1 – Chris,
The media and players talk a lot about enthusiasm and things they love about the new coaching staff being brought in. Is it any MORE enthusiasm than any other new regime that you’ve seen take over? Or is it the same kind of enthusiasm you get when the coaching staff gets replaced for a new one?
CB: I would say that the enthusiasm witnessed here is greater than any new regime I’ve covered, which numbers six counting Marrone. I think Marrone and his staff have done an excellent job of developing a completely different approach from that of the past. The coaches are for the most part younger and more energetic, which enables them to relate to the players more. I also believe the staff is cutting edge and the players know it.
These coaches sound as though they have a plan for everything that can or will come up through the course of a football season. The players feel like the coaches have the answers. Of course executing those answers out on the field is the most important thing, but these players have come to quickly believe that they’ll be put in the best position to succeed.
2 – Hey Chris,
First off, I want to thank you for your in-depth coverage of the Bills. It’s really great for us fans living in other parts of the world!
My question is why are the kickers only taking 6 to 7 kicks a practice? Seems like so few “reps” when there is such a stiff competition at the position. Also, who do you see as the leader going into voluntary workouts?
CB: The kicking statistics I would periodically provide in my OTA and minicamp practice notes were only the kicks that were attempted during the team portions of practice for special teams. During practice the kickers and punters typically go on a neighboring field to kick when the offense and defense are working on the main practice field.
Since I need to track the goings on during the team portions of practice with offense and defense I don’t have the option of going to view the kickers at that time. So yes, they do kick a good deal more than just those handful of attempts that occur during team segments.
3 – Hi Chris
I was wondering about your interaction with players on a personal level. Over the years, have you ever made friends with any of the players to the point where you kept in touch once they left? Have there been any players who really liked to ‘give you a hard time’ in a teasing/joking around way?
Just curious as to their interactions with you when the cameras are off, any insight would be great.
Brad in Rochester
CB: I’ve obviously come to know players that have been around a bit longer than others. I don’t really strive to know players on a personal level because it makes things awkward on both sides in light of my role with the team. I certainly know there are some players with whom I have a lot more rope when it comes to joking around, but it’s important that the players know they can trust me to fairly report on their play and performance. Befriending players muddies the waters.
As for players that would yank your chain, Sam Adams often tried to mess around with me. Aaron Schobel was another, but he did that with everyone.
4 – With Tarvaris Jackson being released it makes me think. We gave up a, what 3rd round pick this year for a player that didn’t dress for a game all last year? And didn’t make it to training camp.
After just re-signing him to a new contract. What a waste of time & money. Sure make Buddy look silly. Is there more to this story? ie attitude, poor performance, lack of effort..
Thanks Gary in Indy
CB: The Bills gave up just a seventh-round pick for Jackson, and yes there is more to the story. The Bills coaching staff quickly discovered that the combination of three quarterbacks vying for the starting job while also trying to install a new offensive system with three new signal callers was a bad one.
As important as it was to find the best quarterback for the job they also needed to provide enough reps to each of the QB candidates in the spring and training camp to ensure that any one of them would be ready to play come Week 1. That wasn’t going to happen with three of them splitting the snaps in practice.
So the coaching staff made a difficult decision to pull the odd man out, which was Jackson. Now whether it’s Kevin Kolb or EJ Manuel that’s the starter, they’ll both have enough reps in the system where they and the staff will feel comfortable with them running the offense when the games count.
5 – Chris,
Great work covering our Bills, as always.
As far as WRs go, I heard you and Murph on Wednesday night talking about the top 5 being Stevie, Woods, Graham, Goodwin and Rogers and it being hard to unseat those guys. Then after that, you lumped 3 different WRs fighting for that #6 spot. I noticed that you did not mention Easley into that top group of WRs. In all that’s happened in the last few years, does Easley have an uphill battle to make the roster?
Is the talent that deep that we may not see him make the roster this year? I believe his practice squad eligibility is over, but it’d be a shame to lose him completely from the roster (and possibly the NFL) without seeing what his size and talent could bring to this team.
-Nate in Rochester
CB: I’ve been one of the biggest supporters of Easley over the years. I believe he does have a skill set that could succeed in this league, but his body just won’t cooperate. This spring he again missed a good deal of the practices due to an undisclosed injury.
His inability to stay healthy has been a hurdle that’s proven difficult for him to clear. Knowing the Bills made sizable investments in Woods and Goodwin with day 2 draft choices and knowing that Easley is a player that is now being inherited by the current staff without any measure of production at the NFL level he’s in a tough spot.
I’m not saying the challenge he’s facing is insurmountable, but he has to be healthy and get through the entire camp and preseason to even have a shot. After pure talent the second most important quality in a player is arguably availability. That’s something Easley has unfortunately struggled with the most.
Tags: Aaron Schobel, Doug Marrone, Marcus Easley, player enthusiasm, Sam Adams, Tarvaris Jackson
Posted in Inside the Bills