I’ve been in touch with him, shot him a text the other day saying ‘Hey I got a workout in a couple days’. I think he gave me some good publicity with maybe the staff, talked me up a bit. He’s been great. He’s been there helping with me things, getting adjusted to the NFL and the Buffalo Bills.”