One week in the books for training camp. Two weeks to go, but first preseason game is six days away! We’re almost there Bills fans! Keep sending your questions in to AskChris@bills.nfl.net or on twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Today we’ve got an update on Jim Leonhard in here along with how things might shake out at receiver in terms of alignment and formation assignments.
1 - Chris,
I was wondering if you could help me with a question I’ve had regarding the 3 or 4 WR sets that Bills have run a lot in the past. Previously, we’ve had a lot of guys that worked primarily out of the slot, with Stevie and Donald Jones as the outside receivers. However, this year it appears that Donald Jones has started to win the 2nd receiver spot, but also works out of the slot a lot. I’ve assumed that David Nelson would be the 3rd receiver. However, if Donald Jones moves into the slot, the 3rd receiver would then be an outside WR, instead of the primary slot receiver you normally see on other teams. David Nelson has done a great job out of the slot, but he and Donald can’t both work out of the slot. Do one of those two get pushed to the outside spot? Do you see someone else winning that outside spot and relegating David to the 4th WR or lower, and only comes on for 4 and 5 WR formations?
-Chris, Penn State
CB: This is what I envision happening. I believe if Donald Jones wins the #2 WR job he will line up outside and David Nelson will fill the primary slot role in 3-wide sets. When the team goes 4-wide however, I believe Nelson and Jones will both line up inside with a fourth receiver coming on in the form of Derek Hagan, Marcus Easley, T.J. Graham or someone else to line up outside opposite Stevie.
If Donald Jones doesn’t win the #2 WR job then he’ll in essence be the team’s 4th wideout. So when the team again goes to 4-wide, he’ll come on the field and work out of the slot as well.
2 - If Stephon Gilmore locks in a one the two spots at corner is it safe to believe that either McGee or McKelvin are going to be released. I would say with the drafting of Brooks and the improvement of 2nd year player Rogers that it is kind of pointless wasting another year on either one. This could be a roster spot used on another MLB or one of the developmental TE’s we have. Thanks for all your great reporting on BuffaloBills.com!
PS. Have Buddy thought of adding another Pass rushing DT if Troup can’t get healthy?
CB: With respect to the secondary I think with the proliferation of spread formations across the league you need at least five corners on your active roster and one or two on your practice squad or six on the roster and one on the practice squad.
You may as well mark Gilmore down in pen at the right cornerback spot unless he struggles in the preseason games, but I don’t see it happening. Terrence McGee is a player that is not 100 percent back yet. It’s going to take some time, but barring a major setback I think he’ll remain on the roster. McKelvin has been worked as the primary slot corner so he’ll be on board.
The truth is you only have Gilmore, A. Williams, McGee, McKelvin, Rogers and Brooks and that’s six right there. Prince Miller, who was on the practice squad last year and still has eligibility, has had a nice camp too.
I don’t see McGee or McKelvin getting clipped unless McGee can’t recover from patellar tendon surgery.
Concerning the DT position, the Bills have plenty of depth there with the depth chart shaking out like this right now – Dareus, Williams – Sp. Johnson, Edwards – Carrington, Heard (recovering from injuries) – Gilbert, Ross. There already is respectable depth there so even if Troup can’t recover they have enough capable players.
@ChrisBrownBills hey Chris how long before Leonhard can go full out if he was to sign.
CB: The feedback I was able to get concerning his workout with the Bills Friday morning is that he’s not all the way back yet from his surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon. The situation is much the same with Terrence McGee, who if you’ve been out to practice have seen him laboring through drills at times.
Leonhard is about three to four weeks behind McGee in recovery. So signing him really isn’t an option right now.
I myself was wondering if the Bills doctors felt his knee would be ready in a month, could the Bills sign him now and place him on Active/PUP. That unfortunately is not allowed under league rules. Only a player that was already on the roster, but did not report to camp on time could be placed on Active/PUP once training camp has already begun.
4 – DennisBoyev Aug 2, via Twitter
@ChrisBrownBills – How is Kevin Brock doing so far?
CB: Unfortunately the young tight end is not getting many reps in the team portions of the practice setting. There’s no debating he’s athletic, but there’s another prospect that the coaching staff might be more interested in. Fendi Onobun, who much like Brock came in late last season, is every bit as athletic. He has seen more reps than Brock thus far and has made some plays.
It’s early and they haven’t played a preseason game, so I believe there are still many turns in the road at that position behind the top two TEs on the roster in Scott Chandler and Lee Smith.
5 - Chris,
We don’t hear much about him in the cornerback role? Has he slipped that far down the depth chart?
CB: Leodis has been the primary slot cornerback in camp. They’ve put him there in part because it reduces the risk of him getting beat deep, which was a problem in his game last season. He had a decent day Thursday registering a couple of pass breakups. He’s a fantastic athlete, but there are more things one has to be ready for covering the slot where receivers have two-ways gos, so it’ll bear watching in the preseason to see how he fares.
Tags: David Nelson, Donald Jones, Fan Friday, Jim Leonhard, Kevin Brock, Leodis McKelvin, Stephon Gilmore, Torell Troup
Posted in Inside the Bills