Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-15

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2017 – 11:55 am

Big division and conference game with the Dolphins this week. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If the #Bills make the playoffs do you see Kyle Williams sticking it out for one more year?

Adventures with Dan
@DanHocieniec

CB: I don’t get the sense from Kyle that his decision on continuing his career is tied to the playoffs. Yes, he wants to play on a team that is successful, but I think it’s more about how his body feels. If he believes he can still perform at a level he is satisfied with and whether mentally he can get through the grind of another season.

I will tell you this. In talking to him about his physical health, he did tell me that having had both of his Achilles repaired after bone spurs were removed from his heels just a year apart from one another, he believes his “wheels” are a bit younger than that of most 34-year olds.

I believe he can still be a productive player going into next season, and if they can draft a bigger, sturdier defensive tackle who can command double team attention it should free Williams up more to make the plays we’re used to seeing from him. Fingers crossed.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think Tyrod has to do for the rest of the season to be a bill next year? Or do you think his fate as a buffalo bill is over?

Craig Renaud
@Renaud14C

CB: I believe if the Bills as an organization believe they can do better than Tyrod Taylor that they will move on from him. While I would certainly feel bad for Tyrod if that were to happen, knowing what a dedicated professional he has been in his three seasons here, that is just how the league works.

It’s a cut-throat league. A team is always looking to upgrade at all positions, but quarterback perhaps more than any other.

Last offseason, Buffalo did not feel they could do any better than Tyrod and he was retained, albeit at a reduced price. It was clear this season that coach McDermott wanted to see what Nate Peterman could offer the offense.

What it all comes down to is the staff’s evaluation of Taylor’s performance at the end of the season, and whether they feel they can advance the offense further with another option that’s realistically available.

 

3 –  @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think this is Jordan Matthews surgery is good for another team and not us?

Bills MR. E
@iamdmre

CB: I know what you’re getting at here. Jordan Matthews is going to be a free agent in March. Here’s the challenge in re-signing Matthews if the Bills are interested in doing so. Matthews’ value as a receiver has been hurt by two things. One, his injuries this season and two the lack of a productive passing game.

If I’m Jordan Matthews I need to know what a prospective team’s quarterback situation is before I sign. That’s obviously in the best interest of a receiver. There’s a good chance Buffalo’s quarterback situation may not have a definitive resolution by the time free agency opens in mid-March.

That could complicate the task of convincing Matthews to re-sign with the Bills.

Of course after an unproductive season and coming off knee and ankle surgery it’s hard to know if Matthews will have all that many suitors should he hit the market.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are there significant injuries on the Dolphins?

Buffalo Fan
@rw952

CB: Starting DE Andre Branch, C Mike Pouncey and CB Cordrea Tankersley look like the biggest question marks for Miami this week in terms of regular contributors. Whether any of them are declared out later today is tough to peg right now. I’d expect all of them to at least be questionable for Sunday.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

As Gillislee has been a regular scratch for the Pats, do you see him being released in the offseason and if so, do the Bills try to resign him?

Troy Rossignol
@rozzimbt

CB: The Patriots are known as a cost-conscious club, but his cap figure actually goes down in 2018 to just $2.4M. Even for a backup running back that’s not a break-the-bank type contract at all. I suppose he could be a roster cut option since he would leave no dead money on New England’s cap next year, but he represents less than 1.5 percent of team’s cap.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Benjamin, White practice fully; Kyle sits again

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2017 – 3:13 pm

The news was good for Kelvin Benjamin and Tre’Davious White on Thursday. Benjamin was a full participant at practice as was White, who is not out of the concussion protocol and medically cleared for Sunday. For Benjamin it’s been difficult waiting to return to the lineup, but he’s encouraged he’ll be able to do so this week.

“I can’t wait, I just want to play ball, just finish out strong this season,” Benjamin said. “I can’t wait though, I’m anxious. I think me, the coaches, the training staff, we’re just going to come to a decision at the end of the week. We’re just taking it day by day, just taking it slow.”

Benjamin was limited on Wednesday.

Travaris Cadet was also back on the practice field and was limited as he remains in the concussion protocol.

“Still in the protocol,” said McDermott of Cadet. “He was out there going through it and he seemed like he came out okay at this point.”

Kyle Williams did not practice however, for a second straight day with a groin injury putting his status for Sunday in doubt a bit. Seantrel Henderson also had a setback with his back injury and did not practice Thursday.

Here’s the team’s Thursday injury report.

 

 

DID NOT PRACTICE
OT Seantrel Henderson – back
G John Miller – ankle
DT Kyle Williams – groin

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Travaris Cadet – concussion
OT Cordy Glenn – foot/ankle
G Richie Incognito – rest
CB Leonard Johnson – knee
QB Tyrod Taylor – knee

FULL PARTICIPATION
WR Kelvin Benjamin – knee
TE Charles Clay – knee
DT DeAndre Coleman – knee
RB LeSean McCoy – knee
FB Mike Tolbert – hamstring
CB Tre’Davious White – concussion
DE Eddie Yarbrough – chest

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-24

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2017 – 1:40 pm

Getting close to do or die time for the Bills. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why haven’t they played Henderson all season. It’s pretty clear that our OL needs change.

Tim Stefani
@tim_stefani

CB: I’m guessing that since you mentioned Henderson, you’re referencing the offensive tackle position primarily. Here is what I believe to be the main issues that are keeping Henderson from getting onto the field for games.

After playing in the preseason he served a five-game suspension, which put him behind in all aspects of the offense’s development in terms of on field instruction. Only now is he getting back into the swing of things. He’s appeared in each of the last two games, primarily on special teams plays. And he started last week’s game as a tackle eligible when the Bills came out in the jumbo package.

I don’t think anyone can debate that Jordan Mills had a tough day against Joey Bosa, but Bosa has made a lot of offensive tackles look bad this season. If it was just a case of being overmatched, the coaches can find solutions to give him more help with a tight end or a back.

I believe the offensive staff is monitoring how things are going on the edges and the interior very closely every week. If subpar play lasts more than a week or two, coach McDermott has shown a willingness to make a change if he believes it will lead to better results.

Whether Henderson is ever part of that change is difficult to say, but he’ll be the swing tackle on Sunday.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is Rick Dennison on the hot seat? The offense has been anemic and I do not think it is for lack of personal.

Josh Stoeckl
@joshgsu00

CB: I don’t get the sense that’s the case. If anything the decision that coach McDermott made for the Chargers game provided indication that it’s the play on the field that is compromising the effectiveness and production of the offense.

I suppose after further review at the end of the season that viewpoint could change, but as now I don’t feel that is what is afoot. I know the availability of fired Denver coordinator Mike McCoy has prompted this line of thinking. I just don’t think that kind of thing is even on a head coach’s radar this time of year.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you think our lack of speed at LB is key reason for our poor run defense? Should we bring in someone similar to Brandon Spikes in 2014?

Sean joyce
@Seanjoy93765788

CB: If speed is what you’re looking for, a Brandon Spikes type is not the answer. Spikes coming out of college ran a five-flat 40 time and was strictly a run-down player. Buffalo’s linebacking corps does absolutely need more speed in this style of defense. It’s part of what worries me about this week’s game knowing the speed that the Chiefs can put on the field offensively.

That is going to have to wait until the offseason when the personnel department finds more players tailor made for this defense based on their physical skill set.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you get a sense that the players still believe in coach McDermott “process” or is there division in the locker room?

Kirky52
@Nick5225

CB: It’s pretty clear to me talking to players in the locker room that there remains a healthy amount of respect for coach McDermott.

McDermott did what he genuinely felt was best for the team in starting Peterman. He felt the rookie QB was ready to help the offense function with more consistency. It didn’t work.

The worst part is it cost them a game. Will it be the difference in reaching the playoffs? Too early to know that with six games to play.

What’s important here is McDermott proved he doesn’t have ulterior motives in going back to Taylor this week. He was up front about the Peterman decision being a calculated risk. If it worked who would benefit?

The team.

If it didn’t work who would it hurt most?

The head coach.

You have a head coach here who is not afraid to make uncomfortable decisions even at the risk of damaging his own credibility, if it could mean better for the team he coaches. It might be hard for some players to grasp that right now, but in time they’ll likely see what McDermott’s true motives were.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
The Bills got two first rounders. I think they need to address the defense with those. What do you think?

Peter O’Brien
@MVPete360

CB: First, I think it’s premature to talk draft. I don’t disagree that the Bills need help on defense, particularly at defensive tackle and linebacker, but to arbitrarily decide you’re going to use both first-round picks on defense is a little foolhardy. In addition to deciding what the best value is wherever they draft in round one, Buffalo also has to assess what is still on the board when they’re on the clock.

There’s no way to just say we’re going defense with both picks.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McDermott & leadership council talk frequently

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2017 – 2:45 pm

Much has been made this week of the player leadership council that meets with head coach Sean McDermott to discuss issues affecting the team and provide feedback on how things are in the locker room in terms of morale, approach etc. With the quarterback issue front and center this week, McDermott know it will be brought up.

“I always try and communicate with the leaders of this football team,” McDermott said. “I put a lot of stock into that. They carry a lot of weight. Obviously, I have the final say and they respect that. They’ve done a phenomenal job with that to this point. They’re the guys. They’re on that council for a reason. They’re my sounding board on some things. I give them a lot of ownership into this team and they’ve done a phenomenal job with that to this point.”

“We meet with the coach,” said Tyrod Taylor, a member of the leadership council. “It’s an open forum. People don’t take offense in there. Things are said that have to be said and we talk about things.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brees priority No. 1, but Kamara a close 2nd

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2017 – 9:25 am

Drew Brees is obviously the top priority for Buffalo’s defense today, but a close second is Saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara. Here’s why.

Second on his team with 37 receptions, Kamara is a weapon out of the backfield as a receiver and has also been lined up in the slot a good deal. The rookie is also effective as a rusher due in part to the fact that he rarely sees an eight-man box, with Brees so dangerous as a passer.

In fact, Kamara leads the NFL with the highest percentage of carries that go for 10 yards or more.

HIGHEST PCT OF RUSHES THAT WENT FOR 10+ YARDS, 2017
1 – Alvin Kamara, NO               25.0 (13/52)
2 – Alex Collins, Bal              18.3 (17/93)
3 – Cam Newton, Car                17.4 (12/69)
4 – Orleans Darkwa, NYG            16.4 (11/67)
5 – Tyrod Taylor, Buf              16.0 (8/50)
6 – Jamaal Charles, Den            14.8 (8/54)
7 – Kareem Hunt, KC                14.2 (22/155)
8 – LeGarrette Blount, Phi         13.8 (15/109)
9 – Melvin Gordon, LAC             13.7 (18/131)
10 – Aaron Jones, GB                13.4 (9/67)

Tyrod Taylor ranks fifth on this list, but quarterback figures here are taken with a grain of salt, knowing half their runs are usually not by design.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-10

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2017 – 12:02 pm

The second half of the season is upon us. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who should be feared more in Sunday’s game against the Saints: Drew Brees, Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: It’s Brees. The way he manipulates defensive backs with his pump fakes, shoulder fakes and eyes only makes him more effective. I don’t know that I’ve seen a more consistently accurate QB than him ever. Kamara is a multi-dimensional weapon who needs to be accounted for, but it starts and ends with Brees.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do u foresee the Bills trying to re-sign Wr J.Matthews and CB EJ Gaines? 2 players they traded for!

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: I expect Jordan Matthews to be high on their priority list. Gaines’ future in Buffalo I believe will hinge on his availability the rest of the way this season. I like Gaines personally and think he’s an effective cornerback when healthy. The issue is his week to week availability has not been there and Sean McDermott does place a priority on that.

I’m not saying I know that will hurt his chances of returning, but it could be a factor in how high a priority they place on returning Gaines to the fold for 2018 and beyond.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Any chance Milano starts this week since it appears speedier linebackers will be needed to stop the strong screen game?

J Christensen-Sharpe
@Snowbird_Killer

CB: I don’t expect Milano to start, but it’s clear to me that he has something to offer the defense in coverage assignments underneath. That is an area of the field that the Saints look to exploit.

I think Humber is underrated in coverage, but Milano has some pass coverage instincts you just can’t teach, which likely stem from his time as safety early in his college career.

Last week against the Jets, Milano was used in some subpackages on obvious passing downs. He also got 10 snaps, but I’d expect that to continue.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills
Should the Bills only draft a QB if they think that person would be better than Peterman? Fans loved Peterman preseason so will be interesting to see reactions comparing him to this years class if Bills dont take a top prospect

Bryan Watson
@RealBryanWatson

CB: My personal opinion is you should draft a QB every year. Knowing Chiefs head coach Andy Reid subscribed to that approach when he was in Philadelphia, I believe it’s possible we could see a quarterback drafted next spring by Buffalo.

The fact that Peterman is on the roster doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight in preventing them from drafting another one as I see it. The bigger question is whether they believe that a QB prospect that they could draft is an upgrade in comparison to Peterman, and I suppose Tyrod Taylor as well.

For Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott it’s about upgrading the roster. If a player is an upgrade, at any position, it’s a viable possibility in the draft or through any other means the club can add a player.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who is going to leading the charge Sunday?

Stittlo
@stittlo

CB: It will be former Bills RB Antowain Smith.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Will Raiders turn to zone blitz vs. Tyrod?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2017 – 11:10 am

Thus far this season, opponents of the Bills have barely blitzed Tyrod Taylor. They don’t want to send their ends up the field on a rush only to leave big gaps behind their pass rushers for Taylor to exploit with his legs. That’s why he’s seen the third-fewest blitzes by percentage on his drop backs this season.

Lowest Pct of Drop backs Facing Blitz – 2017
Eli Manning, NYG           15.9%
Ben Roethlisberger, Pit    17.7%
Tyrod Taylor, Buf          18.1% (34/188)
Andy Dalton, Cin           18.8%

Proof of Taylor’s effectiveness in defeating the blitz is visible in where he ranks for the players with the highest percentage of rushes that go for 10 yards or more. The Bills QB ranks second in the NFL with more than 18 percent of his runs going for double digits.

Highest Pct of Rushes Gaining 10+ Yards – 2017
Orleans Darkwa, NYG      19.6%
Tyrod Taylor, Buf        18.4% (7/38)
Cam Newton, Car          18.4% (9/49)
Alex Collins, Bal        16.1%
Kareem Hunt, KC          15.3%

The Raiders zone blitz looks so far this season employ only three pass rushers as they drop eight into coverage. Oakland will likely force Taylor to read coverage where they’re hoping he’ll hesitate allowing the undermanned rush to get to him. But if Taylor finds a running lane, he’ll make the Raiders. pay.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-27

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2017 – 12:21 pm

We’ll see if the Bills can remain undefeated at home against the Raiders Sunday. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s the best deal we get for Boldin?

Todd Burger Brown
@AllTimeBodacity

CB: Here’s my thought on all this Boldin trade request stuff. First, the change of heart is pretty disappointing. He could’ve made a difference for this offense and he bails after being on Buffalo’s roster for a week. Now two months later he wants to play again? C’mon.

As for trade value for him, I think the market is extremely limited. If Boldin and his agent think they can get one of the three Florida teams to pony up a draft choice for a 35-year old receiver, who may retire again at season’s end, it’s a long shot at best.

I think they’re going to have to extend their search and cast a wider net. How far from his Florida home is he willing to play? Atlanta? New Orleans? Charlotte? All these teams have established passing weapons, much like Miami and Tampa Bay.

To answer your question though I expect the Bills to ask for a defined draft pick. Reason why is if it’s a conditional pick and Boldin doesn’t meet the conditions then the Bills get nothing in return. I can’t see GM Brandon Beane going for any kind of conditional compensation, especially if Miami, a division opponent, for some reason is interested.

Short of a major injury to an important receiver in a team’s offense, I can’t see a trade coming to fruition in the time frame laid out in the letter. So I’d say in all likelihood he doesn’t find a suitable trade partner and sits.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the status on keeping Tyrod around for another season? If he wins this week are we looking at more Tyrod in the future?

Sumpy
@JBrind95

CB: I fully expect the Bills coaching staff and front office to let the season play out. It’s too early now to make an assessment as to what the powers that be at One Bills Drive will do concerning Taylor’s future. Right now Taylor is playing well for the most part, but I think the front office and the coaching staff will need to see where it all goes the rest of the way before determining Taylor’s future. He is under contract for 2018.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

How much Thompson will we see?

Mike
@Super_Strat

CB: Thompson got just 21 snaps last week and posted a 100-yard receiving day. I anticipate he’ll get a good deal more than the 31 percent of the offensive snaps he had last week against the Raiders. Rookie Zay Jones has been getting the most time on the field among the outside receivers, so it’s likely that Andre Holmes’ time on the field could take a hit if Thompson sees more action.

Head coach Sean McDermott said this week that it is a production business and Thompson produced, so I’d expect he gets closer to half the snaps depending on the game plan and whether offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has more two tight end sets as opposed to three wide.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s the chances of the Bills trading for another WR before the trade deadline?

James Gresham
@Slrydaz21

CB: I think anything is possible for the right price. I know many are speculating with five offensive tackles on the roster that the Bills will deal from that surplus to address a shortage somewhere else on the roster. For me that position is cornerback. Of course I think the Bills would be hard pressed to find a club willing to part with a cornerback in midseason for an offensive tackle, unless they were in a supremely desperate situation.

The compensation for the Bills at this point in the year for any player they might part with is more likely to be a draft choice than it is a player of major substance who can help them right now.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do the successes of mobile QBs like Tyrod and Russell Wilson suggest that some teams like #GoBills and #Seahawks might be more interested in Lamar Jackson?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: That seems like a bit of a jump. Yes, Wilson has been successful in using his mobility, as has Taylor, but Wilson also has the second-highest career passer rating in league history (99.3) behind only Aaron Rodgers (104.1) according to Pro-Football-Reference. He’s also in the top 10 all-time in completion percentage (64.6%). So he’s a pretty darn good passer.

I don’t think Lamar Jackson has the passing accuracy right now to be on the same level as Wilson. If his accuracy is an issue in college, it will certainly be one in the NFL where the windows are a lot tighter. Though his completion percentage is better this year (60%), I don’t know that it’ll get where it needs to be to convince teams that he should be a high draft choice.

Fantastic athletic talent, and a rocket for an arm, but accuracy counts more than power and strength. He’s one of the more interesting cases, because he’s a dynamic college QB, but at the pro level it’s hard to see him having just as much success.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Opponents playing coverage vs. Tyrod

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2017 – 11:20 am

Bills fans are very familiar with the fact that Bills QB Tyrod Taylor has been one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league this year. What you may not know is that it has happened despite the fact that opponents have not blitzed the Buffalo QB much at all.

Over the first six weeks of the season, Buffalo’s offense has faced the fewest blitzes on pass plays in the league. The Bills have seen just 30 blitzes in their first five games on 154 pass plays. That’s a blitz percentage of just 19.5 percent.

The percentage is only eighth-lowest, but the total number of blitzes called is the fewest in the league. So why so many sacks?

“Can’t pinpoint it,” said Taylor this week. “There are a lot of factors that go into that. Can’t have that. We’ve got to clean it up for sure.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills out to end one 0-for this season

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2017 – 9:25 am

Coming out of the bye much has been made of getting the run game back on track. Against a Bucs defense that has given up a good deal of yards already this season, there’s a good chance that happens. And if it does the Bills may be able to bring an end to an 0-for on offense this season.

Buffalo is one of seven NFL clubs that have not been able to post a touchdown yet off drive starts inside their own 20-yard line. For Tyrod Taylor, it’s a matter of having too many negative plays.

“As a whole we need to come out and execute better than we have in the first five games,” said Taylor. “The off week we had a chance to scout ourselves and looking back on it too many negative plays especially early on. That’s something that we can be better at, something I can be better at, not taking sacks, getting the running game going and being efficient in the passing game. That’s something we’ve worked on in our time off and something we’ll keep working on as we move forward.”

The Bills have had 13 drive starts inside their own 20-yard line and have been unable to drive the field and reach the end zone. Miami (16) and the Giants (14) are the only two teams that have had more opportunities than the Bills without a touchdown drive of more than 80 yards.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-13

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2017 – 5:12 pm

Sorry for the delay Bills fans. We had a publishing glitch. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s the status of Seantrel Henderson?

Vince Guarino
@VJGua817

CB: He’s been given a roster exemption this week, giving the team permission to carry 54 rostered players. Come Monday at 4 pm the team will have to make a roster move to add Henderson to the 53-man roster.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How will the o-line look after the bye. Seantrel? Cordy?

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

CB: Head coach Sean McDermott was asked point blank when Cordy Glenn is healthy again will he be the starter at left tackle and McDermott said that they would evaluate the position coming out of the bye week.

It’s clear to me that the coaching staff wants to get Dion Dawkins as much playing time as possible. At who’s expense could very well be Glenn. As frustrating as Glenn’s foot and ankle issues have been, when healthy he’s their best left tackle. It will be interesting to see what they decide.

Henderson has not played meaningful football since the middle of last season. He’s not a viable threat to start right away. If Jordan Mills falters at right tackle and they already have left tackle sorted out I suppose he could possibly be in the mix there, but in the foreseeable future he’s your fourth offensive tackle provided Glenn is back healthy.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Coach has put in rookies to see what they got and changed “starters” every game. Why does this not apply to qb?

David Ayotte
@Dhayotte75David

CB: This is a very logical question David, but quarterbacks are just different. The reason why is very often they’re the leaders of your team as is the case with Tyrod. The coaching staff has done nothing but support Taylor and sing his praises as a leader and hard worker.

If Taylor has done all the right things and is only two starts removed from his best performance of the season (win over Denver) and you’re still in first place in your division, how can you make a change there?

What we saw from Taylor in Cincinnati isn’t a foreign thing. We’ve seen it on occasion in each of the last two years. We all know what Taylor’s strengths are at this point, and we know where he’s going to struggle at times.

The bigger issue for me is the run game. Until that gets fixed no one is going to look very good on the offensive side of the ball. The run game is the identity of this offense, like it or not, and without it your quarterback is not going to look great no matter who it is.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see us getting in the market for a WR via trade?

Terry Long
@TerryGoLong

CB: Sorry, but I don’t. I think if the right player becomes available on waivers they’ll put in a claim, but to think they’re going to part with future assets to help the passing game now I think is unrealistic. They’ve stockpiled these draft picks to build for 2018. They’re not going to compromise that for 2017.

Truthfully is one wide receiver via trade going to make a gigantic difference in a passing game that only throws the ball 20-25 times a game?

I know last week they had 37 pass attempts, but that was an exception because they couldn’t run the ball. I just don’t see a trade scenario coming up that, A-gives them a game-changing talent, B-allows them to acquire such talent without paying a king’s ransom.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

How has Zay looked in practice? These drops have to just be rookie nerves right? I was expecting a lot more from him

Patmerica
@PatTookAturn

CB: By all accounts and from what I’ve seen he’s done well at practice. I don’t think Bills fans have any idea how badly this guy wants to contribute and perform. For whatever reason he hasn’t been able to put it all together.

As I said last week, he just needs time on the job. I believe once he makes an important play things will fall into place after that. His confidence is being tested and he’s very hard on himself.

There should be more opportunities for him coming with Clay and Matthews out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor close to Brady-like with protecting the ball

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2017 – 11:15 am

Tyrod Taylor has done a lot of good things for Buffalo’s offense this year. His completion percentage his up and he’s made good decisions with his legs. He’s also approaching Tom Brady territory when it comes to protecting the football.

Since 2015, Taylor is in a tie for second for most games without an interception with 22. Kansas City’s Alex Smith and Seattle’s Russell Wilson are the other QBs.

Only Brady is better with a total of 24 games without a pick.

Another turnover-free outing against the Bengals puts him one step closer, knowing Brady threw an interception on Thursday Night Football.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tyrod a top clutch runner

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2017 – 10:40 am

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor can do a lot of things. One is use his legs to get out of trouble. Taylor hangs in the pocket as long as he can, but when things break down he can use his mobility to get out into space and away from the rush. But what happens when he takes off?

Sure there are times when he doesn’t reach the first down marker, or he’s sacked, but there are also times he’s pulling a rabbit out of the hat and getting his offense a fresh set of downs.

Evidence of that comes in Taylor’s top rank in the advanced metric called ‘Clutch Runs.’

Taylor ranks first in the league in ‘Clutch Runs,’ which are defined as any run on third or fourth down, which results in a touchdown or first down.

The Bills QB leads the league with seven. Right behind him is a quartet of players with six such runs. The Rams Todd Gurley, Cam Newton and the Colts’ Robert Turbin.

Taylor accounted for two of the Bills six third down conversions with his legs in the win at Atlanta. He moved the chains on a 3rd-and-5 and a 3rd-and-3. Both drive ended in points for the Bills.

He had a single such conversion in the win over the Broncos and the loss at Carolina. In Week 1 he had his biggest clutch run total with three third down runs to move the chains.

Taylor’s backfield mate, LeSean McCoy is tied for the fourth-highest total with four this season.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor: Von was joking, but it worked out

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2017 – 10:20 am

It was misunderstood by many watching the game on Sunday at New Era Field. It was also misunderstood by head referee Carl Cheffers. After a failed third down pass by Tyrod Taylor, he was knocked down by Denver pass rusher Von Miller. Miller offered his hand to Taylor to help him up, only to pull it away a second later in a classic gag fitting of a 13-year old. Both players laughed as it unfolded, but Cheffers threw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Me and Von came out the same year. We’re good friends,” said Taylor. “We were actually laughing on the field. I don’t think he knew. I honestly didn’t know at the time there was going to be a flag. We were laughing. It ended up working out in our favor. Just a bad play by him at the time. I’m pretty sure he wished he had it back, but got to move forward.”

“I just wasn’t thinking,” said Miller. “I know Tyrod, he was talking, smiling. I don’t even talk to quarterbacks, I don’t even do anything with quarterbacks. But I know Tyrod, we were kind of laughing and joking through the whole game. On that play, I just made a very, very crucial mistake at a vital point in the game.”

The penalty was a back breaker for the Broncos. Buffalo likely would’ve punted in a one-score game up 23-16 with 7:43 to play and pinned Denver back deep in their own end. The unsportsmanlike conduct however, gave Buffalo a fresh set of downs and the drive resulted in a game-clinching field goal by Stephen Hauschka with three minutes left.

“I stuck out my hand, thought he was going to help me up. It was kind of like an old school move,” said Taylor. “I got played in that situation I guess.

“It extended a drive and burned some time off the clock and were able to get them to use all their timeouts. So it worked out.”

“I can’t put my team in situations like that,” said Miller. “I brought us home field many times, I’ve closed games fifty million times. I’ve got to be smarter than that. I’m always on the rookies and all the young guys [about] being smart and doing this and doing that. Then I go out there and do something like that, in a crucial situation in the game, I’ve just got to be better than that. It hits you in the stomach. I haven’t been in situations [like that] since my rookie season.

“I killed the game today with that penalty. I’ve just got to be better than that, and I will be better than that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-22

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2017 – 12:45 pm

A big AFC challenge this week with Denver. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

How are Zay and Tyrod connecting this week?

Beth fox@10Poobah

CB: They are connecting in practice all the time. What you see in practice however, is somewhat scripted by the scout team. What Zay Jones as a rookie receiver will see on Sunday will be much different and it will be happening much faster.

Jones needs time on the job to getting in better sync with Tyrod on game days. I believe it will happen in time. How much time is the question.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

The Bills started moving the ball in the 2nd half when they spread it out. Do you think they have the personal to go 4 and 5 wide?

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: I think spreading the field is a good idea to prevent eight-man boxes for Buffalo’s run game. If you go four wide with a single back in the backfield, the space and lanes are there because the defense has to cover all the options.

Chan Gailey made Buffalo’s offense productive that way, including C.J. Spiller, who had his most productive season in an offense that went predominantly with a four-wide, one back look.

When you’re facing cornerbacks the caliber of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, rub routes can also be a solution. So having more receivers split out can facilitate that.

But I like the idea of a spread look to help the Bills move the ball more consistently. I especially like the spread look in the red zone to give Tyrod Taylor the necessary lanes to take off and run and reach the end zone if he has to tuck and take off.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Ever since Charles Clay has been with the Bills there has always been talk of him having knee problems . Every year, including this one, as I was just reading how he is limited in practice due to knee soreness . Every year I wonder making the kind of cash this guy makes why doesn’t he get his knee fixed in the off season? What is the deal with his knee & again why doesn’t he do something about it especially seeing as he is one of the higher paid players on the team …

Thanks for all you do
GO BILLS !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville
CB: I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to pretend to know what Clay’s exact knee affliction is. But you have to believe that if surgery of any kind could correct the condition of his knee it would’ve happened a long time ago.

His playing career is his livelihood, so if something could be done to reduce the need to take preventative measures with his knee, like staying off it an extra day every week, they would’ve taken those steps.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will Rick Dennison ‘Rex Ryan’ our offense? Or will he start looking at what made us more successful last year and change strategies?

Ryan Appleby
@ApplebyRC

CB: I highly doubt that Buffalo’s offensive coordinator after an entire offseason of work is going to scrap the system he spent the last six months installing. It’s on the players to lock things down and execute more effectively.

The coaches have to get creative with the chess pieces they have and coach McDermott talked about moving some of the pieces around to be more unpredictable. But scrapping your offensive system after two games is not going to happen.

It’s the constant churn of coaches and front office people that’s responsible for the growing pains you’re witnessing now. I’m not going to run through the litany of coaching changes and front office changes since 2000.

All that change makes it difficult for a team to develop familiarity with schemes, have the personnel that perfectly fit the schemes and the consistency to execute the schemes.

The good news is the Pegulas look like they’ve hired the right head coach and the right general manager. So the hope is the vision that Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have can gain traction and establish a foothold that can set a good foundation.

Then the team can continue to be built in that image with less and less player turnover from year to year. That should lead to a better product on the field.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

How do you feel about Tyrod Taylor start to the season?

Shane Boucher
@ShaneBoucher5

CB: I’ve expected much of what we’ve seen to this point. It’s an offense that is not yet on the same page, for a host of reasons. Two regular season games together, late offseason changes (Jordan Matthews trade, Anquan Boldin add and subtraction, Watkins trade, Streater injury), lost time on the field (Jordan Matthews injury, Tyrod Taylor injury).

Change, especially in the late stages of a preseason, never help the continuity an offense is trying to establish in year one of a new system.

Even the offensive line, which returns the same starting five (when Cordy Glenn is healthy), is undergoing a dramatic change in scheme, going to a zone blocking scheme.

I understand fans want a productive offense that scores points, especially after seeing the Bills rank 12th and 10th in points per game the last two years. That’s not going to happen right away in light of the aforementioned circumstances.

That doesn’t mean the players on offense aren’t doing everything they can to tighten things up and execute more effectively.

But just going on past experience with change here in Buffalo, this is going to take at least to the bye week before things start really humming.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Weighing risk-reward in pass game w/Panthers D

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2017 – 11:15 am

Last week Carolina LB Luke Kuechly made his 13th interception since he entered the league in 2012. No other NFL linebacker has more interceptions over that time. The linebacker tied for second in that category over the last five season is his teammate, Thomas Davis. Couple that production with Panthers S Kurt Coleman, who since 2013 leads all safeties with 14 INTs and you see the risk passing over the middle poses for opposing QBs.

So how do you balance being aggressive in the passing game against the Panthers while also mitigating the risk?

“They’re a tough group to prepare for because they’re so athletic,” said McDermott. “Luke is so aware of things, and they do a great job of communicating on their end as well. You just have to be aware of where he is, and they do a great job of taking the ball away on defense. That was a big part of their formula last week, and I’m sure one of their big goals this week against us will be to take the ball away. We have to be very aware of that and do our part in terms of respecting the football. They thrive off of taking the ball away and setting their offense up with short fields.”

The hook zones in particular are where Kuechly and Davis make most of their interceptions. Both of them can drop effectively into coverage and break on the ball.

“All those guys on that defense can run,” said Tyrod Taylor. “Of course, Luke Kuechly, he’s probably the best linebacker in the league, very smart, instinctive guy. Just going to have to go out there and play sound football. Our first challenge on the road against a very good defense, and we’re going to have to execute every play and continue to keep focus throughout the whole game.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How to counter Panthers speed on defense

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2017 – 10:45 am

The Carolina Panthers are a fast flow defense. They have great speed at the second level and get to the ball quickly in numbers. Their men up front are all attack-minded and come full speed on every play. When facing talent that can match your skill position players in the speed department, there are some things that can be done to slow them down.

Misdirection on plays can keep a defense like Carolina’s honest. If they bit too hard on the initial fake, there could be some big gains to be had on the back side.

“Sometimes, yes, I will say that’s definitely something that I feel like we can get a chance at, as far as the misdirection,” said Tyrod Taylor. “The way we run the football, the way Shady is downhill, the way [Mike] Tolbert is downhill, the way we’re able to stretch fields laterally, I think that we can definitely get those types of plays. We have to go out there and execute.”

Another part of the offense that could serve the Bills well if the Panthers are pinning their ears back and driving hard up field is the screen game. LeSean McCoy could have a big day in the receiving game if Carolina is reckless in flying up field or in the direction of the ball at the snap.

“They’re a good team, they’re a good defense, so in times they are victim of over-pursuing plays, but that’s a gift and a curse,” said McCoy of the Carolina defense. “They’re talented at the positon, especially at linebacker. “They get happy and they kind of over-pursue though, so it’ll be a game. It’ll be a good game.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-15

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2017 – 12:19 pm

Week 2 is a step up in competition with the Panthers on the road. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are the Bills more prepared to play against mobile QBs like Cam due to practicing daily vs Tyrod Taylor?

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: In training camp the defense went against Tyrod, but during the regular season they face a scout team quarterback. Fortunately for the Bills defense that scout team QB is Joe Webb. Not only is Webb wholly familiar with the Carolina offense, having run it the last couple of years, but he’s also extremely athletic and is a good mimic of Newton as a player.

So the defense should be well prepared for the real thing on Sunday.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who, in your opinion, needs to “show up” in Carolina this week?

Bryan Metz
@BryanMetz11

CB: In a word everyone. I know the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs last year, but Newton couldn’t throw the last month and a half of the season before undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. This is a talented team that was a perennial playoff team with three division titles under their belt and an NFC title. So all 11/11ths need to be performing on Sunday for the Bills to have a shot at a win.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, been reading CAR trying to limit Newton leaving pocket. I get he’s the franchise & a lot of $$ is committed to him, but bad idea, no?

Andrew Farrell
@andrewj_farrell

CB: They’re trying to reduce the number of hits Newton takes and he’s free game the minute he declares himself as a runner. All those hits wore his body down and we witnessed the effects of those last season.

I don’t see Newton as anything close to an elite pocket passer. He’s never had a completion percentage above 60 percent in his career. Which is a shame because he has the physical stature to make plays with bodies hanging on him. That’s what makes this season so intriguing with him.

Can he transition to being a successful pocket passer as he gets close to the midway point of his career? He’s not going to have his legs forever.

 

4 – Chris,

Members of the Bills practice squad are free agents.  Can the Bills retain a player after another team claims them?

Steve O’Brien

CB: There are ways that a team tries to retain a practice squad player they’d like to develop. They can either, A, pay them more money on the practice squad or B, make room on their active roster to hold onto them. Often times players choose to stay with the club they’ve been with just because of scheme familiarity and the chance to play right away.

Going to a new team, especially within the season, can be a tougher transition to the field. But players do tend to go if they think there’s a better opportunity to get on the field and stay on an active roster long term.

 

5 – Chris,

Obviously the Jets win doesn’t prove much, but how good does Tyrod have to be to keep his job going in to next year? Is it playoffs or bust? Just imagine the weapons we could add in next years draft with all of our picks if we’re not using them to trade up for a QB.

Frank from Long Island

CB: With respect to Tyrod’s game, as long as he continues to make strides in working the middle of the field in the passing game, and is consistent with his ball location and timing in this offense, he could play the whole season. While his play is certainly tied to how strong a hold he has on the starting job, I don’t know if his play has any impact on the team’s plans at the position for the future.

This is shaping up to be one of the better quarterback draft classes in some time. So if the Bills believe they have to land one of them, they will do their level best to make that happen, regardless of who is on the roster now or how Taylor plays.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor glad Dennison was on the sidelines

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2017 – 7:20 pm

All preseason offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was deciding where his game day location would best serve the offense. Leading up to the opener some of Buffalo’s offensive staff was a bit… well injured, for lack of a better description, and not as mobile to serve on the sidelines. So when coach Dennison asked his players where they’d prefer to have him on Sunday, they told him the sideline.

Tyrod Taylor was particularly happy to have him there.

“It was good. It was a decision whether he was going to be on the field or in the booth. I requested that he be on the field, especially with (RBs) coach (Kelly) Skipper being hurt and not being there. Our assistant QB coach was helping with the running backs, so having that communication on the sideline definitely helped and we were able to talk through some things,” Taylor said. “It would’ve been the same over the phone, but that person-to-person interaction on the sideline talking through things went a long way.”

No word on whether Dennison’s location will change when the coaching staff is back to full health. Quarterbacks coach David Culley was Dennison’s line of communication down on the sideline when he was up in the booth. But Taylor liked having his OC there to talk to when he came off the field.

“It was good to have our coordinator down there just to get everyone on the same page,” Taylor said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-8

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2017 – 11:54 am

Kickoff weekend is here! Finally Bills regular season football. Let’s dial it up Bills fans with your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the D get back into the Top 10 or is the talent level too thin in year one of SM and BB?

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: Depth is undoubtedly a concern, particularly at safety and linebacker. But if the Bills can stay relatively healthy, especially on the defensive line, they can flirt with being a top 10 defense. Sean McDermott’s defensive units typically rank high in sacks, run defense and takeaways, all critical elements in defenses that rank in the top 10.

Buffalo’s defensive line will be instrumental in all three of those defensive categories. As long as the front four can stay healthy they can contend for top 10 status.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Predictions on who leads the team in receptions? Dark horse of Charles Clay?

Kyle Yagielski
@DrMrPHD

CB: I don’t think Charles Clay is a dark horse at all. He had 87 targets last season to lead the team and led the team in receptions with 57. Granted that was due in part to the fact that Sammy Watkins played in just eight games, but in Rick Dennison offenses the tight end plays a large role in the passing game. The case will be much the same with Clay this season, especially with all the wide receiver turnover.

So I think Clay is the favorite to lead the team in receptions, with Jordan Matthews as his only real competition.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Shady o/u 100 yards Sunday?

Frank Propis
@Frankpropis

CB: The Jets run front is no joke, even with the trade of Sheldon Richardson. NT Steve McLendon was a nice pickup by New York last year from Pittsburgh. The key will be getting McCoy to the second level on Sunday.

McCoy barely played in the season finale against the Jets, which was kind of a lost game altogether. But in the Week 2 matchup, McCoy average 3.9 yards per carry and finished with 83 total yards from scrimmage.

I think he can do better than that because New York’s linebacking corps is a lot less proven than the group from a season ago. So if you’re asking total yards from scrimmage I say over 100, but over 100 yards rushing, I don’t know. That run front for the Jets is still pretty stout and they’ll be daring the Bills to throw in this game (eight in the box).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

There is talk of “Tyrod not being a fit to Dennison’s system” , why would a coach have a system that does fit current roster? (ex. Rex)

Bryan Watson
@RealBryanWatson

CB: I find it funny how this has become the narrative for Tyrod in this scheme. Both head coach Sean McDermott and OC Rick Dennison have said on the record that Taylor is “a perfect fit” for this offense. Below is the direct quote I got from McDermott way back in March at the NFL combine.

“He absolutely fits what Rick wants to do,” said McDermott in reference to Taylor. “Having said that a lot of players fit what we want to do in our system. It’s a great system. That’s one of the reasons I hired Rick. We look forward to putting pieces together to build this team the right way.”

I think people are forgetting that what we saw offensively in the preseason is not at all what they’re likely to run come the regular season. So until we see that it’s premature at the least to say Tyrod isn’t a fit, especially when his coaches are telling us the exact opposite and with more emphatic language than usual.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the Bills only keeping 5 WR, do you think they have plans for someone like Logan Thomas to be a bigger part of the offense?

Adam Placzek
@iamFlowbee

CB: I do not expect Logan Thomas to be that guy. This is very much a developmental year for him and if he comes on ahead of the expected learning curve, I think he can make some contributions in the passing game in the second half of the season. I think both Charles Clay, as mentioned above, and Nick O’Leary along with Pat DiMarco and LeSean McCoy will be the ones getting extra targets in the passing game knowing Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones and Andre Holmes will be the top three receiving options at the WR position.


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Posted in Inside the Bills