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Buffalo Bills News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/6/14: The Bills certainly have their fair share of holes to fill as they try to get back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. For those that may not remember, they were the dominant AFC team of the early 90's and went (and lost) to four consecutive Super Bowls. In the meantime, cornerback Stephon Gilmore is counseling prospect Jadeveon Clowny on the draft experience. The two grew up together and both went to South Carolina, and both are/will be high draft choices. Clowney may have been the number one overall last season, but NFL rules required him to wait until 2014 to be drafted.
2/27/14: On slow news days, or when the TV guys decide they need a nice puff piece to take up 10 minutes of air time, one can often find stories about the camaraderie among NFL players. Players, for many years, have gotten together in the offseason to conduct their own workouts, even if they are on different teams. A similar story comes out of Buffalo this week where WR Robert Woods is helping Colorado WR Paul Richardson prepare for the draft. The two grew up together and are very close friends. Richardson is not one of the better known receivers in the 2014 class, but could certainly make a mark on the league with a couple breaks and hard work.
2/20/14: Interesting developments in Buffalo as Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state of New York would form a five person committee to look into a new stadium in Buffalo. Usually that is great news for a team that has an expiring lease. But the Bills reportedly do not want a new stadium, they want to renovate their current stadium. Chances are, the Bills will be sold when 95 year old owner Ralph Wilson passes. The team can break the lease in a few years for only $28 million, and that may be an attractive feature for a potential buyer (who has sights on moving the team to L.A. or somewhere else).
2/13/14: The Bills seem set at QB for at least the near future. They drafted EJ Manuel from Florida State in 2013. He played well when healthy, at least well for a rookie. He had some injuries in his rookie year, but Manuel is a tough guy who will play through as much as anyone. He also has the big arm which is needed in Buffalo's cold and wind. There is also not much behind him. That leads to speculation that the Bills could draft another QB this season. It probably would not be a first round pick, but someone under the radar with a strong arm could be in the mix for the Bills come May.
2/6/14: This has been a long time coming, but congratulations to former Bills great wide receiver Andre Reed for being elected into the NFL Hall of Fame. Younger fans may not remember Reed (or even how good Buffalo was in the early 90's). However, he was the receiving cornerstone for a team that went to the Super Bowl for four consecutive years. Coached by Marv Levy, and led on the field by QB Jim Kelly and running back Thurmond Thomas, the Bills were the dominant team in the AFC long before Brady and Manning took the stage. Congrats to Reed for finally being honored as he should.
1/30/14: The Bills lost defensive coordinator Mike Pettine last week, as he accepted the head coaching position with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns search for a new head coach took nearly four weeks, and Pettine reportedly was near withdrawing from consideration due to the time it took. Buffalo took very little time in replacing him, though. The team hired former Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz as Pettine's replacement. Schwartz may not have had diciplined teams in Detroit, but he can build a defense and make them mean. He already has a good roster to work with in Buffalo, so expect good thing this season.
1/23/14: It often takes a couple of years for a coaching staff to get in and make their mark on a team. The Bills hired Doug Marrone as their head coach a year ago and he brought in his own assistants. One of those was defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Pettine interviewed last week with the Cleveland Browns for their head coaching position, and now comes word that he will have a second interview in the near future. The Browns are also looking at Seahawks DC Dan Quinn and would like to speak with Denver OC Adam Gace. The Browns are the only team with an unfilled head coaching position.
1/16/14: A knock on the Bills for the past several years is that they do not have elite wide receivers, and they certainly do not have a big red zone target. There are a lot of very good wide receivers in the upcoming draft, so there is a great opportunity to improve quickly. One name may pop out to the Bills. Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin declared early for the draft, and he has a pre-existing relationship with Bills QB E.J. Manuel. Benjamin had over 1,000 yards receiving last season and scored the winning touchdown in the BCS Championship Game. He is at leat 6'5 and very difficult to cover. If the Bills get him, they may become the favorite pro team in Tallahassee.
1/9/14: There are not a lot of places that the Bills are secure with heading into this offseason. Certainly the team needs to upgrade the talent on their roster across the board. E.J. Manuel may have the arm and mentality to be the right quarterback in Buffalo for the future, but he needs some offensive weapons and protection on the offensive line to help him out. The Bills also found out that they need a real solution at backup QB. They simply cannot rely on the cast they used this year, so guys like Josh Freeman or Matt Schaub may be in play.
1/2/14: Buffalo heads into the offseason looking for a lot players to fill a lot of holes. The Bills finished their season with a 6-10 record and a last place finish in the AFC East. This is the 14th consecutive year the Bills have missed the playoffs, the longest streak in the NFL. QB E.J. Manuel looks the part as the starter. He has the strong arm to deal with the Buffalo wind and can make plays with his feet. He does need to stay healthy, though. There is no question about his toughness, but he was injured twice during the season. The Bills hold the #9 pick in the draft, and may look for help on the offensive line or a wide receiver that can make some plays.
12/26/13: The Bills did not definitively kill the Dolphins' playoff hopes, but they sure put wound in them. Playing in the Buffalo cold last week, the Bills completely dominated Miami in a decisive 19-0 win. The defense limited Fins QB Ryan Tannehill to a meager 82 yards passing and sacked him seven (yes, seven) times. Bills RB Fred Jackson ran for over 100 yards and a score, while kicker Dan Carpenter (the former Dolphin) nailed four field goals to solidify the win. The Bills (6-9) finish their season at New England (11-4) in a late afternoon game this Sunday.
12/19/13: The Bills earned their fifth win of the season last Sunday by knocking off the resurgent Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 in Jacksonville. Quarterback E.J. Manuel rebounded from his four pick performance the previous week with 193 yards in the air and two TDs. Running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for just under 150 rushing to keep the Jags on their heels the entire game. Manuel sprained his knee in the game but did not come out. He is expected to be ready to play in Week 16 when the 5-9 Bills host the 8-6 Dolphins, who are vying for a playoff spot.
12/12/13: There is some concern in Buffalo that the December games they have been playing in Toronto for the past five years take away their competitive advantage as a cold weather team. Last week, they did not have to deal with the dome in Toronto, but faced the Buccaneers in 80 degree sunny Florida weather. That did not work out too well either. Rookie QB E.J. Manuel had a rough day with four interceptions and was sacked seven times. The Bills ended up losing 27-6 and their record fell to 4-9. They have another Florida game this weekend against the 4-9 Jaguars.
12/5/13: The Bills played their annual game in Toronto last Sunday, and this year the opponent was the unfortunate Atlanta Falcons. But a change in venue (and country) was no cure for the teams' woes, as the Bills fell in overtime 34-31. The Bills were able to pile on 195 rushing yards, but could only manage 210 passing yards as rookie QB E.J. Manuel continues to adjust to the pro game. The Bills may be reconsidering their agreement to play in Toronto in the future. Attendance was very low, there were a lot of Atlanta fans there, and playing in a dome hurts their competitive advantage as a cold weather team.
11/28/13: Buffalo did not lose this past weekend. OK, that is a bit unfair considering they had a bye week and they did embarrass the New York Jets in Week 11. The Bills are 4-7 and bringing up the rear in the AFC East. The playoffs are a longshot at this point, but at least they are showing signs of life. Rookie QB E.J. Manuel is back playing, so they do not have to start an undrafted rookie or retread. What the Bills need now is to build and develop over the rest of the season. The fans have already waited 13 years since their last playoff appearance, they will wait another. The Bills host the Falcons (2-9) this Sunday.
11/21/13: The Bills have had a tough ride this season and many experts had already written them off before they hosted the New York Jets last Sunday. But E.J. Manuel and the Bills got the last laugh as the Bills rolled the Jets 37-13 in a game that was never really close. The Bills defense overwhelmed Geno Smith and company with four turnovers (one for a touchdown). Manuel threw for 245 yards and two TDs and looks like he is fully healed. Buffalo improved to 4-7 on the season and now gets a week off to enjoy the victory.
11/14/13: Everyone knows that the Bills rebuilding project would take time and they had hoped to expedite the process by giving the starting QB job to EJ Manuel as a rookie so he could learn on the job. That plan has largely failed due to injuries, but Manuel did get back on the field in Week 10 against the Steelers. The rust showed as the Steeler defense shut down the Buffalo offense in a 23-10 loss. While the Bills are not likely to make the postseason this year, at least they have a young quarterback who can develop over time. Buffalo (3-7) visits the Jets (5-4) this Sunday.
11/7/13: The Bills hosted the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in a game that most expected the Chiefs to win going away. The Bills, however, held strong for most of the game, though they did lose 23-13. Undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel got the start as the injury bug continues to decimate the Bills QB staff. Tuel outdueled KC QB Alex Smith and put up 229 yards and one TD to Smith's 124 yards and zero TDs. However, Tuel threw a pick six which was really the difference in the game. The Bills running game was strong. CJ Spiller had 116 yards and Fred Jackson added 77. The loss dropped the Bills to 3-6. Buffalo heads to Pittsburgh in Week 10.
10/31/13: Buffalo suffered yet another defeat and is becoming the textbook example of why a franchise quarterback is so needed in the NFL. QB E.J. Manuel remains out with an injury, so Thadeous Lewis got his second start. The Bills even had a lead in the second quarter, until the Saints and Drew Brees showed up and ruined their good time. Buffalo racked up over 300 yards of offense, but was never really threat after the Saints took the lead before halftime. The Bills are now 3-5 on the season and need to get healthy to salvage the season. Buffalo hosts undefeated Kansas City this Sunday.
10/24/13: The Bills earned a big win over long-time division rival Miami on Sunday, 23-21. Mario Williams sacked Ryan Tannehill and forced a fumble late in the game. The Bills took advantage of the gift and former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter nailed a 33 yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining to get the win. The Bills are 3-4 on the season and remain in last place in the AFC East. Buffalo has to stay on the road in Week 8. The Bills go to New Orleans to play the Saints, who lead the NFC South and look renewed this season now that they have everyone back.
10/17/13: Buffalo continues to have quarterback problems as the injury bug continues to ravage their inventory. Starter E.J. Manuel will be out for a few more weeks with a sprained LCL in his knee. The Bills do not trust undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel (go figure) and started journeyman Thadeous Lewis. Lewis got the Bills to overtime against the Bengals, but the Bills allowed the game winning fieldgoal and lost 27-24. Buffalo signed Matt Flynn the following day and he may get the start in the very near future. Buffalo is 2-4 and goes to Miami (3-2) this Sunday.
10/10/13: Buffalo is the posterchild of inconsistency in the NFL. They have battled fairly well through the young season, even demolishing the reigning Super Bowl champion Ravens in Week 4. However, they fell to the Cleveland Brown 37-24 on the Thursday night game in Week 5. The Bills held a 14 point advantage in the first half and even knocked Browns' QB Brian Hoyer out of the game. However, they gave up a pick six and a return touchdown and let Brandon Wheedon lead the Browns back. Worse news is that QB E.J. Manuel will be out for a few weeks with a sprained LCL. Buffalo (2-3) gets some extra time to prepare for another trip to Ohio when they face the Bengals this Sunday.
10/3/13: The Bills defense came to the team's rescue last Sunday by picking off Ravens' QB Joe Flacco five times. The Bills won 23-20 and improved to 2-2 on the season in the upset. Buffalo's rushing attack was outstanding and totaled 213 yards on the day. Fred Jackson led the way with 87 yards and a touchdown and C.J. Spiller added 77 of his own. Rookie QB E.J. Manuel was not great, he only had 167 yards passing, one TD, and two interceptions, but the Bills were good enough on this day to knock of the defending Super Bowl champs. It is a short week for the team as they travel to Cleveland (2-2) for the Thursday Night Game.
9/26/13: The Bills, on paper, are better than the New York Jets. They have more stability at quarterback and a better offense. What they are showing, though, is that they need help on the offensive line. QB E.J. Manuel was sacked eight times in the 27-20 loss to the Jets, but was tough enough to stay in the game. The Bills defense did not help out though. They allowed the Geno Smith to amass 331 yards and two TDs in as well as let running back Bilal Powell run for a career high 149 yards. The Bills are now 1-2 on the season. They return home this weekend to host the Baltimore Ravens.
9/19/13: The Bills lost a close game they should have won against New England in Week 1, but they made up for that by stealing a game in Week 2. The Bills trailed the visiting Carolina Panthers late in the fourth quarter. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel took a large step in his development by leading the Bills down the field with limited time, then finding wide receiver Stevie Johnson for the winning score. Final score: Bills 24, Panthers 23. Buffalo will go on the road for the first time this season this Sunday, as they head downstate to face the 1-1 New York Jets.
9/12/13: This is simply what it is like being a Buffalo Bills fan. The Bills were tough, creative, and decisive in their opener against the New England Patriots, but they saw victory snatched from them. Kudos to rookie QB E.J. Manuel for keeping his composure throughout the game, but the Patriots simply had too much talent for Buffalo on Sunday. The Bills lost 23-21 to a team that many believe could go to the Super Bowl, so perhaps there is a moral victory there. The team has a chance to rebound this weekend, though, when they host the Carolina Panthers (0-1).
9/4/13: The Bills have their own quarterback problems, though it is not as severe in the long term as the Jets. Rookie E.J. Manuel played well in preseason and training camp, good enough to win the starting job outright by most accounts. However, he hurt his knee and his status is unknown. Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion which may be career-ending. The Bills may opt to buy him out. So that leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel as the likely opening day starter. He will be the first undrafted rookie to start the season. He may struggle, but the Bills thought he was a better guy to go with than Matt Lienart, whom they signed and cut within a week.
8/29/13: The Bills are going to be an interesting and undesirable spot concerning the quarterback position. Rookie first round draft pick EJ Manuel from Florida State looked great in practice and preseason. Unfortunately, he tweaked his knee and had a minor procedure. He is out at least through preseason. Veteran Keven Kolb, who is as durable as a wine glass that has been kept in a freezer, is out (again) with a head injury. That leaves the third string option for now. It also likely means that the team is going to have to rely on their running game very heavily at least through the first few weeks of the season.
8/22/13: No young QB has looked better in the preseason than EJ Manuel. He is competing with veteran Kevin Kolb for the starting job. When Kolb went injured for eight days, EJ stepped up and took control of the team. He has looked great in practice and in preseason games. He has given Buffalo a future. Unfortunately, the former FSU star now has a sprained knee. He will be out for the remainder of the preseason and be re-evaluated in a few weeks. This means that Kolb may start the season, but expect EJ to get significant time - if not the job outright - when he returns.
8/15/13: Quarterback Kevin Kolb is back on the practice field after injuring his knee when he slipped on a mat at practice last week. Kolb has good reason to try to get back on the field quickly - rookie E.J. Manuel has been getting all the first team reps and Kolb's absence seems to ensure that Manuel will be the starter come opening day. Manuel is the QB of the future in Buffalo and the team is not expected to compete for a playoff spot this season, so it may be in the team's best interest to play Manuel now and get him the experience he needs.
8/8/13: Rookie QB and first round draft pick E.J. Manuel may win the starting job by default. It is reported that the other contending QB, Kevin Kolb, slipped on a mat at practice and hurt his knee. The injury may be minor, but he is being held out at least temporarily. Kolb has a history of injuries in his time in the NFL, but the past injuries have come during play - possibly be getting swarmed by eight mammoth defenders. This one is more embarrassing, to say the least. This will be E.J.'s team at some point, and with Kolb on the shelf, perhaps the Bills will go ahead and name him the starter very soon.
8/1/13: The Bills own the longest playoff drought in the NFL at 14 seasons, and will continue to stumble until they can get some cohesiveness in their organization. The latest setback is a hold out - not the holdout of a top end draft pick, but of two time pro bowler Jarius Byrd. Byrd would have been a free agent this offseason, but the Bills slapped the franchise tag on him for $6.9 million. Byrd has not signed the deal yet and has not informed the team of his intentions. What may happen, as is often the case with veterans in this scenario, is that Byrd will skip the first couple weeks of training camp, then sign and join the team.
7/25/13: Former Bills great quarterback Jim Kelly has come out publicly and said that Kevin Kolb should be the starting QB this season. Kelly thinks that Kolb's veteran status and understanding of the game (and presumably life that goes with it) gives him the edge. There is really not much argument against that. Rookie E.J. Manuel may have more talent and be better in the long run, but the reality is that the Bills are not going anywhere this year, so it would be good for Manuel to learn the game from the sidelines for a year before taking the long term reigns.
7/18/13: Taking the opposite approach from the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bills say they want to have a starter named sooner than later. With the Eagles, new head coach Chip Kelly says that he wants an open competition for the QB job, and that it is healthy to delay naming the man. Not so for the Bills. The question will be whether the starter will be Kevin Kolb or rookie (and first round draft pick) E.J. Manuel. Kolb certainly has the experience, but EJ has the big arm. The Bills probably do not want to pay him to sit on the bench, though it may be good for him to have a year or two to learn about life in the NFL.
7/11/13: The Buffalo Bills made some major noise in the draft when they selected Florida State QB E.J. Manuel with the 16th overall pick. Manuel was the first QB taken off the board and the only one taken in the first round (of what was considered to be a weak QB draft). They bypassed names like Geno Smith from West Virginia or Matt Barkley from USC. But Manuel has the big arm that is needed to play in the Buffalo winter. There is no indication yet if he will be the day one starter, as he is competing with veteran Kevin Kolb, but he probably has a very good chance of winning the job in his rookie year.
7/4/13: It is tougher than ever to be a highly drafted rookie QB in the NFL these days. Historically, rookie QBs sat for their first, and even second or third years in the league. They were given time to learn the NFL, defenses, their own offenses, and all the intangibles. However, the quick development of QBs like Andrew Luck, RG3, Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford, and Cam Newton has completely thrown out that model. Highly drafted QBs are now expected to get to the playoffs immediately. Here is hoping that the Bills do the right thing and let EJ Manuel learn the ropes before putting the entire expectations of the franchise on him so early.
6/27/13: Mario Williams has had a bit of a tumultuous summer. First, he sued his ex-fiancee to get an $800,000 ring back. Then a bunch of embarrassing text messages came out. Then he said that new DC Mike Pettine says 'kill em' or 'hurt em'. Those were kind of minor. But now he has an Instagram page with a cartoon making fun of Aaron Hernandez with the Grand Theft Auto video game logo changed to Grand Theft New England and Hernandez' face added to the body of a man sitting on the hood of a car. He did not violate any league rules, but the team may decided to punish him themselves.
6/20/13: The Bills signed their first round draft pick E.J. Manuel, locking up their quarterback of the future. The contract is for about $9 million, with about half guaranteed. It is a four year deal with an option for a fifth. Manuel will compete with Kevin Kolb for the starting job and has looked pretty solid throughout OTAs. The Bills also released backup Tavaris Jackson. Jackson was signed in February, and madee $500,000 over the four months for doing essentially nothing. There is a chance that Jackson, a former 2nd round pick, will end up back with the Seahawks.
6/13/13: Former Bills QB and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in his jaw recently and had surgery this past week to remove the tumor. All accounts are that the surgery was a success and Kelly should recover quickly. Doctors removed part of his upper jaw and reconstructed it with a prosthetic device. The medical team believes they caught the cancer early and that Kelly has an excellent chance for a complete recovery. Kelly was the long-time star QB in Buffalo, and led the team to four straight Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990's.
6/6/13: The Bills coaching staff has been impressed with the early signs out of first round pick E.J. Manuel thus far. New head coach Doug Marrone says that he is ahead of any rookie QB he has ever seen thus far. It should be noted that Marrone's only experience with rookie quarterbacks is Brooks Bollinger as a 6th round pick of the Jets in 2003. That being said, Manuel is well-prepared for the pro game as he played in a pro-style offense at Florida State, and practiced against one of the best defenses in all of college football.
5/30/13: The Bills made it official last week by promoting Doug Whaley to GM from assistant GM after Buddy Nix stepped down. Whaley apprenticed under Nix, so there is little reason to expect much change personnel-wise in the near future. In off-field news, former first overall pick Mario Williams is trying to get the engagement ring he gave to his then fiance back. The ring is worth almost $800,000. Attorneys for his former fiance are trying to get Williams on perjury charges because past text messages indicated she could keep it. It is rare that civil litigation like this spills over into criminal case, but this is likely just legal maneuvering.
5/23/13: In the long term, the Bills would likely be better off letting Kevin Kolb start this coming season and having new draftee E.J. Manuel sit on the bench and learn the NFL position. Remember, this was the traditional route for most QBs for the past half century or so, and it seemed to work pretty well. It has only been in the last few years that rookies are getting rushed into action. In any case, Manuel says that the Bills playbook was easier to learn than his Florida State playbook. That either says a lot for FSU or almost nothing for Buffalo.
5/16/13: Some interesting news out of Orchard Park as general manager Buddy Nix is stepping into a new role as Special Assistant. Many Bills fans may love this announcement and likely have hope that a new GM will turn the sad state of their franchise around. It is very possibly that assistant GM Doug Whaley will be the new GM, but do not expect a big change in philosophy. Whaley mentored under Nix and was expected to get more responsibilities. Also, Nix will still be around the facility, so his voice will likely still be heard, at least for the near future.
5/9/13: Buffalo turned a lot of heads when they made E.J. Manuel the first QB selected in the draft with the 16th overall pick. Geno Smith was widely considered the top of a relatively weak quarterback class. However, Smith's attitude and reported aloofness may have scared many teams, including Buffalo, away. But the fact of the matter is that Manuel is mentally and physically tough, was groomed in a pro-style offense, and is better equipped to handle the Buffalo weather with his big hands and strong arm. The Bills signed Kevin Kolb in March, so now the debate can begin on who will be the day one starter.
5/2/13: Buffalo was slated for the 8th overall pick, but they traded that to the St. Louis Rams so the Rams could draft electric West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. The Bills got Rams' 16th overall pick and surprised everyone by selecting Fllorida State QB EJ Manuel. For weeks the rumor was that the Bills liked Geno Smith (West Virginia) and Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) - particularly since new Bills HC was Nassib's college coach. The smokescreen worked, but many felt that they reached with Manuel. However, if he can develop for a year, then his strong arm and leadership will work in Buffalo for several years.
4/25/13: The Bills are veterans of drafting in the top ten, so maybe they can put that experience to use this time around. Buffalo is scheduled to draft eighth, and they really cannot make a pick that does not address a need. The Bills signed Kevin Kolb to be the starting quarterback after dumping Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, most people view Kolb as a stopgap solution, until they can find a franchise QB. They have worked out several of the top rated QBs in the draft, and may be the one to select Geno Smith from West Virginia. But they also need help on the offensive line, so strategically, it may make more sense to draft a tackle at eight and get a QB in the second round.
4/18/13: This can probably be chalked up to smokescreen, but Bills GM Buddy Nix says that there are two or three franchise quarterbacks in this year's draft. Most experts believe that there are zero. Maybe Geno Smith or Matt Barkley or E.J. Manuel will develop, but not many people are hanging their hats on that. This year's crop has the unfortunate situation of being compared to the success of recent draft classes, where high round picks delivered early success. Historically, that is unreasonable, but this is a what have you done lately type league. And that will continue until proven otherwise.
4/11/13: New Bills QB Kevin Kolb is not short on ambition. In his opening press day, he said that he was in Buffalo to win a Super Bowl. Period. If he does, then he will have done what no other man has ever done. The Bills have long had good teams (excluding the past 13 years), and they have some of the most supportive fans anywhere. Jim Kelly took the Bills to four straight Super Bowls (all losses). But the team has had 16 QBs in the past 11 years. They are fiesty, but not many teams have the personnel to match up the Patriots twice a year.
4/4/13: Buffalo has a new quarterback for now. The Bills signed former Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb to a two year, $12 million contract. As much abuse as Kolb has taken for his performance in Arizona, he was probably not as bad as history will remember. He did lead the team to a 4-0 start last season, including a win over the Patriots in New England. But the injuries mounted and the QB position became a punchline, and the Cardinals decided they did not want to fund Kolb's huge contract any more. Now he has another chance with Buffalo, who will probably also draft a QB in April.
3/28/13: The Bills are not making any secret about their need for a new QB. They cut Ryan Fitzpatrick and his monstrous contract after word leaked that GM Buddy Nix was talking bad about him. Buffalo management privately worked out West Virginia QB Geno Smith, who is largely considered the best quarterback available in the draft this year. Smith owns a perception that he is a mobile, athletic quarterback. However, the tape and statistics tell otherwise. He is a pass first guy with the ability to run. It would not shock anyone if the Bills select him in April, and put him in the position to get the team back to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
3/21/13: It has been well documented that Buffalo owns the longest playoff drought in the NFL at 13 years. Judging by their offseason moves, count it 14. The only addition to the team was linebacker Manny Lawson from Cincinnati. However, they lost or cut Andy Levitre, Ryan Fitzpatrick, George Wilson, Shawne Merriman, Chris Kelsay, Donald Jones and Chad Reinhard. Many people expected the Bills to cut QB Fitzpatrick, but the team made the curious choice (so far) of not replacing him with a veteran. They may spend a high draft pick on a QB in the draft.
3/14/13: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a great start in 2011 and was subsequently rewarded with a lucrative, and some may say questionable, contract extension. After starting 2011 so strong, he fell from form and never returned to that level of play. The Bills released him on the first day of free agency. Hours beforehand, private comments by Bills GM Buddy Nix that were critical of Fitzpatrick were released on the Internet. There is no word on if the two incidents are related at this time. Fitzpatrick probably can find a new home, though, considering the weak quarterback market and draft selections this year.
3/7/13: The Bills made the very easy decision to place their franchise tag on safety Jarius Byrd. Byrd is by far the Bills best defensive player and one of the top three safeties in the league. With logic like that, it is a bargain to pay him the average of the top five players at his position. Now that he is secured for the season, the Bills need to work on getting him a long term contract. He is only 26 years old, in his prime, and is at the top of the stats in just about every category. And he has never missed a game in his career. The Bills also need to upgrade the rest of their secondary, because Byrd cannot do it all by himself.
2/28/13: The Bills continue to overhaul their roster to go along with their new head coaching regime. General Manager Buddy Nix informed the agent of wide receiver David Nelson that the team would not offer the player a new contract to retain his rights. Nelson, a three year pro, will become an unrestricted free agent, but he should find work fairly easily. The Bills also released linebacker Nick Barnett and linebacker George Wilson - more moves that Doug Marone is moving in a new direction with the franchise, which has missed the playoffs for the past 13 seasons.
2/21/13: Buffalo took arguably the second best free agent quarterback off the market by signing Tavaris Jackson to an extension. It is difficult to believe that Jackson is the second best QB on the free agent market, but the best is Joe Flacco (and the Ravens will not be giving him up anytime soon after winning the Super Bowl). Others include Brian Hoyer, Drew Stanton, and Matt Moore. Currently, guys like Alex Smith and Matt Cassell are not free agents yet as their teams (49ers and Chiefs, respectively) have not released them. That may just be a matter of time as the calendar nears the dates to start paying roster bonuses.
2/14/13: Depending on who you speak with, Buffalo's biggest priorities are either a quarterback or defensive help. The Bills made the unusual move, not of firing their head coach (Chan Gailey - that was expected after the 13th year of missing the playoffs - longest drought in the NFL), but of hiring Doug Marrone. Marrone was the head coach of the University of Syracuse previously, meaning that the Bills passed over candidates like Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt for a virtual unknown. How Marrone handles the QB situation is unknown. What is known is that incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick has not played up to his massive contract that he signed in 2011.
2/7/13: The Bills have several glaring holes as they try to snap the 13 year drought of no playoff football, the longest in the league. A case can be made for several positions (like quarterback), but wide receiver is fairly weak as well. GM Buddy Nix prefers a big play receiver, and there may be a few of those on the market such as Mike Wallace, Victor Cruz and Denario Alexander. Alexander may fly under the radar because he lacks the pedigree of Cruz and Wallace, but he has the skill. He has really been injured since college, but has shined when he was in the lineup, whether with the Rams or the Chargers last season.
1/31/13: Anyone but Ryan Fitzpatrick. That seems to be the cry from Bills fans around the country as they try to end the longest current playoff drought in the league. Fitzpatrick, probably the best QB to ever come out of Harvard, set the league on fire at the beginning of 2011 and the Bills rewarded him with a lucrative contract extension. He has faltered since then and it may be time for a new QB. Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, T.J. Yates, may be possibilities, or the Bills could try to draft and develop a QB this April.
1/24/12: Score one for the Bills. Buffalo hired AFC East rival New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to the same position. Pettine served as the Jets DC from 2009 to 2012 and his defenses ranked in the top eight in yards allowed each season. Granted, he had the luxury of great cornerbacks like Darrel Revis and Antonio Cromartie, but those defenses were stout even without the secondary. Buffalo needs an identity on defense. The team spent heavily last offseason to bring in the pieces, now it is Pettine's job to make them live up to the talen the certainly have.
1/17/13: New head coach Doug Marrone insisted in his opening press conference that his assistant coaches would have significant NFL experience. That would make sense, especially since Marrone himself is graduating to his first NFL head coaching job after a mediocre college record. In that vein, reports that the Bills were interested in Saints OC Peter Carmichael seem logical. Then the Bills did what the Bills do. They hired Marrone's OC at Syracuse, Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett was quality control coach for both the Bills and Bucs previously, and his father Paul, was OC for the Chiefs and the Jets.
1/10/13: The Bills were reportedly very interested in Chip Kelly - the high profile coach of the University of Oregon Ducks. But rather than make a splash with a big name or a hot prospect, the Bills stuck much closer to home by hiring Doug Marrone, the Head Coach of the University of Syracuse. Marrone was 25-25 in four seasons with the Orange. Most notably, Syracuse ran all over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl, and is credited for reviving a program that went 26-57 in its previous seven seasons. He will be the fifth Bills coach in the past 12 years.
1/3/13: The Bills ended the Chan Gailey era with a win, repaying the Jets for an early season blow out with a 28-9 victory. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 225 yards and a touchdown, while the Bills defense did become the first team in a long time to allow Mark Sanchez to toss for 200 yards. Buffalo ended the season at 6-10 and extended the longest playoff drought in the league to 13 years. Gailey was relieved of duties on Black Monday, to no one's surprise. No word yet on a potential replacement, though the Bills may ty to hire a successful college coach.
12/27/12: Another disappointing season for the Bills is winding down. Buffalo most recently lost to Miami 24-10, though the game was not even that close. A late touchdown by Buffalo saved them from only showing a field goal on the final score sheet. This is the 13th consecutive season that the Bills have missed the playoffs, and had double digit losses for the third year in a row. Off the field, the team reached an agreement with the City of Buffalo on a 10 year lease, ensuring the team will not move for at least seven year. The Bills finish the season by hosting the Jets on Sunday.
12/20/12: The Jags took a trip south to face in-state rival Miami last Sunday, but put in another poor performance in a 24-3 loss to the Dolphins. Jacksonville jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but that was all the scoring they could muster. QB Chad Henne threw for 221 yards, 106 to breakout wide receiver Cecil Shorts, but the team could not cross the goal line. The loss puts the Jags at 2-12 on the season, and the coaching staff will have to figure out what to do at the quarterback position. Now the speculation will be if the Jags will acquire hometown hero Tim Tebow in the offseason.
12/13/12: Buffalo's playoff hopes likely ended with 48 seconds left last Sunday, as the St. Louis Rams snuck in a late touchdown and two point conversion to surprise the Bills 15-12. Neither team could generate much offense, and the Bills held a 6-0 halftime lead, and a 12-7 lead with less than a minute left. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 247 yards and one touchdown, but the key to the game was the Rams run defense limiting the Bills to about 60 yards on the ground. Buffalo had been one of the best rushing teams in the league. The Bills are 5-8 now, but can play spoiler. They host the Seahawks this Sunday, and are looking to finish the season on a positive note.
12/6/12: The Bills have a great home field advantage at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Aside from the loyal and sometimes crazy Bills faithful, the weather is like having another player on the field. But the late November game against the Jaguars was not played in snow, but rather 50 degree weather - with rain. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only threw for 112 yards on 9-12 completions to attempts, but two of those were for touchdowns. Fred Jackson added another 109 on the ground as the Bills easily handled the Jags 34-18. It should be a little tougher this week when St. Louis, fresh off of a dramatic OT victory over the 49ers, comes to town.
Buffalo Bills Tickets - Team History
Currently New York's third football team, only the Carolina Panthers face longer odds than the Buffalo Bills at 200 to 1 to win the Super Bowl next year. The team centered its 2011 draft on improving a defense that must improve drastically to compete in the ultra competitive AFC East. Fortunately for Buffalo, the team's core fanbase has stayed fiercely loyal, braving the cold to fill the stands at Ralph Wilson Stadium every Sunday. It's only a matter of time before the Bills vault from one of the league's doormats back to a team that reached the Super Bowl four consecutive times in the early 90s.
Buffalo Bills Tickets - 2011 Season Info
A disastrous 0-8 beginning to 2010 was bookended by a 4-4 finish, and at times the Bills looked like a cohesive unit capable of putting up a fight against any opponent. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who until last year was perhaps better known for his alma mater (Harvard) than his arm, leads an offense that has the potential to put up points in 2011. Wide receiver Steve Johnson will be one of the earlier selections in the all-important 2011 Fantasy Football draft, and a running back tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller should give the Bills faithful hope in the backfield. The offense should utilize Spiller more effectively in 2011, as his poor numbers in 2010 do not reflect his talent level. Defensively, no player save perhaps Cam Newton means more to his team than defensive tackle Marcell Dareus does to Buffalo. The Bills were dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed last season, giving teams no reason to look to the air in order to win games. If Dareus can clog the middle, Aaron Schobel can pressure the quarterback, and inside linebacker Paul Posluszny can prevent running backs from reaching the secondary, the Bills will be better in 2011.
Buffalo Bills Tickets - The Players
The Bills haven't made much noise in free agency and you'll essentially see the same names that you've seen in the past. Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tyler Thigpen at QB. Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller will split time in the backfield. Lee Evans, Roscoe Parish and Brad Smith will be wide out. Their defense just isn't good at any position. They have depth at DB which gives them fresh legs every game but that doesn't stop the rest of the AFC east from running all over the Bills.
Buffalo Bills Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Buffalo Bills First Game 2013
Buffalo Bills Preseason Beginning 2013
Dec 15, 2013 Buffalo Bills 27 - 20 Jacksonville Jaguars Dec 8, 2013 Buffalo Bills 6 - 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dec 1, 2013 Atlanta Falcons 34 - 31 Buffalo Bills Nov 17, 2013 New York Jets 14 - 37 Buffalo Bills Nov 10, 2013 Buffalo Bills 10 - 23 Pittsburgh Steelers Nov 3, 2013 Kansas City Chiefs 23 - 13 Buffalo Bills Oct 27, 2013 Buffalo Bills 17 - 35 New Orleans Saints Oct 13, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals 27 - 24 Buffalo Bills Sep 29, 2013 Baltimore Ravens 20 - 23 Buffalo Bills Sep 22, 2013 Buffalo Bills 20 - 27 New York Jets Sep 15, 2013 Carolina Panthers 23 - 24 Buffalo Bills Sep 8, 2013 New England Patriots 23 - 21 Buffalo Bills Aug 29, 2013 Preseason: Detroit Lions 35 - 13 Buffalo Bills Aug 16, 2013 Preseason: Minnesota Vikings 16 - 20 Buffalo Bills Aug 11, 2013 Preseason: Buffalo Bills 44 - 20 Indianapolis Colts