Inside The Bills

CB Smith active today

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2013 – 11:58 am

QB Thad Lewis isn’t the only Bills player who was on the practice squad Monday and now active for Buffalo today to face the Bengals.

CB Brandon Smith was also called up from Buffalo’s practice squad this week and is active for today’s game.

Head coach Doug Marrone expressed an interest in seeing what Smith had to offer especially on special teams.

The converted receiver (6’2″ 195) is a good size, speed athlete so he should help on kick and punt coverage.


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CB Rogers puts last Sunday behind him

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2013 – 5:53 pm

He got beat for a pair of long touchdowns last week including the game winner in the team’s Week 3 loss to the Jets. He also had a big pass breakup to save a touchdown on an attempted flea flicker by New York. For Justin Rogers Sunday night and Monday weren’t much fun, but on Wednesday Rogers had effectively put his last outing behind him.

“Yeah I think I’ve been able to do for the most part,” said Rogers following Wednesday’s practice. “It was unfortunate and I was kind of hard on myself. The thing about this game is you’ve got to move on and I think my teammates and especially coaches they’ve really been pushing me to move on. By them telling me to move on and short term memory and getting out there today and being able to practice I kind of put it behind me.”

Rogers, who said the corrections for his game deal mainly with technique (getting in position, getting head around, not peeking too much at QB), knows his play last week will put a bulls-eye on his chest, but the cornerback sees that as an opportunity, not a problem.

“It’s definitely an opportunity to make plays,” he said. “This game is about making plays when you look at it. The more opportunities you get, the more times you get thrown at, the more opportunities to make a play so you’ve got to accept the challenge.”

Head coach Doug Marrone, who still had Rogers lined up at one of the starting cornerback spots in practice Wednesday, is adamant that the defense has faith in his abilities.

“Justin Rogers is not the first player to have a poor game,” said Marrone. “The one thing about it is he’s on this team and he’s out there practicing and like I said after the game, the one thing I appreciate is competing. It would be different if he fell down or wasn’t near the play or couldn’t do it, but he’s right there to make that play. We know it’s very close and we just keep pushing him to be able to do that.

“This sport you have to be so mentally tough, especially at corner. The two positions when you’re out on islands, people talk about corner and left tackle. You’ve got to be able to forget and come back the next play because if you can’t you’re not going to really last in this league and I think that’s something we all know. He’s got to shake it off. He went out there today and competed his butt off and that’s what we expected from him.”


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CB snap counts show tight race

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 4:06 pm

Looking at the snap counts among Buffalo’s cornerbacks it’s hard to discern any notable edge that the chief combatants for Stephon Gilmore’s vacant might have heading into the final preseason game tonight.

Both Crezdon Butler and Justin Rogers have missed preseason games, with Rogers missing each of the first two. Butler just missed the Minnesota game. But heading into the preseason finale tonight their snap counts on defense are pretty even (56 to 49). Rogers got a ton of work in the Washington game with 49 snaps on defense. Butler got about half of that (26) last week.

CB defensive snap counts thru 3 games
Name                                    Snaps
Ron Brooks                         77
Stephon Gilmore             76
Nickell Robey                     66
Crezdon Butler (2 gm)      56
T.J. Heath                            49
Justin Rogers (1 gm)         49
Leodis McKelvin (1 gm)    39
Kip Edwards                       36

CB special teams snap counts thru 3 games
Ron Brooks                         29
T.J. Heath                            26
Nickell Robey                     20
Crezdon Butler (2 gm)      13
Kip Edwards                       11
Justin Rogers (1 gm)         10
Stephon Gilmore             6
Leodis McKelvin (1 gm)   4


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CB Butler may have edge

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2013 – 9:32 am

Bills CB Crezdon Butler likely would’ve had the primary reserve cornerback spot nailed down by now had he not missed the second preseason game with an injury. After his strong opening preseason performance at Indy, he followed it up with a one tackle and one pass breakup performance against Washington as he received just 26 snaps. Now with Stephon Gilmore out of the lineup for a while, Butler is in direct competition with Justin Rogers to try and fill the void.

Justin Rogers got the longest look last Saturday, and understandably so, having missed the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury. Rogers had a pair of tackles in 49 snaps.

T.J. Heath, a darkhorse candidate, got just 12 snaps last Saturday.

Butler was lined up with the ones in practice Tuesday morning. We’ll see if that continues leading up to Thursday’s preseason finale. Where Butler has the edge over Rogers is chiefly with size as he’s 6’1″ and 191 pounds. He’s just a longer limbed player than Rogers, who despite being just two inches shorter, has a more compact build.

You typically want longer players on the outside to being able to reach around a receiver or over a receiver and knock balls away. Shorter limbed corners on the outside can’t do that and often go through the receiver drawing a penalty flag. That’s partly why coaches utilize shorter more compact cover men on the slot receivers.

So as long as Butler can prove to be every bit as effective a player on the boundary as Rogers, if not more so, he will likely get the nod as Gilmore’s replacement.


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Justin Rogers injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2013 – 11:40 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on CB Justin Rogers after he missed his second day of practice.

Rogers watched from the sidelines at practice Wednesday morning. Head coach Doug Marrone however, doesn’t expect the cornerback to miss much time.

“It was his right hamstring,” said Marrone. “He’ll be out for a short period of time.”

Rogers was running with the first team at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore. Leodis McKelvin stepped into the starting lineup in Rogers’ place Wednesday. As for who fills the void for Rogers in the interim, Marrone mentioned who would move up the depth chart.

“We’ll have (T.J.) Heath and (Crezdon) Butler filling in for him,” said Marrone.

Butler got first team reps Tuesday in Rogers’ place, but it was McKelvin Wednesday, and that’s expected to remain the same moving forward. Butler and Heath ran with the second team at the outside corner spots Wednesday.


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FB Gaskins says he’s a Bill

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2013 – 11:13 pm

University of Richmond FB Kendall Gaskins is the latest undrafted rookie free agent to announce that he’s agreed to sign with the Bills.

Gaskins even got a welcome from fellow Richmond alum and Bills CB Justin Rogers.


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McKelvin still dealing with groin injury

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2012 – 1:57 pm

Bills CB and primary return man Leodis McKelvin was inactive for last week’s game against Seattle due to a lingering groin injury. He also won’t practice here on Wednesday.

“No, I don’t think he’s going to make it today,” said head coach Chan Gailey.

When asked if he’d make it back to practice this week, Gailey did not sound optimistic.

“Maybe,” said Gailey. “Outside chance.”

If McKelvin is unable to play again this Sunday at Miami, expect Justin Rogers to return punts. Rogers and Brad Smith would presumably be back to return kickoffs, much like they did last week. Marcus Easley also helped return kicks last Sunday, but injured a hamstring and was declared out for Sunday’s game by Gailey on Monday.


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CB injuries to push ‘green’ players on field

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2012 – 5:05 pm

With Justin Rogers and Aaron Williams still fighting injuries it could push younger cornerbacks onto the field Sunday against the Jaguars.

Both Rogers and Williams are questionable. Rogers sustained a foot injury in practice this week and Williams is trying to return from a knee injury in Week 9. Buffalo may have to turn to less experienced players like Ron Brooks and Crezdon Butler this Sunday against Jacksonville.

“You hope that these guys understand the urgency of preparing to play because these young guys are going to have to play,” Chan Gailey told Buffalobills.com. “And it’s not easy to play against good players like we’re going to face this week and the rest of the season. They’re going to have to grow up in a hurry. This group is very green.

“I don’t think I’d put Stephon (Gilmore) in that group, but I think you’ve got Brooks and Crezdon Butler and those guys that haven’t played much at all. They’re going to have to step up if they play in the ball game.”


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Rogers limited, A. Williams does more

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2012 – 4:10 pm

Bills CB Justin Rogers was limited in practice Thursday, while fellow CB Aaron Williams continued to make progress. Head coach Chan Gailey provided the details.

“Justin Rogers tweaked his foot yesterday and was limited in practice today,” said Gailey. “Aaron came out and did a lot more today. He’s a possibility. It’s an outside possibility, but it’s a possibility.”

Williams is trying to return from a knee injury that’s kept him out since Week 9, and with Rogers nicked the need for Williams to return to the lineup could be greater. Friday’s practice is likely to determine a lot on the availability of both cornerbacks.


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Leodis back in mix at nickel?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2012 – 9:41 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey gave an honest assessment of the play they’ve been getting at nickel corner of late and didn’t rule out making a change there this week.

Second-year CB Justin Rogers has been manning the nickel spot for most of the season after taking the job from Leodis McKelvin early in the year.

“You know, he’s been up and down,” said Gailey. “He played with a lot of confidence early in the season and then as of late he hasn’t played with as much confidence. You can see it in his play. He’s still got, I think, the ability to do some things. I feel like sometimes his confidence wavers and that gets him in trouble. He needs to play with a great deal of confidence. I think that he can be a decent player, but he’s got to go out and do it every down.”

Rogers had a tough time with Reggie Wayne, who the Colts not use primarily as a slot receiver.

When asked if a change at that spot would be considered, Gailey brought up McKelvin’s name first.

“I think our first choice would be to move Leodis in there,” said Gailey. “Leodis played it in the spring and played it in preseason and showed some good things in there.”

Gailey cautioned that such a move for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars is a maybe at best. Buffalo is facing a Jacksonville team whose best receiving threats are outside in Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, but do not offer a whole lot out of the slot. So for another week McKelvin could very well remain outside with Aaron Williams unlikely to return to the lineup.


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Don’t expect Gilmore on Wayne every snap

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2012 – 1:05 pm

While the Bills defensive staff is feeling more and more comfortable assigning Stephon Gilmore to the opponent’s top receiver every week, do not expect to see Gilmore lined up opposite Reggie Wayne all over the field today.

Wayne operates primarily out of the slot now where he’ll be put in a stack formation to help him gain separation off the line. As well as Gilmore has played of late I get the sense that they don’t want to move Gilmore inside now to line up in the slot and ask him to play in a role he has not played to this point in a game in his pro career.

I’d expect to see Gilmore lined up opposite Wayne when he lines up outside, but inside Justin Rogers is expected to be the slot corner on Wayne.


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Fan Friday 11-16

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2012 – 12:35 pm

Alright Bills fans, here’s the latest edition of Fan Friday courtesy of your questions sent to AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter.

1 – Chris,

Don’t you think maybe it is time to have an offensive coordinator instead of Chan so he can concentrate on the real problems and evaluate first half problems? I think maybe he has too much on his plate. The head coach needs to evaluate all aspects of the game and talent. I don’t believe he is doing that.

Bob

CB: I think there is merit to your comment. When Chan Gailey was first hired he did say that eventually he would turn over play calling duties on offense to his coordinator Curtis Modkins. When eventually is remains to be seen. It certainly won’t be any time this season. I believe coach Gailey has to get the offense to a point where execution is so consistent that he feels a coordinator and the unit can work in concert effectively week in and week out.  

 

2 – Chris,
Here is the dreaded Marcus Easley question. With Ron Brooks back and assuming the special teams gunner, could Easley replace Martin. Martin only plays special teams. It’s time to see what Easley’s got. Martin really doesn’t add to the passing game. Easley has potential and with Nelson out for the year they need to add another WR

Thanks, 

Josh 
CB: Easley did play there some in training camp. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Easley line up outside in this offense. I think what has held him back to this point is while he has 4.4 speed, it’s build-up speed. What that means is it takes 8-10 strides for him to get up to full speed. This quick timing offense is predicated on the receivers getting quick separation to make receptions.

Easley has improved in this area, but because his strength is deep speed and not quickness in short areas, it doesn’t make him an ideal fit for what Chan Gailey wants executed in this attack. I think he can be an NFL receiver, but I don’t know how much his game can expand and progress in this offense.

I’d be inclined to use him in the red zone knowing he’s capable of elevating and making plays on jump balls.

 

3 –  Chris,
What are your thoughts on why the Bills don’t run the ball with conventional offense at times?   With QB under center and use of fullback now and then as blocking back.  SF has a middle tier QB (similar to Fitz) and they’re successful using the run to set up the pass with play action. It seems the Bills still utilize the pass to set up the run with most of their running plays coming out of shotgun.  Also, with use of so many empty backfield sets, there is 0% chance of a run, and now defenses can tee off on Fitz.  Have been pleased with Gailey as play caller until now, it seems like we could show more looks and keep keep defenses off balance more.

-Jim

CB: The Bills run a spread offense and their line works best with a hat on a hat approach. Their inside zone run game is their bread and butter and works very well. I’m not sure why you would want to change a run game that ranks second in the league in yards per carry. Also San Fran, while they do line up a fullback more than the Bills, a good portion of the time they move that FB out of the backfield as a receiving option or to seal the edge.

 

4 - Dear Chris,

I have been a Bills fan for years now and know we have struggled over the years. I have noticed that we have been doing terrible against the run, especially up the middle. We have done a great job ont blocking runs to the outside. On defense we have also not did that great in disturbing the pass, mostly in man coverage on the outside and zone coverage in the middle of the field. On the blocking the run should we start have more corner or safety blitz’s while disguising them at the same time? Also, while disrupting the pass, should we try putting some corners in different areas of the field, and who?

 

CB: I think we saw some of this against the Patriots in Week 10. There were some run blitzes with the safeties that worked well. Dave Wannstedt doesn’t call blitzes a whole lot. The numbers this season have proven that. Changing things up couldn’t hurt knowing the unit’s relative lack of success overall this season. We’ll have to see what happens down the stretch.

 

5 – Chris-

Just wondering if Justin Rodgers has been or will be considered to start opposite Stephon Gilmore? Leodis seems to have really settled into his role playing special teams and an occasional appearance in nickle or dime packages. He has had plenty of chances on that corner, and be it lack of ball skills or whatever, it just looks flat out like it’s not the spot for him.  Rodgers on the other hand, from where I’m sitting, seems to have at least earned a shot out there. He has been making plays from the moment he stepped on the field in his 1st training camp. I realize that doesn’t mean he necessarily will be able to handle a starting CB spot, but by now, having seen both his, and Leodis’ body of work, doesn’t it at the very least earn him a chance? Is there something else holding him back that we as fans are unable to see?

 

Tommy

CB: I think Rogers has had an up and down season working in the nickel since unseating McKelvin there. I think they want him to focus on playing the slot receiver knowing his quickness and great change of direction ability caters to playing inside. He’s also on the smallish side so matching up with the larger outside receivers would prove to be a stiffer challenge, both off the line and on jump balls. He’s a better fit inside.


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Rogers to return to slot

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2012 – 9:45 am

He’s been working his way back from a hamstring injury, but CB Justin Rogers will be rotated back in at nickel corner with veteran Leodis McKelvin against the Chiefs today.

“He practiced there this week for the first time on a regular basis and Justin will hopefully see some action this week at nickel,” Chan Gailey told Buffalobills.com. “That is the plan unless something changes.”

“It’s just working back in,” Rogers told Buffalobills.com. “The coaches were telling me to get more of those nickel reps. Last week I did some in there, but there was still some stuff lingering with the hamstring and making sure it was right. They also asked me to go outside a little bit to get some reps out there.”

Rogers said playing the whole way in the final preseason game at Detroit really helped him feel as though he was recovered from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss almost all of training camp and most of the preseason.

“It held up,” said Rogers of his hamstring. “So now it’s just about staying on top of it and maintaining it so it won’t happen again.”

“He was in position before all this injury he was playing there and doing pretty well,” said Chan Gailey. “We have to give him an opportunity to get back on the field somehow.”

In splitting time with Leodis McKelvin this week one could argue that they’re directly competing for more playing time in a game, something that’s usually reserved for the preseason. But Rogers’ injury made such an arrangement impossible. So now Rogers is trying to reclaim a job he held down late last season coming off the injury, and he’ll have to do it against a very elusive slot receiver in Dexter McCluster.

“He’s a small, compact guy,” said Rogers of McCluster. “It’s kind of different in the slot. He’s real good at it even though he’s mainly been a hybrid player. So you have to match his qualities, stay low and match his quickness. I think it’ll be an advantage that we’re kind of the same size so I think some of my qualities match his, but it’s still going to be a challenge.”


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More time for Rogers tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2012 – 12:54 pm

Bills CB Justin Rogers, who came off a hamstring injury to go about 15 plays last week against the Steelers will get more time tonight.

Rogers only played in the slot last Saturday against Pittsburgh, but will line up on the boundary as well with the team shorthanded at cornerback. Buffalo does not have the services of Terrence McGee or Ron Brooks for the game tonight.


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McGee and Rogers to play after halftime

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2012 – 3:45 pm

Both Terrence McGee and Justin Rogers will see their first preseason action this summer against the Steelers tonight, but it won’t be right away.

McGee, who is returning from patellar tendon surgery, and Rogers, who is back from a hamstring injury, will both play in the second half tonight. Both are expected to take the field right at the start of the third quarter.

The coaching staff decided on that approach because it would give both players ample time to warm up at halftime. McGee has often needed 30 to 45 minutes to get his knee warmed up prior to practice so the approach makes sense. Head coach Chan Gailey said both would only see a handful of reps in their first time back out on a game field.


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Leodis excelling as nickel CB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2012 – 7:34 am

After four seasons of play without a true breakout season, it looks like Leodis McKelvin might have finally found a role where he can excel.

McKelvin has been lined up mainly in the slot this summer and by all accounts has performed very, very well inside in Buffalo’s secondary.

“Leodis has played really, really well at nickel,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It would be hard to move him out of there.”

Buffalobills.com pointed out last month why the slot corner role could be a fit for McKelvin.

McKelvin told Buffalobills.com that playing fast, but staying in control is the key to being successful covering slot receivers.

“You got to have a lot of patience,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to know what you’re doing and know your leverage and being able to do all that. Once you know all your leverage and know where you need to be at everything else will be easy.”

McKelvin has made it look easy to this point. The absence of Justin Rogers from the practice setting due to a pulled hamstring allowed McKelvin to nail down the role in the slot, which is where he’s expected to play come Week 1 at New York. Rogers, who just returned to the practice setting last week will need to fight his way back to where he was. He’s not expected to be full speed until Week 1.


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Plan is for McGee & Rogers to play

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2012 – 5:44 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey wanted to see how cornerbacks Terrence McGee and Justin Rogers came through the practice week. Following Thursday’s practice Gailey said both will get a chance to play Saturday night against Pittsburgh.

“We’re going to try to play both of them yes,” said Gailey. “Unless something major happened today or between now and game time we’re going to try to play both of them. Not too much, just enough to get their feet wet a little bit.”

“Right now I really haven’t hit anybody so I have to get back to that,” McGee told Buffalobills.com.

For Rogers he’s expected to line up in the slot Saturday night as the Bills don’t want him covering any long routes to put any undue strain on his recovered hamstring.


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CB Rogers has chance to play Sat.

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2012 – 6:57 pm

It was the first time in three weeks that Justin Rogers was back on the practice field, but with another day of practice to go he hasn’t been ruled out for playing in Saturday night’s preseason game against Pittsburgh.

That according to Chan Gailey.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Gailey. “I think it’s a combination of how he feels, how he moves, talking to him. We want to be smart about it, but he’s got a chance to play this week.”

For more on Rogers’ progress and return to the field in practice Wednesday, check out our Wednesday practice notes on the home page at Buffalobills.com.

Rogers has been frustrated by his hamstring injury as he had high expectations for himself this season. But he refuses to let it derail his big plans for 2012.

“It is what it is and things happen. Some stuff you can’t control,” Rogers told Buffalobills.com. “The only things I can work at are the things I can control. Right now that’s getting better, taking my mental reps, taking care of my hamstring and when I do get back out there full time I’m going to pick up where I left off.”


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Rogers back practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2012 – 3:50 pm

Justin Rogers hasn’t practiced in three weeks, but he’s back on the practice field today.

Rogers had been dealing with a hamstring injury. We keep you posted on his level of participation today.


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Non-participants Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2012 – 2:05 pm

Here are the non-participants for Sunday’s practice.

Justin Rogers
Josh Nesbitt
Kevin Brock

Mike Caussin remains on active/PUP.


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