A pivotal AFC game Sunday for the Bills. Buffalo will have to be at their best to beat a streaking Bengals club. Fortunately it looks like they’ll have some of their main horses back in the lineup. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
W/ 23 hurt and Darby playing so well, any chance Leodis moves to Safety when healthy?
CB: First, Leodis to me is a cornerback through and through. Yes, he’s very physically gifted, but I’d be surprised if he lines up at safety. McKelvin is the type of player who needs a singular role out on the boundary. And though he is ‘wiry strong’ I don’t believe playing in the middle of the field and dealing with big tight ends is a good fit for him. Whether the coaching staff feels differently is another story.
Since I’ve been getting a lot of questions I’ll take the time here to explain that McKelvin is eligible to begin practicing with the team again on Wednesday in London. He’s looked good doing football-like rehab work on the sideline the last few weeks. Just because he begins practicing next week does not mean he’ll be immediately added to the 53-man roster.
Once he begins practicing the clock starts on a 21-day window in which the Bills can have him practice without counting toward a roster spot. They can activate him to the 53-man roster at any point in that time frame.
In my opinion he will not step into the starting lineup when he returns. Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore have been playing lights out football. This is a good thing because it doesn’t rush McKelvin onto the field. With as quick and sudden as things happen at that position there will be an acclimation period for McKelvin who will undoubtedly be a bit rusty.
Where I do see him making an impact is on punt return where the team is in need of field position help. This season the Bills are averaging just 7.3 yards a punt return, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. McKelvin for his career has averaged almost 11 yards a return (10.9). Imagine the value of giving an offense an extra 10 yards of field position every time they step on the field for a possession.
CB: I’m going to assume you’re referring to the way Robert Woods has been blocking downfield. I know that just about everybody noticed his two-for-one block on Tyrod Taylor’s touchdown run last week when he took out a pair of Titans defenders to let Taylor get the edge on his 22-yard quarterback draw. But Woods has had other strong blocks downfield this season.
I think the most important thing to note about the receiving corps and their blocking downfield is how on a day when there were just 10 completions they were determined to make an impact anyway, and their blocking was the way they accomplished that.
“As a receiver, you never know when your time is going to come, whether it’s a pass or a block,” said Woods. “Like a key block, running downfield, blocking the safety. You never know when your time is going to come. This time it wasn’t a pass play, it was that block for Tyrod.”
Woods also had a tackle on kickoff coverage last Sunday. Hard not to like a receiver that’s willing to do some of the dirty work.
CB: I think anything is possible, especially since in Week 1 against Indianapolis it was Matt Cassel under center with Tyrod Taylor split wide on the first play of the game. I should also note that the man who re-invented the ‘Wildcat’ package at Arkansas, which soon migrated to the NFL a few years ago is Buffalo’s quarterbacks coach, David Lee.
I get the sense that Greg Roman doesn’t try to trick defenses as much as he tries to confuse them, and to me there is a difference. One is rooted in a gadget play, while the other is based on pre-snap shifts, motions and alignment, but I wouldn’t rule your suggestion out at all.
4 – Hi Chris,
Loving the new studio set up and all the coverage!
My question is why are we not utilizing Tyrod and his God-given talents?? Where is the read option? Where are the designed runs and roll outs? Why don’t we spread teams out with our INSANE talent at WR and then run it down their throats and not let them stack the box….aka what the Pats did. I’m just a little frustrated – I know we beat the Colts but they don’t look all that great this year so far and we can do better. Love to hear your thoughts, thanks!
CB: I understand your frustration. Even when Taylor ran for 76 yards last week only one carry, his touchdown run, was a designed run play. Other than that his other runs were scrambles to elude pressure.
I’m no offensive coordinator and Greg Roman has more football knowledge in his pinkie finger than I’ll ever have. I do think there has been a concerted effort to protect Taylor from injury, which as we saw last week is a very real risk. So the read option and designed runs have been few and far between.
That being said, when your run game and offense in general is struggling there should be a package of plays featuring Tyrod as a run threat that you can turn to just to jumpstart the offense.
Buffalo leads the league in three-and-out percentage at almost 32 percent (31.7%). The league average is 20.6 percent. Granted they haven’t had two of their top rushers in McCoy and Karlos Williams and Sammy Watkins has missed the last two games, but their defense as good as it is won’t be able to hold every opponent down like they did in Week 5.
So when the offense has a couple of consecutive three-and-outs, making use of Taylor’s legs (when healthy) is something I’m not opposed to just to get the offense back on track. Perhaps with all the weapons back in the lineup that won’t be necessary, but I think your point is a valid one.
5 – Chris,
Can Colton do kickoffs? He’s got a strong punters leg? Why not try/practice Colton kicking off. Other teams employs their punter to kickoff. Dan had done kickoffs in the league before the rule changed. If Dan could kick how many yards would they truly be losing? 5-10? Doesn’t seem like much instead of having another player active on game day.
CB: Rex Ryan said Colton Schmidt is the backup kickoff man to Dan Carpenter now that Billy Cundiff has been moved off the roster. I want to believe Carpenter can reach the end zone, but returners are more aggressive now than they were the first year the kickoff was moved to the 35-yard line. Unless it’s seven yards deep or more most returners will bring it out.
That at least creates the chance for a long return whereas if it’s kicked more than seven yards deep a return man is taking a knee. To say it’s just a five to 10-yard difference is a bit of a misnomer. A return man in this league just needs one coverage player to fall down or get out of their lane and it’s a big play and either a field position advantage is lost or there are six points on the board for the opposition.
London game bonus question
Your Blog is my 1st read every morning. Thanks for keeping us transplanted Buffalonians informed on our Bills.
Since I’m not living in Buffalo Area, but PA how do we watch Bills-Jags. Have NFL Ticket but understand will be only Streamed. Any help appreciated.
Go Bills from East Berlin PA
CB: You’re right you will be able to watch the game on live stream via Yahoo on your smartphone, computer, game console or smart TV. The game will also be broadcast on television in the Buffalo and Jacksonville, Fla., markets and shown on Sky’s cable network in Britain.
Tags: Colton Schmidt, Dan Carpenter, EJ Manuel, Fan Friday, Greg Roman, Leodis McKelvin, London game, Robert Woods, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills