Niagara Gazette


August 31, 2009

TIM'S TAKES: Will Bills get caught cheating?

Quick thoughts after giving Saturday’s doughnut a thorough workout on the DVR:

• The Bills sure cheat a lot defensively on first down. Other teams do too, mind you, but not to the same extent, and you wonder if it’ll eventually cost the locals. Let’s face it — an early touchdown could put the Bills in a hole their offense can’t dig out of.

Safety Bryan Scott creeps up to the line nearly every first down he’s on the field — and that’s the majority of them.

Scott’s got a gift for sticking his nose in on running plays, and he’s one of the team’s better tacklers if he gets a bead on the opponent’s back.

But the few times when teams have fooled Scott with play-action, he’s struggled to backpedal and adjust. Once in the second quarter of Saturday’s 17-0 loss at Pittsburgh, Scott came barreling in expecting to put the clamps on Rashard Mendenhall. When the Steelers faked the handoff, Scott nearly fell down trying to get back to the flat he was responsible for covering. And on the opening play of the game, the Bills had Scott, Ko Simpson, Donte Whitner and Terrence McGee on the field.

If an opposing team chooses to gamble big on the first play from scrimmage — a concept that’s obviously foreign to the Bills’ offensive coaches — it could be handsomely rewarded.

• I’m still torn on whether Steve Tasker belongs in the Hall of Fame, but I sure will miss him on TV broadcasts once the regular season starts. His best remark on Saturday was pointing out that Trent Edwards, “seems to like throwing to a guy who’s standing there looking at him.” So true. Edwards hones in on slot receivers or tight ends who run five-yard curls. That will only move an offense so far.

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