Inside The Bills

Robey hoping for more PR reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 9:15 pm

They were the first live punt return reps in a game that he’s had since his junior year at USC. For Nickell Robey it felt good to have the ball in his hands again.

Robey did have the muffed punt in the Carolina game Friday, but he also had a good 15-yard return and a 10-yard return.

“I just stayed relaxed and tried to make good decisions,” Robey told Buffalobills.com. “I had a couple of good returns. I misjudged one of the balls and it got away from me a little bit. I’ll just try to get better and the more reps I get the better I’ll be.”

Head coach Doug Marrone despite the muffed punt by Robey thought his defensive back did make a good play on his 15-yard return.


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CB Brooks playing consistent ball

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 8:30 pm

Bills CB Ron Brooks has been putting together perhaps his best training camp this summer. Health has had a lot to do with it. Each of the last two years Brooks broke his foot costing him valuable regular season time and upon his return he’s had to play catch up. As a young player that proved difficult at times. Thus far Brooks has put a pair of good preseason performances together and has fared well in the practice setting.

“Ron’s having a good camp. Not just one game, I think he’s put a couple good games together and a lot of good practices,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “It’s the same thing you see on the field. Ron’s been practicing well and normally when you practice well, you’ll go ahead and play well. He’s done a nice job.”

Brooks missed Saturday’s practice with a thigh injury suffered in Friday night’s win at Carolina. No word on a timetable for his return to practice.


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RB Brown’s play not a surprise to Marrone

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 11:24 am

He’s not going to be a starting running back in Buffalo, but Bryce Brown’s performance against Carolina Friday night was anything but a surprise to head coach Doug Marrone. As he sees it, he’s got the luxury of having a starting caliber back in Brown, who at best sits third on the depth chart.

Brown led the team in rushing Friday night and averaged almost six yards a carry against Carolina’s second teamers. That’s why Marrone wasn’t shocked to see Brown do so well.

“In my mind Bryce Brown is a very talented running back that has the potential to start in the NFL,” said Marrone. “So I think what happens a lot, when he is in the game I think he is one of the better players on the field. So, his production is not surprising for any one of us.”

Naturally Brown himself has the confidence in his own abilities to believe he could be a starter in the NFL.

“I feel like I could start in a lot of places. I feel like I could start here,” he said. “That’s my main goal. We’ve got some great guys in the room with me right now and I think that’s an advantage for me because I look at all those guys and having them in the room gives me a lot I can learn from and apply to my game as well.”


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EJ has good day

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 2:21 am

In preseason start number two Bills QB EJ Manuel looked to be in sync with his receiving corps from the very beginning. It led to a high completion percentage for the second-year quarterback and helped the offense consistently move the football.

“He had command of the offense and command of the huddle. He had some passes that he probably wishes he could get back, but he was very composed back there, but he had a lot of energy and that’s what we need,” said C.J. Spiller.

“Yeah he had great poise,” said Sammy Watkins. “Our whole offense came out and we proved the point that we can drive the ball. That just comes with running different plays. We kind of opened up the playbook a little bit and had more plays and scouted their defense a little bit and EJ did a great job of driving us down the field.”

Manuel finished the day 9-13 passing for 96 yards and a passer rating of 90.7. He also completed passes to six different receivers on his nine completions, effectively spreading the ball around.

“First three series were pretty good,” said Manuel. “I thought we moved the ball up and down the field. I would have loved to cap it off with a touchdown. I think that’s the next phase of us finishing, especially in these preseason games, leading up to the first game in Chicago. I thought the O-line did a great job protecting, receivers obviously got open and ran great routes and getting open against their man coverage and things like that. C.J. Spiller obviously had a great game with his limited carries so I was very pleased with how well we came out and played.”


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Punt coverage on point

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 12:57 am

The Bills punt coverage unit had a solid night as the three punts they sent at the Panthers resulted in no return yards for Carolina in the game.

Brian Moorman’s first punt was downed by Nigel Bradham at the Carolina 12-yard line and not returned. His second was fielded by Kenjon Barner, but Ron Brooks dropped him for no gain. Then in the second half Chris Hogan and Jacquies Smith teamed up to stop Barner again after a long punt by rookie Jake Dombrowski. Head coach Doug Marrone was pretty pleased with the effort.

“Our special teams have done a very good job of tackling,” said Marrone. “Obviously we had the missed play on the ball with Nickell, but I think special teams-wise Nickell had a nice play earlier that he made. T.J. Graham had a return. We don’t even have the first team returners out there, but we’re tackling well which is a good sign.”


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Dareus, Meeks injured at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2014 – 7:56 pm

There were a couple of injuries at Wednesday’s practice, but at this point the severity of each of them is not yet known.

At head coach Doug Marrone’s post-practice press conference, Vice President of Communications Scott Berchtold stated that Marcell Dareus sustained a hamstring injury and safety Jonathan Meeks suffered a neck injury.

Their status for Friday night’s game is not known at this point.


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McKelvin update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2014 – 7:48 pm

For the second straight day CB Leodis McKelvin did not participate in practice at all. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on McKelvin’s status moving forward.

When asked if McKelvin has experienced a setback in his return from offseason hip surgery, Marrone said that was not the case.

“We have a plan that we’ve talked about and we’re going to rest him as long as we feel the doctors and he and the other people [say],” said Marrone. “When he’s ready, I’ll let him out there.”

 


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Marrone in go for it mode

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2014 – 1:33 am

Twice in Sunday night’s game against the Giants head coach Doug Marrone chose to go for it on fourth down. The first came on a 4th-and-goal at the two situation with Jeff Tuel converting with Robert Woods on a short touchdown. The other came on a 4th-and-1 situation on the Giants’ 34-yard line in the third quarter. Evan Rodriguez converted extending the drive. The players are hoping that aggressiveness continues in the regular season.

“I hope so we’ve got enough weapons whether it’s in the air or on the ground to make plays like that,” said Woods who converted the first fourth down. “We’ve just got to keep executing so coach can trust us.”

Rodriguez’s conversion unfortunately didn’t lead to anything for the Bills. On the next play Thad Lewis’ pass to the end zone that was intended for Marcus Easley was intercepted.


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Coughlin-Marrone ties run deep

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2014 – 4:07 pm

Both are Syracuse alums and they are part of a football coaching brethren. So it’s no surprise that Bills head coach Doug Marrone reveres Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. The two coaches will square off against each other tonight in the Hall of Fame game.

“I’ve always admired Coach Coughlin,” said Marrone. “He helped me out quite a bit when I was the head coach at Syracuse. We’ve always had a good relationship, and I think the common denominator is that we both went to school there, and we’re in this profession together. So, I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve always followed him, always admired the work that he’s done, and like I said before, we used to meet once a year. I’d go and talk to him and he helped me out quite a bit.”

Marrone has said in the past that coach Coughlin’s advice has helped to shape some of his own coaching philosophies.


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Bradham addresses league decision

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 6:36 pm

Bills LB Nigel Bradham, who was suspended by the NFL for one regular season game Wednesday for an incident stemming back to last summer, was caught off guard by the league’s discipline. One of the main reasons why was because all charges were dismissed.

“It’s related to what happened last year,” said Bradham following Wednesday’s practice. “The commissioner said I wasn’t disciplined from the NFL last year so I guess it rolls over into this year. Everything was dismissed and I’m not in a substance abuse program or anything. Since everything was dismissed it’s kind of shocking and kind of disappointing that it came back again. I tried to appeal it but the appeal was declined.”

Bradham said the denial on his appeal came back just last week. He was initially informed that he was facing a one game suspension back in March.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate, especially since Nigel has been playing very well,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “Like I said before, I’ve probably seen the biggest improvement in him. And when I say that I’m not just talking about him as just a football player, but just maturity. I think, now when you look back and you think about what happened, maybe it took something like that for him to grow. Obviously, you learn from your mistakes. I think he’s learned to make better decisions and I hope it’s from that and I hope it’s something we don’t have to go back on. Especially with the way he’s been performing on and off the field.”

Bradham while disappointed is not going to let the league’s decision drag down his plans for a big season. He insists he’s learned his lesson and promises to be ready to come Week 2 when the Bills host Miami in the home opener.

“My whole thing is to stay positive,” he said. “It’s something that followed me from a decision I made last year. I regret it and I made a mistake. I apologized to my teammates. I’m sorry that we have to go through this again. And hopefully I just get past it and come out for game two ready. I’m just going to keep working everyday out here at training camp and get better.”

 


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Marrone’s affinity for Fred goes beyond his play

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 6:26 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was naturally pleased to hear that Fred Jackson had signed a contract extension with the club. Jackson’s production, especially playing on a sprained MCL for most of the last season made his yardage and scoring output all the more impressive. But Marrone respects Jackson for much more than his play on the field. He values the quality leader Jackson is as a team captain as well.

“I love Fred,” said Marrone. “I think Fred’s been a great pro. In my time here with him he’s been a very good leader and very productive. I’m excited about him. I heard the news coming here. I just heard that now and I’m happy for Fred and I’m happy for his family.”


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Marrone: no plans for another TE

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 8:34 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has lost three of the four tight ends he brought to training camp to injury. They’ve since added a tight end in Dominique Jones. In the wake of Scott Chandler’s groin injury Sunday however, Marrone doesn’t intend to add another.

“I think of it as we’re going to try to put some different people in there without having to go out and bring another person in,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we can do. I don’t want to say I like it because then I’d be saying I’m happy that someone got hurt, but it forces our hand to do some things that we might have to do during the year to be successful.”


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McKelvin held out of team work as precaution

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 6:54 pm

Bills starting CB Leodis McKelvin has been held out of team work for the past three days of practice. Coming off of hip surgery in the offseason the team doesn’t want to overwork the veteran corner.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“We just rested him and are making sure,” said Marrone. “Again, he’s coming off of an injury from the offseason and we’re just going to work his way back in here. Leodis has something that I admire. When he gets back in there, he’s going to go 110 percent every single time. We just want to make sure that we back him off a little bit. We’re in camp for awhile, so we’re just being smart.”

Marrone did not provide any details on when McKelvin would again participated in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work.


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Moeaki out indefinitely, Gragg to return soon

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 9:15 pm

The Bills were down numbers at tight end, which is what prompted the signing of TE Dominique Jones Saturday. The hamstring injury suffered by Tony Moeaki is going to keep him out indefinitely, while Chris Gragg’s dehydration that forced him to be hospitalized for a couple of days won’t be back until the second full week of camp.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“We’re waiting for Chris (Gragg) to come back, which hopefully will be sometime next week,” Marrone said. “We’re not sure so I’m not going to go on record again but we hope that he will be back sometime next week. And with Tony (Moeaki), he’ll be out not for the whole camp, but he’s going to be out for a significant amount of time. And when I say significant, I think it’s very difficult to define. If you’re out three or four days in camp, that’s a lot of reps on everybody for what you’re trying to get done. So, hopefully we’ll be able to get him back quickly.”


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Chris Gragg to practice soon.

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 6:59 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Chris Gragg is out of the hospital, but he is not going to practice right away.

“He’s out of the hospital,” said Marrone. “He’s back. We’re still just going to be careful about when we put him back on the field, so it’ll probably be a couple of days just to make sure.”

Gragg is in attendance at the Friday night practice.


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Pears performing well

Posted by Chris Brown on July 23, 2014 – 2:24 pm

While there is a competition going on at right guard, as we covered in Wednesday’s practice notes, there does not appear to be much of a battle to this point at the starting right tackle spot.

A lot of people outside the organization assumed that second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio would be quickly challenging veteran incumbent Erik Pears for the starting right tackle job. As head coach Doug Marrone sees it Pears has put himself in a good position in the early going to retain his starting gig.

“I think Cyrus is coming along. The closer you are to the ball the tougher it is to play in this league,” said Marrone. “Erik really feels healthy. He was coming off an injury last year and has really performed well. It’s still going on (the competition). Nothing is locked in stone yet. It wouldn’t be smart of me to say anything is locked in stone. Everyone has to go out and prove that they can do it. We’ll see how it goes as camp goes along, but Erik has done a very good job so far.”

Pears did play hurt last year, which compromised his effectiveness at times. Also Kouandjio just turned 21 on Monday and is relatively young in football. His learning curve might prove to be a bit steeper than some anticipate.


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LB Kitchens, CB Smith out for a while

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 12:18 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone addressed the status of a pair of defensive players who were injured in practice on Monday and did not participate on Tuesday in undrafted rookie LB Darrin Kitchens and CB Brandon Smith.

“(Kitchens) and Brandon Smith will both be out for a period of time,” said Marrone after practice Tuesday. “Lower body injury for Smith and a lower body injury for Kitchens.”

Both players were seeing most of their time on the field with the third team defense.


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Marrone: Hopkins a kickoff specialist only

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 11:01 am

It’s early in camp and Dan Carpenter has taken all the FG attempts. Dustin Hopkins has only taken kickoffs in practice. On Tuesday head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Hopkins is strictly a kickoff specialist.

In fact Marrone stated that kickoff specialist is the role Hopkins has to try and land.

“He had to tr to make the roster as a kickoff specialist,” said Marrone.

Carpenter is coming off a career season where he hit on almost 92 percent of his kicks in 2013.


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Dareus delayed by weather

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 8:36 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus was unable to get back to Bills camp Monday night as scheduled due to weather delays.

Dareus’ flight back to Rochester was canceled last night due to weather. Head coach Doug Marrone may provide an update on Dareus return schedule following practice this morning.


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Marrone on Glenn’s situation

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2014 – 8:59 pm

Bills starting left tackle Cordy Glenn was out doing light exercises on the other practice field away from the team Monday as he worked with an athletic trainer. Following Monday’s practice head coach Doug Marrone addressed Glenn’s designation on the Non-Football Illness list.

Marrone was asked if he knew when Glenn would be able to return to practice. At this point it sounds like the Bills head coach is at the mercy of the recommendations of the medical staff.

“I don’t know that,” he said of Glenn’s potential return to practice. “It’s a medical condition. I’m preparing to go on as if he’s not playing, which he’s not. So I’m just waiting for the doctors and I can’t speak about the condition because it’s something that happened outside of football.”

When asked if he thought Glenn would be playing eventually Marrone could only be hopeful.

“I’m planning on him playing,” he said. “Right now he’s not there, so I have to plan with him not being there. When he’s there then we’ll plug him back in.”

Rookie seventh round pick Seantrel Henderson manned the starting left tackle spot on Monday.


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