Many may still be trying to wrap their heads around the logic behind the Buffalo Bills trading Matt Cassel to the Dallas Cowboys this week. The move was surprising considering Cassel was the No. 2 and EJ Manuel was the inactive No. 3 quarterback.
What changed in two weeks? The News' Jerry Sullivan offered his thoughts in today's paper.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Greg Roman took the podium and had a curious answer to one question. First, he praised Manuel.
"Really feel good about EJ in the No. 2 role," Roman said. "I think EJ is a guy with a lot of talent, a lot of ability and a really good approach day in and day out. So I'm very pleased with our two guys."
But when asked what prevented Manuel from being the No. 2 quarterback just two weeks ago, Roman said, "You know, I think stuff like that needs to stay in house."
So there's that. Maybe there is a division here --- coaches who wanted Cassel, a G.M. who wanted Manuel. The staff obviously deemed Cassel the more capable back-up before the trade, naming him the No. 2 and dressing him (not Manuel) on game day. Either way, it's Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel moving forward for the Buffalo Bills. Time will tell if this was the right call.
Elsewhere, running back Boobie Dixon said on Wednesday that the Bills should return to the run. He was candid on the subject, too.
“We’re going to have to really run the ball so we can keep Tom Brady off the field,” Dixon said. “You saw what he just did. He just put up 40 points on one of the best defenses in the league and carved them up like a high school team. So we need to run the ball. I know the best defense – I’m no expert – but I think the best defense for Tom Brady is putting him on the sideline. And that’s running the ball, methodically, eating the clock up.”
We need this. It’s time for everybody to dig in and we’ve got to run the rock. We’re not taking ‘no’ for an answer this week. … Just judging from the game plan this week, I think we might be trying to go run heavy. I don’t know. I would hope so.”
Roman didn't quite broadcast his game plan for Miami on Thursday.
He said that you "want to run the ball when you want to run the ball," adding "at a certain point in that game the score was what it was that we kind of had to quicken the pace a little bit. But it’s different week in and week out."
That's sort of true. The Bills still went pass-heavy when the game was close in the first half, something Dixon noted. With LeSean McCoy getting healthier and Karlos Williams emerging, a run-first plan certainly would help Taylor's development (see: Week 1).
Asked what he wants the identity of his offense to be, Roman said, "Winning team. Winning. Whatever it takes to win."
Of course, the Bills have weapons outside they'll want to utilize, too. Over the coming weeks, they'll continue to search for the chemistry they couldn't get down in training camp when various players were out with injuries.
At quarterback, coach Rex Ryan is looking for Taylor to step into the pocket with more decisiveness, important after Bill Belichick provided the league a blueprint.
Roman was pleased with Taylor's performance in the 40-32 loss to New England. He said the quarterback "had a very productive game." The key, he said, is learning from mistakes "but overall I thought he played pretty darn well."
He believes stepping into the pocket to deliver throws is coachable, too.
"You can definitely coach that, there's no question," Roman said. "Protection concepts have to marry together. Some times like to set really soft, vertical set. Some teams like to set a really firm apex to the pocket and run guys up the field and try to get the quarterback delivering the ball at 6 1/2 yards. I think the quarterback and the offensive line, the protection philosophy concept have to marry together. Or else you get negative plays where it appeared like somebody screwed up but not really. He was expecting A or B. So I think there has to be a cohesiveness there. That's one thing we can all work better toward."