Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 7-17

Posted by Chris Brown on July 17, 2015 – 11:15 am

We’re getting closer and closer to training camp! Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
I know the Bills need some help at linebacker, would it ever be a possibility that Mario move to outside linebacker and have a backup defensive end play where Mario played? What are your thoughts.

Alex W.

CB: While addressing a perceived deficiency is important for a personnel department, it’s not the best idea to take a premier player and reduce his effectiveness for your defense to satisfy that perceived deficiency.

If you take Mario Williams and move him further away from the ball, you reduce his effectiveness as a pass rusher. Williams is coming off his most productive season. More often than not I expect Buffalo’s defensive staff to keep him up on the line as a true defensive end.

Does that mean that Mario will never line up at OLB in what is expected to be a multiple and hybrid front? No. He’ll probably see some time in a stand up LB role, but I expect it to be at the line of scrimmage.

Having Mario Williams drop might make sense as a decoy on a play or two, but Mario Williams is getting paid a lot of money to go get the QB, so he’s not the answer to address a LB deficiency.

 

2 – Hi Chris, big fan of fan friday, keep up the good work.

Been a huge Bills fan forever and currently part of the Bills Mafia in Ft. Lauderdale.

From your previous Fan Friday your thinking 5 receivers, so if you lock in Watkins, Harvin, Woods and Easley-I believe is a lock because of his new contract and special teams that’s 4 so does that mean Hogan or Goodwin are battling for final receiver spot or are you not counting Easley as a receiver in this scenario?

Thanks buddy, keep up great work and god job with the Bills Focus pieces.

Folms716

CB: I indicated that keeping only five receivers was a possibility if they decide it’s more important to keep four tight ends for their offensive scheme. I don’t know if it’ll be absolutely necessary for them to do that knowing they’re keeping a fullback.

If it comes down to just five wideouts it’s probably Hogan and Easley as 4 and 5. If it’s six Goodwin is the guy that probably sticks.  Rex Ryan has an appreciation for Goodwin’s speed and that is likely to trump a fourth tight end when it comes to roster decision time, but Goodwin has to maintain his level of play from the spring in training camp and the preseason when the pads are on and cornerbacks get considerably more physical.

Thanks for the kind words.

 

3 – Chris,

First and foremost, I really like the way you keep us informed.  Your answers are very specific and detailed, no fluff.  You really know what is going on with all things Bills, and it is appreciated.

I’m intrigued with two undrafted players, Tyson Chandler and A.J Tarpley.  These type of players can be good finds and really round out our depth.  Can you comment on each and your opinions as to where they land–the 53 man roster or the practice squad.

Thanks again Chris for your excellent coverage,  we appreciate it.

Dan

CB: I appreciate the sentiments. Tyson Chandler is a player that I think could have a future in this league, just not in 2015. For a man his size I think he’s got pretty good feet. He just needs time to develop and I anticipate him winding up on Buffalo’s practice squad. He’s got some tools that warrant investment.

Tarpley is a guy that has to make his hay on special teams. He’s a heady player who  has to have the camp and preseason of his life to leapfrog young players on the depth chart like Randell Johnson and Jimmy Gaines. Practice squad is probably his best bet.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

going into training camp, who has the inside track on the 7th starting position for the front 7 on D?

LateBloomer1990

CB: What’s interesting here with this question is most people assume that Buffalo will have a true 3-4 front and in this hybrid scheme I don’t see that being the case. The way they lined up in camp they had four across the front with Mario, Kyle, Dareus and Hughes and at the second level it was Lawson, Brown and Bradham. I think that’s a lock for the front seven no matter how they decide to line up.

 

5 – Good morning, Chris.

I am hoping for some reassuring insight on the recent history of Wayne Hunter.  Reports say he last played for the Rams in the 2012 season.  Has he been out of football that entire time?  It is disconcerting to think an aging player who has not been on a team in two years might be considered worth signing, even if he was added for training camp numbers.  Is that customary, and no big deal, or does it reflect a desperation about the O-Line that is even worse than expected?

As always, your coverage of the Bills is outstanding, and a necessary staple for fans who love the team.  Keep it up!

Thanks,
Walter Megger

CB: Hunter is an insurance signing. Partly due to Seantrel Henderson’s spring, in which he didn’t make the first impression he had hoped on the new offensive staff. Henderson has time to redeem himself, but the Bills want a vet they feel they can rely on in the event of injury.

You need to look at Hunter as veteran insurance as a possible swing tackle, extra tight end in short yardage situations. Nothing more, nothing less.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Levy on being Polian’s HOF presenter

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2015 – 7:52 pm

 

2015 Hall of Fame inductee Bill Polian has stated it before, but it was officially announced Wednesday that his Hall of Fame presenter will be Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy. Levy was touched to be chosen by Polian to introduce him for enshrinement.

“I’m so honored and complimented that he asked me to be his presenter. He’s not just a former co-worker of mine; we are great friends as well,” Levy said. “His contributions to the game have been magnificent and I savor the opportunity to be his presenter.”

It is a reversal of roles for Polian and Levy. When Levy was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2001, Polian served as his presenter. This marks the fourth time that Levy will serve as a presenter having done so for three of his former Buffalo Bills players, Jim Kelly (2002), Thurman Thomas (2007) and Andre Reed (2014).

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Roman’s approach appealing for O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on July 11, 2015 – 10:13 am

Buffalo’s offensive line was a frustrated group last season. Their run game seemed like a weekly struggle and the variety of their attack from week to week was limited at best. Now with the addition of offensive coordinator Greg Roman, that’s all forgotten.

Roman’s diverse offensive schemes has the Buffalo’s offensive linemen excited about the prospects this fall.

“It’s just a different way of attacking defenses,” said G Richie Incognito. “You’re going to see a lot of different stuff out of us, a lot of different formations and a lot of different people moving around. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat. We’re going to be a run heavy offense, but I’ve never seen a playbook this big with as many ways to attack a defense with the run. We can attack you inside, we can come right downhill at you. We can run around you or toss the ball and circle the whole defense. We definitely have some playmakers and we’re hopeful to get the ball in their hands and get them in space.”

All that unpredictability makes it easier for the linemen to move defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage.

“That keeps us on the attack as opposed to trying to beat our head against the wall doing the same thing over and over and be really good at one thing, we’re trying to be really good at a lot of things and I think that can be really beneficial,” said Eric Wood.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Crossman confident he and Rex on same page

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 3:00 pm

When Rex Ryan was hired the future of the former staff was up in the air. A few members of Buffalo’s coaching staff were retained including special teams coordinator Danny Crossman. While final roster decisions often lie with the head coach, Crossman is confident that he and Ryan are on the same page when it comes to the importance of special teams.

“I feel that way and playing against coach Ryan every year with the Jets, they were always a team that had a pretty good (special teams) nucleus until kind of the last couple of years when their whole roster started to change,” Crossman told Buffalobills.com. “That will take care of itself. I’m a firm believer that the players who earn the right to be on the team and earn the right to get a uniform on game day they’ll be here. Who, how, that’ll take care of itself and it always does. Coach (Ryan) has been the head coach of some teams that have had some very, very good special teams so I don’t think that’ll be an issue whatsoever.”

During the spring practices Crossman was afforded a good portion of the practice time with his special teams units and he believes some final roster decisions will be made with special teams in mind.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred not settling for no gain

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 1:38 pm

We’ve known for a while that Fred Jackson is one of the better backs in the league when it comes to yards after contact. And while Jackson averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last season, there was one area where he still excelled.

When it comes to getting stopped for no gain after initial contact, Jackson is one of the best at gaining additional yards or at the very least falling forward. According to the stat crunches at ProFootballFocus in 2014, Jackson was only second to Tennessee RB Bishop Sankey when it came to the lowest percentage of no gain carries after initial contact.

On just 13.5 percent of Jackson’s 141 carries in 2014 was he stopped for no gain after initial contact (see chart below).

Fred contact


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-10

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 12:14 pm

Our training camp countdown is on! Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question to you is lately the Bills have brought in guys i.e. Wayne Hunter, Matthew Mulligan to add to our depth. In your opinion do these guys have a chance to make the team or are they just filling positions because we are running basically two teams in practice now.

I know Rex likes his ex-players and both have a history with him. It appears Seantrel Henderson is losing ground on his position and is it possible that Hunter was signed because the coaches don’t like what they see in Henderson?

Also we cut Lee Smith who was basically a blocking tight end and now we bring in Matthew Mulligan essentially the same type player is there a concern that the tight ends on the roster outside of Charles Clay can block effectively? We have had Chris Gragg the last few years and he has not impressed as either a receiving or blocking tight end.   Would love to hear your thoughts and again thanks for all you do for us!!! Let’s Go Buffalo!!!!

Donald F.

CB: The signings of Hunter and Mulligan are for very specific roles. Not leading roles mind you, but roles where Rex Ryan wants a veteran player he feels he can trust. Hunter is a player who struggled as a full-time starting right tackle in his last season with the Jets, but as a jack-of-all-trades role player in 2009 and 2010 for the Jets, Hunter excelled as a swing tackle (first off bench in event of injury), a blocking tight end in jumbo and short yardage packages and even as a defensive tackle in goal line formations.

Mulligan will serve in a blocking capacity as well. So you know Lee Smith wasn’t cut. He was a free agent and got big money from Oakland. Buffalo wasn’t going to pay Smith upwards of $3M a year. Mulligan is a reliable veteran blocker and is a much better value.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

I watched your 1 on 1 interview with Greg Roman and I found it interesting when he said that whichever QB is in there on game day will be the franchise QB in his opinion.  I was curious of your reaction and thoughts to that?  That’s a pretty bold statement.  Do you think that one of these 3 guys just may have shown something in OTA’s and minicamp for him to say that?   I also thought maybe he just meant that when one of these guys shows he can understand and fully command Romans offense then it means he is Romans “franchise guy”?   Whatever it means I am very confident in Roman and whoever he chooses to be the guy.

Go Bills!
Jillian

CB: I didn’t interpret Roman’s comment as an indication that one of the three QBs showed him franchise QB ability. If that was the case the guy would be the starter already.

I think he was simply saying when one of the QBs separates himself from the others that he will be the franchise guy because he’ll be the starter. That being said, depending on that QB’s performance who the starter is could be subject to change. Let’s just hope whoever wins the job performs well enough and consistently enough to hold the job for the whole season.

 

3 – Hey Chris

Want to start off by saying thanks for the great work you put in.  Keeping us all updated on the team for us not in the Buffalo area.

My first question is about EJ.  I can’t say I was a big fan of us drafting him first round overall. That being said I think he is working hard.  I would like to see him get a real shoot this year. I know this is an all in season for the bills. With all the free agent adds. So I get why they are trying to have so much competition but I feel he needs to get a full season in. He wasn’t that bad last year.  Don’t get me wrong he wasn’t that good either.

I feel with all the competition going on can be a bad thing as well. I feel whoever wins the job we need to stick with regardless and not switch guys after a few bad games. The whole team gets hurt this way since none of the QBs are the same style.

My second question is about Fred Jackson.  They keep talking about cutting him. I think that would be the dumbest moves we make this year. I think he works hard and he makes plays but more importantly he is a captain and a leader.  I think we need that more than anything with all these high profiled playmakers on the offense side of the ball.  I think he might be our best shot of these guys playing as a team.

CB: As I stated in the above answer the ideal situation is that the QB who wins the starting role holds onto it the whole season. That means he’ll be performing consistently and effectively and that’s good for the offense. You’re right there are contrasting styles between the three, so keeping that position consistent with the same person helps the other 10 players on offense.

As for Fred Jackson, I think the things working in his favor more than anything else are his leadership and his pass protection. LeSean McCoy might be the only back on this roster who knows how to pass protect as well as him. If you can’t trust a guy to pick up blitzes and make pre-snap adjustments to be in position to protect your QB, you can’t put that guy on the field.

The offensive coaches can trust Fred. I think the only thing that puts his job in jeopardy is if he struggles to get through camp and perhaps looks a step slow. Knowing how well he takes care of his body I don’t see that happening.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

With an unsure O-line (although I think they will surprise us) isn’t Tyrod Taylor the smart choice? #bills #ScrambleFactor

Dustypractor

CB: I think your premise is a bit of an oversimplification. Offensive coaches will base their starting QB decision on a myriad of factors that will go far beyond the protection capabilities of the men up front. I think the offensive line’s pass protection would have to represent a jail break on every pass play in the preseason to move this kind of factor high enough on the priority list in why they choose one QB over another.

 

5 – Hey Chris,
Thank you for keeping us Bills fans well informed, you are doing a great job, keep up the good work.

Now my question may be the same old song, but as fans it is very important to us; The Quarterback Position. With the three QBs splitting reps with the first team, does that give enough time for the #1 guy to develop a relationship with the WRs, TEs, and the backfield?

Also since none of them have set themselves apart from the others, does that mean that the coaches aren’t pleased with any of them or are all 3 looking that good? Everyone hoped that Matt Cassel would come in and at least get it done for this year. Since he does not have a contract extension yet, is that saying anything about how he is doing? Thank you
Ken
Lancaster, NY

CB: Your first question is a valid concern. Rex Ryan has said that he will take as long as he needs to pick the right guy. I don’t question for a second that picking the right guy is the most important factor in all of this. A close second however, is making a decision that leaves enough time to get that starter ready for the regular season.

With all three splitting reps it inadvertently compromises the on field chemistry between the QB and the 10 other starters on offense. After witnessing Kyle Orton step right in last year with no preseason or training camp snaps perhaps it’s not as big a deal as some might think.

But with a new offensive system as varied as Greg Roman’s, deciding on a starter with a preseason game or two left on the schedule would be ideal because it should afford the starter enough time to get fully in tune with the rest of the starting unit.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills founder’s medals on display in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 11:34 am

Bills founder and Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson’s military medals for his service in the US Navy will be on display in downtown Buffalo beginning this weekend.

Wilson’s World War II medals will be unveiled to the public on Saturday at 10 am at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park near Canalside. His medals are on loan for the next couple of months from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His naval uniform will also be part of the exhibit.

Former Bill Bob Kalsu, who is the only NFL player to make the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam war will also have a display at the park. His display will include the Sports Illustrated cover story along with his helmet and playing card.

Wilson and Kalsu are being recognized as part of the Salute to Service events that will run through mid-August at the park.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Agency that reps Dareus to be bought by CAA

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 10:11 am

The agency that represents Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus is reportedly in the process of being bought by another agency. Dareus, who has been represented by Todd France’s agency Five Star Athlete Management, will be bought by CAA Sports, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment agencies.

That’s according to a report by Sports Business Daily. Five Star Athlete Management was previously owned by Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, but they had to divest themselves of that holding when they bought the Bills. They did so by selling it back to France, the founder of the agency. France is now reportedly selling it again and will work under the umbrella of CAA. He represents about 50 players including Dareus and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, who is seeking Calvin Johnson money in a long term deal, after being franchised by the Broncos.

Essentially nothing will change in terms of who the Bills negotiate with when it comes to a long-term contract extension with Marcell Dareus, something Bills GM Doug Whaley labeled as the team’s top priority.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rams pick OT Battle in supplemental draft

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 3:40 pm

It took five rounds, but former Clemson OT Isaiah Battle was chosen by the St. Louis Rams.

That according to ESPN.com. The Rams now forfeit their fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft for drafting Battle. St. Louis made a concerted effort to improve their offensive line this past spring using four of their draft choices on offensive linemen including three offensive tackles.

Now Battle will be the fifth rookie lineman added via a draft pick.

Buffalo did their homework on Battle and even sent offensive line coach Aaron Kromer to Battle’s pro day to take a look. Battle has some off the field issues that were of concern to some NFL clubs.

With Buffalo signing veteran OT Wayne Hunter just last week to be the fifth offensive tackle on their roster, it was unlikely that the Bills would give up a draft choice for the supplemental prospect.


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Hughes gives back, helps former teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 3:32 pm

Bills DE Jerry Hughes has some deeper pockets nowadays following his long term contract extension with Buffalo this offseason. But Hughes is making use of his raise to benefit his local Texas community and help a former college teammate in the process.

Hughes is making an annual donation of $15K to the Fort Worth North Side high school football program. This is the first year he’s committed funds to the program in the wake of the school naming Joseph Turner their head coach. Previously an offensive coordinator for the Steers, Turner was named head coach at the behest of his players.

Turner was also a former college teammate of Hughes at TCU. While Hughes was earning All-American honors as a pass rushing defensive end, Turner was the Horned Frogs running back.

Hughes’ donation this year will go toward game day uniforms, weight room equipment, practice equipment and cleats among other items.

“I’m happy [Hughes] is one of my best friends,” Turner told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Hughes also stopped by the school to meet the players this week.


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Spec. teams area for improvement – punting

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 3:03 pm

Buffalo’s special teams had a renaissance year last season finishing second overall in the well respected Dallas Morning News comprehensive rankings put together by Rick Gosselin. But there’s always room to improve and there’s one area in particular that coordinator Danny Crossman believes can make a jump this coming season.

Crossman has some short list items as any coach does from one season to the next, but near the top of that list is the punt game. That’s not to indicate that Colton Schmidt struggled last season. As a rookie he performed rather well as he got adjusted to the NFL game. But Crossman wants to see an improvement when it comes to net punting, which means reducing return yardage, improving hang time, forcing fair catches and avoiding touchbacks.

Part of what worked against Schmidt and the punt coverage unit last season was the majority of his kicks were on the opponent’s side of midfield, which negatively impacted gross punting average. That affects net punting average and provides a greater risk for touchbacks off a bounced ball.

“When you talk about punting the football early in the year most of our punts was what we consider plus-50 so we weren’t going to have the big gross and we were going to have an okay net as long as we weren’t getting touchbacks,” Crossman said. “We knew based on where we were we were going to have a high number of inside the 20s and inside the 10s and that’s sort of how the year played out.”

On 86 punts Schmidt had just six touchbacks with 31 punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, which was tied for fourth-best in the NFL last season.

“As a coach you want to be better on everything,” said Crossman. “We need to punt the ball better and we still need to be better in coverage even though we were pretty good at it.”

As a side note, kickoff specialist Jordan Gay also doubles as a punter and will try to give Schmidt some competition in training camp this summer.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL Supplemental draft at 1 pm

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 10:55 am

The NFL’s Supplemental draft is at 1 pm today, and though there are seven prospects in the pool most draftniks only see one player for whom an NFL club might part with a 2016 draft choice.

That player is Clemson OT Isaiah Battle. Battle (6-6, 312) started 15 games over the past two seasons for the Tigers. The 22-year old Brooklyn native claims he’s entering the supplement draft to support his family with a baby on the way, but he has had some on and off the field issues with reports that those issues prompted his dismissal from Clemson.

 

Battle does have great athletic ability and 35 5/8-inch arms. The Bills college scouting department has obviously done their homework on him. According to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, the Bills even sent offensive line coach Aaron Kromer to Battle’s pro day workout. There were 25 NFL clubs in attendance.

Buffalo currently has five offensive tackles on their roster after the signing of veteran OT Wayne Hunter. Knowing the Bills are in ‘win now’ mode and have added Hunter, taking on another young offensive tackle and parting with a pick for the 2016 draft might be a long shot.

Here are the other prospects in today’s supplemental draft.

DE Darrius Caldwell – West Georgia
DE Eric Eiland – Houston
TE Sean McQuillan – UCONN
DB Kevin Short – Kansas
DT Dalvon Stuckey – West Georgia
WR Adrian Wilkins – N.C. Central


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Gilmore dead set on starting strong

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 9:15 am

His last two seasons injuries and offseason surgery have kept Stephon Gilmore from being in top form at the start of the year. The fourth-year corner is determined to be at his best right from Week 1 in 2015.

In our Camp Countdown, presented by M&T Bank, we list the main reasons why Gilmore should excel in 2015. One of the chief reasons is his current health. Though he is coming off an offseason procedure it was not nearly as invasive as his hip surgery in the 2014 offseason, meaning he’ll be full go for training camp.

That means he won’t have to use regular season games, like he did the last two years, to get into top playing form.

“I felt like I kind of started slow my last two years, but held it down the last half of the season,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “I feel like this season I need to start fast for this team to go deep, deep in the playoffs.”

 


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A Revis role for Gilmore?

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 11:30 am

Mum has largely been the word as to just how far the Bills defensive staff intends to go in utilizing the talents of Stephon Gilmore this season. Will he stay on one side of the field and work? Will he follow the opponent’s best wideout all day? Chances are it will be a bit of both. So does that mean Gilmore will fill a role similar to that of Darrelle Revis? In a word, probably.

It’s clear that Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and secondary coach Donnie Henderson all see Gilmore as the elite corner in Buffalo’s defensive backfield. It’s also evident they have big plans for Gilmore this season. The only problem is no one has seen it in action because Gilmore was held out of spring practices in the team setting due to an undisclosed offseason procedure.

The difference this year is Gilmore will be full go in training camp and the preseason, which was not the case last year when he was coming off offseason hip surgery. So what has Gilmore been told by his defensive coordinator concerning his role in 2015?

“He likes the way I play so he told me to get ready to take on a big role in this defense,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “He just wants me to be ready. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get out there and show them what I can do and show the world what I can do.”

We’ll have much more on just how Gilmore’s game could really excel in 2015 when our Camp Countdown series, presented by M&T Bank, continues on Thursday (July 9th) here on Buffalobills.com.


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Crossman: Easley has shot at Pro Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 11:10 am

He’s gone a long way in making a name for himself on special teams the past two seasons. Now with the special teams unit coming off a season in which they ranked second in the league overall and a squad poised to end Buffalo’s postseason drought, Marcus Easley could earn himself a Pro Bowl nod as a specialist.

When asked about the chances for Pro Bowl recognition for his ace coverage team player, special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, in a forthcoming one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, believes it can happen.

“In my opinion absolutely,” Crossman said. “He’s carved a name out around the league for himself the way he’s performed the last two years. A lot of those accolades are garnered by establishing yourself first. You’ve got to have that name recognition that shows you’ve done it at a high level before and then the expectations that people have and are aware of watching you to see if you’re still able to play at that high level. We think he can and we think he will.”

Typical of Easley, the specialist shrugs off thoughts of earning Pro Bowl recognition, choosing instead to focus on team goals first and foremost.

“We’ve got team goals as far as making the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl,” Easley said. “As far as individual success that will come with the team goals. As long as we do our part on offense, defense and special teams guys will get rewarded.”


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Goodwin to jump in Pan American games

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 10:40 am

After narrowly failing to qualify for a spot on the US team for the World track & field championships in China in August, Bills WR Marquise Goodwin is going to participate in one more major track and field competition before training camp.

Goodwin is listed as a participant for the US team in the Pan American Games later this month in Toronto. The receiver will again be competing in the long jump. The dates for the event are July 21st and 22nd, which is just over a week before Bills training camp begins at St. John Fisher.

Goodwin is one of 43 US male athletes competing in the games. He told the AP last month after failing to qualify for the World Championships that he was headed “back to football,” but apparently this new opportunity surfaced and he chose to participate.

Last month Goodwin needed to finish in the top three as the US track and field championships to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing, but finished fourth with a best jump of 27-feet 5 1/2 inches.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin leaps in the long jump at the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, June 25, 2015.  Goodwin is taking a break from football to return to the long jump. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin leaps in the long jump at the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, June 25, 2015. Goodwin is taking a break from football to return to the long jump. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins near the top at moving the sticks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 3:08 pm

He was far from healthy for most of his rookie season, but Sammy Watkins still finished as the team’s leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2014. He also is among the best in the league at one other key category for a receiver. After the catch conversions.

Pro Football Focus compiled a list through their film review of the players who were the most effective in taking a catch short of the marker and converting a first down. Sammy Watkins finished second in the league in this category.

1d-wr-top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watkins had an impressive 50 percent conversion rate on catches he made short of the marker. Now in all fairness this figure must be taken with a grain of salt, knowing the short passing game tendencies of some NFL offenses will cater to a high number of opportunities to convert. There are also some wideouts, who typically run routes short of the marker as a dump down option for a QB that are at an inherent disadvantage.

Still, converting half of your catches short of the first down mark into a fresh set of downs for your offense is an impressive feat.


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How Mario & Jerry work off each other

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 12:59 pm

Pro Football Focus has put together a wonderful in depth look at the effectiveness of Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes as a pass rushing tandem. Suffice to say the two work off one another extraordinarily well, not dismissing how much Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams assist in that effort too.

Here’s a look at some of the main points the PFF’s extensive analysis revealed.

1 – Hughes and Williams combined for no less than five QB pressures in all by three games last season.
2 – Both were more effective pass rushers in blitz situations last season with Hughes seeing close to a five percent increase in pass rush effectiveness.
3 – Mario was most effective on pass rushes in which the center slid away from Williams in the protection.
4 – Hughes was most effective on pass rushes in which the center stayed home in the protection.
5 – Hughes was at his best as a pass rusher on first and second down, while Williams was most effective on third down.

Williams-Hughes-Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps most encouraging is knowing that Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman will be blitzing a whole lot more than Jim Schwartz did last season, both Hughes and Williams figure to see their production increase even more when it comes to bringing the heat.


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Dareus among best turning pressure into sacks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 12:04 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus does a lot of things exceptionally well on the football field. But analytic film breakdown site ProFootballFocus has found yet another area where Dareus is among the best in the league.

PFF decided to break down what defensive players most effectively converted a pass pressure into a sack. First in compiling a list from 2007 to the present, Dareus is among a slew of defensive ends ranking ninth in the league over the last eight seasons with a pressure to sack conversion percentage of 21.7%.

PFF 2007 pressure to sack

 

 

 

 

 

Being the only defensive tackle on that list it was not surprising to see Dareus at the top of the list for the highest QB pressure to sack conversion rate in the league since 2007 (21.7%) among interior defensive players. Dareus’ conversion percentage was even better than some of the league’s sack leaders like Houston’s J.J. Watt (18.6%).

pressure to sack dt


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Crossman: Jordan Gay has proven himself

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 11:46 am

A good number of NFL observers still think it’s a luxury position, but more and more teams are putting stock in having a kickoff specialist to ensure touchbacks. Buffalo was one of the teams that carried a kickoff specialist last season in Jordan Gay. With a coaching change this offseason some are wondering if Gay is still held in high standing.

All Gay did last season was help improve Buffalo’s kickoff coverage from 17th in 2013 to 3rd in 2014. His touchback percentage (60.5%) was good for ninth in the league, and that doesn’t take into account some of the return men Buffalo faced last season who had free license to bring it out no matter how deep the kick was in the end zone (e.g. Percy Harvin – twice, Cordarelle Patterson).

With Rex Ryan the new head coach, there had been speculation as to where Ryan stood on the importance of having a reliable kickoff specialist. Buffalo’s contract extension for Gay this offseason was one indication that nothing has changed, and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman provided even more clarity as to how much the Bills value Gay’s contributions.

In a forthcoming one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, Crossman stated unequivocally that Gay proved his worth last season as deserving of a spot on Buffalo’s deep and talented roster.

“Without question,” said Crossman. “The year that Jordan had… and we think he’s going to be even better. It’s not as much of a luxury if you’re getting a super highly-productive player. I don’t care what it is. You may have a guy on your roster that only plays 15 plays a game, but in those 15 plays a game he gets a sack. Well that value is there. Everyone looks at each position differently. I think Jordan’s value – he showed what he was worth in terms of the depth of the kicks and hang time of the kicks he put us in great position to make a lot of plays.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills