Inside The Bills

Marrone lays out likely coaching departures

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2014 – 5:33 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone wasn’t shy in laying out what he feels will unfold in terms of departures from his coaching staff, as former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine tries to put together his own staff in Cleveland.

Marrone, who granted Cleveland permission Monday to interview linebackers coach Jim O’Neil, said he expects up to four coaches on his defensive staff to leave for the Browns.

“As of right now Jim O’Neil was granted permission and he’ll be leaving to go to Cleveland to be the defensive coordinator to the best of my knowledge,” he said. “Brian Fleury, who was the quality control coach, will be going to Cleveland to the best of my knowledge to be an assistant linebacker coach. And Jeff Hafley, who really wasn’t here long, will be leaving for Cleveland to the best of my knowledge working with the secondary in Cleveland. As far as Jim and I and the rest of the defensive staff we’ll work together and bring the best coaches in here. That’s our responsibility to Mr. Wilson, to Russ, to Doug and more importantly to our players.”

Marrone was also asked about defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, who also came to Buffalo with Pettine from New York, and wasn’t optimistic about him staying in Buffalo either.

“Anthony Weaver, I’ve had a conversation with him today and again Russ (Brandon) and I had this conversation and it’s very important for us and this organization and this region, I think every fan and everyone out there totally understands that we want people that want to be here,” said Marrone. “I think that’s the most important thing and that’s the most important message.  I spoke to him today and right now I don’t feel good about that, him coming back.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pettine to coach from sidelines this year

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2013 – 11:51 am

Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will be calling plays down from the coach’s booth. He feels being up top allows him a better look at what personnel groupings are being sent out on the field by the opponent so he can make his calls quicker. For defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, he’s choosing for the first time in a long time to be down on the sidelines.

Pettine called Sunday’s game from the sidelines in Indianapolis and felt things went well, but it’s been quite a while since he’s been downstairs on game day.

“It was strange,” said Pettine. “It had been since 2002 when I was a video assistant in Baltimore and I was doing still prints sitting behind the bench. That was the last time I was on the sideline for an NFL game.”

As Pettine explains it he’s trying to take a link out of the chain in the play call to get his defensive call into Kiko Alonso’s helmet a few seconds faster.

“Part of it was with calling the defenses I always felt it was a problem in New York when I called them and the (opponent) was up tempo that it had to go through somebody else so you had that couple of seconds where it had to get called twice,” said Pettine. “Now I have the ability to make the call and give a couple of reminders, tell the nose guard to do this or make sure the three technique does this. To me it’s something I had wanted to do so I knew when I made the move here I was going to come down on the field.”

Sitting up in the coaching booth on Sundays for coach Pettine will be linebackers coach Jim O’Neil with quality control coaches Samson Brown and Brian Fleury also helping out. They will be Pettine’s eyes in the sky to identify personnel groupings and assess opposing offensive formations and chart plays.

“We got off to a good start,” said Pettine. “They did a real good job on Sunday.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-25

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2013 – 12:10 pm

Alright Bills fans, Senior Bowl and Pro Bowl weekend coming up. Naturally a lot of your questions are drifting toward the NFL draft. Here is the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hello Chris,

I watched your interview with Buddy Nix and after seeing the hiring Coach Marrone do you think the Bills will draft a QB in the 1st Round or is a free agent a consideration? Also do you think the Bills would draft a player with off field issues like Tyronne Mathieu (Honey Badger) from LSU if available in later rounds to play as a Nickel corner? Thank you for keeping us fans informed during the Offseason!!         
Thomas Neaverth

CB: I think a first round quarterback is certainly a possibility, especially in light of what Buddy Nix said late last season. He felt that they’re at a point where they may have to draft a QB a round earlier than where they have him graded. A free agent pickup is also a possibility because Nix has said they are likely to add one in the draft and possibly also in free agency.

I’d be surprised if they draft a player with a questionable background like Mathieu. Immensely talented, but I just don’t see it happening, and he won’t be available in later rounds. He’ll probably be a second round pick.

 

2 - Griz78 9:24am via Twitter for Android

@ChrisBrownBills who are the offensive quality control coaches?

CB: Buffalo has two quality control coaches on the defensive side right now. It’s my understanding they intend to hire two more on the offensive side of the ball. On defense Brian Fleury and Jason Rebrovich are the defensive quality control coaches. Fleury is a former college quarterback at Towson and most recently served as secondary coach and special teams coordinator at his alma mater.

Rebrovich has been a defensive line coach at the college level for most of the past 11 years. He most recently served under Doug Marrone at Syracuse as a defensive assistant. He played his college ball at SUNY Cortland. He also has a background in strength and conditioning. Rebrovich is a native of Clarence, NY.

 

3 - Hi Chris:
Where do you think QB Nassib will fall in the draft, and would it be too risky or too much of a reach to go get him?

Thanks,
Mike from Orlando, FL

CB: I think you’re asking if it would be too much of a reach to take Nassib with the eighth overall pick. The answer to that is if you like a prospect enough and believe he can be a franchise quarterback for you then you take him no matter where you’re at.

Nassib coming into the pre-draft process was widely projected as a second-round prospect. But with this not being a banner year for quarterback prospects I would expect his value to rise as we get closer to late April. So it wouldn’t shock me at all if he’s a first-round draft choice come the spring.

 

4 – Hi Chris, 

I really like the hiring of Marrone, and Pettine was a good hire too (he will surely have a more exciting defense than his predecessor). While I have my concerns with Hackett, I now feel like they have committed to something. My feeling is that once you commit you can’t do anything half-heartedly, and that’s why I think they now need to go after Ryan Nassib at #8 overall in the draft. What is the likelihood of this and what would be the advantages/disadvantages? . . . Is Nassib worth that high of a pick, and do you think it would be a wise choice to have HC/OC/QB all from the same program? . . . If that happens, I wouldn’t think trying to nab WR Alec Lemon in the draft would be out of the question either. What are your thoughts? 

Thanks again,
B. Greenfield

CB: I think there is merit to that line of thinking. It’s hard to know exactly what the Bills prefer with respect to quarterback, but they do have an affinity for Nassib and understandably so. They spent the past three years with him as their QB. Most scouts think his game still needs some polish, but he has all the physical traits you look for. Quarterbacks as I mentioned above tend to rise up draft boards late in the process because of the importance of the position.

The obvious advantage is Nassib would walk in the door knowing the offense better than anyone else on the roster. The transition from a scheme standpoint would be seamless. That could also shorten his learning curve where he could focus more on diagnosing defenses. We saw this to some degree with Ryan Tannehill in Miami last year.

The only disadvantage is the expectations would probably be higher on him knowing he’s in the same offense. So if there are early struggles, provided he starts (and we’re really getting ahead of ourselves here), that could potentially backfire I suppose.

With respect to Alec Lemon he had over 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns last season in the Orange offense. He was a late invite to the Senior Bowl. But the receiver class is deep this year. So I tend to think that happening is less of a likelihood.

Nassib is widely seen as one of the top five to eight QBs in the draft. So the odds for him one would think would be greater.

5 – Chris:
We know that the Bills are drafting No. 8 overall in the first round ahead of the Jets, even though both teams finished with the same 6-10 record. What happens in the second round? Will the order be reversed, with the Jets picking ahead of us?

I raise the question because if the Bills don’t believe that there is a QB that grades out worthy of the No. 8 overall pick, they might be targeting that second round pick, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jets draft a QB as well. Especially, now that we have their defensive coordinator, I can see where the Jets might want to try to “one-up” the Bills.

What are your thoughts on this Chris? Thanks for your great coverage.

Dan from Cheshire, CT.
CB: The Bills were in a similar situation last season. They were one of three teams that were 6-10. Miami and Carolina were the others. Since Miami and Carolina only managed six wins against a weaker strength of schedule they picked ahead of Buffalo in round one. The order was 8-Miami, 9-Carolina and 10-Buffalo. In round 2, Miami moved to the back of that group to pick 10th, while Carolina and Buffalo moved up to 8th and 9th in that round. That rotation continued in round 3 (Buffalo – 8th, Miami – 9th, Carolina 10th).

This year, it’s again a three team situation at 6-10, with the Bills, Jets and Titans. Buffalo picks 8th in round one, Jets – 9th, Titans – 10th. In round 2 Buffalo will pick 10th, with the Jets moving up to 8th and Titans to 9th.

So your argument is understandable, but personally I think the bigger concern is Arizona, which will pick 7th or 6th in every round. They clearly need a quarterback and are more of a threat. I think Philadelphia (4th) and Cleveland (6th in round one, 7th in round 2) could also be QB picking threats if their new coaches don’t like what they’ve already got on their roster. And those three teams pick ahead of Buffalo in every round.

For more on determining tiebreakers in the draft order you can read the full process here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills