Film Room Breakdown: Week 2


Well, it was an ugly game on Sunday, a 9-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. I’m sorry to do this to you, but there is film to go over, and there are people to blame not named Tyrod Taylor.

Unfortunately, I had a front row seat to one of the worst offensive performances I can remember, and that’s saying something. The unique thing about Bank of America Stadium is the 300-level seating. I felt like I had a bird’s eye view of the game, and it was awesome watching plays develop from the stands.

Having said that, there’s nothing like the old eye in the sky. Let’s take a look at a few plays that stuck out to me the most from Sunday.

It’s the small things

As I watch this play from the sky angle, all I can hear my college quarterbacks coach say is, “get that f***ing ball out of your hands!” Listen, this was a successful play. Taylor completed the pass and helped move them out of the shadow of the goal posts, but this is a play that I see more potential in.

The reason this play is frustrating is because, if Taylor gets the ball out on the third step (which is what he is taught and harped on), then there’s a good chance Clay is able to turn upfield and turn it into a third-and-short situation instead of third-and-long. It might be a little picky of me, but this sort of set a precedent for his entire game. One of the main reasons people are clamoring for Nathan Peterman is because he showed in preseason that he could make throws like this on time. I have similar frustrations with how and when Tyrod throws the slant into a zone. Either way, it absolutely needs to be tightened up.

Receivers are your friends

Although I believe the receivers carry their share of the blame for the offensive struggles in Week 2, this play shows part of the problem may be their lack of opportunities.

I thought the Panthers did a great job throwing a ton of pre-snap looks at Tyrod, specifically at safety. They did a great job of rotating late to mix up their coverage looks. I think that it clearly spooked Taylor out of throws downfield at times, and I count two open players on this play that I think he should have thrown to. Part of this play is that Taylor has to stand in the pocket and take a shot to deliver the ball, but that’s just part of the job description. Both Charles Clay and Andre Holmes run open on this play, and it goes back to Taylor’s inability to beat zone coverage with his arm. It’s all about leveraging and manipulating defenders with your eyes to create small windows or creases to throw into. I do think Taylor is capable of making the throws — I just think it’s a confidence thing. These aren’t particularly difficult throws to make, but it’s the read and the confidence that are off. I need Taylor to see the slot defender bracket the outside receiver, which opens a lane to hit Clay, who settled nicely in the soft spot of the defense. This is a play that was left out on the field Sunday.

Just pull the trigger!

This one is ultra-frustrating to me. It’s a simple four slant concept. You’ll see another example shortly of Taylor’s inability to diagnose matchups pre-snap and exploit them. When I look at the defense before the snap I consider two things: where the ball is placed and where the safeties are. In this case, they’re on the right hash, meaning the safety on the field side would have to make an extraordinarily athletic play to make a play on the ball on either receiver to the left of Taylor in the formation. That means it’s essentially a 2-on-2 to the field side. At the snap, you should start right to hold the field safety and hit the wide-open slant to the outside receiver for a 10-15 yard gain before YAC.

Pre-snap is so important, and I think the Panthers picked up on something Week 1 and game planned some exotic pre-snap looks at Taylor to confuse him. At the same time, he just has to pull the trigger. He has to let loose a little. He has nothing to lose, and yet he, at times, appears scared to make plays. Simply put, he just has to be better.

Can I get an amen!?

Let’s give the man some love when he deserves it, and he definitely deserves some props for standing in there and delivering a strike before getting absolutely smoked by a free defender. These are actually the plays you watch and get frustrated with because you want to see Taylor makes this sort of play more consistently. It’s exactly what I was talking about earlier when I said I believed he had the ability to make the throws, but he just needed to trust himself enough to make them. Having said that, I think if he had thrown the ball a half-second sooner, then he might have been able to draw a penalty.

Listen, there are probably 10 more plays I could put up here, but I think it’s time to move on to next week. A bigger, faster, and stronger defense comes into town, and the Bills have their work cut out for them.