The Buffalo Bills’ long-awaited playoff appearance

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The Buffalo Bills’ long-awaited playoff appearance

Messaggioda liny195 » 19/10/2019, 7:52

might not have been so short-lived had their coaching staff played the percentages and not a hunch in their 10-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. On first-and-goal from the Jaguars 1 Authentic Thomas Sweeney Jersey , coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison elected to call a run-pass option instead of asking quarterback Tyrod Taylor to either run it in himself or hand it off to running back LeSean McCoy against one of the most vulnerable run defenses in the playoffs. ”I want a running play,” McCoy said. ”It was a play I was lobbying for the whole time and it didn’t work out …” Instead, Taylor lofted a fade pass toward the left corner of the end zone where Kelvin Benjamin was whistled for offensive pass interference on All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, pushing the Bills back 10 yards. The drive stalled from there and Stephen Haushka’s 31-yard field goal was all the Bills had to show for their 18-play, 71-yard drive that took 8:06, their only decent drive all game. McDermott also botched the end of the first half by calling pass plays on second-and-6 at his 14 (incomplete) and the next down (5-yard completion to Zay Jones in which he was pushed out of bounds). Instead of taking a knee and heading to the locker room with a 3-0 lead, the Bills gave the Jaguars the ball back with enough time to get into field goal range and score and gain some momentum heading into the locker room. The Bills’ curious play call, however, paled in contrast to the series of odd calls by referee Jeff Triplette’s playoff crew in Kansas City, where the Tennessee Titans overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to shock the Chiefs 22-21. ”Horrible way to start the playoffs,” tweeted Mike Pereira , the former NFL officiating chief turned Fox sports analyst. ”I hate to say it, but this was not a good performance by the crew. Teams and fans deserve better.” A day later, Pereira praised both Tony Corrente’s crew in New Orleans and John Hussey’s crew in Jacksonville, adding, ”Yesterday is a memory. I feel bad for Jeff Triplette. He is a great man who was part of a crew that did not have a good game. I feel bad that he is retiring under this cloud.” After Marcus Mariota caught his own deflected pass for a touchdown Saturday, Triplette explained that the Titans quarterback was an eligible receiver because he had lined up in the shotgun formation rather than under center. There is no such rule in the NFL. Whenever a defensive player deflects a pass, every offensive player is allowed to catch the ricochet, including the quarterback and it matters not where he lined up when the play began. Then, there was the very quick whistle that negated a fumble recovery by Justin Houston after fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson sacked Mariota in the second quarter. Mariota fumbled a split-second after contact, but Triplette said the QB’s forward progress had been stopped before the fumble. Forward progress is usually called when a running back is stopped and defenders are piling on him or several defenders drape a quarterback. Hardly ever is it applied when a QB is going to the ground on initial contact by a single defender. As a judgment call, Chiefs coach Andy Reid was helpless to throw his red challenge flag, and Ryan Succop kicked a field goal on the next play. ”The defender hit him and he was driving him back,” Triplette said after the game. The officials had one more gaffe in them Thomas Sweeney Jersey Boys , one that was corrected on replay review. The crew initially called a fumble on Titans running back Derrick Henry late in the fourth quarter, signaling touchdown when Johnson scooped up the ball and rumbled into the end zone as fireworks lit up the sky. The replays showed he was down before the ball came loose. Before wild-card weekend began, there were several notable calls concerning the Cincinnati Bengals. Bills fans giddy over Buffalo ending the longest playoff drought in North American pro sports made a surge in donations to Andy Dalton’s foundation , their way of thanking the Bengals QB for his role in the Bills’ first invitation to the postseason party in 17 years. Dalton’s foundation received more than $300,000 in donations after the Bengals beat the Ravens 31-27 in the regular-season finale when Dalton threw a 49-yard TD pass with 44 seconds left to eliminate Baltimore and open a spot for Buffalo. ”I think I’m the hottest guy in Buffalo right now,” Dalton said. While the Bills’ long streak of playoff futility is over, the Bengals’ streak continues. They haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history. They’ve lost all seven of their playoff games since that season, including an NFL-record five straight first-round defeats from 2011-15. The Bengals missed out on the playoffs for a second straight season, going 7-9. They won their last two games, knocking the Lions and Ravens out of the playoff race. That was enough for owner Mike Brown to give coach Marvin Lewis a two-year extension and