Inside The Bills

Brandon: Stay on course to advance the team

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 2:35 pm

Bills managing partner and President Russ Brandon was at training camp at St. John Fisher Thursday and made an appearance on the John Murphy Show not long after owner Kim Pegula. Asked about his owner’s thoughts on the importance of continuity when it comes to winning, Brandon shared an identical philosophy.

“I completely agree with her,” Brandon said. “When I first got here in 1997 we were coming off the Super Bowl run and it was Marv’s last year and there was a transition to Wade (Phillips) and we went to the playoffs those first two years, but there was continuity there because Wade was here (as defensive coordinator). The formula for success in my opinion is continuity and staying with a program. You’re going to go through adverse times and ups and downs.”

Brandon referenced the fact that the Bills have had nine head coaches over the last 16 years and offensive and defensive coordinators in the double digits.

“That’s tough to keep a consistent program that way,” said Brandon. “The fact of the matter is that the reality of it is it’s year two of the Pegulas, Rex and Doug and that’s what we focus on.”

As for his expectations, Brandon is hopeful that there will be enough winning to have games on the schedule beyond the regular season finale.

“Kim talked about winning and that’s what your expectation always needs to be,” he said. “A lot of factors go into it and it’s about staying healthy. It’s about competing each and every week. It’s always about ultimately winning a championship, but you have to get through the first step and that’s getting to play games in January and that’s what we all hope for.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kim Pegula: Winning through continuity

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 1:34 pm

Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula have made it plain that they’re committed to the plan put in place by GM Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan to get the team on a path to winning consistently. One of the core principles in achieving that as the Pegulas see it is continuity at the top.

Evidence of that came in a contract extension for Whaley this past offseason as his contract runs the same length as that of Ryan. Kim Pegula reiterated their commitment to establishing continuity for a franchise that hasn’t seen much of it over the last decade and a half.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Pegula was asked if she believes in the importance of continuity as it pertains to winning.

“I really do,” she said. “It is hard to be consistent to build a foundation and a core to set you up for winning if you’re making changes constantly. So I think the continuity that the organization has, I don’t see a negative in that, especially going into season two. A year is not a lot of continuity. I know that there are changes that will happen at the end of the season as they do every year, but having a key, core group that understands and communicates with one another… I really think that plays a part in winning.”

That doesn’t mean that Pegula isn’t expecting success this season. Quite the contrary as the Pegulas are anticipating wins this fall.

“That’s the expectation is winning,” she said. “Looking back on last year there were so many changes in that first year between coaches and new players coming in and even from an ownership standpoint. So I’m expecting this year with another year under our belt and another year of continuity between Rex, some key players and Doug Whaley and ourselves, I’m expecting better communication and we’re expecting wins. Every year going into a season that’s what your expectation should be.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Tyrod made a big first impression last year

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 1:09 pm

On Friday morning Bills players will be put to the annual conditioning test that marks the start of training camp at St. John Fisher. Last year at this time it was the way Tyrod Taylor made a huge first impression on his new teammates.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan in an appearance on the John Murphy Show in its new time slot (12 pm – 3 pm) talked about Taylor’s conditioning test performance that left everyone with their mouths hanging open.

“Last year his impact was immediate,” said Ryan. “He won every conditioning test among all positions. That jumped out to me. That’s what you want out of leaders. It’s going to be interesting to see how he does this conditioning test. I think he’s going to do great things. The big thing about Tyrod is he’s taken over this team. It’s not just his offense, it’s his team.”

When asked if he thinks Taylor will have a repeat performance at Friday’s conditioning test, Ryan is taking a wait and see approach knowing some of Taylor’s teammates might be gunning for him.

“We’re going to find out if he does that again,” Ryan said of Taylor. “I would not be shocked if he won them all again this year.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex expecting consistent execution at camp

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 1:00 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan is already up at St. John Fisher as rookies report today and the balance of the roster in by Friday morning. Appearing on the John Murphy Show in its new time slot (12pm-3pm), Ryan said based on how smooth everything ran in the OTA practices and minicamp he’s expecting very consistent execution in training camp.

“The guys that we had working (in the spring), we went in there with the idea that we’re going to get better,” said Ryan. “Focus more and learn our assignments to the best of our abilities. And we did that. But I couldn’t wait for this time right now getting back with the players. I can’t wait to see how we are and if in fact we’re taking off from where we left off.”

When asked if he thinks that’ll happen, he’s optimistic that the players will be more sound in their assignments than in year one under Ryan when everything was new.

“You go back to square one putting things in, but I think we’re going to have a lot fewer mistakes than we did before,” Ryan said. “We didn’t even have a quarterback at this time last year. We had three guys fighting for that.”

Ryan also addressed his comment at the end of minicamp that got a lot of attention when he said they won the offseason.

“All I meant was that we did so well and the players I was proud of the way they worked and the effort they had,” Ryan said. “I just think we want to show everybody that this is a good football team and we’re working as hard as any team in this league.”

 


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Report: Gilmore says he’ll report to camp

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2016 – 11:40 am

Stephon Gilmore may have hinted at possibly not being on hand at the start of Bills training camp, but at the end of minicamp, where he did not participate, Gilmore when asked if he’d sit out at training camp if he didn’t have a new deal indicated he wouldn’t.

“Probably not. I’m a competitor,” said Gilmore last month. “I’m going to go in and work like I do. Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to put it on film, put up what I do on film and it’ll speak for itself.”

On Monday Gilmore has apparently echoed those sentiments with ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

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Fan Friday 7-22

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 11:39 am

Only a week until training camp opens Bills fans. We’ll be covering it all for you here on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If the Bush ship sails, any chance that Rex gives Ray Rice his last chance?

@GraysonTumult

CB: I really can’t see that happening. With such a greater focus on domestic violence in the NFL these days, which includes a league wide ad campaign to raise awareness on the subject, I can’t see Buffalo taking that kind of step.

Last year’s training camp should serve as a perfect example on the likelihood of that happening. All five running backs on Buffalo’s training camp roster were all injured at the same time last summer and Ray Rice was not brought in. I don’t see that changing if Reggie Bush elects to sign and play elsewhere.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think the Bills pass on signing Gilmore if Kevon Seymour has a great preseason?

@ZWinterberg

CB: While I think your question is a valid one, I believe the likelihood of signing Gilmore to a long term extension has more to do with the market value of top flight cornerbacks than it does with how well Kevon Seymour comes along in the preseason.

I think they’d like to return Gilmore to the fold long term, but the state of the cornerback market might not allow it.

As I’ve stated more than once on this very page, the Josh Norman deal completely turned the market value at cornerback on its ear. Getting $15M per season from Washington after his franchise tag was rescinded by Carolina threw the cornerback market completely out of whack.

If a zone corner can get $15M/yr. then upcoming free agents like Stephon Gilmore who play almost exclusively man-to-man will likely see getting that much or probably more as fair market value. I’m confident the Bills are not going to enter the $15M/yr. territory.

Could I see the Bills going $12.5M/yr. like the Giants free agent deal for Janoris Jenkins this spring?

Yes.

Would that be enough for Gilmore?

I think it would need to have a lot more guaranteed money than Jenkins’ $28.8M has in his contract for it to happen.

The Norman deal unfortunately could push negotiations between the Bills and Gilmore into an area where Buffalo could potentially be fiscally irresponsible as it pertains to the rest of their roster. And the Bills probably won’t, and should not, do that.

I think if Seymour performs well in the preseason it only helps the Bills front office breathe a bit easier should they reach an impasse with the Gilmore camp on a new contract. At least then they would feel like they have a promising prospect in the pipeline to eventually replace Gilmore in 2017 if all hope is lost on a Gilmore extension.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With suspensions and off field stuff at RB, do you anticipate McCoy being very limited through camp and preseason?

@rockydm92

CB: I think the plan all along was to limit LeSean McCoy’s workload through training camp and the preseason. It has less to do with the recent suspension of Karlos Williams and DUI arrest of Jonathan Williams, and more to do with what happened last summer at training camp.

After sustaining his hamstring injury, McCoy was not the same player for the 2015 season. He was still very good, but not the game breaking talent that has made him one of the most dynamic backs in the league.

The Bills want to ensure they have the game breaking McCoy in their offensive backfield come September, so the plan all along was to pace McCoy. Give him enough work where he’s ready for the regular season, but not so much that he runs the risk of injury or going into the season hobbled.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills would Donald Trump still be able to run for president if he succeeded in purchasing the team?

@JLasher10

CB: Based on what I’ve been able to uncover with respect to executive branch government employees and conflicts of interest, there are ethics rules that require them to divest themselves of stock or property only if they are appointed to their positions (e.g. Secretary of the Treasury). Trump however, would be holding an elected position so those rules would not apply to him.

So not having an expert background by any means on government employee bylaws it appears he can continue as CEO and President of his Trump organization while also serving as President of the United States were he elected.

So if his business holdings included ownership of an NFL team that would appear to be permissible as well.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

How was John Miller looking through OTAs?

@JustinWestfall

CB: Keeping in mind that Miller as an offensive lineman is not playing real football in the spring practices as it pertains to his playing duties (full contact blocking) it’s hard to provide you with a true picture of how he performed on the field. That being said I can tell you that Miller has benefitted from an offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning program as opposed to prepping for the NFL Combine and pre-draft workouts.

I just think he’s the kind of player that will make quality advances in his game as a second-year player based on the 12 games of experience he got last year. Keep in mind also that he played most of last season injured with a high-ankle sprain. Now that he’s healthy it’ll be interesting to see how he can perform when he’s 100 percent.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin doesn’t qualify for US team

Posted by Chris Brown on July 3, 2016 – 10:34 pm

Marquise Goodwin made it to the finals for the long jump at the US Olympic trials, but did not finish in the top three Sunday night costing him a shot to represent the US team in Rio in August. 

Goodwin finished seventh overall with a best jump of just over 27 feet. The three qualifiers were Jeff Henderson, Jarrion Lawson and Marquise Dendy. 

Henderson’s winning jump was 28 feet 2 1/4 inches. Lawson went 28 feet and 1 7/8 inches. Dendy went 27 feet 7 1/2 inches. 

Though disappointed Goodwin tweeted that he was thankful to God for the opportunity and his victory was overcoming the fear of losing. 

This also means that Goodwin will report to Bills training camp on time after missing the entire series of OTA practices and minicamp this spring while training for the long jump. 

Goodwin will be part of a crowded field of receivers and returners at St. John Fisher this summer including a rookie receiver in Kolby Listenbee who can match his elite speed. 

Goodwin’s wife, Morgan Snow Goodwin, will compete in the women’s 100-meter hurdles event on Thursday.


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Fan Friday 4-8

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2016 – 11:50 am

The Bills were busy in free agency this week with a handful of signings and more visitors in today. Let’s get to your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think that the defense’s transition back into a full 3-4 scheme will make them better this year?

Joe DeRosa 

CB: I’ve got to believe it’s going to help. Trying to merge the Bills’ 2014 scheme with Rex’s scheme last year was done in an effort to appease players who were successful in the old scheme. As Ryan himself admitted halfway through last season it didn’t work.

It convinced Rex to go back to what he knows works and that’s his scheme, which is a more traditional 3-4. Now that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to see multiple fronts from one week to the next and from one series to the next. The system is rooted in a traditional 3-4, but what makes Ryan’s scheme so confounding is the variety of fronts that he throws at offenses through the course of a game.

Buy in by the players is critical because his scheme demands complete understanding and mastery of it to execute it properly. Some players didn’t want to commit to that kind of study. One such player is no longer on the roster. Fortunately I think we saw the results of that player buy in over the last two games last season and what it can mean for the defense. Provided that buy in from the players continues and some key adds are made in the draft (couple of starters please?) I think the defense will be better.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills what are the chances bills trade up or down in the first round and why?

Matt 

CB: I think there is a greater likelihood that the Bills move back in round one than move up. First and foremost the Bills need capable and talented bodies for their roster. They not only need to land a starter or two in this draft (LB, DL), they need reinforcements for depth at a few positions too (CB, S, OL, WR, TE).

The two additional compensatory picks in rounds four and six were huge. It’s my belief that Doug Whaley would like to keep all eight of those picks in a perfect world. He’d have to part with some of those if he wants to move up.

The way that moving back in round one becomes a reality is if the Bills have a limited number of first round grades for this year’s class.

Let’s hypothetically say they have legitimate first round grades on just 16 players in this draft class. Perhaps they only have 16 prospects they deem as truly worthy of a first round draft choice. If the Bills are on the clock at 19 and all 16 of those prospects are already off the board, I think moving back becomes more likely.

Whaley and his staff likely have a few players they like that they believe will be there at 19, but if none of them are available why sit there and reach for a player that doesn’t match the value of your pick? Slide back a few slots add another draft choice somewhere on day two and match a prospect with the appropriate value.

 

3 – Dear Chris:
My question is on who the Bills will be looking for in this year’s draft. I know the Bills will be looking to re-tool the defense, and I assume they will be transitioning to a 3-4 with Rex. My question will they be looking for an inside linebacker like Reggie Ragland to put next to Preston Brown or a player with a body type like Nigel Bradham say Jaylon Smith?

Also at D-line will they draft a defensive end like DeForest Buckner/Shaq Lawson, or will they draft a defensive tackle like Jarran Reed or Austin Johnson, plus what do you think our top needs are overall?

Sincerely: John from PA.

CB: I think the key ingredient that needs to be added at linebacker in a prospect is speed. With the league in subpackage defense just about two-thirds of the time you need linebackers who can cover ground and handle coverage assignments with backs and athletic tight ends.

I wouldn’t mind Ragland as a prospect, but I’m not convinced he can cover the type of athletic tight ends and backs we see at the pro level every week. With that in mind I’d prefer a more athletic type linebacker like a Darron Lee.

Bradham was Buffalo’s fastest linebacker and he’s in Philadelphia now, so that speed at linebacker has to be replaced as I see it.

As far as defensive line goes I think both end and DT are both on the table. I don’t expect Buckner to be there at 19 and it’s unlikely that Lawson is either. Both are versatile guys you can position up and down a 3-4 front.

Jarran Reed has a chance to be there. His value isn’t as high because he doesn’t offer as much in terms of pass rush. But I wouldn’t have a problem lining him up at nose tackle and flanking him with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams and let them win on the edge.

 
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will go about training camp differently this year? Due to the top players getting injured last yr..

@Jiillyy

CB: I’m not sure there’s much they can do differently. There are strict guidelines set out in the CBA as to how often players can practice during training camp, days off, etc.

What we witnessed last summer with all five running backs going down I believe was an anomaly. The receivers who went down with injuries late in camp was a domino effect. When you lose two receivers in one day it immediately puts more strain and demand on the bodies of the receivers who are left. It’s more reps for them.

Now to the coaches’ and athletic trainers’ credit they backed things off on the healthy players still practicing, and signed more players to help fill the void.

Training camp is a grind, and the Bills do everything in their power to keep players on the field and healthy. There is also a responsibility on the part of the players to do right by their body day in and day out so they can perform at their best. Their body is their livelihood.

Buffalo does make use of GPS technology to track the workload of players each day at camp, so they’re all closely monitored as a means of being proactive and backing players off when the analytics dictate it’s warranted to prevent injuries before they happen. But nothing is perfect.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills You think there’s a player in this year’s draft that could become Buffalo’s next QB in the event that they can’t keep Tyrod?

Jordan Hanson 

CB: I think that’s difficult for anyone to predict, even those with the trained eye, like NFL scouts, player personnel executives and general managers. I think what you need to keep in mind is Buffalo has every intention of keeping Tyrod Taylor for the long term provided he continues on his current trajectory of performance.

