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Dion Dawkins is latest to rave about Bills DE A.J. Epenesa


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I’m really pumped to see AJ this year. If he comes into camp and starts the season on fire our defense could be very scary with the rookies we drafted on the DLine and Huges and Oliver…

 

https://billswire.usatoday.com/2021/06/05/dion-dawkins-rave-buffalo-bills-aj-epenesa-sean-mcdermott-leslie-frazier/
 

“First Sean McDermott, then Leslie Frazier, and now Dion Dawkins.

During OTA practices at this point in the offseason, we usually don’t see many head-turning things. But we’re starting to see one growing trend over the past two weeks.

No, not “trust the process.”

 

Head coach, defensive coordinator and franchise left tackle have all been sure to mention one name recently: Defensive end AJ Epenesa.

 

Epenesa, Buffalo’s top-overall pick in Round 2 of the 2020 NFL draft, had a slow start to his career. He turned it around, but early struggles were attributed to him losing too much weight last offseason and the altered summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic probably didn’t help, either.

 

But now it sounds like Epenesa has turned a page. After coaches had complimented the pass rusher, a player in Dawkins has now followed suit. On the field, the offensive lineman absolutely sees a difference.

 

“I speak to AJ every single day… and I compliment him every single day,” Dawkins saidvia video conference this week.

“I ask him how his body feels and he says, ‘Man, honestly, I like it,’ and I say, ‘Yup, we do, too,'” Dawkins added. “He’s taking reps against me, and I can physically feel the difference and he’s not a feather anymore and he’s growing really, really well. I’m very excited to see what AJ does next.”

 

Dawkins’ thoughts follow praise from McDermott and Frazier who both mentioned how much Epenesa has come along. Frazier specially said he sees a more “explosive” player now.

 

Epenesa himself has admitted to having struggles as a rookie, but also followed that with feeling better about himself now. That could be big news for the Bills defense.

 

After failing to sign free-agent JJ Watt, the Bills decided to select Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham at the top of the 2021 NFL draft. Those two young guys, and now a confident Epenesa, will battle for playing time with each other and versus veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison during training camp.

 

If that competition brings out the best of that group, the Bills could be poised to improve on their 38 total sacks as the team last season.”

 

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I’m really pumped to see AJ this year. If he comes into camp and starts the season on fire our defense could be very scary with the rookies we drafted on the DLine and Huges and Oliver…   ht

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Epenesa was starting to look pretty good the second half of the season.  My favorite thing watching him was his ability to get his hands up when the quarte

I think the kid is going to be a heck of a player and I actually liked what I saw from him late last season.    

9 minutes ago, wppete said:

After failing to sign free-agent JJ Watt

 

Sloppy writing.  Who said they even tried?  All of the Watt-to-Buffalo talk was fan and media driven.

 

Anyway, I’m excited to see AJ in action and I love listening to Dawkins.  “He’s not a feather anymore…” — that’s gold.

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Posted (edited)

Article is misleading... Dion didn't bring up AJ, the reporter specifically asked him to comment on AJ... And my take on Dion's commentary left me more concerned than impressed... he said he no longer feels like a "feather" - okay concerning that he ever was a "feather"... and generally it sounded more like he's starting over with a new body... and feels more like playing a normal NFL player now...

Edited by wakingfane
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13 minutes ago, Beast said:

I think the kid is going to be a heck of a player and I actually liked what I saw from him late last season.

 

 

Help me understand.  Because when I looked up his RAS, I got this:

https://relativeathleticscores.com/2020/02/03/a-j-epenesa-ras/

The only difference I see is the position.  How can he score 8.77 on one and 4.09 on the other, when the measurements are the same?

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37 minutes ago, eball said:

Sloppy writing.  Who said they even tried?  All of the Watt-to-Buffalo talk was fan and media driven.

Anyway, I’m excited to see AJ in action and I love listening to Dawkins.  “He’s not a feather anymore…” — that’s gold.

 

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Beane acknowledged interest and talks. 

 

But of course there's a lot of room between interest/talks and serious negotiations.

 

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47 minutes ago, wppete said:

I’m really pumped to see AJ this year. If he comes into camp and starts the season on fire our defense could be very scary with the rookies we drafted on the DLine and Huges and Oliver…

 

https://billswire.usatoday.com/2021/06/05/dion-dawkins-rave-buffalo-bills-aj-epenesa-sean-mcdermott-leslie-frazier/
 

“First Sean McDermott, then Leslie Frazier, and now Dion Dawkins.

During OTA practices at this point in the offseason, we usually don’t see many head-turning things. But we’re starting to see one growing trend over the past two weeks.

No, not “trust the process.”

 

Head coach, defensive coordinator and franchise left tackle have all been sure to mention one name recently: Defensive end AJ Epenesa.

 

Epenesa, Buffalo’s top-overall pick in Round 2 of the 2020 NFL draft, had a slow start to his career. He turned it around, but early struggles were attributed to him losing too much weight last offseason and the altered summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic probably didn’t help, either.

 

But now it sounds like Epenesa has turned a page. After coaches had complimented the pass rusher, a player in Dawkins has now followed suit. On the field, the offensive lineman absolutely sees a difference.

 

“I speak to AJ every single day… and I compliment him every single day,” Dawkins saidvia video conference this week.

“I ask him how his body feels and he says, ‘Man, honestly, I like it,’ and I say, ‘Yup, we do, too,'” Dawkins added. “He’s taking reps against me, and I can physically feel the difference and he’s not a feather anymore and he’s growing really, really well. I’m very excited to see what AJ does next.”

 

Dawkins’ thoughts follow praise from McDermott and Frazier who both mentioned how much Epenesa has come along. Frazier specially said he sees a more “explosive” player now.

 

Epenesa himself has admitted to having struggles as a rookie, but also followed that with feeling better about himself now. That could be big news for the Bills defense.

 

After failing to sign free-agent JJ Watt, the Bills decided to select Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham at the top of the 2021 NFL draft. Those two young guys, and now a confident Epenesa, will battle for playing time with each other and versus veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison during training camp.

 

If that competition brings out the best of that group, the Bills could be poised to improve on their 38 total sacks as the team last season.”

 

 

I feel like AJ Epenesa is a dark horse among the breakout candidates this year. Personally, I don't see him becoming a super sack-master. I'm hoping he can become an all around, jack of all trades, solid starter. 8-10 sacks, strong in run support, and racking up lots of tackles for a lineman.

 

If either of the top 2 DE rookies can break out, Hughes upping his sack totals a bit, Star back, and Ed Oliver finally plays to his draft status then might see a totally different defense. Unfortunately, that's a lot of IFs and Buts. I do think we will see an improvement. Whether it's a big of small one only time will tell.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Epenesa was starting to look pretty good the second half of the season. 
My favorite thing watching him was his ability to get his hands up when the quarterback was about to throw and he wasn’t gonna get home. Sounds easy but not a lot of linemen are actually good at it. I think fans were really hard on him but we seem to discount the covid offseason as not a big deal, but I think it was tougher than we give credit for. Very excited to see this defensive line. 

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, TailgateChef said:

Help me understand.  Because when I looked up his RAS, I got this:

https://relativeathleticscores.com/2020/02/03/a-j-epenesa-ras/

The only difference I see is the position.  How can he score 8.77 on one and 4.09 on the other, when the measurements are the same?

 

I'm not the one to ask anything concerning measurable stats. I just trust what my eyes tell me when watching a football player.

Edited by Beast
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I haven’t seen any recent pictures of him, but I wonder how much he’s bulked up. I loved the AJ pick and still do. I think we’ll see a much different player this year. 

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58 minutes ago, TailgateChef said:

Help me understand.  Because when I looked up his RAS, I got this:

https://relativeathleticscores.com/2020/02/03/a-j-epenesa-ras/

The only difference I see is the position.  How can he score 8.77 on one and 4.09 on the other, when the measurements are the same?

RAS methodology separates DTs and Edge players so it looks like someone combined them to look at Epenesa.  His scores obviously looked better in that light, but he was bigger when he came out and it might’ve made sense if he was looked at as a DT/DE hybrid. In any event he’s reshaped his body and those numbers are probably not all that useful anymore.

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6'5 275lbs Epenesa, 6'7 265lbs Rousseau, 6'3 275lbs Basham. Those are some BIG Dlinemen. Bigger the better in the trenches. I like Epenesa and Rousseau a LOT more than both Oliver and Star. Yes I know, different positions, but Rousseau can play inside, and height is a huge advantage against opposing QB's.

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I wouldn't call that "raving" but I think Epenesa was very close to breaking out at the end of last season. They started giving him a lot more snaps and he seemed to be one step away from getting to the qb on a number of occasions. I think giving every DE fewer snaps will keep them hungry and able to go 100% on every down.

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Posted (edited)

Looking forward to seeing how the young guns pan out. While there isn’t a  Garrett or Young, the whole will be better than the sum of its parts. A pass rush going forward of Groot, Ed, Boogie, and AJ will be tough to stop. 

Edited by TPS
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1 hour ago, wakingfane said:

Article is misleading... Dion didn't bring up AJ, the reporter specifically asked him to comment on AJ... And my take on Dion's commentary left me more concerned than impressed... he said he no longer feels like a "feather" - okay concerning that he ever was a "feather"... and generally it sounded more like he's starting over with a new body... and feels more like playing a normal NFL player now...


Why are you “concerned” over an improvement?

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