Rank­ing the three most ‘in­dis­pens­able’ Bills in 2017

Tay­lor and McCoy are an easy 1-2

The Buffalo News - - NFL SUNDAY - By Jay Skurski

Shout out to Jim Eimer. As part of this week’s Bills Mail­bag, I took to Twit­ter look­ing for ques­tions. Jim came through with one that got me think­ing when he asked “what three play­ers on the Bills are most in­dis­pens­able – mean­ing if they were to get hurt, it would ef­fect win/loss to­tal the most?”

Two of my an­swers were easy, while I la­bored over the third. Here’s my list:

1. Ty­rod Tay­lor. The start­ing quar­ter­back is al­ways go­ing to be No. 1. Rookie Nathan Peter­man’s rise to No. 2 on the depth chart over the sum­mer cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of Bills fans starved for a fran­chise quar­ter­back, but the re­al­ity is we have yet to see him take a snap in a game that mat­ters. If Tay­lor were to get hurt, there’s no guar­an­tee Peter­man would be an up­grade, or even play at the same level. Tay­lor might be po­lar­iz­ing, but he’s been a com­pe­tent starter for three years now.

2. LeSean McCoy. I shud­der to think of what the Bills’ of­fense would look like with­out McCoy. He re­mains one of the best run­ning backs in the NFL at 29 and is the No. 1 player – maybe the only player – that keeps op­pos­ing de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors up at night. McCoy’s value is en­hanced by the lack of a true No. 2 run­ning back be­hind him. Af­ter Mike Gil­lislee bolted and the team cut Jonathan Williams, the backup job was to take a “com­mit­tee” ap­proach. That changed in Week One when Mike Tol­bert took all the car­ries be­hind McCoy. Tol­bert, though, is not thought to be an ev­ery­down op­tion if some­thing were to hap­pen to McCoy.

3. Pre­ston Brown. The mid­dle line­backer’s play in the sum­mer made both Reg­gie Ragland (traded) and Ger­ald Hodges (cut) re­place­able. By get­ting rid of both play­ers, though, the Bills left them­selves with a big hole be­hind Brown. Vet­eran Lorenzo Alexander, a start­ing out­side line­backer, would move to Brown’s spot in the mid­dle, but that wouldn’t be ideal. Alexander’s best strength is rush­ing the passer, and play­ing ev­ery down – as Brown did in Week One – might be a lot to ask of a 34-year-old. Brown might not be the best player on Buf­falo’s de­fense, but he might be the tough­est to re­place, which is why he makes this list.

Mark Mul­ville/Buf­falo News

With­out a proven backup quar­ter­back be­hind him, Ty­rod Tay­lor’s value to the Bills can­not be over­stated.

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