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Inside The Bills

Fred back practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2013 – 11:53 am

After missing Wedmesday’s practice with a rib injury Fred Jackson was back working Thursday.

Head coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday that he expected Jackson would be fine for Sunday’s game and they were just “resting him.”

We’ll have his official level of participation post practice.


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Wins important with AFC East rivals on tap

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2013 – 8:46 am

While some Bills fans would probably prefer to see Buffalo land a higher draft choice knowing the playoffs are out of the conversation, the players are eager to stack victories at the end of the season. Naturally players want to win every week, but even without a postseason berth on the line, beating their division opponents carries a measure of importance knowing they’ll be facing these same team twice next season.

“It’s huge. It means a tremendous amount,” said Fred Jackson in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “Going into the offseason winning football games is something you can build off of and something you can fall back on. We have two opponents coming up that we’re going to see a lot of so to be able to get wins against those guys, focusing on Miami first is something we can take into the offseason. We have a road ahead of us and to be able to lay the foundation of beating those guys and have a winning record in our division is something we can lean on. It’s the opportunity that’s in front of us.”

Buffalo currently has a 2-2 record in the division with wins over the Jets and Miami. They face the Dolphins in the rematch Sunday with Miami trying to remain in AFC playoff contention.

“This is a big game for us and has always been a big game for us,” Jackson said. “We’ll start preparing. We’re excited about it. We have a tremendous opportunity to hit those guys in the mouth and kill their playoff chances a little bit. We went down to their house and got a win so I’m sure they’re hoping to do the same up here. So hopefully we can get a lot of fans out at the Ralph and get them rowdy and we can feed off of them.”


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Jackson: Team intensity has to stay high

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2013 – 12:23 pm

In the wake of the embarrassing Week 14 loss at Tampa Bay Fred Jackson, and likely a host of other players on the roster, came to the realization that they’re just not intense enough, often enough to go out and win football games week in and week out.  Buffalo’s captains in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 said the intensity they had in their win at Jacksonville has to stay that way for the remainder of the season.

Jackson was glad to see the way the team responded after what was likely their worst showing of the year in Tampa with their winning effort in Jacksonville. Still, he was troubled by the fact that they squandered other chances to win earlier in the season because their intensity was at its peak all the time.

“We just cannot take weeks off,” said Jackson. “It [stinks] to say that, but there are weeks where we go in and we’re not playing as hard as we need to. That’s on us as an offensive unit and we have to get that corrected. When we get that corrected we’re able to put up the numbers that we put up Sunday. Hopefully we get our wits about us and play as well as we did yesterday.”

The follow up question dealt with accountability and weeding out the players that weren’t pulling their weight or in this case going all out every snap they were on the field.

“I think it’s about guys being out there and going through the motions,” said Jackson. “After the Tampa game guys were going to get called out that were seen doing that. Guys showed up this weekend. That has to be the case from here on out. We’re being evaluated every time we step on the field. To go down and get embarrassed in Tampa we had to go show up in Jacksonville. Guys did a tremendous job responding. Hopefully we can continue to play well. That has to do with just guys showing up, preparing, playing hard every play. Once you get guys doing that we can be a pretty good team.”


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Manuel spoke to offense after Tampa loss

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2013 – 10:46 am

After one of their most embarrassing performances of the season the Bills’ captains addressed the team about their concerns with player accountability, professionalism and commitment to team. The players responded this week with a winning effort against the Jaguars. But it wasn’t just the captains who spoke early last week. EJ Manuel made a promise to his offensive teammates leading up to the Jacksonville game as well.

Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Fred Jackson revealed that EJ Manuel got in front of his unit and assured them that he would redouble his efforts to be better on the field moving forward.

“He addressed the team last week, or the offense anyway and he told us he was going to work harder than he has ever worked before,” said Jackson. “That showed this weekend. It showed that he knew what was going on in every situation. Anytime you get a young guy that’s willing to put in that extra work and knows that he has to it’s going to make him better. We saw that on the field this weekend. He played really well for us. There are always things that are going to need improvement, but it’s hard to play perfect in anything.”

Jackson was encouraged by Manuel’s play especially on the three long scoring drives in the game and his decision making in the red zone where the Bills went 3-for-3.

“If he continues to play the way he played this weekend we’re going to have a tremendous opportunity to win football games,” Jackson said. “There’s not a single person in this organization who is not going to rally behind this kid because we know he can play and we’re excited about the things that he’s going to bring to us in the future.”

Jackson believes in Manuel continues to make strides on the field and takes an authoritative position on offense the rest of the unit will follow.

“That’s what you need from your quarterback. He’s the guy that’s going to get everybody in position to make plays. When you have a guy that steps forward and say he has to get everybody in the right situations and get everybody on the same page then guys fall in line behind him,” said Jackson. “Guys get ready to see what he’s made of and that’s what happened this week.

“He took accountability for it and did everything he could throughout the week of practice to make sure he put everyone on the same page when it came time to play on Sunday. That’s the maturation of a young quarterback and hopefully he’ll continue to grow and we can continue to fall in line and get behind him and help him as best we can.”


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Team rallying behind Stevie

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2013 – 10:39 am

Bills WR Stevie Johnson made the decision Sunday to play against Jacksonville, despite getting the news of his mother’s unexpected passing the day before. Keeping that news to himself until after the game has earned him added respect in Buffalo’s locker room from teammates that are ready to prop him up at this difficult time.

Team captain Fred Jackson, in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 said they’re ready to help Johnson through this difficult time in any way that they can.

“I know I just speak for all my teammates when I say we really appreciate him for doing what he did (Sunday),” said Jackson. “That’s got to be one of the hardest things in the world to do trying to move past the death of your mother. We really do appreciate him for coming out and sticking with us. All we can do is ask him what he needs from us.

“We’ll just kind of pick his brain for what he needs from us to help him through this. He’s going to need us. That’s why he was out there yesterday. The best way to deal with something like that is going where you’re comfortable, and being a football player the best place to go is out on the football field.”

Jackson heard about the time coach Marrone spent with Johnson on Saturday after getting the terrible news and said he would not have expected anything less from their head coach.

“With coach Marrone he’s a guy who has been where we are. He knows the grind that we go through. He knows what we put ourselves through week in and week out. He’s more of a personable coach,” Jackson said. “He’s a coach you can approach and talk to about anything and that’s just an example of it.

“He wants to be kept in the loop of what’s going on with us. He doesn’t want us to keep our personal lives from him. He wants to give us the advice that he feels like he can to help us through any situation, whether it’s football or personal for something going on at home. He wants to be a part of it and that’s when you know you have a coach that you love to play for and that’s coach Marrone for us. Guys wouldn’t expect anything less with that conversation he had with Stevie because that’s the kind of coach he is.”


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Fred, C.J. join 700 duo club

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2013 – 3:45 pm

With today’s rushing efforts against the Jacksonville Jaguars both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have better than 700 rushing yards each this season. It puts the Bills running back duo in select company in team history.

Jackson and Spiller are just the second Bills running backs tandem to produce at least 700 rushing yards each in a season in Bills annals. The only other duo to pull it off were O.J. Simpson (1,817) and Jim Braxton (823) in 1975.


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Jackson: Fans sick of turnaround talk

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2013 – 1:28 pm

As soon as he said it in the locker room Monday morning he knew how it would play with Bills fans. After uttering the sentence, ‘We’ll get this thing turned around,’ Jackson immediately explained that he and a lot of other players who have been on the roster a while know fans are tired of the promise talk.

“I’m sure people are sick of us saying that,” Jackson said. “We’re going to hear the moans and groans and everybody saying it’s the same old, same old thing they’ve been hearing since I’ve been here. That’s fair for them to do, but we’re working.

“Nobody is more disappointed in our season than us. The outside stuff that’s just people being human. They have their opinions. I can tell you that with all the fans that are disappointed, their disappointment doesn’t compare to the disappointment in this locker room.

“We want to get this thing turned around more than anybody because we’re the ones out there competing and busting our butts. We don’t want to be sitting here with four wins on the season with a 4-9 record. That’s not where we want to be. That’s not what we signed up to play for. It’s not in our job description to have a 4-9 season and be okay with it. That’s not what this locker room is about. We’ll continue to work at it. We’ll do everything we can to get these last three games under our belt and get these last three wins.”

Jackson just hopes their results over their last three Sundays backs up what he’s saying knowing for Bills fans actions will speak a whole lot louder than words.


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Value of healthy roster not lost on Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2013 – 5:44 pm

They know being healthy doesn’t guarantee anything, but heading into the last month of the season with a roster that has just about all its weapons on offense and defense ready to roll is providing the Bills with a sense of optimism entering the home stretch of the season.

“Everybody’s extremely optimistic to get everybody out there 100-percent or as close to it as possible,” said Fred Jackson. “It will be interesting to see, something we’ve been excited about all offseason and all this season.  To get everybody out there and get everybody on the same page is something we’re looking forward to.”

“It’s good to have everybody back healthy going into the homestretch of the season,” said Kyle Williams. “In the last month of the year, it could be a big month for us and it’s good to have all hands on deck.”


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Jackson: We can shift tempo whenever

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2013 – 9:31 am

With EJ Manuel feeling a lot more comfortable in Buffalo’s offense after seven starts it’s afforded the Bills the opportunity to shift the tempo of their attack whenever they deem a change of pace to be to their advantage.

That according to RB Fred Jackson.

“I think it kind of depends on how the flow of the game is going,” Jackson said. “There are times when we come to the sideline and we get together with the coaches and say we want to pick the tempo up. So if we sense that during the game that’s when we really try to pick it up if we feel it gives us any kind of advantage we want to definitely make use of that.”

That’s what the Buffalo offense did against the Jets last Sunday.

“We saw early that they didn’t like our tempo and it gave us the opportunity to complete passes on third down that we had guys step up and make some plays,” said Jackson. “I think (Eric) Wood was the first one who noticed what we wanted to do on the offense and we kind of echoed that to everybody and began to pick the tempo up.”


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There’s a run that can be made

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2013 – 4:46 pm

In no way are the Bills assuming they can win out, nor are they looking at their next five games collectively. They’re squarely focused on their Week 13 game against Atlanta. But based on the way the team attacked the Jets game despite entering it on a three-game losing streak has players confident they can make things interesting down the stretch.

“You get that feeling in this locker room,” said Fred Jackson. “Even after the three game stretch where we lost three games and two of them were really close, two of them we felt we should’ve had and then got beat by Pittsburgh like we did, guys still came in ready to work.

“Anytime you get that competitive atmosphere after that situation you know things are turning. You know guys aren’t just here to get a paycheck. Guys are here to work to try to get this thing turned around and keep battling because you never know what’s going to happen in a season. It’s a long season and we’ve still got games to try to get to where we want to be and that’s in the playoffs.”


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Fred: This is closest Bills team I’ve seen

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2013 – 12:39 pm

The Bills have had rosters of quality character players, but over the last several years sides of the ball rarely meshed seamlessly into one another off the field. That’s no longer the case according to Fred Jackson.

In Jackson’s opinion the 2013 Bills are the closest team, player to player, he’s been on.

“I can’t remember a team being as close as this team is,” said Jackson. “Everybody is willing to fight for each other. There’s not a bad seed or something that guys don’t agree with. When you have that it kind of festers in the locker room or even throughout the building. Guys are willing to go the extra mile for each other and I think you’ve seen it in a lot of games that we’ve been in. Guys are showing up trying to make plays for each other. Somebody goes down, the next man up.

“Nobody is complaining about playing time or the amount of touches or things like that. Guys are just here to try to actually win football games and give us an opportunity to go to the playoffs.”


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Fan Friday 11-15

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2013 – 1:11 pm

Bills need to put an end to a three-game losing streak. A win over the Jets would be a good way to go into the bye. Here is your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris:

The Bills did not seem to be using Fred Jackson and CJ spiller in the game at the same time very much when they were both healthy this season.  Do you think we will ever see them utilized in a pro set or veer formation?  I just could see that as a great asset to utilize in a fast paced offence.

Thanks,
Chris

CB: Through the first 10 games I’ve got the Bills using their split back formation with Fred and C.J. on just four plays this season. They used it against the Jets in the first meeting in Week 3, so perhaps it’s rolled out again on Sunday.

As for a veer offense, coach Marrone has gone on record saying that’s not something they would do here in Buffalo.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

I  love your articles! With analytics being the buzz did anyone at the bills analyze how how many times we ran the ball between the tackles this year and got less than 4 yards a carry? Not end sweeps.

Thanks,
45 year bills fan

CB: I can’t tell you how many rushes specifically went for less than four yards, but I can tell you after 10 games where the gains have been the most successful to this point this year.

Run direction     Avg. gain              NFL Rank             Total rushes
Left  end              5.9                          11th                         20
Left tackle           4.38                        12th                         37
Left guard           3.89                        14th                         54
Center                  5.21                        7th                           103
Right guard         3.96                        11th                         52
Right tackle         3.61                        21st                         36
Right end             5.71                        9th                           14

3 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for everything you do keeping us fans informed!  I wanted to ask

Depending on how EJ plays down the stretch, and depending on where the Bills are drafting next year, do you think there’s ANY chance the Bills consider taking a QB in the first round next year to compete with EJ?  Or do you think EJ gets 2-3 years before another QB is considered?  (I think it’s too early to tell what the Bills have in EJ yet, but there seem to be some really good QBs in college this year, and this team seems to have all the pieces in place except (possibly) QB to make a serious run next year)

Also, do you think the Bills will consider doing any retooling at the WR position during the bye week?  They seem to have 3 talented WRs in Stevie, Woods, and Goodwin.  But Stevie’s production seems to have gone down since moving to the slot  and Graham hasn’t been impressive so far.  Goodwin seems to be faster and have better hands.

Adam

CB: I’m going to let coach Marrone handle this one. Here’s what he said concerning their investment in EJ. Here’s what coach said about Manuel this week.

“He needs to be out there.  The more he’s out there, the better he’s getting.  Also, I want to make sure everyone understands, I truly believe in this quarterback.

“He’s shown that he can do it.  He’s shown that he progresses during the course of the year, and during each and every play and each and every game.  When I go back and look at it, I see him getting better as the game goes on.  And I think that’s what you see with a young quarterback.

“If we want to sit here, and I say we, it’s all of us now, and we see this young guy, we’ve got to be able to say let’s let this guy develop and let’s go, and he’s going to get better each week.

“As far as his work ethic and how he goes about the game and all those other things, he’s outstanding.  The respect that he has from his teammates is outstanding.  When does it ever come to the point where you are that person, you are that guy, how long does it have to be?  You’ve got to win. You’ve got to consistently win.  A lot gets put on his plate for that, but a lot of the rest of us, including myself and the coaches, we’ve all got to do our part and we’ve all got to play well around him to be successful.”

 

4 – Chris,
I’ve noticed the Bills are lacking a big ‘go up and get it’ WR. Why has Easley seen so few offense snaps? I’ve seen him make great plays on special teams. Why don’t they try him more in the offense. He’s more physical than Graham and Goodwin. He’s still raw but they aren’t giving him the chance to see the field as WR.

Josh

CB: You’re right that Buffalo does not have a big-bodied, jump ball type of receiver, which is part of the reason they’ve had a problem in the red zone of late. They have Scott Chandler, who is a height mismatch, but need a receiver that can work the corners of the end zone on fades and jump balls.

Easley, even if he does not play much between the 20’s, could be part of the team’s red zone package knowing he’s a big 6’2” and 217 pounds. He should get some opportunities Sunday down there knowing Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods are out.

 

5 – I think Believe EJ Manuel would benefit greatly if the bills drafted a good young tight end prospect . Names Like Eric ebron North Carolina, Jace amaro Texas tech, and Austin seferian Jenkins of Washington come to mind. If the bills do not draft a te in the top half of the draft do they look elsewhere for a good te prospect such as a basketball player type . UB’s Javon McCrea who has soft hands and a huge frame  comes to mind . Any Chance the bills are Looking at an option Like This ?

Thanks !

Dustin in Alden

CB: With all due respect I think you’re overlooking Chris Gragg, who finally got some measurable playing time on offense in Pittsburgh. I think he’ll also factor in on offense in the passing game this week with Woods and Johnson out.

Gragg is an athletic pass catcher, who just needs time on the job. He tore his ACL in college and still runs a 4.5 40-time. There’s potential there.


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Bills hoping EJ’s return brings stability

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2013 – 10:55 am

After a carousel-like rotation at quarterback the past five weeks between EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel. That rotation has now come full circle as Manuel starts on Sunday. Players on Buffalo’s offense are hoping Manuel can stay in the lineup over the last seven games of the regular season.

“That’s the number one thing. Hopefully we can get some stability at the position,” said Fred Jackson. “He’s a guy that we wanted to be back there. We’ve got him back there now and I know he’s excited to get the opportunity to come back. I know he’ll come out and play well for us. To get some stability there a guy that’s going to be there for us the remainder of the season hopefully is something that can help this offense move in the right direction.”


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Bills determined to improve on goal line

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2013 – 1:10 pm

Buffalo’s offense has been down on the goal line twice in the last two home games and were unable to punch it in the end zone. It’s got the team’s co-captains on offense determined to change things in short yardage situations.

“That’s an opportunity that we relish,” said Fred Jackson. “Myself, I pride myself in goal line situations and for whatever reason, we didn’t get the job done. In the end, that could be what cost us the seven points.  When you’re number’s called, you want to get in the end zone. The first two carries (Sunday), I didn’t get in there. We threw the ball and we didn’t
get any points, and we gave them points at the same time.”

“It’s a group effort,” said Eric Wood. “That’s an off tackle run that we started with, we threw a pass down there, but we have to get things fixed because that’s twice that we’ve struggled on the goal line this year. As physical as we generally play on the
offensive line and as a team in general in the run game, we’d like to be more successful.”


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Fan Friday 11-1

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 2:21 pm

The Bills face a Chiefs team that has not won in Buffalo at the Ralph since 1986. Here is your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

 

1 - Chris,

The Bills are playing much more aggressive defense, and yes the sacks and interceptions are up.  However, the Bills run defense is still vulnerable. In addition, even though the Bills offense is putting 20+ points up per game, the defense is giving up more.

Is the Bills D-Line overrated and in need of an upgrade to shutdown the run ?

Let’s GO Buffalo
Randy C
South Florida

CB: The run defense has not been up to snuff. Coaches and players have cited sound fundamental tackling as the main culprit for this. Arthur Moats had a good explanation for me this week. Here’s what he said.

“When we’re making that initial contact we have to continue to drive our feet,” said Moats. “That’s the technique part of it I was talking about and not letting those guys fall forward for extra yards, not letting them leak out after getting hit initially. I feel like once we start doing that more consistently we’ll definitely see better results.”

 

2 – Chris,

Thank you so much for the information that you provide, especially to us fans who aren’t in the Buffalo area.  In regards to the Buffalo-Miami game.  There were 4 sacks and a lot of qb hits.  I can’t remember how many.  I believe I read where you reported that during the week Coach Marrone spent extra time working with the Offensive Line.  It seems to me that there were more sacks and hits in this game than in previous games.  What more can be done to increase the protection?

Buffalo fan in Virginia

CB: I think the Bills will need to turn to a quick passing game more often as they face defensive units that can successfully rush the passer. They’re going to need to turn to three and five-step drops and deliver the football on timing patterns. Seven-step drops against teams like the Chiefs for example are a death wish.

I think short drop timing throws would be good go-to plays, especially for the inexperienced quarterbacks Buffalo has had to put in the lineup. Then when DBs start squatting on routes, work the middle of the field like they did last week and take a few deep shots.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

After looking at the statistics, it appears that among the linebackers, Kiko Alonso and Manny Lawson are making many tackles and that Nigel Bradham is not experiencing the production that Lawson and Alonso are. Is it because Bradham is not strong against the run? The Buffalo Bills defense is decidedly better than last year’s version in terms of making plays, but would they go after another linebacker in April’s draft? It seems that the defensive line is strong, and the secondary is strong, but maybe they need one more playmaking linebacker. Your thoughts?

Tony, Ormond Beach, FL

CB: Bradham’s lack of production is directly tied to his lack of playing time. Through the first eight games of the season Bradham has 104 snaps logged on defense. Lawson has 344 and Alonso 626. You can’t expect the same production from a guy playing one third or one sixth of the time.

As for drafting another linebacker I think that there’s a good chance they look to add another LB next April.

 

4 – Chris:

The Bills did not seem to be using Fred Jackson and CJ spiller in the game at the same time very much when they were both healthy this season.  Do you think we will ever see them utilized in a pro set or veer formation?  I just could see that as a great asset to utilize in a fast paced offence.

Thanks,
Chris

CB: Both haven’t been 100 percent healthy almost all season so the opportunity to run a split backfield has been limited. They did do it a bit earlier this season and it is contained in the Bills playbook. I just don’t think we’ll see much of it until both backs are fully recovered from their injuries.

Making use of that formation also depends on the caliber of opponent and what they do well.

 

5 - @ChrisBrownBills
Thanks for the updates this week on EJ. Can you tell me how EJ looked or did?

bucketscheung

CB: EJ threw the ball very well, but his injured knee is not all the way back yet. His right knee is on his back leg on drop backs. Planting that leg firmly in the ground at the top of his drop cannot be enjoyable if he’s still experiencing pain in that knee where he had the LCL injury.

He hasn’t been cleared medically to play in a game and until that happens he’ll just be throwing in practice. EJ hasn’t really done any team work. Head coach Doug Marrone said that there’s an outside chance he plays in the Jets game in two weeks.


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Stevie and Fred back to work

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2013 – 11:53 am

After an extra day off to rest their injuries on Wednesday Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson are practicing here at one Bills Dr., Thursday.

Johnson is working his way back from a hip flexor injury while Jackson is working his way through a sprained MCL.

We’ll get their official level of participation after practice is over.


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Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 3:58 pm

Thad Lewis did not take part in practice Wednesday. Neither did Fred Jackson or Stevie Johnson. Here’s the Bills full Wednesday injury report with practice participation.

Did not practice
QB Thad Lewis – ribs
WR Stevie Johnson – hip flexor
RB Fred Jackson – knee
DT Kyle Williams – Achilles

Limited in practice
RB C.J. Spiller – ankle
QB EJ Manuel – knee
WR Marquise Goodwin – elbow
LB Manny Lawson – hamstring
G Kraig Urbik – knee


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Run game a tale of two halves

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2013 – 9:23 am

The Bills productive rushing attack was true to form in the first half rolling up respectable yardage and posting a fat yards per carry average, but that all changed in the second half.

Buffalo’s two main ball carriers on Sunday were Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice. In the first half the two combined for 69 yards on 14 carries for an average of 4.92 yards per rush. That was right around what New Orleans was surrendering on the ground this season (5.1).

Come the second half however, the Saints dropped a safety in the box and the run game was suddenly stymied. Granted the Bills had to pass more being down on the scoreboard, but when they tried to run early in the second half they were stuffed. Jackson and Choice had eight carries for 11 yards for an average of 1.38 per rush.

Making his weekly radio appearance on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson admitted they did not make the proper second half adjustments to counter what New Orleans defense was doing.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” said Jackson. “They made some second half adjustments and we didn’t. That’s something we have to be better at. We have to be better at making second half adjustments. One of the things they did was keep a safety down in the box the entire time in the second half. We have to see that and we have to adjust. That’s something that’s going to fall on us as players. When we see that we have to let them know what’s going on when we get to the sideline and get the adjustments made.”


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Fred: We probably spurred coach to challenge

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2013 – 9:00 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson and his offensive linemen were convinced that he broke the plane of the goal line on his second down and goal carry from the two-yard line. So convinced that they spurred head coach Doug Marrone to challenge the play.

Jackson admitted as much in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday morning. He also revealed a conversation he had with the head official Terry McAulay after his review of the play under the hood.

“Yeah I think it had a lot to do with a lot of us,” said Jackson of Marrone challenging the play. “The offensive line knew that I was in. I knew I was in. The ref even came up to me after the challenge and said, ‘You probably were in. We just couldn’t see it on the TV copy. For you guys to be as ecstatic as you were I wouldn’t doubt that you were in. We just couldn’t see it.’
That probably had a lot to do with me because I knew I was in, but they just didn’t have enough evidence to make the call.”

The call on the field that Jackson was short of the goal line stood, with Jackson and the Bills needing third and goal to punch the ball into the end zone.

Marrone has said he plans to change his process of challenging plays moving forward.


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Marrone to change the way he challenges

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2013 – 11:26 pm

Doug Marrone has shown in his short time as Bills head coach that he’s not afraid to change something if it isn’t working. After four failed coach’s challenges he’s already decided he’s changing the process by which he determines whether he’ll throw his red flag on a play or not.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s loss at New Orleans, Marrone pointed the finger at himself when it came to his unsuccessful coach’s challenges as he went 0-for-2 in the game against the Saints.

“I’m going to change the process of our challenges,” said Marrone. “Obviously we haven’t been successful with that so if we keep it the same how do I expect it to change. I need to do a better job of that.”

Marrone challenged whether Fred Jackson crossed the plane of the end zone on a second down carry from the two-yard line. Replays were inconclusive, which likely led to the call on the field being upheld. The second challenge was to see if Pierre Thomas’ knee was down before he reached the first down marker on a 3rd-and-1 carry on the next series from scrimmage in the fourth quarter. That play was also upheld.

When asked for details on how he intends to change his challenge decision process, Marrone was clearly in the planning stages right after the game.

“I’ve got to change the process of that. I think I’m 0-for-4. I’ve just got to change the way we do that and that’s me,” Marrone said. “That’s what I mean when I say everybody has to get better. I’ve got to do a better job of changing whatever I have to do to make sure when we challenge we don’t lose those timeouts. That’s my fault period. I’m the head coach.”

Marrone does have an assistant in the coach’s booth that reviews the TV monitor feed of the game for replay looks to help determine if a play should be challenged. Based on how Marrone said Sunday that he heard the players say Fred Jackson was in on his goal line carry, you can imagine the tightrope a head coach has to walk there. You want to support your players and challenge the call, but you also don’t want to lose a timeout in a game where you’re behind on the scoreboard and might need it later in the game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills