Inside The Bills

Fan Friday Q&A

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2008 – 6:57 pm

Don’t forget if you have a question just e-mail me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and I’ll do my best to get all your questions answered.

Let’s get to it.

1. I know each opponent is different and handle things differently. It seems over the last couple games the Bills are not blitzing as much. Is that because they think just rushing four is getting the job done?
Adam Janik

CB: The Bills did blitz Arizona early, but according to the coaching staff they were just outexecuted by a very sharp Kurt Warner. The quick passing game is the popular offensive answer to defeating an effective pass rush and it’s worked at times against the Bills. It’s not anything that the Bills front four aren’t doing so much as it is what the opponent is doing.

That being said I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more press coverage to keep opposing quarterbacks from going so quickly to their first reads. With signal callers like Phillip Rivers, Chad Pennington and Brett Favre coming up who know how to execute short passing games and make quick decisions, more bump and run may be in order to help the pass rushers up front.

2. Chris,
The thought crossed my mind that we have a lot of potential offensive weapons sitting on the sidelines most games.  Has there been or will there ever be talk about using McKelvin like the Bears used Hester on offense? What about trying a few of the circus tricks like bring Morman in as a Receiver or put Losman out wide (with a non-green dot helmet) like Atlanta would do with Mike Vick at times.  Based on the success Ronnie Brown had against the Patriots I can’t help but think a lot of teams are going to entertain the idea of using gadget plays to throw opposing defenses off or, at the very least, force them to burn a timeout.  Any of this possible?
 
Eric in Maryland

CB: While the Bills are not opposed to pulling the occasional surprise (see: special teams) Dick Jauron as a matter of philosophy is not a big fan of trick plays. He believes you do what you do best and challenge the opponent to try to stop it.

Now don’t think that Jauron is narrow-minded. Quite the contrary. Jauron just doesn’t believe you win consistently by using trickery, and I think he’s right. That being said Jauron is open to an unexpected play at the right time (e.g. Denney’s TD catch vs. Seattle), but putting McKelvin on offense would be putting too much on the rookie’s plate and Losman at receiver is a bit far-fetched as I see it.

3. Through the last three games, how has Ellison graded out at LB? Also, why does he play the strong side backer, when as I recall, he played the weak side for much of his earlier time in Buffalo?
 
Dick from Florida

CB: You are right. Ellison did play on the weak side last season, but this past offseason he was moved to the strong side to serve as Angelo Crowell’s backup. Ellison has been steady as far as I see it and he only has a couple of missed tackles by my count on the year. He’s good in coverage and a smart player. I know he’s not the biggest linebacker around, but playing alongside Posluszny and Mitchell and with a player like Stroud up on the line his size is not an issue.

4. Hi Chris,
 
What’s up with the letters “GU” on the players’ jerseys?  Thanks.  Gerry, West Virginia

CB: That patch is to honor Hall of Fame offensive lineman and former Executive Director of the NFL Players Association Gene Upshaw who died right before the regular season from pancreatic cancer. On opening week you may have noticed that each NFL home field had a giant GU symbol painted onto the field. Now for the rest of the season every NFL player jersey will have that patch on the shoulder.

5. Sorry to see Roscoe go down as he was off to a productive season and look forward to his return. With Parrish sidelined any chance of the Bills going with Evans and Reed as the wideouts and having Steve Johnson take that slot position? I think this kid has great hands and can run some nice routes. What do you think?
 
Randy C

CB: I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Steve Johnson since OTAs in the spring. He’s got a pro body already and is only going to get stronger in an NFL strength and conditioning program. I agree his hands are good. He doesn’t drop much of anything. While I certainly think he’s capable of playing the slot, at his size I’d anticipate seeing him outside a bit more. At 6’2”, 202 he’s a nice target out wide.

All that being said getting playing time is going to be tough for him. You don’t want to have too many inexperienced players on the field at once. So knowing they’re trying to get Hardy more involved each week, Johnson is probably not going to be on the field at the same time. Both rookie wideouts have made progress, but having them play important roles right away is probably not going to happen unless there’s another injury at the position.

6. Hi Chris-
I always like to look ahead to the draft, and I was wondering if you had thoughts on the Bills’ biggest needs.  Perhaps you could shed some light on the impending free agents, etc.

Michael
Bethlehem, PA

CB: I don’t like discussing draft needs during the season because one major injury could change the whole draft picture for the Bills (e.g. Kevin Everett). So I’d prefer to wait until the end of the season on that.

As for impending free agents, the unrestricted ones are as follows, Kirk Chambers, Angelo Crowell, Melvin Fowler, Jabari Greer, J.P. Losman, Duke Preston and Jason Whittle. As for restricted free agents on first glance I have John DiGiorgio, Keith Ellison, Corey McIntyre and George Wilson.

7. Dear Chris,
 
During the game against St. Louis I was thinking they might put Omon in to finish off the clock (no sense in letting Lynch or Freddy get hurt), however I noticed he was inactive.  With Barnes also out for the game who would carry the ball if Lynch or Jackson went down?  Only 2 RB’s on game day seems a little risky.  Thanks again for all your hard work.
Sincerely,
Travis Van De Water
 
CB: I don’t know this for sure, but the most likely candidate in my opinion would be Josh Reed. He was recruited by LSU as a running back before being transitioned to receiver. So I would be willing to bet he would be the emergency running back option if both of the top two backs succumbed to injury in a game.

8. Hey Chris,
 
Have you heard any talk of a possible trade with KC for Tony Gonzalez?  I hear chatter on the message boards, but don’t know if there it trully any legit talk going on.  I believe he has 3-4 good years left, and would be an outstanding addition to our offense.  Your thoughts?
 
Jason
“Bills fan in Kansas”

CB: The trade rumors have surfaced due to an NFL Network blog on Gonzalez from a few weeks ago. Could he be traded? Sure, for the right price. What that price is would likely be a high draft pick and probably another as the Chiefs are looking to rebuild. I don’t know if you can get one of the highest-paid tight ends in the game for anything less than a 2nd and a 4th round pick.

Jeremy Shockey, who came with behavioral baggage and an injury history, got the Giants a 2nd and 5th round pick from the Saints.

Gonzalez is one of the most durable tight ends in the game, so I think it would take at least that much compensation and probably more. Despite the price it would cost to land him, his base salary is pretty palatable. He’s only slated to make $1M in base salary this season before it jumps up to $4M in 2009, $4.5M in 2010 and $5.75M in 2011. Now $17 million of his salary was guaranteed when he signed a five-year extension in Jan. of 2007, so some of that base salary might be guaranteed.

If I’m the Chiefs I’d consider it knowing how much help they need at several positions, but Gonzalez is still very productive and the biggest help in taking attention off the Chiefs’ run game.

As for whether the Bills are interested, I think any team would be interested in adding Tony Gonzalez to their roster. I just think the cost to land him would scare a lot of teams off along with his age 32. Teams often fear paying a big price for a player that could be close to hitting the wall and not getting the proper return on their investment.

Buffalo’s most likely answer for that position could be in the draft with Missouri’s Chase Coffman. At 6’6”, 245 the guy is a mismatch in the passing game. He’s also got good bloodlines with his dad a former NFL tight end for the Green Bay Packers. Waiting to address that position further would be worth it if they can land this guy in late April.

9. I am curious about the release of Darian Barnes, as are many others.  How badly was his foot injured and how long until he would be 100%?
 
McIntyre looks to be a hard nosed guy that would work well with April and the ST forces, based a couple interviews I read when he was a Falcon.
 
Any other reason than injury to move away from Darian???
 
Thanks,
Bryan Vince

CB: I didn’t get the feeling from Darian when I asked him about his foot that it was going to be a lingering problem. I doubt his foot was why he was released. I just think they were looking for a more versatile special teams fullback. Yes, Barnes spent time on the kick return unit, but I think Barnes was a fullback first and a special teamer second. McIntyre from what I understand is equally good in both areas. He made his bones on special teams and can play on all four units. This was a way to upgrade special teams and not really lose anything at the fullback position. I don’t think injury played a role at all in that move.

10. It seems to me that for the last two weeks our offense is “cold” in the first half. They struggle to find a rhythm. Have the coaches considered going with the no huddle for the first series of a game?  Especially in a game like the Chargers. It might get Trent in the zone and throw off the defense.
 
I’d call Dick personally and suggest this but I misplaced his number.
 
Best,
John

CB: Good one John. I think what you’ve suggested is a great idea. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it sooner rather than later. It wouldn’t shock me if the Bills are waiting to use that for some of their more important AFC Conference games. I don’t know that, but I wouldn’t mind seeing that myself in light of the slow starts we’ve seen at times this season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills