Inside The Bills

Twitter chat with Takeo

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 10:23 pm

Two former Bills will be participating in a Twitter chat Monday.

Takeo Spikes and Troy Vincent will be holding a Twitter chat on Aug. 17th at 12 noon ET. Here are the details.

Knowing what a strong interview subject Takeo was when he was in Buffalo and still is today, it’s a chat you don’t want to miss.


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Bills coaches eager for sessions with Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 5:48 pm

As much as the players might be looking forward to working against a different team in the training camp setting with the Cleveland Browns coming in for a couple of days of joint practices Monday and Tuesday, the coaches are just as eager to get started, knowing how much it can enhance the players’ preparation for the regular season.

“Yeah I think we’re going to work together on that and really try to get some quality stuff done,” said Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman of their collaboration on the practice plans with the Browns coaching staff. “Some stuff that’s scripted, some unscripted stuff, you know where it’s just put the ball down, it’s first and ten, let’s go. But I think we’re mapping that out right now. So it’ll be really good to get different styles of players, different, slightly different schemes and I think it’ll be great work for us. Really looking forward to it.”


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Ryan: Don’t read into QB reps at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 4:57 pm

With the million dollar question at Bills training camp being who will be Buffalo’s starting quarterback, everyone is trying to gain insight on the decision making process. At Sunday’s practice EJ Manuel saw no time with starting unit players in practice. In fact for most of the session he took snaps with the third unit. That was largely the same role Manuel had in practice in the last full practice before Friday’s preseason game. When asked about the QB roles in practice Sunday, specifically Manuel being with the threes again, Ryan offered the following.

“It’s what I decided. This is what we did and again he’s going to get the majority of the game running with that group this second preseason game,” said Ryan of Manuel. “So that’s the reasoning behind it. Does that mean he won’t get the two reps? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. But this is what we wanted to do.

“Obviously we were going to put Tyrod in there (Thursday night) and mix in Matt (Cassel), but as the week goes on don’t be surprised if he does get some (time with the) twos. Again I know you guys want to look into everything, but I don’t think you need to. We’ve been working this thing for how long now, it’s been the same type of rotation for three weeks.”


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Rex: Can’t have drop off when pads are off

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 4:42 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan stepped to the lectern after Sunday’s practice and it was the first thing he mentioned. With the players understandably out of pads just two days removed from their first preseason game, Ryan was a bit disappointed that the intensity of practice fell off with the pads off as well.

“Today’s practice obviously when you take the pads off that intensity goes down a little bit,” said Ryan. “I understand it, but it’s still not acceptable because these days are running out so you’ve got to get better. Anytime you’ve got a chance to compete against each other you’ve got to do that. At the same time we’re trying to protect each other.”

Fortunately for Ryan and his coaching staff things will be dialed up over the next two days when the Cleveland Browns roll in for joint practices.


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Bills QB snaps in Carolina preseason game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 3:30 pm

Rex Ryan and his offensive staff have made a concerted effort to keep snaps as even as possible throughout the offseason and training camp and the case was much the same in the team’s preseason opener.

Although EJ Manuel worked with the third unit and Tyrod Taylor with the second string, their snaps were almost equal. Here’s a look at the snap count for each of the three QBs from Friday’s game against Carolina.

Tyrod Taylor – 25
EJ Manuel – 24
Matt Cassel – 20

Matt Simms saw 12 snaps of work.


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Carpenter activated, practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 10:09 am

Bills K Dan Carpenter has been activated off the Non-Football injury list. 

Carpenter is back practicing with the team for the first time in training camp. He sustained a hamstring injury right before camp during individual training. He’s finally healthy enough to kick again. 


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Enemkpali gets 2nd team reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2015 – 2:55 pm

No one even knew if he was going to suit up, but apparently DE/LB IK Enemkpali recalled enough of Rex Ryan’s defense to play Friday.

“He did pretty decent in there,” said Ryan. “We got him in there some. He had a couple of good rushes, but we lost the contain on the other side, which was unfortunate because I thought he could’ve made a couple of sacks for us. I know it’s a new system, but once you throw in something new a lot of stuff falls out. It wasn’t like he never retained the whole thing, but I thought he did a pretty decent job when he was in the there.”

Enemkpali took snaps from undrafted rookie Andrew Hudson, who wound up with the threes Friday.


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McCoy hard on his debut performance

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2015 – 1:38 pm

His stat line wasn’t overly impressive, but that’s typically the case in the preseason for starters. LeSean McCoy looked sudden and explosive at times Friday against Carolina. But in his opinion he wasn’t all that impressed with his performance.

“I think the guys up front really, really played well,” he said. “The first run, the first play, I should have had a long gain. I should of had at least a 60 yarder. But it’s the preseason…You know, you roll with it, you learn mistakes, while the pressure is little, you lock it up. We will learn and get better with it.”

McCoy said he felt rusty and wasn’t as sharp with his reads as he usually is.

As far as Rex Ryan was concerned if in McCoy’s opinion he didn’t run well, he’d like to see what qualifies as good.

“I can’t want to see when he does play well,” Ryan said. “He looked pretty good to me.”

As disappointed as he was with his own performance McCoy did see the silver lining based on how the offensive line fared.

“The guys up front, they really opened it up,” he said. “A lot of the plays, you watch em over and over again, I feel like it is going to be a big year. Especially on the ground game with the guys up front.”

 


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Buffalo’s run ‘D’ impressive

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2015 – 9:28 am

They didn’t have Kyle Williams, Alex Carrington or Stefan Charles available in Friday night’s lineup. It didn’t matter. Buffalo’s run defense was extraordinarily stout against the Carolina Panthers ground game. In fact two of their first three carries went for negative or no yardage.

Top RB, in the absence of Jonathan Stewart, Fozzy Whittaker had gains of one, zero and negative three yards on his first three carries. He finished the game with five carries for three yards. Those three rushing yards were all the Panthers could muster against what was largely Buffalo’s starting defense.

Conversely, Buffalo’s offense had 126 yards rushing at the half and 206 by game’s end.

“We had 206 yards rushing to their 73,” said Rex Ryan. “I think they had three (yards) at halftime, so when I said we outplayed them we did. There’s no denying that. So that was pretty good. I thought the execution went really well until the end there.”

“We did well,” said Preston Brown. “We shut down the run and that’s the thing we want to do.”


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Rex on Darby: We threw him to the wolves

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2015 – 8:20 am

The Carolina Panthers targeted him early and often in Friday’s preseason game. Welcome to the NFL Ronald Darby. The Bills top pick, who has been playing some quality football in training camp was matched up a good deal of the night with the likes of 6-5, 245-pound WR Kelvin Benjamin and 6-4, 225-pound Devin Funchess. It was a difficult welcome to the NFL and his head coach knew it.

At the same time Rex Ryan and his defensive staff put Darby on an island an awful lot in an effort to get him accustomed to playing the big-bodied receivers.

“What we did was we fed him to the wolves,” said Ryan. “We flat played… if anything we put coverage away from him. So we put him out there by himself and let him learn. That’s why (Darby) played into the third quarter. We’ve got to get him ready.”

With the real prospect of not having Leodis McKelvin ready for the season opener and the league’s best passing attack from 2014 coming to town in the form of the Colts, Ryan and his defensive staff know they have to expose Darby to as much adversity as possible knowing he’s likely to get picked on and tested early in his career.

“You know it’s going to happen,” said Ryan. “I was hoping he’d respond. He had decent coverage, some of these guys, when you’re going against a big receiver, a lot of times you don’t put him in those situations, but tonight we did.”He never played as well as I was hoping. I think he’ll learn from it.”

 


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Good byproduct of QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2015 – 12:32 am

While a lot of outside observers lament Buffalo’s quarterback situation with a three-man competition and no definitive runaway winner in the competition, RB LeSean McCoy sees the whole thing differently.

He’s encouraged by how even the competition is because in his mind it means the position has one important quality.

“You want depth,” said McCoy. “I think what makes a good team is depth. Whoever is the starter (at quarterback), will be the starter. But you got to have a depth chart that looks good. In this game, guys get hurt.  You need the next guy to step up and play well.  So your team can win. I feel like the team we have here, the coaches and players—we can get some wins.  I really believe that.  I think we’ll be a strong team in this division.  It’s just a matter of playing one game at a team, keep working, and get out all the weird kinks here in preseason, and move on to the regular season.”


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A few players dinged vs. Carolina

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2015 – 12:30 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said he doesn’t believe any of them are serious, but there were some players nicked up after Friday’s game against Carolina.

Ryan addressed DT Corbin Bryant’s injury first since he was the first to exit the game Friday.

“It was a knee, so I’m not sure how bad it was, but he went out with a knee,” said Ryan. “Easley went out with a knee, I think it was a grade one MCL (sprain) on him. I’m not sure about Corbin yet. (Marcus) Thigpen had an ankle, not serious. Then (DE Jarius) Wynn had a knee so we’ll see how those things work. My understanding is none of them are serious. None of them seem to be too bad hopefully.”

Ryan also said that all the players who were inactive for Friday’s game had minor issues and would’ve played if it was a regular season game.


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Panthers coach knew Rex from younger days

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 3:31 pm

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera knew Rex Ryan from the time he was a college student. A linebacker for the Chicago Bears and playing under Ryan’s father Buddy Ryan, then the defensive coordinator for Chicago, Rivera often ran into Rex and his brother Rob during Bears training camp.

“I know being one of Buddy’s boys he was always around,” said Rivera. “I hope Rex doesn’t get made in relaying this story, but Buddy used to say, ‘I’ve got a bunch of nice boys, but I don’t want them playing for me.’

“I just remember Rex and Rob just being around training camp. They’re good dudes and good guys to hang around with. They’re a couple of guys that I run into at the combine or somewhere and we get a chance to visit and we end up talking about their dad. I know he’s still alive thank goodness, but we’ll talk about the things he did and how he developed the 46 defense. That always seems to be a subject of conversation with Rex and Rob.”


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Rivera wary of Rex’s multiple defense

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 1:56 pm

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera has known Rex Ryan since he played linebacker for his dad, Buddy Ryan, in Chicago in the mid-80’s. So he’s all too familiar with the unpredictable nature of Ryan’s play calling. And in a preseason game setting with a new roster, Rivera knows Ryan is going to be even harder to figure out.

“I hate it. I really do because they can do anything,” said Rivera of Buffalo’s defense. “When that happens you’re kind of guessing as coaches. It’s hard to see the game because unless you’re hitting it right on anything can happen. Guys could be running around free, the quarterback may not have any time. Your running back may not have an opportunity to run. It’s going to be tough on our offensive line to handle it. I expect Rex to be as aggressive as he normally is.

“On the offensive side I think we feel a little more comfortable. We know what they’re capable of on the offensive side and we expect a physical running style. Coach (Greg) Roman coming from San Francisco we expect that running game to carry over.”


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Rex to Bills fans: Don’t peak too early

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 1:06 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has a very healthy respect for the impact Bills fans can make at home games. He experienced it first-hand when he was head coach of the Jets. That’s why he’s already pumped for the team’s first preseason game Friday. But much like the team has yet to peak, Ryan is asking Bills fans to pace themselves and save their best for the regular season.

“I know our fans are excited. I expect we’re going to have a huge crowd,” Ryan said. “I think that would be good. I don’t want our crowd peaking too early. We don’t need to just unload on Carolina. Let’s just save it for our first game (against Indianapolis). Let’s get in there and show excitement. I know our fan base will be in our stadium and I’m looking forward to it.”

As for what he expects from his team, Ryan is hoping players perform in a way that facilitate the efforts of the coaching staff to make accurate evaluations.

“I know it’s not the regular season games, but these games are important,” he said. “And when you look at that obviously we’re still evaluating our roster and it’s not life or death like it is in the regular season because the outcome is secondary. But that being said you still want to win. I don’t care you still want to win. I hate losing, but that’s what you look for.”


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Fan Friday 8-14

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 11:30 am

The preseason debut of Rex Ryan’s Bills is tonight against Carolina. Catch up with you on the Bills Radio Network pre-game show at 5:30 pm ET. For now let’s get to your latest questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can Chris Hogan have a breakout season?

Quinn_177

CB: I think Hogan had a breakout season in 2014 quite frankly. He had the fourth-most receptions on the team, was third in receiving touchdowns and was still a fixture on special teams. I’d be surprised if he logged 50 catches this season for a few reasons. First, this offense probably won’t throw the ball more than 20-25 times a game. Second, there are arguably three to four options that figure to be targeted before him in the passing game (Watkins, Harvin, Woods, Clay) and that’s not even counting LeSean McCoy as a passing target.

So while I think Hogan’s game can certainly take a step forward this season I don’t anticipate we’ll see it revealed in his personal statistics this season.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Haven’t heard much about the linebackers and depth there. How are they and how are our recent lb draft picks performing?

RealBryanWatson

CB: The starting linebacking group is Manny Lawson, Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham with Jerry Hughes the hybrid DE/LB. The second unit is made up by Randell Johnson, Ty Powell and rookie Tony Steward. The hybrid with them has been undrafted rookie Andrew Hudson.

Powell has grown into the ILB role and is essentially Brown’s backup. Steward gets from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ quickly. Hudson has caught my eye a few times, but the addition of IK Enemkpali could compromise his role on the second unit. Enemkpali is as strong as an ox and has some bull rush ability against the pass. Rex and Dennis Thurman know him well since they drafted him with the Jets last year.

So I’m encouraged by what we’ve seen from the second team linebackers in training camp, but the preseason games will be the true test to see just how good Buffalo’s depth could be.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills
From what you’ve seen at practice, which of the three QBs plays with the most consistency?

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CB: In this second week of camp I think Matt Cassel has been the most consistent. He hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s been steady just about every day this week. He’s demonstrated an improved on field chemistry with his top receivers and his decision making has been spot on.

Granted he’s had the benefit of getting the most reps in practice with the first team offense, but to his credit he’s done the most with it of the three QBs.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How many TEs make the team and who are they?

ZachDrohweder

CB: I don’t think the tight end spots are finalized by any means with all four preseason games to be played. I will say that Charles Clay is the clear cut starter. Knowing the skill set of Marqueis Gray is the most comparable to Clay and he’s a smart player (former QB) he has not surprisingly seen a lot of snaps with the first unit. I think he’s likely going to make the final 53 provided he performs well in the preseason.

Matthew Mulligan is clearly the best blocking tight end on the roster and that alone could land him a roster spot knowing how Greg Roman’s running game relies on tight end blocking. Whether they keep four is up in the air and hinges on a lot of other offensive roster decisions. Do they keep four running backs? Do they keep six receivers?

Rex Ryan said he’ll keep the best players, but the numbers game could create a difficult situation at tight end with two players who have the skills necessary to play in this league in Nick O’Leary and Chris Gragg.
5 – Chris,

Cordy (Glenn) from all accounts has returned to form and has bottled up Jerry Hughes in practice. How high of a priority is he behind Dareus? How would you rank him of all left tackles, meaning what would in cost to keep him? Given the state of the offensive line it would seem he is a strong part of helping the quarterback and offensive succeed this season. What is he looking at for a contract, can the team keep him?

Josh P.

CB:
Glenn wants to be paid like a left tackle plain and simple. It will be interesting to see where the Bills turn after they hopefully get the Marcell Dareus extension completed. Do they focus on Nigel Bradham or Cordy Glenn? Bradham would presumably be easier to negotiate just because the salary structure for left tackles is so steep. But one could argue that Glenn’s role is far more important on this roster.

How much money Dareus’ contract ties up will directly impact what they can or cannot do for Glenn and Bradham by way of an extension.


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Bills rooks anxious, but not nervous

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 10:58 am

Buffalo’s top three rookies have all made an impact at Bills training camp. Top pick Ronald Darby and Karlos Williams have taken advantage of opportunities created due to injury, while John Miller has stepped right into a starting role showing no signs of being a rookie. That exposure to playing time against Buffalo’s starting offense and defense in camp has helped to calm any nerves any of these three rookies might have heading into their first preseason game Friday against Carolina.

“Starting off, I was a little nervous and things like that but coming out here each day and going against the receivers we have and the speed they have, I’m not as nervous at all,” said Darby.

“I’m feeling anxious, man, just to get out there,” said Miller. “My first preseason game, go out there and compete against somebody different, really see where I’m at and kind of gauge myself because I hold myself to higher expectations so it’d be good to get some, go against some other guys and get to hit on them a little bit.”

“The more reps a back can get, especially a young back the better feel you have for the game,” Williams said. “Especially with the backs I’m with here with Shady and Boobie and Bryce and Fred. The experience in the backfield, the locker room and the meeting room is definitely going to help, but the more reps I get against live action the better it’s going to be.”

 

 

 


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Roman: Focused on fundamentals for Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2015 – 3:37 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman is known for his creative football mind, but none of that creativity is expected to be on display Friday in the team’s first preseason game. Instead the focus will be on basic plays and fundamentals to help the offensive staff get an accurate evaluation of some of the players who are not starters on Buffalo’s roster.

“Number one thing we want to get done is start to really really just build into the way we play a game and that starts with a lot of little things,” Roman said. “And we’re really not trying to reinvent football here and scheme it up. We want to get guys out there, let them work on basic fundamental things and evaluate how that might look when we apply schemes.

“But especially with a lot of younger players, you really want to see them do basic things so you can make a true evaluation on them. Was it really his ability or was it the scheme that got him open or am I throwing a bubble screen for … three bubble screens for 250 yards and a perfect quarterback rating or is it because I’m grinding through a lot of different situations. So it’s a great opportunity and I know the players are looking forward to it.”

 


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Watkins: Vanilla or not we’ve got to win

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2015 – 10:32 am

The Bills coaching staff and the players have all said that fans should expect to see some basic play calling on offense and defense in the team’s first preseason game Friday against Carolina. But Sammy Watkins believes vanilla offense or not the team still needs to win their matchups.

“It means a lot to this organization just to see what kind of team and coaches we got,” Watkins said. “Pretty sure we won’t be showing everything and I’m pretty sure the team won’t be showing everything, so it’s gonna be kind of vanilla and basic. But that’s when it shows up, you’ve got to beat the guys in front of you.”


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Gilmore set to embrace Revis role

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2015 – 8:59 am

Many suspect that CB Stephon Gilmore will be pegged to take on the Darrelle Revis role in Rex Ryan’s defense for the Bills this season. When asked about it Wednesday Gilmore said he’s ready and willing to take on the responsibility that role demands if he’s asked to do so.

“I definitely feel like I can fill the role of being a great corner or the best corner in this league,” said Gilmore. “I told them whatever they want me to do I’ll do it for this team. We’re expecting big things this year, so I’m looking forward to it. So, I feel like I just got to go out and work on my game and whatever the coaches tell me to do that’s what I’m going to do and I work on my game and my technique and study film.”

Gilmore has done that by going against Sammy Watkins in practice almost every day. Even in individual one-on-one drills Gilmore will wait until Watkins is up in the rotation to go against him instead of another receiver.

“I feel like Sammy is one of the hardest players to guard in this league,” he said. “You just got to get him the ball and I feel like me and him going at it every day, I mean, there aren’t too many people as good as him.”

It’s not clear yet whether Gilmore will simply be asked to follow the opponent’s best receiver every week during the regular season, but he’s preparing as if that will be the case. He’s often lined up at both left cornerback and right cornerback in the same practice so he’s accustomed to flipping to the other side of the field, should he need to in a game when following an opponent’s top wideout.

“If they tell me to cover one guy the whole game, then I’ll do that, and play physical and just lock in and worry about my responsibility, and that’s shutting that guy down,” said Gilmore. “So just worry about that and then everything else will take care of itself.”


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