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Compressed week gives Bills no time to waste

Posted Nov 10, 2014

The Bills have no time to let the defeat linger. They’ll barely have enough time to let their bodies recover before they’re on the field again Thursday night in Miami.

Coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of the Chiefs Sunday, the Bills have no time to let the defeat linger. They’ll barely have enough time to let their bodies recover before they’re on the field again Thursday night in Miami.

Such is the challenge these days in the NFL with a 13-week slate of Thursday night games, which challenges NFL coaching staffs and players to take six days of recovery and preparation and cram it into three and a half days.

“Just got to get ready as fast as you can,” said Robert Woods Monday. “Limited time, no day off this week. We’ll go over Kansas City today and get started on Miami too.”

The challenge at the outset of the new week is on the coaching staff. Doug Marrone and his staff after finishing up the game against the Chiefs Sunday, walked across the parking lot and began reviewing that game on tape. After drawing up coaching points and corrections they moved on to Miami not long after the footage from the Dolphins’ Sunday game in Detroit arrived.

From that along with a host of scouting reports and statistical analyses the coaching staff then put together a game plan through the overnight hours of Sunday into Monday.

“We just slept here,” said Marrone of his staff. “In order to get the work done and get the film in from the Detroit game and get everything, all the reports done and get the game plan set and meeting with the doctors on the injuries to see who is available and who is not. So it’s pretty much standard around the league for us as coaches.”

The players arrived for team meetings followed by film review of Sunday’s game and shortly thereafter they moved on to film study of Miami. If there is one benefit to the short week, the players and coaches have a firm working knowledge of the Dolphins’ personnel being a division opponent that they’ve already played once this season.

“I think playing a division team is good because you’ve seen them,” said Kyle Williams. “You do have some tendencies on them. They’re playing good right now. There’s always going to be new wrinkles week in and week out especially on a quick turnaround, having played them a lot helps for sure.”

The players’ on the field work Monday consisted of a walk through practice just over 24 hours removed from Sunday’s game.

“How you practice is difficult and challenging because obviously (Monday) is just a walk through,” said Marrone. “We just played a game (Sunday). Tuesday is more like a (shorter) Friday, Saturday type practice. You try to make sure that they’re prepared and ready to go and seeing things at a speed that they’re going to see in four short days. I think those are all the challenges. We all have them. Obviously the team we’re playing has it so it’s at least equal from that sense.”

The mental preparation for the game is essentially the same. It’s just crammed into a shorter timeframe. It’s the reps in practice that are reduced just by the fact that there are three fewer practice days, the practices are shorter in duration and not as physically taxing. If they were there would be an awful lot of tired legs out on the field for Buffalo Thursday night.

“Physically trying to get your body back on such a quick turnaround and trying to get the preparation you need to get a game plan in and get comfortable with it this quickly (is the challenge),” said Kyle Williams. “The first day we usually start practice is the day we’ll be traveling down to Miami to play a game the next day.”

As for the game plan Marrone maintains that the volume of the plan will not change from what it normally is in a typical game week. Where the issues arise is if the coaching staff wants to make a few changes to their approach beyond what is required for that particular opponent. With less time to rep such changes in a shortened week there is no proving ground to ensure that the changes are going to change their performance for the better.

“I think it all depends upon what type of team you have,” Marrone said. “I think for us if we go out there, will we make some changes? Yes we will. Will they be dramatic changes? Probably not. We don’t have enough time to know or feel comfortable about whether it’s going to work or not. You’ve just got to put your players in the best position to execute and play.”

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