Inside The Bills

Why EJ played again in the second half

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 9:27 pm

Everyone thought EJ Manuel’s day was done after a pair of successful touchdown drives to start the game, but he returned in the third quarter with the second offensive unit. Head coach Rex Ryan explained why.

Ryan said part of the issue was the offense scored too quickly and it led to very little work for Manuel.

“That was tremendous and that’s what was strange about it,” said Ryan of the quick touchdown drives. “I was going to go two series and two series and two series (with the three quarterbacks), but then they scored and I’m like, shoot I’m going to go back to EJ because he had only thrown two balls albeit one for a zillion-yard touchdown. That’s why I wanted to get him a little more work too. He did a great job. I think he missed only one throw.”

Ryan had high praise for all three QBs saying they’ve all raised their level of play in the preseason.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ preparing the same as always

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 12:20 pm

The Bills are giving EJ Manuel the start against Pittsburgh later this afternoon. While it’s certainly an opportunity Manuel isn’t treating it any different than any other playing opportunity in this quarterback competition.

“Not too much different aside from going first in the game. As far as preparation it’ll be the same,” Manuel said. “Going with the first team offensive line will be great, those guys are very smart. I think going with the other groups has helped me because I’m more responsible to make sure we make the right checks. (Kraig) Urbik has done a great job getting those guys in check as well with the second team O-line, but it’s helped me a bunch, but not too different.”

Manuel will likely have many of the same receivers with him on the field knowing Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Percy Harvin are not expected to dress.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-28

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2015 – 11:24 am

A big preseason game for the QBs coming up on Saturday. Here’s the latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
What running backs will play tomorrow?

SarroJoeWNY

CB: At this point it looks like it will only be Fred Jackson and the three young backs we saw in the Cleveland game, Bronson Hill, Ricky Seale and Cierre Wood.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Cassel get cut with a perfect Tyrod and EJ performance?
AZBillsFan1

CB: I don’t foresee any of the three quarterbacks getting cut. It’s my belief all three will be on the roster and Rex Ryan has given me strong indication that they plan to carry three on their 53-man roster. A perfect performance by Tyrod Taylor would go a long way in helping him pull ahead of Matt Cassel, provided Cassel doesn’t light things up himself.

EJ Manuel would obviously help himself too with a strong performance, but how far that will move him back into true contention for the starting job is something that will be quantified by the coaching staff.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What has you most excited about the 2015 buffalo bills? Keep up the great work!

4evrbills

CB: I’m most excited about offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s plans for this offense. Chan Gailey was absolutely a qualified play caller on offense when he was here in Buffalo, but Roman is a proven and progressive coordinator that is probably the best they’ve had since the turn of the century.

I just think his ability to adapt and maximize the talent he has at his disposal while also exploiting opponent’s weaknesses is first rate. Roman gives Buffalo’s offense the ability to be dynamic and unpredictable and that will be a welcome change.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is the media hyping the EJ start too much? He’s played good against 2-3 stringers. I think MC deserves another chance.

browndevil37

CB: I don’t know that they’re hyping it too much. It’s an opportunity for Manuel that I think was a slight surprise in light of his reps, or lack thereof, with the first unit through the course of training camp. This starting opportunity is unlikely to last as long as the ones for Cassel and Taylor in the other two preseason games because Ryan said that all three QBs will see time with the first unit.

If Ryan is interested in fairness, as he has maintained, I would anticipate that each of the QBs would get 2-3 series each with the first unit. So Manuel could be exiting the game by the end of the first quarter or earlier if the offense gets three early possessions.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Does Buffalo really believe in our QBs to the point where acquiring better QBs (Mettenburger, etc) isn’t a possibility?

killerbeekevin

CB: I think Doug Whaley has already proven that if there’s an opportunity to make the roster stronger or deeper he’s willing to talk to just about anyone in the league. I don’t know if they’re convinced that what may or may not be available via trade is demonstrably better than what they have.

A young QB like Mettenburger, as you suggested, would also need time to get schooled up on what is a very voluminous playbook and multiple offense. At this point if you traded for a QB and it was a relatively young and inexperienced one like Mettenburger, I don’t know that you could count on getting much in the way of contributions from him this season.


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Cassel, Tyrod ready to perform Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2015 – 5:03 pm

EJ Manuel might be getting the start in the team’s third preseason game Saturday, but Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor are every bit as eager to get their time with the starting unit and perform well against the Steelers.

“Go out and play well. That’s the only thing you can do,” said Cassel. “Go out and try to show consistency and build on what I did in the first preseason game and hopefully show them enough where you can make an impact and an influence that maybe you’re the guy.”

“I’m looking forward to go out there playing. It’s the third preseason game. We worked hard throughout the training camp and I’m looking forward to going out there in the third preseason game and showing what I can do,” said Tyrod Taylor. “It’s been fair, that’s all I can ask for is the opportunity. I’ve been given that and I’m taking it one rep at a time.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ on staying in Buffalo: I love it here

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2015 – 11:55 am

Bills QB EJ Manuel has been battling all offseason to try and win back his starting job. Head coach Rex Ryan has given every indication that it’s his intention to keep three quarterbacks. Still, Manuel was asked the question about how important it is for him to remain a Buffalo Bill.

“I love it here,” Manuel said. “As you can hear the fans out here every day watching us in practice, that means a lot to us and I think sometimes I don’t know if they understand how much that means to us to have a packed house out here every night practice we’ve had. When we’re on the grass field, having a packed house out there it means a lot to us and hearing fans cheering for us during practice, because during the season we don’t have that and, not that it gets boring, but it’s a difference when you’re out here playing in front of a crowd. So I love it here and I want to stay here.”


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Fan Friday 8-21

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2015 – 12:30 pm

Two preseason games in the books, two to go for the Bills. Let’s get to latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Barring a trade for another QB, do you foresee Roman using the Bills QBs as follows;

Start – Cassel

Back-up – Tyrod Taylor, used throughout a game as a change up w/the read Option

3rd – EJ depth in the event of any injuries

Cut – Simms, do not see much upside w/Simms

If they trade EJ,… maybe they could trade for either Mike Glennon, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Mallet or the back up on Titans. Scouts need to do a good job and find a QB in first 3 rounds of 2016.

Randy

CB: I think your scenario could very well play out this way. Matt Cassel seems to be the quarterback they trust the most, due mainly to his experience in the league. Tyrod Taylor as talented as he is doesn’t have an NFL start on his resume. For an offensive coordinator running his offense with new personnel in Buffalo in season one, it wouldn’t surprise me if he feels most comfortable with Cassel running it.

That’s not to say that Taylor couldn’t overtake Cassel for the starting job. Now if Cassel does in fact prove to be the starter I could definitely see a package of plays for Taylor as a read option QB where he comes in for a series or two depending on the opponent that week.

I asked and Rex Ryan confirmed for me that they intend to keep three quarterbacks on their roster. I believe Ryan likes EJ as a quarterback and I think the organization feels there is still some ceiling to be reached by him as an NFL QB.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

With so many WRs injured, any chance the Bills go after a FA like Reggie Wayne?

WillowWatchesTV

CB: I don’t foresee this happening. Buffalo has a strong stable of receiver talent. Yes, they are a bit nicked up right now, but Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Chris Hogan barring anything happening that’s new injury-wise should all be good for the regular season. Rex Ryan even said that Percy Harvin will be fine for the regular season.

So taking all of that into account the need for a Reggie Wayne doesn’t compute. He’d be a better fit for a team that lost a receiver for the whole year like Carolina with Kelvin Benjamin.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

You think Taylor will get another shot with the first team since half his team is injured for the Browns game?

GaynorGuarantee

CB: I think Taylor performed quite well despite the lack of weapons at running back and wide receiver. He went 7-10 passing for 65 yards and had three straight third down conversions on the opening drive. He was also effective on the ground with four carries for 41 yards including a long of 21.

 

4 – Chris,
As Bills fans we all know about the competition for the starting QB position. We have heard so many times that the selection process will e long, open and based upon individual merit. Given that, what does each QB candidate need to specifically improve upon to become the starter. All we ever seem to hear are generalities.
Thanks
Dr. Dennis

CB: Cassel is a 10-year veteran and is what he is as a QB. He’s a capable starter, who can make some plays in the passing game and knows risk versus reward based on time and score, matchup, etc. He’s a good leader and competent game manager.

Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel both have the same task, prove they can be consistent with decision making, accuracy and execution. That means proper ball location every time, proper mechanics every time, the right read every time, the proper touch on a pass every time.

Hopefully that provided some specifics.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any idea the coaching strategy with cassell?
bigred8865

CB: As coach Ryan said they wanted to give extended time to both Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel to get a better feel for the abilities of each of them in a true game situation. I think they feel they know Matt Cassel’s game inside and out.

On a secondary level I think if Matt Cassel played behind that second offensive line he might not have been able to avoid pressure like EJ Manuel did and could’ve been at great risk for injury.


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Some teammate praise for Manuel

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2015 – 11:09 am

He helped the team pull out a one-point victory with under two minutes to play, so it’s not surprising that teammates of EJ Manuel felt he showed a lot on Thursday night.

“EJ is a ballplayer,” said Chris Gragg, who caught all three of his passes from Manuel Thursday night. “People have him under a lot of scrutiny, just because he’s got that first round hanging over his head. People want us to win.  But I think he’s a great player.  He proved it out there tonight.  No matter who is in the game, if they’re keeping score we want to win and he got the job done.”

Andre Davis who caught Manuel’s touchdown pass on fourth and goal was taken by Manuel’s cool persona during the most stressful part of the game.

“He was real poised, man,” said Davis. “He’s just a real calm, cool, collected guy. He was very poised and he said we were going to make it happen at the beginning of the drive and he went down there and drove, and made it happen like he said he would.”

Rookie RB Bronson Hill, who capably protected against the blitz liked Manuel’s demeanor in the huddle.

“EJ is a really good quarterback, he’s a good leader,” Hill said. “He kept the huddle in line.  It might have been before that play, or the touchdown, on one of those he told us that you have to make big plays. It’s time for everybody to make big plays, that’s what he told us in the huddle.  He got us riled up.”


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Tyrod, EJ feel good about their outings

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2015 – 3:05 am

In no way did they believe their performances were flawless, but Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel felt their individual play accomplished a lot of what they felt they still had to put on display for the coaches.

Manuel showed command of the offense, was accurate for the most part as indicated by his 64.2 completion percentage and was decisive and aggressive with his throws.

“We did a good job,” said EJ Manuel. “When I had opportunities to make plays we did it. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s your job as a quarterback, facilitate the ball and get it to those guys who can make plays and run down the field.”

Meanwhile Taylor had to show he could make plays from the pocket and was successful there with his only two incompletions from the pocket coming on a throw away due to pressure and the pass breakup in the end zone on the touchdown pass attempt.

“Of course people want to see me throw from the pocket and I think I showed people I can do that,” Taylor said. “It is still a game by game thing so I have to continue to keep doing, but just I think my overall game… I was happy with the way I played. It wasn’t a perfect game, there were some things I could go out there and fix and I’m looking forward to getting those corrected and getting back to work on Saturday.”


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Ryan: Don’t read into QB reps at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 4:57 pm

With the million dollar question at Bills training camp being who will be Buffalo’s starting quarterback, everyone is trying to gain insight on the decision making process. At Sunday’s practice EJ Manuel saw no time with starting unit players in practice. In fact for most of the session he took snaps with the third unit. That was largely the same role Manuel had in practice in the last full practice before Friday’s preseason game. When asked about the QB roles in practice Sunday, specifically Manuel being with the threes again, Ryan offered the following.

“It’s what I decided. This is what we did and again he’s going to get the majority of the game running with that group this second preseason game,” said Ryan of Manuel. “So that’s the reasoning behind it. Does that mean he won’t get the two reps? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. But this is what we wanted to do.

“Obviously we were going to put Tyrod in there (Thursday night) and mix in Matt (Cassel), but as the week goes on don’t be surprised if he does get some (time with the) twos. Again I know you guys want to look into everything, but I don’t think you need to. We’ve been working this thing for how long now, it’s been the same type of rotation for three weeks.”


