The Colts return home this week to face the Buffalo Bills in a game they absolutely have to win for several reasons. Not unimportantly, a win keeps them remarkably in the playoff race. Just as significant is the fact that a team trying to build a winning culture can’t do it by losing home games against teams with a historically bad offense.
Regardless of how the Colts finish this season, this game is the first of a two game stretch where they absolutely need to get wins. Will they crumble and be a ruined team forever if they don’t? Probably not. However, if you want to build a winning franchise, you have to start winning the games you ought to win, and this is one of those games.
With all that in mind, I got a chance to talk with Corey Giacovelli of Buffalo Rumblings this week to ask him a few questions about the Bills to give us a better understanding of what to expect heading into this Sunday’s game. Thanks to Corey for taking the time to provide us an insight into this team.
The Bills have had a strange quarterback situation this season, starting Nathan Peterman and the putting Josh Allen into the mix only to see him get injured, handing over the starting job to Derek Anderson. How are Bills fans feeling about the future of the QB position and the team’s handling of it?
Bills fans have been speechless over the quarterback situation because it has been a roller coaster for most of the season. When it comes to the future we feel good about the potential of Allen because we knew that out of all the rookies, he needed the most time to development. Now that he is injured he can watch how a veteran in Anderson handles the position and hopefully Allen can come back new and improved.
It is not like Peterman is a bad person but he is probably one of the most hated people in Buffalo because we all knew those interceptions were coming on Sunday, we were just hoping that we would have a big enough lead before then which was not the case. Thankfully, McDermott benched him for Sunday because if he started there is no telling what would have happened.
Statistically the Bills have one of the best defenses in the league. What are the strongest and weakest parts of the Bills defense?
The strongest part of the defense has been the pass rush, which is what the team was lacking last season. The team has a strong secondary but what led them into problems last season was the amount of time spent in coverage because the team could not get to the quarterback. Now with the rush getting pressure in a short amount of time, the secondary has been playing tough and passing yards has been hard to come by.
Leslie Frazier has done a great job as well disguising where the pressure will be coming from as well. With the way the defense has been playing there has been no glaring weakness. The only one that comes to mind is stamina because with the offense being awful, the defense has been taking much more snaps than they should resulting in them getting gassed late in the game.
On the flip side, the offense has struggled a lot this season. What do they need to do to right the ship, whether it be during the season or in the offseason?
The offense is a mess plain and simple and there is no fix to it because each and every spot needs improvement. Allen is still a rookie quarterback that needs time to development and learn how to handle blitzes. The offensive line has been questionable at times with silly holding penalties and false starts forcing the team into a lot of third and longs.
The receivers need to step up because they are not helping out any of the quarterbacks right now. The issue is that they are unable to get seperation on routes and for some reason Brian Dabbol likes calling plays that involve routes of 10 plus yards which is not what this receiving core can do. Short, effective passes is what can get these guys back on track. Even the running game has not been the best with Shady and Chris Ivory with neither breaking 100 yards in a game.
The only way to fix it right now is to pray and see what happens because offensive weapons are hard to come by in free agency this year even though we have the cap space.
How is the Bills’ rookie class shaping up so far this season?
The rookie class has the potential to be special. There are guys making immediate impact like Tremaine Edmunds, Harrison Phillips, and Taron Johnson. Then there are guys who can make develop into long term impact players like Allen, Ray-Ray McCloud, and Robert Foster. For that I give the front office a lot of credit, especially trading to nab Edmunds because even at 20 years old, the kid is a monster and has been making an impact all over the field.
Who are some players to watch whose name Colts fans might not know?
The one guy I can think of is Robert Foster, the rookie has been the only true deep threat it seems for the team but so far he has not been able to connect on passes from Allen. Look for Anderson to try to exploit a Colts secondary that has not been playing the best. The one thing this offense has been lacking is long plays vertically in the passing game and if that is going to change on Sunday, Foster would be the guy to do it.