Inside The Bills

Brady confirms prep that Bills ‘D’ demands

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2013 – 9:29 am

Patriots QB Tom Brady has seen defensive schemes like that of the Bills before. At the same time he admits that with the myriad of defensive looks and disguises that Mike Pettine’s defense offers, he and his offensive unit will need to be familiar with an awful lot of pre-snap formations.

There’s a lot to prepare for, no question,” said Brady. “It’s one of those defenses that does a lot of different things. Similar to how when we played the Jets; they’ve got a lot of calls and a lot of looks, and they try to confuse you. They’ve got a lot of coverage looks, a lot of front looks, a lot of blitzes, so they put pressure on you in a lot of areas. I think it’s just – you’ve got to study what they do, kind of like we do every week. It’s just a lot of mental preparation.”

Brady’s stat line in Week 1 against Buffalo was 29-52 passing for 288 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked twice and had a passer rating of 76.4.

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Sack plan now is get Dareus to 10

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2013 – 9:03 am

Coming off of Sunday’s resounding season-high seven sack performance, the Bills now have three players with 10 sacks or more on the year with Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes all in double digits. Their plan now is to get Marcell Dareus to 10 in the season finale at New England.

That according to Marcell Dareus himself, who with 7.5 on the season, will need to have a whale of a day to get Tom Brady on the ground 2.5 times.

“We reached the goals towards the end of the year,” said Dareus. “We wanted to break the sack record. The single season sack record with the team. We want all the guys to get 10, they’re waiting on me now.  They’re going to try to get me free so I can get there.  We reached all the goals, Kyle got his 10, Jerry got his 10, Mario has his 13—everything is coming together.”

Brady has been sacked 39 times this season.

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Brady adjusting to new WR corps

Posted by Chris Brown on September 5, 2013 – 2:55 pm

Adjusting to new receivers is nothing new for Patriots QB Tom Brady, but typically it’s a receiver here or there from one year to the next. The wholesale changes that the New England receiving corps experienced this offseason combined with the youth and inexperience has Brady trying to be as patient as possible heading into the season.

“I’m not the most patient guy to begin with, so that’s something that I’m working on,” said Brady. “But you understand that there’s a learning curve, and there’s things that are going to come up that, you know, look, some guys haven’t experienced the things that I’ve experienced, so you try to talk about, ‘OK, this is possibly going to happen, if it happens then I want you to make this adjustment.’ Well it happens and then the adjustment’s not made and I say ‘Well I told you…” But sometimes that’s what I do with my three-year-old too and he doesn’t listen either.

“You try to just hang in there, and when you communicate you determine how good of a communicator you are by the feedback that you get, and if you’re not getting the right feedback, then you communicate more and you’re obviously not doing a great job of it so I’ve got to do a better job. And that’s I think part of what I tried to do this offseason.”

Where the most change has happened is obviously receiver and tight end. That’s where Brady has tried to focus all of his attention.

“It’s the tight end, the receiver position; the running back position is pretty much the same with the exception of LeGarrette [Blount],” said Brady. “A lot of the extra time and energy has been with the tight end position, the receiver position, making sure that we’re doing the right thing, that we’re on the same page, because you really don’t want to go into a situation like this, at Buffalo, on the road, division opponent, loud stadium and really not be able to communicate and know what to do.”

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Week 1 unknowns a concern for Brady

Posted by Chris Brown on September 5, 2013 – 11:15 am

As much as Tom Brady has some measure of unknowns in terms of how his rookie receivers will perform in their first NFL regular season games on Sunday in Buffalo, he also has some unknowns concerning how the Bills personnel will be utilized in Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme.

“You play a team like Buffalo with the new coordinator and you’re really not sure what they’re going to do,” said Brady. “In a way, you have to prepare for everything, and a lot of the focus from the last four days has been just that, trying to really put together a game plan, go out, and we’ve had three good days of practice and now we’ve got to follow it up with two more.

“It’s a very good defense. It’s a challenging scheme because they use their players very well. I think they have very multi-dimensional-type players. Similar to what we do on offense: we use everybody, they use everybody. Everybody has a role in their defense. Whatever they feel like is working, they stick with.

“But from game to game it’s always been different, so we’ve got a lot of information on the team based on what they’ve done in the past, so you really aren’t quite sure what they’re going to do. You can just kind of prepare for what you think they’re going to do, certainly what their strengths have been, and try to go from there.”

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Tuel could face ‘boyhood idol’ Week 1

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2013 – 5:44 pm

It’s not quite a lock, but with the Bills planning to start undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel Week 1 against the Patriots, Buffalo’s other rookie signal caller would be starting opposite one of his quarterback idols growing up.

“I don’t think strange is the right word because I came here to play football and that’s what I’m doing,” said Tuel of his opportunity to play in the season opener for Buffalo. “Anybody that comes to a team and says they want to sit on the bench is wrong. That’s not what I came here to do. I came here to play whether that was going to be four years down the road, one year or this year I was ready for it. It’s just a true blessing and I thank God for the opportunity. It’ll be a lot of fun to line up opposite a childhood idol like Tom Brady.”

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Constant change on ‘D’ good vs. Brady

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2013 – 9:42 am

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has a defensive scheme that acts a lot like a chameleon, constantly changing it’s pre-snap appearance. We examined if the new scheme will make the Bills unit one of the league leaders in sacks in our Top 25 questions until camp countdown. Bills veteran DT Kyle Williams is perfectly fine with the nenw approach, knowing the perennial All-Pro quarterback in their division feasts on defenses that don’t change things up.

“I think they make things confusing,” said Williams of Pettine and his staff. “We can show blitz and get out of blitz, they can blitz outside, inside. There’s just a lot of different things that we do it out of and we do it out of multiple personnel, multiple formations.

“We can show a base look and you can blitz everybody out of it or you can bring one. There are just a lot of different ways that they can do things and with us playing Tom Brady twice a year you have to do different things to him. If you’re going to get in your defense and this is what we’re going to stay in and we’re going to play it well. No matter how well you play he’s eventually going to figure out how to spin the top on you. That’s one of the great things we’re doing now.”

Williams admits the new scheme has been a shot in the arm for the guys on his side of the ball.

“I think it’s exciting,” he said. “Anytime you have something new that you haven’t done before. Obviously it’s no secret. We haven’t had much success. At the end of the year I said, ‘I just want to win.’ You only get so long to play this game and I’ve been around for a little while. So I’m down for anything. I’m going to be me and give it everything I’ve got. I’m excited about it.”

Jets defense, in keeping teams off guard

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Beating Brady blueprint started by Pettine

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2013 – 12:22 pm

Pittsburgh Steelers S Ryan Clark appeared on ESPN NFL Live in the ESPN studios in Bristol recently and talked about how defenses can successfully throw Patriots QB Tom Brady off his game.

Clark told ESPN NFL Live the following.

“In 2010, we saw it start with the Jets in the playoffs,” he said. “When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts.

“Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”

Everyone knows that the Patriots offense is based largely on timing. That’s why it’s little surprise, as ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker points out, Brady’s completion percentage drops from 68.2 percent to 42.3 percent when he holds onto the ball three seconds or longer.

What’s most encouraging is Clark references the Jets approach in the 2010 playoffs. That approach was largely drawn up by Bills current defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

Add in the fact that Wes Welker is gone and Rob Gronkowski coming off the arm injury and the season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sept. 8th could be a very interesting matchup.

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Brady stressing urgency for win

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2012 – 10:44 am

Sitting at 1-2 is an unfamiliar place for the New England Patriots. It’s the first time they’re under .500 since they fell to 0-1 in their season opening loss to Buffalo in 2003 (31-0). After two straight losses, New England’s quarterback knows playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium won’t make getting a win any easier. 

“Yeah, it’s a very tough place to play,” said Brady. “I think we have to dig ourselves out of a bit of a hole that we kind of put ourselves into. We’re sitting here at 1-2 and looking up at Buffalo and the Jets. It’s a big, obviously, big game for us in terms of conference and division standings. Any time you play a division opponent on the road it’s a big game. We lost up there last year, so we have to go out there and try to play better than we’ve been playing.”

Brady and the Patriots blew a 21-point lead in Week 3 at Buffalo last season losing a 34-31 decision to the Bills.

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Anderson on Brady’s work ethic

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2012 – 10:19 am

Bills DE Mark Anderson only played for one season in New England, but it was one that left an indelible impression on the pass rusher concerning Tom Brady and his approach to the game.

“Brady is a hard worker,” said Anderson in an appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550 Wednesday morning. “On the plane rides I’d sit right next to him. Every away game after that game he’s studying film. He’s already on to the next opponent win or lose. A very professional guy. He works hard every day at practice and knows how to do the little things right. I kind of look up to the way he handles situations. A great professional and a good guy.”

Anderson also explained how Brady and Belichick work together during the course of the week leading up to a game.

“He knows just about everything that’s going on with the defense and takes control of the offense,” said Anderson. “He and Belichick have meetings together. They work well with each other. Brady he gets all his information from Belichick and they work hard together. He really knows defenses and really knows where his players need to be.”

While Anderson wasn’t going to give details on Buffalo’s defensive game plan for Brady, he did stress mixing things up on Brady throughout the course of the game.

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Dareus: Brady cries to refs

Posted by Chris Brown on February 2, 2012 – 2:17 pm

Bills DL Marcell Dareus has only played against Tom Brady and the Patriots twice in his young NFL career, but he already has a handle on how in his opinion Brady influences officials.

Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon, Dareus was asked how you stop Tom Brady with the Patriots poised to play the Giants in the Super Bowl. Dareus gave his opinion while also stating that as a defensive lineman you’ve got to stay cool knowing Brady is going to get some calls.

“You really have to find a way to isolate an offensive lineman and any way you can get a one-on-one that defensive lineman has to win and you have to get after Tom Brady some type of way,” Dareus said. “Getting a hand in his face, knocking his arm down. Don’t go too crazy because Brady has the referees on his side. He cries to referees as soon as he gets a chance and it always goes his way. So don’t go too crazy, just play the game safe and just get in his face. Get him to throw bad passes, throw when he doesn’t want to.”

Dareus was in radio row at the Super Bowl in Indy Thursday pumping up his new affiliation with New Era for their new line of hats for the NFL draft, which will be released on April 2nd.

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Belichick on Brady’s status

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2011 – 11:54 am

Bill Belichick is never one to give much on the injury status of his players, but credit the Boston area reporters for trying. Here’s an excerpt of the Q&A courtesy of

Reporter: what is your level of confidence that he’ll be able to play at a high level with this recent injury?

Belichick: Anybody we put out on the field, I have confidence in or we wouldn’t put him out there. So if they’re out there, we have confidence in him. If they’re not out there, there is either another player ahead of him or we’re not confident they can go out there and do it [health-wise]. It’s as simple as that. We’re not going to put anybody out there on the field that we don’t have confidence in.”

Reporter: What is your confidence level in Tom this week?

Belichick: If he’s not out there, it won’t be because we don’t have confidence in him [from a playing perspective]. Whatever it is [injury-wise], we’ll list it as accurately as we can based on the information we have, which is what we always do. Sometimes that information changes, obviously, and we’ll do the best we can with the information we have, like we always do. It’s no different than anything else.”

Brady was limited in practice Thursday after not practicing on Wednesday with a left shoulder injury suffered last week against Miami.

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Report: Brady throwing at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2011 – 2:48 pm

According to Patriots beat writer Ian Rappaport, Patriots QB Tom Brady is practicing despite reports earlier in the day that he would not.

RapSheet Ian R. Rapoport Not gonna believe this… But Patriots QB Tom Brady IS out at practice, working with the team. Ailing left shoulder and all…

ESPN’s Adam Schefter still maintains that Brady is more of a bystander than participator at practice today.

AdamSchefter Tom Brady present for start of practice during stretching drills, which means Patriots can list him as limited. But Brady not practicing.

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Brady attending practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2011 – 1:31 pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady, who was widely reported will be a non-participant at practice Thursday to rest an ailing non-throwing shoulder, is in attendance per

MikeReiss QB Tom Brady is present at the start of practice today, Mike Rodak reports.
MikeReiss The lone two players not present for the start of practice are G Logan Mankins and OT Sebastian Vollmer, Mike Rodak reports.
Whether Brady participates in practice is another story. We’ll pass along details as we get them.

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Brady to miss practice again today

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2011 – 12:24 pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady will miss his second straight practice today (Thursday).

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who says it’s his non-throwing shoulder that’s the problem.

Brady did not practice on Wednesday, but his non-participation was listed by the club as ‘not injury related.’

At this point Brady is still expected to start on Sunday against the Bills.

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Brady’s issue is non-throwing shoulder

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2011 – 3:11 pm

The reason for Tom Brady missing Wednesday’s Patriots’ practice is due to a non-throwing shoulder injury.

According to reports out of Boston, Brady had x-rays on his left shoulder, which apparently revealed no separation per Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England.

tomecurran Brady dinged left shoulder late in Saturday’s game against Miami. Went for x-ray to check for separation. Was later told he was “all set”

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Brady not at Pats practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2011 – 1:41 pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady was not at practice Wednesday during the media viewing portion of the workout.

That according to

MikeReiss QB Tom Brady not present for the start of today’s practice, ESPNBoston’s Mike Rodak reports. Could be related to non-throwing shoulder. is also reporting that G Logan Mankins and OT Sebastian Vollmer were not at practice either during the media viewing portion. We’ll have the full practice report on the Patriots later this afternoon. 

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Kyle on the pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2011 – 7:58 am

While Buffalo’s offensive line has been great out of the gate ranking first in the league in sacks allowed per play, Buffalo’s defense is at the opposite end of the spectrum ranking 32nd in sacks per play as they have two on the season. However, as Kyle Williams explains facing a pair of top flight running teams followed by a quick throwing Tom Brady getting pressure on the quarterback hasn’t been the focus.

“We want to hit the guy and we want to disrupt the guy more,” said Williams. “I think some of it is you have to look at what we are doing defensively and you have to look at what they’re doing offensively.  I’m not making excuses or anything like that, but the guy we just played (Tom Brady) he gets rid of the ball.  If you look at the game he’s hitting a lot of crossing routes and different things like that.  So, it’s a little bit above but it’s something we want to get more out of as we have opportunities to do it.  When guys get one-on-one you have to win. You have to get pressure, hit the quarterback and disrupt his lanes.”

Againsts New England Buffalo rushed just three and four a lot committing more players to coverage while the down linemen clogged passing lanes in an effort to deflect passes, which worked (See: Marcell Dareus tip).

Facing Cincinnati rookie QB Andy Dalton this week could present more opportunities.

“I think with something like that you have to be able to give him different looks,” said Williams. “Maybe get him confused a little bit not knowing what he’s seeing. Maybe he holds the ball a half second longer and that’s lot of pass rush you know it’s holding the ball a half second longer where hits turn into the sacks, non pressure turns into pressure. But with them they are going to hang their hat on running the football. And if we can’t stop the run we aren’t going to be able to give him different looks and get after him throwing the ball.”

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Only Brady’s 6th 4-INT game

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2011 – 4:29 pm

Sunday marked only the sixth time in his career that Tom Brady has thrown four interceptions in a game. Here’s the list, which includes the 2003 opener when Buffalo posted a 31-0 win over the Patriots courtesy of STATSPASS.

Player Date Tm Opp Att Cmp Pct Yds Y/A TD TD% Int
Tom Brady 10/28/01 NE Den 38 25 65.8 203 5.34 2 5.3 4
Tom Brady 09/25/11 NE Buf 45 30 66.7 387 8.60 4 8.9 4
Tom Brady 11/05/06 NE Ind 35 20 57.1 201 5.74 0 0.0 4
Tom Brady 11/27/05 NE KC 40 22 55.0 248 6.20 1 2.5 4
Tom Brady 12/20/04 NE Mia 29 18 62.1 171 5.90 3 10.3 4
Tom Brady 09/07/03 NE Buf 28 14 50.0 123 4.39 0 0.0 4

Posted in Inside the Bills

CBS’ Gannon on Bills-Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2011 – 8:33 am

CBS color analyst Rich Gannon, who will be doing the television broadcast with Marv Albert on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, had some noteworthy comments on this weekend’s AFC East matchup.

Gannon was dead on with his assessment of how Buffalo has to approach this game. 

Every offensive series for the Buffalo Bills is absolutely critical. When you’re up against Tom Brady and the Patriots you almost have to assume that they’re going to score on every offensive possession,” Gannon said. “That’s why you have to almost match them score-for-score. You can’t really count on your defense to come up with a lot of big plays, negative plays, turnovers.  This is a team that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, particularly in the quarterback position. Defensively, the Patriots thrive on creating negative plays.”

Gannon believes a sound three-phases effort is what’s needed for the Bills to pull of a victory.

“I’m not suggesting that Buffalo has to play flawless, but in order for them to win they have to have a very clean performance in every phase of the game – offensively, defensively and the kicking game,” he said. “They’re a good team, but they’re not as deep and talented right now as the Patriots. In order for them to win, the quarterback and Fred Jackson have to have big days offensively.  And that can happen. Look at the Patriots the first two weeks: the Dolphins got after them and put up some big numbers. Philip Rivers and the Chargers put up 477 yards of offense against this defense. The way they beat you is Brady and a couple of turnovers.  Typically that’s how it gets done. In order for the Bills to win they have to score on defense and score with the kicking game. It will take that type of effort to beat the Patriots.”

Gannon has an affinity for Ryan Fitzpatrick and can probably relate to him as well after spending the first half of his career as a backup. 

“I’ve been in the same situation; a quarterback waits his turn, he always wants to have his own team, and when he finally gets the opportunity, he never looks back,” Gannon said. “Last year really wasn’t his team from the beginning.  Now I think that the organization has shown some confidence in him.  They didn’t draft a quarterback.  This is his team.  He’s got his thumb print all over it.  The thing that hurt him a year ago was he was a little careless with the ball.  They had the worst turnover differential and a lot of that can be traced back to him being a little bit too aggressive at times.”

As far as the approach Buffalo’s defense should take with Brady is force long down and distance situations come third down. 

“What’s the best way to defend Tom Brady? Do you pressure him? Do you play coverage? Do you rush three or four?  Nobody really has any answers and you’re not going to stop him,” Gannon said. “They’re going to get their big plays.  He’s going to throw a lot of completions, and put up big numbers. You have to try and win on first down. 

“In other words, if you can hold them to a two-yard completion on first down and force them to have third-and-sevens, third-and-eights, and live in that world a little bit, then you have a chance. The other thing is you have to win in the red zone. You have to hold them to field goals down there and not give up the big explosive plays.

“Brady is a special player.  He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.  He’s got a quick release – the ball comes out and he’s very accurate.  He has a lot of talent around him and they are a well-coached team.  It’s kind of like going up against Peyton Manning. You know you’re going to give up points, but can you still be standing in the fourth quarter with a chance to win? That’s really the challenge for the Bills.”

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Great stat on Fitz

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2011 – 10:52 am

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Week 1 performance was the third four-touchdown game for him since he became the full-time starter in Week 3 of the 2010 season. Only one other quarterback has had as many four-touchdown passing games as Fitz over that span.

According to the NY Times Fifth Down Blog, Tom Brady is the only other NFL QB with as many four-touchdown games.

Since the start of last season, Fitzpatrick and Tom Brady are the only quarterbacks with three games with four passing touchdowns or more.

The two four-touchdown games for Fitzpatrick last year came against Baltimore and Cincinnati and just like Sunday’s game at Kansas City, both of those were on the road as well.

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