Each Wednesday during the NFL season I’m compiling power rankings of the best Buffalo Bills players for 2017. The rankings are cumulative and not based solely off their last game.
Here’s my rankings after Week two, a 9-3 loss at Carolina. (last week’s rankings in parenthesis)
1. Jordan Poyer: If anyone thought his debut against the Jets was a fluke Poyer proved the naysayers wrong in Carolina. The safety had a team-high 11 tackles, became the first defensive back in franchise history to register a sack in each of the team’s first two games, broke up what would’ve been a touchdown pass and nearly decapitated Kelvin Benjamin’s ribs for good measure. Maybe his stellar play won’t last but after two games you have to wonder what the hell Cleveland was thinking letting this guy walk. For now he takes over the top spot (Last Week: 2)
2. Lesean McCoy: After a dominant season debut against New York Shady couldn’t find a hole to run through in Carolina. Through no fault of his McCoy had just nine yards on 12 carries while adding 34 yards on six receptions. Teams will continue keying on Buffalo’s best offensive player, forcing Tyrod Taylor to open up the passing game for the offense to have success—something he’s never done consistently. I can’t put these futile stats from Sunday on McCoy, although he must find a way to be more productive going forward, as the extra attention isn’t going away. (1)
3. Ramon Humber: Another solid outing Sunday in racking up nine tackles after having 13 in the opener. He remains a pleasant surprise early on. (4)
4. Jerry Hughes: After a relatively quiet opening Hughes was quite loud Sunday—picking up two sacks (could’ve easily had three) and forcing six pressures on Cam Newton. This was the Jerry Hughes we saw when Jim Schwartz was the defensive coordinator. Now that he’s out of the shadows of Rex Ryan’s lousy scheme fit Hughes looks like he’s back to terrorizing quarterbacks. (Not Ranked)
5. Kyle Williams: He hasn’t put up the statistics yet but the 34-year old has put together two straight strong games to the start the season. Pro Football Focus gave him a 78.5 overall grade Sunday, fourth-highest on the team. (8)
6. Richie Incognito: To say the offensive line struggled in Carolina is the understatement of the season after two weeks. Incognito came away with a good PFF grade (78.1) but didn’t look like the overriding force he was against the Jets. He was the semi-bright spot of a unit that was pathetic Sunday. (3)
7. Shaq Lawson: Hughes got a lot of the post-game attention Sunday but Lawson had himself quite the afternoon as well. He had a sack (his lone pressure) but more impressively was the Bills best run defender, including making a key goal line stop that ultimately led to the Bills having a chance to win in the final seconds. Through two games he’s done his share to build a strong DE tandem with Hughes. (Not Ranked)
8. Lorenzo Alexander: He was all over the field in Carolina making plays or at least around the action—finishing with nine tackles and a sack. Father time hasn’t caught up to him yet. (Not ranked)
9. Tre’Davious White: Six tackles and a pass defended in Carolina. The rookie is off to a solid if not spectacular start. He’ll have his first huge test this Sunday as he’ll probably spend a lot of time lined up on Demaryius Thomas. (6)
10. Tyrod Taylor: After watching the All-22 I’ve concluded Taylor wasn’t that bad Sunday. Don’t get me wrong—he didn’t play particularly well by any means, but too much of the blame is being put him after the loss. If you have access to All-22 please re-watch Sunday’s game. The offensive line, particularly the right side was brutal and the wide receivers rarely seem to get open beyond five yards. Taylor did run for 55 yards and scampered away from several would-be sacks. He also was decent in the pocket on the rare occasions it was kept clean. I do think he needs to “grow a set” and start getting the ball down field, if for no reason other than opening things up in the box for McCoy. At this point Taylor’s in the undesirable position where everything negative is pinned on him and fan rumblings for Nathan Peterman already growing louder. Can he handle it or will he crack soon enough? (5)
Off The Rankings: Charles Clay (7th last week), Micah Hyde (9), Jordan Matthews (10).