Buffalo Bills: kyle williams

Bills, home crowd prove hard to beat

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- How do you measure excitement?

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."

Prediction: Bills will beat Dolphins

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- When's the last time that excitement was this high for a Buffalo Bills home game?

The home opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium is a hot ticket, and for good reason. Morale in Western New York is high after a Bills upset win last Sunday and an agreement this week by Terry and Kim Pegula to purchase the team. Add in news that Jim Kelly is cancer-free, a remembrance for Ralph Wilson, and newly elected Hall of Famer Andre Reed as part of the pregame festivities, and it will be a tough environment for the Dolphins to play.

On the field, it's hard to overlook that the Bills, led by Thad Lewis, defeated the Dolphins twice last season, including a 19-0 shutout at home. This isn't the same pressure-based defense that Mike Pettine used to help secure that win, and the Dolphins' offensive line should be improved, but I still believe that the Bills' defensive line can dictate the outcome of this contest.

The Bills' offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage on 55.8 percent of plays last week -- fifth best in the NFL -- while the Dolphins ranked 26th by controlling the line 46.2 percent of the time. If the Bills' defensive line can capitalize on the potential for pressure, Ryan Tannehill will have a tough day.

My prediction: Bills 17, Dolphins 14

Ups and downs for Buffalo Bills

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
CHICAGO -- At an initial glance, a look at which players are "up" and which players are at the opposite end of the spectrum in the Buffalo Bills' season-opening win against the Chicago Bears:


P Colton Schmidt -- Let's lead off with Schmidt, who joined the Bills last week and had an impressive outing. Schmidt, 23, pinned the Bears at their 14, 7, 14, and 6-yard lines with four of his five punts.

WR Robert Woods -- The second-year receiver has bounced back well from some preseason bumps. His acrobatic 25-yard catch in the fourth quarter set-up a go-ahead field goal. He also snagged an impressive catch early in the game over a defender.

RB Fred Jackson -- It was a quiet game up until overtime for Jackson, whose 38-yard rumble sealed the Bills' overtime win. Clutch play for the veteran when it counted.

CB Corey Graham -- Getting the start in place of Stephon Gilmore, the former Bear intercepted Jay Cutler and returns it 45 yards. The next play was a Bills' touchdown.

DT Kyle Williams -- The reliable veteran stepped in front of a Cutler pass for his first career interception. As Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said after the game, the "fat guy got the pick" -- high praise, I guess.


CB Leodis McKelvin -- He had a tough task against Chicago's taller receivers and didn't have his best game. McKelvin was beaten by Alshon Jeffery for a 44-yarder early then gave up an 11-yard touchdown to Brandon Marshall. He also couldn't haul in a would-be interception late.

RG Erik Pears -- The veteran notably missed a block on a screen pass that could have been a big-gainer. He also was flagged for holding, though the call was declined.

RT Seantrel Henderson -- The rookie was flagged for a holding penalty on a 13-yard Sammy Watkins catch as the Bills were driving in fourth quarter. That pushed them back and they later settled for a field goal.

TE Scott Chandler, LB Brandon Spikes -- The veterans were flagged for personal fouls on separate plays. The Bills didn't get many breaks from the officials Sunday, but these are the unnecessary flags that can swing close games.

Spikes, Graham among Bills' captains

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
The Buffalo Bills announced six team captains Monday for the upcoming season.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Corey Graham were both named captains. Defensive end Mario Williams is also a first-time captain.

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.
ESPN.com is ranking NFL players and counting them down (follow on Twitter @ESPNNFL) from No. 100 to No. 1 on both offense and defense, 10 per day for 10 days. The top 10 on both sides of the ball will be revealed Friday, Aug. 29.

The rankings were based on votes from 90 ESPN NFL experts.

On Monday, two more Buffalo Bills made the cut on the defensive top 100 list. Defensive tackles Kyle Williams (No. 44) and Marcell Dareus (No. 49) both landed higher on the rankings than they did last season.

Williams and Dareus were both elected to the Pro Bowl in January and together form one of the NFL's best duos of defensive tackles.

Their teammate, defensive end Mario Williams, has yet to appear on the list. With four days to go, expect Williams to land somewhere in the defensive top 40.

2014 Bills ESPN NFL Rank results:
LB Brandon Spikes -- No. 98 (defense)
RB C.J. Spiller -- No. 89 (offense)
DT Dareus -- No. 49 (defense)
DT Kyle Williams -- No. 44 (defense)

2013 Bills ESPN NFL Rank results:
DT Dareus -- No. 100 (defense)
DT Kyle Williams -- No. 82 (defense)
WR Stevie Johnson -- No. 76 (offense)
RB Spiller -- No. 58 (offense)
DE Mario Williams -- No. 38 (defense)
S Jairus Byrd -- No. 26 (defense)

Chris Williams remains out for Bills

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills starting left guard Chris Williams remained out of practice Monday.

Williams, who practiced each day last week, missed Saturday's preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was previously listed with a lower back injury.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who missed Saturday's loss with a rib injury, was in uniform for the start of practice and took part in warm-up drills. Since the majority of practice drills are closed to the media after training camp, it's unclear how much Watkins participated in Monday's practice.

Meanwhile, tight ends Lee Smith (toe) and Dominique Jones (unknown), safety Jonathan Meeks (neck), and cornerback Mario Butler (ankle) all were out of practice. Smith and Jones both played in Saturday's game.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (leg) and tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring) returned to practice after missing Saturday's game.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams sat out Thursday's practice with a leg injury.

Williams watched the practice from the sideline, so the injury does not appear to be serious. Williams, 31, is a team captain and periodically receives rest days.

In his place, the Bills used Corbin Bryant next to Marcell Dareus at defensive tackle with their first-team defense. Stefan Charles and Landon Cohen were the pairing on the second team.

Meanwhile, cornerback Leodis McKelvin sat out Thursday's practice after leaving Wednesday's session with a groin injury. Doctors have yet to clear McKelvin to play in Saturday's preseason game.

Tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring), cornerback Mario Butler (ankle), cornerback Bobby Felder (groin), and safety Jonathan Meeks (neck) also sat out Thursday's practice.
Continuing a series analyzing the economics of the Buffalo Bills' roster, position by position:

Position: Defensive tackle

Total cap value: $17,250,732
Compared to NFL average: 75 percent more
NFL positional rank: 4th

Portion of Bills' total cap number: 12.5 percent

2014 cap numbers:
Marcell Dareus: $6.493 million (2nd on Bills, 8th among NFL defensive tackles)
Kyle Williams: $6.25 million (Bills: 3rd; NFL: 9th)
Alan Branch: $2.675 million (Bills: 16th; NFL: 32nd)
Stefan Charles: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 59th; NFL: tied for 128th)
Corbin Bryant: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 59th; NFL: tied for 128th)
Damien Jacobs: $422,500 (Bills: tied for 71st; NFL: 154th)
Colby Way: $420,000 (Bills: tied for 78th; NFL: tied for 175th)

Average per year:
Williams: $7.5 million (3rd on Bills, 5th among NFL defensive tackles)
Dareus: $5.101 million (Bills: 7th; NFL: 15th)
Branch: $3.1 million (Bills: tied for 14th; NFL: 26th)
Jacobs: $512,500 (Bills tied for 61st; NFL: 138th)
Way: $510,000 (Bills: tied for 68th; NFL: tied for 157th)
Charles: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 77th; NFL: tied for 180th)
Bryant: $450,000 (Bills: 89th; NFL: tied for 199th)

Most overpaid: None. Under normal circumstances, Branch might fall into this category but the uncertainty with Dareus' status makes Branch a valuable insurance policy. The Bills may have jumped a little soon on giving Branch a three-year extension, only to have his starting role evaporate with the shift in defensive coordinators this offseason. Yet if the Bills lose Dareus to a suspension or decide to release him before his 2015 salary becomes guaranteed, Branch could slide into a more prominent role. It's not the most economical deal the Bills have done, but Branch's contract isn't too big of an issue.

Most underpaid: None. The Bills have $45.041 million of their salary cap devoted to defensive linemen in 2014, the highest number of any NFL team. They're paying all of their core defensive tackles well. They delivered last season, with Williams and Dareus both posting career highs in sacks. That's money well spent. The price tag is high, but the Bills have one of the NFL's best defensive lines.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills had a pair of offensive players return to Tuesday's organized team activities (OTAs).

Wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Anthony Dixon, who were both not spotted at Monday's session, were back on the field Tuesday.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams remained out of Tuesday's OTAs, which is voluntary per NFL rules. He also missed Monday's practice.

Tight end Tony Moeaki had limited participation Tuesday after doing rehab work during Monday's practice. Other players working on the sidelines Tuesday were wide receiver Cordell Roberson, cornerback Darius Robinson, running back Ronnie Wingo, guard J.J. Unga, offensive tackle Chris Hairston, wide receiver Marcus Easley, and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin injured his knee in Monday's practice. This is the first time that Hairston, who took some reps at right guard with the first-team Monday, had missed practice.

Defensive Bryan Johnson, who was carted off the field Monday with an apparent left knee injury, was not spotted. Offensive lineman Doug Legursky, defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Alan Branch, and defensive end Manny Lawson were also not on the field.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip) saw limited reps in red zone drills, while cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin (hip) and Stephon Gilmore (hip) also saw reps with the second team in one red zone drill. That was their first action in team drills of OTAs.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills began their final week of organized team activities with two injuries in Monday's practice.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin came down hard on his right knee while diving for a catch. He met with trainers and briefly returned to practice before eventually leaving the field. His injury doesn't appear to be serious but is worth monitoring.

Meanwhile, rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson was carted off the field with a left leg injury. Johnson, who returned to practice Monday after sitting out two sessions last week, immediately grabbed for his left knee following a play during 11-on-11 work.

Coach Doug Marrone checked on Johnson before the cart left the field. Johnson is an undrafted rookie from West Texas A&M.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Anthony Dixon were not spotted at Monday's practice after participating in the final session of last week. Tight end Tony Moeaki spent practice rehabbing from an undisclosed injury.

Guard Chris Williams returned to action after missing two practices last week. Offensive lineman Doug Legursky remained out after sitting out last Thursday's session.

Running back Bryce Brown, who dealt with an undisclosed injury through the first two weeks of OTAs, was a full participant Monday. He moved well, catching a pass across the middle from Thad Lewis in stride at one point.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip), cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hip), cornerback Stephon Gilmore (hip), and wide receiver T.J. Graham (hip) all sat out team drills. Defensive end Mario Williams saw some limited action in those drills.

Wide receivers Cordell Roberson and Marcus Easley, tight end Mike Caussin, guard J.J. Unga, running back Ronnie Wingo, and cornerback Darius Robinson all remained limited due to injuries.

Defensive end Manny Lawson and defensive tackles Alan Branch and Marcell Dareus were not present.
Training camp is still more than six weeks away, but for the moment, the Buffalo Bills look a little thin at defensive tackle.

Marcell Dareus' off-field troubles have led to him sitting out the remainder of organized team activities. His likely replacement in the lineup, Alan Branch, hasn't been at voluntary OTAs and isn't in contact with the coaching staff.

With defensive captain and Pro Bowler Kyle Williams entrenched at one defensive tackle spot, the Bills used Corbin Bryant in Dareus' place Tuesday. Bryant has been in the NFL for three seasons but has little playing experience and is undersized. The Bills would hold their breath if they had to start him in a regular-season game.

The same holds true for the other three players on the Bills' depth chart at the position: Stefan Charles, Damien Jacobs and Colby Way. The latter two are undrafted free agents clawing for a roster spot. Charles showed promise in limited duty last season but is raw.

Bills coach Doug Marrone was blunt Tuesday about Branch, saying he has "no idea" where the veteran has been. The expectation is that Branch will show up for mandatory minicamp later this month, but missing three weeks of OTAs as Jim Schwartz tries to install his defensive scheme won't help Branch's cause.

Dareus' status, meanwhile, is tenuous. The NFL could suspend him for either of his recent legal incidents, while it's no guarantee that his upcoming two-week absence from the team will prevent him from running into further trouble.

That leads to the following question: Should the Bills add veteran insurance at defensive tackle?

The Bills have about $7.5 million in cap space, plenty to sign even a higher-priced free agent. For some players remaining on the free-agent market, they're holding out hope for a bigger-money deal from a team that is more desperate to plug a hole than they were in March.

For others, the question is often health. Is the player still in "football shape" and will he be effective even during the rigors of an NFL training camp?

If the Bills chose to hedge their bets at defensive tackle this summer and add another veteran to the mix, here are some of their options:

Kevin Williams: He's easily the biggest name on the market. He'll turn 34 this August but missed only one game last season for the Minnesota Vikings. At 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, Williams has the size to replace Dareus or Branch in a pinch. He's a six-time Pro Bowler who notched three sacks last season for the Vikings, so he's probably demanding more than a minimum contract. This would be a more costly insurance policy.

Isaac Sopoaga: Released by the New England Patriots earlier this offseason, Sopoaga hasn't found a new home. He turns 33 in September and wasn't a good fit with New England after being traded by the Philadelphia Eagles mid-season. Still, he's a 330-pounder who could provide more bulk along the defensive line than Bryant, Charles or either undrafted rookie. His price tag would also be significantly less than Williams'.

Aubrayo Franklin: Much like Sopoaga, Franklin is a big body in the middle of a defensive line but is aging. He turns 34 in August and has been well-traveled in recent seasons, most recently starting 15 games for a subpar Indianapolis Colts defense. His price tag wouldn't be too high.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Two veteran players did not participate in the Buffalo Bills' first organized team activity Wednesday.

Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Manny Lawson were not spotted at the OTA, which by NFL rules is voluntary.

"I haven't talked to them. It's voluntary. We all know that," coach Doug Marrone said. "I tend to not worry about the things that I can't control, and obviously I can't control that."

It's unclear if either will participate in any of the Bills' remaining OTAs, which continue through mid-June before the team's mandatory minicamp.

"I haven't seen either of those guys," Marrone said. "There's a lot of other guys here that I need to be concentrating on. My expectation is that it's voluntary. Any guy that shows up, I'm happy. If you don't show up, you don't have to. Otherwise, it's very difficult for me. So for me, hey, I'm fine."

Lawson started 15 games for the Bills last season at linebacker, but will move to defensive end under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and faces the possibility of a reduced role in the scheme.

Branch, meanwhile, figures to slide inside to defensive tackle under Schwartz after starting 13 games last season at defensive end. If the NFL suspends Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus after he was arrested on felony drug charges earlier this month, Branch could be his replacement in the starting lineup.

Kyle Williams, who was a team captain last season, commented on Branch's and Lawson's absence Wednesday.

"I have a family of my own. Different things happen for different people, so there might be something going on that they need to be there for," Williams said. "I think the guys that, when you're here, when you're in the building, you're going to work hard, do what you need to do, but I think everybody on our team would tell you that family is going to take precedent, no matter what it is. These things are voluntary.

"I'm sure those guys will show up at some point when they can and we'll be glad to have them."
Continuing a position-by-position preview of next month's draft from a Buffalo Bills perspective:

Position: Defensive tackle

Current personnel: Kyle Williams (signed through 2016), Marcell Dareus (signed through 2014 with option for 2015), Alan Branch (2016), Corbin Bryant (2014), Stefan Charles (2015)

Draft need: Low

State of the position: There isn't an immediate need at this position. The starting duo -- Williams and Dareus -- is set, while Branch is likely to slide inside from defensive end in Mike Pettine's system to defensive tackle in Jim Schwartz's scheme. Branch will add depth and run-stopping ability at the goal line. Bryant has some playing experience and could help in a pinch, but ultimately is a replaceable player. Charles is a developmental project.

The wild card at this position is Dareus. He had a rough ending to last season, sitting out parts of the final two games after being late to team meetings. The Bills have until May 3 to exercise Dareus' fifth-year option for 2015 and unless coach Doug Marrone has serious concerns about Dareus' work ethic, it makes sense to keep him in Buffalo for another season. General manager Doug Whaley has said that the Bills have interest in extending Dareus' contract, a sign that he is the team's long-term plans. Dareus' contract situation creates some uncertainty but shouldn't cause the Bills to draft a replacement in the early rounds next month.

The more likely scenario is that the Bills see a player on the board later in the draft who fits their scheme and profile for the position. That player could compete with Charles for a roster spot and potentially add a layer of depth.

Sweet spot: Late rounds.

Possible targets: Shamar Stephen (Connecticut), Bruce Gaston (Purdue), Jay Bromley (Syracuse)
We recently chatted with ESPN NFL Insider Matt Williamson, a former scout for the Cleveland Browns, about a variety of Buffalo Bills topics.

Next, we'll take a closer look at the Bills defense under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz:

Overall thoughts on scheme: "By judging what the Detroit Lions have done over the years, they're not going to blitz much. They'll do some but their linebackers aren't considered great pass-rushers. They don't have a lot invested at their linebacker positions in Detroit. They want studs up front [on the defensive line]. By that standard, I think Buffalo fits that."

Thoughts on defensive line: "I'm a real, big Kyle Williams fan. [Marcell] Dareus is a bit of an enigma to me, because I think he's a good player, but I don't know exactly what he is. And that doesn't necessarily matter. He's kind of a big, fat guy but he's not Vince Wilfork. He's not Warren Sapp. He's not a 3-4 [defensive] end. So I don't know exactly what he is. But I think he's best in a 4-3 and can be disruptive and is a quality player against the run and pass, he's just probably never lived up to the draft position he was taken [third overall in 2011]."

Defensive end fits in Schwartz's scheme: "It was Kyle Vanden Bosch for a lot of years. They went out and signed Jason Jones this year to play end, who is a 290-pound guy. Generally, in the Wide-9, they're going to look for speed off the edge. I think Mario Williams is a good player, but I'm not sure that's his game. I like how Jerry Hughes played for the Bills this year and I think he's a keeper, but I don't think he can handle every snap as a 4-3 end. They might need another [defensive] end. A 260-pound guy that runs a 4.6 [40-yard dash]."

On possible diminished role for Alan Branch: "Agreed. Short yardage, I guess he's a defensive end. On passing downs, maybe he's a defensive tackle. He's certainly not an end. I don't think he's a great Wide-9 fit. He's not Ndamukong Suh. That's for sure. I think he's more of a 3-4 end. 'Let's be stout at the point of attack, eat up as much space as possible, don't lose in the run game.'"

On Alex Carrington's role: "Yeah, maybe. Maybe he's a third or fourth [defensive] end for you. He's obviously a bigger body than Hughes. So he could do some different things there. But I still think they're an end short, especially because [Mario] Williams isn't young. You could draft an end reasonably high, an upside guy."

On needs at linebacker: "At outside linebacker. But those guys are kind of like [offensive] guards to me. You can almost find them anywhere. The Lions did that too. They had very little resources in their outside linebackers. [DeAndre] Levy was a [third-round] pick. They had a revolving door at the other spot."

On Manny Lawson: "I don't think he fits the scheme. I think he's best as a 3-4 outside linebacker and I think he's not nearly productive enough to count on. It wouldn't shock me at all if he's a cap casualty."

On Nigel Bradham: "I think he fits this new scheme better than the old scheme. I think he can run and hit well enough to be maybe an OK 4-3 outside linebacker. ... I don't think [Sam and Will] are all the distinguishable in Detroit's system. It think they're more left and right [outside linebackers], run and hit guys. I don't remember them having any 6-3, 245-pound 'Sam' guys. It's more that they're outside linebackers are interchangeable than the old school Bucs, Tampa-2."

NFLN survey/franchise player: Bills

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16
The Buffalo Bills are hoping that EJ Manuel is their franchise quarterback.

But in a recent survey of 320 NFL players, none said that they would choose Manuel if they had to start a franchise with just one player. Instead, 62 players chose Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning while his successor with the Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, drew the second-most votes.

Only one Bills player appeared on the survey results: defensive tackle Kyle Williams drew one vote.

Obviously, the Bills would love to have Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or some of the other players receiving the most votes in this survey.

But like most teams, they'll have to keep looking.