Where do the 2020 offensive weapons rank in Bills history?

How talented is the offense that general manager Brandon Beane has built in 2020?

Louie DiBiase
June 24, 2020 - 2:29 am

The Buffalo Bills have made an extensive effort to surround quarterback Josh Allen with all the weapons he needs to reach the potential the organization saw in him when they selected him seventh overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. 

Signing two veteran wide receivers in John Brown and Cole Beasley, as well as drafting running back Devin Singletary and tight end Dawson Knox in the 2019 offseason helped Allen take big strides in Year 2, leading the Bills to a playoff appearance after a 10-6 season. 

General manager Brandon Beane was sure to continue improving the offense in 2020, trading for a true No. 1 wide receiver in Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings, as well as drafting another versatile running back in Zack Moss. 

The potential of the offensive weapons in 2020 is higher than it has ever been in the Beane-Sean McDermott era, but just how talented is it compared to other offenses in franchise history? How does it rank alongside those units from purley a talent standpoint? Does it crack the top-five?

 

1.) Four Falls offense (1990s) 

  • QB - Jim Kelly
  • RB - Thurman Thomas, Kenneth Davis
  • WR - Andre Reed, James Lofton, Don Beebe
  • TE - Pete Metzelaars 

The obvious top choice.

The Bills' "K-gun" offense was among the NFL's best, helping to lead Buffalo to four straight Super Bowl appearances. This group of weapons featured four Hall of Famers, as well as the most productive tight end in franchise history. 

To have the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end in the history of the Bills on the same offense? No other era of weapons came close. 

 

2.) The Rex Ryan era (2015-2016)

  • QB - Tyrod Taylor
  • RB - LeSean McCoy
  • WR - Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin, Chris Hogan, Marquise Goodwin
  • TE - Charles Clay 

This offense wasn't as productive as it should have been, but man did it have talent.

Defenses had to worry about all kinds of different threats on the Bills offense. One of the league's most mobile quarterbacks in Tyrod Taylor, an elite, top-three running back in LeSean McCoy, and a plethora of dynamic pass-catching targets. 

Sammy Watkins never met his potential, but he still managed to surpass 900 yards in both seasons under Rex Ryan. Robert Woods has become one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL, while Percy Harvin, Chris Hogan, and Marquise Goodwin all showed on other teams throughout their careers that they could produce with a featured role. 

It didn't come together in Buffalo for a number of reasons, but talent was not one of those reasons.

 

3.) Mularkey's bunch (2004)

  • QB - Drew Bledsoe
  • RB - Willis McGahee, Travis Henry
  • WR - Eric Moulds, Lee Evans

It still bothers Bills fans to this day that the 2004 season did not result in a playoff appearance.

The 2004 offense was seventh in the NFL in total points and points per-game led by Drew Bledsoe under center. Bledsoe got to throw to the second and third all-time leading receivers in franchise history with Eric Moulds and Lee Evans outside. Moulds surpassed 1,000 yards on the year, while Evans had over 800 and nine touchdowns as a rookie. 

Running back Travis Henry missed six games, but his injury issues allowed another rookie running back in Willis McGahee to breakout with 1,128 yards and a 13-touchdown season. 

 

4.) 2020 offense

  • QB - Josh Allen
  • RB - Devin Singletary, Zack Moss
  • WR - Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley
  • TE - Dawson Knox 

The current offensive skill position core slots in at No. 4. If the first- and second-year playmakers in Singletary, Moss, and Knox can make the leap in 2020, the unit has the potential to be higher. 

The receiving corps features a star in Diggs, and two extremely reliable veterans that exceeded expectations in 2019. Brown has been a WR3 throughout the majority of his career, but he finished with over 1,000 yards last year as the Bills' top wide receiver. Beasley was instrumental in improving Allen's short and intermediate accuracy with how consistent he created separation inside. 

Allen has no excuses not to take the leap into stardom in Year 3. Even if he doesn't take that step, his elite rushing ability as a quarterback makes this offense one of the most talented in franchise history. 

 

5.) T.O. and company (2009)

  • QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • RB - Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson
  • WR - Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, Stevie Johnson 

After the top-four weaponries on this list, it gets to be slim pickings. The 2009 offense was bad, finishing 30th in total yards and yards per-game. The offensive line was terrible, and the musical chairs at quarterback was just brutal. 

On paper, however, there was some pretty solid talent at running back and wide receiver.

Both positions had good veteran duos with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson in the backfield, while Terrell Owens and Lee Evans lined up outside. 

Stevie Johnson was a rookie that didn't contribute much on offense, but he would develop into one of the best route runners the Bills have ever had. 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @DiBiaseLOE

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