Inside The Bills

Bills have rep of being open for business

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

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

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

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

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


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Fan Friday 4-24

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

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

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

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

RealSteveRhodes

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

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

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

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

mattgolden03

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

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

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

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

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

 

3 – Chris,

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

Sean Robbins

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

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

 

4 – Hi Chris,

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

Thank you,
Mark from Louisville

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

 

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

Go Bills!
Phil Dabowl

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock: Day 1 readiness an issue at OT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Kiper: QB a possibility for Bills

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

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

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

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

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


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Jeremiah goes LB for Bills in 2 rd. mock

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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Whaley on 2nd tier of QB prospects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Whaley on why moving back in draft makes sense

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

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

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

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


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Whaley on tight end need

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

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

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

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

 


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Rex’s role in draft decisions 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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

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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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

Bills GM Whaley making the pro day rounds

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2015 – 1:29 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is a scout at his core, so the personnel evaluator naturally gets to as many pro days as possible. So it was not surprising to see his name listed among the front office executives at the University of Miami pro day.

NFL Network reporter Lindsay Rhodes reported that Whaley is on hand at Miami’s pro day in Coral Gables today among a host of other GMs and coaches.

Among the more notable prospects in this year’s draft class from the U are OT Ereck Flowers, TE Clive Walford (who pulled his hamstring and is not running), LB Denzel Perryman, RB Duke Johnson, WR Phillip Dorsett and CB LaDarius Gunter.

Here’s a shot of Whaley observing at the Miami pro day from Dolphins beat reporter Omar Kelly.


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Kiper projects QB Petty in 2nd round

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2015 – 10:16 am

Baylor QB Bryce Petty is the latest prospect profiled on Buffalobills.com as our countdown to the 2015 NFL draft continues. Will Petty be on the board through the early stages of round two? ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper isn’t so sure.

“Bryce Petty there’s a chance… a chance, maybe late first if somebody trades back in, but I’m projecting him more as a two,” Kiper said. “The teams that could be looking at quarterbacks in the second round could be Kansas City. They might be one of those. Teams that don’t take one in the first might take one like him in the second. Perhaps the Jets if they don’t take Mariota.”

Petty’s learning curve in adapting to a pro-style system will be the factor that NFL clubs will evaluate and project differently thereby giving him a range of value from one team to the next.


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For QB Petty calling play in huddle is new

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2015 – 9:00 am

There will be an awful lot of things that Baylor QB prospect Bryce Petty will need to learn on the fly as he’s drafted to an NFL club this spring. While most everyone knows that he never really operated under center in the Bears’ offense, most may not realize that in Art Briles’ offense he never even called a play in the huddle.

“It was a little different. We were a signal system at Baylor,” said Petty. “I love Baylor. I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I had to go back and do it all again, I’d do it the same exact way. With coach Briles, he’s an outstanding coach. I love him to death. The teams we had were great and really prepared me for what I’m doing now. It’s a learning curve a little bit going from what we were doing at Baylor to where we are now. But it’s all part of the process, so you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it, really, and I do love it.”

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has said more than once that making this kind of projection on a college quarterback, going from a spread system to a pro-style is among the toughest for NFL scouts. He also doesn’t see Petty as a potential target for the Bills in round two, in light of the fact that they’re still trying to develop EJ Manuel into a bona fide starter. He doesn’t see why they’d be interested in bringing on another development project.

“The quarterback thing is hard,” Mayock said. “Talking about pick number 50, I believe for Buffalo in the second round. Petty or Brett Hundley, one of those two could be there, if not both of them they’re both projects. You’ve already got a project in Buffalo right now who probably has as much talent as those two kids. So I’m not a big believer in investing in a position just because you think you have a need.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills 2015 draft picks in total

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2015 – 9:13 am

With the compensatory picks now awarded to the NFL clubs who qualified, we now know not only what slot the Bills will pick in each round they have a choice, but the pick overall as well. Here’s a rundown of Buffalo’s 2015 draft choices.

The Bills have six choices in all, but they are without a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick. They have a pair of draft choices in round six, with one coming from the Minnesota Vikings in the Matt Cassel trade.

Round 1 – no pick
Round 2 – 50th (18th in round)
Round 3 – 81st (17th in round)
Round 4 – no pick
Round 5 – 155th (19th in round)
Round 6 – 188th & 194th (12th – from Minn. & 18th in round)
Round 7 – 234th (17th in round)

Buffalo’s 9-7 record was tied with three other NFL clubs, Kansas City, San Diego and Houston. The Bills were last among those four clubs based on tiebreakers. The rules are with each round the four tied clubs rotate up, with the top club rotating to the bottom.

So for example, in round one Houston picked 16th, San Diego 17th, Kansas City 18th and Buffalo 19th. Come round two, Houston moves to the bottom of the group (19th) and the other three clubs slide up a spot, which is why Buffalo picks 18th in round two.


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No compensatory picks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2015 – 9:59 am

The Bills draft pick total remains at six after the league handed out their 32 compensatory draft picks for the 2015 draft Tuesday. The 32 compensatory picks were handed out to just 14 NFL clubs.

To initially qualify for compensatory picks a team must have a net loss of free agents from the previous offseason. Buffalo did not have that with the signing of Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, Chris Williams, Keith Rivers and Boobie Dixon last spring.

Their biggest free agent loss last offseason was Jairus Byrd, and the size of his contract in New Orleans might have qualified Buffalo to land a seventh this year, had there been extra picks to go around provided the Bills were near even on their free agent balance sheet.

But with 10 of the 14 NFL clubs this year being awarded multiple compensatory picks due to their net free agent losses, the 32 compensatory selections were distributed to qualifying clubs in short order. Here’s a look at the teams that are benefiting now after losing some quality talent in the free agent market last offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs: 3rd round (98), 5th round (172), 5th round (173), 6th round (217)
Denver Broncos: 4th round (133), 6th round (208), 7th round (250), 7th round (251)
Seattle Seahawks: 4th round (134), 5th round (170), 6th round (209), 6th round (214)
Baltimore Ravens: 4th round (136), 5th round (171), 5th round (175)
Houston Texans: 5th round (174), 6th round (211), 6th round (216)
New England Patriots: 3rd round (97), 7th round (253)
Cincinnati Bengals: 3rd round (99), 4th round (135)
San Francisco 49ers: 4th round (132), 7th round (254)
Carolina Panthers: 5th round (169), 6th round (213)
Green Bay Packers: 6th round (210), 6th round (212)
St. Louis Rams: 6th round (215)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 7th round (252)
Indianapolis Colts: 7th round (255)
Arizona Cardinals: 7th round (256)


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Michigan St. CB tops in the 40

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2015 – 3:21 pm

There weren’t too many sub-4.4 40 times turned in by the defensive backs on the last day of on field testing at the NFL Combine, but Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, considered one of the top corners in the draft class did not disappoint.

Waynes posted the fastest 40-time with a 4.31 Monday. Here’s a look at the top 10 40 times by the DBs.

1 – CB TRAE WAYNES – MICHIGAN ST. – 4.31
2 – FS JUSTIN COX – MISSISSIPPI ST.- 4.36
3 – CB RONALD DARBY – FLORIDA ST.- 4.38
T4 – CB CHARLES GAINES – LOUISVILLE – 4.44
T4 – CB DORAN GRANT – OHIO ST.- 4.44
T4 – CB CRAIG MAGER – TEXAS ST.- 4.44
T4 – CB JOSH SHAW – USC – 4.44
T8 – FS ERIC ROWE – UTAH – 4.45
T8 – CB D’JOUN SMITH – FLORIDA ATLANTIC – 4.45
T10 – CB SENQUEZ GOLSON – MISSISSIPPI – 4.46
T10 – FS DAMARIOUS RANDALL – ARIZONA STATE – 4.46

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Report: QB Glennon again a Bucs trade option

Posted by Chris Brown on February 9, 2015 – 5:22 pm

Armed with the number one pick in the 2015 NFL draft and a veteran in Josh McCown, speculation continues to grow that Tampa QB Mike Glennon could be dangled as trade bait this offseason.

That according to the Tampa Bay Tribune, which cites the Cleveland Browns as a potential suitor for Glennon. The report suggests that it would take all of a third or fourth-round pick to secure Glennon, as the Bucs are likely to take one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft this spring with the first overall pick.

Glennon was part of trade rumors last year, with GM Jason Licht admitting he spoke to some teams about a possible trade including Arizona. With the Browns top two QBs from last year’s squad a free agent to be (Hoyer) and in rehab (Manziel), Cleveland may choose to pull off a deal.

The Browns hold the 12th and 19th picks in round one this spring, and there is some speculation they may try to move up to number one to take a QB as another course of action.


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Fan Friday 1-23

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2015 – 1:11 pm

The new coaching staff is coming together. If you missed any of our Senior Bowl or Pro Bowl coverage check it out on Buffalobills.com. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I don’t think Hughes, Urbik, Lawson, Spiller, Spikes or Rivers will return next year as the money will be spent in other areas. I think the Bills will soon extend the contracts of Dareus and Glenn.  Do you have any insight on this?

Thanks,
Joe

CB: I think the Bills will work hard to bring Hughes back into the fold. Spiller is expected to have other suitors. Urbik, Lawson and Rivers are all still under contract. Rex Ryan in a conference call this past season said Spikes was a player he liked because he has a grit and attitude to his game that appeals to him, for whatever that’s worth.

As for Dareus and Glenn, the Bills typically address free agents first before worrying about players that are still under contract, so while Dareus and Glenn are seen as long term building blocks for the franchise I don’t see them getting done in short order.

 

2 – Hi, Chris

Looking for help in understanding what has happened to the offensive line over the past three years.

Fact: Four of the current five starters were also starters on the O-Line in 2012.
Fact: The rushing game produced over 2200 yards in 2012; less than 1400 this year.
Fact: Now former coach Marrone has publicly stated that the problem with the run game is not Coach Hackett’s schematics.

So — if the line has basically the same players, with the same talent, with a couple years more experience, and the techniques and schematics are correct and being taught properly — why has there been such a marked regression in performance, culminating in last Sunday’s horrific 13 yards gained on 13 attempts?

You are close to the scene and obviously can sense better than we fans what is going on.  Please help.

Thanks much,
Jim D.

CB: There were a number of factors at work. First and foremost you had your top two running backs injured for a stretch of the season. Spiller missed seven games. I think anyone on the offensive line in 2014 would tell you that their play regressed from the year before.

In 2012 their offensive scheme ran out of a spread formation, which created bigger running lanes for the backs. That was not the case in 2014 as they chose to run between the tackles more often than not. I don’t know that the approach offensively always fit the backs they had carrying the ball. That combined with an offensive line that took a step back led to the lowest rushing total in team history in a 16-game season.

 

3 – Chris,

All Bills fans are disappointed, but so are the fans of the Ravens, Chiefs, Saints, Eagles, a few of them have $100 Million Quarterbacks !! There will be cries for EJ. You get better by practicing your skills, and proving in practice you’re ready to play. Do you feel EJ has shown he’s ready, how about Kouanjio and Richardson?
Jim in Florida

CB: I think the 12 weeks that Manuel had to focus on his personal game served him well over the last three quarters of the 2014 season. He also learned how to effectively prep yourself as a QB watching Kyle Orton get ready for games each week. From watching him the last month of the season in practice I felt his accuracy was improved. He was no longer thinking and concerned about throwing the perfect ball. He was just throwing.

I’m interested to see him as part of a competition for the starting job next year. Has he shown he’s ready? I don’t think we’ll know until we see him at training camp this summer.

As for Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson they worked to make the most of their reps. It sounds like Kouandjio will be given real consideration at the guard position, even though it’s very new to him. I also believe competition will be brought in to battle the youngsters for roles on the roster.

 

4 – Hi Chris:  I understand that the Bills offense has been unbalanced between run and pass this past year.  What I’m unsure of is the major cause.  Could it be that the running backs were banged up this year?  Could it be that the offensive line never jelled?  Or could it be that most defenses dared us to throw by overloading the box and our pass game didn’t respond as well as hoped?  Like everything in life, there’s usually more than one reason.  But I was wondering if you could shed some light on what might be the most significant factor(s).

Warm wishes for the New Year!
Paul in Portland (Formerly Paul in Beijing)

CB: I hate to give a token answer, but I think it was all of the above. The running backs were banged up this year. There were times when defenses loaded up the box with extra defenders. The offensive line did struggle to jell at the start of the season due to Cordy Glenn’s undisclosed illness, which kept him out of the majority of the preseason. There was also a move by Erik Pears from tackle to guard, there was a rookie at right tackle and starting LG Chris Williams missed half the preseason due to a recurring back injury.

I also think at times the offensive approach moved away from the strengths of their skill position players in an effort to protect the football with more conservative play.

5 – Hello Chris,

First I’d like to say Happy New Year! Thank You for your news and blogs that us Bills fans love to get answers and info from.. your passion for the Bills is the same that we fans have, and you help us to believe.

My question is about the Offensive line.. I am sure most are wanting to know about the QB, but a big fix we need is on the O-line.

I am wondering what your thoughts(and i’ll get the fans thoughts in the comments section after) on

shifting around the line a bit. What about Buffalo using either their 2nd or 3rd round pick on one of the top 2-3 Centers in the 2015 Draft.. like Dismukes from Auburn, Grasu from Oregon, or Gallik from BC. We can then move Wood back to RG where he did well for us in his first 2 years before moving to Center.. he can still call the protections and he shows the ability to move around to run block very well and the aggression.

Then Chris Williams(we lost a lot when he got hurt) coming back to be the LG.. again, we hope he stays healthy. Glenn as the LT and putting the sophomore slump that seems to bite so many and bouncing back. And then Kouandjio and Henderson fighting for the RT position.

So.. LT Glenn, LG Williams, C Best avail in 2015 Draft, RG Wood, RT Henderson/Kouandjio

NE did something like this with a new Center this year in Stork and they seemed to find a good rhythm in the season… and we could even if need be bring in whomever is not the starter at RT out once in a while to line up next to the starter giving us a 6th Lineman as protection if need be.

Just looking for your thoughts.. as far as where instead of going out to get 2 new G’s in FA and maybe in the draft where a good Center can change it all up and be giving us depth also.

Thanks.. have a nice weekend watching the post season.

Brian Moss

CB: I think your thought about moving Eric Wood out to guard, where he began his NFL career is an interesting idea. However, I think the only way it happens is if the Bills bring in a veteran center, not a rookie by way of the draft. If they add an offensive lineman in the draft I would expect it to be more of a guard. But knowing they have a second-year guard in Cyril Richardson and possibly a second guard option in Cyrus Kouandjio they may elect to add a veteran guard as they did last year (Chris Williams).

I think Seantrel Henderson can only improve in his second season if he takes to good coaching with the new staff and his athleticism alone gives him a leg up on Kouandjio for the right tackle job.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills