Inside The Bills

Kyle full go with offseason training

Posted by Chris Brown on March 1, 2017 – 3:34 pm

He had a bad case of back spasms that forced him to miss Buffalo’s Week 14 game against the Steelers. His strained back wasn’t right the rest of the season, which lingered into the early stages of the offseason. Now committed to a 12th season with the Bills in 2017, the five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle is healthy and has begun his offseason training.

“I feel good. I finally got over my back strain,” said Williams in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “I’m back working out and running. I have incorporated some new things that I’m doing that I think are going to help my body and get me prepared for the year. I’ve been going the last two or three weeks and I’m going to ramp it up from here.”

Williams finished tied for the team lead in tackles for loss and was third on the team in sacks last season.


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Listenbee’s to-do list

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2017 – 9:44 am

He’s got a long way to go in his current rehab as profiled in our daily Bills Today here on Thursday, but WR Kolby Listenbee is determined to get his career off the ground.

His entire rookie season was wiped out by a double hernia surgery that did not heal as expected requiring a couple of more procedures. Listenbee hopes to be back practicing full go by training camp at the latest, and once he’s back on the field, he’s already got his to-do list.

“I feel like I bring a lot of things to the team,” he said. “I’ve just got to work on small things like route running and confidence. Just knowing the whole entire scheme so I can go out there and make plays. I know Tyrod is here right now so if I can get back on my feet and start catching the ball with him that could build my confidence back up.”


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Bills FA safety hopes he can give fans playoffs

Posted by Chris Brown on February 8, 2017 – 9:58 am

Veteran free agent S James Ihedigbo only played four games and spent a month and a half with the Bills in Buffalo, but he was so taken by the fans and the city, he hopes to re-sign with the club this offseason.

“The one thing I really liked and my wife will say the same, the people in Buffalo. We played for the Jets and were around the people in New York. New Yorkers are New Yorkers, you love them all, but Buffalo the people are so genuinely nice and arms wide open for us and they really accepted us into the community,” he said. “I definitely look forward to that aspect of it.

“Buffalo has the best fans. To even see when we were leaving the stadium on the last day cleaning out our lockers and there are 50 fans standing out by the gate cheering us on, those are the type of fans you want to play for on Sunday. They deserve to see a winning program and a winning team and I look forward to hopefully help give them that.”


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Ihedigbo big on fitness, not letting age define him

Posted by Chris Brown on February 8, 2017 – 8:53 am

Veteran S James Ihedigbo is going to be 34-years old next December, but don’t tell him he’s not an asset for an NFL team in 2017. The free agent to be appeared on the John Murphy Show and Ihedigbo isn’t big on what his age might be.

“People sometimes look and say, ‘Oh he’s 30-plus. He can’t play.’ But this game judges you by your performance and how you do on the field,” Ihedigbo said. “That’s something that time in and time out I’ve been able to play and perform at a high level. Ultimately that’s what matters in this league. Age is just a number. Look at ‘Zo, 33 going on 34 and was at the top of the league in sacks. It’s all about having the opportunity to go out there and showcase your talent and being ready for that opportunity, which I know I will be.”

Ihedigbo had 15 tackles and a pass breakup in four games for the Bills last season. A broken tibia ended his season prematurely in Week 15. Known as a workout warrior and strict with his diet, Ihedigbo credited his strict regimen for keeping him ready to perform when he signed in mid-November last season with the Bills.

 


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McDermott’s interview was almost 7 hours

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2017 – 7:51 am

Interviews for head coaching positions are known to take a good deal of time. Some take four hours, some longer. Some are broken into two parts with a couple of hours each day. Sean McDermott’s with the Bills went almost seven hours straight.

That according to Bills owner Terry Pegula, who GM Doug Whaley had first on the interview list for a reason.

“We sat through his interview and I can’t tell you exactly I am going to guess it was close to seven hours, he never stuttered, he never hesitated,” said Pegula of McDermott in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “When asked a question this wasn’t somebody who was practicing for a job interview, it was someone you could tell was practicing all his life for what he is about to try and do. When he walked out we just sat and stared at each other like, ‘Wow, that was impressive.’

“He just had every answer, plans, he brought a book, this wasn’t a prepared book by agent this had scribbling all over it, stuff crossed out, names written in it, it was about three inches thick, just his notes. He said, ‘This isn’t my only book, but I brought my best book.'”


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Felton: Players were able to focus amid Rex rumors

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

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

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

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

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


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Lawson: Everyone in locker room believes

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2016 – 2:33 pm

Bills fans may not be too high on the team’s prospects for reaching the playoffs. Despite a gut wrenching loss at Oakland last week, the players in Buffalo’s locker room are resolute in their belief that they can make a run at the postseason with four games to play.

OLB Shaq Lawson, in an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, admitted that they got comfortable as a team when they went up 15 against the Raiders.

“We didn’t push it down their throat like we should have,” said Lawson. “We’ve got to learn how to answer when the other team scores.”

Nevertheless Lawson maintains that the locker room is unified in winning this week and every week after that until the end.

“Everybody in that locker room still believes we’ve got a shot,” said Lawson. “We’ve got to win out. So we have to win the next four games starting with Sunday. We’ve got to treat every game like a playoff game. I know a lot of people are counting us out, but we don’t pay that any mind. We know what we’ve got to do.”


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Terry Pegula on running the Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2016 – 5:10 pm

Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula have been at the helm for almost two calendar years, and not a lot is known about how they like to run their professional sports franchises. Terry Pegula shed some light on that subject Wednesday on the John Murphy Show.

After denying the reports from last December that he issues and ultimatum to Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan to reach the playoffs or they were out (he was at his lake house in the Adirondacks at the time the report was made), he was asked on the John Murphy Show how he likes to operate his professional sports teams.

“Anybody who watches the way I work and the way I want the Bills to operate, we get into debates and there might be some stuff thrown around some time, but it’s all to get better,” said Pegula. “It’s not to threaten somebody and say, ‘Hey you’re on the outs.’ It’s all positive arguing, and there’s not much of that because we seem to be on a pretty good path of where we’re going.”

Pegula referenced top to bottom and bottom to top communication within his franchises as essential.

“I like when everyone is aware of what’s going on in the organization,” he said. “Offensive coaches know the defensive coaches, the physical side of it, the doctors, everybody is on the same team. The more we cross pollinate and the more knows what everybody else is doing the better off we’re all going to be because everyone is aware of things they may not be aware of if we had silence.”


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Brandon: Stay on course to advance the team

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 2:35 pm

Bills managing partner and President Russ Brandon was at training camp at St. John Fisher Thursday and made an appearance on the John Murphy Show not long after owner Kim Pegula. Asked about his owner’s thoughts on the importance of continuity when it comes to winning, Brandon shared an identical philosophy.

“I completely agree with her,” Brandon said. “When I first got here in 1997 we were coming off the Super Bowl run and it was Marv’s last year and there was a transition to Wade (Phillips) and we went to the playoffs those first two years, but there was continuity there because Wade was here (as defensive coordinator). The formula for success in my opinion is continuity and staying with a program. You’re going to go through adverse times and ups and downs.”

Brandon referenced the fact that the Bills have had nine head coaches over the last 16 years and offensive and defensive coordinators in the double digits.

“That’s tough to keep a consistent program that way,” said Brandon. “The fact of the matter is that the reality of it is it’s year two of the Pegulas, Rex and Doug and that’s what we focus on.”

As for his expectations, Brandon is hopeful that there will be enough winning to have games on the schedule beyond the regular season finale.

“Kim talked about winning and that’s what your expectation always needs to be,” he said. “A lot of factors go into it and it’s about staying healthy. It’s about competing each and every week. It’s always about ultimately winning a championship, but you have to get through the first step and that’s getting to play games in January and that’s what we all hope for.”


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Kim Pegula: Winning through continuity

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 1:34 pm

Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula have made it plain that they’re committed to the plan put in place by GM Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan to get the team on a path to winning consistently. One of the core principles in achieving that as the Pegulas see it is continuity at the top.

Evidence of that came in a contract extension for Whaley this past offseason as his contract runs the same length as that of Ryan. Kim Pegula reiterated their commitment to establishing continuity for a franchise that hasn’t seen much of it over the last decade and a half.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Pegula was asked if she believes in the importance of continuity as it pertains to winning.

“I really do,” she said. “It is hard to be consistent to build a foundation and a core to set you up for winning if you’re making changes constantly. So I think the continuity that the organization has, I don’t see a negative in that, especially going into season two. A year is not a lot of continuity. I know that there are changes that will happen at the end of the season as they do every year, but having a key, core group that understands and communicates with one another… I really think that plays a part in winning.”

That doesn’t mean that Pegula isn’t expecting success this season. Quite the contrary as the Pegulas are anticipating wins this fall.

“That’s the expectation is winning,” she said. “Looking back on last year there were so many changes in that first year between coaches and new players coming in and even from an ownership standpoint. So I’m expecting this year with another year under our belt and another year of continuity between Rex, some key players and Doug Whaley and ourselves, I’m expecting better communication and we’re expecting wins. Every year going into a season that’s what your expectation should be.”


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Rex expecting consistent execution at camp

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 1:00 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan is already up at St. John Fisher as rookies report today and the balance of the roster in by Friday morning. Appearing on the John Murphy Show in its new time slot (12pm-3pm), Ryan said based on how smooth everything ran in the OTA practices and minicamp he’s expecting very consistent execution in training camp.

“The guys that we had working (in the spring), we went in there with the idea that we’re going to get better,” said Ryan. “Focus more and learn our assignments to the best of our abilities. And we did that. But I couldn’t wait for this time right now getting back with the players. I can’t wait to see how we are and if in fact we’re taking off from where we left off.”

When asked if he thinks that’ll happen, he’s optimistic that the players will be more sound in their assignments than in year one under Ryan when everything was new.

“You go back to square one putting things in, but I think we’re going to have a lot fewer mistakes than we did before,” Ryan said. “We didn’t even have a quarterback at this time last year. We had three guys fighting for that.”

Ryan also addressed his comment at the end of minicamp that got a lot of attention when he said they won the offseason.

“All I meant was that we did so well and the players I was proud of the way they worked and the effort they had,” Ryan said. “I just think we want to show everybody that this is a good football team and we’re working as hard as any team in this league.”

 


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Tasker on his former coach Dennis Green

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2016 – 10:36 am

The football world lost a revered coach in Dennis Green this past week. While most remember Green for his days as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker knew him long before then. He reflected on his time playing under Dennis Green when he was his head coach in college at Northwestern.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Tasker talked about Green as a coach and how he expanded his knowledge of the game, which helped prepare him for a pro playing career.

“He was a really good football coach,” said Tasker of Green. “As an African-American guy getting a Big 10 coaching job it was big at the time, but I never looked at it that way. I knew he was a guy who could carry a room and was a really good football coach. And he went on to bigger and better things with the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. I always thought he’d be a much better pro coach than a college coach after playing for him at Northwestern.”

What Tasker liked most about Green was his straightforward approach and deep understanding of the game.

“He was a passionate coach. He pulled no punches,” Tasker said. “He was very honest with his players. He would rip the whole team if we needed it, but he was really fair. He was down to earth and said things the way they were in a way that players could understand and trust.

“I saw a lot of really good things in him (as a young head coach). He was passionate about football and really loved to win and it rubbed off on all of us. I really learned a lot from him. It was the first time I was in a West Coast offense. He had been the receivers coach in San Francisco with Bill Walsh and I thought this guy really has it for the next level. He was running really sophisticated stuff that I had never seen before.”


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Aaron: I want the respect of my peers

Posted by Chris Brown on July 12, 2016 – 8:36 am

Re-establishing his game after a neck injury allowed him to play in just three games in 2015, Aaron Williams is determined to prove to his teammates that they can count on him. As we covered in our Camp Countdown today Williams still has some hurdles to clear and some adjustments to make to his game coming off the neck injury, but it’s clear he wants to prove he can be relied upon just like he always has.

“I do whatever it takes for my team to win,” Williams said. “I’m giving it everything that I have in each game. I want the respect from my peers and let them know that if it does happen where the last game does happen for me, I want my peers to know that I gave everything I had each and every game. I never took a day off or slacked at any rep, I did it from the bottom of my heart for the love of this game, that I gave everything I have. That’s the respect I just want from my peers and from the fans.”

Williams has stated several times that he won’t know for sure what his future playing career holds until he makes that first hit later this summer, whether it’s in practice or the preseason.

The important thing is Williams has a clean bill of health.

“I passed all of the tests with flying colors. I had to go through the process with doctors and the trainers,” said Williams. “We went through it thoroughly and made sure that before I come back, make sure that everything is suitable for me to at least go out there and cover some guys here and there and that I’m not having trouble turning my neck or any source of that. Everything has been fine. Once again, I’ve been having a lot of fun being out there with my players and with the coaches.”

 

 


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Ragland: Preston Brown is our defensive leader

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2016 – 2:51 pm

On the final day of Bills minicamp, assistant head coach/Defense Rob Ryan heaped praise on mike LB Preston Brown saying he’ll be a star. In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, rookie LB Reggie Ragland, who lines up next to Brown at inside linebacker, called Brown the defensive leader.

“It’s awesome working with Preston,” said Reggie Ragland. “He’s the leader of our defense. Whatever he says goes. I know if I don’t know something I know I can ask him. There were a couple of times in minicamp where I had a blank on a play call coming in from the coach and I’d ask Preston, ‘What do we have on this?’ And he’d tell me right away, ‘We got this.’ He’s helping me out so much.

“As I’ve been out there working with the ones it’s been coming to me a lot faster because of him. He helps me out a lot.”


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Bills rookies not on break yet

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2016 – 10:51 am

While the Bills veteran players have headed for the hills for their six-week break before training camp at St. John Fisher, the rookies haven’t quite finished their work yet.

Rookies have to hang another week at One Bills Drive. Rookie LB Reggie Ragland outlined what the rookies on Buffalo’s roster still have on their to-do list.

“We have to stay another week because the Rookie Symposium is next week,” said Ragland in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “We’re doing that on our own. So next week we’re going to work out a couple of days, then do the Rookie Symposium and then on Friday we start our break.”


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Market provides range for Gilmore contract

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2016 – 2:34 pm

More than enough new deals have been struck at the cornerback position this offseason to establish concrete parameters for a long term contract extension for Bills CB Stephon Gilmore. Of course as everyone knows it takes two to tango.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, CBS Sports salary cap analyst Joel Corry explained why the parameters for a Gilmore deal are already in place from the contracts that have already been consummated for other NFL cornerbacks. Chief among them the deal that Washington put up to land Josh Norman.

“Anytime you get a guy setting a bar at a position it has a trickle down effect,” said Corry. “So it’s going to raise these salaries for those who won’t quite reach that level. So it benefits Gilmore.

“I think where the deal will end up is somewhere between the $14M range where you have Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman and then you have Joe Haden at $13.5M and the Janoris Jenkins at $12.5M, basically $29M guaranteed,” said Corry. “The deal should be in between those two parameters.”

 

 


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Jones: Fundamentals will push me forward

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2016 – 8:40 am

Bills fourth-round pick Cardale Jones is building his game from the ground up to better fit the pro level. Working on his drops, his throwing mechanics and moving defenders with his eyes are just a few of the basics that Jones is working to perfect. Though he’s a rookie he knows it will push his abilities forward.

“I’d like to improve in every aspect of this game,” said Jones in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “The thing I liked about the fundamentals is how every little fundamental is going to help with how fast our guys are on this level especially on the back end and with the guys up front. So if it helps when your footwork is on point and moving your eyes or moving a defender with a twitch it helps you get that edge over a guy it’s important. They’re so fast and I know they’re trying to get an edge over me.”

Jones is also very happy to be working under quarterbacks coach David Lee. Known as one of the better fundamental teachers in the league, Jones has a healthy respect for his position coach.

“My early impressions of coach Lee are if anyone is better than him at coaching the quarterback position there can’t be many,” he said. ”

The time that he puts in and the passion that he has for not just teaching the game, but the passion that he has about football and the way that he loves all three of us in the room. I can’t ask for a better coach at this level.”

 


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Vet Lawson likes rookie Lawson’s approach

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2016 – 1:49 pm

They’ve only been together in position meetings for a couple of weeks, but 11-year vet Manny Lawson got a good first impression from rookie Shaq Lawson.

“I expect big things from him,” said Lawson of Buffalo’s top draft choice in a recent appearance on the John Murphy Show. “I like his mindset, he’s eager to come in and work. Even when we first met he was asking me questions and how I’ve remained in the league so long and things that he can do to better himself. So I expect big things out of him.”

As for what Manny told Shaq in terms of having career longevity in the NFL, the message was simple.

“Do what you’re told and know what your job is,” said Lawson. “Nothing is really given to you in this league. You have to understand that you have to work for everything, otherwise you can be removed rather easily.”

The two players who share the same surname not only play the same position, but both were also first round draft choices.

 


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Rookie RB Williams picked as sleeper

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2016 – 8:40 am

Danny Shimon from the National Football Post made an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week and tabbed Buffalo’s fifth-round pick Jonathan Williams as his sleeper in his AFC East rundown.

“I like a lot about him,” said Shimon. “He’s 5-11 and 220 pounds, quick feet, loose hips, good vision, runs with balance. Can make defenders miss in the hole at the line or in the open field. He’s a tough, competitive runner. The first defender rarely brings him down. He lowers his shoulder to finish his runs. Another thing is in 436 touches he had just six fumbles, so he secures the ball. There’s a lot to like about him.”

I’m going to tell Bills fans now that they shouldn’t be surprised if he gives Karlos Williams a run for his money for the backup job behind LeSean McCoy in training camp and the preseason.


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Lal: Easley ahead of schedule

Posted by Chris Brown on May 26, 2016 – 2:12 pm

There’s no specific timetable for Marcus Easley to return from offseason surgery that he had back in January, but the signs at this point are encouraging.

That according to Bills receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who appeared on the John Murphy Show. Lal knew it was going to be a long rehabilitation for Easley, but is confident he’ll come through the extensive rehab successfully.

“If there’s anyone who can, and it was a devastating injury and he was here all winter,” said Lal of Easley. “I saw the rehab that he went through and you have to admire how hard he worked and the mentality he had because that was tough on him. He’s coming through it all ahead of projections.”

Easley dislocated his kneecap and then shattered his patella in three places in last season’s Week 16 game against Dallas.


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