« M E N U »
 » Showcase Index
TSX Premium Products
 PRODUCT SAMPLES
« NFL »
 » Team Reports
 » Daily Notebook
 » Player News Wire
 » NFL GameScout
 » NFL Game Previews
 » Around The League
 » NFL Column
 
« NFL Draft »
 » Player Rankings
 » NFL Draft Bios
 » NFL Draft Columns
 
« NCAA Football »
 » Team Reports
 » Daily Notebook
 » Game Scout
 » Player News Wire
 » Player News by Pos
 
« MLB »
 » Game Stories
 » Team Reports
 » Daily Notebook
 » Player News Wire
 » MLB Column
 
« NBA »
 » Team Reports
 » Player News Wire
 » NBA Column
 
« NHL »
 » Team Reports
 » Player News Wire
 » NHL Column
 
« NCAA Basketball »
 » Team Reports
 » Daily Notebook
 » March Madness
 
« NASCAR »
 » Series Reports
 » Driver Notes
 
« Golf »
 » Insider Report
 » Tour Rankings
 
 
« Multisport »
 »This Week in History
Buffalo Bills
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Playoff drought is over, Bills can move on

Losing is never a good thing, but the Buffalo Bills really couldn't be disappointed by their first-round knockout in the AFC wild-card game at Jacksonville because, in this rare instance, getting to the playoffs was just as important as winning the game.

The Bills desperately needed to end the franchise's 17-year playoff drought because it was hanging over the team, even though most of the players had very little to do with it as only a handful have been in Buffalo three years or more. It was a blight on the organization, and now they can put it behind them and move forward with a front-office structure and coaching staff that all seems to be aligned.

There are big decisions to come, most notably at quarterback where the Bills have to figure out what to do with Tyrod Taylor - bring him back or release him and find his successor, be it in the draft or free agency. The popular theory is that he will be cut, the Bills will try to pick a quarterback in the first round, and also acquire a veteran who could perhaps be the placeholder until the rookie is ready.

Offensively, the Bills have been held back by their remedial passing game, and Taylor had a large role in that for three years. However, he's not solely to blame because, particularly this year, he had almost no help from a lackluster group of wide receivers, and an offensive coordinator who didn't always put him in the best situations to succeed.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Bills turned almost their entire front office and coaching staff over, and with everyone working from the same playbook, the Bills finally looked like a cohesive organization, with a true vision for the future. Head coach Sean McDermott changed the culture, general manager Brandon Beane made several moves to clean up the roster, and he also positioned the Bills for a critical 2018 draft. The bonus was that the Bills ended their playoff drought while planning for the future.

WHAT WENT WRONG: After a 5-2 start, the Bills suffered through a damaging three-game midseason losing streak when the defense was utterly horrible. Beyond those three games, what held the Bills back the most was an offense that could not finish drives, and never scared anyone in the passing game. Buffalo ranked 31st in passing, after ranking 28th and 30th the previous two years. The common denominator was Tyrod Taylor.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: Wide receiver Zay Jones, a second-round pick who set the all-time college football record for pass receptions, struggled mightily as a rookie and fell far below expectations. He caught only 27 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns, and had four games where he didn't catch a single pass.

MOST SURPRISING PLAYER: Free safety Jordan Poyer came to Buffalo as an unheralded free agent from Cleveland, coming off a serious injury in 2016. All he did was become a starter from day one and was one of the most important and productive players on the Buffalo defense. He finished with 95 tackles, five interceptions, one fumble recovery, 13 passes defensed, and two sacks.

ASSISTANT COACH ON THE RISE: Defensive backs coach Gill Byrd took a secondary that was entirely new - every player, starter or backup - and molded it into a unit that was a big part of the defense's improvement in 2017. He helped turn rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White into a possible multiple Pro-Bowl player in years to come.


 NFL Team, Player News
AFC EAST
NFC EAST
Bills  Team   Player Cowboys  Team   Player
Dolphins  Team  Player Giants  Team  Player
Patriots  Team  Player Eagles  Team  Player
Jets  Team  Player Redskins  Team  Player
AFC NORTH
NFC NORTH
Ravens  Team  Player Bears  Team  Player
Bengals  Team  Player Lions  Team  Player
Browns  Team  Player Packers  Team  Player
Steelers  Team  Player Vikings  Team  Player
AFC SOUTH
NFC SOUTH
Texans  Team  Player Falcons  Team  Player
Colts  Team  Player Panthers  Team  Player
Jaguars  Team  Player Saints  Team  Player
Titans  Team  Player Bucs  Team  Player
AFC WEST
NFC WEST
Broncos  Team  Player Cardinals  Team  Player
Chiefs  Team  Player Rams  Team  Player
Raiders  Team  Player 49ers  Team  Player
Chargers  Team  Player Seahawks  Team  Player