We’re (almost) here gang! Tonight, the Bills and Vikings partake in a game-that-doesn’t-really-matter-but-we’ll-talk-about-its-importance-anyway first pre-season game. As always, my first goal is that the team makes it out healthy – who cares if they win a game that doesn’t count if you lose five players in the process? – and after that, I have five really important things I want to get a handle on with this 2017 Buffalo Bills football team.
McDermott Game Management:
Sean McDermott is the king of the little details. When listening to SiriusXM, during the Bills day, Pat Kirwan the host noted that McDermott had flash cards made with key pieces of info for every player on the field and a picture, which was something many teams didn’t do. That sort of thing was appreciated by him – and hopefully goes into the game management side of the new Bills coach’s brain. I’m not looking for big decisions made in this game, but I do want to see what his process is.
Does he consult with the team chaplain for 4th down calls like Rex? Will he be more aggressive in the game to end it rather than draw it out? Will he give anyone reason to go prematurely gray with “process timeouts” – that is to say, timeouts called because someone is mis-aligned or there aren’t enough players on the field?
I’m sure we’ll be debating the 4th down analytics and all that fun stuff during the season, but things like how and who calls plays into offense/defense, how many penalties they take, etc. will be informative for me.
First Quarter Offense – Skill Players:
I’m less worried about Tyrod in this case than the cast around him. I don’t anticipate Anquan Boldin will get much time (if any) in the game, but the line behind Boldin-Watkins-Zay Jones is a really long one before you get to Holmes, Philly Brown, Rod Streater and company.
Also, as an aside, the operation: get a comp pick by cutting a ton of folks bit is getting old. Why in seven hells would you want to get rid of players that can help? If that’s the case cut Taylor and go in with the rookie and tank Jets style!
In terms of tight ends, how does recent TE convert Logan Thomas perform in a game-like environment; will he supplant Jack Nicklaus’ grand-son or will he recede to the back of the group?
For the backs, does Williams make himself THE backup running back? Will he put the “pig on the carpet” and maintain a moniker that is (fair or not) tied to him at present? Do I get to see how good my fullback village is?
[By the way Joe, I call them my fullback village. Just deal.]
Reggie Ragland at Game Speed:
I saw a few articles calling for Ragland to be traded because he is running with the third team. Again, going back to the SiriusXM Bills Camp day, and my own two eyes, Ragland post surgery shouldn’t be expected to be at pre-injury speed right now. A lot of the knee injury recovery process is mental – and trusting that the knee will fire and flex like it needs to.
I’m going to look at the first quarter linebackers like Humber and see how athletic he is in coverage before I think about something like throwing the towel in on Ragland. Remember, it’s okay for the Bills to have depth.
Tre’Davious White Live:
Hearing the stories going into OTAs and minicamp about the maturity of Tre’Davious White, I was very interested in seeing him practice at camp when I was in Rochester last week. He did not disappoint, being where he had to be and competing in every drill. I want to see how he does against non-Bills personnel in coverage and I, to be honest, want to see him get beaten a few times. How does he recover? Can he have the amnesia necessary of an NFL corner to succeed?
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