The special teams units of the Buffalo Bills gained national exposure for excellence under departed coach Bobby April. While the current special teams units under Bruce DeHaven have looked shaky so far, don't fret. At least not yet.
Buffalo still has the majority of their special teams players in place. All-galaxy punter Brian Moorman's mastery of direction punting, the Western New York winds, and fake kick "trickeration" will be talked about long after his departure - and he's still at the top of his game.
Rian Lindell is as reliable as they come inside 40 yards. He's also gotten better outside the 40, though he's still prone to some key misses. He's good in Ralph Wilson Stadium, though, and the offense knows that if they reach the opponent's 23 yard line, put three points on the board.
I'm very, very impressed with Garrison Sanborn. He does two things well: his snaps are on target, almost like a hyper-accurate quarterback that always hits the strike zone; he does this while putting awesome velocity on the football. This is an underrated key to avoiding blocked kicks and punts. The faster the ball gets to the holder or punter, the less rush time the opposition has.
Buffalo's return man depth chart is unreal. Roscoe Parrish, C.J. Spiller, Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, and Fred Jackson all represent good options returning kicks and punts. Expect Parrish to handle punts. DeHaven's task here is to get Parrish to learn to fair catch the football with gunner's bearing down on him. Spiller is listed as the top kick returner, though that may change if his offensive workload increases. If McKelvin wins a starting cornerback job, expect Donald Jones to return kicks and McKelvin to focus on his defensive responsibilities.
Coverage units should settle down now that preseason is over. Everyone should be focused in on their special teams duties. With excess defensive backs and linebackers at DeHaven's disposal, the coverage should be naturally good. The emergence of a difference maker would help, though, as DeHaven's second stint in Buffalo is without Steve Tasker or Mark Pike.
Expect to see Buffalo continue to try to win with field position advantages from Moorman's punting skills. A decline in fakes shouldn't be expected, as Chan Gailey isn't shy about taking the fight to the opponent. Buffalo should win at least one game one the strength of their special teams.
The key is not to lose a game due to special teams.