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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 2-17

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2017 – 11:30 am

Veteran cuts are happening around the league as team’s look to create more favorable fiscal situations with their cap. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

With the coaching shakeup we head in the off season with a new head coach, and with our limited cap space for next year already, do you see the following players being in a Buffalo uniform next year?
Tyrod Taylor?
Lesean McCoy?
EJ Manuel?
Charles Clay?
Goodwin?
Stephon Gilmore?
Jerry Hughers?
Kyle Williams?

CB: Taylor is a true question mark. As I said last week I think it’s a situation that could go either way.

McCoy, Clay and Hughes are back. As long as Kyle Williams wants to continue playing I believe he’s here as well.

I’d be surprised if Manuel was re-signed. Goodwin is unlikely knowing they drafted his replacement last year in Kolby Listenbee, who offers the same speed and more size.

Gilmore will depend chiefly on the money he demands.
2 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering with everything aside do you see Whaley re-signing Robert Woods this off season?  Also, do you think they will give Mike Gillislee a contract and get him locked up?

Thanks as always,
Jillian

CB: I think unless the Bills bowl him over with a contract offer that he’s going to test the market. Woods numbers could put him in line for a contract that averages about $9M a season. If there’s a competition for Woods, I don’t see the Bills getting in a bidding war for him.

I do believe they try to sign Mike Gillislee to a long-term contract rather than tender him for one year.
3 – Chris,

I don’t think Tyrod Taylor has proven he can read defenses and make NFL throws over the middle.  I can’t see paying that much for a running QB.  With that in mind, do you think Doug Whaley would target QB Mike Glennon in free agency.

RC from DC

CB: I know it was only one example, but his performance against Miami in Week 16 was an encouraging sign of progress in throwing over the middle. He found targets there with consistency when the Dolphins were daring him to throw there. Taylor threw for over 300 yards in that game.

If the Bills elect to pursue a free agent like Mike Glennon, it would be a complete 180 in philosophy with respect to their quarterback. That’s not to say that it’s wrong, but it would be a vast departure from what they’ve done previously.

Taylor’s skill set is capable of fitting into OC Rick Dennison’s offensive scheme. They’ve worked together before. That’s why I believe the possibility still exists that Taylor is here in 2017.

For what it’s worth, Taylor has a higher completion percentage and a better touchdown to interception ratio than Glennon, who is strictly a pocket passer. Then add on Taylor’s 500 rushing yards a season and in my opinion you’ve got a better option in Taylor than Glennon. But that’s just me.

 

4 – Chris,
My Question is this: Obviously I’m very frustrated with the play of Dareus and Hughes, after they signed huge contracts.

Dareus, specifically, has not produced like a 95 million dollar player should IMO, along with his suspension and injuries.

Is there any chance we try to trade him in the off-season or release him after the 2017 season (if I understand his contract correctly) ?

-David from Rochester

CB: I don’t think trading Dareus is realistic. If you did he’d be a $14M cap hit and put more than $30M in dead cap on your books.

It’s my contention that this new defensive scheme will get back to maximizing the strengths of both Dareus’ and Jerry Hughes’ game, which is getting up the field and penetrating and putting heat on the quarterback.

The scheme under DC Leslie Frazier and coach McDermott will allow them to attack, which is what they like to do best. Dareus was forced to stand in the gaps and grind with offensive linemen under Rex Ryan and let the linebackers run and make plays. Dareus is a playmaker. He was miscast in Ryan’s system.

Hughes is also a more effective player in a 4-3 scheme. It’s where he had back-to-back 10-sack seasons. So I’d give it the 2017 season to reassess if the struggles of Dareus and Hughes were self-inflicted or if they were a victim of a scheme that didn’t fit either of them.

 

5 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for everything you do in regards to covering the bills. If the bills let Woods walk, do you think Kendall Wright from Tennessee could be a possible addition? Reports say he is leaving and could need some new scenery. I feel like he could catch on well with the bills in the slot.
Thank you,
Max

CB: There’s no question that Wright would be a more affordable option than Woods. He’s not as athletic as Woods and is probably a slot receiver only. What will be of concern to potential suitors is the fact that Wright has not made it through a 16-game season since 2013, when he had a 94-catch season, which was his only 1,000-yard receiving year.

Buffalo has experienced all too many problems in recent years with receivers who are not available due to injury. Knowing Wright has an injury history could be a deterrent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kelso: Roles for Hughes & Lawson will change

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2017 – 2:22 pm

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today, there will be some changes under new head coach Sean McDermott for Buffalo’s defense. Not only will it be the seventh new scheme in nine years, but players will be on the move in terms of their role in the new system. Chief among them the outside linebackers in the previous system.

Bills radio analyst and former safety Mark Kelso, explained how decisions must be made on players like Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson and free agents to be Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander.

“From a personnel standpoint who is going to be a defensive end now,” Kelso asked. “Is Jerry Hughes now considered a defensive end? He might be a little light on the outside, but you’re probably not going to make him an outside linebacker because then he would be off the ball. He’s a pass rusher that needs to be on the ball. Shaq Lawson would be a defensive end in that scheme, which means he’ll be defending on the line of scrimmage most of the time and not dropping into coverage.”

Hughes did enjoy a pair of 10-sack seasons in 4-3 schemes with the Bills.

Kelso also said that Zach Brown would be a good fit as a weak side linebacker if the Bills can re-sign him.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shift in Bills OLB rotation

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

With Shaq Lawson now up to speed with Buffalo’s defense his play time saw a sharp spike in Week 14 against the Steelers when he made his first NFL start. In that game he got 46 snaps for 61 percent of the playing time. But as part of the three-man OLB rotation, Lawson saw that play time drop off this past Sunday.

Lawson got just 19 snaps, playing just 33 percent of the defensive plays. He contributed a tackle and a forced fumble in the winning effort.

The lion’s share of the work went to veteran Lorenzo Alexander, who rewarded the defensive staff, tying for the team lead in tackles with seven, 1.5 sacks and a pair of QB hits. He played 58 snaps on defense.

Jerry Hughes got 43 snaps for 74 percent of the work on defense, and had three tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.

Last week the snap counts went as follows.
Alexander – 54 snaps (72%)
Lawson – 46 snaps (61%)
Hughes – 30 snaps (40%)


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-2

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2016 – 11:32 am

Another must win game on Sunday in Oakland. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
With the Bills depleted secondary and Oakland’s vertical threat and strong O-Line, what can Bills D do to stop Carr and O?

@BuffSportsFan90
CB: The best defense this week is going to be a good offense. Buffalo should be able to run effectively against the league’s 26th ranked run defense. Hopefully that allows the Bills to put together long sustained drives. Converting on third down will be critical to holding onto the ball and limiting Oakland’s possessions.

That’s how the Chiefs beat the Raiders back in Week 6. They held onto the ball for almost 37 minutes and gave the Raiders just 10 total possessions. Teams usually get about 12 per game.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills With so many upcoming free agents how are the @buffalobills with cap space?

Bob Refermat
@lostnascarfan

CB: You’re right. At last count the Bills will have 23 players set to become unrestricted free agents. That obviously takes a lot of contracts off the books for Buffalo. Remember that room under the salary cap is always a moving target. But last I checked for 2017 the Bills are a little more than $20M under the cap.

If they pick up the option on Tyrod Taylor that will obviously impact the cap significantly. We’ll see what their plans are in terms of re-signing their own or pursuing a free agent on the market, but Taylor’s option will play a major role in how aggressive they are in free agency.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills How is Cardale Jones doing? He is likely the number 2 qb next year correct?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Jones is really trying to build his game from the ground up to better fit the NFL game. From footwork, to set up to his delivery. How he scans the field, keeps his feet active, reading defenses pre-snap. Bills QBs coach David Lee has worked tirelessly with Jones to try to develop his game.

The Bills saw this year as a redshirt year for Jones. Lee has him come in early and throw with a couple of receivers early in the week and late in the week after Friday practices. On Thursdays he’ll have him review his Wednesday and Thursday practice tape and go over fundamentals.

They’re working mainly on his intermediate accuracy, his footwork and arm mechanics.

I know the offensive staff has a lot of respect for EJ’s game. Lee said on the John Murphy Show this week that he thinks Manuel’s confidence is at an all-time high and that he’s been ripping it in practice.

Knowing his contract is up, the likelihood of Manuel being back with the team is completely up in the air.

Clearly Tyrod Taylor is the bigger issue to address with his option year at the quarterback position, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Manuel found work elsewhere and Cardale Jones was the backup for 2017.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How limited will Sammy be on Sunday? And how will Rex manage playing time between Lorenzo shaq and Hughes?

Justin Trottier
@justintrotts1

CB: Watkins’ availability is going to largely be based on how the foot feels as the game wears on. So it’s a wait and see on the size of his role Sunday. I will say that I think it is beneficial that the game is on grass, which is a more forgiving surface on the body.

As for managing time between Shaq, Alexander and Hughes, the staff tried address that last week against the Jaguars. The defensive staff wants to play Shaq more and cut back on Alexander’s defensive snaps, so they’re able to use him on special teams as well.

Alexander really shouldn’t have much more than 55-60 snaps combined between defense and special teams. Last week he had 70, so again he was over the threshold of where they’d probably like to be with him, knowing he’s 33 and the oldest player on the team.

Shaq’s snap count wound up being identical to that of the Cincinnati game. He got 21 snaps in both. Part of the reason is both games were tightly fought contests and in tight spots you want to go with an experienced player that you can trust. Lawson is still learning the pro game.

Remember he missed the entire offseason on the field. That’s OTAs, minicamp, training camp, the preseason and the first six games of the season. Lawson bit hard on a read option fake, didn’t hold the edge and let Blake Bortles run for a first down and more. Those kinds of plays makes defensive coaches hesitant to use him more as opposed to Alexander, who is one of the smarter players on the team.

Knowing the importance of each game the rest of the way they’d like to use Shaq more because he’s talented, but until he can show an ability to play sound, disciplined assignment football he might be reduced to just passing downs to rush the passer.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Why aren’t they using Reggie Bush out of back field, swing passes, screen passes, with all WR injuries?

TomLarsen/TheInsDoc
@tomlarsen

CB: It’s a valid question. I thought when they signed Reggie Bush that he would be a specialty player that would be used in an 8-12 play package every week on offense. He could be split out as a receiver, line up in a split backfield with McCoy or return kicks and punts. The signing of Brandon Tate largely eliminated his return duties.

He’s been used sparingly as a receiver and back. I do believe they could make greater use of their ‘Pony’ package, which is their split backfield with McCoy and another tailback. But for whatever reason they have only used it occasionally.

It’s clear they prefer Mike Gillislee, who is a much better north-south runner and capable of fighting for the tough yard. Rookie Jonathan Williams is also better in that regard.

Bush is a player best used in space, which is why they could make use of him in a receiving role knowing the amount of injuries they have at that position right now.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What made Jerry Hughes a punt blocker

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2016 – 3:14 am

Bills special teams coordinator Danny Crossman knew Seattle had a rookie long snapper and felt there was an advantage to be had for Buffalo’s punt return unit if he had the right guy for the job. Head coach Rex Ryan gave him permission to use his best pass rusher and it all worked at the start of Monday night’s game in Seattle.

After the defense sent the Seattle offense three-and-out on their first possession, Hughes beat his man and blocked Jon Ryan’s punt, which went out of bounds at the three-yard line. A play later Tyrod Taylor was running into the end zone.

“It was Danny Crossman,” said head coach Rex Ryan on where credit should be given. “We knew they had a rookie long snapper who was struggling a little bit in protection and we put our best player in there and Jerry made a great play.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Shaq is familiar with the defense

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2016 – 5:28 pm

Bills top draft choice Shaq Lawson took part in his first practice Wednesday as he was full go. And by most accounts he was consistent with the execution of his assignments. Lawson explained why.

“I’ve been involved with the defense from day one since I got hurt,” he said. “Jerry (Hughes) and Kyle Williams have been helping me through the process since I had surgery. So when I came out here today I felt like I was picking things up fast. I knew what to do and the installs that we had today. So those older guys were helping me.”

Hughes has been a sounding board for Lawson since he was drafted and has been mentoring the first-round pick since the spring.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lawson anxious to get career started

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2016 – 11:15 am

He’s had to wait an extra six months to work with teammates and begin his NFL career. Today he’ll hit the practice field with the Bills for the first time since his shoulder surgery. Over the past six months he has been in player meetings so he’s up to date on the scheme. According to the vets on the defensive side of the ball, he’s about as eager as a rookie could be to play again.

“For sure. I just see him when he’s in there getting treatment he’s always asking us questions. He tells me he’s watching the game and how excited he is. So when you hear that and that he’s paying attention and watching us on TV and everything he’s seeing and how exciting the defense looks. When you hear that you know he’s really anxious and that’s cool. He’s young and eager to join us.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rams Aaron Donald doesn’t play as much as most

Posted by Chris Brown on October 9, 2016 – 9:38 am

Rams DT Aaron Donald is a dominant player. He leads the league with 25 quarterback pressures in just four games. It’s an impressive number and Donald has shown he can completely wreck an offensive game plan by himself. What’s interesting is when it comes to getting the best play out of Donald the Rams believe that less is more.

Last week against Arizona for example, Donald was playing every other series. After the first defensive series for the Rams, Donald rotated out. He didn’t return until the following series. Donald played more in the second half, but his snap count was surprisingly low.

Fewer snaps however, appeared to allow Donald to provide more impact. He had five tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the game that was recovered by Los Angeles in their 17-13 win. Donald played in a total of 49 snaps.

In fact so far this season the Pro Bowl defensive tackle has played just under 74 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, down almost five percent from last season.

Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito, who is likely to see a lot of Donald Sunday, has a theory.

“His whole game is explosion, so the Rams are trying to keep him fresh,” said Incognito. “He’s not a big guy so he relies on his speed and quickness.”

It’s true Donald is one of the smaller defensive tackles in the league at just 6-1 and 285 pounds. If he played 75-80 snaps per game going against bigger offensive linemen all day he’d be more likely to wear down.

“He’s an undersized guy number one at 285, so not big by defensive line standards,” said Rex Ryan. “He’s energetic and they want to keep that at a high level. They rotate a lot of those guys in there. They have good depth on their D-line. But he’s a guy that clearly jumps out on tape. They want him at a peak energy level so he can do what he does.”

Here’s a look at Donald’s snap count percentages from each of his three NFL seasons.

2016 – 73.7%

2015 – 78.9%

2014 – 67.4%

Just for a sense of contrast, Bills OLB Jerry Hughes has played 98 percent of the snaps this season. Even 33-year old Kyle Williams has played more than 82 percent of the snaps for Buffalo this season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-22

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 12:07 pm

Some coaching hires for the staff the last week or so. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills What’s the biggest lesson learned between Wk1 and Wk16 defensively with this team?

vapor311

CB: I think the biggest lesson learned by the players was that if there was more accountability player to player on defense, there would’ve been unanimous buy in and the defense would’ve performed more consistently and been more effective in Ryan’s scheme. That didn’t happen until after the embarrassing defensive performance at Washington when the players that did buy in called out the players who didn’t. We saw improved collective play from the defensive unit after that.

I believe the biggest lesson learned by Rex and the coaches is just how multi-faceted a lot of their defensive talent is particularly some of their defensive linemen like Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes specifically. Dareus and Williams are athletic enough to play end in a 3-4 look and Hughes can be an end in a 4-3 look or an OLB in a 3-4. He’s that versatile.

There are other examples at LB and in the secondary, but Rex has expressed that a year with those players has provided him with a better grasp of everything that players like that can do, not just their primary strengths.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Here is my concern. It seems to make more sense for a coach to change their scheme to fit the players than change the roster to fit the scheme. Why has Rex Ryan, the great defensive mastermind who was figured out and canned in NY, been reluctant to implement a scheme where our star defensive line can pass rush like they have proven they are good at doing and rely upon a better cover based defense? We consistently get beat while trying to change in and out of “complex” blitz packages that always seem to come up short while letting the QB find a quick under or hot route. What should we expect for the future I’m so desperately trying to not give up on? Suddenly find myself hoping for a Sean Payton and Jim Schwartz led team and I can’t stand the coaching turnovers.. But I have to admit Ryan’s defensive scheme is old news…

-Losing faith in OR

CB: Rex took steps to try and mold his defensive scheme to the talent of the personnel. As mentioned above Ryan admitted that he is in a much better position to coach to some of the players’ versatile strengths now that he knows the depth of their talents having worked with them for a year. I know that’s small consolation in light of how the defense underachieved, but I don’t think it’s something that should be taken lightly.

Rex referenced Jerry Hughes specifically saying he now realizes that Hughes is so much more than a hand in the dirt type, rush the passer player. That he can do a number of different things well. He also said the big difference he noticed at the end of the season was that players were finally giving him answers when he asked for their opinion.

It was his contention that his offer to the players from the very beginning of the season to give him feedback fell on deaf ears until the last two games. Rex in making in-game adjustments would ask for the opinion of the players. Until the Dallas game he said those appeals were not met with answers and he couldn’t understand why.

Once he got some more input from players we saw the difference. Buffalo’s last two games were their best back-to-back defensive performances of the season in terms of points allowed (6 and 17). And that was without a handful of defensive starters (Darby, Gilmore, A. Williams, K. Williams, Bradham). So Ryan is encouraged that the proper give and take now exists between the players and himself and the value of that should not be discounted.

 

3 – Happy New Year Chris:

Do you think the Bills organization will make a play for Miami Dolphins Olivier Vernon?

Thanks from a true Bills fan in NewportNews, Va.
Gary Truesdale

CB: I would be surprised if the Bills pursued Olivier Vernon only because he’s going to command a sizable price tag and GM Doug Whaley has made it clear that they’re going to be pursuing “dust settle” type free agents. The focus this offseason will be for the Bills to re-sign their own, chiefly Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn.

Buffalo’s cap situation needs some restructuring this offseason before we reach free agency and Bills Senior VP of Football Administration, Jim Overdorf will be tasked with that as he has in the past. But knowing the priorities that Incognito and Glenn are combined with their cap situation I wouldn’t expect to see a top tier free agent like Vernon to be on the Bills radar.

 

4 – Chris,

Hypothetical of course.  Just what if, with all the defensive needs and offensive tackle needs, Laquon Treadwell and/or Connor Cook were available at pick 19?  How are we going to fill our need at receiver?  Not in free agency as per Whaley’s statement and later in the draft will not fill that need either.

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I do believe the Bills will make efforts to land a true No. 2 receiver that can draw attention away from Sammy Watkins. Robert Woods played more than half the season with a severe groin injury and might be best suited for the slot. Percy Harvin is a player the Bills would like to return to the fold, but has to get healthy first and is not a lock to return.
I know the Bills would like to add size to the position as evidenced by the reserve/future signings of Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin. But I don’t think they’re putting all their stock in those two wideouts.

Unfortunately this year’s receiver class doesn’t offer a lot of quality size. There are 6-1 and 6-2 guys aplenty, but the 6-4 and 6-5 targets of quality just don’t exist in this year’s class. I suppose there could be a prospect or two that could possess a ‘big receiver’ game because they play bigger than their listed size. I’ve still got homework to do on the 2016 draft class, but Treadwell would be a tempting option.

Personally I don’t think Connor Cook is worthy of a first-round pick. In a draft without a lot of elite QB talent I suppose it’s possible he’ll be moved up a lot of draft boards as the draft draws closer due to supply and demand, but Treadwell is a more worthy first-round pick to me than Cook. That being said I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills found better value at another position in round one.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills What are the fates of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes? Are they staying or leaving?

TandAFootball

CB: I feel good about the playing futures of Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes in Buffalo. I’ll actually have more on Kyle Williams in a story on Buffalobills.com slated for Monday. Hughes is a cornerstone piece for this defense moving forward, which is why he was signed to the long term contract extension last offseason.

Mario Williams situation is a lot more precarious, chiefly due to his cost-prohibitive contract. I think it would be difficult for any defensive player to live up to a contract that has a cap figure of almost $20M for 2016 ($19.9M). With Buffalo’s cap situation in a restrictive position right now, addressing Mario’s contract will probably be pretty high on Jim Overdorf’s to-do list.

There are a few paths they can take with it as we all know. What kind of steps Mario and his agent are willing to take is the big question.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills ‘D’ knows Cousins success at home

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2015 – 8:50 am

Washington QB Kirk Cousins has played considerably better at home than on the road this season. He and his teammates will be hosting the Bills on Sunday at FedEx Field where they’re 5-2 in 2015. Buffalo’s defense has respect for Cousins, who has 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions in Washington’s seven home games this season.

“He’s gotten better as the year has gone on,” said Jerry Hughes. “He’s learned from some of his mistakes early on and he’s just battling week in and week out. He’s going out there and he’s battling for those guys. So we’ve got to do a good job up front of just putting a lot more pressure (on him).”

Cousin’s passer rating in road games this season is 74.6, where he’s thrown six touchdowns and nine interceptions, while at home his passer rating is 111.5 with 12 TDs and two INTs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: no excuse for offsides by D-line

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2015 – 2:56 pm

Buffalo’s defensive linemen jumped offsides before the snap and were called for neutral zone infractions and all four of those calls happened on third down. DE Jerry Hughes maintained that the center was moving the ball around, within the rules, before the snap. Rex Ryan thought the same thing until he watched the game tape Monday.

“We had four offsides penalties,” said Ryan. “I thought it was because the center was flinching, but that wasn’t the case. So that was poor judgment on our part. We’re trying to jump the count and we just need to get off the ball. But that happened four times to us.”

As we covered on Buffalobills.com today, the Bills got outperformed on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Ryan felt that’s why 11 of the team’s 15 penalties were committed by offensive and defensive linemen.

“We got beat and we had no choice but to foul, and that’s really what happened,” Ryan said. “That doesn’t happen to us very often so you’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes: We’re still working with this playbook

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2015 – 9:34 am

Last week head coach Rex Ryan admitted he made an error in trying to combine some of the successful principles of Buffalo’s defense last year in with his own defensive scheme. During the bye week he decided to go exclusively with his style of defense. With those adjustments the players on defense claim they’re still adjusting to the new scheme with a little over a month left in the season.

“This isn’t the same defense (as last year),” said Jerry Hughes. “We’re a 3-4 defense, we have interchangeable parts. We have guys coming in and you have to be able to communicate and work in a new playbook, so for us to come out and say we’re going to be great without even looking at the playbook, I just kind of rolled with it in the offseason, but I know how the football season’s going to roll. You got to be able to work with the playbook and we’re still doing that. This is our first year in it.”

Hughes didn’t want to buy into the preseason hype about his team’s defense and understandably so. New schemes often take time to adapt and adjust to, but after he and his defensive teammates were able to successfully implement a new defensive scheme in 2014, which was in stark contrast to the one in 2013, there was a realistic expectation that the defensive unit, which was largely unchanged, would be able to make the transition.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Defending Chiefs’ screen game a key

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:00 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has had his matchups with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid over the years. So he wasn’t the least bit surprised in looking at Kansas City game film to see a cornucopia of screen plays from the Chiefs offense.

“Screens are going to be huge in this game. That’s a thing that we have not defended the screen well this year,” said Ryan. “They’ll get you on the perimeter with the wide outs, tight end screens, bubble screens. Running back screens.  Screens of all kinds-we have to do a great job on that.”

Bills DE Jerry Hughes says he and his teammates are aware of it and will be mindful of not getting fooled into thinking they’ve got a clean shot at the QB, and recognize that it’s a screen play.

“You’ve just got to have all 11 guys run to the football,” Hughes said. “We’ve got to accountable for that extra guy on the field. We’ve got to just find a way to get to him, play smart and play heads up football.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes a fan of division games

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2015 – 12:44 pm

Jerry Hughes has been a pretty productive player the last two seasons for Buffalo, registering a pair of 10 sack campaigns. He’s been particularly effective of late against AFC East opponents.

In Hughes’ past five games against division opponents, Hughes has 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Sacking Ryan Fitzpatrick might prove difficult as he gets the ball out quick, but for Hughes there has been something about playing division opponents.

“(Thursday night) is a division game for us so it’s important in its entirety there,” said Hughes. “We have to beat the Jets to move up in our division so that’s what we’re focused on.”

Of course Jets DT Sheldon Richardson enjoys facing division opponents as well. He has 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his last four games against the AFC East.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Penalty count still too high

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2015 – 1:05 pm

The players know it, the coaches are aware of it, but even in Sunday’s victory penalties were a readily apparent problem. Buffalo committed a whopping 13 for 94 yards in the win over Miami.

“We did have too many penalties again,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We’ve got to be careful grabbing guys too much down the field. We’ve got to get better at that for sure.”

The one particularly disappointing penalty was committed by Jerry Hughes when he got flagged for shoulder bumping Miami QB Ryan Tannehill after he was already out of bounds on a scramble run. Hughes got flagged for unnecessary roughness. The defensive end lead the team with eight penalties on the season and also leads in penalty yardage as he’s handed opponents 77 yards, which has also translated to four first downs.

“The one was disappointing with Jerry because he had been doing a great job from probably Week 2 on,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “But it’s something we’re still not there. We can’t assume that we’ve figured it out. That’s something where Jerry has got to be smarter than that. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him, and he knew he messed up, but I’ll remind him. He knows better than that. He’s got to dial in.”

When asked about the late hit on Tannehill, Hughes offered the following explanation.

“I was just running to the ball and I think we both ran out of bounds at the same time,” Hughes said.

Buffalo’s opponent this week the Jets have the fourth-fewest penalties this season (49), which averages to about six per game. The Bills are committing an average of better than 10 and a half penalties a game (10.6).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes flip to the left pays dividends

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2015 – 11:03 pm

He hadn’t lined up at left defensive end since his college days at TCU, but on Sunday flipping from his customary right defensive end spot to the left proved valuable for Jerry Hughes and Buffalo’s defense.

Hughes made the defensive play of the game when he forced the only turnover in the contest. Using an inside spin move on right tackle Jason Fox, Hughes rolled into the pocket grabbed a retreating Ryan Tannehill, stripped him of the football and recovered the loose ball off the bounce for the fumble recovery while he sacked the Dolphins quarterback.

It was third and long, I think at that time we’re up maybe by seven points, we need to just get to the ball,” said Hughes. “Our secondary there, they did what they needed to do. The quarterback held the ball, I’ve got to find a way. The defensive line has to get there so we found a way to get there and it was a lot of fun.”

Fox was Miami’s backup offensive tackle, who was filling in for starting RT Ju’Wuan James, out with a toe injury. Back in Week 3 he faced Hughes on the other side of the formation as he stepped in for injured left tackle Branden Albert. But that wasn’t why Rex Ryan and his defensive staff chose to flip Hughes to the left side.

“It quite honestly started with Mario (Williams),” said Ryan. “Looking at Mario I thought we had a mismatch sliding him inside against that guard (Billy Turner) and they knew it too because (Mike) Pouncey is a great center and they had to slide him over to help double Mario, but the time they didn’t Mario was getting great penetration and he caused a lot of problems.

“I don’t know if he had any sacks, but he caused a lot of disruption. But Jerry I liked the matchup with Jerry on that kid. I also wanted to get IK (Enemkpali) going a little bit. Put him over there on (Branden) Albert. Albert is a good player, but I thought IK could be physical with him and I thought IK did a nice job.”

Hughes had two sacks in the game and a pair of quarterback hits.


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Suh holds Bills D-line in high regard

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2015 – 10:08 am

Miami’s biggest offseason acquisition both physically and financially was Pro Bowl DT Ndamukong Suh. After a slow start Suh has begun to hit his stride, and though he’s focused on his own job each and every week, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice the talents of players on opposing defensive lines. That’s why he holds Buffalo’s defensive front in high regard.

“I respect every last one of those guys,” said Suh of Buffalo’s defensive line. “I know Mario (Williams) personally, I know Kyle (Williams), I’ve had some good interactions with him, young guy is ninety nine (DT Marcell Dareus) is playing at a high level well deserved contract, (DE) Jerry Hughes I know personally, all great guys, all high level defensive linemen and I have a lot of respect for them.”

Suh had four tackles including two for loss in Miami’s first meeting with Buffalo in Week 3.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brown on where Bills ‘D’ is different

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2015 – 11:39 am

Most Bills fans who have watched the games at Ralph Wilson Stadium can see it for themselves. For fans who watch the team mainly on TV it might not be so readily apparent. LB Preston Brown took the time to explain how Buffalo’s defensive front is playing things differently than they did last season.

“I mean, they see it on film where we’re not always rushing our four like we always used to, a lot of guys are dropping nowadays, so it’s different now,” Brown said. “They have more time when they see certain blitzes coming, they know they have a little more time with somebody dropping out, so they’re doing their due diligence and making plays.”

This was Brown’s explanation for why the pass rush doesn’t appear to be as fierce as it was last season through the first six games. DE Jerry Hughes would only say that they can only execute the plays that are called.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes two huge plays

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2015 – 9:38 pm

They certainly weren’t the only plays turned in by Jerry Hughes on Sunday, but his two most important came on back-to-back plays in crunch time when the defense needed a stop to try and let their offense kill the clock.

Buffalo had just gone up 14-13 with 5:25 left in the game. The Bills defense thought they had the stop they were looking for when Corey Graham separated Justin Hunter from the football on a pass over the middle. But a flag came in late charging Graham with unnecessary roughness.

Suddenly the Titans were in a 1st-and-10 at their own 33 and just 35 yards from a long field goal to win it. Jerry Hughes took his turn on defense to make things happen.

Marcus Mariota on a read option tried to fool Hughes into thinking he had the ball on a run to the Titans left flank, but Hughes held his ground spotted Bishop Sankey with the ball trying to run toward the line of scrimmage and arrived quickly to wrap him up and drop him with Kyle Williams for a one-yard loss.

On the next play Mariota tried to set up a screen pass to the Titans right side to Dexter McCluster. The flow of the play went completely away from Hughes, but he ran the play down all the way from the back side ultimately taking Sankey down shy of the sideline to keep the clocking ticking.

“You’ve got to go out there and play football,” said Hughes. “There will be days when the offense picks us up and there will be days like this. We just go out there and execute the game plan. It’s a team sport. When it came down to it, our offense did what they needed to do. They outscored them so we walk away with the win.”

Nickell Robey followed up with a third down stop on Delanie Walker and the Titans were punting.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex on discipline for emotional penalties

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2015 – 5:59 pm

The Bills have a total of 14 penalties that fall under the category of personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct, taunting, etc. It represents nearly 30 percent of the penalties assessed against Buffalo this season. For those players that continue to let their emotions get the best of them and draw infractions like this could face team discipline per head coach Rex Ryan.

Ryan was asked if he would consider benching players that can’t keep their emotions in check.

“Yes,” said Ryan. “Now will we bench him permanently and all that stuff. No, sometimes I think it is more appropriate to sit a guy down if the emotions are getting the better of him. You know, but you can’t have, you can’t let a situation and we did earlier in the year with Aaron [Williams], but when you think it is crossing the line or something like that you have got to get a guy back and let him focus on the job at hand. Our job is not to try to correct an issue that we see. We think and fix it ourselves we can’t do it. You have to line up the next play and do your job.”

When asked by the media specifically about Jerry Hughes four personal foul penalties on the season, Ryan acknowledged it has to be rectified.

“That is something that you know can’t happen,” Ryan said. “You can’t let a play for instances, and not just Jerry [Hughes] but anybody. Maybe there is a hypothetical you think you are getting held or tackled or something like that, and they don’t give you a flag. You can’t now step over the line and do something yourself. You know have justice, it doesn’t work in this league. You know vigilante, we don’t need that. And Jerry is a great football player, but if there is a negative about Jerry we have to get that curtailed. He doesn’t need to get a personal foul player, he is too good a player.”

 

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Posted in Inside the Bills