Inside The Bills

Pegula purchase pact spikes jersey sales

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 3:38 pm

The announcement last week that Kim and Terry Pegula entered into an agreement to purchase the Buffalo Bills sent Bills jersey sales through the roof. Here are the details.

According to the DICK’S Sporting Goods’ Jersey Report — an interactive website that tracks jersey sales in real-time — after the the purchase agreement was announced, Bills jersey sales spiked 800 percent over their yearly average (see graph below).

Leading the spike in jersey sales for the Bills were running back Fred Jackson and rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Jackson’s jersey has been number 19 in sales nationwide over the last week, compared to 34th in sales for the season to-date.

Watkins jersey is the number two selling rookie jersey for the season (behind only Johnny Manziel), and has been the 13th best-selling jersey overall this week among all players in the league.

jersey sales graph

 


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Changes on Bills Thurs. injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 2:54 pm

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There were a couple of changes on Buffalo’s Thursday injury report concerning a pair of starters on offense.

WR Robert Woods, who was limited Wednesday after sustaining an ankle injury, did not practice at all Thursday.

“Right now he wouldn’t be able to play,” said head coach Doug Marrone.

Meanwhile starting LG Chris Williams was limited in practice with a back ailment listed, but Marrone said it was a proactive precautionary move, not a reactionary move to an injury.

“He went throughout the practice we just watched his reps,” said Marrone.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Jonathan Meeks S Neck DNP
Randell Johnson LB Knee DNP
Keith Rivers LB Groin LP
Stefan Charles DT Hip LP
Robert Woods WR Ankle DNP
Chris Williams G Back LP
Lee Smith TE Toe FP
Sammy Watkins WR Ribs FP

 


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Reich returns to RWS as Chargers OC

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 11:30 am

This Sunday the Chargers will be bringing a couple of former Bills players with them on their coaching staff. Pete Metzelaars is San Diego’s tight ends coach and Frank Reich is their offensive coordinator. It’s Reich’s first year in that role after serving as quarterbacks coach last year under new Chargers head coach Mike McCoy. McCoy explained why he promoted Reich after former OC Ken Whisenhunt left for the Tennessee head coaching post.

“I’ve known Frank for a little while now and understanding the system that we were putting in place last year here, when we all came together,” said McCoy. “Having worked in Indianapolis with Peyton [Manning] who I had in Denver, obviously, and then the relationship with Ken Whisenhunt that he had developed a few years back… so it’s an easy transition to bring him in and say ‘Frank I want you to be the quarterback coach.’ And I always targeted him as a possible coordinator if Ken ever left and it happened obviously after the first year and Frank has done an outstanding job at this point in time.”


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Former Bills among HOF nominees

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 11:15 am

There were a host of former Bills players and coaches on the Pro Football HOF nominee list released this week. There were 113 nominees in all.

Here’s a look at the names with Bills ties.

LB Cornelius Bennett
C Kent Hull
HC Chuck Knox
HC Lou Saban
NT Fred Smerlas
LB Chris Spielman
LB Darryl Talley
ST Steve Tasker
CB Troy Vincent
NT Ted Washington


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Marrone: We’ll need fans at full throat again

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 10:00 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was quick to credit the fans after Buffalo’s win last Sunday against Miami in his postgame press conference. He’s appealing to the fans again to provide the same volume of support this Sunday when the Bills host the Chargers.

Marrone was asked if he could tell Bills fans that this 2-0 team will be different than the ones that have come before them and come up short concerning the postseason.

“I can’t tell them about the long haul, but all I know is this. We need them this weekend,” said Marrone. “I think they’ll be a big difference in this game. On third down and things like that, so if we have the same type of crowd and the situational awareness of our crowd they can be a big help for us. I can’t discuss all the other things that have gone on in the past.”


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Jackson thinks this team can be different

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 9:08 am

There have been 2-0 Bills teams in the past that could not get the job done come season’s end. Fred Jackson, who was a part of some of those teams, believes this year’s team is different from those that came up short.

“Number one is our coaching staff is going to do a tremendous job of keeping us focused on what we need to improve on,” Jackson said. “I think we’ve got a lot of great leaders on this team.  That may not have been the case, it may have been the case in the past. We definitely have in place that are going to say we have to focus on improving the things that we aren’t doing well and not focus on the things that we are. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to see the things that we need to get better at and improve on those things and we’ll give ourselves a chance to win the game.”


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Bills staying grounded despite 2-0 start

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 5:57 pm

Buffalo’s 2-0 start certainly has fans excited about the 2014 season, but the players in the Bills locker room are keeping their heads down and focusing on the task at hand, which is San Diego this week. When asked if it’s difficult to block out the hype going on outside the building, QB EJ Manuel said it’s not a problem at all.

“Very easy. Just come in every day and work. Don’t feel like you’ve arrived because we haven’t,” he said. “Don’t feel like we’ve earned anything, because we haven’t. I think it’s extremely important for us to stay the course that we’re on and remain confident. But most of all, continue to prepare like we’ve done. That’s a huge stride that our team has taken. A lot of guys are coming in on their days off, staying late during the week, making sure that we’re prepared mentally for our opponents. Obviously, taking care of our bodies and doing extra stuff, you can see the D-tackles down there working. That’s all across the board. I’m really happy to see that.”

 


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Chargers TE Gates doesn’t practice

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 4:58 pm

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The Chargers got three touchdown catches from Antonio Gates in last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks. Now San Diego is just looking to get Gates back on the practice field. Gates along with a handful of other starters did not practice Wednesday. He’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Starting RB Ryan Mathews is not expected to play Sunday due to a reported sprained MCL. The rest of the injured starters are on the defensive side of the ball with pass rushers Jerry Attaochu and Melvin Ingram both sidelined with hamstring injuries. Starting CB Brandon Flowers has a groin injury.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Jerry Attaochu LB Hamstring DNP
Brandon Flowers CB Groin DNP
Dwight Freeney LB Not Injury Related DNP
Antonio Gates TE Hamstring DNP
Melvin Ingram LB Hamstring DNP
Ryan Mathews RB Knee DNP
Jahleel Addae S Hamstring LP
Rich Ohrnberger CB Back LP
Johnnie Troutman G Back LP
Chris Davis CB Ankle FP
Corey Liuget DE Ankle FP

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Bills Wednesday injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 3:44 pm

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Here’s a look at the Bills injury report on Wednesday in advance of their game against San Diego this weekend.

DID NOT PRACTICE
LB Randell Johnson – knee

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
LB Keith Rivers – groin
DT Stefan Charles – hip
WR Robert Woods – ankle

FULL PRACTICE
WR Sammy Watkins – ribs
TE Lee Smith – toe


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Starters on special teams have set tone

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 11:32 am

The Bills not only have back-to-back winners for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Dan Carpenter and C.J. Spiller, they’ve got a host of starters playing important roles on their special teams units under coordinator Danny Crossman. Head coach Doug Marrone said the impact of their core special teamers and starters from offense and defense on those units has been critical.

“There are about 30-something positions on special teams. You have four or five, sometimes you can have six, core players that can play a majority of those four. Then, all of the sudden, due to injuries you start having to watch out about those snap counts with everyone. We do have starters on most teams, at least one phase of it,” said Marrone.

“For Robert Woods to go down there and make that play, which was a great play, we pointed that out to the team. Brandon Spikes blocked for CJ Spiller. We pointed that out. Leodis coming from 50-something yards downfield to be in the mix for the blocked punt. I think that just goes to show the type of effort that our starters are giving on special teams, which I think is important,” Marrone said. “Corey Graham is playing all over the place. You can sit there and preach that as a coach, but when those players go out there and the rest of the team can see it on the field then that will make you better. We’ve been playing well on special teams right now and we need to keep going.”

The Bills currently rank second in the league in kick return average and fifth in the league in punt coverage.


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Bills go back to back on Spec. Tms. POW

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 10:13 am

In Week 1 it was K Dan Carpenter earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. In Week 2 C.J. Spiller took the honors thanks in large part to his 102-yard kick return for a touchdown, Buffalo’s first six-point score of the game in the win over Miami. It’s not often that players on the same team win the conference Player of the Week honor back to back.

In fact this is the first time Bills players have won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors back to back since 1994 when P Chris Mohr in Week 2 and Steve Christie in Week 3 won in consecutive weeks.

One could make the case that Carpenter could’ve won the award again in Week 2. After his 11-point performance including the game-winning FG in Week 1 at Chicago, Carpenter had a 17-point day against Miami.


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Up tempo will be used when time is right

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2014 – 11:26 am

Over the first two games this season the Bills have not cracked the 60-play mark on offense. The Bills had 56 plays on offense in Week 1 and 59 last Sunday. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has the ability to turn up the tempo of the offense at a moment’s notice, but head coach Doug Marrone has chosen to take a more methodical approach on offense the first two weeks. It’s hard to argue with the results. Marrone shed some more light on his plans regarding offensive tempo the first two weeks.

“I think it’s the way the games have gone,” he said. “We’ve had our no huddle packages in both games. It’s just a matter of picking and choosing, strategically, when we want to use them. There was a point where we were going to use it (last Sunday), but, at that time, we felt it was better to slow it down because the defense was on the field for a little bit. We have it in and I think we’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

In Week 1 with a high-powered offense like Chicago’s there was no point in going fast because it would provide the Bears attack with more possession as well. In Week 2, the Dolphins, who have an up tempo capability with their offense as well cranked up the tempo in the third quarter and had a pair of very long drives, which put 10 points on the board. The Bills still had the lead, and their defense needed a break, so speeding up the tempo with their offense was not the play at that point in time.


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Rotation at CB will continue

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2014 – 9:36 am

In Week 1 Stephon Gilmore wasn’t available to play so Leodis McKelvin and Corey Graham started. But come Week 2 Gilmore was healthy along with McKelvin and Graham. Gilmore and Graham started the game, but by game’s end Gilmore had 53 snaps and McKelvin 33 including a late INT. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that the Bills are going to continue rotating their top three corners during games provided all three are healthy.

“All three (are starters),” said Marrone. “I’m not trying to play games. We’ve been rotating them from day one since they’ve been back. I keep saying the same thing. Everyone is trying to pin, ‘Who are the two (starters)? Who are the two (starters)?’ But we’ve got a pretty good deal going if we have three guys.

“I firmly believe, with the level that they’re playing, that those three players will produce more than if it’s just two. We only have an opportunity one or two of those guys maybe wearing out, whereas now we have all three and it’s a long season. We’re in good shape until something separates.”

Marrone means if one of those three is performing really well they’ll see more of the work. Such was the case with Corey Graham. He had a solid Week 1 when Gilmore was out and started in Week 2 where he played 91 percent of the snaps. Gilmore and McKelvin split time in Week 2 with Gilmore seeing 53 snaps to McKelvin’s 33.”

When Marrone was asked specifically if McKelvin and Gilmore’s snap counts would increase he couldn’t give a definitive answer, knowing both are limited by soreness coming off their offseason hip surgeries and Gilmore coming off an additional groin injury suffered right before the season opener.

“I don’t know if I can expect their snap count to increase, only because we haven’t started practicing again this week,” he said. “Again, I think we’re going on basically just how they feel, as far as coming off the injuries from last week. I still think the same thing. If you ask me what the best thing is I would say, ‘Hey, we have three corners that 33, 33 and 33 and play those percentages, we would be a better team.”

Marrone said moving forward they’ll keep playing Gilmore, McKelvin and Graham.


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Vote for Sammy for Rookie of the Week

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2014 – 8:48 am

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is up for the NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week after his eight-catch 117-yard, one touchdown performance in the Bills win over Miami in Week 2. He’s got some stiff competition this week, so here’s how you can vote for Watkins.

Just go to NFL.com and pick Watkins as your choice for NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week. The winner will be announced on Friday.

His toughest competition is Bears rookie CB Kyle Fuller, who stepped in for an injured Peanut Tillman in the second half of Chicago’s Sunday night game at San Francisco and got two interceptions to spark the Bears fourth quarter rally for the win.

 


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EJ: Our fans make us want to go harder

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 5:01 pm

Much has been said about the atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday in the win over the Dolphins. The fans had a major impact on the game with the Dolphins taking three penalties due to crowd noise. On Monday EJ Manuel made a point to mention that the loud support of the fans gives the players the little extra to put their effort over the edge.

“We really want to thank them for coming out, selling it out and being extremely loud on third down for our defense, that really helped them out,” said Manuel. “And definitely for us [the offense], anytime we were having big plays, they were getting really rowdy and loud for us. When we know we have their support, it makes us want to go even harder.”


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A special game day for McKelvin

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 4:56 pm

His big play didn’t occur until the game was already in hand, but it didn’t take away from Leodis McKelvin’s interception with 10 seconds left in the Bills’ 29-10 win over the Dolphins.

McKelvin’s mother and brother were in attendance at the stadium as they traveled up from Georgia.

“Before the game, mom said, ‘Make sure you give me that ball after an interception or a touchdown.’ So I was making sure I was running over there to give her the ball and actually I ended up giving it to my brother. It was his first NFL game he ever watched. He’s never seen me play so it was very exciting to go over there and see my family, see them in the stands. Just trying to go over there and give my mom the ball.”

McKelvin finished the game with three tackles, a quarterback hit and an interception.


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Teammates see EJ progressing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 4:48 pm

Buffalo’s offense still has some numbers to improve in terms of production, but through the first two games players on offense can see EJ Manuel making progress.

Completing almost 67 percent of his passes and averaging a healthy 7.8 yards an attempt, Manuel has two touchdown passes and an interception. He’s been sacked once and has a passer rating of 95.4.

“He’s getting better, everybody is getting better,” said Sammy Watkins. “We believe in the offense. The coaches are calling good plays, putting us in great situations and each week I feel like he’s [EJ Manuel] gaining more confidence in us and it’s just going to keep getting better.”

 


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Kyle has seen 2-0 before

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 4:34 pm

Bills veteran DT Kyle Williams has seen 2-0 starts before in his time with Buffalo. In 2008 Buffalo started 4-0 and in 2011 they started 3-0. Williams was on both of those teams and remembers how those seasons finished, with the Bills out of the playoffs. That’s why he’s not putting much stock in the first eighth of the season.

“I really can’t get wrapped up in it because there’s a long season in front of us, we have a really good football teaming coming here this week,” said Williams. “The great thing and the tough thing about this league is that in just a few days you’ve got another test on your hands. So you can’t really get wrapped up in anything a week or two into the season.”

 


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Deion, Irvin believe in Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 1:17 pm

NFL Network analysts, and Hall of Famers, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin like what they’ve seen from the Bills over the first two weeks of the season. Here was their take on Buffalo’s 2-0 start to the 2014 campaign.

“The Buffalo Bills, they have two running backs that are very capable, they have a receiver now that’s off the charts, they have a quarterback who’s learning,” said Sanders. “But defensively these guys are winning on that side of the ball. I feel like that’s why the Buffalo Bills are 2-0. I like them. I like them.”

“They’ve got a nice, young, talented team that they can have for a while to develop,” said Irvin.

 


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Chargers RB Mathews has sprained MCL

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 1:13 pm

There are reports out of San Diego that Chargers starting RB Ryan Mathews sustained a sprained MCL in San Diego’s win over Seattle Sunday. According to national reporters he is likely to miss this week’s game against the Bills.

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapaport is reporting that Mathews could miss a month or more after being carted off the field yesterday.


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