Unfortunately what we've been seeing from the Bills offensively with all the struggles this past month is the combination of a lot of things. It's easy to come down on quarterback play, but it's so much more than that concerning Buffalo's offense. Once this season is over with they just need to look at every part of this team and assess just how much needs to be changed. And that's exactly what Ralph Wilson and Russ Brandon are going to do.
The two things they're going to need to look at is the quarterback position and head coach. I do feel for interim head coach Perry Fewell because he wasn't handed much to work with to make a favorable impression. It's unfair, but that's just part of the job. Sometimes you're not dealt a great hand when you start out. Unfortunately for him it's unclear what the situation is going to be for him once the season is over, but the organization is going to be looking chiefly at head coach and quarterback to change the team's fortunes.
The quarterbacks for the Bills are hitting the fifth step of their drop and they have about one second and they're getting hit in passing situations. It's not often that they have time to go through their progressions. And if the timing of the play is even slightly off in the passing game it doesn't happen. It's supremely difficult to move the football under those circumstances and that's what we've seen the past few weeks.
Over these last two games with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards injured, if Brian Brohm has to play they're going to need to rely on the running game a bit more. I know it's something they've been trying to do of late, but when they fall behind on the scoreboard they have to move away from that. But the run game with a quick pass game is the way to go right now.
The worst thing they can do is get in long down and distance situations because you know the quarterbacks are rarely going to have time to throw. When you're a quarterback and you are in that situation your percentage of completing a pass is not going to be that good.
I will say that the defensive effort last week was pretty good against the Patriots. The only thing that was frustrating were the pass interference calls. Not all the time, but a good part of the time our defensive backs don't look back for the football. I'm not sure if they're coached to play that way, but if you're in position I don't know why you wouldn't look back to try to make an interception.
I realize the defensive backs have been very successful in getting interceptions this season, heck they're largely responsible for why the Bills lead the league in INTs, but I remember our secondary coach under Marv Levy, Dick Roach would coach our DBs that way. He'd tell them not to look back for the ball, but to just wait until the receiver puts his hands up to strip it. But the pass has to be perfect for the defensive back to make a play and not get called for pass interference with that approach.
It drove me nuts as a player to see that kind of approach to pass defense and it still drives me nuts today. I think our defensive backs could've made a couple of interceptions last week if they would have just looked back on a couple of plays.
Most passes are not perfect and the odds of getting a pass interference call are a lot greater when a defensive back is not looking back at the ball. Often times if a defensive back is just looking back to make a play on the ball the officials will keep the flag in their pocket and not call a penalty.
The Falcons have struggled defending the pass this season. Hopefully the Bills can do a better job through the air on offense and get a win this week. Three of Buffalo's five wins have come on the road this season.
In closing I just want to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hopefully the New Year will hold a lot of good developments for the Bills and their 2010 season.