There’s a good chance the depth back will see some time
With Zack Moss likely out with a concussion sustained during the Jacksonville debacle, the Buffalo Bills might need to make a couple changes this week. Enter Matt Breida (potentially). Breida has been a reserve player for the last few years, seeing limited carries. That could change this week, so let’s see what he (potentially) brings to the table.
Note: All-22 wasn’t available for last year’s games or this season’s opener where Breida had four touches with the Bills so this will be a broadcast angle affair.
With the Dolphins
Breida finds the gap with a full head of steam. Someone on the defense is there with at least half a head of steam. Breida see it and makes a small adjustment. He can’t avoid contact entirely but makes some wiggle room to gain a few extra yards.
I’d wanna see this from the end zone angle (I’m not bitter though), because I think it would better highlight the wiggle. He slips an arm tackle at the line, and is patient enough to navigate in a pretty narrow lane. When his feet are wrapped he lowers his head and gets a couple more.
An important trait for a back is decision-making. Breida does a good job here seeing that there’s an opportunity to the outside. He’s even fast enough to hit the edge opposite our old friend Stephon Gilmore and turn this into a positive play.
I chose this play simply due to Breida being able to get up to speed. Listed as just about 10 lbs lighter than Devin Singletary or Zack Moss, Breida seems to be quicker. This is backed by his 4.38 time in the 40 which compares to 4.66 and 4.70 for Singletary and Moss respectively.
With the Bills
Breida’s first carry for the Bills went relatively well. A solid initial block provides a short lane. A defender is able to slip a block and grab an ankle. As usual, Breida falls forward and tries to extend for yardage.
Like we saw above, the gap is rapidly filled and Breida sees it. He does manage to make sure this isn’t for a loss, but the quickly filled hole meant this didn’t have much chance.
This play seems designed to get Breida at full speed as soon as possible. He makes a decisive cut and is met by the defender who has his number the entire time.
Everyone likely recalls this play. The Bills look like they’re trying to use Breida’s speed again. A couple things I really dislike about this play. First, I think I’ve probably made it clear that I don’t love the Bills bunching up at the line like this. It makes it painfully obvious that it’s a run play. You could argue that the misdirection is a GOOD idea then to throw the Steelers off. In theory I’d agree but the lack of physicality from the Bills line allows teams to have defenders free to attack the edges. Pittsburgh does exactly that.
That brings me to the second thing I dislike about the play; having Isaiah McKenzie go in motion essentially frees up Cameron Sutton. He’s no longer worried about McKenzie, and there’s no reason for him to join the wall in the interior. The results are pretty clear.
The goal here is of course to see how Matt Breida might differ from the other running backs on the Bills roster. The biggest difference is the speed element, where Breida clocks in faster than Isaiah McKenzie even. Buffalo could look to use that to the edges and mitigate some of their offensive line struggles.
Speaking of which, both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have shown similar capability to see the field and wiggle around defenders. When they’ve had struggles it’s often due to situations like we see in Play 6. Essentially the Bills shouldn’t fall off with Breida on the field, but unless they’re creative there isn’t any reason to expect an explosion on offense either from the running game.