Inside The Bills

Wood, C.J. not worried

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 10:25 pm

Much has been made of the offensive execution in practice through the first week of training camp. The players themselves admit they’ve got to do better. At the same time they feel there’s enough time to get everything running like well-oiled machine come September.

“No it’s not a concern,” said C.J. Spiller. “We’re not even in August yet, but we have to get better. We understand that we have to be better as a unit.  We got the guys, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Third down, which has just undergone a good deal of installation on both sides of the ball, is where some of the execution problems lie according to Eric Wood. That’s when Buffalo’s vaunted pass rush, which set a franchise record with 57 sacks last season, can turn it loose.

“We understand that if we can block our front four then we’ll be able block about anybody,” said Eric Wood. “For my money, I think they’re about the best in the league, but that’s no excuse.  We got to be able to do our jobs and we got to do a better job.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moeaki out indefinitely, Gragg to return soon

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 9:15 pm

The Bills were down numbers at tight end, which is what prompted the signing of TE Dominique Jones Saturday. The hamstring injury suffered by Tony Moeaki is going to keep him out indefinitely, while Chris Gragg’s dehydration that forced him to be hospitalized for a couple of days won’t be back until the second full week of camp.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“We’re waiting for Chris (Gragg) to come back, which hopefully will be sometime next week,” Marrone said. “We’re not sure so I’m not going to go on record again but we hope that he will be back sometime next week. And with Tony (Moeaki), he’ll be out not for the whole camp, but he’s going to be out for a significant amount of time. And when I say significant, I think it’s very difficult to define. If you’re out three or four days in camp, that’s a lot of reps on everybody for what you’re trying to get done. So, hopefully we’ll be able to get him back quickly.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cockrell trying to show he’s multi-faceted

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 11:10 pm

As we profiled in 4 things to take from practice, rookie CB Ross Cockrell is starting to settle in at cornerback. Friday night was probably his best practice session of camp as he was anticipating pass plays and making plays on the ball with a couple of pass breakups and raking another ball out near the goal line.

“A couple days of film study never hurts anybody,” Cockrell told Buffalobills.com. “I’m getting adjusted to the speed and tempo of the game. Seeing the receivers for a couple days now, and continuing to work hard on my footwork and and some of the little things coach Henderson and coach (Samson) Brown are teaching me.”

The coaches clearly have faith in Cockrell as a student of the game with all that they’re putting on his plate. The fourth-round pick is lining up at both boundary corner and in the slot in the nickel packages.

“It’s something I’m trying to show that i can play both the outside corner and the inside nickel,” said Cockrell. “It’s challenging because inside there’s a lot more space and you don’t have the sideline to help you. You have to be in tune with the run as well. I’m getting all that and trying to make plays.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins playmaking will open things up

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 11:03 pm

With all the plays being turned in by Sammy Watkins in the training camp practices, it’s bound to lead to greater attention from opposing defenses and that will lead to more opportunities for the other receivers.

That doesn’t always reveal itself in the structured nature of practice, but in a game when opposing defenses are reacting Watkins is going to draw added attention. That will benefit the likes of Robert Woods, Mike Williams, Marquise Goodwin and the rest of the receiving corps.

“I don’t think it’s ever been just Sammy and Sammy knows that too,” said EJ Manuel. “He’s obviously getting an opportunity to make plays just like the rest of those guys. Obviously, all I want to do is just give those guys an opportunity to make a catch and they do the rest.”

“We’ve just got so many guys that can go out and make plays, we’ve always got a lot of speed on the field,” said Watkins. “We’ve got guys that can go over you, we’ve got guys that can run great routes, so when one guys making plays, that’s when other guys start to open up because they start to double or run a certain coverage. With everybody making plays, it’s been hard for the coaches and the offense because they want everyone on the field at the same time.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

“He makes the catch!” – JMS 7/25

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 25, 2014 – 10:23 pm

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The John Murphy Show returned to St. John Fisher College as the team took part in a night practice under the lights at Growney Stadium. Joining Murph was Mark Kelso, his partner and color analyst on the Bills Broadcast. The two called highlights and gave in-depth analysis of the night’s practice session.

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We began the show by hearing from head coach Doug Marrone. He spoke on the return of defensive linemen Marcell Dareus and Alan Branch. Branch makes his return after passing his physical on Thursday. You’ll hear from him as well.

 

Afterwards, Bills Insider Chris Brown roamed the sidelines to get post-practice reaction. He caught up with rookie cornerback Ross Cockrell who made some impressive plays tonight.

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To hear all of that and the complete John Murphy Show from Friday, click below.

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

Chris Gragg to practice soon.

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 6:59 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Chris Gragg is out of the hospital, but he is not going to practice right away.

“He’s out of the hospital,” said Marrone. “He’s back. We’re still just going to be careful about when we put him back on the field, so it’ll probably be a couple of days just to make sure.”

Gragg is in attendance at the Friday night practice.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB Johnson passes physical

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 1:57 pm

Bills seventh round pick LB Randell Johnson has been on the active non-football injury list since before training camp opened. He was finally moved of that list Friday.

Johnson passed his physical and was moved to the active roster.

The rookie linebacker has largely lined up at the outside linebacker spots since OTAs.


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“I can progress and get better” – JMS 7/24

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 24, 2014 – 9:30 pm

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We’re back on home base for tonight’s John Murphy Show as we returned to One Bills Drive. Thursday’s news of the day was highlighted by Marcell Dareus passing his physical. Getting set for his fourth year in the league, we asked the listeners what their expectations are for the defensive lineman, especially coming off of his breakout year last season. Lowered or heightened?

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Our first guest was Bills receiver Robert Woods. Woods discussed the transition from year one to year two and how he’s more comfortable in the offense, which will translate to a more productive 2014. He also weighed in on his quarterback EJ Manuel, who he feels will also progress in year two and the signs are being shown so far in training camp.

 

“He’s definitely understands the offense a lot more. He’s more settled in the pocket. His throws are more accurate, with TD, coach (Todd) Downing helping back there at the quarterback position.” Woods said. “In this system now, you can see EJ’s head going through each progression and taking his time in the pocket and not just rushing things. Now he’s just taking his time, going through his reads and making plays.”

 

Woods also reflected on his rookie season and what he’s seen from his receiving teammates including Sammy Watkins, calling the rookie WR “explosive.”

 

At the top of the hour we were joined by Bills Insider Chris Brown. Brown has been in attendance for each training camp practice so far. He gave his thoughts on Marcell Dareus, what he’s seen from EJ Manuel, and what he likes from Sammy Watkins during this first week of camp.

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“He’s the most dynamic weapon in the offense right now and that includes a person like C.J. Spiller. In terms of turning plays in, practice in and practice out, he’s been the guy. That’s hard to do at a wide receiver than at running back where the ball is handed to you and you have to make something happen. He’s got to run a route, the quarterback’s got to find him, you have to beat the defender, and make a play. He’s made plays and not just one or two, he made about five or six plays each and every practice. I think he’s been head and shoulders above everyone else on the offensive side of the ball.”

 

Brown went down the rest of the offense, mentioning the running backs and Anthony Dixon and how impressive he’s been. He talked about Chris Hairston’s change from offensive tackle to guard. He also discussed the defense and what he’s seen from rookie LB Preston Brown.

 

Finally, we were joined by USA Football Master Trainer Ken Stoldt. Stoldt will be part of this weekend’s Buffalo Bills’ Moms Football Safety Clinic at St. John Fisher College. Stoldt will help the parents of those kids playing youth football to understand the safety push in the game, including concussion awareness. This is part of the Heads Up football initiative. Moms will be learning about proper tackling techniques and taking part in hands-on football drills, all to understand why their kids are being taught a certain way. For more information you can go to http://www.usafootball.com

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To listen to more of Thursday’s John Murphy Show, click below.

 

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins signing autographs in Rochester

Posted by Dallas Miller on July 24, 2014 – 10:00 am

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Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins will make an autograph appearance at Frontier Field on Monday, August 11 as the Red Wings (The Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins) host the Durham Bulls.

Watkins will sign from 6:00-6:45 p.m. and from 7:15-8:00 p.m. in the Red Wings Hall of Fame located along the first base side of the concourse.

After a standout career at Clemson University in which he caught 240 passes for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns, the Bills selected Watkins with the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Interestingly, Watkins is the cousin of former Red Wing Tommy Watkins, who played in 305 games for Rochester from 2006-09.

Every Monday at Frontier Field this season is a Kids Eat Free night presented by Basch & Nickerson. The first 500 kids, 12 and under through the gates will receive a coupon for a free hot dog, soda and snack item.

Red Wings single-game tickets can be purchased now by visiting RedWingsBaseball.com, by calling (585) 423-WING (9464) or at the Frontier Field ticket windows during normal business hours.


Posted in Inside the Bills

The Ratings Czar of Madden 15 – JMS 7/23

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 23, 2014 – 10:20 pm

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It was another morning practice for the team on Wednesday. We went over all the highlights from this morning, which of course included a few reel-worthy plays by Sammy Watkins. With that said, we asked the listeners…Watkins could be the best wide receiver since whom? A lot of Andre Reed mentions along with Eric Moulds and Lee Evans.

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Joining us in our on-site camp studio was Bills Cornerback Leodis McKelvin. McKelvin is coming back to form after an injury suffered last season and said his goal is to remain healthy and continue to make plays. He has been mixed in along with Stephon Gilmore on covering Sammy Watkins. He discussed the physical battle throughout the first four days.

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“We just want to give him a little taste on how things are going to be further down the road when he plays against other guys that is in this league. They are going to do what they need to do, grab, tug, playing physical. We’re just trying to give him a good look at what he’s going to see later on down the line.”

 

McKelvin did say that the rookie receiver is “explosive.” He also touched on the other wide-outs on the roster and what he likes from the new players in the defensive backfield, including Corey Graham who he joked is the “uncle” on the team.

 

At the top of the hour we got a Hall of Fame preview from Bills Hall of Fame great James Lofton. Lofton was a teammate of Andre Reed, who will be enshrined next weekend.

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“I think it’s a well-deserved honor. It’s agonizing when somebody that you’re close to, a friend, you see them have to wait. He was kind of clumped in there with Cris Carter and with Tim Brown. You kind of waited every year to see which one of them was going to win. A couple of years none of the three went in and you’re thinking well Andre was a finalist a number of times and Cris Carter leap frogs over him. I think all of the people that follow the Buffalo Bills realize what a great player Andre was and this is an acknowledgement of that greatness.”

 

Lofton also reflected on his playing time in Buffalo, describing them as “the best four years” of his career. He also tells a great story about how he was almost a Philadelphia Eagle just before joining the Bills.

 

Finally, we were joined by Donny Moore, the EA Sport’s ratings czar for the upcoming Madden NFL 15. In their ratings release earlier this week, Sammy Watkins was placed in the top five in this year’s video game. Moore explained the rating process.

 

“We try to base it on real world data. We try to use 40-yard dashes. We try to use vertical jumps for things like jump ratings. We also use a lot of different opinions from either scouts or different NFL pundits. We try to cumulate all of that into one data point and that’s in Madden NFL 15.”

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The game is due in stores on August 26th.

 

To hear the complete John Murphy Show from Wednesday, click below.

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

Pears performing well

Posted by Chris Brown on July 23, 2014 – 2:24 pm

While there is a competition going on at right guard, as we covered in Wednesday’s practice notes, there does not appear to be much of a battle to this point at the starting right tackle spot.

A lot of people outside the organization assumed that second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio would be quickly challenging veteran incumbent Erik Pears for the starting right tackle job. As head coach Doug Marrone sees it Pears has put himself in a good position in the early going to retain his starting gig.

“I think Cyrus is coming along. The closer you are to the ball the tougher it is to play in this league,” said Marrone. “Erik really feels healthy. He was coming off an injury last year and has really performed well. It’s still going on (the competition). Nothing is locked in stone yet. It wouldn’t be smart of me to say anything is locked in stone. Everyone has to go out and prove that they can do it. We’ll see how it goes as camp goes along, but Erik has done a very good job so far.”

Pears did play hurt last year, which compromised his effectiveness at times. Also Kouandjio just turned 21 on Monday and is relatively young in football. His learning curve might prove to be a bit steeper than some anticipate.


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Rodriguez released from hospital

Posted by Chris Brown on July 23, 2014 – 11:03 am

Bills FB Evan Rodriguez has missed the past two days of practice due to complications from cramps along with TE Chris Gragg. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on the fullback’s status.

Marrone said that Rodriguez had been released from the hospital where he apparently spent Tuesday getting effectively hydrated.

Gragg was also hospitalized, but according to the team has not yet been released.


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Spikes: “The fans are die hard” – JMS 7/22

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 22, 2014 – 10:25 pm

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It was an early morning practice for the team which was the first in pads, giving the offensive line a chance to block for a loaded backfield for the Bills. We discussed the top four backs for the team tonight, asking who will lead the Bills in rushing in 2014. The majority of the responses had C.J. Spiller leading that department.

 

Switching gears to the defensive side of the ball for our first guest. Brandon Spikes, the veteran linebacker joined us in our camp radio tent. He discussed his role on the defense, what he can bring to the team in terms of stopping the run, and what he thinks of the Bills fans that view him as an important part of the team.

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“It just feels good to be welcomed with open arms. I always embrace that and like I said, I want to come here and just let them know I’m here to be accountable and get the job done.”

 

With Spikes holding down the middle linebacking spot, he’s looking to prove that he can be a 3-down player including helping out in pass coverage.

 

“Every player has their strengths and weaknesses. Like I told you, I’m a perfectionist and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get better at that and we’ll see. When we get out there on the field, you can be the judge yourself and see how I’m doing.”

 

Spikes also discussed the talent that surrounds him on the defensive side of the ball, specifically rookie LB Preston Brown, who Spikes sees a lot of similarities in, having shared the same college coach in Charlie Strong.

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At the top of the first hour we were joined by NFL Network’s Steve Wyche. He was on campus the past two days for training camp. Wyche said he was “blown away” by Sammy Watkins but feels the success of the team falls on the shoulders of quarterback EJ Manuel.

 

“Part of it is going to be Nathaniel Hackett designing an offense or at least a passing scheme that highlights his strengths. He has all the talent and the ability in the world. Now, he just has to put it together. They got him some weapons….but I think EJ Manuel could be a good quarterback but a lot of that is going to be up to him.”

 

Outside of Manuel and Watkins, Wyche likes the Bills other offensive additions, mainly the signing of running back Anthony Dixon. On defense he pointed to the defensive backfield, specifically mentioning Da’Norris Searcy. He also touched on the rest of the AFC East and discussed how the Jets and Dolphins are improving.

 

To hear more from Wyche and the rest of Tuesday’s John Murphy Show, click below.

 


Posted in Inside the Bills

Sammy Watkins: best rookie WR in Madden 15

Posted by Dallas Miller on July 22, 2014 – 5:11 pm

While all of Bills nation is buzzing about the real Sammy Watkins, it seems they aren’t alone. The folks over at EA Sports have a high opinion of the Bills’ dynamic receiver as well.

Graded out at an 80 when the Top 10 rookie ratings were unveiled, Watkins is the No. 1 rookie receiver in Madden 15, and the game’s fifth-best rookie overall behind DE Jadeveon Clowney (83), T Greg Robinson (83),  LB Kahlil Mack (81), and T Jake Matthews (81).

Madden Ratings Czar Donny Moore had this to say about Watkins, who ended up in Buffalo after a bold draft-day trade by GM Doug Whaley: “93 Speed, 95 Acceleration, and 95 Agility gives Sammy a trifecta at some of the most important ratings in the game for WR. Don’t forget 88 Catch too.”

So no matter where the game is being played – from the football field to your flatscreen – it looks like Sammy Watkins is the one to watch.


Posted in Inside the Bills

C.J. on importance of run game

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 2:49 pm

The run game was Buffalo’s bread and butter on offense as they ran more than any other team in the league and finished second in rushing yards per game. Blessed with the additional talents of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon, the Bills ground attack is as deep as it’s ever been. So just how critical will the Bills run game be to the team’s success this season. C.J. Spiller had an answer for that one.

In an appearance on NFL AM on NFL Network Tuesday, Spiller believes the run game will again be carrying the offense in 2014.

“I think it’s going to be very important,” said Spiller. “I think it’s going to take a lot of pressure off E.J. [Manuel]. I think if we have our running game going, he’ll feel more comfortable relying on that. Instead of having him, going out there saying, ‘Hey E.J., we need you to throw the ball.’ It’s going to be very important to make sure that our running game is going on early and late in the season. It’s going to be exciting. The offensive line is going to jell together and hopefully we’ll have another great rushing year.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spiller on change needed for division games

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 2:46 pm

The Bills have found it hard to compete for a division title in the AFC East as New England has largely ruled the division for the better part of the last dozen years. Buffalo usually plays all their division opponents tough, until some unfortunate play happens and the floodgates seem to open. C.J. Spiller knows what has to change to reverse that trend.

In an appearance on NFL AM on NFL Network this morning, Spiller addressed what the Bills need to do to truly contend in the AFC East.

“If you go back and look at those games, we always play all those teams close,” Spiller said. “Obviously, sooner or later, [they] kind-of get out of hand. Against those type of teams, you can’t make mistakes. That’s the thing that’s been killing us against [those] teams is that we make mistakes and it’s hard for us to bounce back. So if we can minimize them, I think we have a chance of competing as one of the top [teams] in the AFC. I’m looking forward to it. Still a lot of work needs to be done. We still have to go out there and play the games.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB Kitchens, CB Smith out for a while

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 12:18 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone addressed the status of a pair of defensive players who were injured in practice on Monday and did not participate on Tuesday in undrafted rookie LB Darrin Kitchens and CB Brandon Smith.

“(Kitchens) and Brandon Smith will both be out for a period of time,” said Marrone after practice Tuesday. “Lower body injury for Smith and a lower body injury for Kitchens.”

Both players were seeing most of their time on the field with the third team defense.


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Marrone: Hopkins a kickoff specialist only

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 11:01 am

It’s early in camp and Dan Carpenter has taken all the FG attempts. Dustin Hopkins has only taken kickoffs in practice. On Tuesday head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Hopkins is strictly a kickoff specialist.

In fact Marrone stated that kickoff specialist is the role Hopkins has to try and land.

“He had to tr to make the roster as a kickoff specialist,” said Marrone.

Carpenter is coming off a career season where he hit on almost 92 percent of his kicks in 2013.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moorman booming them

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 9:43 am

Brian Moorman is still booming punts here Tuesday an at this point I outperforming rookie Jake Dombrowski.

Moorman has shown he’s more consistent mixing distance and hang time together. With the punters being asked to flip the field position on long punts today Moorman was consistently kicking 50 yards plus with hang times around five seconds.

His three best punts of the special teams segment were as follows. Hang times are unofficial.

55 yards – 4.9 seconds
55 yards – 5.11
60 yards – 5.19

Dombrowski’s best kick was a 50 yarder with a 5.25 hang time.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus delayed by weather

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 8:36 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus was unable to get back to Bills camp Monday night as scheduled due to weather delays.

Dareus’ flight back to Rochester was canceled last night due to weather. Head coach Doug Marrone may provide an update on Dareus return schedule following practice this morning.


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Posted in Inside the Bills