In what I hope becomes a weekly tradition here at Phins Phocus, my goal is to get together with a blogger that represents the team the Dolphins are scheduled to play every week for a little Q&A exchange. To kick things off, I had to look no further than the Bloguin network to find a great Buffalo Bills blog called Buffalo Wins. A big thank you to Joe Pinzone for his participation. Also, be sure to check out the questions I answered for him right here.
1) How is the running back situation coming along? Will Fred Jackson be ready to go? We saw C.J. Spiller make a few explosive plays in the preseason, but what kind of workload do you expect him to get against the Dolphins?
The running back depth chart for the Bills is arguably the strongest part of the team. Before training camp, my assumption would be that Fred Jackson would be getting the bulk of the carries, while CJ Spiller would be used more in situational plays, like on 3rd down. As for Lynch, I really didn't have a feeling on when they would play him, and since he was hurt for most of the preseason, I'm still not sure.
As for CJ Spiller, the dude has been a highlight reel type of player for the Bills. Just today, the Bills named Spiller atop the depth chart. I think his showing in the preseason and being Chan Gailey's handpick running back had something to do with it. Look for him to get maybe 14-18 touches against Miami. The guy is a game-breaker.
2) The Bills took a little bit of heat for not addressing the offensive line with a buzz worthy free agent signing or high round draft pick in the offseason. How has the unit performed thus far?
You think the Dolphins have had bad luck in finding the next Dan Marino? Try finding a decent left or right tackle to play for the Bills. Now, before I get into my disdain for the tackle situation, the Bills have actually developed a nice interior line with Andy Levitre, Geoff Hangartner and Eric Wood. The trio can play and a guy like Wood brings a nasty edge to the field.
As for the tackles..well, you have one guy who can't stay healthy and is extremely raw in Demetrius Bell. Then you have Cornell Green, a free agent tackle from the Raiders, who has looked dreadful in run blocking and pass protection during the preseason. Overall, the inside unit is fine, but if you really want to put pressure on Trent Edwards, blitz on the outside.
3) Trent Edwards had an impressive preseason. Is there anything that makes you believe things will be different this time around and he is finally ready to step in and be a quality starting quarterback?
Yes, Edwards has shocked a lot of fans with his preseason play by having a passer rating of 102.3. He hasn't looked this good since the Bills were 5-1 during the 2008 season. he's been reading defenses better and is stepping into the pocket, instead of trying to check it down to a running back to avoid the rush. He's also developed the long ball with Lee Evans, going deep for 40 and 70 yards on passing plays during the preseason.
However, it was still only the preseason.
Overall, I think Edwards will be better with the tutelage of Chan Gailey, but to say he's ready to step in and be a quality NFL starter is a little to early to tell. If I had to place a bet, i would say the Bills franchise quarterback isn't on this roster.
4) We already know the Bills have a strong secondary, but how has the front seven looked in the new 3-4 scheme?
Frankly, they have been the sh!ts. I've been saying all summer that Bills fans won't be seeing the benefits of changing to a 3-4 until 2012. They just don't have the personnel to make it work, especially at the linebacker position. Overall, the linebackers can't cover or rush the passer. You guys don't want to see what Chris Kelsay looks like when he's dropping back into coverage (Actually, you do, because he stinks at doing that). During the preseason, the Bills defensive starters have given up 6 touchdowns. Preseason or not, that's not a good sign.
As for the defensive lineman, all three starters can play well against the run, but they aren't the type of defensive lineman who are going to put constant pressure on the quarterback. Now, the Bills are tinkering with playing a 4-3 defense, as they did against the Lions last week. So, don't be surprised if they give the Dolphins different looks.
5) Okay, who do you see winning Sunday and why?
As bad as the Bills have been over the last 10 years, they actually have Miami's number when it comes to playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium (Not the sh!t hole in Toronto). The Dolphins haven't won at Ralph Wilson stadium since 2003, and the average beating has been by 14 points. Heck, Trent Edwards best day came against the Dolphins in 2007, when he threw for 4 touchdowns.
Of course, that's the past.
I think this is going to be a high scoring game. I think Miami's secondary is ripe for the pickings and they are going to have difficulty in stopping the Bills passing game. On the other hand, the Dolphins should have their way with running Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams down the Bills throats. In the end, I think the home field advantage becomes a factor and the Bills just beat the Dolphins.