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2014 BUFFALO BILLS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

August 18, 2014
By Brian Cox of INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



2014 BUFFALO BILLS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Buffalo Bills (2011 - Pres)

HEAD COACH: DOUG MARRONE, 1ST YEAR

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: NATE HACKETT

DEFENSIVE CORDINATOR: JIM SCHWARTZ

OFFENSE PPG: 21.2

RUSHING: 144.2

PASSING: 193.9

TOTAL OFFENSE: 338.1

DEFENSE PPG: 24.3

RUSHING: 128.9

PASSING: 204.4

TOTAL DEFENSE: 333.4

INTERCEPTIONS: 23

SACKS: 57

TURNOVER MARGIN: +3

Buffalo Bills (1974 - Pres)

The Buffalo Bills franchise is facing many question marks after the death of owner Ralph Wilson Jr. The Bills have missed the playoffs a league-high 14 straight seasons and like many teams, there is talk of re-locating the franchise. Before any decisions are made about their future, the current regime is looking at the present and they want to win now!

EJ Manuel is back but there are questions about his durability after missing six games in 2013 because of various knee injuries. Buffalo picked Manuel with their first pick in last years’ draft and they are convinced he is their man. Manuel did throw for 11 TD’s, setting a rookie record for the Bills.

Manuel should have plenty of weapons around him after the Bills selected WR Sammy Watkins (Clemson) in the first round of the draft. Buffalo gave up a first round pick in this year’s draft and a first round pick next year in order to move up to get Watkins. Many scouts are comparing Watkins to Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, not in terms of size, but ability. Watkins should start right away for a passing offense that ranked 28th in the NFL last season. Watkins had 240 receptions and holds 23 school records at Clemson. Joining Watkins will be Mike Williams (FA-TB), Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin as the top four receivers.  Scott Chandler led the team in receptions (53) and will return at TE. WR Stevie Johnson left for SF as a free agent.

Buffalo has one of the better running attacks in the NFL with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller forming the two-headed monster. Jackson and Spiller combined for 1,823 yards in 2013, both averaging over 4.2 yards per carry. To add depth, the Bills acquired Bryce Brown from Philadelphia.

The Offensive line continues to grow with third-year players C Eric Wood and LT Cordy Glenn.  The O-line gave up 48 sacks last season and converted only 34% on third down. Buffalo signed St. Louis LG Chris Williams to help with depth and challenge for a starting job with Doug Legursky. The Bills drafted Cyrus Kouandijo (Alabama) and Seantrel Henderson (Miami) to challenge RT Erik Pears.

DC Mike Pettine left Buffalo for Cleveland to be the Browns head coach so former Detroit HC Jim Schwartz was hired to run the defense. Buffalo also hired assistant coaches Pepper Johnson and Fred Pagac to help shore up the NFL’s 10th ranked defense. The Bills had difficulties in stopping the run, but their pass rush was much improved in 2013. The Bills set a club record with 57 sacks, leading the AFC. Buffalo also managed 23 interceptions, ranking 2nd in the NFL.

This year Buffalo will run a 4-3 scheme instead of the 3-4 under Pettine. The Bills were led by DE Mario Williams (13 sacks), DT Kyle Williams (10.5 sacks), LB Jerry Hughes (10 sacks) and DE Marcell Dareus (10 sacks). In the 4-3, Schwartz will use LB Manny Lawson at DE at times with Alan Branch and Corbin Bryant as back-ups. Dareus may not play right away because of an NFL suspension on felony drug charges.

The secondary will be solid again (ranked 4th overall) with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin anchoring the corners. Buffalo signed free-agent Corey Graham (Baltimore) to provide depth.  McKelvin is coming off his best season as a pro. Losing Jarius Byrd (New Orleans) to free-agency will hurt. The Bills will look to Da’Norris Searcy to fill that void. Aaron Williams has converted from CB and will be at SS.

The Bills are strong at LB with Kiko Alonso having a monster season (159 tackles and 4 interceptions). Free-agent Brandon Spikes will start in the middle with Keith Rivers manning the outside. Rookie’s Randell Johnson (Florida Atlantic) and Preston Brown (Louisville) will be given every chance to see time.

Buffalo will need more consistency if they plan are making a playoff run. EJ Manuel must stay healthy and make the most of this opportunity and show why they drafted him #1 last season. Watkins will give Manuel a true weapon on offense and that should make the passing game more of a threat. This team has more talent than their record may show.

 

2014 DRAFT:

Buffalo Bills (1974 - Pres)

Trade No. 1

For over a month, the Bills were rumored to be interested in trading up into the Top 5, and that's exactly what happened. Here's what it cost to make the move up:

Browns get:
  • 2014 Round 1, No. 9 (traded to Minnesota)
  • 2015 Round 1 pick
  • 2015 Round 4 pick
Bills get:
  • 2014 Round 1, No. 4 (WR Sammy Watkins)

Round 1, Pick 4: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Considered the most explosive receiver in the draft and, by many, the best receiver prospect to come into the league since the 2011 duo of A.J. Green and Julio Jones, Watkins walks into Buffalo as the team's No. 1 receiving target.

Trade No. 2

With Watkins on board, one of the Bills' most popular and marketable players over the last four years suddenly became expendable.

49ers get:
  • WR Stevie Johnson
Bills get:
  • 2015 Round 4 pick (Round 3 conditional)

Trade No. 3

The Bills and the Rams executed a trade in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, then did some more business in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. In both instances, the Rams moved up, while the Bills moved down.

Rams get:
  • 2014 Round 2, No. 41 (CB Lamarcus Joyner)
Bills get:
  • 2014 Round 2, No. 44 (OT Cyrus Kouandjio)
  • 2014 Round 5, No. 153 (OG Cyril Richardson)

Round 2, Pick 44: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

A top recruit whose draft stock faltered a bit, Kouandjio received a first-round grade from the Bills, and will almost certainly become the team's starting right tackle in 2014.

Round 3, Pick 73: Preston Brown, LB, Louisville

Limited athletically, Brown nonetheless has plug-and-play ability as a two-down middle linebacker at the NFL level, which may not be relevant in 2014 as he's slotted to back up Brandon Spikes.

Round 4, Pick 109: Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke

Cornerbacks with size, ball skills and some positional versatility are not easy to come by in the middle rounds; Cockrell gives the Bills much-needed depth at corner.

Trade No. 3

After eight running backs were selected on the second day of the draft, the Bills finally pulled the trigger on a trade they'd been working on for months, giving themselves some upside and a 2015 Plan B with their top two running backs heading toward free agency.

Eagles get:
  • 2015 Round 4 pick (conditional)
  • 2014 Round 7, No. 224 (DT Beau Allen)
Bills get:
  • RB Bryce Brown
  • 2014 Round 7, No. 337 (OT Seantrel Henderson)

Trade No. 4

For the second time in the draft, the Bills executed a trade down - but this time, their return yielded a future draft pick instead of one in the same round this year.

Buccaneers get:
  • 2014 Round 5, No. 149 (OT Kevin Pamphile)
Bills get:
  • 2014 Round 7, No. 221 (LB Randell Johnson)
  • 2015 Round 5 pick

Round 5, Pick 153: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

A two-time Big 12 award winner for offensive line play, Richardson slid a bit due to some technical issues in need of refinement and a bad Senior Bowl week. The massive, powerful run blocker has a shot to compete for a starting job, perhaps even as a rookie.

Round 7, Pick 221: Randell Johnson, LB, Florida Atlantic

The seventh round is all about athletic projects, and Johnson (6'3", 242, 4.6 speed, 38.5-inch vertical) certainly qualifies as athletic. He projects as a strong-side linebacker in the Bills' defense.

Round 7, Pick 237: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (FL)

Again, the seventh round is all about athletic projects; Henderson, a former No. 1 recruit, has prototypical size and talents for the tackle position, but must overcome concerns about his motivation and, more importantly, a very long line of off-field concerns.

Rd # Team Player Pos. College Ht Wt 40 Coverage
1 4 Bills (f/CLE) Sammy Watkins WR Clemson 6006 211 4.43 link
2 44 Bills (f/STL) Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama 6066 322 5.59 link
3 73 Bills Preston Brown LB Louisville 6012 251 4.86 link
4 109 Bills Ross Cockrell CB Duke 5110 194 4.56 link
5 153 Bills (f/STL) Cyril Richardson OG Baylor 6046 329 5.31 link
7 221 Bills (f/TB) Randell Johnson LB Florida Atlantic 6032 242 4.60 link
7 237 Bills (f/PHI) Seantrel Henderson OT Miami (FL) 6071 331 5.04 link

 

Buffalo Bills (1974 - Pres)

 

2014 SCHEDULE

2014 Buffalo Bills Football Schedule

Date   Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Sunday
Aug. 3
Giants New York Giants (Preseason)
Fawcett Stadium, Canton, OH
Lost 17-13 ---
Friday
Aug. 8
Panthers at Carolina Panthers (Preseason)
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Won 20-18 ---
Saturday
Aug. 16
Steelers at Pittsburgh Steelers (Preseason)
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Lost 19-16 ---
Saturday
Aug. 23
Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Preseason)
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
4:30 p.m. ET
WKBW
Buy
Tickets
Thursday
Aug. 28
Lions Detroit Lions (Preseason)
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
7:00 p.m. ET
WKBW
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Sept. 7
Bears at Chicago Bears
Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
1:00 p.m. ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Sept. 14
Dolphins Miami Dolphins
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Sept. 21
Chargers San Diego Chargers
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Sept. 28
Texans at Houston Texans
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Oct. 5
Lions at Detroit Lions
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
1:00 p.m. ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Oct. 12
Patriots New England Patriots
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Oct. 19
Vikings Minnesota Vikings
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Oct. 26
Jets at New York Jets
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Nov. 2
--- BYE --- ---
Sunday
Nov. 9
Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Thursday
Nov. 13
Dolphins at Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
8:25 p.m. ET
NFLN
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Nov. 23
Jets New York Jets
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Nov. 30
Browns Cleveland Browns
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Dec. 7
Broncos at Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
4:05 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Dec. 14
Packers Green Bay Packers
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
1:00 p.m. ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Dec. 21
Raiders at Oakland Raiders
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
4:25 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Sunday
Dec. 28
Patriots at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
1:00 p.m. ET
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Note: Game times/dates for weeks 5-17 are subject to change.

 

ACTIVE

#NAMEPOS.HT.WT.AGEEXP.COLLEGE
64 'Unga, J.J. G 6-5 320 27 1 Midwestern State
49 Boyd, Xavius LB 6-1 236 23 1 Western Kentucky
53 Bradham, Nigel LB 6-2 241 24 3 Florida State
90 Branch, Alan DT 6-6 325 29 8 Michigan
43 Brim, Derek S 6-0 199 22 R Buffalo
33 Brooks, Ron CB 5-10 190 25 3 LSU
46 Broomfield, Deon S 6-0 206 23 R Iowa State
35 Brown, Bryce RB 6-0 220 23 3 Kansas State
52 Brown, Preston LB 6-1 251 21 R Louisville
97 Bryant, Corbin DT 6-4 300 26 2 Northwestern
30 Butler, Mario CB 6-1 187 25 1 Georgia Tech
2 Carpenter, Dan K 6-2 228 28 7 Montana
84 Chandler, Scott TE 6-7 260 29 8 Iowa
96 Charles, Stefan DT 6-5 323 26 2 Regina (Canada)
29 Cockrell, Ross CB 6-0 190 23 R Duke
76 Cohen, Landon DT 6-1 300 28 5 Ohio
72 Coughman, Edawn T 6-4 313 26 1 Shaw
99 Dareus, Marcell DT 6-3 331 24 4 Alabama
26 Dixon, Boobie RB 6-1 233 26 5 Mississippi State
6 Dixon, Dennis QB 6-3 215 29 5 Oregon
4 Dombrowski, Jake P 6-1 190 23 1 Harvard
81 Easley, Marcus WR 6-2 217 26 4 UConn
18 Elliott, Kevin WR 6-3 205 25 3 Florida A&M
39 Felder, Bobby CB 5-11 200 23 1 Nicholls State
45 Gaines, Jimmy LB 6-3 240 21 R Miami (FL)
24 Gilmore, Stephon CB 6-1 190 23 3 South Carolina
77 Glenn, Cordy T 6-6 345 24 3 Georgia
88 Goodwin, Marquise WR 5-9 179 23 2 Texas
89 Gragg, Chris TE 6-3 244 24 2 Arkansas
20 Graham, Corey CB 6-0 196 29 8 New Hampshire
11 Graham, T.J. WR 5-11 188 25 3 NC State
17 Gurley, Tori WR 6-4 230 26 1 South Carolina
75 Hairston, Chris T 6-6 330 25 3 Clemson
40 Harley, Jajuan S 6-1 213 23 1 Florida State
66 Henderson, Seantrel T 6-7 331 22 R Miami (FL)
15 Hogan, Chris WR 6-1 220 25 2 Monmouth
86 Holley, Caleb WR 6-2 200 23 R East Central (OK)
5 Hopkins, Dustin K 6-2 193 23 2 Florida State
55 Hughes, Jerry DE 6-2 254 26 5 TCU
98 Igbinosun, Ike DE 6-3 286 23 1 Southern Connecticut State
22 Jackson, Fred RB 6-1 216 33 8 Coe College
69 Jacobs, Damien DT 6-3 284 23 R Florida
67 Johnson, Bryan DE 6-4 250 26 R West Texas A&M
93 Johnson, Randell LB 6-4 245 23 R Florida Atlantic
80 Jones, Dominique TE 6-3 270 27 2 Shepherd
71 Kouandjio, Cyrus T 6-7 322 21 R Alabama
31 Ladler, Kenny S 6-0 200 22 R Vanderbilt
91 Lawson, Manny DE 6-5 240 30 9 NC State
59 Legursky, Doug C 6-1 315 28 6 Marshall
9 Lewis, Thad QB 6-2 219 26 4 Duke
76 MacPherson, Macky C 6-2 290 22 R Syracuse
3 Manuel, EJ QB 6-5 240 24 2 Florida State
73 McClain, Antoine G 6-5 336 24 2 Clemson
41 McIlwain, Kamaal CB 5-10 189 26 1 Newberry
21 McKelvin , Leodis CB 5-10 185 28 7 Troy
36 Meeks, Jonathan S 6-0 209 24 2 Clemson
47 Miller, Sam CB 5-10 190 22 R Florida International
82 Moeaki, Tony TE 6-3 252 27 5 Iowa
8 Moorman, Brian P 6-0 174 38 14 Pittsburg State
79 Pears, Erik T 6-8 316 32 9 Colorado State
57 Powell, Ty LB 6-2 249 26 2 Harding
68 Richardson, Cyril G 6-5 343 23 R Baylor
56 Rivers, Keith LB 6-2 235 28 6 USC
37 Robey, Nickell CB 5-8 165 22 2 USC
48 Rodriguez, Evan FB 6-2 239 25 3 Temple
13 Roosevelt, Naaman WR 6-0 200 26 3 Buffalo
65 Sanborn, Garrison LS 6-1 240 29 6 Florida State
25 Searcy, Da'Norris S 5-11 207 25 4 North Carolina
54 Smith, Jacquies LB 6-2 260 24 1 Missouri
85 Smith, Lee TE 6-6 265 26 4 Marshall
51 Spikes, Brandon LB 6-2 255 26 5 Florida
28 Spiller, C.J. RB 5-11 200 27 5 Clemson
87 Summers, Chris WR 6-5 215 25 1 Liberty
38 Summers, Frank FB 5-9 248 28 2 UNLV
58 Sylvester, Stevenson LB 6-2 231 26 4 Utah
7 Tuel, Jeff QB 6-3 221 23 2 Washington State
60 Urbik, Kraig G 6-5 324 28 6 Wisconsin
14 Watkins, Sammy WR 6-1 211 21 R Clemson
63 Wheeler, Jared C 6-5 320 23 1 Miami (FL)
23 Williams, Aaron S 6-0 199 24 4 Texas
74 Williams, Chris G 6-6 320 28 7 Vanderbilt
27 Williams, Duke S 5-11 201 23 2 Nevada
95 Williams, Kyle DT 6-1 303 31 9 LSU
94 Williams, Mario DE 6-6 292 29 9 NC State
19 Williams, Mike WR 6-2 212 27 5 Syracuse
42 Wingo, Ronnie RB 6-3 231 23 2 Arkansas
70 Wood, Eric C 6-4 310 28 6 Louisville
10 Woods, Robert WR 6-0 190 22 2 USC
92 Wynn, Jarius DE 6-3 285 27 6 Georgia

ACTIVE/NON-FOOTBALL INJURY

#NAMEPOS.HT.WT.AGEEXP.COLLEGE
50 Alonso, Kiko LB 6-3 238 24 2 Oregon

 


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