Alright Bills fans, the offseason is underway. As a reminder Buddy Nix is scheduled to address the media on Monday. We’ll have full coverage for you on Buffalobills.com. Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 –Hey Chris,
I hate that I’m looking at the draft already but what do u think is the most important position we should be looking at in the upcoming draft and if RG3 was available could he be drafted by us?
CB: I think with all the momentum that Robert Griffin III is entering the draft process with he’ll be long gone when the Bills pick 10th. A lot of prognosticators have him pegged for Cleveland at 4th overall. I’m not convinced he’s a fit for that West Coast offense knowing he makes very few plays in the pocket. I think the Bills should stay the course with Fitz and get a pass rusher first at 10 and go from there. If not then an end the debate left tackle prospect that starts from day one.
2 –Hey Chris,
Thank you for your time and dedication in all you do for us Bills fans.
My question is in regards to the 3-4 defense vs the 4-3 defense for the Bills moving forward. As most are aware, in order to run a successful 3-4 defense it is imperative to have a great NT and a pass rushing OLB that can consistently get to the QB. While we have the former in Dareus, we lack the latter, which is arguably the hardest to find, whether it be FA or the draft. In addition, with Kyle Williams being our best defensive player, while certainly adequate due to his tenacity, he is not an ideal fit for the NT or 5-tech positions.
With that said, it occurs to me that the 4-3 defense affords the Bills to have both great defensive tackles on the field, in their ideal positions, at the same time. Furthermore, it would seem to me that it would be easier to find a 4-3 DE (ie Quenton Coples or Whitney Mercilus) than a 3-4 OLB, that may take longer to teach how to play the position.
If the Bills were to make the transition at this stage, in my opinion I don’t think there would have to be too much a tranformation, personnel-wise, because #1- the Bills run out of 40 fronts quite often, and #2- unlike the Tampa 2 defense that was run under Dick Jauron, which required smaller faster players, this new 4-3 defense would take on a more traditional form where bigger bodies are used (which is mostly what we have now).
I just feel that the 3-4 defense requires so many solid linebackers, of which we clearly do not have. The strength of the 4-3 defense, however, is the defensive line, where the Bills have plenty of solid depth and talent.
My question to you is, wouldn’t it make sense to focus on the strengths of the defense instead of constantly searching and hoping you find what you are looking for?
Thank you again,
Matt, Kingston NY
CB: A well thought out query. All I will say is that with Wannstedt now the defensive coordinator I’m pretty confident you’ll get your wish. And if it does come to pass I would envision Merriman as a pass rushing DE with a draft prospect or two on the way in as well.
3 – The Bills teams of the early 90s that went to 4 straight Super Bowls had great success with the “hurry up” -or “no huddle” offense, as devised by Ted Marchibroda and run by Jim Kelly.
Fitz does seem a bit laid back -slow on the draw. I don’t see why Gailey won’t try it.
CB: They did try it in the season finale and it worked quite well against a leaky Pats defense as they rolled up 21 points in the first quarter.
The reason they didn’t turn to it more in the 2011 season was because their defense was so subpar. When you run a hurry up or no huddle offense you need to have at least a decent defense because you’re going to go three-and-out on occasion. Even if you score you’re scoring quickly and putting your defense back out there that much faster and at times for more possessions per game with that offensive approach.
Knowing Buffalo’s defense this past season set a record for most yards given up in a season in team history, imagine if you sped up that process and put the defense out there even more with a hurry up attack? Doesn’t sound all that wise to me.
I do think Fitz is good in that style of attack, but until the defense has proven itself as an improved unit then it’s not a prudent approach on offense.
I know that Freddie is seeking an extension to his contract that runs out after the 2012 season. What do you think the chances he gets extended, say 2 years on top of next year, more guaranteed $ or signing bonus? Do you feel he is worth that? I know he is a young 30, but you know what they say about running backs over 30. It seems he and CJ would make a great combo for the next few years, I just don’t know if I see it happening. If you factor in Fred’s injury, I think it makes it more difficult. The NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league and I don’t see our front office taking the risk.
If they do offer an extension, what do you think the $/#’s should be? What’s fair in your mind? And…will CJ “share” more reps or be relegated back to a back-up? He looks too explosive to be kept off the field.
CB: I’m pretty confident the front office will take care of Fred and sooner rather than later. He’s grossly outperformed his current contract. More importantly he’s the heart and soul of the team. If you don’t do right by the most respected guy in the locker room it’s going to cost you more in there than it will in the team’s wallet.
I think you’re not far off with your guess. I’d expect a two or three year extension on top of current deal with some good faith up front money to show appreciation for what he did this past season when he was a league MVP candidate before getting hurt. Fred’s injury was also a fractured fibula, something one can easily come back from. Cracked bones are a lot better than torn ligaments.
I believe C.J. will be worked in a bit more, but I still see Fred as the feature back in 2012 with C.J. getting his extra touches out wide as a receiver. He impressed me out there and he’s at his most dangerous in space anyway.
5 –Hi Chris,
Thanks so much for keeping us continuously updated. I have a question regarding Fitz: I still think he can be a top 10 QB — he reads things quickly, unlike some of our past QBs who perhaps had better physical attributes. But he has to be more consistent and cut down on the turnovers. To me, a top QB knows when to throw the ball away and go on to the next play, especially on 1st or 2nd down. I don’t recall EVER seeing Fitz do this. Do you know whether it is something that has been brought up to him, or whether they work on it in practice?
Thanks, Ray P.
CB: I think Fitz fell victim to a number of things this season. Loss of talent due to injury, a deterioration of his mechanics in the middle of the season and the pressure to make more plays when key playmakers were lost to injury.
All that being said you are right that Fitz rarely throws the ball away. He doesn’t take a lot of sacks because of it (he was the least sacked starting QB in the league this past season), but he did throw the most interceptions (23). Though I can think of 5 INTs off the top of my head that came off tipped passes, it’s still too many. Part of that was forcing the ball, part was inaccuracy (e.g.: Giants game) and part was receivers not making a play.
When Fitz feels supported by a successful ground game or when the team is up on the scoreboard he generally takes less risk. At least one of those things was not happening during the seven-game losing streak and it put more pressure on him to make things happen. Fitz is at his best in a balanced offense. If they have to lean too much on the passing game that’s where he sometimes gets in trouble.
Tags: 4-3 defense, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, hurry up offense, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Posted in Inside the Bills