Inside The Bills

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

Percy Harvin: Ready to Show the World – JMS

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 16, 2015 – 9:30 pm

 

Players wrapping up the first two weeks of offseason workouts. They will depart until mini-camp starts in a couple of weeks. Before they took off we were able to catch up to a few players and coaches. We began the show hearing from outspoken head coach Rex Ryan. Running back Fred Jackson commented on the running back group and the offensive system of Greg Roman and defensive end Jerry Hughes on the new system in place on the defensive side of the ball.

harvinWe also were able to track down new wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin has spent these past couple weeks getting acclimated with his new teammates and the atmosphere here in Buffalo. He mentioned how the strength and conditioning program has been the “most competitive and most challenging” he’s ever been a part of. Harvin went on to talk about rejoining Rex Ryan and receivers coach Sanjay Lal and how those two coaches have sparked his ability to be a complete wide-out. He’s looking to build on his success last season in New York as an outside receiver and is ready to prove he can be an all-around threat.

“Coach Rex Ryan saw that I can be a receiver and that I can run routes. That’s the thing I like about Coach Sanjay (Lal). He said he worked on that with me and the results I was getting, if you turned on the film, I’m creating separation, I’m running posts, I’m running daggers, I’m running comebacks, and I don’t think people have given me credit for that. I feel like I can establish that here and show the world I can be an every down receiver but also add some of the gimmick stuff if that’s what the coach asks for.”

Harvin also talked about how he looks to continue his contributions in the return game on special teams and why Buffalo has become a destination for free agents, due in large part to his head coach Rex Ryan.

Speaking of Rex Ryan, he was featured on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated in an article with Jenny Vrentas. Vrentas called in at the top of the second hour to discuss her time at The Big Tree Inn where she conducted her interview alongside Bills Hall of Famers Thurman Thomas and Jim Kelly. She talked about Rex Ryan’s bravado and how Bills fans and the national media are feeding off of that, evidence of that when she showed up to do the story last week.

vrentas rex pic“We leave the stadium and Rex leaves in his Bills truck that everyone knows. I’m with the Bills head PR guy Scott Berchtold. We get there a couple minutes after Rex and his truck is parked right in the front of the Big Tree Inn lot so conspicuous to anyone who would drive by. The whole parking lot is full and I walk in and the place is awash with fans and I’m like ‘Oh, my gosh.’ This is supposed to be an interview off camera to the side and it wasn’t at all. He walks in and the fans are just mobbing Rex. I pull him aside and I say ‘Hey, I’m sorry I don’t mean for this to be stressed out or put you through a situation’ and he was like ‘No, I love it!’ and he really does. He really is just a regular dude. He’s comfortable hanging out in a sports bar. He likes the fans and he likes when they interact with him. He had no stress whatsoever.”

Finally, we reached out to Don Shonka, GM and National Scout for Ourlads.com. Shonka has been a part of player personnel work for over four decades and joined us to discuss his studies of this year’s draft class. He weighed in with thoughts on Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota who he compares to Aaron Rodgers. Shonka went on to discuss the Bills pick at number 50 and how the depth in this year’s draft is in the Bills favor, specifically when it comes to a versatile player along the offensive line.

To hear more from Shonka and the rest of Thursday’s John Murphy Show, click here.


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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Other SI covers featuring the Bills

Posted by Dallas Miller on April 15, 2015 – 5:13 pm

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With Rex Ryan, Jim Kelly, and Thurman Thomas currently gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated, it’s clear “The Rex Effect” is in top gear. It’s the 13th time the Bills have been SI’s lead feature and the first since Drayton Florence’s pick-6 was immortalized in 2011.

We’ve got five covers in the gallery above – can you figure out the rest? [HINT]


Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Rex: Watkins to be full go at training camp

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2015 – 2:01 pm

Sammy Watkins underwent a procedure on his hip after his rookie season with the Bills reached a conclusion. Though Watkins is able to work out to participate in some capacity in the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program, head coach Rex Ryan said not to expect to see Watkins doing much in the way of football related work until August.

“My understanding is Sammy is doing really well,” said Ryan. “We’re not going to see him out there until training camp. But he should be full go when we get to training camp.”

Watkins said he is feeling good.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m just getting back to working out, having fun with the guys,” Watkins said. “I’m just happy to be with the team and great coaches. I just have to keep getting better.”

Watkins in encouraged by his progress and is on board with the regimen prescribed for him by the team’s athletic training staff.

“I just believe in our staff. They’re doing a great job. I’ve just got to keep working hard,” he said. “Everything has been going good. I’m healing. They’re working me out the right way. They keep me motivated and I’ve just got to keep getting better.”

 


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Rex Ryan SI cover

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2015 – 9:45 am

For those that haven’t seen it yet, here’s the Rex Ryan Sports Illustrated cover with Bills Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas.

It’s a regional cover, not a national cover for the magazine to go along with the story by Jenny Vrentas.

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EJ Manuel: “I’m licking my chops” – JMS

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 14, 2015 – 9:15 pm

 

We began tonight’s show with the news of the day, which included the news of a free agent visit from a familiar name to Bills fans, wide receiver Brad Smith. We also heard from defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on the re-signing of Jerry Hughes, the linebacking group, and the depth along the defensive line. As the draft approaches we listened in to a conference call from former Bills General Manager and 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Polian, who shared his thoughts on some of the 2015 prospects.

DSC_4593It’s been a while since we heard from quarterback EJ Manuel. Manuel sat down with us in-studio to go in-depth about what he learned from his 2014 season sitting behind veteran Kyle Orton and what he was able to pick up running the scout team. He said he’s “licking his chops” to get the 2015 QB competition underway and show that he can be a playmaker in Greg Roman’s offense.

“I don’t like to necessarily like to say I’m a playmaker with the running game or I’m a playmaker with the pass game. I believe I can do both. Last year and the first two years, I feel like I did a little of that. I showed glitz and glares of what I can do but I want to do it on a consistent basis and I really think that starts with truly understanding our offense and truly mastering the offense and really being an

extension of coach Roman. I have to know the offense better or just as good as he does.” Manuel said “When I went into the offseason this year, I really just wanted to focus on the accuracy and just be on-point. I wanted to come into camp with confidence knowing that if there’s a ball in my hand, wherever I want to put this ball on the field, I can do it. That’s why I went and met with Steve (DeBerg) and he helped me get to that point.”

Former NFL QB Steve DeBerg worked with EJ Manuel during the offseason on his accuracy. DeBerg was a guest on the John Murphy Show Monday night.

Sticking with the offense, we caught up with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. Kromer joins Rex Ryan’s staff after he was the offensive coordinator in Chicago. Kromer talked about his first impressions of Buffalo, why he feels it’s important to work close with Greg Roman to get a complete understanding of the offense, and his limited interaction with the players thus far. Kromer also shared his philosophy for building a strong offensive line group.

kromer-5-ol-open-story“What we try to stress is that guys help each other. It’s not me against you or I’m trying to beat you out. Yeah, there is competition to see who is playing but as they’re doing that, they’re helping the guy next to them get better. They’re helping the guy behind them, the guy in front of them to hone their skills because you never know who will end up playing or who is going to have to play if you get hurt or if you are the starter. So, what this has allowed us to do is have more success as a group because everybody is unselfishly working together. We find that we have more success and more guys make the Pro Bowl because of that thought process.”

To hear all of that and the rest of Tuesday’s John Murphy Show, click here.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Jim Kelly to announce Bills draft pick

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 8:55 pm

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly will be one of eight former NFL players who will be at the 2015 NFL draft in Chicago to announce a draft pick on day two of the draft. 

According to an ESPN report Kelly will announce one of Buffalo’s day two draft choices in round two or three. 

Other former Bills including fellow Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Bills Wall of Famer Phil Hansen have announced Bills draft choices at the draft in the past. 

Among the other seven former players who will reportedly attend the draft in Chicago includes Bears HOF LB Dick Butkus and former Lions and Bills LB Chris Spielman. 


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EJ Manuel on John Murphy Show tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 4:20 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel has been working an awful lot on his throwing mechanics this offseason with former NFL QB Steve DeBerg. And he’ll be talking about it tonight on the John Murphy Show at 7:30 pm.

Murph told the John Murphy Show some of the drills he went through with DeBerg this offseason to sharpen his throwing motion and make it consistent.

“Some of the drills we worked instead of looking at the receiver you almost look at the defensive back instead,” Manuel said. “You start to throw away from the D-B. You know the receiver and the timing so you’re not throwing to the receiver, you’re throwing to where he’s supposed to be. One of the main drills we worked was throwing away from the defender and that helps avoid turnovers, interceptions and tipped balls.

“We had some live defenders out there during workouts, but we mainly had targets set up and Steve would have me read off of him and tell him to hit a target.”

Manuel also talked about how he and DeBerg would watch film of some of the top QBs in the league and simply watch their throwing motion.

“To my knowledge throwing motion is just like a jump shot. It almost becomes muscle memory and you have to rep it and rep it and rep it,” said Manuel. “We repped it so much to get it to muscle memory so when I get into the game a pass rush won’t compromise it. I’m not thinking twice about it. I’m just throwing the ball. That’s the good part about it.”

For those who can’t listen to the John Murphy Show the EJ Manuel interview can be found here at about 8 pm Tuesday evening.

 


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Cassel: Talent here better than KC in 2010

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 1:09 pm

Matt Cassel’s career year in the NFL as a quarterback came in 2010 while quarterbacking the Kansas City Chiefs. He went 10-5 as a starter, the Chiefs won the AFC West and went to the playoffs. Meanwhile Cassel threw 27 touchdowns against just seven interceptions and went to the Pro Bowl. But looking up and down Buffalo’s current roster, he sees more talent on his current team than he did on his old Chiefs squad.

Appearing on the Howard Simon show Tuesday morning, Cassel believes Buffalo has some of the best skill position talent in the league.

“The talent level of what we have here overall is much higher than what we had in Kansas City back in 2010,” Cassel said. “We had a steady running game. Dwayne Bowe had a fantastic year. He had like 18 touchdown catches and we had a strong defense and the combination of that always works together. We’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle here to be a successful football team. You look at an outstanding defense, a great special teams and you add our offense with it… all three have to complement each other, but at the same time our offense has the best skill players in all the league in my opinion.”

Jamaal Charles was on the roster and was second in rushing with Thomas Jones as his backup, along with Bowe, so there was a lot of talent at the skill positions. So for Cassel to believe the talent here already is superior is saying a lot.


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Kouandjio on new OL coach Kromer

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 9:20 am

Bills OL Cyrus Kouandjio has admitted his mindset wasn’t strong enough for the pro game as a rookie. He feels he’s fixed that now. That combined with a new offensive line coach in Aaron Kromer has given the former second-round pick a new outlook on his NFL career.

Kouandjio in his initial conversations with coach Kromer is optimistic about where things are headed for him personally with the Bills.

“We got into a lot of technique and a lot of protections,” Kouandjio told Buffalobills.com. “I loved hearing that. There are some O-line coaches that teach you and some that just coach you. The ones that just coaches you just tells you what to do on this blitz or with this defensive front, but a teacher teaches you something. They teach you a technique you may have never known before. He teaches you all the little things. I see both in him. It takes a great coach to be a teacher and a coach, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Kromer said all five starting roles on the offensive line are open for competition as everyone will have a clean slate with him.


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DeBerg: “I expect really big things from EJ” – JMS

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 13, 2015 – 9:18 pm

 

Players return from their long weekend for another week of voluntary workouts. On Monday afternoon, the assistant coaches spoke with the media regarding their first few interactions with the players and how their systems are being implemented. We heard from both defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, which led us to tonight’s topic of discussion. We asked the listeners, with the emphasis on a ground-and-pound approach, does that change with the playmaking additions of Percy Harvin and Charles Clay?

romanGreg Roman took some time afterwards to sit down in-studio and talk about his time so far here in Buffalo, his relationship with head coach Rex Ryan, and his unique approach he took to get to where he is now in the NFL. He also praised the offseason approach Doug Whaley and owners Kim and Terry Pegula took to supply his offense with added weapons.

“Gosh, our front office has done a great job of collecting great players at their respected positions and the challenge for us now is to get in-sync and to get that chemistry where everybody knows what to do and how to do it to build a really good working relationship. Percy (Harvin) is such a multi-dimensional threat. Charles (Clay) is the same thing, pretty versatile and LeSean (McCoy) is the same thing, a weapon out of the backfield either handing it off to him, throwing it to him. You’re talking about guys that can make some big plays anytime they touch the ball.”

manuel picAt the top of the first hour, we reached out to Steve DeBerg, the former NFL quarterback who is now spending his time coaching quarterbacks. Bills QB EJ Manuel spent part of his offseason working with DeBerg, specifically when it comes to his throwing motion. DeBerg spoke highly of the Bills third year QB and says he “seriously expects really big things from EJ this year.” He went on to discuss what they worked on the past few months down in Tampa, Florida.

“We worked on his throwing motion and then studied guys like Aaron Rodgers, some really unique passers from today and in the past and whatever they do and what makes them exceptional throwers. There are some areas that EJ can improve on to improve his ability to throw the football and to be honest, he has improved tremendously. I’m looking forward to him really having tremendous success.”

We also listened in the NFL Network’s pre-draft conference call with draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis. To hear that and the rest of Monday’s John Murphy Show, click here.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Roman: All 4 QBs to get starter reps

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2015 – 4:37 pm

In the early stages of what both Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have called an open quarterback competition it sounds like the four QBs on the roster will rotate through with the first unit.

“I think all four are doing a very nice job in our meetings and in communicating, as we are in a teaching phase,” said Roman on Monday. “They’re all going to have ample opportunity to get out there and practice.

“Everyone will have a chance to work with the first team and everybody’s going to have ample opportunity to put their best foot forward. When we start evaluating then we’ll start to play around with things a little bit, who’s with the first team the one day, and the next day, and so forth.  We’ll have a good feel for it as we go.”

 


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Dunbar: Bills D-line has underrated depth

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2015 – 2:49 pm

Everybody knows that Buffalo’s starting defensive line has three Pro Bowl players and a fourth who has 20 sacks in the last two seasons. But what about the second wave of defensive linemen?

Bills new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, is just getting to know his new players, but he believes he’s got a second wave of D-linemen that surpass the quality he had when coaching the Jets defensive line.

“I think (Jarius) Wynn, Stefan Charles  and some of the guys we have (Corbin Bryant) I’m looking back at what we had in New York, not to take shots at anybody, but the depth they have here is better than the depth that I had with the Jets,” said Dunbar. “You had a lot of guys who played a lot here last year. The backups in New York didn’t play as much as they backups did here. That might’ve been my fault, but they didn’t, so I like what we have and some of the guys we brought back here I’m pretty happy with what we have.”

Dunbar has had some talented defensive lines in his time as an NFL assistant. He had the ‘Williams Wall’ in Minnesota with Pat and Kevin Williams along with Jared Allen and Ray Edwards. He then had the Jets with Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson anchoring New York’s DL. Now however, he might have not only the most athletic collection of defensive linemen, but among the deepest.


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Bills QBs impressed in classroom

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2015 – 11:29 am

Last week was first week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program, which features strength and conditioning training and classroom work as the new coaching staff works with the players to install the new offensive and defensive systems. Buffalo’s quarterbacks were all in attendance last week and made a good first impression on offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

In an interview on ESPN’s Inside the Huddle with John Clayton, Roman gave indication of how prepared his signal callers were for the first week of classroom work.

“After just a week of working with these guys I was very happy to find out how dialed in these guys are in their preparation, all four of them really. I couldn’t be more happy from that standpoint,” Roman said. “When we get out on the field we’ll roll the balls out and see what transpires. We’ll let those guys compete and I think we’ll have a great competition at the position. Really, Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel all impressed me in the meetings.”


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Roman: McCoy fits any run game scheme

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2015 – 11:11 am

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman is known as a creative offensive mind. When it comes to his anticipated feature back LeSean McCoy however, he doesn’t have to draw something up to fit the dynamic back.

In an interview with ESPN’s John Clayton on Inside the Huddle, Roman explained that McCoy’s game adapts to any type of run game scheme a coordinator could draw up.

“The thing about LeSean is if you watch him back in college at Pitt he was in a two-back downhill offense and he looked extremely special doing that,” said Roman. “Then when he went to Philadelphia and Andy Reid was there he looked special doing that and then when Chip Kelly got there he looked special doing that. So the long and short of it is it doesn’t really matter what you do with him. The guy is super talented and we’re beyond thrilled that we can work with him.”

With the Bills expected to run a good deal of two tight end sets, Clayton asked Roman if McCoy could adjust from running in a wide open scheme in Philadelphia to what is anticipated to be more of a traditional offensive scheme in Buffalo.

“Again when you go back and watch him even in college running out of more traditional sets with a couple of tight ends in it, it doesn’t matter with him,” said Roman. “That’s what impresses me about him, how adaptable he is and what a natural back he is.

“I think we’re going to run him out of all the aforementioned formations. It’s not like you have to worry about him not being able to do something well. Far from it. I’m a run to daylight kind of guy. I like to give backs freedom to hit the hole and if nothing is there be a football player and I think you’d have to look far and wide to find a guy that does that better than him.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-10

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2015 – 2:33 pm

The preseason schedule is out with the 16-game regular season slate soon to follow. More on that below. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

#bills when will the 2015 regular season be out?

bailey_pinkston

CB: The precursor to the regular season schedule, the preseason schedule was released this past Thursday. It often signals that the release of the regular season schedule is coming soon. All indications are that the league will release the regular season schedule some time during the week of April 19th.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Petty or Grayson would be the perfect game managers for Buffalo’s new offense. Thoughts please???

mattgolden03

CB: Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson are in that second tier of quarterback prospects after the top two. Both could merit consideration in round two. While I like Petty’s football IQ I still think there will be a steeper learning curve for him than Grayson, who played in a pro-style offense.

Grayson has had to read coverages and progressions. Petty has not. And while I don’t doubt that’s something Petty has been working on it’s just not the same as when the real bullets are flying.

If you believe one of them could come in as a rookie and effectively execute Buffalo’s new offense, which has a myriad of pre-snap shifts, motions and formations I think you might be expecting too much.

Frankly for 2015 you’re better off with either Matt Cassel or EJ Manuel in my opinion, which is why I’d be surprised if Buffalo invests in the quarterback position high in the draft, if at all this spring.

 

3 – Chris,

Given the current coaching staff’s desire to build a tough running team and a physical team,  do you see Justin Blalock as a possible signing to fortify the offensive line now that he is a free agent? Also, what are your thoughts of giving money to signing Mark Ingram over say resigning Spiller. Ingram has shown he can move the chains with power, rip off long runs with quickness and catch the ball.

Thanks,
Patrick

CB: While Blalock is a more than capable veteran guard I don’t believe the Bills want to add any more veterans up front. They have three veteran guards right now in Incognito, Urbik and Chris Williams. It wouldn’t surprise me if they felt that adding another would compromise the growth of a younger player like Cyril Richardson. So if they do add at the guard position I believe it’ll be in the draft, even though I see offensive tackle as a position more in need of depth than anywhere else on the line.

 

4 – Chris,

The Kouandjio article was encouraging to see.  I like to know that some players are working all year to be better and hope it works out for the kid.

What was his problem exactly last training camp?  Was he out of shape? Difficult time reacting? Diagnosing?  You would think his college experience gave him good game speed experience.  Thanks and can’t wait for this season to start!

Steve K
Kenmore, NY
CB: Yes, John Murphy’s article, which followed an interview with Kouandjio by phone certainly painted a picture as to how hard the second-year lineman is working. He was training out in Arizona all winter working on his techniques and getting coaching from former NFL OL LeCharles Bentley.

Kouandjio didn’t place blame anywhere but on himself for how his rookie season went. He said he didn’t think he had a strong enough mindset as he began his NFL career. To a certain degree that’s understandable. He turned 21 just last July and is still young in the game. Stepping up to the NFL level was probably a bit different even than what he experienced as a starter at Alabama in the SEC.

In the conversations I’ve had with him he sounds like his whole approach to the game has changed and he’s going full bore into his second NFL season. Add in the fact that he has hit it off quickly with new offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and he’ll be an interesting player to watch in training camp when the pads go on.

 

5 –  Chris,
FIve years ago I wanted the Bills to draft Ryan Mallett. He was a 1st round prospect, a Heisman candidate, a coach’s son, and a big QB like Big Ben. He fell to NE in the 3rd round, what happened? Why did the Bills not bring him in as compaction with EJ?

Tim Scouten

CB: There’s no debating that Ryan Mallett has a rocket arm for a quarterback. His over the top delivery looks great. Here’s the problem with his game. First, his accuracy. His career completion percentage of 53.2 percent is an issue, which shouldn’t happen for a quarterback with superior arm strength. His decision making is also suspect, especially when he has to get rid of the ball quick. Now every QB is subject to a bad decision or two when hurried. His have been more frequent over the years.

Perhaps the most important skill he’s lacking for Buffalo’s offense is the ability to extend the play. He is a pocket quarterback only. If the pocket breaks down and he can’t get rid of the ball the play is dead. That is not the case with each of the quarterbacks currently on Buffalo’s roster. It leads me to believe that offensive coordinator Greg Roman prefers some measure of mobility in his QBs to extend plays if and when protection breaks down.

Finally, there’s even less of a book on him than EJ Manuel. He’s played in just seven NFL games to EJ’s 14 career starts. If you bring in another unknown quantity at QB you run the risk of not finding out about exactly what he or Manuel can be.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills