Inside The Bills

RB snaps have favored Brown, Choice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 5:16 pm

The battle for the third running back spot on Buffalo’s roster has been tight. Tashard Choice is widely seen with the edge going into tonight’s preseason finale, but Kendall Gaskins and Zach Brown are in close pursuit. Here’s a look at how the reps through the three preseason games have played out, knowing Brown and Gaskins figure to get a big dose of work tonight.

Gaskins, who has the fewest offensive snaps to this point, is hoping extra snaps will allow him to get into the flow of the game more effectively.

“(With more work) the coaches will be able to see a lot more rather than just a short period of time,” Gaskins told Buffalobills.com. “I have to be able to get into the rhythm of the game the whole time. So I’ll be able to show more than what I’ve shown before.”

RB offense snap counts thru 3 games
Tashard Choice                  58
Zach Brown                        50
Fred Jackson                      46
Frank Summers                 38
C.J. Spiller                            37
Drew Smith                         34
Kendall Gaskins                  30

RB special teams snaps counts thru 3 games
Frank Summers                 29
Tashard Choice                 19
Kendall Gaskins                 5
Drew Smith                        4
Zach Brown                        3
C.J. Spiller                            0
Fred Jackson                      0


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CB snap counts show tight race

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 4:06 pm

Looking at the snap counts among Buffalo’s cornerbacks it’s hard to discern any notable edge that the chief combatants for Stephon Gilmore’s vacant might have heading into the final preseason game tonight.

Both Crezdon Butler and Justin Rogers have missed preseason games, with Rogers missing each of the first two. Butler just missed the Minnesota game. But heading into the preseason finale tonight their snap counts on defense are pretty even (56 to 49). Rogers got a ton of work in the Washington game with 49 snaps on defense. Butler got about half of that (26) last week.

CB defensive snap counts thru 3 games
Name                                    Snaps
Ron Brooks                         77
Stephon Gilmore             76
Nickell Robey                     66
Crezdon Butler (2 gm)      56
T.J. Heath                            49
Justin Rogers (1 gm)         49
Leodis McKelvin (1 gm)    39
Kip Edwards                       36

CB special teams snap counts thru 3 games
Ron Brooks                         29
T.J. Heath                            26
Nickell Robey                     20
Crezdon Butler (2 gm)      13
Kip Edwards                       11
Justin Rogers (1 gm)         10
Stephon Gilmore             6
Leodis McKelvin (1 gm)   4


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WR snap counts through 3 games

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 4:00 pm

Snap counts in the preseason at times can shed some light on what the coaching staff is thinking with respect to certain players. Do they need to see more of them, less of them or have they already made up their mind about them? Through three preseason games here are the wide receiver snap counts on both offense and special teams with tonight’s final preseason game against the Lions on tap.

WR offensive snap counts thru 3 games
Name                                    Snaps
Robert Woods                      103
Marcus Easley                      69
Marquise Goodwin             66
Chris Hogan                         62
T.J. Graham (2 gm)              58
Brandon Kaufman              55
Stevie Johnson (1 gm)        35
Brad Smith                          13

WR special teams snap counts thru 3 games
Name                                    Snaps
Marcus Easley                     30
Chris Hogan                        27
Marquise Goodwin            22
Robert Woods                    11
Brad Smith                          9
T.J. Graham (2 gm)             1
Brandon Kaufman             0
Stevie Johnson                    0


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Spiller to miss preseason finale

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2013 – 11:06 am

Bills RB C.J. Spiller, who is currently tending to his family in his native Florida, following the weekend shooting incident involving his grandfather, is not going to rejoin the team in time for Thursday’s preseason finale.

“C.J. has been excused and he’ll be back with the team on Sunday,” said head coach Doug Marrone.

Spiller was unlikely to play in the team’s last preseason game against Detroit anyway, especially after the minor scare in the Washington game when he was spiked on the knee.

The team is scheduled to practice on Sunday as they begin preparations for their Week 1 opponent New England.


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Bills finally go deep

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2013 – 9:06 am

They had been talking about it the entire preseason, but it had yet to happen. Going deep in the passing game with speed wideouts like T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin. On Saturday the Bills finally opened things up and they did early.

On the first play from scrimmage in the game Kevin Kolb launched a pass deep down the left sideline for T.J. Graham and though they didn’t connect on the play, Graham drew a 34-yard penalty on the play.

In fact Graham did not record a single catch after being targeted on three deep balls. On the second he was called for offensive pass interference. On the third he again drew a pass interference penalty for 42 yards.

What’s most important is the Bills put on tape that they’re willing to take those shots and that the speed of Graham and Goodwin needs to be respected.


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Team reacts to loss of Kolb

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 11:08 pm

Bills DT Kyle Williams couldn’t explain why the team came out flat as he described it. And while they’ll work to address that the players know the personnel department has to remedy the situation at quarterback where at the end of Saturday’s game there was just one healthy player in Jeff Tuel.

“That’s kind of scary to look at with only one guy back there,” said Williams. “Hopefully, it’s not too serious with him. Hopefully,  EJ can continue to get better.  Jeff’s done a good job when he’s played, but you don’t want one, going into any game, much less a preseason game.”

Buffalo is already working on bringing veteran free agents in for workouts with reports of Matt Leinard and John Beck coming in.


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Players bugged by preseason loss

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 11:06 pm

Perhaps in the past the players might not have been all that bothered by a preseason defeat knowing it doesn’t count in the standings. That wasn’t the case Saturday afternoon.

“It’s very tough and it doesn’t matter if its preseason or regular season,” said Bryan Scott. “The one thing I noticed after this game is that guys care. You see guys around this locker room to go out and lose that way, at the end of the day it matters to us.”

“We won two preseason games, that’s no reason to come out and try to sleepwalk through a third,” said Kyle Williams. “Hopefully we’ll learn from the mistakes we made this week.  And we’ll try to correct them and get better.”


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Jairus Byrd not in uniform

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 3:51 pm

Doug Marrone, Jairus Byrd

The Bills players are warming up on the field for today’s game against Washington, but Jairus Byrd is not in uniform.

Byrd is standing with the defensive backs as they go through their warmups, but is wearing Bills shorts and a T-shirt. Not dressing for the game was somewhat expected.


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Playing time thru 2 for LBs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 2:44 pm

Linebackers can often make the roster if they’re not a starter with their play on special teams. Here’s a look at defensive snap counts and special teams snap counts for Buffalo’s linebackers through the first two preseason games.

LB defensive snap counts thru 2 games
Name                                    Snaps
Arthur Moats                     67
Nigel Bradham                  62
Jerry Hughes                      54
Chris White                         53
Bryan Scott                         49
Marcus Dowtin                   48
Brian Smith                         43
Manny Lawson                   41
Kiko Alonso (1 gm)          20

LB special teams snap counts thru 2 games
Name                                    Snaps
Chris White                         36
Arthur Moats                     25
Bryan Scott                         23
Brian Smith                         19
Nigel Bradham                  19
Marcus Dowtin                 19
Jerry Hughes                      17
Manny Lawson                   9
Kiko Alonso (1 gm)          4

Perhaps the most interesting figures belong to that of Chris White, who stands fourth in snaps on defense and first in snaps on special teams. If there is a candidate that fits the mold of a LB that could make because of his special teams play it’s him. He’s one of the five players we profiled in our Five Players to Watch this afternoon. Arthur Moats is another.


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Playing time thru 2 for WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 2:35 pm

Here’s a look at the snap counts for the Bills wide receivers through two preseason games.

Knowing their snaps on special teams could be an indicator as to a receiver’s chances to make the roster, below the table of their snap counts on offense are their special teams snap counts as well.

WR offensive snap counts thru 2 games
Name                                    Snaps
Robert Woods                   65
Marcus Easley                   63
Chris Hogan                        59
Brandon Kaufman           53
Marquise Goodwin         52
DeMarco Sampson          44
Da’Rick Rogers                  33
T.J. Graham (1 gm)          27
Brad Smith (1 gm)            11

WR special teams snap counts thru 2 games
Name                                    Snaps
Marcus Easley                   24
Chris Hogan                        16
Da’Rick Rogers                  16
Marquise Goodwin         14
DeMarco Sampson          12
Robert Woods                   10
Brad Smith (1 gm)            2
T.J. Graham (1 gm)          1
Brandon Kaufman           0

The coaching staff’s eagerness to get long looks at Easley and Hogan are obvious on both offense and special teams. Not seeing any time on special teams for Brandon Kaufman certainly doesn’t help his cause. We’ll have to see if he sees action on special teams this afternoon against Washington.


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Stevie says he’s playing Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2013 – 12:43 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said last week the goal was to have Stevie Johnson dress and play Saturday afternoon against Washington in the team’s third preseason game as he returns from a hamstring injury. Johnson took it a step further.

Johnson told Buffalobills.com’s John Murphy Monday after practice that he will play Saturday against the Redskins in Buffalo’s third, and most important, preseason game as far as the starters are concerned.

“I’ll be out there,” said Johnson coming off a practice in which it appeared he got into a groove with QB Kevin Kolb. “I’ll be out there we’ll see how I feel game speed when everything changes a little bit. The twitches are a little bit faster. I’ll be out there
to see how it is and then we’ll be rolling after that.”

Johnson said he still feels the hamstring when running routes, but is trying not to worry about it when he’s playing.

“Yeah I still do. I feel it on almost every play,” Johnson said. “I can still go, so it’s really no issue until it’s an issue.”


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Fred feels legs coming back

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2013 – 3:36 pm

Bills veteran RB Fred Jackson appeared to have a spring in his step in Friday night’s win over Minnesota. Jackson explained why.

Coming out of the last two weeks of camp a lot of the players were experiencing heavy legs. The wear and tear of camp can take the spring out of players legs. But once the worst of camp is in the rearview mirror players’ legs bounce back again. Jackson believes that’s what he had Friday night.

“It’s about fine tuning your skills to get ready for the season,” said Jackson. “I felt like I made a major step in getting to where I need to be going into the season. Hopefully I can continue to progress and get back to the way I was playing in 2011.”

Jackson averaged four yards per carry Friday night with seven carries for 28 yards.


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EJ Manuel back on campus

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2013 – 2:44 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel had surgery in Buffalo in this morning, but has already rejoined his teammates.

The team has confirmed that he’s back on campus post-surgery. Manuel is expected to attend all team meetings and quarterback positional meetings. He has been ruled out of practice for the remainder of the preseason.

Head coach Doug Marrone said he’ll be re-evaluated before the regular season begins.


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Why players believe things will be different

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2013 – 9:34 am

The Bills have talked before about changing the losing culture that has enveloped the franchise since the turn of the century. Players have willingly bought in before, but under Doug Marrone and his staff, it sounds like the players genuinely believe things will be different this time around.

“We’re breeding an attitude around here,” said Wood. “We are trying to be the toughest team out there each week. You don’t do that by going out there and laying an egg in the preseason. You go to the practice field each day and you go to preseason games with an attitude.

“That’s something we talk about: our attitude out there. The toughness we play with is something we have to do week-in and week-out. Nobody respects us in the league and we know it. Nobody cares that we’re 2-0 in the preseason. We won the games and we feel good about it, but we don’t care about our record in the preseason. But we want to be the toughest team through the two weeks we have had.

“The right attitude is going to put us in a position to win games. Being tougher is going to help us win games. Now, do these games count? No. But the feelings we’re getting, getting used to winning, that’s important.”


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Goodwin puts Bills KR in #1 spot

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 4:12 pm

It’s only one preseason game, but Marquises Goodwin’s two long kick returns last Sunday has positioned the Bills atop the preseason rankings for kick return average.

Buffalo’s special teams unit ranks first in the NFL with 181 kickoff return yards and a 60.3 average on three attempts. Goodwin had a 53-yard return followed by his 107-yard return for a touchdown at Indianapolis.

2013 PRESEASON – KICKOFF RETURN YARD LEADERS

1. Buffalo 3 ret., 181 yds, 60.3 avg.
2. Baltimore 5 ret., 159 ydsd, 31.8 avg.
3. Tampa Bay 6 ret., 158 yds, 26.3 avg.

Buffalo also converted each of their three field goal attempts (Dustin Hopkins – 2 and Rian Lindell – 1) last Sunday. The Bills are one of seven teams with three or more successful field goals in the preseason.


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Kolb focused on playing not QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 1:03 pm

He’s been through enough quarterback competitions to know that if you speculate on what the coaches are thinking your focus is taken away from how you’re supposed to perform. That’s why Kevin Kolb, who will get the start tonight against Minnesota, is only thinking about his play from now until the time his night is over.

“I just think you can’t focus on that stuff,” said Kolb. “You have to focus on what can I do as a quarterback? How do I get better? And you’ve got to be coachable. That’s a  big thing for Nate and this offense so that’s what I’m out here to prove.”

When asked if it’s his last shot at the Bills starting job Kolb didn’t see it as the final kick at the can.

“Well it’s one of them,” he said. “Obviously it’s a big one. We’ve had a lot of shots. We’ve had a lot of shots starting back with OTAs, and obviously it picks up as we go from here.”


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Marrone focused on game not home debut

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 10:59 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone will make his home debut this evening at Ralph Wilson Stadium when Buffalo plays host to Minnesota. Marrone has not taken much time to reflect on it as his focus has been squarely on getting his team ready to play.

Buffalo’s sideline boss is certainly appreciative of the opportunity and recognizes Ralph Wilson Stadium for its authenticity and volume when things are going right. At the same time he’s been too busy keeping his head down focused on molding a team that needs to start winning.

“Well it’s my first time being on the home side of the stadium,” said Marrone. “I’ve been at that stadium before as a visiting coach and as a player and a coach. And it’s pretty awesome. Everyone that knows me knows I’m a history guy and a little old school at times. You’ve got some good old school fans and a good old school stadium that has great views for everyone. It’s an exciting place and those guys get it going. I’m excited for the players, but my focus will be on the field.”


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EJ eager to get a feel for home field vibe

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2013 – 4:12 pm

Bills top pick EJ Manuel will get his first taste of the atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium on a game day Friday night. Suffice to say he’s looking forward to it.

“Most definitely, yeah,” said Manuel. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of crowd we get out and hopefully it’s a lot of people. We’ve had a lot come out to our night practices and things like that. So I’m sure being that it’s a night game and our first game in Buffalo, I’m sure fans are really excited, so I’m looking forward to seeing them out there.”


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Bills among top offenses in preseason

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2013 – 3:06 pm

It’s only been one preseason game, but Buffalo’s offense is one of the top attacks in the NFL in a few categories after their 44-20 win at Indianapolis last week.

Buffalo’s offense generated 451 yards last Sunday, including 315 passing yards. The Bills’ total offense and passing yardage average trails only Philadelphia (452 and 321) in the 2013 preseason

2013 PRESEASON TOTAL OFFENSE LEADERS
1. Philadelphia 321 pass, 131 rush, 452 total yds/gm
2. Buffalo 315 pass, 136 rush, 451 total yds/gm
3. New England 194 pass, 248 rush, 442 total yds/gm

The Bills’ rushing game produced 136 yards on 40 carries – fourth best in the 2013 preseason

2013 PRESEASON – RUSHING OFFENSE
1. New England 248 yds/gm
2. Cincinnati 230 yds/gm
3. Washington 163 yds/gm
4. Buffalo 136 yds/gm
5. Houston 133 yds/gm

Buffalo’s 27 first downs are tops in the presason along with Houston


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Da’Rick anxious to face Cordarrelle

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2013 – 9:42 am

When Da’Rick Rogers takes the field Friday, he’ll get a chance to play against an old friend. Rogers and Vikings first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson were never teammates together at Tennessee, but they’ve traveled in a lot of the same circles in football.

Rogers is excited to play against Patterson. The two of them did a lot of work together in preparation for the NFL Combine and NFL draft. Rogers is hopeful the two can share time on the field.

“I’m one of the gunners and I’m on kickoff,” Rogers told Buffalobills.com’s Nate West. “So I’ve been looking on punt return and kick return, watching him go to work. I’m excited to see him play and get out there and make a tackle on him.”

Rogers described Patterson as electrifying, saying he has never seen a receiver his size change direction the way Patterson does. He expects Patterson to use his speed to make plays.

Although Rogers and Patterson don’t play together anymore, the two have similar personalities. Rogers said if he gets the chance, he’ll talk some trash.

“He’s a talker too, so I know we’ll be out there jaw-jacking at each other,” Rogers said.


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