Inside The Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

Division game is what carries weight for Clay

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2015 – 1:05 pm

Bills TE Charles Clay will be facing his former Miami teammates for the first time this Sunday when Buffalo faces the Dolphins. For Clay however, the magnitude of Sunday’s game is rooted in the fact that it’s an AFC East opponent, not that he’ll be facing his former club.

“I’m not going to say it means extra,” said Clay. “I want to win this game just as bad as I want to win any other game. Granted, going back to where you played the last four years—I’m excited to get the chance to go back there and see some of my teammates. I made a lot of great friends there, and learned from a lot of great coaches. So it’s exciting to get a chance to go back there and see those places again. At the same time, I want to win this game just as bad as any other game.”

Clay said the bigger motivation is getting the team their first division win, especially after dropping a division game to New England last week.

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Big WRs not a bother for Robey in slot

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2015 – 9:44 am

One of the newer offensive trends in NFL passing games is to make use of a size receiver in the slot. In Week 1 the Bills saw that from the Colts when they used Andre Johnson inside. This week they’re likely to see the Dolphins move Jarvis Landry in to the slot. Landry is just 5-11, but he carries a broad frame and is great on contested passes. Bills slot corner Nickell Robey however, isn’t worried about facing bigger receivers inside.

“It’s actually… I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging because it’s kind of easier because I’m always dealing with quicker guys,” Robey said. “But now I’ve got more big-bodied guys so it’s more slower routes, more developing routes. So it’s not like little quick routes like (Julian) Edelman or (Danny) Amendola. It’s more like down the field routes, across the field routes, out breaking routes.

“But the big guys being inside I don’t really see a switch up in my job. The routes are just more slow developing thant he normal quick game I always get. I usually get quick slant, quick outs, option routes. I’m used to things like that, but now I’m getting bigger guys like Andre Johnson, you get longer routes, deeper routes, across the field routes.”

Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman doesn’t raise much of an eyebrow to the bigger receivers moving inside either.

“It’s no different than them using another tight end,” said Thurman. “Some of these wide receivers are the same size as tight ends, height-wise. Some of them are weighing in an excess of 230, 235 pounds. So just like using another tight end. They’re trying to manipulate the middle of the field. They figure the safety and linebackers can’t cover them. So I believe that’s one of the reasons why they’re doing it.”

Thurman and head coach Rex Ryan have a lot of faith in Robey inside. The only area where that big-bodied receiver can be an issue is in the red zone.

“Oh jump ball, jump ball for sure,” said Thurman. “They’re smart. All they want to do is score points and that’s one way to use your height to your advantage – definitely down in the red zone. But it’s becoming the in vogue thing to do and so you’ll continue to see more and more of it.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-25

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2015 – 11:23 am

The Bills look to bounce back this week and get an important win on the road at Miami Sunday. Here’s your latest rundown of questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –@ChrisBrownBills

Hey Chris any chance we will see more blitz packages and sack coming from our D-Line this week. Didn’t see much last week :/


CB: In the wake of sticking almost exclusively with a pass rush of their front four in the first half last week I would anticipate that Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman will mix it up a bit more. So while there will be instances where they do just rush four, I believe they will weave in some blitz packages in certain down and distance situations. As for sack totals, the Bills have averaged 4.5 sacks per game in the last four meetings, so you’re likely to see more of them Sunday.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How is the team morale going into week 3 after a tough loss last Sunday? #Bills


CB: Team morale is just fine heading into Sunday. One loss can’t be a soul crusher for any team and that’s certainly not the case at One Bills Drive. The offense is encouraged by the rhythm they found late in last week’s game with three straight touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to make it a game. And for the record Tyrod Taylor confirmed for me that New England was not sitting back. They were playing the same defensive looks that were working earlier in the game. And the defense is motivated to redeem themselves last week as is special teams. So I’m expecting a strong performance.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

I know the Bills haven’t said too much about Aaron Williams but is it possible he’s back for the Giants game?


CB: Bills head coach Rex Ryan said the following about Aaron Williams’ status beyond this week.

“Our trainers seem to be very optimistic about him being up for next week, but we’ll see,” said Ryan.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance we see mckelvin by the bye week?


CB: Leodis McKelvin is doing more and more on the side with athletic trainers during practice. There are still some hurdles for him to clear. I think a safe guess-timate, and it is a guess on my part, that by the week following the bye (Week 9) he stands a good chance of being ready to go in the home game against the Dolphins.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why wasn’t that Steelers player fined for the hit on Goodwin???


CB: I think it’s a valid question. The hit on Goodwin was borderline late number one and second the Steelers player buried the crown of his helmet into Goodwin’s rib cage when he had already gone to the ground. The Pittsburgh player could’ve been flagged for spearing. Had he been then I think a fine could’ve been a possibility, but to my knowledge there was no fine.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Miami starting RB, LT & TE do not practice

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2015 – 3:50 pm

UBNS imageThe Dolphins are a beat up bunch coming off their Week 2 loss to Jacksonville. DE Cameron Wake left the game early as his hamstring injury was still bothering him. He lasted just 15 plays. Starting LT Branden Albert left the game with a hamstring injury as well. TE Jordan Cameron exited with a groin injury and RB Lamar Miller sustained an ankle injury and didn’t finish the game. On Wednesday three of those four didn’t practice.

Albert, Cameron and Miller were all non-participants for the Dolphins Wednesday. Wake was limited.

The Dolphins could be really shorthanded at the tight end position with their top two TEs on the injury report. Dion Sims, who is trying to return from a concussion was limited Wednesday.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Branden Albert T Hamstring DNP
Jordan Cameron TE Groin DNP
Reshad Jones S Hamstring Limited
Lamar Miller RB Ankle DNP
Mike Pouncey C Elbow Limited
Dion Sims TE Concussion Limited
Ryan Tannehill QB Ankle Full
Cameron Wake DE Hamstring Limited

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dolphins have penalty problems too

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2015 – 10:22 am

There’s no debating that the Bills have to cut back on their penalty count, which currently leads the league at 25 through two games in 2015. But the Miami Dolphins are not far behind after committing 13 alone in their Week 2 loss at Jacksonville this past Sunday.

“Thirteen penalties are unacceptable, it’s way too many,” said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin of his team’s yellow flag total from Sunday. “I think I was right in saying it’s the most we’ve ever had since I’ve been here.

“It wasn’t very good yesterday. I could sit here and pontificate about how good we’ve been in the three years that I’ve been here in terms of penalties, but the film says it’s not very good. I am concerned because we weren’t very good. We had eight penalties in the fourth quarter, eight. Again, if you want to win football games you have to play well in the fourth quarter and when you have eight penalties that’s not a good sign, that’s not a good reflection on me either.”

When asked if he felt his players’ penalties were rooted in mental mistakes, Philbin said they ran the gamut.

“It was everything, it’s discipline, it’s focus, it’s concentration, it’s technique, it’s coaching, it’s everybody,” Philbin said. “Again, it’s not one player, it’s not one person, everybody is in this thing together and we’ve just got to be better. I mean we had eight penalties in the fourth quarter, it’s not good.”

The Dolphins rank sixth in the league in penalties with 19.

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Notable halftime stats

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 9:42 pm

Here are some notable halftime stats with the Bills up 6-3 on the Dolphins.

Buffalo is averaging 3.9 yards per carry in the first half with 51 yards on 13 carries. Kyle Orton has thrown for 100 yards on 12-17 passing.

The Bills are 6-8 on third down conversions (75%), but 0-2 in the red zone.

Chris Hogan leads Buffalo’s receivers with four catches for 40 yards.

Buffalo has two sacks in the first half with Stefan Charles and Mario Williams taking down Ryan Tannehill.


Posted in Inside the Bills

The guy who quietly put up 100 last week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 7:06 pm

With Fred Jackson inactive tonight the rushing load falls to Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Against the Chiefs last week the pair combined to average 6.1 per carry. And one of them rolled up the quietest 100 all-purpose yards.

Brown had 35 yards rushing on seven carries (5.0 avg.) and 65 yards on six receptions (10.8 per rec.) for 100 total yards against Kansas City. Swing passes to Brown worked effectively last week in neutralizing the Chiefs’ pass rush. We’ll see if it’s a component of Buffalo’s game plan tonight to slow down Miami’s formidable pass rush.

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Bills D-line knows they have to set the tone

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 1:45 pm

Buffalo’s defensive line has been the most productive part of the team this season. With an offense that has been up and down and a run game that comes into tonight’s game without C.J. Spiller and a nicked up Fred Jackson, the men on the defensive line know it’ll be on them to set the tone in a gigantic division game against the Dolphins.

“For us, up front, when we have any of our four get one on one, we feel like it’s a good matchup for us,” said Kyle Williams. “We feel like we can put pressure on offenses, on offensive lines, by being aggressive and dictating to them. So we feel like going into the game, if we can set the tone, we can make it hard on offenses as a defensive front.”

The Bills’ defensive line has 15 sacks in their last three games, including a half dozen last Sunday against Kansas City.

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Bills wary of Dolphins’ read option

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 11:31 am

If there’s one main area where the Dolphins are different on offense from the first time the Bills played them back in Week 2, it’s their increased use of QB Ryan Tannehill as a runner out of their read option plays. It has Buffalo’s defenders on alert to Tannehill tucking and running with the ball to the flanks.

“Tannehill has been playing really good,” said Nigel Bradham. “He’s been running the ball a lot more, that’s one of the main differences. When we played them last time he probably carried the ball once or twice, now he’s carrying it a lot more. They’ve got designed runs for him. We have to be ready for the quarterback runs, stick to the game plan we got, and come out there ready to play.”

Tannehill has the second-most carries on the team behind feature back Lamar Miller. He’s also averaging 7.25 yards per carry on the season.

“They’ve progressed with the spread offense now. You see more quarterback runs out of the quarterback. You see more plays getting on the perimeter and they’re really being productive,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “You have to play the full field against them now.”

The only thing that could compromise Tannehill’s proclivity to run is the fact that he’s nursing ankle and throwing shoulder injuries from last week’s game at Detroit. On a short week and facing a strong pass rushing team in Buffalo, Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor might be less apt to put extra hits on Tannehill in the read option game.

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A tall task for Miami OT Thomas

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 9:35 am

Thursday night’s game will likely come down to how dominant Buffalo’s defensive line can be against Miami’s reshuffled offensive line, provided things like turnovers don’t overshadow it. The players on Miami’s offensive line facing the most difficult assignments are C Samson Satele, who will match up with one of the most dominant defensive tackles in football right now in Marcell Dareus. Facing an even more imposing task is new starting right tackle Dallas Thomas, who draws Mario Williams as an assignment.

Thomas is making his first NFL start at offensive tackle Thursday night and he’ll be doing it against a pass rusher with at least a half sack in each of his last six games. His head coach Joe Philbin doesn’t have many other choices, and has thrown his full support behind Thomas heading into the game. He’s encouraged by the fact that Thomas played some offensive tackle in junior college.

“One of the things we liked about him, I remember watching the tape when he came out was that he had some versatility,” said Philbin. “I remember watching his junior year film, I believe he was the left tackle his junior year of college. I watched a good bit of that. I liked the way he moved. I liked his skill set out there. Last year, he got some work at both positions.

“Obviously, he’s very limited in game activity. He had some in the preseason. Here this year he’s played most of his snaps at guard. I think he’s coming along and doing well. I thought he hung there and competed well the other day. You figure, hey, you are playing left guard, then the next play you are playing right tackle and you’re on the road against a pretty good defense and some pretty good players. I thought he held his own.”

When asked specifically about the challenge Thomas faces in Mario Williams, Philbin didn’t deny it’s a tall task.

“I think when you play offensive tackle in the National Football League, it seems like every team you play has outstanding players on the edge,” he said. “It’s no different with the Buffalo Bills. They certainly do have that. Mario Williams is one of those guys. He’ll be ready, but it’s going to be a challenge. He’s an excellent player.”

As for Satele’s assignment of Dareus in the middle, Philbin knows that will be a matchup that requires some double team assistance.

“I think he has 10 sacks. For a defensive tackle, that’s awfully high,” said Philbin of Dareus. “That’s a lot of production. He plays the run well. He’s a good football player overall. He’s hard to move because he has size and strength. He’s a good player. We are going to have to keep our eyes open, protect our gaps and not letting him penetrate into the backfield. It’ll be a full-time job blocking him.”

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Bills primetime record even on Thurs. night

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 8:23 am

The Bills have played 67 times in their history in primetime, with the majority coming on Sunday and Monday nights knowing those primetime slots have been around the longest in the NFL. Tonight in Miami will only be the seventh time Buffalo plays on Thursday night, and their record there has been dead even.

The Bills are 3-3 on Thursday nights with one of those victories coming at the hands of the Dolphins 19-14 back in the 2012 season.

Here are Buffalo’s primetime records on Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday night as well.

Saturday night – 1-1
Sunday night – 10-9
Monday night – 17-23

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CB Finnegan out, TE Clay questionable for Miami

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 3:44 pm







Miami is already reshuffling their offensive line after the season-ending injury to LT Branden Albert. Now they’ll be without one of their starting cornerbacks Thursday night.

CB Cortland Finnegan suffered an ankle injury against the Lions last Sunday and on the short week he’s been declared out for the game against the Bills. TE Charles Clay, who is coming off a season-high seven-catch performance against Detroit is questionable with a knee injury. Miami could be really shorthanded at tight end because their other TE Dion Sims is also questionable for the game.

Starting QB Ryan Tannehill and feature back Lamar Miller are both listed as probable.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Game Status
Daryn Colledge G Back DNP DOUBTFUL
Cortland Finnegan CB Ankle DNP OUT
Dion Jordan DE Hamstring FP PROBABLE
Lamar Miller RB Shoulder FP PROBABLE
Kelvin Sheppard LB Hip/Groin LP QUESTIONABLE
Ryan Tannehill QB Ankle/Right Shoulder LP PROBABLE
Jimmy Wilson S Hamstring LP PROBABLE
Mike Pouncey G Hip FP PROBABLE

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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB Jackson questionable, WR Watkins probable

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 3:32 pm







Bills RB Fred Jackson, who played, but had a lesser role last Sunday against Kansas City is listed as questionable for a second straight week heading into Buffalo’s Thursday night game at Miami.

Jackson was listed as a limited participant again on Wednesday. He practiced on a limited basis Tuesday as well. The veteran running back is trying to return from a groin injury initially suffered back in Week 7 against Minnesota.

The news is better for WR Sammy Watkins, who is listed as probable and has been a full participant in practice all week.

DE Jarius Wynn, who left last week’s game with a knee injury, is out.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Game Status
Jarius Wynn DE Knee DNP OUT
Marquise Goodwin WR Ribs LP QUESTIONABLE
Sammy Watkins WR Groin FP PROBABLE

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Posted in Inside the Bills

A couple of big problems for Miami’s OL

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 5:10 pm

By now everyone is familiar with the challenge the Dolphins will have with Dallas Thomas making his first career start at right tackle and facing Mario Williams. The bigger challenge might be the one Miami C Samson Satele has in facing Marcell Dareus.

Dareus has been an unstoppable force of late and Satele seems to know that he will need double team help on Buffalo’s Pro Bowl DT.

“He brings a lot of intensity to the game. He’s a big man, strong man. I’m not big, I’m not strong. I’m the opposite of that,” Satele said. “So I’ve just got to work on my technique. He’s leading their D-Line (defensive line) in sacks. I think he’s got 10 or close to that. You know it’s going to be a challenge and every week is a challenge for us. That’s why we play, we love it.”

Dareus is coming off a three-sack performance against the Chiefs as he had half of the team’s sacks last Sunday.

“I feel like I’m playing the same,” said Dareus. “It’s just, getting older, the game of football and knowledge of it is coming a lot more to me so I think I’m just taking more advantage of the knowledge I’ve picked up from the time I’ve been in the league and just having fun with and playing with Kyle, Mario, and Jerry just makes it all worth it.”

The Bills have 15 sacks in their last three games.


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Miami CB doesn’t practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 4:27 pm

He left Sunday’s game in Detroit with an ankle injury and did not return for the Dolphins. Miami starting CB Cortland Finnegan was unable to practice on Tuesday and is becoming a big question mark for the Dolphins’ defense.

If Finnegan can’t go Jamar Taylor is expected to step in for him and he was a target of Matthew Stafford last week after he entered the game. Taylor would likely draw Robert Woods as an assignment, which would appear to give Buffalo an advantage in that particular matchup.

A host of other Dolphins’ players were limited on Tuesday including starting QB Ryan Tannehill and starting RB Lamar Miller.

Player Pos Injury Participation Tuesday
Daryn Colledge G Back DNP
Cortland Finnegan CB Ankle DNP
Charles Clay TE Knee LP
John Denney LS Knee LP
Dion Jordan DE Hamstring LP
Lamar Miller RB Shoulder LP
Koa Misi LB Ankle LP
Kelvin Sheppard LB Hip/Groin LP
Dion Sims TE Toe LP
Ryan Tannehill QB Ankle/Right Shoulder LP
Jimmy Wilson S Hamstring LP
Anthony Johnson DT Back FP
Earl Mitchell DT Abdomen FP
Mike Pouncey G Hip FP
Derrick Shelby DE Knee FP



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Bills Tuesday injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 3:39 pm







Here’s the updated Bills injury report for Tuesday following practice.

DE Jarius Wynn – knee

CB Ron Brooks – groin
WR Marcus Easley – knee
RB Fred Jackson – groin
WR Marquise Goodwin – ribs

WR Sammy Watkins – groin

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