The Buffalo Bills have been loading their offense with weapons for the past couple of years and this year it is finally looking like it is ready to pay off. Looking back to the addition of CJ Spiller, we have often been shown his big play ability and how he can at any moment turn a broken play into a big gain. Last years additions showed us EJ Manuel, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. This year we made a trade to get another playmaker in Mike Williams, then we made another trade in the draft to get a potentially great playmaker in Sammy Watkins.
Coupling these players abilities into improvements on the line that we made over the offseason, it’s clear that we have given EJ Manuel everything that any quarterback would need to succeed in today’s NFL and for that reason, this season is a no-excuse season for EJ Manuel.
When Nate Hackett came here last year there were rumors going around about the return of the “K-Gun” which added the nostalgia factor for us fans, remembering better times in Western New York. What we had was a semi-unsuccessful hurry up offense that saw our defense get a 30 second breather and thrown back in to try and get the ball back.
We had a fantastic, albeit an unpopular trade that saw Steve Johnson going to San Francisco for a 4th round pick in next years draft. What this did for our team will be shown this season as we are now going to be able to put Robert Woods into the slot, where he belongs. If you watched any Bills football last year you saw that Manuel and Woods already had that chemistry that quarterbacks and receivers strive for. They clicked together for whatever reason, which is a lot of what made Steve Johnson a great receiver, his clicking with Ryan Fitzpatrick. That will be huge this season as Woods can work the slot and EJ will be looking into his direction as his favorite target.
In addition, we have a superior speed weapon on the outside in Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin brings a dynamic to the game and a speed that will give all the other receivers space to work 7-10 yards down the field with, added to the fact that if he slips by the defense all you have to do is throw it over the safety and he can score.
Mike Williams and Sammy Watkins will work the outsides on every down and this is where we can start shredding defenses. These two men are receivers who play a lot bigger than their actual size, have great hands and can run any route. Sammy Watkins is so fast that if defenses decide to press him, he will beat them on a go route, but if they play off of him he can catch on slants and hooks. Either of these two can run middle slants, with either able to turn some short slants into big gains.
I have no knowledge in drawing up plays, but I took a couple of minutes to illustrate one example of what could happen if our offense is run the way we have built it. Below I have drawn out a simple 3 WR package, Watkins split out left, Woods flanked out as a slot receiver and Goodwin on the outside. Chandler is in at TE on the strong side, Spiller in the backfield:
Below is what would happen if we ran some simple routes, Sammy and Goodwin on go routes streaking down the sideline, Chandler going through the middle and Spiller going out left:
The yellow lines indicate what the defense would have to do in this simple 4-3. There is no chance that the CB on Goodwin could release, because if Goodwin is one on one with any safety in the NFL that will result in that safety being burned and a huge play for us. Chandler would work the seam up the middle and attract the MLB as well as the WLB. Sammy Watkins would be on the outside with one on one coverage, while Spiller would slip out into the flat attracting the SLB as well as the safety as a spy on him. If you look at this scenario, this situation they didn’t blitz, Robert Woods could easily be thrown open to the outside of the field for an easy 10-12 yard pickup.
So that seems pretty simple for other teams, right? Just play out of your Nickel base with an extra CB on Robert Woods. Which they probably should… Except we have a couple of guys named CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson that would absolutely tear the defense apart if they played in nickel and dime packages on every down.
The point of this isn’t to get myself exposure as an offensive coordinator, although that would be totally sweet. The point here is to show how good our offensive weapons are coming into the season. The fact of the matter is that any quarterback we throw back there should be able to pick defenses apart with these weapons and the o-line upgraded. This offense should be a lot of quick 1 or 2 read throws that EJ decides on before he snaps the ball. If Hackett, EJ and the receivers can get on the same page we could see a “scary-good” offense in Buffalo this season.
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