Niagara Gazette

Bills

August 18, 2009

TIM'S TAKE: Bills special teams haven't been special

COMMENTARY

Time to clear out the notebook after giving the DVR a serious workout on Saturday’s Bills-Bears game.

• I’m one of those radicals who thought the Bills should’ve canned Dick Jauron and slid special teams coach Bobby April into the top slot. April’s units are always among the league’s best and more important, he seems in command and forward-thinking. But this year, we’ll find out what he’s really made of. The special teams were dreadful on Saturday, at least early on when those who are likely to play were in the game. The Bears came clean on the Bills first punt and should have blocked it. Later, the same unit had a high snap that could have been deadly in a regular-season game. Add in Dominic Rhodes’ muffed punt — which gave the Bears the ball in Buffalo territory — and you’ve got plenty to work on this week in practice. And with the Bills proving in the past their margin of error is already slim, a few special teams goofs could prove too much for Buffalo to overcome.

• Let’s hope Marcus Stroud has another gear he’s waiting to kick into for opening day. Stroud played just two series, hardly crossing the line of scrimmage — even on pass plays. Granted, he’s often the guy opponents choose to double, but he showed absolutely nothing that would imply he’s ready to make an impact this season. Course, opening day probably isn’t the day we should worry about — it was the only time last year when he looked like a Pro Bowler.

• It’s great to see Brad Butler hold his blocks, but if the Bills’ new right tackle takes even one personal foul penalty for hitting a linebacker or safety who’s simply watching the end of a tackle, his chippy attitude will have proven counter-productive.

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