Inside The Bills

Bills custom cleats now available on NFL Auction

Posted by Kelly Baker on December 8, 2016 – 7:36 pm

hughes-cleats-blog

During Week 13, in recognition of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative, many Buffalo Bills proudly wore custom cleats to showcase the various causes that they are passionate about. In a continued effort to help raise awareness, a number of Buffalo’s participants autographed their game-worn cleats and have made them available for bid on NFL Auction. Of the proceeds generated, 100 percent will go to the each player’s cause.

Cleats up for bid include, LB Jerry Hughes, DE Leger Douzable, G Richie Incognito, C Ryan Groy, DT Marcell Dareus, WR Justin Hunter, LS Garrison Sanborn, CB Stephon Gilmore and LB Lorenzo Alexander.

To bid now and show your support, click here.


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Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Watkins upping snap count in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2016 – 4:54 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday that Sammy Watkins felt better coming out of the Oakland game when he got double the work than he did the week prior. That was validated when Watkins took a heavy workload in practice Thursday.

Watkins, who got 25 snaps in the Jaguars game, got almost twice that in the Raiders game (49). Now he’s doing the same in practice.

“I’m feel great for this week,” said Watkins. “I think it’s just the routine and the reps and things. I’m more comfortable running routes full speed. It’s more a game plan thing now, not a foot issue or body issue I can’t just go out there and play. No limitations. My body had to get used to the workload. Now I’m out there during practice I’m running 30 to 40 plays. So I’m feeling good.”

Watkins is fully expected to start on Sunday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Steelers DT Hargrave misses another practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2016 – 4:47 pm

Steelers rookie DT Javon Hargrave has been an important cog in their defensive front, especially after losing Cameron Heyward to a season ending injury. Hargrave’s availability for Sunday however, appears up in the air as he missed a second straight day of practice Thursday.

Hargrave is in the concussion protocol. So is backup safety Shamarko Thomas.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday
Chris Boswell K Abdomen DNP DNP
Ramon Foster G Not injury related DNP DNP
LaDarious Green TE Not injury related DNP
Javon Hargrave DT Concussion DNP DNP
Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Foot DNP DNP
Zach Mettenberger QB Illness DNP
Shamarko Thomas S Concussion DNP DNP
DeAngelo Williams RB Knee LP DNP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McCray absence could prompt Albright call up

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2016 – 4:37 pm

Bills LB Lerentee McCray was the only non-participant at practice Thursday. He remains in the concussion protocol and if he’s unable to go this week there’s a practice squad linebacker who looks like a probable call up.

Rookie LB Bryson Albright appears to be the prime candidate to be called up from the practice squad at the end of the week if McCray won’t be available Sunday. Buffalo currently has an open roster spot on the 53-man roster.

“Nothing set in stone yet. But (Albright) is definitely a possibility. Probably a real good possibility that he’ll be out there and especially with Lerentee, you know his thing, we need that big body on special teams. Pittsburgh has a big core group.”

DID NOT PRACTICE
LB Lerentee McCray

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Robert Woods – knee
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – back

FULL PRACTICE
CB (Ronald) Darby – concussion
QB Tyrod Taylor – groin


Posted in Inside the Bills

Steelers carrying extra kicker

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2016 – 4:51 pm

Last week Pittsburgh K Chris Boswell sustained an abdominal injury late in the week and was unable to kick last Sunday, prompting the Steelers to carry K Randy Bullock on their roster. He kicked in last Sunday’s win against the Giants contributing three field goals on three attempts and an extra point in the Steelers’ 10-point win.

Bullock may have to be at the ready again this week. Boswell did not practice Wednesday as the abdominal injury is still an issue.

Ben Roethlisberger was limited in practice Wednesday, but it was not injury related.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Chris Boswell K Abdomen DNP
Ramon Foster G Not injury related DNP
Javon Hargrave DT Concussion DNP
Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Foot DNP
Shamarko Thomas S Concussion DNP
Ben Roethlisberger QB Not injury related LP
DeAngelo Williams RB Knee LP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby, Woods back practicing; Watkins waits

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2016 – 4:36 pm

The Bills injury situation is improving this week. Both Ronald Darby and Robert Woods returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis coming off a concussion and knee injury respectively.

Sammy Watkins didn’t practice, but it was part of the plan this week. He’s expected to participate in practice Thursday.

“I can just tell you what Sammy said,” Rex Ryan said Wednesday. “Sammy felt better after this (Oakland) game physically than he did the first game (Jacksonville), so I think that’s a good thing. How much better he’s going to get, I’m not that sure.”

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Lerentee McCray LB Concussion DNP
Cordy Glenn T Back DNP
Sammy Watkins WR Foot DNP
Lorenzo Alexander LB Not injury related DNP
Robert Woods WR Knee LP
Ronald Darby CB Concussion LP
Charles Clay TE Knee LP
Tyrod Taylor QB Groin FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Takeo Spikes going into Alabama sports HOF

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2016 – 3:30 pm

The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame announced their 2017 class for induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The newly elected Inductees for the Class of 2017 included former Bills LB Takeo Spikes.

A former first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals (1998), Spikes earned his two Pro Bowls during his time with the Bills. A captain in 13 of his 15 NFL seasons he became just the seventh inside linebacker in league history to start in more than 200 games.

His induction was due mainly to his college exploits. He played collegiately for Auburn University.  He helped lead the Tigers to the SEC Western Division Championship in 1997.  He led the team in tackles with 136 that year.

The 49th Induction Banquet and Ceremony will take place in Birmingham on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

 


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Bills add CB to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2016 – 10:00 am

The Bills announced that the team has signed CB Charles Gaines to the team’s practice squad.

Gaines, a 5-10, 180-pound Louisville product, originally entered the NFL as a sixth round (189th overall) draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by Cleveland. Gaines appeared in six games with four starts as a rookie in 2015 with Cleveland, recording 15 tackles, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Gaines, 24, is a native of Miami, Florida.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lawson: Everyone in locker room believes

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2016 – 2:33 pm

Bills fans may not be too high on the team’s prospects for reaching the playoffs. Despite a gut wrenching loss at Oakland last week, the players in Buffalo’s locker room are resolute in their belief that they can make a run at the postseason with four games to play.

OLB Shaq Lawson, in an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, admitted that they got comfortable as a team when they went up 15 against the Raiders.

“We didn’t push it down their throat like we should have,” said Lawson. “We’ve got to learn how to answer when the other team scores.”

Nevertheless Lawson maintains that the locker room is unified in winning this week and every week after that until the end.

“Everybody in that locker room still believes we’ve got a shot,” said Lawson. “We’ve got to win out. So we have to win the next four games starting with Sunday. We’ve got to treat every game like a playoff game. I know a lot of people are counting us out, but we don’t pay that any mind. We know what we’ve got to do.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Former Bill Briscoe to enter NFF Hall of Fame

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2016 – 12:53 pm

Former Bills WR Marlin Briscoe will be formally inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame tonight.

Briscoe, who is being enshrined as a quarterback, was an NAIA first team All-American at Nebraska-Omaha from 1964-67. He set 22 school records and led the team to a conference title his senior year. Known as Marlin ‘The Magician,’ Briscoe was honored by the recognition.

Briscoe is best known for being the first African-American to play quarterback in the American Football League. As a rookie in 1968, Briscoe appeared in 11 games at quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

He said he never felt any pressure being the first person of color to play quarterback in the AFL.

“Not extra pressure but extra pride,” Briscoe said. “I went to an NAIA school, and it was back in those days when schools that size, or lack of size, weren’t expected to make it in the NFL or at least have a great impact if they did make it. So my college team, we had seven kids on my college team that went to the pros, whether as a free agent or as a draft. So it kind of solidified our brand of football and the transition that we had to make as small NAIA school into the major stage of playing in the NFL. And so very, very proud of that.”

Briscoe played three seasons for the Bills (1969-71) including a 1,000-yard receiving season in 1970 when he pulled in eight touchdowns and averaged 18.2 yards per catch.

Fans can watch the entire NFF Annual Awards Dinner tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

marlin-briscoe


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills fans nominated by Fandom 250

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2016 – 10:32 am

Bills fans have been included on a nomination list for best fans. FanSided has been putting together a list of 250 Fandom nominees for best fan bases overall, not just sports. The Bills were among the latest group of nominees.

The fans of the Packers, Broncos, Seahawks and Patriots were also nominated in the group of 250. The list contains not only sports fandoms but also fandoms supporting entertainment, celebrities and more.

“The list will be a yearly endeavor,” added FanSided VP of Content Patrick Allen. “We gave weight to what is hot now so what has happened in 2016 is very important. That said, fandoms got points for longevity, size and worth as well. Finally, we considered the great equalizer to be what we call the “passion barometer.” The quality of a fandom is just as important to us as size and longevity. “

The final rankings list of the 250 nominees will be posted by FanSided.com later today (Dec. 6th).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stats that stood out

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2016 – 1:06 am

There were plenty of stats that stood out in Buffalo’s loss at the hands of the Raiders Sunday.

15 – Buffalo’s lead in the third quarter, which disappeared in a span of 10 minutes on the game clock, marking just the ninth time in team history a Bills team has given up a lead of 15 points or more and lost.

69.2% – Tyrod Taylor’s completion percentage in the first half.
41% – Tyrod Taylor’s completion percentage in the second half.

7.1 – Buffalo’s yards per carry average in the game.
191 – Yards rushing by Bills up to their last touchdown with nine minutes left in the 3rd quarter (8.3 ypc).
21 – Yards rushing over the final 24 minutes of the game (3.0 ypc).

191 – McCoy’s total yards from scrimmage (season high).
55.8 – Passer rating for Tyrod Taylor.

0 – Bills number of three-and-outs in the first half.
3 – Bills number of three-and-outs in the second half (not counting final possession of game).

2 – Number of Buffalo giveaways Sunday.
6 – Number of Buffalo giveaways in the first 11 games.

12 – Number of takeaways in Bills first six games.
2 – Number of takeaways in Bills last six games (there were none Sunday).

29 – Number of consecutive points scored by the Raiders that went unanswered.
9:38 – Cumulative amount of possession time needed on Oakland’s four second half TD drives.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Raiders inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 2:40 pm

Here are the inactives for the Raiders for today’s game against the Bills.

QB Connor Cook

CB Antonio Hamilton

RB DeAndre Washington

G Denver Kirkland

DT Darius Latham

LB Shilique Calhoun

DT Stacy McGee


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Clay heads up Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 2:30 pm

Bills TE Charles Clay did not make the trip with his teammates to Oakland on Saturday, and the impending birth of his first child will keep him out of today’s game as he was unable to make it to the west coast in time for today’s game.

Here is the full list of Bills inactives.

WR Robert Woods
WR Percy Harvin
CB Ronald Darby
TE Charles Clay
TE Logan Thomas
DL Jerel Worthy


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Bills will go big to fix goal line defense

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 2:05 pm

Head coach Rex Ryan is never afraid to tell it like it is and when it’s come to his team’s defense in goal-to-go situations it hasn’t been good at all. Over the last five games their red zone defense has slipped from first in the league to 19th, and the main culprit is goal-to-go situations. But Ryan and his defensive staff have come up with a very logical solution.

According to Ryan the Bills have given up 12 touchdowns on 22 goal-to-go plays. When opponents have been in 1st-and-goal situations anywhere from the five-yard line or closer they have scored 100 percent of the time against Buffalo.

Ryan said getting Marcell Dareus back in the lineup on a regular basis will help their goal line defense. Dareus is coming off his best game of the season against Jacksonville. He had eight tackles including three for loss along with a pair of sacks. But there’s another part of the plan to pair with Dareus on goal line defense.

“Having Marcell back will certainly help and we’re going to activate (DeAndre) Coleman a 340-pound defensive tackle,” said head coach Rex Ryan in his weekly appearance on Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Horton’s. “I think that’s going to help us also.”

Coleman was just called up from the practice squad this week, and based on Ryan’s plans will see action at least in the goal line situations.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Key to beating Raiders? Fewer possessions

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 1:15 pm

Just about every team in the AFC is trying to figure out how to stop the Raiders high octane offense that seems to routinely put up 30 points a week in almost effortless fashion. Some teams have come up with the right formula to beating Oakland, and though Atlanta simply outscored them to win, only Kansas City succeeded in executing that formula. And it’s a way that perhaps the Bills can put themselves in position to get a seemingly unlikely road win.

Back in Week 6 the Chiefs went in with the approach of establishing a ground game to set up favorable down and distance on third downs, and converted more than half of those (7-13) to keep their drives alive. Kansas City rushed for 183 yards in the game and went 3-for-6 in the red zone to win going away 26-10.

The key was limiting Oakland’s possessions by keeping their own offense on the field. The Raiders average a shade over 12 possessions per game this season. The Chiefs ability to keep their own drives alive allowed Oakland to possess the ball just 10 times. The Raiders had just 23:15 of possession time.

Add in the fact that Kansas City stopped two of those possessions with takeaways, and it’s more like an eight-possession game for the Raiders.

Buffalo would appear to be in a position to take the same approach with their strong rushing attack and a defensive scheme very similar to that of the Chiefs. Head coach Rex Ryan seems to be in agreement.

“I think the big thing is as a team you try to keep their possessions to a minimum,” said Ryan on his weekly appearance on Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Horton’s. “I saw the other week against Houston they had just six possessions. Typically in an NFL game you get 12 possessions so I think if we can do that we’ll be in good shape.”

Actually the Raiders had 11 possessions in that game, but they only ran 51 plays as Houston’s defense got off the field on third down allowing the Raiders only four of 13 conversions. The Texans led 20-13 early in the fourth quarter, and only allowed Oakland to have 23:33 in time of possession.

The problem was they got beat over the top for a 75 and a 35-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter and lost 27-20.

One other team that came close to pulling off the upset over the 9-2 Raiders with this formula was Baltimore. The Ravens held a 27-21 lead in the fourth quarter and only let the Oakland offense run 54 plays with time of possession just over 25 minutes, but lost by one when Derek Carr hit Michael Crabtree for 23-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining.

It’s a formula that appears feasible, you just have to have your run game work well in controlling the clock, finish drives and then get stops defensively, and ideally a takeaway or two to keep Carr’s opportunities with the ball to a minimum. It’s just been very hard for most of Oakland’s opponents to pull off.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shady to go less shake and bake?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 12:23 pm

LeSean McCoy is known as one of the most elusive backs in the NFL. For backs like him, old scouts used to say that he could make a defender miss him in a phone booth. But last week even McCoy admits he tried to do too much with his escape skills and made things more difficult for the offense in terms of down and distance situations.

“Last week, we kind of started slow. A lot of that was me,” said McCoy. “I was trying to do too much in the backfield early in the game. Once we got everything lined up, we made some plays and we started gashing them in the running game and throwing some balls over the top. That’s how we play. We always make plays. We run the ball well and we keep the drives alive. We eat up a lot of clock, and we really need that this week to beat a team like Oakland.”

Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has seen McCoy trying to pick his spots in practice to make more direct runs to the hole when it’s there instead of trying to juke a linebacker out of his shoes. He’s hopeful that translates to the games.

“He’s running a little bit more direct and not as much shake and bake,” said Lynn. “I think he’s evolving as he gets a little older understanding that you’re not always going to be able to make that one guy miss. Sometimes you have to get that tough yard, so I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing from him.”


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Raiders add DL to 53-man roster

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2016 – 4:48 pm

Down a starting DT in Stacy McGee and a backup DT Darius Latham due to injury, the Raiders addressed their shortage on their defensive line Saturday.

Oakland called DL Branden Jackson up to the active roster from their practice squad and officially placed CB DJ Hayden on the Reserve/Injured List.

Jackson originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent after participating on a tryout basis at the team’s rookie mini-camp. After participating in the offseason program and training camp with the team, he was waived on Sept. 3 and signed to the practice squad the next day, where he spent the first 12 weeks of the regular season.

The 6-foot-4, 268-pounder played four years at Texas Tech, seeing action in 51 games with 38 starts. Jackson totaled 138 tackles (97 solo), 11 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and seven passes defensed.


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Del Rio: Had we known, we’d have re-signed ‘Zo

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2016 – 10:47 am

Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio is enjoying a 9-2 season in which very little has gone wrong. One mistake that he admits to making however, is not re-signing Bills pass rusher Lorenzo Alexander.

Alexander was a special teams role player only for the Raiders last season, and Alexander wanted to re-sign with Oakland, but they had different plans in mind. Now Del Rio is regretting their decision seeing Alexander rack up 10 sacks with the Bills so far this season.

“We did not see that in him or we wouldn’t have let Rex get him! I’m really happy for a guy like Lorenzo,” said Del Rio. “He’s a consummate professional. This is a guy that busts his butt, does everything he can, every day to be a true professional. We had him around thinking that’s what we were getting is that, the leadership part of it and honestly, we missed on this part where he’s getting 10 sacks.

“Hats off to him, congratulations to him. The guys that are here that know him are really happy for him. He’s a great young man. Played at Cal right here, it’s a great story for him. I’m super happy for him. I just don’t want him to get it done this weekend, but happy for the year he’s had.”

Alexander wasn’t bitter about being unable to sign with his hometown Raiders, a club he thought was going to do well this season.

“I wanted to come back this year after last season,” he said. “I enjoyed my time while I was there, but (Raiders GM) Reggie [McKenzie] and the coaching staff decided they wanted to go in a different direction. Obviously, they signed a guy like Bruce Irvin there. They had Khalil Mack and they drafted some young guys.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Raiders to be short on their DL

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2016 – 4:09 pm

The Raiders defensive line is going to be short a couple of interior defenders Sunday against the Bills. Already without nickel corner D.J. Hayden, who was put on I-R Friday, Oakland will also be without starting defensive tackle Stacy McGee and his backup, rookie Darius Latham.

The two defensive linemen are out with ankle injuries. Pass rusher Shilique Calhoun is also out for the game with a knee injury.

Meanwhile starting linebackers Perry Riley Jr. and Malcolm Smith are both questionable with hamstring injuries.

Player Pos Injury Game Status
David Amerson CB Knee Questionable
Shilique Calhoun LB Knee Out
Michael Crabtree WR Ankle Questionable
DJ Hayden CB Hamstring Out
Rodney Hudson C Knee Questionable
Darius Latham DT Ankle Out
Stacy McGee DT Ankle Out
Latavius Murray RB Ankle Questionable
Kelechi Osemele G/T Knee Questionable
Perry Riley Jr. LB Hamstring Questionable
Malcolm Smith LB Hamstring Questionable

 

 


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