Inside The Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 7:13 pm

Here’s a look at where you can find Bills players and coaches on the local radio airwaves Friday morning.

WCMF, Break room
o 7:30 am – Robert Woods
– KISS 98.5, Janet and Nick in the morning
o 7:40 am – Boobie Dixon
– WGR 550 am, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
o 8:10 am – Doug Marrone


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Watkins, Jackson update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 3:38 pm

A day after sustaining a groin injury in practice WR Sammy Watkins did not participate in practice Thursday. Fred Jackson practiced for a second straight day, but was limited. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on Jackson’s outlook.

“I think Fred’s not ready to go yet,” said Marrone. “We’ll see how that keeps progressing during the week. Right now, I’m not sure.”

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Sammy Watkins WR Groin DNP
Cyril Richardson G Not injury related DNP
Ron Brooks CB Groin LP
Marcus Easley WR Knee LP
Marquise Goodwin WR Hamstring LP
Ty Powell LB Ankle LP
Fred Jackson RB Groin LP
Robert Woods WR Back FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on Watkins injury

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2014 – 4:55 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone didn’t have a lot to offer on the groin injury suffered by Sammy Watkins in practice Wednesday, primarily because he did not talk with the athletic training staff prior to his media press conference. Watkins, who had been listed as a full participant in practice with a groin injury each of the previous two weeks before the bye was a limited participant Monday. Here is what Marrone could offer on Watkins situation.

“He got hurt in practice and didn’t finish,” Marrone said. “He didn’t finish practice so I don’t know where he’s going to be tomorrow. I really don’t. He can play or he can be out for two or three weeks. Who knows? He’s like Fred (Jackson). I have no information except that he didn’t finish practice.”

More is expected to be known on Thursday.


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Mike Williams expected back Wednesday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2014 – 11:11 pm

Bills WR Mike Williams had an excused absence on Monday as well as rookie G Cyril Richardson. Both players were unfortunately excused for the same reason.

“They have personal situations,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “There’s been a death in both families so they’re taking care of that.”

Marrone said he expects Williams to rejoin the team in time for Wednesday’s practice. Richardson, however, he expects to be away from the team a bit longer. Richardson’s family is based in Texas.

 


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Fred trying to get back sooner than later

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2014 – 10:49 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson missed Buffalo’s Week 8 game with a groin injury suffered in Week 7 against Minnesota. He’s been getting treatment and rehabbing throughout the bye week and is hoping to return sooner rather than later.

“I’m trying to get out there and play as soon as possible,” Jackson said. “It’s going to come down to what the doctors tell me. If I’m out there and moving around and I’m not effective then it’s pointless for me to be out there. But as far as I’m concerned I’m trying to get back as soon as possible. But like I said our doctors ultimately control when it is that I get back out there and see the field.”

Bills head coach Doug Marrone will provide an update this afternoon on Jackson’s chances to return to the lineup this week.

“I think one of the things we’ve got is a great training staff and great doctors,” Jackson said. “If it’s possible, it’s possible. If they think I can go out there and do it then it doesn’t matter what week it is or what day. We’ll see what they say. I’ll continue to come in here and keep working. Once they give me that green light I’ll go, whenever it is.”


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Fan Friday 10-31

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2014 – 11:41 am

It’s the bye week so focus on your fantasy rosters this week Bills fans. Here are your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – Hey Chris ,
Was wondering a couple of things when it comes to EJ & his history with the Bills & prior to . When EJ First came to the Bills the HC & OC led us to believe that they wanted him to have a veteran mentor (which was to be Kevin Kolb) to either sit behind & learn or play & have some one that has played the position to bounce things off of to learn from . So I am wondering why everyone is in such a uproar over this switch ? They are just going back to plan A correct ?

The second part to the question is every article or write-up on EJ prior to him being drafted by the Bills had pointed out a lot if not all of his short comings as a player, It seems from a fan stand point that when it comes to the most important position on a NFL team the Bills come up short when it has come to their decisions at that position both past & present. Were any of those articles or opinions taken into consideration while thinking of drafting him? It seems as though the only people high on EJ were those at one Bills Dr. Then to pass on available QB’s this past draft (if for nothing else to ramp up competition) they pass again on others that had as much if not more potential & better resume than EJ as a backup plan. Personal opinion it seems as though the coaches of this regime in A LOT of different ways show more rookie tendencies than the players !!

Thanks for your time & as always your insight on this & all our fan questions !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: Yes, there was a plan to have a veteran quarterback on hand from the get go and that was Kevin Kolb. He began training camp as the first QB through in the rotation, but it was a competition for the starting job. I think most were expecting Kolb to be the starter at the outset and if EJ came on he’d succeed him. We all know that plan went off the rails early.

I would disagree that every time the Bills have tried to pick a quarterback it has been the wrong quarterback. I’m not absolving quarterbacks drafted in the past for the trajectory of their careers with the Bills, but you do need to look at the circumstances around them.

Constant coaching turnover particularly at the coordinator position with different schemes and systems coming through during a young quarterback’s developmental stages is extremely disruptive to a QB’s progress and growth.

Let’s take J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards’ time with the Bills as an example. Two young quarterbacks who saw a lot of change in their short time with the club.

Losman’s rookie season was 2004. Tom Clements was the offensive coordinator under Mike Mularkey. The next season Mularkey takes play calling responsibility from Clements. After Mularkey is moved out the system changes, Steve Fairchild comes in as the new coordinator with a new system in 2006. After 2007, Edwards’ rookie year, he leaves to coach in college and Turk Schonert is inserted and tweaks the system again. By the 2009 season Losman is gone and Dick Jauron a week before the opener fires Schonert and promotes Alex Van Pelt to run the offense.

A year later Chan Gailey is the head coach with a completely different offense. Edwards’ tenure last only a couple of games into 2010 when he’s benched and eventually released as the Ryan Fitzpatrick era begins.

Now would Losman or Edwards ever fully got it and been successful quarterbacks in this league? Maybe not. Some might even say probably not, but the circumstances that existed in terms of coaching changes and scheme certainly decreased the chances of either of those two developing properly at the NFL level.

There is a value in continuity in the NFL. Organizations like Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the NY Giants have proven it. They limit turnover in an effort to let their players develop and flourish. Does it always work? No, but it has a track record of far more success than failure.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills.

Any news on how EJ is getting on? Also really impressed by his attitude on the sidelines on game day from what I have seen.
rmstrong_1982

CB: By all accounts EJ has been a pro’s pro. We’ll have an in depth story on the work Manuel has been putting in over the past month since he assumed the backup role on Buffalobills.com Saturday. Some great insight from EJ and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing on Manuel’s trust in the system and the extra work he puts in early in the morning with Kyle Orton and long after practice is over on the field. Check it out tomorrow!

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

Just curious why Mario Williams snaps have decreased over the past few weeks?

TheRealSeanK

CB: This was a question that both defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and head coach Doug Marrone addressed. Here was Schwartz’s response to Mario Williams drop in snap count the past three weeks.

“I don’t count reps,” said Schwartz. “I’m just worried about performance and production. If our defense is being productive then that’s the only thing we care about. Everybody else can worry about stats and snap counts and everything else, it’s about trying to win the game and doing what we think is best to win the game.”

It’s likely that Schwartz believes in quality over quantity with Mario Williams. I believe him when he says he doesn’t count reps, but perhaps in reviewing game tape he’s found that Williams’ gives him more quality reps (pass rush chiefly) when he plays between 38-45 snaps than when he plays 48-55 snaps a game. The other possibility is Jarius Wynn when he goes in is providing very little drop off in play.

Last week’s game is a good example. Wynn played 44 snaps to Williams’ 40. Wynn had three tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit. Williams had three tackles, a half sack and a forced fumble. Schwartz says they care about performance.

If Wynn is performing leave him in there. In a tight game when the outcome is on the line I’m sure Mario will be in the game.

Coach Marrone earlier this season indicated that he wanted to keep Williams fresh for important third down pass rushes late in a couple of the recent games. This past week up 20 points it’s my belief they wanted to keep him out of harm’s way so as not to risk injury.

The direct beneficiary when Mario Williams doesn’t get his usual number of reps, which is usually around 75 percent of the snaps is Jarius Wynn. The rotational end has performed well this season, and just about every game the percentage of their two snap counts adds up to 100 percent because Wynn is often subbing in for Williams. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the second half of the season.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for all the inside info, great reading your work all the time!  My question is regarding Marcell Dareus. He is having a phenomenal year but there still are the negative off the field events that took place in the offseason. Will he be facing any fines or suspensions for his incidents? It would be a shame to have him miss even one game.

Thanks again!
Chris

CB: Marcell is having a great season. Seven sacks in half a season for a defensive tackle, as Jim Schwartz said is pretty hard to do, and that’s coming from a guy who coached Ndamukong Suh.

It doesn’t appear that Dareus will be facing any league fines or suspensions this season for what happened this past offseason. It’s likely that he’ll face some kind of league discipline next year, much the way Nigel Bradham did when he was suspended for the season opener this year, for his off the field incident in the summer of 2013.

 

5 – Chris,

I think Hackett has completely failed on getting Mike Williams into the game plan.  I think Mike Williams could be a very effective WR.  The QB should be dropping back and the OC should have Watkins – Woods and Williams running patterns at the same time in a 3-WR set.  One of these 3 should be open every time.

Fred, Dixon and Brown should be pounding the ball. Seriously, I’m amazed some of these people get paid so much to be coordinators.  I think there are many individuals who could do a better job than Hackett.

Randy
South FL
CB: You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think we need to try and read between the lines here with respect to the lack of playing time for Mike Williams. I do agree that Williams is a rare talent. I’ve written many times that he is one of the five best receivers in the league when it comes to high-pointing the ball. You’d figure that would make him a weapon to use at least in the red zone. He did score 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league.

At the same time Chris Hogan has emerged as a slot receiver and is producing. Now he and Williams do not line up in the same place in this offense for the most part, but one word I continually hear from both coach Marrone and Kyle Orton in praising Chris Hogan’s efforts is reliability. They comment often on how Hogan is in the right place at the right time on every play. That reliability is an enormous comfort to a head coach, a coordinator and a quarterback knowing how critical the timing is in Buffalo’s passing game.

A veteran offensive coordinator once told me the NFL is about first downs, not touchdowns. What he meant was in the NFL the talent is a lot more even than it is at the college level, so big play touchdowns aren’t nearly as prevalent. So you prefer to have players you can rely on to make the catches that get you first downs time and again to keep drives and possessions alive. It’s that consistency that wins more often in the NFL.

Do I completely agree with that premise? Not totally. Sammy Watkins has me thinking that three or four big plays look pretty good too. We’ll have to see if Williams play time changes in the second half of the season. To his credit he’s putting in a lot of extra time on special teams of late in an effort to get on the field more.


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Marrone: Bye week is time to reload not rest

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2014 – 9:35 am

For the players the bye week is an opportunity to heal up physically and step away from the game for a few days. But the way head coach Doug Marrone sees it he doesn’t want guys turning into couch potatoes. So he had a Navy SEAL come in and address the team Tuesday to impress upon them that while there might not be a game this week it’s not the time to completely detach yourself from what lies ahead.

“It’s not really resting or relaxing. It’s more reloading is what we had a speaker come in and talk to the players about,” said Marrone. “That’s more the mindset; being able to reload and get ready and be prepared. If I go back and I take too much time and I just sit around and relax and not do anything, I won’t be where I need to be as a leader coming back here.”

Marrone, like most coaches, knows when the players come back they can’t waste any time trying to ramp up their focus and intensity the first day they return from their weekend off. That focus has to be back at the level it was before the bye as soon as they walk in the building.

“We’re professionals. We need to make sure that we’re reloading, getting ready to come back and being prepared,” he said. “We want to come back here, and we’ve got a tough task in front of us. We have to be energized. We have to be ready to go. It’s like Thanksgiving for a lot of people. You sit around Thanksgiving and the next day, when you wake up, you don’t feel as motivated. That’s if you choose to sit around all day, but we can’t afford to do that.”


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Field position a big factor in Bills win

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2014 – 10:00 pm

Coming into Sunday’s game the Bills were one of the better teams in average drive start for their offense, and worst drive start for their opponent. Those numbers played out Sunday and were a key factor in the victory.

Buffalo had what looked like a comfortable 24-7 lead in the first half, but by the time the teams were headed to the locker room the lead was cut to seven. After the Bills offense went three-and-out to start the second half the game was there for anyone to seize control. But Bills punter Colton Schmidt bombed a 52-yarder down to the Jets’ 19 and Larry Dean and Boobie Dixon wrapped up Jeremy Kerley for no gain on the return. Then a holding penalty on the Jets backed them up to their own 10-yard line.

“Colton Schmidt hit the ball and that ball hit the ball and that ball bounced in there and I thought that was a big point in the game because I think we actually flipped the field and had the field position and kept them in there with the punts and the turnovers and the things like that we were able to score points,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “In my mind I thought that was a big, big deal.”

The Jets went three-and-out and punted from their own eight-yard line. Leodis McKelvin fielded the punt and returned it 24 yards to the Jets’ 27 virtually guaranteeing points for Buffalo. Dan Carpenter eventually delivered a 36-yard field goal to put Buffalo up 10.

On the ensuing kickoff the Bills cover unit didn’t bite on the attempted throwback pass that was supposed to go from Percy Harvin to T.J. Graham and Harvin was dropped at the Jets’ three-yard line. In the third quarter the Jets’ three drive starts came at their own 10, own 3 and own 14 yard lines.

At game’s end the drive starts added up to spell a significant advantage for Buffalo’s offense, which was also helped by the six takeaways turned in by Buffalo’s defense setting up short fields.

For the Jets their average drive start was their own 19. The Bills average drive start was their own 49. That’s a 30-yard drive start difference in average. A huge edge.

“Obviously the defense putting us in all those positions against a tough defense we were going against, the field position was huge,” said Kyle Orton. “We took advantage of enough opportunities to pull away.”


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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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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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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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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