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Inside The Bills

Manuel has known Luck for a while

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 10:20 am

They graduated from high school the same year, and with both of them highly recruited high school quarterbacks, EJ Manuel and Andrew Luck traveled in a lot of the same football circles leading up to college and during their college years. So Manuel is looking forward to catching up with the Colts QB after their preseason meeting is over.

“I haven’t talked to him much, I talked to him I think last time was maybe a summer ago at the Manning camp. I’ve known Luck since probably 11th grade in high school,” he said. “Great competitor, great quarterback, so it’ll be good to
see him.”

Luck said much of the same on Friday after a Colts practice.


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Luck has reason to respect Pettine’s scheme

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 7:10 am

The Bills preseason opener at Indianapolis pits Buffalo’s defense, led by new coordinator Mike Pettine against Andrew Luck and the Colts offense. Luck is just hoping for a clean efficient outing Sunday as he has a lot of respect for Pettine’s scheme.

“You want to improve, you want to score touchdowns and you want to limit negative plays, hopefully zero negative plays,” Luck said. “In a perfect world, you’d score a touchdown every play, or you’d get first downs, first downs, first downs and touchdowns. But we know that’s sometimes not the case and the Bills, they’re going to be flying around. I know they got a new defensive coordinator from the Jets and they really stuck it to us last year. So we know it’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can do some good things.”

The Colts were shellacked by the Jets last season 35-9 as Pettine’s defense held Indianapolis out of the end zone. Indy managed just 2.4 yards per rush in that game and just over 25 minutes of possession time as the Colts’ offense went just 3-for-11 on third down conversions.

Luck’s stat line was 22-44 for 280 yards with two interceptions. He was sacked four times and had a passer rating of 51.3.


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Andrew Luck glad he’ll see EJ Manuel

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2013 – 4:34 pm

Colts QB Andrew Luck had a phenomenal rookies season breaking the record for most passing yards as an NFL rookie with more than 4,300 while also leading Indianapolis to the playoffs. Set to enter his second NFL season, Luck knows what Bills QB EJ Manuel is going through as an NFL rookie.

Luck and Manuel traveled in a lot of the same circles in terms of quarterback clinics having finished high school in the same graduation year.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to talk to him a little bit after the game and see how his experience is going,” said Luck. “But yeah, as him being a rookie, it’s a fun time. There’s a lot of learning that goes on and a lot of that learning is a bit on the fly, if you will. I got to know him. We came out of high school the same year, went to a bunch of camps together. I always was very impressed by him and his character. He seemed like a great guy every time I was around him. So I wish the best for him.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Official times on Luck & RGIII

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2012 – 1:35 pm

The 40 times on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are now official.

Griffin clocked in with an impressive 4.41 and also had a 39-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump.

Luck had a respectable 4.67 with a 36 inch vertical and a broad jump of 10’4″.


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Luck won’t throw

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2012 – 2:08 pm

Stanford QB Andrew Luck has decided not throw here at the NFL Combine.

“I’ve decided not to throw,” said Luck. “I will participate in everything else. This was a decision I reached on my own.”

Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III also will not be throwing here at the Combine.


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Luck still undecided on throwing

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2012 – 10:27 pm

He’s the consensus number one pick in the upcoming draft, and though his workout is only a couple of days away Andrew Luck still hasn’t made a final decision on whether he’s going to throw in his workout.

Luck appeared on NFL Network’s Total Access program Thursday and said he was still undecided.

“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do completely yet at this point so it could be all of it, maybe none of it, we’ll see,” Luck said. “I’m sure I’ll sit down in the next couple of days, talk to my dad and my agent and formulate the plan.”

Meanwhile Robert Griffin III said he would probably not throw during an appearance on the Dan Patrick radio show this past week.

Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers report to the Combine Friday morning. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for full coverage.


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Kiper on Luck and RG III

Posted by Chris Brown on January 31, 2012 – 2:57 pm

On a nearly two-hour conference call ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper answered just about everything under the sun with respect to the 2012 NFL draft class. Naturally the subject of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III came up. Kiper was asked if there’s any way that RG III overtakes Luck for the top spot in the draft. I think everyone knows the answer.

“Andrew Luck is the best quarterback grade I’ve given in 35 years of doing this,” Kiper said. “Andrew Luck is viewed as a more athletic Peyton Manning. You cannot pass on Andrew Luck. I haven’t given a grade as high as Luck since 1983 and that was John Elway.”

As for Griffin it seems the only questions on him involve his true measured height per Kiper.

“I thought he was a quarterback all along,” Kiper said. “I think the fact that he can throw that deep ball so accurately, he’s a straight line guy in terms of mobility. He was a hurdler. He’s not Michael Vick. He doesn’t change direction and isn’t as explosive in and out of his cuts as Vick. Vick is the best running quarterback I’ve ever seen, but RG III is a much better passer. That’s why he has such a high grade.

“His mobility is excellent. He can make people miss. He’s not as dynamic a runner as Vick. Certainly his intelligence, character and game management is all excellent. His height isn’t ideal, he’s listed as 6’2”. If he’s not then there won’t be that buzz. It is what it is.”


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RG III declares for draft

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2012 – 4:27 pm

In one of the most unsurprising moves Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III has declared himself eligible for the 2012 NFL draft.

Griffin made it official Wednesday, just four days before the deadline for underclassmen to declare.

“It was a tough decision, I love the people at this university, love my coach for giving me a chance to be a quarterback,” Griffin said.

The Baylor product is expected to be one of the top two QBs taken in the draft along with Stanford’s Andrew Luck.


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Fan Friday 12-16

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2011 – 2:34 pm

Three games left for the Bills, but Fan Friday is here for you each and every week. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
Can you confirm that it would cost the Bills $9.4M to franchise Stevie Johnson for next year?

Thanks,
Jason K.

CB: Your number is in the range projected for 2012. In 2011 the franchise tag for a wide receiver was $11.3 million, but that number is going to come down considerably in 2012. That’s because under the new CBA the franchise tag figure will no longer be the average of the top five salaries at the position. Instead it will be the average of the highest-paid player at the position in each of the last five years.

So the number won’t be reached with just salary figures from 2011, but from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. That’s going to drive the figure down. Estimates are pegging the wide receiver figure to be between $9.4 and $9.8 million depending on whether the salary cap stays flat at $120M or goes up to $125M.

I’m not convinced that the Bills will make use of the franchise tag, especially in light of reports that Johnson is looking for less than the projected franchise figure per season. Signing him up long term would likely prove to be the better option.

 

2 – Chris,
What day does free agency start in 2012? I heard that it’s starting later this year. Thanks for your help!

Brandon Pease

CB: Free agency will start later than the typical March 1st date in 2012. The market will not open until March 13th and it will open at 4 pm, not midnight.

 

3 - Hi Chris,

I know we signed Fitz to a long term deal, but as disgruntled Bills fan I think we should trade all our draft picks this year for Luck & next year’s # 1 if we have to. They’re saying Luck is better than Elway & Manning so I can see trading all those picks. If we can’t get Luck, how about moving up to get Barkley? We need a franchise QB & Fitz is not the answer. At best he is probably a 8-8 QB. I like Fitz, but he is not going to take this team to the next level. Also why don’t we go back to playing the 4-3 defense permanently. Warren Sapp & Jamie Dukes said that in the beginning of the season. Forget the 3-4 it does not work. Williams & Dareus in the middle who is going to run on us. thank you!!

ICON77

CB: First of all to say he’s better than Manning or Elway is not something I’ve heard anyone say. All I’ve heard is he’s the best QB prospect since Manning in ’98. Trading your entire draft for one player is foolhardy. I respect the need for a team to have a franchise quarterback in this league now more than ever, but the holes that still exist on this team are too numerous to toss away an entire draft’s worth of choices for one player.

I think there might be more merit to your 4-3 defense request. My only concern there is where do you put Nick Barnett? Shep is the bigger and stouter run defender so he would presumably be your MLB. Barnett could probably play WLB because he runs well, but having never seen him in that role I’m not sure about it.

 

4 – Hey Chris,
With the way things are going and their remaining schedule, a 5-11 finish seems very possible. It’s still a little premature for that, but hypothetically if that were to happen, that would get Buffalo a very nice draft pick, so do you think they should take a quarterback like Matt Barkley or Landry Jones, if one is still available when they pick?

At the very least, it would give Fitzpatrick competition for his job, so if he doesn’t perform, he’s not going to start. If Fitz can prove himself and bring back the magic next year, then you could always trade a guy like Barkley or Jones for a very nice return. If Fitz doesn’t work out, then you’ve got a very promising young quarterback to take over. With Fitz’s contract, it would suck having him as a backup, but at the same time, you can’t start him if he’s not performing just because of his contract.

Thanks,
Jack

CB: I think Barkley won’t be there assuming the Bills pick around 7 or 8. Landry Jones would be there, but I’m not sure he’s deserving of that value (top 10). Knowing Buffalo is committed to Fitz I think it makes getting a top flight pass rusher trump everything if the right one is there when the Bills are on the clock.

That’s not to say your QB idea doesn’t have merit. If the right signal caller is there when the Bills pick Buddy Nix said last year that you have to take him no matter what. So it shouldn’t be completely dismissed.

 

5 - Chris,

Happy Holidays and a great 2012 to you and yours!

I have concerns about the receiving corps next year. A playmaker opposite Stevie has got to emerge. Have the coaches seen enough to make them think Brad Smith could be that guy, or do you think we need to invest a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a potential no. 2 WR?

Also, you’ve stated that Gailey places a high value on Roscoe Parrish’s abilities, and that you expect Roscoe to stick. I, however, believe that David Nelson has truly earned the slot receiver spot. I’d hate to see David lose playing time, he will only get better. Will the coaches simply hand over the slot receiver role to a healthy Roscoe?

Thanks so much,
Kenny in Indiana

CB: I still think Roscoe can be a valuable contributor to the offense, but I don’t believe it has to be at the expense of David Nelson. This team’s most popular formation when everyone was healthy was a 4 WR, 1 back set. So Parrish and Nelson can be on the field at the same time. Minus Roscoe and Easley there was a lack of top end speed at the position on the field. Speed isn’t everything at receiver, but it helps.

As for putting a draft priority on receiver I would expect them to consider a speed wideout in the middle rounds knowing Easley’s delicate injury history. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-6

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2011 – 11:24 am

Our first post-draft Fan Friday after a two week hiatus. There was just no way for me to turn around a Fan Friday on draft weekend with all the information we had to get out to you fans. So let’s get going with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hey Chris,

Thanks for all the great draft coverage, as always. Kelvin Sheppard seems like a great pick in the third round, but I was a bit surprised we didn’t take Martez Wilson, who everyone seemed to think we were going to draft back with the 34th pick. Couldn’t believe he was still there in the third. You appeared to be thrilled with the Sheppard pick as well but had been high on Wilson leading up to the draft. Can you compare the two, why you think Buddy went for Sheppard, and if/why you think that was the right call?

Thanks again,
Robert (Seattle)
CB: Wilson is more of a hybrid type linebacker. He has great length and is athletic, but he’s not a stuff the run type linebacker that Buffalo needed in the middle of their defense. He’s long and lanky with a lot of straight line speed. In fact the Saints are saying they’re going to use him as an OLB, which makes sense.

The Bills needed an interior run stuffer and Sheppard fits that profile better. I was very impressed with what I saw from Sheppard at the Senior Bowl. He’s got a better college resume than Wilson and better intangibles than him as well (leadership, instincts).

