Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-29

Posted by Chris Brown on March 29, 2013 – 11:32 am

The NFL draft is less than a month away so keep the questions coming at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Here’s the latest edition for you loyal Bills fans.

1 - Chris,

One guy that seemed to stick out to me while watching the combine is Mark Harrison.  Wondering what your thoughts are on him and where he is projected to go round wise.  Thanks for all you do!

Geoff

CB: Harrison is a great physical talent at 6’3” and 231 pounds. The fact that he runs a 4.37 40 will get him a look from teams, especially after bouncing back from a down junior year. His numbers this past season still weren’t quite as good as his sophomore season when there was a lot more receiving talent around him. Harrison is probably a day 3 pick based on his physical skills alone even though his hands looked more reliable in 2012 than in 2011.

 

2 – Chris,

It seems the Bills have preached that they’ve made progress over the last few years.   I am having trouble seeing that.  It looks as though the Bills needs are many:
G
QB
2 WR’s
TE
DE
ILB
OLB
2 CB’s
S depth
With all of these needs in mind and only 6 draft picks, do see the Bills being competitive in 2013?   
-Jim

CB: I don’t disagree that there are several holes to still fill. At the same time the quality of the talent on this roster is pretty good (think – D-line, safety, OT). Part of that is due to the people they chose to part ways with (Donald Jones, David Nelson) and older players that either retired or will not be retained for the future. You’re right with six picks Buffalo has to do some plugging in free agency.

I think they’ll do a bit more work in free agency prior to the draft and then post-draft they’ll see where some positional needs still lie and plug in some bargain free agents presumably on one and two-year contracts.

3 – Chris,

With the Bills having only 6 picks in this year’s NFL draft, and players who fit like Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib and Manti Teo most likely being available in the late 1st or early 2nd round, do you think that they might trade back in the 1st round with their #8 pick to gain extra draft picks? That would seem to make sense – if Buddy Nix is willing.

LeeD

CB: I think trading down is a realistic possibility only if their top graded quarterback is off the board. Bills GM Buddy Nix would like to have more than six picks. Moving down from eight is the only way to do that, but landing a quarterback of the future likely trumps everything.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

Just wondering, what’s up with Marcel Dareus? I understand that he plays through pain, both physical and emotional (considering his brother’s death), however I just can’t help but think that he has not lived up to expectations as a number three overall pick. Considering the bevy of talent that was available that year, it really baffles me that he isn’t living up to his draft spot or to his draft class. Your thoughts?

Mike in Buffalo

CB:
I think last year was a lost year for Dareus. He lost his brother after the first regular season game in a tragic act of violence. His brother was just 19. Even though Dareus lost his dad when he was 6, his grandmother at age 13, his high school coach at age 18, his mom at age 20 and his best friend from high school at 21, this latest loss may have topped them all. All that loss and just 23-years of age, I’m willing to give him a pass for the 2012 season.

I just don’t think his head was in the game and how could it be? Anyone that has to experience all that is probably wondering what he did to deserve all that hardship. Hopefully he can come back and re-focus under a new staff and be the upbeat guy he has always been despite a very difficult hand that’s been dealt to him concerning his family.

 

5 – Hi Chris  

Do you worry about Dion Jordan being another Aaron Maybin?  Also it’s great the Bills front office is upfront with fans about needing a quarterback but not at the expense of other teams knowing and using that against us.  How do you see Mike Pettine’s defense set up with our personnel?  Can we run a 3 -4?  We have a lot of D lineman.   

Thanks – Travis

CB: I understand the concern. Seeing him at the NFL Combine, he looks like a swingman for a basketball team. The difference is Jordan has more of a college resume than Maybin, who had one-year of starting experience and came out as a redshirt sophomore. Jordan’s body is more mature, though he is coming of a torn labrum in his shoulder. I also think the one thing Jordan has that Maybin did not was instinct. Maybin was a hard worker, but did not seem to have the football acumen to anticipate and diagnose plays. The word on Jordan is that he does, which is why he’s seen as a top 10 pick.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Jets are prepping for Mario

Posted by Chris Brown on September 5, 2012 – 3:01 pm

The Jets know they’re going to need to provide help to their starting right tackle Austin Howard, as he makes his first NFL start Sunday against Mario Williams. Here’s how New York is preparing for Buffalo’s prized free agent signing.

“You’re not kidding it’s a big challenge, hehe,” said Rex Ryan. “I think the only way you can get a bigger challenge is if it was DeMarcus Ware. Clearly it’s a huge challenge. We’ll line up a guy offside and everything else in practice,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

Ironically, the Jets are using Aaron Maybin on the scout team as their Mario Williams.

“We’re going to have Aaron Maybin play him over there, and we’ll line him up offsides and say get ready to chase this guy. He’s a combination speed, power, he’s got it all. Certainly its going to be a huge challenge for anybody. With Austin, he hasn’t had a whole lot of game experience, but we feel good about him. He’s a huge man that can bend. He’s a guy that’s kind of a road grader in the running game, so I think that’ll help as well.”

When asked about Maybin not exactly being the same physical stature of Williams, who is 50 pounds heavier, Ryan explained why they chose to use Maybin.

“I think that’s the best we could do,” said Ryan. “We’re going to put (Quinton) Coples over there some as well, but I’m trying to get that quickness of a guy that can get off the football like Mario does, and with that kind of speed. In the run, we’re going to put Coples over there even though he’s starting on defense. We’re going to have him as a scout teamer as well to be like Mario. He’s not as big as Mario but he’s pretty talented in his own right, and you guys will find that out too. He ended being part of a sack in each of the preseason games, and this young man has the potential to be a good football player.”

Coples led the NFL in preseason sacks with 4.5, though he played in five preseason games this summer. Do you think Coples steal the pass rushing show in Week 1?


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-4

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2011 – 1:04 pm

Big division game this week Bills fans. Got to be loud at the Ralph to make it tough on the Jets. On to your questions, which you can submit to askchris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hi Chris,

How is Alex Carrington coming along? I thought he did well at the OLB position in preseason but now with Kelsey and Merriman being out I haven’t heard him mentioned as an option there. I know Kelsey’s almost back, but I thought he would’ve been perfect to fill in on that side, but it seemed like Batten was getting the majority of the reps. Thanks for hard work on the website. 

Dan
Chicopee, MA

CB: Carrington did initially get some work at OLB, but I think they came to the conclusion that he’s better as a defensive end in the 3-4 system. Now with Marcell Dareus manning the nose, Carrington is starting at left end in Dareus’ old position. Spencer Johnson is the defensive line seeing the most time at outside linebacker and has fared well. He’s rarely fooled on plays despite the fact that it’s a new position and requires more reads. Carrington has turned in some solid if not spectacular performances. I think the defensive staff is confident that his play will get more consistent and he’ll turn in more game-changing plays as the second half of the season moves along.

 

2 - Hi chris

The Bills considered Aaron Maybin a bust after two years, however he has been a productive player for the Jets this season. How and why did the Bills staff so seriously misjudge this player??

Go Bills
Richard, Boca Raton, FL 

CB: I think it’s difficult for you to say the Bills misjudged Maybin. You fault the Bills for cutting him loose after two years, but you’ve decided he’s a playmaker after a few games? What has happened is Maybin is a pass rush specialist. He comes in on passing downs only and usually pursues from the back side. With other more respect pass rushing talent on the field with him (Calvin Pace) along with a strong inside linebacking duo, less attention is paid to Maybin allowing him to run plays down from behind.

Personally I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a specialty player because he lacks football instincts. If he’s asked to read run-pass he struggles. In coverage he’s a liability. He tries hard and he hustles, but I still don’t think he’ll amount to much.

 

3 - Chris,

I enjoy your videos, blogs, and news items. Please keep up the good work!

Now that Shawne is on I/R I have two questions. I’m sure he has a lot of special wordage in his contract but:

Will the coaching staff require him to be on the sidelines at games to motivate and lead the entire team especially the “D” and the young linebackers and give the youngsters tips during the game or would the coaching consider him a distraction and let him hang out elsewhere?

During the work week will the coaching staff also ask him to be at practice to mentor the young LBs and to sit in the film sessions to again help the LBs or might Shawne say “ Hey, I can’t play so I’m going to the beach “. 

Thanks for your insight.

Bob – 45 years of being a Bills Fan

 

CB: To my knowledge Merriman has not been at One Bills Drive since he had surgery on his Achilles. From what I have heard he will be on crutches for two weeks and beyond that is anybody’s guess. Typically injured players are nowhere near the sideline during games. Mentoring young players takes place with veterans that are usually playing alongside them. Merriman is out of that mix. Players that are out for the year typically go home and rehab and come back to Buffalo to get checkups from the team physicians so they can accurately track his progress. That’s what Roscoe Parrish has done and I’d anticipate Merriman doing the same.

Thanks for the kind words.

 

4 - Hi Chris,

Great win this past week! Good to see the defense stepping up, even if Washington isn’t known as an offensive juggernaut it’s good to get some confidence on the back end before the Jets roll into town. Question about one of the plays against Washington. I noticed on one of the sack plays, Marcell Dareus was working against one of the offensive linemen one on one and it looked like both of them got their hands high into each other`s chin area and then Marcell reaches up and rips his own helmet off and keeps playing. What`s the NFL`s policy on purposefully removing your helmet during a live play? I would think that with all the concussion concerns something like that would be an automatic 15 yard flag. Obviously not complaining since the Bills got a sack on the play, but who knows what could have happened had Dareus ended up on the ground with his helmet off.

Thanks,
Ruben Jongstra
Toronto

CB: I think that’s a difficult one to call because it’s pure judgment by the officials on a play when a helmet comes off. Most players by nature do not want their helmet off during live action. I didn’t notice that myself. I think an official would have to be completely convinced there was intent to remove it. Even then however, I’m not sure they could invoke the same unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that’s assessed when a player removes their helmet while still on the field. Usually those circumstances involve a player that’s upset about a call or something else and throws his helmet off in frustration.

 

5 - Hi, Chris.

As an upstate New Yorker now living in California, I love being able to access your coverage of the Bills. I haven’t seen the Bills play this year (except for their win against the Raiders), but I get the sense that few passes get thrown to the TEs–except in red zone situations. Is that because, outside the red zone, Buffalo is keeping the TE in to block? Are the offensive schemes designed to emphasize passing opportunities to Fred Jackson and the wide receivers and maximize pass protection?

Thanks,
Dennis

 
CB: No, tight ends are not kept in to block a whole lot. Buffalo will go to a 3 WR 2 back look at times in which they have an H-back or TE positioned somewhere off the line and motion him. Most of the time the Bills are in a 4-by-1 set or 5 wide and Scott Chandler is often one of the four or five split wide. As Fitz said last week he just goes where the coverage takes him. He’s not afraid to throw it to any of his guys and that keeps the opponent from keying on specific wideouts in the Bills passing game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Maybin plays diplomat

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2011 – 4:40 pm

Aaron Maybin was given more than his fair share of opportunities to swing for the fences regarding his former team as one of the newer members of the New York Jets prepares to play the Bills on Sunday. The outside linebacker chose to be diplomatic, no doubt to avoid providing the Bills with any added fuel for Sunday’s game.

Maybin did give in a bit when asked if he felt he was given a fair shot in Buffalo last year knowing he averaged just five snaps a game.

“Honestly, I don’t think anybody’s gonna really say that averaging five snaps a game is getting a legitimate shot,” said Maybin. “But on my end what I have to say to that is  for whatever reason that was there was fault on both ends. There was something obviously I didn’t do while I was there to give the coaching staff that confidence in me to go out and have more than five snaps a game. Since I’ve gotten here it’s been a little bit different. So I guess that’s the extent of that.”

Maybin also said there’s no bad blood with his now former teammates.

“No. None at all,” he said. “I’ve got nothing but friends left in that locker room. And as far as the rest of the organization goes, business is business.”

When asked if his confidence level now with some production for the Jets (3 sacks, 3 FFs) compares to his confidence level last year at this time with the Bills, Maybin said the following.

“Honestly, it’s the same place it’s always been,” he said. “It’s just a little bit more justified now because I finally have a small amount of production to put behind it.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

More run for Maybin?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2011 – 12:06 pm

Jets OLB Aaron Maybin has been a spot player for New York thus far this season getting about 10-12 plays a game. But according to Jets head coach Rex Ryan his snap count could be increasing this week.

“Yeah that’s a real possibility because Buffalo does spread you out,” said Ryan. “But it’s not like the old spread where you throw out of it. Buffalo spreads you out to run it as well. We understand what their philosophy is and we’ll adjust accordingly.”

It sounds like Ryan is a bit conflicted in terms of whether to play a heavier lineup to defend the run, which would take Maybin off the field, or play a quicker lineup to keep up with Buffalo’s array of receiving threats, which would put Maybin on the field.

Either way Ryan likes what they’ve gotten out of Maybin. 

“I think what everybody sees is a guy that has some pass rush ability, and that’s why we picked him up,” Ryan said. “He flashed that in the preseason. But when we had an opportunity through an injury we were able to bring Aaron back and that’s kind of the role he’s taken over, is that of a pass rusher for us, and he’s done a tremendous job for us.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills have some vacant roster spots

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2011 – 7:01 pm

With the release today of Aaron Maybin and the weekend trade of Lee Evans, Buffalo suddenly has a few openings on their roster.

The Bills currently have 87 players leaving them with three vacancies. Teams can carry a max of 90 until AUG. 30th.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Maybin just a tough fit

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2011 – 12:32 pm

Aaron Maybin in a 3-4 scheme just wasn’t going to be a fit, and so his release by the Bills Monday is something that unfortunately doesn’t come as a surprise.

When asked about Maybin by reporters, Chan Gailey said the LB worked hard, gave good effort, but he made it clear that Maybin struggled to hold his ground at the point of attack, could not produce consistently and had a long way to go. That shouldn’t be the description for a third-year player.

Maybin also wasn’t helped by the fact that his competition excelled, most notably Shawne Merriman and second-year LB Danny Batten as both logged a pair of sacks in the preseason opener.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wang, Maybin to get extra work

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2011 – 1:36 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey and his staff have to find out more about certain players on their roster. Two in particular will be given extended time on the field tonight against the Bears as a result.

Left tackle Ed Wang, who has been working with the second unit, will get some extended playing time against Chicago after not playing all that much as a rookie.

Another player that will get extended time is LB Aaron Maybin. Maybin has been running with the second defense.

Gailey said Maybin has done well in practice this past week and said he sees a sense of urgency in his play. He’ll get a good long look tonight against the Bears.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday running Q&A

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2011 – 7:07 pm

Good evening Bills fans. Glad you could join me. As promised I’m going to be answering your training camp questions here tonight. So you know you can still submit your questions to my email account at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I’ll be submitting as many of those questions with answers as possible below, so keep refreshing this page as I’ll be adding answers as I move through them. Hopefully your question or one very similar to your question gets answered tonight, otherwise I’ll get to your question in a future Fan Friday post or answer it personally. Just understand training camp is my busiest time of year, so I’ll get back to you as best I can. Thanks for your participation. Let’s get to your questions.

1 - Chris, 

How will the CB battle shape up in camp? In there a set starter or is the position up for grabs. With Drayton back does that push Aaron Williams to 4th slot. I liked Justin Rogers alot when they drafted him. It would be a waste for him not to play or even get cut due to 4 guys ahead of him. How many will the Bills keep on the opening day roster. 
Thanks 
Jack S.
 
CB: I think right now the entrenched starters are Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence. McGee has looked like his old self and the defensive staff has even experimented with him in the slot. I believe the top three are pretty much locked down with McKelvin being the third man in right now. Aaron Williams would need to have an amazing preseason to dislodge one of those guys from the top spot and Reggie Corner is primarily a slot guy, but those are the top 5. Williams got off to a great start, but with more installation he’s fallen behind a bit on the execution end.
 
2 -What should be the expectation for Marcus Easley this season? He will be raw and coming off injury coming into the season but he looks like a future number 1 receiver with both size and speed. Given that he has missed a year and didn’t break out until his senior year, how much will he be on the field. Is he likely going to be inactive on game days or can he challenge for the 3-4 receiver role. Excited to watch him in camp. Thanks for the great reporting year round.

Tyler 
 
CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think it’s tough to peg right now. There’s no question he’s got talent and if he develops he could have a bright future. I’m not ready to go as far as to say number one receiver talent because we just haven’t seen enough of him. Unfortunately I think the coaching staff is in the same boat. They saw flashes last spring, but not much else because of his knee injury last year and now his hyperextended knee. He should be back in the next day or two and hopefully he can stay healthy to get his career off the ground.
 
 3 -Chris, 

Given the need for both OLB and ILB’s, how many total do you expect to make the opening day roster? It looks like Merriman, Kelsay, Barnett, and Davis will be the starters. With backups like Moats, Shep, Torbor. But what about the fringe players like Coleman, White, Maybin and Batten. Will they carry this many? Is there one guy on the outside? How will Chan mix in a large number of players to fit both the 3-4/4-3 hybrid? 
 
CB: For a 3-4 defense teams usually carry 8 linebackers with backups for each spot. You’re guess is pretty well on with Merriman, Kelsay, Barnett, Davis and Moats, Shep and Torbor. Guys like Coleman, White, Batten and Maybin will be fighting for one, possibly two spots if they choose to keep 9.
 
 4 – Dear Chris,
Thanks for all the constant updates for us fans.  I am wondering if the bills are interested in Jared Gaither.  He would be a big help to our tackle problems.  If not him are there any other free agent tackles worth looking at? Thanks again and go BILLSMike from Cheektowaga
 
CB: This is a name that’s come up an awful lot from fans over the past calendar year. I don’t debate that adding more talent at offensive tackle would be welcomed I’m just not convinced it’s going to happen before the season. Jared Gaither is a guy that was available for trade and no one went after him because he had some back issues. Back issues with linemen are nothing to sneeze at. It may explain why the market has been lukewarm for him. Only the Raiders were poised to sign him and it fell apart in the 11th hour. He’s talented, but Gailey and Nix want high character guys that have a passion for the game, and in NFL circles I don’t know how many people stamp Gaither as that kind of player.
 
 5 – Did the Bills make an attempt for Zach Miller? He would have been a great addition. A dominant TE is something the Bills have lacked for years. Any chance they go after Kevin Boss?
Thanks,
Josh T.
 
CB: To my knowledge they did not pursue him. Miller is definitely a talent, no question and yes, the Bills have not had a dominant pass catching tight end. Boss by the way signed with the Raiders today. I just think with Chan Gailey’s frequency of using 4-wide sets and the depth of the receiving corps right now the need for a mismatch type threat at tight end is greatly reduced.
 
I will say that Scott Chandler, who was picked up off waivers last year from Dallas, had a very good afternoon practice today. A couple of touchdowns and for a 6’7″ 272-pounder he runs well and gets good separation. An impressive showing for him for just his second day of work since re-signing as a restricted free agent.
 
6 – Hey Chris,
I was wondering a couple things.  What’s the status on the Bills contract with St. John Fisher?  Are they going to stay there or are they leaving?  The practice field situation definitely makes it tougher.  Also, every year the team has ALWAYS done 2 or 3 full team autograph sessions before practice.  They are usually announced before a night practice session and it’s a way for the fans to get whoever they wanted, including some of the players that are impossible to get.  I was wondering if they are going to do that this year?  And if not, why?  That’s a very popular thing and it draws lots of fans to camp for those night practices.  Plus it’s also a way to give back.  Thanks for the reply.
 
Michael

CB: I do know the Bills contract with St. John Fisher is in its last year, but the decisions that are made beyond that are way above my pay grade. I, like you, do not know what the future holds with respect to training camp here. As for giving back to the fans I do know that the next night practice on Saturday (8/6) will include a bunch of contests and giveaways as well as a fireworks show following practice. With respect to a full team autograph session I have not heard anything, but if there is news on that front I’ll pass it along.

7 – Chris,

 I know that Buddy has said in the past that he wants to build this team through the draft. But with the biggest free agency in years why weren’t we more aggressive in free agency? 
Joe from Webster
Season ticket holder (section 130)

CB: Joe, I think we’ve heard Buddy address this question before. The Bills plan for building this team into a consistent winner will be done primarily through the draft and any remaining holes will be filled by free agents that aren’t going to break the bank. Yes, they have a lot of cap room, but the amount of cap room the team has isn’t going to change Buddy’s approach.

I know a lot of fans complain to me all the time about why we’re not more aggressive in free agency. What you need to realize is there are teams in the league that have been very successful with the formula that Buddy is adhering to. Indy, Pittsburgh and San Diego draft well, re-sign their own and fill holes with affordable free agents. Two of those teams have won Super Bowls and all three are perennial playoff teams. It’s a proven way to build a perennial winner, the catch is that it takes time and Buddy said as much when he took the job.

8 – Chris,
 
How has Aaron Maybin looked in training camp thus far?  I read something saying that he weighed in under 230.  I also read something saying that Daryl Talley was giving him a lot of individual attention and answering his questions.  Is Maybin big enough to be seriously considered as an OLB?  Has Talley’s tutoring helped him make any plays in camp?  Based on some of the comments Gailey has made about Maybin in the past, and the fact that he wasn’t allowed to dress for so many games last year, I have to assume that Maybin needs to show something during the preseason this year if he hopes to stay on the team.  I really had high hopes for him when he got drafted.  Does he seem to be making any progress? 
-Brendan, Las Vegas

CB: Well Brendan you’re right about Maybin’s weight. His reporting weight at the start of camp was 228 pounds. It does make it harder for him to stand in and hold his ground on run plays or maintain leverage on an outside rush. As for what he needs to show in this camp I’ll leave it to coach Gailey who addressed that subject today after practice.

“Aaron (Maybin) tries hard every time he walks on the field,” said Gailey. “The key for him is being productive on the field. He has to become a consistent player against the run and a consistent pass rusher. He has work to do, he’s not there yet. So we will see how he continues to develop but he has a long way to go.”

9 – I’ve noticed that their appears to be an amazing family atmosphere among the players and coaches of the Bills. Guys really appear to want to work hard for the guy next to them and not necessarily for the big pay day that could ensue. What would you say the impetus behind that has been?
Josh D.

CB: I’d give coach Gailey the credit for that. I said last year that his toughest task in his first year as head coach was to eradicate the losing culture that had enveloped this team over the past decade. It took him more than half the season, but he vanquished it and got the players to rally around each other and pull for one another.

There’s a sign in the Bills team meeting room that coach Gailey put up on the front wall it reads, ‘The STAR of the team is the TEAM.’ Hopefully that explains the approach Gailey has demanded from these players.

10 – Chris – Greetings from Arizona – we survived the wildfires and looking forward to Bills football!!.

Offense is looking good. What do you think of the offensive line ( I am mostly concerned about left tackle) and any chance the Bills make a run at a TE (Bo Scaife was still there this morning).

Larry Kordosky, Hereford, AZ

CB: Glad you folks out west are alright. I think there are some real concerns about the offensive line particularly with respect to pass protection outside the organization on the part of fans and it’s hard to blame you. The line still has an awful lot to prove. I think Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears are certainly capable, but we’ll know a lot more about what they can do as a group when we get to the preseason games especially with some pass rushing talents like Julius Peppers and Elvis Dumervil in the first two preseason contests.

Update – Bo Scaife signed today with Cincinnati.

11 -Chris,

Do you expect the organization will renegotiate contracts with Fitz, Stevie, and any of the other guys before the season or do you think they will wait and sign them to deals with terms that begin next year?
Thanks,
Nick

CB: I do expect a new contract for Stevie for sure. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a bit more tricky a situation. I can’t predict a timetable for when either of them might re-sign. No one can predict how negotiations will unfold, but it’s clear that Johnson can be a premier weapon in the passing game for several years. With Fitz it’s not that easy. Fitz is the starter this year, no ifs, ands or buts. Beyond that it’s hard to know what the Bills are thinking. And so I believe they could take more of a wait and see approach with him. If Fitz is lighting it up in the first half of the season I believe it helps his cause.

12 – Chris,

Along with many of your fans…I really appreciate your insight on what’s happening with the Bills.  I’ve been a Bills fan for 40 years.  I like what Buddy and Chan are trying to do by building the Bills using the draft.   Having said that though, with all the cap room we have…is there still a possibility for a Tackle or Tight End pick up…with all the weapons at Fitz’s disposal…it would be great to see him have that ½ second more he needs to make this team productive. 

Thanks for your thoughtful reporting!  

Now living in South Florida Sunshine…but still a Buffalo Bills fan.
Eric

CB: As I mentioned earlier I don’t see the cap room changing the front office approach as to how they’re going to build this roster into a perennial playoff contender. I respect your point about better protection for Fitz. I just think if there was an offensive tackle they wanted bad enough they would’ve signed him. They did pursue Tyson Clabo, but Clabo really wanted to stay in Atlanta. And mismatch tight end as I said just isn’t a priority in Gailey’s style of offense.

13 – Chris,

Thanks for asking our questions, and for all of the work you do. I’ve been curious about the Brad Smith signing. Chan has made comparisons to Kordell and Brad Smith said he signed with Buffalo because he liked what The Bills had in mind for him. Is it possible that Gailey’s plan might be to have Smith be a possible QB in the future? Might we expect to see he and Thigpen battle for Fitzpatrick’s replacement maybe 2 years down the road?
Love the signing from a Special Teams, Wildcat, and Reciever prespective  but is there more to this?
Thanks Again,
Brandon
 
CB: It’s tough to say whether there is more to this, but I think the long term commitments made by the Bills to both Thigpen (3 yrs) and Smith (4 yrs) could lead one to speculate that they’ve thought about the position beyond just 2011. What their plans are long term is anyone’s guess, but I believe your theory is not outlandish at all.
 
Thigpen looked very, very good today. His standing on the roster this year will be no higher than the #2 QB, Chan told him that when he called him as a free agent. Fitz is the starter this year and that’s final. I’ll have more on this in my Practice Notes write up tonight.
 
14 –  How do the late round picks and UDFA’s have any chance of really having a shot at making the roster, especially an offensive player ?  Because they don’t have the benefit of knowing the playbook at all.

 
Thanks, Tim H
Spencer, NY
 
CB: This might be the toughest year in football for an undrafted rookie to make a 53-man roster coming out of camp, and you’re right it’s due completely to the lack of OTAs and minicamps in the offseason. They came in cold when camp began and had to pick things up on the fly. Even coach Gailey admitted that veteran players are more entrenched in their roles than in perhaps any other preseason because the coaches are secure in their knowledge of what those players can and cannot do.
 
With the rookie free agents there isn’t enough of a base of knowledge on any of them because they didn’t see them through the spring. This creates more guess work with respect to the evaluations of those players on the part of coaches and coaches don’t want to guess, they want to know. So unless someone really, really shines, it’s going to be very, very tough for rookie free agents to make the squad. We’ll see.
 
15 – What do you think will become of Levi Brown with all of these new quarterbacks here? Do you think he will go back to be number 3, or do you think he has earned the number 2 position? I’m guess with Thigpens’ experience  he’ll go back to being 3. I personally would like to see him get a chance to play at some point.

Thanks Chris, Bills reporting is 2nd to none compared to all other football teams, (which I really need now that I moved to Atlanta) keep up the great work!
CB: Appreciate the compliments. With respect to Levi Brown, I think he’s in a bit of a tough spot. Like we mentioned long term commitments were made to both Thigpen and Smith and I get the feeling that coach Gailey likes having a 3rd quarterback that’s multi-dimensional that he can use on game day for more than holding a clipboard. Levi might be caught in a numbers game here, but there is one other option for the Bills with him and that’s the practice squad. We’ll see how he performs in the preseason.
 
Joseph DeLallo
 
16 – Chris,

Though I am sure someone else will probably ask…how is Michael Jasper fairing at DT?
Thanks,
Geoff from Hungary
 
CB: Wow wasn’t expecting a question from that part of the world. Jasper is currently running with the third team defense at nose tackle. He’s got uncommon athleticism for a 385-pound man. In 1-on-1 drills he’s won more battles than he’s lost as he effectively walks interior linemen back into the pocket. That being said he is a very raw talent. He has a lot of technique work to brush up on having not played defensive line for more than two years.
 
The true test of what he’s capable of will come in the preseason, but he’s an interesting prospect to watch no question. I’m just amazed at how a man that big can be proportioned as well as he is.

17 – Hi Chris:

How is Demetrius Bell looking so far in camp?  Also, should one of the offensive tackles go down, is there any indication at this early stage as to who may be the swing tackle?

Thanks,
Rick Shields

I would like to know who the ‘1’s are currently in practice. I know the depth chart is a fluid thing but reports are that the starting DL at least once was Dareus, Troup and Williams.  Would like to know if that was true?

Steve in Corning

CB: The defensive starters in the team’s base defense are as follows.

DL – Dareus, Williams, Edwards
LBs – Kelsay, Davis, Barnett, Merriman
DBs – McGee, Wilson, Byrd, Florence

Now there are several different subpackages where the personnel groupings are very different and the Bills run a lot of these during the practices, particularly nickel lineups with the offense going 3 wide so often. So that is where some of the misinformation is coming from. Even I made a mistake last week when I thought rookie Da’Norris Searcy was running with the second team defense for a few reps here and there. Actually he’s running with the second team nickel package. I’ll try to come up with an easy way to view the lineups. Maybe I’ll put that together tomorrow here on the blog.

Well folks, that’s all the time I’ve got. I’ve got to still put the Practice Notes together for tonight. Some good performances turned in by Chandler, Donald Jones, Terrence McGee and others. I’ll have it all to you in about an hour. Thanks for participating and hope to do it again real soon.


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Fan Friday 4-22

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2011 – 12:30 pm

The 2011 NFL draft is so close you can taste it. Let’s get to your last set of questions before the Bills are on the clock from AskChris@bills.nfl.net !

1 - Hi Chris,

I know the Bills wanted to have a special fan event presentation to announce the new uniforms and that it might not be for awhile.
But, what uniform would the first round pick of the Bills hold up after he’s drafted?  Will it be the old navy/home uniform or the new one that we haven’t seen yet?

Thanks!
Sincerely,

Brenda from Colorado

CB: The jersey held up by the Bills top draft choice is a league operation. From what I have been told the draft is NOT when the new jersey will be unveiled despite a lot of speculation to the contrary. The unveiling of the 2011 uniforms will be later in the offseason.

So the league will use the current jersey when the Bills first draft choice is introduced, provided he’s in New York at the draft.

2 - Hi Chris,

Do you know if the players have talked about any plans for the off season regarding the lockout? Can Coaches and players put together plans or not? If you were the head coach, what would you do? We might get in trouble for doing this but I would send out my playbook for this coming season to my signal callers and have them practice. Is this illegal and what are the possible ramifications?

Best,
Stephen A. Naetzker

CB: There are a handful of players from different teams organizing practice sessions amongst themselves. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald is one of the more recent examples that has been reported. I did catch a radio interview with Stevie Johnson recently and he did say that a few of Buffalo’s receivers planned to work with Ryan Fitzpatrick in his native Arizona.

This is all conducted by the players on their own behalf. Coaches cannot have any contact with the players under the NFL rules with the lockout. And yes your playbook idea is illegal.

3 – Hey Chris, do you think the Bills will have a chance at drafting Patrick Peterson, Cameron Heyward and Kelvin Sheppard with their first three picks? 

Thanks

Alexander Toronto
CB: I do believe Peterson will be there at third overall. He’s a dynamic player, but I think the front seven is where Buffalo’s defense needs the most help heading into the draft. Cameron Heyward could still be on the board in round two. Kelvin Sheppard is a tough one to call in round three. If there’s one team in round two that loves him they’ll scoop him up.

4 – How many opening day (2011) starters do you think Buffalo can draft with 9 picks?

Care to guess the offensive/defensive split of those 9 picks?

I think it is a 7-2 split on the picks (7 defense, 2 offense).
Jim Wickens

CB: Chan Gailey himself has said he expects them to use more of their picks on the defensive side of the ball. Predicting the split is next to impossible because come the later rounds it’s more about the value there than which side of the ball. So I’ll account for one value pick and say six defense and three offense.

As for opening day starters most NFL GMs believe that picks in the first three round should eventually become starters. At third overall the guy should start from day one. Buffalo’s second pick, which is practically a late first rounder should be starting caliber as a rookie as well. Third round pick should be a starter in a year or so. Of course what could trump the number of starters would be a quarterback prospect that might sit for a year. So I’ll conservatively say two.

5 - Hi Chris,
 
Thanks for your great work and keeping us Bills fans in the know. But my question is about Aaron Maybin. Why is he still a Buffalo Bill? Just seems to me that if coach Gailey and Buddy Nix didn’t think there was something there, they would’ve waived him a long time ago. That just leads me to think that they feel strongly that there is alot of untaped potential there that can be developed. I know he’s still really young. What have you heard and/or what are your thoughts on that situation?
 
Thanks again,
Jerry (Bills fan in FL)

CB: I’m going to defer to a recent comment by Coach Gailey on this.

“Aaron is under contract and we’ll see if he can learn what to do and be a player for us,” said Gailey. “He has great speed, he understands about rushing the passer, not everything. He has some work to do there. He has to play the run a little bit better. He’s got a chance. The ball is in his court. He’s got to go make it happen. Potential only lasts so long. He’s run out of that potential time and he needs to now go and make it happen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Still working with Maybin

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2011 – 6:17 pm

Aaron Maybin has had his share of detractors outside the organization, but the Bills are still committed to working with him. Bills GM Buddy Nix confirmed that on Thursday.

“We’re going to keep working with Aaron Maybin,” Nix said. “He shows signs of doing what he needs to do. And if he can be consistent with that we’re going to try to find something that he can do to help us.”

Maybin found it difficult to get on the field defensively and on special teams as he appeared in 11 games and was a healthy inactive for a five game stretch in the middle of the season. He registered seven tackles and a quarterback hit. To his credit Maybin knows he has to make some improvements if he’s to ensure playing time every Sunday.


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Maybin’s standing “tenuous”

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2011 – 3:55 pm

Bills OLB Aaron Maybin was not happy that he couldn’t contribute more and is determined to do better in 2011. According to head coach Chan Gailey, Maybin doesn’t have a lot of time left to convince the coaching staff that he can make more of an impact.

“Right now he’s on the outside looking in,” said Gailey. “That’s where he is. If he improves, he’ll improve his status. But if he doesn’t improve his status he won’t find playing time on this football team.”

When asked if it would be fair to characterize Maybin’s place on the team as tenuous, Gailey offered the following.

“Yes, that would be fair to say,” said Gailey.

Maybin meanwhile sounds determined to turn his young career around after seeing limited action in 10 games this season.

“As far as my role on the team this year in my mind I didn’t have a prominent (season),” he said. “My whole issue is until I can say something other than that, my focus needs to be getting to the point where I’m a major contributor. At the end of the day all else really doesn’t matter. Getting on the field, getting the snaps and making sure the production is there once I get the snaps is the main goal.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Maybin snaps to increase

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2010 – 2:55 pm

With Antonio Coleman going on I-R earlier this week, Aaron Maybin’s snap count was expected to go up this week just from a lack of numbers at the position standpoint, but head coach Chan Gailey indicated on Wednesday that they had a plan to give him more chances the last month of the season.

“We’ll see what he does this week,” said Gailey. “He’s going to get some more opportunities as the weeks go on, we’ll see how he handles it.”

Gailey described Maybin’s play last week against Vikings as “fair.”


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More time for Maybin?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2010 – 5:32 pm

With Antonio Coleman out for the season with a knee injury according to head coach Chan Gailey, it means more playing time for others like Aaron Maybin.

Maybin only got a few series worth of snaps Sunday against the Vikings, but that number will almost have to increase moving forward and Gailey indicated as much on Monday.

“Some guys are going to get more opportunities now,” he said. “A guy like Aaron Maybin is going to get more playing time. Guys are going to get an opportunity that haven’t had an opportunity like that yet. They’re going to get that chance.”

Gailey also said that Arthur Moats, who has already played a good deal of late will have an expanded role.

“He’s played a lot already and he’s going to play a lot more,” said Buffalo’s head coach. “He has to. Everybody is going to go out and play and show what they can do.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Maybin glad to get some run

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2010 – 3:04 pm

Aaron Maybin played in his first game since Week 5 last Sunday, and with Buffalo’s linebacking corps thinned all the more with Reggie Torbor out for a while, Maybin is looking forward to more snaps on Sunday.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Maybin. “Obviously nobody wants to have as many teammates go down as we have this year. But whenever somebody does go down that means there is an opportunity for somebody else to step up and contribute, so that’s what I’m trying to do now.”

Maybin saw limited time at outside linebacker last week and drew a holding penalty on Jonathan Scott on a pass rush in which he dipped his shoulder under the Pittsburgh left tackle. Based on his lack of playing time this season Maybin understands he’s got some improvements to make in his game to earn more time on the field.

“I feel as though as the coaches continue to give me different things to work on that I’m working extremely hard to try to strengthen those parts of my game,” said Maybin. “I think that I am seeing improvements as far as that goes so that’s encouraging. Like I said, there is still a lot of work to do and there is still obviously a lot that needs to be done on my part.”

Working on scout team during the practice week, Maybin has tried to demonstrate more consistent play against the run and has been working on his own to improve his strength.

“I’ve really been trying to focus on as far as doing anything and everything possible to get back on the field and to put myself in a position where I can contribute as far as just getting my core strength better,” he said. “(I’m) feeling as though I’m working a lot harder as far as playing the run in practice and showing the coaching staff that more so then just a pass rusher I can be more of a complete player.” 

“We’ve got some injuries now so he’s getting his next opportunity,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “And we’ll see what he does with it.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Torbor out “long time”

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2010 – 12:39 pm

The Bills will already be without starting DE Dwan Edwards for the foreseeable future with a severe hamstring injury suffered last week. It looks as though another valuable veteran will also be out for a spell.

Head coach Chan Gailey indicated that LB Reggie Torbor is not expected to play this week or any time soon.

“It’ll be a long time,” Gailey said when referencing both Torbor and Edwards.

Torbor has played an important jack-of-all-trades role lining up at both inside and outside linebacker in the Bills base defense and subpackages.

“It’s a big loss for us,” said Gailey. “There are going to have to be some people that step up and play a lot of snaps for us.”

Bryan Scott and Akin Ayodele are expected to step in for Torbor in nickel and base for his ILB duties. Then Aaron Maybin and two rookies in Antonio Coleman and Arthur Moats could be spelling Torbor on the outside.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Error on inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2010 – 12:01 pm

Sorry folks, on the original text alert it had Keith Ellison as inactive and Aaron Maybin active, but that was incorrect.

Ellison is active and Maybin is inactive for the fourth straight game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Maybin on being inactive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2010 – 4:24 pm

Bills OLB Aaron Maybin was asked about the coaching decision to make him a healthy inactive player for last week’s game at Baltimore.

Maybin admitted he had a difficult time making sense of it, but understood the decision after he spoke with his head coach.

“I didn’t really know anything about it until it happened so it wasn’t really something I was expecting,” Maybin said. “So, I wasn’t really aware about why it was at first but we had an opportunity to talk a little bit later on where he kind of explained what his reasoning was for doing it.”

Maybin admitted he was frustrated by it especially with it happening in his hometown of Baltimore, and head coach Chan Gailey even stated on Monday that he would’ve expected him to be.

“That’s probably been the most frustrating experience since I’ve been here,” Maybin said. “But still it’s a tough spot that we’ve been in and that I’ve been in this whole year. We’ve had to deal with a whole lot of things that I wasn’t necessarily happy with and that the team wasn’t necessarily happy with, so it was frustrating. But we still have to move forward.”

Gailey has mentioned that special teams ability is why OLBs like Arthur Moats and Antonio Coleman were active on Sunday instead of him. Earlier in the season Maybin was on special teams, but that too has apparently changed.
 
“In the beginning of the year there were some teams that I was pretty heavily involved on and at this point things are a little bit different,” he said. “We’ve got some personnel now that we didn’t have before but it’s hard for me to explain that to you.”

“He’s done some good things,” said Gailey. “He’s just not producing enough right now to get on the field. He has good talent and we work with all those guys that have got talent to try to bring them along as football players.”

Maybin has pledged to put his nose to the grindstone every day in practice knowing playing time is ultimately up to the coaching staff. Though he does make a good point in saying if he’s going to improve he needs to get experience on the game field.

“They want to see me be more of a productive player, more of an every down contributor and things of that nature,” Maybin said. “But with all that kind of stuff it comes with experience. You need game time experience in order to make those kinds of transitions happen, so in order for me to get those game time opportunities there is obviously something more that they need to see from me on the practice field. I have to do my best to give that to them.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where Maybin stands

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2010 – 3:56 pm

After being inactive for the first time in his NFL career Sunday for a road game in his native Baltimore, some might be wondering if head coach Chan Gailey was sending the former first-round pick a message. Here was Gailey’s response when asked that very question.

“I don’t send messages,” said Gailey. “We play the people that we think are going to help us win. And we felt like those other two outside backers gave us a better chance especially on special teams to help us win the game.”

Gailey was referring to rookie sixth-round pick Arthur Moats, who has also seen time at Maybin’s former OLB position. And rookie free agent Antonio Coleman, who led the SEC in sacks at Auburn.

So what does Maybin have to do to be active on Sundays and get back on the field?
 
“He has to continue to improve his all around play and that includes special teams,” said Gailey. “And to be honest with you it gets harder and harder because this is game plan (time), it’s not going out and practicing to see who wins spots right now. If somebody doesn’t play well then you give him another chance. If somebody keeps playing well he might not get another chance right now. It just depends on how other people do.”

Gailey said that Maybin was less than thrilled last week when told he was going to be inactive for the Ravens game.

“He’s upset. He should be,” said Gailey. “I would expect him to be. He wasn’t happy when I told him and hopefully it’ll generate the next time he gets an opportunity, better production.”

Gailey denies that he and his staff has lost faith in Maybin.

“I think you’re wrong as a coach if you lose complete faith in a player,” he said. “I think every player goes through ups and downs and goes through the learning curve in certain defenses in certain situations.

“You’re wrong as a coach if you lose faith in a guy. You have to keep coaching them, which we’ll do. You keep trying to improve their play. You keep trying to get them to understand ways to get better for each and every individual that’s out there. If you lose complete faith in a player you’ll not have him around.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2010 – 4:56 pm

With OLB Chris Ellis moved off the roster Monday, the LB position has a bit of a different outlook and head coach Chan Gailey shed some light on the position’s future.

Part of the reason Ellis was deemed expendable was because they see promise in two of their rookie LBs.

“The other two guys that we like are Coleman and Moats,” said Gailey. “They’re coming on and that was one of the reasons that we made the decision with Chris that we made. We felt like those two young players were coming on now.”

Moats was shifted from inside to outside LB the week leading up to the Jets game, but sustained an elbow injury. He has a chance to be back for the Baltimore game.

When Gailey was asked for an update in Aaron Maybin’s progress, since he wasn’t mentioned along with Antonio Coleman and Arthur Moats, the Bills head coach didn’t pull punches.

“Aaron is struggling right now,” said Gailey. “He really is. He’s struggling to get on the field and when he gets his opportunities he’s struggling to make plays. We’ve got to continue to work with him to see how he develops.”

Maybin, who unofficially got two defensive snaps did not even appear on special teams Sunday.

“He’s struggling making plays period right now,” said Gailey. “That’s hard for him. It’s hard for us. It’s hard for everybody. He’s just got to step up his game when he gets opportunities and make things happen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills