Inside The Bills

Bills have rep of being open for business

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 12:48 pm

In our second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ Series presented by BENRUS, we outlined how an influx of new general managers in the NFL has changed the conversation on how to build a roster and acquire talent. Bills GM Doug Whaley has been one of the more aggressive deal makers in the NFL over the last league year (March to March) making eight trades. Whaley feels in the NFL draft that could serve as an advantage for the Bills.

“We’ve built a reputation that we’re open for business any time, any day, anywhere,” said Whaley. “When we’re looking to make a trade it’s a little more difficult because in the end they hold the cards. They hold the assets you’re trying to acquire. So you’re going to probably have to give up a little more than you want, hopefully not.”

Whaley said earlier this week that Buffalo is more likely to trade down than up due largely to the lack of assets to swing a trade. In an interview with Buffalobills.com, Whaley explained the key to a good deal.

“Just the part where everybody in the deal feel comfortable and no one feels slighted,” Whaley said. “That’s where the negotiation comes in and that’s the art of the deal. I rely heavily on (Bills Sr. VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf because he’s been doing it for so long because a lot of it is numbers with the draft chart. A lot of it is gut feel too. A team might come to us and say, ‘We want this guy and we’re willing to give up this.’ And we might say, ‘Well that doesn’t quite work for us, but how about this?’ So you just go back and forth.”


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Fan Friday 4-24

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 11:32 am

Veteran voluntary minicamp is up this week beginning Tuesday and will roll us right into the draft Thursday night. Remember to stay close to Buffalobills.com online and on your mobile devices for full coverage of the Bills 2015 draft class as it happens. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any shot the Bills can get in on Rivers? Something like EJ and this year’s 2 and 5 or EJ and next year’s 1?

RealSteveRhodes

CB: The Philip Rivers trade chatter exists because of the quarterback’s comments, not the GM’s. Rivers has backed off his comments recently. That doesn’t mean that teams won’t be inquiring about the veteran QB’s availability. In a down year for quarterbacks it’ll be interesting to see what NFL clubs would be willing to offer, but I think the asking price would be very high if Tom Telesco even entertains an offer in the first place.

It’s my belief your trade proposals above would have to be improved to make a deal even remotely possible. Not having a one to offer this year I think removes Buffalo from consideration, and that’s if San Diego even decides to talk turkey. In a down year for quarterbacks I wouldn’t want to be hitting the reset button at that position, especially when my QB was an NFL MVP candidate for the first half of the season in 2014.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

2 players #Bills need this draft. MyCole Pruitt and Chris Bonner, what’s your thoughts, opinions?

mattgolden03

CB: While I think there are a lot of things to like about Pruitt’s skill set, I don’t know that he’s a match for what Buffalo is looking for at tight end. Buffalo has the versatile playmaker in Clay and a potential athletic understudy in Marqueis Gray. Chris Gragg is a good straight line athlete, so what’s left? In a power run scheme Buffalo needs a tight end that is an accomplished blocker. If they can offer short to intermediate pass catching ability all the better.

Prospects in this year’s draft class who fit that bill as I see it are Ohio State’s Jeff Heuerman and Delaware’s Nick Boyle. Heuerman probably comes off the board in day two and Boyle on day 3. Good, high character players as well.

As for Chris Bonner, I wouldn’t be opposed to using a seventh-round pick on the D-II QB prospect. For a 6-7 quarterback I’m impressed with the way he makes himself small in the pocket to avoid pressure, and then the feet he has for a 6-7 man, Bonner is pretty good at extending plays.

The basics of his arm mechanics are good. He’s got an over-the-top delivery. What he lacks right now is touch on the ball and arc. Too often he throws a laser no matter what type of route he’s targeting. Dropping throws in the bucket on deep outs or putting more loft on an over the shoulder pass are the things he needs work on.

What I think I like best about Bonner’s game is the way he’s able to avoid the inside rush in the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and re-set his feet to deliver the ball. His throws aren’t always great, but a feel for pocket pressure is tough to find in young QBs. I’m confident some NFL team will try to develop him.

 

3 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean Robbins

CB: I think offensive line will be a major focus at 50 and if the right value is there at offensive tackle or guard I believe that’s where they go. Players I like for the Bills at 50 (assuming of course they’re still on the board) are G/C A.J. Cann, OT Cedric Ogbuehi (provided the knee checks out), OT Donovan Smith and G Laken Tomlinson.

