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Virgil

A Few Thoughts about the PRESEASON Game, In no particular order

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Howdy boys and ladies.  Time to shake the cobwebs off and make a test run of this puppy.  I'll be honest, I have to get my groove back a little as I found myself rewinding plays a bit too much and distracting myself from actually trying to enjoy the game.  Also, I'm at a total loss for what this year's theme will be for the fourth thought, but I have a few weeks to figure that out.  And for those of you who are new to this game, I don't know anything more than anyone else.  I watch, pay attention for some things, then give thoughts.  This is a tradition started by the great @BillfromNYC and it's his if he ever wants it again.  Some weeks, I might ignore entire positions because it's been talked to death prior weeks.  After a while, I just had to shut up about how surprising Milano's play was.  With that being said...

 

1 - Preseason Coaching - If you are expecting a lot of focus on the stats or overall competitive nature of the game, stop reading now.  We intentionally made zero attempt to run any type of offensive scheme with the starters until the 2 minute drill.  A part of me wonders why Allen was even risked by playing since all he did was hand the ball off.  This game was all about offensive line evaluation for the starters.  I can sum the entire first half in for you in 4 words:  Run, Run, Timing Pass.  After the Carolina scrimmage and game, I think the offensive scheme is established and they don't think any more work needs to be done.  And, if you go off that last game, they are probably right.  Either way, it felt to me like there's a plan and we are on time with it.  

 

2 - Allen, Knox, and offense - For those that just need to know, there isn't much to say here.  Allen made an absolute stupid throw for an INT and was saved by a ticky-tack call.  He really needs to know by now that he can't make throws across his body while jumping into triple coverage.  I mean, he has to know that, right?  Knox was mainly blocking the entire game and made it through healthy.  As for the offense, the two minute drill was solid.  When we decided to actually try, you could see what the threat of the pass did for the run game and how much respect other teams have for our speed.  On one of the big runs, we faked a screen to Roberts and Brown to the top of the field and you could see the defense step back in prep of getting burned.  Allen instead handed the ball off for a solid run to the opposite side.  We got to see Brown make a few crossing routes, which Allen hit in stride and the overall offense scored a TD within two minutes in an absolute effortless drive.  If you are going to evaluate the offense, do it on that drive.  To quote DC Tom, if you think anything before that was a representation of what we are trying to do, "You're an idiot."

 

3 - Edmunds - I'm going to go ahead and say that was the best game I've seen the kid play.  Football is a game of seconds.  If you hesitate in deciding to defend the pass or the run, you've already given up a few extra steps or yards.  Edmunds was indecisive to me last year as I'd expect a barely 20 year old rookie to be.  Not this game though.  That kid was everywhere and he was there fast.  He stood a few guys up in his tracks and was near almost every tackle.  If last night was a snapshot of him "getting it" now, then this kid is going to have a monster year.  

 

4 - I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas

 

5 - Special Teams - Hausch-Money was about the only part of this unit that made me feel good.  The punting was terrible and I think it's time to move on from B.  Our kick-offs were perfectly shallow, as you want for the team to catch them behind the 20, but we couldn't get it done.  We were outmatched pretty consistently and didn't give Roberts much to work with.  I had multiple spouts of PTSD from last year when the unit came on the field.  Not a great showing and now a concern for me again going into the season.

 

6 - Refs - I get that it's preseason for them as well, but come on now.  That was a crazy amount of penalties in the first half.  I stopped rewinding to see if they were valid after the fifth one and a lot of them were 50/50 calls at best.  But more importantly, I want to mention the new challenge rule around PI.  This is a prime example of one blown call in a playoff game being over-reacted to and changing the entire game of football for the worse.  We had two challenges that slowed the game down and both were upheld on the field.  For starters, that's where the ref's got it right.  There was contact on both plays, but they allowed it as, like holding, it's just going to happen.  I was happy for the result.  But the game stoppage was a joke.  If you are trying to fix the Saints game problem, then treat it like the two minute drill.  Don't let it be challenged.  If something egregious happens, then let the ref get signaled from the head ref in the box for it to be looked at.  In the Saints game, everyone knew what happened as it happened.  It was immediate.  Last night was not the answer to that problem.
 

7 - Defensive Line - I probably pay attention to this unit more than anything else.  I look to see how often Oliver gets double teamed, and if so, what do the edge rushers do with their 1 on 1 assignments.  In this game, it was a mixed bag for me.  Oliver broke through on one play, but that was due to a line shift on a play-action.  He was single teamed enough where I would have expected disruption from him.  Murphy showed his speed on a few plays and as he impressively tracked some skill players down.  Lawson, to me, absolutely made the most of his start in Hughes absence.  He was quick around the edge and showed solid speed.  However, like I said before, neither Lawson or Murphy did much with their single-team matchups for QB pressure.

 

8 - Runningbacks - I'm about to be a hypocrite here.  I know the stat lines were decent for Gore and McCoy, but I'm still just not feeling it with either of them.  McCoy showed better burst than he has in the past, but neither of them are really taking more than the offense gives them.  Neither of them show the ability to outrun anyone or make people miss.  McCoy broke one arm tackle that I remember, but everything else were runs that I feel most backs would make.  I'm probably wrong here and expect the negative pushback, but I really don't think we'd be much different in the running game if McCoy were the starter or if we just gave it to Singletary

 

9 - Ford - I really liked what I saw from this kid.  He made a key block on the Singletary TD run.  Moreso, the kid was all up in the Lions player's faces.  There were more skirmishes in this game than I expected to see, especially for a preseason game.  But in almost each of them, Ford was right there in someone's face.  I'm weary of that kind of attitude as I think it leads to penalties and loses you the benefit of the doubt with the refs.  Also, I don't know the cause to know if it's him getting frustrated with his own performance or if the Lions were doing him dirty.  Overall, I think he did a solid job and held his own.  Whether it be at RT or RG, I'm pleased with his progress

 

10 - Impact Moments:

--McD after the cheap shot on Gore was picked up by the field mic's shouting some profanities at the ref's.  Kinda loved that

--Duke Williams with another high point grab for a TD.  Kid needs to make this team and I don't envy the coaches having to make cuts

--Johnson #46 may have earned himself a spot with his strip fumble and recovery.  That play was all him and showed maximum effort

--Barkley on offense - Just overall re-affirmed my comfort level with our offense in case Allen goes down for injury

 


That's all folks!  I don't intend to do another one of these until the season opener.  I'm genuinely hoping our starters don't even touch the field for more than a drive next week.  

 

Go Bills!

 

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I have to disagree with your take on the RBs.  I thought that McCoy and Gore both looked good, Singletary has played well and aside from a fumble in the first game, Yeldon has done some nice things in the pass game.  I would not want to cut any of them.

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55 minutes ago, Virgil said:

 

1 - Preseason Coaching - If you are expecting a lot of focus on the stats or overall competitive nature of the game, stop reading now.  We intentionally made zero attempt to run any type of offensive scheme with the starters until the 2 minute drill.  A part of me wonders why Allen was even risked by playing since all he did was hand the ball off.  This game was all about offensive line evaluation for the starters.  I can sum the entire first half in for you in 4 words:  Run, Run, Timing Pass.  After the Carolina scrimmage and game, I think the offensive scheme is established and they don't think any more work needs to be done.  And, if you go off that last game, they are probably right.  Either way, it felt to me like there's a plan and we are on time with it.  

 

2 - Allen, Knox, and offense - For those that just need to know, there isn't much to say here.  Allen made an absolute stupid throw for an INT and was saved by a ticky-tack call.  He really needs to know by now that he can't make throws across his body while jumping into triple coverage.  I mean, he has to know that, right?  Knox was mainly blocking the entire game and made it through healthy.  As for the offense, the two minute drill was solid.  When we decided to actually try, you could see what the threat of the pass did for the run game and how much respect other teams have for our speed.  On one of the big runs, we faked a screen to Roberts and Brown to the top of the field and you could see the defense step back in prep of getting burned.  Allen instead handed the ball off for a solid run to the opposite side.  We got to see Brown make a few crossing routes, which Allen hit in stride and the overall offense scored a TD within two minutes in an absolute effortless drive.  If you are going to evaluate the offense, do it on that drive.  To quote DC Tom, if you think anything before that was a representation of what we are trying to do, "You're an idiot."

 

Go Bills!

 

 

Perfectly put!  The two minute drill is what people should be focusing on. 

 

Allen was in there to get his timing down on the hand offs and making line of scrimmage run adjustments.  It's one thing to do it in practice it's another during the chaos of a game where a 300 pound DT penetrates into the backfield to disrupt the hand off.

 

 

 

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They were horrible last night. Throw by Allen is inexcusable - that is a throw a high school quarterback makes.

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I will push back strongly on McCoy. He remains clearly our best back IMO. 

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Loved watching Tremaine Edmunds last night.  Focused on every single one of his snaps twice.  He was awesome!

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I thought the Bills run D was strong last night.  I liked the way Gore and McCoy ran last night.  Those two areas, run the ball and stop the run, seemed to be the Bills game plan last night.

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1 hour ago, Virgil said:

 

6 - Refs - ...But more importantly, I want to mention the new challenge rule around PI.  This is a prime example of one blown call in a playoff game being over-reacted to and changing the entire game of football for the worse.  We had two challenges that slowed the game down and both were upheld on the field...  

 

Thx for the nice review.

 

The league needs to change the PI call now. The penalty for an incorrect PI challenge needs to be more severe or there will be more  of these delays. Why not challenge is the perspective of coaches.

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Virgil, excellent work.  I saw the same things as you did on most of your points.   Edmunds has made huge strides since the first half of last year.  He should be a big impact player this year.  Oliver - he’s not getting penetration and looks tentative.   Seems like it will be a developmental year for him.  And yes as bad as STs were last night, Hauschka hit the ball w authority and did appear more confident. 

 

On point 2 I disagree.  The overall offensive performance was concerning, especially O-line.  It looked a lot like last year.  With all the FA signings the only one that looks competent is Feliciano.  Teller and Bates also had poor performances.   Ford did look good though.  The Bills s/b making a lot of cuts on O-line and looking at the waiver wire from the teams w/ good Depth at O-line

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21 minutes ago, Mr Info said:

 

Thx for the nice review.

 

The league needs to change the PI call now. The penalty for an incorrect PI challenge needs to be more severe or there will be more  of these delays. Why not challenge is the perspective of coaches.

The coaches made those challenges in order to determine how those plays might be called in the regular season. Those plays would not normally be challenged, just like the amount of going for it 4th down won't happen in a couple of weeks.

40 minutes ago, Mc1320 said:

They were horrible last night. Throw by Allen is inexcusable - that is a throw a high school quarterback makes.

 

aflac.jpg

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1 hour ago, Virgil said:

A part of me wonders why Allen was even risked by playing since all he did was hand the ball off. 

First off, great synopsis. Good read and quality thoughts. Thank you!

 

I think Allen's performance itself showed us precisely why he was out there. He needs to become comfortable operating within the flow of the game. He needs to be able to perform while handing it off 75% of the time. The stupid (and it was) throw across his body provides a teachable moment. The two minute drill TD re-enforces the good and increases confidence. 

 

Whether he's the star or we're grinding it out with the run, he just needs to continue his development with awareness, discipline and readiness. He needed to be in there for game three and benefitted from it.

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2 minutes ago, RochesterLifer said:

First off, great synopsis. Good read and quality thoughts. Thank you!

 

I think Allen's performance itself showed us precisely why he was out there. He needs to become comfortable operating within the flow of the game. He needs to be able to perform while handing it off 75% of the time. The stupid (and it was) throw across his body provides a teachable moment. The two minute drill TD re-enforces the good and increases confidence. 

 

Whether he's the star or we're grinding it out with the run, he just needs to continue his development with awareness, discipline and readiness. He needed to be in there for game three and benefitted from it.

 

It was good this happened.  Maybe it is now less likely to occur in a game that matters.  Josh has to suppress the "see play, make play" thoughts that emerge from his primal brain.

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Mr Info said:

 

Thx for the nice review.

 

The league needs to change the PI call now. The penalty for an incorrect PI challenge needs to be more severe or there will be more  of these delays. Why not challenge is the perspective of coaches.

 

Because you lose a timeout.  That is pretty severe inb a regular season game.   Like the announcers were saying last night, coaches are challenging right now because they don't care a whole lot about time outs in pre-season.  It's why you see a team scores a late TD, behind by one, they go for two for the win instead of the tie.  Happens in pre-season, but not during the regular season. 

 

Wouldn't worry about it, not having during the regular season unless much more obvious.

Edited by Ed_Formerly_of_Roch
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1 hour ago, OldTimer1960 said:

I have to disagree with your take on the RBs.  I thought that McCoy and Gore both looked good, Singletary has played well and aside from a fumble in the first game, Yeldon has done some nice things in the pass game.  I would not want to cut any of them.

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Virgil nice work.

I thought the RBs looked good. Yeldon has played his way back on this roster. Agree on Edmunds as well.

Daboll's play calling reminded me of the Jauron era. Putrid!

It was a nationally televised game. They did nothing to change all the haters minds. Allen Included.

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1 hour ago, Mc1320 said:

They were horrible last night. Throw by Allen is inexcusable - that is a throw a high school quarterback makes.

So many NFL QB's make that throw, every single season.

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If this is your pre-season form, can't wait to when the games count.

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1 hour ago, Reks Ryan said:

Virgil, excellent work.  I saw the same things as you did on most of your points.   Edmunds has made huge strides since the first half of last year.  He should be a big impact player this year.  Oliver - he’s not getting penetration and looks tentative.   Seems like it will be a developmental year for him.  And yes as bad as STs were last night, Hauschka hit the ball w authority and did appear more confident. 

 

On point 2 I disagree.  The overall offensive performance was concerning, especially O-line.  It looked a lot like last year.  With all the FA signings the only one that looks competent is Feliciano.  Teller and Bates also had poor performances.   Ford did look good though.  The Bills s/b making a lot of cuts on O-line and looking at the waiver wire from the teams w/ good Depth at O-line

Although the team brought in many new faces on the line, besides Morse, they didn't feel any of them worthy of any type of financial or time commitment. That should tell you something about their expectations with those players. A lot of good, maybe unexpected,  things needs to happen with that line for it to be effective.

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I'll do next weekend's post for you:

 

A few thoughts on the 4th preseason game

 

1. Tyree Jackson was bad.

 

2. Tyree Jackson does not belong on an NFL offense.

 

3. We need to find a practice squad QB.

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Many Thanks Virgil.  I agree with just about all you saw.  I kinda disagree on the RB's.  Gonna be a tough day in the coaches room during cuts.  But thats a good thing!

 

Edmunds Edmunds Edmunds.  Wow o wow!!! 

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