1 - What’s the biggest question for Bills heading into OTAs?
The next phase of the NFL season is upon us and after months of free-agent additions and subtractions and draft preparation nearly the entire team is set to appear and being playing football again. Bleacher Report identified the biggest OTA-related question to each organization as Phase 3 of OTAs begins.
So, the question that needs answering is how much progress has Josh Allen made?
Allen will look to make a statement now that he’s surrounded by a new cast as the Bills kick off OTAs this week.
The Bills are giving him as much support as possible. After a splashy offseason from the front office, Allen now has two intriguing security blankets in slot receiver Cole Beasley and tight end Tyler Kroft, a deep threat in outside receiver John Brown and a retooled offensive line featuring highly touted newbies Mitch Morse and Cody Ford.
Allen's chemistry with those new weapons will be worth watching, as will any mechanical adjustments stemming from his first full offseason as a pro.
Allen was thrown into the NFL with not much help as a rookie. He took snaps with the second-team for the majority of the offseason and wasn’t able to develop as much chemistry with the rest of the group. But, that also led to the connection that Allen and Robert Foster had in the latter half of the season.
Allen and Brian Daboll now have a full offseason to work together and figure out the offense with all its new pieces. Allen had concerns about his accuracy last year, but hopefully better protection in the pocket will lead to his improvement.
2 - O-line named one of NFL’s most underrated units
The Ringer put together a list of seven NFL units that are flying under the radar or packing loads of potential heading into 2019. Through free-agency acquisitions, rookie additions and the development curve of young players the Bills offensive line was identified as one of the most underrated.
Last season the Bills offensive line finished 28th in pressure rate and gave up 41 sacks to opposing teams last season. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott made it a priority to fix that unit over the offseason.
Buffalo added new starting center Mitch Morse and starting-caliber talent in Quinton Spain, Jon Feliciano, Ty Nsekhe, LaAdrain Waddle and Spencer Long. These new additions plus Dion Dawkins and Wyatt Teller gives the Bills multiple potential starting lineups and an incredible amount of depth and flexibility, writes The Ringer.
The Bills took it a step further in the draft, though, and snatched up Oklahoma tackle/guard Cody Ford when he shockingly fell into the second round. Ford’s a mountain of a man with light feet and a nasty temperament; he’s a perfect fit for the smashmouth, physical identity the Bills are building and has day-one starting potential at either guard or tackle.
The starting lineup for the offensive line has yet to be set, but it should be able to better protect Josh Allen and open holes in the run game.
3 - Matt Milano’s year two improvement
Despite a season cut short from injury, Matt Milano’s grades improved significantly according to Pro Football Focus.
In 2017, Pro Football Focus graded him at a 60.3 which was 58th out of 100 linebackers. This season Milano finished 12th out of 96 qualified linebackers with a 76.2 overall grade. Milano’s snap count also increased from 450 to 741.
This past season, Milano allowed 27 catches on 44 targets for 285 yards and two touchdowns to go with three interceptions and an additional four pass breakups. Opposing quarterbacks only had a 67.0 passer rating when targeting him which was the third lowest allowed by the 98 linebackers who spent 100 snaps in coverage.