The Bills released 10-players this afternoon inching towards the final 53-man roster as the deadline comes on Saturday. With the season opener just over a week away, we asked the listeners to weigh in on the team’s possible final roster and their thoughts on today’s cuts.
As moves around the league trickle in, we decided to reach out to Sports Illustrated’s contributing writer to the MMQB Andrew Brandt. He recently wrote an article on the business side of putting together an NFL roster describing it as, The Most Wonderful Time of All. Brandt broke down the difference between the overall roster and the 46 that make it to the field on game day. He also discussed how finalizing your roster plays a big role on your salary cap and there’s more that goes into it than one would think.
“People think it’s just 53 players on your cap but it’s a lot more than that. It’s all the charges from players you cut, that you have given bonuses to that are pro-rated and stay on your cap. It’s all your injury settlements. It’s all your guys on I-R who could be big, big chunks of money like a Sam Bradford, 13 million dollars and it’s all your practice squad guys. You’re really accounting for close to 70 players by the time it’s over not 53 and as a cap manager, you have to think that way.”
Brandt talked about assembling the practice squad as well and how teams and scouts will be constantly evaluating their own team and others around the league.
Those that have been watching the preseason have been seeing a lot more yellow on the playing field with a major increase of penalty calls. Ben Austro, the editor and founder of Football Zebras called in to discuss just that. He admits that there’s a big point of emphasis with illegal contact and defensive holding. He mentioned that the VP of officiating Dean Blandino made a point of emphasis that the way they call the game in the preseason won’t change when the regular season comes around.
“These points of emphasis are essentially a seed planted in their head, so if they see this they’re going to call it because they (the officials) just went over it in the clinic. As the preseason progresses, you’re going to see those calls come out in real situations and they’re going to be evaluated on it. The grades don’t count for preseason but what they do is establish here’s what the head office is determining is a foul, is not a foul and so that four week preseason really helps the officials fine tune what came out of the clinic and in a practical life situation how they’re going to call it and how they’re going to rule it and then how are they going to grade it.”
We looked back on Thursday night’s preseason finale with highlights from Murph’s radio calls courtesy of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network. We also listened back to author Brad Schultz and his book “The NFL, Year One” which looks back on the 1970 season and the dawn of modern football. To hear that and the rest of Friday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
It’s the eve of the final preseason game for the Buffalo Bills, a game where certain players are fighting for a roster spot. We asked the listeners who is on the bubble, who is their bubble player to make the team or not make the team? We received some interesting scenarios on that. We also heard from quarterback EJ Manuel and head coach Doug Marrone who discussed the playing time for the starters tomorrow night, his quarterback, and the leadership coming from the team.
Our first guest was Jim Brandstatter, the radio color analyst for the Detroit Lions. Brandstatter gave us a preview of tomorrow night’s preseason game as the Lions come to Ralph Wilson Stadium. He talked about former Lions head coach and now Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and his time in Detroit and what led to his dismissal. He touched on quarterback Matthew Stafford who had a disappointing season last season and Stafford’s new tight end target, Eric Ebron. Ebron, the rookie out of North Carolina has been a big target in the preseason and is showing his potential value for the Lions.
“What the Lions thought he would be is what he has become. It’s a matchup problem for a defense. He can lineup as a fullback, as a wing like an H-back. He can become detached from the line of scrimmage, kind of like a flex tight end or wide receiver. He gives the defense a lot to look at and he’s got great size and decent speed, so if he gets a matchup against a linebacker or safety, he can beat them and I think that’s what the Lions were looking to add.”
Brandstatter discussed the defensive side of things for the Lions including their defensive front that includes Ndamukong Suh and the recent demotion of Nick Fairley.
As the weekend approaches and the deadline looms for roster cuts, we were joined by Western New York native Greg Gabriel who talked about the making of the 53-man roster. Gabriel is a former NFL team scout and that includes time with the Bills. His recent post on National Football Post discusses who makes the final call on the final roster, breaking down who will fit in each position, and if money is a factor for certain players. When making the call on a certain player, Gabriel says the importance of game play doesn’t always out-weigh what’s being showcased on the practice field. (10 min in)
“It’s part of the equation not the total equation. There’s practice every day. What you do in practice, what you do in the class room that counts. That counts sometimes even more than what happens in games. You can’t control what happens in a game time situation. You go into a preseason game and you want to get someone fifteen snaps but because of the flow of the game you just can’t do that, so you’re not able to evaluate that situation but you have been able to evaluate him every day in camp and on top of that you know what he’s doing in the class room, you know how he picks up your offense and defense, you know what his work habits are, you’ve worked with him every day. It’s really a two part equation and I’m going to say it’s more practice than the preseason games.”
Gabriel also touched on the importance of special teams and how those final roster decisions may rely on how a player can help on special teams.
To round out the show, we were re-joined by Bills VP of Operations and Guest Experience Andy Major. Major updated us on the renovations at the stadium and the feedback he received after the team’s first home game last Saturday. Major said the “wow-factor” for the fans has come from the new Bills Store that is a center stage visual. He also talked about the ease fans had getting into the stadium from the new entry gates. He answered various questions from listeners of the show and discussed what is ongoing with the renovations including various updated signage and how fans can give their feedback on their game day experience.
To hear more from Major and the rest of The John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills wrapped up another practice in preps for their final preseason game. Joining the team was Jordan Palmer, recently signed quarterback who was released by the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He spoke to the media following today’s session. We heard from Palmer and head coach Doug Marrone to begin tonight’s show. We also asked the listeners what they want out of a backup QB and if that guy is currently on the Bills roster.
At the bottom of the first hour, we were joined by defensive lineman Corbin Bryant. Bryant is entering his second year with the Bills. He discussed the success of the Bills defensive line and why the players that surround him have been so influential to him. He also talked about the approaching roster cuts. He reflected on his career path and the persistence he has to stick it out on an NFL roster.
“I’m always going to have the hunger, even when I was a rookie trying to make it when I was in Pittsburgh. You never want to be satisfied in this league because there are always guys coming in trying to take your place, so if you’re always hungry like you’re an undrafted free agent at the bottom of the totem pole, I think you’ll always have success.”
Bryant also discussed what he likes to do off the field, which includes reading and working out.
At the top of the hour, we were joined by Murph’s partner on the radio broadcast, color analyst Mark Kelso. Kelso has done his fair of studying this year’s Bills team and weighed in on plenty of topics and issues, including quarterback EJ Manuel.
“I don’t think he’s just letting it go and playing with just the freedom that he would if he wasn’t concentrating on all those things. I think when the regular season begins, he forgets about those things when game time shows up. When game time shows up you can’t think about your foot work. You can’t think about stepping in to every throw. You have to let it go. You have to believe what you see and I think that’s exactly what will happen. I think he’s made progress this offseason and certainly all the situations that occurred from an offensive perspective in the first half the other night (vs. Bucs) were just partly his fault.”
Kelso talked about the defensive side of the ball as well. He mentioned specifically Corbin Bryant who mentioned has “had a very fine preseason” and how the team has improved when it comes to defending the run. He also discussed how fans should watch the final preseason game and what to look for.
Finally, with many fantasy football enthusiasts gearing up to draft their team, we brought in CBS Sports Senior Fantasy Football Writer Jamey Eisenberg. Eisenberg talked about his breakout players to look for along with some possible busts. He took listener calls regarding the value for certain picks and who and when you should pick a player. When it came to the Bills, Eisenberg mentioned Fred Jackson as a value pick.
To hear more from all of Tuesday’s John Murphy Show guests, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
We start another week as we countdown to the end of the preseason and the beginning of the regular season, now just under 2-weeks away. We got plenty of sound after today’s afternoon practice. We heard from head coach Doug Marrone, Eric Wood, and receiver Sammy Watkins. We also began the show asking the listeners about what they saw from Saturday night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers and what they need to do before the regular season begins. We asked about the improvement of the run defense and if they’ve shown enough to make you think they’ve improved in that area.
Our first guest was linebacker Keith Rivers. Rivers talked about this past game against Tampa Bay, which was his first in front of Bills fans in Ralph Wilson Stadium. In that game, he was a big part of the run defense success, which is all part of the new scheme brought on by Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Rivers weighed in on that.
“Schwartz is interactive with us and he’s a great coach as well. He does a great job explain to us exactly how he wants us to get it done and it’s been exciting thus far playing under him.”
Rivers talked about the final preseason game upcoming on Thursday and what the team needs to work on with before their first regular season game at Chicago.
Our second guest was former Bills offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. He spent 27-years in the NFL, most recently as the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants where he won two Super Bowls. Now retired from the NFL, he has been added to the staff at NBC Sports Network on their new show, Pro Football Talk. He’s looking forward to joining a team on NBC that includes three former pro bowl players and even a former NFL trainer. He also discussed his time in Buffalo and working with quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 2002.
“I think we owned 13 offensive records at the end of that year. Drew had 8 individual records and the other 5 were team, offensive records. We had Eric Moulds. We had Peerless Price. Travis Henry had a great year. We had Sammy Morris as a backup and I thought our line was young but was pretty darn good…Drew Bledsoe was dying to prove that he was still a very good quarterback. He had been unseeded by Tom Brady after the injury, so he can in highly motivated and really, really played well for us that first year.”
Gilbride also talked about coaching Eli Manning who said has “tremendous self-control and a burning desire to excel.”
Finally, Ray Bentley who played linebacker for the Bills for 6 seasons joined the show. He is currently the play-by-play man during the Bills preseason games on the Bills Television Network. He weighed in on EJ Manuel and the rest of the quarterback group, adding “I’ve seen signs he (Manuel) can get this done.” In front of Manuel, Bentley talked about the transition on the offensive line and the rest of the skill position players on the roster.
On defense, Bentley has been impressed with the team’s play, especially on the front line and the secondary. He discussed the playing time when it comes to playing the starters in the team’s final preseason game. Bentley said he would like to see the first string offense play the entire first half.
To hear more from Bentley and the rest of The John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Back at One Bills Drive, all settled in and ready for the team to open their home portion of the schedule tomorrow night when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We heard from two Buffalo natives on the roster, Mike Williams and Jimmy Gaines as they talked about their return to Buffalo and playing in Ralph Wilson Stadium. We also asked the listeners what they are looking for in Saturday night’s game and who was the most valuable and most improved player during training camp.
We kicked things off by bringing in WGR’s Sal Capaccio who will be roaming the sidelines on game day as the sideline reporter for the Bills radio broadcast. Capaccio discussed his excitement for his new role and also touched on what he is looking for from the Bills tomorrow night. He specifically mentioned the wide receivers and the battle for the final roster spots, which may come on special teams.
At the bottom of the first hour, we were joined by the Buffalo Bills Bill Walsh Minority Intern Chris McAlister, who was assisting defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson during training camp. Henderson was McAlister’s coach in Baltimore when he was a pro bowl cornerback for the Ravens. McAlister weighed in on why he wanted to get into coaching following his playing career. He talked about the experience and what he saw from a deep and talented Buffalo defensive backfield.
“After watching all of them this entire training camp and really having the chance to study them on tape, they’ve done a great job of coming together as a unit. I think with the leadership they have out there with Aaron (Williams) at the back and then Leodis (McKelvin) and (Stephon) Gilmore are both playing solid when they are both healthy…These guys can do something special. I think last year they had a great year but I think this year they will be a lot better.”
McAlister reflected on his career with the Ravens including winning a Super Bowl in 2000.
At the top of the hour we were joined by former Buffalo Bills special team ace Steve Tasker. Tasker will the color analyst Saturday night on the Buffalo Bills TV broadcast along with play-by-play man Ray Bentley. He has studied the team through the first few weeks of the preseason and gave his thoughts.
“The defense is going to set the tone for the team. They are so talented and so deep across the board. I think the thing that struck me about this group, this year, on both sides of the ball and all over their roster is one, how big they are everywhere and two, how deep they are. Their offensive line seems to have enough guys plus it’s great when they’re saying we have to move some guys around to make sure we can get them on the field because there are so many good players out there. That’s something that hasn’t happened in Buffalo for a while.”
Tasker will return to his duties on Sunday with CBS, his 17th year broadcasting the games. He will be in the booth this year, part of a 3-man group with Steve Beuerlein and Andrew Catalon.
Finally, now just one day away from fans getting their chance to see the new renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium, we were joined in-studio by the Bills Vice President of Event Operations and Guest Experience Andy Major. Major talked about the different amenities that will be offered to fans this year, what has changed regarding entering the stadium and parking, which now will include the gates and lots that coincide. He discussed the fresh look with new signage and updated concessions inside the stadium.
To hear all of Friday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Our last show here in Pittsford as we depart from St. John Fisher College. The team broke camp early this afternoon. Post-practice, head coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media. We got his thoughts on the 5-week long camp. We also heard from our listeners who weighed in on tonight’s topic. What is the best thing the team got done in camp this year?
We kicked things off with a visit from quarterback EJ Manuel. He broke camp with the rest of his teammates and is looking forward to settling back in at Orchard Park and surveying to new look Ralph Wilson Stadium. He also is focused on Saturday’s upcoming game against the Bucs, the team’s fourth preseason game in which he expects to get a heavy load of playing time. With the starting offense still looking for their first touchdown, he realizes the importance of getting that done this week.
“I’m excited to have another opportunity, especially knowing I’ll probably play a lot more in this game. We obviously want to go out there on our first drive and execute a touchdown but the more bats at get, the better we’ll be.”
Manuel talked about how beneficial his first true training camp has been in the NFL after being injured last summer and missing time. He discussed the importance of having quarterback coach Todd Downing on the staff and the chemistry with offseason acquisition, Mike Williams.
At the bottom of the hour Buffalo native, UB grad, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB/DE Steven Means called in. Means is entering his second year in the NFL and continues to play well up front on the line, especially in the team’s latest preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He now returns home to Buffalo and hopes to play in front of his hometown crowd and he’s looking forward to the reunion.
“I think it’s going to be really emotional to step out there. It’s kind of like a homecoming for me. At the same time I have to stay focused. God presented that blessing for me to be able to play and I need to go out there and execute to the best of my ability. It’s going to be a great feeling stepping out on that field.”
At the top of the first hour, we were joined by former Bills linebacker and now NFL Analyst Takeo Spikes. Spikes was recently added to the roster of new analysts for NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk.
“I’ve been prepping myself for this since my fourth year in the league when I was with Cincinnati. Anytime I had the opportunity to jump into the media world or even give an interview, I remember talking to you (John Murphy) back in the day. I did it because I knew one day this is what I wanted to be associated with. I knew I did not want to coach because it would acquire too much time and I had a daughter, a newborn at the time, but I knew that by me staying in the game with the media aspect, it was a good way for me to stay apart of the game but away from the game at the same time.”
Spikes also talked about the praise he gave to his cousin and current Bills linebacker, Brandon Spikes on coming to Buffalo. Takeo talked at length about his love for the Bills fans and said they are “second to none.” He also said he thinks the Bills have more than a chance to compete with the Patriots for the division.
Finally, with less than two days until fans get to see the newly renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium, we were joined by Kelly Kerns, the principal at Populous who is leading the design work for the renovations. Kearns has been a part of improving the fan experience in numerous NFL stadiums. He said the makeover at the Ralph will be a “game changer for the fans.” He discussed the gates and entry way into the stadium which will be a cleaner and more efficient way of getting in and around the inside the stadium and plenty of other improvements that will be unveiled Saturday night.
To hear more from Kearns and the rest of Thursday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
We took the show on the road for tonight’s show, right down the street to Shooters Sports Bar & Grill in Fairport. http://www.shootersny.com/ A good turnout gave us a chance to connect with the fans and get their opinions and questions for this year’s Bills team. We had plenty of visitors throughout the night.
Our first guest was defensive end Jerry Hughes. Hughes had a breakout year last season, his first as a Bill after being traded from Indianapolis. He talked about how he’s been put in a position to make plays and “create havoc.” He said coming to Buffalo for him is not considered a fresh start.
“I feel like it was a start, honestly. I really didn’t get an opportunity to get on the field as much as I would have liked to in Indy, but last year I felt like it was the start to be completely honest…I just really wanted to get on the field and I know they told me I was going to get the opportunity to do so. When I saw my opportunities, I have to make the most of them.
Hughes also talked about the success as a whole for the defensive. He gave a lot of credit to a young but talented defensive backfield who force quarterbacks to look down to their second and third reads, which in-turn gives players like Hughes and the rest of the defensive line more time to apply pressure on the QB.
At the top of the hour we were joined on-site by offensive line coach Pat Morris. There has been shuffling along the offensive front during training camp and with the season opener now just two weeks away, Morris is confident they will solidify the o-line when they travel to Chicago.
“You want to go in and you want to feel confident that you have the best five guys that have worked and are competitors, that are tough, will go out there and protect the quarterback, and run the football. That’s the key, just because someone has been next to somebody and there’s a better guy on the bench, you can’t do that to yourself. It’s not fair to the team and I think that’s what we’re looking at.”
Morris also commented on the depth of the offensive line and mentioned specifically the added size they brought in during the offseason, including seventh round pick Seantrel Henderson who Morris said “has the desire and the love for football.”
Finally, with the Bills close to approaching their home debut we were joined on the line by Chief Marketing Officer Marc Honan. Honan talked about the recent renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium. He mentioned the new concession stands and the “super gates” to allow quicker and more efficient entry into the stadium. One of the more noticeable projects taking place deals with the three new scoreboards, which will feature more information from around the league and plenty of highlights. He also mentioned the brand new Bills Store, which is the focal point as you enter Ralph Wilson Stadium.
To hear more from Honan and the rest of The John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
At the bottom of the first hour, we were joined by tight end Lee Smith. Smith discussed the long training camp this year and how it’s helped build team chemistry and how they’ve become a “tight-knit” group because of it. He weighed in on the rest of the players in his unit and even though each of them plays the same position, he did say he’s ok with being labeled as the “blocking” tight end in the group.
“I’ve been dreaming of playing in this league since I was a little kid. To be labeled as the blocking tight end, I take pride in that. If I can be that sixth offensive lineman and get in there and grind with those big boys, that’s something I take a lot of pride in and I enjoy it. If I had to run around on a tennis court all day, I wouldn’t like it too much. Getting in there with the hogs and grinding, that’s a lot of fun.”
Smith also discussed his excitement for returning to Ralph Wilson Stadium after three straight road games.
“It’s going to feel different being back at the Ralph. They’ve done a lot of things over there and it’s going to be a great atmosphere. Playing in this league is awesome regardless of where you’re playing but there’s nothing like playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I tell people all the time, it’s the best place in the league to play and we’re fired up and we’re ready to give these fans something to shout about.”
At the top of the hour, Grantland contributing writer Bill Barnwell joined us to talk about his recent article on the site regarding the fastest teams in the NFL. He had the Bills ranked fourth in the league. “need for speed” He worked with player 40-times when it comes to skill positions like wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends. Defensively, the majority were from the defensive backfield. Even though these teams are ranked atop when it comes to overall speed, they may not be the most productive.
“Those teams have some fast players. They have some good offensive players but they are not among the better offenses in football but meanwhile the older teams in the league and the slower teams in the league rated at some of the best offenses in football. New England, Chicago, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Denver, those are teams that rated out as pretty slow against the average.”
Finally, we were joined by the Executive Director of Independent Health Foundation, Carrie Meyer. Meyer joined the show to talk about the upcoming Kids Day at Ralph Wilson Stadium sponsored by Independent Health as the Bills open the home portion of their preseason schedule. Meyer discussed their sponsorship with the Bills when it comes to the Kids Fitness Challenge and the NFL Play60 initiative. Meyer explained Saturday at the stadium will feature games for those in attendance that will involve smart decision making when it comes to healthy choices. She also touched on the atmosphere they expect when the kids invade the Ralph and encourages parents to attend the game with their children.
To hear more from Meyer and the rest of The John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
The John Murphy Show returned to the campus of St. John Fisher College for a night practice under the lights at Growney Stadium. We kicked off the show with an injury update from head coach Doug Marrone. Murph had all the calls and highlights throughout the night with sideline assistance from WGR Sports Radio’s Sal Cappacio. He gave his analysis along with providing us post practice sound from the field. You heard from C.J. Spiller, Chris Hogan, T.J. Graham, and Eric Wood.
At the top of the first hour, 13WHAM and Fox Rochester Sports Director Mike Catalana stopped by. Catalana is also the sideline reporter for the Buffalo Bills preseason television broadcasts. He gave his thoughts on the preseason, EJ Manuel, and why he feels like the defense will carry the Bills this season.
“I just see talent and I think there’s depth too, which is such a key thing. They could be a force in the front seven and deep in the defensive backfield and I think this team’s going to rely on the defense, which is something we haven’t been able to say for a little while.
To hear all the highlights of tonight’s practice click below to hear the entire John Murphy Show from Monday night.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Rounding out the week and finishing up here in Pittsburgh on the eve of the Bills third preseason game, Saturday night against the Steelers. We began the show asking the listeners what position is the strongest and deepest unit on this year’s Bills team? We received a variety of responses from the running backs, to wide receivers, to the defensive line, and even the defensive backfield. We also heard plenty of discussion on what to look for in tomorrow night’s game.
Former Bills linebacker Arthur Moats joined us as our first guest. The always smiling and always happy Moats signed on with the Steelers in the offseason and said the move to Pittsburgh is “the best fit for me and my family.” Now, he is playing under well-respected defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and is slotted in at outside linebacker.
Moats also looked back on his time here in Buffalo and discussed his strong commitment to the Buffalo community and said he looks to continue his community work now here in Pittsburgh.
At the top of the first hour, Bills defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson joined us in our hotel studio. Henderson talked about the benefits of practicing against another team with seeing different looks and routes. We went down the list of cornerbacks and safeties on the roster and he discussed what he liked from each, including Aaron Williams and Leodis McKelvin who had a breakout year in 2013.
“The reason they got better last year is because they worked hard at it. Like I said to them this year, if you even want to achieve more, you’re going to have to work even harder. I think the biggest thing for them is going to be repetition and making sure they can see things before it happens. Last year they had to see it as it was happening. This year, with the experience, I hope they can see it before it happens.”
He had praise for rookie cornerback Ross Cockrell, adding that the Duke product was very instinctive and that he “is probably the most intelligent player I’ve ever coached.”
Finally, to round out the show, Bills QB Thad Lewis stopped by. Lewis discussed the recent joint practices with the Steelers and the playing time he’s received during this preseason. He explained how important it is to take advantage of his reps to show the coaching staff he can make an impact at the quarterback position. He also discussed his progress through the first few weeks of camp after what he described as a slow start.
“When we were getting to camp, I just felt like I wasn’t myself and I had to get back to my old ways. That was just a minor adjustment here and there but right now I feel like I’m locked in and feel like everything is going good, especially having a good week going into the Panthers game and now having a good week this week. I’m thankful and grateful for the opportunity.”
Lewis talked about the quarterback competition to backup EJ Manuel and how Nathaniel Hackett’s offensive goal is to dictate the pace by including both a huddle and no-huddle offensive system.
To hear the complete John Murphy Show from Friday, click below:
Posted in Inside the Bills
Another night in Pittsburgh as the team wraps up their joint practice sessions with the Steelers in advance of their game Saturday night. We heard from Brandon Spikes to begin the show as he mentioned how he wants to see better play from the defense when it comes to stopping the run. We asked the listeners with the addition of Spikes, Keith Rivers, and the new defensive scheme under Jim Schwartz, will the Bills improve when it comes to their run defense?
Towards the end of Thursday’s practice, Bills Insider Chris Brown called in to discuss his evaluations from field level. He pointed out a strong day by rookie cornerback Ross Cockrell and gave his assessment on quarterback EJ Manuel.
After practice, Steelers special teams coordinator and former Bills coordinator Danny Smith joined us. Smith is in his second year with Pittsburgh, returning to his hometown. It’s his 20th year in the NFL and he explained his love for coaching special teams. He looked back at his time with the Bills, 3-years under then head coach Gregg Williams. He coached punter Brian Moorman who he said is “mentally tough” to have his current longevity in the league. Smith also weighed in on the preseason rule change to extend the length of extra points and how different the taller goal posts are.
At the top of the first hour we were joined by Pro Football Focus Analyst Pete Damilatis who recently released his 2014 Buffalo Bills season preview on the site. He broke it up into two parts, 5 reasons to be concerned and 5 reasons to be confident, which included the depth at wide receiver and the strength of the Bills defensive line. He also mentioned C.J. Spiller as having a breakout year.
Damilatis added that offensive tackle Cordy Glenn’s analytic grade increased significantly in his second year and said, if healthy, there’s reason to be confident in the Bills offense with Glenn rising to be great as anchor on the left side.
Speaking of the offense and C.J. Spiller, the running back joined us in the last half-hour. Spiller touched on the joint practices this week including the physical nature that was displayed on day one in Latrobe. He talked about the recent success of the running game and how the offense needs to build off of that heading into Saturday’s game with the Steelers. He also mentioned how he’s a better and more complete back entering his fifth year in the league.
“I’m more patient now. If you go back and look at my rookie tape you’ll see the impatience. I always wanted to have that big homerun threat every time I got it but now having two great running back coaches in coach (Curtis) Modkins and now coach (Tyrone) Wheatley. A 3-yard run is a great run in this league and that’s how I’ve had to switch my mindset. If those big ones happen you have to take advantage of it and that’s what my offensive line, they do a great job, so when I get an open space I have to make sure I reward those guys.”
Spiller discussed the rest of the running back group and how there’s no issue at all with whoever is on the field. Spiller said “we all have faith in each other that whoever is out there will get the job done.” He also talked about how the fullbacks on the team will play a big role, adding “I just love seeing my fullback out there having success and beat some people’s heads in.”
To hear more from Spiller, click below to hear the complete John Murphy Show from Thursday.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Wednesday’s John Murphy Show from downtown Pittsburgh at the Wyndham Grand Hotel. The Bills and Steelers underway with their joint team practices at St. Vincent College over in Latrobe. The action got underway late Wednesday afternoon.
We heard from Head Coach Doug Marrone, General Manager Doug Whaley on his return to Pittsburgh, and Aaron Williams thoughts on the sessions with the Steelers. We also got a complete practice recap from Bills Insider Chris Brown.
After the team arrived back at the hotel, receiver Mike Williams was kind enough to swing by to discuss what happened on the field and how he thinks the practices will help better the team. He also talked about his quarterback EJ Manuel and how impressed he was from him on day one.
“He looked very confident. For him to go out there, going through all his reads, hitting a couple check-downs, hitting receivers down field. I liked how he looked versus the Steelers today. We know they probably didn’t give us all their looks but for what they gave us and for what we gave them, he looked good doing it.”
Williams also discussed his greatest asset of his game, going up and grabbing the football saying “those are the catches you’re going to see all year. Like I told EJ (Manuel), put it in the sky, I’m going to get it.”
We were also joined by Dr. David Chao, a former NFL team doctor and contributor to National Football Post. Chao weighs in on the medical side of the NFL. During the NFL season, he gives real time insight on different injuries throughout that week’s games on the Monday Morning MD.
Dr. Chao talked about his most recent article on how the Achilles tears are the new “ACL”. He also discussed the importance for concussion awareness.
To hear the complete John Murphy Show from Wednesday, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
As the Bills depart for their practice sessions and game with the Steelers, we caught up with a couple of offensive players who gave their opinions on the joint practices in Pittsburgh. We heard from wide receivers Robert Woods and Chris Hogan.
We also got some insight from center Eric Wood. Wood joined us at the bottom of the first hour to discuss his first time practicing against another team. He talked about what he anticipates from these upcoming sessions with the Steelers.
“I’d imagine they’d be pretty intense. We have a lot that we’re fighting for as an offense and as a team but there’s also a lot of guys fighting to make this team and I’m sure those guys are really looking forward to the opportunity to go out and prove themselves tomorrow and Thursday out on the practice field as well as Saturday in the game. I’d imagine it’d be pretty intense.”
Wood weighed in on the progress of the offense saying “if we want to become a top offense in the league, we have a lot of work to do and it’s not going to happen overnight.” He said the work during training camp and preseason will hopefully bring out more ups than downs and the progress is already showing. Wood also mentioned the rest of his offensive linemen teammates and how they collectively welcome the challenge to increase production, specifically in the run game. You will hear how he embraces being a captain on the team as well.
At 8pm, Columnist for National Football Post Jack Bechta joined us. Bechta gave his reasons for why we should be watching preseason football and what the league could do to better the product. He mentioned including more joint controlled practices which could be televised with a “Hard Knocks” type production. He suggested increasing the regular season by stretching the schedule out by including 2 or 3 bye weeks.
Bechta, also an NFL agent, had an interesting take on how far a player should go during the preseason when it comes to their playing time on special teams. For some he tells them to try to avoid the extra wear and tear but for others, special teams could be their only way of making an NFL roster.
Veteran Rochester sportscaster Scott Pitoniak came on during the last half hour to promote his new radio show on ESPN Rochester 95.7FM “The Radio Press Box,” which he will co-host with Dan Borrello will debut Wednesday night from 3-7pm. Pitoniak is excited to talk about what he called “Rochester’s hometown team” in the Bills, even though they are 75 miles away.
“It’s almost like we’re a suburb of Buffalo in terms of Bills interest and how people feel about the team here. It’s clearly their team as well and it’s laid out in the ticket sales where you have 10, 15, 20-thousand people coming from this area for a Bills home game. I’m not surprised by the depth of knowledge because we have to keep feeding into that. The fans have become a lot more sophisticated and their passion is running deeper than ever.”
Pitoniak discussed the Bills preseason and why he’s encouraged with the Bills offense. He mentioned specifically the Bills running game which he thinks will help offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback EJ Manuel.
Throughout the night we asked listeners to give their thoughts on the structure of the preseason schedule. How many games should make up the preseason? Is the current four, in the Bills case five too many, especially considering the joint practices with the Steelers?
To hear those responses and the rest of Tuesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Back at One Bills Drive for tonight’s show. We started the program asking for the listeners thoughts on Friday night’s preseason game against the Panthers. We also asked about the running back situation and what you would do with a roster full of RB talent? We recapped the game with all the highlights courtesy of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network with the play-by-play calls by John Murphy himself.
Our first guest continues to make plays on defense during the preseason. Bills defensive lineman Landon Cohen joined us at the bottom of the first hour. Cohen talked about recently joining the game and how he’s been able to make an immediate impact.
“I’m one of those guys, I never get too high or I never get too low. The only thing I’m doing is what I’m supposed to do. A defensive tackle in the NFL is supposed to make tackles. You’re supposed to be accountable to your teammates. It’s not anything extraordinary.”
Cohen discussed how he does Bikram Yoga to help keep his focus, which in turn helps on game days. He also partakes in Brazilian Jujitsu to help with leverage and the mind game that goes into football and playing against your opponent.
To some preseason football isn’t their style. They can’t wait until September hits and the regular season gets underway. Kenneth Arthur from Rolling Stone Magazine called in at the top of the hour to discuss why one should embrace preseason action because it involves all the drama that is currently being played out on today’s television shows. Arthur compares the NFL players fighting for a spot on the roster to the way a dramatic screenplay unfolds.
“There’s going to be some plays that make your jaw drop. I would definitely say that at least if it’s your favorite team, you’ve got to be tuning in every week. Get to know who these guys are so that when the regular season comes on, you’re informed, you can talk about them, and feel like the smartest guy in the room.”
Finally, we heard from Chris Perkins, NFL Dolphins beat reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He discussed the Dolphins recent signing of quarterback Brady Quinn leading to speculation of worry for backup QB Matt Moore. Ryan Tannehill continues to look impressive early in the preseason, especially in the offensive system under new coordinator Bill Lazor. Perkins also discussed the new-look offensive line Miami has put together and the suspensions of two defensive players, leaving the team shorthanded when the regular season begins.
To hear more from The John Murphy Show, click here.
Posted in Inside the Bills
After two preseason games, and three weeks of training camp, the chemistry between QB EJ Manuel and veteran WR Mike Williams is starting to develop.
In Friday’s preseason win in Carolina, the pair connected for a 28-yard pass play down the middle when Manuel threw it high and Williams went over DB Josh Norman to bring it in.
In Sunday’s after practice at training camp, Manuel and Williams were at it again. EJ found Williams in the end zone during red zone work in one of the early 11-on-11 sessions. And Williams was targeted several times in later red zone work as well.
Williams says he wants to be the quarterback’s go-to guy in the red zone, and he practically guarantees success when he’s thrown the ball.
“I always tell them there’s a 96-percent chance–the other 4-percent is their fault,” he laughed. “I always tell them, throw it to the clouds, I’m going to find a way to bring it down.”
“It’s true,” Manuel says. “He’s done it day and day out and he’s been very consistent as far as tracking the ball, whether it’s a fade or a deep ball or a post. I think a great example of that was how we did it in the game. The corner played off him a little bit and I just stuck it on him, he went up and made a great catch. Having that as a security blanked with a wide receiver is awesome for us. “
Williams says he focuses on making big impact catches, for touchdowns and first downs, instead of worrying about how many passes he catches in a game.
” My mom always said, ‘make them see you when they’re supposed to see you.’ That’s what she always said to me,” Williams said. “That’s like big first downs, touchdowns, those are the ones they see. They don’t see the first play of the game, slants or the second play of the game, curl route. As soon as you catch that third and 15 or game-tieing touchdowns, those are the ones they remember. It kinda seems like that’s how my career is going.”
Tags: Bills Camp, EJ Manuel, Mike Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
A long, hot practice in the sunshine at Bills camp made for some competitive, chippy play on Sunday. And both the Bills offense and defense were not shy about letting the other side know when they made big plays.
Veteran wideout Mike Williams took an extra long bow to the crowd after catching a tough touchdown pass in traffic during red zone work. And Williams curtain call resulted in DB Corey Graham throwing the ball at him after he started to return to the huddle.
“I had about six touchdowns today,” Williams said after practice. “It’s very competitive, we wanted to make it like that. We always want to make it competitive, we want them (defense) to compete, so we can be our best on Sundays.”
Safety Aaron Williams embraced the competitive, fiery nature of Sunday’s practice.
“It’s just one of the things we’re trying to do to get better,” he said. “We don’t want to take crap from anybody. When somebody jumps in your face we’re not going to let it go. We’re trying to be a different defense, more attitude, and just trying to have the attitude that we’re going to win and it has to happen on both sides.”
Tags: Aaron Williams, Bills Camp, Corey Graham, Mike Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
On the eve of preseason game number two, we take the show on the road. Live from WBT Radio in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. As the Bills prepare to take on the Panthers Friday night, we asked the listeners how long they think starting QB EJ Manuel should play in tomorrow night’s game. We also got feedback on what the fans want to see from the team overall.
One player who has made an impact and is looking to continue his strong play is linebacker Nigel Bradham. Bradham is taking over for the injured Kiko Alonso on the weak side as he is tops on the depth chart. He discussed his skillset similarities to Alonso, coverage responsibilities, and rushing the passer. Bradham also talked about head coach Doug Marrone’s message and expectations for his team.
“We can go out there and dominate. That’s what we expect. We just have to follow his (Doug Marrone) plan. We believe in his plan. We just have to execute his plan and go out there and be a dominate team on defense, offense, and special teams, just dominate at once.”
Bradham made some big plays last week against the Giants and talked about the importance of winning in the preseason. He mentioned this upcoming game and the possibility of going up against Cam Newton as well.
At the top of the hour, Bills Digest Editor Mark Ludwiczak called in to discuss Bills training camp so far and what to expect here in the preseason. He gave his thoughts on what he’s seen from EJ Manuel. He feels that there’s not much to judge early in this preseason and wants the quarterback to get a full half in Friday night’s game, to see EJ make the right reads and get the offense in the endzone. He also talked about the abundance of talent on the roster.
“I think when you look especially at the skill positions of offense and then that defensive line. To me, on paper, this is probably the most talented Bills team we’ve seen on paper in maybe 10 years. They have players in place to make a difference. It’s so interesting to see how much of it falls on the quarterback because that’s just how the league is these days.”
We had another guest in the second hour. Cory Mummery, the GM of NFL Now joined us to discuss the recent launch of the app. NFL Now is video information for the biggest fan. One can pick their favorite team and/or players and then personalize the videos they want to see. This is all part of obtaining inside access from your favorite team throughout the season.
“We take all those small video clips. We parse them up into exactly what the user is interested in. Let’s say they’re a Bills fan, let’s say they play fantasy football as well, they would get the video for their fantasy football players as well as the Buffalo Bills. They won’t have to wait when you’re watching a sports telecast and wait for that one segment that you’re most interested in. You get all those segments delivered straight to you.”
For more on NFL Now you can sign up at www.nfl.com/now
Finally, as we look ahead to Friday night’s game, we had on the color analyst and preseason play-by-play man for the Panthers Jim Szoke. Szoke talked about the departure of receiver Steve Smith and some other impact players that left in free agency. This year’s team is part of a transition to younger players taking a leadership role. Szoke talked about the potential for Kelvin Benjamin, who was drafted late in the first round, to possibly take Steve Smith’s place as the top wide-out. He also weighed-in on Cam Newton and the chances of the star QB making an appearance against the Bills and his next level of potential.
You can hear all we had to offer from Thursday by clicking below to listening to the entire John Murphy.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Last day of practice before the team departs for Carolina and their game against the Panthers Friday night. We began the show asking the viewers their pick for the most underrated player on the team. There was quite a variety of responses ranging from Robert Woods to Nickell Robey. We also heard from head coach Doug Marrone and quarterback EJ Manuel after today’s practice session.
Our first guest was quarterback Jeff Tuel. Tuel had an impressive game Sunday night against the Giants, getting reps with the number two offense. Tuel hooked up with Robert Woods for the first and only touchdown of the game for the Bills. He talked about this past weekend and also looked ahead to the upcoming game in Carolina. He has put in the work during this offseason and in camp and now has a solid grasp of the offense. Tuel said he wants to know the system “better than coach Hackett” and work to better himself and at the same time help the other quarterbacks on the roster.
“Thad (Lewis) and I are going back and forth. I think it’s great for the room. I think it’s great for each other. I think it’s good for EJ (Manuel) as well. Any competition is good competition so work on all-for-one and one-for-all. I’m going to push Thad and Thad’s going to push me. We’re both going to push EJ. Whatever it is, I think it’s really healthy for the room and the team.”
Tuel discussed his new quarterback coach Todd Downing and how he’s helped the offense. He also touched on the receiving group and how it’s easy to “just cut it loose for those guys.”
At the top of the hour we were joined by Kevin Clark, the National NFL writer for the Wall Street Journal. Clark recently wrote an article about the future of defense in the NFL. He discussed specifically the hybrid safety role. He mentions specifically Rob Ryan’s defensive scheme in New Orleans using Kenny Vaccaro in an unconventional way lining up, at times, in the linebacker spot.
Clark also talked about the tablet technology that teams are utilizing. Coaches and players use their tablets to watch game film and gather information in a dependable and reliable way. Clark mentioned those teams that understand the up-to-date technology can be more efficient in their game planning.
Finally, we were joined by NY Jets Team Insider Eric Allen. Allen discussed a variety of topics relating to the Jets, including the quarterback situation between Geno Smith and offseason acquisition Michael Vick. He weighed in on the other training camp battles as well. Allen also gave us the story lines for the team’s preseason debut, Thursday night against the Colts.
To hear more from Allen and the rest of Wednesday’s guests, click below to hear the entire John Murphy Show.
Posted in Inside the Bills
The John Murphy Show returned to St. John Fisher College for a practice under the lights, up in the broadcast booth calling tonight’s action. All the play-by-play action including analysis from Mark Kelso who was alongside Murph.
Plenty of highlights and viewer calls regarding the team’s latest preseason game this past weekend against the Giants. You’ll also hear from Head Coach Doug Marrone as he addresses the plan for playing time for his starting quarterback, EJ Manuel.
To hear all the highlights from Tuesday night’s practice click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
The show returned to One Bills Drive Monday night after a weekend trip to Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame weekend. We looked back on Andre Reed’s enshrinement and played portions of his emotional speech. We also recapped last night’s preseason game against the Giants. Plenty of listener calls chiming in with their opinion of the game. We heard post game sound from Jeff Tuel, Robert Woods, and center Eric Wood on their preseason debut.
Bills Insider Chris Brown joined us in the second hour of the show. He and Murph discussed what they liked from last night’s game. Brown touched on the battle for the number two quarterback spot between Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel. Tuel played well in Sunday’s game, hooking up with receiver Robert Woods for the team’s only touchdown but Brown said there was other areas of his game that impressed him.
“The one area where he looks really good is when he climbs the pocket. When that first read is not initially there, he keeps his eyes down field. He can sense the pressure and he climbs the pocket and then delivers the football…More often than not, I’m really encouraged with what I see there. That’s what an advanced quarterback in the NFL, one that’s been in the league four or five years. To start seeing that from him in his second year is pretty encouraging.”
Brown talked about the offensive line and some of the younger players up front including 7th round pick Seantrel Henderson who had solid play at tackle.
To hear more from Chris Brown and Murph, click the full John Murphy Show link, below.
Posted in Inside the Bills