Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-10

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2014 – 11:32 am

It’s been a historic week for the Buffalo Bills franchise. Sunday should be electric! For now let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,
Brandon Spikes only signed a one year deal in the off season, do you think the Bills will try and wrap him up long term?

Paddy, Vancouver Canada

CB: Spikes was brought in for a reason, to improve the team’s run defense. I think the one-year contract is very indicative of the club’s approach. It appears to be a let’s see how it goes approach. So it’s my belief that the powers that be will see how Spikes’ season plays out, and come the offseason they’ll assess his value and potential contributions for the team’s future.

I can say that in talking to Spikes he likes his teammates, coaches and the atmosphere here in Buffalo. He brings additional value with his veteran leadership, but I think it’s only fair for both sides to allow his full body of work to be reviewed before making any future decisions.

 

2 – Chris,

The #1 weakness for Bills is the Offensive Line. Same story for the past 14 years. Right now, I have no faith in either Right Guard or Left Guard. Our O-line has been a disaster.  I hope Richardson can play better than Chris Williams (who the Bills front office paid way too much for a below average guard).  I think the Bills front office should have done a better job in free agency at the guard position.

Not sure the Erik Pears experiment is going to work out.  With Pears at guard he has not been effective pulling for screen plays, sweeps or trap plays.

Question: I love Wood at center, but if the Bills guard troubles continue, perhaps the Bills could play Urbik at center and play Woods at guard again.

Next year Bills need to Upgrade – O-Line, Tight End position and perhaps Quarterback if progress is not made this season.

Randy
South Florida,………….   Thank you Terry and Kim Pegula!!!!

CB: Concerning your question about Eric Wood, I think he is at his most valuable position at center. That’s not to say he couldn’t play guard, which he did early in his career with the Bills. It seems as though they’re interested in letting Cyril Richardson learn the ropes when Chris Williams’ back doesn’t allow him to play.

That being said your idea isn’t a bad one. Kraig Urbik is the team’s backup center, so it is an option if the offensive staff feels it’s necessary to make a different kind of change at guard. I just think Wood is so valuable making the calls and performing in the pivot that I’d be hesitant to move him.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

My question is regarding the switch from Manuel to Orton.  My understanding is that the Bills are under pressure to win now, EJ just isn’t where he needs to be and so Marrone needed to make the decision before the losses got out of hand.  My question is, do you think that the plan they had going into the season regarding EJ and the offense is not working?  I mean the O-line is really struggling which is making the run game struggle which forced EJ the past 2 games to throw over 40 times. I wonder if part of this move is not only about winning but it could also be about protecting EJ and his psyche. So now Orton will come in and fans seem to think that he can do a better job, but he also needs the same formula as EJ, a good O-line a strong run game and defense and I’m worried that the Bills have a bigger issue than just QB. I was just wondering your thoughts about that.

Thanks for all your time, Jillian
CB: I think based on everything we’ve heard from coach Marrone on this subject that it was purely a performance decision. As coach Marrone said when he initially made the change at quarterback, he needs more production from that position. He was not getting enough positive plays from the quarterback position in the passing game and it was compromising their effectiveness on offense.

We’ll see where things go with Kyle Orton now in the lineup, but this is a performance-based business and I believe that was the crux of coach Marrone’s decision.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills How do you think the the Bills stop the short/quick passing game of the Pats this week

statmedic327

CB: Flooding the short passing lanes with defenders can help to disrupt some of the rhythm that Tom Brady relies upon in the Patriots’ passing game. How the Bills choose to do that remains to be seen. The general consensus by those outside the organization is to pressure Tom Brady, but that’s easier said than done even with a Buffalo defense that leads the league in sacks.

Kansas City had an awful lot of success rushing four and dropping seven into coverage. They dropped linebackers and their box safety into zones and defended the middle of the field pretty well, which is where Brady likes to work with his tight ends and Julian Edelman. Buffalo could take a similar approach if they so choose. They have comparable personnel to the Chiefs up front and at the second level.
5 – Hello, Chris,

In addition to your written work and videos on BB.com, I really enjoy your regular updates on the JMS.  You are very frank and insightful on those calls and I look forward to them each week.

My question relates to a subject I have not heard one person in the Buffalo print media nor BB.com family address since the announced QB switch – Kyle Orton’s motivation/determination.  I have always thought Orton has all the necessary QB skills.  Most importantly, he has the ability to read a defense and deliver the ball to the open receiver.  I felt EJ was sadly lacking in both case aspects.  However, I do not question EJ’s heart.  He took a beating the last two weeks and seemed to courageously get back on his feet and put the last hit behind him every time.  Do you think we can expect that with Orton?  My biggest concern regarding his signing apparently “out of retirement” was the possibility he was just looking for a paycheck to hold a clipboard and mentor EJ.  After nine years of bouncing around the league, does he have the personal motivation to lay it on the line for one more chance at football glory?

I have not heard nor seen anything, other than the circumstances around his signing, to create that doubt, but I have not seen nor heard anything to suppress it, either.  We will know soon enough, I suppose, once he gets under center.  However, it would be great to hear from inside the Bills family that Orton is the committed to going into combat with his teammates.  I truly believe the Bills have the skill players to make big plays on a consistent basis with a bunch of hungry young players surrounding a decent QB, and I hope the QB can mirror their intensity.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks!
Walter
CB: I appreciate the kind words. I think there is a measure of motivation for Kyle Orton with this current opportunity. In talking to him he admitted to me that this team is constructed in much the same way as the 2005 Chicago team he had to quarterback as a rookie after Rex Grossman was injured.

Their defense was outstanding, they had good special teams and a strong rushing attack with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Orton didn’t have to go out and win games there, and he may not have to do much of that here.

The benefit for the Bills is he’s a much wiser quarterback and a much more seasoned leader now than he was then.

I do believe the motivation could be at its highest this week, knowing his former head coach in Denver Josh McDaniels, is on the other sideline. McDaniels buckled to the pressure in Denver to start Tim Tebow, despite the fact that Orton led the Broncos to a 6-0 start.

I don’t know this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that coaching/organizational decision sticks in Orton’s craw perhaps more than any other. I don’t know that it does, and I’d never expect him to ever say that, but looking at all the decisions that went against him in his playing career, if I put myself in his shoes that one would sting the most for me.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hackett will be back upstairs today

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-3

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2014 – 11:30 am

Big cross conference game at Detroit Sunday and the Lions are a bit gimpy on offense. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills is there any chance Kouandjio begins to take some snaps at Guard. Tackles appear locked in. Pears hasn’t played well.

WKuze13

CB: Head coach Doug Marrone made it clear a little over a week ago that there are no plans right now to give Kouandjio snaps at guard. I think at this point in time the preference is to have him master offensive tackle, particularly on the right side. He played primarily left tackle in college and flipping to the right side has been an adjustment. Marrone said he is encouraged by Kouandjio’s progress, so I don’t think they want to put too much on his plate and compromise his development at tackle with the responsibility of learning another position.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do the players get brand new jerseys every game?

Arreguy23

CB: The general answer here is no. According to @billsequipment  most players wear the same jersey each week, unless there is irreparable tearing or other damage to a jersey. This most often happens with offensive and defensive linemen just from all the grabbing and pulling. In that case players are issued replacements.

There are of course exceptions. Players like Mario Williams have memorabilia deals where each game worn jersey is turned in, and sometimes players exchange jerseys with friends on other teams. Fred Jackson was the latest example when he swapped game worn jerseys at the end of last week’s game at Houston with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills I wanted to know why Urbik is a backup this year. Do you know?

ThePrideOfLima

CB: It’s hard to know exactly why Kraig Urbik fell out of favor with the offensive staff and has been moved to a backup role. There is no question that based on Buffalo’s moves this offseason that they were looking to make changes there with the signing of Chris Williams and the drafting of Cyril Richardson. I feel Urbik is more than capable of manning one of the starting guard spots, but that’s just my opinion. Head coach Doug Marrone has him serving primarily as the backup center behind Eric Wood, but I believe he can certainly step in at guard.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

My question concerns the buzz about the jet sweep since Percy Harvin and Cordarelle Patterson are taking the league by storm. We have Marquise Goodwin, why isn’t he on the field more to do stuff like this? I would think he would play more if nothing else than because of his speed. Is he injured or just not performing well in practice? I think he should be on the field more.

Thanks for all your coverage, GO BILLS!
Michael

CB: You’re right that Goodwin has not been on the field very much. He’s played a total of 30 snaps in four games. He does have one end around that went for four yards. He’s at a position where the Bills are deep and spread formations are not all that prevalent in Buffalo’s offense anymore. Under former head coach Chan Gailey the four-wide set was their most popular. If that were still the case now I think he would get more work on offense.

I think ideally the offensive coaches want to have a package of plays in each week for Goodwin, but the inability of the offense to stay on the field has compromised those plans to a degree. There’s no question that Goodwin’s presence on the field forces defenses to respect the deep ball, and it creates room underneath for Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods to operate.

 

5 – Chris,

No one, including reporters is really talking about EJ’s strength in throwing the ball. I’m not referring to skill, but the velocity of his throws.

Jim Kelly mentioned it on air mid-game last Sunday – and to me, it was far more obvious prior to his statement. Seems he lobs the ball versus throwing in there quickly and tight.

Are the coaches on EJ about this? I feel he’d be a better QB if he can aster throwing a tight, fast spiral. His balls seem to be all over the place mid-air. Or is this just what EJ mechanisms are about?

Cheers,
Mike Barwick

CB: I have noticed that myself, even in the practice setting. EJ never really winds up and fires it to get it in a tight window. I think sometimes his long delivery gives the illusion that the ball isn’t moving fast, but he is certainly capable of throwing a fastball. I’ve seen it at times, but with the physical ability to throw it on a rope I wouldn’t mind seeing it more when he gets another chance to play.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Orton can relate to EJ’s current situation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2014 – 6:24 pm

The man who will replace EJ Manuel this week as the Bills’ starting quarterback is excited about the opportunity, but he can also relate to what Manuel is dealing with after being moved to the second unit. That’s because Kyle Orton has been benched himself.

“I’ve been there,” said Orton. “EJ is going to be a great quarterback. He’s got a long time to grow. I know when it happened to me early on in my career, I wasn’t happy about it at all. But looking back that time off that I had I really grew as a player and used it to my advantage and I’m sure he’ll do the same thing.”

Manuel’s teammates said the second-year quarterback handled his demotion like a professional.

“He took it like a man,” said Mike Williams. “He was still here early. He still practiced hard. He took some scout team reps. He took it like a professional and that’s what you want to see him do.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wood & offense set to adjust to Orton

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2014 – 8:27 am

Bills C Eric Wood admitted the quarterback change made Monday was not something he expected, but for him and the rest of the offensive unit there’s no time to spare. It’s about getting in sync with Kyle Orton.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Wood expressed disappointment that the offensive unit wasn’t better around EJ Manuel, but that their focus has to be getting ready for Detroit with Orton at the controls.

“It’s not a good feeling that as a unit up front, receivers that everyone didn’t protect him well enough, didn’t make plays for him well enough,” said Wood of Manuel. “It’s not a good feeling. A quarterback change at Week Five is not what we expected going into the season.  It’s not necessarily something we wanted by any means or have to go through.  If management thinks this is what we have to do to win right now, we’re on board.  I’ll do everything I can to make this transition as smooth as I can for Orton.”

At the same time Wood feels a sense of loyalty to Manuel and wasn’t shy in expressing that too.

“EJ knows that I’ll always have his back,” said Wood. “So I don’t feel weird saying that. We need to be better around him, for if and when he comes back. But this week I have to get on the same page as Kyle and I have to put in a lot of work with him.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: We are a playoff caliber team

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2014 – 4:47 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone in making the decision to start Kyle Orton at quarterback this Sunday in Detroit, was asked if he believes Buffalo is still a playoff caliber team. This was his answer.

“Absolutely we have a playoff caliber team,” he said. “We have to play better than we have been playing the last two weeks.”

Production at the quarterback position was one of the areas that Marrone was obviously looking for improvement, which prompted the switch to Orton.

“This decision was based on what’s giving us the best opportunity to win,” said Marrone.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Teammates backing EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2014 – 2:15 pm

Though the naysayers outside the walls of One Bills Drive have been very critical of Bills QB EJ Manuel, his teammates remain confident that their quarterback will get things done.

“My confidence is the same,” said C.J. Spiller. “It’s not a one man show but obviously in this league, the quarterback is really the focal point and the emphasis of wins and losses of teams. Obviously he didn’t have his best day and he didn’t get a lot of help either. We still have faith in him. He’s our starting quarterback. We’re going to back him.

“People are going to try to divide us and point fingers saying who should start and who shouldn’t start but we have all the confidence in the world that he’ll get the job done. Yesterday was one that just got away from him. He’ll learn from his mistakes, he takes it tough. But he’ll be fine, we’ll back him and we’ll make sure he’s ready for Detroit.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred: We made it harder on EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2014 – 10:29 am

While those outside the walls of One Bills Drive are openly critical of Bills QB EJ Manuel, co-captain Fred Jackson gave strong indication that now is not the time to make rash decisions with the offense. In an appearance on Bills flagship station, WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson said part of the reason Manuel struggled was because they failed to adequately protect him.

“I think one of the things that we can do to help him as a total offense is keep him upright on his feet,” said Jackson. “If you look at the way he had to play yesterday he was constantly being flushed out of the pocket. He was constantly being hit every time he threw the ball. They did a great job of getting pressure on him. We didn’t handle line stunts well for the second week in a row so we can expect to see that again.

“I put EJ under pressure yesterday with some blocks that I missed. When he’s running around and his feet aren’t set it’s hard for any quarterback to be accurate in that situation. It’s on us to get that taken care of. He’s a quarterback who has proven if we give him time and let him stand in the pocket he’ll deliver some great plays for us. So it’s on us to get that done.”

Jackson said the onus is on the other 10 players, especially those being counted on to pass protect to provide him the time to survey the field and make throws, much like they did the first two weeks of the season.

“If we can keep a clean pocket for him and not have him get hit every time he’s throwing the ball that’s going to make his job easier,” said Jackson. “That’s something we can do better as a whole unit and take a lot of that pressure off of him. That’s what we’ve got to focus on.

“We can’t sit here and say it’s all EJ’s fault and when we go back and look at the film today we’ll see that. We’ll see that we didn’t do our job of protecting him and it’s the same old thing. When you don’t win the game the quarterback is going to take a lot of blame for it, but as an offensive unit there’s a lot of stuff that we can do a lot better.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred’s words for EJ & offense

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2014 – 10:01 pm

Bills offensive co-captain Fred Jackson talked to EJ Manuel and a lot of other teammates after the difficult loss Sunday to Houston. For the young quarterback his words were simple.

“Keep coming to work,” said Jackson of his message to Manuel. “We’re playing in the NFL and guys are going to make plays. We just have got to keep coming in and prepare just like we’ve always done.  We can’t change anything.  We can’t think that it’s the end of the world. That’s just it. We’ve got to come out here and lean on each other. When we get opportunities we have to be able to take advantage of it.”


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EJ: Pass game has to be better

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2014 – 9:59 pm

His head coach said it, he said it and his top receiving targets said it. The passing game has to be more in sync. All parties involved know they left a handful of plays out on the field due to lack of execution. No one was more disappointed than EJ Manuel.

“Yeah very disappointed,” he said in reference to the Bills’ passing game. “We weren’t clicking there like we needed to. We’ve just got to move on and process it and learn from it.

“I think it’s an overall thing. It’s not just one person. I’m not going to point anybody out. If anything I’m my own worst critic so I have to do a better job of making sure the protections are set up and making sure I’m getting those guys an opportunity to make a play after the catch.

“I think it’s all part of maturing as a man and as a quarterback. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Maybe we look back at this at the end of the season and we’re 14-2. Who knows? I think the most important thing for me and the team is to learn from it and accept it, be a man about it. Don’t shy away from it. It is what it is we lost the game, but at the same time come back even harder and be more prepared than we’ve ever been prepared for Detroit.”

The passing game will need to be appreciably better against the Lions defense. Detroit has gotten off to a dominant start on that side of the ball. Heading into Week 4 action the Lions ranked as the number one defense in the league, second in points allowed, second in third down defense, second in run defense, third in pass defense and fifth in sacks per play.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-26

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2014 – 12:12 pm

It’s the start of a big two week road trip in Houston. The Bills are looking to finish the first quarter of the season at 3-1. We’ll have full postgame coverage on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

My question is about the Bills offense. During training camp I noticed that EJ is throwing the ball a lot farther downfield; however during the preseason games, and early in the season all the routes seem to be less than 10 yards. Is this due to the play calling or EJ? I’ve heard EJ’s been better during practice, but it’s frustrating to watch him check down most of the time. It reminds me of when we had Chan Gailey and Fitz.

Michael

CB: So far this season EJ Manuel is averaging seven yards an attempt. For those that are unfamiliar with that statistic, even in the pass happy NFL that we know today any yards per attempt average that’s eight or above is outstanding. Only five NFL QBs are averaging eight yards or more per attempt right now. So seven is very respectable.

The other way one can look at it is average yards at the catch. This is where Manuel’s figure is below the league average. Manuel averages 3.6 passing yards at the catch, which ranks 31st in the league. The league average is about six.

Now there are two ways one can interpret that. One Buffalo’s offense doesn’t take a lot of deep shots down the field, which is your contention, and based on the latter statistic it’s understandable why that might be inferred.

The other way to look at it is Buffalo’s offensive staff knows the collection of speed they have out of the backfield and at receiver and believe it’s more important to make the completion and allow the ball handlers to make yards after the catch. Right now the Bills ranks 8th in the league in yards after the catch with 415 yards in three games. That’s a strong number.

It’s my belief that as long as those yards after the catch figures remain in the top 10 in the league, that the passing game approach won’t change all that much. That’s not to say they won’t take four to six deep shots per game, but on the whole they’ll rely on short to intermediate passes believing their playmakers can gain yards after the reception is made.

 

2 – Chris,

Do some NFL coaches have a policy of benching players for a play after they are called for a penalty?  I’ve noticed this fairly frequently just in watching game telecasts. For example, after Scott Chandler was called for a penalty vs Chicago this past Sunday, the cameras showed him standing on the sidelines. Then he was back in on the next play.  Obviously, if a starting QB gets called for a delay of game penalty, he’s not removed, but I’ve noticed both offensive and defensive players coming off the field after a penalty.

Gary Kozlowski

CB: Your observations are pretty astute. I also noticed last week that after Brandon Spikes was flagged for a personal foul last week against the Chargers that he was removed from the game too. Sometimes it’s just the personnel grouping that the coaches choose to put on the field for the next play, which may have been the case with Chandler. I will have to go back and look.

Sometimes it is in fact to get the player off the field and cool off. In an emotional game like football sometimes a player’s competitive emotions gets the best of them as seemed to be the case with Spikes last week. So coaches in an effort to bring a player’s emotions back in line take them out of the competitive environment on the field so they can collect themselves before playing another snap.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

What happened to Stephon Gilmore? He doesn’t even look like the same player we saw in his rookie season. He’s constantly getting beat in pass coverage, and he’s not making plays in run support. He’s becoming a real liability in our defense. I’m curious what the coaches are saying about his play.

CB: I think the coaches are trying to be patient with Gilmore. Coming off of offseason hip surgery and then a groin injury at the start of the season Gilmore is clearly not 100 percent healthy. He’s trying to fight through the nagging groin problem to be available for his team on Sundays. I don’t think there’s any question it has not allowed him to play at his very best.

The encouraging sign I saw this week was Gilmore was on the practice field for extra reps long after practice had concluded. This was a common practice of Gilmore’s, but taxing his body in that fashion was not an option for him while he was rehabilitating or as he worked his way back into the practice setting and lineup.

Seeing that is a major positive because Gilmore is a player whose game gets better when he can maximize his reps during the week. The most important thing to remember is it’s his collective health that’s holding his game back.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for all you do to keep us fans on top of all news concerning the Bills!

My question is concerning the defensive pass rush ideology. This past week against the Chargers it seemed that there were very few blitzes dialed up. I understand that with veteran QBs you have to mix it up, but the defense pretty much rushed four and got no pass rush which lead to the Db’s getting lit up. I’m starting to see major differences between Petitine’s philosophy and Jim Schwartz’s philosophy. Do you feel that less blitzing is what we will see throughout the rest of the season from Schwartz? His philosophy seems to put a great deal of pressure on the secondary….

Thanks for your response.
Bruce

CB: I think most knew going in that Schwartz’s philosophy was not going to dial up nearly as many blitzes as Pettine did last year. Personally I was okay with that if it meant better third down defense and better run defense in exchange, knowing those were two consistent problem areas for Buffalo’s defense over the years.

To this point Buffalo’s defense is 6th against the run and 8th in third down defense. I’ll take less blitzing if this is the trade-off.

I think you also need to consider this. When facing veteran quarterbacks who get the ball out quick, like Cutler and Rivers, and this week with Fitz, Schwartz generally takes the approach that committing a seventh man to coverage is more valuable than committing a fifth man to the rush. If you’re not going to get to the QB with a blitz anyway, you’re better off rushing your front four and dropping a seventh man into coverage, hoping the coverage helps lead to the QB holding onto the ball long enough for pressure to affect his play.

To this point Schwartz’s third down defense more often than not has proven him correct. So until that changes I’m in favor of his approach.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Great job as always keeping Bills fans updated.  My question really isn’t about on field football items.  Now that the Bills are headed on the road for a couple of weeks what is their travel routine getting ready for an away game?

Many thanks.
Bryon B.
Plattsburgh

CB: Typically the way things work in advance of a road game is they have meetings Saturday morning followed by a situational practice at One Bills Drive where they go over specific situations that might surface in the game. It usually runs less than an hour.

After that players go home to pack their personal items for the trip and head to the airport for their departure time on the team plane.

Once they arrive in the home team’s city they’re typically at the team hotel by 3:30 pm. They’re free to have dinner on their own and then there are meetings with coaches for a couple of hours in the evening before bed check at 11 pm.

Then players head to the stadium Sunday morning, with most of them in the locker room by 10 am or so for a 1 pm kickoff.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus gets sack in scoring change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2014 – 11:35 am

Some may have been scratching their head at last Sunday’s game when Marcell Dareus appeared to take down Philip Rivers on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter for a sack, when it was ruled a rush for two yards. A few days later the league has corrected the play awarding a sack to Dareus on the play for a one-yard loss.

Dareus corralled Rivers at the Bills’ 47 not the Bills’ 44-yard line as it was initially recorded. Nigel Bradham and Jerry Hughes were most responsible for flushing Rivers from the pocket on the play. Rivers tried to step up, but Dareus saw the San Diego QB trying to escape took off in pursuit grabbing him from behind for the takedown.

With 13:36 remaining in fourth quarter the league also ruled that the full sack on EJ Manuel credited to Chargers DL Corey Liuget should be split with LB Reggie Walker.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ: Sense of urgency must improve

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2014 – 5:07 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel was disappointed with the team’s collective lack of urgency late in last week’s game. The quarterback says it must be improved or they might find themselves in a similar situation in future weeks.

“Our sense of urgency has to pick up, especially in the whole fourth quarter,” said Manuel. “I don’t think any of us were satisfied with it as a team or as an offense. I don’t think our urgency was where it needs to be. Understanding that we’re still down two scores before the safety.   Obviously, I can’t do that. I have to have my awareness at 100-percent, you can’t step back into the end zone and try to throw the ball away.  Those are the things I try to learn from. The biggest thing was just that sense of urgency—getting guys on the ball, whether we’re doing a vertical route –bringing them back and getting another play called right away.”

Looking ahead to this Sunday, Manuel hopes an increased sense of urgency can help them get back on the winning track.

“I think it’s extremely important to go out there and win,” he said. “As a team, we started having the confidence that going into each game we have the opportunity to win.  We definitely feel like we’re a winning type win and we have the talent to win.  I think that’s all it is, just go out here and focus on Houston first.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ Manuel’s BOSE playlist

Posted by buffalobills.com on September 20, 2014 – 3:09 pm

This year BOSE, the Official Sound of the Bills, is going to bring insider access to fans by showing fans what songs Bills players listen to on game day.  For 12 weeks during the 2014 season, a different Bills player will be featured in the Player Playlist, presented by BOSE.  This week, it’s Bills QB EJ Manuel.  Check out the songs EJ will be listening to on Sunday before he takes the field against the Chargers.

EJ_MASTERFILE


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills staying grounded despite 2-0 start

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 5:57 pm

Buffalo’s 2-0 start certainly has fans excited about the 2014 season, but the players in the Bills locker room are keeping their heads down and focusing on the task at hand, which is San Diego this week. When asked if it’s difficult to block out the hype going on outside the building, QB EJ Manuel said it’s not a problem at all.

“Very easy. Just come in every day and work. Don’t feel like you’ve arrived because we haven’t,” he said. “Don’t feel like we’ve earned anything, because we haven’t. I think it’s extremely important for us to stay the course that we’re on and remain confident. But most of all, continue to prepare like we’ve done. That’s a huge stride that our team has taken. A lot of guys are coming in on their days off, staying late during the week, making sure that we’re prepared mentally for our opponents. Obviously, taking care of our bodies and doing extra stuff, you can see the D-tackles down there working. That’s all across the board. I’m really happy to see that.”

 


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EJ: Our fans make us want to go harder

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 5:01 pm

Much has been said about the atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday in the win over the Dolphins. The fans had a major impact on the game with the Dolphins taking three penalties due to crowd noise. On Monday EJ Manuel made a point to mention that the loud support of the fans gives the players the little extra to put their effort over the edge.

“We really want to thank them for coming out, selling it out and being extremely loud on third down for our defense, that really helped them out,” said Manuel. “And definitely for us [the offense], anytime we were having big plays, they were getting really rowdy and loud for us. When we know we have their support, it makes us want to go even harder.”


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Teammates see EJ progressing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 4:48 pm

Buffalo’s offense still has some numbers to improve in terms of production, but through the first two games players on offense can see EJ Manuel making progress.

Completing almost 67 percent of his passes and averaging a healthy 7.8 yards an attempt, Manuel has two touchdown passes and an interception. He’s been sacked once and has a passer rating of 95.4.

“He’s getting better, everybody is getting better,” said Sammy Watkins. “We believe in the offense. The coaches are calling good plays, putting us in great situations and each week I feel like he’s [EJ Manuel] gaining more confidence in us and it’s just going to keep getting better.”

 


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Marrone on EJ’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 9:38 am

EJ Manuel’s stat line looked pretty good in the win over Miami as he went 16-26 for 202 yards and a touchdown, good for a 98.6 passer rating. Here was head coach Doug Marrone’s assessment of Manuel’s play from his sideline vantage point.

“I thought he did well,” said Marrone. “He had some opportunities early on. The deep ball to Sammy was there. That was the perfect strike. A couple things that we need to take advantage of in the red zone that I said before, but he made some big plays down the field. Again, he’s progressing well. That’s two good games now for him, where he’s improving and seeing things. It’s the same thing that I told the players; it’s a long season. We’re a good football team that just needs to keep getting better and better each week.”

Marrone was referring to Manuel’s perfectly thrown ball down the right sideline that Watkins had in his hands, but Brent Grimes knocked away at the last second as he was falling to the ground. It wound up being an incompletion.

 


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EJ on offensive progress

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:11 pm

There’s no doubt that the Bills offense wasn’t thrilled with their 0-for-3 mark in the red zone in the first half, but getting points is the thing, and to come through with a touchdown drive come the second half was something EJ Manuel felt they could hang their hat on.

“We want to score every drive,” he said. “I think it’s even more important when they go out there and score, especially later in the game because we hadn’t touched the end zone until that point after C.J. [Spiller] had the great kick return. It’s a good thing for our offense to show that we’ve having growth, and we’re becoming a more mature offense.  Again, our defense put us in the situation to be able to do that.”

Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t deny they left points on the field, but wasn’t going to criticize the offense, which got points on six of their 11 possessions (not counting kneel down at end).

“I’m not going to say disappointed,” he said. “I look at it as we won the game, but there were opportunities there that we have to just get better at and take advantage of, but there were definitely opportunities there.”


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Passing game looking to take next step

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2014 – 9:05 am

Buffalo’s receivers made some key plays in the win over the Bears in Week 1, but EJ Manuel’s targets in the passing game want to take another step as they open up division play on Sunday.

Sammy Watkins, who turned in a few receptions last week, believes it’s all about the matchups.

“Just being dominant,” he said. “Winning our matchups, 1-on-1’s, Win the balls that come to us. And I think overall, the balls that came to us we caught them. Everybody is making big plays but when we get more involved and need to pass, we going to be there. EJ will get us the ball.”

QB EJ Manuel believes the improvements need to be all encompassing.

“Just being better in all situations, third down, red zone, that’s pretty much it,” said EJ Manuel. “I would say our game  plan is a little different versus Miami, just sticking to the plan as far as what Coach Hackett wants us to do.”

Buffalo was 2-4 in the red zone last week, but converted just four of their 12 third down opportunities.


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