Inside The Bills

Why Bills must break slow start trend

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2015 – 9:05 am

Over their last two games the Bills have gotten off to slow starts on offense. Part of the problem has been the absence of some of their top playmakers on offense, most notably LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins. There’s a good chance that both will be in the lineup Sunday against undefeated Cincinnati. Hopefully it helps to jump start an offense that has just one field goal combined in the first half of their last two games.

What will make the task all the more difficult is Cincinnati’s defense. They’ve allowed just 28 total points in the first half of their five games this season. The Bengals have allowed just one touchdown in the first half in 2015 along with seven field goals.

Buffalo will have to break their own trend and Cincinnati’s stingy defensive front Sunday, and they may have to do all that without their starting quarterback who is a game time decision.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ and Tyrod close teammates

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2015 – 10:34 am

There’s a decent chance that EJ Manuel has to start in place of an injured Tyrod Taylor, who is still a game time decision for Sunday’s game against undefeated Cincinnati. Working together all offseason the two coastal Virginia natives have developed a strong working relationship.

Both signal callers were headed to the quarterback room Thursday evening to grind more film in preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We extremely close. We’ve grown up,” said EJ Manuel. “I’ve known Ty since sixth grade so even being from the same area, now being up in the NFL and playing together with him being the starter and me being the backup we have a stronger bond, and we communicate very well, not just with football, but off the field as well, but we’re really close.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-16

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2015 – 10:55 am

A pivotal AFC game Sunday for the Bills. Buffalo will have to be at their best to beat a streaking Bengals club. Fortunately it looks like they’ll have some of their main horses back in the lineup. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

W/ 23 hurt and Darby playing so well, any chance Leodis moves to Safety when healthy?

SJHNatFan

CB: First, Leodis to me is a cornerback through and through. Yes, he’s very physically gifted, but I’d be surprised if he lines up at safety. McKelvin is the type of player who needs a singular role out on the boundary. And though he is ‘wiry strong’ I don’t believe playing in the middle of the field and dealing with big tight ends is a good fit for him. Whether the coaching staff feels differently is another story.

Since I’ve been getting a lot of questions I’ll take the time here to explain that McKelvin is eligible to begin practicing with the team again on Wednesday in London. He’s looked good doing football-like rehab work on the sideline the last few weeks. Just because he begins practicing next week does not mean he’ll be immediately added to the 53-man roster.

Once he begins practicing the clock starts on a 21-day window in which the Bills can have him practice without counting toward a roster spot. They can activate him to the 53-man roster at any point in that time frame.

In my opinion he will not step into the starting lineup when he returns. Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore have been playing lights out football. This is a good thing because it doesn’t rush McKelvin onto the field. With as quick and sudden as things happen at that position there will be an acclimation period for McKelvin who will undoubtedly be a bit rusty.

Where I do see him making an impact is on punt return where the team is in need of field position help. This season the Bills are averaging just 7.3 yards a punt return, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. McKelvin for his career has averaged almost 11 yards a return (10.9). Imagine the value of giving an offense an extra 10 yards of field position every time they step on the field for a possession.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills can we call @robertwoods Bobby Lumber?

acurthoys

CB: I’m going to assume you’re referring to the way Robert Woods has been blocking downfield. I know that just about everybody noticed his two-for-one block on Tyrod Taylor’s touchdown run last week when he took out a pair of Titans defenders to let Taylor get the edge on his 22-yard quarterback draw. But Woods has had other strong blocks downfield this season.

I think the most important thing to note about the receiving corps and their blocking downfield is how on a day when there were just 10 completions they were determined to make an impact anyway, and their blocking was the way they accomplished that.

“As a receiver, you never know when your time is going to come, whether it’s a pass or a block,” said Woods. “Like a key block, running downfield, blocking the safety. You never know when your time is going to come. This time it wasn’t a pass play, it was that block for Tyrod.”

Woods also had a tackle on kickoff coverage last Sunday. Hard not to like a receiver that’s willing to do some of the dirty work.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills would Bills ever do a multiple QB package once Tyrod is healthy? Our trick plays seem to be getting shut down all the time.
RealBryanWatson

CB: I think anything is possible, especially since in Week 1 against Indianapolis it was Matt Cassel under center with Tyrod Taylor split wide on the first play of the game. I should also note that the man who re-invented the ‘Wildcat’ package at Arkansas, which soon migrated to the NFL a few years ago is Buffalo’s quarterbacks coach, David Lee.

I get the sense that Greg Roman doesn’t try to trick defenses as much as he tries to confuse them, and to me there is a difference. One is rooted in a gadget play, while the other is based on pre-snap shifts, motions and alignment, but I wouldn’t rule your suggestion out at all.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Loving the new studio set up and all the coverage!
My question is why are we not utilizing Tyrod and his God-given talents??  Where is the read option?  Where are the designed runs and roll outs?  Why don’t we spread teams out with our INSANE talent at WR and then run it down their throats and not let them stack the box….aka what the Pats did.  I’m just a little frustrated – I know we beat the Colts but they don’t look all that great this year so far and we can do better.  Love to hear your thoughts, thanks!

