Inside The Bills

Taylor: “I want to be the long term guy”

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 1:17 pm

His comment came as no surprise, but in an interview at the Pro Bowl with Around the NFL Wednesday night, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor said he’d love to be the long term answer for Buffalo at the most important position.

Of course I want to be the long-term guy,” Taylor said. “I love playing for the organization, I love playing for the coaches, I love being around the guys. Like I said, I want to be the long-term guy for them. Ultimately that’s up to them. I know I’m under contract for another year, but right now I’m out here just taking it all in.”

Taylor will be participating in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, as he’ll be replacing Cam Newton, who advanced with the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50.

Bills GM Doug Whaley said on the John Murphy Show this week that he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing Taylor to a long-term contract extension before next season.

“Since we’ve got him under contract, he’s on the list, but a little way down because we want to get the guys who are unrestricted done first,” said Whaley when asked if getting a long term deal done with Taylor is on their priority list. “But it’s one of those things where I will say that if we come up with a deal that works for both parties we wouldn’t be opposed to doing it.”

Taylor has one year remaining on his current contract with Buffalo.


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Whaley: Aaron, Graham to return as safety combo

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 12:50 pm

The Bills finished the 2015 season not completely certain that Aaron Williams would be able to continue his playing career after he suffered a neck injury that cost him most of the 2015 season. But Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show confirmed that Williams is good to go for the 2016 season.

“We’re leaning on the medical staff and we were assured by them that if we were in the playoff hunt (this past season) that Aaron would’ve been cleared to play,” said Whaley. “Medically he’s cleared and ready to go. Again those neck things are always tricky and we’d have to see once he gets out there and starts playing how he’s feeling. We do need some depth there, but I think this year another year of Corey Graham playing back there moving from corner to safety now he’s opening his eyes up to see the whole field so another year of learning that will help us too.”


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Henderson illness leaves RT spot in flux

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 11:50 am

The Bills drafted a pair of offensive tackles in the 2014 NFL draft hoping to address a shortage of talent at the position. The last two seasons Seantrel Henderson had manned the starting role at right tackle for Buffalo. Diagnosed with an undisclosed medical condition midway through the 2015 season, it’s unclear whether Henderson can effectively continue as Buffalo’s starter moving forward. It’s put Buffalo’s front office in the position of being proactive in case Henderson can’t manage his illness and be readily available each and every Sunday.

The Bills have Cyrus Kouandjio on the roster and Jordan Mills, who stepped in for Henderson for the last five games at right tackle, is a restricted free agent. Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show, outlined their approach to the team’s right tackle position.

“We’ll have Jordan Mills who is a restricted free agent, and so we can tender him and have him,” said Whaley. “Between him and Kouandjio you’ll have two guys battling there. Then hopefully we’ll see what happens with the medical issue for Henderson, but we’re crossing our fingers and hoping he can come back to full strength and then we’ll have three and have some depth if he comes back.”

It’s also possible that the Bills draft an offensive tackle to further fortify the team’s depth in the event that Henderson can’t overcome his medical condition.


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Incognito’s goal: Come back & play in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 10:41 am

Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito has already been deemed a top offseason priority by GM Doug Whaley as they try to get him re-signed knowing he’s a key member of their offensive line. Set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, Incognito reiterated his desire to re-sign with the Bills.

Appearing on the John Murphy Show Wednesday night, Incognito talked about why it’s important for him to continue his career in Buffalo.

“I’m anxious. I’m anxious to see what happens,” said Incognito of his contract negotiations. “My goal is to come back and play in Buffalo. I love it there. I love my teammates and I love playing for coach Rex and Greg Roman. I really think that my personality and my hard work approach and physical nature really resembles the spirit of Buffalo. A blue collar town and a bunch of hard working people up there, and they just want to win. That’s my number one goal is just to win and restore the glory of Buffalo. I hope it all works out and I hope I’m back there real soon.”

The top 10 guard contracts in the NFL average about $7M per season. Where Incognito fits on the guard pay scale at age 32 remains to be seen.


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If No. 2 WR can’t be added, Bills to go with mix

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2016 – 9:04 am

For the Bills adding a true number two wideout opposite Sammy Watkins that has size and commands attention from opposing defenses would be ideal, but in a draft year where talent at receiver is good, but size isn’t the Bills may have to choose a different approach in addressing that role.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, who will appear on the John Murphy Show tonight from Mobile, commented on how they would fill the No. 2 WR role if a single player can’t be acquired to step into it.

“We’d love to (have a bona fide No. 2 receiver), but we think with the mix of guys we have we can generate a number two receiver, between (Marquise) Goodwin, (Robert) Woods, (Greg) Salas who we signed. Leonard Hankerson if we can get him back and then Greg Little that we signed. So we’ve got a mix of guys who might not be a bona fide number two, but we can use those guys in different roles and have a complementary number two just by mixing some guys in.”

Buffalo also signed Jarrett Boykin this month to try to improve the size at the position.


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Senior Bowl rosters released

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2016 – 1:08 pm

The Reese’s Senior Bowl will begin practices next week and Buffalobills.com will be there to cover the goings on as the pre-draft season gets underway in Mobile. Officials released the North and South rosters Thursday.

Among the more notable names participating in Senior Bowl week and the game on Saturday are North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz and Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott. On defense some of the big names include Alabama LB Reggie Ragland, Ohio State LB Josh Perry and Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins.

The John Murphy Show will also be broadcasting live from the Senior Bowl next week.

Here’s a look at the North and South team rosters.

North Team roster

South Team roster


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Boykin: Taylor would look for me in crunch time

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2016 – 12:26 pm

One of Buffalo’s newest wide receivers is Jarrett Boykin, who signed a reserve/future free agent this past week. He appeared on the John Murphy Show and talked about what he hopes to accomplish through the course of the 2016 offseason in the hopes of making the 53-man roster. He also spoke about his familiarity with Tyrod Taylor, who was a college teammate at Virginia Tech.

Boykin said that he and Taylor had a great on field chemistry at Tech, especially when the game is on the line.

“My and Ty were on the same page. He would look for me in crunch time situations,” said Boykin. “We just knew what we had to do. We all wanted to win as a team down there. Tyrod knows what he wants and will work as hard as he needs to in order to get what he wants. He deserves everything that’s coming to him now.

“I’m proud of the things he’s done up there in Buffalo. He proved a lot of things up there and that he’s a really good quarterback.”

Boykin, who was at One Bills Drive late in the regular season for a workout, caught up with Taylor, who watched the workout. He and Taylor intend to get some time together on the field this offseason.

“I talked to him when I went up for my workout and again when I signed and he congratulated me,” said Boykin. “And we haven’t been able to get together in the offseason, but we’ll definitely do that now.”


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Roman: phone quiet for HC interviews

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2016 – 2:08 pm

Last year Greg Roman got a bunch of calls from teams interested in him as a head coaching candidate including Buffalo before he ultimately accepted the offensive coordinator post under Rex Ryan. This offseason despite doing some pretty impressive work with Buffalo’s offense with a first-year starter at quarterback Roman says his phone hasn’t been ringing to this point.

“It’s been pretty quiet actually,” said Roman in an appearance this week on the John Murphy Show. “I’ve had a lot of interest the last five years, but it’s been pretty quiet on that front. I really haven’t been paying too much attention to it. But it hasn’t been a lot this year, which is somewhat strange. But that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s one of those things you can’t control. But look at Bruce Arians and how long it took for him to get a shot, and look at what he’s doing. It just happens that way sometimes, but I have supreme confidence in what we’re doing here in Buffalo.”

Heading into the weekend there were seven head coaching openings in the NFL.


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Incognito familiar with Miami coach Campbell

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2015 – 12:30 pm

His familiarity with Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell is obvious. Richie Incognito spent the better part of four seasons in Miami. But Campbell worked with Incognito and his offensive linemates on a daily basis, so Buffalo’s starting left guard knows what makes Campbell tick. It’s also why he’s not surprised that Campbell has the Dolphins re-energized.

As a coaching intern with the Dolphins in 2010, Campbell spent a good deal of time with the offensive linemen according to Incognito.

“I love Dan (Campbell),” said Incognito in an appearance on the John Murphy show this week. “He started as an offensive line coach. He’s a pro’s pro. He played a long time in the league. He played 11 years. He’s a genuine hard working guy. He’s a guy’s guy. A guy you can go grab a beer with. He has an infectious energy where guys love playing for him. I spoke to Dan himself to congratulate him on the job.”

Incognito said that the Dolphins haven’t changed anything schematically at all, but he sees a much more motivated Miami club.

“You’ve seen that they’ve had three games with their new head coach and came out on fire,”  Incognito said. “That defense has new life, so I’m expecting a different Dolphins team. We’ve got to come out firing on all cylinders and play a complete game to build some momentum for the back half of the season.”


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3 way battle not awkward for the QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2015 – 9:03 am

Matt Cassel has had his share of quarterback competitions, but he’s never been part of a three-man competition for the starting job. That being said the 10-year veteran doesn’t believe there has or will be an awkwardness between the three candidates in the running to be Buffalo’s starting QB.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show Thursday evening, Cassel explained why the atmosphere between himself and Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel has been very professional.

“It can be as weird as you want to make it,” Cassel said. “We’ve got a great room. EJ, Tyrod, Matt Simms, they’re great people outside of football, so that carries over into the room so we don’t have that combativeness or someone going against a guy. We have all stand up guys that speaks well for our room and leads to an easy transition to the field.”


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Cassel: 2 simultaneous team periods good for QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 10:58 pm

Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will be conducting dual team segments on two different fields during practice at training camp this summer. The plan is designed to maximize the reps of the three quarterbacks involved in the competition for the starting job. As far as Matt Cassel is concerned he feels the benefits far outweigh any negatives.

“It went really well (in the spring),” Cassel said in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “It also allows you to get a lot of different reps with a lot of different receivers. The rotation through receivers and quarterbacks was constantly moving, but it allowed you to get in the huddle and call the play and go through your progression instead of just sitting there and taking mental reps if you had just one unit going at a time. I think it was a big learning curve for all of us and all the guys bought in and now it’s time to build on what we started this offseason.”


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Bills teammates & fans supporting Goodwin

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2015 – 11:28 am

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin isn’t far from where his pro football home participating in the Pan Am Games in the long jump in Toronto this week. He’s in tonight’s finals for the long jump (6 pm), and is very appreciative of the support he’s received from his Bills teammates and from Bills fans on site in Toronto.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Goodwin talked about how all the support has pumped him up for the competition.

“I actually saw some Bills fans in the stands which really excited me after I jumped,” said Goodwin. “I was getting ready to leave the track and I looked in the corner by the long jump pits and they were like, ‘Hey Marquise! Go Bills!’ It was so cool.”

Goodwin said he’s received support from several of his current and former Bills teammates as well, who have been sending him tweets constantly. “A lot of my teammates are contacting me telling me they’re watching and cheering for me,” Goodwin said. “A lot of them are tweeting. They’ve just been really supportive of me. It’s a great group of guys. That shows how great the camaraderie is on our team. For it to be a whole different sport and have them watch and cheer is just a blessing.”


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Goodwin enters long jump finals confident

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2015 – 11:00 am

He needed only one attempt to qualify for the finals in the long jump at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Now he awaits the opportunity to medal tonight at 6 pm. While waiting Marquise Goodwin took time to appear on the John Murphy Show to talk about his resurgent track career.

Goodwin, who tweeted that he’d need only one attempt in qualifying to get through to the finals proved true to his word with a jump of 26 feet and change (8.05 meters).

“I was pretty certain and confident in my ability,” Goodwin told the John Murphy Show. “I don’t walk into any competition thinking I’m anything less than the next man. So my confidence was high and kind of expected to do well. I put in a lot of work toward it and I was motivated and ready for the competition.”

The finals for the long jump are Wednesday night at 8 pm and are expected to air on ESPN2.


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TE Mulligan doesn’t mind journeyman label

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2015 – 9:59 am

Bills newest TE Matthew Mulligan, who signed Thursday, has been with seven different NFL clubs in seven NFL seasons (practice squad year in Miami). He was with three teams last year alone, as he spent time with Arizona, Chicago and Tennessee. But if you ask Mulligan if he’s bothered by that he’s not. He doesn’t mind being called a journeyman.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show Thursday night, Mulligan explained why he’s got no problem with a resume that has a lot of NFL clubs on it.

“It is a lot (of teams), but I’m thankful for it,” he said. “I think if it was only my second year you might think what’s going on, but in order to be a journeyman and be in your eighth year like me you have to actually have some quality play. I’m thankful for every spot I’ve been in. It’s molded and shaped me and I’m thankful to be here now.”

Mulligan believes a lot of of NFL teams in the early stages of the offseason look for tight ends that offer more “flash and dash” and can score points by making plays. Then as training camp draws closer they realize they need more of a blue collar mentality at tight end.

“Once teams gets to offseason practices or training camps teams seem to realize that they need somebody who can set the edge,” said Mulligan. “That’s what I’ve hung my hat on my entire career. Just being able to fight with those outside linebackers and those big defensive ends and I’ve been able to hold my own and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

Mulligan, who spent his first three seasons in the league on the field under Rex Ryan, explained what it is about his personal game that he thinks appeals to Ryan.

“I think Rex Ryan just wants a guy who can get his hands dirty and be physical,” Mulligan said. “That’s one of Rex’s mantras. You better be physical and bring your lunch pail every day. The physicality of my game is one of the things that stood out for him.”

 


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Lawson on 10 years in NFL

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2015 – 9:10 am

Manny Lawson is about to begin his 10th NFL season and third with the Bills this fall. In an era where the average NFL career lasts just over three years, Lawson is the exception to the rule. Here is just one of his mantras for getting to 10 years in the league.

“Take one year at a time,” said Lawson in a recent appearance on the John Murphy Show. “Don’t look too far ahead. Just take the initiative now and whatever choices and opportunities that you have right now you have to go with that. If you don’t take care of the year you’re in right now there is no next year. So you have to take care of the year you’re in right now.”

Lawson also sticks to a rigorous offseason program to stay fit all year round, which he attributes to his ability to stay healthy. The strong side linebacker has missed just three games in the last seven seasons.

Each of the last two offseasons Lawson has elected not to attend most of the voluntary offseason practices, but this spring he was at both the voluntary veteran minicamp in April and the first week of OTAs. He explained why he chose to attend those voluntary sessions this year.

“One, just to size up the new personnel and coaching staff,” Lawson said. “You want to get an understanding of what they expect out of you and what you can do for them. I want my teammates to know that even though I wasn’t here for a lot of the voluntary workouts I’m still here and still in shape and still know what my job is supposed to be. You can count on me. That’s what I wanted to also show the coaches. Just to get us off on the right foot moving into the season.”


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Bills don’t re-stack board between days 1 & 2

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 12:45 am

With the advent of round one of the NFL draft standing on its own on day one of the three-day saga, it leaves NFL GMs and their personnel departments time to mull over what has come off the board and what’s left to grab at the start of round two. Some might think if certain prospects came off the board sooner than a team anticipated that they might feel compelled to re-rank their board in preparation for day two. Buffalo doesn’t subscribe to that line of thinking.

Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show explained that once the board is finalized that’s it. The reason Whaley and his staff are confident that their board holds up no matter what happens is because of the way they stack it to begin with.

“For us, we’ve done this the last two years, we stack the players as if we had the first pick all the way down to our second-round pick (50th overall). So we’ll stack one through 50. So after round one we won’t re-calculate the board (Thursday night). We’ve already got them stacked. So we’ll keep peeling them off.

“We’ve done the work already, so names will go and when we pick at 50 we might say, ‘Well we’ve got our guy still up there at 50, but our guy at 35 is also still on the board, let’s pick him.’”


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Does the draft board see changes this late?

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2015 – 10:03 am

Buffalo’s draft board is essentially finalized after the last pre-draft meetings over the past week. This late in the game many wonder if there are late risers or draft fallers on NFL draft boards in the final meetings to set the board for good. Bills GM Doug Whaley says there are a percentage of prospects that are moved.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show last week, Whaley admitted that in their final draft board meetings they do tweak some things and some late incoming information can impact a player’s rank on their board.

“You’ll tinker here and there. We have 200 to 250 guys on the board,” Whaley said. “By the time we hear from the coaches and listen to their final reports and hear the final medical reports there will be about 35 to 40 guys who may move.

“Are there drastic movements? Only physical or character things that may move a guy really far down, but mostly with the playing aspect they may move a round or two up. But it’s tinkering.”


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Whaley on why moving back in draft makes sense

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 12:45 pm

Each year every draft is different in terms of the caliber of players it contains. Bills GM Doug Whaley stated at Monday’s pre-draft press conference that they’re more likely to trade back than trade up if such an opportunity arose during the draft. Yes, part of the reason is because they’ve got limited ammunition to swing a deal with just six draft choices. But there’s another factor.

In this year’s draft pool, there’s a healthy consensus among league personnel executives that the difference in the caliber of the prospects from 25 to 75 is not significant. So an opportunity to move back is something that NFL clubs, including the Bills, would be open to discussing in that range.

“I will feel more sure about that after we finish setting our board this week,” said Whaley on the John Murphy Show this week. “But in a preliminary look at it we would have no adverse effect in the caliber of player we get if we move down some. Then we can pick up picks for later on this year or possibly next year.”


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EJ Manuel on John Murphy Show tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 4:20 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel has been working an awful lot on his throwing mechanics this offseason with former NFL QB Steve DeBerg. And he’ll be talking about it tonight on the John Murphy Show at 7:30 pm.

Murph told the John Murphy Show some of the drills he went through with DeBerg this offseason to sharpen his throwing motion and make it consistent.

“Some of the drills we worked instead of looking at the receiver you almost look at the defensive back instead,” Manuel said. “You start to throw away from the D-B. You know the receiver and the timing so you’re not throwing to the receiver, you’re throwing to where he’s supposed to be. One of the main drills we worked was throwing away from the defender and that helps avoid turnovers, interceptions and tipped balls.

“We had some live defenders out there during workouts, but we mainly had targets set up and Steve would have me read off of him and tell him to hit a target.”

Manuel also talked about how he and DeBerg would watch film of some of the top QBs in the league and simply watch their throwing motion.

“To my knowledge throwing motion is just like a jump shot. It almost becomes muscle memory and you have to rep it and rep it and rep it,” said Manuel. “We repped it so much to get it to muscle memory so when I get into the game a pass rush won’t compromise it. I’m not thinking twice about it. I’m just throwing the ball. That’s the good part about it.”

For those who can’t listen to the John Murphy Show the EJ Manuel interview can be found here at about 8 pm Tuesday evening.

 


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Roman has worked with TE Gray before

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2015 – 2:00 pm

Bills TE Marqueis Gray is an athletic player who could offer some versatility at the position, which is music to the ears of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. But when the players report next week, Gray won’t be meeting Roman for the first time.

Gray was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013 and went into camp where Roman was the offensive coordinator. In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, Gray explained how he was used in San Francisco in Roman’s offense.

“I was kind of that hybrid fullback and tight end like they had used Delanie Walker the year before,” said Gray. “I was that type of guy.”

Having played quarterback and wide receiver in college at Minnesota, the duties of the hybrid role were largely foreign to Gray who admitted he struggled most in the blocking department.

“They knew it was my first year playing tight end and they knew it would be difficult, especially with blocking because I was lacking in the strength department having been a quarterback my whole life. Coming into the NFL and blocking the best players in the world is not easy when you’re learning on the fly. But as far as running and catching the ball that was pretty natural for me in terms of what I can do.”

Gray didn’t make the 49ers roster that summer, but was picked up by the Browns and spent the 2013 season there where he was used as an H-back and emergency QB. After not making the squad the following summer in training camp Gray was claimed off waivers by the Vikings and released just after midseason when they had to make room on the roster at RB for Ben Tate.

That’s when Buffalo picked him up off waivers last November. Now with a couple of seasons of NFL training Gray has filled out and added lean muscle mass to his frame. That’s what he was focused on again this offseason.

“Every offseason I’m trying to bulk up and get some strength in my upper body because it’s key with blocking and having a strong lower base,” Gray told the John Murphy Show. “I just want to get my strength up with these other guy so I don’t get thrown around like a rag doll.”

Gray’s skill set caters well to what Roman wants out of his tight ends. Now two years removed from his first go-round with Greg Roman, Gray could prove to be a valuable complement to the roster behind Charles Clay if he can convince Roman he’s improved a good deal from his time with him in San Francisco as a rookie.

 


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