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Inside The Bills

One sure vote for Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2010 – 11:51 am

The re-vote tally should be coming down soon from the Associated Press for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but FoxSports.com’s NFL writer Alex Marvez has already told everyone who he voted for.

Marvez voted for Bills FS Jairus Byrd, who finished second in the original vote. He also explained why he did not vote for Brian Cushing a second time unlike some other voters like SI.com’s Don Banks.

So that’s one sure vote for Byrd that used to be for Cushing. Marvez’s colleagues however at FOXSports, John Czarnecki and Adam Schein both voted for Brian Orakpo, who finished fourth in the original vote with just two.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Figures on Orakpo deal

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2009 – 12:53 pm

The deal signed by the Redskins Brian Orakpo is reportedly 5 years and $20 million with $12.1 guaranteed. So you know Aaron Maybin will be in line for a bit more than that.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported those figures via his twitter account.


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Orakpo deal could speed up Maybin talks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2009 – 4:14 am

With the Washington Redskins signing Brian Orakpo to a five-year deal Thursday, it could provide the Bills and the Aaron Maybin camp with just the parameters they need to hammer out a deal.

Orakpo was taken just two picks after Maybin at 13th overall. There is still talk that San Fran’s top pick Michael Crabtree is the last domino that still has to fall before all the parameters are set as to what the Maybin camp feels they deserve, but I can’t see how another DE taken two picks later doesn’t help to narrow the gap between the Bills and Maybin.

What do you think?


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A lot of pass rushers sitting there

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2009 – 9:16 pm

Orakpo, Brown, Maybin are all sitting there with the Bills on double deck.

Cushing is still a viable possibility as I see it, especially if Buffalo doesn’t like any of the warts on the pass rushers. We’ll see.

Don’t know how many of you saw my NFL Network on the beat mock draft picks, but we had to choose who we thought the Bills would take at 11 and 28. I picked Cushing at 11, and then based on the picks of all the other beat writers for the other NFL teams, Brown was still on the board at 28 and I took him there for Buffalo with their second pick.

Be funny if that actually happens.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper not against Cushing to Bills at 11

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2009 – 4:03 pm

With knocks on most of the top flight pass rushing DEs in the draft (Orakpo – work ethic, Brown – size, Maybin – one year wonder) I’ve gone on record (NFL Network Path to the Draft) as saying that USC LB Brian Cushing may prove to be a safer option for Buffalo at 11. Mel Kiper apparently isn’t opposed to that either.

When asked by Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News what he thought of Cushing going to the Bills at 11 he said the following.

“Cushing is a good football player,” said Kiper. “The need at defensive end is what you have to look at. I would say that supercedes the outside linebacker a little bit. This team could use a tight end too. That’s why I had Pettigrew in there at one point. Cushing wouldn’t be bad. He’s a good football player. You want to bypass Ayers, you want to bypass Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin, you could and Cushing figures to go in the mid-first round area.”

Kiper said he had OLB as Buffalo’s third most pressing need behind pass rushing DE and TE, but he could understand that move.

I really feel if the Bills have some reservations about Brown or Maybin that Cushing makes the most sense. We’ll see.


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Is Orakpo criticism a smoke screen?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 26, 2009 – 2:02 pm

While NFL.com’s Gil Brandt described Brian Orakpo’s pro day workout with positives galore there are doubters out there about the Texas DE. That according to Pro Football Talk, which quoted one league source who described Orakpo’s workout as “brutal.”

The question is how much of the negative talk is a smokescreen and how much of it is real?

We all know that GMs and scouts play up a prospect prior to the draft hoping another team takes that guy and pushes the prospect they want down the board. They also go ‘negative Nancy’ on players hoping teams ahead of them pass on a guy that they want.

I have said however, that I have some doubts about Orakpo. He takes plays off plain and simple. You can argue how often he takes plays off, but he does. It’s on the tape. Even Brandt admitted that.

The quote PFT got from a league source that was the most controversial was that Orakpo has “great athletic abilities, but bad football skills.”

I’ve felt he’s limited with his pass rush moves. Most of the time he used a speed rush around the edge and not much else. Now he could develop those in time, but is he a top 10 pick if he has those parts of his game to work on?

Granted there are some Texas players that have gone on to have very good careers in the NFL, but there’s a healthy list the last few years of Texas prospects that don’t have the mental toughness to make it at the NFL level.

I’m no GM or Director of College Scouting, but Orakpo’s play though impressive at times, and the history at Texas would give me pause.


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Fan Friday 3-20

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2009 – 5:53 pm

The draft is only about a month away, but there are still some free agent questions out there from you the fan. In addition to answering some of the more popular questions here, I’ve also been responding (as much as possible) personally to your emails as well. I’m a bit behind on them, but plowing through them as best I can.

Remember you can always email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net on anything Bills. Here we go.

1. Hello Mr.Brown,
 
I would like to know what you think about the Julius Peppers situation in Carolina! Do you think the Bills would be bold enough to sign him, if he is available? Also I was watching NFL network and Mayock said that the TE’s in this draft class are mostly good receiving TE’s not so much blocking classic TE’s, wouldn’t it be more advantageous to pick the best available Offensive Lineman? To help the run and also keeping Trent upright. Since Fine and Schouman, I feel performed okay when given the chance.
 
Regards,
Paul K.
Montreal,Q.C. Canada

CB: First, the Julius Peppers situation. I don’t see the Bills as a serious player because Peppers is likely to get upwards of $13-14 million dollars a year in a new contract. That’s too steep for a lot of teams including Buffalo.

I believe the Bills will address their pass rush in the draft.

As for the tight end position in the draft, Mayock is right, there are a lot more pass catchers than blockers at the tight end position. I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Bills, who have rarely if ever had a dynamic pass catching threat at the position.

I think Schouman and Fine are both good all-around tight ends, but I think the team would like to add a game breaking threat in the passing game there. Of course the staff considered Royal their best blocking tight end last year, which is why he retained the starting role in 2008. So even if they take a pass catching threat at the position, they will likely still be looking for a true in-line blocking TE too.

I think that’s why so many mock drafters have Pettigrew going to the Bills because he fills both of those roles better than anyone else in the draft for Buffalo. But if Buffalo stays at 11, I’m not sure the value is right to take him there.

2. Chris,
My question to you is: What if the Bills are on the clock at 11 and Maybin, Brown and Orakpo along with Defensive Tackle B.J.Raji are gone and one of the top Left Tackles, Jason Smith out of Baylor for example, is available; could you see the Bills drafting him and trading Jason Peters for a 1st round draft pick to a team that may need one like Detroit (20th) and Philadelphia (21st or 28th)?  There is no doubt that Peters is a gifted athlete but with another off season of potential hold outs by him and his agent, do you think it would be beneficial to the team to stop these distractions and get down to business?

Sincerely,
Dan

CB: That’s a tricky scenario. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe won’t be there, but I understand your point. Michael Oher and Andre Smith should be there at 11, and with the way things are going regarding an extension for Jason Peters, what you’re proposing is more realistic than some might think.

If the Jason Peters situation is still unresolved come draft weekend, I can see the team moving him for a first and middle round pick, maybe more, maybe less. Acquiring an additional first round pick should give the Bills the luxury of taking one of the top four offensive tackles in the draft at 11.

I’d prefer Michael Oher to Smith because Oher is arguably the most athletic tackle in the draft. His instincts still need to be developed, but his athleticism makes up for a lot of those shortcomings that should get better in time. Oher could play on the left side, Smith cannot at this level as I see it.

Now keep in mind that they could address another position at 11 like linebacker in this scenario and get one of the bet of the bunch, whoever they determine that to be and if they’re down in the early 20’s with their other first round pick as you suggest, they could grab Arizona State OT Eben Britton, but he is more of a right tackle at the NFL level according to most scouts.

Things could certainly get very interesting for the Bills on draft weekend.

