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

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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Posted in Inside the Bills