Inside The Bills

Jackson: rest may have been best

Posted by Chris Brown on November 22, 2014 – 12:15 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson missed the Dolphins game after he aggravated his groin injury in the Tuesday practice prior to the Thursday night game. The benefit was he would get two full weeks to recover before he would play in a game again. Not even practicing on Wednesday and Thursday may have only helped all the more.

While Jackson wasn’t happy to be away from the training staff to continue his rehab regimen, he admits the rest was beneficial.

“It’s just one of those things where nobody was able to get in,” said Jackson in reference to the snowy weather in and around the Bills’ Orchard Park training facility. “But I stayed in contact with them and asked them what they wanted me to do and for the most part it was giving it rest, put my feet up. Try to get ready and prepared to come out and practice. Other than that there wasn’t too much that I could do. I didn’t have the equipment that I needed. I felt good today (at practice) and hopefully it’ll continue to progress.”

Jackson elaborated saying he didn’t have any setbacks on the practice field Friday.

“Obviously you want to rest it, and with these two days off I was able to do that. But you want to be in the room with the trainers and go through some treatments and rehab and things like that and not being able to do that is something that could be a setback, but taking advantage of not doing anything is something that could help too. It felt good getting out there today. Hopefully I can continue to progress well and play well on Monday.”


Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills far from playing out the string

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2014 – 12:40 pm

Bills fans might be down in the dumps about Buffalo’s playoff chances with the team sitting at 5-5 and without may tiebreaker advantages in the AFC, but the players are far from a ‘playing-out-the-string’ approach when it comes to the last month and a half of the regular season. Their plan is to fight tooth and nail the rest of the way.

“We’ve still got six games left. We’re not going to come in here and just cash it in,” said Fred Jackson. “That’s what we can’t do. That’s what the guys in this locker room will not allow ourselves to do. Just to cash it in and prepare for next season. We’ve still got six games. Granted we’ve got some tough opponents in those six games, but we’re not going to show up in here and cash this season in and say that’s it’s over with now. We’ve lost to two good teams. We lost to Kansas City and now we’re 5-5. We’ve got to start over and re-boot and turn this thing around.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson: I’m planning to play Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2014 – 9:25 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said last week that if their Week 11 game was on Sunday instead of Thursday night, he felt Fred Jackson would’ve been able to play in the game. on Thursday night however, he was scratched after tweaking his injured groin in practice Tuesday. Now Jackson fully anticipates being ready to go this coming Sunday against the Jets.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Jackson said he’s planning on being ready by the end of the week.

“Yeah. We’ll work myself into the process of getting back out there,” said Jackson. “I know with our training staff and doctors they’ll take every precaution we need to, but like coach Marrone said, if the game was yesterday there’s probably a pretty good chance that I would’ve played. So I’m planning on playing this Sunday and it’s just on me to go out there and take this week slowly and get back out there.”

Jackson said his groin injury is feeling better, but it’s still going to be a slow and steady process in his return to the practice field this week. The veteran running back also said the plan was to play in both the Chiefs and Dolphins games despite the quick turnaround of five days between them.

“The plan was to play both games, but on Tuesday at practice I had a little setback that wasn’t anticipated. Out at practice running around making a play and kind of tweaked it and it was setback that wasn’t foreseen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Fred could’ve played if game was Sun.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 2:39 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson was inactive last night against the Dolphins after he tweaked his groin not only in the game the previous Sunday against the Chiefs, but in practice on Tuesday as well. However, on Friday morning head coach Doug Marrone indicated that if Buffalo’s game was Sunday instead of Thursday night he’d have been able to give it a go.

“I think if we would’ve played on a Sunday we would’ve had Fred back,” said Marrone.

Jackson said he’s hopeful that the extra rest this weekend in advance of the week leading up to the Nov. 23rd game against the Jets will put him in position to be healthy enough to play.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson tweaked groin at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 1:14 am

In addition to tweaking his groin in the Kansas City game Sunday, which limited his snap count in that contest, Jackson said after Buffalo’s latest loss to Miami that he also aggravated it in practice the following Tuesday.

“I tweaked the groin in practice again on Tuesday, so it was better for me not to go tonight,” Jackson said.

Jackson naturally didn’t enjoy missing out on playing Thursday night.

“It’s tough,” he said. “You never want to be on the sideline especially when you see the offensive struggles like we had today. I have to do everything I can to get back out there and help my teammates and do everything I can to get us out of this funk that we’re in.”

Jackson is hoping the extra time will be enough to get his body back right

“Hopefully,” he said. “It’ll be good to get 10 days off from our next game. It can only help so I’m going to do everything I can to get back out there as soon as I can.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Why dressing Fred was too big a risk

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 7:57 pm

We’re all familiar with Bills RB Fred Jackson will to play no matter what nagging injury he might be dealing with. But after aggravating his groin injury in last Sunday’s game against Kansas City it was simply too big a risk for Doug Marrone to dress Jackson for tonight’s game against the Dolphins. Here’s why.

First and foremost Jackson is not 100 percent healthy and on a short week being a limited participant in practice sessions that are far from game speed, judging how long a limited player would last in a live game on short rest is just too big a risk to take for the team and the player.

“I think it all depends on what’s in front of them and what their ability is in the game plan and if they’re able to produce in how you want to attack the other team,” said Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s on “You want to be going out there with the healthiest team you can put out there. You’re limited to how many people you can dress, and if someone gets hurt in the first quarter because they had a nagging injury the week before you can get yourself in trouble really quick.”

As a result Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon will carry the load in the run game. The pair averaged 6.1 per carry last week against Kansas City.

The other benefit is Jackson will now be able to have a span of two weeks between games. It’s the last break of this length the rest of the season. Hopefully it’s enough time for Jackson to heal sufficiently and contribute without issue for the last six games.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives include Jackson, Goodwin

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 7:01 pm

Here are the Bills inactives for tonight’s game against the Dolphins.

22 RB Jackson
33 CB Brooks
39 RB Tanner
58 LB Johnson
71 OL Kouandjio
88 WR Goodwin
92 DE Wynn.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Jackson tweaked groin vs. Chiefs

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 5:30 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson was limited in practice this week and was listed as questionable for tonight’s game. In his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s on, head coach Doug Marrone revealed that Jackson aggravated his groin injury in last Sunday’s game against Kansas City.

“He tweaked that groin again during the course of the game,” said Marrone of Jackson. “I think it’s very admirable for Fred. We know what type of player he is and how tough he is to be out there, but that’s what happened during the course of that game. I think it’s very difficult… it’s one of those things during the course of the week this week to make those types of decisions.”

That explains why Jackson was on the field for just 27 snaps last Sunday. So in a short week with less time for Jackson to recover the rushing load will likely fall largely to Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown tonight against the Dolphins.

Dixon had just two carries for three yards in the first meeting with Miami. As a team the Bills rushed for 113 yards on 33 carries for a 3.42 yards per carry average.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson and Watkins active

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 11:49 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson and WR Sammy Watkins are both active for today’s game against the Chiefs. Here are the inactives for Buffalo.

WR Mike Williams
S Jerome Couplin
CB Ron Brooks
RB Phillip Tanner
LB Randell Johnson
G Cyril Richardson
WR Marcus Easley

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Optimism for Jackson & Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 7:20 am

Sammy Watkins wasn’t able to practice all week. Fred Jackson was limited in practice in his attempt to return to game action. Both players are listed as questionable for today’s game against the Chiefs, but there are reports now that the Bills are optimistic that the two offensive playmakers will be able to dress for the game today.

That according to’s Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer.

If both are able to suit up it’s unclear how limited or extensive their roles would be. Buffalo does have some capable depth at running back in the form of Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Watkins’ role could be spelled somewhat by Mike Williams, who is the most comparable physical talent on Buffalo’s roster, should Watkins be unable to handle a full workload. Again that’s if they do in fact dress for today’s game at all.

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Watkins comparing notes with Jackson

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 2:35 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is in uncharted territory. Having never had a muscular injury of any significance in his career he’s not sure how to work his way through his current groin ailment. That’s why he’s been seeking counsel from Fred Jackson, who also has a groin injury.

“Never dealt with a serious injury so I really don’t know how to treat a groin,” said Watkins. “I’ve never been through one so I don’t know how to feel right now.”

“It’s one of those things where I told him to see those guys in that training room,” said Jackson of his conversation with Watkins. “They’re going to do everything they can to get you ready. Take everything they give you because they’re the ones who are going to get you back out there sooner rather than later.”

Both players are questionable for Sunday’s game. Head coach Doug Marrone hopes that Watkins can use his current ailment as a learning tool.

“I think as a player in talking to him, like we talk to all the players, especially the young ones, the way you have to start understanding your body and what’s an injury and what’s something where you’re not going to hurt yourself further,” said Marrone. “That’s something you learn throughout the process. I think if he does come back and he is able to play again I think he’ll have a better feel for where his body is.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: No decision yet on Fred

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 9:24 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone made his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday morning and was asked about the status of Fred Jackson for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

Jackson, who suffered a groin injury back in Week 7, has practiced on a limited basis this week. Marrone however, said they have not yet made a call on whether Jackson will be cleared to play this weekend.

“He’s progressing. He’s not 100 percent yet,” said Marrone. “So we’ll see how it goes the next couple of days. We haven’t made a decision either way.”



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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson: I did the same stuff Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 3:50 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson said Wednesday that how he felt Thursday morning following a day of limited practice would say a lot about where he’s at in his attempt to return from a groin injury suffered in Week 7. Jackson was able to practice again Thursday on a limited basis and said when he woke up Thursday his recovering groin was okay.

“Woke up today and there was no residual effect from Wednesday,” Jackson said. “So anytime you can do that it’s a good thing. I was able to wake up and go out and do the same things I did yesterday. They won’t give me any clarification of what’s going to happen.  They just said keep going through the process, keep going out there and try to move around.  I think ultimately it’s on the doctors and coaches to see what they decide.”

When asked if his workload in practice Thursday decreased, Jackson said it did not.

“It was right about the same,” he said. “It wasn’t anything different. Still the same just going through the process and trying to get the looks of what it would be like to be in the game. Ultimately it’ll come down to what the coaches and doctors decide.”

And Jackson believes a factor in the decision by the doctors and coaches is the close proximity of Buffalo’s next two games with their game against the Chiefs on Sunday followed by a Thursday night game on the road at Miami.

“I’m sure it is (a factor),” Jackson said. “To play this weekend and then come back and play four days later is something that I’m sure they will take into account. It’s something we all have to take into account. That’s something that they’ll think about all week. If it’s going to hinder being able to play the rest of the season that’s something they’ll tell me and something I have to deal with.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins, Jackson update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 3:38 pm

A day after sustaining a groin injury in practice WR Sammy Watkins did not participate in practice Thursday. Fred Jackson practiced for a second straight day, but was limited. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on Jackson’s outlook.

“I think Fred’s not ready to go yet,” said Marrone. “We’ll see how that keeps progressing during the week. Right now, I’m not sure.”

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Sammy Watkins WR Groin DNP
Cyril Richardson G Not injury related DNP
Ron Brooks CB Groin LP
Marcus Easley WR Knee LP
Marquise Goodwin WR Hamstring LP
Ty Powell LB Ankle LP
Fred Jackson RB Groin LP
Robert Woods WR Back FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred trying to get back sooner than later

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2014 – 10:49 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson missed Buffalo’s Week 8 game with a groin injury suffered in Week 7 against Minnesota. He’s been getting treatment and rehabbing throughout the bye week and is hoping to return sooner rather than later.

“I’m trying to get out there and play as soon as possible,” Jackson said. “It’s going to come down to what the doctors tell me. If I’m out there and moving around and I’m not effective then it’s pointless for me to be out there. But as far as I’m concerned I’m trying to get back as soon as possible. But like I said our doctors ultimately control when it is that I get back out there and see the field.”

Bills head coach Doug Marrone will provide an update this afternoon on Jackson’s chances to return to the lineup this week.

“I think one of the things we’ve got is a great training staff and great doctors,” Jackson said. “If it’s possible, it’s possible. If they think I can go out there and do it then it doesn’t matter what week it is or what day. We’ll see what they say. I’ll continue to come in here and keep working. Once they give me that green light I’ll go, whenever it is.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-24

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 12:27 pm

A big division tilt with the Jets on Sunday at MetLife stadium before the bye. Here are your questions this week from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – Hello Chris, thank you for keeping us Bills fans up to date with all the great insider news!

My question is very simple. With such a stout defensive line and very talented linebackers, and a talented secondary why is it in your opinion the bills give up so many pass yards?

CB: The passing yards given up by most NFL defenses are sometimes a byproduct of having a good run defense. In the Patriots game for example, Buffalo completely shut down the Patriots run game, so New England turned to their passing game. Unfortunately Tom Brady got hot and there were some miscommunication problems in the secondary according to the players.

In most cases strong run defenses make opposing offenses one-dimensional and the opponent turns to the pass game. So a good number of teams that play great run defense give up more yards through the air. Generally it’s because the opponent is behind on the scoreboard because they’ve been punting the ball away because they’re unable to run and hold onto the ball through a balance attack.

The Bills aren’t a true representation of that rule because they’ve been behind on the scoreboard a good deal, even in their last two victories. But their run defense is ranked in the top five and often forces opponents to start throwing to move the ball. More passing yards are then racked up and the Bills pass defense ranking suffers. Hope that spells it out.


2 – Chris,

Thanks for the work you do. When I talk to my fellow fans the thing I hear most often is some variation of “Why do they keep trying to run Spiller up the middle?”  I’ll admit I ask the same thing when I see this electrifying player disappear into the line. Does coach Hackett hear the same criticism that I do? Spiller is great in space, and the the inside of the line is our weakest position. Has he been asked about it? Do you think he’s capable of adjusting his offense to utilize Spiller’s strengths? Or is he happy with the results he is getting?

Thanks again,

CB: As the players and coaches have explained the lack of success up the middle is an all-encompassing problem. Their inside zone runs used to be their bread and butter plays going all the way back to running them under former head coach Chan Gailey. They have been less successful of late including the carries by C.J. Spiller. Spiller, before he got hurt, told us he has to trust his eyes more and that the hole will be there when he arrives.

The linemen have blamed themselves for not effectively controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis. Coach Marrone has also put it on himself and his offensive staff to devise more effective ways to get more productive run plays for all of their backs.


3 – Hey Chris,

Some sites say Orton is making $5.5 mil a year on a two-year deal. Other sites say $3mil this year. Are they wrong or is he getting $3mil salary this year and a $2mil signing bonus for this season?

Thanks for the clarity!

Go Kyle, Go Bills!

CB: It is a two-year deal and the total value is $11M. The other reports you’re seeing are just breaking down the money differently based off of base salary, signing bonus amortization and guaranteed money. Signing bonus is paid out as soon as the contract is signed, but that money is averaged out over the length of the contract when it comes to the salary cap hit.


4 – Hi Chris:

I can’t for the life of me figure out why our offensive coaches won’t use Fred and CJ on the field in the backfield together (Pro Set)? The only time I can recall seeing this formation was a couple years ago in the red zone and they scored on the play. It seems like a no brainer to have two of your best playmakers in the backfield together. It’s a matchup nightmare given their pass catching abilities. It also dictates to the defense, because they are forced to respect their abilities and account for both. I wish this message could be personally relayed to Nathan Hackett. Thanks for your time and I appreciate all the insight.

Nick U.

CB: They have been on the field together at the same time, albeit sparingly, this season. Now neither are available, but I understand your point. I thought with the running back talent in reserve on this roster (Brown, Dixon) that there would be less of a risk in using both Jackson and Spiller on the field at the same time. I know they have a specific package for that split back look, and they have been on the field at the same time with Spiller split wide. There just wasn’t a lot of it prior to the two of them getting hurt.


5 – Hi Chris,

I have been following the Bills for years in Ohio and NC and you truly do a great job bringing Bills coverage to people outside of WNY.

My question is about the pass interference/defensive holding call against Sammy Watkins on the sideline in the Detroit game that was picked up and given an explanation of “all contact was legal” by the ref. I almost had a coronary when that happened and am sure Coach Marrone felt the same way. The CB was all over Sammy on that play and for the flag to get picked up blew my mind. Has there been any reasoning from the league or officials as to that play?

Thanks for everything
Chris in NC
CB: Thanks for the kind words Chris.

Unfortunately there’s no good answer for you on pass interference and defensive holding because it’s a judgment call by the officials. On that play it was a 3rd-and-8 with Watkins beyond five yards and standing at the first down marker when Darius Slay was flagged for defensive holding. We have a great look at it at the 1:35 mark of our ‘Wired for Sound’ feature from that week when we had Watkins wearing the mic. You’ll see the flag is thrown. Later it was picked up.

At that time it was the third flag picked up of the season that would have benefited the Bills. I think every NFL team understands it’s going to be a judgment call. What really makes it difficult for teams to accept is when the call is changed after it is made or wiped out completely, especially in the competitive atmosphere of a game.

The Bills just like any other club handle those issues internally with the league’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB Tanner with some parallels to Fred Jackson

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 2:08 pm

By no means are we indicating that Bills newest RB Phillip Tanner is the next Fred Jackson. What we have found though is that Tanner has some interesting personal parallels with the veteran back.

Tanner, much like Jackson, went undrafted. The fourth-year back was not selected in the 2011 NFL draft. He played at a smaller college program – Middle Tennessee State, though it’s more on the radar than Coe College.

Tanner is also a native Texan like Jackson.

Though he’s been on the Cowboys’ roster each of the last three seasons he’s had all of 56 carries for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s 26-years old, the same age Jackson was when his career began to take off.

Here are a few more things you might want to know about Buffalo’s newest tailback.

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Posted in 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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills