In-Depth Scouting Report: Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills will host the Detroit Lions on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Complete scouting report on the Bills, including players to watch, offensive, defensive, and special teams overview and much more inside!

Players to watch:
WR - Clarence Coleman: Coleman has had a breakout off-season and has drawn much praise from quarterback Drew Bledsoe. The 2nd year man has climbed up the depth charts and should see a good amount of time on Thursday. He should also get a look at returner.

RB - Joe Burns: Burns had a standout camp and looked very impressive against Tennessee, where he had 4 carries for 32 yards and a 33 yard touchdown reception. Burns is motivated by the fact he has the chance to unseat Olandis Gary for a backup job and will likely see a lot of playing time Thursday.

Additions
James Posey (Texans)
Takeo Spikes (Bengals)
Bobby Shaw (Jaguars)
Izell Reese (Broncos)
Sam Adams (Raiders)
Olandis Gary (Broncos)
Ainsley Battles (Jaguars)
Dainon Sidney (Titans)
Sam Gash (Ravens)
Ryan Lindell (Seahawks)
Mark Campbell (Browns)

Subtractions
Kendrick Office (released)
Leif Larsen (released)
Jay Riemersma (Steelers)
Chidi Ahanotu (49ers)
Chris Watson (Lions)
Shawn Bryson (Lions)
Peerless Price (Falcons)
Charlie Rogers (Dolphins)
Mike Hollis (Giants)
Greg Favors (Titans)
Eddie Robinson (released)
Larry Centers (released)
Keith Newman (Falcons)

Draft Picks
RB-Willis McGahee
DE- Chris Kelsey
LB-Angelo Crowell
CB-Terrence McGee
WR-Sam Aiken
OG-Ben Sobieski
DT-Lauvale Sape
LB-Mario Haggan

KR - Antonio Brown- Has track star speed, timing 4.2 in hand timed 40's on a consistent basis. Brown has already taken a kick return to the house against Baltimore, and could break one big this week, much like last week's player to watch C.J Jones.

Offense

Strategy
Things are changing for the Bills offense. Look for the team to rely more on the run this year than they did in 02'. Tight end Mark Campbell and fullback Sam Gash who excel at blocking were brought in to replace Jay Riemersma and Larry Centers who were receiving specialists. The backbone of this team will not be Drew Bledsoe, it will be Travis Henry, who in 02' had over 90% of the rushing attempts.

Strength
Even with the departure of Peerless Price the offense still has a lot of weapons in the passing game. Drew Bledsoe is a very productive pocket quarterback and he still has Eric Moulds who is among the leagues elite receivers. Josh Reed will step in for Price and he should surprise this season. Reed, the highly touted pick of last years draft has the speed and hands to be putting up the numbers Price did in Buffalo within a few seasons. The team has good depth as well with Alex Van Pelt at backup quarterback and Bobby Shaw playing from the slot. The offensive line is still a strength and returns most of it players. The interior has experience and depth, coupled with up and coming tackles Mike Williams and Jonas Jennings, the Bills have one a solid offensive line, primarily in run support. Factor in the shifty Travis Henry, and the Bills have the complete package, both passing and rushing.

Weakness
If it weren't for the Houston Texans, the Bills would have had the worst pass protection in the league in 2002. The blame can't be placed solely on the offensive line though, in fact the major cause is Drew Bledsoe. His total lack of mobility and inability to get rid of the football, make him an easy target for pass rushers. The team also lacks a solid backup for Henry. Sammy Morris is decent at best, Olandis Gary is still buying time for his one standout year in Denver and is on the bubble for making the team.


Defense

Strategy
The Bills made it a priority this off-season to bolster a run defense that statistically ranked 29th in the league last season. By adding ten players via free agency or draft, the team made it no secret that their priority was to strengthen the defense. Two of those acquisitions, linebacker Takeo Spikes and tackle Sam Adams were the most significant. Spikes was arguably the biggest name in free agency and Adams played on the 2000 Ravens Super Bowl winning squad and appeared as a Raider last season. The unit is much stronger and shouldn't allow almost 25 points per game like last season.

Strength
After quarterback Drew Bledsoe and Travis Henry, the cornerbacks are the most valuable part of the entire team. Nate Clements and Antoine Winfield are the best young duo in the league and at 23 and 26 years of age respectively, have not reached their full potential. The tandem led Buffalo to the overall best pass defense in the league last season. Clements recorded six interceptions and Winfield none; however, those
stats are a bit misleading as the defensive line's lackluster pass rush and the pedestrian-like speed of the safeties put a great deal of pressure on the tandem. Dainon Sidney was brought over from Tennessee and Terrence McGee was drafted in the fourth round to provide solid depth.

Weakness
The defensive ends are the biggest weakness of the team. The team only recorded 31 sacks last season, ranking 25th in the league. Veterans Keith McKenzie and Marcus Jones combined to play just four games and will need to step up their production or be benched in favor of Aaron Schobel or second round draft pick Chris Kelsay. The lack of pass rush last season put an enormous amount of pressure on the secondary and allowed opposing quarterbacks to pick it apart. Look for free agent linebacker Jeff Posey to blitz from the outside position if the ends begin to falter early in the season.

Special Teams

Mike Hollis was let go in favor of free agent Ryan Lindell. Lindell is pretty accurate but rarely connects from outside the 50. Hollis had a better long ball, but was inconsistent. Lindell is a mild upgrade. Punter Brian Moorman had an excellent season in 02' and should continue to be near in the top of the AFC in gross and net average. Last years returner Charlie Rogers, left for Miami leaving in open competition among the receivers for the return job. Speed demon Antonio Brown will compete with Bobby Shaw and Clarence Coleman, all of whom have looked good in returns.


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