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Good Night / Bad Night - Pre-season game 2


GunnerBill
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2 hours 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. 

 

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?

Good comments but just wanted to add that Spencer Brown playing at actually a plus for him.  He will not be starting for awhile as he works his way back and recovers from the injury.    Thankfully Quessenberry is a good backup up.  

 

As for Blackshear, he looked very good but lets remember that he played the 2nd half against many players that will not make the NFL or will be 3rd team players.   I look forward to seeing him again next week to see if he can continue his impressive play.  If so, he may be hard to hide on the Bills PS.   

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Khalil Shakir and James Cook will be big factors in our offense. The only question is who do they steal snaps from.

 

I thought Joe Giles-Harris looked great and may even challenge Dodson for the third linebacker role.

 

Ja'Marcus Ingram had a rough game and likely eliminated himself from roster spot contention.

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53 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

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.  

 

 

Big slot. Can't say whether the Bills need that or not, but it's becoming a thing in the NFL lately.

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17 minutes ago, Allen2Diggs said:

Khalil Shakir and James Cook will be big factors in our offense. The only question is who do they steal snaps from.

 

 

There was one play that Shakir was left slot and made a quick 8 yard, turn and present, QB put the ball on him and he turned and got everything he could and it all happened so quick and smooth you'd swear it was 2019, peak-of-his-powers Beasley wearing that #10. It was everything you want from that pattern from the slot. He'll get some run there. But he's also been beating the hell out of coverage on the boundary too.

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37 minutes ago, Ralonzo said:

 

There was one play that Shakir was left slot and made a quick 8 yard, turn and present, QB put the ball on him and he turned and got everything he could and it all happened so quick and smooth you'd swear it was 2019, peak-of-his-powers Beasley wearing that #10. It was everything you want from that pattern from the slot. He'll get some run there. But he's also been beating the hell out of coverage on the boundary too.

I think Shakir is an excellent technician who is smart enough to pick up the system quickly.   He gets good releases, runs crisp patterns, presents himself to the QB well, has solid hands, he can run after the catch.  He has all the pieces.  When the Bills threaten with Diggs and Davis outside, he's a great weapon in the slot.  When they want McKenzie in the slot, he can be the fourth when the Bills empty the backfield.  He has to see time on the field.  

 

It's amazing that the Bills lost Beasley and added Shakir and Cook in the passing game.  

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1 hour ago, Allen2Diggs said:

Khalil Shakir and James Cook will be big factors in our offense. The only question is who do they steal snaps from.

 

I thought Joe Giles-Harris looked great and may even challenge Dodson for the third linebacker role.

 

Ja'Marcus Ingram had a rough game and likely eliminated himself from roster spot contention.

Agree on Giles-Harris. 

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1 hour ago, Allen2Diggs said:

Khalil Shakir and James Cook will be big factors in our offense. The only question is who do they steal snaps from.

 

I thought Joe Giles-Harris looked great and may even challenge Dodson for the third linebacker role.

 

Ja'Marcus Ingram had a rough game and likely eliminated himself from roster spot contention.

Giles-Harris has looked good last week as well.

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1 hour ago, Bob in STL said:

Good comments but just wanted to add that Spencer Brown playing at actually a plus for him.  He will not be starting for awhile as he works his way back and recovers from the injury.    Thankfully Quessenberry is a good backup up. 

 

From The Athletic (Buscaglia) on Spencer Brown:

 

"Between off days, non-padded sessions and preseason games, Brown had only six practices since getting cleared for 11-on-11. On the other hand, Quessenberry hasn’t missed a practice this summer. If anything, they likely view the Broncos game as an important step in Brown’s return. The second-year right tackle played 14 snaps in the second quarter, half of one drive and all of the other, before rookie Luke Tenuta took his place with the rest of the second-team offensive line. As long as Brown continues on this trajectory, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he ascends to the starting five."

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4 hours 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

Chelsea scum here. Good lord your boys waxed us. That was painful. Tip of the hat to you. Premium win. (And I was glad to see Aaronson looking feisty anyway. Took a bit of the sting out.)

Edited by Last Guy on the Bench
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7 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

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.

 

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

 

2 hours ago, Sierra Foothills said:

 

From The Athletic (Buscaglia) on Spencer Brown:

 

"Between off days, non-padded sessions and preseason games, Brown had only six practices since getting cleared for 11-on-11. On the other hand, Quessenberry hasn’t missed a practice this summer. If anything, they likely view the Broncos game as an important step in Brown’s return. The second-year right tackle played 14 snaps in the second quarter, half of one drive and all of the other, before rookie Luke Tenuta took his place with the rest of the second-team offensive line. As long as Brown continues on this trajectory, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he ascends to the starting five."

 

“In fairness to Spencer, he hasn't been able to be out there as much as he'd like or we would have liked to this point,” McDermott said. “He's coming off of an injury, so trying to bring him back the right way and building his endurance and getting him more and more comfortable as the days and weeks move forward here.”

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5 hours 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 first praised Ford and then threw some dirt.  The thing is, Ford would probably agree with it all.  I think the "I don’t know what that means, coming from me" was him being contrite and admitting that he needed to grow up.

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6 hours ago, Last Guy on the Bench said:

Chelsea scum here. Good lord your boys waxed us. That was painful. Tip of the hat to you. Premium win. (And I was glad to see Aaronson looking feisty anyway. Took a bit of the sting out.)

You know I mean "scum" in an affectionate (?) way - there is only one real Scum (and how nice it is to see them down in the depths of the league table!)

 

TBH, I would have been very happy with grabbing a point yesterday but we were on fire. That may well have been our best performance since we were promoted back to the big boys' table. And yes, Aaronson definitely looks like the real deal.

Edited by Gunvald's Husse
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45 minutes ago, Gunvald's Husse said:

You know I mean "scum" in an affectionate (?) way - there is only one real Scum (and how nice it is to see them down in the depths of the league table!)

 

TBH, I would have been very happy with grabbing a point yesterday but we were on fire. That may well have been our best performance since we were promoted back to the big boys' table. And yes, Aaronson definitely looks like the real deal.

 

Yea in fairness I was worried for Leeds going into the season. I thought they were really fortunate staying up last year and then sold their best two players in Phillips and Raphina. But I confess I watch very little of the other European leagues these days and so I am never aware of the relative quality of what teams like Leeds who use those markets cleverly have bought in. They were excellent yesterday and I am already willing to declare there will be plenty of sides worse than them. 

 

That said, I have been on the "Chelsea face a real challenge to finish top 4" bandwagon for a few weeks now. I really don't understand their transfer strategy at all. When it is astonishingly obvious to all and sundry that they have huge gaping holes at centre half and centre forward their two big summer outlays are on a wing back and a winger. I know they signed Koulibaly as and he is a good player but not used to playing in back 3 at Napoli and if he is going to play there he should really be playing in the middle of the 3 (but Thiago Silva HAS to play there being 104 years old). As you saw yesterday when a team like Leeds can drag Koulibaly into the wide channels he is really uncomfortable. 

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12 hours 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 don’t think Dawkins implied this at all.  It was a very political answer so as not to throw BJ under the bus.  Hiring Kromer was one of the best moves McD has made.

 

My assumption is that Johnson is a coach who instructs in one way only and is unable (or unwilling) to adapt to different players’ needs.  His style apparently didn’t bother Dion.  Not everyone learns or absorbs information the same way, and the best coaches/teachers understand that different methods are necessary for different players.

 

Whatever the reasons, having Ford “get it” and possibly become a key depth piece is a good thing.

 

 

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11 hours ago, hemma said:

Gunner - did you happen to notice/hear anything about Oliver?

Not sure if he played?

 

He played some snaps in the first defensive series. Was pulled after that. 

7 hours ago, Sierra Foothills said:

 

 

“In fairness to Spencer, he hasn't been able to be out there as much as he'd like or we would have liked to this point,” McDermott said. “He's coming off of an injury, so trying to bring him back the right way and building his endurance and getting him more and more comfortable as the days and weeks move forward here.”

 

They are definitely taking the slow road with Brown and that in itself is no bad thing. The risk for Brown is that he has a seasoned vet building chemistry with the rest of the starters and doing a good job in the meantime. Maybe the Bills are just going to say "as soon as we think Brown is ready he gets his job back" but if that is week 3 or week 4 and Quess has played really well in the interim you better believe a team in win now mode will have him on a short leash. 

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54 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

He played some snaps in the first defensive series. Was pulled after that. 

 

They are definitely taking the slow road with Brown and that in itself is no bad thing. The risk for Brown is that he has a seasoned vet building chemistry with the rest of the starters and doing a good job in the meantime. Maybe the Bills are just going to say "as soon as we think Brown is ready he gets his job back" but if that is week 3 or week 4 and Quess has played really well in the interim you better believe a team in win now mode will have him on a short leash. 


These Bills have IMO shown that they give at least a tiebreaker to players like Brown over players like Quessenberry. As long as Brown’s improving from the added game experience, it represents an investment in the future of the team. 

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3 minutes ago, Cash said:


These Bills have IMO shown that they give at least a tiebreaker to players like Brown over players like Quessenberry. As long as Brown’s improving from the added game experience, it represents an investment in the future of the team. 

 

Sure, if it comes to a tie. My point is if Quess has to start the year and plays well then they pull him for Brown once he is full go and Brown struggles a team in "win now" mode has to consider going back to the vet. 

 

There is a lot riding on this season for the Bills and while I don't expect them to suddenly neglect the future as a result I do think it will lead to a tweak in approach.

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13 hours ago, Ralonzo said:

 

Big slot. Can't say whether the Bills need that or not, but it's becoming a thing in the NFL lately.

Oddly, given their body types, Hodgins is better suited to Shakir’s slot role and Shakir is better than Hodgins outside.  
 

I keep thinking with Hodgins that a guy with that height and that relative lack of speed should be more physical. I feel like something’s missing.   It may be the slot is the place for him.  You made a great point. 

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