Inside The Bills

What Bills get with Graham in for McKelvin

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2014 – 3:21 pm

Late last week we spelled out how with Leodis McKelvin out indefinitely that Corey Graham would be his replacement in the lineup. Now that it’s been announced that McKelvin is out for the season with his fractured ankle we compiled the numbers from their snaps at cornerback this season to see where Buffalo’s coverage would stand with Graham in the lineup. Here’s what we found.

Leodis McKelvin (551 snaps) leads the team with four interceptions, is currently the club’s third-leading tackler and is second on the team in pass breakups with eight. He also has allowed an opponent’s passer rating of just 79.2. Those are all very good figures. On the down side he did allow a pair of touchdowns, a catch percentage of 69 percent and 179 yards after the catch.

Corey Graham (316 snaps at CB) is the team’s fourth-leading tackler and is first on the team in pass breakups with nine. He has allowed an opponent’s passer rating of 56.1, which is fourth best in the NFL. He’s permitted a catch percentage of just 45.7 percent, good for fifth-best in the NFL. He’s allowed just 49 yards total after the catch.

So it doesn’t appear as though the Bills will be losing much at all at the left cornerback position with Graham now in the lineup full time. In fact they look to be making gains in some categories.


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McKelvin, Orton newest nicked up Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 11:19 am

In addition to the loss Thursday night, Buffalo also lost a cornerback to injury and their quarterback suffered an injury as well.

McKelvin left the game in the first half after his ankle bent awkwardly underneath him after his foot got caught in the grass at Sun Life Stadium. He’ll be re-evaluated Friday.

Meanwhile Kyle Orton has a toe injury.

“It’ll be better,” he said.


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3 Bills ranking high in Pro Bowl fan voting

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 2:54 pm

Three Bills players rank high at their respective positions in NFL Pro Bowl fan voting right now. Not surprisingly, they’re all on the defensive side of the ball.

Buffalo’s defense has been stout all season long and the players on that unit are getting recognized for it. Leading all defensive tackles in fan votes is Marcell Dareus, thanks in large part to his 10 sacks in the first nine games.

Also in the top five of fan voting at their positions are DE Mario Williams and CB Leodis McKelvin. Go to Buffalobills.com for details.


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McKelvin earns defensive game ball

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 5:09 pm

Bills CB Leodis McKelvin had a pair of interceptions in Sunday’s win and did it on back-to-back plays. One of his interceptions led to a touchdown. His performance earned him some national recognition from ESPN writer John Clayton.

Clayton awarded McKelvin his defensive game ball of the week. Here’s what he wrote.

Defensive game ball – Leodis McKelvin
Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin intercepted Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on consecutive throws in the second quarter of Buffalo’s 17-16 victory.

 


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McKelvin’s 2 INTs come on back-to-back plays

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:22 pm

It was rare enough for Leodis McKelvin that he notched a pair of interceptions in one game. The fact that his two picks came on back-to-back defensive plays made it a first in a long time in Bills history as well.

McKelvin’s first interception came on a 3rd-and-7 at the Bills’ 20-yard line, which he returned nine yards out to the 29. Buffalo’s offense wasn’t able to get points off that turnover, so after six plays they punted. On 1st-and-12 at the Vikings’ 12-yard line, Bridgewater threw a pass out to the right sideline for Adam Thielen, but McKelvin read the play and jumped the route.

“They did play action. It was like a comeback route or out route,” McKelvin said. “Speed turn into it. I saw the ball, when he got the ball, and I made sure I got my feet down. We work on things like that in practice. We work all the time on staying in bounds, throw us the ball and staying in bounds. I looked like a receiver. I may have to go catch a pass.”

So on back-to-back defensive plays for the Bills, McKelvin made a pair of INTs. A Bills player hasn’t done that since Kirby Jackson did it against Miami back on Oct. 29th, 1989 almost 25 years ago.

McKelvin’s four interceptions this season are already a career single-season best.


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Rotation at CB will continue

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2014 – 9:36 am

In Week 1 Stephon Gilmore wasn’t available to play so Leodis McKelvin and Corey Graham started. But come Week 2 Gilmore was healthy along with McKelvin and Graham. Gilmore and Graham started the game, but by game’s end Gilmore had 53 snaps and McKelvin 33 including a late INT. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that the Bills are going to continue rotating their top three corners during games provided all three are healthy.

“All three (are starters),” said Marrone. “I’m not trying to play games. We’ve been rotating them from day one since they’ve been back. I keep saying the same thing. Everyone is trying to pin, ‘Who are the two (starters)? Who are the two (starters)?’ But we’ve got a pretty good deal going if we have three guys.

“I firmly believe, with the level that they’re playing, that those three players will produce more than if it’s just two. We only have an opportunity one or two of those guys maybe wearing out, whereas now we have all three and it’s a long season. We’re in good shape until something separates.”

Marrone means if one of those three is performing really well they’ll see more of the work. Such was the case with Corey Graham. He had a solid Week 1 when Gilmore was out and started in Week 2 where he played 91 percent of the snaps. Gilmore and McKelvin split time in Week 2 with Gilmore seeing 53 snaps to McKelvin’s 33.”

When Marrone was asked specifically if McKelvin and Gilmore’s snap counts would increase he couldn’t give a definitive answer, knowing both are limited by soreness coming off their offseason hip surgeries and Gilmore coming off an additional groin injury suffered right before the season opener.

“I don’t know if I can expect their snap count to increase, only because we haven’t started practicing again this week,” he said. “Again, I think we’re going on basically just how they feel, as far as coming off the injuries from last week. I still think the same thing. If you ask me what the best thing is I would say, ‘Hey, we have three corners that 33, 33 and 33 and play those percentages, we would be a better team.”

Marrone said moving forward they’ll keep playing Gilmore, McKelvin and Graham.


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A special game day for McKelvin

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2014 – 4:56 pm

His big play didn’t occur until the game was already in hand, but it didn’t take away from Leodis McKelvin’s interception with 10 seconds left in the Bills’ 29-10 win over the Dolphins.

McKelvin’s mother and brother were in attendance at the stadium as they traveled up from Georgia.

“Before the game, mom said, ‘Make sure you give me that ball after an interception or a touchdown.’ So I was making sure I was running over there to give her the ball and actually I ended up giving it to my brother. It was his first NFL game he ever watched. He’s never seen me play so it was very exciting to go over there and see my family, see them in the stands. Just trying to go over there and give my mom the ball.”

McKelvin finished the game with three tackles, a quarterback hit and an interception.


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Gilmore feeling good

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2014 – 4:18 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore was limited in practice Wednesday with a groin injury, but feels pretty good just a few days before the opener at Chicago.

“I’m feeling good. I’m just getting my feet wet and just going out there and practicing hard,” he said.

When asked if he sees himself having any problem playing Sunday he said the following.

“I don’t think so. Just going out there getting better and being smart.”

Knowing he and Leodis McKelvin have both been limited in the preseason with both coming off of his surgeries he believes they’ll both be prepared for Sunday’s game.

“I feel like we’re ready to go,” said Gilmore. “We’ve just got to take care of our bodies and go out and compete.


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McKelvin comes thru Tampa game well

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2014 – 4:58 pm

Leodis McKelvin say his first game action in the preseason last Saturday coming off of offseason hip surgery and a groin injury earlier in the week. All indications are he came through the game alright as he was practicing with his teammates on Monday.

“I think when a player is out for a while and you come back, we saw that with Stephon earlier in the preseason, we see that now with Leodis,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “We expect him to get better and better and progress from there. I think it’s a progression. I don’t think you can put him right back out on the field and expect him to be at the same level when they were playing at their best.”

Marrone didn’t rule out the possibility of McKelvin playing a bit in the preseason finale, knowing his reps have been limited thus far in the preseason. McKelvin had four tackles in last Saturday’s game.


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Fan Friday 8-22

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2014 – 12:53 pm

The preseason is winding down. Almost time for the real stuff. Let’s get to your latest round of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – When are the Bills going to address Spiller’s contract?  Is he going to be another Bills 1st rounder they don’t sign and let them leave?

Thanks,
Steve Lehmann
Life-long Bills fan in Charlotte, NC

CB: The current issue concerning Spiller and opening discussions on a new contract is he is currently without representation. The Bills’ back does not have an agent right now and GM Doug Whaley stated recently that the club will wait until Spiller has secured proper representation before approaching him to negotiate a possible extension.

 

2 – Hey Chris,
Of course us Bills fans are constantly hearing a lot about EJ Manuel in training camp and his “ups and downs”.  The one term I hear used a lot is that he is patting the ball before he throws it.  I read that this can give the defender an extra step because when they see that they know he’s about to throw and it’s likely going to be in their lane. But I also read that it doesn’t always have a negative effect and in fact Drew Bledsoe was known to have a very quick release even though he pat the ball. I’ve also read that this is so the QB can make sure that the ball is secured in their hand before they throw it. Do you think this is something that EJ has to work on and do you think it is affecting his game in a negative way?

Also, a lot has been said about him not being able to read the field and get through his progressions.  Depending on who you listen to some say that’s something you have or you don’t.  But I think that he just needs more time and game time experience and maybe the experience will allow him to get used to the speed of the NFL.  I am interested in your thoughts.

Thanks always, Jillian

CB: There’s no denying that there have been times that EJ has patted the ball or hesitated to pull the trigger. I think all young quarterbacks go through that as part of their learning curve. I will say that Manuel is doing less of it now than he was at the start of training camp.

The patting of the ball is not the concern as much as does EJ trust what he’s seeing unfold around him? Over the past week or so the answer has been unequivocally yes. Now that doesn’t mean that EJ is going to start lighting it up every week on the field, but there is noticeable progress.

We’ll just have to wait and see how more time on the field in games brings his personal game along.

3 – Hello Chris,

Great coverage. I enjoy your analytical approach to our Buffalo Bills. Speaking of just that, I noticed that the Bills were #1 on fumbles last season at 32 according to NFL.com. The data that I saw had:

Combined Fumbles:
Spiller/Jackson at 10
E.J./Lewis/Tuel at 8
Goodwin/Graham/Johnson/Chandler at 6

I couldn’t account for the remainder so I am not terribly confident about the 32 fumbles. I don’t hear much conversation around that stat by reporters (if it’s correct). I would think that with the loss of Byrd and his take away ability that the coaches and media would make that a point of extreme emphasis in achieving a better giveaway/takeaway ratio, which is one of the keys in winning in the NFL.

Color me confused,
Alan from Northeastern NY

CB: To provide a clear picture of the fumble numbers from last season here are all the statistics. First, yes the Bills did have 32 fumbles in 2013 and that did lead the league. However, only 12 of those fumbles resulted in turnovers. That ranked sixth-most in the league.

Part of the reason there were so many fumbles was because the Bills had the most total rushes in the NFL (546). The more plays you have, in general the more fumbles you’re going to have.

Now all that being said the Bills still ranked first in the percentage of fumbles per touch (1.97%). There were only five other teams in the league with a percentage over 1.7 percent (Was., Oak., Sea., Ten., NYG).

So you’re right it is a legitimate concern. Really what it comes down to is ball security, having the proper points of pressure on the ball with your forearm, ribs and fingers and carrying it high and tight. When I get a chance I’ll see if coach Wheatley has any extra insight on it based on last season’s numbers.

 
4 – Chris,

As usual, thank you for the outstanding coverage from you and your staff, especially for those of us outside of NY State.

My question: The first 2 preseason games, I’ve noticed the offense has predominantly used the standard “huddle” before running plays. Gone is the no huddle or hurry up Offense that we’ve heard was going to be the norm. The Bills ran 64 total plays against the Giants 61 and 63 against Carolinas 69. A difference of -3 for both games. Will the Bills be scrapping the hurry up offense this year?  Thank you.

Steve
Pismo Beach, CA

CB: I have faith that the Bills will run their no huddle on offense this season. I don’t think you should expect it to be deployed on ever series of every game. Yes, they do want to go fast and I think there’s a good chance we see some of it on Saturday night against Tampa Bay, but Doug Marrone has said it will be slowed down or sped up based on game situations and on game plans for the particular opponent they’re facing that week.

Quite frankly that makes the most sense. For example, if you’re facing a club with a top five scoring offense, going fast for the whole game might not be the way to go knowing you run the risk of giving their top flight offense more possessions and the potential to score more points too.
5 – Hey Chris,

After the performance by Ron Brooks in the Carolina game, I’m wondering if the Bills are thinking of possibly moving Leodis. Brooks seems to have turned the corner, but he’d be corner #6 on the roster. Do you see him making the roster or getting unfortunately cut?

Thanks,
Tommy in the Pittsford branch of #Billsmafia!

CB: Brooks has had his best camp to date in his career with Buffalo. He was very consistent and got a lot of quality reps with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin slow to return to the team portions of practice in camp coming off of hip surgeries.

Brooks is essentially running as the fourth cornerback behind Gilmore, McKelvin and Graham if you consider Nickell Robey strictly a slot corner. So right now he’s in the top five at cornerback with rookie Ross Cockrell the likely number 6. So I think Brooks is in great shape to make the roster at this point.


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McKelvin returns to 11-on-11

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2014 – 11:21 pm

Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn wasn’t the only player who saw team work for the first time in a while Monday night. Leodis McKelvin, who was sprinkled in for team work late last week, but did not play in last Saturday’s preseason game was participating in team reps in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11.

His best play was the pass breakup he had on a post route by Chris Hogan across the middle of the end zone. McKelvin appeared to be playing trail technique and reached his front arm out as the pass arrived to knock it away for an incompletion.

It was the first play McKelvin has made in a while, which explains why he let out a giant, ‘Owwwwoooh!!’ after making the play.

Hopefully it’s a sign of a lot more plays to come.


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Starting secondary hoping to reunite soon

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2014 – 10:21 am

The Bills are taking a conservative approach with starting CB Leodis McKelvin in his return from offseason hip surgery. He has yet to play in the preseason as he was inactive again against the Steelers Saturday. Though he is being slowly worked back into the practice setting his time with his fellow starters in the secondary has been limited. Stephon Gilmore only began to see more action in practice and preseason this past week. Even though there’s just three weeks before the season opener at Chicago the starters in Buffalo’s secondary aren’t concerned about their limited time together.

“We want those guys to come in when they’re ready,” said S Aaron Williams. “We never want a guy to rush just because one person feels like the whole group needs to be together. I want the whole group to be together when everybody is 100 percent and ready for the season. We’re not going to rush Leo (McKelvin), (Stephon) Gilmore or whoever else is hurt to come back at a fast pace. That’s just going to cause problems later down the road. Whenever they’re ready to come back and feel 100 percent because they know their bodies more than we do then the excitement will come.”

What has kept the secondary from being concerned about fewer reps than usual on the practice field together is the time they’ve spent on the field over the past two seasons.

“Yeah it’s definitely an advantage when you have a few years under your belt together,” said Williams. “You know the chemistry of each other and you know how each person thinks and plays. Leo has a different playing style than Stephon. The fact that Da’Norris and I know that makes the calls a lot faster and a lot easier.”

A beneficial byproduct of McKelvin’s absence has been the opportunity for the rest of the secondary to get used to lining up and playing with veteran free agent signee Corey Graham.

“I’m with Corey every day and I talk to him and try to pick out how he plays. Every meeting we sit next to each other and have conversations about what’s going on and how he thinks and how I play things,” said Williams. “That communication has really helped both of us out especially with our chemistry knowing we have to get ready for the season. Corey has been with us a few months now and I’m starting to learn more and more about him.”


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McKelvin easing back in

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2014 – 10:55 pm

Bills CB Leodis McKelvin had not done any team work for the better part of the last two weeks. On Wednesday however, McKelvin did see a bit of team work.

McKelvin, who is coming off of offseason hip surgery got a few reps in 1-on-1 WR-vs.-DB drills. He also got a few reps in the team portions of practice Wednesday. The Bills are taking things very slow with McKelvin, but even the little work the veteran cornerback got in team segments at Latrobe Wednesday is an encouraging sign.


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McKelvin update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2014 – 7:48 pm

For the second straight day CB Leodis McKelvin did not participate in practice at all. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on McKelvin’s status moving forward.

When asked if McKelvin has experienced a setback in his return from offseason hip surgery, Marrone said that was not the case.

“We have a plan that we’ve talked about and we’re going to rest him as long as we feel the doctors and he and the other people [say],” said Marrone. “When he’s ready, I’ll let him out there.”

 


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Bills who won’t dress tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2014 – 6:35 pm

Here’s the list of players who won’t dress for tonight’s Hall of Fame game in Canton tonight against the Giants.

CB Leodis McKelvin
CB Stephon Gilmore
TE Tony Moeaki
TE Scott Chandler
WR Marquise Goodwin

 


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McKelvin held out of team work as precaution

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 6:54 pm

Bills starting CB Leodis McKelvin has been held out of team work for the past three days of practice. Coming off of hip surgery in the offseason the team doesn’t want to overwork the veteran corner.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“We just rested him and are making sure,” said Marrone. “Again, he’s coming off of an injury from the offseason and we’re just going to work his way back in here. Leodis has something that I admire. When he gets back in there, he’s going to go 110 percent every single time. We just want to make sure that we back him off a little bit. We’re in camp for awhile, so we’re just being smart.”

Marrone did not provide any details on when McKelvin would again participated in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work.


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Limited work the plan for McKelvin, Gilmore

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2014 – 5:28 pm

For the first time this spring starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore got team work in OTAs Tuesday, with both getting a handful of snaps during 11-on-11 red zone work. But with both working their way back from offseason surgeries, they’re not expected to see much more action than that the rest of the spring.

That according to McKelvin himself who spoke with Buffalobills.com after practice concluded.

“We’ll pretty much just wait until training camp,” said McKelvin. “We’ll probably do a lot of the same as what we did today with red zone work and work our way back in there. You never know there may be a couple of reps where we want to try open field, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Gilmore and McKelvin are both coming off hip procedures in the offseason and they’re taking a slow and steady approach to their return to full participation. Watching from the sidelines is a bit easier for each of them with the other starting corner standing next to him.

“We’re on the sideline watching and watching the guys on film and watching their mistakes and what they do on film,” said McKelvin. “When we get out there we just make sure we’re on top of our task and not over work ourselves, but make sure when we’re out there when we do things right.”

 


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Gilmore hoping to do more next week

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2014 – 12:46 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore has participated on a limited basis in OTA practices to this point. Gilmore is coming off an offseason procedure, and has not done any team work. That could change next week.

“In minicamp they might let me,” said Gilmore. “I can go out there and practice, but we’re being smart about it.”

Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin have both not participated in team work at all during OTAs.


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Gilmore listed among top 25 breakout players

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2014 – 10:45 am

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore is still working his way back from an offseason procedure, but Buffalo’s starting cornerback is among the names on a Top 25 list of breakout players for 2014.

Big things were expected from Gilmore in 2013, but a broken wrist suffered in the preseason dramatically hampered his impact on the Bills fortunes last season. CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco has him on his list for 2014. Here’s what he wrote.

Stephon Gilmore, CB, Buffalo Bills — I thought he would be a breakout player last season, but he missed time with a wrist injury. When he played, he still flashed big-time ability. I think this is his year to make a big step toward being on the league’s better corners.

It wasn’t until the last month of the season that Gilmore began to return to full form as a lockdown cornerback. Hopefully he and Leodis McKelvin can stay healthy for most if not all of the 2014 campaign.


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Schwartz excited about DBs as much as DL

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2014 – 6:41 pm

While Bills new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz took notice of the talent on Buffalo’s defensive line just by watching last weekend’s Pro Bowl, he’s also excited about the talent that sits in the Bills defensive backfield.

“In order to win in the NFL you need your front office and organization to all be on the same page and that impressed me right away,” Schwartz told Buffalobills.com. “After that it’s about players. Obviously the Bills have some good defensive players. They have some pieces in place that can fit very well in what we want to do. Not just up front. A lot of attention is paid to those guys up front, but I’ve been very impressed with the secondary also.

“You talk about guys like Jairus Byrd, Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin. Those are some top notch players and I really look forward to working with those guys.”

One thing Schwartz’s defenses lacked in Detroit was continuity in the secondary with a lot of player turnover each and every season. With Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey locked up for the next couple of years one can understand why Schwartz is encouraged by that talent he’s walking into his first season with in Buffalo.


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