Inside The Bills

Rex on having faced EJ in games

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2015 – 1:06 pm

EJ Manuel
Bills head coach Rex Ryan clearly remembers the two times he went against EJ Manuel when he was a rookie QB in 2013. The two games were a major contrast in performance on the part of the Bills quarterback.

In the first meeting on the road, Manuel’s first career road start, he was flustered and struggled to make plays. Buffalo fell behind and the pass pressure was unrelenting. Manuel finished 19-42 passing for 243 yards and a touchdown and a passer rating of 71.8.

“The first time we played him I think we overwhelmed him a little bit,” said Ryan in an interview this week on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “I think we sacked him eight or nine times. But he’s a young guy. Now the next time we came out he beat us so he made some improvements. You could see him getting better.”

Two months later Manuel started against the Jets in Week 11 at Ralph Wilson stadium and was a different quarterback. He completed 20-28 passes for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns with a passer rating of 121.9 in a 37-14 Bills win.

Manuel had his share of scrambles and runs as a rookie with 53 carries in 2013, but in his four games last year he took off and ran just 16 times. Ryan would like to see that number increase.

“The one thing I think we need to embrace and he needs to embrace is he can move,” said Ryan. “Use your legs. Sometimes when it’s not there use your legs and know how to protect yourself and get out of bounds, sliding and things like that.

“You might recall with Mark Sanchez I actually brought in Joe Girardi about how to slide. Do something like that where he feels comfortable sliding. When you look at him early when he first started he was able to use his legs and he unfortunately got hurt running. So you’ve got to protect yourself running in this league too.”


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Ryan knows why Hughes prefers Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2015 – 10:59 am

As we covered on Buffalobills.com Wednesday, Jerry Hughes is set to become a free agent after back-to-back 10 sacks seasons. On SiriusXM NFL Radio he said that the Bills are his first choice. His new head coach Rex Ryan isn’t the least bit surprised by Hughes preference for two very important reasons.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan stated that between his successful defensive system and the talent Hughes plays with on Buffalo’s defensive line, it’s totally understandable why a player like Hughes would want to return to that situation.

“I think any defensive player always wants to play in this system, period,” Ryan said. “I’ve had a lot of great ones through the years. This is a young man who really stepped up and quite honestly his first year when he came here it was like, ‘Okay that’s the Jerry Hughes everybody was waiting for when he was a first-round pick of the Colts.’ Then he had the 10-sack year last year. But when you put him alongside Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Super Mario it’s an unbelievable group. Why would you want to leave that?”

Free agency officially opens on March 10th.


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Thurman: Bills DB talent right behind Seattle

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2015 – 10:47 am

Bills new defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman is still finalizing evaluations of the defense he inherits here in Buffalo as he goes through game and practice tape from last season. One thing the former NFL defensive back is sure of is the collective talent in Buffalo’s secondary is right up there with the best in the NFL.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Thurman put the talent level of Buffalo’s secondary behind only one other team in the league.

“Our secondary is probably as talented as any group that’s not in Seattle,” Thurman said. “They’re guys that can play. They don’t have the same name recognition as some others in the league, but very talented players, so now we’re in the process of how we’re going to put it all together.”

When asked to elaborate on his impressions of Buffalo’s secondary, Thurman laid out what he liked about the Bills DBs.

“They have a group of playmakers. There are times when you’re dealing with guys that are playing back there and there’s hesitation or caution or a fear of giving up a play or getting beat deep, so they play tentatively. They don’t play that way. They play aggressively and they make plays,” said Thurman. “They get their hands on the football. They tackle well. That was another thing that jumped out in our evaluations is how well they tackle and get guys on the ground.”


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Personnel dept. to meet with coaches this week

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 12:49 pm

With the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror and Rex Ryan’s coaching staff almost completely assembled the Bills personnel department will be sitting down with the new coaches to formulate plans concerning what needs to be added to upgrade the roster.

“We’re going to meet with the coaches this week and our roster and how we feel about it and how they feel about it and make some decisions on free agency as far as who we’re going to attack there,” said Monos in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “Draft-wise we’re always going to stick to the best player available offense or defense. Everybody knows how high we were ranked on defense this year, but that’s not going to mean that we wouldn’t take somebody that we think could help us.”

Rex Ryan met with the scouting staff in Mobile last week to apprise them of the type of players he wants for his roster.


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Quality of QB prospects a matter of opinion

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 12:47 pm

In the opinion of most draft gurus this year’s class of quarterbacks is not a strong one. Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos said the quality of the quarterback class is ultimately a matter of opinion.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Monos was asked if the outside opinion on the quarterback class resonates with the Bills personnel department.

“Everybody is assuming quarterback for us obviously because we only have two on the roster in EJ (Manuel) and Jeff Tuel,” said Monos. “We are going to be doing work on every quarterback and if it’s strong or not strong that’s up to us. Hopefully we do our work and find somebody who is good, or find somebody nobody else is talking about because we aren’t picking that high.”


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Jerry Hughes update

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:37 pm

The Bills have an important impending free agent that they’d like to keep in the fold in DE Jerry Hughes. GM Doug Whaley in an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 confirmed that the club has opened talks with Hughes on a new contract.

Whaley didn’t have a lot of details, since he had been wrapped up in the intense two-week process of finding a head coach.

“We’ve been so consumed with this coaching search that I haven’t been able to talk to (Senior VP of Administration Jim Overdorf) to find out where we stand there and once Rex finishes his staff then we’ll turn our attention to that. But I know Jim has been in touch with his representatives and started the process.”

Whaley intends to get an update on where things stand soon, to see if it’s possible to re-sign him and not let him hit the free agent market.

“We’re excited and we want him back,” said Whaley of Hughes. “He’s a great part of our defense and hopefully we can get it done sooner rather than later.”

When asked if the hiring of Rex Ryan as head coach improves the chances of re-signing Hughes, Whaley could only be hopeful.

“You’d have to ask him,” said Whaley. “I hope he’d be just as excited as we are and the Bills fans are.”


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Brandon: Marrone has changed culture

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2014 – 9:40 am

He made comments earlier this week at the Monday QB club luncheon, and on Wednesday morning Bills team president Russ Brandon reiterated his conviction that head coach Doug Marrone has effectively changed the culture of the team.

Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Brandon reinforced his commentary from earlier in the week that Marrone has the team on the right path for sustained success.

“Culture is a major thing and holding each other accountable and coach Marrone has done an incredible job over this past year,” said Brandon on the Howard Simon show Wednesday morning. “I think you need to look and reflect on some of the things that happened over this past year, which are major game changers.

“We had the death of an owner in March, a team in transition for the entire year from an ownership standpoint. We also, which gets lost in the shuffle, we had a major renovation of the stadium and our team was displaced for four months in OTAs and minicamps. We had a prolonged training camp because of the renovations. We had the sale of the franchise during the season, which is unprecedented, and we had a historic snowstorm where the team was displaced.

“Coach Marrone has done an unbelievable job of leading this franchise, keeping everyone together and holding people accountable. To be in the position we are today is a credit to him.”


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EJ production in practice encouraging

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2014 – 12:29 pm

A couple of weeks ago we provided an update on what EJ Manuel has been working on since he was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran QB Kyle Orton. On Tuesday in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Bills GM Doug Whaley addressed where EJ Manuel’s development stands now serving in the backup QB role.

Whaley was asked specifically if he felt it was a lost season for Manuel having only appeared in the first four games.

“We believe it’s not. It goes back to our original plan,” said Whaley. “When we first drafted EJ we had the plan of having a veteran quarterback come in and mentor him until we thought he was ready. When Kevin Kolb went down with an injury it thrust him into the starting role quicker than we expected. Now since then we have re-set to the original plan.

“Since EJ has taken a step back everybody in the building has been impressed with his work ethic. We’ve seen an improvement in the way he attacks practice and his production in practice.”

Whaley also addressed the popular debate as to whether Manuel was ‘Buddy Nix’s pick’ or ‘Doug Whaley’s pick’ in the 2013 draft.

“We were all on board with the pick,” he said. “It’s one of those things when it’s Buddy it’s going to be attached to Buddy, just like Sammy (Watkins) is going to be tied to me. When you’re going through a scouting process especially with the guys in the top four to five rounds you’re going to have five to six opinions. What we do is we collectively come up with a Buffalo Bills opinion. So EJ Manuel is a Buffalo Bills pick and all of us were on board with it.”

When asked how the Bills will know when EJ Manuel is ready for prime time again, Whaley said you don’t for sure until they’re in a real game environment.

“That’s one of those things that you can never really gauge until the bright lights come on,” he said. “What you do have to see is progress and not repeating the same mistakes that he was doing before and improving on anything he needed to when he was in the starting role.”


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Whaley on Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2014 – 11:56 am

There has been a lot of debate in the media on the Sammy Watkins trade and whether it was worth the trade up that sent Buffalo’s 2015 first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns. Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked for his opinion in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.

Whaley was asked if it was necessary to trade up and get Watkins where they did, in light of the success of most of the first-round wide receivers this season, which includes Tampa’s Mike Evans, the Giant’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin

“We look at it this way. We knew it was going to be a talented group, but we’re very excited and we felt that this guy would bring something to our team that we didn’t have,” said Whaley. “We thought he was the best player for our situation. I’m sure you’re trying to get out of me whether I thought the trade was worth what we gave up. I’ll say it like this. I can count at least three games where he was an integral part to us winning and I would hate to see our record if he was not on our team.”

Whaley is likely referring to the wins over Miami, Detroit and Minnesota. He was also pretty important to the win over the Jets, but the six takeaways played a bigger role in that win.

 


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Jackson: I’m planning to play Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2014 – 9:25 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said last week that if their Week 11 game was on Sunday instead of Thursday night, he felt Fred Jackson would’ve been able to play in the game. on Thursday night however, he was scratched after tweaking his injured groin in practice Tuesday. Now Jackson fully anticipates being ready to go this coming Sunday against the Jets.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson said he’s planning on being ready by the end of the week.

“Yeah. We’ll work myself into the process of getting back out there,” said Jackson. “I know with our training staff and doctors they’ll take every precaution we need to, but like coach Marrone said, if the game was yesterday there’s probably a pretty good chance that I would’ve played. So I’m planning on playing this Sunday and it’s just on me to go out there and take this week slowly and get back out there.”

Jackson said his groin injury is feeling better, but it’s still going to be a slow and steady process in his return to the practice field this week. The veteran running back also said the plan was to play in both the Chiefs and Dolphins games despite the quick turnaround of five days between them.

“The plan was to play both games, but on Tuesday at practice I had a little setback that wasn’t anticipated. Out at practice running around making a play and kind of tweaked it and it was setback that wasn’t foreseen.”

 


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Goodwin’s health has Marrone optimistic

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 9:39 am

He’s missed each of the last two games with a hamstring injury suffered in practice last month. And though Marquise Goodwin has been limited in practice this week, Bills head coach Doug Marrone is optimistic that the speed receiver will be ready for Sunday’s game.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Marrone gave strong indication that Goodwin would be available for this weekend’s game against the Chiefs.

“He looks good,” said Marrone. “He looks really good. He’s full strength, no problems at all.”

Goodwin had a game-tying 40-yard touchdown reception in last year’s game against the Chiefs.


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Marrone: No decision yet on Fred

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 9:24 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone made his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday morning and was asked about the status of Fred Jackson for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

Jackson, who suffered a groin injury back in Week 7, has practiced on a limited basis this week. Marrone however, said they have not yet made a call on whether Jackson will be cleared to play this weekend.

“He’s progressing. He’s not 100 percent yet,” said Marrone. “So we’ll see how it goes the next couple of days. We haven’t made a decision either way.”

 

 


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 7:13 pm

Here’s a look at where you can find Bills players and coaches on the local radio airwaves Friday morning.

WCMF, Break room
o 7:30 am – Robert Woods
– KISS 98.5, Janet and Nick in the morning
o 7:40 am – Boobie Dixon
– WGR 550 am, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
o 8:10 am – Doug Marrone


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2014 – 6:37 pm

Here is where you can find Bills players and coaches on the local radio airwaves on Friday morning.

WGR 550, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
o 6:50 am – Bryce Brown

WCMF, Break room
o 7:20 am – Duke Williams

KISS 98.5, Janet and Nick in the morning
o 7:30 am – Kyle Williams

WGR 550 am, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
o 8:10 am – Doug Marrone


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Jackson confident in Dixon & Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 10:22 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson left Sunday’s game at the end of the first quarter with a groin injury. Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson made it clear he has some rehabbing to do to recover from his groin injury, but also expressed his level of confidence in Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon, who will have to pick up the slack in Buffalo’s rushing attack with both Jackson and Spiller out indefinitely.

When asked about Brown specifically, Jackson believes he can be a full-time feature back.

“He is an every down back,” said Jackson. “He can do it all. He’s a guy who can carry the ball 20-25 times. He’s a guy who can pass protect his butt off and run routes well out of the backfield. We won’t miss a beat with a guy like him. He’s a guy who is going to come out and can produce. We know what he’s capable of doing. I’m excited to see him get his opportunity. It comes at a time when we’ve lost a couple of guys who were valuable to the team, but that’s why we have Bryce and Boobie. They can step in and shoulder that weight and we don’t expect to miss a beat.”

One concern is who will be the chief third down back to handle pass protection, something Jackson did on a full-time basis. As Jackson sees it both Brown and Dixon are more than capable.

“They will (be able to handle it),” Jackson said. “It’s one of the things that we work on every day and they do a tremendous job working with us. It’s something I have a lot of pride in and I consider myself the best running back in the league when it comes to pass blocking. But those guys can do it and they will get the job done. We had a chance to go through it during training camp and I’m extremely excited about what they can do. It will be fun to watch them go out there and compete and make some plays for our team.”

Jackson intends to be around the team during his rehabilitation to assist Brown and Dixon in their preparations for the Jets this week.

“I’m going to be as involved as if I was playing,” said Jackson. “I want to be able to talk to those guys on the sideline and what I’m seeing when I watch the Jets and break them down and see what the tendencies are. So I’ll be around.”

 

 

 


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2014 – 5:49 pm

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

  • KISS 98.5, Janet and Nick in the morning
    • 7:00 am – Chris Hogan
  • 3 The Edge, Shredd and Ragan
    • 7:20 am – Preston Brown
  • WCMF, Break room
    • 7:30 am – Frank Summers
  • WGR 550 am, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
    • 8:10 am – Doug Marrone

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Teammates hoping for best for Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on October 6, 2014 – 9:11 am

Bills DB Ron Brooks did not make the trip back to Buffalo with the team after he sustained a neck injury in the first half of Buffalo’s win over Detroit. He remained in a local hospital for observation overnight. In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Fred Jackson said he and his fellow teammates are praying for Brooks, though the initial signs look promising.

“In talking to our training staff they did do some C-T scans and they were all negative,” said Jackson. “It all looks good right now, but you just never know. As a team we’re praying for him and hoping for the best. I think we’ll find out more when we have our team meetings and they’ll give us an update. Hopefully he continues to progress well and he’s out of there later today.”

Brooks was able to give a wave to the crowd after he was strapped to the backboard and carted off the field. Head coach Doug Marrone is expected to provide an update when he addresses the media this afternoon.


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Orton already has rapport with Wood

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2014 – 8:42 am

The Bills new starting quarterback this week, Kyle Orton, has not even been in town a month, so getting to know teammates and developing a rapport with the other players on offense is a slow and steady process. Naturally that process will now need to be ramped up with him in the starting lineup. Fortunately for him there’s one player at a pretty important position who Orton is familiar with.

Bills C Eric Wood is familiar with Orton, as he explained in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550.

“We are good friends,” said Wood of his relationship with Orton. “We have a lot in common. We have the same agent. So I’ve done what I can to make him feel comfortable. But on the field, with live reps, I’ll say we’ve have some (reps), but definitely not as many as we’re going to have this week that’s for sure.”

Wood also has a feel for Orton’s game.

“He’s gotten a lot of reps in practice,” said Wood. “He’s got a good arm. He’s smart, he’s confident. He looks like a quarterback. He looks like a guy who has been around the league. He knows how to run an offense, and I have a lot of confidence in him. Likewise with EJ. I think we have two quality quarterbacks and it is a shame that we had to make this move but I do have a lot of confidence in Kyle moving forward and I am excited to work with him moving forward. I have seen him play on film and stuff. He seems to be able to make plays. Hopefully, we’ll get it back on track on offense.”


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Wood & offense set to adjust to Orton

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2014 – 8:27 am

Bills C Eric Wood admitted the quarterback change made Monday was not something he expected, but for him and the rest of the offensive unit there’s no time to spare. It’s about getting in sync with Kyle Orton.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Wood expressed disappointment that the offensive unit wasn’t better around EJ Manuel, but that their focus has to be getting ready for Detroit with Orton at the controls.

“It’s not a good feeling that as a unit up front, receivers that everyone didn’t protect him well enough, didn’t make plays for him well enough,” said Wood of Manuel. “It’s not a good feeling. A quarterback change at Week Five is not what we expected going into the season.  It’s not necessarily something we wanted by any means or have to go through.  If management thinks this is what we have to do to win right now, we’re on board.  I’ll do everything I can to make this transition as smooth as I can for Orton.”

At the same time Wood feels a sense of loyalty to Manuel and wasn’t shy in expressing that too.

“EJ knows that I’ll always have his back,” said Wood. “So I don’t feel weird saying that. We need to be better around him, for if and when he comes back. But this week I have to get on the same page as Kyle and I have to put in a lot of work with him.”


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Fred: We made it harder on EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2014 – 10:29 am

While those outside the walls of One Bills Drive are openly critical of Bills QB EJ Manuel, co-captain Fred Jackson gave strong indication that now is not the time to make rash decisions with the offense. In an appearance on Bills flagship station, WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson said part of the reason Manuel struggled was because they failed to adequately protect him.

“I think one of the things that we can do to help him as a total offense is keep him upright on his feet,” said Jackson. “If you look at the way he had to play yesterday he was constantly being flushed out of the pocket. He was constantly being hit every time he threw the ball. They did a great job of getting pressure on him. We didn’t handle line stunts well for the second week in a row so we can expect to see that again.

“I put EJ under pressure yesterday with some blocks that I missed. When he’s running around and his feet aren’t set it’s hard for any quarterback to be accurate in that situation. It’s on us to get that taken care of. He’s a quarterback who has proven if we give him time and let him stand in the pocket he’ll deliver some great plays for us. So it’s on us to get that done.”

Jackson said the onus is on the other 10 players, especially those being counted on to pass protect to provide him the time to survey the field and make throws, much like they did the first two weeks of the season.

“If we can keep a clean pocket for him and not have him get hit every time he’s throwing the ball that’s going to make his job easier,” said Jackson. “That’s something we can do better as a whole unit and take a lot of that pressure off of him. That’s what we’ve got to focus on.

“We can’t sit here and say it’s all EJ’s fault and when we go back and look at the film today we’ll see that. We’ll see that we didn’t do our job of protecting him and it’s the same old thing. When you don’t win the game the quarterback is going to take a lot of blame for it, but as an offensive unit there’s a lot of stuff that we can do a lot better.”

 


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