2 - Chris,
Leading up to the draft Jerry Jones claimed that 2 NFL teams have contacted him about trading up for the Cowboys #9 first round pick in this years draft.
    
Did you heard anything about teams interested in trading for the Bills #3 first round pick in this years draft?

It seems to me that the Bills need extra high draft picks to become a contender. Like the Patriots get every year. It might be to Buffalo’s advantage to trade the #3 pick for extra draft choices.

Lee D

CB: I understand your point and there were phone calls made to the Bills prior to the opening of the draft and during the early stages of the draft in round one. I’ll provide you with Buddy Nix’s description of it.

“We probably got 15 calls every round people wanting to move up or move back and offering picks,” said Nix. “I don’t say this is always the case because I don’t want to ever say never. Normally you won’t see us move back or swap picks just to be churning stuff. We kind of sit there and let what falls to us and take them and normally it’s worked out best. I’m not saying we wouldn’t ever do it. We might, but we’re not going to be big in that.”

Really what it comes down to is different philosophies. The Patriots love to move up and down the draft board and acquire picks for the future. This is admirable, but I also believe New England passes up some good opportunities and this year would be a good example.

They desperately needed a pass rusher. Their third down defense was worst in the league, and they had a chance with all their high picks to get an impact performer. They chose not instead trading away their 28th overall pick to New Orleans and their 60th overall pick to Houston. It can work for you and against you. I think this year it worked against the Patriots.

Sometimes less really is more and the Bills may have proven that in being one of nine NFL clubs that did not make a single trade in the 2011 NFL draft.

3 - Hi Chris,

I’d like to know what you think about the potential QBs in next year’s draft vs this year’s draft.  Any franchise material in that one?  Do the Bills look ahead to the seniors and possible juniors of the future or do they only focus on the current drafts prospects?  I’ve also seen a good idea about trading pick #34 for a 1st rounder next year to help us secure a franchise QB in that draft if one we like is there such as Luck, or another guy I like is Kirk Cousins from MSU.  Your thoughts please.

Thanks -Showtime.

CB: I’m not going to pretend to know any of these QB prospects for 2012, but here are some of the more highly-touted QBs for 2012. Andrew Luck (duh), USC’s Matt Barkley, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Arizona’s Nick Foles and your guy Kirk Cousins from Michigan State.

4 - Chris,

Could you give us a list of the prospects that have visited One Bills Drive?  I know you have been posting them as they come, but its hard to keep track of that, especially for those of us who simply cannot get to BB.com every day.

Thanks!

Jimmy (Fairport)

CB: I know the draft is over, but here’s the list of publicized names. I’ve been told there were a handful of others that were not made public.

Gabe Carimi
Von Miller
Kelvin Sheppard
Cam Newton
Marcell Dareus
Ryan Kerrigan
Christian Ponder
Justin Houston
Nick Fairley
Brooks Reed
Christian Ballard
Blaine Gabbert
Quan Sturdivant
Bruce Carter
Robert Quinn
Cameron Jordan
J.J. Watt
Da’Quan Bowers

 

5 - Hello Mr. Brown,
   What is the deal with Danny Batten? I know he was on I-R all last season, but does he have a shot at making the cut or even starting?
Thanks,
Bill

CB: The most recent comments from Coach Gailey are that there is a strong likelihood that Batten moves back to outside linebacker. That’s where he started in training camp before his torn rotator cuff injury required surgery.

He was still in the all the meetings while he rehabbed late in the season, and the coaching staff shifted him to inside linebacker to learn that position instead.

Now with the acquisition of Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White in the draft, Gailey sounds like he’s leaning toward putting him back outside.

I think it’d be a good move for Batten. He spent the majority of his college career as an edge rusher so he’ll likely feel comfortable out there.

As for a role on the team, there’s a lot more competition now with Shawne Merriman in the fold and fellow draft classmate Arthur Moats emerging in the second half of the season. He’s essentially a rookie having not played last year so we’ll see.


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Fan Friday 3-18

Posted by Chris Brown on March 18, 2011 – 12:24 pm

Hey Bills fans. I’m taking the day off for my birthday, but here are some answers to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Have a good weekend.

1 - Chris,
Can you break down how Bowers, Fairley, or Dareus would fit in the Bills 3-4. Can you explain the difference between a five technique and three technique lineman. Would they have to only play the DE position with Kyle up the middle. What are the future plans in the 3-4 for Troup and Carrington going forward in terms of starting next season.

Sean, NY

CB: Bowers and Fairley would be strictly defensive ends in the 3-4. Some believe Bowers can shift to an OLB role in a 3-4, but I think he’s strong enough at 275 pounds to stand in there at end in a 3-4. Fairley could be a three technique defensive tackle in a 4-3, and knowing Buffalo is going to be multiple with their fronts on defense next year, he has double value.

Dareus is the prospect with the trump card though. He is a fit in either defense because at 319 pounds he could stand in there and play nose tackle in a 3-4, but he’s athletic enough to play end in a 3-4, which is what he did at Alabama. He could also play the one technique or three technique defensive tackle in a 4-3.

The only difference between a three-technique and five-technique is the alignment of the defensive linemen. Now their roles are different in the scheme of the defense, but basically there are numbers assigned to the alignment of a defensive lineman. For example, if they are lined head up on a center they’re in a zero technique.

A one-technique defensive tackle is lined up on the shoulder of the center. This DT is typically the grinder that ties up blocker in a 4-3 front. A three technique DT is lined up on the outside shoulder of the guard and is usually the more athletic penetrating type defensive tackle.

A five-technique is an alignment usually for a DE in a 3-4 on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle. Their role is to stand and grind with the OT and sometimes TE to hold the point of attack and allow linebackers to run free to make tackles, although they have full license to disengage and make plays themselves. The alignments go all the way up to nine, which is the widest alignment, usually taken by a pass rushing DE or OLB.
2 - Hi Chris, 
I’ve taken some heat for this question already.  But I’d like your take on it.  What are you thoughts on building up the defense and o-line this year and trying to pick Andrew Luck in next years draft?  Now I know he will probably be the #1 pick in the draft but if we package some picks together or some players and picks, we may be able to get him unless we have a horrible season and end up picking #1 overall.  I just think that no one besides ryan mallett would be worth grooming or putting any time into as far as a qb for the future.  Luck has everything your pretty much want in a qb coming out of college and i’d like the bills to have a player at QB  who isn’t so much of a question mark.  Besides Fitz is playing at a high level and we need to invest this season in other areas such as defense and o-line.  As always thank you for your time.
-Showtime.
 
CB : I don’t think your idea is so far-fetched. I’m all for loading up on the defensive side of the ball and if you still have time to address offensive tackle all the better. I don’t mind being aggressive and doing whatever it takes to get up to number one next year for Luck. Just keep in mind it’s anything but a guarantee, knowing first there’s likely to be a host of other NFL clubs looking to make a similar trade deal for Luck, and you’re likely to have a team in that number one spot all too happy to take Luck first off the board, and with no interest in trading out. It’s not something you can bank on.

That’s why I think there’s a good chance they take a QB somewhere in the draft.

3 – Chris,

I’ve been reading a lot about the right tackle position and the teams general need for linebackers.  In those conversations, I never see anything about Ed Wang or Arthur Moats.  Is Wang still that far away from contributing as a right tackle (even as a backup)?  Was his injury the big setback or does he just have a lot more to learn?  I was thinking Moats, Poz, and Merriman would be 3 of the 4 starting linebackers next year – the 4th being a new addition with a big, run-stuffing frame.  Do the Bills see Moats more of a 3rd down rush linebacker?  Do they see issues with his run defense?

Thanks.
Eric in Baltimore

CB: I think in the end Wang will be best suited to play guard. That’s just my opinion. Right now guard is a deep position. They worked him at both guard and tackle last year and I anticipate that will continue. I don’t see him getting on the field as a starter in 2011 however.

Buddy Nix has said he likes some of the young talent they have at OLB, and that includes Moats. He’s got potential, but if Merriman is healthy and the Bills draft a pass rushing LB high (e.g. Von Miller), Moats will not be a starter.

Personally I expect them to address ILB with more picks than OLB, not higher picks, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see two picks used on ILBs.

4 – Hello Chris,
Kiper brings up an interesting observation with his 2.0 mock draft.  Newton to Bills.  Does the possibility of his tremendous upside make him too attractive for the Bills not to pass up?  Even if the Bills take someone like Von Miller that doesn’t mean he pans out either.  (i.e. Maybin)  Newton could be worth the gamble.
Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: It’s the 64 million dollar question Jim. Picking this high doesn’t happen often and it affords you the opportunity to get a franchise quarterback if you believe there is one in the draft. That’s what the Bills have to figure out. Is there a franchise type QB in the draft. If so they have to take him, whoever it is (Newton, Gabbert). If not, then they have to take a player that is considered a sure fire star. The safest picks at the top of the board are Marcell Dareus and Patrick Peterson.

5 - Chris,
Doesnt the Bills releasing Marcus Stroud indicate that they will go for a defensive end with the no. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL draft?

Perhaps Marcell Dareus, if Bowers and Fairley are gone by the time Buffalo picks?

Or will it be LB Von Miller, who I believe Gailey likes?

LeeD

CB: I think it increases the positional need. With the three top flight talents you mentioned I think they feel good about having the chance to take one of them. Whether they feel all three are worthy of the third pick is another question. Von Miller is an option as well, and yes Gailey may like Von Miller, but there are very few head coaches in the NFL, if any, that don’t like him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Luck staying at Stanford

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2011 – 2:43 pm

It’s official. Per a Stanford University press release, Andrew Luck is staying at Stanford for his senior season and will not declare himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Luck in a statement said in part, “I’m committed to earning my degree in architectural design and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring of ’12.”

The Carolina Panthers said if Luck had entered the draft pool they would’ve been interested.

That’s not only bad news for Carolina, but it could be bad news for a team like the Bills that may have had their eye on another top prospect falling to them at three. With Luck, a sure fire top overall pick off the board, everyone else will move up and that could put a premier player Buffalo may have had their eye on out of reach.


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Fan Friday 12-31

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2010 – 2:47 pm

Happy New Year Bills fans! One game to go and the Bills will be entering their game with the Jets with a skeleton crew due to injury. As a reminder Fan Friday will continue into the offseason so keep your questions coming at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Chris,
 
You mentioned in a previous post that Marcus Easley was doing straight line running, which makes it sound like his injury was an ACL. I know with ACLs the time frame is running in a straight line after 4 months or so. Can you ask him what the injury was?
 
Thanks,
Brian

CB: Hopefully you saw our story on Marcus’ progress on Buffalobills.com this week. I did ask him specifically about the nature of the injury and he said there was a lot of loose and damaged cartilage that had to be cleaned out. Technically his surgery was a scope, but it was a significant procedure in terms of what they had to clean up. I did ask him specifically if there was anything wrong with his ACL and he said, ‘No.’ Knowing he’s only four months removed from the injury and already 100 percent the ACL clearly wasn’t an issue.

2 - Hi Chris,
I know it’s early but I was wondering if Andrew Luck is gone come the bills draft pick, do you think the bills would trade back to add some early picks to move along the building of this team since we still have needs on both sides of the ball.  I was thinking if they end up with a top 5-10 pick and move back a few spots and pick up another 2nd or 3rd round pick that we could still end up with a stud defensive player and add to other positions as well such as TE,LB tackle, and maybe a QB to groom for the future behind Fitz like Locker who is really talented but needs to show up all the time rather than sometimes.  I think adding an all around TE one that can catch and block would really help this team as well, it’s a weapon we’ve been missing since Jay Riemersma.  Your thoughts?
 
Thanks -Showtime.

CB: First of all, Luck even declaring for the draft is still very much up in the air with most reports out west indicating that he’s returning for his senior season. Obviously if his head coach heads to the NFL that could change things. That being said I wouldn’t rule out the Bills trading down, but the bottom line is they need top tier talent that they can put on the field right away and those are usually found in the top 10.

They also needs to fill a lot of holes at a lot of positions, so trading back to acquire more picks has its merit. I think a lot could depend on how the picks in front of them fall and how enamored they might be with prospects that could be available when it’s their turn to pick.

3 - Hi Chris, I have to say I am really proud of the Bills for coming back and playing the way they have played for the second half of the season. Assuming there is football next year, do you see the Bills vying for a playoff spot next year? I mean they might need an infusion of one more draft, but I am impressed with what they have done over the last six games(except for the Minnesota game). What are your thoughts?
 
Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: It’s really hard to say what this team is going to look like in year two under Gailey and Nix. They’ve got a lot of draft picks to work with and a lot of holes to fill, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. If Nix and his personnel department hit a home run in the draft they could very well be a playoff contender. I just think season two is more likely to be closer to a .500 season. That’s how I see it now. If they get some prime time players in the draft, success could be coming to the Bills sooner rather than later.

4 - Hi Chris,
My question with reagards to Fitz’s relationship with the other 2 quarterbacks. Has Fitz been acting as a mentor towards both Brohm and Brown? Do the other 2 quarterbacks watch film together with Fitz when he’s watching film with the receivers?
 
Rich from Rochacha.

CB: Here’s Ryan’s answer to that very question from this week knowing that Brohm took all the practice reps. He was asked if he’s helped Brian through the week on the practice field and in the film room.

“There’s been a lot of conversation throughout the week and a lot of it has been the same dialogue. He’s had a little bit more of a voice this week because he’s been the one out there taking the snaps in practice. We bounce stuff off each other all week and I try to help him whenever I can.”

5 – Chris,

First of all happy holidays to you and yours. My first question is have you heard anything about Merriman and Nix having any extension talks? I heard he is still attending games (which is not required for IR players) and has even been seen pulling Moats aside to give him tips. That would make a fan such as myself billieve that he is personally interested in Moats’ future or maybe the future of the Bills. Also, many fans see Lee Evans as trade-able with the emergence of Stevie and the group of undrafted free agents, also with Easley and Parrish coming back from IR. So with the size of his contract and the previously mentioned emerging WRs do you think it will/could happen? If so what do you think we could get?
Thank you,
Joe from C.Sq.

CB: Thanks for the well wishes. Haven’t heard anything regarding Merriman and Nix, and my thinking is no one intends to talk to Merriman until they know he’s healthy and can pass a physical, which is not the case right now after he re-injured his Achilles. I saw him last week and his foot was still in a boot.

As for Lee Evans, while fans see him as expendable, I don’t believe the Bills organization feels that way at all. While the young receivers have done a nice job stepping in to fill the void left by Evans and Parrish, I think Evans is a respected receiver by opposing defenses and would afford Johnson more opportunities with teams forced to respect Evans deep speed. None of the young wideouts have Evans’ deep speed.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Harbaugh on 49ers list

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2010 – 10:46 am

The Comcast Sports report that the 49ers are interested in Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh for their head coaching position, could prompt Harbaugh’s current QB for the Cardinal to reconsider his NFL draft options.

The report, which indicates that 49ers VP of Player Personnel, Trent Baalke, will be named the new GM of the 49ers as early as Saturday, also says that the team is interested in Harbaugh as a head coaching candidate. Whether Harbaugh is interested is the big question.

If he is and lands the job, leaving Stanford behind, it will almost certainly impact Andrew Luck’s decision making process with respect to the 2011 NFL draft. Most reports at this point are indicating that Luck is leaning toward returning to Stanford for his senior season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Andrew Luck update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2010 – 10:46 am

Here’s the latest on Stanford QB Andrew Luck and where his decision making is concerning the 2011 NFL draft.

According to SI’s Peter King, who also works for NBC Sunday Football Night in America, is reporting that Luck’s current plan is to stay in school. Carolina, who currently holds the top pick in the 2011 draft is widely expected to take Luck if he passes on his senior season at Stanford.

Buffalo has a chance to finish anywhere from 2nd to 8th in the draft based on the final week of games in Week 17.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-10

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2010 – 2:09 pm

Could be a winter weather mess on Sunday for Bills-Browns. In the meantime we answer your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Chris,
With everyone buzzing about Andrew Luck being the Bills quarterback of the future, I have two questions.  My first question is, how are Levi Brown and Brian Brohm looking?  My understanding is that the Bills released Trent Edwards to give more snaps to these young guys and see what they are capable of.  So before start saving up for my Andrew Luck jersey, do you think Brown or Brohm have a chance at stepping up into the role of “the future”?  Second question, As well as Fitz has played, I don’t believe he is the long term solution.  BUT, Do you think he is good enough that the Bills will not draft a QB in the first round?  Instead draft a defensive stud like Marcell Dareus (Alabama) to help in the 3-4?
Thanks,
Bob in Jacksonville, FL
(Rochester native)

CB: I think you can count on GM Buddy Nix not pigeon-holing himself into taking a QB no matter what with Buffalo’s top pick. Luck is the pick if he’s on the board. He’s about as sure a thing to come along since Peyton Manning in terms of NFL success. Not saying he’s going to be him, but Peyton had similar sure fire success written all over him when he came out.

Trent Edwards was not cut to give Brohm and Brown more opportunities. He was cut because he wasn’t the answer. Just because he is not doesn’t mean that Brohm and Brown necessarily are. They have to prove that on the field in practice.

I think there’s some upside to Brown, who still has a lot to learn. Brohm I think showed he’s capable in the preseason. But I don’t know that either of them are the future long term starter for this team.

Fitz has done well for himself this season and could help this team in that role again next season (he’s signed through 2011), but adding a top flight quarterback prospect is still a priority for this franchise in the short term.

Again that doesn’t guarantee that the Bills will take one early. That will depend on how the board falls and who they feel is worth an investment that high in the draft. Luck may prove to be the only worthy candidate in that situation, especially knowing Buffalo has several other positional needs (pass rushing LB, OT, ILB, etc.)

2 - Chris,
Watched the Steelers game and was impressed by Alex Carrington’s play.  Looked like he got a good push off the edge, worked well on containment and pretty much held up his end, especially given the amount of playing time he has had.  Do you see the same things and do you see him getting more playing time during the rest of the season?
As always, appreciate your insights.
Jim
Macungie, Pa.

CB: As Chan Gailey has said from the start, Carrington is a bit further along as a rookie against the pass because sacking the quarterback was something he did particularly well at Arkansas State. This is the first time he’s playing in a 3-4, so that’s been an adjustment for him.
Gailey feels he needs to improve against the run a bit, and with Dwan Edwards now lost for the season he’s going to get a lot of valuable experience on the field. I really liked him coming out and I think this kid can be an anchor at end for this team for a long time.

3 - Chris,
I am an avid Bills fan from West Virginia!! (originally from Buffalo). You have been a very big supporter of Lee Evans, and I agree with you that he is a talent!  Would you agree that he may be similar to Trent Edwards in that he demonstrates his physical talent in practice and disappears on game day?  I don’t like that they pay him elite money, and he doesn’t produce as you’d expect.  

With the emergence of Steve Johnson, Donald Jones, and with Roscoe Parrish and youngster Marcus Easley returning next year, do you see any chance that they unload Evans for a low round draft choice just to free up future cap space to reinvest in our front 7 or o-line?  
Thank you and I look forward to hearing your responses!
Jim Eimer

CB: Jim you raise an interesting point. Stevie Johnson’s emergence has unfortunately shed a new light on Lee Evans’ production. He does have trouble getting consistent separation against bump and run coverage and opponents know this. What was once a position of perceived weakness is rounding into a pretty deep group.

As you astutely point out, Easley will return next year and was turning heads in the spring and early in training camp. However, unloading Evans at his current contract level (near $9M per season) would be supremely difficult.
4 – Chris,

Is the NFL Competition Committee going to look at this ridiculous “icing the kicker” stunt, that is employed by NFL coaches, after the season? Time out is called for no other reason than to make the field goal kicker kick the ball a second time -in the hope that he will miss.
  
It is really not fair to call time out after the kicker has gone through his motion and the ball is in the air. Something needs to be done about this!

LeeD
 
CB: I supposed it’s possible that it will be looked at a bit closer now that more coaches are making use of the timeout prior to the snap of the ball. But I’ve talked to Rian Lindell at length about this and he maintains it’s a non-issue for kickers. Here’s what he said about opposing coaches forcing you to kick it a second time with the timeout call.

“It really is a little like golf if you get to re-tee it after the first shot,” said Lindell. “I would think the second shot would probably be better. You get to see how the ball travels if the wind is blowing and if it’s carrying well. And there’s enough time there to go to the sideline and then come back on.

“I think fans believe that we’re obsessing over the kick through the whole timeout, but really I’ve been thinking about that kick since the offense got the ball. It’s not just all of a sudden I’m spending extra time thinking about it. So an extra 30 seconds is not a big deal.”

Lindell has said that other kickers in the league feel the same way. If you remember the only reason he missed that second 53-yarder against Kansas City was because his foot hit the ground before the ball and catching all that dirt slowed the momentum of his follow through. And that kick still hit the upright.

Personally I don’t like it. It cheapens the game, but if kickers don’t mind it, I don’t think it’s going away.

5 - Hi Chris,

I am curious about the nature of football players like Shawn Nelson and Percy Harvin having migraines. Is this football related or genetics? It would be great if you could shed some light on this. Thanks!
Much appreciated.

Stephen A. Naetzker

CB: Being a migraine sufferer myself (2-4 a year), which is not even close to those that Harvin or Nelson experience, I know a little bit about migraines. First of all, research has shown that migraine headaches are often hereditary and affect three times as many women as men.

If one parent has these severe headaches, children have a 50 percent chance of also having them. If both parents have migraines, the chance for a child to be predisposed to migraines goes up 75 percent. Even if a distant relative has migraine headaches, a 20 percent chance exists that any offspring will be prone to migraine headaches.

In talking with Shawn I know his mother suffered from migraine headaches so he was at increased risk to have them as well.

But there are a lot of triggers for migraines as well , such as stress , change in the weather, changes in air pressure (flying in planes), bright sunlight, flickering light from TVs or computers, odors or fumes and eating habits.

As you see there’s a wide range of triggers and migraines themselves range widely in severity. Just know that migraines are now classified as a chronic illness, not a headache. They’re not fun and they can be extremely debilitating. Hope that helps.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-3

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2010 – 3:52 pm

Let’s get right to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hi Chris,
I just wanted to know what you think about Ryan Fitz’s play and should the Bill really take a QB with now a guaranteed top 10 pick or could they take an OT with a 1st round pick.  Also is there any really OL men that have you have seen that they could take with a top 10 pick. And lastly, could the Bills take Adrian Clayborn DE or Cam Newton QB.

CB: There’s no question Fitz has made Buffalo’s offense remarkably more efficient (see third down percentage, red zone TD percentage) and more productive (points per game). I don’t think his play precludes the Bills taking a quarterback in the draft. The only one however, that I believe they would take at the top of the draft would be Andrew Luck. If he stays in school or is off the board, I believe they go in another direction.

