Inside The Bills

After demonstration, total team win is fitting

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2017 – 8:06 pm

Buffalo’s pre-game demonstration during the national anthem wasn’t unique. Thirty-one other NFL clubs had similar displays of team unity. But what made the Bills win all the more fitting Sunday was that it was a total team effort with all three phases making major contributions.

Buffalo’s passing game got on track to pick up the slack for a run game that was the focus of the Denver defense. The defense got takeaways and special teams provided long distance field goals and stopped a fourth down fake.

“Yeah what an awesome effort from our team,” said Stephen Hauschka, who provided four field goals including a pair from 50-plus. “This team is gritty. I think you’ve seen it in all three games. This team is poised, strong mentally and this team is going to keep fighting every single game. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win every single game, but we’re going to be in it and we’re going to stay strong. We’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

 


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LT Bolles questionable for Broncos

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2017 – 2:38 pm

Denver’s starting left tackle Garett Bolles is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Bolles was able to practice on a limited basis after suffering a lower leg injury last Sunday. It was originally believed to be a high-ankle sprain, but head coach Vance Joseph called it a bone bruise.

If he can’t play on Sunday it is expected that Allen Barbre or Donald Stephenson will fill in. Barbre might be the lesser of two evils, but his best position is guard.

Here’s the rest of the Broncos injury report

OUT
CB Brendan Langley – knee
QB Paxton Lynch – shoulder

QUESTIONABLE
WR Bennie Fowler – concussion
LT Garett Bolles – lower leg


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Broncos LT Bolles practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2017 – 3:18 pm

It was labeled a high-ankle sprain initially for Broncos rookie LT Garrett Bolles. It forced him out of last Sunday’s win over Dallas in the third quarter. Then head coach Vance Joseph labeled it a bone bruise for the left tackle.

Either way he was called “week to week” by Joseph on Monday. But on Thursday Bolles is a surprising practice participant.

Denver Post Broncos beat reporter Nicki Jhabvala shot some practice video of Bolles participating during individual position drills.

We’ll know more about Bolles participation level in practice when Denver wraps things up later this afternoon. If Bolles does not fare well the rest of the week, Donald Stephenson or Allen Barbre are his two most likely replacements.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Broncos had field position edge

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2014 – 12:50 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone thought going in that field position would be huge in their game with Denver and he was right.

The problem was Denver had the advantage for virtually the entire game. Both teams had 11 possessions in the game. For the Bills only two of their 11 possessions began outside their own 20-yard line. Those two possessions that began beyond their own 20 came off interceptions by Corey Graham and Stephon Gilmore. Both Graham and Gilmore actually returned the interceptions into Denver territory, but they were called back on penalty.

“Yeah it was frustrating,” said Graham. “Obviously you want to get points whenever you can. I was trying my best to get (to the end zone). It was unfortunate that we weren’t able to score points or that I wasn’t able to score points on that. But you’ve just got to keep playing.”

The two penalties on Buffalo’s interceptions wiped out 76 return yards and a drive start that could’ve been at the Denver 20 wound up at the Bills’ 40, and a drive start that could’ve been at the Denver 38 instead started at the Bills 26.

Meanwhile for Denver their two worst drive starts were their own 20 and own 25. They also had a pair of drive starts in Buffalo territory (not counting the third at the end of the game when Manning kneeled out the clock).

At the end of the game the average drive start for the Bills was their own 19. For the Broncos it was their own 42.


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Jekyll & Hyde for Denver ‘D’ inside their 30

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2014 – 12:25 pm

The Broncos defense is a top 10 unit in several key categories like total defense, run defense, pass defense and third down defense. But something happens when opponents crack Denver’s 30-yard line and their ability to stop teams takes a turn for the worse.

Once opponents are inside the Broncos’ 30, Denver gives up touchdowns at a rate of almost 59 percent, the third-highest rate in the NFL (58.7%). That’s more than 10 percent above the league average (47.9%).

Defending their red zone isn’t much better. When opponents move inside the Broncos’ 20-yard line they rank a mere 27th in the league giving up touchdowns almost two-thirds of the time (64.1%). That’s welcome news for a Bills offense that has struggled mightily in the red zone so far this season ranking 30th (41%).

Kyle Orton knows the importance of making the Broncos’ defensive figures inside their own 30 hold to form.

“These types of games third down in the red zone is a four-point play and third down staying on the field is even bigger,” said Orton.

Perhaps the most encouraging figure for Orton is the collective passer rating of quarterbacks that have faced the Broncos this season. Opposing quarterbacks have compiled a rating of 120.7 against Denver inside their own 30-yard line. It’s the highest passer rating allowed in that area of the field in the entire league.


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Field position could help level the matchup

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2014 – 11:20 am

In the opinion of most outside observers the Broncos have a decided advantage in today’s game with the visiting Bills. Some have even gone so far as to predict an unprecedented result. Where there appears to be a decided advantage on paper is with Buffalo’s special teams.

Denver has invested heavily in their offense and defense, but special teams has fallen a bit by the wayside in terms of the talent they chose to acquire and the production they’ve gotten from that unit.

Buffalo’s punt (7th) and kick coverage (4th) are both ranked in the top 10 this season and have helped to provide some of the best field position in the league to the Bills offense. Knowing Denver’s return units are in the bottom third of the NFL (23rd & 27th), Buffalo’s specialty units should be able to provide a field position edge. And by Doug Marrone’s account it sounds like they’ve got a sizable special teams game plan.

“It’s big. We’ve talked to our players about it,” said Marrone in his weekly ‘Coffee with the Coach’ segment presented by Tim Horton’s on Buffalobills.com. “That’s an area where we need to win that battle. Obviously we have to make some things happen and make some plays in that area. We have a lot of things in in that area and hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage of some of the opportunities that present themselves.”

Of course the Broncos did take a step to address their field position disadvantage on Saturday as they promoted K Brandon McManus to the active roster from the practice squad. He was their full time kicker, but was replaced on field goal attempts by Connor Barth, but Barth is not strong on kickoffs. So McManus will handle those duties.


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CB Graham eager to face Manning again

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2014 – 3:30 pm

Appearing on the John Murphy Show this week, Corey Graham was asked by the Bills play-by-play man about the 2012 Divisional playoff victory by the Baltimore Ravens over the home standing Denver Broncos in overtime that propelled the Ravens to the Super Bowl where they won their second NFL title.

Murphy thought it might be Graham’s most memorable victory. Graham said it’s not even the most memorable game against the Broncos. He’s still smarting from the 2013 season opener against the Broncos, when as the defending Super Bowl champs they were embarrassed by Denver.

“The last time I played against Denver sticks in my mind way more than our Division playoff win. The last time I played the Broncos when I was with the Ravens it was opening night after we won the Super Bowl and (Peyton Manning) lit us up. He threw for like seven touchdowns. So that game hurts and it’s more memorable to me than anything.

“Coming off the Super Bowl year the way he humiliated us out there, I still feel a certain way and I can’t wait for the opportunity to go against him again.”

In the Divisional win over Denver, Graham had an interception return for a touchdown and had another INT in overtime to set up the game-winning score. It all means nothing to Graham.

“That game he did that to us last year, I can’t forget it,” said Graham. “It’s been on my mind all last year and all of this year. I just couldn’t wait for another opportunity to play against him. I remember that game more than the playoff game that we won.”

Graham says at age 38 Manning can still make all the throws like he always has, but it’s clear that Manning’s dismantling of the Ravens defense in 2013 is something he took personally and feels he has to make things right on Sunday.


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Broncos add kickoff specialist to roster

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2014 – 1:49 pm

The Bills no longer have the only kickoff specialist in the NFL. The team they’re facing Sunday now has one as well.

The Broncos promoted K Brandon McManus to their 53-man roster from their practice squad Saturday. He’s expected to handle kickoffs while K Connor Barth handles their field goal attempts.

Barth was signed recently to replace McManus, who was struggling on FG attempts. McManus was signed to their practice squad thereafter.

With Barth 0-8 on kickoffs for touchbacks since joining the Broncos, Denver will employ McManus as their kickoff specialist.

The Broncos are trying to mitigate what on poet looks like a decided advantage for Buffalo’s special teams in this matchup.

What’s interesting is the Broncos cut their primary punt returner Isaiah Burse to make room for McManus. The Broncos have WR Emmanuel Sanders listed as their backup punt returner and Wes Welker has returned punts as well.


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Mario: It’s not like Manning hasn’t be sacked

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2014 – 12:54 pm

The AFC Defensive Player of the Month has seen plenty of Peyton Manning before. Mario Williams has also been one of the few to sack the Denver quarterback more than a handful of times in his career. That’s why entering Sunday’s game, despite the fact that Manning gets the ball off in an average of 2.18 seconds per drop back he believes there will be opportunities to shake up the Broncos QB.

When playing in the AFC South for Houston at the beginning of his career, Williams faced Manning twice a year while the quarterback was running the Indianapolis offense. Knowing how quick Manning gets the ball out, Williams says the approach has to be straightforward with no hesitation.

“Just bring it on a direct line,” said Williams of rushing Manning. “Don’t waste any time because he’s obviously a very smart quarterback and knows where he wants to go with the ball before the ball is snapped. So we can’t really play around or hesitate. We’ve just got to get after him.”

While Williams admits it’s anything but easy to get Manning on the ground it’s far from impossible.

“It’s tough to get to him because of his timing and things like that. Clearly you can. It’s not like he’s never been sacked,” Williams said. “We’ve just got to have more of those sacks. We have to change it up a little bit because he hasn’t been sacked a lot this year. Our goal is to go out and change that.”

Williams has a favorable matchup as he’ll face right tackle Louis Vasquez – a guard by trade. As Williams sees it the Bills will need more than just a strong defensive effort to neutralize Manning. He believes it will need to be a total team approach to keeping the veteran QB  from taking over the game.

“I think facing somebody like him it’s important to have everybody on point. Everything is key,” he said. “Have the offense being able to keep the ball and don’t make it lopsided time of possession, have special teams win field position and for us to go out and get him off his spot and get after him. Everybody has to be a part of it.”


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Broncos TE Thomas, DT Knighton questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2014 – 7:12 pm

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The Denver Broncos will already be without running backs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman Sunday, though they haven’t missed them much with C.J. Anderson posting back-to-back 160-yard rushing days. But they could also be without their leading scorer and one of their best run stuffers against the Bills.

TE Julius Thomas, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury was limited in practice again on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Meanwhile starting DT Terrance Knighton, who was added to the injury report on Thursday with an elbow injury is also questionable for Sunday.

Here’s the full Denver injury report.

Player Pos Injury Participation Friday Game Status
Ball, Montee RB Groin DNP OUT
Hillman, Ronnie RB Foot DNP OUT
McCray, Lerentee LB Illness LIMITED PROBABLE
Tamme, Jacob TE Ribs LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Webster, Kayvon CB Shoulder DNP OUT
Welker, Wes WR Non-Injury FULL PROBABLE
Carter, Quinton S Knee LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Montgomery, Will C Knee FULL PROBABLE
Thomas, Demaryius WR Ankle LIMITED PROBABLE
Thomas, Julius TE Ankle LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Anderson, C.J. RB Ankle FULL PROBABLE
Cornick, Paul T Shoulder FULL PROBABLE
Talib, Aqib CB Hamstring FULL PROBABLE
Thompson, Juwan RB Knee FULL PROBABLE
Latimer, Cody WR Concussion DNP OUT
Knighton, Terrance DT Elbow LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Smith, Quanterus DE Ribs LIMITED QUESTIONABLE

 


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Disguising late key for Bills ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2014 – 5:07 pm

Every defense in the NFL employs disguises for their intended coverages pre-snap in the hopes of crossing up the opposing quarterback. Some QBs are easier to fool than others. Denver’s Peyton Manning is one of the tougher nuts to crack, but after seeing some previous opponents of the Broncos succeed, Buffalo may take a stab at it as well.

Bills S Aaron Williams was encouraged by the success the St. Louis Rams had in disguising their coverages late in the pre-snap process. It’s playing with fire a bit because you do want to be set for the play, but it worked for them. Could it work for the Bills?

“St. Louis did a great job of disguising and moving around,” said Williams. “I feel like that’s one of the things we’re getting better at. The last few weeks, Searcy and I, Duke, we’ve done a lot better job of communicating and to move around so a quarterback won’t know what we’re in right as we break the huddle. As long as we move around and have our disguise not kill us, as long as we get to the spot, we’ll be fine.”


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ESPN’s Schlereth: Broncos 100 – Bills 0

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2014 – 3:56 pm

ESPN NFL analyst and former offensive lineman Mark Schlereth appears daily on NFL Live on ESPN and in picking games this week with Trey Wingo predicted the Broncos would blow out the Bills by an unprecedented score.

Here’s a clip of his comment in picking the game on ESPN courtesy of Joe Catalano.

Needless to say Bills fans have been after him on Twitter. In response to the heat he was taking on Twitter he changed his Twitter avatar to a photo of him against the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. He can be reached @markschlereth.


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Demaryius Thomas misses Thurs. practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2014 – 3:48 pm

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The Broncos look as though they’ll have TE Julius Thomas back in the fold after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. But WR Demaryius Thomas missed Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury of his own after being limited on Wednesday. Thomas is second in the league in receiving yardage and has 10 touchdowns.

Starting DT Terrance Knighton was added to the injury report with an elbow injury.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Ball, Montee RB Groin DNP
Hillman, Ronnie RB Foot DNP
McCray, Lerentee LB Illness LIMITED
Tamme, Jacob TE Ribs LIMITED
Webster, Kayvon CB Shoulder DNP
Welker, Wes WR Non-Injury FULL
Carter, Quinton S Knee DNP
Montgomery, Will C Knee FULL
Thomas, Demaryius WR Ankle DNP
Thomas, Julius TE Ankle LIMITED
Anderson, C.J. RB Ankle FULL
Cornick, Paul T Shoulder FULL
Talib, Aqib CB Hamstring FULL
Thompson, Juwan RB Knee FULL
Latimer, Cody WR Concussion LIMITED
Knighton, Terrance DT Elbow LIMITED

 

 


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Broncos TE Thomas, CB Talib back practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2014 – 1:46 pm

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Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas has missed each of the last two games with an ankle injury, but according to the team’s official Twitter account he is practicing today (Wednesday), along with starting CB Aqib Talib.

Thomas leads the league in touchdown receptions with 12. Talib left the Broncos Week 12 game against the Dolphins early with a hamstring injury.

RBs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman are still sidelined.


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Bills remember preseason hits

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2011 – 11:43 am

The Bills made sure to talk about some of the exceptionally hard hits in the preseason game by the Broncos back in the summer heading into today’s contest.

Donald Jones sustained a concussion when Rahim Moore went head hunting on a deep sideline pass.

Johnny White suffered a head injury when he was body slammed to the turf by Mario Haggan on the tail end of a run play.

There were a couple of others in that preseason game as well.

The Bills hope their payback will come in the form of a victory to deliver a crippling blow to Denver’s playoff hopes.


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Don’t count on up tempo offense

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2011 – 10:37 am

Buffalo has had some success when they’ve gone to their hurry-up offense, but according to head coach Chan Gailey it’s an oversimplification to say that the Bills offense should go hurry up or no huddle the majority of the time.

“There probably is some merit to that if you get completions,” said Gailey of speeding up the offensive tempo. “The whole thing is can you get those completions? In a two-minute situation the defenses are playing a lot softer and you know that. Even your screens and draws are better because they’re in total pass rush mode during those times in the game. It’s a little bit of a misconception to go to two minute offense all the time because we’re successful in it. It doesn’t work that way all the time.”

Add in the fact that Buffalo’s defense has trouble stoppping opponents and to put your defense back on the field that much quicker is probably ill-advised. Also the Bills offense hasn’t been getting those completions on a consistent basis as their offense has been out of rhythm. Going three-and-out faster than they have could create a bigger problem than they already have especially against a team like the Broncos that know how to grind out yards on offense with their #1 rushing attack.


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Report: Denver safeties questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2011 – 2:23 pm

NFL clubs technically do not need to submit injury status on their injured players until Friday, even if they have Saturday games, but Denver has reportedly listed their two injured safeties as questionable.

That according to the Denver Post, which says starting SS Brian Dawkins (neck) is listed as questionable, as well as his backup David Bruton (achilles).

PostBroncos Officially: Dawkins and Bruton are questionable for #Broncos. All others at least probable.
 
That probable list would include RB Willis McGahee, who is coming off a minor hamstring injury, but has practiced this week.

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Broncos snowed in for practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2011 – 2:17 pm

The Denver Broncos are unlikely to see any snow during their time in Buffalo with temps expected in the mid 30’s to low 40’s this weekend. But an overnight snowstorm in Denver forced the team indoors for Thursday’s practice.

That according to the Denver Post, which is reporting that the team was forced to practice in their indoor facility, which is just half the size of a regular field. Willis McGahee reportedly practiced again on a limited basis.

Per the Post’s report, this is the first time the Broncos have ever had to conduct a full practice on the indoor field, which is typically avoided because of the size limitations of the facility.

Despite the 10 inches of snow that fell in the Denver area overnight, the team is still scheduled to depart on time this afternoon for Buffalo. The Broncos typically leave a day earlier than normal for games in the eastern time zone.


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Denver not pick happy?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2011 – 8:37 am

The Broncos have a very potent pass rush, which usually means opportunities for interceptions for Denver’s defensive backs. But through 14 games that hasn’t been the case.

Denver is tied for fourth in the league in sacks with 39, but they have just nine interceptions on the season which ranks tied for 26th in the NFL.

Starting corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman have two INTs apiece, but a handful of players have the rest. What they have done well is get return yardage on their interceptions. In fact three of their nine interceptions this season have been taken all the way back for touchdowns.


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Broncos practice update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2011 – 2:43 pm

Here’s the latest from Denver’s practice field Wednesday.

PostBroncos Goodman is back at practice for #Broncos. Dawkins, McGahee, Bunkley also participating.
 
So the Broncos have CB Andre Goodman back practicing as well as veteran S Brian Dawkins, RB Willis McGahee and DL Brodrick Bunkley. We’ll have the full Denver injury report later this afternoon.

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