Inside The Bills

It sounds like Fitz time in NY with Jets

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2015 – 1:35 pm

Jets QB Geno Smith was apparently the victim of a sucker punch in his own locker room and the injuries he sustained could keep him out of the lineup for 10 weeks.

That according to ESPN New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini.

If the timetable for Smith being sidelined is accurate, former Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is the likely starter for New York in Week 1. The Jets host the Browns in Week 1.

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Geno calls his play “atrocious” vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2014 – 9:16 pm

Jets QB Geno Smith had a first quarter he hopes to soon forget Sunday against the Bills. He threw three interceptions on three consecutive possessions in the first quarter, and soon after found a seat on the bench as Jets head coach Rex Ryan turned to Michael Vick to replace him. Smith to his credit criticized his own play only.

“We didn’t execute,” said Smith. “We didn’t execute again. (When) I say we, I’m talking about myself because it was just atrocious, the way that I started out. I never expected to start a game out like that. I’ve got to make sure that I get better from that and don’t allow things like that to happen (and) put ourselves in those types of positions like that.

“It’s very surprising. Hats off to the Buffalo Bills. They had a good game plan, but I think we had a good one also. I didn’t do half as good a job as I’ve done in previous games. I really hurt us.”

Geno Smith now in nine quarters of play against the Bills in his career has thrown eight interceptions. His passer rating in each of the last two games against Buffalo is 10.1 and 0.

When asked  if he is concerned about losing his starting QB job for the Jets this was his response.

I’m just worried about what I need to do to get better from (Sunday),” he said. “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got work cut out for myself. It’s something that I believe that I can get turned around.”

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Bills pass pro better of late vs. Jets

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2013 – 1:02 pm

The Jets have been known as a dominant defense under head coach Rex Ryan. Over the last couple of seasons they have not been known as a defense that racks up sacks.

In 2011 New York ranked 17th in sacks with 35 and then last season slipped all the way to 25th managing just 30. More important for today’s matchup is the fact that the Bills did not surrender a single sack to the Jets in both meetings last season.

Part of that was due to Buffalo’s quick release passing game, but the Bills new offensive scheme has been emphasizing getting the ball out quick with EJ Manuel too. He’s been sacked just once in the first two games. Geno Smith meanwhile has been taken down nine times in two games this season.

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Previous QB play has dulled Bills-Jets

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2013 – 11:56 am

With the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2013 draft squaring off today at MetLife Stadium it hopefully brings about improved quarterback play between the two division rivals. For the past four seasons, subpar quarterback play has compromised the twice a year AFC East matchup.

Since 2009 New York quarterbacks have completed just 54 percent of their passes against the Bills with 14 TDs and 11 INTs. The collective passer rating over that span? A pedestrian 75.

Unfortunately for the Bills it’s been even worse. Bills QBs managed just a 51 percent completion percentage with 11 TDs and 11 INTs. The passer rating was just 65.3.

Geno Smith and EJ Manuel could provide a glimpse today on where this division rivalry is headed.

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Wood: Our ‘D’ readied us for Jets ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2013 – 10:44 am

As we profiled on the home page of this morning, both EJ Manuel and Geno Smith might be seeing more familiar defensive looks pre-snap on Sunday than they have seen to this point from an opponent in their young careers because of the similarities between their own team’s defense and that of their opponent this week in the Bills-Jets matchup. Bills center Eric Wood also found it helpful when it came to putting together the line call assignments.

“Yeah absolutely,” Wood said. “We feel it’s an advantage that we’ve seen this all summer. There are some differences, but some of the looks are the same and some of them are tough to prepare for so having seen these all summer has made some of the assignment installation easier.”

We’ll see on Sunday if that leads to more effective execution and faster tempo for the Bills with what is anticipated to be improved pre-snap recognition.

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Gannon on EJ and Geno

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2013 – 10:23 am

CBS NFL color analyst Rich Gannon will be doing Sunday’s Bills-Jets broadcast with veteran play-by-play man Marv Albert. Gannon sounds like he’s a bit higher on Bills QB EJ Manuel than he is on Jets QB Geno Smith.

Here’s what Gannon had to say about Manuel.

“Last year we got spoiled with some of the young rookie quarterbacks coming in and playing so well – RGIII, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck,” said Gannon. “E.J. Manuel has handled himself well and in a difficult situation – Week 1 against the Patriots and in a tough one against Carolina last week, but they found a way to pull it out.

“They’ve been patient with him in terms of the game plan. They’ve tried to scale it down and really focus in on things he does well. He is a guy that can make every throw and is a terror when he runs the ball because he’s a lot faster than his frame would indicate. He’s off to a terrific start. This is what they need in Buffalo – production and consistency at the quarterback position. He can handle the role of being the face of the franchise, which is amazing.”

As for Smith, Gannon feels Smith is not as NFL ready as Manuel.

“Is he really ready to play right now? The answer is no, but necessary with the Sanchez situation,” he said. “He has his weaknesses and makes some poor throws, but he’s very athletic and he gives the Jets a chance to win. You have to take the good with the bad with some of these young players. He has some play-making ability. He is mobile and going to force defenses to account for his duel threat capabilities with his ability to run, particularly out on the edge. But, he clearly has a ways to go to learn a very complicated system that Marty Mornhinweg is going to run in New York.”

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Geno not bitter on Bills passing on him

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2013 – 9:14 am

Jets QB Geno Smith was passed on in round one by almost every team in the NFL including the Bills before he was taken in round two by New York. But Smith insists he won’t be out for pay back on Sunday against Buffalo.

“No, not any more than any other team. It’s not about revenge,” said Smith. “That’s definitely not going to be on my mind this week or in the game. I feel that’s a distraction and that can only take away and be hurtful. I think it would be selfish for me to go out there and play for those reasons. I want to go out there and get a win for this organization and my teammates. We’re all in this thing together. So it’s never about me or any personal issues or anything that I have on my heart. It’s about us all as a team and collectively going out there and playing ball.”

Doug Marrone had a 3-0 record against Smith facing him in college.

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Geno remembers Bills pre-draft sitdown

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2013 – 9:09 am

Back in the pre-draft process the Bills were doing their due diligence in evaluating and spending time with quarterback prospects in the 2013 draft class. EJ Manuel was a player Buffalo put through a private workout, but so was Geno Smith in the weeks leading up to the draft. Geno Smith remembers the workout and the meeting well.

“It was good,” said Smith of his meeting with Bills head coach Doug Marrone. “From my time with him you could tell he’s a hard-nosed coach. He grew up in New York City in the Bronx and you can tell he’s one of those guys who is a good coach. I have a few friends who played for him at Syracuse and they all loved him. I think he’s a good coach and I look forward the matchup this weekend.”

“I’ll tell you what having competed against him in college and then having the ability to work him out and spend some time with him, I had a great appreciation for him then with what was asked of him and what he did and what
he had to do,” said Marrone. “When I look at him now I see a player that’s developing. I said before that we made a decision to go with EJ. We thought that was best for our organization. But I thought that there were quarterbacks out there that will
win in this league. Geno Smith is developing and he’s doing a nice job there he really is when you see what they’re asking him to do.”

Facing Smith in the Big East when he was coaching at Syracuse, Marrone had a 3-0 record against the Jets QB.

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EJ off to good start on completions

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2013 – 11:40 am

While there is no debating that a majority of EJ Manuel’s completions have been of the shorter variety, it doesn’t dismiss his ability to make good decisions in where he’s going with the ball. Those decisions have led to high percentage throws as evidenced by his completion percentage through the first two games this season.

Manuel has completed 68.2 percent of his passes in 2013 marking the third-best completion mark by a rookie quarterback in their first two games since 1970 (min. 40 attempts). Here’s the chart courtesy of Bills media relations.

Highest completion percentage, Rookie – 1st two games since 1970 merger.

Year Name Att Comp Pct.
2012 Robert Griffin III 55 39 70.9
1993 Rick Mirer 49 34 69.4
2013 EJ Manuel 66 45 68.2
2007 Trent Edwards 48 32 66.7
2011 Andy Dalton 56 37 66.1

Manuel is averaging 6.76 yards per attempt, which ranks 20th, but he also ranks 9th in passer rating with a mark of 95.9.

This week’s opposing quarterback Geno Smith ranks 22nd in yards per attempt with 6.44 yards per attempt. His passer rating however, is 32nd, due mainly to his three-interception game last week.

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Bills take leap up sack chart

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2013 – 11:42 am

After ranking 25th in sacks per play following Week 1, Buffalo’s defense took a sizable leap up the league rankings.

Granted it’s only be two games, so Mario Williams’ exploits on Sunday helped vault the Bills 14 places to a ranking of 11th in the sacks per play category in just one week. Buffalo had a total of six sacks of Cam Newton on the day.

Through the first two weeks of the season Newton has been sacked seven times, good for fourth-most in the league.

This week Buffalo faces Jets QB Geno Smith, who is the second-most sacked quarterback through the first two weeks of the season. Smith has been taken down nine times, which is tied with Miami’s Ryan Tannehill.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Natl. media coming around to Manuel

Posted by Chris Brown on May 7, 2013 – 3:04 pm

When the Bills made the selection of EJ Manuel with the 16th overall pick, it was roundly panned by the national media and the so called draft experts. Now that some of those experts have spoken to NFL scouts for other NFL clubs they have come around to believing that the Bills got it right on Day 1 of the NFL draft.’s Albert Breer, who spoke to reps from two NFL teams that had Manuel graded higher on their draft boards than Geno Smith wrote the following about their professional assessments of the quarterbacks.

I spoke with two clubs that had EJ Manuel ranked ahead of Geno Smith — one had Smith graded as a low third-round pick — and another two  that had them virtually even, with one feeling that Manuel had a higher ceiling and the other giving low second-round grades to both — and slotting Matt Barkley ahead of them.

Breer also mentioned that Smith’s slip in play late in the year soured some teams on his lofty draft status following his fast start. But the one constant that has remained throughout all the reviews of how the quarterbacks came off the board in the draft is that Manuel has the highest ceiling of all the rookie signal callers.


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Mayock: Bills in tough spot at 8

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2013 – 2:22 pm

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was asked specifically about the direction the Bills could or should take with the eighth overall pick. He’s not a fan of the value on the board and Buffalo’s positional needs, feeling they don’t match up. So here is his best solution for them.

“I think they’re in a little bit of a tough spot,” Mayock said. “There is obviously a whole quarterback conversation that has to be held. And I’m not a big believer that there is a quarterback worthy at that spot. Now Buddy Nix might disagree with me. It could be Geno Smith, who I don’t think is a fit. It could be Matt Barkley. It could be Ryan Nassib. But to me, they’re not fits.

“So if you’re not going to take a quarterback at eight and you don’t have a chance to trade down, to me they have an offensive line need. I’d love to see them get a tackle and move Cordy Glenn to the right side or inside. I think it would help two spots if you could get a left tackle.

“But at eight, I don’t think you’ll get a left tackle unless you’re willing to trade up. So sitting there, I mentioned (guards Chance) Warmack and (Jonathan) Cooper. Either one of which I’m good with at 8.

“I don’t think there is a wide receiver at eight. Initially I thought about Tavon Austin there. He’s the most explosive offensive player in this draft. The more I thought about t I thought you’ve already got Leodis McKelvin to return punts. You have C.J. Spiller at tailback who can split out and do some of those things. So as much as I like Austin, I’m not sure he’s a great fit there. So I think you’re kind of stuck.

“If it’s not the quarterback, you’re looking at the best offensive lineman on your board or an edge rusher. With Mario Williams on one side, Mark Anderson coming back from injury, and Chris Kelsay retired, you’ve got room for an edge rusher. So a Barkevious Mingo or somebody like that, that wouldn’t surprise me either.”

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Fan Friday 4-12

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

The 2013 NFL draft is closing in. Pre-draft visits have wrapped up today. Let’s get to this week’s edition of questions from you the fan from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – CB,

Buddy had mentioned following the way the Bengals drafted AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Do you seen a scenario where the Bills go QB in round 1 and WR in round two? What do you think of the possibility of Geno Smith and Justin Hunter? I think these two are the might be the best players available when the Bills will pick in rounds 1 and 2. What are the scouts saying about Hunter, can he separate from DB’s at his size/speed?

CB: I’m at a point now where I getting the sense they don’t like any of the quarterbacks enough to take one at 8. I think that Buffalo doesn’t take a quarterback for sure at 8 if Geno Smith is off the board. So your scenario I believe is unlikely to transpire even though Buddy Nix did mention the desire to make those kinds of additions. I think a receiver is certainly a possibility in round two.

The value at the receiver position is very good between rounds two and four, so there’s also a window of opportunity there for Buffalo to wait on a receiver and address quarterback in round two and receiver in round 3. So what you’re proposing may happen, just in rounds 2 and 3 as opposed to 1 and 2.

As for Hunter specifically there’s no denying his deep speed, but he’s a straight-line speed guy. Having the combination of speed and quickness makes you a killer at wideout. He doesn’t possess both of those qualities, which is why he’s a second round prospect. He is a good route runner, which is what gets him separation. My only concern with him is his slight build. It makes me wonder if he’ll struggle early in his career with press coverage and the physical corners in the NFL. That also concerns me in terms of battling for the ball with DBs in the air.


2 – Chris,

Since Chris Kelsay has retired do you think Mario Williams will want his old number back? If so does the new Nike contracts require Mario to pay for all his unsold number 94 jerseys?  Or how does the process work for changing numbers?  Thanks for everything you do Chris!

-Fred M, Scotia NY

CB: It is my understanding that Mario is keeping number 94, but yes if Mario had changed to 90 he would’ve had to cover Nike for the outstanding inventory in terms of money.


3 – Chris,
With Levitre will the Bills get draft picks this year or next year, from Tennessee, for guard Andy Levitre?
If so, what round picks?

Lee D

CB: The Bills will qualify for compensatory picks if they first and foremost have a net loss of free agents (sign fewer than they lose). That equation can prove difficult because some free agent signings and losses qualify, while others do not. I can say the size of Levitre’s contract would play in Buffalo’s favor, but again only if the Bills have a net loss of free agents or are even.

Determining the rounds is almost impossible at this point because the situations of the other 31 NFL clubs would have to be factored in.


4 – Chris,
Do you see the Bills taking Geno Smith or an OG over one of the very talented OLBs (Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan) or one of the top tackles (Lane Johnson) with the 8th pick?  Just don’t see the value of taking a QB at 8 with the inconsistencies shown by the current candidates.  Also, what do you think of Nigel Bradham possibly moving inside?  Adding his athleticism and speed inside might add significant flexibility as the team moves to a Hybrid structure.

Jim from Allentown Pa.

CB: I’m not convinced they like Geno Smith enough to take him at 8. I obviously do not have an expert opinion like the members of the Bills scouting department, but I do like Geno Smith a lot and would not have a problem with them taking him at 8 at all. I’m just doubting he’ll be there.

With that in mind I think the best defensive player on the board is the most likely outcome at 8.

Your assessment of Nigel Bradham is very astute. He has experience playing inside from his days at Florida State. So I would almost anticipate him moving there and being the three down linebacker.


5 – Chris,

With the new defensive coaching change, do you feel this will benefit A. Moats who lost his LB spot and then late season played some DE? What position do you see him competing for? Also, with Wilson and Levitre gone, any ideas for who’s going to be the next Show host? Do the fans have a say? Thanks again for all you do Chris!!

Dan in LA

CB: I anticipate Moats lining up in a couple of places, both OLB and ILB. Inside might be the best fit for him, but there is competition there. It’s a wait and see quite frankly.

As for our programming on concerning player involvement we’ve reached out to a couple of players, but feel free to provide suggestions. Obviously, participation in such a program is a commitment that a player has to make. We leave it up to them to decide if they want to do it, so please understand if your suggestion is not honored there’s usually a good reason why. Thanks for your viewership of our player programming on

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Report: Bills to work out Tyler Bray

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2013 – 1:43 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix has said they intended to see all of the top quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL draft pool. Tennessee junior eligible Tyler Bray is apparently in that pool.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bills will hold a private workout with Bray late next week.

Buffalo has already had private workouts with three other quarterback prospects in Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel and Landry Jones.

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Geno used to the read option questions

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2013 – 9:28 am

West Virginia QB Geno Smith is scheduled to work out with the Bills today. Already having performed in front of a lot of scouts and NFL GMs he’s faced a ton of questions about his game. Primarily a pocket quarterback in college, though he operated out of the shotgun, his athleticism has prompted a lot of questions as to whether he feels he can run the read option that became so popular with Russell Wilson, RG III and Colin Kaepernick last season.

“They ask me how willing I am to run the ball,” said Smith. “Have I run the read option? Am I willing to do so? Those questions have to go unanswered. With the past system I was in I wasn’t asked to run so they didn’t see much of that. Obviously they want to, but that’s something that comes along with what offense you’re in.

“I feel as though I can fit into any system. I’m not any particular type of quarterback. I don’t have one strength, I have many strengths. I do things that I feel can fit into pretty much any system.”

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QB again Bills pick in newest mock

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2013 – 12:11 pm has several analysts put together mock drafts, several of them in fact leading up to the draft. Analyst Daniel Jeremiah not surprisingly has a quarterback going to Buffalo at eighth overall.
Here’s what he wrote in explanation of the pick.
Pick No. 8
Geno Smith
West Virginia
The Bills dumped Ryan Fitzpatrick and almost certainly will use their top pick on his replacement. If they stay here, I think it will be Geno. If they bail out of the pick, all signs point to Ryan Nassib.
While the assumption remains Nassib if it’s not Smith due primarily to the Syracuse connections with head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, other quarterback options should not be dismissed.
Jeremiah does not have any other quarterback prospect coming off the board in round one.

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Jags high on Geno

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2013 – 11:57 am

They attended the West Virginia pro day to watch Geno Smith last week, but the Jacksonville Jaguars, holders of the second overall pick are certainly sounding very interested in the Mountaineers signal caller.

Jaguars new head coach Gus Bradley, much like Bills GM Buddy Nix and Assistant GM Doug Whaley took in Smith’s pro day last week in Morgantown.

“I had high expectations, but I think I came out of there feeling even better,” Bradley told the Florida Times-Union. “I sat down with him and I just wanted to see how he would be once he entered our building. Are people going to gravitate toward him? Is he going to be a leader? Is he going to be a guy everybody backs and will he allow that to happen?

“And I wanted to see his competitiveness. Is he going to come into the building and will it be a deal where it’s his team and somebody will have to take it away from him?”

The general consensus from the outside is the Jaguars have too many other positional needs to take a quarterback second overall, and they still believe that Blaine Gabbert deserves an opportunity to compete for the starting job after being made a first-round pick two years ago.

“We’ll get it pared down to 10 guys and we’ll take a hard look at them,” Bradley told the Times-Union. “The evaluation is never-ending. We’re going to watch the tape, meet with people, talk to the players and make sure it’s the right pick for us.”

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Mayock: Manuel could find way into round 1

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2013 – 10:54 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock took in Florida State QB E.J. Manuel’s pro day in Tallahassee Tuesday and believes he’s the type of athletic quarterback that NFL teams are more willing to take a chance on because of their high ceiling. As a result he believes Manuel comes off the board in late April before round one is in the books.

“If I was going to make a mistake I was going to do it with a big, athletic kid with arm talent. The more I talk to coaches and general managers I get more support in that thinking. There are so many question marks about this quarterback class because if you want to like Matt Barkley or Landry Jones or the Wilson kid from Arkansas to like them. Then the question becomes can they just be game managers or game winners? I think when you’re talking about Geno Smith at West Virginia and E.J. Manuel you’re talking about two potential kids that can win football games.”

Mayock moved Manuel up to his number two quarterback prospect behind Smith and said at this point he’s a better prospect than his predecessor at Florida State Christian Ponder was coming out because his ceiling is higher. Mayock said he had a second-round grade on Ponder coming out, but he went 12th overall to Minnesota. At this point he’s not sure Manuel gets out of the first orund.

“At this point the way kids are getting pushed up in this draft, and I’m anxious to see Barkley next week, because again bad senior year, good junior year, but the way kids are getting pushed up at quarterback it wouldn’t surprise me at all,” Mayock said.

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Nix: Bills will workout Barkley, 5 other QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on March 18, 2013 – 10:50 pm

With the Bills in an obvious search for a quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft, Bills GM Buddy Nix wasn’t shy in revealing that when it comes to the top prospects at the position they intend to work all of them out in private sessions.

In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Nix at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix revealed that they’ll be holding a private workout with USC QB Matt Barkley.

“We’re going to have a private workout for Matt, and for about five or six of them,” Nix told the Sun. “We’ll have a private workout with all those guys. The more you see them, the more you learn.”

Nix said that they’ll go to work some of them out wherever the prospects are training and bring some in to work out at One Bills Drive on official pre-draft visits.

West Virginia QB Geno Smith confirmed just minutes after his pro day workout on campus that he had “a thing” set up with the Bills for this Friday.

Despite the fact that the workout chiefly involves the physical abilities Nix told the Sun he’s looking for something else.

“I think the physical part is over-rated. What makes it so hard to evaluate that position are the intangibles,” he said. “That’s what you try to learn. This guy could very well be the face of your franchise — good chance of that. So you want to be as sure as you can be about that.”

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Report: Geno Smith to workout for Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on March 18, 2013 – 4:31 pm

It shouldn’t be all that surprising, but West Virginia QB prospect Geno Smith, who has had a workout with the Philadelphia Eagles already, has another NFL club now on his schedule.

According to ESPNCleveland the Browns are going to hold a private workout with the Mountaineers QB.

No date is listed so it’s not known when the workout will take place. As reported last week the Bills will meet with Smith this coming Friday for a pre-draft visit.

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