The Buffalo Bills‘ running game sputtered through much of the 2021 season before the team seemed to figure things out with Devin Singletary as a lead back.
Now, Singeltary’s backup could be the odd man out going into next season, one insider speculates. Since Josh Allen’s ascension to the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, the Bills have relied heavily on the passing game and struggled to move the ball on the ground at times. With a new rookie running back in the mix this season, The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia believes the team could be ready to make a big change.
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Odd Man Out for Buffalo
In his early prediction of the final 53-man roster, Buscaglia noted that the Bills will have some decisions to make at running back. Singletary’s spot appears to be safe, and Taiwan Jones is expected to earn a spot while playing primarily on special teams. But when it comes to third-year back Zack Moss, the outlook is far less certain.
Moss showed promise in his rookie season, rushing for 481 yards with four touchdowns and a 4.3-yard-per-carry average, but saw a dropoff last season. Coming off an ankle injury that cut short his rookie year, Moss struggled to establish any rhythm and ran for just 345 yards and a 3.6-yard-per-carry average.
Though Moss split carries with Singletary through his rookie season and some of 2021, Singletary emerged as the primary running back to end last year and finished strong, averaging 97 yards from scrimmage over the last five weeks of the season as the Bills clinched the AFC East.
Buscaglia speculated that the Bills may consider trading Moss, though his team-friendly contract could help him stay on the roster.
“Running back was an interesting group for a couple of reasons,” he wrote. “For one, the Bills have a decision to make on Moss — namely whether they see more value in keeping him on the roster as the third back versus trying to move him in a trade. Moss could come back determined after a trying offseason, as Singletary did last year. Moss still has two years left on a cost-controlled rookie deal, so the Bills would like it to work with Moss.”
New Weapon at Running Back
Buscaglia ultimately predicted that Moss would keep his roster spot for the upcoming season, but his role remains unclear. Buscaglia had previously suggested that Moss could increase his value by joining Jones on the special teams unit, and the addition of rookie James Cook could further whittle down Moss’s role in the offense.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane has spoken highly of Cook’s versatility, which he flashed during his four years at Georgia where he racked up 1,503 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns along with 67 receptions for 730 yards and 6 touchdowns. Beane compared Cook to running back J.D. McKissick, who originally agreed to sign with the Bills before changing his mind and returning to Washington.
“We see his best skill set as a sub back, but I think he can handle carries too if we want to give him some more carries, but we really liked his skill set,” Beane said. “Again, similar to the one we saw with McKissic, a guy that’s got really good hands, very instinctive in the passing game. You can run all sorts of guys out in routes, it’s not that they can’t do it, but some guys just have the feel like a slot receiver.”