Inside The Bills

NFL talent evaluators bullish on Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2014 – 7:59 am

The Bills may have dropped two straight games and made a change at quarterback, but according to FOX Sports there are scouts in the league that believe Buffalo’s roster is littered with talent and not far off from being a true AFC contender.

Here’s part of what was written on the Bills.

There are some around the league who believe this roster is overflowing with talent.

“I evaluated their defense up and down, and I think it’s as good as it gets,” an NFC scout told FOXSports.com. “They are all solid football players. D-line depth is legit. They’re an undercover team. If they keep the group together and if they stay healthy, this defense will be one of the best for the next six to seven years.”

Attrition on defense could take its toll, though. With defensive tackle Kyle Williams and linebacker Nigel Bradham undergoing MRIs earlier this week, the front 7 undoubtedly could be affected.

In July, budding superstar linebacker Kiko Alonso underwent season-ending surgery for a torn ACL. Alonso, though, is coming along nicely and is actually ahead of schedule, a source close to the linebacker told FOXSports.com.

Despite Alonso’s absence, third-round rookie Preston Brown has been a very bright spot, logging plenty of snaps and leading the Bills in tackles (40). 

General manager Doug Whaley and his staff deserve plenty of credit for building a unit that is garnering league-wide approval, and this certainly isn’t the first time the idea of Buffalo’s defense being very good has been floated.

Former Ravens and Browns scout and current NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said two weeks ago on his “Move The Sticks” podcast that when he watched the Bills in training camp 21 starters stacked up with those on any team – it was just a matter of Manuel (and now Orton) as the 22nd guy.

For Marrone and Co., that part will need to get figured out in a hurry as the team is changing hands in ownership and must prove this thing is headed in the right direction.

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on how he’d handle Bills’ ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2013 – 11:08 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has been pretty pleased with the sack production his defense has put up thus far this season. He has said in the past that he values hits on the quarterbacks in total, not just sacks. Being a former offensive coordinator and very well versed in protection schemes, he was asked how he would counter the effectiveness of his defense.

“I think I’d look at the match‑up situation, who I don’t match up with well if I was on the offensive side of it the whole time and I would set the protections that way,” said Marrone. “And I think because people are multiple and we have guys with multiple sacks that can get that done, it’s a little bit more difficult.

“I think you’re always looking to see what sacks are being created from in terms of pressure and how many sacks are being created from the standpoint of four‑man rush. I think at the end of the day you create more of a four‑man rush even though sometimes that’s not the case.  I think that gets evaluated quite a bit.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills ‘D’ had the clamps on

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 10:13 pm

Buffalo’s defense had been susceptible to giving up the big play through the first half of the season. That disappeared on Sunday.

The Bills allowed a total of 210 net yards to the Chiefs, the fewest in a loss since they gave up just 193 in the infamous 6-3 loss to Cleveland back on Oct. 11, 2009.

The longest play surrendered by the Bills was a 20-yard pass play from Alex Smith to Anthony Fasano. No other play went for more than 12 yards in the game.

On 10 total possessions, the Chiefs gained more than 35 yards on a drive, just once, their 42-yard field goal drive in the third quarter. That was also the only Kansas City drive that reached the red zone.

“I think we’ve got a good defense,” said Stephon Gilmore. “One thing their defense did, they got turnovers and scored. That’s what we needed as a defense. I just feel like we needed a play on defense to turn the game around for the offense. But we never got that.”

The closest they came was on Jerry Hughes strip sack, but Leodis McKelvin was unable to come up with the loose ball.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Bills should expect some read option

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2013 – 10:13 am

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is one of the better read option signal callers in the league. He only had a handful of carries last week against Seattle, but there’s a good chance he has more against the Bills today. Here’s why.

Recent evidence has likely shown Carolina offensive coaches that the read option can have success against Buffalo. The last two examples come from late last season and this past preseason.

Exhibit A is Seattle QB Russell Wilson. Facing the Bills in Toronto last season in Week 15, Wilson rushed for 92 yards on nine carres (9.2 per rush) and three touchdowns. They came from 14, 25 and four yards out in a 50-17 victory over Buffalo.

Then this past preseason, read option quarterback and fourth-stringer Pat White for the Washington Redskins had success running the read option against Buffalo. Though he only had three carries in the game they totaled 26 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run (8.6 per carry).

Even though Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Schula is known as a conservative play caller, he’s expected to give Newton his opportunities with the read option against a Bills defense that has to prove they can stop it today.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Defensive snap counts

Posted by Chris Brown on November 26, 2012 – 4:59 pm

Here are the defensive snap counts from Sunday’s game in Indianapolis courtesy of ProFootballFocus in order of greatest to least.

Jairus Byrd – 75
Stephon Gilmoe – 75
Leodis McKelvin – 69
Nick Barnett – 65
Mario Williams – 61
Kyle Moore – 58
Marcell Dareus – 54
Kyle Williams – 51
Justin Rogers – 49
George Wilson – 49
Bryan Scott – 44
Nigel Bradham – 31
Kelvin Sheppard – 31
Da’Norris Searcy – 27
Spencer Johnson – 24
Alex Carrington – 21
Shawne Merriman – 18
Ron Brooks – 11
Chris Kelsay – 9
Arthur Moats – 3


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Points per game home vs. road

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2012 – 10:15 am

When it comes to points scored and points allowed by the Bills thus far this season there are some disparities between home and the road.

Heading into today’s game Buffalo has averaged 10 more points per game at home (29) than on the road (19).

Flipping it over to defense it’s almost identical. Buffalo has given up an average of 29.5 points per game at home. On the road that figure is slightly higher at 30.2.

The sample size for the road is larger (6 games) than for home (4 games), but a 10 point difference in offense is pretty significant.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Barnett: Bills ‘D’ could be best

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2012 – 3:42 pm

Nick Barnett is a veteran linebacker. He knows you don’t prove anything in June, July or August, but what he’s seen of his defensive unit to this point has him very, very encouraged that the Bills defense could be one of, if not the best in the NFL.

“Well I think we could be as good as the best defense in the NFL if we do what we are supposed to do,” he said. “I definitely think that we have that potential, we’ve got great pass rushers, great interior linemen, and we’ve got young hungry linebackers. I mean I am getting a little long in the tooth, but I still consider myself young and we also have some good defensive backs that look good. So, we have a lot of potential to be one of the best defenses in the NFL.”

In addition to the pure talent the Bills have added defensively, Barnett also sees value in that talent having a wealth of experience with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson the two primary examples.

“It definitely helps that you have guys that know the game of football at this level,” he said. “Bring in free agent players, good players with good attitudes and good mindsets. I makes us mover faster along and help the younger guys to. When you have veterans in front of them it helps them improve and challenges them.”


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Munchak liked Bills 2nd half ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2011 – 2:24 pm

Titans head coach Mike Munchak felt fortunate to escape Buffalo with a win Sunday. He thought the Bills second half defense put their opponent in a good position to win.

“We made it hard on ourselves,” said Munchak. “Give Buffalo credit in the second half – we had chances where we had good field position, and they were able to get us off the field. They made some adjustments, made some plays, and put us in some long down situations. That led to the nerve-racking ending of the game. If you can take care of those things in the third and fourth quarter, you can avoid those types of situations.”

Buffalo held Tennessee to 134 total yards in the second half and just two third down conversions. The Titans had just a pair of 2nd half field goal drives.


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

More 4-3 ahead?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 26, 2011 – 11:58 am

The Bills went predominantly to a 4-3 front against the Dolphins last week and their run front fared better holding Miami to a 2.7 yards per carry average. So will that continue in the weeks to come?

Head coach Chan Gailey offered the following response.

“Well, some of it has to do with who’s healthy and who’s not, who we think can play, what we think the best matchup is as far as run game vs. tight end throw vs. back out of the backfield,” he said. “You take all of those things in consideration, it’s never just one thing. But we do feel like last week that gave us a good matchup and we’ll look and see what’s the best matchup this week for us.”

Basically the team is just looking for what might work best against the opponent that week along with who they have available to play. So at this point the Bills defense is a hybrid between the 3-4 and 4-3.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Preseason stat barometer

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2011 – 12:01 pm

Not a whole lot of stock can be taken in the preseason stats for NFL clubs. Their best players are not on the field for most of the game and coordinators aren’t running their best regular season stuff. Still they’re interesting to examine. Here’s a look at some of Buffalo’s defensive statistics through two preseason games and where they rank.

Total defense – 15th (311.5 yds/gm)
Points per game allowed – 13th (17 ppg)
Yards per play allowed – 14th (4.9)
3rd down defense – 23rd (44%)
Time of possession allowed – 16th (30:28)
Run defense – 26th – (132.5)
Pass defense – 11th (179)
Sacks – 1st (11)

Buffalo’s total defense last season ranked 24th in total defense, 30th in 3rd down defense and last in run defense. They were also 28th in points per game allowed. They also ranked 27th in sacks. Again just preseason numbers, but they could be further indication that they’ll be improving in several categories.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Proof that Bills are bigger

Posted by Chris Brown on August 20, 2011 – 3:39 pm

The Bills made a point of getting bigger and stronger to hold up better on defense. Now here’s some measurable proof as to their increased size.

Courtesy of the Bills media relations department, here is where this year’s defense measures up weight-wise to last year’s defense.

2010

AVERAGE WEIGHT OF…

 

2011

302

Starting Defensive Line

315

272

Starting Front Seven

282

306

Defensive Linemen

321


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-7

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2011 – 1:23 pm

Into  the offseason we go. Let’s get to your questions for this week from askchris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
Wondering what the rules are for I-R players in terms of being able to attend team meetings, watch film, etc – to be taught/coached on techniques?  Also, if they recover from their injury during the season and are cleared medically, can they participate in walk-throughs or drills? Or can they be on the field and at least listen to the coaches?  Who from the Bills takes advantage of this and who tends to stay away from the team?

CB: I-R players can sit in on team meetings and watch film as much as they want. As for the practice field they can’t be out there getting instruction from coaches, even if cleared medically. Players vary in terms of who hangs around to watch tape and attend position meetings and team meetings. A couple of examples of players that did this past season were rookie Danny Batten and Marcus Easley.

2 - Hey Chris, I’m writing about the defense and where you think there is room to upgrade players. When I think about the guys we have I can’t really point to one of them and say we need to get rid of them. Do you think some of the guys who changed positions still have room for improvement as far as learning their new positions? Or are they just not physically suited for the 3-4?
Dan from Western MA (I hate the Patriots!)

CB: I think the defensive line could use another quality player either at defensive tackle or defensive end. I really like Auburn’s Nick Fairley with Buffalo’s top pick. There’s a good chance he’ll be there when Buffalo is on the clock. Linebacker needs an influx of talent as well though Shawne Merriman could be a big help there. Based on who the Bills could lose from their secondary in free agency (Florence, Whitner, Wilson, Youboty) they may need to add there as well.

I do think that some of the players that made a transition in terms of position still have room for improvement. Chan Gailey said that they plan to go with a multiple look front next season so that could change things a bit in terms of roles.

3 - Chris,
I know we aren’t really looking at WR’s but I can’t help but notice Vincent Brown out of San Diego State and the massive game he had against Navy.  I was just wondering where he is expected to go in the draft…how good people really think he is. 

Also, are you amazed at how well our low round and free agents are doing when our top round picks are barely blips on the screen.  It makes you wonder.

CB: Vincent Brown (6’0” 195) was a dynamic receiving weapon for the Aztecs for almost his entire college career. He’s considered by many to be one of the top 10 prospects at the receiver position. That figures to change a bit once all the juniors declare, but there’s no denying his production. In that Navy game he had eight catches for 165 yards and a TD, and much of his college career read the same.

Brown caught 209 passes for 3,110 yards and 23 touchdowns in his San Diego State career. With 4.5 speed, Brown is said to have strong hands with good initial explosion off the line. Personally I have not seen him play, but he’s considered by draftniks to be 3rd or 4th round pick.

With respect to Buffalo’s later round picks, it is crazy to see that they have a 7th-round pick at left tackle (Bell), a 7th-round pick at WR (Johnson), a 5th-round pick at nose tackle (Williams) and a 7th round picks (not theirs) at QB (Fitzpatrick). I think the Bills have been very good at hitting on their late round picks. They also have to hit some more home runs on their early picks too.
4 – Chris,

Based on how well all the receivers flourished this season, will there be enough roster spots for the guys next year with Roscoe and Marcus seemingly coming back to the active roster. I’m assuming they will not keep 7 active guys. Evans, Stevie, Roscoe, David, Donald, Marcus, and Namaan. So who seems the odd man out? And how far behind will Marcus be as the undrafted guys will be 1 year vets?

Thanks,
Sophie Berg

CB: This is a question that a lot of people will have their eye on next summer. It’s arguably the deepest position on the roster. I think that’s partly why Chan Gailey, when asked if Lee Evans will be off their roster next year (via trade), said he doubts it, but that he’d never say anything is impossible.

I think the reason he left that door open a crack is because the Bills come next summer could have too much talent at receiver and might be in a position where they can deal from that position of strength to help their talent level at another position where they might be lacking.

If the group does remain intact however, I think that Roosevelt would be the odd man out. He’s just not quite as physical as Donald Jones, which is why Jones made the roster over him at the start of the 2010 season. Roosevelt is still eligible for the practice squad in 2011, so I would expect him to wind up there if all seven are back for next season.

Easley will be a bit behind because he doesn’t have NFL experience of any kind (preseason or regular season) under his belt like everyone else, so there will be an adjustment there. But in watching him all spring and summer until he got hurt in camp, this kid is going to be a player. I think he’ll be neck and neck with David Nelson for that 4th WR role.

5 – Do you think the Bills will get two tight ends, like the Patriots did in the draft? I’d like at least two more added. Nelson’s third year is like his first two…I don’t want to be without the two tight ends we can have by way of draft.

CB: I think you’re expecting a lot out of the Bills with that wish. What New England did was unusual drafting tight ends back to back. Buffalo has a ton of positional needs, so using two of their eight picks on tight end seems misguided despite how little pass game production they get out of that position.

On Buffalo’s roster the better pass catchers are at receiver anyway and David Nelson and Roscoe Parrish can capably work the middle of the field.

Here’s what Chan Gailey said with respect to addressing the tight end position.

“Everybody wants one,” he said of game breaking tight ends. “I like them. But what I’ve found through the years is, you don’t find any (John) Mackeys anymore – a guy that can block and can go run down the field and make plays. They can kind of do one or the other fairly well or maybe one or the other really well but you don’t find that combination very much anymore so you try to massage the offense to get the blocker in there when you want to run the football and get the receiver in there when you want to use one for passing.

“You still are searching for a way to develop that guy that does a little bit of both pretty well and we haven’t had that guy. Maybe we can find one, maybe he’s on our roster now, maybe he’s not – that can do both of those well enough that you’re not tipping off the defense what you’re doing when they go in the ball game.”

Gailey sounds as though he’d love to have one, but there is the headache of not tipping your hand offensively based on the personnel you have on the field. If the tight end is a one-dimensional player it tips off the defense, and as he said finding a complete package TE is hard these days, especially with all the spread offenses in college.

I think they draft one tight end at best and I don’t expect it to be early. If they draft any position more than once I expect it to be linebacker.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Sparano on Bills ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2008 – 2:09 pm

Naturally an opposing head coach is always going to pump up the opposition, not only so his team doesn’t take them lightly, but so there’s no potential bulletin board material either. But I thought some of what Sparano said about Buffalo’s defense was pretty genuine, particularly what he said about Denney, Kelsay and Mitchell.

“They’re a very good defense, they really are,” said Sparano. “They’re playing pretty well. You play a game that they played last week; you would hope that nine out of 10 times you win that football game. Defensively, they’ve done a very nice job there. I think what concerns me most is whether or not we can protect the passer in this game. (Ryan) Denney is getting much better at what he does and (Chris) Kelsay is a pain in the neck. The guy goes a million miles an hour and he’s a full day’s work. And then they’ve got the big guys inside with (Kyle) Williams and (Marcus) Stroud and they make a lot of pressure that way. I think their linebackers are outstanding. I think (Kawika) Mitchell is playing very well for them.”

For those that may not have noticed, the Bills defense is ranked 12th overall in the league, 17th vs. the run, 14th vs. the pass, 9th in 3rd down defense and 14th in points allowed. I know going into the season I wrote that I’d be pretty pleased if this team was in the top half of the league in total defense, in light of how much improvement was needed from last season. Not satisfied, but pleased.

It looks like they’ve got a good shot to make good on that.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills