Inside The Bills

Thurman: Tannehill has improved

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2016 – 10:07 am

The Bills seem to have Ryan Tannehill’s number. He has a 2-6 record against Buffalo in his career and a career passer rating of 76. But Buffalo’s defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman believes that the Dolphins signal caller has advanced his game this season.

“You can tell he’s improved,” said Thurman. “He seems much more confident in what they’re asking him to do. He’s throwing the ball with confidence. Seems to have a really good relationship with 14 (Jarvis Landry) and they have nice receivers outside with (Kenny) Stills and (DeVante) Parker. You know, we have a job to do on Sunday. It’s not going to be easy.”

The knock on Tannehill in his career has been his inability to hit the deep ball with consistency, but he’s been able to connect on a couple here and there through the first five weeks of the season.

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Peyton Manning helping Tannehill

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2016 – 8:12 am

It’s likely rooted in the relationship between Dolphins new head coach Adam Gase and the now retired Peyton Manning. Gase, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator in Denver a few years ago, is entering his first season as head coach in Miami. According to the Miami Herald it was Manning’s idea to come down and help Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill out with the Dolphins new offense.

“It was really cool,” Tannehill told the Herald. “A guy that had his career, the living legend he is, coming off a Super Bowl winning season —  it was really cool just to be able to sit and pick his brain about things he’s done in this offense and football things in general: snap counts, things you like, the way you want guys to run routes, little details about the game. We really just got to talk the game, which is something we both love.”

Whether Manning will pop in for other tutoring sessions is unclear. But it does only serve to reinforce how the Dolphins are doing everything they can to maximize Tannehill’s abilities as a quarterback.

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Tannehill still 0-fer at the Ralph

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2015 – 11:16 pm

Ryan Tannehill has had his share of struggles against the Bills in his four-year NFL career, but facing Buffalo on the road has been even more difficult. It’s why Ralph Wilson Stadium has become a house of horrors for the Dolphins QB.

Overall in eight games against the Bills, Tannehill has completed 58 percent of his passes, averages just 5.73 yards per attempt and has been sacked 27 times with a passer rating of just over 75. Most importantly he has a 2-6 record.

At the Ralph however, those numbers get worse. While his completion percentage holds at 58 percent, he averages 5.52 yards per attempt and 16 of the sacks have happened on Buffalo turf. And the capper is Tannehill is now 0-4 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

“I don’t know, I can’t say,” said Tannehill when asked why he and Miami have struggled against Buffalo in recent years. “I feel like offensively we move the football and play confidently. We didn’t score enough points, that’s what it comes down to. You have to be able to not just move the football but get the ball in the end zone. We weren’t able to do that today and I can’t think back to all of the games that we’ve had but we have to be able to score more points offensively.”

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Bills wary of Dolphins’ read option

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 11:31 am

If there’s one main area where the Dolphins are different on offense from the first time the Bills played them back in Week 2, it’s their increased use of QB Ryan Tannehill as a runner out of their read option plays. It has Buffalo’s defenders on alert to Tannehill tucking and running with the ball to the flanks.

“Tannehill has been playing really good,” said Nigel Bradham. “He’s been running the ball a lot more, that’s one of the main differences. When we played them last time he probably carried the ball once or twice, now he’s carrying it a lot more. They’ve got designed runs for him. We have to be ready for the quarterback runs, stick to the game plan we got, and come out there ready to play.”

Tannehill has the second-most carries on the team behind feature back Lamar Miller. He’s also averaging 7.25 yards per carry on the season.

“They’ve progressed with the spread offense now. You see more quarterback runs out of the quarterback. You see more plays getting on the perimeter and they’re really being productive,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “You have to play the full field against them now.”

The only thing that could compromise Tannehill’s proclivity to run is the fact that he’s nursing ankle and throwing shoulder injuries from last week’s game at Detroit. On a short week and facing a strong pass rushing team in Buffalo, Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor might be less apt to put extra hits on Tannehill in the read option game.

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Tannehill struggles vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2013 – 8:25 am

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill might be getting hot down the stretch, but his three career performances against the Bills have been anything but impressive.

Tannehill in three career starts against Buffalo has a 1-2 record. He’s completed just over 51 percent of his passes (51.1%) for 465 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also been sacked seven times in those three games and has a passer rating of 69.9. His yards per attempt against the Bills is also an anemic 5.17.

Back in Week 7 Tannehill had the lowest completion percentage of his 2013 season against Buffalo (51.4%). He threw three touchdown passes, but also had three turnovers with two interceptions and a fumble on a sack by Mario Williams that led to the game-winning field goal by Dan Carpenter for the Bills (23-21).

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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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Bills ‘D’ mixed it up

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2012 – 1:05 pm

Buffalo’s defense is often criticized for being too “vanilla,” but that wasn’t the case Thursday night.

“They did a good job of defending the run, mixing coverages up,” said Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill. “We were trying to guess some coverages and get some play calls that would mix it up, and it seemed like we never really hit on one that we were trying to get. So, they did a good job of mixing things up and it made it difficult for us to get the ball moving.

“They did a little bit of everything. They played corner-safeties, they brought a safety in the box. I wouldn’t say it was daring us to throw, but they wanted to defend the run. They did a good job of coming down late and making tackles close to the line of scrimmage.”

“It was not a good offensive performance,” said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. “We were 0-for-7, I believe, at one point on third down. We had no rhythm; we had nothing going on. We weren’t throwing the ball well, we weren’t running it well. They did a great job on defense and we didn’t execute well on offense.”

“It was pretty simple,” said Reggie Bush. “Couldn’t run the ball. We didn’t have much success running or throwing the ball, so when you can’t do either one, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Miami finished with 184 total net yards in the game.

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Moore not Tannehill at QB for Fins?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 21, 2012 – 3:20 pm

The Miami Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill eighth overall in last month’s NFL draft, but according to team owner Stephen Ross he’s expecting his veteran incumbent to start under center in 2012.

Ross told at the league’s spring meetings in Atlanta that Moore will probably be the starter come this fall.

“I don’t think they’re going to rush (Ryan Tannehill) into anything,” Ross said. “He’s going to have to win the starting job. I think Matt Moore will probably be the starter, and I wish him the best.”

It’s not exactly a shocking development. Moore showed he was very capable at times, especially against Buffalo’s defense. Two of his top three passer rating performances in his 12 starts in 2011 came against the Bills with ratings of 133.3 and 122.3 in the two meetings with Buffalo. Those were only trumped by a 147.5 rating in a win against the Chiefs. Here are his combined stats against the Bills in 2011.

Record: 2-0
Passing: 24-40 (60%) – 377 yards – 5 TDs – O Ints
Yards per attempt: 9.43
Pass plays of 25 yards or more: 5
Rating: 130.9

In all likelihood the team will not throw Tannehill to the wolves in his rookie season unless the Dolphins season goes up in flames in terms of wins and losses. If and when the team shows it can’t contend expect to see the Texas A&M product on the field.

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Kiper, Mayock: Tannehill needs time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2012 – 8:04 am

Despite all the hype about Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill’s so called rocketing draft stock, some of the more notable draft analysts aren’t sold on him coming and helping a team right away. Tannehill is making a pre-draft visit with the Bills today (Tuesday).

“I can see all the attributes of a (Jake) Locker in Tannehill,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. “He’s a big, strong kid that can push the ball down the field. He’s athletic. I like everything about him except for the fact that on tape, I think he stares his receivers down and waits for them to come up before he rips it. That’s typical of a young quarterback without a lot of starts. I look at him and say kind of like Jake Locker. He’s going to take a little it of time. It’s going to take a year or so.”

“I think there are some questions about Tannehill in terms of how quickly he’ll be able to play,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “I thought last year that Blaine Gabbert wasn’t going to be ready to play in an NFL offense, but that was based on the offense he ran at Missouri. With Tannehill its lack of experience. Against Oklahoma 50% comp pct., Kansas St. 58.7%, Texas 40.8% with 3 picks, 3 picks against Oklahoma, 3 picks against Oklahoma State 59.6%. So against those better teams he struggled. Versus ranked teams only 59.8% with 9 picks. He is spectacular in the red zone. 63.5% 18 TDs and one INT. You like the potential and talent. So he’ll go high.” 

If Tannehill is going to come off the board as high as the mock drafters have him forecast, the likelihood of him sitting a year are pretty remote. A quarterback draft in the top 15 picks is largely expected to come in and start right away.

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Fan Friday 4-13

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2012 – 3:44 pm

Happy Friday the 13th everyone. More of your draft questions from Let’s get to them.

1 – Hey Chris,

First off, I’d like to say hello from England and thanks for keeping me up to date on the Bills! It’s wonderful having such great coverage!

Anyway, my question is this: I was browsing the nfl website as I do when I came across a video of Sporting News writer Matt Hayes saying the Bills should really look into trading up to take QB Ryan Tannehill, a view apparently shared by the guys on the panel, due partly to Tannehill’s incredible talent and athleticism, but also partly due to Fitz’ 23 interceptions last year.

I was just wondering whether the Bills would consider something like this, or are they set on Fitz as their starter for the duration of the contract, also: can we expect Fitzpatrick’ interception total to drop in 2012?

Cheers from across the pond, Matt.

CB: Appreciate the kind sentiments. I think the Bills consider anything and everything, but Tannehill only had 20 starts in his college career at quarterback. To me that means he’ll need time to develop at the NFL level because he simply hasn’t had the time on the job in college to progress to the point to be ready for the NFL game.

The Bills made a long-term commitment to Ryan Fitzpatrick for a reason. They believe he can get them to the playoffs. That doesn’t remove them from drafting a quarterback. I’d just be surprised if they took one with their first pick at 10 in round one, which is the only place they’d have a chance at Tannehill.


2 – Hi Chris,

Great Job with all of the Mario Williams coverage, those were a nerve racking couple days. My question is about the receiver spot opposite Stevie, I am holding out hope Easley plays as well as I saw him in the one home preseason game he played in last year. That being said it doesn’t seem like something that is for certain and we really could still use that speed guy opposite Stevie. I haven’t heard anything of it but Lee Evans was released by Baltimore, his one really good quality was getting deep and catching the bomb. Is there any chance this would be something that could be explored to open the underneath stuff open more? 

Thanks, Go Bills!

CB: I think the receiver position will certainly be addressed, but it won’t be in the form of Lee Evans. Buffalo parted with him because although they appreciated his professionalism, they also felt his game was on the decline. The Bills ideally want to have a roster with a majority of players whose games are still on the ascent or peaking.

I have no doubt the Bills will draft a receiver, the question is when? In round one at 10, their best option will likely be Michael Floyd, assuming Justin Blackmon is gone. In round two there should be a host of options. I was hoping LSU’s Rueben Randle would be there for them at that point, but indications now are that some team might scoop him up late in the first. Fortunately the receiver depth is pretty deep this year in the draft and I think a capable player could still be had in round three (e.g. – A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick).


3 – Hi Chris, 

After reading the scouting reports on Stephen Hill it seems that he has everything the Bills are looking for in their number 2 receiver position. If available after the first round do you think the Bills may target a receiver like Hill, or pass on him because he is more of a potential rather than production prospect and lacks the of body of work which Buddy prefers?   

Love your Work


CB: I think Hill could be a possibility, but I believe Buffalo’s scouting department typically likes to see a bit more body of work. There’s no questioning Hill’s athletic ability and speed, but playing in that triple option offense at Georgia Tech hurt him.

He didn’t get a chance to really develop his game and that forces scouts to project more, something they don’t love doing.

Hill could be an option in round two for Buffalo at pick 41, but all it takes is one team to fall in love with Hill’s speed. Either way I’d prefer a player with a bit more of a resume like a Rueben Randle or Mohamed Sanu.


4 – Chris,

Now that the Bills have their pass rushing DE Mario Williams – do you think that they might be interested in the top linebacker in the draft, Luke Kuechly, for the no. 10 pick in round# 1?

I understand that Kuechly is considered more of an inside linebacker, but I also read that he played outside linebacker originally in college.

I hear rumors that the Bills are going to take an offensive tackle in round# 1 -or a wideout, but it seems to me that they still need more help on defense. They re-signed Derek Hagan @ WR, who played well for Buffalo at the end of last season. Not to mention Marcus Easley, who is supposed to be healthy now. There is more need on defense.

Lee D 

CB: I don’t disagree with you. In fact I like Kuechly a lot at 10 because I believe he’s very fitting of the value at that pick. In my estimation he’s a plug and play type player for your defense. I think he would be in direct competition with Kirk Morrison at strong side LB, a position he is more than capable of playing. I think his skill set is perfect for Dave Wannstedt’s defense, and there are no question marks on him, which seems to be the case with a lot of the offensive tackles projected in that range.

I’d like to see them grab an offensive tackle in round 2. Of course the danger with that is on average five offensive tackles are taken in the first round because it’s such an important position. What you expect to be available in the second round often isn’t. So it’s a tough spot for Buffalo, but I can’t see how Kuechly isn’t in that 10-15th overall pick range on every team’s board. That’s why he makes sense to me.

5 – Hi Chris:

With the Mario Williams signing, and with Fred Jackson’s potential extension later this summer, will there be money to lock down next year’s free agents in advance?  I’m thinking about Byrd, Levitre, Urbik, and Rinehart in particular.  I’m wondering if the Bills are holding off on spending more now (for available free agent wide receivers, etc) in order to leave money for re-signing some or all of next year’s free agent crop prior to the end of next season. 

Best wishes,
Paul in Beijing

CB: Good to hear from Bills fans in China! Wow. Anyway, the Bills are always fiscally responsible when it comes to handing out contracts. Williams cap figure next year granted is almost $12M, but for players like Byrd and the three linemen you listed they don’t play at high-priced positions so their cap figures on long term deals should be manageable.

Fred Jackson’s extension I’m not expecting to be cost prohibitive concerning future contracts either.

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Report: Tannehill to visit Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2012 – 9:12 am’s Peter King in listing Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill’s pre-draft visits thus far also has where he’ll be headed in the next week and Buffalo is on the list.

Peter King Hmmmm. Ryan Tannehill had private workout with Chiefs, then visited KC. He’ll be in Cleve Sun-Mon, then Buff. Plot thickens.

Bills GM Buddy Nix told us last week they’ll consider anything and everything at pick 10. Knowing how inflated Tannehill’s draft stock has been the past month it seems doubtful he’ll even be on the board when Buffalo is on the clock. Still, this is why teams like Buffalo do their due diligence on a prospect like this. You just never know how the board is going to fall.

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QB Tannehill update

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2012 – 3:22 pm

Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill won’t be participating in drills at the Combine due to a broken foot, but he’s optimistic about his outlook after surgery.

Tannehill has a screw surgically implanted in his foot by renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, NC. He’s the same doctor that both Kyle Williams and former Bills DE Aaron Schobel consulted for their foot and heel problems.

“It happened during training,” Tannehill said. “I was rolling out and I went to plant and throw and just felt a pop in my foot. Looking back the doctors believe that I probably had a stress fracture in the foot already and it was just a ticking time bomb.”

Tannehill recently got married and had to use crutches to get down the aisle.

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WR Fuller won’t run until late March

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2012 – 1:24 pm

Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller is one of the handful of big-bodied receivers in this year’s draft class. A lot of the bigger wideouts are hoping to run fast 40 times to improve their stock and separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Fuller however, won’t get that chance this weekend.

“Unfortunately I got a stress fracture in my foot during the Senior Bowl, so I’m not going to be participating in anything until March 25th at my pro day. The normal one is on the 7th, but (Ryan) Tannehill had the (foot) injury as well so we’re both going to be working out on the 25th.” 

Fuller is referring to his teammate and quarterback Ryan Tannehill whose foot injury held him out of the Senior Bowl. Fuller had some nagging injuries during his college career, so the stress fracture certainly doesn’t help his cause.

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