Inside The Bills

NFL leaning toward fewer commercial breaks

Posted by Chris Brown on February 2, 2017 – 8:49 am

NFL ratings were down this season. Some attributed it to a contentious presidential election season, though there were other factors. The league is taking the dip in ratings seriously and is likely to take steps to make the television broadcast of games more appealing. Step one sounds like they will reduce the number of commercial breaks per quarter.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the topic at his annual Super Bowl press conference, and gave strong indication that fewer commercial breaks could be a step taken as early as next season.

“What we’re trying to do is to make our product as exciting and our games as exciting and as action-packed as possible,” Goodell said. “So it comes on various different levels for us and we have not dismissed any theories about how we can continue to engage our fans more extensively either on television or in the stadium.  That’s what we do and that’s what we work towards all the time. From a commercial standpoint, we did test in Week 16 and we did test in the Yahoo! game last year, we want to look at should we have the same number of breaks?

“We have five breaks per quarter. We think we can do it in four breaks per quarter. That is something that we’re leaning very heavily into. That’s not a competition committee issue but it’s an issue with our membership and our broadcast partners. We see opportunities to do that and maybe we remove some of the stoppages as well as some of the commercialized aspects of the game. We think less is more in this area and we can do it with the right balance that will improve the quality of the experience in the stadium or also on television.  That’s what we’re focusing on so I expect to see a lot of those changes this offseason.”

Goodell also said the league’s Competition Committee will examine several issues including speeding up the replay review process, possibly with Surface tablets being brought to on field officials for quicker reviews. A play clock from the time the extra point is kicked to an ensuing kickoff is also being considered.

 


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Herm Edwards: Players vs. philosophy

Posted by Chris Brown on January 31, 2017 – 12:05 pm

ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards talked with Buffalobills.com this past week at the Pro Bowl and was asked to weigh a coach’s philosophy and approach against the talent and capabilities of the players on the roster. Edwards, a former head coach of the Jets and Chiefs explained why those two things must fit together.

“Philosophy is one thing – players are another,” said Edwards. “If your philosophy doesn’t fit the players, then you’ve got a problem. I think Sean (McDermott) is smart enough to realize that regardless of what his philosophy is, it’s got to be player-friendly.

“These philosophies and systems, that’s all coach talk. The reality is that you have the players that you have. You’re not going to get rid of all these players. There’s a reason they’re in the National Football League. They happen to be good players.

“I think the coaches that have success in our league are the coaches that might have a philosophy, but the system is player-friendly – and I can’t say that enough. It’s player-friendly.

“Players play, coaches coach. When you get that twisted – when the philosophy becomes bigger than the players – you’ve got a problem. I think most coaches understand that, so it’s a matter of, now, how they work that system and how these players will obviously flourish in it.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WNY youngster participates in NFL PPK National Championship

Posted by Kelly Baker on January 27, 2017 – 5:59 pm

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Selena Maldonado, who competed in the 8-9 girls division of the Buffalo Bills Punt, Pass & Kick Team Championship, has earned a trip to the 2017 Pro Bowl. After posting scores that landed her among the top four in the country, Maldonado has the opportunity to compete at the national level.

The championship, held on Friday, Jan. 27 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, gave the top four boys and girls from each age division a platform to showcase their skills. Not only do the participants get a chance to be crowned champion, they also get to enjoy a full Pro Bowl experience which includes attending the game on Sunday, Jan. 29.

Displaying her best punt, pass and kick, Maldonado put on an impressive performance.

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Congratulations, Selena!

 


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Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Alexander visits Bills Flag Football team

Posted by Kelly Baker on January 27, 2017 – 3:33 pm

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At this year’s Pro Bowl, the NFL will host the NFL Flag Championships, powered by USA Football. Held at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28, the competition will feature a total of 64 teams from around the nation.

Broken down into eight regional championships in four divisions, the winning teams each earned a trip to Orlando to compete in the big event. Additionally, 32 teams were selected by each of the NFL’s clubs to represent them in the 13-14 Boys division. Stopping by to show his support for Buffalo’s bunch, and to offer some tips for success, was Pro Bowl linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.


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Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Players who impressed at Senior Bowl day 3

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2017 – 8:50 pm

Thursday was the last padded practice of the week before a Friday walk through and the game on Saturday. Here’s who impressed on Thursday.

RB Corey Clement – Wisconsin – Clement looks like the best running back in Mobile this week. The part of his game that impressed me the most Thursday was his pass protection. Clement was the only back consistently winning battles in those one-on-ones earning the praise of the Bears coaching staff. He’s not an elusive back at 5-11 and 227 pounds, but he keeps his legs churning and has good vision.

CB Rasul Douglas – West Virginia – At 6-2 and 203 pounds, I don’t know if Douglas bends well enough to be a full-time corner in the NFL. He might be best transitioning to safety. But on Thursday he was consistently around the ball and defended very well on comeback routes. His long arms are an asset as it helps to make up for his lack of quick-twitch agility to change direction fluidly.

G Dan Feeney – Wisconsin – Feeney has the heaviest hands of the interior lineman in Mobile. He just stuns defensive tackles with his punch. Not many defensive tackles beat him this week and the case was no different on Thursday.

DT Ryan Glasgow – Michigan – Glasgow isn’t going to wow anyone with his athleticism. The Wolverine wins with leverage, technique and proved he has a nose for the ball on Thursday. During the run periods is where Glasgow excels the most. He clogs things up inside and forces backs to routinely re-route their runs, which usually results in a tackle for loss.

WR Josh Reynolds – Texas A&M – Earlier in the week he was fighting the ball a bit, but Reynolds saved his best practice day for last. He was a terror during a red zone team period Thursday. His huge catch radius was on display as he was plucking balls outside his frame with regularity. He was more aggressive Thursday and simply out jumped defensive backs to make plays.


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Kouandjio’s fall is unfortunate situation

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2017 – 2:32 pm

Cyrus Kouandjio put together his best season as a pro in 2016. He made five starts and performed admirably at left tackle. That’s what makes his hip injury and subsequent surgery Wednesday so unfortunate. 

According to Bills GM Doug Whaley, Kouandjio is expected back by training camp. 

“It just came up,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “It was a non-football injury where it happened. It had nothing to do with football. He wasn’t doing any football related activity. He’ll be ready for (training) camp.”

What’s unfortunate is Kouandjio will miss all the reps through OTAs and minicamp, in a new offensive system no less and with a new O-line coach. 

Hopefully he can pick up and apply things on the field quickly in camp. 

Knowing that Jordan Mills is an impending free agent and Seantrel Henderson’s medical condition still presents challenges, the Kouandjio injury presents more uncertainty at the position. 

It would appear that offensive tackle could easily become an even more realistic consideration in the draft now. 


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Dominik: Puzzle for Bills starts at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2017 – 10:18 am

Ex-NFL GM Mark Dominik, now an ESPN NFL analyst likes the staff that new Bills head coach Sean McDermott has put together in Buffalo. Now comes the task of crafting and reshaping the roster and the big decision obviously lies at quarterback. As Dominik sees it the situation concerning Tyrod Taylor’s future with Buffalo is a compelling one.

“You’ve got the interesting situation with Tyrod,” said Dominik. “But there’s a big puzzle to be put together on quarterbacks in general, whether it’s some of the veterans that are out there like (Jay) Cutler and (Ryan) Fitzpatrick. And where does Kaepernick fit. So they’ve got their work cut out for them.”

What Dominik feels is working in favor of the new coaching staff is they have day-to-day working familiarity with Taylor, thanks to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison’s season with Taylor in Baltimore in 2014 when he was quarterbacks coach.

“The good thing is Dennison has worked with a lot of different quarterbacks if you look at his track record over the last few years,” said Dominik. “Tyrod Taylor has been with him before. They’ve got to get it right.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Players who impressed at Senior Bowl day 2

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2017 – 7:39 pm

More players flashed at Senior Bowl practices on Wednesday. Here’s who looked good to us.

CB Damontae Kazee – San Diego State – He’s far from a finished product, but he has the natural catch-up speed to make plays even if he’s initially beaten. That being said there weren’t many receivers successfully gaining separation against him Wednesday.

ILB Haason Reddick – Temple – Reddick read plays quickly and was closing on the ball consistently faster than his fellow linebackers during team periods. He also proved very tough to handle in 1-on-1 pass rush drills with the running backs and tight ends.

WR Fred Ross – Mississippi State – Ross plays to his size (6-2, 205) and made a handful of plays in traffic Wednesday. Ross also offers some run after catch ability. Has experience in the slot where teams are putting bigger wideouts lately, but showed he can play outside too.

TE Jonnu Smith – Florida International – He flashed a couple of times on Tuesday, but was even more noticeable on Wednesday. Smith made plays in 1-on-1s against linebackers both in receiving and in pass protection. He anchored well and has enough speed and size to work the intermediate areas in the pass game.

WR Trent Taylor – Louisiana Tech – Another smurf receiver much like UNC’s Switzer, Taylor gets in and out of his breaks fast, but has shown an ability to run the route tree and adjusts well to the ball despite his small catch radius. Consistent, doesn’t have drops.

 


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Players who impressed at Senior Bowl day 1

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2017 – 10:09 pm

There were some pretty good showings on the first day of Senior Bowl practices. Here’s who caught our eye.

OT Antonio Garcia – The Troy product made standing up guys at the line of scrimmage look easy. A long 6-7 and 302 pounds, Garcia locks defensive ends out of run plays completely and effortlessly flipped to right tackle. In pass pro he routinely rides pass rushers wide of the play.

TE O.J. Howard – The Alabama tight end looked like a man amongst boys on the first day. He burned a safety for a long touchdown and then inexplicably had a linebacker on him initially in a combo coverage. He easily got separation from the linebacker and the safety help was late for another TD.

OT Zach Banner  – The USC product wasn’t perfect, but his feet were better than I expected and he finished plays. He had a pancake when he pulled inside and flattened the linebacker in the hole on a run play. Giant man with good movement for his size.

WR Cooper Kupp – The FCS receiver from Eastern Washington might be the most fundamentally sound player on hand. Quick off the line, runs sharp routes, knows leverage. It enabled him to consistently win in one-on-ones versus defensive backs.

WR Ryan Switzer – The diminutive North Carolina receiver might be the quickest guy in Mobile. Gets in and out of breaks in a hiccup. He needs genuine separation however, to get yards after the catch.

S John Johnson – The Boston College product was surprisingly fluid in his movements. Whether it was dropping to the far sideline to track a ball, flipping his hips or changing direction, Johnson was among the smoothest at the safety position in reverse. I also fully expect his vertical leap to easily be over 30 inches. A lot of spring in his jump when he was high pointing balls. Impressive physically. We’ll see if his play is equally good in the coming days.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How things worked between Kubiak & Dennison

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2017 – 11:16 pm

There have been widespread reports over the years about the amount of latitude now retired head coach Gary Kubiak had with his play calling delegation to Bills new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. It’s no secret that Kubiak called plays, but there were several games over the years where Dennison also called plays. Broncos receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, who worked the past two years with both Kubiak and Dennison in the offensive meeting rooms, set the record straight as to how things functioned in an appearance on the John Murphy Show.

“It was a collaboration,” Tolbert said. “Gary Kubiak was an offensive guy through and through. He played the position and coached the position and came up in the west coast system. He knows it like the palm of his hand like Rico (Dennison) does. So it was collaboration with everything. During the week we all had our part, and Gary Kubiak was a big part of that game planning. Coach Kubiak, Rick Dennison and (QBs coach) Greg Knapp had the most input in terms of what we were doing.”

More on Dennison’s handling of the offense in Tuesday’s edition of Bills Today.

 


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Kiper’s 1st mock has Bills taking QB at 10

Posted by Chris Brown on January 19, 2017 – 10:43 am

The quarterback position will be one of major focus this offseason for the Bills knowing there’s a decision to make on Tyrod Taylor. That decision will impact Buffalo’s direction in the draft as well. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. issued his first mock draft and has the Bills taking a quarterback.

Kiper picked Clemson QB DeShaun Watson for Buffalo at pick 10. Here was his reasoning.

10. Buffalo Bills

DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson

I’m a believer in franchises with new head coaches starting fresh with new quarterbacks, and it appears likely the Bills move on from Tyrod Taylor after hiring Sean McDermott. That leaves Buffalo with a huge hole and a top-10 pick to fill it. I wrote last week that I didn’t think Watson would get a post-title game draft bounce, but I’ve heard differently from people around the NFL. Though he had an up-and-down season — and threw 17 interceptions — Watson is extremely talented. He’s the second quarterback off the board in this projection, ahead of Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.


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Report: Bills interview Panthers QB coach for OC job

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2017 – 11:01 pm

The Bills search for an offensive coordinator found head coach Sean McDermott sitting down with a familiar face for an interview Wednesday. 

According to the Charlotte Ovserver the Bills interviewed Panthers QBs coach Ken Dorsey for the Bills OC post. 

Dorsey has been on the Panthers coaching staff since 2013 after previously serving as a pro scout for the Panthers. 

There are reports that Dorsey is also drawing interest for an offensive position at the University of Tennessee. 


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Offensive play callers still in playoffs

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2017 – 10:21 am

With Bills head coach Sean McDermott still seeking an offensive coordinator for his staff here’s a look at the assistant coaches still in the playoffs with offensive play calling experience at the NFL level.

Atlanta
Kyle Shanahan – OC – Expected to be named HC of San Francisco 49ers.

Green Bay
Tom Clements – Associate HC/offense – was Packers OC from 2012-14, but HC Mike McCarthy called plays. Was previously OC in Buffalo, called plays in 2004, but had play calling duties taken from him a few games into 2005 season by then HC Mike Mularkey.

Alex Van Pelt – QBs coach – was RBs coach first 2 years in GB. Only play calling experience was as Bills OC in 2009 under Dick Jauron. Also called plays when he worked in NFL Europe for Frankfurt.

Todd Angelichio – TEs coach – called plays as a college coach only.

New England
Josh McDaniels – OC/QBs – Pulled his name from San Francisco HC search.

Brian Daboll – TEs coach – Was previously OC for Cleveland (2009-10) under Eric Mangini, Miami (2011) under Tony Sparano, Kansas City (2012) under Romeo Crennel.

Pittsburgh
No one on offense besides OC Todd Haley.

Randy Fichtner – QBs coach did serve as an OC in the college ranks.


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“The Bills got a gem”

Posted by Chris Brown on January 17, 2017 – 2:17 pm

Former NFL executive Andrew Brandt, who worked in the front office of the Green Bay Packers and as a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles, knows Bills head coach Sean McDermott very well. His take on Buffalo’s decision to hire him was a positive one to say the least.

In his Monday Morning QB column, Brandt admitted that he spoke with McDermott about the Bills job, and believes the new sideline boss for Buffalo will succeed. Here’s what he wrote.

Full disclosure: I have known Sean McDermott for some time, worked with him when I consulted with the Eagles, and talked to him in this hiring process. Having said that, the Bills got a gem. Sean is smart, self-motivated, even keeled and driven to succeed. And he will. 


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50-50 raffle winner from Bills-Dolphins game announced

Posted by Kelly Baker on January 17, 2017 – 12:12 pm

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The Buffalo Bills Foundation is proud to announce that Kim Summers has won the 50-50 raffle for the Bills-Dolphins game. The jackpot was $37,718, with a winning ticket for $18,859!

Congratulations, Kim!

For details on the Buffalo Bills Foundation’s 50-50 raffle, visit here.


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Bills power structure pretty common in NFL

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2017 – 10:51 am

Bills new head coach Sean McDermott isn’t the only one who does his research. So too did Terry and Kim Pegula when they became new NFL owners. That’s why their power structure of having the GM and head coach report to ownership remains in place.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Bills owner Terry Pegula explained the current structure with McDermott now in place as head coach, and added that it’s common practice in the NFL.

“I told (Sean) the GM and the Coach work together,” said Pegula. “Obviously Doug (Whaley) is sitting in the room with him while he is interviewing so he knows if he is hired by this GM, this GM should like him. It is not like we are bringing in a new GM in and hiring him as a coach first. This GM and coach working together and they both answer to the owners.

“He was most comfortable with that because it’s what (Sean) has seen in the past. I believe it’s more common than it is unusual. I don’t have an exact headcount but a lot of teams (operate this way). You do your homework and look at how other teams do things.”


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McDermott’s interview was almost 7 hours

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2017 – 7:51 am

Interviews for head coaching positions are known to take a good deal of time. Some take four hours, some longer. Some are broken into two parts with a couple of hours each day. Sean McDermott’s with the Bills went almost seven hours straight.

That according to Bills owner Terry Pegula, who GM Doug Whaley had first on the interview list for a reason.

“We sat through his interview and I can’t tell you exactly I am going to guess it was close to seven hours, he never stuttered, he never hesitated,” said Pegula of McDermott in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “When asked a question this wasn’t somebody who was practicing for a job interview, it was someone you could tell was practicing all his life for what he is about to try and do. When he walked out we just sat and stared at each other like, ‘Wow, that was impressive.’

“He just had every answer, plans, he brought a book, this wasn’t a prepared book by agent this had scribbling all over it, stuff crossed out, names written in it, it was about three inches thick, just his notes. He said, ‘This isn’t my only book, but I brought my best book.'”


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Ravens coach Harbaugh congratulates Castillo

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2017 – 5:01 pm

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh offered his now former coach Juan Castillo congratulations after an agreement in principle was reached with Castillo by Bills new head coach Sean McDermott.

“Juan and I go back a long time,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “There is no coach I respect more than Juan. We understand his decision to take this promotion.”

Castillo was serving as the Ravens offensive line coach. His additional duties for the Bills will include coordination of the team’s league leading run game.

 


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Report: Ravens DBs coach Leslie Frazier to be Bills DC

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2017 – 8:55 pm

According to a ESPN.com report, the Bills defensive coordinator will be Ravens defensive backs coach Leslie Frazier.

That according to ESPN Ravens beat reporter Jamison Helmsley.

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Frazier has spent eight years in the league as a defensive coordinator, including his first four under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2002). It was there that he first worked with Sean McDermott who was fresh out of college and working in the Eagles scouting department before he worked as an assistant to coach Reid and then the Eagles coaching staff.

Frazier, 57, has also succeeded Mike Tomlin in Minnesota as defensive coordinator after Tomlin was hired as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He later became head coach of the Vikings (2011-2013).

The veteran coach would be a valuable resource to McDermott and one the new Bills head coach could count on to handle his defense, allowing him to focus on being a game day manager of the entire operation. Frazier could also be a sounding board for McDermott having been a head coach in the league before as well.

In a bit of an ironic twist, Frazier played in Chicago under defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan in his famed 46 defense.


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Report: Castillo to be OL coach/run game coord.

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2017 – 4:32 pm

A former colleague of Sean McDermott’s in Philadelphia will reportedly be joining the new Bills coach in Buffalo as a member of his staff.

According to Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec, Juan Castillo will join McDermott’s staff as offensive line coach/run game coordinator. Castillo served in those two capacities for the Baltimore Ravens between 2013 and this past season.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Juan Castillo will be heading to the Buffalo Bills to work on Sean McDermott's staff as OL coach/run game coordinator.</p>&mdash; Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) <a href=”https://twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun/status/819648893008887808″>January 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Castillo and McDermott worked for 11 years together on Philadelphia’s staff under head coach Andy Reid.


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