After a record-setting playoff performance against the Kansas City Chiefs last year, many believed that Gabe Davis was headed for a breakout season in 2022.
The Buffalo Bills wide receiver did turn in the most productive season of his three-year career, making 48 catches for 836 yards and seven touchdowns, but it fell well short of the expectations many had placed on him. Davis had difficulty cementing himself as the team’s No. 2 receiver, struggling with drops and a lack of separation while falling quiet for long stretches of the season.
This week, Bills general manager shed some new light on why Davis’ season failed to match the expectations set during his four-touchdown performance against the Chiefs last year.
Beane Opens Up on Gabe Davis’ Injury
Speaking to reporters this week at the NFL Combine, Beane said that an early season injury stuck with Davis throughout the year. The Bills receiver suffered a high ankle sprain in practice prior to their Week 2 game against the Tennessee Titans, which Beane said bothered him throughout the year and made it difficult for him to get separation from defenders.
“Not to make excuses, but it definitely bothered him,” Beane said, via the Democrat & Chronicle. “You can just watch the film when he was coming out of his cuts, he was taking an extra step which allowed that defender to stay attached to him as well. He had a few drops that he definitely wants back, but I’ve got a lot of faith in Gabe.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott also praised Davis for bouncing back after the slow start to the season. Davis had just eight receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown through the first four games of the season, but went on a tear after that. Over the following five weeks he made 16 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns.
“I thought Gabe had a good year, I really did. It didn’t get off to a great start; there were some turbulent times maybe in the front third of the season,” McDermott said. “But the thing I thought he handled extremely well was that adversity and he came back.”
Bills Could Add Competition to Wide Receiver Room
The Bills could see some changes to their wide receiver corps next season, with a number of key veterans headed to free agency. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia believes the Bills will part ways with Cole Beasley, John Brown and Jake Kumerow this offseason, which could create an opening for Davis to take on a larger role.
Some insiders also believe the Bills will add talent at wide receiver. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports predicts that the Bills will take Penn State wide receiver Parker Washington in the NFL Draft, saying he would add “a much-needed YAC weapon to Josh Allen’s arsenal.”
Others believe the Bills could take an even bigger swing in the offseason. Zach Dimmitt of SI.com’s Bills Central predicted that the Bills could be interested in trading for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is expected to be on the trade block.
“And with receiver being one of the key areas of improvement for the team this offseason, putting together a trade to acquire the star pass-catcher from the Arizona Cardinals could be a deal that keeps the Bills in Super Bowl contention for the foreseeable future,” Dimmit wrote. “A receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Hopkins would become arguably the league’s best pass-game pairing, especially with Josh Allen at the helm.”