Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 9-18

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2015 – 11:26 am

The Bills are 1-0 with a pretty important early season matchup with the Patriots up next. Be loud Bills fans! Here is this week’s edition of your questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris thanks for all the hard work you put in!

Are the Bills keeping three QB’s because of the chance a running QB (Taylor) is likely to be injured?

Danny in Scottsdale, AZ

CB: I think the Bills intended to keep three quarterbacks from the very beginning. The performance of all three in the preseason I believe cemented their spots on the 53-man squad. Cassel’s value is in his experience and Manuel’s play in the preseason convinced the offensive staff that he’s on the right track with his progress as a young signal caller. Taylor obviously won the job.


2 – How will the contract extension for Marcell play into our ability to re-sign some of the other Bills on contract years? Including the usage of a franchise tag do you see the Bills being able to retain Glenn, Bradham, and Gilmore as a big three? Do you think that leaves enough for McKelvin( is he on a final year?) and Harvin?



CB: The Bills bought themselves some time with Stephon Gilmore by picking up his fifth-year option, so he’s not up until after the 2016 season. Nigel Bradham and Cordy Glenn are the other big names that are coming due after the 2015 campaign.

The good thing that the Bills did was spread out Dareus’ guaranteed money over the first two years with singing and option bonuses in addition to his guaranteed base salary. The deal is relatively cap friendly until the last two years when his base salary balloons to more than $12M.

Bradham and Glenn are the two that figure to be addressed. The linebacker would be much easier to sign than the left tackle, knowing the market rate for left tackles is far higher than at LB. Knowing how thin the Bills are depth-wise at both positions it’s going to be interesting to see how the decision making plays out with those two players.

The good news is the salary cap continues to go up and up and up, and with the revenues projected where they are for NFL clubs this year the cap is expected to take another sizable jump this offseason. That makes re-signing players like Bradham, Gilmore and Glenn more realistic.

Leodis McKelvin signed a four-year extension that runs through 2016.

3 – Hey Chris,
With the extension of Dareus, Could you give bills fans an update on how long we will have our d line for?

Danny in Scottsdale

CB: The contracts of Kyle and Mario Williams are the ones set to expire first following the 2017 season. Jerry Hughes’ deal runs out in 2020 and Dareus is after the 2021 season. Now we all know circumstances crop up at other positions that can necessitate some difficult decisions at defensive line, so to assume that the line will be together for another four seasons might be foolhardy. I do think it’s safe to say we’ll see the group together through at least 2016.


4 – Hello Chris,

As always, thank you for providing the fans this opportunity. With our limited exposure to Ronald Darby, we don’t really get to see his progression. I understand the need for him to struggle and that the preseason is a good place to throw him to the wolves. I am curious how much he has progressed since he came in? Does he learn quickly from his mistakes? Any information would be helpful.

Thank you!


CB: I will let defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, a former NFL cornerback himself, handle this one. Here’s what he said this week about Darby’s progress.

“He continues to work on his craft, he’s a very talented young man. We believe the sky is the limit for him, we expect him to play well,” said Thurman. “If he’s out there we’re expecting him to play well. We don’t look for him to play like a rookie. We know at times that he may get himself in trouble but if he’s focused on what his assignments are we feel like he’s talented enough to get the job done.”
5 – Chris,

Why do the Bills make comments about the Pats? All that does is fuel the fire. Every time they talk smack they get beat down.


CB: I think we all know that Rex Ryan has a track record of not being afraid to say what he believes. Coach-speak doesn’t really exist for Ryan and that filters down to his players, who he encourages to speak their mind and say what they believe. I don’t think there has been anything this week other than players speaking confidently and believing that they can beat New England. That’s a healthy and necessary mindset to have going into a game against an opponent of this caliber.

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Cassel on his roster status

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2015 – 5:32 pm

There has been an awful lot of speculation about Matt Cassel’s roster status since Tyrod Taylor was named the starting quarterback. When he was asked for his thoughts on his current situation Cassel was straightforward.

First, Cassel was asked if he had any tenuous feelings about his spot on the 53-man roster.

“Not at all. No,” he said. “There’s been no indication that way.”

When asked if he’s been given indication that the team will keep three quarterbacks, Cassel offered this response.

“I hope that they can,” he said. “Whether or not they will is probably a question you’d have to ask them, but right now that’s what I’m planning on.”

And the third question was whether or not he felt he got a fair shot in the quarterback competition after getting just a handful of series in the preseason games and the majority of the first team reps in practice.

“That’s neither here nor there. We went through an entire offseason, we competed,” said Cassel. “At the end of the day I did the best I could with the reps I got.  They made a decision to go in a different direction.  The decision being made now rather than this week or next week, I think the right decision was made. I’m excited for Tyrod, he gets an opportunity obviously, and at the same time, I’ve got to get ready to go and get ready to play.”

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Tyrod’s college coach not surprised

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2015 – 9:48 am

Tyrod Taylor was named starting QB of the Bills on Monday. It’s been a long wait for Taylor to hold a role like the one he has with Buffalo after a lengthy quarterback competition, but his college head coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech isn’t the least bit surprised by it.

In fact Beamer believes Taylor did the one thing for his game that he think can actually improves a quarterback’s accuracy.

“I’m proud of Tyrod. I felt like he’s always gotten better,” said Beamer. “Coming out of high school his throwing motion was a little bit different, but he kept working on it, kept working on his release. I don’t know if you every improve accuracy, that’s debatable, but I think by his motion he improved his accuracy and he’s made himself into a tremendous quarterback. What he can do athletically and with his mind, you put those in there, he’s a smart guy, a competitive guy, he’s dependable. It doesn’t surprise me, but it doesn’t surprise me that he won the starting job.”

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What Taylor felt weighed in his favor

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:30 pm

Tyrod Taylor was asked a multitude of questions after he was named the Bills starting QB Monday. Among them, what he felt weighed in his favor most to land the job. Here was his assessment.

“As far as one particular thing I don’t know,” he said. “Consistent play is probably something that stands out. I came in and worked my butt off each and every day in the offseason. I took it one day at a time in training camp and showed what I could do whether it was throwing the football, running the football, taking the lead of the offense in each preseason game and on a daily basis. I’m excited the coaches chose me. It was a decision they had to make at the end of training camp that we knew was coming up and like I said just excited.”

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Tyrod’s initial reaction

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:28 pm

Tyrod got the news from head coach Rex Ryan on Saturday afternoon that he would be the starting QB. He explained his initial reaction.

“Happy. With what I’ve been through to sit for four years in Baltimore behind Joe, praying for this opportunity, God allowing this opportunity to come my way and coach presenting me the opportunity to come get a chance to be a starting quarterback was a tremendous opportunity and that’s how I looked at it going into free agency,” said Taylor.

“Like I said from day one we have amazing talent on this team, tremendous set of coaches, personnel staff is great and I’m just looking forward to moving forward and getting ready for Week 1 against Indy and looking forward to taking this team as we continue to keep building to a championship level.”

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EJ takes decision in stride

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:03 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan named Tyrod Taylor his starting QB, but he would not reveal who his number two and number three quarterbacks are on the depth chart. Naturally EJ Manuel wasn’t happy about not winning the starting job, but he took the decision in stride.

“It was tough,” said Manuel. “I thought I had a pretty good preseason and played well in the games, but like I said last week it was the coach’s decision so all I can do is continue to work hard be a good teammate for this team.”

Manuel was nothing but professional in answering reporters’ questions in the locker room Monday afternoon. Manuel had a solid preseason completing almost 67 percent of his passes. He led the team in touchdown passes with four including a pair that were over 35 yards (37, 51). Matt Simms was the only other QB with a TD pass in the preseason. He also led the quarterbacks in yards per attempt with a fat mark of 11.9.

When asked about supporting Tyrod Taylor in his starting role, Manuel did not hesitate.

“One hundred percent,” said Manuel. “As a professional athlete you’ve got to be a man about it. And if you weren’t chosen it’s not the end of the road for you. Who knows what can happen? For me I’ll just continue to get better. I felt like with this competition going into this preseason and everything I felt like I worked extremely hard as I always do, but definitely excited with the way I was progressing and still am. I’m not going to allow not being selected as the starter to stop me from continuing to work and get better, so that’s just my approach right now.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

QB competition won’t hurt offense’s readiness

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 6:40 pm

The Bills were committed to conducting a three-man quarterback competition until they could make a solid decision that they felt confident with for the 2015 season. Rex Ryan said he’s 100 percent confident in the decision they made in choosing Tyrod Taylor for the starting job, but has the length of the competition hurt the readiness of the offense for the start of the regular season?

Both Ryan and the players don’t believe it has.

“I don’t think so at all,” said Percy Harvin. “Even though a starter wasn’t named they were getting first team reps and second team reps since we got here. So all those guys got their fair share of throws and all the receivers we got a chance to work with all of them. It really wasn’t a dragged out process to us. We knew all of them were going to get their reps and the best player was going to win it.”

By running two offensive units simultaneously in training camp practices, there were an awful lot of reps for all the quarterbacks who rotated through with all the receivers, backs and tight ends. Ryan also feels having three smart QBs will help, Taylor in particularly obviously.

“I think he has a great grasp of what we’re doing, and that goes through all the practices and everything else,” said Ryan. “The end result is what you see during preseason games. He’s a smart young man. All three of our quarterbacks are sharp guys.  In our system, unlike other systems, that’s part of it. We’re an audible system, we have multiple checks, and it would be tough to give somebody a job if you didn’t think they could do that. We definitely believe Tyrod can do that.”


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Taylor’s steady improvement was key

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 4:18 pm

It was a decision that was not cut and dry at the outset, or at the start of the preseason, but as training camp came to a close and the preseason wound down head coach Rex Ryan saw who the best option would be for his number one quarterback for the regular season. That’s why Ryan decided Tyrod Taylor would be his starting signal caller for the Bills 2015 campaign Sunday, which was confirmed publicly by Ryan after the team’s practice Monday.

“This is a team and every decision we’ve made has been based on that,” said Ryan. “What’s best for the team, not what’s best for this individual or that individual, but for the totality of the team. Not just at quarterback, but at cornerback, at tackle, wherever, all the decisions will be based on that.”

Taylor’s performance through the spring practices and into training camp steadily improved much like his play in the team’s three preseason games. The fifth-year quarterback saw his completion percentage, passing yards, yards per attempt and passer rating all increase from the Carolina game to the Pittsburgh game.

“I think I’ve showcased what I can do in game action and of course to the coaches in practice on a daily basis,” said Taylor Saturday. “I’m comfortable and confident in the way that I’ve been playing.”

In his time on the field with the starting unit, Taylor went 19-23 passing (82.6%) for 187 yards (8.13 yds/att) and a passer rating of 100.5. Not counting a one-play kneel down possession at the end of the half against Cleveland, Taylor led the offense to points on six of his nine series in the preseason with four touchdowns and a pair of field goals. One of those touchdowns was a 20-yard run by Taylor himself this past Saturday against the Steelers.

“One thing I told myself going into the competition was to leave everything out on the field, the practice field and the game field,” said Taylor “At the end of the day don’t have any regrets. I’m pleased with the way I played. There are still some things to correct and still some ways to get better at so I’m looking forward to learning and just moving forward.”

Taylor’s first regular season start for the Bills against Indianapolis on Sept. 13th will also be the first NFL start of his career. The fifth-year quarterback has appeared in just 14 regular season games in his pro career, serving the previous four seasons as the backup to Baltimore starter Joe Flacco.

For those who think Taylor might not be prepared for the pressure that comes with being an NFL starting quarterback, the 26-year old’s approach is singularly focused.

“The only thing I can do is focus on what I do on the field,” said Taylor. “My mindset going into a game is just execution and going out there and moving the offense up and down the field.”

He’ll now have the opportunity to do so as the leader of Buffalo’s offense.

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What Rex & staff will base QB decision on

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2015 – 12:08 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said after Buffalo’s win over Pittsburgh Saturday that there will be three things he bases his starting QB decision on when he and his offensive staff, GM Doug Whaley and owner Terry Pegula reach a consensus.

“What did we say we’re going to base the decision on? The team, the team and the team. Those three things,” said Ryan. “That’s what it’s going to be based on. Have I had discussions with (offensive coordinator) Greg Roman? Absolutely. Have I had discussions with (General Manager) Doug Whaley? With Terry Pegula? Absolutely. But has there been a collaborative deal? We are meeting (Sunday) to discuss our roster. We’ve got to make cuts getting down to 75 and there are going to be some tough cuts to make there let alone to get to 53. So that’s when we’ll have the (discussion), but the (starting quarterback) decision will be made and we’ll move forward.”

Ryan said he won’t make their decision public on Sunday, but the three quarterbacks will be informed.

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EJ preparing the same as always

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2015 – 12:20 pm

The Bills are giving EJ Manuel the start against Pittsburgh later this afternoon. While it’s certainly an opportunity Manuel isn’t treating it any different than any other playing opportunity in this quarterback competition.

“Not too much different aside from going first in the game. As far as preparation it’ll be the same,” Manuel said. “Going with the first team offensive line will be great, those guys are very smart. I think going with the other groups has helped me because I’m more responsible to make sure we make the right checks. (Kraig) Urbik has done a great job getting those guys in check as well with the second team O-line, but it’s helped me a bunch, but not too different.”

Manuel will likely have many of the same receivers with him on the field knowing Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Percy Harvin are not expected to dress.

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Fan Friday 8-28

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2015 – 11:24 am

A big preseason game for the QBs coming up on Saturday. Here’s the latest edition of questions on email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
What running backs will play tomorrow?


CB: At this point it looks like it will only be Fred Jackson and the three young backs we saw in the Cleveland game, Bronson Hill, Ricky Seale and Cierre Wood.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Cassel get cut with a perfect Tyrod and EJ performance?

CB: I don’t foresee any of the three quarterbacks getting cut. It’s my belief all three will be on the roster and Rex Ryan has given me strong indication that they plan to carry three on their 53-man roster. A perfect performance by Tyrod Taylor would go a long way in helping him pull ahead of Matt Cassel, provided Cassel doesn’t light things up himself.

EJ Manuel would obviously help himself too with a strong performance, but how far that will move him back into true contention for the starting job is something that will be quantified by the coaching staff.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What has you most excited about the 2015 buffalo bills? Keep up the great work!


CB: I’m most excited about offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s plans for this offense. Chan Gailey was absolutely a qualified play caller on offense when he was here in Buffalo, but Roman is a proven and progressive coordinator that is probably the best they’ve had since the turn of the century.

I just think his ability to adapt and maximize the talent he has at his disposal while also exploiting opponent’s weaknesses is first rate. Roman gives Buffalo’s offense the ability to be dynamic and unpredictable and that will be a welcome change.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is the media hyping the EJ start too much? He’s played good against 2-3 stringers. I think MC deserves another chance.


CB: I don’t know that they’re hyping it too much. It’s an opportunity for Manuel that I think was a slight surprise in light of his reps, or lack thereof, with the first unit through the course of training camp. This starting opportunity is unlikely to last as long as the ones for Cassel and Taylor in the other two preseason games because Ryan said that all three QBs will see time with the first unit.

If Ryan is interested in fairness, as he has maintained, I would anticipate that each of the QBs would get 2-3 series each with the first unit. So Manuel could be exiting the game by the end of the first quarter or earlier if the offense gets three early possessions.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Does Buffalo really believe in our QBs to the point where acquiring better QBs (Mettenburger, etc) isn’t a possibility?


CB: I think Doug Whaley has already proven that if there’s an opportunity to make the roster stronger or deeper he’s willing to talk to just about anyone in the league. I don’t know if they’re convinced that what may or may not be available via trade is demonstrably better than what they have.

A young QB like Mettenburger, as you suggested, would also need time to get schooled up on what is a very voluminous playbook and multiple offense. At this point if you traded for a QB and it was a relatively young and inexperienced one like Mettenburger, I don’t know that you could count on getting much in the way of contributions from him this season.

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Cassel, Tyrod ready to perform Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2015 – 5:03 pm

EJ Manuel might be getting the start in the team’s third preseason game Saturday, but Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor are every bit as eager to get their time with the starting unit and perform well against the Steelers.

“Go out and play well. That’s the only thing you can do,” said Cassel. “Go out and try to show consistency and build on what I did in the first preseason game and hopefully show them enough where you can make an impact and an influence that maybe you’re the guy.”

“I’m looking forward to go out there playing. It’s the third preseason game. We worked hard throughout the training camp and I’m looking forward to going out there in the third preseason game and showing what I can do,” said Tyrod Taylor. “It’s been fair, that’s all I can ask for is the opportunity. I’ve been given that and I’m taking it one rep at a time.”

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Fan Friday 8-21

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2015 – 12:30 pm

Two preseason games in the books, two to go for the Bills. Let’s get to latest edition of questions on email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Barring a trade for another QB, do you foresee Roman using the Bills QBs as follows;

Start – Cassel

Back-up – Tyrod Taylor, used throughout a game as a change up w/the read Option

3rd – EJ depth in the event of any injuries

Cut – Simms, do not see much upside w/Simms

If they trade EJ,… maybe they could trade for either Mike Glennon, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Mallet or the back up on Titans. Scouts need to do a good job and find a QB in first 3 rounds of 2016.


CB: I think your scenario could very well play out this way. Matt Cassel seems to be the quarterback they trust the most, due mainly to his experience in the league. Tyrod Taylor as talented as he is doesn’t have an NFL start on his resume. For an offensive coordinator running his offense with new personnel in Buffalo in season one, it wouldn’t surprise me if he feels most comfortable with Cassel running it.

That’s not to say that Taylor couldn’t overtake Cassel for the starting job. Now if Cassel does in fact prove to be the starter I could definitely see a package of plays for Taylor as a read option QB where he comes in for a series or two depending on the opponent that week.

I asked and Rex Ryan confirmed for me that they intend to keep three quarterbacks on their roster. I believe Ryan likes EJ as a quarterback and I think the organization feels there is still some ceiling to be reached by him as an NFL QB.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

With so many WRs injured, any chance the Bills go after a FA like Reggie Wayne?


CB: I don’t foresee this happening. Buffalo has a strong stable of receiver talent. Yes, they are a bit nicked up right now, but Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Chris Hogan barring anything happening that’s new injury-wise should all be good for the regular season. Rex Ryan even said that Percy Harvin will be fine for the regular season.

So taking all of that into account the need for a Reggie Wayne doesn’t compute. He’d be a better fit for a team that lost a receiver for the whole year like Carolina with Kelvin Benjamin.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

You think Taylor will get another shot with the first team since half his team is injured for the Browns game?


CB: I think Taylor performed quite well despite the lack of weapons at running back and wide receiver. He went 7-10 passing for 65 yards and had three straight third down conversions on the opening drive. He was also effective on the ground with four carries for 41 yards including a long of 21.


4 – Chris,
As Bills fans we all know about the competition for the starting QB position. We have heard so many times that the selection process will e long, open and based upon individual merit. Given that, what does each QB candidate need to specifically improve upon to become the starter. All we ever seem to hear are generalities.
Dr. Dennis

CB: Cassel is a 10-year veteran and is what he is as a QB. He’s a capable starter, who can make some plays in the passing game and knows risk versus reward based on time and score, matchup, etc. He’s a good leader and competent game manager.

Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel both have the same task, prove they can be consistent with decision making, accuracy and execution. That means proper ball location every time, proper mechanics every time, the right read every time, the proper touch on a pass every time.

Hopefully that provided some specifics.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any idea the coaching strategy with cassell?

CB: As coach Ryan said they wanted to give extended time to both Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel to get a better feel for the abilities of each of them in a true game situation. I think they feel they know Matt Cassel’s game inside and out.

On a secondary level I think if Matt Cassel played behind that second offensive line he might not have been able to avoid pressure like EJ Manuel did and could’ve been at great risk for injury.

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Tyrod, EJ feel good about their outings

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2015 – 3:05 am

In no way did they believe their performances were flawless, but Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel felt their individual play accomplished a lot of what they felt they still had to put on display for the coaches.

Manuel showed command of the offense, was accurate for the most part as indicated by his 64.2 completion percentage and was decisive and aggressive with his throws.

“We did a good job,” said EJ Manuel. “When I had opportunities to make plays we did it. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s your job as a quarterback, facilitate the ball and get it to those guys who can make plays and run down the field.”

Meanwhile Taylor had to show he could make plays from the pocket and was successful there with his only two incompletions from the pocket coming on a throw away due to pressure and the pass breakup in the end zone on the touchdown pass attempt.

“Of course people want to see me throw from the pocket and I think I showed people I can do that,” Taylor said. “It is still a game by game thing so I have to continue to keep doing, but just I think my overall game… I was happy with the way I played. It wasn’t a perfect game, there were some things I could go out there and fix and I’m looking forward to getting those corrected and getting back to work on Saturday.”

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Why Cassel didn’t play

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2015 – 1:56 am

He was dressed for the game, but all along there were no plans to play QB Matt Cassel Thursday night. It was by design according to head coach Rex Ryan.

“G-Ro and I had talked about it before,” said Ryan of his conversation with offensive coordinator Greg Roman. “We had told (TV and radio broadcast) production that it was going to happen. I wanted to see Tyrod (Taylor) play extended time with the ones and EJ (Manuel) extended time with the twos and that’s why we made the decision we did.”

No word at this point as to how the quarterback rotation will work for Buffalo’s next preseason game against Pittsburgh.

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Some insight on number of QBs for the 53

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2015 – 8:55 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan and his offensive staff have a lot of decisions to make in a couple of weeks as they will need to whittle the roster down to 75 and then 53 players. With a roster as deep as Buffalo’s there will be some tough calls, but when it comes to the number of quarterbacks Ryan envisions keeping he sees more than two.

In the first episode of Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Horton’s, Ryan explained that in keeping the best 53 players on their roster he sees more than just two QBs on the regular season squad.

“No, we’re going to keep 53 really good players and I have a funny feeling that means three quarterbacks,” said Ryan.

Determining the starter at quarterback will be the first order of business, but if the team does keep three QBs all of the signal callers in the competition are expected to stick.

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Ryan: Don’t read into QB reps at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 4:57 pm

With the million dollar question at Bills training camp being who will be Buffalo’s starting quarterback, everyone is trying to gain insight on the decision making process. At Sunday’s practice EJ Manuel saw no time with starting unit players in practice. In fact for most of the session he took snaps with the third unit. That was largely the same role Manuel had in practice in the last full practice before Friday’s preseason game. When asked about the QB roles in practice Sunday, specifically Manuel being with the threes again, Ryan offered the following.

“It’s what I decided. This is what we did and again he’s going to get the majority of the game running with that group this second preseason game,” said Ryan of Manuel. “So that’s the reasoning behind it. Does that mean he won’t get the two reps? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. But this is what we wanted to do.

“Obviously we were going to put Tyrod in there (Thursday night) and mix in Matt (Cassel), but as the week goes on don’t be surprised if he does get some (time with the) twos. Again I know you guys want to look into everything, but I don’t think you need to. We’ve been working this thing for how long now, it’s been the same type of rotation for three weeks.”

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Bills QB snaps in Carolina preseason game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2015 – 3:30 pm

Rex Ryan and his offensive staff have made a concerted effort to keep snaps as even as possible throughout the offseason and training camp and the case was much the same in the team’s preseason opener.

Although EJ Manuel worked with the third unit and Tyrod Taylor with the second string, their snaps were almost equal. Here’s a look at the snap count for each of the three QBs from Friday’s game against Carolina.

Tyrod Taylor – 25
EJ Manuel – 24
Matt Cassel – 20

Matt Simms saw 12 snaps of work.

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Fan Friday 8-14

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2015 – 11:30 am

The preseason debut of Rex Ryan’s Bills is tonight against Carolina. Catch up with you on the Bills Radio Network pre-game show at 5:30 pm ET. For now let’s get to your latest questions on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can Chris Hogan have a breakout season?


CB: I think Hogan had a breakout season in 2014 quite frankly. He had the fourth-most receptions on the team, was third in receiving touchdowns and was still a fixture on special teams. I’d be surprised if he logged 50 catches this season for a few reasons. First, this offense probably won’t throw the ball more than 20-25 times a game. Second, there are arguably three to four options that figure to be targeted before him in the passing game (Watkins, Harvin, Woods, Clay) and that’s not even counting LeSean McCoy as a passing target.

So while I think Hogan’s game can certainly take a step forward this season I don’t anticipate we’ll see it revealed in his personal statistics this season.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Haven’t heard much about the linebackers and depth there. How are they and how are our recent lb draft picks performing?


CB: The starting linebacking group is Manny Lawson, Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham with Jerry Hughes the hybrid DE/LB. The second unit is made up by Randell Johnson, Ty Powell and rookie Tony Steward. The hybrid with them has been undrafted rookie Andrew Hudson.

Powell has grown into the ILB role and is essentially Brown’s backup. Steward gets from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ quickly. Hudson has caught my eye a few times, but the addition of IK Enemkpali could compromise his role on the second unit. Enemkpali is as strong as an ox and has some bull rush ability against the pass. Rex and Dennis Thurman know him well since they drafted him with the Jets last year.

So I’m encouraged by what we’ve seen from the second team linebackers in training camp, but the preseason games will be the true test to see just how good Buffalo’s depth could be.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills
From what you’ve seen at practice, which of the three QBs plays with the most consistency?


CB: In this second week of camp I think Matt Cassel has been the most consistent. He hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s been steady just about every day this week. He’s demonstrated an improved on field chemistry with his top receivers and his decision making has been spot on.

Granted he’s had the benefit of getting the most reps in practice with the first team offense, but to his credit he’s done the most with it of the three QBs.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How many TEs make the team and who are they?


CB: I don’t think the tight end spots are finalized by any means with all four preseason games to be played. I will say that Charles Clay is the clear cut starter. Knowing the skill set of Marqueis Gray is the most comparable to Clay and he’s a smart player (former QB) he has not surprisingly seen a lot of snaps with the first unit. I think he’s likely going to make the final 53 provided he performs well in the preseason.

Matthew Mulligan is clearly the best blocking tight end on the roster and that alone could land him a roster spot knowing how Greg Roman’s running game relies on tight end blocking. Whether they keep four is up in the air and hinges on a lot of other offensive roster decisions. Do they keep four running backs? Do they keep six receivers?

Rex Ryan said he’ll keep the best players, but the numbers game could create a difficult situation at tight end with two players who have the skills necessary to play in this league in Nick O’Leary and Chris Gragg.
5 – Chris,

Cordy (Glenn) from all accounts has returned to form and has bottled up Jerry Hughes in practice. How high of a priority is he behind Dareus? How would you rank him of all left tackles, meaning what would in cost to keep him? Given the state of the offensive line it would seem he is a strong part of helping the quarterback and offensive succeed this season. What is he looking at for a contract, can the team keep him?

Josh P.

Glenn wants to be paid like a left tackle plain and simple. It will be interesting to see where the Bills turn after they hopefully get the Marcell Dareus extension completed. Do they focus on Nigel Bradham or Cordy Glenn? Bradham would presumably be easier to negotiate just because the salary structure for left tackles is so steep. But one could argue that Glenn’s role is far more important on this roster.

How much money Dareus’ contract ties up will directly impact what they can or cannot do for Glenn and Bradham by way of an extension.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex hints at timetable for QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2015 – 3:40 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan says it’s still early in the process for the coaching staff when it comes to deciding on a starting quarterback. On Tuesday however, he hinted that the three-man quarterback competition to be Buffalo’s starting signal caller could be close to finalized by the time they reach the team’s third preseason game.

“I think we’re going to look at it over at least a two game stretch,” said Ryan of the quarterback competition. “That’s where there will be more balance (with playing time). Each guy will get a shot. Seattle had a similar thing with (Tarvaris) Jackson, (Matt) Flynn and then the other quarterback (Russell Wilson). Let’s just hope it works out the same way.”

So Ryan and his staff will reserve judgment until at least two preseason games have been played. If it’s evident by then they’ll make a call. If not it could conceivably go right up until the week of the opener as Ryan has repeatedly said the most important thing is to pick the right guy, not how quickly they make the decision.

Matt Cassel is starting the team’s preseason opener Friday against Carolina.

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Posted in Inside the Bills