1 - LeSean McCoy: I’ll bounce back
Though the unit made strides toward the end of the season, Buffalo’s offense largely struggled throughout the 2018 campaign.
The team finished 30th in total offense, picking up an average of just 298.2 yards per game. The Bills lacked a reliable rushing attack throughout the majority of the season, finishing with less than 100 net rushing yards in six games. Though the entire backfield struggled to produce, the majority of the focus was on six-time Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy, who rushed for a career-low 514 yards in 2018.
McCoy would be the first person to tell you that he struggled last season. During a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, the 30-year-old discussed his production.
“It was a tough year, it really was. Especially for myself,” McCoy said. “You talk about the age, but I can still play. Since I’ve been with the Bills, I’ve been a Pro Bowler. Not an alternate, none of this getting picked because somebody didn’t want to play. You look at our team at the beginning of the year, and we had lost a lot.”
Though McCoy largely took ownership of his own shortcomings, he noted the changes made to the Bills’ offensive line in the 2017 offseason. Buffalo lost Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, and Cordy Glenn within a three-month span, and the team’s revamped offensive line didn’t find their way until the second half of the 2018 season.
Though he’s coming off a poor statistical season, McCoy is still confident in his own ability. The six-time 1,000-yard rusher feels as though Buffalo’s front office will improve the roster in the offseason, something that will allow the team to compete for a playoff spot next season.
“I didn’t play well this year also,” McCoy said. “We had four starting quarterbacks in 16 games. Our superstar rookie [Josh Allen] got hurt a couple of games. It was a tough year overall. But the good thing is, I’ll bounce back. I always do. I think the guys in our front office, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, they’ll get the right guys, and we’ll get it together.
“We’re not far at all. I’ve been a dog since I’ve been eight-years old man, so I’ll bounce back. We’ll have this same talk next year, and hopefully we’ll be in the Bowl and the playoffs making some noise.”
2 - PFF analyst on how Bills should build around Josh Allen
Building sustainable success is something that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane are currently trying to do in Buffalo.
With their prospective franchise quarterback in place, constructing a competitive offense around Josh Allen will be a primary focus for the two executives this offseason. According to former NFL quarterback and PFF analyst Zac Robinson, Buffalo’s offense should be predicated on the ground game, as a strong rushing attack will open up play-action opportunities for Allen.
“You can set up an offense around Josh Allen. I think it’s going to go through the running game,” Robinson said during a recent appearance on WGR550’s Schopp and the Bulldog. “I think you use some of his running ability, you don’t want to overdo it certainly. But you want a heavy play-action deep shot game to take advantage of what he can do down the field.
“I think he’s got such a great feel in the pocket to slide and make some guys miss within the pocket and let some stuff develop down the field. I think that’s the number one thing, is you’ve got to get some guys on the outside that can just flat go.”
Robinson was impressed with what he saw from Allen in his rookie campaign. He was also pleased with what he saw from offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, a coach who Robinson believes is evolving.
“I like Daboll a lot,” Daboll said. “He did a great job of mixing those core concepts that he’s had from New England and has taken across the NFL, and then he’s staying up with the times with the jet sweeps, the tight bunch formations to give your receivers two-way go’s to kind of free them up on the outside. He’s very much kind of blending his core concepts and what he’s had with the drop back pass game with the kind of new age, play action, Los Angeles Rams style of stuff.”
3 - This Senior Bowl prospect is ‘perfect’ for the Bills
Draft season has officially commenced.
Buffalo’s front office and coaching staff have spent the past week in Mobile, AL, watching and interacting with the draft-eligible prospects taking part in the Senior Bowl. Not only does the annual event allow coaches and executives to scout college seniors up close, but it’s also their first opportunity to communicate with prospects, getting to know them as people rather than players.
The Senior Bowl has been a valuable tool for the Bills in the past, as nine out of the 14 players that they’ve selected in the past two drafts participated in the event. Buffalo’s brass places great stock in the Senior Bowl, and according to The Draft Network’s Joe Marino, there’s one player at this year’s event who would be a perfect addition to the Bills’ roster. In a recent article highlighting one “perfect” Senior Bowl prospect for every team, Marino identified Oklahoma lineman Ben Powers as a potential fit in Buffalo.
“The loss of Eric Wood and Richie Incognito was felt heavily last season and Buffalo has a host of free agent decisions to make with its offensive line,” Marino wrote. “A 35-game starter for Oklahoma, Powers is a people-mover in the run game and features a stout anchor in pass protection. That’s what Buffalo needs on the interior.”
A potential day-two pick, Powers anchored an Oklahoma offensive line that was one of the best in the country last season. According to Pro Football Focus, Powers allowed just six quarterback pressures on nearly 400 pass-blocking snaps in 2018.