Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 5-23

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2014 – 12:22 pm

OTAs are coming up next week. In the meantime enjoy the holiday weekend and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for all the great draft coverage! I personally loved the way the Bills really focused on beefing up the offensive line this year, in addition to the Watkins pick of course! It seems like some great picks at truly great value. I was wondering, if Seantrel Henderson pans out – and he has 1st round talent at LT, could he eventually start there, with Glenn moving to LG? Don’t get me wrong, Glenn is a really good LT, but I imagine a starting line of Henderson, Glenn, Wood, Richardson/Urbik, Kouandjio being among the most dominant lines in the entire league. Thoughts on this?

Thanks again,
Josh

CB: While you certainly have every reason to be optimistic I think you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself. I think all of the linemen drafted this year have talent, but it’s hard to project their immediate future until the pads go on in training camp. There are some proud veterans on this roster so the influx of young talent will ramp up the competition. Henderson most definitely has the skill set to play in the NFL. What he needs to demonstrate is consistency not only in his play, but in his commitment as a pro. Kouandjio might need a little time on the job before he’s challenging Erik Pears for a starting role and we’ll see what Richardson can do.

The picture you’re painting might be more realistic for 2015, and with the way Cordy Glenn played last year, I’m not sure he’ll be on the move even then if that level of play continues.

2 - @ChrisBrownBills

Why would @buffalobills ever pick Bon Jovi’s Lawyer to help sell the team?

MarkSciubbaDoe

CB: I think you need to understand that the Bills organization was seeking one of the most renowned firms when it came to managing estates and trusts. Proskauer was named “Law Firm of the Year” for Litigation–Trusts & Estates in U.S. News-Best Lawyers 2014 “Best Law Firms,” the only firm to receive this prestigious designation in that category. So this is more of what led to the decision to retain them.

It just so happens that Proskauer Rose, which has a gigantic client base in their entertainment department, also has represented Bon Jovi. It’s not clear if they still do at this time. I would think that relationship no longer exists otherwise it could be construed as a conflict of interest.

 

3 – Hey Chris,
There has been a lot of varying reports trying to explain the compensation the Eagles will be receiving for the Bryce Brown trade.  Most of those reports are very confusing to read and have people scratching their heads.  Correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t we basically trade Stevie Johnson for Bryce Brown straight up?

Whatever we get for Stevie is what we give to Eagles?…right?  Only exception to this line of thinking or simplification is if we end up getting a 3rd for Stevie because he performs and Bryce underperforms we only are on hook for a 4th….right??

BTW…loved our draft.  Loved the aggressiveness of Whaley.  It was very refreshing and sent a jolt of excitement in the fan base.  Even if it doesn’t pan out I’m still glad he was aggressive.  When u r 6-10 forever and u keep the same draft approach its by definition insane.  Everyone is saying playoffs or bust.  Honestly if we go 9-7 and EJ looks like he takes steps fwd…I will see this season as a success.  Looking fwd to getting out of this 6-10 rut!
Thanks for your time and go Bills!
Tim
NJ

CB: Here’s the easiest way to look at it. If the compensation from the 49ers remains a fourth in 2015, it goes to the Eagles. If Stevie Johnson hits undisclosed performance benchmarks and improves Buffalo’s conditional pick from San Francisco to a third, then the fourth-round pick the Bills owe the Eagles would push forward to the 2016 draft, since they would not have a fourth-round pick to give Philadelphia in 2015.

Bills fans should root for Stevie to do well in San Francisco this season. If he excels Buffalo will have seven picks in 2015 (a 2nd, two 3rds, two 5ths, a 6th and a 7th).

 

4 – Chris,

Thanks for all your news that you provide to Bills fans outside of the Buffalo area.

My question is regarding the off-season training of EJ, while not at the Bills facility. Knowing that OC Hackett, scaled back the offense last year; is there anything that EJ is doing during the off-season to get a much better understanding of the playbook?? or is EJ just working on his mechanic’s ?? Seems like a little waste of time, if EJ is not in some way learning a bit more of the playbook during this down time.

Thanks
Don Busching
Norwalk, VT

CB: EJ has been diligently working on every aspect of his game. That includes mechanics (footwork, deep throws), playbook and working with teammates having worked with some out in California this offseason on their own. I’m confident people are going to see a different EJ on the field this year.

 

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Russ Brandon and Doug Whaley are always quoted as saying that they will “do whatever it takes to make the Buffalo Bills a better football team.”

With that understanding, how does trading away Stevie Johnson (1,000 yard/season, 26 TDs, veteran WR, one more weapon for EJ Manuel) make the Buffalo Bills a better football team?

At the very least, Stevie would draw coverage away from Sammy Watkins!

This is such a typical move for the Bills–make progress with the drafting of Sammy Watkins, trade away good talent in Stevie.  It’s similar to the Marshawn Lynch trade.  Draft CJ Spiller, trade away pro-bowler Marshawn.  I just don’t understand.  What are the Bills not telling us?  On paper these moves make no sense.

Please help me, and many Bills fans, have a better understanding.  PLEASE no “company line” answer.

Michael Mirras
Discouraged Season Ticket Holder

CB: On the field here’s is why the move was made. Buffalo acquired Mike Williams by trade, a true outside receiving threat with proven touchdown production. They traded up to get the best receiver in the draft in Sammy Watkins, another true outside threat. Williams will draw attention from Watkins.

Perhaps even more important Robert Woods is a receiver this coaching staff believes in a lot. There was more than one assistant who believed by the end of last season that he would be the best receiver on the roster. That dynamic changed with Williams and Watkins added to the roster. In order to help Woods flourish in the current corps of receivers Stevie had to be moved from the slot receiver role so Woods could fill it.

It’s believed that Woods can be an even more productive receiver in the slot. Right now he has the most chemistry with EJ Manuel as OTAs are set to begin. What’s more his precise route running provides more consistency for a quarterback looking to take the next step in his on field performance than the unconventional route running of Johnson.

As Doug Whaley has said the aim this year is to help EJ Manuel take the next step in his development as a franchise quarterback. Providing him with the most dynamic receiver in the draft and a proven scorer in Mike Williams, both of whom can high point the ball as well as anyone, and then a reliable receiver in the slot in Woods they believe will enhance Manuel’s chances of succeeding.

In essence it was a bit of musical chairs and when all the moves were completed at the receiver position Johnson did not have an available seat. He would’ve been the team’s fourth receiver at a hefty price tag moving forward.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Richardson’s unwavering positive outlook

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2014 – 9:30 am

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today (Friday) fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson has experienced a lot of upheaval over the last nine years beginning with Hurricane Katrina, which displaced he and his family from their native New Orleans. What it never took from him however, is his unwavering positive mindset.

His mother Anita Richardson credits her son’s faith with keeping him resolute that good can come out of any seemingly negative situation.

“All I can say is God has truly been a guiding force in his life,” Mrs. Richardson told Buffalobills.com. “That child has faith beyond sight. He would always tell me, ‘You don’t have to worry mama, I’ve got faith. Everything is going to work out.’ The child believes. He doesn’t talk a lot and that’s just who he is, but if you ever get to know him he has faith beyond belief. There are no words for him. I am so proud of him.”

Mrs. Richardson said the word to describe her son is humble. He doesn’t like the limelight, but he’s always going to do his job. Sounds like a personality perfectly suited for an offensive lineman. Of course his mother never thought her youngest son would be the professional football player.

“It’s amazing to me with Cyril,” she said. “I know God does everything for a reason, but I thought it would be his older brother that would be the football player. His older brother’s friends are all in the NFL. That’s what’s so crazy to me that Cyril is the one who God chose to do this.”

Her older brother Jeremy played football at Grambling.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills fan one trade away from announcing with Andre

Posted by Anna Stolzenburg on May 17, 2014 – 3:06 pm

Last Saturday this time, Jordan Schwartz was waking up from what must have been a “did that really happen?” kind of week.

As the winner of Bud Light’s “Up For Whatever” contest – which he won for submitting the video above showing his Bills-outfitted apartment – Schwartz got to announce what was to be the Bills 41st overall pick, their first of the second round on Friday night.

Part of a packed three days of activities, announcing the pick was the highlight of his Bud Light behind-the-scenes draft experience that included a party with Andre Reed and other Bills and NFL alumni, tickets to the first night of the draft and a private tour of MetLife Stadium and Radio City Music Hall.

andre-jordan

“It was a very neat seeing the production of it all, seeing the draft works every step of the way,” Schwartz said. “Bud Light did a really great job making sure everyone was enjoying the whole weekend.”

When it was almost time for his main event on Friday night, Schwartz was understandably nervous. He’d heard the first night of the draft was watched in record numbers, and to be announcing the pick with Andre Reed in front of millions in the television audience? That’s any Bills fan’s most nerve-racking dream come true.

Minutes away from stepping on stage with Reed, the Bills traded their 41st overall pick to St. Louis and moved down three slots. Though arguably the biggest Bills fan in the room, Schwartz was slotted for the 41st pick no matter what, so he announced safety LaMarcus Joyner to the Rams.

“I was nervous all day but right when I got on stage I felt comfortable,” Schwartz said. “I spotted my friends in the crowd and once I saw them I was just enjoying the experience. Once I got up there the nerves went away. It would have been much better if it was the Bills and not the Rams but it was still an awesome experience.”

After he made the announcement, he said Commissioner Goodell told him he did a great job and autographed the draft card he read from, capping off his surreal “Up For Whatever” experience.

jordan-podium


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Why draft choices are signing faster than ever

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2014 – 11:47 am

NFL draft choices are signing faster than ever. Exactly one week after the NFL draft a few clubs have almost all of their draft choices signed prior to their team’s rookie minicamp. The Bills signed three of their draft picks Thursday. Even fifth overall pick Khalil Mack signed with Oakland. Here’s why.

Even though the salary cap went up more than eight percent there is a freeze on signing bonuses so all this year’s picks will get the same signing bonus as the players did last year who were taken in their draft slot. For Sammy Watkins that’s Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson, who got just over $12.8M. 

The reason why bonuses are staying flat is because teams borrowed money from future rookie pools (2012, 2013) after the lockout in 2011 to make sure that rookies that year wouldn’t be paid less than the rookies from 2010 prior to the readjustment in salary cap and the rookie wage scale. That money is now being repaid in 2014. CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry did a great job of laying everything out if you want to know more.

So essentially the only increases the 2014 draft class is seeing is in their base salaries. 

Forbes.com put together a very good contract projection for all of the first-round picks earlier this week and nailed Mack’s contract to the dollar. Of course it’s much easier now knowing there are only a couple of increasing variables. In any event here’s the projection, which includes Sammy Watkins.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Mack signs contract with Raiders

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2014 – 3:59 pm

Almost a full week after being picked by the Oakland Raiders, UB product Khalil Mack has reportedly signed his rookie contract with the AFC West club.

That according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates.

Mack will square off against the Bills in his rookie season for the Raiders in Week 16 at Oakland on December 21st. He also was taken one pick after Buffalo took Sammy Watkins fourth overall.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sammy to be featured on NFL Network

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2014 – 2:12 pm

Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins will be featured on NFL Network’s On the Clock this week.

The one-hour show airs Thursday at 9 pm ET. The one-hour show includes new footage of Watkins as he is selected by Buffalo and his first moments with his new team, as well as previously aired footage of his pre-draft journey.

To view previous On the Clock segments, visit NFL.com/ontheclock.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Texting in the draft room

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2014 – 11:17 am

With our exclusive access to the Bills draft room on draft weekend we brought you a lot of behind the scenes coverage with our Bills Focus piece on the first two days of the draft for Buffalo as well as our On The Clock – presented by Michelin piece on Whaley’s Decisive Decision Making. There were some other interesting notes about the goings on in the draft room.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, President & CEO Russ Brandon and Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos were all texting a fair amount during the draft. It was most noticeable on day 1 and less so on days 2 and 3. Whaley confirmed for Buffalobills.com that they were staying in touch with other NFL clubs.

“You’re texting because it’s a faster and more efficient way just to make contact with people, especially in the draft room where things can get a little hectic, there might be a phone ringing,” said Whaley. “So it’s just as easy.”

At the start of the draft there was a lot of texting with other teams ahead of them at ninth overall.

“We were making contact with teams ahead of Cleveland just to see what they were thinking,” said Whaley.

Monos, Brandon and Whaley were each assigned different clubs to stay in touch with during round one.

“With that many teams you want to delegate different guys to talk to different teams so you’re not mixing up your information,” Whaley said. “That’s where mistakes can happen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills could face 3 rookie QBs in 2014

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2014 – 2:11 pm

The Bills 2014 regular season schedule could have Buffalo on a collision course with three of the top four quarterbacks taken in the 2014 NFL draft.

Buffalo will not face top quarterback Blake Bortles who went to Jacksonville, but they will face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7, who took Teddy Bridgewater at the end of round one. Whether he beats out veteran Matt Cassel remains to be seen.

Buffalo also faces Cleveland in Week 13 where Johnny Manziel is expected to be the Week 1 starter. Then in Week 16 at Oakland they could square off against Derek Carr, who was taken by the Raiders in round two, especially if the season goes the wrong way for Oakland by that time.

It’s possible, but unlikely that they’ll face Houston fourth-round pick Tom Savage at quarterback in Week 4. It’s more likely they face their former quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills trade official, Stevie passes physical

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2014 – 4:02 pm

The Bills weekend trade with the San Francisco 49ers when Stevie Johnson was dealt for a conditional 2015 draft choice became official this afternoon when Johnson passed his physical with the 49ers.

The 49ers announced that Johnson passed their team physical thereby completing the trade officially.


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Browns GM Farmer had Watkins name on card

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2014 – 3:59 pm

Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer took some heat from the media, and Browns fans, over the weekend for not electing to take Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick, instead trading it to Buffalo and moving back to ninth overall where they took Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert. Farmer addressed the decision with MMQB’s Peter King revealing that they had Watkins name ready to go on their card.

Here’s the excerpt from King’s Monday Morning QB column.

• About passing on Sammy Watkins and all those receivers … Farmer told me that before the Browns made the trade with Buffalo to move from fourth to ninth in the first round, “We were very close to turning in the card. We very easily could have turned in the card with Sammy’s name on it.” I wondered if he would have regrets about passing on him and taking cornerback Justin Gilbert if Watkins turned into a Randy Moss-type talent. “Even if Sammy turns into Randy Moss, Justin Gilbert can be every bit as good as Patrick Peterson. That’s how much talent he has. And in the game today, I feel cornerbacks are as important as wide receivers, and maybe harder to find. So I have no regrets about it, no.”

Both teams will get the chance to see their top picks potentially go head to head at times in Week 13 when the Browns come to Buffalo to face the Bills.


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Whaley outlines decision to draft Henderson

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2014 – 2:08 pm

He was a highly touted high school prospect coming out of high school, but he’s had his share of missteps in his college career, which is why he slipped all the way to the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday. OT Seantrel Henderson went 237th overall to the Bills and GM Doug Whaley explained the thinking behind the selection.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley outlined why they felt with their last pick in the 2014 draft that Henderson was worth a flyer.

“It boils down to talking to the person and finding out where he is mentally,” said Whaley. “With Seantrel we talked to him at the combine and before we drafted him and he understands that this is his last shot. So we thought the value of taking him in the seventh round with the talent he has was a good pick for us. Knowing he’s all in and he knows there won’t be any tolerating any kind of misconduct or misstep we were comfortable with it.”


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State of the 2015 draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2014 – 10:29 am

The Bills made a handful of trades in the 2014 NFL draft, some of which affected their pick total in 2015. Here’s a look at where things stand right now.

2015 draft picks traded away
1st round pick – to Cleveland
4th round pick – to Cleveland
Possible conditional pick to Philadelphia (Bryce Brown trade)

2015 draft picks added
4th round pick – from San Francisco (Stevie Johnson trade)
5th round pick – from Tampa Bay

So at this point Buffalo has a total of seven picks for the 2015 draft (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 7th), but they could lose one if certain statistical figures are attained by Bryce Brown for the Bills in the 2014 season.

They do have the potential to have eight total picks in 2015 if Stevie Johnson hits certain statistical marks in San Francisco in 2014 because the fourth rounder they received from the 49ers will turn into a third and the conditional pick they would owe Philadelphia (4th rounder) would move ahead to 2016.

 


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LB Johnson surprised by Bills pick

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2014 – 12:29 am

He didn’t have much pre-draft interaction with the Buffalo Bills so late on day three of the 2014 NFL draft, Florida Atlantic LB Randell Johnson was caught off guard when he became Buffalo first of two seventh round picks.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect this,” said Johnson. “I don’t really know anything about Buffalo at all so I was surprised. I was just surprised Buffalo picked me up. I’ve been talking to the Seahawks mostly the whole weekend and the 49ers and the Dolphins, so I was expecting them to call me. But once I got the call I was just excited. Man my dream came true. I’m just going to live it up.”

At 6-2 245 pounds Johnson ran an impressive 4.6 at his pro day.

 


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Breakdown of Bills picks by position

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 6:22 pm

Here’s the breakdown of Bills picks for the 2014 NFL draft.

Buffalo added the following numbers at these positions.

OL – 3 – OT Cyrus Kouandjio, G Cyril Richardson, OT Seantrel Henderson
LB – 2 – ILB Preston Brown, OLB Randell Johnson
RB – 1 – (added via trade) – Bryce Brown
CB – 1 – Ross Cockrell
WR – 1 – Sammy Watkins


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OT Seantrel Henderson is Bills last pick

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 6:21 pm

The Bills last draft choice in round seven is Miami OL Seantrel Henderson.


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CB Cockrell’s full of leadership potential

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 3:42 pm

Bills fourth round pick Ross Cockrell will be focused on mastering Buffalo’s defensive playbook first and foremost, but in a few years he could be a leader in Buffalo’s secondary.

Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos saw a lot of progress through Cockrell’s years at Duke. A two-time captain Cockrell was a leader on and off the field. His head coach at Duke David Cutcliffe was often impressed with Cockrell’s assessment of their team performances after games and often let him address the team before he did.

Monos sees a mature young player in Cockrell.

“You could see it even at his pro day. Guys gravitate to him and he is the leader of that group,” said Monos.


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Bills take G-T Cyril Richardson

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 2:37 pm

With their fifth-round pick G-T Cyril Richardson out of Baylor.


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Bills trade first 5th-round pick to Tampa

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 2:28 pm

The Bills have traded their first of two fifth-round picks to Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers gets the Bills fifth-round pick at 149 overall. In exchange the Bills get Tampa’s seventh-round pick at 221 overall and the Bucs fifth-round pick in 2015.

Buffalo still has another fifth-round pick at 153 overall.


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Report: Bills trading for Eagles RB Bryce Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 12:59 pm

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Bills have acquired Philadelphia RB Bryce Brown.

Brown is just 22-years old and at one time was the number one high school prospect in the country.


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Bills take Duke CB Ross Cockrell

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 12:33 pm

In the fourth round the Bills have taken Duke CB Ross Cockrell with the 109th overall pick. Cockrell was yet another pre-draft visitor of the Bills last month.

Cockrell had 12 career interceptions and was a 1st team All-ACC performer.


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