That being said I’m not anticipating OT to be the play there. It’s not a strong year for offensive tackles. It’s much stronger at DE and OLB so I’d expect them to lean that way if Luck is not an option.

2 - Hey Chris,
With such a talented backfield (even with the trade of Marshawn Lynch), why aren’t we seeing more two back sets with Jackson and Spiller? I think that either split-backs or even Jackson at fullback would be extremely effective. Remember Fred-Ex’s pancake leading for Marshawn vs. San Diego last year?
-Leo
Boston, MA

CB: Obviously it hasn’t been part of the plan because Spiller has been hurt and I don’t anticipate it being part of the plan this season. Lynch and Jackson were a better fit for that because both are very capable blockers. Spiller never really was asked to block in college because they were too busy putting the ball in his hands, and understandably so.

So if Spiller is out there in a split backfield most defenses are expecting him to get the ball because it’s very unlikely that he acts as a lead blocker for Fred. Basically there’s less of an unknown for opposing defenses, which is why offenses employ that set to begin with.

I will say that as Spiller gets more accustomed to blocking in pass protection as his career moves along, that could be a more realistic option down the road for him.

3 - Hey Chris,
Can Roscoe Parrish , Marcus Easley , & others put on I.R. that are still under contract with the team , still go to the games & be on 
the sideline to root on their team mates , or is there a rule in the NFL that says they can’t participate in any game type activities once 
put on I.R. ?? I know i’ve seen them in some stories posted on BB.com about them doing things around town but was just wondering about game day ??? I would think they wouldn’t be able to do road games because of travel expenses but what about home games ??
Mr. T

CB: Typically I-R’d players watch games from the press box with the inactive players if they choose to do so. A lot of times not being able to play due to an I-R designation makes it too frustrating for players to watch in person, so in many instances they don’t go to the games at all.

I’m not aware of any kind of rule that says they cannot attend.

4 - Hello Chris,
I agree with you that Carolina is destined to get the number 1 pick in the draft ahead of the Bills.  The Bills may even leap frog another team or two and really fudge up the works for Luck.  My feeling on Luck is whoever picks ahead of the Bills is going to take him regardless of their current QB situation which leaves the Bills in a sticky situation.  My second choice for a QB would be Mallett but is he worth the money at that high of a pick?  I think the Bills look elsewhere (different position) if Luck is gone.  Your thoughts???
Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think Luck is really the only lead pipe lock in terms of quarterback prospects. Most of the others are giving NFL talent evaluators pause, at least ones that will be drafting in the top 10. Now a guy with Jake Locker’s physical tools may get someone to bite early. We always see quarterback value get inflated right before the draft. That’s also why quarterback is the position with the most first round misses in draft history.

I’d lean against Mallett being a top 10 pick. The lack of consistency is an issue for me.

5 – Chris,
 
Marcus Easley was put on IR for a knee injury prior to the start of the season. At the time Gailey gave no specifics on the injury, only that he did need surgery.
 
Do you have any information on what the injury was? How is he coming along?
 
I think if he can develop, then our WRs look good heading into next season with Evans and Johnson. 
 
Thanks,
Brian
Cleveland, Ohio Bills Fan

CB: I don’t know the exact nature of Marcus Easley’s knee injury, but I do know that they found more damage in there once they performed surgery than they had anticipated. Easley is coming along well, he’s running (straight line) and he’s doing low impact agility work with the trainers here at One Bills Drive.

The positive is he’s going to be full go for spring workouts when the offseason conditioning program begins provided there’s a new CBA agreement.

Knowing how well he performed in the spring camps earlier this year and the plays he turned in at camp before the injury, he’ll almost be like an extra draft pick, and I think he holds a lot of promise for this receiving corps which suddenly looks pretty deep.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-25

Posted by Chris Brown on November 26, 2010 – 2:50 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Bills fans. Lets’ get to the questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Hey Chris I was wondering if you thought Andrew Luck was worth waiting until the 2012 draft to try and get if he doesn’t come out this year and the Bills can then focus on the defense in the 2011 draft, possibly taking Marcel Dareus or another 3-4 DE in the 1st  and possibly Jerrell Powell for a NT with the 2nd round pick if he is still there.  After that I think they should try finding Linebackers and depth for the O-line and hope they finish low enough to get Luck next year or trade up to get him. I don’t think there is another QB worth taking in the top 5 this year.  What do you think?

Thanks,
Ben

CB: I’m not all that enamored with some of the other QB prospects that could be in the draft pool either, at least top five pick enamored. I think Ryan Fitzpatrick has at least given the Bills the option to fortify their defense at the top of the draft, with the play he has provided thus far this season.

Now it should be noted that the schedule the rest of the way gets considerably tougher for the Bills and that could change how this picture looks right now. But there is no debating the way Fitz has helped to not only lift the play of the offense, but the team as a leader.

2 – Chris, 
Who are the upcoming free agents on the Bills roster? Which players qualify to become restricted free agents, exclusive free agents, or just regular? How do the undrafted rookies like Coleman, Nelson, and Howard fit in to free agents?

Thanks,
Dawn (New Paltz, NY)

CB: Here’s who I’ve got so far, though I haven’t double checked with the personnel people that have the official list upstairs.
ILB Akin Ayodele (9)
QB Brian Brohm (3)
S Jon Corto (3)
ILB Keith Ellison (5)
CB Drayton Florence (8)
RB Quinton Ganther (5)
DT John McCargo (5)
OLB Shawne Merriman (6)
ILB Paul Posluszny (4)
S Donte Whitner (5)
S George Wilson (5)
OG Mansfield Wrotto (4)
CB Ashton Youboty (5)

Now as far as who is an unrestricted or restricted free agent is up to what the terms of the new CBA will be. The current labor deal expires March 1st, so players entering free agency will not know what their free agent status is until a new agreement is reached. Consequently the Bills and the 31 other clubs will not know as well. Suffice to say that top priority free agents like Paul Posluszny will probably be re-signed prior to the expiration of the CBA.

As for undrafted rookies like Coleman, Nelson and Howard they’ve all been signed to three-year contracts, so they’re all signed through 2012.

3 – Hi Chris,
I’m a fan of Kyle Williams. Adjusting to a new position in the new 3-4 scheme certainly can’t be easy for him, but he seems to be doing a decent job, all things being considered. However, I wonder if they could get better output from him if they kicked him outside to the defensive end position? Personally, I prefer the idea of having a really big-man play nose tackle to clog that middle lane (similar to a Wilfork). With that in mind, do you think Troup could be ready to fill that position soon on a ful-time basis? I think if they could get Williams to play at a lighter weight to help improve his speed and mobility a bit (say drop 10 – 15 lbs. or so and play at around 290), he could be a very productive defensive end. What are your thoughts on that, and, do you think there’s any possibility of the Bills actually trying that down the road?
 
Paul
Toronto

CB: Truth be told, Williams has been far better than decent inside. He’s been downright dominant. I too shared your opinion that being one of the more athletic defensive linemen, he might present more problems at end, than at the nose. I think down the line when Torell Troup gains more experience leaving him at the nose and kicking Williams outside could be a subpackage/passing down look for the Bills. I just don’t see it as an option this season. Acquiring more depth at nose would help to spur such a development.

4 – Hey Chris,
I live in Florida and I was wondering if the Bills players sign autographs on the road. Last year I went to Bills at Dolphins and got good seats behind the bills bench hoping that I would get a chance at T.O.’s autograph or like every fan, a ball. I didn’t stay after the game to see if they hung around after it was over, so I am curious whats the best way to get an autograph while at a miami or other away game?I’d like to get CJ on his rookie card., that would be sweet.
 
Frank,
Jupiter, FL

CB: First of all hoping to get an autograph prior to a game is a tough thing. You have to be in the stadium early during pre-game warm-ups and even then you’d have to be almost in their direct line of sight. A lot of times players don’t like to be bothered prior to the game, so you really don’t stand a good chance of getting one to be honest.

Post-game is even harder.

What I would suggest is sending your Spiller rookie card to C.J. at One Bills Drive, with a self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed.
Players don’t open fan mail until they have time to sit down and read it. If you think about it, it’s the best time for an autograph request. As long as you do all the work with the return envelope you make it easy for them and that’s the key. So here’s the address to send it to C.J. or any other player.

Player name
One Bills Dr.
Orchard Park, NY 14127

5 - Hey Chris ,

With Kyle Williams getting all this national attention on how good  he’s playing (#2 defensive player in the NFL) without much help around him according to certain articles , and in the shadow of Chris Kelsay getting a new contract extension. Wouldn’t it be smart to get this guy a new contract ASAP !! I don’t know how long his contract is for?? But these are the type of players that the Bills need to reward with an extension to build the team and make it viable once again in the NFL & the fans eyes .
Just Brainstorming – GO BILLS

Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville

CB: Well you’ll be happy to know that Kyle signed an extension after the 2008 season so he’s signed through 2012, and at pretty affordable money in light of what he’s done the past two seasons. So there’s no need to worry, Buffalo’s prime Defensive MVP is locked up for the foreseeable future.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Nix scouts Luck

Posted by Chris Brown on November 26, 2010 – 12:07 pm

It’s no secret that Bills GM Buddy Nix has been doing a lot of traveling during the week to assist his scouting department in getting the lowdown on college prospects. ESPN is reporting that Nix was out at Stanford this past week, and though QB Andrew Luck was likely on the agenda, Nix likely looked at some of their seniors as well.

Here’s Adam Schefter’s graph on Nix going out to Palo Alto.

Remember Luck is just a third-year sophomore and may choose not to enter the 2011 draft pool. A decision would need to be made on the quarterback’s part by mid-January.

Rest assured that Nix has been at this for weeks now hitting several different schools mining for talent in conjunction with Tom Modrak and the scouting staff.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Factors in Luck’s decision

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2010 – 11:43 am

NFL.com writer Albert Breer has listed a few factors that will impact Andrew Luck’s decision on whether to turn pro or return to Stanford for the 2011 season.

In his column he wrote the following vignette about Luck.

Speaking of Luck, Stanford’s stud QB, he’s becoming a runaway favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft. The question now, as we mentioned, is whether he declares or not. And there could be an interesting dynamic at work there: He’s expected by those who’ve been around him to factor in who has that selection in making his decision on whether or not to leave Stanford after this, his redshirt sophomore season.

His father, former NFL quarterback and current West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, is expected to be pretty involved in all of this as well. So keep an eye on that race for the first pick in December, and keep your memories from 2004 fresh. That was when Eli and Archie Manning orchestrated the son’s arrival in New York with the Giants. Something similar could happen again, but my understanding is that Luck would have no issue with returning to Stanford for another year.

One other factor that could dramatically impact Luck’s decision is whether or not his head coach Jim Harbaugh is successfully plucked from the college ranks to be a head coach for an NFL team.

Dallas is the only sure fire team to be in search of a head coach and with labor uncertainty some teams may be less likely to pull the trigger on firing their current coach to hire a new one, not knowing if there will be games in 2011.

Knowing that the team that holds the top draft pick will impact Luck’s decision though is going to make things tricky. However, West Virginia University, where Luck’s dad is the athletic director is only four and a half hours from Buffalo (I’ve done the drive). Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are the only teams in the NFL that are closer and one of those teams won’t be anywhere near the top of the draft board, nor will they be looking for a signal caller (Pitt.).

Unfortunately I’m doubting that proximity will hold any privileges.


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Posted in Inside the Bills