Inside The Bills

Bills practicing in the stadium

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

For the first time during their voluntary OTAs, the Bills are practicing outside. The players will be starting their third week of OTA workouts in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

All the previous OTA practices were inside the Bills Fieldhouse.


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Jauron pleased with Owens progress

Posted by Chris Brown on May 29, 2009 – 6:30 pm

Not that Dick Jauron expected any different, but veteran WR Terrell Owens has blended into Buffalo’s offense pretty seamlessly through two weeks of OTAs. With five touchdowns in the last two days of practice including Friday’s 70-yard TD catch from Trent Edwards, Jauron likes what he’s seeing.

“Terrell has kind of provided us with a receiver away from Lee that we’ve been talking about for a little while,” Jauron said. “We couldn’t be happier with the progress at this point.”

When asked about Owens’ creative touchdown celebrations of the past, Jauron deadpanned.

“I hope I get a chance to study Terrell’s (touchdown celebrations) a lot.”


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Lynch excited about offensive possibilities

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2009 – 7:13 pm

Marshawn Lynch shared some of his thoughts Thursday about the increased tempo of the offense and the addition of Terrell Owens. Suffice to say Lynch is pumped up.

When asked about what he thinks of Owens as a teammate, Lynch likes what he sees in T.O. as a teammate.

“He’s a cool dude,” said Lynch. “In the offseason I was in here and worked out with him. He was a cool guy from what I got to see. I love having him on the team.”

Lynch, who is real tight with Fred Jackson was glad to see ‘Head’ as Lynch calls Jackson get locked up long term by the Bills.

“Going into the offseason we knew that it was going to be something that the team had to address,” said Lynch of Jackson’s contract. “With two happy running backs there’s going to be trouble (for opponents).”

Lynch is confident that their offense will be able to do some damage in 2009.

“With the additions that we have now with the draft picks and Terrell Owens, I’m seeing big things for us,” he said.


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Parrish frustrated, wants to do more on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2009 – 5:16 pm

With Josh Reed not in attendance at practice, Roscoe Parrish had more opportunities to make plays in the passing game Thursday. But Parrish is convinced that when the full receiving corps is on hand he’s viewed as a substitute on offense and nothing more. Parrish believes he’s a legitimate NFL receiver, but going into his fifth season he’s convinced the opportunity to prove he can make a difference on offense won’t happen with the Bills.

“It’s a tough situation that I’m coming into and as of right now I’m just coming in and know my main role is punt return and I know I made a couple of plays today because Josh Reed wasn’t here and if he was here I probably wouldn’t have made the plays,” said Parrish. “It’s just… I’m just trying to take advantage of my opportunities and that’s all I can really say about it. It is what it is.”

When asked what it is that he can do to convince the coaching staff that he can be a bona fide wideout that makes plays for an offense, Parrish seemed at his wits end.

“I feel like there’s not too much more that I can do,” said Parrish. “This is my fifth year and they’ve seen me and they know my ability and what I can do and if I’m given the opportunity, it’s just that I haven’t been given the opportunity.

“In the NFL it’s all about opportunity. If you give a guy an opportunity in the NFL he’s probably going to make plays. If you don’t give a guy an opportunity then you’ll never know the ability of what he can do.

“As far me I know I’m a true receiver, but going on my fifth year most people probably don’t see that,” Parrish said. “Maybe if I was to go to another team, I’m not saying I want to, but I might blossom more as a receiver.

“But right now all I can control is what I do on special teams and I’ve done a good job at that. I’ve been in the NFL a few years and I’m going to keep doing the same thing and if that’s what keeps me in the NFL that’s what I’m going to do and what I’m going to stay on top of. As far as receiver there’s nothing more I can do about that. I can’t control my own destiny with that.”

Knowing there were reports of trade talk involving Parrish this offseason, he was further asked if he was disappointed he wasn’t traded, and this was his response.

“No, not really,” Parrish said. “I don’t want to put too much emphasis on that. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”


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Edwards benefits with Evans and Owens on hand

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2009 – 7:15 pm

After wrapping up 30 minutes of extra passing game work with his top two receivers, Trent Edwards was feeling good. It was the kind of extra work he just didn’t get last year at this same time due to different circumstances. Buffalo’s quarterback believes the extra work they’re putting in now to nail things down will pay dividends come the fall.

“The thing I do like that’s changed with these OTAs versus last OTAs is that I can work with two of my starting wide receivers after practices, where last (year’s) OTAs, Lee was hurt, Terrell wasn’t here and I was trying to work with James (Hardy) and Josh (Reed) a little bit afterwards, but right now, I feel like we’re ahead of where we were last year because those guys are here, they’re working out and that’s nice for a quarterback, where I can see guys. It’s not when we show up in Rochester at the end of July, this isn’t the first time I’ve thrown to these guys, much like it kind of was last season.”

Obviously, Edwards feels it will make a difference feeling he was a bit hamstrung last year despite going to south Florida for three days to throw with Evans last offseason on his own dime, with Evans not participating in OTAs due to offseason shoulder surgery in 2008.

If he can hit the ground running with a working knowledge of Owens’ body language coming in and out of his breaks and fine tuning his chemistry with Lee through these OTA sessions then it will give Edwards all the more confidence come September. That’s can’t hurt.


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No official word on McGee injury

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2009 – 5:15 pm

Since NFL teams are not required to provide injury information on players during the offseason, there was no official word from the Bills on the nature of Terrence McGee’s injury in practice Wednesday.

It did however, appear to be a right shoulder injury which he suffered when Terrell Owens landed on him at the tail end of a pass play in which the two players went up for the ball and then got tangled up and landed together on the turf.

If there is an update in the coming days we will provide it.


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Jackson putting in extra work on receiving skills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 26, 2009 – 8:50 pm

As we mentioned in last week’s Fan Friday, Fred Jackson has been split out an awful lot in these OTA practices. Whether it’s in the slot or out wide Jackson has seen a heavy dose of receiver work, which is interesting considering the depth that the Bills have at the position already. And Jackson wasn’t resting on his laurels Tuesday.

After practice was over, Jackson stayed out for an extra 20 minutes catching passes from Trent Edwards and running routes. It’s obvious the offensive staff thinks a lot of his receiving game so he apparently wants to be fully prepared for what could be an expanded receiving role.


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Bills not shy about plugging rookies in

Posted by Chris Brown on May 21, 2009 – 1:57 pm

Dick Jauron and his coaching staff have made a point to insert some of their top rookies into the lineup with the first team offense and first team defense. To this point Eric Wood and Andy Levitre were seeing the most reps with the top units, but Aaron Maybin was sprinkled in with the first team defense Wednesday. Jauron explained the approach.

“No matter where they were drafted or where they came from, if they’re good enough to play we’ve got to find a spot for them to play.The people that were drafted high we definitely think a good deal about them and we want to get them in the mix early, very early. They need to get as many reps as they can get to catch up with the veterans.”

I fully believe that if Jairus Byrd were able to participate in these OTAs that he too would be getting reps with the first team defense at free safety. But because of his school’s late final exam schedule he can’t. It’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out for him at training camp. But Dick Jauron mentioned Byrd specifically when I asked him about this approach.

“The only young player (that won’t benefit) is Jairus and I don’t know how much we’ll be able to get him because of school and the rules in the league,” said Jauron. “And that’s always an issue. But I believe he’ll catch up quickly or at least as quickly as he can.”


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Youboty might not be ready until training camp

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2009 – 4:50 pm

Ashton Youboty has been a spectator for the first week of OTAs and it looks like there’s  a good chance that will continue for the remainder of OTAs and minicamp. Still not fully recovered from the plantar fasciitis that landed him on injured reserve last season, head coach Dick Jauron confirmed that returning to the field prior to training camp is up in the air.

“He’s getting better and better all the time,” said Jauron. “We just watn to make sure he’s ready for training camp, the start of it. Through this period we’ll just see how it goes, but he’s been headed in the right direction now for a number of weeks and we’re happy about that.”

In Youboty’s defense plantar fasciitis is a condition that is most serious for cornerbacks. Those players have to plant and drive off their feet on almost every play and Buffalo’s training staff has to take an extra cautious approach with Youboty because of it.

It’s basically a wait and see situation for Youboty through the OTA and minicamp period. That’s why I followed up with coach Jauron and asked if Youboty’s chances of returning to the field prior to training camp are “up in the air.” And Jauron said they were.


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Parrish back

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2009 – 3:09 pm

Roscoe Parrish is back in the fold at OTAs after missing Tuesday’s voluntary workout.


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Stroud, McIntyre not present

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2009 – 3:07 pm

After participating on a limited basis Tuesday Marcus Stroud was not present Wednesday for the voluntary workout. Corey McIntyre was not on hand as he deals with his legal situation.


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Whitner back

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2009 – 2:52 pm

Donte Whitner is back at One Bills Drive practicing with his teammates for the final day of OTAs this week. He was in Cleveland Tuesday for his court date.


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Evans on who the #1 WR is for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 7:26 pm

Lee Evans was asked with Terrell Owens now on board, who is the number one receiver on offense. Evans offered the following response.

“I don’t really think that’s the right question,” said Evans. “I think you have two very explosive players and you do what you can to get both players involved. Talking about who is number one, who’s what, when the defense gives you a look, you take advantage of it to that side, and certainly for some games, it may go back and forth, but I think the biggest thing is just for us both to work together and win football games and get to the playoffs.”

Owens took a similar approach when asked the same question Monday.

“For me, I don’t really speculate on any of that,” Owens said. “I just come out here and do my job. I don’t worry about who is number one, number two or none of that stuff. I’ll leave that guess work up to you guys. Once the ball is in the air, my job is to compete for it and try to make a play on it.”


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The other benefit of T.O.

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 6:33 pm

With everyone hyped up about how the addition of Terrell Owens will benefit the offense this season, not many have thought about how much Buffalo’s defense will improve, particularly at cornerback knowing Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin have to cover Owens and Lee Evans every day in practice.

“I don’t know if I’ll make him better,” said McGee. “But he’s definitely going to make me better with him being a great receiver like he is. I’m definitely excited about each practice. I come out here because I know going up against the type of guys we’ve got and with him added, it’s going to make me a better player.”

I’ve got to imagine that just lining up across from him in the practice setting one would be determined to be at their best. You practice how you play, so that’s a good thing as I see it.


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Evans: Edwards freedom to change plays biggest difference

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 5:54 pm

Lee Evans spoke after practice today and when asked what the biggest difference is with the offensive scheme this year as opposed to last season said it’s the freedom being given to Trent Edwards to make decisions at the line.

“It’s basically letting Trent out there on the field be able to make checks and tell guys what to do in certain situations,” said Evans. “And it has to be something that everybody knows and sees, especially us on the outside. If we see a coverage we want to attack we all know what’s coming and what he’s looking to call. And it’s not easy to do. You really have to be on the same page. That’s one of the biggest differences.”

Giving Edwards this kind of freedom is just one indication as to how much faith the Bills staff has in Edwards’ ability to process what’s going on out on the field pre-snap. They have full confidence now entering year three that Edwards can recognize the defensive look he’s getting pre-snap and get the team in the best possible call offensively to attack it.

But as Evans cautions, this is not an easy thing to master because all the players have to be able to anticipate what call change might be coming in response to the defensive look they’re getting. Hopefully they get it down to give the staff enough confidence to hand the reins to Edwards when the real bullets are flying.


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Parrish, Whitner, McIntyre absent

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 3:18 pm

Not in attendance here on Tuesday at OTAs are Roscoe Parrish, Donte Whitner, who is in Cleveland for a court appearance and Corey McIntyre. Rookies Jairus Byrd and Danny Urrego are also not allowed to be on hand due to final exam schedules.


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Hardy staying busy

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 3:04 pm

As hard as it is to watch his teammates practice without him James Hardy is doing his best to keep busy. Still rehabbing from January ACL surgery Hardy spent time on the sidelines catching passes from the jugs machine with C.J. Hawthorne who also is not participating.


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Stroud practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 3:00 pm

After being just a spectator on Monday for the first day of OTAs Marcus Stroud is participating in practice here on Tuesday. He’s obviously lining up with the first defensive unit.


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Rhodes is in

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2009 – 2:46 pm

After missing the first day of voluntary OTAs Monday, RB Dominic Rhodes is on the field participating in practice.


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A new energy post-Peters?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2009 – 8:02 pm

Trent Edwards said he was “anxious” to get started, Terrell Owens used the word “pumped” for the season. And Kawika Mitchell sees a more talented and deeper defensive unit. But what Edwards said Monday makes you wonder if this team feels like a weight has been lifted since the departure of last year’s holdout Jason Peters.

“Everything’s going great, I’m excited,” said Edwards. “I’m just anxious, I can’t wait for the football season to get here and I’m happy for the way things are going and the guys and the turnout that we have here. We have everyone showing up and working and that’s really what we need.”

Edwards’ last comment said the most. The only no shows that weren’t restricted by a league rule (Jairus Byrd, Danny Urrego) from the Bills roster for the first voluntary workout Monday were Dominic Rhodes and Corey McIntyre.

Not having a major cog on your offense or defense holding out does a lot to remove distraction. There just seemed to be a breath of fresh air about this team when they showed up for OTAs Monday.

Did Edwards have Jason Peters in mind when he made that comment? Probably not, but it doesn’t change the fact that the team was held hostage by Peters last offseason, and it affected the team, and not positively, when he wasn’t the same player on the field in 2008.

If things went down the same path again this offseason, it would’ve been worse.


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