Season Ending Press Conference: Russ Brandon said he's pleased with the direction of the team under Doug Marrone and Doug Whaley. He said there are on a path to success and made a significant step under the leadership and accountability of Coach Marrone. They are disappointed to be sitting here 6-10 and that needs to change. He talked about the contributions from players that were added along with the draft class. Marrone confirmed that he told EJ Manuel he will be the starter next year and they are comfortable with that. It is the most critical position and they are excited that he will have a full offseason. Doug Whaley said they are pleased with Thad Lewis as the backup but they will not hold themselves back in picking a person through free agency or the draft that would help them at the position. Whaley is absolutely behind Manuel being the starter next year and they are very confident he will get better especially since the step between year one and year two is usually dramatic for players. On Stevie Johnson, Whaley said he is under contract and he expects him to be here, he was surprised that was even a question. On Jairus Byrd they said the franchise tag is always an option but they will work on getting a long term deal with him. On Kevin Kolb, he will undergo a season ending exam and then they will have to see where they are with him. Brandon announced that WR coach Ike Hilliard has been let go and the evaluation process continues but he doesn't expect many more changes to the coaching staff. Marrone said that he had difference in philosophy with Hilliard. They are also still in evaluation mode regarding the Toronto series. On Marcell Dareus, Whaley said all options are open and an extension is possible. On C.J. Spiller, he was hampered by injuries but they see him coming closer to reaching his goals. They were happy with the play of Scott Chandler and they feel all the tight ends on the roster can be very productive. Whaley emphatically said the team will try and bring back Dan Carpenter and Brian Moorman.
Manuel Told He Is 2014 Starter: Despite not being available when the media was present at locker cleanout day, C.J. Spiller and EJ Manuel made themselves available to the media afterwards. Spiller said he missed a flight to speak to reporters. He said he would not request a trade, there is no reason to do so. He feels he can explode in this offense and is looking forward to next season. Manuel said he will consider having surgery on his LCL injury and has already been told by Doug Marrone he is the starting quarterback in 2014. He feels he is going to continue to get better and they have a lot of pieces to build on and it was a great season to learn from.
Locker Cleanout Day Comments: The Bills cleaned out their lockers this morning at One Bills Drive. Arthur Moats said he wants to return to Buffalo as he feels they have a lot of good core guys. He's an unrestricted free agent. Another player who's future is up in the air is Jim Leonhard he also said he would be comfortable coming back calling it the best scheme in the NFL. He plans to play one more season and wants it to be in Buffalo. Kyle Williams said the season is a bitter pill to swallow but feels they are going in the right direction but have a lot of work to do and they won't shy away from it. He is excited that he will have an entire healthy offseason for the first time in three years and that 2014 will start off as the healthiest of his career. Nickell Robey said he is looking to get bigger, stronger, and faster this offseason. Brian Moorman is not considering retiring and wants to come back to Buffalo next year. Robert Woods feels the rookies did their job and that was coming in and contributing by making plays. Dan Carpenter is excited to see where the offseason takes him and he's open to everything as he is also an unrestricted free agent coming off a fantastic year.
Bills To Draft 9th: As we reported yesterday the Bills will be picking 9th in the NFL Draft in early May. There were no tiebreakers needed as the Bills were the lone 6-10 team in the NFL this season. It will be the sixth straight year the team is picking in the top 11. This was the highest pick they could get heading into this weekend and got it thanks to their loss and wins by the Titans and the Giants.
Locker Cleanout Day: The most depressing day of the season takes place today at One Bills Drive as the players will meet with the coaches and clean out their lockers. For many it will be the last time they are in that locker room. Jairus Byrd is a free agent again and if the Bills don't use the franchise tag on him again, it appears he will be leaving. He tweeted "I also appreciate you fans, you all have been great during my time here. I'm so thankful that I had the privilege to play with this secondary and be coached by Donnie Henderson...Blessed". That sounds like a player who won't be back.
Dareus Apologizes: After taking his first quarter benching last week in stride, Marcell Dareus seemed to take his first half benching yesterday more seriously. He apologized to the players and told the coach he will grow over the offseason. He confirmed he was late to a team meeting this week and needs to set his alarm clock all the time. He was reportedly benched against Miami for a similar violation. Dareus was very upset over his costly offsides penalty that allowed the Patriots to get a touchdown and a two point conversion instead of a field goal.