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GunnerBill

Good Night / Bad Night - Pre-season Game 1

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Posted (edited)

IIiiiiiitttttt'sss back folks. Week 1 of the 2018 pre-season is in the books and so it is time for my annual Good Night / Bad Night series. Some promising signs last night despite the final score so let's wait no longer!

 

Good Night for...

 

Brian Daboll - Lots of people have understandably been anxious to see what Brain Daboll's offense looks like with the Bills.  This might only have been pre-season but it was a promising debut for the new offensive coordinator who had personnel groups and formations a plenty on display in the first half against the Panthers. It's probably fair to say there was a little more on show than is traditional for a team to flash on its pre-season bow, but there was not so much shifting and motion as to indicate to me that full parts of the scheme were out there. There was a rhythm and a flow to the plays in that first half that was encouraging.

 

The Quarterbacks - Daboll's scheme was helped to look so smooth in no small part because "co-starters" McCarron and Peterman were so efficient and effective in running the first half offense. Peterman's greatest strength has always been his quick release and he was getting the ball out on time as receivers come out of breaks but before defenders can react  as he engineered that first touch down drive. He was unfortunate with the interception, it wasn't an accurate pass but Ivory should have made the catch. McCarron then demonstrated his poise and good decision making going deep when the chance was there and dumping off to his back smartly when required. His first third down conversion to Streater over the middle was the throw of the first half. In the second half Josh Allen was clearly less comfortable running the offense, especially with a clunky 3rd string offensive line infront of him. It was all a bit more off script and ad lib for the rookie who mixed a couple of head scratchers with some absolute wow moments. The TD to McCloud, the should have been TD to Foster and best of all the completion to McCloud when he came across the middle are examples of what that elite arm talent gets you. Encouraging debut, needs to be a little more consistent as a decision maker and probably won't have jumped either of the two vets would be my summation of his night.

 

The starting Offensive Line - A good night for the first choice offensive line, all showed up and played pretty well. There were always ways in which Tyrod helped the Bills o-line in terms of slowing down rushers who were worried about losing contain and letting Taylor scamper for big yards. But there were other ways that he always hurt the line too. The line seemed able to play in a more fundamental and consistent manner knowing that Peterman was going to be where he should be 'in the pocket' and was going to get the ball out of his hands on time. Thought Ryan Groy went 1-0 up in the battle to start at center, and both guards did a nice job in pass protection too. I really think injuries allowing that the same five will start at Baltimore. The second strong line did alright too (after a Newhouse special on the first play).  I wanted to specifically applaud Ike Boettger the UDFA from Iowa who I mentioned in the week was coming up on the rails of this tackle battle. He got the 2nd team right tackle gig last night and was the best of the backup tackles on show - he has a chance to make this team.

 

Kelvin Benjamin - Everyone here knows Kelvin Benjamin can play football. Everyone here also knows that both health and application have been questions that have dogged him throughout his career. 4 targets, 4 catches, 59 yards and a Touchdown was an impressive stat line to open his pre-season account with. Whoever the Bills starting Quarterback is this year they are going to need Benjamin in this kind of form. He just looked "at it".

 

Marcus Murphy - The running back competition was seen as being Murphy and Cadet fighting for the #3 job behind McCoy and Ivory. Murphy got the highest workload of any back last night and responded with an impressive outing going for 35 yards at 5 yards a clip on the ground and bringing in 4 receptions for 30 yards while Chris Ivory made one big catch and run play but also spilled up an interception on a pass he should have held.  Cadet rushed just twice for 4 yards. If the battle truly is for the #3 job then Murphy has taken the lead there.... but he might even end up pushing to be Shady's primary backup on this form.

 

 

Bad Night for...

 

Young Wideouts (excluding Ray Ray McCloud) - One of the stories of camp this year has been the battle of the 6 young and totally unproven wideouts (Reilly, Dupre, Foster, McCloud, Phillips, Proehl) to try and snag one of the last spots on the roster.  Ray Ray McCloud showed up second half, demonstrated some chemistry with fellow rookie Josh Allen and snagged three balls and a touchdown. Cam Phillips miss the game injured but the stat line for the other 4 combined read 1 catch for 59 yards, with only Reilly even troubling the scorers. Reilly and Proehl both had drops too, and Foster should have had a touchdown that he didn't even get hands on. This competition is whittling itself down and this group, McCloud excluded, now faces an uphill battle to make the roster.

 

Conor McDermott - The Bills picked up Conor McDermott when the Patriots cut him early in 2017. They kept him on the active roster the rest of last season and they clearly saw him as a developmental guy who could become a swing tackle candidate for this year's roster. However, since camp opened he has gone from 2nd team left tackle, to 2nd team right tackle, to 3rd team left tackle and then he had a rough night last night getting blown up early and often in the 2nd half. His chances of making the roster are now slim at best.

 

Ramon Humber - One of the interesting things to notice last night was that Lorenzo Alexander only played the first series at linebacker (and he was the guy going off the field in nickel) and then they took him out, left Edmunds and Milano in, and gave Deon Lacey the next shot with the first unit.  That would mean Lacey has jumped Humber on the depth chart since the end of last season and Humber hardly made it count when he got in there by showing the same struggles in coverage and in space that were on his 2017 game tape as well. Not sure Humber is necessarily on the bubble at this stage but he might be looking at special teams as his saving grace to make the team. 

 

Keith Ford - The UDFA out of Texas A&M had a couple of nice runs on his first two touches but after that his night went downhill fast. Numerous false start and alignment penalties and a complete whiff on an attempted block that led to a sack of the team's highly prized rookie Quarterback are hardly likely to endear him to the coaching staff. He might even have played himself out of a practice squad shot. He really has to step it up to have any chance to even land there.

 

The backup secondary - We all think the Bills defensive backfield is really good. The worry many of us have is depth. That showed up last night. Lafayette Pitts, Levi Wallace and Taron Johnson all got plenty of time at corner but didn't exactly shine (though Johnson didn't do a lot wrong on the touchdown he was beaten for) and the backup safeties seemed missing in action for the most part. There are still spots to be won in the backfield rotation and I wouldn't be surprised if this was an area where the Bills add someone else's cutdowns. 

 

There we are, my reflections on pre-season game 1... I'll be back next week to look at who helped and hurt their cases in the Browns game. Let's hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by GunnerBill
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Posted (edited)

Agree with all. Let's see if these are trends in the next few games.

Edited by CSBill

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Nice summary, no disagreements.

 

The disappointment was in the backup receivers.  They had a chance to show why they should be on the team slips through their fingers.

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Did CBs Gaines, Borders or Carter play?

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I's add Harrison to the "Good Night" list and Washington to the "Bad Night" one. Harrison really looks like he's going to be a player while Washington is getting bulldozed whenever he is out there.

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Posted (edited)

I just watched the condensed game and I agree with just about everything mentioned.  In particular, I was impressed with Murphy and all three QBs.  I felt sorry for Allen that he didn't get a chance with real NFL players but he certainly made some plays.

 

Foster is done.

 

Edit:  and is it just me, or did the shotgun snaps from the C Allen was playing with take forever to get back to him?

 

Edited by eball

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, eball said:

I just watched the condensed game and I agree with just about everything mentioned.  In particular, I was impressed with Murphy and all three QBs.  I felt sorry for Allen that he didn't get a chance with real NFL players but he certainly made some plays.

 

Foster is done.

 

Edit:  and is it just me, or did the shotgun snaps from the C Allen was playing with take forever to get back to him?

 

Absolutely. By the time the ball got to him the RDE was already a yard away from him. 😂

 

Edited by vincec

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That punter was good. Not that people really get to hung up on that. I have never really liked Schmidt and feel like he leaves a lot of extra field position on the table. I want to see more of the other guy, but at the same time don’t want us to be punting more...

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38 minutes ago, Doc said:

Did CBs Gaines, Borders or Carter play?

 

Gaines was the 1st team nickel. I think I saw Carter out there with the 3rds. Don't recall seeing Borders though possible he got in late 4th on a couple of plays. 

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18 minutes ago, Brianmoorman4jesus said:

That punter was good. Not that people really get to hung up on that. I have never really liked Schmidt and feel like he leaves a lot of extra field position on the table. I want to see more of the other guy, but at the same time don’t want us to be punting more...

 

I brought this up when we brought Carter in at P. He was booming them. It'll be interesting to follow for sure.

 

I have to agree on Ike Boettger. He played very well and just looked all in all solid. 

 

Allen's arm is unreal. I hope we let him sit and learn the whole year. This guy is going to be special. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Boettger had a great block on Murphy's TD run.

 

re: Allen - Joe Montana wouldn't have looked comfortable with that 3rd string offense.  On the contrary I thought Allen showed great poise with all the chaos around him.   There are some people also questioning 'decision making' which I don't get -= aside from the 4th down play I didn't see any other bad decisions.  Allen was in a tough spot - after McBeane saying how important the preseason would be to assess whether he moves up in the order, I think he really felt compelled to try to make things happen.

 

One other thing that is tough for Allen is that even if he gets some time with 1's/2's,  he's at a disadvantage at this point because of so few reps with them - he doesn't have the same comfort/chemistry as Peterman/McCarron.  The way it's been set up, it seems his fate to move up is/was predicated more on Peterman/Mcarron doing bad (and moving down) than anything he could do well.  I imagine it must be very frustrating trying to show what you can do with a bunch of scrubs who can't block, line up, or run a route properly.  With the way it's been set up, I don't see how he 'moves up' unless Peterman or Mcarron really crap the bed.   

Edited by stevewin

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45 minutes ago, vincec said:

I's add Harrison to the "Good Night" list and Washington to the "Bad Night" one. Harrison really looks like he's going to be a player while Washington is getting bulldozed whenever he is out there.

Funny that you say that because it’s exactly what I wanted to add. 

 

I’d also add Mike Love to the “good night” section.

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Very nice summation.  For a preseason game - that 1st half was actually entertaining and QB play the same.  Hope we can keep improving.

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My gosh, there's a chance Lawson and Washington get cut this offseason - what a final draft for Doug Whaley.

 

As for the receivers, if Corey Coleman can't seize this opportunity, he has no future in the NFL.

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I agree with all points maybe except for the secondary.  It's easy to grade individual performances but a little bit more difficult to generalize in a pre season game as far as depth is concerned.  

By that, I mean we were probably playing a base vanilla defense (4-3) vs. 3 or 4 wide receiver sets sometimes and there just isn't enough athleticism out there to keep up.  I would look more for places where somebody obviously blew their assignment than just giving a blanket statement of "all of our backup secondary".

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1 hour ago, GunnerBill said:

IIiiiiiitttttt'sss back folks. Week 1 of the 2018 pre-season is in the books and so it is time for my annual Good Night / Bad Night series. Some promising signs last night despite the final score so let's wait no longer!

 

Good Night for...

 

Brian Daboll - Lots of people have understandably been anxious to see what Brain Daboll's offense looks like with the Bills.  This might only have been pre-season but it was a promising debut for the new offensive coordinator who had personnel groups and formations a plenty on display in the first half against the Panthers. It's probably fair to say there was a little more on show than is traditional for a team to flash on its pre-season bow, but there was not so much shifting and motion as to indicate to me that full parts of the scheme were out there. There was a rhythm and a flow to the plays in that first half that was encouraging.

 

The Quarterbacks - Daboll's scheme was helped to look so smooth in no small part because "co-starters" McCarron and Peterman were so efficient and effective in running the first half offense. Peterman's greatest strength has always been his quick release and he was getting the ball out on time as receivers come out of breaks but before defenders can react  as he engineered that first touch down drive. He was unfortunate with the interception, it wasn't an accurate pass but Ivory should have made the catch. McCarron then demonstrated his poise and good decision making going deep when the chance was there and dumping off to his back smartly when required. His first third down conversion to Streater over the middle was the throw of the first half. In the second half Josh Allen was clearly less comfortable running the offense, especially with a clunky 3rd string offensive line infront of him. It was all a bit more off script and ad lib for the rookie who mixed a couple of head scratchers with some absolute wow moments. The TD to McCloud, the should have been TD to Foster and best of all the completion to McCloud when he came across the middle are examples of what that elite arm talent gets you. Encouraging debut, needs to be a little more consistent as a decision maker and probably won't have jumped either of the two vets would be my summation of his night.

 

The starting Offensive Line - A good night for the first choice offensive line, all showed up and played pretty well. There were always ways in which Tyrod helped the Bills o-line in terms of slowing down rushers who were worried about losing contain and letting Taylor scamper for big yards. But there were other ways that he always hurt the line too. The line seemed able to play in a more fundamental and consistent manner knowing that Peterman was going to be where he should be 'in the pocket' and was going to get the ball out of his hands on time. Thought Ryan Groy went 1-0 up in the battle to start at center, and both guards did a nice job in pass protection too. I really think injuries allowing that the same five will start at Baltimore. The second strong line did alright too (after a Newhouse special on the first play).  I wanted to specifically applaud Ike Boettger the UDFA from Iowa who I mentioned in the week was coming up on the rails of this tackle battle. He got the 2nd team right tackle gig last night and was the best of the backup tackles on show - he has a chance to make this team.

 

Kelvin Benjamin - Everyone here knows Kelvin Benjamin can play football. Everyone here also knows that both health and application have been questions that have dogged him throughout his career. 4 targets, 4 catches, 59 yards and a Touchdown was an impressive stat line to open his pre-season account with. Whoever the Bills starting Quarterback is this year they are going to need Benjamin in this kind of form. He just looked "at it".

 

Marcus Murphy - The running back competition was seen as being Murphy and Cadet fighting for the #3 job behind McCoy and Ivory. Murphy got the highest workload of any back last night and responded with an impressive outing going for 35 yards at 5 yards a clip on the ground and bringing in 4 receptions for 30 yards while Chris Ivory made one big catch and run play but also spilled up an interception on a pass he should have held.  Cadet rushed just twice for 4 yards. If the battle truly is for the #3 job then Murphy has taken the lead there.... but he might even end up pushing to be Shady's primary backup on this form.

 

 

Bad Night for...

 

Young Wideouts (excluding Ray Ray McCloud) - One of the stories of camp this year has been the battle of the 6 young and totally unproven wideouts (Reilly, Dupre, Foster, McCloud, Phillips, Proehl) to try and snag one of the last spots on the roster.  Ray Ray McCloud showed up second half, demonstrated some chemistry with fellow rookie Josh Allen and snagged three balls and a touchdown. Cam Phillips miss the game injured but the stat line for the other 4 combined read 1 catch for 59 yards, with only Reilly even troubling the scorers. Reilly and Proehl both had drops too, and Foster should have had a touchdown that he didn't even get hands on. This competition is whittling itself down and this group, McCloud excluded, now faces an uphill battle to make the roster.

 

Conor McDermott - The Bills picked up Conor McDermott when the Patriots cut him early in 2017. They kept him on the active roster the rest of last season and they clearly saw him as a developmental guy who could become a swing tackle candidate for this year's roster. However, since camp opened he has gone from 2nd team left tackle, to 2nd team right tackle, to 3rd team left tackle and then he had a rough night last night getting blown up early and often in the 2nd half. His chances of making the roster are now slim at best.

 

Ramon Humber - One of the interesting things to notice last night was that Lorenzo Alexander only played the first series at linebacker (and he was the guy going off the field in nickel) and then they took him out, left Edmunds and Milano in, and gave Deon Lacey the next shot with the first unit.  That would mean Lacey has jumped Humber on the depth chart since the end of last season and Humber hardly made it count when he got in there by showing the same struggles in coverage and in space that were on his 2017 game tape as well. Not sure Humber is necessarily on the bubble at this stage but he might be looking at special teams as his saving grace to make the team. 

 

Keith Ford - The UDFA out of Texas A&M had a couple of nice runs on his first two touches but after that his night went downhill fast. Numerous false start and alignment penalties and a complete whiff on an attempted block that led to a sack of the team's highly prized rookie Quarterback are hardly likely to endear him to the coaching staff. He might even have played himself out of a practice squad shot. He really has to step it up to have any chance to even land there.

 

The backup secondary - We all think the Bills defensive backfield is really good. The worry many of us have is depth. That showed up last night. Lafayette Pitts, Levi Wallace and Taron Johnson all got plenty of time at corner but didn't exactly shine (though Johnson didn't do a lot wrong on the touchdown he was beaten for) and the backup safeties seemed missing in action for the most part. There are still spots to be won in the backfield rotation and I wouldn't be surprised if this was an area where the Bills add someone else's cutdowns. 

 

There we are, my reflections on pre-season game 1... I'll be back next week to look at who helped and hurt their cases in the Browns game. Let's hear your thoughts!

 

Great write-up, Gunner.

 

I think I'm not alone in feeling frustrated with our glimpse of Allen.  I would like to see him behind a more consistent OL and throwing to more consistent WR so we can get a real read out on where he's at - watching last night was like "Wyoming Part Deux"

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Posted (edited)

I’m a Cuse fan and watch a lot of ACC Football, and Ray-Ray McCloud never stood out to me at Clemson.  Not a bad player, just never seemed to be a “wow” guy.   

 

(IMO) Last night put him way ahead of everyone else looking for that 6th spot.  It’s only one game, and lets see how he backs it up, but he looked like he belonged out there, especially since it sounds like Daboll has been using him like a Tyreek Hill type in practice. 

Edited by SCBills
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15 minutes ago, Coach Tuesday said:

My gosh, there's a chance Lawson and Washington get cut this offseason - what a final draft for Doug Whaley.

 

As for the receivers, if Corey Coleman can't seize this opportunity, he has no future in the NFL.

 

Why cut Lawson? He was terrific. Curious he played with the #2's as well. John Murphy floated the idea he was being showcased like Sammy Watkins was last year. Maybe that's what Astro was alluding to?

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Just now, PromoTheRobot said:

 

Why cut Lawson? He was terrific. Curious he played with the #2's as well. John Murphy floated the idea he was being showcased like Sammy Watkins was last year. Maybe that's what Astro was alluding to?

 

Yeah, I meant cut or traded.  No cap advantage to cutting him, unfortunately, but it looked to me like he was being showcased just like Ragland was last offseason.

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To go along with your Daboll point and the personnel combinations. It was great to see, in the first preseason game, the guys execute. They were changing personnel groupings, at some points, EVERY DOWN. And there didn't seem to be much confusion on the players' part. They seemed to know what they were doing. Didn't see any timeouts called because guys didn't know where they were supposed to be. Even when the 3rd string guys were on the field.

Kudos to the coaching staff for having them prepared.

 

All in all, I am as encouraged as I could possibly be after the first preseason game. I know it's only preseason. But I live in Charlotte and only get the Panthers broadcast... and even their broadcast team was talking about how one-sided the first half of that game was in favor of the Bills.

3 minutes ago, SCBills said:

I’m a Cuse fan and watch a lot of ACC Football, and Ray-Ray McCloud never stood out to me at Clemson.  Not a bad player, just never seemed to be a “wow” guy.   

 

(IMO) Last night put him way ahead of everyone else looking for that 6th spot.  It’s only one game, and lets see how he backs it up, but he looked like he belonged out there, especially since it sounds like Daboll has been using him like a Tyreek Hill type in practice. 

I thought Robert Foster looked great also. He had 2 steps on the Panthers DB's more than once... that one that Allen overthrew by a step sticks out in my mind. The dude can certainly run! Some of my Panthers-fan friends have been talking about him this morning and how good he looked as well.

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25 minutes ago, Kirby Jackson said:

Funny that you say that because it’s exactly what I wanted to add. 

 

I’d also add Mike Love to the “good night” section.

 

I think all that is right... but I try and have 5 per section it is enough of an essay already :)

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34 minutes ago, Kirby Jackson said:

Funny that you say that because it’s exactly what I wanted to add. 

 

I’d also add Mike Love to the “good night” section.

 

Mike Love has great prototypical size.  He certainly looks the part.

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I wonder if Ike was moved during the game.  You say RT, but I thought I saw him at RG.

 

I guess if true, that versatility makes it even better for him.

 

Tough to go wrong with Iowa OL.  

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Good night: Wyatt Teller--he was knocking people around 

 

Bad night: backup DL.

1 minute ago, hemma said:

I wonder if Ike was moved during the game.  You say RT, but I thought I saw him at RG.

 

I guess if true, that versatility makes it even better for him.

 

Tough to go wrong with Iowa OL.  

 

I also thought he was at RG--looked like Deondre Wesley at RT

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Posted (edited)

Another thought as I was driving in to work -- I'm sure we'll see some national media who didn't watch the game point to Allen's 9/19 performance as a means of confirming his "accuracy issues in college" are still present.  Which is hilarious, because I only saw one ball that wasn't where it needed to be.  He also showed good touch on the short ones -- something he has been routinely criticized for.

 

Edited by eball

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