Big road game at the Meadowlands Sunday. Both teams a bit banged up. Survival of the fittest type game. Now to your questions, which can always be submitted to AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Hey Chris,
Very excited about how well the Bills have been playing recently. In light of the relatively consistent play of Fitzpatrick and Johnson, are the Bills taking a “wait and see” approach to their contracts, or have discussions been ongoing? They certainly have the cap space this year for big signing bonus checks. In talking with Fitzpatrick and Johnson, is there any reason to think that either one is not interested in staying with Buffalo after this season? Keep up the good work on the blog!
CB: I do believe that both Fitz and Johnson want to be here long term. They’re both smart enough to know they’ve got a good thing going here on offense with coach Gailey, and the team is being built to be successful for the long haul. Of course money is always the ultimate factor in these negotiations, which makes it unpredictable. I do believe that both players will be re-signed by the Bills in due time. Talks are ongoing with the Fitzpatrick camp at this time.
2 - Hi Chris,
Do you know if there are any contract negotiations going with Fred Jackson? I realize that his contract isn’t up for a couple of years, but he is seriously under paid, and given his age, he may not have that many more years in him. It seems to me that the Bills should re-negotiate it to one more fitting his elite status. They did it with Kelsay when he didn’t need a new contract, let’s do it for Fred who is exactly the class player that we want. It would send a very strong message that the Bills treat their players right.
CB: The Bills known full well how important Fred is not only to the success of the offense, but the collective psyche of the team. As Ryan Fitzpatrick said himself Fred is “the heart and soul of the team.” His production is undeniable. I just think at this point in time there are expiring contracts for other important players that put players like Fitz and Stevie Johnson higher on the priority list right now. Rest assured that Fred is on the radar as he had a productive meeting with Bills GM Buddy Nix this past week.
3 – Hi Chris,
Of course, a lot of people are comparing this team to the 2008 Bills because of the fast start. This time around I feel like there’s much more promise than the 2008 team, but what are some of the key differences you see between the two teams?
Thanks for all the great news & commentary!
Salt Lake City, UT
CB: Great question Aaron. The biggest difference is how potent the offense is now in comparison to 2009. In 2009 the team finished 30th in offense and was the worst in the league at converting third downs and the worst offense in football when it came to scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
To give you an idea, in 2009 the Bills scored 12 touchdowns in 38 trips to the red zone. In just five games this season the Bills have already scored 15 touchdowns in 20 trips to the red zone, and rank first in the league right now. So they’ve already outscored the 2009 team’s red zone touchdown production. The defense in 2009 was just as good at taking the ball away as they set a team record with 28 interceptions that season, but could not stop the run ranking 30th in run defense.
In my opinion the coaching staff top to bottom is superior to the ’08 staff.
Perhaps the biggest difference is the mental toughness of this year’s team. The 2009 team could not rebound when things went wrong after their 5-1 start. When they fell behind on the scoreboard in individual games or things went wrong there was never a counter punch. That is no longer the case. The 2011 Bills are more resilient, more mentally tough and do not give in for anyone or anything.
4 - Any word on Erik Pears? I know the offensive line as a whole is playing GREAT but they never seem to mention how Pears has come in and played well from what I’ve heard.
CB: Pears has more than held his own on the right side at tackle. He’s a veteran that knows the tricks of the trade. He did an excellent job on Jason Babin last week, as he neutralized the league’s leader in sacks (7). His experience is a good complement to a young, up and coming group across the rest of the front.
5 - Hey Chris,
First off, just want to say how much I appreciate all the work you do for the fans and keeping us updated with all the Bills news.
Last year a few Bills players were in Toronto the week before the game at the New Era hat store. Living in Toronto we don’t get a lot of chances to actually meet the players, so it was a great experience. I was just wondering if you knew if they were planning on having another event like the one last year, and if they are which players would be there.
Any insight you might have on this would be very much appreciated. Thanks again for everything you do.
CB: Good news Dave, there will be another event this year at New Era in Toronto. The date of the event is Oct. 24th. Check back at Buffalobills.com for updates on the event including a start time and what players will be on hand. I’m hearing there will be more details on it in the coming week.
Tags: Bills in Toronto Series, Erik Pears, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills