Inside The Bills

Rex sounds off on kicking game

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2015 – 11:15 pm

Bills head coach wasn’t happy about a few things he witnessed in the team’s preseason finale Thursday night in Detroit. Foolish penalties and fumbles were among those mentioned, but when it came to missed field goals it was clear that irked him more than anything else.

Dan Carpenter hit a 43-yard attempt, but his 40-yard attempt in the second half clanged off the right upright. It left Carpenter 3-6 on field goals in the preseason. He also missed an extra point from the new 33-yard distance. Ryan was unhappy to say the least.

“Certainly we’ve got some issues, hell we can’t make a field goal so we better be looking for any guy who has ever kicked a football in his life. They will get an opportunity here,” said Ryan. “I’m tired of seeing us miss a field goal. We’ve got a kickoff guy and we miss field goals. I don’t get it. We’ll certainly be looking out there. I don’t know if anybody is out there, but nobody gets this job by default, and certainly you’ve got to earn your way out here. Very disappointed in that and I don’t care who knows it.”

Carpenter has kicked with a 90 percent success rate in his two seasons with Buffalo.


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Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2015 – 6:27 pm

Here are the Bills inactives for tonight’s preseason finale against the Lions. 

WR Robert Woods

WR Chris Hogan

WR Percy Harvin

CB Stephon Gilmore

RB LeSean McCoy

RB Boobie Dixon

RB Karlos Williams

LB Tony Steward

WR Deonte Thompson

TE Charles Clay

WR Marquise Goodwin

DE Mario Williams

DT Marcell Dareus


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Looks like Bills will see Brady in Week 2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2015 – 10:32 am

After more than seven months of legal wrangling New England QB Tom Brady has won in the arbitration case with the NFL regarding his four-game suspension for Brady’s perceived role in the Patriots’ Deflategate scandal stemming from the AFC Championship game. That means the Bills will see the perennial All-Pro quarterback in Week 2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Judge Berman in New York nullified the league’s four-game suspension of Brady allowing the quarterback to play immediately in Week 1 next week against the Steelers. Here is the key wording of the ruling.

Based upon the foregoing and the applicable legal authorities, the Court hereby denies the Management Council’s motion to confirm the award and grants the Player Association’s motion to vacate the Award, thereby vacating the four-game suspension of Tom Brady, effective immediately.   

The league is expected to appeal the case in New York’s second circuit, and fighting for a stay on the ruling is another option for the NFL, but at this point it seems unlikely that Brady will be kept off the field for the start of the 2015 regular season.


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What Rex would like to see less of vs. the Lions

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2015 – 10:25 am

He’s mentioned it more than once this preseason as an area where he’d like to see more discipline. Head coach Rex Ryan is far from pleased with the team’s penalty total through the first three preseason games.

Buffalo’s 31 penalties in three games is tied for seventh-highest in the league this preseason among teams that have only played three preseason games. It reached its peak in the Cleveland game with 12, but the Bills were able to cut that in half against Pittsburgh last weekend. Still, averaging more than 10 a game is not even close to acceptable in Ryan’s eyes.

“I think we’ve had too many penalties, so those things have been killing us,” said Ryan. “We’ve got to do a better job of that. In particular the self-inflicted penalties. It’s tough enough in this league when you’re not hurting yourself. Non-aggressive penalties so we’ve got to learn from it. You’ve got to eliminate all communication errors and self-inflicted penalties. If we do that we’ll be good.”

Here’s a look at the most penalized teams thus far this preseason.

Baltimore – 43
Chicago – 41
New Orleans – 40
Pittsburgh – 37 (4 preseason games played)
Jacksonville, St. Louis – 36
NY Jets – 34
Miami – 33
Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia – 31
Minnesota – 31 (4 preseason games played)


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Bills nicked players rehabbing back in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 6:43 pm

The Bills do not intend to play their starters at all Thursday night against the Lions in Detroit. With some of their injured players they took it a step further not having them make the trip at all.

