Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) is attended to by medical staff after being hit out of bounds during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Once again, a mediocre offensive attack lead to the Buffalo Bills downfall in Cleveland Thursday Night.
I have always believed this to be a big issue since the days of Eric Moulds and Peerless Price; we need better wide receivers. There is no question about it; you can argue, criticize,or blame the defense, but it falls on our offense every time. I personally attended the Buffalo Bills game in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday night. After a solid first half, injuries to key players on the offense lead to a downward spiral for the Buffalo Bills team as a whole. The Buffalo Bills had numerous drives that went four and out in 30 seconds. The Buffalo Bills had numerous punts that went 30 yards. These pitfalls ultimately became an advantage for the Cleveland Browns offense.
If you didn’t read one of my most recent articles, I published an article describing a potential trade between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. The trade involved Kenny Britt coming from the Titans for Jairus Byrd, along with some draft picks for compensation. Many people were not happy with this article; in fact many people told me in discussion and through comments on my post that the Bills do not need wideouts, especially someone who has struggled in Tennessee like Kenny Britt. Yet after the horrific game yesterday, I beg to differ.
For a team with a solid running game, my analysis of the offensive problems facing Buffalo begins with the wide receivers. The Buffalo Bills have no deep threat; Robert Woods is solid receiver who runs phenomenal routes for a player with 5 weeks of NFL experience, Stevie Johnson is impossible to cover in the intermediate passing game, Scott Chandler can get open on occasion due to his height at 6’7″, but the other receivers on the Bills roster are mediocre at best. Defenses come into each game and stack the box against the run because they know that, like years past, the Bills will not beat them in 1 on 1 coverage. If you watch the offense closely, you can visibly see that our conservative play calling tries to hide this fact by running short to intermediate routes. Good teams know this and continue week after week to control the Bills using their greatest weakness against them.
Some people want to blame EJ and his lack of experience or Tuel for his poor performance in yesterday’s game but who are they going to pass the ball to? No one gets open. No one can get deep. No one can make an explosive play. Our offensive line is a bit above average but they cannot block 8 guys in the box, no one can maintain their blocks because they are outnumbered. The Buffalo Bills need a big, physical receiver who defenses must respect.
Receivers like Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, and Brandon Marshall can beat corners with their strength, speed, and explosiveness. The Bills lack this threat greatly which means we must rely on our running game being superb each and every game in order to open up the passing game. However, it is impossible to get the running game started with 8 guys in the box. There are too many ways to create defensive schemes to control the Buffalo Bills running game and force them to pass the ball downfield, something the Buffalo Bills cannot do. Until the Buffalo Bills address this issue we will continue to deal with this issue on offense and will lose games against teams who have decent cornerbacks. The Buffalo Bills need to address this issue and salvage this offense with deep passes and big plays.
What do you think?