1) If skill guys can stay healthy
- 15 games with McCoy/Woods/Clay/Sammy: 260 of 406 for 3,362 yards passing (224 per game) 26TDs and 6INTs
- 14 games without either McCoy/Woods/Clay/Sammy: 251 of 410 for 2,697 yards passing (192 per game) 11TDs and 6INTs.
This has been my go to when it comes to not slamming the door shut on Tyrod. Yes, Tyrod isn’t a QB who will accentuate the positives of a WR, but he needs better help than having someone like Marquise Goodwin as his #1 target. If Sammy goes down, I think you can kiss Tyrod’s chances at evolving good bye. So get in Mr. Miyagi to do that foot healing trick (He’s dead)….OK, get someone LIKE Mr. Miyagi to do a foot healing trick on Sammy. If everyone is healthy, the Bills should have better weapons this time around than the E.R. unit they had last year.
2) Dennison/Shanahan offense
I’ve always been a big fan of the Mike Shanahan type of offense. The offense has made so many obscure running backs into house hold names over the years. Yeah, it stinks Dennison hasn’t technically called plays as it was Gary Kubiak doing it in Houston/Denver. In terms of the passing game, the Shanahan offense has made a lot of QBs look really good who weren’t exactly franchise QBs at the time. Matt Schaub had a number of respectable years in Houston (Three 4,000 yard seasons).
Jake Plummer was basically an afterthought in Arizona after his 2nd year. Then he went to Denver and had a 4,000 yard season (2004) and almost got the Broncos to a SB in 2005. Jay Cutler’s best years came in Denver and was never the same in Chicago. Even Brock Osweiler, who is a complete turd sandwich, went 5-2 in Denver in 2015 and had 2 games where he had over a 100 QB rating and had 270 yards or more passing in 4 games. So, yeah, this offense has done well with guys who aren’t exactly high picks or fell back down to earth after leaving the offense.
As much as I liked what Roman/Lynn did with the ground game, I believe they didn’t want to have their passers go balls to the wall because they just loved running all the time. Just look back at those Jets/49ers teams where they ranked near the top in attempts for rushing, but the bottom in passing. That wasn’t what you had for the most part with Schaub, Plummer, and Cutler. Call it a hunch, but I think they are going to throw more than they did the past two seasons.
3) Roll out
Something that the Bills didn’t do enough of were rolls out and play action passing. In 2015, Football Outsiders had the Bills 23rd in play action attempts while the Broncos were 13th. That makes zero sense since you had a top tier rushing attack and your QB can move around the pocket. That will change under Dennison. Those Shanahan offenses are known for those types of plays and I think those plays will do well for Tyrod.
4) Rooting for Tyrod
Mike Schopp had a poll up recently about whether Bills fans were looking more forward to 2017 or 2018. 3/4 of the votes were for 2018. Now, I’m not twitter mind reader, but I think a lot of it has to do with QB. Right now the Bills have put their QB on a 1 year audition and I think most fans, media members, and probably people within the organization, feel this is one and done. There seems to be more excitement about the QB position in 2018 with the extra first round pick than for 2017.
While I understand the sentiment, I really hope Tyrod gets better to just shut people up. I felt he got the short end of the stick last year because of injuries to his WRs and Press box all-22 warriors screaming at the rooftop when he missed a TE over the middle while he avoided 2 pass rushers and gained 12 yards on a scramble. I’ll always have a soft spot for an underdog and someone who can prove “the man” wrong.
5) 29 starts
I’m old school when it comes being patient with QBs. Yes, the game has evolved and its a lot easier to thrive in a passing league and Tyrod isn’t a 2nd year QB, but it is still a position based around on the job training. 29 starts is less than 2 seasons worth of games and I will listen to someone who says it isn’t enough starts to really see what you have at QB. Drew Brees had more INTs than TDs in his first 29 starts. Alex Smith was hot garbage for a number of years in SF and all of a sudden he was better. I know the examples are few and far in between for guys who just got it, but they exist.
6) Defense should be better
I don’t normally buy into the platitudes that come out of players whenever a new scheme comes into play and they boast about the change. However, going to 4-3 should be exactly what the doctor ordered. This defense was very mediocre under the Ryan Brothers because of substitutions, terminology, and trying desperately to fit a square peg (scheme) into a round hole (personnel). I said it in 2015, but if the Bills defense played like it did in 2014, the Bills would have made the playoffs that year. Yes, Gilmore is a big loss, but the front 4 should be able to get after the QB like it did in 2014. Over the last two seasons, the Bills scored the 10th most points in the NFL while the defense allowed the 16th most. Having, hopefully, a better defense should go a long way in helping Tyrod.
7) Scrambling ability
Nothing gets minimized more that Tyrod’s running ability. For starters, his 1,148 yards rushing over the last two seasons are the most by any QB in the league. When you just look his passing numbers, it is very easy to just not pack on those rushing yards to the total package. His rushing ability helps out in pass protection and padding the overall team rushing numbers. If you combine total yards (Rushing and passing) over last two seasons, Tyrod has 6,802 yards.
That is the 22nd most by NFL QBs over the last 2 seasons and it is more than Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota. I know, he’s not Dan Marino in the pocket, but please at least look at what he does on the ground and add it to the overall body of work. With more roll outs under the Dennison offense, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tyrod take off for more runs.
8) Passing defenses
Yes, we all know predicting what will happen to a team’s upcoming season based on the schedule is short sighted because surprises/injuries tend to happen. Still, I need another reason to be optimistic for Tyrod and that’s the passing defenses he’s facing in 2017. The Bills play just one team in the top 10 in passing defense (Denver Broncos) and three other teams (Miami/NE/Bengals) in the top 16. They play the 32nd, 29th, 28th, 27th, 22nd, 20th, 18th, and 17th (Jets) ranked passing defenses this season. Last year, the Bills played 6 teams who ranked in the top 10 in passing defense.