It’s a do or die week for the Bills. Step 1 of as win four straight scenario for Buffalo’s playoff aspirations. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills Dennis Thurman said D is still a work in progress. Nearly 2 years have passed what are the issues? Players or the scheme?
CB: I think there are a lot things that have cropped up along the way for the defense that have compromised its consistency. Last year losing Kyle Williams and Aaron Williams, two main directors of communication last year was a big issue. Mario Williams dissension was another problem as was Rex Ryan’s decision to try to blend some of the successful concepts from Jim Schwartz’s scheme in with his. He admitted himself that was a mistake.
This year I think the absence of Marcell Dareus (suspension/injury) for half of the season hurt, as well as the loss of Aaron Williams again. That compromised the consistency of play at safety.
Adding Rob Ryan to the staff improved red zone defense greatly in the first half of the season. It’s hard to determine why the goal to go defense has struggled so much of late to devalue what were impressive numbers when they were defending inside their own 20.
The other big problem this year has been a lack of takeaways. After getting 12 in the first six games, the Bills have just two in their last six games for a total of just 14, and they both came in Stephon Gilmore’s two interception game at Cincinnati. Fourteen takeaways is seventh-fewest in the NFL.
Then I think there is an issue with mental toughness. The ability to respond when adversity strikes. Players have admitted that it is an issue that has proven tough for them to overcome.
We’ve all witnessed substitution problems with changing personnel groupings and getting calls in on time before the offense snaps the ball. It has happened far too often for an NFL club, and stretches back even to last season. That has to get fixed. There’s no excuse for having 10 men on the field or 12 men in the huddle. That’s an operational, chain of command type thing that has to be rectified.
The scheme has been tweaked and changed over the past two years to try to reduce the volume and allow the talent of the players to come through, and the miscommunication on plays has been reduced. Players admit they still struggle with responding and making something positive happen when the opponent steals the momentum of a game.
So in a long-winded way I think both scheme and the players are responsible for the shortcomings of the defense.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Another year of great work man! Why has Jerel Worthy not been in lineup more? When hes been in, was making plays.
CB: I don’t disagree with your assessment. Since Marcell Dareus has come back the defensive line rotation has usually left Worthy as the odd man out. However, Adolphus Washington has been getting less playing time of late. The last four games he’s gotten 18, 20, 24 and 10 snaps. Worthy’s snap counts have been 22, 10, 1 and inactive.
Washington and Worthy to me are similar players. I think Washington has hit a bit of the rookie wall, so perhaps Worthy sees a bit more time down the stretch.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills is it a possibility that Sammy Watkins or Cordy Glenn gets traded at the end of the season always being injury prone?
CB: I think trading Watkins or Glenn is highly unlikely. Glenn is the team’s most talented lineman. Even Eric Wood would tell you that. He just signed a giant extension and has missed just two games this season with a high ankle sprain. He’s not going anywhere.
While I understand your frustration with Watkins lack of availability due to injury it doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a dynamic, game changing player. You don’t trade that commodity away. You have him at an affordable price on his rookie contract next year, so seeing how healthy he can stay in 2017 is definitely worth it knowing how he can change the complexion of a game.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills how many 4th Quarter comeback wins does Tyrod have?
CB: By my count he has two. Last year Week 5 at Tennessee and this season Week 12 against the Jaguars.
5 – Hi Chris;
As always many thanks for keeping Bills fans current on the team. The past couple of games I have gotten the feeling that Rob (and Rex) are calling more of the defensive plays than Dennis has been. I felt all along that would be the case once Rex brought his brother on board. Is this actually the case?
CB: I took a look at this last week in Oakland and it appeared that Assistant HC Rob Ryan was calling the plays from the sideline with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman organizing personnel groupings. Earlier in the year Thurman was calling the plays, but it seems like those duties have vacillated back and forth through the course of the season. Based on observation it seems like Rob Ryan has handled more of those responsibilities the past few games. We’ll try to get that confirmed this coming week.
Tags: Bills defense, Cordy Glenn, Dennis Thurman, Fan Friday, Jerel Worthy, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan, Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills