Inside The Bills

Woods: Penalties cost us big

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2014 – 6:26 pm

There were a number of instances where a positive play by the Bills on offense was wiped out by a penalty. On defense there were situations where a penalty handed the Chargers a fresh set of downs. At day’s end the 11 penalties for 101 yards proved to be a killer when it came to possessing the ball or getting it back.

“It’s a big impact,” said Robert Woods. “It slows us down, it slows down the tempo. It’s energy and then it’s a drop, it’s a downer. We just have to eliminate them and it puts us in a bad situation on third down and it cost us the game.”

Bills DT Kyle Williams felt their miscues only extended the opportunities for the Chargers.

“I think we contributed a good bit,” he said. “From some assignment issues, some different things and then with penalties, we contributed.  I’m not taking anything away from them.  They beat us.  They played better than we did, but we didn’t help ourselves.”

Buffalo’s defense gave the Chargers offense five first downs via penalty.


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Woods participating

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2014 – 11:39 am

Bills WR Robert Woods is participating here at Friday’s practice.

Woods was unable to practice Thursday due to an ankle injury suffered late in Wednesday’s practice.

We’ll know more about his degree of participation as well as his status for Sunday post practice.


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Changes on Bills Thurs. injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 2:54 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

There were a couple of changes on Buffalo’s Thursday injury report concerning a pair of starters on offense.

WR Robert Woods, who was limited Wednesday after sustaining an ankle injury, did not practice at all Thursday.

“Right now he wouldn’t be able to play,” said head coach Doug Marrone.

Meanwhile starting LG Chris Williams was limited in practice with a back ailment listed, but Marrone said it was a proactive precautionary move, not a reactionary move to an injury.

“He went throughout the practice we just watched his reps,” said Marrone.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Jonathan Meeks S Neck DNP
Randell Johnson LB Knee DNP
Keith Rivers LB Groin LP
Stefan Charles DT Hip LP
Robert Woods WR Ankle DNP
Chris Williams G Back LP
Lee Smith TE Toe FP
Sammy Watkins WR Ribs FP

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-12

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2014 – 12:29 pm

Perhaps the most anticipated home opener in a long time and it’s Miami on top of it. It’s been a heck of a week for Bills fans with all the positive news. Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question to you:

Could you see the Bills putting Cordy Glenn at LG because it seems like they are deeper at tackle than they are at guard? I know they have experimented with him there a few times but it just seems like they don’t have an answer at LG at all even with the Williams signing. I would go from left to right: Henderson, Glenn, Wood, Urbik (or Richardson or Williams) and Pears. With an injury to a T you could then slide Glenn back to LT and put Henderson at RT. I think this gives you the best 5 up front.

Thanks!
Dave
twitter: DTaylor716

CB: I think the way things looked in Week 1 the front five that coach Marrone has put together looks pretty good and should only get more and more comfortable together as the weeks wear on. I think the key thing to remember here is to have your two most athletic linemen on the edges now that most NFL clubs have speed rushers on both sides, which the Bills will see this week with Miami’s Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

I did an in depth piece on this regarding how important the right tackle has become in the league now knowing NFL defenses are putting speed on both sides.

Buffalo’s two most athletic linemen by far are Cordy Glenn and Seantrel Henderson. So putting them at the two tackle positions is the best way to go as I see it.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

My question regards the slot position- both how we plan to defend it and attack other defenses with it.

I’ve read recently about the “big nickel” package- subbing out the nickel corner for a third safety to better match up against the monsters that are being put into the slot now-( see Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski).

Do you see Nickell Robey’s stature as a liability against these bigger slot receivers and is there a plan in place to get a better matchup if we need to? Would this involve Corey Graham coming on potentially or having Searcy Williams and Williams all out as safeties at once? As much as I love Robey- he’s incredible- I just forsee a long day for him trying to cover Gronk in the slot.

Conversely- do you think there is a plan in place to attack smaller nickel corners with our offense? I notice that neither Hogan nor Woods are exactly giants- I wonder if we will see Mike Williams or one of our bigger guys slide inside to slot to take advantage of some potential mismatches.

Thanks for everything you do for the Bills and us fans!

Tim
Ovid, NY

CB: I think what you saw last week was in Buffalo’s nickel at times they’ll make use of Duke Williams as a hybrid linebacker. Similar to the way Bryan Scott and Da’Norris Searcy have been used in years past, Williams has the physical game to help in the run game, if there’s a draw play or something on third down, but also possesses the cover skills and physicality to handle coverage assignments.

Aaron Williams has the size and physical style to match up with a bigger player in the slot too as does Nigel Bradham, who is back this week. So I think Robey can still serve in his role and should a size mismatch present itself Buffalo has enough options to deploy against a larger slot receiver/tight end.

 

3 – Hi Chris!!

First of all, thank you for your great work keeping us Bills fans always well informed. Quick question. Are the Bills planning to wear their white alternate jersey this season? If so, which game?

Thanks Chris & take care!
Luis Estrada
(Puerto Rico)

CB: The only other jersey being worn is the white throwback jersey this Sunday for the home opener along with the standing red Buffalo helmets.

 

4 – Chris,

Love the coverage year round. Helps for a non-local Bills fan. Can you explain the reasoning behind Pears playing RG? He only practiced a few times there and has zero game experience at guard. In the preseason game, he look lost there. Why don’t they keep him at tackle. You had Robert Woods as your camp MVP, so why has he slid down the pecking order at WR? I see him more as outside threat instead of slot. I would like to see him on the field every play.

Thanks
Josh P.
CB: Pears did have some limited experience at guard from his days with the Raiders, though it was only a few games about five years ago. Still I think aside from his first snaps there against Tampa’s Gerald McCoy in the preseason he’s fared well. Pears is also great snap by snap counsel for rookie Seantrel Henderson. Henderson has told me having Pears there is invaluable for him.

Head coach Doug Marrone knows offensive line play, so if he believes this is his best five then I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how it plays out.

As for Robert Woods, he was my camp MVP because he brought it every day and outperformed the other receivers on a more consistent basis. Yes, Sammy Watkins turned in the highlight reel plays, but Woods is a guy who is going to get you first downs more consistently. In the NFL it’s about keeping the offense on the field with first downs. That’s where Woods helps you most.

And don’t worry Woods will be moved around a lot this season because he’s the most versatile receiver on the roster in my opinion.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

First day of practice every week is Wednesday. So what does the team/players do Monday Tuesday? Chill or group watch film or ??

RealBryanWatson

CB: Usually on Mondays injured players come in early for treatments. At 9 in the morning there’s a designated weight lifting group. At 10 am there’s a stretch and run conditioning period. Then there’s a second weight lifting group later in the morning. That’s followed by a team meeting at noon. Then they have a special teams meeting followed by offense, defense meetings. That’s where they review game film from Sunday and make corrections.

On Tuesday most players get a jump on the upcoming opponent by studying film while the coaches spend the day putting together the game plan for Sunday. Generally though Tuesday is the players’ day off.  


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Woods: We’ve got to keep foot on the gas

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2014 – 9:25 am

Despite the fact that the Bills offense did enough to win in overtime at Chicago last Sunday, they also experienced a lull in the game over a four possession stretch from the end of the first half to the early stages of the fourth quarter. Buffalo’s players on offense believe their consistency can be improved over the course of a 60-minute game moving forward.

Robert Woods knows that 70 percent of NFL games were within one score in the fourth quarter in 2013, much like their game was on Sunday, but he feels their offense can do a lot better and not have such close games late.

“In a way, I don’t understand that part about the NFL,” Woods said. “I do understand that every NFL team is good and capable of winning. But when we had a lead yesterday 17-7, it didn’t have to be a close game. I feel like we could have kept going and separate.  There are some games where we could play very well on offense and blow teams out with this offense that we have. I think we have to stay on the gas and stay aggressive.”


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Watkins plays a lot despite ribs

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 1:10 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins didn’t have a major impact on the game Sunday, but did play a role with three receptions for 31 yards in the overtime win. The Bills top draft choice admitted he was a bit limited by his sore ribs.

“I felt like I shot off pretty well. Coach called a great game; they managed the game. I was kind of held back from the ribs injury, but still overcame and had two or three big catches that moved the drive and played well.”

Watkins actually played 54 snaps, which was 95 percent of the total on offense (57) in the game. No other receiver, tight end or running back logged more snaps than Watkins. Robert Woods came closest with 52 snaps for 92 percent of the offensive play total.

Play count percentage offense
Cordy Glenn – 57 – 100%
Chris Williams – 57 – 100%
Eric Wood – 57 – 100%
Erik Pears – 57 – 100%
Seantrel Henderson – 57 – 100%
Sammy Watkins – 54 – 95%
Robert Woods – 52 – 91%
Scott Chandler – 37 – 65%
C.J. Spiller – 30 – 53%
Mike Williams – 30 – 53%
Fred Jackson – 26 – 46%
Chris Gragg – 19 – 33%
Frank Summers – 17 – 30%
Marquise Goodwin – 11 – 19%
Boobie Dixon – 6 – 11%
Chris Hairston – 3 – 5%


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Fan Friday 8-15

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2014 – 5:07 pm

Ok fans an important week for the Bills is in the books. The passing game really took a step forward this week in Latrobe. Let’s hope it carries into the game Saturday night against the Steelers. In the meantime let’s get to your latest round of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills

1 – Hi Chris,

Long time reader of your articles – including your Fan Friday.

I’ve noticed EJ and Woods are playing with visors in camp. Is this new and can we expect them to wear them in the regular season? To me, it makes a lot of sense for EJ – as it shadows the ability for the defence to see where he’s going to throw too or what he’s looking at. Is that the intention here? What scope do you have on this? Overall, I think they look fierce. But I highly doubt that’s the reasoning behind wearing them…

Thanks,
Mike Barwick

CB: Yes, they and a handful of other players wear visors. Some are shaded and some are clear. The shaded ones are designed to act like sunglasses in most cases. For receivers that’s important when they’re looking up for a ball, not unlike an outfielder in baseball. It helps keep them from losing a ball in the sun. Whether EJ’s primary purpose is the same I don’t know, but I’ll ask him. The other reason for the visors is to keep from getting poked in the eye, which is something that could happen to Manuel if a pass rusher is reaching out to block a pass, misses and connects with the helmet.
2 – Hey Chris,

I am very excited for the 2014 season, looking at the roster it seems a lot of the decisions made on the draft and free agency the last three years we’re really good ones. The depth is so good this year I haven’t heard too much about Ron Brooks.  I really like watching Ron Brooks I know he has had some injuries but where do you think he stands with the team? Do you think we will see him playing corner this season or just as a special teams player? Always appreciate your time.

Alexander Albanese
Toronto

CB: Brooks has had a pretty solid camp. He’s been afforded the opportunity of getting a ton of reps due to the limited participation of starting corners Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore who are both coming off offseason surgeries. He’s been running opposite Corey Graham in training camp at cornerback with the first team defense.

Brooks has performed well, but at times still has trouble with the bigger wideouts due mainly to his stature. He’s got great catch up speed and is sudden in his breaks on the ball. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz likes him so I anticipate him being one of the top five corners on the roster. How many they keep is the bigger question.
3 – Chris,

I couldn’t help notice the pass rush has been extremely productive in the spring and training camp. My question is do you feel that’s due to the talent of the DE’s or is it a product of inconsistency on the offensive line with Glenn being out and other shuffling that’s been going on. Appreciate the training camp coverage and can’t wait for the season. Also one more thing, is there a schedule that lists which practices are full contact?

Dan T.
Western MA

CB: It’s a bit of both. Jerry Hughes might be the most impressive of the front four when it comes to pass rush consistency. Of course that’s been helped by the fact that rookie Seantrel Henderson has been manning the starting left tackle role in Cordy Glenn’s absence. But make no mistake that group is pretty special.

Unfortunately no we don’t have a schedule for the public that lists full pads, shells or shorts and helmets. Typically once the preseason games start however, full pads practices are earlier in the week.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

Jerry Hughes had a tremendous season last year rushing the passer and it’s clear that Doug Whaley pioneered an amazing trade to get him when the Indianapolis Colts were looking to go in a different direction. And if Training Camp is any indication, it sounds like we can expect a similar season this year. Through listening to a lot of people on the radio and around town locally, it seems that Jerry Hughes will not be able to be re-signed if he has another great year– almost as if it’s a foregone conclusion that they cannot keep a stout DE since he’ll be too pricey.

In my opinion, if you run a base 4-3, having a Mario Williams AND Jerry Hughes-caliber player would be extremely important (SEE Freeney and Mathis, Strahan and Umenyiora). I think they should find a way to pay him if he’s anything like last year’s player. An annoying thing of being a Bills fan is seeing the Bills actually draft great talent, develop it, and watch it walk away. And in this case, the Bills didn’t even have to draft him to get it. What are your thoughts?

Also, have you tried a garbage plate since being in Rochester? It probably goes outside the exercise regimen, but you gotta treat yourself to the finer local delicacies.

-Nate in Rochester
PS- Go Bills!
CB: In a perfect world yes they would be able to keep Jerry Hughes long term, but it’s a question of balance. Obviously the Bills would love to keep Hughes, but you have to look at the money invested on the rest of the defensive line.

The three highest cap figures on the entire team are the other three defensive linemen that Hughes lines up with. Mario Williams ($18.8M), Marcell Dareus ($6.49M) and Kyle Williams ($6.25M).

In 2015 those cap numbers go to $19M (Mario), $8.06M (Dareus) and $5.85M (Kyle). That’s a total of $32M for three members of the defensive line. If Hughes has another 10-sack season or more he’s likely to be asking for top 15 perhaps top 10 defensive end money.

Top 15 would put him somewhere between $6.5-$8M per season while top 10 would have him north of $8.5M per season.

I’m not saying the Bills won’t try to do it. It’s not my decision as to how the Bills choose to spend their money. I just know that investing that much of your cap dollars in one facet of your team is not a common practice.

All that being said there have been reports citing sources close to the process of setting the salary cap for the NFL that the cap, which went up a surprising $10M this past year to $133M could move as high as $145M in 2015. Would that extra cap space be enough to make the fourth major investment in the team’s defensive line? I’m not sure it is.

With respect to your garbage plate suggestion, I’m familiar with it having gone to college at SUNY Geneseo. In fact I won a bet by eating two in one sitting. Almost didn’t hold them down, but got through it.
5 – Do you see a scenario where Spiller is traded this year?  I’ve heard rumors, and with the Jackson extension, Brown trade, Dixon signing, and no first round pick it seems like an possible and unfortunate rumor…am I crazy for thinking this or can they keep all four running backs?

Sean from So Cal
P.S. See you in Chicago week 1!

CB: I’m sure you saw GM Doug Whaley dispel those rumors this week. First, Whaley said that he has not been contacted by any team expressing interest in C.J. Spiller. He later followed that up with Channel 7’s Jeff Russo in an interview later in the week where he said he has not reached out to any other team himself about C.J. Spiller.

As Whaley said himself he understands with all the talent in the Bills backfield why people are trying to connect the dots. I just think with the team in ‘win now’ mode it would be highly unlikely that they would trade one of their best playmaking assets on offense in Spiller.


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Will 2 days with Steelers make game easier?

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2014 – 8:47 am

Following their two days of practice with the Steelers on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bills get a day off prior to their Saturday night preseason tilt with Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. Will those two days serve as live scouting to help prepare Buffalo for what Pittsburgh might throw at them Saturday night?

“I’m not sure how that’ll work out. I’ve never done this before,” said Eric Wood. “We generally practice against a ‘look team’ and obviously a ‘look team’ is not as good as a starting defense is going to be. In this case you’re going to be going against a starting defense and then play against them in the game. I’d say you’d probably be a little more comfortable come game time, a little more prepared, but it’ll be interesting.”

Robert Woods isn’t certain if it’ll make things easier in the preseason game being exposed to Pittsburgh’s personnel in practice for two days, but he doesn’t deny it could be a bit like live scouting.

“Seeing how guys play to a certain coverage, how he bails and how he presses,” said Woods. “That’s why you go out and play against him in a game so you know what’s coming and know how to attack them to create an advantage for us.

“You get two extra days against the Steelers and get a good look at their squad and how we’re going to play things on the offensive end for us. We’re going to go out there Saturday and just be prepared for it having seen it throughout the week.”

 


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Marrone in go for it mode

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2014 – 1:33 am

Twice in Sunday night’s game against the Giants head coach Doug Marrone chose to go for it on fourth down. The first came on a 4th-and-goal at the two situation with Jeff Tuel converting with Robert Woods on a short touchdown. The other came on a 4th-and-1 situation on the Giants’ 34-yard line in the third quarter. Evan Rodriguez converted extending the drive. The players are hoping that aggressiveness continues in the regular season.

“I hope so we’ve got enough weapons whether it’s in the air or on the ground to make plays like that,” said Woods who converted the first fourth down. “We’ve just got to keep executing so coach can trust us.”

Rodriguez’s conversion unfortunately didn’t lead to anything for the Bills. On the next play Thad Lewis’ pass to the end zone that was intended for Marcus Easley was intercepted.


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Woods not bothered by 2nd team reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2014 – 1:32 am

Bills WR Robert Woods is seen as a starter by the coaching staff and by most fans. So to see him running with the second unit in Sunday night’s season opener came as a bit of a surprise.

“A little bit,” admitted EJ Manuel. “It was a little surprising for Woody not to be with us with the ones, but he did great. Woody is going to be Woody with whatever he’s given. So I was still glad to see him go out there and do a great job with Jeff.”

Woods did have a solid outing with four catches for 49 yards and the team’s only touchdown converting on a 4th-and-goal play from the Giants’ two-yard line.

For Woods it wasn’t a big deal.

“It is what it is. You come out here and make plays whenever you’re on the field,” he said. “Every time I come out here I just try to prove a point. Every day is an example and just proof why I’m here.”

His performance said it all.


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Woods had play of the day

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2014 – 11:55 pm

Bills WR Robert Woods had a heck of a finish to practice Wednesday as he made a couple of touchdown catches on back-to-back plays during 7-on-7 red zone. His first of two touchdown catches was easily the play of the day.

Woods worked his way to the right rear corner of the end zone where EJ Manuel neatly dropped it over Woods’ shoulder where the defender could not make a play on the ball. From there is was all Woods as he simply stuck his left arm out to pull the ball in for the touchdown while the defender was draped on his back.

He made a high degree of difficulty catch look easy. Here’s a look.

 

 


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Watkins playmaking will open things up

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2014 – 11:03 pm

With all the plays being turned in by Sammy Watkins in the training camp practices, it’s bound to lead to greater attention from opposing defenses and that will lead to more opportunities for the other receivers.

That doesn’t always reveal itself in the structured nature of practice, but in a game when opposing defenses are reacting Watkins is going to draw added attention. That will benefit the likes of Robert Woods, Mike Williams, Marquise Goodwin and the rest of the receiving corps.

“I don’t think it’s ever been just Sammy and Sammy knows that too,” said EJ Manuel. “He’s obviously getting an opportunity to make plays just like the rest of those guys. Obviously, all I want to do is just give those guys an opportunity to make a catch and they do the rest.”

“We’ve just got so many guys that can go out and make plays, we’ve always got a lot of speed on the field,” said Watkins. “We’ve got guys that can go over you, we’ve got guys that can run great routes, so when one guys making plays, that’s when other guys start to open up because they start to double or run a certain coverage. With everybody making plays, it’s been hard for the coaches and the offense because they want everyone on the field at the same time.”


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Woods and Searcy tussle

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2014 – 4:20 pm

Robert Woods and Da’Norris Searcy got into a scrap after the play in 11-on-11.

There was jawing first then punched flew before they wrestled each other to the ground. Tempers flaring here late in practice on a hot day.


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Kiko feeling good after offseason surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2014 – 4:37 pm

Kiko Alonso participated in the individual position drill portions of practice, but not any team work. That is likely to be the plan for the rest of the OTAs after he underwent offseason hip surgery.

“Yeah, it’s great. I feel great. I had a great rehab and I’m just trying to get stronger,” he said.

Alonso was one of several players who had offseason surgery. Fellow draft classmate Robert Woods had ankle surgery. Head coach Doug Marrone addressed both.

“They’re coming off procedures both of them,” Marrone said. “Kiko had a hip and Robert had an ankle.  Those guys have been here the whole time working and we’re just being progressive, making sure they’re working their way back.  We know they’ll be available and healthy for the season.”

 

 


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Bills draft pick positions overall rounds 1-7

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2014 – 4:59 pm

C.J. Spiller

We knew Buffalo would be picking ninth in each round of the 2014 NFL draft, but with all the compensatory picks now handed out, we now know the pick overall in each round for the Bills as well. Here’s a look at players the Bills have drafted in those overall slots including four players on the current roster.

Round 1 – 9th overall
1968 WR Haven Moses San Diego State
2010 RB C.J. Spiller Clemson

Round 2 – 41st overall
1984 WR Eric Richardson San Jose State
2008 WR James Hardy Indiana
2010 NT Torell Troup Central Florida
2012 T Cordy Glenn Georgia
2013 WR Robert Woods USC

Round 3 – 73rd overall
1977 WR John Kimbrough St. Cloud 

Round 4 – 109th overall
1970 LB Steve Starnes Tampa
1976 LB Dan Jilek Michigan
1987 DT Leon Seals Jackson State
1989 WR John Kolesar Michigan
1995 DB Ken Irvin Memphis State
2004 TE Tim Euhus Oregon State 

Round 5 – 149th overall
1967 DE Bill Wilkerson Texas El Paso (formerly Texas Western)

Round 6 – 185th overall
1971 RB Tyrone Walls Missouri
1995 DE Shannon Clavelle Colorado
1997 T Marcus Spriggs Houston

Round 7 – 224th overall 
1995 RB Darick Holmes Portland State
2008 WR Stevie Johnson Kentucky


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WR Lee leaning on Robert Woods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Woods helping WR friend at Combine

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 10:09 am

Bills WR Robert Woods is obviously keeping an eye on his former college teammate Marqise Lee, who will be performing here at the NFL Combine this weekend, but there’s another lesser known receiver whom Woods has counseled in preparation for this pre-draft event.

Colorado WR Paul Richardson, who came off a torn ACL in 2012 to put up  a career-high 79 receptions for 1,280 yards and 10 scores for the Buffaloes in 2013, has been talking with Woods to prepare himself for his three days in Indianapolis in front of the NFL’s talent evaluators.

“I grew up with him and he’s one of my closest friends,” said Richardson of Woods. “He got back home a couple of weeks ago and the first thing I asked him was how his first experience was in the NFL. He said it was just work and said it was nothing we haven’t been through since we were little kids playing together in Pop Warner.

“He assured me that I was going to be just fine as long as I keep working and take everything that I’m going through in my training now and multiply it by 10 and that’s what I have to look forward to. He was encouraging letting me know that I will be up for it. He knows that he made it through so he doesn’t think I’ll have a problem going through it as well.”

Woods played football with Richardson since they were six-years old and went to the same high school, Serra in Gardena, California.

Richardson also knows Lee and trained with him during the summer while in college back home in California. The Colorado receiver is forecast as a second or third round pick and is expected to run in the mid to high 4.4s.

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


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EJ planning passing camp w/teammates

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2014 – 4:02 pm

EJ Manuel and his teammates won’t be back for OTAs until mid-May, but the quarterback and some of his passing game weapons intend to get on the field independently long before then.

Manuel, who was making the rounds on radio row at the Super Bowl said he’ll be getting together with teammates sometime in March and April. The problem is both Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin are finishing up classes to get their college degree. But Manuel intends to come to them with a possible passing camp in Texas and California.

“My receivers told me once I have it set up just let them know,” Manuel told Buffalobills.com. “We’re trying to build it around the guys who are still in school to accommodate them. They’ve got to handle that first. We’re not in classes or in school so why not just go to them?”

Manuel said he intends to invite the backs to participate as well.


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Fan Friday 1-10

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2014 – 12:07 pm

Well the offseason is underway and the Senior Bowl is the next big thing on the horizon. Here’s the latest edition of your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for all of the insight on everything Bills and keep up the great work. First off I was just wondering if you think we have seen everything Hackett’s playbook has to offer? Or is he just keeping it simple because of the inexperience at quarterback? We were vanilla at best on offense this season, (despite a strong rushing attack) and when I watch most other teams it seems I see more intricate offense. We primarily run out of shotgun and our screen game pales in comparison to last season’s.  Just wanted your opinion.

And secondly, do you think we should draft another quarterback? Manuel seems to be injury prone and I don’t think we can rely on Lewis or Tuel to step in and guide us deep in the season. They are strong backups but I would still like to have a QB that can stand in the pocket and not get hurt. Thanks again Chris!

-Mark in Houston

CB: I think your suspicion is dead on. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had to keep things simple so the rookies on offense with sizable roles (chiefly EJ Manuel) could effectively execute them. They ran the ball so much because as coach Marrone said last week they wanted to keep third down manageable in terms of distance to convert. Plus they were good at it, so use what works to help keep drives alive.

When Manuel was injured during the season, it forced Hackett to be even more judicious with his game plans in terms of complexity. None of his three quarterbacks had one game of NFL experience combined heading into the season.

So to fault Hackett for his play calling being too predictable would be very, very misguided. One has to appreciate and understand the circumstances under which he had to operate.

Then to see that his offense, despite all of that, finished 19th in total yards, which by the way was better than San Francisco’s and Carolina’s and a yard less per game on average than Seattle, is a pretty good showing as far as I’m concerned.

As for drafting a quarterback I don’t think that’s the best route to take. The reason why is Buffalo already has a host of inexperienced quarterbacks on their roster even now. EJ Manuel (10 career starts), Thad Lewis (6 career starts) and Jeff Tuel (1 career start) are still lacking experience. To add a fourth to the mix doesn’t help.

I expect the Bills to pursue a veteran QB in free agency that has a wealth of game experience. The market is predictably thin, but I expect the Texans to cut ties with a QB like Matt Schaub, who could be a perfect backup candidate.

2 – Chris,

On the heels of the Miami game, I was disappointed in the selfishness and immaturity displayed by Robert Woods. With the receiving corps already down Stevie and Marquise (who’d just been injured), Woods simply had to be smarter than throwing a punch and getting ejected from a game.

This brings me to my concern: with all the rumblings about the Bills possibly parting ways with Stevie Johnson this offseason, do you think an occurrence like this might be enough for the team to keep Stevie around? Woods apparently isn’t mature enough to lead the team at the position, and Marquise, as talented as he is, may be the next Roscoe Parrish…..too slight of build to stay healthy and really contribute on offense. Personally, I think the Bills would be foolish to let Stevie go right now. The receiver room is just too young without him. What do you think?

Kenny in Indiana
CB: I believe the incident with Robert Woods in the Miami game in Week 16 was an isolated incident. Woods in general is a heady player. In this instance he lost his cool, but in talking to him afterwards it’s clear he understands now that those kinds of things cannot happen again. I consider it a lesson learned.

Concerning Stevie Johnson, I think he and coach Marrone have to iron things out with respect to the way things are going to be done to ensure future success. The bottom line is they’re going to be done Marrone’s way with very little if any deviation from his plan. And truthfully that’s the way it should be.

He’s the head coach and has a vision for how things are going to get done to promote consistent winning. And he needs everyone on his roster, especially impact players to adhere to that in everything they do as a player on the roster.

Johnson is a free spirit and while there are a lot of admirable qualities with that kind of approach to the game, football is a sport that demands attention to detail perhaps more than any other.

I don’t know this, but I sense that Marrone needs to be convinced by Stevie that he’s prepared to fall in line with every responsibility he has to the team as its top receiver and do things the way Marrone has laid it out for all of his players.

If that can happen then Johnson will remain a prominent part of Buffalo’s offense.

3 – Hi Chris
Thanks for taking my question. My question is, based on all of the huge pass interference penalties this year that have affected the outcome of the games (especially with under a few minutes to go), do you ever see the rules committee making the pass interference call a reviewable/challengeable call?

I’ve watched so many teams this year, and in recent years as well, that get the ball on the one yard line in the last seconds of the game.  And the unfortunate part is that a lot of them are really questionable calls…especially when they directly change the outcome of a game.  I know making a penalty reviewable could open a can of worms for the rules committee, but I don’t see another immediate solution to the growing problem of these (sometimes) 50 yd plus interference penalties on the last few plays of the game, especially when replay is in effect to ensure the right call is made.

Lastly, do you think teams practice for the last second goal line pass interference call?  Specifically, I’ve seen Brady win countless games by freely getting the ball on the 1 yd line with seconds to go when they all but had a nail in their coffin.  Its like they are just chucking in the end zone and the WR sells the penalty if he can’t catch it.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Pats practice it since it is a really huge penalty that can be easily exploited.
Thanks for your time,
Tim in NJ

CB: I don’t see pass interference every being a reviewable call via challenge or booth review with less than two minutes in the half or game. The reason why is it is a pure judgment call. There is enough already that is reviewable. I doubt the league wants to expand that list.

I think if the NFL’s Competition Committee should change anything perhaps it should be the yardage penalty for pass interference. Maybe something similar to college’s 15-yard pass interference rule. With the NFL’s proclivity to push offensive play and scoring I doubt this would even be entertained, but perhaps a 20-yard penalty cap on pass interference plays that happen more than 20 yards downfield. I think it would be difficult to alter the policing of pass interference in the red zone/end zone. Defenders are doing everything in their power to unsuspectingly mug receiving targets in the end zone to prevent touchdowns. To reduce the pass interference consequences (1st & goal at the one-yard line) may lead to more aggressive defending and the league rarely puts any part of the game in the favor of the defense.

4 – Chris,

Thanks for all of your coverage.

My question is regarding the future of Mike Pettine. I think at most we have one or two years left with him, and that it’s also possible he gets a shot as head coach sooner.

Is there an in house assistant or option that we are grooming to be his replacement? With all the great strides we have made on D this year I’m hoping there is someone that is learning and being taught all of his schemes. I’d hate to lose all of this progress once we lose Mike.

Thanks Chris
Patrick In Boston

CB: I respect and understand your concern with respect to Buffalo’s defensive coordinator. Mike Pettine is a sharp mind, who in time should be getting head coaching interview opportunities.

The good news is I do see two future defensive coordinator candidates on Buffalo’s defensive staff. I believe both defensive line coach Anthony Weaver and OLBs coach Jim O’Neil have the pedigree to eventually be defensive coordinators in the NFL.

The problem is Weaver and O’Neil have both worked with Pettine for some time now, and would likely be offered a position by Pettine if he was named a head coach elsewhere. My guess is whoever is not offered the defensive coordinator job by Pettine when he’s named a head coach somewhere else in the league down the road, should be the coach targeted to be promoted to defensive coordinator with Buffalo.

5 – Chris,

I had been looking forward to hearing Kiko Alonso’s name being announced as a Pro Bowler for 2 months now. How did his name NOT get called, given the season he had?????

Don (Bills/ Kiko fan),
Norwalk, CT
CB: I think we all know by now that it’s very difficult for rookies to get named to the Pro Bowl even with productive seasons. We often see them recognized the following year provided their production stays relatively the same. What also hurt Alonso’s chances was the team’s 6-10 record. The bottom line is in most cases more players are chosen from successful teams than those that finish under .500.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods: I’ve learned my lesson

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2013 – 1:52 pm

Bills WR Robert Woods was ejected from Sunday’s game after throwing a punch at Miami S Reshad Jones. He admitted he lost his cool and knows he can’t repeat that mistake.

“The play was over.  It was just one of those things where he was doing extra.  He felt it was necessary to push me after the play and throw me over the pile.  Of course you shouldn’t throw a punch in a football game, but if you’re playing outside the rules you sometimes just have to be a man,” said Woods. “I learned my lesson, can’t do it again.”

Woods said it’s the only time he’s ever been thrown out of a game in his career, and he expects to be hearing from Coach Marrone again after the two had an initial conversation Sunday after the game.

The NFL is also expected to hand down a fine to Woods. A game ejection for throwing a punch has cost NFL players $15,000 in the past.


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Posted in Inside the Bills