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Trentwannabe

How good can this defense be this year?

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Bills 2017 Defensive Statistics:
26th in Yds/G
18th in PA/G
13th in Pass Yds/G
29th in Rush Yds/G
29th in Sacks
T-6th in INT

Bills 2018 Defensive Statistics:
2nd in Yds/G
18th in PA/G
1st in Pass Yds/G
16th in Rush Yds/G
26th in Sacks
T-7th in INT

The Bills improved in every category from 2017 to 2018 except for INT which went from 18 in year one, to 16 last year. The addition of Star and Edmunds helped the run defense immensely and year two for the MLB should only mean good things for him and Buffalo. The Bills will start the same 3 out of 4 in the secondary for the third straight year barring injury. That familiarity with one another and with the same system in place, could make the Bills already top of the league pass defense even more dangerous. The Bills will likely add another two players to the DL in the draft later this month which will help with depth and potentially even more if they add a pro bowl caliber starter in Ed Oliver. The LB corps is likely the biggest question mark because of the health of Milano and the age of Alexander. However, if Milano returns healthy as expected and Zo continues to define time and is used correctly, this unit is still stout. The Bills could also see a boost from second year players who gained a lot of experience last year in DT Harrison Phillips, CB Levi Wallace and CB Taron Johnson. 

The following is a list of players who are draft targets for the Bills (according to visits/scouted games etc.) and where they would fit and why. 

CB Byron Murphy - A new named linked to the Bills. Murphy is the best pure zone corner in the draft and would be a great fit in the McFrazier defense. Tre, Murphy, Johnson and Wallace would easily be the best young secondary in the league.

DT Ed Oliver - Longtime Bill Kyle Williams is gone and Jordan Phillips is on just a one year deal. Oliver would step in from day 1 at the 3tech position and help dominate the line of scrimmage. He may be the last piece for the Bills to become a truly dominant defense. 

LB Blake Cashman -  Think Matt Milano. Cashman may only ever be a special teams demon and quality depth guy, but he is a process guy through and through and would help solidify the LB spot.

LB Curtis Akins - Not someone I am overly familiar with but the Bills worked him out and had dinner with him. Looks to translate to a SLB in the NFL and potential replacement for ZO.

DE Joe Jackson - It is no question the DE position is in flux for the Bills. Jackson could be looked at in the mid rounds to come in and fight for time with Lawson and Murphy.

S Mike Edwards - Solid tackeler and team guy who the Bills watched closely at his Pro day. Could be brought in to battle with Neal for the last S spot.

So I ask you, just how good can this defense be in year 3? It has its leaders, its depth and its playmakers. In year 3 in Carolina the Panthers went 12-4 and had the 2 ranked defense in regards to PA/G. There could be one or two more star pieces added in a few weeks that could really put them over the top and with an offense that should at least be competent, the defense should be able to stay aggressive and not be on the field all day. Can this defense lead us to a winning record? The playoffs? A playoff win? Lets hear your thoughts!

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We set ourselves up perfectly after free agency to go BPA in a defensively loaded draft class. Two areas we need to improve upon is turnovers and consistent pressures resulting in sacks (you could say the pressure will affect the number of turnovers we get). Hughes did get after the QB but as a whole the defense had issues finishing and ending up with the sack. We all know and love Ed Oliver, who could help with that inside pressure we're going to miss from Kyle Williams. I got my eyes on Christian Wilkins, Montez Sweat or Brian Burns if Oliver is gone. Those are the four names I think we have highest on our board for 9. 

I don't see how we're worse than last year. If Allen takes the expected steps forward with a rebuilt offense, this team will be in great shape. 

Don't think I've ever been this excited about the team. It all depends on Allen but I'm actually optimistic. Feels weird.

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4 hours ago, NickChowaniec said:

We set ourselves up perfectly after free agency to go BPA in a defensively loaded draft class. Two areas we need to improve upon is turnovers and consistent pressures resulting in sacks (you could say the pressure will affect the number of turnovers we get). Hughes did get after the QB but as a whole the defense had issues finishing and ending up with the sack. We all know and love Ed Oliver, who could help with that inside pressure we're going to miss from Kyle Williams. I got my eyes on Christian Wilkins, Montez Sweat or Brian Burns if Oliver is gone. Those are the four names I think we have highest on our board for 9. 

I don't see how we're worse than last year. If Allen takes the expected steps forward with a rebuilt offense, this team will be in great shape. 

Don't think I've ever been this excited about the team. It all depends on Allen but I'm actually optimistic. Feels weird.

I'm interested to see what philosophy Bean and McDermott implore. Do they stack the secondary and allow that to create pressure from lesser guys. Or do they seek out that difference maker on the edge which in turn will cause turnovers as well.  

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1 hour ago, Trentwannabe said:

I'm interested to see what philosophy Bean and McDermott implore. Do they stack the secondary and allow that to create pressure from lesser guys. Or do they seek out that difference maker on the edge which in turn will cause turnovers as well.  

Yeah for sure. I personally lean the way of DE but we'll soon find out. I think the likes of Allen and Sweat could be gone by the time we pick which would leave us without a great edge option at #9. 

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16 hours ago, Trentwannabe said:

I'm interested to see what philosophy Bean and McDermott implore. Do they stack the secondary and allow that to create pressure from lesser guys. Or do they seek out that difference maker on the edge which in turn will cause turnovers as well.  

the problem is with McDermott defense is he never blitzes, he blitzed a small amount ever since being DC in Carolina. He has had Hughes drop back in coverage but they desperately need someone opposite to hughes and that will dictate how aggressive the defense can be. Shaq and Murphy arent doing the trick and can be good against the run or in rotation but they desperately need an aggressive type player like Clowney/Lawrence on the other side. Sweat seems like the realistic option in the draft, and think he can he the aggressive guy they will need. Burns needs to beef up some more and his work ethic has been solid so far but to trade down to land him would be ideal and not reaching at 9.

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I really think that we look to add a DE at 9 but with Sweat and Allen gone we trade back and get BPA while adding draft picks.  I think we get our DT in round 2 looking right at you Tillary ND.  To answer your ? I think our D gets better in year 3 I'm not a huge believer in Josh Allen ( I hope I'm wrong) but our Offense has to get 1st downs and move the chains and get some points for us to be a playoff team.   I don't see that happening but here is to a make or break year for Allen because the QB class is looking good in 2020.  Bottom line is we need to find out if Allen is the answer this season I know it's only year two but he needs to improve.   I think our D will rank #1 this season.  Also if it were me I'd go Oliver at 9 but I think they believe that DT is deep this year and they could get a starter in round 2.  

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3 hours ago, Buffalo Fan said:

I really think that we look to add a DE at 9 but with Sweat and Allen gone we trade back and get BPA while adding draft picks.  I think we get our DT in round 2 looking right at you Tillary ND.  To answer your ? I think our D gets better in year 3 I'm not a huge believer in Josh Allen ( I hope I'm wrong) but our Offense has to get 1st downs and move the chains and get some points for us to be a playoff team.   I don't see that happening but here is to a make or break year for Allen because the QB class is looking good in 2020.  Bottom line is we need to find out if Allen is the answer this season I know it's only year two but he needs to improve.   I think our D will rank #1 this season.  Also if it were me I'd go Oliver at 9 but I think they believe that DT is deep this year and they could get a starter in round 2.  

I don’t think year 2 should be make or break for any QB, unless he just completely falls on his face.

 

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14 hours ago, Buffalo Fan said:

I really think that we look to add a DE at 9 but with Sweat and Allen gone we trade back and get BPA while adding draft picks.  I think we get our DT in round 2 looking right at you Tillary ND.  To answer your ? I think our D gets better in year 3 I'm not a huge believer in Josh Allen ( I hope I'm wrong) but our Offense has to get 1st downs and move the chains and get some points for us to be a playoff team.   I don't see that happening but here is to a make or break year for Allen because the QB class is looking good in 2020.  Bottom line is we need to find out if Allen is the answer this season I know it's only year two but he needs to improve.   I think our D will rank #1 this season.  Also if it were me I'd go Oliver at 9 but I think they believe that DT is deep this year and they could get a starter in round 2.  

No way they give up on Allen after 2019 season unless he has a serious injury. Beane and McDermott are locked in with this guy and their fate at keeping a job long term is going to be based on Josh Allen. Organizations who quickly give up on a qb and spend a high draft pick if not moving up will prolong the building process and will not get enough time for the owners to keep them around. 2020 season is basically going to be either the bills being a playoff contender with Allen as qb or a new GM/HC will be coming in. 4 seasons is enough time to figure out if these are the right guys are not to bring a superbowl contender. 

As for pass rusher I believe they are looking at that and DT, more and more talks about Burns and Wilkins being an option at 9. Both are not huge reaches but will definitely be a bit of a reach as they are projected in the mid teens, if a team like Redskins, Dolphins, Bengals, or Giants (pick 17) are interested in haskins or lock the bills should make a move to trade in to one of those spots and then draft wilkins or burns if Oliver, Sweat and Allen are gone (which I truly believe happens). I also do not like to hear people say that burns is Maybin, they both are the complete opposite and only thing have in common is weight being under 250. Burns has had a solid 3 years at FSU and has been grinding it out his entire life where Maybin was a 1 year, combine wonder. He was very lazy as well. Cover 1 did a great job breaking down some of his film and I recommend checking it out for those who do not think Burns has what it takes at the pro level. He may be a better fit as 3-4 OLB but he can definitely get the job done with his hand in the ground. Also keep in mind Hughes weighs 6 more pounds then him 

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On 4/5/2019 at 12:22 PM, soflbillsfan said:

the problem is with McDermott defense is he never blitzes, he blitzed a small amount ever since being DC in Carolina. He has had Hughes drop back in coverage but they desperately need someone opposite to hughes and that will dictate how aggressive the defense can be. Shaq and Murphy arent doing the trick and can be good against the run or in rotation but they desperately need an aggressive type player like Clowney/Lawrence on the other side. Sweat seems like the realistic option in the draft, and think he can he the aggressive guy they will need. Burns needs to beef up some more and his work ethic has been solid so far but to trade down to land him would be ideal and not reaching at 9.

I agree. But if the Bills can't get their hands on a top Edge player they may buy into the idea of making a QB hold the ball longer by having perfect coverage. If that is the case, I could see Byron Murphy someone they target. 

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It sounds like we are all expected to go defense (which in this draft makes sense) in round 1. Imagine just 2 months ago talking like this. Some of us would have been so mad lol.

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32 minutes ago, Trentwannabe said:

It sounds like we are all expected to go defense (which in this draft makes sense) in round 1. Imagine just 2 months ago talking like this. Some of us would have been so mad lol.

I know. I really liked the thought of Oliver falling to us at #9 but we were not in position to take a defensive player. But that's all changed. Oliver at 9. Irv Smith Jr in 2nd. JJ Arcega Whitehead in 3rd. And use the rest of the draft for depth at aging positions like RB and SLB and maybe even DE. Just so we can get younger and have potential replacements already in our system. 

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To answer my own questions:

Can this defense lead us to a winning record? Yes. I think we finish 9-7 or 10-6.

Can they lead us to the playoffs? I would say yes but I'm not sure 9-7 would cut it this year.

A playoff win? If the Bills make it again, they'll have the team identity to win in January this time around so quite possibly. 

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On 4/5/2019 at 9:22 AM, soflbillsfan said:

the problem is with McDermott defense is he never blitzes, he blitzed a small amount ever since being DC in Carolina. He has had Hughes drop back in coverage but they desperately need someone opposite to hughes and that will dictate how aggressive the defense can be. Shaq and Murphy arent doing the trick and can be good against the run or in rotation but they desperately need an aggressive type player like Clowney/Lawrence on the other side. Sweat seems like the realistic option in the draft, and think he can he the aggressive guy they will need. Burns needs to beef up some more and his work ethic has been solid so far but to trade down to land him would be ideal and not reaching at 9.

 

10 hours ago, Trentwannabe said:

I agree. But if the Bills can't get their hands on a top Edge player they may buy into the idea of making a QB hold the ball longer by having perfect coverage. If that is the case, I could see Byron Murphy someone they target. 

This is my only beef with McDermott. Frankly, in a different era, it wouldn't be a problem, but this is now hardly a league that mostly relies on a running game. It is ridiculous to expect perfect coverage from the hardest defensive position to play on the field! You rush the QB so that the coverage hopefully doesn't break down...and without pressure, it will sooner or later. Proof of this is all those scrambling red zone TD's we've all witnessed in the past where a receiver was running back and forth and finally got open. Even if all of the potential receivers fell down, eventually one of them will get up and get open if we can't get to the QB. I absolutely hate this strategy, but I don't coach that D, so, yes, Murphy makes a ton of sense. Actually, blowing Murphy off in order to pick a DE who will rarely be given an opportunity to get after the QB would be an incredibly stupid move on draft day. Now if we went after a rush DE and actually saw McDermott change his philosophy, that would be one thing. Sadly, what I really expect though is that if we go DE early and he never gets pressure, our fanbase will give McDermott a pass and just claim the kid didn't have the moves to get to the QB in the 1st place...nevermind that that's why we hire coaches!

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14 hours ago, Yibbyl said:

 

This is my only beef with McDermott. Frankly, in a different era, it wouldn't be a problem, but this is now hardly a league that mostly relies on a running game. It is ridiculous to expect perfect coverage from the hardest defensive position to play on the field! You rush the QB so that the coverage hopefully doesn't break down...and without pressure, it will sooner or later. Proof of this is all those scrambling red zone TD's we've all witnessed in the past where a receiver was running back and forth and finally got open. Even if all of the potential receivers fell down, eventually one of them will get up and get open if we can't get to the QB. I absolutely hate this strategy, but I don't coach that D, so, yes, Murphy makes a ton of sense. Actually, blowing Murphy off in order to pick a DE who will rarely be given an opportunity to get after the QB would be an incredibly stupid move on draft day. Now if we went after a rush DE and actually saw McDermott change his philosophy, that would be one thing. Sadly, what I really expect though is that if we go DE early and he never gets pressure, our fanbase will give McDermott a pass and just claim the kid didn't have the moves to get to the QB in the 1st place...nevermind that that's why we hire coaches!

I dont see the bills going for Murphy, you can only have so many DBs on the field and with the break out 2nd half of the season in Levi Wallace and the additions to Ej Gaines and Kevin Johnson I do not buy the bills using the 9th overall or any 1st rd pick on a CB. They do need to build in the trenches longterm. Unfortunately I am no longer buying Oliver being an option, not to say he isnt the top choice that everyone wants im just not expecting him to be available, same goes with White and Sweat. They will go well before the bills do unless they move up to get one. Brian Burns, and Christian Wilkins are the likely options at 9 if they want to go defense specifically in the trenches. Ideally trading back to a QB needy team is the best option, taking a CB in the 1st rd is the bottom 5 positions I would want to go after that early.

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11 hours ago, soflbillsfan said:

I dont see the bills going for Murphy, you can only have so many DBs on the field and with the break out 2nd half of the season in Levi Wallace and the additions to Ej Gaines and Kevin Johnson I do not buy the bills using the 9th overall or any 1st rd pick on a CB. They do need to build in the trenches longterm. Unfortunately I am no longer buying Oliver being an option, not to say he isnt the top choice that everyone wants im just not expecting him to be available, same goes with White and Sweat. They will go well before the bills do unless they move up to get one. Brian Burns, and Christian Wilkins are the likely options at 9 if they want to go defense specifically in the trenches. Ideally trading back to a QB needy team is the best option, taking a CB in the 1st rd is the bottom 5 positions I would want to go after that early.

I wouldn't take Murphy at 9 either, but would snag him if we traded back. Putting Wilkins in the interior makes sense, so I get that. Burns would be skinny if he was a TE, but as a DE (you said trenches) would just be comical. He'll probably end up as a OLB in an odd front...and he'd still be light. I see our options at 9 becoming less and less ideal. I really hope we can trade back.

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