Inside The Bills

Palmer ugly in last 4 games vs. Ryan defenses

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 9:56 pm

Carson Palmer’s struggles against Rex Ryan defenses continued on Sunday when the Cardinals fell to the Bills 33-18.

In his last three meetings with Rex Ryan defensive units coming into Sunday’s game at New Era Field, Palmer was 0-3 and had a passer rating of 27.7. Against the Bills his passer rating was slightly better, but his performance fell right in line with his previous three matchups with Ryan.

His 26-50 passing performance Sunday for 287 yards with four interceptions and five sacks led to a passer rating of 36. If you add his stats from Sunday in with his previous three games you come up with the following.

51-120 passing (43%) for 516 yards with one touchdown, 8 interceptions and 13 sacks and a passer rating of 31.1. He’s also 0-4 in wins and losses in that span.

“I came to (defensive coordinator) Dennis (Thurman) and I said, ‘Hey we’ve played this guy a long time. This is what in my opinion we need to go to,’” said Ryan. “So we put in a turbo package so we were ready and we dialed them up on down and distance what we wanted to do. I think we went with a four safety look to mess their count up a little bit. They wanted to go ahead and go to empty (backfield) so that was good for us. We wanted them in that situation. We were fortunate. Obviously Carson is a great quarterback.”

“They played this game a lot differently than the first two,” said Palmer of Buffalo’s defense. “Definitely different than the second one. But a lot of the same coverages we saw played when they were in Baltimore Week 1, some of the same stuff that they were doing last week and then some of the stuff we expected to see. What they did last week, they just didn’t do.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Look for Reggie Bush to help at WR

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 11:47 am

With the Bills down a pair of receiver in Sammy Watkins and Greg Salas, look for Reggie Bush to have a role at receiver to help fill the void.

With Watkins and Salas both inactive Buffalo essentially has three healthy receivers and a return specialist in Brandon Tate, who is still learning the offense after arriving a few weeks ago when he was signed right before the season opener, the Bills are expected to utilize Bush as a receiver today to make plays in space.

Also active is rookie RB Jonathan Williams, who might have a bigger role in the run game knowing Bush’s talents will be used more out wide.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cardinals inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 11:43 am

Here are the Arizona inactives for today’s game. 

S Marqui Christian

G Evan Mathis

DT Olsen Pierre

DT Robert Nkemdiche

DT Frostee Rucker

NT Xavier Williams

LB Kareem Martin

Posted in Inside the Bills

Robert Woods prepped to step up

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 11:40 am

With Sammy Watkins and Greg Salas both inactive for the Bills today, Robert Woods is ready to take on more targets and make more plays.

“Just going in there expecting to play my game,” said Woods. “I always approach the game like the number one receiver. I’ve just got to step up and make plays. I might get a few more targets with him being gimpy or whatever. But I’ll just play my game and be an open target and just pick up the slack.”

Woods has been winning on almost all of his routes through the first two weeks of the season, but to this point has only been targeted seven times. He has five receptions for 30 yards. asked him if he’s talked with Tyrod Taylor about being targeted more on the routes he’s winning.

“It’s just the reads,” Woods said. “Sometimes those back side reads he doesn’t even have time to get there. There are a host of factors. My job is to be an open target for him so when the ball does come I’m ready for it. It’s the same thing this game. Try to be an open target for him and when the read is right and he comes my way I can be productive.”

Facing an Arizona defense that plays man coverage about 70 percent of the time, Woods knows he’s got to use his full repertoire of releases to get off the line.

“You’ve just got to make stuff look different,” he said. “When they’re playing man in your face all the time you’ve got to make it look different, show them something different when they play man.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Biggest offensive change expected? Tempo

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 10:35 am

The personal preferences from the Bills offensive playbook by new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will obviously change what Buffalo’s offense runs on Sunday. But the biggest change is expected to come in the functionality of the Bills attack, especially when it comes to tempo.

