Behind Enemy Lines: Part 1

Former Buffalo Bills safety Mark Kelso provides his keen insights leading to Sunday's Week 2 game at Lambeau Field. How are the long-suffering Bills fans faring? Is Chan Gailey the answer at coach? Is Trent Edwards the answer at quarterback? That and much more ...

We go Behind Enemy Lines with Mark Kelso, the former hard-hitting Bills safety who is the analyst for the team's radio broadcasts.

What's the feeling among the fans up there? It's been a long time since you guys have been really good.

That's an understatement. It's probably the longest playoff drought in the NFL (tied with Detroit at 10 years). I think there was a lot of cautious optimism going into the first game (against Miami, a 15-10 loss). They played pretty well in the preseason, though in my mind that has to be cautious because they've got a lot of young players and they're playing with a little more tempo than some of the veteran clubs. They played Indianapolis and Cincinnati, two teams that made the playoffs, and those clubs don't have it cranked up to high gear in the preseason. But things went well in the preseason and the fans had some high expectations, but they did not reach those expectations on Sunday, I can tell you that.

What's your early take on the coaching staff? Chan Gailey hasn't been an NFL head coach in more than a decade so that seemed a bit odd from an outside perspective.

I like them. I like them because there's a lot of attention to detail. There's a lot of experience in the building. I think they understand what they're doing. I think Coach Gailey, part of his winning pro formula is high-character guys. I think he's made it a point to make sure that people do the right thing, say the right thing. I think he's given them a lot less rope than the previous staff had given a young club, and too much rope for a young club is to get yourself tangled up. Again, they understand the game, they know what they want to do. They just have to make sure they don't do too much, too quickly. There's a lot of pieces to the puzzle that they've added this year but there's still a lot of pieces that are missing, or at least not necessarily a consensus that those pieces are in the building.

The Packers went through the switch to the 3-4 here last year and it went over great. How is that transition going for the Bills?


Aaron Maybin was the Bills' first-round pick in 2009, No. 11 overall. He has no sacks in his career while Clay Matthews, taken at No. 26, has 13.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
I think it's been OK. It went over great for you guys except Kampman. He didn't like it very much. We've got a guy, Chris Kelsay, who's trying to make that transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. Clay Matthews is more of a natural outside linebacker, so you have some personnel that fits that scheme pretty well. The Bills, I think they do have some guys. I think they were a little, not concerned, but they realize it takes time for that transition to occur, so that's why they drafted some guys that had some experience with that 3-4 defense in college. I think they like what they got from those guys in the preseason. (Nose tackle) Torell Troup was active on Sunday, though he did not play very much, and I think (nose tackle) Kyle Williams can make that transition and (defensive end) Marcus Stroud, too. We just have to see what happens. I think they like it, I think they like the creativity of it. I think the linebackers, there's a learning curve, but Paul Posluszny has figured it out — though he has a knee injury and will be out a couple weeks. It's a completely new mentality at linebacker. It's been very good for Chris Ellis, who had a great preseason and played pretty well on Sunday, and I think Aaron Maybin, it really suits his skill-set better than a 4-3. He had a really good preseason but didn't make much of an impact on Sunday. This plays much better to his strengths.

As someone who played with Jim Kelly all those years, you know that you need a quarterback. Do the Bills have one with Trent Edwards or even Brian Brohm?

I guess it's a wait-and-see. I think Trent has a lot of tools that you need to succeed but I'm just not sure ... the jury is still out. I think it's out on the coaching staff and maybe out in Trent's mind, too. Two years ago, he was on fire when he came in here and got the opportunity to start. Then he missed a couple games because of injury and things just have not progressed. I wouldn't say that evaluating quarterbacks is my forte. He has a lot of skills that he needs to play in this league and be successful, but he's got to show he can throw the ball downfield, he's got to show he's got adequate vision to scan the field and find the secondary and tertiary receivers. Right now, particularly last week, he did not do that. But he's got good leadership ability and he's got escape-ability — at least he can get out of the pocket when the pressure is difficult. He's got a good arm — he doesn't have an Aaron Rodgers' arm, in my mind — but he's got a good-enough arm. With that being said, he's got to do it on Sunday. This past week was not a good start.

What you do have is a great running back corps. The Packers just lost Ryan Grant, so I'm not sure they have one good back. The Bills have three.

I think we do. Time will tell on C.J. Spiller but he had a great preseason and comes in with great credentials and works hard. Every time he talks to the press or I read a transcript, he always says the right things. He's an extremely high-character young man. They're real excited about what he brings to the table. Fred Jackson had just a fantastic season last year. He has great vision and is more of a slashing-type runner. If there's a seam to be found, he's going to find it. Marshawn (Lynch) has got some power. There's been lots of talk about if they want to keep three. You need two really good ones and they've got three. Marshawn's a little bit different, a little bit more powerful and kind of seeks contact more than the other two. I think the other two will be a little more effective in the passing game, although he can catch the ball out of the backfield, too. There's no question at running back but you've got to make sure you've got an offensive line that can create some holes so those guys can run through them.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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