If none of those prospects are on the board at 50 I think that’s when best on the board truly comes into play. A good all-around OLB/DE would make the most sense for me knowing Manny Lawson is entering the final year of his contract, but I think defensive back, inside linebacker, defensive tackle are all on the table there if the offensive line options are gone.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

I’m a longtime Bills fan now living in Kentucky and really appreciate all the hard work you do reporting the happenings at One Bills Drive. It seems the Bills with the support of the Pegula’s have assembled an all-star coaching staff.  Are there any league rules that limit or restrict the number of assistants a team can hire or that can be on the sidelines during a game?

Thank you,
Mark from Louisville

CB: Thanks for the kind words. To my knowledge there is no limit to the number of assistants a club can have on a coaching staff. And you’re right it is an all-star staff.

 

5 – Chris,
First of all thanks again for the great coverage of the Buffalo Bills. My question is about the offensive line and in particular the two starting tackles from the 2014 season. I recall either Doug Whaley or Rex referring to guard and tackle as a need, I thought the addition of tackle was interesting. I know the Bills have seen Cordy Glenn as a tackle in the past but I’ve heard many times that he could be one of the best guards in football if kicked inside. With a new staff and o-line coach do you think they may see as a guard? If this were to be the case that leaves a hole at left tackle clearly. Leading to my next question which is do you think Seantrel Henderson could swing over to the left side? I thought he had his rookie woes early against some top flight talent (Houston game against Watt) but got better as the season went on. Do you think he could be a starting left tackle? This move would also lead me to believe that Cyrus Kouandjio could have a legitimate chance at winning the right tackle spot. Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on these potential moves.

Go Bills!
Phil Dabowl

CB: I think all options are open. Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and my conversation with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer are all consistent. They will look to find what the best combination of five linemen is best for the starting offensive line. That means no move is off the table.

That being said it’s my belief that Cordy Glenn is the best tackle on this roster right now. The coaches might feel differently and they have a trained eye for what works best far better than I do. Asking Seantrel Henderson to flip to the left side is not outlandish, but I think in his second NFL season might be a bit premature.

There’s little question that Henderson has the physical skill set to play on the left side, but his NFL readiness for that position is the key question. I think Cyrus Kouandjio will also be given every opportunity to be an offensive tackle for this team as opposed to guard.


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Mayock: Day 1 readiness an issue at OT

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 8:50 am

While the general consensus heading into the 2015 NFL draft is that it is a deep class of offensive tackles, there are no truly elite pass protectors in this year’s draft. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock broke down the OT class and explained why there’s a lot more of the ‘very good’ than the ‘great’ this year.

“As far as the offensive line class, let me put it to you this way; after Brandon Scherff, who was a tackle at Iowa and is going to get kicked inside and will probably go in the first 10 or 12 picks, after him, there’s an awful lot of question marks.

“Now, that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of talent, because there is. But I could take, for instance, Ereck Flowers (Miami), D.J. Humphries (Florida), Andrus Peat (Stanford) and T.J. Clemmings (Pitt). And all are gifted first round tackles but I can poke a hole in every one of those kids, either from a technique perspective or an off the field perspective or whatever.

“So what’s happened this year is that after Brandon Scherff and some teams like Cam Irving who could be a center, the kid from Florida State but as far as the tackle group is concerned, man, they’ve been pushed down a little bit in the first round, not because of talent, but because they’re not all ready to play day one.

“For instance, the reason I have La’el Collins as my No. 1 tackle is because out of that whole group he’s the only one where I bang the table and say: I think I know exactly what I’m getting. I’m getting a starting right tackle that can kick inside and play guard, but I’m getting a starter day one and he’s a body mover, I know what I’m getting. All those other guys have question marks, and I think they’re getting pushed down to the second half of the first round.”

That’s somewhat good news for the Bills, who could use a tackle in this year’s draft. With the top end talent this year getting pushed down to the latter half of the first round, and knowing the depth of the class, there should be a decent amount of capable prospects to choose from in rounds two and three should they choose to go in that direction.


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Kiper: QB a possibility for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2015 – 10:20 am

The Bills said back in January from a sheer numbers standpoint they would have to add at that position. At the time they only had EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the roster. Buffalo addressed the position by trade and free agency, acquiring Matt Cassel from the Vikings and signing Tyrod Taylor as a free agent. Now with the draft upon us, will they address quarterback again?

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper believes it’s a possibility that Buffalo takes a quarterback. In his recent piece on NFL team needs entering the draft Kiper listed quarterback first for the Bills and suggested that Buffalo strongly consider taking one in the second or third round. In a national conference call earlier this week, Kiper explained his thinking and mentioned Baylor’s Bryce Petty specifically.

“I just felt like for Buffalo at that point, (Bryce) Petty a possibility in the second round,” said Kiper. “You bring in another quarterback to compete. Not sure about EJ Manuel, they brought in a veteran (Matt Cassel) you’ve got Tyrod Taylor as well. So I thought just bring in a guy like that. For the Bills they’ve got needs other than quarterback and if they feel they’re okay with their quarterback situation they could look for an offensive guard or an inside backer. Round two is where I think Petty could go. Could he go in round three? Sure, but I think a quarterback at some point in the first four rounds would at least have to be a possibility for the Bills.”

At this point the Bills do not have a first or fourth-round pick, so rounds two and three would be where Kiper’s suggestion would have to take place.


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Jeremiah goes LB for Bills in 2 rd. mock

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 2:27 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has put together a full two-round mock draft and has gone to the defensive side of the ball for the Bills with their first pick at 50th overall.

Jeremiah went with an outside linebacker at pick 50 taking UCLA’s Eric Kendricks. Here was his brief take on the pick.

50. Buffalo: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
Comment: Kendricks is instinctive and athletic in coverage.

Jeremiah likely sees that Manny Lawson will be entering the final year of his contract with Buffalo in 2015, and that coupled with the release of Keith Rivers and trade of Kiko Alonso gives credence to the possibility of a linebacker being taken on day two, if not round two, in round three.

 

 


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Whaley on 2nd tier of QB prospects

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 12:49 pm

Just about everybody knows that Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are the top two quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, but how NFL clubs stack the quarterbacks after that on their draft board is a matter of personal preference.

That’s Bills GM Doug Whaley’s opinion. In an appearance on the Howard Simon show this week on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley laid out some of the QB prospects he thinks belong in the second tier.

“You’ve got Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson,” said Whaley. “Those two guys are pretty good. (Sean) Mannion from Oregon State. Theres a clump of those guys where we say, ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.’”

When asked specifically about UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who some clubs have ranked in that second tier, Whaley said the following.

“Guys like Brett Hundley are going to have a longer shelf life to try and get in and produce because he is more of I like to say an athletic thrower where Bryce Petty is more of an athletic passer,” said Whaley. “Those guys will take a little longer, like a Brett Hundley. But he’s in that group, it just depends. (For example) Brett Hundley in the Seattle Seahawks offense might be more attractive to Seattle, so that’s why I say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

In contrast to Petty, who Whaley believes will have to adapt to a pro-style offense.

“You like his deep ball and his short game. You don’t like that it seems everything (in his offense) was pre-determined,” said Whaley. “He’s done some things on the field, but we’ve not seen him do things that we’re going to ask him to do. That’s where the question mark comes, and that’s where the balancing act of where do you have that value, can he do it, can’t he do it, you think he can and can’t’ so where do you put that value?

“Some people think he should go in the second round. Some people think he may take longer or may not be able to do that, and that’s why its harder now to scout these quarterbacks, because you can’t see them do what you want them to do.”

 


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Gruden on Bills QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 10:28 am

ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden weighed in on the impending Bills quarterback competition that will ensue next week during the team’s voluntary veteran minicamp.

On a national conference call this week, Gruden believes EJ Manuel could be aided by the addition of offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

“They’ve signed some quarterbacks. They’re going to have a three or four-man battle for the position,” Gruden said. “EJ Manuel is still a young player. I think the offensive coordinator coming over from San Francisco (Greg Roman) has dealt with a mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick so maybe that will stimulate and help EJ.”

Gruden is also a big fan of Ryan as an NFL head coach.

“I’ve always liked Rex Ryan,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time over the years with the Jets coaching staff (when he was there) studying football. I really like his system. Getting Rex Ryan will be exciting for Bills fans and I think players will respond to him.”


