The Buffalo Bills will open their OTAs with a familiar feeling: Super Bowl or bust. The Bills closed out 2022 the way they did in 2021, a second-round exit. Since reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2020, Buffalo hasn’t been able to get back, let alone reach a Super Bowl. The Bills enter 2023 with several questions, and OTAs will be where we can begin to answer them.
2023 Buffalo Bills OTAs Preview
What Does Help for Stefon Diggs Look Like?
The Bills’ OTAs will feature a few new weapons for the offense. Usually, when we discuss new offensive weapons, we discuss them in ways that help the quarterback.
Sure, these weapons will obviously help Josh Allen, but the help is mostly needed to open things up for Stefon Diggs. In crunch-time situations, it was clear Buffalo had only one confident place to go with the ball, and that was to No. 14. If he wasn’t available, or open due to being double-teamed or bracketed, we could expect an Allen scramble.
In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bills passed on available wide receivers in the first round and went with tight end Dalton Kincaid. The hope is that the offense will be able to expand its production in the middle of the field to open things up on the outside. Kincaid was seen by most as one of the best pure pass-catching tight ends available in the draft. At Buffalo’s OTAs, we’ll get to see him put those skills into action.
One thing is clear, Diggs is running out of patience. Here’s what he said following the playoff exit for Buffalo:
“It doesn’t make sense,” Diggs said, according to Bills reporter Sal Capaccio. “I’ll rack my brain with this s— at this point. …I think it’s more execution than anything. S— is small little pieces on why it’s not going right… We’ve got the players. We’ve got the plays. Why s— ain’t coming together?
“That’s where you draw some of those questions. I never want to question who I am. I never want to question how I am. I’m giving this s— everything I’ve got. I’m dying on the hill for that.”
Does Josh Allen Continue the Regression Without Brian Daboll?
Josh Allen’s production didn’t fall off of a cliff last year — his first season without Brian Daboll. However, it did not match 2021, where Allen was discussed as an MVP and had his most efficient season as a pro, following years of inconsistency. What was most glaring in 2022 was how mistake-prone and undisciplined he was. It was that discipline that Daboll was able to help him build.
With Daboll out of the building, the regression was clear, and expected. As the Bills’ OTAs open, it will be the beginning of an opportunity for Allen to get back on track.
To say that Allen is the key to Buffalo’s success is an understatement. He’s essentially their entire offense. We know he can light up the box score with his huge arm, but in 2022, he was also almost entirely the Bills’ rushing offense.
Part of that was on the running backs, and part of it was on the offensive line. Regardless, as Allen goes, so too will the Bills. He cannot afford further regression and needs to regain the discipline he had under Daboll. Too often, Allen’s mistakes kept inferior opponents in games and even cost Buffalo a couple.
The Divisional Round was the perfect encapsulation of all of this. Allen was the Bills’ leading rusher, threw zero touchdowns and the game-ending interception, and completed less than 60% of his passes. To his credit, after several cliché quotes to the media, he gave quite an eye-opening quote as to how he views himself moving forward:
“I know this sounds crazy, but I’m getting older,” Allen said. “It’s like I can’t continue to do this. I know when I’m using my youth I feel like I can, but over the course of my career, I’m going to have to learn to adapt and change. And I’ve always had the mindset of I’ve been a football player first and a quarterback second, and at some point, that’s going to have to switch. When that point is, I don’t know, I guess I’ll let my body tell me.”
Nevertheless, at Buffalo’s OTAs, the Bills will need to have their QB locked in.