Inside The Bills

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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Pre-snap communication a focus for ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 10:16 am

There are always areas of a unit’s collective performance that can be improved. Buffalo’s defense is looking to be tighter with their pre-snap communication Saturday against the Steelers.

Bills ILB Preston Brown referenced last week’s game against Cleveland and how they got caught before they finished their pre-snap communication a couple of times.

“A lot of teams are trying to no huddle us a lot through the preseason which is different, but we’ve got to hurry up on the ball and on that 4th-and-1 they caught us so we’ve got to make sure we’re lined up and ready to go because there’s so much communication that sometimes we’re not ready so we’ve just got to get the talking down early,” Brown said.

Overall team communication has been good according to Brown, but having a sense of urgency in getting every pre-snap check called and executed before the play is where they want to be better.

“Each day were getting better in communication because that’s the biggest thing, you don’t want to have a miscommunication that leads to big plays,” said Brown. “So we’ve been working on it each day, getting better at communicating, and we’ve been doing well throughout camp.”


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Rex not putting more stock in 3rd preseason game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2015 – 12:26 pm

The third preseason game is typically the last dress rehearsal for the starters on the roster knowing they’ll play very little if at all in the preseason finale next week. But head coach Rex Ryan is not attaching any more importance to this third preseason game against the Steelers than any of the other preseason contests.

“About as much stock as I put in all the other ones, not much,” he said. “But with that being said I always say they’re all important. Every game is important. I don’t say well here is the dress rehearsal, I don’t believe that. Every day you’re evaluating and all that kind of stuff. It’s not that this game is more important than the other games. I don’t look at it that way, unless we win, then I’ll be like, ‘Yeah absolutely.’”

Ryan said all three quarterbacks in the current competition with see time with the starting unit on offense.


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WR Davis making most of his snaps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2015 – 9:47 am

With all the top receivers down it’s given undrafted rookies like Andre Davis the opportunity to shine. On the heels of his fourth down touchdown catch with 1:31 remaining in the win over Cleveland, Davis is looking to build on it.

“It definitely gave me a confidence boost,” said Davis of his performance against Cleveland. “All week I prepared to go in the game and when I got my shot to make a play, it came down to that play at the end of the game. EJ confided in me and had confidence in me to come back to me after the pass interference call, he gave me another chance and I made it happen.”

Davis realizes he’s seeing a lot more action than most undrafted rookies would, but he’s trying to do the most with the chances he’s being given in practice and the preseason games.

“Yeah I definitely feel like I’m making the most of my opportunity,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of great guys that went down, so learning from them and them being out and them helping me out, that helps me out even more being on the field. So it definitely presents me a good chance.”


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Hogan expects to be fine in time

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2015 – 10:47 pm

He knew the way his ankle got twisted up that it wasn’t good in the first half of the Cleveland game. After getting carted off he admitted he was a bit concerned, but WR Chris Hogan should be good to go after some time to heal.

“I was a little nervous about it and the doctor saw me and the initial exam he said everything was intact, which was a huge relief on my part so I’ll be back in a couple of weeks,” said Hogan. “I’m feeling pretty good, a day-to-day kind of thing. I’ll probably be out on the field working out and doing some stuff. I’ve already been doing stuff in the training room. I’m in there as much as possible trying to get this thing healthy and get better as fast as I can.”

Hogan is not optimistic about being ready for the Pittsburgh game, but hopes he’s good for the preseason finale in Detroit.

 


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RB Hill can’t believe how things have unfolded

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2015 – 10:42 pm

When undrafted rookie RB Bronson Hill was signed by the Bills it was just Boobie Dixon that was injured. Fred Jackson soon followed with a hamstring injury and there’s been a domino effect at the running back position ever since. Five of Buffalo’s running backs are injured after Karlos Williams (surgical procedure), Bryce Brown (hamstring) and LeSean McCoy (hamstring) have all been sidelined in the last two days. It’s left Hill as the starting back heading into Thursday night’s game against the Browns.

“It’s quite the dream come true,” said Hill. “Two weeks ago I was just sitting on the couch waiting for a call and now I can possibly start an NFL game. It’s what I asked for so now it’s up to me to do something with it.”

Hill has been working hard to learn as much of the playbook as possible, but he still doesn’t know it all.

“The offense is pretty complex and two weeks is a very short time,” said Hill. “Karlos, he went through rookie minicamp and OTAs and things like that. I’m still far behind, but the coaches are working with me and making me understand it, so I should be alright.”


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