I can't export the text from ESPN insider to Front Page and copy it to here anymore, so i just re-typed it for all you clowns. I'm bored and i think it's interesting. So enjoy! I apologise in advance for any typos.
BILLS DEPTH AT RECIEVER SHOULD DICTATE SCHEME
Scouts inc.. for ESPN insider.
During the "downtime" between the draft in late April and the start of the preseason in late July, we spend our time evaluating film and studying the rosters of all 32 NFL teams. One of the things that has jumped out at us early on in the scouting process is the depth that the Bills possess at wide receiver and the potential trickle-down effect it could have for an offense that miserably disappointed in 2003.
For starters, while Eric Moulds struggled as a result of injury and poor support with the departure of Peerless Price in 03, he is still one of the most talented recievers in the NFL and we expect him to have a bounce-back season in '04. Moulds is healthier andhas better complimentary receivers to take away some of the attential that he faced last season.
First round pick Lee Evans is the player who will make the biggest difference in the group from a year ago. Evans, who was one of seven receivers drafted in the first round in '04, doesn't have great size, but he more than makes up for it with his speed, athleticism, strong hands and run after the catch ability. Evans has the speed and separation skills that Price possesses and Josh Reed lacks.
With Moulds and Evans on the outside, Reed should enjoy a successful return to the slot position as a No. 3 receiver in '04. Reed will never be a sloid perimeter starter but he has a chance to develop into on eo fthe NFL's finest No. 3 receivers for years to come, because he gets a lot more free releases and is able to work the short to intermediate zones where he thrives as a result of his smooth routes, relieable hands and excellent instincts.
The member who puts the unit oer the top is Bobby Shaw who emerged as one of the NFL's most consistent No.3 receivers witha career high 56 receptions in 03 and is clearly in the prime of his career right now. As the No. 4 receiver behind Moulds, Evans and Reed, Shaw is to the Bill's what Ricky Proehl was the the Ram's receiveing corps in the late 90s; a quicker than fast, sure handed veteran who will create an awful lot of mismatches against opposing No. 4 cornerbacks or safeties.
New head coach Mike Mularkey was a former tight ends coach with the Steelers. When he took over as the team's offensive coordinator, instead of featuring the tight end postion more, he proved to be flexible enough to adjust his scheme to the strength of the unit's personnel, which was clearly the three receiever package with Plax, Ward and Antwaan Randle El. The Steelers struggled on offense last season, but that had much more to do with a shuffled and overmatched offensive line accompanied by marginal talent at the running back position than anything else.
Mularkey has a solid blocker and short to intermediate receiver in TE Mark Campbell, but Campbell lacks the speed to create mismatches iin the passing game that other elite tight ends in the NFL such as Gonzales, heap and Shockey present.
Buffalo also brought in veteran FB Daimon Shelton to provide lead blocking for RB Travis Henry and Willis McGahee in the team's two back sets, but Shelton is a marginal receiver out of the backfield. The Bills will be much more explosive when they go their three and four receiver sets than they will be with Campbell or Shelton in the game.
One of the Bills' biggest problems last season was their inability to protect immobile QB Drew Bledsoe. One solution to that problem is to use a lot of max protection schemes that will feature Campbell and Shelton staying in as sixth and seventh blockers. Another cure, and the one we think could be more practical and effective for the Bills, is to spread the field with four receiver sets. In doing so, the Bills leave the opposing defence with one of two options; either blitz and leave itself exposed in coverage, or back off the pressure in order to drop more defenders into coverage.
Either way, the Bills should succeed. Bledsoe struggled against the blitz last year, but in our opinion, after going back and comparing the film of 02 and 03, it had much more to do with his receivers and offensive line than it had it had to do with him. Now that the speed and depth of the wide receiver position has been upgraded, opposing defenses will be less likely to blitz him, as they were in 02 when Moulds, Price and Reed made up a dangerous threesome.
When they do blitz him, they will be taking a big risk. Historically, Bledsoe has done an above average job of recognizing the blitz, making the appropriate calls and beating the blitz by getting the ball to his "hot" receiver quickley. With a healthy Moulds, a speedy Evans, and two proven slot receivers in Reed and Shaw, Bledsoe should one again become one of the more dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL to blitz in 04.
When Defenses elect to go with the three-and-four man rushes against the Bills' three-and-four receiver sets, Bledsoe has the potential to be even more dangerous. Bledsoe has always been at his best with time to set up, make his reads downfield and steph into his throws. While he lacks mobility, it is his ability to fit the ball into tight spots downfield that most other NFL quarterbacks can't dream of that makes Bledsoe so potentially dangerous.
Further, with the addition of ROG Chris Villarrial and the healthy return of LOT Jonas Jennings, the Bills' offensive line will be much better equipped to protect Bledsoe than it was last season. The offensive line will be much better equipped to protect Bledsoe than it was last season. The offensive line's biggest problem was protecting the quarterback up the middle. While the unit has lost its most recognizable name in Ruben Brown, we think it will be a better group as a whole in 04.
For starters, Villarrial is a solid starter who will more than hold his own in pass protection. With Jonas Jennings returning healthy at left tackle, Marques Sullivan can move back to inside and push for the starting left guard position. Sullivan isnt' nearly as big or powerful as Brown, but he is quicker and more athletic. Also, if the Bills' guards can hold up on thier own it will free athletic center Trey Teague to pick up the blitz rather than helping his guards on double teams.
The Bills have a lot of issues to work out in terms of chemistry and game planning with several new faces on offense. However, if Mularkey and offensive coordinator Tom Clements can find a way to integrate McGahee and exploit the team's depth at wide receiver, the Bills' offense will look a lot more like the product that finished 11th in total offense in the NFL in 02 than the one that finished 30th last season
If the Bills' offense is able to make the improvement we predict it will and if their defense, which finished second in the NFL in total defense in 03 and made only one significant move in the offseason (replaced departed DC Antoine Winfield(Vikings) with free-agent acquisition Troy Vincent), is able to repeat last year's performance, the fans in Orchad Park, N.Y. will have much to cheer about this fall.
Ok that took a bit longer than i expected
. If anyone has any bright ideas on how to just cut and paste out of INSIDER let me know, cos i don't think i'll do that again any time soon.