Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
By Brandon J. Koch
As the second half starts for the Buffalo Bills this Sunday against the Saints, many fans wonder if the Buffalo defense can rebound and hold up with a stretch of good offenses coming up.
It begins with Drew Brees and a Saints team that has won six straight games. Then, in the next weeks to come: Rivers, Smith, Brady.
Can Sean McDermott’s defense get back on track and hold up throughout the rest of this season? Here’s what they need to do:
Quarterback pressure: This to me is number one on the list to improve. The first four games, this wasn’t a problem for the defense. Since the Bengals game, they have allowed three, 300 yard passers and are not getting heat on quarterbacks. I realize Dalton, Winston and Carr get the ball out quickly and so will these upcoming signal callers, but it is important for this defense to find a way to get pressure. It’s not about sacks for me, although it does help, it’s about disrupting their rhythm.
Getting back to fundamentals: I know this has and will continue to be a staple of what McDermott and his staff will continue to preach day in and day out. I think the quick turnaround against the Jets had something to do with missed tackles and uncharacteristic penalties. They have been a great tackling team all season so far and have not kicked themselves in the foot with personal foul penalties.
Stopping the run: The Jets ran for 194 yards Thursday night. Once again, it could have been just a bad night. But teams will notice on film how to get some success running the football on this defense. Gap integrity was weak on the defensive line Thursday, that was strong in previous weeks. The Bills face Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara this week, but moving forward will play Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt and the multiple running backs the Patriots have.
Turnovers: Need to continue for this defense. I know some luck is involved in turnovers, but others was just good plays made. Teams go through quarters, halves and games without creating any. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen because this team feeds off them.
Health: Everyone who watched Thursday’s game knew safety Jordan Poyer was not 100 percent healthy. He, along with EJ Gaines need to get back on the field. Shareece Wright has struggled the past couple games in place of Gaines.