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2023 Buffalo Bills rookie report: Week 12 vs Philadelphia Eagles

Bills rookies have established their identities in 2023

Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s been one of the most frustrating seasons in recent memory for the Buffalo Bills, the latest setback coming when the team blew a two-score lead on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a huge opportunity for Buffalo to capitalize on one of quarterback Josh Allen’s best games of the season. Allen put the team on his back just to lose in the end.

There’s plenty of frustration boiling over with the team’s performance and a .500 record heading into the bye week. Only time will tell if the Bills can shift their identity moving forward to potentially still stake their claim in the 2023-24 playoff picture. Right now, Buffalo is easily on the outside looking in,

It was another opportunity for the Bills’ rookies to perform and there’s a consistent theme with the class and their performance. Let’s dig in to how the rookie class performed against one of the best overall teams in football during Week 12


TE Dalton Kincaid

Kincaid is a hot commodity early on in the Bills’ game plan, seemingly every week earning targets often in the first half. The second half is an entirely different story — one where he’s been rarely targeted the last several weeks. It’s hard to tell if that’s coincidental or a theme due to Josh Allen’s preferences with passing concept options or how defenses adjust to Kincaid getting peppered with targets. In Week 12, the running back check down was a common theme for Allen against the Eagles.

There was a key dropped pass from Kincaid late in the first half. It’s hard to exactly blame him as Allen threw the ball into coverage. He would have taken a big shot and it’s fair to question whether he would have been able to even catch it. But the ball did go right off his hands and fell innocently to the ground.

The Bills have yet to unleash Kincaid as a seam option at this point in his development. He continues to work the short and intermediate areas of the field as a rookie where the Bills can use him to chunk up some easy yards after the catch. So while it’s been disappointing not to see him fully unleashed in the offense, there’s still an important role for Kincaid that he’s fulfilling as a rookie tight end in the NFL.


OG O’Cyrus Torrence

Torrence always felt like a high-floor pick for the Buffalo Bills as a guard because of his ability to attack angles and utilize torque/power in the run game. The Bills were desperately looking for a people mover and Torrence certainly can provide that. However, the athletic deficiencies haven’t gone away and they continue to show up on a weekly basis.

Torrence has had his fair share of clean losses as a rookie with quick-twitch defensive tackles. On Sunday, Eagles rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter got one on Torrence with a quick first step and simple club move to get by and force a tackle for loss. Torrence ducked his head, didn’t get his hands on Carter, and couldn’t get to the spot quick enough to squash the initial club that led to a quick loss.

There’s improvement that needs to be made to avoid these losses in the future and shooting his hands with a quickness will need to be an acquired trait to deal with rushers like Carter in the future.

Torrence did directly assist a Josh Allen rushing score by bowling him across the goal line as he was laying on a defender, which was a really fantastic effort play by the rookie.


LB Dorian Williams

Just one snap for Williams on the defensive side on Sunday evening against the Eagles. This occurred as the Eagles clearly spotted starting linebacker Tyrel Dodson and attempted to take advantage of his athletic limitations whenever they could. The Eagles are a difficult team for a rookie to face due to their ability to throw a lot of eye candy at an opposing defense with the looks and motions they present.

It’s clear Williams doesn’t have the trust of the coaching staff at this time. For Dodson’s faults, he doesn’t often put himself in the wrong spot. It’s just a matter of if he’s physically able to finish plays. Williams has the physical traits to be a plus player, but the mental lapses and missed tackles in open space have likely taken him out of contention to play a significant role on the defense as a rookie.


WR Justin Shorter

Shorter remains on Injured Reserve with the Bills heading into a bye week. We shall see if he comes off the list post-bye, but there have been zero updates recently about his status and when we may see him back practicing or playing with the team.