Boy Green sat down with the BuffaLowDown to discuss the upcoming matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets.
I‘m not sure this is what the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills were hoping for when they were set to face off prior to the season. Both teams are closer to the top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft than the postseason.
There are injuries on both sides and currently, it looks like the quarterback matchup will be Nathan Peterman against Josh McCown.
NFL … you’re welcome.
So to get a better understanding of everything that’s going on, Boy Green spoke with Daniel Hahn from the BuffaLowDown and the co-host of “Two Bills in a Pod,” a weekly Buffalo Bills podcast. Here are the five burning questions leading into this matchup:
1. Playoffs in 2017 and dumpster fire in 2018, what happened?
What happened was an NFL leading $58 million in dead salary cap, which is more than the dead cap of the second and third leading teams combined. This was the result of a commitment by management and the coaches to build this team for the long term. They made the playoffs in 2017 but didn’t really have a “great” team. The Bills were bottom 20 in both offense and defense last season. They traded away former top draft picks, Marcel Dareus, Sammy Watkins, and Ronald Darby.
Those trades contribute to the dead cap situation they have today, but we get a bit impatient since they overcame those losses last year. This multi-year “fix the cap” strategy has left the Bills extremely thin in talent and playmakers, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
You can’t call it tanking, because there isn’t a specific player the Bills would be tanking for, they have their quarterback and it’s truly a “fix the cap” strategy. It’s a hard reality to accept, but if the Bills coaching staff and management prepared ownership properly, then it’s a strategy that won’t force the Bills to let their solid players walk in free agency. The poor cap in the past has led to a lot of ex-Bills in the NFL that are showing how good they can be, such as Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Stephon Gilmore, and Nigel Bradham.
That being the primary point, but doesn’t excuse the Bills entirely.
The cap situation made their margin for error extremely small, but they have made mistakes along the way. They mismanaged the QB situation, and haven’t proven to have figured out the offensive coordinator yet. Sean McDermott arrived in Buffalo two years ago with a notebook of guys he would hire to coach with him, and there are talented/experienced assistants across the entire team.
Yet, you can never convince me that in that binder was Rick Dennison or Brian Daboll. They seem like the best they could get for now, as they made the decision during this cap struggle, to fortify the defense, and worry about the offense later.
2. What is the status of Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen and when will he be back?
Josh Allen was injured a little over three weeks ago and has missed the last three games between the Colts, Patriots, and Bears. Good news on the injury front for the Bills is what could have been a two year UCL rehab for Josh Allen, didn’t require surgery, and he’s back to practice this week. It looks like Allen is practicing as if he wants to play this week against the Jets. However, with the long-term approach the Bills are taking, it may be smarter to wait one more week with the bye coming after this Sunday.
The other piece of good news for Bills fans is that Josh Allen has played better than advertised. Great arm, and athleticism, but he also has shown good decision making, leadership, and toughness. What he will continue to work on will be fixing his anticipation and accuracy while throwing.
#BUFvsNYJ full game preview: @BoyGreen25 spoke w/ @GreyBeardHahn of @BuffaLowDown/@TwoBillsInAPod to discuss who will be starting at QB for #GoBills + why Todd Bowles is done as HC of #Jets after latest debacle surrounding Sam Darnold. #BillsMafia #JetUp https://t.co/sBOrsP185O
— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) November 7, 2018
3. How does Nathan Peterman keep getting starts for the Bills? Is he truly the problem, if not, what is?
Does he have the same voodoo doll at home that Ryan Fitzpatrick has? The simple answer for why he gets starts is necessity. The Bills don’t have any healthy QBs that know the playbook, and until the bye, he has been the only quarterback option at varying times. The Bills have signed Matt Barkley and Derek Anderson to help out, but without a bye, they just don’t know enough of the offense to fully replace Peterman. This bye week will be very interesting, as Allen and Anderson should be healthy, and you have time to drop/replace Peterman.
The reason he’s even on the roster dates back to the Chargers game last year. He was so bad that the coaches looked at his full body of work and thought that game was against the norm. Unfortunately, that was a miscalculation and it’s been costing the entire team this season.
To answer your second question, the offensive struggles aren’t fully on Peterman’s shoulders. Peterman did what he needed to do in training camp and preseason to beat out AJ McCarron.
On top of that, the offense just struggles to do everything. Peterman isn’t catching, blocking, running, etc. The biggest problems with the Bills offensively is their offensive line. It has taken a deep decline after losing Richie Incognito and Eric Wood. They didn’t replace them, and now they can’t get any consistent push to run or protect the quarterback.
Regardless, if Peterman is on the roster going into next season, I don’t think tables will be the only things burning in western New York.
4. Fast forward to the offseason, is there a mass exodus coming? Players? Coaches? What's the future of the Bills?
The Bills will enter the 2019 offseason with at least 20 free agents, and close to $90 million in cap space. They have churned through 20 players in each of the last two offseasons, and their goal may be to have a slightly less amount of turnover. The Bills have drafted well the last two years, and stacking those classes will help build continuity in the roster. I wouldn’t call it a mass exodus, but I would say you will see some big names walk away, such as Kelvin Benjamin.
The rest of this season should be about evaluating the roster, and developing their younger stars such as Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, and Tre’Davious White. The Bills are already starting this by giving rookie Wyatt Teller more snaps and signing Terrelle Pryor, who could be a veteran answer at the receiver position during 2019.
On the coaching front, the Bills will have to examine the work done by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman. Crossman may be secure since he has had success in Buffalo in the past, but the special teams have had too many mistakes this year to avoid saying he’s free and clear. Brian Daboll is in his first year here in Buffalo, and the question will have to be asked: did Daboll have the pieces to do better? Or can he do better with a deeper group? I don’t know the answer to that. This team is thin on talent, but they are entering historical levels of offensive futility. They fired Dennison last season, so nothing is assured for Daboll.
5. Finally a score prediction, how do you see this one playing out?
23-17 Jets win. The turnover struggles for the Jets offers hope for the Bills. Yet, the Bills defense needs to see some early success from the Bills offense to stay engaged. The Bills defense is capable of shutting down the Jets, but they will need to try and carry an offense that has only scored two touchdowns in their last four games.
If Allen plays on Sunday, the Bills will get a visible jolt of energy, which is a great sign for what he can bring to this team into the future. That jolt may be enough to get a win, but while the Bills are currently one of the laughingstocks of the NFL, they aren’t tanking. The Jets can’t overlook the Bills, and they have to play mistake free if they want to win. The Bills defense is playoff caliber and can cause a lot of problems if the game stays close late into the second half.