OTAs and minicamps are in full swing. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for exclusive highlights from the practice field. Let’s get to your questions (AskChris@bills.nfl.net).
1 - Chris,
How are the young group of linebackers looking? Does Aaron Maybin look to be a fit at outside linebacker? How about Chris Ellis? Going to the 3-4 makes our linebacker play crucial if we are going to have a good defense.
William J. Nason
CB: Maybin looks the part and I think he’s a lock to be out there in obvious passing situations to take advantage of his pass rushing prowess. I do however see him getting pushed for a role on first and second downs from Chris Ellis, who is stouter against the run.
I also would like to see more of rookie Antonio Coleman when the pads go on in camp. He has some good looking pass rushing moves and I’d like to see them on display in something closer to a game-like setting.
2 - What kind of offense do you see the Bills implementing this season? I hope it won’t be too complex. When trying to jell, simple is better.
CB: I think you can bank on there being a strong emphasis on the run game. It’s one of Chan Gailey’s trademarks. A lot of shifts and motions are also staples in his offenses in an effort to throw opposing defenses off, and he does have a lot of them.
The Bills defensive players have already commented on how much more challenging Gailey’s offense is to figure in practice because of all the pre-snap motion.
His offense however, will adapt and change as we move into training camp to fit the strengths of his players, so making a definitive call on what it will look like right now is premature.
3 – Chris,
Any chance we keep all 4 qbs on our active roster come opening day?
CB: This is an excellent question that I’ve thought about myself. I highly doubt that all four quarterbacks will be kept on the roster.
I think Levi Brown is a lock as a developmental number three quarterback at worst. So the remaining two spots will go to two of the three that were on the roster last season.
In fact it wouldn’t shock me if before the close of training camp one that isn’t deemed an answer as a starter is moved via trade.
4 - Chris:
Am I off base with the thought that the Bills (after round #1) selected players that may not be currently the best at their positions coming out of the draft, but with NFL Coaching have the potential to be better than those players rated higher because of greater athletic upside, work ethic and intelligence?
CB: I think part of what you’re saying is accurate. I believe the Bills newly configured personnel department put a greater emphasis on player work ethic because they’ve grown tired of having even one or two players on the roster where coaches wonder what they’re going to get out of them each and every Sunday. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to ignore supremely talented players that might not have an impeccable work ethic.
I think it’s only safe to say that player work ethic was a bit more of a factor this year, but it was not the end all, be all. You still need talent to win in this league.
As far as intelligence goes, that’s a prerequisite to play in this league and is always considered a major asset.
Since most Bills fans that took issue with Buffalo’s draft class had issues with picks 2, 3 and 4 I will state for the record that Torell Troup, Alex Carrington and Marcus Easley are extremely athletic based on what I’ve seen thus far in the spring camps.
I don’t think the Bills sacrificed anything in the way of pure athletic talent to take hard working players. I think the Bills college scouting and personnel departments were extremely astute in taking talented players that had a work ethic to match.
5 - Hey Chris
I would like to know your opinion on the chance that Stevie Johnson could play opposite Lee Evans as the number 2 receiver. He’s good at the slot position, but I think that Steve would be able to play any position for receiver whether it be slot or wideout.
CB: Johnson has received snaps opposite Lee Evans with the first unit as the flanker or boundary receiver in the OTAs and minicamp setting. He’s very much a part of that number 2 receiver competition. On the whole he’s performed relatively well.
James Hardy is currently his most ardent competitor for the role.
I also would not rule out rookie Marcus Easley who has made some impressive plays thus far this spring and has demonstrated a knack for making the big play.
We’ll see how this competition changes when the pads go on.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Alex Carrington, Antonio Coleman, Chan Gailey, Chris Ellis, Fan Friday, James Hardy, Levi Brown, Marcus Easley, Steve Johnson, Torell Troup
Posted in Inside the Bills