Tag:Buffalo Bills
Posted on: September 15, 2010 11:05 am

C.J. Spiller has his own song already?

Posted by Will Brinson

I firmly believe C.J. Spiller is a great football player and has the talent to be a tremendous success in the NFL. The one concern is that he plays for Buffalo -- the place where offensive players go if they're really desperate to be hated by anyone who plays fantasy football.

Still, even given his talent, it seems a bit premature for someone to write a song dedicated to his skills, no? Sudden Urge, who has apparently been named "Buffalo's Best Rock Band" TWICE, doesn't think so. They wrote a cover of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" that's been Weird-Al'd and renamed "Welcome to Buffalo" to feature the Bills' rookie running back.

You can listen to the song at the band's website (which looks exactly like you think it would ) or hear about them on the local Buffalo news below. Let's just hope that the dudes at "Auto Tune the News" decide to get uber-meta and handle this the right way. (Via MJD at Shutdown Corner .)

Posted on: September 14, 2010 10:52 am

Bills LB corps suffers another blow

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Posluszny Losing LB Paul Posluszny for a few weeks to a right knee sprain isn’t the most devastating news possible for the Bills – it could have been an ACL, after all. But it’s certainly not very helpful.

Before Posluszny hurt himself while helping tackle Miami RB Ronnie Brown during the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Buffalo already was pretty thin at LB. Which isn’t good news when you run a 3-4 scheme, especially for a team that had to use 13 different LB combinations last year.

To replace him, the Bills used Keith Ellison against the Dolphins, but as the Buffalo News points out, Akin Ayodele, who was signed by the team last week after parting ways with Miami, also could contend for Posluszny’s starting job.

Still, it’s worth noting that after Posluszny broke his arm last year, the Bills gave up nearly 500 rushing yards in the next two games. Paging Aaron Schobel, STAT.

"Give us a couple of days to work on the game plan and see how that all pans out," Chan Gailey said in his Monday news conference. "(Who starts) depends on the packages Green Bay wants to throw at us. That will have a lot to do with it. The personnel groupings that they bring might depend on who we play."

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Posted on: September 13, 2010 2:35 am
Edited on: September 13, 2010 2:38 am

10 Sunday stories that deserve your attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1. The Bears are who we thought they were

For months we’ve been saying that Mike Martz’s system won’t work in Chicago. You can’t ask those mediocre receivers to run slow-developing routes – they just won’t get open consistently, we said. You can’t expect that putrid offensive line to sustain blocks in pass protection long enough for Cutler to take regular seven-stop drops, we said. And Cutler – oh jeez – you can’t ask Cutler to read the entire the field and take chances without making costly mistakes, it’s just not in his DNA (we said). J. Cutler (US Presswire)

Well, after one game, it appears that we were…exactly right.

Sure, Chicago beat Detroit. But teams have beaten Detroit 30 times in just the past two years alone. And had Matthew Stafford not been knocked out prior to halftime, the outcome probably would have been different (the Lions, led by Shaun Hill, scored zero points in the second half). And let’s not forget the controversial Calvin Johnson call at the end.

But all that’s actually beside the point. When the Bears watch the film on Monday, they’ll see an offensive line that gave up four sacks and put Cutler under continuous duress. (Heck, Lions journeyman defensive end Turk McBride – Turk McBride, for crying out loud! – looked like an All-Pro going up against Frank Omiyale in this game.) That same offensive line also failed to help its running backs punch in a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter on four consecutive goal-to-go situations from the one-yard line.

One shudders to think what the Cowboys front seven will do to this group next week…

2. Safety first (if you’re a fan of moronic decisions)

How much disdain must Chan Gailey have for his passing offense to make the ridiculous decision that he made late against the Miami Dolphins? Trailing by three and facing fourth-and-10 on their own one-yard line with under 2:00 to play and two timeouts, the Bills opted not to try to pick up the first down, but instead, to take a safety.

On the surface, taking a safety always seems smart. The reason for this is because it’s such an unconventional move that there’s no way it could ever be as dumb as it sounds (if you explained the concept of taking a safety to someone who never watches football, at some point you’d hear yourself say “and now we’re going to give the other team two points.” Give them two points? What? Why?) In this case, the move was as dumb as it sounds.

The Bills gained nothing in field position by taking the safety because, instead of playing for a field goal (which would mean reaching the 30-yard-line or so), they now had to play for a touchdown (which, Bills fans might not remember these days, would mean reaching the goal-line). Buffalo gave up all their timeouts just to get the ball back with 36 seconds to go at their own 20-yard-line (and had the Dolphins gotten a better punt on the play, the Bills could very well have ended up right back on their goal-line again).

By taking the safety, the Bills were essentially hoping for – nay, planning for – a miracle. Evidently Gailey thought it would take an even bigger miracle for Trent Edwards and those no-name receivers (no-names save for Lee Evans, that is) to gain 10 yards. If you have that little faith in your passing game, you’re officially screwed.

3. Patriots D looks sharp

This was one of those games where the boxscore lies. The boxscore says that Chad Ochocinco caught 12 passes for 159 yards. It says Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 53 yards. (Batman and Robin? More like ROBIN and batman.) The stars may have put up good numbers, but the truth is, the Patriots secondary outplayed the Bengals’ receivers – especially early on, when Cincy wasn’t throwing out of desperation and the Patriots weren’t protecting a huge lead.

New starting defensive backs Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung were both outstanding. McCourty, the first-round rookie corner whom some are saying is already the best defensive back on the roster, stifled Owens on several deep balls in the first half. Chung led the team with 16 tackles, many of them vicious hits.

Phil Simms made an excellent point about this young Patriots defense: it’s faster. A lot faster. The Patriots have prioritized speed in recent drafts (except for the selection of linebacker Brandon Spikes, who had to have a sex tape leaked in order to make people forget about something even more embarrassing: his 40-time). On Sunday, that speed translated into more big plays.

Note: In a follow-up to that last parenthetical jab at Spikes, it’s only fair to mention that the second-round rookie was very solid in his starting debut at inside linebacker.

4. Devin Hester no longer a star return artist

Back in 2006 and 2007 when we said Devin Hester had already had a legendary career’s worth of touchdown returns, we didn’t mean Hester should call it a career for touchdown returns. But do you realize Hester has not returned a punt for a score in three years?

Sunday was a sobering example of how far Hester has fallen (by the way, his fall ironically coincides with his promotion to a starting receiver role). Six times, the Lions punted from backed up in their own end zone. On the day, Hester had five punt return opportunities – most of them on line-drive balls he caught in the middle of the field. His total return yards? 17. Three years ago, in a game like this, he would have had 17 touchdowns (don’t worry about the math – he would have found a way; Hester was supernatural back then.)

There’s no reason Hester can’t recapture his magic – he’s only 27. But seriously, what’s going on here?

5. Running backs relevant…sorta

It’s a passing league these days. Bu, like all you misguided fantasy players who don’t realize that your fantasy football scoring system is flawed, we’re going to give the running backs some love.
A. Foster (US Presswire)
For the youngsters, it will have to be tough love. The two electrifyingly speedy first-round rookie runners who were supposed to transform their respective offenses failed to get the wheels turning Sunday. C.J. Spiller ran the ball seven times for six yards against the Dolphins. The only part of Spiller that looked truly fast was his mind, which seemed to be spinning out of control at times. He was unusually hesitant on contact.

In Detroit (and can you believe we’ve now fit three Lions-Bears bits in this entire piece?) Jahvid Best got 14 carries but amassed only 20 yards. At least Best found the end zone two times.

No need to worry about either young runner at this point – it’s only one week, after all. They’ll get better.

On to the love…

There’s especially no need to worry about the runners in the AFC South. Maurice Jones-Drew gained a hearty 98 yards on 23 carries against the Broncos. Facing a speedy but diminutive Colts run defense that has decided it will be porous again this year, Arian Foster, I think, became the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 2010. (By the way, Colts fans, no need to worry about your team’s run D– last time the Colts were this bad was 2006, when their SUPER BOWL CHAMPION defense ranked 32nd against the run.) Finally, in Tennessee, Chris Johnson posted 142 yards on 27 carries, which, unfortunately, means he’s behind pace for his ridiculous goal of 2,500 yards rushing on the season.

Most important of all, the teams of these three  running backs all won, creating a huge log-jam atop the AFC South.

6. A star is born

There is a new star in the broadcasting world, and his name is Jim Mora Jr. Thank God Jim Mora Sr.’s son never lead the Seahawks to the PLAYOFFS?! Now we get to listen to Mora call games with Dick Stockton and Charles Davis on Fox each week.

Mora made his television debut in the Falcons-Steelers game. He was extremely intelligent and, for a man ostensibly looking to get back into coaching, he was shockingly blunt. Mora’s best line came during a rant about his friend Bruce Arians calling a pass late in the fourth quarter on second-and-five before the two minute warning. “That play-call was a tragedy”, More said. If you get a chance, tune into a Mora game. You’ll be enlightened and entertained.

7. Redskins don’t win…Cowboys lose

The nice thing about fumbling away seven points on a meaningless play to end the first half is that it is such a huge mistake that no other mistake you make can possibly feel that bad. No matter what, as mistakes go, you simply can’t top that one. Though credit the Cowboys for trying. Specifically, credit Alex Barron. The former first-round pick showed everyone why he landed in Dallas in the first place. Barron wracked up multiple penalties in the second half, including the game-loser on the final play. After the clock struck 0:00, Cris Colinsworth cleverly shared a “get well soon” wish for Marc Colombo.
T. Romo (US Presswire)
It’s too bad we’re highlighting Barron’s mistakes because the man was not utterly awful the entire game. Of course, the Cowboys clearly didn’t trust their makeshift front five to begin with. Virtually every pass Tony Romo threw came off a three-step drop. There was a litany of one-step drop throws (until the final two minutes, some people probably wondered if Dez Bryant actually knew how to run routes, as the Cowboys kept throwing smoke screens to the first-round wideout).

Dallas’ offensive line issues will get fixed once Kyle Kosier and Marc Colombo are healthy. By the way, all this relates well to our next topic (a bonus topic!)…

7.BONUS. Does preseason matters after all?

Probably not. But it’s worth noting that there were three offenses that looked awful in the preseason: Dallas, Carolina and Chicago. Well, the games count now, but these units still stink. The Dallas offense scored seven points in Week 1. The Carolina offense had five turnovers. The Chicago offense had four turnovers and scored only 19 points against a rebuilding Detroit defense. This isn’t enough evidence to overturn the beloved “preseason doesn’t mean a darn thing” axiom, but the continued struggles of these teams are worth pointing out (which we’re doing here).

8. Lightning strikes, so don’t play football?

The Jaguars-Broncos game was delayed 30 minutes during the third quarter because of lightning. This prompted me to send the following email Greg Aiello, head of the NFL’s public relations department:

Hi Greg, we're going to pose this question in our NFL Facts and Rumors Blog, but thought we'd pose it to you guys first: Why does the NFL stop games because of lightning? All we ever hear is that the odds of getting struck by lightning are about the same as the odds of winning the lottery. So why pause a game because of it? Most of the 70,000 fans in attendance can't leave a stadium and get to safe cover that quickly anyway. Is it really worth the major inconvenience? 

(This email was sent after midnight eastern time, so if the league does have a response, it will come after this is published. We’ll throw it up if they send a response.)

9. Problem in Indy?

This is the perfect game for us media folk to blow way out of proportion. The Colts always beat the Texans…until now. The Colts can’t lose when Peyton Manning is on fire…until now. The Texans fit the description of a team on the rise. Etc.

We must be careful not to get carried away about this outcome. But we also must ask the appropriate alarmist question: is Indy’s offensive line a problem? Left tackle Charlie Johnson wound up playing in this game (he’d been out for about a month with a foot injury), but it didn’t matter. Mario Williams dominated far more than his stats (four tackles, one sack) suggest.

And how about this: did you ever in a million years think Peyton Manning would post 40 completions for 433 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a LOSING effort? What the heck do we make of that?

10. Derek Anderson-Larry Fitzgerald woes

So I decided on Sunday around 6:30 ET to write about how Derek Anderson and Larry Fitzgerald were not on the same page – or not even in the same book, for that matter. Obviously, Fitzgerald’s game-winning 21-yard touchdown reception put a dent in that angle. But not a big enough dent to obliterate it.

I still say the Cardinals have a problem with their passing game. Fitzgerald doesn’t trust Anderson right now – nor should he. Anderson’s accuracy issues were evident several times Sunday. Twelve of the 15 passes thrown Fitzgerald’s way fell incomplete. Fitzgerald’s body language reeked of frustration. And all this was against a hapless Rams secondary.

It’s no surprise the Cardinals begged Kurt Warner to come out of retirement a few days ago.

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Posted on: September 11, 2010 6:36 pm

Looking ahead on the players' "we are one" salute

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the most interesting moments of Thursday night’s season opener was the “we are one” salute of solidarity that the Saints and Vikings players performed before kickoff. We may have to come up with an official title for this gesture – and not just because “the ‘we are one’ salute of solidarity” is a tad wordy.

Though the gesture was not organized league-wide, it’s now been seen by all, which means it’s almost certain that players from the other 30 teams will partake in the act this Sunday and Monday. The question is, will we see it every week for the rest of this season?

Mike Golic of ESPN pointed out that solidarity is great, but it’s also unnecessary in this case because, unlike in 1987, the players don’t have to worry about crossing picket lines (they’re facing a lockout, not a strike).

If you want to read some hyperbole on the matter that’s overboard to the point of humorous, here’s a gem from Bills safety George Wilson, who is on the NFLPA’s board of representatives. Wilson, sharing his thoughts on the Saints’ and Vikings’ gesture with ESPN’s Tim Graham, said "It was a true acknowledgment from one team to an opponent 'Yeah, we're about to embark on 60 minutes of hell, of physical competition, aggression and passion, but before we do that, we're one team, one locker room.' It was gladiator-like, almost."

Gladiator like? Did gladiators even have unions?

Right now, the players are getting some positive press for the whole thing. But that could change if they continue to show solidarity every week for the next five months. It will be interesting to see how public opinion plays out here.

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Posted on: September 11, 2010 4:54 pm
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Posted on: September 11, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2010 12:30 pm

Hot Routes 9.11.10 tying loose ends before Wk 1

Posted by Andy Benoit

Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry and 49ers tight end Vernon Davis will apparently be renewing a rivalry when their teams square off Sunday.

The Bills signed former Jaguar/Cowboy/Dolphin linebacker Akin Ayodele, a veteran who is well-experienced playing in a 3-4 scheme.

Darrelle Revis and Charles Woodson both recently signed lucrative deals. The Denver Post reports that Champ Bailey could be next. Bailey could sign an extension that would keep him with the Broncos through 2014 (he’ll be 36).

Is it fair to point out that Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson, an athletic second-round pick whom the team probably would have been willing to draft late in Round One, lost his starting job to Husain Abdullah, an undrafted guy who didn’t eat or drink anything during training camp?

Joshua Cribbs is making more of a mark at wide receiver.

Looks like Beanie Wells will be out for Week 1.

Redskins safety Kareem Moore is bouncing back quicker than expected from his August 23 arthroscopic knee surgery. Reed Doughty is still expected to start against the Cowboys.

Is Kevin Mawae a Hall of Famer?

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is eyeing a midseason return after suffering his second ACL injury in seven months this past spring. The Panthers aren’t ruling him out – he’s only PUP at this point.

Raiders running back Michael Bush is questionable for Sunday with a fractured thumb.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes Ben Roethlisberger will start Game 5 no matter what.

Normally we don’t share stories about parking arrangements for games, but this one is somewhat interesting because the Royals and Chiefs have a rare doubleheader Monday.

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 12:27 am

Hot Routes 9.9.10: AFC Week 1 injury rundown

Posted by Andy Benoit

Filling you in on some of the noteworthy midweek injury news.

Fred Jackson will play after missing the preseason with a hand injury. He’ll wear some sort of protective padding on it (not sure yet exactly what). Jackson just wishes he could be starting.

Channing Crowder has had a mysterious abdomen injury that leaves his status for Sunday up in the air. He hasn’t been practicing. On the brighter side, left tackle Jake Long is good to go.

Hard to find news on Patriot injuries. Hmmm…wonder why that is.

Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb’s status remains up in the air . Webb is coming off a late ’09 season ACL injury.

Charlie Johnson’s health (foot) is a big concern for the Colts at left tackle.

Billy Volek has a minor knee injury, leaving San Diego thin at quarterback for Week 1 .

Shawne Merriman has returned to practice for the first time in three weeks after sitting out with an Achilles injury.

Ryan Clady is back, but Broncos right tackle Ryan Harris missed Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury .

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 3:07 pm

AFC position battles finally decided

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the more interesting aspects of Week 1 is learning all the winners of the training camp position battles. Here’s a rundown and analysis on some of the players who have officially earned a new starting job in the AFC. 

Derrick Johnson & Javon Belcher, ILB’s, Chiefs D. Johnson (US Presswire)

Both players handled nickel linebacking duties last season. Now, they’re replacing Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays in the starting lineup. Johnson, a former first-round pick who runs like a deer, should have replaced Williams last season. Coaches were looking for more physicality, though (Johnson is far better in space than he is in traffic). Belcher replacing Mays is a surprise. Mays’ critics love to gripe about the fifth-year pro’s lack of open-field speed. But for the type of speed that matters at inside linebacker – such as lateral speed and closing speed at the point of contact – Mays is excellent. Still, coaches are giving the more athletic Belcher a crack. Belcher was an undrafted rookie last season.

Justin Smiley, LG, Jaguars

In a long-anticipated move, Vince Manuwai moves to the second string in order to make room for newcomer Justin Smiley. Manuwai hasn’t been the same since blowing out his knee in 2008. Smiley, when he’s not battling shoulder problems, is one of the premiere run-blockers in the game. He is tremendous on inside pulls.

Anthony Smith & Sean Considine, S, Jaguars

This is more of an admonishment of Gerald Alexander and Reggie Nelson than testimonial for Smith and Considine. The Jaguars are making it clear that they expect sharp awareness and at least somewhat physical tackling from the safety position. Hopefully, they’re not expecting speed, because Considine offers little of that. He’ll play primarily in the box. Smith was a disappointment as a third-round pick in Pittsburgh, but physically-speaking, he was Jacksonville’s most impressive safety in training camp.

Joe Berger, C, Dolphins

Incumbent Jake Grove is a better player than Berger – much better, in fact. But frequent injuries make the seventh-year veteran unreliable (why do you think the Raiders dealt him to Miami in the first place?). Berger gives the Dolphins more stability on a week-to-week basis. That’s a big deal when you’re integrating two new guards (John Jerry and Richie Incognito).

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

With Fred Jackson missing the preseason with a hand injury and Marshawn Lynch sitting out until the final game with an ankle injury, Spiller was able to snag more reps than initially planned. The explosive first-round pick was destined for the starting job anyway. Looks like he’ll have it right away.

Wade Smith, LG, Texans

When they signed him, coaches initially thought the journeyman utility veteran would be an excellent fit in the team’s zone-blocking system. Smith did nothing to change their minds. Helping Smith’s cause was the fact that last year’s starter, Kasey Studdard, struggles to consistently sustain blocks in pass protection.

Left guard is solved, but the Texans still haven’t figured out their starting right guard. Rumor has it that Mike Brisiel and Antoine Caldwell could wind up taking turns in Week 1.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com