Inside The Bills

Recent visits to Buffalo not pretty for Dolphins

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2016 – 10:25 am

The Dolphins have lost each of their last four games in Buffalo, and the last three haven’t even been close.

Miami has lost their last three games at Buffalo by an average of 18 points.

Turnovers by Miami has dominated the trend. Here’s a look at the Dolphins last four losses at New Era Field.

Nov. 15, 2012 – Bills win 19-14 – Dolphins commit three turnovers
Dec. 22, 2013 – Bills win 19-0 – Dolphins commit two turnovers
Sept. 14, 2014 – Bills win 29-10 – Dolphins commit two turnovers
Nov. 8, 2015 – Bills win 33-17 – Dolphins commit one turnover

Running the football was also a problem for Miami in those four losses. They averaged just over 40 yards rushing in those four defeats (40.5 yds/gm).

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Dolphins will be young on the corner

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2016 – 9:20 am

The Dolphins look like they’re going to be pretty green on the corner in their matchup with the Bills today. With Byron Maxwell (doubtful) not expected to play due to an ankle injury it leaves Miami depending on a rookie and a second-year corner to start.

Rookie Xavien Howard will start. Opposite him is supposed to be second-year CB Bobby McCain. He’s questionable with knee and hand injuries, but he practiced fully late in the week. If for some reason he can’t go that would push second-year CB Tony Lippett into the starting lineup. McCain typically shifts to play slot corner against three wide sets with Lippett coming on to play the boundary.

It’s an issue that Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is trying to manage. One thing he is encouraged by is how well the young players have communicated with their fellow defensive backs on the field.

“No issues with the communication. I think the longer they’ve practiced together and played in games, and I know ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) is just coming back; but he has been out there. He has been in meetings to where that comes back pretty quick. I feel confident about those guys doing a good job within a game, making sure that we’re all on the same page,” said Gase. “If we do have any kind of errors, those are things we’re going to have to learn from and we have to learn quickly. We have to minimize those as much as possible.”

Either way the Dolphins corners will be facing two receivers who were out injured for the first meeting with the Bills, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.



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Ajayi expecting another good day vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2016 – 4:41 pm

Miami RB Jay Ajayi is a first alternate for the Pro Bowl after his breakout 2016 season. The Bills gave up 214 yards to Ajayi in the first meeting as he averaged 7.1 yards per carry with a touchdown in Miami’s come from behind win. Ajayi comes into Saturday’s game confident they’ll have another good day against Buffalo’s 27th ranked run defense.

Ajayi remembers how everything fell into place in the first meeting with the Bills and believes they can make it happen again.

“I think we were just clicking,” Ajayi said. “We were running hard. (We were) healthy. (We) just had a good day against them and we plan to have another good day this (Saturday).”

Ajayi wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills present some eight man fronts to stop him, but he said if they do their passing game will victimize Buffalo’s secondary as they did the Jets last week.

“I expect them respecting our rushing offense, putting a lot of guys in the box. It’ll be a tough day, but I think we still want to be able to get some stuff done on the ground, and we’re excited for the challenge.”


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Rex: Win Sunday was tune-up for Miami rematch

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2016 – 9:04 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan made his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 and reviewed Buffalo’s win over Cleveland Sunday. He’s hopeful that their convincing 20-point victory will serve as a springboard into Saturday’s rematch with the Dolphins, who put an end to Buffalo’s four-game winning streak back in Week 7.

“No disrespect to Cleveland because they have a lot of good players on that team, but this (win) was like a tune-up before a huge match,” said Ryan. “This team got the better of us and pushed us around and were more physical than we were the last time we played them. We’ve got a chance to return the favor.”

The Dolphins were 2-4 going into their first meeting with the Bills, who were 4-2. Since that come from behind win by Miami, the Dolphins have won six of their last seven. Buffalo meanwhile has won three of their last seven games.

The Bills need the win Sunday and a lot of help to keep their flickering playoff chances alive.

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Stats that stood out

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2016 – 10:35 am

In the loss to the Dolphins Sunday there were some stats that were eye popping and unfortunately not in a good way.

Here’s a look at some of the most telling statistics in Sunday’s game.

7.4 – the yards per carry average of Jay Ajayi, who rumbled for 214 yards on the ground.
37:02 – time of possession for the Dolphins offense.
23% – Bills third down conversion rate (3-13).
4 – number of run plays called by the Bills after going up 17-6 late in third quarter.
12 – number of times Tyrod Taylor was sacked and hit combined.
0 – number of turnovers in the game combined.

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Dolphins had different approach to Tyrod

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2016 – 8:35 am

Thus far this season most defenses facing the Bills have tried to hem Tyrod Taylor in the pocket and force him to make throws from there. Miami had a completely different tact in trying to render Taylor ineffective as a passer.

Miami’s defense purposely tried to flush him out of the pocket with pressure to one side or the other and then tried to out flank him on the perimeter.

“We wanted to get him off the spot and obviously force him to run a certain way,” said DT Ndamukong Suh. “Don’t allow him to pick and choose. If he’s going to sit back there then obviously make a play, but if, whether or not, coming from either side, we’re going to force him to go to one side or the other so we can bottle him up more or less.”

Taylor was sacked four times in Sunday’s game and took eight hits from pass rushers.

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Cameron Wake: Bills weren’t going to run on us

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2016 – 7:21 pm

Miami DE Cameron Wake said the Dolphins came into the game motivated to stop Buffalo’s rushing attack. He said they had a collective mentality that they were going to win the one-on-one battles in Sunday’s game, particularly at the line of scrimmage.

“I personally like getting in there, getting a little dirty,” said Wake. “I’ve always had that pit bull mentality. You don’t bring a Chihuahua to a dog fight. That’s the mentality you’ve got to have. It’s just man versus man. It’s my gap. I don’t care who’s going to be in there. I don’t care what you think. It’s mine, plain and simple. There’s no C+ in football. It’s pass-fail. I think every guy across the line, front and back end as well, that win it all mentality, where I’ve got to win my match up. And that’s the only way we’re going to stop a team. Again, I was excited about somebody coming in here and saying that they’re going to run the ball down our throat … yeah, not so.”

Buffalo rushed for 67 yards on 22 carries to average three yards per rush. Their 67-yard total was only better than their 65-yards rushing output in Week 1 at Baltimore.

Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito had to admit they got outperformed.

“We couldn’t find rhythm,” he said. “It starts with us up front. We should’ve had a good day. We had an off day as an offensive line. We saw it on film. There was a lot of line movement. We anticipated some of it, but not to the degree that they were ready to do it today, and it kept us off balance.”


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Thurman: Tannehill has improved

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2016 – 10:07 am

The Bills seem to have Ryan Tannehill’s number. He has a 2-6 record against Buffalo in his career and a career passer rating of 76. But Buffalo’s defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman believes that the Dolphins signal caller has advanced his game this season.

“You can tell he’s improved,” said Thurman. “He seems much more confident in what they’re asking him to do. He’s throwing the ball with confidence. Seems to have a really good relationship with 14 (Jarvis Landry) and they have nice receivers outside with (Kenny) Stills and (DeVante) Parker. You know, we have a job to do on Sunday. It’s not going to be easy.”

The knock on Tannehill in his career has been his inability to hit the deep ball with consistency, but he’s been able to connect on a couple here and there through the first five weeks of the season.

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Where will we see Reggie Bush vs. Miami?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2016 – 8:56 am

Reggie Bush was signed about a week into training camp to be the team’s primary return man. He and free agent pickup Brandon Tate have shared the role. The Bills could be down in numbers at running back today depending on LeSean McCoy’s availability and at receiver with Robert Woods doubtful for today’s game. Bush has proven capable of filling a RB or WR role in his 11-year career. So where might we see him today against the Dolphins?

If McCoy doesn’t play he could be a complement back to Mike Gillislee, who is expected to shoulder most of the rushing load in the absence of their bell cow back.

If McCoy does dress and play, but Robert Woods doesn’t it wouldn’t be shocking to see Bush being split wide as a receiver at times. Bush presents matchup problems if split wide. It would be supremely difficult for a linebacker or safety to stick with him on routes.

“I’ve always had the attitude and mentality that whatever the team needs me to do then that’s what I’ll do,” said Bush. “They know I can play running back and they know I can play receiver. They know I can return punts. I don’t think that’s anything new so we’ll see what happens.”

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Miami stadium renovations include new grass

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2016 – 11:46 am

Much has been made of the Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium renovations, which will now put 92 percent of the seats in the shade thanks to a giant canopy. Previously just 17 percent of the seats were in the shade. Down on the field there are changes too.

The grass is new. It’s called Paspalum Platinum grass. The club made the change because it grows well in shade and in hot, humid climates. With the added shade provided by the canopies they claim they needed a more versatile grass surface. The grass is thicker than normal turf grasses, which players believe plays slower than regular grass.

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Arian Foster closer to full return for Miami

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2016 – 3:43 pm

Miami RB Arian Foster saw his first action last week since Week 2 due to a hamstring injury. He only had three carries for three years in the win against Pittsburgh, but Foster is expected to have a bit more of a role this week against the Bills.

Foster was a full participant in practice both Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s more of a mental thing at this point with this injury,” said Foster. “It’s still a little physically limited, but in order to gain confidence it’s something you have to do. You have to be repetitive on it. You have to keep getting reps on it in order to build that strength back at football speed, because you can do anything you want in the training room, but it’s not going to emulate football speed.”

He and Jay Ajayi are expected to handle the bulk of the rushing load for Miami.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday
Jordan Cameron TE Concussion DNP DNP
Arian Foster RB Hamstring FP FP
Xavien Howard CB Knee DNP DNP
Jelani Jenkins LB Groin FP FP
Jason Jones DE Not injury related DNP FP
Tony Lippett CB Hamstring LP LP
Spencer Paysinger LB Hamstring/calf LP
Dion Sims TE Concussion DNP DNP

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Miami claims DE Williams off waivers

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2016 – 5:35 pm

The Dolphins added another defensive end named Williams to their roster Wednesday. Miami announced they have been awarded defensive end Nick Williams off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs and have placed safety Reshad Jones on injured reserve.

Williams has played three seasons with the Chiefs (2014-16), appearing in 21 games with 14 tackles (nine solo). He played in five contests with the Chiefs this season, before he was waived on Tuesday. Williams originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round selection (223rd overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2013 NFL draft.

Jones, a Pro Bowl safety, suffered a torn rotator cuff that will require season-ending surgery.

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Dolphins won’t quit on run like last time

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2015 – 8:18 am

Early this season the Dolphins would spread the field and throw the football, often using the pass game to set up the run. Since interim head coach Dan Campbell has taken over that philosophy has done a 180.

Miami is using more two tight end sets and they’re staying committed to the run longer in games even when they’re behind on the scoreboard.

“It’s different because the last time we played them they kind of wore down and they were trying to pass the ball,” said Preston Brown of the matchup with the Dolphins in Week 3. “We kind of had them in a one mentality kind of thing, but now it seems like if they’re down they’re still going to run the ball. They’re kind of setting that as a mindset that they’re going to run the ball no matter what the score is. So hopefully we’ll still try to get them down on the scoreboard and if they’re going to run the ball, they’re going to run the ball and we’re going to get off the field.”

Miami feature back Lamar Miller is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

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Kelly has shot at annual bet with Marino

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2015 – 2:17 pm

They’ve each been retired for more than 15 years, but it hasn’t kept them from making the Bills-Dolphins rivalry interesting. Each season Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Dan Marino make a friendly bet based on the Bills-Dolphins season series. The bet is based on a season sweep, something only Kelly has a chance to collect on at this point.

As the bet goes every year, if the Dolphins sweep the season series from the Bills, Kelly owes Marino strip steaks. If the Bills sweep the Dolphins, Marino owes Kelly stone crab.

With Buffalo beating Miami in Week 3, the Bills have a chance for the series sweep here in 2015. If the Bills make good on a series sweep Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Kelly will be calling to collect.


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Dolphins are well past Week 3 loss to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2015 – 5:35 pm

It was the Bills most lopsided win of the season so far. Their 41-14 win at Miami was their most consistent team win of 2015. Buffalo, however, doesn’t want to dwell on it and the Dolphins insist it deep in their rearview mirror.

“We certainly don’t want to get beat the way that we got beat, you know? But to be honest with you it’s so long ago and we’ve moved on since then,” said Miami interim coach Dan Campbell. “There’s been a lot of changes. Either way you cut it it’s a loss. We got beat here at home. It was a division game. It was an AFC opponent and certainly we can’t play the way we did the first time around or we’ll have the same results.”

Campbell is encouraged by how his team has played the past three weeks, though he admits they did not play their best against New England last Thursday night. Since he’s taken over for the fired Joe Philbin though, he does believe the team is more in sync.

“I just feel like we are in a better rhythm right now than what we have been,” he said. “Now I know we stumbled a little bit against New England the other night but I feel like we are playing more as a team. I feel like we are more aggressive than we were in that first game. I just feel like we’ve got some good guys in this locker room that are willing to do anything to win. “


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Bills won’t be facing Miami’s Wake

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2015 – 1:11 pm

The Bills have suffered through a slew of injuries this far this season. Now their upcoming opponent is experiencing a bit of the same fate. 

Buffalo will face the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, but the offense will not be seeing Dolphins top pass rusher Cameron Wake. 

Wake tore his Achilles’ tendon in his left leg in last night’s loss to New England in the third quarter. He’s out for the year. 

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Why Miami might blitz more

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2015 – 1:35 pm

The Miami Dolphins have more than capable pass rushers, but with Cameron Wake nursing a hamstring injury Miami has managed just one sack in their first two games. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin’s defense is blocking 28-30 percent of the time, which is a bit higher than most NFL clubs. And in light of the lack of true pass pressure it sounds as though he’s open to calling more pressure packages when it’s warranted.

“Every team is different, every game plan is different, but we are not opposed to blitzing at all,” Philbin said. “We work on it a lot, we’ve got a very good package. It’s game plan specific obviously.”

As for what is keeping the team’s sack production down, Philbin offered the following.

“A couple of things – sometimes we have to win our matchups better in the rush number one,” he said. “Number two, some of the teams have gotten the ball out relatively quickly, sometimes the quarterback has bought a little extra time, a variety of things, but it’s never usually just one thing. Certainly we want to win more of our one-on-one matchups and we haven’t.”

It’s a bit risk-reward that Philbin and his defensive coaches have to weigh. They coverage hasn’t been strong so blitzing aggressively to help on the back end might prove helpful. Blitzing aggressively however, can open up more escape lanes for Taylor if protection breaks down.

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Philbin’s thoughts on slowing Bills’ ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2015 – 12:25 pm

In Week 2 Patriots QB Tom Brady effectively neutralized Buffalo’s vaunted pass rush with lightning quick throws and quick decision making. Many have tried to duplicate it, but not everyone is Brady. That’s why Miami head coach Joe Philbin has some other ideas.

“Well, you’d love to have misdirection. You want to get the ball out of your hand. You want to be sound in your blocking schemes,” Philbin said. “Again, sometimes you may isolate one guy that you want to give extra help to here or there. You don’t want to do the same thing every single time. I think you’ve got to be able to, for lack of a better term, throw a curve ball or a change up every now and then at their D-line is something you want to do.”

Miami’s offensive line, which is likely to be without starting LT Branden Albert, has given up 18 sacks in their last four games with Buffalo.

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Defending the Dolphins spread attack

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2015 – 9:45 am

The Bills defense gave up the most passing yards in team history to Tom Brady last week, and they have no intention of repeating some of their mistakes from that game last Sunday. They are however, facing a Dolphins offense that likes to flood the field with playmaking targets.

“I mean they spread you out,” said Preston Brown. “It’s like going back to college for a week. I mean they do a zone-read, they spread you out, so they try to get their playmakers in space, which they have a lot of.”

As Brown sees it the key is sure tackling and getting multiple players to the ball.

You just have to stay on your feet,” Brown said. “If you make one guy miss, it could be a big play, so we can’t allow that to happen because they try to get some space, try to make some moves, so we just have to stay on our feet and crowd the ball.”

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Miami C Pouncey still tight with Incognito

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2015 – 3:31 pm

Dolphins C Mike Pouncey is the anchor on a Dolphins offensive line still trying to jell together with two new starting guards and in all likelihood a backup left tackle Sunday. His former teammate Richie Incognito has been gone for almost two seasons, but as Incognito returns to Miami as the starting LG for the Bills, Pouncey admits he misses him as a teammate and friend.

“I can’t wait to see him. Me and Richie are friends. We always will be. Always have been. I can’t wait to see him. I miss him a lot,” said Pouncey.

Pouncey said the two of them have exchanged text messages here and there, and he’s glad that Incognito got a second chance to continue to his career.

“Richie is a good friend of mine. I wish him nothing but the best,” said Pouncey. “He’s playing good football right now. I like to watch him on film.”

When asked about the Incognito potentially getting a reception of boos in Miami, Pouncey isn’t expecting that to bother the former Dolphin.

“I’ll tell you one thing about Richie, he don’t give a damn about the crowd,” Pouncey said. “He’s going to show up to play.”

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