Inside The Bills

Hurdles still left for Karlos to clear

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2015 – 1:52 pm

Bills RB Karlos Williams is still immersed in the concussion protocol this week. GM Doug Whaley laid out what still lies ahead for the rookie running back before he can get on the practice field.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley was encouraged by Williams’ progress, but said it’s still too early to know if Williams can return for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

“I think we’re presently surprised,” said Whaley of Williams improvement. “There haven’t been any setbacks. He had some tests Monday and I’ll be getting those reports to see where he is. It’s always a positive sign when the medical staff doesn’t come in and say, ‘We have a problem and he’s not responding.’ He’s responding to treatment and he’s getting better and better. Will he play this weekend? Only time will tell and we’ll know later on in the week.”

As for what hurdles Williams still has to clear Whaley said there are still a number of tests.

“He has a bunch of tests and then he has to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can step on the field,” said Whaley. “That’s a league-mandated rule and we’ll follow that to a ‘T.’”

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WRs helping in other ways

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2015 – 1:44 pm

Last Sunday’s game was a prime example of how Buffalo’s receiving corps is looking to contribute no matter how much the passing game might struggle. In last week’s win the Bills had just 10 completions, but it didn’t keep Buffalo’s receivers from making their presence felt in the game.

“Oh, they’re definitely having an impact,” said head coach Rex Ryan of his receivers. “But that’s who we are as a football team. That’s who we pride ourselves on, being selfless but still contributing.  Robert Woods, he’s had some huge blocks for us. That was a great block he had on the touchdown by Tyrod. It’s easy to talk about, but our guys give the effort, whether it’s Percy (Harvin), or (Chris) Hogan, or Robert (Woods) certainly—they all buy in. And that’s the beauty of it. It was a rough day, we had one catch between (Charles) Clay and (Percy) Harvin—you never go into a game assuming that’s going to happen.  But it did.  And yet, those guys are still trying to contribute in as many ways as they possibly can.”

When asked which play gets a bigger reaction from teammates during film review, a touchdown or a block like the one he had on Taylor’s touchdown run, Woods said it’s always the block.

“Reaction from teammates it’s probably the block, just because it’s a selfless action, making a play without the ball in a timely manner,” said Woods. “It was really all Tyrod.  He was making the play, he happened to see me, and he was just setting up his blocks.”

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QB Johnson could offer Cincy intel

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2015 – 10:05 am

The Bills signed QB Josh Johnson on Tuesday to be the team’s third quarterback. While Johnson certainly offers depth at the position, there’s something else he could potentially provide.

Johnson spent almost the entire offseason with the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo’s opponent Sunday. The undefeated Bengals boast the league’s No. 2 offense, which ranks 5th in the NFL in passing and 4th in scoring.

As a quarterback Johnson could presumably offer some intel on the Bengals offense even though he had been with the Jets and Colts since his release from Cincinnati in late August.

Buffalo’s defensive staff has faced Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson before, but in a pivotal early season AFC matchup every little bit helps.

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Watkins outlook is encouraging

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2015 – 3:22 pm

He put himself through a full workout during pre-game warmups Sunday in Nashville, but the Bills medical staff ultimately determined the best course of action for Sammy Watkins ailing calf was to wait another week. Watkins was inactive against the Titans, but it’s left head coach Rex Ryan optimistic about the receiver’s availability Sunday.

“I was really encouraged with Sammy. How Sammy went through even with his workout before the game,” Ryan said. “We thought it was best to give him a little more time. Sometimes you can go on the practice field and all that, but that game speed is a little different and the intensity is certainly different. We thought it was best to just hold him out of that game and get him really ready for this one. I feel good about Sammy.”

Buffalo plays host on Sunday to the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals, so having a weapon like Watkins for an offense looking for more big plays in the passing game could provide a big boost.

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Rex: wristbands weren’t a gimmick

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2015 – 2:20 pm

As we covered on, head coach Rex Ryan in an effort to remind players to keep their cool when plays or calls went against them in games had everyone wears red wristbands that read ‘Yes Sir.’ It was to be what a player would say if they disagreed with a call. Some outside observers panned it as a gimmick. Ryan believe it served a purpose.

“It was funny because some people were saying it’s a gimmick,” said Ryan. “And I’m like, no it’s not. You talk to professionals who know these type of things it wasn’t done to be a gimmick. Now the fact mine snapped the first play probably wasn’t a great thing. It’s just a little thing that let’s you know that there are people counting on you and the ‘Yes Sir’ thing and all that. It’s bigger than us individually. And we don’t want to let each other down and it’s just a reminder of that.”

Ryan felt even if it made one player keep his cool when he was about to blow his stack it was worth it, especially in light of how tight Sunday’s game was at Tennessee.

“I thought we showed composure,” Ryan said. “We showed more poise and that was obviously a huge thing. I don’t believe we win that game if we had two more unsportsmanlike penalties, do we win the game? I don’t think so. So it was huge that our guys kept their cool. We showed poise. We showed that we can overcome certain things. Maybe we think that this shouldn’t have been a penalty, but it is and you have to play the next down. Our guys did a good job of that and finished the game.”

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DE Enemkpali added to 53; RB Wood to I-R

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2015 – 1:24 pm

After serving his four-game league-imposed suspension the Bills added DE IK Enemkpali to their 53-man roster Monday. Enemkpali had been on the Reserve/Suspended list for the first four weeks of the season and then had a one week roster exemption this past week.

The defensive end was originally signed by Buffalo after his release by the Jets this past August. Enemkpali had been involved in a locker room altercation with Jets QB Geno Smith in which Smith sustained a broken jaw.

In four preseason game appearances for Buffalo, Enemkpali posted 11 tackles. He’s expected to serve as a rotational end to help keep starters Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes fresh and might have a role on special teams.

“I think he’ll fill in as a backup defensive end, and possibly contribute on special teams,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “He can be a backup pass rusher in sub(packages).”

To make room on the roster for Enemkpali the Bills placed RB Cierre Wood on injured reserve. Wood sustained an ACL knee injury in Sunday’s win at Tennessee and had to be carted to the locker room.

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Graham moves into top 10 among safeties

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2015 – 12:35 pm

Bills S Corey Graham was the team’s leading tackler in Sunday’s win over Tennessee with 10. Graham had a tackle for loss, which is easier said than done for a safety. He also had a pair of special teams tackles to tie for the team lead Sunday. His performance has moved him into the top 10 among NFL safeties in Pro Football Focus’ tracking of week by week play in 2015.

Graham ranks 10th in the league among safeties when it comes to performance this season. He ranks fourth in tackles among safeties and is one of a handful safeties who has yet to miss a tackle according to PFF.

The veteran safety was instrumental in preventing intermediate gains by the Titans passing attack from turning into big plays. Tennessee had just two plays over 20 yards in the entire game. One covered 23 and the other 22 yards. Graham had the stops on both of those plays.



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Mario 2nd fastest to 40

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2015 – 8:50 am

On Sunday Mario Williams reached 40 sacks with the Bills after his takedown of Marcus Mariota in the win over the Titans. He’s the second-fastest Bills player to reach 40 sacks.

Williams reached 40 career sacks with Buffalo in just 53 games. He’s topped only by Hall of Famer Bruce Smith who reached 40 sacks in 48 games.

Buffalo’s top current pass rusher didn’t care much about his personal stats. He was more focused on the team’s mental toughness that was on display Sunday.

“We know that we’re never going to stop playing, regardless of the situation,” said Williams. “Regardless of the total yards, at the end of the day we want to have the least amount of yards but we want to have the least amount of points –that’s the most important thing.  I think at the end of the day, we just kept chopping away.  We let a couple slip away because we had some penalties and we’ve got to correct that, that’s been our Achilles heel. It was good aggressive defense. It wasn’t anything after the whistle, which we’ve been known for recently.   We’re definitely working on it.”

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Taylor joins unique QB club

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 10:12 pm

His numbers were anything but ultra-productive, but Tyrod Taylor’s handful of big plays were very timely. The fact that they involved him passing, rushing, scoring and receiving put him in a rather uncommon group of quarterbacks.

With 109 yards passing, 76 yards rushing, a four-yard reception, Taylor became the fifth QB in NFL history to throw for at least 100 yards, rush for 70 or more and catch a pass in the same game. Here are the four others.

Tony Canadeo – Green Bay – 10/31/1943
Joe Geri – Pittsburgh – 12/10/1950
Charlie Trippi – Chicago – 11/15/1953
Randall Cunningham – Philadelphia – 11/15/1987
Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo – 10/11/2015

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Hughes two huge plays

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 9:38 pm

They certainly weren’t the only plays turned in by Jerry Hughes on Sunday, but his two most important came on back-to-back plays in crunch time when the defense needed a stop to try and let their offense kill the clock.

Buffalo had just gone up 14-13 with 5:25 left in the game. The Bills defense thought they had the stop they were looking for when Corey Graham separated Justin Hunter from the football on a pass over the middle. But a flag came in late charging Graham with unnecessary roughness.

Suddenly the Titans were in a 1st-and-10 at their own 33 and just 35 yards from a long field goal to win it. Jerry Hughes took his turn on defense to make things happen.

Marcus Mariota on a read option tried to fool Hughes into thinking he had the ball on a run to the Titans left flank, but Hughes held his ground spotted Bishop Sankey with the ball trying to run toward the line of scrimmage and arrived quickly to wrap him up and drop him with Kyle Williams for a one-yard loss.

On the next play Mariota tried to set up a screen pass to the Titans right side to Dexter McCluster. The flow of the play went completely away from Hughes, but he ran the play down all the way from the back side ultimately taking Sankey down shy of the sideline to keep the clocking ticking.

“You’ve got to go out there and play football,” said Hughes. “There will be days when the offense picks us up and there will be days like this. We just go out there and execute the game plan. It’s a team sport. When it came down to it, our offense did what they needed to do. They outscored them so we walk away with the win.”

Nickell Robey followed up with a third down stop on Delanie Walker and the Titans were punting.

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Rex and players boosted by road fans

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 8:33 pm

After the Bills took a one-point lead late in Sunday’s game Bills fans in attendance at Nissan Stadium, of which there was significantly more than a smattering, began the ‘Let’s go Buffalo!’ chant. And though the win was in every way a squeaker, Rex Ryan and his players were aware of their fans presence.

“We noticed them. You couldn’t get into a restaurant yesterday with all those Bills fans,” said Ryan. “It was awesome. I guess something I’m learning is I had no idea that the Bills fans traveled the way they do. (The) Miami (game) was packed. We’ve got them here. It was unbelievable. It’s such a great feeling to know your guys are with you. Your fans who travel so well. That was great. I also love the fact that they ain’t off this boat. They never looked to jump and we gave them reason to and they’re sitting right there and that’s a great feeling.”

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Titans inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 11:45 am

Here are the inactives for the Titans. 

QB Charlie Whitehurst

RB Terrance West

CB Cody Riggs

G Chance Warmack

TE Chase Coffman

DL Mike Martin

NT Sammie Hill

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Sammy Watkins inactive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 11:33 am

Here are Buffalo’s inactives for today’s game against the Titans in Tennessee, which includes WR Sammy Watkins with a calf injury. Watkins warmed up on the field and really pushed his calf, but the medical staff chose to wait another week before deciding on his return.

WR Sammy Watkins
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Karlos Williams
S Bacarri Rambo
LB Tony Steward
G Gabe Ikard
DL Alex Carrington

Posted in Inside the Bills

Strong CB play will give Bills ‘D’ options

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 11:08 am

As we covered on this week both Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore have been at the top of their game the last few games making them one of the best cover tandems so far in 2015. Bills head coach Rex Ryan admits that their lock-tight coverage outside gives he and defensive coordinator more options with play calls defensively.

In his weekly appearance on Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Hortons, Ryan explained some of the things their coverage ability provides.

“It really helps. Obviously you can do so much more man coverage,” he said. “Usually you isolate those guys and maybe double the inside guys. So there’s a lot of different things that it allows you to do. It’s not easy to find corners who can play that well. But those two have been exceptional.”

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Rex breaks down Titans red zone success

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 9:58 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan, in his weekly appearance on Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Hortons, is fully aware of how successful the Titans have been in the red zone early this season. They’re tied with Pittsburgh for the best red zone touchdown efficiency in the AFC as they’re scoring touchdowns better than three quarters of the time. As Ryan sees it the problem for defenses is there isn’t one thing they can key on with all that Tennessee’s offense has in their arsenal.

“There are a few things. It starts with their quarterback. A quarterback who can run maybe won’t see the same coverages that he might see in the red zone,” Ryan said. “The other thing is they have a couple of huge guys. They’ve got (WR Dorial) Green-Beckham at 6-6 or whatever he is, so that presents a huge problem a size mismatch like Gronkowski, a mismatch size-wise. They have speed with some other guys and they go three tight ends a lot down there a bunch. So they have size, an accurate quarterback who can also run. That’s what makes them extremely tough down there.”

Buffalo’s red zone defense is ranked 16th in the NFL.

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Taylor familiar with Titans defensive looks

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 8:50 am

It’s not 100 percent the same thing, but there are an awful lot of similarities between the Tennessee Titans defensive scheme and the one the Pittsburgh Steelers ran for years. That could be beneficial for Bills QB Tyrod Taylor today.

Titans Assistant head coach Dick LeBeau and defensive coordinator Ray Horton coached together on the Steelers defensive staff when LeBeau was running Pittsburgh’s defense. Now that they’re together in Tennessee it’s no surprise that their defense has a lot of the same principles.

“I think there’s definitely some similarities,” said Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. “I think they, like a lot of teams, they kind of try to find their own little niche in where it fits. But there’s a lot of similarities, not 100 percent though. But I don’t know if they’ve gotten to that point yet but at some point maybe they will. I don’t know. But if they look like anybody it would be like the old Steelers.”

For Tyrod Taylor those defensive looks are all too familiar. Spending the first four years of his career in Baltimore and prepping with Joe Flacco for the Steelers twice a year, Taylor has a good handle on the looks the Titans will throw at him Sunday.

“Yeah definitely being in Baltimore and going against them twice a year there are definitely some things I’ll be taking with me into this game as far as preparation,”  Taylor told “We still have to be ready for them and everything they can throw at you, but they definitely do some of that stuff.

“Dick LeBeau is there and is giving his input on the defense. We definitely have to be aware of the things he did in Pittsburgh. There are different players, but a similar scheme. So there’s carry over from Pittsburgh. You know whenever they want they can always go back to that style. So we’ll be ready for that.”


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Formula for Bills ‘D’ may be to simplify

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2015 – 2:37 pm

The Bills defense is more talented than most in the NFL, but that hasn’t always shown itself through the first month of the season. Part of the reason why is defensive communication. Too often the defense is still moving players around to get into the best possible play call for what they anticipate is coming from the opposing offense. The problem is the defensive alignment isn’t always set and ready, especially when opponents got to the no huddle, up tempo approach. It’s something each of Buffalo’s first four opponents have turned to at times. So what’s the solution?

In a word, simplify. Buffalo’s defense is so talented that even if they’re not in the best possible play call their players are good enough to still make a play. DT Kyle Williams believes there could be times where reducing their many options in their defensive system might be better so their talent can take over.

“We’ve had some guys coming in and out. We’ve been going up against a team that’s going hurry-up, no huddle, throwing different formations at you and going at a quick clip. They’re getting the ball in and out of the quarterback’s hands—that’s a challenge on its own,” Williams said. “When we’re getting stuff like that, we might bring it back down a little bit so we can line up and play fast. But we have to know when we have to do that, and when we don’t have to.”

Williams is expecting more quick pass game from the Titans Sunday, just like their previous opponents.

“It’s like everything else, if you’re having trouble stopping the run or whatever it may be, you’re going to see as much of that as they feel like they can handle, until you get it stopped,” he said. “We have to be prepared for it.”

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Bills know dangers of being streaky

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2015 – 12:34 pm

Through the first month of the season the Bills have looked really good one week and not so hot the next. Not surprisingly, their record sits at 2-2. For many of the veterans on this team they know being streaky is not the formula if they want to get to the postseason.

Veteran DT Kyle Williams looking at the defense specifically feels their side of the ball is a microcosm of the team’s 2-2 record.

“The frustrating thing is being streaky, and streaky is tough,” he said. “The way the league operates-you’re great one week, you’re the worst the next—but that’s kinda how we’ve performed, it’s been up and down. It really is. It’s really series to series. I said it on Sunday-you look at different series, different stretches in the games, we’ve played well-communicated well.  And then on either key situations, or different down and distance, personnel, we haven’t.   We just really have to hone in, go one play at a time, one series at a time, and execute our game plan and what we’re doing.”

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Herron blending in quickly

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2015 – 9:22 am

The Bills picked up free agent RB Boom Herron on Tuesday and he’s quickly acclimated himself to Buffalo’s rushing attack. It’s all translated into what will likely be a noticeable role in Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

Herron, who came in the door armed with a measure of familiarity with the offensive system, blended in well on offense this week. His fresh legs were also evident as his burst through the hole in team practice was probably the best of the group that’s currently healthy (Boobie Dixon, Cierre Wood).

That’s why offensive coordinator Greg Roman believes he’ll be making use of Herron against Tennessee.

“I think Boom is going to…you know there’s a good chance that he’s going to be a part of the game plan,” said Roman. “I really like what I see out of him, like what I hear out of him and he’s picking things up pretty quickly.”

Herron’s familiarity with the system is due to the similarities between Colts OC Pep Hamilton’s offense and Roman’s. The two coached together at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.

“I definitely feel like I’m a hard-nosed, downhill runner,” Herron said. “I like to get the tough yards. I feel like I can also break a long one as well. I’m just an all-around back.”

Herron also has familiarity with the Titans having played them twice last season. In those two games he had 17 carries for 59 yards.

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Fan Friday 10-9

Posted by Chris Brown on October 9, 2015 – 6:45 pm

The Bills have another bounce back game on the road just like two weeks ago in Miami. Here’s hoping it’s a repeat performance. Here’s your latest edition of questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.


1 – @ChrisBrownBills Is John Miller practicing, playing?


CB: Miller practiced all week. He was never full go, but head coach Rex Ryan said on Friday he expects Miller to be back in the starting lineup.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills what’s the word on McKelvin?


CB: McKelvin has made some good strides the last couple of weeks. He’s starting to do real football work on the side now with the athletic trainers. He was pulling an athletic trainer while working on his backpedal with straps attached to his body. The athletic trainer was holding the ends of the straps and McKelvin was pulling him down the field.

He’s certainly worked hard to get all the way back and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s practicing again the first week he’s eligible to do so, which is the week leading up to the London game against Jacksonville. Whether he’s activated off the Reserve/NFI list is another story.

3 – Hey Chris,
My question is on Doug Whaley.  How do contracts work for GMs?  Unless Whaley got fired is it his job forever?

I really loved your article about him recently because it shows that he doesn’t want this franchise to be successful for a couple of years he wants to build it into a  franchise that competes year in and year out.  I’ve been listening to him speak about that in the past and I don’t think most fans really pay attention to what he’s been saying.  I really do believe we have a GM  and a front office that can make this franchise respectable again for a long time. So, do you think Doug Whaley is here to stay for a long time?

Thanks as always, Jillian

CB: I think Doug Whaley is fast proving to be an astute GM who knows how to build a roster for the long haul. General manager contracts work a lot like coaching contracts. They’re just not publicized as much. I think provided the talent that he’s assembled can reach its full potential, Whaley should be building rosters here for a long time.

4 – Chris,

You help keep us fans who live far away up to date, so thank you.  My question is about the defense.  What has happened to them?  Rex said he expects them to be #1 with the roster they have.  They stepped up their run defense, but pass has been terrible.  We call the front four the cold front, but I haven’t seen anything from them that I’ve come to expect over the last few years.  We led the lead in sacks the last 2 years and it seems like a rare occurance if we get one now.  Please help me understand what has become of our best asset.


Loyal and true fan in Virginia

CB: First thing to know is the number of sacks a team has doesn’t always indicate a team has a great defense. Perfect example is the 2000 Ravens. They had just 35 sacks, but allowed just 165 points the whole season. That being said, the Bills pass rush has been effectively countered by a quick strike pass game from opponents. Underneath coverage, particularly in the middle of the field has to be better to help the pass rush up front.

That is the only thing that will make opponents pull out of their quick pass game. That or keeping them out of the end zone and putting them behind on the scoreboard. Then the passing game will have to open up and call for longer pass routes to catch up in the game. That leads to the QB holding the ball longer and then the pass rush can have the impact it’s designed to have in this defense.

5 – Chris,

When is Goodwin due back?

Jim M.

CB: Marquise is listed as probable for Sunday’s game, so I think there’s a good chance he’s dressed for Sunday’s game, especially if Sammy Watkins is down.

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