Inside The Bills

WR Jones ready for Jets thanks to Matthews

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2017 – 9:10 am

It would be only natural to expect Bills rookie Zay Jones to be nervous for his first NFL game. While he admits he’ll has some anxious moments leading up to kickoff against the Jets today, Buffalo’s second-round pick will be narrowing his focus to perform consistently. And he has veteran receiver Jordan Matthews to thank.

Jones has spent a lot of time in the film room with Matthews. The veteran has proven to be a valuable resource in terms of opponent preparation.

“Jordan’s a great guy [at] breaking down film,” said Jones. “Awesome guy, just to pick his brain, and just watch him go to work. Dissecting film with Jordan has been a big help for me, it’s made me more comfortable. That extra preparation, is ultimately what’s going to make me, and this team ready to play.”

Jones, who carries a quiet confidence about him, will still have nerves, but he expects them to wear off quickly.

“It will be different, first NFL game, but it’s football,” said Jones. “I’ve been doing this since I was little, I have a great group of guys around me that’ll help prepare me, a great group of coaches, so it’s exciting at the same time. It’s going to be fun, and finally it’s going to be a packed house. It’s going to be a great time, I’m ready to enjoy it.”

 


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Zay hoping to make more plays Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2017 – 12:36 pm

Bills rookie WR Zay Jones is hoping to have more of an impact on the game Thursday against Philadelphia than he did in his preseason debut last week. Jones only got eight snaps in last week’s game, so there was minimal opportunity to produce. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game, so he’s eager to get on the stat sheet.

When asked what he’s looking to get out of the game against the Eagles, he went with the team goal first before his own personal goals.

“A win. A catch under my belt. A little bit more playing time, hopefully, so I can truly experience more of the game,” said Jones. “I got a few reps, but I’m still a rookie. I’m still going through growing pains, with a lot of things I still need to work on. I’m not where I want to be, I’m not perfect, but I know this team is helping bring me along.”


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Steve Smith Sr. addresses Bills WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2017 – 7:14 pm

After Sunday’s practice, former Ravens/Panthers WR Steve Smith Sr. on assignment covering the Bills at camp, took time to address the wide receivers. Needless to say his words had an impact.

“First and foremost, that man’s a legend,” said rookie Zay Jones. “Whenever he’s talking, mouths are closed. He was just giving us some tips, really just encouraging us – future Hall of Famer. It was just really good for a young guy like me to hear.”

Sammy Watkins was more blunt about the subject matter that Smith discussed with them.

“Just the business, just to stay here another day and try to come in every day and make a play,” said Watkins. “The course of just making it a business. The DBs are not our friends. I love (the Bills DBs) to death, but at the end of the day I’ve got to feed my kids and I’ve got a legacy I’m trying to chase. He was just telling us you’re not a bad guy if you’re an a–hole basically. It was a good speech.”


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Dead legs setting in

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

After about a week of camp there’s a condition a lot of players experience. Dead legs.

Even though players are in shape, those who run the most (receivers and defensive backs) and those who grind the most (offensive and defensive linemen) develop a feeling where their legs feel heavy and sluggish, as if they’re just dead weight. Zay Jones was feeling it Tuesday.

“Yeah,” Jones admitted to Buffalobills.com. “Trying to be smart. The coaching staff has done an unbelievable job of putting as schedule in place where we can get our legs back underneath us. Just got to get in the training room and be a true professional and make sure we take care of our bodies.”

Players often get massages and use the cold tub to revitalize the legs. This time of year it’s not uncommon to take two trips to the cold tub per day instead of one.

“Whatever it takes,” Jones said. “We have an unbelievable training staff that caters to us night and day. So fortunate to have that with the Bills and just trying to take care of our bodies and do the smart things and be ready.”


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Zay Jones happy to have NFL regimen to follow

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2017 – 12:05 pm

Bills WR Zay Jones won’t be resting much during his five-plus weeks prior to training camp. As we profiled on Buffalobills.com Tuesday, Jones will be training with his two brothers in L.A. from now until the time camp opens to be ready for his first NFL season. What had Jones really excited however, leaving Buffalo at the close of minicamp was having an NFL training regimen to follow.

“My development and the way I approached training I don’t think will ever stop until I’m done playing this game,” said Jones. “So I’m always looking at ways to get better and increase strength, speed and our strength and conditioning staff here is amazing. They’ve already set up all the programs and stuff like that so I’m excited with it.”


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Zay Jones already enjoying Watkins as teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2017 – 3:37 pm

Bills rookie WR Zay Jones didn’t know what to expect joining a roster with a game breaking player like Sammy Watkins. But Jones has quickly found that his receiving comrade is approachable and very humble despite being enormously gifted.

“That guy is awesome. I love Sammy,” said Jones. “I’m learning a lot from him in such a short period of time. He’s just a good guy. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from guys who have been in the league for a long time and made a name for himself. Sammy is one of the most humble people you could ever meet.”


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Fan Friday 6-2

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2017 – 11:44 am

Last week of OTAs coming up on Monday with mandatory minicamp to follow. The offseason is winding down. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

In OTA’s during the qb drills which backup qb is getting the most time with the 2s and which will get time with the 3s?

Chris soh
@Chrissohpher767

CB: I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been counting reps for the quarterbacks behind Tyrod. Here’s what I’ve witnessed thus far. Early in OTAs, T.J. Yates did not get many reps at all. That’s because he’s had multiple seasons in this offense going back to his time with Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison in Houston.

It was clear early in OTAs that they wanted to get the younger QBs up to speed with the scheme so Nate Peterman and Cardale Jones were rotated through more behind Taylor.

In week two of OTAs, Yates was rotated in as the second QB.

Here’s how team period snaps often went last week.

Taylor – 3 reps
Yates – 3 reps
Jones – 3 reps
Taylor – 3 reps
Peterman – 3 reps
End of team period.

So Taylor would get six snaps, while everyone else got three during each team period. We’ll see if that changes at all this week.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How’s Zay’s knee?

Buffalo Bills NL
@BuffaloBillsNL

CB: We have not received an official update beyond him being week to week. That being said I did see him here at One Bills Drive this week in the hall. He was walking normally without any hitch in his gait, which is a good sign. Now that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to practice this coming week, but it is an indication that he’s made good progress since sustaining the sprained knee in the first week of OTAs.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is Clay’s contract situation? How much $ would @buffalobills have to eat if they cut him & target Barnidge?

Cory Fountain
@coryfountain

CB: Clay is going to make $4.5M in base salary each of the next three years. The prorated portion of his bonus, which impacts the salary cap, is also $4.5M annually, giving him a total cap figure of $9M each of the next three seasons.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Dennison can get Tyrod to see and use the whole field in passing game, especially the oft-neglected middle of the field?

Matt Dermody
@MDermody88

CB: While I don’t debate that using the middle of the field consistently was a deficiency in Tyrod Taylor’s game, I’d encourage you to look at his last two starts from last season. I thought Taylor took a step forward when it came to reading the middle of the field and making plays between the numbers.

Against Cleveland and Miami, even though it was clear that swing passes and screens were part of the game plan designed to get receivers and backs out in space in both games, Taylor still worked the middle of the field.

In the Browns game five of his 17 completions in the game either went to the middle of the field or hit a receiver coming from the middle of the field on a crossing pattern or drag route. His only incompletion to the middle of the field in that game came on a pass under pressure.

Against the Dolphins, Taylor had his first 300-yard passing game. Again swings and screens accounted for a good portion of the completions, but he found Clay, Watkins and Woods for plays that worked the middle of the field, including the 34-yard flea flicker late in the game to Woods.

That’s why I was disappointed to see him not play in the season finale. I wanted to see a third straight game of him using the middle of the field, but he wasn’t given that opportunity.

To answer your question I think he has a chance to see the middle of the field even better this year knowing that Dennison will probably get him out on the move even more than the offensive staff did last year. That will enable him to see the whole field even better than he does from the pocket.

That’s not to say he can’t make plays over the middle from the pocket. His last two starts in 2016 are an indication that he is learning how. But designed rollouts and bootlegs in Dennison’s offense might have him on the edges even more this season.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I briefly posed this a few weeks ago.

I am fascinated by the athleticism and potential of Logan Thomas. At 6’6″ and 250, he have great movement skills and good speed. Have you heard anything about his progress in converting to TE, or possibly even WR?  I know information may be extremely limited, but I could see him being a real sleeper for us.

Thanks for your time..
Have an abundantly blessed evening
Gary
CB: He has been working at tight end, and while he is still learning the nuances of the position, I agree he has rare athleticism for a player his size. Running full speed he made a one-handed catch in the end zone as he was going out of bounds along the left sideline and got his first foot down and dragged the back toe on the other for a good reception.

Even his teammates were wowed by it.

The good thing is he has a strong teaching coach in tight ends coach Rob Boras. It’s evident to me that the staff wants to try to groom that talent.

Does that mean he can help the Bills this season?

That’s hard to say. He’s still very young at the position, but with the right tutoring and commitment on his part I wouldn’t count him out.


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Zay Jones sidelined by injury

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2017 – 11:20 am

The early signs were encouraging from Bills second-round pick Zay Jones. But Jones sustained an injury in Tuesday’s OTA practice and did not participate Wednesday and again today (Thursday).

The Bills have confirmed that Jones sustained a knee injury and is week to week. It has been described as a knee sprain. 


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Fan Friday 5-5

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2017 – 11:45 am

The NFL draft is now in the rear view mirror, and there a GM search underway. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, do u see the Bills possibly reaching out to Eliot Wolf, Scot McCloughan or Louis Riddick about the GM opening?

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: I believe the Bills initially cast out a wide net, but it will probably be whittled down quickly to a handful of candidates whose philosophy on building and sustaining a roster lines up as parallel as possible to that of head coach Sean McDermott.

As for Eliot Wolf, Scot McCloughan and Louis Riddick it’s hard to know what will appeal most to the Pegulas. Knowing they went with a young, energetic and driven head coach in Sean McDermott, could they be looking for a similar type in a GM? Or do they go in the opposite direction and find a roster builder with a ton of experience.

Wolf has that even though he’s just 35-years old.

McCloughan, who also cut his teeth in the Green Bay organization in the personnel department under Wolf’s dad, Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, was just pushed out of the Washington organization after personal problems reportedly surfaced for the second time in his career. I don’t know that he’d be a consideration.
Riddick would appear to be a natural consideration having worked with McDermott before in Philadelphia. He was a scout with the Eagles and rose to the position of Director of Pro Personnel there in the span of two years. They worked together for three years there.

Brandon Beane has already interviewed.

It’s certainly no one’s call but the Pegulas, but a strong football guy would be good so coach McDermott doesn’t get spread too thin between coaching and personnel. Someone that can capably run the college and pro scouting departments.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Well now that they not picking up Sammy 5th yr option, do you think he’s really gonna play hard or no?

Kia
@Bufbillsfan4lif

CB: I think you might be missing the whole point of why the Bills did not pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins. It’s a question of being healthy, not respect for his talent.

I know that coach McDermott made it clear to Watkins in his talks with him that they value him and want him to be a part of this team for the long term, but they can’t risk guaranteeing $13.2M knowing if his injury re-occurs, the one he has yet to fully recover from a year later, that they’re on the hook for that money next year whether he plays or not.

If they didn’t have to make this decision until mid-September, they might have a better idea of what to expect from Watkins health-wise. But he’s not even cleared for football related activities, so there’s no way to know now. It would be a fiscally aggressive risk to put up that kind of money not knowing how fast and how effectively his foot is going to come through his second rehabilitation after surgery.

And if he is healthy and plays all 16 games and has a monster season, you sign him to a big long term deal or the franchise tag is there if necessary and he remains in the fold.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Out of the recent draft picks, who will have the biggest impact this upcoming season?

Cierra Livecchi
@Seeairuhyo

CB: My pick is Zay Jones. I was in Mobile and watched him all week at the Senior Bowl and while he wasn’t the only player who impressed me, what stood out to me was how complete his game seemed to be. I didn’t witness a drop by him all week, his route running was sharp for the most part. The only part of his game that was hard to get a handle on in the practice setting was his blocking.

Interviewing him down there and at the NFL Combine it’s evident to me that he’s got his head on straight. His dad was an NFL player, so his biggest influence is someone who knew what it took to be a professional. It has to give the Bills confidence that Zay will know how to carry himself as a professional too.

Also in terms of opportunity the No. 2 receiver role is going to be up for grabs. Andre Holmes and Philly Brown are probably his stiffest competition. Jones is just so consistent I think he has a real shot at that job and if he lands it I think he has the biggest impact.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will Ragland start? Or will it be Preston B. In the middle with Humber and Alexander on the outside?

korey kennedy
@koreykennedy3

CB: We’re a long way from determining starting roles, primarily because Ragland still isn’t fully cleared to participate in the offseason conditioning field work, let alone football related activities. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks when OTAs start.

Here’s the thing that I believe a lot of people are overlooking. Many simply assume that whoever is not the MLB between Brown and Ragland will be on the bench.

I’d be very surprised if that proves to be the case.

I believe that whoever loses out in the battle for the starting MLB job will be the team’s starting strong side linebacker. Brown played there some in college at Louisville. And Ragland was used as a blitzer at Alabama so he’s been on the edge as well.

From what I’ve heard Alexander will be a jack-of-all-trades linebacker in this defense. His role will be largely determined by the opponent that week, down and distance and game plan. ‘Zo could sub in more on the strong side or the weak side depending on the week.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With that extra 1st rd pk in next yrs draft. Do u feel they will use it as ammo to move up (if needed) to get a QB?

CHRISTian McCaffrey
@BroJackson_

CB: I think we have to pump the brakes on expecting to get a quarterback. First, we have to see what Tyrod does this season.

Second, and probably more important, most of the top quarterbacks in college do not have to declare for the draft. USC’s Sam Darnold, perceived to be the most highly touted, will be a redshirt sophomore next year. He could easily go back to school and come out in 2019.

Rosen will only be a junior, Allen a junior and both of them after two years have started in 19 and 16 games each.

Knowing the perceived best talents could stay in school, I think you focus on what the extra first round pick gives you, which is options. That’s what counts here.

If there are top flight QB prospects in the draft class and you want to move up the board to get one, the Bills should be able to do it.

If they’re not in the class, the Bills will still have the ammo to move up or down the board as they see fit. Having options means power. To have that in round one can help you upgrade your roster in a hurry.

 


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Fan Friday 2-3

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2017 – 11:15 am

Fan Friday has been on a bit of a hiatus of late with Senior Bowl duties last week and the new head coaching announcement earlier last month. But we’re back. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Which position are the Bills most likely to double-dip on the draft? WR? S?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: I think this question is a little premature. The steps this team takes in free agency first will largely determine what positional need could get additional focus in the draft. Do the Bills re-sign two of their four free agent receivers? Do they pick up a safety in free agency like Arizona’s Tony Jefferson? When will Aaron Williams’ decision be finalized?

All of these will factor into Buffalo’s direction in the draft in late April.

That being said I will say that both wide receiver and safety are likely to be addressed in some capacity in the draft and free agency.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills will Tyrod be the QB now that all coaching staff is in place???

Craig McNair
@craigm5408

CB: I think the process has already begun on that front. Bills GM Doug Whaley told Buffalobills.com at the Senior Bowl last week that meetings would begin with the coaching staff once the college and pro personnel departments returned to Buffalo. How long a process that would be to lay out the direction and construction of the roster this offseason was not divulged, but it is underway. He described the meetings that took place this week as preliminary.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills does new WR coach really have any impact on drafting Zay Jones?

@K_Cleetus23

CB: Phil McGeoghan, Buffalo’s new receivers coach, coached East Carolina WR Zay Jones the last two seasons after he helped develop Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry from a rookie to a Pro Bowl caliber receiver as receivers coach with Miami.

What McGeoghan can provide more than anything is intimate knowledge on Jones that you can’t get by watching film. What his work ethic is day in and day out on the practice field. What his family life is like at home. What he’s like as a teammate. What drives him, motivates him. These are all things that NFL college scouting departments work to gather on prospects all year, and the Bills scouting department probably has a lot of that information on Jones already.

McGeoghan offers a knowledgeable sounding board to confirm and validate anything and everything on Jones, who I was impressed with last week at the Senior Bowl.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Is 2017 a rebuild year or a try to make the playoffs year?

Jon Alhart
@JonAlhart

CB: Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from GM Doug Whaley it’s clear that the only thing this team is rebuilding is their philosophy on how to build a perennial contender. It’s clear that the front office didn’t believe the philosophy of the previous coaching regime was one that was designed to contend year in and year out. Sean McDermott’s coaching model is built to do that.

Now does that mean the team will be contending in 2017? I think we have to see how the roster takes shape through the course of the offseason to better ascertain the team’s immediate fortunes.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there a chance Daboll joins McDermott’s staff esp. with the W&M connection?

Vicious Sid
@vicious155

CB: While you are correct that Patriots TEs coach Brian Daboll did coach at William & Mary for one year when Sean McDermott was a player there, from the people I’ve spoken with in New England, Daboll’s intention is to stay put with the Patriots. All indications are he is the heir apparent as the offensive coordinator when Josh McDaniels leaves for his next head coaching job.

For those that don’t know Daboll is also an Orchard Park native, and played his high school ball at St. Francis. With the stability of his situation in New England, I’d expect him to bide his time and move into the OC role there when the time comes.

 


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