After the loss to the Saints two weeks ago, Stevie Johnson thought about what more he could do to help the offense be more consistent in the passing game. He decided extra film work would help. So now he sits down with receivers coach Ike Hilliard to get an unmistakable handle on anything and everything involving his assignments and the players he’ll face.
Johnson has always studied film, but this past week he put it significantly more time.
“We talked about it throughout the entire week, me and my coach, Coach Hilliard,” said Johnson. ”We knew what the matchup was going to be. It was going to be me and 27 and we had a lot of conversations.”
Johnson admitted he was frustrated that he was that open on the failed 3rd-and-goal play against the Chiefs, as he knew what kind of look he was going to get from Sean Smith and successfully separated from him off the line, but he didn’t blame Tuel for making the decision he did having seen that play work in practice during the week.
“I’m just happy me and my coach (Hilliard) went over the film and we knew exactly what the look was going to be,” said Johnson. ”So it gives me more confidence to watch extra film with the coach and go at it against the Steelers on Sunday.”
Tags: Ike Hilliard, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills WR Stevie Johnson is attending a family funeral in Oakland, California. He’s missed each of the past two days of practice. Though he’s expected back in Buffalo Friday, he might not arrive in time for the late morning practice session, the last full prep workout of the game week.
“I expect him back Friday,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “Maybe not in time for practice, probably afterwards because of the distance you have to travel.”
Missing reps this week is going to make things difficult in terms of timing and execution with QB Thad Lewis, who is stepping into the lineup this week with EJ Manuel out with a knee injury. The coaching staff has given Johnson the game plan and all the film in preparation for Cincinnati.
Receivers coach Ike Hilliard is also working with Johnson over the phone this week to make sure he knows his assignments within the frame work of the game plan. Of course he’s also dealing with a lower back injury suffered in last Thursday’s game.
“I think it’s a tough call,” said Marrone. ”I’ll call him in a little bit and see how he’s doing. He’s working on getting treatment out there. I really don’t know until he comes back and we talk with him and see how he feels. It’s quite a long trip for him to Oakland and back. I think when he gets back I’m going to know on Saturday. It’s a matter of physically can he go? And mentally.”
Tags: Doug Marrone, Ike Hilliard, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 - Hey Chris
Concerned that the offensive line went unaddressed so far in this off season. Seems we lost 2 of our 3 best guards to free agency. Do you know of any plans to address this? If not I sure hope EJ can run as fast as reported as he might be running for his well being.
The only bills fan in New Hampshire
CB: I think there will still be time to address the offensive line in the summer if the Bills personnel department and coaching staff feels it needs to be addressed. I believe with the team not playing real football yet with pads on, it’s been difficult for the staff to assess whether or not an addition needs to be made. I believe the team is in good shape at the tackle position. Obviously the guard position saw two players that played an awful lot of football walk out the door. I’m confident if a position needs to be addressed it will be by this front office.
2 – Chris,
We need our receivers to be at top speed by opening day. We need them working with someone like Jerry Rice right now. Like Eric Moulds did on the offseason. Remember the difference that made with Eric?
CB: The receiving corps is young agreed. The comments from the coaches are that this offense caters to aiding younger receivers so they can contribute sooner. You talked about the team needing someone that’s been successful in the league. The Bills already have that in receivers coach Ike Hilliard. In fact Coach Marrone tipped his hat to Hilliard based on how the young receivers performed during OTAs.
“I think a lot of the credit goes to Ike Hilliard and knows what it takes for a young player to make a team because he’s been through it before,” said Marrone. “Those types of experiences with some of our coaches that have an NFL background, we talk to our players all the time about it. But I think it means a little bit more when it comes from a coach that has already done it.”
3 - Hi Chris,
Now moving forward to the 2013 season, I have a few questions: why did the bills swap linebackers with Indy, and pick up Jerry Hughes? Is Hughes better than Kelvin Sheppard? As far as the coaching staff, do you feel that the Marrone regime will hold players more accountable than the Gailey regime did? Do you anticipate EJ Manuel being the starter when the regular season commences?
As always, looking forward to your input.
Tony, Ormond Beach, FL
CB: The Bills made the trade I believe for one major reason. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said the strength of his defense is its versatility. Jerry Hughes is a more versatile player than Kelvin Sheppard. Sheppard in this kind of defense would probably have been just a two-down linebacker. Hughes is a better athlete that can line up at more than one position and might be more effective in the impact he can make for this defense than Sheppard would have been.
Marrone has been all about accountability since he got here, not only with the players being accountable to one another, but he wants the players to hold him and his coaches accountable too.
Projecting EJ Manuel as the starter is a bit premature. Though he has coach Marrone encouraged, I think we really won’t know how ready Manuel is until we see how he performs in the preseason games.
4 - Hey CB
How is Pears looking in practice!!, I here he is getting healthy and should be in good shape by pre-season!!
clickrjp – a fan
CB: Pears over the past week or so has slowly worked his way in to the team portions of practice. It’s been a long road back for Pears after injuries slowed him in 2012, but he saw his most extensive work in team portions of practice Friday. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come for the right tackle come the mandatory minicamp next month.
5 – Chris,
First off you & John Murphy are my only means of Bills info(all the way in Memphis). Keep up the good work guys. My question is with the acquisitions of 2nd rd Robert Woods,3rd rd Marquise Goodwin,& Undrafted FA Da’rick Rodgers, which I’m excited about especially Woods & Rodgers, so with us getting Goodwin to possibly be the slot guy. Where does that leave T.J. Graham?
He’s a layover from the last coaching staff & not Marrone’s guy. Where does he fit? & throw a talented a Brad Smith in the mix. How are they get all of this talent on the field with Stevie? Is it gonna be a rotation or what? Man I really wanna know.
Patiently waiting in Memphis,Tn
CB: I think T.J. Graham has been the most consistent receiver in the OTA practices. He looks like a player that’s ready to take a sizable jump in performance this year despite the new offense. Brad Smith was another consistent performer with Stevie Johnson missing most of the OTAs, it afforded them a good deal of snaps in practice.
I would tend to believe that the Bills keep six receivers on the roster. All of the aforementioned wideouts are firmly in that mix. It’s not going to be an easy call when it comes to picking the fifth and sixth receivers, but Graham is not one you need to worry about. Heading into the mandatory minicamp he’s positioned himself well for a notable role in the offense.
Tags: Doug Marrone, EJ Manuel, Erik Pears, Fan Friday, Ike Hilliard, Jerry Hughes, Mike Pettine, Offensive line, T.J. Graham
Posted in Inside the Bills
Buffalo’s wide receiving corps is going to get a heavy dose of expertise from one of the most accomplished receiver coaches in terms of a playing career in team history.
Bills new receivers coach Ike Hilliard had a 12-year playing career. The former first-round pick played for the Giants and Buccaneers and appearing in a Super Bowl with New York. Hilliard’s career was cut short by a neck injury, but began a coaching career soon after.
“I’ve been extremely blessed,” Hilliard said. “Being fortunate enough to transition so quickly after playing is something that is very unique. I’ve been coached by some outstanding coaches, so I’ve learned a lot throughout the years. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, learned from those. I’ve had some success and I’m hoping to be able to lean on my experience as a player to give to our guys in our room and be able to help them improve their game and be successful players.”
Hilliard’s 12 years as a player makes him one of the most experienced receivers coaches from a playing perspective in team annals. Not since the days when Hall of Fame wide receiver Charlie Joiner was Buffalo’s receivers coach (1992-2000) has Buffalo’s receivers had a former NFL receiver coaching them. Joiner played 18 seasons in the league and just retired earlier this week after a combined 44 years in the NFL playing and coaching.
Hilliard told Buffalobills.com that Stevie Johnson would still have the latitude to use his unconventional route running style in Buffalo’s new offensive system.
Tags: Charlie Joiner, Ike Hilliard
Posted in Inside the Bills