The bye week has come and gone which means it's another game week for the Buffalo Bills. Week 8 features a prime time matchup on Sunday Night Football between the Bills (5-1) and Packers (3-4).
Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier spoke to the media Monday morning about a number of topics. Most noteworthy include Green Bay's surprising struggles, Matt Milano's hybrid role and a key area where the Bills' offense has gotten better since 2021.
Packers still capable of righting the ship
The Green Bay Packers have not gotten out to the start that many expected as they come into Week 8 on a three-game losing streak, tied for the franchise's longest since 2018. Over the last four games, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 6.1 yards per attempt, a stat that ranks 34th out of 40 qualified QBs in the NFL during that span. By comparison, Bills QB Josh Allen ranks 2nd at 9.0.
Even with the recent struggles by Rodgers and the Packers, Bills DC Leslie Frazier still sees an offense that can find their stride at any given moment.
"(Rodgers) is more than capable of leading his team - putting his team on his back. So it starts there," Frazier said. "And they have a football team that's had success in the past. I know they've hit a bump in the road as of late, but it's still so early in our season. They have enough time to right the ship and they've got the right guy leading them to get that done."
Rodgers is well-acquainted with Frazier's style of defense, having faced Frazier 12 times in the regular season from 2007-2013 while Frazier was on the Vikings coaching staff as both a defensive coordinator ('07–'10) and head coach ('11-'13). In those games, Rodgers has a 26:4 TD to INT ratio and 117.9 QB rating.
As a result, Frazier is not buying into the notion that Rodgers is heading for a season-long slump. He detailed that because of Rodgers' longevity in the league, he's seen just about every defense possible and the key for the Bills this week will be rooted in execution rather than trying to catch Rodgers off-guard.
"I don't know how often I'm gonna be able to trick him," Frazier said. "It'll come back for us to fundamentals and technique and our being able to execute at the end of the day. So it won't be a lot of trickery. Just don't know if there's anything he hasn't seen. But if we can execute our defense and really play with good fundamentals and good technique that gives us a chance."
Bills offense has improved this stat in 2022
If there was an area in recent seasons that the Bills offense lagged behind the rest of the league in, yards after the catch would be among those concerns. The Bills ranked 19th in the NFL in YAC a season ago — and second to last among teams that made the playoffs.
Through six games this year, the Bills are sixth in the league with 860 yards after the catch. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey attributes a bulk of that to Josh Allen's ability to trust his receivers underneath to pick up yards while also finding the right times in the game to go for the big play.
"I think it's a big factor just — one, of the offensive success in general. I think if teams are flying out or they're giving you certain things, being smart, not conservative, and not passing up and hoping for something better is always important for us. (Josh) has done a great job with that," Dorsey said.
Another reason is the receiver room finding holes in the opponent's secondary and finding ways to get extra yards. Stefon Diggs ranked top 10 in YAC to the bye week and Gabe Davis currently leads all qualified NFL wideouts with 27.4 yards per catch. Dorsey also praised the Bills WR room as a whole.
"Those guys have done a great job of maximizing YAC with the ball in their hands in space. I think it's been a thing that obviously yes we've stressed and we'll continue to stress because it's an important facet of the game – to be able to get those hidden yards, whether it's after the catch, whether it's knifing north and south for first downs or to gain that extra yard or two," Dorsey said.
NBC Sports' Peter King wrote the following in his weekly column after Buffalo's Week 6 win over the Chiefs:
"I think Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano is the best player who gets the least credit in the NFL."
Frazier was asked about the underrated play of Milano against KC, who despite having just three tackles, made high-level impact plays to help the Bills come away with a 24-20 win. Perhaps the most important play that doesn't show up on the stat sheet was Milano acting as the spy on Patrick Mahomes and preventing a scramble right before Taron Johnson's game-sealing INT.
It's plays like that in big moments the Bills have come to expect from the linebacker.
"People have discovered what we already know," Frazier said.
Frazier detailed the traits that make Milano a perfect fit for the Bills defense.
"One of those hybrid types that everybody's kind of looking for. A guy who can cover. He can play the run game. He's a good blitzer. He's just an all-around good player for us, a Swiss Army knife in some ways because we can use him in so many different ways."
Milano has showcased his ability to be anywhere on the field at any time, ranking third on the team in tackles (32) and tackles for a loss (4) and second on the team in pass deflections (4).
"There never is a mismatch when he's on the field," Frazier said.
Scroll through our photographers' best images from the Bills 5-1 start.