From The Other Side, Part 1

To get the lowdown on the Dolphins' next opponent, the Houston Texans, we checked in with BuffaloFootballReport.com's Tyler Dunne. In Part 1, we get his take on the Bills offense.

Q: Is the big difference in the play of the Bills offense and the overall success of the team simply a matter of Trent Edwards having improved that much, or is there more to it than that?

Tyler Dunne: Trent Edwards is certainly everyone's thumbnail to Buffalo's much-improved offense. He's been deadly accurate and is leading by example as his 25-of-30 performance two weeks after a crushing concussion shows. But the operative change to the Bills' offense has been new coordinator Turk Schonert, who took over for the bland, predictable Steve Fairchild. Schonert takes periodical shots downfield, uses all weapons at his disposal (as minimal as it is) and values the run. Last season, Edwards was handcuffed week in and week out. With Schonert's unpredictable play-calling (i.e. a fade to the diminutive Lee Evans at the 2-yard line), Edwards has flourished.

Q: Has Marshawn Lynch pretty much picked up where he left off last year?

TD: Yes and no. Many expected Lynch to bust out to a Pro Bowl level this season after a 1,000-yard rookie campaign. That hasn't happened. He is only averaging 3.5 yards a pop through six games and hasn't had a run beyond 22 yards. Still, much of the blame must be placed on the offensive line. Jason Peters is not the same player after holding out through the entire training camp, and Buffalo's line often is stuck in a stalemate. Lynch is churning out tough yardage, though, doing enough to keep defenses honest. His five touchdowns lead the team. And don't underestimate the tandem of Lynch and backup Fred Jackson. Jackson hits the holes faster and is a lethal change of pace. Last week he appeared dead to rights on a sweep to the left side and completely outran a Charger to the sideline for seven yards. Buffalo should really utilize Jackson more than it does. Maybe this is the game Schonert loosens the leash on Lynch's change-of-pace back.

Q: Lee Evans has had big games against the Dolphins in the past; do you figure the Bills will throw his way even more in this matchup given that history?

TD: Probably. Evans does have a knack for torching Miami. Now that the Bills have improved supplementary weapons, the Dolphins can't shadow extra coverage toward Evans as much. With more isolated coverages, Evans is having his best season ever (22 yards per reception). Many skeptics of Edwards were worried that he'd be able to gun the deep ball to Evans as J.P. Losman often did. But so far, so good. Edwards isn't a stereotypical methodical Don't-Screw-It-Up-Dilfer. With a bulked-up upper body from a new regimen this past offseason, he has the arm to stretch secondaries. That shouldn't change in the Sunshine State, especially considering Evans licks his chops for these games every year.

Q: You discussed Peter already; just how much of a drop-off has there been in his play?

TD: Peters has clearly taken five steps back. He hasn't been the dominant force he should have been this season. Missing an entire training camp will do that. He's been sluggish on the edge and woefully mediocre in the rushing game. This season should have been Peters' coming-out party. He should have stayed quiet, went to camp and earned his (2nd) contract extension. Instead, Buffalo's rushing game has sputtered. Peters doesn't deserve the blame entirely, but in reality, he should be Schonert's go-to lineman on the edge. He's not. And he won't be seeing a new deal anytime soon.

Q: Who besides Evans do the Dolphins have to worry about in the passing game?

TD: Well, Evans is certainly public enemy number one, but Miami should keep a wary eye on Josh Reed. Reed won't break the Dolphins' back on anything deep, but Edwards loves him in the slot. He's averaging four receptions a game and most of those catches have been in crucial situations. If Miami shades too much attention toward Evans, Reed will find the holes underneath — and the much-matured Edwards will find him.


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