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.

Posted in Inside the Bills

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 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 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.

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?

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,

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?


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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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.




Participation   Wednesday

Participation   Thursday

Kyle Williams





Marquise Goodwin





Robert Woods





Thad Lewis





EJ Manuel





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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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.

Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin has elbow injury

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


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.

Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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 “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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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills hoping Goodwin impact is two-fold

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2013 – 12:19 pm

Marquise Goodwin’s return to the lineup today against Cincinnati is welcome one. His prowess on kick returns is obvious, but head coach Doug Marrone believes he can have just as big an impact on offense in the passing game.

“On offense he’s someone that can catch and score,” said Marrone late this week in his weekly radio show. “If you’re playing man coverage and he catches the ball and has a little bit of separation he has the ability to take it to the end zone. Anytime he gets the ball in his hands you have a chance for an explosive play.

“When we brought him in here everybody knows about his speed. It is what it is. I mean the guy was in the Olympics. His catching ability that’s the thing where he’s really done a good job. He catches the football extremely well. We’re excited about having him back because he’s a guy who can run down the field and you tell the quarterback to throw it as far as he can because you can never overthrow the guy. And that makes him easier to target.”

Naturally Marrone is hoping for some help in field position, or better yet points, with Goodwin returning kicks, as well as Leodis McKelvin, who sounds like he’ll be returning to full-time duty on punt returns now with his hamstring fully healthy.

“As far as special teams we’ve all seen what he can do in the preseason and we haven’t had a lot of opportunities with our punt returns and kickoff returns,” said Marrone. “We have top guys on returns in Leodis and Marquise Goodwin. The more opportunities we can provide those guys the better chance we have of scoring in those situations.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Goodwin built strength back into hand

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2013 – 10:49 am

A broken hand is not an easy injury from which to return for a wide receiver. Coming out of surgery and the removal of the cast Marquise Goodwin’s hand had little to no grip strength. Buffalo’s athletic training staff has remedied that with a host of hand strengthening tools for the receiver.

“I remember when I first got the cast off I could barely hold a ball in my hand, let alone holding a tissue without my hand being sore,” Goodwin told “But now I’ve got some pretty good grip strength so I’m able to catch the ball and hold onto it better. I’m just trying to get it stronger and stronger each week.”

Here’s a look at one of the hand “gadgets” as Goodwin calls them.

Goodwin gadget











It’s similar to a stress ball, but with rubber band loops around the outside. Goodwin slides his fingers in the rubber band loops so he has to work to open his hand just as hard as he has to work to close his hand to squeeze the ball.

“This one is for opening and closing, just a lot of things to strengthen my fingers and my hand,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin feels he has made noticeable progress with his hand strength, which is important knowing Bengals defenders will be making every effort to slap the ball out of his hand on returns and after receptions on Sunday.

“That defense is really good at going after the ball and stripping the ball,” said Goodwin. “Ball security is going to be a big deal this game and knowing I have a hand injury they’re going to come right for it. So I’ve got to hold it high and tight with both hands and maintain possession of the ball.”

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