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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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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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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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Miami gets to red zone, scoring the problem

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 1:46 pm

The Miami Dolphins have performed admirably when it comes to moving the ball down the field and inside an opponent’s 20-yard line. The problem is what happens after they reach the red zone.

Miami leads the league in red zone drives with 43 this season in their first nine games. The bad news is their touchdown efficiency in the red zone ranks 28th in the league (46.5%). Even worse is their goal-to-go touchdown efficiency, which ranks last in the NFL at just 50 percent. Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor

“Three weeks ago, I think we were third and then, last week, maybe we were tied for first or second in (red zone) opportunities that I saw,” Lazor said. “I guess if you look at the positives, it’s that we’re getting there and then it’s broken record, we’ve talked about it a number of times that we’ve got to do a better job and hopefully I gave some of my thoughts on the overall picture of why it’s harder there. We’ve got to be more detailed and get it done.

“I think we have a good plan going in. The players know what the plan is and, again, like we talked about with the deep ball, I’ll be the optimist and say this will be the week.”

Part of the problem for Miami has been ball security in the red zone. The Dolphins have coughed up the ball four times in the red zone this season, second most in the NFL. Lazor said execution has to be at its best inside the opponent’s 20 because there is less space to work, so precision has to be on point.

“As you get to the red zone, in the run game, the safeties get closer, so your margin for error is less,” he said. “In the pass game, the windows get smaller, your margin for error is less. So it’s really an amplified example of the detail of doing it exactly right and it’s certainly lagged behind for us on some of the other areas, I’m not surprised because it’s harder and there’s a reason why everyone puts emphasis on the red zone, because things happen faster, windows are tighter and we better get better fast.”

The Dolphins were one for two in the red zone in their first meeting against the Bills back in Week 2.


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Miami RT will be a newbie

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2014 – 3:18 pm

The Dolphins have no time to experiment when it comes to addressing the offensive tackle positions in the wake of the season-ending injury to starting LT Branden Albert. With Albert going to I-R, rookie right tackle Ju’Wuan James will flip to the left side and guard Dallas Thomas will kick out to right tackle.

That according to Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Thomas, who started at left guard Sunday in place of an injury Daryn Colledge, kicked out to right tackle when James went over to the left side. Thomas has not seen a lot of the field since he was made a third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2013. He has yet to have an NFL start at offensive tackle, but it looks like that will change on Thursday night.

“I like what he’s done, I really do,” said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin of Thomas. “He’s clearly much, much further along than he was a year ago. We have a lot more confidence in him. Just his ability in one game to play left guard and then flip over and play right tackle, and function relatively well speaks a lot to his level of preparation, his intelligence, those types of things. I think he’s making good progress. I like what he’s done. Dallas (Thomas) has gotten some work over his year-and-a-half. We’ll make it work. We’re going to make it work.”

Philbin said that Thomas in practice has gotten more reps at tackle than guard this year, so the move makes sense. Thomas will be matched up with Bills DE Mario Williams.


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Dolphins to add RB with open roster spot

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2014 – 1:57 pm

With LT Branden Albert going to injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury Monday it looks like the Dolphins are going to elevate a running back from their practice squad.

RB LaMichael James is going to be brought up to the 53-man roster. That according to his agent.

Calling up James is not a surprise. Lamar Miller played Sunday at Detroit, but is far from 100 percent with a shoulder injury and with the short turnaround to Thursday night’s game how much of the game he’ll be able to play could be in question. Miami also has RBs Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams on their roster.

James began his NFL career with the 49ers.

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Report: Dolphins LT Albert could be out for season

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 6:11 pm

He was carted off the field in Detroit on Sunday, and word in the postgame locker room from Dolphins players was Branden Albert could be lost for the season with a knee injury that requires surgery.

That according to the Miami Herald, who quoted Albert’s linemate Mike Pouncey. Pouncey gave indication that Albert is done for the season and headed for surgery.

“You hate to see that happen to anybody,” Dolphins guard Mike Pouncey told the Herald. “Just trying to talk him through, my brother went through the same thing last year and he came back stronger and better than ever. So this is just a tough time right now before the surgery. But as soon as he starts rehab, he’ll be alright. He has a long road ahead of him but he’ll get back healthy because he’s a fighter.”

Rookie right tackle Ju’Wuan James is expected to start at left tackle for Miami in Albert’s absence. Who takes James’ place at right tackle however remains to be seen on Thursday night.

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Bills not going to dwell with Miami up next

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 5:48 pm

The Bills are undoubtedly stinging from their loss to Kansas City at home Sunday, but they’ve already decided to move on to Miami knowing they’ll be lining up against them in four days time.

“It’s definitely tough, we lost the football game and no one probably woke up today expecting to lose, we’re definitely upset about that,” said Jerry Hughes, who had a pair of sacks Sunday and two other quarterback hits. “We’ve got a Thursday game, we’ve got a division game so we’ve got a chance to finish 3-1 (in this quarter of the season) and sweep Miami. That’s our focus right now is to just find a way to get ready for that game, it’s going to come up quick we’ve got to be prepared.”

“Each game is very important no doubt about it and this game coming up Thursday night is going to be very important for us,” said Kyle Orton. “It’s probably good that we turn around right away and not think about this one. Move on to Miami and have a good three days to get ready for them and travel down and try to beat a good football team.”

The Dolphins also lost on Sunday to fall to 5-4 as well, so the team that finishes on the short end of Thursday night’s game could very quickly be on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture.

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EJ: Our fans make us want to go harder

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 5:01 pm

Much has been said about the atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday in the win over the Dolphins. The fans had a major impact on the game with the Dolphins taking three penalties due to crowd noise. On Monday EJ Manuel made a point to mention that the loud support of the fans gives the players the little extra to put their effort over the edge.

“We really want to thank them for coming out, selling it out and being extremely loud on third down for our defense, that really helped them out,” said Manuel. “And definitely for us [the offense], anytime we were having big plays, they were getting really rowdy and loud for us. When we know we have their support, it makes us want to go even harder.”

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Dolphins hope to find answer for Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 10:05 am

The Dolphins defense had no answer for Sammy Watkins Sunday, who rolled up 117 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. It had Miami’s defenders scratching their heads hoping to have a better plan in the second meeting later this season.

“He’s a good receiver,” said Dolphins LB Phillip Wheeler. “But we could’ve done some things to slow him down. We just had a bad day all the way around.”

When asked if there’s a solution to slowing Watkins in the future, Wheeler wasn’t certain.

“Right now I’m not sure,” he said. “We are going to look at the tape and go back to the drawing board.”

Watkins felt the Bills’ balance offensively with 26 pass play and 33 run plays made them difficult to predict.

“It definitely helps us out when we’re a balanced offense and we’ve just got to keep continuing to run the ball, to pass the ball and mix it up a lot,” Watkins said. “That keeps the defense on their toes and switching up coverage and linebackers have to look more for the pass, more for the run. It’s just great to have a defense guessing.”

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Wallace: We didn’t match Bills intensity

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:54 pm

On an emotional day for Bills fans, the players were every bit as fired up. Knowing football is an emotional game, Miami WR Mike Wallace felt he and his Dolphins teammates just couldn’t match the intensity of the Bills Sunday.

“We have to have more intensity,” said Wallace. “We didn’t have enough intensity out there. Those guys were fired up on every single play. Every single play. You heard them screaming and yelling. They were fired up and we were quiet. You’re not going to win like that. I understand if trash talking is not your thing, but when those guys are fired up like that, you have to show emotion back and take it to the same level as them.”

When asked why they came out so flat, Wallace couldn’t put his finger on it.

“They had a lot of intensity. We weren’t close to their intensity,” he said. “That’s why they won the football game. They did a good job of playing football, but their intensity was so much higher than ours that I think that’s why they won the game honestly. They were riled up. Telling each other, ‘Let’s go!’ Talking crazy to us. Some people feed off that. Even if it was a guy not making the play, but he’s fired up and he’s getting his teammate fired up. I think you might’ve had to be on the field. It was crazy.”

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