Buffalo Bills: eric wood
Ticket prices soaring higher than most can remember? Parking lots full hours before the game? Players stuck in traffic driving to the stadium?
By any means, the buzz around the Buffalo Bills was off the charts Sunday. From news that Terry and Kim Pegula reached an agreement to buy the team, to Jim Kelly capturing the crowd's emotion with a pregame speech in memory of late owner Ralph Wilson, there was a confluence of factors that made the Bills and their fans hard to beat.
Just ask the Miami Dolphins, whom the Bills trounced, 29-10.
"They had a lot of intensity," Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace said. "We weren't close to their intensity. That's why they won the football game. They did a good job of playing football but their intensity was so much higher than ours that I think that's why they won the game, honestly."
It had been expected all week. Defensive captain Kyle Williams -- who said earlier in the week he couldn't wait until Sunday's game, simply because of the growing fever around it -- knew the Bills had to harness the atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"I told the guys before, 'Feed off the crowd, but don't let it overcome you,'" Williams explained. "Don't become so enthralled with the emotion and the energy that you let it overcome you and run what you're doing."
For some players, just getting to the facility was a challenge. Coach Doug Marrone said he was concerned that players wouldn't arrive on time because of the earlier-than-usual traffic. And he was right -- center Eric Wood encountered stand-still cars four hours before the game.
"That's the most traffic I've fought -- I apologize to all the people I cut off in traffic, coming off [Route] 219 -- because I skipped about a hundred cards," Wood said. "I tried to ask somebody to let me in, and they wouldn't. And then I had to say [tight end] Scott Chandler, who was in the back seat of my truck, I said, 'He'll give you an autograph!'
"But I'll tell you what: that's the most traffic that we've fought. And the crowd showed up. Everybody talks about how loud Seattle is ... when it's as loud as it is out there today, it's deafening."
While the festivities before the game were a start, CEO Russ Brandon expected the fun to last into the night.
"From the teamwork that went into making all this culminate, to the sale this week, and to cap it off today," Brandon said." There will be a pretty good party in this town tonight."
The three remaining captains are the same from last season: running back Fred Jackson, center Eric Wood and defensive tackle Kyle Williams.
A notable absence among the captains? Quarterback EJ Manuel, who enters his second season.
Captains are selected by voting among teammates.
- Another day, another practice where receiver Sammy Watkins suited up but wasn't a full participant. Watkins was in full pads, taking part in warm-up drills and stretching before watching the rest of the practice from the sideline. Coach Doug Marrone said the Bills' medical staff hasn't made a decision on Watkins' status for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this point, it doesn't make sense to play Watkins unless he's completely healthy. The opener in Chicago is most important.
- Tempers flared for some of the players who did practice. The highlight (lowlight?) of practice was a brawl in the end zone during a goal-line drill. Center Eric Wood, a team captain, and defensive end Bryan Johnson, an undrafted rookie, were at the center of it initially before it spilled off to the side. At one point, tight end Scott Chandler had to be restrained from Johnson. The language used between some of the players wasn't too family-friendly.
- Cornerback Leodis McKelvin had just seemed to ramp his participation up to normal levels this week when he left Wednesday's practice with a groin injury. It's unclear if McKelvin will be available for Saturday's game. It has to be frustrating for McKelvin, who has taken several months to recover from offseason hip surgery and also dealt with a hamstring injury early last season. However, the Bills have some depth at cornerback to withstand any long-term blow.
- It was another sharp day for quarterback EJ Manuel, who has been running against the scout team defense this week in practice. He went 11-for-15 in full-team drills, delivering his passes on-time and accurately on mostly shorter routes.
- After Jeff Tuel received 26 snaps and Thad Lewis saw nine reps Tuesday, the two backup quarterbacks switched Wednesday. Lewis was the first to replace Manuel and finished practice with 25 snaps (compared to 33 for Manuel). Tuel had nine. Coaches are still giving both players a chance to win the backup job, but Tuel appears to be the front-runner. It wouldn't be surprising if he saw more reps Thursday.
- Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (torn patella) was placed on injured reserve, and cornerbacks Mario Butler (ankle) and Bobby Felder (groin), as well as safety Jonathan Meeks (neck) were held out of practice. Tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring) continues to be limited; he spent team drills working with trainers on a side field.
- The Bills will wrap up training camp at St. John Fisher College with a practice Thursday afternoon. They are off Friday before playing the Buccaneers on Saturday.
Defensive end Bryan Johnson, an undrafted rookie, got tangled up with center Eric Wood in a goal-line drill near the end of Wednesday's practice, sparking what became the Bills' largest fight of camp.
Johnson appeared to throw punches at Wood before Wood's teammate, left guard Chris Williams, took some swings back at Johnson. The scuffle moved toward the sideline, where Johnson went to the ground with tight end Scott Chandler:
One more pic from fight: Bryan Johnson and Chandler on ground. Wood being restrained by coach Kurt Anderson (right) pic.twitter.com/FxExyV1i27— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) August 20, 2014
As teammates swarmed around, Chandler had to be held back by assistant strength and conditioning coach Eric Ciano.
"It's a situation where I thought it was just kind of unnecessary," Chandler said. "I don't know if it's always productive. I think we would have been like to have been able to finish our goal-line work with all the one's in there."
Coach Doug Marrone took a similar stance about the incident.
"I don’t think there's a place in this game for any kind of scuffles, you know?" Marrone said. "It’s not part of the game; therefore, I don't want to speak about it. It hurts the integrity of our game the more we talk about it. That's how I feel about fighting."
The concept is simple: A coach stands where the quarterback would, and, on a whistle, one offensive lineman tries to keep a defensive lineman at bay.
It's a chance for coaches to assess technique on both sides of the ball. It's also a drill where one rep can vary significantly from the last. But when viewed as a whole, trends develop.
We kept track of "wins" and "losses" -- these are judgment calls, sometimes -- in Sunday's drill. Here are the highlights of the results, noting that each player didn't receive the same amount of reps:
- DT Marcell Dareus -- He was borderline unblockable in this drill, blowing past Antoine McClain on one rep, while getting the better of Kraig Urbik and Seantrel Henderson on his other two reps.
- C Eric Wood -- In his only two reps, Wood held Alan Branch and Corbin Bryant at bay.
- LT Seantrel Henderson -- The rookie got the the better of Jerry Hughes on his first rep and handled undrafted rookie Bryan Johnson on his second rep.
- RT Cyrus Kouandjio -- He hasn't had the best camp, but the second-round pick held off Manny Lawson on his first rep and took care of Jacquies Smith on his second rep. Smith came back and beat Kouandjio on his third rep.
- C Doug Legursky and C Macky MacPherson -- Some good work by the undersized linemen. Legursky held off Landon Cohen twice, while MacPherson got the better of Cohen and Stefan Charles.
- DT Kyle Williams -- The veteran only saw one rep but had the upper hand on Chris Williams.
- DT Stefan Charles -- He received the most reps of any player -- five, total -- but didn't stand out. I wouldn't read too much into it, but it wasn't his best day.
- LG Chris Williams -- He had a tough task against Kyle Williams, but we also recorded a loss for Chris Williams against Corbin Bryant.
- DT Landon Cohen -- Journeyman vet had trouble penetrating against Legursky and MacPherson.
- DE Manny Lawson -- He has looked better as a pass rusher in live drills, but in one-on-one work Lawson was kept at bay by Kouandjio and Erik Pears.
Position: Offensive line
Total cap value: $22,525,875
Compared to NFL average: 4.6 percent less
NFL positional rank: 20th
Portion of Bills' total cap number: 16.3 percent
2014 cap numbers:
Eric Wood: $5.95 million (4th on Bills, 36th among NFL offensive linemen)
Erik Pears: $3.45 million (Bills: 11th; NFL: 64th)
Kraig Urbik: $3.375 million (Bills: 12th; NFL: 66th)
Chris Williams: $2.4 million (Bills: 18th; NFL: 92nd)
Cordy Glenn: $1.326 million (Bills: 26th; NFL: 135th)
Doug Legursky: $1.1 million (Bills: 28th; NFL: 142nd)
Cyrus Kouandjio: $874,331 (Bills: 32nd; NFL: 160th)
Chris Hairston: $748,977 (Bills: 34th; NFL: 174th)
Mark Asper: $570,000 (Bills: tied for 47th; NFL: tied for 242nd)
J.J. Unga: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 59th; NFL: tied for 297th)
Antoine McClain: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 59th; NFL: tied for 297th)
Cyril Richardson: $468,000 (Bills: 68th; NFL: 337th)
Seantrel Henderson: $432,700 (Bills: 70th; NFL: 350th)
Macky MacPherson: $420,000 (Bills: tied for 78th; tied for 402nd)
Edawn Coughman: $420,000 (Bills: tied for 78th; tied for 402nd)
Average per year:
Wood: $6.9 million (4th on Bills, tied for 25th among NFL offensive linemen)
Urbik: $3.65 million (Bills: 12th; NFL: 65th)
Williams: $3.287 (Bills: 13th; NFL: 72nd)
Pears: $3.1 million (Bills: tied for 14th; NFL: 78th)
Glenn: $1.216 million (Bills: 25th; NFL: 137th)
Kouandjio: $1.202 million (Bills: 26th; NFL: 138th)
Legursky: $1 million (Bills: tied for 31st; NFL: tied for 150th)
Hairston: $645,000 (Bills: tied for 41st; NFL: tied for 224th)
Richardson: $603,000 (Bills: 46th; NFL: 241st)
Henderson: $567,700 (Bills: 53rd; NFL: 275th)
Asper: $525,000 (Bills: tied for 59th; NFL: tied for 300th)
MacPherson: $510,000 (Bills: tied for 68th; NFL: tied for 354th)
Unga: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 77th; NFL: tied for 397th)
McClain: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 77th; NFL: tied for 397th)
Coughman: $465,000 (Bills: tied for 84th; NFL: tied for 433rd)
Most overpaid: Pears and Urbik. The Bills had problems on the right side of their line last season, where Urbik (right guard) and Pears (right tackle) were positioned. The pair of veterans both face stiff competition this summer, especially after the Bills drafted Kouandjio (second round), Richardson (fifth round) and Henderson (seventh round). In addition, Hairston looked to be pushing for a starting job during OTAs and minicamp this spring. Pears, 32, is in the final season of his three-year extension and the Bills can avoid paying his $2.75 million base salary by cutting him before Week 1. If Urbik loses his starting job, he'll be among the most overpaid Bills. He has three years left on his deal, meaning the Bills will have eat some money if they keep him on the bench or cut him, the latter of which is unlikely.
Most underpaid: Glenn. There's nothing that can be done about Glenn's contract until after this season, as he and the Bills will have to wait until after his third year to renegotiate his contract. He was arguably the Bills' best lineman last season, and with another strong season will be at the top of the list for an extension.
Allen says he first felt the symptoms of the stroke after colliding with Bills center Eric Wood in that game.
Wood took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to react:
Pretty sobering reading on ESPN bottom line that a collision I had with a LB for the Jags gave him a stroke and career over— Eric Wood (@EWood70) April 22, 2014
Just reminds you of how fragile your career in the NFL is and you can't take it for granted— Eric Wood (@EWood70) April 22, 2014
Next, we'll take a closer look at the Bills' offensive line:
Overall: "The Bills really need a guard. Their guard play, I thought, was really poor, especially when [Colin] Brown was in there. And [Doug] Legursky is a center. He's a gritty, backup center. I think it would go a long way if they had one more starting-caliber guard, because I think the tackles are good enough and [Eric] Wood is a good center."
On Kraig Urbik: "Urbik's played well. I think he's quality. But they need one more [guard]. I think if Urbik was their second guard, if he wasn't the best guard on the roster, then he's the second guard. He's a big boy, a mauler, a typical Wisconsin lineman that busted out here in Pittsburgh but has really done a much better job in the second half of his career."
On drafting a guard: "No, I don't think there is one. Like, last year there was [Jonathan] Cooper and [Chance] Warmack. There's not a guy to even consider there."
On drafting a tackle: "I'm not sure what name pops up to me. I think [Greg] Robinson and [Jake] Matthews will both be gone. It's a little far away to project that right now, who would be next. I think [Cordy] Glenn would be a great right tackle. He's a good left tackle, but he would be a great right tackle. If a left tackle was sitting there [at ninth overall], that would be interesting."
No. 4 (tied): Aaron Williams
Snaps: 81 percent (defense), 21 percent (special teams)
Penalties: 5 defense
Total penalty yards: 53
Quick take: Williams three costly penalties early this season. In Week 2, he was called for unnecessary roughness on third down, extending a Carolina Panthers drive. In Week 4, he was flagged for a horse collar tackle against the Baltimore Ravens. And in Week 5, he kept the Cleveland Browns on the field after another unnecessary roughness flag on third down. Even in his third season, Williams was one of the youngest players on the Bills' roster, so outside-the-limits play may come with the territory but he needs to continue to reel that in as he matures within the defense.
No. 4 (tied): Nickell Robey
Snaps: 53 percent (defense), 8 percent (special teams)
Penalties: 4 defense, 1 special teams
Total penalty yards: 53
Quick take: Since the Bills got solid play this season out of Robey, an undrafted rookie, his flags are less of an issue. He will need to cut down on costly defensive pass interference penalties and prove that he can play bigger than his size (5-foot-8, 165 pounds) without costing his team with penalties.
No. 3: Leodis McKelvin
Snaps: 81 percent (defense), 26 percent (special teams)
Penalties: 3 defense, 1 special teams
Total penalty yards: 54
Quick take: Despite his relatively high playing time, McKelvin was flagged only three times on defense, which is a positive for the former first-round pick who had a career season. He finishes high on this list because of his penalty yardage, mostly the result of a 29-yard pass interference call in Tampa.
No. 2: Cordy Glenn
Position: Left tackle
Snaps: 100 percent (offense), 14 percent (special teams)
Penalties: 6 offense
Total penalty yards: 58
Quick take: Glenn played every snap this season, so naturally his penalty tally will be higher than most. If there's one flag to pick out against Glenn, it would be his unnecessary roughness penalty in Week 4's win over Baltimore.
No. 1: Eric Wood
Snaps: 100 percent (offense)
Penalties: 7 offense
Total penalty yards: 60
Quick take: Wood was flagged twice for false start penalties, which are tough to excuse if you're the one snapping the ball. Otherwise, the captain's playing time gives him a pass for leading the team in penalty yardage.
Penalties: 109 (8th-most in NFL)
Penalty yards: 952 (7th-most in NFL)
Position: Offensive line (preseason grades)
Cordy Glenn -- 100 percent
Eric Wood -- 100 percent
Erik Pears -- 100 percent
Kraig Urbik -- 99.1 percent
Doug Legursky -- 65.9 percent
Colin Brown -- 34.1 percent
J.J. Unga -- 0.9 percent
Thomas Welch -- 0.7 percent
Sam Young -- 0.7 percent
Mark Asper -- no snaps
Antoine McClain -- no snaps
Preseason take: This is a significant concern for the Bills. With Legursky out of action for at least several weeks, they are dangerously thin along the interior of their line. Welch and Young are both younger pieces at tackle, but would be practice squad candidates on most other teams. The Bills sifted through upwards of 15 offensive linemen in training camp and did not come away with much. It'll be a position to address in the draft next spring. Grade: D+
Postseason review: The Bills were fortunate that their offensive line stayed almost fully healthy all season because depth was a significant concern. The Bills continued to sift through players, jettisoning Brown when Legursky returned, and later, swapping out Young for McClain. The Bills picked up Unga on their bye week and he could be a player to develop, but otherwise, the cupboards are mostly bare behind the top group. This grade was accurate and the Bills were fortunate.
Preseason take: Glenn is the youngest starter on what is a relatively experienced position group for the Bills. They can expect consistent play out of Wood, Urbik and Pears. It remains to be seen if Brown can step in for Andy Levitre at left guard and provide a reliable presence over 16 games. Grade: B
Postseason review: From an injury standpoint, this position held up well all season. The age and experience of Wood, Urbik, and Pears came in handy for a young offense but there was still shaky play from the veterans along the line. Brown, of course, was not a reliable option in place of Levitre. He was released once Legursky returned and has been out of football since. This grade may have been a bit generous.
With the draft pushed back two weeks -- it will be held May 8-10 -- it gives the Bills over four months to prepare to make their selection -- or trade it.
That's what happened last season, when the Bills traded down from No. 8 to No. 16, where they selected quarterback EJ Manuel.
Without any glaring holes on their roster -- at least at the moment -- the Bills could have flexibility in the first round in the upcoming draft.
Here is a look at the Bills' most recent first-round selections:
2013 -- QB EJ Manuel -- No. 16
2012 -- CB Stephon Gilmore -- No. 10
2011 -- DT Marcell Dareus -- No. 3
2010 -- RB C.J. Spiller -- No. 9
2009 -- DE Aaron Maybin -- No. 11
2009 -- C Eric Wood -- No. 28
2008 -- CB Leodis McKelvin -- No. 11
With one game remaining, the following Bills players are set to cross the finish line unscathed. They have started all 15 games to this point:
T Cordy Glenn
T Erik Pears
G Kraig Urbik
C Eric Wood
DE Mario Williams
DT Kyle Williams
LB Kiko Alonso
There are several other players who have played in all 15 games so far, including some appearances as a reserve:
RB Fred Jackson
WR Marcus Easley
WR Chris Hogan
WR T.J. Graham
TE Scott Chandler
TE Lee Smith
T Thomas Welch
DE Jerry Hughes
DT Alan Branch
DT Marcell Dareus
LB Nigel Bradham
LB Arthur Moats
CB Nickell Robey
S Jim Leonhard
S Da'Norris Searcy
S Duke Williams
K Dan Carpenter
LS Garrison Sanborn
Overall, 25 Bills have appeared in every game this season. That ranks third in the division, behind the New York Jets (28) and the Miami Dolphins (27). The New England Patriots have the fewest "ironmen" in the AFC East -- 20 are set to finish a full season Sunday.
That was the message from Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone after rookie quarterback EJ Manuel had his worst outing of the season Sunday, throwing four interceptions in a 27-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I think we've been giving him more and more. Now it's a point of where you have to re-evaluate that. He's been going fast with his progression and now we just have to look at it and get him started again," Marrone said. "It's not starting over -- don't get me wrong -- [but] we've got to look to see what we can do and probably cut down what we're doing."
Manuel is 0-5 in games played outside of Buffalo, while his completion percentage dips from 65 percent at Ralph Wilson Stadium to 53 percent at other venues. However, the 16th overall pick in April's draft downplayed location as a factor after Sunday's game.
"I'm not going to say because I'm not at the Ralph I played bad, or because we're on the road [I] played bad," he said. "Just didn't do well today. Very, very, very frustrating for me. But it's still a learning curve and just have to move on."
The Buccaneers sacked Manuel seven times Sunday, but that still wasn't the most the rookie was taken down this season. The New York Jets sacked him eight times in Week 3.
"We didn't do a very good job up front at times," coach Doug Marrone said. "You saw us having to escape the pocket. I think that's very difficult."
Center Eric Wood, however, was defensive about his unit's performance after the game.
"Bad, but you show me any offensive line that played good when you're down 21 points in the second quarter," he said. "I'd love to see it."
A reporter later followed-up, asking if Wood thought an offensive line couldn't play well, down three touchdowns.
"It's pretty tough," Wood responded. "You let a talented dffensive line tee off on you, play after play, they're going to get home. You have to be able to ... if you're not close, and you gotta do obvious passing downs -- first, second, third down -- they're gonna get home. That's how it generally works."
To Wood's point, a big part of the problem for the Bills' offense was their inability to keep second and third downs at manageable distances, a result of an ineffective running game that gained 67 yards on 22 carries.
What wasn't the problem, Wood noted, was crowd noise. It was hardly a hostile environment for Manuel and his offensive line.
"Crowd wasn't a factor today," Wood said. "Shoot, you couldn't tell who made a good play, there was so many Bills fans down here."
Only 20 members of the current Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster are alive, Syracuse lineman Doug Marrone is in his first training camp with the Los Angeles Raiders, and Bon Jovi just released their landmark album, "Slippery When Wet."
Now fast-forward more than 27 years. Jon Bon Jovi's musical career has earned him a sizable fortune, and according to a report Sunday from CBS Sports, the rock star is "among the parties positioning to purchase the Buffalo Bills when the team comes up for sale."
Marrone, in his first season as Bills head coach, was asked Monday if he has met Bon Jovi, who has built ties with several NFL owners and coaches.
"C'mon, now! I'm from the Bronx. I didn't grow up with special privileges. I really don't [know him]," Marrone said. "I'm just a football coach. I'm not a groupie!"
Contacted by the Associated Press on Monday, Bon Jovi's publicist said that while the singer is interested in becoming an NFL owner someday, he has not yet engaged in discussions with current Bills ownership.
Meanwhile, Bills players on Monday addressed the possibility of playing for a team owned by a superstar performer.
"That's out there. Of the theories, if [Jim] Kelly was going to buy the team or whoever, Bon Jovi is probably the most out there," center Eric Wood said. "But those rock stars accumulate a ton of money and who knows if he's a big enough football fan. [But] if he wants to get involved, I'm sure he could assemble the money."
Wide receiver Steve Johnson also was aware of the report.
"I mean, he's not throwing the ball to me," Johnson said, laughing. "It is what it is, but I guess that was pretty cool. Right now we just have to worry about the Falcons."
On Wednesday, more reaction came from the Buffalo Bills locker room, specifically from team captain Eric Wood. In addition to being represented by the same agent, David Dunn, Wood and Incognito were teammates on the Bills in 2009.
Saying he's been in communication with "everybody" about the incident, Wood stepped cautiously around the subject Wednesday.
Wood suggested that Jonathan Martin's agent may be the source of details that emerged about Incognito's involvement.
"Sometimes, from what it appears, the agents got involved. Jonathan was with his family for a few days. Nothing came out, and then all of the sudden the agent released stuff about Richie," Wood said. "I don't know if he's trying to defend his client and maybe throw someone under the bus at the expense of it, but I don't know. I think there's a lot more to the story than meets the eye."
Although teammates for just one season, Wood said he and Incognito remain friends and see each other at events, including the Super Bowl.
"He gets on me. I get on him. But I can take it. I have respect for Richie, he has respect for me," Wood said. "It sounds really weird to outside people, but it's part of the culture. Guys give people a hard time. Especially O-lines that are really close. But you really have to get a feel for guys. As a leader of a football team especially, just a case of misjudgment I believe."
Wood further stressed that Incognito may be misunderstood.
"I don't know what would have provoked him. I'm assuming he felt some back-and-forth banter, which is kind of how he produces his humor. He gets on guys and guys get on him back. He can take it. He's by no means perfect and guys give him a hard time, too," Wood said. "But you have to have respect for a guy, and when a guy is kind of down, which I'm assuming [Martin] was, you have to know when to pull off, and I think he just used some really bad misjudgment."
As far as his own experience, Wood said he has been on the receiving end of friendly banter.
"Guys got on me for a lot of meals. They get on me about my hair. But I'm fine with that. I just kind of roll it off," he said. "Outside the building we all hung out and we all got along. But there's different cases where guys can take it differently. As far as the meals they've gotten me for, I've enjoyed my fair share of meals. And they got me good because I was a first-rounder. First-rounders generally stick around for a while. And they know that you're going to get it back."
Draft status plays into how veterans treat "rookie nights," according to Wood.
"We've had a lot of undrafted offensive linemen who make the team and they might pick up breakfast on a Saturday, but they're not getting the big-time rookie nights that you hear about a Dez Bryant or somebody else getting," he said.