Analyst Says Bills Trying to Send Message to WR Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs

Getty Stefon Diggs warms up before a Buffalo Bills game.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs started this season on an All-Pro pace, racking up 100 or more receiving yards in five of the first six games with six touchdowns over that stretch, but has since hit a sharp decline.

Though the Bills have put together four straight wins to jump back into the playoff race and give themselves a chance at an AFC East title with a win over the Miami Dolphins on January 7, Diggs has not been much of a factor as both his production and snaps have declined.

Devin McCourty, the former New England Patriots safety who now serves as a studio analyst on“Football Night in America,” believes the team could be trying to send a message to Diggs by phasing him out of the offense.

Devin McCourty: ‘Just Seems Like Bad Football’

Diggs was a central part of Buffalo’s offense to start the year, playing in 80% of snaps in 10 of the first 12 weeks. He has not hit 80% again since then, and logged less than 50% of the team’s snaps in a Week 15 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

McCourty believes the Bills have been intentional with their plans to phase out Diggs.

“I think there’s bigger issues going on there,” McCourty said, via Tim Graham of The Athletic. “I think their offense is trying to prove to Diggs that they don’t need him.”

McCourty took aim at the Bills over Diggs’ usage.

“To me, it just seems like bad football,” he said.

The dropoff has been sharp. Diggs has only one touchdown in the last seven games and has been held to fewer than 30 yards in the last four games. As Jared Dubin of CBS Sports noted, the Bills have also been dialing up fewer long routes for Diggs during that stretch.

“His yards per route run average during this stretch is the lowest it’s ever been in Buffalo, despite running deeper routes and Allen targeting his throws deeper down the field during this stretch than he had previously,” Dubin wrote. “The dynamic duo has simply not been able to connect as often when Diggs has been targeted.”

No Injury Concerns for Stefon Diggs

The Bills have insisted that Diggs is not hampered by injury, but not explained further why his role in the offense has been shrinking.

“Medically, there’s nothing big that’s been, to my knowledge, ailing him and the communication I’m getting from Nate (Breske), our trainer on that,” said head coach Sean McDermott, via the team’s official website. “And it’s just Josh going through his reads and going through his progressions and making sure that we’re making sure we’re going through the progressions properly.”

With the Bills facing a critical game against the Dolphins, where a win would give them a fourth consecutive AFC East title and No. 2 overall seed and a loss could send them home without a playoff berth, McDermott said the team would need a big game out of Diggs. The veteran receiver had his best game of the season in a Week 4 win over the Dolphins, making six catches for 120 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s a big factor for us,” McDermott said. “We’re going to need him down the stretch here.”

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