Inside The Bills

Team leaders stood tall

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:25 pm

The Bills just named their captains last Monday. Six days later just about all of them had a pretty big hand in Sunday’s overtime victory.

The six players named captains were Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Eric Wood, Fred Jackson, Corey Graham and Brandon Spikes.

On offense Wood helped lead an offensive line that was new in terms of playing together and surrendered just one sack all day. They also helped the run game roll up almost 200 yards on the ground averaging almost six yards a carry.

Fred Jackson had the biggest run of the day in overtime on his 38-yard rumble down the sideline to the one.

On defense Mario Williams had a sack, Kyle Williams had an interception, Brandon Spikes was instrumental in stuffing the run and Corey Graham had an interception and a couple of pass breakups late in regulation to force Chicago to settle for a game-tying field goal.

Add in EJ Manuel’s performance in his natural leadership role of quarterback and it’s a pretty good day for Buffalo’s captains when it comes to setting an example.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spikes’ attitude takes hold of defense

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:21 am

He was brought in to bring some teeth to Buffalo’s run defense. Through the preseason the Bills have been one of the top three run defenses in the league and partial credit undoubtedly goes to Brandon Spikes. But there’s another element to Spikes’ game that is taking hold of a defense that has been in need of a defining personality.

“It’s his attitude,” said Mario Williams of Spikes. “Obviously, he can play. He’s great on the football field but it’s his attitude. The attitude goes a long way. He’s a guy who goes out there and being the ‘mike’ linebacker, you’ve got to be able to bring everybody in.  He’s the quarterback of the defense, and we feel that already.”

That’s a big reason why Spikes was selected as one of the team captains this past Monday.

“These guys embraced me from day one and they knew what type of player I was and how I approached the game and very passionate about my job,” said Spikes. “They know I’m just trying to do the right thing and lead by example. They respect that, so it just feels great.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins, Spikes both probable for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 5, 2014 – 1:10 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

Here’s the status of all the Bills who appeared on the injury list this week heading into Sunday’s game with the Chicago Bears, including LB Brandon Spikes and WR Sammy Watkins who are both probable.

DOUBTFUL
S Jonathan Meeks – neck
TE Lee Smith – toe

QUESTIONABLE
CB Stephon Gilmore – groin
RB Boobie Dixon – hamstring

PROBABLE
LB Randell Johnson – ankle
LB Brandon Spikes – knee
WR Sammy Watkins – ribs


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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

Captaincy nothing new for Corey Graham

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2014 – 2:55 pm

Corey Graham was named one of six captains for the 2014 Bills by his teammates, which were announced Monday by the club. Named as a captain entering his first year with Buffalo was certainly an honor, but serving as a captain is nothing new for the veteran defensive back.

“I’ll pretty much be the same person I’ve always been,” Graham told Buffalobills.com. “I’ve been a captain pretty much everywhere I’ve been. I’ve been nominated a captain in Chicago. I was also a captain in Baltimore. So I’ve been a captain everywhere I’ve been so it’s nothing new to me. I just try to lead by example and play as hard as I can and help guys any way I can.”

Buffalo also had another captain named who just joined the team in the offseason in veteran LB Brandon Spikes.


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Fan Friday 8-29

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2014 – 8:36 am

The preseason is now in the books and rosters will all be down to 53 by Saturday at 4 pm. For now let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills do you have an early projection for which wideouts will make the team?

NunnBetta

CB: I honestly believe the wide receiver position is pretty cut and dry in terms of personnel. Most of them have solidified their roles either on offense or their contributions on special teams. I think the bigger question is how many do they keep?

In Doug Marrone’s first season as head coach the Bills kept six receivers. I think this time around there is a realistic chance they keep seven. Now that obviously means they would have to trim from another position, presumably on offense. Do they only keep two quarterbacks? Do they keep one less tight end?

The Bills will also have an extra roster spot to play with knowing that Nigel Bradham will presumably go on the reserve suspended list and not count toward the 53-man roster.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Will Coach Hackett be on sideline or in booth this season?

MDermody88

CB: The Bills offensive coordinator made a move down to the sidelines last season and intends to stay there. He’s been on the sideline all preseason so I’ve got no reason to think that will change this coming week.

 

3 – Chris:

Thanks for your coverage on the team!
I have a question on the Bills Offensive philosophy in short yardage and Red Zone.  It appears (at least in the preseason) that the Bills are going the stay with the tight formations on short yardage and goal line situations (basically power on power) why don’t they use the spread more?  Not to bring up previous situations but the Bills seemed more consistent and successful (under Chan Gailey) spreading the defense which opened more running lanes and the middle of the field. Do you see the Bills incorporating some of that offensive thinking?

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think what you saw in the preseason is only some of what you should expect in the regular season. The Bills have spent the better part of the last two offseasons trying to increase their size and girth on the offensive line. That was done with winning those short yardage battles by plowing straight ahead in mind. In all likelihood that will be the approach a good amount of the time this season, but I wouldn’t rule out some spread looks as well.

 

4 – Chris,

So far through the preseason games, the Bills run defense looks a lot better than it has in years. I feel a big reason for that has been the addition of Brandon Spikes at MLB (and of course, Jim Schwartz as DC). I know Spikes signed a one-year deal with the Bills in the offseason, do you see the Bills offering him a long-term contract extension sometime during the season? I would love to see Spikes re-signed as I feel he’s been a great mentor to the younger players on the team, as well as being a great MLB.

Thanks for the great coverage on the Bills!

Steve B.
Fredericksburg, VA
CB: There’s no question that Spikes is a guy that younger players follow. They respect his instincts for the game. To further illustrate that I’ll let LB Ty Powell explain it himself.

“Me and Preston Brown are usually side by side, following Spikes and stuff,” said Powell. “Spikes has a lot of knowledge of the game, he has great instincts, so we just follow him around.”

The young linebackers on the roster are just trying to soak up whatever they can about playing linebacker in the NFL from Spikes.

As for an extension I would expect that to be a wait and see situation, but the run defense is probably the most encouraging thing about this team to come out of the preseason.

 

5 – Hello Chris,

Love the work you do for the Bills and Fan Friday. I am wondering if the I-formation seen in preseason, is what we will be mainly seeing by the Bills. With all the talent they have a wideout, Williams, Woods, Goodwin, seems crazy they wouldn’t stick to more of a spread offense? Plus this would create space for Spiller. Maybe they are just not showing much of their packages at this point but still. Thanks for the Bills Coverage.

David
Rochester

CB: My suspicion is that while that is a part of their offensive playbook we won’t see nearly as much of it in the preseason. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has always been about putting his five best playmakers on the field for the offense. That should mean more wideouts on the field more often come the regular season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Little margin for error vs. proven QB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2014 – 12:48 pm

Buffalo’s defense has played pretty well in the preseason, particularly the starting unit. Going against a proven QB like Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is seen by Bills’ defenders as a good thing as they prepare for the regular season.

MLB Brandon Spikes likes facing top QBs because it forces a defensive unit to be on point with every detail of their scheme. If they’re not a signal caller like Roethlisberger will take advantage.

“I think you’ve just got to know that the margin of error is very small with a veteran guy like that who can bring it,” said Spikes. “If you make one little slight mistake he can bring it and it can go a long way. So you just want to execute the defense and stay on the same page and basically that’s all it is. It’s really simple. As long as we communicate I think we’ll be good.”

In the Hall of Fame game Buffalo’s defense fared well in keeping another two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback under wraps in the Giants’ Eli Manning.


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Spikes collides with former teammate in hole

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2014 – 10:58 pm

Brandon Spikes was brought to Buffalo to primarily help sure up the run defense. The past two days in practices against the Steelers Spikes met a very familiar adversary in the hole during first down work in 11-on-11.

Pittsburgh ran LeGarrette Blount as their first team back in the joint practices. Blount rolled up a ton of rushing yards in the season finale last season, and had a few good runs Wednesday. Those runs were fewer and further between Thursday, but Spikes enjoyed going up against his former teammate.

“It was good. We were good friends up in New England,” said Spikes of Blount. “He’s still doing the same thing, physical back, coming downhill. He looks great.”

Blount rolled up 189 rushing yards and averaged 7.9 yards a carry against the Bills in the season finale at New England.


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The 2 things Spikes wants from ‘D’ at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2014 – 2:29 pm

Bills MLB Brandon Spikes felt his defense’s performance was ok on Wednesday against the Steelers, but is convinced it can be a whole lot better as the team gets set for a second go round with Pittsburgh. Here are the two areas where Spikes is going to be demanding better.

“Honestly I feel like the first day was good facing a different team, but it wasn’t good enough,” Spikes said. “Defensively we went over the corrections this morning and we’re going to go out there today and execute.”

The area where Spikes wants to see the most improvement is in pre-snap communication.

“That’s what I was a little disappointed in on Wednesday,” he said. “I figured we were all sound, but when you see different stuff and how they’re attacking with the motions and moving guys around we’ve got to stay on top of that. Hopefully we can improve on that and get the job done.”

 

 


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Bills ‘D’ aims to add attitude to production

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2014 – 9:54 am

Buffalo’s defense was a top 10 ranked unit and was top five in interceptions and second in sacks. Now Bills defenders are looking to add a bit of attitude to all that production this season.

“It’s just one of the things we’re trying to do to get better,” said Aaron Williams. “We don’t want to take crap from anybody. When somebody jumps in your face we’re not going to let it go.  We’re trying to be a different defense, more attitude, and just trying to  have the attitude that we’re going to win.”

Williams feels adding attitude to the unit has only been enhanced by the presence of Brandon Spikes and Corey Graham.

“That’s what they bring to the defense.  They’ve been on great defenses where the attitude is they are the best defense, and that’s what they bring to the team, that’s what we want them to contribute to the team,” Williams said. “We’re glad we added them to the team.  Not only do they bring their skill set, they bring their experience and their attitude, that’s one of the positives that we have.”


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Bradham, Rivers flanking Spikes

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2014 – 6:18 pm

As the defense prepares for their first practice two veteran linebackers are flanking MLB Brandon Spikes.

Nigel Bradham and Keith Rivers are lined up on either side of him with Rivers in Kiko Alonso’s spot.

Rookie Preston Brown is rotating in with Spikes at MLB.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spikes: Pepper will boost D-line performance

Posted by Chris Brown on June 23, 2014 – 11:09 am

As we began our Camp Countdown series today we asked just how dominant Buffalo’s defensive line can be in 2014. Bills MLB Brandon Spikes is very familiar with the level of talent that will be playing in front of him on Buffalo’s defensive line. Three Pro Bowlers and a 10-sack guy last season are projected as the front four for the Bills. Spikes also knows the man who will be coaching them this year very well in Pepper Johnson. Here’s where Spikes feels Johnson will best help in making Buffalo’s defensive line truly elite.

“I think he can just kind of provide the wisdom part of the game,” Spikes told Buffalobills.com. “He played at a high level playing and coaching. I think he has stuff that some coaches don’t get because he’s seen it in the past with the helmet on. He has a great deal of experience. I think showing up the D-line is already great. I think they’re pretty good right now, but with him giving the extra fundamentals and small little things that can tip the game I think it can take them to the next level. I’m anxious to see those guys get out there and take some of that coaching from him and put it on the field. I can’t wait to see it.”

The boost will be needed most when it comes to run defense, an area where both Johnson and Spikes figure to be of help this fall.


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Spikes anxious to “shock the world”

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2014 – 2:07 pm

Bills MLB Brandon Spikes has made a good first impression on his defensive teammates. He’s also pretty excited about the collection of talent on his side of the ball in Buffalo. It’s why he believes the Bills are going to do some damage with their defensive unit this season.

“Me personally that just comes with the territory at mike linebacker you’re like the quarterback of the defense, and I embrace that role,” he said. “I’m just out here letting guys know I’m here and ready to get better and I’m all in. I think we’re going to shock the world this year so I’m anxious and I think the defense is anxious to so I think we’re going to open some eyes.”

Spikes has been working mainly with the first team defense in their base package and is also working in certain nickel packages. Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman even has him as a backup on the kick return unit.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2014 – 7:35 am

Here’s where you can find Bills coaches and players on the local and national radio airwaves Thursday.

8:00 am – Brandon Spikes on WGR 550

2:30 pm – Doug Marrone on Sirius Mad Dog Radio w/ Adam Schein


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Bills LBs listed as one of two elite units

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2014 – 11:32 am

We’re a long way from regular season football when Buffalo’s linebacking unit can prove it, but they’re getting an awful lot of pub as one of the top groups in the NFL.

SB Nation in putting together their top linebacking corps in the league list the Bills as one of two “elite” units along with the 49ers. Here’s what was written about Buffalo’s group, which has new faces in Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers and Preston Brown.

Buffalo Bills
MLB/WLB Kiko Alonso, MLB Brandon Spikes, SLB Manny Lawson, WLB/ILB Nigel Bradham, OLB Ty Powell, MLB/OLB Keith Rivers, MLB Preston BrownThe Bills already had a very nice group of linebackers in 2013 featuring Nigel Bradham, Manny Lawson, and highlighted by Kiko Alonso’s Defensive Rookie of the Year performance. Alonso racked up an impressive 159 tackles while adding 11 passes defensed and four picks in his premiere season out of Oregon. Alonso is an instinctive, fast-flowing and aggressive linebacker built in the “new-school” mode which asks for more speed and coverage ability.

Because of this, he will now play on the weakside in base downs his sophomore season with the addition of Brandon Spikes in free agency. Spikes, a fearsome old-school run stopper that has yet to prove he’s a three-down player, will likely rotate a little bit with Bradham and Alonso in nickel or third down looks, as both are strong in pass coverage. Alonso in particular

With the selection of Preston Brown in the Draft, Buffalo’s linebackers group gets another talent infusion, and with Ty Powell and Keith Rivers for depth, I like the group they’ve built there.


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Takeo still pulls for the Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2014 – 2:17 pm

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com, former Buffalo Pro Bowl LB Takeo Spikes has been reconnected to the team through his younger cousin Brandon Spikes, who will wear the same jersey number and play the same position as Spikes did in Buffalo. Spikes in a conversation with Buffalobills.com said even though his NFL career is over and he played for five teams, he pulls for one team more than any other.

“This is the truth when I say this,” Spikes told Buffalobills.com. ‘There is no team I pull for more than the Buffalo Bills because I feel those fans deserve it more than anyone else in the league. They really do.”

Spikes said with his younger cousin now playing in Buffalo he will try to come up and take in a home game this fall.


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Spikes gets caught up in March Madness

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2014 – 9:12 am

Bills LB Brandon Spikes got into a bet on Twitter on the Villanova-UCONN game over the weekend. He thought Nova was going to bounce their former Big East rival UCONN in their second round matchup Saturday and tweeted as much. A fan responded with a friendly wager that Spikes accepted.

A fan from Dartmouth, New Hampshire proposed that UCONN had to not only beat Villanova, but win by at least seven and if they did Spikes had to buy him tickets to the Bills-Patriots game in New England this fall. If Villanova won, the fan had to wear Spikes new Bills jersey to the Bills-Patriots game.

The Huskies won by 12 Saturday night and Spikes will have to make good on a pair of seats at Gillette Stadium this fall. The New England fan, 25-year old Matt Alfonso, said he’ll grab Spikes new Bills jersey on his own dime anyway.

Here was Spikes response to Alfonso, promising to have the tickets for him.

Spikes’ Florida Gators are still in the tournament. They’ll face UCLA in Memphis later this week.


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Spikes already dreaming about playing Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2014 – 3:11 pm

He’s only been a Bills linebacker for a few days after signing with the club late last week, but he’s already been dreaming about facing his old team twice this fall.

Brandon Spikes is an intense competitor and while he said he’ll have life long friends on that roster, it’s clear facing New England will hold a lot of meaning for him this coming season.

“It’s going to be emotional for me,” said Spikes. “I have dreamt about it already. I believe it’ll be an emotional game. I’ll probably be in tears the entire game. I know it’s going to be a battle. It’s definitely going to be a battle for all time. I’m looking forward to that and I’ll definitely be dreaming about it every night until it comes this fall.”


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LB Spikes says he’s healthy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 7, 2014 – 10:52 am

On Buffalobills.com today (Friday) we previewed the free agent market at linebacker, which is expected to include New England’s Brandon Spikes. Spikes, however, dealt with a knee injury for much of the season. With the free agent market set to open next week, the linebacker insisted he’s healthy.

ESPN Boston reporter Field Yates quoted Spikes from an appearance on NFLAM on NFL Network where Spikes confirmed his clean bill of health.

We listed Spikes as a possible free agent addition for the Bills if they’re interested in adding some attitude and a run stuffing specialist to their front seven.


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Choice takes issue with Spikes actions

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2012 – 4:54 pm

Bad enough that Patriots LB Brandon Spikes had an illegal helmet to helmet hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick that drew a flag and a likely fine from the league. Spikes also showboated after his hit on Fred Jackson that have him a concussion. That didn’t sit well with Tashard Choice.

“I don’t like to see anybody get hurt and then on top of that (Spikes) making fun of him while he’s on the ground. That really got me stirred up,” said Tashard Choice of the Patriot linebacker’s actions, “He’ll get his though. When players go down from concussions they’re serious. He wasn’t moving. It’s cool to make a big hit, but it’s not cool when somebody is down like that. He’s a good player, but you don’t do that.”


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