1 - Pass rush must increase the pressure
Buffalo's defense has been dominant at times this season, but as of late they're struggling to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This Sunday against the New Orleans Saints it'll be especially important to put their offense under duress.
The Saints are the best in the NFL at protecting their quarterback, Drew Brees. Through eight games they've only allowed eight sacks, ranking first in the league. On the flip side, the numbers don't favor the Bills when getting at the quarterback. They've tallied 14 sacks this season, putting them at 26th in the league.Bills defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier, discussed the difficulties of disturbing Brees.
"Most teams come into it with the idea of being able to get pressure to him. I know going into Sunday's game there had only been seven sacks, they were leading the league in fewest sacks allowed," he said. "It's a plan, but he gets the ball out so fast that you may not necessarily sack him. You have to find ways to at least pressure him. It's going to be important. He's a future Hall of Fame quarterback and you don't want it to be seven-on-seven for him."
In the past three games the Bills defense only has three sacks. Defensive tackle, Cedric Thornton, had the lone sack on Thursday against the New York Jets. He nearly recorded a second sack, but his hand just grazed the quarterback's facemask, resulting in a penalty.
Frazier mentioned during Monday's press conference some ways his unit can make their presence felt.
"In our league you have to be able to affect the quarterback. Sometimes with your four-man rush or with a blitz package as well," he said. "That also means some of the things we do in the back end with our looks and disguises. You want to be able to pressure him at times and there are many different ways to get that done. We have to find a way against a very good quarterback this week to not let him get confident in the pocket."
2 - McDermott familiar with New Orleans on field leaders
Everybody knows the New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees. Bills head coach, Sean McDermott, faced him a dozen times during his time in the NFC South. But McDermott is also familiar with the Saints middle linebacker, A.J. Klein, who's the quarterback of their defense.
Klein was drafted in 2013 by the Carolina Panthers. McDermott was a part of the process of selecting him. This is Klein's first season with the Saints and he's their leader in tackles with 41. He has also added a sack and a forced fumble through eight games.
The formula for New Orleans success this season has been their revamped defense. Saints defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen, finally has his unit flowing since taking the job in 2015. McDermott mentioned on Monday the job Allen's done and Klein quarterbacking their defense.
"Their personnel have certainly improved. I would start there and they're more consistent just overall. They've been together now give or take three years under the new coordinator there. He does a good job. They're playing fast, all that," McDermott said. "I know A.J. Klein is their middle linebacker. I know A.J. from my time with him in Carolina. He's a good football player. I'm partial to him because I was with him and he was in Carolina. A lot goes through that middle linebacker position and A.J. does a good job."
Over the years McDermott has acquired some in-depth intel of the Saints on both sides of the ball. Hopefully it will pay dividends when New Orleans comes to Buffalo on Sunday.
3 - Cadet brings versatility to Bills backfield
Buffalo brought in Travaris Cadet on Saturday after placing Taiwan Jones on season-ending injured reserve. The six-year veteran could make his Bills debut on Sunday against his former team.
Cadet's first stint in the NFL came in 2012 with the New Orleans Saints. Over the years he has established himself as a solid pass-catching running back. Last season the 6-1, 210-pound RB reeled in a career-high 40 catches for 281 yards. He also found the end zone four times in 2016. Cadet has seven touchdowns in his career and they all have come as a receiver.
Bills offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, commented on Cadet after his first practice on Monday.
"Just in my exposure with him, he's caught a lot of balls in New Orleans. He's done a good job on routes. I'm just getting to know him also," he said. "He's been around a system that's done some really good things. I'm sure most of the concepts will make sense to him… we'll see what his exposure is and what transpires from that."
Prior to joining the Bills, Cadet had a brief stint with the New York Jets. They parted ways with him when Bilal Powell and Matt Forte became healthy. After his first practice in Buffalo he talked about what he can bring to the team's backfield.
"Versatility factor. [I'm a] matchup problem. A guy you have to worry about," Cadet said. "Striking from different directions, not knowing where I'm going to line up at. It's just getting on the same page with the coaching staff."
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