The Buffalo Bills are still blessed with a very easy second half schedule and, painful as the two loss have been, they're still a .500 football team right now. The beginning of Buffalo's schedule this year is BRUTAL. It was brutal to begin with and looks that much more brutal with Arizona emerging as an elite defense in the NFL. I have been saying from the start that Buffalo just needs to win 3 games out of the first six. If this team can enter week 7 at 3-3 then they are in GREAT shape to make the playoffs. They have six games on the back end that should be pretty easy (Tennessee, Miami x2, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and St. Louis.) That gets you to 9-3 and puts you one win away from that magic number 10 which will get you into the playoffs more often than not. Then you just need to find one more win between New England, New York, Houston, and Seattle. Obviously Seattle sticks out as a very beatable team and New York is a much different football team without Darelle Revis. So, as you can see, it's far from time to throw in the towel. In fact, even if Buffalo loses both of their next two games and exits the front six at 2-4 they STILL have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.
Well, that was certainly painful. After watching the Bills squander a 21-7 lead over the Patriots and get rolled in the 2nd half, it is certainly easy for a disenfranchised Bills fan to say "Here we go again..." and lose all faith. Relax guys, the season is not over yet...
HOWEVER, and there is always a however with this team, some things really need to change if that is going to happen. This team is playing terrible football right now and even if they somehow managed to crawl their way into the playoffs thanks to a soft schedule, we'd simply be set up for an embarrassing first round exit. There are some very clear issues that need to be addressed.
STOP Trying To Be Something You Are Not
OK, Chan. I'll let you have this one. Neither of your backs were 100% and two costly fumbles may have made you think twice about running the ball a lot.
However, I'm still not fully accepting of that as the excuse-du-jour. Look, Chan, I know you REALLY, REALLY want to be the coach of a Patriots/Packers type of team that throws the ball 40 times a game and scores a ton of points. However, I am sorry to inform you that you are sorely lacking a Brady/Rodgers type of quarterback who can do that type of thing without giving you and the fans an ulcer.
What you do have, though, is TWO Pro Bowl-caliber running backs who are both capable of completely taking over any given game. I know a LOT of NFL coaches that would kill to have that type of thing so, dammit, USE IT!!! This is a football team that should be running the ball 40 times a game with a healthy 50/50 split between Spiller and Jackson. Oh and when you throw it, you should design 5+ of those per game to go to your backs as well.
On that subject, why on EARTH do you not use more screen passes, Chan?! If you haven't noticed both FredEx and Spiller are MASTERS of the screen who have a knack for catching a screen pass and turning it into a 30+ yard touchdown. So why do we only run one or two screens per game? Do me a favor and watch some game film of the Saints with Darren Sproles, k? Thx.
Run the ball on first down. Nearly every first down. If it's successful then run it again on second down. Nearly every second down. If the first down run is unsuccessful, run it again on second down anyway. Defense stacking 8 in the box? Run anyway. Are they throwing run blitzes at you? Sounds like the perfect opportunity to throw a screen pass. I don't want to see a single pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick unless it's play action or we're in a 3rd & 6+ situation. Oh and you should probably consider a screen pass in most of those situations. Or a Draw. Be bland. Be boring. If it gets us the win, the fans won't care.
George Edwards' Disease Was Contagious
I call it Refuse-To-Adjustitis. That's tentative though. Please let me know if you have a better name. George Edwards had it which is why Bills fans hated him so much and it appears Dave Wannstedt caught it from him.
We saw it in week one when the Jets were dinking and dunking us to death with short routes yet he REFUSED to stop playing the corners 5 yards off and switch to bump and run. He also refused to blitz.
We saw it again in week four when New England was GASHING the Bills defense for 5-10 yards per carry yet he refused to blitz and insisted on continuing to run a nickel package on nearly every play. I understand the idea there but when you're getting gashed in the running game the way our defense was then you have GOT to adjust.
Oh and stop being so scurred!! Why do we NEVER blitz?! I understand the idea is that our d-line is so good we shouldn't have to blitz but if the d-line isn't getting pressure on the QB by themselves then maybe you should consider a blitz or two?
So, what's the solution? Well, tell The Stache that he either needs to start adjusting to the game situation or he needs to find a new job. Fire him 5 weeks into the season if need be. This team cannot afford to have a defensive coordinator who refuses to alter his gameplan based on what's actually happening on the field. You can't win that way in the NFL.What you saw New England do on Sunday was ADJUST.
You see, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels went into the lockerroom and said "Damn, their defense is pretty good! I can't believe they held us to only 7 points! Yeah, but did you notice how much nickel defense they played? I think we should run the ball a bit to get them to stop playing nickel!"
And so they did. Except you never stopped playing Nickel so they just kept on running.
Guess What? That's it!!!
We've lost two games so far and both were marred primarily by the exact two situations above. Run the football and make adjustments on defense. It really is that simple. What do you say? Give it a try and see what happens!!