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How Buffalo's D-line looks through a QB's facemask


By Tim Graham

Analysis about the Buffalo Bills' revamped defensive line has been profuse the past few months.

We've heard from Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix and all sorts of players, current and former. Pundits have given their opinions. We've digested almost as many stats as we could cram down our gullets.

Yet here's a fresh, detailed perspective worth a listen: How will Buffalo's defense look through an opposing quarterback's facemask?

On a Trending Buffalo podcast, University at Buffalo radio analyst and former pro quarterback Jim Kubiak described what it might look like -- and feel like -- to play the Bills.

"When you're under duress and guys are hitting you constantly -- 10, 11, 12 times -- I don't care who you are or how tough you are," Kubiak told Trending Buffalo host Brad Riter "That affects a quarterback's performance.

"When you're building a football team, what better way to do it than get the biggest, baddest, most physical four guys up front and turn them loose?"

Kubiak, a St. Francis High alum, played quarterback at Navy, in NFL Europe and the Arena Football League. He was director of football operations and offensive coordinator for the Georgia Force and has coached quarterbacks at Erie Community College.

Although he never made a 53-man NFL roster, he signed contracts with the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets, the latter two clubs allocating him to NFL Europe.

The podcast is long, and it's worth the time.

Kubiak covered a lot of ground, explaining how a great defensive line can improve a secondary, allow a defense to use seven men in coverage, get inside a quarterback's head and throw off his five- and seven-step drops enough to create turnovers.

"What the difficulty becomes is you've got four legitimate guys that can beat your up-front guys one-on-one," Kubiak said. "So how do you get help in the passing game? You're keeping backs in. You're keeping tight ends. You're going to maybe a six- or seven- or eight-man protection. ...

"Now you're just sending maybe two or three wide receivers or running backs out in passing routes. You become limited, and it kind of takes you out of your game."

(Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |