Another night in Pittsburgh as the team wraps up their joint practice sessions with the Steelers in advance of their game Saturday night. We heard from Brandon Spikes to begin the show as he mentioned how he wants to see better play from the defense when it comes to stopping the run. We asked the listeners with the addition of Spikes, Keith Rivers, and the new defensive scheme under Jim Schwartz, will the Bills improve when it comes to their run defense?
Towards the end of Thursday’s practice, Bills Insider Chris Brown called in to discuss his evaluations from field level. He pointed out a strong day by rookie cornerback Ross Cockrell and gave his assessment on quarterback EJ Manuel.
After practice, Steelers special teams coordinator and former Bills coordinator Danny Smith joined us. Smith is in his second year with Pittsburgh, returning to his hometown. It’s his 20th year in the NFL and he explained his love for coaching special teams. He looked back at his time with the Bills, 3-years under then head coach Gregg Williams. He coached punter Brian Moorman who he said is “mentally tough” to have his current longevity in the league. Smith also weighed in on the preseason rule change to extend the length of extra points and how different the taller goal posts are.
At the top of the first hour we were joined by Pro Football Focus Analyst Pete Damilatis who recently released his 2014 Buffalo Bills season preview on the site. He broke it up into two parts, 5 reasons to be concerned and 5 reasons to be confident, which included the depth at wide receiver and the strength of the Bills defensive line. He also mentioned C.J. Spiller as having a breakout year.
Damilatis added that offensive tackle Cordy Glenn’s analytic grade increased significantly in his second year and said, if healthy, there’s reason to be confident in the Bills offense with Glenn rising to be great as anchor on the left side.
Speaking of the offense and C.J. Spiller, the running back joined us in the last half-hour. Spiller touched on the joint practices this week including the physical nature that was displayed on day one in Latrobe. He talked about the recent success of the running game and how the offense needs to build off of that heading into Saturday’s game with the Steelers. He also mentioned how he’s a better and more complete back entering his fifth year in the league.
“I’m more patient now. If you go back and look at my rookie tape you’ll see the impatience. I always wanted to have that big homerun threat every time I got it but now having two great running back coaches in coach (Curtis) Modkins and now coach (Tyrone) Wheatley. A 3-yard run is a great run in this league and that’s how I’ve had to switch my mindset. If those big ones happen you have to take advantage of it and that’s what my offensive line, they do a great job, so when I get an open space I have to make sure I reward those guys.”
Spiller discussed the rest of the running back group and how there’s no issue at all with whoever is on the field. Spiller said “we all have faith in each other that whoever is out there will get the job done.” He also talked about how the fullbacks on the team will play a big role, adding “I just love seeing my fullback out there having success and beat some people’s heads in.”
To hear more from Spiller, click below to hear the complete John Murphy Show from Thursday.
Posted in Inside the Bills