The Bills have an obvious 1-2 punch at wide receiver in Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. In the slot, though, it has looked, recently, like Buffalo may be moving towards a bit of a position battle, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic.
After initially favoring Isaiah McKenzie in the first few weeks of the season, the Bills moved closer to an even split of snaps between McKenzie and Jamison Crowder in the team’s win last week over the Titans. Buscaglia notes that, in the game, the duo were only on the field at the same time for three snaps, indicating a one-or-the-other situation. In the remainder of the game, excluding garbage time, Buscaglia counted 21 offensive snaps for McKenzie and 16 for Crowder, a stark difference from the snap advantage McKenzie enjoyed to begin the season. This could lead one to believe that Buffalo is becoming more comfortable with the consistency it gets out of Crowder than the all-or-nothing, big play potential it gets out of McKenzie.
This theory failed to hold up in today’s loss to the Dolphins. Though snap totals have yet to be reported, quarterback Josh Allen clearly favored McKenzie today, targeting him nine times to only three for Crowder. McKenzie rewarded the extra attention with seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, tacking on a six yard rush, while Crowder only reeled in one pass for nine yards. If the Bills staff needed to see consistent production out of McKenzie, today was a good start.
Here are a few more rumors from the AFC East, starting with some usage notes from the Jets:
- There was early concern surrounding New York’s usage of rookie first-round pick Garrett Wilson after the tenth-overall pick only saw the field for 38 of the offense’s 79 snaps in Week 1, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Two weeks later any concerns have certainly been quelled for the time being. Wilson’s playing time did increase to over 50% of the team’s offensive snaps, increasing to 61% in Week 2. While Jets fans may want to see him on the field even more often, he’s made the most of his playing time, becoming the favorite target for quarterback Joe Flacco. After three weeks, Wilson’s 32 targets and 214 receiving yards outpace Elijah Moore‘s 22 targets or Corey Davis‘ 187 receiving yards, both second on the team, despite both older receivers spending more time on the field.
- There’s been an unpredictable fall from grace this year for Jets cornerback Bryce Hall, according to Cimini. Last year, Hall was fourth in the entire league for defensive snaps played. So far this year, it’s been a completely different story. Hall understandably lost his starting job to rookie fourth-overall pick Ahmad Gardner, but after three weeks, it appears that he’s also fallen behind the other four cornerbacks on the roster. Hall only played five defensive snaps in Week 1 and has been a healthy scratch for the past two games.
- According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots were experiencing some punter-envy today. Reiss reported that Ravens rookie punter Jordan Stout was “highly regarded by the Patriots in this year’s draft.” Stout entered the week ranking 30th in the league for average punt distance, but, even after a dismal 23 yard punt today, he was able to improve to 20th in the league with a 45.9 yard average.