Inside The Bills

Bills free agent list

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 2:20 pm

Here’s a look at Buffalo’s free agents heading into this offseason.

S Jairus Byrd
K Dan Carpenter
DL Alex Carrington
TE Scott Chandler
S Jim Leonhard
LB Arthur Moats
P Brian Moorman

TE Mike Caussin
OL Thomas Welch

WR Chris Hogan is an exclusive rights free agent.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Need 16 games for baseline on EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 1:05 pm

There really wasn’t any doubt that EJ Manuel is this team’s starting quarterback moving forward into 2014, but head coach Doug Marrone and GM Doug Whaley were asked about it specifically in their season-ending press conference Monday. Whaley was also asked how long it takes before a personnel evaluator definitively determines that a quarterback prospect has what it takes to be successful on a consistent basis in the NFL.

“I think you have to go case by case basis,” Whaley said. “You would like to have a guy at least have 16 games under his belt, and one year of continuity with receivers and practice time to get a baseline. That’s going to be tough to do with EJ right now. I can’t give you a specific timeline, but I think you know when you know.

“It’s hard to put in words, but after so many games, you get a feeling, alright this guy’s got it, or this guy needs some more time in development, or this guy doesn’t have it. That’s one thing that I have full confidence in the coaching staff that we’ll get every resource we have available to EJ to be successful.”

Manuel only made 10 starts this season due to a pair of knee injuries in 2013.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where does QB Lewis stand?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 11:54 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone both reiterated EJ Manuel is entrenched as their starting quarterback heading into 2014. Thad Lewis after a late preseason trade moved all the way up from the team’s practice squad to the backup role. With a year left on his contract, where does his performance in his five starts for the Bills leave him on the depth chart?

Whaley was asked specifically about Lewis and his hold on the backup role. Buffalo’s GM left the door open to an addition being made this offseason that could further upgrade the depth at the position.

“We are pleased with Thad. We brought him in on a trade; he came in and was very serviceable,” said Whaley. “We look forward to his further development, but again we will not hold ourselves back from picking a person that would help us take a winning step.”

Knowing the collective lack of experience at quarterback in 2013 for the Bills, which was compromised when Kevin Kolb was lost for the season, Buffalo seems likely to try and add a veteran quarterback to their ranks in the offseason when free agency opens in mid-March, especially if Kolb does not intend to resume his career in 2014.

The free agent pickings however, appear slim with the more noteworthy veteran QBs being Chad Henne and Josh McCown. Jay Cutler is set to become a free agent, but he’s not seen as a realistic option knowing he’ll be looking to start somewhere if it’s not going to be back in Chicago.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

BDC 12/31: Bills Make Futures Signings

Posted by Bills Daily Charge on December 31, 2013 – 10:28 am

— The Buffalo Bills announced yesterday that the team has signed the below seven players as reserve/future signings:


Butler, Mario


Coughman, Edawn


Dixon, Dennis


Igbinosun, Ikponmwosa


Johnson-Webb, Jamaal


Kaufman, Brandon


Smith, Jacquies


Butler (6-1, 187-pounds) joined Buffalo’s Practice Squad on November 19. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011 and spent portions of the 2011 and 2012 seasons on the Practice Squads of the Cowboys and Denver Broncos. Butler saw action in 51 games at Georgia Tech and recorded 136 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and four interceptions.

Coughman (6-4, 313-pounds) was signed to the team’s Practice Squad on September 2. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012 and spent a portion of his rookie season on the team’s Practice Squad. He joined the Dallas Cowboys on May 13, 2013 before being released prior to the regular season. Coughman played nine games during the 2011 season with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League after a collegiate career at Shaw.

Dixon (6-3, 215-pounds) signed to Buffalo’s Practice Squad on October 8. He started three-of-four games played in the NFL in three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2008-11) and completed 35-of-59 passes for 402 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. The Oregon product entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft selection of the Steelers in 2008. He spent the 2012 season on the Baltimore Ravens’ Practice Squad and the 2013 training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles before being released prior to the regular season.

Igbinosun (pronounced ig-bi-NO-sun) was signed to the team’s Practice Squad on November 12. A 6-3, 286-pound Southern Connecticut State product, Igbinosun entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012 before being released prior to the regular season. He spent a portion of his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the Dallas Cowboys and was released during the team’s 2013 training camp. Igbinosun was a first-team All-Northeast 10 Conference selection as a senior recording 58 tackles, a team-leading 7.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 10 starts.

Johnson-Webb (6-3, 306-punds) was signed to the team’s Practice Squad on December 3. An Alabama A&M product, Johnson-Webb entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 before being released prior to the regular season. He has spent portions of the season on the practice squads for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. Johnson-Webb started 45 games for Alabama A&M, beginning his career as a guard before moving to tackle prior to his sophomore season

Kaufman (6-5, 215-pounds) joined Buffalo as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft and was released prior to the regular season. He re-joined the team on the Practice Squad on December 10. The Eastern Washington product Started 37-of-42 games over three years and generated 19 100-yard performances. He finished with 221 catches – third-most in school history and seventh in Big Sky Conference for 3,731 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Smith (6-2, 260-pounds) signed to Buffalo’s Practice Squad on October 15. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 2012 and was released prior to the regular season. He spent a portion of his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the New York Jets and was released by the Jets prior to the 2013 regular season. The Missouri product started 30-of-51 games for the Tigers and totaled 159 tackles, 13.0 sacks and eight forced fumbles.

At a packed press conference in the Bills fieldhouse, Hall of Fame Head Coach Marv Levy announced his retirement from coaching.

Bills HC Doug Marrone, President and CEO Russ Brandon and GM Doug Whaley (from left to right) sat down yesterday to review 2013 and look forward to what is ahead in 2014 for the Bills. 

Locker Cleanout
After wrapping up the season Sunday, the Bills cleaned out their lockers yesterday while taking time answer questions about the 2013 season and where fans can expect the team to head in 2014.

Russ Brandon, Buffalo Bills President and CEO
Q: About a year ago you sat up there and talked about the franchise’s tarnished relevancy and the need to go to the ends of the earth to change that. How far do you feel this franchise has come to achieving that?
RB: We’ve made a significant step under Coach Marrone. The leadership that he’s brought to this organization, the level of accountability and where we’re trying to reach. We are disappointed that we’re sitting here at 6-10 there is no doubt about it. We certainly feel that, as I mentioned, we are under the path to success under his leadership. Under the personnel changes that Doug Whaley made. Some of the personnel brought in not only in the draft, but acquisitions like Jerry Hughes, Ty Powell, Stefan Charles and Dan Carpenter. A lot of players that contributed this year. Obviously the draft class was excellent. Obviously Doug also made some changes with his personnel department last year with Jim Monos as Director of Player Personnel and Kelvin Fisher as Director of Scouting and Tom Gibbons running the Pro department. I feel very good about that. What we don’t feel good about is sitting here talking to you at 6-10 and that needs to change. 

DOUG MARRONE, Buffalo Bills Head Coach
Q: You talk about EJ benefiting from a full offseason, what about yourself? You really have not had an offseason in some ways. How do you approach this offseason knowing you can digest a full year at the job?
DM: Well I’m excited to get back and start with the evaluation process really and going back and looking at why we are where we’re at. I have my opinion now which obviously I get asked a question and give. We’re going to go back and really look at the details, strategically, schematically, where we have not produced the consistency that we need. For me, there is really no such thing as an offseason, so I’m actually excited about that for the challenges that we’re going to be faced with for the 2014 season. I understand sitting here obviously Russ said it and we all feel the same way, we’re disappointed with where we are in the season and sitting here at 6-10. We also know that we have a lot of work ahead of us and I look forward to that challenge. 

Buffalo News- Bills’ brass discusses Manuel’s development, Byrd’s status and more

Buffalo News- Bills’ belief in Manuel remains stron

Buffalo News- Locker room cleanout day has a familiar feel to it

Buffalo News- Manuel says injuries are a matter of bad luck

Rochester D&C- EJ Manuel says he will enter 2014 as Bills’ starting QB

Rochester D&C- Buffalo Bills fire receivers coach

Toronto Sun- Bills got better in 2013, just not nearly enough

Toronto Sun- Bills-in-Toronto series on thin ice? Perhaps

AP- Bills still a work in progress after 6-10 finish

AP- Highs and lows of the Bills’ 6-10 season

AP-Bills fire WR coach Ike Hilliard Brandon, Whaley, and Marrone talk 2013 Bills Bills WRs coach Hilliard relieved of duties Seven announced as reserve/future signings NFL releases tentative draft order, Bills to pick 9th Jackson’s inspiring performance not enough Manuel weighing options on knee injury

Bills Season Wrap Up Press Conference
Bills Roundup: Locker Clean Out, Coaching Change
C.J. Spiller and EJ Manuel on their seasons
Brian Moorman on Future With Bills
The John Murphy Show December 30
Doug Marrone Answers Fans’ Questions

Bills’ Marrone tells Manuel he’ll start in 2014
Bills want Jairus Byrd back
Bills let one coach go, Crossman still employed
12/30 Fred Jackson on WGR
12/30 Eric Wood with Mike Schopp

Bills clean out lockers, look forward
Marrone gives Manuel vote of confidence
Bills will try to keep Byrd
Bills part ways with WR coach Hilliard

Manuel says off-season surgery possible on injured knee

Bills Still Work in Progress After 6-10 Season
Bills QB EJ Manuel Talks About the Future
Bills Clean Out Lockers After Disappointing Season
Bills CJ Spiller Talks About His Season with the Bills
Bills fire receivers coach Ike Hilliard

Bills pack their bags, reflect on 2013

Highs and lows of the Bills’ 6-10 season

Bills brass puts wrap on a season with no playoffs

Additional Clips
Inside The Bills
Offer to be made to Byrd, CarpenterLeonhard only looking to play 1 more yearBills projected to have 7th most cap space

Buffalo News Press Coverage Blog
EJ Manuel says Doug Marrone has told him he will be starting QB in 2014
Aaron Williams proclaims he and Jairus Byrd are the NFL’s best safety duo
Review Bills’ season-ending news conference Around The League
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills still hoping for long-term deal
EJ Manuel will enter 2014 as Buffalo Bills’ starting QB Buffalo Bills Blog
Bills keeping door open for Jairus Byrd
Bills brass gives Manuel vote of confidence
Bills part ways with coach Ike Hilliard
C.J. Spiller falls short of own expectations
Manuel told he’ll be Bills’ starting QB in 2014
Williams thanks Byrd for contributions
Upon Further Review: Bills-Patriots

Kryk Slants
Did the Bills improve in ’13? Yes. Enough? No.

Buffalo Rumblings
Marcell Dareus contract: Bills have fifth-year option in 201
Buffalo Rumblings Podcast No. 22: here comes Favre
Buffalo Bills to talk contract with Dan Carpenter, Brian Moorman
Ike Hilliard no longer Buffalo Bills WR coach
All eyes on Jairus Byrd as Buffalo Bills offseason begins

AFC East Daily
Bills’ Hilliard firing ‘a difference in philosophy’
Marrone tries to explain Blount’s gouging returns

Pro Football Focus
ReFo: Bills @ Patriots, Week 17

All Sports WNY
Buffalo Bills Season Ending Media Comments

Bleacher Report
Grading Every Bills Starter’s Regular Season

Posted in Bills Daily Charge, Inside the Bills

Kicker market already set for Carpenter?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 9:09 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley made it clear on Monday that kicker Dan Carpenter is a free agent that the Bills will be pursuing moving forward. Carpenter’s 2013 season is admittedly very hard to ignore after he tied Steve Christie’s franchise record for makes in a season with 33, and set the record for most 50-yarders in a season with four. So what would it cost to retain the kicker by way of contract extension? To a certain extent the bar on the kicker market has already been set.

The Bills can thank the Chicago Bears. They re-signed K Robbie Gould last week. The third-most accurate kicker in NFL history despite kicking on grass in Chicago his whole career, just signed a reported four-year $15M extension with $9M guaranteed.

Gould was 26-29 on field goal attempts this season for a success rate of 89.7 percent. He also had hit 12 straight from 50-yards plus over the past couple of seasons before a 66-yard attempt at Minnesota in Week 13 broke the streak.

Carpenter meanwhile had a higher success rate in 2013 at 91.7 percent, the second-best in Bills team history.

Both kickers had a comparable number of attempts from between 20 and 40 yards (Carpenter – 19, Gould – 18) so the percentages aren’t skewed in favor of either kicker.

Gould is 32-years old, Carpenter is just 28, but Gould has a longer and more proven track record. He’s an 86 percent kicker for his career. Carpenter isn’t far behind at almost 84%, but he has 81 fewer attempts. He’s also just a 53.8 percent kicker from 50-yards plus where Gould is an impressive 76.2 percent kicker.

Touchback percentage could be a sticking point for Carpenter. Over the past three years, with the kickoff line up at the 35, Gould has had touchback percentages of 54.4, 58.5 and 45.2 percent. League touchback percentage was down this season. Gould’s ranked 15th in the league.

Carpenter’s touchback percentage the past three seasons was 57.4, 47.6 and 41.5 percent, with the first two figures coming from his days of kicking in Miami. Carpenter ranked 21st in the league in touchback percentage this season.

Buffalo does have a kickoff specialist on the roster in Dustin Hopkins, but the groin injury that landed him on I-R was a significant one.

The Bills intend to make Carpenter a competitive offer, but it’s unlikely that it will be close to Gould’s deal ($3.5M per season). Knowing the Bears far exceeded the 2013 franchise tag for kickers and punters ($2.977M) it’s hard to see the Bills even reaching that territory for a kicker that simply doesn’t have the same track record.

Carpenter said Monday he’s keeping all his options open and would not rule out a return to Buffalo.

“I’m open to anywhere,” he said. “I haven’t even spoken with my agent yet about it. My wife and I are going to sit down and have a talk after we start finding out what’s going to happen and make the best decision for my playing days and also our family.”

And for those who might think that kicking in Buffalo could be a deterrent for Carpenter remember he kicked at the University of Montana in college.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offer to be made to Byrd, Carpenter

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2013 – 5:58 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley said they intend to pursue some of their own free agents vigorously between now and the start of free agency. Chief among them Jairus Byrd and kicker Dan Carpenter.

“We’re going to leave all options on the table. We had a conversation myself and Russ (Brandon) sat and talked to Jairus and we’re going to make an offer to the guy,” said Whaley. “We’re going to try to keep him to the best of our ability. We’re in the business of collecting good players and he’s a good player.”

When asked if making use of the franchise tag could happen again, Whaley did not rule it out.

“That’s always an option,” said Whaley. “We’re not going to back ourselves into a corner and eliminate any possibility of trying to retain a good player.”

Dan Carpenter, who tied a team record with 33 field goals made (Steve Christie, 1998), said he’s keeping his options open, but Whaley made it clear he too will try to be re-signed.

“Absolutely,” Whaley said. “Russ (Brandon) and I talked to him and we’re going to reach out to his agents pretty soon and see if we can try and get something done.”

Whaley also said they intend to present Brian Moorman with an offer too.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Leonhard only looking to play 1 more year

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2013 – 12:28 pm

Bills veteran safety Jim Leonhard is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after playing on a one-year deal for Buffalo this past season. After nine years in the NFL, Leonhard isn’t looking to break the bank in free agency. All he wants to do is play one more season before he retires.

“I want to play one more and that’s it,” Leonhard said Monday. “I know that. I’ve known that for a couple of years. I want to get 10 (years). Whether that’s here or somewhere else is yet to be determined, but I’m definitely open to the possibility of coming back.”

Knowing Leonhard’s close relationship with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Leonhard re-sign with the club for what he says will be his final NFL season as a player.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills projected to have 7th most cap space

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2013 – 8:08 am

As the 2013 season has now come to an end, the Bills will reportedly have among the most cap space available this NFL offseason for 2014.

That according to, which projects the Bills, under an assumed new league salary cap of $126M and change, to have the seventh most cap space in the league for 2014.

Buffalo was projected to have just over $29M in cap space, prior to the Alan Branch extension. The top three teams with the most projected cap room were Oakland ($62M), Jacksonville ($55M) and Cleveland ($46M).

Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle: There will be changes here

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 10:57 pm

Bills captain Kyle Williams was disappointed to end his eighth season with the Bills the way the other seven before them have, which is out of the playoffs. At the same time he believes coach Marrone has established a culture that will demand better and those that were unable to fall in line and deliver won’t be around next season.

“I think that coach [Doug] Marrone has had a pretty good finger on the pulse of the team and maybe recognized the kind of guys he wants to keep around and build a team around,” said Williams. “I’m sure every team is changing. This team won’t be the same. We will have a lot of guys back but there’s always going to be pieces that you bring in, whether it’s through free agency or the draft, he’ll build something that is going to be good. We have a long off-season in front of us.

“Not the way I wanted to end my eighth year here, but I think moving forward we have some good pieces and some good things that we can build on. For me, I don’t have to have surgery this year. I’m excited about that. I’m going to be getting better.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

What happened on the kick returns

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 10:57 pm

The Bills gave up a season-high 189 kick return yards on just four returns Sunday. Head coach Doug Marrone tried to explain what went wrong on the two returns by LeGarrette Blount that went for 83 and 62 yards right after Buffalo touchdown drives.

“The missed tackles are what happened,” said Marrone. “I think when you put the film on you’ll see going on there, one time we got collapsed and missed a tackle in a hole. A couple of problems of that one. Obviously if you get knocked out of your lane… on the second one there were three missed tackles by guys in position to make it. You have to make that play and we weren’t able to make it.”

“He bounced it, I want to say, on the back side,” said Arthur Moats. “We squeezed to flat. It was a good play by [LaGarrette Blount]. Initially they hadn’t shown any bounces all year with 29 back there. On the second one we had a guy in the hole he has to make the play.”

Marrone said it’s been difficult to get consistent core of special teams players assembled under special teams coordinator Danny Crossman.

“There are times we haven’t done things well enough, spotty play,” said Marrone. “I don’t disagree with that. I don’t think coach Crossman would disagree with you. But going forward one of the things we have to do is see the teams that have good special teams have good specialists back there returning. But you have to have a core and we really haven’t. That’s one of the things we need to improve on and one of the things we’ll address in the offseason.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus regretting missteps

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 10:56 pm

A week after being benched for the first quarter of Buffalo’s shutout win over Miami in Week 16, Marcell Dareus again broke a team rule the following week and found himself sidelined for a half in the season finale against New England. His absence was instrumental in seeing LeGarrette Blount rumble for 189 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns in the Patriots 34-20 win.

Dareus was remorseful in the postgame locker room.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I just hate that I put my team in a position like that. As a player I’m just going to get better. Me and Coach talked about it. I’m going to grow as a player in the offseason and continue to work and do the best I can. I hate I put my team in that position.”

“Obviously there was a team violation. It was broken. I sat down with him again and talked about it and we’re both going to continue to work through it and move forward,” said Marrone.

Marrone did admit he missed having one of the leading tacklers at the defensive tackle position in the NFL.

“It would be naïve for me to stand up here and say no. We know what type of player Marcell is,” Marrone said. “The more we can have him out there playing the better we are.”

Dareus spoke to at least two of the team captains in Kyle Williams and Fred Jackson.

“We just know we can’t put ourselves in those situations and he knows that,” said Jackson. “He’s talked to me and I’m sure he’s talked to Kyle and we need him out there. Anytime he’s sitting on the bench he’s not helping us or helping this team.

“That’s a feeling that I know he doesn’t like so he knows he’s got to come back and be better at it next year and I’m sure he will. I have all the confidence in the world in him. Espeically after a day like this it’s something that’s going to be sticking with him all offseason and be motivating for him.”

Dareus said he addressed the team following his team infraction.

“I apologized to my guys,” he said. “Regardless of the situation, I let them know that I’m so sorry about what happened.  I’m sorry about the game today, and last week.  They know that I’m sorry for what happened and it’s done.  But it’s a team rule and we’re all with it.  I respect it.

“I’m just going to continue to move forward. Just be a better player all the way around. Come in to camp better and just be a better person. If I’m going to get to the next level to where I’m supposed to be as an elite player in the league and try to be a captain of the team, I have to do the best I can.  Continue to get better, be on time, and have no excuse for whatever the situation is.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

#Bills to draft ninth overall

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 9:20 pm

Based on how things shook out in Week 17 the Buffalo Bills will be drafting ninth overall in the 2014 NFL draft.

With the Bills losing along with the Titans and Giants winning it locked the Bills in as the only team in the league with a 6-10 record for the 2013 season. The Vikings are right in front of Buffalo with a 5-10-1 mark.

The last time the Bills had the ninth overall pick was 2010 when they chose C.J. Spiller.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills 2014 opponents finalized

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 4:02 pm

When Miami lost to the Jets this afternoon it locked the Bills into their fourth place finish in the AFC East no matter what they do against the Patriots today. That then determined the two remaining opponents in the AFC North and AFC South for the Bills based on finish in their division. Here are the 2014 opponents home and away for Buffalo next season.

The Bills are facing the NFC North and AFC West as part of their 2014 slate next fall. Their intra-conference opponents from the AFC North (Cleveland) and AFC South (Houston) were finalized after Buffalo’s position in fourth was secured by the Jets win over Miami. Both Cleveland and Houston were finalized as last place finishers in their division before today’s action even began.

Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Cleveland Browns
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Houston Texans
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 3:13 pm

Here are the Bills inactives for TE season finale against the Patriots.

QB EJ Manuel
WR Stevie Johnson
WR Cordell Roberson
RB Ronnie Wingo
DB Brandon Smith
OL Mark Asper
OL Antoine McClain

Posted in Inside the Bills

LT Solder active for Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 3:06 pm

Here are the Patriots inactives, which do not include starting LT Nate Solder meaning that Logan Mankins can move back to left guard.

DE Jake Bequette
OL Chris Barker
DT Isaac Sopoaga
CB Alfonzo Dennard
S Devin McCourty
LB Steve Beauhais
WR J. Boyce.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats make teams pay

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 2:10 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone is more than aware of how effective the Patriots are when it comes to making opponents pay for their turnovers. In his weekly radio appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, he pointed to New England’s ability to score points off turnovers and their record when they are unable to force at least one in a game.

“Going into this game the thing I preached to our team all week was you can’t let this team force a turnover on us. When you look at what New England has been able to do from a forced turnover factor it’s really unbelievable how they’ve been able to play and how they’ve been able to win.

“If New England doesn’t force a turnover, they’re 11-and-17. That’s about the only losing record that they have in any category that you can look at.”

New England stands third in the league in points off takeaways with 88 so far this season. The league average is 57.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why we’ll see run, run, run on 1st-&-10

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 1:01 pm

If the season long numbers are any indication, when the Bills have the ball today in their season finale against the Patriots we’ll see an awful lot of run plays on 1st-and-10.

We’ve seen for a while that the Bills aren’t shy about running the football on 1st-and-10. They lead the league in run percentage on that down and distance at a gaudy 64.1 percent. With Thad Lewis at quarterback that figure is likely to hold true, especially in a road atmosphere and armed with the second-ranked rushing attack.

Making it even more likely is the fact that most New England opponents have found good success running on 1st-and-10 against them. Patriots opponents gain at least four yards running on first down more than half the time (51.4%), which sets up favorable down and distance on second down.

Not surprisingly, opponents choose to run on 1st-and-10 against New England almost 54 percent of the time (53.8%).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lots of long drives given up by Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 11:56 am

The Patriots have stayed successful this season as a team because their defense despite its many key losses to injury have remained a top 10 unit when it comes to points allowed (9th). However, they’re giving opponents ample opportunity to put the ball in the end zone.

New England stands 30th in the league in 10-play drives allowed. They’ve surrendered 30 10-play drives this season, which is five above the league average.

The Bills are coming off a win over Miami in which they had their longest drive of the season in terms of a plays, a 19-play 92-yard drive. They also had 94 and 80 yard drives the week before at Jacksonville that each covered nine plays.

Buffalo is no doubt hoping to have a similar play volume in today’s game knowing it means they’re not only controlling the pace of the game, but they’re also keeping the ball away from Tom Brady.

Posted in Inside the Bills

2 Bills 2014 opponents hinge on today’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 9:30 am

Fourteen of the Bills’ opponents are already mapped out for the 2014 season (counting their division opponents twice). Buffalo faces their division rivals twice each, the AFC West and the NFC North next year. The two remaining opponents will come via the intra-conference teams that finish in the same place in their respective division following today’s games. And though the fourth place team in the AFC North and the fourth place team in the AFC South are locked in their respective positions regardless of how they fare in Week 17, Buffalo’s spot in the AFC East is not set.

Buffalo will face the AFC North team that finishes in the same place as them at home and they’ll face the AFC South team that finishes in the same place as them on the road in 2014.

Right now in the AFC North, Cleveland is locked in the fourth spot and Houston is locked in the fourth spot in the AFC South.

Should Buffalo not pull out a win at New England, the Bills would have those two teams as their final two opponents for the 2014 season.

With a win however, the Bills could finish in third place in the AFC East if the Jets were to lose today, and that would make Buffalo’s AFC South opponent Jacksonville and their AFC North opponent either Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills fortunes vs. Pats all about 4th quarter

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2013 – 3:00 pm

All too often the Bills have let potential victories against the Patriots slip through their fingers by getting outplayed in the fourth quarter. New England is again a strong fourth quarter club this season.

It’s common knowledge that the Patriots are a top-five scoring offense with 410 points on the season, 389 of which have been put up by the offense. However, it’s the fourth quarter where New England’s point production has truly shined.

While the point differential in the first three quarters of games with their opponents has been marginal, the Patriots have proven to be vastly superior come the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza of their games this season New England has outscored their opponents by a nearly 2:1 margin (160-86). Their point differential in the fourth quarter of games (74) accounts for 80 percent of their point differential on the season (92).

Not surprisingly, over the last 25 meetings the Patriots have outscored Buffalo in the final stanza of their games by a wide margin. In fact the Pats have outscored Buffalo in the fourth quarter of those 25 games since 2001 by almost a 2:1 ratio (214-106).

The only two times the Bills have posted victories in that stretch (2003 opener, 2011 Week 3) they won the fourth quarters (10-0, 17-7). Buffalo has to outscore New England in the fourth quarter if they want to have a chance of posting their first win at Gillette Stadium.

Posted in Inside the Bills