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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Carrington to I-R

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2013 – 3:45 pm

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion once it was learned that Alex Carrington’s torn quadriceps tendon effectively finished his season and would require surgery, but the Bills defensive lineman was put on injured reserve Monday afternoon.

The move opens up a roster spot for Buffalo, which could be used to address the seemingly ever shorthanded cornerback position. Buffalo may or may not have Leodis McKelvin for Sunday’s game against Baltimore after he left last Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.

Head coach Doug Marrone said he wants to see how McKelvin improves between now and Wednesday before passing judgment on his chances of playing this weekend. Buffalo is already without top corner Stephon Gilmore and top nickel corner Ron Brooks due to long term injuries.


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When we’ll know more on McKelvin

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2013 – 3:04 pm

Leodis McKelvin left Sunday’s game in the first half with a hamstring injury. Head coach Doug Marrone is unsure as to whether he’ll be ready for the Ravens game.

“I don’t want to miscommunicate that one,” said Marrone Monday. “That’s the only one I’m not sure about. It’s a rest, see how you feel when you come back on Wednesday. How do you feel? Is it better? There’s a lot that goes into that. I don’t want to miscommunicate if he’s out for sure. If he was it’d be easy. I’d be like, hey he’s out. I’d tell you, but I really don’t know.”

The exact nature of McKelvin’s hamstring injury is not known, but if he has a chance to come back this weekend, it can’t be a serious muscle pull. It’s more likely a strain. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for practice reports later this week.

If McKelvin cannot play on Sunday Buffalo will be without their top three cornerbacks in Stephon Gilmore, McKelvin and top nickel corner Ron Brooks.


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Other nicked Bills should be ok for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2013 – 2:49 pm

Bills DL Alex Carrington wasn’t the only casualty in Sunday’s game against the Jets. Head coach Doug Marrone provided a rundown, but the good news is it appears most, if not all, will be good to play against the Ravens.

“C.J. Spiller had a quad. I believe he’ll be fine,” said Marrone. “Marcell Dareus had an ankle. I believe he’ll be fine. Stevie Johnson had a hamstring I believe he’ll be fine. Leodis McKelvin has a hamstring. We’ll see how that is when he comes back and starts working on the field.

“Mario Williams had an ankle, but he was playing the whole game and at the end he had an ankle that I wasn’t aware of until afterwards. We think he’ll be fine.”

The biggest question mark is McKelvin, whose progress between now and Wednesday will paint a better picture on how likely it is for him to return Sunday against Baltimore.


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Injury updates

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2013 – 10:55 pm

The Bills had some big name players go down to injury on Sunday in the loss to the Jets. Head coach Doug Marrone provided a rundown.

“Leodis a hamstring, he didn’t come back,” said Marrone. “Marcell an ankle he didn’t come back. Spiller a knee he didn’t come back. And Carrington a knee he didn’t come back.”

Marrone said all four will be re-evaluated on Monday.


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