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Inside The Bills

Bills surprised Fins didn’t run more

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 5:56 pm

Facing the number one sack team in the league on the road, and having given up a league-leading 51 sacks on the season, Buffalo figured that Miami would make a concerted effort to run the ball. They didn’t, which surprised a lot of Buffalo’s defenders.

“We really thought they were going to come in here and run the ball, given the elements and everything like that,” said Jerry Hughes, who had one of the Bills’ seven sacks of Ryan Tannehill Sunday. “We really thought they’d try to test our run game early. They kind of did, but we kind of shut it down. The rush is kind of what they tried to do and we kind of stopped them.”

If the Dolphins tried to run the ball they didn’t try very long. Granted their lack of success may have been a deterrent, but it was a 10-point game until the fourth quarter.

Miami had nine carries for just nine yards in the first half. They ran it just three more times in the second half for just five more yards for a total of 14 in the game.


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Best matchup for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 8:53 am

The Bills defense has some premier level talent on their side of the ball and there’s one matchup where Buffalo looks to have a decided edge against the Dolphins today.

With Kyle Williams playing a bit more end of late, it’s allowed Marcell Dareus to step into the three-technique spot at defensive tackle (outside shoulder of guard). That means Dareus will be matched up against Dolphins LG Sam Brenner.

An undrafted rookie out of Utah, Brenner is a center by trade. He’s made three starts at left guard for Miami since Richie Incognito was suspended in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal. Brenner began the season on the Dolphins’ practice squad.

Dareus figures to have his way with Brenner if they’re in a one-on-one matchups. The Bills DT is putting together his best NFL season and is a favorite to land his first Pro Bowl berth this season.


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Tannehill struggles vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 8:25 am

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill might be getting hot down the stretch, but his three career performances against the Bills have been anything but impressive.

Tannehill in three career starts against Buffalo has a 1-2 record. He’s completed just over 51 percent of his passes (51.1%) for 465 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also been sacked seven times in those three games and has a passer rating of 69.9. His yards per attempt against the Bills is also an anemic 5.17.

Back in Week 7 Tannehill had the lowest completion percentage of his 2013 season against Buffalo (51.4%). He threw three touchdown passes, but also had three turnovers with two interceptions and a fumble on a sack by Mario Williams that led to the game-winning field goal by Dan Carpenter for the Bills (23-21).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Miami RB Thomas questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 2:38 pm

It appears as though the Dolphins will have their starting cornerbacks back in the lineup Sunday against the Bills in Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll, who are both probable, but the news is different for RB Daniel Thomas.

Thomas is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis Friday. He failed to practice at all on Wednesday and Thursday. Starting DT Paul Soliai is listed as probable despite practicing only on a limited basis all week due to an ankle injury.

Long snapper John Denney missed Friday’s practice due to illnes, but is probable. Here’s the rest of the Dolphins injury report for Sunday’s game.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Friday

Game Status

Brent Grimes

CB

Groin

LP

Probable

Daniel Thomas

RB

Ankle

LP

Questionable

Nolan Carroll

CB

Knee

FP

Probable

Chris Clemons

S

Knee/Hamstring

LP

Probable

Paul Soliai

DT

Ankle

LP

Probable

Jamar Taylor

CB

Hamstring

FP

Probable

Reshad Jones

S

Groin

FP

Probable

Olivier Vernon

DE

Ankle

FP

Probable

John Denney

LS

Illness

DNP

Probable


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dolphins CBs still nicked up

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2013 – 7:29 pm

The Miami Dolphins have had some injuries in their starting secondary that they’ve been dealing with and they’re stretching into this week.

Starting CBs Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll are dealing with injuries. Grimes didn’t practice Wednesday with a groin injury while Carroll was limited with a knee injury.

Here’s the full Dolphins injury report.

DID NOT PRACTICE
CB Brent Grimes – groin
RB Daniel Thomas – ankle

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
CB Nolan Carroll – knee
DT Paul Soliai – ankle
S Chris Clemons – knee/hamstring
CB Jamar Taylor – hamstring

FULL PRACTICE
S Reshad Jones – groin
DE Olivier Vernon – ankle


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Lewis not worried about playing in elements

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2013 – 5:55 pm

Bills QB Thad Lewis, who will make his fourth start for the team this Sunday against Miami is a south Florida native himself. But he’s accustomed to playing in the elements up north this time of year.

Lewis has played in cold games before. The coldest was just last season in the final regular season game of the year for Cleveland at Pittsburgh.

“Last year against Pittsburgh I think it was 18 degrees and snowing,” he said. “So I’ve played in a game of this magnitude with the weather so I don’t think it’ll be a factor.

“The weather is not a factor when you’re playing. It’s just a factor when you’re standing there watching, like anybody in the stands. The weather won’t be a factor, you just go out and play as usual.”


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Brandon: Miami game to be blacked out

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2013 – 10:14 am

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Wednesday was up front in admitting that they will not be able to beat the blackout deadline of Thursday at 1 pm and sell out Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.

“We won’t meet the sellout,” said Brandon. “The game will be blacked out, but we will have a good crowd there and they’ll be boisterous for sure. Everyone always gets a little extra amped up when the Dolphins come to town. We’ll be ready and I know the fans will be ready and we’d love to knock them off their playoff perch.”

Brandon said there are about 16,000 tickets left for Sunday’s game. This is the first TV blackout of the season for Buffalo.


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Tight ends have feasted on Dolphins

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 10:50 am

Miami has not given up a passing touchdown to a wide receiver so far this season. While that might seem like an impressive statistic, they’ve been eaten alive by tight ends in their first five games.

Opposing tight ends have made 25 catches for 358 yards and 6 touchdowns in five games. So tight ends have accounted for six of the eight passing touchdowns scored on the Dolphins this season. Running backs scored the other two passing touchdowns against Miami.

That doesn’t speak well for Dolphins safeties Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones.

One has to think that the Bills will want to take advantage of those safeties with Scott Chandler, who has been very productive so far this season.


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Miami first of 2 straight off bye for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 7:35 am

The Dolphins are coming off their bye week to face Buffalo. After dropping two straight games heading into their bye the Bills are expecting a supremely focused Dolphins team. Head coach Doug Marrone and his staff meanwhile have to be leery of potential changes in Miami’s approach on both sides of the ball.

In his weekly appearance on Bills Focus on Buffalobills.com, Marrone revealed that he and his staff had to create a game plan that was flexible. We asked coach Marrone what to expect from a team that threw the ball almost 70 percent of the time (69.5%) and at times looked as though they had no interest in even trying to run the football.

“When you look at the Dolphins they started off well,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “They were 3-0 and then they had the two losses. Now they had a bye week and I think you’ve got to be careful when teams are coming off the bye week. A lot has been said with coach Philbin and the rest of the staff about running the football. Going into the game you’ve got to be prepared for all of those things.

“You’re correct in what you’re saying, but you don’t know if they’re going to change philosophically because who are they? Are they the team that was 3-0, what were they doing there to successful? Then when they lost two they look at themselves and they’re asking why they’ve lost those two.  I’m sure in the bye week they talked about those things so we have to be ready for everything when we play them.”

So what is the best way to prepare?

“I just think whatever you put in you have to be able to adjust,” Marrone said. “A lot of times on the bye coming off you definitely don’t have an advantage being the team like us. We’re going into two straight games now where both teams are coming off byes and both teams are coming off losses. So we have to do a very good job with what we have. You have to be able to adjust as well to what they may do and you can be consistent.”

The Bills play the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 in New Orleans and they have the bye this week.


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Bills have to change road division trend

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2013 – 1:08 pm

The Buffalo Bills are looking for their first division win this season on their third attempt in Miami on Sunday. Winning division games have proven difficult enough since the turn of the century. When it comes to posting AFC East wins on the road they’ve been close to impossible.

Since the 2000 season Buffalo is 10-32 in road division games, less than one win per season. More recent history shows that trend hasn’t improved.

In their last 10 road division games Buffalo has a record of 1-9, with a current losing streak of eight straight.

Buffalo’s average points scored over that stretch is 19.6 ppg. Their average points against are 33.8.

The good news is their last road division victory was in Miami, when they beat the Dolphins 17-14 on Dec. 19, 2010.

As much improving their road division would help their cause, head coach Doug Marrone is stripping down the goals list even further. He’s just looking to get a complete three-phase game from his team knowing that should deliver a win no matter where the team is playing.

“Really what we’re trying to do is just concentrate on our team,” said Marrone. “We’re not worried about whether we’re on the road or at home. We’re just trying to be more consistent in all three phases. We haven’t played in sync with all three phases so that’s what we’re striving for.”


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Bills wideouts have to work fast

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2013 – 11:04 am

The Miami Dolphins aren’t lighting up the sack category thus far this season, but they’re respectable and they’re expected to have their top pass rusher back in the lineup Sunday as Cameron Wake is recovered from his sprained MCL. Obviously the offensive line will have a big hand in keeping Miami’s pass rushers at arm’s length from Thad Lewis, but Buffalo’s receivers will also need to work fast to give Lewis options to unload the ball.

“We’ve just got to get open and get open fast,” said Stevie Johnson, who returns to the lineup this week. “Their line and their linebackers are studs. As receivers, we got to get to where we’re supposed to be and make sure we have space for Thad to put the ball in there. Those linebackers and those linemen are coming.”

Buffalo has not won in Miami since 2010.


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Miami WR Gibson added as questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2013 – 2:32 pm

The Dolphins look like they’re likely to be without MLB Dannell Ellerbe with a shoulder injury. He’s listed as doubtful. The surprise was WR Brandon Gibson, who was a late add this week to the injury report.

Gibson was limited in practice Friday after sustaining a hip injury. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday. Gibson is second on the team in receptions and third in receiving yards. He’s their primary slot receivers and 15 of his 24 catches have gone for first downs this season. Here’s the rest of the Dolphins injury report for Sunday’s game with Buffalo.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Friday Game Status
Dannell   Ellerbe LB Shoulder DNP Doubtful
Dimitri   Patterson CB Groin LP Questionable
Brandon Gibson WR Hip LP Questionable
Chris Clemons S Knee FP Probable
Koa Misi LB Shoulder/Knee FP Probable
Mike Pouncey C Ankle FP Probable
Cameron Wake DE Knee FP Probable
Nate Garner T Knee FP Probable
Dion Jordan DE Ankle FP Probable
Jason Trusnik LB Rib FP Probable
Brandon Fields P Back FP Probable
Will Yeatman T Shoulder FP Probable

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Dolphins injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2013 – 3:44 pm

Here’s the updated Thursday injury report from the Miami Dolphins for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Starting MLB Dannell Ellerbe is looking more and more unlikely for Sunday’s game even though he insists he’ll play. DE Cameron Wake was again limited with a sprained MCL.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Wednesday Participation   Thursday
Dannell   Ellerbe LB Shoulder DNP DNP
Chris Clemons S Knee LP LP
Koa Misi LB Shoulder/Knee LP LP
Dimitri   Patterson CB Groin LP LP
Mike Pouncey C Ankle LP LP
Cameron Wake DE Knee LP LP
Nate Garner T Knee FP FP
Dion Jordan DE Ankle FP FP
Jason Trusnik LB Rib FP FP

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Miami DE Wake working way back

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2013 – 6:16 pm

Miami’s top pass rusher Cameron Wake is working his way back from a knee injury sustained in Week 3. Though he only missed one game, he played limited snaps in Week 5 against Baltimore. He had the benefit of the bye week this past week, but in Wednesday’s practice was still limited. Here’s a look at Miami’s injury report as the Dolphins could also be without LB Dannell Ellerbe, who was sidelined on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Wednesday
Dannell   Ellerbe LB Shoulder DNP
Chris Clemons S Knee LP
Koa Misi LB Shoulder/Knee LP
Dimitri   Patterson CB Groin LP
Mike Pouncey C Ankle LP
Cameron Wake DE Knee LP
Nate Garner T Knee FP
Dion Jordan DE Ankle FP
Jason Trusnik LB Rib FP

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Marrone turns up thermostat in Fieldhouse

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2013 – 11:23 am

The rain in Buffalo Wednesday forced the Bills inside and head coach Doug Marrone is taking advantage as he moved the needle up on the thermostat in the Fieldhouse for practice.

Just standing and watching practice it was toasty, probably somewhere between 80 and 85 degrees. The forecast for Sunday’s game is partly cloudy with a high of 88 degrees. Clearly coach Marrone believes it’s important to replicate game conditions whenever possible leading up to Sunday.


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Will Miami blitz Lewis or not?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2013 – 3:23 pm

The Miami Dolphins do not have much game tape on Bills QB Thad Lewis this season. A half of a preseason game against Detroit and last week’s game against Cincinnati. One of the first decisions an opposing defense has to make in approaching a new QB is whether to blitz and pressure him a lot or just in certain situations. Lewis’ performance last week likely won’t help Miami in making that decision.

That’s because first and foremost Lewis wasn’t blitzed a lot by Cincinnati. According to ProFootballFocus Lewis was blitzed on just five of his 41 drop backs in the game last Sunday. On two of those five blitzes however, Lewis delivered touchdown passes of 22 and 40 yards to Scott Chandler and Marquise Goodwin. So 40 percent of the time last week when blitzed, Lewis not only delivered positive plays, but game changing ones.

That might give the Dolphins defensive staff pause when considering how and how often to blitz Lewis. Just ensuring they get pressure might be the route they take. Again according to PFF, on the 11 dropbacks in which Lewis was pressured, not blitzed (extra pass rushers) Lewis had four pass attempts (all incompletions), was sacked five times and scrambled out of trouble two other times.

Cincinnati accomplished this pressure, by initially rushing their ends up the field, then had them stunt back underneath to collapse the pocket.

“Hats off to their defensive line,” said Lewis of Cincinnati’s defensive front. “Any quarterback you have to step up in the pocket and the defensive linemen know that and they did a great job with (stopping) that, but I thought we adjusted well and got some plays run.”

Miami ranks 14th in opposing QB passer rating when blitzing (77.3).


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Turnovers were gifts for Miami

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2012 – 9:03 pm

The Bills have had trouble protecting the football for most of the season, and that unfortunately continued at Miami. What makes the giveaways from Sunday’s game so tough to take is the fact that Miami is one of the worst teams in the league at forcing turnovers.

Miami came into the game with the second-fewest takeaways in the league with 12. Only Indianapolis had fewer this season (10) going into Week 16 action. The Dolphins also had the second-fewest fumble recoveries in the league with just three. On Sunday they doubled that total.

The results of Sunday’s turnover battle allowed Miami to go from a minus-12 on the season in takeaway-giveaway differential to a minus-8 leapfrogging Buffalo, which slipped from a minus-10 to a minus-14.

Those turnovers resulted in 17 points for Miami. It was the second consecutive week that Buffalo’s opponent scored 17 points off turnovers.


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Miami depending on backups

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2012 – 11:57 am

The Dolphins are missing starters WR Davone Bess, LB Koa Misi and CB Nolan Carroll. And Miami is depending on some players they haven’t routinely turned to.

LB Jason Trusnik is in for Misi and probably the most consistent of the backups.

WR Marlon Moore is in for Bess and has all of six catches this season. And CB Dmitri Patterson is starting for Carroll. Patterson was just signed off waivers Tuesday.


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Dolphins inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2012 – 11:44 am

Here are the Dolphins inactives for today’s game against the Bills.

QB Pat Devlin
WR Davone Bess
CB Nolan Carroll
LB Koa Misi
OT Patrick Brown
TE Kyle Miller
DT Kheeston Randall


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Miami to copycat Seattle?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2012 – 1:41 pm

After the Seahwaks victimize the Bills with their expertly run read option running game the Bills, knowing its a copycat league are aware they may see it again Sunday.

However, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill indicated this week that’s it’s not their bread and butter on offense.

“Yeah, we ran it a little bit last week,” said Tannehill. “It’s not something that we major in by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s something we have just as a changeup.

“I don’t know how it’s going to go. I feel like since we showed it a little last week and then they saw it several times against the Seahawks, I feel like they’re going to have a plan for that. I wouldn’t say we’re going to major in that at all, but it’s always a possibility to run a few times.”

Tannehill isn’t quite the athlete that Russell Wilson is, but knowing Miami struggled to run the ball in the first meeting and seeing Seattle roll up 270 rushing yards on the Bills last week, it likely crossed Joe Philbin’s mind to perhaps make more use of it this week.


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