Chris

St. Louis
CB: I understand your frustration. Even when Taylor ran for 76 yards last week only one carry, his touchdown run, was a designed run play. Other than that his other runs were scrambles to elude pressure.

I’m no offensive coordinator and Greg Roman has more football knowledge in his pinkie finger than I’ll ever have. I do think there has been a concerted effort to protect Taylor from injury, which as we saw last week is a very real risk. So the read option and designed runs have been few and far between.

That being said, when your run game and offense in general is struggling there should be a package of plays featuring Tyrod as a run threat that you can turn to just to jumpstart the offense.

Buffalo leads the league in three-and-out percentage at almost 32 percent (31.7%). The league average is 20.6 percent. Granted they haven’t had two of their top rushers in McCoy and Karlos Williams and Sammy Watkins has missed the last two games, but their defense as good as it is won’t be able to hold every opponent down like they did in Week 5.

So when the offense has a couple of consecutive three-and-outs, making use of Taylor’s legs (when healthy) is something I’m not opposed to just to get the offense back on track. Perhaps with all the weapons back in the lineup that won’t be necessary, but I think your point is a valid one.

 

5 – Chris,

Can Colton do kickoffs? He’s got a strong punters leg? Why not try/practice Colton kicking off. Other teams employs their punter to kickoff. Dan had done kickoffs in the league before the rule changed. If Dan could kick how many yards would they truly be losing? 5-10? Doesn’t seem like much instead of having another player active on game day.

CB: Rex Ryan said Colton Schmidt is the backup kickoff man to Dan Carpenter now that Billy Cundiff has been moved off the roster. I want to believe Carpenter can reach the end zone, but returners are more aggressive now than they were the first year the kickoff was moved to the 35-yard line. Unless it’s seven yards deep or more most returners will bring it out.

That at least creates the chance for a long return whereas if it’s kicked more than seven yards deep a return man is taking a knee. To say it’s just a five to 10-yard difference is a bit of a misnomer. A return man in this league just needs one coverage player to fall down or get out of their lane and it’s a big play and either a field position advantage is lost or there are six points on the board for the opposition.

 

London game bonus question
Chris,

Your Blog is my 1st read every morning. Thanks for keeping us transplanted Buffalonians informed on our Bills.

Since I’m not living in Buffalo Area, but PA how do we watch Bills-Jags. Have NFL Ticket but understand will be only Streamed. Any help appreciated.

 

Go Bills from East Berlin PA

Fred

 

CB: You’re right you will be able to watch the game on live stream via Yahoo on your smartphone, computer, game console or smart TV. The game will also be broadcast on television in the Buffalo and Jacksonville, Fla., markets and shown on Sky’s cable network in Britain.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Play calling middle ground with Tyrod & EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2015 – 5:44 pm

There still isn’t a definitive decision on who will be starting at quarterback for the Bills on Sunday. EJ Manuel did take the majority of the reps for a second straight day in practice Thursday, but head coach Rex Ryan still has the door open for Tyrod Taylor to start. So if Manuel does in fact start is his skill set similar enough to that of Taylor to allow offensive coordinator Greg Roman to keep a lot of their offensive approach the same?

“I think each guy is different in their own way,” said Roman. “You can’t just say we’ve got this game plan for this quarterback, and this game plan for the other guy, because there are 10 other guys out there, too. And there’s only so much data space during the week for them to assimilate a game plan and all the adjustments.

“I think there’s got to be a middle ground you try to achieve. You try to tailor it to one guy (no pun intended), but at the same time there’s enough carry over that the rest of the offense can assimilate it to a high-enough level to go out and execute it.”

Roman said he doesn’t see playing Manuel in place of an injured Taylor necessitating a change in plan or approach as much as an adjustment in how the plan is accomplished.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of changing too much,” he said. “I think it’s a matter of what box do you pick out of.”


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Rex not counting out Tyrod for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2015 – 9:30 am

On Monday Bills head coach Rex Ryan admitted that Tyrod Taylor was very sore coming out of last Sunday’s win over Tennessee. Amid reports that Taylor could miss multiple games with a knee injury, Ryan said he’s not counting his starting quarterback out of Sunday’s pivotal AFC clash with the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.

In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio Wednesday morning, Ryan said he’s not going to underestimate Taylor’s toughness.

“I would not rule out Tyrod Taylor as starting this week,” said Ryan. “Even though it’s widely reported that (he won’t play). We’ll see. That’s a possibility, but I certainly wouldn’t count Tyrod Taylor out. He finished this game this past week. He’s got heart, he’s got toughness and a lot of ability.  So I definitely would not rule him out.”

Ryan was also asked about the team having to rally around EJ Manuel if he did in fact have to start Sunday. Ryan made it clear that there is belief and confidence in Manuel after he made tremendous strides with his personal game this offseason.

“We have a lot of confidence in EJ Manuel,” Ryan said. “That’s why we traded Matt Cassel. He had a terrific preseason. In fact he had one of the highest quarterback ratings in the NFL in the preseason. He had four touchdowns and no interceptions. We’re really happy with him if in fact he is playing quarterback.”


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EJ knows what his promotion means

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2015 – 4:21 pm

With the trade of Matt Cassel to Dallas, EJ Manuel is now the team’s backup quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor. Manuel knows how the urgency of his role changes now being in the number two spot.

“For me, I’m in the second position now, I know I am one play away from getting back on the field,” Manuel said.
“I have to do my job as a backup now, be prepared and be ready to go if my number gets called any of these Sundays.”

Rex Ryan said the trade of Cassel would not have happened had the organization not believed in the way that Manuel raised his game and level of play through the preseason. Manuel was asked how it feels to know the coaching staff has that kind of faith in him.

“It feels great.  I’ve been saying since the preseason, I feel like I did what I was supposed to do showing what I can do and showing my growth as a quarterback,” said Manuel. “Really happy to hear Coach say that about me.”

Manuel also appreciated what Cassel did for Buffalo’s quarterback room and his game personally.

“We’re definitely going to miss Matt, I reached out to him last night once I found out,” said Manuel. “I’m excited for him, getting an opportunity in Dallas. I learned a bunch from him, not just football X’s and O’s, but also how to be a professional. I think he really helped our room, so we’re going to miss him.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

The pros of having Manuel as Taylor’s backup

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2015 – 9:26 pm

In the wake of the Bills trade of Matt Cassel to Dallas, EJ Manuel becomes the permanent backup to starter Tyrod Taylor. Here are a couple of reasons why having Manuel as a backup to Taylor is a good thing.

1 – Scheme fit – EJ Manuel’s physical skill set runs far more parallel to Tyrod Taylor’s than Matt Cassel’s did. So although Cassel possessed the value of experience, had he been called into action for an injured Taylor during his time in Buffalo, the shift in offensive approach with Cassel in the lineup likely would’ve represented a dramatic change. There would be no read option and the number of deep shots down the field might be reduced. With Manuel now as the backup none of those elements of Buffalo’s offense goes away. 

2 – Development – As the third quarterback on the depth chart, opportunities for Manuel to truly advance and develop his game were limited to running the scout team each week. Now as the backup, Buffalo’s first-round pick will get at least a handful of reps during the week with the first team and be working more in concert with Taylor in preparation for and during games. It might not sound like much, but being in a similar situation is one of the main reasons Taylor was ready to win Buffalo’s starting job in his fifth NFL season.


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EJ focused only on improving

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2015 – 4:56 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel thought he was the backup after seeing Matt Cassel released on Saturday. Three days later Cassel is back on the roster and Manuel is now the number three. Obviously Manuel is disappointed, but he could not have been classier when he met the media Tuesday afternoon.

After admitting he was disappointed the third-year quarterback immediately shifted his focus.

“I think for me it’s still important to get better,” he said. “I did what I was supposed to do, which was have a good preseason and play well in the games. This is just what it is.”

Manuel said he had no idea that Cassel was coming back.

“I didn’t know. Those things aren’t up to me,” he said. “I heard he had got released and obviously I texted him and told him thanks for all the stuff he did for me. But they re-signed him this morning so I’ve just got to go with it. Personally I have to continue to get ready for the games in case something happens to Ty or Matt, but my biggest focus is just on getting better so all the other stuff really hasn’t bothered me.”


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Roman: Cassel best No. 2 at this moment

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2015 – 3:47 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman commented on the quarterback depth chart Tuesday. With Matt Cassel re-signed head coach Rex Ryan confirmed that the veteran is the number two quarterback behind starter Tyrod Taylor. Roman explained why.

“Matt would probably be the best suited at this moment to be our backup quarterback, but I have a lot of confidence in EJ as well,” said Roman. “Two different styles of players at the position, but I think to function as a backup it’ll probably be Matt right now and we’ll just see where that goes down the road, but we feel very good about Matt going in at any point in time.”

Roman’s comment clearly leaves the number two role subject to change at some point in the future, but Cassel is clearly the backup for the outset of the season.


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Fan Friday 9-4

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2015 – 12:08 pm

It’s a tough time of year for players as NFL dreams end for so many including at One Bills Drive. But we press on with your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Can you explain what the Bills will do going forward with Leodis? It looks like he won’t be on opening day roster, so can they put him on the PUP list or the short IR list? He is yet to practice/put on pads. How severe of injury is he recovering from? How long away is he from getting into shape/being ready to play? I like Darby starting but where is depth since Robey won’t play outside.

Josh

CB: One option is the Reserve/PUP list. If that is a choice they make with the cornerback it likely means that he was closer to being out six weeks than two or three. Reserve/PUP means that McKelvin would be eligible to return after Week 6 of the regular season, which would be Tuesday Oct. 13th. If they placed him on injured reserve/designated to return he would not be able to come back until the second half of the season and all indications are he would be back before that time.

Reserve/PUP probably makes the most sense if he’s still two or three weeks away because with all the time he’s spent off his feet he’ll need another two or three weeks to get back into game shape and sharpen his technique.

 

2 – Chris,

Do any of the three RBs that were signed have a chance at pushing for a roster spot in that crowded of a pool?

Thanks,
Michael

CB: Unfortunately no, but I would consider Bronson Hill or Cierre Wood for the practice squad. I like the preseason production they provided.

 

3 – Chris,
After both preseason games I believe that EJ has looked great so far. If not for about five drops his stat line would be more impressive than it already is. He seems accurate, he’s had good pocket awareness, and when he steps up he’s still looking to throw not just tuck it and run. He seems like he’s got the ability to run and throw where the other two QB’s rely on one or the other.

My question is how does he look throughout practices? I know you guys only show the highlights so does he look bad the rest of the time. For him not to be getting any first team reps playing the way he is confuses me.
Thanks for keeping a geographically challenged Bills fan up to date!

Jonathan H.

CB: In training camp when we were able to watch practice start to finish he wasn’t as consistent as Cassel and Taylor. Now that consistency improved as camp went along and you’ve obviously seen what he’s done in the games. Personally I just think that  EJ is a gamer, meaning he’s not going to look like the best player in practice, but when the lights come on and it’s game time, that’s when he plays his best.

While you’d like to see that consistency he’s shown in the preseason games also be present on the practice field, if you could only have one, you’d like him to be at his best in the game than practice.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is Dan Carpenter fixable in the short term? Hamstring for K no cakewalk repair.

Keyhole53

CB: Carpenter has been medically cleared to play so I don’t think it’s the physical nature of the injury that’s affecting him. Carpenter’s issue is his mechanics. The bottom line is he’s rusty from missing two and a half weeks of training camp with the injury. In my opinion he just has to get his rhythm back with his swing and he’ll be fine. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Why would anyone release Fred Jackson. Can someone tell us the real reason. That’s like the pats getting rid of Tom Brad

Joyriderman28

CB: As much respect as I have for Fred Jackson I also recognize that NFL clubs have to sometimes make tough decisions like this. I genuinely believe that the front office and coaching staff openly wondered if there was going to be a role for Jackson that used him often enough as they have in the past.

I think LeSean McCoy, when healthy is going to be an every down back, including third down. He’s a capable pass protector and a dangerous threat out of the backfield as a receiver.

With third down no longer seen as a role for Jackson it wouldn’t surprise me if they worried that there could be weeks where Jackson would be inactive. I think it would be more of a disservice to do something like that to Jackson and all he’s done for this team over the years.

So while it hurts everybody right now, including my wife who has called Jackson her favorite player for years, it’s better to give Fred the opportunity to really contribute for another club that has a bigger role in mind for him.

As Rex Ryan said himself he believes Fred can still play, but it sounds like he was going to be behind too many other backs on this roster to be a factor on the field week to week.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ takes decision in stride

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:03 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan named Tyrod Taylor his starting QB, but he would not reveal who his number two and number three quarterbacks are on the depth chart. Naturally EJ Manuel wasn’t happy about not winning the starting job, but he took the decision in stride.

“It was tough,” said Manuel. “I thought I had a pretty good preseason and played well in the games, but like I said last week it was the coach’s decision so all I can do is continue to work hard be a good teammate for this team.”

Manuel was nothing but professional in answering reporters’ questions in the locker room Monday afternoon. Manuel had a solid preseason completing almost 67 percent of his passes. He led the team in touchdown passes with four including a pair that were over 35 yards (37, 51). Matt Simms was the only other QB with a TD pass in the preseason. He also led the quarterbacks in yards per attempt with a fat mark of 11.9.

When asked about supporting Tyrod Taylor in his starting role, Manuel did not hesitate.

“One hundred percent,” said Manuel. “As a professional athlete you’ve got to be a man about it. And if you weren’t chosen it’s not the end of the road for you. Who knows what can happen? For me I’ll just continue to get better. I felt like with this competition going into this preseason and everything I felt like I worked extremely hard as I always do, but definitely excited with the way I was progressing and still am. I’m not going to allow not being selected as the starter to stop me from continuing to work and get better, so that’s just my approach right now.”


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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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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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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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills