NFL – Buffalo Bills’ 2022 Season Preview

04 Sep

Thirteen seconds. It goes down in Buffalo Bills’ lore along with Wide Right as another huge disappointment for fans of the team. It’s the amount of time they couldn’t hold the lead at the end of their divisional playoff loss to Kansas City last year in what could have been a Super Bowl season. It also will be a prime motivator for the club throughout the 2022 campaign. They are being hailed as title favorites by analysts everywhere, and here is our look at the team entering this season:


Front Office/Coaching

Brandon Beane and his staff have done an A+ job of building the Bills into a contender through trades, free agency and shrewd drafting. Joe Schoen, the assistant GM, was lost to the New York Giants, but the quality of the 2022 draft shows that the front office didn’t miss a beat. Head coach Sean McDermott has mostly been solid but he has to take the majority of the blame for the 13 second disaster. His coaching staff will be different, with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson following Schoen to New York. Also, special teams coach Sean Farrell left for Jacksonville. The replacements for those 3 are Aaron Kromer as O line coach, a position he held previously here under Rex Ryan, and a pair of in-house promotions of Matt Smiley as special teams coach and Ken Dorsey from quarterback coach to OC.




QB Josh Allen, MVP candidate


Without question, the quarterback position in Buffalo is now set in stone. Josh Allen enters the 2022 season as a solid MVP candidate and the engine that drives the Bills’ offense. The only question going into training camp was who would replace the departed Mitch Trubisky as his backup. GM Brandon Beane went with NFL game experience, bringing in Case Keenum to fill that role. Matt Barkley also returns, albeit to the practice squad, to help out in the quarterback room.


Running Backs


Starting back Devin Singletary


Buffalo’s running back group can be described this season as versatile if nothing else. Starter Devin Singletary came on late in the year to provide a spark to a lagging rushing attack. His forte is racking up missed tackles by defenders. Zack Moss, now fully recovered from injury, is the short yardage and goal line pounder the team will need, while rookie James Cook could be the most well-rounded of all of them. He has one attribute the other 2 lack – breakaway speed. He is also a sneaky tough runner and has elite skills as a pass receiver out of the backfield or spread out wide. How he will be used in the Bills’ attack is one of the most intriguing mysteries going into the season. Taiwan Jones is on the roster strictly for his special teams play.




TE Dawson Knox, an emerging force


Buffalo’s receiving corps underwent some changes in the off-season. Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley are gone. Stefon Diggs is the clear # 1 threat, while Gabe Davis, who gained national notoriety in last year’s playoffs, replaces Sanders as the other outside receiver. In Beasley’s slot position, the team has a pair of options in Isaiah McKenzie and free agent signee Jamison Crowder, a seasoned vet who killed the Bills in the past while suiting up for the division rival Jets. They should more than make up for Beasley’s production. Rookie Khalil Shakir turned heads with his play in preseason. Some are predicting that his role may be similar to the one Davis played as a rookie – a solid contributor off the bench in key situations. The final WR of the group is Jake Kumerow, a fixture on special teams and occasional contributor on offense. Buffalo is carrying 4 tight ends on the roster, the best of whom is Dawson Knox. He is the unquestioned starter. Tommy Sweeney returns in a backup role and a spot on special teams, while Quinton Morris, a practice squad member in 2021, fought his way onto the regular roster this year with a solid preseason. The fourth TE is Reggie Gilliam, whose versatility is valuable. He plays tight end, fullback and special teams.


Offensive Line


Ryan Bates solidified the OL when he became a starter


The offensive line play vastly improved late in the season and in the playoffs last year after Ryan Bates was inserted into the starting lineup at guard. The line returns mostly intact, with a couple of minor tweaks that the Bills hope will make them even better. The addition of line coach Aaron Kromer is one change, while the one new starter, guard Rodger Saffold, is a seasoned veteran who should be an upgrade over the departed Darryl Williams. The anchor of the line returns in center Mitch Morse, and the starting tackles are once again Dion Dawkins, who is a borderline Pro Bowler, and young Spencer Brown, who fought his way into the starting role last season as a rookie. The depth along the line is a mixture of returnees in Tommy Doyle and the polarizing Bobby Hart, and free agent acquisitions David Quessenberry and Greg Van Roten. Hart is a whipping boy for the fans, but he has shown improvement, especially when filling in at guard. Quessenberry may be the best swing tackle the team has employed in years, and Van Roten is versatile in that he can man all spots on the line.


Defensive Line


DE Greg Rousseau is primed for a breakout year


In many of Buffalo’s losses last season a glaring weakness in stopping the run was exposed. GM Beane did an extreme makeover of the defensive front in an effort to correct this flaw. Five of the nine D-linemen on the 2022 roster are changes from last year, with the big prize being veteran All Pro end Von Miller. The former Super Bowl MVP is the “finisher” the Bills’ pass rush has lacked, and the attention he will draw from opponents should make life easier for the emerging young pass rushers on the roster – Greg Rousseau, Boogie Basham and A.J. Epenesa. Former Bills’ first round draftee Shaq Lawson returns as a “new” face to add to the pass rusher rotation. The interior of the line needed some additional beef and Beane provided that with 3 free agent signings. They are DaQuan Jones, who figures to start at one tackle spot, Tim Settle, a potential breakout star who was buried on the depth chart in Washington behind some high draft picks, and another old face returning in Jordan Phillips, who should bring a spark when utilized in the rotation. The lone returning player among the tackles is Ed Oliver. He has improved every year, and could be ready to have his best season with all the new additions around him commanding more attention.




Tremaine Edmunds anchors the LB corps


It was somewhat surprising that the Bills kept 6 linebackers on their final 53 man roster considering they only use 2 on the field most of the time. (The actual number could be 7 if suspended Andre Smith is counted). They have 2 solid starters in Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. Both have helped the team rank as a top defense and should be capable of reaching an even higher level with the new extra help around them. Their backups are special teams stalwarts Tyler Matakevich and Tyrel Dodson, with impressive rookies Terrel Bernard and Baylon Spector waiting in the wings behind them. All 4 of the reserves figure to have roles on the special teams when all is said and done.


Defensive Backs


CB Dane Jackson bears heavy responsibility in 2022


Always the strength of the team’s top-ranked defense, the secondary is a question mark entering the season. Pro Bowl cornerback Tre’Davious White will miss at least the first 4 games while recovering from a knee injury, leaving Dane Jackson and a pair of rookies, Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford, to hold down the outside corner positions. The safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer will be expected to guide the inexperienced new faces on the back end, but both of them missed training camp reps due to injury and could be shaking off some rust to start the year. The slot cornerback position is basically a starting spot on the Bills’ defense, and Taron Johnson handles those duties admirably. The Bills have great depth in their secondary. Backup safeties Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin could start for many NFL clubs, while Siran Neal and Cam Lewis are comfortable playing both corner and safety. As with a lot of the backups on the roster, all of the secondary reserves are special teams contributors.


Special Teams


Punter Sam Martin seizes an opportunity


Coach Sean McDermott puts extra emphasis on the bomb squads, and that is evident in the amount of players who stick on the final 53 almost exclusively for use on those parts of the team. They include Taiwan Jones, Jake Kumerow, Tyler Matakevich, Tyrel Dodson, Damar Hamlin, Reggie Gilliam and of course, long snapper Reid Ferguson. Kicker Tyler Bass is one of the NFL’s best. At punter, the Bills endured a major hiccup with the Matt Araiza allegation fiasco, but in the end may have actually upgraded the position when vet Sam Martin was cut by Denver and fell into their lap. In the preseason the identity of who will fill the roles as punt and kickoff returners wasn’t evident. Candidates include Isaiah McKenzie, Khalil Shakir and possibly James Cook.


Here’s your annual song to get psyched up for the upcoming season, the Bills’ Shout song:




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