Bills top 20 talents: No. 5 - Kiko Alonso [1:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The past tense was used in the last sentence because, of course, Alonso’s season is over before it even got started. The linebacker suffered a torn ACL working out in Oregon and will likely miss the entirety of the 2014 campaign. It’s a big blow to the Bills because they lose one of their most explosive players on defense, and there is a clear gap between him and whoever his replacement will be this season. He was also set to play at weakside linebacker, which would have suited his skill set and body best, but he will likely no longer have that chance. Nowadays professional athletes bounce back from the torn ACL injury quite well, and the Bills will have to hold on to hope that Alonso can be one of the increasing trend.'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 6 - Mario Williams [1:53 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Switching back to the 4-3 defensive scheme, there isn’t much of a change for Williams despite the move. In 2013, Williams basically played the role of a defensive end rushing from the left side of the defensive line. This season, he’ll be doing the same in a scheme that will ask the defensive ends to win their matchups to get pressure on the quarterback. In Mike Pettine’s scheme last year, blitzes were brought from all over the place which led to enhanced opportunities for the men on the defensive line. While blitzing won’t be completely eradicated, there will be more straight-up four-man rushes from the defensive line this year than last. Williams is always one of the most fascinating to watch on film, because he has perhaps more raw ability than anyone on the team, and it’s always a matter of if he capitalizes on it from week to week.'
Bills camp primer: Safety [1:52 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Derek Brim, Jajuan Harley - Harley made some plays in the offseason workouts, but he’ll have to work his way up past both Broomfield and Ladler to have a shot at cracking the top five — if there is even a top five to be cracked (they could keep only four players). Brim is a great local story, being a native to Buffalo, a Canisius High School graduate and also a graduate of the University at Buffalo, but that’s likely where the story will end. Brim is perhaps the biggest longshot of all the safeties to crack the 53-man roster.'
Alonso, Glenn on camp non-participation lists, Bills sign LB [1:51 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The Bills addressed their linebacker position Wednesday, signing free agent Stevenson Sylvester. The free agent worked out for the club Wednesday morning and was signed in the afternoon.'
3 ways EJ Manuel can be a difference maker [1:50 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said standing behind the play in practice he can tell right away if Manuel sees what he’s supposed to recognize in the defensive coverage. Through the spring he felt Manuel was making good identification of the defense.'
Schwartz’s passion for the game is still intense [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“I always identified more with the coach or the manager than I did with the players,” he said. “Growing up in Baltimore with a guy like Earl Weaver, even though he’s not a football mentor, that was a guy that I looked up to. And I think a lot of it was my own self-awareness of my playing ability. Even though I played in college, I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional football player, but I was always interested in the strategy of the game.”'
Jim Kelly attends football camp at St. John Fisher [1:58 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"The best thing for me is when I'm up in the morning and I'm eating my breakfast through my tube to see my daughters and my wife walk out and to see the smiles that are always on their faces every single morning. That's what I need," Kelly said. "When you've had family support like I've had and public support like I've had there's no way that I'm not going to beat this because a lot of it's mental."'
Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes among 3 things to watch with the 2014 Buffalo Bills defensive line [1:57 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'The roles of the defensive linemen shouldn't change drastically, and all four of the Bills' expected starters fit into a 4-3 defense just fine. The question worth asking is whether or not the Bills will be quite as aggressive when it comes to generating pressure under Schwartz, who traditionally hasn't utilized the blitz as often as Pettine did a year ago.'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 7 - Cordy Glenn [1:56 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Once again, Glenn resumes his role as the team's starting left tackle and might have a much easier time of it with an upgrade beside him in Chris Williams. Glenn plays within himself and never gets to a point on film where you feel as though he's lucky to have escaped without giving up a sack. As the Bills said last year, it's a very good thing when no one is talking about the starting left tackle. It was the case for Glenn, and they'll continue to give him that opportunity at the league's most high profile position on the offensive line.'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 8 - Aaron Williams [1:55 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'By moving to free safety Williams now has the opportunity to become not only an impact player each and every week, but he can also be the leader of the secondary which is something he’s really taken to since the start of offseason workouts. Always a very vocal player, Williams now has the experience to go along with his chatter. Much like another player in the secondary, a very high quality season can help him become one of the elite talents on the roster. He has all the potential and the role to do it in 2014, now there’s nothing left for him but to go out and prove that he is that player that the Bills hoped for.
Bills camp primer: Offensive Line [1:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Kraig Urbik, Cyrus Kouandjio - While it’s likely that Urbik will resume his role as the starting right guard in 2014, the Bills have made it clear through both OTAs and the mandatory minicamp that they aren’t satisfied at the position. Urbik lost some first-team reps throughout the workouts, most notably to Chris Hairston during the three day mandatory minicamp. Even if he loses his job, Urbik still likely lands on the roster as a depth/experience player. The Bills would certainly like the second-round pick Kouandjio to take hold of the starting right tackle job over Erik Pears, but he hasn’t earned the full amount of first-team reps just yet. Kouandjio, at worst, will be the backup swing tackle.'
Bidders will be ''pleasantly surprised'' by Bills' financials [1:53 AM]
WGR-AM reports: '"From what I'm told, bidders are going to be pleasantly surprised with the financials of the Bills" Kaplan said. "Many see it as, financially, a bottom tier team. That's not the case, they're probably in the middle of the third quartile pack of the NFL."'
Will C.J. Spiller return to Pro Bowl form? [1:52 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '“This is probably the deepest it’s been since I’ve been here,” said Spiller of the running back contingent. “We’ve got a great group of guys. The thing about our group, we always want each other to get better. I’m excited about the guys we have here.”'
Bills’ special teams have room for improvement [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“Last year we went in the season and we had a lot of guys that had never done it, either because they were young and hadn’t done it in college or hadn’t done it period,” said Bills special teams coach Danny Crossman. “Any time you’re on a new staff and a new organization from top to bottom … we were trying to constantly turn over that bottom of the roster so those guys would identify themselves.”'
Cyrus Kouandjio's knee among 3 questions surrounding the Buffalo Bills' offensive line in 2014 [1:58 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'So why did he fall to the second round? Because his surgically repaired knee reportedly caused him to fail physicals with six teams at the NFL Scouting Combine. Whaley said the Bills' medical staff was comfortable with the condition of Kouandjio's knee (he tore his left ACL as a sophomore), but he wasn't quite the same player as a junior while playing on it.'
Nobody safe, Bills need big year [1:57 AM]
The Sports Xchange reports: '"We're confident as a football team, and I'm extremely confident in the roster we have, so now it comes down to execution," said center Eric Wood. "We have a solid group from top to bottom, with some depth to withstand a full season which is crucial in this league. I'm excited about our roster."'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 9 - Robert Woods [1:56 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Woods will be one of the top two receivers in that base set alongside the presumed top wideout in Watkins. When the Bills go to three wide receiver sets however, Woods will provide the Bills the flexibility to play on either the outside or on the inside as the slot receiver. With Manuel a little bit more comfortable with the offense and his role in that offense, there’s a fair expectation that Woods’ stat line at the end of the year will receive a jump from where it was last season (40 receptions, 587 yards, three touchdowns).'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 10 - Stephon Gilmore [1:55 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The 2013 season wasn’t a step back but a lateral one. With a relatively healthy offseason and a clear pass to hit the ground running at training camp this year, Gilmore has the opportunity once more to develop into the top cornerback the Bills believe he can be. Already boasting the necessary physical nature and hip fluidity needed in cornerbacks, Gilmore has a straight-line personality as well. He never gets too hyped up and he certainly never gets down on himself, leading to a level-headed approach to the game which is a huge advantage for playing such a volatile position. In a defense that will allow its cornerbacks to shine, everything is there for Gilmore to make the jump. It’s just a matter of staying healthy and capitalizing on the positive play from training camp of 2013.'
Bills camp primer: Cornerback [1:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Michael Carter, Darius Robinson - Carter is getting his first chance with the team and the NFL, over a year removed from leaving the University of Minnesota. Robinson, an undrafted free agent, is undersized (5-foot-10, 175-pounds) and missed most of the spring practices due to an injury suffered during one of the early sessions. Both would need very strong camps just to get on the roster bubble.'
Who will be the starting strong safety? [1:53 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Two younger players - Jonathan Meeks and Duke Williams - are vying for the spot, with veteran Da'Norris Searcy already taking the upper hand.'
4 reasons Aaron Williams will excel [1:52 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'He would start the next four games at cornerback before making his last seven starts at safety. The flip-flopping back and forth between positions compromised Williams’ growth at the safety position. Now with newfound depth at cornerback with the free agent addition of Corey Graham and fourth-round draft choice Ross Cockrell and Ron Brooks playing some of his best football this past spring it looks like Williams will be able to stay put at free safety for a full 16-game slate.'
Bills’ defense has hole to plug at linebacker [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Better defending against the run becomes a bigger challenge without Alonso, but Schwartz recognizes it’s an area in which the team must improve. The Bills ranked 28th in the NFL last year against the run, allowing nearly 130 yards per game.'
Tom Golisano to bid for Bills alone and is in it now to win it: source [1:58 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'What's more, QMI Agency has learned that Congel this week plans to announce he has hired a "major" stadium design firm, and he is close to announcing a financial adviser who will guide him through the Bills bid process.'
5 key questions about the 2014 Bills [1:57 AM]
WGR-AM reports: ' Will this finally be the year the Bills end their playoff drought? No. As is usually the case when Tom Brady is healthy, the Bills will be fighting for one of two AFC wildcard spots as opposed to a third possible post season avenue via a division title.'
How will offense take advantage of RB depth? [1:56 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Knowing how the ankle and knee injuries suffered by Spiller and Jackson compromised the effectiveness of the offense as a whole, Whaley made some key additions at running back with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. The only question now is how will offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett take advantage of the improved running back depth?'
Bills seeking more offensive productivity [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Offense requires precision, especially on third down and inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. The Bills ranked 29th in both categories last year. Manuel & Co. need as much practice on those situations as possible in Year Two of coach Doug Marrone’s regime.'
Bills under high-pressure system [1:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“Billionaires don’t go into something without a plan in mind about their operation.”'
Polian counsels patience with EJ Manuel [1:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'So while patience is always advisable with a young quarterback, the clock is ticking on Manuel. There is enormous pressure on EJ to make clear strides this season and justify management’s decision to draft him 16th overall in 2013.'
Congel and Golisano partnership no longer in the works [1:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Golisano still wants to bid on the team, the source told The News.'
Following Bills football an investment in Buffalo [1:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'What I’ve been a part of all these years through watching my dad at football camp has taught me much about being a football fan as well. And I’m convinced it’s about more than just the game. Don’t get me wrong, the game is amazing and when football season ends I’m already counting down the days until the NFL Draft and minicamp. But, the older I get, the more I realize and learn that there’s got to be more. For those of us fans who live here in Western New York, it’s an investment in not only our entertainment and joy but in the community that we call home.'
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