Inside The Bills

Players know 3rd down needs a jump start

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2014 – 1:44 pm

The Bills offense had a trying time of converting on third down Sunday in their win over the Browns. So although they enjoyed the win, the men on offense realize they’ll need to dramatically improve their third down conversion rate this coming Sunday in Denver.

“We didn’t do well on third downs, I don’t know if we converted one, at all? But we won the game,” said Robert Woods. “That’s something we have to work on. We’ve got to win on third downs and put ourselves in good situations.”

Buffalo was 2-for-15 on third down conversions in the game. The Bills did not convert on their first 11 third down opportunities. Their first conversion came with 7:29 left in the game when Marqueis Gray took a short pass for 41 yards on a crucial 3rd-and-1. The other conversion came three plays later, on another 3rd-and-1, with Fred Jackson getting the necessary yard. Buffalo eventually kicked a field goal.

“We weren’t executing on third downs,” said Eric Wood. “We still didn’t play great. A lot of times, those four yard runs in the first half, those turned into six and seven yard runs in the second half.  And we were saying then, we want to be patient.  But at the same time, it’s frustrating when you’re not scoring.  We gotta do a better job on third down, that’s for sure.”

The Bills rank 26th in the league in third down conversion percentage at 36.3%.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills offense set to build off Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2014 – 9:58 am

Monday night’s win over the Jets saw Buffalo’s offense operate at perhaps its highest rate of efficiency this season. Now the task is duplicating that effort Sunday in a pivotal AFC game against the Browns.

“You hope to build off it,” said Eric Wood. “It was a challenging week and we came together, the city came together and we hope to ride a little of momentum for sure.”

The biggest challenge may be playing well at home, something that has proven difficult at times for the Bills this season.

“We haven’t played here in a while and we’re looking forward to it,” said Wood. “Looking forward to a packed house and a real home field advantage.”

Buffalo is 2-3 at Ralph Wilson stadium this season.


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Jets put their fronts in the mixer

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2014 – 10:08 am

The New York Jets defensive line is one of the best in football. They neutralize opposing run games by not giving up ground at the line of scrimmage and clogging up holes. But their pass rush isn’t too shabby either as they have the sixth-highest sack total in the league as well. Then head coach Rex Ryan throws another variable into the mix.

The Jets defense runs a bevy of different front looks at opposing offense, which forces any offensive lineman in the league to grind through a lot more game tape.

“It’s one of the best D-lines in the league right now,” said Kraig Urbik, who might make his first start this season at left guard. “They generate a lot of pressure and it’s the Jets. They do much different blitzes every down so we’re going to have to be on our game and do extra film work this week.”

“They have a lot more fronts that they show and that makes it more difficult to prepare,” said Eric Wood. “It definitely puts an onus on our film study.”

Step one however, will be standing their ground against a defensive line that doesn’t give up much.

“They have so many guys up there that when you watch film you don’t see them getting pushed back at all,” said Urbik. “They get a lot of one-on-ones and you see them beat a lot of one-on-ones too.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line looking to sharpen things up fast

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Buffalo’s offensive line again had their share of struggles at the line of scrimmage. The men up front are well aware of the issues they have to address, correct and improve moving forward. And it won’t be easy going up against one of the most physical defensive lines in football.

“We have to do a better job. That’s evident,” said Eric Wood. “We’re going to keep working and get this thing figured out because we’re not doing a very good job up front right now.”

“The offensive line, we have to do a better job with the small things,” Cordy Glenn said. “I  know we said it the last few weeks, but it’s far enough along in the season where we can’t keep doing the same thing every week.  We gotta take more pride in what we’re doing and just help the team out better so we don’t get in those bad situations so much.”

Stunts and twists by opposing defensive linemen have proven to be a problem since Week 3 and each opponent after that has turned to stunts and twists as well experiencing success. Glenn knows they have to neutralize it or the twist/stunt games will continue.

“We got to look at the film but until you stop it they will keep doing it,” he said. “We just have to figure out how to stop it this week and focus on that a little more. It’s a little bit of communication, just being on the same page, the same rhythm , just being comfortable with each other over there.”

As head coach Doug Marrone sees it the consistency with execution is what he wants most of all.

“They could play better. What I get hung up on is the consistency,” he said. “There are times when there’s a great pocket and no one around him. There are times where there’s not a great pocket around him. That’s what gets you frustrated, that lack of consistency. That’s what we’re going to need to become more successful, doing the things well, and that’s what gets you over the top. I think a lot of the units on the team were able to see that. There’s a picture of how we want things done and when we go out there we have to recognize when it’s not right, what was the problem? It starts from a numerous amount of things.”


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Will dramatic win be catalyst?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 9:30 am

After Sunday’s last second win over the Vikings head coach Doug Marrone said he hoped it could serve as a catalyst for his team. Here’s what the players thought about that prospect.

“I hope so,” said Eric Wood. “I hope we can get on a run. But the key is one game at a time.  And our focus turns to the Jets. It was a fun win, a big win.  But we have to move on, we have to be professional about this and not celebrate more than for what it is. That’s just one win.”

“It’s whatever we make it. Whatever we make it,” said Dareus. “It can be a turnaround factor for us, it can be whatever. We’ve got to go play every Sunday, it doesn’t even matter. Play in, play out, we gotta make it happen. It can be a turnaround, it could not.  We still gotta go out there and play and do the best we can.”

 


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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

Orton already has rapport with Wood

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2014 – 8:42 am

The Bills new starting quarterback this week, Kyle Orton, has not even been in town a month, so getting to know teammates and developing a rapport with the other players on offense is a slow and steady process. Naturally that process will now need to be ramped up with him in the starting lineup. Fortunately for him there’s one player at a pretty important position who Orton is familiar with.

Bills C Eric Wood is familiar with Orton, as he explained in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550.

“We are good friends,” said Wood of his relationship with Orton. “We have a lot in common. We have the same agent. So I’ve done what I can to make him feel comfortable. But on the field, with live reps, I’ll say we’ve have some (reps), but definitely not as many as we’re going to have this week that’s for sure.”

Wood also has a feel for Orton’s game.

“He’s gotten a lot of reps in practice,” said Wood. “He’s got a good arm. He’s smart, he’s confident. He looks like a quarterback. He looks like a guy who has been around the league. He knows how to run an offense, and I have a lot of confidence in him. Likewise with EJ. I think we have two quality quarterbacks and it is a shame that we had to make this move but I do have a lot of confidence in Kyle moving forward and I am excited to work with him moving forward. I have seen him play on film and stuff. He seems to be able to make plays. Hopefully, we’ll get it back on track on offense.”


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No time to let emotions deter preparation

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2014 – 8:35 am

Bills C Eric Wood did admit that when a quarterback change is made this early in the season that it can lead to some mixed feelings, mainly due to the unexpected nature of such a decision. At the same time the veteran center made it clear that those things have to put aside.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, Wood explained that there’s no time for weighing in with an opinion on the quarterback change.

“There’s probably mixed emotions. … I know, me personally, and anyone I speak to on the team, we have to roll,” he said. “You have to put that behind you. This kind of stuff happens in this business. Our focus is we have 12 more games if we want to get to the playoffs. There’s no pity parties in this business. There’s no time for it. We have three days of practice and a walk-through Saturday and then we’re playing in Detroit.  And we have to get a victory. You really have to put your emotions aside on this, whatever they may be and really just get back to work and prepare to get a win.”

Wood is confident that the captains on the team like himself will be able to keep the mood of the locker room upbeat despite the unexpected change and the back-to-back losses.

“This is a long season. We’ve started hot before. We’ve started slow before,” said Wood. “These games, this middle stretch of the season, are so big. You have to put yourself in position where you’re getting yourself to the playoffs. It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish the season.  … You can’t get down for dropping two in a row. We are 2-2. We are by no means out of it. We have a ton of talent on this team and I am not in the dumps by any means.

“We have 12 more games.  We have a lot of season ahead of us and we can’t waste all the work we put in to go down in the dumps for losing a game and not show up in Detroit. My big thing is if we go and get a win in Detroit then we have New England at home and that’s going to be rockin’ atmosphere and something to look forward too.  So I am really going to get on the guys and myself to push for a win this week.”


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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

OL determined to improve against stunts

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2014 – 3:02 pm

The Bills offensive line had some trouble with stunts and twists by the Houston defensive line on Sunday. It was a practice that the San Diego defensive line also used with some success against Buffalo. Center Eric Wood knows they’ll keep seeing it each week until they prove they can block it up.

“It’s tough on the road, communication was tough and they got us on some stunts and we all know that,” said Wood. “They beat us in matchups up front and we’re all to blame. You just keep working and keep drilling it. We’ve got a lot of young offensive linemen new to positions and they’ll keep getting better.”

Buffalo’s offensive linemen were in pass protection twice as much as they run blocked on Sunday as the Bills threw the ball 44 times. Wood said whatever is called it’s their job to execute it.

“When you get behind and early on we weren’t running the ball as effectively you’ve got to be prepared to pass block,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and complain about that. That’s the nature of the business. A lot of teams in this league pass it 44 times every week. We’ve got to do a better job.”


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Team leaders stood tall

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:25 pm

The Bills just named their captains last Monday. Six days later just about all of them had a pretty big hand in Sunday’s overtime victory.

The six players named captains were Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Eric Wood, Fred Jackson, Corey Graham and Brandon Spikes.

On offense Wood helped lead an offensive line that was new in terms of playing together and surrendered just one sack all day. They also helped the run game roll up almost 200 yards on the ground averaging almost six yards a carry.

Fred Jackson had the biggest run of the day in overtime on his 38-yard rumble down the sideline to the one.

On defense Mario Williams had a sack, Kyle Williams had an interception, Brandon Spikes was instrumental in stuffing the run and Corey Graham had an interception and a couple of pass breakups late in regulation to force Chicago to settle for a game-tying field goal.

Add in EJ Manuel’s performance in his natural leadership role of quarterback and it’s a pretty good day for Buffalo’s captains when it comes to setting an example.


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Offensive players not concerned

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2014 – 12:09 am

The Bills offense knows they didn’t finish the preseason the way they wanted to, but it hasn’t dampened the unit’s confidence in their ability to move the ball and score points.

Bills C Eric Wood said preseason results shouldn’t be shaking anyone’s belief on the offensive side of the ball.

“You just have to put it behind you and not lose your confidence,” said Wood. “I have a lot of confidence in this offense. We’ve put in a ton of work and I’m not going to get down because of a couple of preseason games.”

RB Boobie Dixon admits there were some struggles at times this preseason, but he’s convinced they’ll be straightened out by the opener in Chicago.

“We’ve really just got to watch the film and then we’ll figure that out,” he said. “Right now it’s just that everybody’s got to stay positive and stay together. We can’t let all the outside noise throw us off track. It wasn’t pretty but it was the pre-season still. We’ve got the regular season coming up and we’ve got a chance to write it next week so that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”


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Wood: Glenn is a rare talent

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 9:19 pm

It was a good sight for Buffalo’s offensive linemen to see Saturday night. Cordy Glenn in a helmet again. And though he was and will be limited in practice for a good while, just seeing him drop into his kick slide again had his teammates excited.

“Yeah he looked good out there in individual drills,” said Eric Wood. “We’re going to take it slow with him. He’s had some time off, but definitely excited to have him back.”

Wood was asked how long he thinks it’ll take Glenn to sharpen his game back up. The Bills center doesn’t see it taking all that long.

“It shouldn’t be. Cordy has pretty rare genes when it comes to offensive linemen,” said Wood. “He was born with a ton of strength and a ton of athleticism. The little nuances and techniques will take a little bit of time, but it shouldn’t take too long.”

For Wood and the other linemen they weren’t caught off guard by Glenn showing up on the practice field. In fact Wood knew what was coming.

“I expected it to come this week,” he said. “It is what I expected, but excited to have a caliber of player like Cordy Glenn, one of the best left tackles in the league in my opinion to add to our lineup.”


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Fan Friday 8-8

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2014 – 12:02 pm

Hey Bills fans. My apologies for the brief hiatus that Fan Friday took the past two weeks, but we’re back. So keep firing off your questions on email to AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills

Here’s the latest edition of your questions.

1 - Chris,
Thanks for the piece on Jeff.  I was wondering how he was progressing.
He impressed me at the SJF scrimmage last year.  Seemed to get the ball out quickly and made good decisions.
He reminds of Alex Van Pelt but a better athlete.  He impressed again against KC until the pick 6.  He appears to be the fastest and most elusive QB on his feet.  Finally, the Bills protected him all last year with a roster spot so they saw something they liked.
What if he outplays EJ in the preseason again?

Thanks for the good work.

Dan Malwitz
Orchard Park

CB: Tuel has looked good in training camp, picking up where he left off in the spring minicamp. His first preseason game performance was also encouraging. This past week in practice leading up to tonight’s game Tuel gave way to Thad Lewis for second team offense reps. I expect Lewis to be in the backup quarterback role tonight against the Carolina Panthers.

As good as Tuel has looked this competition is a marathon not a sprint. We’ll need to see how Lewis fares tonight with the second unit. Through the first three weeks of training camp practices, Tuel has been the more consistent performer and the better decision maker. But there are still almost three weeks of camp left so there is a lot of time for things to change.

As for Tuel’s chances of unseating EJ Manuel, it simply won’t happen. This organization has put all their eggs in the Manuel basket to lift the offense to new heights. Tuel, or Lewis for that matter, will only take the field in the regular season if Manuel is injured and cannot play. Priority number one is getting Manuel ready to lead the offense this fall.

 

2 – Dear Chris,

I do believe our receivers are some of the most diverse in the NFL. We have Sammy who is very versatile and I think is worth what we gave up in the future for him. We have Mike Williams who we traded for from the Bucs for a late round pick who can be very reliable in the end zone. We also have the help from Robert Woods in the slot who can be a reliable replacement for Steve Johnson. Then we have Marquise Goodwin who is somebody who can break the top off the roof with his lighting fast speed. To top it off we have Marques Easley who helps big time on special teams. The question I have is how do you think Coach Marrone is going to incorporate all these wide receivers to make a winning group who can help Manuel exceed to be the franchise QB I believe he can be?
Thanks,
Bill

CB: I think your description of diverse is very accurate. I believe it’s what GM Doug Whaley had in mind in changing some of the pieces. He got two boundary receivers in Mike Williams and Sammy Watkins, who have large catch radiuses to pull in passes that may not be right on the money. Watkins and Williams are also experts at winning jump balls. Robert Woods and Chris Hogan are both good separation receivers, who can get yards after the catch. Goodwin and Graham offer deep speed to stretch a defense and you’ve already mentioned Marcus Easley’s strengths.

All of that talent is on the roster to provide Manuel with the confidence to let it fly and trust his playmakers. Williams and Watkins are capable of making plays even when they’re covered. Woods and Hogan have a high percentage of route wins meaning they’re usually open for Manuel to make use of and Goodwin and Graham are always threats to get behind a defense.

The bottom line however, is it’s on Manuel to make them successful because no matter how effective any of the receivers are at winning their matchups, those wins do not add up to anything if Manuel doesn’t target them and make the right decisions. The success of the receiving corps is ultimately dependent on Manuel’s on field decision making and accuracy.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

Thanks continuing to answer questions concerning the Bills. Many fans including myself really enjoy seeing your answers to what sometimes are very difficult questions. This question may qualify as a difficult one.

With 4 running backs on the team, what’s chances someone gets traded?

Thanks,
Bob Hammond
CB: Appreciate the kind words. As for the running backs on Buffalo’s roster, the natural speculation is that the staff will not keep all four on the squad when the roster is reduced to 53. I think what most casual observers are not considering are two important factors.

First, this team ran the football more than any other NFL club in the league last season. That heavy workload was part of the reason both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller succumbed to lingering injuries that compromised their effectiveness in 2013.

The front office and coaching staff made a conscious decision to fortify their running back stable in the offseason so in the event that injuries crop up again this season there will be little to no drop off in their rushing attack. Bryce Brown and ‘Boobie’ Dixon provide such depth.

Barring a catastrophic injury situation at another position that could require them to move one of their running back assets to fill a void via trade, I believe all four will be on the roster come September because at its core this offense will be defined by their run game.

And teams that are run heavy are quickly realizing that if one of your top two backs goes down to injury the identity of your offense will be dramatically impacted. Having these four backs protects against such a setback.

 

4 – Chris,

A – With the signing of Anthony Dixon and his power and size as RB, does that pose a threat to the FB position and the job of Frank Summers?
B – At this point who is considered the 1st Backup Center to Eric Wood?
C – Has it been disclosed by the team as to the health issue Chris Hairston had?  Can he play both guard and tackle positions which would drastically improve his chances of making the roster?

-Joe

CB: I think Dixon is a lock to make the roster, and if the numbers do not allow for a true fullback in Frank Summers, then yes it’s likely that Dixon would serve in the fullback role when such play calls on offense require one.

Backup center to Eric Wood is Doug Legursky at this point.

Chris Hairston medical situation from last season has not been revealed due to HIPAA laws. It is only up to Hairston as to whether or not he wants to make his condition, which is he over now, to be disclosed. As has been seen in training camp, he’s been lined up at both guard and tackle, with tackle being his most recent position. That is where he feels most comfortable since guard is new to him. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares tonight with the expectation that he’ll line up as the second team left tackle.

 

5 – Hi Chris,
As always, thank you so much for all of your excellent work. The opportunity for Bills fans to stay informed from afar is just excellent. I want to begin by saying I have all the faith in Jim Schwartz and the Bills defensive personnel, but I would like your insight on something. I understand that the exotic blitz packages of the Pettine era will not continue and that there needs to be a balance. We clearly weren’t where we needed to be against the run nor on third down efficiency. In the July 4th Fan Friday you mentioned that you would trade 10 sacks for the top 3rd down defense and top 10 run defense. I completely agree, but what I haven’t heard mentioned by anyone is how that would affect our secondary.

I was very impressed with the play of our secondary, even without Jairus Byrd, and especially by the number of turnovers they generated. My question is, by reducing the QB pressure, don’t we sacrifice more than just the sacks? I worry that we open ourselves up for more deep plays from the opponents passing game. I believe there is a perfect balance in there somewhere and I truly believe Jim Schwartz is deserving of the respect he is given around the league, I am just curious to hear your thoughts on the issue.
Thank you,
Cory in VA

CB: The only point I was trying to make was I would rather have more balanced production defensively across the board. I didn’t mean to infer that 10 fewer sacks would need to happen to have a better run defense or better third down defense. What encourages me is Jim Schwartz strives to have across the board production with his defense. And I don’t believe that you have to sacrifice sacks to be better in those other areas.

Schwartz has been a successful DC because he has found that perfect balance in his career as a defensive play caller. It’s my belief that he’ll be able to do that here perhaps more than anywhere else he has coached in his career. The main reason why is because this is the most talented secondary he has ever had in his career as a defensive coordinator.

When you have a secondary capable of man coverage it helps the pass rush and when you have a front four that can generate effective pressure it allows you to drop seven into coverage. Schwartz will take those two advantages and creatively use play calling to keep opposing offenses guessing.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wood on progress of offense

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2014 – 10:29 pm

Bills center Eric Wood was asked by the media if he feels the offense should be a little further along than they are at this point in terms of efficiency and execution. Wood in examining the game tape of the Hall of Fame game against the Giants believes there are some easy fixes to the things that slowed them down Sunday night.

“I’m not necessarily worried about where we’re at as an offense,” said Wood. “I have a lot of confidence with where we’re going. A lot of the mistakes were easily correctable. There were some mental errors and such, that moving forward will get corrected. It’s not necessarily guys getting beat as much physically as it is some mental stuff.”

Wood also warned not to pin any shortcomings of the offense on EJ Manuel.

“I think EJ [Manuel] has had a great camp so far,” he said. “It’s tough to get into a rhythm for two series and there were a couple batted balls that were on us. So, it’s kind of a group effort.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wood: Henderson is making progress

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 10:28 pm

As the first week of training camp wraps up Seantrel Henderson has taken every snap at the starting left tackle position except on day one when Chris Hairston had to be a last second replacement for practice. He’s replacing Cordy Glenn, who is on the non-football illness list, with no word as to when he might be removed from it. Henderson’s veteran teammates up on the line see a pretty talented physical specimen who will just need time on the job.

“Seantrel is doing a great job.  I’ve seen a lot to like out of him,” said Eric Wood. “He’s really taken this opportunity to run with it. He’s extremely talented.  He’s really working on his technique diligently, and I’m glad he’s on our team.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wood, C.J. not worried

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 10:25 pm

Much has been made of the offensive execution in practice through the first week of training camp. The players themselves admit they’ve got to do better. At the same time they feel there’s enough time to get everything running like well-oiled machine come September.

“No it’s not a concern,” said C.J. Spiller. “We’re not even in August yet, but we have to get better. We understand that we have to be better as a unit.  We got the guys, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Third down, which has just undergone a good deal of installation on both sides of the ball, is where some of the execution problems lie according to Eric Wood. That’s when Buffalo’s vaunted pass rush, which set a franchise record with 57 sacks last season, can turn it loose.

“We understand that if we can block our front four then we’ll be able block about anybody,” said Eric Wood. “For my money, I think they’re about the best in the league, but that’s no excuse.  We got to be able to do our jobs and we got to do a better job.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills players confident in roster strength

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2014 – 9:45 am

There aren’t many Bills players who have been on this roster much more than five or six seasons. For those that have they see this year’s roster as the strongest in quite some time.

Bills 2009 first round pick Eric Wood in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio believes their 2014 roster is the strongest since he’s been a part of the squad.

“I feel like we’ve been getting better year in and year out and I feel like this is the best roster to date we’ve had since I’ve been with the Bills,” said Wood. “Physically the front sevens on both sides of the ball are really good, especially our defensive line. But our skill positions are really fast and getting really experienced too. I think it’s time for us to take off.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Wood strengthened bond with EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2014 – 2:40 pm

The still very popular Bills of the 90’s fought so hard for each other because of the bonds they developed off the field as much as in the heat of battle. Bills center Eric Wood took a page out of their book this offseason with a rather important offensive teammate.

Making every effort to strengthen the bond with QB EJ Manuel, Wood in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio explained how he brought his quarterback along on an annual pilgrimage of his.

“I brought him back to the Kentucky Derby this year with me and we really have become close, which I feel needs to happen in that center-quarterback relationship. He’s my guy moving forward and I’m super excited for him. I know he’s excited to go back out and really play well this year,” said Wood. “EJ struggled a little bit last year, but a lot of that was when he was coming off of injuries and didn’t have a lot of practice time. Given all this time in camp and the way he’s grown this offseason mentally and physically I expect big things out of him. He’s my guy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wood not worried about EJ-Sammy chemistry

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2014 – 2:30 pm

Sammy Watkins made news when he said the on field chemistry isn’t all the way there yet between himself and EJ Manuel. Of course not many realize the pair only had about a dozen practices together on the field this spring. Regardless veteran center Eric Wood isn’t concerned about the passing game connection of Manuel and Watkins. He believes it will develop quickly.

In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio Wood expressed his confidence in the abilities of Manuel and Watkins coming together.

“Chemistry is extremely important and I think EJ and Sammy will definitely get there,” Wood said. “They made some plays in the spring that were really eye-opening. I think EJ is really getting better as a player and Sammy is going to be an NFL probably very quickly. He’s got a tremendous work ethic and his skill set is pretty obvious to those of us who have watched him.”

While most veteran players might be disappointed by the extended training camp the Bills have in light of the additional preseason game, Wood sees it as a benefit for young players like Manuel and Watkins.

“This extended training camp with us having the Hall of Fame game, that extra time it seems pretty daunting as a player, but it’s work that we definitely need if we want to get where we want to get on offense so any extra work before we open up against Chicago would be great.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills