Inside The Bills

Andre Reed: “A joy to coach” – JMS 7/31

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 31, 2014 – 10:02 pm

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Another training camp practice in the books as we inch closer to the Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio. We brought up Andre Reed, who is awaiting his enshrinement and we asked the listeners to call in with their favorite memory of the Bills Hall of Fame receiver. We also threw out the topic of who might be the most improved player on the team? Wide Receiver Chris Hogan was one predicted along with Aaron Williams and Nigel Bradham.

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Speaking of those players on the roster, Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos joined us at the bottom of the first hour. Monos is heavily involved in assembling this year’s roster, putting together the high caliber of talent on both sides of the ball, whether it was free agency or through the draft.

 

“I think everyone gets excited when you look at this team but at the same time we want to finish product. We want the end result and that’s getting wins. We’re very excited and you and I were just going about it earlier, the secondary, the defensive line, receiving corps, running backs. You put that up against any team in the NFL right now.”

 

 

Monos went down the roster and touched on specific positions like the new linebacker additions and the offensive line which has changed in the last year, specifically when it comes to size.

 

 

At the top of the hour we were joined by Hall of Fame receiver and former Bills receiving coach Charlie Joiner who called in from the Hall of Fame festivities in Canton. Joiner coached Andre Reed for eight years and talked about his time coaching the Bills receiving great.

 

Andre Reed

“With Andre’s size at that time, I thought he was the best insider receiver in the league. He played in the slot and he played in the slot excellently…Andre can read the defense as good as anybody I’ve ever seen on a football field. I just enjoyed the way he played the game. He never got tired. He played hard and he just kept going and going. This guy was a joy to coach.”

 

 

Joiner called Reed the “truest of all professionals” and said he knew it was just a matter of time before Reed got the call to the HOF.

 

 

One of the reasons for the signs of improvement from QB EJ Manuel has come from the team’s new quarterback’s coach, Todd Downing. Downing joined us to round out the show to discuss just that. Downing says EJ Manuel has the tools and the skillset but most importantly the work ethic to be great.

 

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“He’s a very hungry kid. He wants to be great. That’s half the battle. A lot of times you run into guys that think they know it all or their way is the right way and EJ is just the sponge. He wants all the information you can give him. Any drill we can do to get him better, footwork wise, he’s all for it. It’s exciting to work with a guy that wants to be great and wants to do anything you ask him to do to get better.”

 

 

In addition, Downing talked about offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and why he’s on his way to being a “super-star” coach in the league. He also touched on the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster, specifically Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel.

 

 

You hear the complete John Murphy Show from Thursday by clicking below.

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ on 98-yard hookup with Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2014 – 5:58 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel has really settled in at practice the last two days. His internal clock is more aware of the rush, he’s making his way through progressions and he’s delivering the football with more decisiveness. On Thursday he uncorked a 40-yard pass on the money to Sammy Watkins, who was streaking down the left sideline. Watkins pulled in the over the shoulder pass and kept on running  another 58 yards to the end zone. Here was Manuel’s take on the play.

“I just dropped back and threw it and he ran a great route and he ran that against Gilmore and that says a lot,” said Manuel. “Being backed up that’s kind of your dream as a QB to have a chance at a 99-yard touchdown reception. Sammy did a good job of stacking him and it was a huge play for us.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Local veterans fundraiser chaired by Mary Wilson

Posted by Anna Stolzenburg on July 31, 2014 – 10:27 am

Bills Controlling Owner and wife of Bills founder Ralph Wilson, Jr. will serve as the Honorary Chair of Party in the Park – A Tribute to Our Troops on August 19 at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park.

A special plaque honoring Ralph Wilson, Jr. and his military achievements; Bob Kalsu, former Bill killed in action during the Vietnam War; and other honorees will be unveiled at an private reception.

Party in the Park, open to the public, will follow, starting at 6 p.m. featuring “The Strangers” band, food by the Liberty Hound, drinks and tours of the museums and ships. In addition, there will be an auction/raffle including autographed sports memorabilia, gift cards and more.

The event is co-organized with the Rotary Club of Buffalo and Rotary’s Chair Paul Marzello in honor of America’s veterans and as a thank you to the community that has given the Naval & Military Park 35 years on Buffalo’s waterfront. It’s the Park’s largest fundraiser of the year, going towards the revitalization of the ships, museum, educational programs and beautification of the waterfront.

Pre-sale tickets for Party in the Park are $50 per person ($65 at the door) or $85 per couple ($100 at the door) and can be purchased by calling 716-847-1773 ext.15 or by visiting the Naval Park Gift Shop (located in the museum) or www.buffalonavalpark.org.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods had play of the day

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 11:55 pm

Bills WR Robert Woods had a heck of a finish to practice Wednesday as he made a couple of touchdown catches on back-to-back plays during 7-on-7 red zone. His first of two touchdown catches was easily the play of the day.

Woods worked his way to the right rear corner of the end zone where EJ Manuel neatly dropped it over Woods’ shoulder where the defender could not make a play on the ball. From there is was all Woods as he simply stuck his left arm out to pull the ball in for the touchdown while the defender was draped on his back.

He made a high degree of difficulty catch look easy. Here’s a look.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

“Leap to Superstardom” – JMS 7/30

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 30, 2014 – 10:20 pm

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The past two weeks of training camp saw a lot of national pundits make their way through St. John Fisher College. They all had a chance to view quarterback EJ Manuel and give their opinion on the second year QB. Back on Monday night, we had both Cris Collinsworth from NBC Sports and former NFL Head Coach Marty Shottenheimer on the show. They talked at length about what they saw from Manuel and both had positive reviews. We asked the listeners, with the credentials those two hold, do you trust their opinion of EJ Manuel and should we be critiquing the quarterback with so much detail this early in camp?

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Our first guest was Bills rookie linebacker Preston Brown. Brown is gearing up for his first NFL preseason game this coming Sunday. So far he’s shown the coaching staff that he can handle whatever has been thrown at him, specifically when it comes to learning all three linebacking positions. He’s concentrating on playing specifically in the middle and working on his strengths, tackling and stopping the run.

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“That’s one of the biggest keys of the game. You have to tackle the ball carrier and that’s why I try to be around the ball as much as much as possible.”

 

Brown also discussed the influence from his father and why he loves being a student of the game.

 

At the top of the first hour we were joined by Bleacher Report’s Nick Kostos. Kostos recently went through each position in the league and gave his choice for those that will be most improved in 2014. At cornerback, Kostos had Bills defensive back Stephon Gilmore.

 

“I expect Gilmore to be left out on an island quite frequently and I think he proved at the end of last season that he is up for the challenge. We saw his skills coming out of college. I think this is the year, now fully healthy, that Stephon Gilmore takes the leap to superstardom for the Buffalo Bills.”

 

Kostos projected Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill to improve drastically at the quarterback position given better play from the offensive line.

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Finally, former Vikings and Ravens offensive lineman Matt Birk called-in to the show. Birk has recently taken a new job as the NFL director of football development. He will be working with players and coaches to help advance the game. Birk weighed in on player safety and how the culture is changing when it comes to concussion awareness. He mentioned that the NFL is leading the way and the results are showing as such. He also discussed what he missed most from playing the league which includes the camaraderie with his teammates.

 

To hear more from Birk and the rest of Wednesday’s John Murphy Show guests, click below.

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 9:24 pm

Here are the Bills players you can find on the local radio airwaves Thursday morning.

  • WGR 550, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
    • 7:00 am – Boobie Dixon
    • 7:15 am – EJ Manuel
  • WCMF, Break room
    • 7:00 am – EJ Manuel
    • 7:15 am – Boobie Dixon

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Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL Network special on Andre Reed Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 9:00 pm

The NFL Network has put together one-hour specials on all the Hall of Fame inductees for the 2014 class. The special on Andre Reed airs Thursday. Here are the details.

Called ‘The Road to Canton’  the series will feature former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed starting at 10:00 PM ET on Thursday, July 31.

The title of the special is called ‘Middle Man: Andre Reed’. The one-hour special features footage of Andre Reed as a high school quarterback, his transition to becoming a speedy and reliable wide receiver at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and his consistent play from the slot in the NFL.

Reed was referred to being too small to have an impact in playing football until his senior year of high school. During his senior season, the Allentown, Pennsylvania native became the starting quarterback at Deiruff High School. The future NFL fourth round draft pick was at one point a tremendous talent in the Division II Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

Andre was regarded by his coaches and teammates for his work ethic and desire for excellence. He made his mark by going across the middle from the slot and turning short passes up field for major yardage after the catch.

Once solidified in the NFL, Reed contributed to a Buffalo Bills team that made four straight Super Bowl appearances with fellow Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton and Bruce Smith. Even though they could never capture a ring, these players formed a family bond that exists to this day.

Middle Man chronicles those experiences for Andre Reed and also shows the story of how and why he attributes his success in life and the NFL to the values taught to him by his father who battled alcoholism throughout his life.

Middle Man features interviews with special people from Andre Reed’s life:

• Marv Levy – Bills coach
• Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Steve Tasker and Frank Reich – Bills teammates
• Joyce Reed Ebling – Mother
• Tyrone, Teshia and Dion Reed – Siblings
• Larry Lewis – High School Football Coach


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Jackson has defied age

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 7:50 pm

Fred Jackson just turned 33 in February, but the Bills veteran back, who just signed a contract extension Wednesday, doesn’t move and cut like a 33-year old. Jackson has a couple of theories as to why.

Jackson said he feels as good as he ever has coming into this season, which might be surprising to some knowing he played on a sprained MCL for more than half the season. But Jackson’s injury healed on its own and he had no residual effects.

“Nothing at all, I didn’t have to focus on that,” said Jackson. “Our training staff did a tremendous job getting me ready to play week in and week out. There were no surgeries needed. I’ve been blessed enough in this league that I’ve yet to need to have surgery. Hopefully we can keep it that way and I can continue to stay healthy.”

 As for his longevity at what is known as a very punishing position Jackson believes he feels as good as he does because he didn’t have any rehab work in the offseason.

“Well one of the main reasons is that I’m not coming off of any major prolonged injuries. I had a tremendous offseason with our strength and conditioning coaches, I think they did a great job getting me to where I am today, so I’ve got to give those guys a lot of credit,” he said. “I’m hungry and motivated. I think a renewed sense of getting this thing turned around, with some of the moves we made in the offseason putting the pieces around us I think that’s got to have a lot of guys excited, and I’m one of them.”


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Bradham addresses league decision

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 6:36 pm

Bills LB Nigel Bradham, who was suspended by the NFL for one regular season game Wednesday for an incident stemming back to last summer, was caught off guard by the league’s discipline. One of the main reasons why was because all charges were dismissed.

“It’s related to what happened last year,” said Bradham following Wednesday’s practice. “The commissioner said I wasn’t disciplined from the NFL last year so I guess it rolls over into this year. Everything was dismissed and I’m not in a substance abuse program or anything. Since everything was dismissed it’s kind of shocking and kind of disappointing that it came back again. I tried to appeal it but the appeal was declined.”

Bradham said the denial on his appeal came back just last week. He was initially informed that he was facing a one game suspension back in March.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate, especially since Nigel has been playing very well,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “Like I said before, I’ve probably seen the biggest improvement in him. And when I say that I’m not just talking about him as just a football player, but just maturity. I think, now when you look back and you think about what happened, maybe it took something like that for him to grow. Obviously, you learn from your mistakes. I think he’s learned to make better decisions and I hope it’s from that and I hope it’s something we don’t have to go back on. Especially with the way he’s been performing on and off the field.”

Bradham while disappointed is not going to let the league’s decision drag down his plans for a big season. He insists he’s learned his lesson and promises to be ready to come Week 2 when the Bills host Miami in the home opener.

“My whole thing is to stay positive,” he said. “It’s something that followed me from a decision I made last year. I regret it and I made a mistake. I apologized to my teammates. I’m sorry that we have to go through this again. And hopefully I just get past it and come out for game two ready. I’m just going to keep working everyday out here at training camp and get better.”

 


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Marrone’s affinity for Fred goes beyond his play

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 6:26 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was naturally pleased to hear that Fred Jackson had signed a contract extension with the club. Jackson’s production, especially playing on a sprained MCL for most of the last season made his yardage and scoring output all the more impressive. But Marrone respects Jackson for much more than his play on the field. He values the quality leader Jackson is as a team captain as well.

“I love Fred,” said Marrone. “I think Fred’s been a great pro. In my time here with him he’s been a very good leader and very productive. I’m excited about him. I heard the news coming here. I just heard that now and I’m happy for Fred and I’m happy for his family.”


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Schottenheimer: “Get behind this team”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 28, 2014 – 10:36 pm

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Weather turned what was going to be a quiet John Murphy Show into an exciting one as the team went under the lights for a night practice in Growney Stadium. Mark Kelso, Murph’s color analyst on the Bills broadcast joined him once again to help call the action and break down each play. We heard from Head Coach Doug Marrone, Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

Cris Collinsworth

We also had some unexpected special guests. Right off the top of the show, NBC Football Lead Analyst Cris Collinsworth joined us in our St. John Fisher College Studio to discuss what he’s witnessed from this year’s team. He will be part of the broadcast crew that will call the Bills preseason game against the Giants in the Hall of Fame Game Sunday night. Collinsworth talked at length about EJ Manuel, specifically when it comes to his progression. He noted that “you can see the development.”

 

Collinsworth gave his thoughts on Sammy Watkins and what he likes from the rookie receiver even going back to his evaluations when Watkins was at Clemson.

 

After practice, former Bills Linebacker and former NFL Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer made an appearance. As a footbschottenheimer picall evaluator for many years in the league, Schottenheimer gave his opinion on the Bills quarterback as well.

 

“I think if you’re a Bills fan, you’ve got to be very excited. Every time you look at a football team, the first thing people look at is the quarterback. I was so extremely impressed tonight with EJ (Manuel). I just thought he was terrific in accuracy and velocity. I think it’s an opportunity for these Bills fans to get behind this football team because I think they’re going to be very good.”

 

Schottenheimer also weighed in on the defense, what he misses most from coaching and playing in the NFL, and why he’s on a mission to seek out his favorite Buffalo food.

 

To hear that and the rest of The John Murphy Show, click below.

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle Williams a top-5 Madden DT

Posted by Dallas Miller on July 28, 2014 – 6:15 pm

Number 95 on the field is rated at a 95 overall in Madden.

That’s the word from EA Sports, who ranked DT Kyle Williams the league’s fourth-best defensive tackle overall in the newest version of Madden during a ratings reveal on Sunday.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Williams recorded a career-high 10.5 sacks in 2013 and led Buffalo’s defensive line with 21 quarterback hits and 68 tackles – third most among NFL D-tackles overall.

“Williams has been getting the job done for years,” writes Madden Ratings Czar Donny Moore, “[He] is still a top-rated DT due to his 95 Power moves (fourth), 95 Tackling (second), and 95 Awareness (first).”

Earlier this year, Williams was named by his peers as one of the top 100 players in the league. He joins rookie WR Sammy Watkins as one of the top Bills players in Madden this season.


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Schwartz tempering enthusiasm for pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2014 – 12:33 pm

Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is as eager to see what kind of success Buffalo’s pass rush can have in his scheme as anyone else, but he’s not going to get giddy about successful plays in the practice setting of training camp.

On Saturday night there was a third and long team segment where the defense logged eight “sacks” in 17 plays. Schwartz is all too aware of the talent on his defensive line, but he’s not going to make any false assumptions knowing practice only replicates a real game so much.

“You don’t want to read too much into it,” he said. “We’re going to have a good rush group. We can rush with four. We can bring blitzes. They’re hard to handle. There are three Pro Bowlers up there and right now the fourth guy was a double-digit sacker from last year so that gives us a lot of optimism with where we can be with that pass rush. It’s hard to really judge too much in practice here because we’re not hitting the quarterback so it’s hard to finish pass rush moves. You don’t want to hit him or hit his hand when he’s trying to throw. But then again offensive linemen are doing the same thing. Also quarterbacks really are not trying to make you miss so let’s not read too much into it right now.”


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Dareus among NFL’s best under 25

Posted by Dallas Miller on July 28, 2014 – 12:03 pm

Long-time ESPN talent evaluator Mel Kiper Jr., along with ESPN Insider columnist Mike Sando, ranked the top 25 NFL players under the age of 25 heading into the 2014 season, with Pro Bowler Marcell Dareus coming in at No. 25.

Here’s part of what Kiper had to say about the 24-year-old defensive tackle:

Dareus is a little bit like Gordon and Aldon Smith in that he’d rank much higher without all the off-field concerns raising questions about his maturity and long-term prospects. PFF graded Dareus as the sixth-best interior defensive lineman last season, giving him high marks against run and pass alike.

Fellow Bills CB Stephon Gilmore and T Cordy Glenn were listed in the ‘Also Considered’ category.

Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck ranked No. 1 on the list.


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Marrone: no plans for another TE

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 8:34 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has lost three of the four tight ends he brought to training camp to injury. They’ve since added a tight end in Dominique Jones. In the wake of Scott Chandler’s groin injury Sunday however, Marrone doesn’t intend to add another.

“I think of it as we’re going to try to put some different people in there without having to go out and bring another person in,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we can do. I don’t want to say I like it because then I’d be saying I’m happy that someone got hurt, but it forces our hand to do some things that we might have to do during the year to be successful.”


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Watkins latest ‘wow’ play

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 8:04 pm

Sammy Watkins has been routinely turning in dynamic and high degree of difficulty receptions in the passing game since training camp started. On Sunday he turned in another.

Watkins took off down the sideline on an outside release. CB Ron Brooks was stride for stride with him. Despite the tight coverage EJ Manuel put the ball up anyway. The pass drifted inside a little bit to where Brooks had positioned himself, but Watkins jumped as the ball was arriving and reached his hands up, out and over Brooks to pull the ball in and kept running. The fans in attendance went nuts.

“My confidence is huge in him,” said Manuel. “I’ve said it before, I was a Sammy fan before we even went and picked him up. When he got here and he showed what he could do to all of us the confidence is only going to go higher.

“When the ball is going to Sammy, he looks at it like it’s his ball, and nine times out of 10 he’s going to come down with it. That was just a prime example of it.”


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How EJ changed his throws to ‘Big Mike’

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 7:56 pm

Mike Williams put on a show in the red zone in Sunday’s practice showing his expert ability to high point the football and out jump defenders. He told EJ Manuel at the outset of training camp to put the ball “in the clouds” and he’ll go get it. On Sunday he was true to his word, but Manuel shared how he’s changed the way he throws to Williams based on a conversation they had.

“Well, at first when I started throwing to him, I used to just lead him,” said Manuel. “Mike just wants the ball up there so he can go up and get it. Instead of having to throw it 60 yards down the field and having him have to track it. That’s just an example of us getting a better rapport with one another.”

“I can see him progressing as it goes,” said Williams of Manuel. “He’s feeling his way right now. There are new guys on our team that he’s going to be throwing to. It’s kind of a different offense when you put it all together like that, but as I saw it he got better and better with that.”


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McKelvin held out of team work as precaution

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 6:54 pm

Bills starting CB Leodis McKelvin has been held out of team work for the past three days of practice. Coming off of hip surgery in the offseason the team doesn’t want to overwork the veteran corner.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“We just rested him and are making sure,” said Marrone. “Again, he’s coming off of an injury from the offseason and we’re just going to work his way back in here. Leodis has something that I admire. When he gets back in there, he’s going to go 110 percent every single time. We just want to make sure that we back him off a little bit. We’re in camp for awhile, so we’re just being smart.”

Marrone did not provide any details on when McKelvin would again participated in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work.


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Hughes expecting offensive retribution

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 10:31 pm

He was part of what looked like an ambush of a pass rush in Saturday night’s practice for Buffalo’s defense. Jerry Hughes was in the thick of a series that featured more than half a dozen sacks over 17 plays from scrimmage. But the veteran is very leery of the offense coming back Sunday and tearing things up.

“We’re giving our offense plenty of looks,” Hughes told Buffalobills.com. “Once they see the film and make their corrections they’re going to be coming after us and we’ll have to step it up.”


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Wood: Henderson is making progress

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 10:28 pm

As the first week of training camp wraps up Seantrel Henderson has taken every snap at the starting left tackle position except on day one when Chris Hairston had to be a last second replacement for practice. He’s replacing Cordy Glenn, who is on the non-football illness list, with no word as to when he might be removed from it. Henderson’s veteran teammates up on the line see a pretty talented physical specimen who will just need time on the job.

“Seantrel is doing a great job.  I’ve seen a lot to like out of him,” said Eric Wood. “He’s really taken this opportunity to run with it. He’s extremely talented.  He’s really working on his technique diligently, and I’m glad he’s on our team.”


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