On Tuesday, it was Bills general manager Brandon Beane’s turn at the microphone to recap the 2022 season, which ended with a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round on Sunday:
Five takeaways from Bean’s 54-minute press conference.
I wasn’t late
The story: The Bills saved their worst game overall for the worst time (the playoffs). Period.
Bean said: “We did a lot of good things (and) you have to play your best football at this time of the year. We weren’t this year when we got to the playoffs — we weren’t in the rhythm we were in 2020 and 2021 (going into the playoffs).”
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comment: Beane added that he doesn’t want to “overreact to one game,” which is probably a good course for the general manager. But Beane’s larger point — the Bills haven’t put together complete games all along — should be his focus. Did the team lack the right depth to overcome key injuries? Were the younger players not developing at the right pace and could not be trusted? The struggles of the last month warrant a full examination of The Bills Way.
The story: The Bills’ offense was held to a season-low 10 points by Cincinnati and had no first quarter downs when trailing 14-0.
Bean said: “Statistically, we did a lot of good things this year, but 10 points that day isn’t going to win most playoff games. We know we have to score more than that. At least in the last three years, I can’t remember a game where (we were) a kickoff, down 7-0, three-and-out, down 14-0. You’re down 14-0 on a good schedule, you get out of your game plan a little bit.”
comment: I will always go back to the first offensive plays for each team, a play that the coaching staff has written days before. Cincinnati – pass on superstar Ja’Marr Chase. The Bills – Bubble screen type throw to receiver Isaiah McKenzie. It didn’t get any better from there.
Nothing from the outcome on the football field can even remotely touch the flesh-and-blood effects of such events pierced into the civic soul, Kirst wrote.
The tight salary cap situation
The story: Beane said the Bills currently have “$240(million) of something” on the books for 2023, and executives expect a projected cap range from 2023. But the cap won’t be $240 million, so cuts will have to be made just to do business in mid-March.
Bean said: “I’m hoping for a lot of dollars. It’s $208 (million) this season, but I can’t tell you if it’s going to be $208 (million) or $230 (million). It won’t be 240 and something. There will be no Von Miller signature. … We will be creative. We will try to win. It’s up to me to figure it out. We’ve got to make draft picks, we’ve got to find cheap free agents who can find roles, whether it’s a key backup, a solid starter, whatever.”
Jeff Wilbur captured the mood of all of WNY after the Bills’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday with a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
Comment: Miller’s contract from last March represents the Bills’ big free agent for 2022 and ’23. The ’22 draft class is mostly unknown because no one was a full-time starter, although cornerback Khair Elam and running back James Cook had moments. The Bills will have to spend the early days of free agency looking to sign veterans to one-year contracts.
The story: Linebacker Tremaine Edmonds and safety Jordan Poyer lead the Bills’ list of unrestricted free agents. There are no ready-made, in-house replacements for either player.
Bean said: “Two guys who are true Buffalo Bills. I can’t say enough great things about them. (Poyer) is a professional and I know the whole contract thing, people can handle them in a lot of different ways, but a lot of respect to Jordan for how he handled it. Man, he’s a great pro and he’s done a lot of great things for us. I would be happy to return it, for sure. … Trimaine, he was amazing to watch him grow. Very proud of who he is and you can just see his maturation.”
comment: Beane said the franchise tag is a possibility for Edmunds, but he did well to point out how the linebacker position includes the tight end spot in a 3-4 scheme and that tag could be worth more than $20 million. The Bills’ decision – to sign the younger player (Edmonds) or a player who ties things together for the entire defense (Poyer)? Poyer may cost less and therefore be the choice.
The story: The Bills’ leading receiver, Diggs had just one 100-yard game in his last eight and spent most of the final minutes of the Bengals game working on the sideline.
Bean said: “Steph is a competitor. Steve Smith (of Carolina) was very similar. I’d rather have guys I need to chill with. I can live with that vs. I’ve been among people I’ve questioned (if) they’re only here for Monday’s paycheck. Steph wears his emotions on his sleeve, but that makes him really, really good.”
comment: Diggs’ fervent defense among the Bills’ players, head coach and general manager is unanimous … but that shouldn’t excuse his behavior. Then again, why only one 100-yard game? That should be the focal point, getting help from Diggs to keep the defensive spotlight off him.