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EJ staying even keeled about QB battle

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2015 – 9:23 am

EJ Manuel left his head coach impressed with some of the plays he was able to make in the blue-white scrimmage Saturday night, but in no way is the third-year quarterback satisfied with his play.

“It feels good,” said Manuel of making a handful of plays Saturday. “But understanding that, you know, this isn’t all that it’s going to take to win the job. You know you’ve got to keep doing it, keep stacking good days and that’s the biggest thing, focus on what I can do to get better and not worry about anything else.”

Manuel admitted he was more aggressive than he would’ve been last year at this time and was charged up by getting the nod to start the scrimmage with the first unit.

“Once I knew I was starting I definitely said lets go out and have fun because if you try to do too much, that’s when you play locked up and you’re not doing what you know you can do,” said Manuel. “So, I definitely felt like I was able to take a breath of fresh air and just go out here and play. There’s some things I still want to clean up, but I had fun, that was the biggest thing.”


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Woods getting open a lot

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2015 – 10:13 am

His quarterbacks don’t see him on every play, but they’re quickly realizing that most of the time Robert Woods is open. Through the first week of camp Woods has been getting consistent separation and has been making difficult catches when defensive backs have been able to stay with him.

“I think I’m doing pretty well so far,” said Woods. “I’ve got a lot to work on and keep improving. Just keep making plays so they keep seeing me.”

Woods may have an added advantage over the other receivers. He’s one of the only receivers who has a rapport with two of the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job. He’s obviously played the last two seasons with Manuel, but he’s also caught passes in the summer from Matt Cassel with both of them often meeting up at their alma mater – USC.

“Just the timing,” said Woods. “Both of those quarterbacks know how I run my routes just from experience working out. Being here for two years helps being a step ahead.”

His best catch in camp thus far was a pass that was behind him that he snared by reaching back behind his body with his left hand while coming across the field right to left full speed to pull in a touchdown during red zone work on a pass from Matt Cassel.


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Fan Friday 8-7

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2015 – 11:31 am

We’re a week into training camp and a lot has happened already. Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,
You and your team do a great job all year long of keep Bills fans on the up and up.

I was wondering what you think the roster will look like when it gets down to 53?  Right now we have several positions with too many players but they are loaded with talent. WR, CB, RB and even QB have to get cut back or we may not have enough depth at other positions.

I know this is a great time to be a Bills fan but I just want to know what our roster will look like.

Thanks for everything,
Justin from Lynchburg VA

CB: I think it’s a bit early to be predicting who makes the 53. Preseason game performance always have a strong influence on who does and does not make the roster. You are right that WR, CB and RB are deep positions. So is the defensive line.

With respect to quarterbacks, knowing the rest of the roster is deep it would not surprise me if the Bills only kept two QBs, a practice a good number of teams in the league subscribe to nowadays.

How many WRs are kept could hinge on other positions like TE and RB. Defense might prove tough at the safety position where there are a handful of legitimate NFL caliber talents.

Just remember that it’s GM Doug Whaley that has final say on the 53-man roster, while coach Ryan determines who is up or down on game days.

 

2 – Hi Chris:

2014 seems like a lost season for EJ. Aside from what he has said about being more aggressive and trusting his stuff the next chance he gets, what did he learn by sitting and watching? I sure wish he had 12 more games under his belt going into this season.
G. Knight

CB: There are some things that he did learn by watching Kyle Orton prepare for opponents each week. He also learned how to lead an offensive unit from a confident veteran. Manuel specifically said that he learned from Orton how to more efficiently spend his time preparing for an opponent.

He learned what is worth spending extra time on and what isn’t. Unfortunately what happened last year with EJ was supposed to be how his rookie year was to play out. Kolb was supposed to start while EJ sat and learned. Kolb’s preseason concussion derailed all that and EJ was thrown into the fire.

Then he was told to play conservatively by the previous coaching staff last year. Even Doug Whaley admits with the way everything played out it has put Manuel  a bit behind where he should be entering his third season, but you can’t fix the past.

Manuel has to make the most of this opportunity to win the starting job now.

 

3 – Chris,
As much as the Bills need numbers at the tight end position, they currently have two very effective fullbacks in Felton and Conner. Do you think that there’s a chance that the team keeps both of them, using them in a mixed tight end/fullback role occasionally?

Thanks,
Joseph P.

CB: I’ll have coach Ryan answer this one for you regarding two fullbacks.

“I think first off when we got Felton, Jerome was…I thought he was probably, he’s right up there with the best fullbacks in the game,” said Ryan. “So it was an opportunity for us to get a player that we will use, a fullback positon, and one of the top guys if not the top in this league. So it was great opportunity for us to get him.

“John, we weren’t planning on bringing John Conner in. However when he was still out there, it’s like I know he’s a good football player and we want (good football players). At the end of the day were not worried necessarily about hey we’re bringing in one fullback, going to bring this or this. We want the best 53, and I think John will challenge for a position on this team and that’s why we brought him in.”

 

4 – Hey Chris ,

I’ll keep it short & sweet ! What’s the chance (in your mind) of the Bills being with out their Dr. of Defense “MD” Marcell Dareus after this year ?

Thanks Mr. T

CB: We just covered this topic on Buffalobills.com Wednesday. GM Doug Whaley said he’s optimistic they’ll get a deal done with Dareus on an extension to keep him in a Bills uniform. He felt similarly optimistic about getting a deal done with Jerry Hughes.

I think what we have to keep in mind is this is going to be a complicated deal because of the amount of money involved and how it needs to be structured over the multiple years of the deal (e.g. – front loaded money, guaranteed money, bonuses, LTBE incentives, etc.).

 

5 – CB,

Can you break down how the tight ends are playing and lining up during training camp? I’ve heard little about Clay/O’Leary so far. Do you expect them to keep 4 tight ends? Can we expect to watch 3 tight ends sets?

CB: I can tell you that Charles Clay is beginning to show a bit more with each passing day, especially in the passing game. O’Leary hasn’t been much of a factor in the pass game, but I do like Marqueis Gray. I think he’s the best understudy option to Clay in terms of being as versatile as Clay.

Matthew Mulligan is more athletic than he gets credit for and is a pretty good in line blocker. As for formations and personnel groupings we’re less than a week into camp and with as voluminous as Greg Roman’s playbook is the tight ends are only beginning to scratch the surface of what they’re going to be called upon to do this season.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How the original plan for EJ was compromised

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2015 – 4:28 pm

When EJ Manuel was drafted in round one of the 2013 draft there was a specific plan in place to introduce him to the NFL game and develop him. It unfortunately all went out the window before his first NFL preseason was over. So how much has the deviation from the original plan to bring Manuel along affected him? GM Doug Whaley provided his take on it.

In an appearance Wednesday on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley acknowledged that the plan to let Manuel sit and learn his rookie year was lost when Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion in Week 3 of the 2013 preseason. Being forced to improvise after Kolb was lost for the season, Whaley was asked where that has put Manuel now entering year three of his career.

“Year three I would say he’s probably a tad behind, but we’re excited to see… switch years. If last year was his first year, I know he’s further along this year than he was last year from that experience,” Whaley said. “That was the original plan. Sit behind Kevin Kolb learn, one or two years and then see what he can do.

“So this year we want to see a step. Will it be the ultimate step? That’s up to him. I’ve seen he’s gone through trials and tribulations. He’s learned from them. And the one thing I know about him is if he does make it it’ll be because of his work ethic and if he doesn’t make it it won’t be because of his work ethic.”


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The advantages for Cassel & Manuel in QB race

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2015 – 9:05 am

In a competition that’s been nip and tuck through the first week of training camp there are some small advantages that have emerged for the likes of Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel in the quarterback competition.

Cassel has been given the edge of getting more snaps with the starters as they feel the veteran deserves more work with that unit. They also claim it affords more reps for Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel with the twos and threes.

“Any time you get more reps with the starters or the guys you’re going to be playing with, it’s obviously advantageous to the guy who’s going to be playing,” said Cassel. “At the same time, you got to take advantage of every single rep. like I said before, it’s about executing; it’s about going out there and even though it might not be the right route, but making the right decision. Do I try to force this in there, or do I throw it away.  Show the coaches that you’re going to make the smart decision.”

Manuel however, has the advantage of entering his third season in Buffalo. He’s most familiar among the QBs with the tendencies of the receivers having played with most of them for two seasons.

“You know I’m very close with all those guys. Especially Woody (Robert Woods), Sammy (Watkins), Marquise (Goodwin), (Chris) Hogan – guys who’ve been here since I’ve been here, so we’ve been working together a bunch and having that cohesiveness already,” said Manuel. “Because I know their speeds, I know how they run routes, I know what they like, I know where they like the ball and things like that, so it does give me somewhat of an advantage.”

Whether Cassel or Manuel can parlay those advantages into creating a greater separation between the other two QBs remains to be seen.

 


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QBs on balancing being teammate & competitor

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2015 – 10:38 am

A three-way QB competition is a bit unique in the NFL, but the Bills are determined to find their best answer at the position in this training camp. For the players in the competition there’s a careful balance they need to strike between keeping an edge for the competitive play on the field and being a good teammate to the other quarterbacks in the room.

“We’re all good friends, but we understand the nature of the game,” said Tyrod Taylor. “It’s competition, whether you’re the starter or not, you still want to go out there and make the other person better. It’s understand in competition there’s no enemies in there—our job is to make the team better and it’s up to the coaches at the end of the day who’s the best man for the team.”

“I think we’ve got a great room,” said Matt Cassel. “I think Tyrod and EJ are great people and it’s not just here but outside. You understand that they’re good guys so it makes it easy to come to work every day and cheer for them and help them along and at the same time I think that they do the same for me.

“So it’s been a good experience so far and while we are competing I think we all take the approach that we’re not competing against each other as much as we’re competing against ourselves to make ourselves the best that we can do and at the end of the day, none of us make that decision; the coaches make the decision. So we’ve gotta just go out there and compete on the field.”


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Fred: EJ benefited from time on sidelines in ’14

Posted by Chris Brown on July 23, 2015 – 11:35 am

EJ Manuel would prefer not to talk about his play. He’d prefer to let his play do the talking. That’s why he only gave a couple of offseason interviews during the OTAs and minicamp this past spring. Manuel has set about improving his game in several areas as he has before, but his teammates claim there has been a noticeable difference. Perhaps even more telling is teammates believe he benefited from the setback he professionally navigated last season when he was demoted to backup quarterback behind the now retired Kyle Orton.

“I think having to sit back and watch and learn from a veteran last year he knows how to approach the playbook this year,” said Fred Jackson. “He knows what he’s doing. A guy that’s physically gifted and can make all the throws and when he needs to he can pull the ball down and run with it.”

Most outside observers felt Manuel had a slight edge on Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel coming out of minicamp. Now with training camp starting up next week the final stage of the evaluation process will take place.


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Fan Friday 7-10

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 12:14 pm

Our training camp countdown is on! Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question to you is lately the Bills have brought in guys i.e. Wayne Hunter, Matthew Mulligan to add to our depth. In your opinion do these guys have a chance to make the team or are they just filling positions because we are running basically two teams in practice now.

I know Rex likes his ex-players and both have a history with him. It appears Seantrel Henderson is losing ground on his position and is it possible that Hunter was signed because the coaches don’t like what they see in Henderson?

Also we cut Lee Smith who was basically a blocking tight end and now we bring in Matthew Mulligan essentially the same type player is there a concern that the tight ends on the roster outside of Charles Clay can block effectively? We have had Chris Gragg the last few years and he has not impressed as either a receiving or blocking tight end.   Would love to hear your thoughts and again thanks for all you do for us!!! Let’s Go Buffalo!!!!

Donald F.

CB: The signings of Hunter and Mulligan are for very specific roles. Not leading roles mind you, but roles where Rex Ryan wants a veteran player he feels he can trust. Hunter is a player who struggled as a full-time starting right tackle in his last season with the Jets, but as a jack-of-all-trades role player in 2009 and 2010 for the Jets, Hunter excelled as a swing tackle (first off bench in event of injury), a blocking tight end in jumbo and short yardage packages and even as a defensive tackle in goal line formations.

Mulligan will serve in a blocking capacity as well. So you know Lee Smith wasn’t cut. He was a free agent and got big money from Oakland. Buffalo wasn’t going to pay Smith upwards of $3M a year. Mulligan is a reliable veteran blocker and is a much better value.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

I watched your 1 on 1 interview with Greg Roman and I found it interesting when he said that whichever QB is in there on game day will be the franchise QB in his opinion.  I was curious of your reaction and thoughts to that?  That’s a pretty bold statement.  Do you think that one of these 3 guys just may have shown something in OTA’s and minicamp for him to say that?   I also thought maybe he just meant that when one of these guys shows he can understand and fully command Romans offense then it means he is Romans “franchise guy”?   Whatever it means I am very confident in Roman and whoever he chooses to be the guy.

Go Bills!
Jillian

CB: I didn’t interpret Roman’s comment as an indication that one of the three QBs showed him franchise QB ability. If that was the case the guy would be the starter already.

I think he was simply saying when one of the QBs separates himself from the others that he will be the franchise guy because he’ll be the starter. That being said, depending on that QB’s performance who the starter is could be subject to change. Let’s just hope whoever wins the job performs well enough and consistently enough to hold the job for the whole season.

 

3 – Hey Chris

Want to start off by saying thanks for the great work you put in.  Keeping us all updated on the team for us not in the Buffalo area.

My first question is about EJ.  I can’t say I was a big fan of us drafting him first round overall. That being said I think he is working hard.  I would like to see him get a real shoot this year. I know this is an all in season for the bills. With all the free agent adds. So I get why they are trying to have so much competition but I feel he needs to get a full season in. He wasn’t that bad last year.  Don’t get me wrong he wasn’t that good either.

I feel with all the competition going on can be a bad thing as well. I feel whoever wins the job we need to stick with regardless and not switch guys after a few bad games. The whole team gets hurt this way since none of the QBs are the same style.

My second question is about Fred Jackson.  They keep talking about cutting him. I think that would be the dumbest moves we make this year. I think he works hard and he makes plays but more importantly he is a captain and a leader.  I think we need that more than anything with all these high profiled playmakers on the offense side of the ball.  I think he might be our best shot of these guys playing as a team.

CB: As I stated in the above answer the ideal situation is that the QB who wins the starting role holds onto it the whole season. That means he’ll be performing consistently and effectively and that’s good for the offense. You’re right there are contrasting styles between the three, so keeping that position consistent with the same person helps the other 10 players on offense.

As for Fred Jackson, I think the things working in his favor more than anything else are his leadership and his pass protection. LeSean McCoy might be the only back on this roster who knows how to pass protect as well as him. If you can’t trust a guy to pick up blitzes and make pre-snap adjustments to be in position to protect your QB, you can’t put that guy on the field.

The offensive coaches can trust Fred. I think the only thing that puts his job in jeopardy is if he struggles to get through camp and perhaps looks a step slow. Knowing how well he takes care of his body I don’t see that happening.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

With an unsure O-line (although I think they will surprise us) isn’t Tyrod Taylor the smart choice? #bills #ScrambleFactor

Dustypractor

CB: I think your premise is a bit of an oversimplification. Offensive coaches will base their starting QB decision on a myriad of factors that will go far beyond the protection capabilities of the men up front. I think the offensive line’s pass protection would have to represent a jail break on every pass play in the preseason to move this kind of factor high enough on the priority list in why they choose one QB over another.

 

5 – Hey Chris,
Thank you for keeping us Bills fans well informed, you are doing a great job, keep up the good work.

Now my question may be the same old song, but as fans it is very important to us; The Quarterback Position. With the three QBs splitting reps with the first team, does that give enough time for the #1 guy to develop a relationship with the WRs, TEs, and the backfield?

Also since none of them have set themselves apart from the others, does that mean that the coaches aren’t pleased with any of them or are all 3 looking that good? Everyone hoped that Matt Cassel would come in and at least get it done for this year. Since he does not have a contract extension yet, is that saying anything about how he is doing? Thank you
Ken
Lancaster, NY

CB: Your first question is a valid concern. Rex Ryan has said that he will take as long as he needs to pick the right guy. I don’t question for a second that picking the right guy is the most important factor in all of this. A close second however, is making a decision that leaves enough time to get that starter ready for the regular season.

With all three splitting reps it inadvertently compromises the on field chemistry between the QB and the 10 other starters on offense. After witnessing Kyle Orton step right in last year with no preseason or training camp snaps perhaps it’s not as big a deal as some might think.

But with a new offensive system as varied as Greg Roman’s, deciding on a starter with a preseason game or two left on the schedule would be ideal because it should afford the starter enough time to get fully in tune with the rest of the starting unit.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

QBs not surprised competition is tight

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2015 – 5:54 pm

All three of Buffalo’s quarterbacks in the competition for the starting job had their moments on Tuesday, but head coach Rex Ryan said he’s not expecting true separation until training camp.

“There’s not going to be any separation until the pads come on,” said Ryan. “It’s not going to be won until we get to playing real football. I think the number one thing is to pick the right guy. Is time on our side a little bit? Yes it is. In an ideal world, would you rather have your quarterback named by now? Yeah. That’s an ideal situation. But you know what — we’re not there.  We’re in an ideal situation to have competition at that spot and I welcome it.”

Ryan’s comments that the competition figures to stretch well into training camp is anything but surprising to Buffalo’s signal callers. They figured the offensive staff would wait until real football when more realistic decision making becomes part of the competition.

“I figured that’s what it kind of would be anyway just by the way we’ve been rotating in OTAs and in minicamp,” said EJ Manuel. “It is what it is. I think the way you have to go into this thing is do your best with the reps that you get and at the end of the day they’ll make the decision that’s best for the team.”

When asked if he felt the competition was close Manuel simply sees all three QBs in the competition faring well.

“I think we’re all doing a good job,” he said. “Everybody is being very sharp and picking up the offense like coach Roman wants us to do pretty quickly. When you’re playing against good competition in the league that’s how it is so it’s the little small things that will separate all of us.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Roman dismisses speculation on EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 2:59 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman has heard the widespread speculation, which was soon taken as fact in cyberspace Monday, that EJ Manuel isn’t long for Buffalo’s roster if he doesn’t show marked improvement this season. Roman dismissed the contention as just that, speculation.

“Speculation is the key word there. I don’t ever remember saying that,” said Roman. “And that’s the furthest thing from the truth. He’s busting his hump every day and doing a very good job. There’s a lot of clay to mold there. Whatever people are talking about, I don’t know where that’s coming from.  The answer is no. He’s doing a good job.”

Roman maintained that the quarterback competition will be a three-man race between Manuel, Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How QB competition is progressing

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 9:43 am

The Bills have a quarterback competition that has already begun in earnest even though the team’s first set of OTA practices is still more than a week away. Here’s how things have been working in their sessions on the field knowing that the offense cannot have any opposition working against them.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan explained how they’re running two offenses at the same time at opposite ends of the field and how Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor are all rotating through with the first team offense.

“How we run things, we have a two spot drill going on at all times, so we’ve got two offenses going,” said Ryan. “What we do, because in this phase two you can’t have any type of opposition, we actually put lines on the field, like a big ‘V’ showing the defensive line and the linebackers and all that. And we get our plays in and we move it from the hash to the middle, left hash, right hash, all the way down the field. It is sharp with guys communicating and things like that. So there you can definitely get a feel for who these guys are and I’ve been impressed by all the quarterbacks. As far as the true evaluating that’s going to come in training camp and snapping the ball for real.”

With respect to the competition, Ryan insists it’s a legitimate three-way battle.

“Three guys for sure will be getting shots with the ones,” he said. “We’ve been doing it each day. Let’s say the first offense is running out there and it’s Matt Cassel the first day, then it’s EJ, then it’s Tyrod. All three are getting opportunities to lead and to be with that first group. It’s not like we’re going to just throw Matt Cassel in there every day or EJ every day. Tyrod is getting as many shots with the ones as the other two.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills