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Inside The Bills

Roman: We’ll do a better job

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2016 – 2:19 pm

No one needs to tell Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman that a lot of things need to be better on his side of the ball. Protection, blocking, ball location, reads, play call delivery, execution. It all has to improve in Week 2 Thursday night against the Jets. Roman believes their play will be better.

“We looked at it, evaluated it,” said Roman of their game last Sunday. “I told the players, the way I look at it, it all starts with me. If we all look at it like that, we’re going to be able to get done what we need to get done. I’ve got to do a better job, it’s that simple. Collectively, we’ll do a better job.”

When it came to lessons learned in Week 1, Tyrod Taylor said it was simple.

“We’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity that’s given. There are only a certain amount of plays in every game and that game boiled down to about four or five plays that if we could’ve been better on it would’ve changed the game.”

 


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Striking a balance with Reggie Bush

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2016 – 4:05 pm

No one will deny that at age 31 Reggie Bush can still provide game breaking plays. The question for the Bills is in what phase will most of those plays come?

Bush is a versatile running back, who can make catches out of the backfield, split wide as a receiver and obviously run the ball. But he’s also a dynamic return man, which was the main reason the Bills signed him a week into training camp. So which unit needs him more, offense or special teams?

Initially it appeared to be special teams as they didn’t have an experienced and proven returner for kick or punt return. But earlier this week they signed veteran return man Brandon Tate. Could that signal more work on offense for Bush?

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he would never ask that a player get pulled off special teams to specifically benefit the offense.

“I think special teams is so important to our team and if he’s vitally important to special teams then that’s where his energies need to lie,” Roman said. “That being said he can be a very valuable contributor offensively as well so we have to strike the balance that suits the team the best.”

Suffice to say that there will be Reggie Bush sightings on offense. How many plays he gets is what figures to vary from week to week.


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Taylor built relationships along with his game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2016 – 3:05 pm

Tyrod Taylor deservedly gets a ton of credit for building his game and becoming a starter who performed so well he went to the Pro Bowl in his first year as a starting quarterback. But in a very short amount of time, Taylor also built relationships with coaches and teammates that unquestionably has made him the leader of the team.

“Coming in this offseason he took the bull by the horns and took it up another step,” said GM Doug Whaley of Taylor’s leadership and ability to pull the team together. “He’s galvanized not only the offense, but the defense and the whole team. He’s undeniably the leader of the Buffalo Bills.

“It just shows you that once you have a leader in place and it’s your quarterback and everyone looks up to him, then he holds them accountable. And then those players want to play and study and do the best they can so they don’t let that guy down. That’s an important step to becoming a championship team.”

That’s why Buffalo made the commitment to Taylor in the form of a long-term contract extension Friday.

“Since I’ve walked into the Bills facility my relationship with the coaches and the players has gotten stronger each and every day,” Taylor told Buffalobills.com. “Me and G-Ro (OC Greg Roman) talk very often even through the offseason we’re in communication. Me and the quarterback coach (David Lee) and Rex. Just the players in general we have a lot of guys with the right mindset. We make it easy to be around each other. Coach Ryan does a good job of allowing us to be ourselves and to be who we want to be on the field and off the field. I think just day by day my relationship with the players and the coaches has gotten better.”


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Kouandjio only focused on getting better

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2016 – 6:34 pm

With Cordy Glenn out for an undetermined amount of time it appears that Cyrus Kouandjio will be the team’s starting left tackle for the interim. Paired up with Ryan Groy and Fernando Velasco who rotated at Richie Incognito’s (sore ribs) starting left guard spot, Kouandjio is focused more on improving his personal game than where he’ll ultimately wind up on the depth chart.

“It’s fun working with the first unit because you get better and faster with them,” he said following Tuesday’s practice. “Everybody on that field is talented and you have a great time out there.”

When asked if his opportunity to work with the starting unit is a bit of an opportunity to reclaim some status he may have lost after he was a second-round pick.

“Me personally I’m out here to have fun,” he said. “I feel blessed because the Lord has allowed me to be out here and keep playing even though I have injuries that other people probably would’ve quit five years ago. I just stay in my Bible and I’m blessed and happy to be out here with the guys. I’m just having a good time.”

Kouandjio has dealt with some knee issues since his college days.

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman has more of a direct outlook on the situation for Kouandjio.

“He’s got to take advantage of these opportunities with consistent play,” said Roman. “It’s that simple.”


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A McCoy, Bush split set backfield?

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2016 – 4:38 pm

As the Bills added another dynamic weapon to their offensive arsenal in Reggie Bush on Monday, both offensive coordinator Greg Roman and head coach Rex Ryan began formulating plans for how to make use of Bush. While everyone expects Bush to be a complement to feature back LeSean McCoy, there has already been discussion about putting both on the field at the same time in a split set backfield.

That according to Bush himself who hinted at it in his introductory press conference.

“Yeah, we’ve talked about that with the coaching staff,” Bush said. “Obviously, we haven’t gone into great depth or detail about it, but that’s definitely I think a package that you’ll see this year on the football field.”

Back when Chan Gailey was Buffalo’s head coach, fans clamored for a split backfield with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, but Gailey was too concerned about injury compromising such a package and then having to scrap a game plan in a given week. It’ll be interesting to see if Roman gives such a look stronger consideration come the regular season.


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Offensive assistants mess with Roman

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2016 – 4:26 pm

So on Wednesday, the second to last day of Bills minicamp, head coach Rex Ryan had a drawing where one player and one coach would be given the last day of minicamp off as a reward. The winners were Corey Graham and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Ryan had to practically force Roman out of the building, and though he wasn’t on site on Thursday, he was checking in frequently. So his fellow offensive assistants decided to have a laugh at his expense.

“He already called or texted a million coaches,” said Ryan after the final practice Thursday. “I haven’t texted him back yet, but (offensive line coach Aaron) Kromer had a great one. He texted him back and goes, ‘Hey. Best practice we’ve ever had. I don’t know what the difference was, but there was a difference today. A different feel.’ And the next guy gets in there, same type of deal. ‘Hey, we were shredding it today. Tyrod was shredding it today.’ By the way, he was. We’re letting him know that to kind of pump him up like that.”

Obviously Roman is held in extremely high regard by his fellow assistants, but on the football equivalent of the last day of school his offensive coaches couldn’t resist.


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Rex very hands on with the offense

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2016 – 3:20 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman called it a common misconception. The idea that Bills head coach Rex Ryan leaves everything offense to his top offensive play caller couldn’t be further from the truth. That according to Roman himself.

“I think Rex [Ryan] and I are totally on the same page as it comes to offense,” Roman said. “He and I collaborate on how our offense is put together and how we are going to go about doing things every week. And don’t fall for that trap, Rex is acutely aware of everything we do on offense.

“I think we talk long and hard for a long time about our vision for the offense. Now what players are available, what players we have, who comes forward, what draft pick, that might change the plays we run, but our basic philosophy is very similar. I have the best job in America working for Rex.”


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Roman: Really like where we’re at

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2016 – 2:57 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman was doing a lot of installation with his offensive system last year at this time. Now in 2016, Roman and his offensive unit have hit the ground running. The difference that he sees on the field is night and day.

“Year one to year two in any program is where you expect the greatest leaps,” Roman said. “Really like where we are at, I like our players commitment, I really like how we are working, communicating, and functioning more efficiently as a unit and that is certainly what you hope for in year two.”

Roman attributes the smoother execution of the offense to having an entrenched starter in Tyrod Taylor, who has done everything in his power to improve his game.


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Whaley confirms team’s dinner with QB Lynch

Posted by Chris Brown on April 7, 2016 – 9:22 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley made an appearance on NFL Network Thursday morning and was asked about the team’s reported dinner with Memphis QB prospect Paxton Lynch. It was first reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport that Buffalo had dinner with Lynch the night before his pro day Wednesday.

Whaley confirmed the report.

“Yes, we sent two coaches there, our offensive coordinator Greg Roman and our offensive assistant Chris Palmer,” said Whaley. “They did spend some time at dinner with Paxton Lynch. At this time of year we’re turning over every rock. You have to do your work. You never know what’s going to happen in the draft. Maybe even after the draft. Maybe we get information on Paxton for a possible trade in subsequent years or when free agency hits four or five years from now. So you always want to get as much information as you can on all these college guys this time of year.”

Whaley was also asked if Tyrod Taylor is the long term answer at quarterback. Here was his response.

“We want him to be and he wants to be,” said Whaley of Taylor. “Time will tell, but we’re excited about what he did last year. He went 8-6 as a starter. There’s a lot of excitement around our football. We were the number one rushing team in the league and we went 4-2 in our division so we’re excited. And I’ll tell you this about Tyrod, he’s a big time competitor and he’s going to want to raise the level of his game next year and we’re going to give him as much ammunition around him as we can so he can succeed.”


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Bills on hand for Ohio State pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 8:59 am

The Bills are a virtual lock to be represented in some fashion at each and every major pro day, and the situation is no different for the Ohio State pro day with a couple of key offensive coaches on hand.

Both quarterbacks coach David Lee and offensive coordinator Greg Roman are on hand to watch QB Cardale Jones throw. That’s because Jones did not throw at the NFL Combine last month after suffering a hamstring injury during his 40-yard dash. He was the only QB not to throw in Indianapolis.

The knock on Jones is that he doesn’t have good anticipation to throw receivers open, lacks touch on underneath and intermediate passes and has questionable decision making. It’s hard to show he’s improved in those areas when he’s throwing routes on air (no defense), but what will be of interest is how he looks under center and how much he’s cleaned up his footwork with QB guru George Whitfield since the college season ended.

Jones is expected to go anywhere between round two and four in the spring and it will largely depend on whether a team falls in love with him and takes him early. If not round four is more likely, as he’s clearly a developmental prospect with great physical tools.

The Buckeyes had the most players at the NFL Combine in Indy last month (14) and they may have as many scouts and NFL coaches on hand today in Columbus as any college campus has had for a pro day this year.


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3rd down & red zone will be focus areas

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2016 – 10:08 am

For Buffalo’s offense there was a lot that went right in 2015, but it won’t have the offensive staff or the players resting on any laurels. They know full well where their deficiencies lie. Third down conversion percentage (38% – rank 21st) and red zone touchdown percentage (50% – rank 24th) are two areas in particular that will get a lot of attention come the spring OTAs.

“Again I don’t know I really had to review very much to understand (third down and red zone) were week to week issues that we were working through as the season progressed,” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman. “We communicated about it so I definitely think we have a firm grasp of that as something that needs to be better.”

Third and medium proved particularly difficult for the Bills offense to convert. On 3rd-and-4 Buffalo averaged just 1.64 yards on 11 pass plays. On 3rd-and-5 they averaged 1.57 yards on 14 plays and on 3rd-and-6 the Bills averaged five yards on 10 plays. Not surprisingly, their conversion rates on those down and distances were 36.3, 35.7 and 40 percent respectively.

The Bills were also ranked 23rd in yards per play in the red zone averaging 2.71 yards per snap.


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How staff will help Taylor progress

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2016 – 9:03 am

Trying to help Tyrod Taylor progress with his personal game proved difficult during the regular season when there was the added task of preparing for a weekly opponent each Sunday. In the offseason that element is off the table, which will allow Taylor to work with the offensive staff on the specific areas of his game and offensive execution in need of improvement heading into 2016. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman explains how that improvement will be achieved once Taylor and his teammates return to Buffalo in April.

“Basically what we’re going to do is look back at all the teachable moments and really focus on things we need to improve on and we’ll try to create those scenarios in practice,” Roman told Buffalobills.com. “That will help us get over that hump, get over the next hump, understand this and understand that. It’ll be part of what we do in the spring where we orchestrate situations specifically to understand or accomplish something specific that we need to get done.”

With Taylor as the entrenched starter, he’ll also have the advantage of all the starter reps instead of splitting them three ways as he did last offseason.


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A passing game rendezvous

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 9:32 am

At the close of the 2015 season Bills QB Tyrod Taylor and WR Sammy Watkins both gave strong indication that there would be plans for some of the men in Buffalo’s passing game to get together on their own in the offseason to work on their on field chemistry. Some more details on that came to light Friday.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday spoke to Taylor and found out where and who would be working together in the near future.

“I’ve talked to Tyrod and he, Sammy and Charles Clay are going to be in Florida working out together,” said Whaley.

As Whaley sees it that will only benefit the efforts to develop better overall consistency within the framework of Buffalo’s offense.

“All of a sudden next thing you know when we’re in a two minute drill there may not even be any verbal communication,” Whaley said. “There might just be some hand signs or some head nods where everybody is on the same page and that’s where you start to see an offense or even a defense make strides and take off.”

Whaley acknowledged that being able to keep offensive coordinator Greg Roman on staff will also do wonders for the offense as they’ll all be able to progress together.

“Just like any relationship the longer you’re together the closer you’re going to get and it gets to the point where Tyrod will anticipate what G-Ro is thinking and vice versa,” said Whaley.


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Offensive comparison 2014 to 2015

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2016 – 9:55 am

As we covered on Buffalobills.com today the Bills offense made a number of positive strides in 2015. Considering it was year one in a new system with a first-year starter at quarterback the results hold a lot of promise for 2016. Below we take a look at how the numbers put up by the offense in 2015 compare to that of a season ago under the previous regime.

Buffalo’s offense under Greg Roman was better in almost every single category in 2015 compared to 2014. Here’s a look at some of the most recognized statistical categories.

Offensive categories 2014 season 2015 season
Total offense (yds/gm) 26th (318.5) 13th (361)
Yards per play 28th (5.0) 8th (5.7)
Rushing yds/game 25th (92.6) 1st (152)
Avg. yds/carry 26th (3.7) 1st (4.8)
Passing yds/game 18th (226) 28th (209)
Sacks/play 19th (39 total) 27th (42 total)
First downs 28th (273) 28th (297)
3rd down conv. Pct. 26th (36.7%) 21st (38%)
Points per game 18th (21.4) 12th (23.7)
Red zone TD pct. 29th (43%) 24th (50%)

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Roman: phone quiet for HC interviews

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2016 – 2:08 pm

Last year Greg Roman got a bunch of calls from teams interested in him as a head coaching candidate including Buffalo before he ultimately accepted the offensive coordinator post under Rex Ryan. This offseason despite doing some pretty impressive work with Buffalo’s offense with a first-year starter at quarterback Roman says his phone hasn’t been ringing to this point.

“It’s been pretty quiet actually,” said Roman in an appearance this week on the John Murphy Show. “I’ve had a lot of interest the last five years, but it’s been pretty quiet on that front. I really haven’t been paying too much attention to it. But it hasn’t been a lot this year, which is somewhat strange. But that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s one of those things you can’t control. But look at Bruce Arians and how long it took for him to get a shot, and look at what he’s doing. It just happens that way sometimes, but I have supreme confidence in what we’re doing here in Buffalo.”

Heading into the weekend there were seven head coaching openings in the NFL.


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More prep time for Revis matchup #2 for Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2015 – 3:01 pm

Heading into the first meeting against the Jets, Sammy Watkins was coming off a short week and there weren’t many practice reps to be had before facing New York with the game on a Thursday night. It cost Watkins and Tyrod Taylor a couple of opportunities to make some big plays in the Week 10 win over the Jets. Now with a full week of preparation offensive coordinator Greg Roman was asked to assess if Watkins might have more success against Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

“We went into that game on a short week,” said Roman in reference to the Week 10 game. “We were banged up. We really couldn’t practice. So we had to go in there kind of roll the dice a little bit, gamble on a game plan to find a way to win and we were fortunate it worked out. But I think it’ll be a good battle. They got a lot of other cover players on their defense too though. It’ll be a really good test for us.”

In the first meeting Watkins had just three catches for 14 yards, though two of them went for first downs.


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Gillislee providing punch to Bills run game

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2015 – 11:00 am

The Bills number one rushing attack will be without LeSean McCoy today against the Cowboys, leaving Karlos Williams as the lead back and a late blooming complementary back right behind him.

Mike Gillislee, a 25-year old back, has made the most of his opportunities since entering Buffalo’s lineup and it’s only given offensive coordinator Greg Roman more incentive to keep him more chances on offense.

“He’s been awesome,” said Roman. “I said to the team all he does is come in, work hard, keep his mouth shut, learn a lot of stuff in a short amount of time and then go out and perform brilliantly really. This guy has been nothing but impressive in meetings and behind the scenes and then at practice 100 miles per hour and full speed mentally all the time. A guy like that can play for me any day. I know the team is very pleased with what he’s done. He’s had some big plays for us.”

In limited action Gillislee has done something big in each of the Bills last three games. He ripped off a 30-yard run in the win over the Texans. He had a 19-yard touchdown run against the Eagles and a 60-yard touchdown run at Washington.

“He’s done a great job and I think you see the kind of coach Anthony Lynn is and I’ve always talked about Anthony. But he’s done a great job with him,” said Rex Ryan. “But Gillislee’s, I mean out of nowhere you turn around and you just keep giving this guy opportunities and he’s made the most of them.”


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TE Clay to miss first game this season

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2015 – 12:53 pm

He’s the team’s leading receiver, but for the first time this season TE Charles Clay is going to miss a game. Clay was declared out for Sunday’s game following Friday’s practice. He was unable to practice all week due to a back injury suffered in the first half of the loss at Philadelphia last week. For offensive coordinator Greg Roman, not having Clay in the lineup will hurt.

“When you don’t have Charles Clay, certain adjustments have to be made,” said Roman. “This guy has been such a good player for us in all phases. Blocking, pass protection, helping out in protection, getting out on routes, misdirection, play action, etc. I don’t think you can downplay what he has done for us.

“He helps get the run game where it is. He’s a big part of that. A lot of people can’t run to the tight end side, they just can’t, because their tight ends can’t block.  We got one we’re fortunately, that can. Other things he can do, too. As we grow as an offense, I think his talent level or production will definitely show more statistically than it has.”

The only other tight end on the roster who was considered to be as versatile as Clay was Marqueis Gray, but he went on injured reserve in the first half of the season with an arm injury that required surgery.

Buffalo goes into Sunday’s game with just Chris Gragg and rookie Nick O’Leary right now on the roster. FB Jerome Felton, who is probable for Sunday, may fill certain mutliple tight end sets offensively on Sunday if the team doesn’t make a roster move prior to Saturday at 4 pm.

The Bills did add a pair of tight ends to the practice squad this week in Marcel Jensen and Blake Annen.


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Why the long ball has worked for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2015 – 10:11 am

The Bills rank eighth in the league in plays of 20 yards or more with a total of 53 this season. Thirty-eight have come through the air including a pair of 50-plus yard receptions by Sammy Watkins last week in the win over the Texans. So why has the long ball become a legitimate part of Buffalo’s offense this season?

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman believes the formula is relatively straightforward.

“Pretty simple,” he said. “I think (Tyrod Taylor) is seeing the top of the coverage really well, he’s trusting our guys and putting it out there for them, and they’re making plays on the ball. I won’t get into the details of throwing the deep ball but he’s definitely hitting all his marks and I doubt there’s anybody out there throwing it deep, better. But if there are they’re probably pretty darn good quarterbacks that have played in this league a long time. So for a guy that’s playing his first year that’s pretty good.”

Buffalo’s running game has also forced opponents to bring the extra safety down in the box to slow the team’s ground attack and that affords more opportunities downfield in the pass game off play action.


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Texans ‘D’ keeps shorter QBs in pocket

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2015 – 9:03 am

They’ve done it more than once this season and with great success. When facing a quarterback that is not of prototype height, Houston’s defense forces the opposing signal caller to stay in the pocket and make throws from there. Shorter QBs sometimes do not have as clear a view downfield when forced to stay in the pocket unless a passing lane opens up, and with the way the Texans can collapse the pocket it makes it supremely difficult to string positive plays together.

Just ask Drew Brees. At six-feet tall, Brees often rolls out or manipulates the pocket with his feet to target receivers downfield. Last week, as we covered in our scouting report, the Texans did not allow him to do that. The result was a passing day in which Brees, a career 66 percent completion passer, managed to connect on just under 57 percent of his passes. He also was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 45 games and threw an interception.

Tyrod Taylor at just 6-1 has seen that from opposing defenses already this season (see: New England – Week 2, NY Giants – Week 4), and is pretty much expecting much of the same Sunday.

“We’ve seen that several times this year and they did a great job doing that,” said Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman of Houston’s approach last week against Brees. “There’s a lot of different ways you can handle that, deal with that. And it starts with blocking guys. You don’t want guys to get all that push to the pocket; you want to set a great apex to the pocket. And there’s other things you can do as well.  They do a great job pushing the pocket, disrupting the pocket, not just from a sack standpoint.  If you look at Watt, he impacts the game as much on his QB hurries, how he attracts double teams, how he takes numbers away from the offense and frees up his teammates.  He’s definitely that kind of a guy, a force multiplier for his teammates.”

Whether the Bills men up front can consistently give Taylor room to operate in the pocket or create a throwing lane for him to work from the pocket will be easier said than done with as well as Houston has been able to corral opposing QBs.


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