The legendary Frank Gore tour made a stop in Buffalo last season with the Bills. The 37-year-old running back doesn’t look back on his time with the Bills in any bad manner at all.
But Gore, who has since signed with the Jets this offseason following his one-year stint with the Bills, recently made a comment about perhaps wanting to get more touches last season. However, Gore’s been around the NFL for a long time now, and he understands why he didn’t.
Speaking from Jets training camp this week, Gore said he feels he had a 1,000-yard season in tank last season in Buffalo, but his touches starting going to then-rookie Devin Singletary more and more as the season progressed, so he didn’t reach that number.
“I feel if they would have let me play, I would have had over 1,000 (yards),” Gore said. “I jumped out there. I was having a great year.”
“Young Singletary, a young back, will be very talented,” Gore added. “He’ll do great things as long as he keeps working — and I know he will. I understand they drafted him and it’s a business. They had to get him ready. But I felt like the games I did play, I did some good things to show people I could play.”
Overall, Gore rushed for 599 rushing yards with the Bills and just 3.6 yards per carry. Those were career lows. According to Jets Wire, Gore went from carrying the ball 95 times in the first seven games to only 71 attempts in the final nine games. Buffalo handed the keys to Singletary, who rushed for 775 yards on 151 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns.
Most would see the Bills’ decision to do so much in the same light as Gore’s. Singletary seemed ready for more work and was excelling expectations. But, could Gore have hit over 1,000 yards if Buffalo played him more in 2019? Most via the eye test would say no.
Early in the 2019 season, Gore did receive more snaps than Singletary, but there’s also Singletary’s hamstring injury to consider. Had he played in 16 games instead of 12, Singletary himself was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season in his first year in the pros… and had Singletary appeared in those early season games he missed, Gore might have never gotten that stretch of carries over the first seven games.
Once things did start leaning Singletary’s way, Gore did get carries still. Many remember his rushing attempts being foiled easily at the time, and that actually might be more on the Bills than Gore.
In their playbook, the Bills never drew up anything different than runs right up the gut for Gore late in the season. Teams knew what was coming, and Gore, a pros pro, gave it his all for the coaches, even if he was often immediately stopped and probably saw it coming most times. The Bills should have given Gore some different looks to keep opponents on their toes at least a little, but of course, Buffalo will hope Gore doesn’t get any sort of good looks in 2020, at least when the Bills face the Jets.