We are now less than a week away from the start of 2015 Buffalo Bills training camp, which is sort of crazy, because it feels a lot like summer just started. Yet here we are, just days removed from the moment that Bills rookies and veterans alike move into their dorm rooms at St. John Fisher in Pittsford.
With one last weekend to kick it before the hard work begins, let's squeeze in one more Bills mailbag to tide us over. Many thanks to those of you that submitted questions for the mailbag via Twitter. Let's talk Bills football.
@BuffRumblings would rex consider playing differebt qbs in different situations?— Chris Stöger (@ChrisStoger) July 22, 2015
First thing's first: let's add Greg Roman as a modifier, because they should be making that type of decision jointly. It's possible that the Bills will flip-flop at that position this year, as they're not likely to see much in the way of above-average production, but that's a different ballgame entirely than using two quarterbacks in-game.
One of the very first things that Ryan brought up about Tyrod Taylor when the Bills signed him was his running speed. It's an element that neither of the other two starting-job competitors offers, and Buffalo is shaping up to be a team that will need to either excel at one or two things, or pull out all of the stops, to succeed on offense. If they reach the latter territory, then sure, we could see them insert Taylor into games situationally (provided he doesn't win the starting job, of course). But I'd be surprised if they did something like without having to.
@BuffRumblings How do you see the playcalling break in percentages? Pass v. Run.— brandon d (@QuestionablyBD) July 22, 2015
This is going to be a really boring answer, so apologies in advance: in his first three seasons with San Francisco, Roman's offenses ran, respectively, on 50.2 percent, 50.8 percent, and 52.5 percent of their offensive play calls. So, to answer your question... somewhere between 50 and 52 percent of the time, they'll run.
A more interesting angle to figuring out the Roman offense will, in my opinion, be pacing. In 2013, Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett ran an up-tempo attack early in the season and were cranking out 80 plays per game at their peak. That fell by the wayside, but it's not at all something we should expect from the 2015 Bills: in their Super Bowl season in 2012, they ran just over 60 plays per game. The same was true in 2013, when they went to the NFC championship game. This is a slow, methodical scheme that emphasizes blocking, and it will be run-focused, but there won't be a radical split in run-pass ratio, as some might expect.
@BuffRumblings Who is a player that nobody is talking about now that we all will be talking about by Week 1?— Casey Fenton (@cfenton23) July 21, 2015
I can't decide between Randell Johnson and Michael Buchanan, but... one of those two. Or maybe both. They are versatile reserve linebackers with good athleticism that can play special teams, and Buffalo's reserve linebacker situation is very much up in the air.
Ty Powell is the only player that's virtually guaranteed a roster spot behind the two starting linebackers. The rest of the depth there is highly unproven, which opens the door for two guys, Johnson and Buchanan, who are lost in the wash a bit because they play behind the Bills' big-name, big-money pass rushers. It would not surprise me in the least if both players made the Bills' 53-man roster, and were game-day actives as reserves and special teams players. They are talented athletes.
@BuffRumblings it's time for a new jersey. Out of 99 24 37 who's here long term— Adam Ritter (@theadamritter) July 22, 2015
With respect, you're doing it wrong. If you must buy a new uniform (call it that, as "new jersey" has some pretty negative connotations), always roll with the established veteran.
For the rest of eternity, you could stroll into Ralph Wilson Stadium feeling comfortable wearing a No. 22 on your chest, or a No. 95. They're both already Bills lifers, fan favorites, and (to varying degrees) great players. NFL uniforms are expensive. Why risk needing to replace something because it's obsolete, rather than missing something you're sentimental over after it's worn out from over-use?
If, five to six years from now, Marcell Dareus, Stephon Gilmore, and/or Nickell Robey have emerged as stars as members of the Bills, buy their uniforms then. Until then, stick with the known quantities. Nobody is awarding bonus points for uniform-selection prescience. It is a shirt that you wear, at maximum, two dozen times per year.
Thanks for the questions this week, folks! Enjoy your last weekend before the start of Bills training camp.