Back at it with another live show for Wednesday. A quiet day around One Bills Drive but we were able to gather up a jam-packed show. As the players look back at the first half of the season, we went Around the Locker Room to get their thoughts. We also asked the listeners to chime in with what might need to be fixed if the Bills want to make the playoffs? Plenty of reaction from play calling, to the offensive line, to the run game.
Quarterback Kyle Orton sat down with us before he departed for his time off. He joined us in studio to discuss his four games under center for the Bills and the team’s 3-1 record during that time. Orton talked about his progression in the offense, the balance with the play calling, his thoughts on rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, and how his experience ties in to his decision making on the field.
“Ninety percent of the position is to identify what the defense is trying to do, process that information and go to the right spot with the football and hopefully be able to do it in a couple of seconds. The more you play, the easier it gets. When people say the game slows down, I think that’s probably what they mean. That’s what it’s felt like for me the last three years I’ve played is that the information you can process so much faster that you just kind of play at the same speed over and over again and make good reads.”
At the top of the hour, we kicked off our coordinator segments. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was first up. He added to what Kyle Orton had to say about the offensive progression, then went on to discuss the changes from all groups on that side of the ball and importance of building the continuity with each one, including the offensive line. Hackett also explained the offensive balance when it comes to the run game, specifically last week against the Jets.
“We don’t want to turn the ball over. That’s our number one goal. To do that, typically it’s to run the ball. You want to be able to run the ball and tire a defense out. You don’t want them to have the ability to rush the passer. At the same point, you want them to commit to the run because if they commit to the run then you have one-on-one with a guy like Sammy Watkins or Robert Woods. When we started running the ball, they (the Jets) knew that right out of the gate and that’s what opened up a lot of those big plays. So, when we did that we wanted to be sure we protect the football and we’d be able to set up for some of those passes so, when we did take our shots and we did pass the ball those things would be efficient and the four touchdowns out of ten completions is pretty efficient from my book.”
We then switched gears to the defensive side of the ball and sat down with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Schwartz weighed in on the first half of the season and the success of his defense, which has led the way towards the team’s 5-3 record, which he says has now “made the second half of the season relevant.” He also talked about the rotation on his defense from the backfield to the defensive line.
“You’re going to have contact on every single play when you’re a defensive lineman. We want to keep those guys fresh. We want to stay fresh over the course of a game but also keep these guys healthy over the course of a season. We look for productivity. We don’t sit down and have a clicker and decide how many snaps each guy has played. We also will rotate some guys in the secondary, too. We’ve gotten some really good contributions out of those guys. We’ve played a lot of different guys at linebacker so it’s not just unique to the defensive line. I think it surface well over the course of the season.”
To hear all of Wednesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
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