Leftover notebook notes on Bills … vs Skins

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.  — Here are 10 leftover notebook notes of mine, after watching the Buffalo Bills open their preseason with an unwatchable 7-6 loss to the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.

Three goods, seven bads, as follows, in no particular order:

BAD: I don’t think I’ve ever seen an O commit three false starts in four plays, as the Bills did in the 2nd quarter. Awful. Team wind sprints are in order every time a lineman jumps in practice — or something similarly mass-punitive.

BAD: Me, for writing yesterday that the starting DL was in during RG3′s touchdown drive. It wasn’t — at least not for much, if any, of it. I was focusing on the LBs on that drive, Bills-wise. On three consecutive off-tackle runs to the right by Washington, for gains of 12-5-2, no linebacker was in on the tackle. It was good that DT Spencer Johnson (2) and DE Chris Kelsay (1) were. But you’d prefer your LBs get to the ball carrier on an off-tackle before S George Wilson (2). By then the Skins were in the red zone. And after those successful rushes, on the decisive 3rd-and-3 from the 20, the Bills had no choice but to honour the run. Bubble screen, bam, touchdown.

GOOD: Speedy rookie CB Ron Brooks continues to impress. He had one interception, and nearly had another on a nice PBU on a fly route from Skins QB Rex Grossman to smurf WR Brandon Branks. As DC Dave Wannstedt told me during OTAs, Brooks is raw but is the fastest DB on the team. And he makes plays and is working himself into more playing time. He’s from LSU, where they grow NFL-calibre DBs like my lawn grows clover.

BAD: T.J. Graham and Marcus Easley each made the mistake a freshmen gets reamed for in college on a kickoff return. Graham fielded a high kickoff about five yards into the end zone and brought it out. To the 9. Later in the game, Easley caught a KO about 7-8 yards into the end zone and brought it out. To the 18. Take a freagin’ knee, lads.

BAD: Chan Gailey‘s offence seems to be mostly about quick passes — 1-2-throw, not 1-2-3-throw, etc. Short ins. Short outs. Quick slants. Didn’t see Ryan Fitzpatrick attempt as many of those passes as I expected during his four drives. The two-minute-drill experiments perhaps skewed normal intentions. Regardless, Fitz was off.

GOOD: I was merciless in my criticisms of Tyler Thigpen on the first weekend of camp at St. John Fisher College. So fair is fair — he had two nice completions in the 2nd quarter. One was an 11-yard out to Graham, the other a quick slant to Ruvell Martin, for 6 to the Skins 3 on a 3rd-and-2.

BAD: From there, the Bills’ backup OL (which still featured starter Cordy Glenn at LT) was obliterated by the Skins’ goal-line DL. Six snaps gained minus-1 yards, and that includes a defensive-holding penalty that gave the Bills a fresh set of downs. Four Tashard Choice runs gained -2 yards.

BAD: Rian Lindell capped that miserable sequence by hooking a chip-shot 22-yard field goal wide — two yards longer than an XP. Burn the tape of that possession.

BAD: Sorry, but I can’t let Thigpen off so lightly. He also badly overthrew David Clowney on a simple slant at one point, fortunate no Redskin was there to pick it. And he was way short on a sideline bomb to Graham. I’d do what I think the Bills are likely to do — thank Tyler for coming out and take your chances with Vince Young as backup. That’s what opposing defences hope the Bills don’t do. If Thigpen ever played an entire game, I’d be surprised if he threw anything fewer than three interceptions.

GOOD: On his first two kickoffs (I missed the third), rookie kickoff specialist John Potter kicked a pair of Canadian soda cans — non-returnable. And he booted both clear through the end zone. Two of the few special plays by the special teams.


 

 


 

 

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