Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Bills, EJ Manuel must beware of Brandon Spikes

By Tim Graham

With the young Buffalo Bills about to open the season with a rookie quarterback returning from injury, they ought to be wary of Brandon Spikes and his potentially dastardly antics.

The New England Patriots' middle linebacker is dirty and has a history against the Bills.

Spikes drew league fines each time he played the Bills last year, $21,000 for a blindside hit on tight end Scott Chandler and $25,000 for a head-to-head hit on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick that knocked off Fitzpatrick's helmet and turned into a heated altercation.

After the second game, Fitzpatrick said Spikes is "a punk at times," and Bills center Eric Wood called him "a headhunter."

You better believe Spikes would love nothing more than to get inside rookie quarterback EJ Manuel's kitchen and rattle some pots.

"Spikes is a physical player," Wood said Wednesday at One Bills Drive. "He's kind of an old-school, thumping linebacker, not one of those hybrid guys that you might see nowadays, where maybe he was a converted safety from college. He's a true linebacker. I have a lot of respect for his game.

"That dude will take a shot on anybody if he sees a clean look. I don't think he's going to make an exception and not hit EJ if he thinks he has a shot at him."

That said, Wood noted the Patriots would try to fluster Manuel in less nefarious ways.

"They'll do that more through scheme," Wood said. "I don't think they'll risk an ejection or a big fine or something. They might. Who knows what they're thinking?

"I know personally, a rookie quarterback they generally try to do it with scheme and try to switch things up on him."

Manuel has demonstrated nerves can be an issue for him. He showed jitters in the Bills' intrasquad scrimmage. Wood laughed at how tightly wound Manuel was for his preseason debut against the Indianapolis Colts.


EJ Manuel | Eric Wood | Ryan Fitzpatrick | Scott Chandler
comments powered by Disqus

About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |