Here we are!!
It’s time to talk Bills with your host, Matt Pitarresi. We’re all still BILLieving and thinking there is no tank, just an immediate rebuild while being competitive. As we learned from Angels in the Outfield… “It could happen!”
So get psyched. Here’s an embed to let you listen right here. Transcript below if you can’t do audio right now. Happy Home Opener! Drive safe and Go Bills!
Welcome to the very first episode of The Hurry Up. I’m your host, Matt Pitarresi. It’s week 1 in the NFL, when hope springs eternal across the league, and as of this recording, Friday, September 8th, the Bills are in first place in the AFC East. So the Bills will actually be looking to STAY ATOP the division as they take on the Jets in their season opener at New Era Field on Sunday.
Before we get into breaking down this week, though, a little bit about what The Hurry Up is. The Hurry Up is your entire week’s worth of Bills analysis, news, and stats given to you fast, and to the point. We’ll highlight a few stats, players, and matchups to keep your eye on during the game. We’re basically the K-Gun offense of Bills podcasts, which, I guess, makes me Jim Kelly? Maybe? I dunno. Either way, we’re gonna do this each and every Bills game week, so look for it on Saturdays before Bills game day Sundays.
The very first episode of The Hurry Up is brought to you by Algonquin Sports. Algonquin Sports in a non-profit organization providing free and low cost sports opportunities for youth in underserved communities right here in the City of Buffalo. They believe that all youth should have access to sports. To learn more about the soccer programs currently being offered, you can find Buffalo Soccer Club on Facebook, or visit buffalosoccerclub.org. You’ll also find link to both on the blog post accompanying this post on risecollaborative.com
OK, let’s talk about the Bills! Each week here on The Hurry Up, we’re going to dive into some of the most important narratives that are going to play themselves out on the field. Before we do that though, with it being Week 1, let’s look at how we got here. 2016 is way in the rearview mirror now. Rex Ryan – OUT! Doug Whaley – OUT! Sean McDermott is in at head coach, Brandon Beane is in at GM, and they brought quote/unquote, air quotes, “The Process” to Buffalo. “The Process” has played itself out in a number of way. Most notably, sending franchise staples, or seemingly franchise staples, Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby outta town for future draft picks and a couple of players. A lot of fans think this as a “tank”, I see it more as a rebuild, a fundamental rebuild. I think turning over the entire scouting department bears that out as well. But definitely a rebuild. So while the expectations for this season may have shifted, a bit, this is still a roster, and a team, and a franchise that thinks they can compete now. So lets take a look at Week 1.
First and foremost, this is Coach Sean McDermott’s first game as a head coach in the NFL. It’s one thing to look the part in the offseason and preseason, it’s another thing to do it on Sundays. So, keep an eye on what he looks like as a game manager. What does the communication look like? Are plays getting in and out? Are personnel packages getting in and out? Are players communicating on the field? They’re running a zone defense. In the zone, it’s a true zone, so there’s gap and zone integrity. Do players know where they’re supposed to be. Do they understand the zone? And then penalties. It was an issue under Rex. It was an issue in the preseason, although, preseason penalties are preseason penalties. But can McDermott cut down on that? That’s something to keep an eye on.
So in addition to the coach, we’re gonna look at the quarterback. We’re not overthinking it here on The Hurry Up. Tyrod Taylor will be your Week 1 starter. He was also named a team captain. He said earlier this week that he has to go out and earn it each and every week, and each and every year. That seems to be the case again this year. He was in the concussion protocol until Wednesday, although, there’s no real advantage to the Bills commenting on anything Tyrod related until he was cleared. He’s not even allowed to speak to the media while he’s in concussion protocol. So while that may have been frustrating for fans, and it led to some of the Peterman speculation, it allowed the Bills to keep their cards close to the vest on that one. So there’s no real incentive for Peterman to start. If the season goes a certain way, he’ll get his chance. So Tyrod gets another chance to prove it.
The last thing to keep an eye on this week, we said the roster has turned over pretty significantly. Nowhere more so than in the secondary. Basically, a complete turnover of the cornerback and safety position, with just Colt Anderson back. Also at wide receiver, almost a complete turnover. Sammy Watkins traded to the Rams, Robert Woods left in free agency for the Rams, Marquise Goodwin to the 49ers. They all left Western New York for the West Coast. Only Walter Powell and Brandon Tate are back from last year. Walter Powell, of course, suspended for Week 1. Bring in Jordan Matthews, bring in Zay Jones via the draft. But who is the third WR? Who is gonna stretch the defense? Kailen Clay was brought in, but probably more of a return man. So those two positions: the secondary, and the WR position, what’s going to happen there?
Speaking of the WRs, lets take a look at our Significant Stat of the Week. Each week here on The Hurry Up we’re going to look at one stat that’s going to have an impact on the game, and this week’s stat is receptions. 22 receptions to be exact. Last year the Bills had 286 total receptions, only 22 of those are back on the roster this year. If you take away Walt Powell’s 14, because he’s suspended, that leaves eight. Brandon Tate had eight receptions last year. So where are the Bills going to make up that lack of receptions? Expect Zay Jones and Jordan Matthews to see touches. I’d expect LeSean McCoy to see a good number of touches in the passing game. But, I also expect us to see our Bills Player To Watch to get a ton of touches.
Yes, Charles Clay. He of the polarizing contract situation. Let’s take the contract out of the discussion for a minute. Charles Clay has shown well in the preseason. Granted, it’s the preseason, but he seems to be involved. The TE traditionally has had a prominent role as a primary pass catcher in Rick Dennison offenses. Guys like Owen Daniels, Garret Graham even, have had high numbers of touches in this offense. The Bills also seem to be managing his knee well so far. Might be an issue down the line as the season goes on, but he seems good for Week 1. So expect Charles Clay, as your Bills Player To Watch, to see a lot of touches against the Jets.
On the other side of the ball, our Jets player to keep an eye on this week is a guy trying to slow down Charles Clay, rookie safety Jamal Adams. Adams is the sixth overall pick, and he has the makings of a franchise player already. He can tackle. He can cover. He’s a leader. He’s a guy the Jets are gonna count on this year as they work through a, air quotes, rebuild of their own.
In addition to taking a look a couple players to keep an eye on each week, we’re also going to look at a position battle where the Bills should have an advantage. This week, our Advantage Bills goes to the defensive line versus the Jets offensive line. Switching back to a 4-3 defense under McDermott puts pretty much everyone on the defensive line in a situation that’s more conducive to their skills. Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams get to be the disruptive 1-gap tackles that they were born to be. Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson both get to pressure the quarterback from the edge. On the other side, the Jets line missing cornerstone Nick Mangold, who is currently a free agent. They let him go as part of the rebuild. The rest of the line is really in flux. So look for the Bills to have an advantage in the trenches.
Closing things out here with the most recent injury report. As of Friday evening, the Bills are healthy. Just two players out. Tanner Vallejo is out. Jerel Worthy is out, though thankfully Jerel Worthy’s concussion didn’t stop his tweet game from being in midseason form. If you haven’t see his subtweet of Stephon Gilmore from last night (Thur. 9/7) check that out. The Jets down just two players, a TE Jordan Leggett and S Rontez Mills.
Thanks to Rise Collaborative for helping make The Hurry Up a reality. Did you know, The Hurry Up is not the only podcast in the Rise Collaborative family? Extra! By No Boundaries is a podcast telling real life stories about boundary breaking people right here in the Queen City. Extra! aims to shine a spotlight on the typically underreported people, communities, and organizations that are working to make Buffalo better. So look for both The Hurry Up and Extra! By No Boundaries on iTunes or Stitcher, and be sure to hit ‘Subscribe’.
OK lastly, follow @rise_sports during the game. That’s @rise_sports. We’ll be live-tweeting our thoughts throughout the game. We’ll also be posting a transcript of this episode as a blog on the Rise Collaborative website, as well as on our Facebook page, @RiseCollabSports. That’s @RiseCollabSports. OK, this is Week 1, , it’s the Bills, and that’s The Hurry Up. Enjoy the game, and we’ll see you next week.