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2023 Buffalo Bills rookie report: Week 10 vs. Denver Broncos

Bills continue to struggle; rookies face ups and downs

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills have begun to accumulate major stresses and are coming under fire after yet another loss dropped the preseason Super Bowl contender to .500 on the season. After losing three of the past four, the Bills made a change at offensive coordinator, firing Ken Dorsey. One could argue that head coach Sean McDermott deserves a lot of the heat for the handling of the end game against the Denver Broncos, but Dorsey is an easy scapegoat for the ridiculous amount of turnovers that have stacked up over the course of the team’s skid.

There were a couple of noteworthy performances to highlight among the team’s 2023 rookie class for Week 10 — a healthy combination of good and bad.

TE Dalton Kincaid

It was the second week in a row with a receiving touchdown for the first-round rookie who has come into his own since the injury to veteran tight end Dawson Knox. Kincaid did catch a touchdown, but he also had a crucial drop in this game that would have extended a drive early in the second quarter.

We know that Kincaid has the chops to be a high-level pass catcher at tight end in the NFL. A lot of questions arise in how limited he is as a run blocker. While he’s not great and truly doesn’t have the frame to hold up against edge rushers in the trenches consistently, he’s got an edge to be encouraged about.

On the play later in the game where running back James Cook got loose and fumbled a ball that bounced right back into his arms for a chunk gain, Kincaid climbed to the final level of the defense and found work — putting a Broncos safety directly on his back in the process.

Of all of the negative outcomes and questions created about the Bills through 10 weeks of the season, Kincaid continues to impress weekly. He’s set to be a centerpiece with Buffalo’s offense for years to come.

OG O’Cyrus Torrence

Torrence had a fine game against the Broncos on Monday and was especially good in the run game as per usual. He did collect a holding call in pass protection where he lost positioning on the rusher.

He’s good at doing just enough with his athleticism to put defenders where he wants them to go. A quality example is the clip below where Torrence checked the three-technique so that right tackle Spencer Brown could reach him, as explained in the video clip below. Torrence then redirected the linebacker right where he wanted to put him. Torrence didn’t have to do much other than to angle out the linebacker so he ended up, in part, taking himself out of the play. Torrence assisted with a strong shove to make sure he maneuvered out of the run fit. He’s a player who truly understands run-blocking angles at a high level.

LB Dorian Williams

The Bills’ third-round pick in this past year’s draft got 18 snaps on defense Monday night. He was tasked with spying quarterback Russell Wilson on multiple instances. Wilson certainly manipulated that spy a couple of times to pull Williams out of the passing lane. The veteran then flipped the ball to his check down for decent gains on a couple of occasions after Williams crashed down. Williams is a player who, by nature, is going to be manipulated as a rookie linebacker. It’s happened on many occasions this year.

Williams also had a personal foul called against him where he put a massive hit on defenseless Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton in what was just a tough result on a physical play. It makes sense to utilize the rookie as a potential spy as he offers a much better athletic profile than now regular starting linebacker Tyrel Dodson. We’ll see if the Bills continue to mix Williams in some packages for the remainder of the season.

WR Justin Shorter

Still no recent updates on the fifth-round rookie. Role player Trent Sherfield injured his ankle against the Broncos and didn’t return on Monday. He also didn’t practice on Wednesday, but the injury in itself does not seem to be overly serious. With no update on Shorter, it’s still unlikely we see him during the regular season in 2023.