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Mario Williams: Thin secondary makes D-line feel 'a lot of stress'

Mario Williams - McCoy
Bills defensive end Mario Williams said the thin defensive backfield adds a lot of stress. (File photo by James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Tim Graham

The Baltimore Ravens have shown a substandard offense through three games.

The Ravens enter Sunday's game versus the Buffalo Bills ranked 30th in total offense, 25th in rushing offense and 20th in passing offense.

Then again, the New York Jets looked pedestrian before thrashing the Bills' defense Sunday.

Buffalo's secondary was vulnerable at the Meadowlands. When cornerback Leodis McKelvin left the game with a hamstring injury on the first series, the added strain impacted the entire defense.

Continue reading "Mario Williams: Thin secondary makes D-line feel 'a lot of stress'" »

C.J. Spiller, Mario Williams say they're OK; secondary not so much

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone needed half a minute this afternoon to rattle off all his team's injuries.

Did not practice

  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hand)
  • Wide receiver Stevie Johnson (hamstring)
  • Guard Kraig Urbik (knee)
  • Defensive end Mario Williams (ankle)
  • Defensive tackler Kyle Williams (Achilles)
  • Cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist)
  • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hamstring)
  • Cornerback Ron Brooks (foot)
  • Kicker Dustin Hopkins (groin)

Limited practice

  • Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (ankle)
  • Safety Jairus Byrd (feet)

Full practice

  • Running back C.J. Spiller (quadriceps)
  • Guard Doug Legursky (knee)

Defensive end Alex Carrington had quadriceps surgery and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Spiller and Mario Williams expressed confidence they'll play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"The biggest thing, I wasn't hesitant," Spiller said. "That was really going to be my biggest mental hurdle, if I was going to be hesitant on my cut, and I wasn't. I was able to push off it.

"Still some soreness in it, not completely where I want it to be. But I think by Sunday it'll be completely gone."

Kyle Williams had a rest day, and Marrone indicated his defensive line will remain intact.

"We're fine up front," Marrone said.

The secondary is in trouble. Marrone said, "Leodis is in the mix still, and it's day-to-day," but safety Aaron Williams (last year's coverage foil) and Justin Rogers (Sunday's coverage foil) were the first-team cornerbacks in practice today.

"We're going through different combinations, different combinations of schematics, man, zone, matchups," Marrone said. "We'll see what gives us the best opportunity to be successful. That process is going to be day-to-day."

Bills bring back DT Jay Ross; make practice squad change

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills today filled the roster spot created Monday when defensive end Alex Carrington was placed on injured reserve by re-signing defensive lineman Jay Ross.

Ross, 25, is a 6-foot-3, 319-pounder who was released two weeks ago after making the 53-man roster out of training camp. The East Carolina product played in one game for the Bills last season, spending most of the year on the team's practice squad. Ross was released after being inactive for the season opener against the New England Patriots due to a numbers crunch at cornerback. The team lost Ron Brooks in Week One, and promoted Johnny Adams from the practice squad to take his place.

Carrington had surgery for a torn quad Monday, an injury that ended his season.

The Bills also made a change to their practice squad, releasing defensive end Izaan Cross and signing defensive end Adewale Ojomo.

Ojomo, 24, is a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder who played in college at Miami. He joined the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2012, appearing in one game. He was most recently on the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad.

Alex Carrington lost for the season; Leodis McKelvin's status uncertain

By Jay Skurski

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone had a lengthy injury report to deliver this afternoon following his team's 27-20 loss to the New York Jets.

The good news is that defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (ankle), defensive end Mario Williams (ankle) and running back C.J. Spiller (thigh) all are expected to be fine heading into Week Four at home against the Baltimroe Ravesn.

The bad news is defensive end Alex Carrington's season is finished -- he suffered a torn quadriceps muscle against the Jets and is having surgery today.

The still-to-be-determined news is cornerback Leodis McKelvin's status. He suffered a hamstring injury against the Jets, and Marrone said he'll need to be evaluated in practice before his status is known.

Points after: Jets 27, Bills 20

916379 McCoy Sports Bill#21

By Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' loss to New York Jets at the Meadowlands ...

What it means: The Bills had an opportunity to make a statement about their status in the AFC East with a lackluster performance against a beatable team that committed an absurd number of penalties. The Bills are 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the division.

Play of the game: Geno Smith placed a perfectly thrown pass into Santonio Holmes' hands down the right sideline for a 69-yard touchdown with 9:23 to play. Bills cornerback Justin Rogers, in over his head the entire game, was in coverage.

Sequence of the game: With an eight-point lead and the Bills starting out on their 20-yard line early in the fourth quarter, the Jets couldn't challenge an EJ Manuel fumble that had been ruled down by contact and committed penalties on four straight plays (one wiped out a Fred Jackson lost fumble) before Manuel connected with tight end Scott Chandler for a 33-yard touchdown. Stevie Johnson caught a two-point conversion pass to tie the score.

Jets player of the game: Smith was 16 of 29 for 331 yards and two long touchdowns with two interceptions. He also ran for an 8-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Bills player of the game: Dan Carpenter made field goals from 37, 23, 43 and 26 yards without a miss.

Rookie QB showdown: In the first installment of what both teams hope to be a long rivalry, Smith was better. Manuel was 18 of 38 for 231 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions. Manuel ran for 40 yards but was sacked seven times, thrice in the third quarter alone.

Stat line of the game: Bills running back C.J. Spiller left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter after 10 carries for 9 yards and one reception for 1 yard.

Run of the game: Seemingly stopped on a third-and-1 play at the end of the first quarter, Jackson spun away from the pile and ran past a few Jets defenders who assumed the play was over. Jackson was tackled 59 yards later.

Penalty report: The Jets had an astounding 20 penalties for 168 yards. The Bills were sharp early, but flags eventually cost them here and there. They were penalized seven times for 87 yards. On the final drive of the first half, the Bills committed two penalties to help the Jets get close enough for a field goal.

Preliminary injury report: In addition to Spiller's knee injury, Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin left the game on the opening drive with a hamstring injury. Aaron Williams moved from safety to corner, and Jim Leonhard handled punt return duties. ... Right guard Kraig Urbik left in the second quarter with a knee injury and was replaced by Sam Young. ... Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus limped back to the locker room with a right ankle injury in the third quarter and didn't return. ... Defensive end Alex Carrington was carted off the field with an apparent left leg injury with 70 seconds to play.

Coming up: The Bills return home to play the Baltimore Ravens at 1 p.m. Sunday. It'll be a short week after that, with a Thursday night road game against the Cleveland Browns.

Erik Pears, Alex Carrington new non-participants at practice

By Jay Skurski

Right tackle Erik Pears and defensive lineman Alex Carrington were not participating in practice today as the Buffalo Bills continued preparations for Sunday's season opener against the New England Patriots.

Coach Doug Marrone will provide an update on the status of Pears and Carrington at the end of practice.

Also not taking part were cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and guard Doug Legursky (knee). Neither of them is expected to play against New England.

Running back C.J. Spiller was back on the practice field. Quarterback EJ Manuel was also taking part in individual drills for the second straight day.

Safety Jairus Byrd looked to be extremely limited in the portion of practice open to the media.

Kevin Kolb dismisses idea he's a QB who gets sacked too much

By Tim Graham

Sometimes, quarterbacks get slapped with a label that can doom them.

He gets sacked too much.

Buffalo Bills fans are familiar with Drew Bledsoe and Rob Johnson. Daunte Culpepper and David Carr are two of the more prominent recent examples.

Kevin Kolb insisted he shouldn't be known as one of those guys.

Continue reading "Kevin Kolb dismisses idea he's a QB who gets sacked too much" »

Bills DT Alan Branch hopes to help Mario 'get some food on his plate'

Newly signed defensive lineman Alan Branch speaks at One Bills Drive on Tuesday. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

By Mark Gaughan

Defensive lineman Alan Branch looked around at the players on the Buffalo Bills' defensive front and decided he has the chance to look good this season in their uniform.

Branch became a new piece of the Bills' defensive puzzle by signing a one-year contract today. Branch started the past two seasons for Seattle. He's a 324-pound run stopper who adds to the Bills' ability to play a 3-4 front.

Now the Bills can put Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Branch on the defensive line, flanked by Mario Williams and Manny Lawson at outside linebacker. Fourth-year man Alex Carrington can push Branch for time. If fourth-year man Torell Troup comes back from back surgery, all the better.

Continue reading "Bills DT Alan Branch hopes to help Mario 'get some food on his plate'" »

PFF analytics show which Bills provided most, least value in 2012

By Tim Graham

When the Buffalo Bills rebooted their operations in January, a point of emphasis was the creation of an analytics department. While no details have been divulged on how the Bills will implement analytics, a common usage around the league is in determining contract values., one of the most popular analytics sites, has applied its metrics to the Bills' 2012 roster to determine who underperformed and outperformed their salary-cap figures last year.

You can check out PFF for its explanation of each player, but here are the lists:


  • 1. Jairus Byrd, safety
  • 2. C.J. Spiller, running back
  • 3. Andy Levitre, left guard
  • 4. Kyle Williams, defensive tackle
  • 5. Alex Carrington, defensive tackle
  • 6. George Wilson, safety
  • 7. Nick Barnett, linebacker
  • 8. Scott Chandler, tight end
  • 9. Bryan Scott, linebacker
  • 10. Cordy Glenn, left tackle


  • 1. Mario Williams, defensive end
  • 2. Chris Kelsay, defensive end
  • 3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback
  • 4. Brad Smith, wide receiver
  • 5. Terrence McGee, cornerback
  • 6. Spencer Johnson, defensive tackle
  • 7. Mark Anderson, defensive end
  • 8. Tyler Thigpen, quarterback
  • 9. Erik Pears, right tackle
  • 10. Shawne Merriman, defensive end

The Bills already have released two of the PFF's 10 most undervalued players (Barnett and Wilson). Byrd, Levitre and Scott could become unrestricted free agents in a couple weeks.

From the overvalued list, the Bills have dumped McGee. Kelsay announced his retirement Wednesday night. From the free agents on the list, we safely can assume Thigpen won't be back, Merriman's probably a goner and Johnson isn't worth re-signing.


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 |