The Buffalo Bills are coming off a dispiriting loss to the division-rival New England Patriots, and on Monday they got even more bad news. Tight end Dawson Knox will undergo wrist surgery and be out for an undetermined length of time, head coach Sean McDermott announced.
Knox had just 15 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown through the first seven games of his fifth NFL season. His catch rate was down to a career-low 53.6% and he was averaging a career-low 3.6 yards per target. This comes after he was named a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career a year ago, having caught 48 passes for 517 yards and six scores.
Buffalo drafted tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round of this year’s draft and has leaned heavily into 12 personnel sets, with one running back and both Knox and Kincaid on the field. After ranking near the bottom of the league in two-tight end sets over the last several seasons, the Bills check in fourth in the NFL this year, utilizing 12 personnel on 31.2% of their offensive snaps.
Now, they will have to go back to what they had done in the past, getting three receivers and one tight end on the field more often. This will not only mean more playing time for Kincaid and No. 3 tight end Quintin Morris, but also wide receivers like Khalil Shakir, Trent Sherfield, and Deonte Harty.
The Bills have put together a few ugly offensive performances in losses this season, coming out flat against the Jets in Week 1, the Jaguars in London in Week 5 and again this past week against the Patriots. (They also looked disjointed in a win over the Giants in Week 6.) Losing Knox is another blow to a team already dealing with a morass of injuries on the opposite side of the ball, which only puts more pressure on the offense to rediscover its top form.