Inside The Bills

Smith, Leodis still atop return depth chart

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:24 pm

There are a host of challengers for the kick and punt return jobs on the Bills’ roster, but with the release of the team’s first unofficial depth chart the incumbents are still at the top of the list at each position.

Brad Smith is still listed as the top kick returner on the depth chart followed by T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin. Head coach Doug Marrone touted Smith as one of their top specialists at the start of camp.

“He’s a core special team’s player for us and does it very well,” said Marrone. “We look at him as a receiver trying to get himself slotted wherever that may be at the end of the day competing for a position. And we feel that he has shown some very good progress having just been in one position. But the more I’ve talked to Brad (Smith) about the different places he has been, quarterback, whatever it may be. For us, right now our plan is just go ahead and compete at receiver. Obviously be a core special team’s player. And that’s his role on our team right now.”

As for punt return Leodis McKelvin is still atop the depth chart there, but if he remains in his current role as a starting cornerback, returning punts as well might be putting a lot on his plate for an entire season. His backups on the depth chart right now are T.J. Graham and Robert Woods.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Receiver listings most interesting

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:17 pm

depth-chart-bbcomThere aren’t a lot of surprises on the Bills first unofficial depth chart. At receiver though where there will be a lot of jockeying for position and roles, it worth noting how things are laid out here at the outset.

The top four receivers listed on the depth chart are Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. The next sets of pairings are as follows.

Brad Smith and Chris Hogan
Marcus Easley and Kevin Elliott
Da’Rick Rogers and DeMarco Sampson
Brandon Kaufman and Terrell Sinkfield

There are obviously still four preseason games to be played so these positions are likely to be shuffled somewhat before the preseason is over. Just knowing there are eight receivers in the mix for one or two of the final receiver spots should make for some heated competition.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Safety depth chart includes Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:16 pm

The Bills have said when Jairus Byrd returns to the team they’ll welcome him with open arms. That was evident by the looks of the team’s first unofficial depth chart.

Byrd is listed as the starting free safety on the depth chart. Aaron Williams is listed as the starting strong safety. In Mike Pettine’s scheme those positions are interchangeable.

The backup safeties listed are Da’Norris Searcy and Mana Silva. Searcy has been getting first team reps in the absence of Byrd.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kolb, EJ listed as co-starters on depth chart

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:14 pm

depth-chart-bbcomThe Bills preliminary unofficial depth chart has been released and to no surprise there isn’t a delineation between quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel.

Still in the midst of a quarterback competition that has barely begun Kolb and Manuel are listed as co-starters, with just a slash between their names as they both appear in the starters column on the depth chart.

It’s not the only instance where that’s the case. At left guard, Doug Legursky and Colin Brown are also listed as co-starters.

It will likely take until the preseason games for these situations to change.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-2

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2013 – 4:55 pm

We’re about a week into training camp and there are a lot of developments to this point. The QBs are both looking good, the offense is coming around. The defense looks aggressive. But there are a lot of roles that have to figured out. Here are some of your more popular questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on  Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I think the one player I’ve heard less of than Marcus Easley is Torell Troup. First of all, has he recovered successfully from his back surgery? Secondly, how has he been playing up till now? Finally, how does he fit in the new defensive scheme?

Edson Schaus
Delta Township, MI

CB: Troup is fully recovered and has come on in the early stages of camp after looking just okay in the spring practices. I attribute that to what equates to almost a two-year layoff from football. Now that’s he’s got a month of work on the field under his belt from the spring and is now in pads his game will only steadily improve.

He’s been running primarily with the second unit alongside Alan Branch on the defensive interior.

Coach Marrone had this to say about Troup just the other day.

“I see him better now than he was in OTAs and minicamp and doing a better job now and again when the physicality comes up that’s when more things go inside in terms of what they do up front with the line,” said Marrone. “I think he’s coming along well. There will be a point, there’s a process right now, but at a point you’ll see where there’s a window where the players says he feels good and then we as coaches will look for where the jump (in play) comes, and then we’ll look at that jump.”

 

2 – Chris,
Given Smith’s versatility, could you see him being kept on the roster as an option at running back, maybe in lieu of Tashard Choice, as a way to open up another spot for a different position.  Smith has run from the wildcat, been solid on special teams, and looks competent at receiver.  Adding running back capabilities does not seem like a stretch to me.

Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks as always for the great job reporting the goings on with the Bills

Jim from Allentown

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think Smith is strictly a receiver. He recently took a significant pay cut, presumably to stay on the roster and try to earn a job. I think Smith has to truly shine in camp and the preseason games, though he does have special teams ability working for him in addition to his receiving talents.

I just don’t see this coaching staff interested in him operating out of the offensive backfield with the exception of an end around.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

How is Aaron doing with the switch to safety? Your thoughts?

NickLWilkinson

CB: Williams has fared well in his transition to safety. In the spring he was turning in plays on a daily basis. That hasn’t happened quite as much through the first five practices in camp. The true test will be the preseason games, but I think what is encouraging is Williams is playing with confidence and sounds eager to be a leader on that side of the ball knowing he has to help the ‘mike’ LB get the defense lined up pre-snap.

 

4 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for all your hard work all year round you do a tremendous job! A lot of the media around the NFL suggest that the Bills are in “Rebuilding Mode” and I have to disagree.

My thought is that the past 3 years have been very beneficial to this team as far as revamping the roster and that before the draft we had solid talent on both sides of the ball.

People also question the Bills abilities due to the fact that we don’t know who the QB is just yet.  My question is do you feel that the coaching staff may think the same way about this team?

Do you think they expect this season to be full of growing pains or like me that this team should progress through-out the season and build to be a different team in December than in September?

And what are your thoughts as well?  Last question do you know if the Bills away pants are going to be blue this season and beyond?  I happen to love them! Go Bills! #BillsMafia

Jillian Nelson

CB: The roster that Doug Marrone and his staff inherits is not a thin one. There is plenty of talent on hand. Doug Whaley has told me point blank that they’re not rebuilding. He said they’re reloading.

With all that being said history in this league has shown that when you undergo as much change as the Bills have this offseason (new GM, new head coach, new staff, new offense, new defense, new QB) it takes time to pull all of that newness together and have it work seamlessly to post victories.

I think with the amount of youth on this roster that there will be some hard lessons learned. I also think there will be some of the most exciting football we’ve seen in a while from this team.

I do believe this team will make progress as the season wears on, but I wonder if their won-loss record will accurately reflect that progress.

As for the blue pants I don’t think there’s any reason why they’d be going away. It wasn’t my understanding that they were a one year and done type thing, but I’ll try to confirm.

 

5 – Chris,

I’ve been a Bills fan all my life and in the Army the last 10 and have been everywhere from California to Afghanistan and I know I can always count on BuffaloBills.com to keep me up to date with all the Bills news so thank you and your team for that. I was wondering when the coaches were going to release a depth chart so we could know who will be running with the 1’s during training camp.  Also barring any injuries are the bills content with their current roster? or are there any Free Agents that might be coming to OBD.  Thank you.

Thank you,
Derek at Fort Riley, KS

CB: Glad we can keep you connected to the team here at Buffalobills.com and thanks very much for your service.

As for the official depth chart, I think there’s a good chance we’ll see one in advance of the first preseason game sometime next week. Keep your eye out for it on Buffalobills.com.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR rundown as expected

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 1:32 pm

With the team’s first official depth coming out in advance of the team’s first preseason game there weren’t any real surprises with respect to the team’s order at receiver.

The two WR positions on either side of the formation listed the receivers as follows.

WR – S. Johnson, Hagan, Martin, Roosevelt, Aiken, Session
WR – D. Jones, Nelson, Graham, Easley, Clowney

Putting those two listings together the order would shake out as follows based on the reps we’ve witnessed in practice.

Johnson, Jones, Nelson, Hagan, Graham, Martin, Easley, Roosevelt, Clowney, Aiken, Session.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rogers is lead kick returner

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 1:30 pm

The team’s first official depth chart is out and there’s an interesting pecking order on kick return.

Second-year cornerback Justin Rogers is listed as the team’s top kick returner with Leodis McKelvin second and Brad Smith third on the depth chart. While it may be surprising to some knowing part of the reason Smith was signed as a free agent in 2011 was for his kick return abilities, the bottom line is Rogers outperformed Smith last season when he was inserted into the role late in the season.

Rogers averaged an impressive 28.7 yards a return with 13 total on the season and a long of 57 yards.

Smith on 15 returns averaged 18.8 yards with a long of 28.

C.J. Spiller averaged 23.8 yards a return, but only had 6 attempts all season. Leodis McKelvin averaged 21.5 yards a return on just two attempts.

Rogers was an accomplished return man in college at the University of Richmond. As a freshman he served in a return role ranking third in the nation in kick return average (30.4). As a senior he led the Colonial Athletic Association conference in punt return average (12.4) and set the CAA record for kick return yards in a career, most notably passing Brian Westbrook on the all-time list.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Chan’s take on depth chart

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2012 – 4:18 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked several questions about some of the position battles that figure to be up wide open come training camp. Gailey doesn’t believe any of them are set in stone and neither is his depth chart.

Gailey was asked when he’d have a depth chart set and he indicated right before training camp. The veteran coach also made it clear there isn’t much on his depth chart that’s immovable.

“Nothing is set,” said Gailey of the depth chart on the wall of his office. “They’re up there, but they’re all magnets. They can be moved.”

Bills fans we’ve penciled in what we’ve been able to put together with respect to a depth chart in observing OTA practices. You can view our unofficial depth chart right here. Let us know what you think might change come training camp.


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Posted in Inside the Bills