Inside The Bills

Spiller on change needed for division games

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 2:46 pm

The Bills have found it hard to compete for a division title in the AFC East as New England has largely ruled the division for the better part of the last dozen years. Buffalo usually plays all their division opponents tough, until some unfortunate play happens and the floodgates seem to open. C.J. Spiller knows what has to change to reverse that trend.

In an appearance on NFL AM on NFL Network this morning, Spiller addressed what the Bills need to do to truly contend in the AFC East.

“If you go back and look at those games, we always play all those teams close,” Spiller said. “Obviously, sooner or later, [they] kind-of get out of hand. Against those type of teams, you can’t make mistakes. That’s the thing that’s been killing us against [those] teams is that we make mistakes and it’s hard for us to bounce back. So if we can minimize them, I think we have a chance of competing as one of the top [teams] in the AFC. I’m looking forward to it. Still a lot of work needs to be done. We still have to go out there and play the games.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL Network analysts have high hopes for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on July 19, 2014 – 2:31 pm

With the Bills poised to open training camp first in the league the NFL Network put their talking heads to work in predicting whether or not Buffalo can contend in the AFC East. One of the analysts was former Bill Shawne Merriman.

Merriman pointed to how they do outside the division as for how much they can contend for the postseason. Solomon Wilcotts puts it on EJ as for the team’s fortunes. And Cameron Jordan likes the defense. Here’s a look at their analysis.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A look at 4 players in supplemental draft

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2014 – 12:54 pm

Here’s a look at the four eligible players for the NFL’s 2014 supplemental draft.

College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin breaks down the prospects and where they might go. There’s a linebacker, running back, defensive tackle and wide receiver.

Believe it or not there’s also a mock supplemental draft on NFL.com where it’s predicted that only two of the players will be picked. They have two of the players being drafted by AFC East rivals of the Bills. They’ve got DT LaKendrick Ross (Virginia-Lynchburg) going in the sixth round to the Jets and SMU RB Traylon Shead going in the seventh round to the Dolphins.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Miami to be without Pouncey vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on June 23, 2014 – 5:20 pm

The regular season is a long way off, but if the prognosis for Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is accurate the Dolphins will not have their pivot man in the lineup against the Bills in Week 2.

ESPN first reported Monday that Pouncey underwent hip surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least three months. Three months from today is September 23rd, which is more than a week after the Bills host the Dolphins in their home opener on Sept. 14th.

Pouncey tore a labrum in his hip during OTAs for Miami. For an offensive line that is being revamped this offseason, Pouncey was being counted on to be the glue that held it together. Against Buffalo’s vaunted defensive line, the Dolphins offense could be in for a long day against their AFC East rival.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Overlooking the Bills?

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2014 – 1:17 pm

Yes, New England has dominated the AFC East for more than a decade, and the other teams are doing their darnedest to threaten the Patriots perch atop the division. Some believe the Bills are being overlooked as a potential threat to unseat the Pats.

NFL Network’s Shawne Merriman is bullish on the Bills chances of ending their playoff drought as is NFL.com’s Marc Sessler. Here was the key part of Sessler’s assessment.

The quarterback position is a fair concern, but I view the Bills as a sneaky playoff contender because of a remaining roster stuffed with talent.

With an impressive cast of difference-makers up front, Buffalo’s defense is coming off a season that saw the team notch a franchise-record 57 sacks. With Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kiko Alonso in the fold, this sneaky front seven is among the best in the conference.

On offense, one of the NFL’s deepest backfields is complemented by a cast of wide receivers. Rookie Sammy Watkins looms as a No. 1 option on the perimeter — a legitimate deep threat whom NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks believes could see at least six to eight touches per game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sammy: I believe in my craft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2014 – 10:02 pm

Bills top pick Sammy Watkins is already being asked how he’s going to handle facing the likes of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Brent Grimes in the AFC East. As far as he’s concerned he believes in his technique.

Appearing on NFL Total Access Thursday night Watkins confidence was evident when asked about the weekly matchups he’ll see in the division.
“I believe in my craft. I believe in what my coaches teach me,” said Watkins. “For me, it is going out there week in and week out and competing. That is what the game is about. Of course, there are great corners all over the league. They are great at what they do. For me, it is just to go out there and make the best plays.

“They are going to win match ups and I am going to win match ups, that’s part of the game. I am going to make sure I am ready to compete against those guys and the coaches are going to get me prepared.”

Watkins has also been preparing for rookie minicamp this weekend and is excited about the offensive plans offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has for him.

“That just makes me even happier knowing that I am going to be moved all over the field running different and various routes,” he said. “It’s just a blessing that I got to be in this position, I just got to come prepared and be ready, dissect the playbook, and be hungry and humble. That is what I have been doing so far, and the coaches have been doing a great job with managing everything and so far I have been running with the ones, running with the twos and getting acclimated has been the best part.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jets only team to get extra prep time for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2014 – 12:30 pm

Last season the Bills led the league in games where they were facing opponents coming off extra rest (10 days or full bye) with six of their 16 games providing such situations in 2013. Three of those games came against division opponents. The 2014 schedule is considerably more friendly when it comes to that factor for Buffalo, but again a certain division opponent will have the extra rest edge against the Bills this fall.

Buffalo has only two games this season in which their opponent is coming off of extra rest. Unfortunately those two games are again division contests with both coming against the New York Jets, though one of those has been neutralized to an extent.

In Week 8 Buffalo plays at MetLife Stadium against New York and the Jets will be coming off 10 days of rest. That’s because they’ll be playing New England on Thursday night (Oct. 16) the week before.

Then in the rematch between the Bills and Jets in Buffalo in Week 12, the Jets will be coming off their Week 11 bye. Now the league did a good job of mitigating that advantage because the Bills will be playing on the previous Thursday in Week 11, so they’ll get 10 days rest essentially making that matchup a wash.

Still, it’s tough to ignore this is the third time in four years that the Jets will come off extra rest in both of their division matchups with Buffalo.

In 2013 the Jets had a 10-day break prior to their Week 3 matchup with the Bills at MetLife Stadium as they were scheduled to play Thursday night in Week 2. The Jets also came off of their bye week to play the Bills in Week 11. Buffalo split their season series with New York last season with both games having lopsided outcomes won by the home team.

In 2011 the Jets had the extra rest benefit before playing Buffalo. New York was coming off a bye in Week 8 to play the Bills in Buffalo in Week 9. Then in Week 12 when the Jets hosted the Bills they were coming off 10 days rest having played on Thursday night in Week 11 against Denver.

Though it is a bit frustrating that the Jets seem to get some kind of edge of late when facing the Bills in terms of scheduling, it’s hard to have an issue with the NFL’s job with Buffalo’s overall schedule, especially knowing that the Bills off their bye week will face Kansas City and then play Green Bay on six days rest in Week 15 since they’re playing the previous Monday night against Atlanta.

It’s as even a slate as the Bills have seen when it comes to extra rest balance.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Graham signing done with Pats in mind

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 8:45 am

The signing of Corey Graham may seem like an innocuous one on the surface, but its significance goes far deeper than that. The addition of Graham was done with the sole intention of trying to further neutralize a division rival’s potent and productive passing game.

As pointed out by ProFootballFocus’ Steve Palazzolo, the Graham signing was done in part to give Buffalo to dependable slot corners, pairing Graham with Nickell Robey. It was likely done to help increase the defense’s effectiveness in slowing Tom Brady and New England’s quick strike aerial game. Here’s how he assessed Buffalo’s personnel in the secondary now with Graham on board as it pertains specifically to the New England Patriots passing attack.

Graham has spent much of his time in the slot the last two seasons with the Ravens surrendering 1.18 and 1.01 yards/cover snap in the slot in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Both of those numbers put Graham near the top of the league, but it’s what Buffalo already has on the roster that make him an interesting addition.

Current slot cornerback Nickell Robey is coming off a strong season as the undrafted rookie graded at +2.8 in coverage while surrendering only 0.87 yards/cover snap, good for sixth in the league. The Bills also have a pair of outside cornerbacks on the roster in Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin, so the addition of Graham gives the Bills two viable slot cornerbacks.

Why the redundancy? Look no further than the New England Patriots whose passing game generally runs through the slot. The Bills appear to be matching up with their division rival with hopes of finally overtaking the annual AFC East champion. There’s also a bit of added versatility in Buffalo’s secondary with Aaron Williams, a former cornerback, playing safety. When you throw in linebacker Kiko Alonso, one of last year’s top coverage linebackers at +11.3, the Bills will feature one of the most intriguing coverage units in the league.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spikes already dreaming about playing Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2014 – 3:11 pm

He’s only been a Bills linebacker for a few days after signing with the club late last week, but he’s already been dreaming about facing his old team twice this fall.

Brandon Spikes is an intense competitor and while he said he’ll have life long friends on that roster, it’s clear facing New England will hold a lot of meaning for him this coming season.

“It’s going to be emotional for me,” said Spikes. “I have dreamt about it already. I believe it’ll be an emotional game. I’ll probably be in tears the entire game. I know it’s going to be a battle. It’s definitely going to be a battle for all time. I’m looking forward to that and I’ll definitely be dreaming about it every night until it comes this fall.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Miami expressing interest in Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2014 – 9:15 am

The Miami Dolphins were big spenders in free agency last offseason. Apparently they’re willing to unload the Brinks truck again.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport the Miami Dolphins are expressing an interest in Bills free agent safety Jairus Byrd.

Another team reportedly expressing interest in Byrd is the St. Louis Rams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Jets interested in Vick

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2014 – 5:21 pm

NFL.com reporter Ian Rapaport is reporting that Eagles QB Michael Vick is drawing interest from one of Buffalo’s AFC East division rivals.

Rapaport is reporting that the Jets are interested in possibly acquiring the veteran quarterback. Here’s was what he said about it on NFL Network.

“I’m told the New York Jets are a realistic possible landing spot for Michael Vick for a couple of reasons,” said Rapaport. “One, they want someone to come in and push Geno Smith every day in practice and kind of help him be a little more professional. It doesn’t sound like they want to do it on a long term basis. Also offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Vick still have a lot of mutual respect from their Eagles days together, so a realistic possibility, but they’re not the only team interested in Vick.”

Vick is set to become an unrestricted free agent March 11th.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Miami RB Thomas questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 2:38 pm

It appears as though the Dolphins will have their starting cornerbacks back in the lineup Sunday against the Bills in Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll, who are both probable, but the news is different for RB Daniel Thomas.

Thomas is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis Friday. He failed to practice at all on Wednesday and Thursday. Starting DT Paul Soliai is listed as probable despite practicing only on a limited basis all week due to an ankle injury.

Long snapper John Denney missed Friday’s practice due to illnes, but is probable. Here’s the rest of the Dolphins injury report for Sunday’s game.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Friday

Game Status

Brent Grimes

CB

Groin

LP

Probable

Daniel Thomas

RB

Ankle

LP

Questionable

Nolan Carroll

CB

Knee

FP

Probable

Chris Clemons

S

Knee/Hamstring

LP

Probable

Paul Soliai

DT

Ankle

LP

Probable

Jamar Taylor

CB

Hamstring

FP

Probable

Reshad Jones

S

Groin

FP

Probable

Olivier Vernon

DE

Ankle

FP

Probable

John Denney

LS

Illness

DNP

Probable


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Wins important with AFC East rivals on tap

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2013 – 8:46 am

While some Bills fans would probably prefer to see Buffalo land a higher draft choice knowing the playoffs are out of the conversation, the players are eager to stack victories at the end of the season. Naturally players want to win every week, but even without a postseason berth on the line, beating their division opponents carries a measure of importance knowing they’ll be facing these same team twice next season.

“It’s huge. It means a tremendous amount,” said Fred Jackson in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “Going into the offseason winning football games is something you can build off of and something you can fall back on. We have two opponents coming up that we’re going to see a lot of so to be able to get wins against those guys, focusing on Miami first is something we can take into the offseason. We have a road ahead of us and to be able to lay the foundation of beating those guys and have a winning record in our division is something we can lean on. It’s the opportunity that’s in front of us.”

Buffalo currently has a 2-2 record in the division with wins over the Jets and Miami. They face the Dolphins in the rematch Sunday with Miami trying to remain in AFC playoff contention.

“This is a big game for us and has always been a big game for us,” Jackson said. “We’ll start preparing. We’re excited about it. We have a tremendous opportunity to hit those guys in the mouth and kill their playoff chances a little bit. We went down to their house and got a win so I’m sure they’re hoping to do the same up here. So hopefully we can get a lot of fans out at the Ralph and get them rowdy and we can feed off of them.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Remaining strength of schedule one of easiest

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2013 – 1:12 pm

The Bills have had a tough front half of the schedule en route to their current 3-5 record. That will change on the back half of Buffalo’s 2013 slate.

According to ESPN’s Mike Sando, who took a look at the numbers the Bills have the fourth easiest remaining strength of schedule.

Undefeated Kansas City (8-0) is next however, which will be far from easy. Their record is offset by Jacksonville’s 0-8 mark. Buffalo gets a second crack at all three of their division opponents in the second half of the season as well.

On the road the remaining strength of schedule gets even less challenging. Here’s a look as Buffalo has the easiest remaining strength of schedule for their four remaining road contests. The Bills last four road opponents have a combined record of 8-22, with winless Jacksonville and Tampa Bay on the slate.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills have to change road division trend

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2013 – 1:08 pm

The Buffalo Bills are looking for their first division win this season on their third attempt in Miami on Sunday. Winning division games have proven difficult enough since the turn of the century. When it comes to posting AFC East wins on the road they’ve been close to impossible.

Since the 2000 season Buffalo is 10-32 in road division games, less than one win per season. More recent history shows that trend hasn’t improved.

In their last 10 road division games Buffalo has a record of 1-9, with a current losing streak of eight straight.

Buffalo’s average points scored over that stretch is 19.6 ppg. Their average points against are 33.8.

The good news is their last road division victory was in Miami, when they beat the Dolphins 17-14 on Dec. 19, 2010.

As much improving their road division would help their cause, head coach Doug Marrone is stripping down the goals list even further. He’s just looking to get a complete three-phase game from his team knowing that should deliver a win no matter where the team is playing.

“Really what we’re trying to do is just concentrate on our team,” said Marrone. “We’re not worried about whether we’re on the road or at home. We’re just trying to be more consistent in all three phases. We haven’t played in sync with all three phases so that’s what we’re striving for.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-26

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2013 – 11:50 am

Training camp is here as the players will be voluntarily reporting to camp today. The official report date is Saturday with the first practice Sunday night. We’ll have full coverage on Buffalobills.com with daily video reports (Bills Roundup), daily written practice reports and feature stories both written and video. As always this Inside the Bills blog will be updated constantly each day with extra news and tidbits of Bills information that you’re always looking for.

Continue to send any question you might have during the course of training camp and leading up to the season at my email AskChris@bills.nfl.net or on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

For now let’s get to your latest edition of questions from those two places.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills

Who do you think will make the bills at 5th/6th receiver?

BmoreBillsfan

CB: I think the best candidates for those roles entering training camp are Da’Rick Rogers, Chris Hogan and Kevin Elliott. Those three turned in the most plays in the spring practices. Obviously that can change because when the pads go on the game gets considerably more physical and it can change how effective a receiver is depending on his character makeup and mettle.

 

2 - @ChrisBrownBills

With the Patriots turmoil do you see us closing the gap significantly this season? Will it be a competitive game week 1?

JackJablonski

CB: Greg Bedard on the new Monday Morning Quarterback Column site did a great piece on how Bill Belichick has successfully navigated the Patriots through crises before from the QB change from Bledsoe to Brady, to the predicted revolt after Lawyer Milloy was released days before the season started and signed with the Bills, to Brady’s season-ending ACL injury back in 2008.

I think their depth of talent is thinner than it was during those setbacks, so the Patriots might slip a bit, but I don’t foresee a collapse. New England is a very consistent organization and Belichick is a master adjuster. He will only be more motivated to succeed with outsiders doubting his club.

 

3 – Chris,
Straight to the point: Of the 5 teams we play on extra rest how many of those games are played at home and by home I mean in Buffalo not Toronto? Clearly playing the Jets twice one of them will be away just curious about the rest of ‘em.

Thanks for digging into the schedule you found some pretty compelling info that truly should be addressed. I may with my spare time look at schedules past for this discrepancy. I agree this is an issue worth citing. Keep up the great work!

Dominic Spaccio
Montour Falls NY

CB: Two of the five games in which their opponent coming off extra rest is at home. Those two are the Jets and Cincinnati. The Bills also face Atlanta at home after the advantage of their own bye week is neutralized by the fact that the Falcons are coming off a Thursday night game and will have 10 days rest between games while the Bills have 14. The Dolphins, Jaguars and Jets will come off extra rest to face Buffalo in their own home stadiums. Here’s the full story for those that missed it.

 

4 – Chris,
I understand that the GM has final say on draft day, free agent signings and undrafted signings. The GM assembles the talent pool.  What about the other end of the process – cutting from 90 players to 54 (or whatever the number is)?  It seems to me that whereas the GM is in the best position to draft (having scouted all year), the coach might be in the best position to make final cut decisions having worked closely with the players.  How do the Bills handle this?

Patrick in Indianapolis

CB: Roster decisions concerning player cuts are typically handled by the coaching staff with the head coach making the final call. General managers and personnel directors assemble the talent, but the coaching staff decides who he wants to keep.

That’s not to say that a general manager doesn’t have input, he does, especially on close calls for final roster decisions. That’s when a GM might be asked to offer an opinion.

 

5 - @ChrisBrownBills

Can the Bills use Gragg, in a similar way the Patriots used Hernandez? Using his speed to play a TE/WR hybrid?

MBBedard

CB: I think Gragg, who ran a 4.5 40-time at the Combine, best of all tight ends, is capable of lining up in a detached role almost like a tight receiver. So yes, I think he could be a hybrid type option in the Bills passing game for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. It just depends how he fares when the pads go on at camp. He certainly flashed as a receiving threat in the spring practices.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Improving division record among priorities

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2013 – 10:10 am

Buffalo’s division record has proven tough to improve since the 2000 season. The Bills only have one season with a winning record in the division since the turn of the century.

That came in 2007 when Buffalo finished 4-2 in the division in a season when the team went 7-9. As we examined in our Top 25 Countdown, posting a winning record in the division is critical for playoff hopes. Here’s a look at what the division records have been for the Bills since 2000 along with the team’s final record at the end of the season.

Year       Div. record          Season record
2000       2-6                          8-8
2001       1-7                          3-13
2002       2-4                          8-8
2003       2-4                          6-10
2004       3-3                          9-7
2005       2-4                          5-11
2006       3-3                          7-9
2007       4-2                          7-9
2008       0-6                          7-9
2009       2-4                          6-10
2010       1-5                          4-12
2011       1-5                          6-10
2012       2-4                          6-10


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Constant change on ‘D’ good vs. Brady

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2013 – 9:42 am

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has a defensive scheme that acts a lot like a chameleon, constantly changing it’s pre-snap appearance. We examined if the new scheme will make the Bills unit one of the league leaders in sacks in our Top 25 questions until camp countdown. Bills veteran DT Kyle Williams is perfectly fine with the nenw approach, knowing the perennial All-Pro quarterback in their division feasts on defenses that don’t change things up.

“I think they make things confusing,” said Williams of Pettine and his staff. “We can show blitz and get out of blitz, they can blitz outside, inside. There’s just a lot of different things that we do it out of and we do it out of multiple personnel, multiple formations.

“We can show a base look and you can blitz everybody out of it or you can bring one. There are just a lot of different ways that they can do things and with us playing Tom Brady twice a year you have to do different things to him. If you’re going to get in your defense and this is what we’re going to stay in and we’re going to play it well. No matter how well you play he’s eventually going to figure out how to spin the top on you. That’s one of the great things we’re doing now.”

Williams admits the new scheme has been a shot in the arm for the guys on his side of the ball.

“I think it’s exciting,” he said. “Anytime you have something new that you haven’t done before. Obviously it’s no secret. We haven’t had much success. At the end of the year I said, ‘I just want to win.’ You only get so long to play this game and I’ve been around for a little while. So I’m down for anything. I’m going to be me and give it everything I’ve got. I’m excited about it.”

Jets defense, in keeping teams off guard


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A peek into Bills front office structure

Posted by Chris Brown on July 11, 2013 – 11:37 am

NFL.com’s Albert Breer took the time to breakdown the hierarchy of each NFL front office. Who makes the decisions in what areas of the franchise, who answers to who and who has final say? It’s a pretty comprehensive look at the different power structures in the league.

Here is an interesting, though not surprising look at Buffalo’s new front office structure with President & CEO Russ Brandon now handling day-to-day control and Doug Whaley as GM.

The most interesting part of the breakdown was the opinion of an anonymous NFC executive on Buffalo’s new front office hierarchy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-28

Posted by Chris Brown on June 28, 2013 – 12:25 pm

Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,

Thanks for the uploading of the video of EJ Manuel’s pregame speech on BB.com. I, for one, needed to see that. I was questioning whether EJ had the fire for the job, and now I know. It was great to see.

One question about the release of Tarvaris: could one of the reasons for it be that the Bills are impressed with Jeff Tuel, and want to develop him as a future no. 2?

Thanks,

Kenny in Indiana

CB: I think the main reason for Jackson’s release was to thin the competition for the starting quarterback job from three to two. The coaching staff quickly came to realize that conducting a three-man QB competition while also installing a new offensive system was not going to work. The reason why is as much as you want to make the competition a fair one, you also have to make sure that you have a candidate that’s ready to play come the start of the regular season.

With the reps split three ways and the system new to all of the QB candidates, there was a risk that wouldn’t be the case. So they pared the pool down from three to two. This way either Kolb or Manuel will have enough time executing the offense in a practice setting to effectively run it in game situations come the fall.

Now that doesn’t mean they don’t like what they have in Jeff Tuel. I think they do believe his talents can be further developed. Long range he very well could be a backup to Manuel.

 

2 - Hey Chris ,

I was wondering, with the youth movement at one Bills drive from top to bottom there are a couple of players that were brought in by the previous regime, one of those players IMHO has never really lived up to his contract although he did give us a boost in the WR corps when injuries came calling. This player that I am referring to is Brad Smith. Given the fact that we have increased the talent level at the WR position 2 fold & the potential of that group with Stevie, TJ, Woods, Da’Rick, Goodwin, & the possibility of Easley or another player, do you see the current coaching staff keeping Smith around ?

Given the upside of this group & the apparent future movement & then you throw in his contract I can’t see why they would want to keep him around. I read from time to time fans talking about Brad’s athletic talents but even though he may be just that I don’t think that we can afford to keep him when we have others with much more upside & at a much cheaper price. At the very least we could trade him back to Rex for a future draft pick .

Thanks you are greatly appreciated !!

Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: I think teams with new regimes always have these kinds of decisions to make. Weighing the value of a veteran player at a position where there’s a lot of promising youth, but inexperience as well. Brad Smith in the spring practices certainly showed he can bring a veteran presence to the receiving corps. Playing there full time now, he may also be able to deliver more than he has in the past under the previous staff when he had a more varied role.

What the Bills have to weigh is whether his value as a veteran receiver is needed for this roster and the passing game to flourish. The long term upside of several of the young wideouts might be superior to that of Smith, but right now Smith might be deemed an option they cannot do without, especially with the potential of a young quarterback running the offense at some point this season.

Smith has proven to be pretty reliable in the spring practices.

The other side of that coin is this. Young receivers like Woods and Goodwin are players you want to get reps so they can develop quicker. If Smith is out there getting reps, those are reps that the two draft choices are not getting.

So I believe if Woods and Goodwin flash early and often in training camp it could vault them up the depth chart and possibly convince the staff that they can be relied upon to play significant roles. If that proves to be the case then what you suggested is possible.

 

3 - Chris:

If Jairus Byrd refuses to sign with the Bills, could the Bills allow his agent to contact other teams in an attempt to workout a sign and trade deal for agreeable consideration?  What impact (if any) would that have on the Franchise Tag?

 

CB: The Bills issued the non-exclusive franchise tender to Jairus Byrd. What that means is all this time his agent can talk to other NFL clubs to gauge his market value and see if there is a club willing to talk long term contract for Byrd.

Obviously the compensation under league rules would be a pair of first round picks. Of course a team interested in signing Byrd long term could come to the Bills and ask if they’d be willing to accept less than that.

If a sign and trade deal were to occur it would have no impact on the franchise tag for Buffalo. They could use it the following year.

 

4 – Chris,

Once again, hats off to you, Murph and Hannah for the great work you do for all of us Bills fans.

I recently started a thread for this topic and wanted to add your input. Who do you think were the best offensive linemen to wear a Bills uniform? What would be your “dream line”?

CB: I’m not going to pretend that I saw every Bills offensive lineman play, but based on history and what I have seen with my own eyes, my “dream line” for the Bills would be as follows.

LT – Will Wolford
LG – Joe DeLamielleure
C – Kent Hull
RG – Billy Shaw
RT – Howard Ballard

 

5 – Chris,

Assuming that the Patriots win the AFC East division again, as usual, and that the NY Jets, who seem to be a team in disarray, finish last, a battle between the Bills and Dolphins will be shaping up for 2nd place in the division. Miami seems to have really improved this off season, and the Bills also. Since the 2nd place team might have a shot at the playoffs, how do you think that the Bills and Dolphins compare?

LeeD

CB: In light of the offseason setbacks the Patriots have faced this offseason I don’t know that you can hand them anything. Still, as defending division champs we’ll go along with your prognostication.

In comparing the Dolphins and Bills, the one edge Miami does have is they are in the second season of their respective offensive and defensive schemes. So there’s a familiarity with execution there, particularly at quarterback.

Their defense was seventh in points allowed last year and their special teams were very good particularly in the return game. Their offensive line is a question mark, and that will impact the skill position talent they’ve added, especially at receiver.

So while I believe Miami will have a decided edge just based on the fact that they’re in year two under their coaching staff, I think the potential exists for the Bills to pull even and perhaps even pass Miami as the season moves along.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills