Inside The Bills

McDermott breaks down return candidates

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2017 – 2:50 pm

The Bills just signed Taiwan Jones to add to the return candidate pool. McDermott said they wanted to add speed to the return group with Jones who has been clocked as low as 4.33 in the 40. So what does he like about the other primary return candidates like Brandon Tate and Rashad Ross?

“Both have done a good job,” said McDermott of Tate and Ross. “Brandon’s been out a little bit with the injury there, it’s good to get him going again; He’s done a great job in getting healthy again. I like what he brings to the table in the return game and then he gives us line of scrimmage value as well as a receiver. With Rashad it’s the same thing; you look at his ability in the return game and the speed element, and the vertical game with the receiver part of it. Both are working extremely hard and adding good competition right now.”

It’s likely that preseason game performance will be the biggest determining factor in terms of who can separate from the other two.


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Harvin, Z. Brown not at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2016 – 3:03 pm

The Bills got an extra practice in on Monday coming off their bye week, but there were a couple of notable players not in attendance during the media viewing portion of practice.

LB Zach Brown and WR Percy Harvin were not in on hand Monday. No word from the team as to why, since an injury report does not have to be provided by the club until Wednesday. We should know more at that time if both are still absent from practice.

Meanwhile Corbin Bryant (shoulder) and Brandon Tate (concussion) were still sidelined and unable to participate due to injury.


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Bills successfully expand their return options

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2016 – 10:41 am

Though Buffalo is facing arguably the best kick/punt returner in NFL history, they’ve taken steps to address their own return game. After finishing 23rd in punt return average and 30th in kick return average the Bills decided to add veteran return men to their ranks.

Buffalo had some capable return men last season, but most of them were injured during portions of the season. Several of them also didn’t return to the roster (Leodis McKelvin, Percy Harvin, Marcus Thigpen).

So Buffalo signed Reggie Bush a week into training camp and this past week they added veteran returner Brandon Tate to the roster. Walt Powell is an additional option for the return game.

“We feel much better than we did quite honestly at any time last year,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We’ve got three guys that we know can catch it and return it.”

Just who handles what at the outset of the season remains to be seen, though it’s likely that Tate handles kickoffs and Bush handles punt returns. Of course based on numbers there could be weeks where one of them handles both duties.

 

 


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Striking a balance with Reggie Bush

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2016 – 4:05 pm

No one will deny that at age 31 Reggie Bush can still provide game breaking plays. The question for the Bills is in what phase will most of those plays come?

Bush is a versatile running back, who can make catches out of the backfield, split wide as a receiver and obviously run the ball. But he’s also a dynamic return man, which was the main reason the Bills signed him a week into training camp. So which unit needs him more, offense or special teams?

Initially it appeared to be special teams as they didn’t have an experienced and proven returner for kick or punt return. But earlier this week they signed veteran return man Brandon Tate. Could that signal more work on offense for Bush?

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he would never ask that a player get pulled off special teams to specifically benefit the offense.

“I think special teams is so important to our team and if he’s vitally important to special teams then that’s where his energies need to lie,” Roman said. “That being said he can be a very valuable contributor offensively as well so we have to strike the balance that suits the team the best.”

Suffice to say that there will be Reggie Bush sightings on offense. How many plays he gets is what figures to vary from week to week.


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Rex wary of Ravens special teams prowess

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2016 – 12:29 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan spent 10 years coaching in Baltimore, so he knows the team’s history and their calling cards. Physicality in their play is one of them. The other is creating advantages on special teams to provide their offense and defense with field position advantage throughout games. With their head coach John Harbaugh a former special teams coordinator himself, Ryan knows for Buffalo’s specialists it will be a challenging opening week.

“Their special teams are a major factor,” said Ryan. “They probably have the best kicker in the league, a great punter and they just added (Devin) Hester. So you go into games and this is an area that is usually a big advantage for Baltimore and we’ve got to limit that. So we know going in special teams is a big emphasis this week. And then obviously a challenge on both sides of the ball on offense and defense.”

Buffalo signed return specialist Brandon Tate on Tuesday. A day earlier the Ravens signed the league’s all-time return specialist Devin Hester. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bills decide to make other special teams moves with Baltimore being their opponent Sunday.


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