Inside The Bills

Kiko on PFWA honor

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 14, 2014 – 7:30 pm

Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso says he’s honored to be named the Pro Football Writers 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Alonso was a guest Tuesday on The John Murphy Show podcast.

“It’s a huge honor for me,” Alsonso said. “It’s a great feeling and a huge honor.”

The Bills second round draft pick played every defensive snap for the Bills in 2013. He finished third in the NFL with 159-tackles and had had four interceptions. Alonso’s four interceptions came in the first four games of the season, which he thinks helped him get league wide recognition.

“I had those interceptions early in the season, that definitely got me recognized,” he told host John Murphy.

“It’s always good to get recognized with that kind of award, looking at the past recipients, it’s a pretty good group,” Alonso said. But he said winning post season honors was not on his mind at all during the season. “I didn’t really think about it, I was just focused on the season, focused on winning games. To end the season with an award like that is a big honor.”

The entire interview with Kiko Alonso is available here


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Alonso named PFWA Defensive Rookie of Yr

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2014 – 1:25 pm

Bills LB Kiko Alonso has been named the Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Alonso, who finished third in the NFL with 159 tackles in 2013 also was tied for the Bills team lead in interceptions and led the team in fumble recoveries, was honored along with San Diego WR Keenan Allen, who was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy who was named the overall Rookie of the Year by the PFWA.

More details on the full All-Rookie roster at Buffalobills.com.


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Alonso heads up LB list

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2014 – 9:59 am

Earlier today we shared how advanced NFL metrics site AdvancedNFLStats.com had Bills DT Kyle Williams rated as the best defensive tackle in the league in 2013. Williams has a teammate topping his position group as well.

Kiko Alonso was rated by AdvancedNFLStats as the best linebacker in the league. Based on his play in 2013 they determined he had the highest Win Probability Added among linebackers this past season.

Rank Player Team G +WPA +EPA +EPA/G SC Tkl Asst TF Sk SkYd PD QBHit FF TklLoss Int
1 50-K.Alonso BUF 32 4.98 156.0 4.88 207 174 144 0.70 4 34 10 2 2 22 8
2 54-L.David TB 32 4.78 177.3 5.54 206 210 78 0.72 14 94 18 24 4 40 10
3 53-N.Bowman SF 32 4.65 155.0 4.84 184 236 50 0.76 10 90 18 10 8 18 4
4 56-K.Dansby ARZ 32 4.40 167.1 5.22 172 224 18 0.70 14 88 38 22 0 22 8
5 54-D.Levy DET 32 4.05 127.7 3.99 144 170 65 0.67 0 0 30 6 0 16 12
6 59-L.Kuechly CAR 32 4.04 100.2 3.13 169 186 126 0.79 4 30 14 4 0 20 8
7 55-S.Tulloch DET 32 3.97 79.3 2.48 150 186 86 0.77 8 38 4 10 0 14 2
8 51-D.Smith BLT 32 3.84 112.2 3.51 156 114 132 0.59 12 88 36 16 4 16 6
9 98-R.Mathis IND 32 3.83 116.0 3.63 106 84 32 0.29 38 242 4 42 14 28 0
10 94-Ke.Burnett OAK 32 3.82 114.5 3.58 146 162 44 0.51 6 42 8 8 6 24 2

 


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Fan Friday 1-10

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2014 – 12:07 pm

Well the offseason is underway and the Senior Bowl is the next big thing on the horizon. Here’s the latest edition of your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for all of the insight on everything Bills and keep up the great work. First off I was just wondering if you think we have seen everything Hackett’s playbook has to offer? Or is he just keeping it simple because of the inexperience at quarterback? We were vanilla at best on offense this season, (despite a strong rushing attack) and when I watch most other teams it seems I see more intricate offense. We primarily run out of shotgun and our screen game pales in comparison to last season’s.  Just wanted your opinion.

And secondly, do you think we should draft another quarterback? Manuel seems to be injury prone and I don’t think we can rely on Lewis or Tuel to step in and guide us deep in the season. They are strong backups but I would still like to have a QB that can stand in the pocket and not get hurt. Thanks again Chris!

-Mark in Houston

CB: I think your suspicion is dead on. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had to keep things simple so the rookies on offense with sizable roles (chiefly EJ Manuel) could effectively execute them. They ran the ball so much because as coach Marrone said last week they wanted to keep third down manageable in terms of distance to convert. Plus they were good at it, so use what works to help keep drives alive.

When Manuel was injured during the season, it forced Hackett to be even more judicious with his game plans in terms of complexity. None of his three quarterbacks had one game of NFL experience combined heading into the season.

So to fault Hackett for his play calling being too predictable would be very, very misguided. One has to appreciate and understand the circumstances under which he had to operate.

Then to see that his offense, despite all of that, finished 19th in total yards, which by the way was better than San Francisco’s and Carolina’s and a yard less per game on average than Seattle, is a pretty good showing as far as I’m concerned.

As for drafting a quarterback I don’t think that’s the best route to take. The reason why is Buffalo already has a host of inexperienced quarterbacks on their roster even now. EJ Manuel (10 career starts), Thad Lewis (6 career starts) and Jeff Tuel (1 career start) are still lacking experience. To add a fourth to the mix doesn’t help.

I expect the Bills to pursue a veteran QB in free agency that has a wealth of game experience. The market is predictably thin, but I expect the Texans to cut ties with a QB like Matt Schaub, who could be a perfect backup candidate.

2 – Chris,

On the heels of the Miami game, I was disappointed in the selfishness and immaturity displayed by Robert Woods. With the receiving corps already down Stevie and Marquise (who’d just been injured), Woods simply had to be smarter than throwing a punch and getting ejected from a game.

This brings me to my concern: with all the rumblings about the Bills possibly parting ways with Stevie Johnson this offseason, do you think an occurrence like this might be enough for the team to keep Stevie around? Woods apparently isn’t mature enough to lead the team at the position, and Marquise, as talented as he is, may be the next Roscoe Parrish…..too slight of build to stay healthy and really contribute on offense. Personally, I think the Bills would be foolish to let Stevie go right now. The receiver room is just too young without him. What do you think?

Kenny in Indiana
CB: I believe the incident with Robert Woods in the Miami game in Week 16 was an isolated incident. Woods in general is a heady player. In this instance he lost his cool, but in talking to him afterwards it’s clear he understands now that those kinds of things cannot happen again. I consider it a lesson learned.

Concerning Stevie Johnson, I think he and coach Marrone have to iron things out with respect to the way things are going to be done to ensure future success. The bottom line is they’re going to be done Marrone’s way with very little if any deviation from his plan. And truthfully that’s the way it should be.

He’s the head coach and has a vision for how things are going to get done to promote consistent winning. And he needs everyone on his roster, especially impact players to adhere to that in everything they do as a player on the roster.

Johnson is a free spirit and while there are a lot of admirable qualities with that kind of approach to the game, football is a sport that demands attention to detail perhaps more than any other.

I don’t know this, but I sense that Marrone needs to be convinced by Stevie that he’s prepared to fall in line with every responsibility he has to the team as its top receiver and do things the way Marrone has laid it out for all of his players.

If that can happen then Johnson will remain a prominent part of Buffalo’s offense.

3 – Hi Chris
Thanks for taking my question. My question is, based on all of the huge pass interference penalties this year that have affected the outcome of the games (especially with under a few minutes to go), do you ever see the rules committee making the pass interference call a reviewable/challengeable call?

I’ve watched so many teams this year, and in recent years as well, that get the ball on the one yard line in the last seconds of the game.  And the unfortunate part is that a lot of them are really questionable calls…especially when they directly change the outcome of a game.  I know making a penalty reviewable could open a can of worms for the rules committee, but I don’t see another immediate solution to the growing problem of these (sometimes) 50 yd plus interference penalties on the last few plays of the game, especially when replay is in effect to ensure the right call is made.

Lastly, do you think teams practice for the last second goal line pass interference call?  Specifically, I’ve seen Brady win countless games by freely getting the ball on the 1 yd line with seconds to go when they all but had a nail in their coffin.  Its like they are just chucking in the end zone and the WR sells the penalty if he can’t catch it.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Pats practice it since it is a really huge penalty that can be easily exploited.
Thanks for your time,
Tim in NJ

CB: I don’t see pass interference every being a reviewable call via challenge or booth review with less than two minutes in the half or game. The reason why is it is a pure judgment call. There is enough already that is reviewable. I doubt the league wants to expand that list.

I think if the NFL’s Competition Committee should change anything perhaps it should be the yardage penalty for pass interference. Maybe something similar to college’s 15-yard pass interference rule. With the NFL’s proclivity to push offensive play and scoring I doubt this would even be entertained, but perhaps a 20-yard penalty cap on pass interference plays that happen more than 20 yards downfield. I think it would be difficult to alter the policing of pass interference in the red zone/end zone. Defenders are doing everything in their power to unsuspectingly mug receiving targets in the end zone to prevent touchdowns. To reduce the pass interference consequences (1st & goal at the one-yard line) may lead to more aggressive defending and the league rarely puts any part of the game in the favor of the defense.

4 – Chris,

Thanks for all of your coverage.

My question is regarding the future of Mike Pettine. I think at most we have one or two years left with him, and that it’s also possible he gets a shot as head coach sooner.

Is there an in house assistant or option that we are grooming to be his replacement? With all the great strides we have made on D this year I’m hoping there is someone that is learning and being taught all of his schemes. I’d hate to lose all of this progress once we lose Mike.

Thanks Chris
Patrick In Boston

CB: I respect and understand your concern with respect to Buffalo’s defensive coordinator. Mike Pettine is a sharp mind, who in time should be getting head coaching interview opportunities.

The good news is I do see two future defensive coordinator candidates on Buffalo’s defensive staff. I believe both defensive line coach Anthony Weaver and OLBs coach Jim O’Neil have the pedigree to eventually be defensive coordinators in the NFL.

The problem is Weaver and O’Neil have both worked with Pettine for some time now, and would likely be offered a position by Pettine if he was named a head coach elsewhere. My guess is whoever is not offered the defensive coordinator job by Pettine when he’s named a head coach somewhere else in the league down the road, should be the coach targeted to be promoted to defensive coordinator with Buffalo.

5 – Chris,

I had been looking forward to hearing Kiko Alonso’s name being announced as a Pro Bowler for 2 months now. How did his name NOT get called, given the season he had?????

Don (Bills/ Kiko fan),
Norwalk, CT
CB: I think we all know by now that it’s very difficult for rookies to get named to the Pro Bowl even with productive seasons. We often see them recognized the following year provided their production stays relatively the same. What also hurt Alonso’s chances was the team’s 6-10 record. The bottom line is in most cases more players are chosen from successful teams than those that finish under .500.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Vote Kiko for Pepsi Next Rookie of Yr

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2014 – 12:42 pm

The National Football League today announced the five finalists for the 2013 Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Year and Kiko Alonso is one of them.

Here are the 2013 Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Year finalists.

WR Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers
LB Kiko Alonso – Buffalo Bills
RB Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
RB Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
WR Cordarrelle Patterson – Minnesota Vikings

Fans can vote for one of these five players on http://www.nfl.com/rookies through Tuesday, January 28 to determine the winner.

The 2013 PEPSI NEXT NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR will be announced in New York City at the “3rd Annual NFL Honors” awards show, which airs on February 1 on FOX the night before Super Bowl XLVIII.

The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2013 NFL season.


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Alonso gets ESPN writer’s Def. Rookie of Yr.

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2014 – 9:38 am

Bills LB Kiko Alonso was the team’s leading tackler and tied for the team lead in interceptions with four. He was also in the mind of ESPN writer Dan Graziano the best defensive rookie in 2013.

In handing out his NFL awards, Graziano named Alonso his Defensive Rookie of the Year. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo’s linebacker.

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Kiko Alonso
Buffalo Bills
ANALYSIS
Sure, September was his best month. But just because the interceptions dried up doesn’t mean Alonso wasn’t a high-impact, fly-around-and-make-plays type of linebacker. A critical element to a better-than-you-think-it-was Bills defense, Alonso is a tackling monster in the Kuechly mold, and his athleticism should help him get better as he goes along. Runner-up: Sheldon Richardson. Honorable mentions: Tyrann Mathieu, Star Lotulelei.

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Robey up for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of week

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2013 – 10:09 am

robey-row-cp

Bills CB Nickell Robey is up for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the week after his impressive Week 16 performance against Miami.

Robey had two sacks, four tackles and a pass breakup last Sunday as he was instrumental in the Bills dominating defensive effort against the Dolphins, who were shut out by Buffalo 19-0.

Robey is the only defensive player nominated for the Rookie of the Week award for Week 16.

The Jets Geno Smith, Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy, St. Louis’ Zac Stacy and Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell are the other nominees.

You can vote for Robey up until Friday this week.

If Robey were to win the award he’d be the third Bills rookie to win the honor this season. EJ Manuel (Week 2) and Kiko Alonso (Week 4) have already won Rookie of the Week honors.


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4 Bills with 4 picks apiece?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 11:00 am

Right now the Bills have three players with four interceptions each on the season. With Aaron Williams out for Sunday’s game with a rib injury, it could raise the chances of Buffalo having four players with four INTs apiece on the season.

Williams is one of the three players who has logged four interceptions thus far this season. Kiko Alonso and Jairus Byrd are the other two.

The defensive back expected to see the most time in Williams’ absence today is Jim Leonhard, who has three interceptions on the season. If he’s able to land an INT against Ryan Tannehill today, he too would have four on the season.

That would make the quartet on the 2013 squad just the fourth group in team history to each have at least four INTs. Here are the others.

4 players with 4+ INTs in team history:
1960 (5) – Archie Matsos-8, Jim Wagstaff-6, Bill Atkins-5, Bill Kinard-4, Richie McCabe-4
1962 (4) – Carl Charon-7, Booker Edgerson-6, Mike Stratton-6, Marv Matuszak-6
1965 (5) – Hagood Clarke-7, Butch Byrd-5, Charley Warner-5, Booker Edgerson-5, George Saimes-4


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Kiko still atop Kiper rookie ranks

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2013 – 4:43 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has been ranking the rookies all season long and Kiko Alonso is still atop his rankings after a solid game again last Sunday.

Here’s what Kiper wrote about Alonso’s play this season.

1. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo Bills
While he doesn’t stay at No. 1 if you want to measure his value on impact per play, the total return is pretty significant here. Alonso has been on the field for well over 1,000 snaps this season because he plays all three downs, is third in the NFL with 137 total tackles – and given that tackle totals don’t tell you a ton, remember that Alonso is as good as almost any LB in the NFL in coverage. He need not apologize for a lack of dominance given the total return.

Kiper also listed EJ Manuel 26th among the rookies. Earning honorable mention were Robert Woods and Nickell Robey.


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Dareus gets late fan Pro Bowl push

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2013 – 4:26 pm

Marcell Dareus has a big family. No word on whether they’re the ones doing all the voting, but the Bills defensive tackle has vaulted into one of the top two spots at his position with fan voting for the 2014 Pro Bowl.

The latest check on top vote getters by position has Dareus as the second-leading vote getter at defensive tackle in the league right now. The third-year DT is having the most productive season of his career. He’s already set a single-season career high in tackles and sacks with 7.5.

He joins teammate Kiko Alonso as one of the leaders in vote count with just over a week left for fans to cast their ballots for the Pro Bowl.

Here are where some other Bills rank in the fan voting knowing that coaches and players will vote next week.

ILB Kiko Alonso – 1st
DT Marcell Dareus – 2nd
DE Mario Williams – 3rd
DT Kyle Williams – 4th
SS Aaron Williams – 7th
FS Jairus Byrd – 8th

 


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Kiko, Urbik to play

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2013 – 11:41 am

Kiko Alonso, who was questionable for today’s game is active for the game and will play. RG Kraig Urbik, who was also questionable will play as well.

With no indication on lineup changes it’s assumed they will both start. Here are the rest of the Bills inactives.

QB Jeff Tuel
DB Jonathan Meeks
RB Ronnie Wingo
DB Brandon Smith
OG Mark Asper
OG Antoine McClain
TE Tony Moeaki


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Kiko questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2013 – 12:09 pm

Bills LB Kiko Alonso is listed as questionable this week after tweaking his knee injury in practice.

Head coach Doug Marrone felt very good about Alonso playing Sunday, and said Alonso’s desire to play hasn’t changed.

“He tweaked it,” said Marrone of Alonso. “Talking to him in his mid he wants to play. We have 48 hours and we’ll see how it goes.”

If Alonso can’t go Arthur Moats will start at middle linebacker.


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Kiko limited, but expected to play

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2013 – 1:32 pm

Bills MLB Kiko Alonso (knee) was limited in practice for a second straight day, but head coach Doug Marrone is not concerned about having Alonso available for Sunday’s game.

“Kiko was limited, but that was more on us, just bringing him along,” said Marrone. “He wanted to do everything, but we held him back. Unless something happens between now and (Sunday) he’ll play. I think we’ll have to list him as probable.”

Starting RG Kraig Urbik did not practice with a foot injury for a second straight day. Marrone has already said he’ll be a game time decision. Also not practicing was CB Brandon Smith, who suffered an ankle injury in Wednesday’s practice.


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Kiko poised for future leadership

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2013 – 8:45 am

The Bills have a handful of promising young players on the roster, that not only offer ability, but more importantly the kind of professional approach to the game that Doug Marrone is looking for in all of his players. That’s why Kiko Alonso is poised to become a defensive leader on this team sooner rather than later.

“He’s one of the first guys here in the morning and one of the last guys to leave,” said Marrone of Alonso. “He’s probably as a rookie more in tune with his body and getting it ready to play than really anyone I’ve around and I am not exaggerating that. That’s what he does. What you see with him, is what he talk about. Don’t confuse effort with results. With him, you see effort, and you see results.”

Marrone further explained how the professional decisions that Alonso makes with his body so he can continue to perform and putting the time in to study have been instrumental in making him an impact player early in his career.

“You look at him here in the morning even before we work out, here early taking care of his body. And that’s sometimes what we talk about being a pro,” Marrone said. “A lot of times it’s, ‘Hey, can I sleep little bit later? Can I get out of here a little bit earlier?’ And part of what being a pro is about is being in tune with that.

“Being able to take care of your body. Did the trainer tell you to come in early? No. Did the trainer say to stay after and take care of your body? No. Is it an injury? No. But it’s maintenance and knowing who you are. And I think that’s excellent (with Alonso). And when you can get that, with someone that young, that has the ability to influence and his leadership obviously, will increase because of the way he plays on the field and we’ll look towards that as we grow and move into the next step with him.”


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Kiko limited, CB Smith injured in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2013 – 3:23 pm

Here’s the Bills injury report, whose headline non-participant was RG Kraig Urbik. He has a foot injury. LB Kiko Alonso was also limited with a knee injury, but expected to be fine. CB Brandon Smith was injured in practice and limited as a result Wednesday.

“Basically, we’re just resting him,” said head coach Doug Marrone of Alonso’s limited participation.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation   Wednesday

Kyle Williams

DT

Achilles

DNP

Kraig Urbik

G

Foot

DNP

Kiko Alonso

LB

Knee

LP

Brandon Smith

CB

Ankle

LP

Jonathan Meeks

S

Ankle

FP


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mario, Kiko still leading in fan voting

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2013 – 2:43 pm

Bills DE Mario Williams and MLB Kiko Alonso are still tops at their positions in the fan voting for the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl. Here’s a look at their vote counts along with the other top vote getters on the defensive side of the ball.

Fans can vote until Dec. 26th by submitting their own ballot online.

POS.

NAME, TEAM

VOTES

DE

J.J.   Watt, Houston

329,766

DE

Mario   Williams, Buffalo

287,486

DT

Jason Hatcher, Dallas

262,099

DT

Dontari Poe, Kansas City

257,224

OLB

Tamba Hali, Kansas City

265,222

OLB

Robert Mathis, Indianapolis

252,082

ILB

Kiko Alonso, Buffalo

306,054

ILB

Sean Lee, Dallas

211,729

CB

Richard Sherman, Seattle

430,234

CB

Aqib   Talib, New England

299,804

SS

Kam Chancellor, Seattle

157,394

SS

Eric Berry, Kansas City

134,539

FS

Earl Thomas, Seattle

323,634

FS

Barry Church, Dallas

105,886

P

Dustin Colquitt, Kansas City

142,121

P

Jon Ryan, Seattle

82,754

ST

David Bruton, Denver

109,243

ST

C.J.   Spillman, San Francisco

108,487


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Pettine: Kiko has exceeded expectations

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2013 – 2:22 pm

They weren’t sure he’d be able to step right into the starting lineup. They didn’t even plan for him to be a middle linebacker, but a lot of the initial thoughts of the defensive staff for changed once Kiko Alonso stepped onto the practice field.

Appearing on the Sirius XM NFL ‘No Huddle’ show with Steve Tasker, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine explained how Kiko’s early flashes of ability convinced them to hand him a giant role.

“I can’t tell the lie that he is exactly what we expected,” said Pettine. “I thought he was going to be more of a rookie that we had to work in some, but he’s exceeded our expectations from day one. We saw him as more of a weak side linebacker, but just kind of given our roster situation he was forced to play the mike linebacker and call all the signals. What helped him was everybody was new to the system too. The fact that everybody was new we decided to try it and it was a no brainer from the first day.”


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Other Bills in Pro Bowl running

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2013 – 4:04 pm

With the news coming down that Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso are the leading vote getters among fans at their respective positions for the 2014 Pro Bowl, here are some of the other Bills who are in the hunt at their positions for fan votes.

DT Marcell Dareus – 3rd
DT Kyle Williams – 5th
SS Aaron Williams – 6th
K Dan Carpenter – 10th
ST Marcus Easley – 10th

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said just last week that if the team had a better won-loss record that Marcus Easley would have an excellent chance of being a Pro Bowl special teams player with the success he’s had in coverage.


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Mario & Bills rookie Pro Bowl history

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2013 – 3:30 pm

mario-kiko-probowl-story

With the news that Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso are the leading vote getters at their respective positions for the fan balloting for the 2014 Pro Bowl, we thought we’d look at the last time the Bills sent a rookie to Hawaii and the last time Mario played in the league’s All-Star game.

Williams has gone to a pair of Pro Bowls in his career while playing for the Houston Texans. The last time he was named to the AFC squad was 2009. He also went in 2008.

As far as rookies go, if Kiko Alonso were named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster, he’d be the first rookie to do so since Jairus Byrd went as a first-year player in 2009.


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Kiper has Alonso atop his rookie ranks

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 2:15 pm

The legend of Bills MLB Kiko Alonso is apparently still growing. He now sits atop the rookie rankings of ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper in his latest column.

Kiper wrote the following on Alonso below.

I wrote up Kiko Alonso in my 2013 draft guide as one of the top six inside linebackers in the draft. I thought he was hurt a little bit because, although he has outstanding athleticism, he didn’t work out at the combine, which inevitably provides a bump to the best athletes. He also had only one year as a full-time starter at Oregon. But one of Alonso’s great skills at Oregon was his ability to “sift through the trash” (scouting phrase) and deal with traffic. In other words, he was able to see the ball and make plays through blocking havoc and contact, maintaining his balance and quickness.

I think those skills have made the transition easier for him. The game, and the traffic, just doesn’t seem to move too quickly for him, just as it didn’t at Oregon. So far this season, the Buffalo Bills have benefited. Although Alonso might lack experience, he plays with great instincts and has that extra set of eyes to make plays amid all the chaos.

This week, he moves to the top of my Rookie Rankings, barely edging out another AFC East star.

1. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo Bills: Continues to perform at a consistently high level week in and week out. Through Week 9, he’s third in the NFL in total tackles, with 89 (just one behind leaders Vontaze Burfict and Sean Lee), and has four interceptions, which is most on the team, plus he gets a bonus because he literally has not come off the field for the Bills’ defense, so he has played nearly 700 snaps. He is not playing perfect football, but he’s been a huge part of the defensive rise for Buffalo.

For those that missed it Buffalobills.com had Alonso wired for sound in last week’s game against Kansas City. Robert Woods and EJ Manuel were listed in the ‘Next in Line’ category for Kiper, kind of like an honorable mention.

The other AFC East star that Kiper was referring to was the Jets’ DT Sheldon Richardson.

 



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