Quick Turnaround Provides Relief for Buffalo Bills
In a surprising move, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott made the decision to fire offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. McDermott expressed the need for change, stating that his team couldn’t continue on the same path without something different. While he didn’t explicitly label Dorsey as the scapegoat, it was clear that he was taking the fall for the team’s struggles.
Publicly criticizing a coach in this manner is uncommon, but McDermott understands the pressure he is under. After taking over play-calling duties on defense following Leslie Frazier’s departure, and now firing Dorsey, the spotlight is firmly on McDermott to deliver results. The Bills are in desperate need of a spark as they prepare to face the New York Jets on Sunday.
Since McDermott took over as head coach in 2017, the Bills have only missed the playoffs once. However, sources within the organization reveal that McDermott is seeking more energy and productivity from the offense. The team is eager to start strong and put up more points on the scoreboard.
While turnovers have plagued the Bills this season, the question remains: how will the offense change under new play-caller Joe Brady? Will they rely less on quarterback Josh Allen and focus more on the running game with James Cook? Coaches in Buffalo and around the league have always emphasized that de-emphasizing Allen would not lead to success. While adjustments are expected, it seems unlikely that the Bills will stray from their reliance on Allen.
With a 5-5 record, the Bills find themselves on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff race. The pressure is on, not just for McDermott, but also for the Zach Wilson-led Jets, who are also desperate for a win.
The Never-Ending Quarterback Carousel
It seems like every week brings news of another starting quarterback going down with an injury. In fact, since Sunday, two more quarterbacks have joined the growing list of casualties.
A total of six Week 1 starting quarterbacks have suffered season-ending injuries, leaving teams scrambling to find replacements. This season has seen a record number of rookie quarterbacks taking the field, highlighting the need for a solution to the quarterback crisis. Enter Josh Dobbs, who was recently acquired by the Minnesota Vikings. Other teams will face an uphill battle to make the playoffs with their backup options, but it’s not impossible.
The New York Jets lost Aaron Rodgers, the Indianapolis Colts lost Anthony Richardson, the Vikings lost Kirk Cousins, and the New York Giants lost Daniel Jones. This week, two top AFC contenders, the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, received the devastating news that they will be without their starting quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson and Joe Burrow, for the remainder of the season.
Burrow’s injury, in particular, was a gruesome one. Ravens players reported hearing a loud pop as Burrow went down, indicating a possible ligament issue in his wrist. Burrow will undergo further evaluations to determine the next steps in his recovery. It’s worth noting that a general manager commented on the importance of Burrow securing his contract extension before taking the field, highlighting the risks involved in playing without financial security.
Speaking of injuries, the Bengals now find themselves under investigation by the NFL. The league is looking into whether the team concealed Burrow’s wrist injury on the daily injury report. The Bengals inadvertently revealed the injury when they posted and then deleted a video of Burrow wearing a brace on his right hand. If the league finds evidence of wrongdoing, the Bengals could face significant fines, similar to the penalties imposed on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019 for failing to disclose Ben Roethlisberger’s injury.
The Controversial Hip-Drop Tackle
As if the Bengals’ injury woes weren’t enough, the Baltimore Ravens also suffered a major blow. Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews sustained a cracked fibula and an ankle ligament injury due to a hip-drop tackle. This type of tackle has garnered attention throughout the league and may soon be banned. The NFL Players Association opposes outlawing the tackle, citing concerns about officiating difficulties. However, discussions about banning it are already on the table for the NFL competition committee during the offseason.
Should the Trade Deadline be Extended?
With the scarcity of healthy quarterbacks in the league, fans have questioned why the NFL doesn’t extend the trade deadline beyond Week 8. This would allow teams more time to acquire quarterbacks to fill their roster gaps. However, a high-level NFL official argues that the league’s success lies in its competitive balance and equality, which are maintained through mechanisms such as draft order, salary cap, and the schedule. Extending the trade deadline could disrupt this balance, potentially leading to teams selling off players or tanking for future seasons. Therefore, it is unlikely that the trade deadline will be moved again unless there are significant changes to the NFL schedule.
