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Inside The Bills

Aaron Williams turns two

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2013 – 10:27 pm

Bills safety Aaron Williams had a big hand in the victory on Sunday. He not only made an early interception that helped get Buffalo on the board first, he also took a sure touchdown off the board for Jacksonville in what wound up being a seven-point victory for the Bills.

Williams had an interception on the fourth play from scrimmage on a play right after he was beaten for a big gain in the pass game.

“The first time Aaron Williams, the guy beats Aaron for the big pass over the middle on the double screen, man to man and Aaron comes back and makes up for it with the interception,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “That’s what you have to do. When you’re a player and you make a mistake you need to come back and make a play and that’s what he did.”

His biggest play of the game came on a strip fumble on Denard Robinson as he was about to break the plane of the end zone on a run after catch in the second half.

“I just saw I had an open lane to the inside. He probably didn’t know that I was inside. I just popped up and forced myself to be aggressive and get the ball,” said Williams.

Williams said with Robinson so close to scoring, he had no choice but to go for the strip instead of making a tackle.

“It was strip all the way,” he said. “If I tackled, he probably drags me with his momentum into the end zone. The main thing you have to do is just go for the ball.”

“Aaron Williams made an excellent play,” said Marrone. “When you go back and look at that play he hustled his butt off on that play and caused that fumble.”

So Williams had a hand in what was a 10-point swing in Buffalo’s favor in the victory. Not bad for a corner turned safety. Williams is now tied for the team lead in interceptions with Kiko Alonso and Jairus Byrd.


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Other Bills in Pro Bowl running

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2013 – 4:04 pm

With the news coming down that Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso are the leading vote getters among fans at their respective positions for the 2014 Pro Bowl, here are some of the other Bills who are in the hunt at their positions for fan votes.

DT Marcell Dareus – 3rd
DT Kyle Williams – 5th
SS Aaron Williams – 6th
K Dan Carpenter – 10th
ST Marcus Easley – 10th

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said just last week that if the team had a better won-loss record that Marcus Easley would have an excellent chance of being a Pro Bowl special teams player with the success he’s had in coverage.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron at safety a possibility

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2013 – 5:23 pm

Bills DB Aaron Williams has been serving admirably in a cornerback role for the better part of the last four-plus games. This week may be the week that he slides back to the position Mike Pettine and the defensive staff wanted him manning all along.

Williams said playing safety Sunday against the Saints could happen, but is not a definite.

“It could be a possibility that I could go back to safety, but at the same time I’m still preparing myself to be a corner,” Williams told Buffalobills.com. “Right now I’m working both just in case of emergency situations, see how Stephon (Gilmore) is with his hand and Ron (Brooks) with his foot and everything. We’ll see where it goes, but right now I’m working on both.”

The signs look to be good for Williams to return to safety this week. Gilmore appears to be playing with a smaller protective club on his surgically repaired left wrist and Brooks appeared in the game this past Sunday, the first since breaking his foot in Week 1. He got seven snaps.

Both players were not listed on the team’s Wednesday injury report as both players were full participants. Provided both can play more this Sunday it affords the defensive staff the freedom to move Williams back to safety because Gilmore and Brooks could split the workload at cornerback if necessary.


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Bills feeding off Fred’s resilience

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 1:47 pm

We already had it covered for you this morning on Buffalobills.com, but Fred Jackson’s teammates were still talking about his freakish ability to come back from twice tweaking his sprained MCL and play an instrumental role in the victory.

Here’s what some of his teammates said Jackson gutting it out meant to them.

Thad Lewis - “A level of toughness that a lot of us can’t describe or know how tough this guy is. He’s so relentless in his pursuit of excellence that it’s ridiculous. So it kind of feeds all of us on the offense. We feed off of him. We saw the things he did yesterday. He kind of brings and extra energy to the offense.”

“It’s crazy. It shows me that nothing is impossible. He told me that he sprained his MCL and then said, ‘Don’t worry about it I’ll be out for the next series.’ When you’ve got a guy like that behind you you’re about as comfortable as you can be.”

Stevie Johnson – “Fred’s a beast. I told him he’s a legend. I don’t care what happens in the next nine games. If he doesn’t get another yard, the dude is a legend. Coming back from these injuries, the knee injury with his leg and just seeing him come back in there and score the touchdown and continuously play, I think he got injured again in the game and still stayed in. It’s the love that he has for the game. I told him I looked up to him and I’m happy to be on his team.”

Aaron Williams – “It lets me know that I have guys next to me who are willing to fight, willing to put their body on the line, and just go out there and get a ‘W’ for the team.  A guy with courage and a lot of heart, that’s one thing I know about Fred, he has a lot of heart. He’s come a long way, he’s worked hard to get where he’s at.  To see something like that happen, and for him to go back out there and score a touchdown. It’s huge.”

Eric Wood – “That pretty much just solidified what I think of Fred as a player and a person.  Just a great guy, great teammate, willing to put his body on the line for the good of the team. That’s how you stick around a franchise for a
long time.  We’re not giving up Fred for anybody, for anything.  He’s a guy that we want around and he shows that week in and week out.”

And finally Fred’s stance on why he feels compelled to come back time and time again.

“What better way to (lead),” said Jackson. “If you want guys to step up and make plays for you, you have to make them yourself. That’s just what I try and do. I love this team and love to be part of this team, and the way to show that is to be out there with those guys competing with them. That’s what I tried to get done yesterday and I’ll continue to try and do so.”


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Byrd & Aaron talked pre-snap on Aaron’s INT

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 9:40 pm

Aaron Williams made his third interception of the season to take points off the board in the win over Miami as he swiped a Ryan Tannehill pass at the goal line. Williams said he and Byrd had devised a plan to try and get a takeaway prior to the snap.

“It was pretty much a (cover) two man situation and me and Jairus we discussed what we wanted to do beforehand,” said Williams. “The (receiver) went underneath and I just let Byrd handle it and I tried to play hide and go seek with Tannehill. I didn’t want him to see me so I stayed low and then at the last minute I saw the back side receiver come back (to my side) and Tannehill had eyes all over him and I was able to get it.

“Tannehill wasn’t even looking my side at the moment. He was play faking to the right and wanted to go left. It was a great call by coach Pettine and we executed it. It was great communication between me and Byrd.”


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A. Williams return to safety hinges on Gilmore

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 11:52 am

Aaron Williams has played at cornerback in each of the last three games due mainly to the team’s thin ranks at the position, with Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore dealing with injuries. McKelvin is now back healthy, but Gilmore is still trying to work back from a wrist injury and play effectively. Sunday was trying for Gilmore with a protective club completely covering his left hand, and that could ultimately keep Williams at corner for another week or so.

When asked where he’ll be positionally moving forward Williams made it sound like where he lines up will hinge on Gilmore’s availability.

“I don’t know if I’m going back to safety yet,” he said. “I feel like (Stephon) Gilmore is still trying to come back to his rhythm of playing. He told me yesterday was a little awkward for him, especially with a big club like that. It’s kind of hard for a cornerback to play with one arm. It’s a game where you’ve got to be physical at the line. If you let a receiver off the line
easily you’ll lose 90 percent of the time. We’ll see how Gilmore does this week, if he has a club or not this week. It all depends how he feels and who we have as far as cornerbacks. We still have guys a little beat up, but we’ll take it day by day.”


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Aaron Williams to stay at CB

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2013 – 7:12 pm

Leodis McKelvin is active for tonight’s game, but Aaron Williams is going to remain at cornerback tonight.

Head coach Doug Marrone, with McKelvin’s status uncertain and in a short week had to make the decision to keep Williams at corner instead of potentially switching him back to safety at the last minute.

It should make for some interesting coverage combinations tonight.


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Spiller, DBs questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2013 – 4:50 pm

The Bills have a lot of question marks for Thursday night’s game in Cleveland in term of personnel and it begins with their features tailback and ends with their secondary.

C.J. Spiller was limited in practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable for the game.

Buffalo’s secondary has two questionable players as well. Leodis McKelvin and Jairus Byrd are questionable.

Aaron Williams is probable.

Byrd was the only one to practice fully on Wednesday. The other two DBs and Spiller were limited.


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Bills DBs on high alert with Browns throwing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2013 – 8:51 am

With the Browns leading the league in pass attempts and averaging almost 46 pass attempts a game, Buffalo’s secondary is going to be on high alert.

The main concerns are TE Jordan Cameron, who leads the team with 30 receptions and five touchdowns, four of which have come in the last two games. WR Josh Gordon is another go-to guy with 28 targets in the last two games.

Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy, fresh off a four pass breakup performance against Baltimore is well aware that passes figure to be flying everywhere when they’re on the field.

“You’ve got to be alert regardless especially now that the NFL is becoming a passing league,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t necessarily have one specific guy they go to especially with this team. They love to spread it around so pretty much everybody is live so we have to cover everybody.”

“Any time you get big physical receivers, quarterback s like to throw it up and give them a chance, figuring that the worst thing that’s going to happen is an incomplete pass,” said Jim Leonhard. “We get challenged every week.  We realize that being a young secondary, we’re going to get tested every week.  This Thursday is not going to be any different.”

The added challenge for the Bills is the likelihood that they’ll have more moving parts in the defensive backfield this week with Aaron Williams (low back) and Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) still on the mend.

“We’ve got to make sure our communication is down pat, which is going to be tough with the short week and all, but with the extra meeting time we have, we just are making sure we’re on one accord and get these guys covered,” said Searcy.


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Secondary update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2013 – 5:03 pm

With injuries again prevailing in Buffalo’s secondary, here’s what was observed during the media viewing portion of practice.

Aaron Williams (low back) didn’t do much during individual and worked on the side with the athletic training staff for a while.

Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) was moving well in individual position drills, but ran scout team reps during defensive sets prior to team work.

Jairus Byrd (foot) was running with the scout team as well during defensive set reps.

Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and Ron Brooks (foot) worked with athletic trainers to maintain their conditioning level and are not part of practice.

Head coach Doug Marrone will provide an official participation level for each of the injured defensive backs following practice.


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CB Burton seeing reps

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2013 – 4:09 pm

Cornerback Brandon Burton is getting reps in the secondary.

Aaron Williams is a bit limited with his low back contusion so Burton, who saw action at corner last week, is lined up at corner again this week.


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Aaron shining, but safety where Bills want him

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2013 – 10:39 am

Aaron Williams has put in a pair of solid performances at cornerback in relief of the injured Leodis McKelvin. His first interception gave Buffalo three points on a field goal drive and his second took points off the board for Baltimore in Buffalo’s end zone. But cornerback is not where the Bills feel he can help them the most.

“We’d like to get him back to safety,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “We really think that again he can do a lot for us back there.”

With respect to Leodis McKelvin, Marrone said the cornerback was very close to being healthy enough to play.

“I think that a lot of it when you say can that player go, a lot of it is going to be about how we feel, how much he can go,” said McKelvin. “I think again when you’re working players back in to you have to see it as, if it was 110 percent healthy and here we go, we’ve got some other players that we’re trying to get back too.”

Marrone said the matchups this week with Cleveland and obviously McKelvin’s availability will determine what happens in this short week.

“I think a lot of it we’ll go through the week, see who is back there, look at the team we’re playing, what we want to do schematically before we make those type of decisions,” he said.


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Alonso one of MMQB’s Def. Players of Week

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2013 – 9:32 am

The honors keep rolling in for Kiko Alonso following his two-interception performance Sunday against Baltimore. In all fairness Aaron Williams had a pair of picks as well, but with Alonso’s second coming with under a minute to play to seal the win, the rookie linebacker continues to get national attention.

Here’s what Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning QB Column.

Kiko Alonso, MLB, Buffalo. The second-round rookie is proving his worth as a rangy sideline-to-sideline playmaker in his first month on the job. He picked off two Joe Flacco passes and knocked two more away from their targets Sunday as the Bills stunned Baltimore.

Aaron Williams did get a mention in MMQB later in King’s 10 Things I Think I Think section. King listed Williams’ acrobatic INT in the end zone Sunday as a ‘thing’ he liked.

 


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Balancing reps for healthy & injured

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2013 – 12:11 pm

Buffalo has a good number of players on their injured list who normally appear in their starting lineup. Most of them missed practice time this week and had to be replaced in the lineup at practice with reserves. The difficult balancing act for coaches is giving enough reps to the injured starter, so if he can play he’s ready, while also getting the reserve players enough practice time so they too are ready, should the starter be unable to go on Sunday.

Leodis McKelvin is this week’s example. He’s practiced on a limited basis and will be a game time decision Sunday. The tough part is they also have to get Aaron Williams ready if McKelvin cannot go. Williams this season typically plays safety, but has had to split his time at cornerback so he’s ready to play there if necessary.

“I think that’s the challenge,” Bills head coach Doug Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “When you have guys that are injured or not knowing their status until you get up to the game with a day to day situation, you have to do a good job during the week of making sure you’re plugging them in. When you go through those situations obviously you’re losing some reps making sure they’re ready to go. It hinders you in that sense, but you can’t make excuses. You have to be able to go out and play.”

 


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Marrone: McKelvin a likely game time decision

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2013 – 8:59 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly appearance on the Howard Simon show on the Bills Radio Network provided an update on the chance Leodis McKelvin has of playing on Sunday against the Ravens.

“I think he’s got a chance,” said Marrone. “I think it’ll be one those things where we go out before the game. He practiced (Thursday) on a limited basis. He went out there and ran around and I think that’ll be a game time decision.”

Marrone confirmed that if McKelvin can’t go that Aaron Williams would line up at corner in his place, much like he did last week against the Jets when McKelvin left the game in the first half. Knowing McKelvin is also the team’s primary punt returner, the Bills head coach also relayed that if McKelvin is not dressed that Jim Leonhard would again handle punt returns as he did last Sunday.

Knowing the high impact nature of the cornerback position with the stopping and starting and turning and bursting that has to take place, that puts a lot of stress on the hamstring. McKelvin knows if his hamstring is not right, it makes playing the position almost impossible.

“Your hamstring is one of your key parts if you want to play this game,” he said. “If you don’t have your hamstring you’re not going to be able to do anything. You can’t open up and you can’t be the guy you want to be especially in the times that you really need to burst or stay on top especially in this defense. It’s critical that your hamstring needs to be right.”


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Marrone not worried about depth at CB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2013 – 11:10 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone spends time on the details when it comes to his football team. Keenly in tune with the measure of talent at each and every position on the roster, Marrone doesn’t harbor concerns about the team’s cornerback position.

Leodis McKelvin has been sidelined since last week with a groin problem as a result of overcompensating for the surgically repaired side of his groin. Justin Rogers is only now just returning to the practice setting, though he’s not going to play in Friday’s preseason game against Minnesota.

With a lack of proven performers to line up on the boundary some wonder if the depth at cornerback is sufficient. Marrone does not.

“I would like to have Leodis back and playing, but we want to be smart about it and bring him back when he’s fully healed and ready to go,” said Marrone. “Knowing that he’s going to be back I think provides a sense of, I don’t know if comfort is the right word, but you feel he’s coming back.

“We feel good about how the other players are developing behind him. We have a lot of options there and options at our safety position that can do that. So as far as going out and looking for someone else for that position who may not be in camp right now, I don’t see that. We have enough players here to make us sleep at night.”

Marrone is referring to both Aaron Williams and Duke Williams as safeties that have the ability to line up at cornerback. Crezdon Butler is also coming off a nice opening preseason performance.


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Safety depth chart includes Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:16 pm

The Bills have said when Jairus Byrd returns to the team they’ll welcome him with open arms. That was evident by the looks of the team’s first unofficial depth chart.

Byrd is listed as the starting free safety on the depth chart. Aaron Williams is listed as the starting strong safety. In Mike Pettine’s scheme those positions are interchangeable.

The backup safeties listed are Da’Norris Searcy and Mana Silva. Searcy has been getting first team reps in the absence of Byrd.


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Fan Friday 8-2

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2013 – 4:55 pm

We’re about a week into training camp and there are a lot of developments to this point. The QBs are both looking good, the offense is coming around. The defense looks aggressive. But there are a lot of roles that have to figured out. Here are some of your more popular questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on  Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I think the one player I’ve heard less of than Marcus Easley is Torell Troup. First of all, has he recovered successfully from his back surgery? Secondly, how has he been playing up till now? Finally, how does he fit in the new defensive scheme?

Edson Schaus
Delta Township, MI

CB: Troup is fully recovered and has come on in the early stages of camp after looking just okay in the spring practices. I attribute that to what equates to almost a two-year layoff from football. Now that’s he’s got a month of work on the field under his belt from the spring and is now in pads his game will only steadily improve.

He’s been running primarily with the second unit alongside Alan Branch on the defensive interior.

Coach Marrone had this to say about Troup just the other day.

“I see him better now than he was in OTAs and minicamp and doing a better job now and again when the physicality comes up that’s when more things go inside in terms of what they do up front with the line,” said Marrone. “I think he’s coming along well. There will be a point, there’s a process right now, but at a point you’ll see where there’s a window where the players says he feels good and then we as coaches will look for where the jump (in play) comes, and then we’ll look at that jump.”

 

2 – Chris,
Given Smith’s versatility, could you see him being kept on the roster as an option at running back, maybe in lieu of Tashard Choice, as a way to open up another spot for a different position.  Smith has run from the wildcat, been solid on special teams, and looks competent at receiver.  Adding running back capabilities does not seem like a stretch to me.

Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks as always for the great job reporting the goings on with the Bills

Jim from Allentown

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think Smith is strictly a receiver. He recently took a significant pay cut, presumably to stay on the roster and try to earn a job. I think Smith has to truly shine in camp and the preseason games, though he does have special teams ability working for him in addition to his receiving talents.

I just don’t see this coaching staff interested in him operating out of the offensive backfield with the exception of an end around.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

How is Aaron doing with the switch to safety? Your thoughts?

NickLWilkinson

CB: Williams has fared well in his transition to safety. In the spring he was turning in plays on a daily basis. That hasn’t happened quite as much through the first five practices in camp. The true test will be the preseason games, but I think what is encouraging is Williams is playing with confidence and sounds eager to be a leader on that side of the ball knowing he has to help the ‘mike’ LB get the defense lined up pre-snap.

 

4 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for all your hard work all year round you do a tremendous job! A lot of the media around the NFL suggest that the Bills are in “Rebuilding Mode” and I have to disagree.

My thought is that the past 3 years have been very beneficial to this team as far as revamping the roster and that before the draft we had solid talent on both sides of the ball.

People also question the Bills abilities due to the fact that we don’t know who the QB is just yet.  My question is do you feel that the coaching staff may think the same way about this team?

Do you think they expect this season to be full of growing pains or like me that this team should progress through-out the season and build to be a different team in December than in September?

And what are your thoughts as well?  Last question do you know if the Bills away pants are going to be blue this season and beyond?  I happen to love them! Go Bills! #BillsMafia

Jillian Nelson

CB: The roster that Doug Marrone and his staff inherits is not a thin one. There is plenty of talent on hand. Doug Whaley has told me point blank that they’re not rebuilding. He said they’re reloading.

With all that being said history in this league has shown that when you undergo as much change as the Bills have this offseason (new GM, new head coach, new staff, new offense, new defense, new QB) it takes time to pull all of that newness together and have it work seamlessly to post victories.

I think with the amount of youth on this roster that there will be some hard lessons learned. I also think there will be some of the most exciting football we’ve seen in a while from this team.

I do believe this team will make progress as the season wears on, but I wonder if their won-loss record will accurately reflect that progress.

As for the blue pants I don’t think there’s any reason why they’d be going away. It wasn’t my understanding that they were a one year and done type thing, but I’ll try to confirm.

 

5 – Chris,

I’ve been a Bills fan all my life and in the Army the last 10 and have been everywhere from California to Afghanistan and I know I can always count on BuffaloBills.com to keep me up to date with all the Bills news so thank you and your team for that. I was wondering when the coaches were going to release a depth chart so we could know who will be running with the 1′s during training camp.  Also barring any injuries are the bills content with their current roster? or are there any Free Agents that might be coming to OBD.  Thank you.

Thank you,
Derek at Fort Riley, KS

CB: Glad we can keep you connected to the team here at Buffalobills.com and thanks very much for your service.

As for the official depth chart, I think there’s a good chance we’ll see one in advance of the first preseason game sometime next week. Keep your eye out for it on Buffalobills.com.


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Mario labeled Bills most important player

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2013 – 10:14 pm

NFL.com’s Adam Schein went through the process of identifying the most important player on each AFC roster in terms of helping the team reach its full potential. As Schein stated it may not necessarily be the best player on the roster. Here’s who they chose for the Bills.

Schein saw Mario Williams as the key cog who needs to overachieve, especially after an injury-plagued 2012 campaign. Here’s what he wrote.

Buffalo Bills: Mario Williams, defensive end

After signing a megabucks free-agent deal in Buffalo, Williams suffered through a mess of year in 2012. He wasn’t 100 percent healthy. He didn’t earn his money. And he had a nasty and dramatic separation from his fiancée that played out in the public domain and stirred up questions about his focus.

Now, Buffalo has a new head coach, Doug Marrone, who smartly tabbed Mike Pettine to run his defense. If the Bills are going to make a push, if the defensive line is going to live up to its potential as one of the league’s best units, Williams must not only sack the quarterback at a rapid rate, but he needs to hurry the QB, deflect passes, cause fumbles and make splash plays.

I think some other worthy Bills candidates for that title are Kiko Alonso, Aaron Williams – if the Jairus Byrd thing gets sticky and whoever the starting quarterback is.

 


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Bills have contingencies at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2013 – 10:09 am

While the Jairus Byrd franchise tender remains unsigned by the Pro Bowl safety, Buffalo hasn’t sat idly by hoping the situation get resolved sooner rather than later. Buffalo drafted a pair of safeties and transitioned Aaron Williams from corner to safety early in the spring practices.

Williams showed promise as he was one of the two leading interceptors in the spring workouts in Buffalo’s secondary. His confidence appeared to grow, as well as the confidence the defensive staff has in him.

“I think he’s ahead of schedule of where we thought he would be,” said Mike Pettine of Williams. “He’s flashed just the things that we saw in him as far as being a safety. He’s had some interceptions and obviously his range his ability to get sideline to sideline is obviously something we’re going to take advantage of.”

Buffalo also drafted a pair of safeties in the middle rounds in Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks. Though it appears that Williams will see some time at cornerback too. Da’Norris Searcy, Dominique Ellis and Mana Silva are other options that have seen time with the top two defensive lineups in the spring.

None of them have Byrd’s experience and none of them are proven commodities at that position in the NFL. It’ll certainly be a position that bears watching in training camp whether Byrd signs and reports or not.


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