Inside The Bills

Bills open to a Harvin return

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 9:28 am

Percy Harvin’s first year with the Bills did not go how anyone had planned. A persistent hip injury compromised his weekly availability as the receiver appeared in just five games in 2015. He also has an automatic opt-out clause in his contract, which will make him a free agent against this offseason. Still, Buffalo’s front office remains interested in returning him to their receiving corps in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday, indicated that the club would like to bring Harvin back once he’s got a clean bill of health.

“Absolutely. No doubt about it,” said Whaley. “Obviously the first thing for Percy is he’s got to get completely healthy. Once he’s healthy we’ll reach out to his guy and explain that we’d like to have him back. I think when he was on the field people took notice and he helped us when Sammy was out. So we would love to have him back.”

Knowing Buffalo’s tight cap situation, the Bills would probably only re-sign Harvin to a cost-conscious type contract.


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Kelly on next step for Tyrod

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2016 – 9:07 am

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly said Tyrod Taylor had a good year in 2015. He also outlined one specific part of quarterbacking that he feels is a crucial next step for Taylor in the future. 

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Kelly feels recognizing defenses more efficiently will help Taylor reach the next level of quarterback play. 

“For Tyrod he has to read defensive coverages quicker,” said Kelly. “I think there were times where he was a little confused with what he was seeing. So with more time on the job and going through it and seeing more he can get a handle each and every snap as to what defenses are throwing at him. But he did well for a guy who in many ways was a rookie.”

Kelly said he believes Taylor has the ability and work ethic to improve and is eager to see what steps he can take to advance his game in 2016. 


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Whaley: Defense will be a focus in offseason

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2015 – 11:56 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley couldn’t deny that the defense did take a step back this season in its first season under head coach Rex Ryan. Whaley acknowledged that improving the defensive side of the ball will be a focus this coming offseason, but he’s confident that Ryan, his defensive staff and the personnel will be able to improve the performance of the defense in 2016.

“Defensively we did take a step back,” Whaley said in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “We expected there to be a transition, but we didn’t expect there would be a drop off based on our history of our defense and Rex’s history of coaching defense we didn’t expect a drop off like that. So we’ll make a concerted effort to fix in the offseason just like last year. We made a concerted effort to make the offense better and we accomplished that goal.”

When asked why the defense took a step back this season, Whaley pointed to a few key things.

“There was a lack of consistency there and that goes along with changing parts due to injuries and getting adapted to the scheme,” he said. “I think it was a combination of Rex trying to tweak a little bit from what he normally does to fit our personnel and our personnel trying to fit what they used to do to what Rex does. So that contributes to the lack of consistency and again the injuries with Aaron Williams, Kyle Williams and Nigel Bradham. So you had young guys in there that are trying to adapt to this as well.

“At times you saw we showed we can be a pretty good defense, but the lack of consistency really killed us. That will be a major emphasis in the offseason is to be as consistent as possible.”

Whaley understands the fan frustration with the disappointing performance of the defense this season, but he’s resolute in his belief that it will be better in 2016 for a host of reasons.

“If you look at it in totality you have a head coach that’s been a defensive coordinator or a head coach for 11-plus years and this is only the second time his defense is not ranked in the top 10 and the other time he was 11th,” said Whaley. “So if you look at it analytically or look at the percentages he’s not going to be a bad coach. He’s going to improve that defense. So we have the basis to take a step forward. If you take that 16 years off of it and look at a first-year coach, first year ownership and first year quarterback I think we’ve got something to build on.

“I think it’s just a combination of those guys getting more comfortable with the scheme that is really complicated and bringing in some parts that fit a little better.”


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Whaley: It’s all good with Rex & ownership

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2015 – 11:15 am

Despite reports to the contrary last week, Bills GM Doug Whaley gave firm indication that he is on solid footing with head coach Rex Ryan and has the faith of owners Terry and Kim Pegula.

Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday, Whaley said the reports that were out there last week about friction with Ryan and an uncertain future with ownership were very misguided.

“Ownership has been great. My relationship with Rex Ryan is something that I cherish,” Whaley said. “I wake up every day happy to come in and work with him. My future, ownership doesn’t have to tell me anything. I’ve always attacked my job with the mindset of let me do my job not to lose it, but to keep it and keep getting better. So until the ownership tells me I’m here for the long haul and get this team where we need to go.”

Later in the interview Whaley praised the approach of the Pegulas in terms of how they facilitate the job he has to do as general manager.

“Their thoughts are turning to what do we need to get better this week? And then after this week what do we need to get better from the top down going forward,” Whaley said of the Pegulas. “So they’re always looking at what they can do to help us get better and what they need to do as owners to get better. That’s their philosophy and outlook they’ve conveyed to us every time we’ve met. When your ownership comes to you and asks what else they can do to help us do your job better, that’s a perfect scenario and the closest thing you can get to utopia in this league.”


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Ryan refutes rift report, backs Whaley 100%

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2015 – 9:23 am

The report about a rift between Bills GM Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan and members of his staff was something that Ryan refuted as “dead wrong” when asked about it after Sunday’s game. He took it a step further in his weekly radio appearance on Bills flagship station.

Appearing on WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday afternoon, Ryan reiterated that the report is inaccurate and completely erroneous as he stated what kind of relationship he and his general manager have.

“I think it’s ludicrous. I truly do,” said Ryan of the reports. “Doug and I are on the same page with everything. The fact that we haven’t had the season we wanted, maybe that’s fueling some of those reports. They’re ridiculous. Maybe somebody has a different agenda.

“I know the agenda that I have and that Whaley has and that’s all about winning. Bringing the type of team that this community can be proud of and that hasn’t wavered one bit. I think if you look at since I’ve been here with Whaley together, look at the players he added. The draft went about as good as you can get.

“You have Ronald Darby who is going to be a star in this league. John Miller our third-round pick and starting every game he was healthy for. Karlos Williams, all he does is tie an NFL record for most touchdowns in consecutive games, who is certainly going to be a player. You have O’Leary who is just starting to show what he can do. Tony Steward unfortunately got hurt, but you look at that draft, that was an outstanding draft.

“The free agents we got, I think the trade for LeSean McCoy, you’d be hard pressed to say that never worked out for us. That was a great trade for us. The acquisition of Tyrod Taylor was a smash. That’s a grand slam hit, so the job he’s done as a personnel guy has been absolutely tremendous since I’ve been here. So to me I know we’ve had several talks and this is the guy that I want with me to be a general manager I can promise you that.”

Ryan didn’t even mention the signing of Richie Incognito, who has a chance to go to the Pro Bowl.


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Whaley: Re-signing Glenn, Incognito will be priorities

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2015 – 4:10 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley made his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday and outlined a number of topics. From Tyrod Taylor’s encouraging progress, to his thoughts on the results of the new extra point distance rule. He also addressed the team’s plans for a couple of their impending free agents.

Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and starting left guard Richie Incognito are both scheduled to be free agents come next March, but Whaley said the Bills have made it clear to the agents for both players that re-signing them this offseason is a major priority.

“I’ve talked to both of those guys and talked to their representation that after this season we’ll put on a full force effort to try to get those guys under contract,” said Whaley. “We like to tell those guys during the season that we want them to be strictly focused on football and after the season we’ll worry about that business part.”

Incognito has had a season that should garner Pro Bowl consideration. Head coach Rex Ryan said he doesn’t think there’s another guard in the league that has played as consistently as Incognito in his first year with the Bills. Keeping the left side of the offensive line intact is seen as a critical thing on the team’s offseason to-do list.

“We look at it like if we can keep that line together that’s a part of the football team we can hang our hat on,” said Whaley. “They’ve been playing extremely well and it’s just their first year together. Imagine how good they can be in their second year  and if we can keep them three years that’s when you have the consistency and cohesiveness up front that’s a big part of coach Ryan’s philosophy, which is that it starts up front on both sides of the ball.”


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2015 – 4:45 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players on the radio airwaves Thursday.

7:30 am – Charles Clay on WGR 550 – Buffalo

 

2:00 pm – Stephon Gilmore on FAN 590 – Toronto


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Rex: Kyle doesn’t look ready for this week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2015 – 5:23 pm

He’s missed the last two games with a knee injury suffered in Week 6 against Concinnati and according to head coach Rex Ryan, Kyle Williams is going to miss his third game. 

In his weekly radio appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan said that Williams is trying like crazy to heal up and get well, but indicated he won’t be fit to play against New England Monday night. 

“I don’t think he’s going to be ready to go this week,” said Ryan of Kyle Williams. 

If Williams in fact can’t play in New England next Monday its expected that Corbin Bryant will continue to start in his place. 


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Bills to work out RBs Tuesday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 6, 2015 – 10:42 am

With the news that Karlos Williams sustained a concussion in Sunday’s game against the Giants, the Bills are taking a look at a few free agent running backs here on Tuesday.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, GM Doug Whaley confirmed that they may have to add a running back to the roster, with Williams status now iffy for Sunday in addition to feature back LeSean McCoy.

“We’re going to look at that today and have some guys in for a workout,” said Whaley. “With the week being so short, we’ll see if we can add some guys to help us depth-wise. We have full confidence in the guys that we have and again that depth we have we feel comfortable with Boobie Dixon and Cierre Wood, they’ve been here. Karlos with that concussion protocol, we’ll monitor that day to day and hopefully he’ll be in there at the end of the week.”

Multiple reports have indicated that free agent RB Trent Richardson is one of the running backs working out for Buffalo today.

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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2015 – 9:29 pm

Here’s a look at where you can find Bills players on the local radio airwaves Thursday.

7:45 am – Karlos Williams – WGR 550

2:00 pm – Charles Clay – Sportsnet Fan 590

2:30 pm – Preston Brown – TSN Radio

 


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Whaley: Taylor’s tutelage with Ravens critical

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2015 – 9:14 am

Tyrod Taylor and his coaches have talked about the value of the football education he received during his first four years in the league as the backup to Joe Flacco in Baltimore under coordinators like Jim Caldwell, Cam Cameron and Gary Kubiak. Bills GM Doug Whaley took the value of Taylor’s four years of learning a step further.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley, who scouted Taylor in preparation for the 2011 NFL draft, said had it not been for Taylor’s four years of development he might not be the starting QB for Buffalo in 2015.

“I did look at him when he was coming out,” said Whaley. “Tremendous athlete, strong arm, but needed time to develop the intricacies of being a passer. The ability to sit in the pocket and let a play develop and not be so quick to tuck it and run and use his God-given athletic ability to get him out of trouble.

“With him being able to sit behind a pocket passer like Joe Flacco it helped him tremendously. If he had to come in and start as a rookie, I’m not sure he’s here today or in this league today. His path is different from a lot of other people’s paths, but his path groomed him to show what he could do as a starting quarterback in this league.”

Whaley said the time spent learning in the Baltimore system also prepared him to handle the package plays that Greg Roman puts on his quarterback’s plate.

“Greg Roman puts a lot on our quarterbacks with the leeway to check out of plays,” said Whaley. “It puts a lot of onus on a quarterback and his ability to decipher not only coverages, but diagnose blitzes and run blitzes. This guy has sat behind a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-winning quarterback and studied under Joe Flacco and has had four years to develop that kind of (football) acumen to have that type of ability. We’re excited that he’s brought that here and he hasn’t shown any problem with doing that, so we’re excited about what he can do mentally and the physical ability is obvious.”


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Cassel: skill position group is outstanding

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2015 – 7:23 am

Matt Cassel has played with a lot of talented players at running back and wide receiver. Randy Moss, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, etc. But the skill position talent he is surrounded by in Buffalo has him pretty pumped up.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Cassel called the skill position talent, which includes LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Percy Harvin, Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Charles Clay among others, pretty special.

“It’s an outstanding skill group. It’s still our job to come together as a group,” said Cassel. “We had no time with Sammy in the spring so getting him up to speed is important. It won’t take much time he’s a smart kid, but at the same time there are little nuances to the offense just being out all spring where we have to get him caught up. All of them have tremendous playmaking ability. The nice thing is being able to get the ball in the guys’ hands at five yards and let them do the rest. So it’s all about find that matchup and then get them the ball.”


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Whaley: QB won’t have to put team on his back

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2015 – 4:23 pm

There’s understandably been a lot of attention paid to the Bills three-man QB competition at training camp. All along however, the Bills front office and coaching staff have a plan in place to ensure success for their team even if the quarterback isn’t an All-Pro.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Bills GM Doug Whaley explained the plan laid out by him and the Bills head coach.

“When Rex and I were talking with the Pegulas and Russ Brandon in the interview process we know there are only a certain number of proven franchise quarterbacks in this league,” Whaley said. “We may have a franchise quarterback here, but no one has proven that yet. Until you’re in that situation what’s the best way to win? It’s running the ball, playing good defense and protecting the ball.

“So we decided to get as much talent as possible around the guy and then all he has to do is make the right decisions. He doesn’t have to put the team on his back and throw it 50 times a game. We might only throw it 20 to 25 times a game. But he’s got to be able to make the right decisions and get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and let them do what they’ve got to do.”

Whaley also explained why in their current situation why it’s difficult to find a proven franchise QB or a prospect with a great chance to become that.

“Another thing that we told every (head coaching) candidate (during the interview process) is we’re almost in quarterback purgatory,” Whaley said. “We’re good enough that we’re not going to have the first or second pick. We hope we’re not in that position. Hopefully we’re drafting now in the teens and 20s and 30s. So you’re not going to get the top college quarterbacks who are coming out. Franchise quarterbacks hitting the free agent market? Name them, unless they have an injury.

“So it’s going to be on our scouting staff to find a guy in the low first, second or third round. We accept that challenge and it’s where we are and it’s been good that we have enough talent around that we’re in that situation, but there’s no easy answer.”


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Whaley waiting on game play to judge QB battle

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2015 – 9:46 am

We’re less than a week into training camp and Bills fans want to know if there’s a clubhouse leader in the quarterback competition for the starting job. As far as GM Doug Whaley is concerned the true evaluation will come when real decision making enters the equation.

For Whaley his judgment on the QBs will come when there is more game-like type play in the camp setting and when the preseason games begin.

“I’m going to reserve judgment until we see game action, and the tape doesn’t lie,” Whaley said. “So we’re looking at production. We’re looking at production in game situations. So the (intrasquad) scrimmage is going to be an evaluator and the preseason games are going to be evaluators. But I will say I have seen progress every day in practice.”

Whaley didn’t mention any quarterback’s performance specifically as it relates to the competition. Buffalo’s intrasquad scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday’s night practice Aug. 8th.


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McKelvin status not a concern yet

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2015 – 9:37 am

Leodis McKelvin remains on the Active/Non-Football Injury list as the team closes in on completing their first week of training camp. Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 provided an update on McKelvin’s status.

“From what we’re seeing it’s hard to tell right now because it’s one of those things where we have to take it day by day,” said Whaley. “For us we’re not worried because we know what Leodis can do and it gives us an added opportunity to see Ronald Darby against the ones. We’re glad it happened early in camp so he can go against the ones throughout camp, rather than having him go against the twos throughout camp and then Week 1 he has to start. So the silver lining is in when (McKelvin’s injury) happened.”

Whaley did not provide a timetable for McKelvin’s return saying it’s too premature.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 10:00 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players, execs and coaches on the local radio airwaves Friday.

On Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, they’ll have a few guests in the morning.
7:45 AM Jerry Hughes
8:00 AM Russ Brandon
9:00 AM LeSean McCoy


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Fred: I’ve got to compete for my spot

Posted by Chris Brown on June 23, 2015 – 1:00 pm

Back in the spring there was a lot of talk as to whether Fred Jackson’s roster spot could be in jeopardy at age 34. That speculation has cooled, but it’s done nothing to change Jackson’s vigilance in making sure he does everything in his power to convince another new coaching staff that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.

In an hour-long appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday morning, Jackson covered a bunch of topics including a discussion about the possibility of getting released and not making the roster.

“We’ll see what happens with me getting cut or not,” he said. “I’ll go out and do whatever I can to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ve got to compete every year. This year is no different than any other year. I’ve got to go out and compete for my job.”

The acquisition of LeSean McCoy has many outsiders believing that Jackson’s time could be up in Buffalo, but in light of the way the past nine years have gone at the running back position, Jackson said McCoy’s presence on the roster is nothing new.

“I think every year you have to compete for your spot and that’s how I approach it,” said Jackson. “You draft a guy like Marshawn (Lynch) and you know he’s going to be the guy. So you go in and compete and you want to be on the field so you’ve got to go out and do that.

“Then you draft a guy like C.J. (Spiller) and nothing has changed. You go out and you compete and do whatever you can to make plays when you get the opportunity to do so. Then they bring in Shady (McCoy). It’s just the same book, different chapter for myself. Tremendous running backs, every one of them. It’s just another challenge for me to prove that I can still compete and make plays for this team. And when I do get opportunities make sure to do so.”

 


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2015 – 7:57 pm

heres where you can find Bills players on the Bills Radio Network Thursday morning. 

7:00 am – WGR 550, Howard Simon – Nigel Bradham 

7:15 am – Kiss 98.5, Janet Snyder – Preston Brown


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2015 – 10:24 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players on the local radio airwaves Tuesday. 

7:40 am – Kiss 98.5, Janet and Nick – LeSean McCoy

7:40 am – WCMF, Break room – Fred Jackson

7:50 am – WGR 550, Howard Simon and Jeremy White – LeSean McCoy

4:30 pm – ESPN Rochester, Scott Pitoniak – Fred Jackson


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Rookie G Miller angling for starting role

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 10:46 am

Last week we mentioned how Rex Ryan confirmed that rookie third-round pick John Miller has been seeing work with the first unit during the team’s on field practice sessions without any opposition, which is the rule this time of year for field work. In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan took his outlook for the rookie guard a step further.

When asked if Miller stands a chance of being a starting guard when training camp opens, Ryan confirmed it’s a strong possibility.

“He might be the opening guy there,” said Ryan. “He’s been very impressive. I think right now that’s the most important thing just because we’re not going up against anybody. But this guy has a big, wide, square body and we are hitting bags and his technique is pretty good. He has really been impressive. For a kid you just took out of college, he jumps right in and he doesn’t make mistakes. So I think that’s going to give him an opportunity to showcase what he can do physically and I think he has the right makeup to be an outstanding player.”


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