Bills Offense vs. Redskins Defense
Most of the Washington Redskins starters have played very little time this preseason. Specifically, guys in the secondary. Defensive backs Josh Norman (3 snaps), Bashaud Breeland (6 snaps) and D’Angelo Hall (18 snaps) have played very little time so far and it has hurt their pass defense. You can expect that to change tonight. They will get a significant amount of snaps versus the Bills offense which should be interesting, seeing as how Sammy Watkins will make his 2016 debut.
Bills Run Game
The Redskins run defense has been quite stellar if you look at their ranking (2nd), but that can be deceiving. In their last game with the Jets, New York only attempted 9 runs for 35 yards. In week 1 of the preseason, Atlanta handed the ball off more frequently attempting 27 runs but only compiling 78 yards. Looking at some of the statistics from 2015, the Redskins were susceptible to the run game. They allowed an average of 4.8 yards/carry and 122 yards/game. Even with those gaudy stats, you know Greg Roman is going to remain true to his philosophy and pound the rock.
The Falcons had the most success running to the middle left (Per Pro Football Focus), which is between the center and left guard. In all, they ran 6 times for 34 yards to the middle left (20 yds after contact). Much like the Redskins, the Falcons are a zone running team so it is no surprise that most of their runs were inside.
Running back Tevin Coleman does a good job of breaking the tackle. The nose tackle disengages but can’t make the stop.
On their second drive of the game, the Falcons’ RB Freeman gained 8 yards on this iso play. It is again to the weakside, something that was a theme in this game.
The Bills attacked the Redskins with weakside runs a few times last season, here is one that gained 10 yards. Eric Wood and Jerome Felton do a great job of getting their “hats” on the defenders.
Greg Roman has one of the best trap running games in the business and I could see the Bills using inside traps more this year given the fact that their best inside runner Karlos Williams is no longer with the team.
The Bills run blocking so far this season has graded out very poorly (-18.6).
Of course not having Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito definitely affects that ranking. Glenn will not play tonight but Richie should see some snaps. The Bills rushed 31 times for 240 yards and 1 touchdown versus the Redskins last season and I fully expect them run the ball a lot, spreading the carries across the depth chart.
Bills Passing Game
The Bills passing game, on the other hand, has graded pretty well through two games. According to PFF, the Bills are the #1 graded pass attack and per NFL.com they are 6th in passing yards.
The Redskins defense has struggled to defend the pass (PFF Pass coverage grade -1.5, 25th) but that is because most of their secondary hasn’t played much. Nonetheless, the Redskins gave up 9 yards per pass versus the Falcons and 5.8 yds/pass to the Jets.
Sammy Watkins makes his debut tonight and I think that sets up well for the Bills offense. The Redskins DBs couldn’t handle Sammy last season (5 recs, 111 yds 2 TDs) and if healthy I don’t expect them to slow him down tonight.
1st clip in highlight is Sammy Vs. Breeland
I am interested to see if Josh Norman will match up with Watkins because if this offseason has taught fans anything, it’s that Norman has trouble with speed receivers.
— Tj Llewellyn (@TJellyn) August 23, 2016
Expect the Bills to take several shots down the field much like the Falcons did. Robinson, the Falcons speedy WR gets past the secondary but the ball is underthrown by Schaub. Robinson finished the game with 3 catches for 118 yards.
Nine route by Atlanta for the big gain!
The Redskins second level defenders are aggressive and they bite hard on play action. This is no surprise, the Redskins inside backers are in a heated competition so they want to make plays and stand out.
The Bills took advantage of the Redskins’ second level defenders on this play from week 15 last season. The defense is in cover 2 but the linebackers get caught “guarding dirt”.
I expect the Bills to align Gronk in the backfield and use play action to force feed him the ball. Similar to the play below, but Gronk will be at the FB position. Rumor is that he is running with the ones because the Bills want to give him a fair shot. Look for 3-5 targets for him in the passing game, a dimension the Bills want to add to their offense.
Greg Roman much like all coordinators around the league has kept it very vanilla thus far. With this game being the “dress rehearsal” I expect him to show a few more looks. This defense, mainly the secondary will be a good test for the Bills offense. They are a veteran unit and the Bills will be rolling out several different WRs. The Bills are attempting to sort out their depth at WR so the “creme de la creme” will stand out tonight.
The Bills may come out swinging by testing the defense through the air in order to set up the run.
That should put two safeties deep and leave the Bills more room to run the ball. But it will be tough sledding because the front seven of the Redskins could get the best of the current line combination that the Bills are bringing to FedEx Field.
In heaven, every day is Bills gameday!!! Let’s go Bills!
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