Bills coach Chan Gailey was blunt about the offense's performance in the 16-6 exhibition loss to Detroit Thursday night.
“It was a mess, to be honest with you,” Gailey said of the offense overall. “I thought Fitz made good decisions. C.J. ran the ball good the time he got a crease in there. Stevie dropped a pass. That’s not gonna happen a ton. I think we had a chance to take that one in and score if we catch the pass. We need for Tyler to play better. We do. We gotta keep working on those things.”
Thigpen was wide inside for a number of open receivers in the first half. For the preseson, he hit 36 of 75 passes (48 percent) for 316 yards. Of course, he also played behind a revolving and shaky cast of backup linemen and with a changing cast of receivers.
"He was not accurate with some of his throws early in that ballgame when he went in," Gailey said. "He was leaving the ball too far inside. We talked to him in the second half about getting the ball outside, and he did a lot better throwing the ball the second half. He just needs time to throw with these guys and know exactly where they’re going to break their routes."
Gailey did see positives, notably the play of Shawne Merriman, who made two excllent tackles in just seven plays on the field.
"It was good to get some people back out there like Merriman," Gailey said. "It was good to see (Kirk) Morrison and (Kelvin) Sheppard play a bunch in the ballgame. We were able to get some things done special teams-wise that we needed to work on. There were a lot of positives. We can’t drop passes. We missed a couple tackles and we let one long run out of there."
More Gailey: He said don't read anything into the fact Leodis McKelvin started ahead of Drayton Florence and C.J. Spiller started ahead of Fred Jackson. (Jackson shined in extensive duty last week vs. Jacksonville but was held out vs. Detroit.)
He was encouraged by the play of the young outside linebackers, such as Alex Carrington, Danny Batten, Antonio Coleman and Robert Eddins. "Hard decision," Gailey said of the LB corps. (Aside: Carrington and Batten are locks for the roster; Coleman helped his cause Thursday.) They’re making it very difficult, by all playing fairly well, not because any of them are not showing up. That’s going to be a very, very difficult decision for us, the direction to go in."
Gailey on the final cuts, which come by 6 p.m. Saturday: "You’ve got probably your 48 that you know are going to go out there and play and be involved in the game this coming week against Kansas City. It’s those next six, seven guys that you’ve got to make decisions on."