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Bills Beat Blog



By Joe Buscaglia
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Report: Bills' Ryan to attempt to rope in FA to be Revis

Old habits die hard in the National Football League, and that can certainly be applied to Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan and his defensive philosophies. Ryan is known for packing the pressure at opposing offenses, which leads his defense to depend heavily on positive play from its cornerbacks.

The Bills already have an up-and-coming cornerback in Stephon Gilmore, but one report indicates the new Bills head coach isn't satisfied with just him. Ryan is looking for a high-profile reunion for his brand new defense in Buffalo.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Bills head coach will attempt to lure cornerback Darrelle Revis to Buffalo this offseason. Revis, currently on the New England Patriots, is set to become an unrestricted free agent with the start of the new league year in March.

In the same report, the New York Jets are said to be interested in trying to sign the All-Pro cornerback as well. Revis, 29, had 47 tackles and two intereceptions in 16 starts for the Patriots this season. He signed a one-year contract worth $12 million in the offseason with New England.

The Patriots do have a team option on Revis that they must exercise by the end of the league year in March. If they choose to do so, Revis would be owed a $12.5 million roster bonus and carry a base salary of $7.5 million. Those two, combined with the $5 million prorated signing bonus from the previous year would push Revis' cap number up to $25 million for 2015.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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People : Adam SchefterDarrelle RevisRex Ryan




 

Draft names to watch: HB Karlos Williams

Each week on WGR550.com, a position will be featured with a handful of names to ponder as that week progresses. By the time the 2015 NFL Draft comes around in May, followers of the series will have an enhanced look at some of the players the Buffalo Bills may be interested in.

This week the spotlight is on the running backs, and if one is picked by the Bills, they could play a fairly prominent role for the team in 2015. Today’s pick is one with not a ton of experience, but a lot of ability that flashes from time to time.

Karlos Williams, Florida State

Age: 21

Height: 6010

Weight: 226

Stats
2014: 12 games, 150 attempts, 689 yards (4.59 YPC), 11 TD
2013: 14 games, 91 attempts, 730 yards (8.02 YPC), 11 TD
2012: Played Defensive Back
2011: Played Defensive Back

Where he may project: Late Day 2 - Early Day 3 (Rounds 3-5)

The lowdown
- If an NFL team is looking for an explosive runner to mold into the player that they want, they need to look no further than Karlos Williams. First entering college as a defensive back, Florida State elected to switch Williams to the offensive side of the ball and got big results very early on. Williams has a fantastic balance of size and strength, and top-end speed for his frame. He still appears to play with the mentality of a defender, always looking for more on each of his runs which makes it tough to bring him down. At this point in his career, Williams has an upright running style and is still learning the tricks of the trade as a high-level running back. If given the right teaching, he could be a very good player in the NFL. Teams will likely need to be patient at the start of his career, though.

Previous Installments:
HB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
HB Mike Davis, South Carolina
HB Josh Robinson, Mississippi State

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photos courtesy of The Associated Press
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Draft names to watch: HB Josh Robinson

Each week on WGR550.com, a position will be featured with a handful of names to ponder as that week progresses. By the time the 2015 NFL Draft comes around in May, followers of the series will have an enhanced look at some of the players the Buffalo Bills may be interested in.

This week the spotlight is on the running backs, and if one is picked by the Bills, they could play a fairly prominent role for the team in 2015. Today’s pick is a runner small in stature, but with impressive skills nonetheless.

Josh Robinson, Mississippi State

Age: 22

Height: 5090

Weight: 215

Stats
2014: 13 games, 190 attempts, 1,203 yards (6.33 YPC), 11 TD
2013: 13 games, 78 attempts, 459 yards, (5.88 YPC), 3 TD
2012: 12 games, 55 attempts, 335 yards (6.09 YPC), 1 TD

Where he may project: Day 3 (Rounds 5-6)

The lowdown
- Robinson doesn’t strike you as the overbearing talent that needs to be drafted within the first few rounds, but his abilities are part of the reason that makes this running back class such a deep one. Robinson is as physical as you’ll find in a running back. His lower center of gravity works to his favor because he will break through the majority of arm tackles and spin forward for more yardage. He is built like Maurice Jones-Drew, sporting thick, tree trunks for legs that help generate more power on the field. His vision for both the initial hole and cutback opportunities are above average, as is his pass protection ability. He doesn’t have elite speed or the quick-twitch talent to leave defenders in his dust in the open field, but he can find those spaces on the field and power through tackles for more yardage.

Previous Installments:
HB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
HB Mike Davis, South Carolina

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photos courtesy of The Associated Press
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Hackett lands with Jaguars as QB coach

The wait for Nathaniel Hackett is over.

According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the former offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills has decided to become the quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015. Hackett will join the staff of head coach Gus Bradley, who hired former Bills head coach Doug Marrone as his offensive line coach earlier this offseason.

Hackett reportedly pulled out of the discussion to become the offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams to take the job in being the point man for developing former first-round pick Blake Bortles starting in 2015. He and Bradley previously served on the same staff in Tampa Bay in 2006 and 2007.

Hackett served as the Bills offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, before being released from his contract by the team after Marrone elected to opt out of his head coaching contract. He also interviewed for the offensive coordinator post in Jacksonville earlier this month.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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People : Blake BortlesDoug MarroneGus BradleyIan RapoportNathaniel Hackett




 

Bills' Thurman yet to commit to one defensive scheme

The Buffalo Bills made the official introductions of the two new top assistants to head coach Rex Ryan on Tuesday and preached both togetherness and working well as a unit. When he addressed the media for the first time as the defensive coordinator of the Bills, Dennis Thurman had similar thoughts in regards to both how the coaches work together, and, with how the coaches best utilize the players.

Having worked with Rex Ryan since 2002, and as an assistant under him since Ryan first became a head coach in 2009, Thurman described the coaching environment in the defensive room as a collaborative effort. The collaboration has largely surrounded a 3-4 defensive scheme in the time the two have been coaching together.

With various players on the Bills roster who are better fits for one defensive scheme over another, would the Bills make the switch back to the defense that has served Ryan and Thurman so well in the past? At least at this point in time, that won't be the case.

"Whatever the talent dictates," Thurman said Tuesday. "We'll play a 3-4, we'll play a 4-3. We'll get in the 46. We'll get in an odd front. It's whatever our guys do best. We're gonna play to their strengths, and when you do that, you're giving your guys a chance to be successful. That's what it really comes down to, is those guys that are out there on the field, are you giving them the opportunity to go out and succeed? So it doesn't matter."

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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Bills' Roman says clean slate on the way for EJ Manuel

As the Buffalo Bills introduced their two new coordinators on Tuesday afternoon, the question that has been hovering over Orchard Park like a dark cloud for years once again came up. How will this staff, as opposed to all the predecessors that could not find the answer, going to address the quarterback position?

The Bills new offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, has had a fair share of success in not only steering the ship of a successful offense -- but in doing so with a young quarterback like Colin Kaepernick. Now, Roman is charged with figuring out the Buffalo quarterback situation, and the team only has two on the roster.

EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel are the lone holdovers from the previous coaching staff, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their immediate futures with the team are predetermined. Roman said Manuel, the team's first-round pick in 2013, will get his chance to start fresh with the new coaching staff.

"I'm not going to get into specifics. but I definitely think he's done some very good things and displayed some good traits. We just have to get his level of consistency a little bit greater. Really, he and everybody else, once we get thru this evaluation process, we're going to have a very clean slate, once we get going because what they might have been asked to do or done in the past is really not relevant to what we may or may not ask them to do. So to sit here and pontificate about this that and the other, is a little premature."

Manuel is entering the third year of his career, after being benched only four games into 2014.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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Bills officially introduce OC Roman, DC Thurman

After just two short years with the previous coaching staff, the Buffalo Bills officially introduced the two top assistants on head coach Rex Ryan's staff. Greg Roman will run the offense as the coordinator, while Dennis Thurman will be Ryan's right hand man as the defensive coordinator.

"Very fortunate to get them. I'm fortunate that my owner has deep pockets, because it cost a lot to get both of these guys, and for good reason," Ryan joked. "This is an exciting time for me. Something I'm excited about is the coaches that we're bringing in. Try to get an all-star staff together, but more importantly, an all-star staff that is just like this. We are together."

Roman will get the keys to an offense that struggled during the 2014 season and has the task to figure it all out. Previously with the San Francisco 49ers in the same role, Roman has had much success and was even on the Bills' list for head coaching candidates just a few weeks ago.

Under Roman's care, the 49ers rushing attack was among the top units in the NFL. With major questions still yet to be answered at quarterback, it appears the running game will once again hold the majority of focus for his offense.

"We want to run the football to a level where people respect and fear us in our ability to do so," the new Bills OC said. "That will help everything else in the offense open up and help us control the game which is ultimately what we want to do."

This won't be the first time that Roman and Rex Ryan will have been on the same coaching staff, but it will be the first time that they are together in prominent roles on a staff. Roman said that the two had always felt they would eventually come together, and when they did, it had the potential to go very well.

Ryan and his new offensive coordinator first met in Baltimore, and the Bills head coach knew early on that there was something a bit different about Roman.

"I knew right then that the times I got to talk football with him, this guy gets it," Ryan said. "He's all about wins. It was never about, when I talked about, 'hey, we want to league the lead in passing and all that.' If that comes with it, great. Want to lead the league in rushing? That's even better, but we just want to win. That's him."

Roman agreed, albeit in confident tone that bordered on cockiness when asked to discuss getting the running game back on track in Buffalo.

"Look at my track record. The greatest predictor of future events is the past, I can stand up and tell you we could have been No. 1 in the league in rushing every year in San Francisco, if I wanted to be No. 1 in rushing, I could have done that," he said. "My goal is to win, but you have to strike a commensurate level of balance to do so in this league."

On the defensive side, which remains the unit that is near and dear to Ryan's heart to this day, is a coach that he's known and been on the same staff with since 2002. Dennis Thurman takes over the Bills defense, a familiar role and relationship between he and Ryan over the last two years with the New York Jets.

"One of the smartest guys I've ever been around. He gets things quick," the new Bills head coach said of Thurman. "The players love him, respect him. Like I say, we've been together for a long time, and it's because I need him. Happy to have him here. It's one of those things, 'I hope you sign me quick, so I can keep Dennis.' Makes me look good."

Unlike Roman, Thurman is inheriting a squad that was among the top defensive units in all the NFL last season. With the reputation of defensive prowess that exists for both he and Ryan, the expectations are high for the Bills in 2015.

It's important for a head coach to be on the same page with both his coordinators, and especially with the side of the ball that the head coach has more of a background in. Ryan and Thurman are as thick as thieves, and say they have complete trust in one another.

"Yeah, I mean, we have similar brains. We're like-minded in a lot of things, in a lot of ways. The most important thing for us, Rex already said it, is to do things was a team," the new Bills defensive coordinator said. "There's talent on this defense up front, at linebacker, and in the secondary. Our job is to put that talent in the best position to give them an opportunity to be successful. That's all we've ever tried to do. That's all we've ever wanted to do."

With a defensive-minded head coach in place in Ryan, who in most years has been the man calling the plays for his team, it's fair to wonder if that would be the case once again in Buffalo. Thurman described that it wasn't as simple as just who is calling the plays on the sidelines.

"Well it's more collaborative, except for most of the words come out of Rex's mouth first," Thurman explained. "We game plan together every week. We set up our game plan and how we want to call the game the closer we get towards the game. We'll get the whole defensive staff together and we'll go in an office and we'll sit down and we'll collectively go through situations and what calls we like best in those situations. So we try to do things as much as a defensive staff as we can. One, two, three, four, five brains are better than one. No one guys is going to be able to do this job by himself. We take input from everybody. I think that's one of our strengths."

"Both these guys, quite honestly, we're going to enjoy them while we can, because both of them will be head coaches in this league soon," Rex Ryan said confidently. "But, it is true, these guys are terrific, and they're going to be terrific together."

Listen to the full press conference right here:



Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of buffalobills.com
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Bills hire Kromer, Palmer and 4 others to Ryan's staff

The main positions on the coaching staff of the Buffalo Bills have slowly been filling up since Rex Ryan was hired as the next head coach of the franchise, but there were still some formal agreements that needed to be made. The Bills announced the hiring of six more coaches to Ryan's staff in various roles.

Aaron Kromer (offensive line), Sanjay Lal (wide receivers), Anthony Lynn (assistant head coach and running backs), Chris Palmer (senior offensive assistant), D'Anton Lynn (defensive assistant), and Michael Hamlin (special teams quality control) have all been signed as assistants on the team's revamped staff. The Bills also announced that assistants Donnie Henderson (defensive backs), Jason Rebrovich (outside linebackers), Kurt Anderson (assistant offensive line), and Jason Vrable (offensive quality control) had been retained from Doug Marrone's staff.

Kromer joins the Bills staff after serving as the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears over the past two seasons. Before that, he had been on the New Orleans Saints staff as the offensive line coach.

Palmer is the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns and last served as an offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans. He has 22 years of coaching experience in the NFL. Lal, along with both Anthony Lynn and D'Anton Lynn, will all join the Bills staff after having been with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets last season.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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Draft names to watch: HB Mike Davis

Each week on WGR550.com, a position will be featured with a handful of names to ponder as that week progresses. By the time the 2015 NFL Draft comes around in May, followers of the series will have an enhanced look at some of the players the Buffalo Bills may be interested in.

This week the spotlight is on the running backs, and if one is picked by the Bills, they could play a fairly prominent role for the team in 2015. In today’s feature, we take a look at one of the more physical runners available:


Mike Davis, South Carolina

Age: 21

Height: 5090

Weight: 216

Stats
2014: 13 games, 199 attempts, 982 yards (4.93 YPC), 9 TD
2013: 12 games, 203 attempts, 1,183 yards (5.83 YPC), 11 TD
2012: 12 games, 52 attempts, 275 yards (5.29 YPC), 2 TD

Where he may project: Day 2 to Early Day 3 (Rounds 2-4)

The lowdown
- Although Mike Davis isn’t the tallest of running backs, he plays much bigger than his height. He is the type of runner that craves contact, resists being brought down to the turf as much as possible and comes from the Mark Ingram school of angry running. When he sees a lane he has very good acceleration and shoots out of a cannon to get to his desired area of the field. He also has the ability set up defenders with his feet and fall forward upon contact. Davis needs to work on his pass protection, which will limit any potential impact and keep him off the field on third downs unless he improves. He will miss some running lanes at times as well and needs to work to improve his vision. If he progresses, Davis could be a perfect fit for a team in search of a physical, punishing running back to lead their attack.

Previous Installments:
HB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photos courtesy of The Associated Press
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Draft names to watch: HB T.J. Yeldon

With the entirety of the National Football League spending the week in Mobile, Alabama, it’s safe to officially anoint the opening of draft season in 2015. The Pro Bowl and Super Bowl still need to be played, but for 30 other teams around the league the biggest focus of the offseason will be to scout for talent in the league’s annual selection meeting.

Now under 100 days away from the 2015 NFL Draft, it’s time for the familiarization with some of the prospects at each position. Each week here on WGR550.com, a new position will be featured with a handful of names to ponder as that week progresses.

Depending on what the Buffalo Bills will want to do with their picks in this year’s version of the draft, by that point, we’ll have plenty of players that the Bills may be interested in.

With a heavy emphasis on the run game, it’s only natural to start with running backs:

T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

Age: 21

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 220

Stats
2014: 13 games, 194 attempts, 979 yards (5.05 YPC), 11 TD
2013: 12 games, 207 attempts, 1,235 yards (5.97 YPC), 14 TD
2012: 14 games, 175 attempts, 1,108 yards (6.33 YPC), 12 TD

Where he may project: Day 2 (Rounds 2-3)

The lowdown
- Yeldon is an incredibly patient runner that uses his above average vision to his advantage throughout his time on the field. A very successful runner for Alabama, it works both in his favor and against it. The talent level at Alabama, specifically up front, is top notch which gives him quite a bit of room to run against most opponents. That could cause a natural inflation, but, Yeldon shows enough balance and quickness to put the argument against him to bed. He can stand to add some weight and isn’t the most powerful player, but has starting potential in the NFL.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photos courtesy of The Associated Press
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