QB, OC among questions surrounding Bills as offseason begins

January 9, 2018

As Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott head into their first offseason together as an NFL general manager and head coach, they face a lot of questions regarding the Bills’ roster and coaching staff, including maybe the two most pressing: will Tyrod Taylor and/or Rick Dennison be back with the team in 2018?

Neither man confirmed that the quarterback or offensive coordinator would be returning, nor suggested they would be moving on from either of them, which left plenty of room for interpretation about what their plans will be for the offense and specifically the QB position for 2018.

“We’re not satisfied with the whole offense,” Beane said.  “And it wasn’t just about Tyrod.  There’s a lot of hands in the cookie jar, so to speak.  Sean and I are going to talk about everything.  We know we have to get better on offense, on defense, on special teams.  We are far from a finished product.

“Tyrod has a lot of ability, he really does.  And we saw some of those things.  He did a lot of good things this year.  But, he’ll tell you, he’s got weaknesses to work on, just like a lot of other guys.  And the great thing about Tyrod (is) you can never question his work ethic.  The guy is in here early, often.  He’s watching film.  He’s stretching.  He’s in with the training room.  He does so many good things.  He gives himself the best chance to succeed on the field by what he does off.  And I know he knows the areas he’s got to work on and I have no doubt he’s going to continue to improve.”

Taylor has one year remaining on the two-year deal he signed last offseason.  If he's on the Bills’ roster at 12:01 AM on March 16, the third day of the new league year, it will automatically trigger a $6 million roster bonus.  He’s then set to receive a $10 million salary and will have a total salary cap hit of just over $18 million.

The Bills could try and trade Taylor before the bonus is due, but no trade can become official until the first day of the new league year, which is March 14.  They could negotiate with other teams before than and even give permission for his agent to negotiate a new deal with any potential suitors.  It’s unlikely the Bills hold on to Taylor beyond March 16 and then decide to release or trade him after that.

The Bills’ offense ranked 31st in the league in passing yards per game this season.  Taylor had his lowest passing and rushing totals for his three years as a starter, throwing for 2799 yards and running for 427.  It was the first time in his starting career he did not break 3000 yards passing or 500 yards rushing.  He threw 14 TDs (also his low as a starter), but also led all qualified passers with only four interceptions on the season.

As far as Dennison, McDermott said that he and Beane are just beginning the process of evaluating the roster and staff.

“I’m not going to get into speculation,” he said.  “And that’s what it is, speculation on coaches or players and their future as Buffalo Bills.

“At the end of the day, that's going to be, like all decisions with the coaching staff, my decision.  But Brandon and I communicate on a lot of things, and so evaluations are a part of that.  And the reason we do that is we’re building this thing together.  We are aligned philosophically on how we believe it should look and how we believe the building process should basically take shape."

When asked how the quarterback and offensive coordinator positions impact one another, as far as determining how to go forward, the head coach said, “there’s certainly a connection there.  That said, at the end of the day, good coaches are good teachers, and so that’s where you start and you take it from there.”

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