Inside The Bills

Don’t look for Lawson to play Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2016 – 3:52 pm

The Bills are slowly getting some healthy bodies back. Veteran OLB Manny Lawson practiced on a limited basis Tuesday, but he’s still not all the way back. That’s why head coach Rex Ryan does not believe Lawson will be suiting up for Saturday’s preseason game against the Giants.

“I don’t think he’ll play this week. I think it’s probably a little too early, you know, for him playing this week,” Ryan said. “What the future holds after that? I guess that’s a possibility. I’m encouraged by the fact that he’s out there right now.”

Lawson suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle just before training camp during a personal workout.

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When Tyrod knew a deal was close

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2016 – 2:54 pm

He said at the outset of training camp that he had not talked to his agent at all. He made the choice to focus only on football and let his agent handle the contract talks. So how and when did he find out a deal was close to being completed?

“Like I told people at the press conference on day two of training camp I had not been in contact with my agent throughout camp. I wanted to keep the contract talks away from my mindset and focus on football and getting better,” Taylor told “But he shot me a text a couple of nights ago that we were really close. That’s basically all I told him to inform me, that when we were close to let me know.

“Up until then there’s no need for me to think about it. Am I happy that it got done? Very happy and now I can just truly focus on football.”

With the preseason opener a day away, Taylor had the good fortune of having his parents on hand to witness him signing his contract extension.

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Report: Ragland to have surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2016 – 7:35 am

The Bills have been waiting for the swelling to go down in Reggie Ragland’s left knee, after he sustained a knee injury last Friday in practice, to accurately determine the extent of the damage. Now reports have surfaced that Ragland has a partially torn ACL and will need surgery.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Ragland has a partially torn ACL, will need surgery and could wind up on injured reserve. If that proves to be the case he could miss part or all of the 2016 season.




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New kick return candidate

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2016 – 6:12 am

When all is said and done it’s likely that Reggie Bush will be Buffalo’s primary kick returner in addition to being their primary punt returner. But there was a new kick return candidate who entered the fray at practice Monday.

Rookie CB Kevon Seymour, who has been consistently running with the second team defense at right cornerback, is now part of the kick return rotation during special teams segments of practice.

Seymour ran a 4.39 40-time at the NFL Combine, so his speed is attractive for the role. His kick return experience however, is very limited. The Bills sixth-round pick had just seven kick return attempts in college at USC when he was a sophomore for 92 yards. Though the average of 13.1 yards is not a good figure, it’s a very small sample size.

All that matters is that Seymour was getting a good look on Monday and we’ll have to see if those opportunities spill into the preseason games.

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Separators in pass game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2016 – 8:44 pm

There was a spirited one-on-one session in the red zone during practice Monday between receivers and defensive backs. Here’s who stood out when it came to gaining separation from the DBs.

First off, there is an inherent advantage for the receivers on this drill as they have virtually the whole end zone to work with one-on-one against the DB. In fact secondary coach Tim McDonald even had a good number of his DBs play off coverage with the wideout lining up at the five-yard line. The DB would not pick him up until the goal line. That’s a tough ask.

That being said the receivers who were consistently getting away from coverage were Greg Little, Robert Woods, Greg Salas and Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin’s speed is so sudden that he’s on top of the DB in a blink and they’ve got to make a decision a lot quicker than they’d like. He would quickly get position on a corner at the point of his cut and dart away for more than a few relatively easy receptions.

Little again proved tough to handle in one-on-ones. His best move was when Stephon Gilmore tried to jam him at the line and his first step was backward to avoid the jam attempt. He then sold the post route so well that when he went to the corner Gilmore couldn’t make up the lost ground in time.

Woods did well both when he got separation and when he was covered winning contested passes in tight coverage. His best a twisting, turning grab on a fade route.

And Salas isn’t overly quick or fast, but he has great head and shoulder fakes and it helps him separate. Then he has the frame to shield the defender from the ball to make the play. He did that three times for scores on defenders in the red zone.

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Defenders had hands in passing lanes

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2016 – 7:31 pm

At Monday’s practice there were a number of plays made by defensive players in the passing game. Here’s the rundown.

DT Corbin Bryant had a batted pass during a two-minute drill series
CB Stephon Gilmore had a pass breakup on a first down play in two-minute
CB Kevon Seymour had a nice PBU on a pass deep down the left sideline from EJ Manuel that was intended for Leonard Hankerson.
CB Sterling Moore jumped a pass to the left flat for Walt Powell by Manuel and went the other way for what would’ve been a TD.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman had a PBU on a pass to the left flat for Greg Salas from Tyrod Taylor during a red zone series.
LB Preston Brown raked the ball away from TE Charles Clay as he tried to secure it in the back of the end zone during that same red zone period to force an incompletion.

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Rex: No receiver has separated from the pack

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2016 – 8:45 am

While Bills head coach Rex Ryan will be the first to acknowledge that a few receivers have made some nice plays through the first week of camp, he does not believe anyone has begun to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Ryan is looking at the wideout contingent beyond what is widely perceived as the top two in Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.

“I think when we start getting into the preseason games and the scrimmages and all that, maybe then we’ll see somebody separate,” said Ryan. “Greg Salas is a guy that made a great catch on a third and two, (Thursday). Tyrod was really patient he took away the first three options, then hit the deep and he makes a great catch. But, he’s got some savvy, great hands, so there’s a comfort level there.

“But then you get a guy like (Greg) Little who shows up, making some big plays and (Jarret) Boykin’s had his moments. We talked about Dez (Lewis) already. But to say all that the answer simply is no, nobody has separated themselves.”

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Preston Brown is Bills candy man

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2016 – 3:59 pm

A couple of days ago I asked Preston Brown why he insists on wearing a hoodie under his pads and jersey no matter how hot it is at training camp. He only told me that it was just his personal preference. On Thursday he provided the real reason.

With temps in the mid-90’s on the field Thursday morning, Brown and a few other players were ordered to take their hoodies off for practice. This cramped Brown’s preference for wearing the hoodie, which he apparently does to stash candy in the double hand pocket on the front of the sweatshirt.

“I wear my hoodie because I keep candy and gum in there, so they kind of made me take it off but I found another shirt with some pockets in it,” said Brown smiling.

Brown then confirmed that the handy pocket for goodies is the only reason he wears it.

“Everybody thinks I just be trying to swag,” he said. “I just wear it because I hide candy in it.”

Brown also has rookie LB Reggie Ragland run to the store to keep their supply of candy strong.

“Reggie’s got some good candy,” said Brown. “He went and got all the big fun-size, big Halloween style stuff. So he’s got candy for days. He has to go get the candy. Everybody goes through the candy year (rookie year).”

Obviously when it’s hot any chocolate related candy is out of the mix. Hard candy and another variety seems to hold up okay in the heat for Brown.

“Little gummy bears,” said Brown. “They come in little wrappers so they’re nice, sealed, so just in case no one’s looking, just pop one open. You might catch me one day.”

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LB Lattimore out with broken nose

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2016 – 3:50 pm

Bills LB Jamari Lattimore has missed the last couple of days of practice thanks to a broken nose. Head coach Rex Ryan explained how it happened in a freak accident during a walk through session.

“We were actually just walking through a drill and a player slipped and when the player did he fell back, and his knee came up and actually UFC’d him right in the nose,” said Ryan. “So, it was an accident, but it’s just one of those things that happens.”

Ryan said fellow LB Randell Johnson was the guilty party. No word on when Lattimore will be allowed to practice again.

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With heat in 90s, Bills add breaks to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2016 – 3:40 pm

The thermometer at St. John Fisher had on the field temps in the mid-90’s despite the fact that it was a morning practice for the Bills on Thursday. Buffalo’s athletic training staff took additional measures to prevent players from suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Head coach Rex Ryan explained part of the plan for practice.

“We added another break in there,” said Ryan. “So we had two water breaks. Compared to just the one that we normally have. And then we did have two guys come out in sweatshirts (under their jerseys), so we had to make sure we had those things were removed from those players. But we’re very mindful of it. There’s always water present. There’s all that, and we encourage our guys to drink as much as possible.”

No player on the roster succumbed to the heat in practice Thursday.

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Knee injury never had Kyle thinking retirement

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2016 – 2:31 pm

He missed the last 10 games of the season and eventually underwent knee surgery. It wasn’t the first time Kyle Williams went under the knife. After 10 seasons in the league however, his latest rehab and recovery never led him to think once about retirement.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sporstradio 550, Williams said retirement never crossed his mind.

“This offseason has been tough,” he said. “It’s been hard, but I can’t (retire). I’m such a day-to-day guy. I worry about what I can do today to get better. There are dark days in every rehab where you hit plateaus and you’re thinking you’re not getting any better, but you keep grinding and building and building and building. It hasn’t crossed my mind yet, and as soon as it does I will (retire) because if it crosses your mind that you don’t want to play anymore or you’re done, and you just keep going you’re either going to get yourself hurt or you’ll be a discredit to your teammates.

“I’m not there yet. I don’t plan on being there for a little bit. So I just plan on working and hopefully help this team get to the playoffs and do some special things because I want to be on that field when it happens. That’s what I’ve worked for.”


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Pacing himself unusual for Incognito

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2016 – 11:35 am

If Richie Incognito had his way he’d be on the practice field for every single rep the first team offense has. However, that’s not how Rex Ryan and his coaching staff are approaching this training camp with their top veteran players. They’re pacing their starters who’ve had time in the league like LeSean McCoy, Charles Clay and a couple of offensive linemen in Eric Wood and Incognito.

Incognito would prefer not to because it’s just not how he’s wired, but he understands the aim of the approach.

“Yeah, it’s one of those things where, you know, we’ve got a ton of reps in this offense,” Incognito said. “And, you know, the coaches are being deliberate with our reps right now, you know, keeping our pitch count right now a little low, and we’re going to build. But, you know, there’s a method to their madness and I believe in the coaches and the training staff and I’m going to follow what they say.”

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Kyle on how film can help your game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2016 – 9:21 am

Bills DT Kyle Williams isn’t on the practice field just yet, but he is watching practice film every day. And practice film was a topic of discussion during an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.

Appearing on the Schopp and the Bulldog show, Williams was asked about defensive line strategy and film study to help put him in position to succeed. Williams explained his approach in the film room and then taking it onto the game field.

“It’s very intricate,” Williams said. “When you’re watching film you’re watching guys’ feet, guys’ hand position. How he blocks this run, that run. How he blocks this pass set. How he sets on first down, second down, third down. Then it goes into formations, backfield sets, down and distance. Where’s the tight end? Where’s the back? You have to process a lot of information. Some guys process a book in three seconds, some guys can only do two sentences in that amount of time. Players are different.

“Then there might be a guy over there and they like to do this and when they do that this guy like this set and this will work against that set. So you have to think about a lot of things rapidly to be able to compete. If you can do that you can have a great edge of making an educated guess of what you want you do and when to do it.”

Williams said he won’t save a specific approach on a play until a crucial time in the game. If he sees an advantage on any play he takes it.

“I’m not going to save anything because if  I can beat you from the first snap, I want you to beat you from the first snap until the 50th snap of the game,” Williams said. “I want you to be thinking about it. I want you to think, ‘Okay that’s my protection that I like to do when I just have to stop a guy and he was coming and he just got a pressure or a sack.’ I want him to know that I know that I’ve got him. So there’s a cat and mouse game, but there’s a lot going on in there.”


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Aaron soaking up any & all Ed Reed knowledge

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2016 – 6:00 pm

Bills safety Aaron Williams has been following one of Buffalo’s newest assistant coaches wherever he goes since the spring. Assistant secondary coach Ed Reed has been called the pied piper by head coach Rex Ryan and with good reason. Anyone who is destined to be a first ballot Hall of Famer warrants a following, especially of current Bills safeties hoping to have a career half as successful as the former Ravens pick artist.

Williams has been joined at the hip with Reed. Wherever Reed goes, Williams is right next to him. Reed was throwing Williams shoe top passes to force him to make difficult catches. He’s done a bunch of other drills off on the side when there’s a break in the practice for the defense.

Reed has also counseled Williams on how pivotal knowledge of your opponents and what everyone else in your defense is doing can be on your own game. The sixth-year safety has soaked it all up and hopes to apply it in 2016.

“You have a role model or a person you look up to that’s teaching you a lot of things that you don’t know and the guy’s done it all,” said Williams of Reed. “Hall of Famer, I mean, accolades can go forever. So, why not grasp everything you can from him? He’s doing a great job of not giving me everything at one point, all the secrets he knows. He just — work on something new everyday. So anything I can do to grasp what he knows, I’m there every second and every point in time.”

When we asked Williams what’s one of the more enlightening things Reed has passed on to him about knowledge of the game.

“Just making this game easier,” he said. “This game is a lot easier than you expect and knowing your scheme is the biggest thing. If you know your scheme and know your assignment, I mean, your play can be two times, three times faster than just going out there and being athletic and relying on your athleticism. Knowing what everybody does and put you in the right situations. What he did is knowing how everybody works and how you put yourself in a great position. So, he’s been teaching me that.”

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DB Dowling practicing 

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2016 – 10:52 am

Bills DB Jonathan Dowling returned to practice Monday after passing his physical. 

Dowling was on the Active/Non-Football Illness list at the outset of camp. 

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Initial return candidates

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2016 – 9:40 am

It’s early in camp, but here’s a look at the initial candidates used in practice on kick return.

On Sunday only WRs Walt Powell and Marquise Goodwin took kick return attempts during the special teams segment of practice. It’s possible there could be a rotation as camp wears on, but the pair look to be the primary candidates.

Both players returned kicks for the Bills last season.

Of course that could change if Reggie Bush signs knowing he’s visiting with the club today (Monday).

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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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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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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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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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