Inside The Bills

Facing Marrone doesn’t register with EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2015 – 11:02 am

Bills QB EJ Manuel is in an opportune situation to exact a bit of revenge on the head coach that benched him last season. Manuel will be making his second straight start in place of an injured Tyrod Taylor. But when it comes to Sunday’s game against the Jaguars where Doug Marrone is an offensive line coach, Manuel is more focused on the Jaguars defense that he’ll be facing.

“Obviously I know coach Marrone and coach (Nathaniel) Hackett who are both on their staff now. I’m not playing against them though, I’m playing against their defense,” said Manuel. “That’s my main focus, preparing for Jacksonville’s defense. The other stuff is kind of an afterthought.”

The media then asked Manuel if he felt he was held back in the previous offensive scheme under the previous coaching regime.

“I was young. I think it wasn’t necessarily what the offense was or anything like that,” he said. “I was young and I had a lot to learn. There’s still more for me to learn. I’m still young. I think a lot of this position is about experience so I can’t say there’s anything about the offense that made me feel limited. I know now once I went through that process and the benching and watching other guys play in my mind I just thought I should be more aggressive. Take more shots and take advantage of the opportunity.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Marrone hired by Jaguars

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 12:02 pm

According to a Florida Times-Union report, the Jacksonville Jaguars have hired former Bills head coach Doug Marrone as an assistant.

That according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

With Marrone reportedly coaching Jacksonville’s offensive line the Bills will be facing their former head coach. Marrone will have the task of preparing his players for his former defensive line, which includes three Pro Bowl players. This fall the Bills will face the Jaguars in London on Oct. 25th.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ryan pledges his loyalty

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 3:04 pm

In the wake of the abrupt departure of former head coach Doug Marrone, the Pegulas more than filled the void with a big fish in the head coaching pool by the name of Rex Ryan, who was introduced in a formal press conference Wednesday. And Ryan wasn’t shy about pledging his loyalty to a club that just had their head coach walk out on them.

“We’re going to give everything we have every snap out there and again, that represents not just ourselves and it represents our community and we’re proud to represent Buffalo and I’m going to earn the same type of and we’re going to earn it…earn that respect that our fans give,” said Ryan. “It’s the most loyal fan base in the National Football League and we recognize that and with that being said, this fan base, the loyalty that they show that this football team deserves a loyal coach. Ok? And deserves loyal players. That’s what we’re going to bring and we will bring it. Nobody’s more loyal than me as a football coach and I can tell you that.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on coaching evaluations

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2014 – 11:51 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone and his staff just finished their exit interviews with all the players on Monday. Soon after the process of evaluating the job turned in by Buffalo’s assistant coaches will commence. Marrone laid out how that process will unfold.

“We’ll all get together and we’ll evaluate it,” said Marrone. “I’ll get all the information and that’s what we’re gathering right now statistically of that nature. There’s a lot that goes into an evaluation for everyone, like I’m sure there is with the evaluation of myself as the head coach. We’ll look at that and those discussions will go with our owner, myself and Doug (Whaley) and then the offensive staff, defensive staff and special teams. Everyone is evaluated from me on down.”

Marrone said that process would take about two weeks time before any decisions on made on the future of anyone on the staff.

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Starter at QB Sunday may have been different

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2014 – 4:53 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone chose to go with Kyle Orton as his starting quarterback in the season finale at New England this past Sunday. In the wake of Orton’s sudden retirement announcement Marrone admitted Monday had he known of Orton’s plans beforehand it would’ve impacted his QB decision for the Patriots game.

“It would’ve impacted, on how to make a decision on who the best player was to play during that week,” Marrone said. “And I would’ve had to put some thought into it if I had known prior to (the last game).”

Marrone said Orton came to his office first thing in the morning to inform him of his decision to end his playing career.

“I was hoping that Kyle would be with us,” said Marrone of looking ahead to 2015.

When asked if it could be a setback for the position Marrone has the following response.

“It could be. I’m not going to sit here and deny that it’s not going to be,” he said. “We just have to see how it works out and what our plan is moving forward.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Players give thumbs up for Marrone

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2014 – 1:19 pm

There is no debating that it was a tumultuous season for the Bills with the extended training camp, preseason, quarterback change, running back injuries and a relocated home game. Finishing with a winning record in spite of those hurdles has Buffalo’s players giving a thumbs up for the job done by head coach Doug Marrone and his staff.

“He’s done a tremendous job with us,” said Fred Jackson. “We faced a lot of adversity that you’re not accustomed to facing in a season with the snow storm, having to relocate for a home game, the changing in owners. A lot of stuff you wouldn’t normally deal with throughout a season and he still kept us in it. We finished with the best record I’ve had since I’ve been here in my nine seasons. I think a lot of that credit needs to go to him and I think it’s well deserved if he does get a lot of it.”

“He’s an outgoing coach,” said Brandon Spikes. “He’s passionate and emotional and a lot of guys feed off of that especially going into the game. He’s kind of laid back through the practice week and lets the coordinators do most of the work. Then he just sits back and critiques everything. Come game day you can see that he’s an emotional coach. He’s emotional and passionate about the game and that’s all it takes in my eyes. He connects with the players and guys love him and play for him.”

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Marrone: Lessons to be learned

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2014 – 9:04 pm

In finishing 9-7 the Bills did not make the playoffs, but head coach Doug Marrone believes a lot of the younger players on the roster came to understand and put into practice how to prepare to win games. Marrone cited it as growing pains for a young NFL player, but feels his team made its way through a lot of those trying situations.

“I think that there was a lot of lessons that we’ll reflect on in the process of the offseason,” said Marrone. “If you don’t learn from them and how hard it is to win each week and how you go to be ready to play each week, the amount of work and prep you need to do, you know coaches, players, everybody involved – if we don’t understand that after this season, then all will be lost. But I think if you do understand it, you know and you learn from it, it’s part of the pains. You hate it, you don’t want to have to go through it, but sometimes you do.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills aware of Pats blocked kick tally

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2014 – 10:39 am

It’s all over their special teams game film so it’s not difficult to see how the Patriots special teams units have been pretty effective when it comes to blocking kicks. Last week was the latest example.

New England’s Vince Wilfork, blocked a potential go-ahead 52-yard field goal attempt by the Jets’ Nick Folk. The block maintained the Patriots’ one-point lead (17-16), which wound up being the final score. They also had a block against the Dolphins. All told New England has four blocked field goals and one blocked punt on the season.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said it’s not hard to see what makes them effective.

“They’ve always done an outstanding job of having those core players,” Marrone said. “Matthew Slater is an example. He’s been to four Pro Bowls and he’s going again this year. All you have to do is turn on the film. High level players that play extremely well and play extremely hard and are very, very sound. I think they’ve always done a good job with those core players and they’ve always been at the top of their game from a special teams standpoint.”

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Marrone on matching Patriots consistency

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2014 – 9:32 am

The Patriots are known as one of the most efficient and consistent clubs in the league. They don’t make many mistakes and rarely beat themselves, especially at home where they have won 16 straight. Bills head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s laid out his approach with the players on how to match the efficiency of the Pats without getting too tight or worried about making a mistake.

Add in the additional issue of putting their dashed playoff goals behind them to play this game and Marrone knows it will be no easy task.

“I think it is a challenge,” he said. “We all have to understand that and how we feel, the level of disappointment and we have to brush that off and get ourselves ready to go and win a football game, which I think is extremely important. It’s a game and we’re competitors by nature and go out there and beat a team that we haven’t beaten that much and two has been a dominant team in the AFC, and get ourselves to go win up there which we haven’t done in a long time.”

As for getting his players mentally prepared to play sound football from start to finish, without being worried about messing up, Marrone said it was addressed.

“We talked to them about that. They’re well aware of that,” he said. “We focus on ourselves and what we have to do to get it done from the standpoint of what’s necessary to win. They’ve done a good job with that for most of the year and we’ll go up there and go play.

“What we need to do is play at our best in all three phases. So if we can go back and challenge ourselves of how we played throughout the year and take our best game that we played as an individual and play with that type of efficiency we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Can’t focus on record at Gillette

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone hasn’t been a part of all of Buffalo’s losses at Gillette where the Bills have been winless since the stadium opened in 2001. But he’s well aware of the team’s lack of success up there, going 0-12 in 12 meetings with the Patriots. While Marrone admits it’s reality, he said history can’t affect how they play this time around on Sunday.

“I don’t know if it’s on the top of the minds of the players,” said Marrone. “I hate bringing it up, but it’s the truth. There’s a time that we have to go out there and we have to challenge and be able to play. We haven’t really played well against them. I know the first time we played them it was tough, but it was the opening game of the season. After the last game, we had three turnovers. You can’t do that and beat this team. He was extremely efficient on all sides of the ball. I’m sure they’ll be ready for us. It’s a division game and that’s what we’re expecting.”

Sunday will be the third time in four seasons that the Bills close out their regular season in New England.

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Fan Friday 12-26

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2014 – 11:43 am

The end goal of the playoffs unfortunately did not come to fruition this season, but the support of the Bills fans never wavered. One more game up in New England this week. Now for your questions from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
I think the reason Buffalo cannot win is because they don’t have a franchise quarterback. The reason they don’t have a franchise quarterback is because of how quickly the head coach and the entire staff get fired. There is no way a quarterback will develop if the system changes continually. There are very good examples of this and I will give one … Peyton Manning.  Peyton Manning managed only two wins his first year yet the management and fan base stuck with him. Why won’t buffalo bills fan base back a quarter back other than Jim Kelly?

Michael from Nebraska

CB: Your points are very valid. This is the value of continuity that I believe team president Russ Brandon was getting at in a radio interview recently. Constant change over the past 15 years (6 head coaches hired, 9 offensive coordinators, 7 defensive coordinators) has unquestionably compromised the development of young talent on the roster because the approach and philosophy of coaches obviously differs.

J.P. Losman may never have been a great quarterback, but having three different offensive coordinators in his five years with the team greatly impacted his improvement as a player. There’s no debating that changing systems requires a period of adjustment for all players. There’s also a period of adjustment for new coaches, who must learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the talent they inherit.

That’s why the dominance of the Patriots in the AFC East has persisted for so long. It’s not only because they’ve been able to enjoy continuity under Bill Belichick, but their success is also the byproduct of a lack of continuity with the rest of the division. The Jets, Dolphins and Bills have all had a good deal of head coaching and coordinator turnover since2000 with New York expected to see more this offseason.

Change can be good for the clubs that choose that course, but the odds are even better that New England will benefit as a result of that change within their division.


2 – Hey Chris,
Everyone seems to be singling out the QB play, but personally I don’t think that’s the main issue right now; it’s just the easiest to blame. When I watch Orton, I see a pocket passer who makes probably about 7 or 8 out of 10 throws to open receivers when he’s protected. The problem is we can’t run the ball, so the defense tees off on him when he drops back to pass and that further exasperates our horrible pass protection.

That’s why we can’t make plays down the field, because there isn’t the time to let the play develop.  Every time I see Orton try to wait for a receiver to come open down the field he has to throw it early, and he’s usually still taking a pretty good hit, so it’s not like he’s throwing it earlier than he has to. Also our receivers have struggled to get open quite a bit this year; I imagine a running game would help with play action, which would help our receivers and O-line.

People seem to forget the super bowl quickly, as great as Peyton Manning is, even he couldn’t win without a running game and pass protection.  The plan by this regime was originally to be a dominate run team that plays defense.  And I think Orton is a good enough QB to execute that.  Just look at his stats after 9 games.  To me it shows that he’s capable of passing for around 25 td’s, 12-14 int’s, and around 4,000 yards.  If we can run the ball and play defense that is good enough to win.  With improved o-line play he might even be able to do better than that.

CB: I don’t disagree with some of the points you make here. I do think however, there have been instances where with time to throw, Orton has simple been inaccurate. Against the Raiders there were two plays on the same drive where Orton missed Hogan running an underneath checkdown route when he stepped up in the pocket. He also missed Watkins on a deep out route with clear separation when he was not under duress.

Obviously all quarterbacks miss throws, but his misses are magnified because the margin for error for this offense is smaller than most. That’s because, as you point out, the run game has fallen on hard times this season. If Buffalo still had the number two rushing offense in the league this season, as they had last year, I believe the Bills would be a playoff team right now.

Unfortunately balance has been sorely absent in Buffalo’s offense more than anything else. The last time the Bills had true balance in their offense was against the Jets in Detroit when they won 38-3. Even when they attempted to have balance in Week 15 against Green Bay, though there wasn’t a great deal of production they were still effective enough to get a win with their strong defense.

When the Bills don’t have balance on offense they do run into a lot of the problems you mention. And since those other elements of their offense are just average, when they’re depended upon to solve the offensive problems, they usually come up short on that side of the ball. And that leads to a lack of points and unless you’re close to averaging 23-24 points per game it’s unlikely you’re going to win more than you lose in the NFL.


3 – Chris,
When the Bills had to play New York Jets in Detroit and free tickets were given out, is the lost in revenue be distributed or totally absorbed by one or two teams?

C.J. Wong

CB: The Bills, along with most other NFL clubs, has what’s called business interruption insurance. That covers the cost of any financial or revenue losses incurred by having to relocate the Week 12 home game against the Jets to Detroit.

The split of the gate revenue lost for that home game will likely remain the same (60-40). How insurance will determine the revenue lost will likely be based on the number of tickets sold leading up to the game along with a few other estimated variables.


4 – Chris,

Regarding the college draft for the Bills organization, how is the player evaluated? Who makes the final decision on the draft? The Bills has to be congratulated for great finds like Kiko Alonso and Preston
Brown. The skill of Marcell Dareus and Sammy Watkins is public knowledge before the draft. How can we avoid the annual blunders, namely T.J. Graham in 2012, E.J. Manuel in 2013 and Cyrus Kouandjio in 2014? E.J. has great disposition. His shortcoming in precision, judgment and often exposes his receivers for big hit is worrisome. I wish him nothing but the best.



CB: Concerning the college draft GM Doug Whaley makes the final call on a draft choice.

Avoiding draft misses like Graham can’t be completely avoided. There are simply too many variables to successfully navigate a team clear of such picks.

Far beyond, height, weight, speed, character and on field disposition are things that no one can truly measure like how a college player’s game will translate to the NFL.

A perfect example is former Bills WR Josh Reed. At LSU Reed AVERAGED 145 receiving yards a game in an era of college football that hadn’t quite exploded into a wide open spread game with inflated numbers. He was the Biletnikoff winner (award for nation’s best college WR) and when the Bills drafted him in round two back in 2002 he was considered one of the steals of the draft.

We all know how that turned out.

Statistical studies have shown that if a team can hit on 40 percent of their draft choices they are doing very, very well. And most NFL clubs don’t even reach that success rate.

I also think it’s premature to call EJ Manuel or Cyrus Kouandjio draft blunders. High draft choices admittedly come with high expectations, right or wrong, but patience with such talent can often be rewarded.


5 – Hi Chris,

I have a question with regards to offensive creativity.  I feel that the Bills offense is incredibly bland when looking at other teams.  Obviously we will never be the Patriots but when you watch them they go five wide and other times put Edelman in motion all over to create matchups and get separation.  Sammy stays in one spot every time.  We also currently have NO play action.

I feel Orton needs to get under center and create some play action or something – we’re TERRIBLE running the ball out of shotgun.  I understand the slower tempo but where is the imagination and slant routes and deep middle crosses??

I feel like I’m watching Dick Jauron’s offense and our players are so much better now it’s just so frustrating.  I’m also interested in your take on our offensive line coach who no one talks about.  Our O line is regressing due to scheme and technique and I thought this was a questionable hire initially and I think we would do well with some new blood there.

It still is beyond me that we can have a kickoff specialist who can’t kick the ball out of the end zone in DENVER and we leave Mike Williams off roster and have no five wide formations.  Count me in as one who thinks Marrone’s offense is better suited for college than the pros.


Chris P.

CB: It’s my belief that a lot of the limitations we’ve seen in terms of play calling are rooted in what the coaching staff believes, or doesn’t believe, the unit is capable of executing on a consistent basis. With the struggles of the run game this season to execute effectively, the balance of the offense which is designed to play off a productive run game have been largely compromised as mentioned above.

You can’t have play action if you have a run game that is not producing. If a defense can stop your run game with seven defenders, play action doesn’t draw that safety up into the box to stop the run and leave the secondary with one fewer defender.

I respect the frustration, but with a young receiving corps with no one with more than a couple of NFL seasons under their belt I think the staff is hesitant to expand the scope of the offense for fear of sacrificing what consistency they believe they have.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone called Hughes after Pro Bowlers named

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2014 – 2:25 pm

For the second straight year the Bills will have three defensive linemen going to the Pro Bowl, this year in Glendale, Arizona where the game will be played. And for the second straight year Jerry Hughes, who is a half sack away from back-to-back double digit sack seasons is the odd man out. It prompted head coach Doug Marrone to give Hughes a call after the Pro Bowl rosters were announced Tuesday.

“Obviously it’s well deserved,” said Marrone of his three defensive linemen who earned an AFC Pro Bowl nod. “People all along have thought a lot of our defensive line and we’ve got four very good players. Anytime you have multiple players at one position I think that’s a testament to just how good those guys because it doesn’t happen that often. When you get three that’s a lot.

“But one of the things I did last night when everything came out, I congratulated the players who made it, but I also called Jerry Hughes. Jerry has had an outstanding year, he really has. I think one of the things about this game is it is a team game. Guys make (the Pro Bowl), but there are a lot of other people involved that don’t get the credit in that way, but they can share in knowing they were a part of it even though individually they didn’t get there.”

Hughes was touched by his head coach’s gesture in calling him.

“It was huge,” Hughes said. “Just to turn my phone over and see it was coach Marrone and offering love and support. That’s what you want your head coach to do. It was a great gesture.”

Hughes said he has not yet spoken to his Pro Bowl teammates, but intends to head out to Arizona Pro Bowl week to spend some time with his line mates.

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Dareus update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2014 – 2:01 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury suffered last Sunday. Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on Dareus’ outlook for Sunday’s game at New England.

When asked about whether Dareus would be able to play this weekend Marrone said its a wait and see.

“We’ll just keep progressing with it through the week,” said Marrone. “I think it’ll go all the way to the end (of the week).”

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Why Marrone went Orton over EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2014 – 5:21 pm

With Sunday’s game not having any playoff implications for either the Bills or Patriots, a good number of Bills fans were hoping to see EJ Manuel get a start at quarterback in the season finale. Head coach Doug Marrone chose to stick with Kyle Orton and explained why.

“The game means a lot to me. We’re going to play the players that we feel give us the best chance to win,” said Marrone. “That’s just the way that I’m wired and that’s my responsibility to the team. We all have a responsibility to each other and I have to make those decisions each week. So again we’re going to play the players who give us the best chance to win on Sunday.”

Marrone admitted that Orton has not been perfect during his 11 starts for the Bills, but said there are some key areas where Orton helps the team more.

“Kyle has gone in there and it’s been tough,” Marrone said. “There have been times when he’s done an outstanding job and he’s done a good job managing and a good job of being a leader for things that need to be done off the field as well as on the field during practice. Those things are going to help EJ in the long run. Right now we still feel that (Orton) gives us the best chance to win in terms of efficiency, control, things of that nature than EJ or Jeff or any other quarterback that we have.”


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Marrone asks for best from starting O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2014 – 5:17 pm

The run game production in 2014 has been in stark contrast to the second-ranked run game they had in 2013, and head coach Doug Marrone, who has spent his fair share of practice time with the linemen in practices this season, met with the five starters and issued a challenge to them.

Marrone outlined what he discussed with his five starting linemen Tuesday.

“I think it’s been inconsistent and I went and I talked to the five linemen that have been playing,” said Marrone. “I went in there and said we are what we put on tape. We did not play well (last Sunday) and during the year we’ve been inconsistent. That’s what I told those guys in my experience being around that group for a long period of time in that position.

“It’s one of the few positions where you’re judged as poorly as the worst player plays. In other words, four guys plays great and one guy doesn’t play well your overall performance is going to be judged on that. There are other things that get into it running backs, tight ends, receivers on the perimeter blocking, but make no mistake about it that group has been inconsistent. I told them that’s on tape and we can’t deny that. But there have been times where each of them have played well during the course of the year and our challenge, and we’re in this thing together, is that come Sunday we’re going to need the best performance of the year out of all five of you. And if you do that we’ll have an opportunity to win the game. That’s what I told those five guys today and I met with those five guys collectively.”

The Bills are coming off a game in which they had just 13 rushing yards on 13 carries.

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Special teams edge tilts heavily toward Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2014 – 2:30 pm

More often than not the Bills have won the special teams battle in their games this season. On paper Sunday’s game might present the most lopsided matchup of special teams for Buffalo this year.

Oakland ranks last in the league in opponent average drive start at better than an opponent’s own 33-yard line. For their offense the situation is no better. Their average drive start on offense ranks ranks last in the league as well at less than their own 24-yard line.

Part of that has little to do with special teams. Oakland has the sixth-most giveaways this season with a total of 27. That combined with just 11 takeaways gives the Raiders the worst turnover differential in the NFL at minus-16. Bills head coach Doug Marrone addressed the Raiders’ special teams in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment presented by Tim Horton’s on

“A lot of it is with the turnovers,” said Bills head coach Doug Marrone of Oakland’s field position issues. “That’s the first thing that you look at. The second part is the opportunities. They have 30 more punts than we have this year. When you give teams in the NFL that many opportunities someone is going to take advantage of it.”

And take advantage they have. Opponents are averaging almost 12 yards a return on Oakland punts making the Raiders the second-worst punt coverage unit in football. It explains why the Raiders have given up nine punt returns of 20 yards or more, which is the most in the NFL this season.

Raider opponents also have the highest collective kick return average in the league at a fat 31.9 average per return. A little more than 94 percent of the time Oakland opponents return a kickoff for more than 20 yards, more than 25 percent about the league average.

This despite the fact that the Raiders have the seventh-best touchback percentage in the league (62.2%) with veteran kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

Perhaps most surprising is the unit is coached by former Bills special teams coach Bobby April, who had some of the best special teams units in football during his time coaching in Buffalo (2004-2009).

Suffice to say that Buffalo return man Marcus Thigpen is likely to have his share of opportunities today.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-19

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2014 – 11:03 am

There’s a lot on the line this week for the Bills. Fun having games that mean something here in December. Try to keep from biting your nails down to the nub Bills fans! Merry Christmas! On to your questions now from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –  @ChrisBrownBills

How’s the raiders run D stack up against a possible run game?


CB: We’ll be addressing that in our weekly Scouting Report on late today (Friday), but Oakland has struggled to stop the run. They give up 125 rushing yards to their opponents per game. Now that number is a bit skewed, knowing that a good number of their opponents have been up on the scoreboard on the Raiders, and run the ball a lot in the second half to shorten the game and kill clock.

However, they’re a respectable 12th in yards per carry average allowed (4.0). Still it’s worth mentioning that there is no other team in the league whose opponents choose to run on them more than the Raiders (48% of plays overall), so I would expect Buffalo to lean on their run game in this matchup.

Furthermore I think the Bills run game will have a good measure of success against the Raiders, especially after seeing the offense commit to the run game last week with 33 carries against the Packers in a tight game last week. Their 33 carries was the most since the Week 2 win over Miami.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the plan moving forward for the QB situation? Sticking with Orton for multiple years or EJ or free agency?


CB: I think the only thing that we can say at this point is that EJ will be part of the quarterback equation in 2015. Orton has a player option for next season, so that is his call to make, not the team’s. Beyond that I believe everything will be evaluated at season’s end by the personnel department and the coaches. Then a course of action will be laid out with their options prioritized. I know that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but I’m not going to pretend to know the plan when one has yet to be formulated.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chances Jim Schwartz is back?


CB: I think it will be predicated on how many job openings there are for head coaching positions at season’s end. Typically there are about a half dozen every offseason. Buffalo’s defense with their fourth new coordinator and fourth new scheme under Schwartz is rivaling some of the best defensive units in team history. They’re currently in the top five in six major defensive categories (Total ‘D’, pass ‘D’, sacks, 3rd down ‘D’, points allowed, takeaways).

Long story short, if there are six NFL head coach openings, I’d expect Schwartz to be a candidate for about half of them due to his long resume of defensive success, and his five years of head coaching experience at the NFL level.

4 –
Hey Chris,

Was just wondering what it takes to get in touch with Goodell or someone in the NFL look at the refs actions ? Can & will Marrone step up & air these differences ? The Denver game & others this year have had some really questionable calls & actions in game.

CB: I don’t disagree with your disappointment on some of the calls this season, the Denver game in particular. I think in many ways it’s the judgment calls that create the most controversy, but as far as having questionable calls addressed, each NFL team can send in plays to the league’s officiating department to contest them or ask for further explanation or clarification.

Doug Marrone does this on a weekly basis. Unfortunately he and every other coach in the league is not permitted to publicize the results of those league reviews of questionable calls in the days following when the game was played. Really a team doesn’t get much more than an apology of, ‘We’re sorry, we got that one wrong.’

If the officiating department rules that the official who made the call was incorrect in his ruling on the field, they’re graded accordingly.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Rules? Why was the Manziel Fumble/Inc. not ruled Intentional Grounding? Seems as if it wasn’t a fumble, then it was IG.


CB: It was my opinion that it was fumble. Manziel would’ve been protected under the old ‘Tuck Rule’ if it was still in existence, but since it’s not that was a fumble play as I saw it. He double clutched, but in no way was trying to throw the ball. The officials as you know ruled it an incomplete pass. I think the reason they could not rule intentional grounding was because first and foremost Manziel was outside the tackle box. When that happens an intentional grounding call is off the table.

Even if he was in the pocket the direction of the pass could not be ascertained since it essentially bounced off of Kyle Williams and into the end zone. Had the “pass” (ahem… fumble) traveled far enough to determined its direction/target then perhaps the official would’ve been able to make a judgment call on intentional grounding – again had he still been inside the tackle box. That however, was not the case on that play.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spiller update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2014 – 8:31 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on C.J. Spiller as he has not yet been added to the active roster.

“I think he looks good. He really does,” said Marrone. “It’s just a matter of waiting until the end of the week and making a move there. The only concern I have is – it’s not really being in shape, but to be able to play and run plays in and out, in and out, in and out and to make sure his conditioning is right at that level. It seems to be okay. I think it will just get better. I know he looks explosive. He’s moving well.”

A roster decision on Spiller is likely to come later today (Friday).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Thigpen update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2014 – 2:35 pm






Buffalo’s primary punt returner was added to the injury report Thursday with a foot injury.

Head coach Doug Marrone said Thigpen experienced some swelling in his foot Thursday and could only practice on a limited basis. It’s not expected to impact his availability for Sunday’s game.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Marcus Thigpen WR Foot LP
Dan Carpenter K Right Groin LP
Jarius Wynn DE Knee LP
Chris Gragg TE Knee LP
Da’Norris Searcy S Hamstring LP
Stephon Gilmore CB Shoulder LP
Duke Williams S Concussion LP
Boobie Dixon RB Chest FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brandon: Marrone has changed culture

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2014 – 9:40 am

He made comments earlier this week at the Monday QB club luncheon, and on Wednesday morning Bills team president Russ Brandon reiterated his conviction that head coach Doug Marrone has effectively changed the culture of the team.

Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Brandon reinforced his commentary from earlier in the week that Marrone has the team on the right path for sustained success.

“Culture is a major thing and holding each other accountable and coach Marrone has done an incredible job over this past year,” said Brandon on the Howard Simon show Wednesday morning. “I think you need to look and reflect on some of the things that happened over this past year, which are major game changers.

“We had the death of an owner in March, a team in transition for the entire year from an ownership standpoint. We also, which gets lost in the shuffle, we had a major renovation of the stadium and our team was displaced for four months in OTAs and minicamps. We had a prolonged training camp because of the renovations. We had the sale of the franchise during the season, which is unprecedented, and we had a historic snowstorm where the team was displaced.

“Coach Marrone has done an unbelievable job of leading this franchise, keeping everyone together and holding people accountable. To be in the position we are today is a credit to him.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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