Lorenzo Carter this week wishes he had a professional basketball player’s opportunity for rapid redemption.
The second-year linebacker and the rest of his defensive teammates on the Giants were dissatisfied with their performance in the season-opening loss in Dallas last week. They are eager to show they are capable of much better when the team plays its home opener tomorrow against the Buffalo Bills, whose quarterback is the mobile Josh Allen. But the seven days between games seem like an eternity.
“A lot of guys, we talk,” Carter said. “In the NBA, if they have a bad game, the next day they can go out there and play again. For us, we have a whole week to sit, let it marinate, watch film and soul search. I think that’s what we’ve been doing this week. We came out and worked hard this week in practice. Now we’re just getting ready to come out and get that taste out of our mouths. Everybody is ready to get that taste out of their mouths.”
Their performance will determine if they’re successful. While the run defense was strong against the Cowboys (who averaged just 3.0 yards a carry and did not have a run longer than 10 yards in 30 attempts), both the front and back ends of the pass defense were lacking. The D never did sack quarterback Dak Prescott and rarely pressured him, getting credited for just two hits. And the secondary had too many coverage breakdowns, resulting in seven completions for more than 20 yards, including gains of 62, 45 and 36 yards that weren’t touchdowns.
“We did not play, number one, as well as we expected to play and, number two, as well as we are capable of playing,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said.
“I think everybody is looking for the same answer, how are we going to get more pressure on the quarterback?’ outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson said. “Obviously, have to make him uncomfortable, we have to get the ball coming out faster, and we have to make him throw it under duress when he is going to throw it. Ultimately, we need to sack the quarterback when we get there. Something I think all the guys are hungry to get fixed, hungry to get answered, they came out and trained hard this week. We have to do a great job. Guys that can move, you have to have a good aiming point and good plan on those guys to be able to get to them.”
Perhaps the most critical question facing the defense entering the season was where the pass rush would come from. The players most often mentioned as potential suppliers of that valuable commodity were veteran linebacker Markus Golden, rookies Oshane Ximines and Dexter Lawrence and Carter. The quartet combined for five tackles (two solo) and one hit on Prescott (by Carter).
“We were disappointed, of course,” Carter said. “But it’s just on to the next week. There’s nothing you can really do about last week but watch the film, evaluate it and then just get ready for this week. We’re going to keep going.”
“When it comes down to whether you pressure (with extra players) or you four-man rush, it comes down to winning one-on-ones,” Bettcher said. “We have to do a better job of winning one-on-ones. I think coming out of Week 1 in terms of that specifically, you don’t sit back and say, ‘I’m surprised, I can’t believe this, I can’t believe that.’ I don’t live in that world. I look at it as here’s something we have to get better at, let’s go work to get better at it. We’re running to things, we aren’t running from them. We need to attack what the problem was and go work to correct the problem. Not just say we need to rush the quarterback better? The truth is how do you rush the passer better. What fundamentals and techniques do we need to improve with specifically with what guys and players.”
The same question could be asked about the secondary. Dallas’ strategy was to have Prescott throw the ball away from the Giants’ top cornerback, Janoris Jenkins, and toward the young corners on the opposite side, Antonio Hamilton (who started and played 36 snaps) and first-round draft choice DeAndre Baker (31 snaps). Prescott completed 25 of 33 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns for a perfect 158.3 passer rating and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
“It didn’t shake us,” said free safety Antoine Bethea. “It wasn’t the outing we wanted. We have to put the work in this week (to correct it).”
“It’s an opportunity for me to bounce back and show what I can do,” Baker said. “Show that I can fight through adversity. It’s not the best game that I wanted to have, but I can now bounce back and show what I can do.”
Coach Pat Shurmur and Bettcher all but announced changes are coming there for the Bills game.
“You can expect the young guys to play, just like they did the other night,” Shurmur said. “We’ll see how much. The rotation on that player (Hamilton) and maybe a couple others may change on defense.”
“We have to play better at that spot, we have to tackle better at that spot,” Bettcher said. “I think that’s what it came down to, some missed tackles at that position. Bake’s going to get a chance to play there and you’ll see Ham in situations and we will go from there. I think the plan will reveal itself like it did last week on Sunday. We just have to play better at the spot, just with the little things, it’s not about ability, it’s not what the guys are capable of doing, they just need to execute things that they know.”
The Giants’ secondary is an interesting blend of young players like Baker, Hamilton, Grant Haley and third-year strong safety starter Jabrill Peppers, and veterans Bethea (a 14-year pro), Jenkins (eighth season) and Michael Thomas (sixth). Every defensive back gives up big plays at some point. After a rough opening week, the more experienced players are schooling the youngster in letting those plays go and moving on.
“Just understand that this is the NFL,” Thomas said. “You have to continue to put in the work. The good thing about it for them is not just individuals, but teams make the biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. Now you see it’s not like the preseason. You can have a great week of practice, but the results might not always be there. Come in, communicate way better than you did last week, run to the ball way better than you did last week, better than you’ve ever done before, and execute way better than you did last week. That’s going to give you a chance to have success.”
“You have to have a short-term memory when you’re playing cornerback,” Jenkins said. “You have to understand that you’re going to make plays, and you’re going to have plays made on you, because I get paid just as well as they get paid. You can’t go out there thinking, ‘Oh I’m going to knock every ball down, I’m going to stop every completion.’ Just go out there and play football. Understand that whatever happens between the snap, it happened. After the snap, (move on to the) next play. That’s all that matters.
“I’m going to tell them (Baker and Hamilton) that every day. Every day until they understand. Until they learn that it’s next play because they have to understand, like I said, they get paid just as well as we get paid. Everybody in the NFL is the best at what they do. You can’t go out there thinking this and thinking that. If you get beat, you line up on the next play and win the next matchup.”
The Giants’ defensive backs intend to do that tomorrow. It’s just too bad they have to wait a week for redemption.
Courtesy: Michael Eisen
With the start of the NFL season just days away, many teams around the league are excited about the possibilities, including the Buffalo Bills.
Last season, the Bills started slow, 3-7 after ten games, and finished decently at 3-3, to end the season at 6-10. It was not a great season, but the Bills seem to have found their QB in Josh Allen.
Bills GM Brandon Beane likes the progress that this team has made, and he hopes they can build on it in 2019.
“Yeah, we want to show growth in a lot of areas,” Beane recently said. “Last year our defense probably carried our team, we weren’t good enough in offense or special teams. I think you saw a lot of the moves that we’ve made this offseason, whether it was draft or free agency, was to improve and try and if our defense was here, and those two were here, try to close the gap. And so I think a lot of that, wins and losses are, we know, what Sean [McDermott] and I get judged on but sometimes there’s adverse situations that happened in the year.
“So, it would never do me justice to give you; I expect this number of wins. But, we want to be more competitive. We want our offense to win some more games for and not have to put too much on the defense. We want to be a balanced team. We want our special teams to improve and control, win the field position game. There’s a lot of factors, what’s our red zone, how’s our red-zone defense, how’s our red zone efficiency on offense. Where are our turnovers, is our team winning the turnover battle. Those things that, generally Monday morning you can point to, and this is why you won the game, or this is why you lost the game. If you win enough of those, I think the wind total will be where you want it at the end of the season.”
Buffalo has a chance, especially if Allen is who they expect him to be. In reality, the AFC East is not one of the better divisions in football. The Jets are the Jets, the Dolphins don’t have a quarterback, and while the defending champion Patriots still have Tom Brady, they will probably miss TE Rob Gronkowski.
Defensively, Buffalo still should be a formidable unit, but as stated by Beane, the offense must bring more to the table, and that falls on Allen. First, he must stay healthy, and next, he must continue to improve as a passer. Anything is possible for the Bills but expect somewhere around 8-8 for this team in 2019.
In a shocking move, the Buffalo Bills released RB LeSean McCoy on Saturday. The six-time Pro Bowler had spent the past four seasons with the Bills.
Now, according to reports, the 31-year-old McCoy will sign a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. With the move, McCoy reunites with his former coach in Philadelphia, Andy Reid.
On Sunday, Bills GM Brandon Beane, who made the decision to release McCoy, gave his thoughts on Shady to the Chiefs.
“I mean he’s probably a Hall of Fame player, right there at it and I think that’s a great fit for him,” Beane said. “Not knowing everything but knowing coach Reid and I know Brett Veach, the GM, and he had a past relationship. Wish him the best. He’s going into a team that, I know they have a lot of high expectations and I’m sure he’ll be a great addition to what they’re doing. We truly wish him the best unless we play him.”
McCoy to the Chiefs seems like a perfect fit for both parties. However, with running backs Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson in the mix, it should be interesting to see how McCoy will be utilized, and while McCoy did not put up big numbers(514 yards, which was a career-low) last season for the Bills, he will be running behind a better offensive line in Kansas City. Additionally, he will be surrounded by some big-time players in Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.
Furthermore, McCoy will get an opportunity to win a ring, which was not going to happen in Buffalo this season. End of the day, getting released by the Bills was probably the best thing that happened to him.
Regarding McCoy as a Hall of Famer, he has over 10k yards rushing yards and 69 touchdowns on the ground at this point, and if he plays at a decent level, he will probably end his career with around 13-14k rushing yards and around 80-plus touchdowns, which would probably be enough to get him into the Hall.
On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills announced that they signed CB Captain Munnerlyn. The 10-year veteran spent last season with the Carolina Panthers, and in 16 games, Munnerlyn had one interception, and nine passes defended.
McDermott and Munnerlyn have a little history as they were together in Carolina when McDermott was the DC for the Panthers.
One of the reasons the Bills signed Munnerlyn, was due to the groin injury suffered by E.J. Gaines, who the team put on injured reserve today.
Here is what McDermott had to say about the signing of Munnerlyn:
Q: What does Captain Munnerlyn bring to the defensive end?
Sean McDermott: It’s been a few years now since the last time we worked together but what I remember is the competitiveness, the toughness, he’s obviously played in the system before so he has some familiarity with our system both inside the slot and out at corner. We will see how he does and how he progresses here, he’s been out of it for a little bit so he has to be put back in shape.
Q: Do you think he is going to be your nickelback in the outside corner?
Sean McDermott: We’ll see, that’s where he played probably more so in the course of the past four of five years. Again, we just want to get him acclimated to what we do and his new surroundings, new teammates and we will take it one day at a time.
Q: What do you see when you see film of Captain and how similar is your defense here as to what he has been accustomed to in Carolina?
Sean McDermott: With defense, I like to believe it evolves every year and stays current with the trends and what not. That said, there’s a core that is probably about the same as to what he knew back when we worked together in Carolina. Like I said before, in respect to Captain, the things that jump out even when we watched him play on TV last year maybe was the competitiveness and all that hasn’t changed. I think that’s in his DNA.
Q: Captain posted a picture of you two together saying “let’s get it coach.” Are you excited about your relationship going back to how it was in Carolina?
Sean McDermott: Hopefully that was a good picture. We’ve stayed in touch and in this job players come and go, coaches come and go and that’s the hard part of the job. The satisfying parts of the job are moments like that where you can stay in touch with players. It’s gratifying as a coach. In this case where I moved on to here from some of the players that I coached at Carolina and Philadelphia, my two previous stops and that’s the neat part about it, the relationships that you are able to form over the year. It’s neat that now we are with Kurt [Coleman] and some of the other players. It doesn’t always happen for it to come back full circle to where we can work together again but it’s satisfying.
As announced this afternoon, Eric Wood has re-joined the Buffalo Bills organization as a member of the Media Content Team. Wood will serve as radio color commentator alongside John Murphy for Bills game broadcasts on WGR Sports Radio 550 and Entercom’s Bills Radio Network. He will also regularly contribute content to One Bills Live and all Bills media and content platforms.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent my entire NFL career with the Buffalo Bills,” the former Pro Bowl center said. “Buffalo’s community, fans and organization are incredibly special to me and I am very proud to begin my broadcasting career with the people who provided so much support for so many years.”
Wood originally joined the Bills as a first-round pick in 2009 and became the team’s starting center during the 2010 season. He spent nine seasons anchoring the Bills offensive line, starting a total of 120 games and earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2015. He was the team’s nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2015 and 2016.
Wood replaces Mark Kelso as Bills color commentator, who has decided to step away from broadcasting after 13 years to focus more on his role with NASCAR racing team JTG Daugherty Racing. Pegula Sports & Entertainment and the Buffalo Bills sincerely thank Kelso for his contributions and service.
After 14 seasons in the NFL, quarterback Derek Anderson has decided to call it quits. The 35-year-old Anderson two games for the Bills in 2018. He was 0-2 in those two starts. Anderson was signed by the Bills in October to replace the injured Josh Allen.
In December, Anderson signed a one-year contract extension with Buffalo and was expected to play in 2019, but he decided to retire, and according to Bills head coach, Sean McDermott, the team was not surprised.
“Yeah, I would say we knew about it as we started our off-season program. Probably a week or two before,” McDermott said about Anderson this week. “At the end of the day, we respect Derek’s decision. He’s been nothing but a joy to work with, all the way back to my time in Carolina and he provided a lot of value last year, not only on the field but off the field as well. He brought a lot of wisdom to our team and the quarterback room, in particular.”
Anderson best year was 2007 when he started 15 games for the Browns and made the Pro Bowl. In that season, Anderson had career-highs in passing yards and touchdown passes.
Expect Matt Barkley, who signed a two-year extension with Buffalo last season, to be the backup in Buffalo next season.
Nathan Peterman had a very forgettable time with the Buffalo Bills. In two years and eight games with the Bills, including four starts where he was 1-3, Peterman threw three touchdowns and 12 interceptions. To say Peterman was terrible, is an understatement. Ultimately, the Bills saw enough and released Peterman back in November.
Fortunately, for the 24-year-old Peterman, he was able to get another chance. Jon Gruden and the Raiders signed Peterman in December. Now, Peterman, who was picked in the fifth-round by Buffalo in the 2017 NFL draft, will get another opportunity to showcase his skills.
Recently, Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander, who was a guest on the Go4it podcast with Paul Gant, explained why the second-year QB struggled in Buffalo.
“I see a guy that is a professional. He works hard,” Alexander told Paul Gant. “Obviously, he probably doesn’t have the physical tools, on paper, as some of these other guys, but he is a guy that is going to continue to work. You don’t necessarily have to have those physical tools to be successful in this league.
“Obviously, he got a chance in Oakland. Obviously, (Jon)Gruden saw something in him as well that maybe he can help groom and work with, and be a viable backup when Derek Carr is not available. If not, maybe eventually become a starter somewhere down the line, but yeah, he didn’t perform well. Some of that is on Nate as he will acknowledge, and accept, and be accountable for, and some of it was his teammates.
“Obviously, quarterbacks, they get all the love, but I think sometimes when they are not doing as well, we continue to point the finger at them. When they’re probably the most dependent position on the field, and that’s for the great ones and the ones that struggle. You gotta have o-linemen blocking for you, you have to have running backs picking up blitzes; you have to have receivers getting open, and obviously, it’s their job to get the ball out on time and do it, but if you don’t have all of that going right, especially for a young guy, who may not be quite ready to play at this level. He is going to struggle, and that’s part of it, but if you have great pieces around him, I think it’s a little bit more easier for those guys to transition and grow. And we just did not have that; we weren’t ready to do that in Buffalo for Nate Peterman, especially being such a young football team this year.”
Buffalo did have some struggles in 2018, but they were a playoff team in 2017, and when Peterman got his opportunity against the Chargers that season, he threw five picks in the first half. It’s incredible that Peterman will get another chance in the NFL, especially when you consider that Colin Kaepernick has not played an NFL game in two years.
Hopefully, Peterman can take advantage of this opportunity in Oakland, and turn his career around.
Listen as Alexander talks Peterman at 09:34 mark of the interview, and make sure to check out the Go4it podcast on Iheart.com:
We will be talking sports and having fun doing it! We will be joined Buffalo Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander who will discuss re-signing with Bills, the future of Josh Allen in Buffalo, Nathan Peterman, his thoughts on Championship Weekend in the NFL, Super Bowl 53, Tom Brady, and “The Walter Payton Man of the Year” award.
Show starts today at 1 PMET
In life, all good things must come to an end, which is the case for Bills DT Kyle Williams. On Sunday, Williams will play his final NFL game against the Dolphins as he will call it quits after 13 seasons in the league.
Williams, 35, was a fan favorite with the Bills and spent his entire career in Buffalo. He started 177 out of 182 games played with the team. Along the way, he went to five Pro Bowls and was first-team All-Pro in 2014.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, who was the head coach in Buffalo from 2013-14, is a huge fan of Williams and has nothing but high praise for the former LSU star.
“I think the way you guys have heard me talk about Calais Campbell, I would talk the same way about Kyle Williams,” Marrone told the assembled media in Jacksonville on Friday. “I have goosebumps. I get sad; I get emotional because I really can’t put into words how great of a player and an unbelievable story.
“The work ethic, the family; he’s one of those guys where I know his wife will call my wife and we’ll stay in touch and despite all the stuff, every time we’ve played them, he’s always one of those guys that kind of looks for you afterwards, and he’s a guy that I look for afterwards because the one thing about this game of football, the one thing that you’ll always appreciate is the adversity, the success or failure, whatever it may be, and the guys that you can walk together with, next to, and knowing that you’ve fought it the same way, you have an unbelievable respect for those players. Those are the things that you remember. You want to remember the good, and you really don’t want to remember the bad, and obviously, there is bad in everything.”
Williams will forever be loved by Marrone, and will forever be loved by the great fans in Buffalo. Kudos to Kyle Williams for 13 greats seasons in the NFL.