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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-7

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2016 – 11:33 am

The first of three west coast trips for the Bills this season for Sunday’s game at L.A. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Does Justin Hunter have a chance to play? He is big and fast

Vince Tracy@theturk47

CB: I expect Hunter to be active on game day Sunday. You’re right he is tall and fast. Having only practiced with the team for four days, and only being exposed to the playbook for about a week, I would anticipate just a package of plays for Hunter against the Rams. Perhaps just the red zone if they get down there or some other situational parts of the game. A full workload I think is a little ambitious with as new as he is to the club.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills How are the Bills able to bring Lawson & Sammy back from IR? I thought u could only bring 1 from preseason IR.

Chet Spoonley@chetehc

CB: Lawson was on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, which carries a completely different set of rules for returning to the active roster. Beginning in Week 7 the Bills have a three week window in which they can take a player on PUP and let him begin practicing. The first day he practices starts the 21-day window in which the team must decide whether to add him to the active roster or leave him on said reserve list for the remainder of the season.

Watkins being on injured reserve can be chosen as a player to re-activate to the 53-man roster after he’s been on I-R for eight weeks. I’m not overly optimistic that will happen, but we’ll see where things stand in about a month.
3 – Chris,

It seems to me that we’ve heard almost nothing about John Miller this off-season. Normally this is a good thing for offensive linemen. Your opinion please.

William S.

CB: Miller has fared well for the most part this season. His teammates acknowledge he is making progress and improving his consistency. He’s got a supreme test this week in Aaron Donald, who will line up opposite both him and Richie Incognito at times. Low to the ground and quick, Donald can wreck a game. A matchup worth watching this week.

 

4 – Chris,

My question is about Jonathan Williams. He really impressed me in the preseason, reminds me a little bit of Fred Jackson. When do you expect him to make a push for some carries? I really think he would make a great compliment to Shady now. To me, if Reggie Bush isn’t returning punts or kickoffs we don’t have much of a use for him.

Joe Roberts

Orlando, Fl

CB: Jonathan Williams did have an encouraging preseason. Had great contact balance and usually falls forward. Underrated as a pass catcher. This season, much like it is for Cardale Jones, might be like a redshirt year. He’s got guys ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s got to master all the responsibilities of being a running back, including blitz pickup more than anything.

Coaches have to know they can trust him and he’s got to show he can do more and offer more than the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.

 

5 – Hi, Chris —

Two years ago as a rookie Cyril Richardson (because of other circumstances) got some starts at guard and did some decent, if not memorable, work.  Last year his performance fell off noticeably and he didn’t play much.  This year he couldn’t even make the team.

Any insights into this decline?  Was he not an NFL-level talent to begin with?

Thanks,
Jim D.

CB: Cyril Richardson was drafted when Doug Marrone was head coach of the team and they wanted to employ a smash mouth drive defensive linemen off the ball type run game. Cyril Richardson is a player capable of doing that. But when the scheme changed with the new staff, Richardson was no longer a fit.

This is a run game that features pulling guards to kick out and lead block and get to the second level. Richardson never had the feet to execute that. He was no longer a fit for the type of offense the Bills run.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-22

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 11:39 am

Only a week until training camp opens Bills fans. We’ll be covering it all for you here on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If the Bush ship sails, any chance that Rex gives Ray Rice his last chance?

@GraysonTumult

CB: I really can’t see that happening. With such a greater focus on domestic violence in the NFL these days, which includes a league wide ad campaign to raise awareness on the subject, I can’t see Buffalo taking that kind of step.

Last year’s training camp should serve as a perfect example on the likelihood of that happening. All five running backs on Buffalo’s training camp roster were all injured at the same time last summer and Ray Rice was not brought in. I don’t see that changing if Reggie Bush elects to sign and play elsewhere.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think the Bills pass on signing Gilmore if Kevon Seymour has a great preseason?

@ZWinterberg

CB: While I think your question is a valid one, I believe the likelihood of signing Gilmore to a long term extension has more to do with the market value of top flight cornerbacks than it does with how well Kevon Seymour comes along in the preseason.

I think they’d like to return Gilmore to the fold long term, but the state of the cornerback market might not allow it.

As I’ve stated more than once on this very page, the Josh Norman deal completely turned the market value at cornerback on its ear. Getting $15M per season from Washington after his franchise tag was rescinded by Carolina threw the cornerback market completely out of whack.

If a zone corner can get $15M/yr. then upcoming free agents like Stephon Gilmore who play almost exclusively man-to-man will likely see getting that much or probably more as fair market value. I’m confident the Bills are not going to enter the $15M/yr. territory.

Could I see the Bills going $12.5M/yr. like the Giants free agent deal for Janoris Jenkins this spring?

Yes.

Would that be enough for Gilmore?

I think it would need to have a lot more guaranteed money than Jenkins’ $28.8M has in his contract for it to happen.

The Norman deal unfortunately could push negotiations between the Bills and Gilmore into an area where Buffalo could potentially be fiscally irresponsible as it pertains to the rest of their roster. And the Bills probably won’t, and should not, do that.

I think if Seymour performs well in the preseason it only helps the Bills front office breathe a bit easier should they reach an impasse with the Gilmore camp on a new contract. At least then they would feel like they have a promising prospect in the pipeline to eventually replace Gilmore in 2017 if all hope is lost on a Gilmore extension.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With suspensions and off field stuff at RB, do you anticipate McCoy being very limited through camp and preseason?

@rockydm92

CB: I think the plan all along was to limit LeSean McCoy’s workload through training camp and the preseason. It has less to do with the recent suspension of Karlos Williams and DUI arrest of Jonathan Williams, and more to do with what happened last summer at training camp.

After sustaining his hamstring injury, McCoy was not the same player for the 2015 season. He was still very good, but not the game breaking talent that has made him one of the most dynamic backs in the league.

The Bills want to ensure they have the game breaking McCoy in their offensive backfield come September, so the plan all along was to pace McCoy. Give him enough work where he’s ready for the regular season, but not so much that he runs the risk of injury or going into the season hobbled.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills would Donald Trump still be able to run for president if he succeeded in purchasing the team?

@JLasher10

CB: Based on what I’ve been able to uncover with respect to executive branch government employees and conflicts of interest, there are ethics rules that require them to divest themselves of stock or property only if they are appointed to their positions (e.g. Secretary of the Treasury). Trump however, would be holding an elected position so those rules would not apply to him.

So not having an expert background by any means on government employee bylaws it appears he can continue as CEO and President of his Trump organization while also serving as President of the United States were he elected.

So if his business holdings included ownership of an NFL team that would appear to be permissible as well.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

How was John Miller looking through OTAs?

@JustinWestfall

CB: Keeping in mind that Miller as an offensive lineman is not playing real football in the spring practices as it pertains to his playing duties (full contact blocking) it’s hard to provide you with a true picture of how he performed on the field. That being said I can tell you that Miller has benefitted from an offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning program as opposed to prepping for the NFL Combine and pre-draft workouts.

I just think he’s the kind of player that will make quality advances in his game as a second-year player based on the 12 games of experience he got last year. Keep in mind also that he played most of last season injured with a high-ankle sprain. Now that he’s healthy it’ll be interesting to see how he can perform when he’s 100 percent.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McCoy, Miller, Woods not able to finish Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2015 – 7:08 am

There were a few injuries sustained on Sunday that added injury to insult with three pretty important offensive pieces unable to finish the game over the weekend. Head coach Rex Ryan didn’t have an official diagnosis or prognosis on LeSean McCoy, John Miller or Robert Woods, but all three left the game early.

“LeSean went out with a knee,” said Ryan. “Robert Woods never finished the game with the knee injury. The ankle, it’s the same ankle for John Miller. Then Randell Johnson went out with a leg injury and none of those players returned. I don’t know the severity of any of these injuries.”

Miller had been dealing with a high ankle sprain and missed two games prior to returning against the Eagles in Week 14. It’s not unreasonable to think with two games to play that he might not return before the end of the season. All three will be re-evaluated Monday and Rex Ryan should provide an update at his afternoon press conference at 1 pm.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: Miller a go for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2015 – 1:16 pm

Buffalo RG John Miller is just two weeks removed from suffering a high ankle sprain, and he’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. But Bills head coach Rex Ryan said he expects the rookie will start on Sunday at Philadelphia.

“I think he’s way ahead of schedule and I expect him to play,” said Ryan. “He will play.”

Miller said earlier in the week it was his full intention to be ready to go come Sunday. He was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable, but he obviously convinced the coaching staff that his ankle is stable and allowing him to be mobile enough to execute in Buffalo’s offense.

If he can’t make it through the whole game, veteran Kraig Urbik will step in for him at right guard.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron Williams practices, Miller limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2015 – 4:47 pm

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The Bills had a surprise participant at practice Thursday in S Aaron Williams, who had neck surgery just before midseason. Williams, who is still on short term injured reserve, was eligible to begin practicing with the team again as early as last week. He didn’t begin working in practice however, until today. He was a limited participant. Head coach Rex Ryan made it clear that Williams won’t be added to the active roster anytime soon.

“It was great to get Aaron Williams back on the field,” said Ryan. “Obviously we know he can’t play this week or probably next week. But it’s good just to get him out there. He brings a lot of enthusiasm out on the practice field, but he’s not ready to play. But he can practice and that’s a good thing.”

Good news for Buffalo’s offensive line. On Wednesday we told you that it is John Miller’s intent to start on Sunday at his right guard position after missing the last two games with a high ankle sprain. He was limited in practice Wednesday and again on Thursday, but  Ryan admitted that Miller is ahead of schedule and has a chance to play in Philadelphia this weekend.

DID NOT PRACTICE
Stephon Gilmore – shoulder
Nigel Bradham – ankle
Ron Brooks – neck/concussion
Karlos Williams – shoulder

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
John Miller – ankle
Aaron Williams – neck
Chris Hogan – knee
Charles Clay – knee

FULL PARTICIPATION
Mario Williams – hand
Seantrel Henderson – post-illness

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

G John Miller hoping to return Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2015 – 3:31 pm

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He’s missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain, but rookie G John Miller was out on the practice field Wednesday. He was listed as a limited participant, but it’s his plan to return to the lineup on Sunday in Philadelphia.

“That’s the plan going into it,” said Miller of possibly playing Sunday. “I’m feeling pretty good. Just staying in the treatment room, working out, getting treatment, staying after to make sure I keep my mobility and flexibility on it. I’m feeling pretty good now.”

Seantrel Henderson returned to practice from illness and looks likely to return to the starting lineup. If Miller comes along Buffalo’s starting five could be back together on Sunday.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Stephon Gilmore CB Shoulder DNP
Nigel Bradham LB Ankle DNP
Tony Steward LB Back DNP
Karlos Williams RB Shoulder DNP
Ron Brooks CB Concussion DNP
Kraig Urbik C/G Groin LP
Chris Hogan WR Knee LP
Charles Clay TE Knee LP
John Miller G Ankle LP
Seantrel Henderson T Illness FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-9

Posted by Chris Brown on October 9, 2015 – 6:45 pm

The Bills have another bounce back game on the road just like two weeks ago in Miami. Here’s hoping it’s a repeat performance. Here’s your latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

 

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Is John Miller practicing, playing?

kirchgraber

CB: Miller practiced all week. He was never full go, but head coach Rex Ryan said on Friday he expects Miller to be back in the starting lineup.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills what’s the word on McKelvin?

JamesKnapp21

CB: McKelvin has made some good strides the last couple of weeks. He’s starting to do real football work on the side now with the athletic trainers. He was pulling an athletic trainer while working on his backpedal with straps attached to his body. The athletic trainer was holding the ends of the straps and McKelvin was pulling him down the field.

He’s certainly worked hard to get all the way back and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s practicing again the first week he’s eligible to do so, which is the week leading up to the London game against Jacksonville. Whether he’s activated off the Reserve/NFI list is another story.

3 – Hey Chris,
My question is on Doug Whaley.  How do contracts work for GMs?  Unless Whaley got fired is it his job forever?

I really loved your article about him recently because it shows that he doesn’t want this franchise to be successful for a couple of years he wants to build it into a  franchise that competes year in and year out.  I’ve been listening to him speak about that in the past and I don’t think most fans really pay attention to what he’s been saying.  I really do believe we have a GM  and a front office that can make this franchise respectable again for a long time. So, do you think Doug Whaley is here to stay for a long time?

Thanks as always, Jillian

CB: I think Doug Whaley is fast proving to be an astute GM who knows how to build a roster for the long haul. General manager contracts work a lot like coaching contracts. They’re just not publicized as much. I think provided the talent that he’s assembled can reach its full potential, Whaley should be building rosters here for a long time.

4 – Chris,

You help keep us fans who live far away up to date, so thank you.  My question is about the defense.  What has happened to them?  Rex said he expects them to be #1 with the roster they have.  They stepped up their run defense, but pass has been terrible.  We call the front four the cold front, but I haven’t seen anything from them that I’ve come to expect over the last few years.  We led the lead in sacks the last 2 years and it seems like a rare occurance if we get one now.  Please help me understand what has become of our best asset.

Thanks,

Loyal and true fan in Virginia

CB: First thing to know is the number of sacks a team has doesn’t always indicate a team has a great defense. Perfect example is the 2000 Ravens. They had just 35 sacks, but allowed just 165 points the whole season. That being said, the Bills pass rush has been effectively countered by a quick strike pass game from opponents. Underneath coverage, particularly in the middle of the field has to be better to help the pass rush up front.

That is the only thing that will make opponents pull out of their quick pass game. That or keeping them out of the end zone and putting them behind on the scoreboard. Then the passing game will have to open up and call for longer pass routes to catch up in the game. That leads to the QB holding the ball longer and then the pass rush can have the impact it’s designed to have in this defense.

5 – Chris,

When is Goodwin due back?

Jim M.

CB: Marquise is listed as probable for Sunday’s game, so I think there’s a good chance he’s dressed for Sunday’s game, especially if Sammy Watkins is down.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McCoy, Miller, Watkins all sidelined Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 3:34 pm

UBNS imageBills head coach Rex Ryan said it wasn’t looking promising for three of his offensive starters to be ready to return to the lineup Sunday against the Giants. All three were unable to practice for a second straight day on Thursday.

LeSean McCoy, John Miller and Sammy Watkins all sat out practice putting their availability for Sunday in further doubt. Ryan was asked if he doesn’t think McCoy or Watkins will play.

“We don’t want to say out,” said Ryan. “But yeah, I mean you guys can figure it out. They haven’t practiced the whole week and all that stuff. But there is that chance (they play).”

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday Participation Thursday
LeSean McCoy RB Hamstring DNP DNP
John Miller G Groin DNP DNP
Sammy Watkins WR Calf DNP DNP
Marquise Goodwin WR Ribs LP LP
Dan Carpenter K Left Knee LP LP
Aaron Williams S Neck LP LP
Percy Harvin WR Hip DNP FP
Tyrod Taylor QB Ankle FP FP
Preston Brown LB Hamstring FP FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills rooks anxious, but not nervous

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 10:58 am

Buffalo’s top three rookies have all made an impact at Bills training camp. Top pick Ronald Darby and Karlos Williams have taken advantage of opportunities created due to injury, while John Miller has stepped right into a starting role showing no signs of being a rookie. That exposure to playing time against Buffalo’s starting offense and defense in camp has helped to calm any nerves any of these three rookies might have heading into their first preseason game Friday against Carolina.

“Starting off, I was a little nervous and things like that but coming out here each day and going against the receivers we have and the speed they have, I’m not as nervous at all,” said Darby.

“I’m feeling anxious, man, just to get out there,” said Miller. “My first preseason game, go out there and compete against somebody different, really see where I’m at and kind of gauge myself because I hold myself to higher expectations so it’d be good to get some, go against some other guys and get to hit on them a little bit.”

“The more reps a back can get, especially a young back the better feel you have for the game,” Williams said. “Especially with the backs I’m with here with Shady and Boobie and Bryce and Fred. The experience in the backfield, the locker room and the meeting room is definitely going to help, but the more reps I get against live action the better it’s going to be.”

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rookie G Miller angling for starting role

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 10:46 am

Last week we mentioned how Rex Ryan confirmed that rookie third-round pick John Miller has been seeing work with the first unit during the team’s on field practice sessions without any opposition, which is the rule this time of year for field work. In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan took his outlook for the rookie guard a step further.

When asked if Miller stands a chance of being a starting guard when training camp opens, Ryan confirmed it’s a strong possibility.

“He might be the opening guy there,” said Ryan. “He’s been very impressive. I think right now that’s the most important thing just because we’re not going up against anybody. But this guy has a big, wide, square body and we are hitting bags and his technique is pretty good. He has really been impressive. For a kid you just took out of college, he jumps right in and he doesn’t make mistakes. So I think that’s going to give him an opportunity to showcase what he can do physically and I think he has the right makeup to be an outstanding player.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Henderson: Miller looks the part

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2015 – 2:03 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan volunteered the information earlier this week. During their on the field walk through sessions the offensive staff lined up rookie John Miller at one of the starting guard positions. Though it was far from real football Ryan said Miller didn’t miss anything and look like he belonged. His teammate Seantrel Henderson felt the same way.

“He’s ready,” said Henderson of Miller. “I feel like he’s a little more ready than I was last year and he’s been picking up on things ASAP. I’m excited to see him play.”

Out of Buffalo’s draft class Miller likely has the best chance to compete for a starting role.


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Posted in Inside the Bills