Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 7-11

Posted by Chris Brown on July 11, 2014 – 11:23 am

Alright Bills fans one week and counting until players report. Nine days until the first practice. Get ready. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering, with Sammy having youth football camps and Adidas commercials and endorsements and having all the pressure of becoming better than Stevie Johnson, do you think he’s living up to that???

Also, I was wondering how EJ really looks. Some people on Rant sports and Buffalo down say he looks great in mini camp and training camp, but then someone wrote how EJ looked bad and made bad choices. How do you feel about what EJ has shown you???

Thanks,
Dan Reinagel

CB: Sammy Watkins is not going to be concerned with being better than anyone. He’s focused on being the best receiver he can be and with his well documented work ethic I think he’ll make steady progress with his game as the season moves along.

As for EJ I think he knows the offense like the back of his hand. Pre-snap he’s very good at diagnosing the alignment of the defense and making a change at the line if necessary. Where he’s had some fits and starts is after the snap. If his first read isn’t there on occasion he’ll hesitate and the timing of the play is disrupted. That’s the hurdle he still needs to clear so more often than not he’s not only making the right reads, but still delivering the ball on time as well.

 

2 – Chris,
I saw a recent write up that said Sammy Watkins was struggling mentally in OTA’s.  This is starkly different that what we’ve been hearing from BuffaloBills.com.  What’s going on?

Thanks
Len

CB: From what I saw the number of plays made by Watkins in the practice setting decreased as the volume of plays being installed increased. This is a normal occurrence for a rookie at a skill position like receiver. He admitted himself even during the first week of OTAs that he’s still thinking about what to do as he’s running a route instead of just playing.

It’s the typical learning curve that a rookie receiver must travel. Again knowing how badly Watkins wants to make an impact at the NFL level I trust in time the thinking will dissipate allowing his natural playing ability to take over.

 

3 – Chris-

First off, the coverage your group does on buffalobills.com is exceptional and should serve as a model website to the rest of the league in terms of operations, promotions, etc.

Now, my question involves more of an input in regards to your observations of how the team has been built over the past several offseasons. I’ll start by pointing out that the current Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks, held one of the most dominant offenses in league history to eight points by simply dominating on the line of scrimmage and playing exceptionally well in the secondary. In comparison to the Bills, it looks as if we are beginning to move towards the Seahawks mold on how to be a champion. Seattle prided itself on its Defensive Line and Secondary, much like us with three Pro Bowlers and a sack artist in Jerry Hughes as well as an underrated secondary with Gilmore, McKelvin, Williams and Searcy. Secondly, we brought in a coordinator that prides himself on mixing up coverages so as to allow his dominant line to impose its will on opposing offenses. Given all of this on defense, Seattle also prides itself on a dominant run game with Russell Wilson playing the “game manager” role at QB. This reliance on the offensive line and running game in general, proved to be their “bread and butter” throughout the past several seasons, ultimately ending in a Super Bowl Championship. According to these observations, I firmly believe that we are on the path to adapting how the Seahawks play football simply by our focus on the development of the running game, the emphasis on the defensive line and the talent in the secondary.

Although we haven’t proven to be at the level of the “Legion of Boom” or have the same depth on defense as Seattle has, is it fair to assume that in this copycat league, the Bills are doing their best, both schematically and personnel-wise, to adopt the methods of the Super Bowl Champions?

I look forward to your insight.

Michael

CB: First and foremost thanks for your compliments. We work hard here at the website to keep you all informed on the latest happenings with the team.

As for the way this team is being built I think your observations are rather astute. Yes, I think Doug Whaley has made a concerted effort to build the defense in similar fashion to that of the Seahawks. The only area where perhaps the Bills are different is they do not have as much speed off the edge as Seattle does. The Seahawks have about three or four speed rushers who don’t go much more than 245 pounds. They’re deployed in the team’s ‘NASCAR’ package, which is called that because all their pass rushers are fast guys in that package. They kick their run down defensive ends inside and bring out their ‘race car’ pass rushers to line up on the edge.

Outside of that I think the Bills and a good number of other teams are trying to mimic the model. Seeing Buffalo add depth at running back for a ball control ground game is another example.

 

4 – Hi Chris, thanks for keeping us with something to read during the month between minicamp and training camp. I was glad to read Jeff Tuel is progressing this year. I actually thought they should’ve given him the backup job last year while EJ was out. I read so many comments about him where people say he obviously wasn’t ready because of his two interceptions in the KC game last year. He was playing a team that was undefeated mostly because of their defense and if all it takes is two interceptions to say a QB isn’t good enough EJ wouldn’t be around either. The thing I really liked about him is he was able to get the WRs involved hitting them on intermediate routes throughout the whole game which is what EJ was lacking outside of the two minute drills. My question is about Tuel’s arm strength. Would you say he can throw the ball farther and harder than Fitz or are they pretty close? If he does have a stronger arm I hope he gets a real shot if EJ doesn’t improve this year. I could really care less that he wasn’t drafted. Nobody knew who Tom Brady was until Drew Bledsoe went down either. From what I’ve seen Tuel makes fast decisions and has the courage to throw the passes that need to be thrown. Watching him last year was a lot like watching Fitz come in after Trent Edwards got shell shocked and wouldn’t throw the ball to a WR because truthfully EJ and Thad Lewis looked the same way. Obviously EJ’s arm strength and ability in the clutch are going to buy him some more time to show he can run the offense, but if he doesn’t come around I think Tuel can surprise some people.

 

Dan

Western, MA
CB: Tuel has better arm strength than Ryan Fitzpatrick. He can fit the ball into tight windows pretty effectively, or at least he’s demonstrated that this past spring. His decision making has been encouraging and I believe he’ll be pushing Thad Lewis for the number two role in training camp. Backup quarterback will have a bona fide competition this summer.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I appreciate all the coverage you guys do, but I’m curious why there hasn’t been any highlight reels lately( For example mini camp?)

And another question maybe for FanFriday.

How will the Bills use all four of their RB’s?

Thanks!
God Bless,
Braeden

CB: The highlights were missing from Bills Roundup in minicamp per coach Marrone’s instructions. If coach is concerned about other teams seeing anything they want kept under wraps we have to respect it. We know the fan loses in the process, but competitive advantage has to come first.

That being said full highlights will return to Bills Roundup presented by ECMC at training camp so get ready for action.

The newfound depth at running back and how everyone is utilized will be interesting. On Monday in our Camp Countdown on Buffalobills.com we will be addressing that very question. I encourage you to check it out for some answers. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had some interesting comments on what will be a good dilemma.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-20

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

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

1 - @ChrisBrownBills

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

TheGoodfella28

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

 

2 – Hey Chris,

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

Scott

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

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

 

3 – Hi Chris,

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

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

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

Thanks
Mike

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

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

 
4 – Chris,

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

Hank K.

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

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

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

 
5 – Hey Chris,

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-13

Posted by Chris Brown on June 13, 2014 – 11:32 am

Three weeks of OTAs are over. Only the mandatory minicamp remains next week before the countdown to training camp. As always we’ll have full coverage here on Buffalobills.com. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,
I am hearing a lot of fans chatter about the Bills running back situation.  It’s come to be pretty crowded at the RB position at this point and since the Bryce Brown trade fans seem to think CJ is on the trading block? I don’t buy it myself.  I know that CJ and Fred are FA’s in 2015 and while it makes me very sad I tend to think that will be it for Fred Jackson.  As for CJ I don’t really know if they would like to lock him up long term.

I wanted to get your thoughts and see if you have a feel for what they might want to do.  My take is they brought in Bryce Brown because they liked him but also as insurance for the season and to see what he’s got.  I would also imagine that if they do like him after the year that he would most likely be Fred Jackson’s replacement.  To me CJ Spiller is more than just a running back and I do not believe that he has even scratched the surface of what he can be.  He’s a threat every time he touches the ball and I’m very optimistic that he is going to shine this season.  As long as he stays healthy and the coaches put him in the right situation he should be able to really show what he can be.

Like Sammy said I hope that I see CJ and Sammy play together for a long time to come.  And also what do you think of CJ’s contract situation and the RB market? Do you think that could be beneficial for the Bills or could CJ still demand a hefty contract maybe pending his season?

Thanks a lot, Jillian

CB: I think with the pressure on everybody at One Bills Drive to win this year and make the playoffs the thought of C.J. Spiller being on the trading block is absurd. Yes, C.J. is entering the last year of his contract. It’s my understanding though that Spiller wants to stay in Buffalo long term. For him to sign a long term extension now however, would not be in his best interest. He’s coming off an injury-plagued 2013 and the new offense took some getting used to.

Spotrac.com recently did a great job projecting a long term contract extension for Spiller based on what he’s done in his career to this point and presented a lot of good comp numbers from other backs in the league. Spiller presumably would want more than the $4-plus million they project, and to do that C.J. has to approach, or more likely, exceed his numbers of 2012 (1,244 yards rushing, 459 receiving, 8 TDs) to be able to negotiate more.

At this point Spiller is without an agent though he’s looking to hire one in the not too distant future. It’s my belief that both the Bills and Spiller will let the season play out and regardless of his production they secure a long term agreement that’s beneficial to both sides.

I will add that I am encouraged that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will diversify the ways in which he uses Spiller in the scope of the offense.

2 – Hi Chris,

I personally love the trade to go up and get Watkins, and right now after rookie camp, it looks like he is the real deal. This year is also the year that Stephon Gilmore is supposed to make the jump to an elite cornerback. With minicamp coming up and I’m expecting them to match up against each other, what would the coaches rather see? Watkins showing he is the real deal, but also Gilmore might not be the cornerback they hoped. Or would they rather have Gilmore shut him down, but also raise doubt about whether Watkins was worth what they gave up for him?

Thanks for all your coverage and GO BILLS!
Ethan
Washington DC
CB: In an ideal world for the coaches their head to head play raises the level of both players. That’s the competition that coaches and GM Doug Whaley have talked about all offseason. When the competition level is raised it inherently raises the game of the players involved and that makes the team better.

Gilmore however, is not expected to get a full workload in the team portions of practice next week. Coming off of his surgery he’s expected to be eased back into the practice setting and got a handful of snaps the last week of OTAs.

 

3 – Chris,
Thanks for the great Bills coverage for all of Bills Nation here in the desert southwest. Given the imminent change of ownership and the potential uncertainty that can bring, what is the mood of the Bills employees at OBD. Are people apprehensive regarding salary and benefit restructuring or can everyone, (including yourself) focus and keep it in the background. Thanks and the best of luck.

Hank from Nevada
CB: Our President and CEO Russ Brandon has stated more than once publicly and to us directly that it’s business as usual and we take him at his word. There is no sense in worrying about things we can’t control. So as far as I see it it’s in our best interest to do the best job we can do in the roles that we have until we know more about the future leadership of the organization. Thanks for your concern and well wishes.

 

4 – Chris,

How do you think the coaching staff views Chris Gragg? We keep hearing the Bills don’t have that “new-age” athletic TE on their roster, and if they do it’s Tony Moeaki, but Gragg has an intriguing skill set in my opinion. Is he a guy that they are planning on trying to get more use out of in his second year, or do you think he has an uphill climb to make the final 53?

Thanks!
Josh

CB: I don’t think there’s any debate about Gragg’s athletic skill set. He’s done all the right things this offseason including making it to each of the Bills player passing camps run by EJ Manuel in California and Florida this offseason.

With Scott Chandler limited he had the benefit of getting some first team reps in a rotation with Tony Moeaki and Lee Smith in OTAs.

I spoke to him this past week and he told they’ve expanded his responsibilities in the scope of the offense where he’ll be playing both the ‘Y’ (in line TE position) and the ‘F’ (detached). So there appear to be plans to broaden his role, but he’ll need to outperform both Chandler and Moeaki in camp if he’s going to get any significant playing time this season.

 

 

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

Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on this.
Scott

CB: At this point it appears that Tuel has the edge on Dixon for the third QB job on the roster. This offseason Tuel has definitely strengthened his body. He’s leaner, but stronger and it’s showing in his escapes from the pocket when a play breaks down and in his arm strength. Dixon is clearly the best athlete when it comes to taking off and running. He would win the footrace of all four QBs easy.

Tuel does have practice squad eligibility, but I’m going to have to check on Dixon. This will be a very hard battle to gauge because their reps on so limited. It’ll likely go all the way to the preseason games before a definitive call can be made.

I will say through the OTA practices I thought Tuel flashed more with the plays that he made.

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes a pass rushing force Wednesday

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2014 – 4:21 pm

Bills pass rusher Jerry Hughes was living up to his billing in practice Wednesday. Though it’s far from real football at this point in time in OTAs, Hughes had his best practice thus far.

After a would-be sack midway through Wednesday’s practice during a 9-v-9 segment the Bills run, Hughes followed it up with three more sacks in a span of five plays. In practice pass rushers can only tap out a QB on a pass play. Hughes tapped out Jeff Tuel and EJ Manuel on his four sacks.

On his last play Hughes swooped around the right side and tapped out Manuel before he could launch a deep ball for Sammy Watkins down the right sideline. Hughes began shouting down the field, “Bring that ball back! That was a sack!”

While much has been made about the adjustment Hughes may need to make going from Mike Pettine’s defense to Jim Schwartz’s as Hughes sees it not much has changed for him.

“He’s brought in his 4-3 scheme, but as far as what I’m doing it’s pretty much the same thing I did last year,” said Hughes. “My hand is in the ground and I’m coming off the edge trying to create pressure to get to the quarterback.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Adding another QB not likely

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 10:34 am

This week the Bills parted ways with veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb. With three “green” quarterbacks on the roster, there is some thought outside the organization that they might consider adding a free agent with more experience to compete for a backup role. Bills GM Doug Whaley put that thought to rest Friday.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley confirmed that right now there are no plans to add another quarterback though he would not completely rule it out.

“At this time no, but again we will keep all options open,” said Whaley.

When asked if the team would feel comfortable going into training camp with the three quarterbacks currently on the roster, EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel, Whaley said they would be.

“Comfortable, very comfortable and then you throw Dennis Dixon in,” he said. “All those guys are going to be another year in the system, so if you bring someone else in they’ll be new in the system. So we’re comfortable with where we are with the quarterback position.”

Dixon was on Buffalo’s practice squad as a quarterback last season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tuel turned heads at NFLPA bowl last year

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2014 – 9:30 am

Bills QB Jeff Tuel wasn’t on the radar of many NFL clubs heading into the all important run up to the NFL draft at this time last year, but his presence on the National team roster in the 2013 NFLPA Bowl and more importantly his performance drew the attention of NFL scouts.

Tuel, whose college career was compromised by injuries, a subpar supporting cast and a coaching change, had a strong outing in the NFLPA bowl game last year. The Washington State QB was 8-for-8 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown, an eight-yard throw to Xavier Boyce in what wound up being a 34-0 win over the American team.

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin had also accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Bowl game, but later withdrew after receiving an invite to the Senior Bowl.

The 2014 NFLPA Bowl is being played today at 6 pm ET on ESPN


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills dress just 2 QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 11:50 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone hinted at it, but it’s official now. Buffalo is going into today’s game with just two quarterbacks.

It’s far from unusual, but EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis are the two active QBs. Jeff Tuel is inactive for the first time this season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone may only dress 2 QBs Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 7:40 am

Doug Marrone is expecting to have both EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis available for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Provided they both continue on their current full participation path in practice there’s a good chance that third quarterback Jeff Tuel could be inactive Sunday.

“I probably get more concerned with linemen because there’s more positions,” said Marrone of his choices for his Sunday inactive list. “We go into the game with seven (linemen), but if someone maybe a little bit tweaked or injured, maybe you go into a game with eight.  I think the same at quarterback.  If someone is 100-percent healthy you may go in with three, but for limited number of people that are active… if I felt that someone was injured to the point that he could play, but if he gets a hit or a twist or a strain, for me I put him in there thinking I can at least get a half out of him. If I feel like that I usually add an extra guy.”

When asked if he’ll still dress all three quarterbacks, Marrone said he’s still weighing the options, but is leaning toward just keeping two active Sunday in Pittsburgh.

“That’s what I’ve been looking at,” he said. “I feel very good about EJ playing, I feel good about Thad and that’s why (Wednesday) I didn’t want to say this guy’s starting, this guy’s backing him up. I wanted to make sure they were healthy, they practice and how they feel after practice. I’m probably not ready to make that decision yet, but right now they both look good, and if they both look good them I’m only going to dress two.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stevie: Chiefs CB Smith lucked into INT

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2013 – 4:11 pm

Bills WR Stevie Johnson was wide open in the end zone on the failed 3rd-and-goal pass play to T.J. Graham because the man assigned to cover Johnson was not in position to cover Buffalo’s top receiver. As Johnson explains it Smith being the right place at the right time was none of Smith’s doing.

Johnson describes why Smith was where he was when Jeff Tuel tried to hit Graham on the slant.

“I shook him, he almost fell and he basically fell into an interception and that was it,” said Johnson.

When asked if Smith lucked into an INT, Johnson said, “Definitely.”

Johnson did not have a problem with Tuel going to Graham on that pass play.

“No, it’s not on him,” said Johnson of Tuel. “He felt like the outside route would work and you’ve got to go with it. It worked in practice and in the game it didn’t. We’ve got a 50-50 chance on whether it’d be a touchdown or incomplete pass. In this case it was an interception.”

Tuel for the record did accept 100 percent responsibility for the outcome of the play.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tuel’s plan for Chiefs pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 12:05 pm

As Jeff Tuel gets set for his first NFL start today against Kansas City, he’s well aware of the Chiefs’ potent pass rush. Here’s how he intends to approach it in today’s game.

Job number one, avoid quarterback hits. Knowing that the quarterback depth chart is pretty much down to himself and Matt Flynn, Tuel knows he has to be quick with his decisions and not take on any unnecessary contact.

“Obviously they lead the league in sacks so they’re doing something right. They look really good on tape,” said Tuel. “We’ve got to have a great week of practice and just be prepared for that. I have to take care of myself because we’re down in quarterbacks so I’ve got to do whatever I can do to get down and do the necessary things. We’re not going to prepare any different because a team is undefeated or leading the league in sacks. So we’re just going to do our thing and continue to get better. “

A lot of three and five step drops are expected for Tuel today in the passing game, knowing Kansas City’s pass rush doesn’t allow for much success when teams try seven-step drop with their quarterback against them. The ball simply has to be out sooner than that.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What Tuel learned vs. Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 11:50 am

It wasn’t a performance that built a lot of faith in Jeff Tuel on the part of the fan base. His relief appearance in Week 5 at Cleveland wasn’t a good one. But Tuel feels he’s learned an awful lot from his first regular season NFL action and intends to improve on it today in his first NFL start.

“Really just going out there being under the lights and taking my first real official NFL snap helped,” said Tuel this week. “I mean you have a lot of adrenaline flowing you’ve got nerves and all that. I know how to handle it and prepare for it and you’ve got all these things, I just learned a lot about about myself and the system and operating it and not doing too much.”

Look for a quick passing game for Tuel today so he can get the ball out quickly to help neutralize Kansas City’s pass rush.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jeff Tuel will start at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 11:38 am

tuel-start-cp

Bills undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, as expected, will start at quarterback for Buffalo today against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. With Thad Lewis unable to practice at all this week due to sore ribs, Tuel will make his first NFL start. Here are the other Bills inactives for today’s game.

With Thad Lewis also inactive it means that Matt Flynn will serve as the backup quarterback today.

QB EJ Manuel
QB Thad Lewis
CB Justin Rogers
LB Ty Powell
CB Brandon Smith
RB Ronnie Wingo
G Antoine McClain


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Tuel to start at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 8:21 am

It won’t be official until the inactive list is announced around 11:30, but there are reports already that undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel will make his first NFL start for the Bills today against the undefeated Chiefs.

That according to CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora.

We’ll provide the official announcement when it’s made right here later this morning.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

No matter who is at QB, experience limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 4:24 pm

The Bills quarterback decision for Sunday has not been made yet as head coach Doug Marrone waits to see if Thad Lewis can throw the football effectively at practice Saturday. In the grand scheme of things however, no matter who starts at quarterback, their level of experience will be very, very limited.

EJ Manuel began the season without any NFL starts and now has five.
Matt Flynn, who just finished his third practice week with the Bills, has three career NFL starts.
Thad Lewis, who is doubtful to play this week, has four career starts now, all but one with Buffalo.
Jeff Tuel has no NFL starts.

That’s why when trying to prepare one starter for a game, the Bills offensive staff has had to put all their attention on the young, inexperienced player who is going to take the field so he’s ready to play.

“When EJ Manuel was our starting quarterback and we were coming off a short week every game for him was a new experience,” said Marrone. “So we had to put all our time and take all of our reps and put it into our starter because all of our quarterbacks right now, Thad prior to coming here had one start in the NFL. EJ had zero starts in the NFL. Jeff Tuel had zero starts in the NFL. Matt Flynn has three starts in the NFL. So the point is you’ve got to make decisions and get people ready to play.”

That was harder this week, but knowing Tuel has been in the system the longest with Manuel, he naturally feels comfortable executing the offense.

“I think the more time in the system the better the player is going to be,” said Tuel. “It’s crazy to think that we haven’t had a quarterback play who’s had a single offseason in this system with Coach Hackett. We’re all brand new it. EJ and I are rookies, Thad came into it in the tail end of training camp last preseason game. The more time in this system is going to do great things for every guy, especially at the quarterback position.”


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Stevie focused on making plays, not QB decision

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2013 – 10:55 am

Buffalo’s quarterback situation is again in flux this week with Thad Lewis nursing some sore ribs. It could mean that the Bills have to start Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn on Sunday. Despite the frequent changes at quarterback Stevie Johnson isn’t focused on who might be throwing to him this weekend.

“I don’t even think about that,” said Johnson. “I’ve got to think about who I’m going to catch passes from this week and that’s pretty much it. I can’t think of if I had this quarterback, and this guy was healthy, I can’t think about that, I just got to roll with what we have.”


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Flynn focused only on his preparation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 5:27 pm

Whether it’s viewed as a competition to be the starter this week should Thad Lewis be unable to play due to sore ribs, Matt Flynn isn’t worried about how he looks in practice in comparison to Jeff Tuel. His only concern is knowing the game plan backwards and forwards.

“I’m in a competition with myself to learn the playbook and get myself as ready as I can,” said Flynn. “That’s the nature of the beast in the NFL, especially at the quarterback position, if you’re not that starting guy, you’ve got to be ready no matter what.  I’ve been in that situation plenty of times before in the past.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re the first guy or the fourth guy or whatever it is, you’ve got to prepare yourself like you’re going to be up there playing.  You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your teammates, just in case you get that call, no matter what happens.  You can’t control it, anybody else does, all I can do is control how prepared I am.”

Flynn has three starts in his NFL career.


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More QB shuffling, Lewis not working

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 11:42 am

Thad Lewis finished Sunday’s game after taking a licking in the loss to the Saints. All those body shots however, have had a cumulative effect as he’s not practicing here on Wednesday.

Rookie QB Jeff Tuel is working with the starters on offense here in practice Wednesday.

In other developments EJ Manuel is dressed for practice, but not expected to be an option Sunday against the Chiefs. That would make Matt Flynn the backup to Tuel if Lewis is not healthy enough to be available.

We’ll get the full lowdown from Coach Marrone post practice.


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Tuel the backup QB again

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2013 – 12:36 pm

Buffalo’s backup quarterback this Sunday will be the same player as last week.

Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed it would be Jeff Tuel who will handle backup QB responsibilities this week.

Marrone said Matt Flynn is still getting a handle in Buffalo’s offense.


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QB Tuel the backup

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 11:42 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said late this week that his backup QB would be decided right before game time. That decision has been made.

Jeff Tuel will serve as the b kip to starter Thad Lewis against the Dolphins today.

Matt Flynn is inactive as he’s probably too new to the Bills play book to make the offensive staff comfortable that he could step in and execute the game plan.

With Lewis coming off a sprained foot it may only take one good shot to re-aggravate it.


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Tuel met with Marrone Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 5:35 pm

No doubt aware that the Bills were bringing in Matt Flynn for a workout Monday morning, rookie QB Jeff Tuel took it upon himself to go talk with head coach Doug Marrone to find out if his status on the Bills quarterback depth chart was in for a change.

“His status hasn’t changed and Jeff came in to see me,” said Marrone. “I told him (his situation) hasn’t really changed. Here was our plan in the beginning, this is what we wanted to do. This is how we see you, a young quarterback that’s developing. I really just reaffirmed all the things that I’ve said here. I said, ‘We like you, you’re a young developing quarterback. In a perfect world we were probably thinking practice squad, you played extremely well we were nervous about someone taking him and I told him the same thing.’

“Nothing has changed from that point. If Thad (Lewis) is not ready to go (Sunday) and we can’t get Matt (Flynn) ready then we’ll put Jeff in there and play with him.”

“There’s a chance there will be (more snaps for me) and I’m ready for it and I’m prepared for whatever the coaches need me to do,” Tuel told Buffalobills.com.

As we covered on Buffalobills.com, if the newly signed Flynn can demonstrate a sufficient ability to run the team’s game plan this week, he’ll likely be tabbed as the backup, otherwise it will be Tuel this week as the number two QB.


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