Autopsy Report: Bills open NFL preseason with loss, some players shine

Photo of DE Eddie Yarbrough from aurorasentinel.com.

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

Photo of Sean McDermott from wgrz.com.

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 

Photo from usatoday.com and buffalorumblings.com.

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 

Photo of Bills DT Marcell Dareus from MSN.com.

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

Erroneous Conclusion

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. 

The views and opinions expressed on this website blog are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Buffalo FAMbase, Inc., and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Robyn Mundy

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is a retired oncology nurse and psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. She lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the shadow of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

24 thoughts on “Autopsy Report: Bills open NFL preseason with loss, some players shine

  1. My fairly insignificant takeaway…hopefully Hauschka is a big improvement on FGs & extra points, because at kickoffs I think he might be a downgrade even to Carpenter…who the Wrecks crew felt they needed to waste a roster spot on because they didn’t think he was good enough at it. Although admittedly, I didn’t pay much attention after halftime so I don’t know if it improved or if someone else did it. Sounds like if other punter dude steals the job from Schmidt, he might have a leg…

    Otherwise, I liked that they started the game with 3 passes and RB Williams looked okay…better than he looked last year anyhow. The starting D looked solid enough in limited duty. By the time Peterman took the field, I was already bored to death and hardly paying attention. I think Yates’ only contribution was giving the punters extra work.

    Might be the only preseason game I get to see as it was on locally thanks to the Viqs. Our satellite package is bare bones now in order to not pay over $100 a month on mostly shite we never watch…and NFL Network is a cap casualty, which I watched maybe a dozen times a year…Bills preseason, their one Thursday night game, the draft…and a couple random other Thursday night games during the season. Not really worth the extra $60-80 a month our satellite bill was costing.

  2. I listened to most of the game and it sounds like there were things improved from last year and there were things that stayed the same.

    The defense looks to be improved and headed back towards its form from pre-Wrecks days. The run defense and pass rush was very good. Eddie Yarborough has been a nice surprise so far. The run game looks like it hasn’t missed a beat. Watkins looked good in limited action. And it looks like Peterman had a decent night and should see time with the 2’s.

    Things that stayed the same, pass protection on the right side. Between Dawkins, Henderson and Mills, if no one emerges as a good option that can give Tyrod time in the pocket, then the Bills will have to address again in the offseason either with a high draft pick or spending some bucks in FA. Taylor still sounds like the same QB that he’s been over the past few years with the Bills. Granted, McCoy wasn’t in there, but I would have liked to have seen more from him. Penalties continue to be a problem.

  3. WTF? Sounds like they swapped for a comparable CB at best and a huge downgrade at WR! I mean, if their intent was to tank for the top pick next year…okay. But when they’re trying to claim they want to win…I repeat, WTF?

  4. On the bright side, I was leaning toward being a money wasting fool and getting the Sunday ticket again. This just saved me a pocket full of cash and time. Shy of trading McCoy and Tyrod, though…this made no sense. Rebuild or don’t. This half-way crap is just stupid.

  5. IMO, I like the moves. The Bills now have two 1st round, two 2nd round and two 3rd round picks next year. You can bet the Bills are going to try and move up in the draft to select a QB, so they’ll have plenty of ammo to do so.

    While I liked Sammy, I highly doubted he was going to be resigned, so the Bills are getting something for him now instead of losing him to FA. I guess Darby didn’t fit what McD and Frazier are doing on defense, so they’re getting a WR that has proven that he can stay healthy (something Watkins couldn’t do).

  6. Steve, if they were rebuilding this year and going for a top draft pick, I’d agree and like the move well enough. Them playing the year to win 6 games, though…it’s a bad plan and a waste of a year.

  7. If they just accepted their reality, they could be in position to get their QB, keep all the picks they’re acquiring, and get a few more by unloading guys like McCoy who won’t help them when they’re ready to win again. Instead, trade all those assets for another typical Bills season and hope one of the shitty teams ahead of you is willing to swap their pick for your boatload. #Billsy.

  8. BTW, the WR they picked up is also a FA at the end of the year so a lesser talent that they’re just as likely to lose…maybe they can replace him with that 3rd rounder they got. Just kidding, they’ll trade it away to move up 3 spots in the 2nd round.

  9. PS: Gaines is a FA at the end of the year too… So, Watkins and Darby for not quite as good rental players to help get you your 6 wins this year and a 2nd and 3rd round pick. Without a tank in mind…this move was idiotic.

  10. i just lost all respect for brandon beane. he an arrogant prik by trading away the teams best player right before the start of the season. sammy was primed for a great year. bean is also not very smart either. who the hell would want to play for this douche knowing how he operates. this trade was showing everyone who the boss is. too bad the boss sucks out loud.

  11. Well, McD is the boss…

    Gotta earn it! They’ll earn that halfassed record and 10th pick in the draft… It’ll be hilarious if they can’t trade their load of picks to get the QB they want… And it’s a waste that they’re not going to legit rebuild and keep and use all those picks AND get their QB. #BadPlan

  12. Good morning…

    It was a typical exhibition game but I liked the hustle to the ball and the aggressiveness they showed. They have to cut down on the flags…

    A first I was stunned & upset about the trade but it makes sense. With Watkins injury history and the big contract looming they cut ties. There is no doubt he is talented and if he can stay healthy he could be one of the best in the league—a big if. I have to believe attitude played a part in the trade… This could be a mistake or a thank goodness the Bills got a #2 pick for him. It’s a shame that what the Bills gave up to get him a #1 and #4 but it was a different era… Plus, the Bills gave up #6 & Sammy to get the #2…

    Darby had a down year last year but is a man to man CB, the Bills are going to more zone packages….

    Mathews and Gaines if they prove their worth may be easier signees next year plus the Bills acquired the #3..

    The Bills are loading up on draft picks 2–ones, twos and 3 threes.. The new front office is going to build the team they want or could be stock piling for a monster trade, to move up in the draft..

    Getting rid of Sammy hurts as he is talented and he is a game changer… The Bills are being smart with getting picks and changing the attitude of the team. Dareus is getting any younger as is Kyle Williams, Incognito, Alexander, Shady, Boldin, Wood etc the Bills are going to need an influx of younger players…

    This year is about putting in a new system and transitioning to what is expected. If you don’t go along with the system you will no longer be a Bill… 4-6 wins are a strong possibility but the Bills will be a better team in the end.

    For those of you that talked tanking you should be happy with this deal but the Bills just may be better by subtraction.

  13. My issue is they’re not tanking. They’re worse, but if they’re doing this, then they should really do it. And they should be keeping their good young players. Darby is good and has two years left on his deal. If they handled the Sammy situation better, they probably could have gotten a 2 & 3 by himself. Pick up that option and he has more value bec he’s not a FA at the end of the year. Them doing this stupid sorta rebuild and sorta win now crap is just moronic. Choose one and do it well instead of doing both half-assed! How can you have any confidence in people that are intentionally doing something so stupid?

  14. Trading someone for a draft pick is a bigger “if” than if watkins would have remained healthy.
    this team is going to suck this season because of the move, even lesean mccoy is pissed off. nobody’s going to give their all for this regime.
    i like the corner, darby was too short and easily manhandled by TE matchups. but sammy was a proven entity.
    this is a defining move by the bills “brass”. it could mark the beginning of the end, and way too soon.

  15. The Bills are going to try and win this year and will finish in regular Bills fashion, between 6-10 and 9-7. It’s obvious what their plan is by stockpiling draft picks, to move up in the draft to select a franchise QB, but they would have a much better chance if they bombed out this season of moving up in the draft without having to pony up a ton of picks to do so. Along with a franchise QB, the Bills need a RT and need to start finding a replacement for Incognito as he’s getting up there in age.

  16. Getting a second round pick and a mediocre CB for Watkins is junk. You’ll be lucky if the 2nd rounder is a solid starter, much less elite. And since they’re not tearing it down to rebuild, they’re going to have to trade all their picks to (hope to) move up and get the second or third QB on the board. If they get lucky and get the QB and he’s good, they’ll eventually be good. If they tanked they’d get the same QB or better and have all those picks to use on players. And this is going to be a wasted season anyhow so why tf not?

  17. Good morning….

    The Sammy era is over and the Bills are now stock piling draft picks. They probably never 100% sure they would resign him so they got what they could and moved on… With his injury concerns a #1 in return was not in the cards. It just came out of now where that it is so stunning.

    Darby’s play dropped off last year and he was benched…

    I just finished watching the game and Peterman looked impressive, he got rid of the ball quickly and threw to a spot. Yarbrough had a outstanding game as did J. Williams running the ball…

    Yates didn’t look very good, it will be nice to see Peterman move up to #2 for this week’s game and see what he could do. O-lineman, should be cut due to penalties and missed blocks. I was surprise to see Henderson play so much at RT, he looked rusty.

    The Eagles game will be replayed Friday at 4pm on NFL Network.


  18. starting to come around a little and understanding sammy was not all that great and did have an injury history- his play was mainly flashy long bombs and he was not that good as a possession receiver- he only caught a dismal 53.8% of his targets last season. i thought his catch percentage was much higher than that.
    still he seemed to have the right attitude and was going to play his all this season in a contract year and try to earn the big one.
    attitude has a lot to do with playing through injury. plus it seemed as if the chemistry between he and tyrod was about ready to really take off.
    not saying it isn’t the right move in the long run but it would have been nice to see the season play out with watkins as the no.1 because this will most likely be another effin season that ends in december.

  19. Targets do not equal catchable balls… Having a mediocre QB is bad for your stats. When healthy, Sammy is a legit #1. Whether he’s healthy is another matter…but I’d rather take my chances with Watkins than Mathews. He’s a FA too, and if chump WRs get 8 mil a year, and Mathews is supposed to be a bit better than chump, what’s he going to command? 9 or 10? If Watkins is past his Percy, I’d rather spend 12 a year on him than this Matthews guy. Whatev… It would all be worthwhile if they were sucking for luck, but they’re not so it’s a big fat waste.

  20. “They probably never 100% sure they would resign him so they got what they could and moved on… ”

    Well, the Bills wouldn’t have had to worry about it for at least another year but they chose not to pick up the option. That was their own dumbass doing. Think they’re 100% sure they can resign Percy Mathews? I’ll laugh my nuts off if they use the tag on him. #Billsy

  21. Good morning…

    Mathews will not get $12 million or be franchised next year. It is hard to believe that he got hurt in his first practice! I hope it is not an omen of signs to come.

    Rams are talking of getting Sammy a long term deal.

    So who is now the #1 WR on the team, I honestly don’t have a clue?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *