Inside The Bills

C.J.: Of course I want to touch the ball more

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2012 – 5:15 pm

The division of the workload between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller was again a popular topic among fans in the wake of the team’s 15-12 loss to the Rams Sunday. C.J. Spiller was asked about his eight touches in the game following the loss.

“I really cannot control how many times I touch the ball,” he said. “I keep saying it over and over. I do not konw what else you want me to say. The only thing i can do is when my number is called, just try to do the best I can. Even when it is not, just do the best I can. Today I let a couple of my pass pros kind of slip a little bit. So I just have to go back to the drawing board to see what I did wrong, try to fix it and finish these last three games on a high note.”

Spiller, who gave up a sack on the first third down of the Indy game in pass protection in Week 12, also spent less time on the field in the second half of that game. So his mention of his pass protection assignments in the Rams game is telling.

The Bills back had one reception for 15 yards and seven carries for 37 yards in the game. When asked if he’s frustrated by his lack of work, Spiller said the following.

“Of course I want to touch the ball more, but there is no need for me to sit around, mope and groan and do all that because that is high school,” he said. “That is childish. That is not what I am about. Is the frustration there? Yeah. Deep down in your gut as a competitor, yeah it is there. But there is nothing I can do about it so I am not going to sit around and pout and be a little baby or a little girl or something.”


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Rams kicker could make OC think twice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2012 – 8:17 am

Rams rookie K Greg Zuerlein has a big leg. He’s 7-11 from 50-yards plus this season, which has already set an NFL rookie record for most 50-yard plus makes by a rookie in a season. With successful 58 and 60 yarders under his belt this season, Zuerlein has the kind of leg that could make offensive coordinators think twice about getting aggressive on fourth down.

Offensive touchdowns have been hard enough to come by for the Rams as they have just 18 this season, third-lowest in the NFL next to Arizona (17) and Kansas City (15). Zuerlein has at least helped the St. Louis offense put points on the board from long distance.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher isn’t necessarily conservative by nature, but in his first year with the club he’s taking points wherever he can get them.

As head coach Chan Gailey sees it, no matter how big a leg your kicker has, you can’t let it make you conservative as an offensive play caller.

“It probably does, but I’m not sure it should let it because if you start depending on that, that’s where you stop scoring touchdowns,” Gailey said in his weekly conversation with Buffalobills.com. “You don’t want to depend on that. You know you’ve got it in your back pocket, but you don’t want to depend on that in my opinion.”

Zuerlein got a game ball from coach Fisher last week, for kicking a 53-yarder at time expired in regulation to force overtime, followed by a 54-yarder in overtime to beat the 49ers.


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O-line calls to be handled by vets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2012 – 10:26 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey chose not to reveal the lineup for his offensive line Sunday. It’s left the question out there as to whether it will be Kraig Urbik at center or rookie David Snow. Whoever is not at center will be at right guard. Even if Snow is at center against the Rams Sunday, don’t expect him to be making the line calls. That will be handled by two veterans up front for the Bills.

Head coach Chan Gailey answered in the affirmative in his weekly conversation with Buffalobills.com when asked if Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik will be handling a lot of the pre-snap calls on the line no matter where Urbik lines up.

“Oh yes,” said Gailey. “A lot of times when you have two new guys playing next to each other that’s not the easiest thing in the world either. You really have to communicate all the way out. The good thing about Sam (Young) is he’s played, he’s been a pro so I think he’ll be able to communicate back in whatever is necessary to communicate back in.”

Urbik also gave indication that he and Levitre would be handling the line calls before the snap.

“Whether I’m at guard or center I’m going to be help (David) Snow and Sam (Young),” said Urbik. “We’re going here, or we’re going here, that way there is no guesswork and no thinking. We’re just going. I think Andy (Levitre) and I are going to be doing most of the communicating no matter what.”

“The communication is one of the biggest factors, but we’ve been working with those guys,” said Gailey of Snow and Young. “We’ve had communication with them for quite a while, almost the whole season now. The speed of the game is what they’ve have to adjust to. The other three guys are used to the speed of the game, they’re not. It’s going to be a challenge for them to adjust to the speed of the game. And this is a tough defensive front to make that adjustment against.

“This is probably the biggest challenge we’ve had all year. With the quality of players they have on their front, they play so hard and so fast. They’re quick and strong. They’re as good a defensive line as we have faced all season. We have our work cut out for us with two new guys on our offensive line. It’s a challenge for our football team.”


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WR Amendola a game time decision

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 5:07 pm

The Rams top receiver is truly 50-50 for Sunday’s game against the Bills in Buffalo.

That according to St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher.

After Friday’s practice, Fisher told St. Louis reporters the following about Amendola’s availability for Sunday’s game.

“He was limited practice today and a little better than he was yesterday,” Fisher said. “I’m sure he’ll be a game time decision.”

Amendola is dealing with a foot injury and is listed as questionable. LB Mario Haggan (elbow) is also questionable.

TE Mike McNeill (thigh) is out.

RB Steven Jackson (foot) and starting C Scott Wells (knee) are listed as probable after both participated fully on Friday.


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Gailey holds O-line cards close to vest

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 1:29 pm

The Bills know what their lineup is going to be on their offensive line come Sunday against the Rams, they just don’t want St. Louis to know. Head coach Chan Gailey chose not to reveal who would line up at center in place of the injured Eric Wood.

When asked what he was willing to reveal regarding his re-shuffled offensive line for this week, Gailey offered the following.

“We’ll have five,” said Gailey. “Every play we’ll have five and sometimes we’ll have six, but that’s about as far as I want to go on that. We know what we’re going to do, but I don’t want to talk about where everybody is going to play.”

Last Sunday after Eric Wood exited the game with a torn MCL in his left knee, right guard Kraig Urbik moved to center and rookie David Snow came on to replace Urbik at right guard. Sam Young stepped in at right tackle for the injured Chris Hairston, who has since been moved to injured reserve.

The other possible lineup would be David Snow at center and Urbik remaining at his right guard spot. Either way is comfortable for Urbik, who made five starts at center last season for Wood.

“I felt comfortable going in there last game when Eric got hurt and I’ve had a lot of practice at center so I feel comfortable there,” said Urbik.

Whether the offensive staff has chosen to change that alignment for this week remains to be seen.


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Bills full injury status report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 1:17 pm

Here is the Bills injury status report for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Special teams LB Chris White was the only new addition on Friday.

“Chris White had an issue with his back and went in, but came back and finished practice,” said Gailey. “He was limited.”

OUT
DE Mark Anderson – knee
C Eric Wood – knee

QUESTIONABLE
WR Stevie Johnson – hamstring
CB Justin Rogers – foot
CB Leodis McKelvin – back
CB Aaron Williams – knee
DT Spencer Johnson – ankle
LB Chris White – back

PROBABLE
DT Kyle Williams – ankle
WR Brad Smith – hamstring
WR T.J. Graham – ankle
LB Nick Barnett – knee
G Kraig Urbik – knee
S Da’Norris Searcy – hand
RB C.J. Spiller – shoulder
DE Mario Williams – wrist
TE Scott Chandler – groin
FS Jairus Byrd – back
G Andy Levitre – knee
DT Marcell Dareus – shoulder
WR Donald Jones – calf


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A. Williams still not there yet

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 1:15 pm

Aaron Williams has been practicing with the team for the past two weeks as he tries to return from a knee injury in Week 9, but he’s yet to participate fully in a practice. That’s why he’s again listed as questionable for this Sunday’s game.

“He did better,” said head coach Chan Gailey when asked how Williams week of practice went. “It’ll be close on him (for Sunday). I don’t know if he’ll make it or not. I want him really close to 100 (percent). I don’t know if we’re quite there yet.”

Knowing Williams has been off the game field for four games, jumping right back in is difficult especially at cornerback. In all likelihood he’ll miss his fifth straight game on Sunday.

With Williams not expected to be in the lineup, here is what the cornerback depth chart would look like for Sunday.

Stephon Gilmore
Leodis McKelvin
Justin Rogers
Ron Brooks
Crezdon Butler
T.J. Heath


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Rams WR Amendola limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 8:23 pm

Rams WR Danny Amendola is still not practicing fully due to a foot injury.

Amendola was limited on Thursday after not practicing Wednesday. Here’s the rest of the Rams Thursday injury update.

Did not practice
TE Mike McNeill – thigh
C Scott Wells – knee
C Tim Barnes – not injury related

limited in practice
WR Danny Amendola – foot
LB Mario Haggan – elbow

RB Steven Jackson (foot) was a full participant.


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Bills updated Thurs. injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 4:48 pm

Here’s the updated injury report for the Bills following Thursday’s practice, which lists practice participation.

Did not practice
C Eric Wood – knee
DE Mark Anderson - knee

Limited in practice
WR Stevie Johnson – hamstring
DT Kyle Williams – ankle
WR Brad Smith – hamstring
CB Justin Rogers – foot
CB Leodis McKelvin – back
WR T.J. Graham – ankle
LB Nick Barnett – knee
G Kraig Urbik – knee
CB Aaron Williams – knee
DL Spencer Johnson – ankle


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Stevie encouraged after Thursday practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 4:23 pm

Bills top wideout Stevie Johnson was back out on the practice field and was generally pleased with how his tight hamstring held up in practice.

“Yeah I was happy with it,” Johnson told Buffalobills.com. “It went well. I just may have to change my style for a wet field.”

Rain is in the forecast for Sunday’s game against the Rams and a wet field can increase the chances for re-injury with footing not as sure as it is on a dry field. Johnson’s route running really can’t be described to begin with, so best of luck to Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan.

As head coach Chan Gailey saw it, Johnson’s level of participation was encouraging to him as well.

“Stevie did most of practice, went through the whole thing and did okay,” said Gailey. “He was not full speed, but he did okay. It was good because he’d go out and run some plays and go sit on the bench just like he would in the game, and then go back out and run. So that activity was good.”

Johnson was officially listed as a limited participant Thursday.


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Bills to practice outside today

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 10:40 am

Last week the Bills practiced outside on Thursday to take advantage of the windy conditions, knowing they’d be close to the windy conditions last Sunday against the Jaguars. This week they’re doing much of the same as they’re practicing outside here on Thursday this week at One Bills Drive.

“I think the guys get accustomed to what it’s like to be in the stadium under similar weather conditions,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It’s never going to be the same because it’s not normally the same two days in a row in Buffalo. You get similar weather conditions and you get to experience it then it’s not a big deal. It’s not a shock to them when they walk out there on Sunday. You’re trying to create practice experiences as close to game experiences as you possibly can, and one way you can do it is with weather.”

“We have to be able to embrace that,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “We have to be able to use that as an advantage for us in these December games. As a quarterback, do I hope that it’s really windy and rainy?  No I don’t.  But if it is, we’ve got to be able to use that to our advantage.”

Right now Sunday’s forecast is rain, high of 41 degrees with sustained winds of 10-15 mph.


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RBs, TEs ready to assist in pass pro

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 9:30 am

Veterans on Buffalo’s offense realize they’ll have to assimilate rookie OL David Snow and OL Sam Young into the lineup in short order this week in preparation for the St. Louis Rams Sunday.  

Although Ryan Fitzpatrick typically gets the ball out quick, the Rams are a formidable pass rushing front as they’re currently tied for fourth in the league in sacks with 34.

“They do a great job of rushing the passer and (Chris) Long will be a challenge over there for Sam (Young). That’ll be a real challenge for him. But to be honest with you they rotate through a lot of guys that can play. This might be overall as athletic a defensive front and a powerful combined with quickness defensive front as we’ve played all season.”

Long has seven sacks this season and fellow DE Robert Quinn has 8.5. Buffalo’s tight ends and running backs assure they’ll be ready if help is pass protection is required.

“It’s something that we’ll be aware of,” said Fred Jackson. “We would like to see what those guys can do, though. We’re going to have some things in the game plan where we may be doing some things over there, chipping here and there,  but I think that will be dictated by how they handle it. 

“If they’re doing fine, we’ll let those guys handle it on themselves, and just do what we do.  If we feel like we’ve got to get over there and give Fitz a little bit more time back there, it’s something we’re accustomed to doing and it won’t be hard for us to adjust to that.”


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No practice for Rams starting WR, RB

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 9:09 am

The Rams top wide receiver and starting running back were among those that did not practice Wednesday.

WR Danny Amendola did not practice Wednesday due to a foot injury. Starting RB Steven Jackson did not practice as well due to a foot problem as well, but he’s been taking Wednesdays off for quite a while, much like Buffalo’s Kyle Williams.

TE Mike McNeill (thigh), LB Mario Haggan (elbow) and starting C Scott Wells (knee) did not practice either on Wednesday.


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Snow, Urbik split time at guard and center

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 4:32 pm

Buffalo’s interior linemen are preparing to pick up the slack left behind by Eric Wood’s MCL injury. The starting center is out for at least the next two games. Set to fill the void are Kraig Urbik and rookie David Snow at center and right guard. Who’s playing where however, is still up in the air.

Head coach Chan Gailey said a final decision as to who plays right guard and who plays center will be decided later in the week. On Wednesday Snow and Urbik split time at both center and guard.

“I played both,” said Snow after Wednesday’s practice. “Not one or the other, just both.”

“It was really split today,” Urbik told Buffalobills.com. “I got guard and center work and we’re just going to see what works out best.”


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Barnett, Graham, McKelvin limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 4:26 pm

Several Bills players were limited in practice Wednesday, including a couple of new additions to the injury report.

Nick Barnett (knee), T.J. Graham (ankle) and Leodis McKelvin (back) were among the limited participants. Here’s the full injury report from Wednesday. Also Chris Hairston’s injury was listed as an ankle. Head coach Chan Gailey described it as a deep bone bruise.

Did not practice
DE Mark Anderson – knee
WR Stevie Johnson – hamstring
DT Kyle Williams – ankle
C Eric Wood – knee
OT Chris Hairston – ankle

Limited in practice
WR Brad Smith – hamstring
CB Justin Rogers – foot
CB Leodis McKelvin – back
WR T.J. Graham – ankle
LB Nick Barnett – knee
G Kraig Urbik – knee
CB Aaron Williams – knee
DT Spencer Johnson – ankle

Full practice
S Da’Norris Searcy – hand
RB C.J. Spiller – shoulder
DE Mario Williams – wrist
TE Scott Chandler – groin
FS Jairus Byrd – back
G Andy Levitre – knee
DT Marcell Dareus – shoulder
WR Donald Jones – calf


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DE Anderson still not ready

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2012 – 9:05 am

He’s been out of the lineup since Week 5, thanks to a pair of knee surgeries, and it’s not looking promising for Mark Anderson to return to the fold Sunday against the Rams.

When asked for an update on Anderson, Gailey still believes he’ll get the veteran pass rusher back, just not this week in all likelihood.

“He may be one that’s a struggle to get back this week,” said Gailey. “I think he’ll get back before the end of the season, but I don’t know if he’ll make it this week. We’ll see.”


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A. Williams closer to a return

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2012 – 5:32 pm

Aaron Williams has been out since Week 9 with a knee injury. He returned to the practice setting this past week, but was still not healthy enough to dress for the Jacksonville game. Head coach Chan Gailey is hoping they can get Williams close to 100 percent this week.

“I’m going to say he was in that 75 percent range,” said Gailey when asked where Williams was health-wise for this past Sunday’s game. “Not quite there, but fairly close. Hopefully we can get him a lot closer to 100 this week before we put him out there.”

It sonds as if the Bills are trying to get Williams healthy enough where he can serve as an emergency option this week against the Rams, should the need arise.

“That’s a tough position to play if you’re not really close to 100 percent,” said Gailey.


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