By BBD Editor Mike Watkins
With the Bills sitting at 3-3, tied for first place in the AFC East, and heading into a bye next week today’s game v. the Titans has taken on a level of importance that few saw coming when the scheduled was initially released. The Bills and Titans both come into this game a little banged up with the Bills missing key players along the Offensive Line and the Titans missing Quarterback Jake Locker. In order for the Bills to come out of this game with a victory they are going to need to execute on the five keys to success below:
1. It’s getting Tiring: I’m waiting for the week where I write these 5 points and an improvement on Fitzpatrick’s part isn’t one of if not the main focal point. It’s clear that Gailey is ready to ride Fitzpatrick the whole season. He had Thigpen in his system in KC with some success and he doesn’t get a sniff of playing time. Then they have Jackson who they traded for and have gone so far as to say he will most likely never be ready to take a snap this season, which begs the question, why make that trade in the first place? In any case Fitzpatrick is whom the Bills are going to have under center for better or worse for the whole season. You hope at some point a sense of urgency takes over for him and helps his game because at this point he is fighting to keep his job. If he stays playing at the same level he has thus far for the rest of the year the Bills will have a real hard time justifying keeping that contract on the books this off-season. The off-season QB guru, Lee, has been a complete bust when it comes to improving Fitzpatrick accuracy. I wouldn’t blame Fitzpatrick at this point if he just decided to ignore the schooling and let it fly again hoping to recapture his play in the first half of last season. He can really get the ball rolling this weekend by completing at least one deep ball down the field and become much more steady on the short routes.
2. Splitville: I was disappointed to hear that once again the Bills will be doing this 2 series on 2 series off rotation for Spiller and Jackson. In my opinion it’s Spiller time in Buffalo. That’s not to say Jackson doesn’t have a place in this offense or on this team. He should be the third down RB and the red zone RB. He’ll still get the touches he deserves but it will be a better overall maximizing of both of their strengths. Spiller is dynamic and with the QB play the Bills have been getting they can just not afford to have their most explosive play maker on the bench for extended periods of time
3. Shades of Gray: The WR’s could be in for a big day if Fitzpatrick can get it going. The DB’s for the Titans are really nothing to write home about outside of their CB McCourty and even he wont be able to handle S.Johnson one on one. In fact most Bills fans may recognize the scheme the Titans will use because their DC is Jerry Gray former Bills DC of the Gregg Williams era in Buffalo. The CB’s will be playing far off the WR’s because as Bills fans are aware the main focus of the Gray defense is to not give up the big play. That plays right into what the Bills WR’s do best and that is catch the ball and then rack up YAC yards. Both S.Johnson and D.Jones have demonstrated to be threats once the ball gets in their hands and the Titans scheme gives up a lot of short and intermediate routes. Add in the Titans DL inability to generate a pass rush and big things could be in store for the Bills WR crew
4. Dont be the spark: To say the Titans RB C.Johnson has been a disappointment since signing his new deal would be a drastic understatement. However that doesn’t mean the Bills should take him lightly. He still at any given moment has the ability to score from anywhere on the field. The last thing the Bills want to do is give him any early confidence. They need to shut him down early and get him in that mind set that it’s going to be another long day in a string of long days for Johnson. The Bills don’t want to be the team that sparks him back into the player he once was by letting him rip off some early big runs
5. Always rushing: The Bills DL could put together back to back good performances. The Bills will face a much less mobile 38 year old Matt Hasselbeck rather than Jake Locker whom is a much bigger threat with his legs. The Titans are solid at OT with Stewart and Roos but the IOL has been a real problem for them all season. Dareus and Williams will have to exploit this as the outside rush tries to force things to them with expectations of the Bills DT combo can and will be to much to handle for the Titans IOL.