GAINES ADAMS vs. DEMETRIUS BELL
When Jason Peters was shipped off to Philadelphia, Langston Walker moved over to take his place at left tackle, but by the conclusion of the preseason, Demetrius Bell had beaten him out for the job. Bell, Buffalo’s 7th round pick in ’08, is a young man who may be better known as the estranged son of Karl Malone. He started his first professional football game last Monday night and was part of a Buffalo offensive line that wasn’t terribly impressive at New England, generating 276 yards of total offense which was good for 20th in the league. Here’s a great article for those wanting to learn more about the Bills’ young left tackle. Some key points:
- The second-year pro did not play organized football until his third year at NSU in 2005. Bell, a 6-6, 305-pound native of Summerfield, came to the Demons on a basketball scholarship and lettered three years for coach Mike McConathy.
- Bell played defensive end in his first year of football in 2005. He moved to left offensive tackle two weeks before the Demons opened the 2006 season at Kansas and started 23 consecutive games there, winning second-team All-Louisiana honors after his junior year and capturing Associated Press All-America honors along with first-team All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana accolades as a senior in 2007.
- Chris Brown, the lead journalist for http://www.buffalobills.com/, wrote Tuesday that "Bell's development this offseason has been nothing short of impressive. Blessed with rare athletic ability for a man his size, the former seventh-round pick has sharpened his techniques enough to convince Buffalo's offensive staff that he's ready for the challenge starting on the left side will bring."
- Said Bell to Brown: "I feel better about my technique, so I feel better about everything all around. I still have a long way to go but I feel better about everything. My goal is to be a dominant tackle."
Likely lining up across the line of scrimmage from Bell for the majority of Sunday’s snaps should be Gaines Adams. The 6-5, 260 pound defensive end was silenced (zeros across the board) last week by a powerful LT in Flozell Adams, and this week he’ll get his shot against an athletic bookend. It will be a huge difference as Flozell checks in at a whopping 6-7, 340 while the nimble Bell is nearly 25 pounds lighter, 9 years younger, and much more capable of responding to Gaines’ speed rush.
Here’s where Gaines will need to capitalize on his experience and reach deep into a rarely used variety of rush moves to get to Trent Edwards. Bell may be more athletic than Gaines’ previous opponent, but he’s inexperienced and raw. Expect to see a good bit of no-huddle offense from Buffalo and for them to try and take some shots downfield on our shaky secondary. In order to do that, the front five is going to need to provide Edwards with more time to allow the routes to develop. Adams could be a huge factor in negating that by keeping his motor running for an entire game, something he’s often accused of not doing. Otherwise, it could be another long, confusing day for the Bucs’ back four.
Gaines should have the overwhelming advantage in this matchup, and if he’s going to establish himself as a legitimate pass rusher in his 3rd year as a pro, he’d be wise to make this a statement game. It gets quite a bit tougher starting next week:
- Week 3 – David Diehl (NY Giants, 2nd team All Pro in ‘08)
- Week 4 – Chris Samuels (Washington, Pro Bowl last 4 years)
- Week 5 – Jason Peters (Philadelphia, Pro Bowl last 2 years)
- Week 6 – Jordan Gross (Carolina, ’08 Pro Bowl)
- Week 7 – Matt Light (New England, ’06-07 Pro Bowls)
I’m not a huge believer in this stat, but here are the “official” number of sacks allowed by that group in ’08: Gross (3), Samuels (3), Diehl (6.5), Light (7.5), and Peters (11.5). For what it’s worth, Donald Penn surrendered 8.5 last year, and Flozell Adams allowed 7.25.
I see the 3rd year defensive end as the biggest key to Tampa’s success this week against the Bills, and what slim odds the Buccaneers have of prevailing in this one would be moderately improved by a check earning performance from Gaines Adams.
Keep an eye on this matchup and see who emerges victorious.