Inside The Bills

Marrone plans on having Jackson Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 22, 2014 – 9:48 pm

He’s listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Jets, but RB Fred Jackson is fully expected to dress and play for the first time since Week 10.

Head coach Doug Marrone gave strong indication that Jackson will suit up and play Monday night.

“I know we listed him as questionable, but I think it’s more because of the type of injury that it is and that something could happen,” said Marrone of Jackson’s status. “We’ll plan on him to be ready to go. We just take the injury and that’s how we have to list it to protect ourselves. That’s truthful, it’s 50-50 if he falls down and gets hurt.”

Jackson after a second straight day of practice is feeling good about being ready.

“I felt good,” said Jackson. “It’s a process that we’ll continue to take one step at a time. We’ve still got one more day to get prepared, but I feel good and we’ll see what happens.”

 


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Fan Friday 11-21

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2014 – 9:01 pm

Despite some crazy logistics this week, here’s Fan Friday with questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Over the past couple of years here are moves that GM Doug Whaley really “hit on”;

(1) Trading ILB Kelvin Sheppard for DE Jerry Hughes = A+

(2) Drafting LB Kiko Alonso = A+

(3) Drafting WR Sammy Watkins = A+,  price was pretty steep, but gives the Bills a legit #1 WR in awhile

(4) Drafting LB Preston Brown + A,  this guy has been a very nice surprise on the defensive side of the ball

(5) Signing QB Kyle Orton = A+  ( I was writing to you back in July for the Bills to sign Orton, glad Coach Marrone finally switched Kyle Orton to #1 QB.  I thought he should have a week sooner, if the Bills had, Bills beat Texans in Houston)

(6) Signing of free agent kicker Dan Carpenter, he’s been clutch when kicks are needed the most.

Question:  Since the Bills do not have a #1 draft pick in 2015 and RB Spiller is not going to command a large contract to resign, can’t GM Doug Whaley take that $$$ and Resign DE Jerry Hughes and extend DT Marcel Dareus long-term ?

Bills really need to try and keep their defensive line together, they are the strength of the team.  I think it was a mistake years ago when the Bills let Pat Williams and Ted Washington depart.

Randy

South FL
CB: I had a blog post on this very subject earlier this week when GM Doug Whaley addressed the future of both Hughes and Dareus this week on Bills flagship station WGR this week. Here’s what Whaley said about Hughes and Dareus.

“Those guys are great players. We would love to have them, and those are the things we’ll discuss at the end of the season, which we do every year,” Whaley said. “We don’t negotiate in the media, but they’ve brought tremendous production to our defensive line and helped to make our defense one of the best in the league and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep them.”

I believe the Bills know the defensive line is the linchpin of their defense and with the unit much improved against the run this season they’ll make a strong effort to keep Hughes in the fold even though three of their highest paid players are their other three starting defensive linemen.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

Big Buffalo Bills fan here in Northern Ireland.  Great job you and John Murphy do in covering the bills.

Couple of questions, how is EJ getting on and what do you think the future is at the qb position the bills this season and beyond this season?

Many thanks
Paddy

CB: Thanks for the compliments. EJ is doing well. Head coach Doug Marrone last week acknowledged that he is making progress with his personal game. We covered some of what he’s been working on since assuming the backup role.

As for the future at the position there are some moving parts there. Orton has a player option for next year in his deal with Buffalo. Manuel is obviously still under contract.

It’s my belief that the last six games will have a lot to do with the direction the team takes at that position. I realize that a good number of outside observers are of the opinion that EJ Manuel’s career is over with Buffalo. I don’t share that opinion.

He still has yet to have a full regular season worth of starts in his time with the Bills (14 starts) and it’s my contention that kicking dirt on him is premature regardless of what his statistics say.

 

3 – Hello Chris,
Thanks for all of the info and insight every week. I am a long time follower but this is my first time writing in. My question is in regards to Mike Williams and all of the Fan unrest in his lack of playing time. I too feel that he has been grossly underutilized. I think a good solution would be to give him reps at tight end in a two tight end formation. We have all witnessed his toughness and willingness to “bang heads” not to mention some good down field blocking.

This could create some real matchup nightmares with the opposition. It would force the defense to cover with a safety because a linebacker couldn’t cover him and it would open up Sammy and company as well. Do you think it could work or is he too”small” for TE? And has anyone at OBD tinkered with this? I would think they would want their big play makers on the field as much as possible. Just a thought. Thanks again!

Greg T.

CB: I believe there is merit to those fans who contend that Mike Williams is talented enough to help this offense, especially in the red zone where the team has struggled of late. Williams was targeted once in the Miami game in the red zone, but the pass was broken up.

Even if they favor receivers like Chris Hogan over Williams between the 20s to get them down the field, and Hogan performed well against Miami, you can certainly make the argument that Williams can help this team score touchdowns in the red zone. Eighteen of his 23 touchdowns scored with Tampa Bay early in his career were within 20 yards.

Hopefully what we saw in terms of his use against Miami only increases down the stretch. Making him a detached tight end is something I don’t think I’d anticipate.

 

4 – Chris,

Can you tell us why the Bills have covered some mid-field, low level seats at RWS?

Thanks for your insights,

Mike Riggie

CB: The reason the first few rows have been tarped is because from a seated position it’s impossible for fans to see over the players and coaches gathered on the sidelines and see the action on the field. As a result those fans in the past would stand, and that would force the fans behind them to stand creating a chain reaction. All the fans behind them would have to continually stand up to see the action every time the fans in the first few rows did so.

The solution was to cover those seats and not sell them to fans to eliminate the problem.

 

5 – Hey Chris ,

Just a quick hit . Seeing as the NFL is said to be a copycat league & the regime before this one at Buffalo & others in the NFL have some success with a 5 wide set how come this OC NEVER uses it ? Especially with the talent at the WR position …

Thanks Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: One of the most popular formations in the league right now is 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR). One of the reasons is it’s one of the more unpredictable formations pre-snap. You can run or pass out of this formation in a variety of ways and a lot of offensive coordinators like that, which is why it’s so prevalent.

It’s Buffalo’s most popular formation this season as well. Five wide basically says we’re throwing, unless you’ve got Michael Vick at QB and you’re running out of a spread set.

The most popular formation under the head coach that preceded Doug Marrone was four wide with one back.

Believe it or not the five wide look isn’t as popular as you might think. Four wide is more popular. What’s interesting is there were a couple of plays last week against the Dolphins where the Bills went five wide. I doubt it will increase in frequency in Buffalo’s offense, but we’ll see.


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How Bills dealing with snow & injured players

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2014 – 2:46 pm

The Bills’ preparations are already challenged for Sunday’s game against the Jets with no players able to reach One Bills Drive due to a travel ban in Orchard Park Wednesday. With four feet of snow on the ground in Orchard Park, and 2-3 more feet expected the big concern is for injured and nicked up players getting necessary treatment for their injuries so they’re ready to play Sunday. Here is what the Bills are doing to resolve that issue around the travel restrictions.

“I’ve talked to our medical staff and have been in constant communication with them,” said Bills head coach Doug Marrone, who did manage to get to One Bills Drive Tuesday and stayed there overnight. “I got off the phone with (Head athletic trainer) Bud Carpenter an hour ago making sure the players understand how to do the things they need to do to help themselves.

“One thing about professional players is they know how to take care of their bodies. I really believe that. We’re doing everything we can from a training staff and even the weight coaches and what they’re doing for the players. We’re doing everything we can from a proactive standpoint to give them all the information and have them in the best shape when the (travel) ban is lifted.”

Even though they’re not practicing Wednesday due to the weather the team has to submit an injury report with an estimate of how much injured players would or would not be able to participate if there were a practice. That report is expected later today.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone sticking with Orton

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2014 – 2:02 pm

Even though Buffalo’s playoff hopes have been severely damaged with the last two losses it isn’t going to change head coach Doug Marrone’s plans at quarterback.

Ask Monday if he’s considering making a change again at QB, Marrone said he’s not.

“Right now I plan on sticking with Kyle, and I believe in every player, not just the quarterback player, who gives us the best chance to win,” he said. “That’s the way we’re headed this week.”

As for EJ Manuel, Marrone provided the following in terms of an update on Buffalo’s backup QB.

“He’s doing a nice job. He’s working,” said Marrone. “He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do.”


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Marrone will spend weekend on red zone

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 5:43 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was quick to acknowledge there’s a lot that he, his coaches and his players have to fix in a short amount of time to get their season back on track. Afforded a weekend of time to dive into it, Marrone himself has one particular area of focus.

“I’m specifically going to utilize it by going back into the red zone. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m going to go back there and I’m going to take a good look at it,” Marrone said. “It’s my responsibility to answer those questions. I’m responsible for that. There’s no doubt about it. Yes, Nathaniel is the offensive coordinator and Jim [Schwartz] is the defensive coordinator. Defensively, we didn’t tackle well. We couldn’t get them into many third downs. There are things that we did in special teams we had an opportunity to pin them back there and we punt it and put it on the two, that when I say a team loss is a team loss.

“But I’m responsible for all of that. For me, the critical area right now for us is obviously the red zone. I’m going to take the majority of my time, outside of managing the team and doing the things I’m supposed to do, I’m going to spend any type of extra time I have in that phase.”

When asked what he thinks is missing from their play in the red zone on offense, which currently ranks last in the NFL, Marrone said on the surface the problem appears to be pretty evident.

“Execution and making plays really,” he said. “I think that some of the things we have to do, we have to look at it more. We’ve been struggling there. We’ve been trying different things. They haven’t been working. I think we’ve just got to keep going and figure out what is it going to be from a concept standpoint and a running game standpoint in terms of what works for us and we’ve got to get better at it.”


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Marrone: Fred could’ve played if game was Sun.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 2:39 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson was inactive last night against the Dolphins after he tweaked his groin not only in the game the previous Sunday against the Chiefs, but in practice on Tuesday as well. However, on Friday morning head coach Doug Marrone indicated that if Buffalo’s game was Sunday instead of Thursday night he’d have been able to give it a go.

“I think if we would’ve played on a Sunday we would’ve had Fred back,” said Marrone.

Jackson said he’s hopeful that the extra rest this weekend in advance of the week leading up to the Nov. 23rd game against the Jets will put him in position to be healthy enough to play.

 


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Fan Friday 11-14

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 11:58 am

Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Question on the Bills offensive philosophy.  When Marrone and Hackett were first hired by the Bills, there was a lot of talk from them about the up tempo style of offense they ran at Syracuse and has become so common place in college football and with some NFL teams.  They seemed to be big believers in running a LOT of offensive plays, limiting the defensive adjustments that could be made by calling the plays at the line, and dictating to the defense through their pace and related “matchup” problems the lack of substitutions could create for a defense–not to mention the notion of tiring out a defensive pass rush by forcing D-linemen to stay on the field for an entire series.

They started with that philosophy last year, but after EJ got hurt, they seemed to reduce the use of the up tempo offense citing the inexperience of the backup QBs.  In the preseason, we saw a little more of the up tempo pace, albeit with very very limited success due to EJ’s continued struggles with execution.  And so once again, they seemed to deviate from that philosophy.

But now with an experienced QB in Kyle Orton, execution and understanding of the playbook doesn’t appear to be as much of an issue.  Yet we haven’t seen much use of that up tempo style except in two minute situations–which Orton seems to have done quite well with, as evidenced by the Detroit game, the Vikings game, and even the 4th quarter of the Patriots game when they were behind two scores but still in striking distance midway through the quarter.

Have Marrone and Hackett simply abandoned the up tempo “philosophy”?  If so, why?  The QB doesn’t seem to be an issue.  Granted, the O-line is a bit on the young side in certain positions.  But perhaps an up tempo pace would help the O-line out if the defensive line can’t rotate fresh legs all the time.  Or might we see a return to the up tempo pace on a regular basis (instead of just two minute situations) at some point in the near future?

Thanks,
Jeffrey S.

CB: I think what needs to be remembered here is the collection of youth on offense. At the receiver position and now with two new additions in the offensive backfield in Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon. I think that is what has the offensive staff convinced that a more methodical approach leads to better overall execution. There is little value in upping the tempo if your players can’t execute consistently because that puts your defense back on the field all the faster.

Now while your point about how Orton has run the offense in two-minute situations is well taken, you need to remember that defenses typically play differently in those situations as well. Just like offenses tend to pass more at those times in the game, defenses tend to play more conservatively, giving up yards in exchange for time on the clock.

So the success you often see in two minute situations aren’t as likely during other parts of the game. It’s clear the coaching staff believes that moving at a steady pace with a huddle is the best practice. So I don’t anticipate it changing any time soon.

 

2 – Hello Chris
I have a couple questions. When will the coaching staff see that the QB play is not the problem? EJ could throw a pick a game and not fumble. Plus he had the strength in the pocket plus agility to avoid half the sacks Orton has had. It is play calling I feel. We run such a melo offense. Out of 73 starts for Orton he has 8 comebacks EJ had I believe 4 in just 14 starts. We should have let him continue to develop. Orton has continually been trying to make up for his mistakes. (Pick six in Detroit. That game should have never been that close)
Secondly do they hope CJ may come back with the IR they placed him on? Thanks again for all your coverage of the best team in sports.

Jedediah
Palm Coast, FL

CB: I think Buffalo’s coaching staff would disagree with you. As coach Marrone said when he made the quarterback change, he needed more production from the position. EJ’s completion percentage had dropped below 60 percent and was missing open receivers. They were simply leaving too many yards on the field. For an offense that was starved for points it was a conscious decision by Marrone.

You can make an argument that they should’ve left EJ in to keep developing, but the pressure to reach the postseason trumped Manuel’s on field development.

As for C.J. Spiller we’ll have to see where he’s at when we reach Week 16, the first week he’ll be eligible to return off of I-R. It’s too early to tell where he’ll be in his healing at that point.

 

3 -  @ChrisBrownBills
Will we be able to afford to keep Hughes and Dareus with both their contracts up in the next 2 years?

connordomiano

CB: It’s my understanding that the Bills would like to re-sign Jerry Hughes and that’s job number one on the defensive side of the ball. Picking up Dareus’ option buys them time to address his contract. The catch here is the top three salaries on the team right now are Dareus, Kyle Williams and Mario Williams. Investing another big contract in the defensive line could be argued as an imbalanced approach to the salary cap putting a large percentage of it in just one position group.

At the same time it’s hard to argue with a unit that has largely carried the defense the last season plus which leads the league in sacks and is a top 10 run defense.

The Bills will need to be creative, and I am far from a cap expert, but with the salary cap continually going up in this era of NFL prosperity there is probably a way to make it all work.

 

4 -  @ChrisBrownBills

What are the Bills future plans with the HB position? Any chance they can make a run at Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson?

killerbeekevin

CB: I think we first need to take a look at who will still be under contract next season. Fred Jackson signed a one-year extension this past summer. Brown and Dixon will still be under contract for 2015. So the only free agent is C.J. Spiller and it’s my understanding that the Bills would like to keep their former first-round pick in the fold. And Spiller has said more than once that he would like to remain with the Bills.

Whether the two sides can agree on terms is the obvious question. If for some reason they cannot only then do I see them exploring other possible options.

You’re also assuming that Peterson and Ingram will make it to the free agent market. I think it’s unlikely to happen with Ingram with the production he’s put up when healthy this season. Peterson’s off the field matters may change the conversation in Minnesota, but he’s still a dynamic player and the linchpin of the Vikings offense.

 

5 – Hi Chris;

I appreciate all the updates you and John do all week long to keep us up to date on all things Bills-related.

Can you update us on the  Mike Williams situation? I know the furor over his agent’s supposed request for a trade was negated by Mike, who says he wants to play  here. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about him. Is he still on the ’benched’ list? Will he return? He seems to have vanished into thin air and no one seems to talk about him! Thanks for your feedback.

Darlene  in PA

CB: Coach Marrone has been pressed on this subject with the most recent flurry of questions coming this week. With the offense last in the league in red zone touchdown percentage and the acquisition of Mike Williams executed to help the offense in that area specifically, he was asked why Williams has been inactive in two of the last four games.

Coach Marrone cited a number of different reasons including the challenge of only dressing 46 players on game day and the needs of special teams and versatile players. He also flatly stated that right now a couple of other players are performing better than him.

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett also hinted at how Williams and Kyle Orton are still working on their on field chemistry where Orton can trust Williams on any given play to be in the right place at the right time. These appear to be the biggest hurdles in Williams getting on the field.

He was active Thursday night and got four snaps on offense and six on special teams. He was targeted once in the red zone.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone not thinking about changing QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 11:20 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked point blank Thursday night if he is giving any thought to possibly re-inserting EJ Manuel into the offensive lineup at quarterback. This was his response.

“Right now that’s not something that’s crossed my mind at all,” said Marrone.

Orton did sustain a toe injury in the game against the Dolphins, but with 10 days between games it’s unlikely to keep him out of the Jets game.


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Bills wary of Dolphins’ read option

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 11:31 am

If there’s one main area where the Dolphins are different on offense from the first time the Bills played them back in Week 2, it’s their increased use of QB Ryan Tannehill as a runner out of their read option plays. It has Buffalo’s defenders on alert to Tannehill tucking and running with the ball to the flanks.

“Tannehill has been playing really good,” said Nigel Bradham. “He’s been running the ball a lot more, that’s one of the main differences. When we played them last time he probably carried the ball once or twice, now he’s carrying it a lot more. They’ve got designed runs for him. We have to be ready for the quarterback runs, stick to the game plan we got, and come out there ready to play.”

Tannehill has the second-most carries on the team behind feature back Lamar Miller. He’s also averaging 7.25 yards per carry on the season.

“They’ve progressed with the spread offense now. You see more quarterback runs out of the quarterback. You see more plays getting on the perimeter and they’re really being productive,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “You have to play the full field against them now.”

The only thing that could compromise Tannehill’s proclivity to run is the fact that he’s nursing ankle and throwing shoulder injuries from last week’s game at Detroit. On a short week and facing a strong pass rushing team in Buffalo, Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor might be less apt to put extra hits on Tannehill in the read option game.


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Marrone pleased with players on short week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 12:24 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was a bit concerned about how his players would rally physically on a short week coming off a hard fought game against the Chiefs last Sunday. But heading into their final day of practice this week before their Thursday night game with Miami, Buffalo’s sideline boss is pleased with what the players have given him on the practice field.

In his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment, presented by Tim Horton’s, Marrone was encouraged by the tempo at which the players performed in Tuesday’s practice.

“I think one of the things we caught a break on was with the weather on Tuesday,” said Marrone. “It was outstanding so we were able to get outside and we practiced a lot faster than I thought we’d be able to and that’s good because now we can back off a bit here on Wednesday and slow it down. We’ve got to make sure that they’re rested up because we’re now at a point where we’re within 48 hours in the game.”

Marrone’s Coffee with the Coach segment will appear in its entirety on Buffalobills.com Thursday morning.


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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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Watkins: We’ll be okay

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 6:17 pm

No one in Buffalo’s locker room was in a good mood after their defeat at the hands of the Chiefs Sunday. They know their loss to another AFC opponent was costly, but the men on offense feel they failed to execute more than Kansas City’s defense stopped them.

“It was a tough one, we just didn’t finish,” said Watkins. “We’ve got to do better as a group and you can’t win like that. Turning the ball over, not making the plays we need to make in critical situations. We’re going to be okay, we’ve just got to move past this point and get ready for Miami.”

“We definitely lost an opportunity,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “We worked hard to get to a point where we had the ability to win this game, being the first game of the third quarter. We’ve lost an opportunity. We’ve got to brush this thing off. I don’t think it’s a secret of what happened out there. We made mistakes and then didn’t take advantage of those opportunities. We had an opportunity to get to 6-3. Now we’re going to have to fight our way back and come back and find a way to win our next game.”


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Variety key to protections vs. Chiefs pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 10:15 am

They stand third in the league with 27 sacks and their top pass rusher leads the league with 12. Justin Houston and his fellow defensive teammates can wreak havoc on an opponent’s passing game, especially if they can force third and longs. Bills head coach Doug Marrone knows that their protection plans are key in keeping the Chiefs pass rush at bay.

In his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s, head coach Doug Marrone said the most important part of their protection plan will be variety.

“With the edge players and also with the pressure that they bring what happens is you have to make a decision as to whether you want to keep seven players in to protect,” Marrone said. “If they don’t pressure then we’re not going to be as fast getting into the coverage and displacing the underneath coverage. If you don’t leave anyone in and don’t protect the edges, now you’ve put yourself in jeopardy of getting beat.

“The next thing is do you set it up a certain way to slow them down where they’re wondering if this guy is going to crack block or who is blocking. You do some things like that and you also have some guys hit them on the way out. Some people call that a chip.

“I think there are a couple of different ways to do it. You can’t lock yourself into one. You have to keep mixing it up on them. To be successful you have to let those two ends know you have a plan for them and you’re not just going to let them take over the game.”


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Chiefs offense a model of efficiency

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

The Chiefs offense isn’t going to wow anyone with game breaking plays, but they will methodically march down the field en route to putting points on the board. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has his offense executing at an extremely high level this season.

The Chiefs are ranked second in third down conversions (52%), first in third and long conversions (45.5%), third in average number of plays per drive (8.91) and second in number of drives that chew up five minutes of game clock or more (17). In addition they are fourth in fewest fumbles lost with three, first in fewest penalties called against them (39) and fourth in red zone touchdown efficiency (70.4%).

In short Kansas City is not a team that’s going to beat themselves, which puts an onus on the Bills to play error free football on Sunday.

“This team is extremely efficient,” said head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment on Buffalobills.com. “They’re not going to beat themselves. We’re going to have to play well in all three phases to beat this team. When you see their offense, defense and special teams playing that way it’s going to take all three phases of our team to beat them. That’s our challenge. We’ll have a good sense of where we are.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Defending home field has to be better

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 1:45 pm

The Bills have talked a lot amongst themselves about defending their home field. In the first half of the season they were a pedestrian 2-2 at home and 1-2 against AFC clubs. With four home games left on the schedule, three of which are against AFC teams including Kansas City Sunday, Buffalo’s players and coaches know home field must become a bigger advantage in the second half of the season.

“We’ve played phenomenal clubs, but at the same time a home game has to be our advantage,” said Aaron Williams. “We’ve got to protect our house. We haven’t done a real good job of that lately, but I think this quarter with three of the four games here it’s very important for us to win at home. We win all the road games and that’s great, but home games are special for the fans and for our momentum down the road.”

“When you get yourself in a situation where you have the third quarter (of the season) starting and three of the four being home games with the first one being Kansas City at home being extremely important,” said head coach Doug Marrone.

When asked about being a home underdog again with the Chiefs favored on Sunday, Marrone said he was not surprised in light of their .500 record at home.

“It’s going to be that way until we prove we can go out there and win on a consistent basis and we haven’t,” he said. “I’m not upset with anyone.  Do you need it as motivation?  I think these guys go out there every day and they understand what we have to prove each day.”


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Chiefs’ Alex Smith at his best of late

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 10:19 am

He was a cast off in San Francisco, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believed he could win with Alex Smith and if the veteran QB continues playing the way he has of late Kansas City will stay right in the AFC playoff race.

The Chiefs come into Buffalo hot this weekend, winners of their last three in a row and five of their last six. They’re also 3-0 against the AFC East this season. Their offense has been remarkably efficient this season and Smith is a big reason why.

Inside the opponent’s 30-yard line he has the highest passer rating in the league at 120.8. Yes, the Chiefs are a run first team by all accounts, but Smith has been an effective complement. Kansas City is the second-most successful third down conversion team in football (52%), and in the red zone they’re even better. Smith has the Chiefs’ attack converting third down in the red zone at a clip of 68.8 percent, also good for second best in the NFL.

“He’s probably one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the game right now,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “They do such a great job of rushing the football and the short passing game that they’re never behind in the sticks, meaning it’s 2nd-and-5 or 2nd-and-6 or 3rd-and-2. You’ve got to get them off pace and that’s difficult to do.”

In his last six games Smith has completed 71 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and one interception and a passer rating of 109. Smith’s teams are 21-1-1 when he has a passer rating of 100 or better.


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Watkins comparing notes with Jackson

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 2:35 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is in uncharted territory. Having never had a muscular injury of any significance in his career he’s not sure how to work his way through his current groin ailment. That’s why he’s been seeking counsel from Fred Jackson, who also has a groin injury.

“Never dealt with a serious injury so I really don’t know how to treat a groin,” said Watkins. “I’ve never been through one so I don’t know how to feel right now.”

“It’s one of those things where I told him to see those guys in that training room,” said Jackson of his conversation with Watkins. “They’re going to do everything they can to get you ready. Take everything they give you because they’re the ones who are going to get you back out there sooner rather than later.”

Both players are questionable for Sunday’s game. Head coach Doug Marrone hopes that Watkins can use his current ailment as a learning tool.

“I think as a player in talking to him, like we talk to all the players, especially the young ones, the way you have to start understanding your body and what’s an injury and what’s something where you’re not going to hurt yourself further,” said Marrone. “That’s something you learn throughout the process. I think if he does come back and he is able to play again I think he’ll have a better feel for where his body is.”


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Orton at top of NFL in fourth quarter passing

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 2:18 pm

When it comes to crunch time Bills QB Kyle Orton has been clutch. His two comeback victories over Detroit and Minnesota have helped to vault him to the top of the league in fourth quarter passer rating.

Orton holds a rating of 132.5 as he has completed close to 69 percent of his passes, averaging better than nine yards an attempt (that’s a fat number) with five touchdowns and no interceptions for a league-best passer rating of 132.5.

Head coach Doug Marrone, while happy with the production, wishes they didn’t have to rely so much on Orton’s arm.

“One, it’s not something that we like to brag about, being able to throw that much,” said Marrone. “We wish we could run a whole lot more in the fourth quarter with a lead. I think it’s more of a veteran type of thing. I think the one thing you see in this league is the guys that have been around they understand situations. They’ve been through it so many times, from a standpoint of reps, that they are able to perform well. But still it’s the same thing you need people around you to make plays. We’ve been fortunate where he’s made some great throws and we’ve had some people make some good plays.”


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Goodwin’s health has Marrone optimistic

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 9:39 am

He’s missed each of the last two games with a hamstring injury suffered in practice last month. And though Marquise Goodwin has been limited in practice this week, Bills head coach Doug Marrone is optimistic that the speed receiver will be ready for Sunday’s game.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Marrone gave strong indication that Goodwin would be available for this weekend’s game against the Chiefs.

“He looks good,” said Marrone. “He looks really good. He’s full strength, no problems at all.”

Goodwin had a game-tying 40-yard touchdown reception in last year’s game against the Chiefs.


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Marrone: No decision yet on Fred

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 9:24 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone made his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday morning and was asked about the status of Fred Jackson for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

Jackson, who suffered a groin injury back in Week 7, has practiced on a limited basis this week. Marrone however, said they have not yet made a call on whether Jackson will be cleared to play this weekend.

“He’s progressing. He’s not 100 percent yet,” said Marrone. “So we’ll see how it goes the next couple of days. We haven’t made a decision either way.”

 

 


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