Sal's 2016 Bills superlatives

Sal Capaccio
September 08, 2016 - 7:50 pm

Photo: USA Today Sports


By Sal Capaccio

Twitter @SalSports


Some superlatives for the 2016 Buffalo Bills:


Most important player


QB Tyrod Taylor

As with any team in the NFL, losing their starting quarterback for any length of time will virtually kill their season. For the Bills, losing Taylor for even three or four games could doom them. With the game in London last year still fresh in fans' memories, we think we know what to expect if EJ Manuel has to play.  And Cardale Jones is nowhere near ready to assume a starting role in any situation. 



Player who needs to step up more from last year


LB Preston Brown


The third year player has to return to his rookie year form after his play dropped off last season. He was caught between the two defenses the team was trying to run, seemed like he didn't trust the scheme, and had his head spinning to the point where he wasn't even calling the signals at the end of the season.  A year later, with the defense and its communication more streamlined, Brown should be much more comfortable both physically in the scheme and as a leader of the unit. They will need him to be.



Deepest position


Running Back


Just take a look at what this team did last year in the run game and consider they did not have LeSean McCoy for four games, and even his back up Karlos Williams missed 5 games. Mike Gillislee came in and did a tremendous job when called upon. Now, they've added Reggie Bush to the mix and Jonathan Williams can be a nice complement, as well. Bottom line is, with the way Greg Roman runs his blocking schemes, anyone in this group can succeed and give the Bills a chance to run the ball effectively. 



Position with least depth




This goes for both outside and inside, where the starting group looks OK, but a lot of question marks behind them. Jerry Hughes is obviously a very good player. Lorenzo Alexander had a nice camp and preseason. Preston and Zach Brown can complement each other well on the inside. But beyond that starting four, there's a lot to wonder about. Brandon Spikes is a good run stopper, but is very limited against the passing game.  He's a nice sub–package guy to have, but otherwise at these spots?  Lerentee McCray, Ramon Humber, Bryson Albright. Those are the names. I guarantee some Bills fans just asked themselves "who?" while reading that. Exactly. 



Most important newcomer


Assistant DB coach Ed Reed


Reed has already made an impact with his unit as far as their understanding of the defense and their preparation for the season. Safety Duke Williams told me during training camp that having Reed as his position coach is “like having a cheat code in a video game.” Aaron Williams doesn't leave his side and praises him every chance he gets for what he's learned in the short time he's been around the future Hall of Famer. If this defense is going to get back to a top-10 type range, A big reason why will be because the communication and buy-in is much better, and Reed will have a big part in helping that happen.



Most important newcomer pt II


CB Kevon Seymour


I didn't just want to pick a coach for this and wanted to choose a player, as well, and it's the rookie cornerback. Seymour was impressive from the first day of OTAs. He's got good size, speed, and proved in preseason he can play both outside and inside as the nickel CB. And that is huge for this team and this defense, which will rely upon a lot of man-to-man coverage and will see plenty of spread offenses.  Plus, we all know there will be injuries in the secondary at some point. His ability to play multiple spots will be huge for their depth.



Biggest off-season loss


DE Mario Williams


I know, I know, Bills fans. He quit on his team and it's addition by subtraction. I get it and understand. But he was also a very talented player who could make a big difference for a team that, as of right now, is very thin at the position he plays. Or at least they wanted him to play last year. 



Player with biggest breakout-year potential


TE Charles Clay


It's no secret and even admitted by the team that Taylor has to use the middle of the field more this season so teams can't load up on the outside and force him to an area he's uncomfortable. They've spent a lot of time this off-season working on just that - passes between the hashes. And Clay will be the benefactor of a lot of those, provided Taylor does get better and is committed to using the whole field. Greg Roman has also stated they'd like to get the tight end more involved in the passing game this season. All of that adds up for a possible big year for Clay.



Possible NFL award candidates


DL Adolphus Washington - Defensive Rookie the Year


He will be on the field a lot more than anticipated when he was drafted. And he's had a very good training camp in preseason. When Marcell Dareus comes back from suspension, he and Kyle Williams will command double teams and Washington will be left one-on-one and have a big chance to put up good numbers.



Rex Ryan - Coach of the Year 


I’m only including this because if Ryan actually does get the Bills to the playoffs, after a 16 year drought, he will certainly get plenty of votes.



LeSean McCoy - Offensive Player of the Year 


Shady looked in phenomenal shape and ready to handle a full workload throughout camp and preseason. He will have plenty of chances to touch the ball and will be the focal point of an offense that led the league in rushing and rushing yards per game. If he is close to the league lead, and the team wins, he'll certainly be in this discussion.



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