The plan is to allow them to spend more time rehabbing their respective injuries at One Bills Drive rather than traveling back and forth to Detroit.

Among the players who will be working at One Bills Drive are Charles Clay, Marcell Dareus, Boobie Dixon, Marquise Goodwin, Deonte Thompson, Karlos Williams, Mario Williams and Robert Woods.


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Bills newest additions on the trip

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 4:37 pm

Buffalo’s two newest roster members, who were claimed late Tuesday afternoon, are on the trip today. 

OL Dalton Freeman and LB Kevin Reddick are with the team in Detroit. 

How much playing time they will get if any is another story. 


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What if Mario was a wideout?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 2:46 pm

Sports Illustrated recently did a photo shoot with a number of NFL stars around the league with the focus being what position they would play besides their chosen one. DE Mario Williams was the Bills player who participated in the photo shoot.

Williams chose wide receiver as his alternative position.

“I’d be the type of wideout who would go deep and across the middle—that’s where all the physical stuff goes on,” said Williams. “I have the size, speed and ability to separate from a defender. My touchdown dance? I’d put the ball down and get right back to the huddle. Act like you’ve been there before. . . . The coaches have never really said anything about [playing me at receiver], but with Coach Rex, who knows what could happen.”

Mario-Williams


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Carpenter to use Detroit to get back on track

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 9:22 am

Bills K Dan Carpenter has been one of the most accurate kickers in the league the last two seasons and he’s been kicking half his games in Buffalo. A hamstring injury at the outset of training camp however, has the veteran kicker eager to get back on track and have his kicking motion locked in for the regular season.

Carpenter has missed two of his four field goal attempts this preseason as well as an extra point from the new distance. It’s got head coach Rex Ryan a bit worried.

“I’m concerned. He’s missed a couple of field goals and an extra point,” said Ryan. “That’s concerning because he’s missed a lot of camp. We need to see him kick better quite honestly. We’re one of the only teams in the league that keeps a kickoff specialist, and you do that to make sure you’re giving your kicker a chance to focus on one thing and that’s field goals.

“In fairness to him he hasn’t been out there the whole time. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time. We all know he’s been a big money kicker and not everybody can kick in our conditions. So the fact that he’s made them in those times gives you some comfort, but I don’t like seeing missed kicks ever.”

Carpenter himself admits that he always gets concerned himself when he doesn’t feel like his mechanics are consistent.

“Yeah, I am worried every day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter you are getting compared to guys whether they are in your camp, out of your camp, in someone else camp, on the street, it doesn’t matter. There is always someone out there wanting your job and you got to do your job to keep it.

Carpenter hopefully finds his groove at Ford Field, which is a field that was very good to him last season. In Week 5 he hit a game-winning 58-yarder to beat the Lions. He then returned in the Snow-vember game that was moved and against the Jets he hit a 53-yard field goal and was good on all five extra-point attempts.


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Run & stop the run not an issue for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 2:50 am

Granted it’s the preseason, but the Bills have made it clear from the beginning that under Rex Ryan their identity is going to be based on running the football on offense and stopping opponents from doing the same. Through three games in the preseason they’ve been solid at both.

After putting up 156 rushing yards against Pittsburgh last Saturday the Bills now rank tied for second in the NFL with 147.7 yards per game this preseason.

2015 Preseason – Rushing yards per game
1. Philadelphia Eagles 150.7
2t. Buffalo Bills 147.7
2t. Washington Redskins 147.7
4. Cincinnati Bengals 137.3
5. San Francisco 49ers 134.0

Meanwhile on defense after only allowing 43 yards rushing against the Steelers, the Bills now rank second in the NFL in run defense. Through the first three preseason games, Buffalo is allowing 68.3 rushing yards per game:

2015 Preseason – Rushing yards allowed per game
1. Washington Redskins 48.7
2. Buffalo Bills 68.3
3t. Arizona Cardinals 75.3
3t. Green Bay Packers 75.3
5. Atlanta Falcons 82.0


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Where Dixon feels he’s at in return from calf

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2015 – 12:57 pm

Bills RB Boobie Dixon is working his way back into the offense from a calf injury that’s kept him out for three weeks. Dixon isn’t 100 percent yet, but feels he’s closer.

“I think it picked up a little bit. I kind of opened it up some on some of my runs,” said Dixon. “I think it’s 75 (percent) going towards 80. Now I’ve just got to keep on preparing like I’m still hurt. Keep on getting my treatments and keep on working out hard and keep my cardio sessions up and I’ll be good.”

Dixon is hoping he gets to play in the preseason finale Thursday night.


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Tyrod’s college coach not surprised

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2015 – 9:48 am

Tyrod Taylor was named starting QB of the Bills on Monday. It’s been a long wait for Taylor to hold a role like the one he has with Buffalo after a lengthy quarterback competition, but his college head coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech isn’t the least bit surprised by it.

In fact Beamer believes Taylor did the one thing for his game that he think can actually improves a quarterback’s accuracy.

“I’m proud of Tyrod. I felt like he’s always gotten better,” said Beamer. “Coming out of high school his throwing motion was a little bit different, but he kept working on it, kept working on his release. I don’t know if you every improve accuracy, that’s debatable, but I think by his motion he improved his accuracy and he’s made himself into a tremendous quarterback. What he can do athletically and with his mind, you put those in there, he’s a smart guy, a competitive guy, he’s dependable. It doesn’t surprise me, but it doesn’t surprise me that he won the starting job.”


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What Taylor felt weighed in his favor

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:30 pm

Tyrod Taylor was asked a multitude of questions after he was named the Bills starting QB Monday. Among them, what he felt weighed in his favor most to land the job. Here was his assessment.

“As far as one particular thing I don’t know,” he said. “Consistent play is probably something that stands out. I came in and worked my butt off each and every day in the offseason. I took it one day at a time in training camp and showed what I could do whether it was throwing the football, running the football, taking the lead of the offense in each preseason game and on a daily basis. I’m excited the coaches chose me. It was a decision they had to make at the end of training camp that we knew was coming up and like I said just excited.”


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Tyrod’s initial reaction

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:28 pm

Tyrod got the news from head coach Rex Ryan on Saturday afternoon that he would be the starting QB. He explained his initial reaction.

“Happy. With what I’ve been through to sit for four years in Baltimore behind Joe, praying for this opportunity, God allowing this opportunity to come my way and coach presenting me the opportunity to come get a chance to be a starting quarterback was a tremendous opportunity and that’s how I looked at it going into free agency,” said Taylor.

“Like I said from day one we have amazing talent on this team, tremendous set of coaches, personnel staff is great and I’m just looking forward to moving forward and getting ready for Week 1 against Indy and looking forward to taking this team as we continue to keep building to a championship level.”


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Goodwin, Gilmore updates

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:19 pm

Two players missing at Bills practice Monday were Marquise Goodwin and Stephon Gilmore, who both suffered injuries in Saturday’s preseason game against Pittsburgh. Head coach Rex Ryan provided an update.

“Both guys were held out (of practice),” said Ryan. “Goodwin seems to be the ribs, cracked ribs, two cracked ribs. It will be very up in the air if he’ll be ready to go Week 1, I’m not sure about that. I feel pretty positive about Gilmore, but time will tell.”

Goodwin took a knee to the rib when he was tackled after a catch and run. Gilmore sustained a shoulder injury and did not return to the game.


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The tie between Taylor and Vick

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:13 pm

As we covered in our special feature on Bills new starting QB Tyrod Taylor, the bond between players from the 757 is tight. So it was no surprise that two coastal Virginia quarterbacks, who are also Virginia Tech alums, became fast friends in Michael Vick and Tyrod Taylor. In fact Vick told Buffalobills.com that he really got to know Taylor when he put him through an on field workout.

“Tyrod used to come over the house when he was still in college,” Vick told Buffalobills.com. “I put him through a little private workout during the time when he was trying to get drafted. That’s when we really got to know each other. I took him in the classroom and we had a throwing session and it was actually on ESPN. The kid from that day never looked back. I don’t know if it was because he was holding a private workout with me or whether it was the scouts, but I knew what he wanted to accomplish and what his dreams were and he’s put himself in a position to be very successful in the NFL right now.”

Here’s a preview look at Vick’s workout with Taylor in ESPN 2011 Year of the quarterback.


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EJ takes decision in stride

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:03 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan named Tyrod Taylor his starting QB, but he would not reveal who his number two and number three quarterbacks are on the depth chart. Naturally EJ Manuel wasn’t happy about not winning the starting job, but he took the decision in stride.

“It was tough,” said Manuel. “I thought I had a pretty good preseason and played well in the games, but like I said last week it was the coach’s decision so all I can do is continue to work hard be a good teammate for this team.”

Manuel was nothing but professional in answering reporters’ questions in the locker room Monday afternoon. Manuel had a solid preseason completing almost 67 percent of his passes. He led the team in touchdown passes with four including a pair that were over 35 yards (37, 51). Matt Simms was the only other QB with a TD pass in the preseason. He also led the quarterbacks in yards per attempt with a fat mark of 11.9.

When asked about supporting Tyrod Taylor in his starting role, Manuel did not hesitate.

“One hundred percent,” said Manuel. “As a professional athlete you’ve got to be a man about it. And if you weren’t chosen it’s not the end of the road for you. Who knows what can happen? For me I’ll just continue to get better. I felt like with this competition going into this preseason and everything I felt like I worked extremely hard as I always do, but definitely excited with the way I was progressing and still am. I’m not going to allow not being selected as the starter to stop me from continuing to work and get better, so that’s just my approach right now.”


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QB competition won’t hurt offense’s readiness

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 6:40 pm

The Bills were committed to conducting a three-man quarterback competition until they could make a solid decision that they felt confident with for the 2015 season. Rex Ryan said he’s 100 percent confident in the decision they made in choosing Tyrod Taylor for the starting job, but has the length of the competition hurt the readiness of the offense for the start of the regular season?

Both Ryan and the players don’t believe it has.

“I don’t think so at all,” said Percy Harvin. “Even though a starter wasn’t named they were getting first team reps and second team reps since we got here. So all those guys got their fair share of throws and all the receivers we got a chance to work with all of them. It really wasn’t a dragged out process to us. We knew all of them were going to get their reps and the best player was going to win it.”

By running two offensive units simultaneously in training camp practices, there were an awful lot of reps for all the quarterbacks who rotated through with all the receivers, backs and tight ends. Ryan also feels having three smart QBs will help, Taylor in particularly obviously.

“I think he has a great grasp of what we’re doing, and that goes through all the practices and everything else,” said Ryan. “The end result is what you see during preseason games. He’s a smart young man. All three of our quarterbacks are sharp guys.  In our system, unlike other systems, that’s part of it. We’re an audible system, we have multiple checks, and it would be tough to give somebody a job if you didn’t think they could do that. We definitely believe Tyrod can do that.”

 


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Aaron on what Fred meant

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 6:21 pm

Aaron Williams and Fred Jackson may have been separated by a decade when it came to age, but they were two of the closer friends on the team. That’s why it was a tough day for Williams seeing Jackson get released by the club Monday. Williams knew not only how much Jackson meant to the team, but the WNY community as well.

“Fred was the governor of Buffalo,” said Williams. “Everybody looked up to him.  It wasn’t just the guys in the locker room. You ask any of the fans in the community, they would tell you 22 was by far the number one favorite in the city.  What does it mean to lose him? It’s a deep blow for us in the locker room and people in the community.  But we can’t dwell on it, I can’t dwell on it, nobody else can dwell on it.  we still have a season to get ready for and focus on Detroit, get ready for week one.”

To honor Fred, Williams wore his number 22 jersey on the practice field Monday, something head coach Rex Ryan was fine with.

“He came to me, and I said absolutely,” said Ryan of Williams request to wear 22 at practice. “You’re showing respect to a guy who was a mentor to him. Absolutely, I had no problem with it.  But he did check with me, and I said, ‘You don’t need to do that, I understand.'”


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Taylor’s steady improvement was key

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 4:18 pm

It was a decision that was not cut and dry at the outset, or at the start of the preseason, but as training camp came to a close and the preseason wound down head coach Rex Ryan saw who the best option would be for his number one quarterback for the regular season. That’s why Ryan decided Tyrod Taylor would be his starting signal caller for the Bills 2015 campaign Sunday, which was confirmed publicly by Ryan after the team’s practice Monday.

“This is a team and every decision we’ve made has been based on that,” said Ryan. “What’s best for the team, not what’s best for this individual or that individual, but for the totality of the team. Not just at quarterback, but at cornerback, at tackle, wherever, all the decisions will be based on that.”

Taylor’s performance through the spring practices and into training camp steadily improved much like his play in the team’s three preseason games. The fifth-year quarterback saw his completion percentage, passing yards, yards per attempt and passer rating all increase from the Carolina game to the Pittsburgh game.

“I think I’ve showcased what I can do in game action and of course to the coaches in practice on a daily basis,” said Taylor Saturday. “I’m comfortable and confident in the way that I’ve been playing.”

In his time on the field with the starting unit, Taylor went 19-23 passing (82.6%) for 187 yards (8.13 yds/att) and a passer rating of 100.5. Not counting a one-play kneel down possession at the end of the half against Cleveland, Taylor led the offense to points on six of his nine series in the preseason with four touchdowns and a pair of field goals. One of those touchdowns was a 20-yard run by Taylor himself this past Saturday against the Steelers.

“One thing I told myself going into the competition was to leave everything out on the field, the practice field and the game field,” said Taylor “At the end of the day don’t have any regrets. I’m pleased with the way I played. There are still some things to correct and still some ways to get better at so I’m looking forward to learning and just moving forward.”

Taylor’s first regular season start for the Bills against Indianapolis on Sept. 13th will also be the first NFL start of his career. The fifth-year quarterback has appeared in just 14 regular season games in his pro career, serving the previous four seasons as the backup to Baltimore starter Joe Flacco.

For those who think Taylor might not be prepared for the pressure that comes with being an NFL starting quarterback, the 26-year old’s approach is singularly focused.

“The only thing I can do is focus on what I do on the field,” said Taylor. “My mindset going into a game is just execution and going out there and moving the offense up and down the field.”

He’ll now have the opportunity to do so as the leader of Buffalo’s offense.


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Whaley: Everybody was on board

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 1:56 pm

Change is never easy. It’s twice as difficult when dealing with a player as likable, influential and complete as Fred Jackson, who was released by the club Monday. Bills GM Doug Whaley said after some long discussions everybody on the personnel side of the organization was on board with the decision.

“We thought for us and at this time, we had to make this decision,” said Whaley. “There are a lot of circumstances that go into that, but we will keep that in-house for competitive reasons. Everybody was on board. Reluctantly because of the magnitude of this player and what he means, not only to the Buffalo Bills, but to the community of Buffalo–him and his family. So we talked to Terry [Pegula] and Kim [Pegula] and conversed with them and decided that this was the best time to make that decision.

“We all know the NFL is great business and a great sport, but there are some detriments to this business. A day like today, cut down day, is always rough for everybody involved. A decision like this doesn’t come lightly. A decision like this is something we put a lot of thought into. It makes it tough, not only with everybody that you cut because they are being rejected, but it also makes it tough when you are talking about a guy like Fred Jackson. He has been the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills for a long time. He is a tremendous person not only on the field, but what him and his family have done in the community, we tip our hat to that. And again this is not a decision we came to lightly, but we made this decision and it is a tough decision and we will go from there.”

Whaley also said the team cut him in this first round of releases to provide him with a better chance to catch on with another club.


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