DON’T GET ME STARTED reflects on the woe-is-us feeling before facing the New York Jets last Sunday.
After all, in the previous meeting between the teams in week 3. The New Yorkers ripped the Bills defense to the tune of over 500 yards of offense in the first confrontation of rookie quarterbacks Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel. Before the rematch, two of Buffalo’s top receivers were sidelined by injuries. Woe-is-us was the cry. Johnson and Wood would not suit up for the game.
Head Coach Marrone replaced them with the G-Men, Graham and Goodwin. The posters of this pair will be posted on the locker room walls of opposing teams in the next 6 weeks. Opponents will have to contend with this pair and in all likelihood Johnson and Wood, the top receivers on the squad. It’s always been noted in the NFL, the healing process is faster when the replacements perform as well as G & G did on Sunday.
Let’s see how Nate Hackett will use the quartet. First of all, Hackett still has to convince me that he is a good play caller. It doesn’t matter whether he’s upstairs or on the sidelines. His preference to almost run on first down is baffling since teams plan on stopping Jackson and Spiller. Hackett can thank his lucky stars that EJ Manuel had the game of his career. How could the fact escape Hackett that the running game wasn’t working? How did Hackett not realize, early, that one of the NFLs best run defense in the league was stopping Jackson and Spiller? Too often this season, Hackett has insisted on running the ball. A couple of times, especially against Cincinnati, passing to set up the run was preferred.
If the offensive line can keep opponents away from Manuel, here’s the plan. Johnson and Wood run quick slant patterns in the low to medium range. When the safeties creep up, send the G-Men on fly patterns – deep = as Manuel did Sunday. Naturally DC Pettine did a whale of a job game planning for the Jets and his defensive guys made life miserable for Geno Smith.
Before Sunday, when everyone was talking about the Bills passing game, it was all Stevie Johnson, with a side to Wood. Now, Buffalo has a quartet of wideouts that can move the chains and hit the big ones for touchdowns.
EJ Manuel went from his worst game – at Pittsburgh – to his best game against the Jets. Now let’s have Hackett become a little more creative, like his defensive colleague Pettine, to continue a march toward respectability, if not a playoff berth on Don’t Get Me Started.
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