Inside The Bills

How EJ changed his throws to ‘Big Mike’

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2014 – 7:56 pm

Mike Williams put on a show in the red zone in Sunday’s practice showing his expert ability to high point the football and out jump defenders. He told EJ Manuel at the outset of training camp to put the ball “in the clouds” and he’ll go get it. On Sunday he was true to his word, but Manuel shared how he’s changed the way he throws to Williams based on a conversation they had.

“Well, at first when I started throwing to him, I used to just lead him,” said Manuel. “Mike just wants the ball up there so he can go up and get it. Instead of having to throw it 60 yards down the field and having him have to track it. That’s just an example of us getting a better rapport with one another.”

“I can see him progressing as it goes,” said Williams of Manuel. “He’s feeling his way right now. There are new guys on our team that he’s going to be throwing to. It’s kind of a different offense when you put it all together like that, but as I saw it he got better and better with that.”

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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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Mike Williams sees EJ’s improvement

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2014 – 9:31 am

He doesn’t think it’ll take long for his on field chemistry to develop with EJ Manuel, and one of the reasons why is he saw Manuel’s progress through the course of the spring practices.

WR Mike Williams, who we profiled on this morning (Sunday), believes it won’t take much more than a day of practice for the tandem to get on the same page. It seems ambitious, but Williams has confidence in the second-year quarterback.

“I can see him progressing as it goes. He’s feeling his way right now,” said Williams. “There are new guys on our team that he’s going to be throwing to. It’s kind of a different offense when you put it all together like that, but as I saw it he got better and better with that.”

Williams will get his first crack at chemistry with Manuel in tonight’s evening practice at 6:10 at St. John Fisher.

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What comes after reps to build rapport with WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on July 17, 2014 – 1:19 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel is about to begin his most important training camp. Big things are expected from him after a rookie season that included three different knee injuries that cost him six starts. And he’ll need to do it while getting used to a pair of new wideouts in Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams. Obviously reps on the practice field will be the most important way to build the chemistry between himself and the two receivers in the passing game. As for the next most important way to build the rapport, Manuel has a thought on how to most effectively get on the same page.

“I think the biggest thing for us is to watch the film together,” Manuel told “I think that’s one thing that we’re excited to do. Obviously with coach Hackett being the OC he kind of goes over everything, but I think it helps me to watch film together because everybody can be on the same page. Instead of receivers saying, ‘Hey what was EJ thinking here?’ Or, ‘What was C.J. thinking here on this run?’ We can all just talk about it right then and there and it goes back to our rapport getting stronger as a team being together for year now and it’s easier to hold everybody accountable.”

Today in our Camp Countdown we took a look at the three ways EJ Manuel can become a difference maker for Buffalo’s offense.

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Couple of vets return to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2014 – 11:15 am

There were two veteran players that returned to the offensive side of the ball at OTAs Tuesday.

WR Mike Williams and RB Anthony Dixon were both absent for Monday’s voluntary session, but both are back working with their teammates today.

TE Tony Moeaki is also participating after sitting out Monday’s session.

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Mike Williams on the fire within

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2014 – 10:09 am

Bills newest WR Mike Williams says his level of motivation is at its peak when people doubt him. Being moved off the Bucs roster has him supremely motivated for the 2014 season.

Williams has always played with an edge since he went in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft.

“I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder ever since college. Coming out of college I had 11 receivers taken over me,” said Williams. “I’ve always said I’m going to beat all of them out every year, every team that took them over me.”

Now Williams is ready to add Tampa Bay to the list of teams he’s looking to prove wrong.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I’m going to go out and prove that they made a mistake and that this was a great decision with the Buffalo Bills.”

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Mike Williams fired up to play with EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on April 7, 2014 – 5:15 pm

Any receiver with Mike Williams’ skill set is going to be pretty happy to play with a strong-armed quarterback. So when asked about the prospect of playing with EJ Manuel this fall, Buffalo’s newest receiver was understandably excited.

“It’s great. It’s going to be a pleasure,” said Williams. “Looking at his college career and seeing that he never lost a bowl game. He’s a winner so to be around a guy like that and his arm strength is tremendous. I can’t wait to start working with him. Just tell him to get (the ball) out there.”


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Williams pleasantly stunned by trade

Posted by Chris Brown on April 7, 2014 – 5:09 pm

When Mike Williams first heard he was traded by the Bucs to the Bills just about anyone could’ve knocked him over with a feather.

“If I would’ve been standing up I probably would’ve fainted or something,” Williams told “Actually I was sitting down when my agent called me.”

Williams wasn’t shocked he was moved in a trade. He knew with Lovie Smith as the team’s new head coach that changes were afoot and he could be one of them. He just didn’t expect to land in Buffalo.

“A lot of guys down there started getting moved around,” he said. “You always know with a new coach there was going to be change and they wanted new things.”

Williams was still pinching himself Monday at One Bills Drive after passing a physical and making the trade official. Playing for the team in the city where he grew up is still something he has yet to fully absorb.

“It’s like a dream to me. It’s a dream come true. It’s like I’m living my dream right now,” said Williams. “I feel like I’m going to wake up and be back in Tampa. It feels good to be back home and playing for the Buffalo Bills and doing what I always said I wanted to do and that’s put Buffalo back on the map.”

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Williams healthy for spring workouts

Posted by Chris Brown on April 7, 2014 – 5:05 pm

Whether it’s the start of the offseason conditioning program in a couple of weeks or OTAs in May Bills new WR Mike Williams says he’ll be healthy and full go for it all.

Williams 2013 season was cut short by a torn hamstring. He appeared in just six games last fall and missed Tampa’s Week 14 matchup with Buffalo. At a Monday afternoon press conference after the trade with the Bucs officially went through Williams said he’s fully healthy.

“I’m good,” said Williams. “I’m going to be ready for all the offseason workouts and things like that. So I’ll be 100 percent straight for that.”


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Marrone spoke of affinity for Williams recently

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:36 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked about Mike Williams down at the league meetings in Orlando last week. It was clear then, even before the wheels really got turning on today’s trade and Buffalo’s acquisition of Williams, that the Bills sideline boss had an affinity for the receiver as a person and a player. Here’s what he said.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Mike. I thought Mike was a heck of a football player,” said Marrone. “We had a lot of conversations. There were a lot of good things that were going on. I had obviously gotten a lot of calls before the draft that year and I told those guys that Mike would do well. We’ve been disconnected from when he left to his time in Tampa, but I liked Mike. I really did. I wish him well. I talked to Jason (Licht) just the other day to see if he was okay because I care about him.”


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Mike Williams has motive to play his best

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:07 pm

Bills newest receiver Mike Williams pending the passing of a physical is the second player added to the roster who is a Buffalo native. And head coach Doug Marrone has made it obvious that’s it’s not by accident.

“I’m real big on people that want to be in Buffalo, that want to play well,” Marrone said. “What I look for are people who want to come to Buffalo and play for a cause great than themselves and play for the people and play for the region. I think that’s important. And I want players who have a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. We all have to do that. We’ve all obviously been out of the playoffs for 14 years and we’re looking for a player who plays with a chip on their shoulder.”

Marrone figures to have that in both Graham and Williams, who will be motivated to play at their best in front of family and friends every week playing for the Bills and their native city. Williams also is coming off a down season after missing most of the year with a torn hamstring, so he’ll be eager to re-establish himself as a playmaker.

“I like the fact that they’re from Buffalo,” Marrone said. “There’s a lot of added pressure when you’re playing in your own hometown.”


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Marrone: Williams history at ‘Cuse is just that

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:04 pm

Mike Williams

Bills head coach Doug Marrone saw a familiar receiver added to his roster Friday, pending a physical, with the trade acquisition of WR Mike Williams from Tampa Bay. Williams played his college ball at Syracuse, but left the team prior to the 2009 season knowing he’d be facing a suspension after breaking a curfew with three other teammates. There were other off the field transgressions as well, and so Williams never played for Marrone, whose first season as head coach of the Orange was in 2009. As far as Marrone is concerned, the past is in the past. He’s giving Williams a clean slate with the Bills.

“With regard to our time at Syracuse, I feel that is in the past for both of us,” said Marrone. ” Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League. We look forward to getting Mike into the facility and start our work preparing for the 2014 season once the players are free to report on April 22.”

As for what Marrone feels Williams can add to the Bills passing attack, Buffalo’s sideline boss likes his stature and athletic ability.

“Mike Williams is a competitive, tough wide receiver who has the size and athleticism to add competition to our receiver position group,” said Marrone. “We feel Mike is a player who has the ability to help our team improve.”


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Thomas on WR Williams

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2010 – 8:48 am

Former Syracuse WR Mike Williams had his pro day here in his hometown of Buffalo earlier this week at the Thurman Thomas sports training complex. His performance has been well publicized with a 4.53 40-time and 36 1/2 inch vertical along with a 9-foot 10-inch broad jump. Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas witnessed most of the workout and had the following review.

“He looked pretty good,” said Thomas. “He still needs some work. Not participating for all of his senior year hurt him a little bit. You can see the talent is there, but he was a little rusty.”

Williams did not finish his last season with the Orange as academic issues and miscommunication with head coach Doug Marrone led to his departure from the program, though Williams maintains he did not quit.  

“Mike needs someone to talk to because he’s been through a lot,” said Thomas. “That’s why I think the best situation for him would be to go to a team that has strong leadership in the locker room. A place like Baltimore with Ray Lewis or Cleveland could be good for him with a no nonsense coach like Mangini or Miami with Sparano. He’s going to need structure.”

Williams has pre-draft visits scheduled with all three of those teams along with a handful of others. In fact the Ravens receivers coach ran the route running portion of Williams’ workout in Buffalo. He’s forecast by most draft experts as a mid-round pick.

Thomas just hopes Williams is not drafted by Buffalo, believing that hangers-on in his hometown will have more access to him and be all over him and drag him down.

The National Football Post recently interviewed Williams this week by phone.

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Local WR visiting 2 NFL teams

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2010 – 10:43 am

Former Riverside HS and Syracuse WR Mike Williams has a couple of pre-draft visits lined up in the next few days.

Williams will be meeting and working out for the Miami Dolphins today (Thursday). He also has a visit scheduled with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday. That according to the National Football Post.

In talking to Williams at the combine he was firm in his claim that he never quit on the team at Syracuse, though his former coach claims otherwise. Williams did not want to explain it to reporters, but said he outlined everything that went down to teams in personal interviews.

Williams pro day is scheduled for April 5th in Buffalo.

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Fan Friday 3-5

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2010 – 2:53 pm

On the opening day of free agency we get Fan Friday started back up again. My apologies for there being no Fan Friday last week. I was completely swamped with our Combine Coverage, which I hope you all found informative from a Bills and draft perspective. Here’s this week’s edition.

1 - Hi Chris, I recently heard and interview with Gailey and he said that the QBs here have more talent than some he worked with in the past. I hope this doesn’t mean he will stay with one of these guys as a starter. I think we have been using back-ups for years and they really need to get a starter to reach the play-offs again.

Do you think we can get Mcnabb in a trade for Lynch and Edwards? Maybe we can send Roscoe Parrish in to close the deal. I know I’m dreaming but…possible? If not, do you have any suggestions of legitimate starters they could get from another team or in free agency?

CB: First, I think trading for McNabb is going to be easier said than done. The latest reports out of Philadelphia are that Andy Reid doesn’t want to move him, but some in the Eagles front office do. Reid wields a lot of power in that organization.

Also while Donovan McNabb does not have a no trade clause in his contract, he does have language in his deal that makes moving him a bit more challenging.

I also believe that if Reid is convinced it’s time to turn the page at QB with his team, that after 11 years he and the Eagles will do their best to accommodate McNabb by sending him somewhere he’d like to play. That likely means a team that runs a version of the west coast offense. As for what a team would have to trade the Eagles, it would be a first-round pick. Philadelphia almost never takes players for players. They want draft picks. But I just don’t see a McNabb deal coming to fruition for Buffalo.

2 – Chris,
I’ve been seeing a lot of mock drafts that have the Bills taking Jimmy Clausen or an Offensive Tackle with the 9th overall pick. With all the uncertainty surrounding a 1st round QB or even an Offensive lineman, do you think the Bills might look to who I consider to be the “surest thing” in this draft, Rolando McClain? The guy’s a beast and would step in immediately and make an impact at Linebacker. What do you think?


CB: I think if he’s an option, he’s the third option. So if there’s a run on offensive tackles in the top 10, and there very well could be, and both of the top two QBs are gone, McClain becomes a more realistic possibility. Personally under such a scenario I think the Bills take the best pass rusher, but that’s just my opinion. Don’t have anything against McClain, but they’ve got starting talent at ILB in Poz and Mitchell. More important to address the holes.

3 – Do you think Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams at all have a chance of being drafted by Chan Gailey?
I understand we have Parrish, Johnson, and Hardy. I just think Mike Williams (Of Syracuse.) especially, being in an offense forced to throw the ball to him, time and time again when doubled, isn’t a bad option…also without a good stable quarterback and line. Immediately puts pressure on Johnson to step up. Makes Hardy maybe obsolete. All the wideouts we haven’t had in years past in later rounds, extra picks we have in the 6th and 7th…I think we’re in need to take at least one?

CB: I expect the Bills to go with a youth movement at WR meaning they see what the young guys on the roster have got. You drafted James Hardy in the second round. When are you actually going to give him a shot? It’s got to happen this year. Steve Johnson shows a lot of potential and with Josh Reed not coming back he can challenge Parrish for the slot role.

Mike Williams is a talent, but remember gaining separation and beating double teams in college is a much different animal in the pros. I don’t see Buffalo drafting a wide receiver until late in the draft at best.
4 – In your opinion, what teams would be interested in trading up to pick 9?
Pete Howell

CB: I don’t see any team trading into the top 10 unless one of the top DTs slips past five (won’t happen) or Bradford slips past five (won’t happen – unless his arm falls off). Knowing this is likely the last year that mega-contracts with huge bonuses are likely to be handed out to rookies, (new CBA will likely have rookie wage scale) no team wants any part of trading up into that territory this year.

There might be a move or two within the top 10, but I can’t see a team in the bottom half trying to leap up there. Believe the chances are very, very remote.
5 – Hi Chris,
I know you’re probably very busy this time of year but I was wondering what you think about the Bills acquiring Jamal Williams or Shaun Rogers, who is rumored to be on the block? I also have heard Kevin Mawae’s name linked to the Bills, which got me wondering which free agent offensive lineman you think the Bills may pursue in free agency? Thanks Chris, keep up the good work.
-Mark- Buffalo, NY

CB: First, I’m hearing that the Chargers are trying to re-sign Williams. They only released him to sign him at a cheaper price. He’s on the downside of his career, but could serve at the very least as a good stop gap for a year or so. The Shaun Rogers rumors are new to me. Don’t see Mawae coming to Buffalo. Just signed Hangartner long term last offseason, though I wouldn’t rule out the team adding interior line depth after not  tendering RFA Richie Incognito. As far as names I believe they’ll be of the second tier variety.

Most of the higher end linemen were restricted free agents that were tendered at a level that is too rich (in terms of draft picks) to pursue.

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Buffalo native runs in 4.4s

Posted by Chris Brown on February 28, 2010 – 12:35 pm

Buffalo native and former Syracuse WR Mike Williams said on Friday he wanted to run a 40 time in the 4.4s. On Sunday he succeeded, just barely.

Williams was clocked with an unofficial time of 4.49 by the NFL Network. For a receiver of his size (6’2″ 220) that’s a respectable time. He’s within the range that teams would be looking for him to run.

Williams is viewed as a second or third-round pick.

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WR Mike Williams throwing partner

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2010 – 4:02 pm

Buffalo native and former Syracuse WR Mike Williams spoke to the media here at the NFL Combine this afternoon. He’s working out down at API Performance in Pensacola, Florida. And another Combine invitee is throwing to him as he works on his route running down there.

“We have me and Dan LeFevour,” Williams said. “We’ve been out there throwing a lot. Sam Bradford is out there too, but he’s not really throwing like that. Basically it’s been Dan LeFevour.”

Williams, who was dismissed from the Syracuse program, stated that he explained to all the teams he’s interviewed with just what the circumstances were at Syracuse, but would not get into it with the media, saying only the following.

“I didn’t quit,” he said. “I just want everybody to know I didn’t quit.”

We’ll have more on the Buffalo native and former Riverside high school star as well as Niagara Falls native and UB RB James Starks, in our day two coverage of the NFL Combine later today in Bills Roundup.

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Mike Williams still shedding weight

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2009 – 2:09 pm

Former Bills top pick Mike Williams is continuing his comeback effort with the Washington Redskins. Down now to 385 pounds, Williams is hopeful he’ll be able to participate fully with his new teammates June 1st.

It’s hard for me to root for Williams after he was such an unmotivated player with the Bills. Being out of the game for almost three years, he’s made the road back that much harder. What makes me think he still doesn’t have a love for the game was his final comment in the article above (link). He said he was built to play this game, and physically he was.

I just still think he’s trying to play because his physical stature says he should be a football player. I think he’s trying to satisfy all the people that look at him and say, ‘You’ve got to be a football player right?’

A football player isn’t who he is, but rather what he thinks he should be. And there’s a big difference there. And the NFL isn’t forgiving enough of a game to allow a player to succeed very often under those circumstances.

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Redskins sign Mike Williams

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2009 – 1:00 am

Well it only takes one team to be interested and Mike Williams convinced the Redskins he was worth signing as he attempts a comeback.

Be interesting to see how things pan out. He’s 29 and claims he has a “new love” for the game.

We’ll see.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Redskins sign Mike Williams

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2009 – 12:57 am

Well it only takes one team to be interested and Mike Williams convinced the Redskins he was worth signing as he attempts a comeback.

Be interesting to see how things pan out.

Posted in Inside the Bills