From the moment I was able to sit down and watch this game on the All22, I saw a different Bills team. Not just offensively, but defensively as well. I saw a multiple formation offense that spread out the Cardinals defense that organically created run lanes for LeSean McCoy to utilize.
Instead of running into a wall of defenders, on multiple occasions McCoy and Tyrod Taylor found themselves breaking loose because new Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was able to manipulate how many players the Cardinals were able to stick in the box to stop the run.
Lynn promised he would simplify the offense for Taylor and utilize all aspects of the field. On play number one, you’ll see just that; putting Taylor in a simple, two-read play that was truly predicated on what the defense gave Buffalo.
This is one of the simpler route combinations you can run with two receivers to the same side of the field, especially to the field side. It’s a simple double-in concept, similar to the double slant combination. What makes the double-in concept easier to read however, is the length of time it takes for the route to develop. Taylor isn’t forced to make a split-second decision and you can see that because he has the time in the pocket and as the routes develop he’s able to make the correct read on the play.
The read key on this play is the outside linebacker. He clearly goes with the inside route rendering Walter Powell wide open. Taylor’s footwork on the play is worlds better than certain plays last week. I mentioned on a number of plays last week, that Taylor almost came to a stand-still in the pocket. He was being lazy and falling back on his heels, leading to a number of balls thrown inaccurately. This time, he maintains good footwork, shuffling forward and look, it leads to an accurate throw in stride.
Great play call, great execution and great footwork by Taylor.
In what is probably Taylor’s best throw of the afternoon, he puts together great footwork, an accurate and well placed ball with a terrific snap-to-release time.
This throw has to excite Bills fans when they see Taylor show the ability to look off the free safety long enough and throw into a tight window. Obviously, Robert Woods makes a tremendous play here, selling out and making a terrific diving catch, however the throw was picture perfect.
What I think impresses me more than his ability to freeze the safety and deliver a strike, is Taylor’s noticeable improvement as far as footwork goes in just one week. As I mentioned in the previous play, over the course of the first two weeks, Taylor was often times resorting to lazy footwork essentially at a standstill in the pocket. He wasn’t putting himself in a position footwork-wise to make a quick, accurate throw. This week however, a totally different story. If Taylor resorts to the type of footwork he showed the week before, this ball isn’t thrown on time or on target.
First off all I think Taylor doesn’t allow this play to fully develop, not to mention he throws a bad ball to Woods making him reach down for it. If he makes the catch, he likely gets killed by the safety who reads the play right away. This time, Taylor doesn’t manipulate the safety long enough and likely would have cost his receiver on the play.
If you watch the outside linebacker at the top of the screen, he follows Taylor’s eyes the entire play and doesn’t maintain his hook-to-curl zone, leaving McCoy a 5-yard cushion after the completion of his route. There’s a good chance that this week against the Patriots, Taylor will see a lot of this and he has to be willing to make that play when the defense is going to give it to him. Against the Texans, the Pats offered up numerous dump-off opportunities to Brock Osweiler but he insisted on trying to force the ball down field.
If Taylor makes an accurate throw to McCoy’s outside shoulder, leading him to the sideline, he likely gets a first down and maybe more with McCoy’s ability in the open field. Bad read, bad ball placement, bad execution.
Taylor had shown his footwork throughout the first half was much improved from what he was putting on film the previous two weeks. This time, he resorts back to that laziness I eluded to and blamed for a lot of Taylor’s inaccurate balls. Well, here it is once more.
This is an easy route out of shotgun to have lazy footwork with. To throw this accurately however, you must overcompensate and over exaggerate especially for a right handed quarterback throwing to the right side. If he’s not going to take a shuffle step or hitch step, which he shouldn’t anyways, he can’t wait. The ball needs to be release a second sooner instead of allowing himself to fall back on his heels. Far too often Taylor is making these types of throws off of his back foot or on his heels rather than on his toes and it leads to throws like this.
This is a ball and route he must hit no less than 9 out of 10 times. There’s simply no excuse at this level to miss a wide open receiver with a corner playing nearly 10-yards off of him ever.
When I got to college and went from an offense that was played strictly under center to an offense almost explicitly played out of shotgun, I always felt my footwork was far better from under center. 3-step drops are three steps and 5-step drops are five steps. Sounds simple enough, but out of shotgun your quarterback is already at 3-step depth and is only about 2-steps away from being at 5-step depth so you have completely change your footwork, how quickly you get your fingers on the laces and then how quickly you can release it. It’s much more difficult than you might think.
On this play, Taylor 5-step drop is flawless. At his fifth step he steps up and makes an accurate throw. More importantly his timing is in sync, and I find myself wondering if Taylor may be better off dropping back from under center than always coming out of the shotgun formation. The previous play is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. If he was under center, took a 3-step drop and delivered the ball, he likely hits Goodwin in stride. Instead, he takes a drop step, has lazy footwork an essentially one-hops it to him.
It’s something I’m going to continue to monitor moving forward, but it seems to me he’s having a pacing footwork issue in shotgun you simply don’t see when he’s playing under center.
Having said that, great footwork, great throw and terrific read.
What an improvement for both Taylor and the offense in Week 3. They’ll have to play an even better game in Week 4 against the Patriots, specifically in terms of consistency. To me, still far too many 3-and-outs and too many poorly placed balls. Again, this week against a good-to-great Patriots defense, Taylor must find consistency or they’ll find themselves in a 1-3 hole.
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