A Player to Watch on the Vikings
While Josh Dobbs has stolen the spotlight for the Vikings with his impressive performances despite limited preparation, running back Ty Chandler also deserves attention. With the league’s worst run defense, the Denver Broncos present an opportunity for Chandler to shine. Minnesota’s running game has struggled, but Chandler has shown potential. In the absence of Alexander Mattison, who is still in concussion protocol, Chandler could make a significant impact against the Broncos.
As the season progresses, injuries continue to shape the landscape of the NFL. Teams must adapt and find ways to overcome these challenges if they hope to secure a spot in the playoffs.Jets vs Bills: Raiders’ New Culture Shift and Bills’ Pressure
The Athletic provides live coverage of the Jets vs Bills game in NFL Week 11 action. But before we dive into the game, let’s take a look at the recent organizational culture shift for the Las Vegas Raiders.
It has been almost three weeks since the Raiders underwent a seismic shift in their organizational culture. According to a Raiders source, “The players have taken this place over, and ownership is fine with it too.” Interim head coach Antonio Pierce has empowered his players, allowing them to be themselves and voice their concerns to the coaching staff. This new openness seems to be working for the team, as they have secured two wins against the Giants and Jets under Pierce’s guidance.
The mood around the Raiders’ building has drastically changed since the departure of former head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. One Raiders source described it as “Ding dong, the witch is dead.” McDaniels was known for his no-nonsense coaching style and high expectations, running a tight ship. While some current assistants still appreciate McDaniels’ approach, they are also adjusting to this new post-“Patriot Way” era.
Meetings have been adjusted to accommodate the preferences of the assistants, and players now have more say in how the organization operates. For example, the team had initially planned to fly to Florida on Friday and practice in Orlando for their game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. However, some team leaders spoke up, expressing their preference to practice in Las Vegas and then fly to Florida on Saturday. The team made the slight adjustment to accommodate their players’ wishes.
The Raiders face a significant test against the Miami Dolphins, who lead the league in total yardage. The team is aware of their limitations and is eager to see how they will respond to adversity. While the new player-empowerment style has brought about positive changes, there are concerns within the Raiders organization about its sustainability and whether it is just a temporary boost after weeks of misery.
On the other side of the field, the Buffalo Bills are feeling the pressure. Head coach Sean McDermott recently fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, citing the need for a change. McDermott wants his team to feel that something has changed and hopes to find more energy and juice in the offense. The Bills have only missed the playoffs once since McDermott took over as head coach in 2017, and they are determined to turn their season around.
The Bills currently have a 5-5 record and are on the outside of the AFC playoff race looking in. They are desperate for a win, as are the New York Jets, led by rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who have a 4-5 record. Both teams will be looking to make a statement in this crucial matchup.
In other NFL news, the league is considering banning the hip-drop tackle, which has caused several significant injuries, including Ravens tight end Mark Andrews’ cracked fibula and ankle ligament injury. The NFLPA is against outlawing this tackle, citing concerns about officiating difficulties. The discussion of banning this tackle is already on the table for the NFL competition committee to consider during the offseason.
Additionally, there have been calls to extend the trade deadline in light of the numerous quarterback injuries this season. However, a high-level NFL official explained that the league values competitive balance and equality, which are fostered by the current trade deadline. Extending the deadline could lead to teams selling off players or tanking for the next season, which goes against the league’s principles.
Lastly, keep an eye on Vikings running back Ty Chandler. With Alexander Mattison still in concussion protocol, Chandler has the opportunity to shine against the Denver Broncos, who have the league’s worst run defense. Chandler showed promise last week, running for 45 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
As the Jets and Bills prepare to face off, both teams are under pressure to secure a much-needed win. The Raiders continue to adapt to their new player-empowerment culture, while the Bills aim to find more energy and juice in their offense. The NFL is also considering changes,