Here's the Bills news of note for March 14th.
1 - Teammates excited for the return of Kyle WilliamsYou could feel the excitement throughout Western New York following the news that longtime Bills defensive tackle, Kyle Williams, would be re-signing with the team for the 2018 season. Fans were left smiling from ear-to-ear in response to Tuesday's announcement, but Williams' fellow teammates were equally ecstatic. !(https://goo.gl/qiMD1M)
A variety of players, from both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, took to Twitter to express their excitement about Williams returning for his 13th season. Lorenzo Alexander, Patrick DiMarco, Jerry Hughes, Jordan Poyer, and many more showed the team's longest-tenured player some love on social media.
Jordan Poyer, a teammate of Williams for one season (2017), was pumped when the Bills announced he'd be back in 2018. He quote tweeted the team’s official account and used emojis praising the move.
Lorenzo Alexander, a fellow Bills captain and teammate of Williams for two years (2016-2017), is excited to wreak havoc with him for another season. In two years, Alexander (15.5) and Williams (8) have combined for 23.5 sacks. Alexander welcomed Williams and his family back to WNY on Twitter by using a bitmoji to express his happiness.
Even players on offense were excited to hear that Williams would be back in the locker room for another year. Fullback Patrick DiMarco, who signed with the Bills via free agency in 2017, was overjoyed to find out he gets to spend his second season with Williams. He posted on Twitter saying, “Glad to have this guy back.”
Another player on the defensive side of the ball who should benefit from Williams' return is defensive end Jerry Hughes. The duo has spent five seasons together (2013-2017) and have racked up some respectable sack totals in the process. In those years, Hughes (35) and Williams (25) have sacked opposing quarterbacks a total of 60 times.
2 - Bills O-Line makes PFF's top-10 **The Buffalo Bills offensive line really turned things around in the second half of the season and established themselves as one of the NFL's top units. In the end, the Bills ranked second in total pressures surrendered (124) and sixth in rushing yards (2,017).
The Bills carried the league's seventh-best offensive line in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. The top-10 teams were: the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints, and the Carolina Panthers.
Here's what PFF had to say about Buffalo's offensive front following their 2017 campaign.
*This was a unit that improved a lot over the second half of the season and eventually finished the regular season with the second-highest pass-blocking efficiency rating (83.0). This was largely due to the improvement in play from left guard Richie Incognito as he allowed just three total pressures - and no sacks or hits - in his last nine games. *
*In addition, rookie left tackle Dion Dawkins replaced Cordy Glenn due to injuries, but he did not disappoint and was actually among the five best left tackles in the league over the second half of the season. Furthermore, this unit was once again among the best in the NFL when it came to helping ball carriers as the Bills' running backs averaged 1.92 yards before contact in 2017, the fourth-most in the league. *
In 2018, the Bills offensive line figures to look noticeably different with center Eric Wood expected to be replaced by Ryan Groy following his career-ending neck injury. Also, the team could potentially make a free agent addition up front.
*3 - ESPN's Yates names notable DTs set to become free agents *Today's the day, at 4 pm teams can officially execute contracts with unrestricted free agents. Due to the depth and talent at defensive tackle, that's one position that should receive a ton of attention.
ESPN NFL Insider, Field Yates, thinks there's some options in this year's free agent market at interior defensive line. He spoke with the Howard Simon show on WGR Sportsradio 550 and mentioned some appealing names at DT.
"There are actually some blue-chip players on the defensive line this year," said Yates. "Sheldon Richardson from the Seattle Seahawks. He's a free agent. I think the team does really want to work hard to keep him around, but you never know. Dontari Poe, who finished this past year with the Atlanta Falcons. [He] had 2.5 sacks, nearly 40 tackles, just 27-years-old, big, physical guy who can play a bunch of snaps. Those are some of the names to keep in mind."
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