1 – @ChrisBrownBills who is the starting RT, nickel corner, how far apart are gilmore and organization on new agreement?
CB: The favorite going into camp for the starting right tackle spot is Jordan Mills. Seantrel Henderson has to prove he’s healthy and capable of practicing day in and day out if he’s going to try to win the job back. Cyrus Kouandjio has an uphill battle in front of him to unseat one of them for a starting role.
Nickell Robey is the incumbent and favorite to keep the nickel job, but he’ll have big time competition from Sterling Moore. Corey White is another corner who may factor in there, but Moore will likely be his stiffest competition inside.
As for Gilmore there is no new developments at this point, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change in the next couple of weeks. As has been stated before, the deal Washington handed Josh Norman ($15M/yr) threw the entire cornerback market out of whack. It’s inflated the market beyond where it was expected to be right now and has NFL clubs with top corners concerned they won’t be able to keep them under contract due to where the market was set with the Norman deal.
Norman is largely a zone corner and got paid $15M per year. Players like Gilmore, a man-to-man corner arguably have a tougher job than Norman and are probably expecting at least that much. If Gilmore holds fast to a $15M/yr. contract demand there’s likely to be no new agreement anytime soon. I can’t see the Bills going that high.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Does Jonathan Williams chances take a big hit because of his lapse in judgement? I am really disappointed.
CB: I’m sure the Bills coaching staff is disappointed too after all the encouraging signs they saw from the rookie running back in minicamp. I felt he had a legitimate chance of being the team’s backup to LeSean McCoy. He’ll still be able to compete for that role at training camp, so I don’t know how big a hit this DUI charge will have in terms of where he ends up on the running back depth chart.
Williams’ DUI charges will now be handled in the courts. If he’s found guilty a first offense under the NFL’s revised policy (2014) for DUI will result in a two-game suspension. Based on informed NFL sources that suspension stands a good chance of being imposed at some point during the 2016 regular season.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills where do you think the Bills will rank defensively now that Rex has more guys who supposedly fit his system?
CB: If everything goes according to plan with Ryan’s more traditional 3-4 scheme, the starting lineup stay relatively healthy and rookies like Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington contribute as expected and Shaq Lawson can be back in time to play more than half the season (10 games?) then I think this defense can flirt with being a top 10 unit again.
Granted those are a lot of variables I listed, but the key here is they feel they’ve greatly improved the coaching staff on that side of the ball with DL coach John Blake, Asst. secondary coach Ed Reed and Assistant head coach Rob Ryan. I think the players on defense also learned a very hard lesson last season when they did not fully buy into Rex’s system. So I believe the motivation will be there to redeem themselves after a down season.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills who’s your sleeper going into training camp to make a big impact, possibly start?
CB: I don’t know about sleepers that will start, but I think Dez Lewis could challenge for the No. 3 WR role. He’s really come on entering his second season and had a solid spring. I think Blake Annen is a tight end candidate who could be Charles Clay’s understudy from a pass catching perspective even though vet Jim Dray is the designated blocking TE. And I think with a strong camp rookie Kevon Seymour could be one of the first corners off the bench if there’s an injury to Gilmore or Darby during the season.
I outlined some top sleepers in our Camp Countdown this week.
5 – Chris,
Can you give an update on how Kolby Listenbee looks and his chances to make the roster? He has the straight line speed that no one on the roster has but is raw in his routes. I don’t expect him to win the 3rd WR job but is his long term potential and ability to stretch the field make him have more value than some others? Is he a special teams guy either as gunner/returner?
CB: Listenbee was very limited in the spring coming off double sports hernia surgery. That was followed by an inflamed pelvis. He’s been here at One Bills Drive since minicamp working to complete all his rehab and get medically cleared. At this point I’m not sure it’s going to happen by training camp. His rehab has had some peaks and valleys.
There’s no debating his playmaking potential knowing his straight line speed is world class, and he figures to be an option on kick returns. It all depends on whether he’s cleared medically to participate when training camp opens.
Tags: Bills defense, Fan Friday, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Mills, Kolby Listenbee, Seantrel Henderson
Posted in Inside the Bills