Two preseason games to go before the real thing. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills.
1 - Hi Chris,
I would like to cover two points: Obviously, I am aware of the Bills big splash in free agency, and their very good draft. Although the Bill’s pass rush appears to be very potentially awesome, I am a little concerned about their run defense. Yes… I think highly of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, but what happens if the opponent can get huge chunks of yardage between the tackles? That is another Bills problem where an issue may or may not be solved.
Secondly, regarding wide receiver: If Stevie Johnson goes down with an injury, who would be his replacement? Would David Nelson become the replacement? This is why the Bills should have signed Robert Meachem; they would have had a legitimate insurance policy in the scenario I had just mentioned. In a previous Q+A with you, your points were valid regarding not signing Meachem, since he demanded a salary close to Stevie’s, and this would potentially lead to internal conflict about number 1 and number 2 receiver.
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl
CB: Personally I believe Buffalo’s run defense is going to be much improved. All the hype has been about how much the pass rush is going to take a jump this season, but with Kyle back in the fold, the interior run defense is extremely solid. When you consider that the backup DTs are Dwan Edwards and Spencer Johnson there’s reason to believe that there will be zero drop-off when those two rotate in.
Concerning Stevie Johnson, should injury strike Donald Jones would probably be the primary replacement in a pro set (2 WRs). If it’s a three-wide or four-wide set, Derek Hagan would line up in Stevie’s ‘X’ receiver position with Jones as the flanker or slot with Graham the opposite outside WR in a four-wide look (minus Stevie).
2 - Hey Chris, every year there is a numbers game involved in cutting to the final 53. The interesting battle to me is D-line. We know the 4 starters with Mario, Marcel and Kyle and Anderson. My question is how many more do you expect them to keep? With Kelsay, Edwards, Johnson, Carrington, Troup, Heard, etc, it sounds like someone who played a lot last year will be cut this year!
CB: I’m afraid that will be the case. The starting four are locks as well as Kelsay. Edwards and Johnson I believe are also safe. I think if all holds to form, Kyle Moore will be the team’s fourth end. So that’s eight defensive linemen. If they keep a ninth I believe it’ll be a defensive tackle, so it comes down to Carrington, Heard and Troup.
3 - Chris,
Do you think Thigpen, Vince Young & Brad Smith will all be on the roster week one? Also, I’m sure the Bills would prefer a roster spot go to a long snapper/OLB rather than just a long snapper, so I’d like to know if you think Batten has a shot at winning the long snapping job?
CB: No, they all will not be on the roster. Brad Smith is a lock as the #3 QB. Chan Gailey said as much. Vince Young currently has the edge on the #2 QB job, but it will either be Thigpen or Young that will be moved off the roster. In an ideal world a long snapper can do more than just long snap, but a majority of the teams in the league have a specialist just to long snap.
The Bills have a very, very good one in Garrison Sanborn, who just signed a contract extension this past offseason. Danny Batten has tried long snapping here and there, but no one on this roster right now is going to unseat Sanborn as the team’s snapping specialist.
4 - Hi Chris,
I have heard rumors about Vince Young running the wildcat this year. Could you potentially see Coach Gailey install a wildcat offense that Vince and Brad run together?
CB: I don’t think I would trust your sources. That’s not to say they couldn’t be on the field at the same time knowing one of Brad Smith’s roles is as a wide receiver, but within the scope of the Wildcat? I don’t see it.
5 - Chris:
I’m a life-long Bills fan living in New England. Over the last 10+ years, this has been more of a challenge of hearing it from Pats fans with their team’s success, and the Bills lack of winning. As of last year, local Pats fans have been harping on me that the Bills and Buddy Nix made the wrong move in paying Fitz too early after a little success with the big contract, and that the Bills won’t go far with him because he proved he wasn’t good after receiving the contract and going 2-8 once he was paid.
Now as a true Bills fan, I hope/trust that last year’s finish of 2-8 wasn’t an accurate finish to portray with Fitz is all about. I try to explain to the non-Bills fans that due to injuries/lack of depth, a weak defense (adding pressure to Fitz & poor field positions), and the questionable rib injury Fitz took in week 8 – these are all reasons as to why the team and offense flopped after the hot start.
I have to figure that Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey know more than we all do and that they felt at the time that Fitz was the real deal before week 8 of last season when they gave him the big pay day, and that he
is the real deal going forward.
Chris, do you think he’s the real deal? Is he worth the contract he has? Do you think a couple seasons from now the whole league will look back and applaud Buddy and the organization for locking Fitz up in 2011 with this deal? Will I and other Bills fans finally be able to say to everyone else ‘I told you so’?
CB: First, if you take a look at his contract it’s commensurate with quarterbacks in the middle tier of starters in the league. So I believe too much is made of the size of the contract. Second, I think fans and outside observers get blinded by the interception total and understandably so, it led the league.
But despite the second half swoon, Fitz still finished 6th in the NFL in completions, 9th in completion percentage, 10th in touchdown passes and 11th in passing yards. He also had a lot to do with being the least sacked quarterback in football getting the ball out so quick.
He was also 11th in pass plays of 25 yards or more last year. The names of the QBs ahead of him in that category? Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Stafford, Rivers, E. Manning, Romo, Newton, Dalton, Ryan.
With another year in Gailey’s offense, a quarterbacks coach that should improve his accuracy and a receiving corps with which he’s wholly familiar with I believe Fitzpatrick can be a top 10 quarterback in this league.
Tags: Brad Smith, David Nelson, Donald Jones, Fan Friday, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Vince Young, Wildcat offense
Posted in Inside the Bills