Buffalo Bills Training Camp & Preseason Game 4 recap: “ Oh-Boy, Here We Go Again!”

Adrian Clayborne lays a hit on EJ! - Photo via fantasycpr.com

Adrian Clayborne lays a hit on EJ! – Photo via fantasycpr.com

I know I know Bills nation, it’s been a while since you heard from me. There were no Training camp updates, post training camp recap or big lead up to the 4th preseason game. No, I wasn’t slacking off or vacationing in some exotic Caribbean resort. Besides, its summertime in Buffalo where else would you rather be than right here right now, right? The truth is, there was really nothing of interest to write about other than the fights that occurred on the last two days of camp which I’m sure by now you’ve seen but if not click here for more details (Wood and Chandler vs Johnson and Marrone vs Hughes & Team) I generally try to stay positive, I don’t like being the negative Nancy and I was waiting for something positive to write about. I waited and waited and waited and nothing. So here we are wrapping up the last 9 days of Bills news so hold on your zubas, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Camp came to a close this week and we finally had our first home game of the preseason! The newly renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium was about to make her debut to a sold out crowd for kids day. There was electricity in the air. Fans were excited to see the Ralph, the front office was excited to show it off, and fans were ready to finally see their 2014 Buffalo Bills in Action. The updates according to most fans were great. Fans loved the new super gates which expedited entry, the new walk ways around the outside of the stadium, the free Wi-Fi (except for some in the 300’s) and the new larger jumbotron with 2 subsequent smaller screens to provide fans more info on out of town news and scores. The new concessions were a hit, which included Duffs, Tim Horton’s and La Nova. Independent Health supplied Bills logo sunglasses to thousands of young excited Bills fans. Over all it was panning out to be a great Saturday afternoon. But then the game started… Oh boy, where do I start?

EJ is going to have to hurry up and be a force. Not sure it can happen though. - Photo via www.theolympian.com

EJ is going to have to hurry up and be a force. Not sure it can happen though. – Photo via http://www.theolympian.com

Like I said I try to find the positive unfortunately the Bills offense gave us nothing to be positive about. The Bills offense was so bad even Steve Tasker (ex-Buffalo Bills special teams great) made a comment on air that he sees them running the same 4 plays to the right and then the same 4 plays to the left. Now this is the preseason and we all hear that no one game plans and everything is vanilla blah blah blah but I call BS on that. Regardless of how basic the plays are that you are running your first team offense should be able to score just like your first team defense should be able to stop the other team.

The offense did have some excuses though. The Offensive line was shuffled around and seeing its first action with Cordy Glenn back at Left Tackle. That caused SeanTreal Henderson to move to the right side and with Chris Williams still out with a back injury Erik Pears lined up in the right guard spot. EJ faced stiff pressure most of the game but on the passes he did get away they were very inaccurate. Often the receivers had to slow up and reach behind them in order to even have a shot at catching the ball. The check downs continued as he refused to air the ball out down field. He was also missing Sammy Watkins who sat out to rest up his ribs. Mistakes also plagued the Offense as the opening drive ended when Scott Chandler slipped and fell down leading to an easy interception for Tampa Bay. A few series later CJ Spiller caught a little dump off pass up the middle and had the ball knocked loose resulting in another Tampa turn over. To cap off the first half turnovers, EJ had the ball stripped as he was scrabbling that was returned for a TD on a questionable call that was reviewed and upheld.

The Bills were down 24-0 at the half but the offense did open the second half up with back to back long scoring drive in which the offense executed very well. EJ was perfect and the Bills marched the length of the field in 6 and 8 play drive only taking 2 minutes and 46 seconds off the clock. Now, that would be good if it wasn’t against the Tampa Bay 2nd Team defense. It was nice they finally got a Touchdown but you expect your first team starters to march the ball up and down the field on second stringers. Mike Williams scored the Bills first 1st Team TD of the preseason and Fred Jackson followed it up with a nice red zone run. Dennis Dixon played for the first time in preseason as he ran the 2nd team offense for a few plays. However he had some issues holding onto the ball and was relieved rather quickly by Jeff Tuel. I’m a fan of Dixon though; he’s fast, has a good arm but needs some polishing. I like he’s not a rookie and has some experience playing for Pittsburgh a few years back with some regular season starts. Tuel unfortunately couldn’t get much going either. He came in with about 3 or 4 minutes left in the game and had to move the Bills down field in a hurry. The drive looked sloppy as Tuel was inaccurate. He tried to hit Chris Hogan in the back left corner of the endzone but was just out of bounds. Then on the finally play of the game Tuel didn’t even give his receivers a chance as his inaccurate pass sailed well out of bounds. And that was it, the game clock struck 0:00 and the Bills dropped to 1-3 in the preseason.

Remember all that talk about Mike Evans? Well he can score! Sadly not for us!  -Phoot via www.tampabay.com

Remember all that talk about Mike Evans? Well he can score! Sadly not for us! -Phoot via http://www.tampabay.com

OK, so you’re feeling down after reading the first thousand words but fret not my friends, the 1st team defense looked great! They had plenty of pressure, tackles for losses or no gains and some turn overs. There were two interceptions; one by Searcy and the other by Roby. Brandon Spikes showed us what a run stuffing MLB looks like but also showed us why he’s not a coverage LB when he got burned for a TD by the Tampa Bay RB Martin. Spikes did have a nice play in coverage after that though when he broke on the ball and batted down a 3rd down pass that would have given the Bucs a first down. My man Landon Cohen continued his domination of 2nd team offensive lineman and has pretty much locked himself into a roster spot as Alan Branch got himself arrested for a DWI the night before the game, was scratched by the team for the game and then cut Sunday. Branch appeared to be on the outs anyway as he came into camp out of shape, failed his conditioning test and has been playing with the 3rd team defense for much of the preseason. The Bills had signed him to an extension in the off season but that didn’t save his job from his poor play and decisions. Other Players that joined him can be found here: Bills Trim Roster to 75 Players

The Bills have made a move at QB signing Jordan Palmer who the Bears had just released and in turn the Bills cut Thad Lewis.

The Bills signed Jordan Palmer to try to help EJ. He was crucial in helping Blake Bortles train for the Draft.

The Bills signed Jordan Palmer to try to help EJ. He was crucial in helping Blake Bortles train for the Draft.

After the game many players voiced their displeasure with fans booing them and not creating as much noise and excitement early on. Goodwin and Boobie Dixon said as much via twitter and post-game interviews. Those comments bother me a little because it was kid’s day so it wouldn’t be as loud as a normal regular season game. If they think the booing was bad at kids day just wait for how loud the boos will be if they play that poorly in a regular season game at the Ralph when the kids are replaced with 50,000 drunken adult fans!

 

Kinda miss these two!!! - Photo via buffalowins.com

Kinda miss these two!!! – Photo via buffalowins.com

Well Bills nation that’s a wrap on my spiel. What do you think? How much do you think the preseason matters? Should we be seeing more from the 1st team offense even if the plays are “generic” or “Vanilla” as they say? Seems like we’ve been hearing that excuse in the preseason for a loooooonnnggg time now and maybe we’re just not buying it anymore? What do you think of Nate Hackett going into his second year with little improvement shown thus far? Do the fans have a right to boo the home team and EJ Manuel when there’s a bad play/game? Are you expecting to see the Bills come out week 1 and just steam roll the bears using some magical well-kept secret offense? I know I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. I want to Billieve and I’m sure many of you do too especially those who lived through the late 80’s and 90’s Bills. Somehow, some way we need to lift the curse that was placed on this town in 1999 with the Music City Miracle, the Wade Phillips Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie debacle and of course the No Goal in Hockey! Boy did Dallas teams have our number in the 90s! Our Defense is solid, our special teams look good and we have a ton of weapons on Offense as long as the guy pulling the trigger can get it together. So come on Bills fans, heads up, wear that Red white and Blue with pride because come Sunday Sept 7th at 1pm it’s on!

By: Jason Sinsabaugh

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