Obviously, there are two big names on the Bills' roster making their way back to Miami for the first time. How have tight end Charles Clay and guard Richie Incognito fit into the team, and how have they been playing so far?
It's hard to speak to how they're fitting in with the team, but there haven't been any reported issues with anyone, including Incognito, who Rex Ryan praises at every turn. On the field, Clay has yet to make a really meaningful impact - he did have a touchdown last weekend - but has been solid. Incognito has been the Bills' best offensive lineman through two weeks. That's not saying much, given how much they've struggled up front so far this season, but he is playing well.
The Buffalo pass defense struggled against the New England Patriots last week, with Tom Brady throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns. Was this just a matter of Brady being Brady, or were the Patriots able to scheme against the Bills' defense, leading to giant numbers in the passing game?
It was a combination of both. Brady was outstanding, particularly at diagnosing defenses pre-snap and throwing the football quickly; he completely nullified the Bills' defensive line in that fashion. And yeah, Ryan was unable to throw an effective schematic counter-punch at what the Patriots were doing, and it showed during a stretch of the game in which New England outscored Buffalo 37-6. Buffalo's pass defense is not as bad as they appeared to be in that game (nor, probably, as good as they looked against Indianapolis in Week 1), but they have a lot to work on.
The Bills went with something called a Tyrod Taylor at quarterback for this season. For those of us who do not know what that is, can you explain it to us? Really, though, what are Taylor's strengths and weaknesses, and, how has he looked overall in the short time he has been at the helm for the Bills? (And at least he's not something called a Thad Lewis. I'm still not sure what that is, other than it being really good at crushing the Dolphins.)
Taylor has been solid. At times, he has been spectacular, and is especially adept at both running and throwing after escaping the pocket. He has been seriously excellent in that regard, which is why Bill Belichick really focused on keeping him in the pocket last week. There, he struggled, lowering his eyes and checking down too quickly in many instances, missing open receivers, and hanging onto the ball too long and drifting into sacks. Long story short: Taylor is electrifying and a playmaker, but unrefined as a pure pocket passer. Even when he's frustrating, he's fun to watch.
I'll make this question "The Dolphins are dealing with a ton of injuries right now, including to starters like Cameron Wake, Lamar Miller, and Branden Albert; how are the Bills health wise?" but really, what I want to know is, how is Aaron Williams? I know he was released from the hospital a few hours after the game, but it is still a scary sight when an ambulance has to be called onto the field and a player taken off on a backboard.
Yeah, that was definitely a pretty tense scene when it went down at the stadium. He was released that night after passing a battery of tests, however, and it's sounding like there will be no negative, long-term effects from the event. As for Sunday in Miami, however, Williams is sounding like a longshot to play; he didn't practice on Wednesday. Bacarri Rambo would replace him in the starting lineup if he sits out.
After an offseason full of hype, the first two games - and especially the loss to the Jaguars - have Dolphins fans on edge already. Even though it is just two games into a 16 game schedule, many fans are already predicting an 8-8 or worse record again for the Dolphins and calling for Joe Philbin to be fired. Last week saw Rex Ryan being Rex Ryan, talking non-stop and raising expectations. Then, the Bills failed to meet those expectations. How are the fans feeling this week, and how close is everyone to feeling like this is just another wasted year?
It's tough from a fan's perspective, because those of us reading and contributing to sites like ours spend all offseason (and then the entire preseason) intensely scrutinizing every player, position group, coach, and front office executive, and that's an extremely tough frame of mind to transition out of when the regular season begins. Every fan out there goes through that period where it's tough to see the forest for the trees. So yeah, right now Bills fans are wading through the ups of shutting down Andrew Luck and the downs of being shredded by Tom Brady, and the good and bad of rooting for a team that reflects the bravado of its head coach. But most fan bases for teams that aren't 2-0 are going through that. It'll all even out by the end of the season, and I'm fairly confident that both the Bills and the Dolphins will hang around in the AFC playoff picture for quite a while.
A big thank you to Brian for taking the time to answer my questions.