Inside The Bills

Bills players confident in roster strength

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2014 – 9:45 am

There aren’t many Bills players who have been on this roster much more than five or six seasons. For those that have they see this year’s roster as the strongest in quite some time.

Bills 2009 first round pick Eric Wood in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio believes their 2014 roster is the strongest since he’s been a part of the squad.

“I feel like we’ve been getting better year in and year out and I feel like this is the best roster to date we’ve had since I’ve been with the Bills,” said Wood. “Physically the front sevens on both sides of the ball are really good, especially our defensive line. But our skill positions are really fast and getting really experienced too. I think it’s time for us to take off.”

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills QBs and rookies arriving early

Posted by Chris Brown on July 14, 2014 – 11:50 am

Bills quarterbacks and rookies will be making up a contingent of players who will be arriving early at One Bills Drive in advance of training camp in Pittsford.

All quarterbacks, rookies, first-year players and other select players will report for training camp to One Bills Drive on Wednesday.

All players will be reporting to St. John Fisher for training camp this weekend.


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-11

Posted by Chris Brown on July 11, 2014 – 11:23 am

Alright Bills fans one week and counting until players report. Nine days until the first practice. Get ready. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering, with Sammy having youth football camps and Adidas commercials and endorsements and having all the pressure of becoming better than Stevie Johnson, do you think he’s living up to that???

Also, I was wondering how EJ really looks. Some people on Rant sports and Buffalo down say he looks great in mini camp and training camp, but then someone wrote how EJ looked bad and made bad choices. How do you feel about what EJ has shown you???

Thanks,
Dan Reinagel

CB: Sammy Watkins is not going to be concerned with being better than anyone. He’s focused on being the best receiver he can be and with his well documented work ethic I think he’ll make steady progress with his game as the season moves along.

As for EJ I think he knows the offense like the back of his hand. Pre-snap he’s very good at diagnosing the alignment of the defense and making a change at the line if necessary. Where he’s had some fits and starts is after the snap. If his first read isn’t there on occasion he’ll hesitate and the timing of the play is disrupted. That’s the hurdle he still needs to clear so more often than not he’s not only making the right reads, but still delivering the ball on time as well.

 

2 – Chris,
I saw a recent write up that said Sammy Watkins was struggling mentally in OTA’s.  This is starkly different that what we’ve been hearing from BuffaloBills.com.  What’s going on?

Thanks
Len

CB: From what I saw the number of plays made by Watkins in the practice setting decreased as the volume of plays being installed increased. This is a normal occurrence for a rookie at a skill position like receiver. He admitted himself even during the first week of OTAs that he’s still thinking about what to do as he’s running a route instead of just playing.

It’s the typical learning curve that a rookie receiver must travel. Again knowing how badly Watkins wants to make an impact at the NFL level I trust in time the thinking will dissipate allowing his natural playing ability to take over.

 

3 – Chris-

First off, the coverage your group does on buffalobills.com is exceptional and should serve as a model website to the rest of the league in terms of operations, promotions, etc.

Now, my question involves more of an input in regards to your observations of how the team has been built over the past several offseasons. I’ll start by pointing out that the current Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks, held one of the most dominant offenses in league history to eight points by simply dominating on the line of scrimmage and playing exceptionally well in the secondary. In comparison to the Bills, it looks as if we are beginning to move towards the Seahawks mold on how to be a champion. Seattle prided itself on its Defensive Line and Secondary, much like us with three Pro Bowlers and a sack artist in Jerry Hughes as well as an underrated secondary with Gilmore, McKelvin, Williams and Searcy. Secondly, we brought in a coordinator that prides himself on mixing up coverages so as to allow his dominant line to impose its will on opposing offenses. Given all of this on defense, Seattle also prides itself on a dominant run game with Russell Wilson playing the “game manager” role at QB. This reliance on the offensive line and running game in general, proved to be their “bread and butter” throughout the past several seasons, ultimately ending in a Super Bowl Championship. According to these observations, I firmly believe that we are on the path to adapting how the Seahawks play football simply by our focus on the development of the running game, the emphasis on the defensive line and the talent in the secondary.

Although we haven’t proven to be at the level of the “Legion of Boom” or have the same depth on defense as Seattle has, is it fair to assume that in this copycat league, the Bills are doing their best, both schematically and personnel-wise, to adopt the methods of the Super Bowl Champions?

I look forward to your insight.

Michael

CB: First and foremost thanks for your compliments. We work hard here at the website to keep you all informed on the latest happenings with the team.

As for the way this team is being built I think your observations are rather astute. Yes, I think Doug Whaley has made a concerted effort to build the defense in similar fashion to that of the Seahawks. The only area where perhaps the Bills are different is they do not have as much speed off the edge as Seattle does. The Seahawks have about three or four speed rushers who don’t go much more than 245 pounds. They’re deployed in the team’s ‘NASCAR’ package, which is called that because all their pass rushers are fast guys in that package. They kick their run down defensive ends inside and bring out their ‘race car’ pass rushers to line up on the edge.

Outside of that I think the Bills and a good number of other teams are trying to mimic the model. Seeing Buffalo add depth at running back for a ball control ground game is another example.

 

4 – Hi Chris, thanks for keeping us with something to read during the month between minicamp and training camp. I was glad to read Jeff Tuel is progressing this year. I actually thought they should’ve given him the backup job last year while EJ was out. I read so many comments about him where people say he obviously wasn’t ready because of his two interceptions in the KC game last year. He was playing a team that was undefeated mostly because of their defense and if all it takes is two interceptions to say a QB isn’t good enough EJ wouldn’t be around either. The thing I really liked about him is he was able to get the WRs involved hitting them on intermediate routes throughout the whole game which is what EJ was lacking outside of the two minute drills. My question is about Tuel’s arm strength. Would you say he can throw the ball farther and harder than Fitz or are they pretty close? If he does have a stronger arm I hope he gets a real shot if EJ doesn’t improve this year. I could really care less that he wasn’t drafted. Nobody knew who Tom Brady was until Drew Bledsoe went down either. From what I’ve seen Tuel makes fast decisions and has the courage to throw the passes that need to be thrown. Watching him last year was a lot like watching Fitz come in after Trent Edwards got shell shocked and wouldn’t throw the ball to a WR because truthfully EJ and Thad Lewis looked the same way. Obviously EJ’s arm strength and ability in the clutch are going to buy him some more time to show he can run the offense, but if he doesn’t come around I think Tuel can surprise some people.

 

Dan

Western, MA
CB: Tuel has better arm strength than Ryan Fitzpatrick. He can fit the ball into tight windows pretty effectively, or at least he’s demonstrated that this past spring. His decision making has been encouraging and I believe he’ll be pushing Thad Lewis for the number two role in training camp. Backup quarterback will have a bona fide competition this summer.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I appreciate all the coverage you guys do, but I’m curious why there hasn’t been any highlight reels lately( For example mini camp?)

And another question maybe for FanFriday.

How will the Bills use all four of their RB’s?

Thanks!
God Bless,
Braeden

CB: The highlights were missing from Bills Roundup in minicamp per coach Marrone’s instructions. If coach is concerned about other teams seeing anything they want kept under wraps we have to respect it. We know the fan loses in the process, but competitive advantage has to come first.

That being said full highlights will return to Bills Roundup presented by ECMC at training camp so get ready for action.

The newfound depth at running back and how everyone is utilized will be interesting. On Monday in our Camp Countdown on Buffalobills.com we will be addressing that very question. I encourage you to check it out for some answers. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had some interesting comments on what will be a good dilemma.


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Schwartz: Defense will have different identity

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2014 – 10:49 am

Jim Schwartz has worked hard to maintain a measure of continuity wherever possible when it comes to the scheme he’s bringing with him to Buffalo’s defensive side of the ball. He admits there’s a degree of carry over that should help the players, but where he does want and expects change is with the unit’s identity this season.

As profiled in Bills Focus presented by Atwall Eyecare Buffalo’s defensive coordinator has a lot of faith in the group he inherits after spending just a couple of months on the field with them in the spring. Forging their own identity however, under Schwartz is what the veteran coach sees as a key factor in their success this fall.

“This team will have a completely different identity and it will be developed through the blood, sweat and tears of the men that are in that locker room,” Schwartz told Buffalobills.com. “It’s going to be a different one this year. Whether you have a coaching change or not every year is a little bit different. We’re going to have to be good in all those third down situations. It’s extremely important, red zone, third down, turnovers, things that stop drives. To get off the field defensively we put a lot of emphasis in those areas and if we can succeed in those areas it’ll go a long way into helping our team win.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone sees advantages at training camp

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2014 – 9:15 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone did not have a lot of practices to get things up and running in his first year as Bills head coach. Quite the opposite will be true this year at training camp.

Playing in the Hall of Fame game in Canton on Aug. 3rd, Buffalo has the opportunity to begin training camp earlier than all but one team in the league, the New York Giants, which is the team they’re facing that weekend. For Marrone the extra practices in camp are invaluable.

“I’m excited, I really am. I’m excited that we have those extra days,” he said. “I wasn’t as excited last year because we had the least amount of practices. Now we will have the most amount of practices. So, I’m excited about that because we need that and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.”

The team has to report to training camp at St. John Fisher on July 18th with the first practice coming two days later.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Brandon on camp Marrone

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2013 – 8:06 pm

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon has overseen every training camp at St. John Fisher. He was asked what stood out about the first training camp under new head coach Doug Marrone.

“Accountability, attention to detail and obviously the energy, I know that a lot has been talked about that, but it’s not just on the field. It’s translated to everything we do here within the organization and I think we’ve had a very good camp,” said Brandon. “Fisher has done a tremendous job hosting us and our fans have been great. We’ve had great attendance here over the last month and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody at Ralph Wilson Stadium.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Chandler update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2013 – 11:41 am

Bills TE Scott Chandler has been steadily getting more reps in practice as camp winds down. His snap counts are still being monitored, but he’s encouraged by his progress.

“It gets better and better every week,” said Chandler of his surgically repaired knee. “Really, every three of four days I’m able to string together, it feels better after those, it feels better during those.

“I think the first night (after practicing) was kind of a shock to it, just doing football things that you can’t really simulate. I can run routes on air and hit a sled as much as I want during the offseason, but coming out here and hitting an Alex Carrington, 300 pound guy who’s as strong as John Henry, is different than hitting a sled.

“So, running a route on a guy like Bryan Scott who, God love me, he’s holding onto me the whole time. It’s just different. That’s the kind of stuff, that’s why we have training camp. I was really happy that I was able to be ready at the beginning so that I could condition my body. Not lung capacity because I’m going to be tired, but to condition my knee to withstand the workload that it takes to play in the NFL.”

Chandler got 13 reps in the last preseason game. He’s expected to again be on a pitch count against Washington Saturday.


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ Manuel back on campus

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2013 – 2:44 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel had surgery in Buffalo in this morning, but has already rejoined his teammates.

The team has confirmed that he’s back on campus post-surgery. Manuel is expected to attend all team meetings and quarterback positional meetings. He has been ruled out of practice for the remainder of the preseason.

Head coach Doug Marrone said he’ll be re-evaluated before the regular season begins.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Powell’s leg strength simply superior

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2013 – 8:13 am

It’s not all about leg strength when it comes to punting in the NFL, but when you have it there’s no question it helps. Shawn Powell possesses that gift and once he married it with some consistency it made his main competition Brain Stahovich expendable.

Stahovich, who was released Tuesday, was a capable punter, and relatively consistent, but he just could not match the physical power of Powell’s kicking. So the punter competition is the first one that comes to a conclusion at training camp among the position battles.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Hairston update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 8:10 pm

Bills OT Chris Hairston remains on Active PUP. Buffalobills.com asked head coach Doug Marrone for an update on the lineman’s status to see when he might be able to return to practice.

“We’re meeting with the doctors on it,” said Marrone. “It’s just a matter of when he feels good he’ll be out there. It’s a day by day and we’re looking forward to him coming back and I’m waiting for the doctors to say, ‘Hey put him on that field.’”

Hairston has been working with athletic trainers on the side at practice daily and he frequently walks laps around the practice field while his teammates work in between the lines.

All Hairston needs is medical clearance from the doctors for his undisclosed injury and he’ll be participating in practice.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock thinks Bills may surprise

Posted by johnmurphyshow on August 9, 2013 – 3:51 pm

The Bills may be “under the radar” for many NFL analysts. But the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock thinks overlooking the Bills could be a mistake.

Mayock, the NFL Network’s draft expert, and the color analyst on the network’s “Thursday Night Football” package, spent the last few days at Bills camp in Pittsford. Appearing on The John Murphy Show Thursday night, Mayock says the Bills have some pieces in place as their rebuilding effort takes shape.

“You go through some tough times, and then all of a sudden a new organization comes in and you draft a first round quarterback and it’s hard not to be excited,” Mayock said on the radio show. “I
actually think this team could be better, more quickly, than people think.”

Host John Murphy asked Mayock what he sees that indicates the Bills might surprise some people.

“The first thing I see if an offensive line, that outside of some uncertainty at the left guard position, could be a really good offensive line,” he said. “For me, that’s the basis of everything.
Then you look at the wide-out position, and there’s some juice there and some young legs. Everybody knows about Stevie Johnson but all of a sudden you get the kid, T.J. Graham, who can run. You get the two draft picks like Goodwin who can run. Robert Woods was I thought perhaps the best route runner in all of college football a year ago.”

“So you take an offensive line, you pair it with some juice outside, we already know about the running back situation—if you get Spiller in space, and Fred Jackson might be the best pass-protection running back in the league.”

The entire interview with NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is available here


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Kolb back with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2013 – 11:56 am

Bills QB Kevin Kolb is back with his teammates at training camp at St. John Fisher.

Kolb was scheduled to arrive back in town late last night after attending a family funeral earlier this week. He participated in the team’s morning walk through indoors due to rainy conditions at the St. John Fisher campus.

He is scheduled to talk to the media after tonight’s evening practice. Kolb is expected to participate. We’ll have full coverage on Buffalobills.com.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Balancing coordinator & QB coach role

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2013 – 2:29 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is also the team’s quarterbacks coach. The jobs have a ton of overlap, so it might not seem like a demanding dual role. Tell that to Hackett, who has an offense to stand in front of and deliver a consistent message, while also trying to get two rookie quarterbacks ready to play.

Hackett has had multiple titles before on a coaching staff. At Syracuse he had four coaching titles during one season. Finding that balance between being the lead spokesperson for the offense while also giving the necessary one-on-one time to his quarterbacks is not easy.

“It’s just kind of happening right now,” said Hackett. “I think if you’re an offensive coordinator, no matter what the quarterback has to be on the exact same page as whoever is calling the plays. So I think that kind of solves that one right there. If the quarterback and the coordinator are on the same page and they’re not with each other all the time and they don’t know that person’s thought that’s going to come out of their head. If I don’t know what EJ (Manuel) is thinking or Jeff (Tuel) is thinking or if they don’t know what I’m thinking we’re going to have a problem. That’s really good there.

“Then getting to the whole team I think that the coaching staff that we have here has been awesome and they understand the vision of what I’m trying to do. My other job is to be able to coordinate the coaches to make sure we’re all working together. That’s why we still get together and talk and get the group fired up. It’s about everybody being on the same page. That’s my job.”

When asked if he feels he’s given enough time to the rookie QBs, Hackett felt he had a good division of his time in place.

“It’s a delicate combination. You have to balance the whole thing out,” he said. “You have to know you’re giving these young guys enough time without letting the offense forget about me and forget the vision. If I just go and hide in this little (QBs) room, they’re going to go, ‘Where is the guys that’s calling the shots here?’ It’s a delicate balance and I think up to this point we’ve seen some good stuff on the field and I give all the credit to the coaching staff because they’re the ones holding the thing together.”


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Kolb update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2013 – 1:44 pm

Bills QB Kevin Kolb is due to arrive this evening at training camp at St. John Fisher as he returns from a family funeral out of town. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on where Kolb stands physically coming off the freak knee injury as well as his excused absence.

“I communicated with Kevin and he said he worked out and did what he had to do from rehabilitation stand point, so he felt good, really good,” said Marrone. “So, again, Kevin is that type of guy to be the tough kid, so it’s just a matter of when he comes back in, our doctors will look at him. We’re still planning on him hitting the ground sometime late tonight and being here sometime tomorrow.”

Marrone said he wants to see how Kolb practices Friday night and that will largely determine how much playing time or if he’ll get playing time in the team’s preseason opener Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Just soreness for McKelvin

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2013 – 2:20 pm

Leodis McKelvin missed his first practice of training camp Wednesday, but according to head coach Doug Marrone it’s not any major cause for concern.

McKelvin was held out Wednesday after some lingering effects of the live scrimmage Monday night.

“He was sore after the game,” said Marrone. “We kept him here yesterday on his day off. He received treatment and we’re just trying to be smart. He’s a player. You saw (Scott) Chandler come back and limit himself and Kyle (Williams) come back. Leodis went the other way. He came back from injury and boom jumped in there and took all the reps. So there’s a point where all that soreness comes in. But we are very happy because we’ve gotten a lot of snaps with him from very early in camp.”

Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who did not get to see a lot of McKelvin in the practice setting in the spring has been encouraged by McKelvin’s play at corner.

“He’s shown he has elite cover ability,” said Pettine. “I mean, he’s got great feet and for a guy his size, he’s not afraid, you know the toughness part is not an issue. He’s not afraid to stick it up in there. There are times where I cringe when I see him jumping in there up with the big guys but he’s been impressive so far.”


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Silva never spoke to Marrone

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2013 – 2:15 pm

The departure from Bills training camp by Mana Silva was so abrupt that the reserve safety never even spoke to head coach Doug Marrone before leaving the St. John Fisher campus.

That according to coach Marrone, who never got the reasons why Silva chose to quit the team.

“He’s on the exempt/left camp list,” said Marrone. “I found out really when I was on the field Monday night. I had to go speak to the Monday Quarterback Club and I had to speak to the veterans. I found out when I was in transition there. He did not contact me or speak to me about his decision in terms of why or what. I’m concentrating on the guys that are here.”

For most coaches when a player doesn’t have the desire to compete anymore allowing the player to return is not going to happen. What surprised Marrone more than anything was Silva not even trying to make contact with him.

“If it’s a personal thing I would like to expect the player to come to me and say, ‘I have this going on I would like to be excused,’” said Marrone.

As Marrone sees it, unless there’s an extreme circumstance he’d not welcome the player back.

“I don’t know his situation, but 99 percent of the time I’d be like, ‘No, let’s clear that up and move on and go,’” said Marrone. “But if it’s a case of I don’t know if I want to be on a team or compete, in my experience I think it’s been very hard to try to talk somebody into playing.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin just short of breath

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2013 – 11:33 am

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin had to be pulled out of practice prematurely on Wednesday, as the athletic training staff escorted him over to the team’s hydration and cooling tent. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on the rookie wideout.

“He was short of breath,” said Marrone. “They took a look at him and he got his breath back and he was fine.”

Goodwin is not expected to miss any practice time.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock weighs in on EJ and starting Wk 1

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2013 – 3:24 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock appeared on NFL Training Camp Live and was asked about whether he thought Bills QB EJ Manuel should be the team’s Week 1 starter. Here was his take.

“I think who the guy is Week 1 is less important than what the big picture is,” said Mayock. “From my perspective, you have a new head coach, you have a new general manager and you just traded up to get a quarterback in the first round. If the kid is both physically and mentally ready to take over this offense, I’d go with Manuel.

“I would like to see him develop along with those young first round picks. Robert Woods was a second rounder, Marquise Goodwin, the speedster from Texas – you would love for him to develop in game action with those young wide receivers. Now, if he’s not ready for that, whether it’s physical or mental, then you have Kevin Kolb. If you think you can compete with New England in that division, then it’s a little bit different conversation. But from my perspective, if Manuel can handle the load physically and mentally, I think he should be the guy.”


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Tuel encouraged by pass game success

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2013 – 8:27 am

Bills undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel had a few big pass plays in Monday night’s live scrimmage. While some might expect Tuel to be happy for himself, the Washington State product was more happy for the offense as a whole.

Tuel feels like he and EJ Manuel are beginning to get a feel for how to throw the deep ball to their different receivers, knowing each is not the same. When we asked him if he feels they’re anywhere close to the refinement stage in passing to members of the receiving corps, he didn’t think they were quite there yet.

“It may be too early to say that, but we’ll continue to work on it and get better and the more you throw it the better you’re going to be at it,” Tuel said. “Taking those shots in the scrimmage means it may be more high percentage down the road in actual games. So like I said we’ll keep working on it and see where it takes us.”

Still, Tuel was encouraged that in their first test of live football they connected on big plays, which aren’t always high percentage.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s great for myself and my confidence. It’s great for the receivers and it’s great for the O-line. It’s great for everybody, great for the coaching staff. It was our first kind of true test in football and we came out and did some good things so I’m happy about it.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Tons of live scrimmage reps big for EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2013 – 12:41 am

Bills QB EJ Manuel saw an awful lot of work in Monday night’s scrimmage with Kevin Kolb not available due to a death in the family. Those snaps against a live defense bringing a wide array of defensive formations and alignments will mean a lot when it comes to Manuel getting adjusted to NFL Sundays.

“It’s great to get that fastball look from a live defense,” said Manuel. “I think this is one of the best defenses in the league. I think they’re going to do a great job for us this year. Having reps against those guys, having success even when you have adversity I think is good for us.”

“I think it’s unbelievable to get him this amount of reps,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “The one thing he’s shown in a positive way is the mistakes that he has made during the course of practice he’s come back and not made those same mistakes. The more we can put him in there the faster he’ll be able to develop.”


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills