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Stephen A. Smith doesn't believe the Cardinals are the right team to get J. Watt a shot at the Super Bowl. Wattwho agreed to a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on Monday.
But the Bills likely aren't done trying to make changes to their defensive line. Toward the latter part of the season, the defensive line's level of play rose with Buffalo's entire defense. However, with several additions and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei opting out, there was no avoiding its lull at the beginning of the season.
We were a little smaller up front this year, just the way it worked out.
And so figuring out who can anchor in there, who can provide pass rush, you know we don't want to get run on all day, we also got to get some guys in there to affect the quarterback. We were probably still a little light for my comfort level, and I think we really had to focus on stopping that run and maybe that affected some other areas, whether it was getting to the passer or just defending the pass in the back end.
As Beane alluded to, the Bills struggled against the run last season. They were 23rd in run-stop win rate, which explained their 17th-ranked run defense. Their final s against the run were bolstered by a five-game stretch to end the season during which they held three opponents under rushing yards.
Through the first 10 weeks of the season, however, Buffalo allowed rushing yards per game -- the fifth-most in the NFL over that span. How Buffalo ended the season paves the way for optimism that this group can excel moving forward, but the financial situation might not allow that to happen.
It will likely have to shed multiple contracts in order to offer any new ones, and many of the team's sheddable contracts lie on the defensive line. Doing so, however, leaves them in a similar position as last season -- having to integrate new defensive linemen during what will almost certainly be another abnormal offseason.
Lotulelei's return should help mitigate that, as would the continued development of Epenesa, who was far enough behind to begin his rookie season that the team made him a healthy scratch in Week 1. But that showed how hard he had worked this offseason, and I think he came in and started a little slow, and we were a little worried how he was going to hold up against the run early on.
He added a little bit, but then he just couldn't move the needle. He played well, he improved his pass rush. Buffalo's longest-tenured player, Hughes, was its best pass-rusher last season, but he needs help -- hence the team's interest in Watt. There are still high-end options via free agency, such as Yannick NgakoueJadeveon Clowney or Carl Lawsonor possibly a reclamation project such as Vic Beasleywho led the NFL in sacks in with We have to be able to affect the quarterback with a four-man rush," Bills coach Sean McDermott said.
The exciting piece is when the guys come back they understand now what's expected in terms of the techniques and the fundamentals that go with playing at a high level at that position. Choose Blog Buffalo Bills miss out on J. Watt, keep focus on improving defensive line. Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater taking too many hits. Denver Broncos' losing streak won't end until players start 'farming our own land'. It is time to adjust expectations for Miami Dolphins as playoff hopes fade.
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