Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)
Well the first pre-season game has come and gone, and does it perhaps tell you something when this BIG Bills Fan actually fell asleep at the end of a 3-point contest? Well, no, it probably doesn’t. It’s just been a long week. But honestly last night I did think of and use the word “boring” a couple times, as did a reluctant Steve Tasker who was calling the game.
Bills fans may have had expectations set a bit too high for this young offense, in the first game of the pre-season, against a team who had already gotten a pre-season game under their belt, but I did not expect boring.
We all know the outcome of the game is meaningless, and that coaches certainly do not come out with their best players nor their best playbooks, but might we have gone a bit too far when the first word that came to mind for this avid Bills supporter is “BORING”?
I believe I have made my point. But, let’s look at some of the good things that happened before we rehash all that was “boring” (and worse) last night.
Hooooey! This guy is going to be exciting to watch! He looked a little silly on a couple defensive plays (overcommitting, out of position, etc) but on the return game, he looked right in his element. He brought one punt return back nearly all the way, except for a hustling big guy tripping him up. We already have McGee and Parrish… McKelvin is going to make our return game just that much more dangerous. (And potentially productive on the score board!) Now Roscoe is just going to change his name to McParrish…
Speaking of Roscoe… did anybody notice that he was way more noticeable as a receiver than a return guy last night? He was making many catches, and big catches, and looking like much more than a “4th” wide receiver! That is definitely one position where the Bills are not lacking. Good on ya, McParrish!
And, speaking of the receiver corps… for the rookie, it was the best of times… it was the worst of times. Hardy went from miscommunications with Edwards (on a 3rd down play near the goal line), to a bad drop on a pass from Losman, to catching a TD on the fade route – which everyone anticipates he will continue to do in the regular season – to bring the Bills within two points of tying the game. He looked great on that play, and coach Jauron had very good things to say about Hardy and his ability and his work ethic in a half-time interview… I can’t wait to see what he can do for this team in the regular season, rookie mistakes and all.
Paul Posluszny was back, and overall (though he didn’t play much) looked like the tackling machine that he was through week three last season. He was in on most plays, and often made the tackle (ended with 3 solo tackles, including one for a loss). Poz was bowled over by Redskins RB Clinton Portis on a 4th and Goal play, but he got his hat in there on the guy… just couldn’t stop the momentum that time. Nice to see Poz back at it!
Really, I can’t believe I am writing that. Youboty has been mostly inconspicuous over his first two seasons here with the Bills, though much more was expected of him. Last night (although only pre-season) he showed that “much more”. He was in on many plays, including an interception, which he lateraled to his DB buddy, Reggie Corner, who took it a bit farther up the field. Youboty got plenty of playing time, and was making (noticeable) plays all over the field. That gets another “Good on ya!” from BBR-Greg!
In pre-season, almost inevitably the back-up and often the third string guys can look much better than the starters. Most people credit that to the level of their competition (they are facing third stringers from the other team) but there is something to it. Edwards definitely looked better than Losman overall in the pre-season last year, and it carried over to the regular season. Well, the opposite was true last night as JP played the second quarter and a bit into the third (I believe…) and he had brought the Bills back to tie the game on the nice TD pass to James Hardy, as well as the two-point conversion pass to Justin Jenkins. Don’t read too much into it, though. Perhaps the most telling play was when JP stood in the pocket and took a sack… showing a bit of the indecision we have come to know from Losman.
In Losman’s defense, that two-point conversion was beautifully designed for him with a bit of a roll out to it. JP is wishing he had Schonert and Hardy a year or two ago…
And Now, The Bad
Really, the starting offense looked the worst, but it was everyone. They were very sloppy, making many mental errors (false starts, bad formations, etc.) They did not look like they knew what they were doing at times, with all of the pre-snap motion seeming to confuse the offense as much as the defense. Obviously Trent Edwards going 1-5 for 18 yards is pretty … abysmal. It was a very nice completion, but you gotta get more than that from your starting QB, and your starting offense. This will HAVE to be improved by Thursday, when the Bills play Pittsburgh in Toronto. I would expect to see the starters out there for much longer than you did in this first game.
The Defensive Play Calling
The Redskins rookie coach and his staff seemed to have our number. They ran a draw play (or some version of it) that helped rack up 155 yards on the ground. The Bills really could not stop it. Their over-aggressive play calls wound up having several Bills trapped back up field while that left plenty of blockers to pick off our LBs and DBs, leaving a clear path for the RB to gain 10 yards or so. Not a good plan, and moreover, not good adjusting to the plan. Must improve this.
Can someone tell me where Jason Peters is? Has anyone talked to him? Does he know he is not only hurting his own stock with the Bills, but he is hurting his chances of playing with a decent team… so long as he joins them. The O-line was hurting without Peters in there. Guys playing positions they don’t usually play, and not playing them that well. Peters needs to report to camp or I think the Bills should just sit on his contract. Keep him out of the league for three years. This is not the best way to negotiate, Mr. Peters.
OK, so this is minor.. but, with time running down, No Foot had a chance to tie the game and he missed… badly. What’s up with that? All kickers have to do in the pre-season is kick. And sit there. I guess he has done too much of the latter. Get out there and loosen up that leg, Lindell! You rock… but… that’s your one miss for the year. 😉
A very unimpressive debut for the Bills. Thankfully they can put that one to bed very quickly as they play in a few short days up in Toronto, Canada. The first of the eight games to be played there over the next five years. Will be watching to see if the offense has tightened things up, and if the defense can adjust to whatever game plan the Steelers bring to town.
Loving that Bills football is back!