Inside The Bills

Fleener named after famous Hog

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2012 – 8:49 am

Stanford TE Coby Fleener, who is profiled in our latest Prospect Preview on Buffalobills.com today, has an interesting story behind his first name. His full first name of Jacoby was taken from the famed former left tackle of the Washington Redskins on the original offensive line that was nicknamed ‘The Hogs,’ Joe Jacoby.

“The story is essentially that mom was watching football on television and saw the name on the back of Joe’s jersey, liked the name and turned to my dad and said, What do you think about naming our son Jacoby? My dad, whose name is Bill, wasn’t a big fan of that idea,” said Fleener. “He wanted his son to be named Bill. So after a long labor and delivery, my mom asked, the one thing I ask is I’d like to name our son. So here I am.”

Fleener obviously goes by Coby for short. The tight end actually got the chance to speak with Jacoby by phone for a class assignment.

“It was actually for a sports journalism class,” Fleener said. “I was fortunate enough to have a professor that was a beat writer for the Washington Redskins and covered Joe when he was playing. He put in a call for me and made the connection and I just recently wrote a story for my sports journalism class that described my interaction with Joe and kind of how things came about.”

Jacoby was a four-time Pro Bowler including a pair of 1st team All-Pro nods.


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Fan Friday 3-30

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2012 – 10:23 am

Hard to believe we’re 26 days away from the NFL draft! Get up to speed on the top 5 prospects at each position with our video position previews in the media center at Buffalobills.com where you hear from almost every one of the prospects profiled. Let’s get to your questions.

1 - Chris,
I like Nix’s stance on picking value over need, but since OLB is a definite need, if Terrell Manning from NC State is still available in the 3rd, do you think he’s what the Bills are looking for? He seems like a pretty quick, tough, instinctive player. Also, is there any chance TE Coby Fleener is going to be available for us in the 2nd round, & if so, would the Bills go for him? I know they’re high on Chandler, who had a good year, but you can’t deny Fleener’s ability/athleticism. Last, is there any chance the Bills trade out of the #10 pick? I just can’t see them taking a (right) tackle with Pears playing as well as he did & DE/OLB seems like a reach. Unless some fluke-ishness, a-la last year w/ the Locker-Gabbert-Ponder run,  happens in those 1st 9 picks & CB Claiborne is still available, I don’t see anyone being worth what we’d have to pay a #10 pick. I’d rather trade the pick altogether for a proven vet, Mike Wallace anyone? Thanks for all your work keeping us displaced Bills fans in the loop.

Mauricio Grossi
Chicago, Il

CB: A lot of questions here. First, Terrell Manning to me is a boom or bust player. Most believe he should’ve returned to N.C. State for the 2012 season and I’m one to agree. He just doesn’t make enough plays. He’ll flash here and there, but he doesn’t have great football instincts. Manning overruns a lot of plays in my opinion. He has pass rush ability, but I think the better overall player is his teammate Audie Cole. After Cole ran in the 4.6s at his pro day I felt better about him being a LB target in the 3rd or 4th round. He played mostly SLB, but was moved to MLB this past season for the Wolfpack.

He’s a smart, instinctive player with good physical ability. At 6’4” 246, he’s got prototype size for the strong side LB spot and would be a great young prospect to line up behind veteran Kirk Morrison. I met him at the Combine and liked what I heard. The dude’s hand swallowed mine (10 inch hands). I think he also could serve as a backup MLB.

Stanford’s Coby Fleener is now being talked about as a late first-round pick after his monster pro day last week. I don’t know that he’ll go that high, so you’re right about him probably being there for Buffalo in round two. I just don’t see tight end being a priority. Chandler I believe still has some potential to reach. Last year was his first year as a full-time starter. I think he can do even more this year.

As for trading out of the 10th overall pick. I think it is very realistic. If Buffalo doesn’t like what is on the board at offensive tackle in terms of the value matching up at pick 10, and they don’t believe WR Michael Floyd is right for the 10th pick either, I could see them making an effort to move back five to 10 spots and picking up an extra choice. Of course they need to find a trade partner to do that.

Your dream of getting Mike Wallace by the way are remote at best. All signs point to him being re-signed by Pittsburgh.

 

2 - Hey Chris,

I really appreciate all the work you do in keeping us informed on the Bills.  My question is about Memphis DT Dontari Poe.  Heard he blew people away at the combine with his athleticism for his size of 6-4 and 346 pounds.  I know we have Williams are Dareus in the middle, but Poe reminds a lot of people of another guy the Bills passed on Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata.  Curious if you think the Bills would give any consideration to drafting this guy or would they rather address a bigger need? 

Thank you,
Jeremy from San Antonio
CB: While Poe is an intriguing prospect and should be no worse than a mid-first round pick, I don’t see Buffalo going the DT route. The Bills have a lot of depth on the interior with Torell Troup on the road to recovery from back surgery, Kellen Heard and now Dwan Edwards as a likely DT in the new 4-3 scheme.

Buffalo’s positional demands at OT, WR, LB and CB trump DT.

And while I like Poe as a prospect, he’s not Haloti Ngata.

 

3 - Dear Chris,

Is it plausible the Bills would consider using one of their 4th round picks on Kellen Moore? I think he has potential be a great backup for Fitz. His accuracy would fit well into our offensive scheme. Many are casting doubts on his ability to perform at the next level, but it seems Buffalo has built a 1st class culture through acquiring players with a chip on their shoulder!  

Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your great coverage. 

Larry D
Fort Collins, CO  

CB: Being a guy of small stature myself I always root for the guys that aren’t blessed with the physical gifts that the elite prospects possess. But it’s even hard for me to look past Moore’s physical limitations. Being under six-feet tall wouldn’t be as much of an issue if he was on the higher end of the athleticism meter. Unfortunately he’s not. He lacks agility and escapability and that hurts him at the NFL level because at his height he’s going to need to move around a lot to find throwing lanes to throw through, much like Doug Flutie did. Moore can’t move like Flutie.

He’s super intelligent and anticipates throws really, really well. He puts good touch on the ball as well, but driving the ball downfield isn’t something he’s going to do. I suppose he could survive as a backup WCO QB, but I believe he’ll be a successful offensive coordinator in this league before he’s a successful quarterback. A sixth or seventh-round pick at best.

 

4 - Chris,

Love the offseason coverage. Can’t wait until draft day! Can you breakdown who is in the mix to fill the rush/SAM LB in the new defense? Who are the best 43 LB in the draft that could fill the void?  Hightower (Alabama) Lewis (Oklahoma). Where do players like Chris White and Robert Eddins (who looked great in preseason ) fit into the new LB scheme. The team needs depth at LB at all 3 positions.

Thanks
Josh

CB: As it stands now Morrison would be the starting SLB going into camp with Moats backing him up over there and last year’s sixth-round pick Chris White in that mix too. On the weak side it’s Nick Barnett and Robert Eddins, who is under contract and is a rush LB. I anticipate Shawne Merriman to be a pass rushing end on the open side (right side) so he’s out of the mix. I believe Bryan Scott could be part of competition as well knowing he played a hybrid LB role in the team’s nickel package last year.

As for draft prospects that fit the 4-3, Hightower to me is an ILB and probably a second-round prospect. Lewis is an interesting player because he’s got a lot of physical talent, but since the Oklahoma coaches never found a spot for him it’s hard to know what he is exactly. He also had some academic issues and it was recommended to him that he turn pro. Also said to have some maturity issues so he doesn’t sound like Bills draft material. North Carolina’s Zach Brown (WLB), Boise State’s Shea McClellin (SLB), Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and N.C. State’s Audie Cole (SLB) are all guys I feel better about.

 

5 - I’m puzzled about the status of Alex Carrington.  He played as a 4-3 defensive end in college and in the 3-4 this year they played him at linebacker, even though he is around 300 lbs.  He must have quickness to play linebacker and I heard he increased his strength dramatically coming into last season.  Therefore, why isn’t he mentioned as a candidate to be one of the starting defensive ends in the 4-3?  Thanks for being willing to answer our questions.

Tom O.

CB:  The reason why you don’t see him being mentioned as a DE in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense is because he’s likely to be a defensive tackle. Carrington added lean muscle to his frame last year and came into camp at 305 pounds. He was miscast as an OLB, but he along with Spencer Johnson were the best answers they had in terms of setting the edge in the run front with Merriman out of the lineup. Now in the 4-3 Carrington is likely to be a wave player on the interior. I believe he’s capable of playing a LDE role in a 4-3, but there he would be a backup to Mario Williams.

The Bills are going to have some tough decisions to make on the defensive line this summer where they currently have 16 players.


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Fan Friday 3-23

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2012 – 11:19 am

The NFL draft is just about a month away. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hey CB,

Thanks for all of your hard work reporting on the Bills–it’s really appreciated.  I was just wondering if you could layout the off season calendar from OTAs to Training camp and explain the new guidelines under the new CBA opposed to years past? 

Thanks,
Aaron
NYC
CB: You can find all the OTA and minicamp dates right here. As far as OTAs go players can only go against “air.” In other words no offense vs. defense, no kickoff team vs. kick return team. Team drills can only be run against air and there are no one-on-one drills allowed either. Also during the first phase of OTAs there are no helmets worn and obviously no pads or shells without any live contact.

In the second phase of OTAs helmets can be worn, but there is still no live contact and therefore no pads or shells. A maximum of 10 practice days can be scheduled over this three week period, with no more than three days over each of the first two weeks.

For the mandatory minicamp coaches can have two-a-days on two of the three total practice days, but there are still no contact drills or use of pads allowed.

So in summation contact drills, unit vs. unit drills and one-on-one drills are now prohibited.  

And per the CBA each team is required to film all of these OTAs and minicamp practices and hold onto them until a month into the regular season in case the league wants to review them to make sure the rules are being followed.

2 – Chris,

I could use some clarification on how the salary caps works under the new CBA.  My understanding is that the salary cap is the most that a team is allowed to spend on player contracts, and under the new CBA that was reached last year, every team has to spend up to 99% of the cap beginning in the 2012 season.  I also understand that teams that were under the cap last year have the ability to roll that money over to next season to spend extra money.

Any additional info on this topic would be greatly appreciated. 

-Brendan
Las Vegas

 

CB: The way it was outlined in the new CBA was confusing to a lot of people because the league talked about collective team spending and then in the next breath individual team spending. It kind of muddied the waters with respect to what each team has to commit to spending-wise. I’ll try to present it as simply as I can (no easy task).

League-wide there has to be commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. That means all the teams collectively. If the league’s 32 teams fail to reach the 99 percent level then the league has to make up the difference.

In 2011 and 2012 there is no salary cap floor (minimum). That does not kick in until 2013. At that point each individual club is committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. 

For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap. Again if the 32 teams do not reach that figure the league makes up the difference.

So starting next offseason there is technically a salary cap floor for all NFL clubs (89% of cap), but as far as the higher percentage, that’s a figure the league’s teams have to reach collectively.

The most important thing to remember is it’s not cap space, it’s cash spent by the clubs. That adds up a lot quicker than cap space knowing contracts with respect to the cap can be spread out over the length of the deal. Hope that all makes sense.

 

3 - Chris,

These two months of speculation of the draft are like sitting in a closed room, watching the walls of its paint dry. I am impressed with your tenacity for finding new information and working your sources for the fans of the Bills. I wonder how many Bills fans are aware that we could have picked Ron Gronkowski in the second round of 2010, instead we picked DT Torell Troup. Belichick had the next pick and he rewarded his Pats with what turned out to be the best TE in the business. I’m sure Buddy hasn’t forgotten that snafu as another draft approaches.

There are some really good quality picks for TE in the early second round. Did you think Buddy will take a chance on one of them? And who do you think is the best pick between Dwayne Allen, Orson Charles or the Stanford TE? It’s high time the Bills paid respect to a such versatile position with a huge upside.

Go Bills!
Buffalo Bill

CB: First, I wouldn’t call taking Torell Troup a snafu. Yes, Gronkowski has panned out to be a tremendous talent, whose value has largely been maximized by a very good coach and outstanding quarterback. Troup has been mired by a persistent back problem his first two seasons, but with his back issues rectified I think he’ll prove to be a solid contributor. Only time will tell.

As for the TE position this year, Stanford’s Coby Fleener is the most complete. After clocking a 4.45 at his pro day he’s probably not going to be there in round two. That leaves Dwayne Allen from Clemson and Orson Charles from Georgia. Both are lacking a bit in size, and some NFL scouts consider them H-backs more than true tight ends.

I believe Allen’s hands are a little better than Charles’, but both are pretty good blockers. Allen looks a bit stronger physically than Charles. Both have good intangibles. I think it’s going to come down to whether a team wants a more versatile TE or not. If they want versatility I think Charles can line up in more places than Allen. Allen however, is stronger and a more natural pass catcher.

Both could come off the board in round 2.

 

4 - Chris,

Love the Bills’ coverage year round. There seems to be changes in the wind with the 10th pick. It appears they might lean towards Left Tackle. But at that spot, is that the best player available? Reiff and Martin both have concerns. I know they would like to add a tackle but both players have just as much risk as Ingram, Coples, and Upshaw. I would like to see them trade down or draft Floyd from ND. A sure handed big receiver with speed. Floyd would be a great addition across from Stevie and give Fitz targets. What’s your assessment on Floyd, LT.  Need vs value at pick 10?

CB: This is the great debate for the Bills heading into the draft. Reiff and Martin are widely viewed as players worthy of coming off the board between 10 and 15. Floyd has enhanced his overall stock with a solid Combine workout and squeaky clean senior year off the field.

Truthfully the debate isn’t need versus value. They need a starting left tackle and a number two wide receiver. The question is what is Buffalo’s draft grade on Martin, Reiff and Floyd? If the grades are close I think they pull the trigger at left tackle because they need a starter there. It’s harder and harder to find a capable starting left tackle with each passing round. This draft is deep at receiver and you can arguable get a quality player in round three, though he won’t have 4.47 speed that Floyd possesses.

What we also need to remember is if the grades on Martin, Reiff and Floyd are not close to that of the 10th pick Buffalo could trade down from there and re-group presumably armed with an additional pick.

 

5 - Hi Chris,

I know that Buddy and Chan want a deep threat that is open even when he isnt, and they dont see a pass rusher at 10, would it not make sense to go after Mike Wallace, if they gave him enough money in year 1 Pittsburg wouldn’t be able to sign him and they would have the scariest deep threat in the league, which should open things underneath for everyone else to shine even brighter
                                       
Thanks from North of the Border

CB:  I think the premise of your thought is a good one. You know what Mike Wallace is being a proven deep threat in the NFL. However, where things get sticky is in the money you would have to commit to Wallace. After committing number one receiver dollars to Stevie Johnson there’s no way they’d be able to do the same with Wallace, who will absolutely be looking for big, big money.

When you consider the fact that the Bills told Robert Meachem to take the four-year $25.9M deal from San Diego, it was an indication that $6.5M per season for their number two receiver is too steep a price as they see it. You’re not getting Mike Wallace for less than $6.5M per season so it makes giving up the 10th pick not worth it. I’m sure the Bills would love to have Wallace, but I don’t see Buffalo willing to accommodate Wallace’s contract demands after what went down with Meachem.


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