Buffalo Bills News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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.
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Buffalo Bills Schedule & Key Dates
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Buffalo Bills Preseason Beginning 2013
Dec 30, 2012 New York Jets 9 - 28 Buffalo Bills Dec 23, 2012 Buffalo Bills 10 - 24 Miami Dolphins Dec 16, 2012 Seattle Seahawks 50 - 17 Buffalo Bills Dec 9, 2012 St. Louis Rams 15 - 12 Buffalo Bills Dec 2, 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars 18 - 34 Buffalo Bills Nov 25, 2012 Buffalo Bills 13 - 20 Indianapolis Colts Nov 11, 2012 Buffalo Bills 31 - 37 New England Patriots Nov 4, 2012 Buffalo Bills 9 - 21 Houston Texans Oct 21, 2012 Tennessee Titans 35 - 34 Buffalo Bills Oct 14, 2012 Buffalo Bills 19 - 16 Arizona Cardinals Sep 30, 2012 New England Patriots 52 - 28 Buffalo Bills Sep 23, 2012 Buffalo Bills 24 - 14 Cleveland Browns Sep 16, 2012 Kansas City Chiefs 17 - 35 Buffalo Bills Sep 9, 2012 Buffalo Bills 28 - 48 New York Jets Aug 30, 2012 Buffalo Bills 32 - 38 Detroit Lions Aug 25, 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers 38 - 7 Buffalo Bills Aug 17, 2012 Buffalo Bills 14 - 36 Minnesota Vikings
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