Inside The Bills

Jeff Tuel will start at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 11:38 am


Bills undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, as expected, will start at quarterback for Buffalo today against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. With Thad Lewis unable to practice at all this week due to sore ribs, Tuel will make his first NFL start. Here are the other Bills inactives for today’s game.

With Thad Lewis also inactive it means that Matt Flynn will serve as the backup quarterback today.

QB EJ Manuel
QB Thad Lewis
CB Justin Rogers
LB Ty Powell
CB Brandon Smith
RB Ronnie Wingo
G Antoine McClain

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Stevie focused on making plays, not QB decision

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2013 – 10:55 am

Buffalo’s quarterback situation is again in flux this week with Thad Lewis nursing some sore ribs. It could mean that the Bills have to start Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn on Sunday. Despite the frequent changes at quarterback Stevie Johnson isn’t focused on who might be throwing to him this weekend.

“I don’t even think about that,” said Johnson. “I’ve got to think about who I’m going to catch passes from this week and that’s pretty much it. I can’t think of if I had this quarterback, and this guy was healthy, I can’t think about that, I just got to roll with what we have.”

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Flynn focused only on his preparation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 5:27 pm

Whether it’s viewed as a competition to be the starter this week should Thad Lewis be unable to play due to sore ribs, Matt Flynn isn’t worried about how he looks in practice in comparison to Jeff Tuel. His only concern is knowing the game plan backwards and forwards.

“I’m in a competition with myself to learn the playbook and get myself as ready as I can,” said Flynn. “That’s the nature of the beast in the NFL, especially at the quarterback position, if you’re not that starting guy, you’ve got to be ready no matter what.  I’ve been in that situation plenty of times before in the past.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re the first guy or the fourth guy or whatever it is, you’ve got to prepare yourself like you’re going to be up there playing.  You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your teammates, just in case you get that call, no matter what happens.  You can’t control it, anybody else does, all I can do is control how prepared I am.”

Flynn has three starts in his NFL career.

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QB Tuel the backup

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 11:42 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said late this week that his backup QB would be decided right before game time. That decision has been made.

Jeff Tuel will serve as the b kip to starter Thad Lewis against the Dolphins today.

Matt Flynn is inactive as he’s probably too new to the Bills play book to make the offensive staff comfortable that he could step in and execute the game plan.

With Lewis coming off a sprained foot it may only take one good shot to re-aggravate it.

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Flynn’s jersey number

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2013 – 7:28 am

Bills new quarterback Matt Flynn chose his college number after he was traded to Oakland this past offseason, but that wasn’t available here in Buffalo because 15 is worn by Chris Hogan. His number in Green Bay (10) was also taken (Robert Woods). So Flynn went in another direction.

Flynn will wear jersey number 17. He was partial to 12 as a third choice, but quickly realized that wasn’t available in Buffalo.

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Tuel met with Marrone Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 5:35 pm

No doubt aware that the Bills were bringing in Matt Flynn for a workout Monday morning, rookie QB Jeff Tuel took it upon himself to go talk with head coach Doug Marrone to find out if his status on the Bills quarterback depth chart was in for a change.

“His status hasn’t changed and Jeff came in to see me,” said Marrone. “I told him (his situation) hasn’t really changed. Here was our plan in the beginning, this is what we wanted to do. This is how we see you, a young quarterback that’s developing. I really just reaffirmed all the things that I’ve said here. I said, ‘We like you, you’re a young developing quarterback. In a perfect world we were probably thinking practice squad, you played extremely well we were nervous about someone taking him and I told him the same thing.’

“Nothing has changed from that point. If Thad (Lewis) is not ready to go (Sunday) and we can’t get Matt (Flynn) ready then we’ll put Jeff in there and play with him.”

“There’s a chance there will be (more snaps for me) and I’m ready for it and I’m prepared for whatever the coaches need me to do,” Tuel told

As we covered on, if the newly signed Flynn can demonstrate a sufficient ability to run the team’s game plan this week, he’ll likely be tabbed as the backup, otherwise it will be Tuel this week as the number two QB.

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Can Flynn nail down game plan in a week?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 5:16 pm

Bills new QB Matt Flynn has a chance to be the backup quarterback to Thad Lewis Sunday in Miami if he can demonstrate a firm grasp of the offensive system to the point where he can capably execute this week’s game plan. Flynn wanted to get a better look at the scheme before deciding whether it’s something he could pull off in a week’s time.

“It’s hard to say, it really is,” said Flynn.  I haven’t dived into it yet. I’m about to start doing that. I think game plans are a lot
shorter than coming in and learning an entire playbook. Game plan-wise, I feel confident I can come in and get a pretty good feel for it fairly quickly. How quick that is, I don’t know. I’ll have a better feel for that later today or tomorrow.”

Flynn believes there is some carry over from the West Coast systems he used to play in with Green Bay and Seattle to Buffalo’s scheme, though with it being an up tempo scheme he thinks the language will be more concise with Buffalo’s system.


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Report: Bills likely to sign QB Flynn

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 12:43 pm

There were widespread reports that free agent QB Matt Flynn was in Buffalo today to work out for the Bills. Now with Thad Lewis sustaining a sprained foot, there are reports that the club is likely to sign the free agent QB.

That according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora.


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Report: FA QB Matt Flynn in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2013 – 5:49 pm

For the second straight game the Bills suffered an injury at the quarterback position as Thad Lewis has a sprained foot. Reports of free agent QB Matt Flynn’s presence in Buffalo is fueling speculation that the Bills are looking for more alternatives at the position.

A Minnesota Wild hockey beat writer reported that he spotted Flynn on his plane to Buffalo Sunday.


The Bills saw QB Thad Lewis finish Sunday’s game despite a foot injury that by Lewis’ description did not improve as the game wore on. Lewis said x-rays were negative and that it’s just a sprain, but his foot was in an immobilizer boot as he left Ralph Wilson Stadium.


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Fan Friday 11-9

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2012 – 4:05 pm

Sorry for the delayed posting of Fan Friday. Got bogged down with some extra work this week and some Friday roster moves. Here is the latest edition of questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter.

1 – Hey Chris,

I have three things that I am very curious about and am interested to see what you have to say.

First off I wonder every week why when the defense is struggling so badly why Chan has not approached Dave Wannstedt about being on the sidelines during games. It may seem like a small matter,but when you look around the league the top defenses seem to have their coaches very invested in the games as well. I mean isn’t it beneficial for the players to be able to come off the field, and sit there with Dave and say look this is what they’re doing?

Secondly, I don’t understand why Chan seems to not believe in the idea of putting Hairston on the right side when Cordy comes back. Hairston has done a fine job on the left side, and Pears play has been fairly poor. It just seems like it would really benefit the team to have five young guys in there playing together for the long term.

Thirdly, the offense seems to have trouble on third downs largely in part to the absence of Nelson. His big body was always a safe play for Fitz. So I wonder where is Marcus Easley at? He has the size and hands to be very helpful in the middle of the field. Donald Jones has done a nice job in the slot, but his small stature seems to make it a less viable option, and the team has struggled to convert those 3rd and 7,8 that Nelson would often convert.

Thanks for your time,
Colt in Sacramento

CB: A lot of stuff there. I don’t know that moving Wannstedt’s location is going to make him call a game any differently.

With respect to Hairston he’s at right tackle right now. In Erik Pears’ defense he had been playing at less than 100 percent from the beginning of the season and only got worse physically as the season wore on. I feel it affected the consistency of his play this year. Hairston is a great option at right tackle moving forward.

There’s no question that the offense needed an adjustment period without Nelson. The guy was the second leading receiver on the team last year. Easley got called up to the active roster this week so you’ve got your wish.

2 – Hey Chris,

Have you talked to Chan about more opportunities for Dorin Dickerson & T.J. Graham? Dorin could be utilized in two tight end and would be a match up nightmare for a linebacker or safety. T.J. could be employed on end arounds & quick slants, as well as the deep ball to strech defenses. Even if not completed, at least it could back the safeties up for the run game as well as for Stevie & the boys. What are your thoughts on this. Thanks,

Tommy P. Buffalo Bills fan 4 life

CB: As a matter of fact I have asked Coach Gailey about both players. So here are his answers for you.

First on Dickerson and why he hasn’t been a bigger part of the game plans.

“It’s been a matter of the teams we’ve played and the defenses that we’ve played and what we’re trying to get done offensively,” Gailey said. “He’s not done anything wrong and he’s not done anything bad. It just hasn’t fit to this point. We’re hoping as the season goes on it does fit.”

On Graham
“The one thing you can’t do is force things. I go back to the analogy I used earlier in the season. C.J. was in the same spot, lots of talent, just hadn’t quite learned all the nuances of the game yet,” said Gailey. “You try to put him in there too much then you’re putting him in a bad situation. With the passing game it’s even more so because now not only are you putting him in a bad situation, but if the understanding isn’t there you’re putting Fitz in a bad situation. You’re trying to get the ball here and T.J. doesn’t understand what you’re trying to get done with a route or a concept and it doesn’t come out right. You want to involve him and we want to keep trying to work with him, but we’ve got a ways to go.”

“He’s very talented, he’s going to be a very good player, but he’s not there yet. We’ll continue to work with him.”

3 – Hi Chris,

As a long time Bills fan, I knew (just like most Bills fans) that the Titans were going to score. WHY didn’t Gailey call time out and save 40 seconds of clock?  That would have made a big difference and given Fitz a chance to methodically move down the field.  Has anyone asked him about that decision?  We also need to start blitzing more, and Chan need to say that Wannstedt.

Go Bills,


CB: Chan was in a tough spot, calling timeout saves time for the opponent that’s trying to score. As a coach you’re hoping your defense gets a stop, knowing they need a touchdown to win and can’t settle for a field goal. In that spot you’re up six and you’re using the clock almost as an added means of pressure.

4 – Chris,

A lot of Bills fans have been excited about Marcus Easley since he was drafted.  Now that he’s on the 53 man roster will he dress for games, let alone have a role on offense?  If they found a way to get him involved he would be a tough player to defend with his measurables.  We need a player like him that can go up and get it. 

Thank you,
Ryan from Colorado

CB: I think the thing with Marcus Easley was he has build up speed and is very fast and can get behind defenders deep, but with this offense predicated on short timing routes they need receivers to get open and create separation quickly. That’s not the greatest asset in Easley’s skill set. I think that’s ultimately why he didn’t make the 53-man roster at the start of the season.

Obviously he’s improved in that area to the point where the Bills want to give him a shot in games now that he’s on the roster, but I would expect his role to be rather limited down the stretch.

5 – Hey Chris,
Any chance that Matt Flynn will be available this season or next? And if he is would the Bills be interested?

CB: I don’t really see that as a match for the Bills. He certainly could be available with the way Russell Wilson has been playing. There’s a chance they may not want a backup that’s pulling down over $5M in base salary with a cap hit of $7.25M. The problem here is unless someone wants Flynn as a starter, and I’m not sure anyone does in light of how lukewarm the free agent market was when he was a free agent last offseason, moving that contract off their books to another team won’t be easy.

I think Seattle may see if they can renegotiate his deal first. If he won’t take a pay cut they’re probably going to have to release him outright. If he were to become a free agent I still don’t see the Bills being interested. GM Buddy Nix has said the plan is to add a future franchise quarterback in the draft.

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Fan Friday 11-2

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 2:50 pm

Alright Bills fans, second half of the schedule is up and there are two difficult road games on tap. Let’s hope for the best and get to your latest round of questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter.

1 – Dear Chris: 

Do you think Chan will ever not only start CJ, but give him the majority of the carries? I love Fred but he is not the game breaker CJ is and I think if he was on a lot of other teams CJ is a 1800 to 2000 yard man an 12-15 touchdowns. I admire Chan’s loyalty but question its productivity? CJ is a game changing threat every time he touches the ball and keeping him on the bench half the time no longer makes a lot of sense. What do you think? Please let me know what you think, and what Chan might be thinking, if he is at all? Thanks!


CB: While I certainly believe C.J. is a game-changing back I think we all need to be fair to Fred Jackson and respect the fact that his knee was not right or close to 100 percent until Week 7 against Tennessee. We all saw the old Fred Jackson in that game, which was in stark contrast to what we saw the previous three games in his return from the LCL knee injury.

If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt it’s Jackson. In case you forgot he was lighting the league on fire with numbers similar to what C.J. is doing thus far this season. Right now they’ve got a good balance developed between them. Fred averages 14 touches a game to Spiller’s 13. They combined for over 220 yards of offense against Tennessee, which was the first time that both of them were truly healthy.

I think Spiller can take it the distance on any play and I don’t mind seeing him get more of the work, but Fred’s talents cannot be ignored. Not to mention the fact that in this day in age in the league you do need two backs to get through a season. Week 1 when Fred went down in the first half and Week 3 when Spiller went down in the first half were reminders of that.


2 – Hey Chris,
Any chance that Matt Flynn will be available this season or next? And if he is would the Bills be interested?

CB: I think the Flynn contract could prompt them to move him, but the Seahawks need to find a trade partner that believes he’s a starter. His base salary does not fit for a backup because it goes up to $5.25M and then $6.25M. Unless he’s willing to take a pay cut to go elsewhere Seattle might be stuck with him.

And furthermore I don’t see the Bills being interested even if he were available. As Buddy Nix told us he wants a long term franchise quarterback for the future.


3 – Hey Chris,

Why didn’t Coach Gailey challenge the fumble call in the 4th qtr against the Titans? From the one replay that was shown, it looked like neither the ball or Gilmore were out of bounds. Since this was a critical time and play of the game I was wondering why it wasn’t challenged. Thank you for your time and consideration

Dan Stepanski
Dallas, PA

CB: We at wondered the same thing so we took a look at that play on tape and as the ball bounces near the sideline prior to Stephon Gilmore trying to bat it back in bounds, the nose of the ball is right on the line. It’s difficult to determine whether the nose of the ball is making contact with the sideline, but it’s extremely close.

Knowing that’s before Gilmore even tries to make a play on the ball it’s easier to forgive the absence of a challenge there. Gailey did address this play and said they were not given a good enough replay angle to see if the challenge was worth it. At that point in time preserving your timeouts in the game were becoming critical. Granted if a chance to get the ball back is in play you probably challenge it, but without conclusive video evidence you can understand them not throwing the red flag.

Furthermore the officials would’ve been looking at the same replay angle and likely would have let the play stand as a fumble out of bounds due to lack of conclusive evidence.


4 – Hi Chris,

I saw Chris Kelsay’s press conference regarding lack of effort, and having accountability. Watching the game, it appeared to me that the Bills’ defensive line was fine, and did have a push in the pocket. However, where I noticed a lack of effort was in the linebacking corp, and some in the defensive backfield. Now, I am a native Buffalonian, and have been in Central Florida for just over five years, and  I am still a die hard Bills fan. In my opinion, the players are either not buying into the scheme, or the players themselves, be it veterans or rookies, are not holding each other accountable.

Coaches are important, but they can preach all day long, the players have to perform. The offense is fine, when Fitzpatrick does not throw bone head interceptions. I am just venting. I want the Bills to do well in the worst way. What is your analysis? 

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: I don’t think there’s any question that the defensive has underachieved. Head coach Chan Gailey did say that Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus both have to do better in particular. The linebackers in the Titans game did mess up some gap assignments, including the one that Chris Johnson took 83 to the end zone.

Here’s the good news, Kelsay in that same press conference said players that were not pulling their weight were going to be shaken down and held accountable. And in our 1-on-1 interview with Coach Gailey that will air tomorrow on, he told me his players have found a newfound respect for playing for the guy next to them.

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

Let’s hope it makes a difference on the field.


5 – Hey Chris! 

Long time…any chance at letting Morrison suit up and help our struggling defense?  Keep up the good work


CB: When Coach Gailey was asked about possible lineup changes and about Morrison specifically, he said that Morrison is probably going to be needed in the lineup before the season is over. However, it sounded like he was indicating that somebody in the linebacking corps over a 16-game season is likely to go down and at that point they’d plug in Morrison. So I don’t see the veteran taking somebody’s job right now.

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