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2023 Bills Rookie Report: Week 1 vs. NY Jets

Who played real snaps and how did they look in Week 1?

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It was a very disappointing opening-game loss at the hands of Zach Wilson and an elite New York Jets defense that proved dominant over the Buffalo Bills in what could be a pivotal divisional matchup down the road. It was also the first opportunity for the rookies to get their chance at snaps on a massive national stage.

There aren’t too many rookies to discuss as only a couple played significant snaps for the team this week. But the two headliners played a large amount of snaps. Let’s discuss how they looked in the loss to New York.

TE Dalton Kincaid

Kincaid was a huge piece of the offense from the get-go on Monday night. We thought that could be a strong possibility, but the Bills were even more dedicated to 12-personnel than one could have thought. The team ran 12-personnel on 63% of plays, which was far and away the most in the league last week.

The Jets were willing to match the Bills with more defensive backs on the field, and they still weren’t able to run the ball in those two-tight-end sets. Kincaid was used sparingly as a target, generating just four of them as a safety blanket option. The rookie tight end was up and down as a run blocker. Keep in mind, this is quite the defense to play your first NFL game.

Look for Kincaid to be utilized even more often with some added opportunity to highlight his excellent route running for the position.

OG O’Cyrus Torrence

Second-round rookie O’Cyrus Torrence got the nod at the right guard spot for the Bills to begin the year. He was faced with a tough Jets front seven to deal with. Torrence more than held his own. He wasn’t ever noticeable during the course of the game — a great sign that your rookie offensive guard is doing his job. Torrence showed no signs that he’s relinquishing his job anytime soon. It’s encouraging to see an offensive line prospect look so good so early on for a team that has struggled mightily with drafting and developing O-line talent in the recent past.

LB Dorian Williams

No defensive reps for Williams as the Bills never played any true three-linebacker sets this week. Taylor Rapp operated as a nickel player in some looks to give Taron Johnson a few breathers, but Williams never got the opportunity. It’s looking like Williams will have to continue to carve a role as a special teams player in 2023. Williams did get some run on special teams this past week and expect that to continue as long as he’s active on game days. It’s disappointing to see a third-round pick not contributing any rotational reps on the defense.

WR Justin Shorter

Shorter was placed on Injured Reserve prior to the season and will have to serve at least four games on the list for what was deemed a hamstring injury. It will be interesting to see if Shorter will be made active on game days as primarily a special teams player when he returns. This is game one checked off of four as Shorter looks to recover and make his return to the field.