Inside The Bills

Hogan set for homecoming

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2014 – 12:15 pm

Bills WR Chris Hogan is all ready for what will amount to a homecoming game for him. The Ramapo HS grad and Wyckoff, New Jersey native will be playing at MetLife stadium Sunday, which sits just 35 minutes from his boyhood home. His family and more than 50 friends and supporters will also be on hand.

“I’m real excited. I’m really looking forward to this game,” said Hogan. “It’s always fun going back home and having family and friends being able to be there to support you. I’m really looking forward to going back home and getting a win before we head into this bye week.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jets put their fronts in the mixer

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2014 – 10:08 am

The New York Jets defensive line is one of the best in football. They neutralize opposing run games by not giving up ground at the line of scrimmage and clogging up holes. But their pass rush isn’t too shabby either as they have the sixth-highest sack total in the league as well. Then head coach Rex Ryan throws another variable into the mix.

The Jets defense runs a bevy of different front looks at opposing offense, which forces any offensive lineman in the league to grind through a lot more game tape.

“It’s one of the best D-lines in the league right now,” said Kraig Urbik, who might make his first start this season at left guard. “They generate a lot of pressure and it’s the Jets. They do much different blitzes every down so we’re going to have to be on our game and do extra film work this week.”

“They have a lot more fronts that they show and that makes it more difficult to prepare,” said Eric Wood. “It definitely puts an onus on our film study.”

Step one however, will be standing their ground against a defensive line that doesn’t give up much.

“They have so many guys up there that when you watch film you don’t see them getting pushed back at all,” said Urbik. “They get a lot of one-on-ones and you see them beat a lot of one-on-ones too.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins wins Rookie of the Week

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 5:58 pm

Great job voting this week Bills fans! For the second time this season Sammy Watkins was named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.

Watkins won the award for Week 7, the NFL announced Friday. Fans voted for one of five players on NFL.com/rookies to determine the winner.

After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com/rookies throughout the month of January.

The Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year will be announced at the “4th Annual NFL Honors” awards show in Arizona on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 31, the night before Super Bowl XLIX.


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Jets Friday injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 4:05 pm

Here’s a look at Friday’s injury status for the Jets.

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

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin doubtful, Aaron questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 1:15 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

 

The Bills have some players whose chances of playing Sunday against the Jets are no better than 50-50. Here’s the rundown for Sunday.

CB Ron Brooks was added to the report Friday after tweaking his groin in practice, but it’s not considered a major injury per head coach Doug Marrone.

OUT
RB Fred Jackson – groin
LB Ty Powell – ankle

DOUBTFUL
WR Marquise Goodwin – hamstring

QUESTIONABLE
WR Marcus Easley – knee
S Aaron Williams – neck

PROBABLE
CB Ron Brooks – groin
LB Brandon Spikes – ribs
WR Sammy Watkins – groin
DE Mario Williams – thumb


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-24

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 12:27 pm

A big division tilt with the Jets on Sunday at MetLife stadium before the bye. Here are your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – Hello Chris, thank you for keeping us Bills fans up to date with all the great insider news!

My question is very simple. With such a stout defensive line and very talented linebackers, and a talented secondary why is it in your opinion the bills give up so many pass yards?

CB: The passing yards given up by most NFL defenses are sometimes a byproduct of having a good run defense. In the Patriots game for example, Buffalo completely shut down the Patriots run game, so New England turned to their passing game. Unfortunately Tom Brady got hot and there were some miscommunication problems in the secondary according to the players.

In most cases strong run defenses make opposing offenses one-dimensional and the opponent turns to the pass game. So a good number of teams that play great run defense give up more yards through the air. Generally it’s because the opponent is behind on the scoreboard because they’ve been punting the ball away because they’re unable to run and hold onto the ball through a balance attack.

The Bills aren’t a true representation of that rule because they’ve been behind on the scoreboard a good deal, even in their last two victories. But their run defense is ranked in the top five and often forces opponents to start throwing to move the ball. More passing yards are then racked up and the Bills pass defense ranking suffers. Hope that spells it out.

 

2 – Chris,

Thanks for the work you do. When I talk to my fellow fans the thing I hear most often is some variation of “Why do they keep trying to run Spiller up the middle?”  I’ll admit I ask the same thing when I see this electrifying player disappear into the line. Does coach Hackett hear the same criticism that I do? Spiller is great in space, and the the inside of the line is our weakest position. Has he been asked about it? Do you think he’s capable of adjusting his offense to utilize Spiller’s strengths? Or is he happy with the results he is getting?

Thanks again,
Brian

CB: As the players and coaches have explained the lack of success up the middle is an all-encompassing problem. Their inside zone runs used to be their bread and butter plays going all the way back to running them under former head coach Chan Gailey. They have been less successful of late including the carries by C.J. Spiller. Spiller, before he got hurt, told us he has to trust his eyes more and that the hole will be there when he arrives.

The linemen have blamed themselves for not effectively controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis. Coach Marrone has also put it on himself and his offensive staff to devise more effective ways to get more productive run plays for all of their backs.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Some sites say Orton is making $5.5 mil a year on a two-year deal. Other sites say $3mil this year. Are they wrong or is he getting $3mil salary this year and a $2mil signing bonus for this season?

Thanks for the clarity!

Go Kyle, Go Bills!

CB: It is a two-year deal and the total value is $11M. The other reports you’re seeing are just breaking down the money differently based off of base salary, signing bonus amortization and guaranteed money. Signing bonus is paid out as soon as the contract is signed, but that money is averaged out over the length of the contract when it comes to the salary cap hit.

 

4 – Hi Chris:

I can’t for the life of me figure out why our offensive coaches won’t use Fred and CJ on the field in the backfield together (Pro Set)? The only time I can recall seeing this formation was a couple years ago in the red zone and they scored on the play. It seems like a no brainer to have two of your best playmakers in the backfield together. It’s a matchup nightmare given their pass catching abilities. It also dictates to the defense, because they are forced to respect their abilities and account for both. I wish this message could be personally relayed to Nathan Hackett. Thanks for your time and I appreciate all the insight.

Regards,
Nick U.

CB: They have been on the field together at the same time, albeit sparingly, this season. Now neither are available, but I understand your point. I thought with the running back talent in reserve on this roster (Brown, Dixon) that there would be less of a risk in using both Jackson and Spiller on the field at the same time. I know they have a specific package for that split back look, and they have been on the field at the same time with Spiller split wide. There just wasn’t a lot of it prior to the two of them getting hurt.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I have been following the Bills for years in Ohio and NC and you truly do a great job bringing Bills coverage to people outside of WNY.

My question is about the pass interference/defensive holding call against Sammy Watkins on the sideline in the Detroit game that was picked up and given an explanation of “all contact was legal” by the ref. I almost had a coronary when that happened and am sure Coach Marrone felt the same way. The CB was all over Sammy on that play and for the flag to get picked up blew my mind. Has there been any reasoning from the league or officials as to that play?

Thanks for everything
Chris in NC
CB: Thanks for the kind words Chris.

Unfortunately there’s no good answer for you on pass interference and defensive holding because it’s a judgment call by the officials. On that play it was a 3rd-and-8 with Watkins beyond five yards and standing at the first down marker when Darius Slay was flagged for defensive holding. We have a great look at it at the 1:35 mark of our ‘Wired for Sound’ feature from that week when we had Watkins wearing the mic. You’ll see the flag is thrown. Later it was picked up.

At that time it was the third flag picked up of the season that would have benefited the Bills. I think every NFL team understands it’s going to be a judgment call. What really makes it difficult for teams to accept is when the call is changed after it is made or wiped out completely, especially in the competitive atmosphere of a game.

The Bills just like any other club handle those issues internally with the league’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB Brown emerging as starter

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 11:13 am

At the outset of the season he was starting to fill in for suspended or injured linebackers like Nigel Bradham and Keith Rivers. Now with the top four backers healthy Preston Brown is remaining in the starting lineup.

The Bills third-round pick last spring has done nothing but impress so far this season and has logged more snaps than any other player on defense through seven games. It somewhat mirrors the heavy use of Kiko Alonso as a rookie last season.

Right now Brown is starting at outside linebacker alongside Brandon Spikes and Nigel Bradham in the team’s base defense. He also plays in the team’s nickel package, but Brown isn’t assuming he’s a permanent starter now.

“I just take it week by week, day by day,” he said. “So right now they have me in the starting lineup, so that’s what I’m doing right now. Just go out there and try to get better each day.”

Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t cement Brown as a full-time starter when asked about it as well.

“He’s playing well,” said Marrone. “Matchups are a big part of it and his snaps have increased over Keith.”

Brown leads the team with 50 tackles so far this season.


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Sammy earning All-Rookie pub

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 10:11 am

We’re just about halfway through the 2014 NFL season, but that hasn’t kept some media outlets from naming an All-Rookie squad for the first half of the year. Not surprisingly, Buffalo’s top draft choice is among those recognized.

Sammy Watkins was listed on the Grantland All-Rookie (so far) team. Here was their synopsis of his play to this point.

Offense
Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
If I were Sammy Watkins, every day on the way out of work, I’d give Kyle Orton an uncomfortably long hug. The jump from EJ Manuel to Orton has been just enough to unleash Watkins on any defense that doesn’t feature Darrelle Revis. In his two non-Patriot games since Orton took over, Watkins has averaged eight catches and 104.5 yards on 13 targets a game, and he’s doing it in a ton of different ways.

The way Watkins accelerates across the field makes game tape look doctored. With enough time, he’s impossible to stay with on crossing routes, and on his first touchdown Sunday, he showed off that same speed up the sideline. Right now, there’s reason to get excited every time the Bills drop back to pass. It’s been a long time since anyone could say that. Since the merger, 12 rookie receivers have gone over the 1,000-yard mark, and with Orton playing quarterback, Watkins is a good bet to be no. 13.


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An update on Kevin Kolb

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 9:25 am

Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the veteran presence for the Bills at quarterback in 2013 and potentially beyond, but his career with Buffalo ended prematurely in the preseason with his fourth and final concussion in a preseason game at Washington, on his birthday of all things. SI.com filed an update on Kolb with a first person account from the now retired quarterback.

Kolb, who was down in Mexico this past summer and caught in Hurricane Odile, sheds some light on the concussion symptoms that forced him to injured reserve last season and to ultimately call it a career after just six seasons.


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Watkins surge gaining attention

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 8:52 am

Bills WR Sammy Watkins surge in production the last three weeks is garnering more and more national attention. His breakout game last week, which was capped with the game-winning touchdown catch with a second left on the game clock has only increased his gravitational pull on the media. Breaking down the improvements of his game from college however, is not something that many are qualified to do. Former Bills safety Matt Bowen is and he does so in this breakdown of Watkins.

Bowen has a weekly NFL Film Study column, and here’s what he wrote about Watkins.

  1. The Quick Development of Rookie Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins

With any rookie wide recover, my focus is on route running and the ability to create separation within the stem and at the break point versus man-coverage.

In Week 7, Watkins consistently worked the Vikings cornerbacks to gain leverage off the release while showing an aggressive burst at the top of the route to gain that separation back to the football on both inside and outside breaking cuts.

Watkins’ game-winning touchdown on the quick out route versus Xavier Rhodes with the ball on the near hash is a prime example.

His acceleration on the break after Watkins sets up the cornerback at the top of the route is impressive. There are at least two yards to work with (into the boundary) as Watkins secures the catch from Kyle Orton and gets the feet down.

With a matchup on Sunday versus the Jets, Watkins can use the same aggressive route running style to win in the short-to-intermediate passing game while stacking on top to run the 9 (fade) route versus a secondary he matches up well against.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2014 – 6:37 pm

Here is where you can find Bills players and coaches on the local radio airwaves on Friday morning.

WGR 550, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
o 6:50 am – Bryce Brown

WCMF, Break room
o 7:20 am – Duke Williams

KISS 98.5, Janet and Nick in the morning
o 7:30 am – Kyle Williams

WGR 550 am, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
o 8:10 am – Doug Marrone


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jets injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2014 – 4:32 pm

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Here’s a look at the Jets injury situation heading into their game with the Bills on Sunday.

The most notable injury is the hamstring ailment that WR Eric Decker is dealing with. He was limited again in practice Thursday and is fast shaping up to be a game time decision. LB Antwan Barnes looks good to make a return to the lineup from a knee injury this week.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Oday Aboushi OL Shoulder Limited
Phillip Adams DB Groin Limited
Antwan Barnes LB Knee Full
Willie Colon OL Knee Limited
Eric Decker WR Hamstring Limited
David Harris LB Shoulder Limited
Chris Johnson RB Ankle Full
Nick Mangold OL Shoulder Full
Bilal Powell RB Foot Full
Trevor Reilly LB Knee Limited
Greg Salas WR Wrist/Ankle Limited
Darrin Walls DB Knee Full

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Thursday injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2014 – 2:45 pm

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Here’s a look at how things shook out on Thursday concerning the Bills injury report in advance of their game against the Jets on Sunday.

DID NOT PRACTICE
WR Marquise Goodwin – hamstring
RB Fred Jackson – groin
LB Ty Powell – ankle

LIMITED
WR Marcus Easley – knee
S Aaron Williams – wrist/neck

FULL
DE Mario Williams – thumb
WR Sammy Watkins – groin
LB Brandon Spikes – ribs


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Bills on the airwaves

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 5:43 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players on the local and national media outlets on Thursday.

  • ESPN, NFL Live w/ Trey Wingo
    • 2:30 pm – Sammy Watkins
  • FOX Sports Radio
    • 2:30 pm – Leodis McKelvin
  • Sirius Radio, The SiriusXM Blitz w/Rich Gannon
    • 2:37 pm – Kyle Williams
  • CBS Sports Radio, Doug Gottlieb Show
    • 4:40 pm – Brandon Spikes
  • NBC Sports Radio, Donovan McNabb show
    • 5:05 pm – Jerry Hughes

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Orton: Urgency without panic

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 5:09 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone made his players aware that there are a lot of fixes that need to be made this week in practice if they’re going to have a better chance of winning games. As far as what QB Kyle Orton saw on the practice field Wednesday from his teammates that message was received.

“No doubt we had a great practice (Wednesday),” said Orton. “It was great to see the guys show up and concentrate on the things we’ve been talking about. We’ve put an emphasis on getting better and really having the urgency without panic. We’re in a great spot. We’re 4-3 and we’re going to play a divisional road game with a bye week coming up. So all effort, all focus on this week to go out and do whatever it takes to get a win. The way we practiced today we’re off to a good start.”

 


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Polian named finalist for 2015 HOF class

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 4:34 pm

Former Bills general manager Bill Polian has been named as one of two Contributor finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

Polian along with former NFL GM Ron Wolf were chosen by the Hall of Fame’s Contributor Committee that met in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

“It’s an incredible honor that I never envisioned happening,” Polian said.

Polian and Wolf will join senior nominee Mick Tingelhoff and 15 yet-to-be-named Modern Era finalists from which the Class of 2015 will be selected. The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection meeting will be held on Jan. 31, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona, the day before Super Bowl XLIX. Tingelhoff was the nominee of the Seniors Committee that met in Canton in August.

Polian is most noted for turning the fortunes of three different teams that included a combined five Super Bowl appearances by the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts.  He guided the Bills to four straight AFC Eastern Division titles and earned three straight Super Bowl berths after winning the AFC championship in 1990-92.

As the general manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers, he helped build a team that advanced to the NFC championship in just its second season.

Polian next served as President/General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2011 during which time the club captured eight division crowns and advanced to a pair of Super Bowls including a win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

In all he had a 32-year NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs (1978-1982), Buffalo (1984-1992), Carolina (1995-97), and Indianapolis (1998-2011). He also worked for the National Football League office in 1993 and 1994.

Wolf made his lasting mark as the Executive Vice President/General Manager of the Green Bay Packers and longtime player personnel director for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders.


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Jets injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 3:52 pm

Here’s a look at where the Jets stand this in terms of injuries leading up to Sunday’s game with the Bills. New York has had an extra few days of rest coming off their Thursday night game at New England last week.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Oday Aboushi OL Shoulder Limited
Phillip Adams DB Groin Limited
Antwan Barnes LB Knee Full
Willie Colon OL Knee Limited
Eric Decker WR Hamstring Limited
David Harris LB Shoulder Limited
Chris Johnson RB Ankle Full
Nick Mangold OL Shoulder Full
Bilal Powell RB Foot Full
Trevor Reilly LB Knee DNP
Greg Salas WR Wrist/Ankle Limited
Darrin Walls DB Knee Full

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Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 3:49 pm

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Here’s a look at the Bills injury report from Wednesday in advance of their game Sunday against the Jets.

WR Marquise Goodwin, LB Ty Powell and RB Fred Jackson were all non-participants.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Marquise Goodwin WR Hamstring DNP
Ty Powell LB Ankle DNP
Fred Jackson RB Groin DNP
Marcus Easley WR Knee LP
Aaron Williams S Neck LP
Brandon Spikes LB Ribs FP
Mario Williams DE Thumb FP
Sammy Watkins WR Groin FP

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Ryan: Package of plays likely for Harvin

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 12:05 pm

He’s had all of a week to learn the Jets playbook after he was traded to New York by the Seahawks. That’s why Jets head coach Rex Ryan is planning to have just a package of plays for Harvin in this week’s game plan for the Bills.

“I think that’s realistic,” said Ryan in a conference call with the Buffalo media. “It’s awful hard to come in and, ‘Oh by the way here’s the offense. Learn it in a week.’ I don’t know if that’s realistic. But we’ll have some plays for him and get him back there to return a kick and things like that.”

Ryan is hopeful that if Harvin can’t make as big an impact with personal plays, that his mere presence on the field forces defenses to account for him.

“I’d love to see him make a difference immediately. Obviously. But again we’ll see how he does during the week. How much he can pick up of this offense and then let him go. He gives us a weapon with Decker and Kerley and our tight ends and some good backs. It’ll be interesting to see how people play us if they play us differently or they put everybody in the world down there to stop Chris Ivory and company.”


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Hogan’s goal line catch gets major pub

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 10:09 am

While Sammy Watkins’ catch tied the game before Dan Carpenter’s extra point last Sunday, Chris Hogan’s leaping 28-yard grab to convert a 2nd-and-20 to set the Bills up at the Minnesota two-yard line is getting more pub nationally.

ESPN’s Sportscenter ranked Hogan’s catch number 6 in its top 10 NFL plays of Week 7. ESPN Radio’s ‘Mike & Mike’ show ranked the catch No. 1 on its ‘Climb the Ladder Catches of the Week’ list. And NFL Network ranked it No. 5 on its X-Factor plays of the week.


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