Time for another camp edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Check Buffalobills.com for game previews on the written and video side of the Bills-Colts preseason opener Saturday.
1 - Hi Chris,
I’m starting to get excited about the upcoming season, and that excitement has generated some questions regarding Stephon Gilmore. Will Mike Pettine try to use Stephon in the same way he used Revis? Is Stephon capable of being a shutdown corner in the same category as Revis? If he isn’t quite there yet, would Mike put Stephon on the #2 receiver, then shift coverage to the other side? I’m just curious what is going though Mike’s mind regarding Stephon and how that would influence his play calling and scheme.
CB: I believe Pettine feels very comfortable using Gilmore in some of the same ways he utilized Revis. What we have to remember is Gilmore is a bigger, stronger corner than Revis and runs just as fast as him. There will be a lot more man coverage in Pettine’s defense than we saw last season. Here’s a taste of what Pettine thinks of Gilmore as a player.
“Here’s a guy that is really good and wants to be great,” said Pettine. “And to me the thing that’s been the most impressive is his preparation, how hard he practices every day, how competitive he is. He doesn’t want a ball caught on him in walk-throughs, let alone practice. And he’s a guy that prides himself in being on-point with his technique and Donnie Henderson has done a great job with him, with some of his technique things getting it cleaned up. Super coachable, he rarely makes the same mistake twice. Usually when he does make a mistake, he knows right away what it was.”
2 - @ChrisBrownBills any update on sj13?
CB: He’s not going to play in the preseason opener and likely won’t play in the second preseason game next week against Minnesota. Hamstring pulls can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, so depending on the severity he might not be ready until the final preseason game or right before the regular season.
3 – Chris:
Living far away (Alberta, Canada) the access to information wasn’t always as easy as you make it now.
I’d like to hear a comparison of enthusiasm from the previous coaching staff to the new Marrone staff. This off season seems to have a very optimistic tone to it not just from the people at OBD, but the media and fan thoughts as well. When the previous regime took over was the excitement and anticipation as apparent as it is now? After 13+ years of suffering, we have all learned not to get too far ahead of ourselves but I can’t remember an off season to feel as potential-filled as this one.
Rob in Edmonton
CB: I would confidently say that Marrone and his staff have invigorated this roster like no one that has come before them in this non-playoff era (2000-2012). I think Mike Mularkey came the closest in energizing the team in the same way in his first year. But Marrone and his staff have taken a different approach, be it through positive messaging posted throughout the building, a symbiotic accountability between the players and the coaches or the cutting edge approach schematically to the game.
All of it has this roster believing that they can change the fortunes of this team for the better this year.
4 – Hey Chris, appreciate all the work you do and insight you provide.
I remember Stevie saying at one point that under Chan Gailey the receivers were able to have some freedom with running their routes just as long as they got to their spot at the right time. I was curious if Doug Marrone will still allow Stevie to run his routes as he has been. I feel like Stevie has a unique skill set with the way he gets open and shakes defenders. I see the other receivers gearing towards running more quick crisp routes which matches their skills. I’m hoping the staff does recognize Stevie’s abilities and can get creative with him.
I was curious of your thoughts or if you had any insight regarding Stevie and how he fits in their offensive plans. I’m really looking forward to his season. It’s about time he gains some respect around the league. One last thing do you know if the Bills are sticking with the blue away pants this year?
Thanks for your time,
CB: Your question is very similar to one that was asked of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who said the following when asked if Stevie would be permitted to run routes in his unorthodox, never the same way twice style.
“We’ve kind of narrowed (his improvising) down some,” said Hackett. “I think that’s what it was originally and I think that Stevie has understood what we’re trying to accomplish and I think having Stevie and the quarterback feel the timing so he understands which routes he can be a freelancer on. And what are the routes where the quarterback is going to give him some time?
I think that’s about all of us getting together, not just wide receivers over here and quarterbacks over here. Coach Hilliard and coach Hackett all coming together with the guys and saying, ‘This is what we’re trying to accomplish. This is when you can go to work. This is when we need you right there.’
As long as he sees where all that fits in it’s just going to get better and better.”
5 – Hi Chris, love Fan Friday.
An annual question is whether the team should keep 3 or 2 QBs. Obviously, the final 53rd spot is at stake. This year, more than ever, I would think the Bills should keep 2 QBs, since there is no way Jeff Tuel would ever be picked up to an active 53 roster on another team and, thus, could be saved away in the practice squad. In addition, if we are down to Tuel at QB, then we probably will need a miracle for that game. What are your thoughts?
Given all the youth in this team, I would hate to lose or risk losing a young, promising DB, WR or LB (or release a vet DE when the Bills have plenty of money to spare) in order to keep a 3rd QB. As an emergency QB, we have Brad Smith, anyway (and we can bring up Tuel if one of the QBs is injured).
A Bill in LA
CB: I think the points you make are valid, and those are the decisions that Coach Marrone and his staff face. They’ll be asking that very question, ‘What do we sacrifice if we keep a third quarterback on the active roster?’
Most coaching staffs take the approach of keeping the 53 best players, within reason knowing they need a certain number of players at particular positions.
Coach Marrone said the other day that he’s liked Tuel ever since he was in college at Washington State and he has an uncanny knack for connecting on the deep ball with his receivers. We’ll see if that continues in the preseason games, but I believe Tuel is a player that Marrone covets, so I think he’ll get strong consideration for the 53-man roster.
Tags: 53 man roster, Doug Marrone, Fan Friday, Jeff Tuel, Mike Pettine, Nathaniel Hackett, Stephon Gilmore, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills