FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- What we learned about the Buffalo Bills from head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels:
Defensive linemen will align everywhere. Unlike past years when it was a guarantee that Mario Williams would be at left end, it’s not as easy to pinpoint this year because Rex Ryan will shuffle the deck liberally. "Rex has definitely moved the defensive linemen around," Belichick said. "There are some unusual looks there." Belichick said there are times when defensive linemen will align behind linebackers, almost making them a weak safety 4-5 yards behind the ball. "It’s just ways that Coach Ryan uses to try to confuse the offense and try to change the protection or the identification of the defensive personnel," he said.
Double vision at quarterback. On the first offensive play of the Bills’ season-opening win over the Colts, they split starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor out wide and had backup quarterback Matt Cassel in the shotgun. A handoff from Cassel to running back LeSean McCoy -- which came after Taylor motioned from left to right -- was snuffed for a loss of 6 yards. Two quarterbacks on the field at the same time? "It’s something you’ve got to be ready for," Patricia said.
Expect a lot of man coverage. When Ryan was the Jets' head coach, his preference was to play man coverage, and it helped to have cornerback Darrelle Revis on his side. Even without Revis, Ryan has brought that approach to Buffalo. "Definitely an aggressive group, that’s for sure," McDaniels said. "They challenge everything in the passing game, play a lot of tight man coverage, physical at the line of scrimmage." Because Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are viewed as the Patriots’ best receivers against man coverage, they project as the top pairing Sunday.
Clay equals Davis at tight end. Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman, formerly of the 49ers, has implemented a San Francisco-type system. Tight end Charles Clay, for example, fits like Vernon Davis in San Francisco. "If you take a look at Coach Roman and what he’s been able to do out in San Francisco with the tight ends, I think Charles Clay fits exactly into his program and his plan of attack to really get after a defense," Patricia said, noting Clay’s ability to get vertical.