In a recent ranking from The Athletic, the Buffalo Bills were among the highest in the NFL in their “Continuity Score.” The score was created to quantify some of the difficulties or advantages teams are dealing with in the 2020 COVID-19 offseason. Teams were ranked by returning coaches, quarterbacks, and overall snaps coming back.
According to a roster projection from Joe Buscaglia, the Bills rank third in the league in continuity from 2019 to 2020. Buscaglia predicted that defensive end Trent Murphy ultimately would not make the team but if the rest of his predictions are correct and Murphy does remain a Bill, then they jump to the number-one spot over the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers.
Continuity is a term that oscillates between meaningless “coach-speak” and legitimate concern. The scales have shifted in 2020 with an altered offseason due to COVID-19. Even highly drafted rookies are facing a significant uphill battle to contribute in a similar way to previous years. The same is true, although somewhat less so, for veteran free agents to most teams.
The Bills have (perhaps in hindsight) cleverly brought in multiple free agents whom the coaching staff and front office were familiar with; a dividend that may pay off more than previously expected in 2020. Combine that with general manager Brandon Beane’s ability to maintain roster continuity as a part of his normal modus operandi, and the Bills are positioned potentially better than any other team in the league to have as few obstacles to overcome as possible due to familiarity or lack thereof.