The Bills third preseason game could solidify some starting roles that have been hotly contested through the course of the preseason. One could be the number 2 receiver role where Steve Johnson has been atop the depth chart since training camp opened.
Top wideout Lee Evans believes the man for that role has become clearer as the preseason has worn on.
“I think it’s pretty much starting to define itself, and it has to because after this game it’s pretty much all downhill until Miami,” said Evans. ”I think what you’ll see in this game is probably what you’ll be getting. One of them will have to step up and make plays and that’s basically the bottom line. But I think it’s starting to define itself now.”
When asked if he’s confident that the team’s number two wideout will be able to draw attention away from him in the passing game, Evans didn’t address his level of confidence that it would happen. He simply said it has to happen.
“I think they know they have to and I think they know that this is an opportunity for them to show who they are and what they’ve got,” said Evans. ”That’s the way they have to look at it and put it upon themselves to go out there and make plays. I think if they take advantage of this opportunity, and see it as an opportunity, then they’ll be able to step up and make plays. That’s really what it’s going to be about.”
The only real contender to unseat Johnson at this late stage of the game appears to be Chad Jackson, who led the team in receiving in last week’s preseason game.
Tags: 2010 preseason, Chad Jackson, Lee Evans, Steve Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
My apologies for the two week hiatus on Fan Friday, but the demands of training camp made keeping up with your questions difficult. I hopefully answered a lot of your queries in my 90-minute live chat which can be found here. We hope to have another live chat before training camp concludes. As always you can send questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Hey Chris -
As important as Maybin’s development is to the function of the defense this year, I was wondering how he looked in summer workouts so far. How is he adapting to OLB? Does he appear more comfortable in his second year?
David from Fairport
CB: Maybin’s speed rush has been very impressive. He’s bent the corner well and shown a good ability to dip his shoulder to get underneath opposing offensive tackles to put pressure on the quarterback. Where he needs to develop now is with a counter move that can keep opponents honest. A bull rush or a spin move are the kinds of counters that can work for a pass rusher his size. I’ve talked to him about developing those counters and he feels he’s on the right track.
2 - Chris,
One published report said that Chad Jackson ‘may have had the best off season’ of the skill positions. From your reports, it seemed like several wide receivers looked just as good in the work outs. And that doesn’t include Spiller, or Lynch or Jackson or any TE. I realize we won’t know much about the rotation until the preseason games, but based on all reports, from you and other beat reporters, other than the one saying Jackson was the “star” of the work outs, I have Jackson as the 6th WR if at all, behind Evans, Hardy, Johnson, Parrish, and Easley, at LEAST. At the moment I think a few of the Rookies, Roosavelt and Nelson for example, will be practice squad guys but MIGHT actually grab that 6th spot away from Jackson. Do you agree?
Steve in Corning
CB: Unfortunately when a reporter attends one or two practices and a receiver performs well it comes across like one guy is a superstar, when he may have just had a couple of good days. Head coach Chan Gailey has made no secret that a player has to put together several quality practice days together to impact the depth chart in addition to performance in the preseason.
Jackson has had some good days at training camp. Consistency and carrying that into the preseason games will be the key for him. Other receivers have been every bit as consistent as him if not more so.
Right now I would say Jackson is the fifth WR with Evans, Johnson, Parrish and rookie David Nelson ahead of him. And pushing him hard are rookies Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt. This thing is a long way from over though.
3 - I loved hearing Chan Gailey Mic’d. I am not the only one the whole Buffalo Bills Message board loved it. So I think you should have Gailey Mic’d up like once a week and put on buffalobills.com. I would love it and others would as well. I love hearing what Gailey brings to the table. He has a lot of intesity something Jauron never had and I am sure other want to hear more from Gailey also
Thanks for considering this idea.
CB: Glad you enjoyed it. We feel it helped paint a picture as to just what type of coach the Bills have. We hope to bring you more access like this. We’re fortunate that coach Gailey has been very accommodating in helping us provide special access to our fans at Buffalobills.com. We hope to do more of that, but in the regular season I believe things will be a bit tighter, which I think we can all understand, knowing games are on the line.
We’ll do what we can.
4 - Jairus started out great last year. He kind of died off at the end
of season, I guess that is typical of rookies. Do we expect him to make a bigger impact this season? How does he appear to be doing in Chan Gailey’s defense ?
CB: First, you’re being hard on Byrd in my opinion. The guy made just 11 starts and tied for the league lead in INTs with 9. The reason his play tailed off at the end of the season was because he was playing with a torn labrum in his hip which required offseason surgery and a five month rehabilitation.
By the looks of it he’s improving in the new defensive scheme. He’s blessed with natural instincts, now he’s working on blending those with the nuances of the new defensive system, which include more disguised coverages and interchangeable safeties.
5 - Hey Chris
I just wanted to know what if you think that Aaron Schobel is the second best pass rusher in Bills history behind Bruce Smith and do you think the he has a shot on getting the Bills Wall of Fame?
Thanks for the time,
Josh Syracuse NY
CB: I think Schobel is the second best pass rusher in team history. He was blessed athletically, but simply played during arguably the worst decade in the team’s history as well. He rarely had comparable talent on the other side of the formation to draw attention away from him. He was the team’s pass rush for the last nine seasons and more often than not came through.
Factor in the fact that the Bills were often playing from behind and opponents were not forced to pass and his stats are even more respectable. As for the Wall of Fame I don’t know if he’s a slam dunk, but if I were voting, I would put him on the Wall of Fame.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Aaron Schobel, Buffalobills.com, Chad Jackson, Chan Gailey, Fan Friday, Jairus Byrd
Posted in Inside the Bills
Chad Jackson, who has made a few more plays in recent days, was sprinkled in with the first team offense during some spread formations.
Jackson was the fourth receiver on the field Wednesday night during for a few snaps along with Lee Evans, Steve Johnson and Roscoe Parrish.
Most of those reps had been going to rookie David Nelson and on occasion Felton Huggins. We’ll see what develops moving forward.
Tags: 2010 Verizon Wireless Bills training camp, Chad Jackson
Posted in Inside the Bills
WR Chad Jackson has been more a part of the action in the passing game the last couple of practices and might prove to be a bigger factor in the number two receiver competition than some might think.
The knock on Jackson his whole career has been his inconsistency, which many observers in New England (where he was drafted) chalked up to immaturity and injury. But as far as Chan Gailey is concerned he’s liked what he’s seen from him.
“The guy comes out to play every day,” said Gailey. ”It looks like he’s made up his mind that he wants to be a very good football player. I think that bouncing around (from team to team) is not what he intended for his career and I think he’s decided to go out and make himself the position. He’s been impressive.”
We’ll keep monitoring how Jackson progresses through camp and into the preseason in the days and weeks ahead.
Tags: Chad Jackson
Posted in Inside the Bills
The spring practices are done, now the five week layoff before training camp 2010. We’ll be reporting from St. John Fisher before you know it. To your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Hi Chris:
I was wondering if the Bills and in particular Gailey and Nix would be leaning towards one QB over the other. Also, is it true that Brown would get an equal shot at being the starter game 1? For Gailey, how would he improve this offense especially the QB play which has been less than spectacular since Drew Bledsoe left?
Bills fan from San Diego: Kevin
CB: If Gailey is leaning toward one quarterback over the others he’s not tipping his hand. Reps have been dead even among the three veteran signal callers. Rookie Levi Brown is a part of the competition according to Gailey, but has received fewer reps than the others. In fact on Day 1 of minicamp Brown got a total of three reps over two practices. The other three for the most part have rotated evenly. So it looks like a 3 man race for training camp.
2 - Hi Chris: What is your assessment of the Buffalo Bills wide receiver situation? They drafted Marcus Easley, who, in his last year in college, had 48 catches for 893 yards, before that he really did nothing. The Bills also signed Chad Jackson, who in his best year caught 13 balls. It seems to me that outside of Lee Evans, they lack a proven receiver (they have holdovers James Hardy and Steve Johnson, Johnson has a bigger upside than Hardy and more talent to boot). Letting Josh Reed go was a mistake, talent does not mean beans if it does not translate into production. Do you see the Bills going after a veteran receiver once again? Do you see any other way?
Tony, Daytona Beach
CB: I think there is no question that there is some talent at the position beyond Lee Evans. Steve Johnson has had a strong spring and if he can carry that into training camp I believe has a real good chance to be the number two wideout. But I think James Hardy and Marcus Easley will also be factors in that competition.
The rookie free agent receivers have also been impressive in Donald Jones, David Nelson and Naaman Roosevelt. The issue to be determined in training camp and the preseason is how well the young receivers can perform in the new offensive system. There are a lot of sight adjustments, option routes and such, and that’s a lot of responsibility to master, especially for a young receiver. Having to think, instead of knowing all those things via experience causes a young wideout to think more than play and that can affect performance.
So while I think the Bill have some talented young receivers, how well they handle and ultimately master the offensive system will largely determine what kind of production and consistency they can deliver.
3 - Hi Chris:
Have a question about the running back situation for this year. Jackson, Lynch and Spiller all are capable to be the starters this year. Who do you think will have the actual title of the “starting” running back? I’m sure all three will split time but after last season, Fred has to be the front runner. What do you think?
Thanks, Eric, AKA Bills backer from Downingtown PA
CB: I think in the end it will be Fred Jackson. I believe C.J. Spiller will see a lot of time on the field both in the backfield and out wide and on special teams. I think we’ll see more than one of them out there at times as well. But I think technically Jackson will be the lead dog, though Marshawn could give him a run.
4 - Hey Chris,
First of all GO BILLS!! My question is concerning practices. I have noticed you saying some weather forces the players inside to practice. Are there ever days when they practice in bad weather? If not, wouldn’t that be good to get guys prepared for games in those conditions? Thanks Chris.
North Tonawanda, NY
CB: In the spring playing on a wet field is an added hazard that the coaches and the training staff would prefer to avoid. Less than stable footing can make players more susceptible to injury so in the spring when you’re trying to keep people healthy for training camp you play where it’s safest and when the outdoor field is slick you move inside.
5 - Hi Chris,
Maybe I don’t understand football as well as I thought I did, but I see a lot of people predicting the Bills to be the worst team in the
league this year, and I just don’t understand the logic behind it. This is a team that won six games last year, was leading or tied in
the 4th quarter of five other games, and in a 12th game entered the 4th quarter down only three to the Saints.
The Bills didn’t have the splashiest offseason, but they did add some key players and outside of T.O. and Josh Reed (and maybe Schobel) really didn’t lose anyone. As critical as people want to be of the O-line and QB situation, we have the same players coming back that won six games last year who ideally will mature a bit and we added a little competition at those spots as well.
Do you think this season is in as much trouble as everyone is saying, or do we have some hope that the “experts” just aren’t seeing?
CB: I believe those predictions exist because there are a lot of unknowns for this team. A host of positions are open for competition including the most important (QB) and there is a new coaching staff with new offensive and defensive schemes being implemented.
All of those unanswered questions convince prognosticators on the outside that there aren’t any answers. With no answers they don’t have much hope for the Bills.
But answers will be provided in training camp and once we have more of those answers leading up to the season, we’ll all be able to make a better assessment as to just where this team belongs in the conversation of NFL rankings.
Tags: Buddy Nix, C.J. Spiller, Chad Jackson, Chan Gailey, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, James Hardy, Marcus Easley, Marshawn Lynch, Steve Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
Well the 2010 draft is in the rearview mirror and the Bills really got some good talent for their D-line in Troup and Carrington. I like those guys a lot. Spiller is a difference maker. Be nice to strike a little fear in opponents. Some good depth players too.
In any event let’s see what’s on your mind on the heels of the draft. (AskChris@bills.nfl.net for questions).
1 – Hey Chris,
Do you think buffalo bills send their 2nd rd pick (2011) to baltimore for gaither after not getting a premier NFL ready LT in the draft?? He’s young some experience 2nd yr.
CB: There’s no debating that Gaither is talented and young. Here’s what I think happens with the Bills and their left tackle situation. I believe Buffalo’s talent evaluators will assess the talent on hand and see how they perform on the field through minicamps and OTAs this spring. If they feel they need to upgrade I believe they will. Currently there are two tackles with experience that I see worthy of pursuing.
One is Gaither and the other is New Orleans’ Jammal Brown. Granted Brown is coming off an injury, but provided he checks out, I would look at both of them as options. A second or possibly a third rounder in 2011 could get it done.
2 – With the addition of Chad Jackson what do you see happening with Roscoe Parrish? I mean Chad is a return man with a lot of speed and a lot of the same qualities Parrish has. I know its been talked about before, but with the Bills having Evans, Hardy, Steve Johnson, and now Chad Jackson do you see the Bills trading Parrish and maybe get a draft pick out of him?
CB: I don’t see Parrish being moved. I think he finally has an offensive coordinator (Gailey) that will come up with a way to maximize his talents at the receiver position on offense. I anticipate him getting a lot more snaps in the slot, especially with Josh Reed gone. They’ll use him in motion a lot too. Think about Parrish and Spiller in the two slots in a four wide look. Man I like the sound of that. Chad Jackson in my opinion is nowhere near the return man that Roscoe is. Roscoe’s biggest competition is going to be Spiller in the return game.
3 – I see Dallas released there left tackle Flozell Adams. Is he worth pursuing by the Bills?
CB: For some reason I just don’t see the Bills pursuing a player that at best is a one-year stop gap. I could be wrong, but I think Buffalo is building this team in such a way where they’re looking for long term answers especially at a position like left tackle.
4 - Hey Chris,
Thanks for all your great coverage of the draft. I’m sure you’ll be getting plenty of questions about the O-line, but that obviously seems to be the biggest concern for us fans as of right now. I am assuming that left guard through right tackle is pretty much set at Levitre, Hangartner, Wood and Green. My question is do you think Bell goes in as the starting left tackle right now? I know Nix said he has to be, but he didn’t seem completely convinced. Do you think Wang or Jamon Meredith (who I thought was decent last year) have any chance of displacing Bell?
CB: Personally I think it will be an open competition. We’ll get a better sense of just how healthy Bell is coming off the knee injury when OTAs start up. It’s his job to lose because he’s the incumbent, but I do think Meredith will give him a good run. Andre Ramsey is also in that mix and Wang is a dark horse, who I think will need some development in the end. As I said earlier based on coaching and front office evaluations a play for a Gaither or Jammal Brown I do not think is out of the question yet.
Another possible option that’s out there is Levitre possibly kicking out to tackle, but with so many other young options right now, I anticipate the staff will sift through those first.
5 – Chris,
With Chan saying he likes big receivers on the edges – might we see Evans spend some time in the slot? I could see that causing some serious matchup problems for a defense.
CB: With Chan Gailey I would rule nothing out. Buffalo has added some receivers with size, both in the draft and free agency. Too often we’ve seen Lee Evans facing bracket coverage and taken away as a weapon. I believe Gailey, knowing the playmaker that Evans is would do whatever he can to put him in a playmaking position. It could just mean moving him around more, or it could very well mean more time in the slot. We shall see.
Tags: Andy Levitre, Buddy Nix, Chad Jackson, Chan Gailey, Demetrius Bell, Fan Friday, Flozell Adams, Jammal Brown, Jamon Meredith, Jared Gaither, Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish
Posted in Inside the Bills
Buffalo’s newest wide receiver Chad Jackson is a guy that brings undeniable physical skills to the table.
At almost 6’1″ and 218 pounds (which is what he told me he weighed in at here Wednesday), the guy has rare speed. He’s only 25 years old and here were his combine numbers when he came out in 2006.
His 40 time was 4.32, his 10-yard split was a 1.5. His vertical leap was 38 1/2 inches and his broad jump was 10 feet 2 inches. So there’s no denying he’s a fast and explosive talent. Now it’s the offensive staff’s job to channel that athleticism into consistent production. The tools are there, which makes him a worthwhile wideout to take a chance on despite the fact that his career did not get off to the best start in New England.
Be sure to check the Bills media lounge a little later for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Bills newest wideout.
Tags: Chad Jackson, NFL free agency
Posted in Inside the Bills