Of the horde of receivers that are trying to break through, Andre Holmes seems to have stood out the most. It was a slow start, fighting the ball a little bit early on, but he's settled in nicely -- and is even leading a lot of the positional reps during individual work. He's consistently worked with the first-team offense, and Sean McDermott made it known that he felt really impressed by Holmes with both his offensive and special teams work. On Tuesday, he was smooth with his hands and made a couple of tough catches during team drills. He's positioning himself to be a contender for a roster spot in 2017.
Most of the blurb sounds like Holmes is penciled in as a starter, but then the writer (Joe Buscaglia) says that Holmes is positioning himself for a roster spot. Holmes is turning 29, and had a mini-breakout in his third season (2014) with 47 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns, but the Raiders added both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and Holmes only saw 58 targets in his final two seasons in Oakland. Holmes has a career 48.3% catch percentage, so it's important not to get too excited, but if he's playing starter snaps and seeing plenty of red zone targets (he's 6-5), he could work his way into fantasy relevancy.
As the Bills implement a new offense, questions remain regarding whether running back LeSean McCoy will be able to adjust his running style to the one-cut approach that coordinator Rick Dennison employs. There’s no question about McCoy’s level of excitement regarding the new air attack in Buffalo.
“The running backs getting the ball in the passing game,” McCoy told reporters on Thursday. “That’s something I’ve been a part of, but it’s been a while since I’ve actually got the ball a lot in the air — we do a lot of that. [Rick Dennison is] big on that, you look at all the successful running backs that’s been in his offense, from Arian Foster who I’m a big fan of, he did it on the ground and in the air.”
Dennison's offenses in Denver didn't feature the running back in a big way over the last two seasons, but while he was the OC in Houston, Arian Foster averaged 3.1 receptions per game from 2011 to 2013. That's a 50-catch pace, which happens to be how many receptions McCoy had last year under offensive coordinators Greg Roman and Anthony Lynn. In other words, we're not expecting a sea change in McCoy's involvement in the passing game. (McCoy does have big upside as a receiver -- he caught 78 passes in his second season in Philly.)
The problem has persisted during the team's current offseason workouts, and it is something that coach Sean McDermott is worried about.
"We are concerned with Charles' knee situation," McDermott told reporters Thursday before the Bills took the field for an OTA workout. "It's something we have to manage moving forward in order to have him on the field for us, which is important moving forward. He's a weapon for us."
McDermott did say that Clay has taken part in drills, but the team is being cautious about how much work he receives.
Hobbled by injuries most of the year, Clay finished strong, catching 21 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in his final four games. He was the #12 TE in the second half of the season and averaged the 9th-most targets in that span. His ADP is unlikely to rise given this report.
The Bills have confirmed that Jones sustained a knee injury and is week to week. It has been described as a knee sprain.
Jones has a great opportunity to see big snaps immediately, but missing multiple weeks due injury is obviously not a good thing.
The Bills have fired general manager Doug Whaley.
New head coach Sean McDermott is calling the shots for now.
Over the past two seasons, he has gained 844 yards on 148 carries (5.7 YPC) and found the end zone 12 times (11 rush, 1 rec). In fact, among running backs with at least eight rush attempts inside the opponent's 5-yard line over the past two seasons, Gillislee is tied with LeVeon Bell for the highest touchdown conversion rate (70.0%) in the league. Gillislee's arrival takes a lot of the wind out of Rex Burkhead's sails. Burkhead was probably going to see most of the goal line work, but given Gillislee's talents in that are, he'll probably handle those duties. Double digit touchdowns are possible if Gillislee holds down that role for the entire year. It's going to be tough to predict the Patriots' backfield on a weekly basis. In Buffalo, this cements LeSean McCoy's status as a top 5 fantasy back since he's now likely to see an increase in goal line attempts. Jonathan Williams likely serves as his primary back up, though the Bills may address the position in the draft.
The Bills have five days to match the offer or lose Gillislee for a 5th round pick. Over the past two seasons, he has gained 844 yards on 148 carries (5.7 YPC) and found the end zone 12 times (11 rush, 1 rec). In fact, among running backs with at least eight rush attempts inside the opponent's 5-yard line over the past two seasons, Gillislee is tied with LeVeon Bell for the highest touchdown conversion rate (70.0%) in the league. If the Bills decline to match the offer, it should free up red zone touches for LeSean McCoy. In New England, Gillislee's arrival would put a serious dent in Rex Burkhead's upside, since he's currently first in line for goal line duties. Gillislee could conceivably assume LeGarrette Blount's role in the offense.
"This was my first time actually sprinting and actually doing full movement things," Taylor, who had groin surgery shortly after the 2016 season, told the team's official site after voluntary workouts on Monday. "I've felt great since the surgery and the doctors here and the training staff have done a great job of getting me to 100 percent and I feel real good. I feel very explosive."
His comments are good news on multiple levels. Taylor wasn't treated like a face-of-the-franchise quarterback down the stretch in 2016 and the new regime dragged their feet on re-working his deal for 2017. He is still paid less than Mike Glennon, Brock Osweiler, Sam Bradford and others despite one Pro Bowl season under his belt.
It’s still unclear why running back LeSean McCoy was the lone member of the Bills to not show up for the first day of the team’s offseason program. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, however, McCoy didn’t stay away due to his contract.
The Bills, despite a potentially significant change to the rushing philosophy under offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, have made it clear they want McCoy. And McCoy apparently isn’t trying to send them a message. The workouts are voluntary and he risks losing $250,000 worth of workout bonuses if he doesn't meet the threshold specified in his contract.
This is an intriguing signing for a couple of reasons. Holmes had a semi-breakout season in 2014 (his third year) with 47 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns. Then, both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree joined the team and he even fell behind Seth Roberts on the depth chart. His targets dropped from 99 in '14 to 33 in '15 and then to 25 last year. Still, even with just 58 targets, he caught seven touchdowns in the last two years, so his 6-5 frame is useful around the end zone. The Bills are struggling to put a receiving corps together, so it's feasible that Holmes could ultimately start opposite Sammy Watkins. Warning: his career catch rate (48.3%) is terrible.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 11:11am
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With Kenny Britt out of the picture, there are a ton of (poor quality) targets available with the Rams, and Woods is still just 24 years old. (He's turning 25 in April.) Woods has at least 550 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons and is a solid real-world WR2. His departure leaves a hole in Buffalo, so the Bills have some work to do to surround Tyrod Taylor with capable pass-catchers.
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