Bills offense gets last preseason test vs Lions

The Buffalo Bills defense can take a break.
However, quarterback EJ Manuel and Buffalo’s sputtering starting offense isn’t expected Lavonte David Authentic Jersey to get much rest in the preseason finale against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.

”Yes, absolutely, I’m looking to play those guys,” Marrone said this week. ”I think, obviously, we’re much further ahead on (the defensive side) of the ball than we are (on offense).”
Marrone’s concerns on offense came after Manuel and company were booed off the field while trailing 24-0 at halftime of an eventual 27-14 preseason home loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Bills (1-3) combined for just 82 net yards and six first downs on eight first-half possessions before scoring two touchdowns on consecutive third-quarter drives against the Buccaneers’ second-string defense.

The touchdowns – Manuel’s 14-yard pass to Mike Williams and Fred Jackson’s 8-yard run – were the first Buffalo’s starters had scored after being limited to four field goals on their first 18 drives this preseason.
That’s not good enough for a unit that is 10 days away from opening the season at Chicago on Sept. 7.

”If we want to be a great offense, we have to be able to do it against their starters, not their bench,” running back C.J. Spiller said. ”I wouldn’t say discouraged. We’re disappointed.”

Manuel, last year’s first-round draft pick, still hasn’t shed questions regarding his inconsistencies in going 4-6 last season. And the Bills offensive line is still jelling after Marrone finally identified his starting five last week.

They’ll get one final dress rehearsal against the Lions (2-1), who are seeking to settle their backup quarterback competition between Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore.
First-year coach Jim Caldwell hasn’t divulged his plans on whether his starters will play on Thursday. The Lions do have several other competitions for roster spots, including one at receiver between Ryan Broyles, Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree.
The game features one intriguing subplot with Caldwell’s predecessor, Jim Schwartz, now running the Bills defense.

Schwartz went 29-51 in five seasons with the Lions, including a 10-6 finish in 2011 when Detroit snapped a 12-year playoff drought. He was fired after a 7-9 finish last season, including a loss of six of their last seven.

The Bills hired Schwartz in late January after defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was hired to take over as the Cleveland Browns head coach.

Schwartz inherited a talent-laden defense that was the team’s strength and produced four Pro Bowl selections last season. Buffalo set a franchise record and finished second in the NFL with 57 sacks and also finished second in the league with 23 interceptions.

The only deficiency was stopping the run. Buffalo finished 28th in yards rushing allowed, and gave up 150-plus yards rushing seven times.
Schwartz has a strong track record in devising schemes to stop the run, which has so far carried over in Buffalo. In four preseason games, the Bills starters have allowed 80 yards rushing Lavonte David Elite Jersey on 40 carries.

”We talked about it being a priority,” Schwartz said. ”We’ve still got a long way to go, but the last couple of weeks we’ve seen some real encouraging signs from the guys.”

Lions guard Rob Sims said it’ll be ”weird” seeing his former coach on the other sideline.

”It’ll be hard seeing him over there. He’s still a part of this locker room in some regard. He put a lot of us together,” Sims said. ”We won together. We lost together. He absolutely deserves my respect to go over and say ‘Hi.”’

I was sitting on my couch

Another concussion might have prevented the Chelsea High School grad from having a choice.

After three concussions over the last four years with the Detroit Lions, the 31 year old is returning to Chelsea to help the school’s football program and pursue a local business venture.

The Lions released Scheffler after he suffered the third concussion in a 22-9 loss to Green Bay last year.

“I was sitting on my couch watching all the guys that I had spent months training and playing with,” Scheffler said. “It was strange, and I was still feeling the effects of the hit.”

The time away from football during the season helped him see the game with a slightly different perspective.

“It was an eye-opener,” Scheffler said. “I think when you are playing the game you don’t realize how physical the game can be, how hard some of the hits can be.”

The tight end was drafted out of Western Michigan by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2006 draft. He was traded to his hometown Detroit Lions in 2010.

In eight seasons, he had 258 career receptions with 3,207 yards with 22 touchdowns.

During the off-season, he spent months weighing his future. He had workouts with Chicago and Kansas City, but also started to pursue options outside of football.

His young family, including wife Richelle and three children under the age of eight, was also an important factor.

“She (Richelle) was ready for me to be done, and I don’t blame her,” Scheffler said with a chuckle.

With the concussions behind him, Scheffler decided the bright future he had outside of playing wasn’t worth risking.

“I’m young, 31 years old is young, so there was concern (of long term risk of a fourth concussion), but it was still tough,” Scheffler said. “I had some opportunities, but I decided it was time.”

Despite getting knocked out of what turned out to be his last game, Scheffler said he has fond memories of the afternoon.

“My whole family was at that game,” Scheffler said. “I’m not sure why, but we took a lot of pictures that day, so it was weird. It was almost like it was meant to be. The game was at Lambeau, and we just have all these great pictures. I’m OK with how it all turned out.”

They all know about his eight years of NFL experience, and that gives him instant credibility as a new assistant coach for the Bulldogs football team.

“All the kids watch what he does, and listen to everything he says,” longtime Chelsea coach Brad Bush said.

Scheffler came in as a freshman at Chelsea High School the fall of Bush’s first year as coach.

As a senior wide receiver, Scheffler set school records for receiving yards in a season as he helped the Bulldogs go 11-1, and reach regionals in Division 3 where it lost to the eventual state champion Farmington Hills Harrison.

“Tony was a huge part of the early success we had when I came into the program,” Bush said. “What makes Tony coming back so great, is that Chelsea means so much to him.”

When Scheffler asked his former coach for the team’s playbook to prepare for the team minicamp this summer, Bush said it should be pretty familiar.

“I expected him to just give me the playbook, but he just said I should remember most of it,” Scheffler said, laughing. “I had to tell him I’ve had to learn like 30 offenses since high school. After a couple days of camp though, things started to come back a little.”

Scheffler, who has donated money to the athletics program in the past, is coaching strictly on a volunteer basis.

“I was smart with my money, so I don’t need to ask for anything,” Scheffler said. “The sports programs are so important to this community that it’s just a privilege to be able to help out.”

Scheffler knows Chelsea fans want their team to bounce back after missing the playoffs last year for the first time since 1998.

“I think I can bring something to the table,” Scheffler said. “You don’t realize how much you know about the game after playing it until you get in there and start helping out. It’s been fun working with the tight ends, and to work with Brad is the cherry on top. It’s something we have talked about for a while, it was a no-brainer for me.”