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Buffalo Bills News - December 19, 2014

Marker Thigpen boosts special teams with big-play capability [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“It’s going great,” he said of the transition to a new team. “All the guys were welcoming. The coaches were welcoming. From my Miami days, they know what I can do. That sparks them up to block even more, because they know I can take it the distance at any given time, so it’s been a great transition.”'

Marker While others hit NFL rookie wall, Raiders’ Mack plows ahead [1:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Mack, this year’s fifth overall draft choice, has done the University at Buffalo proud. And while the Raiders have infamously botched their share of first-round picks over the years, they sure seem to have gotten this one right.'

Marker Rambo draws first blood [1:57 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“Just going against (Rodgers), having my first career interception and my second career interception off him, it’s just a huge, huge confidence boost,” he said. “That’s going to allow me to play even faster and build confidence in myself, that, hey, I can do this. I belong in this league.”'

Marker Doug Marrone says blame should be on him not Nathaniel Hackett for Bills' offensive struggles [1:56 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: '"If there's any blame it should be on me in anything that happens with our football team, first of all," Marrone said. "Secondly, if it was a problem with one thing it would be very easy to fix. It's really collective. And that's probably 99 percent of all the problems that occur when you're on the team. Sometimes a play will point out somebody, but at the end of the day when you're evaluating all the plays it's just a matter of trying to get 11 guys to be as efficient as they can and then when everyone has a clean opportunity to get it done does that player get it done or not? That's how you evaluate it. For us, it's been up and down and we're just going to continue to get better."'

Marker C.J. Spiller, Marcus Thigpen limited on Thursday [1:55 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: '"He looks good, he really does," Marrone said. "It's just a matter of waiting until the end of the week to make a move there. The only concern I have is to make sure just from the standpoint of not really being in shape but just to be able to play and run plays in and out in and out, that his conditioning is right at that level. It seems to be ok. I think that will just get better. He looks explosive and he's moving well."'

Marker 'Super Mario' making presence felt in Buffalo [1:53 AM]
AP reports: '"If I have to use something from somebody else to prove my worth, then I don't consider that being a man," Williams said, defiantly. "The guys in this building, that's all that matters to me. Anything else anybody else says is irrelevant."'

Marker Buffalo (8-6) at Oakland (2-12) [1:52 AM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Bills 24, Raiders 20.'

Marker Week 16 Preview: Bills at Raiders [1:51 AM]
The Sports Xchange reports: 'The Bills fell behind 21-3 - but rallied to win - in their last meeting with the Raiders. The Raiders won't go quietly trying to make a positive statement on behalf of 2-8 interim coach Tony Sparano, but Oakland is turned back by a rugged defense on top of its game.'

Marker Bills' Marrone: Hackett has faced some 'pretty big challenges' in 2014 [1:50 AM]
WGR-AM reports: '"I think that we've played -- it's been two years now-- we've gone through... we've played, I don't know, how many quarterbacks that we played," Marrone started. "We're playing with a quarterback that wasn't in our training camp. I think all those things are pretty big challenges when you're trying to get things going from an offensive standpoint."'

Marker Bills' Spiller 'looks good' and 'explosive' [1:49 AM]
WGR-AM reports: '"I think he looks good. He really does. It's just a matter of waiting until the end of the week and make a move there," head coach Doug Marrone said. "But, the only concern I have is just to make sure that, just from the standpoint of, it's not really being in shape, just to be able to play and run plays in and out, in and out, in and out... that his conditioning is right at that level. It seems to be okay. I think it'll just get better. I know he looks explosive and he's moving well."'

Marker Raiders Game Preview [1:48 AM]
Bills Daily reports: 'Bills 30, Raiders 14.'

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December 18, 2014

Marker Bills’ offensive line has room for improvement [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“We know what kind of O-line we are,” left guard Kraig Urbik said. “We’ve felt we’ve been playing well for the most part all year. But, as in anything, crap rolls downhill. If the offense doesn’t do well, then the O-line gets all the blame. If the offense does well, then the playmakers get all the credit. We understand what it is, we let it brush off our shoulders, and every week we just try to get better.”'

Marker Bills willing to forgive, and it’s paying off [1:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“There’s a lot of guys in this room that people gave up on or didn’t even look at,” Dareus said. “The Bills gave them a second chance, a place where they can hone their skills and become somebody in the league and not just give up on them. It really means a lot.”'

Marker Spiller limited, but could be activated for Sunday [1:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“He looked good,” coach Doug Marrone said. “But he’s still working his way back into the football part of it.”'

Marker Bills’ Spiller inches slowly toward return [1:56 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“This is the most I’ve ever missed,” he said. “I don’t have any benchmarks, but nobody is going to put higher expectations on myself than me. Conditioning will be different because I haven’t played in two months so I won’t be in top-notch football shape, but I think if I’m able to go, I can perform at a high level.”'

Marker What Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills players are saying about avoiding letdown against Oakland Raiders [1:55 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: '"I feel like a lot of (outside) people are looking passed Oakland like they're an easy team. This is the NFL. You see it happen when they played Kansas City (in Week 12). I think Kansas City was a large favorite in that game and it's just who comes to show up that day. For us, our biggest goal this week is how focused can we be? Knowing that we had two good games, how can we keep continuing having these great games for our secondary?'

Marker Buffalo Bills have a 14 percent chance of making AFC playoffs [1:54 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'The biggest factors working against the Bills are the fact that they don't hold the tiebreaker over any of the other teams fighting for the wild card spot and that they have to play on the road against the New England Patriots in Week 17.'

Marker C.J. Spiller limited on Wednesday, not yet on active roster [1:53 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: '"I'm not going to sit up here and say he didn't look good," Marrone said. "He looked good but he's still working his way back into the football part of it."'

Marker Raiders' Khalil Mack almost was a Buffalo Bill [1:52 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: 'At the time, Watkins said he wasn't sure where he was going. The Raiders were even a possibility, he said. "I thought it was possible, but you never know going through that whole process," Watkins said. "I never really had an interview. I didn't go out there and meet, so I really didn't have a clue."'

Marker Bills will try to keep playoff hopes alive vs. Raiders [1:51 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: '"That's the stigma with Buffalo," Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins said in a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday. "That's all you hear. They never talk about the four Super Bowls that they went to. All you hear about is the 14 years that they didn't go to the playoffs. It's bad and we know that as a team and an organization. We're going to fix it."'

Marker Thursday's Oakland Coverage [1:50 AM]
TwoBillsDrive.com reports:
O.co Coliseum is home, sweet home, for quarterback Derek Carr (Oakland Tribune)
Raiders' Carr nurses injury, gives support to Sparano (Contra Costa Times)
Bills will try to keep playoff hopes alive vs. Raiders (Contra Costa Times)
Raiders' Khalil Mack almost was a Buffalo Bill (Contra Costa Times)
Minor injuries not expected to sideline Raiders QB Carr (San Francisco Chronicle)
Carr faces another tough test in rookie season (AP)
Raiders' Carr goes to bat for retaining Sparano (The Sports Xchange)
With Sio Moore out, Armstrong ready for increased role (CSN Bay Area)
Carr limited with thumb issue (CSN Bay Area)
Could This Sunday Be The Raiders’ Last Game In Oakland? (KPIX-TV)
Tale Of The Tape: Buffalo Bills At Oakland Raiders (KPIX-TV)
Practice Recap - December 17 (Raiders.com)
Coach Sparano: "It was high energy, we practiced fast" (Raiders.com)
Carr Dinged Up, Says He's Okay (Raiders.com)
Armstrong: "You Want to Win" (Raiders.com)
Bills WR Sammy Watkins Discusses Match-Up (Raiders.com)
Getting to Know TJ Carrie (Raiders.com)
Raiders vs Bills Notable Connections (Raiders.com)

Marker Win and hope: Bills focus solely on facing Raiders [1:49 AM]
AP reports: '"It's meaningful, but it's not surprising," center Eric Wood said, referring to Buffalo being in contention. "I felt like this was the position we'd be in. I probably wish we'd be in a more controlling position, but being in the hunt, I'm not surprised."'

Marker Bills-Raiders Preview [1:48 AM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo's offense has been the problem, as it failed to get into the end zone against the Packers. The Bills, who scored on a safety, four Dan Carpenter field goals and Marcus Thigpen's 75-yard punt return, rank second to last in the league with 20 touchdowns in 49 red-zone possessions (40.8 percent).'

Marker Bills simplify playoff equation: Just win [1:47 AM]
The Sports Xchange reports: '"We've got a lot of improvement to do," said Marrone, speaking specifically about his moribund offense. "I think that records really don't mean a lot when you watch the film. Obviously, the Raiders are playing much better than they had been playing. They're very physical. They're a team that's getting better each week. It'll be a great challenge for us."'

Marker Bills make room, have role for RB Spiller [1:46 AM]
The Sports Xchange reports: '"Once you get that first lick in you're ready to play ball, and I don't think it'll be any different," he said. "I'm pretty sure if I'm able to go they're going to take a shot at it and we'll see how I do. Conditioning will be different because I haven't played in two months so I won't be in top-notch football shape, but I think if I'm able to go, I can perform at a high level. I don't want to get into percentages, but if I'm able to go then I'll go. We'll see how these next couple days go and see how I respond every day after practice and then make a decision.'

Marker Illness claims Wednesday from Bills' Chandler [1:45 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Even without Chandler, the tight end group didn't slip below three players on the field at one time due to the return of one of their own. Second-year player Chris Gragg returned to the practice field for the first time since he suffered a knee injury.'

Marker C.J. Spiller status still to be determined [1:44 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'C.J. Spiller was limited in practice Wednesday, and has not yet been added to the active roster. A final decision is expected later in the week.'

Marker Bills 2014 D comparable with '99 and '04 units [1:43 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The 1999 club won their games in much the way the 2014 team is winning, with defense and just enough offense. They won 11 times that season and the main reason was their defense held the opponent to 10 points or less in almost half of their games (7 games).'

December 17, 2014

Marker Win over Packers answers four key questions [12:59 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'No Bills coach has improved the team by three victories in one season since Mike Mularkey did it 10 years ago.'

Marker Draft crop results are mixed [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Clemson product has set franchise rookie records with 59 catches and 850 yards to go with five touchdowns. In just about any other year, those numbers would be considered an enormous success. But expectations for Watkins are at another level, partly because the 2014 wide receiver class is already being discussed as the best in history.'

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