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Offseason Primer Position Group: Secondary

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Secondary – I personally do not like the Zone Heavy schemes, but I get that is what we are going to see mostly with the Bills Defense with McD.  I will say though our zone scheme is Good, and performed against almost every team fine except KC.  So, using McDs statement of “KC is the benchmark” I think we will see a little tweak bringing DBs that are more complete both Man and Zone.  We did go through yet another year that is going to lead to a competition at CB2.  That position needs to be settled this offseason IMO, and the Rotating at that spot needs to stop.  So that is my thinking in terms of where this position group is at.  Also, with Hyde and Poyer another year older I think safety is not as settled as it used to be, I will get into why a little later.  But multiple Hail Mary’s completed on you in the span of a couple weeks should have people immediately look at the safety play.  What I do like about them is there is juice on this team from the Safety and CB spot when it comes to blitzing, I think it is a asset that we do not use enough.   


Bills UFAs:


Josh Norman, 34, CB, 2020 AAV: 6M, SPOTRAC Market Value: N/A – 1 INT, 4PD, 1 FF, allowed 65.6% complete against him (right where he has been his entire time in Washington), with an 84 RTG against him.  Ok he can walk, yes, he made a couple plays often he didn’t.  I get everyone talking about having Veterans are vital, but Tre White is your veteran in the position, eventually as fans we must start looking at our younger players as veterans, as they have been in the scheme since McD got here.  We are at a point that if Norman is willing to accept Veteran Minimum, I will be fine with the re-signing, anything over the minimum and he can walk.    


Dean Marlowe 29, SS, 2020 AAV: 1.55M, SPOTRAC Market Value:  N/A – 2 INTs, 3 PD, 1.5 Sack, 69.2% completion against and a 105. Rating against.  Marlowe stays, solid depth back at safety and cannot go into the season with the unknown of Johnson as your primary Safety Backup.  Should come cheap, something like a 2 year 4.5M contract with 2.25M AAV will keep him in Buffalo.  It would not make sense to let him walk and create a question mark at Depth unless you are planning to draft the replacement for Hyde / Poyer this year.  Quality depth and should be cheap. 


Levi Wallace 26, CB, 2020 AAV: 750K, SPOTRAC Market Value:  N/A (RFA) – Former UDFA still has not just taken the CB2 job and made it his.  I think the smart move here is put a 2nd round tender on him if he is offersheeted let him walk.  If he is isn’t then he is in camp for yet another competition at the CB2 spot.  He will be back, likely given the Original Round Tender, I guess they could not tender him and sign him at a lower value as well, but either way I think he will be back if nothing more than just his reputation on Special Teams and will be cheap. 2 INT, 8PD, 57.1% catch against him (65.7% in 2019), Rating though 85.0% which is right about here he has been his time in Buffalo.


On Contract CBs:


Tre’Davious White, 26 yrs, Cap Hit 14.05M: So, with Tre the numbers on him are 3 INTs, 11 PD, 1 FF, 2 FR, 1.5 Sacks, gave up 4 TDs.  The fancy numbers include 56.9% against him (this is where he has been essentially since his time in Buffalo), Rating against 79.9% (this in line with his rookie year) however last year he had this at 43.3% (this drops obviously because he had 6 picks last year and 0 TDs).  Rest of his advanced numbers are right in line with where he has been his entire career in Buffalo.  Faced 65 targtets this year (73 rookie year and 90 last year).  We know he dealt with injury this year as well and I am not sure how much that made him struggle, but those saying Tre got paid and slacked the numbers just do NOT show that.  He is the best player on this team and his contract going forward is not bad.  I would like to see him in man and following the top WR around a little more, but I do not think that is going to happen. We are fine here, so those that think he regressed come off the ledge.


Taron Johnson, 25 yrs, Cap Hit 1.08M, Savings 930K: Yes, I understand everyone loved the 101 pick 6.  But it is more than that.  1 INT, 7 PD, 1 FF, 1 sack, 5 TFL.  He was Targeted the most in his career. At 79 targets (41, 49 in years past) and still at 68.4% complete and a 91.5 rating, those are right in line with his career despite facing more Targets this year, so I think many can say we know exactly what he is, a very good NB.  His run support is amazing, maybe not the best cover nickel that is out in the league, but I would say once of the better run support and blitzing NBs in the league.  Our Zone Heavy concepts minimize his short area quickness and stiff hips that plague him in coverage.


EJ Gaines, 29 yrs, Cap Hit: 0, Savings 850K: Yes, he is a Bill has been all season as a COVID Opt out.  So we do have someone that excelled at CB2 when healthy in the mold before he took off chasing money.  IMO, he replaced Norman going forward. 


Cam Lewis, 24 yrs, Cap Hit 780K, Savings 780K:  Didn’t look out of place in 2 games this season, but does have a size issue outside, at only 5-9.  I don’t see anything more than a Depth CB here, I know many had high hopes for him, I just don’t see it in his play will be coming off IR.


Siran Neal, 27, Cap Hit 991K, Savings 920K – He has value as a Depth CB, and Safety also probably one of our better ST players, I don’t think he is going anywhere, unless they are really in a cap crunch, to me you are not going to be able to replace his ST play and spot play as needed for 920K (space that opens up).  1 PD, 66.7% completed against him on 9 targets with a rating of 80.3.  But his value really is in ST where he logs 60% of all special teams’ snaps. I listed him here as that is how Bills list him but more likely a Safety / Big Nickel. 


Dane Jackson, 24 – Futures – I know there are a lot of Dane Jackson truthers out there, I will say he didn’t look out of place at all when he played and I was calling for him to log more snaps so that is a good thing, means he flashed to m when he played.  1 INT, 5 PD, 1FR, allowed 61.9% on 21 TGTs, and a RTG against 96.2%.   I think he will be the first in line to try to secure that CB2 spot in the offseason.  The Dane truthers can talk more about his skill set.


Duke Thomas, 27 – On PS, I don’t expect anything on him other than Camp Fodder if given a futures contract.  Was signed on Bills PS on 1 Jan


On Contract S:


Jordan Poyer, 30 yrs, Cap Hit 7.875, Savings 5.875 – When looking at the numbers important to note 4.775 becomes fully guaranteed on 5th day of new league year, so if he is still on the roster (fully expect him to be) savings after that point is only 1.1M, just for reference.  I think there was something going on with him at the start of the season because for the first 5 weeks or, so I was thinking well we extended the wrong Safety.  However, he then came on.  Finished with 2 INTs, 5 PD, 2FF, 2 sacks, 124 tackles with 4 QB hits.  He gave up a 72.9% rate on 48 targets (both highest number since being a Bill) and had a Rating of 90.0 which was lower than he did last year so that is good.  All and all a real Solid Season for him.  Will remain, but we really must start looking at some younger replacements at Safety in the future.


Micah Hyde, 31, Cap Hit 6.718, Savings 5.1M – Hyde ended the season with 1 INT, 5 PD, 70 Tackles, and a 63.6% on 22 TGTs and a rating of 82.2 when thrown against.  For some reason I am not sure when I come away from the season with his play slipping, when the numbers are right in line with where he has been his entire time in Buffalo.  But I will say there is something about this years season that had me coming away thinking his play slipped, I guess I have to go back and watch some games again and see why I felt that way.  Maybe it has to do with the plays he made have not been special plays like he has made in the season prior and just had a very quietly good season.  There is something I must look at, because I fully expected the numbers to match with my assessment of his play slipping but they don’t.  But at the end of the day as I said with Poyer must start looking at Safety as Both are on the wrong side of 30. 


Jaquan Johnson, 26 yrs, Cap Hit 896K, Savings, 800K:  Not many thoughts on him, I did like the pick in the draft and wasn’t ever going to knock off Hyde or Poyer, but he has been groomed with the Bills since he came in as a rookie, I don’t ever remember him spending any time on the PS and has been on the 53 from jump.  There is something to be said about that.  I was looking forward to watching him this PS, but looks like I will have to wait to see if we have a future replacement of one of these two already on the roster. 


Josh Thomas, 24 yrs - Futures – Was a STUD at App St.  Was going to take time coming from the smaller program, signed as a UDFA after the draft.  In his final year at App St. Had career high 72 tackles, 2, TFL, 1 FR and 1 INT.  He carried the second-best coverage grade from PFF while playing in college.  I am not sure something is there or not, but in the past offseason he really didn’t have a shot, this offseason he will get a chance with hopefully a more normal offseason and being on the PS all year, I would expect him to sign a futures deal as he was on the PS all year and was initially signed as a Priority UDFA.


Possible UFA TGTs (go with my top 4 or top 5)

I don’t think I would do anything at either CB or S in the UFA period.  Reason being is I think with the Roster we currently have on contract we will try to address CB2 in house or in the draft.  Safety I don’t see any movement needed there, but either way will treat this like Wallace received a 2nd round tender and stays. 


CB (looking at Depth): 

Darious Williams, 28

J.C. Jackson, 26 RFA – weaken NE and really solidify CB2 (wont happen though)

Mike Hilton, 27 (likely 8M AAV) – would solidify CB2

Chideobe Awuzie, 26

Cameron Sutton, 26



Marcus Williams, 25 (9.4 AAV) – Long term replacement for Hyde

John Johnson, 26 (8.3 AAV) – Long term for Poyer


Ok to the point of what I would do.


I am not touching this group at this point.  So I would bring back Levi on the 2nd round tender, re-sign Marlowe and let Norman walk (unless on a Vet Min deal).  I would look in the draft for the future Safety and CB2.  That would be my initial going in plan, leaves depth chart like this.

RCB – Wallace / Jackson / Gaines / Rookie

NB – Johnson / Lewis / Neal

LCB – White / Gaines

SS - Poyer / Marlowe

FS – Hyde / Johnson / Rookie


Next Writeup: OL


Past Writeups:

Full Overview: https://www.twobillsdrive.com/community/topic/230905-buffalo-bills-offseason-primer-state-of-the-bills/

Defensive Line:  https://www.twobillsdrive.com/community/topic/230921-offseason-primer-position-group-dl/


Linebackers: https://www.twobillsdrive.com/community/topic/230960-offseason-primer-position-group-lb/


Edited by MAJBobby
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Yeah, I don't think I'm touching this group in free agency. Like you said, give Levi the 2nd round tender and either you get him back and you're happy or you get a 2nd round pick for him and you're happy.


I do think both CB and S are Day 1/2 potential targets in the draft. Taron and Levi are fine but I think we should be aiming to upgrade from both via the draft if we get lucky.


I would definitely be in favor of taking a safety as well; I thought it was a good idea last year when we were interested in Duggar and feel the same way now; as much as we all like Hyde/Poyer, they likely won't be around much longer.

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1 minute ago, Solomon Grundy said:

I’m afraid my sleeper pick won’t be a sleeper after the Senior Bowl. Robert Rochell was the guy I hoped the Bills could steal in Rd 5. Want the Bills to focus on DL/LB early. Get some young defensive talent on roster. 

Yep you got my thinking off him on my initial look in the college board. Senior Bowl is going to be huge for him. 

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I'm actually ok with the secondary. They have some young talent at safety already. I think Dane Jackson showed enough to challenge Wallace. I'de probably spend a mid-late round pick on a DB like every year. If someone in free agency is available at a good price then sure. 

Edited by Buffalo_Stampede
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You're doing a great job with these. 


Not sure if I'm ready to take this in depth of a look at the off-season though. Feels too soon and that this would be best suited for next week or after the SB. 


Not done grieving yet!

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1 minute ago, Process said:

You're doing a great job with these. 


Not sure if I'm ready to take this in depth of a look at the off-season though. Feels too soon and that this would be best suited for next week or after the SB. 


Not done grieving yet!

I hear you. And I am too. Though I must say writing these helped because as bad as Sunday was writing these shows me we are finally in a good place. Gotta get them done as I do a lot in offseason with Draft and such as well. Plus work has decided to send me to Jordan for a couple weeks right before UFA starts. So had to dig into them. Trying to get them done actually before SB so I can really start digging into draft. 

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@MAJBobby Taron Johnson, Cam Lewis and Josh Thomas (who?) need to be bolded and separated. I also liked how you colored rookies in other thread so it is clear they are new.


So I read all your defense primers, and you basically suggest getting rid of old guys at DL, getting two DL top players, drafting a rookie here and there and keeping everything else intact (if Milano stays for reasonable price). I like it. But like a said, I expect something big to happen at our LB corps.

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Nothing really needs to be addressed here.


I agree that changes will come in house. Would like to see Dane Jackson get more chances.


Forgot that E.J. Gaines was still with us. Be nice to see if he can contribute


Age of Poyer & Hyde is something to take note, but we're still good with them.

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7 minutes ago, No_Matter_What said:

@MAJBobby Taron Johnson, Cam Lewis and Josh Thomas (who?) need to be bolded and separated. I also liked how you colored rookies in other thread so it is clear they are new.


So I read all your defense primers, and you basically suggest getting rid of old guys at DL, getting two DL top players, drafting a rookie here and there and keeping everything else intact (if Milano stays for reasonable price). I like it. But like a said, I expect something big to happen at our LB corps.

Yep I think the major changes are on DL and then adding youth via draft. I actually went into the Secondary thinking I was moving on from Hyde. Because like I said something with this season made me think his play dropped. But by looking at numbers he is right on par with where he has been so I was a little surprised when I was done there was no changes at the Safety spot. I do think the Biggest issue with this defense is the DL play. 

making changes now. 


Josh Thomas was a stud at APP St.  Small school guy that likely really got hurt with no real offseason.  Was one of the first UDFAs signed (if not the first) after the draft.  Needs to grow up a bit as the step up in talent, but interested to see him in a regular type offseason (if we get one this year)

Edited by MAJBobby
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