Inside The Bills

Zay Jones happy to have NFL regimen to follow

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2017 – 12:05 pm

Bills WR Zay Jones won’t be resting much during his five-plus weeks prior to training camp. As we profiled on Buffalobills.com Tuesday, Jones will be training with his two brothers in L.A. from now until the time camp opens to be ready for his first NFL season. What had Jones really excited however, leaving Buffalo at the close of minicamp was having an NFL training regimen to follow.

“My development and the way I approached training I don’t think will ever stop until I’m done playing this game,” said Jones. “So I’m always looking at ways to get better and increase strength, speed and our strength and conditioning staff here is amazing. They’ve already set up all the programs and stuff like that so I’m excited with it.”


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Wood to be 100 percent for training camp

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2017 – 4:35 pm

Coming back from a serious broken leg suffered against Seattle, the rehab process proved to be a steady one for Eric Wood. Entering the spring practices there was a plan in place in the event that Wood’s leg developed soreness after pounding on it working on the field. Fortunately for Wood, and Buffalo’s offensive line that didn’t prove to be a problem at all.

“It went great. I missed one day the first week of OTAs and we had planned that if I had any setbacks or got too sore I would take a day off, but I didn’t need a day off the rest of the time,” said Wood. “So I’m encouraged. I definitely should be 100 percent barring anything crazy happening over the next month. So I’m looking forward to it.”

 


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McDermott weighs in on Maclin

Posted by Chris Brown on June 13, 2017 – 3:49 pm

Bills head coach Sean McDermott was already onto the next item on his agenda.

Jeremy Maclin’s decision to sign with Baltimore wasn’t the move they hoped the receiver would take, but McDermott doesn’t dwell on such things.

“We went through the process, with Jeremy in this case, just like we go through the process with a lot of guys,” said McDermott. “At the end of the day, we’re going to do what’s best for this football team and so – within our parameters and what fits for us. Sometimes, that works out in the end. Sometimes it doesn’t. At the end of the day, we’ve moved forward and then, obviously, Jeremy has as well – and we wish him well. In this league, you can’t get too high or too low. You’ve got to be mentally tough and understand the big picture at all times.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tyrod undeterred by Maclin’s decision

Posted by Chris Brown on June 13, 2017 – 3:32 pm

Free agent WR Jeremy Maclin’s decision to sign with the Baltimore Ravens left Bills fans disappointed. While Tyrod Taylor admitted it would’ve been great to have him, he was undeterred by it as it pertained to the team’s goals this season.

“Of course. If we had gotten a player like Jeremy it would’ve been good for our team, but he had a decision to make,” Taylor said. “You don’t know what factors in on that in the big picture. That’s totally up to him. He’s a great player and we would’ve loved to have him here, but now he’s in Baltimore and he’s an opponent of ours. There’s no bad blood or anything. I’m sure Shady might say something different (chuckling)… no, but Jeremy is a great guy and I wish him the best in his career.”

As for potentially adding any new talent to the roster, head coach Sean McDermott said the personnel department will do their due diligence as they do every day.

“We’re always going to look,” he said. “We’re always going to look to add at every position – adding competition is healthy, and there’s positions that perceptually some may say ‘Hey check the box, they’re good.’ Well, we’re always going to look to add, even at those positions. That’s the pursuit of winning – that we have to stay hungry.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-8

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2017 – 11:36 am

OTAs come to a conclusion today with mandatory minicamp to follow on Tuesday. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the latest update on Jeremy Maclin? What percentage would you say Bills have of signing him?

Beast of the East
@Luther4212

CB: Maclin is going to take his time to make a decision in what appears to be a two-horse race between the Bills and Ravens. He wants to talk to his wife about where the best fit might be. Maclin has a wedding to go to this weekend, so I don’t get the sense that a decision is imminent.

Looking at both clubs, nationally people believe that the Ravens history of being a contender gives them an edge, but over the last three years the Ravens record is 23-25 and the Bills record is 24-24. You could certainly argue that there are more playmakers on offense in Buffalo than Baltimore.

As for percentages, I base this on gut feel, not any information I have on what Jeremy Maclin wants because only he knows what’s important to him. I just think what the Bills have to offer in terms of opportunity and team success with him as an addition is a bit better than the Ravens.

With that in mind I’d peg it at 60 percent.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How does Sammy look? Hopefully he has a healthy season.

Brandon Gallagher
@bgallagher2610

CB: Watkins is clearly not pushing himself right now. He was operating at half to three quarter speed in practice this week. At this point in time there’s no sense in really putting a lot of torque on his surgically repaired foot.

What did encourage me was whenever Sammy was lined up for a rep, Tyrod Taylor made sure to step under center to throw to him in individual position drills even if he wasn’t up in the quarterback throwing rotation. Knowing snaps are scarce with Watkins, Taylor is making a point of getting every one he can to re-establish their chemistry.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who is the sleeper UDFA that could make the team?

I Just Want To WIN@JKolba

CB: It’s still not real football here in the spring with no pads on and no thud type practice. All that being said I think punter Austin Rehkow will push Colton Schmidt for the punting job and is helped by the fact that he can also kick off and kick field goals in a pinch.

One of the tight end prospects (Jason Croom, Keith Towbridge) could have a chance just from a numbers standpoint and the lack of proven players at the position.

RB Jordan Johnson has flashed at times, but doesn’t get many snaps in practice. Brandon Reilly and Daikiel Shorts have both made plays too, but when the pads go on they’ll have to demonstrate an ability to get consistent separation when the corners can get more physical.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are the Bills taking a win now or long term approach?

Jackson Mitchell
@Jacksonmitch816

CB: As head coach Sean McDermott said himself their decisions are split 50-50 between short term and long term. It’s evident to me that McDermott wants to be competitive and win games now, but there is an organizational eye also cast toward the future.

So I think you’ll see a mix of roster decisions to serve both of those ends moving forward.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see the Bills making a play for Barnidge even if they sign Maclin? What about Decker if they miss on Maclin? #FanFriday

GJohnston
@Johnston_GB

CB: I think that could only happen if Barnidge took a veteran minimum deal, and that’s one reason why he’s still unemployed. He’s waiting on starter type money. I would anticipate Decker to do the same. His situation is a bit different because he’s coming off shoulder surgery, but still he’s going to command starter type salary and I don’t think the Bills can fit more than one of those onto their roster in a fiscally responsible way knowing Sammy Watkins is going to be a long term contract decision next offseason.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Zay Jones already enjoying Watkins as teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2017 – 3:37 pm

Bills rookie WR Zay Jones didn’t know what to expect joining a roster with a game breaking player like Sammy Watkins. But Jones has quickly found that his receiving comrade is approachable and very humble despite being enormously gifted.

“That guy is awesome. I love Sammy,” said Jones. “I’m learning a lot from him in such a short period of time. He’s just a good guy. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from guys who have been in the league for a long time and made a name for himself. Sammy is one of the most humble people you could ever meet.”


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Maclin leaves Ravens visit without a deal

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2017 – 2:53 pm

Free agent WR Jeremy Maclin has finished his visit with the Baltimore Ravens and left without a contract. The news isn’t all that unexpected.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec is reporting that Maclin’s visit has wrapped up with the Ravens and there was no contract.

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As suspected Maclin is going to take his time make a decision. As the most talented receiver on the market right now there is no incentive to rush into a signing.


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Maclin’s visit stretches into day 2

Posted by Chris Brown on June 7, 2017 – 10:31 am

Free agent WR Jeremy Maclin’s visit with the Bills has stretched into day two. This morning he was being escorted around the team’s facility by his friend and former teammate LeSean McCoy. 

Here’s a look at McCoy’s Instagram post from today with Maclin alongside him


Posted in Inside the Bills

Ravens have bigger cap challenge in bid for Maclin

Posted by Chris Brown on June 7, 2017 – 8:53 am

On the heels of free agent Jeremy Maclin’s  visit with the Bills Tuesday are reports of a scheduled Wednesday visit with the Ravens. 

The attraction for a free agent receiver with the Ravens is the prospect of being Joe Flacco’s top target. Breshad Perriman hasn’t established himself as a consistent threat early in his career and Mike Wallace is a one dimensional receiver. Maclin could be a true number one there. 

The problem for the Ravens is they wouldn’t be able to pay him like a number one unless they released a player with a big salary on their roster. 

Baltimore has just $3.6M of space under the cap per overthecap.con calculations. Buffalo has $9M more in space ($12.6M). 

That could largely impact Maclin’s decision unless he’s satisfied with taking a one-year deal in the hopes of putting up big production and cash in next year in free agency when 32 clubs can bid for his services instead of just a few. 

If he’s looking for more than a one-year commitment from a club that could also change who has the edge in landing him. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills replaced speed with speed

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2017 – 9:53 am

The release of WR Kolby Listenbee might be a surprise to some, but without knowing the details of his condition and his prognosis moving forward (groin/hip), it’s clear the Bills are looking to have all their options readily available and on the field.

Listenbee was widely viewed last year at this time as the eventual replacement for Marquise Goodwin as a field stretching speed receiver. Goodwin was entering the last year of his contract and was not expected to be back in 2017. Listenbee’s groin surgery however, interrupted those plans and he never got on the field last year. Further complications with his pelvis/hip only delayed his return.

Still waiting now to participate in practice, the current front office and coaching staff, which had no real ties to Listenbee waived him with a non-football injury designation.

If he goes unclaimed he will be a free agent so his ties to the Bills are essentially over.

Buffalo’s wide receiving corps isn’t necessarily lacking speed, but Listenbee’s speed was essentially replaced in the form of Rashad Ross. Ross, whose nickname is ‘The Rocket,’ clocked the league’s fastest play in 2015 when he hit a top speed of 21.5 miles per hour on his 101-yard kick return for a touchdown against the Giants.

He also ran track at Arizona State and ran the 100 meters in 10.35.

As much as the Ross addition directly impacted Listenbee, one wonders how it could impact veteran Brandon Tate. Tate is the most proven return specialist on Buffalo’s roster, but he now has competition which has a fair amount of NFL experience in Ross. We’ll see how things play out as we move into mandatory minicamp next week and training camp in late July and August.


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Report: Maclin to visit Bills Tuesday

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2017 – 6:33 am

The interest in free agent WR Jeremy Maclin could gain some traction today for the Bills organization. The club will reportedly meet with the receiver on Tuesday.

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Though the Ravens may be interested their cap situation is extremely tight with only about $2M in cap space currently available. Buffalo has almost $13M in cap space at this time.


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McCoy just one familiarity factor for Bills with Maclin

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2017 – 7:10 am

LeSean McCoy made no secret that he’s recruiting surprise free agent WR Jeremy Maclin hard to sign with the Bills. But he’s not the only familiarity factor working in the Bills favor with Maclin. 

Head coach Sean McDermott was on the Eagles staff for Maclin’s first two seasons in Philadelphia. 

Perhaps even more important is Bills QBs coach David Culley was Maclin’s receivers coach for all but two of his eight NFL seasons. First in Philadelphia and then Culley went with Andy Reid to Kansas City where Maclin signed as a free agent in 2015. 

Having people in the locker room and on the coaching staff that know your skill set intimately gives a player confidence that they’ll be utilized properly on the field by their new team and easily accepted by new teammates. 


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Fan Friday 6-2

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2017 – 11:44 am

Last week of OTAs coming up on Monday with mandatory minicamp to follow. The offseason is winding down. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

In OTA’s during the qb drills which backup qb is getting the most time with the 2s and which will get time with the 3s?

Chris soh
@Chrissohpher767

CB: I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been counting reps for the quarterbacks behind Tyrod. Here’s what I’ve witnessed thus far. Early in OTAs, T.J. Yates did not get many reps at all. That’s because he’s had multiple seasons in this offense going back to his time with Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison in Houston.

It was clear early in OTAs that they wanted to get the younger QBs up to speed with the scheme so Nate Peterman and Cardale Jones were rotated through more behind Taylor.

In week two of OTAs, Yates was rotated in as the second QB.

Here’s how team period snaps often went last week.

Taylor – 3 reps
Yates – 3 reps
Jones – 3 reps
Taylor – 3 reps
Peterman – 3 reps
End of team period.

So Taylor would get six snaps, while everyone else got three during each team period. We’ll see if that changes at all this week.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How’s Zay’s knee?

Buffalo Bills NL
@BuffaloBillsNL

CB: We have not received an official update beyond him being week to week. That being said I did see him here at One Bills Drive this week in the hall. He was walking normally without any hitch in his gait, which is a good sign. Now that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to practice this coming week, but it is an indication that he’s made good progress since sustaining the sprained knee in the first week of OTAs.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is Clay’s contract situation? How much $ would @buffalobills have to eat if they cut him & target Barnidge?

Cory Fountain
@coryfountain

CB: Clay is going to make $4.5M in base salary each of the next three years. The prorated portion of his bonus, which impacts the salary cap, is also $4.5M annually, giving him a total cap figure of $9M each of the next three seasons.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Dennison can get Tyrod to see and use the whole field in passing game, especially the oft-neglected middle of the field?

Matt Dermody
@MDermody88

CB: While I don’t debate that using the middle of the field consistently was a deficiency in Tyrod Taylor’s game, I’d encourage you to look at his last two starts from last season. I thought Taylor took a step forward when it came to reading the middle of the field and making plays between the numbers.

Against Cleveland and Miami, even though it was clear that swing passes and screens were part of the game plan designed to get receivers and backs out in space in both games, Taylor still worked the middle of the field.

In the Browns game five of his 17 completions in the game either went to the middle of the field or hit a receiver coming from the middle of the field on a crossing pattern or drag route. His only incompletion to the middle of the field in that game came on a pass under pressure.

Against the Dolphins, Taylor had his first 300-yard passing game. Again swings and screens accounted for a good portion of the completions, but he found Clay, Watkins and Woods for plays that worked the middle of the field, including the 34-yard flea flicker late in the game to Woods.

That’s why I was disappointed to see him not play in the season finale. I wanted to see a third straight game of him using the middle of the field, but he wasn’t given that opportunity.

To answer your question I think he has a chance to see the middle of the field even better this year knowing that Dennison will probably get him out on the move even more than the offensive staff did last year. That will enable him to see the whole field even better than he does from the pocket.

That’s not to say he can’t make plays over the middle from the pocket. His last two starts in 2016 are an indication that he is learning how. But designed rollouts and bootlegs in Dennison’s offense might have him on the edges even more this season.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I briefly posed this a few weeks ago.

I am fascinated by the athleticism and potential of Logan Thomas. At 6’6″ and 250, he have great movement skills and good speed. Have you heard anything about his progress in converting to TE, or possibly even WR?  I know information may be extremely limited, but I could see him being a real sleeper for us.

Thanks for your time..
Have an abundantly blessed evening
Gary
CB: He has been working at tight end, and while he is still learning the nuances of the position, I agree he has rare athleticism for a player his size. Running full speed he made a one-handed catch in the end zone as he was going out of bounds along the left sideline and got his first foot down and dragged the back toe on the other for a good reception.

Even his teammates were wowed by it.

The good thing is he has a strong teaching coach in tight ends coach Rob Boras. It’s evident to me that the staff wants to try to groom that talent.

Does that mean he can help the Bills this season?

That’s hard to say. He’s still very young at the position, but with the right tutoring and commitment on his part I wouldn’t count him out.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Free agent TE Barnidge doesn’t want to settle

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2017 – 11:03 am

Free agent TE Gary Barnidge, who made a free agent visit to the Bills last month, is still waiting for the right fit. He’s received interest from Carolina, Denver and Jacksonville too, but it’s clear that none of these teams are ready to hand him a starting job. If they did he’d be under contract by now. But Barnidge doesn’t want to settle for just a roster spot.

In an interview with Patriots.com, he was adamant that he believes he can still contribute in a big way to an NFL offense in the passing game. He’s only two years removed from a 1,000-yard receiving season that included nine touchdowns and a Pro Bowl nod. Barnidge is 31-years old, but his time on the field early in his career was limited.

“My first seven years in the league, I didn’t play that much, so my legs are good to go,” he told Patriots.com. “I’ve still got good years left.”

Eric Wood, who knows Barnidge well, did his best to recruit Barnidge along with Richie Incognito, as they hung out at the Kentucky Derby shortly after his free agent visit to One Bills Drive. But in Buffalo it’s obvious that Charles Clay is the top tight end. Barnidge would likely be second on the depth chart, and with a strong workload anticipated in the passing game for Pro Bowl FB Pat DiMarco, opportunities in the Bills passing attack could be limited.

The situation might not be much better in Jacksonville (Marcedes Lewis, Mychal Rivera) or Carolina (Greg Olsen). And while Denver might present the best opportunity at his position, their quarterback situation is very unsettled knowing a competition is set to ensue. Barnidge already dealt with that last year in Cleveland.

“I’ve got to just sit and wait,” Barnidge said. “Wherever I can get an opportunity and contribute, that’s been the motto of my career. I didn’t expect to, but I’m waiting again to show what I can do.”


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McCoy has warmed up to Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on May 30, 2017 – 2:59 pm

When he was traded to Buffalo prior to the 2015 season, the move came as a shock to LeSean McCoy. While McCoy did everything he could to help the Bills get wins on the field, off the field he had not yet adapted to his new professional city.

McCoy had known only the state of Pennsylvania, from his childhood to his college playing days at Pitt to his time playing for the Eagles in Philadelphia. Now entering his third season with the Bills, McCoy has warmed up to Buffalo.

“It’s a big difference. Big difference,” said McCoy of how comfortable he feels in the Queen City. “Hanging around Buffalo, there are times where I hang out on the weekends here. Before every chance I got I would leave and get out of here. Even just like family members coming up. You go from a place where you’ve always been to somewhere else, you’ve got to adjust and adapt. I’ve done that. It’s just like home to me.”


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Streater’s physical gifts are there

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2017 – 10:22 am

It’s puzzling to see the lack of opportunity for Bills new WR Rod Streater through the course of his NFL career. He didn’t get much attention coming out of Temple because his production was far from eye popping. What was eyebrow raising however, were his workout figures for a player his size (6-3, 215).

At his pro day in advance of the 2012 NFL draft, Streater clocked a 4.37 40-time, a 37.5-inch vertical, and an 11-foot two-inch broad jump.

Part of the reason his production suffered in college was because at that time Temple was a heavy run team. Where it benefited Streater was in terms of blocking, an area where the receiver excelled. Knowing Buffalo’s run game relies on its receivers to block downfield, Streater’s blocking skills could be the difference in making the roster.


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Zay Jones sidelined by injury

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2017 – 11:20 am

The early signs were encouraging from Bills second-round pick Zay Jones. But Jones sustained an injury in Tuesday’s OTA practice and did not participate Wednesday and again today (Thursday).

The Bills have confirmed that Jones sustained a knee injury and is week to week. It has been described as a knee sprain. 


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Cordy Glenn update

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2017 – 4:04 pm

Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn missed five games last season, including the last three of the year, as he dealt with ankle problems that began way back in training camp last summer. He gave an update as to how he’s doing now that OTA practices have begun in an appearance on the John Murphy Show.

“Right now I’m just attacking the rehab process real hard and trying to be ready for the season,” said Glenn. “We’re expecting big things this year. So I’m looking to do my part.”

Knowing Glenn is rehabbing right now, it’s likely that he’s not participating in on field activities just yet. We’ll know for sure at OTA practice Thursday.

 


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Fan Friday 5-12

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2017 – 5:11 pm

Happy Mother’s day to all the moms out there. Big weekend for the Bills with rookie minicamp. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

IYO what’s the first move, Bills related, that our new GM need to do?

Jean-Pierre
Jobin@jp_bills

CB: He’s got to get a pro personnel department assembled and then a college scouting department hired right after that. The business of the NFL doesn’t stop, so Beane knows he has to hit the ground running and get his front office departments in place sooner rather than later.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s going on with Boston? Did he come in for a visit, is he going to join the team?

Jamal
@mrmajic73

CB: He signed with the Chargers.
3 – Dear Chris:

With the draft now complete I’ve looked over our roster and have noticed a lack of depth particularly at DE and safety, and I’m not so sure about Will linebacker either. Are the Bills still looking to add guys, as I know names like Jairus Byrd and Gerald Hodges are still available. What are your thoughts? Do you think the Bills will kick the tires on these guys?

Sincerely, John from Pennsylvania

CB: Defensive end is an underrated positional need in terms of depth, more so even than safety I believe. Will linebacker is another. These are areas where new GM Brandon Beane will really have to beat the bushes to find talent that fits.

Byrd is an interesting idea as is Hodges, but I think the price will have to be right knowing Buffalo doesn’t have a ton of money left under the cap.

They were after Boston as mentioned above, but he signed with the Chargers.

Beane will need to use his expertise to find good bargains who can improve the depth at DE and S and somehow some way find a player capable of challenging for that starting WLB role.

4 – Chris,

At one point, McDermott said that his number 2 receiver was already on the team.  That didn’t encourage me.  With Sammy still on the mend and with Zay Jones likely the slot receiver, who will be number 2?  Do either of the recently signed undrafted wideouts show any promise?

Paul B.

Lancaster
CB: OTAs begin next week and we’ll have a better handle on what’s on the roster at that point. I think you should not rule out Zay Jones as a No. 2 receiver. He could very easily line up at flanker opposite Sammy if he puts together a strong spring and camp. Andre Holmes is likely to be his stiffest competition along with Philly Brown.

We’ll get a better feel for it over the next two weeks.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will the Bills have a Kids day game this preseason?

Tim Szczodrowski
@T_Szczodrowski

CB: From what I’m hearing it’s going to be the preseason opener, but nothing has been confirmed at this point. The team will issue details soon.


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Gettleman calls Beane ready for GM role

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2017 – 3:11 pm

Carolina GM Dave Gettleman, who willingly handed Bills new GM Brandon Beane more and more responsibility over the four years they worked together in the Panthers front office, feels Beane is more than ready to take on the demands of a general manager’s job in the NFL.

“I’m thrilled that Brandon has been selected as general manager of the Bills,” Gettleman said in a team statement. “He has worked his way from the bottom up and is prepared for this. He is thoughtful, meticulous, and a leader. He was instrumental in what we have been able to accomplish in Carolina in the past few years, winning three division titles, an NFC Championship and earning a Super Bowl appearance. His wide variety of knowledge and experience will serve him well in Buffalo. I wish Brandon nothing but the best.”


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