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Bills promote OL Mark Asper to 53-man roster, release G Colin Brown

By Jay Skurski

Colin Brown's tenure with the Buffalo Bills is over.

The team today released Brown, who started the first five games of the season at left guard, and replaced him on the 53-man roster by promoting offensive lineman Mark Asper from the practice squad.

Brown, 28, struggled throughout the season. Coach Doug Marrone said last week he would rotate Brown with Doug Legursky against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Six. Brown, however, got only 12 snaps to Legursky's 57.

Marrone was asked Monday afternoon whether Legursky had earned the starting job.

"I haven't talked to those players yet, but I thought Doug did a nice job in there for just coming back. Colin has struggled before and we did play Doug much more than we did Colin," Marrone said. "I don't really like talking about it until I've talked to the players, which I haven't yet. That's a situation that hasn't occurred and when I update those guys, I'll update that answer."

That came in the form of today's release of Brown.

Continue reading "Bills promote OL Mark Asper to 53-man roster, release G Colin Brown" »

Snap counts: Nigel Bradham busy in place of Manny Lawson

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills turned to Nigel Bradham on Sunday after linebacker Manny Lawson was hurt against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bradham played 39 of the Bills' 86 defensive snaps, or 45 percent. That's by far the busiest he has been all season. He played 19 defensive snaps (21 percent) against the New England Patriots in Week One, then did not have more than eight snaps over the next four games before Sunday.

"It's not what I expected, but it is what it is," Bradham said of his playing time. "Pretty much just have to be ready for your opportunity. Manny went down so I had to be able to just be ready and go out there and play."

Bradham said he spent a lot of time in practice last week reviewing Lawson's role.

"It's one of the things where it's a different scheme and we have so many different packages that you just have to be ready for all the packages and just be ready for whenever anybody gets hurt," he said.

Continue reading "Snap counts: Nigel Bradham busy in place of Manny Lawson" »

Competition back on between Doug Legursky, Colin Brown

By Jay Skurski

When Doug Legursky went down with a knee injury in the Buffalo Bills' final preseason game, Colin Brown won the team's starting left guard job by default.

With Legursky now fully recovered from that injury, coach Doug Marrone said today that competition is back on.

"We do need to improve our play there. ... That's going to be an open competiton. Both those players will play left guard this week versus Cincinnati. So that's where we are with that," Marrone said. "How we're going to do it, we still haven't finalized that plan -- quarters, series, whatever it may be. That we're going to work out during the week with the players."

Legursky made his season debut in Week Five against Cleveland, but appeared for just one snap in place of Brown. That will change going forward as Marrone seeks more consistency.

Continue reading "Competition back on between Doug Legursky, Colin Brown" »

Spotlight on: G Colin Brown

By Jay Skurski

Colin Brown's grasp on a starting job with the Buffalo Bills could be tenuous.

Brown has struggled in the Bills' first three games -- and that's putting it nicely.

The website Pro Football Focus, which grades every play of every NFL game, has Brown graded as the worst starting guard in all of the NFL. Brown's pass blocking efficiency, which is a metric used by PFF, is 89.1 and he's accounted for 18 of the offensive line's 35 pressures allowed, according to the site.

Since PFF started handing out grades in 2008, Brown's cumulative season grade is the second-worst ever recorded.

With a matchup against hulking Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on tap Sunday, Brown's performance will again be in the spotlight. The matchup will take on even more significance for Brown because the player he was competing with for the starting left guard job during training camp, Doug Legursky, is probable to play Sunday as he nears his return from a knee injury that has kept him out the first three weeks of the season.

Another poor performance from Brown could result in a change to Legursky along the Bills' offensive line. Ngata, 29, is 6-foot-3, 340-pounder in his eighth NFL season. He's a rock in the middle of the Ravens' defensive line, and will require a double team by the Bills on most plays (with Brown being joined by center Eric Wood). 

Doug Marrone says Bills will be careful with Doug Legursky

Doug Legursky - McCoy
Bills offensive lineman Doug Legursky was injured in the third preseason game. (Photo by James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have had problems at their offensive guard spots.

Left guard Colin Brown has struggled. Right guard Kraig Urbik is dealing with a knee injury.

That's why Doug Legursky's return from a knee injury is worth watching. Legursky, hurt in the third preseason game, has been listed as a full practice participant this week.

Continue reading "Doug Marrone says Bills will be careful with Doug Legursky" »

Bills guard Doug Legursky returns to practice field

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills guard Doug Legursky was back on the practice field today.

That doesn't fall in the "breaking news" category, but given the Bills' struggles at left guard over the first couple weeks of the season, it's a potentially important development.

Left guard Colin Brown beat out Legursky for the job early in training camp, but Brown has struggled according to analytics site

PFF's metrics rank Brown the worst guard in the league.

He has graded out at minus- 9.8 in run blocking and minus-5.9 in pass blocking. PFF has faulted him for EJ Manuel's lone sack and eight hurries, including all four in Sunday's 24-23 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Legursky had a large brace on his left knee, which he injured in the second preseason game. Legursky's injury appeared serious at the time, but he was not placed on short-term injured reserve because the Bills expected him back and able to contribute.

Second-quarter analysis: Conservative playcalling fails

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills elected to play the field position game near the end of the first half, and it came back to bite them.

Facing a fourth and 3 from the Carolina 45-yard line, the Bills elected to punt. The decision backfired.

The Panthers took the ball from their 10-yard line and marched 90 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Cam Newton went 7 of 8 for 70 yards on the drive, finishing it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen. The Panthers took a 7-3 lead into halftime.

Making amends: Dan Carpenter redeemed himself for a miss from 42 yards in the opening quarter by drilling a 55-yard field goal toward the scoreboard end of the stadium. Carpenter’s kick opened the scoring.

Missing Andy: Colin Brown isn’t doing anything to make the Bills forget Andy Levitre. The Bills’ left guard completely whiffed on a block in the first quarter that led to Fred Jackson being dropped for a 4-yard loss. Brown was then called for a false start in the second quarter, the first penalty of the game.

Short homecoming: Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas suffered a concussion and will not return to the game. Thomas, a University at Buffalo product, was hurt making a tackle of Bills receiver Robert Woods on a reverse early in the second quarter.

Doug Marrone: O-line continuity an overrated concept

By Tim Graham

One of the joys of covering a new head coach is learning how he thinks. As various situations unfold or problems arise, we find out how he likes to address them.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone today revealed he disagrees with a time-worn football chestnut.

He claimed offensive-line continuity is overrated.

Continue reading "Doug Marrone: O-line continuity an overrated concept" »

Jairus Byrd didn't even play, but he's seeing a foot specialist

By Tim Graham

ByrdMugThe Buffalo Bills were banged up in tonight's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.

Left guard Doug Legursky suffered a knee injury the Bills aren't optimistic about. Receiver Brad Smith left the game with a rib injury. Rookie receiver Marquise Goodwin got poked in the eye and didn't return.

The most notable injury, though, might be to a player who didn't dress.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone revealed after the game safety Jairus Byrd left the team to have an injured foot examined by the same doctor who gave defensive end Mario Williams a second opinion at the start of training camp.

Continue reading "Jairus Byrd didn't even play, but he's seeing a foot specialist" »

Doug Marrone sees red over penalties

By Jay Skurski

PITTSFORD -- Doug Marrone's patience regarding the Buffalo Bills' propensity to take penalties officially ran out this morning.

Marrone temporarily paused practice and absolutely lit his team up after there was movement along the offensive line inside the red zone.

His frustration is understandable. Through the first two preseason games, the Bills have been flagged a whopping 23 times for 180 yards.

Continue reading "Doug Marrone sees red over penalties" »

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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 |