PHOENIX – The Buffalo Bills have no interest in being on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” this summer.
According to an NFL source, the NFL approached Bills representatives during the league meeting here about whether they wanted to be the featured team to have cameras follow the team’s every move through training camp and the preseason, and they declined.
The Bills have never participated in the series.
Although the Bills have a veteran head coach in Rex Ryan, the fact he is in his first season with them prevents the NFL from forcing them to participate in Hard Knocks, as is the case with other clubs.
The league figured that Ryan might want to take part, because of the positive experience he had when he was coach of the New York Jets and they were featured on “Hard Knocks,” the source said.
The source also said that the decision to reject the opportunity was made by team co-owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
The Bills and Cleveland Browns will scrimmage for two days at St. John Fisher leading up to the preseason opener for both teams at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium in the second week of August.
Ryan and Browns coach Mike Pettine, who was Ryan’s former defensive coordinator with the Jets and held the same position with the Bills in 2013, put the scrimmage together.
“Competition is key, and to trust that good work is going to be done,” Ryan said of what he and Pettine wanted to get out of the scrimmage.
The Bills and Browns scrimmaged about 10 years ago, with the Bills traveling to the Browns’ practice facility in Berea, Ohio, and the Browns traveling to St. John Fisher, and both clubs meeting up at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.
Although much of the attention of the Bills’ defensive success the past two seasons has been on their front seven, Ryan did a great deal of gushing about the secondary Wednesday.
“Last year, this secondary, outside of Seattle’s, probably played as well as anybody’s,” he said. “I think it starts with the coach. I think Donnie Henderson does a tremendous job back there. We also have Tim McDonald, so I love that combination of those two” as coaches “and Dennis Thurman, our coordinator. I think we’ll be well-coached, but then there’s the talent. You have Stephon Gilmore and you have Corey Graham and Leodis McKelvin on the corners and you have Nickell Robey has a nickel corner. That’s pretty stout. I think the young man from Texas, Aaron Williams, at safety is absolutely tremendous. It’s a great group back there.”
NFL owners voted down 12 of 13 proposals involving adjustments in instant replay.
They did, however, authorize the league to research a proposal, from the New England Patriots, to use fixed cameras to help with goal-line and sideline calls and also to incorporate stadium video into the replay system.
Meanwhile, owners did approve five rules proposals designed to help improve the safety of the game. They are:
• Banning defensive players from pushing teammates at the line of scrimmage when the offense is in punt formation, a rule that already applies when the offense is lined up for a field goal or extra point.
• Prohibiting all offensive players from engaging in peel-back blocks.
• Providing “defenseless player” protection to receivers after an interception.
• Preventing running backs from delivering a chop block to a defender engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the tackle box.
• Permitting an injury spotter to stop the game if a player appears to have suffered a concussion.