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

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-18

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2016 – 11:38 am

Do or die time for the Bills this weekend in Cincinnati. Got to decide if they want to be part of the AFC playoff race Sunday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills FF,any thought to Incognito going to C and Groy LG? Groy has been ok at G when needed but IMO was a factor in SEA loss at C

@Seanjoy93765788

CB: When there’s a significant loss on the offensive line, as is the case with Wood lost for the season to a broken leg, coaches often want as little disruption as possible when addressing the void in the lineup. Ryan Groy is expected to be the answer in the pivot.

First, and probably most important, Groy has operated as the swing center-guard since spring camps. He’s snapped to all three quarterbacks on the roster. He’s played a number of roles across the front including guard, tackle eligible and tight end on run plays. That equips him with a firm working knowledge of what everyone is doing on every play, which provides him with the wherewithal to make pre-snap checks efficiently and consistently.

Knowing how critical the communication is from the center in Buffalo’s offense, having Groy with the knowledge base necessary is essential in the pivot.

I’m not saying that Richie Incognito couldn’t play center, but with literally zero reps there since the day he arrived in Buffalo it’s not something you can just ask him to do with a week of practice. Incognito is a Pro Bowl guard. Moving him to address the need at center would be like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Which goes back to the old adage that you don’t change two positions to address one.

Groy at center makes the most sense as I see it.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

The collapse of the secondary is it players or coaching that’s to blame?

@radfordboyz1220

CB: Stephon Gilmore said it’s on the players to make plays. It’s his opinion that the coaches are putting them in position to make plays on the ball. That would seem to run in concert with Rex Ryan who said the majority of the issue is technique related.

Opponents are taking a different approach in attacking the Bills DBs and more often than not the Bills coverage players are not making the necessary adjustments in their coverage technique. That means playing proper leverage as a defender, footwork, driving to the hip of the receiver. All those things factor in, but based on what the coaches and players are saying it’s player error more than anything else.
3 – Chris,
Why doesn’t Time Warner Cable carry the Buffalo Bills  programming on MSG in my area?

I looked online and it lists the shows on the guide where I live, but when you tune in it shows all NYC programming. But it will show the Sabres games. I am confused about this.

I live in Wayland, NY 14572 which is in northwestern part of Steuben County. My understanding is that everybody west of Syracuse would get the Bills programming. If you could find a reason for this it would be greatly appreciated thanks

William

CB: From what I have been told MSG only provides their WNY programming like our Sunday pre-game show, Bills All Access, at 11 am and the Rex Ryan Show (Sundays 11:30 am) as far as Rochester. If you draw a vertical line on a map from the middle of Rochester down through the rest of WNY everyone west of that line gets WNY programming on MSG. If you are east of that line, which I believe you are in Wayland, you get MSG’s NYC programming.

My solution for you would be to contact Time Warner Cable and demand MSG’s Western New York programming. You live in WNY, so it only makes sense.

 

4 – Chris,

I really would like to see Robert Woods as a Bill for the next 4 years. Can you give us an idea of what salary he is expected to command in free agency?

Thanks
Joe Roberts

 

CB: Woods is on pace to set single-season career highs in receptions and receiving yards. His market value based on his average numbers the first four years would approach $9M per season. That might seem exorbitant, but that’s what the market bears.

Jacksonville’s Allen Hurns just signed a four-year deal this year for just over $40M. His numbers are marginally better than Woods, so it’s reasonable to think that Woods could command a contract in the neighborhood of $9M/year knowing the receiver market isn’t flush with players in their low to mid-20’s with his kind of experience.

Woods is just 24-years old. The only players with comparable age and superior numbers are Alshon Jeffery, Michael Floyd and Kamar Aiken.

I’m not optimistic that the Bills would pay that kind of money for Woods, knowing they’re likely to pay Sammy Watkins big money when his rookie deal is up, provided he can find a way to stay healthy in the next year or so of course.

5 – Chris
We heard an awful lot about Dez Lewis this offseason and with all the injuries at WR why hasn’t he been brought up to the 53 we’ve brought up 1 WR off the practice squad but not Dez not sure I understand has he fallen off I mean we really need help and he seemed to help last year and it was reported that he worked hard in the offseason and looked like he had improved in training camp what’s your thoughts

Thanks, Steve
From Kentucky

CB: Dez Lewis looked like a world beater in the spring practices and appeared like he had a chance to make an impact as the team’s third receiver. But when the pads went on in training camp he disappeared. He has never been able to re-establish the same kind of consistency in his game since.

It’s disappointing to see, but it’s a different game when the pads go on and some players can make the adjustment and some can’t. Hopefully Lewis can re-capture some of what made him look so promising in OTAs this past spring.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Where will we see Reggie Bush vs. Miami?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2016 – 8:56 am

Reggie Bush was signed about a week into training camp to be the team’s primary return man. He and free agent pickup Brandon Tate have shared the role. The Bills could be down in numbers at running back today depending on LeSean McCoy’s availability and at receiver with Robert Woods doubtful for today’s game. Bush has proven capable of filling a RB or WR role in his 11-year career. So where might we see him today against the Dolphins?

If McCoy doesn’t play he could be a complement back to Mike Gillislee, who is expected to shoulder most of the rushing load in the absence of their bell cow back.

If McCoy does dress and play, but Robert Woods doesn’t it wouldn’t be shocking to see Bush being split wide as a receiver at times. Bush presents matchup problems if split wide. It would be supremely difficult for a linebacker or safety to stick with him on routes.

“I’ve always had the attitude and mentality that whatever the team needs me to do then that’s what I’ll do,” said Bush. “They know I can play running back and they know I can play receiver. They know I can return punts. I don’t think that’s anything new so we’ll see what happens.”


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills unlikely to have Dareus or Woods

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2016 – 2:57 pm

While the chances of Marcell Dareus and Robert Woods are at about 25 percent to play Sunday and LeSean McCoy is a true question mark for the game, there are a couple of questionable players expected to take the field at Miami.

DT Kyle Williams, OT Cordy Glenn and TE Charles Clay are probably the most likely questionable players who will suit up Sunday.

Rex Ryan said he wasn’t ready to completely rule out Dareus or Woods, but they’re seen as long shots at best. Here is Buffalo’s full injury report.

OUT
OT Seantrel Henderson – back

DOUBTFUL
DT Marcell Dareus – hamstring
WR Robert Woods – foot

QUESTIONABLE
TE Charles Clay – ankle
FB Jerome Felton – back
CB Kevon Seymour – shoulder
OL Patrick Lewis – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – ankle
DT Kyle Williams – neck
RB LeSean McCoy – hamstring


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-21

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2016 – 11:28 am

Big division game this week. Good to see McCoy practicing here on Friday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the plan for Zach Brown after the season? He’s played at such a high level, any plans to re-sign him?

COLIN SCHULTZ
@Schultzy0620

CB: At the rate he is performing I would be stunned if the club didn’t make efforts to re-sign Zach Brown. He’s currently on a one-year contract. Brown has proven himself as a valuable every down player. Even though Reggie Ragland will be back in the fold next season, Brown is simply too versatile and plays well off of Preston Brown inside.

Even if the team was to start Ragland next year, I would expect Brown to play a role in the subpackages knowing how strong he is as a coverage player. So I’d look for the Bills to make every effort to keep him in the fold.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any plans to get Justin Hunter more involved in the offense?

Natalie Roberts
@nr_roberts

CB: I would say that’s a given more out of necessity than anything else. Hunter is a big target who can run. As the offensive coaches have said they’re working on Hunter’s sense of urgency, more so in practice, to do everything the same way that he does in a game so he’s as prepared as possible. As he gets more and more familiar with the offensive scheme I would expect his role to increase provided he continues to perform.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With Sammy out and Woods being banged up, any chance Bills make a deal for a WR before trade deadline? Alshon Jeffery?

Bills_Chick
@Bills_Chick

CB: While I would never rule out a trade knowing Doug Whaley’s willingness to listen to just about any offer, I don’t see Jeffery as a viable option. First, he’s way too expensive. He’s playing on the franchise tag this year at $14.55M. So he’s going to be expecting giant money after this year.

I would also expect the Bears to ask for a king’s ransom knowing they need to rebuild that roster with talent. Chicago has one of the weakest rosters in terms of talent in the NFL (San Fran and Cleveland are the others). And to trade away assets for a guy you may only have for 10 games is not a wise move.

Buffalo is winning right now with the pieces they have. If that changes pursuing a trade might become a more realistic option for them. They have until Nov. 1st with the trade deadline pushed back a couple of weeks from where it used to be.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Good lord! This is week 3 for Dareus and the hammy? Is it really the hammy or is he just badly out of shape? Weird

Joe bach@jbach127

CB: I’m not going to pretend to be a doctor or an athletic trainer, but I have pulled my hamstrings multiple times in my more athletic days as a college athlete. I can tell you that hamstring pulls can sometimes take up to four or five weeks before the muscle tissue has healed to the point where they can withstand the burst in acceleration needed in athletic competition.

Here’s what you have to understand. A hamstring pull or strain will feel fine when a recovering player is jogging or slowly builds up their speed. That doesn’t happen in an NFL game, maybe ever. It is a game played in five to 10 second increments where linemen go from an idle stance to 100 miles per hour in a second.

Dareus’ entire game as a defensive lineman is based on explosion or instant acceleration.

A hamstring pull becomes vulnerable when the athlete makes a sudden burst to get to a ball or take down a ball carrier in Dareus’ case. It’s the demand put on the hamstring muscle when a burst of speed is made that it can pull again if not completely healed.

Dareus has to explode out of his stance about 50 times a game, so his hamstring muscle has to be healed number one, and then have enough strength and endurance built back into the muscle before he can go out and play 50 snaps at top speed. Otherwise it will pull again and you’re looking at another three to five weeks with him on the sideline.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills what can we expect from Shaq?

Adam Smolka
@A_Smolka_17

CB: I think we can expect to see Shaq Lawson play a decent amount of snaps, maybe 20-30 if I had to guess. He’s apparently been pretty impressive in practice this week. I know he had an interception on a pass to the flat in practice Wednesday. If he comes out like a house on fire, it could be more.

Knowing Lerentee McCray is coming off a knee injury I would anticipate that Lawson could get some of his snaps that he gets rotating in for Alexander and Hughes, even if McCray is dressed and able to play.

 


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods still hoping to play Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2016 – 2:23 pm

Robert Woods missed a second straight day of practice. He’s dealing with an undisclosed foot injury. Woods said he is still trying to get to a point where he can play Sunday in Miami.

“I’m still day to day and just getting treatment to try to get back as fast as I can,” said Woods. “I don’t want to say too much on it. I just want to get healthy and get back as fast as I can and make it through the rest of the year. It’s a big game for us so I’m doing everything possible to play this week.”

Woods confirmed that he had an X-ray, but there’s no broken bone in his foot. He said it’s an injury that can heal in time. In the throes of an NFL season however, it might prove difficult to get back to 100 percent.

As for Rex Ryan’s assessment of where Woods and the other non participants in practice stand, Buffalo’s head coach is not ready to declare anyone out for Sunday’s game.

“I think the fact that these guys don’t practice I don’t think is a good sign. But that doesn’t mean than any of them are ruled out for Sunday,” said head coach Rex Ryan.

Here’s the Bills injury report following Thursday’s practice.

DID NOT PRACTICE
DT Marcell Dareus – hamstring
OT Seantrel Henderson – back
RB LeSean McCoy – hamstring
FB Jerome Felton – back
WR Robert Woods – foot

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
TE Charles Clay – ankle
LB Lerentee McCray – knee
CB Kevon Seymour – shoulder
OL Patrick Lewis – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – ankle
DT Kyle Williams – neck

FULL PARTICIPATION
CB Corey White – shoulder
OT Cyrus Kouandjio – ankle


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Injury update: Clay & Seymour

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2016 – 10:16 pm

While the Bills dodged a major bullet with LeSean McCoy narrowly escaping a major knee injury late in the first half, another offensive playmaker did not finish the game.

TE Charles Clay left the game with an ankle injury in the second half. CB Kevon Seymour also left the game late in the second half. Head coach Rex Ryan provided an update.

“Yeah, he’s got an ankle, so we’ll see how that goes during the week but he did not finish the game with an ankle,” said Ryan of Clay. “And then (Kevon) Seymour did not finish the game with a shoulder injury.”

Robert Woods left the game briefly at the end of the first half, and though he returned and finished the game, contributing a touchdown catch in the effort, he was hobbling the rest of the contest.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Robert Woods prepped to step up

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2016 – 11:40 am

With Sammy Watkins and Greg Salas both inactive for the Bills today, Robert Woods is ready to take on more targets and make more plays.

“Just going in there expecting to play my game,” said Woods. “I always approach the game like the number one receiver. I’ve just got to step up and make plays. I might get a few more targets with him being gimpy or whatever. But I’ll just play my game and be an open target and just pick up the slack.”

Woods has been winning on almost all of his routes through the first two weeks of the season, but to this point has only been targeted seven times. He has five receptions for 30 yards. Buffalobills.com asked him if he’s talked with Tyrod Taylor about being targeted more on the routes he’s winning.

“It’s just the reads,” Woods said. “Sometimes those back side reads he doesn’t even have time to get there. There are a host of factors. My job is to be an open target for him so when the ball does come I’m ready for it. It’s the same thing this game. Try to be an open target for him and when the read is right and he comes my way I can be productive.”

Facing an Arizona defense that plays man coverage about 70 percent of the time, Woods knows he’s got to use his full repertoire of releases to get off the line.

“You’ve just got to make stuff look different,” he said. “When they’re playing man in your face all the time you’ve got to make it look different, show them something different when they play man.”

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-23

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 10:32 am

It’s been a rough start out of the gate. Let’s hope for better results moving forward. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills are the bills confident in their WR corps? With the injuries do you think they should look thru FA to get a DWAYNE BOWE/#2WR

S.Radford@radfordboyz1220

CB: I believe they are confident in their receiving corps. They only kept five receivers on the roster initially and now have six with Brandon Tate. Obviously if Sammy Watkins is out of the lineup for any period of time that would hurt, since there is no other wideout like him on the roster.

I will say that I think Robert Woods is an underrated receiver, who has never really had a chance to shine in this offense. I believe he can make plays. He’s not Sammy Watkins. He’s a different receiver, but the guy is winning on his routes a lot. He’s just not getting the ball.

Goodwin and Salas are competent role players and Powell and Tate offer depth.

I’d like to see LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush split out wide at times to try to get them in space and get yards after the catch.

Is that enough? Only time will tell.

I just don’t think they sign a guy like Bowe unless they’re down a couple of receivers for an extended period of time.
2 – Hi Chris,

Once again when I have a Bills question I am turning to you because you ARE THE MAN.

Can you explain the process of selecting which players get cut and which make the team.

My belief was that the General Manager had the final call, but in listening to Rex Ryan he talks about how he and his coaches have a tough job to do when making the call.

You makes the final call certainly does have a tough job. Can you explain?

Thanks
Bob Hammond

CB: How those decisions are made can vary slightly from team to team. With the Bills I know that Doug Whaley ultimately controls who is on the 53-man roster. Rex Ryan controls the 46-man roster on game day.

There is obviously a lot of input from the coaching staff and the pro personnel department regarding the 53-man roster. It’s not like Whaley unilaterally determines the roster. There is a lot of give and take, and the coaching staff has the freedom to express their preferences, but if a tough call arises, Whaley has final say. Whaley has made that clear on more than one occasion.

 

3 – Chris:
Great work during that very hot training camp.
What impact does it have when a player is waived injured instead of just being waived? Does the waived injured mean the player’s contract is voided, and he has to renegotiate to remain with the club if he clears waivers? How does this designation help the team?

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: When a player is waived/injured they are placed on the waiver wire for a certain time period. During training camp it’s just 24 hours. During that period of time another could put a claim on the player and if awarded the claim that team would inherit the contract.

If the player goes unclaimed, as most injured players do, he reverts back to the team that waived/injured him and he goes on that team’s injured reserve list.

When he’s initially waived/injured he no longer counts toward a roster spot and even if he reverts to the team’s injured reserve he doesn’t count toward a roster spot either.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

With the damage done to the defense thru suspensions and injury, would the Bills go to a 4-3 defense? Or stay with the 3-4? Or maybe have a hybrid of both? Opposing teams are going to be able to run on the Bills with relative ease. I know the run defense played well against the Colts, but this is preseason. I just feel short term the Bills will suffer. Unless, of course, they are able to obtain a very good defensive lineman/end thru free agency. Your thoughts.

Tony Falzone,
Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: Switching to a 4-3 would be unusual. That was Rex’s mistake last season. He tried to blend some of the concepts of Jim Schwartz’s defensive scheme in with his. It led to confusion on the field and a whole mess of other execution issues.

Buffalo’s defense should be better because every player understands the scheme and that allows them to play fast. Sure the extra talent will help when Lawson returns along with Dareus, but the execution should be better across the board.

To this point they’ve had one good and one poor performance.

 

5 – Brownie,

Thanks for what you and your crew continue to do for those of us in a long-distance relationship with our team.

I feel like you may have answered this question or similar in years past, but with our first two regular season opponents just four days apart, how much preparation relied on film from the previous season and what else might go into it? Do the Bills have scout teams assigned to the Ravens and Jets open practices? Is this common for most NFL teams? If so, is this why we tend to see the Bills run scrimmages and such out of base packages, in order to be a bit guarded?

Thanks in advance for your response. Anticipating the end of the drought!

Bob from North Tonawanda via Okinawa, Japan

CB: With the first two games so close together the Bills coaching staff was doing game plan installation in practice before the season was even over. Typically in the offseason the coaches formulate a framework of a game plan for their first couple of opponents on the schedule.

Then the pro personnel department will scout the opponents through the course of the preseason by going to all of their preseason games. NFL clubs cannot attend other teams practices unless there is a charge for admittance.


Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: Not just me who needs ball more

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2016 – 9:13 am

Bills WR Sammy Watkins was asked a question he’s been posed before. Does he need the ball more? The obvious answer would be based on his dynamic talent that yes he should get more opportunities to make plays for Buffalo’s offense. But Watkins believes that’s an oversimplification because there are other weapons in the Bills offense that need to be utilized. In fact there was one receiver in particular that he believes is winning on his routes a lot, but not getting the ball.

“I don’t want to be out to be selfish,” said Watkins. “As I got to film I think we need to go to Woods more. He’s open on every play. But as a wide receiver you want to get 10 targets and see what you can do and help your team out as much as you can. But that means Woods needs 10 targets too. Clay needs the ball too.

“So I can’t just say to myself, ‘I want the ball and need the ball.’ It’s not that type of situation. The flow of the game getting me the ball I think is critical. Keeping me live and engaged in the game is really critical.”

Woods has five catches for 30 yards through the first two games.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Separators in pass game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2016 – 8:44 pm

There was a spirited one-on-one session in the red zone during practice Monday between receivers and defensive backs. Here’s who stood out when it came to gaining separation from the DBs.

First off, there is an inherent advantage for the receivers on this drill as they have virtually the whole end zone to work with one-on-one against the DB. In fact secondary coach Tim McDonald even had a good number of his DBs play off coverage with the wideout lining up at the five-yard line. The DB would not pick him up until the goal line. That’s a tough ask.

That being said the receivers who were consistently getting away from coverage were Greg Little, Robert Woods, Greg Salas and Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin’s speed is so sudden that he’s on top of the DB in a blink and they’ve got to make a decision a lot quicker than they’d like. He would quickly get position on a corner at the point of his cut and dart away for more than a few relatively easy receptions.

Little again proved tough to handle in one-on-ones. His best move was when Stephon Gilmore tried to jam him at the line and his first step was backward to avoid the jam attempt. He then sold the post route so well that when he went to the corner Gilmore couldn’t make up the lost ground in time.

Woods did well both when he got separation and when he was covered winning contested passes in tight coverage. His best a twisting, turning grab on a fade route.

And Salas isn’t overly quick or fast, but he has great head and shoulder fakes and it helps him separate. Then he has the frame to shield the defender from the ball to make the play. He did that three times for scores on defenders in the red zone.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Trust continues to build between Taylor & Woods

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2016 – 4:19 pm

Last season it was hard for Tyrod Taylor to trust Robert Woods because Woods’ debilitating groin injury compromised his consistency in being in the right place at the right time. That’s not the case anymore and there is growing trust between the quarterback and receiver with each passing day at training camp.

It began in the spring where in the absence of Sammy Watkins (offseason foot surgery), Woods was one of Taylor’s primary targets. That has carried into training camp where it’s clear that Taylor is completely comfortable giving Woods an opportunity to make a play on the ball even when there is tight coverage.

It happened again at Monday’s practice. In WR-DB one-on-one drills in the red zone, Taylor, despite tight coverage from Mario Butler, tossed a fade pass to the back right corner of the end zone for Woods. The fourth-year receiver jumped high into the air snared the ball, did a 180 to shield the ball from Butler and got two feet down before falling out of bounds for a touchdown.

“Yeah, I think it’s all about trust,” said Woods. “We’ve been together for a year now, we’ve been going offseason, season, another offseason. And now we’re putting in the same work, trusting each other, knowing the offense, knowing where we can go in zones and man and it is all trust. We gain trust and we’re putting the ball out there and running under it.”

Woods appeared to solidify himself as the team’s No. 2 WR in minicamp, and he’s done even more through the first week-plus of training camp. He and Greg Little have probably been the two most consistent receivers in camp thus far.

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Who has looked good in absence of Sammy?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 1:58 pm

Sammy Watkins will be watching from the sidelines for the upcoming OTAs, mandatory minicamp and possibly the start of training camp. Ideally Watkins is on the field with his teammates sooner rather than later, but in his absence some receivers will have the chance to emerge. Tyrod Taylor has already seen some members of the receiving corps come in ready during offseason conditioning and shared some names on the John Murphy Show this week.

“Robert Woods coming back after having a season under his belt battling with an injury came back explosive,” said Tyrod Taylor of Buffalo’s number two wideout, who played with a torn groin for most of the 2015 season. “Guys that came on late in the season like Greg Salas and Leonard Hankerson have definitely come in strong.”

If there is one positive to draw from Watkins’ absence it’s that players like Salas, Hankerson and others will get more reps to show the coaching staff how they can contribute to this offense.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-29

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 5:15 pm

Day two of the NFL draft. Right now the Bills hold the 49th and 80th picks. What do they do tonight? Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Hey Chris, who do you expect with be their at pick 49?

ryan marx 

CB: I think it’s hard to know what’s going to be left if the Bills stay put at 49 overall. If the value on defense keeps getting pushed down they could go on that side of the ball again. Players like Myles Jack, Reggie Ragland and Jarran Reed all figure to go early tonight in round two. But there’s still good talent after that like Kevin Dodd, A’Shawn Robinson and Kamalei Correa. On offense you’ve got Connor Cook, but he’ll probably go in the top two picks tonight.

I took a look at the best talent that’s on the board that might be a good fit for the Bills.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance bills trade up to select a top remaining linebacker?

Zach @ZWinterberg

CB: I don’t think you can rule anything out with Doug Whaley at the wheel. He’s not afraid to make a deal if it makes sense for the team. Based on the old trade value chart the Bills would have to give up a third-round pick to get up to the top of round two tonight from their current spot at 49.

There’s also going to be competition to move up that high with reports that Dallas wants to get up there, probably to take a shot at Connor Cook. Myles Jack and Reggie Ragland would be great for Buffalo, but the price to go to the top of round two might be too much.

Perhaps they choose to wait to see how the first few picks unfold and if one of their top players is still on the board they make some calls.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance Bills move Manny Lawson to MLB now that Shaq is starting OLB opposite Jerry Hughes?

Matt Dermod

CB: Since we saw that transpire late last season I think it’s an option. Manny Lawson is a player that is valued by Rex Ryan. He’s stated more than once that he’s one of the smartest players he’s ever coached. He can fill roles at OLB, DE and inside at LB. His versatility gives the Ryans options.

So while I don’t think it’s the most likely scenario, it’s possible. Personally I think Lawson takes on a jack of all trades role because mentally he’s more than capable of playing different roles week to week.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

Not much is mentioned about Robert Woods and his future with the Bills.  I know he is going into his contract year and has some to prove in 2016.  Do you think the Bills will want to get him under another contract?  I know he had a down year in 2015 due to a groin injury but I think Robert is a very underrated receiver and I would really hate to see him leave the team.  Thanks for all your insight.  Jillian

CB: It’s pretty clear to everyone that the contract extension priorities on the roster are Tyrod Taylor, Cordy Glenn and Stephon Gilmore. I like Robert Woods and I too believe he’s underrated. To his credit he played hurt last season and almost had a 50-catch season.

Unfortunately with the other players in front of him on the list for extensions it’s probably a wait and see situation for him.

 

5 – Chris,

With all the talk about Tyrod Taylor as the starting QB for the Bills and talk about the Bills drafting a QB this year, what has been going on with EJ Manuel?  I have been a big EJ fan since he came in the league and I would like to know what the Bills staff’s plans are for him and what are the chances he will be with the team after his contract is up next year?  What is really preventing him from Starting for the Bills?

CB: Manuel is expected to serve as the backup this season, the final under his rookie contract. What happens beyond that I believe is tied to the other quarterback the Bills acquire, presumably through the draft. If the hypothetical rookie makes a lot of progress and convinces the offensive staff he could handle a backup role in 2017 then Manuel probably is not re-signed. If the progress isn’t happening at a rate the staff feels comfortable with, perhaps EJ is brought back on a short term deal.

As for your last question on what is preventing him from starting for the Bills, it’s Tyrod Taylor. The seventh-highest rated quarterback in the league, a 3.33:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a solid deep passing game.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-26

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2016 – 10:49 am

Our NFL Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts continues today from Indianapolis both on Buffalobills.com and on the John Murphy Show. For now here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Dear Chris,
First off, I’d like to say I appreciate everything you do to keep us Bills die hards informed during the off season.

My question is with a lot of needs to be addressed and not too much cap room to use in free agency do you see the bills trading down in the draft to acquire more draft picks? You keep hearing how deep the draft class is so I feel trading down will help us address a lot of our needs.
Thank you again for everything you do,
Dave G from Niagara Falls

CB: It’s interesting that you bring this up because I just asked GM Doug Whaley about that very possibility in our 1-on-1 interview on Buffalobills.com, which I made a note of in our Bills Daily Dish this morning out here at the NFL Combine.

Whaley said he’s open to adding picks if the opportunity presents itself. You’re right that with a tight cap Buffalo has to make the most of their draft picks, but right now they have just six (no seventh). So while I think they’d like to stay in the first round I don’t think they’d be opposed to moving back a few spots if it meant adding to their lot of selections.

Their cap situation is going to be pretty restrictive so adding picks to add players in what is considered a draft deep in value rather than elite talent behooves the Bills to look for deals that can land them more draft choices. And we all know Doug Whaley isn’t afraid to make a deal.

 

2 – Chris
I need your keen insight. This seems to be a good year for drafting a QB, I’m concerned if we pass at 19, when we get a chance at 51, the good ones will be gone ?? If many of the top ones don’t go in first 18, Dallas, Cleveland , San Diego, Rams, Saints etc. will grab one. My biggest fear is the Jets and Patriots draft one after us. A lot of top QB’s are aging out.

Could we sign Tyrod to a 4 year contract, if we hit on one, we will be primed to continue to win ??

Jim M.

CB: I think you might be getting a little carried away. Doug Whaley has stated more than once that while there isn’t a lot of top end, elite QB talent in this draft there is very good depth at the position for talent that he feels offers enough to develop some prospects into eventual starters. That’s a perfect scenario knowing it’s very likely that Tyrod Taylor gets an extension from the Bills after a promising first season in 2015.

That’s why I expect the Bills to wait until the middle rounds to draft a quarterback. There will be good talent in rounds three to five that can be brought along behind Taylor. I don’t get the sense that Buffalo will strike early at QB unless someone falls into their lap that they weren’t expecting.

Rounds 3-5 look like the window where picking a QB is most likely to occur based on how their draft board shakes out.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

Thank you for constantly keeping us informed over the off season.

My question is about Lesean McCoy’s contract, but also all contracts in general when it comes to the league’s personal conduct policies. If you are in violation of something and face suspension, or do something that hurts the team’s image, can that player be released without any salary or can penalty to the team? And to be more direct, can the Bills release LeSean McCoy over this incident if he is found to be at fault?

Thanks,
Paddy

CB: To my knowledge a team would not be off the hook in terms of the salary cap hit that cutting or releasing a player like LeSean McCoy would leave behind. As I understand it a player must have a morality clause in their contract that specifically states what kind of behavior would render their contract with an NFL club null and void.

As the team has stated though we should let the investigation play itself out because there are an awful lot of conflicting reports being circulated out there as to what really happened.
4 – Hey Chris’

I read an article that the Bills even with the estimated increase of the cap for the next league year expected to jump to $155 mill that the Bills are still over with the contracts they have, & the article outlines how they can free up about $27 mill of cap space by cutting some other players & or redoing their contracts.

Another way that could free up some cap space is if the Bills were to try & re-work Kyle Williams current contract. Do you think that Kyle might be willing to do so given the fact that he is coming off an injury & he is in the later stages of his career.

Many teams good at keeping a team good would probably cut someone like Kyle say if it were the Pats just to continue building for the future. So I would think it would be a good thing for both if Kyle could finish his career here in Buffalo but maybe do it at a home town discounted price. That could quite possibly put the Bills into the $30 mill + range of cap space enough to sign Glenn, Incognito, Gilmore, & Bradham to long term contracts …

Thanks for your insight !
Mr. T formally from Fort Myers now in Nashville
CB: While I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills approached Kyle about renegotiating again (they tacked another year on his deal last offseason) they’re limited in what they can do to get his cap figure down short of having him take an outright pay cut. He’s 32-years old and has a cap figure of $8M. He’s still a productive player, but injuries have been catching up with him. At the same time his leadership is valuable as evidenced by what happened to the defense after he left the lineup in Week 6.

It’ll be a tricky situation, but hopefully with as good as the Bills have been to him over the years he might be willing to reduce his salary a bit to help the cause. We’ll see if it’s a road the Bills choose to travel.

The good news is they’ve already made some salary cap headway by getting Charles Clay restructured, which we reported last night, and moved their unused cap space from 2015 in the amount of $4.4M to 2016.

 

5 – Chris,
There is lots of discussion about acquiring a possible #2 WR to play opposite Sammy Watkins, but no mention of using Dez Lewis in that role.  He has the height (6′ 4″) and plenty of speed.  Was the coaching staff still very unsure about him at the end of the 2015 season, or is he a real possibility for the #2 spot, especially if he builds up his strength during the offseason?

Mack
Rochester

CB: While I think Lewis will get a good look from the staff this offseason and in training camp, he’s really got to come on and play more consistently to make a jump that far up the depth chart. I know a lot of people weren’t overly impressed with Robert Woods season last year, but you need to remember the guy played hurt with a torn groin for almost the final three quarters of the season. His separation ability was greatly hindered by that injury. I’m interested to see how he comes back from that injury in 2016 before we start actively looking for other options there.

And at this point there are some other options now on the roster like Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin that will bear watching.

 


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods to finish degree at school

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2016 – 3:43 pm

With an NFL career being so demanding, Robert Woods has been chipping away at completing his college degree. Heading into this offseason, Woods needs just a handful of credits and to complete an internship and he’ll be done.

Woods, who in the offseason attends classes at USC where he played his college ball, is on schedule to graduate this offseason.

“I’ve been going to school every offseason. This is my final semester. I’ll be back for training in April,” said Woods. “Maybe [I’ll practice with the guys] if they are able to make it out there, but [school] is my main focus,” he said.

The third-year receiver will be getting a degree in Policy planning and development.

“I’m interested in development and real estate, whether it’s commercial development, property development, city planning,” he said.

Woods said he plans to intern at a real estate firm to get a feel for what the business is like. He also stands a good chance of being the jock of the class.

“Probably so,” he said. “There are no other NFL players in the class. It’s fun going back and being back on campus.”


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods’ season could be over

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2015 – 2:41 pm

Bills WR Robert Woods has been battling a nagging groin injury lately and on Sunday it became a severe injury that could cost him the last two games this season.

“Robert Woods, he had a groin injury – safe to say pretty severe one – there’s a possibility this could end his season,” said head coach Rex Ryan.

Ryan admitted there’s a chance that Woods could land on injured reserve with the injury with just two games left to play this season. Buffalo’s head coach hinted that practice squad rookie WR Dezmin Lewis could be called up if Woods is move to I-R.

“Probably a good chance of that,” Ryan said. “The young man’s done a nice job on our practice squad so I think that would be a real possibility if indeed Robert goes on I-R.”

Woods finished Sunday’s game with four catches for 44 yards.

Meanwhile LB Randell Johnson’s season may also be over after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

McCoy, Miller, Woods not able to finish Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2015 – 7:08 am

There were a few injuries sustained on Sunday that added injury to insult with three pretty important offensive pieces unable to finish the game over the weekend. Head coach Rex Ryan didn’t have an official diagnosis or prognosis on LeSean McCoy, John Miller or Robert Woods, but all three left the game early.

“LeSean went out with a knee,” said Ryan. “Robert Woods never finished the game with the knee injury. The ankle, it’s the same ankle for John Miller. Then Randell Johnson went out with a leg injury and none of those players returned. I don’t know the severity of any of these injuries.”

Miller had been dealing with a high ankle sprain and missed two games prior to returning against the Eagles in Week 14. It’s not unreasonable to think with two games to play that he might not return before the end of the season. All three will be re-evaluated Monday and Rex Ryan should provide an update at his afternoon press conference at 1 pm.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Woods added to Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2015 – 2:33 pm

The Bills had another new addition to their injury report on Thursday as WR Robert Woods made the list.

Woods was listed as a limited participant with a hip injury. Head coach Rex Ryan believes Woods along with LB Preston Brown and Jerome Felton are all expected to play Sunday.

“I believe all of those guys will play,” said Ryan. “I know Preston is fighting through that hamstring, but he was able to do a little more today.”

Here’s the full practice participation rundown for Thursday.

DID NOT PRACTICE
Mario Williams – illness
Charles Clay – back
Seantrel Henderson – illness
Bacarri Rambo – knee

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
Ron Brooks – concussion/neck
Aaron Williams – neck
John Miller – ankle
Karlos Williams – shoulder
Jerome Felton – back
Nigel Bradham – ankle
Preston Brown – hamstring
Robert Woods – hip


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-20

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2015 – 12:49 pm

The Bills are trying to pull off an impressive trifecta in their gauntlet run through the division, and the hardest hurdle to clear is next with the Patriots in Foxboro Monday night. They’re 2-0 so far. We’ll see what Monday night holds. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

any chance they let robert woods do something besides block this week?

Snowbird_Killer

CB: I know Woods hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunities to make plays in the passing game lately. Part of the reason is the reduction in pass attempts the last few weeks. Tyrod Taylor has averaged just over 18 pass attempts a game in his last three appearances. It’s not like they haven’t made an effort to get Woods the ball. His eight targets in the last two games are second only to Sammy Watkins. Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy are the only other players who have been passing targets the last two games.

So while Woods hasn’t been able to make a giant impact in the passing game, when the Bills do go to the air he is a part of the plan. The passing game has just taken a back seat to the run game of late.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

biggest matchup advantage the Bills have this week?

BenCiraolo27

CB: I really like Charles Clay in this game. Patrick Chung is a box safety and Devin McCourty is average at best in coverage. I believe Clay could have a day against the Patriots in the passing game and serve as a valuable underneath and seam target for Tyrod Taylor.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

the last few games, Bills have put a healthy DT on the inactive list, do you expect that to change against Blount?

lophus89

CB: I don’t know that LeGarrette Blount’s presence on the opponent’s roster necessarily demands that another defensive tackle be active Monday night. The Jets’ Chris Ivory runs every bit as tough as Blount, and in my opinion runs with more power and Buffalo had a DT inactive last Thursday night.

The inactive list is put together with a lot of factors in mind. Injuries, game plan, matchups, etc. So I understand why you might expect with a big back that more DTs would be active, but knowing that Carrington and Mario can play end or tackle you have enough versatility in your defensive linemen that all of them do not need to be active on game day provided everyone is healthy.

 

4 – Chris;
I would be interested on your thoughts for handling Gronk ?
My thoughts are assigning someone to shadow him every play, a player who is big enough and tough enough to match him physically . My thoughts, Hughes or Lawson on D, maybe Gregg or Gray who know TE plays ??
We need to think outside the box on him.

Jim in Florida


CB:
I had a new idea about how to handle Gronk that came to me this week. Unfortunately with Leodis McKelvin’s status up in the air I’m not sure it will work. In any case, with Julian Edelman out of the lineup Buffalo can afford to deploy their defensive backs differently.

Let’s assume for now that Leodis McKelvin is available to play. If that’s the case I would put McKelvin outside opposite Ronald Darby, leave Nickell Robey in the slot and put Stephon Gilmore on Rob Gronkowski.

He’s the most physical defensive back on the team. He can clearly run with Gronk and has the physical skill set and size to defend passes against him. Without game-breaking threats elsewhere you can afford to put your top corner on Gronk in my opinion. You’ve got nothing to lose as I see it.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will EJ be the backup QB on Monday or not dress? #Bills

BuffaloWingWear

CB: Rex Ryan said that EJ Manuel is his backup for the rest of the season and that last Thursday night was a special circumstance in making Josh Johnson the backup QB and making Manuel one of the team’s seven inactive players.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills