The Bills Came Out Focused and Dominated the Line of Scrimmage
The Bills had a hectic week leading up to the Saturday matchup against the Giants. News broke that Marcel Dareus would be suspended for the first four regular-season games. Then on August 20th, the day of the game versus the Giants news broke that the team decided to part ways with running back Karlos Williams. News also broke that Marcel was planning on entering rehab.
So to say that the team dealt with some adversity is an understatement. The personnel, coaches, and organization as a whole did a great job of keeping the team focused leading up to the game. The results? A 21-0 win over a very talented Giants team. Although it is a preseason game, the win, in my opinion, is a tremendous sign for an organization that is starving for success.
Speaking of the organization, can we also give some credit to Doug Whaley and his scouting personnel? He has made his share of questionable moves but has also made some very smart moves. The obvious one, and maybe the most important move was initially signing Tyrod Taylor. Whaley and his scouts saw something, something that as fans we are beginning to see. It definitely showed in the game versus the Giants.
The offense had trouble running the ball against a very stout defensive front led by new acquisition Damon Harrison. Between Taylor, Mccoy, Gillislee and Bush they could only compile 8 carries for 7 yards.
The offense needed Taylor to carry them with his arm, not his legs and he did just that. According to Pro Football Focus, Tyrod Taylor finished 7 of 10 for 132 yards and one touchdown. What was so spectacular about his play in this game was his composure.
On his longest completion of the day, Taylor recognizes the Safety rotating post snap and the Corner blitzing. He doesn’t panic, take a look:
Tyrod Taylor fans shouldn’t be surprised when Taylor extends plays and makes a nice throw rolling out. He is very effective at throwing on the run to his left or right. He shows off that ability on this play to Goodwin. Taylor play fakes, rolls right and hits Goodwin low and away where only he can catch it.
His only touchdown came on a 5 man route. Taylor stands tall in the pocket and trusts the blocking in front of him. He makes a spectacular throw on a rope and through a small window to Shady Mccoy for the touchdown.
Taylor finished the game 4 of 4 over the middle of the field for 58 yards and one touchdown. PFF graded him as a +2.9 overall which was good for the 3rd highest on the team and a +3.9 in the passing game. A phenomenal game by the Bills’ signal caller.
The next player that I believe deserves some recognition is Cornerback Corey White. The Corner position is one of the deepest positions on the team thus making it super competitive. There is no doubt that the most productive player of all the defensive backs from that Giants game was Corey White.
Corey White led all Buffalo Bills with an overall PFF grade of +4.4 and a +4.3 in pass coverage. He finished the game with only one tackle but managed to get 2 pass deflections out of the four passes thrown at him.
White stays with the Wide Receiver and contests the pass with his right hand as the ball is thrown towards the upfield shoulder. Very nice play versus a well timed route.
Check out how quickly he diagnosis the receivers route. There are times where he shows off his “sticky feet”, this is one of those plays. He plants with no false steps and drives hard on the ball.
On this 1st and 10 play, the defense runs a zone blitz. White baits Ryan Nassib to throw it to the deep out route and he is able to make a play on the ball.
Corey White is a versatile player and a guy that I expect to make the roster. He has played safety and corner and even excelled in the slot. In my opinion, he is more efficient in man coverage and if you want to learn more about him check out this breakdown. Another low budget, low key signing by the front office that will help boost our secondary in more ways than one.
The Bills have some pretty big shoes to fill having lost Marcel Dareus for the first four games of the season. One player will not be able to fill those shoes. Rex and company are going to rely on several players rotating in to garner the same production. Defensive tackle/end Jerel Worthy has definitely seized the opportunity this preseason. Worthy was brought onto the Bills practice squad in November of last season. Since then he has buried his head in the playbook and continued to work hard and it is obviously paying off.
In two preseason games (62 snaps) he has compiled 2 QB hurries, 7 tackles, 3 assists and 6 stops. Most of that production came against the Gmen. He finished the game with 1 QB hurry, 4 tackles, 3 assists, and 4 stops. The guy was in the backfield on just about every other play.
The Bills run a blitz off the edge on this 1st and 10 play. I expect Rex Ryan to do that a lot this in the upcoming season. Blitzing on early downs will help the Bills mask the loss of Dareus up the gut. It will put more defenders in the box and hopefully force offenses into more 2nd and 3rd and longs where they can play coverage.
Worthy slices into the B gap, rips through the block and gets into the backfield. There is literally nowhere for the back to go.
Jerel is a player that fits this scheme very well. He can two gap versus the run but he can also attack the QB. On 3rd and 15, he detects blood in the water. He fires out, controls the hands of the lineman and creates pressure inside. The pressure by Worthy forces Eli to slide left, but Lorenzo Alexander is there for the sack. Worthy should get an assist on the play!
On 2nd and 9 Worthy is aligned at the 3 technique defensive tackle position. On the snap he swims over the top of the guard sending him to the ground. Works down the line of scrimmage taking a good angle to squeeze any type of cutback down.
Rex Ryan is doing a heck of a job scheming his defense so far this preseason. On this play, the Bills are in their base 3-4 defense. If you look closely they have the nose tackle head up on the center, Worthy a 3 tech on the outside shoulder of the guard, Douzable the DE aligned at a 5 tech, finally, Biermann as the outside linebacker. Those alignments are set to the field. So the offense will have trouble against this look if they run to the wide side, as the Bills defensive lineman are all “covering” a lineman. This is advantageous because it frees up the linebackers to fly to the ball if the offense chooses to run to their left.
Now let’s look to the boundary side of the field. The nose tackle Walker is heads up on the center and Albright is at the 5 technique. Albright’s height and length are great for this kind of assignment. He has shown a knack to set an edge this preseason and he does it again on this play. Based on the lineman’s movement Walker slants left to take on the guard which then frees up Hawthorne to get downhill in a hurry. Worthy reads the flow of the play correctly and slants into the A gap and rips through the block causing a run disruption in the backfield. Sound diagnosis, execution and assignment football by the front seven on this play. This defensive look is reminiscent of Rex Ryan when he was with the Ravens, excited yet?
Jerel Worthy was second on the team in overall grades according to PFF, grading out at a +3.8 and a +3.4 versus the run. I expect Worthy to make the roster this season. He may lose some playing time to Kyle Williams when he returns, but there is no doubt that he is here to stay.
“They were more physical than we were. That was obvious,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo
The Bills had trouble getting to the Quarterback last season so they upgraded their front seven with guys who can attack. But they didn’t just do so by drafting that talent, they relied on their scouts to find players off the street as well. One of those players is Outside Linebacker Bryson Albright. Albright is an undrafted free agent from Miami of Ohio that was signed soon after the draft. He is 6’5″, about 240 pounds and runs in the 4.9s.
In his senior season, he registered 51 total tackles, 12.5 of which were for a loss. He had 7 sacks, four pass deflections and even recorded a pick. He is a durable player (played every game since freshman year) that Rex can use at Sam or at Rush linebacker.
Versus the Giants, he led the defense in QB hurries with three, recorded one tackle, one stop, and a fumble recovery. He also graded very well posting a +1.6 overall grade and a +1.2 pass rush grade.
On this play, Albright stacks the Tight End, keeps his eyes on the ball then swipes and rips through the block. The ball comes lose and he dives on it for the recovery.
You may have noticed his edge setting in one of Worthy’s run stops shown earlier. But this play is all made by Bryson setting the edge and forcing the back inside where he then makes the tackle.
You can see why he was very disruptive in the MAC conference. He converts speed to power quite well. On this play, he used a bull rush to put the tackle in the face of Nassib. This caused the QB to step up and right into waiting arms of Douzable.
Albright has a lot of work to do to be able to play on Sundays but he does have a shot. He needs to work on having his counter moves ready to roll. On this sack, Albright rushes up field but then cuts inside and on contact he lets the lineman into his body. If the tackle was a better player, Albright would have been neutralized. Instead, he fights to get inside leverage and with a slight lift of the tackle’s left arm he comes free. The pressure forces Nassib to escape the pocket but into the arms of Biermann and Edwards.
The 21-0 beatdown of the Giants, in my opinion, was quite impressive. The Bills 1st and 2nd defensive units both controlled the Giants offense. Specifically, the front seven. They were faster, stronger and just seemed like they wanted it more. After last season’s debacle and how the offseason went, I would not have expected a performance like that.
Give credit where credit is due. Yes, it was a preseason game but the players could have easily mailed it in and had legitimate reasons for not being focused. Instead, the team rallied, came together and executed as best as you can for a preseason game. Maybe the drama this offseason is what is needed for this team to gel. It allows coaches to use the oldest team building strategy in the book, the “us versus them” mentality. It has worked before for many coaches, could it work for Buffalo?
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