3.  Hey Chris,
 
I have seen all your blogs and answers to Fan Friday Questions on Brown, Orakpo and Maybin. Just wondering what your thoughts were on 3 other pretty good prospects: Michael Johnson, Paul Kruger and Tyson Jackson. Are they all stretches at #11, or is it conceivable that one of them may still be available in Rd 2?
If they were, it is possible to go after Raji at #11, a DE in Rd2 and maybe trade up to get one of the top 3 TE’s, Coffman maybe? Talk about hypothetical!
 
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I think that Johnson and Kruger will both be available in round 2, but Jackson will be gone before the Bills pick at 42. Jackson is more of a 3-4 end anyway.

Johnson has freakish physical ability, but is raw and inconsistent. As a result I don’t know if he’ll be able to handle a full time role as a rookie, so that keeps him out of the first round.

Kruger’s upside is a bit limited as I see it. He’s got great straight line speed, but I’m not certain that he’s strong enough right now to hold the point against the run in the NFL. He’s also not that elite explosive type end (ran a 4.79 and 4.83) so he is probably a late 2nd to early 3rd round prospect.

A guy I’d consider in the round two is Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin. He’s more of the quick-twitch athlete you’re looking for to boost a pass rush. I think he could come in right away and help on passing downs, which is what Buffalo needs.

4. Chris,

What are your thoughts on the restructuring of Jason Peters’ contract?  I believe that his holding out at the beginning of the year impacted the team in a negative way.  It seemed that it ruined the whole chemistry of the O-line.  As we all know, it wasn’t until the Monday night game when the run game started to get going.  I wasn’t impressed all season with the protection of Trent Edwards.  Honestly, I don’t know how Peters was elected to the Pro-Bowl.  Do you foresee a possible trade, renegotiation, no action, or something else? Thanks for your time. 
-Joe Maciag

CB: From what I understand the two sides have yet to close the gap on a new contract. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills still work to come to a resolution until the NFL draft, and if there is no progress my feeling is they may look into trading him prior to draft weekend. It’ll be unfortunate if it comes to that, but it takes two parties to make an agreement work and if the Bills can’t get some kind of compromise from the Peters camp it doesn’t leave them with too many other alternatives. And I don’t believe they’d be interested in dragging a contract renegotiation through another season.

5. Chris

I know DE is the considered the most pressing need but you and others
have mentioned how the top guys in the draft may not be able to stand
up to the run or are straight ahead rushers, etc.  I’m just another
hopeless Bills fan, but if BJ Raji is available at 11, I’d take him. 
(Full disclosure:  I’m a BC grad but that’s pure coincidence in this
case.) Raji looks like a safer bet and more of a sure-fire thing.  If
Stroud and Raji are pushing in, it might free up the current DE’s. 
I’ve gotten a little sensitive to how the Bills have used some earlier
picks.

Kelley Yost
Fairport

CB: I’ve got no problem with taking Raji at 11 if he’s there and a couple of the top speed rushers are already gone. In fact I think he’s the best secondary option to Everette Brown, though Aaron Maybin is tempting.

Your point about Raji and Stroud is valid, but I still think you could add talent at end in the second round with a Connor Barwin, for example if you took Raji at 11. So I’m not opposed to that approach at all. Heck I wanted Haloti Ngata back in 2006 (no offense Donte). I just believe in getting your big men early.

6. Chris,
Does JP Losman have any suitors or teams expressing interest?  I mean I always supported JP and was actually excited when he got a shot to play this past year but he did so awful.  Is it a possibility we might see JP in the CFL???
Thanks
RF

CB: From what I’ve heard the Denver Broncos were interested in J.P. as a backup, but Chris Simms signed with them before Losman’s agent could enter into any hard core negotiations with Denver. Other than that I’ve heard very little as to interest in him by other teams.

I think his physical ability will convince some team to bring him in as a backup.

You are right that his play last year didn’t do much to help his cause so I’m not confident he could be part of a competition somewhere for a starter’s job. I think he’s got to take a backup role somewhere and hope he gets a chance to step on the field to prove he’s capable.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

D-line 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2009 – 4:52 pm

Here is a sampling of some initial 40 times posted by some of the more notable defensive linemen at the Combine this morning. These times are unofficial.

DT B.J. Raji – Boston College – 5.13

DE Robert Ayers – Tennessee – 4.8

DE Connor Barwin – Cincinnait – 4.56

DE Paul Kruger – Utah – 4.84

DE Everette Brown – Florida State – 4.63

DE Brian Orakpo – Texas – 4.63

Obviously Brown and Orakpo ran well. Barwin was very fast and that 40 time will help him. Kruger was a bit disappointing at 4.84. Ayers was not expected to run a super fast time since he’s not considered an elite pass rusher, but more of an all-around prospect.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

I still like DE Brown the most

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2009 – 4:10 pm

I know there are conflicting opinions as to whether FSU DE Everette Brown could play DE in a 4-3 system at the NFL level, but he’s still my favorite DE option for the Bills at 11, that is if he’s there.

Brown is supposed to test well at the Combine next week, which will boost his draft stock, and some draft services already have him coming off the board at 5 to Cleveland.

But right now I’ve got Brown first, Maybin second (who I think could play LB or DE on passing downs for Buffalo) and though I’ve got Orakpo rated third, I’m not big on his inconsistent effort.

Talented yes, but not as polished as Brown and not as consistent when it comes to wreaking havoc.

If Brown and Maybin are both off the board at 12, I’d hope to grab Robert Ayers out of Tennessee in round two or Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson.


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I’m off the Orakpo train

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2009 – 1:32 pm

After watching some more Texas games from this season, I’m off the Brian Orakpo train. By no means am I denying that this guy is a dynamic talent and is a legit 4-3 pass rusher at end.

My problem is from what I can see he doesn’t have much more than a speed rush off the edge. That’s not going to translate into much success at the NFL level. You’ve got to have counter moves and an array of initial pass rush moves.

More importantly this guys takes plays off. If he’s going full tilt 70 percent of the time it’s a good day for him. If he’s going all out 70% of the time at the college level, what’s he going to do at the NFL level when the competition is stiffer, give up more often?

That’s a big concern for me and Texas players are famous for it. We got burned on Mike Williams, who had self-motivation issues. Cedric Benson, Michael Huff, Vince Young, even Ricky Williams who had some nice years in Miami is a head case.

Seeing what I see from Orakpo has me questioning if he isn’t one of another in a long line of Texas players with a sense of entitlement. If you think it’s owed to you coming into the NFL you’re not going to be an impact player. In the NFL you’ve got to work harder to earn it.


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DE Ayers could be 2nd round option

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2009 – 1:25 pm

One guy that really impressed me as a pass rushing defensive end option is Tennessee’s Robert Ayers. He was the Defensive MVP for the South team in the Senior Bowl and had a monster week.

I also like that he is 273 pounds. With more “sand in the pants” he can probably be a legitimate left defensive end prospect and hold up against the run. I asked Mel Kiper about him specifically and he thinks he could be there in round 2 for Buffalo.

“Ayers has really helped himself obviously a big week down in Mobile, had a very good year at Tennessee for a team that didn’t have a lot to brag about this kid did,” said Kiper. “He’s a second round pick right now. A lot of people I’ve talked to in the league are raving about Robert Ayers. I think he’s a guy that’ll go early to mid second round is a possibility. No question Robert Ayers is a guy that’s moved up.”

If Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin aren’t options in round one and the Bills have to go in another direction with the 11th pick it’d be great if they could land a guy like Ayers in round two.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where prospects fit

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2009 – 2:20 pm

I’ve mentioned my concerns about top pass rush talents like Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin being viewed solely as 3-4 outside linebackers, with the general consensus of scouts feeling neither are capable of holding up against the run in a 4-3 system at defensive end.

Looks like more and more “experts” are of that opinion. The National Football Post has both listed as 3-4 outside linebackers. Brian Orakpo is listed by them as a 4-3 defensive end, though some other draft “gurus” have also listed him as a 3-4 OLB prospect.

Though there’s a good chance that Brown won’t be on the board when the Bills pick anyway, Maybin should be there, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that he’s not a fit for Buffalo’s system.

They do have some interesting breakdowns especially at the receiver position where they differentiate between slot and possession receiver prospects. They also specify third down backs for the NFL level.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-6

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2009 – 6:37 pm

More draft talk and free agency ideas. Email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net if you need an answer.

1. Hi Chris,
How do the  Bills offensive and defensive rankings compare this year to last?  I thought last year’s 7-9 was a lot of smoke and mirrors (could have been much worse), and that this year’s was more representative of how the team actually played. I’m a rare fan that
thinks keeping the coaching staff was the right thing.
Chad

CB: As for the rankings Buffalo improved in a lot of categories on both sides of the ball. Eight categories on offense were improved albeit marginally in a few cases. Here’s the breakdown.
Category                        2007            2008
Total offense                       30th              25th
Total yds per play            22nd              21st
Rushing per game             15th               14th
Rush avg.                              18th              15th
Pass yds per game             30th            22nd
1st downs per game          30th              21st
3rd down %age                   30th              17th
Pts. Per game                      30th              23rd

On defense they improved in 10 categories.
Category                   2007       2008
Total defense                 31st         14th
Total yds per play       28th        18th
Run defense                   25th       22nd
Rush avg. against        28th        21st
Pass defense                  29th        13th
Pass avg. against          24th       20th
Sacks per play               30th       26th
1st down allowed pg   29th        12th
3rd down defense        29th          9th
Pts. Allowed pg             18th        14th

I know some fans criticize these improvements citing the Bills easy schedule in terms of opponents’ winning percentage, but you can’t fault the team for who they have to play. They don’t gripe that they’ve got to play the Patriots twice a season. And their numbers are up against 31 other teams in the league who have certain scheduling benefits as well. So I think it’s a good sign that both sides of the ball saw improvement in these areas even if it was marginal improvement. Now they have to take those elements and improve in the most important category, which is the win column.

 

2. Hi Chris,
To me Poz seems like he’s not adept at shedding blockers near the line of scrimmage…..he makes lots of tackles, but seems like too many go for 5+ yards and not enough tough stuffs.  But Poz remains a good play maker…do you think he has the skill set to move to OLB so we might get a stud MLB like Rey Maualuga in the draft?
Rick Natelson

CB: I think Poz very accurately stated his shortcomings on locker clean out day at the end of the season. He said there were a lot of times where he felt he was half a step away from making a big play, and he chalked it up to simply not diagnosing plays quickly enough. That was due in part to the fact that he was essentially a rookie last season after playing just 2 ½ games in 2007.

With a full year under his belt I believe and so do his defensive coaches that he’ll make more big plays defensively in year three. That being said he did make a handful of big plays this season with his INT against the Jets, He also had a fumble recovery and a forced fumble on the season. He was also fourth on the team in pass breakups with 7. I think he’ll only get better and turn a lot more of those types of plays in come 2009.

 

3. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the probability of drafting a guy like Brian Orakpo from Texas with out 11th pick.  He’s a ‘Freak’, in the sense of DE’s like Peppers, and Kearse, etc.  Considering the Bills seem to understand their need for a pass rush, and with the drafting of Ellis last year, Would they be willing to take a guy like him at 11 or what direction do you think they might go with the 11? I realize it’s early, but it never hurts to hypothesize…
-Jonathan Wyman, VA

CB: I’m not overly optimistic that they’ll draft Orakpo at 11. First, there is a legitimate chance he might be off the board already, but if he is there the Bills and other teams might be reluctant to take a guy that high that has consistency issues. If at the college level Orakpo takes plays off and only goes hard about half the time, what happens in the NFL when the competition level goes up and the game is harder? He also has a straight speed rush move up the field and not much else. That isn’t going to cut it in the NFL. He’s a freakish athlete, but when teams are taking a player that high, they want 100 percent effort down in and down out and the tape doesn’t show that on Orakpo, which isn’t uncommon for Texas players unfortunately.

 

4. Chris,
What are your opinions on OJ Atogwe from St. Louis?  I have a feeling Buffalo could make him one of their top priorities in the off season.  They brought in McCree last off season and to me that made me think they are not sold on Ko Simpson.  And know with his legal troubles in SC I think it’s likely we look for a playmaker to pair with Whitner.
 
He’s still young and has good stats.  It makes a lot of sense to me to make a run at him, that’s if St. Louis does not franchise tag him.
Dan Thompson

CB: I think Otogwe might be the best young free agent in the draft as the safety position. But the Bills have a lot of more pressing issues than safety. The reason I say that is because I think Whitner will be the FS next year with Scott the SS, and that tandem I believe can be very effective and get more turnovers if the pass rush improves. It’s certainly more stable that some of the other positional areas that need to be upgraded by Buffalo.

 

5. The Bills need help at WR, with Hardy out with the ACL injury and his development delayed, do you see us making a move for Antonio Bryant? Even if just for a one year deal until Hardy can hopefully start to step up. I know we had interest in him last offseason and he did put up some big numbers this year.
 
Josh
Waterloo, Canada

CB: I don’t see the Bills going after Antonio Bryant. Not because he wouldn’t be an upgrade, but because the Bills have a lot of money tied up in the receiver position. Lee Evans is a top five wideout in the league in terms of salary. Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish both make over $2M each in 2009. To invest heavily, which is what it will cost, to land Bryant is something that can’t be done. I think what’s more realistic is a two-year deal for a vet like Amani Toomer, who could be had for reasonable money. Bryant will be looking for upwards of $7 million a season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-30

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2009 – 6:47 pm

Not surprisingly, free agency and the draft are dominating the questions I’m getting at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Feel free to submit a question if you have one. Here we go.

1. Chris, 
        I have read before that Bill Parcells in the late 90′s (while with the Jets) brought in Kevin Mawae to stop Ted Washington when we ran the 3-4 defense.  I thought that was interesting to build your team to stop or beat particular players in your division and not necessarily always filling holes on your team. What are your thoughts on this?

CB: I think when there are players of Ted Washington’s caliber that can be disruptive up front at a certain position on a division opponent you have to make it a top priority. There’s no question the Bills are facing a similar situation knowing they’re going to see Vince Wilfork and Kris Jenkins twice a year, every year, and to a lesser extent Jason Ferguson. Center might be a higher priority for Buffalo than any other team in football in light of the teams they have to face in their division. So taking a similar approach to what Parcells did with the Jets would be wise, but is the right free agent answer out there?

As I’ve said before I’d be willing to sign Matt Birk (Minn.) to a two-year deal and groom a young replacement behind him (draft pick). That being said I’d probably re-sign Duke Preston as well. Baltimore’s Jason Brown is another option. He holds his ground a bit better than Duke, but he’s not any more athletic as I see it.

 

2. Dear Chris,
Hardy’s injury was rough on the receiving corps. Any chance of trading up for Crabtree?
                                                                                                                               
Sincerely,
Zubbaz Wearer
 
CB: James Hardy’s injury will be something that has to be addressed, even though Steve Johnson came on strong at season’s end. I think a one or two-year deal for a veteran free agent like Amani Toomer would be the best move. It takes the pressure off Hardy to come back quickly and make an impact this year, which I think will be difficult. And it provides the receiving corps with a player that has been there and done that along with Evans and Reed. While Crabtree is enticing, I just don’t think another young wideout is the answer, particularly with a host of other positional needs.

 

3. Hey Chris,

Just taking a look at the draft this year.  Do you think either Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin would fit in the 4-3 and do you think (or know) if the Bills would be inclined to take either of these DEs?

-Anand

CB: I think Everette Brown is capable of playing in a 4-3 at the NFL level. I’m less sure about Maybin. Brown is a guy I like a lot. Most mock drafts right now don’t have him coming off the board in the top half of round one, but I like what I’ve seen.

I’ll try to do a little more homework on Brown to see if there are off the field issues or knocks on his game, but what I see on tape is pretty darn good stuff. I still need to see more of Maybin, but all indications are that he projects more to an OLB in 3-4 at the NFL level.

 

4. Hey Chris,
            I have been reading and a lot of people think that the Bills need to draft a TE to help open up there passing game, but what about free agency?  I believe the bills should pick up a DE in the draft with our first round pick, and then get our TE from free agency.  What do you think about L.J Smith being a realistic option for us?
-Anthony McClure

CB: I think there is a need to add a dynamic pass catching tight end and L.J. Smith has been that in his career. However, his injuries have become alarmingly frequent and I think he’s a very old 29. I think despite his talent, he’s too high risk to sign and expect him to change the face of your passing game. In free agency it’s pretty thin. The only attractive pass catching options are Tennessee’s Bo Scaife and RFA Owen Daniels (Houston). The draft might be the way to go, though I’m hesitant to add more youth.

 

5. Hey Chris,
 
For the upcoming draft I have a few scenarios that the Bills could pursue. Do you see them trading up to guarantee a guy like Orakpo from Texas? I also have them trading their first round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles 2 first round pick selections where they can draft a TE and C?
 
Artur
Toronto, Canada

CB: I think it’s very unlikely that the Bills would move into the top 10 to secure almost any player because it costs an awful lot to move up that high in the draft even from 11, and the top 10 is where the money really gets ridiculous for rookies. I expect the Bills will have a top 3 candidate pool for their first pick and hope one is still there at 11.

Either way they’re virtually guaranteed to get an impact player at that spot. If however, none of their top three choices are there at 11, I believe it’s reasonable to think they would explore moving down as you suggested.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-16

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2009 – 4:54 pm

Here’s the latest installment of Fan Friday. As most of you know by now you can email your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I try to respond to everyone either personally or here on Fan Friday.

1. Chris,    
     Do you think the Bills will sign a veteran QB in the off-season.  I realize that Trent has not done terrible job, but he has not exactly done a good job.  It seems like the game is moving too fast for him still and he doesn’t anticipate his receivers, he waits for them to be open, then throws it, and by the time the ball gets there the window is already closed.  Also, I wonder if he’s the long term solution for this team considering he’s always nicked up and doesn’t play well in cold weather.  Please tell me this team is going to get a play maker at QB like McNabb, Bills fans need some hope after this season.

CB: I don’t think a playmaker like Donovan McNabb is realistic because those kinds of players are usually not out on the free agent market. You usually have to give up something significant for that kind of talent. The Bills will be in the market for a backup quarterback because J.P. Losman will be looking for opportunities elsewhere.

I’ve stated a few times that I think Byron Leftwich might be the best available free agent this offseason. I say that because Kerry Collins only wants to be a starter, and he’s also a free agent. Now Leftwich might be able to find an opportunity where he’ll be given the chance to start (e.g. Chicago) and that would make Buffalo far less attractive, where I’m assuming only the backup job will be what’s offered.

So to expect to see some juggernaut QB get signed to play the role of backup is unrealistic as I see it. You may have to settle for a Ryan Fitzpatrick (who I like), Chris Simms or some other veteran that is accustomed to the backup role and would be more accepting of it.

 

2. Hey Chris,   
 
        A while back on Fan Friday you said something about we can’t compete for Haynesworth or Suggs in the offseason. My question is why not considering other teams sign a big player almost every year, we never really sign a player like that.  Also who do you think we can bring in during free agency considering we need another good DE to get to the QB.  And do you think we can spend the money to bring in Kurt Warner. We need a better QB that can throw touchdowns. Kurt Warner is a leader, that can throw a lot of TDs, Trent Edwards really doesn’t.
 
The needs as I see them are all over the board, but the biggest two are QB and DE

-Showtime

CB: I don’t disagree that there are several needs. Perhaps I should have been more clear with respect to Haynesworth and Suggs. First of all, I don’t think Haynesworth hits the market. He’s too vital for the Titans to let him go. I think Suggs could get away with Bart Scott and Ray Lewis also set to become free agents for Baltimore. Suggs would arguably cost the most due to the higher price tag for pass rushers.

The reason I don’t think the Bills will be able to compete for Suggs is there will be a number of teams competing for him on the free agent market if he gets there. The Bills historically don’t like to get into bidding wars for players, and there will be numerous bidders for Suggs. I’d be very happy with Bart Scott though to upgrade the linebacking unit.

 

3. Chris,
  I recently heard that JP Losman will not be returning to the Bills next season because of another poor showing during this past season.  Do you think any other team in the NFL would pick him up because of that reason?  Thanks.

Jim Brown
Lancaster, NY

CB: It has less to do with his poor showing and more to do with the fact that he’s an unrestricted free agent. Losman also wants to pursue an opportunity where he’ll have a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job.

Even though there are NFL teams in need of quarterback help, in light of how he performed this past season when called upon, I’m not confident he’ll be able to get such an opportunity. I think he’ll have to accept a backup job and hope he gets another shot. He’d be wise to go to a team with an offense that suits his strengths, which is making plays on the run and throwing downfield.

 

4. Hey Chris,
 
What’s up with all the criticism of Poz lately?  People on the message board are calling him a bust, you yourself said you’re “willing to give him another year.”  What are people expecting from this guy that we aren’t getting?  The dude is in on practically every tackle and there are way weaker positions on this defense than MLB.  Why aren’t people calling out a guy like Keith Ellison or Chris Kelsay instead?
-Muzz

CB: I was puzzled by the negativity over Poz too. I think those people that saw Poz play at Penn State were a bit spoiled because he not only made the routine plays, but the big ones as well, a lot of them. Now in the pros those big plays have been fewer and further between and people that saw him play in college think something is wrong. I personally think those big plays will become more and more frequent in year three. In essence this past season was his rookie year after playing all of 2 1/2 games in 2007. He was usually a half step away from making a lot of big plays in 2008. He said himself he wants to make more big plays and no one puts in more time in the offseason than this guy. I really believe it’ll come. Keep the faith.

 

5. Hey Chris,
I agree with your assessment of drafting a pass rushing defensive end. Who would you like to see in a Buffalo Bills uniform?
 
What the Bills need to do with the tight end position, Do you think we should draft, sign a FA, or get the current ones more involved?
 
God Bless The Buffalo Bills!
  
Alex – San Juan, P.R.

CB: First, I’d appreciate it if you could send some of your gorgeous weather up this way. We’re freezing our rears off in Buffalo today. Now back to business.

As I’ve said I’d like to see the Bills use their top pick on a pass rusher. I was very impressed from what I’ve seen from Everette Brown (FSU) and Brian Orakpo (Texas) this year. What I like about them is their brute strength, which will be important at the pro level when it comes to standing in there against the run.

I would like to do a little more research on them before definitively stating that I think they’re the best fit for the Bills. There are some other candidates as well.

If the Bills elect to go the free agent route, I’m concerned because I don’t see them winning a bidding war for Julius Peppers or Terrell Suggs as I stated above. The young free agent talent at DE is not overly impressive. Chauncey Davis had four sacks lining up opposite John Abraham. Antonio Smith had 3.5 sacks lining up opposite Bertrand Berry (who is also a FA, but on the downside) and Corey Smith (Detroit) isn’t much to get excited about either. That’s why I think the draft is the best route to take.

As for tight end the only free agent I’d consider this offseason is Bo Scaife (Tennessee). He had a productive year (58-561-2 TDs) though he’s not going to stretch the field and he’s not any bigger or better for that matter than Schouman or Fine. But his numbers have improved the last couple of years. But if the right game-breaking prospect is on the board in the second or third round (Chase Coffman – Missouri?) I’m not opposed to going that route at all.


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Posted in Inside the Bills