Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 11-28

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2014 – 10:24 am

Big AFC conference tilt Sunday with Cleveland that will have a large impact on whether or not the Bills can stay in the playoff race. On to your questions now from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Dear Chris,

First of all, let me thank you and the rest of the extraordinary staff at Bills.com for providing me with so much information about my Bills. As a Bills Backer from Austria, Europe it feels like I’m right there in Buffalo, getting all the valuable insights I need. This service is simply second to none!

My question is what will the Bills do with Boobie in the offseason? Since C.J.’s status is up in the air, it would make even more sense to keep him here for another year.

Thanks again for all the great work you do and I am already looking forward to the next piece of information on the web!

Stefan

CB: We appreciate the compliments, thanks. Well the good news is when the Bills signed Dixon this past offseason it was a three-year contract agreement, so he’s signed through the 2016 season. So I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about regarding Dixon’s immediate future with Buffalo.

 

2 – Hello, Chris.

As always, your coverage has been fantastic.  Thanks for all your effort and insight.

My questions relate to the rules regarding the game-day roster of 45 players.  I admit that I know nothing of the origins of that rule, and acknowledge that it is not specific to the NFL (the NHL has healthy scratches to the line-up as well, for example).  However, as a fan, I am frustrated that the rule even exists.  Is seems like a completely arbitrary and contrived barrier to putting the best players on the field.  I understand that roster limits of some sort are necessary to maintain competitive balance and contain cost, but once the 53-man roster exists, what sense does it make to restrict it further?  The fans certainly do not benefit when a coach has to choose between a 4th WR or a special teamer – when having both would optimize the team’s performance in both those phases of the game.

Can you please shed some light on this rule for me?  Who benefits from it?  Do the players insist on it via collective bargaining for some reason (I would think they would oppose it to give as many players a shot to play)?  Do the owners/management teams save money on contracts for the players that sit?

I can think of many reasons why it would be better to have all 53 players suit up for a game, and not one for why it is better that 8 players sit out.  I am hoping you can share some rationale that makes the rule seem like it makes the game better, and not worse.

Thanks,
Walter
CB: The game day limit is actually 46 players now after they did away with the emergency third QB. The whole purpose forcing teams to have seven inactive players from their 53-man roster is to create better competitive balance.

Yes, all NFL clubs deal with injuries due to the physical nature of the sport, but some teams experience more than others at different times in the season. So when a team may have five injured players who are not fit to play in the same week, giving them just 48 healthy players, the NFL believes it is too much of a competitive imbalance to let their opponent dress all 53 of their players if they’re a fully healthy club.

Does that kind of imbalance exist very often? Probably not, but there have been instances where the injury lists have been rather lopsided leading up to a game and could create such an imbalance if the game day 46 rule did not exist.

I think coaches would love to have all healthy players available to them on Sunday, but the NFL Competition Committee hasn’t seen fit to change the rule.

 

3 – Chris,

Down 10 with 8 or 9 minutes, 4th and 6 on Mia 47 Doug Marrone chose to punt because “the percentages of converting a 4th and 6 are not great”. If you are using this analytic thinking, don’t you have to ask yourself “what are the percentages of winning when you give your opponent the ball back with 8 minutes down 10 points. Rewind to the KC game and they go for it on 4th and 10 when you have the opportunity to make it a 1 point game with all 3 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. I just don’t see the consistency in his analytical thinking, sometimes a little common sense trumps percentages.

My question is, does Marrone have access to percentages and analytics to make a real time game decision?

CB: I think the reason you don’t see the consistency in his analytical thinking is because he doesn’t go strictly by the numbers. Coach Marrone does make use of analytical data, but for him it’s just part of the puzzle, not gospel.

Personally I think it’s a wise approach. The number crunchers who demand that a team should go for it on 4th-and-4 at their own 45 because the numbers say they’ll convert more than 50 percent, or whatever figure it might be, are not taking into account the variables involved in those numbers.

There are instances like a team being down by 21 points in the fourth quarter with five minutes left. If that offense has that 4th-and-4 situation they’ll go for it based on time and score. Even more notable, the opposing defense will play soft as they would be in a position where they’re willing to give up yardage in exchange for time on the clock being up three scores.

That successful conversion by that offense is a part of that overall success rate of teams on 4th-and-4 at their own 45. And that’s just one situation that’s part of that number which would give any coach pause, especially if a situation they face in their game is in stark contrast to that (e.g. 4th-and-4 at their own 45, down three points in the third quarter).

Treating analytic figures like that in a vacuum is foolish for NFL head coaches and they know it because they don’t tell the whole truth. That’s why coach Marrone has stated that while he does take statistics into account much of the time he goes by feel, which takes into account how his offense is executing, how the opposing defense is performing, how his own defense and special teams have been able to control field position. Time and score, etc.

Analytics like that are largely based on a number of different circumstances in a 4th-and-4 situation. To take them all to make a singular decision that is also a 4th-and-4 situation at the same yard line is flawed.

 

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Are the Bills planning to move CJ Spiller off the roster? My reasoning: He has had maybe 2 1/2 good years in total. Yes, he has talent, but he does not show up consistently. With work, I think Bryce Brown could replace Spiller. He is not as flamboyant as Spiller, but he is bigger, and has equal speed. Also, would the Bills draft a Fred Jackson like running back next April? Jackson is 33, and nearing the end. Jackson has maximized his potential, something I don’t Spiller has done.

In summary, keeping Brown, using Dixon as a change of pace back, and drafting a Fred Jackson clone would create a formidable running attack.

Your thoughts,
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: It’s my belief that in a perfect world the Bills would like to return Spiller to the fold for next season and beyond. I think your opinion on Bryce Brown is valid. He is more of a north-south runner than Spiller.

As for whether the Bills would draft a running back will hinge largely on Spiller’s future, so until that scenario unfolds it’s difficult to ascertain the direction the Bills will go in late April.

Jackson signed a one-year extension this past summer and I’m expecting the Bills to honor that so long as Jackson’s abilities don’t fall off a cliff. And there’d no indication of that.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s going on with Goodwin?

MHouck7

CB: I think Marquise Goodwin’s availability has been a tough thing for the coaching staff to deal with this season. He’s been nicked this season, and there are a few games where he was active and played, but was unable to finish due to injuries suffered in game.

There’s no question that Goodwin’s abilities can make him an asset on offense or special teams, but if there’s a concern about him finishing games that will give coaches pause in giving him a large role or perhaps dressing him at all on a Sunday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives include Jackson, Goodwin

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 7:01 pm

Here are the Bills inactives for tonight’s game against the Dolphins.

22 RB Jackson
33 CB Brooks
39 RB Tanner
58 LB Johnson
71 OL Kouandjio
88 WR Goodwin
92 DE Wynn.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin’s health has Marrone optimistic

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 9:39 am

He’s missed each of the last two games with a hamstring injury suffered in practice last month. And though Marquise Goodwin has been limited in practice this week, Bills head coach Doug Marrone is optimistic that the speed receiver will be ready for Sunday’s game.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Marrone gave strong indication that Goodwin would be available for this weekend’s game against the Chiefs.

“He looks good,” said Marrone. “He looks really good. He’s full strength, no problems at all.”

Goodwin had a game-tying 40-yard touchdown reception in last year’s game against the Chiefs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills injury status for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2014 – 1:04 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

 

WR Marquise Goodwin, who suffered a hamstring injury in practice Thursday, is out for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. With Marcus Easley also out Buffalo has just four healthy receivers. Here’s a look at the rest of the final injury report for the Bills heading into Sunday’s game.

OUT
WR Marcus Easley – knee
WR Marquise Goodwin – hamstring
LB Ty Powell – ankle

PROBABLE
LS Garrison Sanborn – knee
S Da’Norris Searcy – knee
LB Brandon Spikes – ribs
S Aaron Williams – wrist
DT Kyle Williams – knee


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2014 – 3:54 pm

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Bills WR Marquise Goodwin was added to the injury report Thursday after sustaining a hamstring injury in practice. He left practice early and did not return. Here’s a look at the rest of Buffalo’s injury report update for Thursday.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Marcus Easley WR Knee DNP
Ty Powell LB Ankle DNP
Kyle Williams DT Knee LP
Da’Norris Searcy S Knee LP
Brandon Spikes LB Ribs LP
Aaron Williams S Wrist/Neck LP
Marquise Goodwin WR Hamstring LP
Garrison Sanborn LS Knee FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-3

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2014 – 11:30 am

Big cross conference game at Detroit Sunday and the Lions are a bit gimpy on offense. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills is there any chance Kouandjio begins to take some snaps at Guard. Tackles appear locked in. Pears hasn’t played well.

WKuze13

CB: Head coach Doug Marrone made it clear a little over a week ago that there are no plans right now to give Kouandjio snaps at guard. I think at this point in time the preference is to have him master offensive tackle, particularly on the right side. He played primarily left tackle in college and flipping to the right side has been an adjustment. Marrone said he is encouraged by Kouandjio’s progress, so I don’t think they want to put too much on his plate and compromise his development at tackle with the responsibility of learning another position.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do the players get brand new jerseys every game?

Arreguy23

CB: The general answer here is no. According to @billsequipment  most players wear the same jersey each week, unless there is irreparable tearing or other damage to a jersey. This most often happens with offensive and defensive linemen just from all the grabbing and pulling. In that case players are issued replacements.

There are of course exceptions. Players like Mario Williams have memorabilia deals where each game worn jersey is turned in, and sometimes players exchange jerseys with friends on other teams. Fred Jackson was the latest example when he swapped game worn jerseys at the end of last week’s game at Houston with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills I wanted to know why Urbik is a backup this year. Do you know?

ThePrideOfLima

CB: It’s hard to know exactly why Kraig Urbik fell out of favor with the offensive staff and has been moved to a backup role. There is no question that based on Buffalo’s moves this offseason that they were looking to make changes there with the signing of Chris Williams and the drafting of Cyril Richardson. I feel Urbik is more than capable of manning one of the starting guard spots, but that’s just my opinion. Head coach Doug Marrone has him serving primarily as the backup center behind Eric Wood, but I believe he can certainly step in at guard.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

My question concerns the buzz about the jet sweep since Percy Harvin and Cordarelle Patterson are taking the league by storm. We have Marquise Goodwin, why isn’t he on the field more to do stuff like this? I would think he would play more if nothing else than because of his speed. Is he injured or just not performing well in practice? I think he should be on the field more.

Thanks for all your coverage, GO BILLS!
Michael

CB: You’re right that Goodwin has not been on the field very much. He’s played a total of 30 snaps in four games. He does have one end around that went for four yards. He’s at a position where the Bills are deep and spread formations are not all that prevalent in Buffalo’s offense anymore. Under former head coach Chan Gailey the four-wide set was their most popular. If that were still the case now I think he would get more work on offense.

I think ideally the offensive coaches want to have a package of plays in each week for Goodwin, but the inability of the offense to stay on the field has compromised those plans to a degree. There’s no question that Goodwin’s presence on the field forces defenses to respect the deep ball, and it creates room underneath for Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods to operate.

 

5 – Chris,

No one, including reporters is really talking about EJ’s strength in throwing the ball. I’m not referring to skill, but the velocity of his throws.

Jim Kelly mentioned it on air mid-game last Sunday – and to me, it was far more obvious prior to his statement. Seems he lobs the ball versus throwing in there quickly and tight.

Are the coaches on EJ about this? I feel he’d be a better QB if he can aster throwing a tight, fast spiral. His balls seem to be all over the place mid-air. Or is this just what EJ mechanisms are about?

Cheers,
Mike Barwick

CB: I have noticed that myself, even in the practice setting. EJ never really winds up and fires it to get it in a tight window. I think sometimes his long delivery gives the illusion that the ball isn’t moving fast, but he is certainly capable of throwing a fastball. I’ve seen it at times, but with the physical ability to throw it on a rope I wouldn’t mind seeing it more when he gets another chance to play.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin, C. Williams doubtful

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2014 – 1:23 pm

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The Bills Friday injury report officially declared WR Marcus Easley and LB Randell Johnson out of Sunday’s game at Houston. Doubtful is LG Chris Williams, so rookie Cyril Richardson is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday. WR Marquise Goodwin is also doubtful and it has been confirmed that he sustained a concussion.

Here’s the full injury report for Sunday.

Player Pos Injury Participation Friday Game Status
Marcus Easley WR Knee DNP OUT
Randell Johnson LB Knee DNP OUT
Chris Williams G Back DNP DOUBTFUL
Marquise Goodwin WR Concussion DNP DOUBTFUL
Ron Brooks CB Illness DNP PROBABLE
Keith Rivers LB Groin LP PROBABLE
Da’Norris Searcy S Ankle LP PROBABLE
Sammy Watkins WR Ribs FP PROBABLE
Robert Woods WR Ankle FP PROBABLE
EJ Manuel QB Abdomen FP PROBABLE
CJ Spiller RB Chest FP PROBABLE

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin, Spiller added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2014 – 3:29 pm

The Bills had a pair of additions to their injury report Thursday. C.J. Spiller was added to the report with a chest injury, but was a full participant and is not expected to miss any practice time the rest of the week. Marquise Goodwin however, saw his injury designation changed from an illness to a head injury. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Goodwin is currently going through the league-mandated concussion protocol.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Marcus Easley WR Knee DNP
Randell Johnson LB Knee DNP
Chris Williams G Back DNP
Marquise Goodwin WR Concussion DNP
Keith Rivers LB Groin LP
Da’Norris Searcy S Ankle LP
Sammy Watkins WR Ribs FP
Robert Woods WR Ankle FP
EJ Manuel QB Abdomen FP
CJ Spiller RB Chest FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-19

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2014 – 11:45 am

Week 3 and the Chargers are coming in. Should be a tight game. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills Does potentially bad weather this weekend favor the Bills?

BrianGriffo

CB: I would tend to think so. Buffalo’s run game is vastly superior to that of San Diego’s. The Chargers have found it difficult to get their run game on track, though in their defense they’ve faced to pretty strong defenses in Arizona and Seattle. But without starter Ryan Mathews (sprained MCL), who is not expected to play a rainy day would favor Buffalo’s ground game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Will we see Bryce Brown at all this year ?

kochsteve44

CB: That’s difficult to determine at this point. It seems clear that the coaching staff wants a fullback active (Frank Summers) with three tailbacks on game day (Dixon, Jackson, Spiller). If one of the top three backs sustains an injury then it’s likely we see Brown, but if not, based on the first two weeks he’ll be the inactive player from that position group.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Who is more primed for a ‘letdown’ both after big emotional wins. SD, does have the cross country trip.

rahdoo

CB: You are correct the Chargers do have to come east, which is never easy. They’re leaving a day early (today) to get their body clocks adjust to the time change. Last year San Diego was 3-2 playing in the Eastern time zone including their AFC Wild Card playoff win at Cincinnati.

Against the Bills they’ve dropped three of their last four played at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

I don’t know that either team is more susceptible to a letdown than the other. Both are coming off big wins. I think the Bills strengths match up more favorably than the Chargers strengths, but that advantage is not a big one.

 

4 – Chris,

What is Marquise Goodwin’s role on this team? He played sparingly in Chicago, and overall has not produced much at all since the Jets game at Home last season. Are the coaches going to use him?

He is a 3rd Round pick that seemingly is not on the radar screen with the offensive coaches.

In limited playing time last year, he had 3 TDs on only 17 receptions.

How does a man with 4.27 wheels not get the call to test deep once or twice a game? Or get a bubble screen once a game?

I would hate to see a similar fate for Goodwin, as our other speedster TJ Graham, who was a 3rd Round pick as well.

Thanks,
Brian
CB: Through the first two weeks Goodwin has gotten 21 plays out of a total of 116, which is about 18 percent of the snaps. The fact of the matter is the Bills took steps to upgrade their receiving corps with Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams the primary additions. Both sit at the top of the depth chart with Robert Woods.

That leaves Goodwin in the fourth spot, but through the first two weeks the Bills have largely used 11 (1 back, 1 TE, 3 WR) or 12 (1 back, 2 TEs) personnel. There have been few four-wide sets.

I don’t know this, but it appears as though the Bills have a specific package of plays in the game plan for Goodwin each week, and that package only spans 10-15 plays. Could it increase based on the opponent? Yes. Could it stay the same the whole season? Yes again.

Obviously injuries at the receiver position will also impact how much Goodwin sees the field on offense as the season wears on. Ultimately it’s up to the coaches how much or how little they choose to use him on offense.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

After watching the Bills lately, it seems like Hackett and Marrone have the offense operating very well. My one question is, why don’t they use Dixon and Jackson earlier, to wear down the defense, and then later in the game use CJ to really explode?

Thanks,
Tommy H.

CB: I don’t want to speak for coach Marrone, but Spiller’s home run ability is the difference maker here. Knowing that any carry or reception by Spiller could go the distance almost mandates that he be on the field throughout the course of the game. I also think that Spiller and Jackson offer good differing changes of pace, where Dixon and Jackson might be too similar and allow the opposing defense to get a better read on run plays.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

ESPN to profile Marquise Goodwin

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 2:11 pm

ESPN’s award-winning prime time news magazine E:60 will present the touching story of the relationship between Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and his younger sister in the episode airing Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. ET.
Goodwin, who is one of the fastest players in the NFL and a former world-class long jumper who jumped for team USA at the 2012 London Olympics has a sister with cerebral palsy. Goodwin calls himself gifted because of his little sister, Deja.
Born with cerebral palsy, Deja is confined to a wheelchair and requires around-the-clock care, but that has not stopped Marquise and Deja from forming an incredibly close relationship. The relationship has endured through his time at the University of Texas, the Olympics, and now into an NFL career. In fact, Goodwin say that everything he has achieved – on the track and on the field – has been because of Deja.
We shared this story on Buffalobills.com last spring, but here’s a preview clip of the Marquise Goodwin feature.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills who won’t dress tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2014 – 6:35 pm

Here’s the list of players who won’t dress for tonight’s Hall of Fame game in Canton tonight against the Giants.

CB Leodis McKelvin
CB Stephon Gilmore
TE Tony Moeaki
TE Scott Chandler
WR Marquise Goodwin

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins playmaking will open things up

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 11:03 pm

With all the plays being turned in by Sammy Watkins in the training camp practices, it’s bound to lead to greater attention from opposing defenses and that will lead to more opportunities for the other receivers.

That doesn’t always reveal itself in the structured nature of practice, but in a game when opposing defenses are reacting Watkins is going to draw added attention. That will benefit the likes of Robert Woods, Mike Williams, Marquise Goodwin and the rest of the receiving corps.

“I don’t think it’s ever been just Sammy and Sammy knows that too,” said EJ Manuel. “He’s obviously getting an opportunity to make plays just like the rest of those guys. Obviously, all I want to do is just give those guys an opportunity to make a catch and they do the rest.”

“We’ve just got so many guys that can go out and make plays, we’ve always got a lot of speed on the field,” said Watkins. “We’ve got guys that can go over you, we’ve got guys that can run great routes, so when one guys making plays, that’s when other guys start to open up because they start to double or run a certain coverage. With everybody making plays, it’s been hard for the coaches and the offense because they want everyone on the field at the same time.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin: I left practice early, but not hurt

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2014 – 9:10 pm

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin left practice early on Sunday night and did not return. But he said on his Twitter account post-practice that he did not sustain an injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: Nothing but speed on the field

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 11:54 pm

With the addition of Sammy Watkins to Buffalo’s offense there is another player with sub 4.5 speed on the field. As the Bills rookie receiver sees it there is speed to burn on the Bills attack.

“It could be a fast paced offense,” Watkins told Buffalobills.com. “You have nothing but speed out there on the field. You’ve got great guys who have already been in the game, veterans. You’ve got a great receivers coach that played the game and knows the game and knows how to get the athletes the ball. It’s going to be a great team. You’ve got another outstanding receiver in Stevie Johnson there and I can come there and learn from him and start my career.”

Adding Watkins speed to that of Marquise Goodwin (4.27) and T.J. Graham (4.41) in particular gives Buffalo three wideouts with sub 4.45 speed. Add in C.J. Spiller’s 4.3 speed and it’s a lightning quick offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Davis following Goodwin’s footsteps

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2014 – 10:11 am

University of Texas WR Mike Davis is forecast as a third or fourth round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. With his strength being stretching the field as a vertical threat it’s not surprising that he’s trying to follow in the footsteps of former teammate Marquise Goodwin.

The Bills third-round pick last season, Goodwin delivered big plays for Buffalo as a rookie even though his season was interrupted by a fractured hand. Now Davis is trying to draw on Goodwin’s experience to better prepare himself for the NFL.

“Yeah Marquise Goodwin is like my big brother and we always talk and I get advice from him and I reach out to him and watch him on Sundays,” said Davis at the Combine in Indianapolis. “I just text him or call him whenever and he answers.”

Davis is taller than Goodwin, but has a thinner build and is not as proficient on the short or intermediate routes as Goodwin. He is a deep threat even though he doesn’t have Goodwin’s world class speed, but he was utilized more in the Texas offense. Still, Davis values his conversations with his former Longhorn teammate.

“We just start off talking about how he got to that point and the stuff I’m doing and me trying to get to the point where he’s at,” said Davis. “All of the stuff that we had to overcome and just never forget where we came from and what we had to do to overcome everything to get to this point.

“Marquise is a great player and a good receiver and I look up to him and we really didn’t use him a lot at Texas, but he made the best of whatever he got.”

Davis kept close watch of Goodwin’s rookie season in Buffalo and was just as excited as Bills fans about some of Goodwin’s bigger plays in 2013.

“From running that kickoff return back in the preseason to catching the long touchdown against the Bengals. I knew he could do all that stuff,” said Davis. “I’ve always believed in him and I always knew what he had in him. I already knew.”

Set to workout for NFL scouts this morning (Sunday) I asked him if he was ready to also run a 4.27 like Goodwin did last year at the Combine.

Davis bowed his head and started laughing.

He’s expected to run in the low 4.5s.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ planning passing camp w/teammates

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2014 – 4:02 pm

EJ Manuel and his teammates won’t be back for OTAs until mid-May, but the quarterback and some of his passing game weapons intend to get on the field independently long before then.

Manuel, who was making the rounds on radio row at the Super Bowl said he’ll be getting together with teammates sometime in March and April. The problem is both Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin are finishing up classes to get their college degree. But Manuel intends to come to them with a possible passing camp in Texas and California.

“My receivers told me once I have it set up just let them know,” Manuel told Buffalobills.com. “We’re trying to build it around the guys who are still in school to accommodate them. They’ve got to handle that first. We’re not in classes or in school so why not just go to them?”

Manuel said he intends to invite the backs to participate as well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tuel turned heads at NFLPA bowl last year

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2014 – 9:30 am

Bills QB Jeff Tuel wasn’t on the radar of many NFL clubs heading into the all important run up to the NFL draft at this time last year, but his presence on the National team roster in the 2013 NFLPA Bowl and more importantly his performance drew the attention of NFL scouts.

Tuel, whose college career was compromised by injuries, a subpar supporting cast and a coaching change, had a strong outing in the NFLPA bowl game last year. The Washington State QB was 8-for-8 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown, an eight-yard throw to Xavier Boyce in what wound up being a 34-0 win over the American team.

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin had also accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Bowl game, but later withdrew after receiving an invite to the Senior Bowl.

The 2014 NFLPA Bowl is being played today at 6 pm ET on ESPN


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron, Stevie out; Easley added to report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 12:51 pm

Bills WR Stevie Johnson and S Aaron Williams have been declared out for Sunday’s game at New England. Marcus Easley meanwhile was a Friday addition to Buffalo’s injury report.

Easley sustained a knee injury in practice Friday and was listed as a limited participant. He’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game. Here’s the full rundown of players on Buffalo’s injury report.

OUT
S Aaron Williams – ribs
WR Stevie Johnson – not injury related

DOUBTFUL
QB EJ Manuel – knee

PROBABLE
WR Marquise Goodwin – knee
WR Marcus Easley – knee
RB Fred Jackson – ribs
DT Kyle Williams – achilles


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-27

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 11:31 am

Sunday will be the final step in trying to post a winning record in the division for the first time since the 2007 season. Let’s see if the Bills can get their first win ever in Gillette Stadium. Here’s your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
Coming into this season knowing the Bills were going to draft a QB and most likely be our starter, I would of thought Coach Marrone was going to bring in a OC with NFL experience and a reputation with teaching young QB’s. I was really shock when he named Hackett his QB coach and OC. I was not thrilled with this move and I still do not think he is the right guy for this job. He does not use the players the way he should , like CJ Spiller who was unstoppable last year and this year he’s been shut down for the most part mainly in the receiving area. His play calling is horrible and his short passing is getting old real quick. Atlanta game Goodwin and Graham both should of had career games as bad as Atlanta’s pass defense was and correct me if I’m wrong but did either one have a catch over 10 yards. he is not the guy for the job and I hope Marrone sees this and fixes this problem after the season. I like EJ Manuel and I feel with an experienced guy working with him he can become the QB this team needed in a long time, I just don’t think Hackett can do this. Your thoughts and thanks for doing a great job.

RR21RaceFan

CB: I’m going to disagree with you on this one. I think there is a reason that the Bills were one of the most frequent rushing teams in the league. It’s because they had a rookie quarterback. I believe as the season wore on the hope was that EJ Manuel would progress in his play to the point where they could become a more balanced offense, but that went out the window with Manuel’s midseason knee injury. Now his third knee injury has cost him more time on the field.

So running the ball became the offense’s identity, and to their credit they’ve done a great job with it. They lead the AFC in rushing yards per game. This despite the fact, as you mention, that C.J. Spiller has not been the weekly game-breaking talent that he was last season.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that has been the case. Spiller by all accounts is pretty healthy now, but his effectiveness as a runner has not improved a whole lot from where he was at when he was dealing with the high ankle sprain.

I think in Hackett’s defense he had a lot more to deal with at the quarterback position than anyone anticipated. When Manuel was hurt, he didn’t have a veteran QB to lean on, which was the plan with Kevin Kolb. So he instead he had to invest extra time trying to get another inexperienced QB ready in Thad Lewis and in one case Jeff Tuel (vs. KC).

I’m confident that if coach Marrone knew he wasn’t going to have a veteran QB in the room healthy and ready to back up and provide counsel to EJ Manuel that he may have given greater consideration to hiring a quarterbacks coach. Not because Nathaniel Hackett isn’t capable, but because of how much time and instruction would be required to school up three inexperienced QBs.

As for Hackett’s qualifications as an offensive play caller, he is more than qualified and I’ll again remind you that with a rookie QB who is learning on the job you are inherently limited in how much of the playbook you can use week to week.

2 – Dear Chris,

Thanks for all of your great coverage!  My question was about Chris Gragg. Why aren’t the bills using him more? All he’s done is make plays and I think he’s going to be a great weapon for EJ
Mike

CB: Coach Marrone has said it has been their intention to get Gragg as well as Marquise Goodwin more playing time for several weeks now, but it’s been easier said than done. Here were some recent comments he made about Gragg.

“With Chris (Gragg) it’s been tough for us at times to get him up and more involved at times, but when he has been in there he’s shown that he’s able to play and he’s able to be a tough matchup as far as how he can run,” said Marrone. “His blocking from a standpoint of willingness and movement is probably better than what his height and weight show that he should be able to do at that position so that’s encouraging also.”
3 – Hi Chris,

My question is in regards to the Bills offense. It seems that EJ is becoming more comfortable in throwing the ball “between” the numbers and play action. He threw some nice strikes to Chandler and Gragg against the Jags. Why does it seem that it takes getting into late 2nd Quarter or in the second half to start calling more of those plays? Is it because the running game has to be established first for those plays to be successful? Or is it just the way that Coach Hackett likes to call the plays?

Thanks, Tim in Niagara Ontario

CB: Once again I’ll defer to coach Marrone on EJ Manuel’s slow starts in games this season. Here’s what coach said after his most recent slow start at Jacksonville.

“I think you can see it in spots at times. But there’s no doubt that he got off to… I wouldn’t say slow, and he knows it, we talked to him, he got off to a very poor start,” said Marrone. “But the one thing about the kid, which you’ve seen over the course of him playing is he can fight his way through that and learn. Now are there some things that caught us yesterday the second time around where we would’ve liked not to make the same mistake, absolutely. But again he’s a young kid, he’s in here today working hard already watching the film getting ready to go. That’s what you want from your quarterback and keep getting better and keep playing through that.”

 

4 – Thanks Chris for all your Coverage of our Buffalo Bills!

When Aaron Williams went down on Sunday, Jim Leonhard came in and once again made 2 huge plays. It shows how important depth is on an NFL football team. Every time he has played, he has made big plays. Do the Bills make a Valiant effort to resign some of these key backup players like Leonhard?

Thanks, Eileen in St.Catharines Ontario

CB: Leonhard has been known for the big play since his college days at Wisconsin. He had 16 interceptions in his college career. He’s a savvy player who makes plays despite not being the most physically gifted safety around. He is a free agent after the season.

His return to the Bills could be directly tied to what happens with Jairus Byrd another free agent safety for Buffalo. If Byrd is re-signed I think it lessens the likelihood that Leonhard is also back knowing there are two young safeties on the roster in Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks. If Byrd is not back, then Leonhard becomes a much more viable option to re-sign as I see it.

 

5 – Chris,

I’m wondering why the Bills are using Graham more than Goodwin? IMO, the Bills are not effectively using Goodwin, as they continue to throw him an occasional deep pass to him every game. In the last Jets game, where Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods were out due to injuries, Goodwin had his best receiving game of the year as Goodwin was catching passes all over the field, and IMO, the Bills had one of their best offensive outputs of the season. I feel Goodwin can be more effective catching passes in the slot, and other parts of the field, besides going for the deep routes a couple of times a game. So far, Graham has proven to be very inconsistent as he has dropped numerous passes, and does not get the same consistent separation as Goodwin does. At this point, it seems EJ Manuel has more chemistry with Woods and Goodwin, than he does with Johnson and Graham. I would rather see Woods and Goodwin as the Bills top 2 WR’s, with Johnson in the slot as this could help Manuel’s development.

Thanks for all the hard work that you do covering the Bills!

Steve
Fredericksburg, VA

CB: Goodwin has produced when given more time on the field. I think he has demonstrated dependable hands this season even in traffic. The slot might be an interesting spot for Goodwin to line up more often moving forward, though Woods could be effective inside too. The depth chart at receiver that you’re suggesting could shift in that direction going into next season. It’ll all come down to competition at training camp.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin, Jackson, Manuel practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2013 – 12:06 pm

Three Bills offensive players, who all appear on the team’s injury report this week are practicing here on Thursday.

WR Marquise Goodwin (knee), RB Fred Jackson (ribs) and QB EJ Manuel (knee) were all participating during the media viewing portion of practice. We’ll get their official practice participation post practice from head coach Doug Marrone.

Stevie Johnson and Aaron Williams (ribs) were not in attendance.


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Posted in Inside the Bills