Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-22

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2017 – 11:39 am

Merry Christmas and happy holidays Bills fans! Two games to go and still playing meaningful football. Don’t know if everyone expected that. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Besides a Bills win, what is the one thing we should be hoping for to help bills get into playoffs? I know there’s a bunch of scenarios but u get one choice.

David Ayotte

CB: Well if you’re going to pin me down like that I’d go with a Ravens loss to the Colts on Saturday. That not only gives Baltimore a seventh loss overall, but a key loss in the common games tiebreaker (should it come to that) with the Bills.

A Tennessee loss this week wouldn’t carry quite the same weight because they’re playing an NFC opponent (Rams). A Kansas City loss to Miami doesn’t carry as much importance for Buffalo either. And if the Bills win this week as you propose, it doesn’t matter what the Chargers do, so that’s my answer.

For more on who to root for this weekend, you can take a look at the full slate of games to keep an eye on right here.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who gets the most snaps covering Gronk this week? White? Hyde? Milano?


CB: I’m anticipating a mixed bag of coverage assignments for Gronkowski. I don’t think there’s any question that he is the main weapon Buffalo has to stop. I believe the primary players who will be assigned to him will be Hyde and Milano, but much like they did in the first meeting, they could sprinkle some coverages in with White on him.

It’s certainly a matchup to keep an eye on.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is your view on Preston Brown’s year?

JR Mauro

CB: I think Brown has had a solid season. I never believed that the problems on defense last year with illegal substitutions and guys wondering what the play call was were Brown’s fault. This year’s execution on defense is validation of that belief as I see it. Coaching was largely to blame for the defensive struggles last season.

Brown is a solid middle linebacker, who can anticipate and diagnose offensive plays and will not make mistakes. Will he ever be a dominant, take-over-a-game type backer? Probably not, but he’s a reliable performer that you can win with.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Two questions: 1 – Estimate on snap % for Benjamin this week?

2 – What pop tart is the best pop tart?

Joshua Smith

CB: I think a safe bet is about 60 percent of the snaps on offense. That’s where he’s been each of the last two weeks. Even in the Colts game where he aggravated his knee again due to poor footing, he played 41 snaps (61%) and last week against Miami he played 37 snaps (59%).

Regarding your second question, I’ve never been a fan of Pop Tarts, but I can tell the winning flavor in my household is Brown Sugar Cinnamon.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Would you trade the 2 first round picks PLUS next year’s first to the browns for the first overall pick this year?


CB: That’s a lot of draft capital to surrender. I’d be more willing to part with the two firsts and a second this year rather than three firsts. This of course is under the assumption that I’m convinced that the top QB on the board is as sure fire a franchise caliber QB as there is, not only in this year’s class, but next year’s as well. If I’m convinced I pull the trigger, even if I’ve got to throw in an extra fourth round pick or something.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brady & 2 TE combo will be a test

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2016 – 9:18 am

The Bills know the Patriots did not have Tom Brady or a healthy Rob Gronkowski playing in the first meeting between the two teams. With Gronk averaging 121 yards receiving in the three games since Tom Brady returned to the lineup, the Patriots two tight end combination is going to be a tall order.

“You got two of the best tight ends in the league, you’ve got quick receivers outside that make plays in space, and you’ve got a running back who’s running with the best in the league,” said Preston Brown. “So definitely a tough challenge for us, but we’re ready for it.”

Brown referenced New England big back LeGarrette Blount, who is among the league leaders in rushing.

Brown’s teammate Stephon Gilmore warns that if too much attention is paid to Martellus Bennett and Gronkowski that the Patriots other weapons can hurt you.

“Yeah they’ve got two great tight ends now. They used to have one. So we’ve got to be on them two guys and they’ve got (Julian) Edelman, you know, work the slot. (Chris) Hogan making plays. So we’ve got to be real physical with them guys. You know, we’ve got to get to them,” Gilmore said. “That’s the main thing. We’ve got to get to them and make them make second guess and go from there.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Garoppolo, Brissett, Gronk all limited

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2016 – 4:14 pm

It was an all limited injury report for the Patriots on Wednesday, but both Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo did participate in practice.

Brissett and Garoppolo were limited participants along with the half dozen other Patriots, including TE Rob Gronkowski, who only played 14 snaps last week in his return from a hamstring injury. There was video from Patriots reporters of Garoppolo throwing passes as long as 30 yards downfield, so signs appear promising that Garoppolo could be available Sunday when New England hosts Buffalo.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Brissett, Jacoby QB Right Thumb LP
Cannon, Marcus OT Calf LP
Cooper, Jonathan G Foot LP
Freeny, Jonathan LB Shoulder LP
Garoppolo, Jimmy QB Right Shoulder LP
Gronkowski, Rob TE Hamstring LP
Hightower, Dont’a LB Knee LP
Rowe, Eric CB Ankle LP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gronk gives Bills ‘D’ credit

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 12:29 pm

They held the Patriots to more than 17 points below their scoring average (37.3) on their home field. They held Tom Brady to a 51 percent completion percentage, his lowest since his first half of work against the Bills in the season finale in 2014. And he had his lowest passer rating (72.3) since that 2014 season finale as well. In the process they held Rob Gronkowski to just two receptions for 37 yards despite being targeted twice. It left Gronk respecting Buffalo’s ‘D’ postgame.

“They’re a good team. You got to give credit to them. They’ve got a good defense,” said Gronkowski. “They’ve got a lot of good players out there and you got to give them credit. They did a lot of things right – tough, physical and ready to play. The thing is, we just came in here and got the win and wins are always big.”

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell felt the same way about Buffalo’s stifling defense.

“They [the Bills] played a really good game on defense,” he said. “We couldn’t convert on third downs, they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They were just sending more guys than we could handle. They played lights out on third down; I think we converted like three-out-of-12 third downs [4-for-14 on 3rd downs]. We could never stay out on the field and get into a rhythm and I get into some up-tempo plays because they kept stopping us,”

Gronk is right. The win was the most important thing, but the Patriots aren’t laughing at the Bills anymore like they did in the days of Donte Whitner. They can see they’re closing the gap.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-20

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2015 – 12:49 pm

The Bills are trying to pull off an impressive trifecta in their gauntlet run through the division, and the hardest hurdle to clear is next with the Patriots in Foxboro Monday night. They’re 2-0 so far. We’ll see what Monday night holds. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

any chance they let robert woods do something besides block this week?


CB: I know Woods hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunities to make plays in the passing game lately. Part of the reason is the reduction in pass attempts the last few weeks. Tyrod Taylor has averaged just over 18 pass attempts a game in his last three appearances. It’s not like they haven’t made an effort to get Woods the ball. His eight targets in the last two games are second only to Sammy Watkins. Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy are the only other players who have been passing targets the last two games.

So while Woods hasn’t been able to make a giant impact in the passing game, when the Bills do go to the air he is a part of the plan. The passing game has just taken a back seat to the run game of late.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

biggest matchup advantage the Bills have this week?


CB: I really like Charles Clay in this game. Patrick Chung is a box safety and Devin McCourty is average at best in coverage. I believe Clay could have a day against the Patriots in the passing game and serve as a valuable underneath and seam target for Tyrod Taylor.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

the last few games, Bills have put a healthy DT on the inactive list, do you expect that to change against Blount?


CB: I don’t know that LeGarrette Blount’s presence on the opponent’s roster necessarily demands that another defensive tackle be active Monday night. The Jets’ Chris Ivory runs every bit as tough as Blount, and in my opinion runs with more power and Buffalo had a DT inactive last Thursday night.

The inactive list is put together with a lot of factors in mind. Injuries, game plan, matchups, etc. So I understand why you might expect with a big back that more DTs would be active, but knowing that Carrington and Mario can play end or tackle you have enough versatility in your defensive linemen that all of them do not need to be active on game day provided everyone is healthy.


4 – Chris;
I would be interested on your thoughts for handling Gronk ?
My thoughts are assigning someone to shadow him every play, a player who is big enough and tough enough to match him physically . My thoughts, Hughes or Lawson on D, maybe Gregg or Gray who know TE plays ??
We need to think outside the box on him.

Jim in Florida

I had a new idea about how to handle Gronk that came to me this week. Unfortunately with Leodis McKelvin’s status up in the air I’m not sure it will work. In any case, with Julian Edelman out of the lineup Buffalo can afford to deploy their defensive backs differently.

Let’s assume for now that Leodis McKelvin is available to play. If that’s the case I would put McKelvin outside opposite Ronald Darby, leave Nickell Robey in the slot and put Stephon Gilmore on Rob Gronkowski.

He’s the most physical defensive back on the team. He can clearly run with Gronk and has the physical skill set and size to defend passes against him. Without game-breaking threats elsewhere you can afford to put your top corner on Gronk in my opinion. You’ve got nothing to lose as I see it.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will EJ be the backup QB on Monday or not dress? #Bills


CB: Rex Ryan said that EJ Manuel is his backup for the rest of the season and that last Thursday night was a special circumstance in making Josh Johnson the backup QB and making Manuel one of the team’s seven inactive players.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rerouting Gronk easier said than done

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2015 – 10:25 am

Teams have tried and tried again to find the best way to stop Pats TE Rob Gronkowski and time and again they’ve come up empty. One tactic that is probably advisable is to collision Gronk at the line of scrimmage before he gets a head of steam going downfield. Bill DC Dennis Thurman isn’t opposed to that approach, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to neutralize him.

“That’s a part of it,” said Thurman. “Teams have tried a number of different things against him with minimal success. I mean the guys a very talented player. You know like Rex (Ryan) said yesterday, heck if you were having the draft all over again he’d go much higher than where he went. I mean he’s a very talented man, he gets the job done for them. I understand how and why they use him the way that they do. We have our work cut out for us, but we feel like we are up to the task.”

At the same time there a rhythmic nature to the Pats offense and throwing a wrench in the works to get them off track can be tough when they’re rolling.

“They execute well and it starts with their quarterback. They’ve been doing it for years,” said Thurman. “You anticipate that they’re going to make some plays. We have to make our share of plays and we feel like if we do we’ll be okay. They’re a tough cover. They’re hard and difficult to deal with because of the guy pulling the trigger. He’s as good as it gets in the game so our expectations are that he’ll play well so we have to play well.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills aiming to keep Gronk under wraps

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 9:32 am

Their exact plan has been kept under wraps this week, but the Bills know they’ve got to limit Rob Gronkowski in New England’s passing game. Not only because he’s a favorite target of Tom Brady, but because he’s been a Bills killer over the years.

In his six games played against the Bills, he has 30 catches for 449 yards and nine touchdowns. Six of those touchdowns have come in his last four games played against Buffalo. He did not face the Bills last year due to injury.

His quarterback Tom Brady knows coming back to Buffalo to play his hometown team is a game that Gronk looks forward to.

“He’s done a great job for us since he’s got here,” said Brady. “Being from Buffalo, I know how much he always loved going up there to play, so hopefully he has a great game this weekend. He’s a big part of our offense. He’s fought through a lot of things over the last few years, but he’s excited, he loves being back out there with us, and it’s great to have him back.”

The Bills may use any of a number of players to cover Gronkowski between some of their more athletic linebackers and safeties.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gronk doubtful, Amendola probable

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2013 – 5:48 pm

As expected it’s not looking good for Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski to be suited up to play against his hometown team on Sunday. Receiver Danny Amendola however, looks ready to go.

Gronkowski, who just returned to practice coming off of offseason back surgery was limited all week and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Meanwhile, Amendola, widely viewed as the replacement for the departed Wes Welker, is probably coming off a groin injury. He participated fully in practice Friday.

RB Brandon Bolden (knee), WR Aaron Dobson (hamstring), DB Nate Ebner (ankle) and DB Duron Harmon (hamstring) are all questionable for Sunday’s game.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Amendola, Gronk limited for Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2013 – 4:47 pm

Patriots WR Danny Amendola has a history of injuries and he’s nursing one this week in advance of New England’s Week 1 matchup with Buffalo. TE Rob Gronkowski is considered by many reports to be a long shot as well as he tries to return from back surgery. Here’s how the Patriots injury report stacks up here on Wednesday.

Did not practice
OL Will Svitek – knee

Limited in practice
WR Danny Amendola – groin
RB Brandon Bolden – knee
WR Aaron Dobson – hamstring
DB Nate Ebner – ankle
TE Rob Gronkowski – forearm/back
DB Duron Harmon – hamstring

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Belichick cryptic on Gronk

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2013 – 4:42 pm

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did his daily dance with the New England media and was vague and cryptic with his answers concerning TE Rob Gronkowski, who practiced in pads for the first time since his offseason surgery.

Here’s how the Q&A went between Belichick and the Boston media, as reports continue to speculate on whether Gronkowski will be able to play Week 1 at Buffalo.

Q: How fair would it be to say that Rob Gronkowski has taken a step forward?

BB: This is his first opportunity to be in pads so, yes he’s definitely moving forward.

Q: What have you seen?

BB: He’s day-to-day.

Q: Does he have a shot to play on Sunday?

BB: He’s day-to-day.

Q: What do you need to see from him before you’re willing to put him on a game field?

BB: We take it day to day. Evaluate tomorrow based on how today goes, see how it goes. See how tomorrow goes and deal with whatever that day is, Wednesday or Thursday or whatever the day is. We’ll take it day to day. It’s the same way we do with everybody.

Q: Do you feel the last two days were a significant step for him?

BB: No, just the next step.

Q: What have you seen so far from Rob Gronkowski in practice?

BB: We evaluate any player coming back day to day. That’s what we do with every player.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Gronk to undergo 4th surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2013 – 12:33 pm

New England Patriots tight end and WNY native Rob Gronkowski is going to undergo a fourth surgery on his injured forearm from last season.

According to the Boston Herald, the procedure is going to remove the metal plate that’s securing the broken bone in the forearm. The main problem right now is there is currently an infection in his arm, which is delaying the surgery as he is completing a six-week antibiotic regimen to eradicate the infection.

The metal plate in Gronkowski’s arm needs to be replaced and the recovery time is 11 weeks. Were he to have surgery today that rehab regimen would take him to the start of training camp, so it’s clear that Patriots doctors believe they have a bit of time to work with.

However, knowing the Bills open the season against the Patriots, monitoring Gronkowski’s health is something Buffalo’s coaching staff will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on through the summer.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lawson eager for matchup with Gronk

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 13, 2013 – 8:40 pm

The Bills signed LB Manny Lawson to play strong side-outside linebacker.  And that means he’s likely to spend a fair amount of time matching up against opponents tight ends.

Twice a year, Lawson will run into New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski, who’s enjoyed some of his biggest days in the NFL against the Bills.  But that doesn’t seem to faze Lawson.

In an appearance Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show, Lawson said he’s eager to line up and play against Gronkowski.

“I think I match up well against him, I really would like that challenge,” Lawson said.  “I think he weighs a little bit more.  He can’t out-run me.  It’s whether or not Brady can put the ball to where I can’t catch it, and where he can.  You can’t just throw the ball over my head and he can get it.  You gotta throw it really, if I extend my arms, it’s probably nine feet straight up.”

At 6-5 1/2, Lawson does have the height to match up with Gronkowski.  And he should be able to stay with him downfield, given his combine 40-times when he came into the league in 2006.

And even though Gronkowski seems to feast on the Bills defense, Lawson tells host John Murphy he won’t be losing any sleep about the matchup.

“Should I worry?  It is twice a year, and I look forward to it, going against somebody who is good.  We don’t know where he’s going to go down in history, but we respect him as a player, and a player who is good.  I want to go against him.”

The entire interview with Manny Lawson is available at

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gronkowski active

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2012 – 11:43 am

Rob Gronkowski is active for the Patriots today as expected. He was questionable this week with a hip injury.

Other notable Patriots out today include OL Logan Mankins, WR Julian Edelman and TE Aaron Hernandez.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats began practicing day early

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2011 – 4:27 pm

The Patriots have clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs, but there’s still home field advantage to clinch. It’s unclear if that’s the main reason, but per Bill Belichick the Patriots are preparing for this one every bit as much as any other. In fact according to TE Rob Gronkowski the coaching staff scheduled an extra day of practice on their typical off day of Tuesday this week.

“We started our practices (Tuesday),” said Gronkowski. “We’re going to be preparing for the Bills like it’s any other game.  We’ve got to win this game, it’s another big game and we don’t like losing around here so we’re taking this game [seriously].”  

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pats could be without TE

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2011 – 12:08 pm

The New England Patriots have made heavy use of their two young tight ends in the passing game the first two weeks of the season in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. But there’s a good chance they’re down one of those players for their Week 3 matchup with the Bills.

According to Boston Herald reporter Ian Rapoport, Hernandez has a sprained MCL, with a prognosis of 1-2 weeks, meaning he wouldn’t be available for Sunday’s game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. While that would certainly help Buffalo to have one less tight end to worry about, Gronkowski has been a beast the first two weeks.

He’s got 10 catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns in New England’s first two ball games, and is the team’s leading scorer. Of course Buffalo’s Scott Chandler isn’t far off with seven catches for 79 yards and three touchdowns.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Don’t sleep on Pats TEs

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2010 – 9:57 am

While Randy Moss and Wes Welker, deservedly get a great deal of the credit in New England’s passing attack, their two rookie tight ends are already making an impact.

Aaron Hernandez is almost like a tall receiver, while Rob Gronkowski is a more physical player that they use underneath and in the red zone.

“The way they can run the deep threat has really helped them a lot,” said Chan Gailey. “Hernandez I think had the longest play last week (46 yards). He’s really come on as a guy that can get down the field and make plays as he did in college. Both of those guys have been a big plus for their football team.”

Buffalo had their hands full with Jermichael Finley last week. It will bear watching to see how they approach the rookie tight end duo for New England on Sunday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brady on Gronkowski

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2010 – 4:12 pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady had some glowing comments for one of his two new rookie tight ends and Western New York native Rob Gronkowski.

“He’s done a great job. He’s a young player,” said Brady. “I think he just turned 21, but since the day that he got here he’s made an impact on the team with both his blocking and what he’s been able to do for us in the passing game. He’s a big kid, really strong, he’s got real good speed. It’s just a matter of getting him more involved. He’s proven every week that he’s capable of doing some real good things in our offense so we’re trying to find ways to incorporate him more.”

Gronkowski is a Williamsville, NY native that played his college ball at Arizona.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Gronkowski invited to NYC

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2010 – 7:48 am

WNY native and top draft prospect Rob Gronkowski might know where his draft stock exactly lies when it comes to NFL clubs, but he knows what the league thinks of his talents.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the tight end prospect was invited to attend the draft in New York per his twitter post (see below).

Adam_Schefter A vote of confidence: Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski has been invited to attend Thursday’s draft in New York.

Gronkowski is expected to come off the board anywhere between late round one and early round two. He played his high school ball at Williamsville North.

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Good workout for Gronkowski

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2010 – 7:15 pm

Arizona TE and WNY native Rob Gronkowski had his individual pro day Saturday and by most accounts performed admirably.

With back surgery keeping him from participating fully at the NFL Combine and at the Arizona pro day in mid-March, Gronkowski ran a wind-aided 4.65 40. He also had a 33 1/2-inch vertical along with a broad jump of 9’11”.

He has a solid performance in the position drills with just two drops.

Gronkowski is considered one of the top two tight end prospects in the 2010 draft class, as there is mixed opinion as to whether Gronkowski or Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham is the best game-breaking tight end in the class. Gronkowski played his high school ball at Williamsville North in Williamsville, NY before transferring to a Pittsburgh area school his senior year.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gronkowski sets pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2010 – 10:29 am

University of Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski only did the bench press at the NFL Combine to show his back was fully healthy after surgery. But he did not do anything else. Now he has set his pro day date to do all the other stuff.

Per his agent, Gronkowski will hold his pro day on March 27th in Tucson. The University of Arizona pro day will be March 12th.

“I just started running about two or three weeks ago,” Gronkowski said. “I need to get my conditioning back and get my times back down. Every single week my speed is improving so I think I need two or three more weeks until it improves to the fullest to where it was before my back surgery. So my doctors, agents and I decided it would be best for me to work out at the end of March.”

Gronkowski is considered one of the top two tight ends in the draft class and hails from Williamsville, New York.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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