1 – Chris,
Can you give Bills’ fan an update about Chris Hairston? Is he injured? I would like to see him compete for right tackle. What do the coaches think of him? Do you see RT as a position of need?
CB: The Bills have not provided a medical update on Hairston to this point, however, when asked by a Bills fan as to whether he’ll be ready for spring workouts in April, Hairston said he would be (see below).
— Bernie Lomax (@Welborn9) March 4, 2014
— Chris Hairston (@C_Hairston75) March 4, 2014
Hairston was on the non-football illness list last season, but he appeared to have a physical ailment in training camp. Whichever cost him his entire 2013 season is unclear. Even if he is cleared to resume his career in the spring I think the Bills will be a bit leery in counting on him and putting all their eggs in his basket as right tackle competition for Erik Pears.
So in the end I think they do look for offensive tackle help in free agency or the draft.
2 – Chris,
Why does it seem like everyone thinks we need a WR and a TE ? What`s wrong with the core we have now? All our WRs except Stevie have 2 yrs. or less experience with room to grow. And Scott Chandler may not have the speed, but he can block, catch and find ways to get open. He may not be high profile, but he`s a guy that comes to work every play. If anything we need some run stuffing LBs.
CB: A lot of fans naturally gravitate to the playmaking positions so it’s not surprising that many of the Bills faithful are focused on a big WR or game breaking TE. Of course GM Doug Whaley has said more than once that a receiving talent that plays big would be a huge help to the passing game and EJ Manuel.
I don’t think that focus means fans don’t think some reinforcements need to be added at linebacker. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills add a linebacker in free agency and another in the draft.
3 – Chris,
With all the talent at the offensive tackle position this year in the draft, many draft analysts have the Bills selecting one with their first round pick. In my opinion, this would be a mistake. Offensive tackles are not nearly as valuable in the NFL as they were 20 years ago, and do not directly affect the outcome of a game like WRs, LBs or Safeties do. With that said, I think the Bills need more game-changing playmakers (like WR/LB) of which many of the best are found in the first round of the draft. So my question is do you think the Bills are better off with an offensive tackle round 1 or someone at a skill position like WR?
Eric from Hamburg
CB: I think both OT and WR are positions that need to be addressed by the Bills in the draft. Fortunately for Buffalo they are two of the deeper positions in the 2014 class.
In determining the better option at ninth overall, a lot will depend on what falls to them at nine. There’s only one, possibly two receivers worthy of the pick at nine. Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and some are now making a case for Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. I’m not certain the value is there for Evans as a top 10 talent, but he’s close.
If one of the top three offensive tackles is there for Buffalo at nine it’d be hard to pass up as I see it. Those players being Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.
I wouldn’t rule out Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio provided his knee checks out. I think he’s underrated.
I respectfully disagree with your assertion that offensive tackles aren’t nearly as valuable now as they used to be. I think they’re more valuable because offenses are passing more than ever and with offenses going to more spread formations offensive tackles need to be able to pass protect one-on-one more effectively than ever.
So I think it is a worthy pick at nine for Buffalo if the value is there with who is available.
4 – Hi Chris,
When the Browns raided the Bills coaching staff I was afraid we lost valuable pieces of the puzzle. Coach Marrone not only found great replacements but quite possibly upgraded the staff not to diminish the wonderful job done by Mike Pettine. Does it show the respect Doug Marrone has garnered around the league that he’s able to bring in such quality coaches? It must send a signal that Buffalo not the worst landing spot for coaches. As a longtime fan I always remember the woeful staff Kay Stephenson put together back in the 80’s. Is it a telling story on how head coaches are able to put together his staffs? Thanks for the good work……..
Wally in Fredericksburg , Va
CB: I think Marrone is a respected coach and I think the talent that’s on this roster helps sell the job of defensive coordinator as well.
Your point about the Stephenson staff is duly noted. Unfortunately that’s been repeated by other head coaches who came after him, most notably Gregg Williams and Dick Jauron. Both did not hire strong staffs and it hurt player development, which is perhaps more important than ever in the league now.
Marrone is a refreshing step forward in that respect.
5 – Hi Chris
I follow the bills everyday on the mobile app, diehard fan who grew up in Buffalo, but reside outside of Indianapolis, and watches every game via the Sunday Ticket.
My Question- I know we have a lot of young receivers on the roster, and this past year was a year of developing and see who we got. I remember Chris Hogan catching my eye in the pre-season and the broadcasters talking about how they call him 7-11 because he was always open, in which he was, and he seemed to be catching majority of what was thrown to him. That was the first game against colts. Then I didn’t see him much out there til later on in the season, and again, when he finally got a chance, they referenced him as 7-11, always open, and he would get open and catch the ball. Very curious to why they wouldn’t play him more and mix it up more if he is “always open”. I don’t remember him not contributing much when he did get to line up. Seems like any time his number was called, he truly did get open and caught balls. But his number barely got called.
CB: Thanks very much for you insatiable interest in everything Bills. With respect to Hogan, the good news is he was just tendered by the Bills as an exclusive rights free agent, so once he signs his contract tender he’ll be back on the roster for 2014.
Hogan does have reliable hands and runs consistent routes. The fact of the matter is there are receivers ahead of him on the depth chart that have simply been blessed with more talent.
The 7-11 thing comes from a nickname he picked up while with the Dolphins in training camp when Miami was the featured team on the HBO series Hard Knocks.
A lot of times receivers get caught up in a numbers game at the position and often don’t make the 53-man roster. Then if they do finding consistent playing time is an even bigger hill to climb. This is where Hogan finds himself on Buffalo’s roster.
Tags: 2014 NFL draft, Chris Hairston, Chris Hogan, coaching staff, Doug Marrone, Erik Pears, Fan Friday, Scott Chandler, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills head coach Doug Marrone was naturally pleased with the way he was able to assemble the coaching staff. He did it with a specific purpose in mind. It was focused more on the offensive and defensive systems that will be run rather than name power, and his coordinators could not be happier.
“I was thrilled that Doug wanted to build the staff that way,” said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. “That he didn’t want to play fantasy football with the coaching staff. Let’s bring in this guy and this was his resume and let’s bring in this guy, and all of a sudden it’s well his style is a little bit different.
“Instead he made a commitment to the coordinator and then said, ‘Okay let’s hire the staff based on that system.’ So again he certainly wasn’t interested in building the type of staff that was going to make a splash with big names. To me I’m thrilled with the way we put the staff together because it’s based on love of the game, the ability to teach and guys that are willing to put the work in for you.”
Tags: coaching staff, Doug Marrone, Mike Pettine
Posted in Inside the Bills
Now that Buffalo’s coaching staff is together there is plenty of work that lies ahead. Head coach Doug Marrone provided a bit of a road map with respect to the ‘to-do’ list for the Bills coaches.
“We’re in the early process of looking at our roster, putting together schedules, communicating with our players, which we’re extremely excited to work with,” Marrone said. “We have unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents to do reports on. You have college draft coming up working with our scouts and Buddy Nix on it.
“We have cut-ups to do, playbooks to put together, we have equipment to go over to see if it’s the right equipment we want to use to teach our players and help our players. It’s really an unbelievable dynamic as to what goes on. We’re excited about it.”
Buffalo’s offensive and special teams coaches were formally introduced today by coach Marrone. We’ll have full coverage later today on Buffalobills.com and in Bills Roundup.
Tags: coaching staff, Doug Marrone
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills filled a pair of coaching vacancies Monday on Chan Gailey’s coaching staff, but with Bob Bicknell now coaching the receivers after the departure of Stan Hixon, Buffalo needs a tight ends coach.
Bicknell coached the tight ends each of the past two seasons, but in sliding over to coach receivers there’s still one more vacancy coach Gailey needs to fill. That position is likely to be filled in short order as offseason plans with respect to scheme and such are soon to be formulated.
Tags: Chan Gailey, coaching staff
Posted in Inside the Bills