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Bills @ Bears Impressions

August 13, 2011

Football is back finally, I think…After sitting through a major snoozer – even for the preseason – there were things to be excited about after tonight’s game.  Yet, it is easy to see how far behind teams (at least the Bears and Bills) are in terms of efficiency; especially on the offensive side.  Nevertheless, here are some things I liked, and didn’t like from the game:

The Good

1.) Shawne Merriman – That’s a given.  Merriman recorded 2.5 sacks in just 2 series.  He was explosive, and showed a lot of power by beating the lineman on the inside for one of his sacks.

2.) Marcel Dareus – Everyone knows how big and strong Dareus is, but the greatest thing I saw out of him tonight are his speed and agility in getting to the quarterback.  He can knife through tiny holes in the line very easily for someone his size, and his future looks very bright.

3.) Chris White and Danny Batten – Both players made some big plays tonight.  Batten finished the game with 2 sacks, while White seems to have a good knack for being around the ball.  White even broke up a deep pass about 35 yards down the seam, something Paul Pozluszny has yet to do as a pro.

4.) Brad Smith – Smith could well be the Bills best free agent pickup this year.  He isn’t a great passer, but he’s enough of a threat in that area to keep teams on their toes.  He is a great wildcat QB, who recorded a first down on all of his runs.  I can’t wait to see what the Bills have drawn up for him once the regular season starts.

The Bad

1.) The offense – It was nice to see the Bills trying to use a tight end for a change, but Buffalo was pretty bad offensively all night.  Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t really test anything deep, and finished 7/9 for just 44 yards. The right side of the line, had their issues, and CJ Spiller got blown up in the backfield after a missed block by Kraig Urbik.  I thought the pass protection was decent, with Fitzpatrick having a good amount of time to pass.  Still, the unit has a lot of work to do if they want to be a top 20 offense this season.

2.) Aaron Maybin – Maybin was supposed to get extended time tonight.  I noticed him once, on a punt….running down the field, watching the return man run by him, and then running the other way.   It’s expected at this point, and it’s time for him to get cut.  He’s had plenty of chances to make a play, and we’ll never see any out of him.

3. ) Backup quarterbacks – Tyler Thigpen and Levi Brown were both awful.  Thigpen is athletic and shows some good ability in escaping pressure in the pocket, but he was off on his throws all night.  I’m not sure how he ever threw 19 touchdowns in a season with the Chiefs.  I’m really hoping Fitzpatrick stays healthy all year, because there isn’t anything below him worth being on this team.  Brad Smith isn’t an every-down QB, and if he had to become one, I wouldn’t expect good things to come from it.

It was nice to see the Bills play against a different team, but it’s not really enough to get a feel for how good the team will be.  Hopefully the starters get a good amount of time in their next game, and they show a bit more polish in their game.

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