Inside The Bills

Sleeper safety

Posted by Chris Brown on April 12, 2013 – 2:03 pm

With the fair number of safety prospects that have had pre-draft visits with the Bills we thought we’d provide a name for sleeper at the position in this year’s draft class.

Arkansas State’s Don Jones a month ago was considered at best a priority free agent pickup after the draft, but after a pro day that sent NFL scouts scurrying back to the game tape he figures to come off the board on day three.

Jones (5’11” 191) is a bit undersized, but is a hitter and there’s no denying his athletic ability. Jones ran a 4.42- and 4.4 40-times, had a 42-inch vertical and 10-foot-7 broad jump at Arkansas State’s pro day. He also had 17 reps on the bench.

What that athletic ability has NFL talent evaluators thinking about now is the realistic thought of him being a team’s fifth or sixth defensive back while using that speed on special teams coverage units as well.

The Bills were in attendance at the Arkansas State pro day on March 24th, and have pulled talent out of there before, most recently with their third-round pick in 2010, DL Alex Carrington.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Megahand strikes again

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2012 – 10:20 am

When Alex ‘Megahand’ Carrington got his arm on Miami K Nate Kaeding’s 46-yard attempt Sunday to keep the game scoreless in the first quarter it was the fourth blocked field goal of his career and third this season. It put him in some elite company.

Carrington’s third blocked field goal were the most in a season since Bruce Smith had three in 1996. His blocks this season came against Arizona, Houston and Miami. He also had a blocked extra point against Seattle.

The four blocked kicks are the most by a Bills player in one season, since such records have been kept (1988).

With five blocked kicks in his career (3 FGs, 2 PATs) Carrington has the most in a Bills career since Phil Hansen, who blocked four field goals and 1 PAT.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Carrington ties Bruce Smith

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2012 – 3:09 pm


Bills DT Alex Carrington, who was dubbed ‘Megahand’ by Stevie Johnson after his crucial field goal in the overtime win at Arizona, has now been credited with a third blocked kick this season after a scoring change in last week’s game.

The blocked extra point attempt by the Seahawks last week was originally credited to Marcell Dareus, but has been changed and credited to Carrington. That is his third blocked kick this season making Carrington the first Bills players since Bruce Smith in 1996 to block three kicks in one season.

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Carrington’s anticipation a credit to vets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 9:30 am

In our feature story on Alex Carrington’s improved play of late on the home page at, we covered several ways in which he has enhanced his game. While he has certainly been the beneficiary of good coaching in his time with the Bills, he also credits the veteran defensive linemen in his positional meeting room for expanding his knowledge of the game.

“My football knowledge and my chemistry with the guys I’m working with has boosted my play tremendously,” Carrington told “I’ve learned a lot from these guys just by sitting and watching film, talking to them and asking questions.”

Just listening to Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson interacting with the coaches in the meeting rooms has helped Carrington know what to expect against specific opponents and even specific players out on the field.

“It’s not one specific piece of advice. It’s kind of collective,” he said. “I’m very observant and I see the way these guys watch film. I see the kinds of questions they ask and it gives me a different perspective on how to approach my opponent.

“They’ll ask questions that I wouldn’t think of and they’re veterans so they’ve played a lot of these opponents multiple times. So they already have a bead on what kind of player he is and what he’ll do in certain situations. It’s unbelievable. That’s what makes them great players and shows you that they put the time in with film study and the advantage of experience. You can’t teach that stuff.”

Whether Carrington knows it or not, they’re teaching it to him.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carrington’s got a nickname

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2012 – 5:32 pm

Alex Carrington’s play is spiking on the defensive side of the ball of late, something we’ll bring to light more in a feature story Wednesday morning on However, it was his exploits on the field goal block unit that earned him his current nickname in the Bills locker room.

After making the block on Jay Feely’s game-winning field goal attempt in Arizona in Week 6 with two seconds remaining to force overtime, Carrington triumphantly grabbed the wrist of the hand that blocked the kick with his other hand while jumping around to celebrate.

“We gave him a lot of garbage for that sorry celebration,” said Kyle Williams.

One of his teammates also gave him a nickname in the wake of that play and subsequent victory.

“Everybody was clowning me on it,” Carrington told of his celebration. “Stevie gave me a nickname after that. He started calling me ‘Mega-Hand.’ That was the Arizona game. He was calling me ‘Mega-Hand.’ There are a few people that are calling me that now, mainly on the coaching staff. I’ll hear it in the hallways.”

No word if he plans to team up with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson on any collaborative efforts in the offseason.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2012 – 7:29 pm

Here is where you can find Bills players and execs on the airwaves Friday morning.

The Howard Simon Show – WGR 550
Buddy Nix – 8:00 AM

Janet and Nick – Kiss 98.5
Alex Carrington – 8:00 AM

Shredd and Ragan – 103.3 The Edge
C.J. Spiller – 8:00 AM

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle, Barnett split sack from Cards game

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2012 – 4:47 pm

Nick Barnett was initially credited with a pair of sacks in last Sunday’s overtime win over Arizona. The league has since amended his sack stats.

The sack which Barnett was credited for when Kevin Kolb ran out of bounds for no gain is now being split by Barnett and Kyle Williams. So Barnett now has a sack and a half for the Cards game and Williams a half sack.

Also Alex Carrington was officially given credit for a blocked field goal.

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Carrington tipped missed 38 yarder

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2012 – 10:01 pm

According to Bills players in the locker room, DT Alex Carrington got a piece of the 38-yard field goal attempt that caromed off the left upright leading to overtime in Buffalo’s dramatic 19-16 overtime victory at Arizona.

“Once they got inside the 30-yard line we made the huddle call, coach DeHaven put us in an all out rush, and Kelvin Sheppard was pushing on Alex Carrington and got his hand up and tipped the ball and I saw it hit the goal post and I couldn’t tell if it fell through or fell back forward,” said George Wilson. “I saw the referees wave it off no good and it was like a breath of life.

“I think once you turn on that tape and see all 11 guys laying it on the line to try to keep them from getting the field goal. You never know which play is going to make the difference in the game. Our guys were very resilient today. I’m proud of our coaching staff. Nobody wavered, nobody pointed the finger. And that’s what got us the victory.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How I-R for Troup helps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2012 – 3:20 pm

Torell Troup legitimately had to go the route of injured reserve. He just wasn’t going to be able to help this defense in time coming off of back surgery. Troup’s removal from the roster equation also helps in another way.

It stashes a young, capable defensive tackle on their roster. Granted he has to prove he can make it all the way back, but knowing that Spencer Johnson is in the final year of his contract and Dwan Edwards is only signed through the 2013 season, there will be a need to get younger depth behind starters Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. That figures to be Troup and Alex Carrington, who could be the fifth defensive tackle kept on the 53-man roster if the numbers fall right.

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Fan Friday 7-20

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2012 – 11:37 am

The last Fan Friday before training camp begins at St. John Fisher. Crazy that it’s here already! Here are the last set of questions from prior to the team hitting the field for final preparations for the 2012 season.

1 – Hi Chris,

About Marcus Easley – I can see him being the “#2” WR, if not to open the season, at least by the bye. However, I suspect that not many outside of Buffalo even know who he is. In fact, I think that Buffalo’s WR corps is underrated in general… if Easley solidifies the #2 spot, I think the Bills could blow up a lot of teams by running 3-wide or 4-wide.

My question is, in general, how long does it take other NFL teams to get a “book” on a WR, and do you think that Marcus has the game to adapt and succeed? 

Brian Park

CB: I’m a big believer in Marcus Easley’s skill set. His work ethic is impeccable. He’s just been the victim of a knee injury and an unforeseen medical condition. I think his game is good enough to succeed at this level.

As for how long it takes an opponent to get a book on a receiver, it depends on their amount of time on the field. If Easley becomes a regular and wins the outside receiver job opposite Stevie most opponents would have a book on him by Week 4. If his playing time is more intermittent then it would take a bit longer because there would naturally be less film on him.

2 – Chris,

I am a little confused about NFL roster limits these days. As I understand it NFL teams can suit up 45 players each game day. That means there are 8 players on the 53 man roster who can’t play on Sundays. Now are these 8 players what is called the practice squad? Or is the practice squad another separate group of 8 players?


CB: NFL teams can dress 46 players on game day, leaving seven players from the active 53-man roster who are inactive for that particular game. In addition there are eight other players that make up the team’s practice squad. The practice squad is made up of players that are not on the active roster. They would need to be called up to the active roster to be eligible to dress and play in a game.

So in essence a team has 53 players on the active roster and an additional eight practice squad players for a total of 61.


3 – Hi, Chris,

First, I’d like to thank you for all the work you do to keep Bills fans informed.  My question concerns the linebackers.  I’ve seen some people ask you about how many WRs we’ll keep; I’m wondering about the LBs.  How many do you see ending up on the roster?  Has McKillop shown anything so far?  Thank you for your time.

John MacGaffick

CB: I think with the team moving to a 4-3 defensive scheme that there will not be as many kept on the roster as last season. Buffalo kept 11 linebackers on the 53-man roster last year and 10 the year before. Knowing a couple of those spots have to go toward the defensive line with it being a four-man front I think the number could be trimmed to seven or eight this time around.

McKillop has proven to be a heady middle linebacker. I think his speed still isn’t what it once was coming off of a major knee surgery. We’ll see if he’s faster in camp. This is a fly to the football type defense so speed is a big key for the linebackers.


4 – Chris,

After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick through OTAs and mandatory mini-camp have you seen a marked improvement in his accuracy since he has been working with new QB coach David Lee?  I believe this is the most important key to the Bills success in the incoming NFL season.  Your comments will be appreciated. 

Optimistic Bills Fan
CB: In our one-on-one interview with Fitz he affirmed that his accuracy numbers were as high as they have ever been through the spring workouts. David Lee said Fitz has bought in completely to what he’s teaching and because of that his accuracy has been ahead of schedule in terms of when he thought he would see a difference.

People forget that prior to taking a shot to his chest in the Washington game that Fitz’s completion percentage was 67.7%, which was among the league leaders. And even with a disappointing second half of the season he still had a completion percentage of 62% for the season. So knowing it’s very likely to go up from there should have you encouraged about Fitz’s prospects for 2012.


5 – Chris,

Thanks for all the updates on the Bills, it is appreciated very much! I know the Bills haven’t done any work in pads yet, but how does Alex Carrington look so far as a DT? Also, is there a timeframe for when Torell Troup is expected back? Thanks!

Steve B.
Fredericksburg, VA
CB: Carrington is not foreign to playing defensive tackle as he played there some in passing situations over the past two seasons, albeit sparingly. In the spring practices he ran with the second unit at defensive tackle, and also saw time with the first and second nickel subpackages as an inside rusher.

What has to be remembered heading into camp was during the spring Torell Troup was not part of the equation since he was still recovering from back surgery. Troup is expected to get full clearance at training camp this week. Once he is back in the mix, he and Carrington could very well be competing for the same role in Buffalo’s defense.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-25

Posted by Chris Brown on May 25, 2012 – 11:45 am

Happy Memorial Day weekend Bills fans. Don’t forget those servicemen and women that made the ultimate sacrifice. May they all rest in peace. Let’s press on with your questions from

1 – Hey Chris,

I’m hoping you can give us some idea how our line plays out after Kyle, Mario, Anderson and Dareus. Do Kelsay and Merriman split time on the left end with Kelsay playing run downs and Merriman playing pass downs? I assume Dwan Edwards and Troup are tackles. Are Carrington and Spencer Johnson tackles or ends? Are Moats and Batten ends or linebackers? Do you think all of those players even make the team?

Thanks and Go Bills,

CB: From what I have heard Dwan Edwards is now a defensive tackle and to me that makes sense in a 4-3 scheme. Troup obviously is still a defensive tackle. Carrington and Spencer Johnson are both ends, with the ability to kick inside to defensive tackle on obvious passing downs should a rotation be needed. Moats and Batten are both outside linebackers. Kelsay would presumably be a run defending end with Merriman and Anderson pass rushing options on obvious passing downs.

Do all of them make the team? I’m not so sure they do.


2 – Chris,

With the upgrade to the pass rush, it is still to be determined how much better the Bills’ run defense will fair. Pass rush was an issues that needed to be fixed with Mario and Anderson. However, the last two years the Bills run defense has been last and 28th in the league. I feel this part is being ignored by the team in some degree. Even when the Bills were using the 4-3 they gave up lots of yards. How will the switch to the 4-3 contain the “big plays the team gave up. It is still a question how the 3 LB’s will shape up in new positions. Obvious a healthy Kyle is part but what else do they need to do since they appear in pass rush mode instead of stop the run. 

Thanks always, 

CB: When they went to the 4-3 they were still giving up rushing yards because they didn’t have Kyle Williams, Torell Troup and Shawne Merriman (a very underrated run defender) in the lineup. The players they get back healthy this offseason is what will improve the run defense, more so than the scheme.


3 – Chris,

Short and simple.. how is our center doing? haven’t heard anything about Eric’s rehab. Wood love an update:) 

Eric (displaced fan in AZ)

CB: Wood is progressing well, but won’t be doing any real on the field football-related stuff until training camp. That’s the timetable.


4 – Hey CB,

I was looking through the remaining free agents and I saw that there are still some decent free agent WR’s. Do you think there is any chance of the Bills still picking a receiver up? Or OT? 

Thanks, Carter

CB: I would never rule anything out. Buddy Nix always says you never know who might become available late in the free agent process, like Nick Barnett last year. That being said, Chan has said time and again that he likes his group of receivers on the roster already. I think an offensive tackle is added only if Hairston and Glenn struggle mightily.


5 – Hi, Chris, 

Last pre-season, the Bills said that they had too many good receivers, so they traded Lee Evans. Roughly a year later, they say that a deep threat receiver (e.g. Lee Evans) is near the top of their needs list. What has changed? Have they re-evaluated those “too many good receivers” and decided that they are not so good after all?

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

CB: First, the Bills were trying to publicly show some respect for the years that Lee Evans gave them. They didn’t publicly say they felt he was a player in decline, but that was their opinion and ultimately why he was traded. That was the main impetus, not because of who they had. They did feel by moving Evans off the roster it would allow more of their young talent to blossom, chiefly Marcus Easley, who is a deep threat and a huge target. That was compromised however, when his medical condition ended his season before it began just days before Week 1.

They’ve added additional deep threats in T.J. Graham and David Clowney, so there’s some insurance this time around and Easley is medically cleared and ready to get his career off the ground.

BONUS: Chris,

Thanks for keeping BillsNation in the loop with your work.   I’m curious if you could give us a sense of what the Bills main objectives are in OTA’s?   Clearly assimilating new players from free agency and the draft is job 1, but what else do they view as important during OTA’s?

Tony C.

CB: I think getting the defensive players up to speed with the new defensive scheme under Dave Wannstedt is at the top of the priority list. Second, there are a lot of new pieces that have to get accustomed to playing with one another in that front seven. And third, there’s a very good chance that a second-year CB and rookie CB will be starting on the boundaries in Aaron Williams and Gilmore, so getting them ready will be huge.

On offense it’s finding a definitive answer at left tackle, being more consistent on third downs, getting Marcus Easley ready for the season, finding a true number two threat opposite Stevie Johnson and finding a way to get Jackson and Spiller on the field at the same time.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carrington kicking inside

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2012 – 11:51 am

Bills DL Alex Carrington lined up as a defensive end in Buffalo’s old 3-4 defense, and last year even took snaps as an OLB. That’s all changing now with the defense moving to a 4-3 under defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt.

Bills GM Buddy Nix, appearing in a live online chat on Tuesday, was asked where Carrington would now be lining up. Nix said the third-year player is moving to the defensive interior.

“He’s a defensive tackle now,” said Nix. “He’ll be an inside player.”

Carrington, who carries his weight well, played at 305 pounds last season, so being sturdy enough inside to hold his ground won’t be an issue. The move makes sense with the free agent additions at DE in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, along with Chris Kelsay’s move back to end from OLB. It’ll be an interesting transition to witness come training camp.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-30

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2012 – 10:23 am

Hard to believe we’re 26 days away from the NFL draft! Get up to speed on the top 5 prospects at each position with our video position previews in the media center at where you hear from almost every one of the prospects profiled. Let’s get to your questions.

1 – Chris,
I like Nix’s stance on picking value over need, but since OLB is a definite need, if Terrell Manning from NC State is still available in the 3rd, do you think he’s what the Bills are looking for? He seems like a pretty quick, tough, instinctive player. Also, is there any chance TE Coby Fleener is going to be available for us in the 2nd round, & if so, would the Bills go for him? I know they’re high on Chandler, who had a good year, but you can’t deny Fleener’s ability/athleticism. Last, is there any chance the Bills trade out of the #10 pick? I just can’t see them taking a (right) tackle with Pears playing as well as he did & DE/OLB seems like a reach. Unless some fluke-ishness, a-la last year w/ the Locker-Gabbert-Ponder run,  happens in those 1st 9 picks & CB Claiborne is still available, I don’t see anyone being worth what we’d have to pay a #10 pick. I’d rather trade the pick altogether for a proven vet, Mike Wallace anyone? Thanks for all your work keeping us displaced Bills fans in the loop.

Mauricio Grossi
Chicago, Il

CB: A lot of questions here. First, Terrell Manning to me is a boom or bust player. Most believe he should’ve returned to N.C. State for the 2012 season and I’m one to agree. He just doesn’t make enough plays. He’ll flash here and there, but he doesn’t have great football instincts. Manning overruns a lot of plays in my opinion. He has pass rush ability, but I think the better overall player is his teammate Audie Cole. After Cole ran in the 4.6s at his pro day I felt better about him being a LB target in the 3rd or 4th round. He played mostly SLB, but was moved to MLB this past season for the Wolfpack.

He’s a smart, instinctive player with good physical ability. At 6’4” 246, he’s got prototype size for the strong side LB spot and would be a great young prospect to line up behind veteran Kirk Morrison. I met him at the Combine and liked what I heard. The dude’s hand swallowed mine (10 inch hands). I think he also could serve as a backup MLB.

Stanford’s Coby Fleener is now being talked about as a late first-round pick after his monster pro day last week. I don’t know that he’ll go that high, so you’re right about him probably being there for Buffalo in round two. I just don’t see tight end being a priority. Chandler I believe still has some potential to reach. Last year was his first year as a full-time starter. I think he can do even more this year.

As for trading out of the 10th overall pick. I think it is very realistic. If Buffalo doesn’t like what is on the board at offensive tackle in terms of the value matching up at pick 10, and they don’t believe WR Michael Floyd is right for the 10th pick either, I could see them making an effort to move back five to 10 spots and picking up an extra choice. Of course they need to find a trade partner to do that.

Your dream of getting Mike Wallace by the way are remote at best. All signs point to him being re-signed by Pittsburgh.


2 – Hey Chris,

I really appreciate all the work you do in keeping us informed on the Bills.  My question is about Memphis DT Dontari Poe.  Heard he blew people away at the combine with his athleticism for his size of 6-4 and 346 pounds.  I know we have Williams are Dareus in the middle, but Poe reminds a lot of people of another guy the Bills passed on Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata.  Curious if you think the Bills would give any consideration to drafting this guy or would they rather address a bigger need? 

Thank you,
Jeremy from San Antonio
CB: While Poe is an intriguing prospect and should be no worse than a mid-first round pick, I don’t see Buffalo going the DT route. The Bills have a lot of depth on the interior with Torell Troup on the road to recovery from back surgery, Kellen Heard and now Dwan Edwards as a likely DT in the new 4-3 scheme.

Buffalo’s positional demands at OT, WR, LB and CB trump DT.

And while I like Poe as a prospect, he’s not Haloti Ngata.


3 – Dear Chris,

Is it plausible the Bills would consider using one of their 4th round picks on Kellen Moore? I think he has potential be a great backup for Fitz. His accuracy would fit well into our offensive scheme. Many are casting doubts on his ability to perform at the next level, but it seems Buffalo has built a 1st class culture through acquiring players with a chip on their shoulder!  

Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your great coverage. 

Larry D
Fort Collins, CO  

CB: Being a guy of small stature myself I always root for the guys that aren’t blessed with the physical gifts that the elite prospects possess. But it’s even hard for me to look past Moore’s physical limitations. Being under six-feet tall wouldn’t be as much of an issue if he was on the higher end of the athleticism meter. Unfortunately he’s not. He lacks agility and escapability and that hurts him at the NFL level because at his height he’s going to need to move around a lot to find throwing lanes to throw through, much like Doug Flutie did. Moore can’t move like Flutie.

He’s super intelligent and anticipates throws really, really well. He puts good touch on the ball as well, but driving the ball downfield isn’t something he’s going to do. I suppose he could survive as a backup WCO QB, but I believe he’ll be a successful offensive coordinator in this league before he’s a successful quarterback. A sixth or seventh-round pick at best.


4 – Chris,

Love the offseason coverage. Can’t wait until draft day! Can you breakdown who is in the mix to fill the rush/SAM LB in the new defense? Who are the best 43 LB in the draft that could fill the void?  Hightower (Alabama) Lewis (Oklahoma). Where do players like Chris White and Robert Eddins (who looked great in preseason ) fit into the new LB scheme. The team needs depth at LB at all 3 positions.


CB: As it stands now Morrison would be the starting SLB going into camp with Moats backing him up over there and last year’s sixth-round pick Chris White in that mix too. On the weak side it’s Nick Barnett and Robert Eddins, who is under contract and is a rush LB. I anticipate Shawne Merriman to be a pass rushing end on the open side (right side) so he’s out of the mix. I believe Bryan Scott could be part of competition as well knowing he played a hybrid LB role in the team’s nickel package last year.

As for draft prospects that fit the 4-3, Hightower to me is an ILB and probably a second-round prospect. Lewis is an interesting player because he’s got a lot of physical talent, but since the Oklahoma coaches never found a spot for him it’s hard to know what he is exactly. He also had some academic issues and it was recommended to him that he turn pro. Also said to have some maturity issues so he doesn’t sound like Bills draft material. North Carolina’s Zach Brown (WLB), Boise State’s Shea McClellin (SLB), Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and N.C. State’s Audie Cole (SLB) are all guys I feel better about.


5 – I’m puzzled about the status of Alex Carrington.  He played as a 4-3 defensive end in college and in the 3-4 this year they played him at linebacker, even though he is around 300 lbs.  He must have quickness to play linebacker and I heard he increased his strength dramatically coming into last season.  Therefore, why isn’t he mentioned as a candidate to be one of the starting defensive ends in the 4-3?  Thanks for being willing to answer our questions.

Tom O.

CB:  The reason why you don’t see him being mentioned as a DE in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense is because he’s likely to be a defensive tackle. Carrington added lean muscle to his frame last year and came into camp at 305 pounds. He was miscast as an OLB, but he along with Spencer Johnson were the best answers they had in terms of setting the edge in the run front with Merriman out of the lineup. Now in the 4-3 Carrington is likely to be a wave player on the interior. I believe he’s capable of playing a LDE role in a 4-3, but there he would be a backup to Mario Williams.

The Bills are going to have some tough decisions to make on the defensive line this summer where they currently have 16 players.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on phones for Variety club

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2012 – 11:45 am

A handful of current Bills players and a couple of Bills alumni will be working the phones on Sunday afternoon at the Variety Club telethon at the Adam’s Mark in downtown Buffalo.

Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington, Mike Jasper, Alumni Bob Dugan and Will Fowler, Billy Buffalo and the Buffalo Jills are all scheduled to be in attendance between 3 and 4 pm. The telethon will air on Channel 7 with the players answering phone calls and accepting pledges. 

This is the 50th annual Telethon for Variety –The Children’s Charity of Buffalo & Western New York which is the longest locally produced Telethon in the world, and the 49th for Channel 7.  All monies raised by the Variety Kids Telethon benefit The Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Robert Warner M.D. Center For Children With Special Needs and many other local charities benefiting children that Variety serves.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-9

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2012 – 11:36 am

Here we go with another week of your most pressing questions from Let’s get to it.

1 – Chris,

I wanted to offer another take for the Bills draft this year. Perhaps in the first round the Bills could draft a wide receiver since they need a deep threat. In the second round what are the chances of waiting for a top defensive end prospect like Chandler Jones out of Syracuse.
Thanks for all of your ongoing coverage and time. 

CB: I think the only receiver worthy of going in the top 10 is Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon. Some might argue Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, but with rare exceptions like A.J. Green last year wideouts have been coming off the board later and later.

In the 2008 draft there wasn’t a single receiver taken in round one. Knowing there’s good receiver depth in rounds two through four I think teams will be even less inclined to fill a need early at receiver. I suppose if the Bills don’t land a wideout in free agency it’s possible, but I say if they do address wideout in the draft it’ll be between rounds two and four.

As for Chandler Jones I think he’s a pretty good prospect. Not a pure speed pass rusher by any means, but comes from good stock with a brother in the league and another brother being a UFC fighter. Due to the fact that he’s not a ‘bend the corner’ defensive end I think he will be there in the second round. I think he could be a consideration for Buffalo among some of the other DE prospects that are in that second to third-round range.


2 – Hello Chris,

I’m a longtime fan of your work with the Bills, thank you so much for keeping us informed on all of the comings and goings with the team.  My question for you is simple, do you expect to see Alex Carrington trimming down to around 280-285lbs. (His college weight) to become more of pashing rushing DE, rather a 5-technigue 3-4 DE likes he has been the last two seasons?  I like he could excel in that position at the right weight. 

Warm Regards,


CB: Ryan, this is going to be one of the more interesting questions as spring OTAs unfold in May. I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer as to just what is the best fit for Alex Carrington in Wannstedt’s new 4-3 front. His body frame screams 3-4 defensive end, but if he can trim down he could play defensive end in a 4-3 like he did at Arkansas State. His size however, might project him to a left defensive end role. He’s never been a pass rusher that has relied on speed (4.92 40-time). His game is power.

But I’m just as curious as you as to whether or not he comes in slimmed down for the new scheme.


3 – Hello Chris,
Thanks for all the coverage of the team, you do a terrific job of covering the team and I enjoy reading what you have to say. I understand that a big part of the offseason plan is to continue building the defense because it is needed, but my question is the QB situation. I strongly believe that if this team has a chance to win in the future the team needs a QB because although I believe in Fitzpatrick, he’ll be 30 years old and I’m not sure he can win the team a Super Bowl.

I understand the team won’t be in position to draft Luck or Griffin this year. I was wondering if the team might chase after a guy like Kirk Cousins out of Michigan St.? He is young, played 4 seasons in school, is a very intelligent and accurate QB. Cousins could be had later in the draft and isn’t looked at among the top QB’s in this draft even though he has the size and ability to play. He didnt’ put up the biggest numbers because of the ability to run the ball at Michigan St. I think he could be a value pick in the 3rd or 4th round and could learn the offense quickly and be the future QB.

Are Nix and Gailey set in their ways that they will only take a QB if they can get one of the top guys? Or could the team look at Cousins or another QB that can be had later in the draft? Thanks again for your coverage
Sean Riley

CB: I wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to the draft and Buddy Nix. I think the C.J. Spiller pick caught a lot of people off guard, but it’s proof positive that Nix and the Bills stay true to their board. That being said I’ll point to a comment made by Buddy back in January concerning the potential of drafting a quarterback.

“Maybe so, yeah,” said Nix. “If there’s one there at the right time, I don’t mean that to be that vague an answer but yeah, we’d take one.”

Basically Buddy is saying if the board falls a certain way and they have a quarterback rated as the best prospect at the time they would take one. Could that be Cousins? Certainly possible.


4 – Hi Chris,

To me, draft season is the best time of year to be a bills fan, and this year I’m snoop dogg high on South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery. Many of the mock drafts I’ve seen have him dropping into the 2nd or even 3rd round, but to my eye he’s by far the best receiver in this class. Respect to Blackmon and the kid from ND, but if he’s sitting there at pick 10 do you think the bills would pull the trigger? Although a pass rusher may be more of a need, that position seems to be one of relative depth in this class; and while they are all impressive prospects, I don’t see a huge difference on tape between Upshaw, Ingram, Perry, Mercilus, Coples,  or Branch. It stands to reason that one of those guys would be there in the 2nd, and Jeffery will open eyes at the combine. He has what Buddy Nix has referred to as the ability to be open even when hes covered. You can see the competitiveness in his game bursting through the low resolution on youtube. Do you get the sense around one bill’s that another option for Fitz may be at least as coveted as a pass rusher? Do you think Jeffery is worth a top 10 pick?

Warm regards from LA,

Owen Beck


CB: I think Alshon Jeffery made some amazing plays at South Carolina and used his body well in shielding defenders to make plays on the ball. The problem with Jeffery is it’s hard to think his game as it is currently constituted is going to immediately translate to the NFL level. The reason why is he is a giant target, but he had trouble getting off press coverage in the SEC. And he doesn’t get consistent separation.

That’s going to be even harder in the NFL. Could he develop that part of his game? Sure, but he’s going to struggle coming out of the gate knowing how much more physical corners are at the NFL level. I think he’s a second-round pick. Another big receiver that I prefer over Jeffery is LSU’s Rueben Randle. He didn’t run well at the Combine, but I’m hoping for better things at his pro day.

Randle got better every year at LSU, most notably improving as a route runner, has extremely strong hands and welcomed blocking in LSU’s run first scheme during the 2010 campaign. He’s got rock solid intangibles as well with a strong work ethic. So he’s my guy if the Bills want to get a receiver early. Only thing is they may have to trade back into the bottom of round one to get him.


5 – Hey Chris,

After seeing Brad Smith pick up more than a handful of 3rd and short conversions early in the season last year, it seems as though the offense scrapped that formation because of the lack of depth at the WR position and need for smith to line up there (and reducing  wins dramatically).  Are the Bills planning on using the “wild bill” formation again for short yardage for the upcoming season.  Also after showing lots of potential at the outside receiver last preseason, is Marcus Easley healed and ready for this season? 


CB:  Your point is well taken. I too noted those 3rd and short conversions by Smith early in the year. It certainly helped to keep the offense on the field. I asked Chan Gailey your very question at the NFL Combine a couple of weeks ago. Here was his response.

“I think the best thing that Brad does for us right now is create indecision on the defense’s part,” said Gailey. “Is he coming in as a wideout? Is he coming in as a Wildcat quarterback? We lost that a little bit with the kickoff return because of the new rule and we lost some because he was playing so much wide receiver late in the season that he couldn’t play special teams as much. We hope to let him to be a three-headed monster as some receiver, some Wildcat quarterback, some special teams threat. Yes to all of the above.”

That’s kind of an open-ended answer, but I think it’s safe to say with a full offseason to better incorporate Smith into the offensive playbook that Gailey will find more use for him in the offense in 2012.

As for Easley he told me himself his medical condition has been rectified and he can resume his career. Let’s hope for the best because I think this kid can really help the passing game.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carrington optimistic about ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2012 – 2:06 pm

Bills DL Alex Carrington is looking forward to the defensive switch they’re making for the 2012 season.

Carrington, who played DE in a 4-3 at Arkansas State, had 21.5 sacks in his college career. He spoke to defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt recently, but didn’t get too many specifics on where he’ll be lining up.

“Not too in depth. I’ll still be on the line of course, but he didn’t go into detail about it,” Carrington told “I talked to him a little bit about the defense and the kind of things they would entail. I’m optimistic about it and I’m ready to start the offseason and get into the swing of the new defense.”

One thing that Carrington is sure of is how aggressive they’re going to be off the edge.

“We’ll be able to play a lot faster,” he said. “They’re going to cut us loose up front a little bit more. I’m anxious to see how this thing plays out.”

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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

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. 

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.

Ruben Jongstra

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?


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

Fan Friday 9-23

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2011 – 11:47 am

2-0 vs. 2-0 on Sunday. Big AFC East matchup with the Patriots. Many are expecting a shootout. We’ll see what happens Sunday. Now to your questions from

1 – Hi Chris, 

I’ve been watching since the preseason on’s preseason live and one thing I’ve noticed about the Bills secondary is a lack of making plays on the ball. It seems they’re content to just be close to the receiver and rarely turn their head and get their hands up. Do you think it’s just rust from not being tested much when they couldn’t stop the run or do they have some deficiencies in the secondary? Of course when they did turn their heads and make plays the refs called interference every time vs the Jags. With the way these refs are acting it’s going to be a two hand touch league pretty soon.


CB: In talking to some of the guys in the secondary they feel their positioning is sound defensively when defending the pass. They just have to commit to make more plays on the ball, so I think your observations on the whole are accurate. I don’t think it has anything to do with not being tested much with teams running on them so much last season. It’s a good group back there and I think with a little more help from the pass rush forcing errant throws they should get that turnover figure to increase more like what it was in 2009 when they were second in the AFC in takeaways.


2 – Hi Chris,
If Shawne Merriman goes down with an injury that causes him to lose significant time, are the Bills going to use Alex Carrington to fill the spot? Also, what happens if Stevie Johnson goes down with an injury? Who would be the go to guy then? Donald Jones? These are serious contingencies that would impact the Bills season. What are your thoughts? 

Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl
CB: This is a timely question in light of Stevie Johnson’s nagging groin injury. If he’s forced to sit out a week or two to rest his groin ailment, I’d anticipate Jones stepping into the number one role with a collection of wideouts filling the number two spot on the other side. That would include Ruvell Martin, Naaman Roosevelt and possibly practice squad player Kamar Aiken (6’2” 213).

With respect to Merriman, I think Carrington and Spencer Johnson could be part of that replacement equation, particularly on run downs, with Danny Batten stepping in on passing downs.


3 – Chris,

I love that Buddy/Chan have made the Bills a much more physical team than Jauron.  Can you compare the opening day rosters for Jauron’s last team vs this year and give average size per position.  I have been very tired of watching the Bills get physically beat especially on defense.


CB: While I can’t give you average size for the 2009 squad, I can tell you that Buffalo’s current roster this year has 16 players that are 300 pounds or more. That’s the highest number of 300 pounders on a roster in the league this season. Their average team weight is 252 pounds and change, which is also a league high.


4 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering if it is possible to purchase a bills jersey with the 9/11 patch or the actual patch itself through or
Thanks, Dave G

CB: I’ve been told that teams at different times will be making their jerseys with those patches available at the site Unfortunately there is no set schedule on what teams will make their jerseys available. All proceeds go to various charities for those jerseys. I guess you’ll need to check back at that site frequently to keep tabs on what’s available and when. Sorry that’s the best I can do.


5 – Chris,
A friend showed me this video on YouTube of Marcell Dareus lifting a car and we’re in disagreement on if it’s real or fake. Can you track down Marcell and ask him. Here’s the video I’m referring to

Mitch (Webster, NY)

CB: Marcell is mum on the situation. All he would provide is a smirk. I know one thing, I wouldn’t park your vehicle anywhere close to his truck. He’s not a big fan of inching his way back and forth to get out of parking spots!

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spencer working with OLBs

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2011 – 1:43 pm

It’s not the first time ever, but it is the first time in the regular season that veteran DL Spencer Johnson is working in position drills with the outside linebackers.

On Wednesday Johnson worked with OLBs coach Bob Sanders and rest of the OLBs. During training camp Johnson along with Alex Carrington worked some with the OLBs. Carrington with an impressive camp and preseason earned that nickel OLB pass rush role and has spent the better part of the last month with the OLBs. But on Wednesday Carrington was working with the defensive linemen, while Johnson was with the OLBs.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

No Troup might shift things

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2011 – 6:20 pm

With Torell Troup out for Sunday’s game, it could shift the assignments on Buffalo’s defensive line.

Alex Carrington could prove to be the most affected. Manning a nickel OLB pass rusher type role thus far in the preseason, he may have to play more of a down lineman role in Buffalo’s defensive line rotation. Kellen Heard, who had been playing a lot of end, figures to shift inside to nose tackle, with Carrington likely to spell him at end.

We’ll see how it all shakes out Sunday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills