1. Buffalo’s surprise offseason standout according to ESPN
When you’re entering a secondary that ranked first against the pass last year, your roster spot isn’t guaranteed, especially if you’ve struggled with injuries the first three seasons of your career. But, Kevin Johnson has been a standout so far this offseason, tabbed by ESPN.
The No. 16 overall pick in 2015 was a disappointment in Houston, missing 29 games because of injury over his final three seasons (2016-18). The Bills signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal in March. He has participated in OTAs with the second-team defense but is expected to compete with Levi Wallace and E.J. Gaines for a starting role. Johnson had an interception in an OTA open to reporters and has impressed coach Sean McDermott. "He's gotten his hands on some footballs this spring to this point, which is important for us in terms of taking the ball away," McDermott said.
Levi Wallace still has a hold of his starting spot opposite of Tre’Davious White but it’s unknown if he will be able to hold off Johnson if he continues his high level of play. The key for Johnson this season will be to remain healthy and show why he was drafted as high as he was in 2015.
2. Siran Neal opens up on jersey number change
Siran Neal was a fifth-round draft selection of the Bills in 2018. The second-year player came into the NFL wearing No. 29, but as OTAs and minicamp wrapped up, Neal was wearing a different number this year, No. 33.
“My brother, he died, he got in a car crash right before I got drafted last year,” Neal said to the Buffalo News. “It was pretty hard on me. But I got this number in remembrance of him. He wasn’t really my blood brother, but he’s been my best friend since I was little, so actually growing up, me and him have been through a lot of things.”
Neal’s friend Montrez Doran Brown wore No. 33 in high school and was killed in a single-car accident in May 2017. Brown had a history of trouble with the law, but was found not guilty of all charges and able to live his life freely in October 2016.
Neal was able to switch to No. 33 after the Bills released Chris Ivory in March. E.J. Gaines initially claimed No. 33 but agreed to surrender it to Neal. Gaines will wear No. 26 this season.
Neal changed his Instagram profile picture to one of Brown wearing No. 33 as a child. Neal, who has two daughter’s of his own, stated that Brown taught him the little things about being a father.
Now Neal has a new number and new position. Neal has made a transition to nickel cornerback and made progress in the new role this offseason.
3. This Bills offense was named top-10 in NFL history
In today’s NFL, offense is king. Four thousand passing yards in a season used to be the exception and now it’s considered the norm.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport took on the task of naming the top 10 offenses in NFL history. Here’s his criteria.
However, judging offensive prowess based solely on stats like total yards and points scored didn't seem entirely fair. There are other considerations, such as the players on that offense, the scheme involved and the impact it had on the offenses that came after it.
Coming in at number 10, are the 1990 Buffalo Bills.
The 1990 Bills kicked off a four-year run of both dominance and heartbreak unlike any the league has seen before or since. They made the first of four straight trips to the Super Bowl, all of which ended in losses.
Most of the credit for that run goes to Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and the "K-Gun."
The "K-Gun" isn't hard to describe: You just take the concept of huddling in between plays and toss it in a dumpster. The Bills weren't the first team to implement no-huddle concepts—in the NFL, most credit Sam Wyche and the Cincinnati Bengals for that. And they weren't the last, as plenty of NFL teams use tempo and the "sugar huddle" even now to prevent defenses from subbing personnel and catching their breath.
But the Bills were the first team to go no-huddle every play of every game. It was revolutionary. Its impact is still being felt in the league almost 30 years later.
The Bills offense in 1990 ranked sixth in yards per game (329.8), tenth in passing yards (199.8), seventh in rushing yards (130.0), and first in points per game (26.8).
The Bills offense wasn’t prolific yardage wise but kicking off one of the most dominant runs in NFL history is certainly notable.