Three Bills thoughts this AM...
1. Tyrod Taylor needs to run. Coach Rex Ryan tried explaining the balance on Monday. He wants his quarterback to run... but not as much as he did in the Bills' 16-6 win over Dallas. Taylor had 14 carries for 67 yards in the win, including a wild third-and-6 conversion that helped seal the win.
On one hand... "I know how hard it is to defend against a running quarterback and I think you always want to have that ability."
On the other... "I think part of it now looking at the season, we have, this is not the time. You know with, if we are trying to win a more significant game for us. Obviously that would be, you might consider something else. We want him to be the long term solution at the spot, so he has got to learn to protect himself and understand that we need him to be that."
True, the Bills don't want to lose their quarterback to a significant injury in a game that, effectively, means nothing. But if we're talking big picture, the Bills should not hold back Taylor at all. There are things Taylor has not done with consistency --- throw over the middle of the field, hit receivers on intermediate timing routes. But this element of his game is rare, is something the Bills should accentuate and encourage. While Buffalo should want him sliding a bit more, coaches should not discourage Taylor from running at all. He dazzles in the open field. He brings the belief that any third down conversion is possible because of his legs.
Maybe no other quarterback spins and darts and eludes the way Taylor did on that critical third down against Dallas. No other quarterback makes the plays Taylor did to win at Tennessee.
If anything, the Bills probably should've let Taylor run more when this season started to fall apart a month ago. He had only 24 carries through one 1-3 stretch. Rather than play in fear, Buffalo should simply pony up for a more capable back-up quarterback and live with the results.
2. WR Watch. Most of the off-season energy will likely be spent on the defense, on Ryan finding pieces for his defense after this Top 5 unit struggled adapting to his scheme. But the offense needs to be tweaked, too, and the Bills could be in the market for a new No. 2 receiver opposite Sammy Watkins.
Maybe that player is still Percy Harvin, a receiver who sounded so rejuvenated to play in Buffalo back in camp. Ryan said on Monday that he still texts Harvin --- they're staying in touch. But whether it's a draft pick or a veteran, Buffalo could use another legitimate deep threat capable of burning corners in one-on-one coverage. More defenses are bound to tilt attention Watkins' way in 2016 and let others beat them. Robert Woods and Chris Hogan both have had their moments. But Hogan dropped a potential 50-yarder in Washington and then another long ball last weekend on fourth down against Dallas. Take a look at the Arizona Cardinals' vertical passing game. Arguably the best offense in this year's NFL is full of bonafide deep threats, with 2014 third-rounder John Brown (958 yards, seven touchdowns) doing the damage deep.
Somehow, the Bills need to add a Brown-like weapon with one of the best deep-ball passers at quarterback.
Buffalo is already taking a last-minute look at some possibilities. Dez Lewis was promoted from the practice squad, Greg Salas was added a week ago and Leonard Hankerson was claimed this week. Maybe Hankerson is worth a serious look. He had a six-catch, 103-yard game against Houston with Atlanta earlier this season.
3. And... another pass rusher? This will be high on the off-season priority list: another fire-breathing edge rusher opposite Jerry Hughes. Buffalo is sorely missing another legitimate pass-rushing threat. Through all of the uproar over the signing, and then Ryan naming him a captain, IK Enemkpali has provided nothing for the Bills. He has 12 tackles and no sacks this season, rarely ever getting to the quarterback at all. Mario Williams has been a miscast end who isn't doing much with his opportunities to rush when he gets them. Manny Lawson's versatility is admirable and he's done enough to stick around.
But the Bills still need another pass rusher with pop. It's one of of the most difficult draft prospects to project. So many 4-3 DE-to-3-4 OLB converts flop miserably in the NFL. It's on Ryan's staff and the Bills' scouts to target one who'll make it.