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Dawson Knox needs to go....now.


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Please stop.  This is a ridiculous take

OK....after his crazy fumble I was ready to go thru my TV screen.  But as I thought it through in years past that play would have been the downward spiral of the Bills to a horrific loss.  Perhaps Kno

Honestly, Knox sucks. He’s unreliable as a receiver and looks like a fringe NFL player out there.

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8 minutes ago, Thurman#1 said:

Or college elsewhere. 39 catches total. They just didn't throw to the TE much there.

 

Yup.  And last year, Josh targeted him (just) 50 times.  Had he targeted him even just 76 times like Thomas has been so far, he could very well have had 43 receptions for 590 yards and 3 TDs.  

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The entire TE conversation is infuriating because all too often someone says, " Get a Kelce / Gates / Ertz" via the Draft, but fail to do their research on what it took to produce those TEs and follow up the "get em'" statement by saying the Bills should use a high draft pick on a TE. Yet, an extremely high rate of successful and very productive TEs do NOT, I repeat do NOT, come from high draft picks! Kelce, Gronk and Ertz all 2nd rounders, but so, so many others are mid to late round Draft picks. 

 

TE is a position that requires so many skills from understanding the entire Offense, not just a receiving route tree for himself but all of them, he needs to know when to pass block and when and how to run block, he needs to be able to run, catch, be strong against LBers and Safeties but nimble enough to get around a Corner and he needs to stay healthy in one of the more physical positions to play in the NFL. It is arguably, in terms of the total construct of the position - physical and mental - maybe the hardest position to be really good at outside of QB. A great TE is actively involved in every single play, no matter a pass or rush and no matter what side of the field - and they need great athleticism to be able to produce the actual Offensive yards we're all looking for....in short, Knox was RAW coming out of college and has had some COVID and injury issues this year, be patient. 

 

I don't think that means the Bills don't get a Vet TE or Draft another, but taking one too high would seem like fools gold given the history of the position. Give Knox time, let Sweeney come back, and make a move for a 3rd - just don't overpay in FA and don't "over-draft" one to meet the perceived demand of a high volume TE. Keep in mind in KC, it's Hill, then Kelce and everyone else plays runner-up to those two mouths which need to be fed...think about what that means on this Bills team. 

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15 hours ago, Bob in STL said:

Some players just take a few years to reach their full potential.   Knox was showed flashes but he is very inconsistent.  For that reason I would like to see the Bills dress Knox-Smith- Kroft.  Instead they have been going Knox-Smith-Gilliam to help the ST.  
 

Smith is the blocker, and is basically an OT that can catch.  
 

So the decision is should you dress Kroft in case Knox stumbles, or is making our ST a priority the best move?    
 

Gilliam played 21 of the 28 ST plays versus Pittsburgh.  He played about 75% of the snaps the week prior as well.   McD is big on ST right now.   

 

Read an article the other day, forgot where which basically stated "Knox played in a college offense that didn't incorporate the TE into it" 

 

So then why draft a guy like that someone could ask.  Answer, he was drafted for his physical abilities that few others possess.  Also read from time to time that TE may be the toughest position for a rookie to come into the NFL and be productive.  Couple that with him playing in an offense that didn't use one at all, it's going to take at least another year.

 

Considering the Bills use 4 WR think I read like 29% of the time and they do have Smith and Gilliam who have both surprised from time to time, I wouldn't bother also dressing Kroft.  If Knox gets hurt in the 2nd quarter, got with out him, maybe got 4 WR more, then the following week activate Kroft again.

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knox is a stud athlete and everyone seems to love him, pretty sure he is allen's roommate and that's not a small thing.

 

he is just athletic and talented enough to get open and not quite catch the ball.  it's not like a case of dropsies or whatever, he is simply not a good pass catcher.  blocking too, if he gets his mits on someone he can do some work, but he is fooled and out of position plenty.

 

if we have a good post season run and he contributes, i think they give him plenty more opportunity next season to prove what he's got.  if not, they bring someone in and i bet he can't compete.

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1 hour ago, Doc said:

 

I'm not going to go back and search the threads from 2017 and 2018 but I remember you trashing him.  It's what you do and I doubt anyone would disagree with that statement.  

 

I don't know why Thomas' snaps dropped-off at the end of 2017 (I guess you could call it his "rookie" year...as an NFL TE, but it was his 4th in the NFL).  But since he didn't play the final 2 games of the season, I'll bet injury.  But while you'll no doubt want to get hung-up on the exact numbers, the fact is he got a lot more playing time than "nothing," especially considering he was a converted college QB getting his first action as a TE in the NFL, and those rarely ever work. 

 

And yes, there was a dearth of talent on that Bills team.  I don't know what  point you think you're trying to make there other than it took years for him to get up to speed.

 

And nice try but I never said Knox would be Kelce.  Few TEs in NFL history have been like him.  What I am saying it that it's all about targets.  I told you this after the Bills traded for Diggs and you were trying to claim he wasn't a top-10 WR.   

 

 

You have a habit of basing your claims on numerical extrapolation so I was carrying your ridiculous math to its illogical conclusion.  But I do trash the bums and miscreants.

 

Anyway, I provided you with my extemporaneous comments on Thomas already.

 

You claimed that Thomas is only getting touches in Washington because of the dearth of talent.  The obvious (counter)point I made is that There was also a dearth of talent his rookie year in Buffalo----yet no such touches, let alone "about 33%".  I only get "hung-up on the numbers" when I'm correcting your inaccurate figures.

 

It's hard to "get up to speed" when you are relegated to 5% or fewer snaps.

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3 hours ago, Mr. WEO said:

You have a habit of basing your claims on numerical extrapolation so I was carrying your ridiculous math to its illogical conclusion.  But I do trash the bums and miscreants.

 

Anyway, I provided you with my extemporaneous comments on Thomas already.

 

You claimed that Thomas is only getting touches in Washington because of the dearth of talent.  The obvious (counter)point I made is that There was also a dearth of talent his rookie year in Buffalo----yet no such touches, let alone "about 33%".  I only get "hung-up on the numbers" when I'm correcting your inaccurate figures.

 

It's hard to "get up to speed" when you are relegated to 5% or fewer snaps.

 

It's "illogical" to say that if you increase a player's targets...his production should increase?  Really?  Then you must be absolutely dumbfounded over Diggs having a career year and establishing himself as a top-3 WR.  And the only thing "ridiculous" is mentioning Kelce, because I never even tried to compare Knox to him.  He's a rare talent.

 

Yeah I already addressed the situation in 2017.  Again, it was the matter of a college QB who was drafted in 2014, who finally decided to make a position switch late in 2016, who took time to develop.  If that's all you got...

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3 hours ago, colin said:

knox is a stud athlete and everyone seems to love him, pretty sure he is allen's roommate and that's not a small thing.

 

he is just athletic and talented enough to get open and not quite catch the ball.  it's not like a case of dropsies or whatever, he is simply not a good pass catcher.  blocking too, if he gets his mits on someone he can do some work, but he is fooled and out of position plenty.

 

if we have a good post season run and he contributes, i think they give him plenty more opportunity next season to prove what he's got.  if not, they bring someone in and i bet he can't compete.

I agree with this.  I've stayed out of this thread, although I tend to agree with the OP.  

 

If you think about it, maybe more so than any single player on the team, disappoints you on a regular basis.   He makes some really solid plays, but he fails to make plays much more often than he should.  

 

What you describe is exactly on the money - he's a really good athlete in some ways, but he doesn't have quality athletic skills finding and catching the ball.   It was clear last year, and I thought that it may have been just rookie inexperience.  We're past that now, and he still is badly inconsistent.  

 

It's always unfair to make comparisons with the best, but the best exhibit the kind of skills that you want.  Kelce and Gronk find the ball - they know it's combining and they find it, and when it gets to them, they catch it.  In Knox's case, I think it's mostly about finding it.  I think he looks for the ball late.   I think he's running so fast, and working so hard, that the added task of turning and finding the ball is physically too much for him.  I think a lot of this is he doesn't really understand the playbook.  A guy like Kelce, without looking, knows when the ball is going to come to him, knows when it will arrive, and therefore knows when to turn and look for it.  When Knox fails to catch the ball, it seems like he's surprised that the ball is there.  He shouldn't be surprised.  

 

His lack of awareness also evident in his fumble.   

 

He just seems like a kid who's really excited to be where he is and isn't really focused - in the way that most guys on the team are focused - on doing his job.   Kroft, who has less physical talent, has the focus.  

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10 hours ago, Kwai San said:

 

Careful what you say here....the Knoxies will find you and be mean to you!!!  🤣

Yeah! I am sure! The more that I watch the Bills, the more I see a need for an impact tight end. What a difference it would make...the Bills offense would be almost unstoppable when on full cylinder!

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3 hours ago, Doc said:

 

It's "illogical" to say that if you increase a player's targets...his production should increase?  Really?  Then you must be absolutely dumbfounded over Diggs having a career year and establishing himself as a top-3 WR.  And the only thing "ridiculous" is mentioning Kelce, because I never even tried to compare Knox to him.  He's a rare talent.

 

Yeah I already addressed the situation in 2017.  Again, it was the matter of a college QB who was drafted in 2014, who finally decided to make a position switch late in 2016, who took time to develop.  If that's all you got...

 

I've been saying g that if the Bills had increased Thomas's targets, they may have had the guy he is now, instead of the guy they have now.  Not sure how you missed that.  I've said it several times.

 

My comment about Kelce was (obviously) not to compare Thomas to him, but to belittle your endless extrapolations and "on course to..." faux stats.

 

 

It was the Bills (and kind of the Lions---for a whole 3 days) that decided (or at least agreed) Thomas was, in fact a TE, not a QB.  He had played QB with the Giants that preseason, before landing for a cup of coffee on Detroit's PS.

 

 

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Man, people are WAY too down on that fumble.  He was in traffic, and it was pretty bang bang - his big fault was trying as hard as he did to save it, but that's just instinctual.

 

I'm excited about what he brings to the table. It's a unique skill set he brings, and he has all the makings of becoming a true playmaker.  

 

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14 hours ago, papazoid said:

knox is a terrible blocker and mediocre receiver.....bills must upgrade

I'd probably say mediocre blocker and skiddish receiver.

 

His blocking is much worse than his receiving.  We usually just notice the drops more than the blocks.

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3 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

It's always unfair to make comparisons with the best, but the best exhibit the kind of skills that you want.  Kelce and Gronk find the ball - they know it's combining and they find it, and when it gets to them, they catch it.  In Knox's case, I think it's mostly about finding it.  I think he looks for the ball late.   I think he's running so fast, and working so hard, that the added task of turning and finding the ball is physically too much for him.  I think a lot of this is he doesn't really understand the playbook.  A guy like Kelce, without looking, knows when the ball is going to come to him, knows when it will arrive, and therefore knows when to turn and look for it.  When Knox fails to catch the ball, it seems like he's surprised that the ball is there.  He shouldn't be surprised. 

 

A couple points on this.  Last year, most of Knox's drops came on "bunnies" - relatively easy catches where he knew the ball was coming to him and he was positioned to catch it.  To your later point, he just failed to focus on completing the catch and started to think about turning upfield and running.  It didn't help him to have no OTAs this spring, but I think he worked on that.  I think some of his fumbles are focus as well - he's "swallowed the cheese" a bit and is focused on being "Mr Stiff Arm" or "Hard Knox" and making a big physical run for the team, instead of Priority #1 Hang On to the Rock. 

 

Allen, of course, has somewhat the same problem.  I picture Daboll as calling that QB run that sealed the game and saying "***** Slide once you get the 1st, or I'll Beat You Like Flank Steak" in Allen's headset (but I digress).

 

Last year and to a certain extent this year, Knox has made some very high degree of difficulty catches - balls that were high, where he had to focus to keep both feet in, throws where the defenders arm was between his or hand in his face.  He tracked the ball just fine.

 

Where I think Knox struggles both in the pass game and in blocking, is in decoding ambiguity.  He's running across the back of the endzone - should he sit down on the route, or run for the corner?  He has a defender he's supposed to read and react accordingly, and sometimes he's supposed to give Josh "Good Body Language" so Josh knows what he's running.  Other times he and Josh both have to read the same defender the same way.  I think some of the bad "misses" by Josh on throws to Knox are attributable to this - Josh sees it one way and Knox sees it another but either Josh can't "read" Knox's body language or Josh is throwing according to the defender.

 

Same problem in blocking.  Put a linebacker or even DE in front of Knox and say " sic 'em" and he'll do OK, provided it's not an all-pro guy like Judon or Bosa.  But if he needs to decode that the linebacker dropped into coverage and he's responsible for the CB instead, it's a total fail.

 

Quote

He just seems like a kid who's really excited to be where he is and isn't really focused - in the way that most guys on the team are focused - on doing his job.   Kroft, who has less physical talent, has the focus.  

 

In summary, I disagree a tad, except when he's running the ball where I think he gets focused on ***** guys up and getting the most yards at the expense of protecting the football.  I think Knox problem is sometimes figuring out what his job is supposed to be.  Which I sympathize with, but on the other hand we have rookies like Gabe Davis and Zach Moss who are "getting it".  Knox isn't a meathead - had a Wonderlic score of 38, though that could be the combination of a good prep school and good pre-draft prep. But I do have the impression he's playing "catch up" at things which are second nature to some of our guys who have been playing football at a higher level since high school and who played more in college.

 

Last point: I've been going through tape as I get a chance, asking on each offensive play what are we asking our TE to actually do, and is it being done or not?  and I have to say some of our issues with Knox and his lack of productivity are the same as my issue with Singletary and his relative lack of productivity in the passing game.  Allen would rather take a high-degree-of-difficulty throw to a small window downfield than take a checkdown to a RB, TE, or WR who has no defender within 7 yards of him (probably because the other team has understandable faith Allen won't take that shot).  I see Knox perfectly open and waiting for a throw on a number of plays so far.  I will say that sometimes I think he should be in a bit different position - that he's screened from Allen by defenders where if he were 2 yards to the right or left Allen would have a lane - but that's very hard to sort since Allen is often moving around and I don't know how Knox is being coached.

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41 minutes ago, Mr. WEO said:

I've been saying g that if the Bills had increased Thomas's targets, they may have had the guy he is now, instead of the guy they have now.  Not sure how you missed that.  I've said it several times.

 

My comment about Kelce was (obviously) not to compare Thomas to him, but to belittle your endless extrapolations and "on course to..." faux stats.

 

It was the Bills (and kind of the Lions---for a whole 3 days) that decided (or at least agreed) Thomas was, in fact a TE, not a QB.  He had played QB with the Giants that preseason, before landing for a cup of coffee on Detroit's PS.

 

LOL!  As usual, you're unwittingly making my point: more targets means more production.  I knew you'd come around!

 

But the theory that Thomas was this above average TE from the beginning when he made the switch from QB is certainly interesting.  As I've been saying, he needed several years to develop.  Why not give Knox some time as well?  Oh wait, that's right, because you never liked him.

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Haha, what point does it serve to cut him now? I wasn’t a big fan of the pick (wild the guy didn’t have 1 td in college) but I still give him one more offseason to prove himself.  But given the lack of glaring needs, I’d love to finally have a real stud TE.

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

A couple points on this.  Last year, most of Knox's drops came on "bunnies" - relatively easy catches where he knew the ball was coming to him and he was positioned to catch it.  To your later point, he just failed to focus on completing the catch and started to think about turning upfield and running.  It didn't help him to have no OTAs this spring, but I think he worked on that.  I think some of his fumbles are focus as well - he's "swallowed the cheese" a bit and is focused on being "Mr Stiff Arm" or "Hard Knox" and making a big physical run for the team, instead of Priority #1 Hang On to the Rock. 

 

Allen, of course, has somewhat the same problem.  I picture Daboll as calling that QB run that sealed the game and saying "***** Slide once you get the 1st, or I'll Beat You Like Flank Steak" in Allen's headset (but I digress).

 

Last year and to a certain extent this year, Knox has made some very high degree of difficulty catches - balls that were high, where he had to focus to keep both feet in, throws where the defenders arm was between his or hand in his face.  He tracked the ball just fine.

 

Where I think Knox struggles both in the pass game and in blocking, is in decoding ambiguity.  He's running across the back of the endzone - should he sit down on the route, or run for the corner?  He has a defender he's supposed to read and react accordingly, and sometimes he's supposed to give Josh "Good Body Language" so Josh knows what he's running.  Other times he and Josh both have to read the same defender the same way.  I think some of the bad "misses" by Josh on throws to Knox are attributable to this - Josh sees it one way and Knox sees it another but either Josh can't "read" Knox's body language or Josh is throwing according to the defender.

 

Same problem in blocking.  Put a linebacker or even DE in front of Knox and say " sic 'em" and he'll do OK, provided it's not an all-pro guy like Judon or Bosa.  But if he needs to decode that the linebacker dropped into coverage and he's responsible for the CB instead, it's a total fail.

 

 

In summary, I disagree a tad, except when he's running the ball where I think he gets focused on ***** guys up and getting the most yards at the expense of protecting the football.  I think Knox problem is sometimes figuring out what his job is supposed to be.  Which I sympathize with, but on the other hand we have rookies like Gabe Davis and Zach Moss who are "getting it".  Knox isn't a meathead - had a Wonderlic score of 38, though that could be the combination of a good prep school and good pre-draft prep. But I do have the impression he's playing "catch up" at things which are second nature to some of our guys who have been playing football at a higher level since high school and who played more in college.

 

Last point: I've been going through tape as I get a chance, asking on each offensive play what are we asking our TE to actually do, and is it being done or not?  and I have to say some of our issues with Knox and his lack of productivity are the same as my issue with Singletary and his relative lack of productivity in the passing game.  Allen would rather take a high-degree-of-difficulty throw to a small window downfield than take a checkdown to a RB, TE, or WR who has no defender within 7 yards of him (probably because the other team has understandable faith Allen won't take that shot).  I see Knox perfectly open and waiting for a throw on a number of plays so far.  I will say that sometimes I think he should be in a bit different position - that he's screened from Allen by defenders where if he were 2 yards to the right or left Allen would have a lane - but that's very hard to sort since Allen is often moving around and I don't know how Knox is being coached.

It sounds to me like you see the same guy I see, except that you're willing to make more excuses for him than I.  As you say, Moss is playing more mistake-free football as a rookie than Knox in his second season.  Singletary did last year, too.  But you make me stop and think about it.  McDermott isn't slow to sit people who aren't performing, and Kroft seemed to me to be pretty steady, so the fact that Knox is playing and Kroft isn't even suiting up says that McDermott sees and believes in the potential that you (and I) see.  The guy has made some special plays, and he also gets into position to make more.  For whatever reason, he hasn't been nearly as consistent as McDermott expects of his players.  Still, he's on the field.  

 

We'll see if he develops greater consistency.  

 

Also, I wonder if he's playing because Brown isn't. I wonder if once Brown gets back, we'll see more Kroft and less Knox.  

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2 hours ago, Doc said:

 

LOL!  As usual, you're unwittingly making my point: more targets means more production.  I knew you'd come around!

 

But the theory that Thomas was this above average TE from the beginning when he made the switch from QB is certainly interesting.  As I've been saying, he needed several years to develop.  Why not give Knox some time as well?  Oh wait, that's right, because you never liked him.

This whole exchange has been hysterical, Doc. Keep out smarting our great savants!

 

Sorry folks, but most of you look at player development as binary. They’re either a 1 (immediately successful) or a 0 (cut them immediately and replace them). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Every player comes from different backgrounds and certain skills/positions take longer to develop. The kid is raw at a position that takes awhile to develop anyway. Does he every figure it out? Idk maybe not, but making a judgement call on any player by looking at their box score is just irresponsible or a handful of plays a game where he makes a mistake. 
 

Am I overly thrilled with Knox? No. I don’t think any reasonable person is. Am I calling him a bust? No. Because I recognized when he was drafted that his development path was going to be much more lengthy than your typical college player. I think the first step is having realistic expectations for a player based on their profile... not based on what you think a 3rd round pick should look like and how they should produce and when they should produce. It does not work that way... if these guys were robots or video game characters, sure. They’re not, they’re people. 
 

He’s extremely gifted but needs to learn. Deal with the growing pains.

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