Inside The Bills

Reed: Bills can make run at Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Andre Reed

We’ve heard Bills head coach Rex Ryan say more than once that they feel they’ve improved their roster to better compete with seemingly perennial AFC East champ and defending Super Bowl champ New England. Bills Hall of Famer Andre Reed took it a step further.

In an interview with Talk of Fame Sports, Reed said with their influx of offensive talent the past few weeks the Bills have the horses to give the Patriots a run for their money.

“It’s going to be an interesting year,” Reed said. “On the offensive side of the ball, we’ve (the Bills) got some guys who can make some plays. Right now, the only asterisk is who’s going to be the signal caller. That’s the only thing the Bills are lacking now; that’s the only question mark on offense. But they do have the nucleus on offense with some of the guys they’ve got to make a run at New England.”

Reed did admit that quarterback is still a question mark and the ‘X’ factor for New England with Tom Brady, but Buffalo’s all-time leading receiver believes the Bills have closed the gap.

“Right now, the AFC … everybody … is making themselves better, and the Bills have definitely made themselves better with McCoy being in the backfield and Rex Ryan being the head of everything. I’m really excited about this year,” Reed said.


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Bills cited as free agency winners

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2015 – 12:16 pm

As the national pundits review what has happened in the first two weeks of free agency they’re already tabbing which clubs are the free agency winners. Near the top of the list for most has been the Bills.

Here’s what NFL.com thought of the Bills in listing them among their free agency success stories this offseason.

Buffalo Bills
New owner Terry Pegula has not been afraid to spend. He nabbed coach Rex Ryan quickly, and has continued to spend on Jerry Hughes, LeSean McCoy, Charles Clay, Percy Harvin, and Matt Cassel. Some of these contracts have been too big, but there’s no denying that the Bills have upgraded the talent on a roster that was already loaded defensively. Most teams have added pieces to the puzzle, but the Bills have re-signed, acquired, or picked up difference makers. Anything short of a playoff appearance will be a disappointment.

The Jets were another team from the AFC East listed as a free agency winner as they successfully revamped their secondary.


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Where do Bills rank after free agent moves?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2015 – 3:51 pm

The Bills have been active players in the first wave of free agency as well as the trade market here in March. So what has it done in the eyes of the national media when it comes to ranking the NFL’s 32 teams? Here’s a look.

NFL.com’s Elliott Harrison ranked all 32 teams coming out of the first week of free agency and he had Buffalo ranked 17th. Here’s what he wrote about the Bills.

17 – BILLS
It’s hard not to be fired up for Bills football in 2015. Love the LeSean McCoy acquisition. Love re-signing Jerry Hughes. How about adding a true fullback in Jerome Felton, too? Yep, Rex Ryan is fired up. That is, following the good six-hour cry he had after hearing Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie signed with the Jets. That must be like your ex-fiancée deciding she wants to get married after you cancelled a $100,000 wedding. Not that I know anyone like that.

Buffalo was second in the AFC East, though Harrison had Miami right behind Buffalo at 18th. New England ranked second and the Jets were 26th.


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Report: Jets to re-sign RB Powell

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 11:39 am

The Bills were reported to be interested in Jets free agent RB Bilal Powell as the start of free agency rapidly approached, but reports now indicate that Powell may never reach the market.

The New York Daily News is reporting that Powell will re-sign with the Jets, agreeing to a multi-year deal.

The Bills may or may not choose to sift through the free agent market for another back or they could turn their attention to the draft to fortify the position where the class of running backs is very deep.


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Pats not picking up option on Wilfork

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2015 – 9:09 am

He returned from a torn Achilles to play in 2014 and won a Super Bowl with New England. But today Vince Wilfork announced on Twitter that the Patriots are not going to pick up his option year.

Wilfork issued a statement on his Twitter account that stated his relationship with the Patriots organization was in good standing and that he still believes he can play in the NFL. Whether New England decides to try to sign him at a lower price remains to be seen.

Not picking up Wilfork’s option should save the Patriots a little more than $8M in cap space.


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Pats planning to work on extension for Revis

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2015 – 12:50 pm

The New England Patriots have a second option year on the contract for Darrelle Revis at an exorbitant cap hit of $25 million. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft in a radio interview in Boston called the current contract a “placeholder” for what they hope will eventually be a multi-year extension for the perennial Pro Bowl cornerback.

Appearing on WEEI radio in Boston, Kraft stated that it is the club’s intention to put together an extension offer for Revis in short order.

“Hopefully both sides want to make a deal and we’ll be able to get one done,” Kraft told on WEEI. “We’ll get to work on trying to make [an extension] happen.”

NFL free agency opens on March 10th, with clubs eligible to begin negotiating with player agents March 7th for players no longer under contract.


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Report: Gailey to Jets not a done deal

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 11:34 am

There were widespread reports that Bills former head coach Chan Gailey had been hired as offensive coordinator of the New York Jets. But at this point the move has yet to take place.

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who quoted Gailey and wrote the following on his Facebook account.

Jets’ deal with OC Chan Gailey has not gotten done, and there are questions as to whether it will, leaving Gailey and Jets’ futures uncertain. “Everybody made it seem like a done deal – everybody except me,” Gailey said Monday. Three other teams have talked to Gailey about joining their staff and he is contemplating whether to do it, he said. He only wants to coach with the right team in the right situation. But those reports of Gailey joining the Jets were premature and Gailey said the two sides are at a crossroads, “but nothing’s happened yet.”


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Pats are last division hurdle to clear

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2014 – 11:05 am

The Bills still haven’t made the playoffs, but they have made progress in their division when it comes to head-to-head matchups, with one obvious exception – New England.

Back in 2010 and 2011 the Bills finished 1-5 in the division both seasons. Not surprisingly, it left them at the bottom of the division looking up. In 2012 they were slightly better at 2-4.

Under head coach Doug Marrone in his first season (2013) Buffalo was 3-3 in the AFC East. This year they have a chance to go 4-2, but have to beat New England to do so. At worst they’ll finish 3-3 again.

It may not seem like much progress, but the players believe they have improved when it’s come to facing division opponents. Bills Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams laid it out for everyone.

“From our conversations and the way we went about practice, you couldn’t see any difference in our preparation.  I think it’s important to guys.  I think guys realize there hasn’t been a winning team here in a decade and it’s an opportunity to go play against probably the best team in the AFC, a division rival.  We actually talked about it over the last two years, we’re 3-1 against the Dolphins and 3-1 against the Jets but we’re oh-for against the Patriots.  That’s obviously who’s at the top of our division and we have to go over there and play a good game.”

 


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Bills squeak into MMQB’s Fine 15

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2014 – 12:42 pm

They’ve made it into the group once before this season, but coming off of their 26-10 win Sunday over Cleveland, the Bills are again among the MMQB’s fine 15.

MMQB columnist Peter King ranks the top 15 teams after the most recent slate of action and the Bills made the list checking in at 15 in a tie with Baltimore. Here was King’s liner for Buffalo.

T-15. Buffalo (7-5). That defensive front is downright scary. Ask Hoyer and Manziel.

Buffalo was one of three AFC East teams on his list with New England, second and Miami seventh.


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NFL talent evaluators bullish on Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2014 – 7:59 am

The Bills may have dropped two straight games and made a change at quarterback, but according to FOX Sports there are scouts in the league that believe Buffalo’s roster is littered with talent and not far off from being a true AFC contender.

Here’s part of what was written on the Bills.

There are some around the league who believe this roster is overflowing with talent.

“I evaluated their defense up and down, and I think it’s as good as it gets,” an NFC scout told FOXSports.com. “They are all solid football players. D-line depth is legit. They’re an undercover team. If they keep the group together and if they stay healthy, this defense will be one of the best for the next six to seven years.”

Attrition on defense could take its toll, though. With defensive tackle Kyle Williams and linebacker Nigel Bradham undergoing MRIs earlier this week, the front 7 undoubtedly could be affected.

In July, budding superstar linebacker Kiko Alonso underwent season-ending surgery for a torn ACL. Alonso, though, is coming along nicely and is actually ahead of schedule, a source close to the linebacker told FOXSports.com.

Despite Alonso’s absence, third-round rookie Preston Brown has been a very bright spot, logging plenty of snaps and leading the Bills in tackles (40). 

General manager Doug Whaley and his staff deserve plenty of credit for building a unit that is garnering league-wide approval, and this certainly isn’t the first time the idea of Buffalo’s defense being very good has been floated.

Former Ravens and Browns scout and current NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said two weeks ago on his “Move The Sticks” podcast that when he watched the Bills in training camp 21 starters stacked up with those on any team – it was just a matter of Manuel (and now Orton) as the 22nd guy.

For Marrone and Co., that part will need to get figured out in a hurry as the team is changing hands in ownership and must prove this thing is headed in the right direction.

 


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Spiller on change needed for division games

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 2:46 pm

The Bills have found it hard to compete for a division title in the AFC East as New England has largely ruled the division for the better part of the last dozen years. Buffalo usually plays all their division opponents tough, until some unfortunate play happens and the floodgates seem to open. C.J. Spiller knows what has to change to reverse that trend.

In an appearance on NFL AM on NFL Network this morning, Spiller addressed what the Bills need to do to truly contend in the AFC East.

“If you go back and look at those games, we always play all those teams close,” Spiller said. “Obviously, sooner or later, [they] kind-of get out of hand. Against those type of teams, you can’t make mistakes. That’s the thing that’s been killing us against [those] teams is that we make mistakes and it’s hard for us to bounce back. So if we can minimize them, I think we have a chance of competing as one of the top [teams] in the AFC. I’m looking forward to it. Still a lot of work needs to be done. We still have to go out there and play the games.”


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NFL Network analysts have high hopes for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on July 19, 2014 – 2:31 pm

With the Bills poised to open training camp first in the league the NFL Network put their talking heads to work in predicting whether or not Buffalo can contend in the AFC East. One of the analysts was former Bill Shawne Merriman.

Merriman pointed to how they do outside the division as for how much they can contend for the postseason. Solomon Wilcotts puts it on EJ as for the team’s fortunes. And Cameron Jordan likes the defense. Here’s a look at their analysis.


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A look at 4 players in supplemental draft

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2014 – 12:54 pm

Here’s a look at the four eligible players for the NFL’s 2014 supplemental draft.

College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin breaks down the prospects and where they might go. There’s a linebacker, running back, defensive tackle and wide receiver.

Believe it or not there’s also a mock supplemental draft on NFL.com where it’s predicted that only two of the players will be picked. They have two of the players being drafted by AFC East rivals of the Bills. They’ve got DT LaKendrick Ross (Virginia-Lynchburg) going in the sixth round to the Jets and SMU RB Traylon Shead going in the seventh round to the Dolphins.


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Miami to be without Pouncey vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on June 23, 2014 – 5:20 pm

The regular season is a long way off, but if the prognosis for Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is accurate the Dolphins will not have their pivot man in the lineup against the Bills in Week 2.

ESPN first reported Monday that Pouncey underwent hip surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least three months. Three months from today is September 23rd, which is more than a week after the Bills host the Dolphins in their home opener on Sept. 14th.

Pouncey tore a labrum in his hip during OTAs for Miami. For an offensive line that is being revamped this offseason, Pouncey was being counted on to be the glue that held it together. Against Buffalo’s vaunted defensive line, the Dolphins offense could be in for a long day against their AFC East rival.


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Overlooking the Bills?

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

Yes, New England has dominated the AFC East for more than a decade, and the other teams are doing their darnedest to threaten the Patriots perch atop the division. Some believe the Bills are being overlooked as a potential threat to unseat the Pats.

NFL Network’s Shawne Merriman is bullish on the Bills chances of ending their playoff drought as is NFL.com’s Marc Sessler. Here was the key part of Sessler’s assessment.

The quarterback position is a fair concern, but I view the Bills as a sneaky playoff contender because of a remaining roster stuffed with talent.

With an impressive cast of difference-makers up front, Buffalo’s defense is coming off a season that saw the team notch a franchise-record 57 sacks. With Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kiko Alonso in the fold, this sneaky front seven is among the best in the conference.

On offense, one of the NFL’s deepest backfields is complemented by a cast of wide receivers. Rookie Sammy Watkins looms as a No. 1 option on the perimeter — a legitimate deep threat whom NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks believes could see at least six to eight touches per game.


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Sammy: I believe in my craft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2014 – 10:02 pm

Bills top pick Sammy Watkins is already being asked how he’s going to handle facing the likes of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Brent Grimes in the AFC East. As far as he’s concerned he believes in his technique.

Appearing on NFL Total Access Thursday night Watkins confidence was evident when asked about the weekly matchups he’ll see in the division.
“I believe in my craft. I believe in what my coaches teach me,” said Watkins. “For me, it is going out there week in and week out and competing. That is what the game is about. Of course, there are great corners all over the league. They are great at what they do. For me, it is just to go out there and make the best plays.

“They are going to win match ups and I am going to win match ups, that’s part of the game. I am going to make sure I am ready to compete against those guys and the coaches are going to get me prepared.”

Watkins has also been preparing for rookie minicamp this weekend and is excited about the offensive plans offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has for him.

“That just makes me even happier knowing that I am going to be moved all over the field running different and various routes,” he said. “It’s just a blessing that I got to be in this position, I just got to come prepared and be ready, dissect the playbook, and be hungry and humble. That is what I have been doing so far, and the coaches have been doing a great job with managing everything and so far I have been running with the ones, running with the twos and getting acclimated has been the best part.”


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Jets only team to get extra prep time for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2014 – 12:30 pm

Last season the Bills led the league in games where they were facing opponents coming off extra rest (10 days or full bye) with six of their 16 games providing such situations in 2013. Three of those games came against division opponents. The 2014 schedule is considerably more friendly when it comes to that factor for Buffalo, but again a certain division opponent will have the extra rest edge against the Bills this fall.

Buffalo has only two games this season in which their opponent is coming off of extra rest. Unfortunately those two games are again division contests with both coming against the New York Jets, though one of those has been neutralized to an extent.

In Week 8 Buffalo plays at MetLife Stadium against New York and the Jets will be coming off 10 days of rest. That’s because they’ll be playing New England on Thursday night (Oct. 16) the week before.

Then in the rematch between the Bills and Jets in Buffalo in Week 12, the Jets will be coming off their Week 11 bye. Now the league did a good job of mitigating that advantage because the Bills will be playing on the previous Thursday in Week 11, so they’ll get 10 days rest essentially making that matchup a wash.

Still, it’s tough to ignore this is the third time in four years that the Jets will come off extra rest in both of their division matchups with Buffalo.

In 2013 the Jets had a 10-day break prior to their Week 3 matchup with the Bills at MetLife Stadium as they were scheduled to play Thursday night in Week 2. The Jets also came off of their bye week to play the Bills in Week 11. Buffalo split their season series with New York last season with both games having lopsided outcomes won by the home team.

In 2011 the Jets had the extra rest benefit before playing Buffalo. New York was coming off a bye in Week 8 to play the Bills in Buffalo in Week 9. Then in Week 12 when the Jets hosted the Bills they were coming off 10 days rest having played on Thursday night in Week 11 against Denver.

Though it is a bit frustrating that the Jets seem to get some kind of edge of late when facing the Bills in terms of scheduling, it’s hard to have an issue with the NFL’s job with Buffalo’s overall schedule, especially knowing that the Bills off their bye week will face Kansas City and then play Green Bay on six days rest in Week 15 since they’re playing the previous Monday night against Atlanta.

It’s as even a slate as the Bills have seen when it comes to extra rest balance.


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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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Spikes already dreaming about playing Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2014 – 3:11 pm

He’s only been a Bills linebacker for a few days after signing with the club late last week, but he’s already been dreaming about facing his old team twice this fall.

Brandon Spikes is an intense competitor and while he said he’ll have life long friends on that roster, it’s clear facing New England will hold a lot of meaning for him this coming season.

“It’s going to be emotional for me,” said Spikes. “I have dreamt about it already. I believe it’ll be an emotional game. I’ll probably be in tears the entire game. I know it’s going to be a battle. It’s definitely going to be a battle for all time. I’m looking forward to that and I’ll definitely be dreaming about it every night until it comes this fall.”


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Report: Miami expressing interest in Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2014 – 9:15 am

The Miami Dolphins were big spenders in free agency last offseason. Apparently they’re willing to unload the Brinks truck again.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport the Miami Dolphins are expressing an interest in Bills free agent safety Jairus Byrd.

Another team reportedly expressing interest in Byrd is the St. Louis Rams.


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