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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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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Kelly sees Patriots as vulnerable

Posted by Chris Brown on June 27, 2013 – 12:00 pm

Eager to see the Bills succeed much like they did when he was their quarterback, Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in an appearance on NFL AM on NFL Network shared his opinion on how vulnerable the Patriots are with all that they’ve lost from their high-powered offense this offseason.

“They’re very vulnerable,” Kelly said. “From the standpoint of Tom Brady if you look at what he’s lost with your number one player Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. Losing Welker is like for me when I was playing, losing Andre Reed. A guy you depend on not just week in and week out, but in clutch situations you always looked toward your number one target. Mine was always Andre Reed and when you lose a Wes Welker that’s going to hurt. There’s no doubt they have to feel something being without your four or five top receivers.”

New England lost top receiver Welker to Denver, they released Lloyd (2nd in receiving), Rob Gronkowski (3rd) is coming off back surgery and is a question mark for the start of the regular season, Hernandez (4th) is in jail and Danny Woodhead (5th) signed with San Diego.

Still, Kelly is confident New England’s head coach will devise ways around the offense’s personnel shortcomings.

“I’m sure Bill Belichick will find a way,” said Kelly. “He’s probably already got something up his sleeve. But I don’t really feel too sorry for them. I don’t really feel too sorry for them because sooner or later the Bills have got to rise to the top and if we have to take it that way, oh well.”

 


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Patriots release Hernandez

Posted by Chris Brown on June 26, 2013 – 10:31 am

In a move that apparently will be far swifter than the justice system, the New England Patriots have released TE Aaron Hernandez less than an hour after his arrest this morning by police in Massachusetts.

The team’s official website announced the move moments ago.

That leaves the Patriots passing game without two of their top five passing options from last season in Wes Welker (Denver) and Hernandez. It’s likely they’ll be without a third from that top five contingent in Rob Gronkowski, who recently had back surgery.

New England does have other tight ends in Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomawanui and Daniel Fells on the roster. Ballard is the only real pass catching option from that trio and does not possess nearly the athleticism of Hernandez.

The Bills open the season against the Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sept. 8.


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Jets added rest before facing Bills not new

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2013 – 10:57 am

We showed how the division rival Jets have a decided scheduling advantage this season against the Bills in that they’re coming off a Thursday night game in Week 2 to face the Bills off 10 days rest in Week 3. Then they come off their bye week in Week 10 to face Buffalo in Week 11. As ludicrous an advantage as that might sound it’s not the first time. In fact this marks the second time it’s happened in three years.

In 2011, the Jets, off their bye in Week 8 played the Bills in Week 9 and won going away 27-11.

Three weeks later New York coming off a 10-day rest following a Thursday night game beat Buffalo again 28-24.

You can look at the Jets 2011 schedule for yourself to see how scheduling history is repeating itself and at a disadvantage for Buffalo within their own division.

The league needs to eliminate extra rest for clubs leading up to games against division opponents. They’re just too important to tilt the scale in favor of one side by providing extra rest for players and extra prep time and game planning for coaches.


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Report: Gronk to undergo 4th surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2013 – 12:33 pm

New England Patriots tight end and WNY native Rob Gronkowski is going to undergo a fourth surgery on his injured forearm from last season.

According to the Boston Herald, the procedure is going to remove the metal plate that’s securing the broken bone in the forearm. The main problem right now is there is currently an infection in his arm, which is delaying the surgery as he is completing a six-week antibiotic regimen to eradicate the infection.

The metal plate in Gronkowski’s arm needs to be replaced and the recovery time is 11 weeks. Were he to have surgery today that rehab regimen would take him to the start of training camp, so it’s clear that Patriots doctors believe they have a bit of time to work with.

However, knowing the Bills open the season against the Patriots, monitoring Gronkowski’s health is something Buffalo’s coaching staff will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on through the summer.

 


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Beating Brady blueprint started by Pettine

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2013 – 12:22 pm

Pittsburgh Steelers S Ryan Clark appeared on ESPN NFL Live in the ESPN studios in Bristol recently and talked about how defenses can successfully throw Patriots QB Tom Brady off his game.

Clark told ESPN NFL Live the following.

“In 2010, we saw it start with the Jets in the playoffs,” he said. “When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts.

“Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”

Everyone knows that the Patriots offense is based largely on timing. That’s why it’s little surprise, as ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker points out, Brady’s completion percentage drops from 68.2 percent to 42.3 percent when he holds onto the ball three seconds or longer.

What’s most encouraging is Clark references the Jets approach in the 2010 playoffs. That approach was largely drawn up by Bills current defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

Add in the fact that Wes Welker is gone and Rob Gronkowski coming off the arm injury and the season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sept. 8th could be a very interesting matchup.


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Projecting starters from 2013 draft class

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2013 – 10:54 am

The number crunchers at DraftMetrics have compiled data to project how many starters each NFL club will get out of their 2013 NFL draft class, not only as rookies, but for the long haul. They’ve also statistically forecast how many draft choices from each of the team’s 2013 draft class will make it to the Pro Bowl over the length of their careers. Here are Buffalo’s projections.

With their eight draft choices, DraftMetrics forecasts that almost six of them will have NFL careers of three years or more (5.72), about two of them will be starters for three seasons or more (2.07), only one will be a rookie starter (1.07).

The team with the highest projected number of three-year starters from their 2013 NFL draft class was the Jets with 3.34 players expected to start for at least three seasons.

It should be noted that the data did favor teams that took less risky position picks (e.g. offensive linemen) as opposed to more risky position picks (wide receivers, running backs). Buffalo took a pair of receivers last week.


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Reports: QB Kolb to be cut, Jets interested

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2013 – 11:21 am

According to NFL reports the Cardinals are on the verge of cutting QB Kevin Kolb and a Bills division rival is going to be interested in acquiring him.

Before the cut has even happened speculation is brewing that the Jets will be very interested in Kolb’s services. That according to the New York Daily News.

 


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Jets to pursue free agent QB, WR Gibson

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2013 – 3:06 pm

The New York Jets signed veteran QB David Garrard Monday, but they’re apparently not done adding at the position.

According to the New York Daily News they’re going to actively pursue free agent New Orleans QB Chase Daniel. Daniel has been Drew Brees backup the past few years. The Jets are expected to have some measure of competition for his services in what is considered a thin free agent market at quarterback.

The report also says the Jets are also interested in St. Louis free agent WR Brandon Gibson.


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Matt Moore back with Dolphins

Posted by Chris Brown on March 8, 2013 – 8:47 am

He was one of the few free agent quarterbacks that was being considered by other NFL clubs, but Matt Moore won’t make it to the free agent market.

NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington is reporting that Moore has re-signed with Miami. The deal comes just hours after WR Brian Hartline re-signed with the Dolphins for a reported 5 years and $31M.

 


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Nassib to reportedly dine with Jets tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on March 7, 2013 – 5:19 pm

Ryan Nassib only did throwing drills at the Syracuse pro day today, but by most accounts did very well. Here’s one report from NFLDraftInsider Tony Pauline, who also is reporting that a Bills division rival will be dining with Nassib tonight.

According to Pauline, New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will be dining with Nassib this evening.


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Revis trade rumors include Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2013 – 3:09 pm

CBSSports.com is reporting that the trade market is heating up for Jets CB Darrelle Revis with two of New York’s division rivals expressing interest in the Pro Bowl CB.

Per Mike Freeman’s report both the Bills and Patriots have expressed interest in Revis, but the report says there’s no way the Jets will trade Revis to a division rival. New York is reportedly asking for a first and second round pick for Revis, but coming off ACL surgery there’s no way such a steep price will be paid.

The other teams reportedly expressing interest are Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Green Bay.

Per league policy the Bills and any other NFL club cannot comment on players under contract with other clubs. But Buffalo’s interest would make sense knowing Mike Pettine had Revis in his defense the past four years.


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AFC East foes add incentive in last 2

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2012 – 11:44 am

The Bills are out of the playoffs, but head coach Chan Gailey sees added incentive for his players in the final two games on the regular season schedule.

In his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Gailey admitted at this point self-respect is what you’re playing for.

“You’re playing for pride, professionalism,” said Gailey. “That’s what you’re playing for. I don’t know of anything else that you play for at this point. I think that they’re division games and you want to beat division opponents. We don’t like people in our division in general and you want to beat them because of who they are.”

Buffalo is on the road this week at Miami, before closing out the season at home against the Jets.


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An AFC East first

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2012 – 1:12 pm

From top to bottom the AFC East is a logjam with all four teams sporting 3-3 records. For this late in the season that’s a first.

According to the league’s record keeping, it’s the first time since realignment in 2002 that all four teams in a division are tied for first through Week 6 or later. 

Now unfortunately for the Bills, the first tiebreaker in a division is head-to-head games, which would put both New England and New York ahead of Buffalo right now by virtue of their division wins over the Bills. The Dolphins are also winless in the division at 0-1.

With four division games remaining Buffalo will likely need all four to gain any kind of edge should division tiebreakers come into play at season’s end.


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Pears to rotate with Hairston

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2012 – 11:00 am

Bills starting right tackle Erik Pears got all of 10 snaps in the preseason. Though he had a very good week of practice leading up to the opener against the Jets, it’s not expected to be enough to provide him with the endurance necessary to get through 60-70 plays today at MetLife Stadium.

That according to head coach Chan Gailey, who told Buffalobills.com that Pears’ endurance is just not there yet.

“Not there,” he said. “Plain and simple they need to play more and more and more. But adrenaline will take them pretty good into this ball game. But the guy in particular that we’re not going to ask play the whole ball game is Erik Pears. We’ll try to be smart and limit his reps some.”

When asked if they’ll monitor him and decide when to pull him for a spell, Gailey indicated that they’ll instead have planned times to sit him a series or two here and there.

“I think we’re going to have a plan to shuffle,” said Gailey. “I think we’ll go ahead and have two series (on), two series (off), two series (on) or something like that for this game.”


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Fitz last outing vs. Jets promising

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2012 – 10:50 am

Ryan Fitzpatrick in his last five outings against the Jets might have a completion percentage of less than 50% (72-145, 49.7%), but his last outing is what counts most and his numbers in that game are encouraging.

Fitz in the Week 12 game at MetLife stadium last season were as follows.

26-39 passing (66.7%) for 264 yards and 3 TDs with a 111.5 passer rating.

New York’s pass defense has only changed in the middle of the field with the additions of safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell and with top pick DE Quinton Coples.

Fitz thrived with a short passing game and worked the middle of the field well with Scott Chandler and David Nelson, who combined for 11 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

The Bills were a respectable 40% on 3rd down conversions (6-15) against one of the more formidable third down defenses in the Jets, especially in their own building and they did it without Fred Jackson and Eric Wood.


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Dareus wants to deliver

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2012 – 9:05 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus knows all the expectations are higher for his team, so going into the season he wants to deliver what Bills fans are expecting. And he wants to do it right away in Week 1.

“We have to win this game,” said Dareus of Buffalo’s opener with New York. “It is a division game and I look at it as one of the most important games of the year for us. To start this thing out right, go out there and give everybody what they want and came to see.”

 

“I pride myself on stopping the run,” he said. “Stopping the run first, and making them a one-dimensional team. As a team I think we all gravitate to that, stopping the run and defending the pass. And I think that is where we are going with that. We are going to be ready to go.”


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C.J.: Composure will be key

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2012 – 8:43 am

The one thing that head coach Chan Gailey mentioned in the preseason loss to Pittsburgh that bothered him concerning his starting units was the defense’s loss of composure on the two-minute drive by Ben Roethlisberger that went 98 yards. He used the term “rattled.” That’s why Bills RB C.J. Spiller knows keeping their composure even if something goes wrong early will be key in today’s opener against the Jets.

“It is going to be a hostile environment. It is going to be a lot of excitement, it is the first game,” said Spiller. “They are going to be playing so it is going to be a lot of emotions for us. We just have to play smart and keep our composure and whatever happens early don’t let that derail what we are trying to do.”


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Why Jets ‘D’ so hard to figure

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2012 – 6:30 pm

You’ve heard Ryan Fitzpatrick talk about why the Jets defense is hard to diagnose sometimes with their exotic blitz packages. So we asked coach Chan Gailey for a more specific reason why it’s so tough to get a lock on just who is coming and from where.

“They do a lot of different things with a lot of different personnel groups,” Gailey told Buffalobills.com. “If it was just four down linemen and two linebackers or four down linemen and one backer and the rest DBs then you could get a bead on them. But it might be two down linemen, three linebackers and six DBs, there are so many different groupings they do have some blitzes that look similar, but you don’t know which grouping and which blitz is coming out of which grouping  so that’s what makes it unusual.”

You can see our entire Weekly Conversation with Chan Gailey in Media Center at Buffalobills.com.


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