Inside The Bills

Darby among Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2015 – 11:37 am

Here are the Bills inactives for today’s game against Dallas, which include Ronald Darby. Mario Butler will start in his place. 

QB Josh Johnson

RB LeSean McCoy

CB Ronald Darby

LB Nigel Bradham

LB Max Valles

TE Charles Clay

DE Lavar Edwards 

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-11

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2015 – 1:27 pm

Another ‘backs against the wall game’ for the Bills in Philly Sunday. Here are your latest questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

How are the Bills not able to get Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Charles Clay more involved in their offensive attack?  Also, why is FB – Felton on the roster, although he can be an outstanding blocker, the Bills rarely have him on the field?  It seems this Coaching staff is NOT effectively using their Offensive or Defensive players.  Any insight as to why?  The Bills should be getting 3x the production out of their defense than they actual are.

RC from DC
CB: First and foremost the Bills have been getting Sammy Watkins more involved in passing attack. In the first three games he was healthy for this season Watkins was targeted a little over four times a game. In the last five games he’s been targeted seven times a game.

Clay has been targeted an average of six times in the last four games. Woods has been targeted 7.5 times per game over the last four. I think what you’re seeing is a steady maturation of an offense that was brand new to everyone on offense except Boobie Dixon, who ran it in San Francisco.

There were a lot of new pieces that had to blend together in a new system. Even the starting QB was new to it. Getting it all humming together simply takes time. I believe we’re now starting to see it approach critical mass with Taylor playing some of his best football this season right now.

Felton is a role player in the offense. It’s not as big as perhaps some expected, but I will say that the Bills make use of 21 and 22 personnel more than most clubs.

The defense is a bigger enigma. We’ve explained before how Rex admitted he erred in trying to blend some concepts from last year’s system in with his. He’s since scrapped the old system and gone exclusively with his own. I know the fans have criticized him for not taking advantage of what his defensive linemen do best, which is rush the passer. It’s a valid point, but let’s see how the season plays out and make our assessments at that point.

2 – Chris,

Why not make Easley a 2nd wide receiver on the opposite side of the field from Watkins to extend the field.  He is a tall, fast, and excellent receiver.  Remember the long touchdown pass he caught earlier in the year.

CB: I think the main reason Easley is not used more on offense is because they see Sammy Watkins as the player who stretches the field for them. Most offenses don’t have two receivers serving the same purpose. Quarterbacks need outlets to throw the ball to on shorter, quicker routes. This is where Robert Woods and Chris Hogan work best. They’re good at gaining separation quickly and serve the offense more effectively for that purpose.

Easley is fast, but he has build-up speed, not sudden burst speed. So filling a role on shorter, intermediate routes is not his greatest strength. He doesn’t get separation as quickly as Woods or Hogan.



3 – Hi Chris,

Thank you for all the Bills coverage throughout the year. I have two questions for you. Before Marcus Easley against the Texans who was the last Bills offensive player to have an interception?  Also, which Bills players deserve Pro Bowl consideration?  I think Darby, Gilmore, Graham, Wood, Incognito, McCoy,  Taylor, Schmidt and Easley all deserve to be considered. Which of those deserve to make it, and am I’m forgetting anyone else that should be considered?

Thank you,
London, ON

CB: Easley is the first Bills player whose primary position is on offense to post an interception. As for Pro Bowl consideration I think Richie Incognito should be on that list. With the drop-off in play that Nick Mangold has had I’d like to think that opens the door for Eric Wood. I like the season that Stephon Gilmore has put together. Corey Graham might get some support, but I don’t know if there will be enough to put him through. Darby has played great, but rookies rarely get the votes, especially at DB unless they have nine or 10 INTs, like Jairus Byrd did back in 2009. LeSean McCoy is definitely in the mix. I think Colton Schmidt is in a tough spot because only one punter goes.



4 – @ChrisBrownBills If something happens to Darby or Leodis, who is back up CB? Graham with D. Williams in at safety? Butler?


CB: It would be Mario Butler who steps in on the boundary if Darby or Leodis are injured. If there’s a second injury I could see your scenario potentially happening with Graham out to corner and then a sub at safety.

When McKelvin was still on the Non-Football Injury list, Butler served as the first corner off the bench behind Darby and Gilmore. So I would anticipate that to be his role again now with Gilmore down this week.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Rob Ryan just visiting as a family member or is he providing any type of insight into our NFC opponents?


CB: Rex Ryan’s brother Rob was here for a visit, something he and his brother don’t get to do very often during football season. The two share a birthday on Sunday, so they’ve presumably had a pre-celebration together. Rex said his brother is heading out of town Saturday before Rex and the Bills leave for Philadelphia.

As for preparing for NFC opponents, I’m sure if Rex asked about Philadelphia this week or Washington and Dallas in the coming weeks he had no problem offering up some details. I remember Rex as coach of the Jets admitting to me on a conference call that he called his brother Rob to give him the update on the Bills when Buffalo played the Saints in 2013.

So that kind of talk between brothers is very plausible.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Workout numbers on new CB Butler

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2013 – 4:16 pm

The Bills signed free agent CB Mario Butler to the practice squad on Tuesday after they released Johnny Adams. Butler is a 6’1″ 187-pound cornerback. Here are some of the numbers he put up at his 2011 NFL Combine workout.

Butler ran a 4.65 40-time, had a 30.5 inch vertical leap and had a 7.09 second three-cone time. He also broad jumped 10 feet.

The prevailing opinion from league scouts on Butler is his game speed is better than his timed speed. Head coach Doug Marrone and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine like long, angular cornerbacks and Butler certainly fits that criteria.

Posted in Inside the Bills