Same old story without T.O.
Pencil in another 7-9 season without Terrell Owens around. Buffalo's offense remains powerless without the eccentric, ratings-nightmare wide receiver — a deficiency magnified against Green Bay's 3-4 defense. Facing the same defensive alignment they will against each divisional opponent, Trent Edwards' No. 1 unit was abysmal. Blitzing linebackers roamed free. Offensive rhythm was nonexistent. And turnovers doomed Buffalo from the start.
Marshawn Lynch needs to stop bobbing and weaving around holes. His self-proclaimed "Beast Mode" running style has been a sad whimper through three preseason games. Part of the blame for his 6-carry, 6-yard cloud of dust Saturday night belongs to the revamped offensive line. The interior is still learning, still adjusting, still weeks away from clicking. But mostly it's because Lynch is indecisive behind the line. Unlike Fred Jackson, he doesn't slam into holes. The Bills should seriously consider naming Jackson the outright starter. Aside from his fumble, Jackson ran with a purpose against Green Bay. Buffalo should make Lynch earn his way into the rotation after his three-game suspension.
Perils of no-huddle exposed
It was so calculated, so timely just a week ago. But against an attack-first, think-second Green Bay defense, Buffalo's no-huddle offense backfired. The Bills' offense turned the ball over three times in the first 16 minutes. Yikes. Such carelessness will kill any game against any team. While the no-huddle can keep a defense off guard — read Chicago game last week — it also can cue a Chinese fire drill.
Up front, Geoff Hangartner was steamrolled by B.J. Raji on one Edwards turnover. And in the back, Charles Woodson and Al Harris locked down on Buffalo's wideouts. With the Packers' starting cornerback duo on the field, Buffalo mustered only three first downs. By no means should Saturday's clunker kibosh the no-huddle plans, but maybe Edwards should be given more leeway. Instead of a coach dominating play-calling, Edwards should be the one managing every series. It'll eliminate confusion, promote synergy and lead to less fragmented chaos.
Just in time?
Another game, another painful night without pressure. Scary to imagine the carnage Tom Brady will cause in a couple weeks if things don't change.
Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay cannot be counted on to rush the passer this season. While both can effectively shove running plays into mammoth tackles Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams, neither have the elite speed to make opposing quarterbacks the slightest bit queasy. Aaron Rodgers peacefully stepped into open pockets all night, completing 8-of-9 passes with one drop.
At least now there's a sliver of hope.
First-rounder Aaron Maybin finally reached a contract agreement with the team and will be in camp Monday. Maybe Maybin's pure speed adds a little pop to the pass rush. Fans shouldn't expect the Penn State rookie to be the next messiah. No rookie, no matter how good, can make a huge impact after missing a month's worth of practices. But after a (hopefully brief) weaning period, Maybin might be the disruptive, third-down force the defense sorely needs. Each starting quarterback the Bills have faced through three exhibition games has had all day to locate the open receiver.
Buffalo boasts a gang of game-changers in deep center now. But Maybin, Chris Ellis, Copeland Bryan, whoever, need to force quarterbacks into errant throws first.
Omon makes his case
No knock on Dominic Rhodes. The long-time Indianapolis back rushed for 6.5 yards per carry Saturday after a mostly subpar preseason. But Xavier Omon deserves more meaningful snaps in the preseason. He needs more carries earlier in the game.
Yet again, the electrifying 230-pound dynamo made a big play. In an otherwise gagging showing by Buffalo's offense, Omon stood out. His late-game, 52-yard catch and run against the Packers justifies a fair look as Buffalo's No. 3 running back. He's arguably faster in the open field than Buffalo's entire lot of backs. Let's see how Omon fares against a sound No. 2 NFL defense. Instead of giving fullback Corey McIntyre slogging carries in the third quarter — really? — Omon needs a hefty, 10-carry workload.
Before even thinking about cutting Omon, let's see how his slippery, yet authoritative running style motors over a handful of series.
Tyler Dunne is the Publisher of BuffaloFootballReport.com. Contact him at email@example.com.