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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Robert Woods prepped to step up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Darby another question mark for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 2:18 pm

Sammy Watkins isn’t the only starter who might not be able to go on Sunday against the Cardinals.

CB Ronald Darby, who was nursing a hamstring injury that kept him limited this week in practice is listed as questionable for the game this weekend. If he can’t go Corey White is expected to step in at his left cornerback position.

White, who spent part of the 2015 season in Arizona, has familiarity with the Cardinals receiving corps and has been providing what intel he can to his fellow DBs.

“I’ll help out a little bit, but they run so much stuff on offense and it’s different every week so we can really only go out there and play and do our assignment,” said White.

Here’s a look at the Bills full injury report for Sunday.

QUESTIONABLE
TE Charles Clay – knee
CB Ronald Darby – hamstring
QB Cardale Jones – right shoulder
WR Greg Salas – groin
WR Sammy Watkins – foot

OUT
S Colt Anderson – foot
OT Cordy Glenn – ankle

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-23

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

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

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

S.Radford@radfordboyz1220

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

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

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

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

Is that enough? Only time will tell.

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks
Bob Hammond

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

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

 

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

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

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

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

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

 

4 – Hi Chris,

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

Tony Falzone,
Ormond Beach, Fl

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

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

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

 

5 – Brownie,

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

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

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

Bob from North Tonawanda via Okinawa, Japan

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Salas the new add to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 7:16 am

As much focus as there has been on Sammy Watkins foot injury he wasn’t the only receiver on Buffalo’s injury report Thursday.

Greg Salas was added Thursday with a groin injury.

“Yeah I don’t think it’s a major injury but yeah, it did happen in practice,” said head coach Rex Ryan.

Salas is a receiver that Tyrod Taylor has come to trust. His practice participation on Friday along with that of Sammy Watkins will go a long way in painting the picture as to just how much of Buffalo’s passing attack will be available for Sunday’s game.

Ryan said he’s hopeful that Watkins can play Sunday.

Player
Pos
Injury
Participation Wednesday
Participation Thursday
 
Sammy Watkins
WR
Foot
DNP
DNP
 
Cordy Glenn
T
Ankle
DNP
DNP
 
Charles Clay
TE
Knee
DNP
LP
 
Colt Anderson
S
Foot
LP
LP
 
Ronald Darby
CB
Hamstring
LP
LP
 
Cardale Jones
QB
Right shoulder
LP
LP
 
Greg Salas
WR
Groin
LP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Clay, Glenn, Watkins sit Wednesday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2016 – 6:17 pm

The Bills were without three offensive starters on the practice field Wednesday. And a key defensive starter was limited with a hamstring injury.

Cordy Glenn, Charles Clay and Sammy Watkins were all sidelined with injuries. Moving forward it appears Watkins will have a reduced practice workload for the rest of the season in an effort to keep his ailing foot as fresh as possible for game days.

“He’s practicing once a week and you can only do so much,” said new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn of Watkins in an appearance on the John Murphy Show Wednesday.

Head coach Rex Ryan said at the beginning of the week that they were hopeful Cordy Glenn could return from his ankle injury and play Sunday. The chances of that happening will be better determined based on Glenn’s level of practice participation Thursday.

Ronald Darby’s hamstring injury did not surface in the game on Sunday according to head coach Rex Ryan, but it was enough to keep Darby from doing much at all in practice Wednesday.

“He got through the game and finished the game,” said Ryan of Darby. “Hopefully it’s not a serious injury.”

If Darby can’t go on Sunday, veteran Corey White is expected to step in at cornerback.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Sammy Watkins WR Foot DNP
Cordy Glenn T Ankle DNP
Charles Clay TE Knee DNP
Colt Anderson S Foot LP
Ronald Darby CB Hamstring LP
Cardale Jones QB Right shoulder LP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: Not just me who needs ball more

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins on meeting with Pegulas

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2016 – 3:57 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins was asked if he was one of the players who met with the Pegulas in advance of the dismissal of now former offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Watkins confirmed he was, but gave indication that it’s relatively common with Buffalo’s ownership.

“I think it was just more so what we need as a team and I think it went well,” said Watkins of the nature of the meeting. “I wasn’t asked anything. It had nothing to do with anybody (specifically). It just had to do with the players and I think it went well.

“I’ve done met with them plenty of times. I don’t think it was an issue or a problem. I think they just wanted to see where my head was and the other leaders on the team where their heads were.”

As far as what his contributions were to the internal discussion, Watkins said he pointed to their play on the field first and foremost as the problem.

“I just told them it’s up to our play. We can’t blame anybody,” he said. “We have to play better as an offense and as a team and as an individual effort. That’s what it’s really about. We can do better and play better. Things that we need to fix, we talked about that and that’s what we have to fix on the field.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills