Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 11-21

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2014 – 9:01 pm

Despite some crazy logistics this week, here’s Fan Friday with questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Over the past couple of years here are moves that GM Doug Whaley really “hit on”;

(1) Trading ILB Kelvin Sheppard for DE Jerry Hughes = A+

(2) Drafting LB Kiko Alonso = A+

(3) Drafting WR Sammy Watkins = A+,  price was pretty steep, but gives the Bills a legit #1 WR in awhile

(4) Drafting LB Preston Brown + A,  this guy has been a very nice surprise on the defensive side of the ball

(5) Signing QB Kyle Orton = A+  ( I was writing to you back in July for the Bills to sign Orton, glad Coach Marrone finally switched Kyle Orton to #1 QB.  I thought he should have a week sooner, if the Bills had, Bills beat Texans in Houston)

(6) Signing of free agent kicker Dan Carpenter, he’s been clutch when kicks are needed the most.

Question:  Since the Bills do not have a #1 draft pick in 2015 and RB Spiller is not going to command a large contract to resign, can’t GM Doug Whaley take that $$$ and Resign DE Jerry Hughes and extend DT Marcel Dareus long-term ?

Bills really need to try and keep their defensive line together, they are the strength of the team.  I think it was a mistake years ago when the Bills let Pat Williams and Ted Washington depart.

Randy

South FL
CB: I had a blog post on this very subject earlier this week when GM Doug Whaley addressed the future of both Hughes and Dareus this week on Bills flagship station WGR this week. Here’s what Whaley said about Hughes and Dareus.

“Those guys are great players. We would love to have them, and those are the things we’ll discuss at the end of the season, which we do every year,” Whaley said. “We don’t negotiate in the media, but they’ve brought tremendous production to our defensive line and helped to make our defense one of the best in the league and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep them.”

I believe the Bills know the defensive line is the linchpin of their defense and with the unit much improved against the run this season they’ll make a strong effort to keep Hughes in the fold even though three of their highest paid players are their other three starting defensive linemen.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

Big Buffalo Bills fan here in Northern Ireland.  Great job you and John Murphy do in covering the bills.

Couple of questions, how is EJ getting on and what do you think the future is at the qb position the bills this season and beyond this season?

Many thanks
Paddy

CB: Thanks for the compliments. EJ is doing well. Head coach Doug Marrone last week acknowledged that he is making progress with his personal game. We covered some of what he’s been working on since assuming the backup role.

As for the future at the position there are some moving parts there. Orton has a player option for next year in his deal with Buffalo. Manuel is obviously still under contract.

It’s my belief that the last six games will have a lot to do with the direction the team takes at that position. I realize that a good number of outside observers are of the opinion that EJ Manuel’s career is over with Buffalo. I don’t share that opinion.

He still has yet to have a full regular season worth of starts in his time with the Bills (14 starts) and it’s my contention that kicking dirt on him is premature regardless of what his statistics say.

 

3 – Hello Chris,
Thanks for all of the info and insight every week. I am a long time follower but this is my first time writing in. My question is in regards to Mike Williams and all of the Fan unrest in his lack of playing time. I too feel that he has been grossly underutilized. I think a good solution would be to give him reps at tight end in a two tight end formation. We have all witnessed his toughness and willingness to “bang heads” not to mention some good down field blocking.

This could create some real matchup nightmares with the opposition. It would force the defense to cover with a safety because a linebacker couldn’t cover him and it would open up Sammy and company as well. Do you think it could work or is he too”small” for TE? And has anyone at OBD tinkered with this? I would think they would want their big play makers on the field as much as possible. Just a thought. Thanks again!

Greg T.

CB: I believe there is merit to those fans who contend that Mike Williams is talented enough to help this offense, especially in the red zone where the team has struggled of late. Williams was targeted once in the Miami game in the red zone, but the pass was broken up.

Even if they favor receivers like Chris Hogan over Williams between the 20s to get them down the field, and Hogan performed well against Miami, you can certainly make the argument that Williams can help this team score touchdowns in the red zone. Eighteen of his 23 touchdowns scored with Tampa Bay early in his career were within 20 yards.

Hopefully what we saw in terms of his use against Miami only increases down the stretch. Making him a detached tight end is something I don’t think I’d anticipate.

 

4 – Chris,

Can you tell us why the Bills have covered some mid-field, low level seats at RWS?

Thanks for your insights,

Mike Riggie

CB: The reason the first few rows have been tarped is because from a seated position it’s impossible for fans to see over the players and coaches gathered on the sidelines and see the action on the field. As a result those fans in the past would stand, and that would force the fans behind them to stand creating a chain reaction. All the fans behind them would have to continually stand up to see the action every time the fans in the first few rows did so.

The solution was to cover those seats and not sell them to fans to eliminate the problem.

 

5 – Hey Chris ,

Just a quick hit . Seeing as the NFL is said to be a copycat league & the regime before this one at Buffalo & others in the NFL have some success with a 5 wide set how come this OC NEVER uses it ? Especially with the talent at the WR position …

Thanks Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: One of the most popular formations in the league right now is 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR). One of the reasons is it’s one of the more unpredictable formations pre-snap. You can run or pass out of this formation in a variety of ways and a lot of offensive coordinators like that, which is why it’s so prevalent.

It’s Buffalo’s most popular formation this season as well. Five wide basically says we’re throwing, unless you’ve got Michael Vick at QB and you’re running out of a spread set.

The most popular formation under the head coach that preceded Doug Marrone was four wide with one back.

Believe it or not the five wide look isn’t as popular as you might think. Four wide is more popular. What’s interesting is there were a couple of plays last week against the Dolphins where the Bills went five wide. I doubt it will increase in frequency in Buffalo’s offense, but we’ll see.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills GM on future of Dareus, Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Bills DE Jerry Hughes is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, while Marcell Dareus still has another year left on his contract, after the team picked up his fifth-year option. Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked if contract negotiations have been opened with Hughes.

Whaley as a matter of personal policy prefers not to have ongoing contract negotiations with players so as not to present a distraction. Buffalo’s GM addressed both Hughes and Dareus.

“Those guys are great players. We would love to have them, and those are the things we’ll discuss at the end of the season, which we do every year,” he said. “We don’t negotiate in the media, but they’ve brought tremendous production to our defensive line and helped to make our defense one of the best in the league and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep them.”

As for Dareus Whaley said it’s been good to see Dareus mature through the course of the year.

“We look at it this way. There’s a maturation process for a lot of players,” said Whaley. “He’s got a difficult situation with his support staff. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do this year. It’s a situation we’ll go over and review and set a plan going forward once the season is over with.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-14

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 11:58 am

Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Question on the Bills offensive philosophy.  When Marrone and Hackett were first hired by the Bills, there was a lot of talk from them about the up tempo style of offense they ran at Syracuse and has become so common place in college football and with some NFL teams.  They seemed to be big believers in running a LOT of offensive plays, limiting the defensive adjustments that could be made by calling the plays at the line, and dictating to the defense through their pace and related “matchup” problems the lack of substitutions could create for a defense–not to mention the notion of tiring out a defensive pass rush by forcing D-linemen to stay on the field for an entire series.

They started with that philosophy last year, but after EJ got hurt, they seemed to reduce the use of the up tempo offense citing the inexperience of the backup QBs.  In the preseason, we saw a little more of the up tempo pace, albeit with very very limited success due to EJ’s continued struggles with execution.  And so once again, they seemed to deviate from that philosophy.

But now with an experienced QB in Kyle Orton, execution and understanding of the playbook doesn’t appear to be as much of an issue.  Yet we haven’t seen much use of that up tempo style except in two minute situations–which Orton seems to have done quite well with, as evidenced by the Detroit game, the Vikings game, and even the 4th quarter of the Patriots game when they were behind two scores but still in striking distance midway through the quarter.

Have Marrone and Hackett simply abandoned the up tempo “philosophy”?  If so, why?  The QB doesn’t seem to be an issue.  Granted, the O-line is a bit on the young side in certain positions.  But perhaps an up tempo pace would help the O-line out if the defensive line can’t rotate fresh legs all the time.  Or might we see a return to the up tempo pace on a regular basis (instead of just two minute situations) at some point in the near future?

Thanks,
Jeffrey S.

CB: I think what needs to be remembered here is the collection of youth on offense. At the receiver position and now with two new additions in the offensive backfield in Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon. I think that is what has the offensive staff convinced that a more methodical approach leads to better overall execution. There is little value in upping the tempo if your players can’t execute consistently because that puts your defense back on the field all the faster.

Now while your point about how Orton has run the offense in two-minute situations is well taken, you need to remember that defenses typically play differently in those situations as well. Just like offenses tend to pass more at those times in the game, defenses tend to play more conservatively, giving up yards in exchange for time on the clock.

So the success you often see in two minute situations aren’t as likely during other parts of the game. It’s clear the coaching staff believes that moving at a steady pace with a huddle is the best practice. So I don’t anticipate it changing any time soon.

 

2 – Hello Chris
I have a couple questions. When will the coaching staff see that the QB play is not the problem? EJ could throw a pick a game and not fumble. Plus he had the strength in the pocket plus agility to avoid half the sacks Orton has had. It is play calling I feel. We run such a melo offense. Out of 73 starts for Orton he has 8 comebacks EJ had I believe 4 in just 14 starts. We should have let him continue to develop. Orton has continually been trying to make up for his mistakes. (Pick six in Detroit. That game should have never been that close)
Secondly do they hope CJ may come back with the IR they placed him on? Thanks again for all your coverage of the best team in sports.

Jedediah
Palm Coast, FL

CB: I think Buffalo’s coaching staff would disagree with you. As coach Marrone said when he made the quarterback change, he needed more production from the position. EJ’s completion percentage had dropped below 60 percent and was missing open receivers. They were simply leaving too many yards on the field. For an offense that was starved for points it was a conscious decision by Marrone.

You can make an argument that they should’ve left EJ in to keep developing, but the pressure to reach the postseason trumped Manuel’s on field development.

As for C.J. Spiller we’ll have to see where he’s at when we reach Week 16, the first week he’ll be eligible to return off of I-R. It’s too early to tell where he’ll be in his healing at that point.

 

3 -  @ChrisBrownBills
Will we be able to afford to keep Hughes and Dareus with both their contracts up in the next 2 years?

connordomiano

CB: It’s my understanding that the Bills would like to re-sign Jerry Hughes and that’s job number one on the defensive side of the ball. Picking up Dareus’ option buys them time to address his contract. The catch here is the top three salaries on the team right now are Dareus, Kyle Williams and Mario Williams. Investing another big contract in the defensive line could be argued as an imbalanced approach to the salary cap putting a large percentage of it in just one position group.

At the same time it’s hard to argue with a unit that has largely carried the defense the last season plus which leads the league in sacks and is a top 10 run defense.

The Bills will need to be creative, and I am far from a cap expert, but with the salary cap continually going up in this era of NFL prosperity there is probably a way to make it all work.

 

4 -  @ChrisBrownBills

What are the Bills future plans with the HB position? Any chance they can make a run at Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson?

killerbeekevin

CB: I think we first need to take a look at who will still be under contract next season. Fred Jackson signed a one-year extension this past summer. Brown and Dixon will still be under contract for 2015. So the only free agent is C.J. Spiller and it’s my understanding that the Bills would like to keep their former first-round pick in the fold. And Spiller has said more than once that he would like to remain with the Bills.

Whether the two sides can agree on terms is the obvious question. If for some reason they cannot only then do I see them exploring other possible options.

You’re also assuming that Peterson and Ingram will make it to the free agent market. I think it’s unlikely to happen with Ingram with the production he’s put up when healthy this season. Peterson’s off the field matters may change the conversation in Minnesota, but he’s still a dynamic player and the linchpin of the Vikings offense.

 

5 – Hi Chris;

I appreciate all the updates you and John do all week long to keep us up to date on all things Bills-related.

Can you update us on the  Mike Williams situation? I know the furor over his agent’s supposed request for a trade was negated by Mike, who says he wants to play  here. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about him. Is he still on the ’benched’ list? Will he return? He seems to have vanished into thin air and no one seems to talk about him! Thanks for your feedback.

Darlene  in PA

CB: Coach Marrone has been pressed on this subject with the most recent flurry of questions coming this week. With the offense last in the league in red zone touchdown percentage and the acquisition of Mike Williams executed to help the offense in that area specifically, he was asked why Williams has been inactive in two of the last four games.

Coach Marrone cited a number of different reasons including the challenge of only dressing 46 players on game day and the needs of special teams and versatile players. He also flatly stated that right now a couple of other players are performing better than him.

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett also hinted at how Williams and Kyle Orton are still working on their on field chemistry where Orton can trust Williams on any given play to be in the right place at the right time. These appear to be the biggest hurdles in Williams getting on the field.

He was active Thursday night and got four snaps on offense and six on special teams. He was targeted once in the red zone.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not giving in despite .500 mark

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 1:43 am

The two losses in the span of five days have dropped the Bills to a .500 record on the season at 5-5, and though they put themselves in a deep hole concerning the AFC playoff race no one in Buffalo’s locker room Thursday night was giving up on the season. Not by a long shot.

“We’ve worked too hard and prepared too much during each week so I know no one is going to quit,” said Jerry Hughes. “We’re going to fight until there are zeros on the clock. Everybody fought back. We’ve just got to find ways to just nip the little things in the bud.”

When asked if he still believes the Bills are a playoff team, Hughes quickly answered in the affirmative.

“Absolutely. We have a lot of fight in us. We’re very resilient. We just have to find a way to minimize the little things. It’s the little things that I think are just getting us right now,” said Hughes.

The defensive end didn’t deny that the loss was a costly one, but with six more games to make something happen, Hughes said the key is to not let one game’s outcome affect another.

“Sure it hurts,” he said of the loss to Miami. “It’s a division opponent and that’s our main goal. It definitely hurts and it stings, but we’ve got to bounce back and can’t let it affect the rest of the season.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not going to dwell with Miami up next

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 5:48 pm

The Bills are undoubtedly stinging from their loss to Kansas City at home Sunday, but they’ve already decided to move on to Miami knowing they’ll be lining up against them in four days time.

“It’s definitely tough, we lost the football game and no one probably woke up today expecting to lose, we’re definitely upset about that,” said Jerry Hughes, who had a pair of sacks Sunday and two other quarterback hits. “We’ve got a Thursday game, we’ve got a division game so we’ve got a chance to finish 3-1 (in this quarter of the season) and sweep Miami. That’s our focus right now is to just find a way to get ready for that game, it’s going to come up quick we’ve got to be prepared.”

“Each game is very important no doubt about it and this game coming up Thursday night is going to be very important for us,” said Kyle Orton. “It’s probably good that we turn around right away and not think about this one. Move on to Miami and have a good three days to get ready for them and travel down and try to beat a good football team.”

The Dolphins also lost on Sunday to fall to 5-4 as well, so the team that finishes on the short end of Thursday night’s game could very quickly be on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jerry Hughes’ BOSE playlist

Posted by buffalobills.com on November 8, 2014 – 10:04 am

jerryhughes_bose_proof4

This year BOSE, the Official Sound of the Bills, is going to bring insider access to fans by showing fans what songs Bills players listen to on game day.  For 12 weeks during the 2014 season, a different Bills player will be featured in the Player Playlist, presented by BOSE.  For week #10, it’s Bills DE Jerry Hughes.  Check out the songs Jerry will be listening to on Sunday to get him pumped up before he takes on the Chiefs.


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Posted in Corporate, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Bills ‘D’ wanted game for Schwartz

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:18 pm

All week Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz downplayed the importance of his return to Detroit where he was the head coach of the Lions for five seasons. After the victory Sunday, in which Schwartz’s defense held the Lions scoreless in the second half, and gave up just seven points in the game, his players made it clear that this game meant an awful lot to their defensive play caller.

“This game really meant a lot to him especially when we lost to them during preseason,” said Marcell Dareus. “You could see the disappointment on his face. In the meetings last night he told us he still has family here. His son is still here. He would love for his son to go to school and be happy and not let people mess with him. So it really meant more to him than just a game. So I took it and we all took it to ourselves that we were going to go out here and do the best we can for Schwartz and the team and we pulled it out.”

After the game the defensive players carried Schwartz on their shoulders across the field. DE Jerry Hughes understood why winning meant what it did to Schwartz.

“Absolutely, any time you get a chance to come back to where you started from, and we wanted to show that we were the better team,” said Hughes. “By us going out there and getting a win, it was huge.  But any time you get a win in the NFL , they’re so hard to come by, so we’re just very thankful for that.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus gets sack in scoring change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2014 – 11:35 am

Some may have been scratching their head at last Sunday’s game when Marcell Dareus appeared to take down Philip Rivers on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter for a sack, when it was ruled a rush for two yards. A few days later the league has corrected the play awarding a sack to Dareus on the play for a one-yard loss.

Dareus corralled Rivers at the Bills’ 47 not the Bills’ 44-yard line as it was initially recorded. Nigel Bradham and Jerry Hughes were most responsible for flushing Rivers from the pocket on the play. Rivers tried to step up, but Dareus saw the San Diego QB trying to escape took off in pursuit grabbing him from behind for the takedown.

With 13:36 remaining in fourth quarter the league also ruled that the full sack on EJ Manuel credited to Chargers DL Corey Liuget should be split with LB Reggie Walker.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills choosing to have tunnel vision

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2014 – 12:00 pm

We’ve seen 2-0 starts from the Bills before and the end results did not have the team in the playoffs. Most of Buffalo’s locker room is aware of the history, but this year’s group believes their commitment level is superior to those teams of the past. As DE Jerry Hughes sees it the team is taking a tunnel vision approach.

“We take that very serious. Two wins doesn’t mean very much,” Hughes said. “We know that it’s a long NFL season. A lot can happen so we’re just taking it one game at a time, one week at a time. We don’t think about last week and we don’t think about the future. This week it’s San Diego and that’s all that’s on our mind.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-15

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2014 – 5:07 pm

Ok fans an important week for the Bills is in the books. The passing game really took a step forward this week in Latrobe. Let’s hope it carries into the game Saturday night against the Steelers. In the meantime let’s get to your latest round of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills

1 – Hi Chris,

Long time reader of your articles – including your Fan Friday.

I’ve noticed EJ and Woods are playing with visors in camp. Is this new and can we expect them to wear them in the regular season? To me, it makes a lot of sense for EJ – as it shadows the ability for the defence to see where he’s going to throw too or what he’s looking at. Is that the intention here? What scope do you have on this? Overall, I think they look fierce. But I highly doubt that’s the reasoning behind wearing them…

Thanks,
Mike Barwick

CB: Yes, they and a handful of other players wear visors. Some are shaded and some are clear. The shaded ones are designed to act like sunglasses in most cases. For receivers that’s important when they’re looking up for a ball, not unlike an outfielder in baseball. It helps keep them from losing a ball in the sun. Whether EJ’s primary purpose is the same I don’t know, but I’ll ask him. The other reason for the visors is to keep from getting poked in the eye, which is something that could happen to Manuel if a pass rusher is reaching out to block a pass, misses and connects with the helmet.
2 – Hey Chris,

I am very excited for the 2014 season, looking at the roster it seems a lot of the decisions made on the draft and free agency the last three years we’re really good ones. The depth is so good this year I haven’t heard too much about Ron Brooks.  I really like watching Ron Brooks I know he has had some injuries but where do you think he stands with the team? Do you think we will see him playing corner this season or just as a special teams player? Always appreciate your time.

Alexander Albanese
Toronto

CB: Brooks has had a pretty solid camp. He’s been afforded the opportunity of getting a ton of reps due to the limited participation of starting corners Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore who are both coming off offseason surgeries. He’s been running opposite Corey Graham in training camp at cornerback with the first team defense.

Brooks has performed well, but at times still has trouble with the bigger wideouts due mainly to his stature. He’s got great catch up speed and is sudden in his breaks on the ball. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz likes him so I anticipate him being one of the top five corners on the roster. How many they keep is the bigger question.
3 – Chris,

I couldn’t help notice the pass rush has been extremely productive in the spring and training camp. My question is do you feel that’s due to the talent of the DE’s or is it a product of inconsistency on the offensive line with Glenn being out and other shuffling that’s been going on. Appreciate the training camp coverage and can’t wait for the season. Also one more thing, is there a schedule that lists which practices are full contact?

Dan T.
Western MA

CB: It’s a bit of both. Jerry Hughes might be the most impressive of the front four when it comes to pass rush consistency. Of course that’s been helped by the fact that rookie Seantrel Henderson has been manning the starting left tackle role in Cordy Glenn’s absence. But make no mistake that group is pretty special.

Unfortunately no we don’t have a schedule for the public that lists full pads, shells or shorts and helmets. Typically once the preseason games start however, full pads practices are earlier in the week.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

Jerry Hughes had a tremendous season last year rushing the passer and it’s clear that Doug Whaley pioneered an amazing trade to get him when the Indianapolis Colts were looking to go in a different direction. And if Training Camp is any indication, it sounds like we can expect a similar season this year. Through listening to a lot of people on the radio and around town locally, it seems that Jerry Hughes will not be able to be re-signed if he has another great year– almost as if it’s a foregone conclusion that they cannot keep a stout DE since he’ll be too pricey.

In my opinion, if you run a base 4-3, having a Mario Williams AND Jerry Hughes-caliber player would be extremely important (SEE Freeney and Mathis, Strahan and Umenyiora). I think they should find a way to pay him if he’s anything like last year’s player. An annoying thing of being a Bills fan is seeing the Bills actually draft great talent, develop it, and watch it walk away. And in this case, the Bills didn’t even have to draft him to get it. What are your thoughts?

Also, have you tried a garbage plate since being in Rochester? It probably goes outside the exercise regimen, but you gotta treat yourself to the finer local delicacies.

-Nate in Rochester
PS- Go Bills!
CB: In a perfect world yes they would be able to keep Jerry Hughes long term, but it’s a question of balance. Obviously the Bills would love to keep Hughes, but you have to look at the money invested on the rest of the defensive line.

The three highest cap figures on the entire team are the other three defensive linemen that Hughes lines up with. Mario Williams ($18.8M), Marcell Dareus ($6.49M) and Kyle Williams ($6.25M).

In 2015 those cap numbers go to $19M (Mario), $8.06M (Dareus) and $5.85M (Kyle). That’s a total of $32M for three members of the defensive line. If Hughes has another 10-sack season or more he’s likely to be asking for top 15 perhaps top 10 defensive end money.

Top 15 would put him somewhere between $6.5-$8M per season while top 10 would have him north of $8.5M per season.

I’m not saying the Bills won’t try to do it. It’s not my decision as to how the Bills choose to spend their money. I just know that investing that much of your cap dollars in one facet of your team is not a common practice.

All that being said there have been reports citing sources close to the process of setting the salary cap for the NFL that the cap, which went up a surprising $10M this past year to $133M could move as high as $145M in 2015. Would that extra cap space be enough to make the fourth major investment in the team’s defensive line? I’m not sure it is.

With respect to your garbage plate suggestion, I’m familiar with it having gone to college at SUNY Geneseo. In fact I won a bet by eating two in one sitting. Almost didn’t hold them down, but got through it.
5 – Do you see a scenario where Spiller is traded this year?  I’ve heard rumors, and with the Jackson extension, Brown trade, Dixon signing, and no first round pick it seems like an possible and unfortunate rumor…am I crazy for thinking this or can they keep all four running backs?

Sean from So Cal
P.S. See you in Chicago week 1!

CB: I’m sure you saw GM Doug Whaley dispel those rumors this week. First, Whaley said that he has not been contacted by any team expressing interest in C.J. Spiller. He later followed that up with Channel 7’s Jeff Russo in an interview later in the week where he said he has not reached out to any other team himself about C.J. Spiller.

As Whaley said himself he understands with all the talent in the Bills backfield why people are trying to connect the dots. I just think with the team in ‘win now’ mode it would be highly unlikely that they would trade one of their best playmaking assets on offense in Spiller.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes expecting offensive retribution

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 10:31 pm

He was part of what looked like an ambush of a pass rush in Saturday night’s practice for Buffalo’s defense. Jerry Hughes was in the thick of a series that featured more than half a dozen sacks over 17 plays from scrimmage. But the veteran is very leery of the offense coming back Sunday and tearing things up.

“We’re giving our offense plenty of looks,” Hughes told Buffalobills.com. “Once they see the film and make their corrections they’re going to be coming after us and we’ll have to step it up.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-6

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2014 – 12:02 pm

Two weeks of OTAs are in the books with a week to go beginning this coming Monday. 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 – Chris,

I liked what Bills did in rounds 1,2,3 however they did not address DE. Manny Lawson has never played end and Wynn is a bubble player at most. Hughes is more of a situational pass rusher. I’m a bit concerned what they are doing. Since they won’t blitz as much the DE’s are more important under Schwartz. This puts more pressure on young DB’s as well. What do you think the future is at DE for 2014?

CB: I don’t know that you can assume that this defense under Schwartz won’t blitz as much. From what I’ve witnessed in OTAs with the blitz packages going in there are an array of packages that Schwartz has in his playbook. How often he uses them remains to be seen.

Lawson and Hughes will likely split the right defensive end role with Lawson in on more obvious run downs and Hughes on passing downs.

What you might need to consider is how often Schwartz’s defenses in the past have put an opponent in a situation where blitzing is not necessary.

Knowing that Schwartz’s Detroit defense last season finished first in the league in third down conversion percentage allowed (30.3%) and were second in the league in red zone defense (Bills were 14th and 6th) I’m going to give Buffalo’s defensive coordinator the benefit of the doubt that he’ll know when to blitz and how often to do so.


2 –
Hi Chris
I’m a long time Clemson fan and enjoyed watching C.J. Spiller returning kicks. He is one of the best I have ever seen at it and I billeve he could challenge Devin Hesters records. With the need at special teams, Do you think the Bills should try C.J. returning kickoffs? He does hold the FBS record for kickoff return touchdowns with 7.

Thanks, Chris Gerland

CB: It’s funny that you bring this up. As I wrote in our OTA practice notes column earlier this week C.J. Spiller was one of the kick returners in practice along with T.J. Graham and Leodis McKelvin. Spiller hasn’t returned a kick for the Bills since 2011, but it looks as though he’s at least being considered for the 2014 season. That being said I wouldn’t get excited about this possibly happening until we see it in a preseason game.


3 –
Hi Chris,

With the new additions at cornerback, and a new defensive coordinator, it almost seems like Nickell Robey has been getting lost in the mix, after a productive rookie campaign.

I’ve been wondering, has their been any talk about trying him out at safety as a possible replacement for Byrd?

Between his solid tackling and his playmaking ability, I think he could transition well into the role, which would also serve to reduce his height concerns. Jim Leonhard has had a decent career at FS for a shorter defensive back.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Thank you,
John
CB: I don’t think you have anything to worry about with Nickell Robey. First, Robey has looked solid in his nickel corner role. Yes, he will have competition, chiefly in the form of Corey Graham, but knowing how much New England goes four wide as well as other opponents on Buffalo’s roster like Denver, Detroit, Kansas City and Green Bay chances are Buffalo will need to make use of both of those slot defenders.

To help you breathe easier about Robey’s role on this team I’ll refer you to a recent quote by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on Robey.

“If you measure heart, if you measure things like that, he’s six-foot ten,” said Schwartz of Robey. “He’s been a guy that’s been impressive and it hasn’t just been from watching practice here.  Watching last year’s tape.  He’s very unique in some of the quickness he has.  He’s got great anticipation, sees the game very well and he’s certainly going to have a role. He’s been one of best players through our OTAs so far.” 


4 –
Hi Chris,

Thank you for all you do. Let me start by saying I’m extremely happy with our draft this year! My question is regarding our depth at the receiver position. I think it may be difficult for a guy like TJ Graham to make it on the field. Another guy I like is Marcus Easley. I know Easley helped out, and excelled on special teams last year. Do you think that they might keep a guy like TJ, and utilize his speed on special teams? If not I’m afraid I don’t think he’ll make the roster. I look forward to hearing your opinion!
Thanks,
Dan Edel
Buffalo native, teaching English in Thailand

CB: I do think T.J. is in for an uphill battle due mainly to the fact that additions like Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams are automatically ahead of him on the depth chart. Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin were draft choices deemed as fits by this coaching staff. Graham was inherited.

Add in the fact that the staff likes Kevin Elliott, who could carve out a role on special teams as well and both Graham and Easley will be battling for one of the final spots on Buffalo’s roster with players like Elliott and Chris Hogan, both of whom have shown well thus far in OTAs.


5 -
Chris;
With the trade of Stevie Johnson to the 49ers do they Bills have any financial obligations remaining from his contract?
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Howard
Rochester Hills, MI

CB: The figure I have is $10.225M in dead money, which the Bills can spread over the next three seasons, which is the length that Johnson’s contract ran.


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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

Hughes rated tops in pass rush productivity

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 10:58 pm

Bills DE Jerry Hughes earned the number one rating from ProFootballFocus for pass rush productivity by a 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013. Now moving to a 4-3 system under new defensive coordinator is likely to present different challenges. In any event here’s a look at the productivity of Hughes and Mario Williams, who finished 10th.

From The Left Side From The Right Side All Positions
# Name Team Pass Rush Snaps % Left Sk Ht Hu Total Pressure PRP Pass Rush Snaps % Right Sk Ht Hu Total Pressure PRP
1  Jerry Hughes BUF 116 28.6 4 2 16 22 15.1 187 46.2 7 7 23 37 15.8
2  Elvis Dumervil BLT 263 69.6 7 9 29 45 13.5 55 14.6 3 2 11 16 23.2
3  Justin Houston KC 295 68.6 9 6 37 52 14.0 36 8.4 1 1 4 6 13.2
3  Tamba Hali KC 73 12.7 5 1 6 12 14.0 425 74.2 7 6 51 64 11.7
5  John Abraham ARZ 165 30.7 5 3 13 21 10.3 305 56.7 7 5 34 46 11.9
6  Brian Orakpo WAS 12 2.6 1 0 0 1 8.3 349 75.1 10 11 29 50 11.5
7  Robert Mathis IND 189 38.3 5 3 18 26 11.0 263 53.2 13 2 21 36 11.5
8  Jason Worilds PIT 254 55.5 4 20 13 37 11.3 105 22.9 3 1 7 11 8.6
9  Junior Galette NO 98 19.7 1 4 8 13 10.2 359 72.2 11 8 26 45 10.2
10  Mario Williams BUF 340 60.5 10 3 29 42 10.0 199 35.4 4 4 17 25 9.9

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes makes USA Today All-Joe team

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2014 – 11:26 am

It’s not the Pro Bowl or All-Pro, but Bills pass rusher Jerry Hughes did get some measure of national recognition Friday for his 10-sack season in 2013.

Hughes was listed as a member of USA Today’s Larry Weisman’s All-Joe team. For those not familiar with the All-Joe team here’s a brief description.

All-Joe team was created in 1992 by longtime NFL writer Larry Weisman as a tribute to Joe Phillips, a 14-year defensive lineman who did yeoman’s work for the Kansas City Chiefs that season. Phillips’ effort in the trenches didn’t lead to much glory … unless you point to the 29 combined sacks of Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith, Kansas City’s fifth-ranked defense or the team’s wild-card run. USA TODAY Sports has honored the unsung Joes ever since and compiles them in a 53-man roster that has at least one representative from every NFL team. Only players who have never been named to the Pro Bowl are eligible.

Weisman wrote the following on Hughes.

Jerry Hughes (Bills): A former first rounder cast off by the Colts, Hughes emerged as quite the sub package QB hunter (he only started once in 2013) in Buffalo with 10 sacks. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle among most productive interior rushers

Posted by Chris Brown on January 17, 2014 – 8:57 am

Bills Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams set a career high in 2013 with 10.5 sacks. He also had 17 QB hits and 39 QB hurries in earning his third career Pro Bowl nod according to Pro Football Focus. PFF also had him as the highest rated defensive player on Buffalo’s roster for the 2013 campaign. So it’s not surprising to see that when it came to pass rush productivity among interior defenders, Williams ranked in the top five in the NFL.

PFF recently put together their pass rush productivity for their edge rushers and Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes topped the list. Now they’ve done the same with interior defenders and Williams ranks fifth in the league. Here’s a look at the chart put together by the stat crunchers at PFF.

For those who don’t know, Vinny Curry is a situational pass rusher for the Eagles. Just about everyone else on this list is a regular starter, though I question the Saints Cameron Jordan being on here knowing he rushed from an outside position a good deal of the time this past season.

#

Name

Team

Pass Rush Snaps

Total Pressure

PRP

1

J.J. Watt

HST

518

85

12.8

2

Vinny Curry

PHI

217

32

11.6

3

Cameron Jordan

NO

525

76

11.5

4

Gerald McCoy

TB

561

80

11.1

5

Kyle D. Williams

BUF

533

69

10.3

6

Ndamukong Suh

DET

543

72

10.2

7

Brandon Mebane

SEA

240

32

10

8

Justin Smith

SF

462

56

9.5

9

Geno Atkins

CIN

290

34

9.3

9

Malik Jackson

DEN

364

43

9.3

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes’ big year left him far from satisfied

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2014 – 9:45 am

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today, the addition of Jerry Hughes via trade proved to be one of the best moves not only for Buffalo, but perhaps in the entire NFL in 2013. And though Hughes was very happy to be able to contribute to the Bills’ defensive success in a way he had not been able to at the NFL level before, he was still far from satisfied.

That’s because Hughes wanted his productivity to result in more victories than losses.

“It was fun,” said Hughes of the season he had. “But it’s tough to say (I proved the Bills right) because it was just six wins and we were not getting ready for another game (at the end of the regular season). I think for the most part we’re all judged on wins and losses. Individual performances are good to look at in the offseason, but I definitely want to win football games. That’s what we’re here for. The individual stats are cool, but the ‘W’ at the end of the day that’s all that matters.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes tops pass rush productivity list

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2014 – 8:30 am

He wasn’t a full time starter on defense, but when it came to pass rush effectiveness per snap played, there was no one better in 2013 than Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes.

That according to Pro Football Focus, which had Hughes as their top rated player for pass rush productivity in 2013. As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today, the Bills acquisition of Hughes may be one of the more significant trades of the 2013 league year.

Here’s their chart for the top rated players in that category.

Rank

Name

Team

Pass Rush Snaps

Total Pressure

PRP

1

Jerry Hughes

BUF

305

59

15.4

2

Robert Quinn

SL

477

91

15.3

3

Aldon Smith

SF

289

55

15.1

3

Elvis Dumervil

BLT

319

61

15.1

3

Justin Houston

KC

332

59

14.1

6

Cameron Wake

MIA

397

71

14.0

7

Michael Bennett

SEA

379

65

13.5

8

Von Miller

DEN

234

38

12.8

9

Tamba Hali

KC

500

77

12.2

10

Greg Hardy

CAR

536

82

12.1


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills surprised Fins didn’t run more

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 5:56 pm

Facing the number one sack team in the league on the road, and having given up a league-leading 51 sacks on the season, Buffalo figured that Miami would make a concerted effort to run the ball. They didn’t, which surprised a lot of Buffalo’s defenders.

“We really thought they were going to come in here and run the ball, given the elements and everything like that,” said Jerry Hughes, who had one of the Bills’ seven sacks of Ryan Tannehill Sunday. “We really thought they’d try to test our run game early. They kind of did, but we kind of shut it down. The rush is kind of what they tried to do and we kind of stopped them.”

If the Dolphins tried to run the ball they didn’t try very long. Granted their lack of success may have been a deterrent, but it was a 10-point game until the fourth quarter.

Miami had nine carries for just nine yards in the first half. They ran it just three more times in the second half for just five more yards for a total of 14 in the game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes in top 10 territory

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2013 – 1:10 pm

It’s been a productive season for Jerry Hughes in his first year with the Bills, and ProFootballFocus is taking notice. The stat crunchers and film reviewers of every play of every game, have Hughes ranked in their top 10 at the 3-4 OLB position.

Hughes is rated tied for seventh overall among 3-4 OLBs this season. As you’ll see in the PFF chart below, only five of the players listed above him have a higher combination number of sacks, QB hits and QB hurries than Hughes (48). His pass rush rating of 13.9 is also only bested by three other players in the top 10 as well (Houston, Dumervil, Mathis).

Mario Williams and Manny Lawson rank 13th and 22nd overall on this chart.

 

Ratings

Coverage

#

Name

Team

Snaps

Overall

Rush

Cov.

Run

Pen.

# of Pen

QB Sk

QB Ht

QB Hu

BP

Tks

Ass

MT

St

1  Justin   Houston KC 724 31.8 17.9 3.7 7.6 2.6 0-0 11 8 42 4 32 2 12 38
2  Elvis   Dumervil BLT 479 23.6 23.9 1.2 4.7 -6.2 8-2 10 9 34 1 13 6 0 19
3  Brian   Orakpo WAS 735 23.1 9.3 2.6 9.5 1.7 1-0 9 11 26 2 30 11 5 30
4  Trent   Cole PHI 764 21.2 10.9 -1.9 9.6 2.6 0-0 6 10 26 2 33 4 4 33
5  Tamba   Hali KC 830 21.1 12.6 2.7 4.8 1.0 2-0 12 7 52 0 20 8 7 25
6  Robert   Mathis IND 719 20.3 14.9 -0.3 4.2 1.5 2-0 15 3 33 2 26 2 6 33
7  Aldon   Smith SF 407 13.9 9.8 -0.2 5.7 -1.4 3-0 7 5 22 0 16 2 2 19
7  Jerry   Hughes BUF 529 13.9 13.6 -1.5 4.9 -3.1 6-2 9 5 34 1 22 1 4 19
9  Terrell   Suggs BLT 764 13.8 1.8 0.4 10.9 0.7 3-1 9 13 32 0 48 7 4 46
10  Junior   Galette NO 689 12.8 11.0 0.1 1.7 0.0 3-1 9 11 30 0 23 7 3 26

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Posted in Inside the Bills