Inside The Bills

Woods has already played big at MetLife

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2013 – 9:48 am

Robert Woods, Ri"shard Anderson

For Bills rookies this is their first road game in the NFL, but for Robert Woods MetLife Stadium will feel a bit like home based on his past playing history at that venue.

Back on Sept. 8th, 2012, Woods had a monster game for USC against Syracuse on the neutral field. He had 10 receptions for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also had a 76-yard end around and a 31-yard punt return for a total of 200 all-purpose yards in a 42-29 win.

“The last time I was there I had a good game,” Woods told “It’s a new team on both sides, but I feel comfortable playing in that stadium. It’s kind of one of those things where you try to have in your head, I had a big game here last time, and let’s do it again. Going through the stadium it might feel a little like home field.”

His big game came over his current head coach’s team at the time as Doug Marrone was coaching Syracuse.

“He remembers,” said Woods with a wry smile.

Coach Marrone certainly wouldn’t mind seeing a duplicate performance today against the Jets.

“Relive it a little.”

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Returners trying to stay patient

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2013 – 12:05 pm

Buffalo’s kick returners and punt returners have largely been held in neutral the first two weeks thanks to big legged kickers. Not having an impact on the Bills field position has been tough to take, but head coach Doug Marrone is preaching patience.

Through the first two games Buffalo has just one punt return from Leodis McKelvin with three fair catches. T.J. Graham has the team’s only kick return back in Week 1. That’s been it. Everything else on kickoffs have been touchbacks.

Marrone has told his players not to force anything.

“I think you’re at the mercy and you have to be careful. You can’t get frustrated back there,” Marrone told “We can’t lose sight of the fact that we will get opportunities as the year goes on and we have to be ready for it. That’s one of the most important things. The other side is we can’t become frustrated where we feel we have to make something happen and go for kicks that you normally wouldn’t go for. We have great patience. We’ll wait and when those opportunities come we’ll be ready to go.”

Marcus Easley is again expected to be the primary kick returner with McKelvin on punts. Easley could get some chances with Nick Folk ranking 23rd in the league in touchback percentage (57.1%) for the Jets. New York also just signed a new punter this week in Ryan Quigley after opponents had nine punt returns for 107 yards in two games.

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Wood: Our ‘D’ readied us for Jets ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2013 – 10:44 am

As we profiled on the home page of this morning, both EJ Manuel and Geno Smith might be seeing more familiar defensive looks pre-snap on Sunday than they have seen to this point from an opponent in their young careers because of the similarities between their own team’s defense and that of their opponent this week in the Bills-Jets matchup. Bills center Eric Wood also found it helpful when it came to putting together the line call assignments.

“Yeah absolutely,” Wood said. “We feel it’s an advantage that we’ve seen this all summer. There are some differences, but some of the looks are the same and some of them are tough to prepare for so having seen these all summer has made some of the assignment installation easier.”

We’ll see on Sunday if that leads to more effective execution and faster tempo for the Bills with what is anticipated to be improved pre-snap recognition.

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Coples to play, Holmes probable

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2013 – 7:17 pm

The Jets have a lengthy injury report, but they’re relatively healthy heading into Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Head coach Rex Ryan listed all of his players except one as probable for their Week 3 game, including DL Quinton Coples, who was yet to play this season after suffering a hairline fracture in his ankle. He was limited all week in practice, but Ryan said he’ll play.

“Pretty amazing, looks like Quinton Coples will play,” said Ryan. “We’ll see. I’d say he’s probable for the game. That’s probably a story in itself, young man that’s coming off surgery, what, three, four weeks ago. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he’s done it. We’ll see what he can do.”

When asked if he’ll have a full time role Ryan indicated that he’d probably be part of a rotation on their D-line. Here’s the rest of New York’s injury report.

RB Bilal Powell (shoulder)
DL Quinton Coples (ankle)
DL Kenrick Ellis (back)
WR Santonio Holmes (foot)
DL Sheldon Richardson (shoulder)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
OL Willie Colon (knee)
CB Antonio Cromartie (hip)
WR Clyde Gates (knee)
WR Stephen Hill (knee)
OL Austin Howard (ribs)
WR Jeremy Kerley (concussion)
LB Garrett McInytre (knee)
QB Geno Smith (ankle)
DL Mo Wilkerson (ankle)

OL Oday Aboushi – knee

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Gannon on EJ and Geno

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2013 – 10:23 am

CBS NFL color analyst Rich Gannon will be doing Sunday’s Bills-Jets broadcast with veteran play-by-play man Marv Albert. Gannon sounds like he’s a bit higher on Bills QB EJ Manuel than he is on Jets QB Geno Smith.

Here’s what Gannon had to say about Manuel.

“Last year we got spoiled with some of the young rookie quarterbacks coming in and playing so well – RGIII, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck,” said Gannon. “E.J. Manuel has handled himself well and in a difficult situation – Week 1 against the Patriots and in a tough one against Carolina last week, but they found a way to pull it out.

“They’ve been patient with him in terms of the game plan. They’ve tried to scale it down and really focus in on things he does well. He is a guy that can make every throw and is a terror when he runs the ball because he’s a lot faster than his frame would indicate. He’s off to a terrific start. This is what they need in Buffalo – production and consistency at the quarterback position. He can handle the role of being the face of the franchise, which is amazing.”

As for Smith, Gannon feels Smith is not as NFL ready as Manuel.

“Is he really ready to play right now? The answer is no, but necessary with the Sanchez situation,” he said. “He has his weaknesses and makes some poor throws, but he’s very athletic and he gives the Jets a chance to win. You have to take the good with the bad with some of these young players. He has some play-making ability. He is mobile and going to force defenses to account for his duel threat capabilities with his ability to run, particularly out on the edge. But, he clearly has a ways to go to learn a very complicated system that Marty Mornhinweg is going to run in New York.”

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Prep for crowd noise coming

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2013 – 5:07 pm

The Bills are preparing for their first road game of the season on Sunday when they travel to Met Life Stadium to face the Jets. Crowd noise will be the new element for the offense this weekend. Head coach Doug Marrone has a plan to deal with that.

Most NFL coaches pump artificial crowd noise onto the practice field during the week.

“We typically do that on Fridays,” said Marrone following Thursday’s practice.

EJ Manuel knows they have to be prepared to communicate with hand signals if necessary.

“I’ve played in stadiums where there are 95-thousand people or 100-thousand,” Manuel said. “I know it’s going to be loud and everybody is going to be against us except for the Bills fans that are there. I think the biggest thing, early in the game you really want to try to hush their crowd down if you can go out there and put points on the board or try to get the momentum on your side. That’s where it matters the most when you’re away if you can get that momentum on your side early in the game and try to keep it I think it’ll be a lot easier as far as the noise and that kind of stuff.”

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Mario unaffected by OT Howard’s tactics

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2013 – 9:42 am

Last season in Week 1 at MetLife Stadium, Mario Williams was effectively neutralized by former undrafted free agent RT Austin Howard. Williams claimed Howard drove his hands up under his facemask and into his face and was never called for it by the officials. Williams stat line for the game was a single tackle in a blowout loss. Heading into the rematch, Williams said it doesn’t matter who it is his approach will be the same as it always is.

“Every week. Every week. Every time I step on the field Sunday whoever is across the ball that’s not my mentality that’s our mentality and we’re definitely looking forward to mixing it up,” said Williams.

When asked if he plans to talk to officials beforehand about Howard’s hands to the face tactics, Mario said he wouldn’t bother.

“No, just play ball,” he said. “That’s the mindset, just go out there and mix it up, get after it.”

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Jets injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2013 – 4:15 pm

Here’s a look at the Jets injury report for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium. Outside of RB Bilal Powell, WR Santonio Holmes and DL Quinton Coples, the Jets have healed up well.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Wednesday
Bilal Powell RB Illness/Shoulder DNP
Quinton Coples DL Ankle LP
Kenrick Ellis DL Back LP
Santonio   Holmes WR Foot LP
Sheldon   Richardson DL Shoulder LP
Kellen Winslow TE Knee LP
Willie Colon OL Knee FP
Antonio   Cromartie DB Hip FP
Clyde Gates WR Knee FP
Stephen Hill WR Knee FP
Austin Howard OL Ribs FP
Jeremy Kerley WR Concussion FP
Garrett   McIntyre LB Knee FP
Geno Smith QB Ankle FP
Mo Wilkerson DL Ankle FP

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Jets rookie DT calling out EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2013 – 8:58 am

Jets first-round pick DT Sheldon Richardson was taken three picks ahead of EJ Manuel in last spring’s draft. They met in New York City prior to the draft, and after Manuel’s fourth quarter comeback drive last Sunday Richardson fired a message off to Manuel on Facebook.

“I told him we’re after him,” Richardson told the Newark Star Ledger. “I just told him ‘good game,’ and I told him, ‘Hey, make sure you’re in your playbook, man.’”

Not surprisingly, the Jets sound like they want to put a lot of heat on Manuel to see how he handles it. Both the Patriots and Panthers did not put a ton of heat on Buffalo’s QB in the first couple of games.

“Just get after him,” Jets OLB Antwan Barnes told the Star Ledger. “Send everything you’ve got. Send the whole house.”


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Marrone: challenges change on the road

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2013 – 8:38 am

In addition to Sunday’s game being a big division contest, it’s also the first on the road Doug Marrone’s young team. Here’s how the Bills head coach is pitching the challenge of the first road contest to his players knowing they’ve had their first two games of the season on home turf.

“When you go out on the road,  the challenge is different,” he said. “Now you don’t have to worry about tickets, you don’t have anybody coming. Now you’ve got to worry about how you handle the different environment. I think a lot of the players are used to that, depending on what program they come from.

“It’s just a level of focus. Make no mistake, it will be something different for this team, something that we haven’t experienced together. But in the first year, there are going to be a lot of those situations.”

Buffalo’s record on the road against the Jets the past three seasons has not been good. Since 2010 the Bills are 0-3 at MetLife Stadium and have been outscored 114-59 in those three games. The biggest problem? Turnovers. Buffalo has 10 in their last three games with the Jets on the road.

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Jets fight vs. Pats to bring fines only

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2013 – 10:00 am

The Jets sideline fight with the Patriots last Thursday night is expected to bring only fines to the guilty players not suspensions.

That according to’s Ian Rapaport. Last Thursday night, Nick Mangold’s late hit on Aqib Talib after a fourth-quarter interception led to a fight. OL D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Willie Colon were both involved, with both players ejected from the game.

Colon is expected to be hit with the biggest fine for making contact with an official.

The Jets face this Bills this weekend, and the possibility of losing their starting left tackle in Ferguson and starting right guard Willie Colon.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Pettine’s ‘D’ fared well against Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2013 – 4:33 pm

While Mike Pettine will certainly be an asset for Buffalo’s defense, his subtraction from the coaching staff of a division rival in the Jets, will make an opponent they have to play twice weaker. Just looking at what Pettine’s defense against the Bills over the past four seasons is hopefully an indication of what’s to come in Buffalo.

Between 2009 and 2012 Pettine’s defense faced the Bills eight times helping the Jets compile a 6-2 record. What’s more important are the average figures for Buffalo’s offense over those eight games.

The Bills averaged just 17.6 points per game over that span, converted just 32 percent of their third downs had 20 turnovers (9 fumbles, 11 INTs) and an average time of possession of just over 27 minutes (27:07).

Pettine’s defense totaled 13 sacks in those eight meetings as well as a pair of touchdowns.

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Points a struggle for Jets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2012 – 10:44 am

New York’s offense has struggled mightily to put up points of late. The Jets haven’t scored 20 points or more in a game since before Thanksgiving.

Naturally the quarterback carousel hasn’t helped, but Chan Gailey sees their issues on offense centered around their inability to protect the football.

“Their biggest struggle is they have turned it over,” said Gailey. “When you turn it over you struggle to score. They haven’t been able to be consistent running the football like they want to be. With a few special teams breakdowns they’ve gotten behind and had to throw it and that’s created more of a problem. They’re not set up to throw and come from behind. Not many teams are but they certainly aren’t.”

The last time New York scored more than 20 points in a game was Nov. 18th against St. Louis when they won 27-13.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Jairus to see punt return duty again?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2012 – 9:35 am

For the first time in his Bills career, Jairus Byrd fielded a pair of punt returns in the loss to Miami last Sunday. Head coach Chan Gailey explained to why Byrd was added to the punt return mix and if it will continue.

“If you look at Jairus we trust him a great deal to catch the football and it looks like it’s going to be inside the 20 or the 10 we’ll put Jairus back there because he’s a great catcher of the ball,” said Gailey. “He’s a sure-handed guy. Justin (Rogers) is a sure-handed guy, but if we’re looking to get a return, make something happen with the ball, he’s got more explosiveness and can make more things happen in a true return situation.”

Both of Byrd’s punt returns were fair catches. Rogers has just three returns on the season for 14 yards.


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Jets TE Keller doubtful for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2012 – 3:43 pm

While the Jets are likely to have DL Muhammad Wilkerson (concussion/knee) on Sunday against the Bills they’re unlikely to have Mark Sanchez’s security blanket in the passing game.

TE Dustin Keller is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury after he failed to practice at all this week. Keller is the Jets second-leading receiver behind Jeremy Kerley. Here’s a full list of the Jets injury report for Sunday’s game.

DB Aaron Berry – hamstring

WR Chaz Schilens – knee
LB Bryan Thomas – chest
QB Greg McElroy – concussion
TE Dustin Keller – ankle

WR Braylon Edwards – hamstring/knee
CB Ellis Lankster – concussion

TE Jeff Cumberland – ankle/wrist
DT Kenrick Ellis – knee
K Nick Folk – back
S LaRon Landry – heel/hamstring
P Robert Malone – illness
C Nick Mangold – shoulder
LB Garrett McIntyre – elbow
RB Joe McKnight – ankle/illness
G Brandon Moore – foot/hip
LB Calvin Pace – shoulder
RB Bilal Powell – shoulder/toe
QB Mark Sanchez – back
LB Ricky Sapp – ankle
LB Bart Scott – toe
G Matt Slauson – knee
QB Tim Tebow – ribs
DL Muhammad Wilkerson – concussion/knee

Posted in Inside the Bills

Wilkerson planning to play for Jets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2012 – 3:21 pm

Jets DL Muhammad Wilkerson was considered iffy for New York’s season finale against the Bills in Buffalo. He was dealing with what Rex Ryan said was a concussion and knee injury from last week’s game, but he’s listed as probable.

Wilkerson told ESPNNew that he did not suffer a concussion.

“I plan on playing Sunday,” Wilkerson told ESPN New York. He insisted that he didn’t have a concussion and was cleared to play after passing the required tests. Wilkerson said he feels “good” heading into the team’s regular season finale against Buffalo. “They were making sure I didn’t have a concussion. But I didn’t have one. I just showed symptoms but I was fine.”

Wilkerson has been New York’s best defensive lineman the past few weeks posting four of his five sacks this season in his last six games.


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Anderson, Searcy out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2012 – 1:31 pm

DE Mark Anderson was trying to get back from a torn lateral meniscus suffered in Week 5, but after a pair of knee surgeries it just wasn’t responding. He’ll miss the season finale against the Jets as he’s been declared out for Sunday’s game.

S Da’Norris Searcy is also out for Sunday’s game with a groin after he failed to practice all week. Here’s the rest of Buffalo’s injury status report for the Jets game.

DE Mark Anderson – knee
S Da’Norris Searcy – groin

FS Jairus Byrd – ankle
G Andy Levitre – knee
DT Kyle Williams – ankle
LB Nick Barnett – knee
FB Dorin Dickerson – ankle
WR Marcus Easley – hamstring
CB Justin Rogers – foot
LB Chris White – hamstring
C Eric Wood – knee
RB C.J. Spiller – shoulder
DE Mario Williams – wrist

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WR Martin back

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2012 – 11:34 am

Bills WR Ruvell Martin was excused for personal reasons this week and missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but is back practicing here on Friday.

The only non-participant in practice is S Da’Norris Searcy, who has already been declared out for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

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Jets switch to Sanchez as starter Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2012 – 12:29 pm

After Rex Ryan announced on his conference call with the Buffalo media that he was going to start Greg McElroy at quarterback Sunday against the Bills, he had to reverse his course and announce he’s startin Mark Sanchez.

Ryan in his Thursday press conference said McElroy revealed to the medical staff that he was experiencing concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in last week’s loss to San Diego.

“Mark has had success earlier in the season against Buffalo,” Ryan said. “He’s very familiar with them. That’s the reason I’m going with Mark. I had the conversation with both Mark and Tim…. about what I was going to do. Obviously, Tim’s not happy with that. That’s what you expect.”

The New York Daily News is reporting that Ryan said the need to make a quick call on the change, prompted him to lean toward Sanchez, rather than Tebow with Ryan indicating with just Thursday and Friday practice before Sunday’s game that they might not be able to get Tebow up to speed in time rep-wise.

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Jets to turn to read option?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2012 – 3:04 pm

The Bills have had their share of trouble with the read option game the past two weeks with Seattle working that part of their offense very effectively and Miami getting some positive plays out of it as well against Buffalo in their victories. The Bills last opponent of the season, the Jets, arguably have one of the better read option quarterbacks in Tim Tebow, but will they make use of him Sunday?

Head coach Rex Ryan didn’t use Tebow in their Wildcat package last Sunday because Tebow asked not to be a part of that package. That according to ESPN New York. Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was used instead in the Jets’ 27-17 loss to San Diego.

That same report indicates that Tebow and Ryan have since smoothed things over. On his conference call with Buffalo media, Ryan was asked in light of the recent success of the read option against Buffalo if he would make use of it, be it Tebow or Kerley.

“Obviously you’ll look at things that maybe have worked against an opponent or whatever,” said Ryan. “A lot of things go into it. We played that Seattle team and you can say the same thing: they had success running it against us running that so we’re certainly going to prepare for it as well. When you look at what Seattle has, they have a lot of things that are hard to defend. They’ve got the receivers, the quarterback — and he can do different things. Could we possibly do it? The answer is yes and we hope they spend the majority of their practice working on it.

“It helps obviously if you can mix something like that in to keep a team honest or whatever. I can assure you that Buffalo has those plays in and we have those plays in as well. I think preparation goes into it as well, how much time you actually prepare for it. I remember when we played Buffalo we were going to try and surprise them and they came out and smoked our Wildcat so apparently they did some preparing for it, that’s for sure.”

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