two more chances to try to get the Bengals that playoff victory that has eluded him for 15 seasons. Lewis has the second-longest active coaching tenure in the NFL, behind only Bill Belichick’s 18 seasons with New England. Unlike Belichick, who has won five Super Bowls and made two other appearances in the title game, Lewis is 0-7 in the playoffs, the worst such coaching record in NFL history. In Denver, John Elway thought long and hard about canning coach Vance Joseph after a 5-11 debut but decided to stick with him. However, Joseph fired a half dozen assistants, saying it was time to change the culture ”so we could get back to pushing our players to be the best that they can be.” All six of the fired coaches directed rookies who underperformed in 2017, so they’re the ones shouldering the blame for Elway’s so-far dismal draft class. Elway said at his season-ending news conference he’s not perfect and always striving to learn, but he took a jab at a reporter , suggesting that when he finally has this front office football job perfected, he’ll retire and go into radio because then he’ll be a fellow know-it-all. — Heading into the 2019 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills have 15 players with expiring contracts. Those 15 free agents have varying ability to test the free market, and two of those players have already announced their retirement from football. With nearly $84 million in free salary cap space at present Infant Thomas Sweeney Jersey , the Bills definitely have financial flexibility for the first time in a few years. With plenty of positions in need of upgrading, that financial flexibility will be tested quickly. Of the Bills’ free agents, which should the team consider bringing back into the fold? Often, re-signing players becomes an off-season priority; however, on a 6-10 team, it’s possible that general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott will want to go in a different direction at multiple positions. Even with that in mind, the Bills do have a few free agents worth re-signing.Here is an informal ranking of those 15 players who hit free agency this off-season.The Not-Quite-Free AgentsDE Eddie YarbroughLS Reid FergusonBoth of the aforementioned players are exclusive-rights free agents (ERFA), meaning that they only become free agents if the Bills choose to non-tender them. Given the fact that the tender is equivalent to the league-minimum salary for the player’s age, it’s rare that teams don’t tender their own ERFAs, as they at least serve to fill rosters and offer good competition in training camp. Both Yarbrough and Ferguson offer more than that, and while Yarbrough’s job is one that might be up for grabs, Ferguson is safe. Both should be tendered contract offers, which they will then have to sign.CB Lafayette PittsP Matt DarrTE Logan ThomasThese three are restricted free agents (RFA), which is a bit different than an ERFA. Restricted free agents are players with exactly three years of NFL service time (service time is at least six games on a 53-man roster; practice squad time does not count). These players can be tendered contracts by their teams, and if they choose to sign a deal with another team, their former club has the right to match the deal or let them go. If the player leaves his old team, then draft-pick compensation goes from the player’s new squad to his old one.There are three levels of tenders for restricted free agents. A first-round tender (estimated at $4.429 million by means that the player’s new team gives his old one a first-round pick in exchange for signing him. A second-round tender ($3.11 million) and an original-round tender ($2.035 million) mean what their names suggest, as well.Given the level of production, or lack thereof, from all three players, offering even an original-round tender seems wasteful on Buffalo’s part. Pitts is a solid special-teams player, but he isn’t worth $2 million, and since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent, there would be no draft pick compensation coming to Buffalo if he were to sign elsewhere. The same goes for Matt Darr Thomas Sweeney Jersey Draft , who was pretty dreadful in a short stint in Buffalo. Logan Thomas was initially drafted in the fourth round as a quarterback, but I doubt that a team would forfeit a fourth-round pick for him as a tight end, and I don’t think the Bills should pay him $2 million to be the team’s third tight end. All three of these players should be elsewhere in 2019.As a note of clarification, Spotrac lists Logan Thomas as an unrestricted free agent, but we believe this to be an error. Thomas has only appeared on a game roster in three seasons—2014, 2017, and 2018—so he is not unrestricted, even though he has technically been in the NFL since the 2014 NFL season. He spent 2015 and 2016 on practice squads (with the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, and Bills) or inactive on game days (with the Dolphins in 2015 and the Bills in 2016), but did not accrue enough time in either season to add an extra year to his service time.Moving OnCB Vontae DavisSpotrac still lists him with the Bills, which makes—(In Vontae’s honor, I quit halfway through writing that sentence. I just didn’t think I could write it to my full capability. I hope you’ll understand. Meanwhile, I will look to capitalize on it via FanDuel).G-C Ryan GroyG John MillerT Jordan MillsYes, I’m suggesting plenty of turnover with the offensive line, a group that usually functions best when playing as a cohesive unit. That cohesion takes time to build, so advocating for so much change may seem foolish. However, there is one thing more important than cohesion, and that’s talent. Buffalo needs a serious upgrade up front, and none of these three played well enough in 2018 to justify coming back in 2019. Mills has started 48 consecutive games at right tackle for Buffalo (49 if you include the Wild Card playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last year), but he has never graded out as better than average. He struggles in pass protection, often losing against quicker rushers on the edge, and he was part of a unit that saw a massive dip in rushing effectiveness this season. Miller lost his starting job last season to Vladimir Ducasse, only to gain a starting gig this year thanks to Richie Incognito’s release. After a terrible rookie season Thomas Sweeney NFL Jersey , Miller bounced back to have a solid second year. His third and fourth seasons have been plagued by inconsistency. It’s time for Buffalo to move on.Groy played well in relief of Eric Wood during the 2016 season, well enough to earn a two-year contract extension after the Los Angeles Rams signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet. Buffalo matched the deal and used Groy as a backup. He was far less effective this season in relief of the injured Russell Bodine than he was playing in Wood’s place. I expect that the Bills will allow the veteran to leave this year.WR Deonte ThompsonBrought back mid-season for his third stint with the Bills, Thompson was ineffective when in the lineup, catching only three of ten targets on the year. The 30-year old receiver could not crack the lineup when it was full of veterans like Andre Holmes and Kelvin Benjamin, and when the team decided to go young at the position, it was clear that Thompson is not in the team’s future plans.Think About ItRB Taiwan JonesThe special-teams captain suffered a gruesome injury in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and he was placed on injured reserve a few weeks later. Jones does little for the team offensively, and his contributions on special teams are replaceable. However, the coverage unit definitely suffered this season, and if the coaching staff decides that his absence was a big part of that, he may come back. We’ll have to wait and see.OL Jeremiah SirlesWith Groy set to depart via free agency, the Bills could make use of a competent, versatile veteran such as Sirles, who slotted in as the team’s sixth offensive lineman for much of the season. Just as Groy was, Sirles is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of offensive lineman who is best in a reserve role. If he can be had for the veteran’s minimum, he would be worth keeping around for next season. If the Bills decide that they’d rather turn the page and go with a full-on youth movement at the position, then Sirles is gone. However, he’s at least worth considering.Sign Me UpDT Jordan PhillipsThe former second-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins was a bust in South Beach. After his release, the Bills claimed him on waivers, and he added depth to an already solid interior defensive line. With veteran Kyle Williams set to retire, retaining Phillips should be a priority. Keeping him with Star Lotulelei and Harrison Phillips would give the Bills a solid trio on the inside, thereby mitigating the need to add to that position via the draft. If the team can spend its draft capital on other areas of greater need (offensive line, wide receiver Thomas Sweeney NFL Draft , tight end), it will be tremendously helpful. Phillips had 19 tackles, two of which went for a loss, and three passes defended. He played no fewer than 17 snaps in a game this season and no more than 34, so he performed fairly well given his limited role. Having Phillips around to maintain a similar snap count into next season would be worth it for the Bills.LB Lorenzo AlexanderThe venerable veteran proved that he still has plenty left in the tank in 2018. Alexander played in all 16 games, combining to make 74 tackles. He also added 6.5 sacks, ten quarterback hits, 11 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, two fumbles forced, nine pass breakups, and two interceptions. He played linebacker, he played on the defensive line, he covered kicks, and he led the locker room. A one-year deal that’s fair for both sides (maybe a slight raise from his 2018 cap number, which was $3.6 million) should be sufficient to keep one of Buffalo’s defensive leaders in the mix. He’s definitely worth it, and he wants to be back. Management wants him back, as well. Make it happen, One Bills Drive!...Pretty Please?DT Kyle WilliamsAh, we can dream. Good luck in retirement, Meatball—thank you for representing the organization in a top-notch way for 13 seasons, and thank you for giving your all. As a fan, it was a joy to watch your career!

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