Inside The Bills

Felton: Players were able to focus amid Rex rumors

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2016 – 5:09 pm

The Bills players heard the reports that Rex Ryan’s job was in jeopardy, but they insist through the past couple of weeks they were able to focus on their jobs.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show in the wake of Ryan’s firing, Jerome Felton said he saw teammates who were committed to their jobs on and off the field.

“The last few weeks we heard a lot about it,” he said. “We tried to focus on winning football games. You could tell. We played tough against Miami, they’re a good team, but we didn’t get it done in the end. It wasn’t a case of this is what we’re hearing so there’s no reason to play hard. We tried to win every game and some we won and some we lost. In the end it wasn’t good enough.

“I didn’t think we looked at it like we were playing for Rex’s job. Everybody is playing for their own job every week in the NFL. It’s a tough business. I don’t know if we were worried about that. We were worried about executing the game plan and trying to win a football game and put ourselves in a good position. Sometimes we did that, sometimes we didn’t and it wasn’t good enough this year.”


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Felton: Tough day at 1 Bills Drive

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2016 – 5:01 pm

Head coach Rex Ryan and Assistant head coach/Defense Rob Ryan were both fired on Tuesday. Naturally for the players, some of whom went in to work on their off day found the day difficult.

“There’s always disappointment obviously,” said FB Jerome Felton in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “Rex gave me an opportunity to come here and play for the Buffalo Bills. Knowing that we didn’t get it done from a wins and losses standpoint and getting to where our goals were it’s definitely disappointing and a tough deal when this happens.”

Felton has been through coaching changes before.

“I just think collectively we think we could’ve done this or done that and realizing that we didn’t accomplish our goals,” said Felton. “Coupled with what happened today it’s tough.”


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Felton, O’Leary played big factor in game plan

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2016 – 12:30 pm

Buffalo went with a heavy dose of 21 (2 backs, 1 TE) and 22 personnel (2 backs, 2 TE) in their win over Cleveland Sunday. Indication of that came in the playing time for both Jerome Felton and Nick O’Leary.

Felton got a season-high 39 snaps Sunday, while O’Leary’s 28 snaps were surpassed only in the game that Charles Clay missed in Oakland (70 snaps) the rematch against New England (43) and the 313-yard rushing day against San Francisco (38 snaps).

The Bills felt they could not only run effectively out of those power formations with two backs (Felton, McCoy) and two tight ends (Clay, O’Leary), but by putting those personnel groups on the field, they could keep Cleveland in base defense and get Clay mismatches in the pass game on linebackers.

“Yes, staying in our ‘Tiger’ (two tight end) personnel definitely forces their safeties and linebackers on the field,” said Tyrod Taylor. “We also run the ball out of those formations a lot too. It was a great plan going into the game and our guys did a great job of executing.”

Clay had a season-high seven catches Sunday.

 


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Felton, Henderson, McCoy added to injury list

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2016 – 4:18 pm

The Bills already had a good-sized injury list. They had to add to it on Wednesday.

OT Seantrel Henderson did not practice due to a back injury and FB Jerome Felton and RB LeSean McCoy both left practice early with back and hamstring issues respectively.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Marcell Dareus DT Hamstring DNP
Seantrel Henderson T Back DNP
Lerentee McCray LB Knee DNP
Robert Woods WR Foot DNP
Cordy Glenn T Ankle DNP
Charles Clay TE Ankle DNP
Corey White CB Shoulder LP
Cyrus Kouandjio T Ankle LP
Kevon Seymour CB Shoulder LP
Patrick Lewis OL Knee LP
Jerome Felton FB Back LP
LeSean McCoy RB Hamstring LP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills staying focused

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2016 – 10:45 pm

Not a lot of revelry in the Bills locker room following what is now a four-game winning streak. It’s all business, which is why they quickly shifted their focus to the Miami Dolphins.

“We’re just taking it week to week,” said Jerome Felton. “We’re not worried about how far we can go. We have a tough division game next week in Miami, who got a big win against Pittsburgh. It’s a tough league. So we’ll have a great week of practice, prepare well and go out and try to get a win.”

 


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Felton wants 2016 to be best year of his career

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 9:21 am

He’s been known for some time now as one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL, but Jerome Felton was far from satisfied with his first season with the Bills in 2015. He blames no one but himself, and now is counting on himself to put together the best season of his nine-year NFL career.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Felton publicly pledged to have his best season as a pro.

“Last year I felt I left more on the table,” he said. “That’s one of my personal motivations this year. I want to make sure that I give the Pegulas, the organization and the coaching staff their money’s worth. I’ve really challenged myself this offseason to come in and have my best season. Last year was a learning experience and I was happy to be here. But I’m challenging myself to have the best year I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’m just making sure that I’m 100 percent ready to contribute and be a great part of the offense this year.”

“One thing I worked on a lot this offseason is catching the ball. But whatever my role is I want to get up to camp and show what I can do. I’ve always said the better you can play and the more you can show the more opportunities you’ll get. Hopefully we’ll see it on display starting next week.”


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Bills Gronk on how to stop Pats Gronk

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2016 – 12:48 pm

Bills undrafted rookie FB Glenn Gronkowski has been asked a ton of questions over the years about his All-Pro brother Rob Gronkowski. There was one on the John Murphy Show this week that he had trouble answering about the Patriots tight end.

Gronkowski was asked how to stop his older brother from being the game changing tight end he is.

“I don’t know how to stop Rob,” said Glenn Gronkowski. “Rex Ryan told him on the phone he’s going to double team him on every play this year. I guess that’s how we’re going to stop him.”

That phone conversation took place after Ryan had successfully recruited Glenn Gronkowski as an undrafted free agent. He asked Glenn to put Rob on the phone and at that point and told him they were going to do everything they could to shut him down.

As much as the Patriots tight end is known as a partier, Gronk does put in a lot of time and effort according to his younger brother.

“He puts the work in to be the best,” said Glenn Gronkowski. “Of course a lot of people see him as a big partier. He’s definitely a hard worker. I see it first hand. Behind the scenes he’s doing a lot more than people think he is. He puts in the work and definitely deserves to be where he is.”

The younger Gronkowski thinks he has a good shot to make Buffalo’s 53-man roster. The Bills need a backup fullback with how run heavy their offense is, so Gronkowksi is hoping to make enough of an impact on special teams to stick.

“I think I can make the team,” he said. “Obviously that’s my goal. You’ve got to give it your all to reach your goal. So I think it’s a possibility especially on special teams. Maybe on special teams hopefully and work into a role and start learning my role from (Jerome)

Felton a little bit and see where it goes.”

 


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WR Woods added to Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2015 – 2:33 pm

The Bills had another new addition to their injury report on Thursday as WR Robert Woods made the list.

Woods was listed as a limited participant with a hip injury. Head coach Rex Ryan believes Woods along with LB Preston Brown and Jerome Felton are all expected to play Sunday.

“I believe all of those guys will play,” said Ryan. “I know Preston is fighting through that hamstring, but he was able to do a little more today.”

Here’s the full practice participation rundown for Thursday.

DID NOT PRACTICE
Mario Williams – illness
Charles Clay – back
Seantrel Henderson – illness
Bacarri Rambo – knee

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
Ron Brooks – concussion/neck
Aaron Williams – neck
John Miller – ankle
Karlos Williams – shoulder
Jerome Felton – back
Nigel Bradham – ankle
Preston Brown – hamstring
Robert Woods – hip


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Fan Friday 8-7

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2015 – 11:31 am

We’re a week into training camp and a lot has happened already. Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,
You and your team do a great job all year long of keep Bills fans on the up and up.

I was wondering what you think the roster will look like when it gets down to 53?  Right now we have several positions with too many players but they are loaded with talent. WR, CB, RB and even QB have to get cut back or we may not have enough depth at other positions.

I know this is a great time to be a Bills fan but I just want to know what our roster will look like.

Thanks for everything,
Justin from Lynchburg VA

CB: I think it’s a bit early to be predicting who makes the 53. Preseason game performance always have a strong influence on who does and does not make the roster. You are right that WR, CB and RB are deep positions. So is the defensive line.

With respect to quarterbacks, knowing the rest of the roster is deep it would not surprise me if the Bills only kept two QBs, a practice a good number of teams in the league subscribe to nowadays.

How many WRs are kept could hinge on other positions like TE and RB. Defense might prove tough at the safety position where there are a handful of legitimate NFL caliber talents.

Just remember that it’s GM Doug Whaley that has final say on the 53-man roster, while coach Ryan determines who is up or down on game days.

 

2 – Hi Chris:

2014 seems like a lost season for EJ. Aside from what he has said about being more aggressive and trusting his stuff the next chance he gets, what did he learn by sitting and watching? I sure wish he had 12 more games under his belt going into this season.
G. Knight

CB: There are some things that he did learn by watching Kyle Orton prepare for opponents each week. He also learned how to lead an offensive unit from a confident veteran. Manuel specifically said that he learned from Orton how to more efficiently spend his time preparing for an opponent.

He learned what is worth spending extra time on and what isn’t. Unfortunately what happened last year with EJ was supposed to be how his rookie year was to play out. Kolb was supposed to start while EJ sat and learned. Kolb’s preseason concussion derailed all that and EJ was thrown into the fire.

Then he was told to play conservatively by the previous coaching staff last year. Even Doug Whaley admits with the way everything played out it has put Manuel  a bit behind where he should be entering his third season, but you can’t fix the past.

Manuel has to make the most of this opportunity to win the starting job now.

 

3 – Chris,
As much as the Bills need numbers at the tight end position, they currently have two very effective fullbacks in Felton and Conner. Do you think that there’s a chance that the team keeps both of them, using them in a mixed tight end/fullback role occasionally?

Thanks,
Joseph P.

CB: I’ll have coach Ryan answer this one for you regarding two fullbacks.

“I think first off when we got Felton, Jerome was…I thought he was probably, he’s right up there with the best fullbacks in the game,” said Ryan. “So it was an opportunity for us to get a player that we will use, a fullback positon, and one of the top guys if not the top in this league. So it was great opportunity for us to get him.

“John, we weren’t planning on bringing John Conner in. However when he was still out there, it’s like I know he’s a good football player and we want (good football players). At the end of the day were not worried necessarily about hey we’re bringing in one fullback, going to bring this or this. We want the best 53, and I think John will challenge for a position on this team and that’s why we brought him in.”

 

4 – Hey Chris ,

I’ll keep it short & sweet ! What’s the chance (in your mind) of the Bills being with out their Dr. of Defense “MD” Marcell Dareus after this year ?

Thanks Mr. T

CB: We just covered this topic on Buffalobills.com Wednesday. GM Doug Whaley said he’s optimistic they’ll get a deal done with Dareus on an extension to keep him in a Bills uniform. He felt similarly optimistic about getting a deal done with Jerry Hughes.

I think what we have to keep in mind is this is going to be a complicated deal because of the amount of money involved and how it needs to be structured over the multiple years of the deal (e.g. – front loaded money, guaranteed money, bonuses, LTBE incentives, etc.).

 

5 – CB,

Can you break down how the tight ends are playing and lining up during training camp? I’ve heard little about Clay/O’Leary so far. Do you expect them to keep 4 tight ends? Can we expect to watch 3 tight ends sets?

CB: I can tell you that Charles Clay is beginning to show a bit more with each passing day, especially in the passing game. O’Leary hasn’t been much of a factor in the pass game, but I do like Marqueis Gray. I think he’s the best understudy option to Clay in terms of being as versatile as Clay.

Matthew Mulligan is more athletic than he gets credit for and is a pretty good in line blocker. As for formations and personnel groupings we’re less than a week into camp and with as voluminous as Greg Roman’s playbook is the tight ends are only beginning to scratch the surface of what they’re going to be called upon to do this season.

 


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Fan Friday 5-15

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2015 – 11:41 am

Sorry for the one week hiatus. A lot of news going down last week. OTAs are less than two weeks away. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –  @ChrisBrownBills

just curious why Bills have Felton and Conner?

nschirra8

CB: Doug Whaley has stated many times that any time they have a chance to make an upgrade they’re going to do so. The John Conner signing this week is an example of that. While I don’t deny that it’s unusual to have two proven fullbacks on one roster, I think Whaley and Rex Ryan subscribe to the philosophy of creating as much competition as possible in the training camp setting.

Conner will push Jerome Felton and that makes both players better. Ultimately Felton is going to be this team’s starting fullback, but if there’s an injury Conner is a fantastic fall back option. Can Conner convince the coaches to make an exception and keep two fullbacks? With the depth of this roster that’s going to be difficult, but you can’t fault a team for trying to get better everywhere and driving up the level of competition.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for your continued pursuit of giving a small market team, big time exposure.

I know the McCoy/Alonso deal has been discussed ad nauseum and much like most Bills fans, I found myself conflicted and constantly flip-flopping on how to feel.  At the end of the day, the organization is making an aggressive play to enhance the offense, which is definitely something I support.  Having said that, seeing that the Bills were willing to commit heavy resources to a running back I’m uncertain of what to feel hypothesizing that we could have signed Demarco Murray for less money and still retained Kiko (whether to keep or to use as a potential trade asset).  Both backs are elite and I don’t wish to jibber-jabber over which one is better, but how can a cogent argument be made that McCoy > Demarco + Kiko?

Keep up the great work.
Best,
Robert F.

CB: While I think most would acknowledge that DeMarco Murray + Kiko Alonso is better than just LeSean McCoy, you’re operating under the assumption that Murray would be interested in signing with Buffalo.

It’s possible he may have been willing to sign with the Bills. We’ll probably never know, but Murray is a year older than McCoy. Unlike McCoy, who avoids the kill shots of defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties, Murray takes big hits. I think one could argue that the cumulative wear and tear on Murray is greater than on McCoy.

Now that doesn’t dismiss your argument that Murray + Alonso would be better than just McCoy, but I’m not convinced Murray would’ve signed here.

 

3 – Hi Chris, thank you to you and your team for all the off season coverage.
I have to think Suh signing this contract hurts us in two ways. 1, he bolsters the Dolphins defense and we have to go up against him twice a year. 2, did he set the market for Marcell Dareus as a free agent? Dareus was considered the best tackle against the run last year, and had more tackles and sacks than Suh. If Marcell doesn’t drop off this year wouldn’t he command the same contract as Suh? We saw what happens without Marcell in the lineup, just look at the Oakland game before and after his injury.  Do you think the Bills can afford to re-sign him, and if so, is that at the expense of asking Mario Williams to restructure his contract or full on releasing him?
Thanks
Paddy

CB: The Bills maintain that their cap structure will allow for a long term contract extension for Dareus. He’s the linchpin of the defensive interior for the long term future.

You’re right the Suh deal did set the market. I think in an ideal world the Bills have Dareus signed to a long term deal before the 2015 season commences. The more he performs on the field the more his price goes up, so it would behoove the Bills to seal a deal before September. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

 

4 – Hi Chris
Do the Bills have any definite plans for Marcus Thigpen? Is he still on the roster? Percy Harvin is arguably a better all-around player, but in all the mentions of Buffalo “weapons” I’ve not once heard Thigpen’s name.

Just curious
@GregTheBillsFan

CB: Thigpen is still on the roster yes. Harvin is clearly a better all-around player. Thigpen was a punt return specialist on this team last season after Leodis McKelvin broke his ankle. And while he did do a good job this roster became even harder for him to make with the offseason additions, Harvin chief among them. With McKelvin expected to be ready by training camp, the team’s primary punt returner will be back in the fold. So Thigpen, though very capable, may get caught up in a numbers game at the receiver position.

 

5 – Chris,
With the addition of Harvin, how do you expected the formations to look like? How does it change the role of Robert Woods, who had a great 2nd half of the season. Harvin might cut into Watkin’s targets, I like to see Watkin’s used more creatively.

Is Goodwin on the bubble to make the roster? I’d like to see a coach that will throw him the ball.

Sean

CB: I think the Greg Roman offense is going to be as multiple as possible with a myriad of pre-snap formations and shifts. So to give you an answer about formations would be like trying to hit a moving target. I expect Harvin to line up outside opposite Watkins, with Woods working more in the slot in this offense. Hogan would work the other slot in four-wide looks.

Based on Rex Ryan’s comments it sounds like Goodwin will get a far better opportunity to prove that he belongs on this roster than he did from the previous staff. I wouldn’t call him a bubble player, but from a pure numbers standpoint he’s going to have a challenge on his hands.


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Rex won’t rule out having 2 FBs on final roster

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2015 – 2:38 pm

With the signing of free agent FB John Conner Wednesday, Buffalo now has two of the better fullbacks in the league. But will there be enough work for both to be on their 53-man roster. Head coach Rex Ryan isn’t ruling it out as a possibility.

“Doug Whaley and I talk about it all the time—keep the best players,” said Ryan. “If that means two fullbacks, then so be it. Both Felton and John (Conner) can contribute on special teams as well. Clearly we brought Felton in to be the guy (at fullback), but it just so happens John Conner is still sitting out there. I know John, he’s a heck of a football player, he’s an excellent teammate, so let’s bring him in and let him compete. I would not be surprised if John makes our team.”

With the running back talent on the roster that you’d anticipate Buffalo keeping on their 53-man squad it is difficult to see both fullbacks sticking, but numbers could be sacrificed at perhaps another position if the coaching staff feels an exception is warranted.

Either way both fullbacks will be putting their best out on the field in training camp and the preseason and should make for one heck of a physical display.


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Why Felton opted out in Minnesota

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 3:46 pm

Bills FB Jerome Felton had a good thing going in Minnesota blocking for feature back Adrian Peterson, but when Peterson was suspended by the league the offense changed. With Peterson’s situation up in the air, Felton chose to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Vikings and test free agency.

“When the situation with Adrian (Peterson) happened last year, I did not…the offense changed a little bit,” said Felton. “We did not use a fullback as much. I do not know what is going on in that situation still. I just wanted to make sure I gave myself the chance to go somewhere where I can contribute. Help the team win. Obviously when Buffalo gave me this opportunity I jumped at it. I am excited about it.”

Felton signed with Buffalo on Wednesday.


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Felton’s scouting report on Cassel

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 2:34 pm

Last year Bills new FB Jerome Felton was a teammate of Matt Cassel in Minnesota. Felton watched how Cassel won the starting quarterback job in a competition with rookie first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater. A Week 3 foot injury cost Cassel the rest of the 2014 season, but his approach to the game and his success in landing the starting job impressed Felton, who is once again his teammate in Buffalo.

In an interview with Buffalobills.com right after he signed his contract with the Bills, Felton called Cassel a true pro and his presence on Buffalo’s roster only reinforced his desire to sign with the Bills.

“It was unfortunate last year when he got hurt. He had put a lot of work in and had a really good camp and we felt good about him going into the season,” Felton told Buffalobills.com. “So when I saw that he had signed here it made me more excited. I was already pretty much bought in and I wanted to be here and they wanted me here and when I saw that he was coming I got even more excited. He’s a true professional. He comes to work every day. He’s going to push whoever is already here and push to be the starting quarterback. There’s a lot of work that goes into it and he’s going to put it in every day.”


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Jerome Felton update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Bills have a few players in for free agent visits here Wednesday at One Bills Drive. Free agent TE Charles Clay, FB Jerome Felton and QB Tyrod Taylor are all meeting with coaches and touring the facilities. GM Doug Whaley laid out where things stand with Felton at this point after he arrived in town Monday night.

Whaley was asked in the press conference that introduced QB Matt Cassel, who came via trade with Minnesota, if there’s a deal in place with the free agent fullback.

“No, we do not,” said Whaley. “We’re in the midst of negotiating. That’s one of those things where you bring him in town. They’ve got to get a feel for us, we’ve got to get a feel for them. They have to take a physical. It’s a whole process and then once everybody agrees that we should start talking numbers then we start talking numbers.”


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McCoy has done homework on Felton

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 7:47 pm

He has never been a teammate of Minnesota free agent Jerome Felton, who is making a visit with the Bills here on Tuesday, but LeSean McCoy is certainly hoping the Bills can land the accomplished fullback.

In fact at his introductory press conference Tuesday when McCoy was asked about Felton specifically he has stats on him at the ready.

“I mean, you just look at his stats in his career; I want to say every running back he’s played with has been one of the top, leading rushers, at least in the top six,” said McCoy of Felton. “Fullbacks, you always kind of know a little bit about their stats. So, hopefully with Felton, they work that out.”

McCoy said he comes to the Bills confident that he’ll be as productive as ever.

“The good thing about Rex (Ryan), no matter what team, he always finds a way to get that running attack going,” said McCoy. “He’s that old fashion of controlling the game by running the ball and playing great defense.”


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Report: Bills to sign FB Felton

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 5:01 pm

The Buffalo Bills are reportedly signing a free agent fullback.

That according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who says the Bills will be signing Minnesota free agent FB Jerome Felton.

Felton is considered one of the better blocking fullbacks in the league. Nothing official from the Bills however, on the reported plans to sign Felton.


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Report: Bills targeting TE Clay, FB Felton

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 8:19 am

The free agent speculation has already begun. The latest concerning the Bills has them in pursuit of a free agent tight end and fullback.

That according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora, who is reporting that Buffalo is targeting Miami free agent TE Charles Clay and may also be in the hunt for Minnesota free agent FB Jerome Felton.

Clay isn’t much of a surprise as he fits the mold of a versatile tight end, something that offensive coordinator Greg Roman likes to have in his offense. GM Doug Whaley also said last month at the NFL Combine that the team would be in need of a fullback with a power run scheme set to be implemented as well. Felton is widely considered to be the best fullback on the market.


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