Skip to main content

Schonert to remain eye in the sky

Buffalo's offense exploded this past Sunday at Kansas City. Granted the Chiefs are finding it hard to stop anybody this season, but the Bills put together their second-highest point total in team history with 54 points in a much needed victory.

Offensively, there were a few new additions. Josh Reed was back in the lineup after a three game absence due to injury. Buffalo's defense got them five takeaways and special teams provided great field position.

The one other difference was Bills offensive coordinator Turk Schonert chose the coach's booth over the sideline during the game and the results spoke volumes.

Mired in a four-game losing streak with his young quarterback struggling, Schonert elected to get a bird's eye view of a game.

"I talked to (defensive coordinator) Perry Fewell, who likes it up there," said Schonert. "I had talked to other coordinators and they talked about how they can see things better up there. I wanted to give it a try. I had been up there before as a quarterbacks coach and you do see things up there."

One of the other coordinators Schonert consulted was Bills head coach Dick Jauron.

"He asked me about going upstairs and calling (plays)," said Jauron. "I told him I like going upstairs and calling a game because you can see so much more of the play and of the field. You don't need as much information. You still need information because you're down on your call sheet. But I told him I was fine with it whatever he was comfortable with and we just thought it would be a good change."

When all was said and done it was as the offense was responsible for a season high in points (47), first downs (27), total net yards (444), average gain per play (6.3), net yards passing (273), touchdowns (5) and time of possession (35.37).

"We needed that," said Schonert. "We needed our confidence back. They did a few things on defense that allowed us to do a couple of things. The last couple of weeks it was hard to get some of those things and we took advantage of it and made plays. That's the bottom line. It doesn't matter what I call, the players have to make plays and we made a lot of plays."

Schonert had been on the sidelines the entire season up until Sunday primarily so he could talk face-to-face with Edwards between series. But he found at times he was in need of a personal view from above when it came to preparing for the next possession.

Seeing the defensive coverages unfold as a whole better equipped him for making the next call and calls later in the game.

"Now I can see things and call things and not have to rely on other people asking, 'Hey did you see this?' And they're not really sure if they did. So that was a big reason too," Schonert said.

Seeing it with his own eyes gave him greater conviction with his play calling and those who were executing plays on the field appeared to like the offensive flow.

"I thought this week we did a good job of play calling and just the game plan in general was very suitable for the position I was in, so it was nice to get in rhythm early on in the game," said Trent Edwards who compiled the highest single-game passer rating in his career (121).

Schonert's decision to go upstairs also didn't change the path of the play call. Even when Schonert was on the sidelines he still had quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt radio or signal the play in to Edwards, which continued with Buffalo's offensive coordinator in the booth.

After a one week respite the Bills will be facing another 3-4 defensive front as the 49ers come to Buffalo Sunday. Knowing the problems his offense has had against those fronts Schonert's plan is to remain the unit's eye in the sky.

"They're a 3-4 and they run similar stuff to what Baltimore runs so it'll be a tough task," said Schonert. "But I'm staying upstairs."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.