Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1:15pm
Rex Ryan isn't sold on any of his quarterbacks in Buffalo.
The first-year Bills coach has once again been tasked with picking a respectable starter from a mediocre litter of gunslingers. Despite some flashy and consistent play from Tyrod Taylor in the first two preseason games, Ryan remains unswayed.
Ryan told the Buffalo media Saturday that there is a "high possibility" of keeping the Bills' top three quarterbacks -- Taylor, Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel -- on the roster for the season. He also reiterated that the Bills will give each of the Three Amigos a shot in the team's next preseason game.
"We haven't decided yet who's starting at QB next week," Ryan said. "We'll rotate all three in this week."
Monday, August 17, 2015, 6:12pm
Bills undrafted rookie WR Andre Davis has put up some head turning plays the last couple of days. The beneficiary of additional reps Monday due to all the receivers pulling out of practice early, Davis had the catch of the day.
Davis pulled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel. As the ball cleared his outside shoulder on the left sideline, Davis snared the ball with his left hand and pulled it in to his body as he reached the end zone behind the Cleveland cornerback.
“I had a go route. Cassel gave me a chance—great throw out there and I was able to put my hand on it and I grabbed it, brought it in,” said Davis. “It definitely was the best day at camp I’ve had. I got a chance to come out here and compete. We’re down a couple of guys and coach gave me a chance to come out here and compete. With the Browns coming in, I came in here and had a great opportunity and that’s what I did. I competed.”
“He’s doing a great job competing for the ball and he goes up and obviously has ability down the field,” said Cassel. “When he goes up he’s got good ball skills down the field. He’s a guy that has to continue to compete for a job and when he can show up like he did today that’s going to make an impression on the coaching staff.”
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 4:00pm
After the Bills finished their preseason opener on Friday night, coach Rex Ryan’s comments made it sound like the team was moving toward turning their three-way quarterback derby into a two-man race.
Sunday’s practice didn’t do anything to send a different message. Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor split reps with the first team while EJ Manuel worked exclusively with the third team, just as he did against the Panthers. After practice Ryan explained why things broke down that way.
“He’s going to get the majority of the game running with that group this second preseason game, so that’s the reasoning behind it,” Ryan said, via the Buffalo News. “Does that mean he won’t get the two reps? No. It doesn’t mean that at all, but is want we wanted to do. We’re going to put Tyrod in and mix in Matt. As the week goes on, don’t be surprised if he does get some two’s. I know you guys want to look into anything, but I don’t think you need to. We’ve been working this thing for how long now? It’s been the same type of rotation for probably three weeks.”
The story summed it up pretty well: Taylor will start the game against the Browns and as much as Ryan would seem to prefer no one reads anything into his decisions, they become telling at a certain point. Manuel may benefit from the increased reps he’ll get with the third team, but it certainly seems that a team seriously considering him as a starter would also want to see him with the player he’d be sharing the team with in that role.
Sunday, August 9, 2015, 11:03am
Bills coach Rex Ryan said after Saturday night’s scrimmage that the plan is for Matt Cassel to take the first offensive snaps of the preseason.
“We’ll probably start Cassel in the first game against Carolina and let’s go from there,” Ryan said, via the Associated Press.
Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel each led the starting offense at points during the scrimmage and the 13 points that the offense put up in 17 possessions speaks to the need for the team to show improvement on that side of the ball. Ryan complimented Manuel, who threw the only touchdown pass of the night, and said he was a “little disappointed” in Taylor. Cassel, meanwhile, is looking forward to facing the Panthers.
“Great. I hope I play the whole game, to be honest with you,” Cassel said. “I honestly would embrace the chance to start and go out there and play a little bit and get into a rhythm.”
With no one separating themselves from the pack in Buffalo to this point, the competition should rage on well beyond the first preseason outing, the story pointed out. The winner of this battle still likely won't be a highly-desired add to fantasy teams.
Saturday, August 8, 2015, 12:45pm
His quarterbacks don’t see him on every play, but they’re quickly realizing that most of the time Bills WR Robert Woods is open. Through the first week of camp Woods has been getting consistent separation and has been making difficult catches when defensive backs have been able to stay with him. “I think I’m doing pretty well so far,” said Woods. “I’ve got a lot to work on and keep improving. Just keep making plays so they keep seeing me.” “Just the timing,” said Woods. “Both of those quarterbacks know how I run my routes just from experience working out. Being here for two years helps being a step ahead.” His best catch in camp thus far was a pass that was behind him that he snared by reaching back behind his body with his left hand while coming across the field right to left full speed to pull in a touchdown during red zone work on a pass from Matt Cassel.
Woods may have an added advantage over the other receivers. He’s one of the only receivers who has a rapport with two of the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job. He’s obviously played the last two seasons with Manuel, but he’s also caught passes in the summer from Matt Cassel with both of them often meeting up at their alma mater – USC, the story said.
Cassel has been joined by either EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor in taking reps with the top group in 11-on-11 action. Taylor rotated with Cassel on Friday and Sunday, while Manuel took reps with Cassel on Saturday.
"We put [Cassel] there. That's what we want to do," coach Rex Ryan said after Sunday's practice. "With his experience, we think it's more important that he's always rotating with that group. Tyrod is going to get his equal turns at the one spot and so is EJ.
"So it's like, we're putting him there, but then to him running some other ones, they go down to the threes. Because they're younger, they're going to be with some of these younger guys. And we think that's the best way to develop these quarterbacks."
It's also worth nothing the story added Cassel's performance in practice hasn't stood out above Manuel's or Taylor's and, at times, has been worse. But on Sunday, it was Manuel who lagged behind Cassel and Taylor. When the Bills broke into a single 11-on-11 drill at the end of practice (as opposed to their simultaneous "two spot" drill), Manuel held the ball too long on his first dropback for a sack and then overthrew Chris Hogan on his second dropback, the story said. In this run-first offense, whoever wins the job isn't expected to put up huge fantasy numbers.
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 3:47pm
The Buffalo Bills' shaky quarterback play in practices this spring and summer reached a new low Saturday when Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel went a combined 1-for-8 in a period of 11-on-11 work in practice.
Cassel and Manuel split reps with the first-team group in the Bills' "two-spot" drill Saturday after Cassel and Tyrod Taylor split time with that group Friday. If the pattern holds, Taylor and Manuel will be the first-team pairing Sunday.
There is no indication that the Bills are close to narrowing the group competing for the starting job to two quarterbacks, nor has there been any clear separation by any of the three quarterbacks over one another to this point, the story said.
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 8:56pm
If anyone wants assurances the Minnesota Vikings are heading in the right direction with Teddy Bridgewater as their quarterback, Norv Turner says to watch video of the last six games from Bridgewater's rookie season in 2014.
"He was much more decisive," said Turner, entering his second season as offensive coordinator. "We were very specific in terms of what we were doing. I think we had a good feel for what we did best as a unit. We had so many changes early: a culmination of obviously playing three quarterbacks over a period of time, the offensive line shuffling in and out, the backfield situation. I don't care if you had a veteran quarterback — it was going to be a challenge."
Matt Cassel began last season as the starter but a broken foot in Week 3 landed him on injured reserve. The story said the Vikings were in no rush to put Bridgewater on the field, but the first-round draft pick acquitted himself fairly well under the circumstances — particularly in the last six games, in which he completed more than 70% of his passes four times, throwing for 10 touchdowns with six interceptions as the Vikings averaged 24 points a game. We have Bridgwater rankd 17th on our QB list so he's going to have QB2 value and certainly seems on the rise.
The Bills brought in two new quarterbacks this offseason, trading for Matt Cassel and signing Tyrod Taylor. Most people figured Cassel was in line to start and Taylor was brought in to be a backup. But that may not be the case.
The Buffalo News reports that Bills coach Rex Ryan has shown greater enthusiasm for Taylor than for Cassel, that Ryan has wanted to coach Taylor for a long time and previously wanted the Jets to acquire him, and that Ryan says Taylor is the fastest quarterback in the NFL and can change games with his speed.
It's going to be a run-heavy offense, but if Taylor wins the job, he could become fantasy relevant thanks to his ability to run the ball. The Bills aren't lacking for receiving weapons, either.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 1:51pm
Bills beat writer Vic Carucci answered a question about keeping struggling QB Matt Cassel because he's a veteran.
Carucci: [$4.75 million] is a whole lot of cap space to devote to a backup. I believe the Bills acquired Cassel in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings last March with the intention of making him their starter. Furthermore, I would fully expect the Bills to extend Cassel’s contract to provide cap relief if they are convinced he will have the job.
The fact that hasn’t happened and that there is no indication of it happening any time soon after his struggles through the offseason raise some legitimate questions about whether he will be on the roster if he isn’t starting.
Carucci said he thinks Cassel is wired to accept a backup role as a mentor to EJ Manuel or Tyrod Taylor or any younger starter, but doubts the Bills would devote that much to their cap. With a run-first plan of attack likely still in place, whoever the Bills starter is won't have a ton of week-to-week fantasy value.
Matt Cassel has brutal day.
There was one repetition during red zone 7-on-7s that displayed a good throw from Matt Cassel into the back of the end zone. That play, by itself, was the only redeeming quality of Cassel’s performance against defensive players on Wednesday. Right from the start, Cassel put too much air under his throws, resulting in a number of passes that could have been intercepted by the defense. He was late on throws, he was inaccurate, and missed a deep throw to Tobais Palmer by about 15 yards (and that isn’t an exaggeration). Cassel’s lackluster day was concluded by a fade throw on the right sideline, in which the receiver was covered by three defenders. Predictably, the throw was intercepted — this time by Ronald Darby. Of the other quarterbacks, EJ Manuel had the best day of the bunch, while Matt Simms was getting worked in a bit more after having one week on the job. As for the most interesting man at One Bills Drive, Tyrod Taylor, Wednesday was merely a ‘meh’ day for him.
We currently project Cassel to win the job, but we'll have to adjust our projections if he continues to struggle.
In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Bills QB E.J. Manuel said his commitment to the quarterback position has reached a point of singular fixation, and attributes it to the adversity he faced last season when he was benched after just four starts.
“I think what I went through that’s just what made me grow up. That was true adversity in my playing career,” Manuel said. “As far as the competitive edge I have now, it’s crazy. It’s almost an obsession now as far as mastering this position and mastering this offense and mainly the fundamentals and mechanics of the game. Why not spend all my time doing that? There’s really nothing else to do right now. The main thing is just being all in and investing in yourself.”
Manuel insists his throwing accuracy is much improved after working for four months this offseason with former NFL QB Steve DeBerg. He credits DeBerg with eliminating the wind up in his throwing motion that compromised his accuracy. His throwing motion is much more compact now and he feels his accuracy is much improved.
The team acquired Matt Cassel in the offseason and he's likely to start unless Manuel is able to make big strides. There are a lot of weapons in Buffalo, but under new OC Greg Roman the team is likely to utilize a run-heavy approach (with LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson) and rely on its defense to win games.
The NFL took deflate-gate very seriously, hammering the New England Patriots with unheard of punishment in the matter of deflated footballs.
The league announced Monday that quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games, the team was fined $1 million and will lose its 2016 first-round draft pick and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
If Brady doesn't win his (probable) appeal, his fantasy value will take a huge hit. The Patriots have a Week 4 bye, so he wouldn't be available to owners until Week 6. Jimmy Garoppolo will likely get the start in his place. One potential strategy would be to stream the position until his return, but it depends on how far his ADP falls. With a four game suspension, he won't be ranked in the top 25 in our initial projections. This will be a case of where his season-long ranking won't jibe with what he'll produce on a per game basis upon his return. The loss of Brady for four games will negatively impact the entire New England offense, though they have survived before without him (in 2008 with Matt Cassel). Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell all take a small hit.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 8:03pm
The Jets quarterback has spent time in California this offseason working out with former major-league pitcher-turned-quarterback tutor Tom House, who also has worked with Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel and former Jet Tim Tebow.
"It wasn't a thing where I needed to change things," said Smith, who is 11-18 in two seasons. "It was basically just going out there to work out and get better, and that's what we accomplished."
"As of right now, I'm just focusing on getting better every single day and relishing every single opportunity that I have," Smith said on a conference call Monday after the team's first day of voluntary workouts. "Today's only Day 1, Phase 1."
Smith said he is "very pleased" with the progress he's made, but it remains to be seen what his new coaching staff thinks of him compared with the other quarterbacks on the roster, the story added. The Jets traded for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and the team has hinted they may want to add another quarterback.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 8:30pm
Rex Ryan has stressed all offseason that the quarterback position will be an open competition in training camp for the Buffalo Bills. Should we believe him?
After all, it was just last August that Ryan and the Jets staged a faux competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The Jets stacked the deck so far in Smith's favor that Vick wouldn't even play along, publicly disagreeing with the coaching staff's notion that he was competing for a starting job.
Fast forward to present day, and Ryan is facing a familiar problem with a new team. EJ Manuel, like Smith, is a high 2013 draft pick who's struggled in his first two seasons and was benched in his second season. Matt Cassel, like Vick, is a 30-something veteran with past success.
"You look at Matt Cassel, obviously he's won in this league," said Ryan, according to The Buffalo News. "He's been a Pro Bowl-quarterback, so there's that experience that you have.
Ryan went on to say that he won't throw out Manuel after just two years and pointed out that Aaron Rodgers never took a snap for three years. From a coaching standpoint, Manuel may not have a lot of motivation if Cassel is named the starter at this point in the year, but it sure seems like that's where the team is heading.
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