Inside The Bills

Bills won’t be free agent players next year

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Buffalo Bills made some exciting trades and some aggressive moves in free agency this offseason that has the team poised to bring an end to their playoff drought. But don’t expect the flurry of activity to happen again in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley all but confirmed that with the high-priced players they signed (McCoy, Harvin) and the high-priced players they re-signed (Hughes) or extended (Kyle Williams) they won’t be in a position to spend like that again next March.

“Next year the Bills fans should take vacation during free agency,” Doug Whaley told the John Murphy Show. “Our free agency now, because we’ve drafted so well turns to our own players. Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Nigel Bradham, Stephon Gilmore that will be our free agency next year. We’ll turn into the Green Bay Packers.”

Whaley knows Dareus and Gilmore will command high price tags based not only on their production, but the position they’ll play with Glenn and Bradham not far behind. That’s why the personnel department is hopeful they can land a contributing player or two late in the draft, who will be far more affordable knowing a lot of cap dollars will be tied into the elite core of players.

“With the guys we’ve paid this year and brought in and the guys we’re going to try to re-sign next offseason those guys are going to be high-priced players,” said Whaley. “So to balance that out you have to hit on some fifth, sixth or seventh round players to have that, for lack of a better term, cheap labor and balance out that top heavy end of the price structure in the cap situation with our top end players.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

The second week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is in the books. Veteran voluntary minicamp is a couple of weeks away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Let us talk hypothetically.  TE-OL-LB are obvious needs.  But, should (UCLA QB Brett) Hundley still be on the board for the Bills in round 2, what do you think?

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think GM Doug Whaley will keep all options open in round two knowing he can truly take the best player on the board with few holes on the roster. That being said beyond the first two quarterbacks (Winston, Mariota) I get the feeling that the general consensus around the league is none of the remaining quarterbacks are at a point in their development where they can help right away.

I don’t know for a Bills team trying to win right now that Hundley is a pick worth making in round two. I think they’d rather have a player that can step in and help as a rookie in the event of an injury or push an incumbent starter for the starting role at their respective position.

Naturally we have to see what is left on the board at pick 50, and that’s obviously very hard to predict. I think there will be enough quality talent at Buffalo’s need positions that you listed to convince them to go in that direction more than QB.

 

2 – Chris,

After reading Collision Low Crossers, the book about the 2011 Jets, it seems like Rex values a shutdown corner to take away part of the field, then blitz.

I assume Gilmore is close to being that type of player. Do you think McKelvin can hold up? What players off radar could come in and make plays on the defense where he likes to give all the players playing time (i.e. Robey, Cockrell, Johnson, Meeks, Charles). How do the reserves fit into his defense and which one you see making a big jump in 2015?

CB: First, yes I think McKelvin can hold up as a press corner. He’s coming off the two-best seasons in his career under secondary coach Donnie Henderson. Furthermore Ryan believes he has three capable outside press corners with Corey Graham being the third.

In terms of a reserve player on defense who could make a jump I believe Duke Williams is a prime candidate to start in the safety role vacated by Da’Norris Searcy. He got a good deal of playing time there last season, is a ferocious hitter and has a nose for the ball. The other players you mentioned are only going to take steps forward as well, which speaks well for the depth on defense.

 

3 – Chris,

I am not convinced Matt Cassel is the answer at QB we’ve been waiting for all these years. Will the Bills go after Colin Kaepernick? And if not, why not? He would make sense as a solid franchise QB with a winning track record who fits with a run first offense. I see him as a perfect fit.

Cordially,
Bradley Kaye

CB: While I don’t deny that Kaepernick had success in Greg Roman’s offense in San Francisco, to acquire him he has to be available. With all of the talent that the 49ers have lost this offseason (Crabtree, Gore, S. Johnson, Iupati, Culliver, Skuta, Borland, Willis) I cannot see them parting with the player they handed franchise quarterback money.

 

4 – Chris,

With the team spending lots of money for the 2015, wondering how it will play out in 2016 when they have other players to lock up. Dareus will command a huge contract. Gilmore will need his option picked up. Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham is set to be a free agent as well. These are core guys they like how is it possible to keep them? Next year is big for future free agents. Are they spending too much money now they may have to let one of those guys walk next year? As of now the Bills aren’t done spending and could add more.

Josh P.
CB: I think your concern is a valid one. They’ve already picked up the option on Stephon Gilmore, per Doug Whaley’s comments at the owners’ meetings, so that buys them some time with him. They are interested in extending Nigel Bradham and it would not surprise me if Glenn were on the list as well. Right now Marcell Dareus is the primary focus regarding an extension. After seeing the money that Ndamukong Suh got in Miami, I think we all know that it’s going to be a complicated deal to broker.

Knowing the money involved with be large, it puts a hold on the other players who are in line for extensions because in all likelihood the Bills will need to get creative to make Dareus’ extension work. That deal will undoubtedly have an impact on how and what they can offer to their other young core players.

The good news is that the salary cap continues to go up and up and up. So more room will be created just with the dawn of a new calendar year.

 

5 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean R.

CB: I think the offensive line is a distinct possibility at 50, but not knowing what will still be on the board makes it difficult to pin down. I think guard or tackle are possibilities there. If the right tight end prospect is there in round two I don’t think you can rule it out, but Buffalo has their starter in Charles Clay. Now if they plan to have two tight ends on the field at the same time, which in Greg Roman’s offense is likely a good amount of the time, they might look to find one on day two (rounds 2 & 3).

I see LB depth being acquired later in the draft.

 


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Dareus gives back to childhood park

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2015 – 10:12 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus will be at the park where he grew up playing youth football this weekend to help with a revitalization effort and make a donation.

Dareus, who grew up playing in Wahouma Park in Birmingham, Alabama, is making a donation of $100,000 to refurbish some of the run down areas of the park while also improving the condition of the landscaping, fields and playground areas.

“I’m really excited to come back to Birmingham and revitalize the park I played in as a child,” Dareus said in the release. “I want the kids who play here to know that they have the same opportunities to succeed as I did. And what better way to do that than to give them a safe and clean environment in which to play.”


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Dareus to be addressed in time

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2015 – 8:00 pm

Marcell Dareus is entering the final year of his contract in 2015. Buffalo picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last year. But GM Doug Whaley said that the team intends to work on a contract extension for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, just not right now.

Whaley said an extension for Dareus is a high priority, but the club needs to address their current free agents to be first and make some additions in free agency.

“After we get done with all the unrestricted (free agents) and all we have to do this offseason then we would start to broach that subject,” said Whaley.

Dareus is coming off a career-high 10 sack season in 2014.


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Bills young talent ranks favorably

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 9:39 am

ESPN did a league wide analysis of the young talent on every roster in the NFL. The Bills ranked in the top half of the league with their healthy number of young playmakers.

ESPN Insider Matt Williamson had the Bills ranked 11th in the league when it came to their “farm system” of young talent. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo’s roster.

11. Buffalo Bills

Sammy Watkins, WR (21): He didn’t put up the same numbers as some of the rookie receivers drafted after him, but make no mistake: He is still a supreme prospect. He has great speed and ball skills, but what some might overlook with him is his strength. Every aspect of his game exudes power, from his running style to his aggressiveness attacking the football.

Marcell Dareus, DT (24): The Bills’ excellent defensive line is the foundation of their defense, and Dareus is the anchor in the middle. He dominates in the running game and continues to improve as an every-down player who can get to the quarterback as well.

Cordy Glenn, LT (25): Not the prototypical light-footed left tackle, Glenn uses his great size and wingspan to protect the blind side. He is a top-10 tackle in this league.

Stephon Gilmore, CB (24): Gilmore excels in both man and zone coverage. With Rex Ryan taking over as Buffalo’s head coach, Gilmore should see a ton of one-on-one coverage against the opponent’s top receiver. He’s up to the task.

Kiko Alonso, LB (25): He missed all of 2014 due to an injury, but he along with Brandon Spikes and Preston Brown gives Buffalo one of the best linebacker groups in football.

Others of note: Nigel Bradham, EJ Manuel, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Marquise Goodwin,Cyril Richardson, Bryce Brown, Nickell Roby, Seantrel Henderson, Robert Woods, Preston Brown,Cyrus Kouandjio

The Colts, Patriots and Rams were the top three ranked teams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

4 Bills make PFF all division team

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2015 – 10:01 am

The film reviewers and stat crunchers at Pro Football Focus released their All Diviaion teams for the 2014 season. Four Bills made the squad. Two were expected, two others may have been a bit more under the radar.

Buffalo’s Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus both were named to the defensive line and Corey Graham and Dan Carpenter were the other two Bills honorees. Here’s what they wrote about Buffalo’s players and the seasons they had.

DEFENSE
Edge Defenders: Cameron Wake (MIA) and Mario Williams (BUF)
Just another season for Wake who continues to be one of the premier edge pass rushers in the entire league. Williams benefitted by Buffalo switching back to a 4-3 and allowing him to play with his hand on the ground once again. He clearly still has a knack for getting to the quarterback, but his play in run defense was arguably the best of his career.

Defensive Interior – Nose: Marcell Dareus (BUF)
Dareus continues to improve and has become more consistent on a week-to-week basis. His 10 sacks received the most attention, but his work in run defense is where he really flourished.

Cornerbacks: Darrelle Revis (NE), Corey Graham (BUF)
Unsurprisingly, Revis was again one of the best cornerbacks in football in his first year with the Patriots, making the PFF All-Pro team. Graham wasn’t even getting significant playing time in some games over the first half of the season, but he was easily the best in coverage for the Bills’ secondary. Opposing quarterbacks had a 57.0 QB Rating when targeting Graham, fifth-lowest among corners and only behind the likes of All-Pros Vontae Davis, Chris Harris Jr., and Richard Sherman.

Slot Cornerback: Kyle Arrington (NE)
Arrington shared duties in the slot, but was one of the best in the division. He allowed a reception once for every 12.6 snaps in coverage, the second-best rate in the division (Revis).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker: Dan Carpenter (BUF)
Carpenter did not handle kickoff duties this year, but his work on field goals alone was enough to claim the spot. He hit on 34 of 38 field goals, including 6-of-8 from 50 and beyond.


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Dareus wishes former def. coordinator well

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2015 – 6:16 pm

For Marcell Dareus his fifth year in the league will mean another scheme change on defense. While he’s excited about the future he did wish his now former defensive coordinator well.

With Jim Schwartz and the Bills reaching a mutual agreement to part ways, Dareus, in an appearance on the John Murphy Show, was sincere in his appreciation for what Schwartz did in his time with Buffalo.

“I appreciated what Schwartz did for us,” Dareus said. “He gave us some good schemes even though we got caught in a bad position sometimes. We stuck together with each other. We dug ourselves out of some bad situations and we still came out to be one of the top defenses in the league. That wasn’t him or just us, it was all of us going out there and putting it together and coming up with solutions. I’m just excited for him. Whatever road he takes I wish the best for him.”


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Dareus cleared to play in Pro Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2015 – 2:01 pm

Bills DT Marcell Dareus was hoping to play in the 2015 Pro Bowl, but a knee injury suffered in Week 16 put that prospect in doubt. On Tuesday Dareus got the good news he was hoping for.

“I will be in the Pro Bowl in 2015,” Dareus told Buffalobills.com. “I got cleared today so it’s going to be fun. I’m excited, my family is excited and we’re ready to embrace it all.”

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle was named to his second straight Pro Bowl after a career-best 10-sack season in 2014. He was also named 1st Team All-Pro and to the PFWA All-NFL team.


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More honors for Mario, Dareus

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2015 – 1:34 pm

Bills defensive linemen Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus have racked up some all-star awards this offseason with AFC Pro Bowl nods and 1st team All-Pro honors. The two were both named to another award list Monday.

The Pro Football Writers of America named both Dareus and Williams to their All-NFL team. The two obviously made their All-AFC team, which included line mate Kyle Williams. Here’s the entire PFWA All-NFL team.

2014 PFWA ALL-NFL TEAM

Offense
QB – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
RB – Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
WR – Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers ; Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
TE – Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
C – Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
G – Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers; Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
T – Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys; Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns*

Defense
DE – Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills
; J.J. Watt, Houston Texans#
DT – Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills; Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions*
OLB – Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs; Von Miller, Denver Broncos
MLB – Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers*
CB – Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots; Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks#
S –Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks#: Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers

Special Teams
PK – Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
P – Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts
KR – Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
PR – Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
ST – Matthew Slater, New England Patriots


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Dareus, Gilmore downgraded to out

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2014 – 5:55 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

DT Marcell Dareus and CB Stephon Gilmore were downgraded from doubtful to out Saturday by the Bills. Both players were unable to practice due to injuries sustained in last week’s game at Oakland. Both players did not make the trip to New England for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.


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Who will step in if Dareus & Gilmore can’t go?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2014 – 11:13 am

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

As we saw on the Friday injury report both DT Marcell Dareus and CB Stephon Gilmore are both doubtful for Sunday’s game at New England. If neither of them can go here are the likely replacements for them in the lineup.

DL Jarius Wynn, who missed a stretch of games in the second half with a knee injury got an awful lot of time alongside Kyle Williams in practice this week. He could get the starting nod over Corbin Bryant, who was the first to step on the field last week when Dareus went down with his knee injury in Oakland. Bryant is still expected to see a good deal of action as a rotational player.

Meanwhile at cornerback, it’s expected that Ron Brooks will again step in for Gilmore as he did last week with Nickell Robey remaining the nickel corner and Corey Graham on the other side.

Player Pos Injury Game Status
Marcell Dareus DT Knee DOUBTFUL
Stephon Gilmore CB Concussion DOUBTFUL
Dan Carpenter K Right Groin PROBABLE
Aaron Williams S Hip PROBABLE

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Dareus update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2014 – 2:01 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury suffered last Sunday. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on Dareus’ outlook for Sunday’s game at New England.

When asked about whether Dareus would be able to play this weekend Marrone said its a wait and see.

“We’ll just keep progressing with it through the week,” said Marrone. “I think it’ll go all the way to the end (of the week).”


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3 Bills get PFF Pro Bowl recognition

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2014 – 10:37 am

They weren’t named to their starting Pro Bowl positions, but Pro Football Focus named three Bills players as reserves on their Pro Bowl roster.

Nigel Bradham, Corey Graham and Marcell Dareus all earned reserve Pro Bowl spots on the PFF all-star roster. Here was their assessment of the Bills’ trio at their respective positions.

PFF PRO BOWL DEFENSE

Defensive Tackle
Starters: Aaron Donald (SL), Gerald McCoy (TB), Sheldon Richardson (NYJ) and Fletcher Cox (PHI)
Reserves: Ndamukong Suh (DET), Muhammad Wilkerson (NYJ), Calais Campbell (ARZ) and Marcell Dareus (BUF)

Breakdown: Again we’ve taken some of the guys balloted as defensive ends and slotted them here, given how they’re used as interior defenders. No big surprises — all of these guys make enough plays that it would be harder not to notice them.

Outside Linebacker
Starters: DeAndre Levy (DET) and Brandon Marshall (DEN)
Reserves: Thomas Davis (CAR) and Nigel Bradham (BUF)

Breakdown: Again we’ve changed things around so we’re looking at those traditional 4-3 outside linebackers. Levy was an easy pick with a superb season as the Detroit defense dominated. Marshall has rightly got plenty of credit with a breakout year.

Cornerback
Starters: Chris Harris Jr. (DEN), Vontae Davis (IND), Darrelle Revis (NE) and Richard Sherman (SEA)
Reserves: Orlando Scandrick (DAL), Sean Smith (KC), Desmond Trufant (ATL) and Corey Graham (BUF)

Breakdown: One of the more controversial positions. Harris and Davis have had wonderful years, while Revis and Sherman have in different ways dominated against quality opposition. The more up-and-down nature of years by others left room for players in smaller markets (Graham) to make quite the impression and get backup duties.


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Bills expecting quick game from Peyton

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2014 – 9:49 am

It’s nothing they haven’t seen before. Buffalo’s defensive line is used to seeing opposing quarterbacks try to get the ball out quick to neutralize the Bills formidable pass rush. The difference with Peyton Manning however, is the different ways he can mix and match plays to best fit the defensive look he’s seeing.

“Everybody tries to have a quick release again against us for the most part,” said Marcell Dareus. “He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He can speed it up, he can slow it down, he can remix it, he can flip it around. He can do whatever he wants to do with the offense. We just have to sit back and be prepared for the guy.”

At the same time Dareus is looking forward to playing Manning and the Broncos offense.

“Oh yeah. I love playing these guys like him because I feel like he will not only elevate my game but elevate everybody around us,” said Dareus. “I know we’re going to go out there and do the best we can. We’re going join the mile high club, they’re a mile above sea level. We’re going to try to do what we can. We’re in one of the coldest cities in the league, we have a bunch of snow. We’re going to go out here and do what we can against these Broncos.”


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Dareus over Broncos passing on him in ’11

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2014 – 10:31 am

md-mad
With the second pick in the 2011 NFL draft the Denver Broncos picked Von Miller. With the very next pick the Bills took Marcell Dareus. Buffalo’s Pro Bowl DT didn’t appreciate getting passed over by Denver or Carolina, who took Cam Newton first overall.

In an interview with Dareus not long after he was picked by Buffalo I asked him why he was so chapped about going third overall. This was his answer back in 2011.

“I worked my butt off to the point where I’m not going to give you a reason not to pick me,” Dareus said. “You’re not going to look at me and be like, ‘Well he’s good, but…” That ‘but’ word is never going to come up when you mention my name. My sole focus was for me not to give you a reason to not pick me and you still don’t? Okay, I understand you have needs somewhere else, but if you need somebody to control your front and be a commander across the front and not let anything happen? I work my butt off to do that, and you pass me up still? Okay, I’ve got something for you.”

Then in an interview with Hall of Famer Michael Irvin on WQAM radio in Miami, Dareus back in 2011 promised to make life difficult for the Broncos, who he played against as a rookie.

“Denver I’ll get a chance to play them in the regular season (this year) and I’m going to make it hell for them every time I play against them,” he said.

Buffalo won that game in 2011 by a score of 40-14. Dareus had four tackles including one for loss.

Four years later, however, Dareus is a more mature player and doesn’t hold any ill feelings toward the Broncos.

“I don’t like to hold grudges,” Dareus said. “I came out, I said what I had to say and I held up my end for the most part. But we’re fighting for so much more than some pick spot. I’m with these guys, I love these guys to death. We’re going to continue to fight and claw and get ourselves in the position they’re in.”

 


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Kyle, Cordy sick; Dareus, Watkins limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2014 – 4:10 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

Bills DT Kyle Williams and OT Cordy Glenn were both absent at practice Wednesday due to illness. Limited in practice were a handful of players including DT Marcell Dareus and WR Sammy Watkins.

Stepping in for Glenn at left tackle was Chris Hairston and filling in for Kyle Williams was Stefan Charles.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Jarius Wynn DE Knee DNP
Chris Gragg TE Knee DNP
Kyle Williams DT Illness DNP
Cordy Glenn DT Illness DNP
Dan Carpenter K Right Groin LP
Bacarri Rambo S Hamstring LP
Sammy Watkins WR Hip LP
Marcell Dareus DT Hip LP
Chris Hogan WR Hamstring LP
Robert Woods WR Ankle LP

 


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Where Schwartz has made ‘D’ better

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2014 – 10:24 am

There weren’t many who thought that Buffalo’s defense, which was a top 10 unit under former coordinator Mike Pettine, could do better in a different scheme the following year under Jim Schwartz. So far Schwartz’s unit has proved the naysayers wrong.

Buffalo is currently on pace to shatter their own team record set last season in sacks (57). They currently lead the league with 46 and are on pace for 67, which would be among the five highest in NFL history.

They’re also fourth overall, fourth in points allowed, eighth against the run, fifth against the pass, third in takeaways and first in the NFL on third down.

“It’s a different mentality,” said Marcell Dareus of Schwartz’s approach. “He’s a totally different guy. He just comes with his own thing. He puts us in the best position and we do the best that we can.”


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Dareus on difference between Pettine & Schwartz

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2014 – 3:10 pm

Bills DT Marcell Dareus in the midst of a 10-sack season was asked what the difference is between his last two defensive coordinators, Mike Pettine, now the head coach in Cleveland and Jim Schwartz.

“Pettine he likes to mess with the people, Schwartz is more stay with the game plan, mess with your head, but also, ‘I’m on you’ type of D-coordinator,” said Dareus. “He’s just a little different, but they’re both great D-coordinators with good game plans so it’s going to be exciting.”

The Bills and Browns have split their last six meetings together.


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Dareus: Matchup with Pettine will be fun

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2014 – 10:21 am

The Bills defense is just a year removed from being coached by Browns head coach Mike Pettine, who served as their defensive coordinator in the 2013 season. Not surprisingly, the players on defense are excited to square off against him and his Cleveland team in a pivotal AFC game.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Marcell Dareus. “I like Pettine. He’s a good dude. He’s got a cool personality. So I know what we’re going to get with him. He’s going to try to pick on each one of us because he knows our strengths and weaknesses because we rolled with him for a year so I’m excited about it.”


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Vick brings dose of unpredictability

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2014 – 1:18 pm

In his last two starts Michael Vick has not turned the ball over as the Jets starting QB and with a stout defense it helped lift New York to an unlikely win over Pittsburgh in Week 10. You never quite know what you’re going to get in terms of performance and consistency from Vick week to week, and for Buffalo’s defenders that can be a bit bothersome.

“You just never know what you’re going to get with that guy,” said Marcell Dareus, who is tied for the team lead with Mario Williams with 10 sacks on the year. “So we’re going to try our best to put him in a box and do what we can with him because you never know what you’re going to get. He could come out there and have the game of his life or he could come out there and play mediocre. We just don’t know so we’re going to try our best to prepare and be ready for him.”

Dareus said it helps that they saw Vick live back in Week 8 when he came on in relief of Geno Smith who threw three first half interceptions in the first meeting against the Bills.


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