Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 5-15

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2015 – 11:41 am

Sorry for the one week hiatus. A lot of news going down last week. OTAs are less than two weeks away. Let’s get right to your questions from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –  @ChrisBrownBills

just curious why Bills have Felton and Conner?


CB: Doug Whaley has stated many times that any time they have a chance to make an upgrade they’re going to do so. The John Conner signing this week is an example of that. While I don’t deny that it’s unusual to have two proven fullbacks on one roster, I think Whaley and Rex Ryan subscribe to the philosophy of creating as much competition as possible in the training camp setting.

Conner will push Jerome Felton and that makes both players better. Ultimately Felton is going to be this team’s starting fullback, but if there’s an injury Conner is a fantastic fall back option. Can Conner convince the coaches to make an exception and keep two fullbacks? With the depth of this roster that’s going to be difficult, but you can’t fault a team for trying to get better everywhere and driving up the level of competition.


2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for your continued pursuit of giving a small market team, big time exposure.

I know the McCoy/Alonso deal has been discussed ad nauseum and much like most Bills fans, I found myself conflicted and constantly flip-flopping on how to feel.  At the end of the day, the organization is making an aggressive play to enhance the offense, which is definitely something I support.  Having said that, seeing that the Bills were willing to commit heavy resources to a running back I’m uncertain of what to feel hypothesizing that we could have signed Demarco Murray for less money and still retained Kiko (whether to keep or to use as a potential trade asset).  Both backs are elite and I don’t wish to jibber-jabber over which one is better, but how can a cogent argument be made that McCoy > Demarco + Kiko?

Keep up the great work.
Robert F.

CB: While I think most would acknowledge that DeMarco Murray + Kiko Alonso is better than just LeSean McCoy, you’re operating under the assumption that Murray would be interested in signing with Buffalo.

It’s possible he may have been willing to sign with the Bills. We’ll probably never know, but Murray is a year older than McCoy. Unlike McCoy, who avoids the kill shots of defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties, Murray takes big hits. I think one could argue that the cumulative wear and tear on Murray is greater than on McCoy.

Now that doesn’t dismiss your argument that Murray + Alonso would be better than just McCoy, but I’m not convinced Murray would’ve signed here.


3 – Hi Chris, thank you to you and your team for all the off season coverage.
I have to think Suh signing this contract hurts us in two ways. 1, he bolsters the Dolphins defense and we have to go up against him twice a year. 2, did he set the market for Marcell Dareus as a free agent? Dareus was considered the best tackle against the run last year, and had more tackles and sacks than Suh. If Marcell doesn’t drop off this year wouldn’t he command the same contract as Suh? We saw what happens without Marcell in the lineup, just look at the Oakland game before and after his injury.  Do you think the Bills can afford to re-sign him, and if so, is that at the expense of asking Mario Williams to restructure his contract or full on releasing him?

CB: The Bills maintain that their cap structure will allow for a long term contract extension for Dareus. He’s the linchpin of the defensive interior for the long term future.

You’re right the Suh deal did set the market. I think in an ideal world the Bills have Dareus signed to a long term deal before the 2015 season commences. The more he performs on the field the more his price goes up, so it would behoove the Bills to seal a deal before September. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.


4 – Hi Chris
Do the Bills have any definite plans for Marcus Thigpen? Is he still on the roster? Percy Harvin is arguably a better all-around player, but in all the mentions of Buffalo “weapons” I’ve not once heard Thigpen’s name.

Just curious

CB: Thigpen is still on the roster yes. Harvin is clearly a better all-around player. Thigpen was a punt return specialist on this team last season after Leodis McKelvin broke his ankle. And while he did do a good job this roster became even harder for him to make with the offseason additions, Harvin chief among them. With McKelvin expected to be ready by training camp, the team’s primary punt returner will be back in the fold. So Thigpen, though very capable, may get caught up in a numbers game at the receiver position.


5 – Chris,
With the addition of Harvin, how do you expected the formations to look like? How does it change the role of Robert Woods, who had a great 2nd half of the season. Harvin might cut into Watkin’s targets, I like to see Watkin’s used more creatively.

Is Goodwin on the bubble to make the roster? I’d like to see a coach that will throw him the ball.


CB: I think the Greg Roman offense is going to be as multiple as possible with a myriad of pre-snap formations and shifts. So to give you an answer about formations would be like trying to hit a moving target. I expect Harvin to line up outside opposite Watkins, with Woods working more in the slot in this offense. Hogan would work the other slot in four-wide looks.

Based on Rex Ryan’s comments it sounds like Goodwin will get a far better opportunity to prove that he belongs on this roster than he did from the previous staff. I wouldn’t call him a bubble player, but from a pure numbers standpoint he’s going to have a challenge on his hands.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bradham stunned by Alonso trade

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2015 – 4:19 pm

Knowing the Bills trade opportunity for LeSean McCoy even caught GM Doug Whaley off guard, it’s not surprising to know that Bills LB Nigel Bradham was floored by it as well. The only difference for Bradham however, was his close friendship with Kiko Alonso.

“It’s a tough business man,” said Bradham. “Obviously he’s a close friend of mine and we still talk. I just wish the best for him. He’s going to excel, we all know that he’s a great player and just keep wishing the best for him.”

Bradham said he was surprised by the trade, but understands why the move was made.

“It’s all about making our team better, but it’s just something we’ve got to deal with that,” he said.

On the bright side Bradham understands that with the front office feeling comfortable enough to move Alonso in a trade it was also a direct reflection on the talent the personnel department feels they have in Bradham and Preston Brown.

“It says a lot. It definitely says a lot,” said Bradham. “Obviously that was probably one of the main reasons why they did it. But me and Preston we’ve just got to keep stepping it up and keep getting better every day.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jeremiah goes LB for Bills in 2 rd. mock

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 2:27 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has put together a full two-round mock draft and has gone to the defensive side of the ball for the Bills with their first pick at 50th overall.

Jeremiah went with an outside linebacker at pick 50 taking UCLA’s Eric Kendricks. Here was his brief take on the pick.

50. Buffalo: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
Comment: Kendricks is instinctive and athletic in coverage.

Jeremiah likely sees that Manny Lawson will be entering the final year of his contract with Buffalo in 2015, and that coupled with the release of Keith Rivers and trade of Kiko Alonso gives credence to the possibility of a linebacker being taken on day two, if not round two, in round three.



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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-3

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2015 – 11:45 am

The team’s offseason conditioning program begins on Monday. Prep for 2015 begins. Now for your questions from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for all you do to keep Bills fans informed.

The perception in Tennessee seems to be that Andy Levitre has not lived up to his contract.  If he gets released, do you see any chance of him coming back to Buffalo?  Do you think that would be a good move at this point for the Bills?

Jason T
Philadelphia, PA
Go Bills!

CB: I wouldn’t rule it out, but I believe it’s unlikely. Levitre is still young enough to command a pretty sizable contract so were he to be released I think he’d still cost a hefty amount. And with Buffalo’s limited cap space now I don’t know that he’d fit from a fiscal standpoint.


2 – Hey Chris ,

WOW !  I can see this McCoy trade blowing up in the Bills face! Personally I think Whaley has made a HUGE mistake! He GAVE away a star in the making not to mention with the contracts of Hughes this year, Dareus & Gilmore next year & others he has screwed up the amount of the cap that he will have to work with & who he will be able to keep beyond next year.

Not to mention that if CJ had any thoughts of working with the team by seeing what he was worth as a FA & coming to the Bills & asking what kind of deal they could give that is gone because they instead of doing what they said trying to bring back their draft picks totally alienated CJ!

It was once said that they meaning the Bills were going to build through the draft & wanted to keep their own. Building through the draft is much more cost effective! If there was any chance of them picking up say Gurley that is probably gone to with the Shady deal. If they would have offers CJ $8 Mil a year he probably would have taken the deal & saved them cap space .

I really hope this pans out but I think it will back fire & make us look like what the rest of the league already thinks of us, a laughing stock
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville
CB: I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. Yes, there is no question the Bills gave up a good, young player in Kiko Alonso, but when you have the opportunity to land one of the top three running backs in the league who is just entering his prime and you’re coming off a season in which you finished 25th in the league in rushing you pull the trigger.

Buffalo had the fourth-best defense in the league last year without Kiko Alonso on the field. Alonso is coming off his second career ACL and also had shoulder surgery last year. I’m not saying he can’t come back from that, but that’s a lot of wear and tear on a 25-year old body.

To compare McCoy and Spiller is apples and oranges. McCoy can run inside and outside and handle a heavy workload. As much as I respect C.J.’s game history tells us a heavy workload more likely leads to injury for him.

The cap concerns you have were alleviated with McCoy re-doing his deal, which contained an extension to spread his money out more.

Concerning your comment on building through the draft, the Bills aren’t deviating from the philosophy. This was an offer that was presented to them out of the blue. When you have an opportunity like the Bills did to land McCoy you take it no matter what your philosophy is as to how to build your team.

With all due respect I think you need to put a little more faith in Doug Whaley as a GM.
3 – Chris,

With Kiko gone, who fills his spot inside? I think he would have been valuable and isn’t easily replaceable as people think due to the fact that he is a 3 down linebacker who can drop into coverage. Will they bring back Spikes?

CB: Spikes does remain an available option, but I think the Bills are only willing to re-sign him at their price. Buffalo has two capable three down linebackers in Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown. I expect the Bills to draft a linebacker in the middle rounds to build their depth and would expect them to look for an athletic backer. Manny Lawson probably moves back to more of a SAM linebacker role in Dennis Thurman’s defense so that brings another veteran to the LB corps.
4 – Chris,
How do compensatory picks work?  I know generally that if a team loses more free agents than it signs, they get awarded pick(s).  But how do you have a team if you’ve lost more players than you have received?  I don’t get it.

As a follow up, this has been an interesting offseason so far.  Do you see the Bills optimizing to try to acquire compensatory picks?



Len in NYC
CB: The basics of determining compensatory picks begins with a net loss of free agents as you mentioned, but there is a myriad of particulars as to what free agent signings count and what ones do not. For example if a free agent is signed after June 1st (now May 12th per reports) it doesn’t count toward your plus-minus free agent total. There are several other stipulations that govern the final total that’s too much to get into here.

Baltimore is one of those clubs that has turned acquiring compensatory picks into an art form. Very often they wait to sign free agents until after June 1st (now May 12th) so they don’t count toward their total and they’re routinely among the clubs getting the most compensatory picks the next year for their free agent losses.

As for the Bills, the acquisition of Clay (who from what I’ve been told will count), Harvin and Felton have Buffalo ahead of the game with Pears, Spiller, Searcy and Lee Smith signing elsewhere. So I’ve got the Bills at minus one. We’ll see how it all shakes out next March.


5 – Chris,

A question on free agency. If an agent is dealing with team “A” and team “B” and say one team comes in  higher than another, but the player prefers playing for the team with lower bid who has the final say. Does the agent have the right to say I’m working for you to get the highest salary possible? Is the player bound to sign the best offer?  With Josh McCown signing with the Browns, was the three-year deal probably the factor? It seems in the past for a veteran type backup two-year deals were the going rate .

Thanks for keeping us fans in the know, your the best.

Wally James
Fredericksburg ,Va

CB: Thanks for the kind words. Per your question the answer is no. Players hire the agent, not the other way around. So players determine ultimately who they want to play for. Now agents will sometimes try to steer or convince players to take the offer with more money, and in many cases they do. Some players do forget to think for themselves and do what they want and blindly follow their agent’s recommendation. But most know it’s their career and their decision.

Concerning McCown my understanding is Cleveland was willing to pay McCown a lot more than the Bills were willing to offer, so it was more about the total committed dollars than the length of the contract.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills young talent ranks favorably

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 9:39 am

ESPN did a league wide analysis of the young talent on every roster in the NFL. The Bills ranked in the top half of the league with their healthy number of young playmakers.

ESPN Insider Matt Williamson had the Bills ranked 11th in the league when it came to their “farm system” of young talent. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo’s roster.

11. Buffalo Bills

Sammy Watkins, WR (21): He didn’t put up the same numbers as some of the rookie receivers drafted after him, but make no mistake: He is still a supreme prospect. He has great speed and ball skills, but what some might overlook with him is his strength. Every aspect of his game exudes power, from his running style to his aggressiveness attacking the football.

Marcell Dareus, DT (24): The Bills’ excellent defensive line is the foundation of their defense, and Dareus is the anchor in the middle. He dominates in the running game and continues to improve as an every-down player who can get to the quarterback as well.

Cordy Glenn, LT (25): Not the prototypical light-footed left tackle, Glenn uses his great size and wingspan to protect the blind side. He is a top-10 tackle in this league.

Stephon Gilmore, CB (24): Gilmore excels in both man and zone coverage. With Rex Ryan taking over as Buffalo’s head coach, Gilmore should see a ton of one-on-one coverage against the opponent’s top receiver. He’s up to the task.

Kiko Alonso, LB (25): He missed all of 2014 due to an injury, but he along with Brandon Spikes and Preston Brown gives Buffalo one of the best linebacker groups in football.

Others of note: Nigel Bradham, EJ Manuel, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Marquise Goodwin,Cyril Richardson, Bryce Brown, Nickell Roby, Seantrel Henderson, Robert Woods, Preston Brown,Cyrus Kouandjio

The Colts, Patriots and Rams were the top three ranked teams.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills LBs exceeding expectations

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2014 – 12:06 pm

There were some promising new additions and a hold over who hadn’t shown much in his first two NFL seasons, but without Kiko Alonso, what the Bills were going to get from their linebacking corps in a new defensive system offered a bit of the unknown. The hope was just that the run defense would be better and someone would be able to fill the pass coverage role of Alonso on third downs. Through three quarters of the season Buffalo’s linebackers have exceeded expectations.

Preston Brown has been a highly productive rookie, Brandon Spikes has helped the run defense and Nigel Bradham has put together a breakout season.

“I really like our linebackers,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “Each one of them brings a lot to the table. Nigel Bradham is having an outstanding year. Preston is almost the equivalent to what we had with Kiko last year. A three down player that can do a lot. Brandon Spikes has brought leadership and toughness to our group. I’m happy with how we’re playing at that position.”

Marrone admitted this week that he wasn’t certain at the beginning of the season whether his linebacking corps would come together as well as it has in light of the new faces and scheme.

“I thought it would be a challenge,” he said. “I don’t think it’s like before when we were talking about Jairus Byrd. When you lose somebody like Kiko and the year he had you wonder where do we go and who do we have to replace him? And then all of a sudden Preston Brown really pops. Two years in a row we’ve popped the draft with two linebackers that are three down linebackers that are two outstanding football players. Along with Nigel Bradham really doing a 180 and turning around and playing lights out in comparison to what he did in the past.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiko confident in the rehab process

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2014 – 9:28 am

He’s only three months removed from surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee, but Kiko Alonso is encouraged by his progress. In an exclusive interview with, Alonso, citing the time when he tore the ACL in his right knee in college, is feeling good about the state of his knee at this point in his rehabilitation.

“I think I did a good job with the rehab of my other knee the first time, so I think I’m doing just as good a job this time if not better,” said Alonso. “I think the protocol is pretty much the same. It’s the same regimen so I’m sticking to it. I’m really doing a lot of the same stuff that I remember doing from the last time. It’s obviously a slow recovery, but I’m sticking to it and you’ve got to have patience.”

Alonso admits that having successfully rehabbed his right knee has helped him stay patient with his left knee.

“I know that patience is really the biggest thing,” he said. “Having been through it once I know I have to take it one day at a time and if I do that I’ll be fine.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills high on LB Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2014 – 11:40 am

He’s starting in place of suspended LB Nigel Bradham this week, but looking beyond the opener the future is bright for rookie third-round pick Preston Brown. Though Buffalo’s personnel department deserves the majority of the credit for targeting Brown in the draft, they didn’t get any argument from head coach Doug Marrone on Brown’s abilities.

That’s because Marrone faced him in college while he was the head coach at Syracuse in the Big East conference. Buffalo’s head coach was impressed with him then and he’s impressed with him now. In fact Marrone believes Brown’s rookie training camp was on par with that of Kiko Alonso’s rookie camp last year.

“When I first watched the film, my impression was this reminds me of how Kiko was last year,” said Marrone. “I know that’s saying a lot, but when Preston first came out on the field, he was doing that—running around, making plays, like Kiko was. That was my first impression.  Having played against them (Louisville) for a couple of years in college, I knew a lot about him. I thought he moved a lot better in person here than I thought he did when I was coaching against him. Those cats (at Louisville) were good on defense now.”

The Cardinals under Charlie Strong in fact were the top ranked defense in the nation one year, with Brown the team’s leading tackler his last two seasons.

“He’s a very good tackler, obviously, he has all those tackles,” said Marrone. “He matched up on some of our better players well in  man to man.  We tried to match up with him and he shut us down.”

Brown will make his first NFL start Sunday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Alonso’s agent: Kiko had successful surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2014 – 12:54 pm

Kiko Alonso’s agent announced on Twitter this afternoon that the Bills linebacker underwent successful surgery to repair his torn ACL. Here’s what he wrote.

Dr. Andrews is one of the most renown orthopedists in the country. Alonso tore his ACL on July 1st in a personal workout. Typically surgeons need to wait for the swelling to subside in the wake of the injury before surgery can be performed.

Bills GM Doug Whaley is scheduled to address the media later this afternoon.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-18

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2014 – 11:59 am

Well Bills fans it’s here. The 2014 Bills training camp presented by Connors and Ferris gets underway with player report day today. I will do my best to keep up to date on Fan Fridays during camp knowing that’s when questions will be flying in from you folks. It just gets a bit nutty sometimes at camp so bear with me. Send your questions as always to me on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris.

I Love all the work that you do. As far as the current Bills go I had a question about the plays EJ was requesting to be removed from the offence.  I remember that he wanted ‘clean reads’.  I don’t know much about professional play structure, but I wanted to ask if, by eliminating those, does that make it easier for the defense to adjust to the play, or, more generally, how does doing that affect the defense.  Are they clean reads versus the Tampa 2, but maybe not 3-deep, etc.?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Sal Prezioso
CB: I appreciate the compliment. I’ll let EJ explain what he was getting at with respect to the give and take with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on choosing plays to keep or remove from the game plan week to week.

“I think Coach Hackett is going to put everything on my plate that we need to win. I don’t think he’s going to be limited at all as far as his play calling,” said Manuel. “It’s just having the rapport with your coach. Sometimes there may be plays I don’t like and I’ll tell him. I know there were a few plays we came into at minicamp I just wanted to be clean, I wanted to have sharp reads. I told him hey I don’t like that play and we took it out. I think that’s having that good rapport between Coach Hackett and I.”

Having “clean reads” could mean a number of different things so we’d only be speculating as to what EJ meant exactly.

In reality taking plays out doesn’t make it easier for the defense. They still will likely not know what’s coming next. And as Manuel said very shortly after making this comment, you could have just 20 plays in a game plan and if you execute them effectively it doesn’t matter what the defense does. That was the M.O. of the K-gun offense. Fast, simple, effective.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the current Bills try to adopt a bit of that philosophy this season. Not the same offense, but the same approach.


2 – Hi Chris,

My question is about the general experiences that a fan from Charleston, South Carolina needs to experience (born and raised in Damascus, VA- a very small town but now, I live and have worked in SC for 7 yrs). I have been a fan since I was a kid and one of my dreams is now coming true.  My wonderful wife bought me tickets for the Minnesota game and being so far away from Western New York of course this will be my first game.

I was wondering if there are places to possibly get autographs from the team? I do have many questions but I will keep it brief; could you tell me the name of the wing place that they take the first round draft pics at? Any information would be greatly appreciated you do a great job at keeping us non-local fans informed.

CB: Autographs are easiest to obtain at training camp with the next best option being by good old fashioned mail. If you’ve got an item you want signed that can be mailed I’d recommend it. Just send it to the player’s attention at One Bills Drive, Orchard Park, NY 14127 with a self-addressed envelope so he can send whatever he signs back to you.

As for experiences here on game weekend Duff’s is the place to go for wings, but you’ll be able to get them right at the stadium this season at most of the concession stands. They’re the official wing of the Buffalo Bills.

The brand new Bills store will be up and running so that will be a stop you have to make. We also have the Bills Experience inside the team’s Fieldhouse on game day that is open to fans from 9:30 to 12:30 for 1 pm home games. A lot of interactive stuff is there for fans to do along with a host of vendors and you can watch the pre-game radio show on our flagship station live for the whole three hours. I’ll be there for the final hour myself so be sure to come say hello. Safe travels and we’ll see you up here on Oct. 19th!


3 – Hi Chris,

Looking forward to training camp and we always have a group which goes to a night practice.  Is there any information available on where and when we can get tickets?  This is the toughest part of the process as sometimes they are only in Rochester locations.  Trying to make plans, so this would be a great help.  Thanks so much.


Cliff Miller
CB: Here is the link to all the information you’ll need on night practice tickets.

4 – Chris,

Thanks for all of the great coverage of the Bills throughout the year. I was disappointed when I heard the news regarding Kiko;  he was all over the field last year and the heart of the defense.  However,  I feel that Bradham and/or Rivers are capable of quality play at linebacker.  Returning from a torn ACL is never easy, but do you think it is easier for defensive player to return to their pre-injury form after recovery compared to offensive players?  I just hope Kiko will be able to go sideline to sideline in the 2015 season like he did during the 2013 campaign.

R.J.  Westmoreland, NY
CB: I don’t know if it’s any easier for a defensive player to return to pre-injury form than an offensive player. The reason a blanket statement like that can’t be used is because every ACL recovery case is different. Every person heals and recovers differently from the next. That’s largely why physicians put a 7-9 month recovery window on ACL reconstruction patients. Some heal faster and some heal slower, so a two month window on the recovery is given. Let’s hope Kiko is a quick and effective healer.


5 – Dear Chris
First and foremost you’re the man. Your work ethic on providing up to date info on our squad is second to none.

My first question is why is Aaron Williams being moved to FS? I would’ve loved to see him stay at SS with Corey Graham taking FS. I thought that’s why Graham was signed. Poor Williams has had 4 new DC. And 3 position changes now.

Second has there been talk about slowing down the offense towards the end of games if we’re leading??
Last years week 1 NE game is still stuck in my head. WE HAD IT!!  But in all honesty our line should be a lot better this year so I might eat my words. Thanks again

Saratoga Springs

CB: Williams is being moved to free safety to replace Jairus Byrd. Coming from a coverage background at corner, he has the athleticism and experience to cover the deep half and roll over the top of his corners in double coverage situations. The way Jim Schwartz uses safeties makes the position designations of strong and free somewhat moot. They’re largely interchangeable in his scheme.

Corey Graham will probably get a look at safety. How lengthy that look will be and how seriously he’s considered for a role at safety be it as a starter or reserve remains to be seen. Da’Norris Searcy enters training camp as the top guy at strong safety at this point. He’ll get healthy competition from Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks.

As for slowing down the offense. If the Bills have the lead late I do expect them to go into a four-minute mode more often especially with a pound out yards rusher like Anthony Dixon now on the roster. Whether they’ll slow down the tempo is likely going to be decided on a case by case basis.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Analytics point to LB Bradham as star in waiting

Posted by Chris Brown on July 2, 2014 – 12:29 pm

Even before the devastating ACL injury suffered by Kiko Alonso Tuesday in an offseason workout, which will likely cost him the 2014 season, there was some buzz about Bills third-year LB Nigel Bradham. ProFootballFocus had Bradham listed as their Secret Superstar for Buffalo in 2014. Now Bills fans are hoping that becomes the case now more than ever.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this spring, PFF writer Peter Damilatis explained why they expect Bradham to have a breakout season in 2014.

“The one thing I like about Bradham is I feel he can sit in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, but I think he can be a solid 4-3 strong side linebacker,” Damilatis said. “He has a fearlessness in attacking the run at the point of attack. We would see a lead blocker like a fullback coming in to clear the way and Bradham would stick in there and stonewall him and blow up the entire play.

“Despite playing a quarter of the snaps of a lot of other guys like Kiko Alonso and Mario Williams he actually had the best run defense grade of any linebacker on the Bills roster and the eighth best run defense grade of any inside linebacker in the NFL, which is pretty remarkable for someone who played just 26 percent of the team snaps.”

Bradham lined up mainly as a strong side linebacker in Buffalo’s defense under DC Jim Schwartz in the spring practices, and that job could be his to lose with Keith Rivers expected to replace Alonso on the weak side.

Damilatis said that Bradham’s numbers for tackling efficiency and yards allowed in coverage also indicate the third-year linebacker is in for a big season in 2014 if he gets on the field more.

“When you add it up his tackle rate is among the top 10 linebackers as well. He’s a very sure tackler,” Damilatis said. “One thing I also saw from him is he have some pretty good coverage skills too. He was in the top 10 for yards allowed on coverage snaps. Buddy Nix talked about Bradham being a capable three down linebacker and our metrics indicate that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Most likely void fillers for Kiko

Posted by Chris Brown on July 1, 2014 – 9:24 pm

With GM Doug Whaley’s announcement that Kiko Alonso sustained a serious injury while working out, there could be a void to fill. Here are some likely candidates to step into the weak side linebacker role.

Nigel Bradham and Keith Rivers are the most likely candidates. Rivers has lined up at all three linebacker positions through the spring while Bradham has been use in multiple packages.

Other outside linebacker candidates include largely unproven players like Ty Powell and seventh round pick Randell Johnson.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mario on NFL’s Top 100 gives Bills a 1st

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2014 – 10:01 pm

Tonight (Wednesday) on the NFL’s Top 100 on NFL Network, Mario Williams became the fourth Bills player to appear on the list. His appearance at #29 also marks a league first in the four-year history of the countdown.

With the addition of Mario Williams, the Bills become the first team in the four-year history of the NFL’s Top 100 Players to have three defensive linemen appear in the Top 100 Players.

Mario joins linemates Marcell Dareus (#62) and Kyle Williams (#32). Kiko Alonso (#82) was also on the list.

This is the third time that Mario Williams appears on the list, and it’s his highest ranking ever. He was on it last year and ranked #72 and in 2011 when he ranked #71.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

4th Bills player to appear on NFL’s Top 100

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2014 – 12:19 pm

In the latest installment of the NFL’s Top 100 on NFL Network another Bills player will be featured tonight (Wednesday).

Tonight’s installment will count down from 30-21, and Buffalo will have their fourth player named in the countdown to this point. So far Kiko Alonso (#84), Marcell Dareus (#62) and Kyle Williams (#32) have been featured on the list.

NFL Network’s Top 100 airs Wednesday at 9 PM ET, followed by The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions show at 10 PM ET. Players who appear on this list are voted on solely by current NFL players.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ, Kiko getting some second-year pub

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2014 – 10:07 am

Two Bills second-year players are part of a highly-touted list of NFL sophomores.

SB Nation put together their list of second-year players to watch in 2014 and EJ Manuel and Kiko Alonso both made the list. Here’s their assessment.

Quarterback: EJ Manuel, Bills
Last season wasn’t a banner year for rookie quarterbacks, especially compared to 2012 when Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson starred. Mike Glennon had the best rookie season, but he appears destined to back up Josh McCown this season. Although Geno Smith had his moments, he was inconsistent and is also battling for his starting job. Manuel was also up and down, playing well some weeks and awful others, while injuries hampered his progress. If he can stay healthy, and that’s a legitimate if, the Bills have surrounded him with a solid supporting cast. He doesn’t have to become a star to be the best sophomore quarterback.

Linebackers: WLB – Alec Ogletree, Rams; MLB – Kiko Alonso, Bills; SLB – Sio Moore, Raiders
Ogletree was all over the field last season. He led the team in tackles, defended 10 passes, forced six fumbles and notched 1.5 sacks. The converted safety has the speed to be a great coverage linebacker but proved to be more than stout against the run. Alonso’s tackle numbers were a bit inflated last season, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s one of the top inside linebackers in the league. Moore is an excellent run defender who can also be effective rushing the passer.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiko feeling good after offseason surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2014 – 4:37 pm

Kiko Alonso participated in the individual position drill portions of practice, but not any team work. That is likely to be the plan for the rest of the OTAs after he underwent offseason hip surgery.

“Yeah, it’s great. I feel great. I had a great rehab and I’m just trying to get stronger,” he said.

Alonso was one of several players who had offseason surgery. Fellow draft classmate Robert Woods had ankle surgery. Head coach Doug Marrone addressed both.

“They’re coming off procedures both of them,” Marrone said. “Kiko had a hip and Robert had an ankle.  Those guys have been here the whole time working and we’re just being progressive, making sure they’re working their way back.  We know they’ll be available and healthy for the season.”



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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiko ranks 84th

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2014 – 12:54 pm

It’s not a bad showing for a player in his rookie season to make the NFL’s Top 100 list, and that’s what Kiko Alonso did after a highly productive 2013 season. Here are some facts about Alonso’s appearance on the list.

In ranking 84th Alonso is the first Bills player to appear on the list. He became just the second linebacker to be revealed thus far (Cardinals LB Daryl Washington came in at #96). Alonso is also the third rookie to appear on the countdown with the Jets DT Sheldon Richardson came in at #94 and Packers RB Eddie Lacy came in at #90.

The Top 100 list is determined solely by the vote of current NFL players

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiko cited as one of best picks in 2013 draft

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 10:51 pm

It took a year, but when a panel of reporters and analysts were asked to make a choice for the best draft choice in the 2013 NFL draft, one of Buffalo’s second round picks was mentioned.

There was some support for Jets DL Sheldon Richardson and San Diego WR Keenan Allen, but NFL Network’s Charley Casserly chose Kiko Alonso. Here’s his assessment.

  • Kiko Alonso’s instincts and playmaking ability will benefit Buffalo for years to come

    Considering his draft position (46th overall), Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso is my pick. Many people felt he was the NFL’s best rookie defender last season, as evidenced by a close second-place finish in Defensive ROY voting. The statistics (159 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks, one forced fumble) jump off the page, but I was particularly impressed by his instincts to find the ball — that’s the most important trait for a linebacker. 

    Based on a 10-year study that I conducted, any second-round pick has a 50-50 chance of just developing into a starter within four years. Alonso was a star in Year 1. Barring injury, this guy should enjoy a highly productive career, especially now that new Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is moving him to outside linebacker.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How the legend of Kiko grew

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 4:45 pm

Kiko Alonso certainly burst onto the NFL scene in Buffalo as a rookie and earned PFWA Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. What also sprang out of that playmaking ability was a cult following that was wrapped around a catch phrase indicating that Alonso had some special intuition to be omniscient as well as ubiquitous whenever a play needed to be made.

Titled ‘The Legend of Kiko Alonso’ fans on social media ran with it. Every time he made a play, Bills fans would tag their tweets with #TheLegendofKikoAlonso.

It got so big that ESPN’s Kenny Mayne eventually did a feature on the following that surfaced out of nowhere all because of an impressive rookie linebacker who stepped into Buffalo’s starting lineup and performed like a perennial Pro Bowler.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mum was the word on Kiko

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 3:23 pm

In our second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ pre-draft series we took an in depth look at how the Bills came to draft a Rookie of the Year in Kiko Alonso last spring. They were sold on him as a player, but they had to know the person too. As high as they were on him they also had to keep their mouths shut when they were on the road in the presence of other NFL scouts.

“He was one of those guys that would come up when you would run into other scouts on the road and they would ask who you have seen and where have you been? How is so and so playing? He was one of those guys I didn’t want to talk about,” said Bills area scout Brad Forsyth. “You didn’t even want to bring his name up because I knew he wasn’t a high radar guy going into the fall.

“You definitely don’t want to alert anybody else to what you’re thinking about him. He’s one of those guys who even though he was at one of the better programs you don’t want to create any more buzz on a guy when you like him as much as we did.”

By keeping quiet on Alonso, who had off the field incidents and a wrist injury, some teams may not have thought quite as much of him as the Bills did last spring.

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Posted in Inside the Bills