The T.O. Show Comes To Buffalo
While their defense should strongly resemble that of last years, Buffalo's offense should have plenty of new ways to attack the AFC East.
With all of the weapons Buffalo has put together the playbook should be wide open for Turk Schonert's offensive attack. The Bills will be looking to thrown down field early and often.
The biggest change in the offense will be in the passing game. The wide receiver tandem of Lee Evans and Terrell Owens is one of the best in the league. Evans hasn't had a legitimate receiving threat on the other side of him for most of his career.
Teams were double and sometimes triple covering Evans all of last year. Bringing in Owens will make teams pick their poison. If teams decide to double cover Owens there could be some long afternoons in store for opposing corner backs covering Lee Evans.
With Evans ability to get behind defenders with his elite speed, teams will still have to roll coverage to his side of the field. This should leave many opportunities for Owens to make big plays.
If there is any question in Evans' ability to catch the deep ball just ask the Houston Texans. In 2006 he caught two eighty three yard touchdown passes, and set the Bills single game record for receiving yards with 265.
While Evans and Owens will be the focal points in the passing game, Buffalo's receiving corps runs much deeper than two players. This will allow the Bills to run more four and five receiver sets.
Buffalo will be able to put a mix of receivers on the field at one time.
Former LSU Tiger Josh Reed is coming off a 2008 years where he reached career highs in yards with 597 and first downs with thirty six. Reed is a great option for running routes under the coverage and picking up third down conversions.
The addition of Owens should open up even more opportunities for Reed under the coverage.
Special teams stand out Roscoe Parrish is a burner that is very dangerous when he gets the ball in space. He has been more effective as a punt returner than a receiver, but his game breaking speed makes him a dangerous player anytime he touches the field.
Second year players James Hardy and Steve Johnson should also benefit from having Owens on the field. Hardy had a disappointing rookie season, but showed some promise. Steve Johnson came on at the end of the season, and looks to build on a strong rookie campaign for a seventh round draft choice.
Receivers are known for taking longer to adjust to the NFL game. Both Hardy and Johnson should show signs that they are ready to take the next step in becoming consistent contributors.
Rookie fourth round draft pick Shawn Nelson could also be a big part of the teams plans in the new areal attack. Nelson has the ability to split out wide and become a third or fourth receiving option for Trent Edwards.
His speed will allow the Bills to stretch the middle of the field in a way they haven't been able to for years. Linebackers should have a difficult time trying to keep up with Nelson one on one.
Another advantage Buffalo possesses is the pass catching ability of their running backs. This will allow the Bills to show opponents a four receiver set with one running back. Many options are created from that set.
Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson both have the ability to be split out wide. Lynch set a career high 2008 with forty seven receptions for 300 yards. Jackson did the same with thirty seven receptions for 317 yards.
Running a draw out of this formation should also prove to be successful as teams will be focusing on the pass with the receiving talent Buffalo can roll out at any time.
Bringing in Terrell Owens will also provide the duo of Lynch and Jackson more holes to explode through in the running game.
While teams focus on trying to contain the vertical attack of the Bills, their running backs should see plenty of daylight ahead of them in the ground attack.
Teams can no longer stack the box and try to shut down Marshawn Lynch. Lynch should be able to break more big runs than he has in past years.
The Bills are hoping that the additions of rookies Eric Wood and Andy Levitre, as well as veteran Geoff Hangartner to the interior of the offensive line will be able to provide Lynch and Jackson with more running lanes.
One thing is for certain, the 2009 Buffalo Bills will be fun to watch!
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