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Inside The Bills

Wood: Red zone execution was terrible

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2013 – 12:29 pm

The Bills went 0-for-3 in the red zone on Sunday when it came to punching the ball in for a touchdown. Buffalo had to settle for three field goals as gaining yards inside the Jets 20 proved hard to come by. Eric Wood didn’t think much of their efforts.

“Just a lot of mistakes on offense, and red zone execution was terrible,” said the Bills co-captain. “If we score on a couple of those when we were down there it’s a totally different ball game. We don’t give up six sacks because they’re not able to tee off on us.”

On Buffalo’s three red zone opportunities they ran a total of 10 plays. All together those 10 plays gained a total of 13 yards. The three third down situations Sunday went as follows.

3rd-and-8 – incomplete pass

3rd-and-6 – one-yard gain

3rd-and-5 – incomplete pass

 


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Bills admit Jets ‘D’ had some wrinkles

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2013 – 1:17 am

For the most part they were well prepared for what the Jets have in their arsenal of blitz calls, but Eric Wood and Fred Jackson both admitted that the Jets threw some defensive looks at Buffalo that were tough to identify.

“You have to give them credit. They did things that are different (and) that’s their defense—create some confusion,” said Fred Jackson. “It worked for them on a couple of plays there. We have to get better at seeing those things and make the plays when we have the opportunity.”

“They did a pretty good job of stacking the box early and throwing a few different looks that gave us trouble identifying, but we didn’t execute well enough against it,” said Wood.

EJ Manuel was sacked eight times in the game, the most sacks surrendered by Buffalo in a game since giving up nine to Indianapolis on Dec. 11, 2000.


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Wood: Our ‘D’ readied us for Jets ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2013 – 10:44 am

As we profiled on the home page of Buffalobills.com this morning, both EJ Manuel and Geno Smith might be seeing more familiar defensive looks pre-snap on Sunday than they have seen to this point from an opponent in their young careers because of the similarities between their own team’s defense and that of their opponent this week in the Bills-Jets matchup. Bills center Eric Wood also found it helpful when it came to putting together the line call assignments.

“Yeah absolutely,” Wood said. “We feel it’s an advantage that we’ve seen this all summer. There are some differences, but some of the looks are the same and some of them are tough to prepare for so having seen these all summer has made some of the assignment installation easier.”

We’ll see on Sunday if that leads to more effective execution and faster tempo for the Bills with what is anticipated to be improved pre-snap recognition.


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Offense must get in sync sooner

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2013 – 1:20 pm

Buffalo’s offense is right in the middle of the pack in terms of points per game through the first two weeks of the season, but the players on that side of the ball all believe they have to start games off much better than they have in the first two games.

Through the first two games, the Bills have not put any points on the board in the first quarter. In fact, 35 of the team’s 45 points on the season have been scored in quarters two and three.

“We obviously have to get better earlier in games,” said captain Eric Wood. “We’ve shown we get better as games wear on. I don’t know if that’s our tempo wearing on the defense, us getting more comfortable or what, but we’ve got to start the game better and we know that. That’ll be a premium coming up.”

“Just being more consistent I would say,” said Robert Woods. “We seem to have some slow starts. I feel if we start off early and play well we could go a long way.”


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Bills not big on winning time of possession

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2013 – 1:23 pm

The New England Patriots won the time of possession battle in Sunday’s season opener with the Bills by better than 15 minutes. That’s more than a quarter’s worth of game clock as the Pats held onto the ball for 37:43 to Buffalo’s 22:17. But winning time of possession is not high on the Bills’ priority list. Moving the ball quickly and scoring points is the main aim.

Bills captain Eric Wood explained that based on their style of play on offense, winning time of possession could prove difficult.

“I don’t think we’re going to win a lot of time of possession battles this year and we’re fine with that,” said Wood. “We just need to run more plays. We would’ve liked to have their number of plays (89) (Sunday) and wear them down a little bit more because when we were able to put drives together I felt our tempo was great. But when we do go three and out our defense gets hung out to dry. But they’re in good condition too, they’re prepped for it. They know what’s going to happen.”

The key to maintain tempo on offense for the Bills are positive plays, completions in the pass game and no penalties. Third down conversions are obviously a part of that.

“I think the biggest thing is getting the first one of the drive,” said Scott Chandler of third down conversions. “Then you start to get the defense on their heels. We’ve got to be better. Obviously, we had some short ones that we didn’t convert.  We had some in key situations that we didn’t convert. If we could have sustained a drive or two in the second half I think it would have been a different game.”


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When the Bills will slow tempo down

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2013 – 8:37 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone effectively explained why his offense remained in their up tempo no huddle style late in the game. Clinging to a one-point lead he and his offensive staff felt they had to score more points to win the game and understandably so, knowing a one-point lead with almost five minutes on the clock is unlikely to stand up against the Patriots. So they remained in their no huddle attack. But there are times when the Bills will slow it down to eat up clock. Here’s when.

According to team captain Eric Wood, the Bills need to be up by a couple of touchdowns before they gear down their offense and focus on chewing up time on the game clock.

“I think you have to be up two scores to slow us down, that’s the strength of our deal,” said Wood. “We want to stay aggressive. Up one point, I don’t think we switch our offense. We were all on board for it. It wasn’t like we were second guessing it at any point. We wanted to go down and score touchdowns. Even looking back, they’re sitting on a knee at the end. It’s maybe one less knee they take because we still go three and out.”

 


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Wood wanted no distractions during season

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 7:18 pm

One of the chief reasons Eric Wood pushed to get a contract extension done now was so it wouldn’t distract him during the regular season knowing he was entering the last year of his contract.

“It was extremely important,” said Wood. “From this point on, all of my focus is on no contract, no outside distractions and that was extremely important. I thought if it did linger on I was mature enough that it wouldn’t affect my play, that it wouldn’t affect my preparation, but deep down just knowing that the risk of something happening or maybe a poor performance could effect a contract, that could definitely come in to play.”


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Wood feeling good about O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 5:56 pm

Bills C Eric Wood just signed a long-term contract extension with the Bills late Friday. He’s confident that with Colin Brown being the only change on their front five from last year that they’ll be able to hit the ground running in 2013.

“I feel great about it,” Wood told Buffalobills.com. “Luckily this year we’ve stayed pretty injury free and we’ve taken a lot of reps with that first unit and got a lot of snaps in the preseason. So we head into the regular season pretty confident in the group that we have and we expect a lot out of ourselves.”


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Defense is more physical

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2013 – 12:40 pm

Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has demanded an attacking, aggressive, relentless defensive approach and through two games in the preseason he’s gotten just what he wanted. Even the players on the offensive side of the ball have taken notice.

“You can hear the hits from the sideline, and that’s something we haven’t had,” said Wood. “It’s a lot of the same guys as last year. They’re just playing with an attitude. We love watching it. That gives us a spark now. Earlier we didn’t do a whole lot with it, but they bailed us out a couple of times. Once we got rolling, we weren’t battling back from 14-0; it was 3-0. That’s huge.”


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Why players believe things will be different

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2013 – 9:34 am

The Bills have talked before about changing the losing culture that has enveloped the franchise since the turn of the century. Players have willingly bought in before, but under Doug Marrone and his staff, it sounds like the players genuinely believe things will be different this time around.

“We’re breeding an attitude around here,” said Wood. “We are trying to be the toughest team out there each week. You don’t do that by going out there and laying an egg in the preseason. You go to the practice field each day and you go to preseason games with an attitude.

“That’s something we talk about: our attitude out there. The toughness we play with is something we have to do week-in and week-out. Nobody respects us in the league and we know it. Nobody cares that we’re 2-0 in the preseason. We won the games and we feel good about it, but we don’t care about our record in the preseason. But we want to be the toughest team through the two weeks we have had.

“The right attitude is going to put us in a position to win games. Being tougher is going to help us win games. Now, do these games count? No. But the feelings we’re getting, getting used to winning, that’s important.”


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Eric Wood likes feel of this ‘new’ better

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2013 – 9:52 pm

He’s been through three coaching regimes as he enters his fifth season with the Bills in the NFL. Eric Wood has been optimistic with new staffs before, but Doug Marrone’s collection of coaches has him as confident as he’s been in a Bills uniform that this change will truly be for the better.

Having seen previous coaching changes come up short with his own eyes, Wood wasn’t going to talk too big and gush about the staff. He knows talk is cheap. It is pretty evident though that the Bills center and his teammates believe in these coaches.

“I like this coaching staff we’ve assembled,” said Wood. “I like the group of guys we’ve assembled. I like our attitude right now.  I like our scheme.  At this point, that’s about all you can say.  We’re going to be tougher this year, but until you get on the field you don’t know that.  And we can say we’re going to be smarter, and healthier,  but until we’re out there, that’s up for debate.”

Kevin Kolb echoed Wood’s sentiments about the coaching staff throwing his support behind the approach of Marrone and their plans for the offense.

“I’m very confident in what we’re doing as an offense and what we’re doing as a team and the strides we’ve taken and the way that coach Marrone structures this entire thing I’m a believer,” said Kolb. “That’s the number one important thing for me right now. Moving forward hopefully we get to do it together. Whatever happens of course I’m here for the team and I’ll do whatever it takes.”


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Bills blitz scheme productive

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2013 – 4:01 pm

The defense had a productive day in the final OTA practice session of the week for the Bills. It was probably the most effective blitzing day for Mike Pettine’s crew this spring. In defense of the offensive line they were without two of their top three offensive tackles. Still, it’s an encouraging sign for a defense that found sacks hard to come by.

There was a stretch during team work where the defense had four sacks in a span of eight plays. Practice even ended with a sack, but as we’ve heard before it’s typical to see the defense ahead of the offense at this point in time.

“It is a bit easier for the defense knowing they just have to react,” said center Eric Wood. “That being said we’ve had some missed assignments that have been pretty brutal but that’s going to happen when you install a new offense. Missed guys, missed blitzers, that just completely blows up the play, and then you watch the film and two guys were open on the back end and if one guy maybe picks up a block or makes his assignment then it’s a great play. You’ve kind of got to take the good with the bad in these early stages of an offense and understand that on the back end we’re going to come out all right.”

 


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Fan Friday 5-17

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2013 – 12:31 pm

Time for the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,

I don’t see how anybody can say that the Bills are good on the offensive line. The loss of Levitre left a gaping hole there. RT is a question mark, since Pears was injured all last year, and Eric Wood seems like he might be injury prone.

CB: I think your concerns about left guard are legitimate, but beyond that Buffalo has capable players for the starting roles and depth behind them. At tackle you have Cordy Glenn on the left and Chris Hairston on the right. Erik Pears is still limited, but when healthy more than capable himself on the right side.

Kraig Urbik is your right guard with Wood in the pivot. Depth-wise you have Zebrie Sanders as a tackle guard option once healthy. Beyond that it is a green group in terms of playing experience, but that’s the case for most of the league.

 

2 – Chris,

With the new high tempo offense, can we expect Doug Marrone to try to take a lead by choosing to receive this year?

Please say it is so,

Len in NYC

CB: I’ll have to ask him about that to be sure, but most NFL head coaches have found that the research shows if you choose to defer you typically wind up with the last possession of the first half. Obviously by deferring you also get the first possession of the second half. Those back-to-back possessions are seen as valuable in the eyes of many coaches. However, if your defense is substandard it might be wiser to choose to receive first if you win the toss. I’ll see if we can get an answer on coach Marrone’s philosophy on that.

 

3 – Hi Chris:
Now that the draft is over and we still need some positional fills, who do you  think the Bills will go after in FA to fill those voids (like OL, LB, CB)?

Thanks for delivering!
Mike from Orlando

CB: I think cornerback could prove to be the most pressing need. Buffalo has some interesting young talent at corner among the undrafteds, but there’s already a good deal of youth at the position. I wouldn’t be surprised if they added a veteran to that group at some point.

 

4 – Dear Chris,

My questions are about Brad Smith, I have heard he has looked good this spring as a WR. Is this his only role now or could he still be a wildcat/#3 game day QB? Will coach Marrone even employ the wildcat? If not could Smith be on the trade block at some point this off season?

 

Either way I wish him the best the coming season. He’s a real asset as a triple threat and that seems to be something this new staff seems to value.

I hope to hear from you soon on this as I’m sure I’m not the only fan to be wondering about Brads future here. As always GO BILLS!!!
Thanks,

Scott Kane,
Seneca,Pa.

CB: Yes, Brad Smith is strictly a receiver and a return man at this point. Based on coach Marrone’s comment on the Wildcat after the draft, I highly doubt we’ll see it as any respectable part of Buffalo’s offense.

Smith to his credit has performed well in OTA practices. He and T.J. Graham have probably benefited the most from the absence of Stevie Johnson on the practice field.

As for the trade block, I think we’re a bit ahead of the game at this point. There’s a lot of evaluation that needs to be done by this coaching staff.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Firstly, thank you for your coverage. As a Bills fan since 1986 living on the other side of the world, I am more than appreciative of all informed coverage.

Two quick questions: have the Bills had talks with Brandon Moore. if not, why not?

Secondly, it is all but impossible to follow college football from here. However, I have watched Keith Pough’s highlights. Admittedly, highlights can be very misleading, but he looked terrific. Why was he not drafted? What chance does he have of making the team?

Thanks,
Jeff Wallace,
Sydney, Australia

CB: Thanks for the kind words. To my knowledge the Bills have not talked to Brandon Moore. Obviously, Bills head coach Doug Marrone knows him extremely well. He was the Jets assistant offensive line coach, who turned him from a defensive lineman to a very successful guard on the offensive side. So there’s a relationship there. At age 33, he’s probably not what the Bills are looking for knowing they want to build this roster from the ground up with players that will be here for the long haul.

However, if they do not like what they feel they are getting from the guard spot you can’t rule out the Bills making a phone call to the veteran.

As for Keith Pough, he’s a bit undersized and did not perform well at the Combine, especially when it came to his 40 time (4.87). He also played at a lower level of college competition at Howard. That doesn’t mean he can’t make an NFL roster, but it discourages NFL clubs from taking a chance on him with a draft choice. Signing him as an undrafted offers less risk. I do know that the Bills are high on him among their undrafted group.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2013 – 7:16 am

The Bills are just firing up OTAs and players will be on the local airwaves to talk about it this morning.

Eric Wood will be on WGR 550 at 7:30 am this morning on the Howard Simon show.

Arthur Moats will be on WCMF 96.5 FM at 7:45.


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Wood: “Bills not re-building”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 3, 2013 – 5:00 pm

It’s been 13-years since a playoff appearance, and nine years since the Bills have had a winning record.

But that doesn’t mean the 2013 Bills are in “rebuilding” mode, according to veteran Center Eric Wood.

He’s one of several veterans on hand this week for the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program that started Tuesday.  And even with a new coaching staff in place, Wood rejects the notion that the 2013 Bills are starting from scratch.

“We have a lot of good players around here, “Wood said this week.  “None of us sitting in this building are expecting a rebuilding year.  I understand there are questions at the quarterback positions, and that’s the most important position on the field, but we have a lot of guys coming back on defense with a pretty exciting defensive coordinator coming in.  We’re going to be a little more aggressive offensively and try to use some of our youth up front, move around a little bit more, and do some exciting things.”

“From my standpoint, I don’t see why we would need to rebuild,” he continued.  “Am I going to sit here and predict how many games we are going to win?  No.  I haven’t even been on the field with these guys or seen what we’re going to run.”

Wood also rejects the idea that the Bills missed the boat by only signing two veteran free agents in the first three weeks of free agency.

“It’s easy to think that we didn’t do anything big in free agency, we didn’t sign the top guys,” he said.  “But last year,  we signed the two top pass rushers.  You don’t have the money to do that every year.”

“You kind of get lost in all the big names that are signed, you feel like you’re in a rebuilding stage from the media looking in,” he said.  “But from us, sitting in this building, there’s no way we think that.”


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Fast paced offense coming for the Bills?

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 3, 2013 – 4:15 pm

This week is the first week the Buffalo Bills new coaching staff has had to sit down with veteran players.  Three months after the staff was assembled, the players are finally on hand for the first week of the team’s Voluntary Offseason Conditioning program.

And it’s the first time Bills veterans have had to get a clue on what kind of offense new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett might have in mind.

Based on what they’ve seen the first few days, Bills players are bracing for a fast-paced offensive attack, with a heavy dose of no-huddle.

Center Eric Wood says he expects the tempo to be accelerated based on the type of offense Hackett ran at Syracuse University.

“Ive watched them (Syracuse) beat the dog out of Louisville, and they looked really good then,” Wood said this week.  “I saw them in the bowl game a little bit, too, and they looked good.”

“That’s kind of the way the league is going–New England runs a lot of up-tempo,  Peyton’s done it forever.  I’m sure we won’t be exclusively no huddle,  but we’re going to try to keep people on their heels.  I think that will put guys in more successful situations.”


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Wood ready for Final Four trip

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 3, 2013 – 1:45 pm

He’s a loyal alumnus of the University of Louisville.  And Bills Center Eric Wood has been following his team’s march to the Final Four for the last two weeks.

Wood appeared on The John Murphy Show two weeks ago as the Cardinals basketball team got ready for their first two games in the NCAA tournament.  He went to those games in Lexington, Kentucky.    Now he’s headed to Atlanta this weekend, to watch his team play Wichita State Saturday night, for the right to go to the Championship game on Monday.

If they beat Wichita State, Louisville will face either Michigan or Syracuse in the title game.  And he already knows which team he wants.

“I don’t want Syracuse for a fourth time,” he says, referring to Louisville’s previous three meetings with the Orange this year.  The Cardinals won two of the three.

“I was right behind the bench for the Syracuse game at Madison Square Garden,” Wood says, “and when you see their defense at floor level, it’s intimidating.  They got the long guards up front, it looks like there’s nowhere to throw the ball. I stand four inches taller than both our one and two guards. It’s a daunting task for those guys.”

Wood has also reached out to injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware.  He suffered a gruesome compound fracture of his leg in the regional final last Sunday, a broken leg similar to the one Wood suffered in 2009, in a game at Jacksonville.

“I shot him a text yesterday (Monday) and said,  ‘No need to text me back, I’ll call you in the next week.’   Just praying for him.   I told him, ‘I’m praying for you, I went through the same thing in ’09 and came back to start the next season.  There’s no doubt in my mind you will too.  Keep your spirits up, while it feels like it’s the end of the world, it’s not. You’ll come back from it.’”

Wood says he’s confident Kevin Ware will undergo a complete recovery.

“He’s in a lot better shape than I am.  There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll come back and start next year.  The first few months are extremely tough.  Your life is basically on hold for awhile.   He’ll show up in a few places a little embarrassed in a wheelchair.  It’s not a whole lot of fun, but you’ll come out the back end.  And once you do come back, you got a rod in your leg.  It’s not like an ACL or something, you’re not going to re-break your leg out there.  I was just trying to lift his spirits a little bit.”


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Eric Wood ready to assume leadership

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 22, 2013 – 7:45 pm

Bills Center Eric Wood is getting set for his fifth year as an anchor on the offensive line.  And with the departure of some veteran teammates via free agency, Wood says he’s ready to fill the leadership void.

Wood was a guest Friday night on The John Murphy Show.  He’s spent most of the week following his alma mater, the Louisville Cardinals, the top seed in the NCAA Basketball Championship.  But he did look ahead to the upcoming Bills season.  He told host John Murphy he expects the new Bills coaching staff will look to him to provide leadership in the locker room.

“Yeah, for sure,” he said.  “And I’m assuming that’s one of the roles this coaching staff will expect me to have. I look forward to that.”

Wood is entering the final year of his original rookie contract, but he says he’s not thinking about that as he approaches the upcoming offseason workouts.

“Hopefully I can have a deal done with Buffalo before too long, and seal up my future in Buffalo,” he said on the radio show.  “But at this point, I’m just looking forward to my fifth year in Buffalo, really feeling healthy this time of the year for the first time in a while,  and I’m doing OTAs for the first time in a while, and just really excited about this season’s going to bring.”

Wood plans on attending the Bills voluntary offseason conditioning program that begins Tuesday April 2nd.

The entire interview with Eric Wood is available here:


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Wood predicted big things for Cardinals

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2013 – 9:37 am

Bills center Eric Wood is a rabid college basketball fan, especially when it comes to his own Louisville Cardinals. After celebrating the Cardinals’ Big East Tournament title on Sunday, Wood is planning to attend each of the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament to watch the Cardinals in person. Last fall, Wood was telling all his teammates and the athletic trainers how good Louisville was going to be, but no one would take him seriously.

“I told everyone at the beginning of the year what kind of team we were going to be just based on the guys coming in and the guys we had coming back,” Wood told Buffalobills.com. “And I was hearing it from everybody when we were taking our lumps early in the year, so it’s nice to text them all now knowing the position we’re in now and how we finished the regular season.”


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Wood recruiting Welker?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2013 – 2:21 pm

Bills center Eric Wood is offering to lead New England free agent WR Wes Welker on a tour of Buffalo and the team facilities should he choose to make a free agent visit to Orchard Park.

Wood did so on his Twitter account.

It’s unclear if a slot receiver is a ‘want’ by Buffalo, knowing they’d ideally like to move Stevie Johnson inside and get a big wideout to line up outside. At the same time landing Welker would also be a huge subtraction from New England and even at age 31 he’s still an elite wideout.


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