Inside The Bills

Process to hire WRs coach well underway

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2014 – 3:58 pm

While Bills head coach Doug Marrone is planning to hire a quarterbacks coach to lighten the load on offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, he also has a wide receivers coach role to fill. Marrone told Monday that process is already well underway.

“We started that process back in Buffalo where we brought people in and talk to them,” Marrone told’s John Murphy.

Now in Mobile at the site of the Senior Bowl, which also doubles as a coaches’ convention for those coaches still looking for work, Marrone intends to interview more candidates this week in Alabama.

“Coming to Mobile you have an opportunity because most of the coaches are all down here,” he said. “We have the ability to  talk to two people a day and we’re looking at that as well as looking for other coaches on offense too.”

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Carr early South practice standout

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 20, 2014 – 3:41 pm

Through most of the 7 on 7 work it’s easy to find the best QB on the South team at the Senior Bowl. It’s Fresno State’s Derek Carr. He looks calm and comfortable and has A big arm to go along with his big name. Carr is the younger brother of David Carr, another Fresno St QB who was the first overall draft pick by Houston
At the first practice, Derek Carr had several nice sideline passes to big WR Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt. And Carr is getting the first reps as the South team moves into team work.

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Big WRs will get Senior Bowl attention

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 20, 2014 – 2:20 pm

If you’re one of those who think the Bills should be shopping for a big wide receiver in the draft this year, you may want to keep an eye on the receivers at the Senior Bowl.
In particular, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews seems to be the top receiver among the group assembled in Mobile this week.
Matthews and his teammates on the South team will take the field Monday afternoon at Fairhope Stadium outside Mobile for their first Senior Bowl workout
He’s 6-3, 206 pounds, and he made 201 catches over the last two seasons for the Vanderbilt Commodores.
And Matthews leaves Vanderbilt as the all time leader in receptions in the SEC, with 262 catches.
He’s been compared to long time Colts standout Reggie Wayne.
Bills scouts at the Senior Bowl will no doubt have their eyes trained on Matthews when the workouts commence.
And there’s this–Matthews cousin is Jerry Rice.

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Lockport native gets a Senior Bowl shot

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 20, 2014 – 1:00 pm

He was a late add to the Senior Bowl roster, but Lockport native David Fluellen is here in Mobile.
The Toledo running back will take a crack at impressing the NFL scouts and coaches who’ve assembled at the Senior Bowl.
Fluellen was an All Western New York performer at Lockport High School before going on to star at the University of Toledo.
The 6-0, 215 pound running back averaged 5.95 yards per carry at Toledo, second all time in school history. He suffered an Achilles injury late in the season that limited his play in three games and part of a fourth.
Fluellen has been a first team All-Mid American Conference performer the last two years. It’ll be interesting to see who he stacks up against top flight competition at the Senior Bowl.

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Senior Bowl week underway

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 20, 2014 – 11:47 am

It’s the first big event of the NFL offseason, the Senior Bowl. And the week began Monday morning with the annual weigh-in of the prospects.
More than 100 draft eligible prospects have assembled in Mobile, Alabama for this week’s practices and the Senior Bowl game on Saturday. The day began with the prospects being weighed and measured for the assembled scouts inside the Downtown Mobile Convention Center.
The Bills are here in force, with GM Doug Whaley leading his scouting staff. Former GM Buddy Nix, now the team’s Special Assistant, is also here and we chatted with him briefly in the lobby of the Senior Bowl hotel. Nix says he’s been watching and grading prospects all season, but this is his first real chance to get a look at the players first-hand.
The South team practice starts at 1pm Central at Fairhope Stadium outside Mobile. The North team starts at 3pm at Ladd Peebles Stadium, the venue for Saturday’s game.
Doug Marrone is here for the second year as Bills Head Coach. He’ll be watching practices over the next few days and meeting with his personnel staff.
We’ll hear from Coach Marrone tonight at 7pm, when we broadcast The John Murphy Show live from the Senior Bowl. We’ll also have a video interview with the Head Coach posted on later today.

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Savage: UB’s Mack won’t play in Senior Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2014 – 2:17 pm

University at Buffalo pass rusher Khalil Mack is not going to be a participant in next weekend’s Senior Bowl. That according to the Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Savage confirmed that he Mack will not be practicing or playing in the game down in Mobile next week.

“We don’t (expect to see him next week),” Savage told Murphy. “I already spoke to his representation. He’s one of those players who is considered to be at least in the top half of the first round. He feels he’s done enough on tape and through his college career and he doesn’t want to take the chance of possibly getting injured or miss a week of getting ready for the Combine. He’s going to bypass on the game.

“I think it’s more of an agent decision because Khalil is very competitive. We certainly were hopeful that he would accept the invite and come down participate in the week. It goes beyond your draft status. It’s a great week to meet a lot of people in the NFL.”

Mack was the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, but coming from a non-power conference there are some that feel Mack could still have something to gain by participating in the week of practices and the game. 

“I definitely agree with you on that in terms of getting them on the same stage in the same drills,” said Savage. “There’s no question that small school players can really help themselves. And Eric Fisher is probably the best example last year. He came into our week probably rated somewhere from 10-20 in the first round and based off his work in Mobile and the Combine he moved all the way up to number one. There were a number of small school players that saw that jump too Robert Alford from Southeastern Louisiana and he ended up going in the second round to the Falcons.”

Of course there are others who believe his draft stock won’t be impacted at all.

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Monday’s John Murphy Show

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 28, 2013 – 5:00 pm

We’re back in Orchard Park, after a week’s worth of shows from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The John Murphy Show is back on the air from One Bills Drive starting tonight at 7pm.

But we’ll take a look back at the Senior Bowl, when the Executive Director of the Game, Phil Savage, joins us on the air at 8pm. Savage is the former GM of the Cleveland Browns, and he was the Baltimore Ravens Director of Player Personnel for several years. So he not only put together the setup for the Senior Bowl last week, he also has a scout’s eye for the risers and fallers from last week’s workouts in front of NFL coaches and talent evaluators. We’ll get his take on the six Senior Bowl QBs and how they fared last week.

Also tonight, Clark Judge of CBS will join us on the air from New Orleans, the site of Super Bowl XLVII. The Niners and Ravens have arrived in the Big Easy, and Clark Judge has some advice for both teams on how to handle the media crush this week.

We’ve got plenty of time for phone calls from Bills fans, and we’ll share our impressions on the Senior Bowl workouts and some early thoughts on the Super Bowl.

The John Murphy Show airs tonight from 7-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550GR Sports .

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QB thoughts from Mike Mayock

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 25, 2013 – 10:00 am

As Senior Bowl week winds down, the half-dozen quarterbacks who’ve worked out all this week are getting set for live game action in the game itself tomorrow. EJ Manuel, Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon, Zac Dysert, Landry Jones, and Tyler Wilson have spent the week trying to distinguish themselves from one another.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock has watched the QBs all week long in workouts. And he says his impressions coming into the week remain the same four days later.

“It’s been pretty much what I expected,” Mayock said on The John Murphy Show.

“You have some guys with first round talent who weren’t real consistent during their senior season. What I saw this week were some guys with first round talent who weren’t always consistent with that talent. There’s no slam dunk, Andrew Luck, RG-III out there this year. That doesn’t mean it’s any less exciting. At this time last year I kept saying Ryan Tannehill was going to be a top ten pick and people laughed at me. There is some physical skill-sets that match up with the first round, but it’s a little bit early in the process to say so.”

Host John Murphy asked Mayock if it would be a reach for the Buffalo Bills to draft a quarterback in this class with the eighth overall pick.

“Ryan Tannehill went number eight last year,” he said. “At this point. He was so far off the radar you would have said to me, who’s that? I look at these guys and say there’s a physical skill set here with a Landry Jones. Mike Glennon can rip the ball, however Mike Glennon was highly inconsistent. There are some guys here who can throw a football, but there are so many other components that go into it.”

“I wont bang the table for any of them yet, but I will tell you that by the end of the day, when we get we get into April, I’m guessing there’s going to be at least three first round quarterbacks.”

The entire interview with NFL Draft Expert Mike Mayock can be heard tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast, available at

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NFP’s Bowen on Senior Bowl QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2013 – 9:42 am

Former NFL safety and National Football Post correspondent Matt Bowen wrapped up his trip to Mobile with 10 observations from the Senior Bowl. He began with the questions at the quarterback position.

Bowen, who often speaks with NFL scouts during the week he’s at the Senior Bowl got a very interesting variety of opinions on the signal callers that were practicing this week and put it in his top 10.

1. Questions at QB: I asked three pro scouts who had the best week of practice in Mobile and I got three different answers: Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon and E.J. Manuel. My take? I’m going with Nassib. The Syracuse QB will need to develop his overall game, but the skill set was the best I saw on the field. Without Geno Smith and Matt Barkley (both opted out of the Senior Bowl), this group didn’t have one QB that stood above the rest.

What I found most interesting with this comment was no mention of Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, who was getting some positive reviews in Mobile this week.

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Some QBs MIA at the Senior Bowl

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 25, 2013 – 9:00 am

The six quarterbacks at this year’s Senior Bowl have had a week’s worth of practice to showcase their talents, and the game tomorrow to complete their argument. But the QB class of 2013 is missing a couple of pretty big names, according to NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock.

Mayock is a draft expert and the color analyst on the NFL Network’s broadcast of Thursday Night Football. He’ll appear as a guest tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast.

Mayock says West Virginia QB Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley were obviously missed at the Senior Bowl this year. Smith chose not to attend, and Barkley continues to rehab a shoulder injury. Mayock says the pair will have something to say about the quarterback picture come draft day.

“I’m disappointed in Geno Smith, he declined the invitation to come here,” Mayock said. “He’s one of seven guys that declined it at different positions. And I thought that had he come in here, and put on a show like the Central Michigan left tackle (Eric Fisher), he all of a sudden could have been a top ten pick like the Central Michigan left tackle is. I think Geno Smith, who has first round ability but highly inconsistent, he could have come in here put on a show and confirmed high first round status. I think he lost an opportunity here.”

“Matt Barkley is another guy. Now , he had a shoulder and that’s why he isn’t here. Everybody was kinda running crazy on Matt Barkley this year. I think once we get done all the homework and look at all the junior and senior tape on him, as we get closer to the draft I think Matt Barkley will be rising up boards.”

The complete interview with NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock will air tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast available at

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WNY’er missed his shot at the Senior Bowl

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 7:00 pm

He got the invite, but Cornell offensive lineman J.C. Tretter has been unavilable to practice this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.

The Akron, NY native has been here all week, but he’s walking around with big brace and bandage on his nose. Tretter broke the nose last Friday, just hours before he was scheduled to fly to Mobile for the week’s worth of practices.

“Down at IMG where I’m training, we were doing some one on one pass-pro last Friday, non padded,” Tretter told The John Murphy Show.

“I had the kid locked out, he tried to spin. He slipped, and the back of his head caught my nose, and the head’s a little denser than the nose is, so he shifted it over. I had to get rushed to the emergency room and get it shifted back. I’m not able to participate this week, which is very unfortunate.”

Tretter has spent the week in Mobile meeting with different NFL coaching staffs in the night time interviews. But he knows he missed a major opportunity this week, a chance to convince NFL scouts and coaches that the Ivy Leaguer can compete at the top level.

“It was definitely a huge disappointment,” Tretter said. “This is both an honor and an opportunity, the Senior Bowl. It’s an honor because you’re getting recognized as one of the top players in the nation, but it’s an opportunity because when you’re from a small school, you get a chance to play against the big schools and the big time prospects. This was a huge disappointment for me not to be able to go out and show all the scouts what I’m capable of.”

Tretter will get his chance. He’s cleared to resume working out next Monday, and he’s just about a month away from attending the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The 6-2, 302 lb offensive lineman is a legitimate NFL prospect. And he was a standout in football and basketball during his high school days in Akron, NY. He remains Akron High School’s all time leader in points and rebounds.

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Sleepers in Saturday’s Senior Bowl game

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 6:20 pm

Bills fans interested in the April NFL draft will get an eyeful Saturday, when the Senior Bowl kicks off at 4pm Eastern. And most of the attention will naturally be directed at the quarterbacks in the game.

But NFL Network analyst Charles Davis says there are several undheralded players to keep an eye on in the North vs. South game Saturday. He spoke with The John Murphy Show in Mobile, Alabama this week.

““It’s easy to say the quarterbacks. For me I’m a big wanting to know what we’re getting wide receiver and cornerback wise. So far I think Markus Wheaton from Oregon State has been terrific out at wide receiver. I think Desmond Trufant, has been terrific on the corner for the North squad. On the South squad there’s a kid named Robert Alford from Southeast Louisiana that no one is really talking about. I think he’s a heck of a football player so I’m going to keep an eye on him too.”

The entire interview with Charles Davis can be heard tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast, which is available at

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QB Tyler Wilson = Kirk Cousins?

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 5:39 pm

The practices for Saturday’s Senior Bowl are winding down–four practices for each of the teams in total this week. And observers who’ve been watching the quarterbacks work are drawing their own conclusions about how they stack up.

Former DB Charles Davis is an analyst for the NFL Network who’s part of their “Path to the Draft” coverage. He’s been here in Mobile, Alabama all week long watching the quarterbacks work out.

The consensus among the media seems to be that Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson has been the steadiest of the six QB performers this week. And Davis agrees.

‘“He has all of the intangibles and in a lot of ways he reminds me of Kirk Cousins from last year,” Davis told The John Murphy Show at the Senior Bowl.

“He’s one of those guys that has great leadership skills, understands the big picture, has a toughness about him. He has to dispel some myths about how many times he’s been hurt and concussions because there are a lot of myths about it because there has only been one.”

Davis says Wilson persevered through a rough senior year at Arkansas and is better for it.

“This past year was just so difficult with the way that everything went down with the coaching change and all. I think he ended up trying to do too much. It was very similar to what Drew Brees went through. When Sean Payton is not there the leader is gone and so Drew is not just quarterbacking he’s trying to make sure the offense is right and it takes some time to settle in and react to that and I think that’s what happened to Tyler this year.”

You can hear the entire interview with NFL Network analyst Charles Davis tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast available at

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Nix back at South team practice

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 11:22 am

It’s a sparse crowd of scouts and coaches this morning for the South team practice at the Senior Bowl. But Bills GM Buddy Nix is on the sidelines this morning keeping a close eye on the QBs.

Many NFL personnel execs have moved on from Mobile with the practice s winding down for the week. The South team is going through a glorified walk through under brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the mid sixties.

Nix is eyeballing QBs EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson and Landry Jones for the South. Wilson has been the most consistent performer of this weeks QB prospects

We’ll have more from the Senior Bowl tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast available at

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Bills scout’s view of Senior Bowl LBs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 11:00 am

The Bills have been talking for months about their need to upgrade the linebacker spot. And what better place to start the process, than the Senior Bowl this week.

There are a total of 14 linebackers on hand at the premier All Star showcase for draft eligible players this year, six on the North squad and seven on the South. And Bills Assistant General Manager Doug Whaley talked about the most impressive linebackers at the Senior Bowl so far, during an appearance Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show.

“One of the best guys I’ve seen out there is Vince Williams of Florida State,” Whaley said on the radio show. “He has shown some physicality out there, knocking a couple of guys on their behinds, offensive linemen twice his size. He’s doing a good job hitting the running back in the hole.”

The Bills Assistant GM went on to talk some other linebackers who have impressed in the first three days of Senior Bowl workouts.

“Sean Porter an outside linebacker from Texas A and M. He’s shown an ability to close on the ball and did some good things in coverage, so he’s been pretty impressive.

“Chase Thomas of Stanford—he’s a high energy high effort guy. He may be a little limited physically, but he tries to make up for it with his hustle and heart.

“John Simon of Ohio State—he’s a guy that has a good upside. He’s got to get used to playing inside, they played him at a lot of different positions at Ohio State. He’s got some upside.”

The entire interview with Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on

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Bills Doug Whaley on Senior Bowl WRs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 10:30 am

It’s a talented and deep class of Wide Receivers at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this week. And the Assistant General Manager of the Bills, Doug Whaley, says several of the wideouts have already made favorable impressions.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Wednesday night live from Mobile, Whaley talked about the wide receivers who have caught his eye during the first three days of Senior Bowl practices.

“Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech). He had a great day today catching the deep ball,” Whaley told host John Murphy. “And Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas has done a good job of making contested catches. Tavarres King of Georgia had an outstanding day Tuesday. Those guys have been pretty impressive.”

“You’d have to say Marquise Goodwin (Texas). He’s a speed guy, he’s going to have some trouble, he’ll need to work on getting off the press. Aaron Dobson from Marshall is another guy that has a nice combination of size and speed and can judge and go get the deep ball. He’s been pretty good. And Aaron Mellette from Elon—a big guy that’s smooth. 6-0 204-pounds. He’s got some size and he’s smooth. Coming from a small school, he’s stepped up and he’s shown that this isn’t too big a stage for him.”

The entire interview with Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on

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Bills scouts ready for juniors

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 10:00 am

The Buffalo Bills scouting staff has been hard at work all week, looking over the prospects at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. But starting tomorrow, they will utilize their scouting combine, BLESTO, to dig into the juniors who have been declared eligible for the April draft.

Seventy three juniors will join the seniors in the NFL draft this year, most of whom are not able to attend this week’s Senior Bowl. But Bills Assistant General Manager Doug Whaley says he and GM Buddy Nix will sit down with the BLESTO scouts Friday in Mobile, to get their assesments of the crop of juniors coming into the draft in three months.

“Since the official declaration of the juniors eligible for the draft was January 18th, those guys (BLESTO) have been working on those juniors since the 18th hit,” Whaley said, during an appearance Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show live at the Senior Bowl.

“What they (BLESTO) do is give us a breakdown on what each of those juniors is about, and how they categorize those guys draft wise. And that will help us narrow our focus.”

Whaley says the actual meetings with the BLESTO scouting combine scouts starts Thursday night, with BLESTO’s reports on late additions to the Senior class of draft prospects, players that, for whatever reason, jumped up and made themselves draft-possible prospects in their senior year.

“There’s guys that may have looked at over the fall that may not have started, or started to have a good year, that they upgraded,” Whaley said. “And that’s what we’ll go over on Thursday night. We want to see any seniors that had a good year, guys that they say, hey, we didn’t have them rated that high last spring.”

“The BLESTO scouts will give us his information, here’s his lineage, here’s how he played , here’s what we thought about him when he played. Obviously, we had some scouts in on him, but we like to use that information resource as well, to get as much information on the players.”

The entire interview with Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on

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Bills’ Doug Whaley on Manti Te’O

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 9:30 am


While much of the football world, and much of America for that matter, is following the Manti Te’O situation with heightened anticipation, it seems like the Buffalo Bills are sitting back, waiting for the dust to settle, and then moving forward to evaluate Te’O as a football player first.

Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley talked about the Notre Dame linebacker Wednesday night, during an appearance on The John Murphy Show from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Te’O is embroiled in a controversy regarding a non-existent girlfriend whom he talked about last fall, indicating that she had passed away.

But the Bills are first and foremost interested in learning more about Te’O as a player.

“We always say you grade the player as a football player,” Whaley told host John Murphy. “All the off field stuff, we’ll decide on that when we sit down with Russ and Buddy and see how that guy’s character would affect him being a Buffalo Bill. You don’t want to discount his talent because of his character, because if you do that, you start putting guys that are less talented above him. That’s why we want to make sure as a player we get him right.”

Whaley had high praise for Te’O as a player, despite his struggles in the BCS Championship game against Alabama earlier this month.

“I think he’s a productive guy that has made some plays to win some games,” Whaley said. “Everybody says he had a bad game against Alabama. It’s tough to play against that level. But against Southern Cal, to get them to the National Championship, that goal line stand, he was an integral part of that. The interception to win the game at Oklahoma, he made that play. Michigan State–another interception.”

“He’s a playmaker. We’d like to get his exact measurables, height, weight, etc. And I think another big thing for him will be his forty time at the combine.”

The entire interview with Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on, or by listening above.

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Dobson known for tough catches

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2013 – 9:08 am

Marshall WR Aaron Dobson, who we profile on the home page of this morning, made more than his share of difficult catches during his college career. Perhaps the most popular is his one-handed backhanded grab against East Carolina in 2011.

It was just a 13-yard touchdown reception, but the degree of difficulty was pretty significant considering his back is to the ball.

Watching some of his route running he has a somewhat unconventional style. I’m not saying he’s Stevie Johnson, but he’s a bit unorthodox at times like Stevie. He’s certainly an interesting prospect that’s likely to be a mid-second round pick according to most draft prognosticators.

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South on the field for Wednesday workout

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 23, 2013 – 3:21 pm

A few more clouds in the sky for the South team practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Wednesday afternoon. Not only do the players have to perform for NFL scouts and coaches but the NFL Network is here for complete live coverage of the workouts (picture below).
With the Bills interest in linebackers, we”ll be keeping an eye on the LB talent including a couple that Bills GM Buddy Nix singled out for praise this week: Nico Johnson of Alabama and Vince Williams of FSU. Another LB, Jake Johnson of South Alabama had to be carted off the field after injuring his lower right leg early in today’s practice.
Speaking of injuries, still no sign of Akron,NY native J.C. Tretter on the field yet. He broke his nose a couple of weeks ago and has been held out of practice. We’ll get the story straight from him when he joins us on The John Murphy Show live from the Senior Bowl tonight.


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