Inside The Bills

Goodwin, Gilmore updates

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2015 – 7:19 pm

Two players missing at Bills practice Monday were Marquise Goodwin and Stephon Gilmore, who both suffered injuries in Saturday’s preseason game against Pittsburgh. Head coach Rex Ryan provided an update.

“Both guys were held out (of practice),” said Ryan. “Goodwin seems to be the ribs, cracked ribs, two cracked ribs. It will be very up in the air if he’ll be ready to go Week 1, I’m not sure about that. I feel pretty positive about Gilmore, but time will tell.”

Goodwin took a knee to the rib when he was tackled after a catch and run. Gilmore sustained a shoulder injury and did not return to the game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore set to embrace Revis role

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2015 – 8:59 am

Many suspect that CB Stephon Gilmore will be pegged to take on the Darrelle Revis role in Rex Ryan’s defense for the Bills this season. When asked about it Wednesday Gilmore said he’s ready and willing to take on the responsibility that role demands if he’s asked to do so.

“I definitely feel like I can fill the role of being a great corner or the best corner in this league,” said Gilmore. “I told them whatever they want me to do I’ll do it for this team. We’re expecting big things this year, so I’m looking forward to it. So, I feel like I just got to go out and work on my game and whatever the coaches tell me to do that’s what I’m going to do and I work on my game and my technique and study film.”

Gilmore has done that by going against Sammy Watkins in practice almost every day. Even in individual one-on-one drills Gilmore will wait until Watkins is up in the rotation to go against him instead of another receiver.

“I feel like Sammy is one of the hardest players to guard in this league,” he said. “You just got to get him the ball and I feel like me and him going at it every day, I mean, there aren’t too many people as good as him.”

It’s not clear yet whether Gilmore will simply be asked to follow the opponent’s best receiver every week during the regular season, but he’s preparing as if that will be the case. He’s often lined up at both left cornerback and right cornerback in the same practice so he’s accustomed to flipping to the other side of the field, should he need to in a game when following an opponent’s top wideout.

“If they tell me to cover one guy the whole game, then I’ll do that, and play physical and just lock in and worry about my responsibility, and that’s shutting that guy down,” said Gilmore. “So just worry about that and then everything else will take care of itself.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore dead set on starting strong

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 9:15 am

His last two seasons injuries and offseason surgery have kept Stephon Gilmore from being in top form at the start of the year. The fourth-year corner is determined to be at his best right from Week 1 in 2015.

In our Camp Countdown, presented by M&T Bank, we list the main reasons why Gilmore should excel in 2015. One of the chief reasons is his current health. Though he is coming off an offseason procedure it was not nearly as invasive as his hip surgery in the 2014 offseason, meaning he’ll be full go for training camp.

That means he won’t have to use regular season games, like he did the last two years, to get into top playing form.

“I felt like I kind of started slow my last two years, but held it down the last half of the season,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “I feel like this season I need to start fast for this team to go deep, deep in the playoffs.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A Revis role for Gilmore?

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 11:30 am

Mum has largely been the word as to just how far the Bills defensive staff intends to go in utilizing the talents of Stephon Gilmore this season. Will he stay on one side of the field and work? Will he follow the opponent’s best wideout all day? Chances are it will be a bit of both. So does that mean Gilmore will fill a role similar to that of Darrelle Revis? In a word, probably.

It’s clear that Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and secondary coach Donnie Henderson all see Gilmore as the elite corner in Buffalo’s defensive backfield. It’s also evident they have big plans for Gilmore this season. The only problem is no one has seen it in action because Gilmore was held out of spring practices in the team setting due to an undisclosed offseason procedure.

The difference this year is Gilmore will be full go in training camp and the preseason, which was not the case last year when he was coming off offseason hip surgery. So what has Gilmore been told by his defensive coordinator concerning his role in 2015?

“He likes the way I play so he told me to get ready to take on a big role in this defense,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “He just wants me to be ready. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get out there and show them what I can do and show the world what I can do.”

We’ll have much more on just how Gilmore’s game could really excel in 2015 when our Camp Countdown series, presented by M&T Bank, continues on Thursday (July 9th) here on Buffalobills.com.


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Fan Friday 5-1

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 11:50 am

The 2015 NFL draft is underway so no need to drone on here. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
With all the crazy coming and goings in free agency/ trades it is hard to keep track of where everyone is. I hope it might be possible, just before the draft, if you could list who we have gained and who has moved on. Thanks for a great job…
Erich

CB: Here’s a look at what was gained and lost prior to the draft this offseason.

Additions – RB LeSean McCoy, QB Matt Cassel, WR Percy Harvin, TE Charles Clay, FB Jerome Felton, G Richie Incognito, QB Tyrod Taylor.

Re-signed – DE Jerry Hughes, WR Marcus Easley, DE Jarius Wynn, WR Chris Hogan, K Jordan Gay, DT Corbin Bryant

Subtractions – OT Chris Hairston, LB Kiko Alonso, RB C.J. Spiller, OT Erik Pears, TE Lee Smith, TE Scott Chandler, S Da’Norris Searcy, LB Keith Rivers

Unsigned FAs  – LB Brandon Spikes

 

2 – Chris,
Thanks for all your great work and coverage. Do you think the Bills would consider Devin Funchess at 50? He’s super athletic and has some height that the Bills don’t have that would be great in the end zone. I think with him and the speed the Bills already have, the receiving core would be amazing.

Michael From Albany

CB: Funchess is one of the bigger enigmas in the draft. There’s no debating there’s some tantalizing talent there. Most NFL clubs see him as a receiver, and compare him to Carolina WR Kelvin Benjamin. I don’t think he plays as big as Benjamin does. He doesn’t fight enough for contested balls and that was in college. NFL cornerbacks could be a rude awakening for him.

He needs to bulk up and get stronger and he doesn’t have a wide frame like Benjamin. He’s an athletic mismatch no question, but I wonder if he can handle the more physical corners and safeties in the NFL. It’s my belief the Bills will look for a tight end type later in the draft to address their in line blocking. I suppose Funchess being the talent that he is would give any NFL club pause. With all the receiving talent they’ve already added I just can’t see him being a day two pick for Buffalo.

 
3 – Hi Chris,

Great job keeping us on the Bills.  As a Bills fan I was sorry to see Scott Chandler let go.  Do you think the Bills will be able to upgrade the tight end position with current players that were back up players by trade or the draft?  I felt he was under rated and poorly used at times.  The fact that New England signed him is an indication of his worth.  Please give me the your thoughts about the reasoning behind this situation.

Arizona Bills fan,
Max F. Stolzenberg, Jr.

CB: From what I understand Chandler was simply not a fit in Buffalo’s new offensive scheme. Greg Roman’s scheme demands a versatile, athletic player at the tight end position, who can line up in the backfield, as an H-back, detached or in line at tight end. Charles Clay does all those things, so they’ve upgraded by virtue of Clay being a better fit than Chandler.

Marqueis Gray also has the potential to fit provided he continues to progress at the position. He’s athletic and versatile too. As I stated above if they do add in the draft I’m expecting them to add a blocker.

 

4 – Chris,
With the team going “all in” for this year, what are the positions of need. Rounds 2-3 are really important on hitting on. Do you expect the Bills to add a guard to potentially start? It looks like Clay will
become a Bill so tight end maybe out? Are there more defensive holes to fix at either safety (Searcy) or linebacker (Alonso). What needs are left and will they skip on best player available and go for most
NFL ready?

CB: I think offensive line is a clear focus for Buffalo. They have just three offensive tackles on their roster and need to go with five to six to training camp. Linebacker is another position in need of numbers. They’ve got just five on the roster and need to go into camp with nine or 10. They could also use another tight end.

Ideally the Bills board offers value at offensive tackle or guard when they’re on the clock at 50 and value at linebacker when they’re on the board again at 81.

As for safety they’re stocked. Duke Williams, Bacarri Rambo, Jonathan Meeks and Kenny Ladler are all young options with potential.

I asked Doug Whaley if NFL readiness with a roster like theirs took precedence over a player with the higher ceiling. He told me no, that the player who has the better upside is the way to go no matter the state of your roster.

 

5 – Chris, as always, super job.

As excited as we all are about the Bills spending spree and the new/re-signed assets, I am concerned about having the monies to get Marcel Dareus and Stephon Gilmore deals re-done before they hit free agency.  Can the Bills find the funds to keep these 2 cornerstones of the defense, who should be around for years to come?

Thomas R. Veihdeffer

CB: The extension for Dareus is priority number one right now and I’m confident they’ll accomplish that. They just picked up the fifth-year option on Gilmore, but I think it’s possible they get an extension done with him as well sooner than the timetable applied to Dareus. The reason being if they can sign him to a contract that has an average annual value that’s a couple of million less per season than the $11M figure he’ll have under the fifth-year option it’s better for their cap situation in 2016.

The Bills like a lot of teams are banking on the recent trend of the cap going up a lot again next season. It’s gone up $10M each of the last two years, which is a sizable jump. They believe they can keep both in the fold and still sign Nigel Bradham and Cordy Glenn long term as well. We’ll see.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore calls 5th yr option pick up a blessing

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2015 – 12:23 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore was locked up through the 2016 season Tuesday when the team picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Gilmore appreciated the investment made in him by the club.

“It’s a blessing obviously this team drafted me,” said Gilmore. “They invested in me and it’s a blessing that they picked my fifth year up. And I’m just happy to be out here with my teammates and do whatever I can to help this team.”

Gilmore is one of several players from his 2012 draft class that had their fifth-year options exercised by their teams.


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Bills won’t be free agent players next year

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Buffalo Bills made some exciting trades and some aggressive moves in free agency this offseason that has the team poised to bring an end to their playoff drought. But don’t expect the flurry of activity to happen again in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley all but confirmed that with the high-priced players they signed (McCoy, Harvin) and the high-priced players they re-signed (Hughes) or extended (Kyle Williams) they won’t be in a position to spend like that again next March.

“Next year the Bills fans should take vacation during free agency,” Doug Whaley told the John Murphy Show. “Our free agency now, because we’ve drafted so well turns to our own players. Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Nigel Bradham, Stephon Gilmore that will be our free agency next year. We’ll turn into the Green Bay Packers.”

Whaley knows Dareus and Gilmore will command high price tags based not only on their production, but the position they’ll play with Glenn and Bradham not far behind. That’s why the personnel department is hopeful they can land a contributing player or two late in the draft, who will be far more affordable knowing a lot of cap dollars will be tied into the elite core of players.

“With the guys we’ve paid this year and brought in and the guys we’re going to try to re-sign next offseason those guys are going to be high-priced players,” said Whaley. “So to balance that out you have to hit on some fifth, sixth or seventh round players to have that, for lack of a better term, cheap labor and balance out that top heavy end of the price structure in the cap situation with our top end players.”

 


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Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

The second week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is in the books. Veteran voluntary minicamp is a couple of weeks away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Let us talk hypothetically.  TE-OL-LB are obvious needs.  But, should (UCLA QB Brett) Hundley still be on the board for the Bills in round 2, what do you think?

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think GM Doug Whaley will keep all options open in round two knowing he can truly take the best player on the board with few holes on the roster. That being said beyond the first two quarterbacks (Winston, Mariota) I get the feeling that the general consensus around the league is none of the remaining quarterbacks are at a point in their development where they can help right away.

I don’t know for a Bills team trying to win right now that Hundley is a pick worth making in round two. I think they’d rather have a player that can step in and help as a rookie in the event of an injury or push an incumbent starter for the starting role at their respective position.

Naturally we have to see what is left on the board at pick 50, and that’s obviously very hard to predict. I think there will be enough quality talent at Buffalo’s need positions that you listed to convince them to go in that direction more than QB.

 

2 – Chris,

After reading Collision Low Crossers, the book about the 2011 Jets, it seems like Rex values a shutdown corner to take away part of the field, then blitz.

I assume Gilmore is close to being that type of player. Do you think McKelvin can hold up? What players off radar could come in and make plays on the defense where he likes to give all the players playing time (i.e. Robey, Cockrell, Johnson, Meeks, Charles). How do the reserves fit into his defense and which one you see making a big jump in 2015?

CB: First, yes I think McKelvin can hold up as a press corner. He’s coming off the two-best seasons in his career under secondary coach Donnie Henderson. Furthermore Ryan believes he has three capable outside press corners with Corey Graham being the third.

In terms of a reserve player on defense who could make a jump I believe Duke Williams is a prime candidate to start in the safety role vacated by Da’Norris Searcy. He got a good deal of playing time there last season, is a ferocious hitter and has a nose for the ball. The other players you mentioned are only going to take steps forward as well, which speaks well for the depth on defense.

 

3 – Chris,

I am not convinced Matt Cassel is the answer at QB we’ve been waiting for all these years. Will the Bills go after Colin Kaepernick? And if not, why not? He would make sense as a solid franchise QB with a winning track record who fits with a run first offense. I see him as a perfect fit.

Cordially,
Bradley Kaye

CB: While I don’t deny that Kaepernick had success in Greg Roman’s offense in San Francisco, to acquire him he has to be available. With all of the talent that the 49ers have lost this offseason (Crabtree, Gore, S. Johnson, Iupati, Culliver, Skuta, Borland, Willis) I cannot see them parting with the player they handed franchise quarterback money.

 

4 – Chris,

With the team spending lots of money for the 2015, wondering how it will play out in 2016 when they have other players to lock up. Dareus will command a huge contract. Gilmore will need his option picked up. Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham is set to be a free agent as well. These are core guys they like how is it possible to keep them? Next year is big for future free agents. Are they spending too much money now they may have to let one of those guys walk next year? As of now the Bills aren’t done spending and could add more.

Josh P.
CB: I think your concern is a valid one. They’ve already picked up the option on Stephon Gilmore, per Doug Whaley’s comments at the owners’ meetings, so that buys them some time with him. They are interested in extending Nigel Bradham and it would not surprise me if Glenn were on the list as well. Right now Marcell Dareus is the primary focus regarding an extension. After seeing the money that Ndamukong Suh got in Miami, I think we all know that it’s going to be a complicated deal to broker.

Knowing the money involved with be large, it puts a hold on the other players who are in line for extensions because in all likelihood the Bills will need to get creative to make Dareus’ extension work. That deal will undoubtedly have an impact on how and what they can offer to their other young core players.

The good news is that the salary cap continues to go up and up and up. So more room will be created just with the dawn of a new calendar year.

 

5 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean R.

CB: I think the offensive line is a distinct possibility at 50, but not knowing what will still be on the board makes it difficult to pin down. I think guard or tackle are possibilities there. If the right tight end prospect is there in round two I don’t think you can rule it out, but Buffalo has their starter in Charles Clay. Now if they plan to have two tight ends on the field at the same time, which in Greg Roman’s offense is likely a good amount of the time, they might look to find one on day two (rounds 2 & 3).

I see LB depth being acquired later in the draft.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills young talent ranks favorably

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 9:39 am

ESPN did a league wide analysis of the young talent on every roster in the NFL. The Bills ranked in the top half of the league with their healthy number of young playmakers.

ESPN Insider Matt Williamson had the Bills ranked 11th in the league when it came to their “farm system” of young talent. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo’s roster.

11. Buffalo Bills

Sammy Watkins, WR (21): He didn’t put up the same numbers as some of the rookie receivers drafted after him, but make no mistake: He is still a supreme prospect. He has great speed and ball skills, but what some might overlook with him is his strength. Every aspect of his game exudes power, from his running style to his aggressiveness attacking the football.

Marcell Dareus, DT (24): The Bills’ excellent defensive line is the foundation of their defense, and Dareus is the anchor in the middle. He dominates in the running game and continues to improve as an every-down player who can get to the quarterback as well.

Cordy Glenn, LT (25): Not the prototypical light-footed left tackle, Glenn uses his great size and wingspan to protect the blind side. He is a top-10 tackle in this league.

Stephon Gilmore, CB (24): Gilmore excels in both man and zone coverage. With Rex Ryan taking over as Buffalo’s head coach, Gilmore should see a ton of one-on-one coverage against the opponent’s top receiver. He’s up to the task.

Kiko Alonso, LB (25): He missed all of 2014 due to an injury, but he along with Brandon Spikes and Preston Brown gives Buffalo one of the best linebacker groups in football.

Others of note: Nigel Bradham, EJ Manuel, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Marquise Goodwin,Cyril Richardson, Bryce Brown, Nickell Roby, Seantrel Henderson, Robert Woods, Preston Brown,Cyrus Kouandjio

The Colts, Patriots and Rams were the top three ranked teams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus, Gilmore downgraded to out

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2014 – 5:55 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

DT Marcell Dareus and CB Stephon Gilmore were downgraded from doubtful to out Saturday by the Bills. Both players were unable to practice due to injuries sustained in last week’s game at Oakland. Both players did not make the trip to New England for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.


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Who will step in if Dareus & Gilmore can’t go?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2014 – 11:13 am

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

As we saw on the Friday injury report both DT Marcell Dareus and CB Stephon Gilmore are both doubtful for Sunday’s game at New England. If neither of them can go here are the likely replacements for them in the lineup.

DL Jarius Wynn, who missed a stretch of games in the second half with a knee injury got an awful lot of time alongside Kyle Williams in practice this week. He could get the starting nod over Corbin Bryant, who was the first to step on the field last week when Dareus went down with his knee injury in Oakland. Bryant is still expected to see a good deal of action as a rotational player.

Meanwhile at cornerback, it’s expected that Ron Brooks will again step in for Gilmore as he did last week with Nickell Robey remaining the nickel corner and Corey Graham on the other side.

Player Pos Injury Game Status
Marcell Dareus DT Knee DOUBTFUL
Stephon Gilmore CB Concussion DOUBTFUL
Dan Carpenter K Right Groin PROBABLE
Aaron Williams S Hip PROBABLE

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore, Duke, Spiller limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2014 – 2:51 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

The Bills had a player out with illness at practice Wednesday along with a handful of other players limited due to injury.

Scott Chandler missed Wednesday’s practice as he was sent home sick. A few of Buffalo’s defensive backs were also limited including Duke Williams, who is going through concussion protocol.

C.J. Spiller was limited in practice as well.

DID NOT PRACTICE
TE Scott Chandler – illness

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
K Dan Carpenter – groin
S Duke Williams – concussion
CB Stephon Gilmore – shoulder
S Da’Norris Searcy – hamstring
RB C.J. Spiller – shoulder
TE Chris Gragg – knee
DE Jarius Wynn – knee

FULL PRACTICE
RB Boobie Dixon – chest


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Broncos had field position edge

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2014 – 12:50 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone thought going in that field position would be huge in their game with Denver and he was right.

The problem was Denver had the advantage for virtually the entire game. Both teams had 11 possessions in the game. For the Bills only two of their 11 possessions began outside their own 20-yard line. Those two possessions that began beyond their own 20 came off interceptions by Corey Graham and Stephon Gilmore. Both Graham and Gilmore actually returned the interceptions into Denver territory, but they were called back on penalty.

“Yeah it was frustrating,” said Graham. “Obviously you want to get points whenever you can. I was trying my best to get (to the end zone). It was unfortunate that we weren’t able to score points or that I wasn’t able to score points on that. But you’ve just got to keep playing.”

The two penalties on Buffalo’s interceptions wiped out 76 return yards and a drive start that could’ve been at the Denver 20 wound up at the Bills’ 40, and a drive start that could’ve been at the Denver 38 instead started at the Bills 26.

Meanwhile for Denver their two worst drive starts were their own 20 and own 25. They also had a pair of drive starts in Buffalo territory (not counting the third at the end of the game when Manning kneeled out the clock).

At the end of the game the average drive start for the Bills was their own 19. For the Broncos it was their own 42.


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Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 8:39 am

For those who have been wondering just how Stephon Gilmore has been performing of late, the answer is pretty darn good. His receiver assignments have not done much at all the last several weeks, and it was much of the same this past Sunday. That’s why Gilmore’s play earned him an All-Star nod from Pro Football Focus for his Week 10 performance.

Each week the stat crunching site puts out an All-Star offense and defense of top performers from that slate of games. Gilmore’s play against the Chiefs made him one of the top two performing cornerbacks. Here’s what they wrote.

Cornerbacks: Chris Harris Jr., DEN (+3.4) and Stephon Gilmore, BUF (+3.1)
Harris continues to play at an impressively high level, not even considering that he’s coming off a knee injury. This week he allowed a mere 8 yards on four completions in his coverage. Gilmore had similar success, giving up just 38 yards from 37 snaps in coverage.
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Peterson, ARZ and Ron Parker, KC
Gilmore hasn’t only been doing well in pass coverage. According to Pro Football Focus he ranks seventh in the league among cornerbacks in run stop percentage, which is a run play that’s deemed a loss for the offense in which the cornerback is a factor.

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Fan Friday 11-7

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 5:12 pm

Alright Bills fans, giant game this week against the Chiefs. Big AFC playoff implications. Got to get a win at home. For now on to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hello Chris,

Thank you for keeping us Bills fans up to date with all the great insider news! My question is very simple. With such a stout defensive line and very talented linebackers, and a talented secondary why is it in your opinion the bills give up so many pass yards?

Jeremiah T.

CB: What the Bills have surrendered in pass defense is somewhat understandable. For the most part the Bills have been a stout run defense all season long. This often forces an opponent to become one-dimensional, like the Jets offense was a couple of weeks ago.

As a result New York dropped back to pass a lot. Tom Brady was a bit of a different story. He got into such a rhythm passing that the Patriots chose to go with a pass heavy approach and it worked for them. The New England game however, has been the exception rather than the rule.

Buffalo is a very respectable 13th in the league against the pass. To be able to couple that with the eighth-ranked run defense is pretty good.

Often times in the league some of the top run defenses in football don’t have a pass defense ranking nearly as high. It’s because their run defense is so effective it forces opponents to pass to gain yards and score points, usually to try to climb back into the game.

When teams with stout run defenses have a respectable lead in games, they’ll often give up pass yards in exchange for killing time on the game clock. To see Buffalo in the top half of the league against the run and the pass is pretty impressive.

 

2 – Chris,

After Chris Hogan’s catch at the goal line against the Vikings, do you think that coach Marrone is gonna use him more every week???

Thanks,

Chris from NY


CB:
I think things are certainly trending in that direction. He has a good rapport with Kyle Orton and Orton trusts him to execute his route assignments and be in the right place at the right time. Hogan is one of the receivers who participates in Orton’s Tuesday throwing sessions on their off day. So that on field chemistry can only grow and get stronger.

Hogan does all the right things to make himself a better contributor in Buffalo’s offense, so yes I do think he’ll see more playing time as the year wears on.

 

3 – Chris:

Thanks for your coverage, research and opinions.

I ask for your opinion on a few things:
A)  Will CJ Spiller opt out of his final year or elect to rebound next year to improve his potential on the free agency market.

B) Do you think the Bills want him back or are they ready to move on?

C) Will Mike Williams get out of the Head Coach’s Dog House or is he done and will not dressed once the receivers are all healthy?

D) Will the Bills continue to carry a Kickoff Specialist since injuries have impacted the roster and Guy’s touchbacks have seemed to decline?


CB:
Here are my answers in letter order.

A – I think he will make himself a free agent to be.

B – I think the Bills will make an effort to re-sign Spiller

C – Mike Williams to his credit is putting in extra work on special teams during the practice week to get on the field that way. It’s hard to really get to the bottom of what’s keeping him off the field, but seeing a player like Chris Hogan emerge, who does all the right things and puts in the extra work and is reliable might be an indicator.

D – Jordan Gay has been a solid kickoff specialist this season. The only reason is touchback percentage dropped recently (it was at almost 75%) was because the Bills faced a couple of teams who give the green light to their returners even when the ball is kicked nine yards deep (Minnesota, NY Jets).

Gay’s benefit to the team is two-fold. First, it saves Carpenter’s leg through the course of the season. It also takes hits off the bodies of the kick coverage men on his unit when he gets touchbacks because they don’t have to go make a play. It’s hard to know where Gay’s role will go in the future, but he’s performed pretty well this season in my opinion.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Last year I wrote you and was kinda hard on you, and I appreciate you writing back, I live in Florida, grew up in WNY. Love the Bills, probably too much,  I was at the New England game, I talked to a lot of folks, CJ Spiller is our question, listen to all of the interviews, please could you pass on to him, he always says, always says he will only take what they give him, nobody will give him anything, take more than what they give him, stay inbounds, put your head down and get another yard. It’s time for this team to get some attitude, the fans are mad, we are furious, we have a good team and it is being wasted.

Chris am I out of line, or do you see players that are not working? I really think this team is only as good as our weakest link. Spiller and Gilmore are terrible, they play with no heart, please pass it on , we do not like watching Spiller running out of bounds, its depressing, thanks for listening, go Bills,

Doug Collins

CB: Don’t worry about the harsh words the last time. I know more often than not it comes from the passion you fans have for your team. No offense taken. As for C.J. and Gilmore however, I don’t think you could be more wrong about them not having heart.

They’re two of the harder working players on the team. Their commitment in the offseason is exemplary and both are often putting in extra time after practice.

You’re not alone in being frustrated that C.J. Spiller isn’t more productive in Buffalo’s offense. Obviously now he’s focused on just getting healthy after his shoulder injury, but Spiller wants to succeed more than anybody.

One thing that I’ve talked to Mark Kelso about in the past is how Spiller might benefit from lining up in the backfield deeper. Spiller is so fast that he gets to the line of scrimmage where the hole should be before it actually opens up for him. Arriving so early the hole is not established and he has to find another option, and often chooses to bounce it outside.

Kelso has explained to me, and it makes sense, that if he lines up deeper in the backfield he’ll arrive at the line of scrimmage in better time with the blocks being executed and the hole will be there for him to exploit.

The Kansas City Chiefs do this with Jamaal Charles. Another speedy back, Charles lines up deeper in the backfield and arrives at the line in proper timing with the linemen. I don’t know that it’s a cure all, but if he’s able to come off I-R before the season is over or let’s hope for the postseason I’d like to see if that could fix things.

As for Stephon Gilmore I think he’s played better as the season has gone on. He’s not giving up big plays and he’s been physical with some of the bigger, stronger receivers this season.

 

5 – Chris,
First off, you do a great job keeping us rabid Bills fans informed and do it in a professional manner. Thanks!
I’m sure you are probably sick of hearing about fans complaining of poor officiating.In the NHL, between the intermissions,the officials watch video and are in contact with the league about the calls they made & missed. They make a concerted effort to get better so they make less mistakes during the game-sort of like a coaching staff making adjustments. Could you please let us fans know if the NFL does this and,if not,WHY?
Players,if they make too many mistakes, get cut. Coaches lose too many games,get fired. There is accountability. Doesn’t seem to be the case with NFL officials.

Tom Dinder

CB: To my knowledge NFL officials do not review their calls from the first half at halftime. First and foremost halftime is rather brief (about 10-12 minutes for officials). Officials are schooled up in the offseason and are prepped for the season by attending NFL training camps to get ready for the preseason and regular season.

I do know that coaches will ask officials to keep an eye on certain things as the game unfolds, but beyond that there isn’t much else that’s done proactively by NFL officials as I understand it.

Thanks for the kind words.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stephon Gilmore’s BOSE playlist

Posted by buffalobills.com on October 12, 2014 – 9:00 am

stephon_2

This year BOSE, the Official Sound of the Bills, is going to bring insider access to fans by showing fans what songs Bills players listen to on game day.  For 12 weeks during the 2014 season, a different Bills player will be featured in the Player Playlist, presented by BOSE.  For week #6, it’s Bills CB Stephon Gilmore.  Check out the songs Stephon will be listening to on Sunday to get him pumped up before he takes on the Patriots.


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Posted in Corporate, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Fan Friday 9-26

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2014 – 12:12 pm

It’s the start of a big two week road trip in Houston. The Bills are looking to finish the first quarter of the season at 3-1. We’ll have full postgame coverage on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

My question is about the Bills offense. During training camp I noticed that EJ is throwing the ball a lot farther downfield; however during the preseason games, and early in the season all the routes seem to be less than 10 yards. Is this due to the play calling or EJ? I’ve heard EJ’s been better during practice, but it’s frustrating to watch him check down most of the time. It reminds me of when we had Chan Gailey and Fitz.

Michael

CB: So far this season EJ Manuel is averaging seven yards an attempt. For those that are unfamiliar with that statistic, even in the pass happy NFL that we know today any yards per attempt average that’s eight or above is outstanding. Only five NFL QBs are averaging eight yards or more per attempt right now. So seven is very respectable.

The other way one can look at it is average yards at the catch. This is where Manuel’s figure is below the league average. Manuel averages 3.6 passing yards at the catch, which ranks 31st in the league. The league average is about six.

Now there are two ways one can interpret that. One Buffalo’s offense doesn’t take a lot of deep shots down the field, which is your contention, and based on the latter statistic it’s understandable why that might be inferred.

The other way to look at it is Buffalo’s offensive staff knows the collection of speed they have out of the backfield and at receiver and believe it’s more important to make the completion and allow the ball handlers to make yards after the catch. Right now the Bills ranks 8th in the league in yards after the catch with 415 yards in three games. That’s a strong number.

It’s my belief that as long as those yards after the catch figures remain in the top 10 in the league, that the passing game approach won’t change all that much. That’s not to say they won’t take four to six deep shots per game, but on the whole they’ll rely on short to intermediate passes believing their playmakers can gain yards after the reception is made.

 

2 – Chris,

Do some NFL coaches have a policy of benching players for a play after they are called for a penalty?  I’ve noticed this fairly frequently just in watching game telecasts. For example, after Scott Chandler was called for a penalty vs Chicago this past Sunday, the cameras showed him standing on the sidelines. Then he was back in on the next play.  Obviously, if a starting QB gets called for a delay of game penalty, he’s not removed, but I’ve noticed both offensive and defensive players coming off the field after a penalty.

Gary Kozlowski

CB: Your observations are pretty astute. I also noticed last week that after Brandon Spikes was flagged for a personal foul last week against the Chargers that he was removed from the game too. Sometimes it’s just the personnel grouping that the coaches choose to put on the field for the next play, which may have been the case with Chandler. I will have to go back and look.

Sometimes it is in fact to get the player off the field and cool off. In an emotional game like football sometimes a player’s competitive emotions gets the best of them as seemed to be the case with Spikes last week. So coaches in an effort to bring a player’s emotions back in line take them out of the competitive environment on the field so they can collect themselves before playing another snap.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

What happened to Stephon Gilmore? He doesn’t even look like the same player we saw in his rookie season. He’s constantly getting beat in pass coverage, and he’s not making plays in run support. He’s becoming a real liability in our defense. I’m curious what the coaches are saying about his play.

CB: I think the coaches are trying to be patient with Gilmore. Coming off of offseason hip surgery and then a groin injury at the start of the season Gilmore is clearly not 100 percent healthy. He’s trying to fight through the nagging groin problem to be available for his team on Sundays. I don’t think there’s any question it has not allowed him to play at his very best.

The encouraging sign I saw this week was Gilmore was on the practice field for extra reps long after practice had concluded. This was a common practice of Gilmore’s, but taxing his body in that fashion was not an option for him while he was rehabilitating or as he worked his way back into the practice setting and lineup.

Seeing that is a major positive because Gilmore is a player whose game gets better when he can maximize his reps during the week. The most important thing to remember is it’s his collective health that’s holding his game back.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for all you do to keep us fans on top of all news concerning the Bills!

My question is concerning the defensive pass rush ideology. This past week against the Chargers it seemed that there were very few blitzes dialed up. I understand that with veteran QBs you have to mix it up, but the defense pretty much rushed four and got no pass rush which lead to the Db’s getting lit up. I’m starting to see major differences between Petitine’s philosophy and Jim Schwartz’s philosophy. Do you feel that less blitzing is what we will see throughout the rest of the season from Schwartz? His philosophy seems to put a great deal of pressure on the secondary….

Thanks for your response.
Bruce

CB: I think most knew going in that Schwartz’s philosophy was not going to dial up nearly as many blitzes as Pettine did last year. Personally I was okay with that if it meant better third down defense and better run defense in exchange, knowing those were two consistent problem areas for Buffalo’s defense over the years.

To this point Buffalo’s defense is 6th against the run and 8th in third down defense. I’ll take less blitzing if this is the trade-off.

I think you also need to consider this. When facing veteran quarterbacks who get the ball out quick, like Cutler and Rivers, and this week with Fitz, Schwartz generally takes the approach that committing a seventh man to coverage is more valuable than committing a fifth man to the rush. If you’re not going to get to the QB with a blitz anyway, you’re better off rushing your front four and dropping a seventh man into coverage, hoping the coverage helps lead to the QB holding onto the ball long enough for pressure to affect his play.

To this point Schwartz’s third down defense more often than not has proven him correct. So until that changes I’m in favor of his approach.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Great job as always keeping Bills fans updated.  My question really isn’t about on field football items.  Now that the Bills are headed on the road for a couple of weeks what is their travel routine getting ready for an away game?

Many thanks.
Bryon B.
Plattsburgh

CB: Typically the way things work in advance of a road game is they have meetings Saturday morning followed by a situational practice at One Bills Drive where they go over specific situations that might surface in the game. It usually runs less than an hour.

After that players go home to pack their personal items for the trip and head to the airport for their departure time on the team plane.

Once they arrive in the home team’s city they’re typically at the team hotel by 3:30 pm. They’re free to have dinner on their own and then there are meetings with coaches for a couple of hours in the evening before bed check at 11 pm.

Then players head to the stadium Sunday morning, with most of them in the locker room by 10 am or so for a 1 pm kickoff.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rotation at CB will continue

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2014 – 9:36 am

In Week 1 Stephon Gilmore wasn’t available to play so Leodis McKelvin and Corey Graham started. But come Week 2 Gilmore was healthy along with McKelvin and Graham. Gilmore and Graham started the game, but by game’s end Gilmore had 53 snaps and McKelvin 33 including a late INT. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that the Bills are going to continue rotating their top three corners during games provided all three are healthy.

“All three (are starters),” said Marrone. “I’m not trying to play games. We’ve been rotating them from day one since they’ve been back. I keep saying the same thing. Everyone is trying to pin, ‘Who are the two (starters)? Who are the two (starters)?’ But we’ve got a pretty good deal going if we have three guys.

“I firmly believe, with the level that they’re playing, that those three players will produce more than if it’s just two. We only have an opportunity one or two of those guys maybe wearing out, whereas now we have all three and it’s a long season. We’re in good shape until something separates.”

Marrone means if one of those three is performing really well they’ll see more of the work. Such was the case with Corey Graham. He had a solid Week 1 when Gilmore was out and started in Week 2 where he played 91 percent of the snaps. Gilmore and McKelvin split time in Week 2 with Gilmore seeing 53 snaps to McKelvin’s 33.”

When Marrone was asked specifically if McKelvin and Gilmore’s snap counts would increase he couldn’t give a definitive answer, knowing both are limited by soreness coming off their offseason hip surgeries and Gilmore coming off an additional groin injury suffered right before the season opener.

“I don’t know if I can expect their snap count to increase, only because we haven’t started practicing again this week,” he said. “Again, I think we’re going on basically just how they feel, as far as coming off the injuries from last week. I still think the same thing. If you ask me what the best thing is I would say, ‘Hey, we have three corners that 33, 33 and 33 and play those percentages, we would be a better team.”

Marrone said moving forward they’ll keep playing Gilmore, McKelvin and Graham.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rivers, Gilmore update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 3:20 pm

There was an update on two injured Bills players, one who left the game Sunday, and the other who was unable to suit up.

Keith Rivers (groin) is listed as day-to-day with his groin injury. Stephon Gilmore who was unable to dress for Sunday’s game with a groin injury is also listed as day-to-day. More will be known about their status for Sunday after Wednesday’s team practice.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore & Watkins go full Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2014 – 2:50 pm

It was encouraging news coming out of Thursday’s practice for the Bills. Two important starters on both sides of the ball were full go in practice, which brightens the outlook for both concerning Sunday’s opener in Chicago.

For a second straight day Sammy Watkins practiced fully in his return from bruised ribs. Watkins moved well out on the field and did not appear to be inhibited during the media viewing portions of practice.

Meanwhile Stephon Gilmore, who was limited on Wednesday with a groin injury, was a full participant Thursday.

“I’m feeling good,” said Gilmore. “I’m just getting my feet wet and just going out there and practicing hard.”

On offense during individual position drills the coaches have been working to get Watkins extra reps with QB EJ Manuel in an effort to make up for the lost time due to Watkins’ absence from most of the last three preseason games.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills