The excitement over the Bills being in action at home, in a newly renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium, didn’t even last until half time. That isn’t one of my 10 quick observations from the Bills preseason loss to the Bucs, but it easily could have been. For the fourth-consecutive week of preseason action, the Bills starting offense struggled along with EJ Manuel. By this point in the preseason most teams are hammering out a few final details and looking to see who gets final roster spots. Unfortunately, the Bills don’t look like they’ve improved at all.
Fortunately, there is something a lot of fans, who share the sentiment I opened up with, are overlooking… We’ve yet to see Buffalo’s entire playbook. In fact, I don’t think we’ve even seen a 1/4 of what they hope to do. Now I could be completely wrong about this, but to me it has seemed like the Bills are only running about 4 or 5 different plays a game and almost none of them have involved vertical passing routes or deep seam throws. This will change and the offense will look completely different come the regular season, I’m just putting this out here now. Here are my observations from the game:
1. The team needs to learn how to run on their home field turf because too many guys slipped and fell the entire game.
2. Takeaways continue to be the lifeblood of this team.
3. Pressure from the defensive line, which might be the best in football, is the most important aspect of the defense.
4. Penalties, on the line and in the secondary, were happening far too often.
5. Coverage on Jackson and Evans was better than I expected at first – there were some breakdowns, but our corners weren’t abused.
6. The run defense did a good job, especially against a talented back and power run scheme.
7. The Bucs are as close to playing the Bears as it gets – with more shots down field we’ll have a better chance. The box score supports that we weren’t as bad as the score suggests.
8. Secondary run support is vastly improved over last season.
9. Vertical seams will be there once we open up the playbook – see 3rd quarter TD drive.
10. At least the Bills scored some points in the red zone this game.
Again for all the naysayers out there, and there will be lots after the performance of the team Saturday I’m sure, I remind you to take the bad with the good and that this is only the preseason. Although I’m with you on some points and I too wish the Bills had more of the questions I had going into this year answered by now… preseason games won’t mean anything on Sept. 7 when they face the Bears.
Last Week’s Most Accurate Observation: “The defense may be even better than last year at creating turnovers and overall because of improved run defense specifically.” – 10 Quick Observations from the Bills Preseason Loss to the Steelers
Reason: The Bills got an INT and were a lucky bounce away from a fumble recovery. Plus they held the Buccaneers to 231 yards of total offense – under 100 of which came from rushing. If this type of performance carries overs to the regular season, they cut down on costly penalties and the offense at least wins the field position battle, the Bills will have opportunities to win a lot of games.