— Stock Rising —
A clean performance from Josh Allen against a Panther’s defense that sat Luke Kuechly. The Bills took advantage, working the middle of the field. Allen made mostly accurate passes to Beasley over the middle all throughout the first quarter and hit Tommy Sweeney deep in the seam to put the Bills on the goal line. He also had a nice touch pass to Sweeney in stride over a defenders shoulder. The 2nd year signal caller sprinkled in some polish to his already well-progressing game. (9/11, 102 yards, 81.8%, 0TDs, 0 INTS)
Barkley continues to show poise and anticipation as the backup signal-caller. If your number two can carve up a preseason defense, that is a good sign that he could give you a chance if your starter went down. He had the gorgeous bucket throw to Singletary as well as the TD to Duke Williams. Barkley’s only mistake of the night was a miss to a wide-open Singletary in the flat when pressure got to him.
Singletary got very little work and made the most of it. He continued to show smarts in the run game getting the most out of every carry. His presence was felt in the passing game most. He caught three passes for 25 yards including a beautiful over the shoulder catch where he had to adjust to the football. He would have had more if Barkley gave him a catchable ball in the flat when he was pressured. Singletary contributed a nice blitz pickup as well. To me, he looks like the best running back on the team.
Yeldon had a good game both on the ground and through the air. He is an NFL running back. If he doesn’t make the roster, he will find himself on another roster in 2019 without question. He showed patience in the run game carrying the ball 7 times for 26 yards and smarts in the passing game, even if it was only one catch for 10 yards.
Beasley was on fire early catching the ball 5 times for 44 yards early. He was making a fool of linebackers when they were lined up with him in the slot. If Allen can keep his accuracy up, Beasley is going to feast underneath one week and when the defender’s transition to him, a player like John Brown could feast down the field.
Duke Williams had himself a night. He made a nice catch on a slant, but his biggest play was his acrobatic “go up and get it” touchdown grab in the second quarter from Matt Barkley. Those are the kinds of plays that will get him on this roster because not a single other receiver on this roster is even remotely capable of doing it. McDermott made it a point to see exactly what Williams was made of tonight.
Tommy Sweeney made up for a lackluster debut with two beautiful catches in the first quarter. He caught an over the shoulder throw from Josh Allen on the first drive and caught a bullet down the seam on the second drive to put the Bills on the goal line. He is a 53-man roster lock, and may actually start the year as the number one tight end.
Johnson continued to show pop coming away with a strip-sack in the game. He is a 53-man roster lock at this point and a guy who, if developed correctly, could be in contention to start in 2020. What a job by Brandon Beane in that 7th round.
Phillips rebounded from being forced to play late into last week’s game with a great performance this week. With a year under his belt, he looks stronger and was able to work his way using a stunt to get a sack on quarterback Tyler Henieke. Harrison’s brother Jordan was great as well.
It may be too little too late, but Deon Lacey was all over the field. He made numerous plays from the linebacker position chasing people down on the edge.
Levi Wallace & Kevin Johnson
Johnson had the pick-six and was impressive with the second unit. However, just because his night was flashier doesn’t mean he made any strides in winning the starting job. Levi Wallace had a great night as well including some acrobatic pass break-ups on jump balls. It is nice to finally have some depth at the position.
— Stock Falling —
Tyree Jackson is learning quickly that the NFL is not the MAC. He is making poor decisions with the football and is slow to process. After said interception, Brian Daboll appeared to blow up at the young signal-caller on the sidelines. It is time the Bills consider bringing in a fourth quarterback or a quarterback to flat out replace Jackson. He is too many years of development away, and, at this point, his poor play would not bode well for a scout team role or help in evaluating the skill position players on the roster.
He may be known for his special team’s prowess and not his running abilities, but Perry fumbled on his first carry and wasn’t seen on the field again. Message sent.
Sills may not even be the best candidate for the practice squad at this point. He is invisible in both practices and in games. He had plenty of run this week and the receivers around him were making plays, and he wasn’t.
Cody Ford was absolutely run by Bruce Irvin on practically every play. He isn’t a tackle and that is okay. Let’s hope Nsekhe gets back on the field soon, and Ford can move back to his natural position.
Not counting quarterback scrambles, the Bills only ran the ball 22 times for 66 yards. That is only a three yards per carry average. While it is only preseason and teams aren’t scheming their best run plays, it is still concerning the guys up front cannot get enough push for a better yards per carry average.
The Bills were gashed on pitches to the outside. While things tightened up past midfield and they kept the Panther’s out of the endzone early, it is still concerning. That cannot happen in the regular season. Let’s hope it was a product of the vanilla scheme.
Neither punter did anything to help themselves last night. It is looking more and more likely that the Bills will once again have to look outside of the organization for a punter before week one.
— Remaining Questions —
Does Shady still have it?
McCoy was targeted a lot early in both the passing and running game, but despite a touchdown, his stat line wasn’t memorable. Is there really a big difference between McCoy and a guy like Singletary at this point in their careers?
Where was Robert Foster?
Robert Foster played early, but not often. Is Foster’s roster spot secured as John Brown’s primary backup? Are they trying to hide him in hopes of stashing him on the practice squad? Is his job in jeopardy? Is he trade bait?
Speaking of invisible… did Camp Phillips even play?
Are the Bills trying to hide him for the practice squad? Will it be “his turn” next week and someone else sits?
Do the Bills keep seven wide receivers?
Beasley, Brown, Jones, and Roberts are locked into spots. Foster is more than likely there as well. That leaves one spot for the emerging Isaiah McKenzie, Duke Williams, Ray-Ray McCloud, and even possibly Cam Phillips. It is not inconceivable they keep seven, one smaller guy, and Duke.
Do the Bills keep five defensive ends?
Lawson has proven he is stout against the run with a little pass-rush pop. Despite a special teams penalty, Love has been stout against the run and a coaches’ favorite. With the emergence of Daryl Johnson, do the Bills keep five defensive ends? McDermott did it a lot in Carolina.
Defensive Players Stashed
I didn’t see a lot of Maurice Alexander and Corey Thompson. Thompson is safe but is Alexander too?
Is it time to start worrying about Haushka after that 48-yard miss? By all accounts he has been stellar in practice, but even if it is nerves, you don’t like to see that from a kicker.