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Inside The Bills

Pack may block Van Pelt from moving on

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2014 – 9:27 am

If Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is offered the Browns head coaching job there is a lot of media speculation that he’ll tab Green Bay Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt for his offensive coordinator post. The problem there however, is Van Pelt is still under contract with Green Bay and most believe head coach Mike McCarthy will block any requests for an interview.

McCarthy already lost quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, who took the offensive coordinator post with the Giants earlier this month. It’s believed that Van Pelt would slide over to replace McAdoo as quarterbacks coach on McCarthy’s staff, so losing two offensive assistants is not something the Packers head coach would like to see happen.

Of course domino number one would need to fall first to see if the Van Pelt situation even becomes an issue between Cleveland and Green Bay.

On a separate note the Bills are interviewing candidates for their quarterbacks coach, but Van Pelt’s name has not surfaced in media circles for Buffalo’s new position to this point. The difference between the job available with the Bills and the potential one with the Browns is the Cleveland job would represent a promotion to a coordinator post. Buffalo’s vacancy would be more a lateral move.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: AVP possible QB coach candidate

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2014 – 10:25 am

The Green Bay Packers could be shuffling their coaching staff around a bit after the departure of quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, who accepted the offensive coordinator post with the New York Giants this week. Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt is rumored to be a candidate to shift to the quarterback coaching job for Green Bay. But there’s a report that Buffalo may also be interested in him as a quarterback coaching option.

That according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, who quoted Van Pelt saying the following when asked about possibly shifting to coach quarterbacks with the Packers.

“Obviously, I’m quarterback-trained, so it’d be natural,” Van Pelt said. “But I’m having a lot of fun coaching these guys (Packers running backs).”

The Journal-Sentinel report went on to say the following about Van Pelt’s future.

A source said the Bills were interested in hiring Van Pelt as quarterbacks coach but, with a year remaining on his contract in Green Bay, it’s unlikely McCarthy would let him go.

Van Pelt has a very close relationship with McCarthy, who was his quarterbacks coach in college for three seasons at Pitt. Of course Van Pelt also has a tight relationship with Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, having both served on Dick Jauron’s staff with the Bills. Van Pelt was quarterbacks coach while Hackett was the offensive quality control coach.

Hackett currently serves as Bills offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

McCarthy has a history of holding onto his assistants. He had previously denied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers permission to interview now departed assistant Ben McAdoo (NY Giants OC) from interviewing for their offensive coordinator post in 2012.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Van Pelt remembers Whaley as a teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2013 – 9:23 am

Bills former QB Alex Van Pelt and current assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers, was also a college teammate of Doug Whaley at Pitt. Van Pelt, who was a leader on the offense for the Panthers, remembers his former teammate’s leadership on the defensive side of the ball.

Whaley, who was named the 12th GM in Bills history Thursday, was a leader on Pitt’s defense as Van Pelt remembers it.

“As a leader, Doug is first and foremost going to be very vocal and hold everyone accountable,” said Van Pelt. “Those are two of the things that will stand out immediately. He has a blue collar mentality. He works hard and has tremendous work ethic.

“As a player, he always had that personality and used his intelligence on the field to lead our defense. He started his career with the Steelers and worked his way up through the ranks – which I think is very important especially in football. He has done the grunt work. He has been successful everywhere he has worked. Doug is a great young mind and will bring a lot to the table in the general manager position. He is ready for the challenge. I think he is going to have a very bright future in Buffalo.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Van Pelt on Hackett: “Great, young, bright mind”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 16, 2013 – 7:45 pm

Even though he’s only 33-years old, the Bills new Offensive Coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, is on his second go-around with the team. And when he worked with the Bills as an Offensive Quality Control Coach from 2008-09, Hackett worked closely with then-Bills QB Coach Alex Van Pelt.

Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show, Van Pelt had nothing but praise for Buffalo’s new offensive play caller.

“He brings a lot of ideas to the table,” Van Pelt said on the radio show. “He thinks outside the box sometimes, which you need. He helped with the quarterbacks, he helped in game planning. He’s a great, young bright mind in this league, and I think he’ll be around for a long time.”

Alex Van Pelt just finished his first season as the Running Backs Coach for the Green Bay Packers. That followed a two year stint as the WRs Coach in Tampa Bay. But Van Pelt remains a Bills fan and a fan of Western New York, where he spent most of his playing and early coaching career. And Van Pelt thinks the Bills got a good one, when they hired Nathaniel Hackett.

“I could not be more excited for the Bills, than to have Coach Hackett calling plays,” Van Pelt told host John Murphy. “The guy is a special talent, there’s no question. He’s filled with energy. He has a football mind. He’s grown up in football, with his dad. I remember him as a ball boy back at the University of Pittsburgh, and the first chance I had to hire him on our staff in Buffalo, as a quality control guy, we jumped on him.”

“Good things are coming to Buffalo. I’m excited to see how he puts it all together offensively. I know he has history in the West Coast Offense, and I know we dabbled a little bit in the ‘K-Gun’ there, and I think he’s found a nice combination of the two,” according to Van Pelt.

The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.


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AVP on Wednesday’s John Murphy Show

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 16, 2013 – 5:14 pm

He played in Buffalo, coached in Buffalo, and made many friends along the way. Tonight, former Bills QB Alex Van Pelt joins us on The John Murphy Show.

Van Pelt just wrapped up his first year as the Running Backs Coach for the Green Bay Packers, after two years before that with Tampa Bay. The Pack saw their season end with their divisional round playoff loss in San Francisco last Saturday night.

Tonight, Alex Van Pelt joins us at 720pm and we’ll ask about the Packers season, and about the injury-plagued season of Niagara Falls native James Starks, a Green Bay running back. We’ll also get Alex’s take on the Bills new Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Van Pelt and Hackett worked closely together in 2008-09 when both were members of the Bills offensive coaching staff.

Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas joins us in studio at 8pm for his usual weekly visit. Thurman always has fresh and original takes on the Bills and the NFL.

And at 820pm, another former Bills player, Bucky Brooks, will be on the line with us from the East-West Shrine Game in St Petersburg, Florida. Brooks was Buffalo’s 2nd round draft pick in 1994 out of North Carolina. Since his playing days ended, he’s become a personnel man in the NFL, working with the Seahawks and Panthers. And for the last few years, he’s become a draft expert for the NFL Network and NFL.com. We’ll ask Bucky about the prospects in the upcoming draft.

We always have time for phone calls and comments from listeners. The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7pm-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hackett’s time as QBs coach with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2013 – 1:03 pm

Bills new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett spent two seasons with Buffalo from 2008-2009 as an offensive quality control coach. But for those that don’t remember, Hackett got unexpectedly thrust into a bigger coaching role right before the 2009 season got underway.

It was a week before the regular season and Buffalo’s offense had struggled mightily in the preseason. So much so that then head coach Dick Jauron fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert a week before the season started. Alex Van Pelt was elevated immediately from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator with all of 10 days to prepare for a Monday night opener in New England.

That responsibility pulled Van Pelt away from the time usually allotted for coaching quarterbacks. Van Pelt made the decision to put Nathaniel Hackett in charge of the QBs.

“It was wild,” Hackett told Buffalobills.com. “When that whole thing went down and all of a sudden he was the coordinator calling plays it was awesome that first year being with a guy I kind of grew up with and kind of the younger guy it was awesome to see his confidence in me.

“For him to let me take the quarterbacks, to work with them during practice and the meetings it was such a complement to me. It was awesome that he let me do that because it was a unique position and just being a quality control guy at that point it was great that he had that confidence in me.”

The experience helped move Hackett’s career forward because come the following year, Hackett was hired by Doug Marrone to be his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Syracuse.

Hackett enjoyed coaching under Van Pelt, a former quarterback that his dad coached at Pitt. Paul Hackett was Van Pelt’s head coach with the Panthers in college.

“Being able to work with Coach Van Pelt was amazing,” said Hackett. “That’s why I actually originally came here. He’s a guy that I’ve known forever and a legendary quarterback obviously. I wanted to learn from him. I wanted to see how the position is played from his eyes.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Van Pelt hired

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2012 – 11:56 am

Former Bills QB, and former Bills QBs coach and offensive coordinator, Alex Van Pelt has landed an assistant coaching job in the NFC.

Van Pelt was named the running backs coach of the Green Bay Packers. He was most recently the quarterbacks coach in Tampa (2010-2011). Van Pelt and head coach Mike McCarthy are good friends from their days at Pitt. McCarthy was a young coach assisting the quarterbacks for the Panthers when Van Pelt was throwing passes there.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Van Pelt hired

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2010 – 2:34 pm

Alex Van Pelt became the latest member of the former Bills coaching staff to find work elsewhere in the NFL.

Van Pelt, according to ESPN’s John Clayton, has been hired to coach quarterbacks for Tampa Bay.

One wonders if his recent experienced with young quarterbacks the past couple of years was viewed as an asset by Bucs head coach Raheem Morris, knowing Van Pelt’s chief responsibility will be the development of second-year QB and former first-round pick Josh Freeman.

The hiring however, ends a long relationship between Van Pelt and the Bills. He spent nine years as a player with Buffalo, five as a coach and two as a radio broadcaster.

Van Pelt is now the seventh member of the former staff to be hired elsewhere.


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Van Pelt interviews

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2010 – 1:11 pm

Former Bills quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt has interviewed with an NFC team.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Van Pelt interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their vacant quarterbacks coaching position.

Former Bears QBs coach Pep Hamilton has also interviewed for the position.

Van Pelt is coming off a season in which he was thrust into a difficult position. He was promoted to offensive coordinator just 10 days before the 2009 season after Turk Schonert was fired, but put together a heck of a game plan for the season opener at New England on Monday night.

Buffalo had a 24-13 lead with a little over five minutes remaining before a late fumble on a kick return allowed the Patriots to escape with a 25-24 victory.

Multiple injuries to the offensive line and inconsistent quarterback play compromised the offense’s effectiveness and limited play calling options for much of the 2009 season.


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More on the QB decision

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2009 – 3:54 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt was asked about the quarterback decision on Thursday and offered some of the reasons the coaching staff elected to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“I just think a lot of different things played into the decision, but the fact is we need to win a game,” said Van Pelt. “Right now we feel he gives us the best chance to win.”

When asked why they feel Fitzpatrick gives them a better chance Van Pelt opened up a little more.

“Just a lot of reasons, experience, knowledge of the game right now might be a little bit better,” said Van Pelt of Fitzpatrick. “Pocket mobility. Some of the reasons he’s in there now is he did good things when he was in there. A lot of the lack of success while he was in there wasn’t all his fault also. The bottom line is we need to win and we need to find a spark to get us there and we felt like he was going to give us that spark.”

As for where that leaves Trent Edwards, Van Pelt said he’s the backup now, but noted that could change in a week or may not change the rest of the season.

“Trent is just going through the struggles of being an NFL quarterback,” Van Pelt said. “Year three we’ve asked him to do a lot, probably a little bit of it is our fault for asking him to do the things we have. But the bottom line in this game is you’ve got to find ways to make the plays and sometimes it’s a fine line between forcing the football in there and making the smart decision. With our guys right now we felt like we needed to get some of those balls thrown that weren’t thrown.”

Van Pelt’s comment is consistent with the popular contention that Fitzpatrick is more willing to take risk when throwing the football. And both Lee Evans and Terrell Owens expressed a degree of confidence in Fitzpatrick.

Nevertheless, interim head coach Perry Fewell stated its a week to week situation.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-13

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2009 – 1:45 pm

A Friday the 13th version of Fan Friday today. Questions as always can be sent to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Let’s get going.
1. Chris, Buffalo has struggled with their pass offense the past years.  You have to go back to the beginning of the Bledsoe era to find when we had a dynamic pass offense.  Why is Dick Jauron so against using motion in the offense?  We have to be the only NFL team that does not use it regularly.  Couldn’t this help Terrell Owens and Lee Evans?
 
Dave
Simi Valley CA

CB: We saw a little bit of it against the Texans, but motion has been noticeably absent for most of the year. Alex Van Pelt addressed it to a certain extent during the bye week. I’d also like to see Owens and Evans in a stack look at times as well. They’ve moved Owens around formationally, but not Evans. I agree more pre-snap motion could help.

 

 

2. Aaron Maybin has had minimal impact as a pass rusher so far this season.  He continues to attempt a speed rush and the Offensive Tackle just rides him out of the play.  Is he too stubborn to use counter or spin moves, or is he just not physically mature enough yet to be able to handle the NFL?  Isn’t the D-line coach in his ear?
Thanks,
Ed W.

CB: Part of the reason for Maybin’s lack of impact is he’s behind veteran ends on the depth chart. The other big factor is that the Bills have rarely played with a lead putting their opponent in a position where they have to throw. That leads to fewer opportunities to rush the passer and fewer opportunities for sacks. The defensive staff made a concerted effort during the bye week to find ways to get Maybin more opportunities. We’ll see what happens in the second half of the season.

As for counter moves, Maybin has told me he continues to work on them, but they are a work in progress. I believe he has some growing to do having just turned 21 in April. He’s still a young prospect.

 

 

3. What happened to Fred Jackson, definitely love Lynch but the running back position is not as productive as earlier in the year, maybe I’m missing something?  What’s up?
Thanks,
Trevor

CB: Fred is the primary return man now and is still getting carries, but less than half at this point. Making the production of the run game more challenging is the fact that the offense can’t convert third downs. That leads to shorter possessions and fewer plays from scrimmage for the offense. Fans were irate that Lynch and Jackson each had only nine carries, but when you realize that the offense ran just 45 plays against Houston, you see the problem. If they sustain more drives they’ll both get more touches.

 

 

4. Chris,
 
I know we are log-jammed at the WR position…but why no # 13 Stevie Johnson?  He has shown he can play and get touchdowns, something we lack…why not shake it up…put him on the edge in the redzone or the slot?  The question to me is : why not?
 
Peter Bandelian

CB: There is a lot of support for Steve Johnson among fans and I too wouldn’t mind seeing more of him. Anything to shake the offense out of the doldrums. That could happen this week if Terrell Owens is unable to suit up for Sunday’s game. Johnson is expected to be the first WR off the bench.

 

 

5. Chris do you see issues with Trent being the QB of the future? Now with his concussions and reluctance to throw the ball deep I wander what the coaching staff’s thoughts are? What are your thoughts? Thanks again.
 
Wes Dickson

CB: I think these last eight games will be a big factor in what the Bills’ decision makers determine needs to be done at the quarterback position. If Edwards’ performance in the last half of the season is not much different than that of the first half, I believe it will be difficult for the organization to avoid addressing the quarterback position in some other fashion. But let’s see what happens in the second half of the season before passing judgment.


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Van Pelt, Edwards talked about deep pass game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2009 – 10:00 am

Among the many things that were covered by the players and coaches on offense during the bye week was the deep passing game. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt mentioned that he addressed the subject with Trent Edwards, who is re-entering the lineup this week at Tennessee.

“I think we have the receivers that can go and make the plays on the ball,” said Van Pelt. “If we get in a situation where it is one on one we don’t have to be wide open, we can give those guys a chance to go up and get the ball and make the plays and that is one thing we talked about.”

At times this season Edwards has been reluctant to take a risk by throwing downfield and the results have been more throws underneath. ESPN blogger Tim Graham has some of his network’s statisticians crunch some numbers in comparing Ryan Fitzpatrick’s willingness to throw downfield and Edwards’. It revealed that Fitzpatrick ranks third in the NFL when measuring how many yards in the air his attempts travel. Fitzpatrick averages 10 yards per throw while Edwards averages 7.5 yards in the air per throw. That ranks 34th among passers with at least 50 attempts according to ESPN’s statisticians.

What should also be taken into account is the fact that Edwards has thrown more than twice the number of passes that Fitzpatrick has this season and the more passes a QB throws, the lower that average usually gets.

Still it’s good to know that Van Pelt is encouraging Edwards to take more risk in an effort to make some more big plays because the Bills offense has shown it’s very hard for them to string an effective point-producing 11 or 12-play drive together. So getting some yardage in big chunks is important so those scoring drives only require five or six effective plays to put points on the board.


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Jets not picky on origin of blitz

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2009 – 6:40 pm

The New York Jets have not been picky about where they bring their blitzes from. According to Bills offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt they bring them from just about everywhere.

“They blitz from everywhere, they overload a lot of sides, and they do enough where they bring it from both sides and you can’t just say it’s the overload pressure,” said Van Pelt. “They show it in drop out and play coverage. So it’s tough, it’s hard to figure out and I don’t know if you can figure it out. You have to act and react, try to pick up as many as you can and get the ball out of your hand.”

And while opposing quarterbacks haven’t had much success against the Jets defense, they haven’t been sacked all that much. Despite all the pressure the Jets bring they have just four sacks on the season. In fact their opponents have more than they do (10). So I guess they prove to a certain extent that it’s not all about sacks, but just hurrying throws and disrupting the timing of the offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

No huddle to be scuttled?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2009 – 5:52 pm

According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Bills will be tossing the no huddle out of their offense this week.

ProFootballTalk cites a “league source” for the story that head coach Dick Jauron has decided to do away with the no huddle, which the Bills have run the entire offseason, preseason and first five games of the regular season.

If the report is accurate, the decision likely was borne out of the offensive struggles that were only compounded by 11 offensive penalties including nine false starts.

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt did comment on what needs to be done to be more successful on offense Wednesday.

“Eliminate the penalties is the first thing we start to concentrate on,” Van Pelt said. “And put more emphasis on the snap count, and then continue to do the things that we’ve done well, such as run the football.”

When asked what his message was to the offense this week he offered the following.

“Execute, simplify, execute, and make the plays when they are there,” he said. “As simple as that.”


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T.O. on interaction with Van Pelt

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2009 – 7:44 pm

Terrell Owens has had conversations with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

Everything sounds as if it’s been very productive based on how Owens described the give and take between them.

“Just trying to find ways, and pick each other’s brains about things I’ve done in the past, and what routes that I feel like I can probably be more involved in within the passing game,” said Owens. “It’s a learning process for myself. This is my first year, this is Alex’s first year as OC, so it’s a learning curve for the both of us.

“I think everybody knows that we have talent on the offensive side of the ball to make some things happen. For whatever reason, we haven’t gotten that done. It’s not too late to correct that and get it done.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

No plans to halt no huddle

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2009 – 12:54 am

With time of possession a problem for Buffalo’s offense the question was posed to Dick Jauron if he is considering scrapping the no huddle approach, which has been a staple on offense this season.

While Jauron admitted that it’s been discussed, they won’t change the approach.

“No, and we’ve discussed that, too, a lot,” said Jauron. “I don’t think the two are related. I don’t believe that the two are related, never have. The fact that you huddle or don’t huddle has nothing to do with when you snap the ball, how much you use on the clock, it doesn’t have anything to do with it. It really doesn’t have anything to do with what you call or how you call them. It has to do with communicating and where you communicate. It’s a little easier in the huddle than it is on the ball. Other than that, there’s not a lot of difference.”

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is also committed to the no huddle.

“No, I would not want to do that,” said Van Pelt when asked if he’d be interested in scrapping it. “I love the no-huddle. Yes. It’s a slower version but it’s faster than Indy’s.”


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Jackson to see more of the work this week?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 9:24 pm

With Marshawn Lynch now off suspension the big question has been what kind of workload Marshawn Lynch will be getting this week in his return to the lineup. Bills offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and head coach Dick Jauron seem conscious of easing him in knowing he hasn’t been exposed to contact in almost a month.

“A lot of it for me will have to do with how he feels at the end of the work week,” said Jauron. “I can’t anticipate that he’ll feel any differently than wanting to go. And that’ll be good because Freddy has been so good and Freddy is not a surprise, but it would be nice to even out this thing, get Marshawn back into the mix, have them play off each other. It’s a really positive thing for us, it’s great to have him back.”

Jauron indicated that if they were successful running the ball and ran it 30 times it’d be nice to split it down the middle, but in his first week back it might be a bit less.

“(We’ll) probably bring Marshawn (Lynch) along slowly to let him get back into it physically. But those guys (Lynch, Jackson) are some of your better players obviously offensively and some of the groupings with both of them are very good for us. But I don’t know where or how long it’ll take before we get there, but we’re just glad to have Marshawn back. I think it’ll help us down the road keeping both of those guys fresh.”

While Jauron indicates a 50-50 split, Van Pelt seems to indicate less at least for this week. It’s hard to ignore how much success Jackson has had with 425 yards from scrimmage in three games, but Lynch is not someone you keep on the sidelines either. It will be very interesting to see how the workload is divided, knowing the staff, like many others in the league, is cautious about overworking either one of them.


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Van Pelt pleased with first go round

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2009 – 6:24 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt spoke for the first time since calling the Monday night opener in Foxborough on Thursday following practice and shared some of his thoughts on how things went.

“I thought we had a good plan going in,” he said. “I thought we had a good idea of what we wanted to get done and the things we wanted to have in the plan. I felt we had a good rhythm and a good feel for what we’re trying to get done offensively. There were some bumps in the road for me as first time guy calling it. As you get down into some of the specialty areas of the game plan, but I thought we knew as a staff what we wanted to get done. I thought we had a good rhythm early.”

With respect to making better use of the downfield passing game Van Pelt believes they can utilize it more.

“Absolutely. I think any time you have an offense like that you have to play to its strengths no matter what it is, and those are two of our strengths,” said Van Pelt in reference to Evans and Owens. “But you really can’t manufacture plays. If it’s not for the good of the offense and going in historically coach Belichick does a good job of taking away your weapons and makes you beat him in other places. That was kind of the approach going in. Obviously with those two guys we’d like to stretch the field at times.”

When asked if there were some missed chances to go deep in the New England game Van Pelt offered the following.

“I think there were some opportunities that we didn’t see and they did a great job,” said Van Pelt in reference to the Patriots. “That’s a well-coached defense. Some of the disguises and coverages were some that showed like there would not be an available shot downfield and then it ends up that we did (have a shot). So there were some opportunities that we had where we could throw downfield. For the most part Trent did a good job of managing the game, keeping us in good situations and making good checks at the line of scrimmage. Terrell (Owens) is right there were some opportunities, but for the most part Trent did a great job.”

So it sounds as if the Pats defense did a good job of disguising some of their coverages in an effort to make Edwards think they had the deep parts of the field accounted for. In reviewing the game on film the players and coaches now see that was not the case. Hopefully it help makes for better recognition as to what New England is trying to pull defensively the next time they face them.

For what Van Pelt was up against in terms of competition and the time he had to slide into the coordinator’s seat it’s hard not to be impressed with the job he did. I’m looking forward to see what he has in mind for the Bucs on Sunday.


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Brown’s Best Week 1

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2009 – 6:31 pm

For those not familiar with Brown’s Best we chronicle some of the less noticed plays and performances of the most recent game to recognize contributions made by players or units that otherwise would have been overlooked in many cases. So here are the Week 1 honorees.

BEST STUFFERS: Keith Ellison, Kyle Williams – The two veteran defenders stopped Laurence Maroney cold on a 4th-and-1 at the Bills 40-yard line to force a turnover on downs. Ellison finished the game with a career-high 15 tackles.

BEST STUFFER PART II: Marcus Stroud – The big fella had two tackles for loss and a tackle for no gain in the game where the Patriots averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.

BEST THIRD DOWN STOP: Aaron Schobel – The Bills pass rusher sacked Tom Brady for a 10-yard loss on a 3rd-and-6 early in the game to force a punt.

BEST THIRD DOWN STOP PART II: Schobel, Leodis McKelvin – The two defenders teamed up to stop Kevin Faulk on a 3rd-and-goal at the Bills three-yard line for just a one-yard gain forcing New England to kick the field goal.

BEST DOWNFIELD BLOCK: Andy Levitre – The rookie guard got out in front of Fred Jackson on one of his handful of screen plays and busted Jackson loose for a 21-yard gain on the team’s first touchdown drive.

BEST START TO A CAREER: Shawn Nelson – The rookie tight end’s first career reception was an 11-yard touchdown catch to get Buffalo on the board.

BEST ANGLE: George Wilson – The Bills special teamer took a sound angle on punt returner Wes Welker to wrap him up despite being the first downfield and a lot of open space for Welker to work with.

BEST ONE-HANDED GRAB: Aaron Schobel – His one-handed snare of Tom Brady’s attempted dump off pass to Sammy Morris for an interception was impressive. Almost as impressive as his 26-yard return for a TD with Morris draped on his back.

BEST RUN AFTER CATCH: Fred Jackson – All five of his catches were screen passes, but Jackson averaged an astonishing 16.6 yards per reception. Jackson showed how the screen game could be key for Buffalo’s efficiency on offense this season.

BEST MAKEUP YARDAGE PLAY: Trent Edwards – After back-to-back plays in which there was a run for a four-yard loss and a sack for a six-yard loss, Edwards on 3rd-and-20 at the New England 38 stuck a dart in to Derek Schouman over the middle for a 16-yard gain. The play didn’t get a first down, but put Buffalo back in the field goal range for Rian Lindell who put a 40-yarder through.

BEST WORKHORSE: Fred Jackson – The guy had 140 all-purpose yards and accounted for 49 of the 62 yards on Buffalo’s 14-play drive in the fourth quarter to put them up by 11 with 5:30 left to play.

BEST LEAP: Bryan Scott – The Bills safety climbed the ladder to intercept New England’s two-point conversion attempt intended for Ben Watson with 2:10 left.

BEST DECISION MAKER: Alex Van Pelt – The new coordinator crafted a game plan that was good enough to win the game for the Bills accentuating the strengths of Buffalo’s young players while limiting their weaknesses.

BEST IMPROVEMENT: Trent Edwards – The Bills quarterback looked like a different signal caller than the one in the preseason. He displayed poise in the pocket, made good decisions with his arm and feet and put Buffalo in position to win the game late. He finished the game with a 114.1 passer rating.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offensive difference that Owens sees

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2009 – 7:53 pm

After his first few practices with Alex Van Pelt as the team’s play caller Terrell Owens commented on what he felt was different.

“Well, we’re throwing the ball down the field,” said Owens. “From my assessment just sitting out, the three preseason games I noticed that we didn’t do a lot of that. Trent and the guys that played the Bears, I think he went 10 for 10, but if you look at those passes, four to six of those were 10 yards or less. I think for this offense and with the weapons that we’ve got, we’ve got to stretch the field. A lot of that comes with protection. a lot of that comes with the reads from the quarterback. and we’ve got to help the quarterbacks with our routes. So we’re going to try to stretch the field and let those guys go through their progressions and make it happen.”

Whether that happens on Monday night remains to be seen because Owens is correct in that protection will have to be sound for big plays downfield to occur. But Lee Evans echoed Owens’ observations.

“I think one of the things (Van Pelt) said to us was that he wants to take more shots and sometimes an incompletion on a shot shouldn’t deter you from throwing it again,” said Evans. “So I think that’s one of the things that he wants to do is take them.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills