BUFFALO BILLS (9-8)OPEN CAMP: July 26 Cheap Michael Jordan Jersey
, St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, New YorkLAST YEAR: Under first-year coach (Sean McDermott) and GM (Brandon Beane), Buffalo overcame major roster overhaul and midseason quarterback shuffle to win four of last six games and clinch playoff berth to end 17-year postseason drought. Bills snapped longest active streak of missing playoffs in North America's four major professional sports. At 29, LeSean McCoy was offensive workhorse with 1,138 yards rushing and 448 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Revamped secondary, including first-round pick Tre'Davious White, keyed patchwork defense by finishing tied for sixth in NFL with 18 interceptions.IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie QB Josh Allen, QB A.J. McCarron, rookie LB Tremaine Edmunds, DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, CB Vontae Davis, WR Jeremy Kerley, RB Chris Ivory, OLs Russell Bodine and Marshall Newhouse, and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB Tyrod Taylor Michael Jordan Jersey Womens
, LT Cordy Glenn, C Eric Wood, RG Richie Incognito, WR Jordan Matthews, CB E.J. Gaines, LB Preston Brown and FB Mike Tolbert.CAMP NEEDS: Many center on how quickly new-look offense finds chemistry with new starting quarterback. Two big holes to fill on line and offense lacks established depth at receiver behind Kelvin Benjamin. Plus Buffalo is introducing new philosophy under Daboll. All eyes are on Allen, first-round pick out of Wyoming, and how long it will take to develop behind former Bengals backup McCarron and returning backup Nathan Peterman.EXPECTATIONS: Defense should be improved entering its second season, and with plenty of reinforcements. Can offense develop threat beyond McCoy, who turned 30 on July 12. Though long-term future looks bright, given young core of talent on roster, early projection is Bills might take step back in Year 2 of McDermott and Beane's rebuilding process. The offensive line is the one group where you don’t want to have much change throughout the season, even if that change is deemed to be positive beforehand.Despite gaining back a starter against the Saints on Sunday, the Bengals offensive line took a big sized step backwards in their 37-point defeat to the NFC’s current No. 2 seed, but not in the way that was expected.Coming into the game, the Saints ranked first in run defense and near the bottom in pass defense. Yet, the Bengals ran for 110 yards on just 16 carries and failed to eclipse 174 net passing yards. The Saints were even missing one of their best defensive lineman in first-round pick Marcus Davenport Michael Jordan Cincinnati Bengals Jersey
, and the Saints pass rush still had their way for nearly the entire game. I decided to look at two potential cruxes that may’ve caused this unanticipated dichotomy.Billy Price’s return to center was a solid one, but it came with some rust as well. A change in not one, but two starters seemed to have caused some miscommunication in pass protection from time to time, but New Orleans’ ability to pressure quarterback Andy Dalton was attributed more to a lack of cohesion amongst the Bengals pass protectors. It started off well for Cincinnati’s front five, as running back Joe Mixon and the Bengals offense drove down the field with ease on their first drive of the game. This run was a great mix of blocking and play design.Upon obliterating the front side defenders, the jet motion from wide receiver John Ross got the linebackers flowing against the grain and gave Mixon a prime opportunity to finesse through to the open field. Price clearly wanted to get after the 3-technique David Onyemata, but failing to get his hands on any second level defender almost knocked the play from great to good. Luckily, the pre-snap deception schemed Mixon some extra yards regardless.I still will never get tired talking about reach blocks against front-side shaded nose tackles. I was especially excited to see it from Price because it was an issue at Ohio State, and also during the preseason. Clearly Price has been working on it while he was recovering from his foot injury, and even though the run went for no yardage, the work Price does here is commendable. However... That first play repeated itself later on in the game and the Bengals were hurt by it. We can appreciate Price’s willingness to look for work when he has no defender to work against at the snap, but he’s gotta know he’s responsible for keeping the A-gap clean — it is the designed point of attack after all. All Price has to do is quickly read that the 3-technique is staying in his lane, and move up the the linebacker. He already has a clear path, he’s just gotta recognize the situation better next time.Price’s comeback was obviously a storyline that people had interest in, but my main takeaway from the game was how much left guard Clint Boling got abused in pass protection against the Saints interior defensive line. On this play, the Bengals don’t have any attractive options downfield for Dalton to throw to, and the Saints send a delayed blitz attacking the B-gap between Boling and Price.This could’ve been an example of the communication that Price and Boling need to re-establish after Price missed all that time due to injury. This next play on the other hand Carlos Dunlap Jersey
, well, it had nothing to do with miscommunication.I’ll admit it, this was bittersweet to watch over and over again. I’m such a big Sheldon Rankins fan, who is the pass-rusher that completely rocked back Boling for the Saints’ fourth sack of the game. His process is what makes this bull rush go from okay to incredible, and even a seasoned vet in Boling sometimes takes the L. Talent will always win out, and Rankins has talent in spades.To be fair to Boling, he could also still be not quite 100 percent after exiting the previous game against the Buccaneers with a back injury. Regardless, Boling was out there, and the team expects better out of him. At the risk of dwelling too much on a game so embarrassingly lopsided, we’ll just stop it right here and start moving on to the next week. In specifics, the Bengals playing the Ravens this upcoming Sunday will be such a prime opportunity for the defensive line to get back on track. This will be the first time Marvin Lewis is calling the plays for the defensive in well over a decade, and he’ll do it against the team he was an acclaimed defensive coordinator for. He may also be game-planning to stop an electric rookie quarterback in Lamar Jackson, who could be making his first start of his career depending on starting quarterback Joe Flacco’s health. How Lewis is able to put the pressure on either quarterback will be huge in deciding if the Bengals will be staying above .500 by this time next week.