Well last night went similarly to how a lot of first preseason games go, it was ugly, it was mistake filled, and it was not a lot of fun but that ladies in gentlemen is why they play the games. There isn’t a lot to take out of this first game so this review will be a bit briefer than the ones that will follow the remainder of this preseason and into the regular season.
We’ve now watched the game twice so let’s start with what went right last night;
-Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson appear to already be in midseason form as they hooked up on a number of pass plays for solid completions. The connection that these two have has been apparent since you saw Fitzpatrick show up for Stevie Johnson’s contract extension signing.
-Safeties Jairus Byrd and George Wilson were all over the field. These two will have to be on their toes with so many young CB’s getting time this season and they appear to be ready for the challenge.
-Moorman is still a beast, nothing more needs to be said here.
-We said it on twitter during the game but Ron Brooks is going to be Johnny on the Spot all the time. He is consistently in the right place, at the right time when the ball gets thrown. There must be something in the water down in Baton Rouge. Brooks could have had three INT’s last night but ended up with only one and two pass deflections. He was by far our best DB and per our Camp Reporter Chris Hooker he’s been doing this all camp long.
-It needs to be said and we will say it but Chris Hairston did a better job at OT than Cordy Glenn did. Now granted Hairston played 1st team RT and 2nd team LT while Glenn played 1st team LT so it’s not a completely fair evaluation but Hairston’s experience in the league shined through on Thursday while Glenn struggled but more on him in a little bit.
-Potter has a boot, even the kickoff he mishit he still manages to put into the end zone. Not one kick was even returnable and we’ll take the opposing team having to always go 80 yards for a TD.
-Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams were in beast mode last night, I don’t think anybody told them it was only a preseason game and we’re happy about that. These two in the middle are going to be a nightmare for teams to deal with.
-We didn’t have any injuries that were apparent or even close to serious. There are two goals to every preseason the first is to get your team prepared for the regular season and the second is to be as healthy as possible.
So that’s about all that went right on Thursday night, let’s look now at some of the things that still need some work;
-Stephon Gilmore was solid but not spectacular in his rookie debut, he looked a bit timid compared to how he played in college and that is to be expected. He’s known for blowing up screen passes which is why we were a little surprised that Washington’s TD score went to his side.
-Mario Williams and Mark Anderson were so-so, like many others we didn’t think Mario was doing more than just going through the motions which as a proven vet is fine. The last thing we want is for him to strain or pull something in a pointless preseason game. Anderson played a lot more and we liked seeing that. He showed some good burst and some good moves but you could also see why he was not a starter in New England. When he got pressure it was inconsistent and that’s something to continue to watch.
-Johnny White had one nice run where he broke a Redskin defenders ankle but otherwise he was contained pretty well. You saw some burst and change of direction ability from him and we hope we can see him get more carries in the coming weeks.
-This point is less about Scott Chandler (who had two nice catches) and more about our coaching staff but how do you not try and run a play-action pass to the TE inside the 5? We knew the run wasn’t going to work and that Washington was committed to stopping it so we don’t even attempt a play-action attempt to a TE chipping and then rolling out into the flat? We need to use the TE more effectively in the Red Zone, we’re sure Coach Metzelaars will be pushing for it too.
Finally to what went wrong and what we may need to scrap already;
-Cordy Glenn at LT was plain ugly, he got blown by for a sack on Fitzpatrick and was beaten at least once more. He also looked slow off the line of scrimmage which was a concern of his coming out of college. Worse than that though was when Glenn did stay in front of the DE/OLB he was easily pushed back into the pocket and almost put on top of Ryan Fitzpatrick. We aren’t saying Glenn should be immediately kicked back inside or moved to RT, but that was not the performance you wanted to see.
-14 Penalties for 134 lost yards, 8 of which were false starts. This OL needs to be running all day at the next practice because that was absolutely atrocious. No first preseason excuse for that kind of poor effort.
-The LB core was non-existent all night long, I thought only Chris White really stood out to us with a few plays in pass defense late in the game and Scott McKillop filled holes nicely in run defense. Arthur Moats had a couple of solid plays in run defense but otherwise it was missed tackles and failure to drop deep enough for this LB unit. Rookie Tank Carder looked every bit like a rookie as he went way too high on tackles. This is not the Mountain West Conference and in the NFL, especially against power backs, you go low.
-Where was Marcus Easley? We watched the game twice and outside of his one run on what looked like a jet sweep he did nothing. We literally had to check the box score to recall his numbers which by the way were one catch for 12 yards and a kick return for 25 yards. He’s on the bubble to make this roster and needs to beat out some players. Not sure if the blame was fully on him or partially on our QB’s but you have to beat your man and get open.
-Tyler Thigpen and Vince Young were not good, each had one good throw and that was about it. We’re not buying the well Young made plays with his legs so he’s better either. He is a QB, if he can’t make throws with his arm then we have a big issue. Thigpen’s best throw was on the deep in to Graham who looked like he was a secondary read. Young had the pretty throw to Clowney off what appeared to be a fade route. Young gets his shot with the 2nd teamers next week. Also we don’t think we ever want to see Brad Smith as a passing QB again. The sack he took appeared to be designed to have him roll the other way. Obviously we can’t confirm that but both Michael Jasper and James Carmon blocked down and to their right while Smith rolled left. Somebody had the wrong call.
-This may be the only time you hear us say this but the refs were horrible. We hate the ref excuse where fans claim the ref cost them a game, but in this game and just about every other, they have been really bad. Calling a punt that was downed on the five yard line touched in the end zone was an embarrassment to them and the NFL. Bring back ‘The Guns Show’ (Ed Hochuli)!
Here are some of the players that surprised us with their play at different points; CB Isaiah Green, OT James Carmon, CB Prince Miller, DE Kyle Moore, WR David Clowney, WR TJ Graham, MLB Scott McKillop, WLB Chris White
We have to at least mention RGIII in this piece because it was his first game and it was mighty impressive. His first throw was an incompletion that should have been a completion, Garcon has to tap both feet in bounds, but after that he found a rhythm and started slinging it. His game winning TD drive was a great confidence builder and the best part for the Skins was that he took a total of zero hits.
Elsewhere last night the Patriots are dealing with their own LT issues as 2nd year man Nate Solder allowed a hit on Brady so hard there was an oxygen shortage reported in Boston until Brady got back up.
Bills QB’s Combined: 14 of 30, 46.6%, 119 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks taken
Bills Defensive Pass Rush: 38 drop backs, 0 sacks
Bills RB’s Combined: 14 Carries, 41 yards, 2.9 ypc
Don’t read too much into this game and don’t jump to too many conclusions. This was the Bills at their worst (we hope). We expect Gailey to work these guys in the coming week and have them better prepared for their next game. Nobody is getting cut tomorrow but the guys on the bubble need to know they have only a week to show that they are worth even taking a second look at. We’ll have two brand new 53 man roster predictions coming at you on Monday as well as a preview of next’s week’s game v. Minnesota.