Inside The Bills

TE coverage issues explained

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2010 – 1:50 pm

The Bills have had their share of troubles covering tight ends this season in the passing game. Head coach Chan Gailey did his best to explain the problems they’ve faced in that area.

“Sometimes you pay so much attention to other people that you lose sight of a guy,” said Gailey. “Some of those guys are really good players and you hope to hold them down. You’re not going to stop them, but you hope to hold them down. We’ve faced some really good tight ends that have hurt a lot of people, not just us.

“You have to continually scheme ways to get that guy fomr making the big play. You don’t mind if they catch those four, five or six yarders, but it’s those 20, 30, 40 yarders that hurt you and we continue to try to keep those away from happening.”

Six of the 32 receptions caught by opposing tight ends against the Bills (19%) have gone for 20 yards or more and seven of the 32 receptions (22%) have gone for touchdowns. Six of those seven touchdowns have come in the last three games.

Safety Donte Whitner has been one of the defensive backs with tight end assignment responsibilities. To his credit he’s owned up to mistakes that he’s made in game thus far, but Gailey defended him saying they put a lot on Whitner’s plate defensively.

“We’re asking Donte to do a lot,” Gailey said. “He has a lot of responsibility because he’s a good player and when you ask a lot of a player sometimes it’s going to be good and sometimes it’s not going to be good. So we’re asking him to do quite a bit, so he gets out there in the open where it’s seen a lot more than maybe some other people.

“But to me he’s a really good football player and as they all continue to grow in the defense they’ll be less and less of isolated matchups. We’ll have more people around the ball and more people being involved in a play instead of it just being isolated on one guy.”

Gailey seems to indicate that the development and cohesiveness of the players within the scheme is as much an issue for this deficiency as anything else. But there still appear to be a good amount of isolated matchups out there. Here’s the official stat line for tight ends against the Bills through six games.

32 receptions, 420 yards (13.1 avg.) and 7 touchdowns.

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