While many fans snooze through the preseason with only one eye on the ‘telly’, the NFL preseason is one of my favorite times of the year. As anyone who’s had the unfortunate experience of reading my posts littered across the Internet can attest, I have a penchant for watching players deep down the depth chart emerge as sleepers.
Simply put, I love to wallow over the John Wendlings, the Jason Peters or the Donald Jones of the NFL. It’s like pan-handlng for gold, finding that one UDFA or late round draft pick who just stands out at training camp is my yearly passion and this season is no exception.
This year my candidate is University of Wyoming defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. Lots of great articles about his life story, so if you have a moment, familiarize yourself with this guy. He’s special in many ways, some of which I’ll babble about more in the near future.
In the meantime… the autopsy report. Having a lifelong love for physiology, I decided to put a suitable title to the overreactions I post after games on a regular basis. Since I love to dissect the intangible aspects of team performance in professional sports, it seems an appropriate title (coming from a Bills fan who has a coffin in her living room).
OK then. Without further fanfare, here are my predictably irrational overreactions to Buffalo’s first preseason loss against the Minnesota Vikings under Coach McDermott.
Biggest negative carryover from last season: penalties
Holy schmoley. The Bills were flagged 10 times for 106 yards in their first preseason outing against the Vikings. While there’s been a significant change in the roster over the last year, the animal spirits of the yellow hankie remain fully intact from the Rex Ryan era. That has to stop, and soon.
In fact, I’ll be watching intensely how McDermott deals with the issue this week because it will reveal a lot about his style of coaching and whether the players will continue to buy in or not. So far so good, but we need to see McDermott convert words he says after games into results on the field.
QB Nathan Peterman showed up with eyeball-popping poise
While the news out of training camp was mostly ‘meh’ about Peterman’s progress during training camp, he showed up in a BIG way during his NFL debut on Thursday evening. Of course, Peterman’s performance was arguably even more enhanced when compared to the tepid showing by quarterback TJ Yates.
Peterman actually made my eyes pop out a couple of times with some gutsy passes over the middle and in traffic. He even ran the ball well when he got flushed out of the pocket, not something he’s known to do on a regular basis. Maybe Tyrod Taylor is rubbing off on him in that regard.
But it was Peterman’s patience going through progressions and trusting his receivers that really stuck out in my mind. He did not look like an overwhelmed rookie quarterback. Peterman looks like a guy who can step into the NFL and handle the pressure.
So what if Peterman’s arm is a ‘Pennington noodle’, then work around it, because this guy has the right mental makeup to succeed as a quarterback in the NFL. His ability to move the ball down the field at the end of the game was duly noted.
There’s a completely different vibe on the Bills sidelines
No more getting the play calls in late. No more penalties for 12 men on the field. Players on the sidelines are actually paying attention to the game and high-fiving each other coming off the field. Players are clearly more engaged in the process as McDermott would say.
Take a moment and focus on Marcell Dareus on the sidelines when you get a chance. He’s smiling more now than all his previous seasons combined. However, if you really want a peek at a million dollar smile, look no further than this interview with Eddie Yarbrough after the game.
Biopsy Results: Vikings @ Bills first preseason game
- Both first string OL & second string DL have work to do but look reasonably solid at this point
- Tyrod Taylor’s rhythm & short passing game have improved
- Seantrel Henderson has work to do with coach Juan Castillo
- Both TEs Logan Thomas and Nick O’Leary had solid performances
- Special Teams need to be more ‘special’
- Reggie Ragland is just fine so ‘chillax’ & let him work his way back
- Jonathan Williams & Mike Tolbert could both have monster years even if LeSean McCoy steals the show
- Need to see more progress from Andre Holmes and Rod Streater
It certainly wasn’t pretty, and yellow is my least favorite color, so the penalties were a disappointment to see. However, the real tell will be how much it gets cleaned up before the next game. Otherwise, this game gave us a peek at a shiny new regime taking hold in Buffalo and so far I like what I see. As a queen of the rose-colored glasses brigade, what else would you expect me to write?
Editor’s babble: I’d like to personally thank each of you for reading this drivel.