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Bills Mafia Poll: Where to Improve

After a disappointing showing by the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, here is what BillsMafia believes the team needs to improve in.

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Bills - USA Today

Alright, deep breath in, and exhale. One more time. In, and release. Okay, the Buffalo Bills lost week one to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It wasn’t a smack-in-the-mouth defeat but it had multiple faults. There was a big lack of execution, especially when compared to Pittsburgh. The OL, WR, and CB groups (among others) had rough days. Coaching was an absolute nightmare. Brain Daboll, who must want to stay in Buffalo, had a number of questionable calls throughout the game. Plus, penalties killed the team all throughout the game. Josh did the most he could amidst an amazing pass attack from Melvin Ingram, T.J. Watt, and Cam Heyward.

Defensively, a lot of guys played pretty darn good. Ed Oliver had some big tackles. Mario Addison had a huge sack-fumble. Tre made a lot of plays early on. Milano and Edmunds were really good at getting from sideline to sideline, while still thumping up the middle. Overall, there were four main aspects of the game that I think Buffalo needs to improve on going into week two at Miami. I went to twitter to ask which one stood out the most, and the results are interesting. But first, the honorable mentions.

Josh Allen

A lot of the Bills fan base blamed Allen for the struggles yesterday, but I disagree. His O-Line didn’t hold up at all. Buffalo was unable to establish any form of deep-ball ability due to Josh getting pinched in the pocket. His receivers had some bad drops as well. I can recall one from Emmanuel Sanders and one from Bease as well. When looking at what he could improve on, its jitters for me. When he had time, and when his receiver was able to create separation downfield, he missed. We haven’t seen overthrows like that from Allen since year two (2019).

I think playing in front of that many fans again messed with him a little, and next week against Miami will be a chance for him to prove that he’s still a top-five QB. Also, look at Allen’s stats from last year’s game against Pitt… They’re basically identical. This Pittsburgh defense is elite, and to walk away with 250+ yards and just one turnover is pretty damn good. It could’ve been a lot worse.

Receivers

Pittsburgh has a great back-end to their secondary with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, and Tre Norwood. Their corner room is pretty good too as long-time veteran Joe Haden and rising star Cam Sutton held up pretty well against one of the best passing attacks from last year. Due to the pressure the Pittsburgh D-Line was generating, the Bills receivers just didn’t have time to get open. (Props to the Steelers for their coverage techniques.) I don’t think this game is on the WR room, but if this group falters again against Miami, who has one of the best secondaries in the NFL, some changes will need to be made. Ideally, get Gabe Davis on the field more!!

Special Teams

Everything aside from the punt game was pretty fantastic for Buffalo. Bass went perfect on the day and McKenzie had a 75-yard return to start the game and the season. In the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh blew the game open with a blocked punt touchdown. Now, I don’t mean to not give the Steelers’ special teams credit for that amazing play, but Buffalo simply didn’t execute on that play. They practically chauffeured Miles Killibrew right to Matt Haack’s doorstep. If that blocked punt TD didn’t happen, there’s a chance we walk away victorious. 

Okay, now to the poll. Results ranked from lowest to highest.

D-Line (1.9%)

Not a lot of feedback for the D-Line and I totally get why. Mario Addison had an awesome sack-fumble early on in the game, and Rousseau and Oliver made some big time plays on run D. Now I know it’s practically impossible to get a lot of pressure on Big Ben. He gets the ball out in like two seconds and sometimes weighs more than the defenders trying to take him down. But, when you look at where to attack the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s their O-Line. They started two mid-round rookies, aging Trai Turner, and two second-year guys in Okorafor & Dotson, two of the lowest rated players (according to PFF) last year.

I cannot believe that Frazier and, more importantly, McDermott didn’t try to establish a pass-rush early on. Why not blitz six a couple times? Bring the heat! There’s no way an O-Line that inexperienced could’ve handled a Epenesa-Obada-Butler-Zimmer-Rousseau-Hughes pass rush. And to not try it? Backseated coaching.

Remember, this article is aiming at where to improve going into next week, not necessarily what went wrong in week one. So, next week against Miami’s (terrible) O-Line, pay attention to the pass-rush and the blitzing schemes McD is using. It needs to improve.

Motivation/Hustle/Discipline (6.3%)

Despite going up 10-0 to start the game, there was this sense of flatness on the field from the Bills. And when adversity struck, the team withered away. Stefon Diggs had one moment I remember very clearly. It was a part of the two-minute drill, down 10: he made a big grab, went out of bounds, and casually walked back to the huddle with a drooped head. Now I don’t want to pick on just Diggs as there were many other players doing the same, I just vividly remember that one. After our historic season last year, this team has a massive target on their back. Every team in the NFL that plays us has week x circled, ready to give us their best. It’s time for these guys to buck up, the season isn’t over.

Come out next week and smack Miami in the face. Let them know who this division belongs too. Because if the same thing happens next week and the Bills walk away 0-2, I think the players will give up and this will be a wash of a season. Don’t let that happen McDermott. This week of practice better be fiery. And in the words of The Air Raid Hour: “If this doesn’t fuel this team, they aren’t who we thought they were”.

Coaching (34.6%)

Okay, let’s get into play-calling shall we. McDermott and, more importantly, Daboll had bad bad days. Daboll was way too cute. When it was 4th & 1 and they had Josh throw the ball 6 yards backwards to Breida, I actually walked out the room and had to take a couple drives off from watching. That was singlehandedly the WORST play design I have ever seen while watching the Bills. And that dates back to the Marrone and Ryan days. Daboll needs new material. The NFL changes every single season. The Bills offense has seemingly been figured out, and that isn’t a problem.

How about next week, with Miami’s shotty linebacking play, let’s get Josh on some bootlegs? Just to try something new. How about next week we try what the LA Rams do so perfectly: get our receivers the ball with room to run. How about next week we trust in our elite offense to go for it on 4th and 1 and establish the tide of the game. Like Pete Davidson, this team needs new material. I’d also like to see our all-star coaching staff show off a little. Why play so damn conservative in the second half? And, because it must be talked about, the 4th & 8 call might be the second-worst play call I’ve ever seen. Throwing into triple coverage? It’s not like Josh had any other options. Diggs was the only receiver downfield! I mean imagine you were in the press box with OC Daboll:

“Okay Brian, 4th and 8 what do you wanna do? Okay, go for it I agree. Wha … why would we do that … Ar-Are you okay? Brian are you drunk???”

O-Line (57.2%)

The Buffalo Bills offensive line had a nightmare of a game this past Sunday. We could get into what each player did wrong, but that would be too simple. Instead, let’s look at how things can be improved, since everyone reading this already knows how shit of a performance the protectors put up. So, first of all, I know he just beat Covid, but Dion Dawkins’ conditioning just has to get better. If not, don’t play him until he’s healthy. I’d rather have Ryan Bates out there at tackle giving it his all than Dion gasping for air and walking in quick-sand after one drive. It’s dangerous for Josh. Your 250 M+ QB was at risk the whole day. Good job coach!

Next, the interior of the O-Line does a horrible job at “tagging” players. Feliciano did this a bunch of times. It’s pretty basic football but, essentially, when T.J. Watt is coming in like a heat-seeking missile, you’ve gotta help the tackle out and let the center focus on pressure that you were initially responsible for. Feliciano, dude. Where’s the angry, MMA fighter side of you? Many times he just gave pitiful efforts at even trying to HELP one of his tackles take care of Watt or Ingram. So, for next week, I’d like to see more Ike Boettger and less Mongo, until he understands football again.

Cody Ford, you’re next. Point of leverage is a huge problem. He gets stood up so easily and so quickly. Like Dawkins, he just looked extremely slow. But that can be fixed. Maybe with Dawkins obviously feeling the effects of Covid-19, we try Ford at tackle? Idk? Guess I’m grasping at straws by now. Regardless of who’s to blame, the O-Line needs to be fixed immediately, or else some changes will be in store.

Sorry for the narcissistic point of view this week. Hopefully the Miami game will bring rainbows and sunshine. Anyways, if you’d like to be a part of future polling processes make sure to follow me @SemiAverageRigs. See y’all next week.

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