Inside The Bills

RB Tanner with some parallels to Fred Jackson

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 2:08 pm

By no means are we indicating that Bills newest RB Phillip Tanner is the next Fred Jackson. What we have found though is that Tanner has some interesting personal parallels with the veteran back.

Tanner, much like Jackson, went undrafted. The fourth-year back was not selected in the 2011 NFL draft. He played at a smaller college program – Middle Tennessee State, though it’s more on the radar than Coe College.

Tanner is also a native Texan like Jackson.

Though he’s been on the Cowboys’ roster each of the last three seasons he’s had all of 56 carries for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s 26-years old, the same age Jackson was when his career began to take off.

Here are a few more things you might want to know about Buffalo’s newest tailback.


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The timetable for Spiller under short-term I-R

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 1:59 pm

With C.J. Spiller placed on injured reserve – designated to return, or short term injured reserve, he will have the ability to return before the regular season is over, but not for much of it. Today, Oct. 21st is the first day that the clock starts on his possible return. Here’s how the timetable lays out under the short term I-R rules.

The short term I-R rules state the following.

A player who has been designated for return is ineligible to practice until six weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve, and is not eligible to return to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve. The business day (prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time) that the player is placed on Reserve counts as the first day.

That means that Spiller will not be able to even practice with his teammates again until Wednesday Dec. 3rd in Week 14. Two weeks later if all goes well he could then be added back to the active roster on Dec. 16th and be eligible to play in Weeks 16 at the Raiders, and 17 at the Patriots.

This is a smart move by the club because if the Bills are still in the playoff hunt, they’ll be able to make use of Spiller in games that could very well be critical to qualify for the postseason the last two weeks of the year. Not to mention the fact that the other backs on the roster could sustain injuries of their own between now and then. Having the ability to bring Spiller back into the fold at the end of the season could prove valuable.


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Vote for Sammy

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 12:37 pm

For the third time this season Sammy Watkins is up for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. Here’s how you can vote for Watkins.

Watkins, who had nine catches for 122 yards last week and both of Buffalo’s touchdowns including the game winner with one second left on the clock last Sunday, is a nominee for the third time for the award. You can vote as many times as you want for Watkins right here.

Watkins won the award back in Week 2, but did not win back in Week 5 for his exploits in the win at Detroit.

Voting closes at 3 pm ET to determine the PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK. The winner will be announced Friday on NFL Total Access on NFL Network and on NFL.com.

 


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O-line looking to sharpen things up fast

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Buffalo’s offensive line again had their share of struggles at the line of scrimmage. The men up front are well aware of the issues they have to address, correct and improve moving forward. And it won’t be easy going up against one of the most physical defensive lines in football.

“We have to do a better job. That’s evident,” said Eric Wood. “We’re going to keep working and get this thing figured out because we’re not doing a very good job up front right now.”

“The offensive line, we have to do a better job with the small things,” Cordy Glenn said. “I  know we said it the last few weeks, but it’s far enough along in the season where we can’t keep doing the same thing every week.  We gotta take more pride in what we’re doing and just help the team out better so we don’t get in those bad situations so much.”

Stunts and twists by opposing defensive linemen have proven to be a problem since Week 3 and each opponent after that has turned to stunts and twists as well experiencing success. Glenn knows they have to neutralize it or the twist/stunt games will continue.

“We got to look at the film but until you stop it they will keep doing it,” he said. “We just have to figure out how to stop it this week and focus on that a little more. It’s a little bit of communication, just being on the same page, the same rhythm , just being comfortable with each other over there.”

As head coach Doug Marrone sees it the consistency with execution is what he wants most of all.

“They could play better. What I get hung up on is the consistency,” he said. “There are times when there’s a great pocket and no one around him. There are times where there’s not a great pocket around him. That’s what gets you frustrated, that lack of consistency. That’s what we’re going to need to become more successful, doing the things well, and that’s what gets you over the top. I think a lot of the units on the team were able to see that. There’s a picture of how we want things done and when we go out there we have to recognize when it’s not right, what was the problem? It starts from a numerous amount of things.”


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Will dramatic win be catalyst?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 9:30 am

After Sunday’s last second win over the Vikings head coach Doug Marrone said he hoped it could serve as a catalyst for his team. Here’s what the players thought about that prospect.

“I hope so,” said Eric Wood. “I hope we can get on a run. But the key is one game at a time.  And our focus turns to the Jets. It was a fun win, a big win.  But we have to move on, we have to be professional about this and not celebrate more than for what it is. That’s just one win.”

“It’s whatever we make it. Whatever we make it,” said Dareus. “It can be a turnaround factor for us, it can be whatever. We’ve got to go play every Sunday, it doesn’t even matter. Play in, play out, we gotta make it happen. It can be a turnaround, it could not.  We still gotta go out there and play and do the best we can.”

 


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Sammy’s bro hug

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 5:30 pm

While everyone reveled in Sammy Watkins’ game-winning touchdown Sunday to help lift Buffalo to a fortunate 17-16 victory over Minnesota, everyone forgot all about Watkins’ first touchdown in the game, and what he did after it.

Right after he pulled in a 26-yard pass for his first score of the game from Kyle Orton, Watkins spotted a Bills fan going nuts after his touchdown. Buffalo’s receiver went over to celebrate with the fan.

“I saw him screaming, being active in the game, going crazy,” said Watkins. “I was like, ‘I might as well go over there and give him a hug.’ That probably made his day. That was the first touchdown that I had in the game, so it was a big touchdown to tie the game up.”


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McKelvin earns defensive game ball

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 5:09 pm

Bills CB Leodis McKelvin had a pair of interceptions in Sunday’s win and did it on back-to-back plays. One of his interceptions led to a touchdown. His performance earned him some national recognition from ESPN writer John Clayton.

Clayton awarded McKelvin his defensive game ball of the week. Here’s what he wrote.

Defensive game ball – Leodis McKelvin
Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin intercepted Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on consecutive throws in the second quarter of Buffalo’s 17-16 victory.

 


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Dareus: Craziest game I’ve ever been a part of

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 4:59 pm

Bills DT Marcell Dareus had another solid outing Sunday with a two-sack performance in the win over Minnesota. Just like the fans however, Dareus watched from the sideline as the Bills offense tried to put together an 80-yard touchdown drive to win the game. It was every bit as nerve wracking for him as it was for the 73-thousand plus watching behind him.

“It kept us on the edge of our seats like the fans were,” said Dareus. “Caught a pass with one second left on the clock, and squib kicking—that’s the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of. I’m excited. Everybody else was as well.”

Dareus said the conversion on 4th-and-20 was a heart stopper for him.

“Scott Chandler caught a couple of passes, he dropped one and came back and caught another one for a big gain,” he said. “It’s big time, man, it was just so much going on on the sideline. We were so excited, we just couldn’t believe everything was going the way  it was.”


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Marrone on adding another RB – “Probably”

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 4:05 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone is down a pair of running backs for the foreseeable future. Without Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, Marrone has just Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown healthy at running back. He also has FB Frank Summers. So when asked about the possibility of adding another back Marrone said the chances are good.

“Probably. I think we’ll probably do something,” he said. “I think a lot of it depends on where Fred is at, but yeah I would say yes we could bring somebody in. We’ll have to discuss those things.”


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What Brown & Dixon learned from Fred & C.J.

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 2:12 pm

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are both out indefinitely after suffering injuries Sunday, but since Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon were added to Buffalo’s roster in the offseason, the team’s top two backs made sure to help their two backups learn the offense and handle any and all assignments. Now all of the time they invested in Dixon and Brown needs to pay off. Both Brown and Dixon feel they’re ready due in large part to the efforts of Jackson and Spiller.

Both Brown and Dixon were asked what they’ve learned from Jackson and Spiller since they’ve been on Buffalo’s roster.

“I just learned the rhythm of the offense and the pace that I have to work at to hit the holes clean,” said Dixon. “They’ve been doing it for two years now and this is my first year so I’m still trying to get in rhythm with it. But I’m learning the tempo I have to have to hit the holes and keep the offense going.”

“Those guys have taken me under their wing and they’ve helped me out,” said Brown. “Watching C.J. and watching Fred, guys who have had success and played on a high level for many years, that benefits me. I know people say it’s frustrating (not playing), but I had an opportunity to watch these guys and learn from these guys. I told them (Sunday night) that I’m praying for their speedy recovery because those guys are the heart and soul of our team. Whether they’re on the field or not we can’t win without them so their presence is definitely needed.”

 


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Jackson confident in Dixon & Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 10:22 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson left Sunday’s game at the end of the first quarter with a groin injury. Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson made it clear he has some rehabbing to do to recover from his groin injury, but also expressed his level of confidence in Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon, who will have to pick up the slack in Buffalo’s rushing attack with both Jackson and Spiller out indefinitely.

When asked about Brown specifically, Jackson believes he can be a full-time feature back.

“He is an every down back,” said Jackson. “He can do it all. He’s a guy who can carry the ball 20-25 times. He’s a guy who can pass protect his butt off and run routes well out of the backfield. We won’t miss a beat with a guy like him. He’s a guy who is going to come out and can produce. We know what he’s capable of doing. I’m excited to see him get his opportunity. It comes at a time when we’ve lost a couple of guys who were valuable to the team, but that’s why we have Bryce and Boobie. They can step in and shoulder that weight and we don’t expect to miss a beat.”

One concern is who will be the chief third down back to handle pass protection, something Jackson did on a full-time basis. As Jackson sees it both Brown and Dixon are more than capable.

“They will (be able to handle it),” Jackson said. “It’s one of the things that we work on every day and they do a tremendous job working with us. It’s something I have a lot of pride in and I consider myself the best running back in the league when it comes to pass blocking. But those guys can do it and they will get the job done. We had a chance to go through it during training camp and I’m extremely excited about what they can do. It will be fun to watch them go out there and compete and make some plays for our team.”

Jackson intends to be around the team during his rehabilitation to assist Brown and Dixon in their preparations for the Jets this week.

“I’m going to be as involved as if I was playing,” said Jackson. “I want to be able to talk to those guys on the sideline and what I’m seeing when I watch the Jets and break them down and see what the tendencies are. So I’ll be around.”

 

 

 


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Marrone update on RB situation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:37 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone didn’t reveal a whole lot about the injuries sustained by C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, but he sounds like he’s already planning to be without both of them come next Sunday against the Jets.

“Yeah, they’re out,” said Marrone. “C.J. [Spiller] will be out for an undetermined amount of time. I think that’s out there already, from what they told me. We’re going to look at Fred [Jackson]. We really don’t have any timetable on that. We have Boobie [Dixon] and then, obviously, we have Bryce [Brown]. It’s not like we have to go out on the street to get somebody to come in. I have no problem bringing up Bryce. We talked about him last week, which I hoped wasn’t a jinx.”

Spiller reportedly has a broken collar bone, while Jackson’s groin injury will be re-evaluated on Monday.


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Dixon ready to go in wake of Fred, CJ injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:32 pm

Fred Jackson left the game in the first quarter with a bad looking groin injury. C.J. Spiller was carted off with what’s been reported as a broken collar bone. There’s a very good chance that the duties of the run game will fall squarely on the shoulders of Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Dixon knows he was largely brought in to be the go-to guy if there were a rash of injuries at running back. After this week’s casualty list he assures that he’s ready for an increase in his workload.

Dixon has respect for Jackson and Spiller, as well as gratitude. The two backs have been schooling Dixon up on the protections knowing Dixon is new to their offensive scheme.

“Watching Fred and watching C.J. they got me ready,” said Dixon. “They’re talking to me all the time, letting me know what I need to do, what I need to be looking at. Where my eyes need to be. So when my time came, I was ready (Sunday). It’s a credit to them also.”

When asked if their potential absence from the lineup this coming week changes things, Dixon doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think it does,” he said. “We’re all pros. It’s the NFL. One guy goes down, another guy has to step up. We got me, we got Bryce. We got Frank.  And I think we’re ready to go.”

In Sunday’s game Dixon averaged 3.9  a carry as he rushed 13 times for 51 yards.


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McKelvin’s 2 INTs come on back-to-back plays

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:22 pm

It was rare enough for Leodis McKelvin that he notched a pair of interceptions in one game. The fact that his two picks came on back-to-back defensive plays made it a first in a long time in Bills history as well.

McKelvin’s first interception came on a 3rd-and-7 at the Bills’ 20-yard line, which he returned nine yards out to the 29. Buffalo’s offense wasn’t able to get points off that turnover, so after six plays they punted. On 1st-and-12 at the Vikings’ 12-yard line, Bridgewater threw a pass out to the right sideline for Adam Thielen, but McKelvin read the play and jumped the route.

“They did play action. It was like a comeback route or out route,” McKelvin said. “Speed turn into it. I saw the ball, when he got the ball, and I made sure I got my feet down. We work on things like that in practice. We work all the time on staying in bounds, throw us the ball and staying in bounds. I looked like a receiver. I may have to go catch a pass.”

So on back-to-back defensive plays for the Bills, McKelvin made a pair of INTs. A Bills player hasn’t done that since Kirby Jackson did it against Miami back on Oct. 29th, 1989 almost 25 years ago.

McKelvin’s four interceptions this season are already a career single-season best.


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Orton a calming presence on final drive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:09 pm

Bills QB Kyle Orton did not have the best day when it came to protecting the football or in getting rid of it when the pocket broke down (sacked six times), but he did come through when the game was on the line. Almost as important as his play making on that final drive was his demeanor in the huddle when they got the ball back with 3:07 to play at their own 20-yard line.

By all accounts in the huddle on the last drive, Orton was upbeat, confident and most importantly relaxed.

“He was poised, he even came in there and cracked a smile at one time,” said Boobie Dixon. “He was like, ‘C’mon guys, we got this. It’s not as much pressure as it really is.’ He made us feel comfortable, he kind of relaxed us, he settled us down and got the job done.”

“Kyle did a great job keeping us under control,” said Chris Hogan. “His poise is pretty unbelievable in a high pressure situation like that. He helped us when we were in long situations, either at the end when we had to get everyone up there and clock it. He did a great job that whole drive.”

“He’s a leader,” said Sammy Watkins. “He knows what he’s doing with the ball. He puts us in the greatest situations. He knows how to help us out on the field, put us in different areas. That’s what we need in a veteran quarterback.”

On the final drive Orton was 8-12 passing for 105 (gross) yards and the game-tying touchdown pass to Watkins.


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Orton caught defense crossed up on 4th-&-20

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 6:11 pm

One of the bigger plays made on the 15-play 80-yard game-winning scoring drive by the Bills in the final minute of play was their conversion of a 4th-and-20 when Kyle Orton found Scott Chandler for a 24-yard pass play to keep the drive alive. Orton noticed something pre-snap and got the play off quicker than usual.

“It was two-man (coverage) and they actually had a little difficult time getting lined up so we kind of went fast and snapped the ball,” said Orton. “I saw the linebacker go to Chandler and I thought I had a good chance to put it around his head and threw a pretty good ball and he made a good catch.”

Vikings LB Chad Greenway, who was in coverage on the play, admitted they got a bit crossed up on defense prior to the play.

It was a hurry up situation.  We were trying to get the call relayed to everybody…getting lined up,” he said. “Looking back, hindsight, you as a player…would like to take care of that, but you reality happens. Never excuse anything away. Good throw and catch. My hand was right in the spot. You wish that play to get off the field and get the game over with. It is what it is.


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Jets Friday injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 11:46 am

Here is the Friday status report on all the injured New York Jets heading into Sunday’s game with the Bills.

Questionable
LB Trevor Reilly – knee
WR Greg Salas – wrist/ankle

Probable
OL Oday Aboushi – shoulder
DB Phillip Adams – Groin
LB Antwan Barnes – Knee
OL Willie Colon – Knee
WR Eric Decker – Hamstring
LB David Harris – Shoulder
RB Chris Johnson – Ankle
C Nick Mangold – Shoulder
RB Bilal Powell – Foot
DB Darrin Walls – Knee


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Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 11:39 am

Here are the inactives for the Bills in their game against Minnesota today.

CB Ross Cockrell
S Kenny Ladler
RB Bryce Brown
LB Ty Powell
OL Cyrus Kouandjio
WR Marcus Easley
WR Marquise Goodwin


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Hackett on using C.J. and Sammy

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 10:55 am

They are two of the most physically gifted players in the entire league, but in the eyes of some C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins haven’t been utilized enough in Buffalo’s offense. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett commented on the number of offensive plays run by the Bills the participation of Spiller and Watkins in those plays.

Through the first six games Spiller and Watkins have had the ball put in their hands on 28 percent of the offensive plays run, with 107 combined carries and receptions out of 382 plays run. When asked if they need to get more involved more often Hackett said that is always the plan.

“Of course. There are all kinds of things and those kinds of things need to be executed the right way,” Hackett said. “Sometimes it looks like they might not have been a priority, but they probably were and some circumstances changed that. I think whenever you have those guys on the field you always want to try to highlight them as much as you can.”

Hackett denied that Watkins was ignored in last week’s game against the Patriots because he was being covered by Darrelle Revis.

“No, I think we wanted to utilize him in certain situations,” said Hackett. “We wanted to let him work on him a little bit and then once we came out in the second half we targeted him and he started doing a good job so it’s one of those things where he’s young and we wanted him to get a feel for everything and then we start feeding him.”

Hackett also said they’d like to feed Spiller the ball as much as possible too, but he again came back to execution.

“(C.J. is) another guy we have to keep feeding him the ball and get him up field,” said Hackett. “When you get that opportunity to make a play the key is to take advantage of it. The thing with C.J. is he wants to sometimes do too much. We always say, ‘See three, get three.’ If he focuses on that he’ll hit his stride again.”


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Orton has shifted offensive focus

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 10:05 am

Whether it was intentional or not the presence of veteran QB Kyle Orton in the lineup has shifted the identity of the Bills offense a bit. They’re throwing more on first down, and overall as what was once a run heavy scheme has essentially flipped the past three games.

It began in EJ Manuel’s last start at Houston when they threw the ball 44 times, a departure from being a very run heavy club. Then when Orton entered the lineup the higher propensity to pass continued. The past three weeks the Bills have thrown the ball almost 65 percent of the time, while running it just over a shade of 35 percent (35.5%).

 

In his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment, presented by Tim Horton’s on Buffalobills.com, head coach Doug Marrone wasn’t the least bit shocked by the shift.

“I think whenever you put someone new in at that position your offensive identity is going to change,” said Marrone. “Your goals and how you want to be may not, but at the quarterback position, it’s like anything else, Kyle is not going to run around and make any plays with his feet. So you lose that, but you do gain an experienced guy in the pocket who has been playing really well for us.”

Working with Orton has been a process. After not getting any exposure or work with him through the offseason the coaches are learning as they go when it comes to what Orton likes and executes most effectively.

“For us as coaches we’re getting a better feel for him in practice,” Marrone said. “He hasn’t been here that long and he wasn’t here in training camp with us. So now after a few games we have a better feel for what he wants, where we need to go and where we can go with him.”

 


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