Inside The Bills

The advantages for Cassel & Manuel in QB race

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2015 – 9:05 am

In a competition that’s been nip and tuck through the first week of training camp there are some small advantages that have emerged for the likes of Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel in the quarterback competition.

Cassel has been given the edge of getting more snaps with the starters as they feel the veteran deserves more work with that unit. They also claim it affords more reps for Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel with the twos and threes.

“Any time you get more reps with the starters or the guys you’re going to be playing with, it’s obviously advantageous to the guy who’s going to be playing,” said Cassel. “At the same time, you got to take advantage of every single rep. like I said before, it’s about executing; it’s about going out there and even though it might not be the right route, but making the right decision. Do I try to force this in there, or do I throw it away.  Show the coaches that you’re going to make the smart decision.”

Manuel however, has the advantage of entering his third season in Buffalo. He’s most familiar among the QBs with the tendencies of the receivers having played with most of them for two seasons.

“You know I’m very close with all those guys. Especially Woody (Robert Woods), Sammy (Watkins), Marquise (Goodwin), (Chris) Hogan – guys who’ve been here since I’ve been here, so we’ve been working together a bunch and having that cohesiveness already,” said Manuel. “Because I know their speeds, I know how they run routes, I know what they like, I know where they like the ball and things like that, so it does give me somewhat of an advantage.”

Whether Cassel or Manuel can parlay those advantages into creating a greater separation between the other two QBs remains to be seen.

 


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Ryan: More defined plans for QBs on horizon

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2015 – 11:23 pm

When the Bills return from their off day Wednesday, they’ll be close to a week into camp. And though none of the three QBs in the competition to be the starter has begun to clearly separate himself from the other two the coaching staff has plans to help move that process along.

Head coach Rex Ryan shed some light on those plans Monday night.

“After the day off we’ll probably start having a period or two where it is specifically based on an opponent and things like that,” said Ryan with respect to the offensive play calls. “So I think that’s when will start really seeing our guys go, but I like to see us…I think that (intrasquad) scrimmage that we’re going to have is important. That to me is an important, really important scrimmage. I think it’s just as important as preseason games. So that day I’m really looking forward to.”

The team’s blue-white scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday.


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Why Watkins put jolt into passing game Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2015 – 10:26 pm

On Monday night Sammy Watkins was a welcome shot in the arm for Buffalo’s passing game posting three touchdowns in the practice session including a pair of long scores.

Watkins, who almost missed the entire spring in his rehab from offseason hip surgery, was eased back into practice the first few days with his reps carefully monitored. Showing no signs of any issues related to his hip, Watkins’ reps were increased Monday night and it made a big difference. Not only in terms of being a more frequent target for his quarterbacks, but it also allowed him to get in a rhythm on offense.

“I think (Monday) I kind of got in a groove,” Watkins said. “I had been in and out one play here and two plays there. Then I get in and get six plays in a row and get back to doing the normal things that I do and that’s just really from getting a lot of reps.

 

“Physically I feel great. It’s all mental and that’ll just be a byproduct of getting reps. The more reps I get the better I get. I just think early on in camp I was getting one play here or two plays there and never really sweat. Today I just got into a groove.”


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Watkins putting complete game on display

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2015 – 10:20 am

Everyone knows about Sammy Watkins’ exploits as a wide receiver. His route running, his speed, his elusiveness, his hands, his leaping ability. One area of his game that even Rex Ryan wasn’t familiar with was on display on day 3 of training camp and it left Buffalo’s head coach convinced that Watkins can do everything an NFL receiver is called upon to execute.

During Sunday’s practice there was a stock block drill in which two receivers would go against two defensive backs in a defined boxed area of space outlined with cones. The lead receiver was responsible for blocking and stacking the first defensive back, while the second receiver, who was the ball carrier had to pick a lane to get by his receiver teammate and the man he was blocking and make the second defensive back miss.

Watkins proved very effective as a blocker and on one particular rep left Rex Ryan with his mouth agape.

“I watched a lot of stock block, so I watched the wide outs vs. the corners, I’ve never seen it before, but Sammy Watkins took somebody off his feet in a stock block drill,” said Ryan. “So this just in, Sammy can do everything. I’ve never seen it, I mean he literally lifted the guy up off his feet and was driven back like 10 yards.

“I’ve never seen it in all the years coaching so that was impressive. But it’s physical. When you get into that, those guys go at it and it’s important, the defense has to set an edge, and they have to get off blocks, and our wide outs especially with the talent that we have in the backfield, you have to have that stick in stay, so you have to attack it, and you have to stick.”

Don’t be surprised if on a play to the flank this season the Bills are running behind Watkins.


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Aaron: Right back in the flow

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2015 – 4:11 pm

Bills S Aaron Williams missed the entire spring practice schedule rehabbing from offseason surgery, but he’s been full go since training camp started and doesn’t feel like he’s missed a beat.

“Actually the first day my expectations were to just be out there and know my responsibilities,” Williams told Buffalobills.com. “But after being out there and running around out there on the field I felt like I haven’t lost a step, which is a good thing. So it feels good to be back and flying around with these guys and working hard.”

Williams said his mindset when he was sidelined and could not practice was singularly focused on the only football he could perform at that time.

“It got me well acclimated with the playbook,” said Williams of the spring time when he was sidelined. “I had so much time on my hands to the point where I should know everything and not make any mistakes. I think I had a bit of advantage with more rest time and it allowed me to study more.”


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Rex: Left side of OL is set

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2015 – 2:54 pm

It’s only day three of training camp, but barring a 180 in performance everyone from the center to the left tackle on the starting offensive line is pretty much locked into their roles for Buffalo’s offense.

That according to head coach Rex Ryan, who confirmed that in his mind Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito and Eric Wood are all going to be lining up where they are now in Week 1.

Ryan was asked about the competition up front and though there are some open jobs still to be won on the right side of the starting line, from the pivot to the left edge Ryan likes what he has there right now.

“I don’t anticipate Eric Wood being replaced anytime soon, but yeah you’re trying to make sure you’ve got the best guys,” Ryan said. “You know one thing for sure, Richie (Incognito), Richie’s a starter. I mean he looks as good as about any of them. Cordy (Glenn) looks really good, so we’re set there.”

Ryan said John Miller is getting pushed by second-year guard Cyril Richardson. Meanwhile at right tackle Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio will be battling for the starting spot there.


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McCoy: Pieces all look like good fits

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2015 – 1:30 pm

RB LeSean McCoy is in his first training camp with the Bills and it took all of one day for him to see that a lot of the team’s new pieces, particularly on offense look like good fits. 

“Just being here I can see the difference. Just of the team, you know, the players,” said McCoy. “Not really knowing a lot about the Bills getting here, just seeing how involved the city is, the community is, the players. I mean you just look at our roster, the type of structure that we have as far as the players. And then it’s the owners. The owner’s did a great job, the Pegula’s of just getting the right coaches, the right personnel, the guys upstairs in the office, and then down to the players. It trickles down and we all have the same dream, the same goal, and that’s to win games. So I feel like everything is in line, it’s just a matter of time, just go out there and getting it done.”


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QBs on balancing being teammate & competitor

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2015 – 10:38 am

A three-way QB competition is a bit unique in the NFL, but the Bills are determined to find their best answer at the position in this training camp. For the players in the competition there’s a careful balance they need to strike between keeping an edge for the competitive play on the field and being a good teammate to the other quarterbacks in the room.

“We’re all good friends, but we understand the nature of the game,” said Tyrod Taylor. “It’s competition, whether you’re the starter or not, you still want to go out there and make the other person better. It’s understand in competition there’s no enemies in there—our job is to make the team better and it’s up to the coaches at the end of the day who’s the best man for the team.”

“I think we’ve got a great room,” said Matt Cassel. “I think Tyrod and EJ are great people and it’s not just here but outside. You understand that they’re good guys so it makes it easy to come to work every day and cheer for them and help them along and at the same time I think that they do the same for me.

“So it’s been a good experience so far and while we are competing I think we all take the approach that we’re not competing against each other as much as we’re competing against ourselves to make ourselves the best that we can do and at the end of the day, none of us make that decision; the coaches make the decision. So we’ve gotta just go out there and compete on the field.”


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Fred’s role not defined yet, but he’ll have one

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2015 – 9:32 am

There have been a lot of questions about how Fred Jackson’s role might change with the offseason addition of LeSean McCoy. While there’s little debate as to what McCoy’s role on the offense will be, it’s unclear just what Jackson will be mainly called upon to handle in Buffalo’s offense. But make no mistake, Rex Ryan sees a role for Jackson.

“First I think Fred is in great shape,” said Ryan. “So I think he’s got some tread on that tire still. The thing you notice immediately about Fred, smart, he picks things up extremely well. He’s picked up our offense extremely. Still valuable as a threat out of the backfield, great blitz pickup and by the way he can still run the football. Now we’ll use him. We’re not going to say this is his role, it’s clearly too early to define roles that way. Obviously LeSean came in here to get the majority of the carries. That’s no secret, but Fred can be very valuable for us.”


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Asst. coach Anderson handling OL duties

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2015 – 4:11 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said there are no new developments with the situation surrounding OL coach Aaron Kromer, but with the veteran coach on paid administrative leave, assistant offensive line coach Kurt Anderson is working in his absence.

“Kurt (Anderson) is obviously going to be heading up coaching that offensive line,” said Ryan. “He’s been here throughout camp and has the qualities of being a fine offensive line coach, but it’s just business as usual for us.”

Buffalo also announced the hiring on Pat Meyer as team operations consultant, but he has an offensive line coaching background and will be assisting Anderson.

When asked about where things stand with Kromer, Ryan said they were status quo.

“As far as Aaron’s situation is concerned there’s no update on that,” said Ryan. “We’re working with the league and we’re still gathering the information.”


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Carpenter, McKelvin updates

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2015 – 2:46 pm

On Friday Bills head coach Rex Ryan shed a bit more light on what is keeping K Dan Carpenter and CB Leodis McKelvin sidelined.

Though he didn’t say what McKelvin’s injury was specifically he did indicate they aren’t concerned about it right now.

“As far as Leodis is concerned, he’s got a little injury,” said Ryan. “That we’ll see how it progresses through this training camp, but I’m not concerned now with it. I know he’s doing what he can to speed his recovery so that’s a good thing.”

McKelvin was limited in the spring as he was recovering from a broken ankle suffered last year in Week 11. No word on the nature of his latest injury.

Meanwhile Carpenter’s injury isn’t considered serious.

“Carpenter just has a tweak with a hamstring and no major setbacks there,” said Ryan.


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Harvin went to Rex about getting CB reps

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2015 – 2:02 pm

Percy Harvin is focused on becoming a true full-time wide receiver instead of a gadget receiver, but he pulled a bit of a Troy Brown at Buffalo’s first training camp practice.

Harvin lined up for a couple of snaps at right cornerback Friday during team work at Bills camp. Head coach Rex Ryan said that Harvin approached him about giving the defensive position a shot.

“He came to me and wanted to help this team out in any way,” said Ryan. “You have a guy like Leodis (McKelvin) go down and you can’t have enough depth at corner in my opinion. First hand info. So let’s see what he can do. We’re not going to over coach him. We expect him to be a top receiver for us. But if he can help out in that area, just like if Kyle Williams can help our offense out then we’ll look at that as well. This is just a let’s see what he can do thing. He came to me with it. He’s obviously got the physical skill set where you’d think he could be pretty good at it.”

It sounds like something Ryan and the staff are willing to experiment with, but the head coach made it clear that Harvin is here to make plays on offense as a pass catcher.


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Mario cleared for practice

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2015 – 10:30 am

DE Mario Williams didn’t spend much time on the Active/Non-Football injury list. He has been cleared for practice. 

Williams is participating in practice today. 


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3 way battle not awkward for the QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2015 – 9:03 am

Matt Cassel has had his share of quarterback competitions, but he’s never been part of a three-man competition for the starting job. That being said the 10-year veteran doesn’t believe there has or will be an awkwardness between the three candidates in the running to be Buffalo’s starting QB.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show Thursday evening, Cassel explained why the atmosphere between himself and Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel has been very professional.

“It can be as weird as you want to make it,” Cassel said. “We’ve got a great room. EJ, Tyrod, Matt Simms, they’re great people outside of football, so that carries over into the room so we don’t have that combativeness or someone going against a guy. We have all stand up guys that speaks well for our room and leads to an easy transition to the field.”


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Cassel: 2 simultaneous team periods good for QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 10:58 pm

Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will be conducting dual team segments on two different fields during practice at training camp this summer. The plan is designed to maximize the reps of the three quarterbacks involved in the competition for the starting job. As far as Matt Cassel is concerned he feels the benefits far outweigh any negatives.

“It went really well (in the spring),” Cassel said in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “It also allows you to get a lot of different reps with a lot of different receivers. The rotation through receivers and quarterbacks was constantly moving, but it allowed you to get in the huddle and call the play and go through your progression instead of just sitting there and taking mental reps if you had just one unit going at a time. I think it was a big learning curve for all of us and all the guys bought in and now it’s time to build on what we started this offseason.”


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 10:00 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players, execs and coaches on the local radio airwaves Friday.

On Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, they’ll have a few guests in the morning.
7:45 AM Jerry Hughes
8:00 AM Russ Brandon
9:00 AM LeSean McCoy


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Goodwin rolling into camp

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 3:12 pm

Things for Marquise Goodwin might be rolling at training camp opens on the heels of his silver medal-winning performance at the Pan Am Games just last week. But Goodwin literally rolled into camp after he got out of his car.

Goodwin came to camp equipped with a V-board. A V-board is a lot like the Segway devices that police officers and security guards make use of to get around, only a V-board is just the board and two wheels. I asked Goodwin how fast the device can carry him.

“As fast as you want it to,” he said. “I think the top speed is 15-20 miles per hour.”

Naturally there’s a good bit of balance involved to allow the board to carry you, but Goodwin appears to have it mastered after seeing him carrying his lunch plate with him while on his V-board.

Goodwin's V-board

 


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Report: Cherilus to visit Lions

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 8:00 am

After being cut by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday, free agent OT Gosder Cherilus is visiting his second NFL club this week.

After a visit Wednesday with the Bills at One Bills Drive, the veteran right tackle is scheduled to visit the Detroit Lions Thursday. That according to NFL Network and multiple reports.

The Lions were the club that made Cherilus a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft. The tackle spent his first five seasons in Detroit before signing with Indianapolis in free agency in 2013. Detroit just placed OT LaAdrian Waddle on Active PUP as he’s still recovering from ACL surgery this past offseason.

Buffalo has just four true offensive tackles on their roster and is on the lookout for additional depth at the position.

 


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Bills react to Rex’s sky dive

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2015 – 3:53 pm

As most witnessed by watching on Buffalobills.com, head coach Rex Ryan jumped out of an airplane with the US Army’s Golden Knights a little over a week ago. It was the first time he went skydiving. With players voluntarily reporting to training camp here at St. John Fisher Wednesday there were some interesting reactions to Ryan’s decision to willingly jump out of a plane.

“From personal experience, I’ve done it,” said Chris Hogan. “It’s pretty crazy. It’s cool that he’s got the …he’s pretty nuts. I did it a while back ago. I probably wouldn’t do it again. My fiancé made me do it. It was an awful birthday present. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I probably wouldn’t do it again, but I did it.”

For Kyle Williams, skydiving is not an option.

“I’m glad that he did because I’m not,” said Williams. “If you’ve kind of watched or kept up with Rex over the years Rex loves to live life. I think he ran with the bulls and did a lot of things. You only get one (life) so you might as well enjoy it and use it as an adventure. Good for him. I’m glad he did. They’d have to get a whole lot bigger canopy for me or something would have to be on fire before I jumped out.”


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Kyle weighs in on Brady decision

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2015 – 1:49 pm

Bills DT Kyle Williams is also the team’s Union rep so he naturally was asked for his take on the league’s decision to uphold his four game suspension.

“If you look at it from the league side it would be hard for them to turn back on a ruling that they made with a special investigative crew coming in and making that decision,” said Williams. “I think their decision to uphold it is not at all surprising based on the fact that those are people they hired. It would be hard to go back on it.

“As a PA (Players Association) we have to protect the rights of all of our players. With him he declares his innocence and I think we are going to let the process play out, but we are going to try to defend him the best way we can from our end of it which is obviously the complete opposite position that the league has.”

With respect to the possibility of not seeing Brady in Buffalo’s Week 2 matchup with New England, Williams chose to focus on what’s right in front of him which is training camp.

“We haven’t even practiced yet,” he said. “We have a long way to go for getting better ourselves before we even play a preseason game. And we’ve got a game before we even played them so so to worry about will he be there will he not be there, is a long way off. If we are concerned about that now our heads in the wrong place.”


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