Inside The Bills

QB competition won’t hurt offense’s readiness

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 6:40 pm

The Bills were committed to conducting a three-man quarterback competition until they could make a solid decision that they felt confident with for the 2015 season. Rex Ryan said he’s 100 percent confident in the decision they made in choosing Tyrod Taylor for the starting job, but has the length of the competition hurt the readiness of the offense for the start of the regular season?

Both Ryan and the players don’t believe it has.

“I don’t think so at all,” said Percy Harvin. “Even though a starter wasn’t named they were getting first team reps and second team reps since we got here. So all those guys got their fair share of throws and all the receivers we got a chance to work with all of them. It really wasn’t a dragged out process to us. We knew all of them were going to get their reps and the best player was going to win it.”

By running two offensive units simultaneously in training camp practices, there were an awful lot of reps for all the quarterbacks who rotated through with all the receivers, backs and tight ends. Ryan also feels having three smart QBs will help, Taylor in particularly obviously.

“I think he has a great grasp of what we’re doing, and that goes through all the practices and everything else,” said Ryan. “The end result is what you see during preseason games. He’s a smart young man. All three of our quarterbacks are sharp guys.  In our system, unlike other systems, that’s part of it. We’re an audible system, we have multiple checks, and it would be tough to give somebody a job if you didn’t think they could do that. We definitely believe Tyrod can do that.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron on what Fred meant

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 6:21 pm

Aaron Williams and Fred Jackson may have been separated by a decade when it came to age, but they were two of the closer friends on the team. That’s why it was a tough day for Williams seeing Jackson get released by the club Monday. Williams knew not only how much Jackson meant to the team, but the WNY community as well.

“Fred was the governor of Buffalo,” said Williams. “Everybody looked up to him.  It wasn’t just the guys in the locker room. You ask any of the fans in the community, they would tell you 22 was by far the number one favorite in the city.  What does it mean to lose him? It’s a deep blow for us in the locker room and people in the community.  But we can’t dwell on it, I can’t dwell on it, nobody else can dwell on it.  we still have a season to get ready for and focus on Detroit, get ready for week one.”

To honor Fred, Williams wore his number 22 jersey on the practice field Monday, something head coach Rex Ryan was fine with.

“He came to me, and I said absolutely,” said Ryan of Williams request to wear 22 at practice. “You’re showing respect to a guy who was a mentor to him. Absolutely, I had no problem with it.  But he did check with me, and I said, ‘You don’t need to do that, I understand.'”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor’s steady improvement was key

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 4:18 pm

It was a decision that was not cut and dry at the outset, or at the start of the preseason, but as training camp came to a close and the preseason wound down head coach Rex Ryan saw who the best option would be for his number one quarterback for the regular season. That’s why Ryan decided Tyrod Taylor would be his starting signal caller for the Bills 2015 campaign Sunday, which was confirmed publicly by Ryan after the team’s practice Monday.

“This is a team and every decision we’ve made has been based on that,” said Ryan. “What’s best for the team, not what’s best for this individual or that individual, but for the totality of the team. Not just at quarterback, but at cornerback, at tackle, wherever, all the decisions will be based on that.”

Taylor’s performance through the spring practices and into training camp steadily improved much like his play in the team’s three preseason games. The fifth-year quarterback saw his completion percentage, passing yards, yards per attempt and passer rating all increase from the Carolina game to the Pittsburgh game.

“I think I’ve showcased what I can do in game action and of course to the coaches in practice on a daily basis,” said Taylor Saturday. “I’m comfortable and confident in the way that I’ve been playing.”

In his time on the field with the starting unit, Taylor went 19-23 passing (82.6%) for 187 yards (8.13 yds/att) and a passer rating of 100.5. Not counting a one-play kneel down possession at the end of the half against Cleveland, Taylor led the offense to points on six of his nine series in the preseason with four touchdowns and a pair of field goals. One of those touchdowns was a 20-yard run by Taylor himself this past Saturday against the Steelers.

“One thing I told myself going into the competition was to leave everything out on the field, the practice field and the game field,” said Taylor “At the end of the day don’t have any regrets. I’m pleased with the way I played. There are still some things to correct and still some ways to get better at so I’m looking forward to learning and just moving forward.”

Taylor’s first regular season start for the Bills against Indianapolis on Sept. 13th will also be the first NFL start of his career. The fifth-year quarterback has appeared in just 14 regular season games in his pro career, serving the previous four seasons as the backup to Baltimore starter Joe Flacco.

For those who think Taylor might not be prepared for the pressure that comes with being an NFL starting quarterback, the 26-year old’s approach is singularly focused.

“The only thing I can do is focus on what I do on the field,” said Taylor. “My mindset going into a game is just execution and going out there and moving the offense up and down the field.”

He’ll now have the opportunity to do so as the leader of Buffalo’s offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Everybody was on board

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 1:56 pm

Change is never easy. It’s twice as difficult when dealing with a player as likable, influential and complete as Fred Jackson, who was released by the club Monday. Bills GM Doug Whaley said after some long discussions everybody on the personnel side of the organization was on board with the decision.

“We thought for us and at this time, we had to make this decision,” said Whaley. “There are a lot of circumstances that go into that, but we will keep that in-house for competitive reasons. Everybody was on board. Reluctantly because of the magnitude of this player and what he means, not only to the Buffalo Bills, but to the community of Buffalo–him and his family. So we talked to Terry [Pegula] and Kim [Pegula] and conversed with them and decided that this was the best time to make that decision.

“We all know the NFL is great business and a great sport, but there are some detriments to this business. A day like today, cut down day, is always rough for everybody involved. A decision like this doesn’t come lightly. A decision like this is something we put a lot of thought into. It makes it tough, not only with everybody that you cut because they are being rejected, but it also makes it tough when you are talking about a guy like Fred Jackson. He has been the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills for a long time. He is a tremendous person not only on the field, but what him and his family have done in the community, we tip our hat to that. And again this is not a decision we came to lightly, but we made this decision and it is a tough decision and we will go from there.”

Whaley also said the team cut him in this first round of releases to provide him with a better chance to catch on with another club.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

The biggest concern for regular season

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2015 – 11:31 am

Buffalo saw a couple of more receivers go down to injury in Saturday’s game with Marquise Goodwin suffering injured ribs and recent signee Austin Willis sustaining a concussion. With most of the team’s top wideouts not seeing much preseason action and unlikely to see much in the preseason finale, Rex Ryan hopes their timing in the passing game is still there.

Ryan was asked how game ready the offense is in light of their receivers not seeing much time in preseason games.

“It better be pretty darn close because here we go,” he said. “The toughest thing about this is we’ve had six wideouts out and five running backs out and that’s the toughest thing. They’re not going to play next week so the timing and all that, we’re hitting our stride with guys who are trying to compete for the back end of the roster. But our top receivers haven’t played. If there’s a concern that I have that’s the biggest concern.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: I challenged our defense on purpose

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2015 – 10:28 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan wasn’t overly concerned about his team’s pass defense against Pittsburgh Saturday. While he wasn’t thrilled that they gave up big plays he said going into the game he purposely challenged them on the back end with play calls and a lack of blitzing.

Ryan said the plan was to force his secondary to communicate more to prepare them for stressful times in the regular season.

“I put us in a lot of situations again challenging us,” said Ryan. “I was going to challenge us with different coverages and make them communicate and quite honestly we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. We’ll learn a lot off of tape, but you can’t just go out there and say, ‘I’m a great player.’ And not communicate. I think it was a great thing for us. Now we challenged our guys in the second half and they responded. That (Pittsburgh) team is talented now. That kid from Clemson was killing us.”

Ryan was referring to Martavis Bryant who had three catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What Rex & staff will base QB decision on

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2015 – 12:08 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said after Buffalo’s win over Pittsburgh Saturday that there will be three things he bases his starting QB decision on when he and his offensive staff, GM Doug Whaley and owner Terry Pegula reach a consensus.

“What did we say we’re going to base the decision on? The team, the team and the team. Those three things,” said Ryan. “That’s what it’s going to be based on. Have I had discussions with (offensive coordinator) Greg Roman? Absolutely. Have I had discussions with (General Manager) Doug Whaley? With Terry Pegula? Absolutely. But has there been a collaborative deal? We are meeting (Sunday) to discuss our roster. We’ve got to make cuts getting down to 75 and there are going to be some tough cuts to make there let alone to get to 53. So that’s when we’ll have the (discussion), but the (starting quarterback) decision will be made and we’ll move forward.”

Ryan said he won’t make their decision public on Sunday, but the three quarterbacks will be informed.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why EJ played again in the second half

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 9:27 pm

Everyone thought EJ Manuel’s day was done after a pair of successful touchdown drives to start the game, but he returned in the third quarter with the second offensive unit. Head coach Rex Ryan explained why.

Ryan said part of the issue was the offense scored too quickly and it led to very little work for Manuel.

“That was tremendous and that’s what was strange about it,” said Ryan of the quick touchdown drives. “I was going to go two series and two series and two series (with the three quarterbacks), but then they scored and I’m like, shoot I’m going to go back to EJ because he had only thrown two balls albeit one for a zillion-yard touchdown. That’s why I wanted to get him a little more work too. He did a great job. I think he missed only one throw.”

Ryan had high praise for all three QBs saying they’ve all raised their level of play in the preseason.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex updates injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 9:24 pm

Unfortunately there were a handful of injuries in Saturday’s game for the Bills. Head coach Rex Ryan provided updates on his players postgame.

“(Marcus) Thigpen went out with a lower back,” said Ryan. (Linebacker Tony) Steward had a knee, that’s an MCL which could be a couple of weeks. (Stephon) Gilmore, shoulder, (Marquise) Goodwin, ribs, I think he might’ve had a couple of broken ribs there.

“(Stefan) Charles left the game, but came back it was a bruise. Marcell (Dareus) never played, he had a calf. It was more precautionary than it was anything else. But he felt some tightness and we just held the big dude out. Obviously white lightning (WR Austin Willis) had the concussion.”

Ryan indicated that Gilmore would be fine moving forward, but Thigpen and Goodwin could miss some time leading up to the regular season.

At the end of the game Buffalo had just four healthy receivers.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 3:04 pm

Here are the Bills inactives for today’s game against the Steelers with a lot of running backs and receivers still sidelined. 

WR Robert Woods 

WR Sammy Watkins

WR Chris Hogan

WR Percy Harvin

CB Leodis McKelvin

CB Cam Thomas

RB LeSean McCoy

RB Boobie Dixon

CB Ross Cockrell

RB Bryce Brown

RB Karlos Williams

WR Deonte Thompson


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Posted in Inside the Bills

BENRUS Best Dressed – Chris Hogan

Posted by buffalobills.com on August 29, 2015 – 2:12 pm

benrus-best-dressed-fb

The BENRUS Best Dressed series presents one well-dressed player with a product from the military-inspired lifestyle brand.

Wide Receiver Chris Hogan was seen wearing a stylish sport coat, blue jeans and grey Nikes. A perfect outfit for a preseason game!

As the winner of BEST DRESSED, Hogan received the sophisticated, yet stylish BENRUS Bivouac Backpack.  The BENRUS elite bag collection, watches and accessories are available for purchase at www.BENRUS.com

BENRUS, LLC was founded as a watch company in 1921. For over four decades, it manufactured legendary timepieces for the U.S. military. Giovanni Feroce, internationally recognized as one of today’s most successful American CEO’s, is building BENRUS into a multi-billion dollar, military-inspired lifestyle brand. Mr. Feroce currently serves as CEO and Chairman of BENRUS, LLC.


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Posted in Community, Corporate, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Steelers will be good test for ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 1:26 pm

Buffalo’s defense is coming into the season with a lot of high expectations, which is why this game against the Steelers will be so beneficial. Pittsburgh has one of the more prolific passing offenses in the league so it’s the perfect preparation for the regular season.

“They have a great running back in Bell, a very patient runner who can make all the cuts. He can jump two or three backs based on what he sees so it’s a big test for us,” said Kyle Williams. “Obviously you have Antonio (Brown) and Heath Miller and the usual suspects with Ben out there so they can do some things over the top. It’s going to be a good test for us so we’re going to have a fun time going out getting ready and prepared to play them.”

Williams admits it’s still not quite like regular season football, but they’ll be able to use their matchups as a bit of measuring stick for when the games do count.

“It’s always a fun test. You’re not throwing a whole game plan together and spending a lot of time getting prepared for them,” he said. “But you will be able to play some base defenses against a really talented football team and see if you can match up in situations like that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ preparing the same as always

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 12:20 pm

The Bills are giving EJ Manuel the start against Pittsburgh later this afternoon. While it’s certainly an opportunity Manuel isn’t treating it any different than any other playing opportunity in this quarterback competition.

“Not too much different aside from going first in the game. As far as preparation it’ll be the same,” Manuel said. “Going with the first team offensive line will be great, those guys are very smart. I think going with the other groups has helped me because I’m more responsible to make sure we make the right checks. (Kraig) Urbik has done a great job getting those guys in check as well with the second team O-line, but it’s helped me a bunch, but not too different.”

Manuel will likely have many of the same receivers with him on the field knowing Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Percy Harvin are not expected to dress.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pre-snap communication a focus for ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 10:16 am

There are always areas of a unit’s collective performance that can be improved. Buffalo’s defense is looking to be tighter with their pre-snap communication Saturday against the Steelers.

Bills ILB Preston Brown referenced last week’s game against Cleveland and how they got caught before they finished their pre-snap communication a couple of times.

“A lot of teams are trying to no huddle us a lot through the preseason which is different, but we’ve got to hurry up on the ball and on that 4th-and-1 they caught us so we’ve got to make sure we’re lined up and ready to go because there’s so much communication that sometimes we’re not ready so we’ve just got to get the talking down early,” Brown said.

Overall team communication has been good according to Brown, but having a sense of urgency in getting every pre-snap check called and executed before the play is where they want to be better.

“Each day were getting better in communication because that’s the biggest thing, you don’t want to have a miscommunication that leads to big plays,” said Brown. “So we’ve been working on it each day, getting better at communicating, and we’ve been doing well throughout camp.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex not putting more stock in 3rd preseason game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2015 – 12:26 pm

The third preseason game is typically the last dress rehearsal for the starters on the roster knowing they’ll play very little if at all in the preseason finale next week. But head coach Rex Ryan is not attaching any more importance to this third preseason game against the Steelers than any of the other preseason contests.

“About as much stock as I put in all the other ones, not much,” he said. “But with that being said I always say they’re all important. Every game is important. I don’t say well here is the dress rehearsal, I don’t believe that. Every day you’re evaluating and all that kind of stuff. It’s not that this game is more important than the other games. I don’t look at it that way, unless we win, then I’ll be like, ‘Yeah absolutely.’”

Ryan said all three quarterbacks in the current competition with see time with the starting unit on offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-28

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2015 – 11:24 am

A big preseason game for the QBs coming up on Saturday. Here’s the latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
What running backs will play tomorrow?

SarroJoeWNY

CB: At this point it looks like it will only be Fred Jackson and the three young backs we saw in the Cleveland game, Bronson Hill, Ricky Seale and Cierre Wood.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Cassel get cut with a perfect Tyrod and EJ performance?
AZBillsFan1

CB: I don’t foresee any of the three quarterbacks getting cut. It’s my belief all three will be on the roster and Rex Ryan has given me strong indication that they plan to carry three on their 53-man roster. A perfect performance by Tyrod Taylor would go a long way in helping him pull ahead of Matt Cassel, provided Cassel doesn’t light things up himself.

EJ Manuel would obviously help himself too with a strong performance, but how far that will move him back into true contention for the starting job is something that will be quantified by the coaching staff.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What has you most excited about the 2015 buffalo bills? Keep up the great work!

4evrbills

CB: I’m most excited about offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s plans for this offense. Chan Gailey was absolutely a qualified play caller on offense when he was here in Buffalo, but Roman is a proven and progressive coordinator that is probably the best they’ve had since the turn of the century.

I just think his ability to adapt and maximize the talent he has at his disposal while also exploiting opponent’s weaknesses is first rate. Roman gives Buffalo’s offense the ability to be dynamic and unpredictable and that will be a welcome change.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is the media hyping the EJ start too much? He’s played good against 2-3 stringers. I think MC deserves another chance.

browndevil37

CB: I don’t know that they’re hyping it too much. It’s an opportunity for Manuel that I think was a slight surprise in light of his reps, or lack thereof, with the first unit through the course of training camp. This starting opportunity is unlikely to last as long as the ones for Cassel and Taylor in the other two preseason games because Ryan said that all three QBs will see time with the first unit.

If Ryan is interested in fairness, as he has maintained, I would anticipate that each of the QBs would get 2-3 series each with the first unit. So Manuel could be exiting the game by the end of the first quarter or earlier if the offense gets three early possessions.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Does Buffalo really believe in our QBs to the point where acquiring better QBs (Mettenburger, etc) isn’t a possibility?

killerbeekevin

CB: I think Doug Whaley has already proven that if there’s an opportunity to make the roster stronger or deeper he’s willing to talk to just about anyone in the league. I don’t know if they’re convinced that what may or may not be available via trade is demonstrably better than what they have.

A young QB like Mettenburger, as you suggested, would also need time to get schooled up on what is a very voluminous playbook and multiple offense. At this point if you traded for a QB and it was a relatively young and inexperienced one like Mettenburger, I don’t know that you could count on getting much in the way of contributions from him this season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Featured gameday food: Mexican street tacos

Posted by Buffalo Bills on August 27, 2015 – 5:38 pm

Buffalo Bills food shoot 049

The integrity of the food we serve the fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium is something our culinary team takes very seriously. We do everything we can to prepare as much food from scratch with fresh, using local ingredients rather than opening a box from the freezer.  Our street tacos, which we introduced to fans last season, is a great example of where we’re making ingredients fresh in-house.  It’s an easy and really flavorful food to eat during the game too. We take three soft-shell tortillas, fill them with the fan’s choice of seasoned beef or chicken and top them off with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded Cojita cheese.

Locations of Street Tacos in the Stadium:

Fans can find these street tacos at our Mexican Concession Stands, located in sections 109, 123, 131, 312, & 333.

 

About Chef Andy:

Andy Altomare, executive chef at Ralph Wilson Stadium, has more than 15 years of experience in the culinary field. He joined Delaware North, the foodservice partner of the Buffalo Bills, in 2013.

In his role, he oversees the food and beverage services at all of the venue’s concession stands, luxury suites and club levels. He also leads the stadium’s catering efforts and collaborates with the Bills’ nutritionist to provide the players with balanced meals throughout the NFL season.

One of Chef Altomare’s favorite moments was last season’s home-opener, after Ralph Wilson Stadium and The Buffalo Bills ADPRO Training Center underwent $120 million in renovations. His culinary team with the Bills to open multiple new kitchens and introduced more than 30 additions to the menus in the concessions and premium areas.

Buffalo Bills food shoot 052


Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Boobie participates, but a ways to go

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2015 – 5:08 pm

Boobie Dixon didn’t get through the whole practice, but just being back out on the practice field had the running back in high spirits.

“It felt great man, especially coming off last year,” said Dixon of participating in practice Thursday. “I had the best season of my career last year. I went into camp thinking to myself I was going to build on that and it was going to be another great year. Then bam I get the injury so it was kind of depressing.

“Watching is always the toughest. You’re watching guys out there make plays at your position. You know you can do the same thing, but you’re just not able. It was tough, but I’m kind of back now, still breaking it in easy, but today was a positive.”

Dixon, who is not expected to play Saturday against Pittsburgh, laid out just where he feels his injured calf is at this point.

“I still have got some ways to go,” said Dixon. “I was fighting hard to get back early. I’ve been working non-stop every day since I got hurt, almost three weeks in a row every day. Even on the off days doubling up on the conditioning work. It’s been tough, but I’ve been fighting through it. It’s almost there. I’d say I’m at about 70 percent right now. It was just fun to get back out there man and run around with my teammates and be wild and crazy and have fun. That was great.”


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Cassel, Tyrod ready to perform Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2015 – 5:03 pm

EJ Manuel might be getting the start in the team’s third preseason game Saturday, but Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor are every bit as eager to get their time with the starting unit and perform well against the Steelers.

“Go out and play well. That’s the only thing you can do,” said Cassel. “Go out and try to show consistency and build on what I did in the first preseason game and hopefully show them enough where you can make an impact and an influence that maybe you’re the guy.”

“I’m looking forward to go out there playing. It’s the third preseason game. We worked hard throughout the training camp and I’m looking forward to going out there in the third preseason game and showing what I can do,” said Tyrod Taylor. “It’s been fair, that’s all I can ask for is the opportunity. I’ve been given that and I’m taking it one rep at a time.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A look at Dareus giving back to his hometown

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2015 – 1:08 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus was back in his old stomping grounds of Birmingham, Alabama to give back to the community where he grew up.

Dareus donated $100K to the Birmingham Parks and Recreation department to help build and refurbish park and playground sites in the Birmingham community. Here’s a look at when the community donation was made.


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Posted in Inside the Bills