BBD Staff Writer: Glenn Gifford
The river of optimism and hope that ran deep throughout Buffalo Bills training camp and over the course of their first two preseason games dried up early on Saturday evening. In their third preseason game, the Bills were embarrassed by the Washington Redskins in our nation’s capital.
Buffalo Bills fans had very little to be excited about in a 30-7 shellacking by a Washington team led by third-string quarterback Rex Grossman and fourth-string quarterback Pat White.
The few optimists that remain after Saturday’s train wreck will cite that this was just a preseason game and the results do not matter. Sadly, while the results of preseason games do not count, they absolutely matter. In my opinion, Buffalo fans received a bit of a flash forward Saturday evening that gives us a realistic look into the 2013 season. The flash forward was not pretty, leaving Bills fans with more questions than answers.
This installment of “5 Up, 5 Down” was difficult. The down part was easy, but finding 5 players who improved their status with the team Saturday was more problematic.
5 Up – Players who did well on Saturday
Marcell Dareus was a bright spot in the middle of the Bills defensive line. He was solid throughout his time in the game Saturday, and demonstrated that he is ready to have a much-anticipated break-out year. If you’re a Bills fan, it’s time to stop worrying about Dareus.
Dareus was instrumental in stopping a Redskins drive late in the first half. He tackled Roy Helu for a loss, then pressured Pat White on the next play to cause an incompletion. On a day when the Bills left their fans with more questions than answers, Marcell Dareus provided answers. He was solid and is the least of the Bills’ worries.
In 2009, after a 17-0 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bills then-head coach Dick Jauron said “I guess I could say I thought we punted it well” in his postgame press conference, finding Bills then-punter Brian Moorman’s performance to be one of the night’s few positives.
After Shawn Powell’s performance on Saturday, I have to do the same thing. He was a bright spot for the Bills versus the Redskins, averaging 52.9 yards per punt. The fact that the punter’s exploits have to be highlighted in the “5 Up” section of this article say enough about the Bills performance, but Powell’s performance may be required throughout the season if the Bills offense continues to struggle.
Rookie safety Duke Williams came in for the Bills during the second half Saturday and was able to make several plays on defense. The fourth-round pick did enough to demonstrate why he should make the team. He looked good in run support and did much better in coverage than Da’Norris Searcy (more on him later).
Williams had two tackles for loss on blitzes, among his team-leading eight tackles for the game. It is bad news when your safety is your leading tackler, but Williams deserves to be recognized for his good play.
After a more detailed review of Saturday’s tape, I am placing oft-injured 2010 second-round pick Torell Troup on the Up list. Troup, who is currently riding the edge of the Bills 53-man bubble, made several plays and did well along the defensive line during his time in the second half.
While many feel that Troup will be cut in favor of another defensive tackle in Jay Ross or Corbin Bryant, Troup did enough on Saturday to warrant him another serious look on Thursday versus the Detroit Lions. The Bills have made efforts not to abandon all hope with Troup, and I would think you will see a heavy dose (no pun intended) of Torell Troup on Thursday as he struggles to stick with the Bills.
I thought Alonso had a good game on Saturday, and looks much more like a starting inside linebacker than second year man Nigel Bradham (more on him later). Alonso is very effective when blitzing. He was able to get off blocks and effectively rush the passer.
On two occasions, Alonso was able to knock the person responsible for blocking him onto their back. Alonso will be a key to helping Buffalo as they undergo their transformation on defense. He needs to remain composed and remember his assignments on defense, however, as his enthusiasm sometimes causes him to overpursue.
All in all, Alonso represents the type of linebacker that the Bills need in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense.
See page 2 for “5 Down” and more on the Bills’ disappointing loss.
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Tags: 5 Up 5 Down, Aaron Williams, Buffalo Bills, Colin Brown, Da'Norris Searcy, Disappointments, Doug Marrone, Duke Williams, Game Reviews, Justin Rogers, Kevin Kolb, Kiko Alonso, Marcell Dareus, Nigel Bradham, Preseason, Shawn Powell, Torell Troup, Washington Redskins