Inside The Bills

Chandler to get playing time Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2013 – 11:58 pm

Bills TE Scott Chandler was held out of the first preseason game as a precautionary measure coming off ACL reconstruction just eight months ago. But he’ll get some playing time Friday night against the Vikings.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone, who said he’ll have Chandler on a pitch count.

“I believe Scott Chandler will get some reps barring anything happening between now and (Friday night),” said Marrone. “So you’ll see him in there.”


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Getting feel for Chandler limited by reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2013 – 2:48 pm

Bills TE Scott Chandler has made an impressive recovery from ACL surgery this past January. After missing all the spring practices the time period in which to make an evaluation on what Chandler does best in Nathaniel Hackett’s offense was shortened to just training camp and the preseason. Chandler was held out of the first preseason game, and his reps have been closely monitored in practice. It’s left the offensive coaches still evaluating how and where to best make use of Chandler’s talents.

“I think right now with where Chandler’s at, he’s done such a great job of getting back early, I think any time we get him out there it’s a bonus for everybody,” said Hackett, choosing to focus on the positive. “I think we’re never going to be in that situation where we’ve had enough because he hasn’t been out there 100 percent of the time but he’s coming along good also and we just have to try to keep increasing him, keep increasing him and see kind of that relationship with the quarterbacks and him. He’s come along nicely and I’m excited that he’s come back so early.”

Chandler did not dress for last Sunday’s preseason opener. Whether he dresses for Friday’s game won’t be announced by coach Marrone until after Wednesday night’s practice at the earliest. 


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T.J. to miss Friday’s preseason game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2013 – 11:11 am

Bills WR T.J. Graham was sidelined with a slight groin pull in Monday’s practice and did not participate in practice Tuesday. Head coach Doug Marrone is not taking any chances with the speed receiver as he intends at this point to sit the wideout for Friday’s preseason game against Minnesota.

“I don’t foresee him (playing) this week,” said Marrone. “I think tomorrow he’ll start running a little bit. I think when you get those types of things, little pulls and little strains, once you get them out there running it becomes how it feels when they’re
running full speed. That’s why it’s tough to gauge when he’s coming back, but right now in my mind I’m thinking it’ll be after this game.”

Graham will join Stevie Johnson on the sidelines as non-participants in Friday’s preseason game. Brad Smith is also unlikely to play, which will afford some of the younger receivers more opportunity to play.


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Kolb trying to push past frustration

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 8:30 pm

Bills QB Kevin Kolb was just coming off his best practice of training camp when his freak slip on a rubber mat going from one practice field to another cost him better than a week of camp practice. Now just getting back into the flow of practice Monday, Kolb is trying to put the frustrations of an unforeseen mishap behind him.

“Oh man, I mean it was (frustrating), I’d just come off my best practice probably, feeling really comfortable,” he said. “I just got through telling everybody ‘This is the most comfortable I’ve felt in a while’ and for something goofy like that to happen was very frustrating. Of course with the family situation having to leave the team for a while, obviously not a good time but you fight through those struggles and move on.”

Kolb not only wasn’t practicing, a family funeral back home kept him out of team meetings as well. His knee still isn’t 100 percent and it’s put him behind in practice reps and preseason game time. He’s hopeful that he can go out and play on Friday night against the Vikings, but even he is unsure of whether his knee will be healthy enough to do that.

“I don’t know that really I can do that because a lot of it depends on how I feel tomorrow coming back from a full practice,” Kolb said. “I’d love to tell you right now that I’m playing for sure, but that’s not necessarily correct.”

 


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Colts owner apologizes to Colts fans

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 7:36 pm

Colts owner Jim Irsay wasn’t happy at all with his team’s performance in their 44-20 loss to the Bills in the preseason opener Sunday. So much so that he tweeted an apology to his fans.

Irsay’s Colts gave up 44 points to Buffalo, a franchise preseason single-game high for the Bills. Doug Marrone’s team also outscored Indianapolis 24-7 in the second half with the Colts’ only points coming on a fumble return for a touchdown.


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5 performances you might’ve missed

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 11:54 am

There were a number of quality individual performances in Buffalo’s first preseason game that made the highlight reel, but there were some that flew under the radar Sunday. Here’s a look at some of the better play turned in by some players you might not have noticed watching the game live.

Crezdon Butler – The cornerback was noticed on his second quarter interception off a tipped pass by Manny Lawson that led to a Bills field goal, but Butler had two other pass breakups in the game to lead the team with three. Those other two both came on third downs. One was on a 3rd-and-6 play at the Bills 26, which forced the Colts to settle for a FG. The other was on a 3rd-and-5 at the Colts 13, which forced a punt. He also had a third down tackle on a 3rd-and-2 bringing down Nate Palmer for no gain to force another punt. A really nice effort for the corner that’s been running with the second unit.

Jarron Gilbert – The reserve defensive lineman wasn’t dominant, but turned in a few plays that helped the defense get off the field. He had a quarterback pressure on a 3rd-and-5 that led to a Colts punt. Gilbert also had a tackle for loss on a pass to Colts back Kerwynn Williams out of the backfield dropping him for a loss of two. He had a pass breakup to his credit too.

Shawn Powell – Powell, who was coming off his best practice of camp, punted very well Sunday. He only kicked twice, but boomed a 55-yarder to the Indianapolis 15. Accomplished return man T.Y. Hilton unfortunately had a 15-yard return on the play. His other punt from his own 28 he launched out of bounds at the Colts 26 on a 46-yard effort. His best work however, may have come on his holds as he had to reach outside his body frame to get a couple of field goal snaps down in time for the kick attempts.

Nickell Robey – Robey had just a couple of tackles on defense holding receivers short of moving the sticks on both, but more importantly he proved himself capable as a punt returner. He looked elusive on his three return attempts. He had a long of just 14 yards, but he averaged 11.7 yards a return and made coverage players miss. Anytime a punter can average better than a first down (10 yards) you’re considered very productive.

DeMarco Sampson – Sampson got 28 snaps, but only 15 were pass plays. He had four receptions for 49 yards late in the game. Three of his catches went for first downs. He also drew a pass interference penalty that gave the Bills a first down on a third-quarter TD drive.

 


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Marrone debut sets scoring mark

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 10:52 pm

The Bills 44-point output in Doug Marrone’s head coaching debut against the Colt set a team record Sunday.

Buffalo’s 44-points, 30 of which came from the offense, set a franchise preseason record. The Bills previous highest point total in a preseason game was 35, which most recently happened in a 2011 preseason win over Jacksonville (35-32 OT).

The Bills scoring occurred relatively evenly over the course of four quarters with 20 points in the first half and 24 in the second.


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Battle tight among secondary WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 10:15 pm

It seems as though the top four receivers slots are pretty much set with Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin manning those roles. Beyond that however, the battle for spots five and possibly six is heating up in the wake of the team’s preseason opener.

Chris Hogan was targeted three times and made a pair of receptions for 11 yards. That included a third down conversion on a 3rd-and-3 that led to a field goal for Buffalo. In fact all three times that EJ Manuel targeted Hogan was on third downs as Hogan worked primarily out of the slot Sunday.

Da’Rick Rogers was targeted just once in the game, but made the most of it earning praise from head coach Doug Marrone on his six-yard touchdown reception.

“Da’Rick Rogers really set the guy up nice, pushed him outside, ran the slant, scored the touchdown,” said Marrone.

Marcus Easley not only led all receivers in Sunday’s game with seven receptions for 94 yards, but now stands tied for the league lead in receptions after preseason Week 2 with Miami’s Chad Bumphis. He’s also second only to Bumphis in receiving yardage. Bumphis has 111 receiving yards.

Three of his receptions came on the first touchdown drive of the second half that was capped by Rogers. They went for 9, 29 and 13 yards respectively. He then caught four more balls on the next drive as Jeff Tuel was locked in on him for another 43 yards, good for more than half of the 68 yards on the drive.

“There were a lot of routes that we won. Easley made a couple of nice plays,” said Marrone.

And Brandon Kaufman tried to make himself a part of the conversation with a pair of catches for 34 yards, including a difficult grab along the sideline and a touchdown reception.

“I thought those guys were winning quite a bit out there. It’s got me interested moving forward,” said Marrone. “The one thing is those guys are going to have some opportunities and when they have those opportunities they’ll be able to separate themselves and we’ll keep evaluating. The good thing about it is that may be a tough decision down the road for us in how does that break up with those receivers? But that’s not a bad thing. I think we’ve got guys where all those guys I know can play at this level.”


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Manuel has known Luck for a while

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 10:20 am

They graduated from high school the same year, and with both of them highly recruited high school quarterbacks, EJ Manuel and Andrew Luck traveled in a lot of the same football circles leading up to college and during their college years. So Manuel is looking forward to catching up with the Colts QB after their preseason meeting is over.

“I haven’t talked to him much, I talked to him I think last time was maybe a summer ago at the Manning camp. I’ve known Luck since probably 11th grade in high school,” he said. “Great competitor, great quarterback, so it’ll be good to
see him.”

Luck said much of the same on Friday after a Colts practice.


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Marrone not focused on his debut

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 9:37 am

For Doug Marrone, Sunday will mark the first time he’s on an NFL sideline as a head coach. But if you ask Buffalo’s new head coach about what he might be feeling when he takes to the sideline this afternoon, he dismisses it.

“I really don’t think about that. I’m a little different type of guy,” said Marrone. “I’m more concerned about doing the best job I can, working the game management situations through my mind. Getting the players ready to play. Getting out there and really evaluating. Watching the coaches. We’ll be on the headphones doing all that stuff really for the first time. That’ll be my focus.”

For Marrone it’ll mark the first time he’s working as a head coach with assistants like Mike Pettine, Danny Crossman and others. Working the communication between the sidelines and the booth upstairs are just as important for coaches at times as the play on the field.


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Rookie debuts today

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 8:10 am

With a draft class that’s expected to make strong contributions to the team this season Sunday will be an important first test for Buffalo’s rookies. Second-round pick Kiko Alonso could further solidify his lock on the starting middle linebacker role with a strong performance and receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin have performed well in camp practices. They’re both looking to carry that into the preseason game today.

The younger receivers are expected to get much more playing time with Stevie Johnson out with a hamstring injury.

“I think this opportunity is great for us rookies to come in and all the other receivers as well,” said Woods. “It is a great opportunity to put more on film and get more reps. Stevie is down right now, more stuff to put on film for the coaches to look at for their review.”

“I’m super excited,” said Goodwin. “A life-long dream ever since I was a little kid nine-years old and started playing football I told my mom I was going to the Olympics and then play in the NFL. So my dream is coming true and I finally get the opportunity. So I’m really excited.”


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Luck has reason to respect Pettine’s scheme

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 7:10 am

The Bills preseason opener at Indianapolis pits Buffalo’s defense, led by new coordinator Mike Pettine against Andrew Luck and the Colts offense. Luck is just hoping for a clean efficient outing Sunday as he has a lot of respect for Pettine’s scheme.

“You want to improve, you want to score touchdowns and you want to limit negative plays, hopefully zero negative plays,” Luck said. “In a perfect world, you’d score a touchdown every play, or you’d get first downs, first downs, first downs and touchdowns. But we know that’s sometimes not the case and the Bills, they’re going to be flying around. I know they got a new defensive coordinator from the Jets and they really stuck it to us last year. So we know it’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can do some good things.”

The Colts were shellacked by the Jets last season 35-9 as Pettine’s defense held Indianapolis out of the end zone. Indy managed just 2.4 yards per rush in that game and just over 25 minutes of possession time as the Colts’ offense went just 3-for-11 on third down conversions.

Luck’s stat line was 22-44 for 280 yards with two interceptions. He was sacked four times and had a passer rating of 51.3.


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Irony for Hughes in preseason opener

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2013 – 1:02 pm

For the first time in his NFL career Jerry Hughes won’t be wearing an Indianapolis Colts uniform. Ironically, in his first game in a Bills uniform will be against the team he was traded from this offseason. When the Bills and the Colts kick off Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Hughes said it’s just another game.

“We’re going there to handle business and get the win,” Hughes told Buffalobills.com Contributing Correspondent Nate West. “We’re all close, we all stayed in touch, but at the end of the day when you step on that field, it’s a football game.”

He still has friends on the team, but said his focus is on minimizing the mental mistakes and becoming better as a team.

Hughes stayed late after their night practice Saturday with some of the offensive linemen. He said he’s been doing that for the past few practices.

“That’s something I’ve been doing so they can give me some looks, I can give them some looks,” Hughes said. “Really, we’ve just been practicing hard. It’s just us working on our craft.”


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Tuel feeling fortunate

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2013 – 10:32 am

Jeff Tuel has been a direct beneficiary of Kevin Kolb’s unfortunate slip on a rubber mat last week. His freak knee injury combined with a family funeral that Kolb had to attend out of town has paved the way for Tuel to showcase his talents with the second unit this entire week.

“I feel really good,” said Tuel. “The receivers have done a phenomenal job. The offensive line has too. Like I said, I want to get better every day. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable from this week. I feel good.”

And Tuel has looked good, particularly on deep passes to his receiving corps. He appears to have a knack for timing his long passes so they drop right over the shoulder of the intended receiver. Tuel attributes all the extra reps he’s gotten in practice for getting the timing down with the wideouts.

With there being a strong likelihood that he could see up to a half of action, Tuel feels very prepared having had all the reps this past week with the second unit in practice.

“It means a ton going from an undrafted free agent to have the opportunity to go out there and get reps with the second squad and get a lot of snaps,” he said. “It’s just a blessing and I thank God for it. I’m looking forward to it.”


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Mario and Kolb game time decisions

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2013 – 12:26 am

Mario Williams and Kevin Kolb are going to be game time decisions for the Bills in their preseason opener Sunday at Indianapolis.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“Right now we’re relying a lot on how they feel in the game during warmups,” said Marrone. “I would like to get a pitch count on them and see. If they’re not ready we’re going to be smart about what we’re doing with our players.”

Marrone also gave indication that Kolb could serve as an emergency third-string quarterback for Sunday’s game.

“I think if we wanted to push it he could go out there and play, if we wanted to make that decision, but that wouldn’t be in the best interest of player safety,” he said. “He is going to dress and he is going to be there and knock on wood if we do need one we’ll put him in there and he’ll just be handing the ball off and not put him in jeopardy.”


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EJ to start Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2013 – 8:50 pm

Bills top draft choice EJ Manuel will start  at quarterback in the team’s preseason opener Sunday at Indianapolis.

That the word from head coach Doug Marrone after Friday’s night practice.

“We all know that Kevin has been gone for a few days and coming off an injury and we’re just working him back in,” said Marrone. “We’re going to dress him, but EJ is going to start the game. He’ll get in there and play and we’ll probably put Jeff (Tuel) in there too.”

Marrone said Kolb would be a game time decision Sunday. More details coming soon on Buffalobills.com.


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Andrew Luck glad he’ll see EJ Manuel

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2013 – 4:34 pm

Colts QB Andrew Luck had a phenomenal rookies season breaking the record for most passing yards as an NFL rookie with more than 4,300 while also leading Indianapolis to the playoffs. Set to enter his second NFL season, Luck knows what Bills QB EJ Manuel is going through as an NFL rookie.

Luck and Manuel traveled in a lot of the same circles in terms of quarterback clinics having finished high school in the same graduation year.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to talk to him a little bit after the game and see how his experience is going,” said Luck. “But yeah, as him being a rookie, it’s a fun time. There’s a lot of learning that goes on and a lot of that learning is a bit on the fly, if you will. I got to know him. We came out of high school the same year, went to a bunch of camps together. I always was very impressed by him and his character. He seemed like a great guy every time I was around him. So I wish the best for him.”


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