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GM Brandon Beane shares how he plans to turn pain into progress for the Bills

Brandon Beane. Buffalo Bills Week 8 practice, October 27, 2021.   Photo by Bill Wippert
Brandon Beane. Buffalo Bills Week 8 practice, October 27, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

Bills general manager Brandon Beane held his end of the season press conference on Wednesday afternoon where he addressed the end of Sunday's game, reviewed the play of several positions and key players, shared plans for the offseason and more. Like all of Buffalo and Bills Mafia, Beane is still processing the loss to the Chiefs and isn't quite ready to relive the final 13 seconds on film.

"I haven't slept much," Beane shared. "So, I've thought about it a lot. It's painful and I'm still going through it. I haven't watched the film, to be honest with you. I watched a little bit of the last plays, but I can't watch it right now. I'm not in a good spot. But I will review it and we'll learn from it, I promise you that.

"There's a lot of pain in this city and there's a lot of pain in that building over there, and we're going to do everything in our power to not let that happen again."

To avoid another heartbreaking playoff loss next season, the Bills have to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out where they can improve and how that can be done.

"(We are) trying to get us to where we're trying to go as quickly as we can," Bills head coach Sean McDermott said of himself and Beane. "We'll work tirelessly to do that. Go about it the right way. And again, continue to try and develop and improve what we're doing here."

"We're going to assess this roster, which we've started personnel meetings this week with each side of the ball," Beane said. "We've got to first know our own roster before we start looking at other rosters."

The Bills weren't sure they could afford to keep some important pieces last year due to a lower cap because of COVID-19. But, they ended up getting their wish and retained linebacker Matt Milano and guards Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams. This year, the cap number is higher and projected to be at $208.2 million. 

Regardless of how high the number, Beane and his staff will still have tough decisions to make.

"It's not going to be perfect for us, but it's going to be better," Beane said of the cap number. "We'll have to make some moves, but I wouldn't see us being big spenders or anything like that. But we'll definitely look to fill some spots from the outside as well as retain some of our guys."

"We're going to look at everything to improve our football team inside and outside," McDermott said. "That's what you have to do. Even if we were to have accomplished our goal of winning the world championship this year, you need to do it the same way. Just bringing back your own players, or just looking outside, I don't think is the best way to approach any season, especially after this season and where we're trying to go as a team moving forward."

So, when they look to free agency and the draft to fill spots this offseason, what will Beane and McDermott have their eyes on?

The Bills are in a great place with lots of talent returning next year, but there will inevitably be some new faces. According to Beane, there's no order right now of what area needs to be addressed first but we know Beane and McDermott love a strong offensive and defensive line with depth.

"I'm always going to put resources in the front," Beane said. "That's just how I believe it should be built. Don't ever be shocked if you see us trying to add there, free agency or the draft at any point."

They won't only look at the front because Beane shared it wouldn't have mattered if the Bills beat the Chiefs 50-0, he still would want to improve in as many areas as possible. 

The eagerness to grow across the board every season comes from the goal they've had since 2017 – win the Super Bowl. They've gotten close but still haven't made it to the biggest game yet.

"I want to get better everywhere, I really do," Beane said. "I'm going to look hard. I'm going to look back at the pass rush, too. What pieces will be leaving, and what do we have to fill in there. I'm going to start there on the defense. I thought our secondary played really well. But with Tre'Davious' (White) injury, Levi (Wallace) as a free agent, we're going to have to look there. We've got Tremaine (Edmunds) and Matt (Milano) back. We've got a lot of guys in that linebacker room that are all going to be back. And then offensively, we'll definitely start at looking at the o-line and see what that's going to look like. The o-line changed a lot, we know for various reasons – injury, not playing well, Covid, whatever it was – some of the guys that kind of thought we would roll with all year long, it didn't turn out that way. And that happens. But not a specific position. Dawson (Knox) did really well. Maybe some depth there to compete with him. But I'm going to look at every position."

Taking the time to look at every position means there's a lot of work ahead for Beane and his scouting department. While the players begin to reset and relax, the scouting department's schedule is going to get busier and busier with free agency in March and the NFL Draft at the end of April.  

The scouting department welcomes the crazy schedule, especially this year knowing a lot of the offseason events will be more normal than last year because of COVID-19. Beane and his staff think a return to in-person rather than Zoom will lead to better evaluation.

"It's definitely a plus to be able to get up next to these guys and get around them," Beane shared. "Even when you're not interviewing them, you have people kind of keeping an eye on them at the combine and keeping an eye on them in between practices if it's at the East-West Shrine or the Senior Bowl. So that exposure will help us for sure."

From taking the time to evaluate their roster to finding the best talent on the outside, the Bills are blessed with a general manager and a head coach who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the Super Bowl without compromising their culture.

"We've got to continue to stay hungry and work our tails off and prepare and handle things the right way," McDermott said. "I'm confident in who we are, the direction of this organization, the people that we have, that we'll eventually get to where we're trying to get to. That's what winners do, and this is a winning organization."

Beane and McDermott know it's taken a lot of time and hard work to get the current roster they have and even though the loss is still fresh and painful, they believe there's reason to be excited about the future.

"I know we're down," Beane said. "I know I expressed my hurt earlier for losing that game, but we can smile today that we have Josh Allen."

Other notes from Brandon Beane's press conference

More depth in the QB room

Buffalo will likely look to add to the depth of their quarterback room because Mitchell Trubisky's joined the Bills on a one-year deal. Even though Trubisky didn't see much action, Beane was very pleased with how the QB added to the room.

"He was outstanding," Beane said of Trubisky. "For a guy that wants to play, I worried in-season if he was going to start getting the itch, like, 'Man, I want to get out there.' And even someone called us at the trade deadline asking about him. He was such a great fit for us I couldn't part with him knowing the team we had."

Beane added if there's a chance, they would love to have him back next year.

"If anybody calls me about Mitch on another team I'm going to give him a great recommendation," Beane said. "And I've told him and his agent, if he doesn't get what he wants, we've got a spot for him."

If Trubisky ends up elsewhere, Beane knows it's important to find a replacement in free agency or the draft knowing the type of football Josh Allen plays.

"The only time I ever get on Josh is for taking unnecessary hits," Beane said. "That's his play style, that's why we love him, but a backup quarterback is very important knowing the way he plays the game."

A fifth-year option for Ed Oliver?

When evaluating the defensive line as a whole, Beane pointed to third-year defensive tackle Ed Oliver as someone who was an important piece to the group based on his production.

"I thought he was our best, most consistent d-lineman all year from start to finish," Beane said. "And I think he trended up all year. The game slowed down for Ed this year. And he was a huge factor in our success."

Beane shared Oliver separated himself because of how he got after the quarterback.

"Ed really helped the back end with his disruption, having the quarterback get the ball out, or at least get him off the spot, having to throw on the move turns [a play] into an incompletion or an interception."

With Oliver approaching his fourth season, here's what Beane had to say about exercising his fifth-year option.

"I haven't done it, but you've heard me rave about him, so yeah."

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