Inside The Bills

Falcons mindful of Bills WR speed

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 3:36 pm

As big a challenge as Falcons head coach Mike Smith believes the combination of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson will be today, he’s also concerned with the way in which Buffalo uses their speed at receiver.

“The Bills are the only team that has two rushers with 500 yards or more at this point. We have to do a better job of fitting the run and not giving up way too many explosive plays and we have to get off the field on third down. And that’s going to be a challenge because of the speed at wide receiver,” said Smith.

“I think coach Marrone and his staff do a great job with the speed they have at the wide receiver position. It may be the fastest group as a whole as any in the NFL.”


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Falcons inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 2:47 pm

Here are the Falcons inactives for today’s game with the Bills.

RB Josh Vaughan
S Kemal Ishmael
LB Omar Gaither
G Harland Gunn
OL Terren Jones
OL Sean Locklear
DT Travian Robertson


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Falcons coach doesn’t see edge in dome

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 12:35 pm

Falcons head coach Mike Smith has got to think that his team has caught a break today being afforded the opportunity to play the Bills in a dome in Toronto at the Rogers Centre instead of at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. He tried to downplay how the road schedule fell for his team this season.

“I don’t know if we catch an edge because they’re playing in the same conditions that we are and the field is still 100 yards long,” said Smith.

Smith did admit that the indoor conditions are preferable to his team.

“I think it’s something that we’re going to be used to,” he said. “We play nine games indoors every year, sometimes more. Playing up in Toronto is going to give us our 10th game indoors. And 72 degrees sounds a lot better than the weather you’re having up there right now.”

 

 


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Will EJ see much blitz?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 9:26 am

The pass rush of the Atlanta Falcons has been relatively ineffective this season. Their 22 sacks on the season rank 28th in the league, but their pass pressure goes much deeper than that. Their struggles make one wonder if they’ll blitz EJ Manuel much at all today.

When Atlanta blitzes the purpose is to at least force hurried throws, which are hopefully inaccurate and lead to turnover opportunities. That has not been the case for the quarterbacks who have faced the Falcons.

Thus far this season when Atlanta blitzes the opposing quarterbacks have compiled a passer rating of 103.83. For the Falcons that figure ranks 27th in the NFL.

The Bills meanwhile on offense rank fourth in the league in passer rating when blitzed. EJ Manuel, along with some contributions from Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel have a collective passer rating of 104.97 this season when blitzed, good for fourth-best in the league.

With Manuel being a rookie, it’s likely that the Falcons will see if they can rattle him with pressure, but his success in the face of the blitz could quickly change Atlanta’s mind as to whether it’s the best approach.


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Why Bills should go for it on 4th today

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 8:16 am

As Bills head coach Doug Marrone has stated more than once, the statistical evidence that says you should go for it more on fourth down cannot be applied in a vacuum. There are a host of other variables in a game that need to be considered in addition to what the fourth down statistics might say. This week however, the statistics could be overwhelmingly be in favor of going for it if the Bills are faced with a fourth down situation. Here’s why.

First and foremost Atlanta has the worst third down defense in the league allowing conversions at better than 46 percent (46.6%). On third and short they allow conversions almost two-thirds of the time (64.6%).

And on fourth and short they allow their opponents to convert a surprising 77.8% of the time. That figures ranks 28th in the league.

Naturally time left on the clock, score, field position and a host of other variables will come into play when making a decision, but the Bills should be encouraged to go for it if they face a 4th-and-short situation in a favorable area of the field today.


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Atlanta’s Ryan still stacking drives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2013 – 2:11 pm

It has been far from the most successful season for the Falcons this year. Even though they’re in the midst of a five-game losing streak their QB Matt Ryan still knows how to put long sustained drives together, something the Bills will want to prevent on Sunday.

Ryan’s success in extending drives is seen in Atlanta’s high number of 10-play drives. The Falcons offense ranks second in the league  with 26 10-play drives this season, which is well above the league average of 18.

That’s why they also rank high in number of drives that take five minutes off the clock or more. Atlanta has a total of 19 drives of five minutes or more, good for third-best in the NFL.

Naturally their success on third down is a big reason for their lengthy drives. The Falcons rank eighth in the league in third down conversion percentage at 40.5 percent.

 


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Falcons far from heavy birds

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2013 – 12:43 pm

The Falcons defensive front is one that is based on speed, so naturally they’re one of the lighter defensive lines in the league. That could be a good thing for Buffalo’s offensive front.

Atlanta’s starting defensive line averages 281 pounds. To provide some perspective, Buffalo’s starting defensive line averages 312 pounds.

It partly explains why the Falcons have had trouble stopping the run, where they rank 28th. It’d be surprising if the Bills don’t try to pound out the run against Atlanta in Sunday’s game.


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Will 4th time be the charm?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 3:07 pm

The Bills have had three prior opportunities to post back-to-back victories this season under head coach Doug Marrone. Each time they have come up short. Sunday against Atlanta will be the fourth such opportunity in 2013. Marrone calls it an opportunity to build some consistency into their play.

“I think this is a big game,” Marrone said. “I think when you come off a game like we did against New York and you look overall at things we played a very good, consistent football game and that’s what the goal is. And it starts with the individual player. Can that individual player go ahead and play another consistent game at a high enough level?

“Then you break it down into units. Then you break it into sides of the football and then you break it down as a whole team. That’s the one thing we’re striving for because right now it’s been too much of the inconsistency, feeling that you can get things done and I think we all feel that. I see it, the fans see it, the players themselves see it. I think it’s important that we start developing that consistency to be the type of team we want to be.”


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Gonzalez, Weatherspoon ques. for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 1:38 pm

The Atlanta Falcons have a pair of starters who are questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Starting OLB Sean Weatherspoon, who has only appeared in four games this season, is questionable with shoulder and knee injuries. He participated fully in practice Thursday, but was limited Friday.

Meanwhile TE Tony Gonzalez has been dealing with a persistent toe injury and was limited in practice all week. He’s only missed two games in his 17-year career, so it’s expected he’ll play even though he too is questionable. Gonzalez is the team’s second-leading receiver and is tops on the team in receiving touchdowns with four.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Friday Game Status
Akeem Dent LB Ankle LP Questionable
Tony Gonzalez TE Toe LP Questionable
Malliciah   Goodman DE Calf LP Questionable
Zeke Motta S Hand LP Questionable
Desmond   Trufant CB Thigh FP Probable
Sean   Weatherspoon LB Shoulder/Knee LP Questionable

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TE Gonzalez still limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 8:54 am

Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez was again limited in practice on Thursday with a persistent toe injury. It’s not expected to keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto, but it has compromised his route running ability. Here’s a look at the rest of Atlanta’s injury report.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Wednesday

Participation Thursday

Akeem Dent

LB

Ankle

LP

LP

Tony Gonzalez

TE

Toe

LP

LP

Malliciah Goodman

DE

Calf

LP

LP

Zeke Motta

S

Hand

LP

LP

Desmond Trufant

CB

Thigh

LP

FP

Sean Weatherspoon

LB

Shoulder

LP

FP


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Manuel setting own standard

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2013 – 9:02 am

EJ Manuel has been a quarterback long enough to know that expectations are going to rise and fall with each start he makes with his performance establishing the barometer. The rookie quarterback however, doesn’t pay much attention to the outside expectations. He’s too busy setting his own personal standards.

“I raise my own bar and I set my own bar,” he said. “I definitely want to hold myself to a high standard. I definitely don’t want to revert back to having games where it’s inconsistent or anything like that. Not to put any more pressure on myself, but I feel if I continue to do what I did that week versus the Jets and continue to study and prepare we should all go out and have a good game.”

Manuel will have all his offensive weapons in the lineup on Sunday against Atlanta for the first time since the first half of the season opener against New England.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gonzalez limited for Falcons

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2013 – 4:25 pm

Here’s a look at the Falcons injury report leading up to their game against the Bills Sunday in Toronto, with TE Tony Gonzalez the headliner on this list.

Gonzalez is dealing with a toe injury that left him as a limited participant on Wednesday. Fellow starters CB Marcus Trufant and LB Sean Weatherspoon were also limited with thigh and shoulder injuries respectively.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Wednesday

Akeem Dent

LB

Ankle

LP

Tony Gonzalez

TE

Toe

LP

Malliciah Goodman

DE

Calf

LP

Zeke Motta

S

Hand

LP

Desmond Trufant

CB

Thigh

LP

Sean Weatherspoon

LB

Shoulder

LP


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Bills not sleeping on poor Falcons record

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2013 – 12:41 pm

The Atlanta Falcons have lost eight of their last nine games including the last five in a row. They currently sit at 2-9 on the season and were the first NFC team eliminated from playoff contention. The Bills however, aren’t thinking they can just show up and win on Sunday.

“We know we’re going to get their best,” said Kraig Urbik. “They’re going to come out firing and they’re a good defense too. You look at the guys up front that they have and they have a really good talented defense so yeah their record might not be where they want it to be, but they’re going to come out firing when they come out to play us.”

“We have to approach like this team was in the NFC championship last year and they were in the game,” said Scott Chandler. “It was a good game, so they’re a very talented football team and we’ve got to approach it as they’re a good team.”

“If you look at their offense especially, because that’s what I can speak to, they’ve done  a lot of great things,” said Arthur Moats. “With Matt Ryan out there, he’s still making plays, even with them losing Julio and everything like that, Roddy, he’s still out there, you have to always account for him.  And their running game, between Steven Jackson and Jacquizz, that’s a really good one-two punch.”


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Lots of shuffling on Falcons O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2013 – 6:40 pm

While the Bills have worked a number of combinations in the secondary and at quarterback this season due to injury, the Falcons have worked a number of combinations on the offensive line due in part to poor performance.

Atlanta QB Matt Ryan had only been sacked 19 times going into their Thursday night game this week, but Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been tinkering with the lineup a lot. That according to ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure.

Last week against the Bucs there were four moves made up front in one game. The Falcons benched right guard Garrett Reynolds and moved center Peter Konz to right guard and brought Joe Hawley in to play center. Konz was then swapped out for Reynolds and a change was also made at right tackle with starter Jeremy Trueblood taking a seat in favor of Ryan Schraeder.

The Falcons also signed veteran free agent Sean Locklear, who figures to have a role by the time the Bills face Atlanta next week.

It’ll be interesting to see what their lineup looks like tonight against the Saints and if there will be subsequent in game changes again.

 


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