Inside The Bills

Branch knows it’s up to the coaches

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2014 – 1:30 am

Initially it was characterized by head coach Doug Marrone as getting veteran Alan Branch back into the swing of things after being on the non-football injury list. But after only seeing action late in each of the three preseason games, veteran Alan Branch doesn’t know what to make of his standing on Buffalo’s roster.

When asked to assess his performance thus far in training camp he decided to put it in the hands of the men who will ultimately make the call on his role on the team.

“You are going to have to ask coaches that,” he said.

Head coach Doug Marrone was asked by the media point blank if Branch is going to be cut from the roster. His response?

“I can’t stand up here and say that,” Marrone said. “I tell the players that we’re competing for the roster. You never know. You want the player going for it. He’s working for a spot. He’s played well before and I’ll be excited to see the tape. I saw him get a lot of push tonight at times. We’ll look at it and we’ve got some time left.”

Branch, who was re-signed by the club this past offseason, didn’t deny that he’s surprised by his lack of playing time.

“I was pretty surprised, but it was coach’s decision. It has nothing to do with me,” said Branch. “I just have to keep going out there and practicing, doing what I can to try to make the team.”

When asked if he’s worried about making the 53-man roster Branch was professional.

“I mean the concern would be the same if I was on the first squad,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s the way that this league is. It’s all on the coaches.”

Branch has not logged a defensive statistic this preseason in his limited time on the field.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not expected to get compensatory pick

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2014 – 1:24 pm

The NFL typically issues their compensatory picks to the clubs in late March at the owners’ meetings, but the experts out in cyberspace, who have largely cracked the league’s unpublicized formula for awarding compensatory selections in the draft, and accurately predict what teams will get extra picks, don’t see the Bills getting anything additional this spring.

Recently on, compensatory pick prognosticator Jimmy Kempski forecast how the league will award these picks and to which clubs. Based on his projections the Bills will not be awarded any compensatory picks.

One of the main reasons why is a team, first and foremost, must have a net loss of free agents from the previous offseason. Based on past history there are several free agents who do not fall under the “net loss” formula. An example would be restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents who are not tendered by their teams, like David Nelson last year.

So based on those stipulations the Bills broke even on free agents, losing Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart, while signing Alan Branch and Manny Lawson.

Kevin Kolb does not count because he was released by Arizona and not an unrestricted free agent.

The league only awards 32 total compensatory picks a year in the draft. If there has not been enough player movement to warrant the full 32 compensatory picks in that fashion, the rest are awarded as net value picks, usually to teams who lost a free agent that signed for top 10 money at their position.

Such would be the case for the Bills with Andy Levitre, who signed for big money in Tennessee last year. However, with a high rate of player movement last year in free agency these projections indicate that every single compensatory pick this year will be awarded to teams that experienced a net loss in free agents. So teams like Buffalo (with Levitre) and Oakland (with Phillip Wheeler) would not receive a seventh round compensatory as a net value pick.

Their projection list is below with Pittsburgh and Green Bay the only clubs forecast to land picks at the end of the round three, the highest round in which a compensatory selection is given.

3 – Pittsburgh – Mike Wallace
3 – Green Bay – Greg Jennings
4 – San Francisco – Dashon Goldson
4 – Baltimore – Paul Kruger
4 – Detroit – Gosder Cherilus
4 – Baltimore – Dannell Ellerbe
5 – Houston – Connor Barwin
5 – New York Jets – LaRon Landry
5 – Baltimore – Cary Williams
5 – Atlanta – Brent Grimes
5 – Pittsburgh – Keenan Lewis
5 – New York Giants – Martellus Bennett
5 – Baltimore – Ed Reed
5 – Houston – Glover Quin
6 – New York Jets – Mike DeVito
6 – Green Bay – Erik Walden
6 – New York Jets – Dustin Keller
6 – New England – Patrick Chung
6 – Cincinnati – Manny Lawson
6 – St. Louis – Brandon Gibson
6 – New York Jets – Shonn Greene
7 – St. Louis – Bradley Fletcher
7 – Dallas – Mike Jenkins
7 – Cincinnati – Pat Sims
7 – St. Louis – Craig Dahl
7 – St. Louis – Rob Turner
7 – Dallas – Victor Butler
7 – Cincinnati – Bruce Gradkowski
7 – Tampa Bay – Geno Hayes
7 – Atlanta – Will Svitek
7 – Atlanta – Christopher Owens
7 – San Diego – Shaun Phillips

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on Branch contract extension

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2013 – 2:59 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone commented on the contract extension signed by DL Alan Branch Monday. It was clear that Marrone valued the stout run defender for Mike Pettine’s unit.

“I was excited.  Alan has played extremely well for us. He’s brought a lot to our club,” said Marrone. “His snaps have increased quite a bit and the position flexibility increased once Alex Carrington got injured for the year.

“We’ve been able to move him to that five technique spot and he’s made a lot of plays there.  We have the ability to put him at nose. He’s a big body guy.  When you look at our guys up front and you look at the production of Kiko as our middle linebacker, a lot of that production goes because of the guys up front.  They’re taking up two blockers , not letting anyone get on them.  Alan’s done a great job of that.  We’re happy to have him as part of this team moving forward.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Branch gets game ball

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2013 – 8:47 am

Bills DL Alan Branch has been filling in admirably since Alex Carrington left the starting lineup with a season-ending quadriceps tendon tear. His performance on Sunday earned him a game ball award from Pro Football Focus.

In their game review Branch was one of their two positive Bills performances. Here’s what they wrote.

Performances of Note

Spilling Over
Posting his top grade so far this season, Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller put on quite a show for the city’s Northern neighbors. It was tough to find days that weren’t glowing with green grades for Spiller in 2012, but this season that hasn’t been the story. The +2.7 he earned this week just outshines his +2.6 from the Kansas City game a few games back but those two sit as the lonely pair on a sheet dominated by red marks. Seeing him work against Atlanta it’s tough to believe he’d rate anything less than excellent at any point along the way. An impression of his 2013 truth is there to be had, though, and not just in his season grade, but in his numbers as well. His Elusive Rating for this game – built from his seven forced missed tackles on 17 touches and a 6.07 yards after contact figure — was an astounding 249.8 (a measure that crowns a yearly champ with a mark in the neighborhood of 90), but as impressive as it was, his season ER was only pulled up to 30.6; 32nd on the league’s list of runners.

Breakout, Part 2
Alan Branch, playing on a one-year deal with the Bills, has had trouble matching the consistent levels he showed in his 2011 breakout year with Seattle. After turning in a mixed bag in his last season as a Seahawk and seeing his first in Buffalo start on the same pace, you wouldn’t turn heads by suggesting his best was a blip and safely back in the distance. Well, don’t look now but Branch might just be finding his feet again. With a +4.1 grade in Week 10 and a career-best +5.9 this week, he’s posted two of his three best marks since we started watching him in 2008. Against Atlanta this week, he saw 50 snaps for the second time this season and his five run stops kept pace with (or outpaced) the weekly headliners at the position. He simply looked too strong for the Atlanta line to cope with, no matter who he was matched up with; Joe Hawley (3Q 10:33), Peter Konz (3Q 11:57), Lamar Holmes (2Q 13:45), Jeremy Trueblood (3Q 9:37), and Justin Blalock (1Q 14:50) all got tastes as he discarded blockers and disrupted runs all afternoon.

PFF Game Ball
For taking on all comers and winning out, Alan Branch tossed aside the competition for the PFF Game Ball.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills trying to push past disappointment

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2013 – 9:25 am

The Bills have had more than their share of painful losses over the years, but this one is right up there for the players. Monday could be a long day for them.

“It’s tough,” said Branch. “Any game where you work this hard and try to stay in the game, to finish
a team off and you don’t come out with a ‘W’ it definitely hurts.”

Jairus Byrd, who is in his fifth season with Buffalo, put it at the top of his list of disappointing losses.

“This is probably at the top,” said Byrd. “It is at the top because of all that was in front of it this one is at the top.  This is definitely at the top.”



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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-29

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 12:05 pm

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving Bills fans. Here is your latest edition of queries on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris
Long time Bills fan from Sacramento. First, thanks for all your hard work, you and John Murphy are a great team. You guys are my only source for my Bills fix until Sunday. My question is about the D-fence. With the Bills being bad against the run once again, why not put Alan Branch in the middle full time with Dareus. I know we want to change things and be multiple, to keep the offense guessing and confused. But it seems like we are setting the edge much better this season with Manny and company. Just curious on obvious running downs why not keep the bigs in the center.

Jake B

CB: Hopefully you’ve seen that the run defense has improved. A big reason why is because Branch, who has stepped into Alex Carrington’s role as the five-technique (line up opposite outside shoulder of RT) is effectively holding the point of attack on run downs.

At times Dareus has been lined up at end, but that’s been on pass downs at times. With Dareus and Williams working so well off each other inside, it makes more sense to keep Branch at the strong side end position.


2 – Chris

As you watch the Bills games and other NFL games, do you believe the best way to build a team is to put almost all of your salary cap into the offense?  We are built to run right now and put money into the defense (which I am happy about) but if a defensive back touches the receiver- illegal contact, pull a jersey-pass interference, hits too hard – defenseless receiver 15 yards.

I now would have put the money into Andy Levitre or would attempt to draft or gain the best free agent offensive lineman in football and get blue chip receivers, tight ends.  I hope the NFL doesn’t think this arena style football is that great to watch.  It’s irritating to know that it’s this unbalanced for the defense.  The defense isn’t there to stop the offense, just slow them down until the clock runs out.

Thanks – TM

CB: I don’t debate for a second that the rules are slanted toward the offensive side of the ball, but to put the majority of your cap resources into your offense is foolish. Yes, it’s an offensive game, but that’s all the more reason to have a defense with the talent and ability to shut opponents down.

There aren’t too many one-sided teams that have won it all in the NFL. Perfect example is the 2007 Patriots. One of the most dominant offensive teams in NFL history did not win the Super Bowl. That was partly due to the fact that they were facing a team that had the defensive talent to shut them down. In the end the more balanced team won the NFL title that year.


3 – Hey Chris,
What’s up with K Dan Carpenter? Are the Bills happy enough to resign him to a longer contract or will they go with the injured rookie draft pick with the big leg next season?  Are we in for another kicker competition at SJF next summer?


CB: There’s no question that Carpenter has been rock solid for Buffalo’s kicking game. There is essentially no book on Dustin Hopkins at this level. If Carpenter could be re-signed at reasonable money I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him competing with Hopkins at next year’s training camp.


4 – Chris,

Just wondering with the bye week this week and some weaker teams coming up, do the bills look past teams like Atlanta and Jacksonville and start preparing for the patriots or the big rivalry with the dolphins? And now that E.J. is back in the grove of things is he allowed more freedom to change his plays at the line of scrimmage?

Ron G
St. Catharines, On

CB: I think any coach or player would tell you that the minute they look past the opponent they have that week is the time when you lose a game you’re not supposed. The level of importance for each game in a 16-game schedule is so high that no team, coach or player can afford to look past any opponent.


5 – Hey Chris,

I have recently been reading a couple of your responses to fan posts about the possibility of adding a big (or taller) receiver to our WR corps. which brings me to a question. If we need a big receiver why didn’t we keep one of the two that we had in David Nelson or Brandon Kaufmann? Nelson wasn’t a great receiver but had proven to be useful in the red zone & has since proved to be a target for the Jets . Brandon Kaufman was talked about in the preseason to have very soft hands & he also was a taller WR that with some experience could have been put to good use in the red zone & other places.

I know that one of the WR we have now would have had to been let go more than likely & to this point TJ has been pretty inconsistent when it comes to depending on him to make the tough catches (talking prior to the last game of course) so he would have been & still would be my candidate to have let go to keep either of the 2 I have asked about especially seeing as Easley has become a ST ace .

I also know that Stevie has been fighting injury this year so his production hasn’t been that good, but if his numbers were so good at the outside position what was the reason to try him in the slot given the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” question . Because prior to this year when we had Roscoe usually the smaller WR was used in the slot & Goodwin had a very good showing in that position last week . Once again I turn to your expertise to clear up some of my questions & again I thank you for your time & what you do to keep us all informed !!

Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: When it comes to adding a big receiver to the roster I think that is something they are looking to develop rather than acquire via a big investment either in the draft or via free agency. Buffalo has a few “big” receivers on their practice squad and I-R. Kevin Elliott, a player I was impressed with in the spring camps, unfortunately tore his ACL, and is on I-R, but goes 6’3” 205.

Tommy Streeter (6’5” 215) and Cordell Roberson (6’4” 205) are a pair of practice squad receivers, who would add some big time size to the receiving corps.

I’m not expecting Buffalo to heavily invest in a big wideout via the draft after using 2nd and 3rd round picks this past spring.

Perhaps if some of their practice squad prospects do not develop as they hope they could sign a veteran WR with size that’s affordable.

As for Stevie’s production I blame it primarily on the very in flux situation that occurred at QB with the injuries at that position and the learning curve that EJ Manuel traveled until recently.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

More kudos for Bills D-line

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2013 – 10:25 am

The stat crunchers and film reviewers at Pro Football Focus are again giving praise to Buffalo’s defensive line. Though their performance came in a loss at Pittsburgh, PFF was impressed with an across the board effort by the Bills men up front.

Here’s some of what they wrote about the Bills D-line from Sunday’s game.

Defensive Line Dominates
It should be obvious by now, but the highlight of the Bills roster is their defensive line and, while we’ve seen big performances from two of the three starters, this was the most complete performance of the year for Alan Branch (+3.5), Marcell Dareus (+5.6) and Kyle Williams (+4.9) as a trio.

The three combined for a grade of +9.9 against the run, while Dareus did even more damage as a pass rusher.
With a sack and three hurries from 29 pass rushes, he finished the game with a Pass Rushing Productivity Rating of 11.2.

While it was against center Fernando Velasco (-4.4) that he found the most success, both as a pass rusher and against the run, his biggest play came against right tackle, Marcus Gilbert on 3rd-and-7 with 8:48 to go in the third quarter. Beating him to the outside with ease, he was able to swat the ball away from Ben Roethlisberger and force a fumble, with only the quarterback’s quick reaction, and a bit of luck, preventing the turnover.

Up until now Dareus’ play has been much more up and down, but he’s been on an impressive run of form for much of this season, as he puts together his best year so far.

The three highest graded players were Marcell Dareus (+5.6), Kyle Williams (+4.9) and Alan Branch (+3.5)

Another solid day rushing the passer for Jerry Hughes who picked up two sacks and a hurry on 18 pass rushes. That was more than Mario Williams (one hurry on 31 pass rushes) managed.

PFF Game Ball
While it may have been in a losing effort, the level of play from the Bills defensive line was the highlight of the day, with Marcell Dareus proving to be the best of the bunch.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills offseason pickups producing on ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2013 – 1:16 pm

The Bills free agent additions of Alan Branch and Manny Lawson were not headline grabbers nationally. Neither was the trade Buffalo made to acquire Jerry Hughes. But through the first six games all three have been significant contributors for the Bills defense.

That production is getting some attention. ProFootballFocus highlighted the performances of both Branch and Hughes this past week against Cincinnati. Lawson left the game early with a hamstring injury. PFF in reviewing the game praised both Branch and Hughes for their efforts. Here’s their synopsis.

Hughes’ Redemption Continues in Buffalo
After failing to make his impact in Indianapolis, Jerry Hughes has got a second chance in Buffalo and, aside from one performance, he is grasping that opportunity with both hands. Featuring in a career high 76 snaps off the bench, Hughes had an impact as both a pass rusher and run defender, overcoming his early missed tackle on Marvin Jones’ long gain on a reverse. He recorded three pressures as a pass rusher against the Bengals’ tackle pairing, one of the better in the league, while also drawing a holding penalty from Andrew Whitworth on a spin move that would have negated a key third-down conversion for the Bengals had A.J. Green’s left foot landed just infield. The theme with all of Hughes’ pressure was working to the inside of Whitworth and Andre Smith. It can be easy for pass rushers who come in as speed rushers to get too concerned with trying to tear past opposing tackles every play, but Hughes used that speed to set up his inside work this week. Hughes also added a batted pass and three stops in probably the most complete performance of his career to date.
Branch Maximizes his Run Snaps
He may be a fairly one dimensional defender but when he plays that one dimension as well as he did yesterday and the Bills can juggle his snaps as they did to exploit that strength you can always find room on your defense for a player like Alan Branch. Of his 48 defensive snaps Branch was defending the run on 31 of them (64.6%) and responded with five stops against the run, his most since Week 15 of the 2011 season in Chicago. Branch worked on both sides of the line getting the better of every member of the Bengals’ line except for Andrew Whitworth. This is Branch’s second “impact” game as a run defender having matched his +2.0 run defense grade against the Jets in Week 3, if he can provide more consistent displays like this then the Bills will be much tougher to run on.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Depth chart changes

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2013 – 2:00 pm

In the wake of the loss of Alex Carrington there have been a couple of shifts on the Bills depth chart. Here’s a look.

First, Alan Branch is now listed as the starting left defensive end, with Corbin Bryant as his backup. Truthfully I see Branch rotating in to spell Dareus and Kyle Williams more than playing the end position. As coach Marrone indicated Corbin Bryant figures to see the most work in what is now Carrington’s vacant role.

On kick return Marcus Easley is now listed as the official backup to Marquise Goodwin, who is still recovering from a broken hand in Week 1. Easley hasn’t had much of an opportunity to return with all the booming kickoffs the Bills have seen the first three games. In fact Easley has made more of an impact in kickoff coverage turning in big tackles each of the last two weeks.

Finally Jim Leonhard is now listed as the backup punt returner to Leodis McKelvin, a role in which he served last week after McKelvin left with a hamstring injury. Leonhard was a pretty accomplished punt returner in college.

Even if McKelvin is able to play this week, it’s likely that Leonhard gets punt return work as the Bills will probably try not to overextend McKelvin with added special teams duties.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Battle for roles at DT getting tight

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2013 – 8:40 am

Buffalo’s starting defensive line is largely set with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams doing the dirty work in the middle. Behind them on the depth chart a tight battle is brewing between a handful of reserve candidates.

Players like Torell Troup, Jay Ross, Alan Branch, Jarron Gilbert and Corbin Bryant has all seen time inside. Several of them have been rotated in with the first unit as well for an extended look at times during the first two-plus week of training camp. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine admitted that was by design.

“Sometimes we have those guys, you always want to get a look,” Pettine said. “You can sometimes get fooled if they’re going against twos and threes whether it’s your own team or in a preseason game so we like to rotate those guys up. But it’s pretty clear to us that we’re going to have some tough decision to make in that room. You know you’ve built some depth at a position when you look at the math and figure out there are probably some pretty good football players that we’re going to have to part ways with.”

Pettine has said more than once that versatility is the strength of his defensive scheme, with several players asked to know how to effectively play two positions. For defensive tackles however, the versatility isn’t as high a priority.

“Not as much,” said Pettine. “We’d like to have those guys know two positions so it’s either the end and the tackle or the tackle and the nose, but it’s not as critical as it is for the edge guys or the off the ball guys.”

Troup and Branch have fared well when it’s come to neutralizing a double team to let other defenders make plays. Ross, Bryant and Gilbert have been in the offensive backfield more as penetrators. The next two preseason games will likely determine who sticks knowing that most NFL clubs rarely carry more than four DTs.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-3

Posted by Chris Brown on May 3, 2013 – 2:06 pm

Well Bills fans it was a heck of a draft, one that I think will serve the team very well based on their positional needs. Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for your coverage of the NFL Draft this past weekend. But of course I have a question. I’ve been watching video on Jeff Tuel and I can’t for the life of me understand why or how this kid wasn’t drafted…I mean, I’m glad he wasn’t because that allowed Buffalo to pick him up. But this kid can make ALL the throws, throws that a lot of NFL QBs can’t. He has a GREAT arm, he’s really athletic, can thread the needle, throw on the run, and throw touch passes on the run. Just hope he gets a legit shot to compete and takes full advantage of it. What do you think?


CB: There’s no question that he has the physical tools to play in the league. What soured NFL clubs on Tuel was he had trouble with injuries. Personally I thought some of his injuries were related to the poor protection and poor talent around him. He does have a solid arm and as Bills scout Brad Forsyth described, “sneaky athleticism.”

The fact that he lost his starting job as a senior scared off NFL clubs. To me he was a victim of circumstance more than anything else. I’ve got no problem giving a prospect with his tool a chance. He just has to stay healthy.


2 – Hello Chris,

Nice call on the EJ pick in the first round…I have a question about Byrd and his agent…I have heard rumors that they are asking for $9 mil per year…That seems a bit steep…How do you think Buddy Nix would handle a holdout situation?


Jimmy from San Diego

CB: I appreciate the kudos. Thanks. Regarding Byrd, I think your figure is a bit off the mark. Buffalo has already franchised him and that figure is $6.9M. Though his agent is a guy that is very good at getting fair market value, $9M per is exorbitant, especially for a position like safety.

I think it’s going to be interesting to see where this leads between Byrd and the Bills, but as Buddy Nix has said the ball is in Byrd’s court seeing that he has yet to sign his franchise tender.


3 – Chris,

Thank you for you is in depth coverage leading up to the draft.  I really enjoyed listening to you on WGR550.

There may be some merit to the idea of letting Manuel sit behind Kolb for a while as he develops, but there could be additional incentive to starting Kolb in 2013.  Many people seem to be hopeful that Kolb will revitalize his career in Buffalo behind a much better O-line than what he had in Arizona.  If Kolb starts most of the 2013 season and looks impressive, he could end up having very high trade value at the end of the year.  Do you think the Bills staff would take something like that into consideration when making the decision?  Am I thinking too far ahead?


CB: First, thanks for the kind words. All of us at bust our tail to bring you as much as we possibly can on the Bills and the draft during that three-day pick parade. I think your theory has some validity. Much of it however, will hinge on how fast Manuel comes along. If he is quick on the uptake and is playing consistent football in training camp and the preseason he could get the nod.

At the same time even the Bills brass has admitted that Manuel is not a finished product. So unless he’s outstanding in his first camp and preseason I do expect Kolb to start the season under center. Knowing New England is the first opponent it might make Kolb an even more likely starter. He beat the Patriots in New England last season while with the Cards. If Kolb plays well he’ll stay in, but I think you know as well as anybody else it all comes down to winning games.


4 – Chris,

Many thanks for keeping us in tune with what is happening with players/coaches and the draft.  I am interested in the status of the proposed improvements to the Ralph.  Will any be completed prior to the start of this season and if so how much?

Keep up the great work for the fans.

Bryon B.

CB: The initial phase of plans deal mainly with the infrastructure or bones of the stadium. That will begin this fall, but much of it won’t be noticeable to fans attending games in the stadium. The more cosmetic improvements (new scoreboards at east end, west end pavilion) won’t begin until 2014.


5 – Hey Chris,

I was just wondering what your thoughts on the Alan Branch signing.  We have seen the Bills try to do this before,  last year they added Mario Williams to Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Chris Kelsay/Mark Anderson.  That one took a few weeks before it looked like they defensive line we all thought we would have.  Also before the 2008 season the Bills added Marcus Stroud to the D-Line that already had Aaron Shobel, Kyle Williams and Chris Kelsay/Ryan Denney.  That one seemed to never workout and Stroud was gone by 2010.  Why do you think the Bills organization thinks that this one could be the one that works?

Thanks for all you do,
Josh,Syracuse NY


CB: My feeling is with a defense that’s going to be attacking a lot they need a player that can command double team attention and fit well against the run. Marcell Dareus is one example of that. Torell Troup could be that, but is unproven. Alan Branch can line up in that edge defensive tackle position for Buffalo and hold the point effectively.

He might not make a ton of plays in that role, but he’ll allow players like Mario Williams and Kyle Williams and Dareus to make more of them.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jersey numbers for Branch and Dowtin

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2013 – 2:45 pm

Two of the newest additions to the Bills roster have been assigned jersey numbers as the voluntary veteran minicamp gets going on Tuesday afternoon.

DT Alan Branch and LB Marcus Dowtin both have their jersey assignments. Branch will wear 90 while Dowtin, who was just claimed off waivers last week will wear 54.

Buffalo’s voluntary veteran minicamp will run Tuesday through Thursday. We’ll have full coverage here on

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Posted in Inside the Bills

NT Branch offers versatility for Bills front

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2013 – 2:31 pm

With NT Alan Branch now signed by the Bills, defensive coordinator has the kind of front versatility a multiple scheme needs.

In 3-4 looks Branch can man the nose which allows penetrators like Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus to line up at end and make plays.

Branch demands double teams which should free Dareus and Williams up with one on one matchups. Knowing Mario Williams will be drawing attention as well it stands to reason that Buffalo’s D-line will be able to attack in waves knowing Mark Anderson, Torell Troup, Manny Lawson and Alex Carrington will be part of the rotation.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Branch an interesting DT option

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2013 – 12:04 pm

With the news today that free agent DT Alan Branch is visiting it may serve as indication on what defensive coordinator Mike Pettine may have in mind for Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams.

Branch is capable of holding down the nose in 3-4 looks. That would allow the more athletic Dareus and Williams to play the end position much like Haloti Ngata has for Baltimore.

We’ll see how the visit goes.

Posted in Inside the Bills
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