Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 9-29

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2017 – 12:15 pm

A big test this week in Atlanta. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the secondary hang with Atlanta’s WRs?

Bills Fans Matter
@BillsFansmatt3r

CB: I think the Bills secondary can hold their own, but to think that they’re going to completely shut them down is foolhardy. No NFL secondary has been able to do that. What will go a long way in aiding Buffalo’s defensive backfield is pressure up front.

If Falcons starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder (concussion) can’t go again this week that would make for a good matchup at right tackle. Ty Sambrailo started in his place last week and struggled a great deal.

Of course Shaq Lawson is also a question mark Sunday, but pressure should have some success off Buffalo’s left side if Sambrailo starts.

I think the goal for the secondary is just to keep everything in front of them and make the Falcons earn points by being consistent for 10 to 12 plays. That will give the Bills more opportunities to make a play on a less than perfect offensive call by Matt Ryan.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why have the Bills tried to replace RT Mills? He’s playing bad football right now.

Hook
@Teon_09

CB: I think we’ve come to see that Sean McDermott and his coaching staff are not afraid to make a change if they feel they can upgrade any position and improve overall performance. So your assessment and the assessment of the coaching staff regarding Jordan Mills’ play are obviously not the same.

What we also have to take into consideration here is the fact that the offense is still a work in progress in Tyrod Taylor’s own words. This new scheme has to settle in with every player on offense. Think of it like a bottle of wine. When you open it, you’ve got to let it breathe a little.

This offensive unit has to mold and shape itself to the scheme. Hasty changes like the one you’re suggesting can sometimes do more harm than good. And most new coaching staffs don’t know for sure what they have until they get into mid-October and early November.

So unless a player is really struggling and putting more bad plays than good ones on film, changes this early in the season are rare.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there even a 1% chance we can go into the house, of the best NFC team in the league, and come out with a “W”? #SoYourTellinMeTheresAChance

Dr. Dusty
@Dustypractor

CB: There is certainly a chance. I think as long as the Bills defense can hold them down early it will allow Buffalo’s offense the opportunity to let their run game to gain some traction without the issue of playing catch up on the scoreboard.

I believe there will be some rushing lanes to exploit against this Falcons defense. I’m not so sure Atlanta is as good all-around as they were last year. Their offense is still prolific, but their defense is beat up right now. I’m confident the Bills can keep it close. Cross your fingers.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think we will drop Walt Powell next week or will he be added to the roster? Is he an upgrade at all?

Bills, Mets, & Pens

@billsnmetsfan

CB: You’re right Walt Powell will have completed his four-game league-imposed suspension after this Sunday. It’s hard to predict what will happen. The receiving corps could sustain a season-ending injury in Sunday’s game and suddenly Walt Powell is needed on the active roster.

Beyond that though it’s difficult to know where they feel Powell would sit in the WR pecking order once he’s off suspension. But at best he’s the fourth or fifth receiver.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will he consider changing up the blocking scheme to better fit McCoy’s running style?

Bruce
@bma003

CB: I would not anticipate a change in the blocking scheme anytime soon. LeSean McCoy is one of the five best backs in the league. His ability fits any run scheme you can draw up. In fact McCoy had some of the most productive seasons of his career is the same exact scheme in Philadelphia.

At issue is getting all of the men involved in the blocking scheme to work seamlessly. That hasn’t happened consistently enough to this point. We’re still in the first month of the season. Most teams with new schemes don’t really get humming until mid to late October.

So let’s see where the run game goes between now and then.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex concerned about Glenn’s availability

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2016 – 12:49 pm

Cordy Glenn was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, but could not practice on Thursday due to a nagging back issue. Head coach Rex Ryan is concerned about whether he’ll be available for Saturday’s game against the Dolphins.

“I don’t know,” said Ryan after Thursday’s practice. “We’ll see how he does, but that was not a good sign today.”

Glenn missed a pair of starts earlier this season after he aggravated a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss time in training camp. Cyrus Kouandjio would step in at left tackle if he can’t go on Saturday.

Fortunately RT Jordan Mills was back at practice Thursday after a 24-hour bug kept him out of practice Wednesday.

Here’s a look at Buffalo’s injury report for Thursday. Final status for Saturday’s game is not due until Friday.

DID NOT PRACTICE
OT Cordy Glenn – back
LB Lerentee McCray – concussion

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
G John Miller – hip
FB Jerome Felton – foot
DT Kyle Williams – back
TE Charles Clay – knee
LB Preston Brown – foot
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
DL Jerel Worthy – shoulder

FULL PRACTICE
QB Tyrod Taylor – groin
RB LeSean McCoy – knee
OLB Shaq Lawson – foot
OLB Jerry Hughes – hamstring


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Playtime for Harvin, Henderson, Ihedigbo etc.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2016 – 10:12 am

Here’s a look at the playtime percentages for some of the players who saw increased action Sunday at Cincinnati.

Percy Harvin saw his playing time increase. He had 46 snaps good for 71 percent of the offensive workload. Would he have seen that much time had Robert Woods not suffered a knee injury? Hard to say. We thought going in he’d get between 35-40 snaps, so this figure wasn’t all that different.

Seantrel Henderson pretty much split the work down the middle with Jordan Mills. Henderson go 34 snaps (52%) and Mills had 35 (54%).

On defense James Ihedigbo got 18 snaps good for 25 percent of the defensive plays. Robert Blanton still saw most of the work at safety opposite Corey Graham as he got 48 snaps for 66 percent of the workload. But he left on the second to last play with a foot injury.

Kevon Seymour, who was the primary nickel corner Sunday, got 40 snaps (55%) to Nickell Robey-Coleman’s 15 snaps (21%).

Ronald Darby after a week of competition in practice started Sunday, played well, and got 68 snaps (93%) to Corey White’s four snaps (5%).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-15

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2016 – 12:03 pm

After a two week vacation Fan Friday returns. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills who is the starting RT, nickel corner, how far apart are gilmore and organization on new agreement?

@ZachDrohweder

CB: The favorite going into camp for the starting right tackle spot is Jordan Mills. Seantrel Henderson has to prove he’s healthy and capable of practicing day in and day out if he’s going to try to win the job back. Cyrus Kouandjio has an uphill battle in front of him to unseat one of them for a starting role.

Nickell Robey is the incumbent and favorite to keep the nickel job, but he’ll have big time competition from Sterling Moore. Corey White is another corner who may factor in there, but Moore will likely be his stiffest competition inside.

As for Gilmore there is no new developments at this point, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change in the next couple of weeks. As has been stated before, the deal Washington handed Josh Norman ($15M/yr) threw the entire cornerback market out of whack. It’s inflated the market beyond where it was expected to be right now and has NFL clubs with top corners concerned they won’t be able to keep them under contract due to where the market was set with the Norman deal.

Norman is largely a zone corner and got paid $15M per year. Players like Gilmore, a man-to-man corner arguably have a tougher job than Norman and are probably expecting at least that much. If Gilmore holds fast to a $15M/yr. contract demand there’s likely to be no new agreement anytime soon. I can’t see the Bills going that high.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Does Jonathan Williams chances take a big hit because of his lapse in judgement? I am really disappointed.

@GraysonTumult

CB: I’m sure the Bills coaching staff is disappointed too after all the encouraging signs they saw from the rookie running back in minicamp. I felt he had a legitimate chance of being the team’s backup to LeSean McCoy. He’ll still be able to compete for that role at training camp, so I don’t know how big a hit this DUI charge will have in terms of where he ends up on the running back depth chart.

Williams’ DUI charges will now be handled in the courts. If he’s found guilty a first offense under the NFL’s revised policy (2014) for DUI will result in a two-game suspension. Based on informed NFL sources that suspension stands a good chance of being imposed at some point during the 2016 regular season.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills where do you think the Bills will rank defensively now that Rex has more guys who supposedly fit his system?

@BenLebo

CB: If everything goes according to plan with Ryan’s more traditional 3-4 scheme, the starting lineup stay relatively healthy and rookies like Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington contribute as expected and Shaq Lawson can be back in time to play more than half the season (10 games?) then I think this defense can flirt with being a top 10 unit again.

Granted those are a lot of variables I listed, but the key here is they feel they’ve greatly improved the coaching staff on that side of the ball with DL coach John Blake, Asst. secondary coach Ed Reed and Assistant head coach Rob Ryan. I think the players on defense also learned a very hard lesson last season when they did not fully buy into Rex’s system. So I believe the motivation will be there to redeem themselves after a down season.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills who’s your sleeper going into training camp to make a big impact, possibly start?

Paul catalano@pfc322

CB: I don’t know about sleepers that will start, but I think Dez Lewis could challenge for the No. 3 WR role. He’s really come on entering his second season and had a solid spring. I think Blake Annen is a tight end candidate who could be Charles Clay’s understudy from a pass catching perspective even though vet Jim Dray is the designated blocking TE. And I think with a strong camp rookie Kevon Seymour could be one of the first corners off the bench if there’s an injury to Gilmore or Darby during the season.

I outlined some top sleepers in our Camp Countdown this week.

 

5 – Chris,

Can you give an update on how Kolby Listenbee looks and his chances to make the roster? He has the straight line speed that no one on the roster has but is raw in his routes. I don’t expect him to win the 3rd WR job but is his long term potential and ability to stretch the field make him have more value than some others? Is he a special teams guy either as gunner/returner?

Josh

CB: Listenbee was very limited in the spring coming off double sports hernia surgery. That was followed by an inflamed pelvis. He’s been here at One Bills Drive since minicamp working to complete all his rehab and get medically cleared. At this point I’m not sure it’s going to happen by training camp. His rehab has had some peaks and valleys.

There’s no debating his playmaking potential knowing his straight line speed is world class, and he figures to be an option on kick returns. It all depends on whether he’s cleared medically to participate when training camp opens.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT Jordan Mills officially re-signs 

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2016 – 5:02 pm

Bills restricted free agent OT Jordan Mills has re-signed with the club. 

Mills was extended a qualifying offer by the Bills earlier this month giving Buffalo the right of first refusal. 

Now that Mills has signed the offer he ensures he will be with the Bills for the 2016 season. 

Mills, who started the last five games of the season at right tackle, is expected to compete with Seantrel Henderson for the starting job on that side of Buffalo’s starting offensive line. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Seantrel Henderson update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2016 – 9:38 am

At the close of the 2015 regular season the status of RT Seantrel Henderson’s future playing career was a bit uncertain in light of an undisclosed illness that was discovered that kept him out of the team’s last four games. Bills GM Doug Whaley at the close of the season expressed uncertainty about Henderson’s future saying they would need to wait on the medical reports back from their staff before they definitively knew where things stood. On Thursday in an appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley said the front office got an encouraging report back on Henderson’s condition.

We got some positive news about his health,” said Whaley. “So we believe he may be able to be in that right tackle position at the start of camp. So we’ll have three bodies and as I’ve always said competition raises everybody’s level of play. We’ll have three people fighting for one position. That’s a good thing for the Bills and the right tackle position.”

Cyrus Kouandjio, who is under contract will be part of that competition and the Bills hope to retain the rights of restricted free agent Jordan Mills to be the third player in that competition come training camp.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

Henderson had setback with illness

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2015 – 3:12 pm

The Bills were hopeful they’d have OT Seantrel Henderson available to them in Sunday’s game against Philadelphia, but he was inactive for the game. Head coach Rex Ryan explained that Henderson had a setback with his illness that kept him out of the Houston game in Week 13.

“He had a setback with his illness. We hope that he’ll be able to return here today hopefully. It’s a concern. The first thing  you think of is the young man-that’s the major thing right there-the way it affects his career moving forward-we’ll see,” said Ryan. “I don’t foresee that being a thing he can’t overcome, but right now, it’s kind of going like this for the rest of the season, that’s probably a possibility.”

Jordan Mills has made the last two starts at right tackle in Henderson’s absence.


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Henderson & Mills could split time Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2015 – 12:58 pm

Bills OT Seantrel Henderson looks ready to return after an illness kept him out of last week’s game, but whether he starts on Sunday is up in the air.

Head coach Rex Ryan said at this point they haven’t decided on a starter at right tackle for Sunday’s game as both Henderson and Jordan Mills got work there this week.

“That’ll be a game time decision,” said Ryan. “I think both guys will get playing time. Sometimes when you’re out a couple of weeks, to kind of get in a groove… I think Seantrel was better today than he was Wednesday so we’ll see how that is. Truly we haven’t made up our mind yet on who is going to start there.”

Mills started in place of Henderson last week in the win over the Texans.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How the Bills dictated play to Watt

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2015 – 10:43 am

Too many times in his career Houston DE J.J. Watt has taken over games. He did it last season against the Bills in Week 4 when he racked up nine quarterback hits, five tackles and an interception return for a touchdown. Buffalo was not going to be put on their heels Sunday. Here’s how they dictated play to Watt to neutralize him.

1 – Run away
The Bills established their run game early by effectively setting the edge allowing their quick and elusive backs in LeSean McCoy and practice squad call-up Mike Gillislee to get outside and face one-on-one situations. They also made a point of running away from Watt, and even in doing so had him blocked up to prevent his trademark backside pursuit.

“They are a good defense,” said McCoy. “Lately they have been playing well together, so that was just the main key. Kind of run the ball, get some one on one opportunities. The guys in the back field, the line up front lately has really just been putting it down, they really have.”

2 – Using Watt’s motor against him
Watt is revered not only for his rare God-given talent, but his non-stop motor. But Buffalo at times used his desire to get upfield quickly against him. Instead of trying to beat Watt to a spot in Buffalo’s offensive backfield they had RT Jordan Mills and their tight ends on occasion give Watt the outside rush lane and ran their backs underneath him. They then had the tackle or tight end simply position himself to wall off Watt as he tried to loop back behind the play to get involved. Essentially Buffalo’s tackles and tight ends just had to get in his way for a second or two before the back or Tyrod Taylor got out of harm’s way.

“We had to slide to him, or just getting hands on him,” said RT Jordan Mills. “Trying to change his pass rush. If he gets a straight line, bee-line to the quarterback, you’re never going to stop him. Just changing up techniques, giving him different looks that he hasn’t seen before, and having Wood or Urbik come and have the inside, just in case, they were right there.  It was the whole offensive line that did a great job against him.”

3 – 2nd line of defense
Buffalo also employed a second line of defense against Watt. There were times that the Bills left a lineman in a one-on-one situation with Watt, but there was always a second linemen, back or tight end in position to help should Watt win the matchup quickly and threaten the pocket.

“He garnered a lot of our attention,” said Eric Wood. “We knew where he was each play. When it comes down to it, guys have got to win matchups.  Especially that right side, I think they did a good job of that.”

4 – Not much air
The Bills run game and an early lead allowed them to largely rely on short passes as the ground attack did a good job of keeping them in short down and distance. And the times when they did go deep Buffalo went with max protection.

“I face double-teams, triple-teams every single week so, it’s nothing new,” said Watt. “They didn’t throw the ball a whole a lot, and did a great job running the ball. They had a good scheme coming in. Their right guard and right tackle are out. They’re not just going to leave you go on those guys. I think they did a good job on that.”
The Bills could tell after a while that Watt was getting frustrated as he did not have much of an impact on the game at all. Even the one sack he did have got nullified by offsetting penalties. McCoy knows how it feels when an opponent keys on you and slows you down.

“We just hit him, that was the key,” said McCoy of the plan for Watt. “We knew where he was going to be at. To his credit man we kind of game planned for him. As you should, a guy like that who has been dominating. They get frustrated, I can tell at times he is frustrated. I know the feeling, used to making plays and you’re not making them. The team is kind of taking you out of it, so you kind of get pissed off a little bit. But the guys up front just really put their pads on him. Every single play, pass or run. Just having that conscious effort of knowing where he is at to hit him.”

Watt’s stat line Sunday was four tackles, one for loss, zero sacks, zero quarterback hits.


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Not counting out Henderson, but Mills is ready

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2015 – 2:32 pm

Seantrel Henderson missed a second straight day of practice due to illness, but head coach Rex Ryan is not yet counting out his starting right tackle.

“I think now that he’s missed another day of practice that there will be some concerns there,” said Ryan, who isn’t sure if Henderson will be back on the practice field Friday.

“Usually with most illnesses it’s okay, but now being away another day there would be some concerns.”

If Henderson can’t play Sunday, Jordan Mills would step in. Mills signed with the team Oct. 20th, but is up to speed on the playbook and has good familiarity with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer’s techniques having played under him for two seasons in Chicago.

“It took a couple of weeks, but I finally got it down pat,” Mills told Buffalobills.com. “But you really can’t have it down pat because coach Greg (Roman) has a new play added each week. So once you think you have it there’s something extra coming in, but it’s all good. It makes our offense more diverse and everything.”

Mills said the big benefit in getting ready for his first start in almost a year is getting all the practice reps on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It takes you a long way and the defensive players we have here going against them and getting great looks, it goes a long way,” said Mills. “Having that it’s like you’re in the game. J.J. Watt is a great player and simulating him is difficult, but every day prepares you like you’re in the game already. Having the defensive players here it gets me ready and gets us ready for the game.”


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OT Mills at the ready if needed

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2015 – 4:27 pm

He’s been with the team for more than a month now and feels like he has a good grasp of Buffalo’s offensive playbook. Heading into a critical AFC matchup Sunday against the Texans, the Bills are hoping they have both of their starting tackles against a red hot Houston defense. But Cordy Glenn was limited with a knee injury in practice Wednesday and Seantrel Henderson missed practice due to illness. If not Jordan Mills feels he’s ready to step in.

“You’ve just got to be ready man and just getting the reps in practice and switching in and out at right and left tackle and staying on the film,” said Mills, who took the majority of the first team reps at right tackle in the absence of Henderson at practice Wednesday. “Staying at it at the facility and at home reviewing. Mostly I play on the right side and sometimes I only look at the right side and now it’s making me more adapted to everything. So I see everything now. That’s how you’ve got to look at it anyway.”

Mills was the swing tackle last week at Kansas City while Cyrus Kouandjio was inactive.


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OT Kouandjio out for Sunday’s game 

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2015 – 11:45 am

The Bills had a late addition to their injury report on Saturday. 

The team announced that  OT Cyrus Kouandjio has been ruled out for the Sunday’s game against Miami due to a knee injury. 

Head coach Rex Ryan praised Kouandjio’s play in place of Seantrel Henderson in the team’s Week 7 game at Jacksonville. 

Kouandjio did practice all week so the knee injury must have just cropped up. 

Without Kouandjio the recently signed Jordan Mills becomes the swing tackle for Sunday’s game should Henderson or Cordy Glenn sustain an injury Sunday. 


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OT Jordan Mills ready to be swing tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2015 – 2:40 pm

Buffalo will go into Sunday’s game with just three offensive tackles. Cordy Glenn and Cyrus Kouandjio will start and then newly signed OT Jordan Mills will be serving as the swing tackle. Needless to say a trans-Atlantic trip and cramming a playbook into his brain has been a heavy lift this week.

Mills was in Detroit when he got the call that Buffalo was going to sign him and didn’t have much time to pack for the trip.

“I had to be out the next afternoon, so I had to get everything ready and packed,” Mills told Buffalobills.com. “The flight left at six and it was an eight-hour flight and when I got here I had been up for 23 hours straight. I got here and the coaches were great and all accepting. The players and everything it’s good camaraderie around here.”

Mills is thankful that Buffalo’s offensive line coach is Aaron Kromer, who coached him for two seasons in Chicago.

“The first two years Kromer was my O-line coach and teaching me techniques. So coming here was nothing new in terms of the techniques that he wanted,” he said. “I already basically had everything in my mind. I just had to refresh and knock the rust off because it has been almost a year or so.

“But knowing what they do within the offense and not having a new offensive line coach and new techniques. So having known coach Kromer and coach Pat Meyer previously helped me out a lot.”

As far as Greg Roman’s playbook goes he is using translation techniques from the previous system he was in to remember what the terminology in Buffalo’s system means. As he gets more and more acclimated to Buffalo’s language things will get better. In this short week however, knowing he’s a play away from being on the field, Mills is just focused on studying this week’s game plan inside and out.

“Yeah you can pretty much say that. It’s just basically getting in the playbook,” he said. “I’ve had late nights and early mornings. It’s difficult, but it’s part of the game and it comes with it.”


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