Inside The Bills

Fred not settling for no gain

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 1:38 pm

We’ve known for a while that Fred Jackson is one of the better backs in the league when it comes to yards after contact. And while Jackson averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last season, there was one area where he still excelled.

When it comes to getting stopped for no gain after initial contact, Jackson is one of the best at gaining additional yards or at the very least falling forward. According to the stat crunches at ProFootballFocus in 2014, Jackson was only second to Tennessee RB Bishop Sankey when it came to the lowest percentage of no gain carries after initial contact.

On just 13.5 percent of Jackson’s 141 carries in 2014 was he stopped for no gain after initial contact (see chart below).

Fred contact


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-10

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 12:14 pm

Our training camp countdown is on! Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question to you is lately the Bills have brought in guys i.e. Wayne Hunter, Matthew Mulligan to add to our depth. In your opinion do these guys have a chance to make the team or are they just filling positions because we are running basically two teams in practice now.

I know Rex likes his ex-players and both have a history with him. It appears Seantrel Henderson is losing ground on his position and is it possible that Hunter was signed because the coaches don’t like what they see in Henderson?

Also we cut Lee Smith who was basically a blocking tight end and now we bring in Matthew Mulligan essentially the same type player is there a concern that the tight ends on the roster outside of Charles Clay can block effectively? We have had Chris Gragg the last few years and he has not impressed as either a receiving or blocking tight end.   Would love to hear your thoughts and again thanks for all you do for us!!! Let’s Go Buffalo!!!!

Donald F.

CB: The signings of Hunter and Mulligan are for very specific roles. Not leading roles mind you, but roles where Rex Ryan wants a veteran player he feels he can trust. Hunter is a player who struggled as a full-time starting right tackle in his last season with the Jets, but as a jack-of-all-trades role player in 2009 and 2010 for the Jets, Hunter excelled as a swing tackle (first off bench in event of injury), a blocking tight end in jumbo and short yardage packages and even as a defensive tackle in goal line formations.

Mulligan will serve in a blocking capacity as well. So you know Lee Smith wasn’t cut. He was a free agent and got big money from Oakland. Buffalo wasn’t going to pay Smith upwards of $3M a year. Mulligan is a reliable veteran blocker and is a much better value.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

I watched your 1 on 1 interview with Greg Roman and I found it interesting when he said that whichever QB is in there on game day will be the franchise QB in his opinion.  I was curious of your reaction and thoughts to that?  That’s a pretty bold statement.  Do you think that one of these 3 guys just may have shown something in OTA’s and minicamp for him to say that?   I also thought maybe he just meant that when one of these guys shows he can understand and fully command Romans offense then it means he is Romans “franchise guy”?   Whatever it means I am very confident in Roman and whoever he chooses to be the guy.

Go Bills!
Jillian

CB: I didn’t interpret Roman’s comment as an indication that one of the three QBs showed him franchise QB ability. If that was the case the guy would be the starter already.

I think he was simply saying when one of the QBs separates himself from the others that he will be the franchise guy because he’ll be the starter. That being said, depending on that QB’s performance who the starter is could be subject to change. Let’s just hope whoever wins the job performs well enough and consistently enough to hold the job for the whole season.

 

3 – Hey Chris

Want to start off by saying thanks for the great work you put in.  Keeping us all updated on the team for us not in the Buffalo area.

My first question is about EJ.  I can’t say I was a big fan of us drafting him first round overall. That being said I think he is working hard.  I would like to see him get a real shoot this year. I know this is an all in season for the bills. With all the free agent adds. So I get why they are trying to have so much competition but I feel he needs to get a full season in. He wasn’t that bad last year.  Don’t get me wrong he wasn’t that good either.

I feel with all the competition going on can be a bad thing as well. I feel whoever wins the job we need to stick with regardless and not switch guys after a few bad games. The whole team gets hurt this way since none of the QBs are the same style.

My second question is about Fred Jackson.  They keep talking about cutting him. I think that would be the dumbest moves we make this year. I think he works hard and he makes plays but more importantly he is a captain and a leader.  I think we need that more than anything with all these high profiled playmakers on the offense side of the ball.  I think he might be our best shot of these guys playing as a team.

CB: As I stated in the above answer the ideal situation is that the QB who wins the starting role holds onto it the whole season. That means he’ll be performing consistently and effectively and that’s good for the offense. You’re right there are contrasting styles between the three, so keeping that position consistent with the same person helps the other 10 players on offense.

As for Fred Jackson, I think the things working in his favor more than anything else are his leadership and his pass protection. LeSean McCoy might be the only back on this roster who knows how to pass protect as well as him. If you can’t trust a guy to pick up blitzes and make pre-snap adjustments to be in position to protect your QB, you can’t put that guy on the field.

The offensive coaches can trust Fred. I think the only thing that puts his job in jeopardy is if he struggles to get through camp and perhaps looks a step slow. Knowing how well he takes care of his body I don’t see that happening.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

With an unsure O-line (although I think they will surprise us) isn’t Tyrod Taylor the smart choice? #bills #ScrambleFactor

Dustypractor

CB: I think your premise is a bit of an oversimplification. Offensive coaches will base their starting QB decision on a myriad of factors that will go far beyond the protection capabilities of the men up front. I think the offensive line’s pass protection would have to represent a jail break on every pass play in the preseason to move this kind of factor high enough on the priority list in why they choose one QB over another.

 

5 – Hey Chris,
Thank you for keeping us Bills fans well informed, you are doing a great job, keep up the good work.

Now my question may be the same old song, but as fans it is very important to us; The Quarterback Position. With the three QBs splitting reps with the first team, does that give enough time for the #1 guy to develop a relationship with the WRs, TEs, and the backfield?

Also since none of them have set themselves apart from the others, does that mean that the coaches aren’t pleased with any of them or are all 3 looking that good? Everyone hoped that Matt Cassel would come in and at least get it done for this year. Since he does not have a contract extension yet, is that saying anything about how he is doing? Thank you
Ken
Lancaster, NY

CB: Your first question is a valid concern. Rex Ryan has said that he will take as long as he needs to pick the right guy. I don’t question for a second that picking the right guy is the most important factor in all of this. A close second however, is making a decision that leaves enough time to get that starter ready for the regular season.

With all three splitting reps it inadvertently compromises the on field chemistry between the QB and the 10 other starters on offense. After witnessing Kyle Orton step right in last year with no preseason or training camp snaps perhaps it’s not as big a deal as some might think.

But with a new offensive system as varied as Greg Roman’s, deciding on a starter with a preseason game or two left on the schedule would be ideal because it should afford the starter enough time to get fully in tune with the rest of the starting unit.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills founder’s medals on display in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 11:34 am

Bills founder and Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson’s military medals for his service in the US Navy will be on display in downtown Buffalo beginning this weekend.

Wilson’s World War II medals will be unveiled to the public on Saturday at 10 am at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park near Canalside. His medals are on loan for the next couple of months from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His naval uniform will also be part of the exhibit.

Former Bill Bob Kalsu, who is the only NFL player to make the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam war will also have a display at the park. His display will include the Sports Illustrated cover story along with his helmet and playing card.

Wilson and Kalsu are being recognized as part of the Salute to Service events that will run through mid-August at the park.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Agency that reps Dareus to be bought by CAA

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 10:11 am

The agency that represents Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus is reportedly in the process of being bought by another agency. Dareus, who has been represented by Todd France’s agency Five Star Athlete Management, will be bought by CAA Sports, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment agencies.

That’s according to a report by Sports Business Daily. Five Star Athlete Management was previously owned by Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, but they had to divest themselves of that holding when they bought the Bills. They did so by selling it back to France, the founder of the agency. France is now reportedly selling it again and will work under the umbrella of CAA. He represents about 50 players including Dareus and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, who is seeking Calvin Johnson money in a long term deal, after being franchised by the Broncos.

Essentially nothing will change in terms of who the Bills negotiate with when it comes to a long-term contract extension with Marcell Dareus, something Bills GM Doug Whaley labeled as the team’s top priority.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rams pick OT Battle in supplemental draft

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 3:40 pm

It took five rounds, but former Clemson OT Isaiah Battle was chosen by the St. Louis Rams.

That according to ESPN.com. The Rams now forfeit their fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft for drafting Battle. St. Louis made a concerted effort to improve their offensive line this past spring using four of their draft choices on offensive linemen including three offensive tackles.

Now Battle will be the fifth rookie lineman added via a draft pick.

Buffalo did their homework on Battle and even sent offensive line coach Aaron Kromer to Battle’s pro day to take a look. Battle has some off the field issues that were of concern to some NFL clubs.

With Buffalo signing veteran OT Wayne Hunter just last week to be the fifth offensive tackle on their roster, it was unlikely that the Bills would give up a draft choice for the supplemental prospect.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes gives back, helps former teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 3:32 pm

Bills DE Jerry Hughes has some deeper pockets nowadays following his long term contract extension with Buffalo this offseason. But Hughes is making use of his raise to benefit his local Texas community and help a former college teammate in the process.

Hughes is making an annual donation of $15K to the Fort Worth North Side high school football program. This is the first year he’s committed funds to the program in the wake of the school naming Joseph Turner their head coach. Previously an offensive coordinator for the Steers, Turner was named head coach at the behest of his players.

Turner was also a former college teammate of Hughes at TCU. While Hughes was earning All-American honors as a pass rushing defensive end, Turner was the Horned Frogs running back.

Hughes’ donation this year will go toward game day uniforms, weight room equipment, practice equipment and cleats among other items.

“I’m happy [Hughes] is one of my best friends,” Turner told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Hughes also stopped by the school to meet the players this week.


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Spec. teams area for improvement – punting

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 3:03 pm

Buffalo’s special teams had a renaissance year last season finishing second overall in the well respected Dallas Morning News comprehensive rankings put together by Rick Gosselin. But there’s always room to improve and there’s one area in particular that coordinator Danny Crossman believes can make a jump this coming season.

Crossman has some short list items as any coach does from one season to the next, but near the top of that list is the punt game. That’s not to indicate that Colton Schmidt struggled last season. As a rookie he performed rather well as he got adjusted to the NFL game. But Crossman wants to see an improvement when it comes to net punting, which means reducing return yardage, improving hang time, forcing fair catches and avoiding touchbacks.

Part of what worked against Schmidt and the punt coverage unit last season was the majority of his kicks were on the opponent’s side of midfield, which negatively impacted gross punting average. That affects net punting average and provides a greater risk for touchbacks off a bounced ball.

“When you talk about punting the football early in the year most of our punts was what we consider plus-50 so we weren’t going to have the big gross and we were going to have an okay net as long as we weren’t getting touchbacks,” Crossman said. “We knew based on where we were we were going to have a high number of inside the 20s and inside the 10s and that’s sort of how the year played out.”

On 86 punts Schmidt had just six touchbacks with 31 punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, which was tied for fourth-best in the NFL last season.

“As a coach you want to be better on everything,” said Crossman. “We need to punt the ball better and we still need to be better in coverage even though we were pretty good at it.”

As a side note, kickoff specialist Jordan Gay also doubles as a punter and will try to give Schmidt some competition in training camp this summer.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL Supplemental draft at 1 pm

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 10:55 am

The NFL’s Supplemental draft is at 1 pm today, and though there are seven prospects in the pool most draftniks only see one player for whom an NFL club might part with a 2016 draft choice.

That player is Clemson OT Isaiah Battle. Battle (6-6, 312) started 15 games over the past two seasons for the Tigers. The 22-year old Brooklyn native claims he’s entering the supplement draft to support his family with a baby on the way, but he has had some on and off the field issues with reports that those issues prompted his dismissal from Clemson.

 

Battle does have great athletic ability and 35 5/8-inch arms. The Bills college scouting department has obviously done their homework on him. According to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, the Bills even sent offensive line coach Aaron Kromer to Battle’s pro day workout. There were 25 NFL clubs in attendance.

Buffalo currently has five offensive tackles on their roster after the signing of veteran OT Wayne Hunter. Knowing the Bills are in ‘win now’ mode and have added Hunter, taking on another young offensive tackle and parting with a pick for the 2016 draft might be a long shot.

Here are the other prospects in today’s supplemental draft.

DE Darrius Caldwell – West Georgia
DE Eric Eiland – Houston
TE Sean McQuillan – UCONN
DB Kevin Short – Kansas
DT Dalvon Stuckey – West Georgia
WR Adrian Wilkins – N.C. Central


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore dead set on starting strong

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2015 – 9:15 am

His last two seasons injuries and offseason surgery have kept Stephon Gilmore from being in top form at the start of the year. The fourth-year corner is determined to be at his best right from Week 1 in 2015.

In our Camp Countdown, presented by M&T Bank, we list the main reasons why Gilmore should excel in 2015. One of the chief reasons is his current health. Though he is coming off an offseason procedure it was not nearly as invasive as his hip surgery in the 2014 offseason, meaning he’ll be full go for training camp.

That means he won’t have to use regular season games, like he did the last two years, to get into top playing form.

“I felt like I kind of started slow my last two years, but held it down the last half of the season,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “I feel like this season I need to start fast for this team to go deep, deep in the playoffs.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A Revis role for Gilmore?

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 11:30 am

Mum has largely been the word as to just how far the Bills defensive staff intends to go in utilizing the talents of Stephon Gilmore this season. Will he stay on one side of the field and work? Will he follow the opponent’s best wideout all day? Chances are it will be a bit of both. So does that mean Gilmore will fill a role similar to that of Darrelle Revis? In a word, probably.

It’s clear that Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and secondary coach Donnie Henderson all see Gilmore as the elite corner in Buffalo’s defensive backfield. It’s also evident they have big plans for Gilmore this season. The only problem is no one has seen it in action because Gilmore was held out of spring practices in the team setting due to an undisclosed offseason procedure.

The difference this year is Gilmore will be full go in training camp and the preseason, which was not the case last year when he was coming off offseason hip surgery. So what has Gilmore been told by his defensive coordinator concerning his role in 2015?

“He likes the way I play so he told me to get ready to take on a big role in this defense,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “He just wants me to be ready. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get out there and show them what I can do and show the world what I can do.”

We’ll have much more on just how Gilmore’s game could really excel in 2015 when our Camp Countdown series, presented by M&T Bank, continues on Thursday (July 9th) here on Buffalobills.com.


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Crossman: Easley has shot at Pro Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 11:10 am

He’s gone a long way in making a name for himself on special teams the past two seasons. Now with the special teams unit coming off a season in which they ranked second in the league overall and a squad poised to end Buffalo’s postseason drought, Marcus Easley could earn himself a Pro Bowl nod as a specialist.

When asked about the chances for Pro Bowl recognition for his ace coverage team player, special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, in a forthcoming one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, believes it can happen.

“In my opinion absolutely,” Crossman said. “He’s carved a name out around the league for himself the way he’s performed the last two years. A lot of those accolades are garnered by establishing yourself first. You’ve got to have that name recognition that shows you’ve done it at a high level before and then the expectations that people have and are aware of watching you to see if you’re still able to play at that high level. We think he can and we think he will.”

Typical of Easley, the specialist shrugs off thoughts of earning Pro Bowl recognition, choosing instead to focus on team goals first and foremost.

“We’ve got team goals as far as making the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl,” Easley said. “As far as individual success that will come with the team goals. As long as we do our part on offense, defense and special teams guys will get rewarded.”


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Goodwin to jump in Pan American games

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2015 – 10:40 am

After narrowly failing to qualify for a spot on the US team for the World track & field championships in China in August, Bills WR Marquise Goodwin is going to participate in one more major track and field competition before training camp.

Goodwin is listed as a participant for the US team in the Pan American Games later this month in Toronto. The receiver will again be competing in the long jump. The dates for the event are July 21st and 22nd, which is just over a week before Bills training camp begins at St. John Fisher.

Goodwin is one of 43 US male athletes competing in the games. He told the AP last month after failing to qualify for the World Championships that he was headed “back to football,” but apparently this new opportunity surfaced and he chose to participate.

Last month Goodwin needed to finish in the top three as the US track and field championships to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing, but finished fourth with a best jump of 27-feet 5 1/2 inches.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin leaps in the long jump at the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, June 25, 2015.  Goodwin is taking a break from football to return to the long jump. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin leaps in the long jump at the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, June 25, 2015. Goodwin is taking a break from football to return to the long jump. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins near the top at moving the sticks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 3:08 pm

He was far from healthy for most of his rookie season, but Sammy Watkins still finished as the team’s leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2014. He also is among the best in the league at one other key category for a receiver. After the catch conversions.

Pro Football Focus compiled a list through their film review of the players who were the most effective in taking a catch short of the marker and converting a first down. Sammy Watkins finished second in the league in this category.

1d-wr-top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watkins had an impressive 50 percent conversion rate on catches he made short of the marker. Now in all fairness this figure must be taken with a grain of salt, knowing the short passing game tendencies of some NFL offenses will cater to a high number of opportunities to convert. There are also some wideouts, who typically run routes short of the marker as a dump down option for a QB that are at an inherent disadvantage.

Still, converting half of your catches short of the first down mark into a fresh set of downs for your offense is an impressive feat.


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How Mario & Jerry work off each other

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 12:59 pm

Pro Football Focus has put together a wonderful in depth look at the effectiveness of Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes as a pass rushing tandem. Suffice to say the two work off one another extraordinarily well, not dismissing how much Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams assist in that effort too.

Here’s a look at some of the main points the PFF’s extensive analysis revealed.

1 – Hughes and Williams combined for no less than five QB pressures in all by three games last season.
2 – Both were more effective pass rushers in blitz situations last season with Hughes seeing close to a five percent increase in pass rush effectiveness.
3 – Mario was most effective on pass rushes in which the center slid away from Williams in the protection.
4 – Hughes was most effective on pass rushes in which the center stayed home in the protection.
5 – Hughes was at his best as a pass rusher on first and second down, while Williams was most effective on third down.

Williams-Hughes-Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps most encouraging is knowing that Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman will be blitzing a whole lot more than Jim Schwartz did last season, both Hughes and Williams figure to see their production increase even more when it comes to bringing the heat.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus among best turning pressure into sacks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 12:04 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus does a lot of things exceptionally well on the football field. But analytic film breakdown site ProFootballFocus has found yet another area where Dareus is among the best in the league.

PFF decided to break down what defensive players most effectively converted a pass pressure into a sack. First in compiling a list from 2007 to the present, Dareus is among a slew of defensive ends ranking ninth in the league over the last eight seasons with a pressure to sack conversion percentage of 21.7%.

PFF 2007 pressure to sack

 

 

 

 

 

Being the only defensive tackle on that list it was not surprising to see Dareus at the top of the list for the highest QB pressure to sack conversion rate in the league since 2007 (21.7%) among interior defensive players. Dareus’ conversion percentage was even better than some of the league’s sack leaders like Houston’s J.J. Watt (18.6%).

pressure to sack dt


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Crossman: Jordan Gay has proven himself

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 11:46 am

A good number of NFL observers still think it’s a luxury position, but more and more teams are putting stock in having a kickoff specialist to ensure touchbacks. Buffalo was one of the teams that carried a kickoff specialist last season in Jordan Gay. With a coaching change this offseason some are wondering if Gay is still held in high standing.

All Gay did last season was help improve Buffalo’s kickoff coverage from 17th in 2013 to 3rd in 2014. His touchback percentage (60.5%) was good for ninth in the league, and that doesn’t take into account some of the return men Buffalo faced last season who had free license to bring it out no matter how deep the kick was in the end zone (e.g. Percy Harvin – twice, Cordarelle Patterson).

With Rex Ryan the new head coach, there had been speculation as to where Ryan stood on the importance of having a reliable kickoff specialist. Buffalo’s contract extension for Gay this offseason was one indication that nothing has changed, and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman provided even more clarity as to how much the Bills value Gay’s contributions.

In a forthcoming one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, Crossman stated unequivocally that Gay proved his worth last season as deserving of a spot on Buffalo’s deep and talented roster.

“Without question,” said Crossman. “The year that Jordan had… and we think he’s going to be even better. It’s not as much of a luxury if you’re getting a super highly-productive player. I don’t care what it is. You may have a guy on your roster that only plays 15 plays a game, but in those 15 plays a game he gets a sack. Well that value is there. Everyone looks at each position differently. I think Jordan’s value – he showed what he was worth in terms of the depth of the kicks and hang time of the kicks he put us in great position to make a lot of plays.”

 


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Success of D-line rooted in camaraderie

Posted by Chris Brown on July 6, 2015 – 2:20 pm

 

Buffalo’s defensive line has been a big reason why the Bills have more sacks than any other team in the league over the last two seasons (111). That production can certainly be attributed to talent, but there’s something else that the players themselves believe helps them excel up front.

In a word, it’s camaraderie. Mario Williams said from the time the unit was first assembled there’s always been a group approach to their play on the field as well as hanging out off the field.

“We’re really good people persons. It’s not hard for us to say, ‘Hey, what are you doing? Let’s go do this, let’s hang out,” said Williams of their off the field time together. “That was day one, it didn’t take three years to do that.”

When asked if he had any individual or team goals heading into the 2015 campaign, Williams said he did not. He insists he and his teammates are only focused on being the best defense they can be each week come this fall.

“It was kind of funny because somebody asked Kyle that at the end of last year (about a sack total), and he was like, ‘You know what, that never even came up.’ We never even mentioned a number or anything like that. We don’t have any goals except to go out and try to be the best we can be out there.”

Many prognosticators believe Buffalo’s defense could wind up number one in the league this season and help catapult the team to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-3

Posted by Chris Brown on July 3, 2015 – 12:04 pm

Happy 4th of July weekend everybody. Get your grill on! Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Any realistic chance that Buff can strike a deal for K. Cousins? I think he still has upside even though his value dropped.

killerbeekevin

CB: I’m not anticipating any moves at quarterback at this point. The Bills seem content to go into camp with the three quarterbacks they have battling for the job. Now if some QB of greater caliber than Cousins was available they’d get on the phone, but I don’t see the Bills giving something up for Cousins to add him to the fold.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is Tyrod Taylor the next Bills QB?

Sportsworld716

CB: I think that’s a question that even the Bills coaches can’t answer at this point. Taylor clearly has the strongest arm of the three QBs in the competition. He’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders when it comes to processing information and reading things pre-snap. And we all know about his foot speed.

I think if he wants to be the Bills starting QB his ball location and overall accuracy will have to take a noticeable step forward. That’s not to say that Taylor hasn’t been accurate at times. I just think to separate himself from the other two it has to be more consistent than it was in the spring practices.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Since Greg Roman uses the Tight End so much.. Is there any chance that we carry 4?

CoreyCraig_

CB: I think there’s a very good chance the team carries four tight ends. There are just too many multiple tight end sets in Greg Roman’s offense to think they can get through a season with just three, even with a fullback expected to be on the roster as well.

 

4 – Hi Chris thanks for keeping us out of Staters informed.

My question is assuming our offense performs well and we make the playoffs, won’t we end up losing Greg Roman?

Then we go through establishing a new offense all over again. Is there an assistant who is an apprentice to him we can retain so we can keep some continuity, instead of constantly changing “the system”. That seems to be our biggest problem, we are constantly on a learning curve.

Thanks
Ron from North Carolina

CB:
Your point is a very valid one. The Bills have had extraordinary turnover at the coordinator position on offense. There’s little question that if the Bills reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years that Greg Roman will be a hot name when the head coaching vacancies open up next offseason.

I think the Bills are more focused on winning first. Then if they do, they’ll deal with the problems that come with winning later. I don’t think there’s a true apprentice on the roster now who is learning at the elbow of Roman.

They have a veteran offensive assistant in Chris Palmer and QBs coach David Lee has run offenses himself as well, but neither had a prior working history with Roman.

Roman is a valuable play caller and perhaps one of the best offensive coordinators they’ve had since Ted Marchibroda, but I get the sense that it’s a ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ approach.

 

5 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for everything Bills related.

From what I’ve read it seems as if Cassel has struggled to this point and EJ has actually taken a step in the right direction. It seems as if the coaching staff loves Taylor so my question is, do you think that if Cassel continues to struggle and is truly out played he could be cut?
Thanks again
Frank

CB: I think the quarterback competition is just getting started and there’s a long way to go before any roster decisions are made. That being said I’m pretty confident that with as loaded as this roster is spots on the 53-man squad are going to be at a premium. So keeping three QBs on the roster is probably far from a lock. More and more teams are only carrying two QBs, so if that proves to be the case one of the three competing for the starting role will be the odd man out. But to say it’ll likely be Cassel is very premature.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

The balanced use of creativity & talent

Posted by Chris Brown on June 26, 2015 – 1:24 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman has a great deal of talent to make use of on offense. He also has an offensive playbook that contains a great deal of creativity and variety. But what will Roman lean on more in his first season as play caller for the Bills? His talent or his creativity.

Roman addressed that delicate balance in his sit down with Buffalobills.com.

“I think it’s going to come down to execution,” said Roman. “What can we execute effectively? There are a lot of teams with talent, but not all of them win. We’ve got to find our formula for winning and everybody has got to grab a shovel and start digging or grab an oar and start rowing. Here the hero of the team is going to be the team. It’s going to be every offensive lineman, receiver, tight end, quarterback, running back in the game doing their job and being a force multiplier for the guys around them.

“It takes all 11 guys taking care of their business, so I think we have tremendous potential to be a very prolific winning team here. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up, but training camp is here now so it’s time to get digging or start rowing to get to where we’re playing at a high level of efficiency. The creativity part I’m going to have to let you let everybody kind of wait and see on that.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-26

Posted by Chris Brown on June 26, 2015 – 11:32 am

Let’s not waste any time and get right to your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My first question is regarding Karlos Williams.. It is my perception that Buffalo seems overloaded at the Running Back position with quality backs on the bubble to make the team.. LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Boobie Dixon, Karlos Williams, and Bryce Brown are all capable of carrying the football for this team.. Then there are the Fullbacks Felton and Connor carried as Running Backs.. I am not sure how many are going to be carried on the 53 man roster, but 7 is nuts.

I also know the Bills are moving a terrific Cornerback in Corey Graham to Safety, where I think his talents would be underutilized.. Duke Williams is the other option to start, but he seems like more of a reserve player than a starter from what I have seen on television. The question is why doesn’t the coaching staff try out Karlos Williams at Safety, a position he played for 3 years at Florida State before switching to Running Back?

He was a 5-star Safety recruit (2nd rated Safety behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2011) coming out of High School.. I would believe he would be qualified to go back to his old stomping grounds on defense and it would alleviate the dearth of talent at safety and reduce the number of Running Backs.. I am a FSU alum and watched every game to know Karlos is a freak athlete like Bo Jackson.. Really big, really fast and hits really hard.. I personally would love to see him make snot bubbles come out of defenders’ noses en route to a touchdown run, but for the sake of putting the best guys out on the field this makes sense to me.. Your thoughts?

Erik Kuhn

CB: I think while your thoughts of moving Karlos Williams to safety have merit based on his football history, I don’t know if that’s the kind of move you want an NFL rookie to undertake. In Buffalo’s multiple scheme with a lot of pre-snap adjustments putting that on a rookie’s plate who has not played the position in three years is asking a lot.

Not only that, but the safety position is about as deep as the running back position so he wouldn’t be added to a position in need of any more talent.

The Bills seem pretty happy with Williams at running back and he runs with real good body lean for a tall guy. I think they’re committed to keeping him at RB and he can contribute on special teams as a rookie.

I don’t think the team will keep seven backs. I’m anticipating 4 RBs and 1 FB. That’ll leave one RB and one FB on the outside looking in.

 

2 –  Chris,

Do you think it is a fair assumption that Cyrus K. may be a starter this year ???

Go bills…deep into the playoffs and then on the to the S. B.

Best
Richard B.

CB: I don’t think it’s an outlandish assumption to think that Cyrus Kouandjio could be a starter at right tackle. He’s done everything right in the spring practices. The caveat is we haven’t seen the new and improved Kouandjio in pads playing something closer to real football.

We’ll get a better idea when we get to camp just how capable Kouandjio is, but he’s worked his tail off this offseason.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Always look forward to reading these on Friday. I am just recently a huge Buffalo Bills fan as of this season and it did not take long for me to be hooked on following Bills news and especially reading your questions! Last year I was not following the Bills news cycle but I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the QB battle this year.

My question for you is this, if you recall, how does Kyle Orton compare to the current QB battle underway? Has he seemed more of the same completion-wise or by TD/INT? I’m trying to see how any of the new QB’s or even EJ has compared to him.

Thank you so much!
-Brandon DuFrane
CB: This is a hard one to answer only because Kyle Orton did not have the benefit of any of these spring practices with the Bills that just concluded. He didn’t sign with the Bills until Aug. 30th last year, just eight days before the opener and after the preseason had concluded.

Orton felt his way in terms of absorbing the offense. Come season’s end he had 12 starts and finished with just over 3,000 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a passer rating of 87.8.

I think Taylor and Manuel have a better physical skill set than Orton, and Cassel is probably comparable in experience and diagnosing an opposing defense.

It’s also a vastly different offense this year’s QBs are running, but I think Orton would look a lot like Cassel if he were part of the competition in Cassel’s place.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

What ever happened to Cyril Richardson, the 6’5″ 343 pound linemen on the Bills? I haven’t heard anything coming out of camp about him and he had some promise this year after a good off season. What the latest with his development and chances?

Thanks,
Tony

CB: Richardson is still here on the roster. He’s been serving as a guard on the second unit. Most of his snaps have come with him on the right side. I think he’ll be more noticeable when the pads go on at camp and he’s able to exert his physical will on defensive linemen especially in the power run attack Greg Roman has drawn up.

 

5 –  @ChrisBrownBills
What’s the most likely scenario for amount of skill position roster spots…WR, RB, TE?

iamFlowbee

CB: I think as stated above, with a premium placed on tight ends in Greg Roman’s offense, there are likely to be four tight ends kept on the 53-man roster this year. I’d say probably five running backs and possibly just five WRs, though an argument can easily be made to keep six. Whether they have the room on the roster to do so is another question.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills