Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 2-16

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2018 – 11:33 am

Lets’ get right to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hi Chris,

Many thanks for all the updates and info this past season. With all the focus on the upcoming draft is there any chance the Bills look to keep Tyrod with a new OC whose scheme may better fit Tyrod’s skill set? Then look to fill holes with all the draft picks they have acquired and/or hope one of the non-top 5 QB’s are still there at 21/22? I realize it is early in the process as GM Beane noted and a lot could change.

Thank you.
Bryon
Plattsburgh, NY

 

CB: You’re right that a lot can change between now and the week after the NFL draft. That being said, I think there is a real possibility that Tyrod Taylor remains the starter. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the quarterback position in terms of what could be available in free agency and who is affordable in a way that doesn’t cripple a team’s cap situation.

As for new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, he certainly comes in with very recent experience working with a mobile quarterback in Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.

I’m sure there will be a lot of conversations among the offensive staff this offseason as to what, and with whom, their best approach would be to move the offense forward. The passing game was frankly substandard last season. Can Daboll help to improve it with Taylor in the lineup?

That’s the big question.

The next question is what other quarterback talent can the Bills realistically acquire in terms of price tag and/or draft capital.

There may not be defined answers on the draft capital question until a week or two before the draft. And with more demand than supply concerning free agent QBs, the price to acquire one is going up and some teams are likely going to overpay.

I get the sense that Bills GM Brandon Beane isn’t big on overpaying, even at QB.

 


2 –
Hi Chris,

Do you think the Bills will draft another wide receiver? Or do you believe that Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson, and Brandon Tate are sufficient?

Your thoughts,
Tony Falzone
Daytona Beach, FL

CB: Perhaps the most important factor about your question is 60 percent of the players you mentioned are impending free agents. Matthews, Thompson and Tate all have expiring contracts come March.

It’s hard to know what each of those players is thinking, although I do know that Thompson enjoyed playing in Buffalo this past year having spoken with him.

Matthews needs a high-volume passing attack to maximize his value. Over the last three years the Bills are dead last in the league in pass attempts at just over 29 per game. Unless there’s a dramatic shift planned by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, or a significant change at QB, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan Matthews looks elsewhere.

Let’s not forget too that he’s coming off a pair of offseason surgeries, so he may have to sign a one-year prove it deal, and that would only increase his need to find a high-volume passing attack.

Thompson and Tate should be affordable options to bring back to the fold. Hopefully a full offseason helps Kelvin Benjamin blend into the passing game more effectively and Zay Jones takes a big step in season two of his career.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What position do you see the Bills making their biggest-dollar signing at in free agency, presuming they look to make another Micah Hyde-level signing?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I don’t get the overwhelming sense that the Bills will be big spenders in free agency. GM Brandon Beane has made it clear he is still trying to get the Bills cap in a more flexible position and sees free agency as a means to set themselves up for the draft.

To me that means filling some positional holes with value-based signings, not big splash type moves.

If there were to be a signing the level of Micah Hyde this offseason I think it would be at linebacker, defensive tackle or cornerback. And to be clear, not all three, but rather at one of those three positions. That is where they are short on numbers when it comes to starting-caliber players.

It’s reasonable to believe Beane would like to have a starting-caliber player plugged in at one of those positions prior to the draft at the very least.

 

4@ChrisBrownBills

There are numerous reports out there that the Bills have been scouting Josh Rosen extensively, do you think the Bills perceived high interest in him is smoke and mirrors, or will do what’s necessary to go get him?

Michael McMasters
@kidmickey85

CB: To be truthful I’d be disappointed if the Bills didn’t scout Josh Rosen and every other top quarterback prospect extensively. Buffalo’s scouting department wouldn’t be doing their level best if they didn’t scout each QB prospect extensively. It’s par for the course.

To what lengths would the Bills go to land Rosen, or any other QB prospect that may be at the top of their board?

That’s tough to peg, only because I believe it will largely depend on how the top of the board unfolds.

I don’t see the Bills paying a king’s ransom to get to the top of the board. There are just too many other holes for the team to address. Solving the quarterback position for the long term is perhaps the most important hole to fill, but a dozen other teams are looking to do the same thing.

That drives up the cost of doing business to accomplish that.

I think GM Brandon Beane feels out the market both in free agency and the draft and then makes a judgment call on whether it’s worth paying the price to address the QB position in a way that would satisfy him and head coach Sean McDermott.

I realize that’s probably not a pinpoint answer, but it’s the best I can do at this point.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance the Bills draft a 1st round QB AND seek a big name free agent like a Foles, Cousins, or Bridgewater?

Jason Carroll
@jasonlikesfun

CB: I would be surprised if they did both.

The reason why is, if you’re drafting a QB in round one, you’re pretty convinced he’s your long-term answer at the position going forward. If he’s not then you shouldn’t be drafting him in round one.

The thought process is much the same with the free agent QBs you mentioned. If you’re going to land a free agent like Cousins or Bridgewater (provided he’s ruled a free agent – NFL Management Council has to determine this) you’re going to be either be paying franchise QB type money or parting with assets for Foles (who is under contract) that indicates you believe him to be franchise caliber.

If you’re willing to do that in free agency I think you’re committing to that player long term at the position. So drafting a QB in round one as well seems counterintuitive, especially when there are plenty of other positional holes to be filled on the roster.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-20

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2017 – 12:18 pm

Coming off the bye, the Bills have three of their next four games at home. Time to roll up some ‘W’s. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What are the chances McCoy breaks out Sunday?

Billscentral
@JonKyser

CB: The chances are very good as I see it. Tampa Bay is giving up over 400 yards a game. They have the 30th ranked third down defense. They’ve given up the fifth-most points in the red zone (101) and have played just five games. On the road they’re even worse giving up 500 yards per game. So I’m feeling good about a McCoy breakout Sunday.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How many new special teamers are on the roster this year? Would love to see more Brandon Tate in the offense catching & scoring!!

Steph Go Bills!
@Steph49314851

CB: There’s a host of new players to the special teams units this year.

Andre Holmes, Taiwan Jones, Tanner Vallejo, Matt Milano, Joe Webb, Eddie Yarbrough, Ryan Davis, Deon Lacey, Shareece Wright, Shamarko Thomas, Trae Elston and Stephen Hauschka. That’s just off the top of my head.

It’ll be interesting to see what this week’s addition of Deonte Thompson means. Will he see more time on offense or special teams? Where he’s utilized figures to directly impact where Tate sees his playing time, though after a 40-yard punt return in Buffalo’s last game I anticipate seeing Tate on punt returns.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

All I’ve been hearing are positives about WR Deonte Thompson. Think he’ll make an impact?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: His strengths are gaining consistent separation in his routes and blocking in the run game. I’ll maintain that an overlooked part of Buffalo’s rushing success last year was the job turned in by Buffalo’s receivers when it comes to blocking downfield. Thompson is an underrated player in this area.

I think that quality alone will get him on the field this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

 

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why hasn’t Groy been given a shot at RG?

Brent Seybolt
@bseybolt11

CB: Coach McDermott was asked about Groy this week and he said that he’s in the mix for the right guard spot. But based on his answer my hunch is the coaching staff sees Groy as their backup center and swing guard in the event of an injury.

I think if Groy is a starter at guard, the staff is concerned that they’re exposing both their starting and backup center to injury. There really is no other guy on the roster that can handle the pivot spot as effectively as Wood and Groy. So it’s my belief that it’s a risk-reward thing.

If they don’t believe Groy is demonstrably better at guard than Miller or Ducasse, they likely see it better to have Groy as a healthy backup for center and at guard in an emergency.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Did Bills offer Mabin a PS contract and go with Seamster when turned down? I thought Mabin had potential.

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I know the Bills wanted to bring Mabin back by signing him to the practice squad. What you have to remember is when a player is released they’re a free agent and can make their own decisions. Mabin obviously decided San Francisco was a better option for him.

I don’t know that I agree with him. This defensive scheme is a good fit for him and with only four corners on the active roster he’s one injury away from being back on the 53. So his decision was peculiar to say the least.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McDermott breaks down return candidates

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2017 – 2:50 pm

The Bills just signed Taiwan Jones to add to the return candidate pool. McDermott said they wanted to add speed to the return group with Jones who has been clocked as low as 4.33 in the 40. So what does he like about the other primary return candidates like Brandon Tate and Rashad Ross?

“Both have done a good job,” said McDermott of Tate and Ross. “Brandon’s been out a little bit with the injury there, it’s good to get him going again; He’s done a great job in getting healthy again. I like what he brings to the table in the return game and then he gives us line of scrimmage value as well as a receiver. With Rashad it’s the same thing; you look at his ability in the return game and the speed element, and the vertical game with the receiver part of it. Both are working extremely hard and adding good competition right now.”

It’s likely that preseason game performance will be the biggest determining factor in terms of who can separate from the other two.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Harvin, Z. Brown not at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2016 – 3:03 pm

The Bills got an extra practice in on Monday coming off their bye week, but there were a couple of notable players not in attendance during the media viewing portion of practice.

LB Zach Brown and WR Percy Harvin were not in on hand Monday. No word from the team as to why, since an injury report does not have to be provided by the club until Wednesday. We should know more at that time if both are still absent from practice.

Meanwhile Corbin Bryant (shoulder) and Brandon Tate (concussion) were still sidelined and unable to participate due to injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills successfully expand their return options

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2016 – 10:41 am

Though Buffalo is facing arguably the best kick/punt returner in NFL history, they’ve taken steps to address their own return game. After finishing 23rd in punt return average and 30th in kick return average the Bills decided to add veteran return men to their ranks.

Buffalo had some capable return men last season, but most of them were injured during portions of the season. Several of them also didn’t return to the roster (Leodis McKelvin, Percy Harvin, Marcus Thigpen).

So Buffalo signed Reggie Bush a week into training camp and this past week they added veteran returner Brandon Tate to the roster. Walt Powell is an additional option for the return game.

“We feel much better than we did quite honestly at any time last year,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We’ve got three guys that we know can catch it and return it.”

Just who handles what at the outset of the season remains to be seen, though it’s likely that Tate handles kickoffs and Bush handles punt returns. Of course based on numbers there could be weeks where one of them handles both duties.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Striking a balance with Reggie Bush

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2016 – 4:05 pm

No one will deny that at age 31 Reggie Bush can still provide game breaking plays. The question for the Bills is in what phase will most of those plays come?

Bush is a versatile running back, who can make catches out of the backfield, split wide as a receiver and obviously run the ball. But he’s also a dynamic return man, which was the main reason the Bills signed him a week into training camp. So which unit needs him more, offense or special teams?

Initially it appeared to be special teams as they didn’t have an experienced and proven returner for kick or punt return. But earlier this week they signed veteran return man Brandon Tate. Could that signal more work on offense for Bush?

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he would never ask that a player get pulled off special teams to specifically benefit the offense.

“I think special teams is so important to our team and if he’s vitally important to special teams then that’s where his energies need to lie,” Roman said. “That being said he can be a very valuable contributor offensively as well so we have to strike the balance that suits the team the best.”

Suffice to say that there will be Reggie Bush sightings on offense. How many plays he gets is what figures to vary from week to week.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex wary of Ravens special teams prowess

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2016 – 12:29 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan spent 10 years coaching in Baltimore, so he knows the team’s history and their calling cards. Physicality in their play is one of them. The other is creating advantages on special teams to provide their offense and defense with field position advantage throughout games. With their head coach John Harbaugh a former special teams coordinator himself, Ryan knows for Buffalo’s specialists it will be a challenging opening week.

“Their special teams are a major factor,” said Ryan. “They probably have the best kicker in the league, a great punter and they just added (Devin) Hester. So you go into games and this is an area that is usually a big advantage for Baltimore and we’ve got to limit that. So we know going in special teams is a big emphasis this week. And then obviously a challenge on both sides of the ball on offense and defense.”

Buffalo signed return specialist Brandon Tate on Tuesday. A day earlier the Ravens signed the league’s all-time return specialist Devin Hester. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bills decide to make other special teams moves with Baltimore being their opponent Sunday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills