Things for Sunday: Part II.
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The Old Bills.
4. I mean… No.- The Bills have completely shifted their
team from the Sexy-Rexy era. They dismantled their secondary this past off
season. They lost both starting CBs Gilmore and Ryan Darby. They also
ditched Marcel Darius. Then this past preseason they switch to a base 4-3
from the Ryan 3-4. Which is a complete change of the defense.
This is not the same team that was run by Patriots Killer Sexy-Rexy,
who seemed to split the Wins with the Pats every season he was in the AFC
East (and was the only guy who could get in BB's head a little;). "I
think it's interesting. I think you look at each of the individual players
and based on what they did before you kind of know that player and his
skills are. Now you're seeing him in a different system, and so some of
those skills that maybe in another system weren't highlighted as much are
now featured more in Coach McDermott's system," BB said. "You
just see them playing differently. You see the safeties playing more
Cover-2. You see the corners in zone coverage, things like that. Poyer was
really more of a free safety at Cleveland. He's played really more strong
safety here for Buffalo. Hyde was all over the place. He played corner. He
played some nickel back. He played a little bit of safety, returned punts.
Now he's pretty much a free safety exclusively. You don't see him in those
"When you go back to Green Bay there is not a lot of him at
free safety, but there's more him at other positions, when we played them
in '14. Gaines played against us last year. He got hurt right before the
half and didn't play in the 2nd half, but we saw him with the Rams. And
Leonard, we know. We know what a tough, competitive guy he is. You sort of
know them from other systems.
"But when you see them in this system you see how they're being
coached to play, how they're playing the system that they're being coached
now. Sometimes that's a little different emphasis than what there was
somewhere else. It's interesting the way they've put that together and
those guys seem to play with a lot of confidence with each other, a lot
of, as I said, good coordinated disguises and coverages. Not just one or
two guys, but the whole group really. You can put Preston Brown in there,
too. He's in coverage almost on every play, and Ramon. Those guys are
pretty much on the field for all of the plays. Alexander in regular, but
then he plays some defensive end in sub, but they coordinate all of those
things pretty well and disguise their blitz looks and then back out of it,
or don't show it and then walk into it late, stuff like that." This
is a completely different defense from last season, and the few years
before, when they really challenged the Pats.
Then they made big changes at wide receiver. They ditched their two
starting WRs, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, who both had good chemistry
with Taylor. They picked up Jordan Mathews, who seems to have no chemistry
with Taylor, and Calvin Benjamin who promptly got inured. Then two weeks
ago blamed all the offensive woes on Taylor, and made the bizarre decision
to benched him for a rookie QB who looked as lost a football in tall
They have to contain Taylor, and let the game wear on him.
"You've just got to be ready to cover a little longer. We can say all
we want, 'Keep him in the pocket, keep him in the pocket,' but, I mean,
he's talented," McCourty said. "It's going to be hard for our
guys up front for every play to make sure he never leaves the pocket. It's
just too tough. So, there's going to be times where a play is going to
extend, and we've got to be ready to get on our coverage on an extended
play, we call it plaster our coverage, and get to guys and get on them.
"We've talked about that, not quitting on your coverage, not
relaxing, staying on them. Because they know that he can extend the play
and you see their receivers either turn up field or, if they're deep, come
back and try to get open and give him a lane to throw it to them. So,
we've talked about that of making sure we stay on our coverage, but it's
tough. It's not easy. You know, we're going to come in here and say, 'Keep
him in the pocket. Plaster our coverage.' But, it is very tough to do that
play-in and play-out." So the question is? Is Taylor still confident,
or is he as lost in the tall grass as Eli.
This has been the Pats key to victory all season. They let the other
teams beat themselves. Then the Pats just play smart efficient football
and coast into victory. The Bills management has spiraled this team from
contender to pretender in less than a month. The decisions they made this
whole season have seemed to cause more problems than they solved.
This is a case where you expect the coaches to make a dumb decision,
or more likely not have them properly prepared for what the Pats are going
to do. The Pats players will be over-prepared for the Bills, and the Bills
players will be under-prepared for the Pats. That is going to be the
primary key to victory, again.
5. Pats D Vs Bills' O- This is going to be a huge advantage for
the over-prepared Patriots defense. "Definitely with Rick Dennison,
we've got a lot of history with him. [He's a] great coach, great
coordinator. [We've had] a lot of battles through the course of a couple
different organizations," Patricia said. "He does a great job
with that system. It's kind of a West Coast-based system that he utilizes.
But Juan Castillo, who's the O-line coach also, you can see influences in
the run game. They of course worked together before too. It's kind of a
combination." The Bills O-line has also struggled this season.
Incognito is not a good player any more, and Mills is not the best
ORT to ever hold down the fort (though he has kept 2nd Round pick Dion
Dawkins on the bench). "There's a good amount of what you would
consider some of the Kubiak-Shanahan offense from the Broncos that carried
over into Houston and Baltimore," Patricia said. "And then
there's some scheme runs in there. Some different looks where they're
trying to get the ball downhill or to the edge. Obviously the run game is
really difficult to defend against these guys: LeSean McCoy, [Mike]
Tolbert, [Travaris] Cadet." They are trying to run those zone
blocking schemes that Shanahan and Kubiak used to really hurt the Pats in
The Pats D cannot let them get the run game started, because if
Taylor can run play action that makes every thing work in their offense.
"I mean guys that can just really run the ball, can hurt you
immediately if they can get outside quickly or break through the line of
scrimmage and have that burst into the open space," Patricia said.
"So you've got to really do a great job of making sure you have all
of your gaps handled inside and you’re forcing all of that up front
handled appropriately. I think they do a good job of understanding the
talent they have in the run game and then part of the Dennison offense is
to utilize that run game to set up then the play action pass game, move
the pocket plays, the boots, things like that where they can push the ball
downfield." When Taylor has been able to do boots, and run around, is
when he has beaten the Pats.
When he can combine play actions, options, and his own ability to
move around behind the line to give his WRs more time to get open, is when
he has killed the Pats. "[They'll] try to take advantage of their
speed at the wide receiver position, take advantage of their skill set at
the tight end position and get the ball to Clay and [Zay] Jones and
Benjamin when he was out there and Matthews and [Deonte] Thompson, those
guys that can just really stretch it vertical," Patricia said.
"If you have that kind of combination with the run, the play action
and the boot game and then the drop back pass game which is going to do a
complement of spreading you both horizontally to get the ball out quick,
get it into space, allow their skill players to get as much yardage as
they can and then also block it up and throw the ball deep." Shame
McDermott blew up Taylor two weeks ago.
But the Patriots still have to watch out for Patriot killer Tyrod
Taylor. "A big challenge, a huge challenge. This guy is really a good
football player, very competitive, smart, tough. He's got a good feel for
the pocket. He's, obviously, very athletic, hard to tackle, hard to
contain. He's fast, he's quick, he's got good balance," BB said.
"He's a good football player and, like I said, a very competitive
guy, so in critical situations he makes a lot of the right decisions and
does a lot of the right things." But he took a huge hit to his
He played a good game last week, but he is not the player he was
confidence wise last season, when he led the Bills to victory over the
Pats in Foxboro. "He can extend plays. He's got a good arm. He's got
good vision down the field, accuracy," BB said. "You've got to
defend him on every play and in the running game that always takes one
less guy away from the running game when you have a player like him who
you have to concern yourselves that he'll keep the ball or bootleg it or
that type of play. Schematically, it takes away a player that you would
normally have to defend the running game. It's just one less guy, so his
presence, not only when he has the ball, but even when he doesn't have the
ball, it affects you. He's a hard guy to handle, a very good football
player." He will run some option plays, and keep the ball and run
Taylor and Shady are really the two keys to stopping the Bills-O.
"Huge challenge obviously. They've done a great job finding different
ways to get him the ball, not only in the run game but in the pass
game," Patricia said about Shady. "He is a guy that they have a
lot of confidence in out of the backfield and whether it's maybe just a
simple play that's a screen or a play that's a check down or a play where
they get the ball out in the flat to him quickly and now he in space.
Those become right into his strong suit of being out in the open space,
being able to make guys miss, being able to get explosive burst plays
vertical into the defense quickly." Shady has had his best games
against the Patriots since he joined the Bills.
They have to stop him in the passing game as well as the run game.
"We have to be highly aware of those situations. This guy is a very
dangerous player that at any point in time can take basically nothing and
turn it into something huge," Patricia said. "So that's a big
challenge, and that's in both the run and the passing game. You'll see him
run both outside but also inside. He has great patience with the ball in
his hands. He waits for those holes to open up or a defender maybe to just
get out of his space just enough where then he can burst through there and
turn a, like I said, little play into a big play. So it's a major
problem." But those are the only two guys who really are scary on
Benjamin can be deadly when he is healthy, and his hands are
working. Charles Clay is a great receiving TE, but he is mostly in the
short passing game. I loved Zay Jones in the Draft, but he has not found
his NFL grove yet. And Jordan Mathews has looked worse every season he has
played in the NFL. Those guys are mainly compliments to Tyrod and Shady.
Stop those two and they glide to another easy victory.
6. O-line- The Bills finally completed the switch over to a Carolina
Panther schemed 4-3 Defense. "There's definitely some similarities
when we faced Sean [McDermott] in Carolina. and then obviously playing
against Carolina this year. Sean's a tremendous coach," McDaniel
said. "Leslie [Frazier DC], we've competed against Leslie also. This
whole staff does a great job. They're very detailed, a disciplined group,
they don't give up many big plays, force you to be disciplined and drive
the ball a long way. You've got to have patience against them. They're not
going to give it up in one play, and they turn the ball over as well as
any team almost in the league." This is not the do or die Ryan
I think they are more similar to the Pats bend but don't break
defense, that makes offenses make the big mistake, than the Panthers-D.
"I think they're the fifth- or sixth-ranked team in the league in
turnovers, and we've seen all of them," McDaniel said. "So,
they've made a lot of plays to take the ball away from the offense, and
they play very well in the red area. So, challenging with blitz schemes,
play different types of coverages, disguise well, everybody gets a chance
to blitz on their defense. So you have to keep your eyes open at all times
or they'll hurt you with some type of pressure." So while I question
many of the decisions of their two top guys, their defense plays smart.
Their secondary is smart like the Patriots, and win with attrition
and letting the offense make the mistakes. "And they really challenge
you to be able to execute a high volume of plays per drive in order to
move the ball down the field, convert 3rd downs and then ultimately finish
in the red zone, where they're very good," McDaniels said. "So,
big challenge. It's going to start with us taking care of the ball, which
we didn't do very well the other day, and we need to shore that up and try
to do a better job this week against a team that is very good at taking
away the ball when you make a mistake on offense." Their new look
defense is going to cause some problems for the Pats.
They have a smart defense that doesn't give up the big plays.
"It shows up in many ways: the way they play, how hard they play and
also just the scheme that they do," Gronk said. "You don’t
know what they’re going to come with on the defensive side. You don’t
know what they’re in. It can look like they’re in split-safety and
then 'boom,' post snap it can turn into post-safety just as easy as that.
You're not really sure. They’re good at disguising and to be good at
disguising you’ve definitely got to be a smart football player." So
the Pats have to be smart on offense as well.
Oh wait, we have Brady. And
he is coming off one of his worst games of the season. It's never good for
a defense to play the Pats after Brady has a bad game. Brady will dink and
dunk, play action and go deep, or hand the ball off 50 times. He doesn't
care. He will make the right decision when it matters to lead this team to
A Citizen! Not a Subject!
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I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
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