WARNING: This is preseason. Preseason football is a scam. It is crap. Don't read into it at all. Even folks in the media know it is crap sandwich, but they have to find something to talk about. Just realize I'm blogging about it because preseason football is better than no football and I'm bored. Also, if you think I'm a hypocrite for blogging about something I totally hate and want to shit on me for it, by all means, I have a hat that will shield me from most of the crap. But other than that, this is crap.
Defense still thriving: The Bills defense was at it again with applying pressure to Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel all night. The Bills mixed in the blitz on a number of downs like they did last week, but what really impressed me was they got pressure with just a 4-man front. Dareus, Carrington, Lawson and Hughes were all over the QB tonight. Hughes especially was impressive with his two sacks and really showed a nice burst off the edge. The defense is looking good thus far in preseason and have really taken to Pettine's attacking style of defense. As much as I'm not a big depth guy in terms of analyzing play in the preseason, I think taking notice of the Bills DL rotation with backups and starters shouldn't be ignored, as they will more than likely get 10-15 snaps during a regular season game.
The Vikings offense is terrible: I shouldn't talk shit about Minnesota, especially since AP wasn't playing and the Bills are 13 years without playoffs. However, their offense looked dreadful. Ponder was terrible and the team couldn't even snap the ball to their QB (3 shot gun snaps misfired by Minnesota). As impressive as the defense was, you have to mention how badly the Vikings offense looked. Frankly, it was more about them sucking than us dominitaing…but we still deserve credit.
Kevin Kolb…Get the clipboard: While I think it was a little over the top for the fans to boo Kolb in a preseason game, he was pretty fricken bad. Every negative you heard about him previously with lacking pocket presence and just making one read and then scrambling are all true based on tonight. He just didn't look good and almost all of his passes went to backs or in the flat. He reminded me a lot like Trent Edwards…and not the good version who lead the Bills to a 5-1 record. For the first 20 minutes of the game or counting when the Vikings had their 1st team defense on the field, Kolb passed for just 17 yards, 1 INT and offered zero threat in the vertical passing game. Of course, he got a little better at the end of the half when the Vikings had their 2nd team guys in, but at that point, the writing was pretty much on the wall. He's a backup in the NFL.
Offense struggles against 1st team defense: This is the 2nd week in a row where the Bills 1st team offense struggled against the opposing 1st team defense. By my tally, EJ and Kolb have combined for less than 50 yards passing against the opposing starters in about 2.5 quarters worth of work. That's not good. Obviously, they have two more games before the real games to right this ship. While some will find positives, and rightfully so, I wouldn't exactly be bestowing accolades in regards to the 1st team offense after the first two games unless it involves Spiller.
EJ Manuel: Yeah, EJ is going to win this job. He looked sharp on the TD drive, completing 6 of 6 passes for 44 yards and a TD. He showed great poise and made really quick decisions without having to scramble when something wasn't there. I think you could take his game apart because he didn't look good against 1st team guys last week and I can't put much in killing the 2nd team, but as I've said since day 1, EJ is only going to lose this job if Kevin Kolb looks great and he looks lost. Obviously, that hasn't been the case. EJ has been adequate, while Kolb has looked pretty crappy. As far as I'm concerned, Marrone should name EJ the starter against Washington and pretty much have a fake "The competition is still open" quote, but in essence, they know EJ is starting week 1. Everyone knows the 4th preseason game is the most meaningless of the bunch with teams being extra careful with avoiding to play starters for that long (Injuries) and not showing too much in the game plan department, so, why would you have the competition still going with guys splitting reps with the 1st team against Washington? Just give the 1st half to Manuel against Washington and when the bench guys come in, give it to Tuel or Kolb.
WR watch: Easley once again looked good, catching 3 passes for 45 yards. He also had some looks with the 1st team if you want to read into that. I'm not sure what to think with this guy, as we've seen him look good during training camp before, only to then not do a damn thing in the regular season. Factor in the regime that drafted him in the 4th round is pretty much gone at this time, so, they don't exactly have any sort of commitment to him.
It seems to be between he, Hogan, and Rodgers for the 5th or 6th spot. I have to say, Hogan seems more of a slot guy than someone who can burn you on the outside and the Bills already have Stevie in the slot and they could easily put Woods, Chandler or Graham there as backups. I think having outside depth with speed means more than having someone in the slot (Numbers game…Just more outside guys than slot guys), as the Bills don't have that much depth for outside WRs. As for Rodgers…sorry Rob Quinn, but he may not even get a shot on our practice squad at this point. Oh, and I still don't buy Brad Smith as a special teams cover guy. Was he even out there at all on special teams? Again, give the young WRs a roster spot and forget the special teams guy who is making more money than rookies. Fill that spot in with either 54, 58 or one of the safeties we drafted.