The Miami Dolphins return home on Sunday to face the Buffalo Bills in the first of the annual two meetings between the AFC East rivals. The Bills, a year after ending the playoff drought, are 4-7 and struggling through the 2018 season. They have hope for the future, however, as quarterback Josh Allen takes the field as the team’s new franchise quarterback.
How are fans reacting to Allen and the 2018 Bills? To get a better idea, I turned to Buffalo Rumblings’ Corey Giacovelli to answer some Bills-focused questions. You can check out my answers to his Dolphins over on their site.
1. There is excitement about Josh Allen in Buffalo, but he is not tearing up the league as of now (or yet, depending on your view point). What is your assessment of his play and what should Dolphins fans expect to see from him?
Allen definitely looked better Sunday than he has the majority of the season, partly due to his decisiveness in the pocket. He did much better determining when his first or second read was open and whether or not to just tuck it down and run. Dolphin players should expect him to come out slinging and not afraid to let the ball fly. It may be in their best interest too depending on how the game is going to have a spy on Allen so he is not scrambling outside the pocket. He has not shown that he can consistently be a pocket passer that can step up when facing pressure.
2. What is going on with LeSean McCoy? He’s had games where he averaged nearly five yards a carry, and he has had games where he averaged just one yard per attempt. He has 26 carries two weeks ago, but he has also been in single digits four times (obviously, one of those was the two carry performance against the Indianapolis Colts where he sustained a concussion). Why is he so hot-and-cold this year after a 1,000+ and Pro Bowl performance last year?
I really don’t know what is going on with McCoy who has been one of the biggest mysteries on the team. We don’t know if it is just because he is slowing down as a player or if the new offense is not the right fit for him. I know earlier in the season teams were just playing the run by stacking the box and letting the QB try to beat them so Shady was ineffective. Recently, the line has been starting to come together but the numbers just still aren’t there. Look for the team to try to get Shady going early by either getting him in space on some screen passes or trying to exploit a possible match up on one of the linebackers.
3. Buffalo’s defense is playing well, ranking second overall in allowing 305 yards per game and first in pass defense at 193.7 yards per game. However, it appears there is a chance to get the ground game working against them, where they rank 15th against the run with 111.3 yards per game allowed (at least it is not Miami’s 29th ranked 139.8 yards allowed, right?) and they are allowing 24.7 points per game, 17th in the league. Can we expect the Dolphins to find success with Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake? And, how are they shutting down the passing game so effectively?
The defense has been interesting this season partly due to what you mentioned above with the stats. Their passing defense has been fantastic due to second year corner, Tre’Davious White being a shut down corner which always help. The problem that has been going on in the running defense is that the team has two young linebackers in the middle with rookie Tremaine Edmunds and second year player Matt Millano. They can have really great games and other times they get caught in the wrong places in the run game allowing the backs to reach the second level with ease. When opposing running backs are successful the team also miss a lot of tackles so those two things will be what to watch for on Sunday.
4. Obviously this year is not the season Bills fans expected after finally breaking the drought last year and making the playoffs. What has gone wrong in Buffalo and how are fans reacting to a 4-7 record?
Fans are feeling a lot better than they were a couple weeks ago that is for sure. We saw glimpses of what the offense can become two weeks ago against the Jets, granted it was against the Jets but it is still building blocks. Last week, we saw the progress that Allen is starting to make behind center so this season may not be a total loss after all. Even if the team can pick up a couple more victories it can still be a successful season in my books. After the first couple of weeks fans thought that this could be a win less team at the end of the year so at least they are getting to a point where they are respectable.
5. How are fans viewing Sean McDermott’s future just 1.5 seasons in to this era after a playoff season and now what appears to be a down year, giving him a 13-14 overall record?
It is a hit or miss feeling with McDermott. The first is that we have full faith in the defense that he was able to build and the quality of play he has been able to get out of a lot of young guys. The offense however is another story. If he cannot put together an offense next year that is way better than the one we have now then he may be in some trouble half way through next season.