Will the Buffalo Bills get a jump on the New England Patriots? With Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension, it is conceivable that the Jimmy Garoppolo-led Patriots could be 1-3 or even 0-4. Garoppolo respectfully shares the same alma mater as Tony Romo, Eastern Illinois University. In the last two years, Garoppolo has thrown 31 times, completing 20 for 188 yards and one touchdown. This year he should perform at a higher level. Garoppolo will practice heavily with the first team during practice and the preseason.
Logical thinking says that Brady comes back and shreds every defense. If the Patriots lose three or more games, Brady will have to return and go 10-2, which we all know he is totally capable of. If the Bills get a jump on the Patriots, Brady will return with a lot of stress. Pressure either creates diamonds or busts pipes.
Will the Buffalo Bills Get a Jump on the New England Patriots?
Tyrod Taylor threw for 3,035 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. He also filled up the other section of the stat sheet, rushing for 568 yards. His yardage statistics are closer to Cam Newton than many would expect, as Newton had 636 yards rushing and 3,837 yards passing. The statistical comparisons end there, as Cam threw for 35 passing touchdowns and added 10 rushing touchdowns. However, last year was Taylor’s first season with the Bills and his first as a starting quarterback in the NFL. There are a lot of reasons to be excited that Taylor will take advantage of the jump and excel to be a top ten quarterback in 2016.
Last year was the Bills first season under head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Before coming to Buffalo, Roman was offensive coordinator for Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers during their glory years. Seeing how the 49ers offense sputtered in 2015 without Roman, the second season under Roman should be much improved in Buffalo.
Shady McCoy Has to Bounce Back
LeSean McCoy had a terrible season last year. He played in 12 games, rushing for 895 yards on 203 carries with three touchdowns. The red flags have to be going up all around McCoy. The Bills thought they would be getting that guy who carried the rock 314 and 312 times for 1,607 and 1,319 yards respectively in his last two years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering into his eighth year, McCoy might just be enduring the decline so many running backs face as father time and all of those gruesome hits catch up to them.
With the investigation of the bar fight behind him, hopefully McCoy can regain that fire and quickness that helped him become one of the best at the position. Don’t expect Ryan to spend too much time waiting on McCoy to gain his past form. Talented backups Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee are waiting in the wings and licking their chops at the opportunity to show that their 5.6 and 5.7 yards per carry are real. When they got their chance to run the ball, they both had averages above McCoy’s 4.4 yards per carry. The Bills also took Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. Watch out Shady, the new guys are looking to get a jump on you.
A Rex Ryan Defense Ranked 19th?
Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes co-led the team in sacks at five, contributing to a total of 21 sacks by the entire Bills defense. 21 sacks only bettered Atlanta as the second-worst total in the league. The secondary did a decent job recording the sixth-most interceptions. Upon further review, that is remarkable considering the lack of quarterback pressure. That being said, Buffalo had a knockout draft addressing their biggest weakness. By drafting Clemson’s Shaq Lawson, Alabama’s Reggie Ragland and Ohio State’s Adolphus Washington with their first three picks, they instantly improved their defensive front seven. The off-season moves allow the Ryan led defense to get a jump on opposing quarterbacks. Furthermore, Mario Williams’ departure will boost morale.
The Outlook for 2016
The defense should develop into one of the best in the league, but the Bills will only be as good as their offense is. Sammy Watkins has proven to be a top flight wide receiver, but he is coming off an injury. If he starts the year banged up and has a slow start, that could make the offense stall. They are going to be extremely dependent on Robert Woods to get a jump on opposing defensive backs. Woods has the capability of being a number one receiver, but he lacks the consistency necessary to score points.
Charles Clay is very dependable in the middle of the field, but he needs to be more effective in the red zone. Everything was brand new in Buffalo last year. Let’s see how they have gelled and grown after a full season. In order for the Bills to make the playoffs, they will have to win at least three out of the first four games and get a jump on the New England Patriots.