Buffalo Bills News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/25/15: The Buffalo Bills have not so quietly been adding a lot of pieces to the team since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. They are certainly better on offense (at least on paper) and added even more last week. The Bills signed tight end Charles Clay to an offer sheet. The Miami Dolphins had a chance to match it, but declined. The Bills cleverly structured the deal in such a way that Miami really could not match the guaranteed money. Clay joins newcomers wide receiver Percy Harvin and running back LeSean McCoy, meaning the Bills may have a pretty good offense this season and compete for a playoff spot.
3/18/15: The Buffalo Bills are expected to have one of the best defenses in the entire NFL next season, which is completely logical considering they had a pretty good one last season. While they lost linebacker Kiko Alonso in the trade for running back LeSean McCoy, he missed last season anyway. They were able to re-sign defensive end Jerry Hughes, who is one of the best pass rushers in the league. The team also brought in veteran QB Matt Cassel. Cassel is not an elite QB, but is savvy enough to guide the team as they try to break into the playoffs for the first time in over 15 years.
3/11/15: The Buffalo Bills could not come to terms with running back C.J. Spiller, which was rumored to be in the six or seven million dollar range, but had no problem trading away star linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for running back LeSean McCoy - who will cost over $12 million next season. That does sound strange, but that is the NFL. The Bills followed up that blockbuster trade by signing former Vikings, Chiefs and Patriots QB Matt Cassel, presumably to be the guy to hand off to McCoy next season. Alonso did miss all of the 2014 season, so perhaps the Bills have not bought in that he can return to his All-Pro form.
3/4/15: New rumors are making their way around the grapevine that the Bills would be interested in trading for St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. The Bills certainly need help at QB and many do not think that 2013 first round pick E.J. Manuel is the answer. Bradford is a risky proposition though. He missed his senior season in college with a shoulder injury and has missed all but a few snaps of the past two season by tearing the ACL in the same knee twice. Still, Bradford was the offensive Rookie of the Year a few years ago and was on pace for 4,000 yards and over 30 touchdowns a few years ago before being hurt.
2/25/15: For some reason, players in the AFC East tend to jump around to other AFC East teams (coaches too). This is not a new phenomenon, Ty Law was cut by the Patriots over a decade ago and quickly found work in Buffalo. Former Miami guard Richie Incognito was signed by Buffalo a couple weeks ago. Now the Bills may be targeting free agent tight end Charles Clay, who was with the Miami Dolphins for the past two years. He put up good numbers: 127 catches, over 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns. Of course, he wants at least $6 million a year, and there may not be many teams that can afford that.
2/18/15: Bills head coach Rex Ryan and front office personnel felt comfortable enough with offensive guard Richie Incognito that they gave him a one year contract. Incognito has a history of being difficult to deal with in the locker room, even before he was suspended for bullying line mate Jonathan Martin when both were with the Miami Dolphins in 2012. That was a big reason the St. Louis Rams let him go originally. Anti-bullying protesters are lining up against the signing. While not as terrible as the Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal years ago, there still may be controversy everywhere Buffalo plays next season.
2/11/15: The Buffalo Bills made a splash when they hired Rex Ryan to be their head coach. Ryan, of course, is known for being bold and brash, though he has stuck his foot in his mouth on several occasions. If they wanted more press, then they did a good job in signing offensive guard Richie Incognito. Incognito is best known for being at the center of the bullying case with the Miami Dolphins. He has not played since October of 2013. Ironically, Ryan said that he wanted to 'build a bully' when was introduced as the new head coach. Now he has a documented one to work with.
2/5/15: Greg Roman did not get the job as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. That, obviously went to Rex Ryan. But he got a nice consolation prize when Ryan tapped him to be the offensive coordinator. He has a tough task ahead of him, though. The Bills ranked 26th in offense last season, and that was with Kyle Orton under center for most of the season. Roman, like almost every OC ever hired, claims he wants to establish the running game. His word may be truer than others as he has exhibited success in the running game with San Francisco in the past. As one may expect, he envisions a very physical and tough offense, and that would reflect the fans and city of Buffalo to a tee.
1/28/15: Get ready, Buffalo. The next few seasons should be a lot of fun. At least until head coach Rex Ryan wears out his welcome. Actually, Ryan comes into a pretty good situation. Buffalo has an excellent defense, which is what Ryan specializes in. The concern is obviously on the offense. They have a great wide receiver in Sammy Watkins, but really need some help at quarterback. E.J. Manual has not shown much in two years so the Bills may consider drafting another QB and possibly trading for a QB or signing one via free agency in the next couple of months.
1/21/15: New Bills head coach Rex Ryan is saying all the right things in Buffalo so far. In his introductory press conference, he mentioned how the city deserves a loyal coach - taking a jab at former head coach Doug Marrone who opted out of his contract. He also promised a return to the playoffs. That kind of bravado tends to play well on the first day when everyone is in a lovey-dovey mood. The Bills have the defense to get to the playoffs, but they need some help on offense to really take the next step.
1/14/15: As everyone knows, the Bills were stunned that head coach Doug Marrone exercised an opt-out clause in his contract that was triggered by the change in Bills ownership. Marrone was marginally successful in Buffalo, but probably not at the top of anyone's coaching wish list. It may be good for the Bills though. They are about to get a lot more interesting now that they have hired former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan was thought to have been the leading candidate in Atlanta, but ended up in Western New York. Jim Schwartz is expected to stay on as defensive coordinator, so the Bills great defense may get even better next year.
1/7/15: It has been a bizarre few weeks in Buffalo, to say the least. Unretired QB Kyle Orton retired again, leaving only E.J. Manuel on the roster at the position. Then head coach Doug Marrone abruptly opted out of his contract, using a clause that him to be paid $4 million next year whether he coaches or not because there was a change in ownership. Oddly enough, after two mediocre years in Buffalo, he is suddenly a hot candidate. There was also the news that the Pegulas tried to bring in Bill Polian to run the franchise, but he turned it down, which leads to questions about who is actually running the team now.
12/3/14: The Bills are not giving up very easily. In a must-win game against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, the Bills came up big in the second half to secure a 26-10 win. Buffalo was down 3 -0 at halftime but used a Kyle Orton pass for TD and a Jerry Hughes fumble return for touchdown to break the game wide open. The win improved the Bills to 7-5 on the season and gives them an outside chance at getting to the playoffs, albeit as a wildcard selection, for the first time in ages. Buffalo still has a few tough games on the schedule, including this Sunday at Denver, who is coming off of a big win at Kansas City.
11/19/14: The Bills suffered a very tough loss at the hands of their bitter rivals, the Miami Dolphins, on national television last Thursday. While this is not the old Dan Marino vs Jim Kelly rivalry, both of the teams have a chance at the playoffs, which makes the 22-9 loss even harder to take. The defeat dropped Buffalo to 5-5 on the season, and they will need a late rally to overtake many other teams in the AFC for a wild card spot. That could start with more help on offense because 250 total yards simply is not going to do it. The climb back up starts this week when the Bills host the Jets.
11/12/14: This was a tough loss for the Bills. They led 13-3 going into the fourth quarter and gave up two touchdowns to lose 17-13 to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. WR Sammy Watkins was active for the game after getting injured in practice during the week, but he was a non-factor, and it showed. Fred Jackson was active for the first time in a month, but he, also, was a non-factor and it showed. In reality, the Bills simply did not have enough healthy talent available to win this game. It does not get any easier as the Bills head to South Florida to face the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night.
11/5/14: There are two types of bye weeks: one where the team commiserates on what is going wrong and one where the team can relax and enjoy their success. For the first time in forever, the Bills are in the latter group with a 5-3 record. Buffalo has been a nice surprise this season. The move to Kyle Orton as the starting QB is having a positive effect and rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins is exploding in his first season. The rest was nice, but now it is time to play again, and the Bills host the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
10/29/14: It did not take long for the Bills to establish their dominance over the New York Jets last Sunday. The Bills defense forced three Gene Smith interceptions in the first 10:20 of the game, which led to New York putting in Michael Vick as quarterback. In the end, Buffalo won 43-23, but this game was over in the first 30 minutes. Buffalo's defense destroyed the Jets for four interceptions and four sacks, in a great day for the Bills. Buffalo is now a respectable 5-3 on the season and has a week off to enjoy their success.
10/22/14: The Buffalo Bills overcame themselves to beat the Minnesota Vikings and improve to 4-3 on the season last Sunday. It is not often that a team turns the ball over four times and wins, but fortunately for Buffalo, Minnesota is not a very good team. Though they snuck out with a 17-16 win on a last second field goal, the Bills suffered major injuries. Running back C.J. Spiller is now out for the season and counterpart Fred Jackson will miss a month with a groin injury. But the Bills have little time to worry about that. They are off to face the division rival New York Jets on the road this Sunday.
10/15/14: For whatever reason, the Buffalo Bills cannot seem to solve Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Brady and the Patriots got the best of the Bills again last Sunday, winning 37-22. The Bills defense looked as good as advertised for the first quarter, keeping the game at 0-0. But they could not hold on and eventually gave up four touchdowns and did not get any interceptions. QB Kyle Orton continues to be an improvement of EJ Manuel. Orton threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns, but did have an interception. The Bills dropped to 3-3 on the season with the loss. The Bills are at home again this week to host the Minnesota Vikings.
10/8/14: The Bills may be better than most people realize at this point. The team benched 2013 first round pick EJ Manual last week, putting journeyman Kyle Orton in as the starting QB. And that may have worked. The Bills upset the Lions in Detroit 17-14, rallying from a 14 point deficit to steal a 17-14 win. Orton threw for over 300 yards and wide receiver Sammy Watkins made a ridiculous tip-to-himself catch in the win. Buffalo is own 3-2, and seems to be owning the NFC North. The Bills are home this Sunday to host the New England Patriots, and which ever team they decide to bring to the game.
10/1/14: The early optimism that surrounded the Bills 2-0 start (including an OT win in Chicago in Week 1) has passed as the reality of the season is setting in after two consecutive losses. Buffalo took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter but allowed Houston to get one back just before halftime. EJ Manuel still shows signs of a developing QB. He threw for 235 yards and two TDs, but also had two interceptions. It does not get much easier this Sunday when the Bills have to travel to Detroit to take on a surprisingly strong defensive Lions teams that is 3-1.
9/24/14: Buffalo got off to a hot start with an unexpected overtime win against Chicago and then took care of the Dolphins at home. Many thought that the Bills would take down the Chargers last Sunday, as San Diego was making the dreaded Eastern trip for a West Coast team. Unfortunately for the Bills, Phillip Rivers was simply too much. Buffalo's offense was not in sync as EJ Manuel was 23 of 39 passing for 238 yards. Fred Jackson was a bright spot and chipped in a lot of yards and a score. The Bills now stand at 2-1, but do have a division win under their belt. They get a week to get in sync as they have a bye this Sunday.
9/17/14: That the Bills beat up on the rival Miami Dolphins was simply icing on the cake for what has been a great week in Western New York. The Bills won their opener in overtime on the road against Chicago. Then came the announcement that Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula would be buying the team, which means that the team will be staying in Buffalo. Finally, the Bills improved to 2-0 on the season, and first place in the AFC East by beating up on division rival Miami in the home opener. The Bills stay at home this Sunday and welcome in the San Diego Chargers, who have to make the cross country trip for an early game.
8/28/14: There seems to be a lot of chaos in Buffalo early on, and that does not even include the soap opera that is trying to sell the team and keep them in Buffalo. The team has been fighting amongst themselves in training camp - literally fighting. Once or twice is kind of typical during training camp, but the Bills players have been doing it constantly. Head coach Doug Maronne wants it to stop and punished the team for their behavior. The team has enough challenges with their own offense and the New England Patriots without the in-fighting that has been so pervasive this August.
8/21/14: A lot of eyes are on the Buffalo Bills this season with second year QB E.J. Manuel (a 2013 first round draft pick) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (a 2014 top five draft pick). But the Bills have struggled in the preseason with their offense. Manuel admits that it is frustrating not scoring a touchdown yet in the preseason. Manual was decent against Pittsburgh, going 17-27 for 148 yards. Watkins is still feeling his way through and should improve as the season progresses. He left the game with bruised ribs, but is expected to be fine.
8/14/14: It seems destined that the sale of the Bills will be a major storyline throughout the season, or at least until the team is sold. Many reports focus on the bid fronted by rock star Jon Bon Jovi (for an ownership team based in Toronto). That bid may never see the light of day due to insufficient price and lack of assurances to keep the team in Buffalo. Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula may be the front runner. He certainly has a vested interest in the city and has the money to buy the team when it comes time to write a check.
8/7/14: Buffalo Bills legendary wide receiver Andre Reed was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend, a nod to a great career he had with the team. Reed thanked QB Jim Kelly for making him a great receiver. Kelly was able to make the induction ceremonies despite battling cancer. With Kelly and Reed, along with running back Thurman Thomas and head coach Marv Levy, the Buffalo Bills won four consecutive AFC Championships in the early 1990's. Those were some outstanding teams and are loaded with very deserving hall of famers. Congratulations, Andre Reed.
7/31/14: The Bills ownership saga will not end until it finally ends with the team being sold. The most recent episode is the concern over the group fronted by Jon Bon Jovi and their supposed investigation of stadium sites around Toronto. The Bills are a proud franchise and do not want to move. Actually, it would be cost-prohibitive to move the team in the next five years due to contractual obligations. At the same time a new ownership group could do so. Right now, all the interested parties are saying the right things, but scouring Toronto locations does not do much to alleviate Bills' fans concerns.
7/24/14: Training camps are here again and the Buffalo Bills took the honors of starting first this season. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Bills from now until the end of the regular season. The biggest may be if the team can survive the loss of Kiko Alonso for the entire season. Alonso tore his ACL a few weeks ago and will not be back until the 2015 season. But there is hope out there too. QB E.J. Manuel has a new wide receiver in rookie Sammy Watkins. Rookie receivers often struggle, but Watkins is a cut above most rookies - or even veterans for that matter.
7/17/14: Time is running out for those that may want to purchase the Bills to indicate their interest. There are some big names that are interested, such as Donald Trump, John Bon Jovi and Terry Pegula (former owner of the Buffalo Sabres). Everyone is saying the right thing, at least right now, that they want to keep the team in Buffalo. Trump has even said that he is the only one who will do that. While each potential ownership group is trying to get a leg up, Bills' legend and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly admits that he has spoken to a few of them. He is not endorsing anyone yet, but may as the field of buyers is cut.
7/10/14: For those that are interested in buying the Buffalo Bills, they are now on the clock. Prospective buyers have until July 29 to indicate their interest. The team has made available their financial records and forecasts to a small group of interested parties. Those parties inlcude former Sabres' owner Terry Pegula, rock star Jon Bon Jovi, and even Donald Trump. Trump is positioning himself as the only buyer that would keep the team in Buffalo, whether it is true or not. Trump would probably be approved by the other owners, but would probably have to divest his holdings in his casinos if he was selected as the new owner.
7/3/14: This may work out to the Bills advantage. Buffalo traded up to draft wide receiver Sammy Watkins last month. For Watkins, it is not enough that he was the fourth overall pick, he has a bone to pick with Cleveland for trading away that pick. Watkins admits that he has the Bills game against the Browns already circled on his calendar and wants to show them what they missed out on. In the meantime, Watkins and QB E.J. Manuel are trying to figure each other out and are working on chemistry. Something that cannot be overstated in a receiving battery.
6/26/14: It is merely a formality at this point, but the Bills are officially for sale. That is always a scary proposition for fans of small market teams (especially those playing in outdated stadiums). Fans will want the team to stay in Buffalo, and the team's lease for Ralph Wilson Stadium will almost certainly keep the Bills at home for a few years. There are a few publicly identified potential buyers. One of those is rock star Jon Bon Jovi, who had a two hour business lunch with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week, possibly trying to learn how to best try to buy the team.
6/19/14: We know that the Bills will be sold at some point. We do not know when or to whom. There are several interested parties, some of whom may want to move the team out of Buffalo when it become economically feasible in six years. So that means that there is an issue about building a new stadium for the team. Boston Bruins owner, Jeremy Jacobs, may be a potential buyer or be a driving force to build a new stadium. That would be good news for Bills fans that want to keep the team in Buffalo, and could even serve as an economic catalyst for the Western New York region.
6/12/14: It remains to be seen who will end up buying the Buffalo Bills, but at least on serious candidate, Tom Golisano, thinks the team needs a domed stadium. There has been discussions in the state of New York of a new stadium for the Bills, while the team has pushed for renovations of Ralph Wilson Stadium. A domed stadium would make sense, especially to keep the team in western New York. That may mean no more snowy Buffalo games, which is a fine tradition, but the dome may be the most economically viable and promising solution to keep the team in the area long term.
6/6/14: Buffalo has taken a measured path to improving their team. They have not loaded up on either offense or defense to create a dominant unit, but rather seem to try to build both up at the same time. One key member of the defense is Brandon Spikes, and the linebacker has a new responsibility. He will be the defensive player calling the defensive plays this season. That entails a lot of knowledge and responsibility, as he has to recognize offenses and get his teammates into position pretty quickly. It is even tougher because Tom Brady is in the division, and he is among the best at exploiting defensive weaknesses.
5/29/14: Everyone knows that the Bills will be sold soon, but the question is who will be the buyer. There are no shortage of interested parties, including Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi. Interestingly enough, Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones claims Bon Jovi as a 'great friend' and would like to see him be (among) the new ownership. Jones had some veiled threats toward the city of Buffalo a few weeks ago, possibly as an attempt to prod them towards building a new stadium so the team stays. The new owner would likely keep the team in Buffalo for the short term, but there is an out clause in the current stadium lease that would allow a relatively cheap exit fee in a few years.
5/22/14: One of the more entertaining NFL items, year after year, is what comes out after the NFL draft. It is now known that the Bills tried to move up to the number one overall spot in the draft. But it was not to take Jadeveon Clowney, it was to ensure that they would land wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The deal never happened, and the Bills ended up trading with Cleveland for the fourth overall pick to get Watkins. It also shows how much the Texans wanted Clowney rather than get a great haul to rebuild the Texans with depth (like the St. Louis Rams did).
5/15/14: The Bills made one of the splashier moves in the first round of the NFL draft by trading up from the ninth pick to the fourth picks to select WR Sammy Watkins out of Clemson. Watkins was the consensus best wide receiver in the draft and is very similar to the Cowboys' Dez Bryant. The Bills will now have a receiving corps of Watkins and Stevie Johnson, to go with running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. QB EJ Manuel will be able to go into his second season with some weapons, which seems to send a message to the rest of the division saying they will try to outscore anyone.
5/8/14: Bills fans have plenty on their mind these days. Of course, the draft is here, and that means that there will be new players who are supposed to 'save' the team and get them to the Super Bowl. At the same time, the fans have to be worried about the next owner of the team, and his or her intentions. A new report says that a new owner may be identified within the next 90 days. None other than Donald Trump has publicly expressed interest in owning the team. In the near term, the Bills are not leaving Buffalo. It would be too expensive to do so. But there is a clause that would allow the team to leave in 2020. Still, this team is probably not going anywhere.
5/1/14: Cheerleaders, for any team in any sport at any level, are supposed to provide a spark for the fans. While it can be debated about how effective they are, they are a staple for most NFL teams. The Bills are under legal attack by the members of their cheerleading squad, the Buffalo Jills. The Jills have filed suit against the team on several counts, but most of which amount to being underpaid for their services. This comes on the heels of the team settling a $3 million suit from fans who received too many texts about team activities. While these items do not affect on-field play, they certainly can be a distraction for the franchise.
4/24/14: It has been well known for quite some time that the Wilson family - owners of the Bills - would sell the team once Ralph Wilson passed. That time, sadly, has come. With it, the chance for a billionaire to buy into one of the most exclusive clubs on earth - owner of an NFL franchise. The big news is that Donald Trump is interested and he wants to keep the team in Buffalo rather than move (to Los Angeles). Trump would have some work to do first, as he owns casinos, and league rules prohibit casino owners to own teams. It is an interesting idea, though, and one Bills fans may embrace in order to keep the team in town.
4/17/14: The second-guessers and Monday morning quarterbacks are getting some much-needed ammunition these days concerning Bills QB E.J. Manuel. The Bills took Manuel with the 16th overall pick last draft, making him the first QB selected, and the only one in the first round. Last week, long-time NFL executive and analyst claimed that Manuel would be the 8th QB on his list if he had come out this season. That means that people who did not like the Manuel pick have an argument that the Bills should have filled other holes last draft and gone with a QB this season. Of course, it should be noted, that Manuel is not a bust and hindsight is 20-20.
4/10/14: The widow of Ralph Wilson, Mary Wilson, has taken control of the team. The team has confirmed that they will eventually be sold, but of course there are no buyers at this point. Ralph Wilson was instrumental to bringing professional football to Buffalo in the early 1960's. Unfortunately, the team needs a new stadium, and that is a difficult proposition for the city. The Bills are under a lease to stay in their current home for the next few years, but can opt out for 'only' $28 million in 2020. That leads to speculation that the new owner will eventually move the team (presumably to Los Angeles) in the future.
4/3/14: It is a sad time in Buffalo as team founder and owner Ralph Wilson passed away. Wilson was the last of the AFL founders to survive. His guidance, leadership and wisdom, particularly in the early days of the AFL and just after the NFL-AFL merger really cannot be understated. Wilson's teams never won a Super Bowl, but did make it to the big game four straight years in the early 1990's. He was also fiercely loyal to the city of Buffalo, and the team may have left years ago if it were not for his insistence to stay home. Ralph Wilson will be missed dearly.
3/27/14: NFL owners and front office men and women may not like to admit it, but there certainly seems to be a correlation between coaching stability and sustained success. The Bills would like to get any sort of success at this point - the own the dubious honor of having the longest drought in a playoff experience in the league. Some of that may be due to the number of defensive coordinators they have gone through recently. No team has changed DC's as much as the Bills in the last four years. Jim Schwartz is the newest DC, replacing MIke Pettine (now the head coach of Cleveland).
3/20/14: The Bills have been kind of quiet in free agency, and that is understandable. They do not have loads of salary cap space, they are not considered a contender at this point, and they do not play in a cosmopolitan market. They did make a nice free agency steal though. The Bills were able to get a deal done with former Patriots stalwart Brandon Spikes. This is a nice addition to the defense, which is surprisingly good to begin with. Buffalo does not get the publicity of AFC East rivals New England, New York Jets, or Miami, but is quietly putting together a respectable team this offseason.
3/13/14: The Bills took a big risk by not placing the franchise tag on safety Jarius Byrd, and instead are allowing him to test free agency. Byrd is arguably the best player on the Bills defense (and possibly on the entire team). Ideally, the Bills would like to get Byrd under a long term deal and finally get back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Byrd, reportedly, wants to stay as well. The team signed fellow safety Aaron Williams to a four year extension last week. Williams is another who wants Byrd to return. This saga may not end quickly, but it looks like everyone wants the same outcome, now it comes down to making the numbers work.
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 he
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Buffalo Bills Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Buffalo Bills First Game 2015
Buffalo Bills Regular Season Last Game 2015
Buffalo Bills Preseason Beginning 2015
Buffalo Bills Upcoming Games Schedule
|Aug 14, 2015||Carolina Panthers vs Buffalo Bills|
|Aug 20, 2015||Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns|
|Aug 29, 2015||Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills|
|Sep 3, 2015||Buffalo Bills vs Detroit Lions|
|Sep 13, 2015||Indianapolis Colts vs Buffalo Bills|
|Sep 20, 2015||New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills|
Buffalo Bills Past Games Schedule and Buffalo Bills Scores
|Dec 28, 2014||Buffalo Bills - New England Patriots||17 - 9|
|Dec 14, 2014||Green Bay Packers - Buffalo Bills||13 - 21|
|Dec 7, 2014||Buffalo Bills - Denver Broncos||17 - 24|
|Nov 30, 2014||Cleveland Browns - Buffalo Bills||10 - 26|
|Nov 9, 2014||Kansas City Chiefs - Buffalo Bills||17 - 13|
|Oct 26, 2014||Buffalo Bills - New York Jets||43 - 23|
|Oct 19, 2014||Minnesota Vikings - Buffalo Bills||16 - 17|
|Oct 12, 2014||New England Patriots - Buffalo Bills||37 - 22|
|Oct 5, 2014||Buffalo Bills - Detroit Lions||17 - 14|
|Sep 21, 2014||San Diego Chargers - Buffalo Bills||22 - 10|
|Sep 14, 2014||Miami Dolphins - Buffalo Bills||10 - 29|
|Sep 7, 2014||Buffalo Bills - Chicago Bears||23 - 20|
|Aug 23, 2014||Preseason: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Buffalo Bills||27 - 14|
|Aug 16, 2014||Preseason: Buffalo Bills - Pittsburgh Steelers||16 - 19|
|Aug 8, 2014||Preseason: Buffalo Bills - Carolina Panthers||20 - 18|