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Jairus Byrd says he hasn't given upcoming trade deadline much thought

By Jay Skurski

Bills safety Jairus Byrd's name has been a popular one floated in trade rumors seemingly from the time he reported to the team over the summer.

With the trade deadline in the NFL arriving at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Byrd was asked today whether he had an expectation of what might happen.

"No, not really. I haven't really given it too much thought," he said. "I mean, I'm focused on winning games here. If something happens, it happens, but right now my focus is with my teammates here and just trying to win games."

Byrd is coming off his most extensive playing time of the season in Sunday's 35-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He was in on 90 percent of the defensive snaps (63 of 70), registering three tackles and one pass defensed.

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Rex 1, Pettine 0

By Jerry Sullivan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One of the big stories heading into Sunday's Jets-Bills game was the matchup between Rex Ryan and his former defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. On Wednesday, Ryan was asked who would have the advantage in a matchup of defensive minds who favor the same attacking defense.

"We'll see on Sunday," Ryan said.

Well, on Sunday Ryan came out the clear winner. The Jets won, 27-20. Ryan's defense harassed rookie EJ Manuel into a 19 of 42 passing day.  Oh, and the Jets had 513 yards of offense at Pettine's expense -- the most in Ryan's five-year tenure as head coach.

"It's just the way it works, because Mike is a heck of a football coach," said Ryan, who gave the credit to his offensive coaches. "It's just sometimes these things happen. You give up big plays and that number happens. Obviously, I'd rather be on this end than that end. But he's an excellent football coach. I tell you what, when they get a couple of their defensive players back, they're going to be tough."

Mike Pettine on guessing Rex Ryan's D: 'You're chasing ghosts'

Pettine and Ryan 2
Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says his long relationship with Jets coach Rex Ryan will provide no advantage in upcoming Sunday's game against the Jets.

By Tim Graham


Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine knows Rex Ryan's defense. They worked alongside each other 11 years.

Pettine, however, claimed their long relationship will provide no edge Sunday against the New York Jets.

Pettine was the Jets' defensive coordinator the past four years and previously worked with Ryan on the Baltimore Ravens' defensive staff. Despite their familiarity, Pettine is wary of trying to guess what Ryan will do.

Continue reading "Mike Pettine on guessing Rex Ryan's D: 'You're chasing ghosts'" »

Rex Ryan expects new schemes from old pal Mike Pettine

By Tim Graham

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has a certain somebody in his crosshairs.

"I don't like Pettine," Ryan deadpanned. "That's a given."

The gregarious Ryan actually has an affinity for Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. After working together for 11 years with the Baltimore Ravens and Jets, they will face each other for the first time Sunday at the Meadowlands.

Ryan is used to these kinds of situations. He has matched defensive playbooks with his twin brother, Rob Ryan, several times. Rob Ryan is the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator and previously has overseen defenses with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders.

"It is going to be interesting," Rex Ryan said of opposing Pettine. "I've never done it before. He's kind of a brother, but I've faced my twin brother many times. So I think I'm ready for it. Maybe give him a shot before the game."

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Jairus Byrd on watching from the sideline: 'To be honest, it hurt'

By Tim Graham

For the first time in his career, Jairus Byrd watched his team play from the sideline.

"Different," Byrd said of the experience. "It was a really a weird feeling, actually.

"To be honest, it hurt. It's not a good feeling to watch a game like that. It's not cool. The way we lost made it worse."

The Bills were ahead of the New England Patriots with nine seconds left. The Patriots won, 23-21, on Stephen Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal.

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Spotlight on: CB Ron Brooks

By Jay Skurski

Defending the slot receiver position has been a riddle the Buffalo Bills have not been able to solve in recent seasons against the New England Patriots.

When Wes Welker signed with Denver in the offseason, it looked like the job might get easier for the Bills. Just a few hours later, though, the Patriots brought in a player in Danny Amendola who -- when he's at his best -- is a younger version of Welker. Both players have remarkably similar strengths: namely their route-running ability and short-area elusiveness.

The 27-year-old Amendola has missed 20 games the past two seasons as a member of the St. Louis Rams, but he's healthy now and will be in the slot Sunday when the Patriots visit Ralph Wilson Stadium. That puts second-year cornerback Ron Brooks in the spotlight. (Note: Starting today and continuing each Saturday during the 2013 season, the Press Coverage blog will highlight one player who has an interesting matchup in Sunday's game).

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Bill Belichick preparing for a Jets defense Sunday at The Ralph

By Tim Graham

When it comes to strategizing for the Buffalo Bills' new-look defense, Bill Belichick won't have to take a stab in the dark.

Belichick submitted his New England Patriots have been preparing for this Bills defense twice a year since 2009, when defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was with the New York Jets.

The uniforms and personnel will be changed, but Belichick doesn't sound like someone without a guess.

"This looks a lot like the Jets defense, just different, different players, and schematically it's similar to what we've seen from the Jets," Belichick said Tuesday on a conference call with Patriots reporters. "This year, Buffalo looks like the Jets schematically."

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Jairus Byrd is a gamer, but he often has played hurt

By Tim Graham

Jairus Byrd has missed only two games throughout his NFL career, both of them in his rookie season.

But the Buffalo Bills safety has been hurt frequently, and that's something to consider as we monitor his integration back onto the team. His contract squabble with the Bills kept him unsigned and unavailable for voluntary workouts, minicamp, training camp and two preseason games.

What kind of shape is Byrd in? How much of new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's system must he learn?

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted some interesting Byrd info Wednesday night, noting that "ill will remains" between Byrd and the Bills and that Byrd will be "extra careful" in getting back into the flow.

Players can be susceptible to injuries when returning from a prolonged contract dispute.

Darrelle Revis sat out the 2010 preseason with the New York Jets and then injured his hamstring in their second game. He missed the next two games after that.

How Revis wriggled his way from the Jets with another contract standoff this year also is a reminder that a star player's stock doesn't fall significantly over how he handles contract spats and whatever injuries or performance slippages occur because of them. Another team always seems willing to write off those concerns.

But given the thought of Byrd joining the Bills after missing so much time plus Rapoport's astute observation, I decided to take a look at how often Byrd appeared on an injury report last year.

Byrd was on an injury report before nine of the Bills' 16 games last year. Six different body parts were listed.

Byrd has played hurt often. Does being "extra careful" affect that track record?

  • Week One: N/A
  • Week Two: N/A
  • Week Three: Ankle
  • Week Four: N/A
  • Week Five: Hip
  • Week Six: Chest
  • Week Seven: N/A
  • Week Eight: Bye
  • Week Nine: N/A
  • Week 10: N/A
  • Week 11: N/A
  • Week 12: Back
  • Week 13: Back
  • Week 14: Back
  • Week 15: Shin
  • Week 16: Foot
  • Week 17: Ankle

Doug Whaley says 'nothing new to report' on Jairus Byrd contract

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley indicated today they're no closer to signing safety Jairus Byrd.

"Unfortunately, nothing new to report," Whaley said with a sigh after the Bills held a walkthrough at St. John Fisher College.

There's a widespread belief Byrd will report to the Bills in time for opening day, when players start to get paid.

"We hope he gets in here before the season opener," Whaley said, "but only he can tell us on that one."

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Bills make a pair of roster moves; cut Caussin, sign Westerman

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills have made a pair of roster moves today, cutting injured tight end Mike Caussin and signing former New York Jets linebacker Jamaal Westerman.

Caussin has been sidelined for most of his NFL career. He signed with the Bills in 2010 after failing to make the Jacksonville Jaguars roster as an undrafted rookie out of James Madison.

Caussin had all five of his NFL catches and both career starts in 2011. He suffered a knee injury at the end of that season and missed all of 2012. He had missed two weeks of this year's training camp with a hip injury.

Westerman played for Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine with the Jets. Westerman played 36 games over his three seasons there and recorded 5.5 sacks. He split time with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals last year, but had just one sack in three games.

Westerman is 6-foot-3, 255 pounds. He went undrafted out of Rutgers in 2009.

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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 |