Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-6

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2013 – 11:49 am

It’s the final quarter of the 2013 regular season. Buffalo will try to post a winning record in these last four games, three of which are on the road. Here’s your latest edition of queries on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thank you for all your coverage of the Bills for us fans! I have two questions for you. First of all, it seems as though as of late the Bills offense has been pretty successful on the deep Go routes from TJ Graham and Marquise Goodwin. Do you think that Coach Marrone and Hackett would consider getting Spiller more involved in some deep plays in the passing game?

Last year it seemed to work pretty well and it would give another added dimension to the offense given his speed and talent in the open field. My second question is, so far we have not seen many “trick” plays like fake field goals, fake Punts, flea flickers etc. Do you feel that this coaching staff just doesn’t feel comfortable running those plays, or is it just the fact that the situation to use a trick play just hasn’t come up yet?

Thanks, Eileen in Ontario

CB: I think the Bills will continue to work on pushing the ball down the field to take advantage of the speed that T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin bring to the offense. Those plays have been successful at times, but we all need to realize that those are not high percentage plays. Any coach will tell you the NFL is more about getting first downs than touchdowns, because the better an offense is at getting first downs, the more successful they are at scoring touchdowns.

The offensive staff has made a concerted effort to go with high percentage plays in an effort to keep the offense on the field.

As for trick plays, I think we will see a few before the season is over, but again the coaching staff is trying to build a foundation on consistent plays that are productive. There is a time and place for trick plays, but they are not something that any coach wants to hang his hat on.

2 – Chris,
First off, thanks for doing an awesome job covering all the Bills News. My question for you is in regards to the Bills Defense. I feel that Jim Leonhard really played well, especially with his takeaways while he was filling in during injuries. Why don’t the Bills sub him in on obvious passing downs? I think he could be a strong player in the backfield and result in more turnovers for the Bills D.

Secondly, do you feel that Nickell Robey has the intangibles to eventually be considered to play a boundary corner as well as nickel? He seems to be excelling and really playing good football and seems to just keep getting better every week.

Thanks, Tim in Niagara

CB: There’s no question that Leonard’s playing time on defense has suffered since Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore returned to the lineup. Gilmore’s return allowed Aaron Williams to return to safety with Byrd manning the other safety spot.

I like Leonhard as a player, and he is a heady player when it comes to anticipating and making big plays (INTs). That being said, Byrd and Williams offer better coverage ability by virtue of both of them being former cornerbacks. Byrd was a corner in college and Williams was a corner in college and his first two season in the NFL.

That provides DC Mike Pettine with a lot of versatility in coverage assignments in his defensive scheme and as Pettine himself has said the strength of his defense is its versatility.

That’s not to say that Leonhard, if needed, could not be a productive player in this defense. He’s proven that already this season. But Byrd and Williams offer more versatility and that helps to keep opposing offenses off guard.

As for Nickell Robey, he has done very well as the team’s nickel corner. At 5’8” and 165 pounds that’s his position. He would be hard pressed to be as successful on the boundary as a cornerback. The receivers on the outside in this league are just too big and too physical. Robey based on his body type alone, would be a target out there for fade passes and jump balls.

His best fit is as a slot defender and he can play for a long time in this league in that role.

 

3 – Chris:
EJ’s decision making, release time and downfield accuracy appears to have room for improvement.  This may be explained by his lack of NFL experience.  Since there is no QB coach in the organization and Offensive coordinator Hackett’s collegiate playing experience is defensive orientated, how is EJ be coached up in a professional manner?
Conrad in Elma
CB: I understand your point about Hackett’s playing experience, but he has been working at the elbow of a host of offensive coaches at the position since he was a kid. He knows how to school quarterbacks on footwork and throwing technique. Decision making is something that should improve the more he plays and gets accustomed to defensive looks.

I’ve wondered about how challenging it has been for Hackett to balance the responsibility of getting an offensive scheme implemented and executed effectively in year one while also helping a rookie quarterback make strides in his first year in the league. That’s a big ask.

Add in the fact that he had to get a second rookie QB and another young signal caller ready to play at different points in the season and you see the demands that were placed on Hackett this season.

 

4 – Chris,

What is the status of Carrington? He was playing great before he got hurt. Hope he is doing well.

Michael J. McCarthy
Pittsfield, MA

CB: Alex Carrington had successful surgery on his torn quadriceps tendon that landed him on injured reserve. I talked to him a couple of weeks ago and he told me he’s progressing well in his rehab. He’s working here at One Bills Drive on a daily basis with the trainers on his rehab regimen. The rehab timetable is typically 7-9 months and he’s just 11 weeks removed from suffering the injury, so he’s got a long road in front of him, but he’s walking under his own power.

5 – Chris,
Something that I noticed during the Falcons game about EJ. Do you remember back in the day when Dan Marino would get behind center? He would always lick his hands and you knew was going to be a pass.

During Falcons game I noticed that EJ would leave his mouthpiece in his helmet during running plays, and put it in during passing plays…. I’m wondering if anybody else is noticing this?? like the opposing defense….. if you could pass it along :-)

Thanks,
Mike bills fan
Longwood Florida

CB: To clear this up for everyone. I saw that it was a popular topic on Twitter during the game last week, but there was no merit to it. There were run plays executed during the game when his mouthpiece was tucked into his helmet facemask instead of his mouth.

There is no absolute situation in terms of play calls when it comes to the location of EJ Manuel’s mouthpiece.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

2 players added to Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2013 – 4:47 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone added two players to the team’s injury report Thursday.

One addition was not injury related. TE Scott Chandler missed Thursday’s practice with his wife expecting to deliver the newest addition to the Chandler family in the next 24 hours.

The other addition was WR Marquise Goodwin, who suffered what Marrone called a tweaked calf in practice. Marrone expects Goodwin to be fine for Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay, but he was a limited participant Thursday.

Here’s the rest of the report.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation   Wednesday

Participation   Thursday

Kyle Williams

DT

Achilles

DNP

FP

Marquise Goodwin

WR

Calf

LP

Scott Chandler

TE

Not injury related

DNP


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin tweaks calf

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2013 – 1:27 pm

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin exited Thursday’s practice. Head coach Doug Marrone explained why.

“Marquise Goodwin during practice tweaked his calf and we just took him out for the rest of it,” said Marrone. “He should be fine, so we just rested him the rest of the practice.”

Goodwin will be added to the team’ injury report later today as a limited participant.


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Big play breakdown

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2013 – 9:57 am

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but Marquise Goodwin does not lead the team in big pass plays this season. It’s due mainly to the fact that he missed four games with a broken hand. As we covered on Buffalobills.com today however, he is a developing weapon for the offense. Here’s a breakdown of the top big play receiving targets of the Bills this season, and it clearly favors those who have been able to stay in the lineup.

Big pass plays are considered any pass play that covers 20 yards or more. Here’s how the big play receiving targets rank through 11 games this season.

Rank      Player                                   #of big pass plays
1              Scott Chandler                         6 (long – 33)
T-2          T.J. Graham                            5 (long – 47)
T-2          Stevie Johnson                       5 (long – 45)
T-4          Marquise Goodwin                4 (long – 59)
T-4          Robert Woods                        4 (long – 42)
6              Fred Jackson                          2 (long – 22)

There are three other players with one big pass play this season. Lee Smith (28 yards), C.J. Spiller (27 yards) and Frank Summers (34 yards).

The player with the greatest number of the team’s longest plays is not surprisingly Goodwin. Three of his four big plays have covered 40 yards or more and all went for touchdowns. Graham is second with two 40-plus yard plays.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin & Graham just doing their job

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2013 – 1:51 pm

T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin are steadily establishing themselves as legitimate deep threats in Buffalo’s offense. Both got in on the act in last week’s game turning in the three longest plays from scrimmage in the game, with two of the three going for touchdowns. Turning in those big plays might seem like a big deal to some, but not to the ‘Go Brothers.’

“It’s really satisfying, but it’s our job,” said Goodwin. “That’s what we were drafted to do. That’s why we’re here in Buffalo. It’s easy for me. That’s just what I’m supposed to do. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Anytime we can get the ball down the field even when it’s windy like last week and make deep plays, it’s pretty good,” said Graham.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-22

Posted by Chris Brown on November 22, 2013 – 12:10 pm

It’s the bye week, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time to answer questions. Here is your latest edition of queries on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
Thanks for the constant Bills updates,

First, I was wondering what your thoughts are on how the Bills are going to address offseason needs (LB, CB, OL). Also, what part of EJ’s game do you think needs the most improvement in the remaining games and the offseason to help secure his role as the franchise QB.

Thanks
Season ticket holder Evan

CB: The draft is where that approach is going to start. I don’t see cornerback as a high need position right now. I could however, see an offensive tackle being taken early knowing Erik Pears is getting up there in years and Chris Hairston is a bit of an unknown at this point. Linebacker is another position that needs a quality addition or two. After that I think a big receiver that can win jump balls in the end zone could be on the add list as well.

I think the only way the Bills make a splash in free agency is if a player they respect is surprisingly available and can be had for the right price. Doug Whaley is trying to build this thing for the long haul.
2 – Chris:

I watch a lot of football and the good teams with top QB’s seem to have at least 1 tall (6’4″) receiver with glue on his hands. They are hard to overthrow, and function well in the red zone. What is the actual height of our WR’s, and isn’t there a tall receiver on 1 of the other 31 teams we could claim and try out? Besides speed, what is the Knock on tall receivers?

Thanks,
Jim in Florida

CB: The Bills tallest receivers are Marcus Easley and Stevie Johnson. Both are 6’2” and Easley is a bit thicker at 217 pounds. Hogan is 6’1” and Woods is 6’0”. As I mentioned above I think a big receiver that can be a dependable red zone target will be something that Buffalo will target in the offseason. Whether it’s a free agent or a rookie in the draft is hard to say at this point.

 

3 – Chris,

In baseball, the Oakland A’s proved that crunching numbers can translate to more wins on the field. The concepts they employed had been around for a long time, but the key was finding a GM that was willing to step up and take the heat for doing something unconventional.

After watching the Bills punt on 4th & 5 at the PIT 36 with 14:09 in the 4th quarter last Sunday, I wondered if the new analytics department could actually convince Coach Marrone (or any coach for that matter) to scrap the tradition of punting for “field position” and replace it with a plan for 4th down. There is strong statistical evidence that shows an aggressive approach to fourth down, based on field position and yards to gain, would actually translate to more wins in a season.

Alternatively, changing this philosophy could lead to more lopsided losses and will almost certainly lead to more criticism being heaped on the head coach.

Coach Marrone talks about leadership, about standing up and challenging yourself to get better every day. I personally BILLieve he has the internal fortitude to do the unconventional. Is there any chance he is willing to accept the challenge and let the analytics department, not just tradition, help him decide when to go for it on 4th down?

 

Kind Regards,

Adam K

CB: I can assure you that Coach Marrone has a lot of respect for the value of analytics in football. He’s well aware of the data on fourth down. He also is advanced enough in his thinking to not apply those statistics in a vacuum. To blindly go for it because the statistical averages say to do so without factoring in time and score, the caliber of defense one is facing, the personnel you have available to you (injury factor), the personnel the opponent has available to them, the fourth down defense the opponent brings to the table and a host of other variables is foolish.

Coach Marrone is wise enough to consider those other variables that the number crunchers often do not. Not to mention that the fourth down data does not take into account the fact that a lot of the successful fourth down situations are when the game is already out of hand and teams are compelled to go for it in an effort to climb back into the game. Maybe the opposing defense isn’t playing a ‘must stop them’ aggressive defense and is happy to trade a first down for another minute on the clock because they’re up three scores.

Believe me when I tell you that coach Marrone takes the analytics very seriously and is ahead of the curve on this not behind it when it comes to coaches in this league.

4 – Dear Chris,

After watching the Bills lose shootouts under Chan Gailey because of a bad defense, I am impressed that Marrone and Mike Pettine turned it around, allowing us to stay in games despite scoring only 23 points. On the flip side, our offense has been anemic in my opinion, CJ Spiller not living up to hype, etc. I know most of main pieces are young and inexperienced, but if Gailey could make guys like  Fitz and donald Jones productive, then I think Nate Hackett should be feeling some heat right now. He has no clue how to use Spiller like Gailey did, can’t call anything good in the red zone, I feel like his play calling has cost us games. My question is, do you feel Marrone is getting irritated at him for the punchless offense? Is there a chance Hackett could get stripped of playcalling duties?

Thanks for your time,
Bill

CB: The first thing you need to realize with play calling is Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett are on the same page with everything that is going on with the offense.

Second, Hackett has admitted that he needs to get more creative with the run game, but the amount of running that they are doing (a lot) is partially because they have to keep the quarterback in favorable down and distance situations to maintain a good rate of success on offense.

Last week was a perfect example against the Jets. Despite the fact that they were facing the number one run defense in football, they ran the ball on 12 of their first 13 1st-and-10 situations. They gained all of nine yards.

The reason they did that was to improve the pass protection when it came time to throw. In the third quarter on 1st-and-10 up 20-7 they threw a 40-yard bomb down the left sideline to T.J. Graham to move into Jets territory. The protection on that play did not have to be exemplary because the Jets were expecting run.

On the next first down the Jets were again expecting run, the protection wasn’t perfect, but they dialed up the same vertical route, just on the right side to Goodwin. Manuel’s protection was good enough, because after a big pass play the previous snap, the Jets were expecting Buffalo to go back to the ground. They didn’t and Goodwin scored on a 43-yard pass.

It might look like the Bills are beating their head against the wall sometimes with their play calling, but believe me when I tell you Marrone and Hackett know a lot about play calling and there is a method to what they’re doing. A lot of it is predicated on having a young QB.

Hopefully over the last five games they’ll be able to expand and diversify what they’re doing.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for your in depth coverage for us fans. I have 2 questions that have come to mind after a Huge win against the Jets. First of all, With Goodwin having a great game in the slot filling for Stevie, do you believe this could raise some eyebrows and perhaps change some things up in the Receiving game and maybe change where some players line up? And secondly, it was obviously a big help to have coach Hackett on the sidelines as opposed to the booth. Why do teams even consider having coaches in the booth instead of on the field. Could you enlighten on some advantages that being in the booth would have?

Vanderklokt

CB: Thanks for the kind words. First, I think the two primary slot receivers will continue to be Robert Woods and Stevie Johnson, just because of their route savvy first and foremost. Second, both of them benefit by having two way go’s inside.

Goodwin is a more dangerous option out on the boundary, but did show he could play inside as well.

That being said coach Hackett and coach Hilliard make all the receivers learn all the positions because when this offense really picks up the tempo they have to be ready to line up anywhere.

As for Hackett being down on the sideline it facilitated the communication between him and EJ. The coordinator can also get a feel for how the players on offense are feeling about certain plays as a group instead of having just communication with the quarterback. It just facilitates communication on many levels being down there.

Being upstairs allows the coordinator to better identify personnel groupings on defense. That allows them to make quicker play calls themselves to counter it. That’s why Jason Vrabel the offensive quality control coach is now upstairs, to be Hackett’s eyes.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin probable for Steelers game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 12:35 pm

Hamstring injuries can be tough, especially for wide receivers, who need to get to top speed, gear down, get in and out of breaks and accelerate again. That puts a lot of stress on hamstrings, but Marquise Goodwin made good progress this week and looks like he’ll be available for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

Goodwin participated fully in practice on Friday after working on limited basis Thursday.

“He’s good to go,” said head coach Doug Marrone, who listed his speed receiver as probable.

Goodwin suffered a hamstring strain last week against the Chiefs in the second half. The rookie wideout has been the team’s most reliable deep threat thus far this season and also is the primary kick returner.


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Bills Thursday injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 4:12 pm

Here’s the rundown of the official practice participation for the Bills players who appeared on the team’s injury report for Thursday.

Coach Marrone said he “felt good” about the way Marquise Goodwin performed in practice Thursday even though he was limited.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation   Wednesday

Participation   Thursday

Kyle Williams

DT

Achilles

DNP

FP

Marquise Goodwin

WR

Hamstring

DNP

LP

Robert Woods

WR

Ankle

DNP

DNP

Thad Lewis

QB

Ribs

FP

FP

EJ Manuel

QB

Knee

FP

FP


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Marrone feeling good about Goodwin

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 2:05 pm

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin did not practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury suffered in the second half of last week’s game against Kansas City. But he was practicing Thursday albeit on a limited basis. Still, Goodwin’s participation left head coach Doug Marrone encouraged about his receiver’s chances for Sunday.

“Today I felt good,” said Marrone when asked about how Goodwin looked. “I think he’ll be ready to go from what I’ve seen today. Marquise Goodwin did practice today and I like what I saw and I feel good about that right now.”

Fellow WR Robert Woods did not practice for a second straight day due to an ankle injury.


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Goodwin participating, Woods absent

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 11:49 am

Marquise Goodwin is in attendance at practice here on Thursday. He’s going through individual position drills right now.

We’ll have an update on his official practice participation post practice. Coach Marrone said he was likely to be limited today.

Fellow rookie WR Robert Woods is not in attendance for a second straight day due to an ankle injury.


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Goodwin could be limited Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2013 – 3:47 pm

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin did not practice on Wednesday, but he did work on the side and head coach Doug Marrone think he could get some work on the practice field Thursday.

“Goodwin worked with the trainers today and (Thursday) he’ll be limited so I’ll have more information on him (Thursday),” said Marrone. “But I think that’s a good sign, but again it’s a hamstring so you have to wait until you go 100 percent on it before you know if he’s going to be able to play or not.”

Marrone is less optimistic about Robert Woods and his ankle injury.

“We’re going to see where we are with Woods,” Marrone said. “I don’t feel that good about Robert Woods being able to play.”


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WR plans with Woods, Goodwin up in air

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2013 – 3:45 pm

The prospects are not looking good for WR Robert Woods this week according to coach Marrone as he tries to recover from an ankle injury suffered in last week’s game. WR Marquise Goodwin appears to be further along, but he’s not a lock yet either for this Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on each of them and potential options should both rookie wideouts be unable to play.

“There are a couple of things you can do personnel-wise,” said Marrone. “It all depends on whether we want to do something on the inside or the outside. Goodwin coming back would obviously help and we’ll be fine. If not then we’ll have to look at Marcus Easley playing a little bit more, who is a little bit more of an outside player. Chris Hogan is a little bit more of an inside player for us right now. So those are the type of things that we would be looking at.”

At this point Marrone feels better about Goodwin’s prospects of playing than Woods.


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Marrone on Goodwin & Woods injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2013 – 2:46 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on his two injured rookie wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods. Both left the game and did not return.

“Goodwin has a hamstring. When you have that we’ve just got to get him out on the field and see how he is,” said Marrone. “So I don’t really know right now. I’ll know a lot when we get on the field and he can test it.”

As for Woods there was a change in his injury.

“Woods actually has an ankle,” Marrone said. “I thought it was a leg earlier, but it’s really an ankle. I think it’s the same thing. We’ll rest him for these next two days (Monday and Tuesday) and see how he is on the field and be able to tell you a lot more about it.”

We’ll have full updates on the participation in practice by the receivers Wednesday.


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Goodwin update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 4:38 pm

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update postgame.

“Goodwin had a hamstring injury,” said Marrone.

The speed receiver will be re-evaluated on Monday.


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Goodwin good to go

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 5:51 pm

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin left last Sunday’s game early with an elbow injury, but was back on the practice field Wednesday. Though he was listed as limited Wednesday, head coach Doug Marrone said he did just about everything in practice. Goodwin is even more optimistic about being in the lineup Sunday than his head coach.

“It’s good. Just making sure I was good and I went out there and just worked through everything and ready to go,” said Goodwin. “I’ll be good. I didn’t have any limitations, at least in my mind I didn’t. I practiced the whole practice, so I’ll be ready to go this weekend.”


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Goodwin, C.J., Lawson all working

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 11:56 am

Buffalo has three injured players from a week ago practicing today.

Manny Lawson, C.J. Spiller and Marquise Goodwin are all practicing her at One Bills Drive on Wednesday.

Lawson and Spiller didn’t play last week. Goodwin sustained an elbow injury in last Sunday’s game.


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Stevie, Goodwin to be limited Wednesday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2013 – 2:53 pm

Stevie Johnson was hobbling around the field on Sunday, but finished the game. Marquise Goodwin did not finish after an elbow injury. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update for both receivers Monday afternoon.

“Hip flexor,” said Marrone in identifying Johnson’s injury. “Is he going to undergo an MRI? Not to my knowledge. He’ll be limited on Wednesday practicing.”

“The hip flexor is tight and I tried to keep it stretched (during the game) so it won’t pop or have
something completely tear,” said Johnson.

As for Goodwin, Marrone confirmed that the rookie receiver underwent x-rays Monday.

“X-rays came back negative,” Marrone said. “Limited on Wednesday, but he should be practicing.”


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Goodwin has elbow injury

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2013 – 5:18 pm

goodwin-carted-saints-story

The Bills had a couple of nicked up players at the end of Sunday’s game against the Saints. One of them was WR Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin sustained a left elbow injury and did not return to the game. He will be re-evaluated on Monday.


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Bills draft class getting national pub

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2013 – 11:14 am

Buffalo’s rookie class has been instrumental in delivering big plays so far this season. Whether it’s EJ Manuel’s Week 2 game-winning TD pass to Stevie Johnson, Kiko Alonso’s two INT game in the win over Baltimore or Marquise Goodwin’s 40-yard TD catch last Sunday to force overtime. Now those rookies are getting some national publicity.

Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab made mention of them in his weekly winners column. Here’s what he wrote.

Kiko Alonso and Buffalo’s draft class: The Bills lost 27-24 in overtime to the Bengals, but there’s not much shame in losing to a good team while starting a quarterback (Thad Lewis) who was on the practice squad last week. What’s apparent is that the Bills have a heck of a rookie class.

Alonso, a prime candidate for defensive rookie of the year, had 22 (!!!) total tackles from his middle linebacker spot. Athletic receiver Marquise Goodwin, criminally underused at Texas, scored a 40-yard touchdown with 1:08 to tie the game. Receiver Robert Woods has had his moments, and of course quarterback EJ Manuel looks like he belongs. You can build a consistent winner with draft classes like these.

Considering the Bills lost Sunday’s game, this is pretty nice praise for a draft class that has made solid contributions from the start of the season.


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This could be week for kick return chances

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2013 – 6:24 pm

Through five games the Bills have just four kick returns as they’ve faced some big-legged kickers who have not given their return unit an opportunity to improve Buffalo’s field position beyond the 20-yard line. This week however, could prove to be different.

Buffalo’s four kick returns rank 31st in the league in terms of opportunity. Only Atlanta has had fewer chances to return kicks with just three through five games.

Naturally Buffalo’s touchback percentage is the second-highest in the league through five games at 86.7 percent (26 touchbacks on 30 kickoffs). Again Atlanta is the only team with a higher rate and they’re a dome team.

This week the Bills face a Cincinnati kickoff man in Mike Nugent, who ranks 30th in the league in kickoff touchback percentage. Less than half the time has Nugent successfully forced Bengals opponents to take a touchback on a kickoff (10-22, 45.5%).

For Marquise Goodwin, who returns to the lineup this week from a broken hand, those are kickoff percentages he’s ready to work with.

“We’ve had four kick returns and I have zero, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Goodwin told Buffalobills.com. “It’s been a journey for our team and coach (Danny Crossman) always expresses to us in the meetings that it’s all about opportunity and we don’t get many. So hopefully we’ll get a few more opportunities this week to try to maximize field position for the offense to get us rolling. So if he kicks them in bounds we’ll try to get as many as we can and return and get good field position.”

 


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