CBS NFL color analyst Rich Gannon will be doing Sunday’s Bills-Jets broadcast with veteran play-by-play man Marv Albert. Gannon sounds like he’s a bit higher on Bills QB EJ Manuel than he is on Jets QB Geno Smith.
Here’s what Gannon had to say about Manuel.
“Last year we got spoiled with some of the young rookie quarterbacks coming in and playing so well – RGIII, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck,” said Gannon. “E.J. Manuel has handled himself well and in a difficult situation – Week 1 against the Patriots and in a tough one against Carolina last week, but they found a way to pull it out.
“They’ve been patient with him in terms of the game plan. They’ve tried to scale it down and really focus in on things he does well. He is a guy that can make every throw and is a terror when he runs the ball because he’s a lot faster than his frame would indicate. He’s off to a terrific start. This is what they need in Buffalo – production and consistency at the quarterback position. He can handle the role of being the face of the franchise, which is amazing.”
As for Smith, Gannon feels Smith is not as NFL ready as Manuel.
“Is he really ready to play right now? The answer is no, but necessary with the Sanchez situation,” he said. “He has his weaknesses and makes some poor throws, but he’s very athletic and he gives the Jets a chance to win. You have to take the good with the bad with some of these young players. He has some play-making ability. He is mobile and going to force defenses to account for his duel threat capabilities with his ability to run, particularly out on the edge. But, he clearly has a ways to go to learn a very complicated system that Marty Mornhinweg is going to run in New York.”
Tags: Bills-Jets, EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Rich Gannon
Posted in Inside the Bills
Appearing on the CBS Sports Monday QB show, former NFL QBs Phil Simms and Rich Gannon weighed in on the hiring of Doug Marrone by the Bills. Here were their comments.
Simms: He has coached under Sean Payton and Bill Parcells. He’s been in the NFL. They say he’s ready for the job. I know 25-25 (at Syracuse) does not sound like a great record, but that program was completely in the gutter when he went up there. He did a wonderful job.
Gannon: That was a mess when you took the job at Syracuse. They had won 10 games the previous four years with Greg Robinson. He was a miracle-worker up in Syracuse. He won there and I think he’ll put together a good staff in Buffalo. I think he can win there with the talent that they have.
Tags: Doug Marrone, Phil Simms, Rich Gannon
Posted in Inside the Bills
CBS color analyst Rich Gannon, who will be doing the television broadcast with Marv Albert on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, had some noteworthy comments on this weekend’s AFC East matchup.
Gannon was dead on with his assessment of how Buffalo has to approach this game.
“Every offensive series for the Buffalo Bills is absolutely critical. When you’re up against Tom Brady and the Patriots you almost have to assume that they’re going to score on every offensive possession,” Gannon said. “That’s why you have to almost match them score-for-score. You can’t really count on your defense to come up with a lot of big plays, negative plays, turnovers. This is a team that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, particularly in the quarterback position. Defensively, the Patriots thrive on creating negative plays.”
Gannon believes a sound three-phases effort is what’s needed for the Bills to pull of a victory.
“I’m not suggesting that Buffalo has to play flawless, but in order for them to win they have to have a very clean performance in every phase of the game – offensively, defensively and the kicking game,” he said. “They’re a good team, but they’re not as deep and talented right now as the Patriots. In order for them to win, the quarterback and Fred Jackson have to have big days offensively. And that can happen. Look at the Patriots the first two weeks: the Dolphins got after them and put up some big numbers. Philip Rivers and the Chargers put up 477 yards of offense against this defense. The way they beat you is Brady and a couple of turnovers. Typically that’s how it gets done. In order for the Bills to win they have to score on defense and score with the kicking game. It will take that type of effort to beat the Patriots.”
Gannon has an affinity for Ryan Fitzpatrick and can probably relate to him as well after spending the first half of his career as a backup.
“I’ve been in the same situation; a quarterback waits his turn, he always wants to have his own team, and when he finally gets the opportunity, he never looks back,” Gannon said. “Last year really wasn’t his team from the beginning. Now I think that the organization has shown some confidence in him. They didn’t draft a quarterback. This is his team. He’s got his thumb print all over it. The thing that hurt him a year ago was he was a little careless with the ball. They had the worst turnover differential and a lot of that can be traced back to him being a little bit too aggressive at times.”
As far as the approach Buffalo’s defense should take with Brady is force long down and distance situations come third down.
“What’s the best way to defend Tom Brady? Do you pressure him? Do you play coverage? Do you rush three or four? Nobody really has any answers and you’re not going to stop him,” Gannon said. “They’re going to get their big plays. He’s going to throw a lot of completions, and put up big numbers. You have to try and win on first down.
“In other words, if you can hold them to a two-yard completion on first down and force them to have third-and-sevens, third-and-eights, and live in that world a little bit, then you have a chance. The other thing is you have to win in the red zone. You have to hold them to field goals down there and not give up the big explosive plays.
“Brady is a special player. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s got a quick release – the ball comes out and he’s very accurate. He has a lot of talent around him and they are a well-coached team. It’s kind of like going up against Peyton Manning. You know you’re going to give up points, but can you still be standing in the fourth quarter with a chance to win? That’s really the challenge for the Bills.”
Tags: Rich Gannon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Brady
Posted in Inside the Bills