As late as Wednesday, it looked as though Bills fans might be watching Austin Trainor taking snaps under center for much of Friday's preseason finale. So despite the results of the game, a silver lining can be found in the fact that Cardale Jones played the majority of the game at quarterback. Fans got another extended look at the fourth-round pick and the arm strength that has quickly become his signature tool.
Jones did have to shake off some rust the past few days after not throwing for nearly a week. He spoke post-game about how his internal clock reacted to game action.
"It sped up a little bit. It definitely sped up some. Coach Roman did a great job of switching it up and getting the ball out quick and the offensive line had some suggestions about changing up the snap counts because they were coming off the ball pretty good," Jones said.
Despite being known for his cannon arm; Jones was forced to use his legs quite a bit. The third team offensive line struggled at times against Detroit's pass rush putting Jones under pressure often. While not the fleetest of foot, there is something to be said about Jones' running ability. For a rookie, he has an impressive calmness in the pocket. A level of poise that allows him to turn defensive pressure into offensive gain when he carries the football.
"We played a good team with a good defense overall. It gave our offensive line a good challenge and I felt like the most part that our O-line answered that challenge." said Jones. "Of course guys got beat on some plays and I could've done some things different on my end back there. We played against a good team."
Head coach Rex Ryan was less apologetic in regards to the pass protection. He was however, impressed by Jones' battle-level.
"If we had Jim Kelly back there with that kind of protection still been in trouble. It was hard to evaluate him," said Ryan. "One thing I love about it is he competes. That doesn't surprise me. We know how competitive he is, but I wish we would've been able to protect him better"
In tandem with Cardale Jones, tight end Nick O'Leary was a bright spot for the Bills offense collecting six receptions for 63 yards. With the ACL injury to Chris Gragg, O'Leary looks to have a shot at one of the tight end roles if GM Doug Whaley doesn't like the options available on the waiver wire. Jones and O'Leary showed some visible chemistry.
"He is one of the guys who I mostly got reps with in camp when we went on as the third group. Just seeing him out there and being able to execute some plays we practiced a lot was helpful for our offensive success," Jones said. "He's a great receiving tight end on top of blocking. He understands zones and he knows what to do. A great weapon to have."
Jones is one of the most interesting and unknown commodities that the Bills have on their roster. While far from a polished pro, he has shown the type of potential that any organization would love the opportunity to develop. But for Jones, who doesn't expect to see more game action for quite a while, he is just looking forward to getting his first glimpse of the real NFL.
"I'm definitely excited about it just to go through the experience of an NFL season," said Jones. "Seeing different defenses and different structures from the great defensive coordinators around the league and see how we do against more teams."