We’re turning the corner on the week as we inch towards Sunday’s game against the Chargers. The team held their weekly media day on Wednesday. We heard from plenty of players and even head coach Doug Marrone as we installed another edition of Around the Locker Room. As far as the topic of the night, we brought up the Bills teams of the past to start the year off 2-0, so we asked the listeners, how long into this season will it take for you to believe that this year’s team is different and they are legitimate contenders?
Our first guest is a familiar name to those of Western New York. St. Francis grad and Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco called in to the show. He talked about returning to his hometown and how it’s nice to see family and friends but mentioned his main priority is to come in and get his team back-to-back wins. He then discussed all the Buffalo connections that are part of his Chargers staff including QB coach Nick Sirianni, tight ends coach Pete Metzelaars, and offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
“It’s not by accident. Those guys are really good at what they do. In terms of Frank and Pete, those are two guys that played for a Hall of Fame coach in Buffalo under Marv Levy and they coached under Tony Dungy in Indianapolis for a long time and hopefully Tony will make the Hall pretty soon. Those guys have great backgrounds and we’re really happy to have them.”
Telesco also talked about the heavy influence he received from Bill Polian and his son Chris Polian who is also a St. Francis grad.
At the top of the first hour we were joined by Bills safety Aaron Williams. He stopped by our studio to discuss Sunday’s game. He talked in depth about the offensive playmakers on the Chargers including how to defend against Antonio Gates. When it came to quarterback Phillip Rivers, he compared his style to that of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.
“You think he’s going to be sacked and go down but somehow, someway he finds a way to get out and extend the play. You have seen a few times when they replay, the ball almost comes out of his hands in the pocket but he has strong enough hands to hold onto the ball, escape the pressure and then just dink it off with an awkward balance throw but he makes it.”
Williams also talked about the crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium as he believes they will be even louder on Sunday. He weighed in on the overall defense saying that they will be even better than they were last year but they want to generate more turnovers.
Finally, we caught up with former Bills wide receiver Lee Evans. Evans will be Leading the Charge as the Bills are introduced before Sunday’s game and said he’s excited to be part of the team’s introduction this weekend. Evans looked back at his career in Buffalo including his rookie year in 2004 when the Bills were one win away from making the playoffs which led him to discuss this year’s Bills team.
“Where they are right now, I know the excitement and I know the feeling around the city but even with that, hopefully they can just continue to build on it and finish a lot stronger than we did in years past.”
To hear more from Evans and the rest of Wednesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
The show returned to its regularly scheduled spot tonight as we continued to look back at the team’s latest win over the Dolphins. Our topic of discussion dealt with the offensive production thus far. They’ve put together three offensive touchdowns so far. We asked with that pace, is that enough to help win games and have a successful season? We received plenty of reaction siding with the need for more offensive production, especially in the red zone but most believe it’s all part of the growth process.
The team made a roster move on Tuesday bringing in linebacker Larry Dean. Dean was an undrafted free agent of the Minnesota Vikings and has appeared in 48-games during his three-year stint there. Dean joined us in studio to talk about the move and how he can assist within the linebacking group and on special teams. He discussed how he made his mark on special teams during his time in Minnesota.
“That was the role I’ve been coached to play and that was my role for the team at that time and that’s what I’ve embraced because that’s what they wanted me to do. I don’t consider myself just to be a special teams player, I am an outside linebacker who plays special teams. That was what the team wanted me to do and that’s what was best for the team at that time and I embraced the role to the fullest of my ability and I excelled at it.”
Dean touched on his relationship with Bills linebacking coach Fred Pagac who coached him in Minnesota. He also talked about his path to the NFL coming from a small division-II school in Georgia, Valdosta State. He discussed not getting his name called on draft day and having to wait through the lockout before finally hearing from the Vikings.
At the top of the hour we were joined by sports writer David Dorsey of The Fort Myers News-Press and author of the new book Fourth Down in Dunbar. The book deals with a historically segregated community of Fort Myers that’s brimming with NFL talent. Names like Deion Sanders, Jevon Kearse, and Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who graces the cover, avoided going down the path of drugs and trouble off the field to make a positive name for themselves in representing their hometown. Dorsey laid out the reputation and following that Sammy Watkins has back in his hometown.
“Right now he represents hope for the community…We’re very fortunate to have someone of his caliber representing the city on a bigger stage right now, on a national stage.”
The book can purchased on Amazon and is scheduled for release on September 23rd.
Finally, we were joined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame President and Executive Director David Baker. He came in to discuss this weekend’s Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence Presentation for Andre Reed. Reed will be part of the half time ceremony during Sunday’s Bills-Chargers game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He talked about the importance of making sure that each player inducted gets their ring at the stadium they played in.
To hear more from all of the guests on Tuesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
The countdown continues as we’re now just days away from the Bills home opener, Sunday against the Dolphins. We had a shortened version of The John Murphy Show tonight. We received an updated injury report and heard from head coach Doug Marrone and quarterback EJ Manuel.
In the first half-hour we caught up with Dolphins linebacker Jason Trusnik who called-in to discuss the upcoming game at the Ralph. Trusnik is part of a depleted Miami linebacking corp. He talked about the challenge of going up against the Bills offense including the “1-2 punch” of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Trusnik, a graduate of Division III Ohio Northern, also discussed climbing the ranks from a small school program, which he related to Bills RB Fred Jackson.
“The more we move forward with the recruiting process, D-III will get a better look. There have been some guys like London Fletcher and Fred Jackson who have made a big impact. To continue to follow along these footsteps and make an impact to show that D-III guys can make it and that there’s opportunities for them to make it in the NFL. It’s always something we’re pushing for.”
Bills cornerback Corey Graham joined us in-studio after Trusnik to talk about his homecoming of sorts. He’s a Buffalo native and talked about his excitement of playing in front of his family and friends at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Graham also weighed-in on the recent ownership news and mentioned how excited he is for the team and especially for the fans that do not have to worry about not having a team to root for on Sunday’s.
“It’s a special moment for the Buffalo Bills and the rest of Western New York. We have an opportunity now, hoping the franchise is going to be here no matter what, they’ll always have an opportunity to enjoy football.”
With that recent news and the anticipation of the home opener, Graham talked about how loud and crazy the fans will be come Sunday saying “we want them to be as loud as they can.” We finished the segment discussion the game itself. Graham focused on Miami’s two receivers, Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline.
To hear more from Graham and the rest of Thursday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Wednesday is the day the team turns its attention to the Miami Dolphins. Plenty of locker room sound including another edition of Around the Locker Room. We touched on Tuesday’s ownership news and the upcoming game against the Dolphins which led to tonight’s show topic. We asked the listeners, when was the last time there was this much hype heading into the home opener?
Our first guest was Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham. Bradham will be returning to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension. He talked about watching the Bears game alone on TV and how hard it was for him to do so. Bradham also talked about his excitement in returning to the field for the home opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium, especially with the recent news surrounding the team with the future ownership change.
“We’re all excited. We know it’s great for the community. We know it’s going to be exciting for the fans. They are already ecstatic on game day here. I know they’re even more excited now and then we’re 1-0 right now and this is a division game so there’s just so much for them and I know it’s going to be crazy loud. It’s definitely going to be appreciated for our defense come third down.”
Bradham also talked about the run game and stopping Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno. He weighed in on his Florida State teammate, EJ Manuel and how he’s progressing with the offense and his coaches.
At the top of the hour we were joined by author Joseph Valerio, who recently released his new book Second to None which chronicles the Bills Super Bowl years during 1991-1994. He conducted interviews with all the top players during that time including Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas and even head coach Marv Levy and Bill Polian. He talked about why he chose to write about that era of Buffalo Bills football.
“The fact that they went to four straight Super Bowls. I consider that a remarkable feat and an accomplishment of resilience, determination, and perseverance. You always hear coaches say it’s so hard to get to the Super Bowl. It’s really hard to get to the Super Bowl but then you get there and you lose your first Super Bowl in the most heartbreaking way but you have the resolve to come back year after year after year and chase that dream. I really thought that was remarkable.”
Finally, Former NFL scout and National Football Post contributor Greg Gabriel made his return to the show to discuss his Introduction to Scouting Class. The class provides those interested in getting into football scouting a 5-week online tutorial to help improve one’s knowledge of the game and the fundamentals of scouting. The course goes over each position and what to look for in a certain player. Gabriel went on to talk about the difficulty of the job but said it certainly can fit someone with a real passion for the game.
“I think it’s the NFL. It’s part of the big game and the enterprise that the NFL is today. Everybody thinks they know about football and players and that it’s easy to scout but it really isn’t because let’s say you’re taking an offensive lineman, you’re starting off with his stance and going forward from there. What’s he look like in his stance, his first step coming out, his reaction to the snap, his steps to the block, his explosion through hips. You’re looking at a number of different things on each individual play and you have a checklist if he’s doing it right or if he’s doing it wrong…when you do that for every position there’s a lot to know and a lot to understand.”
To hear more from Gabriel and the rest of Wednesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
With Tuesday’s announcement that the Wilson trust has agreed to sell the team to Terry and Kim Pegula, we received plenty of reaction from fans sharing their excitement and emotions with the recent news of the future ownership change. John Murphy also shared his thoughts with an insightful and heartfelt message to begin the show.
One who is in close contact with Terry Pegula is former Buffalo Sabre and Sabres Alumni Relations Director Larry Playfair. Playfair called in to say “what a great time it is to be a Buffalonian” and his thoughts on why Terry Pegula will be a great fit as the owner of the Buffalo Bills. He gave specific examples from inside the Sabres organization and how it will translate to good things here with the Bills.
At the top of the hour we were joined by Penn State men’s hockey coach Guy Gadowsky. Gadowsky is entering his fourth year as the only coach the program has had. The push to create a Division I hockey team at the school was backed and heavily supported by Terry Pegula, a Penn State alumnus. Gadowsky discussed why Buffalo Bills fans should be excited.
“Obviously he loves Buffalo so you know the Bills are staying there. That’s one reason. The biggest reason from my standpoint is that he is such a quality person. He has a really unique ability that you know who he is but then after less than a minute he makes you forget who he is. You end up just talking to a really cool guy. That’s probably the best way I can explain it. He is a tremendous person and a great person to be associated with, that’s for sure.”
Finally, keeping with the news of the day, we were joined by Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. Thomas who called in from New York City at Joe Namath’s golf tournament and mentioned how a random Buffalo Bills fan came up to him and embraced him with a hug and told him to thank the Pegulas. Thomas talked about how the ownership is bringing everything together.
“This is the first time in a long time, being 1-0, coming back with a division rivalry. It means something not only for the players but for city, too. To have this news about Pegula coming out, I’ll tell you what, these players, if they ain’t fired up yet, I don’t know what’s going to get them fired up.”
To hear more of Tuesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
A Football Monday John Murphy Show as we went on air for a morning edition of the show. Plenty of listener calls giving their thoughts on the Bills overtime win in Chicago. Post game reaction from the locker room with another edition of Around the Locker Room. We also heard all the highlights courtesy of the play-by-play voice, John Murphy and the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.
With his first career interception in the win over the Bears, defensive tackle Kyle Williams stopped by our studio to discuss just that. He broke down the play and how he read Jay Cutler’s eyes and knew he had a chance at the pick. Williams discussed the importance of getting turnovers, especially on the road against the high potent Bears offense.
“For us to get turnovers on the road like that is huge for us. Obviously, when we come home and we have the noise, we want to create miscommunication for their offense and help us be able to get turnovers at home but going on the road and getting turnovers and getting our offense the ball back is invaluable.”
Williams also talked about his excitement for coming home to Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday when the team hosts the Dolphins.
We were also joined by Bills Insider Chris Brown who joined us to break down the game. He talked about the Fred Jackson run in overtime that led to the game winning field goal. Brown also discussed his thoughts on EJ Manuel’s first game of 2014, special teams, and the defense including the solid play of cornerback Corey Graham who filled in for an injured Stephon Gilmore.
To hear all of that and more of Monday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Last show before we head to Chicago for the season opener against the Bears. We ran down the news of the day including the updated injury report. We heard from a couple defensive backs on going up against a strong Bears offense and EJ Manuel and Fred Jackson from the offensive side of the ball. We also asked the listeners their thoughts on the upcoming season. How will the Bills finish the year and what do you expect come Sunday in Chicago?
At the bottom of the first hour, Murph’s partner on the radio broadcast, Mark Kelso called in to discuss this upcoming game and breakdown the matchup when it comes to the Bills offense against the Bears defense, a defense that has some holes in it.
“They will have to control the game on the ground and I think that’s the first thing they’re going to have to do. I think there’s opportunities in the play action pass game too because the Bears like to defend the run on first down. Last year they (Bears) gave up a league worst 5.3-yards per rush against their opponents and they gave up over 160-yards per game on the ground. They were the league’s worst in a couple defensive categories.”
When it came to the Bills defense, Kelso says they may have their hands full when it comes to defending Jay Cutler and the rest of the Bears offense. He says cornerback Stephon Gilmore and the defensive backs will have to play a key role on Sunday going up against Brandon Marshall and the rest of Chicago’s wide receiver group.
“They have to find ways to defend them a little differently. If they’re going to play man, they better bring some serious pressure. I think they can roll up on those guys sometimes and play over the top and play a cover 2 and sometimes plays a cover 3 but roll everyone off and get some collisions. You have to have bodies on those guys and make it difficult coming off the line of scrimmage.”
At the top of the hour we were joined by NFL Network host Dan Hellie who will be the host of the new show on the network GameDay Live. The show will air every Sunday and will start at 1:00 PM ET and will go all the way through the afternoon games supplying analysis and highlights. Hellie will work with analysts Heath Evans, Brian Billick, LaDainian Tomlinson and Daniel Jeremiah to give their thoughts on the games including news/injury updates. He also weighed in with his thoughts on the Bills and why he’s hopeful that receiver Sammy Watkins will help elevate quarterback EJ Manuel.
Finally, Bills rookie linebacker Preston Brown stopped by our studio. Brown is gearing up for his first NFL start Sunday. He discussed replacing Nigel Bradham on the outside and defending the Bears high powered offense that includes running back Matt Forte.
He also talked about his relationship with his college coach at Louisville, Charlie Strong. Before Louisville, Strong coached at Florida where he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Under him at Florida was Brown’s teammate Brandon Spikes. That’s where the two teammates share a common connection.
“He (Charlie Strong) would always talk about Spikes basically every day when we were at practice. He really had some great linebackers at Florida and he tried to bring that competition back to Louisville.”
Brown also discussed what coach Strong told him about Spikes.
“Just how physical and great player he was at the college level and he’s continued to do that now. He was just telling me how to read like him, how to come down hill and be physical against offensive lineman. We would watch a lot of the Florida games his first couple years there.”
To hear more from Brown and the rest of Friday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
A shortened version of the show tonight as the NFL kicks off the regular season. With that, we asked the listeners their picks for this year’s Super Bowl matchup and who will take it all. There were plenty responses choosing Seattle, New England, Denver, and even New Orleans.
As the Bills ready for their matchup with the Bears they met the media once again after today’s practice session. We put together another version of Around the Locker Room where we heard from a handful of players including Stephon Gilmore, Chris Williams, and Fred Jackson.
Later in the show, we were joined by former Bills punter and football commentator Paul Maguire. Maguire looked back on his playing career in Buffalo and on his broadcast career which spanned the NFL and college ranks. Maguire will be emceeing next weekend’s Bills Alumni V.I.P. Gala which will honor Ralph Wilson, Jr. He gave his thoughts on the Bills late owner.
“It was phenomenal what this guy did for Buffalo. The most important thing is what he said in his lifetime, as long as he owned the Buffalo Bills they will always be in Buffalo and John, you knew he could have sold this team and gone somewhere else. That was a man of his word to Buffalo and to everyone that knew him.”
For more information on next weekend’s festivities you can visit www.BuffaloBillsAlumni.com or call (716) 694-7867
To hear more from Maguire and the rest of Thursday’s John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Back in-house at One Bills Drive for another John Murphy Show as inch our way towards the start of the 2014 NFL Season. We asked the viewers if they’re optimistic or pessimistic about this year’s Bills team and their chances this weekend in Chicago? We introduced a new segment to the show as we went Around the Locker Room. We heard from a handful of players including Sammy Watkins, EJ Manuel, Mario Williams, and even head coach Doug Marrone.
Our first guest is a Youngstown, NY native and Lewiston-Porter grad, Daryl “Moose” Johnston. Johnston will be the color analyst for Fox’s coverage of this weekend’s Bills game. He discussed the move from the playing field in the NFL to the broadcast booth and says he still gets excited for the NFL opener because he says he still remains a big fan of the game. As he readies for this Sunday’s game, he weighed in on EJ Manuel and what he hopes to see from the second year quarterback and what he believes is the strength of the team, the defense under Jim Schwartz.
“You saw what they did last year. You see the talent in that group. That’s going to be the key and I think people are going to enjoy Jim Schwartz’s style of defense…Jim brings a swagger. He brings a personality to the defensive side of the ball. He’s going to be very aggressive and you look at the talent that they have there. I think it meshes well with the style of defense and the tenacity that Jim requires and requests from his players. I think the big thing from a positive standpoint is the defense should be good.”
Johnston also talked about his relationship with Doug Marrone and how he acquired the nickname “Moose” during his rookie year in Dallas.
At the bottom of the second hour, Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas called in to the show. Thurman weighed in on the Bills preseason and his hopes come the regular season. With the Bills kicking things off on the road, Thurman said it might be better for the team to start away from home and hopefully pull out a win to build confidence.
“I’m optimistic about what lies ahead. I think this is a big test for them. Obviously, with having (Alshon) Jeffery and (Brandon) Marshall on the offense with Jay Cutler and (Matt) Forte, I think it’s huge for them. I think it’s huge for them to come out and try to steal a road victory. I’m very confident in the players. I’ve been talking to a lot of the players throughout training camp and will continue to talk to them until they leave to go to Chicago. I’m excited for the season. Yes, I’m excited for every football season, especially the Buffalo Bills because I keep saying to myself this is the year.”
Thurman also talked about C.J. Spiller returning kickoffs and said if you can give a talented player a chance to put the offense in good field position, then they should.
Posted in Inside the Bills
Taking the show on the road tonight. We set up shop at NOCO Express on N. French Road in Getzville. We were joined by Bills rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins who made an appearance for a special meet and greet with fans. We heard from Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso as he addressed his offseason injury for the first time, not ruling out a possible return, and his continued rehab here in Buffalo. We also got plenty of reaction from fans in attendance who gave their opinion on the team’s roster heading into Sunday’s season opener.
Watkins scratched out some time from poising with the fans to sit down with us to discuss his just that. He talked highly of the fans in Buffalo and how well received he has been since coming to Buffalo after being drafted in the first round. He compared the fan atmosphere from his days at a football program at Clemson that dominated the area to the site here in Buffalo.
“It’s on a whole other level. Clemson and being in college was crazy. It was fun and we had a great crowd but I sense that Buffalo is more involved and everybody cares about the team and so far we haven’t given them anything to care about. That’s one of the reasons why we need to start winning now and I think this team is available to do that.”
We also heard from newly signed quarterback Kyle Orton. Orton will be thrown into the mix to backup EJ Manuel and he said he feels comfortable with where he is at with learning the new offense system. He also had high praise for Manuel, his offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and even QB coach Todd Downing.
Orton signed on after his departure from Dallas. He mentioned he was waiting for the right team and the right situation before getting back on the field. When Buffalo contacted him, he knew it was the right fit.
“We did the back-and-forth deal for a while but you just get that feeling. I can’t really sit here and say why it happened or what the deal is. This town, this organization even going back to my rookie year, Ruben Brown, I played with Ruben Brown for three years in Chicago. The guy raved about Buffalo. To be honest with you, when you cross paths with people throughout the league everybody loved it here so like I said I’m happy to be here.”
He also talked about his relationship with defensive tackle Kyle Williams and how the two are neighbors in New Orleans.
To hear the entire John Murphy Show from Tuesday, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills
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.
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Posted in Inside the Bills