Obvious but necessary. After his least-effective performance in a Bills uniform, this past week, we examined just about everything from Tyrod Taylor’s Week 1 game against the Ravens, an outing that seemed to scare the living daylights out of many #BillsMafia members.
He missed some open receivers — which is actually a pretty normal occurrence for all NFL QBs — and was overly tentative with the ball in his hands.
Last year, it what was probably his worst game of the year, a Week 2 loss to the Patriots in which he threw three interceptions, Taylor responded with probably his best outing of the season.
In Week 3’s contest in Miami, he went 21 of 29 for 277 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
I’m interested to see how Taylor responds this time around.
Jets interior DL vs. Bills interior OL
Muhammad Wilkerson. Leonard Williams. Sheldon Richardson. Quite the interior defensive line trio for the Jets, a group that may be the best in all of football.
(Yes, they move around and Wilkerson plays a lot of end, but if you play defense and tip the scales at 300-plus pounds, you’re going to be labeled an interior defensive lineman.)
Williams has Wilkerson-esque ability to fend off blockers with his hands and is similarly athletic and quick with his feet, making him a super-difficult assignment for any offensive lineman.
Richie Incognito and, believe it or not, John Miller were sound in Week 1 against the Ravens, both receiving grades comfortably in the positives. In fact, Miller’s +1.2 overall grade (+0.6 run-blocking, +0.6 pass-blocking) tied for the highest on Buffalo’s offense.
Eric Wood wasn’t brutal but had some issues in blitz pickup and was walked back into Taylor on a few occasions. How Buffalo’s G-C-G triumvirate performs will have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.
Robert Woods, Greg Salas vs. Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams
Ok, I got the obvious ones out of the way. So I’ll stray outside the box a bit and won’t mention Sammy Watkins vs. Darrelle Revis, because there’s no way you needed me to tell you to watch them tonight. You’ll probably be paying close attention to LeSean McCoy too.
So I’ll jump to Buffalo’s secondary pass-catching options, Robert Woods and, presumably, Greg Salas.
Woods was a monster blocking for the run against Baltimore and caught four passes for 20 yards on five targets. Salas was open on a sideline route but Taylor slightly overthrew him in Week 1.
Last year, Skrine allowed over 700 yards in coverage and a QB rating over 100, per Pro Football Focus. Despite the fact that Revis is beyond the prime of his career, just about every team would rather throw toward Skrine than the future Hall of Famer.
Marcus Williams quietly had six interceptions last year and snagged another one in the opener against the Bengals. These two in-the-shadows matchups matter tonight.
Jerry Hughes vs. Ben Ijalana and/or Brent Qvale
Yes, those are the names of the Jets right tackle carousel. They split time in Week 1 -- kinda weird right? — and aren’t exactly All-Pro material.
Ijalana was a second-round pick by the Colts in 2011 and has spent the past three seasons in New York.
He didn’t start at all in 2013, started four games in 2014 and missed all of last season due to injury.
As for Qvale, he went undrafted out of Nebraska two years ago and spent his rookie year on the practice squad. He started one game in 2015.
Expect Jerry Hughes to line up on the left edge of Buffalo’s defensive front often in this one.
Rex Ryan’s blitz packages
For some reason, Rex started the game — and season — conservatively against the Ravens last week.
Not very Rex of Rex.
The Ravens racked up 114 yards in the first quarter, and Flacco stood in the pocket relatively unscathed.
After that, Rex said “ok, let’s blitz,” and Baltimore’s offense really had no answer.
Over the final three quarters, the Ravens amassed just 194 yards of offense — 64.6 per quarter and 3.59 yards per play — and Flacco was sacked four times.
Yes, the 66-yard touchdown Buffalo surrendered to Mike Wallace came early in the second quarter but, outside of that, the Bills shut down Baltimore’s attack by frequently deploying Rex’s array of disguised blitzes and even sending just four overloaded rushers while dropping others into coverage on the opposite side of the line.
I’ll be interested to see if Rex continues to, well, be Rex throughout tonight’s game and for the remainder of the season. If you ask me, he should just blitz. A lot. Every game.