Inside The Bills

Bills have leadership for December games

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2014 – 4:31 pm

They’ve played in meaningful December games before. Heck they’ve played in meaningful January games before. That’s the main reason why players like Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes and Boobie Dixon were signed by Buffalo in the offseason. With players that haven’t experienced being in true playoff contention on this roster, the Bills added veteran players capable of showing the way. Now they hope in the biggest December game for Buffalo in 10 years that the experience pays dividends.

“That was one of the things we talked about before I signed here,” said Corey Graham on the John Murphy Show this week. “They wanted guys with character and leadership who have played at the highest level. So everything was factored in when I was brought here. So I try to lead by example and help guys. I show the young guys how to study, prepare and hopefully win.”

Head coach Doug Marrone has noticed a change for the better in leadership this season in comparison to year one on his watch.

“We’ve brought in some players who have helped quite a bit. There’s been much better leadership from within the team,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “So there are a lot of things that are going on from a positive standpoint that we need to continue to build on to make sure none of this adversity, whatever it may be, affects (our success).”

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” said Dixon. “These are the type of games you live for. You got the big dogs, the AFC Champions, going into their house, the crowd is going to be against you. There’s just so much motivation that goes into it. It’s one of those moments where you just sit back and say, ‘Ok, it’s here.  And then when its time on Sunday you go out there and let it go, lay out for your teammates, play hard until the end and see what happens.”

“It’s different. There is a little more on the line,” said Graham. “Games are a little bit more important especially for a team that prides itself on defense. It gets colder and teams can’t throw as much and so it favors the defensive teams and you look forward to those games. I’ve played in a lot of those games and it gets bigger and bigger as time goes on.”


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Fan Friday 11-28

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2014 – 10:24 am

Big AFC conference tilt Sunday with Cleveland that will have a large impact on whether or not the Bills can stay in the playoff race. On to your questions now from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Dear Chris,

First of all, let me thank you and the rest of the extraordinary staff at Bills.com for providing me with so much information about my Bills. As a Bills Backer from Austria, Europe it feels like I’m right there in Buffalo, getting all the valuable insights I need. This service is simply second to none!

My question is what will the Bills do with Boobie in the offseason? Since C.J.’s status is up in the air, it would make even more sense to keep him here for another year.

Thanks again for all the great work you do and I am already looking forward to the next piece of information on the web!

Stefan

CB: We appreciate the compliments, thanks. Well the good news is when the Bills signed Dixon this past offseason it was a three-year contract agreement, so he’s signed through the 2016 season. So I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about regarding Dixon’s immediate future with Buffalo.

 

2 – Hello, Chris.

As always, your coverage has been fantastic.  Thanks for all your effort and insight.

My questions relate to the rules regarding the game-day roster of 45 players.  I admit that I know nothing of the origins of that rule, and acknowledge that it is not specific to the NFL (the NHL has healthy scratches to the line-up as well, for example).  However, as a fan, I am frustrated that the rule even exists.  Is seems like a completely arbitrary and contrived barrier to putting the best players on the field.  I understand that roster limits of some sort are necessary to maintain competitive balance and contain cost, but once the 53-man roster exists, what sense does it make to restrict it further?  The fans certainly do not benefit when a coach has to choose between a 4th WR or a special teamer – when having both would optimize the team’s performance in both those phases of the game.

Can you please shed some light on this rule for me?  Who benefits from it?  Do the players insist on it via collective bargaining for some reason (I would think they would oppose it to give as many players a shot to play)?  Do the owners/management teams save money on contracts for the players that sit?

I can think of many reasons why it would be better to have all 53 players suit up for a game, and not one for why it is better that 8 players sit out.  I am hoping you can share some rationale that makes the rule seem like it makes the game better, and not worse.

Thanks,
Walter
CB: The game day limit is actually 46 players now after they did away with the emergency third QB. The whole purpose forcing teams to have seven inactive players from their 53-man roster is to create better competitive balance.

Yes, all NFL clubs deal with injuries due to the physical nature of the sport, but some teams experience more than others at different times in the season. So when a team may have five injured players who are not fit to play in the same week, giving them just 48 healthy players, the NFL believes it is too much of a competitive imbalance to let their opponent dress all 53 of their players if they’re a fully healthy club.

Does that kind of imbalance exist very often? Probably not, but there have been instances where the injury lists have been rather lopsided leading up to a game and could create such an imbalance if the game day 46 rule did not exist.

I think coaches would love to have all healthy players available to them on Sunday, but the NFL Competition Committee hasn’t seen fit to change the rule.

 

3 – Chris,

Down 10 with 8 or 9 minutes, 4th and 6 on Mia 47 Doug Marrone chose to punt because “the percentages of converting a 4th and 6 are not great”. If you are using this analytic thinking, don’t you have to ask yourself “what are the percentages of winning when you give your opponent the ball back with 8 minutes down 10 points. Rewind to the KC game and they go for it on 4th and 10 when you have the opportunity to make it a 1 point game with all 3 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. I just don’t see the consistency in his analytical thinking, sometimes a little common sense trumps percentages.

My question is, does Marrone have access to percentages and analytics to make a real time game decision?

CB: I think the reason you don’t see the consistency in his analytical thinking is because he doesn’t go strictly by the numbers. Coach Marrone does make use of analytical data, but for him it’s just part of the puzzle, not gospel.

Personally I think it’s a wise approach. The number crunchers who demand that a team should go for it on 4th-and-4 at their own 45 because the numbers say they’ll convert more than 50 percent, or whatever figure it might be, are not taking into account the variables involved in those numbers.

There are instances like a team being down by 21 points in the fourth quarter with five minutes left. If that offense has that 4th-and-4 situation they’ll go for it based on time and score. Even more notable, the opposing defense will play soft as they would be in a position where they’re willing to give up yardage in exchange for time on the clock being up three scores.

That successful conversion by that offense is a part of that overall success rate of teams on 4th-and-4 at their own 45. And that’s just one situation that’s part of that number which would give any coach pause, especially if a situation they face in their game is in stark contrast to that (e.g. 4th-and-4 at their own 45, down three points in the third quarter).

Treating analytic figures like that in a vacuum is foolish for NFL head coaches and they know it because they don’t tell the whole truth. That’s why coach Marrone has stated that while he does take statistics into account much of the time he goes by feel, which takes into account how his offense is executing, how the opposing defense is performing, how his own defense and special teams have been able to control field position. Time and score, etc.

Analytics like that are largely based on a number of different circumstances in a 4th-and-4 situation. To take them all to make a singular decision that is also a 4th-and-4 situation at the same yard line is flawed.

 

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Are the Bills planning to move CJ Spiller off the roster? My reasoning: He has had maybe 2 1/2 good years in total. Yes, he has talent, but he does not show up consistently. With work, I think Bryce Brown could replace Spiller. He is not as flamboyant as Spiller, but he is bigger, and has equal speed. Also, would the Bills draft a Fred Jackson like running back next April? Jackson is 33, and nearing the end. Jackson has maximized his potential, something I don’t Spiller has done.

In summary, keeping Brown, using Dixon as a change of pace back, and drafting a Fred Jackson clone would create a formidable running attack.

Your thoughts,
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: It’s my belief that in a perfect world the Bills would like to return Spiller to the fold for next season and beyond. I think your opinion on Bryce Brown is valid. He is more of a north-south runner than Spiller.

As for whether the Bills would draft a running back will hinge largely on Spiller’s future, so until that scenario unfolds it’s difficult to ascertain the direction the Bills will go in late April.

Jackson signed a one-year extension this past summer and I’m expecting the Bills to honor that so long as Jackson’s abilities don’t fall off a cliff. And there’d no indication of that.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s going on with Goodwin?

MHouck7

CB: I think Marquise Goodwin’s availability has been a tough thing for the coaching staff to deal with this season. He’s been nicked this season, and there are a few games where he was active and played, but was unable to finish due to injuries suffered in game.

There’s no question that Goodwin’s abilities can make him an asset on offense or special teams, but if there’s a concern about him finishing games that will give coaches pause in giving him a large role or perhaps dressing him at all on a Sunday.


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Dixon tips hat to teammates for POW honor

Posted by Chris Brown on November 26, 2014 – 5:20 pm

Bills RB Boobie Dixon became the third player on the roster to win AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors Tuesday, thanks mainly to his blocked punt against the Jets that Manny Lawson recovered for a touchdown in the 38-3 victory. Dixon gave credit to his teammates for making the award possible.

“It was great. It was a great honor,” said Dixon. “First thing I’ll say, shout out to my teammates for pushing me and supporting me. We go into war together.  They’re the ones that motivate me to do what I do.  It just felt good.”

The Bills are the only team with three players earning Special Teams POW honors this season. Dan Carpenter and C.J. Spiller were the others.


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Bills tip hat to fans that trekked to Detroit

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2014 – 1:06 am

The players weren’t sure what kind of atmosphere they’d be walking into at Ford Field Monday night with their game against the Jets moved in the wake of the record snowfall back in Buffalo. But as always Bills fans delivered giving the players an added dose of motivation thanks to their unyielding support.

“I wasn’t (surprised),” said Boobie Dixon of the fan support. “They’ve been great all year. People were telling us on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook that they were going to be there and I believed. Everybody was saying the game might be sold out and we were like, ‘Whoa, they really love us so we’ve got to put on for these people.’ We’ve got to represent and that’s what we went out there to do.”

Head coach Doug Marrone was naturally concerned that the team would lose home field advantage with the game moved 500 miles west to Detroit.

“I’ll tell you what our fans were phenomenal,” said Marrone. “When I first came out there I didn’t know what to expect. I know there was a (Detroit) radio station trying to garner up some support for the Jets with a ‘green out’ or something like that. We had heard about that. You get concerned about whether it’ll be home field and whether we need to use a silent count (on offense). As soon as I came out and looked to the right and saw all those blue jerseys I was like, ‘Holy cow, here we go. We’ve got the crowd.’ That was a little bit of a relief at the beginning of the game.”

“That was big. It was definitely something that we weren’t sure about what was going to happen,” said Mario Williams. “I don’t even know how  the weather is there, whether it’s cleared up or what.  For people to come out of their way with everything going on back home, that means a lot to us and we definitely took it to the field.”

“Crowd-wise it seemed like we had the majority of the fans here,” said Robert Woods. “They were pretty loud cheering for us. We were making plays. Really I just think we kept the crowd in it and I think that helped us as well. It felt like a home game for us. We had to play football regardless of whether it was home or away or neutral site we had to play and win this game.”


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Dixon was getting cabin fever in OP

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2014 – 8:13 pm

Back in Orchard Park, Bills RB Boobie Dixon was getting restless as Wednesday moved into Thursday with no practice at One Bills Drive due to the record-breaking snowfall from a lake effect snowstorm this week in Western New York. Dixon appreciated the time to rest his body, but that quickly turned to cabin fever.

“That was very tough. I’m a person that likes to get out and get around,” Dixon said. “It was tough, just sitting in the house. Watching TV and seeing all the drama shows that I hate to watch. It was cool, but it was just relaxing more than anything. I definitely wanted to be active.”

Dixon and his teammates are getting that opportunity now at the Lions’ practice facility this evening.


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Red zone play proving costly

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 11:22 am

Now 0-for-6 in the red zone the last two games, it’s no surprise that Buffalo was unable to win their games against Kansas City and Miami. The struggles inside the opponent’s 20-yard line is something the Bills are trying to get a handle on. They know if they don’t fix it fast they make it that much harder to win games.

“We’ve got to finish drives and make the plays down there. If they’re bringing pressure we’ve got to handle it,” said Scott Chandler. “If they’re in coverage, they dropped into coverage a couple of times down there, they mixed it up pretty well. We’ve got to execute better and we got to be able to finish drives.”

“Oh, man, it was a struggle,” said Boobie Dixon. “I don’t know exactly what happened, I’ve got to watch the film to see what exactly went down.  We didn’t get the job done. It’s been a problem and we definitely have to fix it. We’ve got the players, we’ve got the coaches. It’s just not happening for us.  It’s just something that we’re not getting right now. We got to get it fixed if we want to have a shot at this thing. It’s frustrating, but at the same time you’ve got to stay positive and keep on grinding.”

“Our performance isn’t good enough right now,” Kyle Orton said. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board a little bit and just the only thing I know is to go back and work harder and try to work harder and try to get better and it starts with the quarterback. My job is to put points on the board and whatever I need to do to get the offense better that’s what I need to do.”


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Why dressing Fred was too big a risk

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 7:57 pm

We’re all familiar with Bills RB Fred Jackson will to play no matter what nagging injury he might be dealing with. But after aggravating his groin injury in last Sunday’s game against Kansas City it was simply too big a risk for Doug Marrone to dress Jackson for tonight’s game against the Dolphins. Here’s why.

First and foremost Jackson is not 100 percent healthy and on a short week being a limited participant in practice sessions that are far from game speed, judging how long a limited player would last in a live game on short rest is just too big a risk to take for the team and the player.

“I think it all depends on what’s in front of them and what their ability is in the game plan and if they’re able to produce in how you want to attack the other team,” said Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s on Buffalobills.com. “You want to be going out there with the healthiest team you can put out there. You’re limited to how many people you can dress, and if someone gets hurt in the first quarter because they had a nagging injury the week before you can get yourself in trouble really quick.”

As a result Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon will carry the load in the run game. The pair averaged 6.1 per carry last week against Kansas City.

The other benefit is Jackson will now be able to have a span of two weeks between games. It’s the last break of this length the rest of the season. Hopefully it’s enough time for Jackson to heal sufficiently and contribute without issue for the last six games.


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The guy who quietly put up 100 last week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 7:06 pm

With Fred Jackson inactive tonight the rushing load falls to Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Against the Chiefs last week the pair combined to average 6.1 per carry. And one of them rolled up the quietest 100 all-purpose yards.

Brown had 35 yards rushing on seven carries (5.0 avg.) and 65 yards on six receptions (10.8 per rec.) for 100 total yards against Kansas City. Swing passes to Brown worked effectively last week in neutralizing the Chiefs’ pass rush. We’ll see if it’s a component of Buffalo’s game plan tonight to slow down Miami’s formidable pass rush.


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Marrone: changes possible for red zone

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2014 – 2:14 pm

There’s little question that Buffalo’s fumble through the end zone for a touchback and fumbled punt return were costly in the loss to Kansas City Sunday, but a close second was going 0-for-4 in the red zone. Buffalo’s red zone touchdown percentage is now ranked 32nd in the NFL at 41.2 percent. Head coach Doug Marrone knows things have to improve in that area of the field and fast, but on a short week changing significantly is a tall order.

Marrone was asked if players acquired in the offseason like Boobie Dixon (goal line back) and Mike Williams (red zone scoring threat) could be used more moving forward to help boost the red zone touchdown efficiency. Marrone didn’t dismiss the possibility, but again pointed to the challenge of having the right depth for special teams needs and other positions that often make it difficult to dress everyone they’d like to have for specialty situations on offense.

“A lot of it is matchups and what we want to get accomplished, but I’m not going to sit here and deny that it’s not something we talk about quite a bit,” he said. “There are challenges within this roster where if we have injuries you have to back yourself up. Special teams-wise, we have those challenges which probably affect the offensive side of the ball more because of some of the lack of special teams play that we get at certain positions. That’s something that I’ve talked to Doug Whaley about trying to improve to make it better for us as far as numbers in what we’re doing.”

Marrone added later that there probably will be some changes, but in a short week they will not be dramatic. Whether that means a player like Mike Williams is active instead of inactive, as was the case for the second time this season, Sunday remains to be seen.


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Dixon pumped for playoff push

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2014 – 11:15 am

He’s been part of runs to the postseason before. Now with the Bills and perched at 5-3 in the thick of the AFC playoff race RB Boobie Dixon is getting excited.

“It’s going to be crucial,” said Dixon of the next stretch of games. “It’s crunch time. I’ve been in it before so I know how it feels. I’m just excited it’s that time of year. This is what you practice for. This is what you train in the offseason for. It’s about to be fun.”

Dixon knows the next two teams they face in the Chiefs and Dolphins also have 5-3 records, and believes that will factor into the intensity of each of their next two outings.

“Yeah, definitely. When you’ve got a winning record, teams are looking to earn their stripes against you,” he said. “They’re looking to put forth their best effort so that they can feel some type of way about themselves. When you win that one game you know the next one has more emphasis on it. It gets bigger and bigger.”

Dixon isn’t worried about playing two games in a five-day stretch knowing the Miami game quickly follows the Chiefs game on the road on a Thursday night.

“I’m feeling great. You just embrace the challenge,” he said. “This is a game we all love and grew up playing as game. Two games in 10 days. You just embrace the challenge. It’s going to be fun. We’re playing football. This is what we love to do, so let’s strap it up and play.”


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Crossman: Veteran additions grew the culture

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2014 – 5:38 pm

He wanted veteran core special teams players as part of his four main special teams units (kick return, kick coverage, punt return, punt coverage) after a trying first year of running Buffalo’s special teams. Now halfway through his second season as Bills special teams coordinator, Danny Crossman is pretty pleased with the growth in team culture on his special teams squad.

Crossman credits players like Boobie Dixon, Corey Graham and Brandon Spikes for convincing younger players of the value of special teams to the outcome of games. It quickly emboldened incumbent special teamers like Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley, Ty Powell, Duke Williams and Ron Brooks to take on more of a lead by example approach for the new arrivals on the roster. Soon the importance and commitment to special teams play reached critical mass.

“The plan up to this point has worked. We’re excited,” Crossman said. “The guys we brought in for leadership as well as performance have done both at a high level. The biggest thing is that leadership. I think some of the other guys have stepped up who were here a year ago and some of the new younger guys that we added this year. Right from the get go they’ve been brought into that culture of what our expectations are and not only coach driven, but player driven. Anytime you get that you’re going to be successful.”

 


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Marrone on adding another RB – “Probably”

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 4:05 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone is down a pair of running backs for the foreseeable future. Without Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, Marrone has just Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown healthy at running back. He also has FB Frank Summers. So when asked about the possibility of adding another back Marrone said the chances are good.

“Probably. I think we’ll probably do something,” he said. “I think a lot of it depends on where Fred is at, but yeah I would say yes we could bring somebody in. We’ll have to discuss those things.”


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What Brown & Dixon learned from Fred & C.J.

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 2:12 pm

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are both out indefinitely after suffering injuries Sunday, but since Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon were added to Buffalo’s roster in the offseason, the team’s top two backs made sure to help their two backups learn the offense and handle any and all assignments. Now all of the time they invested in Dixon and Brown needs to pay off. Both Brown and Dixon feel they’re ready due in large part to the efforts of Jackson and Spiller.

Both Brown and Dixon were asked what they’ve learned from Jackson and Spiller since they’ve been on Buffalo’s roster.

“I just learned the rhythm of the offense and the pace that I have to work at to hit the holes clean,” said Dixon. “They’ve been doing it for two years now and this is my first year so I’m still trying to get in rhythm with it. But I’m learning the tempo I have to have to hit the holes and keep the offense going.”

“Those guys have taken me under their wing and they’ve helped me out,” said Brown. “Watching C.J. and watching Fred, guys who have had success and played on a high level for many years, that benefits me. I know people say it’s frustrating (not playing), but I had an opportunity to watch these guys and learn from these guys. I told them (Sunday night) that I’m praying for their speedy recovery because those guys are the heart and soul of our team. Whether they’re on the field or not we can’t win without them so their presence is definitely needed.”

 


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Jackson confident in Dixon & Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 10:22 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson left Sunday’s game at the end of the first quarter with a groin injury. Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson made it clear he has some rehabbing to do to recover from his groin injury, but also expressed his level of confidence in Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon, who will have to pick up the slack in Buffalo’s rushing attack with both Jackson and Spiller out indefinitely.

When asked about Brown specifically, Jackson believes he can be a full-time feature back.

“He is an every down back,” said Jackson. “He can do it all. He’s a guy who can carry the ball 20-25 times. He’s a guy who can pass protect his butt off and run routes well out of the backfield. We won’t miss a beat with a guy like him. He’s a guy who is going to come out and can produce. We know what he’s capable of doing. I’m excited to see him get his opportunity. It comes at a time when we’ve lost a couple of guys who were valuable to the team, but that’s why we have Bryce and Boobie. They can step in and shoulder that weight and we don’t expect to miss a beat.”

One concern is who will be the chief third down back to handle pass protection, something Jackson did on a full-time basis. As Jackson sees it both Brown and Dixon are more than capable.

“They will (be able to handle it),” Jackson said. “It’s one of the things that we work on every day and they do a tremendous job working with us. It’s something I have a lot of pride in and I consider myself the best running back in the league when it comes to pass blocking. But those guys can do it and they will get the job done. We had a chance to go through it during training camp and I’m extremely excited about what they can do. It will be fun to watch them go out there and compete and make some plays for our team.”

Jackson intends to be around the team during his rehabilitation to assist Brown and Dixon in their preparations for the Jets this week.

“I’m going to be as involved as if I was playing,” said Jackson. “I want to be able to talk to those guys on the sideline and what I’m seeing when I watch the Jets and break them down and see what the tendencies are. So I’ll be around.”

 

 

 


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Marrone update on RB situation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:37 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone didn’t reveal a whole lot about the injuries sustained by C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, but he sounds like he’s already planning to be without both of them come next Sunday against the Jets.

“Yeah, they’re out,” said Marrone. “C.J. [Spiller] will be out for an undetermined amount of time. I think that’s out there already, from what they told me. We’re going to look at Fred [Jackson]. We really don’t have any timetable on that. We have Boobie [Dixon] and then, obviously, we have Bryce [Brown]. It’s not like we have to go out on the street to get somebody to come in. I have no problem bringing up Bryce. We talked about him last week, which I hoped wasn’t a jinx.”

Spiller reportedly has a broken collar bone, while Jackson’s groin injury will be re-evaluated on Monday.


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Dixon ready to go in wake of Fred, CJ injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:32 pm

Fred Jackson left the game in the first quarter with a bad looking groin injury. C.J. Spiller was carted off with what’s been reported as a broken collar bone. There’s a very good chance that the duties of the run game will fall squarely on the shoulders of Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Dixon knows he was largely brought in to be the go-to guy if there were a rash of injuries at running back. After this week’s casualty list he assures that he’s ready for an increase in his workload.

Dixon has respect for Jackson and Spiller, as well as gratitude. The two backs have been schooling Dixon up on the protections knowing Dixon is new to their offensive scheme.

“Watching Fred and watching C.J. they got me ready,” said Dixon. “They’re talking to me all the time, letting me know what I need to do, what I need to be looking at. Where my eyes need to be. So when my time came, I was ready (Sunday). It’s a credit to them also.”

When asked if their potential absence from the lineup this coming week changes things, Dixon doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think it does,” he said. “We’re all pros. It’s the NFL. One guy goes down, another guy has to step up. We got me, we got Bryce. We got Frank.  And I think we’re ready to go.”

In Sunday’s game Dixon averaged 3.9  a carry as he rushed 13 times for 51 yards.


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Orton a calming presence on final drive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:09 pm

Bills QB Kyle Orton did not have the best day when it came to protecting the football or in getting rid of it when the pocket broke down (sacked six times), but he did come through when the game was on the line. Almost as important as his play making on that final drive was his demeanor in the huddle when they got the ball back with 3:07 to play at their own 20-yard line.

By all accounts in the huddle on the last drive, Orton was upbeat, confident and most importantly relaxed.

“He was poised, he even came in there and cracked a smile at one time,” said Boobie Dixon. “He was like, ‘C’mon guys, we got this. It’s not as much pressure as it really is.’ He made us feel comfortable, he kind of relaxed us, he settled us down and got the job done.”

“Kyle did a great job keeping us under control,” said Chris Hogan. “His poise is pretty unbelievable in a high pressure situation like that. He helped us when we were in long situations, either at the end when we had to get everyone up there and clock it. He did a great job that whole drive.”

“He’s a leader,” said Sammy Watkins. “He knows what he’s doing with the ball. He puts us in the greatest situations. He knows how to help us out on the field, put us in different areas. That’s what we need in a veteran quarterback.”

On the final drive Orton was 8-12 passing for 105 (gross) yards and the game-tying touchdown pass to Watkins.


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Will Dixon see more action on offense?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 9:20 am

Through the first two weeks of the season Boobie Dixon got a handful of carries, but over the last two games he has not seen any action on offense for the Bills. Might he see action today against the Lions? We posed that question to head coach Doug Marrone in our weekly Coffee with the Coach segment, presented by Tim Horton’s.

Marrone explained that executing a balance of work with a two back system with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson is challenge enough. Adding Dixon into the mix is even more challenging, but didn’t dismiss the possibility of seeing Dixon in the offensive backfield again soon.

“It’s probably a little bit of the way games have unfolded and with the way C.J. (Spiller) has been playing,” Marrone said. “He’s running much harder than he did last year probably because he’s healthy. Fred is averaging 4.8 yards a carry, so we’re trying to get him some more carries in the game. So it’s very difficult to work the third back in.

“I do believe in the two back system, but it’s difficult to work the third back in. That’s not to say he won’t be out there. He’s ready to go and he gets reps in practice and we like what we see, it’s just difficult to manage that situation.”


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Fan Friday 9-19

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2014 – 11:45 am

Week 3 and the Chargers are coming in. Should be a tight game. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills Does potentially bad weather this weekend favor the Bills?

BrianGriffo

CB: I would tend to think so. Buffalo’s run game is vastly superior to that of San Diego’s. The Chargers have found it difficult to get their run game on track, though in their defense they’ve faced to pretty strong defenses in Arizona and Seattle. But without starter Ryan Mathews (sprained MCL), who is not expected to play a rainy day would favor Buffalo’s ground game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Will we see Bryce Brown at all this year ?

kochsteve44

CB: That’s difficult to determine at this point. It seems clear that the coaching staff wants a fullback active (Frank Summers) with three tailbacks on game day (Dixon, Jackson, Spiller). If one of the top three backs sustains an injury then it’s likely we see Brown, but if not, based on the first two weeks he’ll be the inactive player from that position group.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Who is more primed for a ‘letdown’ both after big emotional wins. SD, does have the cross country trip.

rahdoo

CB: You are correct the Chargers do have to come east, which is never easy. They’re leaving a day early (today) to get their body clocks adjust to the time change. Last year San Diego was 3-2 playing in the Eastern time zone including their AFC Wild Card playoff win at Cincinnati.

Against the Bills they’ve dropped three of their last four played at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

I don’t know that either team is more susceptible to a letdown than the other. Both are coming off big wins. I think the Bills strengths match up more favorably than the Chargers strengths, but that advantage is not a big one.

 

4 – Chris,

What is Marquise Goodwin’s role on this team? He played sparingly in Chicago, and overall has not produced much at all since the Jets game at Home last season. Are the coaches going to use him?

He is a 3rd Round pick that seemingly is not on the radar screen with the offensive coaches.

In limited playing time last year, he had 3 TDs on only 17 receptions.

How does a man with 4.27 wheels not get the call to test deep once or twice a game? Or get a bubble screen once a game?

I would hate to see a similar fate for Goodwin, as our other speedster TJ Graham, who was a 3rd Round pick as well.

Thanks,
Brian
CB: Through the first two weeks Goodwin has gotten 21 plays out of a total of 116, which is about 18 percent of the snaps. The fact of the matter is the Bills took steps to upgrade their receiving corps with Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams the primary additions. Both sit at the top of the depth chart with Robert Woods.

That leaves Goodwin in the fourth spot, but through the first two weeks the Bills have largely used 11 (1 back, 1 TE, 3 WR) or 12 (1 back, 2 TEs) personnel. There have been few four-wide sets.

I don’t know this, but it appears as though the Bills have a specific package of plays in the game plan for Goodwin each week, and that package only spans 10-15 plays. Could it increase based on the opponent? Yes. Could it stay the same the whole season? Yes again.

Obviously injuries at the receiver position will also impact how much Goodwin sees the field on offense as the season wears on. Ultimately it’s up to the coaches how much or how little they choose to use him on offense.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

After watching the Bills lately, it seems like Hackett and Marrone have the offense operating very well. My one question is, why don’t they use Dixon and Jackson earlier, to wear down the defense, and then later in the game use CJ to really explode?

Thanks,
Tommy H.

CB: I don’t want to speak for coach Marrone, but Spiller’s home run ability is the difference maker here. Knowing that any carry or reception by Spiller could go the distance almost mandates that he be on the field throughout the course of the game. I also think that Spiller and Jackson offer good differing changes of pace, where Dixon and Jackson might be too similar and allow the opposing defense to get a better read on run plays.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dixon, Spikes added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2014 – 4:37 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

Bills RB Boobie Dixon and LB Brandon Spikes were both added to the injury report after they could not participate fully in practice Thursday.

Dixon suffered a hamstring injury in practice, while Spikes was limited by a knee. Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t deny that Dixon’s injury is “a concern.”

“You always have to be concerned when that happens and they can’t finish,” he said. “So yes that’s a concern.”

Stephon Gilmore, who was limited in practice Wednesday was a full participant Thursday coming off a groin injury.

Did not practice
TE Lee Smith – toe

Limited in practice
RB Boobie Dixon – hamstring
LB Brandon Spikes – knee
S Jonathan Meeks – neck

Full practice
WR Sammy Watkins – ribs
LB Randell Johnson – ankle
CB Stephon Gilmore – groin


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Posted in Inside the Bills