Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-20

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 12:00 pm

Sunday will be step one in trying to post a winning record in the division for the first time since the 2007 season. Let’s see if the Bills can make it a season sweep of the Dolphins. Here’s your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

As a Bills’ fan for decades, I believe coach Marrone is a good coach. The question is whether he can turn around the losing culture. I have a few questions regarding accountability and talents.

What are the Bills going to do with the undependable players? This includes, but not limited to, Steve Johnson, Leodis McKelvin and T. J. Graham.

What is Jairus Byrd’s long term prospect with the Bills? The Bills like to get rid of established players to save a few bucks. In the end, this contributes to a longer wish list for the ever rebuilding process. A
recent example is the Offensive line. My suggestion is to get rid of Steve Johnson and save some money for Byrd’s contract. (Note, The Bills is in the business to make money. I suppose a better product would lead to increased revenue. In this case, a true contender in NFL).

What is the long term plan for the QB position? I mean both first string and backup in this case? While coach Marrone indicated EJ Manuel is the long term solution. I beg the difference. EJ is not playing any
better than JP Losman by comparing their rookie year. Lewis and Tuel are littering their path with interceptions and fumbles. How long do you think these two can keep their job in NFL?

Marcus Easley seems to be doing a very good job in special teams. What is the possibility of moving him to CB if the Bills cannot use him as WR? This may afford the team to get rid of Leodis McKelvin thereby saving more money.

The New England Patriots seem to be able to overcome huge deficit consistently. When playing with the Patriots (as well as other teams), what are the Bills doing to safeguard our calls/signals from being stolen?

Please keep up with the good work.
Regards,
C. J. Wong, Ph.D.

CB: I understand why you feel like the players you mentioned are not dependable. This is where the coaches and front office make their offseason evaluations, but being dependable goes beyond just game day. It’s about being a professional every day of the week in everything that you do. So if the players you mentioned struggle in those areas then they could be at risk with respect to their futures here.

Doug Marrone is only going to keep players on this roster that he feels he can win with the way he wants to win. He has stressed accountability time and again and has been clear in explaining to his players what accountability means. They’ve had all season to prove they’re on board. If they’re not, and only the coaches and their teammates would know for certain if that’s the case, then they won’t be here long term.

As for Jairus Byrd, the safety has said he’s open-minded to staying here long term, which is an improvement in terms of where that situation was this past summer. I think Byrd is smart enough to know that he can really flourish in this defense with the talent he has around him on that side of the ball. Talent that is tied up long term for the most part. Byrd has to be convinced that he can win here and as is usually the case the money has to be right as well.

At the quarterback position EJ is their long term answer at the position. You may not be convinced, but the people that make those decisions are. I believe this offseason will be dedicated to putting more talent around Manuel to help him succeed. We’ve certainly seen flashes of ability. What has me most encouraged is the way in which Manuel performs when the game is on the line. Buffalo has needed a clutch quarterback for the longest time and Manuel has shown he has that ability. With improved talent around him he’ll also be better for the other portions of the game too.

I believe the decision makers still see Jeff Tuel as a developmental type prospect. Thad Lewis is still being evaluated, which is why Sunday’s game is huge for him. He’s proven he’s tough and that he can deliver big plays. Now he has to prove he can learn from his mistakes and improve from some of his shortcomings in the first meeting with Miami. It’s really the perfect litmus test for him.

I completely disagree with your Marcus Easley idea. Easley doesn’t not have the foot quickness to play CB, and Leodis McKelvin is having his most consistent season in a Bills uniform at cornerback. Not to mention he’s playing at very affordable money for his position.

Finally, the reason the Patriots are able to overcome big deficits is primarily one reason and one reason only, they have one of the best quarterbacks in a generation in Tom Brady. End of story.

 

2 – Hi Chris, I live in Western Canada so it is always hard to get coverage on the Bills out here.  So I really appreciate all your updates.

My question is about Stevie Johnson.  It seems every year there is a play that he fails to make that costs us a game.  The game against Pittsburgh in OT where he dropped the wide open pass, the game against the Jets when he again dropped a game winning TD, and of course against the Falcons which just didn’t just cost us that game, but our season.

He is a great receiver, no doubt about that, but I question if he is ever going to be a clutch number 1 receiver.   We all agree that we need a big “go up and get it” receiver.  So if we get that receiver, someone has to go.

I think we should consider trading Stevie Johnson this off season.  Robert Woods is precise in route running and has good chemistry with EJ, and Goodwin and Graham are fast on the outside and can also move inside when needed.   I think Stevie is odd man out and gives us the most return for our buck, plus maybe he is to used to losing in Buffalo.  What do you think we could get for Johnson?  A 2nd rounder or maybe someone like Bowe in KC?

Paddy, Vancouver Canada

CB: I think Johnson is the type of receiver whose return in a trade would be limited. The reason why is he is a possession receiver. He’s a move-the-chains player not a stretch the field, deliver a game-changing play every week type wideout. Johnson is a very unique player with a unique skill set, but he is not going to blow the doors off a defense. All that being said I think at best he’d get you a fourth-round draft choice. Frankly, it might be even less because his contract may not fit the role another team might envision for him, so to take on that salary would likely lead to a team offering less in return like a fifth or sixth-round pick.

3 – Hey Chris,

My question is regarding the offensive line.  How do you see the Bills helping the line in the off season? I know they have to see how guys like JJ ‘Unga pan out over the last 3 games, but if they do go after a guy in the draft, do you see them going after a guy who can be versatile? Are there typically guys who can play guard and tackle?  I would imagine that’s what coaches look for in any player on the field.  Do you think free agency is possible?  Also, do you think Chris Hairston will be able to return to form?
Thanks, Jillian

CB: I would not be surprised if there are wholesale changes made on the offensive line. As I see it the only players who have job security are Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood. Kraig Urbik rebounded real well this past week after a down week in Tampa, but I think he will be pushed for his starting job this offseason and into training camp based on what we saw the past couple of weeks with J.J. ‘Unga. Beyond those three I expect to see change there. I think the organization will look to the draft and free agency to address the offensive line.

 

4 – Chris,
Thanks for the great reporting, week by week for the Bills. Yourself and John Murphy do a great job but My question is based of everything about this youth movement and getting these unknown guys more playing time. I been listening and reading about the guys y’all are naming but I keep seeing this guy left out…. Duke Williams? Why is he not getting involved in the discussions and not getting more reps? What part of his game is lacking that has him buried on the depth chart? Because before the season he was getting hyped up as a utility guy in the secondary, that could play multiple positions. What happened? Please explain that to me.

Brian in South Carolina

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I’ll be sure to pass them along to Murph. Duke Williams is a player that has been seeing time mainly on special teams. The reason he has not seen time at safety is because there is quality and experienced talent in front of him in Jairus Byrd, Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy and Jim Leonhard. I do think heading into next season Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks could challenge for bigger roles and what happens with Byrd and Leonhard this offseason with both being free agents will have an impact on that as well.

 

5 – Chris,

I have been surprised at the lack of two back sets the Bills are utilizing this year. I would think this would confuse defenses as Fred is a highly capable pass-blocking back and we all know about CJ’s home run ability with every touch. Would these formations not mix things up and keep opposing defenses off balance… not knowing to expect run or pass?

Also, I am concerned (as are many fans) about the utilization of CJ Spiller. Not in terms of number of plays per game, or on the year, but the play calls he is being used in. They seem to heavily favor running him behind the left or right guards. Why not more screen plays? I think all of us get excited when CJ Spiller has the ball with 3-4 blockers in front of him with the ability to pick and choose which lanes he wants to take.

Thanks!
Jim from Massachusetts

CB: We saw some split backfield in training camp, but there has been very little of it during the season. I do think there is an element of predicitability there when they have only Fred or C.J. on the field in a single back set. Heading into last week’s Jacksonville game I know that Spiller had not been on the field for more than 40 percent of the snaps since Week 2.

However, when he is on the field he got the ball 60 percent of the time. While the usage is admirable I fear that it makes Buffalo’s offense predictable when Spiller is in the backfield.

Jackson is usually on the field in third down situations because they trust him with blitz pickup and blocking assignments.

I don’t know a one-thousandth of what Nathaniel Hackett knows about football, but I do think a split backfield with C.J. and Fred in the offensive backfield on third down could create a lot of headaches for opposing defenses. That’s where I think it could be most useful for Buffalo’s offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Leodis rated a top 15 CB

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2013 – 9:09 am

While a lot of the focus has been on the recovery of Stephon Gilmore from his fractured wrist which required surgery, Leodis McKelvin has turned in perhaps his best pro season at the position. That was verified by not only head coach Doug Marrone, but the stat crunchers and film reviewers at ProFootballFocus agree.

Marrone made a point of mentioning how steady McKelvin’s play has been this season. He has the team lead in pass breakups with 14, which is also a single-season career high.

“I’d like to mention Leodis,” said Marrone. “Leodis is playing as well as I’ve seen him play on tape, and I’m really seeing a player that is playing at a very, very high level and getting better. We need him to stay that way and then Stephon needs to get back to where he was, and I feel very comfortable with those two positions.”

ProFootballFocus in their overall ratings for cornerbacks in the NFL have McKelvin ranked 15th in the league after 12 games this season.

 

Ratings

Coverage

#

Name

Team

Snaps

Overall

Rush

Cov.

Run

Pen.

# of Pen

QB Sk

QB Ht

QB Hu

TA

Rec

% Ct

Yds

Avg

YAC

LG

TD

In

PD

NFL Rating

1  Darrelle   Revis TB 704 15.4 0.0 9.7 2.5 3.2 1-0 0 0 0 47 26 55.3 231 8.9 75 36 2 2 5 65.1
2  Tyrann   Mathieu ARZ 765 14.3 2.0 6.3 3.5 2.5 5-1 1 2 9 64 42 65.6 405 9.6 150 29 3 2 5 85.7
3  Jason   McCourty TEN 797 14.1 0.0 9.5 2.0 2.6 2-0 0 0 0 73 45 61.6 522 11.6 128 44 1 0 7 87.8
4  Patrick   Peterson ARZ 853 13.1 0.0 10.6 -0.3 2.8 3-0 0 0 0 73 36 49.3 503 14.0 225 72 6 3 5 82.2
5  Alterraun   Verner TEN 749 13.0 0.0 7.7 1.9 3.4 4-0 0 0 0 55 24 43.6 391 16.3 99 41 0 5 10 30.2
6  Brent   Grimes MIA 853 12.3 -0.4 9.7 -0.7 3.7 2-0 0 0 2 71 43 60.6 572 13.3 196 47 0 4 13 62.6
7  Vontae   Davis IND 746 10.2 0.0 8.8 -1.4 2.8 3-0 0 0 0 67 36 53.7 496 13.8 205 81 7 1 8 106.3
8  Dominique   Rodgers-Cromartie DEN 598 9.8 -0.1 8.1 -0.9 2.7 4-0 0 0 0 56 27 48.2 393 14.6 192 79 3 2 9 74.5
9  William   Gay PIT 736 9.7 1.5 2.4 3.4 2.4 4-0 1 0 2 74 41 55.4 380 9.3 166 27 1 1 5 68.5
10  Richard   Sherman SEA 760 9.4 0.2 6.8 1.0 1.4 5-0 0 1 1 48 27 56.3 437 16.2 156 73 2 4 4 66.1
11  Tramaine   Brock SF 425 9.3 0.0 8.4 -1.0 1.9 0-0 0 0 0 51 28 54.9 384 13.7 139 75 4 4 4 72.7
12  Leon   Hall CIN 276 8.7 -0.3 6.8 0.9 1.3 0-0 0 0 0 36 18 50.0 153 8.5 57 24 1 1 2 59.1
13  Captain   Munnerlyn CAR 717 8.6 -1.0 3.6 3.8 2.2 5-2 0 1 1 72 51 70.8 590 11.6 267 57 1 1 5 94.1
14  Alan   Ball JAX 726 7.3 -0.1 4.6 -0.5 3.3 3-1 0 0 0 52 30 57.7 361 12.0 164 40 1 0 12 85.5
15  Leodis   McKelvin BUF 677 7.2 0.0 6.9 -2.8 3.1 1-0 0 0 0 77 38 49.4 480 12.6 138 38 2 0 9 77.8

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin: Don’t lay game on Stevie

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2013 – 1:30 pm

Leodis McKelvin is all too aware of the public backlash directed at Stevie Johnson after his fumble late in regulation that cost Buffalo one of their two chances to win the game. But as McKelvin sees it the game wouldn’t have been tied at 31 without Stevie Johnson either.

“(Expletive) happens, for real, for real,” said McKelvin in reference to Johnson’s fumble. “You can count the pass he caught earlier in the game, a couple of those third down plays he made earlier in the game,  we may not have been in that same situation that we were at the end of the game.  You just can’t point out that one play.  It is what it is, we’re all human beings.  Things just happen, you’ve got to bounce back from it. We can’t just hold our heads down we have to keep fighting forward.  If  you’re a man that’s what we’re going to do.  That’s what we’re going to do and the guys, they’re going to do it.”

McKelvin believes the way to get on the right side of these close games more often is to come out on top on more of the smaller battles within the game.

“You’ve got to win more of your individual battles.  That’s it, point blank period.  You’ve got to win individual battles.
Guys got to step up.  Somebody’s got to make a play.  One of the 11 guys out there on the field got to make a play. If anybody makes a play you try to feed off all that energy, try to make sure we’re doing the right thing to get off the field on defense, or stay on the field on offense.  Those guys just have to jell together and work as a team, that’s what we have to do.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills to face Jets with full DB deck

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2013 – 10:25 am

While much is being made of the Bills being down their top two receivers in Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods for today’s game with the Jets, what’s been forgotten is how much different Buffalo’s defensive backfield looks with the unit much healthier than the first time they faced New York back in Week 3.

In that first meeting, top corner Stephon Gilmore was out due to wrist surgery, number two corner Leodis McKelvin suffered a hamstring injury in the first half forcing Aaron Williams to move from safety to corner. And Jairus Byrd was out of the lineup with plantar fasciitis. Now all three are back in the lineup for the divisional rematch today.

“They beat us on some plays down the field obviously and we didn’t have our two starting corners and Jairus Byrd wasn’t back there so we have three players back there now that we feel comfortable with,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “So going into this situation we feel a whole lot better in what we have back there than we did the first time played them, even though the first time we played them our guys did the best job they could back there.”

Buffalo’s defensive backs did have one interception off Geno Smith in the first meeting with Jim Leonhard snaring a pass over the middle. Kiko Alonso had an INT as well.

Having all three of those playmakers back in the lineup on the back end will allow defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to be more varied with his looks and more aggressive.

“You can do some different things now when you have those type of players out there that can potentially just lock somebody down,” said Marrone. “We’ve got Aaron Williams back at safety position again and he has man-to-man coverage ability, which he showed at corner. I think it gives us more options and opens up the playbook a bit more.”

Jairus Byrd has four career interceptions against the Jets, the most against any opponent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills ‘D’ had the clamps on

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 10:13 pm

Buffalo’s defense had been susceptible to giving up the big play through the first half of the season. That disappeared on Sunday.

The Bills allowed a total of 210 net yards to the Chiefs, the fewest in a loss since they gave up just 193 in the infamous 6-3 loss to Cleveland back on Oct. 11, 2009.

The longest play surrendered by the Bills was a 20-yard pass play from Alex Smith to Anthony Fasano. No other play went for more than 12 yards in the game.

On 10 total possessions, the Chiefs gained more than 35 yards on a drive, just once, their 42-yard field goal drive in the third quarter. That was also the only Kansas City drive that reached the red zone.

“I think we’ve got a good defense,” said Stephon Gilmore. “One thing their defense did, they got turnovers and scored. That’s what we needed as a defense. I just feel like we needed a play on defense to turn the game around for the offense. But we never got that.”

The closest they came was on Jerry Hughes strip sack, but Leodis McKelvin was unable to come up with the loose ball.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills hoping Goodwin impact is two-fold

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2013 – 12:19 pm

Marquise Goodwin’s return to the lineup today against Cincinnati is welcome one. His prowess on kick returns is obvious, but head coach Doug Marrone believes he can have just as big an impact on offense in the passing game.

“On offense he’s someone that can catch and score,” said Marrone late this week in his weekly radio show. “If you’re playing man coverage and he catches the ball and has a little bit of separation he has the ability to take it to the end zone. Anytime he gets the ball in his hands you have a chance for an explosive play.

“When we brought him in here everybody knows about his speed. It is what it is. I mean the guy was in the Olympics. His catching ability that’s the thing where he’s really done a good job. He catches the football extremely well. We’re excited about having him back because he’s a guy who can run down the field and you tell the quarterback to throw it as far as he can because you can never overthrow the guy. And that makes him easier to target.”

Naturally Marrone is hoping for some help in field position, or better yet points, with Goodwin returning kicks, as well as Leodis McKelvin, who sounds like he’ll be returning to full-time duty on punt returns now with his hamstring fully healthy.

“As far as special teams we’ve all seen what he can do in the preseason and we haven’t had a lot of opportunities with our punt returns and kickoff returns,” said Marrone. “We have top guys on returns in Leodis and Marquise Goodwin. The more opportunities we can provide those guys the better chance we have of scoring in those situations.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spiller, DBs questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2013 – 4:50 pm

The Bills have a lot of question marks for Thursday night’s game in Cleveland in term of personnel and it begins with their features tailback and ends with their secondary.

C.J. Spiller was limited in practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable for the game.

Buffalo’s secondary has two questionable players as well. Leodis McKelvin and Jairus Byrd are questionable.

Aaron Williams is probable.

Byrd was the only one to practice fully on Wednesday. The other two DBs and Spiller were limited.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills DBs on high alert with Browns throwing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2013 – 8:51 am

With the Browns leading the league in pass attempts and averaging almost 46 pass attempts a game, Buffalo’s secondary is going to be on high alert.

The main concerns are TE Jordan Cameron, who leads the team with 30 receptions and five touchdowns, four of which have come in the last two games. WR Josh Gordon is another go-to guy with 28 targets in the last two games.

Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy, fresh off a four pass breakup performance against Baltimore is well aware that passes figure to be flying everywhere when they’re on the field.

“You’ve got to be alert regardless especially now that the NFL is becoming a passing league,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t necessarily have one specific guy they go to especially with this team. They love to spread it around so pretty much everybody is live so we have to cover everybody.”

“Any time you get big physical receivers, quarterback s like to throw it up and give them a chance, figuring that the worst thing that’s going to happen is an incomplete pass,” said Jim Leonhard. “We get challenged every week.  We realize that being a young secondary, we’re going to get tested every week.  This Thursday is not going to be any different.”

The added challenge for the Bills is the likelihood that they’ll have more moving parts in the defensive backfield this week with Aaron Williams (low back) and Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) still on the mend.

“We’ve got to make sure our communication is down pat, which is going to be tough with the short week and all, but with the extra meeting time we have, we just are making sure we’re on one accord and get these guys covered,” said Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Secondary update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2013 – 5:03 pm

With injuries again prevailing in Buffalo’s secondary, here’s what was observed during the media viewing portion of practice.

Aaron Williams (low back) didn’t do much during individual and worked on the side with the athletic training staff for a while.

Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) was moving well in individual position drills, but ran scout team reps during defensive sets prior to team work.

Jairus Byrd (foot) was running with the scout team as well during defensive set reps.

Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and Ron Brooks (foot) worked with athletic trainers to maintain their conditioning level and are not part of practice.

Head coach Doug Marrone will provide an official participation level for each of the injured defensive backs following practice.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin eager to return

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

Bills CB Leodis McKelvin missed Sunday’s game with a strained hamstring, but he’s hopeful that he’ll be good to go Thursday night against Cleveland.

McKelvin said he sustained a grade one hamstring strain, the least severe, so he believes he’s going to have a good shot to play against the Browns.

“I feel like I have a chance,” he said. “I’ve been out for about eight days now and they gave me a span of seven to 10 days so hopefully by the time game time it will have gone away. We’re still on schedule with what’s been going on. It was a grade one strain so we’re sticking with the plan and I’ll keep working.”

The cornerback sounds like he’s in the final stages of testing the hamstring in rehab this week.

“I’m pretty much going through the phase now with how I feel when I want to burst and how I feel getting to my top speed. That’s what I’m going through right now day by day.”

The Bills have a late practice Tuesday afternoon. Whether McKelvin practices extensively will be a wait and see.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron shining, but safety where Bills want him

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2013 – 10:39 am

Aaron Williams has put in a pair of solid performances at cornerback in relief of the injured Leodis McKelvin. His first interception gave Buffalo three points on a field goal drive and his second took points off the board for Baltimore in Buffalo’s end zone. But cornerback is not where the Bills feel he can help them the most.

“We’d like to get him back to safety,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “We really think that again he can do a lot for us back there.”

With respect to Leodis McKelvin, Marrone said the cornerback was very close to being healthy enough to play.

“I think that a lot of it when you say can that player go, a lot of it is going to be about how we feel, how much he can go,” said McKelvin. “I think again when you’re working players back in to you have to see it as, if it was 110 percent healthy and here we go, we’ve got some other players that we’re trying to get back too.”

Marrone said the matchups this week with Cleveland and obviously McKelvin’s availability will determine what happens in this short week.

“I think a lot of it we’ll go through the week, see who is back there, look at the team we’re playing, what we want to do schematically before we make those type of decisions,” he said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin inactive

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2013 – 11:45 am

Leodis McKelvin is one of Buffalo’s inactive players today. That means Aaron Williams will start at CB opposite Justin Rogers. Here are the rest of the inactives.

5 K Hopkins
21 CB McKelvin
24 CB Gilmore
31 S Byrd
33 CB Brooks
59 OL Legursky
88 WR Goodwin


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Balancing reps for healthy & injured

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2013 – 12:11 pm

Buffalo has a good number of players on their injured list who normally appear in their starting lineup. Most of them missed practice time this week and had to be replaced in the lineup at practice with reserves. The difficult balancing act for coaches is giving enough reps to the injured starter, so if he can play he’s ready, while also getting the reserve players enough practice time so they too are ready, should the starter be unable to go on Sunday.

Leodis McKelvin is this week’s example. He’s practiced on a limited basis and will be a game time decision Sunday. The tough part is they also have to get Aaron Williams ready if McKelvin cannot go. Williams this season typically plays safety, but has had to split his time at cornerback so he’s ready to play there if necessary.

“I think that’s the challenge,” Bills head coach Doug Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “When you have guys that are injured or not knowing their status until you get up to the game with a day to day situation, you have to do a good job during the week of making sure you’re plugging them in. When you go through those situations obviously you’re losing some reps making sure they’re ready to go. It hinders you in that sense, but you can’t make excuses. You have to be able to go out and play.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Leodis questionable, Stevie, C.J. probable

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2013 – 12:37 pm

The Bills injury list is long, but it sounds like most of Buffalo’s nicked up players will be available on Sunday.

The only major question mark is Leodis McKelvin, and a decision on him won’t be made until late Sunday morning according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“He looked good out there today, but again we’re just practicing. That’ll be a game time decision. We’ll bring him in early and work him out,” said Marrone.

Three starters on both offense and defense are probably after sustaining injuries in last Sunday’s game.

OUT
CB Ron Brooks – foot
CB Stephon Gilmore – wrist
K Dustin Hopkins – groin
WR Marquise Goodwin – hand

QUESTIONABLE
S Jairus Byrd – foot
CB Leodis McKelvin – hamstring

PROBABLE
DL Marcell Dareus – ankle
DL Mario Williams – ankle
DL Kyle Williams – Achilles
WR Stevie Johnson – hamstring
G/C Doug Legursky – knee
RB C.J. Spiller – thigh
OL Kraig Urbik – knee


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Loss of CBs has altered defensive approach

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2013 – 9:16 am

Losing Stephon Gilmore at the tail end of the preseason, followed shortly thereafter by Ron Brooks, the team’s top nickel back and now potentially Leodis McKelvin this week, Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had no choice but to alter some of his more aggressive plans for the Bills defense here in the early going of 2013.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone confirmed as much in his weekly appearance on the Howard Simon show on the Bills Radio Network.

“Absolutely. Anytime something happens whether it be injury and you start moving people (around) everybody has strengths and weaknesses. You do have to start making adjustments and it becomes a chain reaction,” said Marrone.

“The philosophy is to go out there and play, but to be smart. We’re not just going to leave those guys out there all the time. We’ve got to mix it up. In this league if you put yourself in one situation they’re going to find it and take advantage of it. You try to make sure you can disguise it and do the things you’re doing so you can be aggressive and do what you need to do to win.”

Leaving cornerbacks out on islands less is one of the more likely measures being taken moving forward.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: McKelvin a likely game time decision

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2013 – 8:59 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly appearance on the Howard Simon show on the Bills Radio Network provided an update on the chance Leodis McKelvin has of playing on Sunday against the Ravens.

“I think he’s got a chance,” said Marrone. “I think it’ll be one those things where we go out before the game. He practiced (Thursday) on a limited basis. He went out there and ran around and I think that’ll be a game time decision.”

Marrone confirmed that if McKelvin can’t go that Aaron Williams would line up at corner in his place, much like he did last week against the Jets when McKelvin left the game in the first half. Knowing McKelvin is also the team’s primary punt returner, the Bills head coach also relayed that if McKelvin is not dressed that Jim Leonhard would again handle punt returns as he did last Sunday.

Knowing the high impact nature of the cornerback position with the stopping and starting and turning and bursting that has to take place, that puts a lot of stress on the hamstring. McKelvin knows if his hamstring is not right, it makes playing the position almost impossible.

“Your hamstring is one of your key parts if you want to play this game,” he said. “If you don’t have your hamstring you’re not going to be able to do anything. You can’t open up and you can’t be the guy you want to be especially in the times that you really need to burst or stay on top especially in this defense. It’s critical that your hamstring needs to be right.”


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Stevie, Mario, Leodis working

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2013 – 11:59 am

Mario Williams, Stevie Johnson and Leodis McKelvin re-entered the practice setting Thursday.

None of them appear to be full go as of yet, but the official degree of participation will be known post practice when head coach Doug Marrone provides an update.


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Ravens injuries at WR could be helpful

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2013 – 9:55 am

Already without WR Jacoby Jones (knee) this week, the Ravens also have another receiver upon whom they’ve relied the first three weeks of the season dealing with an injury.

Marlon Brown, who has lined up opposite Torrey Smith, missed practice Wednesday with a neck injury. The origin of the injury is unknown since he played the whole game for Baltimore last week. If Brown can’t play it would leave the Ravens without two of their top three receivers.

In addition reserve WR Deonte Thompson was limited in practice Wednesday with a foot injury.

Absences at receiver for Baltimore would be a welcome sight for the Bills, who could be without each of their top three corners on their depth chart if Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) can’t play. Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks are not expected to play Sunday.


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McKelvin, Spiller working some

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2013 – 12:21 pm

Leodis McKelvin and C.J. Spiller are both practicing here on Wednesday, but they’re not doing everything.

We’ll wait for the official practice participation designation from coach Marrone this afternoon, but both look to be limited.


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Depth chart changes

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2013 – 2:00 pm

In the wake of the loss of Alex Carrington there have been a couple of shifts on the Bills depth chart. Here’s a look.

First, Alan Branch is now listed as the starting left defensive end, with Corbin Bryant as his backup. Truthfully I see Branch rotating in to spell Dareus and Kyle Williams more than playing the end position. As coach Marrone indicated Corbin Bryant figures to see the most work in what is now Carrington’s vacant role.

On kick return Marcus Easley is now listed as the official backup to Marquise Goodwin, who is still recovering from a broken hand in Week 1. Easley hasn’t had much of an opportunity to return with all the booming kickoffs the Bills have seen the first three games. In fact Easley has made more of an impact in kickoff coverage turning in big tackles each of the last two weeks.

Finally Jim Leonhard is now listed as the backup punt returner to Leodis McKelvin, a role in which he served last week after McKelvin left with a hamstring injury. Leonhard was a pretty accomplished punt returner in college.

Even if McKelvin is able to play this week, it’s likely that Leonhard gets punt return work as the Bills will probably try not to overextend McKelvin with added special teams duties.


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Posted in Inside the Bills