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Bills 2014 Season Preview: Painful

Posted on September 5, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Doug MarroneRather than wait for the closing stages of this post for a Buffalo Bills 2014 season prediction, let’s instantly knock that out of the way. This will be one of the most tumultuous, wearisome campaigns for the organization and its fans in many years. My forecast is 5-11, at best.

I tweeted more than a week ago I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doug Marrone not last through this season, with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz eventually taking over. I stand by what I wrote. I think it’s going to be that bad.

You can believe what you want to read, but this is a team mired in turmoil internally and in my opinion, will have an effect on the field.

Local media were on the story first regarding growing tension between the head coach and members of the team’s front office.  That was brought to the forefront Friday morning by CBS’ Jason LaCanfora, who cited problems via multiple sources confrontations between Marrone and director of player personnel Jim Monos and team president Russ Brandon over roster and depth chart decisions. He’s also gotten into spats with several players and according to a source of LaCanfora, referenced himself as “Saint Doug” multiple times.

To be more precise, LaCanfora wrote that according to sources, “Marrone has referred to himself as Saint Doug at times, referencing the fact that it takes two miracles to be canonized as a saint, and that he already pulled off one miracle by winning at Syracuse and alluding to the fact it would take another miracle to win in Buffalo.”

The validity of LaCanfora’s report comes to question.  Respected Buffalo News reporter Tim Graham cited a source saying Monos was not even present in spat stories, and Marrone’s alleged “fire me” quote to Brandon was completely out of context in contrast to how LaCanfora reported the details.

However, it’s more than what LaCanfora reported, whether all or just parts are true.

I spoke to at least three either current or now former players on the team over the offseason, and each told me a substantial amount of players were flat-out pissed that Marrone fired wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard, who was popular in the locker room and brought in Syracuse’s Rob Moore to take his place.  One player told me Hilliard was fired because “he wasn’t one of Marrone’s guys.”  Hilliard almost immediately was hired by Washington.

One former player took the current state of the locker room further, telling me “I’ve talked to a bunch of guys and they say nothing has changed and they hate it.”

Continue reading ‘Bills 2014 Season Preview: Painful’

Vine: Watkins Makes Incredible Catch

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Patrick Moran

WGR’s Sal Capaccio had perfecting timing at Buffalo Bills training camp Wednesday morning, positioning himself to capture rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins make a stunning one-handed snag in the end zone after tripping and nearly falling early in his route.

He posted the following on Vine, and it’s immediately blowing up on social media.

Nice work, Sal.

Offense Keeps Buffalo In Win Column

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Buffalo Bisons Release/Website

BisonsThe Herd continued its loud bats from Monday night’s 10th inning.

Using its lately stellar offense, the Bisons took down Lehigh Valley 7-6 on Tuesday. It’s the second straight win for the Herd at Coca-Cola Park.

In a contest where the Bisons totaled 14 hits, Ryan Schimpf really stood out. The Covington, LA native has been the IronPigs’ nightmare the past two games.

The Bisons got its bats going early with four hits in the second to build a 3-0 lead. The Herd put runners at first and second after two consecutive singles form Brad Glenn and Andy LaRoche. Schimpf kept his to his scoring ways when he doubled to right to score Glenn from second and advance LaRoche to third. Cory Aldridge then followed up Schimpf’s hit with a single to right that score both runners to cap off the inning for Buffalo.

Schimpf was back at it in the fourth. Glenn once again singled his way on to start the inning. After LaRoche followed up with a flyout to center, Schimpf launched his fifth homer with the Herd. Schimpf crushed a first-pitch-strike over the heart of the plate and sent it to the bleachers in right to put Buffalo up 5-1.

A Bisons two-run fifth led to Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage’s ejection. After Kevin Pillar doubled in Jonathan Diaz from second with no one out, Jared Goedert reached on an error from pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes. It looked as if Reyes tagged Goedert on his way to first, but the home plate umpire called Goedert safe. Brundage stormed out of the dugout in a tirade until he was ejected shortly after. The error led to Glenn’s third hit of the night that scored Pillar from third to grow Buffalo’s lead to six.

Continue reading ‘Offense Keeps Buffalo In Win Column’

Baron Signs Pro Contract In Lithuania

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Canisius College Press Release

Former Canisius guard Billy Baron announced today that he has signed a professional contract with BC Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania. The 2013-14 Pepsi MAAC Player of the Year recently wrapped up a stint with the Chicago Bulls in the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas where he averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in five contests.

An Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention selection, just the fourth in Canisius history, Baron finished his senior campaign ranked fourth in the nation in scoring average with 24.1 points per game. He was the only Division I men’s basketball player in the country to average better than 20.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game last season, and he is one of two players in the nation to average more than 20.0 points and 5.0 assists per game. The MAAC’s leader in assists per game at 5.3 per contest, he finished his senior season with 180 assists in 34 games for the Griffs, which ranks fourth in school history for assists in a single season.

Baron scored in double figures 33 times in 2013-14, and he was good for 20-plus points in a game 26 times. He had 30 or more points in nine different games, highlighted by his career-high 40-point effort at Siena Feb. 16. His 821 total points in 2013-14 are the most for a senior in school history and he also set a school record with 107 makes from 3-point range in his senior campaign. He closed out his career at Canisius as just the fourth Griff in the program’s 110-year history to score more than 1,400 career points while dishing out 350-plus career assists. A two-time All-MAAC First Team honoree, Baron ended his career as a Griff ranked 11th in career scoring (1,405 points), fourth in career scoring average (20.7 points per game), fourth in career 3-point field goals (173), first in career free-throw percentage (85.9 percent) and ninth in career assists (351).

The East Greenwich, R.I. native was the school’s first finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, presented annually to the nation’s top point guard, and he received eight different national or regional postseason honors. The 2013-14 Canisius Male Athlete of the Year, he also represented Canisius and the MAAC in the 26th annual State Farm Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championship, which was held in April in Dallas. Baron helped lead the Griffs to a 21-13 overall mark and a 14-6 record in MAAC games in 2013-14, a season which came to an end in the first round of the CIT, the program’s second-straight national postseason appearance. In his two years in a Canisius uniform, the Blue and Gold won a total of 41 games, the second most victories for a MAAC school in that time period, and those 41 wins stands as the program’s best two-year stretch since 1993-95.

Bills Training Camp Report – July 21, 2014

Posted on July 21, 2014 by Michael Thomas

Thad(One of our contributing photographers, Michael Thomas, is a regular at Buffalo Bills training camp and besides snapping pictures, is a big fan of taking a plethora of notes.

Since above all else Michael is a fan, this won’t be the most grammatically correct article you’ve ever read.  Still, his observations are well thought out and unbiased. He’ll be posting his thoughts following practices often through camp and hopefully for you it’s an enjoyable…and informative read.)

IT was the second day of Buffalo Bills training camp and the players continued to spend extra time working on their fundamentals. They worked on several individual drills, 1-on-1 passing drills, 7-on-7 passing drills, 9-on-7 drills and of course the 11-on-11 full team drills. The team also took some time to work on special teams, this time their target was kickoffs and kickoff coverage.

The team went right to work at 2:00 on their individual drills, working with the units on certain things to help them with their game. They did this for about 20 minutes and then the entire team did some stretching out to get ready for all the work. The offense worked on some different passing drills, learning about assignments and things like that and then the quarterbacks spent more time working on their footwork. Following those drills, the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends jogged over to Growney Stadium to work on more passing. They did this for about 5-10 minutes and then they came back onto the field to practice 1-on-1′s.

During the 1-on-1 drills, the plays are very fast paced. I noted a few things that caught my eye during the 1-on-1′s. Right off the ball, Da’Norris Searcy intercepted EJ Manuel. Thad Lewis had a pair of good plays in the drill. One of then was a nice 30-yard pass to Kevin Elliott. The other one was a beautiful 45-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin. Jeff Tuel had one play that looked like it was going to get picked off, however, Marcus Easley tipped the ball in the air and caught it for 25-yards. The best play was from EJ Manuel, who hit Sammy Watkins in stride for a 45-yard touchdown while burning Leodis McKelvin.

Continue reading ‘Bills Training Camp Report – July 21, 2014′

Bills Training Camp Report- July 20, 2014

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Michael Thomas

EJ Bills(One of our contributing photographers, Michael Thomas, is a regular at Buffalo Bills training camp and besides snapping pictures, is a big fan of taking a plethora of notes.

Since above all else Michael is a fan, this won’t be the most grammatically correct article you’ve ever read.  Still, his observations are well thought out and unbiased. He’ll be posting his thoughts following practices often through camp and hopefully for you it’s an enjoyable…and informative read.)

AFTER another long offseason, Buffalo Bills 2014 training camp has finally begun. The team started camp off with a Sunday night practice in hopes that it would attract more people – and that’s exactly what it did. The stands were packed and fans were loudly cheering their favorite players on. The weather helped too, it was in the upper 70′s, low 80s with a nice cool breeze. The practice itself lasted about 2 and a half hours.

To start the day off, Head Coach Doug Marrone had the players spend quite a bit of time working on fundamentals. The team was split into their individual units and worked on drills suited for their position. The individual drills went for about an hour with some special teams mixed in. During the individual drills, the Quarterbacks, Running Backs and Wide Receivers went over to the grass field, while the linemen and defense stayed on the field at Growney Stadium. Following the individual drills, the Quarterbacks worked on passing drills with the receivers. I tried to keep up, but the QBs were flying thru the drills and it was very fast paced. I did take a few notes on plays that stood out. Right away, Leodis McKelvin had a nice pass break-up on Robert Woods. Stephen Gilmore displayed good coverage when he was out there – covering the receivers several times. Mike Williams drew the most cheers when outleaped Brandon Smith on a 20 yard pass from Thad Lewis. On the negative side, all 4 quarterbacks overthrew their targets several times and looked a bit off. But EJ Manuel was the best of the bunch.

Following the 1-on-1 drills, the team went to work on some 7-on-7 passing drills. EJ Manuel started it off with a 4-yard pass to Scott Chandler. Jeff Tuel then came in and threw a 17-yard pass to TJ Graham. EJ came back in and overthrew Tony Moeaki who seems a bit slow. Tuel returned and threw a pass to Caleb Holley, but Corey Graham drew a pass interference penalty. On the next play, EJ Manuel threw a screen to Bryce Brown for 5-yards. Thad Lewis then came in and threw a screen to CJ Spiller for 6-yards. EJ Manuel returned and threw a 12-yard pass to Chris Hogan. On the next play, Tuel returned and underthrew Marcus Easley. EJ Manuel came back onto the field and threw a nice pass to Sammy Watkins for 30-yards.

Continue reading ‘Bills Training Camp Report- July 20, 2014′

Former Griffs Earn Gold At 2014 World Lacrosse

Posted on July 19, 2014 by Canisius College Press Release

CanisiusCanisius head men’s lacrosse coach Randy Mearns and five former Golden Griffins helped lead Team Canada to an 8-5 win over Team USA Saturday night in the gold medla game of the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Denver, Colo. The win gives Canada its third gold medal after the team also won the world championship event in 1978 and 2006.

Mearns, who won a gold medal as an assistant coach for Team Canada in 2006, directled his team to a 6-1 record in the event, which featured 38 teams from across the world. Canada controlled the game against the USA by dominating the ground ball count, with Canada recording 35 ground balls against the USA’s 22.

Other former Griffs on the Team Canada roster include Jason Levesque ’04 who served as an assistant coach on Mearns’ Team Canada staff, Dan Coates ’11, Angus Dineley ’07, Adam Jones ’11 and Matt Vinc ’05.

A total of nine former Griffs played in this year’s FIL World Lacrosse Championships. Simon Giourmetakis ’12 helped Germany finish 10th overall in the 38-team field and Travis Hill helped the Iroquois to their best finish ever, as the team took third place. Former Griff Brendan Murphy ’12, who is currently an assistant coach on Mearns’ staff at Canisius, played for the Belguim team.

The Daily Links – July 18, 2014

Posted on July 18, 2014 by BSD Staff Reports

Daily Links LogoJoe Ray from the Buffalo Sabres official website has an in-depth report from the team’s developmental camp on Thursday.

The long term deal given to Tyler Ennis shows that the Sabres think he’ll become a star, according to Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald.

The hits keep coming for Sabres prospect J.T. Compher, Taylor Nigrelli of the Buffalo News reports.

WGRs Joe Buscaglia has been counting down the Bills top talents.  He’s reached the top of the list and to the surprise of a few, but not myself he’s landed on defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

The Syracuse Post –Standard reports that developer Scott Congell is still interested in buying the Buffalo Bills.

Continue reading ‘The Daily Links – July 18, 2014′

Busy Day For Bisons Ends In 5-2 loss

Posted on July 18, 2014 by Buffalo Bisons Website/Press Release

Sanchez_Aaron_640_pctzni1l_nb1j1fzmIn a day filled with a lot of moving parts, the Bisons fell to the PawSox, 5-2, from McCoy Stadium in the first game after the International League’s All-Star break. Rehabbing Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino had two hits and keyed a sixth-inning rally that gave Pawtucket the victory.

There was plenty of movement on Thursday even before first pitched. Scheduled Bisons starter Deck McGuire was designated for assignment by Toronto as the Blue Jays claimed pitcher Brad Mills of waivers from Oakland. Then, the announcement that top prospect Aaron Sanchez would be moved into the bullpen for his first career relief work at the Triple-A level.

But it was Pawtucket’s addition of Victorino on an MLB injury rehab assignment that had the biggest impact on Thursday’s outcome. The veteran hasn’t played with Boston since May 23 with back and hamstrings injuries, but the ‘Flyin’ Hawaiian’ showed he was ready to return with one play that decided the contest.

After singling off Sanchez to lead off the sixth inning of a 1-1 game, Victorino hustled to third base when Travis Shaw singled through the left side of the infield. Brad Glenn came up throwing, but Victorino beat the play with a head first slide that carried him into the body of third basemen Andy LaRoche. The ball skipped away just far enough to give Victorino enough time to get up and race home for the go-ahead run.

Shaw moved all the way to third on the play and scored two pitches later when Carlos Rivero collected a third hit off Sanchez in the inning. That gave Pawtucket a 3-1 edge they would not lose.

Continue reading ‘Busy Day For Bisons Ends In 5-2 loss’

ESPN 1520: New Radio Home Of UB Athletics

Posted on July 17, 2014 by University at Buffalo Press Release

UBThe University at Buffalo Athletics Department announced on Thursday afternoon a new radio partnership with ESPN 1520 AM to broadcast football and men’s and women’s basketball games as well as other programming surrounding UB Athletics beginning in August, 2014.

ESPN 1520, a 50,000-watt station, has one of the strongest signals in the nation. At night, the station can be heard from New England to South Carolina and through out the entire state of New York. Owned by the Entercom Communications Corporation, ESPN 1520 is home to such popular national radio shows as Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and SVP and Rusillo.

The partnership will also enable a cross promotion of UB athletics across other Entercom-owned stations, including WGR 550, 930 WBEN, Kiss 98.5 and Star 102.5.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with ESPN 1520,” UB Director of Athletics Danny White said. “To have UB Athletics broadcasted over the airwaves of one of the most powerful stations on the East Coast will further help us enhance our brand and reach a very large fan base across the state of New York as well as our extensive alumni base on the Eastern seaboard.”

ESPN 1520 will be the flagship station of the UB Bulls Radio Network. UB games will also air on 1280 WHTK in Rochester as well as select games on 570 WMCA in New York City and 104.5 The Team in Albany. For the first time in school history, UB Athletics will have a radio network that spans across the entire Empire State.

Continue reading ‘ESPN 1520: New Radio Home Of UB Athletics’

#Throwback Thursday – Eric Moulds 2001 Highlights

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Patrick Moran

This week’s Throwback Thursday features former Buffalo Bills wide receiver great Eric Moulds, who happens to be celebrating his 41st birthday today.

In his honor, we found via Youtube a reel of his 2001 highlights.  Mind you, it wasn’t even close to Moulds’ best season, but he still finished that campaign with 67 catches for 905 yards and five touchdowns.  Spoiler Alert—the one handed touchdown catch on a bomb from Alex Van Pelt against Miami at around the four minute mark is pretty sick.

Happy birthday, Eric.

Sabres Sign Ennis For Five Years

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres resumed spending on Wednesday while maintaining what they feel will be their core, signing restricted free agent forward Tyler Ennis to a five-year deal.  While the team didn’t acknowledge terms, various reports state it’s for five years and $23 million—an annual average of about $4.6 million.

As things stand Ennis becomes the second-highest paid forward on the team.  Matt Moulson rejoined the Sabres a few weeks ago for $25 million over five years.

Ennis scored a career-high 21 goals last season and was second on the team with 43 points in 80 games.  He’s consistently been one of the Sabres top scorers, ranking in the top five in each of the past four seasons.

While Ennis has predominately played center during his time in Buffalo, he could be seeing an increase in playing time on the wing over the next few seasons.  The Sabres are building around an influx of young centers that include Sam Reinhart, Zegmus Girgensons and possibly Mikhail Grigorenko.

Luke Adam is now the lone Sabres unsigned restricted free agent.

My Take: At first glance, a five year deal for Ennis seems a lot. Him being among the teams best paid forwards is fairly symbolic of why this team’s on-ice product has been dreary over the past few seasons.  Having said that, this contract doesn’t prohibit Buffalo from anything in future years.  Perhaps playing with a big-time prospect like Sam Reinhart and/or spending considerable time alongside Moulson will elevate Ennis to bigger things.

Plus, his contract isn’t too large to make him untradeable in future years if general manager Tim Murray concludes the cupboard is full at forward and wants to move Ennis for something in return.

The Daily Links – July 17, 2014

Posted on July 17, 2014 by BSD Staff Reports

Daily Links LogoBrian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings breaks down what could be an interesting battle at tight end for the Buffalo Bills as training camp is almost set to begin.

ESPN.com’s Mike Rodrak thinks that Corey Graham is the most overpaid cornerback on the Bills roster.

#BillsMafia is taking a look at potential Bills sleepers on the roster at training camp. This article focuses on cornerback Ron Brooks.

Chris Brown takes a look at three different ways quarterback E.J. Manual can become a difference maker for the team in 2014.

The lastest on Jim Kelly’s battle with cancer, courtesy of the New York Post.

Buffalo Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching is rapidly developing into top power forward, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports.

Continue reading ‘The Daily Links – July 17, 2014′

Bisons’ Hendriks Earns All-Star Win, Honors

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Buffalo Bisons Official Site

BisonsThere were a lot of great stars at the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham, NC Wednesday night. The best came representing a Bisons uniform.

Herd hurler Liam Hendriks shined the brightest among minor league baseball’s stars, earning the win and MiLB.com ‘Top Star’ honors in the International League’s 7-3 win over the Pacific Coast League.

Hendriks threw two shutout innings and struck out four PCL All-Stars to set the tone for the IL. He allowed just one hit and left the 27th annual event with a 4-0 lead the IL would not relinquish.

The righty is the first Bisons hurler to earn the win in the All-Star Game since Roy Smith tossed a pair of shutout frames in the 1993 event which featured the IL, the PCL and the American Association, in which Buffalo played.

In his usual self, Hendriks threw strikes. He needed just 25 pitches (19 strikes) to get his six outs.

“I don’t know too many of [the PCL hitters], so I was just coming in trying to get ahead, stay ahead and be aggressive. I think that worked out pretty well for me today,” said Hendriks.

Continue reading ‘Bisons’ Hendriks Earns All-Star Win, Honors’

I’m Back – Amidst Horrible ESPN Reporting

Posted on July 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

CBI haven’t blogged at Buffalo Sports Daily in a long time—-since March to be precise.  To be perfectly honest, a part of me was simply burned out. Part of that is attributed to being dejected with the direction the site was going while also increasingly discouraged that it’s yet to pay off in terms of goals I set personally and professionally since first launching in September 2009.

But I always planned on coming back. My intention was to be back shortly to coincide with the opening of Buffalo Bills training camp and the Buffalo Sabres developmental camp, both slated to begin within the next few weeks. At that time I was to return promising our readers a product that would be bigger and better than ever, with more insightful and unique features—blah blah blah—you get the gist.

If I can remain candor, I’m back still uncertain where BSD will go in the present and future. I certainly want to be a better writer/columnist/reporter than before, but still find myself lacking the artistic ideas and insight to make us stand out and not just be another dime-a-dozen blog, cluttered with second-hand recycled information.  If you’ve yet to take the hint, I’m open for ideas.

I know one thing—the past 24 or so hours has taught me exactly what I don’t want BSD to ever become or remain (depending on your perspective)—internet space for a bunch of rubbish, such as ESPN’s coverage of the Lebron James saga.

Mind you, I have no personal interest in anything Lebron, nor would I be report/reflect on the topic had I not been on hiatus.  I write about Buffalo sports, and the King has nothing to with such.

Continue reading ‘I’m Back – Amidst Horrible ESPN Reporting’

Bulls Stunned In MAC Quarterfinals

Posted on March 13, 2014 by University at Buffalo Press Release

UB LogoA career night from senior guard Josh Freelove would not be enough, as the Buffalo Bulls fell to Eastern Michigan 69-64 in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference tournament Thursday night. Freelove would hit 8-15 threes and score a career-high 26 points, but the Eagles’ top-ranked field goal defense stifled the UB interior.

The Bulls struggled with the Eastern Michigan zone defense early, but was able get an early boost from threes on three straight possessions to take a 9-5 lead through the first four minutes, one from Will Reagan and the next two from Freelove. The Bulls would hit a slump from that basket at the 16:12 mark, going without another field goal for the next seven minutes while Eastern Michigan would embark on a 15-2 run to take a 20-11 lead before Freelove would strike again from deep.

The Eagles would stymie the interior offense for the Bulls, but Freelove would help bridge the gap with his outside shooting. He hit his fourth three of the first half to help the team to a quick 8-2 run that brought the score to 26-24 at the final media timeout. His masterful opening 20 minutes would close with his fifth three with 25 seconds left that gave the Bulls a 32-29 lead at the break. He would finish 5-9 in the half, and the Bulls would make eight threes on 16 attempts. On the flip side, the interior offense never clicked in the half, making just two of 16 shots from inside. Javon McCrea would go 0-7 and his just two free throws, but made up for it with nine rebounds and three assists in the half.

As the second half got underway, Freelove would not leave his shooting hand in the locker room. The senior hit three of his first four threes before the first media timeout, forcing the Eagles to call time after his third three gave the Bulls a 42-34 lead with 16:56 to play in the game. McCrea would have a memorable half of his own, as his free throw at the 18:14 mark gave the MAC Player of the Year his 2000th career point. The senior forward would not make a shot from the floor until the 14 minute mark of the second half, but his interior defense and rebounding would make an impact.

Continue reading ‘Bulls Stunned In MAC Quarterfinals’

Neuvirth’s 51 Saves Not Enough In Sabres Loss

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresDespite being traded to worst team in the National Hockey League, Michael Neuvirth was excited to come to the Buffalo Sabres if for no other reason than having an opportunity to showcase his skills and earn more extensive playing time.

He’s getting more than he bargained for.

In his second start since being traded from Washington for Jaroslav Halak, Neuvirth was pummeled with pucks in Carolina.  Forget the 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes, which for most Sabres fans these days represents good news as the lock on the league’s fewest points continues to tighten.  Neuvrith surrendered three of the goals, which on a normal night doesn’t exactly exemplify a quality start.  However, when you allow three goals while facing 51 shots, including 40 in the last two periods alone it’s one helluva a job.

For those keeping score that’s 95 shots Neuvrith’s faced in just two Buffalo starts.  His 51 saves Thursday in Carolina is the most by a Sabres goaltender since Dominik Hasek stopped 55 against the New York Rangers in 1995.

Continue reading ‘Neuvirth’s 51 Saves Not Enough In Sabres Loss’

Bills Re-Sign Chandler For Two Years

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Bills HelmetOn the morning of the first day of free agency, Buffalo Bills general manager told WGR that the team made an aggressive offer to tight end Scott Chandler. Given the fact Chandler didn’t re-up with the club before 4:00pm Tuesday, it’s apparent Chandler wanted to test the open market.  Either league-wide interest was minimal or his heart was truly in Buffalo.  Either way, he’s returning to the club.

Adam Schefter was the first to report that the Bills have re-signed Chandler to a two-year contract. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately available.

Chandler will enter his fifth year with the Bills and is coming off a team-leading 53 receptions for 655 yards and two touchdowns in 2013.

“I’m just really excited to be back in Buffalo,” Chandler told Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News from his home in Iowa. “My family, my wife and I, have really always loved Western New York since we moved there. Obviously, the organization kinda gave me my start. So I’m really excited to be back.”

Continue reading ‘Bills Re-Sign Chandler For Two Years’

Bona Outlasts LaSalle To Advance In A-10 Tourney

Posted on March 13, 2014 by St. Bonaventure Press Release

St.-BonaYoussou Ndoye notched a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to pace four double-digit scorers to lead St. Bonaventure to an 82-72, wire-to-wire victory over LaSalle on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship. With the win, the Bonnies (17-14) advanced to face top seeded Saint Louis in tomorrow’s quarterfinal round at 12:00 p.m.

Charlon Kloof put the game away late with six straight points, highlighted by a rim-rattling dunk with just under two minutes left that extended the Bonnies’ lead to seven while and for all intents and purposes put the game on ice.

St. Bonaventure held a slim three-point lead at 70-67 following a pair of Tyreek Duren free throws with 3:41 to play, but closed out the game on 12-5 run thanks to scoring on each of its final six possessions.

Marquise Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in one of his best performances of the season, while Kloof finished with 14 points and Jordan Gathers had 10. Dion Wright contributed nine points off the bench – all in the second half. Matthew Wright was held in check most of the day but did score eight points.

Bills Sign Three Free Agents On Day Two

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Patrick Moran

WilliamsAfter a quiet first day that saw plenty of big names sign with new teams across the league, the Buffalo Bills got busy on the second day of free agency, signing three veterans to multi-year contracts.

Offensive guard Chris Williams, cornerback Corey Graham and linebacker Keith Rivers all managed to put the second Buffalo blizzard of the season from their minds and ink deals with their new team. According to several reports Williams signed a four-year, $13.5 million contract that included $5.5 million guaranteed.  Graham also signed a four-year with the club, worth $16 million including $5.5 million in 2014 and a total contract with incentives that could max out at $19 million.  Rivers signed a two-year deal worth a total of $5 million, including $2.5 million guaranteed.

Including kicker Dan Carpenter, who was re-signed moments after free agency began Tuesday the Bills have spent around $45 million in player contracts, of which approximately $15 million is guaranteed.

The trio of moves if nothing else shows the team is at least committed to staying busy, and perhaps take a little sting off losing Jairus Byrd to the New Orleans Saints on a monster six-year deal on Tuesday.

Here’s my own quick take on each of the signings.

Continue reading ‘Bills Sign Three Free Agents On Day Two’

UB: McCrea Named MAC Player of the Year

Posted on March 12, 2014 by University at Buffalo Press Release

MccreaSenior Javon McCrea has been named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, the league office announced on Wednesday morning.  McCrea, who recently became a three-time All-MAC First Team selection, becomes the third player in school history to be awarded with the MAC’s highest honor.

McCrea received 20 of the 25 media votes for the award, receiving 17 more votes than Western Michigan’s David Brown, who was second on the list with three.

McCrea becomes UB’s first ever three-time All-MAC First Team selection and he was his most dominant this season.  McCrea has averaged 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game this season.  McCrea has been named the MAC East Player of the Week three times this year and he went over the 30-point mark three times, including a career-high 34 points in a senior day victory over Bowling Green.

McCrea became UB’s all-time leading scorer earlier in the year and he currently is just three points shy of 2,000 for his career entering this week’s MAC Tournament.  McCrea also has 975 rebounds as he looks to be just the fourth player in MAC history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

“This is a very deserving honor for Javon who has meant so much to our program and to the league,” said head coach Bobby Hurley.  “He has had a monster season and he is the most complete player in the MAC.  Playing at such a high level statistically and helping us win a MAC East Championship put him in a rare group of players that have achieved and accomplished what he has in his career and we are proud of him for that.”

Continue reading ‘UB: McCrea Named MAC Player of the Year’

Byrd Goes To Saints For 6 Years, $54 Million

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Byrd SaintsThe Jairus Byrd era in Buffalo has officially reached its conclusion. The New Orleans Saints announced that the three-time Pro Bowl safety has signed with the team after spending the previous five seasons with the Bills. The news was first announced on the Saint’s official website as six-year deal.

Adam Schefter reports the six-year deal for Byrd is for $54 million and more importantly includes $28 million guaranteed.

Already one of the best safeties in the game, Byrd will now be paired with a rising safety star in his own right in Kenny Vaccaro. Even without Byrd the Saints had the second-best pass defense in the NFL in 2013.

The Saints are certainly a surprise choice to most when it comes to Byrd’s landing spot. Several teams were linked to Byrd over the past few days; a list that included Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland and Miami among others.

The Saints also entered the day with roughly just $2.7 million in available cap space.

Since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2009 Byrd has 22 interceptions in the league. Only Asante Samuel (25) has had more.

Continue reading ‘Byrd Goes To Saints For 6 Years, $54 Million’

Report: Nolan Carroll To Visit Bills

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Bills HelmetIf you had Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll as the first free agent scheduled to visit the Buffalo Bills once free agency commenced congratulations—you’re a winner.

Jason LaCanfora reported the four-year veteran is Carroll’s first visit while also noting that the 27-year old has others scheduled as well.

A fifth-round pick out of Maryland in 2010, Carroll has impressive size (6-1/205) and speed (4.3/40) and seems to be the prototypical type of defender in Buffalo’s hybrid defense, assuming of course new coordinator Jim Schwartz continues to employ many of the same schemes his predecessor Mike Pettine did.

Carroll had a career-best season in 2013 with Miami, where he picked off three passes and added two sacks to go with 47 tackles.

If the Bills can land Carroll he’s likely to compete with Nickell Robey for the nickel back slot, as the team seems settled with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin as the starters.  However, it would be a mistake to brush Carroll as a reserve corner aside as meaningless.  Need I remind you of what happened when injuries forced Justin Rogers into a prominent role in 2013?

Lions Could Be Interested In Chandler

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

CBS’ Jason LaCanfora is reporting that the Detroit Lions are keeping a close eye on the tight end free agent market and are discussing bringing in Buffalo Bills unsigned tight Scott Chandler for  a visit.

Bills general manager Doug Whaley made it public Tuesday afternoon that the team would like to have Chandler back, telling WGR that the team made “an aggressive offer” to Chandler as well as Dan Carpenter, who did re-sign with Buffalo shortly after free agency began at 4:00pm.

The Lions could be in the market for a tight end since incumbent Brandon Pettigrew is a free agent intent on testing the waters.  Interestingly enough the Lions had dealings with another former Bills tight end, failing to tenure Dorin Dickerson and thus allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Continue reading ‘Lions Could Be Interested In Chandler’

Byrd Set To Visit Saints

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Seemingly from the moment NFL free agency started the safety pool started filling up fast, with at least four signing with new teams within the first hour; a list that included Donte Whitner (Browns), T.J. Ward (Broncos), Antoine Bethea (49ers) and Malcom Jenkins (Eagles).  So when the first 90 minutes of shopping season flew by without a Jairus Byrd sighting, many Buffalo Bills fans hopeful of hsi return quickly concluded the market wasn’t what Byrd thought it was and the inevitability of Byrd returning could be imminent.

Not so fast.

Adam Schefter broke the news around supper time that Byrd has lined up a visit with the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints are a curious team for sure as Byrd’s been linked to  several teams over the past few days, with New Orleans not being one of them.  While the Saints would welcome a three-time Pro Bowl safety to the roster and the presence of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator surely intrigues Byrd, the Saints aren’t exactly in great shape in regards to the salary cap. In fact, as of early Tuesday New Orleans is operating with a mere $2.7 million in cap space. Surely they’d have to do some significant roster shuffling/restructuring to make any potential deal work.  They’ll be at least $6 million under the cap when they trade of cut running back Darren Sproles—something they plan on doing.

There’s still hope that Byrd will return to Buffalo because of the obvious—he remains unsigned several hours into free agency. However, to assume its New Orleans, Buffalo or bust for Byrd is foolish. I’ve seen firsthand on Twitter several fans concluding Byrd gambled and lost by passing on Buffalo’s reportedly lucrative contract offer and he may have to crawl back to Buffalo—for less.

Continue reading ‘Byrd Set To Visit Saints’







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