In the latest edition of the Buffalo Rumblings Podcast, John Boccacino and Anthony Marino recap the latest news from One Bills Drive and break down the state of the Buffalo Bills defensive line, which has huge expectations following a disappointing 2017 campaign.
The duo started off talking about the rare downtime in activity for the league’s 32 teams, which comes on the heels of three-plus months of discussion over the 2018 NFL Draft.
After giving a plug to Buffalo Rumblings’ awesome, in-depth “90 Players in 90 Days” feature, compiled by Sean C. Murphy as an excellent way to stay informed on your favorite Bills players, the duo shifted to the news that Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas was joining rare company as just the third Bill to have his jersey number retired.
Thomas’ No. 34 jersey will be retired at halftime of the big Monday Night Football clash with the New England Patriots, Oct. 29 at New Era Field. Thomas, the 1991 NFL MVP who rushed for 11,938 yards and added 4,341 receiving yards during a 12-year career in Buffalo, joins Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith as the only Bills with their jersey numbers retired.
Should fellow Hall of Famer Andre Reed be the fourth member of those legendary Bills teams of the late 1980s/1990s to earn the honor of having his number retired? Both Boccacino and Marino felt strongly that yes, Reed’s career stats (941 receptions, 13,095 receiving yards, 86 touchdowns) are worthy of this honor.
The podcast duo also assessed the state of the defensive line, which should be a unit of strength in 2018.
Big things are expected from this unit, which under-performed in both the run-stopping and pass rush departments in 2017.
With Kyle Williams, the heart and soul of the defense, back in the fold for a 13th season, and with the additions of defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and defensive end Trent Murphy, there is an opportunity for this group to step up for Leslie Frazier’s 4-3 defense in 2018.
The return of Williams, plus the additions of Lotulelei and Murphy should free up Jerry Hughes to return to his pass-rushing ways of the past, when he recorded back-to-back 10-sack seasons in 2013 and 2014, compared to recording only 15 sacks over the last three seasons.
Another big topic of discussion? The future of Shaq Lawson, the 2016 first-round defensive end out of Clemson who has shown flashes of his potential but has yet to put it all together in two injury-plagued seasons. If Lawson doesn’t produce, he could be on the trade block.
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