The first two weeks of the season getting in and out of the huddle has been an issue. It hasn’t afforded Tyrod Taylor much time to survey the defense before the snap and call an audible or check at the line. Coach Lynn intends to change that, something that has been confirmed by Taylor and head coach Rex Ryan.

“I think number one the tempo will be faster,” said Ryan. “That’s what we’ve stressed to our players and then there are going to be some different ways that we’re going to attack.”

“I definitely think we’ll speed up the process and push the tempo,” said Taylor.

Lynn doesn’t just want the offense operating at a quicker pace, he wants to see long drives, something that’s been noticeably absent from Buffalo’s offense.

“I want to play smart, physical football,” said Lynn. “I want to be explosive down the field, and right now, I just want to stay on the damn field. That’s what I want to do. So, we’re going to play a little bit faster and see if we can put a little pressure on the defense and just execute.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Preston Brown knows Palmer all too well

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 10:12 am

Bills LB Preston Brown is facing an Arizona quarterback that he knows inside and out. Not because he’s played against him. Sunday will be the first he faces him on the field. Brown knows all about Carson Palmer from the quarterback’s day in Cincinnati with the Bengals.

“Growing up in Cincinnati, I’ve seen Carson Palmer since I was like eight years old, so he’s definitely going to be a challenge,” said Brown. “He’s going to find a way to get the ball out to his guys. He has a lot of receivers that are going to go make plays on the ball, go vertical. Larry Fitzgerald is everywhere, they got good running backs, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge but I know our guys are ready to come back after a challenging week.

“But those are the guys you see growing up so to play against them should be fun.”

Brown leads the Bills in tackles so far this season with 24.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Palmer has struggled vs. Ryan defenses

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 9:36 am

Carson Palmer has been an ultra-productive quarterback in his three seasons with the Cardinals. But when facing Rex Ryan defenses in his career he’s had his share of struggles. Here’s a look at his career stats since 2006 against Ryan defenses from Baltimore to the Jets.

Palmer has a record of 3-4, losing each of his last three outings against Ryan’s defensive scheme. His passing stats were 103-197 (52.2%) for 1,122 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions. He was also sacked six times. Palmer’s passer rating of 65.1.

In his last three games against Ryan defenses Palmer’s passing numbers are 27-73 (37%) for 229 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions and eight sacks. His passer rating was 27.7. He lost all three games and his Bengals teams were outscored 80-20.

Sunday will be his first outing against Ryan’s defense in Buffalo.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

New Era cap designed by Tyrod on sale today

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 8:13 am

There will be a newly designed Bills cap making its debut at New Era Field today.

New Era is unveiling a new Bills cap that was designed by QB Tyrod Taylor and it will be on sale at New Era Field today. Here’s a look at the cap, which incorporates elements of the Municipal flag of Buffalo (lightning and stars).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Robey-Coleman prepped to cover a “legend”

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2016 – 3:07 pm

Nickell Robey-Coleman has had his share of challenging matchups, but Arizona slot receiver and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald might be the biggest assignment of his career. For Robey-Coleman, who has great respect for the history of the game, it won’t be easy for him to block out the caliber of player he’s covering and just play ball.

“It’ll be hard to say that I’m not excited to play against a legend. This is history,” Robey-Coleman told “I grew up watching this guy make big plays so to come out here on a big platform this Sunday and play against a premier receiver… all their receivers are good though. Nothing against their receivers, but Fitz, I’m going to be so excited to match up against him and to see what I’ve got as a defensive player and show where I’m really at.”

When asked how he intends to keep his head, Robey-Coleman insists he’ll be locked in with a specific mindset.

“Basically it’s about having the mentality that I want to dominate him,” he said. “I want to make him look bad in front of everybody. Let me have that chance to compete against one of the best players in the NFL. I want a chance to show the world what Nickell Robey-Coleman can do in a one-on-one matchup.

“Is it going to be easy? Not at all. It’s going to be tough and physical. He’s a big guy. Everybody is going to be getting a piece of Fitzgerald Sunday. A couple of our guys will probably see him.”

Arizona does move Fitzgerald around a good deal to create favorable matchups and keep defenses from easily keying on him. Through the first two games Fitzgerald has twice as many receptions as any other receiver on the Cardinals roster.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Funny math when it comes to 50-50 balls

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2016 – 1:34 pm

Jump balls in the passing game are often called 50-50 balls by coaches and players because in most instances the receiver and defensive back in coverage usually have an equal chance of coming up with the football, hence the term ’50-50.’ But Arizona head coach Bruce Arians and Bills LB Preston Brown had some funny math concerning those types of passes.

Buffalo’s defensive backs had their share of troubles in jump ball situations last week against the Jets, but Preston Brown was voicing his faith in his teammates on the back end. The problem was his percentages went a little offline.

“I think the coaches had us in the right position to make plays,” Brown said. “I mean you look at the plays where we got beat on any pass, I mean the guys are right there. We know we can make plays on those balls, those are 50-50 balls that nine times out of 10 we’re going to win, it just wasn’t our day that day. But we know our guys are competitive and they’re going to come back next week ready to go.”

When asked why he felt the Jets receivers had so much success against the Bills DBs, coach Arians took a similar approach to the very same subject with some funny math.

“Well Fitz was on fire,” he said. “I think he hit eight out of nine 50/50 balls. You know your success rate on 50/50 balls is usually around 40 percent. They just hit a really hot quarterback that was dropping it in places that only their guys could get. I thought it was good coverage but just got beat by some great throws.”

So according to Brown, half the time Buffalo’s DBs win 90 percent of the time on jump balls. According to coach Arians on offense, half the time receivers win 40 percent of the time. Let me know if anyone has the algorithm to tell me who really has the edge or if it’s just… you know… 50-50.



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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills DBs focused on fixing technique

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2016 – 11:19 am

Buffalo’s defensive backs did not have a productive day last week against the Jets. To their credit they put most of the blame on themselves and their own playing technique. Knowing it’s a copycat league, the Bills secondary has focused on fixing their techniques and having some different plans for Arizona Sunday.

“As DBs we go to our toolbox and we switch up leverages,” said Nickell Robey-Coleman. “We switch up the way we use our hands, the way we pressure at the line. So it’s about going back into that toolbox.

“After playing the Jets for the eighth time they knew what leverage we were playing and did a good job of attacking our outside leverage. Making us flip our hips and coming back inside. But we’ll make some adjustments and go back out there and showcase it against the Cardinals.

“That’s the thing about being a DB. You’re playing a certain technique or leverage and if nobody is going to stop it why stop using it. But now they’ve got a little jump on us so we’re going to switch it up a bit.”

Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman believes the reasons the defensive backfield was victimized can be effectively corrected.

“It’s about competing,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to get on the practice field and correct the things that you didn’t do right. There are things that can be corrected, and some of it falls on us as coaches. But we have to work together. And if we do, we have a chance to get it corrected. We expect our guys to play the way they’re capable of playing and we’ll see what happens on Sunday.”

Thurman does acknowledge that Arizona’s passing game is a sizable challenge with Carson Palmer at the controls.

“When he’s comfortable and things are right, and he hits that back foot and he hitches up one step and there’s no pressure around him, he can carve you up,” said Thurman of Palmer. “I mean he’s really a good quarterback. He throws the ball well. He can make all the throws, has a group of excellent receivers. So yeah we have our hands full on Sunday.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

A look back at last Cards at Bills game in 2004

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2016 – 9:39 am

It was Halloween 2004 when the Arizona Cardinals last visited the Bills in Orchard Park, and there were some unusual events in the game due to a host of factors. One of those factors was the weather.

While the game time temperature was 55 degrees, it didn’t feel like it with sustained winds of better than 20 miles per hour and wind gusts up to 40 mph. There were also rain showers. It was part of what prompted Buffalo to commit fully to a competent ground game to beat Arizona.

Head coach Mike Mularkey officially named Willis McGahee the team’s new starting tailback, supplanting Travis Henry. The Cardinals game was McGahee’s first NFL start and he came through with 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns in what wound up being a 38-14 win.

It was a coming out party or coming back party for McGahee, who missed all of his rookie season in 2003 coming off reconstructive knee surgery. McGahee would go on to rush for more than 1,100 yards in 2004.

While the Bills thrived in the poor weather conditions, the Cardinals struggled managing just a shade over 200 yards of total offense, including just 101 passing yards for Arizona QB Josh McCown. McCown looked frustrated during the game as the wind and rain negatively impacted his effectiveness.

“I know one thing, I have a newfound respect for Jim Kelly and what he did here,” McCown said after the game. “It was the toughest conditions I’ve ever played in.”

If McCown thought it was difficult, his punter Scott Player thought it was impossible. He had eight punts that day and only two went for more than 40 yards. His first of the day into the wind traveled just 23 yards and it hit a wall of wind and fell straight to the turf.

Player had another punt returned 40 yards by Nate Clements to set up a 1st-and-10 for the offense at the Arizona 11-yard line. It led to one Bills TD. Clements also had a 34-yard return to the Arizona 19 that led to an Eric Moulds touchdown catch.

Terrence McGee, who would go to the Pro Bowl that season as a return man, also had an 87-yard return for a score to spark the offense on a big day for Buffalo’s special teams.

The Cardinals also hurt themselves with 14 penalties for 101 yards. The loss for Arizona was a league-high 17th in a row on the road.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Cards to be without G Evan Mathis

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 4:38 pm

He’s been battling his way through a mid-foot sprain the first two games of the season, but this Sunday, the Cardinals will go without starting guard Evan Mathis.

Mathis was declared out for Sunday’s game on Arizona’s injury report. Backup Earl Watford is expected to step in at right guard. Top rookie Robert Nkemdiche, who was inactive last week, is questionable with an ankle injury.


Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday Participation Friday Game Status
Evan Mathis G Foot/Toe DNP DNP DNP Out
Kareem Martin LB Knee DNP DNP DNP Doubtful
Frostee Rucker DT Knee DNP DNP DNP Doubtful
Justin Bethel CB Foot Limited Limited Limited Questionable
Robert Nkemdiche DT Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable
Larry Fitzgerald WR Knee Limited Full Full
Tyrann Mathieu S Knee Limited Limited Full
Kevin Minter LB Ankle Full Full Full
J.J. Nelson WR Shoulder Full Full Full
Jared Veldheer T Fibula Limited Full Full

Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby another question mark for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 2:18 pm

Sammy Watkins isn’t the only starter who might not be able to go on Sunday against the Cardinals.

CB Ronald Darby, who was nursing a hamstring injury that kept him limited this week in practice is listed as questionable for the game this weekend. If he can’t go Corey White is expected to step in at his left cornerback position.

White, who spent part of the 2015 season in Arizona, has familiarity with the Cardinals receiving corps and has been providing what intel he can to his fellow DBs.

“I’ll help out a little bit, but they run so much stuff on offense and it’s different every week so we can really only go out there and play and do our assignment,” said White.

Here’s a look at the Bills full injury report for Sunday.

TE Charles Clay – knee
CB Ronald Darby – hamstring
QB Cardale Jones – right shoulder
WR Greg Salas – groin
WR Sammy Watkins – foot

S Colt Anderson – foot
OT Cordy Glenn – ankle


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-23

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 10:32 am

It’s been a rough start out of the gate. Let’s hope for better results moving forward. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills are the bills confident in their WR corps? With the injuries do you think they should look thru FA to get a DWAYNE BOWE/#2WR


CB: I believe they are confident in their receiving corps. They only kept five receivers on the roster initially and now have six with Brandon Tate. Obviously if Sammy Watkins is out of the lineup for any period of time that would hurt, since there is no other wideout like him on the roster.

I will say that I think Robert Woods is an underrated receiver, who has never really had a chance to shine in this offense. I believe he can make plays. He’s not Sammy Watkins. He’s a different receiver, but the guy is winning on his routes a lot. He’s just not getting the ball.

Goodwin and Salas are competent role players and Powell and Tate offer depth.

I’d like to see LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush split out wide at times to try to get them in space and get yards after the catch.

Is that enough? Only time will tell.

I just don’t think they sign a guy like Bowe unless they’re down a couple of receivers for an extended period of time.
2 – Hi Chris,

Once again when I have a Bills question I am turning to you because you ARE THE MAN.

Can you explain the process of selecting which players get cut and which make the team.

My belief was that the General Manager had the final call, but in listening to Rex Ryan he talks about how he and his coaches have a tough job to do when making the call.

You makes the final call certainly does have a tough job. Can you explain?

Bob Hammond

CB: How those decisions are made can vary slightly from team to team. With the Bills I know that Doug Whaley ultimately controls who is on the 53-man roster. Rex Ryan controls the 46-man roster on game day.

There is obviously a lot of input from the coaching staff and the pro personnel department regarding the 53-man roster. It’s not like Whaley unilaterally determines the roster. There is a lot of give and take, and the coaching staff has the freedom to express their preferences, but if a tough call arises, Whaley has final say. Whaley has made that clear on more than one occasion.


3 – Chris:
Great work during that very hot training camp.
What impact does it have when a player is waived injured instead of just being waived? Does the waived injured mean the player’s contract is voided, and he has to renegotiate to remain with the club if he clears waivers? How does this designation help the team?


CB: When a player is waived/injured they are placed on the waiver wire for a certain time period. During training camp it’s just 24 hours. During that period of time another could put a claim on the player and if awarded the claim that team would inherit the contract.

If the player goes unclaimed, as most injured players do, he reverts back to the team that waived/injured him and he goes on that team’s injured reserve list.

When he’s initially waived/injured he no longer counts toward a roster spot and even if he reverts to the team’s injured reserve he doesn’t count toward a roster spot either.


4 – Hi Chris,

With the damage done to the defense thru suspensions and injury, would the Bills go to a 4-3 defense? Or stay with the 3-4? Or maybe have a hybrid of both? Opposing teams are going to be able to run on the Bills with relative ease. I know the run defense played well against the Colts, but this is preseason. I just feel short term the Bills will suffer. Unless, of course, they are able to obtain a very good defensive lineman/end thru free agency. Your thoughts.

Tony Falzone,
Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: Switching to a 4-3 would be unusual. That was Rex’s mistake last season. He tried to blend some of the concepts of Jim Schwartz’s defensive scheme in with his. It led to confusion on the field and a whole mess of other execution issues.

Buffalo’s defense should be better because every player understands the scheme and that allows them to play fast. Sure the extra talent will help when Lawson returns along with Dareus, but the execution should be better across the board.

To this point they’ve had one good and one poor performance.


5 – Brownie,

Thanks for what you and your crew continue to do for those of us in a long-distance relationship with our team.

I feel like you may have answered this question or similar in years past, but with our first two regular season opponents just four days apart, how much preparation relied on film from the previous season and what else might go into it? Do the Bills have scout teams assigned to the Ravens and Jets open practices? Is this common for most NFL teams? If so, is this why we tend to see the Bills run scrimmages and such out of base packages, in order to be a bit guarded?

Thanks in advance for your response. Anticipating the end of the drought!

Bob from North Tonawanda via Okinawa, Japan

CB: With the first two games so close together the Bills coaching staff was doing game plan installation in practice before the season was even over. Typically in the offseason the coaches formulate a framework of a game plan for their first couple of opponents on the schedule.

Then the pro personnel department will scout the opponents through the course of the preseason by going to all of their preseason games. NFL clubs cannot attend other teams practices unless there is a charge for admittance.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cardinals traveling today for time change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 10:30 am

With the Cardinals coming east this weekend to play the Bills, Arizona head coach Bruce Arians has his team flying out later today (Friday) to get his players’ bodies adjusted to east coast time. He also employs another measure to help ensure his players are at their best when the game kicks off at what would normally be 10 am for them in Glendale.

“We have 11 o’clock practices scheduled most of the year because we are on the east coast a few times this year and it does hurt us,” said Arians. “It gets us more on that schedule and it doesn’t hurt us when we play west coast times.”

The Cardinals were 7-1 on the road last season.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Arians: Facing unknown coordinator a challenge

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 9:11 am

Arizona head coach Bruce Arians is 35-15 in his three-plus seasons at the helm with the Cardinals, including a 13-3 campaign last year. Known as a high-end play caller, Arians and his defensive coordinator James Bettcher likely have a good handle on Buffalo’s offensive scheme, but when it comes to Bills new OC Anthony Lynn’s play call preferences there’s no road map whatsoever.

“That’s the hardest part,” said Arians. “They have tremendous players, especially skill players, so you would think that they could not change a whole lot other than points of emphasis. You don’t have a bead on how he calls plays because there’s no résumé to look at. So it makes it a lot more difficult, but you know one thing, you’ve got to stop Shady. You’ve got to stop Sammy if he’s going. You surely have to contain Tyrod.”

Arizona had the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL last season and finished seventh in points allowed. They currently lead the league with seven takeaways through the first two weeks this season.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Salas the new add to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 7:16 am

As much focus as there has been on Sammy Watkins foot injury he wasn’t the only receiver on Buffalo’s injury report Thursday.

Greg Salas was added Thursday with a groin injury.

“Yeah I don’t think it’s a major injury but yeah, it did happen in practice,” said head coach Rex Ryan.

Salas is a receiver that Tyrod Taylor has come to trust. His practice participation on Friday along with that of Sammy Watkins will go a long way in painting the picture as to just how much of Buffalo’s passing attack will be available for Sunday’s game.

Ryan said he’s hopeful that Watkins can play Sunday.

Participation Wednesday
Participation Thursday
Sammy Watkins
Cordy Glenn
Charles Clay
Colt Anderson
Ronald Darby
Cardale Jones
Right shoulder
Greg Salas

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Respect for Lynn widespread in Bills locker room

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2016 – 3:24 pm

Right after appointing Anthony Lynn as his offensive coordinator, head coach Rex Ryan quickly made mention of the widespread respect Lynn has among his fellow coaches on staff and in the locker room. Some of the team’s most high profile players confirmed that respect and explained why.

LeSean McCoy, who has worked closely with Lynn while he served as running backs coach, said there’s a reason he’s respected.

“He’s a tough coach and demands a lot of respect,” said McCoy. “He’s really big on the small details. He wants to win. He’s one of those coaches that played the game, so he brings that attitude of urgency. You know you got to win, every possession matters. He can understand a lot of the players because he has played the game, especially a running back.

“In the running back room, he knows what we are looking for or what’s not going well. He can really relate. I think that’s major when a coach has played, and he’s a player. He can honestly understand what the players are going through, and that matters.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

John Fina to be Bills leader of the charge

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2016 – 11:05 am

Bills former first-round pick and offensive tackle John Fina will be Sunday’s leader of the charge when the Bills host the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.

Fina has ties to both teams. He was a Bills first-round pick in 1992, and played 10 seasons for Buffalo before finishing his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2002.

Playing left tackle for Buffalo, Fina played in team’s last two Super Bowls against Dallas. Fina played his college ball at the University of Arizona and now lives with his family in Tucson, AZ.

Posted in Inside the Bills