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Thoughts on Bills/Broncos Preseason Contest

Following the Bills’ Rocky Mountain woeful outing this past weekend against the Denver Broncos, it’s time to vent and get it out of my system.  There was little good but there was plenty of bad to go around in the Bills’ second preseason game.  Let’s hit it strong.

– The first team offense:  two games, six points. 

– Marcell Dareus has arguably been the best player by far for the Bills in the preseason.  The third overall pick picked up his second sack in as many games.  He’s been able to get steady penetration off the snap against opposing offensive linemen and has looked like a man-beast through two games.  Through two games, he’s been a force for the Bills along the defensive line and with so many other problems going on with the Bills right now, Dareus has been a blessing.

– It’s clear to see that the offensive line is the weakness and there doesn’t appear to be a steadfast resolution.  The group as a whole was brutal.  Demetrius Bell was dreadful.  Elvis Dumervil and rookie Von Miller ate Bell’s lunch all night.  His play almost got Ryan Fitzpatrick killed.  He had big time trouble handling the speed off the edge from Dumervil and Miller, while he also struggled blocking on running plays.  But Bell’s not alone.  Kraig Urbik has looked pitiful in two games.  I don’t see how the Bills can afford to start him.  Andy Levitre started the opening drive then conceded the next three drives to Chad Rinehart.  Read into that what you will, but it doesn’t spell good news for Levitre.  Eric Wood looks like the only offensive lineman worthy of starting in the NFL.  It’s a shame he can’t start in the other four positions along the offensive line.

– Is anyone else severely unimpressed/uninspired by CJ Spiller?  He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of running north/south in this league.  Everyone in the NFL is fast, especially on defense and running east/west spells disaster.  His pass blocking is almost as bad as Bell.  He has no clue how to pick up the blitz, who’s coming and where it’s coming from.  If Bell doesn’t Fitzpatrick killed, the next best candidate is Spiller.  If there’s a third down passing situation and Spiller’s in the backfield, you better hope the Bills have a running play called.

– Despite the Bills losing, defensively it’s tough to gage how they truly did.  They ran very vanilla defensive schemes, operating strictly out of a base defense.  I get that.  They’ll see the Broncos later down the road in the regular season and you don’t want to show your hand in the preseason.  Still, the first team had a lousy showing after their first offensive and defensive drives of the game.  The Bills couldn’t get much going in the passing game and couldn’t contain the Broncos’ through the air.  The end result was the Bills were outgained 208-90 in the first half.

– Ryan Fitzpatrick’s play has to be a cause for concern in the preseason.  He went 6-of-17 for 44 yards and an interception (though that wasn’t his fault).  Granted he hasn’t had much time to throw but when he has had time his throws have been off, inaccurate and questionable.  He’s not on the same page with his receivers.  Heck, they’re not even reading the same book.  They need consistency and stabillity from him.  Right now, they’re not even getting close to that.  It’s likely he won’t play in the preseason finale against Detroit on Sept.1.  Saturday night’s game against Jacksonville is huge in terms of a confidence builder and a positive stepping stone for Fitzpatrick and the first team offense.

–  The play from the secondary also is alarming.  They’ve looked extremely below average.  That goes for the whole group.  The coverage hasn’t been good and it seems as though we’re on the verge of this unit going another full year without having a knack for coming up with big plays.  For my vote, I want to see more of Aaron Williams.  Get him on the field as much as possible and let’s see what he can do.  Right now, I’d rather have him starting over Leodis McKelvin.

– The first team defense held Denver’s rushing attack to 2.9 yards per carry on the ground.  Nice.

– The first team defense surrendered just north of 10 yard per pass play.   Yuck.

– Perhaps things might have gone somewhat different with Shawne Merriman on the field.  The Bills will rely heavily on having a healthy Merriman at linebacker.  Merriman has only been on the field for nine plays so far in the preseason, yet he looks to be the firestarter for the defense. 

– Loved the fake punt pulled off by Brad Smith.  He adds an element the Bills haven’t had in a while.  Something tells me he’ll do this again in the regular season.

–  Nick Barnett is a big upgrade over Paul Posluszny at middle linebacker.  He’s an upgrade in the passing came in coverage, something Posluszny has never excelled at during his tenure in Buffalo.  There’s a lot to like about Barnett from his demeanor to his level of play.  It appears the Bills got that one right in the offseason.

–  Buffalo got chewed up on screen passes.  Three screen passes in the first half went for 12, 11 and 20 yards.  The end result was a Willis McGahee 1-yard touchdown run. 

–  I liked the emotion the Bills displayed after Donald Jones took a wicked cheapshot hit by Broncos safety Rahim Moore.   It was good to see guys like Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson and Corey McIntyre along with others so fired up and ticked off by what happened to their teammate.  Emotion like that is good and it’s good that it’s there in the preseason.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mike C

    August 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Agree with just about everything you said. I wonder if the Rinehart/Levitre deal is a prep for Levitre replacing Urbik at RG – it’s the only explanation I can think of that makes sense. Another thing I don’t understand is why David Nelson is not getting more reps. Aside from Johnson and Parrish, he produced the most last year. A few weeks ago I read he had trouble breathing during a practice. Perhaps it’s developed into full blown tuberculosis. It would be nice to see Williams getting more playing time too. I don’t think he’s ready to start but we’ve waited an awful long time for the light to come on with McKelvin. I think Fitz will get better. He’s certainly been a lot better in the past.

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