Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-31

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2014 – 11:41 am

It’s the bye week so focus on your fantasy rosters this week Bills fans. Here are your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – Hey Chris ,
Was wondering a couple of things when it comes to EJ & his history with the Bills & prior to . When EJ First came to the Bills the HC & OC led us to believe that they wanted him to have a veteran mentor (which was to be Kevin Kolb) to either sit behind & learn or play & have some one that has played the position to bounce things off of to learn from . So I am wondering why everyone is in such a uproar over this switch ? They are just going back to plan A correct ?

The second part to the question is every article or write-up on EJ prior to him being drafted by the Bills had pointed out a lot if not all of his short comings as a player, It seems from a fan stand point that when it comes to the most important position on a NFL team the Bills come up short when it has come to their decisions at that position both past & present. Were any of those articles or opinions taken into consideration while thinking of drafting him? It seems as though the only people high on EJ were those at one Bills Dr. Then to pass on available QB’s this past draft (if for nothing else to ramp up competition) they pass again on others that had as much if not more potential & better resume than EJ as a backup plan. Personal opinion it seems as though the coaches of this regime in A LOT of different ways show more rookie tendencies than the players !!

Thanks for your time & as always your insight on this & all our fan questions !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: Yes, there was a plan to have a veteran quarterback on hand from the get go and that was Kevin Kolb. He began training camp as the first QB through in the rotation, but it was a competition for the starting job. I think most were expecting Kolb to be the starter at the outset and if EJ came on he’d succeed him. We all know that plan went off the rails early.

I would disagree that every time the Bills have tried to pick a quarterback it has been the wrong quarterback. I’m not absolving quarterbacks drafted in the past for the trajectory of their careers with the Bills, but you do need to look at the circumstances around them.

Constant coaching turnover particularly at the coordinator position with different schemes and systems coming through during a young quarterback’s developmental stages is extremely disruptive to a QB’s progress and growth.

Let’s take J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards’ time with the Bills as an example. Two young quarterbacks who saw a lot of change in their short time with the club.

Losman’s rookie season was 2004. Tom Clements was the offensive coordinator under Mike Mularkey. The next season Mularkey takes play calling responsibility from Clements. After Mularkey is moved out the system changes, Steve Fairchild comes in as the new coordinator with a new system in 2006. After 2007, Edwards’ rookie year, he leaves to coach in college and Turk Schonert is inserted and tweaks the system again. By the 2009 season Losman is gone and Dick Jauron a week before the opener fires Schonert and promotes Alex Van Pelt to run the offense.

A year later Chan Gailey is the head coach with a completely different offense. Edwards’ tenure last only a couple of games into 2010 when he’s benched and eventually released as the Ryan Fitzpatrick era begins.

Now would Losman or Edwards ever fully got it and been successful quarterbacks in this league? Maybe not. Some might even say probably not, but the circumstances that existed in terms of coaching changes and scheme certainly decreased the chances of either of those two developing properly at the NFL level.

There is a value in continuity in the NFL. Organizations like Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the NY Giants have proven it. They limit turnover in an effort to let their players develop and flourish. Does it always work? No, but it has a track record of far more success than failure.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills.

Any news on how EJ is getting on? Also really impressed by his attitude on the sidelines on game day from what I have seen.
rmstrong_1982

CB: By all accounts EJ has been a pro’s pro. We’ll have an in depth story on the work Manuel has been putting in over the past month since he assumed the backup role on Buffalobills.com Saturday. Some great insight from EJ and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing on Manuel’s trust in the system and the extra work he puts in early in the morning with Kyle Orton and long after practice is over on the field. Check it out tomorrow!

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

Just curious why Mario Williams snaps have decreased over the past few weeks?

TheRealSeanK

CB: This was a question that both defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and head coach Doug Marrone addressed. Here was Schwartz’s response to Mario Williams drop in snap count the past three weeks.

“I don’t count reps,” said Schwartz. “I’m just worried about performance and production. If our defense is being productive then that’s the only thing we care about. Everybody else can worry about stats and snap counts and everything else, it’s about trying to win the game and doing what we think is best to win the game.”

It’s likely that Schwartz believes in quality over quantity with Mario Williams. I believe him when he says he doesn’t count reps, but perhaps in reviewing game tape he’s found that Williams’ gives him more quality reps (pass rush chiefly) when he plays between 38-45 snaps than when he plays 48-55 snaps a game. The other possibility is Jarius Wynn when he goes in is providing very little drop off in play.

Last week’s game is a good example. Wynn played 44 snaps to Williams’ 40. Wynn had three tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit. Williams had three tackles, a half sack and a forced fumble. Schwartz says they care about performance.

If Wynn is performing leave him in there. In a tight game when the outcome is on the line I’m sure Mario will be in the game.

Coach Marrone earlier this season indicated that he wanted to keep Williams fresh for important third down pass rushes late in a couple of the recent games. This past week up 20 points it’s my belief they wanted to keep him out of harm’s way so as not to risk injury.

The direct beneficiary when Mario Williams doesn’t get his usual number of reps, which is usually around 75 percent of the snaps is Jarius Wynn. The rotational end has performed well this season, and just about every game the percentage of their two snap counts adds up to 100 percent because Wynn is often subbing in for Williams. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the second half of the season.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for all the inside info, great reading your work all the time!  My question is regarding Marcell Dareus. He is having a phenomenal year but there still are the negative off the field events that took place in the offseason. Will he be facing any fines or suspensions for his incidents? It would be a shame to have him miss even one game.

Thanks again!
Chris

CB: Marcell is having a great season. Seven sacks in half a season for a defensive tackle, as Jim Schwartz said is pretty hard to do, and that’s coming from a guy who coached Ndamukong Suh.

It doesn’t appear that Dareus will be facing any league fines or suspensions this season for what happened this past offseason. It’s likely that he’ll face some kind of league discipline next year, much the way Nigel Bradham did when he was suspended for the season opener this year, for his off the field incident in the summer of 2013.

 

5 – Chris,

I think Hackett has completely failed on getting Mike Williams into the game plan.  I think Mike Williams could be a very effective WR.  The QB should be dropping back and the OC should have Watkins – Woods and Williams running patterns at the same time in a 3-WR set.  One of these 3 should be open every time.

Fred, Dixon and Brown should be pounding the ball. Seriously, I’m amazed some of these people get paid so much to be coordinators.  I think there are many individuals who could do a better job than Hackett.

Randy
South FL
CB: You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think we need to try and read between the lines here with respect to the lack of playing time for Mike Williams. I do agree that Williams is a rare talent. I’ve written many times that he is one of the five best receivers in the league when it comes to high-pointing the ball. You’d figure that would make him a weapon to use at least in the red zone. He did score 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league.

At the same time Chris Hogan has emerged as a slot receiver and is producing. Now he and Williams do not line up in the same place in this offense for the most part, but one word I continually hear from both coach Marrone and Kyle Orton in praising Chris Hogan’s efforts is reliability. They comment often on how Hogan is in the right place at the right time on every play. That reliability is an enormous comfort to a head coach, a coordinator and a quarterback knowing how critical the timing is in Buffalo’s passing game.

A veteran offensive coordinator once told me the NFL is about first downs, not touchdowns. What he meant was in the NFL the talent is a lot more even than it is at the college level, so big play touchdowns aren’t nearly as prevalent. So you prefer to have players you can rely on to make the catches that get you first downs time and again to keep drives and possessions alive. It’s that consistency that wins more often in the NFL.

Do I completely agree with that premise? Not totally. Sammy Watkins has me thinking that three or four big plays look pretty good too. We’ll have to see if Williams play time changes in the second half of the season. To his credit he’s putting in a lot of extra time on special teams of late in an effort to get on the field more.


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

Bills ‘D’ top 10 in handful of key categories

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2014 – 2:11 pm

The Bills defense has put together a heck of a first half of the season. Under new coordinator Jim Schwartz they lead the league in sacks with 28 and rank first in total takeaways and first in interceptions. They also rank in the top 10 in a few other key defensive categories. Just don’t expect the players on the defensive unit to pay it much thought.

“For our defense it really doesn’t mean anything because we’re still trying to build our identity up and we’re not where we want to be as a team, so as a defense we’re just steadily doing what we’re supposed to do,” said Marcell Dareus, who leads the team with seven sacks. “When it’s time for us to go out there and our number is called we’re going to go out there and do the best we can, go as hard as possible until we get off the field and do the same thing when we’re called on again. We’re just busting our butts and not even thinking about it.”

Schwartz’s unit also ranks eighth against the run, sixth in third down defense and seventh in points allowed.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Will dramatic win be catalyst?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 9:30 am

After Sunday’s last second win over the Vikings head coach Doug Marrone said he hoped it could serve as a catalyst for his team. Here’s what the players thought about that prospect.

“I hope so,” said Eric Wood. “I hope we can get on a run. But the key is one game at a time.  And our focus turns to the Jets. It was a fun win, a big win.  But we have to move on, we have to be professional about this and not celebrate more than for what it is. That’s just one win.”

“It’s whatever we make it. Whatever we make it,” said Dareus. “It can be a turnaround factor for us, it can be whatever. We’ve got to go play every Sunday, it doesn’t even matter. Play in, play out, we gotta make it happen. It can be a turnaround, it could not.  We still gotta go out there and play and do the best we can.”

 


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus: Craziest game I’ve ever been a part of

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 4:59 pm

Bills DT Marcell Dareus had another solid outing Sunday with a two-sack performance in the win over Minnesota. Just like the fans however, Dareus watched from the sideline as the Bills offense tried to put together an 80-yard touchdown drive to win the game. It was every bit as nerve wracking for him as it was for the 73-thousand plus watching behind him.

“It kept us on the edge of our seats like the fans were,” said Dareus. “Caught a pass with one second left on the clock, and squib kicking—that’s the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of. I’m excited. Everybody else was as well.”

Dareus said the conversion on 4th-and-20 was a heart stopper for him.

“Scott Chandler caught a couple of passes, he dropped one and came back and caught another one for a big gain,” he said. “It’s big time, man, it was just so much going on on the sideline. We were so excited, we just couldn’t believe everything was going the way  it was.”


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus has Belichick’s respect

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2014 – 10:59 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus, who justed earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors following his three-sack performance that included other tackles for no gain or loss, has impressed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with is spike in production this season. Here was Belichick’s assessment of Dareus’ game this season.

“He’s a hard guy to block. He’s strong, quick, he’s got good instincts,” said Belichick. “He reads blocks well, does a good job attacking the leverage, does a good job in the pass rush of beating, based on how the guard or how he gets set. He had a big play against Detroit where the center slid to him and he split the double team. You don’t see that a lot. He’s got the quickness and the strength to do that.

“He runs (stunt/twist) games well. They run a lot of games. He does a good job with that, as does Kyle Williams. They have that penetrating quickness that makes those games effective and also the athleticism to come around and contain a quarterback if the end goes first or if they run an inside tackle game. Yeah, I agree. I think he’s been good and he’s been even more productive this year. He’s playing [at] a high level in the running game, too. He’s strong, uses his hands well, he reacts well to blocking schemes.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus earns game ball

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2014 – 3:24 pm

ESPN’s John Clayton was at Buffalo’s Week 5 game at Detroit, so it’s no surprise that he was impressed with Marcell Dareus’ individual performance in the Bills’ 17-14 win.

Clayton awarded Dareus one of his game balls for his play in Week 5. Here was Clayton’s take on Dareus’ game last Sunday.

Defensive gameball
Defense: Marcell Dareus led a relentless pass rush against Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford by getting three sacks, two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in Buffalo’s 17-14 win.

 


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills ‘D’ wanted game for Schwartz

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:18 pm

All week Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz downplayed the importance of his return to Detroit where he was the head coach of the Lions for five seasons. After the victory Sunday, in which Schwartz’s defense held the Lions scoreless in the second half, and gave up just seven points in the game, his players made it clear that this game meant an awful lot to their defensive play caller.

“This game really meant a lot to him especially when we lost to them during preseason,” said Marcell Dareus. “You could see the disappointment on his face. In the meetings last night he told us he still has family here. His son is still here. He would love for his son to go to school and be happy and not let people mess with him. So it really meant more to him than just a game. So I took it and we all took it to ourselves that we were going to go out here and do the best we can for Schwartz and the team and we pulled it out.”

After the game the defensive players carried Schwartz on their shoulders across the field. DE Jerry Hughes understood why winning meant what it did to Schwartz.

“Absolutely, any time you get a chance to come back to where you started from, and we wanted to show that we were the better team,” said Hughes. “By us going out there and getting a win, it was huge.  But any time you get a win in the NFL , they’re so hard to come by, so we’re just very thankful for that.”

 


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus performing admirably

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2014 – 6:36 pm

His offseason wasn’t the kind that any NFL player would want to have, but coming off his best individual game this season this past Sunday, Dareus is a full month into the season and his commitment to the straight and narrow has left his head coach encouraged.

“He’s been to work. We’ve had zero issues,” said Doug Marrone of Dareus. “He’s worked hard in the weight room. He’s worked hard on the practice field. Not one issue with anything. From that standpoint I’m proud of that. He’s doing what he should do to be a pro. That’s what you should do in this league and that’s what’s expected of you.”

Dareus had four tackles, including three for loss, a sack and a quarterback hit in last week’s loss to the Texans.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus gets sack in scoring change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2014 – 11:35 am

Some may have been scratching their head at last Sunday’s game when Marcell Dareus appeared to take down Philip Rivers on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter for a sack, when it was ruled a rush for two yards. A few days later the league has corrected the play awarding a sack to Dareus on the play for a one-yard loss.

Dareus corralled Rivers at the Bills’ 47 not the Bills’ 44-yard line as it was initially recorded. Nigel Bradham and Jerry Hughes were most responsible for flushing Rivers from the pocket on the play. Rivers tried to step up, but Dareus saw the San Diego QB trying to escape took off in pursuit grabbing him from behind for the takedown.

With 13:36 remaining in fourth quarter the league also ruled that the full sack on EJ Manuel credited to Chargers DL Corey Liuget should be split with LB Reggie Walker.

 


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus, Meeks injured at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2014 – 7:56 pm

There were a couple of injuries at Wednesday’s practice, but at this point the severity of each of them is not yet known.

At head coach Doug Marrone’s post-practice press conference, Vice President of Communications Scott Berchtold stated that Marcell Dareus sustained a hamstring injury and safety Jonathan Meeks suffered a neck injury.

Their status for Friday night’s game is not known at this point.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus delayed by weather

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 8:36 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus was unable to get back to Bills camp Monday night as scheduled due to weather delays.

Dareus’ flight back to Rochester was canceled last night due to weather. Head coach Doug Marrone may provide an update on Dareus return schedule following practice this morning.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Mario: I have faith in Marcell

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2014 – 9:16 pm

Head coach Doug Marrone said he expected the excused Marcell Dareus to be back on campus at St. John Fisher Monday evening. How soon he’ll be able to pass the team’s conditioning test to be cleared for practice is yet to be determined. What is certain is his teammate Mario Williams is eager to get him back alongside him on Buffalo’s defensive line.

“Extremely anxious,” said Williams. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s just a young guy, but at the same time we hold him accountable just like anybody else. Whether you’re in here for 12 or 15 years, a coach, whatever we’re going to hold each other accountable.”

Mario said Dareus has shown he can be accountable before though he would not provide an example to the media.

When asked if he has faith that Dareus will come around and be the Pro Bowl caliber player he can be, Williams answered in the affirmative.

“I can’t speak for everybody else, but I have faith in him,” said Williams. “I can’t put words in somebody else’s mouth on the team, but I have all the faith in him.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus excused from camp; back tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2014 – 5:52 pm

Bills DT Marcell Dareus has not been  cleared to practice yet being on the Non-Football Injury list, but he also has not been in attendance each of the past two days at training camp. Head coach Doug Marrone explained why on Monday.

“All the players reported to camp. At the present time I’ve excused Marcell,” said Marrone. “He’s taking care of some personal stuff, but he’ll be like everybody else on the side training getting ready to pass the physical. He’s one of the players that didn’t pass the running test.”

Marrone said Dareus is scheduled to return to camp this evening (Monday).

 


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Dareus didn’t pass conditioning test

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2014 – 5:47 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Marcell Dareus didn’t pass his conditioning test which is why he was placed on the non-football injury list.

He obviously won’t be practicing tonight.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Mario on NFL’s Top 100 gives Bills a 1st

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2014 – 10:01 pm

Tonight (Wednesday) on the NFL’s Top 100 on NFL Network, Mario Williams became the fourth Bills player to appear on the list. His appearance at #29 also marks a league first in the four-year history of the countdown.

With the addition of Mario Williams, the Bills become the first team in the four-year history of the NFL’s Top 100 Players to have three defensive linemen appear in the Top 100 Players.

Mario joins linemates Marcell Dareus (#62) and Kyle Williams (#32). Kiko Alonso (#82) was also on the list.

This is the third time that Mario Williams appears on the list, and it’s his highest ranking ever. He was on it last year and ranked #72 and in 2011 when he ranked #71.


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

4th Bills player to appear on NFL’s Top 100

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2014 – 12:19 pm

In the latest installment of the NFL’s Top 100 on NFL Network another Bills player will be featured tonight (Wednesday).

Tonight’s installment will count down from 30-21, and Buffalo will have their fourth player named in the countdown to this point. So far Kiko Alonso (#84), Marcell Dareus (#62) and Kyle Williams (#32) have been featured on the list.

NFL Network’s Top 100 airs Wednesday at 9 PM ET, followed by The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions show at 10 PM ET. Players who appear on this list are voted on solely by current NFL players.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone committed to getting Dareus on track

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2014 – 3:13 pm

The two latest incidents off the field by Marcell Dareus are certainly of concern to the Bills organization. Even though Dareus will now miss the remainder of OTA practices (7 in all), throwing his full support behind Dareus in an effort to get him back on track is head coach Doug Marrone.

“Obviously, we all know and are well aware that Marcell has made some poor decisions lately and the one thing is that I’ve been working with him and he’s dealing with a lot of personal issues too,” Marrone said. “I spoke with him at length and we spent a lot of time together talking about a lot of things. As of now, he’s not going to be attending the OTA’s, but he’ll be attending the mandatory minicamp when we come back.

“I just want to make sure that I’m clear that everyone understands that I believe in Marcell and I will do everything I can to make sure that we can get him on the right track. Really that’s the situation. There are a lot of things going on, a lot of personal talk and that’s really all I’m going to comment on. The conversations we had are between us and we’re working this thing. I’m disappointed in all of our players anytime anyone of us, including myself, when we make poor decisions. It’s a reflection of the team, which is a reflection of me and it’s a reflection on this organization.”

Marrone went on to say that it’s more important for him to do right by a person who needs help over everything else.

“When any player makes a poor decision I always think of where I made a mistake,” he said. “That’s the truth. I just feel that way and when I make decisions to not play people, bench him and all that other stuff, I do it because winning, don’t get me wrong my job is to win and winning is important, but it’s not as important as trying to help somebody.

“I’d rather lose games and do the right thing in my mind, not everybody else’s mind, not the media’s mind and not the public opinion’s mind. My mind. I’d rather do the right thing and I can live with myself. At the end of the day, I’m the one that is going to have to live with myself. That’s the way I treat it. Right wrong or indifferent, it might not be what people want to hear, but that is more important to me. Trying to do the right thing and help people, than it is to win.”

 


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bills pick up 5th yr option on Dareus

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2014 – 11:53 am

The deadline to pick up the fifth-year option on Marcell Dareus’ rookie contract was fast approaching, and the Bills not surprisingly have acted. According to ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter the club has picked up the fifth-year option on Dareus meaning he’ll be under contract through the 2015 season.

Buffalo had until May 3rd to do so. If confirmed by the club Dareus will be paid equivalent to the transition tag at his defensive tackle position in 2015, or top 10 money in the league at his position. The figure for 2014 is currently $9.65M.

UPDATE:


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Extension for Dareus on radar

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 7:17 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley covered a range of topics at the NFL Combine Friday with the WNY media. And while there are certainly more pressing issues in terms of personnel for Buffalo’s front office, Whaley did not deny that extending the contract of Marcell Dareus is on the list.

“It’s on our radar, but right now we prioritize things,” said Whaley. “With this system there’s a lot of things you want to get done. There’s a lot of things you can’t get done because of the cap situation. Limitations from the cap, not our cap situation. I believe our cap situation we can get done what we need to get done, but you won’t get done the laundry list of things that you want to get done.”

Dareus is entering the final year of his rookie contract from when the Bills made him the third overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but with other personnel matters like Buffalo’s unrestricted free agents right now putting the front office under more a time crunch it sounds like Dareus’ contract situation is an item further down on the to-do list.

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus hoping Pettine stays put

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2014 – 11:29 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus, who is headed to Hawaii for his first Pro Bowl, made an appearance on the John Murphy show Monday evening. After talking about his first NFL all-star game appearance he was asked about the possibility of losing Mike Pettine as his defensive coordinator knowing he’s in the running for the Cleveland Browns head coaching post.

“Oh man. I don’t know. I have no control over that,” said a suddenly serious Dareus. “I would really, really hate to see him leave. At the same time it’s still a business and football is football and we’ve got to just go out there and play.”

With Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase now reportedly removing his name as a candidate for the Browns job, Pettine’s odds of becoming a head coach in the NFL have improved.

Dareus liked the way Pettine gave him freedom in his role at defensive tackle this past season.

“They pretty much gave me the freedom to do my job and play the game I wanted to play,” Dareus said. “He told me to play hard and be myself. Coach Pettine always let us go, let the defensive line go and get after the quarterback when we can and when we know it’s a pass.”

Dareus finished with a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2013.

 


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills