At 6-8 the Buffalo Bills defeat at the hands of the Washington Redskins officially eliminated them from the playoffs for the 16th consecutive year. It is time to look towards the future rather than dwell on the past after this extremely disappointing season. Even Rex Ryan himself has said some “major changes” are on the way. Here’s three bold predictions for the upcoming offseason.
Bills Release Kyle Williams and Mario Williams
It’s no secret this defense hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations set by Rex Ryan and fans this season. In fact, they have struggled mightily, particularly when it came to getting after the quarterback. Under Mike Pettine and Jim Schwartz, the Bills terrorized opposing quarterbacks, racking up at least 50 sacks in each season. However, this season the team has managed to record just 20 sacks, ranking 30th in the league. It was clear this year was a “wait-and-see-who-fits” kind of year for this defense. With Kyle Williams getting older and not being a good fit for this 3-4 defense it would make sense to move on from him and save approximately $5 million.
Mario Williams has been openly complaining all year about Rex’s stubbornness and problems within the scheme. It should come as no surprise as his usually high sack total is at 4, his worst since his rookie season. They would save about $12.9 million dollars if they released him before the 2016 season. The Bills have to get players who not only fit the scheme, but will buy into the defensive scheme as a whole.
Sign NYJ NT Damon Harrison as UFA
With both Williams on the defensive line gone, the Bills can address this in the draft or through free agency. Considering the money they will save from cutting a few players it would be smart to get a veteran player who knows Rex and his exotic schemes. Damon Harrison has been a stout run defender in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense with the New York Jets, and although he only has 1.5 career sacks, he can take on double teams and allow his teammates to make plays.
Plugging Harrison in at nose tackle would allow Rex to be flexible with Marcell Dareus and play him at either the three or five-technique defensive tackle/end roles, where he can attack opposing offenses.
Bills Draft a Quarterback “early”
Tyrod Taylor has been a fantastic surprise for Buffalo, but he doesn’t make your eyes pop out of your head and say “This is the Guy.” After badly missing on EJ Manuel, Doug Whaley will likely look to acquire a future replacement–or at least a back up plan– as early as the second-round in this year’s draft. If Tyrod flounders in the 2016 season the Bills can have a backup-plan ready and not be in a bad spot without a quarterback.
There are a few guys like Kevin Hogan from Stanford and Christian Hackenberg out of Penn State that might be around when the Bills pick in the second or third round of the draft. From now on, the Bills should just keep drafting guys until they find the “one.”