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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-7

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 4:16 pm

Hey Bills fans, here is the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter for Fan Friday. Keep your questions coming.

1 – Chris,

I wanted to address the “Fitzpatrick Situation”. A few weeks ago, Buddy Nix acknowledged the need to upgrade the quarterback position, which was in stark contrast to his and Chan’s position on the issue 11 weeks ago. My fear is this seems to be set in motion more by public opinion than cognitive thought and, given the incoming crop of potential rookie quarterbacks, a draft pick may be sacrificed to appease the fan base rather than invested on more pressing needs in the secondary and linebacking corp.

Thanks for all you do,
Rob

CB: Buddy actually addressed that very subject in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportradio 550 this Friday. Here’s what he said.

“I know we’ve discussed the quarterback many times. The fans are so eager for us to make something happen and they’re not any more eager than I am,” said Nix. “They got the idea I think that we were automatically going to draft a quarterback in the first round. That’s not necessarily true. We’re going to always stay with the integrity of the board. We’re going to try to find a quarterback. If one is there and he’s rated at the right spot we’re going to take him wherever that is. I don’t want people to expect that no matter who is there in the first round we’re going to take a quarterback because that’s not true. We’ll still take the best player.”

 

2 - Chris,

There’s been a lot of criticism of Chan Gailey’s play calling.  A lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking obviously.  But the one area I feel the Bills are particularly weak is 3rd/4th and very short yardage (2 yards or less).  Aside from some game changing fumbles in those situations (Patriots home game going into the half comes to mind), the heavily criticized wildcat formations, and the failure in the four minute offense on Thursday against Miami, most egregious to me is why the team doesn’t ever use a QB sneak (particularly on 1 yard to go situations).  The interior of this line would seem to be the strength. And with Eric Wood and Levitre playing at All-Pro levels, and Fitz being a fairly stout guy, it would seem that calling a QB sneak behind Wood/Levitre would be a reasonable call. Yet I can’t recall the team using it in any key situations this season (or any situation for that matter).  Tom Brady will often race to the line and use a quick snap QB sneak. But even a traditional sneak would seem a reasonable play that they rarely ever use.  Why not?  Is it even in their playbook?

Thanks,
Jeffrey Suchocki

CB: Well we did see a one-yard sneak for a touchdown by Ryan Fitzpatrick against Jacksonville, so yes it is in their playbook. I also think you’re a bit off the mark regarding short yardage. Buffalo is 15th in the league in 3rd-and-1 conversion percentage (64.3%) and 16th in the league in 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 conversion percentage (64.3%). On 3rd-and-short conversions they’re 18th in the league (53.7%). It’s not great, but their success rate is respectable.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

Just looking ahead at the possibilities of the Bills filling in some holes with Free Agency and how active they might be this coming off-season. I would love for them to make upgrades at corner, wide receiver, and linebacker (quarterback too, but that would likely be addressed in the draft). How much cap space do the Bills currently have to work with in the off-season? I know that re-signing Byrd and Levitre will be top priorities for them, but once they’re taken care of, how much room will they likely have to work with, if any at all? Would love to see Dwayne Bowe in a Bills uniform!

As always, love the coverage you provide for us … please keep up the great work!

Paul

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I am not in a position to provide cap space figures, but I can tell you that Buffalo has a lot of young players coming up for contract consideration. You mentioned Byrd and Levitre. They’ve also got Kraig Urbik, Chad Rinehart to consider for their offensive line. Restricted free agents include David Nelson and Donald Jones. Leodis McKelvin is another unrestricted free agent of note. So very quickly just for the Bills to keep their own they’ll be eating into heavily into their cap space if they decide to do some long terms deals with any of the aforementioned players.

One free agent to be that hasn’t garnered much attention is Kyle Moore, who will also be unrestricted at season’s end.

That’s why the thought of Dwayne Bowe in a Bills uniform is a pipe dream. Buffalo is already heavily invested in the wide receiver position with Stevie Johnson. They likely intend to invest more with Nelson and Jones. So to try and add Bowe, who is looking for upwards of $10M a season, it’s just not going to happen.

Other veteran free agents of note include Bryan Scott, Corey McIntyre and Spencer Johnson.

 

4 – Chris,

Numbers don’t lie and it’s clear that Mario Williams’ production has spiked since his wrist procedure during the bye week.  Also, since it only took him 7-10 days to heal and be back at practice it’s obvious that this should have been corrected during Training Camp.  I’m wondering who, if any, should receive the blame for the failure to address this injury until after 7gms and a fine from the NFL related the Bills injury report?  Seems unfortunate because his current production could have really helped during the first half of the season.

Thanks,
Aaron from Brooklyn

CB: To clear up some confusion, Williams injured the wrist in the preseason finale at Detroit. Granted that was 10 days before the opener, but I think the parties involved likely made the decision to play through the injury since that’s what happened. After it failed to improve surgery was decided upon.

It’s very easy for hindsight to be 20-20 in any case like this. The bottom line is the next time there was a window of opportunity to Bills jumped on it.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

Just wanted to see what you thought of Crezdon Butler’s play against the Jaguars.  With the game blacked out I didn’t see much.  Did he fare well?  And if so, does that count for anything even if it is against the young receiving core of the Jaguars? 

Thanks,
Tommy of Pittsford

CB:
Well he got 16 snaps in the Jacksonville game, 13 of those came in coverage. He did draw a flag in the game for defensive holding that led to a first down, but the biggest pass play he gave up was an 18-yard completion to Cecil Shorts. So all in all it wasn’t a bad debut performance in limited action.


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