Inside The Bills

New turf at Rogers Centre

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2010 – 11:27 am

The Rogers Centre is putting new turf this week in time for baseball season for the Blue Jays replacing the older version. But there will also be a new and separate similar surface for football, no doubt making several Bills players very happy knowing they’ve got a preseason and regular season game north of the border this coming season.

The turf, which is being installed by the Astro Turf company, according to the Sports Business Journal, is for baseball only right now. But the Rogers Centre will also have a new surface for football. Only a few of the new Astoturf panels are compatible for both baseball and football, so the other three-quarters of the surface will be baseball or football specific, depending on the season.

The new surface is the same as the one the St. Louis Rams are installing this offseason in their dome facility. 

The new AstroTurf product features long rolling strips held together by Velcro instead of the almost 1,400 trays of turf previously used. The old surface had a lot more seams than the new surface will have, which means greater safety for the players.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-11

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2009 – 1:26 pm

The snow has been flying late this week in Buffalo. Crazy wind and at least a foot of snow in most places. But we still bring you Fan Friday as always here on the Inside the Bills blog. As always you can email your questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1. Hi, Chris,
With the talent level the Bills have at running back, why don’t they have Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson in the backfield at the same time? They could pound opposing defenses continually, and keep our defense off the field. This would take pressure off of the QB, and maybe put the Bills in position to win more games. The offensive line as it stands right now, is having issues pass blocking. Just a thought…
 
Tony Falzone, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: There has been more of this in recent weeks, but not a ton more. I think that set presents a lot more options for the Bills offensively and also affords better pass protection with both Lynch and Jackson back there. We’ll see if there are more snaps with that look over the final four games, but I agree it has a lot of potential for an offense that has struggled all season.

2. Chris,

I know it’s very early in the process, and I keep hearing the Mr. Wilson wants to hire a GM to hire a coach (you could probably say how true that is better than me,) but I had a couple of names I was hoping to get your feedback about for a potential new coach.

1. Brian Billick: While I don’t know how well he actually knows quarterbacks like he claims– I do know he won the Super Bowl with the Ravens, and even when they struggled before he was fired, they played great defense. He seems like he wants to get back to coaching, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Buffalo.

2. Russ Grimm: He was a finalist for the Pittsburgh and I think Arizona job as well, before Whisenhunt was hired– so I get the impression the guy has something management likes. He’s a firey presence that helped change the culture of the team in Arizona in a VERY short time period…exactly the kind of change Buffalo needs. Also, the guy has an o-line background, and ours desperately needs work.

3. Pete Metzelaars: I know Pete is relatively green… but he was a blink of Tom Moore’s eye from being the OC in Indy this year before he and Mudd decided not to retire. Also, I get the impression that just the timing of some of the early 90’s Bills going into the HOF these past years, that the Bills and its fanbase are reconnecting with those teams. What better way to do it than to bring in one of the pieces that got us there? At the very least in an OC capacity.

I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine any of these guys commanding the kind of money the Cowhers or Shanahans of the world do… so maybe they’d be a fit here?

I’m curious to know your thoughts

Matt
Farmington, NY

CB: I think Billick and Grimm are worthwhile candidates. Grimm would certainly put attention where it’s needed on the offensive line. Heck with Grimm at the helm they may draft a tackle before a QB, which I’m not opposed to. The Dolphins showed that could work drafting Jake Long and then Chad Henne. Cleveland had the right idea too with Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn. Quinn is actually playing a bit better of late.

As for Metzelaars I think he is too green for a head job. Wouldn’t mind making him an assistant on this staff, Frank Reich as well for that matter. I think Cowher and Shanahan are unfortunately long shots at best.

3. Hey Chris,
Are the bills done with Trent? Why go back to Fitz again? I think you go with trent, for better or worse, to see if he’s your franchise guy, your thoughts?
thanks,
Ryan
CB: I’m afraid that ship appears to have sailed. Players have made no secret even to the media that they prefer having Fitzpatrick in there. No doubt they made those preferences known to the coaching staff as well. So my feeling is Trent will remain the backup for the rest of the season barring injury.

I don’t think there’s any question that Edwards is physically superior to Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick is more willing to take chances in the passing game and he has seen the whole field better when he’s been in there. As to whether Trent is still considered franchise material, I think that’s a determination that may also have been made already, but under a new regime that’s always subject to change. Time will tell.

4. They had a crowd of 51,000 people. We could have sold 70,000 in Ralph Wilson stadium, w/ the large majority cheering loudly for our (undermanned) Bills.

I’m no marketing guru, but how is this putting more money in the franchise’s pocket? Simply because it’s guaranteed money? We haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years and we still get near sellout crowds for most games in Buffalo. The players have repeatedly said the fans support gets them pumped up.
  
Given the 3 tepid performances so far in Toronto, including the preseason game, it’s hard to see that we are expanding our fan base playing there. The Canadian fans may enjoy seeing the NFL, but they are hardly there to cheer on our home team.

I was pretty skeptical of the idea in the first place. I don’t think it has helped the Bills as a team, or the franchise, or even (cynically) Ralph Wilson himself.  Help me out, Chris. What am I missing?
 
Pete
Gilbert, AZ

CB: The Bills sold the Toronto Series to the Rogers group for $78 million. It equates to $9.75M per game, which is almost double what the franchise pulls in for a regular home game, and far more than that for a preseason game. So that’s a major revenue benefit, which is important in the league’s big market/small market climate right now.

If 2010 goes off without a salary cap, which is looking more and more like reality, this regionalization effort will be more important than most fans realize. It will continue to help to keep the team financially competitive.

Though it may be hard to see how the games in Toronto are helping the fan base, 15% of the season ticket base is from southern Ontario. And figures show that number is now increasing thanks to the team’s annual presence in Toronto.

Believe me when I tell you the decision makers for this franchise understand that it’s a bitter pill to swallow for Bills fans that respect the franchise’s tradition and home field advantage with respect to the 12th Man. But this is a necessary step to keep the team financially viable and competitive in a league where the ‘haves’ are continually trying to make life more difficult for the ‘have nots.’
The Toronto Series helps to keep the team financially viable, while staying in Buffalo.

5. Chris,
Do you see the Bills keeping Perry Fewell around after the season is over?  I like a lot of Bills Fans, like his attitude and think he will be a great loss on the Defensive side, and the same goes for Bobby April. What do you think?
 
Thanks,
Bill
Frederick, MD

CB: I do think both Fewell and April have a lot to offer, but a new head coach generally likes to bring in his own people. I think April has the resume to be offered a job on the staff, no matter what head coach comes in, but I doubt he will take it. It wouldn’t surprise me if April felt passed over for the interim head coaching job, especially with Assistant Head Coach as part of his title under Dick Jauron.
It’s my belief April will be moving on after this season is over, and make no mistake it would be a great loss.

As for Fewell, unless a new coach coming in is a big believer in the Tampa-2 scheme he too is likely to be looking for work elsewhere. It sounds cruel, but these men know its part of the business. I like what Fewell has done in his stint as interim head coach, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the organization determines that they have to wipe the slate clean and turn the page on all that is associated with the Dick Jauron era.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Goodell stamps Bills Toronto Series “successful”

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2009 – 6:59 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked to assess the Bills Toronto Series, in his state of the league address in Tampa Friday afternoon, and he expressed a strong feeling that the initiative has gone very well.

“The two games up in Toronto were tremendously successful for us,” said Goodell. “We said the objective was to regionalize the Buffalo Bills, and it achieved those objectives. We were able to increase our season-ticket sales in the Toronto area significantly, over 40 percent. And I think from that standpoint we achieved what our initial objective was.”

Goodell also mentioned that he had met with all parties involved to see what is planned for the 2009 regular season game at Rogers Centre.

“It’s a building process,” said Goodell. “When we first got into this we wanted to make sure that it was a good experience for the two teams, that they were successful and they could do it without any negative competitive consequences, and we achieved that objective.”

“I met with the people that are promoting the game, Rogers Communications, along with the Bills earlier this week, and I’m very confident that next year’s game is going to be bigger and better. I think they’ll evaluate every aspect of the game, including the pricing, and I think they’ll do a terrific job and it’ll be a great game.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills