Inside The Bills

Mario goes into domination mode

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2014 – 1:05 am

He was an undeniable terror on the field. Mario Williams was in full blown domination mode in the first half of Monday night’s game and Breno Giacomini was the victim.

After a penalty against the Bills set the Jets up 1st-and-goal at the Buffalo four-yard line it looked like New York would make it a game. But Mario Williams slipped under the Jets’ right tackle dipping his right shoulder without every breaking stride. And while Michael Vick was rolling out to his left on the play Williams busted tail and caught him from behind to trip him up for a sack and a six-yard loss.

He then corralled Vick on the next play when he tried to step up and scramble up the middle allowing him to gain just a yard on second and goal from the 10. The Jets ultimately settle for a field goal.

Later in the half, Williams split a double team even though the tight end was holding the defensive end and grabbed Vick with one hand and tossed him like a rag doll. By game’s end Williams had three tackles, a pair of sacks to push his team-leading total to 12, and three quarterback hits.

When asked if Mario was playing angry, Marrone said he saw a difference in his defensive end’s play as well.

“I’ll tell you what. I don’t disagree with that,” Marrone said. “He came out and I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I really was, I was like, ‘Holy cow. There he goes.’ Whatever that is that’s what we need to keep getting no doubt about it.”

When asked about their strategy against Vick, Williams said they wanted to keep it simple.

“Just go. That’s about it,” he said. “We didn’t want to sit there and hesitate and think about this and that with him running and stuff likethat.  Just get after it.”


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Mario’s play earns national recognition

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2014 – 11:04 am

Bills DE Mario Williams is now tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks with 10, which also pulled him even with teammate Marcell Dareus for the team lead this season. His 3.5 sack performance last Thursday night earned him a couple of weekly honors from national outfits.

The first was Peter King’s MMQB column. It had Williams as one of their defensive players of the week and put together a nice comparison between his days in Houston and his time in Buffalo, where he’s been a more productive player. Here’s what King wrote.

Defensive Players of the Week
Mario Williams, defensive end, Buffalo. What a performance in the 22-9 loss to Miami on Thursday. It wasn’t just that Williams had 3.5 sacks (only once in 124 career games has he had more in a game) and exposed rookie right tackle Dallas Thomas in his starting debut. It’s how he did it. He speed-rushed Thomas for 1.5 of the sacks, beat a tight end on another, and bull-rushed Thomas all the way back into Ryan Tannehill for one of the most overpowering sacks you’ll ever see. He had another bull-rush on Thomas, driving him back into Tannehill in the fourth quarter and forcing a hurry that was nearly a Bills interception. But since the great performance came in a loss, Williams wasn’t too excited afterward. “No,” he said, “not at all.” Okay. Let the rest of us recognize it then. Remember when Williams signed that six-year, $96 million deal in March 2012? I thought the Bills overpaid for a guy who’d averaged 8.9 sacks a year in six Houston seasons. Now we’re nearly at the midpoint of the contract, and while the 29-year-old Williams hasn’t been Lawrence Taylor, he’s out-performed my expectations, and he’s a big reason why the Bills have the best defensive front in football right now … and he hasn’t missed a game since the day he signed. His numbers, with an assist from Pro Football Focus on the quarterback hits and significant pressures:
Year
Games-Starts
Sacks
QB Hits/Pressures
2012
16-16
10.5
45
2013
16-16
13.0
55
2014
10-10
10.0
29
TOTAL
42-42
33.5
129
  
Williams averaged .65 sacks per game in Houston. He’s averaging .80 sacks per game in Buffalo.
Williams was also recognized on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week for Week 11.

Edge Rushers: Carlos Dunlap, CIN (+6.6) and Mario Williams, BUF (+6.1)
Big days for both our edge rushers, with each registering plenty of pressure. Dunlap might not have sacked Drew Brees, but he came away with four hits and three hurries. Williams, on the other hand, had a big night on Thursday Night Football, with four sacks, a hit and five hurries.
 
Honorable Mentions: Everson Griffen, MIN and Trent Murphy, WAS

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A tall task for Miami OT Thomas

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 9:35 am

Thursday night’s game will likely come down to how dominant Buffalo’s defensive line can be against Miami’s reshuffled offensive line, provided things like turnovers don’t overshadow it. The players on Miami’s offensive line facing the most difficult assignments are C Samson Satele, who will match up with one of the most dominant defensive tackles in football right now in Marcell Dareus. Facing an even more imposing task is new starting right tackle Dallas Thomas, who draws Mario Williams as an assignment.

Thomas is making his first NFL start at offensive tackle Thursday night and he’ll be doing it against a pass rusher with at least a half sack in each of his last six games. His head coach Joe Philbin doesn’t have many other choices, and has thrown his full support behind Thomas heading into the game. He’s encouraged by the fact that Thomas played some offensive tackle in junior college.

“One of the things we liked about him, I remember watching the tape when he came out was that he had some versatility,” said Philbin. “I remember watching his junior year film, I believe he was the left tackle his junior year of college. I watched a good bit of that. I liked the way he moved. I liked his skill set out there. Last year, he got some work at both positions.

“Obviously, he’s very limited in game activity. He had some in the preseason. Here this year he’s played most of his snaps at guard. I think he’s coming along and doing well. I thought he hung there and competed well the other day. You figure, hey, you are playing left guard, then the next play you are playing right tackle and you’re on the road against a pretty good defense and some pretty good players. I thought he held his own.”

When asked specifically about the challenge Thomas faces in Mario Williams, Philbin didn’t deny it’s a tall task.

“I think when you play offensive tackle in the National Football League, it seems like every team you play has outstanding players on the edge,” he said. “It’s no different with the Buffalo Bills. They certainly do have that. Mario Williams is one of those guys. He’ll be ready, but it’s going to be a challenge. He’s an excellent player.”

As for Satele’s assignment of Dareus in the middle, Philbin knows that will be a matchup that requires some double team assistance.

“I think he has 10 sacks. For a defensive tackle, that’s awfully high,” said Philbin of Dareus. “That’s a lot of production. He plays the run well. He’s a good football player overall. He’s hard to move because he has size and strength. He’s a good player. We are going to have to keep our eyes open, protect our gaps and not letting him penetrate into the backfield. It’ll be a full-time job blocking him.”


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Scoring change on sacks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 3:39 pm

There was a scoring change from the Bills win over the Jets a couple of weeks ago. It concerned the Bills league-leading sack total. The total wasn’t affected, but who was awarded the sack was.

With 11:06 remaining in the second quarter against the Jets in Week 8 both Mario Williams and Kyle Williams appeared to be in on a sack together, but upon further review Kyle Williams is being awarded a full sack. That gives him two sacks in that game, while Mario Williams lost the sack he was initially credited with.

For the season Mario Williams now has 6.5 sacks and Kyle Williams now has 3.

Buffalo still leads the league in sacks with 34.

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3 Bills ranking high in Pro Bowl fan voting

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 2:54 pm

Three Bills players rank high at their respective positions in NFL Pro Bowl fan voting right now. Not surprisingly, they’re all on the defensive side of the ball.

Buffalo’s defense has been stout all season long and the players on that unit are getting recognized for it. Leading all defensive tackles in fan votes is Marcell Dareus, thanks in large part to his 10 sacks in the first nine games.

Also in the top five of fan voting at their positions are DE Mario Williams and CB Leodis McKelvin. Go to Buffalobills.com for details.


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A couple of big problems for Miami’s OL

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 5:10 pm

By now everyone is familiar with the challenge the Dolphins will have with Dallas Thomas making his first career start at right tackle and facing Mario Williams. The bigger challenge might be the one Miami C Samson Satele has in facing Marcell Dareus.

Dareus has been an unstoppable force of late and Satele seems to know that he will need double team help on Buffalo’s Pro Bowl DT.

“He brings a lot of intensity to the game. He’s a big man, strong man. I’m not big, I’m not strong. I’m the opposite of that,” Satele said. “So I’ve just got to work on my technique. He’s leading their D-Line (defensive line) in sacks. I think he’s got 10 or close to that. You know it’s going to be a challenge and every week is a challenge for us. That’s why we play, we love it.”

Dareus is coming off a three-sack performance against the Chiefs as he had half of the team’s sacks last Sunday.

“I feel like I’m playing the same,” said Dareus. “It’s just, getting older, the game of football and knowledge of it is coming a lot more to me so I think I’m just taking more advantage of the knowledge I’ve picked up from the time I’ve been in the league and just having fun with and playing with Kyle, Mario, and Jerry just makes it all worth it.”

The Bills have 15 sacks in their last three games.

 


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Miami RT will be a newbie

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2014 – 3:18 pm

The Dolphins have no time to experiment when it comes to addressing the offensive tackle positions in the wake of the season-ending injury to starting LT Branden Albert. With Albert going to I-R, rookie right tackle Ju’Wuan James will flip to the left side and guard Dallas Thomas will kick out to right tackle.

That according to Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Thomas, who started at left guard Sunday in place of an injury Daryn Colledge, kicked out to right tackle when James went over to the left side. Thomas has not seen a lot of the field since he was made a third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2013. He has yet to have an NFL start at offensive tackle, but it looks like that will change on Thursday night.

“I like what he’s done, I really do,” said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin of Thomas. “He’s clearly much, much further along than he was a year ago. We have a lot more confidence in him. Just his ability in one game to play left guard and then flip over and play right tackle, and function relatively well speaks a lot to his level of preparation, his intelligence, those types of things. I think he’s making good progress. I like what he’s done. Dallas (Thomas) has gotten some work over his year-and-a-half. We’ll make it work. We’re going to make it work.”

Philbin said that Thomas in practice has gotten more reps at tackle than guard this year, so the move makes sense. Thomas will be matched up with Bills DE Mario Williams.

 


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Mario’s sack streak reaches six

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2014 – 9:41 am

Bills DE Mario Williams had one of Buffalo’s half dozen sacks in Sunday’s game as the defense is on the most torrid sack pace in franchise history through the first nine games of a season. Not surprisingly, Williams is on a streak of his own.

With his sack Sunday Mario Williams has now participated in a sack for the last six games. The six-game streak ties a personal career-long (games 10-15 in 2007 w/ Houston). Williams’ six-game streak is the longest by a Bill since Aaron Schobel in games 10-15 in 2006.

The 2007 season was when Williams set his single-season career high in sacks with 14 while with the Houston Texans. He currently has seven sacks this season.


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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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another scoring change for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2014 – 9:12 am

Last week a scoring change was made awarding Marcell Dareus a sack on San Diego’s Philip Rivers. This week another sack was awarded to the Bills upon further review of the statistics in the Week 4 game at Houston by the NFL statisticians.

With  7:43 remaining in first quarter on a 3rd-and-1 from the Houston 40, Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled to the right in an effort to gain a first down and was ruled to be stopped for no gain during the game. Upon further review the statisticians have changed the play from a rush for no gain to a sack. The sack was split by Mario Williams and Nigel Bradham.

So in the final stats for the game, Mario Williams had a half sack and Bradham had a sack and a half. Fitzpatrick was sacked three times in the game.

The new sack total now gives Buffalo 11 sacks on the season.


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Mario not worried about Houston reception

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2014 – 4:47 pm

He played the first half of his career in Houston and was the Texans number one pick in 2005. Mario Williams is now returning to Houston for the second time as a Bills player. His first was in 2012. But if you ask him how he thinks he’ll be received by the Texans’ fans it’s not something he’s concerned about.

“I don’t know. I don’t really care,” said Williams. “I don’t understand why that’s even a topic of discussion. I’m playing football man. At the end of the day the guy on the other side of the ball on Sunday is what I’m worried about. I’m not worried about it. No.”

In his first meeting against the Texans, Williams had seven tackles including a sack.


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The fans meant a lot

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2014 – 7:19 pm

It was unanimous in Buffalo’s locker room following their 29-10 win over Miami, Bills fans played a role in the victory.

“Do our players feel that (energy from the fans)? Absolutely,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “To sit here and say our fans weren’t a big part of it (is ridiculous). Those third downs and I know there was a another penalty that the fans caused. It was outstanding. That’s why I think that this is one of the toughest places to play.”

“It’s definitely a way to get us amped up,” said Mario Williams of the crowd noise. “Whenever you’ve got the home crowd behind you and their yelling and screaming and getting pretty hyped out there it definitely relays to the field.”

“It was beyond what I expected, the fans were so amazing and I felt the energy the whole day while we were out there, they never let up,” said Corey Graham, a Buffalo native who had 10 tackles and three pass breakups. “It was unbelievable, I never in a million years dreamed that it would be that special.”

“It means a lot just to have our fans out here and engaged,” said Sammy Watkins. “They helped us with the win. It was amazing and the team, we just have to keep giving the fans and the community something to believe in. I think if we keep winning, they’ll keep believing in us.”

 


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Team leaders stood tall

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:25 pm

The Bills just named their captains last Monday. Six days later just about all of them had a pretty big hand in Sunday’s overtime victory.

The six players named captains were Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Eric Wood, Fred Jackson, Corey Graham and Brandon Spikes.

On offense Wood helped lead an offensive line that was new in terms of playing together and surrendered just one sack all day. They also helped the run game roll up almost 200 yards on the ground averaging almost six yards a carry.

Fred Jackson had the biggest run of the day in overtime on his 38-yard rumble down the sideline to the one.

On defense Mario Williams had a sack, Kyle Williams had an interception, Brandon Spikes was instrumental in stuffing the run and Corey Graham had an interception and a couple of pass breakups late in regulation to force Chicago to settle for a game-tying field goal.

Add in EJ Manuel’s performance in his natural leadership role of quarterback and it’s a pretty good day for Buffalo’s captains when it comes to setting an example.


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Spikes’ attitude takes hold of defense

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:21 am

He was brought in to bring some teeth to Buffalo’s run defense. Through the preseason the Bills have been one of the top three run defenses in the league and partial credit undoubtedly goes to Brandon Spikes. But there’s another element to Spikes’ game that is taking hold of a defense that has been in need of a defining personality.

“It’s his attitude,” said Mario Williams of Spikes. “Obviously, he can play. He’s great on the football field but it’s his attitude. The attitude goes a long way. He’s a guy who goes out there and being the ‘mike’ linebacker, you’ve got to be able to bring everybody in.  He’s the quarterback of the defense, and we feel that already.”

That’s a big reason why Spikes was selected as one of the team captains this past Monday.

“These guys embraced me from day one and they knew what type of player I was and how I approached the game and very passionate about my job,” said Spikes. “They know I’m just trying to do the right thing and lead by example. They respect that, so it just feels great.”


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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.”


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Who is face of Bills franchise?

Posted by Chris Brown on July 5, 2014 – 11:47 am

The Bills have had some larger than life players on their roster who have put their stamp on the era in which they played for the Bills. But who right now is the face of the franchise?

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, a former Bill himself, weighs in on who he thinks the face of the team is on a national scale.

Brooks picked Mario Williams based on his talent, production and notoriety. Here’s what he wrote.

Buffalo Bills: Mario Williams
When the Bills lavished Williams with a six-year, $100 million contract as the marquee free agent of the 2012 class, the skeptics wondered if the three-time Pro Bowl selection would be able to take the team to another level. Although the Bills’ disappointing win total hasn’t matched Williams’ disruptive impact, his production (23.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries) and performance since joining Buffalo two seasons ago certainly makes him the team’s biggest difference-maker on either side of the ball. With the Bills poised to make a major move in 2014, the rest of the NFL world might soon remember how dominant Williams can be off the edge.

Brooks also listed EJ Manuel as next in line provided he takes a big step forward in 2014.


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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.


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Hughes rated tops in pass rush productivity

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 10:58 pm

Bills DE Jerry Hughes earned the number one rating from ProFootballFocus for pass rush productivity by a 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013. Now moving to a 4-3 system under new defensive coordinator is likely to present different challenges. In any event here’s a look at the productivity of Hughes and Mario Williams, who finished 10th.

From The Left Side From The Right Side All Positions
# Name Team Pass Rush Snaps % Left Sk Ht Hu Total Pressure PRP Pass Rush Snaps % Right Sk Ht Hu Total Pressure PRP
1  Jerry Hughes BUF 116 28.6 4 2 16 22 15.1 187 46.2 7 7 23 37 15.8
2  Elvis Dumervil BLT 263 69.6 7 9 29 45 13.5 55 14.6 3 2 11 16 23.2
3  Justin Houston KC 295 68.6 9 6 37 52 14.0 36 8.4 1 1 4 6 13.2
3  Tamba Hali KC 73 12.7 5 1 6 12 14.0 425 74.2 7 6 51 64 11.7
5  John Abraham ARZ 165 30.7 5 3 13 21 10.3 305 56.7 7 5 34 46 11.9
6  Brian Orakpo WAS 12 2.6 1 0 0 1 8.3 349 75.1 10 11 29 50 11.5
7  Robert Mathis IND 189 38.3 5 3 18 26 11.0 263 53.2 13 2 21 36 11.5
8  Jason Worilds PIT 254 55.5 4 20 13 37 11.3 105 22.9 3 1 7 11 8.6
9  Junior Galette NO 98 19.7 1 4 8 13 10.2 359 72.2 11 8 26 45 10.2
10  Mario Williams BUF 340 60.5 10 3 29 42 10.0 199 35.4 4 4 17 25 9.9

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Kyle ranks among 3-4 DTs vs. run

Posted by Chris Brown on April 12, 2014 – 1:33 pm

Pro Football Focus is still canvasing the 2013 season to assess individual player performance. Though the Bills finished 28th against the run as a team there was one defensive lineman in particular who excelled against the opponent’s ground game.

Bills Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams had one of the best season in 2013 against the run among 3-4 defensive tackles according to the film reviewers at Pro Football Focus. Here’s where they had him ranked.

Williams finished in the league’s top five in this category. He was also second on the Bills in 2013 in tackles for loss with 14. Mario Williams led the team with 15 TFLs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-4

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:24 pm

The 2014 draft is just over a month away and the pro days are winding down. Among the big ones left are Penn State (April 8), LSU (April 9) and Georgia (April 16).

For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,

If a scenario happens where say the big 3, Clowney, Mack and Watkins were gone and either/or Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel fell to the Bills at #9. Do you see any chance the Bills would have interest? I’m of the mind that we need to give EJ Manuel a healthy and fully educated season to see if he’s the man. That being said if a team sees a potential franchise QB drop into their lap I guess you do have to consider it.

Enjoy your work Chris,
Thanks Wally James
Fredericksburg ,VA

CB: That’s an interesting scenario you’ve painted. I think the Bills have been clear that they are all in on EJ Manuel as their franchise quarterback. As tempting as it may be to draft Johnny Manziel if he is there at nine, you have to look at this the way the Bills or any other NFL franchise would.

They invested more than a year of research, scouting, testing and projecting to make their determination that EJ Manuel is fully capable of being their franchise quarterback and excelling for them on the field. That kind of commitment mandates that you do everything you can as an organization to help him succeed. Drafting a quarterback ninth overall this year, no matter who it is, does not achieve that mandate.

If the value at nine is right for a player who can more effectively help EJ Manuel on the field this year on offense then another player will be the pick. Not Johnny Manziel. If the value is not right then I see the Bills moving back to allow another club to trade in to take Johnny Manziel and gain valuable picks in the process, not unlike they did last year (See: Kiko Alonso).

 

2 – Chris,
Thanks for all you do. With all of the cuts of high priced veterans (Revis, Peppers, etc) do you anticipate Mario Williams to survive the length of his contract in Buffalo?   Or do you anticipate the Bills parting ways to free up $16+ million in cap space.

-Jim

CB: High-priced players sometimes do not see the end of lucrative contracts, and you’ve provided more than one example above. When contracts aren’t guaranteed, as is the case in the NFL, there are no guarantees a player will see the end of it with the club that signed him.

That being said the Bills are among the most fiscally responsible teams in the league and rarely put themselves in a position of having to fire sale the roster. The last time it happened was in 2000 when late GM John Butler, being so tied to Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed compromised the team’s salary cap health until he unfortunately had to cut all three on the same day.

It served as a lesson to this organization to not fall into such a situation again.

So while I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a day coming when the Bills do decide to part ways with Mario Williams prematurely, I think they also try to maintain a measure of responsible spending to allow for a couple of lavish contracts on the roster.

 

3 – Chris,
As always thank you and everyone who help to inform Bills nation. My question is on the defensive side,  now that Byrd is gone for sure who do you see stepping up next to Williams? I know Searcy saw a good deal of time last season in spot duty for Byrd early on(along with Leonhard), but do you see him as a full time starter? I really like him as a third safety you can put in the box and play on special teams personally.

Do you think Duke Williams could be the next guy or Meeks maybe? Or maybe a replacement could be found in the draft. Also what do you make of the defensive end position as a sleeper positional need? Do you see any of the “tweeners” (Hughes or Lawson among others) possible switching to or back to the d-end position? Or do they stay at linebacker? Look forward to hearing what you think thanks again!
Will

CB: Doug Marrone has given indication that Corey Graham will be given an opportunity to play safety alongside Aaron Williams, so he’ll be part of the competition and I like the open-minded thinking there. He’ll be in direct competition with Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks. I really liked what I saw from Williams in both the practice setting and the preseason last year. I think his athleticism caters well to the versatility you need nowadays at the safety position. He played corner at Nevada so coverage assignments down on the line aren’t an issue for him.

We just didn’t see enough of Meeks last year with the injury to know what he can offer. Searcy while capable of playing safety really carved out a niche for himself as a nickel LB. He had a very productive season there so I’m not sure the coaches will want to mess with that.

As for defensive end, I think the priority is getting Jerry Hughes signed to a long term deal as he enters the final year of his rookie deal. Provided they can get a deal done they should be okay there.

With coach Marrone saying at the league meetings last week that they’ll primarily be a 4-3 front defensively I do see Hughes and Lawson joining Mario Williams as the primary defensive ends in Jim Schwartz’s defense. Whether they decide to add through the draft remains to be seen, but that’s a pretty darn good trio.

 

4 – HI CHRIS,
I am absolutely delighted that the Bills have re-signed K Dan Carpenter,but I am perplexed as to why the Dolphins released him. Was he a problem in Miami or was it a money situation??
Regards from
Richard
Los Angeles

CB:
The Dolphins found him expendable because they drafted a kicker in the middle of the fifth round last year in Caleb Sturgis. Miami was apparently disappointed in Carpenter, who had struggled a bit early in the 2012 season and was hurt for the last two games that year. The investment in Sturgis practically predetermined how the “competition” was going to turn out in Miami last summer.

What I enjoyed was watching Carpenter succeed on almost 92 percent of his attempts, almost half of which came from 40-yards plus. He finished tied for 10th in the NFL in field goal accuracy and only two kickers ahead of him (Gostkowski, Tucker) had more attempts from 40-yard plus than him.

Meanwhile Sturgis finished 29th in field goal accuracy at 74.6%.

From 40-yards plus last season Carpenter was an impressive 14-for-17 (82.3%) including 4-for-6 from 50-yards plus. Sturgis was 11-for-17 (64.7%) and he played half his games in Miami. Carpenter had seven games in Buffalo.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I have a hypothetical question for you. If Sammy Watkins was still available when the Bills are picking do you think they may pass on him because he is reportedly to be represented by Eugene Parker? I think it would be a fair observation to say that Eugene Parker is developing a reputation for causing the Bills front office grief when it comes to contract negotiations with Jairus Byrd and Jason Peters being prime examples.

From an outsiders prospective if the Bills were to select Watkins and he performs as expected, then we would only have him for the length of his rookie contract before he ventures off to “greener pastures”. Do you think teams are impacted by who the players selects as their agent when deciding who to draft particularly in the first round?

Regards
Matt
CB: I don’t believe that NFL clubs factor in the agent for the player when assessing their grade for the player on their draft board. Knowing that I tend to believe the Bills and every other NFL team chooses a player based on his ability on the field, potential, character makeup, passion for the game and fit for their team. So if Sammy Watkins is on the board at nine, which I don’t think will happen, then I see the Bills running the card up to the podium with his name on it.

Your point is a valid one, but the opportunity to get one of the best prospects in the entire class at a position of need trumps any concern you might have about him staying with the team for his second contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills