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Inside The Bills

RBs draft value sliding in pass happy NFL

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2014 – 10:03 am

The NFL is showing a propensity to lean toward the pass more and more every season. The beneficiaries have been wide receivers, offensive tackles and quarterbacks (the productive ones). The have nots are the running backs and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock sees their value as a commodity in the draft sliding.

“It has become a pass first league. If you look back the draft 40 years ago, running backs were the most valuable commodity there was,” Mayock said. “Today with all the spread offenses and teams throwing the football 60 to 70 percent of the time there has been a completely different emphasis in how you draft offensively. It starts at quarterback, it goes to wide receiver, a left tackle and even lately it’s even gone to what kind of tight end you can draft that can beat teams vertically on defense.

“So I do think it’s going to devalue running backs. I do think the good news is you can get in the second, third and fourth round and find different flavors of running backs. You’ll see some teams that will draft two or three running backs in one or two drafts just so they have a big back, a third down change of pace guy. I think that’s where the league has gone and will continue to go.”

The good news is a team like the Bills, who could be in the market to add some youth at the position behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson could wait until the middle rounds and still land a quality player.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred pranks Aaron Williams with hot wing

Posted by buffalobills.com on February 18, 2014 – 2:29 pm

During the Visa #MyFootballFantasy chicken wing eating contest Fred Jackson and Aaron Williams decided to compete one-on-one to see who could finish a plate piled high with chicken wings first.

Without Aaron knowing, Fred asked the Duff’s staff, who provided the wings for the competition, to bring over two different types of wings. Fred had them bring a ‘medium’ wing for him, and a wing doused in Duff’s fiery ‘Death Sauce’ for Aaron.

Watch what happens:

As every Buffalonian knows, you don’t mess with Duff’s ‘Death Sauce’ wings. There was no shortage of them in the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse on the day of the competition. Duff’s supplied over 3,000 wings for this event!

VISA-Mike-0289


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Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Why Fred thinks he can play 3-4 more years

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2014 – 11:19 am

Fred Jackson is a 32-year old running back, but he’s one of the more productive ones in NFL history at that age. It’s part of the reason why he’s convinced he can play another three or four seasons.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson was asked how much longer he feels he can maintain his level of play in the league. Jackson believes he can and had some good reasons why.

“I want to get three or four more years in,” he said. “I confidently believe I can do that. Especially with the workload being split between C.J. and I. That definitely gives me the opportunity to be out here three or four more years and competing with these guys and getting this thing turned around. That’s the number one goal, getting this thing turned around and giving this city something to be excited about and that’s what I want to do before I’m out of here.”

We recently pointed out how rare his production is at his age in the NFL at his position with a big assist from the advanced metric site Numberfire.com.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Co-captain explains why he has faith in EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2014 – 5:20 pm

Fred Jackson, who appeared on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday, spent an hour on the air reviewing the season and discussing various aspects of the team and their performance in 2013. Obviously EJ Manuel was a subject of discussion, and Jackson provided some key insight into why he feels Manuel will be a much improved player in 2014.

“I’ve had an opportunity to sit in the quarterback meetings with him and Nate (Hackett) while they’re talking through the schemes that are going in and Nate will be talking to him about a coverage and what he’s thinking and right off the bat he knows what he’s supposed to be looking for if it’s cover-four, cover-three or cover-two, he knows where he’s supposed to go and where the reads are going to be,” said Jackson. “That’s tremendous for a rookie. Anytime you have a rookie that knows those types of things it’s going to make him better. His decision making with the ball is one of the things that helped us stay in games and put some points up.”

Jackson believes the offensive scheme was not fully unveiled because there was a rookie quarterback running it, but believes it will be expanded by coach Hackett in year two.

“I would think so,” he said. “EJ was a rookie so there were things we couldn’t put in or if it was too much they might’ve thought not to put it in. I definitely see them taking the shackles off if there were any. I don’t know what all the conversations were, but I’m sure with him being a rookie and defenses being a lot more exotic than what you see in college there was a lot of the offense that they left out. It’ll be fun to see what we do in OTAs and in minicamps and things like that because I think he’ll be a lot better.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson out to change perception of Stevie

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2014 – 4:51 pm

fred-stevie-image-cp

RB Fred Jackson appeared for a full hour on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday on the Howard Simon show and addressed several topics. One was as his role as captain and heading into next season he intends to make the image of one of his teammates his personal project.

Stevie Johnson is a lightning rod for attention when it comes to Bills fans with a seemingly equal split on him as a player. Jackson was asked by Simon if he sees a future for Johnson in Buffalo in 2014. Buffalo’s co-captain said he does, but also intends to make it his personal mission to repair Johnson’s public image and consistency on the field.

“I definitely think he has a future here,” Jackson said. “He’s a guy that’s up and down so to speak. That’s on guys like myself and Kyle (Williams) and Eric (Wood) to get changed. I’ll take a lot of personal accountability for that guy. That’ll be on me next year, if he’s here, nothing is ever guaranteed. If I’m here it’s one of those things where I’ll definitely do everything I can to get that tarnished image off of Stevie because he’s a tremendous player and a guy that I think can be really great for us.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred to get back to work soon

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2014 – 4:38 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson, who appeared on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday, provided an update on his offseason regimen. Jackson intends to get back to work soon after a two weeks layoff.

Appearing on the Howard Simon show, Jackson explained that he’ll be starting his offseason work in the pool and on the bike.

“Right now it’s total down time. They tell us to take 10-14 days off,” said Jackson. “Don’t do anything that has anything to do with football outside of sitting on the couch and watching some games. That time is just about up then I’ll go back to working out and try to do some swimming and biking that’s not pounding on the body. It’s about time for that to start. I’ll do some checkups with the training staff on little injuries from during the season. That’s what guys are doing now. Once you get cleared to start doing stuff you get right back into it.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson makes Super Bowl prediction

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2014 – 12:43 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson was on the FOX Sports 1 show ‘Crowd Goes Wild’ Monday evening and was asked for his take on the playoffs and who he thinks will be squaring off in the Super Bowl in early February.

Jackson has Denver facing Seattle in the Super Bowl and believes the Seahawks will win it. No word if his friendship with Marshawn Lynch had anything to do with it, but here’s what he said.

Fred also said he thinks Indy is the most likely to pull off an upset this weekend at New England.

“I think they have the offensive firepower to do it,” he said.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred getting Comeback POY pub

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2014 – 4:12 pm

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year is awarded every year during the Super Bowl and some are of the opinion that Fred Jackson has a pretty good shot.

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal lists Jackson, who finished the season with 1,283 all-purpose yards and 10 TDs, as his top candidate. Here’s what he wrote.

1. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills running back: Jackson was ignored coming out of Coe College and wound up playing for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe before earning his first NFL snap in 2007 in Buffalo. He was 26 at the time. He’s been one of the league’s most underrated players ever since.

Jackson was ignored again coming into 2013. He missed six games last season because of two knee injuries that limited his effectiveness. 32-year-old running backs coming off injury-plagued seasons are usually put out to pasture. Jackson wound up passing a top-ten pick on the depth chart.

C.J. Spiller was expected to carry the load for the Bills, with Jackson described as a “step slow” in the preseason. One prominent fantasy football website said Jackson wouldn’t have “any fantasy impact” this year.

1,277 yards from scrimmage and ten touchdowns later, Jackson authored his most surprising season yet. He wound up playing 663 snaps to Spiller’s 389 despite a seven-year age difference. The AP Comeback Player of the Year Award would be a fitting reward for a career spent out of the spotlight.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred to appear on FOX today

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2014 – 9:03 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson will be appearing on the FOX Sports 1 program ‘Crowd Goes Wild’ late this afternoon.

The program, which is hosted by Regis Philbin with a host of others, talks sports and Jackson is scheduled to be on at 5 pm.

Jackson led the Bills this season in total yards from scrimmage with 1,283 in 2013 and was named Team MVP in the 2013 Buffalobills.com Team Awards.


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Fred, C.J. play time breakdown

Posted by Chris Brown on January 2, 2014 – 5:09 pm

Injury played a large role in the division of playing time between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in Buffalo’s backfield in 2012. It was again a factor in 2013, and likely will be every season knowing the punishment that running backs endure in the NFL. There were other factors that impacted the play time of the two backs this season.

Being the more accomplished pass protector, Jackson was on the field more often in third down situations. This was part of what tilted the playing time to the veteran back this past season. Spiller’s high-ankle sprain, which had a more detrimental effect on the assets of Spiller’s game (cutting ability, elusiveness, explosion) than Jackson’s sprained MCL affected the assets of his game (power, balance, strength).

Spiller suffered the high-ankle sprain in Week 4 against Baltimore, and re-injured it at Miami in Week 7. Jackson dealt with his sprained MCL for more than half the season as well.

Here’s a look back now at the week by week snap counts and play percentage for both Jackson and Spiller this season.

Week by week plays and play percentage

Player                    Jackson               Spiller
Week 1                 26 – 41%               37 – 59%
Week 2                 30 – 40%              44 – 59%
Week 3                 62 – 72%              19 – 22%
Week 4                 41 – 49%              31 – 37% (injured)
Week 5                 50 – 65%              13 – 17%
Week 6                 39 – 57%              17 – 25%
Week 7                 39 – 58%              14 – 21% (re-injured)
Week 8                 51 – 72%              DNP
Week 9                 41 – 51%              23 – 29%
Week 10              44 – 66%              22 – 33%
Week 11              36 – 54%              27 – 40%
Week 13              37 – 58%              24 – 38%
Week 14              37 – 55%              26 – 39%
Week 15              52 – 68%              22 – 29%
Week 16              42 – 53%              37 – 47%
Week 17              36 – 52%              33 – 48%
——————————————————-
Totals           663 plays             389 plays
Avg. plays/gm   41.4                        25.9


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus regretting missteps

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2013 – 10:56 pm

A week after being benched for the first quarter of Buffalo’s shutout win over Miami in Week 16, Marcell Dareus again broke a team rule the following week and found himself sidelined for a half in the season finale against New England. His absence was instrumental in seeing LeGarrette Blount rumble for 189 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns in the Patriots 34-20 win.

Dareus was remorseful in the postgame locker room.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I just hate that I put my team in a position like that. As a player I’m just going to get better. Me and Coach talked about it. I’m going to grow as a player in the offseason and continue to work and do the best I can. I hate I put my team in that position.”

“Obviously there was a team violation. It was broken. I sat down with him again and talked about it and we’re both going to continue to work through it and move forward,” said Marrone.

Marrone did admit he missed having one of the leading tacklers at the defensive tackle position in the NFL.

“It would be naïve for me to stand up here and say no. We know what type of player Marcell is,” Marrone said. “The more we can have him out there playing the better we are.”

Dareus spoke to at least two of the team captains in Kyle Williams and Fred Jackson.

“We just know we can’t put ourselves in those situations and he knows that,” said Jackson. “He’s talked to me and I’m sure he’s talked to Kyle and we need him out there. Anytime he’s sitting on the bench he’s not helping us or helping this team.

“That’s a feeling that I know he doesn’t like so he knows he’s got to come back and be better at it next year and I’m sure he will. I have all the confidence in the world in him. Espeically after a day like this it’s something that’s going to be sticking with him all offseason and be motivating for him.”

Dareus said he addressed the team following his team infraction.

“I apologized to my guys,” he said. “Regardless of the situation, I let them know that I’m so sorry about what happened.  I’m sorry about the game today, and last week.  They know that I’m sorry for what happened and it’s done.  But it’s a team rule and we’re all with it.  I respect it.

“I’m just going to continue to move forward. Just be a better player all the way around. Come in to camp better and just be a better person. If I’m going to get to the next level to where I’m supposed to be as an elite player in the league and try to be a captain of the team, I have to do the best I can.  Continue to get better, be on time, and have no excuse for whatever the situation is.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron, Stevie out; Easley added to report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 12:51 pm

Bills WR Stevie Johnson and S Aaron Williams have been declared out for Sunday’s game at New England. Marcus Easley meanwhile was a Friday addition to Buffalo’s injury report.

Easley sustained a knee injury in practice Friday and was listed as a limited participant. He’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game. Here’s the full rundown of players on Buffalo’s injury report.

OUT
S Aaron Williams – ribs
WR Stevie Johnson – not injury related

DOUBTFUL
QB EJ Manuel – knee

PROBABLE
WR Marquise Goodwin – knee
WR Marcus Easley – knee
RB Fred Jackson – ribs
DT Kyle Williams – achilles


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Is this Jackson’s career year?

Posted by johnmurphyshow on December 26, 2013 – 8:31 pm

He’s only 164 yards away from the 1,000 yard mark. And he’s scored nine touchdowns this year, more than twice as many as last season.

This could be the best year in the career of Bills RB Fred Jackson.

His 111-yard performance against the Dolphins last Sunday put Jackson within striking distance of the 1,000 yard milestone. But in an appearance on The John Murphy Show Thursday night, the 7-year vet said even though he’s had more yards (1,062 in 2009) this very well may be his best year ever.

“It could be considered that,” he said. “I’ve been able to do some things differently than just picking up yards. I’ve scored more touchdowns this year, leading a little bit more, things like that. It’s arguably, statistically, one of my best years, and it’s one of those you want to continue to build on. If I get an opportunity to go out and have a monster game this weekend, it can be statistically one of the best I’ve had rushing. That’s still out there and that’s something I want to attain.”

Jackson and the Bills have been determined to run the football this season. The team has 511 rushing attempts through 15-games this season, more than any other team in the league. And the Bills have run the ball 48-percent of the time. Only the 49ers and the Seahawks have a higher percentage of running plays.

“We think we can run the ball against anybody,” Jackson told host John Murphy.

“I think that’s our identity. We want to be known as one of the better rushing teams in the league. By doing that, we take a lot of pressure off our young quarterbacks, it makes their jobs easier.”

The entire interview with Bills RB Fred Jackson is available here


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred Jackson’s place in franchise history

Posted by johnmurphyshow on December 26, 2013 – 7:50 pm

It was a great moment in last Sunday’s game, when Bills RB Fred Jackson joined Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson as the only backs in franchise history to rush for more than 5,000 yards. And Thursday night, on The John Murphy Show, Jackson took some time to reflect on that milestone.

Jackson told host John Murphy that he has thought about the mark this past week, since he ran for 111-yards against the Dolphins.

“When you play this game you want to be remembered,” he said. “You want to etch your name in stone in a franchise. That’s what I think we all should work at. If you’re doing that, you’re putting up some good numbers and help your team win.”

This season Jackson added some bulk and became much more of an inside presence in the running game. He says that’s the way he thought he could help this team the most.

“Being downhill in the schemes we have, you want to make one cut and go north,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s where I’m able to keep drives going. Keep us in front of the sticks. Make that one cut, and get behind my pads. I put on a little bit more muscle this offseason, and that’s what I’m trying to use. As long as I can continue to do that, I can continue to be productive and they’ll continue to have some use for me.”

The entire interview with Fred Jackson is available here


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin, Jackson, Manuel practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2013 – 12:06 pm

Three Bills offensive players, who all appear on the team’s injury report this week are practicing here on Thursday.

WR Marquise Goodwin (knee), RB Fred Jackson (ribs) and QB EJ Manuel (knee) were all participating during the media viewing portion of practice. We’ll get their official practice participation post practice from head coach Doug Marrone.

Stevie Johnson and Aaron Williams (ribs) were not in attendance.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson defying what NFL history says

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2013 – 10:48 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson is 32-years old. Most NFL executives and personnel men cast a wary eye upon any NFL back that’s on the wrong side of 28. That’s because history has shown a significant drop-off in production for backs once they pass their 28th birthday. There have been few exceptions, but Fred Jackson looks to be one of them.

On the advanced metrics site NumberFire, Jackson’s 2013 season was broken down to reveal he’s putting up production as good as almost any back in the league, several of whom are several years younger than Jackson.

Most significant however, is where Jackson’s production stands in NFL history among running backs 31-years old or older.

NumberFire listed all of the backs in league history who at age 31 or older had at least 800 rushing yards AND 300 receiving yards in a season. The grand total was nine… in NFL history! Walter Payton was responsible for two of those seasons, so there have been 10 such seasons by players 31 or older.

Jackson is now the 11th player after surpassing the 800-yard plateau last Sunday (now 836) with a game to play.

The list of players is obviously short, and it’s worth noting that it includes three Hall of Famers (Payton, Dorsett, Little) and a likely future Hall of Famer in LaDainian Tomlinson.

Here’s the chart courtesy of NumberFire.com, and it should be noted that Jackson and “Sweetness” were the only two to pull this off at age 32.

Player                   Year       Age        Team                     Rush yards          Rec. yards
Tiki Barber           2006         31             NYG                            1,662                     465
Walter Payton      1985         31             CHI                              1,551                     483
Walter Payton      1986         32            CHI                              1,333                     382
Tony Dorsett        1985         31             DAL                             1,307                     449
Ricky Watters      2000        31             SEA                             1,242                     613
James Brooks      1989         31             CIN                              1,239                     306
James Stewart    2002         31             DET                             1,021                     333
Floyd Little          1973         31             DEN                             979                         423
Garrison Hearst 2002        31             SF                                 972                         317
L. Tomlinson       2010        31             NYJ                              914                         368
Fred Jackson   2013         32           BUF                          836                       334

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred up for FedEx Player of Week

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2013 – 10:03 am

Fred Jackson’s 111-yard, one touchdown rushing performance Sunday has him up for FedEx Ground Player of the Week for Week 16.

Jackson is up against a couple of other quality candidates in Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, who rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown for the Steelers, and Philadelphia’s Shady McCoy, who piled up 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Eagles.

You can vote for Fred right here. Winners are announced at the end of the week.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus, Jackson update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 12:42 pm

Both Marcell Dareus and Fred Jackson came out of last Sunday’s game with injuries and missed some practice time this week, but each appear ready to roll Sunday against the Dolphins.

Both practiced fully on Friday despite their ankle and rib injuries. Dareus and Jackson are both listed as probable for Sunday’s rematch with the Dolphins.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-20

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 12:00 pm

Sunday will be step one in trying to post a winning record in the division for the first time since the 2007 season. Let’s see if the Bills can make it a season sweep of the Dolphins. Here’s your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

As a Bills’ fan for decades, I believe coach Marrone is a good coach. The question is whether he can turn around the losing culture. I have a few questions regarding accountability and talents.

What are the Bills going to do with the undependable players? This includes, but not limited to, Steve Johnson, Leodis McKelvin and T. J. Graham.

What is Jairus Byrd’s long term prospect with the Bills? The Bills like to get rid of established players to save a few bucks. In the end, this contributes to a longer wish list for the ever rebuilding process. A
recent example is the Offensive line. My suggestion is to get rid of Steve Johnson and save some money for Byrd’s contract. (Note, The Bills is in the business to make money. I suppose a better product would lead to increased revenue. In this case, a true contender in NFL).

What is the long term plan for the QB position? I mean both first string and backup in this case? While coach Marrone indicated EJ Manuel is the long term solution. I beg the difference. EJ is not playing any
better than JP Losman by comparing their rookie year. Lewis and Tuel are littering their path with interceptions and fumbles. How long do you think these two can keep their job in NFL?

Marcus Easley seems to be doing a very good job in special teams. What is the possibility of moving him to CB if the Bills cannot use him as WR? This may afford the team to get rid of Leodis McKelvin thereby saving more money.

The New England Patriots seem to be able to overcome huge deficit consistently. When playing with the Patriots (as well as other teams), what are the Bills doing to safeguard our calls/signals from being stolen?

Please keep up with the good work.
Regards,
C. J. Wong, Ph.D.

CB: I understand why you feel like the players you mentioned are not dependable. This is where the coaches and front office make their offseason evaluations, but being dependable goes beyond just game day. It’s about being a professional every day of the week in everything that you do. So if the players you mentioned struggle in those areas then they could be at risk with respect to their futures here.

Doug Marrone is only going to keep players on this roster that he feels he can win with the way he wants to win. He has stressed accountability time and again and has been clear in explaining to his players what accountability means. They’ve had all season to prove they’re on board. If they’re not, and only the coaches and their teammates would know for certain if that’s the case, then they won’t be here long term.

As for Jairus Byrd, the safety has said he’s open-minded to staying here long term, which is an improvement in terms of where that situation was this past summer. I think Byrd is smart enough to know that he can really flourish in this defense with the talent he has around him on that side of the ball. Talent that is tied up long term for the most part. Byrd has to be convinced that he can win here and as is usually the case the money has to be right as well.

At the quarterback position EJ is their long term answer at the position. You may not be convinced, but the people that make those decisions are. I believe this offseason will be dedicated to putting more talent around Manuel to help him succeed. We’ve certainly seen flashes of ability. What has me most encouraged is the way in which Manuel performs when the game is on the line. Buffalo has needed a clutch quarterback for the longest time and Manuel has shown he has that ability. With improved talent around him he’ll also be better for the other portions of the game too.

I believe the decision makers still see Jeff Tuel as a developmental type prospect. Thad Lewis is still being evaluated, which is why Sunday’s game is huge for him. He’s proven he’s tough and that he can deliver big plays. Now he has to prove he can learn from his mistakes and improve from some of his shortcomings in the first meeting with Miami. It’s really the perfect litmus test for him.

I completely disagree with your Marcus Easley idea. Easley doesn’t not have the foot quickness to play CB, and Leodis McKelvin is having his most consistent season in a Bills uniform at cornerback. Not to mention he’s playing at very affordable money for his position.

Finally, the reason the Patriots are able to overcome big deficits is primarily one reason and one reason only, they have one of the best quarterbacks in a generation in Tom Brady. End of story.

 

2 – Hi Chris, I live in Western Canada so it is always hard to get coverage on the Bills out here.  So I really appreciate all your updates.

My question is about Stevie Johnson.  It seems every year there is a play that he fails to make that costs us a game.  The game against Pittsburgh in OT where he dropped the wide open pass, the game against the Jets when he again dropped a game winning TD, and of course against the Falcons which just didn’t just cost us that game, but our season.

He is a great receiver, no doubt about that, but I question if he is ever going to be a clutch number 1 receiver.   We all agree that we need a big “go up and get it” receiver.  So if we get that receiver, someone has to go.

I think we should consider trading Stevie Johnson this off season.  Robert Woods is precise in route running and has good chemistry with EJ, and Goodwin and Graham are fast on the outside and can also move inside when needed.   I think Stevie is odd man out and gives us the most return for our buck, plus maybe he is to used to losing in Buffalo.  What do you think we could get for Johnson?  A 2nd rounder or maybe someone like Bowe in KC?

Paddy, Vancouver Canada

CB: I think Johnson is the type of receiver whose return in a trade would be limited. The reason why is he is a possession receiver. He’s a move-the-chains player not a stretch the field, deliver a game-changing play every week type wideout. Johnson is a very unique player with a unique skill set, but he is not going to blow the doors off a defense. All that being said I think at best he’d get you a fourth-round draft choice. Frankly, it might be even less because his contract may not fit the role another team might envision for him, so to take on that salary would likely lead to a team offering less in return like a fifth or sixth-round pick.

3 – Hey Chris,

My question is regarding the offensive line.  How do you see the Bills helping the line in the off season? I know they have to see how guys like JJ ‘Unga pan out over the last 3 games, but if they do go after a guy in the draft, do you see them going after a guy who can be versatile? Are there typically guys who can play guard and tackle?  I would imagine that’s what coaches look for in any player on the field.  Do you think free agency is possible?  Also, do you think Chris Hairston will be able to return to form?
Thanks, Jillian

CB: I would not be surprised if there are wholesale changes made on the offensive line. As I see it the only players who have job security are Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood. Kraig Urbik rebounded real well this past week after a down week in Tampa, but I think he will be pushed for his starting job this offseason and into training camp based on what we saw the past couple of weeks with J.J. ‘Unga. Beyond those three I expect to see change there. I think the organization will look to the draft and free agency to address the offensive line.

 

4 – Chris,
Thanks for the great reporting, week by week for the Bills. Yourself and John Murphy do a great job but My question is based of everything about this youth movement and getting these unknown guys more playing time. I been listening and reading about the guys y’all are naming but I keep seeing this guy left out…. Duke Williams? Why is he not getting involved in the discussions and not getting more reps? What part of his game is lacking that has him buried on the depth chart? Because before the season he was getting hyped up as a utility guy in the secondary, that could play multiple positions. What happened? Please explain that to me.

Brian in South Carolina

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I’ll be sure to pass them along to Murph. Duke Williams is a player that has been seeing time mainly on special teams. The reason he has not seen time at safety is because there is quality and experienced talent in front of him in Jairus Byrd, Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy and Jim Leonhard. I do think heading into next season Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks could challenge for bigger roles and what happens with Byrd and Leonhard this offseason with both being free agents will have an impact on that as well.

 

5 – Chris,

I have been surprised at the lack of two back sets the Bills are utilizing this year. I would think this would confuse defenses as Fred is a highly capable pass-blocking back and we all know about CJ’s home run ability with every touch. Would these formations not mix things up and keep opposing defenses off balance… not knowing to expect run or pass?

Also, I am concerned (as are many fans) about the utilization of CJ Spiller. Not in terms of number of plays per game, or on the year, but the play calls he is being used in. They seem to heavily favor running him behind the left or right guards. Why not more screen plays? I think all of us get excited when CJ Spiller has the ball with 3-4 blockers in front of him with the ability to pick and choose which lanes he wants to take.

Thanks!
Jim from Massachusetts

CB: We saw some split backfield in training camp, but there has been very little of it during the season. I do think there is an element of predicitability there when they have only Fred or C.J. on the field in a single back set. Heading into last week’s Jacksonville game I know that Spiller had not been on the field for more than 40 percent of the snaps since Week 2.

However, when he is on the field he got the ball 60 percent of the time. While the usage is admirable I fear that it makes Buffalo’s offense predictable when Spiller is in the backfield.

Jackson is usually on the field in third down situations because they trust him with blitz pickup and blocking assignments.

I don’t know a one-thousandth of what Nathaniel Hackett knows about football, but I do think a split backfield with C.J. and Fred in the offensive backfield on third down could create a lot of headaches for opposing defenses. That’s where I think it could be most useful for Buffalo’s offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson limited in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2013 – 2:11 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on the injured players on the roster and their availability in practice including Fred Jackson, who returned from a rib injury to participate after missing Wednesday’s practice. 

Marrone expects Jackson to be ready to go for Sunday’s game, but he was limited in practice Thursday. Here’s the official Thursday injury update with practice participation.

Did not practice
WR Stevie Johnson – not injury related (excused)
LB Arthur Moats – not injury related (excused)
QB EJ Manuel – knee
CB Aaron Williams – ribs

Limited in practice
RB Fred Jackson – ribs

Full practice
DT Marcell Dareus – ankle
CB Brandon Smith – ankle
DT Kyle Williams – achilles 


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Posted in Inside the Bills