Inside The Bills

Schein sees Bills ending playoff drought

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2014 – 8:31 am

He’s certainly not the first, but NFL.com contributor Adam Schein is convinced the Bills are going to end their playoff drought this season.

As he sees it there’s too much talent on the roster for Buffalo to come up short. After conducting a radio interview with head coach Doug Marrone last week, Schein believes the Bills will finally get over the postseason hump. In fact he quotes Marrone’s belief that the team is better in just about every area.

“We are a better team right now than we were last year at this time. We have to be able to convert that into wins,” Marrone said. “There’s no doubt about it that we’re more athletic, we’re bigger, stronger faster. The system is under our belt, we’re moving around quickly, we’re making plays.”

 


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New combo on left side of O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2014 – 11:29 am

With starting LG Chris Williams not on Han at voluntary OTAs the combination up front had a surprising change on Thursday.

Starting at left tackle is Chris Hairston and kicking inside to left guard is Cordy Glenn.

Head coach Doug Marrone briefly experimented with Glenn at guard early in training camp last year, but with Glenn clearly his best tackle in 2013 he left him on the blind side.

Hairston has a long way to go after being unable to practice, let alone play, for almost a full calendar year being on the reserve non-football illness list. But the current coaching staff, which inherited him, is at least interested to see why he can offer on the left side before considering the two rookie tackles they drafted in Cyrus Kouandjio and Seantrel Henderson.

We’ll see what develops from here on out.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2014 – 7:35 am

Here’s where you can find Bills coaches and players on the local and national radio airwaves Thursday.

8:00 am – Brandon Spikes on WGR 550

2:30 pm – Doug Marrone on Sirius Mad Dog Radio w/ Adam Schein


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Marrone committed to getting Dareus on track

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2014 – 3:13 pm

The two latest incidents off the field by Marcell Dareus are certainly of concern to the Bills organization. Even though Dareus will now miss the remainder of OTA practices (7 in all), throwing his full support behind Dareus in an effort to get him back on track is head coach Doug Marrone.

“Obviously, we all know and are well aware that Marcell has made some poor decisions lately and the one thing is that I’ve been working with him and he’s dealing with a lot of personal issues too,” Marrone said. “I spoke with him at length and we spent a lot of time together talking about a lot of things. As of now, he’s not going to be attending the OTA’s, but he’ll be attending the mandatory minicamp when we come back.

“I just want to make sure that I’m clear that everyone understands that I believe in Marcell and I will do everything I can to make sure that we can get him on the right track. Really that’s the situation. There are a lot of things going on, a lot of personal talk and that’s really all I’m going to comment on. The conversations we had are between us and we’re working this thing. I’m disappointed in all of our players anytime anyone of us, including myself, when we make poor decisions. It’s a reflection of the team, which is a reflection of me and it’s a reflection on this organization.”

Marrone went on to say that it’s more important for him to do right by a person who needs help over everything else.

“When any player makes a poor decision I always think of where I made a mistake,” he said. “That’s the truth. I just feel that way and when I make decisions to not play people, bench him and all that other stuff, I do it because winning, don’t get me wrong my job is to win and winning is important, but it’s not as important as trying to help somebody.

“I’d rather lose games and do the right thing in my mind, not everybody else’s mind, not the media’s mind and not the public opinion’s mind. My mind. I’d rather do the right thing and I can live with myself. At the end of the day, I’m the one that is going to have to live with myself. That’s the way I treat it. Right wrong or indifferent, it might not be what people want to hear, but that is more important to me. Trying to do the right thing and help people, than it is to win.”

 


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Kiko feeling good after offseason surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2014 – 4:37 pm

Kiko Alonso participated in the individual position drill portions of practice, but not any team work. That is likely to be the plan for the rest of the OTAs after he underwent offseason hip surgery.

“Yeah, it’s great. I feel great. I had a great rehab and I’m just trying to get stronger,” he said.

Alonso was one of several players who had offseason surgery. Fellow draft classmate Robert Woods had ankle surgery. Head coach Doug Marrone addressed both.

“They’re coming off procedures both of them,” Marrone said. “Kiko had a hip and Robert had an ankle.  Those guys have been here the whole time working and we’re just being progressive, making sure they’re working their way back.  We know they’ll be available and healthy for the season.”

 

 


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Undrafted S Ladler showed well

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2014 – 4:38 pm

It wasn’t a perfect three days, but undrafted rookie S Kenny Ladler performed relatively well over the course of the Bills rookie minicamp. An All-SEC safety at Vanderbilt, who was productive in his college career Ladler showed a very good set of hands during ball skills work.

Head coach Doug Marrone also has some inside knowledge on Ladler, who surprisingly went undrafted. Marrone knows Commodores defensive coordinator/safeties coach Bob Shoop.

“Coach Shoop, the DB coach and I worked together at Vanderbilt so I know a little bit about him from there,” said Marrone. “I’ve been around that program quite a bit in the offseason so I was happy. I didn’t know why he wasn’t drafted. I was impressed with his foot speed. I think that he’s someone who… we’re obviously going to keep an eye on all of them, but I think he’s someone that had a good showing in these last couple of days.”

“The one thing that jumped out on film about him was he has a nose for the football. He led them in tackles, had five interceptions and I think five forced fumbles, so he was making big plays on the back end,” said Bills area scout Tom Roth. “He’s got average speed, but very good explosiveness. A very good tackler who can play deep third or in the box.”

Ladler became the first defensive back in school and Southeastern Conference history to lead a team in tackles in two consecutive years (90 in 2012 and 91 in 2013). He also had nine career interceptions.

 

 


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Marrone on working with new coaches

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2014 – 3:46 pm

The Bills not only had a host of new players on hand at rookie minicamp. It was also the first time that Doug Marrone got on the field to work with some of his new assistants. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, linebackers coach Fred Pagac, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, quarterbacks coach Todd Downing and receivers coach Rob Moore were all new additions to the Buffalo staff.

Marrone felt the communication between the members of the staff was smooth.

“It’s been great. Even though it might be our first time together it’s still a lot of information and a lot of crossover and people who have worked together with each other,” he said. “I’m excited. This atmosphere is quite different than any other atmosphere in what we were trying to get accomplished. I think you’ll see an increase in OTAs of how we are on the field. Then you’ll see an increase when we get to training camp.”

Marrone did work previously with Moore, who was his receivers coach at Syracuse.


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Marrone’s message to rookies

Posted by johnmurphyshow on May 17, 2014 – 6:30 pm

There’s a lot of orientation going on this weekend at the Bills rookie minicamp.  Head Coach Doug Marrone says part of the job this weekend is to check on the conditioning levels of the 30-players in camp, and to indoctrinate them to the Bills way of running drills.  Then there’s their first introduction to the Buffalo playbook.

But the Bills Head Coach also delivered a stern message to the rookies about the reality of life in the NFL.

“The one thing I told them before is that this is a league that’s not going to wait on you,” he said.  “Either you get to know it, you learn it and you go out there and play it or you’re not going to be here very long. “

Marrone said where a player was drafted, or whether he was drafted, means little to him now.

“I don’t really care,” he said.  “Just because you’re a second round or first round pick, doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to play. Hell, we got guys that have been on this team fighting for their lives, fighting for a job. We start playing people based on where they’re drafted, we’re going to lose a lot of games.”

Marrone will have the Bills rookies back on the field Sunday for day two of their three day minincamp.


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Marrone spoke of affinity for Williams recently

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:36 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked about Mike Williams down at the league meetings in Orlando last week. It was clear then, even before the wheels really got turning on today’s trade and Buffalo’s acquisition of Williams, that the Bills sideline boss had an affinity for the receiver as a person and a player. Here’s what he said.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Mike. I thought Mike was a heck of a football player,” said Marrone. “We had a lot of conversations. There were a lot of good things that were going on. I had obviously gotten a lot of calls before the draft that year and I told those guys that Mike would do well. We’ve been disconnected from when he left to his time in Tampa, but I liked Mike. I really did. I wish him well. I talked to Jason (Licht) just the other day to see if he was okay because I care about him.”

 


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Mike Williams has motive to play his best

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:07 pm

Bills newest receiver Mike Williams pending the passing of a physical is the second player added to the roster who is a Buffalo native. And head coach Doug Marrone has made it obvious that’s it’s not by accident.

“I’m real big on people that want to be in Buffalo, that want to play well,” Marrone said. “What I look for are people who want to come to Buffalo and play for a cause great than themselves and play for the people and play for the region. I think that’s important. And I want players who have a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. We all have to do that. We’ve all obviously been out of the playoffs for 14 years and we’re looking for a player who plays with a chip on their shoulder.”

Marrone figures to have that in both Graham and Williams, who will be motivated to play at their best in front of family and friends every week playing for the Bills and their native city. Williams also is coming off a down season after missing most of the year with a torn hamstring, so he’ll be eager to re-establish himself as a playmaker.

“I like the fact that they’re from Buffalo,” Marrone said. “There’s a lot of added pressure when you’re playing in your own hometown.”

 


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Marrone: Williams history at ‘Cuse is just that

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:04 pm

Mike Williams

Bills head coach Doug Marrone saw a familiar receiver added to his roster Friday, pending a physical, with the trade acquisition of WR Mike Williams from Tampa Bay. Williams played his college ball at Syracuse, but left the team prior to the 2009 season knowing he’d be facing a suspension after breaking a curfew with three other teammates. There were other off the field transgressions as well, and so Williams never played for Marrone, whose first season as head coach of the Orange was in 2009. As far as Marrone is concerned, the past is in the past. He’s giving Williams a clean slate with the Bills.

“With regard to our time at Syracuse, I feel that is in the past for both of us,” said Marrone. ” Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League. We look forward to getting Mike into the facility and start our work preparing for the 2014 season once the players are free to report on April 22.”

As for what Marrone feels Williams can add to the Bills passing attack, Buffalo’s sideline boss likes his stature and athletic ability.

“Mike Williams is a competitive, tough wide receiver who has the size and athleticism to add competition to our receiver position group,” said Marrone. “We feel Mike is a player who has the ability to help our team improve.”

 


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Fan Friday 3-28

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2014 – 11:45 am

Pre-draft visits will begin next week. We’ll have you covered here at Buffalobills.com as the draft is just over a month away. Now we turn to some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey CB,

Why are more people not talking about Martavis Bryant?  I saw his combine numbers and at 6 foot 5 I though they were quite impressive.  He was projected by some to go in the late 2nd or 3rd round and I was just thinking.  Wouldn’t that be a steal to get him in the 3rd round?  The bills need a tall receiver that can be a red zone threat.  Thank You

Morgan

CB: There’s no question that Bryant is an athlete after clocking a 4.42 at the NFL combine along with a 10’4” broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. His linear speed is unquestioned, but dropping his weight and getting in and out of breaks is still a bit of a question mark for him. He’s also considered a raw prospect, who wasn’t asked to run a full route tree at Clemson.

My biggest issue with him is his playing strength. Even though he had an impressive 16 reps on the bench it’s difficult to find that strength off the line or in traffic on the playing field in his game. He needs to add muscle to his frame as he goes just 211 pounds and has a slight build. Against the physical cornerbacks of the NFL he’s going to get knocked around. He’s probably a late second or early to mid-third round pick in a deep receiver class.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you believe his lack of “body of work” will lower the #Bills interest in Mike Evans? He just started playing ball.

rockydm92

CB: I think what intrigues most NFL clubs with Mike Evans is his amazing production despite still being young in football. As most talent evaluators see it there is a very high ceiling there knowing when he does gain more experience his production could be even better at the NFL level.

And the reason teams are happy to wait on that potential is because right now even in the NFL he’s a size mismatch and he should be able to produce just off his measurables to start. Then as he hones his game he’ll be an even greater asset to a team’s passing attack.

 

3 –  Chris,

With Jairus Byrd now in New Orleans, do you anticipate the Bills are happy with their current S depth with: Aaron Williams, Searcy, Meeks, Duke Williams?

Also a random question, do you know why the NFL football is nicknamed “the Duke”??

-Jim

CB: As you probably saw this week with our coverage of the league meetings in Orlando, led by our own John Murphy, head coach Doug Marrone is considering lining Corey Graham up at safety as part of the competition. It sounds like he’ll compete for a role there, in addition to cornerback, with Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks and Da’Norris Searcy. Aaron Williams is a lock at one of the safety spots already.

As we outlined in our story on this development this week, Graham isn’t completely foreign to safety.

As for your question about NFL footballs being nicknamed ‘The Duke,’ here’s the history behind it courtesy of the Wilson Sporting goods website.

In honor of the late New York Giants owner, Wellington Mara, one of the most beloved and respected figures in professional sports history, the Official Football of the NFL is called “The Duke”.

Wellington Mara, who spent 81 years with the New York Giants and made numerous contributions to the NFL, was named Wellington by his father, Tim Mara, after the Duke of Wellington. He was given the nickname “The Duke” as a youngster by Giants players.

The NFL first used a ball in honor of Wellington Mara called “The Duke” in 1941 at the suggestion of George Halas, as Tim Mara (Wellington’s father) had helped him arrange for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. to become the league’s official supplier of game balls.

“The Duke” ball was used through 1969 but was discontinued prior to the 1970 season, the first to be played post NFL-AFL merger. The NFL and AFL continued using a Wilson football, but with a new design and no official name. In 2006, the NFL returned the name of “The Duke” to the ball after Mara’s passing in October, 2005.

 

4 – Chris,

I think the two best prospects the Bills should consider are Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Which do you think fits the team better? They would bit the best player available. What chances to you think they might make it to 9? How should the Bills protect a team jumping up to 7 or 8th pick if they find a player they love?

Josh

CB: I don’t disagree that Mack and Watkins are two of the best prospects in the class, but I’d be surprised if either are available at nine. If either one gets past the fifth pick I think a few teams will be making efforts to move up to six or seven to grab them. If both are still on the board when Tampa Bay is on the clock at 7, I think it’d be very tempting for Buffalo to swap spots with Minnesota at 8 to ensure they would get at least one of them. Still, parting with picks is not what the Bills typically do. Then again it’s Doug Whaley’s first draft and we don’t have a track record to work with concerning his approach in a fluid draft situation.

 

5 – Hi, Chris!

What criteria did the Bills and New York Giants, and the rest of the NFL teams qualify to be the selected matchup for the annual NFL HOF Game? Does both the PFHOF in Canton, OH, and the NFL decide which teams to play, is the selection if teams always announced in February, especially after the Super Bowl? Thanks. Llewellyn.

CB:  The league doesn’t have a specific criteria, but the fact that both NFL franchises have some of their most popular all-time players being inducted in this year’s Hall of Fame class in Andre Reed and Michael Strahan does play a factor. The NFL also takes into account the likelihood of fans from the respective teams traveling to the game. Knowing that fans of the Bills and Giants will already be on hand for the induction ceremony, there’s a strong likelihood that many of them will make a full weekend of it and take in the Hall of Fame game Sunday as well.


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Marrone: “Let coaches challenge everything”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 25, 2014 – 2:00 pm

The NFL has already slightly expanded the instant replay rule this week, by voting to use the league’s Officiating Command Center to consult with on-field officials during replay reviews.
If Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone had his way, the replay rule would be expanded even more.
He things coaches should be able to challenge any call on the field.
“Whether you have two challenges, three challenges, to protect your team, put it upon the coach, so he has the right to challenge anything,” Marrone said Tuesday at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando.
“If he challenges it and loses, obviously he loses his challenge. If you feel it’s a play that is a game changing type play, he should have the ability to challenge that play just to get the call right.”
Marrone made the comments in an appearance on The John Murphy Show podcast from the NFL meetings. The entire interview will air tonight.
The New England Patriots have proposed a replay system that would allow coaches to challenge any official’s call, except on scoring plays. That proposal is not expected to get much traction this week at the meetings.


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Marrone on board with two rules changes

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 25, 2014 – 1:05 pm

There may not be a revolutionary revision of NFL playing rules this week at the owners meetings in Orlando, but there already are some changes.
After meeting Tuesday morning, NFL teams voted to adopt two rules changes.
One proposal extends protection of “roll-up blocks” from behind to include such blocks from the side.
The other change adopted allows the on-field official to be in contact with the Officiating Command Center in New York for every instant replay review.
Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone says as a former offensive lineman, and offensive line coach in the league, he is strongly in favor of the roll-up block rule.
“Being a former offensive lineman, from a player safety standpoint, obviously we don’t want that,” Marrone said, in an appearance on The John Murphy Show. “We don’t want people rolling up people or on the back of their legs.”
NFL teams also approved use of a limited centralized replay review system, with Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino and his staff consulting with the on-field officials during reviews.
The entire interview with Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone will be aired tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast.


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Marrone: Graham to get a look at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2014 – 9:42 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone appearing at the NFL league meetings coaches breakfast Tuesday morning revealed that free agent signee Corey Graham could be a candidate for one of the starting safety roles in Buffalo’s defensive backfield.

A cornerback since he entered the league, Graham is seen as a candidate to replace Jairus Byrd. That according to the voice of the Bills John Murphy, who is attending the league meetings in Orlando.


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Super Bowl of Lobby Watching

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 24, 2014 – 11:57 am

It’s the Super Bowl of lobby watching–day one of the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

BuffaloBills.com is here with complete coverage of the three day event and we’ll be broadcasting The John Murphy Show live from the meetings tonight and Wednesday night.

NFL personnel have gathered in the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Hotel in Orlando for day one of the sessions. The entire group, coaches, GMs, and top level club executives, held a meeting in one ballroom at 830 Monday morning, and then the group broke up around 10am. Head Coaches, GMs, and other football personnel went to a Football Operations session at mid morning. Later today, the NFL Competition Committee, chaired by Rich McKay, will hold a news conference to discuss some of the propsals on the table.

The Bills are represented here by President and CEO Russ Brandon, General Manager Doug Whaley, the club’s Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning, Mary Owen, the Senior Vice President of Football Administration, Jim Overdorf, and Head Coach Doug Marrone.

As of noon on Monday, the media gathered here at the Ritz Carlton have spent the day loitering outside the meeting rooms, taking video and pictures of NFL luminaries going from meeting room to meeting room, and waiting for the morning meetings to recess so that we can talk to the principals. We expect things to pick up shortly.


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Britt looking for a fit

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 21, 2014 – 6:37 pm

Free agent wide receiver Kenny Britt wrapped up his visit to One Bills Drive Friday afternoon and went on his way. He told reporters at the stadium that after visiting the Bills, Redskins, Patriots and Rams over the last few days, he expects to make one more visit, to the Carolina Panthers.

And Britt insists it’s not money that he’s after in his next NFL contract, it’s a good situation.

“To tell you the truth it’s the environment, the people,” Britt said. “I’m trying to get a great feeling about everything. Right now, it’s not about a contract, right now it’s just about going somewhere where I can establish myself and get back to the fun of football, and hopefully the coaching staff can help me.”

Britt said he met with Bills GM Doug Whaley and Coach Doug Marrone in Orchard Park Friday. He says the meetings went well, and he got a chance to tell the Bills brain trust what he can bring to a team.

“I’m a big physical receiver,” he said. “I play the game with a passion. I’ve been here (in the NFL) five years, so the mental part of it is easier than it was in my rookie year. I bring a lot to a team, emotionally, because I have a real passion about the game and I love it. Hopefully I land somewhere good and emotional just like I am.”

Britt said he expects to have a decision on his next team in the next 2-3 days.


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New mock has new OT at 9 for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Of late Michigan’s Taylor Lewan has been the popular offensive tackle pick projected to the Bills with their choice at ninth overall. One of the newer mock drafts, however, has Buffalo getting one of the other top three offensive tackles in the class.

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco has Buffalo taking Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews. Here’s his assessment.

9. Buffalo Bills — Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M: I will stick with the idea that Matthews is their guy. They could move Cordy Glenn to the right side.

I disagree that Glenn will be on the move. Doug Marrone has said he was very pleased with Glenn’s play last season, so I’d be surprised if they decide to move him for 2014. If the Bills draft a tackle I tend to think he will line up on the right side if he’s able to overtake incumbent starter Erik Pears.


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Fan Friday 3-14

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 3:54 pm

Free agency is in full swing with the Bills nailing down three new players in the early going. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for updates throughout free agency. For now let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

Jim Schwartz is obviously a good good coach and the Bills Defense did some really good things last year under Mike Pettine. My question is how likely will Coach Schwartz try to “not fix what ain’t broke” and keep some/most of the good stuff from last year (even though they may not be his concepts) while adding his own flavor to improve thing that do need to be improved, like run defense for example?

Thanks in advance.
Grant Folkard

CB: In talking with coach Marrone about this during the offseason the way he’s explained it is Coach Schwartz is going to keep most of the terminology the same. The reason this isn’t a big burden for him is because he spent a couple of seasons as a defensive assistant under then Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Mike Pettine also coached in Baltimore where the defensive system and terminology remained the same even after Marvin Lewis left to coach in Cincinnati. So a lot of the calls and checks will not only be the same, but sound the same.

As for the run defense Marrone is wholly confident that Schwartz, whose defenses have enjoyed tremendous success against the run, will dramatically improve the unit’s performance in this area as well as third down defense.

 

2 - Hey Chris, long time Bills fan.
Wondering if you could shed some light on a few things.

First with hiring a former head coach for D coordinator, what are the chances he stays longer than one season? Do you think this was something that was discussed in private between coach Marrone and Jim Schwartz? And if not how big of a problem would this be for Dough Marrone heading into his 3rd season.

Also with Todd Downing being a QBs coach, with out ever playing the position. Is this fair with all the pressure being put on EJ? I read that EJ really likes him but don’t we need experience there? Playing? To mentor EJ and the struggles that come along with being a QB..

Thanks Jacob

CB: I don’t know that anyone can predict how long a coordinator is going to remain in his current post in the NFL. There are too many variables at work like the number of head coaching vacancies at the end of the year, how effective Schwartz is in his first year here, how successful the team is and coach Schwartz’s own personal aspirations.

Coach Marrone can’t have that kind of talk with Schwartz because no coach in the NFL is going to hold an assistant back from an opportunity at a head coaching job. That’s just not the way it works.

When you hire quality people that’s the risk you run, but I’d rather have the quality coach that’s in demand.

As for Todd Downing he has played the quarterback position. I cannot find his college background, but he did play semi-pro ball in the Mid-America League for the Minnesota Maulers and won a league title there in 2002 as their quarterback. So the position is not foreign to him at all.

I’d like to think coach Marrone’s track record of hiring assistants in the short time he’s been the Bills head coach should tell you he’s not going to hire someone who is not qualified to help the player at the most important position on the field.

 

3 - Chris,

I’ve seen several posts in which you referenced the “12th Man”.  Does the team officially call its fans the 12th Man or is that just a personal reference?  I’m having a huge argument with some Seahawk fan coworkers about whether anyone besides the Seahawks is officially allowed to use that term.

Thanks.
Cliff Hogg

CB: The 12th Man was adopted by Bills fans long before the Seattle fans started using it. The first football outfit to coin the phrase however, was Texas A&M University. They’re credited with the first recorded use of the term in 1922 when coach Dana Bible was running out of players in the Dixie Classic against defending national champion Centre College. In the stands he noticed a student who tried out for the team, but did not make the varsity squad and promptly told him to suit up and be ready in case he was needed. The volunteer player, E. King Gill, ran to the locker room and suited up and got back out to the field. He never entered the game, but became known as the 12th man.

So the Aggies have got dibs on everybody, but concerning your argument the 12th Man was popularized in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In 1988 Bills fans set an all-time single-season NFL attendance record of 622,793. Fans were then honored as the ‘12th Man’ and inducted onto the Bills Wall of Fame in 1992.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

I ask you if Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, or Eric Ebron are there at nine which one helps EJ in his evolution more? Or do we go as we have in the past & pick up a O linemen later such as Z. Martin & go with a player like Mack if he is there seeing as the defense thing lingers.

Thanks !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: I think going by the best on the board approach that the Bills usually take it would be hard for me to think that Ebron or Matthews will be rated higher than Watkins. Most experts see him as a top five talent and I have not heard the same consensus for Matthews and certainly not for Ebron, though he is a special talent.

I think any one of those three would be of great help to Manuel in different ways, but GM Doug Whaley will take the player that helps the team the most. And that likely involves Manuel to some degree, but that’s the all-encompassing view a general manager has to take.

 

5 - Morning Chris, Happy Friday!

I was wondering how the Bills go about setting up their needs in free agency and the draft.  I was wondering how much emphasis they put into the upcoming 2014 schedule? For instance, we will have to face guys like Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall, receiving corps from Green Bay and Denver.  Do they look at the defensive fronts, the AFC East is getting better defensively, not to mention teams like Houston and Detroit.  So basically how much does that affect their decision making when it comes to the importance of positions that are needed for the team?  Thanks for your hard work, and I hope you enjoyed Indy at the combine!

Go Bills! Jillian

CB: We did enjoy Indy very much. Glad you watched our coverage of the NFL combine. Your question is a good one. Typically opponents in a given year do not impact their decision making all that much in free agency and the draft. Teams like Chicago and Green Bay, which the Bills see only once every four years is not what you usually base your personnel decisions on.

That being said I do know that some moves are made with a team’s division opponents in mind. You’re facing those teams every season, twice a season and you have to beat them to win your division and get to the postseason. So the personnel make-up and strengths of teams like New England, the Jets and Miami could play a role in some decision making.

Again it’s not an overwhelming factor, but those teams are taken into consideration knowing they stand in the way of a playoff berth.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone key in Williams decision to sign

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 12:33 pm

There are a host of reasons why free agent OL Chris Williams chose to sign with the Bills, but it was clear that the prospect of having a former offensive lineman as a head coach played a pivotal role.

“Just talking with him, being able to talk to an O-line coach who was an O-lineman there were things that he can address with me right away that will help me elevate my game and we talked about it,” said Williams of his conversation with Marrone on his free agent visit, that turned into a signing. “I’ve never played for a head coach who was an offensive lineman and that was super exciting for me. I’m just excited to have to end up with two offensive line coaches on staff and both of them will help me with my game. You’ve got to love that.”

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Still, just 28-years old, the former first-round pick believes he can still improve as a player with offensive line coach Pat Morris and Marrone on the staff.

“Coming in here with coach Marrone and coach Morris I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I’m going to continue to develop my game because I’m always trying to work to get better and I think it’s a great opportunity here to do that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills