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Inside The Bills

Graham signing done with Pats in mind

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 8:45 am

The signing of Corey Graham may seem like an innocuous one on the surface, but its significance goes far deeper than that. The addition of Graham was done with the sole intention of trying to further neutralize a division rival’s potent and productive passing game.

As pointed out by ProFootballFocus’ Steve Palazzolo, the Graham signing was done in part to give Buffalo to dependable slot corners, pairing Graham with Nickell Robey. It was likely done to help increase the defense’s effectiveness in slowing Tom Brady and New England’s quick strike aerial game. Here’s how he assessed Buffalo’s personnel in the secondary now with Graham on board as it pertains specifically to the New England Patriots passing attack.

Graham has spent much of his time in the slot the last two seasons with the Ravens surrendering 1.18 and 1.01 yards/cover snap in the slot in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Both of those numbers put Graham near the top of the league, but it’s what Buffalo already has on the roster that make him an interesting addition.

Current slot cornerback Nickell Robey is coming off a strong season as the undrafted rookie graded at +2.8 in coverage while surrendering only 0.87 yards/cover snap, good for sixth in the league. The Bills also have a pair of outside cornerbacks on the roster in Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin, so the addition of Graham gives the Bills two viable slot cornerbacks.

Why the redundancy? Look no further than the New England Patriots whose passing game generally runs through the slot. The Bills appear to be matching up with their division rival with hopes of finally overtaking the annual AFC East champion. There’s also a bit of added versatility in Buffalo’s secondary with Aaron Williams, a former cornerback, playing safety. When you throw in linebacker Kiko Alonso, one of last year’s top coverage linebackers at +11.3, the Bills will feature one of the most intriguing coverage units in the league.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron ready to step up at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2014 – 1:19 pm

Bills safety Aaron Williams, who was just signed to a contract extension last week, appeared on NFL AM Monday morning and was asked if he’s prepared to be the team’s number one safety if free agent Jairus Byrd signs elsewhere. Here was his response.

I’m prepared to be the guy if he’s gone,” said Williams. “I wasn’t able to be with him the first six games of the year with his foot injury and didn’t have the chance to be with him during training camp with his negotiations of trying to get a long-term [contract] last year. So if they need me to fill in for his role, we have guys behind us that are ready to step in and be productive for our team.”

Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked that same question, if Byrd signs elsewhere does he think Aaron Williams could be a number one safety. Whaley had a one word answer.

“Absolutely,” he said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron still hoping Byrd is back

Posted by Chris Brown on March 7, 2014 – 11:06 am

The ball is pretty much in Jairus Byrd’s court at this point as the Bills have put forth their best offer. It’s evident that Byrd wants to see how what Buffalo is offering compares to the interest he draws in the free agent market. Aaron Williams, who just signed a contract extension to play for the Bills long term, is still hoping Byrd returns to the Buffalo defensive backfield.

In an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio he talked about how he believes Byrd would like to be back with the Bills, but wasn’t up to speed on all the business between the two parties.

“I know that they’re still negotiating. I don’t want to speak on their situation because I have no say nor do I  know the full story on it. I know that Jairus wants to come back and be part of something special,” said Williams. “Jairus and I have a great friendship and we communicate non-stop. I actually had a chance to talk to him last night and I wished him the best whether he stays or he doesn’t. We’re always going to have a great relationship and we’re always going to keep in touch. But he knows we have a great chemistry on the field and he knows that we’re probably one of the best safety duos in the league.

“They want to keep him, but the business side is so difficult and so hard to understand from the outside. So you’ve got to let them handle the business. But if he does go we’ve got guys like Da’Norris Searcy, Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks who can step in right away and get the job done. As long as those guys know mentally what they’re doing on the field we have no problem. But at the same time I would love to have Jairus back, but we do trust the guys behind us. It is business though and it will take care of itself.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Williams confident ‘D’ won’t change much

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2014 – 1:40 pm

He has yet to meet with new Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and under NFL rules he’s not allowed to talk scheme with coaches in the offseason, but Aaron Williams isn’t worried about their defensive system undergoing wholesale changes.

“I haven’t met with Coach Schwartz yet, but speaking with Donnie (Henderson) in the offseason and just checking up on him and seeing how he is doing, we haven’t talked any football yet, but I feel real confident that nothing major is going to change,” said Williams. “There might be a few things here and there, but I think team wise once we get all the pieces together we will be fine.”

Williams signed a multi-year contract extension Wednesday with Buffalo.


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Aaron Williams on Jairus Byrd future

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2014 – 1:22 pm

At the end of the 2013 season, Aaron Williams left a message written in magic marker on one of his own game jerseys in the locker of Jairus Byrd. In part it said he enjoyed playing with him and hoped he could continue to do so. After signing his contract extension Wednesday Williams was asked for his thoughts on Jairus Byrd’s current situation just day from hitting the free agent market.

“The whole thing about Jairus Byrd, people ask me every day if we’re going to sign Jairus back,” said Williams. “To be completely honest, that’s none of my business to even talk about. I’m going to let Russ (Brandon), Doug (Whaley) and Jim (Overdorf) handle that. If Jairus does come back that would be the greatest thing ever because our chemistry is unbelievable. I said it at the end of last season that we can look at each other and not even talk and know what we are talking about.

“If he doesn’t come back, good luck to him. We’re always going to be best friends. The business side is never going to change our relationship outside of football. We just have to move on and find another piece to try to replace his role and whatever we’ve got to do I know Russ and the office upstairs is going to have a game plan for that to happen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Plan to extend Aaron in works for 2 months

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2014 – 12:42 pm

At the end of the season the Bills front office laid out their plans for the offseason with regard to the roster and President and CEO Russ Brandon made it clear that an extension for Aaron Williams was part of their plan.

“After the season we had a comprehensive meeting off-site with Coach Marrone and Doug Whaley and Jim Monos, our Director of Player Personnel, and really laid out in detail our master plan moving in to the future,” said Brandon. “Obviously extending a player like Aaron was a priority for us and we’re thrilled that he’s going to be with us long term.”

Williams confirmed for Buffalobills.com that he was approached by the team at season’s end about a multi-year extension.

“The Bills actually came to me at the end of the season and I told my agent, ‘Hey this is what they’re thinking. I don’t want any say in it until the right time. I’m going to let y’all handle it and take care of business and I’m going to go work out and just enjoy some of my time off,’” said Williams.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Whaley values safety position

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2014 – 5:08 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley provided an idea as to where the organization ranks safety in the defensive hierarchy by position Monday after they chose not to make use of the franchise tag on Jairus Byrd. When asked for the value he puts on the safety position, Buffalo’s personnel boss was clear that the type of scheme can play a role.

“It’s important. I think depending on scheme, in this scheme talking to coach Schwartz safety is going to be important a lot because of the communication and how he sets the back end of the defense and gets all the checks and balances from the sidelines,” said Whaley. “It’s an important part, but would it be the top rated piece I would start the defense? No, but it’s in the mix.  I think you’d have to go defensive end and corner before you go safety.”

More interesting was the question that soon followed. When Whaley was asked if Jairus Byrd is unable to be re-signed and is not back if he felt that Aaron Williams could handle the number one safety role. Whaley had a one word answer.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Williams was the one who actually made most of the calls in Buffalo’s defense last year when he was lined up at safety. In fact after the victory over the Jets last season when Jairus Byrd had two interceptions, he credited Williams with giving him an alert prior to the snap which put him in position to make one of his two INTs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred pranks Aaron Williams with hot wing

Posted by buffalobills.com on February 18, 2014 – 2:29 pm

During the Visa #MyFootballFantasy chicken wing eating contest Fred Jackson and Aaron Williams decided to compete one-on-one to see who could finish a plate piled high with chicken wings first.

Without Aaron knowing, Fred asked the Duff’s staff, who provided the wings for the competition, to bring over two different types of wings. Fred had them bring a ‘medium’ wing for him, and a wing doused in Duff’s fiery ‘Death Sauce’ for Aaron.

Watch what happens:

As every Buffalonian knows, you don’t mess with Duff’s ‘Death Sauce’ wings. There was no shortage of them in the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse on the day of the competition. Duff’s supplied over 3,000 wings for this event!

VISA-Mike-0289


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Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Schwartz excited about DBs as much as DL

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2014 – 6:41 pm

While Bills new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz took notice of the talent on Buffalo’s defensive line just by watching last weekend’s Pro Bowl, he’s also excited about the talent that sits in the Bills defensive backfield.

“In order to win in the NFL you need your front office and organization to all be on the same page and that impressed me right away,” Schwartz told Buffalobills.com. “After that it’s about players. Obviously the Bills have some good defensive players. They have some pieces in place that can fit very well in what we want to do. Not just up front. A lot of attention is paid to those guys up front, but I’ve been very impressed with the secondary also.

“You talk about guys like Jairus Byrd, Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin. Those are some top notch players and I really look forward to working with those guys.”

One thing Schwartz’s defenses lacked in Detroit was continuity in the secondary with a lot of player turnover each and every season. With Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey locked up for the next couple of years one can understand why Schwartz is encouraged by that talent he’s walking into his first season with in Buffalo.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Byrd’s safety partner hoping he re-signs

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2014 – 12:05 pm

He was an invited guest to Hawaii by his Pro Bowl safety teammate Jairus Byrd along with other members of Buffalo’s secondary. Byrd had them all out in Honolulu with him this past week. Aaron Williams is hoping all of the men in the Bills defensive backfield will continue to enjoy Byrd’s company in Buffalo next season and beyond.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday morning, Williams reiterated his desire to have Byrd continue to line up alongside him in Buffalo’s secondary.

“A lot of people have been hassling me about calling Jairus,” said Williams. “I’m going to be totally honest with you. I would love for my boy to come back. We’re the best safety duo in the league in my opinion. I don’t think any other safeties who had the numbers that we did this year. Unfortunately it’s above my pay scale to handle all that. All I can do is trust the guys upstairs in the front office… I know they want Jairus back. At the same time the business side of it gets a little ugly. I put my opinion on it and let it go and hopefully it goes in my favor and the team’s favor.”

Byrd (4) and Williams (4) combined for eight interceptions in 2013, which was tied with Seattle’s safety tandem of Earl Thomas (5) and Kam Chancellor (3) for the league lead.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron eager to meet new DC Schwartz

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2014 – 11:50 am

It’ll be his fourth defensive coordinator in four years in the NFL, but Aaron Williams is nonetheless eager to meet his new defensive play caller in Jim Schwartz.

Making an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Williams maintained that he was looking forward to working with their new head man on the defensive side of the ball having a relative who played for Schwartz in Detroit.

“I’m super excited to meet him,” said Williams. “My cousin actually played for him, Chris Houston. I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him yet, but from what he’s told me he’s a great guy.

“You can’t really worry about how he is as a person. You really have to worry about how he is as a coach. I hope he’s a great guy, but when it’s time for the work he’s down to go to business and he has to understand that I’m ready to go and change this team around, the organization, this franchise and just come back and bring back what we had in the 90’s to today. We’re excited about getting this team back to the playoffs and give this city what it really wants. That’s just to get back to the playoffs and have a home game. It’d be exciting.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron Williams undergoes offseason surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2014 – 1:13 pm

Bills S Aaron Williams has confirmed on his Twitter account that he underwent offseason surgery today (Thursday).

Williams did not disclose what the surgery was, but thanked fans for their well wishes.

Williams finished the season on injured reserve due to a rib injury suffered in the Jacksonville game in Week 15.


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Aaron would love to have Byrd back

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2014 – 10:41 am

It’s a decision that ultimately not up to him, but Bills S Aaron Williams would love to have fellow safety Jairus Byrd back for next season and beyond in Buffalo’s secondary.

Williams and Byrd appeared to hit it off after Williams transitioned to safety and Byrd re-entered the lineup in Week 6 after dealing with a foot injury early in the year. Byrd even credited Williams with keying him into a play that was coming from the Jets in Week 11 against the Jets pre-snap that led to one of his two interceptions in that game.

Williams believes their combination in the defensive backfield is already one of the best in football, which is why he’d like to see that partnership continue.

“That decision is above my pay scale, but I would love to have Jairus Byrd back,” said Williams. “We have a great chemistry. He’s been with me since I got here, and he’s taught me a lot, especially at the safety position. He’s helped me excel at my game in that area.

“We’re honestly the best safety duo in the NFL. Say what you want, I don’t know any other safety duos that put up the same numbers as Byrd and I. With that kind of expectation, with that kind of chemistry and duo, I don’t see why they wouldn’t bring him back. We do a great job together, we make plays and we put leadership in our defense.”

Buffalo GM Doug Whaley said they are in the business of keeping good players and acknowledged Byrd is one of them, but Byrd is the one who has the power to choose where he’ll play in 2014 and beyond.

Williams even left a signed number 23 jersey of his in Byrd’s locker on locker clean out day thanking him for what he did to help him progress at safety this past season.


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Aaron: final record will be motivation

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2014 – 1:30 pm

Yes, the Bills finished the 2013 campaign with the same record they finished with in their previous two seasons. The only difference is Buffalo’s players see the frustrations of 2013 snowballing into motivation to prevent that from happening in 2014.

That according to Aaron Williams, who had his most successful season in a Bills uniform in transitioning from cornerback to safety.

“It definitely should have been better, and it will be better and next year we have a high standard for ourselves,” said Williams of the team’s won-loss record. “We know that 6-10 record should have been 10-6 or 12-4. It shouldn’t have been 6-10. We’re going to carry that with a chip on our shoulders for the offseason, come back in minicamp and do better.”


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Aaron, Stevie out; Easley added to report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 12:51 pm

Bills WR Stevie Johnson and S Aaron Williams have been declared out for Sunday’s game at New England. Marcus Easley meanwhile was a Friday addition to Buffalo’s injury report.

Easley sustained a knee injury in practice Friday and was listed as a limited participant. He’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game. Here’s the full rundown of players on Buffalo’s injury report.

OUT
S Aaron Williams – ribs
WR Stevie Johnson – not injury related

DOUBTFUL
QB EJ Manuel – knee

PROBABLE
WR Marquise Goodwin – knee
WR Marcus Easley – knee
RB Fred Jackson – ribs
DT Kyle Williams – achilles


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Posted in Inside the Bills

4 Bills with 4 picks apiece?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 11:00 am

Right now the Bills have three players with four interceptions each on the season. With Aaron Williams out for Sunday’s game with a rib injury, it could raise the chances of Buffalo having four players with four INTs apiece on the season.

Williams is one of the three players who has logged four interceptions thus far this season. Kiko Alonso and Jairus Byrd are the other two.

The defensive back expected to see the most time in Williams’ absence today is Jim Leonhard, who has three interceptions on the season. If he’s able to land an INT against Ryan Tannehill today, he too would have four on the season.

That would make the quartet on the 2013 squad just the fourth group in team history to each have at least four INTs. Here are the others.

4 players with 4+ INTs in team history:
1960 (5) – Archie Matsos-8, Jim Wagstaff-6, Bill Atkins-5, Bill Kinard-4, Richie McCabe-4
1962 (4) – Carl Charon-7, Booker Edgerson-6, Mike Stratton-6, Marv Matuszak-6
1965 (5) – Hagood Clarke-7, Butch Byrd-5, Charley Warner-5, Booker Edgerson-5, George Saimes-4


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Aaron, Stevie, EJ out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 12:11 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone announced after practice Friday that Aaron Williams, EJ Manuel and Stevie Johnson are out for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.

Williams rib injury was suffered last Sunday at Jacksonville and he was unable to practice all week. Jim Leonhard is expected to see most of his reps in Williams absence.

Johnson is still dealing with the passing of his mother last week and is with his family in Northern California. He hasn’t practiced all week.

After being limited in practice on Wednesday EJ Manuel has not practiced all week as he recovers from a sprained knee suffered last Sunday.


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Aaron Williams a likely game time decision

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 11:38 am

Bills S Aaron Williams has not practiced all week, but head coach Doug Marrone has said all week he’s 50-50 to be available on Sunday.

Making his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Marrone said he thinks Williams will be a game time decision Sunday.

“Aaron Williams I think it could go up to a game time decision,” said Marrone. “I think it’s 50-50 whether he can go or not. He’s one of those players who fall into that category where if he’s ready to go we would put him out there even though he hasn’t practiced because he has shown he can play that position and been productive.”


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Dareus, A. Williams update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2013 – 7:00 pm

Marcell Dareus practiced on Wednesday despite sustaining an ankle injury last Sunday. He was limited. Aaron Williams however, was a non-participant Wednesday after suffering a rib injury last weekend. Head coach Doug Marrone said Williams would be 50-50 for Sunday’s game against Miami. Here’s the Bills official injury report.

DID NOT PRACTICE
WR Stevie Johnson – not injury related
DT Kyle Williams – Achilles
S Aaron Williams – ribs
RB Fred Jackson – ribs

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
DT Marcell Dareus – ankle
CB Brandon Smith – ankle
QB EJ Manuel – knee


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Aaron, Dareus updates

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2013 – 2:10 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an injury update on Marcell Dareus and Aaron Williams, who both left the game Sunday and did not return.

“Aaron has the ribs and we’ll see where he is later in the week,” said Marrone. “He’ll probably sit out practice Wednesday and them we’ll see where he is.

“Marcell is kind of the same thing with the ankle. We think he’ll be okay, but he might be limited on Wednesday.”

Marrone also said that Kraig Urbik and Kiko Alonso both came through the game fine, but one or both could be limited Wednesday.


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