1 – @ChrisBrownBills
With the Bills depleted secondary and Oakland’s vertical threat and strong O-Line, what can Bills D do to stop Carr and O?
CB: The best defense this week is going to be a good offense. Buffalo should be able to run effectively against the league’s 26th ranked run defense. Hopefully that allows the Bills to put together long sustained drives. Converting on third down will be critical to holding onto the ball and limiting Oakland’s possessions.
That’s how the Chiefs beat the Raiders back in Week 6. They held onto the ball for almost 37 minutes and gave the Raiders just 10 total possessions. Teams usually get about 12 per game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills With so many upcoming free agents how are the @buffalobills with cap space?
CB: You’re right. At last count the Bills will have 23 players set to become unrestricted free agents. That obviously takes a lot of contracts off the books for Buffalo. Remember that room under the salary cap is always a moving target. But last I checked for 2017 the Bills are a little more than $20M under the cap.
If they pick up the option on Tyrod Taylor that will obviously impact the cap significantly. We’ll see what their plans are in terms of re-signing their own or pursuing a free agent on the market, but Taylor’s option will play a major role in how aggressive they are in free agency.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills How is Cardale Jones doing? He is likely the number 2 qb next year correct?
CB: Jones is really trying to build his game from the ground up to better fit the NFL game. From footwork, to set up to his delivery. How he scans the field, keeps his feet active, reading defenses pre-snap. Bills QBs coach David Lee has worked tirelessly with Jones to try to develop his game.
The Bills saw this year as a redshirt year for Jones. Lee has him come in early and throw with a couple of receivers early in the week and late in the week after Friday practices. On Thursdays he’ll have him review his Wednesday and Thursday practice tape and go over fundamentals.
They’re working mainly on his intermediate accuracy, his footwork and arm mechanics.
I know the offensive staff has a lot of respect for EJ’s game. Lee said on the John Murphy Show this week that he thinks Manuel’s confidence is at an all-time high and that he’s been ripping it in practice.
Knowing his contract is up, the likelihood of Manuel being back with the team is completely up in the air.
Clearly Tyrod Taylor is the bigger issue to address with his option year at the quarterback position, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Manuel found work elsewhere and Cardale Jones was the backup for 2017.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
How limited will Sammy be on Sunday? And how will Rex manage playing time between Lorenzo shaq and Hughes?
CB: Watkins’ availability is going to largely be based on how the foot feels as the game wears on. So it’s a wait and see on the size of his role Sunday. I will say that I think it is beneficial that the game is on grass, which is a more forgiving surface on the body.
As for managing time between Shaq, Alexander and Hughes, the staff tried address that last week against the Jaguars. The defensive staff wants to play Shaq more and cut back on Alexander’s defensive snaps, so they’re able to use him on special teams as well.
Alexander really shouldn’t have much more than 55-60 snaps combined between defense and special teams. Last week he had 70, so again he was over the threshold of where they’d probably like to be with him, knowing he’s 33 and the oldest player on the team.
Shaq’s snap count wound up being identical to that of the Cincinnati game. He got 21 snaps in both. Part of the reason is both games were tightly fought contests and in tight spots you want to go with an experienced player that you can trust. Lawson is still learning the pro game.
Remember he missed the entire offseason on the field. That’s OTAs, minicamp, training camp, the preseason and the first six games of the season. Lawson bit hard on a read option fake, didn’t hold the edge and let Blake Bortles run for a first down and more. Those kinds of plays makes defensive coaches hesitant to use him more as opposed to Alexander, who is one of the smarter players on the team.
Knowing the importance of each game the rest of the way they’d like to use Shaq more because he’s talented, but until he can show an ability to play sound, disciplined assignment football he might be reduced to just passing downs to rush the passer.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills Why aren’t they using Reggie Bush out of back field, swing passes, screen passes, with all WR injuries?
CB: It’s a valid question. I thought when they signed Reggie Bush that he would be a specialty player that would be used in an 8-12 play package every week on offense. He could be split out as a receiver, line up in a split backfield with McCoy or return kicks and punts. The signing of Brandon Tate largely eliminated his return duties.
He’s been used sparingly as a receiver and back. I do believe they could make greater use of their ‘Pony’ package, which is their split backfield with McCoy and another tailback. But for whatever reason they have only used it occasionally.
It’s clear they prefer Mike Gillislee, who is a much better north-south runner and capable of fighting for the tough yard. Rookie Jonathan Williams is also better in that regard.
Bush is a player best used in space, which is why they could make use of him in a receiving role knowing the amount of injuries they have at that position right now.
Tags: Bills-Raiders, Cardale Jones, EJ Manuel, Fan Friday, Jerry Hughes, Lorenzo Alexander, Mike Gillislee, Reggie Bush, Salary cap, Shaq Lawson
Posted in Inside the Bills