clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

David Nelson's Role Unlikely To Change In Bills Offense

When the Buffalo Bills traded wide receiver Lee Evans to Baltimore, many fans expressed surprise that Donald Jones (18 receptions, 213 yards, TD as a rookie) would be replacing Evans in the starting lineup, and not fan favorite David Nelson (31 receptions, 353 yards, 3 TD). As it turns out, those fans got caught up in the nomenclature of the receiver depth chart, rather than the reality of Buffalo's passing attack.

Aside from top target Stevie Johnson, Nelson is clearly quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite target. Nelson currently leads the Bills with 14 receptions through two games, accumulating 149 yards and a very memorable touchdown along the way. In Sunday's 38-35 win over Oakland, he caught 10 passes - something which Evans has only done once in his career - for 83 yards and that score.

Yes, Nelson may flip-flop between slot Nos. 3 and 4 on the depth chart - he does so because he operates almost exclusively out of the slot - but right now, he is No. 2 on Fitzpatrick's list of go-to targets.

Keep that in mind before not only claiming that Nelson should "start," but also before knocking Jones (six receptions, 27 yards and a TD this season). Jones is not producing the way Nelson is producing because he's got much tougher matchups playing on the outside, but make no mistake: this kid can play. He caught a touchdown pass in Week 1, then followed it up yesterday with a key fourth down conversion and interception break-up on the game-winning drive. He has the potential to grow into his current role, much the same way Nelson grew into his current role over his rookie season.

As the old adage goes: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Jones is still growing as a receiver, and has the ability to eventually be a plus receiver on the edge - and he's still making plays while allowing Nelson to play where he should be playing, as a matchup nightmare out of the slot. If yesterday's combined totals of 22 receptions, 203 yards and two scores aren't indication enough, nothing about the depth chart and on-field dynamic between these three players needs to change any time soon.

Nelson is in line to get more playing time with Roscoe Parrish expected to be out of the lineup. His role - both schematically and on the depth chart - in Buffalo's offense won't change, because things are very obviously working right now. Let's stop worrying about which receiver is No. 2, folks - these guys are all playing their butts off, and the passing offense is clicking in ways we haven't seen here in years.