Inside The Bills

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, 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 “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.

Posted in Inside the Bills

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

Posted in Inside the Bills

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.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Miami injury status report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2012 – 1:21 pm

Here’s the injury status report for the Dolphins entering Sunday’s game between Miami and Buffalo.

WR Davone Bess – back
K Dan Carpenter – groin
LB Koa Misi – ankle

CB Nolan Carroll – knee
WR Brian Hartline – back
TE Jeron Mastrud – hamstring
DT Randy Starks – not injury related

WR Armon Binns – ankle
S Chris Clemons – neck, ribs
LB Karlos Dansby – biceps
DE Derrick Shelby – groin
S Jimmy Wilson – hip

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WR Bess out for Miami, Hartline questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2012 – 1:13 pm

The Dolphins will be down an important receiver on Sunday as slot receiver Davone Bess is out with a back injury.

Bess did not practice at all this week and will not dress for the Dolphins game against the Bills. He is second in receptions and receiving yards for Miami this season.

Meanwhile leading receiver Brian Hartline is questionable for Sunday’s game with a back injury as well. Hartline was limited in practice Friday after he failed to practice Thursday.

If Hartline can’t play Sunday it would leave Miami’s receiving corps extremely inexperienced, with Marlon Moore, Armon Binns and Rishaw Matthews as the only healthy wideouts. Binns just signed with the Dolphins a few weeks ago and Matthews and Moore have just six receptions each for Miami this season.

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Bills full injury status report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2012 – 12:41 pm

Here is the Bills full injury status report for Sunday’s game at Miami.

DE Mark Anderson – knee
LB Chris White – hamstring
WR Marcus Easley – hamstring

C Eric Wood – knee

G Andy Levitre – knee
TE Scott Chandler – foot
DT Kyle Williams – ankle
LB Nick Barnett – knee
CB Justin Rogers – foot
DT Marcell Dareus – knee/wrist
TE Lee Smith – back
RB C.J. Spiller – shoulder
CB Aaron Williams – knee
DE Mario Williams – wrist

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Anderson, White out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2012 – 12:32 pm

DE Mark Anderson was active for last week’s game, but didn’t play as he was an emergency fill-in only if necessary. This week he won’t even be active.

Head coach Chan Gailey declared Anderson out for Sunday’s game in Miami.

“Mark Anderson tried to do some things, but couldn’t. He just couldn’t keep progressing so he’s going to be out for the game,” said Gailey.

Anderson was limited in practice all week as he never got around to practicing fully at any point. He has not played coming off a pair of knee procedures since Week 5. Gailey said he is not ready now to assess whether he has a chance to play in the season finale against the Jets next week.

Special teams LB Chris White is also out for Sunday’s game. White is dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him from practicing all week.

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A. Williams steps closer to full workload

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2012 – 4:31 pm

CB Aaron Williams returned to action last week against Seattle for the first time since suffering knee injury in Week 9. He played 36 snaps, but the coaching staff is still hesitant to play him for 50 or 60 snaps on defense after just one game back.

“No, I don’t think he would go do that,” said head coach Chan Gailey of Williams’ workload. “He might have to (play that much) out of necessity, but we would rather not.”

With Leodis McKelvin now on injured reserve, Buffalo has just Stephon Gilmore, Justin Rogers and Williams as the only cornerbacks left from the beginning of the season still on the roster and healthy. Ron Brooks came aboard midseason with Crezdon Butler and T.J. Heath called up from the practice squad not long after.

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Bills ‘D’ mixed it up

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2012 – 1:05 pm

Buffalo’s defense is often criticized for being too “vanilla,” but that wasn’t the case Thursday night.

“They did a good job of defending the run, mixing coverages up,” said Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill. “We were trying to guess some coverages and get some play calls that would mix it up, and it seemed like we never really hit on one that we were trying to get. So, they did a good job of mixing things up and it made it difficult for us to get the ball moving.

“They did a little bit of everything. They played corner-safeties, they brought a safety in the box. I wouldn’t say it was daring us to throw, but they wanted to defend the run. They did a good job of coming down late and making tackles close to the line of scrimmage.”

“It was not a good offensive performance,” said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. “We were 0-for-7, I believe, at one point on third down. We had no rhythm; we had nothing going on. We weren’t throwing the ball well, we weren’t running it well. They did a great job on defense and we didn’t execute well on offense.”

“It was pretty simple,” said Reggie Bush. “Couldn’t run the ball. We didn’t have much success running or throwing the ball, so when you can’t do either one, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Miami finished with 184 total net yards in the game.

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