A bit of a brain dump:
All through training camp and the preseason, I got confused what was going on in the Bills receiving corp. Donald Jones got promoted to the starting Z role. Based on the way things ended last year, it seemed like he was jumping David Nelson who had generated more production last season. There was quite a bit of explanation that this was because Jones is faster and could thus be a better replacement for Lee Evans in threatening defenses deep.
Two games into this season, things seem to be progressing similar to last year. David Nelson has returned to being a favorite target of Ryan Fitzpatrick and been quite productive, while Donald Jones made a couple of key plays in crunch time yesterday, but has so far had a much lower level of overall productivity.
So, the best way that I can understand the Donald Jones promotion in training camp was that it was a decoy to get defenses to focus on a receiver who hasn't yet reached his potential and keep the focus off the emerging talent of Nelso. The reason Fitzy wasn't throwing to Nelson in the preseason because he wanted to get comfortable with other guys.
It's hard to tell how Jones is doing from the TV coverage. Is he really drawing coverage away from the inside guys? I hope so, but so far Fitz targets him much less than Stevie. (I hope Stevie can heal up quickly!) Hopefully, Jones' increased activity in the offense at the end of yesterday's game is a sign of things to come. With Stevie's groin issue and cramps, it seems like it will force Jones more strongly onto Fitz's radar. Hopefully, he continues his steady development and can start to build off of his key role in yesterday's game. However, my memory is that Stevie always had an ability to get open and score touchdowns in the few chances he got during his first and second years. So, it seems like Jones has a ways to go.
Yesterday reinforced the impression that David Nelson has already developed into a polished receiver who probably should have been drafted in 2nd round. (James Hardy, anyone?) And the Bills should treat him like it. I would love to see him locked up with a long term deal soon! His press conference makes him sound like a super guy to have in locker room. While it's possible that won't be able to get a whole better than he is now, he seems like a great asset for the Bills and his production seems to indicate that he should have a starting role.
Sadly, Nelson's entrance seems to indicate the another step in the gradual reduction in capability of Roscoe. It is such a shame that the Bills finally got a coach who knows how to use him only once he reached the stage of his career when he gets hurt all the time. It would have been great to get him involved in the offense back when he was in his prime. Not sure it's really worth re-signing him. I guess Namaan isn't as fast, but Namaan seems healthier at this point and I look forward to his return to the playing field.
The Solomon Wilcots commentary on the Johnson v Johnson matchup was fun to hear. It's so great to have a receiver that has such great moves and catching ability that he forces the other team to foul him.
When will our second tier receivers start catching the ball?
It's also nice to be talking about the skill position guys because the men in the trenches are doing their jobs. There was a lot of talk about the Raiders D-line before this game. While they bottled up Freddy for the first half, Fitzy generally had lots of time to throw. And then we all saw what Fred did in the second half when cracks started forming in the Raiders line. Were the cracks helped by Rhinehart's appearance? Did Brian's prediction that Rhinehart would take over for Urbik get forced on the coaching staff due to injury?
Fred Jackson needs to get paid. His performance yesterday was that of a >$5million/year back. That run to start the second half was so money. The Bills owe him in back pay for those sort of plays that he has been making for years. He is absolutely right that his salary now is a joke and makes the Bills look cheap. He may be my favorite Bill of all time. Can't wait to see what he can do to New England next week!
Let's go Buffalo!