Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2013 – 3:49 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone laid out the practice participation for Wednesday with the injury report. Here’s the rundown.

Did not practice
WR Marquise Goodwin – hamstring
WR Robert Woods – ankle
DT Kyle Williams – Achilles

Full practice
QB EJ Manuel – knee
QB Thad Lewis – ribs


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Lewis second man thru

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2013 – 12:12 pm

While EJ Manuel was the first man through in the rotation at quarterback in practice today he had someone different backing him up since he was last practicing.

Thad Lewis was the second man through in the rotation at quarterback as it appears he’ll be good to serve as Manuel’s backup Sunday.

When Manuel was last in the lineup his backup was Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis was on the practice squad.


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Report: Tuel to start at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 8:21 am

It won’t be official until the inactive list is announced around 11:30, but there are reports already that undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel will make his first NFL start for the Bills today against the undefeated Chiefs.

That according to CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora.

We’ll provide the official announcement when it’s made right here later this morning.


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Managing QB practice week not easy

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 2:57 pm

It would be hard to argue that another NFL head coach has had a tougher go of it at their quarterback position than Doug Marrone. Kevin Kolb never played a regular season down, EJ Manuel has missed each of the last three games with a knee injury and Thad Lewis, who started those last three is doubtful for Sunday and barely practiced this week. Lewis’ sore ribs made for some interesting juggling through the course of the practice week at quarterback.

“It was a great challenge, especially when you start the game planning situation,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “We’re fortunate that a lot of our quarterbacks can do some of the same things. We’re able to put the game plan together. That’s the main thing we’re looking at and then really seeing who is the best available quarterback for us who can help us win.”

Not only do the coaches have to adjust, but the 10 other players on offense when there’s quarterback juggling. Marrone explained the message he delivered to the rest of the offense.

“They do have to adjust with the snap count, but as far as the receivers we’ve always done a good job in individual (position drills) that all our quarterbacks work with all of our receivers, so that’s not a big issue,” he said. “Then it’s just the snap count and getting used to the quarterback and their snap counts. But really what we try to do is during the week with the game plan is just have those other 10 players focus in on their job.”


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Bills final injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 1:54 pm

By now everyone knows that QB Thad Lewis, who has started each of the last three games, is doubtful for Sunday with sore ribs. Here is the rest of the status designations for the players on the injury list this week.

OUT
QB EJ Manuel – knee

DOUBTFUL
QB Thad Lewis – ribs

QUESTIONABLE
WR Chris Hogan – back

PROBABLE
WR Stevie Johnson – hip flexor
RB Fred Jackson – knee
RB C.J. Spiller – ankle
G Kraig Urbik – knee
DT Kyle Williams – Achilles
WR Marquise Goodwin – elbow
DE Mario Williams – hip
OLB Manny Lawson – hamstring
CB Brandon Smith – illness


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Thad Lewis participating in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 10:58 am

It took all week, but Bills QB Thad Lewis is participating in practice here at 1 Bills Drive Friday.

How Lewis performs in practice today will go a long way in helping Doug Marrone and his offensive staff decide who will start at quarterback Sunday against the Chiefs.

Lewis has been dealing with sore ribs suffered in last week’s game at New Orleans.


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What if Lewis can practice Friday?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2013 – 1:01 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked on Wednesday about what kind of decision he might make concerning his quarterback situation if Thad Lewis only practices on Friday this week. With Lewis not practicing again here on Thursday, Marrone’s answer is an interesting one. Here’s what he said.

“I guess it would depend how he practiced on that Friday,” said Marrone. “Each player is different and that’s not discounting Jeff (Tuel) and Matt Flynn. With those guys putting the work in, those two guys were told to prepare like they’re going to start this game. And we’re preparing Thad mentally and then we’ve just got make sure physically he can play.”

So it sounds like even if Lewis manages to practice on Friday, how he performs in that practice will determine if he’s a legitimate option to start and play on Sunday.

 


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Thad Lewis not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2013 – 11:46 am

Bills QB Thad Lewis is not practicing for a second straight day.

Head coach Doug Marone had hoped that Lewis would be able to practice on Thursday saying he had a 50-50 chance, but his sore ribs look like they’ll keep him sidelined for another day.


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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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Bills injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 3:58 pm

Thad Lewis did not take part in practice Wednesday. Neither did Fred Jackson or Stevie Johnson. Here’s the Bills full Wednesday injury report with practice participation.

Did not practice
QB Thad Lewis – ribs
WR Stevie Johnson – hip flexor
RB Fred Jackson – knee
DT Kyle Williams – Achilles

Limited in practice
RB C.J. Spiller – ankle
QB EJ Manuel – knee
WR Marquise Goodwin – elbow
LB Manny Lawson – hamstring
G Kraig Urbik – knee


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More QB shuffling, Lewis not working

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 11:42 am

Thad Lewis finished Sunday’s game after taking a licking in the loss to the Saints. All those body shots however, have had a cumulative effect as he’s not practicing here on Wednesday.

Rookie QB Jeff Tuel is working with the starters on offense here in practice Wednesday.

In other developments EJ Manuel is dressed for practice, but not expected to be an option Sunday against the Chiefs. That would make Matt Flynn the backup to Tuel if Lewis is not healthy enough to be available.

We’ll get the full lowdown from Coach Marrone post practice.


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Lewis comes back from big hits

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2013 – 10:06 pm

It happened on the first play from scrimmage for Thad Lewis. On a read option keeper following Fred Jackson through the hole, Lewis was broadsided by Saints LB David Hawthorne, who drove the crown of his helmet directly into Lewis right side, leaving Lewis on the turf with the wind knocked out of him.

Lewis never even saw who hit him.

“No, I didn’t and he got a good shot on me, hats off to him whoever that was, I don’t even know, but he got a good shot on me.”

At the same time he had no intention of leaving the game.

“No doubt in my mind I was getting back in the game,” said Lewis. “I was going to go back in the game. I just had to catch my breath. I got the wind knocked out of me a little bit. I was fine and I told the doctor, ‘I’m good so you don’t have to worry about me because I’m definitely going back in.’”

“It just shows toughness,” said Stevie Johnson. “He was tough, because I know he was hurting.  Tashard, I know he was hurting out there. A lot of guys were hurting.  It’s just tough and we’ve got to be able to overcome this stuff.”


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Chemistry still building with Stevie & Lewis

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2013 – 11:40 am

They’re a week behind everyone else after Stevie Johnson missed a full week of practice and the Cincinnati game due to a death in his family and a lower back injury. But after a full week of practice last week and Thad Lewis able to hit his top wideout for a few key third down conversions last week, Johnson and Lewis feel they’re on the right track to being in sync with one another in the passing game.

“It’ll come when it does,” said Johnson, who recognizes it’s a process when working with a new QB. “I can’t say we would do too much changing because we got the win and were pretty successful (last week) so I don’t want to overdo anything. But just be where I’m supposed to be and make sure I’ve got enough space from the defender so he can put it in there.”

“When he’s out here making moves, running routes, once you get the timing with somebody on the field, it’s different than just throwing the ball,” said Lewis. “Now, we got a little game experience. Now we have the opportunity to watch film together and talk about some things—it will get better as we go.”

Lewis and Johnson watched extra film together this week to make sure they’re on the same wavelength in the passing game. Lewis targeted Johnson on five of his 13 third down pass attempts last week. Johnson converted three of those into a first down.


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Bills prepped for Superdome noise

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2013 – 10:33 am

Having coached there as an offensive coordinator for three seasons, Doug Marrone knows all too well how distracting the crowd noise can be when it’s trapped inside the New Orleans Superdome. He’s been pumping artificial crowd noise onto the practice field inside the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse all week and the players on offense feel prepared.

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has been drilling the players with hand signals and silent counts all week.

“If anyone has been in New Orleans, everyone knows it gets loud,” said Thad Lewis. “But we do a great job and I think we got the signals and the silent counts and things like that down pat. That’s what you work on—you try to limit your voice as much as possible. But we’ll be fine.”

“I think we’ll be okay,” said Stevie Johnson. “It’s going to be big on Thad and myself because when I’m in the slot I have to communicate with the guys on the outside. I think we’ll be okay because coach Hackett didn’t put in too many wild plays. So this whole week of practice should be helpful for us when we go down to the New Orleans.”


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Lewis settling in at quarterback

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2013 – 8:23 am

Bills QB Thad Lewis is preparing to make his third straight start this week for the Bills. After being quickly thrust into the role on the heels of EJ Manuel’s knee injury, Lewis feels like he’s finally settling into the role.

“Very comfortable,” said Lewis. “Every day is routine now. You’re going out and throwing with the guys, you even talk about things that you see that they might not see, to try to get on the same page. So it’s becoming routine and it’s becoming a habit, and we’re jelling together.”

Lewis even planned to watch extra film with top wideout Stevie Johnson to improve the on field communication that showed promise last week. Johnson had six catches for 61 yards last week including a couple of key third down conversions.

Johnson was particularly impressed with Lewis’ anticipation on the 3rd-and-11 play he converted to Johnson when he took the shot that knocked his helmet off.

“I don’t know if he played receiver or not, but he kind of knows like what we’re looking at,” said Johnson. “There was one play, the one he got hit, he knew exactly where I was supposed to be, how the ball was should’ve been and I guess it’s just a feel that he has. It’s just a natural thing he has.”

 


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Bills feeding off Fred’s resilience

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 1:47 pm

We already had it covered for you this morning on Buffalobills.com, but Fred Jackson’s teammates were still talking about his freakish ability to come back from twice tweaking his sprained MCL and play an instrumental role in the victory.

Here’s what some of his teammates said Jackson gutting it out meant to them.

Thad Lewis – “A level of toughness that a lot of us can’t describe or know how tough this guy is. He’s so relentless in his pursuit of excellence that it’s ridiculous. So it kind of feeds all of us on the offense. We feed off of him. We saw the things he did yesterday. He kind of brings and extra energy to the offense.”

“It’s crazy. It shows me that nothing is impossible. He told me that he sprained his MCL and then said, ‘Don’t worry about it I’ll be out for the next series.’ When you’ve got a guy like that behind you you’re about as comfortable as you can be.”

Stevie Johnson – “Fred’s a beast. I told him he’s a legend. I don’t care what happens in the next nine games. If he doesn’t get another yard, the dude is a legend. Coming back from these injuries, the knee injury with his leg and just seeing him come back in there and score the touchdown and continuously play, I think he got injured again in the game and still stayed in. It’s the love that he has for the game. I told him I looked up to him and I’m happy to be on his team.”

Aaron Williams – “It lets me know that I have guys next to me who are willing to fight, willing to put their body on the line, and just go out there and get a ‘W’ for the team.  A guy with courage and a lot of heart, that’s one thing I know about Fred, he has a lot of heart. He’s come a long way, he’s worked hard to get where he’s at.  To see something like that happen, and for him to go back out there and score a touchdown. It’s huge.”

Eric Wood – “That pretty much just solidified what I think of Fred as a player and a person.  Just a great guy, great teammate, willing to put his body on the line for the good of the team. That’s how you stick around a franchise for a
long time.  We’re not giving up Fred for anybody, for anything.  He’s a guy that we want around and he shows that week in and week out.”

And finally Fred’s stance on why he feels compelled to come back time and time again.

“What better way to (lead),” said Jackson. “If you want guys to step up and make plays for you, you have to make them yourself. That’s just what I try and do. I love this team and love to be part of this team, and the way to show that is to be out there with those guys competing with them. That’s what I tried to get done yesterday and I’ll continue to try and do so.”


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Lewis on when & why he throws short of sticks

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 1:34 pm

There were a few occasions where Thad Lewis threw to receiving targets, who were short of the first down marker on some third down plays. Buffalo on some of those occasions was unable to convert for a fresh set of downs. But Lewis better explains why he chose at times to go to targets short of the markers.

“It’s something where I have to go there when there’s nothing else available past the sticks,” Lewis told Buffalobills.com. “When it’s third down and all the defensive backs are dropping back you don’t want to try to force the ball in there. If I do that then I’m going to have a turnover. It’s better to punt and get field position than a turnover.

“You never know. If I throw a screen or if I throw underneath and one guy misses a tackle that could be a first down. It’s pretty much taking what the defense gives me. I have reads downfield, but if they’re covered I have to take what the defense gives me, live to see another day and guys on that (checkdown) play hopefully we can get it to them the next series.”

The Bills were a very respectable 9-for-19 on their conversions in Sunday’s win (47%).


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Lewis & Stevie lay some groundwork

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 9:40 am

Stevie Johnson’s stat line may not look all that impressive. He’s had more impressive statistical games than six catches for 61 yards, but three of those six receptions went for third down conversions.

He converted a 3rd-and-2 early in the game with a 14-yard catch.

But his two most impressive came on a drive where Buffalo had to have points after going down 21-17 midway through the third quarter.

Johnson converted a 3rd-and-7 with a tough seven-yard grab. Then three plays later Thad Lewis went back to Johnson, who made a short reception and picked up the remaining yards needed on a 3rd-and-11 with a nifty spin move to get away from a tackler and convert.

Johnson feels he and Lewis took a good first step in their first game together after the wideout missed last week’s game with a lower back injury.

“Yeah, for the most part,” said Johnson. “I feel like we can only get better.  There were still some that we left out there.  There was one that I left out there. There’s room for improvement, I feel like there’s room for improvement and we’re ready to rock.”


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Welcome change: Bills convert 3rd & longs

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 9:07 am

It wasn’t a perfect game on offense by any means. Yards were hard to come by on first and second down, but Buffalo was a respectable 9-for-19 on third downs for a conversion rate of 47 percent. That’s almost 15 percent above their season average (33.3%). Here’s why there success rate was higher Sunday.

Part of the reason was Buffalo’s ability to convert on some third and longs in the game. In fact four of Buffalo’s nine third down conversions were third and longs. Bills center Eric Wood gave a ton of credit to QB Thad Lewis.

“He did a great job again,” said Wood. “Composed, poised, made some plays in key situations. We were so bad on third and long coming into this game and he really made some plays on third and long, which was great.”

Lewis hit Fred Jackson early and he converted a 3rd-and-15 with a 21-yard catch and run on the team’s first series.

T.J. Graham converted a 3rd-and-17 with a 30-yard catch in the second quarter from Lewis.

Stevie Johnson converted a 3rd-and-7 with a seven-yard catch, then followed up with a conversion  of a 3rd-and-11 with an impressive spin move to elude a would be tackler to gain the extra necessary yards to move the sticks.

Scott Chandler converted a 3rd-and-9 with a 12-yard catch.

“It’s just a situation where we need to make plays,” said Johnson. “We’ve been pretty average on third downs. I don’t know if that play was on third down, but I feel like we’ve been pretty average.  We should be way better on third downs and I feel like I should be way better on third downs for the team.  Basically, we have to get back to the basics and working.”

Though it was only a 3rd-and-medium situation, Fred Jackson had the biggest third down conversion of the game when he ripped a run off right tackle on 3rd-and-4 for 10 yards with 2:37 left in the game.

Nevertheless seeing the Bills overcome long down and distance instead of the opposition was a welcome change.

“We had a lot of passes in the game plan this week, that’s a stout front,” said Wood. “We want to be an offense that’s not predictable. We’re trying to break some of our tendencies that we’ve built. We kind of threw out a bunch of different personnel groups. We gave them a bunch of different looks and we thought we had a lot of good matchups in the passing game. Obviously, when we got the runs called, we would have liked to have been more effective.  But we did throw the ball well at times and that was part of our game plan.”


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Lewis earning some praise from opponents

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 8:25 am

It’s clear that Thad Lewis’ teammates have faith in him to get the job done and stay poised in the pressure-packed moments. But even some of his opponents had to tip their hat to the former undrafted QB.

“I see a guy who won a football game as a quarterback,” said Miami CB Dimitri Patterson of Lewis. “He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but what it is you look at what he’s put on tape (Sunday). Look at what he put on tape last week. You have to salute him, acknowledge him and say, ‘Look the guy knows how to win a football game.’

“He’s not going to give away a game. He’s going to make the throws he needs to make. That’s what he did today.  You have to salute him. I thought he played well, simple as that.”

Lewis was 21-32 for 202 yards and an interception, but in the second half he was 9-12 passing and the Bills converted 5-of-10 third downs in the third and fourth quarters.


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