Coming off a 2016 season that saw a 7-9 record and the firing of head coach Rex Ryan with one game left in the season, the Buffalo Bills were looking for a fresh start in 2017. They hired Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and their assistant general manager Brandon Beane to start the turn around as head coach and general manager. They even brought in four Panther players in FB Mike Tolbert, QB Joe Webb, WR Corey Brown and CB Leonard Johnson, along with 47 other new faces. They spent their first round draft pick on CB Tre’Davious White and by the time the 2017 season started, it was an entirely new team… except where it counted the most. The team would continue to use Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback.
The team started off well, winning five of their first seven games — impressive for so many new faces and shows well for the coaching staff, They would then lose four of their next five, putting them at 6-6 for the season in week 13. But winning three of their last four, two of the victories against division rival Miami Dolphins, has the team end the season at 9-7, up two games from the previous season — and they secured a wildcard birth. They would lose in the first round to the Jacksonville Jaguars 10 to 3. It’s no surprise that the team’s defense came together quickly under McDermott, but the offense struggled a bit. Some of that was hidden by the heard running of LeSean McCoy. The team has a lot of positives to build on if they can address the quarterback issue in the offseason.
The team has made some splashes in the offseason already. Their biggest signing is defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who had been a huge disrupter on the line McDermott back on the Panthers. Their other big move, not as flashy as Lotulelei, is the signing of quarterback A.J. McCarron. He could be a franchise quarterback and looked the part coming out of college, but he has had very little opportunity to show what he could do, having only thrown 133 passes in his four years in the NFL. He’s sat behind Andy Dalton all that time and the majority of his playing time came in his second season when he started three games and played in seven, throwing the ball 119 times. Since then he’s appeared in four games over the last two years, completing seven of the 14 passes he’s thrown for 66 yards. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown or interception since 2015. But he’s got a two-year $10 million dollar contract to show what he can do. Don’t be surprised if they select another quarterback early in the draft.
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