Inside The Bills

Wood has seen late preseason QB moves before

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2017 – 12:39 pm

Eric Wood is one of the longest tenured players on the Bills roster. That fact has exposed him to a number of different scenarios, including late preseason quarterback signings. On Monday the Bills had to add quarterback Keith Wenning after Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates both sustained concussions in the loss to Baltimore last Saturday. Forced to get a new QB up to speed in short order is no easy task, but having seen it before, Wood knows it’s possible.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Wood. “That’s on us as an offensive line, getting the quarterbacks hit too much and that’s part of this predicament we’re in. We’ve been in this position before. I’ve seen it here before. Fortunately (Wenning) has some knowledge of the offense. He’s heard some of this lingo before.”

Wood remembers in 2013 when the Bills traded for Thad Lewis and signed Matt Leinart late in the preseason. A year later they signed Jordan Palmer after the preseason was already underway and a week before the season they signed another QB. Kyle Orton wound up starting the last 12 games of the season.

“Leinart, Jordan Palmer, it’s a crash course for them,” said Wood. “It’ll be no different with Wenning. “We’ve got to get snaps with him. We’ve got to get familiar with him up front. The receivers have to get familiar with him and then they’ve got to most importantly learn the plays before game time. But it is possible. Quarterbacks are generally pretty smart individuals. It is the situation it is. I look for whoever comes in to make the most of the opportunity.”

Wood is not expected to play Thursday night along with a host of other starters, but as they get ready for the regular season the goals are small with respect to refining the offense into a unit that can execute on a consistent basis.

“We just have to keep making steps as an offense. Each time we hit the field make another step,” he said. “Get a little bit better each day. You can’t play what ifs in this league, but if we don’t hurt ourselves so much with penalties on offense through the first three preseason games I’d like to see how many points we might’ve put on the board. But those penalties are our fault. It is what it is but we’ve just got to move forward and keep getting better.”

 


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McDermott sticking with Tyrod

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2017 – 1:42 am

Head coach Sean McDermott was asked about any potential quarterback depth chart changes for next week’s preseason game in Baltimore. Buffalo’s sideline boss made it clear that while he’ll evaluate everything, he’s sticking with Taylor.

“I thought Tyrod moved the ball last week and we had some penalties,” said McDermott. “(Thursday night) I don’t think we moved the ball and couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively early in the game. So you look at the big picture and you evaluate, so we’ve got a lot of work to do as an overall football team. We’ve got to do that to continue to get better. Work on our fundamentals and work on our techniques and get into a rhythm. That’s what we need to do.

“We’re always going to evaluate everything and that goes for every position including the quarterback position. We’re going to evaluate the film. I’m going to evaluate the job I did and then we evaluate the job that each of us and continue to get better as a unit.”


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Tyrod takes blame for lack of offensive rhythm

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2017 – 1:40 am

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor fully recognized that the starting offense was lacking rhythm and pointed the finger only at himself postgame Thursday night.

“We did some good things on the field, but we left a lot of plays on the field and that starts with me,” he said. “I take it upon me to correct whatever needs to be corrected. Building chemistry, whether it’s staying late with guys and getting on the same page. We’re all learning something new, but we’ve had it long enough now where there’s no need to make excuses. We’ve got to do whatever we have to do to get it right moving forward.”

Taylor said on his first interception which came off a tipped pass, the defensive player came into the passing window as he was delivering the ball, so there was no opportunity to pull the ball down. It was just perfect timing by the defender.


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McDermott links penalties to positioning

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2017 – 1:39 am

It wasn’t the reason the Bills were flagged all 15 times they had penalties enforced in Thursday night’s game against Philadelphia, but head coach Sean McDermott believes one major factor in their penalty tally was lack of proper positioning by players.

“It’s really positioning that gets you in trouble,” McDermott said. “So we need to establish better position. That means moving our feet and then playing with our hands inside. We’ll continue to work on that and sometimes you see this early in the season. That said I’m not happy about where we are.

“Good teams don’t beat themselves. Obviously we need work on technique and we’ll go hard at that this week like we’ve been attacking it, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. That’ll be one of the areas.”


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Zay hoping to make more plays Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2017 – 12:36 pm

Bills rookie WR Zay Jones is hoping to have more of an impact on the game Thursday against Philadelphia than he did in his preseason debut last week. Jones only got eight snaps in last week’s game, so there was minimal opportunity to produce. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game, so he’s eager to get on the stat sheet.

When asked what he’s looking to get out of the game against the Eagles, he went with the team goal first before his own personal goals.

“A win. A catch under my belt. A little bit more playing time, hopefully, so I can truly experience more of the game,” said Jones. “I got a few reps, but I’m still a rookie. I’m still going through growing pains, with a lot of things I still need to work on. I’m not where I want to be, I’m not perfect, but I know this team is helping bring me along.”


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Rex liked Gronkowski’s performance

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2016 – 10:45 pm

Making an impression in the final preseason game can be make or break for players when it comes to a roster spot. FB Glenn Gronkowski’s performance may have made things difficult for head coach Rex Ryan when it comes to roster cutdown time this weekend.

“(Glenn) Gronkowski played really well,” said Ryan. “I’ve been impressed with him. That’s about the only bright spot. I’m sure there’s a few more. I was looking for some guys to make our football team. Just like this Gronkowski kid. It may be hard to keep him off our team now. We’ll see.”

 


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Where receiving candidates stand in preseason

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2016 – 2:03 pm

Wide receiver is one of the position battles that still has a spot or two open on Buffalo’s 53-man roster. Who has done the most in terms of production to stake claim to a role?

Taking a look at the preseason stats entering tonight’s game against the Lions, it’s pretty apparent who has done the most. Below is a look at the receiving stats for the Bills in the preseason for players who are still on the roster entering the preseason finale. In all fairness some of it can be tied to playing time as well.

But those players fighting for roster spots will get plenty of opportunity tonight to make a final impression on the coaching staff.

Bills receiving

Name                                    Rec.       Yds.        Avg.       Long      TD
Walter Powell                      12           189         15.8        40           0
Nick O’Leary                       5              62           12.4        25           0
LeSean McCoy                    5              60           12           23           1
Boom Herron                      8              60           7.5          18           0
Charles Clay                        1              59           59           59           0
Blake Annen                        3              49           16.3        23           0
Jarrett Boykin                     3              37           12.3        22           1
Marquise Goodwin              3              36           12           15           0
Dez Lewis                             1              21           21           21           0
Jonathan Williams               3              13           4.3          6              0
Robert Woods                      2              11           5.5          6              0
Greg Salas                             2              11           5.5          6              0
Jim Dray                               1              9              9              9              0
James Wilder Jr.                  1              2              2              2              0
Jerome Felton                      1              0              0              0              0
Glenn Gronkowski               1              0              0              0              0


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LB Ramon Humber will play Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2016 – 5:26 pm

Bills LB Ramon Humber, just signed Wednesday morning, did make the trip to Detroit with the team and will play Thursday night.

Humber has familiarity with Rex Ryan’s 3-4 scheme having played in a similar version the past three seasons in New Orleans under Rob Ryan, where he previously served as defensive coordinator.

Humber will wear jersey number 50.


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A look at Bills third down defensive success

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2016 – 8:42 am

Buffalo’s third down defense, as pointed out in our game coverage of Saturday’s shutout win over the Giants, was dominant. It was rooted in two main factors, execution and their effectiveness on first and second down.

The Bills defense had solid execution on third down as they looked very much in sync across the board. Helping was the fact that they did a great job of creating long down and distance situations on third down for the Giants offense. By keeping New York’s gains on first and second down to a minimum, nine of New York’s third down situations were 3rd-and-8 or more.

“(The Giants) were one-for-11 on third down, which was the first of the game because we weren’t on the same page,” said Rex Ryan. “The rest of the time we were, so I’m really happy with that. I’m really happy with the way the ‘D’ played.”

Ryan is referring to New York’s only conversion, which came on a 3rd-and-12, when Odell Beckham Jr. was able to slide underneath Stephon Gilmore on a slant. It appeared that Gilmore thought he had inside help, but it wasn’t there, which could explain Ryan’s comment of not being on the same page. Either way it was an impressive night of third down defense. Here’s a look at how each of the Giants third down plays ended in futility aside from their first conversion of the game.

Giants third down situations
3rd-and-12 – first down reception by Odell Beckham Jr.
3rd-and-11 – nine-yard completion (Manning to TE Will Tye)
3rd-and-19- Rashad Jennings 11-yard carry
3rd-and-16 – Manning sacked by Lorenzo Alexander
3rd-and-2 – incomplete
3rd-and-10 – incomplete
3rd-and-8 – Ryan Nassib three-yard scramble
3rd-and-9 – incomplete
3rd-and-13 – incomplete
3rd-and-14 – Nassib sacked by Lavar Edwards and Kroy Biermann
3rd-and-7 – incomplete


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Handful of Giants don’t travel to Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2016 – 11:18 pm

The Giants have a handful of players who didn’t make the trip up to Buffalo due to injury. Here’s a look at who will be watching from back in New Jersey.

WR Geremy Davis (hamstring)
TE Will Johnson (stinger)
CB Leon McFadden (bruised lower leg)
LB J.T. Thomas III (PUP, hamstring)
DE Kerry Wynn (groin)


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Karlos hoping to get a shot Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2016 – 3:57 pm

He was just activated on Monday off the Non-Football Illness list, and he’s had just one practice, but Karlos Williams is hoping he can get some carries in Buffalo’s next preseason game Saturday.

“Oh yeah. Most definitely. I want to play and that’s the goal for me,” said Williams of Saturday’s preseason game against the Giants. “It’s to prove to the coaches that I’m in shape and that I’m ready to play, I know the plays, I can line up, line assignment technique and I can perform at a high level, the way they want me to.”

Head coach Rex Ryan said he’s not ruling Williams out for Saturday’s preseason game, but likely wants to see how he makes it through the week first.


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WR snap counts from preseason opener

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2016 – 9:39 am

The wide receiver position is one of the few that is being hotly contested on Buffalo’s roster. This isn’t a tell all by any means, but here’s a look at the snap counts for the receivers who are battling behind Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, for the last three or four spots on the 53-man roster.

The offensive staff clearly wanted to get a long look at Greg Little, Leonard Hankerson and Jarrett Boykin. These three players would all bring size to Buffalo’s receiving corps. Whether they decide to keep one or two from that group is the question. Walt Powell turned in a strong game at wideout and on special teams, so the next couple of preseason games for all these players will obviously be critical.

Greg Little – 40 snaps
Leonard Hankerson – 38 snaps
Jarrett Boykin – 32 snaps
Walt Powell – 30 snaps
Kain Colter – 22 snaps
Marquise Goodwin – 13 snaps
Robert Woods – 13 snaps

Sammy Watkins and Dez Lewis were inactive.


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Inactives for Bills-Colts

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2016 – 6:54 pm

Here’s a look at the long list of inactive players for tonight’s preseason opener.

Buffalo – WR Greg Salas, WR Dez Lewis, WR Sammy Watkins, S Aaron Williams, CB Stephon Gilmore, RB Karlos Williams, LB Reggie Ragland, G Richie Incognito, OL Seantrel Henderson, OT Cordy Glenn, TE Jim Dray, OLB Shaq Lawson, OLB Manny Lawson, DT Kyle Williams.

Indianapolis – WR Marcus Leak, QB Andrew Luck, RB Frank Gore, S Clayton Geathers, S Winston Guy, CB D’Joun Smith, CB Jalil Brown, CB Tevin Mitchell, G Hugh Thornton, DE Kendall Langford, DL Henry Anderson, DL Arthur Jones, OLB Robert Mathis.


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Rex: Preseason games have value for coaches

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2016 – 10:52 am

Yes, NFL coaches want to avoid injury in the worst way regarding their players, but they also want to get an accurate evaluation of their talent from the top to the bottom of their roster. And preseason games help provide the situations needed to make those evaluations. That’s why Bills head coach Rex Ryan knows no matter how hard you may try to replicate game situations in training camp, it can’t match the atmosphere in preseason games.

“When you look at these preseason obviously they’re going to give you a greater tell of what your team looks like,” Ryan said. “The kind of competition you try to orchestrate on the practice field is that, however it seems like it always steps up a notch, especially when you play against somebody else. So I think preseason games are meaningful, but of course you want to stay injury free.”


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No word yet on whether Watkins dresses Sat.

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2016 – 7:30 am

It is considered highly unlikely that Sammy Watkins will suit up for the Bills first preseason game Saturday against the Colts at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He’s participated in just one practice and was just cleared on Monday. But at this point head coach Rex Ryan has not made a decision on Watkins’ availability for Saturday.

When asked if he’s not expecting to play Watkins Saturday, Ryan explained how a call has not been made to this point on Watkins.

“Well I haven’t said that yet,” Ryan said. “We haven’t even really thought about the game guys. How long the starters are going to play? All this, who’s going to do what. We haven’t even discussed that yet. We will as the week goes on.”

When Watkins was asked about the prospect of playing Saturday he appeared a bit surprised at the thought.

“I don’t know. Being that it’s the first game I don’t know,” said Watkins. “You never know with the training staff or Rex. If they throw me out there I can probably play and compete. But I don’t have that answer.”

Knowing how slow the Bills are taking things with Watkins return from foot surgery it would be a major surprise if he dressed for Saturday’s preseason opener.


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Bills nicked players rehabbing back in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 6:43 pm

The Bills do not intend to play their starters at all Thursday night against the Lions in Detroit. With some of their injured players they took it a step further not having them make the trip at all.

The plan is to allow them to spend more time rehabbing their respective injuries at One Bills Drive rather than traveling back and forth to Detroit.

Among the players who will be working at One Bills Drive are Charles Clay, Marcell Dareus, Boobie Dixon, Marquise Goodwin, Deonte Thompson, Karlos Williams, Mario Williams and Robert Woods.


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Run & stop the run not an issue for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 2:50 am

Granted it’s the preseason, but the Bills have made it clear from the beginning that under Rex Ryan their identity is going to be based on running the football on offense and stopping opponents from doing the same. Through three games in the preseason they’ve been solid at both.

After putting up 156 rushing yards against Pittsburgh last Saturday the Bills now rank tied for second in the NFL with 147.7 yards per game this preseason.

2015 Preseason – Rushing yards per game
1. Philadelphia Eagles 150.7
2t. Buffalo Bills 147.7
2t. Washington Redskins 147.7
4. Cincinnati Bengals 137.3
5. San Francisco 49ers 134.0

Meanwhile on defense after only allowing 43 yards rushing against the Steelers, the Bills now rank second in the NFL in run defense. Through the first three preseason games, Buffalo is allowing 68.3 rushing yards per game:

2015 Preseason – Rushing yards allowed per game
1. Washington Redskins 48.7
2. Buffalo Bills 68.3
3t. Arizona Cardinals 75.3
3t. Green Bay Packers 75.3
5. Atlanta Falcons 82.0


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Why EJ played again in the second half

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 9:27 pm

Everyone thought EJ Manuel’s day was done after a pair of successful touchdown drives to start the game, but he returned in the third quarter with the second offensive unit. Head coach Rex Ryan explained why.

Ryan said part of the issue was the offense scored too quickly and it led to very little work for Manuel.

“That was tremendous and that’s what was strange about it,” said Ryan of the quick touchdown drives. “I was going to go two series and two series and two series (with the three quarterbacks), but then they scored and I’m like, shoot I’m going to go back to EJ because he had only thrown two balls albeit one for a zillion-yard touchdown. That’s why I wanted to get him a little more work too. He did a great job. I think he missed only one throw.”

Ryan had high praise for all three QBs saying they’ve all raised their level of play in the preseason.


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Steelers will be good test for ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 1:26 pm

Buffalo’s defense is coming into the season with a lot of high expectations, which is why this game against the Steelers will be so beneficial. Pittsburgh has one of the more prolific passing offenses in the league so it’s the perfect preparation for the regular season.

“They have a great running back in Bell, a very patient runner who can make all the cuts. He can jump two or three backs based on what he sees so it’s a big test for us,” said Kyle Williams. “Obviously you have Antonio (Brown) and Heath Miller and the usual suspects with Ben out there so they can do some things over the top. It’s going to be a good test for us so we’re going to have a fun time going out getting ready and prepared to play them.”

Williams admits it’s still not quite like regular season football, but they’ll be able to use their matchups as a bit of measuring stick for when the games do count.

“It’s always a fun test. You’re not throwing a whole game plan together and spending a lot of time getting prepared for them,” he said. “But you will be able to play some base defenses against a really talented football team and see if you can match up in situations like that.”


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EJ preparing the same as always

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 12:20 pm

The Bills are giving EJ Manuel the start against Pittsburgh later this afternoon. While it’s certainly an opportunity Manuel isn’t treating it any different than any other playing opportunity in this quarterback competition.

“Not too much different aside from going first in the game. As far as preparation it’ll be the same,” Manuel said. “Going with the first team offensive line will be great, those guys are very smart. I think going with the other groups has helped me because I’m more responsible to make sure we make the right checks. (Kraig) Urbik has done a great job getting those guys in check as well with the second team O-line, but it’s helped me a bunch, but not too different.”

Manuel will likely have many of the same receivers with him on the field knowing Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Percy Harvin are not expected to dress.


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