BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane spent more than an hour speaking with reporters on Wednesday as he reflected on the 2020 season and looked ahead to the future. As you could expect, there was plenty to be discussed, but here are five of the more notable takeaways from his 64-minute interview.
"We're still not a Super Bowl team"
Brandon Beane knows he and his staff have plenty of work to do. Despite one of the best seasons in franchise history, the front office needs to prove next season that they can once again contend and ultimately knock off the Chiefs.
"Nothing we did will matter when we start this offseason and when we start camp," Beane said. "Every team is built up of new players and we'll have to hit the reset button. We have a lot of work to do just to try and get this thing going and build a team that can earn its way back to where we were and hopefully further."
Supreme confidence in Allen
At the end of last season, Beane told reporters the Bills needed to improve offensively. While his statement wasn't directed solely towards Josh Allen, we all knew the Bills needed more from their quarterback.
This season Allen took the next step and proved he's one of the best signal-callers in the NFL. In almost every statistical category, Allen improved and will likely receive some votes for NFL MVP. He was already named the NFL's most improved player from the Pro Football Writers Association. Beane, like all of us, saw the progress and said he's incredibly proud of his 24-year-old quarterback.
“He’s so driven. I’ve got to get Josh to power down and kind of reset, but he’s going to come back and using Sean’s words, humble and hungry. I’m very proud of him, and I think he’s shown people what he can do in this league and I don’t think he’s reached his ceiling, I think there’s still growth for him.”
Beane wouldn't discuss a potential contract extension for Josh Allen but we all know it's something the team will look at. On January 9, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Bills are expected to approach Allen with "a potential huge contract extension" in the spring or summer. The waiting game now begins.
Need more from the running game
We'd all agree that the Bills didn't do a good enough job running the ball this season. Head coach Sean McDermott said it Tuesday and Beane echoed those comments on Wednesday.
"I think it's unfair to look at the running backs to point blame on the running game," Beane said when addressing the concern. "I'm not saying there's no blame, sometimes the running back missed the hole, but it's one of those things where you've got to practice it, you've got to emphasize it and you need to work on it. That's something we'll definitely look at but I'm not looking at Devin Singletary or Zack Moss and thinking those guys came up short for us."
Now it's important to note -- running more effectively does not mean the Bills will look to run the ball more. We saw a change in philosophy this season and chances are the pass-first approach will stick. But moving forward the Bills will need more out of their ground attack. Perhaps that means they'll add a new face or change things up with the guys creating the lanes for the backs.
Inconsistent play from the tight end position
Regular season stats:
Dawson Knox - 24 receptions, 288 yards, 3 TD
Tyler Kroft - 12 receptions, 119 yards, 3 TD
Lee Smith - 4 receptions, 35 yards, 2 TD
After watching Travis Kelce dismantle the Bills in the AFC Championship it's hard not to think the Bills need more from the tight end position. Expecting the Bills to find someone to replicate Kelce's production is unrealistic, he's one of the best tight ends of all-time. But they need more from the position and Beane knows that.
"We've got some guys here that we want to continue to develop and see what happens and obviously if there are ways to add competition whether it's free agency or the draft we would do that as well."
Can they afford to keep Milano?
When linebacker Matt Milano is on the field he makes a noticeable difference. The question now becomes -- will he be making the difference for the Bills or another team next season?
Beane said Wednesday they've communicated with Milano that they would like to keep him here in Buffalo. But they also understand he's earned the right to test the market in free agency.
Beane didn't rule out potentially using the franchise-tag on Milano but noted that "tough moves are ahead" when discussing how the Bills would manage to stay under the salary cap.