1 - Chris,
Great reporting and look to your articles before anything else in print, keep it coming. We were missing 40% of our O-line last year compared to previous year. It showed, difficulty running over the middle; and getting Spiller or Freddie out in space(screen passes etc.) seemed a rarity compared to the previous year. Much is made of acquiring that big receiver which would be great but to me strengthening the O-line is the first priority. A better offensive line allows EJ more time in the pocket to go through progressions, keeps him safer, allows receivers to get further downfield for long ball, a better running game, and frees up TE’s for the passing game instead of helping out with pass protection. Whether the top 3 tackles are off the board or if the Bills opt for a top TE or wideout, can they get a quality starting RT tackle in the second round?? Your thoughts?
CB: I think offensive line could certainly use some reinforcements. Whether there’s a starting caliber player might depend on where the Bills see a player like Nevada’s Joel Bitonio. He played tackle, but is he a guard in their eyes? Cyrus Kouandjio is a tackle, but still raw and has to learn on the job. The talent entering round two tonight would seem to favor tight end a bit more. I do like Bitonio and I think Jack Mewhort is an underrated lineman too. But again Mewhort is seen by some clubs as a guard and not a tackle. I like Antonio Richardson from Tennessee, but I don’t know that he’ll go in round two. Kouandjio might be the best option even though there are teams concerned about his knee.
2 – Chris,
I was wondering if the Bills made an attempt to resign Jim Leonard? Also I was wondering if Leonard got the majority of snaps while Byrd was out in the beginning of last season? In my opinion the defense actually played better without Byrd in the beginning of the season. They seamed more consistent against the run on early downs and better on third down. Did the Bills attempt to keep Leonard around for another season or do they have really seem to have faith in getting a quality starter out of Searcy, D.Williams, or Meeks? Also how much of a rotation is there at the safety positions? Are the two starters out there for most of the game or do they come out for subpackages and clear running situations? Thanks for your feedback.
CB: Jim Leonhard is still a free agent. He’s best suited for the Rex Ryan style defense, which he knows like the back of his hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs with Cleveland at some point. He did tell us at the end of the year that he wants to play one more season and then he’s going to retire. It’s time for Buffalo, which is changing defensive schemes to get some younger players on the field there.
3 -Hey Chris,
Thanks again for all your hard work. Do you know how much the NFL takes weather into consideration when making schedules? I’m frustrated as the cold is one of Buffalo’s advantages and the 2 hot weather teams we play at home (San Diego and Miami) are scheduled for our first 2 home games and not only do we only get 1 December home game but our last 2 home games are against the Browns and Packers, the 2 cities that play in colder weather than us! Just looking for your thoughts an if you think we’re getting a raw deal similar to the byes/long rests our opponents got last year (noticing the Jets got a long rest and their bye for our 2 games for 2nd year in a row also). Thanks again.
Sean from Staten Island
CB: Believe it or not the Bills actually request that they have as few December home games as possible because they often prove difficult to sell out. That request was honored by the league this year as Buffalo has just one December home game this season.
4 – Hi Chris…as a former season ticket holder for 20 years and now a resident on Naples Fl I enjoy keeping abreast of the Bills moves through your reports and the website. Thank you.
My question is why there is not more enthusiasm about Tony Moeaki and his potential contributions at tight end. Wasn’t he once considered a dynamic player when with Kansas City. If the bills believe he can deliver they could concentrate on other areas rather than go tight end in the draft. Your thoughts on Tony please…
BobbyG, Naples Florida
CB: I can tell you that GM Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone are excited about him. They feel he can recapture the production that made him a dangerous threat in the passing game. He’s battled injuries, but if he can stay on the field he can definitely be a contributor.
5 – Chris,
Does Jenkins fit what the Bills are looking for in an athletic tight end? Does he have the speed to be a juke type of tight end. I think he’s the second best tight end beside Ebron. Is he a viable candidate in round 2?
CB: I think Seferian-Jenkins could be a fit. He’s not the most athletic tight end, but he is athletic for his size. He has some run after catch ability, but he’s not going to be juking anybody out after the catch. He can be a productive weapon and I think in a thin tight end class he’ll be somebody’s second round pick.
Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Cyrus Kouandjio, Fan Friday, Jim Leonhard, NFL schedule, Tony Moeaki
Posted in Inside the Bills
The draft is next Thursday (finally). Here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net about the draft and other topics concerning the Bills. Be sure to follow our wall to wall draft coverage on Buffalobills.com and live on the @johnmurphyshow, which can be found on the Bills app or locally on WGR Sportsradio 550.
1 - Hey Chris,
In my opinion, Coach Marrone’s biggest mistake in year one was not having an experienced NFL quarterback on the roster to fill in for EJ. Boy, did the Bills ever pay for that oversight. How, then, is it possible that Doug Whaley has NO PLANS to sign a veteran QB for 2014? Can you shed some light on the thinking at One Bills Drive? Because it sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
Also, something I thought to be a no-brainer now looks as though it’s not going to happen……Why haven’t the Bills signed Jim Leonhard?!?
Thanks for everything,
Kenny in Indiana
CB: I would argue that it was not an oversight. They had Kevin Kolb on the roster. He was supposed to be EJ’s backup, but a preseason concussion landed him on injured reserve two weeks before the season started. The free agent market was a barren landscape of quarterback talent. Fortunately they swung a trade to land Thad Lewis, who is a player the front office and coaching staff is very high on as a backup.
He is the reason why they chose not to pursue a veteran free agent option. He’s had a year in the system and he and EJ now have a full time quarterback coach, who by the way worked previously with both of them (EJ at the Senior Bowl, Thad in Detroit).
As for Leonhard my only guess is he was seen as an ideal fit in a new defensive system last year that he was wholeheartedly familiar with and could teach to the younger players. Now with the scheme change he may not be seen as quite the same fit.
2 – Hi Chris,
The transition from Buddy Nix to Doug Whaley has seemed to go very smoothly.
My question is about Doug Whaley’s basic draft philosophy. Buddy Nix was on record saying he didn’t like to move in the draft, whether it was up or down.
I would love to see the Bills move down in the 1st round this year, pending a dance partner, to get more pick(s). There appears to be a lot of talent in the 2nd & 3rd rounds. Do you think Doug Whaley will be more proactive to move down in the draft than Buddy?
P.S. I hope 2014 is the year you get to report about more wins than losses!
Trade Down Tim
CB: I do think that Whaley is more aggressive by nature to make a deal. He was very honest about keeping all options open with their pick at nine. That includes trading up, which I think is a distinct possibility. We’ll see what happens, but at the pre-draft press conference I was encouraged by this comment from Buffalo’s GM.
“If you have a calculated system, and you use that approach, and the deal makes sense, and you see hey, we can move down to this point and still get a guy that we’re excited about, pick up another pick, then don’t be afraid to make the deal,” Whaley said.
3 – Chris,
I saw a rumor going around on nfl.com saying that Houston is “trying very hard to move down to acquire draft selections” and that Buffalo is a potential trade partner. I would like this move and I hope Buffalo goes for the #1 pick. I would love to see them pick up Greg Robinson or Sammy Watkins. Do you think this is a good possibility? Who do you think they would be chasing after to give up picks to make sure they land?
CB: I tend to doubt the Bills will move up to the top spot. Even the Bills at nine would have to give up an awful lot to make that happen. That being said I do think that moving up to a spot between 4 and 6 is a possibility if the right player is still on the board for them. There’s no way to gauge the likelihood of that happening because there’s no way to tell whether the compensation offered will be accepted for such a move to occur. I do think if the right talent is sitting there on the board Buffalo will at least make an attempt to make something happen.
4 – Hi Chris,
With the passing of Mr. Wilson how will this affect spending for the organization in the coming months? Certainly, the staff had a license to spend when he was alive but given that his estate needing to be settled, was a plan put into place so the day to day and free agent spending would not have cash limits. I just wonder when a player needs to be paid millions of dollars to sign who writes that check now?
CB: As team President and CEO Russ Brandon and GM Doug Whaley said at the pre-draft press conference their operations as a football club are unaffected moving forward. Here are their direct quotes.
Doug Whaley – “The ownership situation has no bearing on us trying to win football games.”
Russ Brandon – “In regards to the ownership transition, it’s business as usual in every facet of our operation.”
5 – Chris,
Does Austin Seferian-Jenkins fit what the Bills are looking for in an athletic tight end? Does he have the speed to be a juke type of tight end? I think he’s the second best tight end beside Ebron. Is he a viable candidate in round 2?
CB: He is a round two prospect so I suppose he is an option if Ebron isn’t the pick in round one, but I just don’t see him as a fit for Buffalo. He is a giant man, but he does not have the athleticism of Ebron. Apparently no one else does in the class at the position either. Seferian-Jenkins has above average athleticism for a tight end his size (6’5 ½” 262), but there are work ethic questions about him and some off the field issues. There’s not a lot of wiggle to him after the catch as he generally tries to run through defenders. He’s still a work in progress when it comes to blocking.
Tags: 2014 NFL draft, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buddy Nix, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Ralph Wilson, Russ Brandon
Posted in Inside the Bills
Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was all set to compete on the field here at the NFL Combine on Saturday, but was not given that opportunity as the league would not medically clear him.
Seferian-Jenkins tried to shed some light on his situation, but would not divulge his condition. In an interview with the NFL Network he said the following.
“I’m fine. I didn’t get cleared medically for whatever issues and I can’t compete today and that’s unfortunate because everyone has been working really hard to prepare for this,” said Seferian-Jenkins. “That’s what I’ve been doing getting prepared for this and dropping some weight and getting in the best shape of my life.”
UPDATE: CBSSports.com is reporting that Seferian-Jenkins problem is a pre-existing foot condition.
At this point Seferian-Jenkins isn’t even sure he can perform at the University of Washington pro day later this spring.
“I’m good, but I don’t know about pro day yet,” he said. “My pro day is April 2nd. You’ll have to check with my agent.”
For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.
Tags: 2014 NFL draft, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NFL Combine
Posted in Inside the Bills