Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-30

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2015 – 11:21 am

It’s the bye, but we’re still grinding here at A big 2015 midseason report coming on Monday on, the good and not so good, broken down several different ways. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills any updates on when the defense from last year is going to return?


CB: While I understand your frustration there are some encouraging signs on defense. Run ‘D’ has been top five all season, pass defense has been top 5 in the league since the bad day against the Patriots. Pass rush has to step up and I think it’ll be back to where it was last year. A better pass rush helps their third down ‘D’, which right now is middle of the pack.


2 – Chris,

I know the schedule was addressed a few years ago with Buffalo having to face many teams coming off a bye or Thursday night game.  That is happening again this year.  First was the Pats and not the Giants.  Look at how those games turned out.  Granted, those were also our worst penalty games too.  Between the refs and scheduling, it seems like the NFL is making it very difficult for the Bills to have a fair opportunity to show they can be good.  Can anything be done about this?

Thanks for everything you do.

Very frustrated and loyal fan in Virginia

CB: You’re right that three of Buffalo’s first five opponents came off extra rest and prep time to face the Bills (Pat, Giants, Titans). Even when the Bills have an advantage of the bye this week it’s mitigated by the fact that Miami played Thursday night this week, so they’ve got three extra days to prepare for Buffalo.

The Bills will get extra time to prep for the Patriots coming off the Thursday night game against the Jets.

Believe it or not Buffalo’s situation is a bit more favorable than some other clubs this year in terms of opponents getting extra rest and prep time.

Truthfully with the Thursday night schedule running from Weeks 2 to 15 there are at least 13 teams with at least one game against a team getting extra rest. I don’t get the sense that the NFL sees the extra rest on the back end of a Thursday night game as much of an advantage, since that team is at a disadvantage getting only three days prep time heading into their Thursday night game. They likely see it as a wash.


3- Hi Chris,

It’s hard to get a true perspective on Tyrod’s passing struggles from the TV broadcasts. Is he not finding open receivers quickly enough? Are receivers not open a lot of the time? With our team talent in that area it’s hard to believe we’re being defended that well.


CB: With his last game being the Titans game I can see why you’re concerned about this. I do believe more often than not Buffalo receivers are gaining separation. I think it’s a matter of trust on Taylor’s part as to what he’s seeing.

The biggest hurdle here is Taylor’s inexperience. We have to remember he had 14 game appearances in the regular season before this year and those weren’t even starts. They were largely mop up duty type appearances where he handed off in games that were over with just one start. So I think there are some parts of the game where Taylor is still feeling his way at this level.

So he might just miss someone completely or he might not trust what his read is telling him. It’s the process a quarterback goes through when they’re new.


4 – Chris,
I’m reading where Sammy says, “Give me the Damn Ball”, can u imagine designing a game plan around him with his work history ?? He hasn’t proved he’s durable enough to get the ball 8-10 times a game.
No doubt he’s a fine athlete, can anyone explain why he is injured so much. What are ur thoughts ?

Jim in Florida

CB: I don’t think there’s an easy way to explain his recent injury history, primarily because in college he was never injured. Didn’t miss a practice or a game in his college career. Granted the game is more physical in the NFL, but he’s just had a rough stretch.

He’s clearly more frustrated by the injuries than the fans. All he wants to do is contribute and a competitor like him can’t stand being sidelined when he knows his talents can help the team. Hopefully he’ll be good to go out of the bye and can stay on the field for the last nine weeks.


5 – Chris,

Assuming both are healthy, I would love to see Karlos and Shady in the backfield together. They are both really good in the passing game and both are playmakers. Any chance this happens?

Joe Roberts

Orlando, FL

I wouldn’t rule it out. Knowing how varied Greg Roman likes to be with his formations and pre-snap motion, I think Karlos and McCoy in a split backfield or I-formation is not out of the realm of possibility. If Roman believes there’s an advantage to be had with such a look he won’t hesitate to make use of it.


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Rex: Confident in Taylor return post-bye

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2015 – 7:56 am

The Bills head into a much needed bye week with the main aim of getting healthy with a half dozen regulars still sidelined. Chief among them QB Tyrod Taylor.

Taylor, who is recovering from a sprained MCL suffered in Week 5 at Tennessee, is one of Buffalo’s injured players who should be able to return to face the Dolphins in Week 9.

“I’m confident he’ll be back,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We’ll see where he’s at after we come back from the bye.”

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Marrone: Bye week is time to reload not rest

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2014 – 9:35 am

For the players the bye week is an opportunity to heal up physically and step away from the game for a few days. But the way head coach Doug Marrone sees it he doesn’t want guys turning into couch potatoes. So he had a Navy SEAL come in and address the team Tuesday to impress upon them that while there might not be a game this week it’s not the time to completely detach yourself from what lies ahead.

“It’s not really resting or relaxing. It’s more reloading is what we had a speaker come in and talk to the players about,” said Marrone. “That’s more the mindset; being able to reload and get ready and be prepared. If I go back and I take too much time and I just sit around and relax and not do anything, I won’t be where I need to be as a leader coming back here.”

Marrone, like most coaches, knows when the players come back they can’t waste any time trying to ramp up their focus and intensity the first day they return from their weekend off. That focus has to be back at the level it was before the bye as soon as they walk in the building.

“We’re professionals. We need to make sure that we’re reloading, getting ready to come back and being prepared,” he said. “We want to come back here, and we’ve got a tough task in front of us. We have to be energized. We have to be ready to go. It’s like Thanksgiving for a lot of people. You sit around Thanksgiving and the next day, when you wake up, you don’t feel as motivated. That’s if you choose to sit around all day, but we can’t afford to do that.”

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Bye week times out well for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2014 – 2:26 pm

The Bills bye week has come right in the middle of the season in Week 8. When they come back however, they’ve got two games in a span of five days with Kansas City followed by Miami on the following Thursday night on the road. So the players are making a point to rest up knowing they’ll be right back at it in short order.

“For me just take the load off myself,” said Sammy Watkins of his plans for the bye. “Rest up and be smart and still work out a little bit. A couple of days off can’t hurt you. So for me it’s rest up and get away from football, but also know I’ve got to come back prepared because it’s a short week. We’ve got two games in (less than a week).”

Of course riding high at 5-3 some players are reluctant to take the break even though their bodies are welcoming the rest.

“Anytime you win you’d like to get right back out on the field and go at it again,” said Kyle Orton. “But yeah it’s been a long eight weeks and it’s always a good time at the midpoint to get away from it refreshed and be ready to go for the second half.”

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Bills get division help

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2013 – 4:38 pm

Nothing beats sitting idle as a team and getting help in the division and that’s just what the Bills got on Sunday.

Both the Dolphins and Jets lost Sunday dropping both clubs to 5-6 on the season. That moves Buffalo to within a game of both teams at 4-7 in the AFC East race.

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Another road game vs. team coming off bye

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2013 – 8:51 am

For the second straight week the Bills are facing a team coming off the bye on the road. Buffalo squeaked by the Dolphins last week coming off their bye. Now they’re tasked with doing it against a Saints team that is 4-0 coming off their last four open dates.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly conversation with said it’s often harder to plan for what a team that’s had ups and downs will do coming out of the bye week because they may try some different things. With a team like the Saints, who have been pretty successful on both sides of the ball they might be easier to prepare for. As Marrone sees it their early season success means they’re more likely to keep doing what has worked for them.

“I would think so,” Marrone told “They might look at some of the things that they’re not doing well and look at that, whatever that may be. But usually if they’re winning games and they’re successful you don’t really see that much change because what they’ve been doing has been working.

“Our players are rested we’re ready to go. We know they’re going to be hungry and get ready to get started down there. On the road again, back to back road wins, it’ll be a big accomplishment and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing.”

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Bills record vs. teams off bye

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 9:57 am

The Dolphins are 14-10 in their history after the bye, but even head coach Doug Marrone admits the benefit of rest is a notable one. Miami will be the second team the Bills face in their division this season coming off extra rest. The Jets had three extra days rest and to prepare for the Bills in Week 3 after playing the previous Thursday night. Buffalo’s recent record against teams coming off extra rest has not seen much success.

Since 2010 Buffalo has a record of 1-7 against teams coming off the bye or a previous Thursday night game. So far this season the Bills are 0-2 against teams coming off extra rest (NY Jets, Cincinnati).

The Bills face Miami off the bye today and then New Orleans off their bye next week. Buffalo will additionally face the Jets coming off their bye later this season and Jacksonville coming off extra rest thanks to a Thursday night game the week before.

“We’re going into two straight games now where both teams are coming off byes and both teams are coming off losses,” Marrone told “So we have to do a very good job with what we have. The team that you’re playing is going to be more rested, which is a big thing in this league. But again at the same time we can’t use that as an excuse. We have to go in there and play.”

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Miami first of 2 straight off bye for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 7:35 am

The Dolphins are coming off their bye week to face Buffalo. After dropping two straight games heading into their bye the Bills are expecting a supremely focused Dolphins team. Head coach Doug Marrone and his staff meanwhile have to be leery of potential changes in Miami’s approach on both sides of the ball.

In his weekly appearance on Bills Focus on, Marrone revealed that he and his staff had to create a game plan that was flexible. We asked coach Marrone what to expect from a team that threw the ball almost 70 percent of the time (69.5%) and at times looked as though they had no interest in even trying to run the football.

“When you look at the Dolphins they started off well,” Marrone told “They were 3-0 and then they had the two losses. Now they had a bye week and I think you’ve got to be careful when teams are coming off the bye week. A lot has been said with coach Philbin and the rest of the staff about running the football. Going into the game you’ve got to be prepared for all of those things.

“You’re correct in what you’re saying, but you don’t know if they’re going to change philosophically because who are they? Are they the team that was 3-0, what were they doing there to successful? Then when they lost two they look at themselves and they’re asking why they’ve lost those two.  I’m sure in the bye week they talked about those things so we have to be ready for everything when we play them.”

So what is the best way to prepare?

“I just think whatever you put in you have to be able to adjust,” Marrone said. “A lot of times on the bye coming off you definitely don’t have an advantage being the team like us. We’re going into two straight games now where both teams are coming off byes and both teams are coming off losses. So we have to do a very good job with what we have. You have to be able to adjust as well to what they may do and you can be consistent.”

The Bills play the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 in New Orleans and they have the bye this week.

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NFL scheduling does Bills, Falcons no favors

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2013 – 8:38 am

While we all realize the perfect NFL schedule is almost impossible to achieve, it’s hard to think that a league that is typically ahead of the curve doesn’t realize how much this year’s NFL schedule is slanted against the Bills and Falcons.

To fully lay out all the schedule disadvantaged clubs that we profiled on the home page of, here’s the comprehensive list that we compiled in terms of the number of teams each club has to face coming more than a week of rest either via a Thursday night game the week prior or a bye week for 2013.

Teams that play against 5 teams with extra rest

Teams that play against 4 teams with extra rest

Teams that play against 3 teams with extra rest
Arizona, Carolina, NY Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

Teams that play against 2 teams with extra rest
Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, NY Jets, San Diego

Teams that play one team with extra rest
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Miami, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tennessee, Washington

Teams that play no teams with extra rest
Kansas City, New England and technically New Orleans

(New Orleans plays Seattle off their bye week, but the Saints are coming off a Thursday night game that same week giving Seattle only three more days to prepare than New Orleans instead of a week)

Teams whose bye weeks were nullified or compromised
Buffalo, Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle – Houston and Indy have same bye week then play the following week.

Buffalo’s bye compromised by Atlanta getting 10-day break same week due to Thursday night game.
Same with Seattle prior to their aforementioned meeting with New Orleans.

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Best NFL post-bye records

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2012 – 9:00 am

As we profiled last Friday on here are the best won-loss records in NFL history after the bye, with the Bills near the top of the list.


1. Philadelphia Eagles   19 – 4 .826
2T. Minnesota Vikings     17 – 6 .739
2T. Denver Broncos        17 – 6 .739
4. Baltimore Ravens      11 – 5 .688
5. Dallas Cowboys        16 – 8 .667
6T. Buffalo Bills         15 – 8 .652
6T. Chicago Bears         15 – 8 .652

Buffalo has won five of their last seven post-bye games including last year’s 23-0 shutout win over Washington.

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Fitz: Goals to be reassessed in bye week

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2012 – 10:58 am

The Bills had some lofty goals heading into the 2012 season. A 3-4 start has compromised some of those goals, but being just a game back of the AFC East division leader Ryan Fitzpatrick believes their goals simply need to be readjusted to where they stand now.

“In the NFL nobody knows whats going to happen,” he said. “We go into a season, and you have to continue to adjust and manage your goals, because we want to go undefeated at home, we want to go undefeated in our division, and that’s not going to happen now.  That’s not possible.  We have to reassess where we’re at as a team, and I think the bye week is the perfect opportunity to do that.  Maybe look and evaluate at what we’re doing, set new goals as to how we’re going to get to the playoffs, and go from there.”

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New CBA restricts bye week work

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2012 – 9:04 am

With the new CBA the bye week for NFL players is truly a bye week now.

Most head coaches would try to get two or three practices in before giving the players off for the weekend. Now under the new CBA language coaches can only practice players once during the bye week, which for the Bills will be on Wednesday.

“You’d like to get two or three practices in if you possibly can to work on some things that you haven’t been able to work on, install some things that you’d like to look at and to see some people that you would like to see,” said Gailey. “But with really only one legitimate practice and that being on Wednesday it’s hard to get a lot of those things done. It really is now a bye week and the players get time off. Even the coaches are going to take a couple of days off.”

Buffalo’s one practice this week is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Spiller’s WR role evolving

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2011 – 8:24 am

With C.J. Spiller’s role at wideout continuing this week and possibly beyond, the bye week afforded the coaching staff to possibly come up with some additional plays for the speedy back turned receiver.

“Because we had a bye we’ll have a little more time and he’ll have more time to think about things and how to get him involved,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick of Spiller. “I think just in general with the injuries and still not having guys back, his role is going to increase. I think that was inevitable with him being out there and having a little bit to build on with the catches and the routes that he ran. I think that was going to happen anyway.”

Spiller had a career-high five catches in Buffalo’s Week 6 game against the Giants.

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Defense needs a tweak

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2011 – 4:21 pm

Head coach Chan Gailey has said you don’t want to go crazy changing things with your team during the bye week. That’s why they’re just looking to tweak some things on the defensive side of the ball, not start an overhaul.

“I think we just need to keep fine tuning the things that we’re not doing well,” he said. “I think what we’re doing is good. I think we’re not doing it (executing) very well. We’re playing hard, but we’re not playing better. The key is to go play better. I think that we’re doing some things sometimes that are not very smart on the field, and we just need to play smarter and need to play better and I think we will do that.”

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Bye week bounty?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2011 – 3:20 pm

It takes more than a year of bye weeks to call it a trend, but last season’s bye week proved very, very fruitful for Buffalo’s offense.

After being inconsistent from week to week with their offensive production through the first five games in 2010, the Bills exploded out of the bye week with a 34-point effort at Baltimore as Buffalo’s offense began to take on the identity we see in its full form this season. Buffalo’s offense has been wildly productive so far this season, but could such changes for the better be seen somewhere else with the club?

“I don’t know,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I think that every year I go through a bye it’s different. You hope you’re rested. You hope that they’re mentally sharp and ready to make a run at this thing. The biggest thing is not to go crazy just because it’s an open week and give them too much where they can’t go out there and execute.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was a big part of last year’s offensive explosion coming out of the bye has a lot of faith in Gailey and his coaching staff  in terms of preparing for the next opponent, when there’s an extra week to examine them.

“I think just for Chan and for the staff to be able to sit back and evaluate what we’ve done, strengths and weaknesses, I think that’s the big part of it,” he said. “To give Chan and our guys more time to prepare, more time to look at film and to try to exploit some things. That’s a big deal. And I think you saw that last year and I think you saw that in how well we played in the Baltimore game. I think just giving extra time to evaluate ourselves as well as game plan is the big thing.”

This year it’s Washington in Toronto at the Rogers Centre.

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Bills far from happy with 4-2 mark

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2011 – 9:30 pm

Entering the bye week several players were asked for their assessment of where the team sits and if they’re happy with a 4-2 record. Most were far from satisfied.

“4-2 is not bad, but we want those wins,” said Terrence McGee. “To me it’s still early in the season. We’ve still got 10 games left so there’s nothing about 4-2 to get too happy about.”

“I can’t say I’m happy being 4-2 because we had a game today we could’ve won and been 5-1,” said Nick Barnett. “It’s not the worst record you can have for right now at 4-2. We still have a lot of games ahead of us and a lot of opportunities to win games, 10 of them. So to let this get us out of our groove or our momentum we’re not going to do that. We’ve got some good people in this locker room and we’ll grow from this. Is 4-2 a good place to be going into the bye week? Yeah, but we feel like we could’ve been 5-1.”

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Bills after the bye

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2010 – 8:02 am

Since the bye week was introduced in 1990, the Bills have been one of the better performing teams coming off an idle week.

Buffalo has won four of their last five games coming off the bye, including a win in 2007 over the same team they play Sunday in the Baltimore Ravens (19-14). The Bills have the fifth best post-bye week record in the league since the bye was introduced with an overall record of 14-7.

The Eagles are tops in terms of winning percentage with a 16-4 mark.

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Hoping extra week pays off

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2010 – 2:12 pm

The Bills are hoping the extra time they had during the bye week not only fixed some of their shortcomings, but will also have them all the more prepared for Baltimore this weekend.

“I thought the bye (week) was productive,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “We got those three practices in and then the one (Monday) which was really an extra one, to work on some of the stuff that we thought we needed to work on and to get a head start on the Ravens with some of the different things they do on defense. I think it will help us and hopefully that will show up on Sunday.”

Of course the Bills realize that the Ravens are going to be a bit of an ornery bunch after blowing a 10-point lead late to lose to New England.

“We were able to get some work in before we got a couple days off,” said C.J. Spiller. “Hopefully we took advantage of that, but at the end of the day we’ve still got to go out there on Sunday and play the game. Those guys are going to be ready to go. They’re coming off a tough loss and they’re going to be trying to rebound. We’ve just got to have a great week of preparation and just go out there and perform.”

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Lessons of the bye week

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2010 – 3:42 pm

After three bye week practices, the Bills tried to right a lot of the wrongs that plagued them through the first five games of the season. They’ll be back on the practice field late Monday looking forward to the 11 games they have left to make something of their 2010 season.

“We just have to learn from the mistakes that we made and just continue to work,” said C.J. Spiller. “That’s the only thing you can do. You can’t get down. Once we come off this bye week, we’ve got 11 more games to go and anything can happen in those 11 games. We can be 11-5 or we can continue to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we’ve got a great group of guys that’s going to get this thing turned around and hopefully we’ll see some better results.”

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Fitz focused on here and now

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2010 – 11:50 am

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked for his reaction to Ralph Wilson’s comments to the Associated Press that quarterback would be a top priority entering the upcoming offseason and the draft process.

Fitzpatrick responded with the following.

“I can’t focus on that,” he said. “I’ve got to help this team get wins. We’re not looking at three years down the road in here. We’re looking at Baltimore.”

The players will have three days of practice here during the bye week before getting the weekend off.

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