Tag:Buffalo Bills
Posted on: August 20, 2010 6:58 pm
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Bills drew few fans in Canada last night

Posted by Andy Benoit

Yesterday we highlighted the Canadian lows in the eight-game series between the Buffalo Bills and Toronto’s Rogers Centre. (In short, the Bills are reaping handsome benefits from playing in Toronto, but Rogers Communication is taking a bath due primarily to low attendance).

To follow up, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Sun writes that there were only an estimated 20,000 fans at the Rogers Centre for last night’s Bills-Colts preseason contest. The announced attendance was 39,583, but you know how those announced attendance figures go…
This, obviously, isn’t a good sign. Yes, we’re talking about a preseason game. But we’re also talking about a fan base that doesn’t get to see the Bills very often (or, for that matter, the league’s biggest star, Peyton Manning).

Griffin writes:

With both quarterback starters, Peyton Manning and Trent Edwards taking every first quarter snap, the opening 15 minutes contained enough big-play action to please the most hardened football cynic. The problem is that there was really just one quarter of real excitement out of 60 minutes. The game, even with all those points early, lacked the same buzz of sporting anticipation that the August ’08 game vs. the Steelers boasted. Expectations have disappeared that this series will ever catch on.

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Posted on: August 20, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2010 1:08 pm
 

Shawn Nelson busted

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Bills TE Shawn Nelson has been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the substance abuse policy, the league announced today.

Considering RB Fred Jackson and RB Marshawn Lynch are out for the time being with injuries, this probably isn’t what coach Chan Gailey wants to hear.

At this point, Nelson was looking like the No. 2 TE on the depth chart, behind Jonathan Stupar – partially because Gailey likes Stupar’s versatility and because Nelson hadn't had a great training camp. But the organization also seems pretty high on what Nelson, in his second season, can bring to the team eventually.

TE Derek Schouman, meanwhile, injured his knee in the Bills preseason win against the Colts on Thursday, so now, depth is an issue at the position.

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 7:22 pm
 

Preseason game previews 8.19.10

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Two preseason games tonight:

The Bills and Colts face each other in Toronto, and the Patriots and Falcons, after spending some quality practice time together the past few days, will meet at the Georgia Dome in a nationally-televised game on Fox.

That means we have two questions apiece for each squad as they head into their second exhibition game.

Bills

1)How will QB Brian Brohm perform? In Buffalo’s first preseason game, Trent Edwards started, and Ryan Fitzpatrick was the second man in. Tonight, Edwards will start and Brohm will back him. My question: why not just start Brohm and see what you’ve got?

2)Can C.J. Spiller stay healthy? He’d better. If not, he’ll join fellow RBs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch on the sideline. Then, who would Buffalo play?

Colts

1)Will backup QB Curtis Painter play any better? Because in the first game, he was brutal, and fans aren’t happy.

2)Will S Bob Sanders play at all? Although he’s feeling better than he has the past few years, I wouldn’t expect to see him. No reason to push him too hard in the preseason. At some point, though, you’d like to see him get back on the field.

Falcons

1)How will the secondary look against Tom Brady? In practice, the Falcons struggled against him and WR Randy Moss. Atlanta’s DBs have been awful the past half-decade. They’ll need to make progress at some point, right?

2)How will WR Brian Finneran look? The Falcons might actually need him this year. Will he continue to progress even as he enters his mid-30s?

Patriots

1)Will we see WR Wes Welker for the first time? He’s on the trip to Atlanta, so that’s a positive sign. I would say he’s 50-50. Pregame reports say he’s fully dressed. So maybe he will play.

2)Will Brandon Spikes continue to make a push to start at LB? Spikes has performed well with Gary Guyton trying to rehab an injury. If Spikes continues to play well, he could beat out Guyton.

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 1:42 pm
 

Bills and Canada: hit for Bills, miss for Canada

Posted by Andy Benoit

When the Buffalo Bills take the field against the Indianapolis Colts north of the border Thursday night, the Bills’ five-year, eight-game, $78-million deal with Rogers Communication will officially be halfway over. The Canadians can only hope that the second half is more lucrative than the first.
Rogers Centre (US Presswire)
A recent Associated Press article highlights the struggles that the Rogers Centre has had with the series. Available tickets have been abundant, thanks to high prices, the economic downtown and the fact that, whether they’re playing in America or Canada, the Bills are a bad football team.

The AP writes, “Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons last weekend called it ‘an unmitigated disaster’ for both Toronto and Rogers Communications, which paid the Bills $78 million for the right to host the series. Richard Griffin, columnist for The Toronto Star, referred to it as ‘an epic disaster flick’ on Tuesday.”

On the other side, the Bills have no complaints. They’re making almost $10 million per game in Toronto, roughly twice what they make from a home game in Buffalo. They’ve also increased their season ticket sales to the Ontario fan base, which was the intrigue of the business deal all along. Ontario residents make up about 15 percent of season ticket-holders.

So will we see another deal between the Bills and their Toronto business partners in the future? Both sides agree it’s too early to say.
Rogers Centre vice president of events Silvio D’Addario says it isn’t all bad on their end, and that criticism in Toronto is premature.

Lessons have been learned from the first two years, and corrections – including reducing ticket prices in the 54,000-seat stadium – are on the way. And, as the AP notes, “Rogers has benefited from the games though other avenues, using its position as a league partner to land deals with the NFL and market its other media companies -- TV, radio and wireless communications.”

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 18, 2010 7:07 pm
 

Bills lose young star safety Byrd

Posted by Andy Benoit

Bills safety Jairus Byrd, who finished second in the 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, is out indefinitely after undergoing a third groin surgery in 13 months.

Byrd's status for the September 12 opener is very iffy.

"It looks like he's going to be out for a while," head coach Chan Gailey said, according to the Associated Press. "We're hoping the first game, but it may be not."

Gailey said the injury is related to the groin problem that ended Byrd's '09 season.

The Bills have good depth at safety -- George Wilson is a leader and excellent tackler; Donte Whitner is speedy -- but they'll have trouble replacing Byrd's NFL-leading nine interceptions.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 17, 2010 11:19 am
 

Fred Jackson could be back earlier than expected

Posted by Will Brinson

In Buffalo, after the injuries to Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, it was supposed to be C.J. Spiller time for the first few weeks of the season. (Also, it's why they were semi-interested in Brian Westbrook, perhaps?)

Good news for the Bills though, comes in the form of Jackson's determination to get on the field as soon as possible -- he told the Buffalo News Monday he hopes to be back in time for the regular season.

"I want to get back as soon as I can,'' Jackson said after Monday morning practice. "My thoughts are that I definitely want to be back by the [regular-season] opener."

That's obviously a best-case scenario, but if Buffalo trainers and Jackson's doctors are on board with him returning that soon, the Bills should be happy. After all, Spiller could shoulder the full load for the team's running game, but clearly they'd rather have multiple options out of the backfield instead.

Jackson's early return would give them that in what amounts to a critical early season game against a divisional foe (they open with Miami).

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:52 pm
 

Spiller ready for his new role

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As Andy mentioned earlier today , Bills running backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch are out with injuries, and first-round RB C.J. Spiller will take many of their carries in the next few weeks of practice.

Spiller, for his part, said he’s ready for more responsible. 

“You never want to see two great guys go down like that,” Spiller told reporters today. “But you always have to be prepared and I’ve been preparing myself well-enough by studying my playbook, just going and getting the reps and then meeting with some guys, listening to them on how to do things. I feel a whole lot more comfortable going into this game than I did last week because it was my first game.

“You have to prepare yourself as if you’re next in line. That’s kind of how I’ve been doing it. That’s how I did OTAs, that’s how I did it in minicamps. That’s how I’m going to approach this. We had two great guys go down so I’m the next guy in line, and I’ll try and step up. They’re big shoes to try and fill but I’m going to try to do my best.”

In Buffalo’s 42-17 loss to the Redskins, Spiller carried the ball four times for 16 yards. So far, he feels like he’s fitting in with the offense. 

“I communicate well, and for protections, we’re on the same page,” he said. “That’s the main thing of being an offense, you have to talk to each other, give each other feedback of what’s going on out there. We did some of that during the game last week and hopefully that continues as we prepare for this week.”

And as for Jackson?

“I want to get back as soon as I can,” he said. “My thought is that I definitely want to be back by the opener.”

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 1:15 pm
 

Aaron Schobel says he will retire

Posted by Will Brinson

Aaron Schobel's departure from Buffalo was bizarre (and "dumb" if you want to talk about the Bills' side of things ) but it was always presumed he'd end up with another team pretty quickly.

Turns out, Schobel is just going to retire. That's according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle , who spoke with Schobel today.

“Obviously, it would have been a great place to play, but at point of my career, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how I would have performed,” he said today. “I’m not saying I could or couldn’t have played at my best, but I’m just not 100 percent sure.

“I want to be done with it. I’m going to leave it as is. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play, anyway. I’m going to be 33 in two weeks, and I’m leaving the game on my terms and nobody else’s. I’m just going to leave it alone and retire.”

There's always a chance Schobel can change his mind -- after all, nothing's "official" until he files the paperwork.

But if he's telling McClain this, it certainly seems like he has no plans to join his hometown Texans, considered for some time to be the favorite for Schobel's services after Buffalo let him go.

And, hey, if you're going to walk away from doing what you love for a living (never an easy thing to do), doing it on your own terms is a pretty good way to go out.

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