Heading into his second season in the National Football League in 2020, Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox has some high expectations of him in this year's offense.
The 23-year-old tight end had a decent first season with the Bills in 2019 after being a third round pick of the team (96th overall) in the NFL Draft. In 15 games played, Knox got the start in 11 games, while making 28 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns.
Now coming into Year 2 with the same system in place and the same quarterback throwing to him on a weekly basis, Knox is seen as a player who could take a huge step in his game as the Bills' No. 1 tight end target.
In Buffalo's Week 1 win over the New York Jets at Bills Stadium, Knox was targeted three times, making two catches for 26 yards. That may not seem like much of an impact, but as the season goes on, his workload is expected to increase even more.
Up next for Knox and the Bills is a trip to South Florida to take on their AFC East division rival Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
Knox took some time on Thursday to join Howard Simon and Jeremy White on WGR. He talked about his growth from Year 1 to Year 2 in the NFL, the play of both quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs and more.
Here is some of what he had to say:
Knox on playing Week 1 of the 2020 season without fans at Bills Stadium:
"It had to be one of the weirdest experiences of my life. Even in middle school, we had at least friends and family in the stands watching. It almost felt like a scrimmage or something, but I feel like we did a good job bringing the right energy on the sidelines. I think we played well, there's some things to clean up, but we definitely missed the Bills fans."
Knox on the differences for him between Year 1 and Year 2 in the NFL:
"I'm just thankful for the offensive system we're running, it feels very similar. I feel like coach [Brian] Daboll has done a great job of keeping the same things, while adding some new twists here and there. I'm just thankful for that foundation that I had from last year. When it comes to the gameplay, I feel that it's a lot easier to learn quicker so I can progress on to some of the more complicated film studies, such as looking at safety tendencies, the way [defensive] ends rush and looking for changes in coverage right before the snap. I can spend a little more time studying that instead of where I'm running to go line up and instead of the actual route I have. I feel like the game is starting to slow down for me, which is pretty nice."
Knox on seeing differences in Allen in 2020:
"You have the very first game, where he already broke the 300 yards [passing mark], so I think that shows everyone that he's progressing very well. Everybody is extremely excited to see what he's been able to do, whether it's a practice or the last game. He's just been doing a great job leading us. He's doing a great job of taking what the defense gives him, whether that's a check down or a shorter ball every now and then. And just the way he performed Sunday was pretty awesome to watch, considering it was the first game in forever."
Knox on the impact of Diggs in the passing game:
"Just having a weapon like that makes a defense have to respect him. He's a cold-blooded killer. Everybody loves him. He's a true competitor. He's been a great teammate to me also so far and everybody seems to like him. In terms of strictly football, they've got to respect his speed, they have to respect the deep ball now... He's just an incredible player, and when you have a guy like that on the outside, the defense has to respect him."
Knox on watching other tight ends around the NFL and learning from them:
"Typically going into a certain game week, I'll watch tight end targets - when the ball was thrown to a tight end against the team I'll be playing. It's not necessarily one certain tight end, but if I did have to watch one guy, my favorite to watch is George Kittle. I actually trained with him a good bit in the offseason. He lives in Nashville, so do I, kind of got to know him a little bit and he was actually really great at helping me learn a few things. Watching his tape is pretty incredible. He's considered one of the best tight ends in the game right now, so it's really fun being able to watch him and break down some of the things he does."
You can listen to the entire interview below: