TYROD TAYLOR throws one of the best deep balls in the NFL, but that and mobility are all you'll find in his "strengths" column. The quarterback's weaknesses include accuracy at the intermediate levels, an inability to anticipate open receivers (he's a see-it-and-then-throw-it type) and discomfort in the pocket when his early reads aren't there. But Taylor's biggest flaw is that many times, even when his early reads are open, he doesn't get the ball out.
• When a QB is antsy in the pocket and doesn't anticipate throws, his coach must design plays with simple either/or reads. What will help the Bills' offense, though, is the outside-zone run schemes of new offensive coordinator RICK DENNISON, which will complement those pass designs. Play-action will be huge for Buffalo.
• How will LESEAN MCCOY fit Dennison's scheme? The 29-year-old running back is gifted enough to thrive in any system, but he's at his best dancing around to set up blocks. He's done that well in his two seasons in Buffalo, when the rushing plays often featured pull blockers (usually Pro Bowl left guard RICHIE INCOGNITO). An outside zone scheme, however, doesn't use pullers. Instead, the O-line moves in unison, and the back must wait for a hole to develop. This is not McCoy's natural style, but with his speed and agility on the perimeter, he'll still produce.
• The book on new coach SEAN MCDERMOTT: He prefers a 4--3 zone and, like his mentor, longtime Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, he selectively employs designer blitzes. Also like Johnson, McDermott will adjust his zone coverages to create subtle disguises or gain favorable matchups.
• Three significant concerns about the Bills' defense: 1) It lacks edge rushers. JERRY HUGHES has the speed and fluidity to turn the corner, but second-year man SHAQ LAWSON must rely on technique and has room to grow; 2) the secondary is thin, especially at safety; and 3) cornerback is a question, too. First-round pick TRE'DAVIOUS WHITE is a rookie, and with Ronald Darby traded to Philadelphia, they will now work in newcomer E.J. GAINES from the Rams. If the new group doesn't work, Buffalo will have problems.
"THREE CONCERNS ON DEFENSE: RUSH, SAFETY AND CORNERS."
SI'S 2017 PREDICTION
2016 RECORD 7--9
ANDY BENOIT'S 400 MMQB ON.SI.COM/400
52 LESEAN MCCOY RB
152 RICHIE INCOGNITO LG
174 MARCELL DAREUS DT
189 MICAH HYDE CB
243 ERIC WOOD C
302 KYLE WILLIAMS DT
303 CHARLES CLAY TE
325 LORENZO ALEXANDER DE
326 CORDY GLENN LT