Inside The Bills

‘Zo to tap into ex-Panthers intel on expectations

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2017 – 12:52 pm

Lorenzo Alexander feels more comfortable being a vocal leader in his second year with the Bills. But he wants to do it within the constructs of head coach Sean McDermott’s expectations. That’s why he plans to tap into the knowledge some of the ex-Panthers on Buffalo’s roster to make sure he’s got a full understanding of the new head coach’s methods and messaging.

“That’s why they’re here,” said Alexander of free agent signees Mike Tolbert, Leonard Johnson and Philly Brown. “Coaches often bring guys from other places where they’ve been because they understand the expectation level. They understand the culture that he wants and what he means when he says certain things. So they can definitely be sounding boards for his message and I can also talk to them as well for things like, ‘What does it mean when he says this?’ Or, ‘How did you guys do that here?’ Or ‘What did that picture look like in your locker room?’ And maybe we can take some of those tidbits that they learned from what he did in other places and apply it here so we can win.”

Alexander and the three ex-Panthers signees are among a group of players we profiled on Buffalobills.com as Bills culture makers under coach McDermott entering the 2017 season.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Lorenzo Alexander pays visit to local elementary school

Posted by Kelly Baker on April 6, 2017 – 11:37 am

He’s only been back in Western New York for a few days, but that hasn’t stopped Bills Pro Bowl linebacker Lorenzo Alexander from making a difference in the community.

On Tuesday, April 4, Alexander and his ACES Foundation, paid a special visit to Pembroke Intermediate School to meet with Mr. Brown’s fourth grade class.

“When I got back we went out there…We signed autographs for the kids, spoke to them about commitment and consistency and building relationships,” said Alexander. “I really liked the school and they’re doing a lot of great things out there.”

Reflecting on the afternoon, Alexander, this year’s Call to Courage Award recipient, explained that his main message to the young students was about character development.

“That’s what it’s always about – character,” said Alexander. “Being a great person, taking care of your classmates, your community and yourself and staying healthy – all the things you want to emphasize with kids. I emphasize with my own children.”

As far as his plans for the remainder of the offseason—in-between his duties on the field—Alexander aims to spend as much time giving back as he can.

“I think being my second year here, being more comfortable, how well the city embraced me last year and just the community, I wanted to get engaged sooner in that regard and give back when I have time in the offseason…”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Lorenzo on why Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2017 – 4:17 pm

Bills free agent LB Lorenzo Alexander made a point of sharing his desire to be back in Buffalo. On Saturday he agreed to terms with the Bills and explained why he wanted to return to Buffalo. 

“At this point in my career I definitely want to be settled in one spot and Buffalo being the great football city that it is, obviously the fan base and the whole community embraced me last year, I definitely wanted to come back here, said Alexander. “I really appreciated the Pegulas, Doug Whaley and Sean McDermott expressing their feelings about me as a player on and off the field. Anytime you have a relationship that you do like that, you definitely want to come back and finish it off. 

“From my understanding, I’m 34 and it’s definitely a blessing to be able to continue to play at this age, still be in the NFL, and I’m just excited to get back with my teammates. I was actually joking with Kyle Williams that, technically, he’s still the oldest player until I sign the deal. But just being around guys like that and having a good time as I finish out, I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can bring the city a playoff team and hopefully be able to play for a championship.”

Alexander was a valuable part of the leadership contingent in Buffalo’s locker room last year. Head coach Sean McDermott has made a point of retaining or bringing in leaders in his first year with the Bills. 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Alexander camp sets wide contract parameters

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2017 – 10:44 am

Bills free agent Lorenzo Alexander has said more than once that he’d like to be back in Buffalo next season, but understands in the NFL there are no guarantees. He also believes he’s proven over his career that he’s versatile and can fit any defensive system, knowing that Buffalo’s defensive scheme is expected to change… again. His agent also set the contract parameters in terms of annual salary.

Alexander’s agent Peter Schaffer told CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora that he’s anticipating a wide range following Alexander’s Pro Bowl season with Buffalo.

LaCanfora quoted Alexander’s agent as saying that he expects the veteran linebacker to land “between $5 million and $10 million per year” on a short-term free agent deal.

He explained that the very wide range is due to the unique circumstance that Alexander’s age (33) and production (12.5) present.

Whether the Bills have a contract offer in mind that falls somewhere within that average annual range remains to be seen.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Shift in Bills OLB rotation

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2016 – 12:19 pm

With Shaq Lawson now up to speed with Buffalo’s defense his play time saw a sharp spike in Week 14 against the Steelers when he made his first NFL start. In that game he got 46 snaps for 61 percent of the playing time. But as part of the three-man OLB rotation, Lawson saw that play time drop off this past Sunday.

Lawson got just 19 snaps, playing just 33 percent of the defensive plays. He contributed a tackle and a forced fumble in the winning effort.

The lion’s share of the work went to veteran Lorenzo Alexander, who rewarded the defensive staff, tying for the team lead in tackles with seven, 1.5 sacks and a pair of QB hits. He played 58 snaps on defense.

Jerry Hughes got 43 snaps for 74 percent of the work on defense, and had three tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.

Last week the snap counts went as follows.
Alexander – 54 snaps (72%)
Lawson – 46 snaps (61%)
Hughes – 30 snaps (40%)


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Del Rio: Had we known, we’d have re-signed ‘Zo

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2016 – 10:47 am

Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio is enjoying a 9-2 season in which very little has gone wrong. One mistake that he admits to making however, is not re-signing Bills pass rusher Lorenzo Alexander.

Alexander was a special teams role player only for the Raiders last season, and Alexander wanted to re-sign with Oakland, but they had different plans in mind. Now Del Rio is regretting their decision seeing Alexander rack up 10 sacks with the Bills so far this season.

“We did not see that in him or we wouldn’t have let Rex get him! I’m really happy for a guy like Lorenzo,” said Del Rio. “He’s a consummate professional. This is a guy that busts his butt, does everything he can, every day to be a true professional. We had him around thinking that’s what we were getting is that, the leadership part of it and honestly, we missed on this part where he’s getting 10 sacks.

“Hats off to him, congratulations to him. The guys that are here that know him are really happy for him. He’s a great young man. Played at Cal right here, it’s a great story for him. I’m super happy for him. I just don’t want him to get it done this weekend, but happy for the year he’s had.”

Alexander wasn’t bitter about being unable to sign with his hometown Raiders, a club he thought was going to do well this season.

“I wanted to come back this year after last season,” he said. “I enjoyed my time while I was there, but (Raiders GM) Reggie [McKenzie] and the coaching staff decided they wanted to go in a different direction. Obviously, they signed a guy like Bruce Irvin there. They had Khalil Mack and they drafted some young guys.”

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-2

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2016 – 11:32 am

Another must win game on Sunday in Oakland. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
With the Bills depleted secondary and Oakland’s vertical threat and strong O-Line, what can Bills D do to stop Carr and O?

@BuffSportsFan90
CB: The best defense this week is going to be a good offense. Buffalo should be able to run effectively against the league’s 26th ranked run defense. Hopefully that allows the Bills to put together long sustained drives. Converting on third down will be critical to holding onto the ball and limiting Oakland’s possessions.

That’s how the Chiefs beat the Raiders back in Week 6. They held onto the ball for almost 37 minutes and gave the Raiders just 10 total possessions. Teams usually get about 12 per game.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills With so many upcoming free agents how are the @buffalobills with cap space?

Bob Refermat
@lostnascarfan

CB: You’re right. At last count the Bills will have 23 players set to become unrestricted free agents. That obviously takes a lot of contracts off the books for Buffalo. Remember that room under the salary cap is always a moving target. But last I checked for 2017 the Bills are a little more than $20M under the cap.

If they pick up the option on Tyrod Taylor that will obviously impact the cap significantly. We’ll see what their plans are in terms of re-signing their own or pursuing a free agent on the market, but Taylor’s option will play a major role in how aggressive they are in free agency.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills How is Cardale Jones doing? He is likely the number 2 qb next year correct?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Jones is really trying to build his game from the ground up to better fit the NFL game. From footwork, to set up to his delivery. How he scans the field, keeps his feet active, reading defenses pre-snap. Bills QBs coach David Lee has worked tirelessly with Jones to try to develop his game.

The Bills saw this year as a redshirt year for Jones. Lee has him come in early and throw with a couple of receivers early in the week and late in the week after Friday practices. On Thursdays he’ll have him review his Wednesday and Thursday practice tape and go over fundamentals.

They’re working mainly on his intermediate accuracy, his footwork and arm mechanics.

I know the offensive staff has a lot of respect for EJ’s game. Lee said on the John Murphy Show this week that he thinks Manuel’s confidence is at an all-time high and that he’s been ripping it in practice.

Knowing his contract is up, the likelihood of Manuel being back with the team is completely up in the air.

Clearly Tyrod Taylor is the bigger issue to address with his option year at the quarterback position, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Manuel found work elsewhere and Cardale Jones was the backup for 2017.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How limited will Sammy be on Sunday? And how will Rex manage playing time between Lorenzo shaq and Hughes?

Justin Trottier
@justintrotts1

CB: Watkins’ availability is going to largely be based on how the foot feels as the game wears on. So it’s a wait and see on the size of his role Sunday. I will say that I think it is beneficial that the game is on grass, which is a more forgiving surface on the body.

As for managing time between Shaq, Alexander and Hughes, the staff tried address that last week against the Jaguars. The defensive staff wants to play Shaq more and cut back on Alexander’s defensive snaps, so they’re able to use him on special teams as well.

Alexander really shouldn’t have much more than 55-60 snaps combined between defense and special teams. Last week he had 70, so again he was over the threshold of where they’d probably like to be with him, knowing he’s 33 and the oldest player on the team.

Shaq’s snap count wound up being identical to that of the Cincinnati game. He got 21 snaps in both. Part of the reason is both games were tightly fought contests and in tight spots you want to go with an experienced player that you can trust. Lawson is still learning the pro game.

Remember he missed the entire offseason on the field. That’s OTAs, minicamp, training camp, the preseason and the first six games of the season. Lawson bit hard on a read option fake, didn’t hold the edge and let Blake Bortles run for a first down and more. Those kinds of plays makes defensive coaches hesitant to use him more as opposed to Alexander, who is one of the smarter players on the team.

Knowing the importance of each game the rest of the way they’d like to use Shaq more because he’s talented, but until he can show an ability to play sound, disciplined assignment football he might be reduced to just passing downs to rush the passer.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Why aren’t they using Reggie Bush out of back field, swing passes, screen passes, with all WR injuries?

TomLarsen/TheInsDoc
@tomlarsen

CB: It’s a valid question. I thought when they signed Reggie Bush that he would be a specialty player that would be used in an 8-12 play package every week on offense. He could be split out as a receiver, line up in a split backfield with McCoy or return kicks and punts. The signing of Brandon Tate largely eliminated his return duties.

He’s been used sparingly as a receiver and back. I do believe they could make greater use of their ‘Pony’ package, which is their split backfield with McCoy and another tailback. But for whatever reason they have only used it occasionally.

It’s clear they prefer Mike Gillislee, who is a much better north-south runner and capable of fighting for the tough yard. Rookie Jonathan Williams is also better in that regard.

Bush is a player best used in space, which is why they could make use of him in a receiving role knowing the amount of injuries they have at that position right now.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Here is the list of Bills inactives for tonight’s game against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

DT Marcell Dareus
DT Corbin Bryant
WR Brandon Tate
OL Patrick Lewis
TE Gerald Christian
QB Cardale Jones
OT Seantrel Henderson

LB Lorenzo Alexander is active. He was questionable with a strained hamstring. So too are the newest Bills, WR Percy Harvin and S Sergio Brown, who is expected to play a role on special teams.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Alexander remains optimistic

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2016 – 8:54 am

Bills AFC Defensive Player of the Month, Lorenzo Alexander, is dealing with a hamstring injury suffered last week. Though he did not practice on Thursday, he remains optimistic that he’ll be fit enough to play Monday night against the Seahawks in Seattle.

“Obviously having the extra day is very beneficial,” said Alexander. “Continue to take it day by day. I had a good day (Thursday) working out and rehabbing on it and continue to improve so I’m eager to  to get out there and help us win on Monday night.”

We’ll see if Alexander is able to participate in practice even on a limited basis Friday and Saturday.


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Alexander got a rest day

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2016 – 4:01 pm

Head coach Rex Ryan has given rest days to veteran players before. Kyle Williams, Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, Jerry Hughes. They’ve all been told to take an extra day on Wednesday to let their bodies recover. No veteran player earned a rest day Wednesday more than Alexander this past week.

That’s because no one played more snaps than Alexander in the loss to Miami. The veteran pass rusher played an astounding 86 snaps last week, logging 64 on defense and 22 on special teams. Only Preston Brown and Corey Graham came close to Alexander’s time on the field with 84 and 81 snaps.

“They’re just doing a good job of taking care of me, don’t want to be dumb-tough, as I like to call it,” Alexander said. “I mean I could get out there and practice today but after having so many reps, especially on special teams as well, just want to make sure that I’m fresh for this game this weekend.”

Alexander confirmed that the coaches told him to sit Wednesday. He didn’t ask for it.

“If I went to the coaches and asked they’d probably (let me have a day off),” said Alexander. “I’m cut from the old cloth. I’ve been undrafted in this league, so I’ve always had the mentality that I need to be out there. So when it comes from the top down I’m going to take it just because I want to be smart rather than going out there and showing everybody I can get through it. It’s all about being fresh for Sundays.”

Alexander leads the league in sacks and is second in forced fumbles with three so far this season.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills family supports Eric Wood at Flights & Bites

Posted by Kelly Baker on October 18, 2016 – 4:27 pm

eric-wood-flights-bites

Bills center Eric Wood hosted his second annual Flights and Bites event in downtown Buffalo on Monday, Oct. 17. The event, which followed the team’s big win over the San Francisco 49ers, featured many players who chose to spend their time off supporting their teammate. Coming together for a good cause, the evening consisted of both silent and live auctions to benefit the Eric Wood Foundation, which seeks to provide aid to families of sick children.

“Just a fun…Monday night, (it’s a) chance for a lot of the guys and coaches to come out and interact with a lot of the fans and raise money for sick children and their families here in Western New York,” said Wood. Especially after a win yesterday (Sunday, Oct. 16), the spirits are always high and people are in the giving spirit in times like that.”

The support from the Bills family proved truly tremendous, as over 30 Bills players and coaches attended the event. The turnout included, Bills general manager Doug Whaley, head coach Rex Ryan, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, safety Aaron Williams, guard Richie Incognito, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, linebacker Reggie Ragland, safety Colt Anderson, cornerback Kevon Seymour, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, kicker Dan Carpenter, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and many more.

For more information on the Eric Wood Foundation, visit here.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Why Spikes has seen time on the edge

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2016 – 2:35 pm

Bills LB Brandon Spikes hasn’t seen a lot of playing time on defense, due in part to the stellar play of Preston and Zach Brown at the inside linebacker positions. But head coach Rex Ryan and his defensive staff have been trying to find ways to get him on the field here and there.

Knowing that if they want to have Lorenzo Alexander available to them for all 16 games in light of his eye-opening production on defense (4 sacks in first 4 games) they can’t play him 70-80 plays a game (he also plays on special teams), they’ve used Lerentee McCray as a rotational OLB for both Alexander and Jerry Hughes.

On obvious run downs, they’ve also sprinkled Spikes in at OLB to help set the edge in the run front. Spikes is a bit stouter than Alexander at the point of attack, and played up on the line a good deal back in his college days at Florida so it’s not a foreign role for him.

Ryan knows Spikes is respected leader in the locker room, so he’s trying to find ways to get him involved in the game plan week to week.

“We just love his temperament and the type of player he is,” Ryan said. “He’s a physical, downhill player. We’re just trying to get our best players on the field. So if there’s a role for that then that’s where we’re going to play him. The two inside guys are playing so well right now that it’s hard to get Spikes or (Ramon) Humber in there, but we’re trying to find snaps for them. Spikes has some leadership to him as well and he builds people up. He elevates other people’s games, so you try to find a role for him every week.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Opportunity at OLB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2016 – 7:59 am

With Shaq Lawson on the shelf and Manny Lawson not likely to see the field until just before the season opener, there’s an opportunity at outside linebacker for those players who are healthy and on the field right now for Buffalo.

That was Rex Ryan’s assessment heading into Saturday’s preseason opener against Indianapolis. But if his feet were held to the fire in a game that counted, and he didn’t have either Lawson, he knows who he’d start at that vacant outside linebacker position opposite Jerry Hughes.

“I think the battle for outside linebacker is wide open,” Ryan said. “Obviously you don’t have Manny Lawson ready to go yet. But let’s see who steps forward. You know? Sometimes we put Striker in there. Sometimes we put IK out there. He’s been primarily the starter, but if we were going to start a game today, I’d start 57. I’d start Zo [Lorenzo Alexander] at that spot. I can’t tell you the last mistake he’s made. I think he’s made one or two the entire camp. Veteran player, but it wasn’t the role that I wanted for him, and I’m not going to put him there. I want some of these young guys to see if they can’t step up and do it. [Bryson] Albright is another guy that’s shown a little bit.”

All those candidates mentioned by Ryan will get plenty of playing time Saturday night.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills