Inside The Bills

Steelers inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2014 – 6:27 pm

Here are the Steelers inactives for tonight’s preseason game against the Bills.

S Will Allen
CB Devin Smith
CB Shaquille Richardson
FB Will Johnson
LB Jordan Zumwalt
LS Greg Warren
TE Matt Spaeth
LB Jarvis Jones


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Steelers inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 11:46 am

Here are the Steelers inactives for today’s game against the Bills.

QB Landry Jones
WR Derek Moye
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke
TE Richard Gordon
LB Kion Wilson
LB Chris Carter
DT Hebron Fangupo


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How Lewis will assist EJ today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 10:40 am

The last time EJ Manuel started at quarterback for the Bills, Thad Lewis was on the practice squad. Now he’s Manuel’s backup and that will change the dynamic of how Lewis can help be an extra set of eyes for Manuel during the game today against the Steelers.

During Manuel’s first five starts this season, Lewis was up in the coaches’ booth and could not communicate directly with Manuel until halftime in the locker room. That won’t be the case now with Lewis moving to the sidelines.

“If I see anything I share the information like I always have,” Lewis told Buffalobills.com. “Just being able to play a little bit and have some insight playing on the field and having played against Pittsburgh last year, just letting him know some of the things.”

Lewis’ first career NFL start came last season in the 2012 season finale for Cleveland at Pittsburgh. The Bills backup QB has also tried to impress upon Manuel that he doesn’t have to try to do more than what’s required of him within the game plan in his return to the lineup.

“Him coming back from injury I’m just telling him to continue being himself,” Lewis said. “Don’t try to overdo it. Obviously try to see you’re going against. I’ve got to be ready on the sidelines with my eyes as well. What I see from the sideline I can communicate it to him right away whereas I couldn’t sitting upstairs in the coaches’ booth.”


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Goal line gift for Bills?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 10:05 am

On two of their more recent goal to go opportunities the Bills were unable to punch the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. In Week 6 against Cincinnati, Thad Lewis was stopped short of the goal line on a fourth down rollout leading to a turnover on downs. Last week Jeff Tuel’s third-and-goal pass attempt went 100 yards the other way. Sunday against the Steelers however, could present far more favorable odds of finishing off such an opportunity with a touchdown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are an average red zone defense as they’re allowing opponents to score touchdowns once in the red zone at better than 55 percent (15th). Their defense is also allowing opponents to average 3.47 yards per play in the red zone, which is the fifth-highest allowed in the league.

Furthermore the Steelers defense is at its worst in goal-to-go situations. When Pittsburgh’s opponents are in a goal to go situation they convert with a touchdown 75 percent of the time. That percentage ranks Pittsburgh 26th in goal-to-go defense.

When the situation is first-and-goal at the five-yard line or closer Pittsburgh opponents have scored every single time this season, making the Steelers one of the worst goal-to-go defenses in the NFL.

Of course the Bills offense is 31st in the league in goal-to-go scoring converting just over 46 percent of the time (46.2%), so one side of the ball in these situations has got to give. Fred Jackson is hoping it’s Pittsburgh.

“We haven’t been consistent in what we want to get done,” said Jackson. “We’ve got to focus on that this week and get that taken care of.  Any time we get in the red zone, we need to score touchdowns.  That’s something we said we wanted to get done and we haven’t done that.”


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Steelers count on big play for yards & points

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 9:03 am

The Steelers have long relied on a solid running game and pressure defense to carry them to victories. Neither of those elements has been present in most of Pittsburgh’s games this season. As a result they’ve had to rely on Ben Roethlisberger delivering a big play to try and move the ball and score points.

Roethlisberger hasn’t been bad in providing some of those plays as the Steelers rank seventh in the league in plays of 20 yards or more with 37 in eight games. At the same time they’ve become a predominantly passing team.

They’ve thrown the football by almost a 2:1 margin (309-167). Not surprisingly, the Steelers have gotten 70 percent of their first downs via the pass (109 of 155) this season.

To provide perspective the Bills have converted just 48 percent of their first downs by passing (84 of 176).


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Big Ben getting dropped

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 8:05 am

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has taken his fair share of sacks over the years. It’s often a byproduct of the veteran signal caller trying to extend plays and buy time. This season however, Roethlisberger is on pace to set a career-high in sacks taken.

Through Pittsburgh’s first eight games, Roethlisberger has been sacked 31 times. That’s the most he’s been taken down in the first eight starts of any season in his career. Part of the problem is a porous offensive line and the fact that there has been little in the way of a consistent rushing attack to effectively balance out their play calling.

If the Steelers hold to form it should present the Bills men up front with more than their share of pass rush opportunities. Here’s a look at Roethlisberger’s sack totals from the first eight starts in each of his 10 NFL seasons.

Year       Sacks taken
2004       11
2005       16
2006       25
2007       19
2008       26
2009       23
2010       22
2011       25
2012       17
2013       31


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Manny Lawson makes the trip

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2013 – 3:27 pm

He was excused from Friday’s practice by head coach Doug Marrone and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. But Buffalobills.com has confirmed that LB Manny Lawson has made the trip with the team for tomorrow’s game against the Steelers.

Knowing Lawson’s reason for missing Friday’s practice was not injury related the veteran linebacker is expected to start Sunday on Buffalo’s defense.


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Red zone changes will be subtle

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2013 – 11:58 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has pledged to make changes with his red zone offense, which has quickly slipped to 31st in the NFL with a touchdown success rate of just 42.3%. Buffalobills.com asked Marrone the degree of change that should be expected once Buffalo’s offense cracks the opponent’s 20-yard line.

“I think when the changes work people will say we’ve made dramatic changes and they look great,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “If they don’t work people will think we didn’t make any changes. A lot of it depends on your execution of things. When we looked at it in the red zone we’re not getting the results that we want, so it wasn’t a matter of the
schematics.

“It’s basically the execution of things. So what we had to do was put our players in a mindset of where they can execute at a higher level. Probably right now we’re looking at subtle changes, but if we do well people will consider them dramatic changes. We have to make those changes because we have to do better. If we keep doing things the same way then they’re not going to change.”

Pittsburgh’s red zone defense is ranked in the middle of the pack. The Steelers are 15th in the league allowing touchdowns more than 55 percent of the time.


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Steelers could be short at tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 2:30 pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are team that has endured injuries on par with that of the Bills this season. On Sunday they may be shorthanded at offensive tackle.

While starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum was able to practice fully for the first time on Friday and is listed as probable coming off a knee injury, starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert is questionable with an ankle injury. One of their primary backups at offensive tackle is also questionable in former first-round pick Michael Adams. He was added to the team’s injury report on Friday with a rib injury.

If Gilbert or Adams cannot go on Sunday veteran Guy Whimper would be the only other available offensive tackle.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Wednesday Participation   Thursday Participation   Friday Game Status
Ike Taylor CB Concussion DNP FP FP Probable
Vince Williams LB Concussion DNP LP FP Probable
Kelvin Beachum T Knee LP LP FP Probable
Marcus Gilbert T Ankle LP LP LP Questionable
Heath Miller TE Non-injury   related LP FP FP Probable
Fernando Velasco C Thigh LP FP FP Probable
David DeCastro G Ankle FP FP FP Probable
Cameron Heyward DE Knee FP FP FP Probable
Markus Wheaton WR Finger FP FP FP Probable
Mike Adams T Ribs N/A N/A DNP Questionable

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Lawson’s status up in air for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 12:39 pm

Bills LB Manny Lawson was excused from Friday’s practice by head coach Doug Marrone. The veteran linebacker is healthy, but his status for the game is a bit up in the air.

“Manny Lawson I spoke to him this morning. I excused him,” said Marrone. “It’s not injury related. He’s taking care of some personal issues. I’m going to talk to him this afternoon. I don’t know much about his situation.”

As such Marrone did not give an official status for Lawson for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, but it’s expected that he’ll be listed as questionable.


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Goodwin probable for Steelers game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 12:35 pm

Hamstring injuries can be tough, especially for wide receivers, who need to get to top speed, gear down, get in and out of breaks and accelerate again. That puts a lot of stress on hamstrings, but Marquise Goodwin made good progress this week and looks like he’ll be available for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

Goodwin participated fully in practice on Friday after working on limited basis Thursday.

“He’s good to go,” said head coach Doug Marrone, who listed his speed receiver as probable.

Goodwin suffered a hamstring strain last week against the Chiefs in the second half. The rookie wideout has been the team’s most reliable deep threat thus far this season and also is the primary kick returner.


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Marrone may only dress 2 QBs Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 7:40 am

Doug Marrone is expecting to have both EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis available for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Provided they both continue on their current full participation path in practice there’s a good chance that third quarterback Jeff Tuel could be inactive Sunday.

“I probably get more concerned with linemen because there’s more positions,” said Marrone of his choices for his Sunday inactive list. “We go into the game with seven (linemen), but if someone maybe a little bit tweaked or injured, maybe you go into a game with eight.  I think the same at quarterback.  If someone is 100-percent healthy you may go in with three, but for limited number of people that are active… if I felt that someone was injured to the point that he could play, but if he gets a hit or a twist or a strain, for me I put him in there thinking I can at least get a half out of him. If I feel like that I usually add an extra guy.”

When asked if he’ll still dress all three quarterbacks, Marrone said he’s still weighing the options, but is leaning toward just keeping two active Sunday in Pittsburgh.

“That’s what I’ve been looking at,” he said. “I feel very good about EJ playing, I feel good about Thad and that’s why (Wednesday) I didn’t want to say this guy’s starting, this guy’s backing him up. I wanted to make sure they were healthy, they practice and how they feel after practice. I’m probably not ready to make that decision yet, but right now they both look good, and if they both look good them I’m only going to dress two.”


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Steelers injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 4:17 pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their updated injury report following their Thursday practice and a couple of their players are back to full participation.

Starting CB Ike Taylor was a full participant in his recovery from a concussion. Both Pittsburgh’s starting left and right tackles however, are still limited in practice. LT Kelvin Beachum has a knee injury, while RT Marcus Gilbert is dealing with an ankle injury.

TE Heath Miller and C Fernando Velasco were back to full participation in practice.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Wednesday

Participation Thursday

Ike Taylor

CB

Concussion

DNP

FP

Vince Williams

LB

Concussion

DNP

LP

Kelvin Beachum

T

Knee

LP

LP

Marcus Gilbert

T

Ankle

LP

LP

Heath Miller

TE

Non-injury related

LP

FP

Fernando Velasco

C

Thigh

LP

FP

David DeCastro

G

Ankle

FP

FP

Cameron Heyward

DE

Knee

FP

FP

Markus Wheaton

WR

Finger

FP

FP


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Steelers may have more injuries than Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2013 – 3:35 pm

Part of the Steelers problems this season can be tied to their lengthy list of injuries. Pittsburgh saw three more starters go down last week against New England.

The Steelers lost both CB Ike Taylor and LB Vince Williams to concussions. OT Marcus Gilbert left last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. We’ll learn more about the status of those three players for Pittsburgh on Wednesday with the initial release of the injury report.


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Steelers coach threatening jobs… again

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2013 – 2:16 pm

Mike Tomlin

The season hasn’t gone as planned for the normally competitive Pittsburgh Steelers. Their 2-6 record has been a product of many problems, but after they had 55 points and better than 600 yards hung on them by the New England Patriots to set a franchise worst, Tomlin threatened to bench any player who weren’t bringing the necessary effort.

“Those people who are lacking effort won’t be playing,” Tomlin said after Sunday’s loss. “It’s just that simple. I am angry, disappointed.”

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this is the second time in five weeks that Tomlin has threatened to sit players who were underperforming.

One of the few bright spots for Pittsburgh was Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 400 yards and went almost blow for blow with New England’s Tom Brady, who threw for 432 yards.


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Telecast teams for next 2 games

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2013 – 9:36 am

Here’s who will be on the call of the next two Bills games on CBS.

WEEK 9 – Nov. 3 – CBS DOUBLEHEADER
 
GAME                                    PLAY-BY-PLAY/ANALYST     
1:00 PM, ET              
Kansas City @ Buffalo         Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf
 
WEEK 10 – Nov. 10
GAME                                    PLAY-BY-PLAY/ANALYST         
1:00 PM, ET              
Buffalo @ Pittsburgh            Marv Albert/Rich Gannon

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