27 Jan Stromme’s Offseason Takes: Buffalo Bills Clean House
Well, I hope Bills Mafia had as much fun with the Rex Ryan era as Rex had with Bills Mafia.
After two underwhelming years of finishing in the bottom half of the AFC East under Buddy’s boys, the Pegula family decided that enough was enough. As soon as Rex and Rob fixed that god damn hole in the drywall, they cleaned out their desks and moved on with their lives.
After two years of the boisterously out-spoken Rex Ryan, the Bills hired former Carolina Panthers DC Sean McDermott to run their squad. McDermott has spent the last six seasons calling plays in Charlotte.
One of the many criticisms of Rex Ryan during his time in Buffalo, was an inconsistency on the defensive side of the ball. In 2014, the year before Ryan was hired, the Bills were amongst the league leaders in sacks. The defense fell to the bottom in 2015, then rebounded to 8th in sacks in 2016.
While there’s some inconsistencies with this team’s defense from a game-to-game, year-to-yea
r standpoint, there’s no denying the talent this defense possesses. Veteran NT Kyle Williams had a solid bounce-back season, star DT Marcell Dareus had another good year and rookie Adolphus Washington showed some real promise this season. The Bills still have LB Jerry Hughes, a tremendous pass rusher. Their first two picks in 2016, Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland showed tremendous promise at the collegiate level and in the preseason last year before injuries hindered their rookie campaigns. The secondary, made up of a couple solid corners in Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore, both guys have a tremendous amount of talent. Long story short, the Bills have some defensive talent.
McDermott had some defensive talent in Carolina as well. Josh Norman, Luke Kuechley, Kawaan Short, Star Lotulelei, and Kony Ealy were all drafted and developed under McDermott.
McDemott is a Linebackers coach by trade, that was his position in Philadelphia before being promoted to DC in 2008.
Some critics will point to the suspect secondary play of the Panthers this season as a potential Achilles heal of a Sean McDermott defense. Some would argue the loss of Josh Norman hurt that defense more than the team expected and personally, I’m a member of that camp. The personnel expected to shoulder the load of an All-Pro corner was not nearly up to the task. Personally, I don’t think the sub-par DB play will follow McDermott to Western New York. But, even if some of that bad North Carolina pass defense voodoo does happen to rub-off on Darby, Gilmore and Co., newly-hired DC Leslie Frazier (an experienced DB coach by trade) is sure to straighten things out.
The team also hired former Broncos OC Rick Dennison. Dennison spent the last two seasons with the team, including their Super Bowl 50 victory. However, we all know how much the offense played a role in that run. With the QB question still very much in the air, it’s tough to know what this offense will look like going forward.
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