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Midseason penalty report: Bills still have flag concerns

By Tim Graham

After four games, the Buffalo Bills were having an historically bad time with penalties.

They were on track to commit the second-most in club history for the most yards and first downs granted.

At the 2013 midpoint, the Bills have curbed their malfeasance a bit. Although the Bills still are awarding gift first downs at a record rate, they're on pace to finish with the 10th-most penalties and the eighth-most yards lost.


Continue reading "Midseason penalty report: Bills still have flag concerns" »

Eric Wood, Bills O-line have history with KC star Tamba Hali

By Jay Skurski

Things got pretty heated between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs during their last meeting, which came in Week Two of the 2012 season.

The Bills accused Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali of attempting to injure former Bills guard Andy Levitre and left tackle Cordy Glenn on consecutive plays late in the first half of what ended up being a 35-17 victory. Levitre said after the game that Hali tried twisting his neck in an attempt to injure him. Then on the next play, the Bills said Hali tried to twist Glenn's arm out of its socket.

"You get a team down, and like I said, they're going to take some shots at you. That's why we weren't taking our foot off their throats at the end," Bills center Eric Wood said at the time. "That stuff rubs you pretty wrong."

Continue reading "Eric Wood, Bills O-line have history with KC star Tamba Hali" »

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" »

Chris Hairston out for season after going to reserve/non-football injury list

By Jay Skurski

Offensive tackle Chris Hairston, who was expected to compete for the starting job on the right side of the Buffalo Bills' offensive line this season, will not get that chance.

Hairston's season is over after the Bills moved him to their reserve/non-football injury list this afternoon.

Hairston did not practice at all during training camp while on the team's active/physically unable to perform list. His activity was limited to slow walks around the practice field at St. John Fisher College.

The move means Erik Pears is the likely starter on the right side, with Thomas Welch serving as the team's "swing tackle," the primary backup to both Pears and starting left tackle Cordy Glenn.

The Bills' active roster now sits at 75 players, meeting the maximum that will be allowed at the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday. Safety Jairus Byrd has a two-week exemption from counting against that number.

Additionally, the Bills reached an injury settlement with guard Keith Williams and released him from injured reserve.

Video: What to make of Cordy Glenn at LG, Kevin Kolb's absence

Buffalo News reporters Mark Gaughan and Tim Graham rehash the doings from today's training-camp session at St. John Fisher College.

Doug Marrone: Don't get used to Cordy Glenn at left guard

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Cordy Glenn was drafted to be the Buffalo Bills' franchise left tackle, among the three most important positions on the field.

This morning, Bills coach Doug Marrone had Glenn playing left guard and Thomas Welch at left tackle, but stressed we should read nothing into that. Marrone said he's merely investigating who the team's top swing lineman should be.

Which made me wonder: How many franchise left tackles around the NFL get work at left guard?

Continue reading "Doug Marrone: Don't get used to Cordy Glenn at left guard" »

Defense shows no mercy in second minicamp practice

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills' defense ended the second minicamp practice of the week in all-out piranha mode Wednesday.

It was a feeding frenzy of sacks as the Bills' first-string offense under quarterback Kevin Kolb tried to move downfield in a two-minute drill in need of a touchdown.

Kolb managed to elude a rush and improvise a quick-thinking throw over the middle to Fred Jackson for a gain of about 25 yards on a third-down play.

After that, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine dialed up four straight blitzes and ended the series with four straight sacks.

"I'm glad Coach Pettine's on our team, that's for sure, and all those guys they have out there," said offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. "Any time you have a defense like we're facing, every single day it's going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I mean, they're bringing everybody from every place and you have to do your best to try to get a foundation and make things happen.

"There's some things that do good and other things that you're just putting your hand on top of your head and just trying to get to the next play."

Continue reading "Defense shows no mercy in second minicamp practice" »

Poll: Who is the most indispensiBill?

By Tim Graham

In the three years Buddy Nix was general manager, the Buffalo Bills significantly enhanced their depth at almost every position.

The club didn't scrimp on backups as much. Gone were a bunch of special-teamers who couldn't play a regular position.

The results, though, didn't reflect the added talent.

Under new guidance, the Bills have decided to start over while trying to focus on young talent that could turn into something later. They've gotten rid of veteran starters and are willing to take a chance on inexperienced players hopefully on the make.

Look up and down the roster, and you will see a lot of positions that are dependant on emerging youth.

In Tuesday's video report from One Bills Drive, we glimpsed how capricious the team is at wide receiver behind Stevie Johnson. In this morning's paper, Mark Gaughan wrote about Buffalo's youth at cornerback.

With that in mind, I want to ask who you think the most indispensible Bills player is for 2013.

Which player's absence would provide the most trouble for the team's success?

If you click the "Other" option, please take a moment and jot the name of the player you'd vote for in the comments section below.

How easy would it be to replace Andy Levitre?

By Tim Graham

If the Buffalo Bills are unwilling or unable to re-sign left guard Andy Levitre, then there's little reason to get critical of his departure until we know on whom the club will choose to spend its money.

Buffalo News senior columnist Jerry Sullivan examined Levitre's situation for this morning's paper. The Bills don't have to re-sign Levitre.

From a practical standpoint, however, the Bills would have one more hole to fill without him. They would need to replace a quality guard who hasn't missed a start since he turned pro in 2009. editor Gregg Rosenthal ranked Levitre the best guard and ninth-best player at any position in this year's free-agency class.

Continue reading "How easy would it be to replace Andy Levitre?" »

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.

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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 |