Inside The Bills

Marrone’s affinity for Fred goes beyond his play

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 6:26 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was naturally pleased to hear that Fred Jackson had signed a contract extension with the club. Jackson’s production, especially playing on a sprained MCL for most of the last season made his yardage and scoring output all the more impressive. But Marrone respects Jackson for much more than his play on the field. He values the quality leader Jackson is as a team captain as well.

“I love Fred,” said Marrone. “I think Fred’s been a great pro. In my time here with him he’s been a very good leader and very productive. I’m excited about him. I heard the news coming here. I just heard that now and I’m happy for Fred and I’m happy for his family.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred shows up with family in tow

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2014 – 3:25 pm

fred

Bills veteran RB Fred Jackson decided to make move in day at training camp a family affair at St. John Fisher. Instead of rolling up in one of his muscle cars as he has in years past, Jackson arrived in a large extra long van similar to the vehicles hotels use as shuttles for guests. With him was his wife Danielle, son and three daughters.

“It’s our family travel (vehicle). We put the kids in the back put a movie on and I don’t hear from them again,” said Jackson. “It makes it easier for everybody and they’re entertained and the trip is quick and easy that way.”

For Jackson this will be his ninth training camp with the Bills and he’s also entering the last year of his contract. He’s at a point in his career where he’s appreciating the moments that make up a season. That’s why Jackson wanted to have the memory of his kids helping him move in at camp.

“The number one thing is I want them to be as much a part of this as possible, especially my two oldest daughters,” said Jackson. “My oldest daughter was saying, ‘You’ve got to leave for camp soon.’ That’s the type of stuff you’re going to remember and stuff that you want them to remember. You want them to know where you were going and helping me move in when they get older that we can talk about that. And when I’m a grandpa I can tell their children. That’s the kind of things you start to see when you’ve been around as long as I have.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spiller senses big jump for run game in year 2

Posted by Chris Brown on July 14, 2014 – 9:38 am

In our Camp Countdown on Buffalobills.com we profiled how offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will take advantage of the team’s running back depth with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon now lined up behind Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller on the depth chart. Spiller senses that after a year of experience in the system for most of the offensive unit that season two under Hackett will lead to even more production in the run game.

“For us to be second in the league in rushing with a new system and us trying to get comfortable with what was going on –  Now we have that year up under us and you can see the difference,” said Spiller. “Everybody is confident in what we’re doing and hopefully that will bring better things. But there’s a ton of work to be done before September 7th against the Bears. We’ve got to be willing to put in all the hard work necessary to put ourselves in the best situation to win.”

Buffalo averaged over 144 yards on the ground a game last season and that was without a lot of passing success as the offense was 28th in that category. So even when opposing defenses largely knew what was coming the Bills were still pretty productive running the ball.

What is most encouraging from the standpoint of Spiller is how he’ll fare in the offense in his second season running it. Some might recall that in his first season under Chan Gailey as a starter (2011) Spiller struggled at times to be productive. Then in his second season he had a breakout season. The dynamic Pro Bowl back is now in a similar situation going into his second year in Nathaniel Hackett’s system. One wonders if similar production to that of 2012 is on the horizon this fall.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-27

Posted by Chris Brown on June 27, 2014 – 11:42 am

We’re in the quiet period of the offseason, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues about the team to discuss. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey Chris,
My question is about the defense and new DC Jim Schwartz.  I know Marrone has said that they will keep the terminology the same for the players, but what does that exactly mean?  I know Schwartz and Pettine have different philosophies but do you foresee Schwartz maybe trying to become more innovative with his D?  In my opinion I think that Rex Ryan and Mike Pettines defense is spreading into the league and can be a new look for NFL defenses.  I know the Chiefs acquired Bob Sutton who has a Jets backround and the Saints have Rob Ryan.   I really like the way Pettine disguised plays and also the way he looked for players that can be versatile.  It just seems like it’s a defense that is spreading into the league and it is very aggressive style, something that needs to match the explosive offenses that are continuing to evolve.  So I guess my question is do you think that Schwartz watched film and talked with Marrone about keeping some of the same looks and ideas that Pettine installed last year and maybe just putting his flavor on it?  What are your thoughts about it?

Thanks, Jillian

CB: I think coaches inherently trust the elements of their schemes that made them successful coordinators or coaches in this league. Jim Schwartz was a coveted head coaching candidates a half dozen years ago because of the way he ran his defense. It’s a scheme that has a long running track of success on third down and against the run, two of the chief problem areas for Buffalo’s defense.

In speaking with Schwartz on a couple of occasions it’s my belief that he’s been in the league long enough to know that you have to adapt to changing trends in the NFL or you’ll be left behind. I do believe some of his defensive scheme has adopted some of the language from Pettine’s scheme for the sake of continuity, but Schwartz believes in his system and he should. The Lions finished sixth against the run and first in third down defense last season.

So while I think there is a healthy respect for the schemes run by Pettine and the Ryans, there are other ways to be successful on the defensive side of the ball. Knowing Schwartz’s scheme is likely to address the two most glaring problems of Buffalo’s defense leaves me feeling encouraged that the team’s new defensive coordinator will have the right answers, they may just be different from what you witnessed here last season.

 

2 -  Hey Chris,

I love your work.  Everyday I look forward to the latest Bills news.  Thanks for keeping us updated.  Living in Dallas, all I get is Dallas Cowboys news.

Here is my question for you, “Can you give any insight on exactly what and how players are graded during the OTA practices?”

Thanks
Shawn Sieracki
Dallas, Texas
CB: Happy to help Shawn and thanks for the compliments. I’m going to turn this one over to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who I believe effectively explained what’s evaluated in the spring practices when there are no pads.

“The only thing we’re really evaluating with players now is their ability to grasp scheme and things like that,” said Schwartz. “The stuff that you’re seeing on the practice field, we’re not judging players on how they finish plays.  It’s a non competitive situation.  We want to learn, we want to learn their role in the defense.  We want to learn how everything fits together, and they are being judged on that and their work ethic.  But the on field stuff, it’s all about technique right now.  When we get to training camp, we’ll start judging them more on wins and losses.  Wins-whether it comes to a coverage or a pass rush or things like that—you have to be careful about judging too much on that stuff out there.  It’s non-contact; it’s not really football.”
3 - Chris

Thanks for your coverage of the Bills.  Is Buddy Nix still affiliated with the Bills? What is his role and did he have any input in the recent draft?

Regards,
Ron Jacobs

CB: Yes, Buddy is still affiliated with the Bills. He no longer works in the office, but is a special assistant to the personnel department. I know that GM Doug Whaley called on him a few times in the pre-draft process to scout a few prospects near his region where he lives in Tennessee.

He was also present in the draft room for all three days of the 2014 draft, sitting in the first row. Having been in the draft room for the whole weekend, Doug Whaley and Russ Brandon went to speak to him on about a dozen occasions.

Many of them appeared to deal with the conversations that Whaley and Brandon had with other NFL clubs concerning trade talks, and as you know Whaley made a handful on draft weekend. It’s clear to me that Nix is still a respected veteran voice in Buffalo’s personnel department.

 

4 – Chris,
Given the new additions on offense do you see the Bills being run heavy or pass heavy? With Dixon and Brown there won’t be enough carries to go around. Getting 4 RB’s the ball seems like a tough task. Given the league is pass heavy and Watkins is in the fold how is the ball going to go around. It’s a pass heavy league and EJ will need to throw 300 yards often. How do you see this shaking out?

CB: Here are the things you need to consider when weighing this question. Will the Bills simply have EJ Manuel carry the offense and throw it all over the field? It’s unlikely. Doug Marrone is a head coach who believes in a run game. Unless he’s got an all-world quarterback that will be his approach. The only difference is Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett will run it at a pace that no one can keep up with.

The pace of the offense last season was compromised by inexperience when injuries struck at quarterback and a new signal caller was starting seemingly every week. All three quarterbacks are a year invested in the system so that is no longer an issue.

So provided they gain the yardage they believe they on the ground consistently, it’ll translate into more first downs, more plays, more yardage and ultimately more points. With more plays there are more carries to go around.

Running as much as Buffalo did last season (they had more total rushes than any team in the NFL in 2013) they’d like to run more this year, as they only ran the ball 48 percent of the time. Keeping the injury factor in mind (See: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson in 2013), Buffalo now has the depth at running back to carry on should one or two of their backs suffer injuries.

The offensive line has also been beefed up with size and strength not only among the starting unit (Chris Williams), but among the reserves (Seantrel Henderson, Cyril Richardson, Chris Hairston, Cyrus Kouandjio). Pass protection is part of it knowing the Bills gave up the fourth-most (48) in the league last year, but it’s about being able to run the ball even when the opponent knows it’s coming.

C.J. and Fred will be the principal players in the run game, but Spiller and Jackson are both versatile talents and will be utilized in the passing game as well. With the depth at running back as well it wouldn’t surprise me if there are multiple backs on the field at the same time.

Hackett always talks about putting the five best skill position players on the field with the five linemen and the QB. One would think that Spiller and Jackson more often than not would be among that group with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon not far behind.

 

5 - @ChrisBrownBills

What is the competition for RT looking like right now between Pears and Cyrus?#bills

Z_bass10

CB: It’s hard to really make a call on it before the pads are on in training camp. I will say that early in the OTAs, the coaches rotated Kouandjio in with the first unit for a bit less than half the snaps. By the close of OTAs, Kouandjio spent most of his time with the second unit outside of a day when he spent a practice at left tackle due to a lack of numbers on hand.

Kouandjio has to adjust to the speed of NFL pass rushers. He found going against the likes of Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes challenging as you might understand. Pears held his own in the spring practice setting.

For me it’s a competition that’s going to have to wait until St. John Fisher when the pads are on and perhaps well into the preseason.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-20

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2014 – 2:39 pm

Spring practices are over and there’s just a month to go before training camp opens. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think about Buffalo going after Jason Babin possibly? They did show interest in 2012 #LetsGoBuffalo

TheGoodfella28

CB: While their depth at defensive end is not ideal I don’t know that they could make that kind of a veteran investment in the position. Buffalo has a lot of money tied up in their defensive line and adding another player who would not come cheap might be a bit unrealistic.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for the great coverage this off-season. I always look forward to Fan Friday. My question is in regards to the #3 QB spot. What have Jeff Tuel and Dennis Dixon been up to this off-season? Tuel showed a lot of promise last preseason but, clearly wasn’t ready when thrust into the spotlight. I still hold out hope for him. Living in Western Pa. I got to see Dixon play some as a Steeler. The guy has a motor for sure. Do you think Tuel’s spot is safe or does Dixon have a legit chance to overtake him? Maybe try to stash Tuel on the PS?
Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on this.

Scott

CB: I’ll have a story up on Buffalobills.com Saturday morning on Jeff Tuel. In my opinion he’s raised his game a peg or two. It’s clear to me he worked on his body in the offseason. He’s leaner and looks quicker on read option play keepers. Where he’s raised his game the most is his decisiveness in the pocket. He senses pressure and knows when to step up and he has shown a willingness to stick the ball into tight windows to make plays. There were times during the OTAs where he had the most impressive looking throws of the day.

I think he’s not only got a lock on the number three job going into camp, I believe he will provide healthy competition to Thad Lewis for the backup job.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

The recent comparison you made between Moeaki and Gragg today was interesting.

Gragg ran a 4.35 shuttle at pro day. Athletically Gragg seems superior in just about every test if you now include the pro day shuttle in his draft class and with Moeaki. Sub 4.5 40 at 244, 37.5 vertical, 4.35 shuttle…. great results.

However, Moeaki comments are encouraging. From a test comparison, the statement that Moeaki is the most athletic is surprising. Would be interesting to see a square out drill with both of them to see how they do. Shuttle or 3 cone is about closest to that.

Thanks
Mike

CB: I’m not sure there’s a question here, but I can tell you while Gragg is better on the stopwatch when it comes to football Moeaki is the smoother route runner. He transitions better from catch to turning up field. He also adjusts to the ball more effectively when it’s not on target.

That’s not a knock on Gragg, who is an athlete, but Moeaki’s body type, which isn’t as long-limbed as Gragg lends itself to being a more fluid athlete.

 
4 – Chris,

Thanks for all of the great reporting for “Bills Nation” out here in southern Nevada. Observations from OTA’s have indicated that E.J. is experiencing the same footwork and inaccuracy issues that have plagued him throughout his career. I believe he has had his own personal quarterbacks coach for a number of years. Why would he hire an offseason coach/mentor that has not been able to correct these problems?

Hank K.

CB: Thanks for the kind words. During OTAs EJ and the receivers were still working on getting their footwork lined up. With the precision needed in this passing game under coach Hackett, the quarterback’s footwork has to be in lockstep with that of the receivers. I intend to ask coach Hackett how much margin for error there is with that approach, but watching it on the field there doesn’t appear to be much. Unfortunately that’s how fine you have to cut things to be consistently successful in the NFL Sunday after Sunday.

In spring practices with new receiving targets on the field (Watkins, M. Williams, Moeaki) there’s going to be an adjustment period and I think we witnessed that in the OTAs. In minicamp the precision was improving. Hopefully that continues going into camp.

And to be clear it’s not a technique thing with EJ as much as it is a timing thing concerning the footwork. Yes, occasionally Manuel’s footwork will suffer in a pressure situation as it would for any QB, but on the whole the disconnect comes when the footwork of the QB and receivers are not timed up from the snap as it’s been explained to me.

 
5 – Hey Chris,

Love your insight and love for the Bills keep up the great work. I’ve a proposal I think the Bills should really consider about trading Fred Jackson or releasing him. They need to go with CJ Spiller and Bryce Brown. With the addition of Bryce Brown and also Anthony Dixon they have two power backs that are younger and faster than Fred Jackson. I’m a big fan of Fred Jackson as a football talent and as a leader, but why get Brown and Dixon and still keep Jackson.

Virginia’s biggest Bills fan.
CB: I’m going to disagree with your proposal. First, Jackson is still a more than capable back in this league. Some might not see him as a bell cow type back anymore, but his value is undeniable. He’s still the best pass blocking back on the roster, he’s an offensive spark for the team and he’s more than a respected leader. He’s the pulse of the locker room.

The additions of Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are to improve their short yardage success and to have a viable back in reserve should C.J. Spiller or Jackson get hurt, as was the case last year when both had to gut out games on one bad wheel last season. With as much running as this team intends to do they’ll need all four of them.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2014 – 9:45 am

A couple of Bills players will be appearing on the national radio airwaves today (Tuesday). Here’s where you can find them.

12:10 pm – C.J. Spiller on PFT Live with Mike Florio

1:05 pm – Fred Jackson on The Jim Rome Show


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Posted in 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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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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