You should know the term “companion piece” by now, so I’m going reference the other two things of mine you should be reading today as part of our discussion about the Buffalo Bills’ running backs. In my Devin Singletary clips I try to highlight why he landed the workhorse role. I talk about why I don’t feel Zack Moss is a true change-of-pace back in that one. So for Matt Breida let’s discuss how he IS a change-of-pace back, and whether or not that’s actually a good thing.
Matt Breida is the speedster of the group and when that guy is on the field you try to turn contests into a race as often as possible. Geometry can be a pain in the butt though and the defender takes a good angle and dive. Breida is able to survive the tackle, but it prevents him from turning the corner.
And here’s what happens when you win the race. There’s some nice blocking in here as well. Breida beats the defenders at the line right away, and then puts his foot in the ground and kicks hard to the sideline to beat another couple for a big gain.
Breida is the speed back, but he’s also the lightest. That might be correlated somehow. There’s some decent wiggle to avoid an immediate tackle, but it doesn’t gain much ground.
This has a lot of similar ideas to the plays above. Find a soft spot and let Breida’s speed take over. There’s some high-quality blocking on the run to help, with Breida getting to pick and choose lanes at high speed.
Speed isn’t just for the open field. Breida won’t likely ever push a pile, but he can operate quickly in narrow lanes.
With Breida not seeing the field much, there is a risk of telegraphing the play a bit. The New Orleans Saints seem to know what’s happening right away and there’s no escape for Breida.
Sometimes all you need is just a little help. Ike Boettger to the rescue on this play. Breida sees the narrow lane and hits it perfectly after Boettger goes wrecking crew on New Orleans.
I think the deal with Matt Breida is pretty straightforward. He’s got plenty of speed and a decent amount of agility to pair with it. Those two things give you plenty to work with. That said, the NFL is full of fast guys and big guys. A running back is likely to encounter both types on any given play. Breida can’t win every race, and his style of running does a lot better with lead blockers.
Buffalo has leaned harder into offensive-line personnel and schemes that complement Breida. Ask yourself this though: Do you think Mitch Morse or Ryan Bates will hold up sprinting over and over again? Breida is a solid player who can help out the Bills. But if you’re interested in my two cents, I don’t see a path beyond what we saw in the 2021 season.