I had the pleasure of attending last night’s pre-season game against the Redskins, and I left with more opinions about a game that doesn’t matter than I expected to. Aspects of the Bills looked quite good, however many aspects seemed to be lacking still. I know the game was blacked out, meaning most didn’t get a chance to see it. I’ll give you a little recap of the things that stood out to me.
The story of the start of the game was the Bills run defense. The D-line that had so much hype lived up to it in their first preseason appearance. Hightower had very few holes to get through, which was quite impressive. However, the pass defense wasn’t nearly as pretty.
Robert Griffin went 4 for 6 on the night, and seemed to favor wideout Pierre Garcon. They also seemed to target the right side, meaning little was thrown the way of Stephon Gilmore. Not only did the secondary feel a little shaky, but the pass rush was not all that great either among the first teamers. Of course there is a little rust and time to learn. Hopefully the D-line will get better all around as time passes.
As for the offense, play calling was quite strange. They did not run the ball once the entire time the first team was on the field. Neither Fred Jackson nor C.J. Spiller had one carry. This led to throw after throw, many off target. Tonight was not Fitz’s best performance. Many passes were quite off-target. He finished the night 6 for 14 for 61 yards.
A few players that played later in the game stood out to me as well. Of course I was going to be focusing on the quarterback play, as Thigpen and Young compete for the starting job. We’ll start with Thigpen. It was usual Thigpen really, nothing spectacular. You watch him play and you feel like the offense just doesn’t move. Its quite boring really. As for Young, he showed off his ability to run tonight. He actually led the team with 37 rushing yards. However when it came to passing he had some struggles. It felt like he was still having issues with the offense. He held onto the ball for two long, leading to a few sacks and pressures by the defense. He is quite the physical specimen, but he’s going to need to play better if he’s going to convince Chan Gailey that he deserves to be on the team over Thigpen.
The worst player award tonight has to go to Tashard Choice. Many are wondering why he is still on the team at this point. He had 16 yards on 9 carries. I felt like he was purposely running into the Redskin defenders. Johnny White made a strong case tonight that he should be higher on the depth chard than Tashard. I think that’s the right “choice”.
McKillop had a night night on defense, leading the team in tackles. To be honest with you I hadn’t heard of him before today. I think he could likely make the team if he keeps up the production. Ron Brooks was one of the better secondary players tonight, breaking up a few plays. Merriman made a few plays as well which is always nice to see.
One of the main stories from tonight’s game was the penalties. So many offsides and holding penalties that it felt like the Bills were always 2nd and 20. I don’t know if it was the fault of the quarterbacks or the offensive linemen (I’m going to lean O-line) but that needs to be corrected. The 2nd and 3rd team offensive lines looked horrendous to be honest. Most of the issues for Young were largely because he had a consistently collapsing pocket.
Of course last night was the team’s first taste of competitive action, so you have to expect some kinks still need to be worked out. This team isn’t ready for regular season play yet, and I think they know that. Hopefully they can ease their way back into things and get on the right track. If anything tonight’s game was fun to see just to get a look at RGIII and see Mario in game action for the first time. The next preseason game is the 17th at Minnesota. The next home game is the 25th (kids day) against Pittsburgh, and if that is blacked out as well I will keep you up to date on everything that happens.
Did you watch last night’s game? If so, what did you think? What where the major issues and who stood out to you? Make sure to comment below to start the discussion.