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.


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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.

 


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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.”


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods reception streak comes to end

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2015 – 11:50 pm

He had caught at least one pass in every NFL game of his three-year career, but on Sunday Robert Woods for the first time as a pro went without a catch.

Woods came into the game with a 37-game streak with at least one reception. In Sunday’s win he was targeted just once early in the game, but did not come up with the catch. The receiver was again a factor in the run game blocking downfield, but his streak with at least one catch came to an end.

“Yeah just a blocking day,” said Woods when asked about his streak. “One of those ones where the defense is giving us the ground game and we’ve just got to keep going to it. We had two running backs over 100 yards and sometimes you have to take what the defense gives you.”

Tyrod Taylor only attempted 12 passes for the entire game with eight going to Sammy Watkins. Woods still made his presence felt with a key block on the McCoy 48-yard touchdown run.

“We knew that (Dolphins safety) Reshad Jones was very active in run support, trying to get him taken out of (the play),” said Woods. “With him playing down in the box, it’s our job to dig out the safeties.”

Woods 37-game streak was the eighth longest in team history.


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Receiving corps has faith in Roman

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2015 – 7:45 am

Buffalo will be without all three receivers capable of blowing the top off a defense with Marquise Goodwin on I-R and Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins not available for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville in London. But for the receivers that will be playing they are confident offensive coordinator Greg Roman will have ways for them to make plays in the passing game Sunday.

“That’s all G-Ro,” said Robert Woods in reference to his offensive coordinator. “He knows his players. He has certain plays for certain players and certain style of plays to get guys the ball and it’ll probably be a little different with me and Hogan and a different type of speed with those guys. But he knows how to get those players the ball.”

Roman admits that without receiver talent like Harvin, Goodwin and Watkins he’s going to need to make dramatic changes to their offensive approach.

“Huge, huge, huge adjustments have been made,” Roman said. “That’s to be expected, that’s part of life in the NFL.  Adapt or die. We’re adapting. We want to live and prosper. We’ll make whatever adjustments are necessary.”


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Why EJ and the WR corps will be in sync

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2015 – 7:30 am

They’ve only had one start together this season, but EJ Manuel’s history with the healthy receivers on the roster goes deeper than that. So although Buffalo is shorthanded at the receiver position Manuel feels good about the on field chemistry with the receiving targets who will be suiting up Sunday.

“It helps a lot because our rapport off the field is so close so I can talk to him about anything,” said Manuel. “If it’s an adjustment that he saw during the game or that I saw on a certain route in practice we can talk about it and get it fixed.

“We still have some targets. Woods does a great job. Hogan does a great job. D-Mo (Denarius Moore) is going to do a great job for us at wide receiver as well. (Marcus) Easley. Then our tight ends, I think (Charles) Clay had something like nine catches last week. He’s a big target and I think he poses a matchup against any linebacker or safety.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-16

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2015 – 10:55 am

A pivotal AFC game Sunday for the Bills. Buffalo will have to be at their best to beat a streaking Bengals club. Fortunately it looks like they’ll have some of their main horses back in the lineup. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

W/ 23 hurt and Darby playing so well, any chance Leodis moves to Safety when healthy?

SJHNatFan

CB: First, Leodis to me is a cornerback through and through. Yes, he’s very physically gifted, but I’d be surprised if he lines up at safety. McKelvin is the type of player who needs a singular role out on the boundary. And though he is ‘wiry strong’ I don’t believe playing in the middle of the field and dealing with big tight ends is a good fit for him. Whether the coaching staff feels differently is another story.

Since I’ve been getting a lot of questions I’ll take the time here to explain that McKelvin is eligible to begin practicing with the team again on Wednesday in London. He’s looked good doing football-like rehab work on the sideline the last few weeks. Just because he begins practicing next week does not mean he’ll be immediately added to the 53-man roster.

Once he begins practicing the clock starts on a 21-day window in which the Bills can have him practice without counting toward a roster spot. They can activate him to the 53-man roster at any point in that time frame.

In my opinion he will not step into the starting lineup when he returns. Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore have been playing lights out football. This is a good thing because it doesn’t rush McKelvin onto the field. With as quick and sudden as things happen at that position there will be an acclimation period for McKelvin who will undoubtedly be a bit rusty.

Where I do see him making an impact is on punt return where the team is in need of field position help. This season the Bills are averaging just 7.3 yards a punt return, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. McKelvin for his career has averaged almost 11 yards a return (10.9). Imagine the value of giving an offense an extra 10 yards of field position every time they step on the field for a possession.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills can we call @robertwoods Bobby Lumber?

acurthoys

CB: I’m going to assume you’re referring to the way Robert Woods has been blocking downfield. I know that just about everybody noticed his two-for-one block on Tyrod Taylor’s touchdown run last week when he took out a pair of Titans defenders to let Taylor get the edge on his 22-yard quarterback draw. But Woods has had other strong blocks downfield this season.

I think the most important thing to note about the receiving corps and their blocking downfield is how on a day when there were just 10 completions they were determined to make an impact anyway, and their blocking was the way they accomplished that.

“As a receiver, you never know when your time is going to come, whether it’s a pass or a block,” said Woods. “Like a key block, running downfield, blocking the safety. You never know when your time is going to come. This time it wasn’t a pass play, it was that block for Tyrod.”

Woods also had a tackle on kickoff coverage last Sunday. Hard not to like a receiver that’s willing to do some of the dirty work.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills would Bills ever do a multiple QB package once Tyrod is healthy? Our trick plays seem to be getting shut down all the time.
RealBryanWatson

CB: I think anything is possible, especially since in Week 1 against Indianapolis it was Matt Cassel under center with Tyrod Taylor split wide on the first play of the game. I should also note that the man who re-invented the ‘Wildcat’ package at Arkansas, which soon migrated to the NFL a few years ago is Buffalo’s quarterbacks coach, David Lee.

I get the sense that Greg Roman doesn’t try to trick defenses as much as he tries to confuse them, and to me there is a difference. One is rooted in a gadget play, while the other is based on pre-snap shifts, motions and alignment, but I wouldn’t rule your suggestion out at all.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Loving the new studio set up and all the coverage!
My question is why are we not utilizing Tyrod and his God-given talents??  Where is the read option?  Where are the designed runs and roll outs?  Why don’t we spread teams out with our INSANE talent at WR and then run it down their throats and not let them stack the box….aka what the Pats did.  I’m just a little frustrated – I know we beat the Colts but they don’t look all that great this year so far and we can do better.  Love to hear your thoughts, thanks!

Chris

St. Louis
CB: I understand your frustration. Even when Taylor ran for 76 yards last week only one carry, his touchdown run, was a designed run play. Other than that his other runs were scrambles to elude pressure.

I’m no offensive coordinator and Greg Roman has more football knowledge in his pinkie finger than I’ll ever have. I do think there has been a concerted effort to protect Taylor from injury, which as we saw last week is a very real risk. So the read option and designed runs have been few and far between.

That being said, when your run game and offense in general is struggling there should be a package of plays featuring Tyrod as a run threat that you can turn to just to jumpstart the offense.

Buffalo leads the league in three-and-out percentage at almost 32 percent (31.7%). The league average is 20.6 percent. Granted they haven’t had two of their top rushers in McCoy and Karlos Williams and Sammy Watkins has missed the last two games, but their defense as good as it is won’t be able to hold every opponent down like they did in Week 5.

So when the offense has a couple of consecutive three-and-outs, making use of Taylor’s legs (when healthy) is something I’m not opposed to just to get the offense back on track. Perhaps with all the weapons back in the lineup that won’t be necessary, but I think your point is a valid one.

 

5 – Chris,

Can Colton do kickoffs? He’s got a strong punters leg? Why not try/practice Colton kicking off. Other teams employs their punter to kickoff. Dan had done kickoffs in the league before the rule changed. If Dan could kick how many yards would they truly be losing? 5-10? Doesn’t seem like much instead of having another player active on game day.

CB: Rex Ryan said Colton Schmidt is the backup kickoff man to Dan Carpenter now that Billy Cundiff has been moved off the roster. I want to believe Carpenter can reach the end zone, but returners are more aggressive now than they were the first year the kickoff was moved to the 35-yard line. Unless it’s seven yards deep or more most returners will bring it out.

That at least creates the chance for a long return whereas if it’s kicked more than seven yards deep a return man is taking a knee. To say it’s just a five to 10-yard difference is a bit of a misnomer. A return man in this league just needs one coverage player to fall down or get out of their lane and it’s a big play and either a field position advantage is lost or there are six points on the board for the opposition.

 

London game bonus question
Chris,

Your Blog is my 1st read every morning. Thanks for keeping us transplanted Buffalonians informed on our Bills.

Since I’m not living in Buffalo Area, but PA how do we watch Bills-Jags. Have NFL Ticket but understand will be only Streamed. Any help appreciated.

 

Go Bills from East Berlin PA

Fred

 

CB: You’re right you will be able to watch the game on live stream via Yahoo on your smartphone, computer, game console or smart TV. The game will also be broadcast on television in the Buffalo and Jacksonville, Fla., markets and shown on Sky’s cable network in Britain.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WRs helping in other ways

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2015 – 1:44 pm

Last Sunday’s game was a prime example of how Buffalo’s receiving corps is looking to contribute no matter how much the passing game might struggle. In last week’s win the Bills had just 10 completions, but it didn’t keep Buffalo’s receivers from making their presence felt in the game.

“Oh, they’re definitely having an impact,” said head coach Rex Ryan of his receivers. “But that’s who we are as a football team. That’s who we pride ourselves on, being selfless but still contributing.  Robert Woods, he’s had some huge blocks for us. That was a great block he had on the touchdown by Tyrod. It’s easy to talk about, but our guys give the effort, whether it’s Percy (Harvin), or (Chris) Hogan, or Robert (Woods) certainly—they all buy in. And that’s the beauty of it. It was a rough day, we had one catch between (Charles) Clay and (Percy) Harvin—you never go into a game assuming that’s going to happen.  But it did.  And yet, those guys are still trying to contribute in as many ways as they possibly can.”

When asked which play gets a bigger reaction from teammates during film review, a touchdown or a block like the one he had on Taylor’s touchdown run, Woods said it’s always the block.

“Reaction from teammates it’s probably the block, just because it’s a selfless action, making a play without the ball in a timely manner,” said Woods. “It was really all Tyrod.  He was making the play, he happened to see me, and he was just setting up his blocks.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods likes when offense moves fast

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2015 – 12:27 pm

No one knows if it will be recipe moving forward for Buffalo’s offense, but WR Robert Woods was encouraged by what they were able to execute in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s game.

Buffalo staged three straight touchdown drives when they were down 24 points entering the fourth quarter to make it a game late against New England. Granted the Patriots were willing to trade yards for time off the clock and played a bit more conservatively on defense. Still, Woods believes they’d fare well as an offense if they subscribed more to a fast tempo.

“I think just the urgency of the offense when we were able to move the ball well, run the ball well, move fast, keep the defense on the edge and keep the blitz away, I think that’s when we move the ball best,” said Woods, who had a 32-yard touchdown catch to cap the first of three successful touchdown drives in the fourth quarter last Sunday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-11

Posted by Chris Brown on September 11, 2015 – 2:06 pm

As excited as we are for real football on Sunday, we do need to pause to think about the nearly 3,000 Americans who perished in the 9-11 attacks. Never forget. Here is this week’s edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – What is the process with keeping someone on the Practice Squad….can another team sign anyone from a Practice Squad? Are there any ways to protect someone on the Practice Squad?

Joe Roberts
Orlando, FL
CB: Practice squads consist of a maximum of 10 players typically who have accrued two or fewer NFL seasons as a pro. Each team is allowed a couple of exceptions in which a third-year player can be on the practice squad. To answer your question yes, any team in the league can sign a player off another team’s practice squad. Essentially you should think of them as a free agent with a job in the league.

 

2 – Chris,

I’m excited for the Bills 2015 season.  I really want to see what Greg Roman does with Buffalo’s offense.  Bills are deep at WR position.  I disagree with some of the posts I’ve read on depth chart.

Sammy is the #1 WR, in my opinion Robert Woods  is clearly #2 ahead of Harvin.  Woods was a great draft pick – Robert Woods consistently gets open on routes and has great hands!  Plus I think he is much more durable than Harvin.  Keep Percy Harvin in the slot as the #3 and kick returns.

What are your thoughts at WR, how many do the Bills keep and how do you see the depth chart.

Randy C,

from Buffalo, currently in D.C.

CB: What is interesting on Buffalo’s depth chart is Percy Harvin and Robert Woods are listed as co-starters opposite Sammy Watkins. So as the coaching staff sees it they’re 2A and 2B on their depth chart. Then it’s Chris Hogan and Marquise Goodwin followed by special teamers Marcus Easley and Marcus Thigpen.

Keeping seven did surprise me. I thought six was a more realistic number. I think the team saw Thigpen as worthy of a roster spot because with Leodis McKelvin to miss the first six weeks of the season they didn’t have a proven punt returner. So Thigpen will handle those duties.

I agree with your thoughts on Woods. I believe with all the attention that’s going to be on Watkins and Harvin and even Charles Clay, Woods will have a lot of favorable matchups this season and make a lot of plays.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do u think Gilmore will cover Johnson this weekend since it seems that Darby has more trouble w/ taller receivers?

Snowbird_Killer

CB: The Bills have a ton of respect for Andre Johnson, but I don’t think he’s as big a deep threat concern as he used to be. T.Y. Hilton is the more dangerous receiver, but he’s not going to physically overmatch Ronald Darby. I think Rex Ryan was truthful when he said he would mix it up against Andrew Luck and the Colts offense.

So I don’t anticipate there being a lot of Gilmore following Johnson or Hilton for the whole game. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were certain areas of the field where they put Gilmore on Johnson to match up better physically like the red zone, but beyond that I think the chances are greater they play the receivers straight up and the Bills roll more safety help to Darby’s side.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills are we wearing retro jerseys on Sunday to go with the helmets?#RockTheRalph

joshgel25

CB: Yes, there will be a full retro uniform to go with the throwback helmets. Here’s a look.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>All White Classics for week 1. Go <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash”>#Bills</a&gt; <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RockTheRalph?src=hash”>#RockTheRalph</a&gt; <a href=”http://t.co/sRBkF3fWH5″>pic.twitter.com/sRBkF3fWH5</a></p>&mdash; billsequipment (@billsequipment) <a href=”https://twitter.com/billsequipment/status/642053433390968832″>September 10, 2015</a></blockquote>

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills

How does the HB depth chart looks like? And what is expected out of Karlos Williams? Can he be better than what Fred was?

killerbeekevin

CB: The way the depth chart is listed at running backs is McCoy, Dixon, Karlos, Brown. Personally I think Karlos Williams is going to get just as much time in the offensive backfield as Dixon, if not a bit more. Maybe not right away this season, but sooner rather than later. His running style is aggressive and downhill and he’s got more straight line speed than Dixon.

Blitz pickup will be where I will be looking most carefully to see who can handle that role that Fred filled so well on third downs. It very well could be McCoy, who is pretty good at it in his own right, but that’s something that will bear watching.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills WRs back participating

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2015 – 2:39 pm

A bunch of Buffalo’s top wideouts did not play in Thursday’s preseason finale, but they are participating in Friday’s practice. 

Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, Chris Hogan and Percy Harvin are all participating in practice. 

The only non-participant is Marquise Goodwin, who is watching from the side. He has a rib injury.  


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills nicked players rehabbing back in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2015 – 6:43 pm

The Bills do not intend to play their starters at all Thursday night against the Lions in Detroit. With some of their injured players they took it a step further not having them make the trip at all.

The plan is to allow them to spend more time rehabbing their respective injuries at One Bills Drive rather than traveling back and forth to Detroit.

Among the players who will be working at One Bills Drive are Charles Clay, Marcell Dareus, Boobie Dixon, Marquise Goodwin, Deonte Thompson, Karlos Williams, Mario Williams and Robert Woods.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods getting open a lot

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2015 – 10:13 am

His quarterbacks don’t see him on every play, but they’re quickly realizing that most of the time Robert Woods is open. Through the first week of camp Woods has been getting consistent separation and has been making difficult catches when defensive backs have been able to stay with him.

“I think I’m doing pretty well so far,” said Woods. “I’ve got a lot to work on and keep improving. Just keep making plays so they keep seeing me.”

Woods may have an added advantage over the other receivers. He’s one of the only receivers who has a rapport with two of the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job. He’s obviously played the last two seasons with Manuel, but he’s also caught passes in the summer from Matt Cassel with both of them often meeting up at their alma mater – USC.

“Just the timing,” said Woods. “Both of those quarterbacks know how I run my routes just from experience working out. Being here for two years helps being a step ahead.”

His best catch in camp thus far was a pass that was behind him that he snared by reaching back behind his body with his left hand while coming across the field right to left full speed to pull in a touchdown during red zone work on a pass from Matt Cassel.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Woods assessment of QB battle

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2015 – 11:50 am

Just about everyone has been asked about it through the first week of training camp. Do you see an early leader in Buffalo’s quarterback competition? Here was Robert Woods assessment.

“Not yet, each QB is making some great throws, EJ’s dropping the long ball in, Matt Cassel is going through his progressions throwing the right ball, we’ve got Tyrod (Taylor) firing and making some good throws while he’s running and then we’ve got (Matt) Simms fitting the ball in tight coverage,” said Woods. “So each QB is bringing something different, and making the right throws.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-15

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2015 – 11:41 am

Sorry for the one week hiatus. A lot of news going down last week. OTAs are less than two weeks away. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –  @ChrisBrownBills

just curious why Bills have Felton and Conner?

nschirra8

CB: Doug Whaley has stated many times that any time they have a chance to make an upgrade they’re going to do so. The John Conner signing this week is an example of that. While I don’t deny that it’s unusual to have two proven fullbacks on one roster, I think Whaley and Rex Ryan subscribe to the philosophy of creating as much competition as possible in the training camp setting.

Conner will push Jerome Felton and that makes both players better. Ultimately Felton is going to be this team’s starting fullback, but if there’s an injury Conner is a fantastic fall back option. Can Conner convince the coaches to make an exception and keep two fullbacks? With the depth of this roster that’s going to be difficult, but you can’t fault a team for trying to get better everywhere and driving up the level of competition.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for your continued pursuit of giving a small market team, big time exposure.

I know the McCoy/Alonso deal has been discussed ad nauseum and much like most Bills fans, I found myself conflicted and constantly flip-flopping on how to feel.  At the end of the day, the organization is making an aggressive play to enhance the offense, which is definitely something I support.  Having said that, seeing that the Bills were willing to commit heavy resources to a running back I’m uncertain of what to feel hypothesizing that we could have signed Demarco Murray for less money and still retained Kiko (whether to keep or to use as a potential trade asset).  Both backs are elite and I don’t wish to jibber-jabber over which one is better, but how can a cogent argument be made that McCoy > Demarco + Kiko?

Keep up the great work.
Best,
Robert F.

CB: While I think most would acknowledge that DeMarco Murray + Kiko Alonso is better than just LeSean McCoy, you’re operating under the assumption that Murray would be interested in signing with Buffalo.

It’s possible he may have been willing to sign with the Bills. We’ll probably never know, but Murray is a year older than McCoy. Unlike McCoy, who avoids the kill shots of defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties, Murray takes big hits. I think one could argue that the cumulative wear and tear on Murray is greater than on McCoy.

Now that doesn’t dismiss your argument that Murray + Alonso would be better than just McCoy, but I’m not convinced Murray would’ve signed here.

 

3 – Hi Chris, thank you to you and your team for all the off season coverage.
I have to think Suh signing this contract hurts us in two ways. 1, he bolsters the Dolphins defense and we have to go up against him twice a year. 2, did he set the market for Marcell Dareus as a free agent? Dareus was considered the best tackle against the run last year, and had more tackles and sacks than Suh. If Marcell doesn’t drop off this year wouldn’t he command the same contract as Suh? We saw what happens without Marcell in the lineup, just look at the Oakland game before and after his injury.  Do you think the Bills can afford to re-sign him, and if so, is that at the expense of asking Mario Williams to restructure his contract or full on releasing him?
Thanks
Paddy

CB: The Bills maintain that their cap structure will allow for a long term contract extension for Dareus. He’s the linchpin of the defensive interior for the long term future.

You’re right the Suh deal did set the market. I think in an ideal world the Bills have Dareus signed to a long term deal before the 2015 season commences. The more he performs on the field the more his price goes up, so it would behoove the Bills to seal a deal before September. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

 

4 – Hi Chris
Do the Bills have any definite plans for Marcus Thigpen? Is he still on the roster? Percy Harvin is arguably a better all-around player, but in all the mentions of Buffalo “weapons” I’ve not once heard Thigpen’s name.

Just curious
@GregTheBillsFan

CB: Thigpen is still on the roster yes. Harvin is clearly a better all-around player. Thigpen was a punt return specialist on this team last season after Leodis McKelvin broke his ankle. And while he did do a good job this roster became even harder for him to make with the offseason additions, Harvin chief among them. With McKelvin expected to be ready by training camp, the team’s primary punt returner will be back in the fold. So Thigpen, though very capable, may get caught up in a numbers game at the receiver position.

 

5 – Chris,
With the addition of Harvin, how do you expected the formations to look like? How does it change the role of Robert Woods, who had a great 2nd half of the season. Harvin might cut into Watkin’s targets, I like to see Watkin’s used more creatively.

Is Goodwin on the bubble to make the roster? I’d like to see a coach that will throw him the ball.

Sean

CB: I think the Greg Roman offense is going to be as multiple as possible with a myriad of pre-snap formations and shifts. So to give you an answer about formations would be like trying to hit a moving target. I expect Harvin to line up outside opposite Watkins, with Woods working more in the slot in this offense. Hogan would work the other slot in four-wide looks.

Based on Rex Ryan’s comments it sounds like Goodwin will get a far better opportunity to prove that he belongs on this roster than he did from the previous staff. I wouldn’t call him a bubble player, but from a pure numbers standpoint he’s going to have a challenge on his hands.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR group has stiffest competition in a while

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2015 – 1:12 pm

The first OTA practice for the Bills is just under two weeks away, but it’s readily apparent that the competition at wide receiver might be the stiffest that’s been seen at One Bills Drive since the early 90’s clubs. Head coach Rex Ryan was asked to assess how he and his offensive assistants will whittle the candidate list from its current number of 13 down to five or six.

“We have a deep group of talented guys,” said Ryan. “Percy Harvin, I’m not willing to say there’s something that he can’t do that someone else can. I’m not so sure that’s possible.

“Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins those guys are pretty decent. (Chris) Hogan, he’s a talented guy, good athlete, catches the football, smart, productive, so it is going to be tough to make this team, there is no question about it.”

When asked if he will try to mix and match skill sets to cover all possible needs at the receiver position, Ryan maintained that keeping the best players is the best way to go.

“Different roles for things, yeah possibly, but I don’t want to limit anybody and say this guy is strictly a slot receiver,” he said. “Let’s have it work out and in the end if that’s the case then so be it. I just want to see it with open eyes and believe what I see.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills