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Blue on Blue, that was a great.  It was a relaxing but interesting, Saturday morning off-season listen when there is not a lot of other content.  Thank you for posting it.  A couple of things that stu

Lee Smith, at length (with Tim Graham and Matthew Fairburn) on life in general; life in the NFL; Allen, Knox, Brady, Mahomes, etc.   Warning:  This may challenge your presumptions and assump

This is a GREAT interview. I strongly recommend watching it, especially regarding what he says about Dawson Knox. He basically said that he didn’t play much before coming to the NFL and just needs tim

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Blue on Blue, that was a great.  It was a relaxing but interesting, Saturday morning off-season listen when there is not a lot of other content.  Thank you for posting it.  A couple of things that stuck out to me:  (nothing below is an exact quote - typing from memory)

 

Him talking about elite WRs - several times, when talking about the pass game he specifically called Steph and Beas elite WRs.  He also talked a lot about how what made them elite was separation.  He never mentioned Brown.  I like Brown, but in an unintended, reading between the lines way, I think he revealed that at least some Bills players think the same way of Brown as probably most of us do.  Steph and Beas are in a class above Brown.  Remember, he was here for 2 years in this latest stint which means he saw what Brown was 2 years ago as the uninjured number 1 WR.

 

Called Dawson Knox a freak show athlete that has a bright future.  He is big enough that little guys do not want to tackle him and he is athletic enough to get separation.  We can only hope he has a bright future.

 

Taliking about his high catch-target % and his high TD % - If he caught a TD pass, it was not uncommon for a defensive coach or player on the other team to give him a hard time teasing him after the game - man, why are you doing me that way?  They haven't thrown you the ball in 5 weeks.  -   He said that the Bills would often take that play out of their playbooks for the next 2-3 weeks until it got off the most recent film.

 

Talked about how being drafted in the 5th round by the Patriots with Gronk and Hernandez on the team and how it made him doubt he could play in the league.  Then he gets cut and he is talking to his high school sweetheart wife with their third kid on the way and they have college debt and they are donating plasma and eating Ramen noodles to get by.

 

Just a humble, likable guy.  The type of guy that you wouldn't mind hanging with.......I still don't want him back, though.  😃

 

 

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This is a GREAT interview. I strongly recommend watching it, especially regarding what he says about Dawson Knox. He basically said that he didn’t play much before coming to the NFL and just needs time. He also said that he is an athletic freak with an *extremely* bright future. Smith actually says “etch it in stone” with regard to his prediction that Knox will become elite. He says he’s uncoverable and that DBs hate tackling him.

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57 minutes ago, Long Suffering Fan said:

Taliking about his high catch-target % and his high TD % - If he caught a TD pass, it was not uncommon for a defensive coach or player on the other team to give him a hard time teasing him after the game - man, why are you doing me that way?  They haven't thrown you the ball in 5 weeks.  -   He said that the Bills would often take that play out of their playbooks for the next 2-3 weeks until it got off the most recent film.

 

He also mentioned that he's the son of an NFL player (Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Daryle Smith) and had footballs being thrown at him his whole life, so he's never had any problem catching the football.  Said his incompletions are probably footballs thrown at his feet when he was pass-protecting, but his problem is he can't get open.  Though I have noticed that when Josh throws to Smith, it seems as though he does take something off it - maybe that's just an adjustment to Lee's lack of speed.

 

57 minutes ago, Long Suffering Fan said:

Talked about how being drafted in the 5th round by the Patriots with Gronk and Hernandez on the team and how it made him doubt he could play in the league.  Then he gets cut and he is talking to his high school sweetheart wife with their third kid on the way and they have college debt and they are donating plasma and eating Ramen noodles to get by.

 

Here, I think, he's indulging in hyperbole.  He's clearly a great storyteller, but he was cut by the Pats in the final roster cutdown, and signed by the Bills the next day.  I doubt his Dad or his wife's mom would let either of them donate plasma, either.

I agree, @Blue on Blue, great find, thanks for posting.

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8 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

He also mentioned that he's the son of an NFL player (Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Daryle Smith) and had footballs being thrown at him his whole life, so he's never had any problem catching the football.  Said his incompletions are probably footballs thrown at his feet when he was pass-protecting, but his problem is he can't get open.  Though I have noticed that when Josh throws to Smith, it seems as though he does take something off it - maybe that's just an adjustment to Lee's lack of speed.

 

 

Here, I think, he's indulging in hyperbole.  He's clearly a great storyteller, but he was cut by the Pats in the final roster cutdown, and signed by the Bills the next day.  I doubt his Dad or his wife's mom would let either of them donate plasma, either.

I agree, @Blue on Blue, great find, thanks for posting.

I eat ramen & donate plasma sometimes. My job is pretty decent

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48 minutes ago, dave mcbride said:

This is a GREAT interview. I strongly recommend watching it, especially regarding what he says about Dawson Knox. He basically said that he didn’t play much before coming to the NFL and just needs time. He also said that he is an athletic freak with an *extremely* bright future. Smith actually says “etch it in stone” with regard to his prediction that Knox will become elite. He says he’s uncoverable and that DBs hate tackling him.

 

Smith said "elite receivers want the rock - take 20 of Stef's balls and give them to Dawson and see how Stef acts"

 

Sounds as though there may be a coaching opportunity there to "sell" team success to the WR room.  I honestly don't think it's a zero-sum game.  I pointed out elsewhere that the Bills were only 15th in the league for # of plays, with 93 fewer than the top team.  I think there's a point to be made that if Dawson, open as he is at times, gets 20 more balls and extends more drives, the attention that eventually pulls from Stef and Beasley gives them more opportunities for easier catches, too.

Within reason of course.  When a guy is getting targeted 16x per game and catching 77% of what's thrown his way, "nothing succeeds like success"

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He knows better than I , but I haven't seen anything 'freakish' about Knox yet. Most NFL players are great athletes, nothing really stands out with him. I wouldn't cut him, I think he's a decent 2nd tight end, but would love to get Engram from the Giants for this season.

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Just now, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Smith said "elite receivers want the rock - take 20 of Stef's balls and give them to Dawson and see how Stef acts"

 

Sounds as though there may be a coaching opportunity there to "sell" team success to the WR room.  I honestly don't think it's a zero-sum game.  I pointed out elsewhere that the Bills were only 15th in the league for # of plays, with 93 fewer than the top team.  I think there's a point to be made that if Dawson, open as he is at times, gets 20 more balls and extends more drives, the attention that eventually pulls from Stef and Beasley gives them more opportunities for easier catches, too.

Within reason of course.  When a guy is getting targeted 16x per game and catching 77% of what's thrown his way, "nothing succeeds like success"

see how most of the Bills fans act too. Don't take balls from Diggs please.

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Just now, klos63 said:

He knows better than I , but I haven't seen anything 'freakish' about Knox yet. Most NFL players are great athletes, nothing really stands out with him. I wouldn't cut him, I think he's a decent 2nd tight end, but would love to get Engram from the Giants for this season.

 

I think it's a point that if an NFL teammate who sees the guy day in day out in practice, and who has been in the TE room with Gronk and Hernandez (however briefly) and even a decent-not-stellar TE like Jared Cook, says a guy's an "athletic freak", he probably is.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

I think it's a point that if an NFL teammate who sees the guy day in day out in practice, and who has been in the TE room with Gronk and Hernandez (however briefly) and even a decent-not-stellar TE like Jared Cook, says a guy's an "athletic freak", he probably is.

 

 

like I said, he knows better than I do, but still haven't seen anything freakish about him. Nothing he has done really stands out as anything special. I don't dislike him and he's worth having on the team, but even Beane said we need more from him, freakish or not.

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2 minutes ago, klos63 said:

see how most of the Bills fans act too. Don't take balls from Diggs please.

 

My point is that it's not necessarily a zero-sum game over the long term.

 

Diggs had 166 targets last year in the regular season and a 76% catch %.  He had 11 targets in the KC game too, but was only able to catch half of them.

If he had 8 targets but we moved the chains better, 1 of them went for a TD, and we won, I think we'd all act Just Fine.

 

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Just now, klos63 said:

like I said, he knows better than I do, but still haven't seen anything freakish about him. Nothing he has done really stands out as anything special. I don't dislike him and he's worth having on the team, but even Beane said we need more from him, freakish or not.

 

Beane didn't exactly say that.  Or if he did, when?

 

The point that we need more from the TE position is absolutely inarguable. 

 

But Smith's point is also valid - "when you have the best WR room in the league, the young TE gets left out, there's only so many balls to go around" 

 

If Knox gets open with green grass in front of him and he's not targeted while Josh throws downfield to a double-covered Diggs,that's not on Knox. 

 

And of course, looping back to my point, it's not exactly a zero-sum game because if we extend a drive with that throw to Knox instead of going 3-and-out, Diggs overall gets more opportunities.

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16 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Beane didn't exactly say that.  Or if he did, when?

 

The point that we need more from the TE position is absolutely inarguable. 

 

But Smith's point is also valid - "when you have the best WR room in the league, the young TE gets left out, there's only so many balls to go around" 

 

If Knox gets open with green grass in front of him and he's not targeted while Josh throws downfield to a double-covered Diggs,that's not on Knox. 

 

And of course, looping back to my point, it's not exactly a zero-sum game because if we extend a drive with that throw to Knox instead of going 3-and-out, Diggs overall gets more opportunities.

Knox has potential and I'm optimistic but for now he has lost Allen's trust because of all the drops. The wide open drops have hurt the offense and the team. You can see Josh hesitant to throw to him and as you say, he'll pass up an open Knox for a not-wide-open WR at times. It's going to take a higher level of performance from Dawss to earn that trust back over time. 

 

I was very excited when the Bills took Knox in the draft from listening to Matt Miller's podcast and again, still optimistic he can get it together.

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22 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Beane didn't exactly say that.  Or if he did, when?

 

The point that we need more from the TE position is absolutely inarguable. 

 

But Smith's point is also valid - "when you have the best WR room in the league, the young TE gets left out, there's only so many balls to go around" 

 

If Knox gets open with green grass in front of him and he's not targeted while Josh throws downfield to a double-covered Diggs,that's not on Knox. 

 

And of course, looping back to my point, it's not exactly a zero-sum game because if we extend a drive with that throw to Knox instead of going 3-and-out, Diggs overall gets more opportunities.

This was post season review.     “We just never really got that position,” Bills General Manager Brandon Beane said. “At the end of the year, I thought we did a little bit. Dawson started to get his groove. But it was never where the opposing defense was like, ‘Man, we’ve got to stop their tight ends from going off.’ So we’ll look to that group.”

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35 minutes ago, klos63 said:

He knows better than I , but I haven't seen anything 'freakish' about Knox yet. Most NFL players are great athletes, nothing really stands out with him. I wouldn't cut him, I think he's a decent 2nd tight end, but would love to get Engram from the Giants for this season.

You haven’t been watching the Bills tight ends for the last 60 years. He is the most athletic TE the team has ever had. He will never be more than just a competent blocker, but he can be an elite pass catching threat.

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27 minutes ago, 2020 Our Year For Sure said:

Knox has potential and I'm optimistic but for now he has lost Allen's trust because of all the drops. The wide open drops have hurt the offense and the team. You can see Josh hesitant to throw to him and as you say, he'll pass up an open Knox for a not-wide-open WR at times. It's going to take a higher level of performance from Dawss to earn that trust back over time. 

 

I was very excited when the Bills took Knox in the draft from listening to Matt Miller's podcast and again, still optimistic he can get it together.

 

That would be understandable, but I don't think it's actually the case.  You'll see Knox have a bad drop and a handful of plays later, Allen will go right back to him and he'll make a key reception. 

 

Allen does the same thing with Diggs and Beasley when they're his outlet WR short.  It's part of his DNA - he wants to go for the Jugular, Every Down.  I could pull clips where Diggs was the checkdown guy near the right sideline and clearly expected the ball when Allen rolled right and Allen threw a sideline rope over his head to Beasley or Davis who were doubled.  That's fantastic when he makes it, but when it's 3rd down and 5 and he doesn't, everyone takes a seat.

 

I'm encouraged because I saw progress this season where Allen would read the blitz or the coverage post snap and make the immediate throw to his outlet.  But it's part of the next step in Allen's game to recognize that and take that checkdown more often.

 

I do think that if Allen has a choice between Diggs, Beasley, or Knox he will take Diggs or Beasley, and results bear that out - the first two are catching almost 3 out of 4 balls thrown their way despite being covered like blankets, and Knox is just over 50%.  As Lee Smith said, "Dawson has to take BIG advantage of his opportunities".  Maybe that's a different way of saying "he has lost Allen's trust" - I don't think it's quite true, but I think that Beasley and Diggs have proven themselves to be elite receiving options while Dawson to this point is literally a 50/50 guy.

 

I guess the difference to me is the difference between saying "this guy sucks" vs. "this guy isn't elite, and he's competing with elite for attention"

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45 minutes ago, klos63 said:

He knows better than I , but I haven't seen anything 'freakish' about Knox yet. Most NFL players are great athletes, nothing really stands out with him. I wouldn't cut him, I think he's a decent 2nd tight end, but would love to get Engram from the Giants for this season.

You're not watching Knox then. He's got it all, just needs to put it all together. Part of me believes Beane was sending Knox a message. We do need to add competition but I wouldn't be shocked if Knox had a huge 3rd year. 

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16 minutes ago, Ethan in Portland said:

You haven’t been watching the Bills tight ends for the last 60 years. He is the most athletic TE the team has ever had. He will never be more than just a competent blocker, but he can be an elite pass catching threat.

actually I have.  Most NFL players are very athletic, Knox is probably in the lower half of NFL TE's right now. I think he will continue to improve, but how much and how quickly are important questions. I heard a rumor we are interested in Engram for a 3rd, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

7 minutes ago, Buffalo_Stampede said:

You're not watching Knox then. He's got it all, just needs to put it all together. Part of me believes Beane was sending Knox a message. We do need to add competition but I wouldn't be shocked if Knox had a huge 3rd year. 

What have I missed ?  What makes him so special?  Again, I don't think he's bad, I think he's decent and still has the ability to improve. But I've never seen anything about him that's 'off the charts' as some like to say. He's not faster, bigger, still drops a few too many, average blocker, not great separation....

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55 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

I honestly don't think it's a zero-sum game.  I pointed out elsewhere that the Bills were only 15th in the league for # of plays, with 93 fewer than the top team.  I think there's a point to be made that if Dawson, open as he is at times, gets 20 more balls and extends more drives, the attention that eventually pulls from Stef and Beasley gives them more opportunities for easier catches, too.

I don’t disagree with you on it not being a zero-sum game. Although I do disagree with you on the fact that there are enough plays to squeeze out. The Chargers, I believe were the leader, but they were a serious outlier over the last 10 years. There’s maybe ~30 more plays we can reasonably run, but then you have to take into account run/pass splits. 
 

I think it does make sense to tweak the target distribution a little bit so teams have to account for some other guys... but then again we were a Taiwan Jones dropped pass in the end zone and an Andre Roberts tap pass stopped at the 1 away from setting the NFL record for different players with a receiving TD. 

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