Inside The Bills

Incognito breaks down approach under McDermott

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2017 – 9:17 am

Most NFL observers have capably recognized that former Bills head coach Rex Ryan and current Bills head coach Sean McDermott are polar opposites when it comes to approaching their job and the philosophy in building a winner as well. Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito has seen the difference first hand and explained the dichotomy between the two coaches in his appearance on NFL Network Monday night.

“The biggest difference with coach McDermott is he brings energy, he brings passion,” said Incognito. “He’s really stressing the football team loving one another. He’s really big on guys getting to know each other, building that winning culture. He’s very passionate. He’s a former wrestler. He brings a lot of good things to the table.

“I’m most excited about the winning culture that we’re forming. He’s doing a bunch of cool activities like having guys get up and speak in front of the team and talk about why football is important to them. I’m learning more about my teammates that I’ve played with for the last two seasons in a couple weeks in Buffalo than I’ve known for the last two years.”

Incognito also acknowledged that the culture of the team had to change after two years under Ryan.

“The culture change was needed. I love Rex [Ryan], I love what he brought to the team, but I don’t think our locker room was ready for it,” Incognito said. “I don’t think we had a veteran enough group to be able to adapt to Rex’s system and to be able to make that work. So now we have a young and hungry team, and with coach [Sean] McDermott coming in and being detail-oriented and holding guys accountable, hopefully that helps us take the next step.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-30

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2016 – 11:28 am

A lot of change this week, with more to come this offseason (23 unrestricted free agents). Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills 

What is the general mood/feeling amongst the players right now, post Rex firing?

Matthew Rule
@MatthewtheRule

CB: I think players are disappointed and feel some measure of guilt, knowing the results on the field played a role in the decision that ownership made on Rex Ryan. At the same time there are some players like Sammy Watkins and other vets, who in the wake of the change made at the head coaching position feels there needs to be more discipline and harder coaching at the top.

Knowing there are 23 unrestricted free agents on this roster, there are also a number of players who are going to be supremely motivated to good the best possible product on tape this Sunday. Chief among them is EJ Manuel, who has an opportunity to put fresh game tape out there to show where he has advanced his game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Why are the Bills the way that they are?

Christopher Gump
@gumpcd0315

CB: I think the easiest way to explain it is when you haven’t found a viable solution for your head coaching position, you have to make a change in an effort to find the right fit and improve. But that constant change also makes it hard for a team to gain traction and make progress. That’s where this team is right now.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who is more likely to re-sign with Buffalo, Gilmore or Woods?

Dave
@Billsfanhanes

CB: Good question. I’m not going to pretend to know Doug Whaley’s priority list, but I think Gilmore is probably a more important component. As encouraging as Kevon Seymour’s rookie season has been, keeping Gilmore in the fold would be a good thing. For that to happen though I think his presumed asking price will have to come down a bit.

As for Woods, it’s a hard one to gauge. I think the organization respects Woods’ game and his willingness to play hurt. But the market for receivers with his kind of production will put him close to $9M per season. If the team wants to add a different kind of skill set to the receiving corps, then it might be hard to justify that kind of spending for Woods.

I’m not saying he isn’t worth it. I just don’t know if in Buffalo’s offseason planning they deem that kind of figure to be money well spent when they’re likely to look at other options, and other positions for that matter, where they need help.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Are we looking at keeping Hunter? I think he’s a good fit in our O.

Jamal
@mrmajic73

CB: This is one of those other options I was referencing in the above answer on Woods. There is no debating that Hunter’s skill set is tantalizing. The Bills aren’t the first team to be attracted to his physical skill set. What they have to determine is whether Hunter has the sense of urgency and professionalism to do things the right way every day, in every practice and in every game.

Hopefully they’ve been around him long enough (three quarters of this season) to have a healthy handle on the type of work ethic he has and whether a quality receivers coach (Sanjay Lal is one by the way) can develop his game further.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Seems DBs took a step back this year. What impact do you think the loss of Donnie Henderson had on the defense this season?

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

CB: I certainly understand the question because the consistency of defensive back play did take a step back this season, or at the very least was inconsistent. When asked specifically about it, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, who is a former cornerback himself, did admit that lapses in technique proved to be their biggest issue.

What’s tough to answer is who at fault for that? Is it the coaches for not drilling it more often in practice? Is it the players for not adhering to it enough in game situations?

You have to believe if the coaching staff knows technique is the problem in a game (e.g. Week 2 against the Jets), then they’re going to emphasize it more in practice. Are they drilling it in a way for players to effectively understand and apply properly? Are the players equipped physically to execute the technique being taught, or must a different approach be taken? Are the players being professional in trying to fix the errors they made in previous games?

You can get pretty deep down that rabbit hole before you find an answer.

I think the defensive back play did see a noticeable uptick in the second half of the season, so there was effective coaching and player improvement. This team is going to finish in the top 10 in pass defense. Part of that is due to the team’s struggling run defense, but pass defense has improved since some of its struggles in the first half of the season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Felton: Players were able to focus amid Rex rumors

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2016 – 5:09 pm

The Bills players heard the reports that Rex Ryan’s job was in jeopardy, but they insist through the past couple of weeks they were able to focus on their jobs.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show in the wake of Ryan’s firing, Jerome Felton said he saw teammates who were committed to their jobs on and off the field.

“The last few weeks we heard a lot about it,” he said. “We tried to focus on winning football games. You could tell. We played tough against Miami, they’re a good team, but we didn’t get it done in the end. It wasn’t a case of this is what we’re hearing so there’s no reason to play hard. We tried to win every game and some we won and some we lost. In the end it wasn’t good enough.

“I didn’t think we looked at it like we were playing for Rex’s job. Everybody is playing for their own job every week in the NFL. It’s a tough business. I don’t know if we were worried about that. We were worried about executing the game plan and trying to win a football game and put ourselves in a good position. Sometimes we did that, sometimes we didn’t and it wasn’t good enough this year.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Felton: Tough day at 1 Bills Drive

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2016 – 5:01 pm

Head coach Rex Ryan and Assistant head coach/Defense Rob Ryan were both fired on Tuesday. Naturally for the players, some of whom went in to work on their off day found the day difficult.

“There’s always disappointment obviously,” said FB Jerome Felton in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “Rex gave me an opportunity to come here and play for the Buffalo Bills. Knowing that we didn’t get it done from a wins and losses standpoint and getting to where our goals were it’s definitely disappointing and a tough deal when this happens.”

Felton has been through coaching changes before.

“I just think collectively we think we could’ve done this or done that and realizing that we didn’t accomplish our goals,” said Felton. “Coupled with what happened today it’s tough.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-23

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2016 – 11:22 am

Merry Christmas Bills fans! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills some people think Bills should experiment Cordy at RT and keep Cyrus at LT thoughts?

Derek Babcock
@armyguy702

CB: What makes this suggestion so interesting is gone are the days where the left tackle has to be your absolute best lineman. Most NFL defenses have two quality pass rushers on either side of their formation. Perfect example is this week’s opponent. The better pass rusher is Cameron Wake, but he lines up on the left side of Miami’s defensive formation, which means he’ll be facing RT Jordan Mills.

So each week it’s not an absolute. The point I’m trying to make is moving Glenn to right tackle is not as big a deal as it might have been 10-15 years ago. Now does that mean that it will happen? That depends.

We have to see how the offseason unfolds in terms of who is retained in free agency and who is not. Jordan Mills is set to become an unrestricted free agent. As a starter on this roster for the last year and a half, he’ll presumably command a pretty respectable price tag.

Knowing that Seantrel Henderson’s long term health is a touch and go situation, if the Bills want to retain Mills they’ll have to put together an offer that is at least competitive with market value.

The caveat here is what the organization thinks of Kouandjio. He’s certainly made some sizable strides with his game this year. Just this week he also stated that he feels he has better motor memory on the left side instead of the right.

Kouandjio’s rookie contract is up after 2017. If they decide they want to invest long term in Kouandjio it could impact the size of any extension offer they might present to Mills.

If Mills is ultimately not retained I think the scenario you suggest could at least be a consideration, knowing that Kouandjio would presumably be elevated to starter opposite Glenn. And knowing Kouandjio feels more comfortable playing the left side, Glenn being flipped to the right is not out of the realm of possibility.

Just keep in mind that a lot of dominoes have to fall to get to that point.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Chris, what the hell is going on over there?!

Andy Mac
@XKC4338

CB: I think based on some of the national media tweets/reports there is a general perception that the sky is falling at One Bills Drive. Embedded at the facility every day I can say it truly is business as usual. There is no sense of foreboding in the building. Coaches and players are interacting as they typically do. Management is interacting with the coaching staff as they usually do. And there is no indication that anybody is walking on eggshells around here.

As GM Doug Whaley stated in his radio interview Friday morning, the focus is on the Dolphins. And quite frankly if there were coaches and players in the building who weren’t focused on that, then there would be a problem.  

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are the Bills liking Seymour starting? Do they have faith in Darby to step in next year as a cheaper option to Gilmore?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Much like the first question above, this is something that will be evaluated in the offseason. I know that management and the coaching staff is very excited about Seymour’s potential. I have to say taking the time to watch him work against Oakland’s Amari Cooper when Ronald Darby was out of the lineup, he performed well. His only blemish was getting beat on a double move for a TD. That might sound bad, but his performance on the whole in that game was quite good. It was encouraging to see him step up and play that well.

I think the club wholeheartedly believes in Darby, and I think they’re encouraged about the ceiling for Seymour. In an ideal world they’re able to re-sign Gilmore, but if his asking price is still in the Josh Norman stratosphere ($15M/yr) I just don’t see it happening in Buffalo.

In that case the Bills would have to move on and go with Darby as their No. 1 and Seymour would compete to be the No. 2 with whomever else might be added (free agency/draft).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills #FanFriday Is the lack of a “2 min drill” or urgency at end of half/game more on TT, Rex or Lynn? It’s been 2 yrs of this.

Joe Maglie@rockdj69

CB: I respect the point you’re making. Part of Buffalo’s success in two-minute situations is about opportunity, but unquestionably part of it has been a reluctance to really push the ball down the field.

This might sound surprising, but Buffalo is ranked 10th in the league in scoring at the end of the first half, when I believe most fans have taken issue with Rex Ryan’s approach offensively. According to Statspass, the Bills have scored 52 points at the end of the half this season, which is slightly above the NFL average (48 pts).

When it comes to points scored on their first possession of the second half Buffalo is tied for sixth in the league with 37 points.

It’s my belief that their success rate coming out after halftime has prompted the Bills to play it a bit more conservative at the end of the first half.

I think an overlooked factor with Buffalo’s decision to be conservative at the end of the first half on offense is rooted in their desire to keep their opponent from scoring before the half expires.

Buffalo’s offense by nature is a ball control offense. With Sammy Watkins out for half the season their ability to have a quick strike scoring drive was severely hampered. It’s my belief that Rex Ryan felt his best defense at the end of the half was an offense that held onto the ball, knowing they’d have the ball again to start the second half in all but a couple of games this season.

Proof of that approach working for the most part this season (it didn’t at Oakland), is Buffalo ranks fifth in the NFL in preventing scores by their opponents at the end of the half. They’ve given up just 27 points all season at the end of the second quarter.

And I credit their offense for holding onto the ball and not giving it back to their opponent almost as much as I credit Buffalo’s defense for that statistic.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills if the Bills, simply by luck of geography, were in AFC South, would futures of Rex, Whaley & Tyrod look much diff right now?

Parasauralophus@lophus89

CB: Your question is an interesting one to ponder. Having two games against the Jaguars sounds a whole lot better than two games against the Patriots. Perception can often impact an opinion of the job being done by a head coach, quarterback or organization in general.

I think we can all agree that Buffalo would likely have more than seven wins if they played in the AFC South. So that very well could alter the public opinion of Rex Ryan, Doug Whaley and the team in general.

But that’s not reality. You have to deal with where you are and Buffalo is in the AFC East.

Doug Whaley said they’re not satisfied with where they sit, but they are what they are at 7-7, which is average. They want better, just like all Bills fans do. Only ownership knows if they’re opportunity to achieve better beyond this year will be in the cards.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex concerned about Glenn’s availability

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2016 – 12:49 pm

Cordy Glenn was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, but could not practice on Thursday due to a nagging back issue. Head coach Rex Ryan is concerned about whether he’ll be available for Saturday’s game against the Dolphins.

“I don’t know,” said Ryan after Thursday’s practice. “We’ll see how he does, but that was not a good sign today.”

Glenn missed a pair of starts earlier this season after he aggravated a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss time in training camp. Cyrus Kouandjio would step in at left tackle if he can’t go on Saturday.

Fortunately RT Jordan Mills was back at practice Thursday after a 24-hour bug kept him out of practice Wednesday.

Here’s a look at Buffalo’s injury report for Thursday. Final status for Saturday’s game is not due until Friday.

DID NOT PRACTICE
OT Cordy Glenn – back
LB Lerentee McCray – concussion

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
G John Miller – hip
FB Jerome Felton – foot
DT Kyle Williams – back
TE Charles Clay – knee
LB Preston Brown – foot
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
DL Jerel Worthy – shoulder

FULL PRACTICE
QB Tyrod Taylor – groin
RB LeSean McCoy – knee
OLB Shaq Lawson – foot
OLB Jerry Hughes – hamstring


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: Win Sunday was tune-up for Miami rematch

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2016 – 9:04 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan made his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 and reviewed Buffalo’s win over Cleveland Sunday. He’s hopeful that their convincing 20-point victory will serve as a springboard into Saturday’s rematch with the Dolphins, who put an end to Buffalo’s four-game winning streak back in Week 7.

“No disrespect to Cleveland because they have a lot of good players on that team, but this (win) was like a tune-up before a huge match,” said Ryan. “This team got the better of us and pushed us around and were more physical than we were the last time we played them. We’ve got a chance to return the favor.”

The Dolphins were 2-4 going into their first meeting with the Bills, who were 4-2. Since that come from behind win by Miami, the Dolphins have won six of their last seven. Buffalo meanwhile has won three of their last seven games.

The Bills need the win Sunday and a lot of help to keep their flickering playoff chances alive.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-16

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2016 – 11:38 am

Got to take care of business against a team that is young and lacking talent Sunday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills We need another big body WR. Especially one that can come in opposite Sammy Watkins. Why didn’t Buffalo jump on M. Floyd?

Kevin Ward
@ItsTheSooperman

CB: I was wondering myself why they wouldn’t take a flyer on him. My thinking was with so much rotating through a host of different receivers due to injury, adding another with three weeks left in the season might not have been seen as a productive option. But I’ll let GM Doug Whaley answer that one.

“We talked about it,” said Whaley of putting in a waiver claim. “But with his situation and being a free agent after this season, we thought right now with Sammy coming along, Robert Woods back and Justin Hunter, with the guys we have and the timing they’re developing with Tyrod, we just thought it wouldn’t be a good addition for us at this time.”
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will move on from either Rex and/or Whaley after this season?

nickellion79
@nickellion79

CB: I think these last few games will have a lot to do with what happens moving forward. I don’t get the feeling that the front office is in limbo as much.  

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale going to be the answer or is this just another resting point in a QB search?

Joshua Lewin
@OneBuffalo39

CB: There’s no way for anyone to know if Cardale is going to be the answer at QB for the Bills. What Jones is right now is a developmental project who has physical tools and instincts that are worth developing to see if he can be the answer at quarterback down the line.

As Doug Whaley just said on the radio today, he is nowhere near being ready to play in an NFL regular season game. The guy played in 11 college games. Right from the start when they drafted him the Bills looked at Jones 2016 season as a redshirt year at this level.

If he puts together a strong offseason next spring and summer and demonstrates that he’s quick on the uptake he could perhaps convince the coaching staff to open up another quarterback competition. But at this point that looks like a big ‘if.’

And if the offense changes again it will make it even more unlikely since the learning curve for Jones will be on reset.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills do other teams have as many anonymous leaks undermining the Coach / GM / QB on gamedays as BUF? Bills had playoffs on the line.

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: The timing of the information being released was tied to the reporter’s on camera segment on CBS’ pre-game show Sunday more than anything else. The report was published shortly after he appeared on the network’s programming.

While I don’t debate for a second that the leaks undermining the coach and/or others is unfortunate, I think you’re going on the assumption that the leak was internal. While I don’t dispute that it could be the case, unless that can be definitively ascertained we have to at least be open to the possibility that it could’ve come from outside the organization too. Someone that has close ties to the club, but doesn’t work for the team.

Typical culprits in those cases are player agents, who could very well be serving an agenda for someone inside the club. Sometimes that could be the agenda of the player they represent, especially if they don’t get along with the coaching staff.

Hopefully that helps provide a glimpse as to how many different paths a leak like this could travel.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills are the bills leaning more toward drafting a qb and signing a FA or just drafting one if they do not sign Taylor?

Jared Bailey

@JaredBailey23

CB: I think that’s an assessment that will be based on what they think of Taylor as a QB, whether they genuinely believe they can do better in the short term. That’s based on who is available in free agency, via trade and in the draft. Neither the free agent market, nor the draft class look all that impressive at first glance. So I don’t see any easy answers out there if the club decides to move on from Taylor.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex concerned about Kyle’s availability

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2016 – 12:45 pm

DT Kyle Williams did not practice Friday due to back problems and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Head coach Rex Ryan admits the defense may not have their veteran leader this weekend.

“I’m concerned. I think it was last night it locked up on him,” said Ryan. “We’ll have to see how that goes, but that’s obviously a big concern.”

If Williams cannot go it’s likely that Jerel Worthy steps in for him on run downs and Leger Douzable on pass downs.

“Luckily we have Marcell back. We have Douzable. We’ll be fine with that group,” said Ryan. “Worthy will have to step up in a role. We activated Coleman last week, so he’ll be up too. We’re fortunate that we’re pretty healthy in that spot. It’s hard to replace Kyle, but we’ll do the best we can if we have to.”

Kyle Williams is currently fourth on the team in tackles and tied for second in tackles for loss.

Brandon Spikes did not practice on Friday due to illness and is also questionable.

OUT
LB Lerentee McCray – concussion

QUESTIONABLE
DT Kyle Williams – back
WR Robert Woods – knee
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – back
LB Brandon Spikes – illness


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-9

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2016 – 12:26 pm

It’s a do or die week for the Bills. Step 1 of as win four straight scenario for Buffalo’s playoff aspirations. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Dennis Thurman said D is still a work in progress. Nearly 2 years have passed what are the issues? Players or the scheme?

David Marciano@rockydm92

CB: I think there are a lot things that have cropped up along the way for the defense that have compromised its consistency. Last year losing Kyle Williams and Aaron Williams, two main directors of communication last year was a big issue. Mario Williams dissension was another problem as was Rex Ryan’s decision to try to blend some of the successful concepts from Jim Schwartz’s scheme in with his. He admitted himself that was a mistake.

This year I think the absence of Marcell Dareus (suspension/injury) for half of the season hurt, as well as the loss of Aaron Williams again. That compromised the consistency of play at safety.

Adding Rob Ryan to the staff improved red zone defense greatly in the first half of the season. It’s hard to determine why the goal to go defense has struggled so much of late to devalue what were impressive numbers when they were defending inside their own 20.

The other big problem this year has been a lack of takeaways. After getting 12 in the first six games, the Bills have just two in their last six games for a total of just 14, and they both came in Stephon Gilmore’s two interception game at Cincinnati. Fourteen takeaways is seventh-fewest in the NFL.

Then I think there is an issue with mental toughness. The ability to respond when adversity strikes. Players have admitted that it is an issue that has proven tough for them to overcome.

We’ve all witnessed substitution problems with changing personnel groupings and getting calls in on time before the offense snaps the ball. It has happened far too often for an NFL club, and stretches back even to last season. That has to get fixed. There’s no excuse for having 10 men on the field or 12 men in the huddle. That’s an operational, chain of command type thing that has to be rectified.

The scheme has been tweaked and changed over the past two years to try to reduce the volume and allow the talent of the players to come through, and the miscommunication on plays has been reduced. Players admit they still struggle with responding and making something positive happen when the opponent steals the momentum of a game.

So in a long-winded way I think both scheme and the players are responsible for the shortcomings of the defense.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills 

Hey Chris,

Another year of great work man! Why has Jerel Worthy not been in lineup more? When hes been in, was making plays.

Dave@billsguy34

CB: I don’t disagree with your assessment. Since Marcell Dareus has come back the defensive line rotation has usually left Worthy as the odd man out. However, Adolphus Washington has been getting less playing time of late. The last four games he’s gotten 18, 20, 24 and 10 snaps. Worthy’s snap counts have been 22, 10, 1 and inactive.

Washington and Worthy to me are similar players. I think Washington has hit a bit of the rookie wall, so perhaps Worthy sees a bit more time down the stretch.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills is it a possibility that Sammy Watkins or Cordy Glenn gets traded at the end of the season always being injury prone?

S.Radford
@radfordboyz1220

CB: I think trading Watkins or Glenn is highly unlikely. Glenn is the team’s most talented lineman. Even Eric Wood would tell you that. He just signed a giant extension and has missed just two games this season with a high ankle sprain. He’s not going anywhere.

While I understand your frustration with Watkins lack of availability due to injury it doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a dynamic, game changing player. You don’t trade that commodity away. You have him at an affordable price on his rookie contract next year, so seeing how healthy he can stay in 2017 is definitely worth it knowing how he can change the complexion of a game.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills how many 4th Quarter comeback wins does Tyrod have?

Henrik Ek
@leroyek

CB: By my count he has two. Last year Week 5 at Tennessee and this season Week 12 against the Jaguars.

 

5 – Hi Chris;

As always many thanks for keeping Bills fans current on the team.  The past couple of games I have gotten the feeling that Rob (and Rex) are calling more of the defensive plays than Dennis has been.  I felt all along that would be the case once Rex brought his brother on board.  Is this actually the case?

Bryon
Plattsburgh NY
CB: I took a look at this last week in Oakland and it appeared that Assistant HC Rob Ryan was calling the plays from the sideline with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman organizing personnel groupings. Earlier in the year Thurman was calling the plays, but it seems like those duties have vacillated back and forth through the course of the season. Based on observation it seems like Rob Ryan has handled more of those responsibilities the past few games. We’ll try to get that confirmed this coming week.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby, Woods back practicing; Watkins waits

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2016 – 4:36 pm

The Bills injury situation is improving this week. Both Ronald Darby and Robert Woods returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis coming off a concussion and knee injury respectively.

Sammy Watkins didn’t practice, but it was part of the plan this week. He’s expected to participate in practice Thursday.

“I can just tell you what Sammy said,” Rex Ryan said Wednesday. “Sammy felt better after this (Oakland) game physically than he did the first game (Jacksonville), so I think that’s a good thing. How much better he’s going to get, I’m not that sure.”

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Lerentee McCray LB Concussion DNP
Cordy Glenn T Back DNP
Sammy Watkins WR Foot DNP
Lorenzo Alexander LB Not injury related DNP
Robert Woods WR Knee LP
Ronald Darby CB Concussion LP
Charles Clay TE Knee LP
Tyrod Taylor QB Groin FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills will go big to fix goal line defense

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 2:05 pm

Head coach Rex Ryan is never afraid to tell it like it is and when it’s come to his team’s defense in goal-to-go situations it hasn’t been good at all. Over the last five games their red zone defense has slipped from first in the league to 19th, and the main culprit is goal-to-go situations. But Ryan and his defensive staff have come up with a very logical solution.

According to Ryan the Bills have given up 12 touchdowns on 22 goal-to-go plays. When opponents have been in 1st-and-goal situations anywhere from the five-yard line or closer they have scored 100 percent of the time against Buffalo.

Ryan said getting Marcell Dareus back in the lineup on a regular basis will help their goal line defense. Dareus is coming off his best game of the season against Jacksonville. He had eight tackles including three for loss along with a pair of sacks. But there’s another part of the plan to pair with Dareus on goal line defense.

“Having Marcell back will certainly help and we’re going to activate (DeAndre) Coleman a 340-pound defensive tackle,” said head coach Rex Ryan in his weekly appearance on Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Horton’s. “I think that’s going to help us also.”

Coleman was just called up from the practice squad this week, and based on Ryan’s plans will see action at least in the goal line situations.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Key to beating Raiders? Fewer possessions

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2016 – 1:15 pm

Just about every team in the AFC is trying to figure out how to stop the Raiders high octane offense that seems to routinely put up 30 points a week in almost effortless fashion. Some teams have come up with the right formula to beating Oakland, and though Atlanta simply outscored them to win, only Kansas City succeeded in executing that formula. And it’s a way that perhaps the Bills can put themselves in position to get a seemingly unlikely road win.

Back in Week 6 the Chiefs went in with the approach of establishing a ground game to set up favorable down and distance on third downs, and converted more than half of those (7-13) to keep their drives alive. Kansas City rushed for 183 yards in the game and went 3-for-6 in the red zone to win going away 26-10.

The key was limiting Oakland’s possessions by keeping their own offense on the field. The Raiders average a shade over 12 possessions per game this season. The Chiefs ability to keep their own drives alive allowed Oakland to possess the ball just 10 times. The Raiders had just 23:15 of possession time.

Add in the fact that Kansas City stopped two of those possessions with takeaways, and it’s more like an eight-possession game for the Raiders.

Buffalo would appear to be in a position to take the same approach with their strong rushing attack and a defensive scheme very similar to that of the Chiefs. Head coach Rex Ryan seems to be in agreement.

“I think the big thing is as a team you try to keep their possessions to a minimum,” said Ryan on his weekly appearance on Coffee with the Coach presented by Tim Horton’s. “I saw the other week against Houston they had just six possessions. Typically in an NFL game you get 12 possessions so I think if we can do that we’ll be in good shape.”

Actually the Raiders had 11 possessions in that game, but they only ran 51 plays as Houston’s defense got off the field on third down allowing the Raiders only four of 13 conversions. The Texans led 20-13 early in the fourth quarter, and only allowed Oakland to have 23:33 in time of possession.

The problem was they got beat over the top for a 75 and a 35-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter and lost 27-20.

One other team that came close to pulling off the upset over the 9-2 Raiders with this formula was Baltimore. The Ravens held a 27-21 lead in the fourth quarter and only let the Oakland offense run 54 plays with time of possession just over 25 minutes, but lost by one when Derek Carr hit Michael Crabtree for 23-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining.

It’s a formula that appears feasible, you just have to have your run game work well in controlling the clock, finish drives and then get stops defensively, and ideally a takeaway or two to keep Carr’s opportunities with the ball to a minimum. It’s just been very hard for most of Oakland’s opponents to pull off.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tragedy of McKnight’s passing hits Bills hard

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2016 – 9:58 am

Former NY Jets RB Joe McKnight was the victim of road rage Thursday when he was gunned down sitting in his car at a stop light in Terrytown, Louisiana after a verbal argument with another man.

An eyewitness told NOLA.com that she was leaving a nearby store when she witnessed the confrontation. The woman said a man was yelling at the athlete, who looked like he was apologizing, when he pulled out a gun and shot McKnight multiple times. She said the shooter then stood over the fallen footballer and said, “I told you don’t f–k with me” and fired one more time.

The shooter remained at the scene and was apprehended by police.

McKnight, a former USC running back, was drafted by the Jets in 2010 and coached by Rex Ryan for three seasons in New York. Ryan issued a statement in reaction to the 28-year old’s tragic death.

“Hearing this news about Joe McKnight is just so heartbreaking. He was such a great guy who meant a lot to a lot of people. When he first came to us at the Jets, he was this raw, talented kid. He had some issues as do a lot of guys. Obviously, we know the background, him going through (Hurricane) Katrina and a lot of different things. But he was always determined to get better–better as a football player and better as a man–and I thought he did that. That was exciting for me to see.

“One year when we had Joe we led the NFL in kickoff returns and I thought he was going to go to the Pro Bowl that year and he probably should have. But I was more proud of how he was off the field. When he went to Kansas City he seemed to have changed his life and that was a great thing. I remember when we played the Chiefs he came over and saw me and Anthony Lynn and it was great to see him.

“Joe will be remembered for a lot of good things and I was proud to have known him and proud to have coached him.

“My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to Joe’s family and friends and we’ll keep them in our prayers at this difficult time.”

Bills RB Reggie Bush, a fellow USC running back, took to social media to express his feelings about the passing of his friend and address the troubling results that can come from road rage, as this is the second NFL player to be killed in a road rage incident. Saints DL Will Smith was also shot and killed in Louisiana in a road rage incident this past spring.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodwin added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2016 – 4:59 pm

The rash of injuries at receiver continues for the Bills. Marquise Goodwin was added to Thursday’s injury report with a wrist injury suffered in practice. He was listed as a limited participant.

The injury occurred right at the end of practice, so head coach Rex Ryan did not have much of an update.

“We’ll see what happens, but it just happened out here in a two minute drill,” said Ryan.

Ryan said he’s not optimistic about having Robert Woods or Percy Harvin in the lineup on Sunday. He’s more encouraged about Sammy Watkins being in the lineup Sunday.

But Walt Powell went on injured reserve and Dez Lewis was called up from the practice squad. All the roster shuffling at the position makes it hard to establish rhythm in Buffalo’s passing game.

“It’s tough,” said offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. “It’s tougher on the quarterback than anybody. You know, he doesn’t create that trust, and…factor. But you just have to make adjustments and move on.”

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Robert Woods – knee
WR Percy Harvin – migraines
CB Ronald Darby – concussion

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
LB Lorenzo Alexander – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – back
S James Ihedigbo – ankle
G Richie Incognito – neck
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
RB Mike Gillislee – hamstring
LB Preston Brown – wrist
S Sergio Brown – hamstring
WR Marquise Goodwin – wrist


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins amount of playing time Sunday TBD

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2016 – 6:07 pm

Sammy Watkins came through Sunday’s game just fine. In fact he felt so good he was pining for more time on the field. He got 25 of Buffalo’s 55 snaps on offense. But Buffalo is taking a very cautious approach with Watkins after a two month layoff. So as much as they’d like to play Watkins more this Sunday in Oakland, they’re taking the same approach they did last week as far as practice is concerned.

“I don’t want to place any number on it. Will he get more or less? We’ll just be smart with him,” said head coach Rex Ryan of Watkins. “We’ll be smart through the week as well. We’re not going to overdo it on the practice field. We need him healthy, and recognizing that he had a lot of time off and hasn’t done a whole lot of football activity. So we’ve got to balance that. We all want to get him on the field for the entire game, but I don’t know if that’s the best thing for him and for our football team.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: Harvin trying to get back for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2016 – 1:47 pm

It’s not an injury, but illness has made WR Percy Harvin a question mark for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.

Harvin practiced Wednesday, but missed both Thursday and Friday’s practice sessions. Head coach Rex Ryan addressed Harvin’s availability for Sunday.

“He’s trying so hard to get back. I’m hopeful he’ll be able to get back,” said Ryan. “He wasn’t able to practice the last couple of days. He comes in and he’s trying to come in, but we pretty much treat him and send him back home.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carpenter was right on the line

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2016 – 10:08 pm

Kicker Dan Carpenter was instrumental in Buffalo’s win over Cincinnati Sunday. His 54-yard field goal early in the third quarter gave the Bills a one-point lead, that he only built on with a 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. But just how close was Carpenter to his limit based on game conditions on his long distance kick?

“That was it,” said head coach Rex Ryan as to where the line of demarcation was for Carpenter on the field. “That’s as deep as it was going and it was funny because he ran out there with no hesitation. I’m debating and he answered that question. He ran on the field and we would have had 12 on the field because he was out there. He was a confident man and he killed it. It was a huge, huge kick for us.”

The 54-yard field goal was Carpenter’s longest this season. It also set a Bills record. Carpenter now has 14 50-yard field goals in his Bills career, breaking the previous team record of 13 held by Steve Christie.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Groy to start, Rex feels good about Dareus

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2016 – 2:03 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan put the starting status of a few positions up for grabs this week in practice in an effort to foster competition and improve consistency. On Friday he only confirmed who will be manning on starting role on Sunday.

“We’re going to start (Ryan) Groy at center, but that’s really the only lineup change that I’m comfortable saying right now,” said Ryan.

As for Marcell Dareus, who is battling his way through a groin injury, Ryan is optimistic that his defensive tackle will be able to suit up in Cincinnati.

“I don’t want to ‘cat’ myself, but I’m feeling pretty good about the big man,” he said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What made Jerry Hughes a punt blocker

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2016 – 3:14 am

Bills special teams coordinator Danny Crossman knew Seattle had a rookie long snapper and felt there was an advantage to be had for Buffalo’s punt return unit if he had the right guy for the job. Head coach Rex Ryan gave him permission to use his best pass rusher and it all worked at the start of Monday night’s game in Seattle.

After the defense sent the Seattle offense three-and-out on their first possession, Hughes beat his man and blocked Jon Ryan’s punt, which went out of bounds at the three-yard line. A play later Tyrod Taylor was running into the end zone.

“It was Danny Crossman,” said head coach Rex Ryan on where credit should be given. “We knew they had a rookie long snapper who was struggling a little bit in protection and we put our best player in there and Jerry made a great play.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills