Inside The Bills

1st down told the story

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 8:13 pm

Going into Sunday’s game between the Bills and Patriots, in our Scouting Report, the Number One Must listed for the Bills to have a chance against the Pats was 1st down efficiency on offense. While the turnovers and penalties certainly played a significant part in the loss to New England, Buffalo’s offensive efficiency on first down had a lot to say about the outcome as well.

Coming into the game Buffalo was averaging a healthy 5.66 yards on first down, good for 10th best in the league. Even better New England’s defense ranked 28th in yards allowed on first down (6.14). Unfortunately a combination of inconsistent execution by the Bills and some stout play by the Patriots defense added up to an unproductive day on first down for Buffalo’s attack. Here are the numbers.

Bills first down summary
27 plays, 66 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles lost, seven incompletions, four plays negative yardage
Avg. gain per first down play – 2.44 yards

Buffalo averaged less than half the yardage they had been gaining on first down through the first five games this season (5.66). Even worse all three of their turnovers came on first down plays as well. That led to long down and distance in many cases on second and third down. To Buffalo’s credit their third down conversion percentage was good considering the lack of positive yardage on first down (8-15, 53%). But first down has to be better, especially with a run first attack like Buffalo’s.

On the other side, New England’s offense didn’t have much more success than Buffalo’s in the first half. The Patriots first down summary through the first two quarters looked like this – 15 plays, 56 yards and a touchdown.

Come the second half however, things changed for New England’s offense – 16 plays, 128 yards, TD. All told here’s how New England’s offense performed for the entire game.

Patriots first down summary
31 plays, 184 yards, 2 TDs, four incompletions, four plays negative yardage
Avg. gain per first down play – 5.93 yards

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills aiming to keep Gronk under wraps

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 9:32 am

Their exact plan has been kept under wraps this week, but the Bills know they’ve got to limit Rob Gronkowski in New England’s passing game. Not only because he’s a favorite target of Tom Brady, but because he’s been a Bills killer over the years.

In his six games played against the Bills, he has 30 catches for 449 yards and nine touchdowns. Six of those touchdowns have come in his last four games played against Buffalo. He did not face the Bills last year due to injury.

His quarterback Tom Brady knows coming back to Buffalo to play his hometown team is a game that Gronk looks forward to.

“He’s done a great job for us since he’s got here,” said Brady. “Being from Buffalo, I know how much he always loved going up there to play, so hopefully he has a great game this weekend. He’s a big part of our offense. He’s fought through a lot of things over the last few years, but he’s excited, he loves being back out there with us, and it’s great to have him back.”

The Bills may use any of a number of players to cover Gronkowski between some of their more athletic linebackers and safeties.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Fans will be louder than Week 2

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 8:27 am

Back in Week 2 just after it had been announced that the Pegulas had the winning bid for the Bills franchise, Buffalo was hosting Miami in their home opener. The energy in the stadium was electric and the fans had an impact on the game as they forced the Dolphins into some penalties due to the crowd noise. This Sunday with the Pegulas now officially the owners of the team and a big division game against New England, head coach Doug Marrone expects the atmosphere to be even more amped up in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

“My expectation is it’s going to be an even greater atmosphere,” said Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment on and presented by Tim Horton’s. “I think that our fans can play a big difference in this game. We’re focused on going out there and beating a divisional opponent, beating New England. And I think our fans will be able to play a big role in this game and help us.”

Patriots QB Tom Brady has played enough games in Ralph Wilson Stadium to know the din that Bills fans can manufacture on game day.

“It’s always a tough place to play. Communication is always an issue,” said Brady. “I’m sure it’s going to be rowdy. The fans are going to be into it. It’s a one o’clock game, everybody is going to get up and get rolling. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. If you love football, then one o’clock Sunday in Orchard Park is where you want to be.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus has Belichick’s respect

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2014 – 10:59 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus, who justed earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors following his three-sack performance that included other tackles for no gain or loss, has impressed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with is spike in production this season. Here was Belichick’s assessment of Dareus’ game this season.

“He’s a hard guy to block. He’s strong, quick, he’s got good instincts,” said Belichick. “He reads blocks well, does a good job attacking the leverage, does a good job in the pass rush of beating, based on how the guard or how he gets set. He had a big play against Detroit where the center slid to him and he split the double team. You don’t see that a lot. He’s got the quickness and the strength to do that.

“He runs (stunt/twist) games well. They run a lot of games. He does a good job with that, as does Kyle Williams. They have that penetrating quickness that makes those games effective and also the athleticism to come around and contain a quarterback if the end goes first or if they run an inside tackle game. Yeah, I agree. I think he’s been good and he’s been even more productive this year. He’s playing [at] a high level in the running game, too. He’s strong, uses his hands well, he reacts well to blocking schemes.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Belichick on Orton’s 1st start for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2014 – 2:56 pm

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick obviously poured over the Bills game tape from last week against Detroit. Knowing it was Kyle Orton’s first start with Buffalo he paid close attention to the plays that were called and the personnel groupings the Bills offensive staff chose to use. Here was his assessment of how the Bills offense changed with Orton at quarterback in comparison to EJ Manuel.

“Some differences, yeah, some differences,” said Belichick. “More drop back passing game, a little different running game although Doug [Marrone] has had that running game as part of his offense. They weren’t sitting up there drawing up new plays. They just ran them with more frequency. Orton [was] under center a little more on early downs. But certainly more drop back passing. I think Orton did a good job spreading the ball around. He got the ball to his backs, his tight ends, his receivers. Reading coverages and working different combination parts of the pattern, he did a good job of that; got the ball out quickly.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-10

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2014 – 11:32 am

It’s been a historic week for the Buffalo Bills franchise. Sunday should be electric! For now let’s get to your questions this week on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,
Brandon Spikes only signed a one year deal in the off season, do you think the Bills will try and wrap him up long term?

Paddy, Vancouver Canada

CB: Spikes was brought in for a reason, to improve the team’s run defense. I think the one-year contract is very indicative of the club’s approach. It appears to be a let’s see how it goes approach. So it’s my belief that the powers that be will see how Spikes’ season plays out, and come the offseason they’ll assess his value and potential contributions for the team’s future.

I can say that in talking to Spikes he likes his teammates, coaches and the atmosphere here in Buffalo. He brings additional value with his veteran leadership, but I think it’s only fair for both sides to allow his full body of work to be reviewed before making any future decisions.


2 – Chris,

The #1 weakness for Bills is the Offensive Line. Same story for the past 14 years. Right now, I have no faith in either Right Guard or Left Guard. Our O-line has been a disaster.  I hope Richardson can play better than Chris Williams (who the Bills front office paid way too much for a below average guard).  I think the Bills front office should have done a better job in free agency at the guard position.

Not sure the Erik Pears experiment is going to work out.  With Pears at guard he has not been effective pulling for screen plays, sweeps or trap plays.

Question: I love Wood at center, but if the Bills guard troubles continue, perhaps the Bills could play Urbik at center and play Woods at guard again.

Next year Bills need to Upgrade – O-Line, Tight End position and perhaps Quarterback if progress is not made this season.

South Florida,………….   Thank you Terry and Kim Pegula!!!!

CB: Concerning your question about Eric Wood, I think he is at his most valuable position at center. That’s not to say he couldn’t play guard, which he did early in his career with the Bills. It seems as though they’re interested in letting Cyril Richardson learn the ropes when Chris Williams’ back doesn’t allow him to play.

That being said your idea isn’t a bad one. Kraig Urbik is the team’s backup center, so it is an option if the offensive staff feels it’s necessary to make a different kind of change at guard. I just think Wood is so valuable making the calls and performing in the pivot that I’d be hesitant to move him.


3 – Hey Chris,

My question is regarding the switch from Manuel to Orton.  My understanding is that the Bills are under pressure to win now, EJ just isn’t where he needs to be and so Marrone needed to make the decision before the losses got out of hand.  My question is, do you think that the plan they had going into the season regarding EJ and the offense is not working?  I mean the O-line is really struggling which is making the run game struggle which forced EJ the past 2 games to throw over 40 times. I wonder if part of this move is not only about winning but it could also be about protecting EJ and his psyche. So now Orton will come in and fans seem to think that he can do a better job, but he also needs the same formula as EJ, a good O-line a strong run game and defense and I’m worried that the Bills have a bigger issue than just QB. I was just wondering your thoughts about that.

Thanks for all your time, Jillian
CB: I think based on everything we’ve heard from coach Marrone on this subject that it was purely a performance decision. As coach Marrone said when he initially made the change at quarterback, he needs more production from that position. He was not getting enough positive plays from the quarterback position in the passing game and it was compromising their effectiveness on offense.

We’ll see where things go with Kyle Orton now in the lineup, but this is a performance-based business and I believe that was the crux of coach Marrone’s decision.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills How do you think the the Bills stop the short/quick passing game of the Pats this week


CB: Flooding the short passing lanes with defenders can help to disrupt some of the rhythm that Tom Brady relies upon in the Patriots’ passing game. How the Bills choose to do that remains to be seen. The general consensus by those outside the organization is to pressure Tom Brady, but that’s easier said than done even with a Buffalo defense that leads the league in sacks.

Kansas City had an awful lot of success rushing four and dropping seven into coverage. They dropped linebackers and their box safety into zones and defended the middle of the field pretty well, which is where Brady likes to work with his tight ends and Julian Edelman. Buffalo could take a similar approach if they so choose. They have comparable personnel to the Chiefs up front and at the second level.
5 – Hello, Chris,

In addition to your written work and videos on, I really enjoy your regular updates on the JMS.  You are very frank and insightful on those calls and I look forward to them each week.

My question relates to a subject I have not heard one person in the Buffalo print media nor family address since the announced QB switch – Kyle Orton’s motivation/determination.  I have always thought Orton has all the necessary QB skills.  Most importantly, he has the ability to read a defense and deliver the ball to the open receiver.  I felt EJ was sadly lacking in both case aspects.  However, I do not question EJ’s heart.  He took a beating the last two weeks and seemed to courageously get back on his feet and put the last hit behind him every time.  Do you think we can expect that with Orton?  My biggest concern regarding his signing apparently “out of retirement” was the possibility he was just looking for a paycheck to hold a clipboard and mentor EJ.  After nine years of bouncing around the league, does he have the personal motivation to lay it on the line for one more chance at football glory?

I have not heard nor seen anything, other than the circumstances around his signing, to create that doubt, but I have not seen nor heard anything to suppress it, either.  We will know soon enough, I suppose, once he gets under center.  However, it would be great to hear from inside the Bills family that Orton is the committed to going into combat with his teammates.  I truly believe the Bills have the skill players to make big plays on a consistent basis with a bunch of hungry young players surrounding a decent QB, and I hope the QB can mirror their intensity.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

CB: I appreciate the kind words. I think there is a measure of motivation for Kyle Orton with this current opportunity. In talking to him he admitted to me that this team is constructed in much the same way as the 2005 Chicago team he had to quarterback as a rookie after Rex Grossman was injured.

Their defense was outstanding, they had good special teams and a strong rushing attack with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Orton didn’t have to go out and win games there, and he may not have to do much of that here.

The benefit for the Bills is he’s a much wiser quarterback and a much more seasoned leader now than he was then.

I do believe the motivation could be at its highest this week, knowing his former head coach in Denver Josh McDaniels, is on the other sideline. McDaniels buckled to the pressure in Denver to start Tim Tebow, despite the fact that Orton led the Broncos to a 6-0 start.

I don’t know this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that coaching/organizational decision sticks in Orton’s craw perhaps more than any other. I don’t know that it does, and I’d never expect him to ever say that, but looking at all the decisions that went against him in his playing career, if I put myself in his shoes that one would sting the most for me.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats add pair to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 9, 2014 – 4:17 pm







The New England Patriots are nicked up on defense. On Thursday they added a pair of players to their injury report including their starting center.

The Pats added CB Brandon Browner to the injury report Thursday with an ankle injury. Starting center, rookie Bryan Stork was also a non-participant Thursday with a head injury. DL Dominique Easley also went from a limited participant Wednesday to a non-participant Thursday.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Browner, Brandon CB Ankle Did Not Participate
Easley, Dominique DL Shoulder/Knee Did Not Participate
Ebner, Nate DB Finger Did Not Participate
Fleming, Cameron OL Finger Did Not Participate
Collins, Jamie LB Thigh Limited Participation
Hightower, Dont’a LB Knee Limited Participation
Jones, Chandler DE Shoulder Limited Participation
McCourty, Devin S Rib Limited Participation
Slater, Matthew WR Shoulder Limited Participation
Stork, Bryan C Head Limited Participation

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brady aware Pegulas will boost energy at RWS

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2014 – 2:12 pm

The Patriots are preparing in earnest for their big division tilt Sunday against the Bills. As much time as they’re spending on Buffalo’s personnel and game tape, they are aware of the club’s ownership change. Veteran QB Tom Brady is smart enough to know that the fans’ energy at the Ralph Sunday will be even greater in the wake of the new Pegula ownership.

“Yeah, it’s a great environment up there. It’s always a tough place to play, so we’ve had a lot of tough games up there over the years,” Brady said. “I’m sure this one will be. You know, they’re playing great. There will be a lot of energy. Coach said that the new ownership happens this week, so they’ll be pretty fired up. It’ll be a great challenge for us certainly to go on the road in a tough place to play, try to go out there and get a tough win.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sept. 7th has been good to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 8:36 am

There are certain dates that will live in infamy for the Bills organization, none of which will be re-listed here. But there are also some dates that have been particularly kind to the team and their fans. One such date is today, September 7th.

There is not only one or two good things that happened to the Bills on September 7th, but three in their 54-year history. They are as follows.

September 7, 1980 – Streak ends Bills beat Dolphins
September 7, 1986 – Jim Kelly makes his Bills debut
September 7, 2003 – Bills open season with 31-0 win over New England Patriots
So two of Buffalo’s most noteworthy season-opening victories and the debut of the only player to have his number retired in team history. Not a bad trio of events. Could there be a fourth here today in Chicago for the Bills organization?

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats make teams pay

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 2:10 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone is more than aware of how effective the Patriots are when it comes to making opponents pay for their turnovers. In his weekly radio appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, he pointed to New England’s ability to score points off turnovers and their record when they are unable to force at least one in a game.

“Going into this game the thing I preached to our team all week was you can’t let this team force a turnover on us. When you look at what New England has been able to do from a forced turnover factor it’s really unbelievable how they’ve been able to play and how they’ve been able to win.

“If New England doesn’t force a turnover, they’re 11-and-17. That’s about the only losing record that they have in any category that you can look at.”

New England stands third in the league in points off takeaways with 88 so far this season. The league average is 57.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why we’ll see run, run, run on 1st-&-10

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 1:01 pm

If the season long numbers are any indication, when the Bills have the ball today in their season finale against the Patriots we’ll see an awful lot of run plays on 1st-and-10.

We’ve seen for a while that the Bills aren’t shy about running the football on 1st-and-10. They lead the league in run percentage on that down and distance at a gaudy 64.1 percent. With Thad Lewis at quarterback that figure is likely to hold true, especially in a road atmosphere and armed with the second-ranked rushing attack.

Making it even more likely is the fact that most New England opponents have found good success running on 1st-and-10 against them. Patriots opponents gain at least four yards running on first down more than half the time (51.4%), which sets up favorable down and distance on second down.

Not surprisingly, opponents choose to run on 1st-and-10 against New England almost 54 percent of the time (53.8%).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lots of long drives given up by Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 11:56 am

The Patriots have stayed successful this season as a team because their defense despite its many key losses to injury have remained a top 10 unit when it comes to points allowed (9th). However, they’re giving opponents ample opportunity to put the ball in the end zone.

New England stands 30th in the league in 10-play drives allowed. They’ve surrendered 30 10-play drives this season, which is five above the league average.

The Bills are coming off a win over Miami in which they had their longest drive of the season in terms of a plays, a 19-play 92-yard drive. They also had 94 and 80 yard drives the week before at Jacksonville that each covered nine plays.

Buffalo is no doubt hoping to have a similar play volume in today’s game knowing it means they’re not only controlling the pace of the game, but they’re also keeping the ball away from Tom Brady.

Posted in Inside the Bills

2 Bills 2014 opponents hinge on today’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 9:30 am

Fourteen of the Bills’ opponents are already mapped out for the 2014 season (counting their division opponents twice). Buffalo faces their division rivals twice each, the AFC West and the NFC North next year. The two remaining opponents will come via the intra-conference teams that finish in the same place in their respective division following today’s games. And though the fourth place team in the AFC North and the fourth place team in the AFC South are locked in their respective positions regardless of how they fare in Week 17, Buffalo’s spot in the AFC East is not set.

Buffalo will face the AFC North team that finishes in the same place as them at home and they’ll face the AFC South team that finishes in the same place as them on the road in 2014.

Right now in the AFC North, Cleveland is locked in the fourth spot and Houston is locked in the fourth spot in the AFC South.

Should Buffalo not pull out a win at New England, the Bills would have those two teams as their final two opponents for the 2014 season.

With a win however, the Bills could finish in third place in the AFC East if the Jets were to lose today, and that would make Buffalo’s AFC South opponent Jacksonville and their AFC North opponent either Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills fortunes vs. Pats all about 4th quarter

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2013 – 3:00 pm

All too often the Bills have let potential victories against the Patriots slip through their fingers by getting outplayed in the fourth quarter. New England is again a strong fourth quarter club this season.

It’s common knowledge that the Patriots are a top-five scoring offense with 410 points on the season, 389 of which have been put up by the offense. However, it’s the fourth quarter where New England’s point production has truly shined.

While the point differential in the first three quarters of games with their opponents has been marginal, the Patriots have proven to be vastly superior come the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza of their games this season New England has outscored their opponents by a nearly 2:1 margin (160-86). Their point differential in the fourth quarter of games (74) accounts for 80 percent of their point differential on the season (92).

Not surprisingly, over the last 25 meetings the Patriots have outscored Buffalo in the final stanza of their games by a wide margin. In fact the Pats have outscored Buffalo in the fourth quarter of those 25 games since 2001 by almost a 2:1 ratio (214-106).

The only two times the Bills have posted victories in that stretch (2003 opener, 2011 Week 3) they won the fourth quarters (10-0, 17-7). Buffalo has to outscore New England in the fourth quarter if they want to have a chance of posting their first win at Gillette Stadium.

Posted in Inside the Bills

S McCourty doubtful, OT Solder ques for Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 4:36 pm

The Patriots have a host of questionable players on their injury report for Sunday’s game with the Bills. Their safety Devin McCourty, who has also been a Bills killer in recent meetings is doubtful with a concussion. OT Nate Solder is also questionable after he too suffered a concussion. Here’s the rundown of Patriots players on their injury report.

WR Josh Boyce – Ankle

DB McCourty, Devin – Concussion

CB Arrington, Kyle – Groin
CB Dennard, Alfonzo – Knee / Shoulder
WR Dobson, Aaron – Foot
LB Fletcher, Dane – Groin
S Gregory, Steve – Finger / Knee
DE Ninkovich, Rob – Ankle
OT Solder, Nate – Concussion
LB  Spikes, Brandon – Knee
OT Svitek, Will – Ankle
WR Thompkins, Kenbrell – Hip
RB Vereen, Shane – Groin

WR Amendola, Danny – Groin
QB Brady, Tom – Right Shoulder
OT Cannon, Marcus – Ankle
TE Hoomanawanui, Michael – Knee
CB Talib, Aqib – Hip

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brady confirms prep that Bills ‘D’ demands

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 9:29 am

Patriots QB Tom Brady has seen defensive schemes like that of the Bills before. At the same time he admits that with the myriad of defensive looks and disguises that Mike Pettine’s defense offers, he and his offensive unit will need to be familiar with an awful lot of pre-snap formations.

There’s a lot to prepare for, no question,” said Brady. “It’s one of those defenses that does a lot of different things. Similar to how when we played the Jets; they’ve got a lot of calls and a lot of looks, and they try to confuse you. They’ve got a lot of coverage looks, a lot of front looks, a lot of blitzes, so they put pressure on you in a lot of areas. I think it’s just – you’ve got to study what they do, kind of like we do every week. It’s just a lot of mental preparation.”

Brady’s stat line in Week 1 against Buffalo was 29-52 passing for 288 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked twice and had a passer rating of 76.4.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats DE Ninkovich added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2013 – 7:12 pm

The Patriots had another defensive player added to their injury report Thursday. DE Rob Ninkovich was added to the injury report with an ankle injury. He was listed as a limited participant. Starting S Devin McCourty missed practice again following last week’s concussion.

Did not practice
WR Josh Boyce – ankle
CB Devin McCourty – concussion

Limited in practice
CB Kyle Arrington – groin
OT Marcus Cannon – ankle
CB Alfonzo Dennard – knee/shoulder
WR Aaron Dobson – foot
LB Dane Fletcher – groin
S Steve Gregory – finger/knee
DE Rob Ninkovich – ankle
OT Nate Solder – concussion
LB Brandon Spikes – knee
OT Will Svitek – ankle
WR Kenbrell Thompkins – hip
RB Shane Vereen – groin

Full practice
WR Danny Amendola – groin
QB Tom Brady – right shoulder
TE Michael Hoomanawanui – knee
CB Aqib Talib – hip

Posted in Inside the Bills

Several Pats DBs nicked

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2013 – 10:07 am

The New England Patriots have a lengthy injury report this week, which includes several starting defensive backs as limited participants.

Starting S Devin McCourty (concussion) did not practice. Starting CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee/shoulder), S Steve Gregory (finger/knee) and primary subpackage CB Kyle Arrington (groin) were all limited in practice Wednesday. RB Shane Vereen was also limited with a groin injury.

Did not practice
WR Josh Boyce – ankle
CB Devin McCourty – concussion

Limited in practice
CB Kyle Arrington – groin
OT Marcus Cannon – ankle
CB Alfonzo Dennard – knee/shoulder
WR Aaron Dobson – foot
LB Dane Fletcher – groin
S Steve Gregory – finger/knee
OT Nate Solder – concussion
LB Brandon Spikes – knee
OT Will Svitek – ankle
WR Kenbrell Thompkins – hip
RB Shane Vereen – groin

Full practice
WR Danny Amendola – groin
QB Tom Brady – right shoulder
TE Michael Hoomanawanui – knee
CB Aqib Talib – hip

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills-Pats moved to 4:25 kickoff

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 10:21 pm

The Bills season finale at New England was to kick off at 1 pm, but the game has been flexed.

The NFL announced Sunday night that the Bills-Patriots game will now kick off at at 4:25 PM on CBS.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Painfully close to be fixed by consistency

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2013 – 5:45 pm

The Bills were again painfully close to a victory over the Patriots. In season openers the last three times Buffalo has faced New England it has been a tight game. Unfortunately New England has escaped with the victory in each of those contests.

In the past three season openers against New England, the Patriots have won all three games by a combined five points. Here’s a look at the results from the 2006, 2009 and 2013 openers.

2006     9/10      at New England   19-17 (L)

2009     9/14      at New England   25-24 (L)

2013     9/8        vs. New England   23-21(L)

“I think it is a league that’s close. I really do,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “I think there’s great parity in this league and I’ve always believed that. Some teams can’t hang in there long enough and I can’t speak for other teams, but the teams I’ve been on in this league it’s always close. It’s always those little things and you try to make bigger things out of it than it is.

“You look at all the statistics and everything like that, but there are always going to be those four or six or eight plays that are out there, that if you make this play and do this and do that you wind up second guessing what play would’ve sparked the win. But at the end of the day it’s the little things, doing all the little things right.

“When you have that structure and you can do all the little things right, then your consistency goes up quite a bit because there is talent on this team. We have to just get the consistency out of (the talent) and we (as coaches) have to do a better job too now.

“We’re going to get better. We’re going to push the heck out of this team and this team is going to push the heck out of us coaches. They rely on us and we rely on them.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills