Inside The Bills

Deion, Irvin believe in Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 1:17 pm

NFL Network analysts, and Hall of Famers, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin like what they’ve seen from the Bills over the first two weeks of the season. Here was their take on Buffalo’s 2-0 start to the 2014 campaign.

“The Buffalo Bills, they have two running backs that are very capable, they have a receiver now that’s off the charts, they have a quarterback who’s learning,” said Sanders. “But defensively these guys are winning on that side of the ball. I feel like that’s why the Buffalo Bills are 2-0. I like them. I like them.”

“They’ve got a nice, young, talented team that they can have for a while to develop,” said Irvin.

 


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Chargers RB Mathews has sprained MCL

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 1:13 pm

There are reports out of San Diego that Chargers starting RB Ryan Mathews sustained a sprained MCL in San Diego’s win over Seattle Sunday. According to national reporters he is likely to miss this week’s game against the Bills.

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapaport is reporting that Mathews could miss a month or more after being carted off the field yesterday.


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Dolphins hope to find answer for Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 10:05 am

The Dolphins defense had no answer for Sammy Watkins Sunday, who rolled up 117 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. It had Miami’s defenders scratching their heads hoping to have a better plan in the second meeting later this season.

“He’s a good receiver,” said Dolphins LB Phillip Wheeler. “But we could’ve done some things to slow him down. We just had a bad day all the way around.”

When asked if there’s a solution to slowing Watkins in the future, Wheeler wasn’t certain.

“Right now I’m not sure,” he said. “We are going to look at the tape and go back to the drawing board.”

Watkins felt the Bills’ balance offensively with 26 pass play and 33 run plays made them difficult to predict.

“It definitely helps us out when we’re a balanced offense and we’ve just got to keep continuing to run the ball, to pass the ball and mix it up a lot,” Watkins said. “That keeps the defense on their toes and switching up coverage and linebackers have to look more for the pass, more for the run. It’s just great to have a defense guessing.”


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Marrone on EJ’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 9:38 am

EJ Manuel’s stat line looked pretty good in the win over Miami as he went 16-26 for 202 yards and a touchdown, good for a 98.6 passer rating. Here was head coach Doug Marrone’s assessment of Manuel’s play from his sideline vantage point.

“I thought he did well,” said Marrone. “He had some opportunities early on. The deep ball to Sammy was there. That was the perfect strike. A couple things that we need to take advantage of in the red zone that I said before, but he made some big plays down the field. Again, he’s progressing well. That’s two good games now for him, where he’s improving and seeing things. It’s the same thing that I told the players; it’s a long season. We’re a good football team that just needs to keep getting better and better each week.”

Marrone was referring to Manuel’s perfectly thrown ball down the right sideline that Watkins had in his hands, but Brent Grimes knocked away at the last second as he was falling to the ground. It wound up being an incompletion.

 


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Fred: We’ve got to keep our heads on straight

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 8:55 am

The Bills are 2-0 for the first time since a 3-0 start in 2011. Having been on that 2011 team and see that club finish 6-10 Fred Jackson isn’t going to let anybody feel good for too long about winning their first two games.

“We’re excited about being 2-0 but we just have to keep coming to work,” said Jackson. “It’s a great start but it’s just a start. We know we have to keep coming to work and that there will be more tests throughout the season and as long as guys keep making plays we like our chances.”

Offensively speaking Jackson has two areas in particular where he feels they’ve got to improve and fast.

“Even with a win you have to look around and see what you can do better,” he said. “Third-downs, we can do better on third downs. Red-zone, we’ve got to focus on that. There’s a lot that we can take away from this game. We’ve got to score more points and we know that as an offensive unit. Our defense did a great job, and we’ve got plenty of stuff we can work on offense.”

Buffalo finished 1-for-6 (17%) in the red zone and 5-for-15 (33%) on third down.

“At the end of the day, the offense we’re looking at 17 percent, that’s unacceptable in the red zone,” said C.J. Spiller. “To get where we want to go we’ve got to be a whole lot better. We’ll look at the tape, see the things that we probably missed and clean it up and try to come back next weekend and be a whole lot stronger. On third down, we were 33 percent, nowhere near what our goal is. There are some things we’ve got to clean up to put us in a better position to be able to be efficient.”

 


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Wallace: We didn’t match Bills intensity

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:54 pm

On an emotional day for Bills fans, the players were every bit as fired up. Knowing football is an emotional game, Miami WR Mike Wallace felt he and his Dolphins teammates just couldn’t match the intensity of the Bills Sunday.

“We have to have more intensity,” said Wallace. “We didn’t have enough intensity out there. Those guys were fired up on every single play. Every single play. You heard them screaming and yelling. They were fired up and we were quiet. You’re not going to win like that. I understand if trash talking is not your thing, but when those guys are fired up like that, you have to show emotion back and take it to the same level as them.”

When asked why they came out so flat, Wallace couldn’t put his finger on it.

“They had a lot of intensity. We weren’t close to their intensity,” he said. “That’s why they won the football game. They did a good job of playing football, but their intensity was so much higher than ours that I think that’s why they won the game honestly. They were riled up. Telling each other, ‘Let’s go!’ Talking crazy to us. Some people feed off that. Even if it was a guy not making the play, but he’s fired up and he’s getting his teammate fired up. I think you might’ve had to be on the field. It was crazy.”


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Miami LB Wheeler: Bills are built to beat us

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:44 pm

The Miami defense had a lot of trouble containing some of Buffalo’s best playmakers Sundays in their 19-point loss to the Bills. It’s the third straight win for Buffalo over the Dolphins. The last time that happened was 2008-2009 when Miami won three straight, with two of the games played in South Florida. Miami LB Phillip Wheeler is beginning to think the Bills have the Dolphins’ number.

“I feel like we are built to beat some of the teams in our division,” said Wheeler. “Take the Patriots. I think we are built to beat the Patriots. I think the Bills are built to beat us. They have a good scheme against us every year. Their defense stops our offense. Their offense runs the ball on us. I think we need to get better all the way around.”

 


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A special day from start to finish

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:26 pm

With so much positive news packed into one week for Bills fans, the 73-thousand plus at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday were just hoping the team would cap the week with a win. Doug Marrone’s men obliged taking a day when the man who founded the franchise was honored, and two of the team’s most famous alumni presented the late Hall of Fame owner’s wife, Mary Wilson, with an honorary Wall of Fame ring. That combined with the Pegula agreement to purchase the franchise and keep it in Western New York brought the week to a fitting conclusion.

“Sunday was a very emotional time,” said Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon. “Not only the tribute to Ralph and to honor Mary Wilson who has been a rock for all of us, and to see Jim (Kelly) and Thurman (Thomas) and all the guys out there. To be out there when Jim (Kelly) got up to the podium was pretty cool. I’ve seen this stadium rock a lot of times, but I’ve never felt it like that, it was awesome.”

When asked what Mr. Wilson might’ve thought of the performance Sunday, Brandon believed his former boss would’ve loved it.

“That’s Ralph’s kind of football,” Brandon said. “He would’ve loved it. He absolutely would’ve loved it. It’s been a tremendous week; it’s a great, great time to be a Buffalonian. Great credit to so many people, governor Cuomo and his staff, and our group and were working together. Football is the ultimate team game. The teamwork that went into making this all culminate to the sale this week, then to cap it off (with a win). It’s going to be a big party in this town (Sunday night) for sure.”


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The fans meant a lot

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:19 pm

It was unanimous in Buffalo’s locker room following their 29-10 win over Miami, Bills fans played a role in the victory.

“Do our players feel that (energy from the fans)? Absolutely,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “To sit here and say our fans weren’t a big part of it (is ridiculous). Those third downs and I know there was a another penalty that the fans caused. It was outstanding. That’s why I think that this is one of the toughest places to play.”

“It’s definitely a way to get us amped up,” said Mario Williams of the crowd noise. “Whenever you’ve got the home crowd behind you and their yelling and screaming and getting pretty hyped out there it definitely relays to the field.”

“It was beyond what I expected, the fans were so amazing and I felt the energy the whole day while we were out there, they never let up,” said Corey Graham, a Buffalo native who had 10 tackles and three pass breakups. “It was unbelievable, I never in a million years dreamed that it would be that special.”

“It means a lot just to have our fans out here and engaged,” said Sammy Watkins. “They helped us with the win. It was amazing and the team, we just have to keep giving the fans and the community something to believe in. I think if we keep winning, they’ll keep believing in us.”

 


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EJ on offensive progress

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:11 pm

There’s no doubt that the Bills offense wasn’t thrilled with their 0-for-3 mark in the red zone in the first half, but getting points is the thing, and to come through with a touchdown drive come the second half was something EJ Manuel felt they could hang their hat on.

“We want to score every drive,” he said. “I think it’s even more important when they go out there and score, especially later in the game because we hadn’t touched the end zone until that point after C.J. [Spiller] had the great kick return. It’s a good thing for our offense to show that we’ve having growth, and we’re becoming a more mature offense.  Again, our defense put us in the situation to be able to do that.”

Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t deny they left points on the field, but wasn’t going to criticize the offense, which got points on six of their 11 possessions (not counting kneel down at end).

“I’m not going to say disappointed,” he said. “I look at it as we won the game, but there were opportunities there that we have to just get better at and take advantage of, but there were definitely opportunities there.”


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Dolphins inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 11:51 am

Here are the inactives for the Dolphins in the Week 2 game with the Bills.

DE Terence Fede
C Mike Pouncey
LB Jordan Tripp
LB Koa Misi
G Billy Turner
DT Bruce Gaston
OT Jason Fox

 


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Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 11:47 am

Here are the inactives for the Bills in today’s home opener with the Dolphins.

LB Keith Rivers
TE Lee Smith
S Jonathan Meeks
G Cyril Richardson
OT Cyrus Kouandjio
RB Bryce Brown
CB Ross Cockrell


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Why 1st down could determine game today

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 10:24 am

Very often we hear keys to the game like third down or preventing big plays. For the Bills and Dolphins today it’s going to come down to the first play of every series. Here’s why.

Buffalo and Miami are two teams that like to lean heavily on their running game. Both have multiple backs that they can deploy in their offense to gain yards. The Bills have three (Dixon, Jackson, Spiller) that they appear prepared to use through the course of the season regularly. Miami has Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno.

Last week against New England the Dolphins converted 54% of their third downs (7-13) and the big reason why was due to their success on first down on offense. Miami had 31 first down plays in their win over the Patriots. They ran the ball 18 times and averaged 5.39 a carry (18 for 97 yds). That very often set up 2nd-and-medium and kept their full playbook open. It also led to a lot of shorter third downs. Of the Dolphins 13 third down plays nine of them were 3rd-and-4 or less.

Similarly the Bills had comparable success running on 1st-and-10 against the Bears. Of their 20 first down plays they ran the ball 15 times and did even better than Miami. Buffalo averaged a whopping 6.53 yards per rush on first down gaining 98 yards on just 15 carries.

The difference this week is both offenses are going against run defenses that are considered superior to the ones they each faced in Week 1. But with both teams having developing quarterbacks running their offense Miami and Buffalo will continue to emphasize running on first down. Whichever defense has more success holding them to minimal gains could shift the balance of the game.


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Bradham’s improved play to be seen today

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 9:20 am

On more than one occasion Bills head coach Doug Marrone has praised the improved play of Nigel Bradham, who has recommitted himself to the game and performed admirably all preseason. In his weekly Coffee with the Coach interview presented by Tim Horton’s, Marrone gave an idea as to the areas of Bradham’s game where fans will see the most improvement.

“One, he has the ability because of his speed to be a three-down linebacker, which is important because he can be on the field the whole time,” said Marrone. “He’s always been a good tackler for us and that helps us against good rushing clubs. But he’s been very consistent and he’s played extremely well and has really stepped up his game. So you’re going to see someone who can play three downs, cover backs, that can make tackles and a take on linemen. He’s really become a complete linebacker.”

Bradham is expected to be on the field for nickel packages as one of the two linebackers.


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Sammy Watkins’ BOSE playlist

Posted by buffalobills.com on September 13, 2014 – 1:42 pm

This year BOSE, the Official Sound of the Bills, is going to bring insider access to fans by showing fans what songs Bills players listen to on game day.  For 12 weeks during the 2014 season, a different Bills player will be featured in the Player Playlist, presented by BOSE.  This week, it’s Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins.  Check out the songs Sammy will be listening to on Sunday before he takes the field against the Dolphins.

sammyboseplaylist_pr06 (1)


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Tim Hortons surprises fans in camper lot

Posted by buffalobills.com on September 13, 2014 – 1:13 pm

On the eve of the home opener fans in the very full camper lot were surprised by a special treat from Tim Hortons Cafe and Bake Shop.  The fans were given Tim Hortons coffee and Timbits as they prepared for Sunday’s game.

timhortons-camper

Special thanks to the Tim Hortons on the corner of Abbott and Southwestern for providing the coffee and Timbits!


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Bills were throwing on 3rd down in Wk 1

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2014 – 10:59 am

The Bills are already onto their Week 2 matchup with Miami at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday, but there was one interesting anomaly that came out of last week’s win over Chicago.

Buffalo’s offense had 12 third down plays in the overtime game, and they threw the ball every time. First and foremost it’s just one game and a relatively small sample size. So drawing any conclusions based on the third down plays from one game is foolhardy.

Nevertheless for a team that has a strong penchant for running the football to see them throw every time on third down was interesting.

Part of the reason for the passing only plays on third down in Week 1 could likely be attributed to the fact that all but three of their third down plays were less than 3rd-and-5. Once offenses get past 3rd-and-3 the league’s numbers shift heavily toward the pass and Buffalo was an example of that last week.

On their three 3rd-and-2 plays in that game they threw every time. To their credit they converted two of them for first downs. Chicago was also clogging up the box with defenders in the game daring Buffalo to throw. The Bears defense got what they wanted in the game with Buffalo only converting 33 percent on third down, but the Bills got out of there with a victory.

Not surprisingly, Buffalo’s four conversions came on the four shortest down and distance situations on third down. They converted the pair of 3rd-and-2s, a 3rd-and-5 and a 3rd-and-6. It further emphasizes why the offensive staff commits so much to the run because if they can get to 3rd-and-4 or less they stand a much better chance of moving the sticks, even if they choose to throw it.


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Miami MLB doubtful

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2014 – 2:26 pm

The injuries at linebacker for the Dolphins claimed one of their starters for the season in Dannell Ellerbe. Friday’s injury report indicates they’re likely to be without another.

Starting MLB Koa Misi is doubtful after being unable to practice all week with an ankle injury. Rookie LB Jordan Tripp is also out with a chest injury.

That means there’s a good chance former Bills LB Kelvin Sheppard, who was signed earlier this week by Miami could see a lot of snaps Sunday.


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Rivers out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2014 – 1:59 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

Here is the rundown of the status of injured Bills players for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.

Player Pos Injury Participation Friday Game Status
Lee Smith TE Toe LP DOUBTFUL
Keith Rivers LB Groin DNP OUT
Jonathan Meeks S Neck LP DOUBTFUL
Aaron Williams S Concussion FP PROBABLE
Stephon Gilmore CB Groin FP PROBABLE
Sammy Watkins WR Ribs FP PROBABLE
Chris Hogan WR Ankle FP PROBABLE

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Fan Friday 9-12

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2014 – 12:29 pm

Perhaps the most anticipated home opener in a long time and it’s Miami on top of it. It’s been a heck of a week for Bills fans with all the positive news. Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question to you:

Could you see the Bills putting Cordy Glenn at LG because it seems like they are deeper at tackle than they are at guard? I know they have experimented with him there a few times but it just seems like they don’t have an answer at LG at all even with the Williams signing. I would go from left to right: Henderson, Glenn, Wood, Urbik (or Richardson or Williams) and Pears. With an injury to a T you could then slide Glenn back to LT and put Henderson at RT. I think this gives you the best 5 up front.

Thanks!
Dave
twitter: DTaylor716

CB: I think the way things looked in Week 1 the front five that coach Marrone has put together looks pretty good and should only get more and more comfortable together as the weeks wear on. I think the key thing to remember here is to have your two most athletic linemen on the edges now that most NFL clubs have speed rushers on both sides, which the Bills will see this week with Miami’s Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

I did an in depth piece on this regarding how important the right tackle has become in the league now knowing NFL defenses are putting speed on both sides.

Buffalo’s two most athletic linemen by far are Cordy Glenn and Seantrel Henderson. So putting them at the two tackle positions is the best way to go as I see it.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

My question regards the slot position- both how we plan to defend it and attack other defenses with it.

I’ve read recently about the “big nickel” package- subbing out the nickel corner for a third safety to better match up against the monsters that are being put into the slot now-( see Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski).

Do you see Nickell Robey’s stature as a liability against these bigger slot receivers and is there a plan in place to get a better matchup if we need to? Would this involve Corey Graham coming on potentially or having Searcy Williams and Williams all out as safeties at once? As much as I love Robey- he’s incredible- I just forsee a long day for him trying to cover Gronk in the slot.

Conversely- do you think there is a plan in place to attack smaller nickel corners with our offense? I notice that neither Hogan nor Woods are exactly giants- I wonder if we will see Mike Williams or one of our bigger guys slide inside to slot to take advantage of some potential mismatches.

Thanks for everything you do for the Bills and us fans!

Tim
Ovid, NY

CB: I think what you saw last week was in Buffalo’s nickel at times they’ll make use of Duke Williams as a hybrid linebacker. Similar to the way Bryan Scott and Da’Norris Searcy have been used in years past, Williams has the physical game to help in the run game, if there’s a draw play or something on third down, but also possesses the cover skills and physicality to handle coverage assignments.

Aaron Williams has the size and physical style to match up with a bigger player in the slot too as does Nigel Bradham, who is back this week. So I think Robey can still serve in his role and should a size mismatch present itself Buffalo has enough options to deploy against a larger slot receiver/tight end.

 

3 – Hi Chris!!

First of all, thank you for your great work keeping us Bills fans always well informed. Quick question. Are the Bills planning to wear their white alternate jersey this season? If so, which game?

Thanks Chris & take care!
Luis Estrada
(Puerto Rico)

CB: The only other jersey being worn is the white throwback jersey this Sunday for the home opener along with the standing red Buffalo helmets.

 

4 – Chris,

Love the coverage year round. Helps for a non-local Bills fan. Can you explain the reasoning behind Pears playing RG? He only practiced a few times there and has zero game experience at guard. In the preseason game, he look lost there. Why don’t they keep him at tackle. You had Robert Woods as your camp MVP, so why has he slid down the pecking order at WR? I see him more as outside threat instead of slot. I would like to see him on the field every play.

Thanks
Josh P.
CB: Pears did have some limited experience at guard from his days with the Raiders, though it was only a few games about five years ago. Still I think aside from his first snaps there against Tampa’s Gerald McCoy in the preseason he’s fared well. Pears is also great snap by snap counsel for rookie Seantrel Henderson. Henderson has told me having Pears there is invaluable for him.

Head coach Doug Marrone knows offensive line play, so if he believes this is his best five then I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how it plays out.

As for Robert Woods, he was my camp MVP because he brought it every day and outperformed the other receivers on a more consistent basis. Yes, Sammy Watkins turned in the highlight reel plays, but Woods is a guy who is going to get you first downs more consistently. In the NFL it’s about keeping the offense on the field with first downs. That’s where Woods helps you most.

And don’t worry Woods will be moved around a lot this season because he’s the most versatile receiver on the roster in my opinion.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

First day of practice every week is Wednesday. So what does the team/players do Monday Tuesday? Chill or group watch film or ??

RealBryanWatson

CB: Usually on Mondays injured players come in early for treatments. At 9 in the morning there’s a designated weight lifting group. At 10 am there’s a stretch and run conditioning period. Then there’s a second weight lifting group later in the morning. That’s followed by a team meeting at noon. Then they have a special teams meeting followed by offense, defense meetings. That’s where they review game film from Sunday and make corrections.

On Tuesday most players get a jump on the upcoming opponent by studying film while the coaches spend the day putting together the game plan for Sunday. Generally though Tuesday is the players’ day off.  


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