Schobel loses the boot
In two of the past three weeks, Buffalo's defense has been torched through the air. But the blame shouldn't be solely put on the secondary. Without a consistent pass rush, Kurt Warner (250 yards, 2 TD) and Chad Pennington (314 yards, TD) have had field days. The Bills – having only recorded three sacks in their last three games – must get after Brett Favre or it'll be a long day at The Ralph.
Fortunately, the team did receive a dose of good news this week as defensive end Aaron Schobel removed the walking boot from his painful left foot. Buffalo's top pass rusher has missed the last two games with the strained ligament.
"It's better, I just don't know how much better or how much longer it's going to take," Schobel said. "Like I told you all a couple of weeks ago I'm no doctor. Hopefully it will be better by this week, but we'll see."
Head coach Dick Jauron said he'll know more about Schobel's status as game time nears.
On the flip side, wide receiver Josh Reed was in a walking boot Wednesday at practice. Reed suffered a strained Achilles and sprained his ankle in the second quarter of the Bills' loss to the Dolphins. Like Schobel's case, Jauron left Reed's status up in the air.
"We'll just have to wait and see how he is," said Jauron of Reed. "That group of guys with Josh and Brad and Aaron as we move through the week hopefully they can go. Obviously if they say they can't then they're not going to go in practice. But they are getting better and we'll just see what happens there."
BFR Quick Hit: Schobel insists sacks are overrated. Hit-or-miss glory plays that inflate reality. Eh, maybe true. But great defensive ends get to the quarterback year-in and year-out. So far, Schobel hasn't cashed the $50.5 million contract he signed two years ago check yet. Seven sacks in a year and a half doesn't cut it. Now healthy, Schobel must bull rush to the quarterback with a consistent push. Buffalo is making a habit of rewarding its own core with mega contracts a la G.M. Ted Thompson in Green Bay. But the strategy is only effective if those who ink the deal are for real. Schobel hasn't been $50 million-real.
The Bills sure could use heavy pressure on Brett Favre. The elusive, Houdini-in-pads has an above-average line in front of him now. In order to thwart the Jets' quick-hitting passing game (Favre is on pace for more than 30 touchdowns), Schobel must wreak havoc. Buffalo simply does not have that undersized, situational, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila spot end that every team craves. The onus falls on Schobel - if he can go.
McGee says he's ready
Even after getting picked on all day in Miami, Terrence McGee's spirits are high. McGee said he still needs to wrap up his knee in ice after practice, but that he is close to 100 percent.
The No. 1 cornerback sprained his MCL in the Bills' win over St. Louis in week four.
McGee's problems at Miami were rooted in his inability to play press coverage. Lining up 5-7 yards back, McGee gave Pennington had ample space to pick the Bills apart underneath. Every defensive coordinator knows that while Pennington's arm is JV-weak, he can coolly play a game of Operation on short routes. He did, and won easily.
Lax coverage shouldn't be an issue this week, McGee said. His knee is "feeling pretty good." McGee vows to play New York's top wideout, Laveranues Coles man-up in press coverage – no cushion. Coles (thigh) is also hobbling, but Favre has had his moments this season (see: 6 touchdowns against Arizona) slicing and dicing defenses on hitches, slants and hooks.
"I'm going to (press)," McGee said. "Just watching film they throw a lot of quick passes so you don't want them, at least for the whole game, bleeding you to death like that."
BFR Quick Hit: McGee's words must have been music to Bills fans' ears. He didn't flirt around the obvious. Instead, the return dynamo/No. 1 CB took the blame for last weekend's game-long breakdown, and promises to correct it. Whether his health permits it, we'll see. But McGee says he is closer to 100 percent than he was last week.
A Jets' win evens them up with Buffalo at 5-3 with the tiebreaker. Hence, Sunday's contest is loaded with division and Wild Card implications. At full strength, McGee gives the Bills the best chance against a slingin' Favre. Ashton Youboty is still not 100 percent from a foot injury. Leodis McKelvin is a fringe dime back. Jabari Greer can only cover one receiver (Jerricho Cotchery).
McGee is a must.