1 - Wood expresses need for improvement on offense
It was undeniably a memorable run for the Bills, but ultimately inconsistencies on offense stalled out the season. Nobody knows better than Buffalo's center, Eric Wood, who played in 100-percent of the team's offensive snaps this season.
"Yeah we weren't very happy afterwards," he said. "From the guys I talked to, we left a lot out there. That happened to us a good amount this year."
Wood was referencing Buffalo's three-point performance in Sunday's Wild Card game. That was the third time this season the Bills only put up three points on the scoreboard. As you'd expect, they went 0-3 in those games.
In most of the major categories, the Bills offense ranked towards the bottom of the NFL during the regular season. They averaged 176.6 passing yards per game, ranking 31st in the league. As a unit they averaged 302.6 yards per game, putting them at 29th. They posted 18.9 points per game, ranking 22nd. And in the red zone, they had touchdowns on 52.3-percent of their trips, which was 21st in the league.
Buffalo's offense was efficient enough to snap the team's daunting 17-year playoff drought. However, if they want to take the next step, there's going to need to be improvement on that side of the ball.
"We have to be better next year on offense. We know that," said Wood. "Our defense played great this year. They kept us in a lot of games, kept games tight, we were able to put up enough points to get nine wins and get into the playoffs, but ultimately it came back to haunt us on Sunday."
"We just have to be better, myself included," he said. "We have to win individual battles more, play better as a group, and then it happened again on Sunday, when you get down to the red zone against good teams, you have to score touchdowns."
2 - McDermott didn't coach to instigate chippiness
Sunday's playoff game between the Bills and Jaguars was an extremely chippy contest. Enough so, that a Jacksonville player accused a Buffalo player of using a racial slur on the field. Though, Bills General Manager Brandon Beane believes it was a misunderstanding.
Head coach, Sean McDermott, joined the John Murphy Show on Wednesday to give a statement in response to the allegations following the game. He shared if he's heard anything from the NFL on the allegations against Richie Incognito.
"I have not. Brandon is more of the lead on that. I've been working with Derek (Boyko) on that, our PR director," said McDermott. "Overall, just an unfortunate situation. Anytime things like this come up, these are sensitive situations, and just very unfortunate overall."
In wake of this instance, the same Jaguars player who accused Incognito also accused the Bills coaches. He claimed that the offensive line for Buffalo was coached to bait Jacksonville's defensive line with pointed comments, in hopes they'd do something shortsighted and either commit unsportsmanlike conduct penalties or get thrown out of the game.
This seemed very uncharacteristic of McDermott. He commented on that claim while on the John Murphy Show.
"I've heard the reports also of that's what we were coaching or something along those lines. In fact, the real honest truth was what we coached that week was to be poised," said McDermott. "Because we know anytime you're in a playoff game, [it's a] very intense situation. In fact, going against their defense, they were a team that liked to get a little chippy. We felt like it was important for us to address our players and say, 'Listen, let's not beat ourselves.' And so we talked a lot during the week about poise."
3 - Tolbert thinks he can still play
At 32-years-old, and a free agent in 2018, the next step is unknown for Mike Tolbert. The Bills running back has already taken time to think about the future.
"I definitely have. I've got a lot of good football left in me, so we'll see what happens," said Tolbert. "Obviously, I was on a one-year deal here and my contract is up."
In 2017, Tolbert signed a one-year, $980,000 contract with the Bills. He was used sparingly throughout the season, as he was the backup RB to LeSean McCoy.
On the season, Tolbert played a total of 13 games. On the ground, he finished with 70 carries, 262 yards, and one touchdown. This was his fifth-best rushing season of his 10-year career. Through the air, he recorded 15 receptions for 88 yards.
Tolbert's been an extremely valuable leader in the Bills locker room. His timetable in Buffalo is unknown, but in just one year it's a city he's grown accustomed to.
"This is a place that my family has come to love and enjoy," he said. "I love the people, the players, the organization and we'll see what happens."
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