Time for your weekly questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Enjoy the holiday weekend Bills fans!
1 - 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: You’re right Fitz rarely throws the ball away, but in the words of Chan Gailey it’s a fine line that you walk with your quarterback. You want him to be aggressive, but you also want him to understand when to pick his spots. I think later in the season when Fitzpatrick’s interceptions became more numerous he was trying to compensate for the loss of talent around him. It’s my contention that he felt he had to try and make more plays. That led to him taking more chances in the passing game than he had earlier in the season. Eventually it’s going to come back to bite you. Like Buddy Nix and Gailey have both said, if they surround him with a deeper talent base and build a better defense on the other side of the ball, it will help to take the playmaking burden off of Fitz, thereby making him a more efficient and less turnover prone QB.
2 - Hey Chris,
Just one question. With the season now coming to an end for Buffalo I believe one of the topics on most Bills fans minds is our free agents and none seem more important than Stevie Johnson. Do you see any scenario where Stevie doesn’t get re-signed? He seems very adamant about staying here and it would seem crazy for the Bills to let him go.
Thanks again for all the good work! GO BILLS!
CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think the Bills recognize their quarterback is a better player with Johnson on the roster and I think Johnson realizes he’s a bona fide number one receiver here, which might not be the case in several other places. I’m going to remain optimistic that a deal get done especially in the wake of Buddy Nix’s comments this week that the end zone issues are behind them.
3 - Hi Chris,
Many thanks for keeping Bills fans informed over the course of the season. Your insight into many of the happenings often clears up things for those of us on the outside. Look forward to receiving your continued reports as this season comes to an end and we move into 2012. With that in mind what do you see the Bills going for in the early draft rounds? I expect them to continue to build on the defense as well as continue to get “bigger” in the draft. Also any free agents you feel they may go after?
Again many thanks.
CB: Glad you appreciate our coverage of the team on Buffalobills.com. Early rounds I see the Bills addressing their pass rush in the form of a defensive end because I’m of the belief that the defensive scheme will lean more heavily toward the 4-3. I see offensive tackle getting addressed early along with outside linebacker and cornerback.
4 - Chris,
Thank you for keeping us “Texas” folks updated on our Bills! Do you think that with the early season success, that free agents are more apt to sign with Buffalo? Will Buffalo have to continue the trend and pay above market value? It seemed that several of the newer veterans did some politicking to get other free agents to think about signing with the Bills. Your thoughts on this?
Seeing hope for 2012.
Kevin S. in Keller, Texas
CB: I could see the early season success being used as a selling point on behalf of the club. Chan Gailey tells it like it is to prospective free agents when they come and visit. He doesn’t sugar coat things. Players appreciate straight talk instead of ‘pie in the sky’ propaganda. Though the final record did not show it I think the Bills can convince some free agents that this team is on the upswing.
You’re right that Shawne Merriman did successfully recruit Nick Barnett and Kirk Morrison. Hopefully there will be others.
I think the Bills still view free agency as a process by which they can supplement their roster to fill holes. It’s not seen as the primary means of building a team. Knowing that’s the case I anticipate the Bills may make one notable impact signing along with a couple of tier 2 free agent type acquisitions. Buffalo’s front office typically does not like to get into bidding wars with other NFL clubs to sign players. They target specific players, contact them early in the process and hope to get a deal consummated as quickly as possible before other suitors come calling.
5 - Chris:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of putting players on Injured Reserve especially late in the year? I am curious as to why the Bills didn’t put certain players on IR late in the year when they knew the player/players were unable to play the rest of the year?
CB: You’re right that Kraig Urbik and Demetrius Bell, who both suffered knee injuries (torn meniscus), remained on the active roster for the final week of the season. With one game to play however, the need to subtract three players from the active roster and place them all on injured reserve to put it simply was unnecessary. Buffalo I-R’d TE Mike Caussin who had an even more serious knee injury and promoted OL Mike Jasper from the practice squad.
The Bills had a starting O-line at New England in Week 17 of Hairston, Levitre, Brown, Rinehart and Pears with Sam Young and Jasper on the bench. You usually only dress seven linemen for a game at the most anyway, so there was no need to I-R them with one game left in the season.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Fan Friday, injured reserve, NFL free agency, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills