This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
This year, the future arrives in Buffalo. A strong foundation was built in 2013 with the introduction of a new head coach (Doug Marrone) and multiple promising rookies, including QB EJ Manuel, but much more is expected in Year 2.
Once again, a key topic when discussing the Bills is the rushing attack. Not just their own, but also that of their opponents. The Bills know they can run effectively, led by Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, but all too often opposing offenses have been able to do the same to them. Only four teams allowed more yards per game on the ground (128.9) than did Buffalo in 2013.
The Bills will look to build on their second-ranked rushing attack (144.2 yards per game) with an upgraded offensive line and the addition of some new offensive pieces. The line should be a more complete unit in 2014 after beefing up with free agent acquisition Chris Williams and the selection of three offensive linemen in the draft. Meanwhile, to bolster the team's attack, receiver Mike Williams and running back Bryce Brown were added through trades.
The team's splashiest acquisition, however, was wideout Sammy Watkins. To nab him at the fourth overall spot in the NFL Draft, the Bills executed a bold trade to move up five slots in the first round to select the talented pass-catcher. That left veteran Steve Johnson – who seemed to clash with Marrone last season – as the odd man