Five Takeaways From Bills GM Brandon Beane's End-of-Season Press Conference

Five Takeaways From Bills GM Brandon Beane’s End-of-Season Press Conference

On Tuesday, it was Bills general manager Brandon Beane’s turn at the microphone to recap the 2022 season, which ended with Sunday’s 27-10 second-round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals:

Five takeaways from Beane’s press conference, which lasted 54 minutes.

Weren’t in a late groove

The story: The Bills saved their worst game overall for their worst time (the playoffs). Period.

beane said: “We did a lot of good things (and) you have to play your best football at this time of year. This year we weren’t when we reached the playoffs – we weren’t in a rhythm like we were in 2020 and 2021 (going into the playoffs).”

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Comment: Beane added that he doesn’t want to “overreact to a game”, which is probably a good fit for the GM. But Beane’s most important point — the Bills haven’t put together full games over time — should be his focus. Didn’t the team have the right depth to overcome key injuries? Didn’t the young players develop at the right pace and weren’t they trustworthy? The struggles throughout the past month require a full review of The Bills Way.

Bills GM Brandon Beane speaks to reporters on Tuesday.

Harry Scull Jr.

The story: The Bills’ offense was limited to 10 points by Cincinnati and had no first downs in the first quarter falling behind 14-0.

beane said: “Statistically we’ve done a lot of good things this year, but the other day 10 points isn’t going to win most playoff games. We know we need to score more than that. At least in the last three years, I can’t remember a game where we kicked off, down 7-0, three outs, down 14-0 You go down 14-0 to a good program, you go out a bit of your game plan.

Comment: I will always come back to the first offensive plays of each team, a play that the coaches wrote a few days before. Cincinnati – a pass to superstar receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Bills – a bubble screen type throw to receiver Isaiah McKenzie. It didn’t get better from there.

Nothing about the outcome on a football pitch could even remotely touch the flesh-and-blood consequences of such events, etched into the civic soul, Kirst writes.

Tight salary cap situation

The story: Beane said the Bills currently have “$240 (million) something” on the books for 2023 and executives are waiting for a projected range for the cap of 23. But the cap won’t be $240 million, so cuts will have to be made just to do business in mid-March.

beane said: “I expect a lot of money. It’s $208 (millions this season), but I couldn’t tell you if it will be $208 (millions) or $230 (millions). It won’t be something like 240. There won’t be a Von Miller signature. … We’re going to be creative. We will try to win. It’s up to me to figure it out. We need to find draft picks, we need to find low-cost free agents who can find roles, whether it’s a key replacement, a solid starter, whatever.

A Bills fan's emotional message after the loss goes viral:

Jeff Wilber captured the mood all over WNY following the Bills’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday with a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

Comment: Miller’s contract last March represents the Bills’ free agent for 2022 and 23. The draft class of 22 is mostly an unknown because neither was a full-time starter, although cornerback Kaiir Elam and running back James Cook have had moments. Bills will have to spend the early days of free agency looking to sign veterans to one-year contracts.

The story: Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Jordan Poyer top the Bills’ list of unrestricted free agents. There are no ready-made internal substitutes for either player.

beane said: “Two guys who are real Buffalo Bills. I can’t say enough good things about them. (Poyer) is a pro and I know the whole deal about contracts, people can handle them in different ways, but a lot of respect to Jordan for the way he handled it. Dude, he’s a great pro and he’s done a lot of great things for us. I would love for him to come back, that’s for sure. … Tremaine, it’s been amazing to watch his growth. Very proud of who he is and you can just see his maturation.

Comment: Beane said the franchise tag is a possibility for Edmunds, but did well to point out how the linebacker position includes the point spot in a 3-4 scheme and that tag could cost upwards of $20 million. The Bills’ decision – sign the youngest player (Edmunds) or a player who ties things together for the entire defense (Poyer)? Poyer might cost less and therefore be the choice.

The story: The Bills’ leading receiver, Diggs, had just one 100-yard game in the last eight games and spent most of the final minutes of the Bengals’ game romp on the sidelines.

beane said: “Stef is a competitor. Steve Smith (from Carolina) was a bit like that. I prefer having guys I have to cool off with. I can live with that compared to I’ve been around people I’ve interviewed (if) they’re just there for the Monday paycheck. Stef wears his emotions on his sleeve, but that’s what makes him really, really good.

Comment: Diggs’ passionate defense among the Bills’ players, head coach and general manager has been unanimous…but that shouldn’t condone his behavior. On the other hand, why only one 100-yard game down the straight? That should be a focal point, getting help from Diggs so he doesn’t have the defensive spotlight on him.

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