Less than a month until training camp! Haven’t seen excitement like this for a Bills season in some time. Just a reminder that our Top 25 Questions until Training Camp series begins on Saturday. We’ll be filing our inside reports on 25 of the most pressing questions facing the team and the coaching staff as the team makes their final preparations for the season at camp. So be sure to check back daily from now until the players report to St. John Fisher. Now to your questions.
1 - Good day Chris,
I would like your opinion on Mario switching sides to the left side. I read he’s doing it because his contract is incentive laden and he has so much pull he basically got his way. Jared Allen punishes QB’s from the right side please give me some hope that all this talk is just drivel .
Mike from Nebraska
CB: Just drivel really. Mario prefers to rush from the left side because everything just feels more natural for him over there. I honestly haven’t asked him if he’s left-handed. He was switched back and forth a lot in his time in Houston, and I would anticipate he’ll flip to the right side from time to time with the Bills.
But you put players in the best position to succeed. If he feels he’s at his best at LDE that’s where you put him. Not to mention the fact that he’s supposedly going against a lesser offensive tackle every week from that side knowing most teams put their best offensive tackle on the left side.
2 - Hey Chris
I’m anxious to see who they start at SLB and what the deal is with Leodis McKelvin, I like to think he can contribute this season what do you think?
The roster this year has me excited enough I’m going to make the trip to Buffalo and see a game, I want to buy a jersey but Doug Flutie is still my favourite player.
Would you have any idea where I could find a good one besides Ebay? I appreciate what you do, enjoy.
CB: Going into camp the favorite to play SLB in the team’s base defense is Kirk Morrison. Running behind him on the depth there is Arthur Moats.
As for Leodis McKelvin, he’s always had elite level talent it’s just the consistency of his game that is the issue. If he can put together a strong camp he could lock down one of the outside cornerback jobs and possibly the nickel corner as well. There’s no question he’ll be motivated entering a contract year.
To get a jersey you can go to the Bills Store online.
3 - Chris,
Thanks for your daily coverage on OTAs and minicamp. I was wondering about T.J Graham. With his size do the bills see him as a slot guy or and outside receiver. I know he can fly but is he too small? Also who will start as the #2 receiver in training camp?
CB: I think your concern about Graham is legitimate. In the spring workouts it’s difficult to ascertain how a receiver is going to fare when things get physical because they’re not wearing pads. That’s why we’ll know a lot more about how physical Graham can be and how well he can bang with physical cornerbacks, and the Bills have a few of them.
The Bills believe Graham is an outside receiver, and that’s where they can make best use of his deep speed. But I do wonder how he’ll do once the pads are on and corners are jamming him at the line. It will certainly bear watching.
At the outset of training camp I expect Donald Jones to be the number two receiver, but that is going to be a heated competition, which we’ll cover extensively in our Top 25 questions until camp series on Buffalobills.com.
4 - Chris,
First of all, thank you a hundred times over for your coverage of the Bills. You have a knack for covering the angles that make us fans feel like insiders, even all the way down here in CT.
Justifiably, much of the off-season talk has been positive, celebrating the upgrades at key positions and additions to create positional depth through free agency and the draft. While I agree that this team is markedly deeper and more talented than the 2011 version, I think the D is still dangerously thin at some key spots. The front 4 is stacked and can endure an injury or two, but it is the back 7 that has me worried. What happens if Nick Barnett, as he has in the past, goes down for an extended period? None of the young reserves (Moats, Batten, White) have shown enough to instill confidence that they can step in and compete at a high enough level. If Terrence McGee is unable to regain form, which is a distinct possibility, are Williams, Gilmore, Rogers, McKelvin, and Brooks really ready to shut down the leagues top offenses without a veteran leader?
My question to you is this:
As someone who is with the team every day and has seen the OTAs up close, what are your biggest positional concerns? Where do you think the Bills are the thinnest; meaning we will not be able to remain competitive if a starter goes down?
Bonus question: My CT crew will be at Hammer’s Lot before the Patriots game on Sept. 30th in full force, as we are every year. What are the chances you make an appearance?
-Dan S. K.
CB: First, thanks for the kind words. Positions of concern for me in terms of depth is like you linebacker. I like the starting linebackers a lot and I believe if Shep were to go down they would shift one of the two veteran outside backers inside. However, the loss of Barnett would be tough. Moats really played well in the spring and I think will be the first LB off the bench behind the vets outside.
I think the DBs will be fine. You’ve got young confident players in that group (Gilmore, Williams, Rogers) and I believe they’ll capably fill roles. In fact it would not shock me if Gilmore and Williams are your starters and Rogers is pushing for the nickel role.
Concerning your tailgate for the Pats game, I unfortunately have pre-game radio responsibilities. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get away, but you’re more than welcome to come say ‘hey’ at our pre-game broadcast location in the Bills Fieldhouse.
5 - Hey Chris,
With major upgrades and restored health to our front seven, I see an amazing year for our DB’s in picking off opposing quarterbacks. Is there any talk or expectations you’re hearing from the coaching staff or team regarding an increase in forced turnovers? Thanks!!
Superdoops in NJ.
CB: I’ll let Jairus Byrd answer this question since I asked him just what you asked me.
“It’s hard not to get giddy,” said Byrd. “We’ve talked to the guys on the back end and we are excited about it, but we’re waiting. We do have to feel each other out. The first preseason at the end of camp will be a good indicator about just the time and how we can play things because we’re not used to it. We’ve got to feel each other out to see what that pressure feels like. We’re excited though.”
Tags: Arthur Moats, Donald Jones, Fan Friday, Jairus Byrd, Kirk Morrison, Leodis McKelvin, Mario Williams, T.J. Graham
Posted in Inside the Bills