Inside The Bills

LB Brown emerging as starter

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 11:13 am

At the outset of the season he was starting to fill in for suspended or injured linebackers like Nigel Bradham and Keith Rivers. Now with the top four backers healthy Preston Brown is remaining in the starting lineup.

The Bills third-round pick last spring has done nothing but impress so far this season and has logged more snaps than any other player on defense through seven games. It somewhat mirrors the heavy use of Kiko Alonso as a rookie last season.

Right now Brown is starting at outside linebacker alongside Brandon Spikes and Nigel Bradham in the team’s base defense. He also plays in the team’s nickel package, but Brown isn’t assuming he’s a permanent starter now.

“I just take it week by week, day by day,” he said. “So right now they have me in the starting lineup, so that’s what I’m doing right now. Just go out there and try to get better each day.”

Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t cement Brown as a full-time starter when asked about it as well.

“He’s playing well,” said Marrone. “Matchups are a big part of it and his snaps have increased over Keith.”

Brown leads the team with 50 tackles so far this season.


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Orton: Urgency without panic

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2014 – 5:09 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone made his players aware that there are a lot of fixes that need to be made this week in practice if they’re going to have a better chance of winning games. As far as what QB Kyle Orton saw on the practice field Wednesday from his teammates that message was received.

“No doubt we had a great practice (Wednesday),” said Orton. “It was great to see the guys show up and concentrate on the things we’ve been talking about. We’ve put an emphasis on getting better and really having the urgency without panic. We’re in a great spot. We’re 4-3 and we’re going to play a divisional road game with a bye week coming up. So all effort, all focus on this week to go out and do whatever it takes to get a win. The way we practiced today we’re off to a good start.”

 


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Will dramatic win be catalyst?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 9:30 am

After Sunday’s last second win over the Vikings head coach Doug Marrone said he hoped it could serve as a catalyst for his team. Here’s what the players thought about that prospect.

“I hope so,” said Eric Wood. “I hope we can get on a run. But the key is one game at a time.  And our focus turns to the Jets. It was a fun win, a big win.  But we have to move on, we have to be professional about this and not celebrate more than for what it is. That’s just one win.”

“It’s whatever we make it. Whatever we make it,” said Dareus. “It can be a turnaround factor for us, it can be whatever. We’ve got to go play every Sunday, it doesn’t even matter. Play in, play out, we gotta make it happen. It can be a turnaround, it could not.  We still gotta go out there and play and do the best we can.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on adding another RB – “Probably”

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

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

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


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Marrone update on RB situation

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Orton has shifted offensive focus

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 10:05 am

Whether it was intentional or not the presence of veteran QB Kyle Orton in the lineup has shifted the identity of the Bills offense a bit. They’re throwing more on first down, and overall as what was once a run heavy scheme has essentially flipped the past three games.

It began in EJ Manuel’s last start at Houston when they threw the ball 44 times, a departure from being a very run heavy club. Then when Orton entered the lineup the higher propensity to pass continued. The past three weeks the Bills have thrown the ball almost 65 percent of the time, while running it just over a shade of 35 percent (35.5%).

 

In his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment, presented by Tim Horton’s on Buffalobills.com, head coach Doug Marrone wasn’t the least bit shocked by the shift.

“I think whenever you put someone new in at that position your offensive identity is going to change,” said Marrone. “Your goals and how you want to be may not, but at the quarterback position, it’s like anything else, Kyle is not going to run around and make any plays with his feet. So you lose that, but you do gain an experienced guy in the pocket who has been playing really well for us.”

Working with Orton has been a process. After not getting any exposure or work with him through the offseason the coaches are learning as they go when it comes to what Orton likes and executes most effectively.

“For us as coaches we’re getting a better feel for him in practice,” Marrone said. “He hasn’t been here that long and he wasn’t here in training camp with us. So now after a few games we have a better feel for what he wants, where we need to go and where we can go with him.”

 


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Fitting scheme to what players do best

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 9:15 am

In their thorough analysis of what’s ailing the run game, the Bills offensive coaches, including head coach Doug Marrone, are most committed to doing what fits the talent they’re putting on the field the best. What that means for today’s game we won’t know exactly until the game unfolds. Rest assured Marrone and his assistants have looked under every schematic rock.

“Scheming the run whether it’s zone or gap schemes or pulling or tossing it outside there are a lot of things you can do,” said Marrone. “Whichever one we think our backs do well we have to get them out there and give them a good opportunity. But even when you do you still need that execution from everybody.

“Everyone has what they like to do. There are certain plays that I like to run, but in the same sense you’ve got to be able to change and take advantage of your talent. We’re not trying to pound that round peg into the square hole. So we have to make sure we put them in a good position and then they have to execute.”

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was also preaching execution. Coaches can only do so much in calling plays, but it’s on the players to make it happen.

“The options are always wide open,” Hackett said. “Anything you want to do as a coach you always want to think of everything, but you always have to bring yourself back to reality. You have to understand what you can and can’t do. You don’t want to overthink it. That’s a problem that coaches have at times. They try to do too much or overreact. You have to maintain a steady flow and believe that everybody is going to start working together better.”


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Marrone has faced & beaten Bridgewater

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2014 – 11:51 am

In 2012 the Louisville Cardinals were 9-0 and ranked ninth in the country when they traveled to face an unranked Syracuse squad at the Carrier Dome coached by Doug Marrone. The Cardinals, led by QB Teddy Bridgewater, found the game tougher than perhaps they imagined.

Syracuse broke a 10-10 tie in the second quarter and never trailed again. The Cardinals had no answer for Orange WR Alec Lemon, who had 176 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jerome Smith and Princ-Tyson Gulley also combined for 242 rushing yards in the game and three touchdowns in what became a convincing 46-25 upset.

Bridgewater threw for 424 yards and three touchdowns, but most of his production came when the Cardinals were already trailing. The question now is how has Bridgewater morphed and changed under Minnesota offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

“You see a player that’s progressing from the college game to the pro game,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s. “He has great weapons around him. Guys with a lot of speed who if they get the ball in open areas can cause serious problems. I think he’s progressing like most quarterbacks. Coach (Norv) Turner has always done a great job with young quarterbacks and has a history of it. They’re bringing him along and working on things that he’s good at and trying to create that foundation and make things a little more difficult for the opposing defenses.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-17

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2014 – 10:22 am

Big bounce back week for the Bills as they host Minnesota. Just have a feeling the run game will be rediscovered. On to your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why isn’t Kraig Urbik starting? Is it stubbornness or the right call or something else in your opinion?

Richkay71

CB: Coach Marrone has been asked about this quite a bit this season. Based on what he’s said it sounds like he and the offensive staff would like to give rookie Cyril Richardson the opportunity to grow into the position. He said as long as Richardson, and Seantrel Henderson for that matter, are still showing signs of improvement in their play they’ll remain in the lineup.

As for Urbik specifically, here is his most recent answer as to why he hasn’t considered re-inserting Urbik into the starting lineup at either one of the guard positions.

“We feel comfortable what his role is for the team right now,” said Marrone of Urbik’s role as backup center. “If someone’s not playing well or not improving, I think (a change is) a possibility. We talk about that too.  I think those (rookies) are getting better in there.  And collectively, we’ve got to keep them coming along.  It’s an option with him. We’ve got Kraig backing up a lot of positions inside.

“I think his versatility is his strength. I think he has good versatility. If we want to put him in there he has the ability to be a starter and go in there and play. He gives us experience. He’s our best option if something were to happen with Eric Wood, and to be ready in case we ever do anything.”

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will the bills be as predictable as last week? First down, run. Second down, run. Third down, pass.

lux_brian

CB: Contrary to what you might think the Bills threw a good deal on first down last week. In fact on first down they had 12 runs and 15 pass attempts. Granted in the second half they were behind and had to throw more, but even in the first half they had eight runs and six pass attempts. Here were the results.

1st half  rush figures – 8 carries, 29 yds, fumble lost
1st half pass figures – 6 pass attempts, 7 yards, INT, sack – fumble lost, 2 incompletions

2nd half rush figures – 4 carries, 6 yds
2nd half pass figures – 9 pass attempts, 24 yards, touchdown, 5 incompletions

Against Detroit the week before the Bills ran on first down 11 times and threw 21 times. So until the propensity to run on first down becomes predictable we’ll take a closer look at the play calling by the offense.

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

How much do the Bills spend on real scouting and that’s both Collegiate & Pro CFL/NFL?

RickFreiheit

CB: There’s no way for me to get you the budget line for the Bills scouting operations, but I can tell you that the personnel department has upwards of 20 scouts, counting GM Doug Whaley. There are pro scouts, who do the advance scouting of future opponents and put together reports on every prospective free agent in the league. They will also take a look at CFL talent.

The college scouting department makes up the bulk of the group and they are scattered across the country. Each scout is assigned to region of the country and they are assigned to all the schools in their territory, with some overlap between scouts so they can get more than one opinion on a prospect.

The Bills as an organization have long believed in the value of scouting when it comes to building a roster and that has not changed one iota under Doug Whaley.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why do u think they haven’t used Sammy in the screen game? It was what he did the most in college and excelled at it.

ryancobello

CB: I’m not sure why he hasn’t been used more in the screen game. They have run a handful of receiver screens this season, and Mike Williams is an excellent blocking receiver as is Robert Woods. What I like most about your idea is it is an easy way to get the ball in Watkins’ hands regardless of what the opposing defense is doing coverage-wise.

You’re right he did excel at it. Whether it is something the offensive staff turns to more moving forward however, remains to be seen.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

My question has to do with the offensive line.  If Orton can improve the play at the QB position even just a little this team can make a run at the playoffs. However all the QB attention has hid some issues on the offensive line.  This offensive line is massive in size but for some reason seems to get very little push and obviously lacks in mobility compared to smaller, quicker lines.  What is most disconcerting is that when they run between the tackles there is little space for Freddy or CJ.  Most of their run yardage comes when they bounce it outside and get around the edge with their speed.  I guess my biggest problem has to do with their philosophy of getting BIG linemen as opposed to smaller more athletic guys that you tend to see on successful teams like the Patriots.  Do you think outside of QB, the offensive line is the biggest area of needed improvement and should Marrone be held responsible for this since that is his area of expertise?

Thanks,
-Danny

CB: Coach Marrone himself admitted that the line play up front needs to be better. Against some of the better defensive fronts this season Buffalo’s offensive line has had trouble winning at the line of scrimmage. It’s a bit surprising in light of their size as you mentioned. All that size has left them a bit less mobile for screens and pulls.

I agree with coach that the line play has to be more consistent and not just in the run game, but in pass protection as well. They’ve got to raise the level of play quickly, and that won’t be easy with a couple of rookies learning on the job.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kouandjio getting work at guard

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2014 – 4:31 pm

Bills second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio has begun working at guard in addition to his offensive tackle position. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that the move began two weeks ago.

“Two weeks ago I had told (offensive line) Pat (Morris) obviously I work with him and I said, ‘(Cyrus) is really moving well. We need to see if we can develop him in playing tackle and guard,’” said Marrone. “If he keeps going the way he’s going we could get a spot for him somewhere just like a lot of other people.”

Marrone has had Kouandjio lined up at guard with the scout team in the practice setting.

“I think he’s done a nice job. Of any of the players who haven’t been playing I see him as one of the most improved,” said Marrone. “From what you’ve seen of him in the preseason and what you see now when you watch it, his movement skills have truly been a 180 from what we saw in preseason. So I’m really excited about that. Since his movement skills have increased we’re seeing where we can develop him and where he can fit.”

What was most encouraging to Marrone concerning Kouandjio’s development is the game is slowing down for him.

“I think for him and my conversations with him and you can ask him about it, one of the things he said to me which was most important, I asked him, ‘How’s it going?’ He said, ‘It’s getting slower for me.’ That is a good thing. As a coach that’s the one thing I always like to hear. You can see it in how he plays. I think it’s slowed down for him and in the beginning I would’ve said he can only play right tackle from what I saw. But when I saw his movement skills increase and really doing a 180 I said, ‘Let’s throw him in there because I know things happen faster.’ It’s a much harder transition from going outside to in, rather than going inside out.”

 

 


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Mike Williams: I don’t want to be traded

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2014 – 5:15 pm

Bills WR Mike Williams said it was his agent that took it upon himself to seek permission to explore trade options for his client in the wake of him being inactive for last Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Speaking to the media Wednesday for the first time since news of his agent’s actions broke on Monday, the veteran receiver was clear in stating he wants to remain a Buffalo Bill.

“I always wanted to be here,” said Williams. “This is my hometown. It’s somewhere where I always wanted to be. I just have to fight to be one of the top 46 right now.”

Williams is referring to being one of the 46 active players on game day, something he was not last week after Kyle Williams was cleared to play the day before the game. That prompted a massive lineup shuffle for the game, which involved special teams and tight ends leaving Williams on the outside looking in come game day. For Williams the news was a shock and left him upset.

“You ask yourself if you’re a touchdown scoring machine and you feel like you could help the team win, would you be disappointed,” said Williams in reference to his 23 touchdowns his first three NFL seasons. “That’s how I feel. Of course I’m disappointed I’m not playing. Anybody that’s competitive they better be disappointed if they’re not playing. I might as well retire if I’m not disappointed.”

The receiver said he has since told his agent to stop seeking other options in the league. Williams said being inactive last week has only made him redouble his efforts to prove to the coaches he should be active this week against the Vikings. He said no matter what happens he won’t change the way he approaches practice.

“I keep on playing for the Bills, keep on practicing hard. Try to win scout team player of the week,” said Williams. “I won scout team player (two weeks ago), I would’ve won it if we won this past week. I’ll try to win it this week. I was on scout team again (Wednesday). I didn’t change my routine. I got on the scout team because I wanted to be on scout team. I wanted to do it. They didn’t put me on scout team. I just wanted to be on all the scout team if I’m not going to be getting that many reps (on offense).”

When asked if Mike Williams would be active this week head coach Doug Marrone indicated it was too early in the week to make that determination.

“That decision of who is active and stuff, we’ll see how the week goes because I don’t want to get myself in a bind,” said Marrone.

Williams was asked what coach Marrone told him when he talked to him this week in the aftermath of his agent’s actions.

“That he doesn’t want to trade me,” said Williams. “He basically told me to keep on doing what I’m doing and things will play out.”

 


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Marrone: Fixing run game the top priority

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2014 – 4:56 pm

By no means is it the only part of their game they’re looking to improve, but Buffalo’s ground game has found yards hard to come by the last three weeks. That’s why head coach Doug Marrone and his staff are going to do an in depth analysis as to just what is slowing down the identity of their offense.

“The major concern which was addressed in the team meeting, we talked about the run game. This is the third week in a row now, this isn’t the first time,” said Marrone in reference to the lack of production in the run game. “What happens is you start focusing and trying to make plays that aren’t there and that’s what we can’t do, from C.J. to Fred to (Boobie) Dixon. Up front, we’ve got to do a better job of finishing, getting on those players, not having a lot of color show where it’s showing.  And that means we’ve got to be quicker going to the second level and things like that.  Those things are correctable but we’ve got to put the work in to correct it.”

As Fred Jackson sees it, the miscues with turnovers and penalties kept them from running more, but he didn’t argue that their production was subpar.

“We’ve got to be better than that to win games and beat good teams,” said Jackson. “When you’re eliminating possessions that you have with turnovers and a lot of penalties and putting yourself behind the sticks that’s going to deter from what you can do in the run game. That’s something that we’ve got to get better at as an offensive unit. We can’t have penalties and fumble the ball and throw interceptions. It’s on us as an offense collectively and look at ourselves and be harsh critics and figure out what we have to get better at doing.”

Buffalo’s run game was ranked sixth in the league after Week 2 in rushing. This week on the heels of their loss to New England they’re ranked 22nd, with their average going from 153 yards per game to 101.

Marrone says it will be a group effort to get back to their typical level of production.

“It’s not one individual. It’s easy when it’s one individual, you just pull one out and put somebody else in,” He said. “But it’s up front, it’s hitting the holes, it’s believing and trusting in the scheme, the perimeter. We’ve got to go back and get this thing again.  You put so much emphasis on the other stuff, and you improve, and then it goes down.  That’s what you can’t have.  That’s what happens when you become inconsistent.

“Really we just have to go back, get ourselves on track and work hard from me to the coaches to the players.  That’s really what I spoke to them about today in the team meeting.”


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Marrone: Fans will be louder than Week 2

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 8:27 am

Back in Week 2 just after it had been announced that the Pegulas had the winning bid for the Bills franchise, Buffalo was hosting Miami in their home opener. The energy in the stadium was electric and the fans had an impact on the game as they forced the Dolphins into some penalties due to the crowd noise. This Sunday with the Pegulas now officially the owners of the team and a big division game against New England, head coach Doug Marrone expects the atmosphere to be even more amped up in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

“My expectation is it’s going to be an even greater atmosphere,” said Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment on Buffalobills.com and presented by Tim Horton’s. “I think that our fans can play a big difference in this game. We’re focused on going out there and beating a divisional opponent, beating New England. And I think our fans will be able to play a big role in this game and help us.”

Patriots QB Tom Brady has played enough games in Ralph Wilson Stadium to know the din that Bills fans can manufacture on game day.

“It’s always a tough place to play. Communication is always an issue,” said Brady. “I’m sure it’s going to be rowdy. The fans are going to be into it. It’s a one o’clock game, everybody is going to get up and get rolling. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. If you love football, then one o’clock Sunday in Orchard Park is where you want to be.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ron Brooks cleared for practice

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2014 – 5:27 pm

Ron Brooks was not a full participant, but that fact that he was cleared to participate on a limited basis just three days removed from a scary neck injury on the field in Week 5 against the Lions that required a trip to the hospital and an overnight stay in Detroit, the Bills are relieved to see him on his feet.

“Everyone saw that,” said Marrone of the injury last Sunday. “It was  a tough situation for everybody who saw it—nerve wracking, we all have those feelings for all the players and everybody’s who’s watching the game. I think there was a great sigh of relief when they said he was able to be released. And then today he’s running around, that’s a great sign.”

Other players who were nicked up in last Sunday’s game were also limited participants in practice. Here’s a list of them below.

Fred Jackson – ankle
Da’Norris Searcy – knee
Brandon Spikes – ribs
Aaron Williams – wrist


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Teammates hoping for best for Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on October 6, 2014 – 9:11 am

Bills DB Ron Brooks did not make the trip back to Buffalo with the team after he sustained a neck injury in the first half of Buffalo’s win over Detroit. He remained in a local hospital for observation overnight. In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Fred Jackson said he and his fellow teammates are praying for Brooks, though the initial signs look promising.

“In talking to our training staff they did do some C-T scans and they were all negative,” said Jackson. “It all looks good right now, but you just never know. As a team we’re praying for him and hoping for the best. I think we’ll find out more when we have our team meetings and they’ll give us an update. Hopefully he continues to progress well and he’s out of there later today.”

Brooks was able to give a wave to the crowd after he was strapped to the backboard and carted off the field. Head coach Doug Marrone is expected to provide an update when he addresses the media this afternoon.


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Orton changed the play on two-pointer

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:36 pm

Kyle Orton was pretty effective in his debut performance for the Buffalo Bills throwing for 308 yards on 30 of 43 passing (69.7%) a touchdown and an interception. One of his most important plays came on the team’s two-point conversion to tie it with nine minutes left at 14. Orton changed the play at the line.

“On the two-point play we had a throw called,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “We were thinking (we would get) more all out (blitz) on the two-point play because what they’ve shown down there at times is either max coverage or all out blitz. So we had a play to beat the all out (blitz) and he checked to the run.”

“We had a pass play called and went out and they had bracket coverage,” said Orton. “Kind of saw it and we talked about it on the sideline. If we get an all out coverage we’re going to go ahead and let Fred (Jackson) do what he does. We had great communication and it was loud and he was able to get it in.”


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Fred leads with words as well as yards

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:31 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson has proven once again to be a valuable asset for Buffalo’s offense thus far in 2014. He racked up 108 all-purpose yards and led the team in rushing in the win over the Lions. But it may have been his words that had a greater impact on the outcome of the game Sunday.

Rookie WR Sammy Watkins and a good number of other players on offense were less than pleased with the officials, who called nine penalties on the Bills in the first half alone. But Jackson re-shifted the focus of the men on the offensive unit.

“That’s one of our leaders. He leads on and off the field,” said Watkins. “He just told us we were hurting ourselves. He said we were worrying about the refs and everything else but our jobs. I think after everybody realized and did our jobs and realized how much was on the line we actually went out there and played our game and everybody did their job.”

“Fred did a nice job on a couple of those carries,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “He was obviously our most productive runner. We struggled. There’s no doubt about it. We didn’t do a very good job of opening up holes for him. Where we were able to run he made some nice catches. He had seven catches, but we’ve got to do a better job up front when we’re running the football.”


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NFL investigating laser pointer interference

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:26 pm

It happened on a few occasions in the game. There was a green laser pointer being used by someone in the stadium at Ford Field Sunday and they were trying to distract QB Kyle Orton and holder Colton Schmidt on pass plays and attempted field goals. Kicker Dan Carpenter was the first to notice it.

“When I noticed it they were shining it on Colton on the 50-yard attempt,” said Carpenter. “It was shining on Colton (Schmidt) on the hold. As far as that goes I guess I understand that the NFL Security is looking into it to see if they can figure anything out.”

Carpenter’s 50-yard attempt was no good off the upright. The kicker would not say whether the laser pointer affected the quality of Schmidt’s hold on the kick.

Kyle Orton also was the subject of the attempted distraction during the game.

“Early on I felt it a couple of times right after I got the ball, so I communicated with the refs and with coach Marrone and let him handle that,” said Orton.

Marrone said after the game that NFL Security is handling the investigation to see if they can ascertain through film review of the game the origin of the laser pointer.

“We told the NFL security on the miss, that there were some lasers we could see down on the carpet,” said Marrone.


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Hackett will be back upstairs today

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:20 am

When Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett first joined Doug Marrone’s staff in Buffalo his preference was to call plays from the coaches’ booth. After a short time last season Hackett and Marrone in conjunction with EJ Manuel decided it was better for Hackett to have direct communication with Manuel on the sidelines during games. So Hackett was down on the sideline to facilitate  Now with Kyle Orton starting today, Hackett will return to calling plays with a birds-eye view.

Being a veteran quarterback, who has essentially seen it all, Kyle Orton apparently feels comfortable enough being down on the sideline without having the offensive coordinator right next to him. If he needs to discuss things with Hackett, he’ll just pick up the sideline phone.

Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing will assume the sideline communication responsibilities, as he will be radio calling plays into Orton from the sidelines.

It will be interesting to see if Hackett’s return upstairs provides him with a different perspective and impacts his play calling today.


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Will Dixon see more action on offense?

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

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

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

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

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


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