Inside The Bills

LT Ereck Flowers active for Giants

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2015 – 11:48 am

Here are the inactives for the New York Giants for today’s game against the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Giants rookie LT Ereck Flowers is back from an ankle injury and active, but will have his hands full with speed rusher Jerry Hughes. He will need some help on his side most of the day. 

DT Markus Kuhn
WR Victor Cruz
TE Jerome Cunningham
DE Robert Ayers

S Cooper Taylor

TE Daniel Fells

LB Jasper Brinkley

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2015 – 11:31 am

Here are the inactives for the Bills in today’s matchup with the Giants at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

WR Sammy Watkins
S Aaron Williams
RB LeSean McCoy
G John Miller
WR Marquise Goodwin

LB Tony Steward

DL Alex Carrington

Posted in Inside the Bills

Giants run game struggling

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2015 – 11:19 am

The New York Giants throw the ball almost two-thirds of the time in the first half of their games (64.5%). They’ve essentially decided to use the passing game to set up their run game. That’s because their run game has struggled mightily through their first three games.

Their top three backs have rushed 74 times for 238 yards, good for an average of just 3.2 yards per carry. New York has a primary rushing back in Rashad Jennings, a power back in Andre Williams and a pass-catching back in Shane Vereen. Their running styles are different, but Bills DT Marcell Dareus doesn’t really care.

“It doesn’t really matter to me. A running play is a running play,” said Dareus. “You’ve got to get past me one way or another. You’re going to have to double team me or single block the same as everyone else. If you’re back there you still have to hit the hole.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor & Harvin making for good chemistry

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2015 – 10:08 am

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor and WR Percy Harvin are two new offensive additions to the roster this season, but you wouldn’t know the two of them haven’t played together before.

Taylor has established an early rapport with Harvin in Buffalo’s passing game as evidenced by Harvin’s team-leading 16 receptions and team-leading 192 yards. He’s also been the most targeted Bills receiver this season (see list).

Wide receiver targets
Harvin – 18
Watkins – 12
Woods – 10
Hogan – 5

Taylor said it’s simple for him. He has faith in Harvin that he’s going to win on his routes.

“He’s a great receiver and a great guy to be around first,” said Taylor. “But definitely a great receiver and he trusts that he can win his one-on-one matchups and I try my best to get the ball in his hands because I know how explosive he can be.”

With Sammy Watkins out today, the Bills passing game could be relying on that on field chemistry even more in the passing game. Harvin is looking for his fifth straight game with at least four receptions.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Big plays have loosened run front

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2015 – 9:01 am

Through their first three games Buffalo ranks first in the league in rushing yards per game at better than 152 yards per game (152.7). That figure is aided greatly by Buffalo’s big plays in the passing game.

Among the teams that have played just three games so far this season, the Bills have the third-highest number of pass play covering 25 yards or more with eight. Bills C Eric Wood says that makes it a lot harder for opposing defenses to stack the box with eight defenders.

“Through three games we’ve made some plays down the field that definitely free up the run game,” Wood said. “It makes everything easier. It frees up the short passing game. Everything complements each other on offense and when they’re able to make plays like they have down the field it’s tremendous for us.”

Buffalo figures to have a tougher task in the run game without the services of LeSean McCoy and against the league’s number two run defense.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Karlos wasn’t expecting early success

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2015 – 12:25 pm

He’s a green rookie in his first NFL season, but not much has slowed Bills rookie RB Karlos Williams so far. He’s leading the Bills in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with LeSean McCoy slowed by a persistent hamstring injury. Even Williams himself admits he didn’t think he’d enjoy this kind of success this soon.

“Not off the bat. I came in to learn from the guys we had in here, from Shady, from Fred, from Bryce, from Boobie—we had Felton,” Williams said. “You come in here to learn as much as you can, as much as possible and contribute on special teams. I did a little bit of that, but now I see that I’m contributing more on offense than anywhere else. I’m very excited about it. I’m happy about that success, but it doesn’t stop there. After the game, I have to get right back to work. Success doesn’t stop, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to continue to get better each and every week and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Williams is also young at his position. A five-star safety out of high school, Williams did play some running back in high school, but had all of a year and a half of work at running back at Florida State before he joined the Bills.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex not getting down over Watkins’ status

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2015 – 10:20 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan is just as frustrated as Sammy Watkins is that he won’t be able to suit up this week. After an offseason of rehab from hip surgery and now a calf injury it’s been tough not having Watkins being a difference maker on the field. But Ryan knows when Watkins is fully healthy he’s going to be a major headache for Buffalo opponents.

“Sammy is a great player. There’s a reason why Sammy Watkins was drafted where he was drafted. He’s an unbelievable talent. Unfortunately this year he hasn’t been healthy. We saw glimpses of it, and then he gets hurt again. It’s just an unfortunate thing, but when this kid is healthy nobody is going to question why he was taken where he was taken,” said Ryan.

Ryan believes in Watkins so much that he even admitted it was one of the attractive qualities about the team that made him want to coach the Bills.

“I know he’s a super talent. It’s just a matter of getting him healthy and getting him out there. Part of when he had the surgery it takes away a little bit of your conditioning and all those things. He has the pull in camp and misses time and now he’s got something else. It’s just one of those things. I know when this guy is healthy he is a bona fide, legit number one receiver in this league.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Red zone success rooted in variety, repetition

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2015 – 4:48 pm

The Bills currently rank second in the league in red zone touchdown efficiency with an 83.3 percent success rate behind only Arizona at a little over 91 percent. Buffalo credits their success to a couple of factors.

One is variety. Buffalo has five red zone touchdowns on six trips to the red zone this season and they’ve come from five different players on offense. Boobie Dixon (1-yd run, Wk 1), Tyrod Taylor (7-yd, run, Wk 2), Charles Clay (9-yd rec., Wk 2), Karlos Williams (2-yd run, Wk 2) and LeSean McCoy (10-yd rec., Wk 3).

“To me that’s the crux of what we do because in this league pretty much anybody can take away anybody if they really wanted to,” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman. “If you’re trying to force the ball to a guy all game as you see some teams do, the results aren’t what we’re looking for. I think it just speaks to our breadth of talent. Guys who are able to be involved in the game plan and the quarterback distributing the ball to the right person.”

“We have a ton of playmakers that are going out there and winning their one-on-one matchups and it’s up to me to find those matchups,” said Tyrod Taylor. “Coach Roman gives me an opportunity to pick a side on certain plays that we call based on the look that we get. And I’m finding the open guy and they’re doing their job as far as winning and the line is doing a good job of protecting even when they bring the blitz.”

The second reason for Buffalo’s offensive success in the red zone is repetition. According to Bills head coach Rex Ryan they spend extra time each week on their red zone plays.

“We spend a little more time in the red zone,” Ryan told in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s. “More games are won and lost in the red zone than probably anywhere else. Third down is certainly important. You cover every facet, but we spend a big chunk of our time working on the red zone.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Giants to be without two starting DL Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2015 – 2:04 pm

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The Bills aren’t the only team who will be down starters on Sunday against the Giants. New York will be missing a starting defensive end, their top slot receiver and could be without a couple of other starters this weekend.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who already declared WR Victor Cruz out on Wednesday, will also be without starting DE Robert Ayers and starting DT Markus Kuhn. He could also be missing his starting left tackle Ereck Flowers for another week. If Flowers can’t play, LG Justin Pugh is expected to kick out to left tackle again this week.


Player Injury Wed. Thurs. Fri. Game Status
TE Jerome Cunningham Knee DNP DNP DNP Out
TE Daniel Fells Ankle DNP DNP LP Questionable
DE Robert Ayers Hamstring LP DNP DNP Out
WR Victor Cruz Calf LP DNP DNP Out
RB Orleans Darkwa Knee LP FP FP Probable
T Ereck Flowers Ankle LP LP LP Questionable
DT Markus Kuhn Knee LP DNP DNP Out
DE Owa Odighizuwa Foot LP FP FP Probable

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McCoy, Watkins headline Bills who are out

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2015 – 12:54 pm

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They didn’t practice all week so their chances of playing were slim. After practice head coach Rex Ryan made it official. Four of his starters will be out for Sunday’s game against the Giants.

RB LeSean McCoy and WR Sammy Watkins headlined the list of players who will be sidelined. Also out are RG John Miller, S Aaron Williams and WR Marquise Goodwin.

Williams and Goodwin were able to practice on a limited basis during the week.

Probable for Buffalo Sunday are K Dan Carpenter, WR Percy Harvin, LB Preston Brown and QB Tyrod Taylor.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-2

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2015 – 11:23 am

The Bills look to stack two wins in a row Sunday against the Giants. Here’s your latest edition of questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

With guys like (Alshon) Jeffery and (Victor) Cruz missing multiple games with calf injuries, is there any concern Watkins might also?


CB: First, I’m not a doctor, but I have learned through our athletic training staff that not every calf injury is the same, and every player heals differently. Some heal faster than others, some have a higher pain tolerance than others. All that being said a calf injury is a critical problem for a wide receiver. They need it to drive off the line, accelerate, cut, etc.

Cruz’s calf injury from most reports is from overcompensating coming off a knee injury that kept him out most of last year and required surgery. I don’t know that Watkins’ injury is related in any way to overcompensating for his hip that required surgery in the offseason. I think we just all hope that Watkins is back in the lineup sooner rather than later.


2 – Chris,

First off, I’d like to give a shout out to Buffalo Bros. on University Ave in Fort Worth, TX.  It’s great to watch Bills games on Sundays surrounded by other Buffalo fans.

Here’s my question: With LeSean McCoy unlikely to suit up against the NY Giants this week, is it likely that Buffalo considers resigning Bryce Brown?  I believe that we have an available roster spot after the Cassel trade.  He would be a good compliment to Karlos Williams, whereas Boobie Dixon seems like he’s more of a goal line back and special teams contributor.

-Brendan in Fort Worth, TX

CB: The roster spot was actually filled by promoting Jonathan Meeks from the practice squad last week, not that it would keep them from making another move to address their running back position should LeSean McCoy be unable to play Sunday.

The most logical move however, would be calling Cierre Wood up from the practice squad. He’s been with the team since the last half of training camp and showed some flashes in the preseason. Wood has more of a shifty skill set and good hands for catching out of the backfield.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will this be the week that the #ColdFront starts racking up some sacks?


CB: The pass rush always has an edge when playing at home knowing the opposing offense has the added challenge of crowd noise. Manning however, has not been sacked much so far this season, just three times in three games. Ben McAdoo’s offense is designed to get the ball out fast to protect Manning.

A heavy dose of press coverage could aid in forcing Manning to pump and double clutch the ball to buy the pass rush an extra half second to get home. Some exotic looks could also cross up Manning’s diagnosis of the defensive coverage and delay his delivery of the ball.


4 – Chris,

In the long run, the Bills afford to play Thigpen. I believe they are other returners the Bills have on the roster. The Bills have specialists already in Gay/Sanborn who play minimal. Thigpen has yet to take an offesnive snap. I’d rather see Goodwin active than Thigpen. I would exepct Goodwin to get looks on offense and can return kicks.

Josh P.

CB: Once Marquise Goodwin is healthy I do anticipate he’ll be active. He’s still recovering from a rib injury. Goodwin however, is a kick returner, while Thipen is primarily a punt returner. The kick return job is Percy Harvin’s as of right now. I do believe if Sammy Watkins is unable to play that Goodwin would fill his spot among the receiving corps provided he himself is healthy enough to play.

As for Thigpen I think he was fortunate to make the roster as the team’s seventh WR. I believe the main reason he did is because primary punt returner Leodis McKelvin is on Reserve/NFI until Week 7 when he would be able to practice again if medically cleared. When McKelvin returns there will need to be a roster move.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who would you have cover Odell B, Darby or Gilmore? Or should they stay on separate sides of the field?


CB: I think Darby has shown well for the most part this season. To this point the Bills have played most passing attacks straight up leaving Gilmore and Darby on their respective sides. Beckham is a unique talent. If the defensive staff decides to have one cornerback follow him the whole game Gilmore is your guy. Beckham’s hands are so strong that you want a corner that can be physical with him not only on routes, but through to the attempt to catch. Darby can do that too, but Gilmore would be the better play if they decide to go that way.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Giants may be short at TE and DL this week

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 3:41 pm

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The New York Giants look like they could be shorthanded at a couple of positions on Sunday when they come to Buffalo.

Tom Coughlin’s team is looking short at the tight end position where only starter Larry Donnell is healthy. Both Jerome Cunningham and Daniel Fells haven’t practiced at all this week with knee and ankle injuries respectively.

A pair of starting defensive linemen in Robert Ayers and Markus Kuhn are also struggling this week. Both were limited Wednesday, but neither practiced Thursday.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday
Jerome Cunningham TE Knee DNP DNP
Daniel Fells TE Ankle DNP DNP
Robert Ayers DE Hamstring LP DNP
Victor Cruz WR Calf LP DNP
Markus Kuhn DT Knee LP DNP
Ereck Flowers T Ankle LP LP
Orleans Darkwa RB Knee LP FP
Owa Odighizuwa DE Foot LP FP
D. Rodgers-Cromartie CB Concussion FP FP

Posted in Inside the Bills

McCoy, Miller, Watkins all sidelined Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 3:34 pm

UBNS imageBills head coach Rex Ryan said it wasn’t looking promising for three of his offensive starters to be ready to return to the lineup Sunday against the Giants. All three were unable to practice for a second straight day on Thursday.

LeSean McCoy, John Miller and Sammy Watkins all sat out practice putting their availability for Sunday in further doubt. Ryan was asked if he doesn’t think McCoy or Watkins will play.

“We don’t want to say out,” said Ryan. “But yeah, I mean you guys can figure it out. They haven’t practiced the whole week and all that stuff. But there is that chance (they play).”

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday
LeSean McCoy RB Hamstring DNP DNP
John Miller G Groin DNP DNP
Sammy Watkins WR Calf DNP DNP
Marquise Goodwin WR Ribs LP LP
Dan Carpenter K Left Knee LP LP
Aaron Williams S Neck LP LP
Percy Harvin WR Hip DNP FP
Tyrod Taylor QB Ankle FP FP
Preston Brown LB Hamstring FP FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby keeping a level head

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 2:03 pm

It’s been a pretty good start to his rookie season. So good that CB Ronald Darby earned NFL Rookie of the Month honors Thursday.

“It’s a blessing,” said Darby of the award recognition. “Each day I just come out and I work. I’ve got great receivers I can work against every day. I learn something new every day from the veterans and the coaches. So I come out every day ready to compete.”

Darby said the vets in the DB room have been good about keeping him focused, but they haven’t had to do much to keep him from getting a big head.

“It’s still early. It’s only three games, but they’re keeping me level-headed,” Darby said. “But I’m real humble to begin with.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills ranking high in toxic differential

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 12:16 pm

It was a statistic invented by former Baltimore head coach Brian Billick. Toxic differential takes turnover differential, big pass play differential and big run play differential and adds them together. The higher the number the better. Through the first three games this season the Bills rank very high in toxic differential.

Buffalo’s figure is a +12 so far this season, which ranks third in the league right now behind only Carolina, which is a gaudy +17 and Cincinnati at a +14.

The Bills are a +5 in turnover margin and a +7 in big play differential so far this season. Buffalo finished 17th in the league last season in toxic differential with a -5 figure. The goal is to obviously be on the plus side in both categories.

Buffalo’s big-play ability on offense this year appears much improved from last season with Tyrod Taylor and Buffalo’s passing game weapons.

Most NFL clubs that have won the Super Bowl have finished in the top 10 in toxic differential. This year’s figures come courtesy of Sporting Charts.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Giants WR Cruz ruled out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 12:06 pm

He had a setback in practice on Wednesday and now here on Thursday the New York Giants have announced that WR Victor Cruz is out for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Head coach Tom Coughlin offered the following on Cruz’s condition.

“Victor tried it yesterday and it did not feel right to him, so he did not practice, just a little bit in very beginning,” Coughlin said. “Obviously, we’re all disappointed in that. But we choose to take the road that we really don’t have a lot of choice, which means that get him back in rehab, get him back to work and see when he can on the field. It is what it is. He tried it and didn’t make it. He will not be able to play this week.”

Dwayne Harris and Geremy Davis are expected to continue to fill the third receiver role in Cruz’s absence.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2015 – 9:29 pm

Here’s a look at where you can find Bills players on the local radio airwaves Thursday.

7:45 am – Karlos Williams – WGR 550

2:00 pm – Charles Clay – Sportsnet Fan 590

2:30 pm – Preston Brown – TSN Radio


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Giants DE, LT, WR all dealing with injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2015 – 3:19 pm

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New York Giants WR Victor Cruz suffered a setback in his attempted return from a calf injury Wednesday when he felt the calf grab on him again and was pulled from practice early. Starting DE Robert Ayers (hamstring) and starting LT Ereck Flowers (ankle) were both limited in Wednesday’s practice. Flowers did not dress last week.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Jerome Cunningham TE Knee DNP
Daniel Fells TE Ankle DNP
Robert Ayers DE Hamstring LP
Victor Cruz WR Calf LP
Orleans Darkwa RB Knee LP
Ereck Flowers T Ankle LP
Markus Kuhn DT Knee LP
Owa Odighizuwa DE Foot LP
D. Rodgers-Cromartie CB Concussion FP

Posted in Inside the Bills

Giants WR Cruz suffers setback

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2015 – 3:11 pm

He’s been trying to work his way back from a calf injury and gave indication that he expected to play this Sunday against the Bills, but reports out of New Jersey say Giants slot receiver Victor Cruz suffered a setback with his calf injury.

According to Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, Cruz was unable to practice after feeling discomfort in his calf during individual position drills. The development certainly casts doubt on Cruz returning to the lineup Sunday in Buffalo.


Cruz missed more than half of last season with a knee injury suffered in mid-October. He’s been dealing with the calf injury and had not practiced since mid-August.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron limited in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2015 – 2:32 pm

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The Bills stand a decent chance of being without four starters on Sunday against the Giants. Here’s a look at practice participation for Wednesday from the team’s injury report.

RG John Miller – groin
RB LeSean McCoy – hamstring
WR Percy Harvin – hip
WR Sammy Watkins – calf

K Dan Carpenter – knee
WR Marquise Goodwin – ribs
S Aaron Williams – neck

QB Tyrod Taylor – ankle
LB Preston Brown – hamstring

Posted in Inside the Bills