Bills-Packers Game Notes

By PFC Bills Writer Jay Kommuru

Here are some random thoughts and notes I took while watching the replay of the Bills-Packers preseason game.

1st Half

The interception that Trent threw was more a good play by the defensive back than a bad play by Trent.

Rookie guards Eric Wood and Andy Levitre played like rookies.

Either the GB defensive line is poised for an amazing year, or the Bills O-line is severely lacking in toughness. I saw, several times, the Bills offensive linemen get pushed back right into Trent’s lap.

DT, B.J. Raji is going to be a stud in the NFL.

There were some inconsistent holding calls made by the officials – too harsh against the Bills and they let a lot of things go for GB. That being said, it is to be expected that the home team gets a few more calls.

With almost no confidence in the O-line, Trent was running for his life out there, and with no T.O. to bail him out, he was either forced to throw early or tuck the ball and run.

Early in the 2nd quarter, after watching the Bills O-line get pushed back on five consecutive plays, Schonert called a nice little bubble-screen to RB – Fred Jackson. The play ended up in a fumble by Jackson, but nonetheless it was a nice play design against an aggressive Packers D-line. It’s good to see that our OC is recognizing our strengths and weaknesses as the game is being played.

Speaking of fumbles, if toughness is the #1 thing the Bills have to work on this week, ball security is a close second (Edwards, Jackson, Fitzpatrick, McKelvin all fumbled – although McKelvin was ruled down).

The Bills D-line, just like the O-line, is severely lacking in strength and toughness. It almost looked the Packers O-line was pushing back dummies on that field.

McGee looked bad on a couple throws, however to his defense Aaron Rodgers should not have had 8+ seconds to throw the football.

Good Tight ends are going to be a big problem for the Bills all year long unless they change up the defensive scheme a bit (The Bills play against Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, Dustin Keller x 2, Owen Daniels, Tony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark this year).

Speaking of Tight Ends, Nelson is starting to show some flashes of his athletic ability, hopefully he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle on the depth chart.

Keith Ellison made a great drive-ending tackle as he knifed through the line and tackled Grant for a loss on a 4th and 2 play.

Nic Harris was one of the most physical players for the Bills, and although that isn’t saying much given their general lack of physicality against the Packers, it was nice to see a rookie step up and get noticed.

Reggie Corner is not going to give up that Nickel spot. He played Donald Driver in the end zone perfectly on a slant (same route that Jennings ran earlier in the 1st quarter to beat McKelvin for the first TD), and then he picked off Brian Brohm late in the 2nd quarter.

Seth McKinney looked bad out there. He got dominated by a rip move from the GB linebacker and gave up a sack which ended up in a fumble by Fitzpatrick.

2nd Half

The team came out frustrated, and it showed on the kickoff as Chris Ellis got called for a horse-collar tackle.

DT, McCargo made a great bull-rush and he was literally holding a GB O-line with his right arm and used his left arm to shove the RB and cause a fumble. He’s inconsistent, but if he plays anything like the 1st round pick that the Bills spent on him, he could be the answer inside.

The best part of the no-huddle: the ability to call a quick snap and catch the defense off-guard – it’s like stealing 5 yards for cheap – which is exactly what Fitzpatrick did.

WR, Felton Huggins ran a couple of nice routes to get open and caught the ball well; too bad he has almost zero chance of making this roster.

Once he settled down in the 2nd half, Fitzpatrick made some good throws. It’s nice to have a capable back-up if/when Trent goes down with injury. The TD pass to Stupar showed that he is a veteran; he released that ball when Stupar was making his first move of his double-move and it ended up in his arms right at the moment he got open.

DE, Chris Ellis looks bigger and stronger in his second year, and he is showing a level of physicality that was grossly lacking from his game last year.

Speaking of physical play, DE Copeland Bryan is doing everything he can to earn a roster spot – he had a nice rush off the edge and caused a Matt Flynn fumble, followed by a nice read on a 3rd and long draw play and stopping the RB after a 1 yard gain all in the same series.

Jonathan Stupar is making a case for the 3rd TE spot.

The slant is going to be a popular route against the Bills’ Cover-2.

Overall, it was a sloppy game by the Bills who are usually a well-disciplined team. The starting squads, both defense and offense, lacked toughness in the trenches and hopefully it’s not the start of a trend. T.O. was sorely missed, and hopefully his toe injury is not going to linger all year. It was only a preseason game and the Bills still have 2 more left to make up for their mistakes. Next week will be a tough test against the Steelers, and we’ll get an extended look at the starters as it’ll be their 2nd to last preseason game.