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Some interesting facts on the Bills 2015 slate

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 8:11 pm

The Bills schedule has some exciting matchups this fall, with some big name QBs in early, back-to-back primetime games against division opponents and a run through almost the entire NFC East in a month. Here are some of the more noteworthy items. 

1 – Champs in early
Buffalo opens the season against a division champion (Indy-AFC South) followed by the Super Bowl champion (New England). The good news is Rex Ryan is 5-1 in home openers as a head coach. 

2 – If you can’t beat ’em…
Between Week 3 and Week 10 the Bills have seven games with six coming against non-playoff clubs from 2014. Cincinnati is the only postseason qualifier they’ll see in that span as the other six clubs (Miami twice) had a combined record of 23-57. 

3 – Familiar primetime faces
The Bills primetime games are not only back-to-back, but represent the first time Buffalo has more than one primetime game on their schedule since 2009. They had two primetime games that season and they were against the same two division opponents that season as they are for 2015 (New York and New England). 

4 –  AFC East Express
Coming off of their Week 8 bye the Bills better be well rested because they’ll have three straight games against division opponents and they’ll do it in rapid succession. With Buffalo playing Miami in Week 9, followed by a Thursday night game against New York in Week 10 and a Monday night game at New England in Week 1, the Bills will have three division games in the span of 15 days. 

5 – Road warriors
The Bills better get used to hotel beds come November and December. Over the six weeks of games from Week 10 to Week 15, Buffalo will have five of those six games on the road, including three straight at New York, New England and Kansas City. 

6 – Good for ground and pound
As the weather turns in the second half of the season the Bills anticipated ground and pound offensive approach could be a perfect fit for the venues on the schedule late in the year. Six of Buffalo’s last eight games take place north of the Mason-Dixon line, with the other two in Washington and Kansas City. 

7 – NFC rinse and repeat
Buffalo knew they were facing the NFC East as their cross conference division in 2015. They probably didn’t think they’d face three of those four teams in consecutive weeks. Aside from their matchup with the Giants in Week 4, Buffalo will square off against Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas in successive weeks from Week 14-16.


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London game covers almost half Bills’ air miles

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 6:30 pm

The Bills won’t have too many long flights to their away games in 2015. Their furthest trip state side this season is their annual flight to Miami to face the rival Dolphins. Buffalo’s international game against Jacksonville however, has trumped that Miami trip by a wide margin.

As seen below Buffalo’s total air miles for the regular season this fall is a pedestrian 14,954, and it would’ve been among the lowest in the league were it not for the London trip. In fact Buffalo’s international tilt with Jacksonville accounts for almost 50 percent of the team’s air mileage this season (47.3%).

Bills 2015 Air Miles
Destination One way miles Roundtrip miles
Philadelphia 278 556
New York 281 562
Washington 296 592
New England 393 786
Tennessee 632 1,264
Kansas City 867 1,734
Miami 1,190 2,380
London (Jax.) 3,540 7,080
Totals 7,477 14,954

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Bills won’t be free agent players next year

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Buffalo Bills made some exciting trades and some aggressive moves in free agency this offseason that has the team poised to bring an end to their playoff drought. But don’t expect the flurry of activity to happen again in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley all but confirmed that with the high-priced players they signed (McCoy, Harvin) and the high-priced players they re-signed (Hughes) or extended (Kyle Williams) they won’t be in a position to spend like that again next March.

“Next year the Bills fans should take vacation during free agency,” Doug Whaley told the John Murphy Show. “Our free agency now, because we’ve drafted so well turns to our own players. Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Nigel Bradham, Stephon Gilmore that will be our free agency next year. We’ll turn into the Green Bay Packers.”

Whaley knows Dareus and Gilmore will command high price tags based not only on their production, but the position they’ll play with Glenn and Bradham not far behind. That’s why the personnel department is hopeful they can land a contributing player or two late in the draft, who will be far more affordable knowing a lot of cap dollars will be tied into the elite core of players.

“With the guys we’ve paid this year and brought in and the guys we’re going to try to re-sign next offseason those guys are going to be high-priced players,” said Whaley. “So to balance that out you have to hit on some fifth, sixth or seventh round players to have that, for lack of a better term, cheap labor and balance out that top heavy end of the price structure in the cap situation with our top end players.”

 


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Whaley on why moving back in draft makes sense

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 12:45 pm

Each year every draft is different in terms of the caliber of players it contains. Bills GM Doug Whaley stated at Monday’s pre-draft press conference that they’re more likely to trade back than trade up if such an opportunity arose during the draft. Yes, part of the reason is because they’ve got limited ammunition to swing a deal with just six draft choices. But there’s another factor.

In this year’s draft pool, there’s a healthy consensus among league personnel executives that the difference in the caliber of the prospects from 25 to 75 is not significant. So an opportunity to move back is something that NFL clubs, including the Bills, would be open to discussing in that range.

“I will feel more sure about that after we finish setting our board this week,” said Whaley on the John Murphy Show this week. “But in a preliminary look at it we would have no adverse effect in the caliber of player we get if we move down some. Then we can pick up picks for later on this year or possibly next year.”


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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 5:24 pm

Heres where you can find Bills executives on the radio on Tuesday. 

7 am – KISS 98.5 FM – Janet & Nick – GM Doug Whaley. 

7:15 am – WGR 550, Howard Simon show –  GM Doug Whaley 


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Whaley on tight end need

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 5:21 pm

The Bills held their pre-draft press conference Monday. During the free agent period the Bills signed TE Charles Clay, released Scott Chandler and let Lee Smith sign with Oakland. With four tight ends on the roster, Whaley was asked if there was a need to add one or two more heading into training camp.

“From talking to Coach (Greg) Roman, he’s a multiple tight end guy, so the more tight ends you get—he says sometimes he might use four on game day being active,” said Whaley. “It would not affect us. We have some young guys who are on the squad now that we’re excited to see how they progress. But if that tight end is the guy sticking out there in the second or third round or whenever, and we want to get him—it’s like a salesman.  When you’re a salesman, your boss never says, ‘Stop selling.’  Coaches never say ‘Stop getting me good players.’”

More important than a versatile tight end like Clay, the Bills would appear to need an in-line blocker type for their power run game.

 


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Rex’s role in draft decisions 

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 2:54 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan and GM Doug Whaley are two men that see eye to eye when it comes to building a football team from personnel to playing style. So what does that mean for the level of input Ryan will be asked to provide when it comes to draft prospects?

Whaley at the team’s pre-draft press conference Monday indicated that Ryan will be able to weigh in just like the other coaching staffs.

“We always want to incorporate the coaches scouting process and their thoughts on players into what we’ve done,” said Whaley. “We started this process last May. We value what the coaches’ opinions on players and especially how they see them using them once they get to be Buffalo Bills. So we’ve done that with every coaching staff we’ve been a part of.”

 

 

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Rex looking most forward to O-line work

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 2:16 pm

He’s a defensive coach by trade and a head coach by opportunity, but heading into his team’s first voluntary veteran minicamp in less than two weeks, Bills head coach Rex Ryan is looking forward to working with the offensive line the most.

One can understand why Ryan might be paying a bit closer attention to what offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and offensive coordinator Greg Roman decide to assemble up front on offense for the Bills. It’s a picture that is far being in focus. Knowing that his defense returns 10 of 11 starters from last season and has a special teams unit with most of its playmakers back from last year’s number two ranked unit, it makes sense that Ryan intends to spend some time around the offensive line as it takes shape.

“These three days that we have coming up…this voluntary minicamp before the draft…the thing that I’m most excited about is being with the offensive line,” Ryan said. “Being with Aaron Kromer; their position coach, Greg Roman; their system and things like but we have to get to know these players and all that.

“How the meetings that we’ve had, the classroom time carries over to the practice field. Can guys sustain it, carry it, things like that. We’ll see how all that goes. I think it’s too early to say that, ‘Hey: we’re going to plug this player in this spot. That player in that spot.’ I think that’s too early to tell right now. This will be more about teaching how we look at things. How we do things fundamentally and then get it out there collectively.”

Next to determining the starting quarterback, deciding on the starting five up front is probably the second biggest question mark heading into training camp this summer.


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Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

The second week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is in the books. Veteran voluntary minicamp is a couple of weeks away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Let us talk hypothetically.  TE-OL-LB are obvious needs.  But, should (UCLA QB Brett) Hundley still be on the board for the Bills in round 2, what do you think?

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think GM Doug Whaley will keep all options open in round two knowing he can truly take the best player on the board with few holes on the roster. That being said beyond the first two quarterbacks (Winston, Mariota) I get the feeling that the general consensus around the league is none of the remaining quarterbacks are at a point in their development where they can help right away.

I don’t know for a Bills team trying to win right now that Hundley is a pick worth making in round two. I think they’d rather have a player that can step in and help as a rookie in the event of an injury or push an incumbent starter for the starting role at their respective position.

Naturally we have to see what is left on the board at pick 50, and that’s obviously very hard to predict. I think there will be enough quality talent at Buffalo’s need positions that you listed to convince them to go in that direction more than QB.

 

2 – Chris,

After reading Collision Low Crossers, the book about the 2011 Jets, it seems like Rex values a shutdown corner to take away part of the field, then blitz.

I assume Gilmore is close to being that type of player. Do you think McKelvin can hold up? What players off radar could come in and make plays on the defense where he likes to give all the players playing time (i.e. Robey, Cockrell, Johnson, Meeks, Charles). How do the reserves fit into his defense and which one you see making a big jump in 2015?

CB: First, yes I think McKelvin can hold up as a press corner. He’s coming off the two-best seasons in his career under secondary coach Donnie Henderson. Furthermore Ryan believes he has three capable outside press corners with Corey Graham being the third.

In terms of a reserve player on defense who could make a jump I believe Duke Williams is a prime candidate to start in the safety role vacated by Da’Norris Searcy. He got a good deal of playing time there last season, is a ferocious hitter and has a nose for the ball. The other players you mentioned are only going to take steps forward as well, which speaks well for the depth on defense.

 

3 – Chris,

I am not convinced Matt Cassel is the answer at QB we’ve been waiting for all these years. Will the Bills go after Colin Kaepernick? And if not, why not? He would make sense as a solid franchise QB with a winning track record who fits with a run first offense. I see him as a perfect fit.

Cordially,
Bradley Kaye

CB: While I don’t deny that Kaepernick had success in Greg Roman’s offense in San Francisco, to acquire him he has to be available. With all of the talent that the 49ers have lost this offseason (Crabtree, Gore, S. Johnson, Iupati, Culliver, Skuta, Borland, Willis) I cannot see them parting with the player they handed franchise quarterback money.

 

4 – Chris,

With the team spending lots of money for the 2015, wondering how it will play out in 2016 when they have other players to lock up. Dareus will command a huge contract. Gilmore will need his option picked up. Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham is set to be a free agent as well. These are core guys they like how is it possible to keep them? Next year is big for future free agents. Are they spending too much money now they may have to let one of those guys walk next year? As of now the Bills aren’t done spending and could add more.

Josh P.
CB: I think your concern is a valid one. They’ve already picked up the option on Stephon Gilmore, per Doug Whaley’s comments at the owners’ meetings, so that buys them some time with him. They are interested in extending Nigel Bradham and it would not surprise me if Glenn were on the list as well. Right now Marcell Dareus is the primary focus regarding an extension. After seeing the money that Ndamukong Suh got in Miami, I think we all know that it’s going to be a complicated deal to broker.

Knowing the money involved with be large, it puts a hold on the other players who are in line for extensions because in all likelihood the Bills will need to get creative to make Dareus’ extension work. That deal will undoubtedly have an impact on how and what they can offer to their other young core players.

The good news is that the salary cap continues to go up and up and up. So more room will be created just with the dawn of a new calendar year.

 

5 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean R.

CB: I think the offensive line is a distinct possibility at 50, but not knowing what will still be on the board makes it difficult to pin down. I think guard or tackle are possibilities there. If the right tight end prospect is there in round two I don’t think you can rule it out, but Buffalo has their starter in Charles Clay. Now if they plan to have two tight ends on the field at the same time, which in Greg Roman’s offense is likely a good amount of the time, they might look to find one on day two (rounds 2 & 3).

I see LB depth being acquired later in the draft.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL talks to UB researchers on schedule fairness

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2015 – 3:03 pm

Back in February a group of University at Buffalo researchers presented their paper at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytic Conference on systematic inequities in NFL scheduling dealing chiefly with matchups between teams with uneven rest leading up to those games. The research came in the wake of a Buffalobills.com report on the subject when the league’s 2013 schedule was released. The NFL is now apparently interested in comparing formulas to create more fairness in their scheduling.

That according to ESPN, which reported Thursday that Mike North, NFL Director of Broadcast Planning, and a key member of the league’s scheduling group, spoke with Dr. Murat Kurt and Dr. Mark Karwan, both UB professors. The report indicates that their model will not have an impact on the 2015 regular season schedule, which will reportedly come out in the next week, but that their input could be a factor in future years.

“We would look at this as something fun for us and maybe a help for the NFL,” Karwan told ESPN. “You can’t get a perfect schedule, but … our goal would be to show them that a lot of the schedules they generate could be improved.”

The Buffalobills.com report back in June 2013 revealed that more than half the league (17 teams) had one or no games against opponents coming off extra rest, while the Bills had five games against opponents that had extra rest prior to their matchup with Buffalo to lead the league.

The NFL stated that TV considerations for quality primetime matchups is one of the hurdles the league has to clear, which makes striking a more competitive balance difficult, but at least the league is trying to make an effort to level the playing field by consulting with the UB professors.

“It’s probably going to take two or three years to expand our method,” said Karwan. “It’s possible we’ll have to loosen some of our other conditions to make it work. But we have the ideas, and they said they could get us the data. Maybe it is a situation where we could eventually generate the 2018 schedule after it’s announced and then we can compare.”

 


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Fred: Onus on offense to keep up with ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2015 – 1:23 pm

Last season the defense and special teams largely carried Buffalo to its 9-7 record. Now with the influx of talent on offense this offseason Fred Jackson sees the onus being on the offense to keep pace with their other two units.

“We’ve brought in some exciting talent and we’ve got to keep up with our defense,” Jackson said. “Our defense has made tremendous strides and we expect them to do the same this year. With the offensive firepower that we’ve brought in it’s on us as an offensive unit to keep up with those guys. They’re doing everything, the Pegulas, Doug (Whaley) and Russ (Brandon), they’re doing everything to make us better as a whole.”

Jackson only sees Buffalo’s defense improving this year with Jerry Hughes re-signed and nine of 11 starters back from last season. Not to mention the addition of head coach Rex Ryan and DC Dennis Thurman and their defensive track record.

“We faced that defense twice every year for the last six years and I know our defense is going to get that much better,” he said. “With the talent they have it’s going to be on us as an offense to keep up with them and if we can do that I think we’re be a very formidable team in this league. That’s the challenge that’s upon us. We have a great offensive coordinator that’s going to do his job and get us in all the right situations. And we’ve just got to go out and make plays.”


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Watkins: rookie lessons have been learned

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2015 – 12:35 pm

No matter how much college experience or production a player has, the NFL is still a different animal. There are more games, more demands and far more practice and preparation than college. With his rookie season now in the rearview mirror, Sammy Watkins feels he learned some valuable lessons.

“Most definitely,” said Watkins when asked if he’s a smarter player going into his second NFL season. “This year I’ve just got to come out and play physical and play hard. I know what the game is about. I was a rookie last year. I’m not a veteran, but I’ve got one year behind me and just get on the same page as the quarterback and dominate. That’s the key to this year.”

When Watkins was asked if he’s set any personal statistical goals, the receiver indicated that he isn’t going to concern himself with individual stats.

“I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to go out there and play hard,” he said. “The numbers will show. As long as we’re winning and as long as we’re in the playoffs and the Super Bowl I’m fine with my numbers. They’ll add up at the end of the year.”


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Mario on defensive changes & possibilities

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2015 – 4:59 pm

Bills DE Mario Williams used the word ecstatic when asked how he feels about the team’s new defense under Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. So just what is Williams and his defensive teammates finding to be different under the new scheme?

“Well, the biggest thing is last year was pretty much a 4-3,” said Williams. “Obviously with  the scheme with Rex, anything’s possible so I think right now, we’re just doing building blocks but the sky’s the limit so I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of changes and things like as we progress and become re-adapted to a hybrid defense.”

Williams admitted there will be some carry over from the defense they ran in 2013 under former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, but Ryan and Thurman’s defense will have the ability to morph and change week to week to take advantage of the talent and the matchups on a given Sunday.

“Understanding the defense; I love it.  It gives everybody ample opportunities to do different things and just be able to bring different looks, different angles, and attacks…stuff like that so I’m ecstatic.”


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