Sean McDermott Reveals What He Learned About Buffalo’s Run Game

Zack Moss

Getty Zack Moss

The bye week is always a good time for coaches to go back and look at their whole body of work.

What they can improve, what they can build on, where they can get better, or what they can use as a point of strength moving forward into the season.

Heading into the bye week, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said he and his staff were going to take a “deep dive” look at everything but they were especially going to take a look at the running game.

Through their first 10 games of the season, the Bills are the 27th worst team in the league in terms of rushing yards and 21st in touchdowns, which can probably be attributed to quarterback Josh Allen finding the end zone for a team-high five touchdowns. But after the bye week, McDermott said that the Bills feel like they have a good plan moving forward.

“I would say overall we just looked at a lot of corners and did a lot of good research in the early part of last week on our football team,” McDermott said during his Monday press conference. “One of the areas we covered was the run game, naturally. We had a good conversation between Brian (Daboll), Bobby (Johnson), and I and the best I can tell you is we feel like we have a good plan moving forward.”

So far this season, the Bills have only been able to rush for 976 yards and nine touchdowns on 247 carries. Allen himself is responsible for 279 of those yards. Second-year running back Devin Singletary currently leads the team with 401 yards on 99 carries and rookie Zack Moss has 224 yards on 59 carries.

As the Bills move into the latter part of the season, getting the run game going should be a focus of improvement, but according to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll all that matters is that the Bills come away with a victory each week.

“What we’re always going to do is what we think is best for our offensive football team to attack a defense,” Daboll said during his press conference on Monday. “Whether that’s throwing it 50 times or running it 50 times or having some type of balance. I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to go but that’s how I was brought up in this business and it’s the philosophy I believe in. It doesn’t matter how we get it done, it just matters if we get it done.”

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Can Run It When They Want

Earlier this year, it was reported that on Friday leading into the New England Patriots matchup, Brian Daboll had the offense practice just two pass plays and the rest were all runs.

It allowed the Bills to put a focus on the running game leading into a matchup where the weather was supposed to be rainy and cold – ideal weather for a pair of running backs to break out.

The Bills responded with their best rushing outing of the season. Moss and Singletary both rushed for over 80 yards and Moss found the end zone on the ground for the first two times of his career. A lot of that success could’ve had to do with the return of Jon Feliciano who has been known to bring a different type of attitude to the offensive line.

But the Bills haven’t had that type of production since and as the season turns into the latter half of the year where the Bills will probably see more snow than the sun. So, Buffalo needs to get the running game going.

A Fully Healthy Offensive Line Could Help

Buffalo’s starting offensive line hasn’t been together all season long. Feliciano missed the first seven games of the season and as soon as he returned center Mitch Morse went down with a concussion on the first drive of the Patriots game.

Starting guard Cody Ford has also been in and out of the lineup this season with ankle and knee injuries, but could be trending in the right direction heading into their matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Depth on the line will be crucial in the latter half of the season.

In the past, the Bills have been known to be able to run the ball. They ranked 8th in the league last year with 2,054 yards and finished 6th in the NFL with 465 carries. So the ability to run the ball is there, the Bills just have to find it again.

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