Following a demoralizing loss to division rival New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills received more unfortunate news on Monday. Head coach Sean McDermott announced that tight end Dawson Knox will undergo wrist surgery, and his return date remains undetermined.
In the first seven games of his fifth NFL season, Knox had recorded just 15 receptions for 102 yards and a single touchdown. His catch rate had plummeted to a career-low 53.6%, and he was averaging a career-low of 3.6 yards per target. This downturn came after Knox earned his first Pro Bowl selection last year, with 48 catches for 517 yards and six touchdowns.
To address the void left by Knox’s absence, the Bills selected tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round of this year’s draft. Buffalo has increasingly embraced 12 personnel sets, featuring one running back alongside both Knox and Kincaid on the field. In contrast to their past reliance on two-tight end formations, the Bills rank fourth in the NFL this season, using 12 personnel in 31.2% of their offensive snaps.
Now, they will have to revert to their previous approach, deploying three receivers and one tight end more frequently. This adjustment will not only increase the playing time for Kincaid and third-string tight end Quintin Morris but also provide opportunities for wide receivers like Khalil Shakir, Trent Sherfield, and Deonte Harty.
The Bills have experienced several underwhelming offensive performances in their losses this season, including lackluster showings against the Jets in Week 1, the Jaguars in London in Week 5, and most recently, the Patriots. Their offensive struggles are exacerbated by a multitude of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, placing additional pressure on the offense to regain its top form.