Since a 9-7 finish in the 2014 season, the Bills have gotten a game worse in each of the following seasons. This year Rex Ryan is out and Sean McDermott is in, which means a new scheme and a new culture in Buffalo.
Last year: 7-9
Subtractions: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Stephon Gilmore, CB Ronald Darby, K Dan Carpenter
Additions: WR Jordan Matthews, FB Patrick DiMarco, FB Mike Tolbert, K Stephen Hauschka
Notable Rookies: CB TreDavious White, WR Zay Jones, OL Dion Dawkins
Analysis: There was a lot of turnover for the Buffalo Bills this offseason. Blustery Rex Ryan and his hybrid defensive scheme are replaced by stoic Sean McDermott and his Jim Johnson-influenced 4-3 defense. Sammy Watkins, who was the team’s most talented if not the most productive wide receiver, is headed west to the Los Angeles Rams. He’ll be replaced by Jordan Matthews, who they got from the Eagles along with a 3rd round draft pick in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby. Their other starting corner from last year, Stephon Gilmore, signed with the Patriots this offseason. Those are some significant downgrades at key positions. Coach McDermott is a defensive-minded coach and he’s got a lot to work with on that side of the ball. New Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison will work to polish Tyrod Taylor’s pocket passing while instituting his own outside zone run scheme. Incumbent running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy will be running a lot out of the I-formation this season, as the team signed not one but two fullbacks. This team has averaged eight wins over the last three seasons and with a new coach you can expect more of the same. For the Bills though, this season is more about building for the future. This offseason’s trades have situated the Bills with two picks in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft, offering Coach McDermott a golden opportunity to shape the team in his image.