Inside The Bills

Marrone on adding another RB – “Probably”

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 4:05 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone is down a pair of running backs for the foreseeable future. Without Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, Marrone has just Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown healthy at running back. He also has FB Frank Summers. So when asked about the possibility of adding another back Marrone said the chances are good.

“Probably. I think we’ll probably do something,” he said. “I think a lot of it depends on where Fred is at, but yeah I would say yes we could bring somebody in. We’ll have to discuss those things.”


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What Brown & Dixon learned from Fred & C.J.

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 2:12 pm

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are both out indefinitely after suffering injuries Sunday, but since Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon were added to Buffalo’s roster in the offseason, the team’s top two backs made sure to help their two backups learn the offense and handle any and all assignments. Now all of the time they invested in Dixon and Brown needs to pay off. Both Brown and Dixon feel they’re ready due in large part to the efforts of Jackson and Spiller.

Both Brown and Dixon were asked what they’ve learned from Jackson and Spiller since they’ve been on Buffalo’s roster.

“I just learned the rhythm of the offense and the pace that I have to work at to hit the holes clean,” said Dixon. “They’ve been doing it for two years now and this is my first year so I’m still trying to get in rhythm with it. But I’m learning the tempo I have to have to hit the holes and keep the offense going.”

“Those guys have taken me under their wing and they’ve helped me out,” said Brown. “Watching C.J. and watching Fred, guys who have had success and played on a high level for many years, that benefits me. I know people say it’s frustrating (not playing), but I had an opportunity to watch these guys and learn from these guys. I told them (Sunday night) that I’m praying for their speedy recovery because those guys are the heart and soul of our team. Whether they’re on the field or not we can’t win without them so their presence is definitely needed.”

 


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Jackson confident in Dixon & Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 10:22 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson left Sunday’s game at the end of the first quarter with a groin injury. Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson made it clear he has some rehabbing to do to recover from his groin injury, but also expressed his level of confidence in Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon, who will have to pick up the slack in Buffalo’s rushing attack with both Jackson and Spiller out indefinitely.

When asked about Brown specifically, Jackson believes he can be a full-time feature back.

“He is an every down back,” said Jackson. “He can do it all. He’s a guy who can carry the ball 20-25 times. He’s a guy who can pass protect his butt off and run routes well out of the backfield. We won’t miss a beat with a guy like him. He’s a guy who is going to come out and can produce. We know what he’s capable of doing. I’m excited to see him get his opportunity. It comes at a time when we’ve lost a couple of guys who were valuable to the team, but that’s why we have Bryce and Boobie. They can step in and shoulder that weight and we don’t expect to miss a beat.”

One concern is who will be the chief third down back to handle pass protection, something Jackson did on a full-time basis. As Jackson sees it both Brown and Dixon are more than capable.

“They will (be able to handle it),” Jackson said. “It’s one of the things that we work on every day and they do a tremendous job working with us. It’s something I have a lot of pride in and I consider myself the best running back in the league when it comes to pass blocking. But those guys can do it and they will get the job done. We had a chance to go through it during training camp and I’m extremely excited about what they can do. It will be fun to watch them go out there and compete and make some plays for our team.”

Jackson intends to be around the team during his rehabilitation to assist Brown and Dixon in their preparations for the Jets this week.

“I’m going to be as involved as if I was playing,” said Jackson. “I want to be able to talk to those guys on the sideline and what I’m seeing when I watch the Jets and break them down and see what the tendencies are. So I’ll be around.”

 

 

 


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Marrone update on RB situation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:37 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone didn’t reveal a whole lot about the injuries sustained by C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, but he sounds like he’s already planning to be without both of them come next Sunday against the Jets.

“Yeah, they’re out,” said Marrone. “C.J. [Spiller] will be out for an undetermined amount of time. I think that’s out there already, from what they told me. We’re going to look at Fred [Jackson]. We really don’t have any timetable on that. We have Boobie [Dixon] and then, obviously, we have Bryce [Brown]. It’s not like we have to go out on the street to get somebody to come in. I have no problem bringing up Bryce. We talked about him last week, which I hoped wasn’t a jinx.”

Spiller reportedly has a broken collar bone, while Jackson’s groin injury will be re-evaluated on Monday.


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Dixon ready to go in wake of Fred, CJ injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:32 pm

Fred Jackson left the game in the first quarter with a bad looking groin injury. C.J. Spiller was carted off with what’s been reported as a broken collar bone. There’s a very good chance that the duties of the run game will fall squarely on the shoulders of Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Dixon knows he was largely brought in to be the go-to guy if there were a rash of injuries at running back. After this week’s casualty list he assures that he’s ready for an increase in his workload.

Dixon has respect for Jackson and Spiller, as well as gratitude. The two backs have been schooling Dixon up on the protections knowing Dixon is new to their offensive scheme.

“Watching Fred and watching C.J. they got me ready,” said Dixon. “They’re talking to me all the time, letting me know what I need to do, what I need to be looking at. Where my eyes need to be. So when my time came, I was ready (Sunday). It’s a credit to them also.”

When asked if their potential absence from the lineup this coming week changes things, Dixon doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think it does,” he said. “We’re all pros. It’s the NFL. One guy goes down, another guy has to step up. We got me, we got Bryce. We got Frank.  And I think we’re ready to go.”

In Sunday’s game Dixon averaged 3.9  a carry as he rushed 13 times for 51 yards.


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Marrone: Fixing run game the top priority

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2014 – 4:56 pm

By no means is it the only part of their game they’re looking to improve, but Buffalo’s ground game has found yards hard to come by the last three weeks. That’s why head coach Doug Marrone and his staff are going to do an in depth analysis as to just what is slowing down the identity of their offense.

“The major concern which was addressed in the team meeting, we talked about the run game. This is the third week in a row now, this isn’t the first time,” said Marrone in reference to the lack of production in the run game. “What happens is you start focusing and trying to make plays that aren’t there and that’s what we can’t do, from C.J. to Fred to (Boobie) Dixon. Up front, we’ve got to do a better job of finishing, getting on those players, not having a lot of color show where it’s showing.  And that means we’ve got to be quicker going to the second level and things like that.  Those things are correctable but we’ve got to put the work in to correct it.”

As Fred Jackson sees it, the miscues with turnovers and penalties kept them from running more, but he didn’t argue that their production was subpar.

“We’ve got to be better than that to win games and beat good teams,” said Jackson. “When you’re eliminating possessions that you have with turnovers and a lot of penalties and putting yourself behind the sticks that’s going to deter from what you can do in the run game. That’s something that we’ve got to get better at as an offensive unit. We can’t have penalties and fumble the ball and throw interceptions. It’s on us as an offense collectively and look at ourselves and be harsh critics and figure out what we have to get better at doing.”

Buffalo’s run game was ranked sixth in the league after Week 2 in rushing. This week on the heels of their loss to New England they’re ranked 22nd, with their average going from 153 yards per game to 101.

Marrone says it will be a group effort to get back to their typical level of production.

“It’s not one individual. It’s easy when it’s one individual, you just pull one out and put somebody else in,” He said. “But it’s up front, it’s hitting the holes, it’s believing and trusting in the scheme, the perimeter. We’ve got to go back and get this thing again.  You put so much emphasis on the other stuff, and you improve, and then it goes down.  That’s what you can’t have.  That’s what happens when you become inconsistent.

“Really we just have to go back, get ourselves on track and work hard from me to the coaches to the players.  That’s really what I spoke to them about today in the team meeting.”


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Handful of starters are questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2014 – 1:22 pm

The Bills Friday injury status report is out following practice and Buffalo has a handful of starters who are questionable for Sunday’s game.

Most of them are on the defensive side of the ball with Kyle Williams, Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy, Brandon Spikes and Nigel Bradham all questionable. They were all limited in practice throughout the week. Head coach Doug Marrone offered the following on Kyle Williams’ status, as he did do a bit more in practice today.

“We’ll go back in and talk to the medical staff and we’ll see how he feels,” said Marrone. “After getting this workout it’s a process to see where he’s at.”

On offense the only key player who is questionable is Fred Jackson with an ankle injury. He went home sick Friday, but the team says his injury status is related only to his ankle ailment.

OUT
WR Marcus Easley
G Chris Williams

QUESTIONABLE
DT Kyle Williams – knee
LB Nigel Bradham – knee
CB Ron Brooks – neck
S Da’Norris Searcy – knee
RB Fred Jackson – ankle
LB Brandon Spikes – ribs
S Aaron Williams – wrist


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Ron Brooks cleared for practice

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2014 – 5:27 pm

Ron Brooks was not a full participant, but that fact that he was cleared to participate on a limited basis just three days removed from a scary neck injury on the field in Week 5 against the Lions that required a trip to the hospital and an overnight stay in Detroit, the Bills are relieved to see him on his feet.

“Everyone saw that,” said Marrone of the injury last Sunday. “It was  a tough situation for everybody who saw it—nerve wracking, we all have those feelings for all the players and everybody’s who’s watching the game. I think there was a great sigh of relief when they said he was able to be released. And then today he’s running around, that’s a great sign.”

Other players who were nicked up in last Sunday’s game were also limited participants in practice. Here’s a list of them below.

Fred Jackson – ankle
Da’Norris Searcy – knee
Brandon Spikes – ribs
Aaron Williams – wrist


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Teammates hoping for best for Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on October 6, 2014 – 9:11 am

Bills DB Ron Brooks did not make the trip back to Buffalo with the team after he sustained a neck injury in the first half of Buffalo’s win over Detroit. He remained in a local hospital for observation overnight. In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Fred Jackson said he and his fellow teammates are praying for Brooks, though the initial signs look promising.

“In talking to our training staff they did do some C-T scans and they were all negative,” said Jackson. “It all looks good right now, but you just never know. As a team we’re praying for him and hoping for the best. I think we’ll find out more when we have our team meetings and they’ll give us an update. Hopefully he continues to progress well and he’s out of there later today.”

Brooks was able to give a wave to the crowd after he was strapped to the backboard and carted off the field. Head coach Doug Marrone is expected to provide an update when he addresses the media this afternoon.


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Fred leads with words as well as yards

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:31 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson has proven once again to be a valuable asset for Buffalo’s offense thus far in 2014. He racked up 108 all-purpose yards and led the team in rushing in the win over the Lions. But it may have been his words that had a greater impact on the outcome of the game Sunday.

Rookie WR Sammy Watkins and a good number of other players on offense were less than pleased with the officials, who called nine penalties on the Bills in the first half alone. But Jackson re-shifted the focus of the men on the offensive unit.

“That’s one of our leaders. He leads on and off the field,” said Watkins. “He just told us we were hurting ourselves. He said we were worrying about the refs and everything else but our jobs. I think after everybody realized and did our jobs and realized how much was on the line we actually went out there and played our game and everybody did their job.”

“Fred did a nice job on a couple of those carries,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “He was obviously our most productive runner. We struggled. There’s no doubt about it. We didn’t do a very good job of opening up holes for him. Where we were able to run he made some nice catches. He had seven catches, but we’ve got to do a better job up front when we’re running the football.”


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Jackson says now isn’t time for sweeping change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2014 – 11:46 am

Bills offensive co-captain Fred Jackson made his weekly appearance Monday morning on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, and said the offensive unit as a whole did not do enough to help lift the team to a road win at Houston Sunday. With all the talk from the fan base about making changes including at starting quarterback, Jackson dismissed sweeping change as a solution.

“This is a long season. It’s only Week 4,” said Jackson. “We can’t go into panic mode and try to change everything and revamp this and that. We have 12 games left in the season. We’ve got to respond. It’s not only on EJ to respond to the last two weeks. It’s on all of us. I can’t sit here and say all the blame goes to EJ because it doesn’t. We’ve got to get stuff done and every player on our team has to improve including myself. It’s not one of those things where I’m going to say bench EJ and put Kyle (Orton) in and it’s going to magically be better. I don’t think benching him is the right answer. I think we have to go in and re-evaluate everything that we’re doing and that’s how we’ll find the answers.”


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Fred: We made it harder on EJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Fred’s words for EJ & offense

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

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

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


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Fred Jackson’s BOSE playlist

Posted by buffalobills.com on September 27, 2014 – 10:00 am

fred_boseplaylist_03

This year BOSE, the Official Sound of the Bills, is going to bring insider access to fans by showing fans what songs Bills players listen to on gameday.  For 12 weeks during the 2014 season, a different Bills player will be featured in the Player Playlist, presented by BOSE.  For week #3, it’s Bills RB Fred Jackson.  Check out the songs Fred will be listening to on Sunday to get him amped up before he takes on the Texans.


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Fan Friday 9-19

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2014 – 11:45 am

Week 3 and the Chargers are coming in. Should be a tight game. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills Does potentially bad weather this weekend favor the Bills?

BrianGriffo

CB: I would tend to think so. Buffalo’s run game is vastly superior to that of San Diego’s. The Chargers have found it difficult to get their run game on track, though in their defense they’ve faced to pretty strong defenses in Arizona and Seattle. But without starter Ryan Mathews (sprained MCL), who is not expected to play a rainy day would favor Buffalo’s ground game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Will we see Bryce Brown at all this year ?

kochsteve44

CB: That’s difficult to determine at this point. It seems clear that the coaching staff wants a fullback active (Frank Summers) with three tailbacks on game day (Dixon, Jackson, Spiller). If one of the top three backs sustains an injury then it’s likely we see Brown, but if not, based on the first two weeks he’ll be the inactive player from that position group.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Who is more primed for a ‘letdown’ both after big emotional wins. SD, does have the cross country trip.

rahdoo

CB: You are correct the Chargers do have to come east, which is never easy. They’re leaving a day early (today) to get their body clocks adjust to the time change. Last year San Diego was 3-2 playing in the Eastern time zone including their AFC Wild Card playoff win at Cincinnati.

Against the Bills they’ve dropped three of their last four played at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

I don’t know that either team is more susceptible to a letdown than the other. Both are coming off big wins. I think the Bills strengths match up more favorably than the Chargers strengths, but that advantage is not a big one.

 

4 – Chris,

What is Marquise Goodwin’s role on this team? He played sparingly in Chicago, and overall has not produced much at all since the Jets game at Home last season. Are the coaches going to use him?

He is a 3rd Round pick that seemingly is not on the radar screen with the offensive coaches.

In limited playing time last year, he had 3 TDs on only 17 receptions.

How does a man with 4.27 wheels not get the call to test deep once or twice a game? Or get a bubble screen once a game?

I would hate to see a similar fate for Goodwin, as our other speedster TJ Graham, who was a 3rd Round pick as well.

Thanks,
Brian
CB: Through the first two weeks Goodwin has gotten 21 plays out of a total of 116, which is about 18 percent of the snaps. The fact of the matter is the Bills took steps to upgrade their receiving corps with Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams the primary additions. Both sit at the top of the depth chart with Robert Woods.

That leaves Goodwin in the fourth spot, but through the first two weeks the Bills have largely used 11 (1 back, 1 TE, 3 WR) or 12 (1 back, 2 TEs) personnel. There have been few four-wide sets.

I don’t know this, but it appears as though the Bills have a specific package of plays in the game plan for Goodwin each week, and that package only spans 10-15 plays. Could it increase based on the opponent? Yes. Could it stay the same the whole season? Yes again.

Obviously injuries at the receiver position will also impact how much Goodwin sees the field on offense as the season wears on. Ultimately it’s up to the coaches how much or how little they choose to use him on offense.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

After watching the Bills lately, it seems like Hackett and Marrone have the offense operating very well. My one question is, why don’t they use Dixon and Jackson earlier, to wear down the defense, and then later in the game use CJ to really explode?

Thanks,
Tommy H.

CB: I don’t want to speak for coach Marrone, but Spiller’s home run ability is the difference maker here. Knowing that any carry or reception by Spiller could go the distance almost mandates that he be on the field throughout the course of the game. I also think that Spiller and Jackson offer good differing changes of pace, where Dixon and Jackson might be too similar and allow the opposing defense to get a better read on run plays.

 


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Jackson thinks this team can be different

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 9:08 am

There have been 2-0 Bills teams in the past that could not get the job done come season’s end. Fred Jackson, who was a part of some of those teams, believes this year’s team is different from those that came up short.

“Number one is our coaching staff is going to do a tremendous job of keeping us focused on what we need to improve on,” Jackson said. “I think we’ve got a lot of great leaders on this team.  That may not have been the case, it may have been the case in the past. We definitely have in place that are going to say we have to focus on improving the things that we aren’t doing well and not focus on the things that we are. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to see the things that we need to get better at and improve on those things and we’ll give ourselves a chance to win the game.”


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Fred: We’ve got to keep our heads on straight

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 8:55 am

The Bills are 2-0 for the first time since a 3-0 start in 2011. Having been on that 2011 team and see that club finish 6-10 Fred Jackson isn’t going to let anybody feel good for too long about winning their first two games.

“We’re excited about being 2-0 but we just have to keep coming to work,” said Jackson. “It’s a great start but it’s just a start. We know we have to keep coming to work and that there will be more tests throughout the season and as long as guys keep making plays we like our chances.”

Offensively speaking Jackson has two areas in particular where he feels they’ve got to improve and fast.

“Even with a win you have to look around and see what you can do better,” he said. “Third-downs, we can do better on third downs. Red-zone, we’ve got to focus on that. There’s a lot that we can take away from this game. We’ve got to score more points and we know that as an offensive unit. Our defense did a great job, and we’ve got plenty of stuff we can work on offense.”

Buffalo finished 1-for-6 (17%) in the red zone and 5-for-15 (33%) on third down.

“At the end of the day, the offense we’re looking at 17 percent, that’s unacceptable in the red zone,” said C.J. Spiller. “To get where we want to go we’ve got to be a whole lot better. We’ll look at the tape, see the things that we probably missed and clean it up and try to come back next weekend and be a whole lot stronger. On third down, we were 33 percent, nowhere near what our goal is. There are some things we’ve got to clean up to put us in a better position to be able to be efficient.”

 


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Meeting & overcoming adversity must continue

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 1:35 pm

The Bills were able to meet a number of adverse circumstances in their Week 1 game at Chicago head on and pull through those situations successfully. It’s one of the reasons they were able to pull out a tightly fought game with the Bears in overtime Sunday. Team captain Fred Jackson said that kind of perseverance and mental toughness must continue.

“It’s got to be the character of this team this year,” Jackson said. “We have to be able to meet the face of adversity and we were able to do so yesterday. That’s one thing we have to continue to build on.  Guys have to be ready to step up and make plays when their number is called. As long as we do that, we get guys making plays in various positions we’re going to be a hard team to beat.  That’s what we expect from everybody in this room.”


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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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Before game locker room was different

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:23 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said he could see it before he left to go out on the field Sunday. The mood in his locker room was different. His players sensed it too. How big a role their collective attitude had in the win we may never know, but they believe it was a factor.

“It was an excited team that was looking forward to this opportunity to go out and play a game and make a statement,” said Fred Jackson. “We were able to do so. We played against a good team and they did some great things and we were able to come away with the win. Now it’s on us to continue to work and do the same things we did this week to prepare for Chicago. As long as we continue to do that we’ll be in a lot of football games.”


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