Inside The Bills

Defending Chiefs’ screen game a key

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:00 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has had his matchups with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid over the years. So he wasn’t the least bit surprised in looking at Kansas City game film to see a cornucopia of screen plays from the Chiefs offense.

“Screens are going to be huge in this game. That’s a thing that we have not defended the screen well this year,” said Ryan. “They’ll get you on the perimeter with the wide outs, tight end screens, bubble screens. Running back screens.  Screens of all kinds-we have to do a great job on that.”

Bills DE Jerry Hughes says he and his teammates are aware of it and will be mindful of not getting fooled into thinking they’ve got a clean shot at the QB, and recognize that it’s a screen play.

“You’ve just got to have all 11 guys run to the football,” Hughes said. “We’ve got to accountable for that extra guy on the field. We’ve got to just find a way to get to him, play smart and play heads up football.”

 


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Report: Chiefs RB Ware to start

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 10:26 am

Chiefs starting RB Charcandrick West is questionable for today’s game with a hamstring injury. Even if he dresses for today’s game he’s not going to start.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Kansas City will start Spencer Ware at running back and backup RB Knile Davis will also be active for the game today.

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Ware ran for 96 yards last week and a pair of touchdowns in the Chiefs blowout win over San Diego.


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Boobie loves the haters

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 10:15 am

Bills RB Boobie Dixon is never one to pass up a challenge. Today in Kansas City he and his teammates will not only be dealing with the Chiefs, but the renowned crowd noise at Arrowhead Stadium. Dixon, who has been to Kansas City a few times in his career relishes being the villain.

“I like it Arrowhead man. They’ve got a lot of noise, but they got the little chant thing they got going,” said Dixon. “It’s pretty cool. It kind of works against them when I step in there because I like it and it pumps me up. So I’m looking forward to going down there and getting the ‘W.’”

Dixon recalls it getting pretty bad a few times when he’s traveled to Kansas City.

“I love road games and going on the road and seeing all the bad signs and the bad sign language,” said Dixon. “Everybody is shooting you the birds when you walk in the stadium. That’s fun stuff man, I get pumped up from that stuff so I can’t wait to pull in.”


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Don’t sleep on Chiefs special teams

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 9:37 am

The Kansas City defense is what grabs a lot of the headlines for the Chiefs. They rank in the top 10 in 10 different defensive categories. But their special teams have fared pretty well too. They don’t rank nearly as high in certain special teams categories as their defense, but if there is one strength of Kansas City’s unit it’s speed.

“Their coverage teams they’ve got a lot of fast guys, some speed down the field, so we’ll have to deal with that,” said Chris Hogan, who plays on kick coverage and punt coverage. “We’ll have good returns in. A lot of the special teams is execution. So I think our special teams and the guys that we have, our core guys, I think we step up to the challenge when a team like Kansas City which has a good record as a special teams. Whether it’s kickoff return, punt return all that kind of stuff. We’ll have to watch some film and focus in on who their playmakers are and who we need to key on and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that.”

 


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How to handle a hot team on the road

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 1:06 pm

The Bills are headed into an environment they know will be electric on Sunday. The Chiefs haven’t played a home game in almost a month and Arrowhead Stadium is one of the noisier venues in the NFL. Add in the fact that Kansas City has won four straight and you quickly realize what the Bills are up against. So how do they intend to keep a hot Chiefs team from building some early momentum and the crowd from becoming a major factor in the game?

Here are some of the responses we got in the Bills locker room this week.

Chris Hogan
“Don’t make mistakes and make plays when they come. Especially in an away game, dealing with crowd noise and everything. Those big plays and not making any mistakes really silences the crowd and it limits their interaction and their ability to have an impact on how we play as an offense. Hopefully we’ll be able to make some big plays, limit the crowd noise and get a good tempo going on offense.”

Sammy Watkins
“Put up points. Make them play and adjust to you. We shouldn’t have to go out there and adjust our plays or change our calls to those guys. We’ve got to make those guys play us and do what we want to do and run the ball or pass the ball.”

Boobie Dixon
“We’ve just got to hit them in the mouth. Go down there and be physical. Just hit them in the mouth and make them blink and make them do something they haven’t been doing during this hot streak. Make them flinch and we’ll be alright.”

 


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Short week forces mental focus

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 10:16 am

With another short week for the Bills head coach Rex Ryan and his staff had to rely largely on walk through practice sessions and mental reps to allow the players’ bodies to recover in time for Sunday’s game at Kansas City. As Ryan sees it there are positives and negatives for the team in a practice week like this.

“In a way this has been good for us,” said Ryan. “We’ve had a ton of reps, walk through reps, so mentally we’re on top of the game plan. But when you do this you’re kind of at risk with the execution and timing. But we feel good about where we’re at mentally and we’ll be fresh going into this game.”

Buffalo had to take a similar approach leading up to the game against the Jets on Thursday night. They didn’t practice in pads or at full speed that week either, and though they won that game, their timing, particularly in the passing game was affected (see: first play deep ball – Taylor to Watkins).

Hopefully having been through this kind of a week just two weeks ago will give the team some experience in replacing physical reps with mental ones to get ready for a game.


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Chiefs inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 11:51 am

Here are the inactives for the Chiefs for their game with the Bills.

QB Aaron Murray
WR Donnie Avery
CB Jamell Fleming
S Daniel Sorensen
C Eric Kush
OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
LB/DE Josh Martin


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Bills know this one is a biggie

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 11:08 am

There have not been a whole lot of critical games for the Bills in the second half of the season in recent years, but today’s matchup with the Chiefs is certainly one of them. And that fact is not lost on the men in Buffalo’s locker room.

With both teams at 5-3 on the season and an opportunity to have a head-to-head edge over another AFC playoff contender in a game on your home turf, the Bills know the magnitude of today’s game.

“This is a very important quarter for us,” said Aaron Williams. “Any AFC game is going to be very important. But like coach says every day it’s only one game at a time. We’re really focused on Kansas City and nothing else. With that being said we’re going to work each and every day to get our record better. We have to come out here and take care of our responsibilities and be very fundamentally sound.”

“With those guys, they have a good scheme, good players,” said Kyle Williams. “It’s going to be a big test for anybody, especially for us coming in here with a big AFC game. We take each week for what it’s worth and this week we have a big challenge.”

 


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Chiefs offense a model of efficiency

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 9:11 am

The Chiefs offense isn’t going to wow anyone with game breaking plays, but they will methodically march down the field en route to putting points on the board. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has his offense executing at an extremely high level this season.

The Chiefs are ranked second in third down conversions (52%), first in third and long conversions (45.5%), third in average number of plays per drive (8.91) and second in number of drives that chew up five minutes of game clock or more (17). In addition they are fourth in fewest fumbles lost with three, first in fewest penalties called against them (39) and fourth in red zone touchdown efficiency (70.4%).

In short Kansas City is not a team that’s going to beat themselves, which puts an onus on the Bills to play error free football on Sunday.

“This team is extremely efficient,” said head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment on Buffalobills.com. “They’re not going to beat themselves. We’re going to have to play well in all three phases to beat this team. When you see their offense, defense and special teams playing that way it’s going to take all three phases of our team to beat them. That’s our challenge. We’ll have a good sense of where we are.”


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Report: Optimism for Jackson & Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 7:20 am

Sammy Watkins wasn’t able to practice all week. Fred Jackson was limited in practice in his attempt to return to game action. Both players are listed as questionable for today’s game against the Chiefs, but there are reports now that the Bills are optimistic that the two offensive playmakers will be able to dress for the game today.

That according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer.

If both are able to suit up it’s unclear how limited or extensive their roles would be. Buffalo does have some capable depth at running back in the form of Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Watkins’ role could be spelled somewhat by Mike Williams, who is the most comparable physical talent on Buffalo’s roster, should Watkins be unable to handle a full workload. Again that’s if they do in fact dress for today’s game at all.


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Defending home field has to be better

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 1:45 pm

The Bills have talked a lot amongst themselves about defending their home field. In the first half of the season they were a pedestrian 2-2 at home and 1-2 against AFC clubs. With four home games left on the schedule, three of which are against AFC teams including Kansas City Sunday, Buffalo’s players and coaches know home field must become a bigger advantage in the second half of the season.

“We’ve played phenomenal clubs, but at the same time a home game has to be our advantage,” said Aaron Williams. “We’ve got to protect our house. We haven’t done a real good job of that lately, but I think this quarter with three of the four games here it’s very important for us to win at home. We win all the road games and that’s great, but home games are special for the fans and for our momentum down the road.”

“When you get yourself in a situation where you have the third quarter (of the season) starting and three of the four being home games with the first one being Kansas City at home being extremely important,” said head coach Doug Marrone.

When asked about being a home underdog again with the Chiefs favored on Sunday, Marrone said he was not surprised in light of their .500 record at home.

“It’s going to be that way until we prove we can go out there and win on a consistent basis and we haven’t,” he said. “I’m not upset with anyone.  Do you need it as motivation?  I think these guys go out there every day and they understand what we have to prove each day.”


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Chiefs’ Alex Smith at his best of late

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 10:19 am

He was a cast off in San Francisco, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believed he could win with Alex Smith and if the veteran QB continues playing the way he has of late Kansas City will stay right in the AFC playoff race.

The Chiefs come into Buffalo hot this weekend, winners of their last three in a row and five of their last six. They’re also 3-0 against the AFC East this season. Their offense has been remarkably efficient this season and Smith is a big reason why.

Inside the opponent’s 30-yard line he has the highest passer rating in the league at 120.8. Yes, the Chiefs are a run first team by all accounts, but Smith has been an effective complement. Kansas City is the second-most successful third down conversion team in football (52%), and in the red zone they’re even better. Smith has the Chiefs’ attack converting third down in the red zone at a clip of 68.8 percent, also good for second best in the NFL.

“He’s probably one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the game right now,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “They do such a great job of rushing the football and the short passing game that they’re never behind in the sticks, meaning it’s 2nd-and-5 or 2nd-and-6 or 3rd-and-2. You’ve got to get them off pace and that’s difficult to do.”

In his last six games Smith has completed 71 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and one interception and a passer rating of 109. Smith’s teams are 21-1-1 when he has a passer rating of 100 or better.


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Chiefs to be short at CB again

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 4:14 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs have been nicked up in their secondary for a while now, and though they’re expected to get S Eric Berry back in the lineup they’re going to be shorthanded at cornerback Sunday against the Bills.

Starting CB Jamell Fleming is out this week with a hamstring injury. A couple of their reserve corners are also less than 100 percent with Chris Owens and Phillip Gaines both questionable with knee and ankle injuries respectively.

The Chiefs were hoping to have WR Donnie Avery make a return to the lineup, but he is out for another week with a groin injury.

Player Pos Injury Game Status
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring Out
Jerry Franklin LB Hamstring Out
Josh Martin LB Hamstring / Knee Questionable
Tamba Hali LB Knee Probable
Donnie Avery WR Groin Out
Chris Owens CB Knee Questionable
Eric Berry S Ankle Probable
Phillip Gaines CB Ankle / Quad Questionable
Cyrus Gray RB Hand Probable
Junior Hemingway WR Hamstring Probable
Travis Kelce TE Ribs Probable
Sean Smith CB Groin Probable

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Chiefs CB Smith added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 5:26 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs Thursday injury report saw a couple of additions. Starting CB Sean Smith was a full participant, but was added with a groin injury. Special teams LB Frank Zombo was also added, but for non-injury reasons.

Starting S Eric Berry looks ready to return to the lineup from an ankle injury as he was a full participant for the second straight day. Starting CB Jamell Fleming however, has not been able to practice yet this week.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring DNP
Jerry Franklin LB Hamstring DNP
Josh Martin LB Hamstring / Knee DNP
Tamba Hali LB Knee LP
Donnie Avery WR Groin LP
Chris Owens CB Knee LP
Eric Berry S Ankle FP
Phillip Gaines CB Ankle / Quad FP
Cyrus Gray RB Hand FP
Junior Hemingway WR Hamstring FP
Travis Kelce TE Ribs FP
Sean Smith CB Groin FP
Frank Zombo LB Non-Injury Related LP

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Orton wary of Chiefs aggressive ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 1:15 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs boast a defense that ranks second in points allowed and third in sacks and fifth overall. Bills QB Kyle Orton has a healthy amount of respect for what the Chiefs defense is capable of after watching their game tape this week.

“They play great, clean defense,” Orton said. “Obviously the corners, the secondary plays aggressively. The quarterback doesn’t have a ton of time to hold on to the ball obviously with the edge rushers. The linebackers do a great job of being physical with the halfbacks, not giving easy throws to the halfbacks and they play an aggressive style of defense. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

Orton sees Sean Smith as a tough corner to beat in the pass game because he’s so big and physical.

“Good player. Anytime you’ve got a corner with great length, it really limits your throws,” said Orton. “Really closes and makes the window you have to throw into a lot smaller. He’s got good ball skills, does a good job playing press coverage. He does a great job with playing with vision on the quarterback and for a big guy, he’s got good feet.”


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Bills-Chiefs officially a sell out

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 1:07 pm

The Bills have announced that Sunday’s home game versus the Kansas City Chiefs is sold out. Sunday’s game is sponsored by the New York National Guard, and a former Bills wide receiver will serve as Leader of the Charge.

Former Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds (1996-2005) will serve as the Leader of the Charge. It’s also the first home game to kick off Salute to Service month.


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Hali headlines Chiefs injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2014 – 5:48 pm

The Chiefs injury report  has had a good number of defensive players on it for most of the season. The situation is no different for Kansas City this week. LB Tamba Hali has a knee injury and was limited in practice. Kansas City’s secondary is also nicked up with starting CB Jamell Fleming not practicing due to a hamstring injury and reserve CB Chris Owens is battling a knee injury. S Eric Berry however, might be healthy enough to return to the lineup as he’s trying to come off an ankle injury.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring DNP
Jerry Franklin LB Hamstring DNP
Josh Martin LB Hamstring / Knee DNP
Tamba Hali LB Knee LP
Donnie Avery WR Groin LP
Chris Owens CB Knee LP
Eric Berry S Ankle FP
Phillip Gaines CB Ankle / Quad FP
Cyrus Gray RB Hand FP
Junior Hemingway WR Hamstring FP
Travis Kelce TE Ribs FP

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Bills know 3rd qtr of season critical

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2014 – 2:47 pm

With eight AFC teams 5-3 or better including the Bills, the players in Buffalo’s locker room know November is the time to make a move in the standings and separate yourself from the rest of the pack if you’re going to stake a claim on a playoff berth.

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is hoping they can put together a strong third quarter of the season after going 3-1 in the second quarter.

“We’ve got to finish this quarter 4-0 or 3-1,” Watkins said. “So we’ve got to keep being consistent and stay in tune and keep on pushing through.”

Watkins spent his bye week with family, but did make a point of watching the Chiefs-Jets game last Sunday.

“I watched a little bit. They played pretty good on defense,” he said. “They’ve got some linebackers that can run and their secondary is pretty athletic and big. So we’ve just got to come out and be physical and threaten them.”

All four of Buffalo’s opponents in the third quarter of the season are from the AFC.

 


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Dixon pumped for playoff push

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2014 – 11:15 am

He’s been part of runs to the postseason before. Now with the Bills and perched at 5-3 in the thick of the AFC playoff race RB Boobie Dixon is getting excited.

“It’s going to be crucial,” said Dixon of the next stretch of games. “It’s crunch time. I’ve been in it before so I know how it feels. I’m just excited it’s that time of year. This is what you practice for. This is what you train in the offseason for. It’s about to be fun.”

Dixon knows the next two teams they face in the Chiefs and Dolphins also have 5-3 records, and believes that will factor into the intensity of each of their next two outings.

“Yeah, definitely. When you’ve got a winning record, teams are looking to earn their stripes against you,” he said. “They’re looking to put forth their best effort so that they can feel some type of way about themselves. When you win that one game you know the next one has more emphasis on it. It gets bigger and bigger.”

Dixon isn’t worried about playing two games in a five-day stretch knowing the Miami game quickly follows the Chiefs game on the road on a Thursday night.

“I’m feeling great. You just embrace the challenge,” he said. “This is a game we all love and grew up playing as game. Two games in 10 days. You just embrace the challenge. It’s going to be fun. We’re playing football. This is what we love to do, so let’s strap it up and play.”


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Bills gained yards, but not the ‘W’

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 10:26 pm

It’s not often that a team rolls up 470 yards of offense and comes out on the short end of the stick, but as head coach Doug Marrone stated, it always comes down to turnovers first. Still, it was hard to ignore the yardage differential between the two offenses Sunday.

The Bills, as mentioned gained 470 total net yards, while the Chiefs offense managed just 210. The 260-yard differential is the largest ever by Buffalo in a loss. The previous high was 253 yards in a 31-17 loss at Tampa Bay back in the 2000 season (433 yards to 180 yards).

The major discrepancy was on the ground. Buffalo rolled up a season-high 241 rushing yards while the Chiefs managed just 95. The 146-yard differential there is the second-highest in a loss in team history, behind only a 184-yd. advantage (211-27) vs. Denver all the way back in 1962, a 23-20 loss.


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