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Good Night / Bad Night - Pre-season game 2


GunnerBill
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Apologies that this is so late guys and I'm sure a lot of good discussion about the game has already taken place. After missing one pre-season game in 10 years I have missed two in a row live so had to catch up this morning. The Bills clashed with Arsenal yesterday and pre-season vs actual soccer game that mattered I passed on watching the pre-season game live. 

 

Anyway, a hard one to write because I'm not sure how much we actually learned yesterday. The Bills 1s are better than Denver's 2s and the Bills 2s are better than Denver's 3s. But anyway, here goes....

 

Good Night for...

 

The offensive line - the starting offensive line played the first Quarter and helped the Bills march down the field to score behind Allen and then get most of the way down to score behind Keenum as well before being pulled. They dominated against Denver's second string defensive line and while that might not tell us that much it was still nice to see. The run blocking was pretty good all night even when the Bills' backups went in and after last week that represents progress. Should also say there are some promising signs out of Cody Ford. So that is something, If he can even be a cheap depth guy this year that would help short term even though he is a bust in the big picture. 

 

Case Keenum - well that was more like it. Case Keenum is one of the better backup Quarterbacks in the NFL but he struggled last week against the Colts' starting defense. I get it, this was the Broncos' backups but for his confidence he needed this sort of display. The ball was coming out quick in rhythm and he was being decisive in his reads. Hopefully we don't need him to play anymore than a week 18 dead rubber, but if we do having a performance like that in the bank can only help.

 

Tyrel Dodson - one of the less high profile battles of the pre-season for the Bills has been for the 3rd linebacker job between Tyrel Dodson and Terrell Bernard. When the Bills went with some base personnel early on it was Dodson whose number was called alongside Edmunds and Milano and he had a couple of tackles to boot. I think Bernard would probably go in first for Edmunds if he got hurt but Dodson seems to have edged ahead in the battle to be that 3rd guy in base personnel and I suspect remains the primary backup to Milano as well. 

 

Shaq Lawson - if ever a player needed a performance last night it was Shaq. He was arguably the single most bubble of bubble players. Will the Bills keep 8 defensive linemen? Or 9? Or even 10, as they did last year? Personally I suspect they are between 8 and 9 and the answer to the question depends on Shaq. After an anonymous performance in pre-season game number 1 Lawson rebounded with a good run stop early on - and he definitely offers something different to some of our other defensive ends in terms of his ability as a run defender, two QB pressures, a pass breakup and a lovely disguised coverage drop that forced an incompletion too. His fate remains to be decided but he helped himself yesterday. 

 

Raheem Blackshear - he flashed somewhat last week as a receiving back and with some goalline carries but Blackshear impressed again with decisive running, and a nice initial burst. He also had a 22 yard return and the more you can do as an UDFA the better your shot. I still think the route to him making the 53 here is a challenging one, but he might have attracted attention from elsewhere and at the very worst he has cemented himself onto a practice squad. 

 

 

Bad Night for...

 

Spencer Brown - clearly Brown is still trying to work his way back from the back surgery and the Bills only had him out there for 1 series on Saturday. It wasn't necessarily bad play from him but that one series was with the twos after David Quessenberry played the entire first Quarter with the ones and played well to boot. I think the signs are pointing towards Quess starting at right tackle week 1, and while that doesn't mean Brown won't get back on the field at some stage he is now at risk, if Quess really plays well, of spending some time on the bench in his second year.

 

Isaiah Hodgins - again nothing that Hodgins himself did wrong. It is difficult to find people who had a bad night but looking at what the usage tells us the Bills clearly still have him 7th on their depth chart. The starting receivers are Diggs, Davis and McKenzie. The second team is Kumerow, Shakir and Crowder. Hodgins only got in at the end of the 2nd Quarter when they took Shakir out. He had three nice grabs on the two minute drive, I don't count him out yet, but my suspicion last week was that he still had work to do to make the team and that appears to remain the case. 

 

Quintin Morris - it was good news and bad news for Morris. First the good, the Bills are using him as a blocking tight end, there is a gap in that area on the roster and he even got some play in that role while the 1s were out there. The bad? He had a poor holding penalty that took points off the board and then OJ Howard finally showed up and made a couple of plays including a touchdown catch. I think he is right there Morris in terms of gatecrashing this roster and a clean performance as a blocker might have edged him in. It felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity. 

 

Andre Smith - last season Andre Smith really flashed and made noise in the pre-season and ensured that he made the roster as much for his potential as a depth linebacker as for his special teams ability. This time around we have the news that he faces missing the first 6 weeks for a PED suspension which narrows his path to the team in any event and then this was a sloppy performance of missed tackles and poorly played assignments. When you add to that the drafting of Bernard and the fact that Joe Giles-Harris has outplayed him in pre-season you are left with the conclusion that he might not make this roster even after his suspension. 

 

Tavon Austin - I have been consistent since Tavon Austin signed for the Bills during min-camp that his only path to the roster is as a return specialist. He had some early flashed in camp but he missed the game last week and then was firmly entrenched on the 3rd team offense yesterday. He also got zero use as a returner. I think it is all but over for him. 

 

 

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

Edited by GunnerBill
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Thanks for the effort.

 

We’ll, we’re down to 11 days and my confidence in Brown being ready/effective is close to nil.

I think having him as the swing would be a mistake and my guess is that he’s heading to 4 week IR.

 

Who do you think will dress & be our swing?

Until Brown is ready, do you see a path for Andersen to make the 53?  If not, the PS?

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Good day for Ken Dorsey. His prowess as a play caller was an underrated question mark of the offseason. I don't want to read too much into preseason play calls but he seems to have a knack for mixing up the offense and keeping the defense off balance.

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4 minutes ago, hemma said:

Thanks for the effort.

 

We’ll, we’re down to 11 days and my confidence in Brown being ready/effective is close to nil.

I think having him as the swing would be a mistake and my guess is that he’s heading to 4 week IR.

 

Who do you think will dress & be our swing?

Until Brown is ready, do you see a path for Andersen to make the 53?  If not, the PS?

 

I think they will want to keep Andersen. I think he has looked better than Tenuta to me. I don't know what they are going to do with Spencer. Presumably Tommy Doyle was hurt and that is why he didn't play last night. I know Tasker called his name at one point but he meant Tommy Sweeney. I suspect if it is not Brown, Doyle is the next man up. 

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10 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

I think they will want to keep Andersen. I think he has looked better than Tenuta to me. I don't know what they are going to do with Spencer. Presumably Tommy Doyle was hurt and that is why he didn't play last night. I know Tasker called his name at one point but he meant Tommy Sweeney. I suspect if it is not Brown, Doyle is the next man up. 

I was at the game, so this may be off (the vantage point typically is not as good as it is on TV).  But Tenuta, to me, is a marginal PS candidate at this point.  He seems to me to lack strength.  I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Andersen, and he might nip Tenuta for a PS spot.  

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39 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

Apologies that this is so late guys and I'm sure a lot of good discussion about the game has already taken place. After missing one pre-season game in 10 years I have missed two in a row live so had to catch up this morning. The Bills clashed with Arsenal yesterday and pre-season vs actual soccer game that mattered I passed on watching the pre-season game live. 

That is why Leeds > Arsenal ... I got to watch the Bills on Saturday and the Mighty Whites today (and what a game it was against the Chelsea scum) MOT

39 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

Anyway, a hard one to write because I'm not sure how much we actually learned yesterday. The Bills 1s are better than Denver's 2s and the Bills 2s are better than Denver's 3s. But anyway, here goes....

 

 

Hard to disagree with any of that. I would add that it was a good game for Taiwan Jones - in his absence the STs looked a bit vulnerable to run backs. I don't think his place on the roster was in much doubt anyway but, for me, that showed the value of a "proper" ST player.

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1 minute ago, Gunvald's Husse said:

That is why Leeds > Arsenal ... I got to watch the Bills on Saturday and the Mighty Whites today (and what a game it was against the Chelsea scum) MOT

Hard to disagree with any of that. I would add that it was a good game for Taiwan Jones - in his absence the STs looked a bit vulnerable to run backs. I don't think his place on the roster was in much doubt anyway but, for me, that showed the value of a "proper" ST player.

MOT!

 

Hell of a start to this season 

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Also agree on Hodgins.  He’s #7 right now.  I tried to think yesterday of who he reminds me of.  Maybe a more athletic David Nelson (somebody else made the same comparison in a different thread).  I want to think he sticks, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that Kumerow has a firm grasp on #6 because of his special teams value and his ability to replace Davis in the “Bob Woods/Rams” blocking role.  (We don’t do it as much as the Rams, but Davis gets his nose dirty from time to time).  I don’t know if Hodgins offers that.  

 

Curious about your thoughts on Blackshear.  The kid has juice for sure.  I think he probably sneaks through to the PS, but I wonder if moving two years of Moss for four years of Blackshear (who can play a little ST, unlike Moss) begins to tempt them.  If Blackshear gets some short yardage reps with the 2s next week then we may have an indication that they’re toying with the idea.  

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I would add that it was good night for Cody Ford. There was some hopeful speculation in the offseason (some even tongue in cheek) that Aaron Kromer could resurrect Ford, and all of a sudden, that actually seems like a possibility. He had some nice play out there, albeit against a group of Walmart greeters. Other teammates were talking him up, as well.

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8 minutes ago, Rocky Landing said:

I would add that it was good night for Cody Ford. There was some hopeful speculation in the offseason (some even tongue in cheek) that Aaron Kromer could resurrect Ford, and all of a sudden, that actually seems like a possibility. He had some nice play out there, albeit against a group of Walmart greeters. Other teammates were talking him up, as well.

 

I did mention Ford in my OL bit. A considered having him as a separate mention but he did still take a dumb penalty. Was encouraging though.

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2 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

I did mention Ford in my OL bit. A considered having him as a separate mention but he did still take a dumb penalty. Was encouraging though.

 

 

Man did Dawkins throw some dirt on Ford after the game..........basically called him out for his sh*t attitude last season...........and implied that Kromer hasn't done a lot different but that Ford couldn't blame Bobby Johnson for being over-critical anymore when he was hearing the same complaints about his game from Kromer.     The Buffalo media will probably let it slide but one OL dishing that candidly on another like that would be a big story in a big market.

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1 hour ago, GunnerBill said:

 

 

 

Isaiah Hodgins - again nothing that Hodgins himself did wrong. It is difficult to find people who had a bad night but looking at what the usage tells us the Bills clearly still have him 7th on their depth chart. The starting receivers are Diggs, Davis and McKenzie. The second team is Kumerow, Shakir and Crowder. Hodgins only got in at the end of the 2nd Quarter when they took Shakir out. He had three nice grabs on the two minute drive, I don't count him out yet, but my suspicion last week was that he still had work to do to make the team and that appears to remain the case. 

 

Q

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

I am thinking he has a decent shot to overtake Crowder for the 6th receiver.  Crowder is a slot receiver and I think we have McKenzie and Shakir for that.  

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Nice comments, Gunner.   I probably could talk about a few of them, but I had a thought, the same thought, about what you say about Ford and then Brown.   

 

As to Ford, you sort of suggest that the best he could be is a useful backup this season and then a bust.   One of the most important things is not to give up too soon on talent.  On the offensive line particularly, because there's a lot to learn there.  Ford has talent, and classic size.  If somehow the light goes on with Kromer this season, if Ford sees now how to do it, he might be a good investment going forward.  So, I'm not ready to give up on Ford.  Let's see what happens this season.  For example, maybe the running game has stalled midseason, and at the bye the Bills move Ford into right guard.  Do I think that will happen?  No.  From a raw physical point of view, would it surprise me?  No.  

 

And similarly, I don't see it as a problem at all that Brown may have lost his job, for the time being, to Quessenberry.  First, as you say, why not continue to be cautious with his back?  It's interesting, for example that the Bills are now clear about the fact that Moss just wasn't right last season.  He needed that whole season to get healthy.  If Q is playing well, and it looks like he is, then some time off for Brown to continue to get stronger, to watch and learn, and to ease into the season rather than being thrown into the national limelight in game 1 and game 2.  Let the veteran handle that.   

 

Both cases are examples of the patience teams have to have with their talent.   It's a long season, and even though they all count in the W-L columns, the big games are still months away.  

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1 hour ago, SectionC3 said:

Also agree on Hodgins.  He’s #7 right now.  I tried to think yesterday of who he reminds me of.  Maybe a more athletic David Nelson (somebody else made the same comparison in a different thread).  I want to think he sticks, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that Kumerow has a firm grasp on #6 because of his special teams value and his ability to replace Davis in the “Bob Woods/Rams” blocking role.  (We don’t do it as much as the Rams, but Davis gets his nose dirty from time to time).  I don’t know if Hodgins offers that.  

 

 

The David Nelson comparison is apt.   A little more athletic, not quite as thick.  Solid route runner, good hands.   I just see that he adds anything the Bills really need.  

 

And although every season I hope that some receiver makes it who's a better pass catcher than Kumerow, every season I bow to the logic that the guy just adds special things that no one else does.   As you say, throw him out there to block.  Do that, and he still can run the routes you need.  Let him do his special teams thing.   I think he sticks.  

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2 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

Shaq Lawson - if ever a player needed a performance last night it was Shaq. He was arguably the single most bubble of bubble players. Will the Bills keep 8 defensive linemen? Or 9? Or even 10, as they did last year? Personally I suspect they are between 8 and 9 and the answer to the question depends on Shaq. After an anonymous performance in pre-season game number 1 Lawson rebounded with a good run stop early on - and he definitely offers something different to some of our other defensive ends in terms of his ability as a run defender, two QB pressures, a pass breakup and a lovely disguised coverage drop that forced an incompletion too. His fate remains to be decided but he helped himself yesterday. 

Gunner I am pretty sure they kept 11 last year - Rousseau, Star, Oliver, Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, Obada, Basham, Phillips, Zimmer and Butler.

 

This year it will be less for sure since we have Von and overall we are more top heavy. I guess 9 is most likely and I do agree Shaq made sure yesterday that he has an upper hand on the spot.

Edited by No_Matter_What
Lol forgot to list Butler. No wonder the way he played :)
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48 minutes ago, BADOLBILZ said:

 

 

Man did Dawkins throw some dirt on Ford after the game..........basically called him out for his sh*t attitude last season...........and implied that Kromer hasn't done a lot different but that Ford couldn't blame Bobby Johnson for being over-critical anymore when he was hearing the same complaints about his game from Kromer.     The Buffalo media will probably let it slide but one OL dishing that candidly on another like that would be a big story in a big market.

Dawkins on Ford after the game:

“Cody had a hell of a day-- pancake after pancake after pancake, no pressures.”

“Cody is a fighter. Last year, he was upset he wasn’t playing. This year, he’s taking it as a reality check and is handling it the right way."

“I’m proud of him. It’s easy when things are going wrong in this league to shut it down and go into a dark place. He’s not there. He’s working.”

 

But also this:

"What we want to see is him respecting the challenge and not complaining about it. As long as he’s not pouting and keeping high spirits, as long as he puts his best work on film, he understands what needs to be done.”

“(Kromer) doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” Dawkins said. “He’ll tell him exactly what he doesn’t want to hear. He’ll say, ‘This is ***** horrible,’ or, ‘You think that you’re doing it right, but you’re not.’ Cody’s heard that before, but now it’s from a different face. So now it’s not, ‘Oh, that’s Bobby being Bobby.’ Now you have two people saying it, so now you’re the one that’s wrong and not them.”

 

But, I will also take Ford at his word, and believe that Ford's experience with Kromer is quite a bit different than it was with Johnson:

“He’s doing a phenomenal job,” Ford said of Kromer. “I don’t know what that means, coming from me. But the way we’ve been coached and the techniques that we’ve learned is why I say there’s been so much improvement.”

 

(All quotes from The Athletic)

 

Edited by Rocky Landing
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41 minutes ago, BADOLBILZ said:

 

 

Man did Dawkins throw some dirt on Ford after the game..........basically called him out for his sh*t attitude last season...........and implied that Kromer hasn't done a lot different but that Ford couldn't blame Bobby Johnson for being over-critical anymore when he was hearing the same complaints about his game from Kromer.     The Buffalo media will probably let it slide but one OL dishing that candidly on another like that would be a big story in a big market.

 

 

I guess we have different definitions of being thrown under the bus, below are some quotes from Dawkins, after seeing your post I went back and re read the article a second time.  He had more good things to say than bad.  Not sure too if Dawkins was implying maybe the entire line felt Johnson focused too much on the negative all the time.

 

“Cody had a hell of a day,” Dawkins said, “pancake after pancake after pancake, no pressures.”

 

“Cody is a fighter,” Dawkins said. “Last year, he was upset he wasn’t playing. This year, he’s taking it as a reality check and is handling it the right way.

 

“What we want to see is him respecting the challenge and not complaining about it. As long as he’s not pouting and keeping high spirits, as long as he puts his best work on film, he understands what needs to be done.”

 

“(Kromer) doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” Dawkins said. “He’ll tell him exactly what he doesn’t want to hear. He’ll say, ‘This is f** horrible,’ or, ‘You think that you’re doing it right, but you’re not.’

“Cody’s heard that before, but now it’s from a different face. So now it’s not, ‘Oh, that’s Bobby being Bobby.’ Now you have two people saying it, so now you’re the one that’s wrong and not them.”

 

“I’m proud of him,” Dawkins said. “It’s easy when things are going wrong in this league to shut it down and go into a dark place.

“He’s not there. He’s working.”

 

Also this from Ford:

 

Asked about the difference between Kromer and previous assistant Bobby Johnson, Ford responded with eight seconds of silence. The corners of his lips curled upward as he mulled his reply.

 

“He’s doing a phenomenal job,” Ford said of Kromer. “I don’t know what that means, coming from me. But the way we’ve been coached and the techniques that we’ve learned is why I say there’s been so much improvement.”

 

https://theathletic.com/3524555/2022/08/20/bills-cody-ford-training-camp/

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2 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

Isaiah Hodgins - again nothing that Hodgins himself did wrong. It is difficult to find people who had a bad night but looking at what the usage tells us the Bills clearly still have him 7th on their depth chart. The starting receivers are Diggs, Davis and McKenzie. The second team is Kumerow, Shakir and Crowder. Hodgins only got in at the end of the 2nd Quarter when they took Shakir out. He had three nice grabs on the two minute drive, I don't count him out yet, but my suspicion last week was that he still had work to do to make the team and that appears to remain the case. 

Also, I do agree that Hodgins is most likely 7th on the depth chart, but I do think we keep 7 WRs and he makes it. I think if it gets really close between him and some other player the fact that he was drafted here and this is his 3rd camp fighting for rostes spot will help him a lot. It sends some message to the team. 

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