Inside The Bills

Lal: Easley ahead of schedule

Posted by Chris Brown on May 26, 2016 – 2:12 pm

There’s no specific timetable for Marcus Easley to return from offseason surgery that he had back in January, but the signs at this point are encouraging.

That according to Bills receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who appeared on the John Murphy Show. Lal knew it was going to be a long rehabilitation for Easley, but is confident he’ll come through the extensive rehab successfully.

“If there’s anyone who can, and it was a devastating injury and he was here all winter,” said Lal of Easley. “I saw the rehab that he went through and you have to admire how hard he worked and the mentality he had because that was tough on him. He’s coming through it all ahead of projections.”

Easley dislocated his kneecap and then shattered his patella in three places in last season’s Week 16 game against Dallas.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT Glenn grateful to overcome obstacles

Posted by Chris Brown on May 25, 2016 – 1:33 pm

It was an unusual situation that Bills offensive tackle Cordy Glenn was in a couple of summers ago. Heading into the 2014 season it was made known that Glenn had an undisclosed medical condition and would miss an undetermined amount of time in training camp and the preseason. With those trials now in the rearview mirror and with a long term contract extension in hand, Glenn is grateful he’s still playing the game he loves.

“Yeah, I mean there was a lot of tough obstacles of course, you know what I’m saying,” said Glenn. “Having the kidney removed right before camp and really not having a chance to get in shape. I mean that was challenging, but the big thing for me is always trying to move forward and not trying to stay in the past.”

With no time to get in shape for the 2014 season because the procedure demanded rest and recovery, Glenn had what many felt was a down season that year. Now that the true reason for his performance that year, which was not up to typical Cordy Glenn standards, is out there, it explains a lot more about Glenn and his commitment to the team. Knowing he likely wouldn’t be at his best he still suited up for the good of the team.


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Rex: We’re loaded at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on May 25, 2016 – 8:24 am

The Bills chose not to re-sign safety Bacarri Rambo in the offseason. They signed free agents Robert Blanton and Colt Anderson instead. While it’s unlikely that either of them unseat incumbent starters Aaron Williams and Corey Graham, those two additions plus the presence of Jonathan Meeks and Duke Williams on the roster gives head coach Rex Ryan confidence that they have quality depth on hand.

“Right now we’re a much deeper football team at safety then we are at corner and I think when you look at it, we are loaded at safety right now and all these guys are getting a great feel for what they’re doing, the communication part,” said Ryan. “I love having Aaron Williams out there and Corey Graham again so again, a lot of positives.”

Ryan gave some unsolicited praise to Duke Williams and Meeks for their offseason dedication.

“There have been two guys I’ve been really impressed with and these two guys are in before coaches, after, it is crazy, and that’s (Jonathan) Meeks and Duke Williams,” said Ryan. “I think both those guys, they come in together, they live with D Lynn (defensive assistant D’Anton Lynn), they live with Ed Reed (in the meeting rooms). I mean they’re here all the darn time and you can see it in their play as well.”

Meeks and Williams know all too well how new additions at your position can siphon opportunities away from you in OTAs and minicamp when coaches are evaluating the consistency of your play. The two former Bills draft choices are no doubt hoping to outshine Blanton and Anderson, not only on defense, but special teams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex won’t deny Goodwin once in lifetime chance

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 3:55 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan is not expecting to have WR Marquise Goodwin in for voluntary offseason workouts or practices anytime soon. Mandatory minicamp might also prove difficult. With Goodwin training for the US Olympic track and field trials as a long jumper, Ryan understands the huge opportunity in front of the diminutive wideout.

“Well my understanding is he has the number one jump in the world I think at this point (this year),” said Ryan. “So that is one way to represent Buffalo, our community and our football team. But you know what this is a once in a lifetime shot for a young man to get an opportunity to represent our country in the Olympics, I am certainly not going to take that opportunity away from him.

“When he comes back with us we know that he is training specifically for the long jump and things and that is fine. But we will be excited to get him back here and on this thing and work on his football skills. I think for the young man yeah we are paying the bill and all that we get it, but you know what this is a great opportunity for him to represent our country and we are excited to see him go.”

The Olympics in Rio run the first two weeks of August, which is the same time as training camp. Goodwin has to make the U.S. Olympic team first.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore update

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 3:31 pm

The Bills are determined to get a long term deal done with Stephon Gilmore, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option a year ago. Negotiating a long term agreement at a premium position like cornerback however is easier said than done.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, Whaley admitted cornerback is a top flight position, but as an organization they have to be mindful of other contracts coming up for players they’d like to extend long term.

“For a Rex Ryan defense it’s an important position for how you want to run that defense,” he said. “Again you have a value. Where the juggling process come in, you always want to set a value on a guy, and that’s your first step. But how does your first step affect your next step? So if we put a value on Stephon, but it hinders us from something else down the road that’s when you have to adjust your value on a guy. So it’s going to be a complicated process, but the main thing we’re excited about is both sides want the goal to be for him to come back and sign a contract.”

Whaley remains optimistic that a deal can be struck.

“We’re excited to have Gilmore and we’re excited to have Darby,” said Whaley. “So we have two who we think are top tier corners in the league. Hopefully it’s going to be an exciting season to see them get out there and play 16 games and perform well. And we’ll see how it goes on the business side as well.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not pursuing FAs Boldin or Freeney now

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 1:23 pm

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday morning GM Doug Whaley addressed the prospect of pursuing a veteran free agent pass rusher or receiver in light of the recent offseason surgeries for Shaq Lawson and Sammy Watkins.

Whaley said at this point they haven’t made contact with those veteran free agents, though he wouldn’t rule anything out.

“We always keep our options open. We never say never,” said Whaley. “We haven’t reached out and contacted anybody right now. We’re looking at the development of the guys we have on the roster and some of the young guys. But we always keep our options open and our pro personnel department headed by Rob Hanrahan, those guys always keep me abreast of who is out there and we continually update what we call our short list.”

When asked specifically about Boldin, Whaley again reiterated that they want to see how some of the youth on their roster comes along during spring practices.

“We want to see what we have and the development of the guys on the roster in the OTAs,” he said. “Guys like that we look at as consummate professionals. They’re always going to be in shape and if the time comes where we think the guys aren’t progressing like we need them to that’s when you look at a guy like Anquan Boldin or a Dwight Freeney, but right now we want to develop some young guys with an eye on the future saying those guys are out there if for needs sake we need to pick them up.”

It’s clear that Whaley believes time is on his side before the need may arise to make a move of this nature. When you’re trying to develop young players you don’t want to steal reps from them with a vet and delay their improvement.

There is a report that Freeney had a workout scheduled with the Bengals today.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Join Eric Wood’s Dinner for a Difference

Posted by buffalobills.com on May 23, 2016 – 2:14 pm

Bills Pro Bowl center Eric Wood will be hosting his Dinner for a Difference on Wednesday, June 1. The second annual event, will begin at 6:30 p.m. and consist of a cocktail reception, dinner and live and silent auctions. Held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo, the evening will benefit The Eric Wood Foundation. Created in 2014, The Eric Wood Foundation seeks to assist children in need in the Buffalo and Louisville, Ky. communities.

A dynamic force both on and off the field, Wood takes great pride in giving back in a variety of ways. Attendees will enjoy a fun-filled night with Wood, as he and and his fellow Buffalo Bills partake in serving their meals.

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For additional information on how to participate in Wood’s Dinner for a Difference, please click here.


Posted in Community, Inside the Bills

How Brady rehearing ask impacts Bills Wk 4 game

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2016 – 1:10 pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady, through the NFLPA, is expected to file a petition today for a rehearing of his league-imposed four-game suspension or his role in the Deflategate scandal. Brady is going to be asking for a rehearing en banc, which means he’s asking for the entire panel of all the active judges of the Second Circuit to rehear the case, instead of just a three-judge panel, as was the case in the original hearing, which ruled against Brady 2-1.

There will be no timetable for the Second Circuit to decide whether to rehear the case. If they accept the petition and agree to rehear the case it would put an automatic stay on the NFL’s four-game suspension of Brady and that means he would almost certainly face the Bills in Week 4 at Foxborough. Rehearings take months so it would buy Brady more than enough time to play the 2016 season.

It should be noted that rehearings of such decisions are extremely rare.

If the rehearing petition is denied the four-game suspension would remain in place for the start of the regular season. At that point Brady’s only hope would be an appeal to the Supreme Court and ask for a stay of the Second Circuit decision. It’s considered a long shot for a stay to be granted by the highest court in the land.

Monday was the deadline for Brady to submit the petition.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jim Kelly to co-host HOF ‘Day out with Dad’

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2016 – 10:10 am

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly will be co-hosting a special event at the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month.

Kelly along with fellow Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz will co-host the Hall’s ‘Day out with Dad’ event on June 25th in Canton. Kelly will be joined by his daughter Erin and alongside Muñoz will be his son Michael.

Pre-registration is encouraged as space may be limited for walk-up entries. Dads and children should pre-register at ProFootballHOF.com/dads-day. Cost for “Day Out with Dad” is just $35 and includes a father and up to four kids.

In addition to the exclusive character camp that is based off the Hall’s five core values learned from the Game – commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence – a ticket includes lunch vouchers from Chick-fil-A, admission into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and free parking.

The event includes a day of family fun centered around an official Hall of Fame Character Camp that will include football skills and drills. Fathers and their children can spend the day bonding while also getting up close and personal to two great Heroes of the Game.

 


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Taylor: Everyone has something to prove

Posted by Chris Brown on May 21, 2016 – 9:58 am

Earlier this week a story claimed that Tyrod Taylor was one of two quarterbacks with the most to prove this coming season. Kirk Cousins was the other (anybody for Jared Goff or Carson Wentz?). In any event, when asked about that prevailing opinion, Taylor didn’t scoff at it. Instead he embraced it.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, Taylor said it’s always been his own personal belief that he has something to prove every time he steps on the field.

“Everyone has something to prove in this league and if you think you don’t something is wrong,” Taylor said. “That’s how I play. Every time you practice you should feel that way too. As far as the contract that will play out. I really haven’t put too much thought into it.

“My goal as I said from day one is to better myself and better the team too and ultimately prepare ourselves and get after everybody to make a Super Bowl run. We know it’s takes a one game at a time and one step at a time, but we’ve finished phase one and phase two of the offseason and we’re looking forward to getting into OTAs and we’re definitely excited about getting back out there making plays.”


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Who has looked good in absence of Sammy?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 1:58 pm

Sammy Watkins will be watching from the sidelines for the upcoming OTAs, mandatory minicamp and possibly the start of training camp. Ideally Watkins is on the field with his teammates sooner rather than later, but in his absence some receivers will have the chance to emerge. Tyrod Taylor has already seen some members of the receiving corps come in ready during offseason conditioning and shared some names on the John Murphy Show this week.

“Robert Woods coming back after having a season under his belt battling with an injury came back explosive,” said Tyrod Taylor of Buffalo’s number two wideout, who played with a torn groin for most of the 2015 season. “Guys that came on late in the season like Greg Salas and Leonard Hankerson have definitely come in strong.”

If there is one positive to draw from Watkins’ absence it’s that players like Salas, Hankerson and others will get more reps to show the coaching staff how they can contribute to this offense.


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Tyrod on lack of field time with Sammy

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 1:54 pm

With Sammy Watkins expected to spend the better part of the next 12 weeks on the sidelines rehabbing from foot surgery, starting QB Tyrod Taylor will be going through Buffalo’s offseason workouts without any reps on the field with his top receiver. Always even keeled, Taylor is not concerned with the absence of Watkins at this point.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Taylor said the priority is for Watkins to get to full health. On field chemistry can come after.

“The main thing for Sammy is that he gets healthy,” said Taylor. “We know that he wants to be out there, but the main focus for him is to get healthy and be ready for training camp. We’ve been talking together and getting on the same page. We want on the field work obviously, but we’ll get that when the time comes. The main thing is that he gets healthy so he can play at the level that we know he’s capable of playing at.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-20

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 12:18 pm

Bills OTAs get rolling on Monday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why haven’t Bills looked at Anquan Boldin as he seems to fit what they need a WR. Thanks!

BC72 @bchud1972

CB: I think there could be a number of issues at play here. First, Boldin, though productive last season (69 rec. 789 yds, 4 TDs) is 35-years old. Second, and probably more important is the Bills are probably in a position where they could only offer a veteran receiver the league minimum, and with Boldin a 10-plus year player he would cost $985K. As accomplished as Boldin is I don’t know if he would play a 14th NFL season for that.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Bills have any interest in Dwight Freeney or Greg Hardy?

joseph tadak @jt9591

CB: I don’t see Greg Hardy as a realistic option due to his off the field issues. No one else seems all that interested either. I understand fans trying to connect the dots to a veteran to fill the potential void left by Shaq Lawson’s surgery, which will probably keep him out for a portion of the first half of the season.

I wonder how much of a commitment the Bills would want to make to a stop gap solution. If they were to sign Freeney and he was on the roster beyond Week 1 his contract would be guaranteed even if they released him once Lawson returned to the roster.

I don’t know if that’s a good call for someone who would be a part-time player (pass rush specialist).

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see Gilmore or Taylor getting extended before season, during season, or after if at all?

Grayson Tumult @GraysonTumult

CB: I believe the likelihood of a new deal for Gilmore before/during the season is greater than Taylor. The reason why is the Bills probably want to see Taylor take the next step in his development during the season. Then if they have to back up the Brinks truck to keep him after the season is over, so be it.

The reason Gilmore’s deal will probably take a bit longer is because Washington threw the whole cornerback market out of whack with their contract for Josh Norman ($15M/yr.) after Carolina rescinded his franchise tag, making him a free agent.

With Norman at age 28 getting $15M per year and he’s largely a zone coverage corner, it makes it difficult for Buffalo to negotiate with Gilmore’s camp when he’s 27 and plays a more demanding role at corner as he’s often in man-to-man.

I think top 10 cornerback money is realistic for Gilmore. Top five money might be a different story, and if the Gilmore camp is looking for that it could make for a longer negotiation.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any real worries with Watkins foot? Similar to Dez foot injury that kept him out all year?

jason plunkett @j_plunk

CB: First, Dez Bryant did not miss the whole year. He injured the foot in Week 1 and missed the next six weeks. The Cowboys rushed him back and he struggled through the rest of the season, but suited up and played in eight of the last nine games.

I expect the Bills to go to school on how things played out with Bryant and Julian Edelman for that matter, who also needed a second surgery because he came back too soon in the playoffs.

I’m not a doctor, but based on what I’ve read, Watkins’ Jones fracture, a common injury for NFL wide receivers, usually takes longer to heal (8-12 weeks) than most fractures (six weeks) because the blood supply to that area of the foot isn’t as good as other parts of the body. That’s why the surgery has a screw inserted in that area to promote the healing of the bone.

The Cowboys tried to get Bryant back in six weeks and it was too soon. That’s why I think even though Sammy Watkins will be right around the 12-week mark at the start of training camp I would not expect to see him do much of anything on the field until the second full week of camp at the earliest.

And even then it will be a slow and steady process. Yes, reps with his quarterback are important, but most important is Watkins’ availability on Sundays in September. If the process is rushed risk of re-injury increases.

Being patient with a player of his caliber is difficult for fans, but the payoff is he’ll be less likely to run into future problems with the foot during the season.

 

5 – Chris,

Last year’s defense was a disappointment. Veteran players could not fully adapt to this complicated front seven scheme then play at a high level. Also, expectations turned out to be unrealistically high.

Is there any way 3 rookies can leap to the NFL, play in this same defensive front, simplified or not, and have success? Or do we need to start managing expectations now to avoid more disappointment?

Thanks,
Ron

CB: From what I have been able to gather Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman have reduced the number of checks pre-snap on defensive play calls for this season knowing the problem it presented last season. Whether they’ve found the happy balance between remaining unpredictable while allowing their players to play fast remains to be seen, but the effort was made to make execution of the defensive system easier for the players.

As for the rookies, Adolphus Washington’s position doesn’t require as much pre-snap adjustment as Reggie Ragland or Shaq Lawson. Ragland doesn’t have to run the defense, that will be on Preston Brown, but as GM Doug Whaley mentioned the scheme Ragland ran at Alabama is very similar to that of Buffalo’s defense. Ragland has said there’s a lot of carryover that’s a plus.

Lawson might have the toughest time adjusting knowing he’s likely to miss the offseason practices and some time in the first half of the season. Not having those physical reps could make it hard on the top pick to assimilate himself into the defense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowboys campaigning to host 2018 NFL draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2016 – 2:46 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has given indication that the league intends to move the NFL draft out of Chicago after a two-year stint. Eager to step to the front of the line, though they won’t be ready for the 2017 draft are the Dallas Cowboys.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is campaigning to host the 2018 NFL draft. Jones is putting together a $1.5 billion complex in Frisco, Texas that includes a 16-story hotel, an event center, a members-only club, practice fields, restaurants and retail stores, office space and an underground parking garage. The Star also features a 12,000-seat indoor stadium that local high schools can use for football games.

That could also be the staging area for the 2018 NFL draft. The complex is not expected to be fully completed until the summer of 2017 as it will be completed in stages.

Denver, Canton, Ohio and Los Angeles have also reportedly expressed interest in hosting future NFL drafts.


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Cardale looking for payback from Elliott

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2016 – 2:22 pm

Bills fourth-round pick Cardale Jones was apparently owed $5 by former Ohio State teammate Ezekiel Elliott. Now in the wake of Elliott signing his rookie contract Jones is hoping the former Buckeyes running back will pay up.

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Elliott has since followed up with a promise to pay and then some.

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A trend that would be good for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2016 – 1:31 pm

In the most prolific passing era the NFL has ever known, NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling openly wonders if the percentages have been pushed so far to the pass that some offense goes the other way to take advantage of defenses designed to stop the pass. Could the power run game return as the offense du jour in the NFL again?

NFL.com points to Tennessee, Dallas and Los Angeles as teams taking such an approach. Here’s an excerpt that includes a quote from Titans GM Jon Robinson.

If smaller, quicker defenses are built to stop the pass, why not turn back the clock to the power football of the 1970s and ’80s?

“Teams are starting to build to play in sub-defense now a lot, so they are going to more defensive backs,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson explained to The MMQB after last month’s draft. “Well, to counteract that, we can play a bigger game, and maybe move some of those smaller guys off the ball, if you will.”

Surprisingly, Buffalo was not mentioned as a team subscribing to this approach despite leading the league in rushing and yards per carry average last season. With Karlos Williams and Jonathan Williams on the roster, true power football is a viable option for the Bills as well.


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Why KC Joyner has Bills as Super Bowl sleeper

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2016 – 1:04 pm

ESPN Senior Insider KC Joyner has the Bills as one of two teams as his Super Bowl sleeper picks. He appeared on the John Murphy Show to explain why.

Joyner basically explained that in every decade of NFL football power football has always been successful. He believes Buffalo is strong in this area based on the following. That combined with Buffalo’s strong metrics in pass defense and Tyrod Taylor’s efficiency as a passer (70 QBR or higher in eight of his 14 starts) has him optimistic about the Bills.

Here’s his explanation on just how good Buffalo’s ability to play power football really is.

“They led the league in rushing yards, yards per rush last year and in yards per rush before first defensive contact and tied for first in rushing touchdowns. I have a metric called good blocking yards per attempt,” said Joyner. “It measures how well a back does when he gets good blocking. LeSean McCoy was ninth in the league in that figure with an 8.9 GBYPA. If you’re in double digits that’s an elite figure in that metric, if you’re near nine you’re a really good back.

“But as good as that number was it was lower than the Bills team figure (9.1), meaning that when the Bills gave good blocking to backs other than McCoy they were more productive than McCoy was. That just says that this is an offensive line that opens up big holes and you have to give McCoy 300 carries to get good productivity.”


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Bills Gronk on how to stop Pats Gronk

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2016 – 12:48 pm

Bills undrafted rookie FB Glenn Gronkowski has been asked a ton of questions over the years about his All-Pro brother Rob Gronkowski. There was one on the John Murphy Show this week that he had trouble answering about the Patriots tight end.

Gronkowski was asked how to stop his older brother from being the game changing tight end he is.

“I don’t know how to stop Rob,” said Glenn Gronkowski. “Rex Ryan told him on the phone he’s going to double team him on every play this year. I guess that’s how we’re going to stop him.”

That phone conversation took place after Ryan had successfully recruited Glenn Gronkowski as an undrafted free agent. He asked Glenn to put Rob on the phone and at that point and told him they were going to do everything they could to shut him down.

As much as the Patriots tight end is known as a partier, Gronk does put in a lot of time and effort according to his younger brother.

“He puts the work in to be the best,” said Glenn Gronkowski. “Of course a lot of people see him as a big partier. He’s definitely a hard worker. I see it first hand. Behind the scenes he’s doing a lot more than people think he is. He puts in the work and definitely deserves to be where he is.”

The younger Gronkowski thinks he has a good shot to make Buffalo’s 53-man roster. The Bills need a backup fullback with how run heavy their offense is, so Gronkowksi is hoping to make enough of an impact on special teams to stick.

“I think I can make the team,” he said. “Obviously that’s my goal. You’ve got to give it your all to reach your goal. So I think it’s a possibility especially on special teams. Maybe on special teams hopefully and work into a role and start learning my role from (Jerome)

Felton a little bit and see where it goes.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Washington’s much shorter nickname

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2016 – 2:58 pm

With a name like Adolphus Washington it’s not surprising that he had a much shorter nickname growing up. He’s go the longest name in terms of letters (18) on the Bills roster. The problem is it’s hard to know just exactly where Washington’s nickname of D.D. came from until he explained it to us.

In an interview with Buffalobills.com, Washington explained how the nickname of D.D. came to be.

“My dad was known as ‘Big D,’ and I was his son so I was called little D,” Washington said. “But once I got to a certain age and I was pretty much bigger than all of his friends and they couldn’t call me that anymore, so they just went with D.D.”

Washington isn’t exactly sure why they went with D.D.

“I guess is just a shorter version of it (Little D),” he said.

Washington signed his rookie contract with the Bills on Tuesday.


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Confirmed: Watkins had foot surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2016 – 5:18 pm

In the wake of the news that Shaq Lawson will undergo pre-emptive shoulder surgery Tuesday, Buffalobills.com has learned that he’s not alone. Team officials have confirmed that WR Sammy Watkins has had offseason foot surgery. 

Per the Bills, Watkins will recover in time for the season opener so he’s not expected to miss any regular season time. 

Last offseason Watkins had hip surgery and his reps were closely monitored in training camp. It would not be surprising if the Bills take a similar approach with Watkins through the course of the preseason. 


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