Here's the Bills news of note for Nov. 24th. Happy Thanksgiving.
**1 - More playing time for Shaq
**He's played in four games in his rookie season and as far as head coach Rex Ryan is concerned Shaq Lawson needs more time on the field on defense. The determination is two-fold. First, Lawson has played well enough to deserve more snaps on defense.
"I feel really good about him," said Ryan. "He's going to get more playing time as we go. He made that tackle for loss last week and kind of hurt his thumb and it bothered him during the game or he would've played more. I've been pleased with him. We'll look at point production per play and he may be number one on our team with the plays that he's had. So that's a real good sign."
The second reason Ryan wants to rotate him in for more snaps is so he can rotate out Lorenzo Alexander. Tied for the league lead in sacks, Alexander is logging a dangerously high amount of defensive snaps knowing he also plays on special teams. Ryan intends to reduce Alexander's play volume on defense by having Lawson spell him more.
"Taking some plays off of him is required," said Ryan of Alexander. "We played him too much last week. He played 70 snaps on defense. We need to get Shaq more into it on defense whether he's backing up Jerry Hughes or Lorenzo Alexander. That could also give 'Zo another opportunity to help us more on special teams as well."
Ryan said that Jaguars returner Marqise Lee is a dangerous return man, and wants Alexander on the kick coverage unit Sunday.
2 - Rex unsure how crowd will react to MarroneSunday's game will mark the return of Bills former head coach Doug Marrone to Buffalo for the first time since he resigned at the close of the 2014 season.
Terry and Kim Pegula intended to keep Marrone as head coach after taking over ownership of the club, but Marrone had a three-day window in which he could opt out of his contract with Buffalo and chose to do so after a 9-7 season.
Marrone's decision drew the ire of Bills fans, who felt that the coach quit on the team. Even players voiced their displeasure on social media when it was announced he had resigned on New Year's Eve 2014.
Now the Assistant head coach/Offensive line coach for Jacksonville, Marrone may get an earful from Bills fans on Sunday.
When head coach Rex Ryan was asked about the kind of reception he anticipated for Marrone, he wasn't sure.
"You know, I don't really know," he said. "I know the team played hard when Doug was the head coach here. How things work out? I don't know. Doug isn't this team's coach anymore--I am. I'm blessed to be this team's coach. I hope it's a miserable experience for everybody. We want to win, man. This is as loyal a fan base as there is and we want to create that miserable day for people and the fans are a big part of it."
3 - Bills give back during Thanksgiving weekLast night the Bills continued their charitable efforts during the holiday week. Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Cardale Jones and Marquise Goodwin served dinner Wednesday night at the Matt Urban Hope Center, a shelter for women and children in Buffalo.
The previous week Bills players, coaches and employees helped distribute Thanksgiving meals at the Food Bank of Western New York for their annual Thanksgiving Blitz.
"We are so grateful for the partnership of the Buffalo Bills players, coaches, and their families for once again providing local families in need with a Thanksgiving feast," said Mary Low Borowiak, President & CEO of the Food Bank. "It is so heartwarming to witness the joy of these families as they receive this wonderful gift."
Through monetary donations from Bills players and coaches over $54,000 was raised, which was enough to provide turkeys and Thanksgiving meals for over 1,000 families in our community. Over 500 pre-selected families received turkeys and meals, while the remaining families will receive their meals throughout the holiday season.
"The Food Bank of WNY is a great asset to our community, and we are proud to team up with them for the Thanksgiving Blitz," said Gretchen Geitter, Buffalo Bills Vice President of Community Relations. "This annual event is very special to both organizations."
Families picking up their meals had the opportunity to meet the Bills players, who delivered the meals to their vehicles and wished them a happy holiday season. Among those players who participated were Lorenzo Alexander, Reggie Bush, Robert Blanton, Dan Carpenter, Marcell Dareus, Leger Douzable, Marquise Goodwin, Cardale Jones, Kolby Listenbee, Jordan Mills, Walter Powell, Kyle Williams, and Jerel Worthy.