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Bills Today: Defense looks to slow Saints strong screen game

Posted Nov 9, 2017

Here's the Bills news of note for Nov. 9th.


1 - Defense looks to slow Saints strong screen game
Coming over from Carolina, it’s no secret that Sean McDermott is familiar with the New Orleans Saints. He has game planned for their quarterback, Drew Brees, numerous times. McDermott discussed the sneaky-good screen game they’ve developed over the years.

“It’s always been a big part of this offense when you go back, Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles. They’ve always had a good screen game and (Sean Payton) does a great job of calling it at the right time,” he said. “He tries to keep you off balance and they do a really good job of not only calling it, but executing it with their linemen. Very, very big part of this potent offense.”

The Saints running backs have racked up receiving yards over the past 10 years. Reggie Bush, in his rookie season (2006), reeled in 88 catches for 742 yards and two touchdowns. He was a viable option through the air up until his departure in 2010.

Darren Sproles stepped in as the receiver out of the backfield in 2011. In that year, he caught 86 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns. Then in 2012 he had 75 receptions for 667 yards and seven touchdowns. Sproles had a whopping 14 touchdowns as a receiver in two seasons. He added two more touchdowns in the 2013 season.

Mark Ingram took over the reins in 2014. Since then, he has 156 receptions for 1,061 yards and four touchdowns. This season Ingram has acquired a sidekick, rookie Alvin Kamara. Through eight games Kamara has 37 catches for 341 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks fourth in receiving among running backs in the NFL. Kamara has fit into the Saints offense nicely.

“Number 41 [Kamara] we understand is a very good football player early in his career,” McDermott said. “He’s split out as a receiver as well, so it’s just another weapon that they’ve added now to what was already a potent offense.”

Buffalo’s defense will have to keep a close eye on Ingram and Kamara rolling out of the backfield. The Bills have done well limiting pass-catching running backs this season. They’ve only allowed one touchdown through the air to opposing running backs.

2 - Cadet’s familiarity with former team could help Sunday
The Bills latest addition to the 53-man roster, Travaris Cadet, could make his debut with the team on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. It would be a familiar site for Cadet, as he spent five seasons with the Saints from 2012-2016.

Flash back to Week Two against Carolina, Mike Tolbert wasn’t afraid to give the inside scoop on his former team. Now we’re in Week 10 and Cadet is in a similar position as Tolbert.

“It’s early right now, but whatever information they need I’ll give it to them,” Cadet said. “Whatever I can do to put us in a position to win at the end of the day. That’s just part of the league. When you switch teams you know what they do.”

The 28-year-old feels comfortable facing his former team. Cadet’s confident his new team will be up to the test of ending the Saints six-game winning streak.

“It’s going to be like a practice, really. I’ve been over there for so long so for the most part I’m familiar with it,” he said. “I know what they bring to the table. I feel like we’ll be up for the test.”

3 - Dawkins’ growth in his rookie season
Buffalo’s second-round pick in 2017, Dion Dawkins, has had three starts through eight games in his rookie year.  There’s a possibility he could be making his fourth start on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints

This is assuming the Bills starting left tackle, Cordy Glenn, doesn’t suit up against the Saints. Glenn missed Wednesday’s practice due to soreness in the ankle/foot he injured earlier in the season.

Dawkins’ three starts this season came in Weeks Three, Four, and Five. He played 100-percent of the offensive snaps in all three of those games. The rookie tackle talked about his growth since then as he prepares for another possible start.

“I grow daily. I guess I can say I’m pushing away from being a rookie,” Dawkins said. “Every day I’m getting older and learning from these older guys. My rookie status is going away. These guys look at me as a guy. I have to come out there and compete.”

Buffalo’s run game wasn’t overly productive in Dawkins’ three starts against Denver, Atlanta and Cincinnati, though the Bills went 2-1 during that stretch.

The Bills certainly dind’t meet their standards running the ball last Thursday against the New York Jets. Though Glenn took all the snaps last week, Dawkins is aware they need to return to old form against a solid Saints defense.

“They’re NFL players and they play hard. I know I have to bring my ‘A’ game, just like every other game. I’m watching film and these guys are studs. I know what I have to bring with my technique and everything daily to get the job done,” he said.

“Just getting back to the basics, the fundamentals. Doing what we did in the beginning that got us to this point.”

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