Mailbag posts are fun. Buffalo Bills fans ask really great questions (yes, they also ask terrible questions, but we can pretend those don't exist), and some interesting discussions can be created from them.
Six such questions were posed to us on Twitter last week, and hopefully, the ensuing discussions will be fun for everyone. Here's the latest edition of the Buffalo Rumblings Mailbag.
Nothing would surprise me, given how personnel-specific Rex Ryan and his defensive scheme seem to be, but it is my stringent belief that the Bills sorely missed Kyle Williams when he was injured in 2015, and that his absence was arguably the biggest reason that the unit looked progressively worse as the year wore on. It seems like he's ready to play again, and if that's the case, the Bills - whatever scheme they're in - could really use him.
If the term "running back of the future" is still a thing that applies in today's NFL, where teams seem to cycle through backs at a breakneck pace, then I still think the answer is no as it pertains to Karlos Williams.
It's a combination of two factors that leads me to that conclusion: his history of concussions, and his balls-to-the-wall running style. Williams does not seem like the type who is going to ever shy away from contact as a runner. As good as he was as a rookie, and as much as the Bills are going to need him to keep playing that way, that combination of two factors does not seem like a sustainable model to me. If I'm Doug Whaley, I'm not thinking about Williams past the end of his rookie deal - not yet, anyway.
This will seem like a canned response, but I'm going to try to maneuver it out of that territory: the Bills should do whatever it takes on offense to win football games. If that means letting Tyrod Taylor air it out 40-plus times against a weak secondary, go for it. If it means running the ball 30 times to keep the ball out of the hands of an opposing offense, do that.
We're force-fed stats like "the Bills are (really good record) when they run the ball X amount of times in a game" all the time, but those types of stats don't really have any practical application when it comes to game planning. I doubt that Greg Roman has any sort of ratio in mind when he's preparing for a game, but that doesn't mean the Bills will stray from their identity, either: the running game is clearly their bread and butter.
It probably won't be their top priority, but if the situation breaks a certain way, and they can add a bona fide No. 2 receiver with size in the first round, I believe they'd do it. Nothing can be ruled out. That position clearly has value not just league-wide, but within the Bills' decision-making hierarchy. They wouldn't be shy about pulling the trigger on someone that early.
At the same time, the Bills have enough intriguing players on the roster that they could probably roll out a No. 2 by committee next season and avoid addressing the position altogether this offseason. That seems a little far-fetched, but again, anything is possible.
I think it's a bad idea, but not because I think that Robert Griffin III is a lost cause, or anything like that. Griffin deserves another shot somewhere, and I wouldn't be upset if that came in Buffalo.
To me, however, I see a starter in Taylor who will be 27 in August, and who will be the team's primary focus from a developmental standpoint for at least the 2016 season. I see $2.83 million in cap space already committed to EJ Manuel, who will be 26 in March.
Griffin, who turned 26 last week, is a month older than Manuel, and is in the same backup-type territory, as well. I don't see the benefit of bringing in damaged goods with a questionable long-term upside as a clear backup, when they can just draft a guy they like and put him in on the ground floor of the system from day one.
It certainly seems that way. There are other routes the Bills could pursue to free up cap space, but none of them are remotely as easy as cutting Mario Williams, a guy that obviously isn't happy with his situation, at a cool, massive $12.9 million savings. "Need" is probably a bit strong, but cutting Williams is still a highly likely recourse for the team.