It's 3rd and 11, on the Buffalo 21 yard line. The Bills offense huddles up and gets their play call received. By the time the offense gets everything dialed in and breaks for the line, there's roughly 11 seconds left on the play clock before it goes to zero. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor quickly gets everyone set, without a chance to really see what's going on in the defense. By the time he's ready to get the count going, the clock hits zero and the Buffalo Bills are slapped with a five yard penalty for delay of game. It wasn't due to the noise of MetLife stadium or that Taylor was trying to adjust to a defensive scheme he detected, the Bills simply took too much time to get themselves ready.
It's something that any fan of the San Francisco 49ers will find vaguely familiar. Before coming in as Rex Ryan's offensive coordinator in Buffalo, New York, Greg Roman ran a similar run-heavy offense in San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh. Whether it was a flawed system, had a lot of kinks that were never worked out, or just had issues with the talent executing, much less the coach, is still be up in the air. There's no need to bring up the infamous time out called during the final minutes of Super Bowl 47, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.The one thing that a lot of fans have shifted blame to is Roman and how complicated, not to mention time consuming, the offense is.
In 2013, the San Francisco 49ers were penalized 13 times for delay of game, the most in the league. In 2014, the San Francisco 49ers were penalized eight times for delay of game, sharing the top spot with the St. Louis Rams and Washington.
In 2015, the Bills are second in the league for the penalty with four called, behind four other teams who have been dinged five times. One could argue Greg Roman is the common element.
Penalties are not the only thing people associate with the negative of this offense. Counters, runs up the gut, and draws on 3rd and long seem to have carried over from Greg Roman's time in San Francisco. Don't forget the inability to convert in the red zone for several games.
And the most frustrating of all? The shift to a conservative offense where all these plays are called, one after the other, typically leading to close games being won. On Thursday, against the New York Jets, the Bills went into the 4th quarter up by 12 points. A modest, but not necessarily ideal lead. The game isn't exactly put away, and the defense is definitely at a disadvantage; one touchdown by the opponent and you're close to coughing everything up. Still, of the 17 offensive plays called, the Bills threw it a total of five times. One could argue you don't want to give the game up with an unnecessary interception, but the blood pressure raising, frustration-inducing nature of this run heavy offense is all over Buffalo. And the Bills are 5-4. And devastated with injuries.
This is all being brought up, because the biggest argument to Greg Roman's offense was on who the real culprit behind the issues were. One of the many arguments was there were too many cooks in the kitchen, with (then) quarterback's coach Geep Chryst calling plays in the red zone, Roman calling run plays, other coaches giving a call, and Jim Harbaugh as the central hub to relay the final decision to his quarterback. Given all the checks and balances, it's no wonder that once the Niners hit the line with 14 seconds and their love of eating up time dancing around the line of scrimmage in shifts that they'd burn time outs and take delay of game penalties. Pinpointing exactly what the problem was with San Francisco's offense, one where the St. Louis Rams were reported to know exactly what play was being ran based on substitutions and formation, was daunting to say the least. Most of the blame fell on Roman, and then Harbaugh for allowing it to happen, and the belief that Greg Roman was only acting under a system built by Harbaugh, but the true culprit remains a mystery.
But some clarity would definitely be found when Rex Ryan announced Greg Roman as the Buffalo Bills' new offensive coordinator. Away from Harbaugh, fans would see either the good of his offense, something worse, or more of the same. Whether or not we've seen anything is up for debate, but watching the Bills this season, and especially on Thursday night, something very familiar is running with Tyrod Taylor under center. Good or bad, it's up for you to decide, but this is definitely something we've all grown accustomed to.
What do you guys think? Do you think watching Buffalo sort of confirms a lot of the suspicions that Greg Roman's offense was a part of the problem or do you think his offense works? Were Niner fans right to call for his firing as early as the Super Bowl due to his play calling? Is Or do you think it's still undecided?