Texans DE critical of Bills red zone offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2012 – 10:32 pm

The Bills went 0-for-3 in the red zone Sunday in the loss to Houston. Texans DL Antonio Smith apparently has an opinion on defending Buffalo’s offense in the red zone.

“The spread offense, in my opinion, is not that good in the red zone,” said Smith. “It is short things and if you play the run well, then there are not many plays they can run.”

Truthfully the opinion is a bit misguided since the Bills were a top 10 red zone offense coming into the game in terms of touchdown percentage.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

George on meeting President Bush

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2012 – 9:07 pm

Right before the game the country’s 41st President was carted out to midfield for the coin toss. George Bush (1988-1992) was suddenly at midfield flipping the coin. For Bills co-captain George Wilson it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It was incredible,” said Wilson. “I didn’t expect it. To say you’ve met a President is a lifetime memory and a lifetime experience. He was looking at me and smiling at me, and I was smiling back. I got to shake his hand twice. I’ll carry it with me for a long time.”

Wilson made sure to shake his hand and say hello before he was escorted back to his golf cart.

“I said hello, Mr. President, good to see you today,” said Wilson. “That’s a lifetime memory for me.”

Sounds like the Senator handled himself well.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Much of Bills game plan left on shelf

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2012 – 9:06 pm

The Bills had what they felt was an effective game plan for Houston, but it was the Texans’ own plan defensively that eliminated any opportunity for Buffalo’s offense to use much of what they wanted to run.

“We had a lot of stuff that we didn’t get to because of how they were playing us,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “That’s just the way it is with our team and the things that we do. When teams play against us that’s the biggest thing teams try to do is stop the run, stop C.J., stop Fred and make you beat them with the pass. That’s what the Texans came into the game saying and that’s what they did.”

The chief problem was Houston’s use of a regular front seven against Buffalo’s three wide set. The kept their third LB in instead of subbing him out for a nickel corner and dared the Bills to beat them with the pass. Buffalo didn’t execute often enough.

“It’s something we need to evaluate and figure out and have a good plan for and we’ve got to be able to take advantage with our guys on the outside as well,” said Fitzpatrick.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Run ‘D’ turnaround must begin today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2012 – 9:30 am

The Bills run defense has without question been a disappointment through the first seven games this season. The players say they have discovered a new found accountability to one another and intend to carry that over to today’s game against Houston. But if Buffalo wants to stay in a very muddled AFC race their run defense will have to be the most improved part of their performance. Here’s why.

Over the next two games (counting today) they’ll face two opponents that rush more than any other club in the NFL. Houston and New England have more rushing attempts per game this season than anyone else. The Texans average a league-leading 35.4 rushes per game. New England is second with 34.5.

Not surprisingly, both clubs stand first and second in rushing touchdown as well (New England 12, Houston 11).

What’s ironic is Buffalo averages more rushing yards per game (150.3) than both teams (New England 149.6, Houston 140.9). So if the Bills can tighten up their run defense to just a respectable level it figures to significantly impact their fortunes.  And as defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt has said, it starts with the front four.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey senses new found accountability

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2012 – 1:00 pm

Chris Kelsay laid it all out in a riveting bye week commentary in which he said not every defensive player was giving their all on every play in the Tennessee game in Week 7. He promised that players would be shaken down if they were not pulling their weight. Head coach Chan Gailey saw a different team in practice this week as a result.

“I think that they understand accountability to each other better at this point than maybe they ever have,” he said. “We made that point of emphasis. I think they understand that better. Hopefully that does carry over to the games.”

We’ll find out on Sunday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Texans to give kick return opportunities?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2012 – 10:51 am

The Bills lead the league in kick return average (30.8) and face a Texans team that is in the bottom third of the league in kick coverage in Houston (23rd). Part of the problem has been their kicker Shayne Graham, who is struggling to get his kickoffs deep.

Through the Texans’ first seven games, Graham and the Texans are last in the league in touchback percentage (25.6%) which is almost half the league average (50%). Part of the reason the percentage is so low is because they have the second fewest touchbacks in the league (11) and the fourth-most kickoffs (45).

“I don’t think you can all of a sudden say if he’s kicking it two yards deep say it’s got to be out of the end zone,” said Houston head coach Gary Kubiak. “You can do what you can do. He does directional kick pretty good. The thing we’ve noticed he kicks off pretty well early in games and as the game goes on, they’re not as good. So we tried to focus on that trying to keep him focused on some things we think can help him.

“We’re going to have to be smart some of the things we do kicking the ball, too. If you know you can’t kick it out of the endzone then you better know where you’re kicking it and how you’re going to cover, so we’ve got our hands full there. Hopefully we can start to improve that this week.”

Bills head coach Chan Gailey is hopeful Houston’s struggles lead to opportunities for Leodis McKelvin and Brad Smith.

“I am seeing opportunities,” said Gailey. “I don’t want too many kickoff returns. You don’t want to go out there and have a chance for five or six, but the two or three they may kick you hope we get good returns on them to get good field position or points on them which happened in our last game.”

Brad Smith returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown in Buffalo’s last game in Week 7 against the Titans. Houston is last in the league in average drive start allowed giving opponents an average start of their own 26-yard line. Conversely, they’re last in their own average drive start, with a mark of their own 18.5-yard line.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB Tate out for Texans

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 5:26 pm

He was a long shot to begin with, but Texans backup RB Ben Tate is out for Sunday’s game.

Tate has been dealing with a hamstring injury and did not practice at all this week. Tate rotated in often for starter Arian Foster and Houston head coach Gary Kubiak said the rotation will continue with third-stringer Justin Forsett assuming the backup role.

“Justin (Forsett), I just have a ton of confidence in him,” said Kubiak. “There’s just certain guys that come to camp and earn their keep and earn their way on the team and they earn it every day. Boy, he’s really respected by our team, and every time we’ve given him a chance he’s done good stuff. We’ll keep the rotation. He’ll basically take Ben’s (Tate) spot. We’ll continue to rotate between him and (RB) Arian (Foster) and we have a lot of confidence in him.”

Houston also signed Jonathan Grimes to their roster earlier in the week. He was with the Texans during the preseason. Kubiak says he’ll be active, but will play mostly on special teams.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Glenn, Kyle listed as questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 3:08 pm

After Friday’s practice, head coach Chan Gailey said that left tackle Cordy Glenn was good to go and is expected to start, but he’s still listed as questionable along with DT Kyle Williams.

The designation is likely due to the fact that both players were limited in practice throughout the week. Not once did either of them participate fully in practice. But both are considered to have a far greater likelihood of playing than questionable. Both players moved very well in the practice setting and showed no ill effects from their ankle injuries.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Daniels, WR Walter added to Texans report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2012 – 3:22 pm

The Texans added a pair of skill position players to their injury report Thursday.

TE Owen Daniels was limited in practice due to a hamstring injury, while WR Kevin Walter was limited due to illness. Daniels is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards and leads the club in touchdown receptions (4). Walter is third in catches and receiving yards. Here’s the rest of Houston’s injury report.

Did not practice
RB Ben Tate – hamstring
OL Cody White – illness

Limited in practice
NT Shaun Cody – back
LB Bryan Braman – neck
CB Johnathan Joseph – groin
LB Jesse Nading – foot/neck
DE Antonio Smith – ankle

Full practice
NT Earl Mitchell – ankle
SS Quintin Demps – thumb/forearm
WR Lestar Jean – knee
G Ben Jones – illness
FS Shiloh Keo – back
LG Wade Smith – knee
QB T.J. Yates – right elbow

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle, McGee limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2012 – 2:06 pm

Bills DT Kyle Williams and CB Terrence McGee were two limited participants in practice Thursday.

Both were limited on Wednesday as well. Williams has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury since Week 6, but hasn’t missed any playing time. McGee however, is still struggling at times with his surgically repaired knee.

“He was about the same,” said Gailey after practice Thursday on McGee’s level of participation. “He was limited today in practice.”

When asked if McGee might be held out of Sunday’s game at Houston, Gailey held off on making a call.

“I’ll have to make a decision tomorrow,” he said.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Glenn looking good for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2012 – 12:51 pm

Bills starting left tackle Cordy Glenn was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, but was a full participant Thursday making it likely that he starts on Sunday for the first time in three games.

“It went very well,” said Gailey following Thursday’s practice. “He did everything today.”

Glenn was pleased that his ankle responded positively when he woke up Thursday morning after putting it through the paces Wednesday at practice.

“I’m very encouraged by it,” Glenn told Buffalobills.com.

Glenn appears to be returning to the starting lineup just in time knowing Chris Hairston may have to start at right tackle if Erik Pears (hip) is unable to play Sunday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stevie going into Houston confident

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2012 – 9:02 am

Stevie Johnson and the Bills offense felt they finally found some rhythm in their 34-point performance against Tennessee. So as disappointing as the one-point loss was, Johnson and company feel good about making plays on Sunday in Houston.

“I think things will still roll over like they did against Tennessee,” he said. “We came out and we looked good. We moved the ball. We ran the ball well and threw the ball well. I think we match up well against this Texans defense. We’ve just got to control their front four.”

When asked why he feels good about the offense’s chances of having success in the pass game, Johnson made things plain.

“I just think our receivers can beat their DBs, as simple as that,” he said. “We’ve just got to maintain that for four quarters and everything will take care of itself.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Four players limited

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2012 – 4:22 pm

Four Bills players were limited in practice Wednesday, including two on the offensive line.

Starting RT Erik Pears (hip) and left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle) were limited as was DT Kyle Williams (ankle) and CB Terrence McGee (knee). Here’s the rest of Buffalo’s injury report.

Did not practice
DE Mark Anderson (knee)
OL Chad Rinehart (ankle)

Limited in practice
CB Terrence McGee (knee)
DT Kyle Williams (ankle)
RT Erik Pears (hip)
LT Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Full practice
DE Mario Williams (wrist)
C Eric Wood (foot)
LG Andy Levitre (knee)
WR Brad Smith (chest)
DT Marcell Dareus (shoulder)
RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
G Kraig Urbik (ankle)
WR Donald Jones (low back)
DE Chris Kelsay (ankle)

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Every two series working for Fred & C.J.

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2012 – 9:45 am

After rotating in and out of the game every other series earlier this season, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have modified the rotation with good success.

Jackson and Spiller heading into the Arizona game decided to go two straight series each before rotating out for the other back. It’s not ideal for either of them, but it’s proven to work better in terms of getting each of them into the rhythm of the game.

“It’s worked,” said Jackson. “It’s about just finding that groove and getting into it. It’s not always gonna be perfect. But as long as we both can go out there and stay fresh and continue to make plays, we’ll do what we can to make this thing work. And I think that’s what this is about—going out there and getting some production out of both of us, and making this offensive unit go.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills re-focused

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2012 – 8:40 am

The Bills are certainly not happy about their 3-4 record, but coming off their bye week they feel they’re refreshed and re-focused on the nine regular season games that remain.

“I think the mindset is good,” said Kyle Williams. “It’s not easy task in front of us, but I think mentally everybody is sharp and is ready to get to work and to go down to Houston and play a good football game. We’ve just got to hit the ground running.”

The Texans and Patriots are Buffalo’s next two opponents with both games on the road. The players are fully aware that their margin for error is very limited the rest of the way if they want to reach the postseason.

“Definitely got to take it one game at a time, but definitely want to come out and get this win this week,” said Kraig Urbik. “Every game from here on out is pretty important. Sitting at 3-4 we can’t lose too many more games to make the playoffs.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Texans ‘D’ views Bills attack

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2012 – 2:55 pm

Houston’s defense is ranked third overall and are in the top 10 in almost every important statistical category. Coming out of their bye week as well they are not underestimating the Bills offense.

Here’s what Texans FS Danieal Manning thinks of Buffalo’s attack.

“Defensively against us, they’re all over the place,” said Manning. “A lot of motion shifts here and there. They’ve got good athletes, I believe, in my opinion. They have good athletes. Guys are capable of making big plays. We’ve just got to stay focused on the things that we do on defense. They’ve got a lot of formations, a lot of bunches here and there. They use their backs well. They can spread them out. He runs routes like receivers. That’s another thing, matchups that we’re probably going to have a problem and game plan with.”

“Offensively, they choose to play a little different football game than most pro teams play,” said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. “They’re five wide, spread the field, and we saw a bunch of that against Green Bay and saw what that did to us so that’s an issue for us moving forward this week. As far as going against them defensively, the best way we can help our defense is to stay on the field.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Run game battle

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2012 – 12:23 pm

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller had one of their most encouraging dual performances in Buffalo’s last outing against Tennessee. But both of them they’ll have to turn it up another notch to match Houston’s high-powered rushing attack rush for rush.

“They’ve got two great backs in Arian and Tate,” said Fred Jackson. “It’ll be good for us. We know that they want to get their ground game started, and that’s a way to keep us off the field, and likewise.  Between C.J. and I, if we can get the running game going, get some production out of us, we think we can give ourselves a good chance to do some things, too.” 

Jackson is well aware of Houston’s formidable run front. The Texans rank fourth in the league against the run.

“Good defense. Probably one of the best defenses, if not the best defense, we’ll see this year,” said Jackson. “J.J. (Watt) is playing out of his mind right now. It’ll be a good challenge for us, but to get to where we want to be, we gotta play teams like this. We have to go down to their place, which is going to be a tough thing for us to do. We like what we got here, and what we can do. So, it’ll be a good challenge for us, but we look forward to it.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB Tate not expected to go Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2012 – 5:13 pm

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster was on pace earlier this season for close to 440 carries, too high for a back in this day in age in the NFL. They’ve since cut back on his carries, but the guy that’s supposed to take a load of of Foster’s shoulders is dinged up again.

Backup Ben Tate is a talented back, but can’t seem to stay healthy. He missed time earlier this season with a toe injury and now has a hamstring injury that could keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Bills.

“My biggest level of concern with (RB Ben) Tate is just keeping him on the field,” said Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak. “It seems like it’s been one thing after another. If it’s not the toe, the hamstring. This has been going on for a few years. We need him. He’s very important to getting (RB) Arian (Foster) rest, our success as a football team, but yet he’s really struggled to stay on the field. There’s nothing he can do about it. He’s got another hamstring that we’re going to have to monitor and bring him along the right way. He’s going to miss some time here, so you’re not going to see him back all of the sudden in the next day or two. I think he’s going to miss a little time. He’s been working as hard as he can work.”

Houston’s third-string back is Justin Forsett, formerly of the Seahawks.

“I’ll say this and I have a lot of confidence in (RB) Justin (Forsett) so I’m going to go play (RB) Arian (Foster) and Justin just like I would Arian and (RB) Ben (Tate),” said Kubiak. “I’m not going to do anything different right now, but now you’re going from three-deep to two-deep so it’s a concern as we move forward. How much time Ben misses to sit here and have two active running backs on your team with a nine week stretch coming up here, it’s something we have to really take a hard look at.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills