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All-22 Grades for Bills/Dolphins (The Athletic)


HappyDays
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1. The listless running game is so much more than the RBs’ fault

 

When you analyze the full scope of the ground game against the Dolphins, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and James Cook really didn’t stand a chance.

 

The key focus is on yards before contact. The Bills had one breakout play when Moss busted off a 43-yard run where he was untouched until driven out of bounds. It’s a great run, but it’s like hosting a party and keeping everyone confined to one spotless room when the rest of the house is in complete shambles. On the other 13 carries combined, the three Bills running backs had a total of one yard before contact. That’s an average runway of 0.08 yards before contact per rush. The backs were set up to fail.

 

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2. The Bills’ OL problems run deep

 

Except for left tackle Dion Dawkins, the rest of the offensive line had one of the worst collective performances we’ve seen in quite some time. It didn’t matter if it was in pass blocking or run blocking, from left guard to right tackle, the entire group up front were liabilities against the Dolphins’ defense. The performance was reminiscent of some games we saw from the Bills’ offensive line in 2018, Josh Allen’s rookie year, featuring the likes of Russell Bodine, Ryan Groy, John Miller, Vladimir Ducasse and Jordan Mills. The 2022 line is more talented than that 2018 bunch, but the performances have not backed it up.

 

Saffold has been the biggest disappointment thus far after being one of the offseason signings they hoped would finally help stabilize the guard position. He deserves a lot of credit for playing the entire game in the heat, and he looked out of gas on film at the end of the game. But even before that, Saffold struggled significantly with maintaining his blocks, leading to multiple Miami opportunities to attack Allen when he dropped back to pass.

 

Bates has also struggled in two of his first three games and now is in concussion protocol. He hasn’t looked as natural at right guard as he did in the handful of starts at left guard last year.

 

Before leaving the game, right tackle Spencer Brown was a liability as a pass blocker. The Bills consistently needed Allen to duck and maneuver because of the misses Brown had as a pass blocker, and it varied from outside rushes to power moves. Brown did not look comfortable at any point and, before leaving the game, had a pressure allowed rate of 14.3 percent, according to TruMedia and Pro Football Focus. For perspective, of offensive linemen with at least 20 pass-blocking snaps in Week 3, Brown’s pressure rate was better than only three other players. Brown has been solid in his first two games, so the Bills will hope it was just a bad outing.

 

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3. DaQuan Jones continues to shine in a supersized role

 

He played on 75 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, which is an extremely high marker for what the Bills usually like to do with their defensive tackles.

 

On field, Jones helped set the table for his teammates numerous times, including on a pair of big late-down run stops by linebacker Matt Milano. The Dolphins really couldn’t get much going on the ground and gained only 11 yards on the 10 attempts with Jones on the field.

 

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4. Some safety inexperience was noticeable

 

For the most part, the Bills did a pretty good job playing their keys and not allowing all of the absences in their secondary to impact them in a significant way. For example, cornerback Kaiir Elam had a really nice second half after some early game struggles, while safeties Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin showed their physicality in tackling with a bigger role. Everyone remembers the third-and-22 mishap where it seemed both safeties played a role in being split down the middle by receiver Jaylen Waddle. Still, outside of that, Johnson was caught hesitating just a quarter-of-a-second too much on some plays. There weren’t a ton of these examples in the game, but they’re reps Johnson will want to have back. He was likely thinking about the Miami team speed and its challenge, making it a bit more difficult to be as decisive as he had been in past games.

 

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5. Boogie Basham is playing his way into more snaps

 

When second-year edge rusher Boogie Basham has gotten his opportunities, he has taken full advantage of them. Basham has been excellent as a pass rusher. He won several one-on-one opportunities for instant pressure against the Miami right tackle late in the game, while being the most versatile defensive end of their top four. He also puts in some great pass-rushing reps when he slides inside to defensive tackle. His best play against the Dolphins was when he lined up next to Rousseau, crashed into both the left guard and left tackle and freed up Rousseau to loop around and pick up a sack. Basham has outplayed Shaq Lawson to the point where the Bills need to consider making Lawson a game-day inactive again and get Basham on the field a bit more.

 

Top 5 grades:

1) DaQuan Jones (A-)

2) Matt Milano (B+)

3) Von Miller (B+)

4) Greg Rousseau (B+)

5) Taron Johnson (B+)

 

Bottom 5 grades:

1) Rodger Saffold (D-)

2) Greg Van Roten (D+)

3) David Quessenberry (D+)

4) Spencer Brown (D+)

5) Ryan Bates (D+)

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The O-Line was brutal. They desperately need Morse back. Spencer Brown has not elevated his play so far this year, in fact he may be regressing.

 

Best line in the article: "The Bills had one breakout play when Moss busted off a 43-yard run where he was untouched until driven out of bounds. It’s a great run, but it’s like hosting a party and keeping everyone confined to one spotless room when the rest of the house is in complete shambles."

Edited by QCity
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I am starting to wonder after watching Cover 1 and that John Fina podcast if some of the run issues is that Allen is not checking out of runs where there are clear numbers advantages for the defense at the point of attack.

 

Doesn't it seem odd why teams consistently have players in the backfield on handoffs? From what it looks like, many times the Bills are running plays into outnumbered blocker situations where the defense have 4 guys to that side and only 3 blockers or 5 guys and only 4 blockers...it's no wonder they can't block them all...

 

Why do they keep doing it is the question? Why isn't Allen checking out of those obvious bad plays? He does a TON of checks and alerts and things at the line so I assume he is doing it sometimes, but the ones that happen seem to almost always be bad play calls that should have been checked out of or at least ran to the other side where we have at least even blockers if not an advantage...perhaps that is the one thing Allen isn't all world at yet??

 

Something to keep an eye on moving forward...I guess I could go back several games and see how often this is happening but I don't have time to...

 

One thing I will say is I went back and watched one of the Dolphins games from 2016(the one where the Bills ran 90 plays and also lost) and it was amazing to see the holes being blown open for the backs to run through...literally it looked like the DLine was on skates moving backwards...could really use some of that now.

 

Edited by Big Turk
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2 minutes ago, Big Turk said:

I am starting to wonder after watching Cover 1 and that John Fina podcast if some of the run issues is that Allen is not checking out of runs where there are clear numbers advantages for the defense at the point of attack.

 

Doesn't it seem odd why teams consistently have players in the backfield on handoffs? From what it looks like, many times the Bills are running plays into outnumbered blocker situations where the defense have 4 guys to that side and only 3 blockers or 5 guys and only 4 blockers...it's no wonder they can't block them all...

 

Why do they keep doing it is the question? Why isn't Allen checking out of those obvious bad plays? He does a TON of checks and alerts and things at the line so I assume he is doing it sometimes, but the ones that happen seem to almost always be bad play calls that should have been checked out of or at least ran to the other side where we have at least even blockers if not an advantage...

 

Something to keep an eye on moving forward...I guess I could go back several games and see how often this is happening but I don't have time to

 

 

To possibly answer your question of why they do it - Good running backs and proper positioning can make defenses pay when they overload a side.

 

One cutback and they’re gone.

 

Example;

 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, HappyDays said:

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 grades:

1) DaQuan Jones (A-)

2) Matt Milano (B+)

3) Von Miller (B+)

4) Greg Rousseau (B+)

5) Taron Johnson (B+)

 

Bottom 5 grades:

1) Rodger Saffold (D-)

2) Greg Van Roten (D+)

3) David Quessenberry (D+)

4) Spencer Brown (D+)

5) Ryan Bates (D+)

Shocker…the 5 worst grades were oline. 

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13 minutes ago, QCity said:

The O-Line was brutal. They desperately need Morse back. Spencer Brown has not elevated his play so far this year, in fact he may be regressing.

 

Same time as is the heat. Just wondering question's if it is before whole unit playing or after when o-line lost lots of players with the heat or injuries.  Question needs answering before I can reserve judgement.

 

Hoping everyone progressing. This week might be a better answer.

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1 minute ago, gobills404 said:

In the full clip it looks more like Dawkins just got smoked

 

 

Yeah I've never seen 2 players whiff on the same block before, that's a brutal rep. It seemed like there were a lot of plays where not everyone was quite ready for the snap. Play calls seemed to come in slowly and I think Allen having to set the protections with Morse out threw off a lot of our usual pre-snap timing. The coaches need to do a better job preparing the players when they know a key starter is out. Morse being injured shouldn't lead to this much chaos, especially when they had plenty of practice time to get the offense ready for life without him.

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Just now, HappyDays said:

 

Yeah I've never seen 2 players whiff on the same block before, that's a brutal rep. It seemed like there were a lot of plays where not everyone was quite ready for the snap. Play calls seemed to come in slowly and I think Allen having to set the protections with Morse out threw off a lot of our usual pre-snap timing. The coaches need to do a better job preparing the players when they know a key starter is out. Morse being injured shouldn't lead to this much chaos, especially when they had plenty of practice time to get the offense ready for life without him.

 

Ya that's what i'm thinking. Morse is such a key piece on o-line. He like the QB on o-line making sure everyone is right.  Allen helps but Morse is good like said leader of the o-line. Dawkins should learn from him but that's a center.  Bill's need someone to learn from under him (morse)

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I was at the Titans game and I noticed that Spencer Brown kept reaching for his back and appeared to be in pain during the second half (Quessenberry later came in to replace him). He had back surgery during the offseason, so that's a very worrying sign. He doesn't look like the player we saw last season and may not be fully recovered.

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Offensive line struggles? Who could’ve predicted that when they signed an aging Saffold and statistically one of the worst pass blocking tackles in the league in 2021? 😅

 

As I suggested all off-season, if this team doesn’t win the SB it will be due to lack of playmakers or shotty offensive line play…. Still plenty of time to improve at least.👍🏻

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24 minutes ago, QCity said:

The O-Line was brutal. They desperately need Morse back. Spencer Brown has not elevated his play so far this year, in fact he may be regressing.

 

Best line in the article: "The Bills had one breakout play when Moss busted off a 43-yard run where he was untouched until driven out of bounds. It’s a great run, but it’s like hosting a party and keeping everyone confined to one spotless room when the rest of the house is in complete shambles."

 

 Ostrowski(sp?) Said he believes Brown is still bothered by his back and that he doesn't look right

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14 minutes ago, ScottLaw said:

Offensive line struggles? Who could’ve predicted that when they signed an aging Saffold and statistically one of the worst pass blocking tackles in the league in 2021? 😅

 

As I suggested all off-season, if this team doesn’t win the SB it will be due to lack of playmakers or shotty offensive line play…. Still plenty of time to improve at least.👍🏻

A lot of us could see it coming. The neglect at oline could be our undoing this season. Signing an aging vet to a one year deal and an overachiever to a 4 year deal isn’t gonna get it done. 

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12 minutes ago, whorlnut said:

Time to spend high picks on the oline. 

The time to spend quality resources on the offensive line has been so since the AFC championship game against KC two years ago… they haven’t done nearly enough… Allen’s already taking a bit of a beating this year to this point. 

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