After losing in an AFC Wild Card game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Buffalo Bills face several questions entering the 2018 offseason.
The Bills went 9-7 in 2017 and snapped a 17-year playoff drought. But owners Kim and Terry Pegula, general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have bigger plans for the franchise. Nine-win seasons, wild card berths and one-and-done playoff performances aren't enough. They want more. They want a championship. But to achieve that goal, the Bills need to make some additions and changes.
Here is a look at five questions facing the Buffalo Bills entering the 2018 offseason.
(1) Will Tyrod Taylor return? Taylor has one year left on his contract. He has been a solid signal caller for the Bills. His ability to extend plays and his deep ball accuracy are strengths. But the overall effectiveness of the passing game is a major question mark. The Bills' inability to move the ball against the Jaguars was a major reason why they lost. The Bills could bring Taylor back as they groom a future starter. It's also possible that the Bills will cut Taylor loose and commit to a quarterback they draft in April.
(2) How will Bills address quarterback situation? This is similar to the question about Taylor, but this is about more than just the incumbent starter. The Bills have options. They have two picks in the first round (No. 21 and 22) and could use either of those to draft a quarterback. They could also package the picks and move up in the first round. The draft may not be the only way the Bills address the quarterback situation. They could sign a free agent or trade for a starter. One player to watch is Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. There might be other contenders for Smith's services (if the Chiefs choose to trade him), but the Bills may be an appealing landing spot for Smith. Smith will be 34 in May and is coming off a 4,000-yard season. In terms of a passing quarterback, he would be a major upgrade over Taylor. However, the Bills will probably opt for a younger option by drafting a quarterback.
(3) Will Rick Dennison continue to serve as offensive coordinator? Dennison's play calling was a problem. Head coach Sean McDermott doesn't reveal much about internal matters, but he has to know that the offense under-performed, in part, because of poor coaching. Tyrod Taylor shouldn't be held solely responsible for the offense's failures. Dennison needs to be held accountable.
(4) Will LeSean McCoy get a supporting cast? One of the problems plaguing the Bills' offense is a lack of playmakers. The addition of Kelvin Benjamin is good, but he was hobbled by a knee injury during most of his time with the Bills. Zay Jones had a rough rookie season. Deonte Thompson had some good moments, but isn't exactly a long-term No. 1 or No. 2 wide receiver. The Bills need to address the wide receiver needs either in the draft or free agency. They also need to add a good backup running back who can take some pressure of McCoy. McCoy accounted for 45 percent of the Bills' offense against the Jaguars. He is a great player, but he shouldn't have to shoulder the load. The Bills need a more balanced attack. They need more playmakers.
(5) Will the Bills bolster the pass rush? This is another area that's a combination of coaching and talent. The Bills need to pressure the quarterback. They relied on the secondary to make plays and the defensive backs delivered. But the front seven should be better, especially against the run. They need defensive line help who can rush the passer. The Bills had the third-fewest sacks (27) in the league this season. It was also the lowest sack total among the NFL's 12 playoff teams.