Inside The Bills

Robinson: Bills defense, “best in the league”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on June 17, 2015 – 9:17 pm


Day two of the Bills mandatory minicamp in the books with just one more session to go before the team breaks for five weeks leading up to Training Camp. We began the show hearing from head coach Rex Ryan, running back LeSean McCoy, and receiver Sammy Watkins as he updates his status. We also asked the listeners their thoughts on the quarterback competition and if its impact matters with the setup the team has offensively. There was plenty of reaction to that tonight.

fluellenpicNewly signed defensive tackle Andre Fluellen sat down in-studio with us. Fluellen talked about his time in Detroit, his current offseason where he took part in boxing to stay in shape, and his fit here in Buffalo along the defensive line. He mentioned why the coaches brought him in and what their expectations are for the veteran defensive lineman.

“They want me to be me. I’m not 330-pounds and I never will be. They don’t ask me to be that but they like my quickness and explosiveness, the way I move. They said ‘we want you to be you. Find a spot for you to be you and don’t try to do anything more than what your body can do.’ I’m really appreciative of that and to give me that opportunity to not be somebody else but to be Andre Fluellen.”

Next up, we checked in down in Dallas at Cowboys Camp. Drew Davison from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called in to discuss the Cowboys unique approach to practice film study by utilizing drones and even virtual reality. Davison talked about the cutting edge way the team is trying to improve the on-field play.

“This is just another tool they will be able to use to try to help their development and game plain strategy against opposing teams.”

Davison did say he expects teams around the league to implement this style of game/practice study to keep up with the advances around the NFL.

tempCM3_3672--nfl_mezz_1280_1024Finally, another national impression of the team from Yahoo! Sports Senior NFL Reporter Charles Robinson. Robinson, in attendance on Tuesday to take in today’s on-field work. He talked about what he saw at the quarterback position and the talent surrounding that unit. Although, he was extremely impressed with what he saw on the defensive side of the ball.

“To me this looks like this is probably going to end up being the best defense in the league. That really pops to me and it was interesting when I was discussing story lines with my boss, although the scheme is not the same, this defense reminds me of the Bears defense in 2006 that took them to the Super Bowl. It’s the kind of defense that’s going to turn it over a lot. It could be a scoring type of defense. It should do a lot of damage.”

Robinson went on to discuss his findings from the other stops around the league. To hear that and the rest of Wednesday’s John Murphy Show, click here.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 7:57 pm

heres where you can find Bills players on the Bills Radio Network Thursday morning. 

7:00 am – WGR 550, Howard Simon – Nigel Bradham 

7:15 am – Kiss 98.5, Janet Snyder – Preston Brown

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Posted in Inside the Bills

FA OT Hunter in on tryout basis

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 4:11 pm

He hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2012 season, but free agent OT Wayne Hunter was at practice Wednesday with the Bills on a tryout basis.

Hunter, 33, last played in the league for St. Louis in the 2012 season appearing in 14 games making four starts. He has a history with Rex Ryan, playing under him in three of his four seasons with the Jets. Hunter was a full-time starter for Ryan in New York during the 2011 season.

Buffalo hasn’t made a secret of seeking out additional offensive tackle help to boost their numbers at the position for training camp. Hunter wore jersey 75.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McCoy has seen rotation at QB before

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 3:42 pm

With a healthy dose of new faces on the offensive side of the ball for the Bills this season there are some outside observers who believe it’s imperative that a starting quarterback be named to allow all the new players to get acclimated to one signal caller. As far as LeSean McCoy is concerned it’s not as big an issue as some might make it out to be.

McCoy, who saw a healthy amount of quarterback changes during his time Philadelphia, says the key difference here is the rest of the offense is being exposed to all three QBs who are part of the competition for the starting job.

“I’m used to it,” said McCoy. “In Philadelphia, we had a lot of different quarterbacks coming in and going out. I’m kind of used to that. The biggest thing here is, all the quarterbacks are getting reps with the first team. It’s not like I’m not getting reps with none of the quarterbacks. They’re all rotating out with the ones—each day they have their day with the ones. They get a lot of work with the first team.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

2015 Jim Kelly Camp scholarship winners

Posted by Dallas Miller on June 17, 2015 – 3:11 pm


Congratulations to the following recipients of a Jim Kelly Camp scholarship:

Dakota E. from Eden, NY
Alex P. from North Tonawanda, NY
Harrison R. from Hamburg, NY
Zachary S. from Tonawanda, NY
Drew W. from West Seneca, NY

The 28th annual camp is June 28 through July 2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Participants must be between the ages of 8–18. This non-contact camp has staff of carefully-assembled instructors and current Bills players.

Limited spots are still available. For more information or to register your child, click here.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins happy to be worked back in

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 2:12 pm

Sammy Watkins has been a limited participant in spring practices coming off an offseason hip procedure, but through the first two days of minicamp he’s been sprinkled in for a few team reps in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. It’s not much, but Watkins is happy to take any reps he can get with teammates around him.

“It feels good,” he said. “Just to know I can get on the field and compete and go out there and make a play or two. Just to get back there is a great feeling to me, and just to see coaches confidence in putting me back there and knowing that I’m healthy – it was a great feeling for me.”

Watkins said he will be full go for training camp come late July.

“I’ll be in there the first day of training camp competing,” he said. “It’s all about now getting in shape and coming back ready to compete.”

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Aaron on track for training camp

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 2:07 pm

Aaron Williams, who is coming off of offseason surgery, has not seen any action in the spring and that has carried through to the mandatory minicamp. According to Rex Ryan, Williams will be good to go come training camp at the end of July.

“Aaron should be ready to go,” said Ryan. “He’s sitting in there in the meetings, and it’s tough for some positions. Like Leodis (McKelvin) will come in and play corner like it’s nothing. But playing safety is a more challenging position mentally and the communication part of it and all that. With Aaron not being able to go we’ll see how it goes. He seems to be sharp and I’m looking forward to seeing him on the field.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex tips hat to season ticket fan base

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 2:02 pm

Naturally Bills head coach Rex Ryan is aware of the record-breaking figure for season tickets this offseason. He’s sensed the excitement in Western New York since he was hired. Having coached on the opposite sideline several times here in Buffalo he wasn’t the least bit surprised by the fan support for the team.

“The commitment from our fan base is tremendous,” said Ryan. “I knew before I ever came here how awesome these fans are. This is just another thing to reinforce it. We’re all excited about the season. And it’s not just our schedule—I get it, there’s a lot of good teams on our schedule that we’re playing here. But our fans aren’t coming to see the opponent, they’re coming to see the Buffalo Bills. They’re seeing their football team.

“That’s what exciting to me because when you come here, you’re not just playing the Bills, you’re playing this fan base, our fans, you’re playing our football team, but you’re playing the community. And our community takes a great deal of pride in our football team. This is about us. Was I excited about that (season ticket record)? Darn right I was, man. C’mon in here and get a piece of this.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2015 – 6:01 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players on the local and national radio airwaves Wednesday. 

7:10 AM – Nickell Robey on WGR 550

12:37 PM – Charles Clay on Sirius NFL Radio 

4:30 PM – Tyrod Taylor on ESPN Rochester

Posted in Inside the Bills

QBs not surprised competition is tight

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2015 – 5:54 pm

All three of Buffalo’s quarterbacks in the competition for the starting job had their moments on Tuesday, but head coach Rex Ryan said he’s not expecting true separation until training camp.

“There’s not going to be any separation until the pads come on,” said Ryan. “It’s not going to be won until we get to playing real football. I think the number one thing is to pick the right guy. Is time on our side a little bit? Yes it is. In an ideal world, would you rather have your quarterback named by now? Yeah. That’s an ideal situation. But you know what — we’re not there.  We’re in an ideal situation to have competition at that spot and I welcome it.”

Ryan’s comments that the competition figures to stretch well into training camp is anything but surprising to Buffalo’s signal callers. They figured the offensive staff would wait until real football when more realistic decision making becomes part of the competition.

“I figured that’s what it kind of would be anyway just by the way we’ve been rotating in OTAs and in minicamp,” said EJ Manuel. “It is what it is. I think the way you have to go into this thing is do your best with the reps that you get and at the end of the day they’ll make the decision that’s best for the team.”

When asked if he felt the competition was close Manuel simply sees all three QBs in the competition faring well.

“I think we’re all doing a good job,” he said. “Everybody is being very sharp and picking up the offense like coach Roman wants us to do pretty quickly. When you’re playing against good competition in the league that’s how it is so it’s the little small things that will separate all of us.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex on addition of DT Fluellen

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2015 – 3:26 pm

The Bills might have one of the deepest defensive line corps in the league, but it didn’t keep them from adding a veteran wave defensive tackle in Andre Fluellen Tuesday.

Head coach Rex Ryan explained the roster move after Tuesday’s minicamp practice.

“You can’t have enough good players,” said Ryan. “When you add to the competition those are real positive things. I just saw him out there, I’m like there’s a young kid who’s played in the league a little bit, and he can run. He’s got some movement skills.”

The only issue Ryan did have is that Fluellen is yet another Florida State product on the Bills roster.

“I don’t like the fact that he’s a Florida State guy like half our roster,” said Ryan. “We need to get more Tigers in there.”

Ryan is partial to Clemson where his son is a receiver.

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Chris Williams & Henderson updates

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2015 – 3:00 pm

The Bills had a couple of players who were not on the field at Buffalo’s mandatory minicamp. Two were players still rehabbing offseason procedures in Chris Williams and Aaron Williams. The third player had trouble traveling back to Buffalo.

That according to head coach Rex Ryan, who explained Seantrel Henderson’s absence Tuesday.

“He had some travel issues and was not in the building,” said Ryan. “You always tell guys, especially when you’re heading north, always try to prepare a little.  I’ll talk to him about that.”

As for Chris Williams, who has not been in attendance for any of the OTA practices, but was in the building Tuesday rehabbing, Ryan made it a point to speak with him at length.

“Chris is here and I know what he looks like. He’s a big dude,” said Ryan. “My conversation with Chris, I’ll just leave it as private.  There are voluntary camps.  Obviously, we knew Chris’ situation with his rehab and things. Nobody looks like him.”

Ryan said he expects to see Henderson back on the practice field Wednesday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 10:24 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players on the local radio airwaves Tuesday. 

7:40 am – Kiss 98.5, Janet and Nick – LeSean McCoy

7:40 am – WCMF, Break room – Fred Jackson

7:50 am – WGR 550, Howard Simon and Jeremy White – LeSean McCoy

4:30 pm – ESPN Rochester, Scott Pitoniak – Fred Jackson

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Russ Brandon: “A thrill to get to this mark” – JMS

Posted by johnmurphyshow on June 15, 2015 – 9:40 pm


We’re back to kick off another week as minicamp looms around the corner. Players returned to the building for check-ins this afternoon with the mandatory on-field sessions getting underway Tuesday morning. We began the show with the news of the day, which included the team setting the franchise record for ticket sales. We asked the season ticket holders to call in to share their favorite part of coming to Ralph Wilson Stadium on a continuous basis during the season.

fansBills President Russ Brandon sat down in-studio to discuss today’s news. He gave credit to the offseason additions and aggressive nature of the team’s front office and coaching staff for the spike in sales. The fans, of course, play a big part in setting the mark and Brandon mentioned the importance of “loyalty and commitment” from those that attend the games. When it came to the main reason, he alluded to the franchise stability implemented when Terry and Kim Pegula took over ownership.

“I think it’s the number one reason and everything else a part of the process. I think the foundation of why we’re sitting here today talking about this is because of Terry and Kim Pegula, the stability of the franchise, and the continuity of the franchise for decades to come. I know we’ve talked about this before but that collective anvil we have been carrying around that we threw in the bottom of Lake Erie on October 8th is no longer.”

A little after the top of the hour, we were joined by Monday Quarterback Club President Paul Peck. Peck, a former sportscaster in the area turned business professional, talked about the goal of the MQC, which allows for the business type to connect with the Bills on a peck MMQpersonal level. He went on to mention the upcoming seven evening events for the upcoming season, first of which on the road at Training Camp in Pittsford, NY in early August. For more information on the Monday Quarterback Club, including membership info, check out

Finally, Senior Writer for Silver and Black Illustrated Michael Wagaman called in to round out the show. Wagaman talked about the Raiders and their possible move back to Los Angeles, which hinges on the need for a new stadium. He went on to discuss where the support may or may not come from in the Oakland area and recognized the league’s stance on the importance of having an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. Wagaman said he expects to hear in the next coming weeks that “Oakland will be one of the teams moving back down to LA.”


To hear more from Wagaman and the rest of Monday’s John Murphy Show, click here.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Club seats & suites in near sold out position

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 11:54 am

The Bills in announcing the organization has set a record for season ticket sales has also shared that their sales across the board of their available game inventory is extremely high.

While team President Russ Brandon did not confirm that the limited availability of regular game tickets has led to an increase in club seat sales or suite sales, he did say that club seats and suites are essentially filled for the 2015 season.

“Suite sales are pretty much in a sold out status as well,” said Brandon. “We were last year. I think that’s something that needs to be focused on. Last year our season tickets sales were 47 (thousand) and change and it was an excellent foundation for us for where we are today. So how this business has evolved in today’s NFL has been an immense project for our staff and our organization and our fan base.

“Right now sideline club seats are really in a sold out pattern. We have some limited availability in individual game tickets within our club seats. Suites are pretty much in the same spot right now.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills plan to cap season tickets at 60K

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 11:49 am

With the Bills in a record-breaking position right now for season ticket sales, the organization has put measures in place to cap season ticket sales when they reach a pre-determined threshold.

Bills President Russ Brandon in announcing the organization’s record-breaking season ticket figure (57,500) knows it stands a good chance to go higher, and outlined at what point the club intends to cap season tickets.

“We plan on capping season ticket sales at 60 (thousand) if we get there,” said Brandon. “We’re north right now of 57,500. We anticipate that there is an opportunity that we could get there and we will cap season tickets at that point.”

Brandon also mentioned how they thought they had a chance to break the record set back in 1992 leading up to the 2008 season, but they fell just short at 56,011. Knowing the team hasn’t made the playoffs in 15 years the undying loyalty of the Bills fan base has been nothing short of overwhelming.

“We look back and the analysis over the last 17 years and our average season tickets has been 42,994, which is a pretty good foundation with the inventory that we have in the market. The team has not been to the playoffs in the last 15 years and that has been difficult for anyone who is involved in this organization in any department, but it goes back to our fans and the loyalty they’ve shown, and not just this year.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brandon cites fans, Pegulas for season ticket mark

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 11:42 am

The Bills formally announced that they’ve set a record for season ticket sales (57,500) for the 2015 season surpassing the record previously held from 1992 (57,132), in the midst of Buffalo’s unprecedented four-straight AFC title run in the early 90’s. Bills President Russ Brandon pointed to the team’s tremendously loyal fan base and the Pegulas’ purchase of the club as the two principle factors in reaching the historic mark.

“First and foremost it goes to our fans and our ownership, the Pegulas, who have provided stability for this franchise in Western New York,” said Brandon. “As I said at the time of the sale, the collective anvil that had been on the back of all of our shoulders, we were able to put that in Lake Erie and that played a huge role in today’s announcement.

“Right now we’re north of 57,500 season tickets. Obviously it’s an exciting time for the organization. It’s a credit to our fans and their loyalty. We have the best fans in the NFL as proven year in and year out. It’s a credit to our ticket office and customer service staff who work year round to try to make this work and have done an excellent job.”

The number of season tickets is expected to climb knowing fans might not be able to find individual game tickets with the inventory shrinking daily. The team’s group sales opens on Friday, but there is only tickets remaining on a group basis for their home finale against the Jets on Jan. 3rd.

Individual game ticket sales are supposed to take place next month, but that is going to be re-assessed by the ticket office based on where availability goes from the results of group sales and further season ticket sales.

We will go through with our group on sale on Friday and we’re scheduled to have our individual ticket group on sale on July 29th and right now we’re going to evaluate that based on what the inventory looks like.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Multiple teams interested in G Mathis

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 10:12 am

It was a late offseason release, but the Eagles in parting ways with veteran G Evan Mathis have opened up what sounds like widespread interest in the former Pro Bowl guard.

Earning Pro Bowl nods in each of the last two years and a 1st-Team All-Pro honor in 2013, up to a half dozen teams are interested in signing Mathis per his agent Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus appeared on WQAM radio in Miami claiming that several teams have already made contact expressing interest.

While the Bills, like most other teams would see Mathis as an upgrade, it’s hard to believe Buffalo would want to get into a bidding war for Mathis’ services. The club is trying to lock up Marcell Dareus long term with what’s expected to be a landmark contract and adding a guard, albeit a pretty good one, doesn’t look like it would fit into the Bills salary cap equation.

Rosenhaus said the approach for Mathis would be a methodical one leading up to NFL training camps opening in late July.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hogan making good early impression

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 9:25 am

Bills WR Chris Hogan capably carved out a niche for himself in Buffalo’s offense the past two seasons. Now with a new offensive staff the process repeats itself as Hogan sets out to prove himself again. So far, so good for Hogan this spring.

New receivers coach Sanjay Lal credits Hogan with being among the most adaptable to his new coaching points.

“He is one of the fastest to pick up all of the small technique things we teach and no one works harder than him,” Lal said. “He catches well. He really has a good feel for the game. He understands defenses, spacing… I trust him.”

Lal also believes some sell Hogan’s athleticism short for whatever reason or perception might be out there.

“I don’t shortchange his athletic talent or speed or any of that,” Lal said. “We have all these competitions when we do weight lifting and Hogan always seems to be top three or the top one. So I think he gets shortchanged perception-wise that way. He’s one of the best receivers on the team and nothing less than that.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-12

Posted by Chris Brown on June 12, 2015 – 1:09 pm

1 – Hey Chris,

I love these Fan Fridays, and thank you if you get to reading and responding to my question. With Michael Buchanan is it a possibility that he plays defensive end like he did in college and I think in his first year, and moving Jerry Hughes back to line backer as he did some coverage as linebacker as he did is his first year of with the Colts, if I’m not mistaken. So to summarize. Is it possible for that exchange to occur with the possibility if this free agent signing?

Thank you Chris,

CB: Buchanan has lined up exclusively at defensive end since he’s been on the practice field with the Bills. He’s a long and angular player. I think Buchanan will be fortunate to make the 53-man roster knowing the depth Buffalo has on the defensive line. So unseating Jerry Hughes is a pretty big leap to make. That being said I do think Hughes could see some time as a stand-up OLB in some of Buffalo’s defensive looks, where he rushes the passer that way instead of as a traditional end.


2 – CB,

Most teams carry 4 offensive tackles. Right now the Bills have 3. Do you see them signing someone? I assume they hope Cyrus can be their swing tackle or push Henderson. How many guards do you expect to make the roster. Rex wants to keep Urbik but they are very high in numbers (Williams, Richardson, others). They can’t keep all these guys. I hope John Miller wins the job. What your idea of the the line/backups will fare out?

CB: The Bills have a fourth OT in Tyson Chandler an undrafted rookie. There isn’t much on the free agent market in terms of proven talent. I do believe the Bills will try to add a fifth tackle at least for training camp. They need numbers there for reps and in the event of an injury. Knowing how thin the veteran free agent market is it’ll probably be a young player if it happens.

As for guards I think they keep three true guards and Kraig Urbik, who is a center and guard.



3 – Chris,

I appreciate the excellent reporting you provide for all of us Bills fans in Nevada.

How serious was Matt Cassel’s injury and where does he stand in his rehab?

Is there the potential for the tutoring that EJ is receiving from Steve DeBerg to be in conflict with what David Lee will teaching him?

Will coach Ryan or Thurmond be calling the plays on game day?

Thanks again,
Hank from Boulder City, NV
CB: Thanks for the kind words. Cassel’s foot injury was a very serious one last season. He is fully cleared to practice and insists his foot is fine. I think when we get closer to game speed in the preseason it’s something to keep an eye on. I’m not saying that because of anything I’ve seen in OTAs. I’m saying that because we know QBs are untouchable in the training camp setting, so in the preseason if he takes a hit or two on that foot it will bear watching to see how it holds up.

As for EJ’s tutoring from Steve DeBerg they did focus on throwing motion, release point and footwork, so I suppose there is a chance that DeBerg’s teachings could conflict with that of Bills QBs coach David Lee. I don’t anticipate there being any major differences however, between the two coaches where it would set Manuel back because the biggest focus was making his throwing motion more compact. Manuel had a bit of wind-up last year and needed to shorten it up. I’m confident David Lee likely came to a similar conclusion watching Manuel’s 2014 tape.

Finally, as it’s been explained to me, Rex Ryan will call the defensive plays on game day.


4 – Chris,

Thanks for all of the excellent year-round Bills coverage.  Knowing that the Bills have been among the league leaders the last couple of years in having to play teams off a bye week or extra rest, how does the schedule look this year in regards to that? How many games do the Bills face an opponent coming off a bye or three extra days of rest due to a Thursday night game?  Also, do the Bills face any division opponents coming off extra rest?

R.J.  Rome, NY

CB: The situation is a bit better for the Bills facing opponents coming off extra rest, but not by much. Buffalo has three games against opponents who will be coming off extra rest. The unfortunate part is they’re all clumped together in the first five weeks of the season, and yes one is against a division opponent.

In Week 2 the Bills will host the Patriots, who will be coming off an extra three days rest by virtue of their season opening Thursday night game against Pittsburgh.

In Week 4 they host the Giants, who will be coming off a Thursday night game in Week 3 and will also have three extra days of rest before facing the Bills.

In Week 5 Buffalo travels to Tennessee to face the Titans, who will have a full extra week to prepare coming off a Week 4 bye.

In Week 15 Dallas will technically have an extra day of rest going into their game against Buffalo because they play Saturday in Week 14, but that will be somewhat negated by the fact that the Cowboys have to travel to Buffalo. So in essence it’s three games.

Washington leads the league this year with five games against opponents with extra rest.

Buffalo has two games against opponents where they’ll have the extra rest and both are against division opponents (Week 9 vs. Miami, Week 11 at New England). Of course in between those two games is a Thursday night road game at the Jets.

Three straight games against division opponents is not a good draw at all, especially when the first two will be played in a four day span (Week 9 vs. Miami, Week 10 at Jets – Thurs. night). Basically the Bills face all three division opponents in a stretch of 15 days with two of them on the road.

That’s probably more of a disadvantage than playing teams off extra rest because of the importance of those games in the AFC East standings. Of course they could be the Packers, who play four division games in a row from Week 10 to Week 13. Ugh.

5 –
Hi Chris,
Just wondering what your thoughts are on one last years late round picks, Randell Johnson, and what his chances are of becoming a contributor? I didn’t hear much about him last year, but his instincts and tackling really stuck out to me last summer in the preseason. Now that a lot people are saying LB is a need I’m wondering if he can possibly fill it.

CB: I believe the coaching staff is hoping he can provide some valuable depth at linebacker, and they’re giving him every opportunity to prove himself. Through the OTA practice sessions Johnson has largely run with the second unit at outside linebacker. His length (6-4, 245) is perfect for a 3-4 front. Defensive coordinators look for long body types there.

There is a lot to process in this defense and I feel like he’s working his way through it. Right now I don’t see anyone really pushing him for that outside spot on the second unit, but that could change come training camp. Knowing his assignments well enough to just freely run and hit will be beneficial to his game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills