Inside The Bills

Anderson, White out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2012 – 12:32 pm

DE Mark Anderson was active for last week’s game, but didn’t play as he was an emergency fill-in only if necessary. This week he won’t even be active.

Head coach Chan Gailey declared Anderson out for Sunday’s game in Miami.

“Mark Anderson tried to do some things, but couldn’t. He just couldn’t keep progressing so he’s going to be out for the game,” said Gailey.

Anderson was limited in practice all week as he never got around to practicing fully at any point. He has not played coming off a pair of knee procedures since Week 5. Gailey said he is not ready now to assess whether he has a chance to play in the season finale against the Jets next week.

Special teams LB Chris White is also out for Sunday’s game. White is dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him from practicing all week.


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A. Williams steps closer to full workload

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2012 – 4:31 pm

CB Aaron Williams returned to action last week against Seattle for the first time since suffering knee injury in Week 9. He played 36 snaps, but the coaching staff is still hesitant to play him for 50 or 60 snaps on defense after just one game back.

“No, I don’t think he would go do that,” said head coach Chan Gailey of Williams’ workload. “He might have to (play that much) out of necessity, but we would rather not.”

With Leodis McKelvin now on injured reserve, Buffalo has just Stephon Gilmore, Justin Rogers and Williams as the only cornerbacks left from the beginning of the season still on the roster and healthy. Ron Brooks came aboard midseason with Crezdon Butler and T.J. Heath called up from the practice squad not long after.


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Decision to be made on Anderson

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2012 – 4:21 pm

Bills DE Mark Anderson was dressed for last week’s game, but was only going to see playing time in an emergency. That emergency never arose. So what about this week?

Head coach Chan Gailey indicated that he may very well play on Sunday in Miami, but there are some decisions to be made in terms of numbers on special teams that could impact whether Anderson is active or inactive this weekend.

“He has a better chance,” said Gailey of Anderson. “I don’t know how much progress he’s making. I’ve got to talk to the defensive coaches after we watch the (practice) film, and get their input as to where we think he is because that’s a decision you have to make a lot of times is Mark Anderson might not play or he might, versus Chris White who can go play on some special teams and probably would if he’s ready. So who’s up and who’s down? Those are the decisions you have to make.”

Chris White has missed the last two days of practice with a hamstring injury, but Gailey said White is likely to be a game time decision even if he doesn’t practice tomorrow.


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Positive signs for Chandler, Wood

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2012 – 4:13 pm

Scott Chandler was back on the practice field Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice with a foot problem. Even more encouraging Eric Wood practiced for a second straight day as he tries to return from a torn MCL. Head coach Chan Gailey was encouraged by the progress of both players.

“It was good. I wasn’t sure we were going to have him this early,” said Gailey. :It was great to have him back out there. He and Eric Wood are a big part of our offense. We need both of them so it was good to have both of them.”

Gailey confirmed that Wood did more in practice Thursday than he did on Wednesday.

“It’s looking positive at this point,” Gailey said.


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McKelvin likely headed for surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2012 – 4:07 pm

Bills CB Leodis McKelvin, who went on injured reserve Thursday with a groin injury, apparently has a problem that will require repair through surgery.

That according to Bills head coach Chan Gailey.

“I think eventually he’s going to require some sort of procedure,” said Gailey. “He’s going to need something done. So it was bad enough where we said, ‘Don’t play and let’s get that done.’”

For Buffalo’s return game it’s a blow to the unit. McKelvin is leading the league in punt return average (18.7) and is the only punt returner with a pair of returns for touchdowns this season.

“It was shaping up to be one of the better ones in a long, long time,” said Gailey of McKelvin’s season. “You miss a guy like that, you really do.”


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McKelvin still dealing with groin injury

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2012 – 1:57 pm

Bills CB and primary return man Leodis McKelvin was inactive for last week’s game against Seattle due to a lingering groin injury. He also won’t practice here on Wednesday.

“No, I don’t think he’s going to make it today,” said head coach Chan Gailey.

When asked if he’d make it back to practice this week, Gailey did not sound optimistic.

“Maybe,” said Gailey. “Outside chance.”

If McKelvin is unable to play again this Sunday at Miami, expect Justin Rogers to return punts. Rogers and Brad Smith would presumably be back to return kickoffs, much like they did last week. Marcus Easley also helped return kicks last Sunday, but injured a hamstring and was declared out for Sunday’s game by Gailey on Monday.


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Opponents foiling Bills screen game

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2012 – 9:13 am

Buffalo’s screen game has been wildly productive this season, but in recent weeks opponents have been keying on it. Jacksonville assigned one of their defensive ends to specifically look for the screens. St. Louis held back their pass rush on certain down and distances and even assigned linebackers to cover it. Seattle was just as determined to foil it Sunday.

“They’re just putting guys out there, they’re playing a lot of man to man,” said C.J. Spiller. “The whole game, last couple of weeks, teams have been ‘watch the screen, watch the draw.’  They prepare for it, because they know how effective that is for us, so they’re on their toes. When he hear that, other things work for us. There’s nothing we can do when they got us, especially man for man, it’s pretty much just try to sell it as much as you can, and just try to help the offensive linemen out with the blocks.”

Head coach Chan Gailey recognizes opponents keying on it as well.

“People are assigning guys to the screen game a ton now,” said Gailey. “We’ve got defensive linemen that are not rushing in certain situations because of screens. We find they assign a linebacker or two sometimes to the screen game, so it’s becoming more and more difficult because of our success with the screen game to get some screens done.”

When asked what can be done to counter that, Gailey offered the following.

“Right now it takes you out of it until you take their awareness away a little bit,” he said.


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AFC East foes add incentive in last 2

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 11:44 am

The Bills are out of the playoffs, but head coach Chan Gailey sees added incentive for his players in the final two games on the regular season schedule.

In his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Gailey admitted at this point self-respect is what you’re playing for.

“You’re playing for pride, professionalism,” said Gailey. “That’s what you’re playing for. I don’t know of anything else that you play for at this point. I think that they’re division games and you want to beat division opponents. We don’t like people in our division in general and you want to beat them because of who they are.”

Buffalo is on the road this week at Miami, before closing out the season at home against the Jets.


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Deep passes were dialed up

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 11:21 am

Very often this season Bills fans have clamored for more deep passes downfield. Buffalo had about a half dozen deep passes called, but could not connect on any of them in Sunday’s loss to Seattle.

Ryan Fitzpatrick just missed Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham and C.J. Spiller on deep throws that could’ve dramatically changed the complexion of the game.

Head coach Chan Gailey in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday morning offered comment on the game plan and taking deep shots down the field in the passing game.

“(Fitzpatrick) overthrew them just a little bit and we had two or three others called and they ran back deep with them so we dumped it off underneath,” said Gailey. “We’ve done some good things as far as percentages of passes. Our percentages are up. We’re not getting some run after catch that people get, but sometimes our guys are not in that position and we’ve just got to work on getting better at the deep ball and hit a few of those. If you hit a few of those they make a difference in the ball game. The thing about it is we throw it great in practice, but in the game it doesn’t happen.”

 


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Easley and Moats both suffered injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 11:15 am

In addition to the loss to the Seahawks Sunday, Buffalo also lost a couple of special teams players in the game.

Arthur Moats was carted off the field in the first half after a kickoff play. Marcus Easley was also injured on special teams. Head coach Chan Gailey provided an update in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550.

“(Easley) got a hamstring yesterday and I don’t know how bad it is,” said Gailey. “(Moats) had an ankle and I don’t know how bad it is either.”

Moats did have the left ankle immobilized after the game Sunday night.

It’s expected that the Bills head coach will provide an update at his afternoon press conference at 3:30.


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Lopsided result wholly unexpected

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 11:11 am

While the Seattle Seahawks are an up and coming team they had just two road wins coming into Sunday’s game with the Bills. Though Buffalo’s offense had been struggling head coach Chan Gailey wasn’t expecting the lopsided result that unfolded at the Rogers Centre.

In his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday morning Gailey said the severity of the loss to Seattle was something he did not anticipate knowing in the team’s five previous losses only one was by more than a touchdown (Houston 21-9).

“It hurts me because I didn’t see anything like that happening to us ever again. Ever,” said Gailey. “I thought we had turned a corner on that.”

When asked what kind of a setback such a loss is for his team, Gailey stated that responding to an adverse result is the key.

“You took a shot in the gut,” said Gailey. ‘Now how do you handle shots in the gut when you least expect it? When you’re tensed up for it it doesn’t hurt as bad, but when you least expect it hurts worse so how do you handle it? Are you strong enough to get back up and keep fighting and keep going the direction you know you’re capable of going.”


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Carroll on fake punt call

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 10:10 am

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was asked after the game about the fake punt his team ran up the middle with Michael Robinson going 29 yards to the Bills 14-yard line up 47-17. Here was his comment.

“I feel bad about this. That was part of our game plan. It was something I could have called off and I didn’t,” said Carroll. “It was an automatic for us, and I didn’t do it. It happened. We’re trying to make first downs so I let it go. It’s unfortunate that it comes across that we’re doing something wrong there. That’s my fault totally for not stopping it from happening.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t comment specifically on the play, but had this reaction to the timing of the fake punt.

“You guys can write your opinions on that,” Fitzpatrick said to the media postsgame. “I don’t know that if that’s really my style. It’s just personally not my style.”

When Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked about it he said, “No comment.”


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Bills defenders call performance a setback

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2012 – 10:31 pm

Despite practicing it time and again during the course of the practice week the Bills had no answer for Seattle’s read option running attack with Russell Wilson, who had 92 yards on nine carries and three rushing touchdowns in the 50-17 win over Buffalo. For a run defense that had showed league-leading improvement, even they had to admit Sunday was a sizable step back.

“It’s definitely a step back for us as far as run defense goes,” said Nick Barnett. “It’s unconventional runs, but we’ve got to be able to stop those and it’s not that big of a deal if we execute our responsibilities and we got a little nosy on a couple of plays and you can’t do that against this team. They’ll make you pay for your mistakes.”

Barnett pointed to himself for missing the ‘B’ gap on the 44-yard run by Marshawn Lynch that led to a Seattle field goal. But more than that was Buffalo’s inability to slow the keeper carries by Wilson.

“That is a type of offensive run scheme that we’ve had trouble with, that option that zone read,” said Kyle Williams. “Since the bye against conventional offenses we’ve made some strides, and done some good things, but to go back to that we’ve had some trouble with that zone read thing. To defend that you have to play very disciplined and we didn’t.”

Mario Williams even went so far as to say there were continuous screw ups with assignment responsibilities.

“You go from being pretty traditional with the running games that we faced here in the last weeks to hitting somebody who is deadly with the read option and get Marshawn on top of that. Now it’s just not one person,” said Williams. “Now if you know one (defensive) guy switches the other (defensive) guy has to switch too. We both can’t end up on the quarterback and we both can’t end up on the dive and for whatever reason that’s what happened.

“For some reason, whenever they gave us motion and what not and we kind of had the responsibilities switch one person knew what was going on and the other person for whatever reason didn’t and we definitely got hurt in every aspect as far as keeping it or giving it.”

George Wilson said practicing for Russell Wilson and then seeing him live just aren’t the same, but admitted they were undisciplined.

“We worked on it all week, but seeing it in practice and defending it in the game are two completely different deals sometimes,” he said. “With the way those runs were springing early on there had to be guys being overly aggressive and doing more than what was asked of them on a given play and trying to do too much as opposed to their particular job.”

Seattle finished with 270 rushing yards on the day.


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With Hawks CBs out, Bills may tweak game plan

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2012 – 1:59 pm

With Seattle CBs Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant out for today’s game with hamstring injuries along with suspended starter Brandon Browner, the Seahawks are without three of their top four corners for their matchup with the Bills. They go into the game with just five healthy corners, two of whom are rookies with two of the others second-year players.

When Thurmond was unable to practice Thursday and Friday second-year CB Byron Maxwell and rookie Jeremy Lane split the reps at his right cornerback position. The two players have 25 NFL appearances between them, but most of that playing time has come on special teams. Neither player has an NFL start on their resume. 

Their backups, second-year CB Ron Parker (8 career games) and rookie DeShawn Shead have no NFL starts either.

Head coach Chan Gailey admitted when an opponent has injury losses at one particular position during the week it can prompt the coaching staff to consider tweaks to the game plan.

“You obviously adjust,” Chan Gailey said in his weekly conversation with Buffalobills.com. “The thing that happens in the course of a week is you have a guy that doesn’t practice a couple of days, but he plays. So you can’t say it looks like he hasn’t practiced let’s do this and he shows up and he’s out there. You have to get to game time before you see and say, ‘Okay this is what we can do. This is why we need to adjust and what we’re thinking.’ But you think about it during the week and having it in your mind in case it happens.”

So essentially those changes don’t go into effect until the opponent’s inactive list comes out an hour and a half before the game.

“And don’t talk to your players about it until you do go ahead with the changes in your plan,” he said. “You don’t want to fill their head with 400 things. You adjust as you need be once you get to the game and communicate it at that time.”


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C.J.’s progress in pass pro

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2012 – 2:02 pm

As the 2012 season began head coach Chan Gailey was asked where C.J. Spiller improved his game the most from last season. Gailey’s answer was confidence and pass protection. At times Spiller has lost time on the field due to his pass protection skills, not because they’re bad, but because Fred Jackson’s were elite.

That according to head coach Chan Gailey.

“He’s done better as the season has gone along. He really has,” said Gailey in reference to Spiller’s pass protection. “The thing about it is we’re probably doing him a disservice because you compare him to Fred and Fred is one of the best if not the best in the league as a pass protector. So you want to take advantage of having one of the best in the league at that on the field and it’s not that C.J. can’t, it’s just that Fred was great at that.

“What you’re trying to do is making sure you’ve got C.J. enough reps where he’s a lot more comfortable in those situations because he is good. He’s not great yet. I think he’s got a chance to be better than he is and he’s getting better. But he’s good and can do the job. I’m not worried about that.”

Spiller will take on a greater role in pass protection now with Fred Jackson out for the season with a knee injury.


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Seattle: highest 1st down run percentage

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2012 – 9:59 am

As we pointed out in this week’s Scouting Report the Seattle Seahawks have the highest run tendency on 1st-and-10 in the league at a very high 64.6%. Head coach Chan Gailey explained why it’s so high in our one-on-one conversation with the Bills head coach this week.

“It is a high percentage,” Gailey admitted. “The thing about it is it’s not just that they run the ball, it’s how they run the ball. A lot of that figure is Wilson running the football with the quarterback read, the quarterback option stuff. They make you defend a lot of different areas and that opens up some lanes for Marshawn.

“They make you monitor threats. If you have to keep one or two people backside to monitor the quarterback keep option threat then all of a sudden that’s two less people that can flow to the ball and squeeze things down on the front side. It creates problems for your defense.”

The Seahawks also rank second in the league in rush percentage in the second half of games at better than 56%.


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Fan Friday 12-14

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2012 – 2:17 pm

Here’s the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris:

Has Chan Gailey maintained a 100% offensive play calling role or has he given some or all of the play calling authority to Curtis Modkins?

Some of the talk this year is about the “Pistol” Offense run by Washington.  Am I correct in my assessment that it is an offense that is an extension of the “Wild Cat” and the only real difference is the Pistol is run with a true starting Quarterback who has the athletic ability to run as well as throw the football?     

Thanks 
Joe
Blasdell

CB: Yes, Chan Gailey is still the only offensive play caller on the roster. When first hired, Gailey mentioned that he intended to eventually turn over play calling duties to a coordinator, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Your assessment of the Pistol offense is not wholly accurate. The Pistol just references a backfield formation where the single back lines up directly behind the quarterback, who is in the shotgun. One of the advantages of this look is it does not tip off to the defense which direction a run play is headed.

Washington runs out of that formation with Robert Griffin a good deal, but Chan Gailey first popularized it in the league in Kansas City a few years ago running it with Tyler Thigpen there. The Bills have even made use of it this season at times.

 

2 – Hello Chris

Thanks for your insight into the organization, my question is with the apparent need for an elite franchise qb in order for a team to not only compete in the league these days but to have a chance to build a team around, and have a chance at the ultimate goal which is to Win the Superbowl, why won’t the Bills draft a QB in every round until we get The guy to Win it, this team has pieces but is lacking the by far most needed piece a elite QB!! Thank you, Tom Neaverth, life long Bills fan 

CB: I can tell you that won’t happen, although the Redskins did draft a pair of quarterbacks last spring (Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins). I can say that the Bills will likely draft one this spring. Here’s what Buddy Nix said on the subject.

“There’s a time in the era that you’re in with the development of your team I think there’s a time when you can move up a round to take a quarterback and I think the time is now for us,” said Nix. “If a guy is there, and they’ll be one out there, if the guy is there then I think we’ll target, as I’ve said before, drafting a good quarterback. We need a good, young quarterback and we’ll do our best to get one.”

 

3 – Hey Chris,
 I think the game against the Colts was when CJ split out wide and got chased by a linebacker. He beat his guy right at the snap but Fitz missed the throw, my question is, why not try that every game when there’s clearly a mismatch with almost any linebacker vs Spiller and a chance for a big time play?
Thanks, Ryan

CB: I can tell you that it’s relatively rare to get C.J. Spiller matched up on a linebacker. It’s why defensive coordinators spend as much time as they do with their game plans to avoid such mismatches. When the Bills do get them they have to make opponents pay. Unfortunately they were unable to do so in that situation.

 

4 – Hey Chris,
What was the thinking behind the trade for TJack? And if Nix is talking QB lately it would seem that he thinking of going away from Fitz which is understandable so why not give the guy some reps in practice to see what he has?  Or will this turn out to be another trade that does nothing for the Bills?
Thanks,
Brett

CB: Buddy Nix has gone on record as saying the trade was made with Tarvaris Jackson serving purely as an insurance policy at the quarterback position. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback they have hitched their wagon to and they do not intend to make a change at the quarterback position so long as Fitzpatrick is healthy.

 

5 – Hi Chris -

It was my pleasure to be part of the Bill’s crowd at the Jags game. I saw many excited fans doing their best to back their team. Are the players aware of their fans presence at away games? Do you think it is of any value to the team?

Thanks for your time – Dan Garigen/Bay City, MI

CB: Bills players do recognize Bills fans at away games. In fact at the Cleveland game back in Week 3, when most Browns fans had filed out, more Buffalo fans came down to the lower seats in the one end zone and near the end of the game the players could hear the Bills fans singing the ‘Shout’ song and were pumping their fists at them.

After the game they came over and shook some hands with the fans that made the trip. So you are noticed and heard!

 


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WR Jones has setback with calf

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2012 – 12:56 pm

Bills WR Donald Jones, who practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday was limited on Friday and is now questionable for Sunday’s game with the Seahawks.

Jones missed the Jacksonville game with a strained calf, and that injury resurfaced in practice Friday.

“It’s been bothering him off and on and he was limited. He didn’t get many reps today,” said head coach Chan Gailey after Friday’s practice. “We’ve got him as questionable.”

When asked if he’s optimistic for Jones’ chances of playing Sunday, Gailey didn’t want to commit.

“We’ll see. I don’t know,” said  It shows up and doesn’t show up. So we’ll see on Sunday.”

 


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Anderson update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2012 – 4:15 pm

Mark Anderson came back for a second straight day of practice Thursday after returning to the practice field for the first time in nine weeks Wednesday. It was a good sign concerning his chances of being back in the lineup Sunday against Seattle.

“He was in more (drills) today and made more progress today,” said head coach Chan Gailey after Thursday’s practice. “It’s encouraging for him to be ready for this week.”

Knowing Anderson hasn’t been in a game since Week 5, if he does play it sounds as though the plan would be to ease him back in.

“What you try to do is if you do play him you’re going to limit his plays,” said Gailey. “That’s how you try to handle it. You don’t ever say, ‘Gosh when is it too long? When is it ready?’ You can go back and forth on that. They say he’s ready then I’ve got to go by what they say.”


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Barnett likely to play Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2012 – 4:12 pm

Although Nick Barnett (knee) missed his second straight day of practice Thursday it doesn’t have head coach Chan Gailey concerned about the veteran linebacker’s availability on Sunday.

“Most everybody was back to practice today except for Nick,” said Gailey. “We held him out today. It’s just not coming back as fast. I don’t think anybody has any reservations about him playing on Sunday, it’s just not come back as fast.”

When asked about Barnett’s prospects for getting back on the practice field Friday were concerned, Gailey is expecting Barnett to participate.

“I’m anticipating him doing something tomorrow,” Gailey said. “I don’t know how much, but I’m anticipating him doing something.”

All the other defensive players that sat out Wednesday’s practice (Jairus Byrd, Leodis McKelvin, Spencer Johnson, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus) were back practicing Thursday.

“We had a bunch of guys that got banged up in the game,” said Gailey. “We were giving them a day to get back is what we were doing. Jairus got kicked in the shin and just little things like that.”


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