Inside The Bills

Graham injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 4:19 pm

Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on the injuries sustained by TJ Graham and Kourtnei Brown at practice.

“During practice T.J. Graham and Kourtnei Brown both had a little pull in their groin, so we’ll just see how that goes,” said Marrone.

Both are expected to be day to day until further evaluation.


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T.J. Graham with wrap on leg

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 3:37 pm

Bills WR T.J. Graham might be done early at practice today.

Graham is on the sidelines with a heavy wrap on his left leg. We’ll see if he’s held out of the remainder of practice.


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How the WR opportunities played out

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 12:20 pm

As we mentioned last night the battle among the second level of receivers for the fifth and possibly sixth spot on the final 53-man roster was heating up as a lot of the wideouts that saw time later in the game performed admirably. Here’s a look at just how much playing time they had in Sunday’s game against the Colts.

Below is a listing of all the receivers that saw time on Sunday.

Brandon Kaufman – 36 snaps
Robert Woods – 33 snaps
T.J. Graham – 29 snaps
DeMarco Sampson – 28 snaps
Chris Hogan – 23 snaps
Da’Rick Rogers – 23 snaps
Marcus Easley – 20 snaps
Marquise Goodwin – 15 snaps
Terrell Sinkfield – 9 snaps


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Receiver listings most interesting

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:17 pm

depth-chart-bbcomThere aren’t a lot of surprises on the Bills first unofficial depth chart. At receiver though where there will be a lot of jockeying for position and roles, it worth noting how things are laid out here at the outset.

The top four receivers listed on the depth chart are Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. The next sets of pairings are as follows.

Brad Smith and Chris Hogan
Marcus Easley and Kevin Elliott
Da’Rick Rogers and DeMarco Sampson
Brandon Kaufman and Terrell Sinkfield

There are obviously still four preseason games to be played so these positions are likely to be shuffled somewhat before the preseason is over. Just knowing there are eight receivers in the mix for one or two of the final receiver spots should make for some heated competition.


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WR Sinkfield might be faster than Goodwin

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2013 – 2:45 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said on Saturday that he was “very comfortable” with the speed they have at the receiver position right now. Just hours after making that statement however, the Bills signed one of the fastest undrafted wideouts in the country.

Buffalo signee Terrell Sinkfield, an undrafted rookie out of Northern Iowa, reportedly ran a 4.19 40-time at the University of Minnesota pro day. We passed it along to Bills fans the day it happened back in March. His first 40 time was a 4.27, which would match Buffalo’s Marquise Goodwin. After clocking the 4.19 on his second attempt, NFL clubs made him run a third 40 to legitimize the eye-popping time. Problem was Sinkfield stumbled on his third attempt… and ran a 4.41, which is what T.J. Graham ran at the NFL Combine.

Sinkfield isn’t just a go-route guy. He fights for the ball in traffic, catches the ball well outside his body frame, has great feet along the sidelines and end lines and ran a good number of crossing routes. He played at a lower level of college ball, but he’s been in the NFL setting having signed after the draft with Miami and later Green Bay. Here’s a closer look at Sinkfield’s 4.19 40.

 

 

 

 


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T.J. likes early chemistry with QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2013 – 5:53 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone feels the quarterbacks and receivers have some work to do in the timing department, but T.J. Graham believes the chemistry they developed in the spring practices will soon reappear if it hasn’t already.

“It feels like we’ve been together for a long time,” said Graham. “Going back to when we started voluntary mini-camps, (Kevin) Kolb has been around and we’ve been kind of just moving off of there. EJ came right in and didn’t skip a beat. So, I don’t know, it is just really good chemistry. It might be that the offense translates to the offensive systems the other two were in, but we have pretty good chemistry out there.”

Graham hooked up twice with EJ Manuel on deep passes during the 1-on-1 portion of practice for scores.

“Well, he throws the ball far and I run fast,” said Graham flatly. “So he just throws it as far as he can and I run underneath it. And that’s pretty good chemistry.

Playing against him in college, I’ve seen him a couple times now. He’s pretty good. He has a really strong arm and really good feet. He is going to be good.”


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Fan Friday 7-12

Posted by Chris Brown on July 12, 2013 – 11:57 am

Training camp is closing in. Be sure to stay close to Buffalobills.com as we address the most pressing questions facing the team as they get set for the 2013 season under new head coach Doug Marrone. Here is the latest edition of questions from you the Bills fan from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris:

There were several players still rehabbing during the minicamp. What is their prognosis for the start of training camp? Kyle Williams, Leodis, Chris Hairston come to mind. What was Chris Hairston’s injury? Also, how is Zebrie Sanders doing with his rehab and where is he being slotted along the line? Finally, are Erik Pears, Mark Anderson and Torell Troup 100% yet?

Thanks,
Gerald in Rochester

CB: The following players are expected to be full go that were not 100 percent recovered from offseason rehabs and surgeries.

Kyle Williams, Leodis McKelvin, Chris Hairston, Lee Smith, Erik Pears, Scott Chandler and Marcus Easley.

Obviously, a setback in preparations for training camp could change things. To our knowledge Hairston had a lower body injury.

Mark Anderson participated on a limited basis in the spring. It’s expected that his workload at training camp will be incrementally increased as camp wears on.

Zebrie Sanders and Erik Pears did participate on a limited basis in the spring practices. All signs point to them being full go for training camp as well. They’ve both lined up exclusively at offensive tackle.

Torell Troup was full go in the spring and worked mainly with the second team at defensive tackle.

2 – Hey Chris,

Looking at the situation with J. Byrd this year & going back as far as Jabari Greer, & even as recent as Andy Levitre situation , the Bills have seemed to almost drag their feet when it comes to re-signing their future star players. Sometimes waiting till their contracts are up (like Greer & Levitre) to try & re-sign them we wind up losing said players that would be corner stones of the team for years to come.Yet others they sign way to prematurely (?)  Also if signed before, we may be able to get them at a better price rather than wait & let them test the market.

With all that being said, C.J. being the dynamic back that he is, also given the fact that everyone is thinking he will be even a bigger presence in the new offense, do you see the Bills possibly trying to extend him next year ? I think if we follow the same path taken in the past with other good players mentioned earlier, if he gets the chance to get anywhere near the FA market he’s gone for the big bucks !!

Thanks as always for your insight & keep up the great work we all appreciate you !

Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville

CB: I think your point is an astute one. Of course said player has to be willing to negotiate a new deal and some players have agents that want to wait for the price tag to rise. Now while you’re right in mentioning the players that did get away, Buffalo has also taken a proactive approach in retaining some players long term by signing them to extensions sooner rather than later. Kyle Williams is one example. Kraig Urbik is another.

Your point with C.J. is well taken. I think another player that should merit this kind of ‘sign them early’ consideration is Alex Carrington. It’s clear that the defensive staff believes he could do big things in this defense, and he’s entering the final year of his rookie deal before he becomes unrestricted. Why not lock him up long term now before he performs like the Bills defensive coaches believe he will?

3 – Chris:

I was surprised that EJs contract was for 4 yrs instead of a 5-year contract that is permissable under the CBA terms. This means that his contract and Gilmores will expire the same year.  Do you have a reason why the team did not sign EJ for 5 years, considering the confidence they appear to have in him?   Conrad in Elma

CB: First of all, Gilmore signed a four-year rookie contract with the Bills and will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Manuel under his four-year deal will be a free agent after 2016.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, all NFL first-round draft picks can have four-year contracts with a non-negotiable fifth-year option, although not all will receive it. Since the new CBA went into effect four-year contracts for first-round picks have been the rule, not the exception.

Proof of that comes in the fact that of the first-round picks signed to this point, only Ziggy Ansah, the fourth overall pick to the Lions has a five-year deal among them.

In the grand scheme of things if Manuel pans out as expected, he’ll be re-signed at least a year before his rookie contract expires.

4 – Hey Chris –

Very simple question…Who would win in a foot race between CJ, TJ and Marquise Goodwin?

Thanks!
— James

CB: I think Goodwin has both of them beat.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills @buffalobills Do you expect a No1 Quarterback to be decided before the start of the season? #bills

CJAugarde

CB: I’ll first let coach Marrone take a shot at answering this question since he addressed in a one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com.

“As a coach the earlier it can get done the better,” Marrone said. “I’d be a fool to sit here and say otherwise. The earlier the better, but again if you make decisions early and no one can see those decisions with the team then you wind up hurting your football team. So I’m hoping the decision and the timeline really relies on the players that are in competition and they have to separate themselves. And when you give people enough reps they will separate. At what point? I don’t know.”

Personally first-year coaches know that’s a position where a starter needs to be entrenched at least a couple of weeks before the regular season. I believe by the close of the second preseason game, the third preseason game at the latest we’ll have an answer from Marrone and his staff.

 


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Graham and Goodwin-same type of receiver?

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 11, 2013 – 2:30 am

The battle for spots in the Bills receiving corps will be one of the most closely watched competitions in two weeks, when the team goes to training camp. And with two bona fide burners on the roster, rookie Marquise Goodwin and second year man T.J. Graham, it could be fascinating to see how they’re employed.

Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show, 2012 3rd round pick T.J. Graham admitted speed is an obviously similarity between his game, and that of this year’s third rounder, Goodwin. But Graham says they’re not the same guy.

“Everyone’s a little different,” Graham said. “We have a similar background with the track speed. It’s his first year. He’s got to figure out how to work with that speed, the same way that I came in. Last year, I could run a go route and get by anybody. But once they figure that out, they know how to stop it, and you have to adjust your way of running routes. You can’t always run a deep route every time. You have to figure out the inside stuff. He’s figuring it out. He’s going to do very well.”

Graham told host John Murphy that he and Goodwin should work well together on the roster, and may even present special challenges to opposing defenses if they’re both on the field at the same time.

“It’s going to be a good complement,” he said, “because, if I’m on the field, he’s not on the field. And if he’s on the field, I’m not on the field. We’ll always have a deep threat. And if we’re both on the field at the same time, defenses look out. That’s a big part of our offense now—speed, speed, speed.”

The entire radio interview with T.J. Graham is available here


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T.J. Graham adds bulk and game speed

Posted by johnmurphyshow on July 11, 2013 – 12:39 am

There was no questioning WR T.J. Graham’s speed a year ago, when he came to his first Bills training camp as a third round draft pick. But he’ll go to camp faster and bigger this year.

Graham says he’s added some bulk to his frame and some game speed to his repertoire this offseason. He was a guest Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show.

The second year wideout from NC State says Bills Strength and Conditioning assistant Dan Liburd gets much of the credit for this thicker, stronger frame.

“Thanks to Dan Liburd,” Graham said. “He’s been one me about weight training, he sent me a meal plan. I try to keep my weight up to combat the bigger corners, like Stephon (Gilmore). They get a hand on you, they push you about five yards out of the way. If you can counter-act that with a little more weight, maybe get pushed two-three yards outside, then you can get back into your route.”

Graham came into the NFL with a very fast 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash. But the one-time track star says his speed is now much more tailored to the demands of pro football after an offseason of work.

“Maybe I couldn’t beat myself on the track, but game speed, I’m a lot more alert, I can see defenses, I can read stuff a lot easier,” he told host John Murphy. “I understand the concepts, so I can move a lot faster. Being a little older and a lot stronger now, I can run a lot faster through the grabbing and holding of the defense.”

The entire radio interview with T.J. Graham is available here.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2013 – 10:04 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills WR T.J. Graham on the radio airwaves Wednesday.

8:40 am – 92.5 WBEE The Morning Coffee Club

3:45 pm – 1280 WHTK The John DiTullio Show


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Fan Friday 5-31

Posted by Chris Brown on May 31, 2013 – 4:31 pm

Time for the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey Chris

Concerned that the offensive line went unaddressed so far in this off season. Seems we lost 2 of our 3 best guards to free agency. Do you know of any plans to address this?  If not I sure hope EJ can run as fast as reported as he might be running for his well being.

Ray
The only bills fan in New Hampshire

CB: I think there will still be time to address the offensive line in the summer if the Bills personnel department and coaching staff feels it needs to be addressed. I believe with the team not playing real football yet with pads on, it’s been difficult for the staff to assess whether or not an addition needs to be made. I believe the team is in good shape at the tackle position. Obviously the guard position saw two players that played an awful lot of football walk out the door. I’m confident if a position needs to be addressed it will be by this front office.

 

2 – Chris,

We need our receivers to be at top speed by opening day. We need them working with someone like Jerry Rice right now. Like Eric Moulds did on the offseason. Remember the difference that made with Eric?

CB: The receiving corps is young agreed. The comments from the coaches are that this offense caters to aiding younger receivers so they can contribute sooner. You talked about the team needing someone that’s been successful in the league. The Bills already have that in receivers coach Ike Hilliard. In fact Coach Marrone tipped his hat to Hilliard based on how the young receivers performed during OTAs.

“I think a lot of the credit goes to Ike Hilliard and knows what it takes for a young player to make a team because he’s been through it before,” said Marrone. “Those types of experiences with some of our coaches that have an NFL background, we talk to our players all the time about it. But I think it means a little bit more when it comes from a coach that has already done it.”

 

3 - Hi Chris,
Now moving forward to the 2013 season, I have a few questions: why did the bills swap linebackers with Indy, and pick up Jerry Hughes? Is Hughes better than Kelvin Sheppard? As far as the coaching staff, do you feel that the Marrone regime will hold players more accountable than the Gailey regime did? Do you anticipate EJ Manuel being the starter when the regular season commences?

As always, looking forward to your input.

Tony, Ormond Beach, FL

CB: The Bills made the trade I believe for one major reason. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said the strength of his defense is its versatility. Jerry Hughes is a more versatile player than Kelvin Sheppard. Sheppard in this kind of defense would probably have been just a two-down linebacker. Hughes is a better athlete that can line up at more than one position and might be more effective in the impact he can make for this defense than Sheppard would have been.

Marrone has been all about accountability since he got here, not only with the players being accountable to one another, but he wants the players to hold him and his coaches accountable too.

Projecting EJ Manuel as the starter is a bit premature. Though he has coach Marrone encouraged, I think we really won’t know how ready Manuel is until we see how he performs in the preseason games.

 

4 - Hey CB

How is Pears looking in practice!!, I here he is getting healthy and should be in good shape by pre-season!!

clickrjp – a fan

CB: Pears over the past week or so has slowly worked his way in to the team portions of practice. It’s been a long road back for Pears after injuries slowed him in 2012, but he saw his most extensive work in team portions of practice Friday. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come for the right tackle come the mandatory minicamp next month.

 

5 – Chris,

First off you & John Murphy are my only means of Bills info(all the way in Memphis). Keep up the good work guys. My question is with the acquisitions of 2nd rd Robert Woods,3rd rd Marquise Goodwin,& Undrafted FA Da’rick Rodgers, which I’m excited about especially Woods & Rodgers, so with us getting Goodwin to possibly be the slot guy. Where does that leave T.J. Graham?

He’s a layover from the last coaching staff & not Marrone’s guy. Where does he fit? & throw a talented a Brad Smith in the mix. How are they get all of this talent on the field with Stevie? Is it gonna be a rotation or what? Man I really wanna know.

Draper Jackson
Patiently waiting in Memphis,Tn

CB: I think T.J. Graham has been the most consistent receiver in the OTA practices. He looks like a player that’s ready to take a sizable jump in performance this year despite the new offense. Brad Smith was another consistent performer with Stevie Johnson missing most of the OTAs, it afforded them a good deal of snaps in practice.

I would tend to believe that the Bills keep six receivers on the roster. All of the aforementioned wideouts are firmly in that mix. It’s not going to be an easy call when it comes to picking the fifth and sixth receivers, but Graham is not one you need to worry about. Heading into the mandatory minicamp he’s positioned himself well for a notable role in the offense.


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2013 – 6:45 pm

Here’s an update on where you can find the latest scheduled interviews for a Bills players on the local radio airwaves.

Bills top cornerback Stephon Gilmore will be appearing on the Howard Simon show Tuesday morning at 7:30.

Bills receiver T.J. Graham will be on The Fan 1270 AM Tuesday at 1:30 pm


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Kick return candidates

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2013 – 3:48 pm

Here during OTAs there are a few kick return candidates on the roster and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is not short on talent.

Taking reps on kick return in OTAs this week were Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham, Brad Smith and Tashard Choice. Leodis McKelvin has been mentioned as an option as well, but he’s been limited to just individual position drill work in practices coming off his groin surgery earlier this offseason.

Nevertheless the speed quota is more than filled in the return game for Buffalo.


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Graham: I feel faster this year

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2013 – 4:14 pm

While the Bills certainly added speed to their receiving corps in the form of Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, a receiver they drafted last year is pretty fast in his own right. T.J. Graham ran a 4.41 40-time at the NFL Combine in 2012. After a lot of hard work this offseason Graham is confident he’s faster.

“I was hanging around the guys at the pro day and really wish I could’ve run a 40 there to show how much faster I’ve gotten in the offseason,” Graham told Bills play-by-play man John Murphy. “I feel like I’m a lot faster and I’m swifter. Hopefully I can show that on the field. That’s all that matters. Running 40 yards in a straight line on the field rarely happens. So the 40 really doesn’t matter.”

Graham was again a frequent target of Bills quarterbacks in practice Tuesday making a handful of receptions.


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TJ Graham hosts high school skills challenge

Posted by Anna Stolzenburg on April 10, 2013 – 12:36 pm

TJ Graham Skills Challenge

The 2nd annual TJ Graham High School Football Skills Challenge will be held in both Buffalo and Raleigh, North Carolina, to showcase high school football players from those areas. Participants will compete in a variety of drills throughout the day, led by Bills wide receiver TJ Graham.

To be eligible for the team competition, each high school team must select at least one quarterback, one wide receiver, one running back, one offensive lineman, one defensive lineman, one linebacker, and two defensive backs for a minimum of eight players. Individuals are also welcome to participate in the Skills Challenge.

The Raleigh event will be held on Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. at the NCSU Dail Football Practice Facility. Registration closes on April 25.

The Buffalo event will be held at Williamsville South High School on Saturday May 25 at 1 p.m., and registration closes on May 23.


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What had Graham sold on Glennon

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2013 – 10:11 am

Bills WR T.J. Graham decided he wanted to go to college wherever Mike Glennon was headed after the two became fast friends at various summer football camps throughout high school. In a recent appearance on the John Murphy Show, Graham relayed a story about what completely had him sold on Glennon as his quarterback.

“Mike Glennon is the reason I went to N.C. State,” said Graham. “I knew him from 2007 and camps and stuff and I remember telling him I was going wherever he was going. That relationship started because of an overthrown ball.

“In high school I had a problem where nobody could throw me the ball. My junior year in high school I actually played quarterback because no one could throw the ball deep enough to get the ball to me. So what was the point of me being out there? So I decided to throw the ball to them.

“Coming into one camp I was running a route and my coach said, ‘Run a post route.’ And I’m thinking I’m going to run the route as fast as I can. I want to show off. So I ran as fast as I could and Mike overthrew me and I stopped as soon as the ball hit the ground. I looked back at him with wide eyes and an open mouth and I think it was love at first sight after that. He’s got a big arm and being a speed guy you love to see that. It’s something you salivate for.”

Glennon has been forecast as a late first or early second-round pick.


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Deep passes were dialed up

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 11:21 am

Very often this season Bills fans have clamored for more deep passes downfield. Buffalo had about a half dozen deep passes called, but could not connect on any of them in Sunday’s loss to Seattle.

Ryan Fitzpatrick just missed Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham and C.J. Spiller on deep throws that could’ve dramatically changed the complexion of the game.

Head coach Chan Gailey in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday morning offered comment on the game plan and taking deep shots down the field in the passing game.

“(Fitzpatrick) overthrew them just a little bit and we had two or three others called and they ran back deep with them so we dumped it off underneath,” said Gailey. “We’ve done some good things as far as percentages of passes. Our percentages are up. We’re not getting some run after catch that people get, but sometimes our guys are not in that position and we’ve just got to work on getting better at the deep ball and hit a few of those. If you hit a few of those they make a difference in the ball game. The thing about it is we throw it great in practice, but in the game it doesn’t happen.”

 


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T.J. trying to move past drops

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 8:54 am

T.J. Graham had a handful of opportunities to make plays Sunday against the Seahawks, but didn’t come away with most of them. It was eating at Graham after the game, but he’s already focused on pushing past them.

“You have days like that, but it’s what you do about it. You’ve got to bounce back from that,” said Graham. “All the older guys rallied around me, letting me know it wasn’t all on me and that there are days like that. You’ve just got to catch the next one.

“I can’t blame it on anyone else but myself. I’ll be catching a lot more balls in practice this week. It’s just sometimes your confidence gets shot a little bit, you work a little too hard and try too hard to make things happen.

“Some of the best players have days like that, you’ve just got to bounce back, don’t let it snowball. I kind of feel like I got out of (the slump) toward the end of the game but it was too late because we needed those plays earlier on.”


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Bills liked QB Wilson in last year’s draft

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2012 – 12:44 pm

The Bills spent an awful lot of time pre-draft with Seattle QB Russell Wilson. They thought of a lot of him as an NFL prospect and were not scared off by his lack of height.

In his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Nix said their draft philosophy doesn’t exclude players that lack ideal measurables, while also explaining why T.J. Graham was their third-round pick six picks before Seattle took Wilson.

“I firmly believe that winners come in all sizes,” said Nix. “I think Russell Wilson was one and we knew that. We spent a lot of time with Russell and he was on our radar, but we had one, we felt like we had to have a speed receiver. They took him in the third and that was a little high for us as far as our needs.

“You’ve got Doug Flutie. I was around Doug for eight or nine years and you’ve got Russell Wilson. Those guys are exceptional and you’ve got exceptions, but they’re winners. They know how to perform when the pressure is on and I’m not a bit surprised by what he’s done.”


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What accelerated QB Wilson’s learning curve

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2012 – 10:26 am

Most that knew Russell Wilson or played with the Seattle QB before he got to the NFL considered him a winner already. However, there’s no denying what helped Wilson acclimate himself to the NFL game and perform so effectively, so quickly.

Having played in a pair of different college offenses at N.C. State and Wisconsin exposed him to a lot of different terminology. Terminology he had to master rather quickly in one short summer prior to his final collegiate season at Wisconsin.

“He’s a smart guy,” said former N.C. State teammate and Bills WR T.J. Graham. “He’d have figured it out no matter what offense he was in. The Wisconsin offense he went in and took control of it. I heard he was there all the time, longer than coaches and worked on it and figured it out. He wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip.”

With three games left in his rookie season Wilson believes immersing himself in two different college offenses that came from pro-style origins was been extremely helpful.

“I definitely believe that,” he said via conference call this week. “Obviously, I played in the West Coast offense at N.C. State. I played in vertical play-action at Wisconsin, both pro-style games. That’s what’s really helped me in terms of the learning curve, if that’s what your asking. And just competing at the highest level.

“Coach Carroll always talks about competing and bringing it every single day and that’s what I try to do. I try to improve on three little things every single day to help me and once those things are knocked down, just keep going with it. That’s my focus.”


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