Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-31

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2014 – 11:41 am

It’s the bye week so focus on your fantasy rosters this week Bills fans. Here are your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – Hey Chris ,
Was wondering a couple of things when it comes to EJ & his history with the Bills & prior to . When EJ First came to the Bills the HC & OC led us to believe that they wanted him to have a veteran mentor (which was to be Kevin Kolb) to either sit behind & learn or play & have some one that has played the position to bounce things off of to learn from . So I am wondering why everyone is in such a uproar over this switch ? They are just going back to plan A correct ?

The second part to the question is every article or write-up on EJ prior to him being drafted by the Bills had pointed out a lot if not all of his short comings as a player, It seems from a fan stand point that when it comes to the most important position on a NFL team the Bills come up short when it has come to their decisions at that position both past & present. Were any of those articles or opinions taken into consideration while thinking of drafting him? It seems as though the only people high on EJ were those at one Bills Dr. Then to pass on available QB’s this past draft (if for nothing else to ramp up competition) they pass again on others that had as much if not more potential & better resume than EJ as a backup plan. Personal opinion it seems as though the coaches of this regime in A LOT of different ways show more rookie tendencies than the players !!

Thanks for your time & as always your insight on this & all our fan questions !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: Yes, there was a plan to have a veteran quarterback on hand from the get go and that was Kevin Kolb. He began training camp as the first QB through in the rotation, but it was a competition for the starting job. I think most were expecting Kolb to be the starter at the outset and if EJ came on he’d succeed him. We all know that plan went off the rails early.

I would disagree that every time the Bills have tried to pick a quarterback it has been the wrong quarterback. I’m not absolving quarterbacks drafted in the past for the trajectory of their careers with the Bills, but you do need to look at the circumstances around them.

Constant coaching turnover particularly at the coordinator position with different schemes and systems coming through during a young quarterback’s developmental stages is extremely disruptive to a QB’s progress and growth.

Let’s take J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards’ time with the Bills as an example. Two young quarterbacks who saw a lot of change in their short time with the club.

Losman’s rookie season was 2004. Tom Clements was the offensive coordinator under Mike Mularkey. The next season Mularkey takes play calling responsibility from Clements. After Mularkey is moved out the system changes, Steve Fairchild comes in as the new coordinator with a new system in 2006. After 2007, Edwards’ rookie year, he leaves to coach in college and Turk Schonert is inserted and tweaks the system again. By the 2009 season Losman is gone and Dick Jauron a week before the opener fires Schonert and promotes Alex Van Pelt to run the offense.

A year later Chan Gailey is the head coach with a completely different offense. Edwards’ tenure last only a couple of games into 2010 when he’s benched and eventually released as the Ryan Fitzpatrick era begins.

Now would Losman or Edwards ever fully got it and been successful quarterbacks in this league? Maybe not. Some might even say probably not, but the circumstances that existed in terms of coaching changes and scheme certainly decreased the chances of either of those two developing properly at the NFL level.

There is a value in continuity in the NFL. Organizations like Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the NY Giants have proven it. They limit turnover in an effort to let their players develop and flourish. Does it always work? No, but it has a track record of far more success than failure.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills.

Any news on how EJ is getting on? Also really impressed by his attitude on the sidelines on game day from what I have seen.
rmstrong_1982

CB: By all accounts EJ has been a pro’s pro. We’ll have an in depth story on the work Manuel has been putting in over the past month since he assumed the backup role on Buffalobills.com Saturday. Some great insight from EJ and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing on Manuel’s trust in the system and the extra work he puts in early in the morning with Kyle Orton and long after practice is over on the field. Check it out tomorrow!

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

Just curious why Mario Williams snaps have decreased over the past few weeks?

TheRealSeanK

CB: This was a question that both defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and head coach Doug Marrone addressed. Here was Schwartz’s response to Mario Williams drop in snap count the past three weeks.

“I don’t count reps,” said Schwartz. “I’m just worried about performance and production. If our defense is being productive then that’s the only thing we care about. Everybody else can worry about stats and snap counts and everything else, it’s about trying to win the game and doing what we think is best to win the game.”

It’s likely that Schwartz believes in quality over quantity with Mario Williams. I believe him when he says he doesn’t count reps, but perhaps in reviewing game tape he’s found that Williams’ gives him more quality reps (pass rush chiefly) when he plays between 38-45 snaps than when he plays 48-55 snaps a game. The other possibility is Jarius Wynn when he goes in is providing very little drop off in play.

Last week’s game is a good example. Wynn played 44 snaps to Williams’ 40. Wynn had three tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit. Williams had three tackles, a half sack and a forced fumble. Schwartz says they care about performance.

If Wynn is performing leave him in there. In a tight game when the outcome is on the line I’m sure Mario will be in the game.

Coach Marrone earlier this season indicated that he wanted to keep Williams fresh for important third down pass rushes late in a couple of the recent games. This past week up 20 points it’s my belief they wanted to keep him out of harm’s way so as not to risk injury.

The direct beneficiary when Mario Williams doesn’t get his usual number of reps, which is usually around 75 percent of the snaps is Jarius Wynn. The rotational end has performed well this season, and just about every game the percentage of their two snap counts adds up to 100 percent because Wynn is often subbing in for Williams. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the second half of the season.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for all the inside info, great reading your work all the time!  My question is regarding Marcell Dareus. He is having a phenomenal year but there still are the negative off the field events that took place in the offseason. Will he be facing any fines or suspensions for his incidents? It would be a shame to have him miss even one game.

Thanks again!
Chris

CB: Marcell is having a great season. Seven sacks in half a season for a defensive tackle, as Jim Schwartz said is pretty hard to do, and that’s coming from a guy who coached Ndamukong Suh.

It doesn’t appear that Dareus will be facing any league fines or suspensions this season for what happened this past offseason. It’s likely that he’ll face some kind of league discipline next year, much the way Nigel Bradham did when he was suspended for the season opener this year, for his off the field incident in the summer of 2013.

 

5 – Chris,

I think Hackett has completely failed on getting Mike Williams into the game plan.  I think Mike Williams could be a very effective WR.  The QB should be dropping back and the OC should have Watkins – Woods and Williams running patterns at the same time in a 3-WR set.  One of these 3 should be open every time.

Fred, Dixon and Brown should be pounding the ball. Seriously, I’m amazed some of these people get paid so much to be coordinators.  I think there are many individuals who could do a better job than Hackett.

Randy
South FL
CB: You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think we need to try and read between the lines here with respect to the lack of playing time for Mike Williams. I do agree that Williams is a rare talent. I’ve written many times that he is one of the five best receivers in the league when it comes to high-pointing the ball. You’d figure that would make him a weapon to use at least in the red zone. He did score 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league.

At the same time Chris Hogan has emerged as a slot receiver and is producing. Now he and Williams do not line up in the same place in this offense for the most part, but one word I continually hear from both coach Marrone and Kyle Orton in praising Chris Hogan’s efforts is reliability. They comment often on how Hogan is in the right place at the right time on every play. That reliability is an enormous comfort to a head coach, a coordinator and a quarterback knowing how critical the timing is in Buffalo’s passing game.

A veteran offensive coordinator once told me the NFL is about first downs, not touchdowns. What he meant was in the NFL the talent is a lot more even than it is at the college level, so big play touchdowns aren’t nearly as prevalent. So you prefer to have players you can rely on to make the catches that get you first downs time and again to keep drives and possessions alive. It’s that consistency that wins more often in the NFL.

Do I completely agree with that premise? Not totally. Sammy Watkins has me thinking that three or four big plays look pretty good too. We’ll have to see if Williams play time changes in the second half of the season. To his credit he’s putting in a lot of extra time on special teams of late in an effort to get on the field more.


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An update on Kevin Kolb

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 9:25 am

Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the veteran presence for the Bills at quarterback in 2013 and potentially beyond, but his career with Buffalo ended prematurely in the preseason with his fourth and final concussion in a preseason game at Washington, on his birthday of all things. SI.com filed an update on Kolb with a first person account from the now retired quarterback.

Kolb, who was down in Mexico this past summer and caught in Hurricane Odile, sheds some light on the concussion symptoms that forced him to injured reserve last season and to ultimately call it a career after just six seasons.


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Kolb going through medical process

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 4:08 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone met with the WNY media on Thursday at the NFL Combine and provided an update on QB Kevin Kolb.

“What I was told is there is a process and the medical process, he’s still going through it and we’re waiting for him to come back for another medical check, which is coming up,” said Marrone.

Buffalo’s head coach said he believes Kolb will be back for that medical check prior to the end of the league year March 11th.

“I believe so,” said Marrone. “I believe it’s the first week of March.”

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Kevin Kolb update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2013 – 5:51 pm

Bills fans have been asking so we passed along your question about how Kevin Kolb is faring after his preseason concussion against Washington. Here’s coach Marrone’s update on Kolb, who is currently on injured reserve.

“Kevin was injured to a point where we had to make a decision to put him on I-R,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “Once you put a player on I-R for the season without the ability to return, he’s on I-R the whole year. He’s working to get back more mentally on how he’s doing. Then physically he’ll start working.

“Right now he’s not around us as much. He’s just working on getting better. We’ve talked to him and I’ve talked to him personally and said when everything starts to come together we want to get him here to help with some of the young quarterbacks we have here.”

By the sound of it Kolb is still working to fully recover from this most recent concussion, which was initially sustained six weeks ago.


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Fred knew Kolb was hurt right away

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2013 – 6:24 pm

Bills QB Kevin Kolb wasn’t officially diagnosed with a concussion until a day after the team’s loss at Washington. Veteran RB Fred Jackson, however, knew something was wrong right after Kolb took a knee to the back of his head.

“You could see it when he got up,” said Jackson. “Something just wasn’t right and he tried to push through it. You want to be there for him as a teammate and tell him it didn’t look right. He said he was fine, but then it showed up and it was worse than he thought it was.”

Athletic trainers pulled him from the game as soon as he displayed concussion-like symptoms.


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Bills finally go deep

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2013 – 9:06 am

They had been talking about it the entire preseason, but it had yet to happen. Going deep in the passing game with speed wideouts like T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin. On Saturday the Bills finally opened things up and they did early.

On the first play from scrimmage in the game Kevin Kolb launched a pass deep down the left sideline for T.J. Graham and though they didn’t connect on the play, Graham drew a 34-yard penalty on the play.

In fact Graham did not record a single catch after being targeted on three deep balls. On the second he was called for offensive pass interference. On the third he again drew a pass interference penalty for 42 yards.

What’s most important is the Bills put on tape that they’re willing to take those shots and that the speed of Graham and Goodwin needs to be respected.


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Team reacts to loss of Kolb

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 11:08 pm

Bills DT Kyle Williams couldn’t explain why the team came out flat as he described it. And while they’ll work to address that the players know the personnel department has to remedy the situation at quarterback where at the end of Saturday’s game there was just one healthy player in Jeff Tuel.

“That’s kind of scary to look at with only one guy back there,” said Williams. “Hopefully, it’s not too serious with him. Hopefully,  EJ can continue to get better.  Jeff’s done a good job when he’s played, but you don’t want one, going into any game, much less a preseason game.”

Buffalo is already working on bringing veteran free agents in for workouts with reports of Matt Leinard and John Beck coming in.


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Marrone says adding QB necessary

Posted by Chris Brown on August 24, 2013 – 8:19 pm

The Bills lost their second quarterback in as many preseason games as Kevin Kolb suffered concussion-like symptoms. According to head coach Doug Marone will now have to seek another quarterback and sign a free-agent signal caller.

Marrone said they would have to sign another quarterback with Brad Smith also expected to help take snaps to get through the practice week before the preseason finale on Thursday night.


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Kolb: Offense coming together

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2013 – 9:13 am

Even though injuries at quarterback compromised the fluidity of both the quarterback competition and the installation and refinement of the offense, Bills QB Kevin Kolb feels that their unit has done a remarkable job of tightening things up in the past week.

“I think everyone is shocked with how well we’ve jelled so quickly and it’s a tribute to our coaches and again the players and the veterans that were here before and the hard work we’ve put in,” said Kolb. “Hopefully we just keep growing and stay hungry. A day like (Wednesday) with us leaving camp, for us to have the kind of work day and that kind of execution said a lot about our team.”


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Woods: EJ upbeat, Kolb capable

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2013 – 8:06 am

Though EJ Manuel is on the shelf for the rest of the preseason it doesn’t have him down. That according to one of his fellow rookies, wide receiver Robert Woods.

“Just a positive mindset. He’s eager to get back,” said Woods of Manuel. “He’s already trying to get back. His mindset is positive, that’s the good thing. He’s shooting for Week One I believe, but we’re confident that (Kevin) Kolb can get the job done and make some string throws.”

Kolb will make the start Saturday at Washington.

 


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Kolb: Should be in sync with Stevie soon

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2013 – 8:01 am

Bills WR Stevie Johnson is easing his way back into the team portions of practice. He took a handful of team reps in practice Sunday. QB Kevin Kolb believes if he keeps increasing those team reps through the course of the week and his cleared to play at Washington Saturday that the two of them will be in sync for game time.

“Yeah, I think so. He’s a great player and we want him out there,” said Kolb. “This offense is a little bit unique. It’s progression and it’s not all just about timing and stuff like that. It’s got some different intricacies to it. I feel like we have plenty of time to get him back in the motions and get him back to where we want him to be and get comfortable with him.”

 


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EJ timetable tricky after preseason

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2013 – 3:00 pm

Doug Marrone was hesitant to lay out any timetables for EJ Manuel’s recovery beyond the remainder of the preseason. One could understand why.

Even though Manuel stands a good chance of being day-to-day by the close of the preseason Marrone wasn’t going to go beyond that.

“I think what we’re going to do is let’s not talk about the timetable until we get through this preseason. I understand he’s not going to be here for the preseason, but any time after that my expectation is he’ll be day to day after that.”

Marrone also has to take a wait and see approach on whether the QB competition, which is now on hold, can resume when Manuel is back practicing.

“I don’t know,” he said. “There are a lot of variables that go into that. How Kevin is doing and how he is playing. How EJ comes back from the time off, so there’s a lot of speculation on that. I think I’ll be able to answer that question once we get to the day to day and he’s out here practicing.”


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EJ’s injury shows why vet QB important to have

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2013 – 4:10 pm

With coach Marrone’s statement Saturday that EJ Manuel suffered a knee injury that will require surgery, it served as a painful reminder on how important it is to have a veteran QB on the roster.

Kolb, whether he wins the starting QB job or not, offers the experience that Buffalo’s other two quarterbacks do not possess.

Even though the games don’t count yet, knowing they can turn to Kolb, who has been through adversity in the league before should help keep the team on course for the regular season.


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Marrone: plans at QB for 3rd game premature

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2013 – 1:06 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked immediately after the team’s 20-16 win over Minnesota if he had a plan in place for the playing time for the quarterbacks in preseason game three at Washington. Marrone said he hasn’t even thought about the Washington game to this point.

Marrone didn’t address the quarterback competition directly, but speaking generally made it clear he has not gone over playing time for anyone yet.

“I haven’t looked at a plan for game three yet, honestly,” said Marrone. “I’ve been doing that throughout the thing with the players because here’s what happens–you get a plan and then you practice through the week and someone gets nicked or injured and the all of the sudden you’ve got to make changes. I wait until we get closer to the game before I
start making plans on what we’re doing.”


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Marrone: Kolb’s 1st game like EJ’s first

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2013 – 12:30 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone when asked if Kevin Kolb got off to a slow start Friday night against the Vikings likened how Kolb’s evening played out to that of EJ Manuel’s NFL debut last Sunday.

“I think he probably got off to the same start as EJ got in to last game,” said Marrone. “I think the goal for that and I think it’s tough when you come in to those games and you’re first time you come in to it you want to get in that rhythm. If you don’t, once you get in to it you have to find a way to get the quarterback in to it. We did later on and he was able to move us down the field.”

Kolb did finish the night completing 10 of his final 13 passes on the two field goal drives to end the half.

Friday night was Kolb’s first live game action since Week 6 last season when the Bills knocked him out of their game against Arizona, which Buffalo won in overtime on October 14th.

“It was good to get back in the groove, forget the competition; it was good to get back in the groove for myself,” Kolb said. “Again, you guys know when you all knocked me out last year and it’s been a long time to now. It was just nice to get back out there and feel the sweat a little bit. Get padded up and start working. I’m just a little bit unhappy that it took so long.”


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Kolb focused on playing not QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 1:03 pm

He’s been through enough quarterback competitions to know that if you speculate on what the coaches are thinking your focus is taken away from how you’re supposed to perform. That’s why Kevin Kolb, who will get the start tonight against Minnesota, is only thinking about his play from now until the time his night is over.

“I just think you can’t focus on that stuff,” said Kolb. “You have to focus on what can I do as a quarterback? How do I get better? And you’ve got to be coachable. That’s a  big thing for Nate and this offense so that’s what I’m out here to prove.”

When asked if it’s his last shot at the Bills starting job Kolb didn’t see it as the final kick at the can.

“Well it’s one of them,” he said. “Obviously it’s a big one. We’ve had a lot of shots. We’ve had a lot of shots starting back with OTAs, and obviously it picks up as we go from here.”


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Kolb to start at QB Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2013 – 8:10 pm

Kevin Kolb will start at quarterback preseason game number two for the bills. More details later in practice notes.


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Marrone: We’re going to get Kevin ready to play

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2013 – 10:48 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was pleased with the step taken by Kevin Kolb in practice Tuesday as the veteran signal caller looked sharp in the passing game. And it sounds like he’s ready to give Kolb the green light for Friday’s preseason game.

“I was happy today,” said Marrone. “Obviously I watched him very closely yesterday and again today. And I thought today he looked really good. So it’s to a point now where we’re going to get him ready to play.”

Marrone is expected to announce his quarterback rotation after Wednesday’s night practice.


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Kolb trying to push past frustration

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 8:30 pm

Bills QB Kevin Kolb was just coming off his best practice of training camp when his freak slip on a rubber mat going from one practice field to another cost him better than a week of camp practice. Now just getting back into the flow of practice Monday, Kolb is trying to put the frustrations of an unforeseen mishap behind him.

“Oh man, I mean it was (frustrating), I’d just come off my best practice probably, feeling really comfortable,” he said. “I just got through telling everybody ‘This is the most comfortable I’ve felt in a while’ and for something goofy like that to happen was very frustrating. Of course with the family situation having to leave the team for a while, obviously not a good time but you fight through those struggles and move on.”

Kolb not only wasn’t practicing, a family funeral back home kept him out of team meetings as well. His knee still isn’t 100 percent and it’s put him behind in practice reps and preseason game time. He’s hopeful that he can go out and play on Friday night against the Vikings, but even he is unsure of whether his knee will be healthy enough to do that.

“I don’t know that really I can do that because a lot of it depends on how I feel tomorrow coming back from a full practice,” Kolb said. “I’d love to tell you right now that I’m playing for sure, but that’s not necessarily correct.”

 


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Kolb getting team reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 3:04 pm

Bills QB Kevin Kolb is taking part in team reps here at practice Monday.

Kolb was limited in his first return to practice last Friday due to a knee injury.

On Monday he got some team reps in practice rotating in with the first unit on their second series.

EJ Manuel ran with the first team offense on the first series while Jeff Tuel went with the twos.


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