Inside The Bills

Legursky to start at LG

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2014 – 6:32 pm

The revolving door at guard has another participant who get time with the starting unit.

Doug Legursky is going to start at left guard in the absence of Chris Williams, who missed the whole week with a back injury.

Kraig Urbik is also supposed to see time at left guard with Cyril Richardson expected to play right guard with the starters when Urbik is not lined up there.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New combo on left side of O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2014 – 11:29 am

With starting LG Chris Williams not on Han at voluntary OTAs the combination up front had a surprising change on Thursday.

Starting at left tackle is Chris Hairston and kicking inside to left guard is Cordy Glenn.

Head coach Doug Marrone briefly experimented with Glenn at guard early in training camp last year, but with Glenn clearly his best tackle in 2013 he left him on the blind side.

Hairston has a long way to go after being unable to practice, let alone play, for almost a full calendar year being on the reserve non-football illness list. But the current coaching staff, which inherited him, is at least interested to see why he can offer on the left side before considering the two rookie tackles they drafted in Cyrus Kouandjio and Seantrel Henderson.

We’ll see what develops from here on out.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-25

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2014 – 4:22 pm

The draft is less than two weeks away. Feels like we’ve been waiting forever. For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
Can you give some new insight  on how defensive ends will work under Schwartz? Besides Mario it seems like Bills have other options. Hughes was better as an OLB and I don’t see him as every down because of his size. Lawson also has never played DE as well. Do you see this as a major draft need? I feel worried that the sacks/pass rush will fall off because of the scheme change.

CB: While you are right that Lawson has very limited experience as a full time defensive end having played mostly in 3-4 defensive schemes in his career, he is an expert leverage player. So although long and wiry I believe Lawson can make that transition, most likely on the right side. He’s been up on the line enough in his career to know how to handle such a role. Of course the proof is in the pudding.

As for Hughes it’s certainly possible he’s reduced to a pass rushing role, but I think that’s something that will play out in the spring camps and training camp.

I do agree that it is somewhat of a hidden need for Buffalo that isn’t talked about much. They do need to find another fit for Schwartz’s scheme knowing things are changing.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Last year attending Bills training camp at St. John Fisher, it appeared to me that EJ Manuel had an extremely good long ball. His release was quick, the throws were accurate, and the offense was often successful completing those long throws. However during the season I did not often see EJ attempt long throws. I wonder did you see the same thing I did at camp? If so, have you any thoughts about why they didn’t make all that many long passing attempts during the season?  Do you think we might see more of a long passing game this year?

Thanks,

Bernie


CB:
Last year the aim was to keep the offense on the field so deep throws, while potentially rewarding don’t provide a high success rate. With a young QB running things, the plan was to string together high percentage plays and not create too much risk. That’s why Buffalo ran the ball so much last season (most rushes in the NFL in 2013).

Provided EJ demonstrates more efficient decision making, particularly when under duress, through the offseason and preseason I do anticipate more long passes per game. Realistically though unless there is a flaw in an opponent’s secondary there are usually not much more than half a dozen of those kinds of plays attempted by one team in a game.

 

3 - Hi Chris.

Thanks for keeping everybody posted during free agency.  It’s certainly appreciated.

With the new CBA, is it legal for teams to have something like a “behavior clause” in a players contract?  For example “you lose  X number of dollars if you get more then 3 personal fouls this season” or you lose X number of dollars if you get in a fight with the media” etc.  I know Marrone is all about accountability and I think this would be a great way to increase accountability by hitting them where it hurts the most.  If that isn’t legal, could it be part of an incentive clause?  “No personal fouls equals a bonus at the end of the year, etc…

 

Thanks for your time.  Can’t wait for football season.

Harold

CB: To my knowledge morals clauses are permitted, but that doesn’t mean a player’s agent is going to openly accept it. In a good number of cases, the penalties handed down by the league for violation of personal conduct and substance abuse policies are pushed as sufficient deterrents by agents to avoid such morals clauses. However, if the money is significant a player is typically more accepting of the morals clauses that can sometimes come with it.

 

 

4 – Dear Chris,

Can you help me understand what the Bills are doing at both guard positions?  They just seem not to value that position very much on offense.  Kraig Urbik is an average player at best, and they seem to have a bit of a revolving door going on the left side.  Neither Colin Brown or Doug Legursky played very well last year.

Now they have signed Chris Williams, a move that attracted a lot of criticism from various sources, saying that he was the weakest link in a poor Rams line last season.  Why would the Bills want to bring such a player into Buffalo?

I would have thought they would like to better protect the huge investment they have made in EJ  Maunuel.  Can you provide me with some insight about what the Bills brain trust is thinking here?

Thanks and Regards,
Cameron Morrison
CB: I think we sometimes fall victim to media assessments of players and treat it as gospel. In the case of Chris Williams I think he’s a decided upgrade at left guard. As I’ve mentioned on my blog I watched three of his games last year against the #1, #5 and #6 ranked defenses last season, all of which he had to face twice since they were his division opponents in the NFC West in Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.

Williams was steady and reliable in all three games, all the first meetings against each of those teams. He didn’t have any busts and performed well in both run and pass. Was he super spectacular and making eye popping plays? No, but he was effective and truthfully that’s all you need at left guard.

Knowing he’ll be playing in between two of Buffalo’s best starters in Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood should stand to raise his game another peg. Much like Williams I think Urbik is a steady player at right guard.
4 – Hey Chris,
What are your thoughts on the Bills saying that they’re good with their current qb situation as well as having their free safety in the roster already?! It’s mind boggling to me considering the mess they got into when EJ got injured. They didn’t have the confidence in Searcy/Williams/Meeks when Byrd had his injury to start the season, but now they do? Is it just pre-draft strategy or do you think they honestly believe it?

Thanks, Ryan

CB: I do think they believe it. Doug Whaley and his personnel department as well as the coaching staff has an enormous amount of confidence in EJ Manuel. They are also very high on Thad Lewis as a backup prospect. Now with Lewis’ former quarterbacks coach in Detroit now here in Todd Downing, they’re even more confident that Lewis and Manuel for that matter can both take the next step in their respective development.

As for safety I think they do genuinely believe in the talent they have on the roster. Aaron Williams is likely to be the free safety with the strong safety spot filled by one of the candidates trying to land the job. I really was impressed with what I saw from Duke Williams last year in the practice setting. I didn’t see enough of Meeks who was hurt and Da’Norris Searcy had his best season last year as a hybrid subpackage linebacker.

You have to remember the Bills drafted in advance of losing Byrd in last year’s draft when they took Williams and Meeks back to back in rounds four and five. They prepped for that loss. Now the defense is changing so they’ll essentially be rookies again. Knowing that the Bills picked up veteran Corey Graham, who granted has been a cornerback most of his career, but will be in the mix at safety as well.

I think they’ve done a good job of covering their bases there.

 

5 – Chris,

I don’t see the Bills drafting a right tackle in the draft because historical they don’t draft lineman that high. The Bills have depth at WR and TE but need that one big play-maker. Even with Chandler back and lots of speed wideouts, what director do you think they might go in rounds 1-2. Mike Evans and Eric Ebron will probably be on the board with Watkins gone. Which player do you think the Bills will covet more? What are the chances they pick either of them at 9?

CB: It’s hard to know for sure what the Bills think since they lock up their draft board like every other team. I will say that both players are dynamic difference makers for a passing game and both would be a huge help to EJ Manuel.

As we’ve drawn closer to the draft I think it’s becoming less likely that Mike Evans is still on the board at nine. He’s most likely to go to Tampa at pick 7 as they are in dire need of receiver help. Ebron is more likely to be on the board at nine.

I believe if the top tackles are off the board and Evans is gone as well, Ebron might be the best option left.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Williams a fan of screen game

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2014 – 12:43 pm

Bills OL Chris Williams didn’t get much of a chance to execute the screen game during his time in St. Louis. It just wasn’t much of a component of the Rams offense. It is however, a staple for Buffalo’s attack. In the few times that the Rams did run the screen game though, Williams was often called upon to get out in front of the backs to block and looked agile and mobile. So Buffalobills.com asked him for his thoughts on the screen game and the likelihood of running it with much more frequency here in Buffalo.

“I love the screen game,” Williams said. “It slows down the pass rush and with the backs here it’s going to be an effective tool. I’m just excited to get out there and run and blocking and cutting and getting guys out of the way so it’s a great tool to use and I’m excited about it.”


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3 game look at Williams encouraging

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 4:23 pm

By no means am I going to pretend to be a scout, but after looking at three of Chris Williams games at left guard last season for St. Louis there it’s pretty clear why the Bills saw him as an upgrade.

Against all three NFC West opponents in Weeks 1, 4 and 8, Williams more than held his own. He had a lot of one-on-one assignments. In Week 1 he squared off against Arizona’s Calais Campbell. In Week 4 he drew veteran DE Justin Smith as an assignment against San Francisco, and in Week 8 faced a host of Seattle defensive linemen and linebackers in the Seahawks multiple look defense.

Williams proved consistent at holding his ground in pass protection and sealing off penetrators on run plays. Although the Rams don’t run much of a screen game at all he did show an ability to get out in front of a back on one screen play that the Rams did call. St. Louis doesn’t pull their guards a whole lot either, but in the instances in which he was called upon to do so he showed the feet and agility needed to execute.

Perhaps most encouraging is over those three games, and granted it’s just three games, there were no visible busts on his part against three quality defensive units. If there were any blemishes in his performances it might be sustaining his blocks. He fell off a few of them a bit early.


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Whaley pleased to plug Williams in on Bills OL

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 1:12 pm

His free agent visit to the Bills on the first full day of free agency was a sign that Chris Williams was an early target for Buffalo to fortify their offensive line. Now that he’s in the fold, GM Doug Whaley couldn’t be more pleased.

“We’re excited about this start to free agency and our plans moving forward,” said Whaley. “With the signing of Chris Williams, I am particularly excited about the direction our offensive line is moving in because we wanted to address this position and we feel like we filled the need with a very good player.”

Williams also brings guard-tackle versatility to the offensive line as one of the only guards on the current roster that can also kick out and effectively play tackle in a pinch. Here’s a shot of the GM with his newest guard right after Williams signed.

DSC_7746


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Marrone key in Williams decision to sign

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 12:33 pm

There are a host of reasons why free agent OL Chris Williams chose to sign with the Bills, but it was clear that the prospect of having a former offensive lineman as a head coach played a pivotal role.

“Just talking with him, being able to talk to an O-line coach who was an O-lineman there were things that he can address with me right away that will help me elevate my game and we talked about it,” said Williams of his conversation with Marrone on his free agent visit, that turned into a signing. “I’ve never played for a head coach who was an offensive lineman and that was super exciting for me. I’m just excited to have to end up with two offensive line coaches on staff and both of them will help me with my game. You’ve got to love that.”

DSC_7736

Still, just 28-years old, the former first-round pick believes he can still improve as a player with offensive line coach Pat Morris and Marrone on the staff.

“Coming in here with coach Marrone and coach Morris I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I’m going to continue to develop my game because I’m always trying to work to get better and I think it’s a great opportunity here to do that.”


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Report: OL Williams to sign with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 10:57 am

Free agent OL Chris Williams, who is visiting at One Bills Drive today (Wednesday) will apparently soon put pen to paper on a multi-year contract.

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Bills have not confirmed the signing to this point.


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Posted in Inside the Bills