Inside The Bills

Several defenders missing

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2012 – 2:14 pm

The defense is missing a few players in practice today.

While Mark Anderson is back practicing there are several sidelined or absent.

Here’s the rundown.

Marcell Dareus
Spencer Johnson
Kyle Williams
Jairus Byrd
Nick Barnett
Leodis McKelvin

The only offensive player not participating is Eric Wood.

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Carrington’s anticipation a credit to vets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 9:30 am

In our feature story on Alex Carrington’s improved play of late on the home page at, we covered several ways in which he has enhanced his game. While he has certainly been the beneficiary of good coaching in his time with the Bills, he also credits the veteran defensive linemen in his positional meeting room for expanding his knowledge of the game.

“My football knowledge and my chemistry with the guys I’m working with has boosted my play tremendously,” Carrington told “I’ve learned a lot from these guys just by sitting and watching film, talking to them and asking questions.”

Just listening to Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson interacting with the coaches in the meeting rooms has helped Carrington know what to expect against specific opponents and even specific players out on the field.

“It’s not one specific piece of advice. It’s kind of collective,” he said. “I’m very observant and I see the way these guys watch film. I see the kinds of questions they ask and it gives me a different perspective on how to approach my opponent.

“They’ll ask questions that I wouldn’t think of and they’re veterans so they’ve played a lot of these opponents multiple times. So they already have a bead on what kind of player he is and what he’ll do in certain situations. It’s unbelievable. That’s what makes them great players and shows you that they put the time in with film study and the advantage of experience. You can’t teach that stuff.”

Whether Carrington knows it or not, they’re teaching it to him.

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Spencer under the weather

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2012 – 4:15 pm

Bills DL Spencer Johnson did not make it out to practice Thursday, but it has nothing to do with his nagging ankle injury.

“He did not come out today,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He’s sick.”

Johnson’s availability is important knowing Mark Anderson is out and Chris Kelsay is not expected to play either on Sunday.

“Our ace in the hole fortunately is Spencer Johnson, who can go out there (to defensive end) and play if we need him to,” said Gailey earlier in the week when asked about being with Anderson and Kelsay. “He’s got that ability to go out there and play inside or outside.”

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3 defenders not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2012 – 2:16 pm

The Bills have 3 defenders not practicing including a new non-participant.

Mark Anderson and Chris Kelsay are not practicing for a second straight day. Joining them on the sidelines is Spencer Johnson.

We’ll get an update post practice from Chan Gailey.

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3 Bills questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2012 – 12:20 pm

Three Bills are listed as questionable for Sunday.

Corey McIntyre, Brad Smith and Spencer Johnson all practiced Thursday and Friday and are expected to play on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Kyle Williams is listed as probable with a host of other players.

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Smith, Spencer limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2012 – 5:00 pm

They returned to practice Wednesday after being held out of Monday’s workout, but Brad Smith and Spencer Johnson were not full go.

Smith (hamstring) and Johnson (ankle) were both limited participants in practice. The hope is they do more on Thursday and Friday heading into Sunday’s game. Here’s Buffalo’s full injury report.

Did not practice
CB Ron Brooks – teeth
CB Aaron Williams – knee
DE Mark Anderson – knee
DT Kyle Williams – ankle

Limited in practice
DL Spencer Johnson – ankle
WR Brad Smith – hamstring

Full practice
RB Fred Jackson – concussion
S Da’Norris Searcy – hand
RB C.J. Spiller – shoulder
DE Chris Kelsay – neck
DE Mario Williams – wrist, ankle
C Eric Wood – knee
S Jairus Byrd – back
DE Shawne Merriman – groin
LB Kelvin Sheppard – back
G Andy Levitre – knee
DT Marcell Dareus – shoulder
OT Chris Hairston – knee
CB Leodis McKelvin – groin
CB Justin Rogers – hamstring

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B. Smith, Spencer get rest day

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2012 – 4:29 pm

Brad Smith and Spencer Johnson both did not practice Monday, but with both of them nicked up the coaching staff chose to give both of them a rest day.

“He’ll be fine,” said head coach Chan Gailey of Smith. “He just sat out today. He’ll be fine Wednesday I think. That’s what I understood.”

Smith is dealing with a sore hamstring.

As for Spencer Johnson he too was given a rest day for some assorted ailments he’s been dealing with. He too will return to the practice setting Wednesday. “We rested him today. He’s got multiple things, he’s just kind of beat up, so we rested him today. He’ll be back Wednesday.”

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A. Williams, Spencer not in attendance

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2012 – 2:19 pm

Three Bills players were not in attendance at Monday’s practice during the media viewing portion.

Aaron Williams, Mark Anderson and Spencer Johnson were not on hand. Williams has been out with a knee injury. Johnson has an ankle problem, but played last week.

Anderson is still out with a knee injury.

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Spence to fill dual role?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2012 – 9:20 am

One of Spencer Johnson’s greatest attributes is his versatility as he’s able to play both defensive tackle and defensive end in Buffalo’s 4-3. With Chris Kelsay questionable and Shawne Merriman not 100 percent healthy, Johnson could be called upon to spend more time at defensive end against the Patriots today.

“The ace in the hole for us is Spencer Johnson,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He’s been able to play defensive end. He played it last year. He can go out there and play there if we need him to. That’s kind of our ace in the hole for the defensive line and defensive end position specifically.”

If Kelsay can’t play, Buffalo would only have three defensive ends in Kyle Moore, Shawne Merriman and Mario Williams. Johnson would give them a fourth option to rotate.

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Spencer, Urbik still limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2012 – 4:49 pm

DT Kyle Williams and WR Stevie Johnson weren’t the only limited participants in practice Thursday.

For the second straight day DL Spencer Johnson (ankle) and G Kraig Urbik (foot) were limited in practice. Head coach Chan Gailey however, doesn’t sound concerned about the availability of either player for Sunday’s game at New England.

“They were limited today, but performed well,” said Gailey following Thursday’s practice.

Also limited in practice Thursday was DE Shawne Merriman with a chest injury. He was a new addition to the injury report along with Chris Kelsay and his neck injury.

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Spencer, Urbik limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2012 – 4:21 pm

Two Bills players were limited in practice Wednesday.

DL Spencer Johnson (ankle) and OL Kraig Urbik (foot) were both limited. Johnson has been dealing with a sore ankle and didn’t take all the reps. Urbik is coming off his first game since returning from his high ankle sprain and likely has some lingering soreness after going the whole way against the Texans last Sunday.

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Kyle, Spencer questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2012 – 1:02 pm

Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson were two of the four players listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Titans.

Both are expected to play on Sunday. Terrence McGee (knee), who was limited in practice Friday is also questionable as well as S Da’Norris Searcy, who was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday with an ankle injury.

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Fan Friday 10-19

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2012 – 12:54 pm

Here are your questions for this week from and @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,

I really want to like our CB’s, but can you explain why they are both getting burned on numerous plays, and at times they look like they’re not sure where they are supposed to be on the field? Specifically I have seen Stephon Gilmore on TD passes nowhere near the receiver. 

Thank you,
Worried Bills D-Fan
Norwalk, CT

CB: I think what you’re seeing are growing pains with the two young cornerbacks. They’re learning on the job. I think the defensive staff also felt going into the season that the pass rush would be more consistent week to week thereby helping the young corners on the back end by hurrying the passer.

Gilmore and Williams have both been fooled more than once this season, but coaches have to have faith that their play will improve as the year moves along. Gilmore had a good outing against Larry Fitzgerald. As we pointed out in our Tuesday feature, in the five times he was matched up on Fitzgerald in last week’s game he gave up one reception for 14 yards.

I think the second half of the schedule you’ll begin to see more consistent play from both of them, and if that’s not the case some changes are likely to be in order.


2 – Hi  Chris

Please advise when we can expect Cordy Glenn, Spencer Johnson, & Kraig Urbik

to return to the lineup? 

Thanks and regards
Boca Raton, FL

CB: Right now Spencer Johnson is expected to play on Sunday against the Titans coming off his ankle injury. The hope is that Kraig Urbik and Cordy Glenn will be ready for the Week 9 game at Houston following the bye week.


3 – Chris,

Do you really understand the frustration from the fans? It’s been 12 years since we sniffed the playoffs. I wonder when they will replace the GM and HC position. Also, this team is not difficult to pick apart. We have no deep threat receiver so we dink and dunk down the field. It’s just a matter of time before we throw a pick because of timed offense. All the defense has to do is slow our run game and have Fitz hold onto the ball because it’s a matter of time before Fitz makes a mistake. Just watching the games it’s like Buffalo is a step or two behind on mentality, confidence, and being aggressive. I still think Buffalo is maybe 3-5 years from becoming great again but I’m not holding my breath.

CB: I do understand your frustration. I’ve been on hand for every one of those games the last 12 years, so I get it. What you can’t deny is Buddy Nix and his personnel staff have improved the talent of this roster and its depth. I know having patience is something that’s difficult to preach, but if you want to blow up the front office again you re-start the process  of building the team because each GM has a different way of doing things when it comes to building a team.

The Bills did admittedly struggle with their mental toughness in the second half of the New England and San Francisco games, but I don’t know of a game where their mental toughness was challenged more often than the Arizona game and they persevered. We’ll if they can build on that moving forward.

Every NFL club has strengths and weaknesses. The collective records in the AFC with seven teams sporting 3-3 records is strong indication of that, one of which is the Bills.

No one is asking you to hold your breath and again the disappointment is understood. But this team has an opportunity this year and we’re about at the midway point of the season. Let’s let it play out.

4 – Is there a chance that we are bringing back lights out for our SLB position that has been rotated by players who couldn’t lock down the job?

Thanks CB!
Dan Figueroa from CA

CB: No, Merriman will re-assume defensive end duties for the Bills. Merriman needs to be up on the line of scrimmage to be at his most effective.


5 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering, do the bills players receive mail from fans and reply to them?  I was wondering because after last year’s win against the Patriots, Byrd threw his gloves into the stands and I was lucky enough to catch one of them.  I took it to training camp this year but was not able to get to him.  Is there any other way I might be able to get his signature?  I have a few pieces of memorabilia that I have been able to get signed and really would like to add this piece to my collection. 
Thanks for all you and your team do for us Bills fans!

CB: The best course of action there is to send them by regular mail to One Bills Drive addressed to the player’s attention along with a self-addressed stamped envelope for return postage. The best time is during the regular season when you know they’re here in town.

Here’s the address

One Bills Drive
Orchard Park, NY 14127

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Spence makes progress

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2012 – 4:05 pm

Bills DL Spencer Johnson did considerably more in practice Thursday than he did in his first day back to work Wednesday, leaving head coach Chan Gailey encouraged about the defensive lineman’s chances for being available for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

“Spencer looked good,” said Gailey. “He practiced today and took a lot of reps. It was good progress.”

Johnson was still listed as limited in practice Thursday. He’s missed the past two games with an ankle injury.

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Urbik and Johnson limited

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2012 – 4:40 pm

Bills RG Kraig Urbik and DL Spencer Johnson are both looking to get off the team’s injury report and back on the field this week following a two-week layoff for ankle injuries. Both practiced Wednesday.

Johnson and Urbik were both limited in practice. Urbik commented on the extent of work he got Wednesday.

“Just individual today and hopefully do individual and team periods tomorrow and we’ll see where it goes after that,” Urbik told

Urbik and Johnson both stayed back in Buffalo while the team was in Arizona all last week doing conditioning and rehab work with their ankles. 

“I felt every day it got better and better,” said Urbik. “The strength got back to it and I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel it’s gotten better every day.”

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Spencer and Urbik practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2012 – 2:24 pm

Spencer Johnson and Kraig Urbik have both returned to practice after a two week absence.

Johnson and Urbik appear to be limited. We’ll have their official participation after practice later this afternoon.

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Byrd back, Johnson still absent

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2012 – 2:13 pm

Jairus Byrd is back practicing, but Spencer Johnson is missing a second straight day of practice. Byrd appears to be limited, but we’ll get an official report after practice. Here are the non-participants for Thursday’s practice.

DL Spencer Johnson
OL Kraig Urbik
OL Cordy Glenn

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4 sitting for Wed practice

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2012 – 2:11 pm

Here are the four players not participating in Wednesdays practice.

Jairus Byrd
Spencer Johnson
Cordy Glenn
Kraig Urbik

We’ll get an update on what’s ailing Johnson after practice.

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Spencer glad to see former teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2012 – 8:05 am

Tarvaris Jackson did see one familiar face in Buffalo’s locker room upon his arrival. Former Minnesota teammate Spencer Johnson spent two years with him on the Vikings squad. Johnson believes Jackson is a good add.

“He’s elusive. He’s a great athlete,” Johnson told “He’s got a great arm. He’s going to be a good addition to the team. He can extend the plays with his legs. Don’t ask me how far he can throw the ball with the zip he has on it.”

Johnson was Jackson’s teammate for the quarterback’s first two seasons in the league, including the 2007 season when Jackson was named the starting quarterback and went 8-4 in 12 starts that year.

“He was a young buck then,” said Johnson. “He did a great job for us. Just looking at his record he can win some games. He can help us. He’s a smart quarterback. He did a great job when he was there. I know he’ll be good here.”

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How I-R for Troup helps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2012 – 3:20 pm

Torell Troup legitimately had to go the route of injured reserve. He just wasn’t going to be able to help this defense in time coming off of back surgery. Troup’s removal from the roster equation also helps in another way.

It stashes a young, capable defensive tackle on their roster. Granted he has to prove he can make it all the way back, but knowing that Spencer Johnson is in the final year of his contract and Dwan Edwards is only signed through the 2013 season, there will be a need to get younger depth behind starters Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. That figures to be Troup and Alex Carrington, who could be the fifth defensive tackle kept on the 53-man roster if the numbers fall right.

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