And there’s no reason to think that he won’t. People are wondering why a contract extension hasn’t happened yet for Tyrod. I personally think it benefits both parties to wait for a few reasons.

First, Buffalo’s cap situation for 2016 is not conducive to working out a long term extension for Taylor. The market value at his position alone makes such an undertaking difficult for year one of an extension, which would be in 2016.

Second, the Bills, understandably so, want to see more from Taylor before they make a sizable commitment to Taylor. There’s recent Buffalo history where they jumped the gun in handing out a long term deal to a QB (see: Ryan Fitzpatrick).

I think the Bills want to believe in Taylor as their starting quarterback, but one year of solid production isn’t enough to go on when you’re talking about the multi-million dollar commitment a quarterback contract demands.

Third, Taylor stands to get a much more lucrative contract from Buffalo if he can back up last year’s production with even more production and wins in 2016.

So while it’s true that Taylor’s agent can stand on the table and argue that his client is underpaid this year at $3-plus million for 2016, even he knows that waiting and letting his client perform and build more of a starting QB resume this fall will only benefit his negotiating duties in getting Taylor a lucrative long term contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex camp gets stamp of approval from players

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2015 – 12:06 pm

The first Bills training camp under head coach Rex Ryan is in the books and the players gave it their overwhelming stamp of approval.

“He did everything in his power to take care of us heading into the season,” said Fred Jackson, who missed some time with a hamstring injury. “It’s one that veterans really appreciated. Having us done every day by six or seven o’clock we were able to get back to our rooms and get off of our feet and get the mental part of it. It was a camp that I think definitely allowed me to add some years to my NFL life. It’s one that I’m appreciative to be a part of.”

“I felt it was good. It was a great learning experience, you know, Rex coming in, bringing in his defense, we were able to learn something new every day,” said DT Corbin Bryant. “(Defensive line coach) Karl Dunbar was able to teach us the techniques that he wants us to take on out on the field and, you know, it’s been good. It’s been a little different than last year. We’ve had a lot more time off of our feet to recover and study on our own and other things like that. But I think this has been one of my better training camp experiences.”


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Bills injured RBs pushing to get back

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2015 – 3:15 pm

It was a lineup of injured Bills working on the sidelines at the team’s final training camp practice Tuesday. Boobie Dixon, Bryce Brown and LeSean McCoy were all working with the strength and conditioning staff as they all rehab injuries. When asked what the mood is like in the running backs room with all the injured guys, Fred Jackson offered the following.

“Anxious. Guys want to get back,” said Jackson. “The worst thing is to sit and watch other guys go out and practice and not be able to help. Those guys are busting their butts trying to hurry up and get back out here and contribute to this team. As long as they do that they’ve got the coaches and the training staff to get them back out here.”

Jackson has been back for each of the last three practices coming off a hamstring injury.


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EJ on staying in Buffalo: I love it here

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2015 – 11:55 am

Bills QB EJ Manuel has been battling all offseason to try and win back his starting job. Head coach Rex Ryan has given every indication that it’s his intention to keep three quarterbacks. Still, Manuel was asked the question about how important it is for him to remain a Buffalo Bill.

“I love it here,” Manuel said. “As you can hear the fans out here every day watching us in practice, that means a lot to us and I think sometimes I don’t know if they understand how much that means to us to have a packed house out here every night practice we’ve had. When we’re on the grass field, having a packed house out there it means a lot to us and hearing fans cheering for us during practice, because during the season we don’t have that and, not that it gets boring, but it’s a difference when you’re out here playing in front of a crowd. So I love it here and I want to stay here.”


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WR Davis takes advantage of extra reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2015 – 4:22 pm

Bills undrafted rookie WR Andre Davis has put up some head turning plays the last couple of days. The beneficiary of additional reps Monday due to all the receivers pulling out of practice early, Davis had the catch of the day.

Davis pulled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel. As the ball cleared his outside shoulder on the left sideline, Davis snared the ball with his left hand and pulled it in to his body as he reached the end zone behind the Cleveland cornerback.

“I had a go route. Cassel gave me a chance—great throw out there and I was able to put my hand on it and I grabbed it, brought it in,” said Davis.  “It definitely was the best day at camp I’ve had. I got a chance to come out here and compete. We’re down a couple of guys and coach gave me a chance to come out here and compete. With the Browns coming in, I came in here and had a great opportunity and that’s what I did. I competed.”

“He’s doing a great job competing for the ball and he goes up and obviously has ability down the field,” said Cassel. “When he goes up he’s got good ball skills down the field. He’s a guy that has to continue to compete for a job and when he can show up like he did today that’s going to make an impression on the coaching staff.”

Here’s a look at Davis’ big catch.

 


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Pettine on Whitner’s reception by Bills fans

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2015 – 3:43 pm

Former Bills first-round pick Donte Whitner, whose twitter battling, which has included knocks on his former team and the city of Buffalo was not well received on the St. John Fisher campus by Bills fans. Whitner was met with a good deal of booing by fans in attendance. Even Browns head coach Mike Pettine understood the reception.

“That’s his history here. I wasn’t here when he was here before. I wasn’t part of him leaving,” said Pettine. “I do know this: Bills fans are very passionate, very protective of their Bills, very protective of their city, as they should be. I feel it’s very similar fan bases, Cleveland and Buffalo.”

Whitner largely ignored the boos directed at him Monday.


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Bills coaches eager for sessions with Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 5:48 pm

As much as the players might be looking forward to working against a different team in the training camp setting with the Cleveland Browns coming in for a couple of days of joint practices Monday and Tuesday, the coaches are just as eager to get started, knowing how much it can enhance the players’ preparation for the regular season.

“Yeah I think we’re going to work together on that and really try to get some quality stuff done,” said Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman of their collaboration on the practice plans with the Browns coaching staff. “Some stuff that’s scripted, some unscripted stuff, you know where it’s just put the ball down, it’s first and ten, let’s go. But I think we’re mapping that out right now. So it’ll be really good to get different styles of players, different, slightly different schemes and I think it’ll be great work for us. Really looking forward to it.”


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Rex: Can’t have drop off when pads are off

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 4:42 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan stepped to the lectern after Sunday’s practice and it was the first thing he mentioned. With the players understandably out of pads just two days removed from their first preseason game, Ryan was a bit disappointed that the intensity of practice fell off with the pads off as well.

“Today’s practice obviously when you take the pads off that intensity goes down a little bit,” said Ryan. “I understand it, but it’s still not acceptable because these days are running out so you’ve got to get better. Anytime you’ve got a chance to compete against each other you’ve got to do that. At the same time we’re trying to protect each other.”

Fortunately for Ryan and his coaching staff things will be dialed up over the next two days when the Cleveland Browns roll in for joint practices.


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Gilmore set to embrace Revis role

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2015 – 8:59 am

Many suspect that CB Stephon Gilmore will be pegged to take on the Darrelle Revis role in Rex Ryan’s defense for the Bills this season. When asked about it Wednesday Gilmore said he’s ready and willing to take on the responsibility that role demands if he’s asked to do so.

“I definitely feel like I can fill the role of being a great corner or the best corner in this league,” said Gilmore. “I told them whatever they want me to do I’ll do it for this team. We’re expecting big things this year, so I’m looking forward to it. So, I feel like I just got to go out and work on my game and whatever the coaches tell me to do that’s what I’m going to do and I work on my game and my technique and study film.”

Gilmore has done that by going against Sammy Watkins in practice almost every day. Even in individual one-on-one drills Gilmore will wait until Watkins is up in the rotation to go against him instead of another receiver.

“I feel like Sammy is one of the hardest players to guard in this league,” he said. “You just got to get him the ball and I feel like me and him going at it every day, I mean, there aren’t too many people as good as him.”

It’s not clear yet whether Gilmore will simply be asked to follow the opponent’s best receiver every week during the regular season, but he’s preparing as if that will be the case. He’s often lined up at both left cornerback and right cornerback in the same practice so he’s accustomed to flipping to the other side of the field, should he need to in a game when following an opponent’s top wideout.

“If they tell me to cover one guy the whole game, then I’ll do that, and play physical and just lock in and worry about my responsibility, and that’s shutting that guy down,” said Gilmore. “So just worry about that and then everything else will take care of itself.”


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Roman: Offense is right on schedule

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2015 – 10:45 pm

The Bills offense hasn’t always looked great in training camp, but part of that due to the fact that it’s new for just about everyone on that side of the ball and part of it is due to Roman purposely making life difficult for the unit with a bad play call here and there.

In an effort to force the offense to find solutions or push through adversity Roman might give the offense a crummy play call on purpose.

“If you’re always getting the perfect defense for the perfect play and you’re always getting great angles and you’re always getting favorable numbers, I think that’s what you want to do on game day,” said Roman. “But leading up to game day, you want to put yourself in tough positions and learn from those why this particular technique is not applicable and is not going to work or this play needs to be changed or, you know, I made a horrible call here, you know, help me out, here’s why. All learning opportunities, and that’s how you get better. Training camp’s a grind and in order to get better I think you’ve got to put yourself through all those situations.”

So even though it hasn’t always looked pretty, Roman believes the progress of the offense is on track.

“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” he said. “I thought we started off a little slow. I thought the first couple days, our passing game was a little out of sync. But around the fourth day, we started to get going and guys are starting to really get it. We’ve been throwing a lot at them and I think we’re right on schedule. I think it’s all about where we go from this point forward.”


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Hughes: Iron sharpens iron

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2015 – 9:31 am

Most observers have commented on how both Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio are only going to benefit by going against Mario Williams every day in practice. But what about a veteran like Jerry Hughes going against another vet like Cordy Glenn?

As Hughes sees it the benefits are mutual.

“Cordy is a tremendous athlete,” said Hughes. “I’ve always said he’s one of the top tackles in the game, just on his size and his patience, and how well he can move with how big he is. It’s always fun going against him in practice. Iron sharpens iron.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins proves a quick study

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2015 – 7:24 am

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is always eager to learn more about the NFL game, which is part of why he has enjoyed the coaching of receivers coach Sanjay Lal. Lal cuts the responsibilities of the receiver position to the finest details. Watkins has very quickly applied some of those details to his game and it made a difference in Monday’s practice.

On Watkins route against Ronald Darby in the two minute drill that resulted in a 44-yard touchdown catch there was a subtle move that may not have been noticed by most who watched the play. But after stemming his route up the field, when Darby turned to run with him he was stride for stride down the sideline. Watkins then tucked his inside shoulder, gave Darby the slightest of bumps and then flared his route outside, where Matt Cassel hit him in stride, while Darby tried to close the space Watkins just created for himself.

“It is one of those things you start to repeat,” said Cassel of his throw and Watkins catch. “If you guys saw the route, it was just as impressive of a route because he went and stacked the guy and leaned into him used his big body, left me room on the outside. Those are all technique things that the coaches have done a tremendous job of coaching him up. Then taking that coaching out onto the field. And that is what we want to see this time of year.”

Coaches often say that NFL players make their biggest jump from year one to year two of their careers. Watkins looked poised to be one of those players.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cassel: Glad plan is for him to start Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2015 – 11:44 am

Matt Cassel didn’t get a ton of work Saturday night in the Bills’ blue-white scrimmage. Even head coach Rex Ryan admitted that a lot of run plays were called during Cassel’s time on the field. In the next breath however Ryan indicated that Cassel would probably start in the team’s first preseason game this Friday against Carolina. Cassel liked the sound of that when he got the news.

“Great. I hope I play the whole game to be honest with you,” said Cassel. “I honestly would embrace the chance to start and go out there and play a little bit. And get into a rhythm.”

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills