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Inside The Bills

Pettine’s defense puts premium on versatility

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 29, 2013 – 8:20 pm

The Bills pulled off a rare player-for-player trade Monday, sending third year LB Kelvin Sheppard to the Colts in exchange for fourth year LB Jerry Hughes.

And while both the Bills and Colts are willing to part with young defensive talent, the trade seems to be more a product of finding a right fit for the defense. At least that’s what Bills GM Buddy Nix said, in an appearance on The John Murphy Show.

Nix was asked if Sheppard was not a good fit in the new defensive scheme being installed by Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine.

“I think that’s part of it,” he said. “Kelvin is a true middle linebacker–a guy that’s going to play from C-gap to C-gap and he can do that downhill.”

“But Mike Pettine made this statement during the draft,” Nix told host John Murphy. “The days of the Mike linebacker and the strong safety have just about fallen by the wayside. Everything has moved over. You’ve taken the Mike now, and he’s moved over. You’ve moved Will to Mike. And now you walk up Bryan Scott as a nickel linebacker, and he’s now the Will. Those guys got to be able to run and cover.”

Nix says the Bills have stressed versatility in the linebacker moves they’ve made in recent months.

“We got Moats there in the middle-he can play two spots. We got Kiko Alonso in there–he can play two spots. Nigel Bradham can play Will or Mike. That is what we’re coming to.”

The entire interview with Bills GM Buddy Nix is available at Buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-8

Posted by Chris Brown on March 8, 2013 – 1:21 pm

Pro days are underway and free agency is up next. Here’s the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Dear Chris,

Many so-called experts are calling for a new middle linebacker to replace Kelvin Sheppard.  He seems to be an NFL talent.  If a new MLB is brought in, do you see Sheppard playing the weak side linebacker position or a second inside linebacker position if the Bills are in a 3-4 defense?  Thanks.

Neil from Jamestown, NY
CB: I would anticipate Sheppard to be a primary candidate to be one of the two inside backers in any 3-4 looks the Bills defense figures to employ. As for how things work in any 4-3 looks remains to be seen. I’m not sure Sheppard would stay on the field in nickel situations. He didn’t last year when it was Nick Barnett and Bryan Scott serving as the nickel LBs.

Linebackers with coverage ability are more coveted than ever in a league that leans more and more to the passing game. Buffalo will be looking for more of them both inside and outside at linebacker.

 

2 – Chris,

I was wondering what are the chances the Bills go after recently released Receiver Titus Young? I know usually we don’t take chances on players that may cause issues despite their talent, but Titus Young is still a young and very talented receiver with allot of upside. I think taking a chance is worth it, especially because it seems as if Doug Marrone is a player’s coach. We desperately need talent in our receiving core alongside Stevie. I personally don’t believe Donald Jones would make the roster of more than 3/4′s the NFL’s teams, let alone be the second option. Titus could really help as the number 2 man and fill a void that has needed to be filled. What do you think? Thanks,

Anthony Marasco

CB: Young is too much of a personality headache. For a new head coach trying to establish a program and approach to success, Doug Marrone doesn’t need a problem player like Young no matter how talented he is. Marrone and his staff are going to be presented enough challenges as a first-year staff, they don’t need to add to the pile with a player that bought himself a ticket off the Lions roster by being a horrible teammate.

 

3 – Chris,

Is Glennon or Wilson worth the 8th pick or do you see them taking a much needed LB and maybe one of the Top 5 QBs in the draft might be there in round two. Or do the Bills use the first 3 rounds to better the Defense and get a QB in free agency?

CB: I think it’s safe to say that the pickings are slim in free agency at QB so either their first or second round pick will need to address quarterback. I don’t see Glennon or Wilson as a top 10 pick, but I’m no scout. I believe both will be heavier considerations in round 2 or 3. I think if there’s a QB the Bills like at 8 they’ll take one, otherwise they’ll take the best defensive player available. If there isn’t a top defensive talent they believe is fitting of the eighth pick and the QB they like is gone I think they look to move back.

Improving the defense will be a focus, but I think they might try to reduce those needs in free agency to reduce the to-do list in the draft knowing they have just six picks.

 

4 – Chris,

I would like your perspective if Buddy should draft a WR or LB with the first pick and then trade back into the late Rd 1 to get a QB still on the board before teams like ARI, KC, PHI, NYJ can grab one. Also assuming that there might even be a possibility that R. Nassib could still be there.? Nix did say that what the Bengals did to get A.J Green and Dalton changed their franchise… Mainly would he be willing to trade back into Rd 1? 

Secondly, I think we need to lock up C.J. Spiller before he hits free agency and so we don’t have to use a franchise tag. Couldn’t the Bills be doing that already this offseason? Why do we need to wait another year when he is only going to get better and we are going to have to pay him more?
 
Thanks Chris!
Dan in CA

CB: I’m a little reluctant to take a WR in round one at 8, primarily because I think there are only a couple of first round worthy receivers in the entire draft, and one of them is a risk in Patterson due to a lack of a college resume (one year of production). If you’re picking a receiver eighth overall he should be able to help right away. I’m not sure Patterson is an immediate impact guy, which is what Buffalo needs.

Second, wide receiver has the highest miss rate in terms of position in round one. That according to ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian who has done studies on it.

Buddy Nix only has a short draft history here in Buffalo, but he likes to let the draft board come to him rather than seek out trades and be active in moving up and down the board. However, this year I think one of two things could happen.

The Bills either move down from 8 (as I stated above) if a QB they like or a defensive player fitting of value at eight isn’t there anymore or they try to move into the bottom of round one from round two.

As for Nassib I think he’s going to be a late riser and find his way into the bottom of round one.

Finally Spiller still has two years left on his rookie deal. They can wait until this time next year to address an extension.

 

5 -  Chris, 

What is the bigger need inside or outside LB? How will the positions be used in the new hybrid system? Could prospects like Te’o and Ogletree play inside or outside?

CB: I’d tend to think the two spots are equally in need of additional talent. Sheppard is capable of playing one of the inside linebacker spots in a 3-4 front. Nigel Bradham is one of the few viable OLB candidates on the roster.

I think we’ve got to wait and see what defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has in mind with respect to the multiple scheme he plans to employ.

Te’o is strictly an inside linebacker. Ogletree is capable of playing both inside and outside.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sheppard: We all know it’s sickening

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2012 – 1:55 pm

Bills LB Kelvin Sheppard and the defense held their fourth straight opponent to under 90 yards rushing. The Rams averaged just 2.9 per carry in the win over Buffalo. Buffalo’s defense has also allowed an average of 16.8 points per game over their last four games, yet they only have two wins to show for it.

“We all know that it’s sickening. If you were at the game you saw that,” Sheppard told Buffalobills.com of Sunday’s final minute. “It’s disheartening to put in all this work, to put in all the effort to go out and basically shut down, probably if not the best, one of the best running backs to play in the last 10 years or so, to put out that type of effort and lose in the fashion we did is very disheartening.”

Sheppard wasn’t pointing any fingers. He just wants the team to find a way to have all three phases playing at their best simultaneously, something that has been elusive for the Bills to capture on a Sunday.

“It’s like the needle in the balloon, taking all of the air out of it,” Sheppard said. “We get a lot of momentum coming off a good win last week and like you said we haven’t been able to clinch back-to-back wins pretty much since the beginning of the season. So I’m not sure if it’s just a matter of a complete team. It can’t be the offense showing up big one week, the defense taking a week off. Defense showing up big, offense taking a week off. There has to be a collective effort in this league to be able to win.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep on the right track in year two

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2012 – 2:42 pm

It was a rocky start for everyone on the defensive side of the ball for the Bills this season, but coming down the stretch things are looking up for the defense and the man making the defensive calls on the field as well.

Kelvin Sheppard in his second season has taken firm grasp of the middle linebacker position, and has made noticeable strides as pointed out by Bills head coach Chan Gailey.

“Kelvin has made very good progress. I think the year of experience has really helped him,” said Gailey in his weekly conversation with Buffalobills.com. “We’re putting more on his shoulders this year than we have in the past, which is good for him. It’s turned out to be very good for us because he’s been able to handle it. He’s becoming much more proficient in the pass game. We all knew he was a good run player, but he’s become more proficient in the pass game and we like the direction he’s headed.”

Sheppard currently stands sixth on the team in tackles with 53 and has a sack to his credit this season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills now enjoy advantage of playing Thurs.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2012 – 9:17 am

After cramming in two division games in five days, the Bills now enjoy being ahead of the game. Monday the team got in an extra practice in preparation for Indianapolis. They also are coming off extra rest having Saturday and Sunday off.

“Everything from getting your body back right, to being able to sit on your coach and watch them go against a divisional opponent, an opponent we know well, a good matchup,” said Sheppard in reference to the Colts-Patriots game this past Sunday. “It gives us a good advantage.”

“It’s good for us,” said Kyle Williams. “The later you get those Thursday night games,  its tougher to get ready for  physically, it’s much more mental preparation.  Having a weekend off, and getting back to work, and giving us  a chance to get our legs back under us, will be good.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

3 Bills LBs among most efficient tacklers

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2012 – 2:04 pm

The film reviewers and stat crunchers at Pro Football Focus have put together their top 20 most efficient tacklers at linebacker in the NFL. Three Bills linebackers made the list.

Bryan Scott and Kelvin Sheppard were in a tie for 18th, with Nick Barnett right behind at 20th. Here’s the full list.

Rank Name Team Comb. Tackle Efficiency Total Snaps Total Missed Tackles Total Tackles Total Assists
1 DeMeco Ryans PHI 72 560 1 57 14
2 Lawrence Timmons PIT 50 504 1 40 9
3 Ray Lewis BLT 48 421 1 38 9
4 Takeo Spikes SD 43 310 1 28 14
5 Brian Cushing HST 29 230 1 24 4
6 Sean Lee DAL 28 303 2 45 9
7 Jerod Mayo NE 27.7 568 3 69 11
8 D’Qwell Jackson CLV 26 599 2 42 8
9 Vontaze Burfict CIN 25.5 422 2 41 8
10 Karlos Dansby MIA 23 609 3 54 12
11 K.J. Wright SEA 22.3 509 3 55 9
12 Patrick Willis SF 22 503 3 53 10
13 Luke Kuechly CAR 21.3 316 3 44 17
14 Bobby Wagner SEA 20.3 502 4 65 12
15 Bruce Carter DAL 19.7 461 3 54 2
16 D.J. Smith GB 19.5 346 2 31 6
17 Lance Briggs CHI 17.3 536 3 42 7
18 Bryan Scott BUF 16.5 313 2 26 5
18 Kelvin Sheppard BUF 16.5 286 2 24 7
20 Nick Barnett BUF 16.3 546 4 49 12

Tackling efficiency is determined by – (Tackles + assists + missed tackles) / Missed tackles.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sheppard on Bills struggles against the run

Posted by johnmurphyshow on October 31, 2012 – 8:30 pm

He’s had enough.  Bills LB Kelvin Sheppard said he was embarrassed and sickened by the team’s performance in the loss to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday night on the The John Murphy Show, Sheppard talked at length about the Bills struggles to stop the run.  They’re currently ranked 32nd in the league in rushing defense.   And the problem, Sheppard said on the radio show, is that the Bills give up one huge play on the ground to their opponents, after shutting down their run on earlier plays.

“We go out and we look on film, and Coach Wannstedt does a great job, his scheme is a great scheme,” Sheppard told John Murphy.   “He shows we go out for ten straight plays, in the same defense and Tennessee’s running the same offensive plays—and we nail it—for a loss or a one or two yard gain.  And then you see on that 11th play, the same scheme is called, the same blocking scheme, the same running play, and one guy gets out of their gap.”

Sheppard was referring specifically to Chris Johnson’s 83-yard touchdown run against the Bills.

“The thing is trying to instill in everybody to be gap sound and attacking on a consistent basis,” he said,   “It makes no sense to go out and do it for ten straight plays, and then on the 11th play, you give up an 80-yarder.   I think that’s the biggest thing that’s hurting us right now.”

Sheppard is looking for a different mindset for the Bills this week as they prepare for their first game after the bye.  He wants the Bills defense to be determined to shut down the Houston Texans running attack and come home with a victory.

“I feel like there’s no better way than to go down to the number one team in your conference, and probably one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, to go down to their stadium, to a hostile environment, and not accept losing. We’re going to Houston, and nobody’s boarding the plane unless we win.  To go down there with that mindset would be tremendous.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wednesday night’s John Murphy Show

Posted by johnmurphyshow on October 31, 2012 – 5:51 pm

We’ll re-connect with an old friend and a familiar face to Bills fans tonight on The John Murphy Show.

Former Bills Head Coach Wade Phillips joins us live at 7:20pm.  He’s in his second season as the Defensive Coordinator for the Houston Texans, the Bills opponents this Sunday.  Since leaving Buffalo, Wade has run succesful defenses at Atlanta, San Diego and Houston.  And of course, he was the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys for a couple of years.

At 8pm, we’ll talk with Bills LB Kelvin Sheppard.  He’s right in the middle of the struggling Buffalo defense, and we’ll talk with him about Buffalo’s problems stopping the run, and the challenge presented by the Houston Texans.

Former Bills Safety Matt Bowen joins us at 8:20pm.  He’s now a columnist for The National Football Post, and he does a great job breaking down video using NFL.com’s new “All-22″ feature.  Bowen did an outstanding job breaking down Chris Johnson’s 83-yard touchdown run against the Bills two weeks ago, and we’ll ask him about that.

We’ve got the Bills news of the day, plus opportunities for phone calls from fans as well.

The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7pm-9pm on the flagship station of the Buffalo Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep: It’s just sickening

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2012 – 8:34 pm

The Bills defense has had their share of problems thus far this season. Bryan Scott was sickened after the loss to New England. Kelvin Sheppard had that same feeling after the one-point loss to Tennessee Sunday.

“On that last drive, if you would’ve asked me or told me we’re putting our defense on the field with a minute to go in the game and it’s 4th-and-10 plus with a minute to go to win the game and put it away I would’ve said there’s no doubt,” Sheppard told Buffalobills.com. “That’s why I’m hurt. When I say me I’m speaking for the whole defense. That’s just unacceptable.

“That’s not on Wannstedt. That’s not on any of the coaches. That’s on the players because the players were in position on almost all of those plays to make the play. It’s not coach putting us in bad positions. It’s the guys that are out there on the field. It’s sickening. It hurts a lot.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep: We have to dictate play to opponent

Posted by Chris Brown on October 9, 2012 – 9:25 am

Over the past two weeks both the offense and the defense have been guilty of letting the opponent dictate play to them and reacting. As far as Kelvin Sheppard is concerned it’s time to reverse that trend.

“That was some of the things that our coaches were seeing on film,” said Sheppard. “We’re sitting back and letting them maybe catch a ball when we’re only a yard or two away from them and making a break on it maybe and making a play. We need to turn into the dictators and play downhill, shooting gaps and make the running backs adjust off of us rather than us adjusting off of the O-linemen and running backs.

“Just changing our mentality first and foremost. Our mentality has to be that we’re an aggressive downhill, attacking type defense. That’s the scheme that Dave Wannstedt definitely wants so it’s our jobs as players to go out and execute. We’ve just got to pull our trigger and get downhill and go make the plays and don’t leave those plays out there.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pluses for Bills ‘D’ from Pittsburgh game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 3:03 pm

Buffalo’s defense had some dominant looking plays in their Saturday night preseason game against Pittsburgh. The film reviewers and stat crunchers at Pro Football Focus broke down the play of Buffalo’s defensive line, linebackers and Cordy Glenn. Most of it was pretty positive.

Pro Football Focus liked the play of Kelvin Sheppard and Nick Barnett as well as Kyle Williams. They also commented favorably on the play of Cordy Glenn at left tackle.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bradham to see work at SLB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2012 – 3:10 pm

Arthur Moats will be getting the starting nod at strong side linebacker for the second time in three preseason games tonight against the Steelers, but there’s another young LB that will see some time there as well.

After Moats’ night is done, rookie fourth-round pick Nigel Bradham will see time there. He had been seeing more time on the weak side in camp. The coaching staff wants to get a gauge for not only Bradham’s versatility, but how much he can handle mentally in terms of multiple roles on defense.

One note: don’t look at this as a demotion for Kirk Morrison. He’s going to be busy lining up at MLB as we told you here on Thursday. He’s expected to see time there behind Kelvin Sheppard tonight.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Morrison could see MLB snaps Sat.

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2012 – 6:29 pm

Bills LB Kirk Morrison has spent most of his career at middle linebacker. Although he has been mainly lined up on the strong side in direct competition with Arthur Moats, Morrison has also seen a few more reps of late in the middle.

“I think that what we’re doing as a defense is it’s all about being able to play multiple positions and for me having the ability to play middle linebacker for most of my career has helped me out a lot,” Morrison told Buffalobills.com.

Morrison saw a few reps at middle linebacker in the Minnesota game. This week with the audio headset being installed into his helmet Friday it’s likely he’ll see time at middle linebacker again Saturday night.

“It’ll be in there this week,” said Morrison of the communication device with the defensive coaches on the sideline. “We’ll see what happens. There are still some young guys and they want to make sure they give them a look too.”

The coaches likely see Morrison’s experience as a MLB as an asset should Kelvin Sheppard succumb to injury during the season. Knowing Arthur Moats is expected to start at SLB Saturday, Morrison’s versatility figures to be key in securing a final roster spot.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep, Spence finish early

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2012 – 9:31 pm

Kelvin Sheppard and Spencer Johnson both stepped out of practice early. Head coach Chan Gailey had an update on both.

“He’s got that same issue that’s still bothering him,” said Gailey of Sheppard. “He’s in and out, I think in the long term he’ll be fine.”

Sheppard is still dealing with an undisclosed medical issue.

“Spence has got a banged up shoulder that’s just bothering him,” said Gailey of Johnson. “I don’t think it’s anything major. They said he’ll be back soon. I don’t know if it’ll be tomorrow, but it’ll be soon.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep workload increases

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2012 – 3:24 pm

LB Kelvin Sheppard is getting reps in the team portions of practice for the first time in 2 days.

Sheppard got some reps in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 Friday though the number of snaps for him are not as many as he typically receives.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

No team reps for Shep

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 2:55 pm

Kelvin Sheppard was back participating in individual position drills, but there wasn’t much more after that.

Shep did not get any team reps and just left the field with athletic trainers. He didn’t make anything worse just limited in his participation.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep participating

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 2:09 pm

LB Kelvin Sheppard is back participating in practice.

He missed yesterday with what Chan Gailey described as a medical situation. Both he and Sheppard said it wasinor in nature.

We’ll keep you posted on the extent of his participation.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep says he’ll be fine

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 11:29 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey said Wednesday night that the reason MLB Kelvin Sheppard was sidelined was due to a medical situation, but would be back in a couple of days. We caught up with Sheppard after Wednesday’s closed walk through.

Sheppard did not sound the least bit concerned about whatever the medical situation is as he chose to keep the nature of it to himself.

“I’m here breathing smiling and communicating so I think I’m pretty fine,” he said. “A couple of days off and I’ll be back on the field.”

Sheppard assured that he will have no limitations with his play on the field as a result of the “medical situation.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep out for couple of days

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 8:09 pm

LB Kelvin Sheppard is going to miss a couple of days of practice. head coach Chan Gailey had details.

“He may miss a couple of days we’ll see,” said Gailey. “He’s got a situation he’s dealing with. It’s medical and that’s all I’m going to say about that right now.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep watching

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 6:07 pm

LB Kelvin Sheppard is the latest addition to the non-participation list tonight. We’ll get an update on his status after practice. Here are the other non-participants.

Justin Rogers
Chris Douglas
Josh Nesbitt
Kellen Heard
David Nelson
Kamar Aiken


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Posted in Inside the Bills