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Inside The Bills

Clemson LB Boulware pays tribute to Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2017 – 11:16 am

Clemson LB Ben Boulware, an unquestioned leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers, gave credit to the players that came before him and his teammates for laying the foundation that got Clemson to the national title last night with their last second win over defending national champ Alabama.

Boulware gave a nationally televised shout out to Sammy Watkins among other former Clemson players for being important building blocks for the program.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-30

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

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

1 – @ChrisBrownBills 

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

Matthew Rule
@MatthewtheRule

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

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

Christopher Gump
@gumpcd0315

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

Dave
@Billsfanhanes

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

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

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

 

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

Jamal
@mrmajic73

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

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

 

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

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills focused on bucking up

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2016 – 11:05 am

Last week was a major disappointment not only because the Bills blew a 15-point second half lead, but because in the words of GM Doug Whaley they flat-lined as a team. There was no response and the body language showed it. Heads down, shoulders slumped. The Bills allowed themselves to have self-pity. Not this week.

In addition to coming up with better answers should adversity strike this week, the players also talked about keeping their chins up if something goes wrong instead of folding.

“Things, as far as body language, we need to clean that up and I think the coaches did,” said Sammy Watkins. “My body language after not getting the ball and other people’s body language after the play call we can’t have. We have to stick together and I think we all have that mentality. We all have to go out there and master this game plan and do what the coaches say. I feel like if we get put in bad situations, then get ourselves out of it. Coaches put ourselves in good spots, so we as players have to get out of them.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor, Watkins take extra time on the field

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2016 – 9:27 am

The connection between Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins last season was unmistakable in the second half of the year. Watkins averaged 100 yards receiving per game over the last nine games of 2015 and had six of his nine touchdowns over the final six games that year. This year Watkins foot kept him off the field far too much and the on field chemistry between Taylor and Watkins has suffered. So the duo has spent extra time on the practice field to re-establish the connection.

Last week there were a few instances where they didn’t read Oakland’s coverages the same way and a couple of chances for big plays were squandered. This week Watkins worked with Taylor on the non-verbal communication.

“Tyrod is doing a great job with doing great stuff after practice with those signals,” said Watkins. “That’s one thing that hurt us. That play we could have definitely scored off of. We had the right call, and we can’t have that. We can’t have hiccups like that. So he’s been clearing it up after practice, we have been going through the signals and stuff.”

When asked how far off they are from having the same connection as they had last year, Watkins feels there’s a good deal of ground to cover.

“We were totally different last year because I had more time with him and I was healthy and I was with him,” he said. “Right now, it’s about getting back on that right page. We have to do it quick, like I said, we are trying to make a playoff run. But we aren’t too far off, really it’s up to me. I have to get open, and if I get open, he will throw the ball. That’s my job and his job is if I’m open to throw the ball. Both sides we both have to do our jobs.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-9

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

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

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

David Marciano@rockydm92

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills 

Hey Chris,

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

Dave@billsguy34

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

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

 

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

S.Radford
@radfordboyz1220

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

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

 

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

Henrik Ek
@leroyek

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

 

5 – Hi Chris;

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

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

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins upping snap count in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2016 – 4:54 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday that Sammy Watkins felt better coming out of the Oakland game when he got double the work than he did the week prior. That was validated when Watkins took a heavy workload in practice Thursday.

Watkins, who got 25 snaps in the Jaguars game, got almost twice that in the Raiders game (49). Now he’s doing the same in practice.

“I’m feel great for this week,” said Watkins. “I think it’s just the routine and the reps and things. I’m more comfortable running routes full speed. It’s more a game plan thing now, not a foot issue or body issue I can’t just go out there and play. No limitations. My body had to get used to the workload. Now I’m out there during practice I’m running 30 to 40 plays. So I’m feeling good.”

Watkins is fully expected to start on Sunday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby, Woods back practicing; Watkins waits

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins does not participate Wed.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2016 – 3:47 pm

He was scheduled to participate on a limited basis in Wednesday’s practice, just as he did all of last week, but after telling athletic trainers of soreness in his foot, they pulled him from the practice field and Sammy Watkins did not practice at all Wednesday.

Head coach Rex Ryan has said multiple times they’re going to take a cautious approach with Watkins, and that proved to be the case on Wednesday. As for his status on Sunday, his participation or lack thereof in practice Thursday should shed more light on Watkins’ chances of being available.

Watkins was seen in Buffalo’s locker room and he appeared to be walking just fine. His foot wasn’t wrapped or anything.

Buffalo’s offense is already down Robert Woods (knee) and Percy Harvin (migraines). Neither of them practiced Wednesday. They called up WR Dez Lewis from the practice squad Tuesday after losing WR Walt Powell to an ankle injury. He was placed on injured reserve.

Here’s Buffalo’s injury report for Wednesday

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
WR Robert Woods – knee
WR Percy Harvin – migraines
LB Lorenzo Alexander – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – back
CB Ronald Darby – concussion
S James Ihedigbo – ankle

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
G Richie Incognito – neck
RB Mike Gillislee – hamstring
LB Preston Brown – wrist
S Sergio Brown – hamstring
G John Miller – shoulder
DT Marcell Dareus – abdominal

FULL PRACTICE
QB Tyrod Taylor – groin


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins amount of playing time Sunday TBD

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins gets almost half the reps on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2016 – 10:19 am

The Bills put Sammy Watkins on a pitch count during the practice week, but in Sunday’s game they were prepared to go as long as possible with Watkins on the field, provided his foot problems didn’t resurface. The good news on Sunday was they didn’t.

“I built a lot of confidence just going out there, having as many plays as I played,” said Watkins. “I probably played more than I was supposed to play, and I feel good about it. Just being out there on the field, I didn’t really care about catching the ball. I just wanted to feel good. Go out there, block a couple of plays, just get the feel of the game because at first I was kind of like, ‘This is my first game back, going against these good cornerbacks.’ After a while, I just kind of calmed down and let the game come to me.”

The receiver logged 25 of the team’s 55 offensive snaps for 45 percent of the total.

Watkins made an impact as covered on Buffalobills.com with almost half the team’s receiving yardage. He also drew a key pass interference penalty to set up the game-winning touchdown drive.


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Gillislee out, Watkins availability looks promising

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

Bills RB Mike Gillislee sustained a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s practice and left the session early. He didn’t practice again and is now out for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville. The good news is it appears that Sammy Watkins will be able to play on Sunday.

“I think he’s good to go,” said head coach Rex Ryan of Watkins in relation to Sunday’s game. “He won’t have a full workload, but we’re definitely going to get him in there.”

All the Bills need to do now is move Watkins from injured reserve onto the active roster. They have until 4 pm on Saturday to do so.

RB LeSean McCoy also looks good to go for Sunday, feeling no ill effects from the minor procedure on his thumb to get his dislocation from last week’s game corrected. Jonathan Williams and Reggie Bush will be McCoy’s backups.

OUT
WR Robert Woods – knee
S Robert Blanton – foot
RB Mike Gillislee – hamstring

DOUBTFUL
DT Corbin Bryant – shoulder

QUESTIONABLE
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
LB Lorenzo Alexander – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Seantrel Henderson – personal matter
OT Cordy Glenn – back
RB LeSean McCoy – thumb
WR Percy Harvin – illness


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-25

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2016 – 12:37 pm

It’s time for the Bills to stack wins to remain a part of the AFC playoff conversation. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills who’s Gillislee’s backup?

Fat Norton@TheConqueror21

CB: That would be rookie Jonathan Williams. Some might think it would be Reggie Bush, but Bush is more of a specialty player who is used only occasionally in the backfield, can be split out wide or return kicks. Williams has just 17 carries for 61 yards, which has largely come in times when the game has already been decided.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills is Watkins a game changer this week?

Chris Huber@chrishuber14

CB: I think the Bills would love it if he could be a game changer. The bottom line though is he hasn’t played in two months and will need a few series to get back into the flow of game speed. I anticipate that the offensive staff will use him as much as they can knowing they’ll be down Robert Woods.

I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s a game changing talent, but coming off the layoff it’s hard to know whether he can be that right away this Sunday.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills what have our secondary players been focusing on in practice?

Leah Fallesen@LeahCF

CB: They focus on a lot of things. During individual position drills a lot of their work involves their footwork and tracking the ball. Tackling was a focus this week with emphasis on getting their head across the body of the ball carrier. Beyond that the focus is the game plan and executing the game calls for this week.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills will McCoy’s thumb affect him at all this next game?

Jared Bailey@JaredBailey23

CB: We hope to get that answer from McCoy himself after practice today. He has a good sized wrap on the thumb following the minor surgical procedure to re-attach the dislocated digit. The strength of his grip is probably the biggest concern because back have to apply three points of pressure on the ball to secure it under their arm and the thumb is one of those three. If he doesn’t have any strength to do that it could compromise his ball security.

Catching could be another potential issue. Hopefully we can get some answers from Shady before the game on Sunday.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills How is the team going to approach Watkins’ 5th year option and possible new contract? Great player but also some injuries.

COLIN SCHULTZ@Schultzy0620

CB: I would expect the Bills to pick up Watkins fifth-year option because of the injuries. I know that sounds strange, but a fifth-year option gives Buffalo time to wait and see if Watkins can put together a season where he can stay relatively healthy all season long.

Since the fifth-year option has to be picked up in May next year for his fifth season which would be in 2018, I’d be inclined to think Buffalo wants to take as much time evaluating his ability to stay on the field. It buys them time.

There’s no debating his talent level, but availability is critical. So I would think before the Bills even think about signing Watkins to a big time deal, they’ll see what he can do in 2017 and maybe even 2018 before they take that step.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Official: Watkins designated to return

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2016 – 11:45 am

The Bills today issued the formality that the team has cleared WR Sammy Watkins to return to practice. Though he remains on injured reserve he has been designated as their player to return.

NFL clubs can only designate one player per season on injured reserve as their player to return. That means that S Colt Anderson and S Aaron Williams, who were other candidates to return this season will not be able to. Their seasons are effectively over.

For Watkins to play on Sunday he will have to be elevated to the team’s active roster. The Bills have until 4 pm on Saturday to do so.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley announces Watkins will practice today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2016 – 7:40 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley announced in an interview on WGR that Sammy Watkins has been cleared to practice and will do so  today. 

Watkins was to have a final exam to gain clearance earlier this week from the team’s medical staff. 

The receiver is expected to be limited in practice as he is coming off a two month layoff. More to come at Buffalobills.com. 


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McCoy: I know Sammy’s close

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2016 – 3:29 pm

Bills RB LeSean McCoy knows that the Bills margin for error with a 4-5 record is thin. Subpar performances can’t happen the rest of the way. McCoy says the team has done a good job of sticking to the ‘one game at a time approach.’ He’s hoping they can come off the bye with a solid performance, get a road win and then hopefully get their top receiver back in the lineup.

“I feel like our offense is playing well right now. Guys got healthy off the bye week,” said McCoy. “Take care of this game and hopefully we have our big dog back, Sammy. Another tool for this offense.”

Watkins was not cleared to practice this week by the team’s medical staff, even though he’s eligible to do so. He won’t be eligible to play in a game until Week 12 against Jacksonville. McCoy isn’t certain, but it certainly sounds like it’s a game where Watkins could return to the lineup.

“I know he’s close,” said McCoy of Watkins. “We see him all the time. His development and working out and getting prepared. We don’t want to rush that. We want to make sure he’s back healthy so when he gets back he’s full go. That’s always a good thing.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-28

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2016 – 11:03 am

Big division game on Sunday. Buffalo needs a division and AFC win badly. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
All week the Boston sports talk is saying how Rex thinks he won SB with 1st game vs NE. What are his thoughts on that?

Bill Pesiridis@Vasili8

CB: I think Rex would laugh first. Then he’d disagree. So the folks in the New England area know, after they shut out the Patriots in Week 4, there was zero celebration in Buffalo’s locker room. They had just evened their record at 2-2 after a disappointing 0-2 start.

As important as New England fans believe their team is, the Bills did not attach any added significance to the victory. They knew who wasn’t playing. In fact Rex even referenced that specifically after the game that Tom Brady was not available.

So if Patriots fans and talking heads on the radio want to characterize Rex as a coach that overblows victories they can, but they’d be wrong in this particular case. If anything Rex and his team took a page out of the New England playbook after that victory because all they were talking about was their upcoming game against Los Angeles in Week 5.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Can Bills play a mistake free game, avoid dumb penalties?

Greg Bernhard@GregBernhard

CB: While foolish penalties were definitely a problem for the Bills in 2015, it’s not nearly as big an issue this season. Through the first seven games Buffalo ranks 18th in the league in penalties, so more than half the teams in the league have been flagged more than the Bills.

In fact Rex Ryan’s team has been flagged six fewer times than their opponents this season (49 to 55).

So I think they’re capable of avoiding dumb penalties. They did that last week when the undisciplined Dolphins were getting flagged for a lot of extra-curricular activity after the whistle.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills any news on a trade for a wr?

Marc Gump@GumpHutch

CB: The problem is at this time of year it’s a seller’s market. Teams looking to acquire a piece for their team are not dealing from a position of strength. The trade deadline is coming and they need help, like the Bills. So most other NFL clubs that are being propositioned are going to force those teams to overpay for an asset.

That being said, Bills GM Doug Whaley said in a radio interview Friday morning on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 that it’s been “rather quiet” on the trade market despite a lot of media speculation.

He did say they will work the phones and if something comes up that they think can help their situation they won’t hesitate.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any idea what the plan is at safety? Blanton/Williams combo?

Andrew Galley@aGalley_64

CB: I’d be surprised if Aaron Williams plays this week after his neck injury last Sunday. When he exited the game Robert Blanton was the first guy in to replace him and then he was subbed out in favor of Jonathan Meeks. Neither player really stood out in the loss to Miami.

Perhaps the defensive staff will use a rotation there based on down and distance and personnel packages like they did at the beginning of the season. Through the first two weeks of the season all four safeties rotated in to play alongside Corey Graham.

Back then it was done to steadily blend Aaron back into the scheme after he missed most of training camp with a concussion. This time around it could be to maximize the strengths of each of his replacements and minimize their weaknesses.

Of course one thing to consider is how New England goes up tempo and prevents their opponents from making personnel substitutions. So they may have to decide on one guy being the main replacement.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Not quite sure how all these IR, PUP, list work. But any chance that Sammy can come back this season?

jason plunkett@j_plunk

CB: The Bills have the opportunity to bring one player back off injured reserve to begin practicing after they have been out for six weeks and they’re eligible to activate them to play in a game after they have been out eight weeks.

Whether Sammy Watkins can be that player will be up to the team’s medical staff.

Head coach Rex Ryan did confirm this week that Watkins is out of his walking boot, and that it is an encouraging sign. Whether that enhances his chances of returning is probably too early to determine.

The first eligible date that Watkins could return to practice if deemed healthy enough to do so would be the Friday of the bye week (Nov. 11th). The first date he could dress for a game, again if he’s medically cleared, would be Nov. 27th against the Jaguars.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-7

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2016 – 11:33 am

The first of three west coast trips for the Bills this season for Sunday’s game at L.A. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Does Justin Hunter have a chance to play? He is big and fast

Vince Tracy@theturk47

CB: I expect Hunter to be active on game day Sunday. You’re right he is tall and fast. Having only practiced with the team for four days, and only being exposed to the playbook for about a week, I would anticipate just a package of plays for Hunter against the Rams. Perhaps just the red zone if they get down there or some other situational parts of the game. A full workload I think is a little ambitious with as new as he is to the club.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills How are the Bills able to bring Lawson & Sammy back from IR? I thought u could only bring 1 from preseason IR.

Chet Spoonley@chetehc

CB: Lawson was on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, which carries a completely different set of rules for returning to the active roster. Beginning in Week 7 the Bills have a three week window in which they can take a player on PUP and let him begin practicing. The first day he practices starts the 21-day window in which the team must decide whether to add him to the active roster or leave him on said reserve list for the remainder of the season.

Watkins being on injured reserve can be chosen as a player to re-activate to the 53-man roster after he’s been on I-R for eight weeks. I’m not overly optimistic that will happen, but we’ll see where things stand in about a month.
3 – Chris,

It seems to me that we’ve heard almost nothing about John Miller this off-season. Normally this is a good thing for offensive linemen. Your opinion please.

William S.

CB: Miller has fared well for the most part this season. His teammates acknowledge he is making progress and improving his consistency. He’s got a supreme test this week in Aaron Donald, who will line up opposite both him and Richie Incognito at times. Low to the ground and quick, Donald can wreck a game. A matchup worth watching this week.

 

4 – Chris,

My question is about Jonathan Williams. He really impressed me in the preseason, reminds me a little bit of Fred Jackson. When do you expect him to make a push for some carries? I really think he would make a great compliment to Shady now. To me, if Reggie Bush isn’t returning punts or kickoffs we don’t have much of a use for him.

Joe Roberts

Orlando, Fl

CB: Jonathan Williams did have an encouraging preseason. Had great contact balance and usually falls forward. Underrated as a pass catcher. This season, much like it is for Cardale Jones, might be like a redshirt year. He’s got guys ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s got to master all the responsibilities of being a running back, including blitz pickup more than anything.

Coaches have to know they can trust him and he’s got to show he can do more and offer more than the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.

 

5 – Hi, Chris —

Two years ago as a rookie Cyril Richardson (because of other circumstances) got some starts at guard and did some decent, if not memorable, work.  Last year his performance fell off noticeably and he didn’t play much.  This year he couldn’t even make the team.

Any insights into this decline?  Was he not an NFL-level talent to begin with?

Thanks,
Jim D.

CB: Cyril Richardson was drafted when Doug Marrone was head coach of the team and they wanted to employ a smash mouth drive defensive linemen off the ball type run game. Cyril Richardson is a player capable of doing that. But when the scheme changed with the new staff, Richardson was no longer a fit.

This is a run game that features pulling guards to kick out and lead block and get to the second level. Richardson never had the feet to execute that. He was no longer a fit for the type of offense the Bills run.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Down Salas & Watkins, will Bills add at WR?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2016 – 1:10 pm

They went into last week’s game with just four healthy receivers when Greg Salas and Sammy Watkins were out with injuries. It’s likely they do that again, but long term might they look to add at the position? Head coach Rex Ryan was asked that very question Friday.

Ryan did not rule out the possibility of seeking help at receiver.

“I know we always look to upgrade our team,” said Ryan. “If that’s a possibility at receiver or wherever then we’ll definitely look into that.”

Buffalo does have Dez Lewis on their practice squad, who would be the most logical call up if that was the course the front office and coaching staff decided to take. If they want to look outside the organization there are veteran options out there to consider.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-30

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2016 – 11:45 am

It’s just about October and the Bills have a giant division game Sunday at ‘The Razor.’ Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills chances the #bills shut down Watkins the entire year? Curious as to why no urgency in adding another WR with 2 down?

Frank Miosi@miosi37

CB: I don’t think the Bills are at that point yet, but I’ve got to believe that if the medical staff gets to a point where they determine that Watkins’ foot even with rest is not improving to where he can play on it then the discussion to shelve him for the season could come up.

I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to pretend to know the protocol for how that decision is ultimately reached. But it Watkins can’t play this Sunday after not playing on it for 17 days it could beg the question if the foot will ever be good enough to play on in its current state.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills with the poor QB play, what are the chances the Bills get serious about the position, be it thru a trade or the draft

Uncle Rico@RckyMtnBillsFan

CB: I don’t believe after three games that the Bills are actively seeking other options at quarterback. I do believe they need more passing game production out of Tyrod. I like Anthony Lynn’s approach with Taylor of identifying the best matchup pre-snap instead of working his way through the reads. Find the best matchup and exploit it.

The trade market on quarterbacks is typically limited unless someone wants to give up a lot, like Minnesota did to save what they believe can still be a playoff run type season. I believe much like everyone anticipated Tyrod will be given this entire season to prove he can advance his game and take the next step. If he can’t then perhaps a change in course will take place like you’re describing.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills #bills how will the bills defense attack qbs since both have quick release and can run?

lisa marinucci@LisaNucci1967

CB: Buffalo’s defense relies on disguise and a multitude of looks to slow the opposing quarterback down just enough with his decision making for pressure to get there and disrupt the opponent’s passing game. Properly utilized in the right down and distance situations this can be very effective.

Through the first three games the Bills have been more aggressive with their blitz packages on the whole. Even early in the Jets game they brought some pressure just to disrupt the timing of the Jets pass game. I suspect there will be pressure packages and some new looks from Buffalo’s defense for the Patriots QB this week whether it’s Garoppolo or Brissett.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills was our “great secondary” a product of getting pressure rushing only 4?

Steve Tucciarello@24Tuch24

CB: I don’t think anyone will argue that the improved pass pressure helped last week. But I will also say that Buffalo’s coverage players made more plays on the ball even when the pressure wasn’t generated up front. Against the Jets there were jump ball situations where the Bills corners and safeties just didn’t win. Against the Cardinals more often than not they did.

Perfect stat line to illustrate that – passes defensed.

Against the Jets – 4 pass breakups, 0 interceptions on
Against the Cards – 10 pass breakups, 4 interceptions
5 – @ChrisBrownBills has Spikes contributed to our better run defense so far this year or has it been more the change to full 3-4?

Sean joyce@Seanjoy93765788

CB: It has unquestionably been the scheme. The defensive unit just looks more comfortable in this run front defensively. The defensive linemen have done a great job of constricting the rush lanes in this scheme. Preston Brown and Zach Brown have been the biggest factors at the second level. Brandon Spikes has only played 13 of 224 defensive snaps so far this season. He was inactive in Week 2.

Spikes has been used as a strong side OLB up on the line of scrimmage on obvious run downs in the limited time that he’s been on the field defensively. I think that’s a good spot for him since he’s a bigger LB and can set the edge. He could have a bigger role this week if LeGarrette Blount is on the field as much as he’s been for the Patriots over the first three weeks of the season.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2016 – 9:12 am

The Bills were without WR Sammy Watkins in last Sunday’s win over Arizona. Long term Watkins’ availability is critical to the success of Buffalo’s passing game. His ailing foot however, is compromising his availability. Bills GM Doug Whaley provided an update on Watkins status in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.

“We lean on our medical staff and if they clear him and say he’s ready to go… the one thing we know for sure is Sammy is a competitor and wants to play,” said Whaley. “So if the medical staff says he’s ready to go and there’s no further damage or anything that can happen to his foot that will set him back for a long period of time then we’re going to let him play because that’s what he wants to do and helps us to keep on stacking these ‘W’s.”

Head coach Rex Ryan said Monday that they’ll see how he gets through the week. He’s hopeful that Watkins comments on social media last Saturday that he was good to go are an encouraging sign, but that he won’t know for sure until he sees him on the practice field.


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Posted in Inside the Bills