Run to Pass
Fred Jackson (Getty Images)
Fred Jackson (Getty Images)

Posted Nov 11, 2009


Bills must revive ground game to open up pass game...

The Bills running game is ranked 19th in yardage per carry at a respectable 4.0. But Buffalo needs to be even better the second half of the season if it hopes to jump-start a passing game that has stalled miserably during the team's 3-5 start.

The Bills play at Tennessee on Sunday.

Buffalo has seen mostly zone pass coverage from opponents this year due to its inability to consistently set the tone on the ground. Opponents slide extra coverage to either wide receiver Lee Evans or Terrell Owens after the snap, and neither one is seeing a ton of man-to-man.

Each is on pace for just 46 catches.

One area the Bills can improve on is running yardage on first down out of three-wide sets against zone coverage when the opponent's secondary is not stacking the box. Buffalo is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on such plays.

Overall, the Bills need vastly improved play from its young offensive line.

"In my mind, I would say we need to run the ball better and protect Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) or Trent (Edwards), whoever is back there (at quarterback)," running back Fred Jackson said. "If we could keep them on their feet, then they could make plays for us."

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Trent Edwards is expected to get clearance to practice Wednesday after resting a month following his second concussion in a year. If so, he's expected to start Sunday at Tennessee.

--RB Marshawn Lynch continues to struggle finding his game legs. Since returning from a three-game suspension to start the year, he has gained just 217 yards on 70 carries, a 3.1 average. He'll try and get on track against a Tennessee defense that is giving up 112 yards per game on the ground.

--TE Shawn Nelson continues to receive treatment for migraine headaches. He was able to practice Monday after the Bills returned to work following the bye weekend.

--WR Lee Evans has just 23 catches for 331 yards and three touchdowns, but he's the only Bill with a catch in all eight games. He's 219 yards from tying Elbert Dubenion for third place on the team's career receiving yardage list at 5,294.

--WR Josh Reed has caught a pass in 98 of his 109 career NFL games. He's tied with Ron McDole for 45th place on Buffalo's career games-played list.

--RT Jonathan Scott is expected back at right tackle for the Titans game Sunday. Scott has missed five games with an ankle injury, and his absence has hurt.

--SS Donte Whitner, who has missed two games with a high ankle sprain, practiced on a limited basis Monday. He'll need more work the rest of this week before he gets the OK to play Sunday at Tennessee.

--CB Terrence McGee, who underwent minor surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee during the bye week, did not practice Monday. He'll take things slow the rest of the week but has an outside shot of playing Sunday at Tennessee.

--FS Jairus Byrd, who is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, is dealing with soreness in his abdomen and groin associated with preseason sports hernia surgery. He was able to practice Monday, a good sign he'll be OK for Sunday's game at Tennessee.

--DE Aaron Schobel is still dealing with a groin injury suffered in the team's loss to Houston. He'll try to test himself in practice Wednesday.

--DT Kyle Williams, who sat out the Houston loss on Nov. 1, continues to recover from a knee sprain. He did not practice Monday but has an outside chance of playing at Tennessee on Sunday.



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