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

Belichick breaks down Rex’s unique looks

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2015 – 2:16 pm

In one of his press conferences this week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick outlined how some of Rex Ryan’s exotic looks put a defensive lineman in a weak safety role on a certain play. Belichick was then asked for clarification and gave an interesting breakdown of how Ryan’s varied looks created identification problems for opposing offenses.

“Sometimes they line their linebackers up in the line of scrimmage and back defensive linemen off the ball, so they’re kind of at a linebacker depth – four to five yards off the ball,” said Belichick of the Bills ‘D’. “Then they move from there. Sometimes they move back up. Sometimes they wait until the ball is snapped and run whatever stunt they have called. Normally if you’re an offensive lineman, you’re blocking a defensive lineman, but when the defensive lineman is standing behind a linebacker or behind another defensive lineman your rule now changes a little bit.

“You can’t let the linebacker go and go block the defensive lineman so you’ve got to take the guy in front of you and now the defensive lineman ends up again really as a linebacker or depending on the look, he could technically be a weak safety or a strong safety based on how you ID the defense – things like that. It’s just ways that Coach Ryan uses to try to confuse the offense and try to change the protection or the identification of the defensive personnel. Is a tackle a tackle or is he an X and an O? And then you get mismatches. So, things like that.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Brady & Co. are preparing for RWS noise

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2015 – 3:28 pm

The Bills fans brought it big time in the season opener against the Colts. Veteran players affirmed that it was one of the loudest on field atmospheres they can remember. With the rival Patriots coming to town the decibel level is expected to climb even higher this Sunday. So what is the Patriots offense doing to prepare for the likelihood of having to operate with non-verbal communication?

Tom Brady was asked if the Patriots are capable of duplicating the Ralph Wilson Stadium atmosphere in practice.

“Yeah, you can try,” he said. “Unless you’ve been there, you really don’t quite know how it’s going to be. I think you expect the worst and you expect the loudest, and I think that’s what we practice when we’re out there. I mean, you really can’t hear anything when Coach [Belichick] turns those speakers up.

“He tries to make it harder for us in practice than it is in the game, and not being able to really hear anything just requires a lot of non-verbal communication and everyone being on the same page – knowing your calls, knowing your assignments, being able to know the things that we’re doing really well so you can go out and play confidently and aggressively – because if you don’t play that way, then you get really defensive as an offense. I think the Colts, they got pushed around, and when you get pushed around by a team like this, they really feed off of that.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-18

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2015 – 11:26 am

The Bills are 1-0 with a pretty important early season matchup with the Patriots up next. Be loud Bills fans! Here is this week’s edition of your questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris thanks for all the hard work you put in!

Are the Bills keeping three QB’s because of the chance a running QB (Taylor) is likely to be injured?

Danny in Scottsdale, AZ

CB: I think the Bills intended to keep three quarterbacks from the very beginning. The performance of all three in the preseason I believe cemented their spots on the 53-man squad. Cassel’s value is in his experience and Manuel’s play in the preseason convinced the offensive staff that he’s on the right track with his progress as a young signal caller. Taylor obviously won the job.


2 – How will the contract extension for Marcell play into our ability to re-sign some of the other Bills on contract years? Including the usage of a franchise tag do you see the Bills being able to retain Glenn, Bradham, and Gilmore as a big three? Do you think that leaves enough for McKelvin( is he on a final year?) and Harvin?



CB: The Bills bought themselves some time with Stephon Gilmore by picking up his fifth-year option, so he’s not up until after the 2016 season. Nigel Bradham and Cordy Glenn are the other big names that are coming due after the 2015 campaign.

The good thing that the Bills did was spread out Dareus’ guaranteed money over the first two years with singing and option bonuses in addition to his guaranteed base salary. The deal is relatively cap friendly until the last two years when his base salary balloons to more than $12M.

Bradham and Glenn are the two that figure to be addressed. The linebacker would be much easier to sign than the left tackle, knowing the market rate for left tackles is far higher than at LB. Knowing how thin the Bills are depth-wise at both positions it’s going to be interesting to see how the decision making plays out with those two players.

The good news is the salary cap continues to go up and up and up, and with the revenues projected where they are for NFL clubs this year the cap is expected to take another sizable jump this offseason. That makes re-signing players like Bradham, Gilmore and Glenn more realistic.

Leodis McKelvin signed a four-year extension that runs through 2016.

3 – Hey Chris,
With the extension of Dareus, Could you give bills fans an update on how long we will have our d line for?

Danny in Scottsdale

CB: The contracts of Kyle and Mario Williams are the ones set to expire first following the 2017 season. Jerry Hughes’ deal runs out in 2020 and Dareus is after the 2021 season. Now we all know circumstances crop up at other positions that can necessitate some difficult decisions at defensive line, so to assume that the line will be together for another four seasons might be foolhardy. I do think it’s safe to say we’ll see the group together through at least 2016.


4 – Hello Chris,

As always, thank you for providing the fans this opportunity. With our limited exposure to Ronald Darby, we don’t really get to see his progression. I understand the need for him to struggle and that the preseason is a good place to throw him to the wolves. I am curious how much he has progressed since he came in? Does he learn quickly from his mistakes? Any information would be helpful.

Thank you!


CB: I will let defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, a former NFL cornerback himself, handle this one. Here’s what he said this week about Darby’s progress.

“He continues to work on his craft, he’s a very talented young man. We believe the sky is the limit for him, we expect him to play well,” said Thurman. “If he’s out there we’re expecting him to play well. We don’t look for him to play like a rookie. We know at times that he may get himself in trouble but if he’s focused on what his assignments are we feel like he’s talented enough to get the job done.”
5 – Chris,

Why do the Bills make comments about the Pats? All that does is fuel the fire. Every time they talk smack they get beat down.


CB: I think we all know that Rex Ryan has a track record of not being afraid to say what he believes. Coach-speak doesn’t really exist for Ryan and that filters down to his players, who he encourages to speak their mind and say what they believe. I don’t think there has been anything this week other than players speaking confidently and believing that they can beat New England. That’s a healthy and necessary mindset to have going into a game against an opponent of this caliber.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

DT, OL still nicked for Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2015 – 4:48 pm

UBNS image

The New England Patriots could be without one of their rotational defensive tackles and a starting offensive lineman on Sunday.

For the second straight day DT Dominique Easley did not practice due to a hip injury. Easley is starting DT Alan Branch’s backup.

Also starting RG Ryan Wendell was limited again on Thursday with an illness. He did not play in Week 1, which forced some shuffling on New England’s offensive line last week. It forced the Patriots to put two rookies on the offensive line, starting C David Andrews and LG Shaq Mason.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday
Dominique Easley DT Hip DNP DNP
Ryan Wendell C Illness LP LP
Travis Cadet RB Hamstring FP FP
Trey Flowers DE Knee FP FP
Tavon Wilson S Quadricep FP FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Youngsters on Pats OL doing extra prep

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2015 – 4:34 pm

There’s a very good chance that the New England Patriots will need to start a pair of rookie offensive linemen Sunday against the Bills. With starting C Bryan Stork placed on I-R/Des. to Return and starting guard Ryan Wendell recovering from an illness, New England may have to start rookie G Shaq Mason alongside rookie center David Andrews as they did in Week 1. That could spell trouble for Tom Brady when it comes to inside pass pressure knowing Buffalo’s boasts a pair of Pro Bowl DTs in Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus.

Patriots QB Tom Brady said the offensive linemen have been prepping overtime with blitz pickups and pass protection in general.

“It’s challenging, and we’ve been preparing,” said Brady. “We’ve done blitz pickup probably more than any other team in football since the spring started, especially with some young players in there up front, so just to have a lot of work that we’ve kind of put in the bank and know that you’ve got to trust the guys next to you that when you make a call, you know, we’re going against probably the best D-line in football.

“These guys are phenomenal all the way across the board, so it puts a lot of pressure on the offense to communicate well, trust each other, and then when that breaks down I throw it as quick as I can. I don’t want to be the one holding the ball all day and see if they can get home because you know they can.”

At the same time he’s been impressed with his new man in the pivot, Andrews.

“I think Dave [Andrews] has done a great job,” said Brady. “He’s got an opportunity, and he’s really taken advantage of it. I’m really impressed by the way that he’s come to work and the challenge that he … He played at a big time college, so he’s been in front of a lot of crowds in a good conference. So, he’s just stepped in, and to start undrafted and to be a starting center last week, and then moving forward in the season we’ll see what happens, but he’s done a great job, and I think he’s obviously gained the trust of his coaches and teammates, which is ultimately what you’re trying to do as a pro athlete.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rich Gannon on Tyrod Taylor’s Week 1 play

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2015 – 2:40 pm

CBS color commentator Rich Gannon will be broadcasting Sunday’s game between the Bills and Patriots with play-by-play man Kevin Harlan. Gannon was impressed with how calm and cool Tyrod Taylor was in running Buffalo’s offense last week.

“He really came out and handled himself well,” said Gannon of Taylor. “He controlled his emotions. Most importantly he took care of the football. And they really limited his exposure.  He didn’t throw the ball very much. And the key to it is keeping his throws under 25. They want to be able to run the football.  That’s why Rex went out and hired Greg Roman as his offensive coordinator.  He’s an offensive coordinator, play caller, who’s committed to running the football.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Harvin has seen Patriots week Rex before

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2015 – 12:56 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan gets pumped up for just about any game on the regular season schedule, but he has been pretty honest that it’s the Patriots he wants to beat most of all. Ryan’s demeanor morphs and changes through the course of the week leading up to the game. WR Percy Harvin, who spent half a season with Ryan last year with the Jets, described what happens.

“He gets a little kick to his step as you can tell by his interviews,” said Harvin. “He’s just a confident coach. He doesn’t back down from any challenge.  He accepts it. He’s just like a player. He looks forward to playing against the best guys and I’m pretty sure he looks forward to measuring himself against Coach Belichick.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats recognize offensive mindset of Bills ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2015 – 10:13 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan is known as an aggressive defensive play caller. He and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman aren’t shy about throwing caution to the wind with the way they call games. The Patriots know that all too well. In fact they had an interesting description for Ryan’s defensive philosophy.

“He’s a great coach,” said Tom Brady of Ryan. “I think he just does a good job keeping offenses off balance. He’s obviously got a good blitz package. I think what you saw last week against the Colts was kind of vintage Rex Ryan, and along with those great players that he’s got, I think they just, they take such an offensive mentality to their defense. And they put a lot of pressure on opposing offenses, and wherever they feel like they’ve got you stressed, I think they smell blood in the water and they keep going after it.

“You know, it took the Colts a long time to get going. Hopefully, we can get out to a good, fast start and play well and try to get those guys on their heels a little bit. But it’s tough to do because, like I said, they’re really well prepared. They’ve got some really talented players, and they always play well at home. I think every time that we play them there, it feels like it’s always down to the minute.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Pats trade for Houston WR

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2015 – 6:17 pm

The New England Patriots receiving corps has been a bit of a revolving door this preseason and the turnstile may be rolling again. There are multiple reports that the Patriots have acquired Houston WR Keshawn Martin.

Martin, a receiver and kick returner, will be only the fifth wideout on New England’s current roster after they cut Chris Harper earlier this week. Veteran Brandon LaFell is on Reserve/PUP and won’t be back until Week 7 at the earliest.

Martin should transition quickly to New England’s playbook, knowing his head coach in Houston, Bill O’Brien, is a former offensive coordinator of the Patriots under Belichick.

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Patriots injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2015 – 4:43 pm

UBNS imageThe Patriots are a relatively healthy group heading into their Week 2 matchup with the Bills, but despite getting an extra three days of rest having played last Thursday, there were still a couple of players that couldn’t participate fully in practice Wednesday. Here’s a look at the Pats injury report.

If Ryan Wendell is unable to play Sunday, New England will again be forced to start a pair of rookies on their offensive line at center and guard.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Dominique Easley DT Hip DNP
Ryan Wendell C Illness LP
Travaris Cadet RB Hamstring FP
Trey Flowers DE Knee FP
Tavon Wilson S Quadricep FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Belichick: Bills fans will quiet if we do well

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2015 – 4:15 pm

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prepares his teams for anything. Chief among them is the crowd noise for road games. Bills fans were extraordinarily loud last week in the win over the Colts. But Belichick is not concerned about the crowd noise. In fact he believes as long as they move the ball and have a lead Bills fans will quiet down.

“We always expect crowd noise on the road,” Belichick said. “It’s something we’re ready for every week if we play away games. I’m sure it will be loud there. It’s loud everywhere. It’s a lot louder when you’re not doing well. If you’re moving the ball and getting first downs and gaining yards that tends to quiet it, and when you’re ahead that quiets it, too. It will be as loud as we allow it to be.”

Take it for what its worth Bills fans.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle: Good week to get Marcell back

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2015 – 1:46 pm

Any week would be a good week to get a Pro Bowl caliber defensive tackle back on the field, but when you’re facing a divisional opponent with a high-powered offense, the return of Marcell Dareus means all the more.

Dareus’ linemate Kyle Williams was pretty pumped to have the big fella back in the lineup this week to face New England.

“It’s great to have a really good player back with us,” said Williams. “He helps us even more, and we’re excited to have him back. It couldn’t come at a better time.”

“He’s a 100-million dollar man and we expect a lot from him and he understands that,” said Aaron Williams. “He knows his role and his responsibility and he’s also one of our leaders so he understands all that.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Pats trying out WR Terrelle Pryor

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2015 – 12:04 pm

The Patriots are always tweaking their roster week to week and this week is no different for New England.

With Brandon LaFell on PUP the Patriots receiving corps (not counting TEs Ron Gronkowski and Scott Chandler) is lacking for height with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman the starters. ProFootballTalk is reporting that the Patriots are trying out QB turned WR Terrelle Pryor today.


Pryor was last with the Browns, who cut him in their roster reduction to 53. He told that the club’s decision to release him would prove to be a mistake by the Browns.

Even if New England signs Pryor this week, it’s unlikely that he would suit up and play Sunday against the Bills.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron: When it’s New England it’s personal

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2015 – 11:45 am

It’s New England week for the Bills and while the opponent alone is enough to put Bills fans in a froth leading up to Sunday, there are players in the locker room who harbor just as many personal feelings as those who root for the team. 

“I don’t like New England, so yeah it’s definitely personal for me,” said Williams. “That’s just the way I feel. They’re a great football team. Don’t get that twisted at all. That’s why they’re the four-time NFL champs.”

When asked what he doesn’t like about New England, Williams talked about the Patriots’ attitude 

“Just the way they carry themselves on the field and stuff,” said Williams. “All the stuff that has happened to me in the past with some of the players has definitely gone through the roof for me. That’s a reason it’s personal for me and they’re our rival. It’s the history. So it’s not just personal. It’s the Buffalo Bills history.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Looks like Bills will see Brady in Week 2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2015 – 10:32 am

After more than seven months of legal wrangling New England QB Tom Brady has won in the arbitration case with the NFL regarding his four-game suspension for Brady’s perceived role in the Patriots’ Deflategate scandal stemming from the AFC Championship game. That means the Bills will see the perennial All-Pro quarterback in Week 2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Judge Berman in New York nullified the league’s four-game suspension of Brady allowing the quarterback to play immediately in Week 1 next week against the Steelers. Here is the key wording of the ruling.

Based upon the foregoing and the applicable legal authorities, the Court hereby denies the Management Council’s motion to confirm the award and grants the Player Association’s motion to vacate the Award, thereby vacating the four-game suspension of Tom Brady, effective immediately.   

The league is expected to appeal the case in New York’s second circuit, and fighting for a stay on the ruling is another option for the NFL, but at this point it seems unlikely that Brady will be kept off the field for the start of the 2015 regular season.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills aware of Pats blocked kick tally

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2014 – 10:39 am

It’s all over their special teams game film so it’s not difficult to see how the Patriots special teams units have been pretty effective when it comes to blocking kicks. Last week was the latest example.

New England’s Vince Wilfork, blocked a potential go-ahead 52-yard field goal attempt by the Jets’ Nick Folk. The block maintained the Patriots’ one-point lead (17-16), which wound up being the final score. They also had a block against the Dolphins. All told New England has four blocked field goals and one blocked punt on the season.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said it’s not hard to see what makes them effective.

“They’ve always done an outstanding job of having those core players,” Marrone said. “Matthew Slater is an example. He’s been to four Pro Bowls and he’s going again this year. All you have to do is turn on the film. High level players that play extremely well and play extremely hard and are very, very sound. I think they’ve always done a good job with those core players and they’ve always been at the top of their game from a special teams standpoint.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on matching Patriots consistency

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2014 – 9:32 am

The Patriots are known as one of the most efficient and consistent clubs in the league. They don’t make many mistakes and rarely beat themselves, especially at home where they have won 16 straight. Bills head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s laid out his approach with the players on how to match the efficiency of the Pats without getting too tight or worried about making a mistake.

Add in the additional issue of putting their dashed playoff goals behind them to play this game and Marrone knows it will be no easy task.

“I think it is a challenge,” he said. “We all have to understand that and how we feel, the level of disappointment and we have to brush that off and get ourselves ready to go and win a football game, which I think is extremely important. It’s a game and we’re competitors by nature and go out there and beat a team that we haven’t beaten that much and two has been a dominant team in the AFC, and get ourselves to go win up there which we haven’t done in a long time.”

As for getting his players mentally prepared to play sound football from start to finish, without being worried about messing up, Marrone said it was addressed.

“We talked to them about that. They’re well aware of that,” he said. “We focus on ourselves and what we have to do to get it done from the standpoint of what’s necessary to win. They’ve done a good job with that for most of the year and we’ll go up there and go play.

“What we need to do is play at our best in all three phases. So if we can go back and challenge ourselves of how we played throughout the year and take our best game that we played as an individual and play with that type of efficiency we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

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