Inside The Bills

Watkins: We’ve got to do more on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 12:39 pm

The 20-13 final said enough for the men on Buffalo’s offense. On a day where their defense was really frustrating the Patriots offense, the Bills offensive unit had to do more when it came to finishing drives. That’s why Sammy Watkins had nothing but praise for his defensive teammates after the game.

“The defense played great. I know they got a little miscue with big plays and things like that, but to hold those guys to 20 points, they did great,” Watkins said. “That’s why it’s all on the offense. We’ve got to score points. You can’t ask for a better defensive stand and better defensive plays. We’ve got to score on offense and that’s on any team, the offense has to put up points.”

Buffalo’s offense did move the ball on New England with four of their 13 possessions covering 50 or more yards, but only one of those four drives resulted in a touchdown. When asked what’s keeping them from finding the end zone more often, Watkins chalked it up to details.

“It’s just little things. Little situations. Little first downs, catch the ball get the first down,” he said. “Catch the ball and go out of bounds. There are little things we’ve got to clean up. We’re not far off. There are little situations we’re in and we’ve got to focus a little bit more on both sides of the ball.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gronk gives Bills ‘D’ credit

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 12:29 pm

They held the Patriots to more than 17 points below their scoring average (37.3) on their home field. They held Tom Brady to a 51 percent completion percentage, his lowest since his first half of work against the Bills in the season finale in 2014. And he had his lowest passer rating (72.3) since that 2014 season finale as well. In the process they held Rob Gronkowski to just two receptions for 37 yards despite being targeted twice. It left Gronk respecting Buffalo’s ‘D’ postgame.

“They’re a good team. You got to give credit to them. They’ve got a good defense,” said Gronkowski. “They’ve got a lot of good players out there and you got to give them credit. They did a lot of things right – tough, physical and ready to play. The thing is, we just came in here and got the win and wins are always big.”

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell felt the same way about Buffalo’s stifling defense.

“They [the Bills] played a really good game on defense,” he said. “We couldn’t convert on third downs, they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They were just sending more guys than we could handle. They played lights out on third down; I think we converted like three-out-of-12 third downs [4-for-14 on 3rd downs]. We could never stay out on the field and get into a rhythm and I get into some up-tempo plays because they kept stopping us,”

Gronk is right. The win was the most important thing, but the Patriots aren’t laughing at the Bills anymore like they did in the days of Donte Whitner. They can see they’re closing the gap.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Head of officiating explains inadvertent whistle

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 1:09 am

The NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino provided an explanation for the officiating crew’s inadvertent whistle in the Bills-Patriots game Monday night.

Here was his explanation.


On the inadvertent whistle:

“The line judge lost track of the football and he blew his whistle inadvertently. That’s a mistake and we shouldn’t have blown the whistle. So by rule they are going to look as to where was the football when the whistle was blown and they determined that Amendola had the football when the whistle was blown. So then the team with possession gets an option: they can either take the ball at that spot or they can replay the down. So New England decided to take the ball at the spot which was more beneficial to them. And then there was a penalty on the play called against coach Ryan so that penalty by rule is also enforced from the spot where the whistle blew. So that’s how they came to that decision.”

On if he was confused as to why the whistle was blown:

“Sure. You’re always wondering when – again just by definition an inadvertent whistle is a whistle that shouldn’t have been blown – so you’re wondering why. It has happened before. This isn’t the first time an official loses track of where the football is and thinks that the play is over and blows his whistle. We do want our officials to blow their whistle when the play is over. So you’re wondering why that happened. But then once it did happen, the crew I thought did a good job of handling where they were going to put the football because again both teams are affected by the whistle blowing. Both teams stop and so we can’t assume what would have happened. So we gave the ball to the Patriots at the spot of the catch and then enforced the penalty from there.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moment of silence for Bills-Pats pre-game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2015 – 5:45 pm

Prior to the Monday night game between the Bills and Patriots there will be a special moment of silence observed. Here are the details.

Before the national anthem is sung there will be a moment of silence observed for 18-year old Ezra Schwartz, a Sharon, Massachusetts native who was killed on Thursday in the West Bank. Schwartz was not military, but was delivering food to soldiers. Here is more on his story.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brady not thrilled Bills CBs playing so well

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2015 – 12:10 pm

The Buffalo Bills two starting cornerbacks, Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore have probably been the two most consistent players on defense this season. One opponent who is noticing is Patriots QB Tom Brady.

“Yeah, they definitely have good matchups out there, so I think they have a lot of confidence in them,” said Brady in reference to Darby and Gilmore. “And those players have done a great job when the coach has asked them, ‘Alright, you’ve got this guy, and you’re going to match him and shadow him.’ They definitely do a good job of that.

“It was a little disappointing to see from my study that they were playing as well as they were, but that’s part of it. You’re going to go against good players. And they’ve got good players, so we’ve got to still kind of figure out how to move the ball down the field.”

Even though Brady did throw for a season-high 466 yards in a Week 2 win over the Bills, he had the fourth-lowest completion percentage in a game this season (64.4%) and the third lowest yards per attempt (7.9) as the approach was for Brady to get the ball out fast to neutralize Buffalo’s pass rush.

Brady currently leads the league in pass release time at an average of just 2.13 seconds.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Patriots body double for Tyrod Taylor

Posted by Chris Brown on November 22, 2015 – 2:45 pm

The New England Patriots, like every other team in the NFL have a scout team designed to give their starting defense as realistic a look as possible to prepare for Buffalo’s offense on Monday night. Finding someone who can emulate Tyrod Taylor is not easy, but the Patriots feel they’ve got a suitable body double.

New England made use of backup QB Jimmy Garappolo on the scout team to serve as their Tyrod Taylor in practice.

“Jimmy is a good athlete,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “We’ve had several quarterbacks like that this year that we’ve played against that have run well – [Blake] Bortles and obviously Taylor and you can go right down the line. So when those situations come up, teams that run those kinds of plays, bootlegs or quarterback keeps or even just loose scramble plays, he gives us a great look on those.

“And throwing the ball, too, some of it is running around, sometimes we’ve done things like put a receiver back there to run around, which is good for the defensive line or the pass rush to see a player that has that kind of quickness. Like when we played against [Doug] Flutie or somebody like that, I can remember putting whoever our quickest player was back there to run around to simulate the pass rush and how hard it was to contain him, but then you couldn’t throw the ball. You didn’t get the look down the field or the defensive backs would see a receiver in the game at quarterback, and again that was good for the line, but the guy couldn’t throw the ball 20 yards downfield.

“But with Jimmy, it’s obviously a different story, so he’s given us a great look on the passing part of it but also the running part of it. And again, those players are smart. They run when they can run. They don’t run when there’s nowhere to run. If there’s nowhere to run, they’ll throw. But if you give them a spot to run, unless they have a great passing opportunity, they’ll take advantage of it.”

Belichick and his defense successfully closed down potential running lanes for Taylor in the first meeting. Hemmed in the pocket a good portion of the time, Taylor was sacked a season-high eight times in the first matchup with New England.

“I think that’s really the key for us, if we have the player contained he’s probably not going to try to run too much,” Belichick said. “If we don’t, then we’re vulnerable and he’s going to get us. It’s having the guy who can make that right decision and really give you that realistic look of, we don’t really have it and he hurts us with it, whereas sometimes you’re coaching on the film in practice and you’re saying, ‘Well if we were playing against this guy and this happened, this is what he’s going to do.’ But we can’t really do that so the players never really get that. They hear it, but they don’t really experience it. But Jimmy has done a good job of that. He’s moved and he’s very athletic. He’s fast and he’s got very good quickness, and he can obviously throw the ball so it brings all those elements into it.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-20

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2015 – 12:49 pm

The Bills are trying to pull off an impressive trifecta in their gauntlet run through the division, and the hardest hurdle to clear is next with the Patriots in Foxboro Monday night. They’re 2-0 so far. We’ll see what Monday night holds. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

any chance they let robert woods do something besides block this week?


CB: I know Woods hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunities to make plays in the passing game lately. Part of the reason is the reduction in pass attempts the last few weeks. Tyrod Taylor has averaged just over 18 pass attempts a game in his last three appearances. It’s not like they haven’t made an effort to get Woods the ball. His eight targets in the last two games are second only to Sammy Watkins. Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy are the only other players who have been passing targets the last two games.

So while Woods hasn’t been able to make a giant impact in the passing game, when the Bills do go to the air he is a part of the plan. The passing game has just taken a back seat to the run game of late.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

biggest matchup advantage the Bills have this week?


CB: I really like Charles Clay in this game. Patrick Chung is a box safety and Devin McCourty is average at best in coverage. I believe Clay could have a day against the Patriots in the passing game and serve as a valuable underneath and seam target for Tyrod Taylor.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

the last few games, Bills have put a healthy DT on the inactive list, do you expect that to change against Blount?


CB: I don’t know that LeGarrette Blount’s presence on the opponent’s roster necessarily demands that another defensive tackle be active Monday night. The Jets’ Chris Ivory runs every bit as tough as Blount, and in my opinion runs with more power and Buffalo had a DT inactive last Thursday night.

The inactive list is put together with a lot of factors in mind. Injuries, game plan, matchups, etc. So I understand why you might expect with a big back that more DTs would be active, but knowing that Carrington and Mario can play end or tackle you have enough versatility in your defensive linemen that all of them do not need to be active on game day provided everyone is healthy.


4 – Chris;
I would be interested on your thoughts for handling Gronk ?
My thoughts are assigning someone to shadow him every play, a player who is big enough and tough enough to match him physically . My thoughts, Hughes or Lawson on D, maybe Gregg or Gray who know TE plays ??
We need to think outside the box on him.

Jim in Florida

I had a new idea about how to handle Gronk that came to me this week. Unfortunately with Leodis McKelvin’s status up in the air I’m not sure it will work. In any case, with Julian Edelman out of the lineup Buffalo can afford to deploy their defensive backs differently.

Let’s assume for now that Leodis McKelvin is available to play. If that’s the case I would put McKelvin outside opposite Ronald Darby, leave Nickell Robey in the slot and put Stephon Gilmore on Rob Gronkowski.

He’s the most physical defensive back on the team. He can clearly run with Gronk and has the physical skill set and size to defend passes against him. Without game-breaking threats elsewhere you can afford to put your top corner on Gronk in my opinion. You’ve got nothing to lose as I see it.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will EJ be the backup QB on Monday or not dress? #Bills


CB: Rex Ryan said that EJ Manuel is his backup for the rest of the season and that last Thursday night was a special circumstance in making Josh Johnson the backup QB and making Manuel one of the team’s seven inactive players.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tyrod glad he has 2nd crack at Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2015 – 9:04 am

Tyrod Taylor was anything but happy with his performance against New England back in Week 2. Though he threw three touchdown passes to help Buffalo climb back into the game, he also threw three interceptions and was sacked eight times. That’s why he’s aiming to redeem himself with a productive and consistent performance Monday night in Foxborough.

“Every time you go out there and perform I definitely take it personally,” said Taylor. “Whether it’s a good performance or a bad performance.  Every time you get a chance to go out there and prove yourself, those bad performances are in your head. You definitely want to go out there and show people what you can do and who you are. I look forward to that every time I step on the football field.”

Taylor stressed that he won’t be trying to do anything that’s outside the scope of the game plan unless he’s forced to improvise.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: No margin for error with Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2015 – 8:38 am

The Bills learned the hard way back in Week 2 that if you commit unforced errors when playing the Patriots they will inevitably make you pay for it. That lesson is serving them well this week in their preparation for the rematch with New England on Monday night. Sammy Watkins and company know all too well that they have to have a virtually air tight performance if they want to have a legitimate chance to win the game.

“Going against the New England Patriots you got to really watch a lot of film on those guys,” Watkins said. “Those guys are so good at what they do, you got to really know what you are doing. Nobody can mess up, everybody on the field, got to be on the right page, all 11 guys got to be prepared. You got to eliminate all the mistakes, and go out there and play fast and play hard because they are going to do the same thing.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats sign WR Harper

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2015 – 6:47 pm

The Patriots added a receiver to their 53-man roster Tuesday in the wake of the injury to Julian Edelman. 

The Patriots signed rookie WR Chris Harper from the practice squad. Harper, 21, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Cal and he made the 53-man roster out of training camp. 

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder, played in the season opener vs. Pittsburgh as a reserve wide receiver, but did not record any statistics. He was released by the Patriots on Sept. 15, and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 17.

To make room for Harper on the roster the Patriots released OL Chris Barker.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Surgery for Pats WR Edelman

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2015 – 9:27 am

The injury sustained by New England WR Julian Edelman in the first quarter of the Patriots win over the Giants Sunday night will apparently require surgery.

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Edelman, who reportedly broke a bone in his left foot, will have surgery today (Monday).


Edelman is not expected to be available for the Patriots Week 11 matchup with the Bills in Foxborough on Monday night. Danny Amendola is expected to assume Edelman’s primary slot receiver role in the New England offense.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Edelman sustains broken foot

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2015 – 10:01 pm

The Patriots remained undefeated Sunday, but not without a key injury. Leading receiver Julian Edelman suffered a broken foot in the first quarter and did not return. He’s out indefinitely so his chances of playing next Monday night against the Bills appears unlikely.

New England also lost RB Dion Lewis for the rest of the season two weeks ago to a torn ACL. On Sunday they also played without three of their offensive linemen. No word yet on what the status of Marcus Cannon, Tre Jackson and Sebastian Vollmer, who were all inactive against the Giants.

It’s expected that Danny Amendola will fill Edelman’s role in the slot as he did for much of the remainder of the Giants game.

Here’s a look at how Edelman breaks foot vs. Giants

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Patriots lose RB Dion Lewis for the year

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2015 – 1:58 pm

An injury to a key player is beginning to affect other AFC East teams besides the Bills. According to multiple reports the New England Patriots lost their most dynamic rusher in Dion Lewis, who sustained a torn ACL in the Patriots win Sunday over Washington.

Lewis is also third on the team in receptions and receiving yards behind Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. James White is expected to pick up the slack with Brandon Bolden behind power back LeGarrette Blount.

Buffalo faces the Patriots in New England on Monday Night Football in Week 11. Lewis had 91 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the Patriots first meeting with the Bills in Week 2.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rambo: Don’t blame the pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 11:22 pm

The Bills defensive game plan was to use their advantageous matchups up front and just rush their front four at Tom Brady on passing downs so they could drop seven into coverage. That was the plan through much of the first half, but Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes could not get home, and it had nothing to do with their abilities as pass rushers.

Bills Bacarri Rambo, who saw it all unfold from his safety position said Patriots QB Tom Brady just gets the ball out too fast for any pass rush to matter.

“It wasn’t even the pass rush; it’s just, (Tom Brady) wasn’t holding on to the ball long enough to allow our pass rush to get there,” said Rambo. “We’ve got four guys that can get home each and every play if they want, and they’re going to, because that’s how those guys play up front. But, it wasn’t even on them by getting home, it’s Brady just knew where the ball was going as soon as he got the ball, one, two, the ball was gone. So, it had nothing to do with the pass rush.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: I was outcoached

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 6:37 pm

Rex Ryan didn’t pull any punches. In his opening statement following his team’s 40-32 loss to the Patriots, Buffalo’s head coach put the loss squarely on his shoulders.

“I’m going to tell you exactly like I told our team, this loss is squarely on one man’s shoulders,” he said. “It’s on my shoulders. Yeah we’ve got to get better as a team no question, but I have to get better. Belichick outcoached me, no question about it and that’s how it ended up. It’s unfortunate. The plan has to be better on defense. You can’t give up 500 yards and beat anybody. Then we turn it over three times. But we did a (expletive) job and it’s my responsibility. Our team will get better, but it starts with me getting better and I’m looking forward to next week.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t really buy into Ryan’s comment that he was outcoached.

“No, it’s our players,” said Belichick. “Our players went out there and played. They made the plays ot win the game and I’d say they probably overcame some not so great coaching on my part. I’ll give the credit to our players. They did a good job. They deserve the credit. They’re the ones that made the plays.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Handling Pats rub routes

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 11:20 am

We’ve all seen it too many times before. Two New England passing targets cross one another when running their patterns with one effectively picking off one of the opposing defenders giving Tom Brady an easy open receiver to complete a pass. Pick plays are illegal, but it’s ultimately a judgment call for an official who has to determine intent. Bills head coach Rex Ryan knows the tactics of New England on these plays and more and more teams are executing them. The key is the two defenders can’t play level or square to one another.

“The officials know, I mean that’s what happens,” said Ryan. “But you know if you play your guys on the same level that’s kind of a given. So you’re almost picking yourself. Don’t anticipate us playing on the same level and they know we’re not gonna play on the same level. But if you do then you open yourself up, and that’s against any team in the league.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rerouting Gronk easier said than done

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 10:25 am

Teams have tried and tried again to find the best way to stop Pats TE Rob Gronkowski and time and again they’ve come up empty. One tactic that is probably advisable is to collision Gronk at the line of scrimmage before he gets a head of steam going downfield. Bill DC Dennis Thurman isn’t opposed to that approach, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to neutralize him.

“That’s a part of it,” said Thurman. “Teams have tried a number of different things against him with minimal success. I mean the guys a very talented player. You know like Rex (Ryan) said yesterday, heck if you were having the draft all over again he’d go much higher than where he went. I mean he’s a very talented man, he gets the job done for them. I understand how and why they use him the way that they do. We have our work cut out for us, but we feel like we are up to the task.”

At the same time there a rhythmic nature to the Pats offense and throwing a wrench in the works to get them off track can be tough when they’re rolling.

“They execute well and it starts with their quarterback. They’ve been doing it for years,” said Thurman. “You anticipate that they’re going to make some plays. We have to make our share of plays and we feel like if we do we’ll be okay. They’re a tough cover. They’re hard and difficult to deal with because of the guy pulling the trigger. He’s as good as it gets in the game so our expectations are that he’ll play well so we have to play well.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Will Sammy have a follower again?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 9:55 am

Last week Sammy Watkins had Colts top cornerback Vontae Davis follow him all over the field. The result was just three targets and no receptions. Now facing New England today there’s a good chance Watkins could have another follower on each and every one of his routes.

In Week 1 New England had top corner Malcolm Butler follow Pittsburgh top wideout Antonio Brown all over the field. The results weren’t exactly great for the Patriots corner. Brown had nine catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. So employing that strategy may not be the best approach as New England sees it. That being said the Patriots typically try to take the best weapon of an opponent out of the game.

“One of the things that’s interesting is when you go back and look at New England over the years each one of their teams takes on a certain personality year to year and you’re never quite sure what that’s going to be week to week within that season,” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman. “So really I think you get a really good picture of the personnel and the possibilities that can take place, but you’ve got to go out and play what’s out there. You just don’t know, so if you don’t know, why guess?”

Butler could follow Watkins and they could roll safety help over the top, but many expect New England to try to shut down the run game first and force Tyrod Taylor to make plays.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Which DL will be on the move this week?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 9:06 am

In Week 1 Bills Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams was moved around to a number of different alignments pre-snap from one series to the next and in some cases one play to the next. It was all designed to create confusion for the opposing offensive line. Williams anticipates much of the same this week, but will it be him who is on the move?

“We’re going to line up all over the place,” said Williams. “I’m going to line up all over the place, Mario, Jerry, everybody’s going to line up all over the place. It’s something you have to get comfortable with, we’ve tried to get comfortable with it in in OTAs and training camp. The more comfortable we get with it, the more uncomfortable they’re going to be.

“You can tell what the confusion and disguise can do to an offense.  Whether we’re blitzing four or more, or whether we’re just bringing four and we’re giving that look—it’s a good thing for us to be able to do,especially against elite quarterbacks. You have to be able to throw wrinkles at them to confuse them. You can’t just line up and say, ’hey, this is what we’re going to do.’ They’ll find the weakness in it.”

With Marcell Dareus back in the lineup this week, the variations of looks figure to be even more numerous this week.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats OC on progress of rookie O-linemen

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2015 – 4:10 pm

In Week 1 due to injuries, the Patriots had to use up to three rookie offensive linemen from guard to guard. Rookie C David Andrews will definitely be starting, and now with G Ryan Wendell out Shaq Mason is likely to start as well. Fellow rookie G Tre’ Jackson played a few series last week as well. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spoke about the progress of his three rookie linemen heading into Week 2 against Buffalo.

McDaniels admits that their communication will be challenged with the noise level anticipated in Ralph Wilson Stadium, the team’s first road game of the season.

“Each experience is a good one for them because they are learning and growing from it,” said McDaniels. “There are going to be mistakes and those mistakes can be great learning experiences for them, and hopefully we make progress and improve each week or each practice as we go forward. The communication aspect of playing in Buffalo is certainly a challenge. We know that, and we’re going to try to prepare the best we can and have confidence in all of those guys that they are going to be able to go out there and play together, communicate and hopefully execute their assignments the way that we need them to.

“There will be a lot of challenges in this game – a lot of different scheme challenges, a lot of personnel challenges. They’ve got great players, they’ve got a great defensive system, great coaching staff and the crowd is going to be great as well. It always is. Like I said, it’s an exciting week for us, and we’re going to have to do a good job of being prepared and going up there and trying to do the best we can at executing our jobs and our game plan.”

Posted in Inside the Bills