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Greg Roman Will Have Fun With This Bills Offense

AR-150128855This week Bills fans had the opportunity to check out two media interviews with Greg Roman. He’s not quite a media darling like his boss, but his intelligent sense of humor does make his interviews quite intriguing.

If you haven’t heard these interviews with Greg Roman, check them out because they are insightful and pertain to the rest of the following ‘wyobabble’:

This is an interview with Greg Roman from last Tuesday on WGR-550 radio with Howard Simon:

http://media.wgr550.com/a/108178641/greg-roman-talks-offense-with-howard-and-jeremy.htm?q=greg+roman+interview

And, here is Greg Roman’s interview from last Thursday on the John Murphy Show:
http://www.buffalobills.com/video/audio/Greg-Roman-Were-right-where-we-need-to-be/86efc59e-7217-41aa-860d-8070040d9a3a

It’s not hard to see why Rex Ryan loves him some Greg Roman. They not only come from the same coaching tree in Baltimore in the early 2000s, their schemes are literally isomers of one another. Rex has his creative defense based on pressure packages, and Greg Roman one of the deepest playbook for running backs with multiple formations designed to confuse defenses.

How lucky are we as Bills fans these days? Our team is sporting an offensive coordinator who was on many short lists for a head coaching gig, and could have been the Bills head coach if Rex Ryan accepted a job elsewhere. Roman strikes me as a Mike Pettine kind of coordinator, meaning one that probably won’t last for more than two seasons at most before securing his own head coaching job somewhere else.

It’s the greatest fear that fans have of coordinators that are a hot commodity. When they are good, they leave for head coaching jobs elsewhere. As you can tell from his media rounds this week, the guy has no shortage of confidence in his players.

Greg Roman excels at more than just teaching, he’s a master motivator and a perfectionist. For example, John Murphy mentioned a new move he observed Sammy Watkins making that created separation that was different from the way he ran his routes last season.

Coach Roman said that he had made the suggestion that Sammy add this specific move (pushing off without using hands), and low and behold, Sammy did exactly what Roman suggested, and it’s been working well for him.

Roman explained that he had suggested the same thing to other receivers who never implemented it into their development. He said he wasn’t surprised to see Sammy making the most of every teachable moment. That’s what separates the good from the elite, their willingness to listen and work tirelessly to get better.

After watching what was advertised as a vanilla offense in the first preseason game against the Panthers on Friday night, it was astounding to see the difference in how the offense executes on the field compared to last season.

This offense looked far more effective in the first preseason game than most games during the regular season last year. Of course the talent level has been significantly upgraded at the skill positions, but that wasn’t what was most impressive about their performance.

Despite the quarterback battle, this offense moved the ball in ways we haven’t seen in years. I saw gigantic holes created by the offensive line that allowed the running backs (especially Karlos Williams) to wreak havoc on the field. John Miller looks like a wily veteran, and the guard play even with Urbik subbing for Incognito was lights out compared to their abysmal performance last season.

Listen to how Greg Roman talks about his players and you will know immediately why they would walk across a hot bed of coals for him. He treats them like adults, and carefully crafts his words to encourage players without pressuring them.

After Marcell Dareus recently revealed that he thought Doug Marrone was “anal and miserable” as a head coach, you can tell that the players are thrilled with their current coaching staff. If you missed that little tidbit, check out Matthew Fairburn’s wonderful article from syracuse.com a few days ago:

http://www.syracuse.com/buffalo-bills/index.ssf/2015/08/former_bills_coach_doug_marrone_anal_seemed_miserable_marcell_dareus_nfl_network.html

After watching the offensive line perform last night, it reminded me how mind boggling it is that Doug Marrone could screw up an offense so badly with almost every position group from offensive lineman to quarterbacks. When you listen to how Greg Roman speaks about his job and the players, you can understand the difference in outcome.

Coach Roman conducts a much more collaborative process in developing players. He speaks of “teachable moments”, and considers each player’s unique skill set instead of trying to force players to play his system.

Look no further than how much better Cordy Glenn is looking compared to last season. Guys like Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson are making much more progress under Roman’s scheme than they made all last season.

It was impressive watching the offensive line all the way down the depth chart as they opened holes for Bryce Brown right up to the end of the game. Roman’s recognition that it’s better to develop the scheme according to the strengths of the player and make the system more flexible is obviously already paying dividends.

I can hardly wait to see how this offense works when Roman actually does have a game plan in place. After all the hand-wringing about how awful the quarterback situation is, it turns out that after the first preseason game against the Panthers went into the books, things actually look less bleak in that regard.

All three quarterbacks showcased their skills and unique attributes. Cassel is the steady guy that isn’t flashy, but showed improving chemistry with his receivers. He is finding his way as a ten year veteran would be expected to do. With the skill positions deep at wide receiver and running back, and an offensive line that is improving, it won’t require an elite quarterback to run this offense.

However, if you want flash and dash, look no further than Tyrod Taylor. I thought Tyrod probably should have run a bit less, but that will come when he gets more reps in Roman’s complicated offense. He reminded me a bit of CJ Spiller in terms of how he used to always try running to the outside and never making it past the line of scrimmage.

Tyrod will pull down and run at the first sign of pressure, but that will diminish a great deal as he develops his timing with the rest of the offense. I would like to see him use his legs less and his arm more because he can make every throw. There is no doubt that Tyrod Taylor’s upside is a good deal greater than either Cassel or EJ Manuel at this point.

However, if you listen to both Rex Ryan and Greg Roman speak about EJ Manuel, they have not entirely written him off. Both coaches recognize EJ’s extraordinary skill set, his physical size and athleticism.

Roman carefully mentioned the term “raw” in describing EJ’s development at this point. That leads me to believe he sees Manuel as needing a lot more time to develop consistency in his game.

As far as the Bills defense, it is basically as good as advertised. Good, and deep. Hopefully Corbin Bryant won’t be out for long, because he played an excellent game against the Panthers. There is not a gaping hole for a drop off when he enters the game.

I’ll also be posting more from Ty Powell in upcoming weeks, and I thank him for agreeing to stay in touch throughout the season. Keep your eyes on him, Bills fans. He’s got a nose for the ball, and he played like his hair was on fire last night.

We just got a taste last night of what is to come. We knew this defense would be stout, and for the most part in their first preseason game, they fulfilled expectations. However, as much teeth-gnashing that’s gone on about this Bills offense, I believe they outplayed many fans expectations.

Get ready for a wild ride, Bills fans. We will likely enjoy the fruits of Greg Roman’s creative offense in a way we haven’t seen since Teddy Marchibroda was walking the halls at One Bills Drive.


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Robyn Mundy

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

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