Browns rookie wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi made his starting debut against the Cincinnati Bengals look easy. This Sunday, the Buffalo Bills’ secondary could make Massaquoi’s second start look even easier.
After losing starting cornerback/kick returner Leodis McKelvin for the season, the Bills will most likely be missing starting safeties Donte Whitner and Bryan Scott for tomorrow’s game as well.
These injuries could play in huge favor for quarterback Derek Anderson and Massaquoi, who has 10 catches for 179 yards this season.
Filling in for the Bills’ wounded safeties will be George Wilson and Jarius Byrd. Wilson has 11 tackles and two sacks and Byrd has 15 tackles and a pass defended. Former San Diego Charger, Drayton Florence will take over for McKelvin opposite Terrence McGee.
The Bills’ defense will also have to play without defensive end Chris Kelsay and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. Kelsay has brought down opposing quarterbacks twice, with Posluszny recording just six tackles this season.
Massaquoi will be joined by Mike Furrey and newcomer Chansi Stuckey, although it is not yet determined who will start alongside Massaquoi. Don’t be surprised if it is Stuckey, who poses as a more vertical threat than Furrey, a more possession-type receiver.
It’s never good when your team’s defensive coordinator is making headlines twice in the same week. This is exactly what Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has done in regards to the Bengals’ game-winning field goal last week and with Bills’ quarterback Trent Edwards this week.
Ryan verbally contested Shayne Graham’s field goal saying that he thought it was wide right. Ryan has not been fined by the league for his comments. Earlier this week, he downplayed Edwards’ abilities by saying that “he is no Carson Palmer.” While this may be true, it is never a good idea to fuel an opposing player’s fire when it’s unnecessary.
Edwards has thrown 117 passes this season, with only 20 of them going over 16 yards, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That is surprising considering that the team has two Pro Bowl-caliber receivers in Terrell Owens and Lee Evans. Backup running back Fred Jackson has also filled in nicely for Marshawn Lynch, leading the Bills in rushing and receiving yards (333, 160 and a touchdown, respectively).
The Bills will have the recently-suspended Lynch back for his second game, giving them a nice one-two punch in the backfield. Last week, Lynch touched the ball eight times for four yards, and also made five catches for 43 yards.
The Browns defense played its best game this season last week against the Bengals. They held Cedric Benson to 75 yards on the ground and held the Bengals without a first down from the second quarter until the middle of the fourth quarter. This was after Cincinnati had the ball for all but 1:30 in the first quarter.
Without Braylon Edwards, Massaquoi will be the primary focus of the Bills secondary. With a target on his chest and back, we’ll see if Anderson can continue to find Massaquoi down the field tomorrow afternoon.