Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 4-5

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2013 – 12:30 pm

Another week closer to the NFL draft. Keep the questions coming at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Here’s the latest edition for you Bills fans.

1 - Chris,

Due to the advent of a new coaching staff, at what point in time can the Bills coaches give information to existing Bills players with reference to new terminology or verbiage that will be used in calling of plays? Also the new playbook, which would take even more time to put together. Is the timing this kind of information contractually limited by the CBA or otherwise? Or is it simply delayed until all is put together by the staff?                                                         

Thanks, Bill S.
CB: The new coaching staff does get the benefit of an additional voluntary camp here in the spring. Buffalo’s additional camp will run from April 15th to the 18th prior to the draft. At that point classroom work is permitted in addition to on the field work. The offseason conditioning program began on Tuesday. Yes, the timing is contractually limited by the CBA, as well as practice time (e.g. limited time on the field per day, days per week, etc.) So it does present a great challenge for a new staff coming in with constraints put on the amount of practice and classroom time.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering if you might be able to enlighten some of us on practice squad eligibility & whether or not if in any way it counts towards the cap? Or is that a cost that is separate from the cap? I know those guys have to get paid but am unsure about the inner workings of it. Last year that was where we had David Snow stashed at right & I know he went back & forth for a bit, so how much longer would he be eligible?

I do know that they are not secure with the team once they are put there & can be signed away, but can the team offer them more to stay? Or once an offer has been made by another team or are they just gone? I know that in the past we have picked up a few players from other teams squads such as Brian Brohm & have tried to pick up others that either didn’t want to leave or were offered more money by the team we were trying to get them away from to stay – I guess?

I was just wondering if you might be able to clear some of that up for those of us that aren’t as well verse on the workings of that part of the team …

Thanks as always for your time !!

Mr T from Fort Myers Via Nashville

CB: First, practice squad players do not count against the cap. Only the top 51 player salaries count towards the cap, so the two lowest paid players on the 53-man roster don’t even count let alone the practice squad players.

Players are eligible for the practice squad for up to three years provided they do not appear in nine regular season games in one year. If they are in the third year of practice squad eligibility and they’re on the practice squad, whenever there is an opening on the 53-man roster they’re the automatic promotion (See: Gibran Hamdan).

You’re right the players on the practice squad can be signed to the active roster of any other NFL club at any time. There are instances where the team that he’s been with tries to retain him by putting him on their active roster.

It’s funny you mention Brian Brohm because that’s exactly what Green Bay tried to do when they found out the Bills were going to sign him off their practice squad. They offered him the same money that the Bills were offering on their active roster, but it’s the player’s choice. He thought he had a better chance to play in Buffalo with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Hope that helps.

 

3 – Chris:

It would seem that player evaluations can hinge on subtle differences, to me a player who doesn’t beat or come very close to their 1st 40, may not have the competitive spirit needed to succeed at the next level. I’d rather have someone who fights to the final whistle. Some of the QB’s did not impress at this, I’d rather have a not as developed player with desire, than a strong arm and quit in him. How would you and the coaches evaluate the two 40 times?
Jim from Florida

CB: While I don’t dispute for a second that it’s better to have a player that fights to the final whistle or is supremely self-motivated, I think you may be putting a bit too much weight on a player’s second run of the 40 at the Combine or a pro day.

There are several reasons why a player might run a slower 40 the second time. First, perhaps their get off wasn’t as technically sound. Their footing may not have been as good off the line. I realize this might sound a bit unrealistic, but players will tell you there is a fatigue factor involved from the first run.

I’m sure there are instances of some prospects that don’t fight to the final whistle, but that will be far more noticeable in games on tape than in their second run of the 40.

 

4 – The off season though the combine has been frustrating because once again I have no clue what the defense is going to look like, so I have no idea who I should be paying attention to. OLB seems to be a glaring need, but is it? It looks to be Bradham and that’s it, but because of the uncertainty surrounding the scheme,  I’m left asking are Kyle Moore, Mark Anderson & Mario Williams DEs or OLBs? Should I be paying attention to the interior D Line guys, guys that are projected as 3-4 DEs? Right now the only projected first round front seven defender who I’m sure can fit into whatever D they run is Ogletree. I used to love this time of year. Any light you can shine on this situation would be appreciated.

Pete Howell
Fairport

CB: When coach Pettine says his scheme is going to be multiple he means it. Gone are the days where you can sit in a 4-3 or 3-4 and not change things up. A perfect example of this was the way that former defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt chose to sit in the same 4-3 front last season. Despite having great depth of talent on his front line, the same looks became easy to block and counter for opposing offensive line, which is why they weren’t all that effective last season.

Pettine knows to be effective you have to be multiple. Just as it’s difficult for you to not plug DEs and OLBs into roles, Pettine wants opposing offenses to have that same difficulty. He doesn’t want opponents knowing where anyone is going to line up on any given play. Keeping an offense guessing while also possessing an attacking mindset unnerves an offense.

All that being said I think they will line up more in the 3-4 than the 4-3, but roles will shift and change from week to week. Manny Lawson might be a true SLB on first down, but he might shift to a third down pass rusher in passing situations and Mario Williams might kick inside. That’s just one example.

 

5 – CB, 

Buddy had mentioned following the way the Bengals drafted AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Do you seen a scenario where the Bills go QB in round 1 and WR in round two? What do you think of the possibility of Geno Smith and Justin Hunter? I think these two are the might be the best players available when the Bills will pick in rounds 1 and 2. What are the scouts saying about Hunter, can he separate from DB’s at his size/speed? 
CB: I think this could definitely be a possibility in the first two rounds. Buffalo needs to add a quarterback early. And the value at wide receiver in this draft begins in round two and lasts all the way until round four. Hunter has some intriguing physical skills. He ran a 4.36 at the Combine and is 6’4”, but he’s just 196 pounds and has a lean build, which means he’ll be limited in the bulk he can add.

He also has a reputation for inconsistent hands. That’s why despite first round physical skills he’s expected to last until round two.

As for his separation ability, he’s not considered very good run after catch despite his speed because he’s a straight line speed guy. Elusiveness is not a strength.

Personally I’d prefer Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins in round two if he’s there for Buffalo.


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