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---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Mark Gaughan's Live Chat

Bills' 3-4 role model

The Bills' switch to a 3-4 defense has not found much success. But their opponent on Sunday went through the same growing pains.

The Chiefs were 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and tied with the Bills for the second-highest per-carry average given up last year. But the Chiefs own the NFL’s sixth-ranked run defense and are yielding just 3.7 yards per rush attempt (eight-best in the league) this season. They’re also seventh in average points allowed per game and fifth in scoring differential.

Chiefs coach Todd Haley went through the same criticism Bills first-year man Chan Gailey is taking for going to a 3-4 with a roster built for a 4-3 defense. Here is Haley's take on why he made the change:

“As I grew up through this league as an offensive coach, I always in mind preparing for a 3-4 was a little more difficult. The more I talked to people and learned about this game and learned about defense, the more sure I was of how I wanted to play defense if I ever got an opportunity like I have here.’’ 

The Chiefs are succeeding with pretty much the same lineup they had a year ago. The only exceptions are rookie strong safety Eric Berry, the fourth overall pick in this year's draft and second-year inside linebacker Jovan Belcher. A number of returning players are now flourishing after struggling in their first year in the 3-4. That's a sign that the Chiefs' coaching staff is doing a good job of developing players.

While Haley stuck to his plan, Gailey has deviated somewhat by moving back to a four-man front in an attempt to improve the NFL's worst run defense. But the 3-4 will remain a part of the package. Looking at the improvement the Chiefs have made, perhaps there is hope for the Bills' defense.

---Allen Wilson

Practice update

Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell and free safety Jairus Byrd returned to practice Thursday, with Bell a full participant and Byrd limited. Bell got Wednesday off to rest the knee that was surgically repaired last year. Byrd is nursing a sore thigh.

Cornerback Terrence McGee (leg surgery) and Keith Ellison (knee) were limited. Right tackle Cornell Green is still out with a knee injury.

Head coach Chan Gailey said Byrd and McGee would be game-time decisions, though both appeared to be moving well during the period the media is allowed to see.

As for the Chiefs, rookie all-pupose threat Dexter McCluster (ankle) and starting right guard Ryan Lilja (hand) were limited for a second straight day. McCluster's absence would be a big blow to the Chiefs, who use him as a wide receiver, running back and on kick returns. If Lilja can't go, the Chiefs would likely start rookie Jon Assamoah.

---Allen Wilson

Video: Bills-Chiefs preview

Was the Bills' solid offensive output against Baltimore just a fluke? Or is Ryan Fitzpatrick capable of throwing for more than 300 yards regularly? Mark, Al and Sully take a look at the Bills' next matchup against the defensively strong Kansas City Chiefs.

Maybin's benching

Aaron Maybin talked today on the fact he was inactive for the game in his hometown of Baltimore last week.

"I wouldn't call it a wake-up call, but it's definitely an eye-opener," Maybin said. "That's probably been the most frustrating experience since I've been here."

Maybin has played 10 snaps the past three games, counting the Baltimore game. He has 66 defensive plays on the season. After 21 career games, he's still looking for his first NFL sack.

"Truthfully, there's been only a handful of instances I've been in pass-rush mode this year, and that's been the issue," Maybin said. "I have to be able to get in those positions. A lot of that has to be with me. ... I'm going to have to be able to hold up my end of the bargain."

Chan Gailey on Maybin:

“He’s done some good things. He’s just not producing enough right now to get on the field. He has good talent. We work with all those guys who’ve got talent to try to bring them along as football players.”

Is he overmatched physically, Gailey was asked? “You can put yourself in a position to get overmatched by not taking advantage of what you have, the quickness, speed, that kind of stuff. If you get locked up then you are at a disadvantage. You’ve got to play a little differently when you’re not as big and strong as the guy you’re playing against. Yeah, he puts himself in a position sometimes where he gets overmatched. That’s one of things productive players do, they don’t put themselves in those positions.”

Read more on Maybin in Jerry Sullivan's column in Thursday's News.

---Mark Gaughan

 

 

Gailey on Whitner

Bills safety Donte Whitner was beaten for a TD by Ravens tight end Todd Heap last week. Coach Chan Gailey gave Whitner a strong endorsement Wednesday when asked about him.

Said Gailey: "We’re asking Donte to do a lot. He has a lot of responsibility because he’s a good player. When you ask a lot of a player, sometimes it’s going to be good and sometimes it’s not going to be good. We’re asking him to do quite a bit, so he gets out there in the open where it’s seen a lot more than maybe some other people. To me, he is a really good football player, a really good football player. As they all continue to grow in the defense, there will be less and less of hopefully isolated matchups. We’ll have more people around the ball."

"He’s a really good player we depend on and we ask him to do a lot of run support and read run-pass and get back out of there (in coverage). When you’re asking him, hey c’mon, we’ve got to stop the run, stop the run this week and all of a sudden, that guy’s down the field, there’s a fine line in there of being able to read all that. We’ve got to continue to help him do his job. He’s got a lot on him."

---Mark Gaughan

 

Chiefs turnaround

The Kansas City Chiefs ranked 30th on defense last year in yards allowed and were 31st against the run. Journeyman and former Bill Ron Edwards was their nose tackle. They brought back almost the same exact defense. There are only two new defensive starters (safety Eric Berry and inside backer Jovan Belcher). Edwards still is their nose tackle. They currently rank sixth against the run and 17th overall in yards allowed.

Kansas City is 4-2. The Chiefs have benefitted from a soft schedule. The four teams they have defeated have a combined record of 8-20. (San Diego, Cleveland, San Francisco and Jacksonville are their vanquished foes.) But the Chiefs played pretty well in their two losses -- 19-9 to Indy and 35-31 to Houston.

---Mark Gaughan

Maybin: In, out or out of town?

Byrd, Stroud suffer injuries against Baltimore

Bills coach Chan Gailey updated his team's injury situation Monday following his team's 37-34 overtime loss to the Ravens.

Gailey said DE Marcus Stroud (elbow) and S Jairus Byrd (undisclosed) were hurt during the game, but the coach hoped to have them ready for practice later in the week. The Bills aren't required to release their injury report until after Wednesday's practice.

Stroud said he hyperextended his elbow, but expected to be healthy enough to play Sunday at Kansas City.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

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