Let's have right game plan when it comes to Bills stadium financing [1:57 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: 'Taxpayers have already paid $90 million toward a $130 million renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium. And state taxpayers found themselves on the hook for 32 percent of Yankee Stadium’s $1.6 billion cost, or roughly $512 million. Even Yankees fans would say that money could have been better spent on education, economic development or a simple tax cut — particularly when the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family had plenty of avenues with which to pay for a new stadium. Financing stadiums to help save billionaires some money seems a bit ludicrous for a state that can’t figure out how to equitably finance public education.'
Syracuse developer Scott Congel still interested in buying Buffalo Bills, according to report [1:56 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'Congel, son of Pyramid Cos. founder Robert Congel, has been working on plans for a project to revive the West Seneca Plaza. He even recruited HKS Sports and Entertainment Inc., the firm that helped plan NFL stadiums in Dallas, Indianapolis and Minnesota, according to the Buffalo News. Congel's plans for the 55-acre plot in West Seneca could even include a new stadium for the Bills down the line, because the Syracuse-area mall developer is interested in seeing the team stay in Western New York.'
Nickell Robey's role, replacing Jairus Byrd among 3 questions facing Bills secondary [1:55 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'Gilmore is far from a question mark for the Bills. He has already looked like a dependable starter more often than not in his young career. The question the Bills are wondering is whether or not they have a top-tier cornerback in Gilmore. He has two years remaining on his rookie contract, so 2014 could be an important year for him to establish just how much he's worth.'
Kelly's finest hours have come during his most trying times [1:54 AM]
Rochester Business Journal reports: 'It’s a toughness that was instilled in him and his five brothers at an early age by their father, Joe Kelly, who grew up in an orphanage and overcame daunting obstacles of his own. But the Kelly boys also learned toughness from their beloved mother, whom they referred to as “Saint Alice” for her ability to “survive” a testosterone-fueled household filled with rough-and-tumble young males. In the later years of her life, Alice taught the Kelly boys courageous lessons while tethered 24/7 to an oxygen tank, battling emphysema. “I never heard her complain, even though she was often gasping for air,” Jim said.'
Bills GM Whaley takes all-in rebuilding approach [1:53 AM]
AP reports: 'Short of making a guarantee, Whaley says it's his duty to get the Bills into the playoffs.'
Buffalo Bills 2014 Training Camp Preview [1:52 AM]
The Sports Network reports: 'That said, when you talk about Buffalo on the field, continuity is desperately needed. With Mike Pettine moving on to be the head coach in Cleveland, the Bills brought in their fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons, Jim Schwartz. The former Lions head man will be shifting the team from an attacking 3-4 to a wide-nine 4-3 front, a questionable tactic because Buffalo actually led the AFC in both sacks (57) and interceptions (23) under Pettine.'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 2 - Sammy Watkins [1:51 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The Bills will use Watkins immediately as their number one receiver and for good reason. With a weapon like him at EJ Manuel’s disposal, it would be fair to expect that the team uses the Clemson approach with Watkins. In 2013, the Tigers got the ball into his hands as quickly as possible and allowed his top notch yards after catch ability go to work. Might Watkins be limited in his impact based on the run-heavy likelihood of the offense this year? That would likely be the expectation. However, Watkins will be able to put his talents on display on a weekly basis. Unless Manuel is able to get to the next level as a quarterback, it would be unfair to expect Julio Jones or A.J. Green-like production out of Watkins in his first season.'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 3 - C.J. Spiller [1:50 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'In this writer’s opinion, Spiller is in line for a very successful campaign. The coaching staff understands his strengths more than they did a year ago, and Spiller will be the recipient of more than just carries this season. It was almost criminal how little, and how ineffectively they used Spiller in the passing game, averaging over five yards per catch less than he did in 2012. Expect that to change, expect new formations and expect the ball to get into a healthy Spiller’s hands in more ways than just handing it off in the backfield. It’s hard to predict how many touches he will get in this new offense, but one of the major highlights of the offseason had to be how to get more out of Spiller. For all these reasons, expect Spiller to bounce back in 2014.'
Bills top 20 talents: No. 4 - Kyle Williams [1:49 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Switching back to the 4-3 defense under new coordinator Jim Schwartz, not much changes for Williams. He’ll still be depended upon to be an aggressive, disruptive, tone-setting defensive tackle to help make the opposing quarterbacks and running backs sweat. Don’t expect his sack production (10.5 in 2013) to continue at that rate, but he’ll still have a solid season playing alongside one of the more talented defensive lines in the NFL. Since 2009 (when yours truly started covering the Bills full-time), there hasn’t been a single game where Williams failed to make his presence felt by the opposing team. Even though he’s 31, expect that trend to continue into 2014.'
Bills add depth at linebacker [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Sylvester entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. The 6-foot-2, 231 pound Utah product appeared in 50 games during his four seasons with Pittsburgh. He was almost exclusively a special teams player his first three years. He played a little less than 10 percent of the snaps on defense last season.'
Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers contribute to 3 differences in Bills' linebackers without Kiko Alonso [1:58 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'What the Bills have gained in run defense this offseason they have lost in coverage. Spikes and Rivers haven't shown the same ability to stick with tight ends in coverage that Alonso showed in just his first season in the league. Make no mistake, Alonso will be missed in this area.'
Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly stoic in cancer battle [1:58 AM]
New York Post reports: '“Nowadays a lot of people beat [cancer],” Kelly told ESPN on Wednesday. I hope I’m going to be one of those. I will find out more come next month.”'
Value Of Buffalo Bills Depends On Team's Location In 2020 [1:57 AM]
Forbes reports: 'Toronto is much easier. That group, which includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi, and MLS&E owners Larry Tanenbaum and the Rogers family, could rebuild BMO Field. There is much more corporate advertising and premium seating money in Toronto than Buffalo. A Toronto group would likely pay $1.2 billion for the Bills. How could Wilson’s trust turn that down?'
Bills place 5 players on unable to perform list [1:57 AM]
AP reports: 'McKelvin and linebacker Randell Johnson were placed on the active/physically unable to perform list. McKelvin had hip surgery this offseason and practiced on a limited basis during the team's spring minicamps. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and defensive tackle Alan Branch were placed on the active/non-football illness list. The Bills did not specify Glenn and Branch's illnesses.'
Bills sign LB Sylvester [1:56 AM]
The Sports Xchange reports: 'Sylvester (6-foot-2, 231 pounds) played the last four seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers mainly on special teams. The former fifth-round pick in 2010 has appeared in 50 games in his NFL career and has lined up at both inside and outside linebacker. He was a three-time Mountain West Conference honoree in college playing at Utah.'
Bills place three starters on non-participation lists to start camp [1:55 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The important thing to note at this time of year is that any of these players can be taken off their respective lists if given clearance by the team's medical staff. Alonso will likely miss the remainder of the year due to tearing his ACL earlier this month. Glenn missed some time at the mandatory minicamp due to an illness, but it isn't clear if the same illness is what is keeping him out to start camp.'
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.”'
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