Buffalo Bills fans have learned to expected the unexpected. In less than a month, Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, and Reggie Ragland were shipped out of Buffalo. Although coach Sean McDermott has denied it, players that have the imprint of former GM Doug Whaley seems to be on the chopping block. The newest players to exit the Bills are running back Jonathan Williams and cornerback Kevon Seymour. Buffalo has several ex-Carolina Panthers players. Is Buffalo turning into the Panthers?

Ties to Carolina

It is no secret that Bills coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane are both from the Panthers’ organization. McDermott was the defensive coordinator, while Beane was the assistant GM.

Since McDermott took over as head coach, the Bills added former Panthers Mike Tolbert, Kaelin Clay, and Joe Webb to their roster.

Mike Tolbert is 32-yards old and possibly an injury away from being out of some games. Unless he is eating the Tom Brady vegan diet, youth does not seem to be on his side right now. He does not have the speed of Jonathan Williams and seems to lack the quickness of a back-up. Short yardage situations may be Tolbert’s strength, but Buffalo needs to make sure they get into these short yardage situations. Their problems moving the ball need to be fixed. Jonathan Williams moved the ball well in pre-season and had over 100 yards rushing for Buffalo.

One caller from “The John Murphy Show” yesterday was not happy with the Williams release. Said Mike from Lockport, “Why did they cut Jonathan Williams? He broke the holes and everything like that.

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He made a good back-up.”

Kaelin Clay is on his fifth NFL team since being drafted two years ago. He caught a 58-yard pass for the Panthers in their last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the odds of Clay being a top notch wide receiver are low. A wide receiver usually shows his exceptional talent in his first two seasons. Giving up Kevon Seymour for Clay is more of a lateral move. A seventh round pick doesn't do much to help this Buffalo Bills team, as McDermott’s Panthers connections seemed to be a huge factor in this trade.

Joe Webb is a versatile player, but does not stand out on any of the positions of quarterback, kick returner, and wide receiver. His numbers as a quarterback are not impressive. According to NFL.com, he has 853 yards passing and a 66.6 QB rating. Since Webb is most likely just a filler for Buffalo if Tyrod Taylor, T.J. Yates, or Nate Peterman get injured, this move is more of an emergency type situation. McDermott was familiar with Webb.

Special Teams Emphasis

McDermott has mentioned special teams many times.

He wants most of his players to have a role on special teams. Special teams may give a team an edge, but without a decent offense and defense, it is hard to win games. The Buffalo Bills of the 1990’s had stellar special teams, but Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, and Bruce Smith carried the team to four Super Bowls.

If the goal is to turn the Bills into the Carolina Panthers, the reality is that Carolina finished 6-10 last year. Losing cornerback Josh Norman was a blow. The Bills have lost cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, and Kevon Seymour. Cornerback Tre’Davious White has yet to play a regular season NFL game. E.J. Gaines will play his first game with Buffalo on Sunday. If White and Gaines get beat, no amount of special teams play can make up for it.

Good luck, Buffalo Bills.