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Inside The Bills

Ryan: With young QB patience a virtue

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Rex Ryan knows what kind of quarterback situation he’s walking into here in Buffalo with the position very much up in the air. He also knows the most talented QB currently on the roster is very young and he’s learned from his experiences with young signal callers before.

“You always want to be patient with a young talented guy,” said Ryan in a radio interview this week on WBEN. “Obviously EJ was drafted in the first round for many reasons. It’s funny because probably 15 years ago everybody would be patient with a young quarterback and now you see these guys coming in and a rookie or two might step forward and do some good things. EJ did. He had some really good moments.”

Where Ryan believes Manuel needs to improve is with the consistency of his fundamental execution and Ryan intends to tab David Lee for that job.

“He’s got to improve fundamentally and I think that’s where it starts,” he said. “David Lee is here as our quarterbacks coach, we’re excited about that. EJ will certainly have that opportunity to be that quarterback. As far as who else is coming in I can honestly say there isn’t a person in our organization who knows that right now. We’re still in the evaluation stage.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-13

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2015 – 12:44 pm

Don’t forget our NFL combine coverage begins in earnest over the weekend leading up to our coverage in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium Tuesday presented by Napa. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris
Are there specific areas that EJ has improved in by watching Orton from the side lines? Also, how is his relationship with the other players now, compared to before he was replaced by Orton?

Ppante

CB: He told me specifically that he learned about what’s most important to focus on during the week leading up to the game from a game plan and opponent study standpoint. Manuel said in the past there may have been some things he spent too much time on in his preparation that didn’t carry as high a priority as other aspects of his film study.

I also felt he became more accurate in the practice setting when it came to hitting his targets in rhythm and on time. I think we all recognize that it’s a different thing when it’s game speed, but those are two areas where he benefitted by being able to focus on his game for the last 12 weeks of the 2014 season.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Loved this guy coming out of college. What is your opinion of Hoyer? Do we get another journeyman QB or go for a big Trade?

BuffalonianFilm

CB: I don’t think a trade to acquire a quarterback can be ruled out, but the Bills have limited assets in the way of draft choices (no 1st or 4th). Hoyer is a limited NFL QB. I believe everybody recognizes that. I think the more likely scenario is picking up a veteran in free agency and then drafting one in the middle rounds.

 

3 – Chris,

Bills fan from Toronto here. Just having thoughts about our team here…

How much do you think Hughes/Spiller are asking for and how much do you think the bills are willing to give them? Also do the Bills still have their franchise tag and if so would they use it on Hughes?
Is adrian peterson an option if C.J. spiller takes his talents elsewhere (ny jets)?
What are they gonna do about their QB situation??? Are they gonna draft maybe Hundley in 2nd round, sign Mark Sanchez or maybe trade for Sam Bradford or Jay Cutler?

Thanks, MW

CB: It’s my belief that Jerry Hughes’ agent will be looking for pretty big money and here’s why.

Over the last two seasons Hughes is tied for the fourth-most sacks in the league (20) behind only J.J. Watt, Rams pass rusher Robert Quinn and Mario Williams. He’s tied with Cameron Wake and the Saints’ Cameron Jordan. Watt and Williams are the two highest paid defensive ends in the league in terms of average salary at $16.6M and $16M.

They’re followed by Quinn ($14.2/yr) and Carolina’s Charles Johnson ($12.6M). Wake signed his extension back in 2012 and it averages only $6.6M.

Now the Bills will probably argue that Hughes plays with three Pro Bowl players on Buffalo’s defensive line and is rarely seeing double teams. But it’s hard to knock a guy that’s producing, and doing it for more than one year.

I fear that the Hughes camp will be asking for around $10M a season in a long term deal. That could be a tough one to manage knowing that Mario and Kyle Williams are the top two salaries on the club in terms of average salary already with Dareus sixth on the roster.  We’ll see. I don’t think the franchise tag is a realistic option for Buffalo.

As for Spiller it will be interesting to see if there’s a difference of opinion on his true value between he and the Bills. Paying top dollar for Spiller is probably difficult to justify in light of his recent history of injuries.

There’s no debating his home-run talent and he’s a good teammate in the locker room, but with another new offensive system coming in you wonder how he’ll weigh that into his decision on where to play. There’s also no dismissing the fact that the coach who helped him enjoy his most productive season is the offensive coordinator in New York.

Adrian Peterson is a great fit for a power run game, but I’d be surprised if he moves on from Minnesota.

The QB situation for Buffalo is obviously up in the air. They have to see who actually makes it to the free agent market or if there are any trade opportunities that might surface. The draft is probably where they’ll add one too. How early is the question.

 

4- Hi Chris, I have two questions:

  1. Would the Bills draft an additional running back given the fact that Rex Ryan wants to ground and pound?

Two college prospects, Malcolm Brown and Matt Davis seem like good fits, plus they are projected to be drafted in the later rounds.

  1. Besides looking at Mark Sanchez, would the Bills look at Ryan Mallet? Or Christian Ponder? I think Ryan Mallet would be the best fit, because he is younger. Obviously, E.J. Manuel is an option, but he has to read defenses better.

In summary, Rex Ryan has quite a bit of talent to work with, but if the offense is dysfunctional, it will compromise the efforts of the defense. Even a great defense will fold if its on the field for long stretches of time.

Your thoughts,
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: I think there’s a pretty good bet that the Bills draft a running back at some point in the draft. This year’s class is deep at that position, thanks in large part to the junior eligibles that have declared. Buffalo needs to add some youth there and a true pile pusher that preferably has some wiggle to his game and receiving ability.

With that in mind it’s hard to find the perfect prospect. I believe there are a few that fit all of the criteria well enough in this draft. I do like South Carolina’s Mike Davis. Great person and player in the Fred Jackson mold and carries a bit more power behind his pads. Does everything right and has NFL bloodlines with his older brother James Davis a former 6th-round pick of Cleveland in 2009.

You could do worse than guys like Boise State’s Jay Ajayi and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon when it comes to a power run game. Unfortunately a good number of the true power backs coming out this year aren’t big in the receiving game.

At quarterback I don’t know if Mallett is a fit because his skill set is in stark contrast to that of Manuel. I’m not saying he’s off the table, but he’s a strict pocket guy while Manuel has movement ability. How much would the offense need to change from one to the other if there was an injury to the winner of the competition? I know Ryan said Sanchez is a consideration at his press conference, but I’m not sure of that.

I do know that there isn’t a whole lot of quality to choose from.

5 – Chris,

In the new defense, where do you see the linebackers position playing out? Kiko did play well in the 3-4 under Pettine. Preston and Nigel did well in the 4-3, how do they fit into a 3-4 scheme. Nigel isn’t a thumper/ pure pass rusher. Will Manny Lawson kick back outside as a pass rusher, same with Hughes (if he can stay?). Curious how this will unfold since this unit had a great 2014.

CB: This is an interesting question. I think we can expect to see Manny Lawson on the field more, particularly on run downs like we did in 2013, when Jerry Hughes rotated in on passing downs. I’d expect to see Kiko Alonso on the open side at OLB, then it’s probably Bradham and Brown in the middle in a 3-4 look.

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex on having faced EJ in games

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2015 – 1:06 pm

EJ Manuel
Bills head coach Rex Ryan clearly remembers the two times he went against EJ Manuel when he was a rookie QB in 2013. The two games were a major contrast in performance on the part of the Bills quarterback.

In the first meeting on the road, Manuel’s first career road start, he was flustered and struggled to make plays. Buffalo fell behind and the pass pressure was unrelenting. Manuel finished 19-42 passing for 243 yards and a touchdown and a passer rating of 71.8.

“The first time we played him I think we overwhelmed him a little bit,” said Ryan in an interview this week on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “I think we sacked him eight or nine times. But he’s a young guy. Now the next time we came out he beat us so he made some improvements. You could see him getting better.”

Two months later Manuel started against the Jets in Week 11 at Ralph Wilson stadium and was a different quarterback. He completed 20-28 passes for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns with a passer rating of 121.9 in a 37-14 Bills win.

Manuel had his share of scrambles and runs as a rookie with 53 carries in 2013, but in his four games last year he took off and ran just 16 times. Ryan would like to see that number increase.

“The one thing I think we need to embrace and he needs to embrace is he can move,” said Ryan. “Use your legs. Sometimes when it’s not there use your legs and know how to protect yourself and get out of bounds, sliding and things like that.

“You might recall with Mark Sanchez I actually brought in Joe Girardi about how to slide. Do something like that where he feels comfortable sliding. When you look at him early when he first started he was able to use his legs and he unfortunately got hurt running. So you’ve got to protect yourself running in this league too.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ryan knows why Hughes prefers Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2015 – 10:59 am

As we covered on Buffalobills.com Wednesday, Jerry Hughes is set to become a free agent after back-to-back 10 sacks seasons. On SiriusXM NFL Radio he said that the Bills are his first choice. His new head coach Rex Ryan isn’t the least bit surprised by Hughes preference for two very important reasons.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan stated that between his successful defensive system and the talent Hughes plays with on Buffalo’s defensive line, it’s totally understandable why a player like Hughes would want to return to that situation.

“I think any defensive player always wants to play in this system, period,” Ryan said. “I’ve had a lot of great ones through the years. This is a young man who really stepped up and quite honestly his first year when he came here it was like, ‘Okay that’s the Jerry Hughes everybody was waiting for when he was a first-round pick of the Colts.’ Then he had the 10-sack year last year. But when you put him alongside Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Super Mario it’s an unbelievable group. Why would you want to leave that?”

Free agency officially opens on March 10th.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex Ryan appearance at Auto Show

Posted by buffalobills.com on February 6, 2015 – 3:46 pm

Rex Ryan made an appearance at the Buffalo Auto Show on Thursday.  He greeted Bills fans and signed autographs.

rex-autoshow-2

The Auto Show will be celebrating “One Buffalo” all week with various Buffalo sports stars.  Rex appeared with members of the Buffalo Bandits and was outfitted in One Buffalo gear.

Former Buffalo Bills LB Darryl Talley will be signing autographs and greeting fans on Saturday, February 7 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Commemorative t-shirts, designed by former Buffalo Bills teammate Mike Hamby, will be for sale with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Talley’s battles against depression and other mental illnesses.

2_One Buffalo_2 ad ALL_4c


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Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Rex Ryan, Talley, Bennett to attend Auto Show

Posted by buffalobills.com on February 4, 2015 – 12:40 pm

This year’s Buffalo Auto Show that takes place at the Buffalo Convention center from February 5 to February 8, 2015 will celebrate One Buffalo and the sports teams that unify our city. The Buffalo Bills will be well represented with various appearances at the event.

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Head Coach Rex Ryan will be in attendance Thursday, February 5 from 6 – 7 p.m.

2_One Buffalo_2 ad ALL_4c

Former Buffalo Bills LB Darryl Talley will be signing autographs and greeting fans on Saturday, February 7 from 5 – 6:30 p.m.   Commemorative t-shirts to raise money for Darryl Talley will be for sale.  The t-shirt was designed by former Buffalo Bills and teammate Mike Hamby and 100% of the proceeds will go to Talley.

talley and bennett image one

For more details about the show, visit buffaloautoshow.com.


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Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

What Rex Ryan provides for Bills fans

Posted by Chris Brown on February 4, 2015 – 10:27 am

It’s pretty obvious in most cases as to just what Rex Ryan will provide as head coach of the Bills in 2015. Fans are very familiar with his confidence, bravado and aggressiveness. Bills owner Kim Pegula believes those qualities provide a secondary benefit for fans.

“They have a lot to be excited about,” said Pegula of the Bills fans. “Sometimes change is good and in this case I think it provides another layer of hope and enthusiasm going into the season. Rex is going to be himself and what you see is what you get with him and I think that’s going to go a long way with our fans.”

Pegula in an interview on the John Murphy Show last month outlined how they came to select Rex Ryan for their vacant head coaching job. We profile the hiring process today in a feature on Buffalobills.com.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex turns Jets tattoo Bills blue

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2015 – 9:02 am


Rex Ryan is a head coach known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Apparently he wears his NFL allegiance directly on his arm as well. After getting a Jets themed tattoo of his wife, Michelle, on his right arm in a Jets jersey, he’s had that Jets jersey changed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ryan while in Arizona during Super Bowl week had a tattoo artist change the Jets jersey to Bills blue. Here’s a look at the black and white template of the tattoo on Ryan’s right arm.

HC-GT423_Tattoo_G_20150202165012

The recently hired Buffalo coach had the tattoo on his biceps updated to Bills colors at a parlor in Scottsdale, Arizona, last Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Ryan, in town before the Super Bowl, has donated all of his old New York Jets apparel to a local charity and needed to freshen up his body art.

“I mean, you’ve got to turn the page,” Ryan told the newspaper.

So, he had the image of his wife in a Jets jersey — the original No. 6 was previously colored over in green — changed to a Bills jersey.

“I’m all in,” Ryan said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Revis update

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2015 – 8:16 am

While speculation swirls about the future of CB Darrelle Revis in New England, knowing there’s a $25M cap charge on the second (team option) year of his contract with the Patriots, Revis himself is unsure of how things will play out.

That according to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, who secured comment from Revis in the aftermath of the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. It’s clear his thoughts about his future haven’t gotten that far yet.

“The offseason will weigh itself out,” Revis told Reiss immediately after the game. “I’m just so happy for us as a team, accomplishing the ultimate goal, winning the Super Bowl. I have a great team on my side and we’ll figure my future out in the offseason.”

New England does have a track record of not overpaying for players, so the speculation is that the Patriots will try to come to a revamped agreement to keep Revis in the fold.

There was speculation during Super Bowl week that if Revis and the Patriots could not reach an accord if a revamped contract was necessary that reuniting with former head coach Rex Ryan in Buffalo was a possibility as was a potential return to the New York Jets.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills eager to back up Ryan’s words

Posted by Chris Brown on February 2, 2015 – 12:45 pm

At his introductory press conference Rex Ryan said that everyone in Buffalo should get ready for the playoffs because they’re going. Just how did that sit with the players in the Bills’ locker room? Just fine.

CB Leodis McKelvin told Buffalobills.com that it has the balance of Buffalo’s locker room ready to do whatever it takes to end the franchise’s 15-year playoff drought.

“You want to go out there and play for him,” said McKelvin. “You want to go out there and back up his words whatever he may say. You want to go out there and win. That’s the goal we always have and that’s how he feels. So we want to go out and win and go to the playoffs.”

McKelvin, like most NFL players, did some recon work in finding out more about Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme that was run by defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. McKelvin talked to a friend of his on the Jets who used to be a teammate of his in Buffalo.

“I talked to Ellis Lankster who plays down there and he used to be up here and talked to him about coverages and things,” said McKelvin. “He pretty much told me that it’ll be the same thing we’ve been doing, just playing man-to-man coverage and just making sure to stay on your guy. We’re going to blitz though so the ball is going to be out. That might be the biggest difference from last year.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jackson: Rex will push us over the hump

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2015 – 2:20 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson was on radio row at the Super Bowl this week in Glendale, Arizona and made an appearance on the Michael Kay show on ESPN radio. Asked for his take on how new head coach Rex Ryan will change things for the better for the Bills, Jackson expressed confidence that Ryan can be a difference maker.

“I think we’re right there and I think he’s going to be that catalyst that pushes us over that hump,” Jackson said. “Everybody knows that Rex is going to come in and say things like we’re going to the playoffs. With that kind of mantra and blood flowing through the city I think we get the job done and get into the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl.”


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Levy on what makes a winning coach

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2015 – 12:55 pm

Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy was enormously successful in his second go round as a head coach in the NFL in Buffalo. He’s a big part of our story today on Buffalobills.com as we look at the trend of Super Bowl success for second-time head coaches and how it may apply to Bills new head coach Rex Ryan. In the conversation with Levy by phone he laid out three of the most important qualities in a successful head coach.

“Every good coach to me has these three qualities,” said Levy. “He’s a good teacher, and he can inject his own personality, but he gets his teaching across to the players and they buy in and see the value of his teaching. Two and this is overwhelmingly important, he works well with others in the organization. Yeah you can disagree, but don’t be disagreeable. Whether it’s who you ought to draft or stuff of that nature. Third he’s a straight shooter.”

Ryan explained some of the experience he gained in working with young quarterbacks in New York that he believes will help him with EJ Manuel in Buffalo in his sitdown interview with Buffalobills.com. He talked about how they don’t intend to give Manuel 600 plays to memorize. Levy saw that as a smart move on Ryan’s part.

“One of the greatest things that helped us in our success, and if I had any advice for any other coach I’d say throw away half your playbook,” said Levy. “Our no huddle offense, we had a playbook about 20 percent the size of all of those in the league, so that’s an astute remark on Rex’s part I would think.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-30

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2015 – 11:26 am

It’s Super Bowl weekend, but there’s plenty to talk about concerning the Bills. Here are your latest set of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

The recent public comments of Brandon Spikes and Doug Whaley regarding his future in Buffalo as a upcoming pending free agent did not provide me with much confidence that he will return. Ultimately money and potential playing time will dictate the outcome and with the return of Alonso and big contracts to be spent elsewhere it doesn’t look particularly promising that he will be back in my opinion.

I think a strong argument can be made for re-signing Spikes. He provides attitude, toughness and leadership to the position and helped to significantly improve the team’s run defense this year. He seemed sincere when he recently commented about enjoying playing in Buffalo and gives the impression that he loves playing the game. Sounds exactly like the kind of player we need to retain.  Just wondering what your thoughts are of whether you think there could be a role for Spikes next year with the return of Alonso and if you think the Bills will submit a serious bid to retain Spikes or instead look for the cheaper option of adding depth players behind the projected starters?

Regards
Matt

CB: It’s hard to say what Buffalo’s plans are concerning Spikes. Alonso’s return is a factor, but I think at the right price Spikes could return to the fold, possibly on another one-year deal. I do remember during a conference call this past season that Rex Ryan who was coaching the Jets at the time said the following about Spikes.

“(Brandon) Spikes is one of those guys that I like because he’s a tough guy, a mean guy, a tough a**,” said Ryan. “I like guys that are competitors and that’s why I like him so much.”

Whether Ryan’s opinion of Spikes has any influence remains to be seen, but it would appear that Spikes has an admirer in Buffalo’s new head coach.

 

2 - Hi Chris,

Thanks for all the great coverage you continue to provide.

I was wondering what you think the best approach would be in addressing the quarterback postion.  Also, do you see Mike Glennon as a fit?  I know the Bills were rumored to have liked him coming out of the 2013 draft, and I like much of what I’ve seen from him so far in Tampa.  He should be expendable as the Bucs are expected to take a QB #1 overall.  What’s your take on Glennon’s potential?

Thanks,
Joe

CB: Glennon I felt took a bit of a step back in his second season, which was impacted by a new offense and coordinator. He was also in and out of the lineup with veteran Josh McCown earning the starting job out of training camp. Much like EJ Manuel he is limited with his number of starts after getting only six this past season (19 in his career).

His completion percentage is comparable to Manuel’s (under 60) and he struggled when blitzed this past year. There’s no doubting that his arm strength would be an asset in the conditions the Bills play in at home, but his mobility is limited.

Knowing his skill set is dramatically different to that of EJ Manuel (see: mobility), it’s hard to know if that would be viewed as a negative or a positive or irrelevant by the new staff. I don’t know if Glennon is seen as a match, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills add a young QB in the league or a veteran signal caller either via free agency or a trade.

 

3 - CB,

What do you think the Bills plan of attack for fixing the O-Line? Richardson stills seems developmental and is poor at pass blocking. Pears should be let go and Urbik is average guard. With Williams injured and unclear if he will come back, how many guards do you expect them to bring in? Free agency or draft? It may hard to find a day 1 starter in draft but they need new guys in there.
Thanks!
Josh

CB: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills draft a guard and add one in free agency. Buffalo has some young guys already in the fold as you mentioned, but both Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan made it clear they’re going to bring in competition at positions where it’s warranted.

Erik Pears is an unrestricted free agent. Kraig Urbik is a capable player. Chris Williams should be back healthy in time for spring workouts.

One big plus is the hiring of Aaron Kromer, who has produced at least one Pro Bowl lineman on the teams he has coached the last six years. He’s a proven teacher and developer of linemen, so hopefully the younger players on the roster will take a big step forward in their development and be bigger contributors (See: Henderson, Kouandjio, Richardson).

 

 

4 - Chris,

On a lighter subject, do you think the Bills would consider going back to their Red helmets?  Best years in franchise history were with the Blue uniforms and red helmets.

RC from DC

CB: I would not anticipate that happening. Outside of a throwback type of thing I think you’ll see the white helmets for a long time.

 

 

5 - Hello Chris,

I have really enjoyed the information I have received from your Inside the Bills write ups. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Recently, I read and article on NFL.com, in which Mario Williams was excited about moving to the Linebacker position. To date, that information has not shown up on the buffalbills.com website. I have always believe the 4 3 defense was the best scheme, and our personnel matches that scheme. As our defense was one of the top defenses in the league, I am not clear if Rex and company intend to shift to a 3 4 defense. My thoughts are why? Then there is the statement, ” You don’t fix what is broken”.  Can you shed some light on what is going on with the Buffalo Bills defensive scheme for 2015?

Thanks
Peter

CB: I think I will let defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman handle this one. He was asked this week if he’s going to run a 3-4 or a 4-3 front. Here was his answer.

“(I will run) whatever talent dictates,” said Thurman. “We’ll play a 3-4. We’ll play a 4-3. We’ll get in a Forty-Six. We’ll give them an odd front. It’s whatever our guys do best and we’re going to play to their strengths and when you do that, you’re giving your guys a chance to be successful and that’s what it really comes down to…is those guys that are out there on that field, are you giving them the opportunity to go out and succeed? So it doesn’t matter. The scheme will be dictated by the personnel that we have.”

I don’t think there’s any debating that Rex Ryan’s defense are largely a hybrid scheme that can morph and change. So to label it a strict over or under front would be inaccurate. And I think Mario Williams will see a healthy amount of action up on the line of scrimmage.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ryan: I embraced the Buffalo community

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 6:00 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was making his way down radio row at the Super Bowl this week and shared what he thought may have helped him land the job with the Bills.

In an interview with Pro Football Talk Live, Ryan first expressed how fortunate he felt he was to land the head coaching job with Buffalo.

“I just realize how blessed I am to be given this opportunity. When I became a free agent I wanted to make sure I went to a team where I felt great support from ownership, GM, president and when I interviewed in Buffalo I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” said Ryan.

He was then asked what he thought vaulted him to the top of the list on Buffalo’s list of head coaching candidates.

“When you go in there I was just myself I just knew that they probably felt like I did,” said Ryan of the Pegulas. “I was so comfortable. I understand the vision they have for this organization. They want to win, but they also want to be great in everything they do. I think it helped that I embraced the community, because no one has embraced their community in ownership like the Pegulas so maybe that helped me.

“When I went there I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was blown away by them. I’m a football coach first, and I chose the best situation for me and I look at it as one more shot that I have and it has to work so I went to a spot where I believe it will work.”

 


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Rex comments on Bills QBs at Super Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 5:46 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was in radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday and it didn’t take long before he was asked about the quarterback position for his team. He was asked about both EJ Manuel and where the position is headed this offseason by CBS Sports.

Here was Ryan’s response to the question in his interview with CBS Sports.

“I think first off EJ Manuel is a young quarterback who is going into his third season. I think he can improve and he does some decent things,” said Ryan. “He doesn’t turn the ball over so that’s a positive. David Lee our quarterbacks coach is the best fundamentals coach I’ve been around as far as coaching QBs. So I think EJ can improve.

“But we’re in the early evaluation stages with our roster and free agency is around the corner. I don’t really know who is going to be the starting quarterback and we’ll explore every avenue in adding to that position. But it’s about everybody not just one man. Greg Roman is a great offensive coordinator. He went to three conference champ games he’s got a great track record. He does a lot of things creatively so we might not go three or four wide like they do in New England. I mean if you have Tom Brady go for it. But there are other ways of getting things accomplished and our quarterback will. I know he will.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Crossman on having a kickoff specialist

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 11:10 am

Bills special teams coordinator Danny Crossman had to break in a rookie punter and a kickoff specialist in 2014. On the whole both Colton Schmidt and Jordan Gay performed well for Buffalo. Whether Buffalo’s new head coach Rex Ryan feels a kickoff specialist is necessary is something that will likely be decided in the coming months.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, Crossman sounded like he wants to continue developing both young kickers on Buffalo’s roster, but he knows he doesn’t have the final say.

“We haven’t gotten that far yet in the evaluation stage,” said Crossman of keeping a kickoff specialist. “I’m a firm believer if a guy is outstanding at what they do they’ll find work. We were happy with both of those guys and what they were able to do for us. Jordan was a big help in an area where we were lacking a little bit in terms of what he was able to do on kickoffs. Number one touchbacks, but even the returns that did come out against us the drive starts average on the returns was so much better than the touchbacks because of the distance and the hang time and the coverage guys that we added and made it a strength for our special teams.

“There’s a lot of upside with (punter) Colton Schmidt too after he came in right at the start of the season this past year and performed well.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Crossman was retained

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 11:06 am

Not long after Rex Ryan was hired as head coach of the Bills he made a phone call to current special teams coordinator Danny Crossman to see if he could retain him for his staff. Crossman was a guest of the John Murphy Show this week and explained how the interaction with coach Ryan went down.

“He called me and discussed the opportunity for me to stay and with the things that we’ve done and the players that we’ve added and the upswing we were on with the kicking game, I felt very fortunate to continue what we started,” said Crossman. “We’ve had conversations every other day or so, but very upbeat and very positive and really look forward to settling in and spending more time with him.”

Crossman also got a new assistant special teams coach in Eric Smith, who last played safety for the Jets a few seasons ago, and is described by head coach Rex Ryan as one of the smarter young football minds he’s come across.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Thurman: ‘D’ can’t get bogged down in 3-4 or 4-3

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2015 – 10:54 am

While outside observers openly wonder what the foundation of Dennis Thurman’s defense will be for the Bills in 2015 under head coach Rex Ryan, most are assuming it’ll be predominantly a 3-4 front. Thurman warns that fans and others shouldn’t make such an assumption.

Ryan and Thurman consider their defense to be a hybrid, capable of morphing into a number of variations. It’s partly by design to create confusion and partly in response to the capabilities of the defensive personnel.

“It’s whatever our talent dictates,” said Thurman. “We’ll play a 3-4. We’ll play a 4-3. We’ll get in a 46 (defense). We’ll give them an odd front. It’s whatever our guys do best and we’re going to play to their strengths and when you do that, you’re giving your guys a chance to be successful and that’s what it really comes down to…is those guys that are out there on that field, are you giving them the opportunity to go out and succeed? So it doesn’t matter. The scheme will be dictated by the personnel that we have.”


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Dennis Thurman’s first meeting with Rex

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 4:28 pm

They did not know one another at all when Dennis Thurman was hired by Brian Billick to help him coach the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive assistant in 2002. But Thurman made a point to introduce himself to Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan.

“I had never met Rex, but I had played against his dad’s (Buddy Ryan) teams in Chicago,” said Thurman, who played almost his entire career with Dallas. “So when I met Rex I went into his office and I said, ‘I remember your dad’s team and they came into Texas Stadium and they beat us up like 44-0.’ We won the NFC East that year and went 10-6 and we thought we had a pretty good team. Then that Bears team came in and beat us 44-0 and I think that was the only time we got shut out when I played there at Texas Stadium. So I was telling him, ‘Wow your dad had a great defense.’ Rex said to me, ‘You haven’t seen anything yet.’”

Thurman was asked if the ’85 Bears defense was the best he had ever seen. Buffalo’s new defensive coordinator wouldn’t definitively say it, but he did say that in that 44-0 game that had the Cowboys QB been injured, he might’ve been called upon to step in and play quarterback.

“All I’m going to tell you is this: I don’t know where they rank that ’85 Bears team but during that game, if the quarterback had gotten hurt, I would’ve had to go in and play quarterback and I’m just glad I didn’t have to go into that game so I’ll just put it to you that way.”

Thurman was a defensive back and quarterback in high school in California.


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Palmer another asst. with young QB history

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 4:07 pm

One of the last assistants announced as part of Rex Ryan’s coaching staff has a lengthy resume when it comes to working with young quarterbacks.

Offensive assistant Chris Palmer has worked in the NFL since 1990 and has coached several quarterbacks early in their careers.

He coached Drew Bledsoe with the Patriots under Bill Parcells when they won the AFC title in 1996.

He coached Mark Brunell, though he was a vet at the time, to the AFC title game.

After serving as head coach for expansion Cleveland and Offensive coordinator for expansion Houston he worked with a young Eli Manning winning a Super Bowl in 2007.

He’s most recently served as OC of Tennessee 2011-2012.

Rex Ryan obviously sees a lot of football wisdom in Palmer and his experience with young quarterbacks can only help the team’s task of further developing EJ Manuel.


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Posted in Inside the Bills