Inside The Bills

Top 10 tight end 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 7:48 pm

Top TE prospect Eric Ebron said on Friday he was definitely going to run a faster 40 time than his former college teammate and current Cincinnati RB Gio Bernard. Bernard ran a 4.53. Did Ebron beat him? Here’s a look at the top 10 40 times from the tight end group Saturday.

1 - A.C. Leonard – Tennessee St. - 4.50
2 - Eric Ebron – North Carolina – 4.6
3 – Colt Lyerla – Oregon – 4.61
4 – Trey Burton – Florida – 4.62
5 – Jace Amaro – Texas Tech – 4.74
6 – C.J. Fiedorowicz – Iowa – 4.76
T7 – Anthony Denham – Utah – 4.77
T7 – Reggie Jordan – Missouri Western – 4.77
9 – Jake Murphy – Utah – 4.79
10 – Arthur Lynch – Georgia – 4.82


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LB Bullough not discussing suspension

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 6:02 pm

Michigan State LB Max Bullough declined interviews the week he was participating in the East-West Shrine all-star game, knowing he’d be faced with questions about his suspension from the Spartans at the end of the season forcing him to miss the team’s Rose Bowl game. At the NFL Combine Saturday he met the media, but declined to provide details on the cause for his suspension.

“I’m not discussing it right now, it’s a personal issue, I’m moving forward from it, I made a mistake,” said Bullough. “I let down my teammates, I let down my coaches, I let down my family but right now I’m moving forward. I’ve talked to the NFL teams they all know the issue.”

Bullough was suspended Christmas night for a violation of team rules, but the specifics were never divulged by Bullough or Coach D’Antonio. The media continued to press Bullough on it, but he would not give in. He did however, give indication that it’s not an issue he feels will negatively impact his draft stock now that all 32 NFL clubs know the nature of his team rule violation.

“I’m not discussing rumors, I’m here for the NFL combine, I’m moving forward. … I’ve discussed it with the NFL teams, the NFL teams is a different discussion than sitting at this media table,” said Bullough. “They’re all aware of the situation. In reality that’s what’s important right now.’

“I’ve talked to the NFL teams, they all know what happened, the situation. Moving forward, it’s not going to affect my draft status whatsoever.’’

Bullough is forecast as a day three draft choice and is the grandson of former Bills head coach Hank Bullough.

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WR Lee leaning on Robert Woods

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 5:01 pm

USC WR Marqise Lee unseated Robert Woods as the Trojans’ top wideout in college, but it never compromised their friendship. Now that Woods has a year in the NFL under his belt, Lee has been quick to listen to Woods who was offering up advice and insight on the pre-draft process as soon as he returned to California after the 2013 season.

“I got that as soon as his season was over,” said Lee smiling. “I went to Rob and I talked to him about many things, the process, how tough it’s going to be, what I should look forward to and Rob just broke it down saying it’s basically football all over again. That I shouldn’t be nervous about anything in the meetings or anything. I’ve got a good background so there are no negatives that will come up. All they really want you to do is really explain your plays and what you plan on doing for them.”

At the same time Woods made sure Lee understood that football is truly a job in NFL.

“He was telling me it’s rough and you’ve got to get after it and learn the playbook from the get go,” said Lee. “One person I do look up to is Rob. I pay attention to the things he’s done and I plan on doing the exact same thing.”

Lee confirmed that he will meet with the Detroit Lions and New York Jets.

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


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TE Seferian-Jenkins not medically cleared

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 4:30 pm

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Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was all set to compete on the field here at the NFL Combine on Saturday, but was not given that opportunity as the league would not medically clear him.

Seferian-Jenkins tried to shed some light on his situation, but would not divulge his condition. In an interview with the NFL Network he said the following.

“I’m fine. I didn’t get cleared medically for whatever issues and I can’t compete today and that’s unfortunate because everyone has been working really hard to prepare for this,” said Seferian-Jenkins. “That’s what I’ve been doing getting prepared for this and dropping some weight and getting in the best shape of my life.”

UPDATE: CBSSports.com is reporting that Seferian-Jenkins problem is a pre-existing foot condition.

At this point Seferian-Jenkins isn’t even sure he can perform at the University of Washington pro day later this spring.

“I’m good, but I don’t know about pro day yet,” he said. “My pro day is April 2nd. You’ll have to check with my agent.”

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


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OT Kouandjio fails physical for some teams

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 4:16 pm

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He’s been widely considered a top five offensive tackle, but according to NFL.com Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio has failed his physical here with some teams in the medical exams at the NFL Combine due to some unfortunate circumstances.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport said the tackle has a knee condition.

Kouandjio tore his ACL his freshman year and apparently the surgery was not a success with respect to the long term. It could cost him millions. Unfortunate.

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


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Jackson Jeffcoat remembers his Buffalo days

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 2:25 pm

Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, but remembers the time he spent in Buffalo as a youth.

Jeffcoat is the son of former NFL DL Jim Jeffcoat, who enjoyed a 15-year career that concluded with the Bills. From 1995-1997 Jeffcoat was a rotational defensive end for Buffalo, appeared in 39 games and logged eight sacks playing alongside the likes of Bruce Smith, Phil Hansen and Ted Washington.

His son Jackson, who projects as a third round pick, led the Longhorns in tackles last season with 86 tackles (the most of any DL in the FBS in 2013), tackles for loss (22) and sacks (13).

Jackson was pretty young so he doesn’t remember a whole lot about his dad’s career.

“I remember little glimpses of the Super Bowl (when dad played for Dallas), in ’94 and then Buffalo,” said Jeffcoat.

While his dad was playing in Buffalo he moved the family up to Western New York during the season.

“We lived in Buffalo for six months and then came back to Dallas for six months,” said the junior Jeffcoat. “I was five, six and seven-years old for those three seasons. We lived right by Ralph Wilson Stadium and we walked to it one time for a game.”

Jackson at 6’4″ and 250 pounds projects to more of a stand up pass rusher or outside linebacker in a 3-4 system.

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Some OL bench press numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 7:53 pm

Not all of the offensive linemen have done the bench press portion of the workout at the NFL Combine, but here are the top numbers and some rep counts for some of the more notable OL in attendance.

NFL.com has posted a list of bench press results so far here at the Combine, but here’s the top 10 OL bench press figures to this point with several to go Saturday morning.

1 - C Russell Bodine – UNC – 42
T2 –  OT Matt Feiler – Bloomsburg St. - 36
T2 - C Tyler Larsen – Utah St. – 36
T2 – C Corey Linsley – Ohio St. – 36
T2 – OT Antonio Richardson – Tennessee – 36
6 – OT Brandon Thomas – Clemson – 35
7 – OT Greg Robinson – Auburn – 32
T8 - G Gabe Jackson – Miss. St. – 30
T8 – G Brandon Linder – Miami – 30
T8 – G/C John Urschel – Penn St. – 30
T11 – OT Taylor Lewan – Michigan – 29
T11 – OT Zack Martin – Notre Dame – 29
T11 – G Chris Watt – Notre Dame – 29
14 – OT Jack Mewhort – Ohio St. – 28
15 – C Jonotthan Harrison – Florida – 27

Other notables 
G Xavier Su’a-Filo – UCLA – 25
OT Jake Matthews – Texas A&M – 24
OT Joel Bitonio – Nevada – 22
OT Cyrus Kouandjio – Alabama – 21

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


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When OT Kouandjio felt like a taco

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 6:38 pm

Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio is a giant man. Measuring in at 6’7″ and 322 pounds he’s a fit offensive lineman. Knowing the medical exams are taken very seriously by all 32 NFL clubs, he knew his time in the exam room on Thursday was going to be lengthy.

That’s because in his true freshman season, Kouandjio tore his ACL. Any NFL prospect that has had a major injury is going to get worked over in the exam room and Kouandjio was no different.

In fact the Alabama tackle was poked and prodded so much that he had no time to do media interviews on Thursday. He didn’t step into the NFL media room until Friday afternoon.

“Yeah, they were tweaking me,” Kouandjio said. “Actually I was laying in an MRI machine for two hours and 30 minutes. I felt like a taco.”

For those that haven’t experienced the MRI machine it surrounds a patient’s entire body. They’re put on a backboard that slides into a short cylindrical tunnel. Fortunately for Kouandjio no teams found his knee to be an issue of concern.

“No issues,” he said. “I got some sleep in there. That first night we get, like, two or three hours of sleep. So I got a good two hours and 30 minutes in the taco.”

At 6’7″ 322 pounds that’s one heck of a taco.

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


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RB Williams says he’s meeting with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 4:41 pm

Boston College running back and Heisman trophy finalist Andre Williams is the definition of a power back. He said the Bills were one of a handful of teams he’ll be interviewing with here at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

“I’ve got it written down,” said Williams when a reporter asked who he’s meeting with for interviews. “Bills, Ravens, Jaguars and Bengals.”

Williams, who ran for over 2,100 of his 3,700-plus career rushing yards in his senior season, has been compared to Earl Campbell as a runner.

“I would say I’m a downhill runner,” said Williams. “I’m best when my shoulders are square to the line. I make a quick cut I get upfield and I use my shoulders and hands as weapons. I like to punish the defense and punish the DBs and I like to finish in the fourth quarter.”

Williams was plagued by a late season shoulder injury, which was why he pulled out of the Senior Bowl. He said Friday he’s feeling a lot better. A telling sign of his shoulder health is whether or not he participates in the bench press. Williams is projected between the third and fifth rounds.

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


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Winner of the eyeball test

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 3:09 pm

It’s only been two days of NFL Combine coverage here in Indianapolis, but the eyeball test may be locked up already by an offensive tackle.

Alabama LT Cyrus Kouandjio is put together. He measured in Friday at 6’7″ and 322 pounds. The scary thing is he has a similar body type to that of Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith. He looks like he’s chiseled out of stone and doesn’t even have love handles. Folks 98 percent of offensive linemen have love handles. Here’s a look at my winner for the eyeball test at the NFL Combine.

Kouandjio is forecast as a mid to late first round pick.

Cyrus Kouandjio

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Whaley: Deepest draft in years

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 3:05 pm

With almost 100 underclassmen in this year’s draft pool, it’s made for the lengthiest list of talent in a draft than most veteran personnel executives can remember. Bills GM Doug Whaley doesn’t dispute that the 2014 draft class might be the deepest since teams have been picking college players.

“By sheer numbers it’s the deepest draft and a lot of these young guys are the most talented guys so we’re excited to have those guys in here,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “We’re excited to go through this process and get this draft board set and to bring in some talented players to help us win.”

Buffalobills.com asked Whaley if a starting caliber player could still be had at certain positions as late as round four. Whaley believes it’s possible this year.

“It’s going to give us a better chance to look good as scouts, but not only (as late as) round 4,” he said. “You’ve got to look at it this way. That’s another three rounds of guys who are not going to get drafted. So there’s a good possibility of hitting on some college free agents who will come in and help you as well.”

Buffalo found Nickell Robey last year after the draft, who went on to become the team’s nickel corner. With a deeper talent base this year, the odds of finding players who can make your roster that went undrafted figures to increase this spring.

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


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Another Matthews family tie at Combine

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 11:16 pm

By now everyone knows that Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews is the son of Hall of Fame OL Bruce Matthews and the cousin of Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews. But there is another Matthews family relative at this year’s NFL Combine who is also about to embark on an NFL career.

He’s Notre Dame TE Troy Nicklas.

“I always wanted to play in the NFL, watching my uncle play in the league and seeing him get inducted in the Hall of Fame,” said Nicklas of his uncle Bruce Matthews.

“Jake Matthews and I are cousins,” he said. “His mom and my mom are sisters.”

So it will be two more relatives from the Matthews family to add to the impressive NFL family tree in May not just one.

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


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TE Ebron confident in his playing speed

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 5:33 pm

He’s widely considered to be the best tight end in the draft. North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is an uncommonly athletic tight end who has been compared to 49ers TE Vernon Davis when it comes to physical ability. He was making no promises Thursday concerning his expectations for a 40-yard dash time, but he assures he’ll be better than a former college teammate of his who currently plays in the NFL.

Ebron’s college teammate Giovanni Bernard, who had a pretty successful rookie season, ran a 4.53 40-time here at the Combine last February. The talented tight end is confident he’ll perform better.

“Gio just told me to get as much rest as I can,” said Ebron of his Combine advice. “I just texted him. I’m going to run a faster 40 than him. I’ll just put it like that.”

When asked what makes his game different from other NFL tight ends his answer was simple and direct.

“Fast,  I play fast,” he said. “I’m a little bit faster than most.”

In watching five games of Ebron rarely if ever did opposing defenses press him at the line of scrimmage when he was split wide. I asked him why he thought that was the case.

“I think teams don’t press me because they can’t,” he said flatly. “I will not be pressed at the line of scrimmage that’s a powerful thing of mine. They’d do best if they play a couple of yards back.”

Most linebackers and safeties did just that often giving him a seven or eight-yard cushion. That won’t happen in the NFL however, where the matchups won’t be quite as lopsided. One has to believe that NFL talent evaluators would prefer to see him against more press coverage just to see how he handles it.

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


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New assistants give Bills added QB acumen

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 4:33 pm

Buffalo’s new offensive assistants, QBs coach Todd Downing and senior offensive assistant Jim Hostler will provide many benefits to the offensive staff. One of which is the ability to adapt to whatever their quarterback picture looks like come training camp.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said the quarterback coaching experience of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, combined with Downing and Hostler has put them in a position where they’ll be able to handle any QB roster combination in 2014.

“I think we don’t want to ever put ourselves in a position where as an organization we can’t get the best thing out there (on the field) for us,” said Marrone. “That’s a collaborative thing between myself and Doug (Whaley) and Russ Brandon and Jim Monos and (Director of College Scouting) Kelvin (Fisher).

“So for us what I felt is we brought in a quarterback coach, one who has worked with EJ before. We brought in Jim Hostler who I’ve been with and knows the system that we have. We’ve set ourselves up where we can go ahead and get a veteran quarterback if that’s what Doug would like to do. We can draft a quarterback if that’s what Doug wants to do. Or we can stay status quo if that’s what we want to do. So we’re prepared as a staff to go in any direction.”

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Kolb going through medical process

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 4:08 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone met with the WNY media on Thursday at the NFL Combine and provided an update on QB Kevin Kolb.

“What I was told is there is a process and the medical process, he’s still going through it and we’re waiting for him to come back for another medical check, which is coming up,” said Marrone.

Buffalo’s head coach said he believes Kolb will be back for that medical check prior to the end of the league year March 11th.

“I believe so,” said Marrone. “I believe it’s the first week of March.”

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


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What Bills focus is during interview process

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 2:49 pm

Over the next few days here at the NFL Combine the Bills and 31 other teams will be interviewing prospects for 15 minutes at a time in the evenings to get a better feel of the player and what kind of person he is. However, with a lot of prospects practicing their answers ahead of time it’s become more and more difficult to get a gauge on just what makes a player tick. Buffalo has a bit different approach to the whole thing.

They rely on their area scouts to handle the background information on players and to find out more about what makes a player tick, their work ethic, their passion for the game, etc. What GM Doug Whaley, his personnel staff and head coach Doug Marrone focus on is a player’s football IQ.

In an one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, Marrone explained the approach they take during their 15 minutes each with prospects.

“For us we more try to gear it towards football,” Marrone said. “We’ll go in and do a lot of prep work. The prep work for us is going back and cutting out tapes of them playing and then putting those tapes on and having them explain things to us. That takes out all the prep work and everything they have to do. They can’t go back to a whole season and remember everything. We do it that way and we concentrate on the football thing and let the scouts that do the background. We let them handle that.”

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How many top 10 clubs could take an OT?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 9:01 am

There’s a general consensus that one of the top three offensive tackles could reach the Bills with the ninth overall pick. There’s also the chance that the trio of Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson and Taylor Lewan could be gone. Here’s a look at the teams in front of Buffalo who might consider one of the best edge protectors in the draft.

St. Louis – Armed with the second overall pick the general consensus is Jeff Fisher will take the son of the Hall of Fame lineman he had on his Tennessee Titans teams in Jake Matthews, son of Bruce Matthews. There’s a minority that believes a quarterback is possible with the club reportedly souring on Sam Bradford, but OT looks to be the play here.

Oakland – The Raiders have a lot of needs, but they do need to fortify the lines on both sides of the ball. A tackle is not out of the question here. Of course a dynamic receiver like Sammy Watkins might be too good to pass up.

Atlanta – Pass protection for Matt Ryan and an edge rusher are the two most obvious needs for the Falcons. Khalil Mack could be the pick here knowing their division rival picks right after them and may very well take Mack if they don’t. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Atlanta take Greg Robinson here.

Tampa Bay – If the Falcons take Mack, it increases the likelihood that the Bucs add a tackle to help neutralize him. Robinson likely goes before Lewan based on upside.

A team trading into the top 10 to grab one of the top offensive tackles is possible, but unlikely considering the depth at the position this year.

In all likelihood Buffalo sees one of the top three tackles fall to them, but do they value all three as worthy of the ninth overall pick? If they don’t like what’s left at tackle when they’re on the clock and Watkins is off the board it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Bills try and move down the board.

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Mayock: UB’s Mack fits any system

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2014 – 2:58 pm

There are a lot of reasons why UB MAC Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack is seen as a top 10 draft prospect. One of the ones that often sits further down on his list of assets, but holds significance for NFL talent evaluators is his scheme versatility.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes Mack, whom he considers a top five player, fits whatever defensive front a team might want to play.

“I think he could play with his skill set and his ability to drop, his ability to cover I think he could play SAM or WILL to be honest with you.  He’s 6 3, 248.  You could line him up on a tight end and he’d be okay.

“I think the important thing is that if you are drafting him as a 4-3 team you have to make sure that in nickel and sub situations, you’re freeing him up to go get the quarterback and in today’s NFL, because of the versatility in defenses, I think that’s fine.

“4-3 teams are doing all kind of different things in sub packages, and I think that’s why I just call them edge guys.  I think he’s the most, after [Jadeveon] Clowney, I think he’s the most gifted edge guy in this class, and I think regardless of your scheme, you need to draft them and play them.”

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Does deep draft mean fewer trades?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2014 – 12:56 pm

With an influx of almost 100 underclassmen there are essentially three extra rounds of NFL prospects for clubs to choose from. The unusually deep pool of talent has given rise to the theory that teams will be more apt to stay where they are on the board knowing they’ll get a quality player rather than trading up. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock doesn’t completely disagree with that line of thinking, but still knows teams are going to fall in love with some prospects and still make a move.

“You know, it kind of works both ways, because for instance, take Houston, sitting at one,” said Mayock.  “If there wasn’t a quarterback that they are in love with, they might be, they content to move down further than they typically would.

“Both teams only want to move down a couple slots in the draft because they want to make certain they get their guy.  In this draft you might be willing to move further down than usual because you still know you’re going to get a great player.

“On the one hand I agree because if you sit there at 18 or 20 you know you’re going to get a good football player but on the other hand, if you need an edge rusher and there are only a couple guys this year, you really need to go get them.  It all depends on your individual situation.

“If you are sitting there and you think Kony Ealy is the best defensive end in this draft and [Jadeveon] Clowney is gone and you think there’s a drop off after that you might want to go get him.  So I think the philosophy of the trade stays the same, just a couple different variables this year with the depth.”

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Draft QB breakdown

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2014 – 11:53 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock broke down how he views some of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

Mayock in his top 5 by position ranks Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater as his top QB followed by Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and UCF’s Blake Bortles. Here’s his breakdown of the signal callers.

“I do think that [Teddy[ Bridgewater, [Johnny] Manziel and [Blake] Bortles are locked in as, quote, the three top quarterbacks,” said Mayock. “I think Derek Carr from Fresno is somebody that people are trying to learn more about, and there’s some interesting wild cards this year, I think at request also.

“I think AJ McCarron is solid but he’s a second or third round quarterback.  I think Carr will fit into the end of the first round.  Jimmy Garoppolo has really helped himself at east west in the Senior Bowl and two kids got hurt later in the year, Aaron Murray from Georgia and Zach Mettenberger from LSU, I think depending on how their rehab goes could be third or fourth round guys that are developmental players.

“And Logan Thomas, two years ago when I saw him play Michigan in a Bowl game I thought he would be the first pick of the entire draft, two years later, and since then, he’s got two or three good tapes and the rest are really bad tapes.  But he’s still 6 5, big, beautiful body, can throw the ball and the other kind of wild card I would say is Tom Savage that nobody talks about from University of Pittsburgh.  He’s a big, strong kid that can throw also.


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