Our friend Brian Galliford over at Buffalo Rumblings took the time to answer a few of our questions heading into the week 2 match-up between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills! Click here for all of our Patriots vs Bills coverage.
1) Rex Ryan is an old foe of the Bills from his time with the Jets. How has your opinion of him changed since he took over for Buffalo?
It's a classic scenario in which a person that fans love to hate comes to your team and is suddenly a player everyone loves. The Bills had a taste of it last year with Brandon Spikes, who was very good in his one season in Buffalo and has since returned to his ways of old. This Rex thing is like that, except amplified exponentially. Right now, the guy can do very little wrong in the eyes of his fan base, and that'll remain the case if the team keeps playing well.
2) The Bills signing of Richie Incognito somehow managed to fly under the radar, but he looked like the Bills best offensive lineman against the Colts. How has he worked out, and how is the rest of the line looking?
So far, so good. The Bills are really inexperienced on the right side of the line, with a rookie and a second-year player starting at guard and tackle, respectively, so it was really important that Incognito start strong while the young guys become accustomed to each other and the league. But the line, on the whole, looked pretty bad blocking the run against Indy - they were much closer to average in pass protection - and they need to improve quickly.
3) Tyrod Taylor definitely surprised against the Colts and he looks to be promising within the Bills offense. If he works out, the Bills have a ton of top caliber skill players around him. Which skill player do you think is the most important in the match-up against the Patriots?
It's hard to go with anyone other than LeSean McCoy for that conversation, because he's the only proven-elite skill player the Bills employ, and he's the only one who is guaranteed to see a lot of touches on a week-to-week basis. Sammy Watkins has that type of ability, but Week 1 proved that he doesn't need to be a part of the game plan for the team to find a degree of success on offense. That isn't the case for McCoy; the Bills need him to be really good.
4) The Bills receive a lot of fanfare for their defensive line, but how do the linebackers look in Rex Ryan's system?
Nigel Bradham has a legitimate shot at making the Pro Bowl in this defense; Ryan is going to use him as a blitzer, and Bradham is already viewed as a rising star at the position with athleticism and explosive hitting ability. He is an excellent player. The jury is still out on second-year pro Preston Brown, who flashes here and there but is also the clearly inferior player at this point. If the Patriots are going to try to exploit a linebacker, it'll definitely be Brown.
5) Stephon Gilmore is a great cornerback and he wants to cover Rob Gronkowski, but Rex had success with a strong safety blanketing the tight end. How are the Bills looking at safety?
The health of Corey Graham is crucial to this question. If he plays (he's trying to come back from a Week 1 concussion), the Bills field two rangy, long players (the other being Aaron Williams) with a high degree of versatility thanks to their background and training as cornerbacks. And we all know how much Rex loves versatility. If Graham can't play, however, Williams is still solid, but top backup Bacarri Rambo is a much bigger coverage liability, and would absolutely be a player that Belichick and Brady game plan to attack in the event that Graham can't go.