Niagara Gazette

October 5, 2009

BILLS DVR REWIND: Jackson gives Bills best chance to win

By Tim Schmitt

Notes collected while wondering during the weekly DVR rewind when the 2010 NFL season starts ...

• I realize he’s rusty, but why the Bills continued to stick Marshawn Lynch in the game Sunday is beyond me. Running back hadn’t been the problem through the first three weeks, and with Jackson in the lineup, the Bills were effectively moving the ball in the first half. They didn’t finish their drives, but were moving the ball.

When Lynch came in, though, the offense grounded to a halt.

On his first play (he came in during the second series), the hole was left and although it wasn’t a monster, it’s exactly the kind of seam Freddy Jackson has turned into 7- and 8-yard gains thus far. Lynch got one.

Jackson returned on the next series and got 6 yards on an even smaller hole than the one Lynch had. A series later, the Bills pitched it to him and he sped to the right side. Jackson didn’t simply run into the line, instead waiting for a crease. It opened as Shawn Nelson held his block on the outside, sealing off Jason Taylor, and Jackson broke it up for 9 yards.

Lynch did finish with a team-high five catches, but Jackson’s better in that respect, too. If the team ever learns to send him in motion, Jackson would be a tough matchup on the outside for a linebacker. Or if a defense shifted, that would match Jackson on a corner and a receiver on a linebacker or safety. Either way, it’s a mismatch the Bills can take advantage of.

Lynch doesn’t have the type of speed that could get deep on a defensive back.

They say there’s no loyalty in pro sports, and this is a position that’s too important to toy with. There’s no reason to let Lynch go, but to sit Jackson — for any amount of time — just doesn’t make sense right now.

• Sorry if I’m simple-minded on this one — why would teams drop safeties off against the Wildcat offense? Ever?

The Dolphins almost exclusively run out of the formation and even if they do decide to mix things up, you’ll take your chances with Ronnie Brown throwing downfield, right?

Still, the ever-cautious Bills dropped a full secondary into coverage, and Brown ran up the gut for big gains.

• The biggest play of the game, Vontae Davis’ pick six, was a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with the Bills’ offense. The protection was fine, Josh Reed was in the slot to the left and Lee Evans was wide to that side.

Reed did a 5-yard out. Evans did a 5-yard out. No motion. No confusion. Since teams aren’t afraid that Edwards will beat them deep, Davis was sitting on the route, and jumped it as soon as he saw Evans break.

We’ve said this for weeks, but it’s worth saying again — where are the drag routes? When will the Bills finally run a slot receiver to the corner?

To put this perspective, here’s what the Dolphins did on first and goal from the Buffalo 4 with a 17-3 lead in the third quarter:

They lined up a tight end on either side and put the lone receiver in motion. Sure enough, the motion forced Terrence McGee to stumble over a teammate, breaking Brian Hartline free

• Remember the good old days, when a referee would put his hand on his hips, then point toward the defense?

Here’s how referee Carl Cheffers unnecessarily grabbed 15 seconds in the limelight after a goof that gave the Bills a first down.

“Neutral zone infraction, No. 26 on the defense. His movement into the neutral zone caused a reaction by the offense. That 5-yard penalty will result in a first down.”

Got it, Carl.

• Maybin ... ? Maybin ... ? Anyone ... ?

Contact sports editor Tim Schmitt at 282-2311, ext. 2266.