It was a tough loss this past week and I know the guys on offense were disappointed with their lack of production. Bills fans want to see Lee Evans and Terrell Owens more involved through the course of a game and I understand that sentiment.
I do think that utilizing them is something that has to be done better. Coach Jauron even said this week that they?ve got to get T.O. more involved, and Alex (Van Pelt) to his credit said he?s determined to come up with better answers to accomplish that.
The point to be made here however, is it?s not that their number is not being called. I?m confident that Alex (Van Pelt) is calling plays for Lee (Evans) and T.O. . There are times where the offense walks up to the line of scrimmage and their number is called and Trent (Edwards) has to get out of a play because Lee or T.O. is double teamed.
So I?m willing to believe that their numbers are being called more often than most observers might think. Trent has the freedom to audible out of plays if they?re not beneficial to the offense, and he has gotten them into some better plays through the first three games.
The bottom line though is if he hit on a couple more of those plays last week, it?s a different game. And Trent knows that. You could see his frustration when he overthrew T.O. on that one deep ball when he had his man beat deep for a touchdown. It could have been a big play.
Trent hit Evans and Owens on deep balls for touchdowns in Week 2 against Tampa. They didn?t happen for him in Week 3. He?s got to hit on two or three big plays each week, not necessarily for touchdowns, but to at least get the offense in scoring territory.
Trent is a leader on this team. He?s a captain so he?s got to make some plays in order for this team to win. They?re not a team right now that can afford to miss on those opportunities and still find a way to win a football game. They?ve got to capitalize on most of those each and every week. The offense is doing their best, but the players just have to dig a little deeper and play a little better and find a way to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers each week.
We saw the offensive line undergo some more change this past week. Jonathan Scott started at right tackle and Demetrius Bell had to leave the game with an injury and was replaced by Kirk Chambers. More change up front doesn?t make it any easier for an offensive line that?s seen a lot of change already, and there could be more this week if Bell can?t play.
All that change can also force an offensive coordinator to trim his play call list back. After seeing the Saints have success with 40 pressures on 65 offensive plays by Buffalo last week, you?ve got to believe that Miami will try some similar things with their pressure packages.
Just like when a defensive coordinator is facing a young quarterback, when defensive coaches are facing a young offensive line they?re going to try to confuse them and put some tricks in with stunts and such that they?re not used to seeing. And it takes time for young guys to adjust to that. Any time an offensive line is crossed up it makes it tougher on the quarterback.
Alex (Van Pelt) and his fellow offensive coaches will have to start with their protections and go from there. They?re going to have make sure their protections are sound and then see what?s realistic to run off of that. So they may not be able to go into Sunday?s game with a full out game plan like when you have an offensive line that?s not in a state of flux due to injury.
That group up front is getting better, but as we all know when you undergo the degree of change that the Bills line has it?s going to take time. Those linemen are busting their humps every week in practice, but the change we?ve seen over the first month of the season makes it more challenging for them to jell.
When you have two guys lining up together for the first time in a real game it takes time to adjust to one another and get used to reading schemes together, recognizing certain fronts, etc. Still they?ve somehow got to make it work so this offense can function and execute effectively week to week.
The good thing about this situation is it?s early in the season and I believe the offensive line is only going to get better. There is good, quality talent there, it just needs some seasoning and that can only come by playing games.
What has me most encouraged about this offense moving forward is the return of Marshawn Lynch. I?m not sure he?s going to be carrying the majority of the run game load with the emergence of Fred Jackson, but even as a 50-50 split between them that?s a heck of a tandem.
The way Jackson has played he?s done an unbelievable job through the first three games. Marshawn is more of a north-south runner that will run right at you and run you over. With both of those guys in the mix it?s going to be interesting to see how Alex utilizes both talents. Marshawn is a solid back that a lot of teams would like to have.
Jackson reminds me more of Thurman Thomas because he can do everything. He can catch the ball and run great routes. He can do what every quarterback loves as far as running backs go because he?s an all-purpose guy. You don?t know whether you?re going to split him out wide and run him against a linebacker, which would be a mismatch. Running him against a safety would even be a mismatch. It?s almost like teams will have to bring a nickel back in there when Jackson and Lynch are in there at the same time to take away the pass threat.
With the way Jackson has played it?s hard to sit him down knowing how productive he?s been. But Evans and T.O. have to get some more touches too. The challenge for the offense this week is how they?re going to get all of their playmakers involved. It?s hard to predict with Marshawn coming back, just what they?re going to do.
Looking at the Dolphins offense with Chad Henne making his first career start, you?ve got to believe they?re going to keep it simple for him. They?ll try to get that strong run game that they have going to support him and put in a lot of three and five step drops.
Facing a young quarterback like that I?m sure Perry Fewell will mix things up and disguise his coverages to get Henne to hesitate a bit. To be successful quarterbacks need to react not think. Any time you can get a quarterback thinking while the play is unfolding they?re done. So you?ve got to give Henne some new looks that the Bills defense hasn?t put on tape yet this season. They?ve got to blitz from different sides and do some things they haven?t done in the past to confuse him.
I'm looking forward to this game, like every year. Bills vs. Dolphins, enough said.