Inside The Bills

Addition to LG competition coming

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2013 – 3:47 pm

The left guard competition has largely been a two-man competition between Colin Brown and Doug Legursky, but head coach Doug Marrone gave ample indication that another candidate will be added to the mix.

Marrone in his assessment of how the left guard competition is shaking out feels there needs to be a third candidate.

“I think both players are doing the best they can,” said Marrone of Brown and Legursky. “I think we have to look to throw someone else in the mix. I don’t think we’ve seen the separation right now.”

Marrone plans to discuss his options with offensive line coach Pat Morris and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on the player’s off day Thursday. A former offensive line coach himself he knows how important it is to get his starting five up front solidified.

“(We’ll) see if there’s anyone else that can go there and see if someone else can separate themselves,” said Marrone. “I think they’re both doing a good job and they both have to develop and I’m looking toward the preseason games to see how they perform in the preseason games. But right now it’s not solidified in the way you want to be right now.”

The most likely candidate to be added to the mix is recent free agent signee Antoine Caldwell. He has more NFL experience playing guard than Legursky and Brown combined and has 19 career starts. The only thing that has likely kept Caldwell from entering the competition sooner was his lack of familiarity with the Bills offensive scheme having just arrived last weekend.

Caldwell was sprinkled in with the second offensive line in practice Tuesday. He could be looking at a whole lot bigger opportunity in the coming days.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Caldwell’s to-do list

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2013 – 11:49 pm

One of Buffalo’s newest offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell is expected to be part of the competition for the vacant left guard spot. Of course Caldwell has a few other things to take care of before he’s competing effectively in Buffalo’s offensive scheme.

Caldwell took in practice last night having just joined the team and knows little about the scheme at this point. The four-year vet aims to change that sooner rather than later.

“I think it starts off the field more than on the field,” Caldwell told Buffalobills.com. “I’ve got to hammer the film room, hammer that time with the coaches. I think that’s important to really speed up this process that I’m in right now. Then come out here and try to translate things that I’ve learned in the meeting rooms out here on the field and that’s going to be important to getting in there and being able to battle.”

Caldwell has 19 starts in his NFL career, which is two more than Doug Legursky (17) and 18 more than Colin Brown (1). Legursky has appeared in more NFL games (50) than Caldwell (39). Still, most of Legursky’s starts have come at center, not guard.

Caldwell once he’s up to speed is going to add to the talent level at that left guard competition.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Caldwell, Hills update

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2013 – 6:41 pm

Buffalo’s newest offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell and Tony Hills are both in attendance at practice.

Brand new to the offensive system neither are expected to see much time in offensive segments at practice tonight.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills new linemen bring welcome competition

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2013 – 4:57 pm

Buffalo’s signing of free agent OL Antoine Caldwell and Tony Hills brings experienced competition to camp for the team’s front line.

Caldwell is a quality pick up this late in the offseason. With four years of experience under his belt on a successful team (Houston), he’s expected to compete for the starting left guard job with Doug Legursky and Colin Brown.

Hills has largely been a reserve player in his career, but has more playing experience than some of the younger offensive tackles on the roster. GM Doug Whaley is also very familiar with him as a player having been with him in Pittsburgh from 2008-2009.

Caldwell will wear jersey number 73 while HIlls will wear 76.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-13

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2009 – 3:52 pm

Here’s this week’s installment and to give you all a break I spared you Terrell Owens content. Believe it or not most Bills fans want to know about some of the unresolved issues facing the team like the offensive line situation involving the vacant left guard spot, Jason Peters and the draft. Let’s get started.

1. Hi Chris:
 
Two questions.  One, did you see the team having to make a choice between Greer and McGee this off-season, in that if we signed Greer we’d have had to let McGee go next year?  Second, what in your opinion will the Bills do to help their DE position?  With Schobel still a potential injury problem, Kelsey not providing a rush threat, and Ellis and Bryan not showing much yet doesn’t this position have to be addressed in free agency?  Thanks.

CB: I believe that Greer and McGee were part of one decision looking toward the future. I believe if the Bills re-signed Greer at $6M per season or more, it would’ve meant that McGee would have to find employment elsewhere after the 2009 season. Buffalo can’t invest heavily in three corners because it would pull investment money away from other positions.

I think knowing the Bills obviously didn’t offer Greer that kind of money, seeing that he signed in New Orleans for $4.6M per season, is an indication that they probably valued McGee more as a cornerback all along, and as much as I liked Greer, I tend to agree with that assessment.

I’d expect McGee to get an extension either right before the 2009 season starts or right after the season ends.

As for addressing the pass rush in free agency, the market was really thin at the position with respect to pure pass rushers. That’s why Houston overpaid for Antonio Smith. He’s not a premier pass rusher, but came close to getting paid like one.

I think the Bills and a lot of other teams see the draft as their best option for addressing the pass rush.

 

2. Hey Chris,
 
I know there is a lot of talk about the needs of tight end and defensive end to be taken care of in FA or the draft but I was wondering about the Bills options for center.
 
What about getting someone like Eric Ghiaciuc of the Bengals.  Could he be retained for say a two – four year deal? That would be an option in FA.
 
As for the draft I think with where the picks stand and the other pressing needs we have at other positions, we probably won’t get Alex Mack or Max Unger. But would the Bills go for someone like Antoine Caldwell from Alabama or Jonathan Luigs from Arkansas in the third?
 
I’d like to get your take on these options.  Thanks
Matt from Michigan

CB: With Geoff Hangartner on board, he’s the odds on favorite to start at center, but I think the Bills will draft some line depth. I like Alabama’s Antoine Caldwell too. Guy plays nasty and tries to bury people. Gotta love that. Luigs is more of a technician.

Think they’ll need a guard/center combo guy or maybe just a guard. I like LSU’s Herman “House” Johnson. Met him at the combine, has had some weight issues, but dropped 20 before the combine and is now at 364. Dude is huge. Probably a second or third rounder.

Wouldn’t mind adding a veteran guard in free agency.

 

3. Hi Chris,
Assuming Trent has a good/great year this year, when would he be offered a new contract?  He is in his last year of a three year contract, correct?  What would be the salary range be?
Thanks,
Whitney from Los Gatos

CB: Trent’s rookie contract doesn’t expire until after the 2010 season. I would think if Trent has a productive season and makes further progress in his game that they’ll look into signing him to an extension next offseason or perhaps sooner. The salary range will be dependent upon his statistics and how far the team goes in 2009. We’ll see.

 

4. Chris,

The Bills are obviously in need of a starting guard because we could not consistently run the football or protect the quarterback with Dockery.

I know the Bills have a few players that could fill in but I’m not excited about making any of them a starter.  There is just a handful of decent FA’s available and I don’t think one of them have visited Buffalo.

I heard a rumor we were interested in disgruntled guard Brian Waters from the Chiefs but he is older and would probably require a trade involving a draft pick.  Do you think there is any chance we would take Orlando Pace and make him a guard?  How do you think the Bills will fill this position?

Greg – Albany, NY

CB: I’ll actually have a story on the guard situation next week on Buffalobills.com, so stay tuned for that. But I believe both Kirk Chambers and Demetrius Bell will be given an opportunity to work at the left guard position through the spring OTAs.

I’m not saying they’re going to be the answer, but they’re both strong considerations in the minds of the offensive staff.

You’re right about Brian Waters. He’s a Pro Bowl guard, so he would come at a significant price in terms of a new contract and in terms of compensation (3rd round pick?). Orlando Pace is too tall to be a guard in my opinion.

The Bills just got rid of a player that was making too much money at guard. They need to invest in their left tackle, but if their LT, as reports have indicated, is asking for too much, then perhaps trying to acquire Waters becomes more realistic.

I also expect them to draft at least one interior lineman for depth, maybe two. Chicago just released Terrence Metcalf, who has been a career backup, so a vet might be signed for depth as well.

5. Chris,
What is the level, if any, of the progress being made between Peters and the FO for a new contract?  Do you believe it will be done by summer?

I’ve also heard rumors of a possible deal involving Peters to Philly, what’s the possibility and what is his value in such a deal?  I’m having a hard time believing there is a fair compensation for losing Peters, one of a handful of lockdown left tackles in this league currently.

I’ve seen failure after failure to draft such a talent in the first round and we have the cap room to pay the man what he is due at this point, I feel we should get the deal done, pick up one of the free agent linebackers and attack the draft at TE and DL/OL, what’s your take in the remainder of the offseason?

CB: Well according to reports the two sides still have some middle ground to cover. I’m hopeful it gets done prior to the draft. If not, the club MAY elect to move Peters. I don’t know that, but in all likelihood, the Bills would stand to get the most value for Peters at that time when teams are looking to fill positional needs.

Philadelphia is an obvious potential landing spot IF the Bills believe getting a new contract for Peters is a lost cause. The Eagles have a pair of first round picks and three fifth round picks. I don’t see why a 1st (21 overall) and a 5th (5th pick in 5th round) can’t be acquired for a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle. That seems reasonable. Heck maybe they can get more (1st and 4th).

Of course that would increase the likelihood of having to take an OT 11th overall to fill a huge need. In a perfect world I’d prefer to re-sign Peters to a long term deal and I have to believe the Bills would prefer that too. Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and you know how good Peters can be. As promising as some of the premier OTs in the draft are, they are unknown commodities at the NFL level.

As for the rest of the offseason, I’d like to see a veteran linebacker added for the strong side and a veteran guard (even if it’s a backup) for depth. I think most of the remaining holes can be addressed in the draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pro day hotspots

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2009 – 3:34 pm

The top destinations for NFL scouts and coaches as far as the college pro day circuit goes Wednesday will be at Alabama (C Antoine Caldwell, OT Andre Smith among others), Maryland (WR Darius Heyward-Bey, WNY native Dan Gronkowski), Oklahoma St. (Brandon Pettigrew) and Tennessee (Robert Ayers among others).

A better 40-time for Ayers would help him even though he’s not considered a premier pass rusher and Alabama’s Smith obviously has a huge day ahead of him.

I don’t know if Pettigrew will do much after a pretty good combine workout. Maybe try to lower his 40 time.


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Posted in Inside the Bills