Inside The Bills

A trend that would be good for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2016 – 1:31 pm

In the most prolific passing era the NFL has ever known, NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling openly wonders if the percentages have been pushed so far to the pass that some offense goes the other way to take advantage of defenses designed to stop the pass. Could the power run game return as the offense du jour in the NFL again?

NFL.com points to Tennessee, Dallas and Los Angeles as teams taking such an approach. Here’s an excerpt that includes a quote from Titans GM Jon Robinson.

If smaller, quicker defenses are built to stop the pass, why not turn back the clock to the power football of the 1970s and ’80s?

“Teams are starting to build to play in sub-defense now a lot, so they are going to more defensive backs,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson explained to The MMQB after last month’s draft. “Well, to counteract that, we can play a bigger game, and maybe move some of those smaller guys off the ball, if you will.”

Surprisingly, Buffalo was not mentioned as a team subscribing to this approach despite leading the league in rushing and yards per carry average last season. With Karlos Williams and Jonathan Williams on the roster, true power football is a viable option for the Bills as well.


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Why KC Joyner has Bills as Super Bowl sleeper

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2016 – 1:04 pm

ESPN Senior Insider KC Joyner has the Bills as one of two teams as his Super Bowl sleeper picks. He appeared on the John Murphy Show to explain why.

Joyner basically explained that in every decade of NFL football power football has always been successful. He believes Buffalo is strong in this area based on the following. That combined with Buffalo’s strong metrics in pass defense and Tyrod Taylor’s efficiency as a passer (70 QBR or higher in eight of his 14 starts) has him optimistic about the Bills.

Here’s his explanation on just how good Buffalo’s ability to play power football really is.

“They led the league in rushing yards, yards per rush last year and in yards per rush before first defensive contact and tied for first in rushing touchdowns. I have a metric called good blocking yards per attempt,” said Joyner. “It measures how well a back does when he gets good blocking. LeSean McCoy was ninth in the league in that figure with an 8.9 GBYPA. If you’re in double digits that’s an elite figure in that metric, if you’re near nine you’re a really good back.

“But as good as that number was it was lower than the Bills team figure (9.1), meaning that when the Bills gave good blocking to backs other than McCoy they were more productive than McCoy was. That just says that this is an offensive line that opens up big holes and you have to give McCoy 300 carries to get good productivity.”


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Bills Gronk on how to stop Pats Gronk

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2016 – 12:48 pm

Bills undrafted rookie FB Glenn Gronkowski has been asked a ton of questions over the years about his All-Pro brother Rob Gronkowski. There was one on the John Murphy Show this week that he had trouble answering about the Patriots tight end.

Gronkowski was asked how to stop his older brother from being the game changing tight end he is.

“I don’t know how to stop Rob,” said Glenn Gronkowski. “Rex Ryan told him on the phone he’s going to double team him on every play this year. I guess that’s how we’re going to stop him.”

That phone conversation took place after Ryan had successfully recruited Glenn Gronkowski as an undrafted free agent. He asked Glenn to put Rob on the phone and at that point and told him they were going to do everything they could to shut him down.

As much as the Patriots tight end is known as a partier, Gronk does put in a lot of time and effort according to his younger brother.

“He puts the work in to be the best,” said Glenn Gronkowski. “Of course a lot of people see him as a big partier. He’s definitely a hard worker. I see it first hand. Behind the scenes he’s doing a lot more than people think he is. He puts in the work and definitely deserves to be where he is.”

The younger Gronkowski thinks he has a good shot to make Buffalo’s 53-man roster. The Bills need a backup fullback with how run heavy their offense is, so Gronkowksi is hoping to make enough of an impact on special teams to stick.

“I think I can make the team,” he said. “Obviously that’s my goal. You’ve got to give it your all to reach your goal. So I think it’s a possibility especially on special teams. Maybe on special teams hopefully and work into a role and start learning my role from (Jerome)

Felton a little bit and see where it goes.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Washington’s much shorter nickname

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2016 – 2:58 pm

With a name like Adolphus Washington it’s not surprising that he had a much shorter nickname growing up. He’s go the longest name in terms of letters (18) on the Bills roster. The problem is it’s hard to know just exactly where Washington’s nickname of D.D. came from until he explained it to us.

In an interview with Buffalobills.com, Washington explained how the nickname of D.D. came to be.

“My dad was known as ‘Big D,’ and I was his son so I was called little D,” Washington said. “But once I got to a certain age and I was pretty much bigger than all of his friends and they couldn’t call me that anymore, so they just went with D.D.”

Washington isn’t exactly sure why they went with D.D.

“I guess is just a shorter version of it (Little D),” he said.

Washington signed his rookie contract with the Bills on Tuesday.


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Confirmed: Watkins had foot surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2016 – 5:18 pm

In the wake of the news that Shaq Lawson will undergo pre-emptive shoulder surgery Tuesday, Buffalobills.com has learned that he’s not alone. Team officials have confirmed that WR Sammy Watkins has had offseason foot surgery. 

Per the Bills, Watkins will recover in time for the season opener so he’s not expected to miss any regular season time. 

Last offseason Watkins had hip surgery and his reps were closely monitored in training camp. It would not be surprising if the Bills take a similar approach with Watkins through the course of the preseason. 


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Washington’s tie to another Bills DL

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2016 – 9:09 am

Bills third-round pick Adolphus Washington, whose major turning point in his career at Ohio State was profiled on Buffalobills.com today, also has a familiar face on Buffalo’s roster not named Cardale Jones. In fact, he’s also a defensive lineman.

Defensive end Jerel Worthy is the familiar face in the defensive lineman room for Washington. Worthy, who was signed to the Bills practice squad last November, was promoted to the active roster in late December and subsequently signed as a future free agent in January has an interesting tie to Washington.

“One guy I talked to after getting drafted by the Bills was Jerel Worthy,” said Washington. “Going back to when I was getting recruited out of high school he was my host at Michigan State.”

Washington obviously chose to play football and attend college at Ohio State, but his campus visit to East Lansing made a connection that is coming in handy now.

Washington said he also talked to Bills LB Preston Brown, who is also from his hometown of Cincinnati.


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Ball parking a Gilmore extension

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2016 – 1:33 pm

The financial number crunching gurus at Spotrac have put together what they believe will get a long term contract extension done with Bills CB Stephon Gilmore, who is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. 

Spotrac calculated the average annual valuation at $12.9M per year on a five-year deal, but indicated a contract that is a shade over $13M per season is more likely. 

Typically when agents want a higher average annual salary the team looks to add an additional year as Spotrac projects in the estimated extension for Gilmore (6 yrs, $80M. 

Josh Norman’s unexpected deal with Washington has not helped clubs as it inflated the market value of cornerbacks and probably wasn’t even necessary. 

I’d expect the Bills to try to get a long term deal done that fits somewhere between Cleveland’s Joe Haden ($13.5M/yr) and the Giants Janoris Jenkins, who signed for ($12.5M/yr). 


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Jonathan Williams soaking it up in the RBs room

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2016 – 1:43 pm

Bills fifth-round pick Jonathan Williams was the latest draft choice to sign his rookie contract on Friday. After going through rookie minicamp and this week’s set of offseason conditioning workouts and classroom work, the rookie is impressed with Bills running backs coach and Assistant head coach Anthony Lynn.

“He’s a great teacher,” Williams told Buffalobills.com. “He’s somebody who has actually played the game and his communication is really good. I’m excited to be able to work with him and learn from him.”

Having sat in the running backs room with the rest of the players at his position on the roster, Williams likes the mix of talent they have at the position.

“It’s a really good group,” he said. “I’ve been watching film and seeing LeSean out there and his leadership. Seeing how he goes about his day definitely helps me out as a rookie. There are several guys in there who are older and showing me the ropes and how to be a professional. It’s definitely a good room to be in.”

 


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Fan Friday 5-13

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2016 – 12:42 pm

It’s a special Friday the 13th edition of Fan Friday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills will the Bills bring in a 4th QB to compete for backup position?

Ace Jay Legend @BillsBacker77

CB: I am not anticipating a fourth quarterback coming in to compete. The main reason why is Cardale Jones needs as many reps as he can possibly get to develop consistent mechanics. From his drop backs to his throwing mechanics, Jones needs all the work he can get in the practice setting. If there’s a fourth quarterback here, every rep he takes is a rep that Jones doesn’t get.

With Jones being a long-term investment I can’t see the Bills bringing in a fourth QB, who is a long shot to make the roster anyway, taking reps away from Jones on the back end of the quarterback rotation in the practice setting.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the Bills taking listenbee in the draft how are the chances Goodwin makes the team?

Jared Bailey @JaredBailey23

CB: I think that’s a very valid question. There’s no denying that Listenbee’s speed rivals that of Goodwin. Listenbee also offers superior size and in watching his game tape is really good at tracking the deep ball. He’s coming off sports hernia surgery and also has inflammation of the pelvis, which will take time to heal.

Listenbee may not be getting physical reps in the practice setting until training camp, so unseating Goodwin for a roster spot might take longer than some might anticipate.

Goodwin has been given the freedom to pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympic team to try to compete in the long jump in Rio. If he makes the Olympic team it will cost him time in training camp with the Olympics taking place in August. I believe that will pose the biggest risk for Goodwin losing a roster spot than Listenbee’s presence on the roster.

There are no ‘seat saves’ in the NFL. That’s a crucial part of the NFL calendar to be missing time.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think the drafting of Washington means anything regarding Kyle Williams future with the team?

JBills32 @JLasher10

CB: If you’re asking whether Kyle’s roster spot could be in jeopardy because Washington is on the roster my answer is no. The plan right now is for Washington to be the team’s left defensive end, with Dareus at nose tackle and Kyle starting at right defensive end.

I don’t think it’s any secret that Kyle is on the back side of his career, but I think the Bills would like to get two more seasons out of him (2016 & 2017) as long as he’s interested in doing so.

The hidden additional value with Kyle is his leadership, which was sorely missed in the locker room last season when he went out in Week 6 with his knee injury (see: Mario Williams).

The addition of Washington should be seen as a complement to the games of Dareus and Williams, not a threat.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see the Bills making any FA/Trade moves along the right side of the offensive line?

Kevin @KevinMassare

CB: I don’t think you can ever rule out a possible move with Doug Whaley as GM. If it makes sense and improves the team he’s shown he’s willing to do it. I know Peter King reported last month that the 49ers would be interested in trading former first-round pick OT Anthony Davis, who chose to take a one-year sabbatical from football, and now wants to resume his NFL career.

A proven player who is just 26-years old would probably come at a high price, even after taking off a year. It would be interesting to see what the 49ers would be looking for in return, even though San Francisco GM Trent Baalke has told Davis that he is not interested in trading him.

His cap hit, if his old contract was re-instated, would be just over $5M for 2016, a bargain by most standards for a player of his caliber. But that’s where things could get sticky too. If he is going to be traded, must that team negotiate a new contract with him? A lot of potential hurdles there.

Besides him there are some veteran guard options out there, but I believe the Bills might play the wait and see game. I don’t believe there’s any sense of panic there. I think they feel good about what they have to work with.
5 – Chris,

How do you feel about the Bills 1st round pick considering who was available? Nkemdiche for example. I feel like it was a bit of a homer pick considering Rex wore a Clemson helmet to a press conference. Do you think he was on the top of our board or was Rex being Rex?

Great work as always Chris!  Thanks!

CB: As you saw in our Inside the Draft Room feature and video, the Bills never even thought Shaq Lawson would be available to them there at 19. They had him off the board by the 12th pick in their final stack of the board based on how they thought the first round would fall.

For them Lawson was a tremendous value there at 19. As for Nkemdiche, it was evident that his off the field concerns and on the field concerns were too much for a number of teams besides the Bills. Buffalo just parted ways with a player who did not give his best on the field for the last 10 weeks of last season in Mario Williams. Did you really think they would bring in another player with a history of similar play, especially with their first-round pick?

There was no way that was going to happen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Trust between Sammy & Tyrod set in London

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2016 – 9:33 am

The second half of the 2015 season was when the connection between Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins was not only established, but completely exploded. Taylor hit Watkins for seven touchdowns over the last nine games of the season, after just two in the first seven outings. Watkins also rolled up 900 of his 1,047 receiving yards in those final nine games, a total that was third-best in the league over that span with only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones ahead of him. So why did it take half the season for Taylor and Watkins to get in sync?

Taylor, who made an in studio appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday, explained why it was difficult to get acclimated to one another on the field early in the season.

“If people remember Sammy was injured throughout the preseason so I really didn’t get a chance to work with him then,” said Taylor. “Through the last OTA period he was rehabbing (hip surgery) as well so I didn’t get a chance to work with him. Early in the season we connected on some things. Then he got injured early in the season in Week 3 at Miami and then I got injured a couple of weeks after that against Tennessee.”

Though injured both players made the trip with the team to London for the Week 7 game against Jacksonville. It was there that they spent a lot of time outlining what they had to get accomplished on the field when they were healthy.

“We spent some time talking a lot in London when we were getting treatment together,” said Taylor. “So we got on the same page, and when it was time to come back on the field for both of us we had talked through a lot of things.

“I remember throwing some with him after the bye week and trying to understand how to work off each other. He’s one of the top receivers in this league and I have to get him the ball. He can be very dynamic once the ball is in his hands. We got on the same page and trusted each other and that continued to build. He is one of the best receivers in the league at tracking the ball. I love playing with him and I like what we have going on and we’re going to continue to keep building.”

Perhaps the best example of their quarterback-receiver relationship reaching critical mass was in Kansas City when Taylor let Watkins dominate the first half, scoring on a pair of passes, even when he wasn’t completely open.

“It’s a trust factor and that’s something we talk about. Just giving him a chance,” said Taylor. “If your best guy is one-on-one with the safety or one-on-one with the corner and the safety is coming, but not in the picture, then you feel like he’s open. Like he told me, ‘Just give me a chance and I can either catch it or knock it down.’ And we’ll take those chances.”


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NFL QB spending: high for Eagles, low for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2016 – 4:17 pm

The salary cap gurus at Spotrac.com have put together a list of the NFL’s team by team cash spending for 2016 on quarterbacks. Not surprisingly, the Philadelphia Eagles top the list at more than $43.5M. It represents more than 21 percent of their total team cash spending for 2016. In contrast the Bills rank significantly lower on the list.

Buffalo is 31st in 2016 cash dollar spending at just over $4M. That’s due to the presence of two quarterbacks on the roster, who are still on their rookie contracts (EJ Manuel, Cardale Jones) and a starting quarterback in the final year of what was a modest free agent contract (Tyrod Taylor). The only team with lesser spending than the Bills are the Jets, who have three quarterbacks still on their rookie deals in Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.

Here’s a look at the full list.

Quarterback Team Cash Allocation

RANK
TEAM
PLAYERS
2016 CASH DOLLARS
2016 CASH %
1 4 $43,650,973 21.05%
2 3 $30,950,000 19.50%
3 3 $29,736,718 19.25%
4 4 $23,965,000 16.33%
5 3 $23,540,335 13.46%
6 3 $23,337,500 16.27%
7 3 $22,410,000 19.44%
8 3 $22,089,573 14.79%
9 4 $19,915,000 15.29%
10 4 $19,050,000 13.36%
11 4 $18,880,000 12.56%
12 4 $18,775,000 12.65%
13 2 $18,675,000 10.76%
14 3 $18,648,738 13.06%
15 4 $18,160,000 11.91%
16 4 $17,622,539 12.91%
17 4 $16,106,216 9.46%
18 4 $14,025,000 9.88%
19 5 $13,221,875 11.91%
20 3 $12,807,000 0.56%
21 5 $12,777,881 8.49%
22 5 $12,417,285 8.74%
23 4 $12,280,000 8.35%
24 4 $10,302,383 6.05%
25 4 $9,710,000 6.77%
26 4 $8,321,984 5.49%
27 5 $5,717,682 3.76%
28 3 $5,025,000 3.33%
29 4 $4,981,236 3.13%
30 4 $4,660,635 3.28%
31 3 $4,616,632 2.98%
32 4 $2,064,491 1.36%

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Listenbee on being more than just a speed WR

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2016 – 1:33 pm

Bills sixth-round pick Kolby Listenbee, who signed his rookie contract today, is known as a speed receiver and understandably so with 40 times consistently in the 4.3s. But when you have that label you often want to show you can be more than that. Listenbee however, had no choice but to fill that role at TCU.

“At TCU I was labeled as a good speed receiver because we had Josh Doctson and he was a possession receiver and a playmaker. So we had to complement each other. We couldn’t have two idential receivers. I don’t like it sometimes getting labeled as a receiver because I know I can catch the ball and coach Sanjay is going to help me get my routes right.”

Listenbee is credited with improving his route running in his final collegiate season, but he’s excited to work with Bills receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who breaks it down to the finest details to get precise routes and timing on game days.

“I want to be an all-around receiver and working with coach Sanjay you can see he’s there coaching everybody up,” said Listenbee. “I’m glad to have somebody who will definitely work with me. Just watching all the veterans I’m taking mental reps right now, but it’s cool to see.”

 


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Bruce: Sack record will stand for some time

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2016 – 9:43 am

Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, whose number will be retired at the home opener this fall, is the league’s all-time sack leader with 200 in his career. Even though the NFL has become much more of a passing league, with many quarterbacks now getting rid of the ball in about 2.5 seconds Smith’s record is likely to hold up for the foreseeable future.

Smith agreed with that assessment in an appearance on the John Murphy Show.

“I think that record will stand for quite some time, but we are in a different age of football. This has become a passing league now. It was a much more balanced attack when I was in the league,” said Smith. “They pass first and run second. They’re passing the ball about 20-30 percent more, so it’s giving guys more of an opportunity to get more sacks. We’ll just have to see guys have the longevity and stay healthy enough to have a long, productive and fruitful career to get far enough to come close to 200 sacks.”


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Bills experience by position

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2016 – 9:35 am

As we broke down the roster a number of different ways today on Buffalobills.com following the draft and undrafted rookie signings, to examine how it was reconstructed, we also took the time to look at player experience at each position. We uncovered some interesting facts in terms of which positions carry the most veteran savvy.

Going off of the year each player is entering in 2016 in terms of seasons in the league we’ve compiled a position-by-position look at NFL experience.

Safety led the way with just over five and a half years of average experience. It’s one of the only positions on the roster that does not have a rookie among the ranks. Here’s the full list.

Bills average NFL experience by position
Safety – 5.57 years
Fullback – 4.5 years
Specialists – 3.83 years
Linebacker – 3.75 years
Tight end – 3.6 years
Offensive line – 3.53 years
Quarterback – 3.33 years
Defensive line – 3.2 years
Wide receiver – 3.15 years
Cornerback – 2.8 years
Running back – 2.8 years


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Bruce: No real significance of No. 78 for me

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 3:09 pm

With the news of Bruce Smith’s No. 78 to be retired at the team’s home opener on Sept. 15th, Smith was asked if he chose to wear 78 for any special reason.

Smith explained there wasn’t any significant tie to the number and that he came to wear more on happenstance than anything else.

“Well it wasn’t any really, I would say headline stories about how I picked out 78,” Smith said. “I know I wore number 70 in high school and then when I got to Virginia Tech I decided to go with the No. 78 and from that point I just fell in love with and I wanted to make that number special. Obviously with hard work, dedication, and commitment, and overcoming adversity, and a number of other factors obviously if you put your mind to something you can accomplish it.”


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The 2 people who whipped Bruce into shape

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 3:04 pm

As a rookie, Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith was a doughy defensive end, who thought his ability was good enough to get away with it. That is until a Bills teammate got on his case about his fitness level, along with someone from his alma mater at Virginia Tech.

Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy relayed a story about the two people who helped to change Smith’s approach to the game.

“In his early years even though he was a number one pick in the draft and so much was expected. He was overweight, self-indulgent, didn’t have great practice habits, all of those things,” said Levy. “Two people had quite an impact on turning him around.

“One was his coveted teammate Darryl Talley, who really sort of gave him that proverbial kick in the butt to get going. But the other in the offseason I understand he went back to Virginia Tech to finish his degree, which was good. There he met a woman counselor who put him on the right track in every respect. Boy he dropped weight with the urgings of her and Darryl. Shaped up and got ready, his principles changed.

“He not only turned out to be the greatest player, he married that woman, what a wife she was, his wife Carmen. So those people had great impact on him. What a change in his practice habits, his excitement about playing the game, all of those things occurred.”


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Whaley: Physicality is Ragland’s best asset

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 2:49 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley made an appearance on NFL Network’s All Access program and was asked about a comment made by Bills Wall of Famer Darryl Talley.

Talley claimed that Reggie Ragland is the best linebacker drafted by the Bills since Cornelius Bennett. Now in an effort to be accurate, Bennett was acquired by the Bills via trade on Halloween in 1987 in a blockbuster deal with the Indianapolis Colts. Biscuit was also an Alabama product. Either way it’s high praise from Talley. So what did Whaley think of that opinion?

“Time will tell but we’re excited about what he brings to our team,” Whaley said. “As coach has always said, what we want to be is a physical team. We want anybody that comes in to play the Buffalo Bills know that they’re going to have to strap that chinstrap up a little tighter and they’re going to know they’re going to be in a fight. That’s what he brings, physicality.

“And then you add to the fact that the defense he ran in college is very, very similar to the defense we’re going to be running this year. So all of that and then the combination of him coming from a winning program. All of those qualities just made us feel like this is the type of guy we want on our team. To tell you the truth, we thought he would be our pick at 19 so we never dreamed we would be able to get him and Shaq Lawson with our first two picks.”


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Darby on NFL.com’s All-Under 25 team

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 1:45 pm

NFL.com took a look at who they believe will be the next generation of stars in the NFL, and put together a list of such players who are under the age of 25. One Bills player is on that list.

Cornerback Ronald Darby made the All-Under 25 team put together by NFL.com. Here is what was written about Darby’s future.

Cornerback: Ronald Darby, Buffalo Bills

The 2015 campaign was a down year for the Bills’ defense, but not because of Darby. Marcus Peters deservedly took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year hardware, but when you dive into the numbers, Darby is right there. He allowed fewer receptions, yards and touchdowns than Peters, while posting more tackles. What a second-round find.


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Seymour: Expectations for OTAs

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 1:35 pm

Bills sixth-round pick Kevon Seymour, who signed his rookie contract today (Wednesday), got his feet wet at rookie minicamp last weekend. He’s met the veterans on the roster through the sessions of the offseason conditioning program this week. So what are his expectations for OTA practices in a couple of weeks? He’s worried about one thing and one thing only at this point.

“First of all knowing the playbook is big,” Seymour told Buffalobills.com. “Knowing what I have to do so I can play fast. Once I know the playbook and my assignments inside and out I’ll be able to play fast and make plays.”

Bills OTAs begin on May 23rd.


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Brandon on Thurman’s 34: Stay tuned

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 9:06 am

With today’s announcement by Bills team President Russ Brandon that the club will be retiring Bruce Smith’s No. 78 in a halftime ceremony at the Bills home opener, he was naturally asked about whether Thurman Thomas’ No. 34 could be next in line.

“Stay tuned,” said Brandon in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “Today we’re celebrating Bruce, but obviously everyone knows Thurman’s place and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with that number down the road, but you can read between the lines.”

Right now only Jim Kelly’s No. 12 is retired. Smith’s 78 will follow in September. Thomas sounds likely to follow soon after.

 


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