Inside The Bills

What Hackett still wants from his offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2013 – 10:32 am

While Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has been encouraged by some of the things he’s seen from his offense on Sundays, he’s far from satisfied. He still doesn’t think his offense has reached critical mass when it comes to production in games.

Appearing on the ‘No Huddle’ radio show with Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Hackett explained what he still thinks needs to be accomplished on offense this season.

“To this point we haven’t had a mesh of the pass game and the run game,” said Hackett. “One of the sides has always been picking up the other. We haven’t run and passed well in the same game. Let’s get the 30 rushes and 30 passes and roll up 200 and 300 on both sides. Get a really good output of what you want and have it mesh together with a good balance with the right stuff. The things we do well we have to master them. But we really want that balanced production.”


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How Hackett convinced EJ to let it fly

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2013 – 9:26 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had two long talks with EJ Manuel after each of his two setback games this season. The first was after the first meeting with the Jets in Week 3. The second was after the Steelers game in Week 10. Here’s what he talked to Manuel about in each of those two meetings.

Appearing on the ‘No Huddle’ radio show with Steve Tasker on Sirius XM NFL Radio Wednesday night, Hackett explained what he and Manuel talked about after the first Jets game, which did not go well for Manuel. He was sacked eight times.

“EJ and I had a long talk and it was right after the first Jets game,” said Hackett. “He saw a lot, but for the first time to see the things he saw it was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I see it, but they’re really all coming after me.’

“We sat down and watched a lot of the quarterbacks across the league, the great ones, like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers. Why are those guys so good? When you put on their tape they’re truly throwing the ball before the guy is open. They’re trusting their team. They’re just dropping back, they see it and they know and throw an accurate pass and let their guys make a play. He saw that in the Baltimore game (the following week) and was like, ‘Wow you’re right I’ve just got trust the look and go.’ As he continues to see himself through that he’s going to get better.

“We had that same talk after the Steelers game. It was like, ‘Look man, throw it. Just throw it as hard as you can and don’t think about anything else and believe in what you see. You got exactly what you wanted. Just go.’”

“It’s crazy. Everybody sits there and we’re judged by what happens on that field. It’s crazy to me what he’s done up to this point,” said Hackett. “Really having two bum knees. He missed three weeks before the season started and had a week to get ready for the New England Patriots. Then he goes five games and misses another month so what he’s done up to this point has been wonderful to watch.

“I think the biggest thing for him is he’s very smart. He just needs to continue to trust what he sees it. He’ll see it and know what he’s supposed to do, but then it’s okay pull the trigger. He’s got all the talent in the world. Just throw it.

“I think that we saw that this last game. He saw the looks and identified it. He made like three or four audibles on his own and I’m like, ‘Whoa this is great.’ He just needs to continue to grow.”


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Fitz: We weren’t ready for success

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2012 – 3:38 pm

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick appeared on Sirius NFL Radio Wednesday and was asked why the team faltered in the middle of the season with a seven-game losing streak that took them from first place in the AFC East to out of the playoff race in the span of two months.

I guess we weren’t ready for it yet,” Fitzpatrick said. “We weren’t ready to be able to accept the fact that we were playing well and playing as the team that was on the top (of the AFC East).”

During their 5-2 start Bills head coach Chan Gailey did caution his team more than once that sometimes handling success is every bit as hard as dealing with adversity. In Fitzpatrick’s opinion the team struggled with their new found success and unfortunately slid back into their inconsistent doldrums. Then they were unable to dig their way out of the hole they created leading to a 6-10 finish.

Fitz is hopeful that the team learns from their mis-step with success come 2012.

“I think we take it as a learning experience and we try to move forward,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is a team that I think is going to get better and better. We have some stability, just in terms of the coaches are there, with the systems in place for another year, and we’ve got a lot of the same players, so we’re hoping that that stability really helps us.”


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Chan compares Newton-Gabbert

Posted by Chris Brown on April 11, 2011 – 3:13 pm

Appearing on Sirius NFL Radio late Monday morning, Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked to compare and contrast QB prospects Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, by hosts Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. Here was his assessment.

“They’re both extremely talented,” said Gailey. “They’ve been in two different types of offenses. Neither of them have been in a pro-style offense. One of them was in a spread and ran the football out of the spread and was a little bit more throwing the ball one-on-one at times instead of reading a bunch of coverages. The other one was in the spread, four wides, five wides most of the time, in the gun the majority of the time and was reading a few more coverages, throwing a few more concept routes. You have concept routes in the NFL and a little bit more experience in that. They just come from different offenses. Both of them are going to have an adjustment period once they get to the NFL.”

Gabbert does have the advantage of throwing more of the intermediate routes in the 11-20 yard range in his offense, the kinds of throws that are very common in the pro-style offenses of the NFL. So if there is one area where Gabbert may have a leg up on Newton it’s there. But Gailey believes both will have learning curves to travel before being NFL ready so to speak.


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Mr. Wilson on Sirius NFL Radio

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2009 – 8:24 pm

Bills owner and founder and 2009 HOF enshrinee Ralph Wilson was a guest on Sirius NFL Radio this morning with Randy Cross and Bob Papa. He discussed a number of topics including Buffalo’s fan base and how he came to choose Chris Berman as his presenter.

Here are some of the highlights courtesy of Sirius NFL Radio.

On whether he knew the AFL was going to be the success that it was.

RW: “I hoped that we would be successful, but I didn’t know. It was a new league that was taking on the NFL. We did have an exciting product, but I wasn’t sure of course.”

On how he was appointed to first discuss merger talks with the NFL in 1965.

RW: “When we came into existence we were never expecting a merger. We came in to give football to towns that didn’t have it like Denver and San Diego and Oakland and they were very, very small towns in those days back then. But in 1965 we had heard rumors that the NFL might be interested in maybe merging with us. And we didn’t start those rumors.

“Barron Hilton was President of the league at the time and he appointed myself and Sonny Werblin with the Titans or now the Jets to meet with a representative from the NFL. I had numerous talks down in Miami beach with Carrol Rosenbloom of the NFL to set the parameters for how a merger could be accomplished.

“It didn’t go through the first year and then the following year Lamar (Hunt) and Tex Schramm of the Dallas Cowboys finalized the merger and it went on from there.”

On how he decided to hang in and stick with the AFL instead of cutting his losses in the early going

RW: “I didn’t know how long we could last. I don’t think we would have lasted indefinitely had we continued without the merger. We didn’t bring the merger up and we didn’t establish the league to merge. I was just happy that the merger came along because part of the merger agreement was that we would pool all of the television money and we would all get equal shares. And that gave some of the small markets the wherewithal to get some good players from college because the price of poker was running up.

“The Buffalo Bills lost money until the merger. We didn’t become wealthy. You were a success in pro football in the early days if you broke even. And there weren’t too many teams that were successful by that definition then.”

On how the Buffalo community has embraced the Bills as the fabric of the community

RW: “That’s true. We have very, very passionate fans in Buffalo. Unfortunately over the past two or three decades Buffalo has lost a lot of their big companies, like Bethlehem Steel and National Gypsum. Their population is down, but the people that are still left are rabid Bills fans. A lot of people told me that I ought to move the team.

“Even if I had thought about moving the team, which I never did, I always felt it would have been devastating for the fans of Western New York.”

On going in with Bruce Smith

RW: “Bruce was probably one of the best defensive ends that I ever saw. In my years I’ve seen a lot of great pro football players, but Bruce Smith was a game changer. Against the Miami Dolphins when they gave the football to Dan Marino who would always beat you in the last minute, he would pour in and get a sack for us and get us the ball. He was a great player.”

On how he came to choose Chris Berman as his presenter

RW: “There were a lot of fellas I thought about, a lot of people. I took a couple of months to try to decide. I’ve known Chris for many, many years and first I had to think as to whether he would even do it. I didn’t know if he would do it or not. I thought he would be outstanding. Someone has to say something good about me I hope he does. I’ve got to get on the phone with him about that.

“He stood out for me though, but there were other people I knew who could have done the job too.”


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