Well, we are a week closer to the opener in Chicago. We are a week closer to the first cut-down and the starting line-ups are starting to emerge. Did we learn anything from the Bills’ win down in Carolina? While there are still infinitely more questions than answers as we start the third week of training camp, I do think a few things are starting to become clearer:
1. It is great that Cordy Glenn is in camp. If somebody knows what his mysterious illness is/was could you please clue me in. He was spotted a few times at St John Fisher doing some conditioning work but now it appears he’s ready to go. Good!! The Bills have been nothing short of a mess along the offensive line so far with Eric Wood as the only sure-fire starter. Rookie seventh-round pick Seantrel Henderson has been the Bills’ starting left tackle while Glenn has been out and he has proved to be a little raw, but highly talented, and overall played better than your average 7th round pick. That is also good because rookie Cyrus Kouandjio has been ill-prepared for a starting role. It should be intresting what the Bills do upfront with Henderson.
2. QB EJ Manuel – not as bad as last week, not as good as we hope. Ya know, we are just going to have to be patient with this. EJ went 9-13 for 96 yards. Nothing spectacular, but much better than last week. I keep reminding myself that he’s a great kid, with a good head on his shoulders and all the physical tools. Of course none of that means he’s going to star in this league but, like you, I need to believe that this will work out just fine. Taking deep breaths.
3. Backing up EJ is still a horse race. Neither Jeff Tuel or Thad Lewis has risen up and grabbed the back-up job. Both had some good and not-so-good moments. Lewis was 6-22 for 63 yards and was sacked. While Tuel was 4 of 5, he only accounted for 24 yards, and yes, he tossed a TD pass but he also threw a pick. It would be nice if one of these guys could distinguish themselves. I am not betting on it.
4. The defense could be special. It is me or have the national media largely ignored how good this defense could be. I am watching Johnny Manziel scramble for a two yard gain (which by the way will get him killed in the regular season) and everyone on ESPN and the NFL Network are drooling at all the possibilities of “Johnny Football”…meanwhile Buffalo has got a defense that could really bring it. The few series they have played so far they have been dominate. I cannot wait to see what our front seven does to Jay Cutler!! I have not been this excited about a defense since Cornelius Bennett joined Bruce Smith and Shane Conlan, and that was almost 30 years ago.
5. The Red Zone is slowly becoming a concern. Let’s hope Cordy Glenn helps improve this mess. Buffalo’s first-team offense reached Carolina territory on its first three possessions (in large part because of the special defense) but managed just three points after being manhandled on a couple of Fred Jackson runs near the goal line. Marrone was upset last Sunday when the Bills reached Giants territory five times but managed just one touchdown and two field goals. That’s going to be the kiss of death in the regular season. This is exactly how you lose to the Patriots 23-22 in the closing seconds…Field Goals instead of Touchdowns spells disaster every single time..