Color RUSH Game
I think we can all imagine tonight’s game being a brawl. An old fashioned clash of in division rivals with many ties between the two franchises. What is so interesting to me about this match-up is how the Bills will attack the Jets defense. The Jets have given up 330 yards or more in the air the last three weeks, but have only allowed two 100 yard rushers all season. So common sense says, Greg Roman must game-plan to air it out like prior teams have. The Jets starting CB Antonio Cromartie is listed as doubtful, Safeties Calvin Pryor and Dion Bailey are out, CBs Buster Skrine and Dee Milliner are listed as probable so they are really hurting on the back end. The Bills should have a field day right? I don’t believe so, the Bills in my opinion still need to run the ball. Darelle Revis will definitely be matched up against Sammy Watkins. The last two meetings between these two Sammy has only totaled 3 catches for 70 and 0 TDs and one of those catches was a 43 yarder. So, Revis has won this match-up early on in Watkins career. It’ll be tough to get Sammy the ball this week. We do have some other favorable match-ups like Clay versus David Harris and Demario Davis. Clay only played in one game versus the Jets last year and he caught 3 balls for 38 yds and a TD in one game last year. Woods had 12 catches for 168 and 2 TDs versus a very weak set of DBs last year, so he may have a favorable match-up. Shady Mccoy faced a Todd Bowles led defense in 2014 vs. Arizona and he carried it 21 times for 83 yds and caught 3 balls for 14 yds. As you can see Roman is going to have to be creative versus a very good defense. I don’t think the Bills can just air it out, for two reasons: One, not having Percy really hurts our pass game. Woods has been solid vs. the Jets but that was against 2nd and 3rd tier players. Second, the offensive line is going to struggle. John Miller has been a major disappointment and he is rated as the worst guard in the league by PFF. Henderson and Kouandjo are both listed as questionable, which would put Jordan Mills in at RT. The right side of our line at any time could be matched up versus 1st round pick Leonard Williams(1 sack, 16 hurries), 1st rd pick Muhammed Wilkerson(5 sacks, leads league with 26 QB hurries from 3-4 DE position) or even 1st rd pick Sheldon Richardson(3 sacks and 12 QB hurries). It’s going to be tough sledding in the pass blocking department. So the Bills in my opinion must have a balanced attack to win this game.
They do that by building upon what they executed last week. The Bills gained 266 yards on the ground. They definitely won’t have that this week but I do believe that they have the tools to be successful enough to help slow down the pass rush of the Jets. Roman will have to draw upon prior experience from playing against Todd Bowles hybrid defenses the last few years while he was in San Fran and Bowles was the coordinator in Arizona. He will also have to draw from the film that he has studied this year on the Jets defense. The Jets defense is truly multiple, they have been in the 3-4, the 4-3 Under, the 4-6 Bear defense, variations of the Nickel defense and they have operated out of each versus varying personnel. If the Bills want to win this game Roman must utilize his complicated and multi-faceted run blocking scheme this week. Take a look at some cut-ups here, keep in mind it is impossible to know the exact assignments of each defender or offensive player. I have drawn in the assignment/direction of travel based on the direction of the ball carrier just so you get an idea of the complexities of each play.
1st defense up: The 3-4 defense vs. 21 Personnel (2 RBs 1 TE)
Next up 4-6 Bear defense vs. 12 Personnel (1 RB 2 TEs)
(you should know who created it)
Nickel vs 11 Personnel(1 RB 1 TE) Vs.
4-3 Under vs. 12 Personnel (1 RB 2 TEs)
As you can see game-planning for a defense like the Jets isn’t easy. Personnel groupings/players in those groupings must practice versus a scout team defense based on what the teams “thinks” they will see. So just because the Jets lined up in a 4-3 under versus 12 personnel last week against the Jags doesn’t mean they are going to do it this week. That’s why you hear certain coaches scripting the 1st 10-20 plays etc. Coaches want to know how a team is going to line up versus a certain offense or defensive “look”/personnel grouping. Once they see how the team is going to defend or attack then they can start calling plays to attack or defend certain plays.
The Bills and Greg Roman will need to figure out how the Jets defense is going to align versus some major personnel groupings. Such as the Bills 11 personnel, the Jets should counter with their Nickel defense. But the question is who is going to line up as the 4 defensive lineman? As of late is was Harrison and Williams as the DTs. Wilkerson and Richardson as the DEs. As good as those DEs are they will not be able to defend the zone read ran by Taylor and Shady/Willams. Especially if they don’t have a force player off the edge because they will need to keep the Safeties over the top. I expect to see Coples or Pace in a 2 point stance at DE in certain Nickel situations if not all of them. Then they decide to rotate the other 4 highly skilled defensive lineman all over the line. That is just one chess game that will occur tonight.
Another thing to keep an eye on. Greg Roman LOVES to motion and shift players. This caused the Jets major issues in the run game. The Raiders shifted a lot and then quickly snapped the ball, not giving the Jets defense a chance to figure out their assignments and even sometimes not even a chance to lineup. This happens because in some of the defenses that the Jets run some players have multiple assignments, just like the Bills. Sometimes Jerry Hughes is a contain man, sometimes he is a rusher but it depends on formations and specific keys. So keep an eye out to see if Roman noticed on film the issues that motioning, shifting and trading players caused the Jets defense.
This is the 1st Thursday night color rush game. The Bills will be sporting all red uniforms. I hope that Greg Roman can get the RUSH game going because if he does, that will catapult us into a wild card spot going into next week!