Inside The Bills

Mike Williams: I don’t want to be traded

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

Bills WR Mike Williams said it was his agent that took it upon himself to seek permission to explore trade options for his client in the wake of him being inactive for last Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Speaking to the media Wednesday for the first time since news of his agent’s actions broke on Monday, the veteran receiver was clear in stating he wants to remain a Buffalo Bill.

“I always wanted to be here,” said Williams. “This is my hometown. It’s somewhere where I always wanted to be. I just have to fight to be one of the top 46 right now.”

Williams is referring to being one of the 46 active players on game day, something he was not last week after Kyle Williams was cleared to play the day before the game. That prompted a massive lineup shuffle for the game, which involved special teams and tight ends leaving Williams on the outside looking in come game day. For Williams the news was a shock and left him upset.

“You ask yourself if you’re a touchdown scoring machine and you feel like you could help the team win, would you be disappointed,” said Williams in reference to his 23 touchdowns his first three NFL seasons. “That’s how I feel. Of course I’m disappointed I’m not playing. Anybody that’s competitive they better be disappointed if they’re not playing. I might as well retire if I’m not disappointed.”

The receiver said he has since told his agent to stop seeking other options in the league. Williams said being inactive last week has only made him redouble his efforts to prove to the coaches he should be active this week against the Vikings. He said no matter what happens he won’t change the way he approaches practice.

“I keep on playing for the Bills, keep on practicing hard. Try to win scout team player of the week,” said Williams. “I won scout team player (two weeks ago), I would’ve won it if we won this past week. I’ll try to win it this week. I was on scout team again (Wednesday). I didn’t change my routine. I got on the scout team because I wanted to be on scout team. I wanted to do it. They didn’t put me on scout team. I just wanted to be on all the scout team if I’m not going to be getting that many reps (on offense).”

When asked if Mike Williams would be active this week head coach Doug Marrone indicated it was too early in the week to make that determination.

“That decision of who is active and stuff, we’ll see how the week goes because I don’t want to get myself in a bind,” said Marrone.

Williams was asked what coach Marrone told him when he talked to him this week in the aftermath of his agent’s actions.

“That he doesn’t want to trade me,” said Williams. “He basically told me to keep on doing what I’m doing and things will play out.”


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Mike Williams says to chill

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2014 – 1:57 pm

In the wake of the reaction to the story about Mike Williams’ agent seeking permission from GM Doug Whaley to pursue compensation for a trade, the Bills receiver is telling the Twitterverse that he has no interest in being traded.

On his Twitter account Williams made it clear he wants to remain with the Bills, citing his Buffalo roots.

GM Doug Whaley said they have no interest in moving any player off their roster right now.

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Spec. teams likely reason why Williams inactive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 11:40 am

There was a surprise inactive today for the Bills in WR Mike Williams, who is a healthy scratch today. But here’s probably why the coaches made the decision to sit him this week.

With Aaron Williams inactive for today’s game, Corey Graham is expected to step in at Aaron’s free safety spot on defense. With all those snaps on defense, he’s likely to be pulled off of some special teams duties. That means other players in Mike Williams’ position group, who play on special teams, like receivers Marquise Goodwin and Chris Hogan carry a greater priority than Mike Williams, who does not play on special teams.

So it appears special teams needs could be the primary reason that the staff made the difficult decision to sit Mike Williams this week.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle up; Aaron among Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 11:39 am

Here are the Bills inactives for today’s game against the Patriots, with Kyle Williams active for today’s game against Buffalo. Aaron Williams however, is not active for today’s game and is expected to be replaced by Corey Graham in the defensive lineup. Here are the rest of the players who will not play today for Buffalo.

WR Marcus Easley
OT Cyrus Kouandjio
S Aaron Williams
WR Mike Williams
CB Ross Cockrell
RB Bryce Brown
LB Randell Johnson

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Orton can relate to EJ’s current situation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2014 – 6:24 pm

The man who will replace EJ Manuel this week as the Bills’ starting quarterback is excited about the opportunity, but he can also relate to what Manuel is dealing with after being moved to the second unit. That’s because Kyle Orton has been benched himself.

“I’ve been there,” said Orton. “EJ is going to be a great quarterback. He’s got a long time to grow. I know when it happened to me early on in my career, I wasn’t happy about it at all. But looking back that time off that I had I really grew as a player and used it to my advantage and I’m sure he’ll do the same thing.”

Manuel’s teammates said the second-year quarterback handled his demotion like a professional.

“He took it like a man,” said Mike Williams. “He was still here early. He still practiced hard. He took some scout team reps. He took it like a professional and that’s what you want to see him do.”

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Mike Williams: We had to adjust sooner

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2014 – 9:58 pm

Through the first three games of the season the Texans’ defense played soft off coverage on their receiver assignments allowing wideouts to make catches underneath and in front of them. On Sunday against the Bills they switched things up and forced the Bills offense to adjust.

“They had been playing off coverage all year. Letting people catch in front of them, stripping balls and things like that,” said Mike Williams. “We thought we were going to get that, but they came out and played press-man. We had to adjust. We got the calls for off coverage and zone and when you get the calls for off coverage and zone and they play man, it tends not to work. We adjusted a little bit too late.  We just have to adjust earlier, that’s my lesson for the day. We have to adjust earlier.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Big Mike: Don’t call it a statement win

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 1:51 pm

Bills WR Mike Williams is a player who will give it to you straight. There’s no sugar coating anything with Williams. So when he was asked about the significance of Sunday’s season-opening win at Chicago, Williams didn’t see it carrying a whole lot of weight. When asked if Sunday’s victory was a statement win Williams said it won’t mean much if they don’t follow it up with another.

“Really nothing. I don’t think it does anything, that’s not our goal,” Williams said of Sunday’s victory. “If we go and lose 15-straight, we’re 1-15. It don’t do nothing. We need to get ready for Week Two and hopefully we’ll be 2-0 next week. We just look at it as we’re 1-0, we’re happy, we go on to Miami.”

Williams’ approach was a collective one in Buffalo’s locker room Monday, which is a healthy outlook. As important as the win was in Chicago the players aren’t reveling in the win knowing it was just one game. The team sounds like they’re focused more on getting their next victory than enjoying the one they got Sunday.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Mike Williams: My phone is never busy

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 1:45 pm

Bills WR Mike Williams had a pair of catches Sunday in Buffalo’s win, including a very big 20-yard grab that he went airborne to make on the team’s game-winning field goal drive in overtime to convert a 2nd-and-9. Williams only saw 30 snaps worth of action on offense, but as he stated, when they needed him he made plays.

“That’s just the type of receiver I am—you call my number I’m going to answer. I always say,my phone’s never busy—if you call me I’m going to answer the phone, that’s how I look at it.  If they don’t need me, I guess I’ll be around, but when they need me I’ll be here.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Big Mike likes Kickoff Weekend

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 10:35 am

Bills new WR Mike Williams is expected to be a frequent target of EJ Manuel this season. It would do Manuel good to look for Williams especially in the red zone in light of his Kickoff Weekend production.

Williams is tied for first among active players with touchdowns in four straight opening games. Green Bay WR Randall Cobb and Chicago RB Matt Forte are the others.

Overall Williams has 15 receptions for 144 yards and four touchdowns in his four career games on Kickoff Weekend.

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Mike Williams hoping for lots of man coverage

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:50 am

Bills WR Mike Williams had a pretty solid training camp and his performance in the preseason though good was limited in terms of opportunities. The big-bodied wideout is hoping the Bears defense offers a lot of man-coverage matchups.

“Oh yeah, hopefully they stay in man the whole game,” he said. “That’s something as a receiver that you want. All those zones and zone blitzes start to mess with people’s heads, but if you’re in man to man coverage it’s me versus you.”

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Fred’s message to team

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2014 – 10:49 pm

With a first half not going particularly well for the offense, Fred Jackson felt it was necessary to huddle up the offensive unit. Here was the gist of his message to the team.

“I was just telling everybody to calm down,” said Jackson. “We’ve got a lot of people that just weren’t on the same page. We’ve got turnovers, we’ve got penalties, things like that, it’s not going to allow you to win a lot of football games. Everybody just has to calm down, go out there and work and let things take care of themselves.  Don’t do everybody else’s job, just do your job and we’ll get back in this thing.”

His teammates echoed the message.

“Basically to stay together,” said Mike Williams. “This is a lesson for us and somebody is testing us. To show that we’re a better team we can go out there and adjust. The second half is about adjustments no matter if you’re up or you’re down. You’ve got to go and make the adjustments and that’s basically what his message was to us and that’s kind of what we did.”

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Offense holding stuff until regular season

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2014 – 10:30 pm

Facing a Tampa defense Saturday night that is a lot like the one they’ll face in Week 1 at Chicago in terms of scheme there was a good chance that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and head coach Doug Marrone were going to play things close to the vest and not make use of plays they feel might work best against that system. EJ Manuel and Mike Williams essentially confirmed that they are holding onto some key parts of their playbook for the regular season.

“There are a few things that I asked him for and of course he said, ‘Hey we’re saving this and that for the regular season,’” said Manuel. “Which I understand, but at the same time we still want to go out there and win and move the ball and score touchdowns. But there are some things that we’re going to continue to save for Chicago.”

“I don’t want to give away a secret, but I think we’ve been doing what we can,” said Mike Williams. “I’ll just say it like that. I think we’ve been doing what he’s been giving us and we’re trying to get better at that. Our play calling has been simple really. We’ve been trying to get better at the simple things and take away the penalties.”

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Mike Williams’ leadership via text

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2014 – 10:14 pm

Bills WR Mike Williams does things a little differently than most off the field, which is why it was no surprise to hear one of his unconventional methods of leadership for Buffalo’s offense.

After perhaps one of their best passing days this summer in practice Thursday, Williams confirmed that the competition of working with the Steelers brought out the best in them. He then elaborated on how he tries to keep his offensive teammates motivated leading up to practice.

“Being competitive, you want to win every down,” he said. “I send those guys a text, the receivers and quarterbacks, every day telling them we want to win every down. No matter what it is, we want to win. We want to win first down, we want to win second down, third down and if we go for it on fourth. We want to win. I think it’s about all of us being competitive. We want to win because the fans are out here and we want to show everybody that we’re a threat.”

Williams caught four passes in Thursday’s practice and was one of the top 3 playmakers from the session.

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Manuel assesses his play from Wednesday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2014 – 10:50 pm

EJ Manuel was asked to rate his play from Wednesday’s first practice session with the Steelers. Buffalo’s quarterback wouldn’t call it perfect, but was pretty pleased with how things turned out in the team portions of practice.

“I thought it went well. There were a few balls that I wish I could have back, but besides that I thought we were very good on third down,” said Manuel. “We executed early in practice and we were rolling. I got a chance to go with the first and the second group, so that was very good. The more at-bats I get, the happier I’ll be. Just getting the chance to be better each play.”

In a live interview on the John Murphy Show tonight, WR Mike Williams, who caught a tipped pass for a touchdown Wednesday, said Manuel looked “very confident” on the field Wednesday.

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Mom said, ‘Make them see you.’

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2014 – 9:47 am

Bills WR Mike Williams is pretty happy to be playing for the team he grew up watching and rooting for. The Riverside High grad and Syracuse star had about six touchdowns in practice Sunday and partially credited his mom’s advice for how determined he is to make good on the plays that count the most.

“My mom always said, ‘Make them see you when they’re supposed to see you,’” said Williams. “That’s what she always said to me.  That’s like big first downs, touchdowns,  those are the ones they see.  They don’t see the first play of the game, slants or the second play of the game, curl route.  As soon as you catch that third and 15 or game-tying touchdowns, those are the ones they remember.  It kind of seems like that’s how my career is going.”

The Bills will be only too happy to see that trend continue.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Mike Williams moving toward 100%

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2014 – 9:42 am

Bills WR Mike Williams teamed up with Sammy Watkins at Sunday’s afternoon practice to dazzle the fans in attendance at times with some high degree of difficulty catches. Williams calls them his “normal catches.” What’s really surprising is Williams, who was recovering from a leg injury in the spring still doesn’t even believe he’s all the way back to the full Mike Williams.

“I’m at like 65%, right now,” Williams said. “I think Week One in Chicago I’ll be 100%.”

If Williams’ play in the camp setting is just 65 percent, Bills fans have a lot to look forward to.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Mike Williams: “Throw it to the clouds”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on August 10, 2014 – 8:00 pm

After two preseason games, and three weeks of training camp, the chemistry between QB EJ Manuel and veteran WR Mike Williams is starting to develop.

In Friday’s preseason win in Carolina, the pair connected for a 28-yard pass play down the middle when Manuel threw it high and Williams went over DB Josh Norman to bring it in.

In Sunday’s after practice at training camp, Manuel and Williams were at it again. EJ found Williams in the end zone during red zone work in one of the early 11-on-11 sessions. And Williams was targeted several times in later red zone work as well.

Williams says he wants to be the quarterback’s go-to guy in the red zone, and he practically guarantees success when he’s thrown the ball.

“I always tell them there’s a 96-percent chance–the other 4-percent is their fault,” he laughed.  “I always tell them, throw it to the clouds, I’m going to find a way to bring it down.”

“It’s true,” Manuel says.  “He’s done it day and day out and he’s been very consistent as far as tracking the ball, whether it’s a fade or a deep ball or a post. I think a great example of that was how we did it in the game. The corner played off him a little bit and I just stuck it on him, he went up and made a great catch. Having that as a security blanked with a wide receiver is awesome for us. “

Williams says he focuses on making big impact catches, for touchdowns and first downs, instead of worrying about how many passes he catches in a game.

” My mom always said, ‘make them see you when they’re supposed to see you.’ That’s what she always said to me,” Williams said. “That’s like big first downs, touchdowns, those are the ones they see. They don’t see the first play of the game, slants or the second play of the game, curl route. As soon as you catch that third and 15 or game-tieing touchdowns, those are the ones they remember. It kinda seems like that’s how my career is going.”


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Competitive fire on display Sunday

Posted by johnmurphyshow on August 10, 2014 – 7:04 pm

A long, hot practice in the sunshine at Bills camp made for some competitive, chippy play on Sunday.  And both the Bills offense and defense were not shy about letting the other side know when they made big plays.

Veteran wideout Mike Williams took an extra long bow to the crowd after catching a tough touchdown pass in traffic during red zone work.  And Williams curtain call resulted in DB Corey Graham throwing the ball at him after he started to return to the huddle.

“I had about six touchdowns today,” Williams said after practice. “It’s very competitive, we wanted to make it like that. We always want to make it competitive, we want them (defense) to compete, so we can be our best on Sundays.”

Safety Aaron Williams embraced the competitive, fiery nature of Sunday’s practice.

“It’s just one of the things we’re trying to do to get better,” he said. “We don’t want to take crap from anybody. When somebody jumps in your face we’re not going to let it go. We’re trying to be a different defense, more attitude, and just trying to have the attitude that we’re going to win and it has to happen on both sides.”


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Fan Friday 8-8

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2014 – 12:02 pm

Hey Bills fans. My apologies for the brief hiatus that Fan Friday took the past two weeks, but we’re back. So keep firing off your questions on email to and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills

Here’s the latest edition of your questions.

1 - Chris,
Thanks for the piece on Jeff.  I was wondering how he was progressing.
He impressed me at the SJF scrimmage last year.  Seemed to get the ball out quickly and made good decisions.
He reminds of Alex Van Pelt but a better athlete.  He impressed again against KC until the pick 6.  He appears to be the fastest and most elusive QB on his feet.  Finally, the Bills protected him all last year with a roster spot so they saw something they liked.
What if he outplays EJ in the preseason again?

Thanks for the good work.

Dan Malwitz
Orchard Park

CB: Tuel has looked good in training camp, picking up where he left off in the spring minicamp. His first preseason game performance was also encouraging. This past week in practice leading up to tonight’s game Tuel gave way to Thad Lewis for second team offense reps. I expect Lewis to be in the backup quarterback role tonight against the Carolina Panthers.

As good as Tuel has looked this competition is a marathon not a sprint. We’ll need to see how Lewis fares tonight with the second unit. Through the first three weeks of training camp practices, Tuel has been the more consistent performer and the better decision maker. But there are still almost three weeks of camp left so there is a lot of time for things to change.

As for Tuel’s chances of unseating EJ Manuel, it simply won’t happen. This organization has put all their eggs in the Manuel basket to lift the offense to new heights. Tuel, or Lewis for that matter, will only take the field in the regular season if Manuel is injured and cannot play. Priority number one is getting Manuel ready to lead the offense this fall.


2 – Dear Chris,

I do believe our receivers are some of the most diverse in the NFL. We have Sammy who is very versatile and I think is worth what we gave up in the future for him. We have Mike Williams who we traded for from the Bucs for a late round pick who can be very reliable in the end zone. We also have the help from Robert Woods in the slot who can be a reliable replacement for Steve Johnson. Then we have Marquise Goodwin who is somebody who can break the top off the roof with his lighting fast speed. To top it off we have Marques Easley who helps big time on special teams. The question I have is how do you think Coach Marrone is going to incorporate all these wide receivers to make a winning group who can help Manuel exceed to be the franchise QB I believe he can be?

CB: I think your description of diverse is very accurate. I believe it’s what GM Doug Whaley had in mind in changing some of the pieces. He got two boundary receivers in Mike Williams and Sammy Watkins, who have large catch radiuses to pull in passes that may not be right on the money. Watkins and Williams are also experts at winning jump balls. Robert Woods and Chris Hogan are both good separation receivers, who can get yards after the catch. Goodwin and Graham offer deep speed to stretch a defense and you’ve already mentioned Marcus Easley’s strengths.

All of that talent is on the roster to provide Manuel with the confidence to let it fly and trust his playmakers. Williams and Watkins are capable of making plays even when they’re covered. Woods and Hogan have a high percentage of route wins meaning they’re usually open for Manuel to make use of and Goodwin and Graham are always threats to get behind a defense.

The bottom line however, is it’s on Manuel to make them successful because no matter how effective any of the receivers are at winning their matchups, those wins do not add up to anything if Manuel doesn’t target them and make the right decisions. The success of the receiving corps is ultimately dependent on Manuel’s on field decision making and accuracy.


3 – Hi Chris,

Thanks continuing to answer questions concerning the Bills. Many fans including myself really enjoy seeing your answers to what sometimes are very difficult questions. This question may qualify as a difficult one.

With 4 running backs on the team, what’s chances someone gets traded?

Bob Hammond
CB: Appreciate the kind words. As for the running backs on Buffalo’s roster, the natural speculation is that the staff will not keep all four on the squad when the roster is reduced to 53. I think what most casual observers are not considering are two important factors.

First, this team ran the football more than any other NFL club in the league last season. That heavy workload was part of the reason both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller succumbed to lingering injuries that compromised their effectiveness in 2013.

The front office and coaching staff made a conscious decision to fortify their running back stable in the offseason so in the event that injuries crop up again this season there will be little to no drop off in their rushing attack. Bryce Brown and ‘Boobie’ Dixon provide such depth.

Barring a catastrophic injury situation at another position that could require them to move one of their running back assets to fill a void via trade, I believe all four will be on the roster come September because at its core this offense will be defined by their run game.

And teams that are run heavy are quickly realizing that if one of your top two backs goes down to injury the identity of your offense will be dramatically impacted. Having these four backs protects against such a setback.


4 – Chris,

A – With the signing of Anthony Dixon and his power and size as RB, does that pose a threat to the FB position and the job of Frank Summers?
B – At this point who is considered the 1st Backup Center to Eric Wood?
C – Has it been disclosed by the team as to the health issue Chris Hairston had?  Can he play both guard and tackle positions which would drastically improve his chances of making the roster?


CB: I think Dixon is a lock to make the roster, and if the numbers do not allow for a true fullback in Frank Summers, then yes it’s likely that Dixon would serve in the fullback role when such play calls on offense require one.

Backup center to Eric Wood is Doug Legursky at this point.

Chris Hairston medical situation from last season has not been revealed due to HIPAA laws. It is only up to Hairston as to whether or not he wants to make his condition, which is he over now, to be disclosed. As has been seen in training camp, he’s been lined up at both guard and tackle, with tackle being his most recent position. That is where he feels most comfortable since guard is new to him. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares tonight with the expectation that he’ll line up as the second team left tackle.


5 – Hi Chris,
As always, thank you so much for all of your excellent work. The opportunity for Bills fans to stay informed from afar is just excellent. I want to begin by saying I have all the faith in Jim Schwartz and the Bills defensive personnel, but I would like your insight on something. I understand that the exotic blitz packages of the Pettine era will not continue and that there needs to be a balance. We clearly weren’t where we needed to be against the run nor on third down efficiency. In the July 4th Fan Friday you mentioned that you would trade 10 sacks for the top 3rd down defense and top 10 run defense. I completely agree, but what I haven’t heard mentioned by anyone is how that would affect our secondary.

I was very impressed with the play of our secondary, even without Jairus Byrd, and especially by the number of turnovers they generated. My question is, by reducing the QB pressure, don’t we sacrifice more than just the sacks? I worry that we open ourselves up for more deep plays from the opponents passing game. I believe there is a perfect balance in there somewhere and I truly believe Jim Schwartz is deserving of the respect he is given around the league, I am just curious to hear your thoughts on the issue.
Thank you,
Cory in VA

CB: The only point I was trying to make was I would rather have more balanced production defensively across the board. I didn’t mean to infer that 10 fewer sacks would need to happen to have a better run defense or better third down defense. What encourages me is Jim Schwartz strives to have across the board production with his defense. And I don’t believe that you have to sacrifice sacks to be better in those other areas.

Schwartz has been a successful DC because he has found that perfect balance in his career as a defensive play caller. It’s my belief that he’ll be able to do that here perhaps more than anywhere else he has coached in his career. The main reason why is because this is the most talented secondary he has ever had in his career as a defensive coordinator.

When you have a secondary capable of man coverage it helps the pass rush and when you have a front four that can generate effective pressure it allows you to drop seven into coverage. Schwartz will take those two advantages and creatively use play calling to keep opposing offenses guessing.

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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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