Inside The Bills

Legursky now the starter

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2013 – 3:43 pm

It looked to be heading this way already, but with the release of G Colin Brown, veteran Doug Legursky is the starting left guard for the Bills moving forward.

Legursky suffered a sprained MCL in the preseason finale against Detroit and was not fit to dress for a game until just last week. He got 57 snaps on offense and fared well. According to ProFootballFocus he only surrendered a pair of quarterback hurries.

Brown’s struggles were made more apparent by PFF’s statistics of his play. In 187 pass plays this season Brown surrendered three sacks, six quarterback hits and 17 quarterback hurries.


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Performance could slow rotation at LG

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2013 – 2:47 pm

It’s an open competition that will spill into Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals as both Doug Legursky and Colin Brown will see time on the field. Head coach Doug Marrone still hasn’t spelled out how the rotation will operate, but he did say if one of the linemen is excelling the rotation will stop.

“There is going to be a rotation and they are going to be competitive,” said Marrone. “If someone starts playing well during the game I know we’re going to stick with him.”

Marrone said offensive line coach Pat Morris is going to handle the rotation between the two players.


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Legursky & Brown to rotate at LG

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2013 – 1:14 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has opened the starting LG competition again.

Doug Legursky and Colin Brown will rotate in and out with the first team in practice and in Sunday’s game.

Marrone said he’s not sure whether it will be series by series, every other series etc. He and his offensive staff have to work out the details this week.


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Fan Friday 10-4

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2013 – 1:13 pm

Fresh off the Thursday night game here are your latest questions. Keep them coming on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey Chris,

I really like what I’ve been seeing from the Bills lately. It’s starting to look like a great team. Can we expect Mario to play like he did against Carolina more often and when Byrd and Gilmore return how much better do you expect them to be? Lastly, I want to ask what is your biggest concern with this team going forward?

PS – I love what EJ has done but do you think he’s getting a bit overhyped it’s only been a few games, but man does it seem like this kid can keep his cool under pressure.

CB: I think Mario’s success is going to depend on the players around him up front. Provided they make plays when he draws the most attention from the opposing offensive line, it will force future opponents to pick their poison so to speak. Baltimore chose to double Kyle Williams and Mario most often in the game. As a result, Marcell Dareus saw a lot of one-on-one matchups and won more than his fair share with six tackles and a pair of sacks. As long as the guy that’s getting the one-on-one matchups is winning, the attention paid to the defensive linemen will vacillate back and forth sometimes week to week. We saw Mario get some opportunities last night even though he saw his fair share of double teams.

When Gilmore and Byrd are back in the lineup it’ll no doubt be a boost. The extent of Byrd’s role when he does return however, is up for debate. I expect him to be eased in playing in subpackages at first. Eventually he may be worked back in as a starter. Remember he hasn’t played an NFL regular season game in nine months, had no training camp and no preseason, and has only practiced Mike Pettine’s defense for a month.

As for a concern with the team, it’s the evolution of the offense. It’s going to be a process, but I think it has to be one that makes progress each week. Among the hurdles to be cleared are third down and red zone, two of the most important requirements to be a top offense in the league.

EJ has had his ups and downs, but overall he is making good progress. I think most people agree it’s a matter of when not if with Manuel.

 

2 – Chris,

Thank you for covering all the great news coming out of Buffalo. My question is in regards to the LG position. Colin Brown is certainly looking like he has had his share of problems in the first two games going against some pretty good and big DT’s in Star Lotulelei and Vince Wilfork. He also had trouble with Mizzou sensation and Rookie DT Sheldon Richardson. I have been wondering what his status is on the team? I have heard Coach say he is happy with who he has on the o-line so I doubt a change will be made. From watching the games and being there at One Bills Drive can you tell anything about Colin Brown and why he is having a hard time? Is it the competition he is going against or rooted in fundamentals and overall talent? For a man his size (6’7 325lbs) he has been a problem so far this year. Running to the left side for some nice gains would be welcoming.

Thanks
Taylor – Greater St. Louis Area

CB: I think without question the Baltimore game was his best performance. In a more traditional offensive approach when they ask the offensive line to line up and smack and defensive front in the mouth, that’s what he does best. I think we do have to take into account the caliber of talent he’s been going against early this season. Wilfork – a perennial Pro Bowl player, Lotulelei – a top 10 pick, Richardson – another 1st round pick, Ngata – a perennial Pro Bowl player.

We have to remember he’s the new addition to the offensive line, so I thought before passing judgment it would be fair to give him the first month of the season to settle in. Let’s see where he takes his game from here.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

One of the few plays the Bills have run consistently the past couple years has been screens.  It seems getting Mr. Spiller, Mr. Jackson and a few others some breathing space was highly effective.  Unless I missed something grabbing a snack, I don’t recall the Bills running any screens these first two games.  For an offensive staff that insists it adjusts to the player’s strengths, why does it appear they have abandoned screens?

Thanks,
Matt from Saratoga

CB: I think part of the reason screens haven’t been used as much is because they are trying to play to the players’ strengths, meaning the offensive line. The loss of Andy Levitre limited their athleticism on the offensive line. Eric Wood and Kraig Urbik are capable of getting out on screens, but I don’t know if that’s enough to convince the offensive staff that it could be a frequent weapon for them.

Now we did see a couple of screens last night that provided some measure of success so perhaps we’ll see more moving forward.

We have to remember that Nathaniel Hackett and Doug Marrone are still feeling out the roster and finding what plays work best with their personnel in their system. The coaches have to learn what works best as much as the players have to learn what they’re being asked to execute.

Next year at this time there won’t be those questions.

 

4 – Hey Chris
Wondering if you could give us a projected return date (or game) for the list of inured players? I think we’re getting close to when Gilmore might return, right? How about Goodwin? Brooks? Byrd has no timetable, right?

Stephon Gilmore
Ron Brooks
Marquise Goodwin
Dustin Hopkins

We sure would be a lot better off with all of those guys on the field!
Thanks
Greg

CB: Here’s an idea as to where they’re at.

Stephon Gilmore – Cincinnati is the earliest possible return, but I think it might be a week after that.
Ron Brooks – He’s closer. He’s doing straight line running now, but not cutting yet.
Marquise Goodwin – Think he has a chance this coming week. Began catching passes this past week
Dustin Hopkins – Real close, good chance to be ready for Cincy game.

5 – Chris,

We should really look at getting him, if possible, to have another good QB on our roster no?

Scott Young

CB: Doug Marrone has maintained that promoting through the practice squad is the course they usually take. Thad Lewis knows the offense and is on the practice squad. Of course Doug Whaley has said if they ever have a chance to upgrade the roster they will look to do it.

That being said Josh Freeman is a player that has some off the field concerns that need to be investigated. If those check out and he’s not looking for giant money, which is possible, then I’ve got no problem with the Bills kicking the tires on him.

 

 


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Legursky on way back, but Brown the LG

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2013 – 4:20 pm

He was part of the training camp competition for the starting LG job. Colin Brown wound up winning the starting gig and then Doug Legursky suffered a knee injury in the preseason finale. Now that he’s closer to returning head coach Doug Marrone was asked if Legursky could wrestle the job away from Brown.

Marrone gave strong indication that Brown will remain the starting left guard.

“I think Colin Brown is our starting left guard and we’ll evaluate Doug when he gets back,” said Marrone.

While Marrone’s comment certainly doesn’t close the door to Legursky pushing Brown for time on the field, Buffalo’s head coach sounded pretty set on Brown remaining in the role he’s held since the start of the season.


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Colin Brown closing in on starting LG role

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2013 – 7:20 am

He’s spent the better part of the past two weeks at the starting left guard position. Head coach Doug Marrone isn’t ready to say Colin Brown has earned the starting job yet, but he’s been encouraged by Brown’s play.

“I don’t think jobs are handed to guys. I think they earn them,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “He’s been really working extremely hard. I really like the way he’s played the last couple of days. That’s not taking anything away from Doug. I’ve seen Doug Legursky get better and Colin has gotten better too. I think there’s been a little separation with Colin right now.”

Brown is feeling good about his play, but isn’t going to expect anything.

“I’ve felt good. I still feel like every day I have to prove that I deserve to be there,” Brown said. “I try not to take anything for granted and just try to put my best foot forward every day.”

Marrone said he’s not ready to hand out the starting left guard job yet, but if Brown goes out Saturday afternoon and performs well he could nail down the job between Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood.

“I’m not ready to pull the trigger on that yet,” said Marrone. “We have the third preseason game coming up and then obviously the last preseason game, but I’m not going to lie I think he’s earning that position and earning the right to play that position.”


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Shuffling on 2nd OL

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2013 – 9:49 am

Shuffling on the starting O-line with Cordy Glenn moving to LG and Thomas Welch up to starting LT has prompted shuffling on the 2nd O-line as well.

Recent signee Tony Hills has replace Welch at 2nd team LT while Doug Legursky is back at 2nd team LG.

Colin Brown is now at RG. We’ll ask coach Marrone if he’s still part of the LG competition.

Sam Young and David Snow are in their same spots at RT and C with the second group.


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Kolb, EJ listed as co-starters on depth chart

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:14 pm

depth-chart-bbcomThe Bills preliminary unofficial depth chart has been released and to no surprise there isn’t a delineation between quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel.

Still in the midst of a quarterback competition that has barely begun Kolb and Manuel are listed as co-starters, with just a slash between their names as they both appear in the starters column on the depth chart.

It’s not the only instance where that’s the case. At left guard, Doug Legursky and Colin Brown are also listed as co-starters.

It will likely take until the preseason games for these situations to change.


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Addition to LG competition coming

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2013 – 3:47 pm

The left guard competition has largely been a two-man competition between Colin Brown and Doug Legursky, but head coach Doug Marrone gave ample indication that another candidate will be added to the mix.

Marrone in his assessment of how the left guard competition is shaking out feels there needs to be a third candidate.

“I think both players are doing the best they can,” said Marrone of Brown and Legursky. “I think we have to look to throw someone else in the mix. I don’t think we’ve seen the separation right now.”

Marrone plans to discuss his options with offensive line coach Pat Morris and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on the player’s off day Thursday. A former offensive line coach himself he knows how important it is to get his starting five up front solidified.

“(We’ll) see if there’s anyone else that can go there and see if someone else can separate themselves,” said Marrone. “I think they’re both doing a good job and they both have to develop and I’m looking toward the preseason games to see how they perform in the preseason games. But right now it’s not solidified in the way you want to be right now.”

The most likely candidate to be added to the mix is recent free agent signee Antoine Caldwell. He has more NFL experience playing guard than Legursky and Brown combined and has 19 career starts. The only thing that has likely kept Caldwell from entering the competition sooner was his lack of familiarity with the Bills offensive scheme having just arrived last weekend.

Caldwell was sprinkled in with the second offensive line in practice Tuesday. He could be looking at a whole lot bigger opportunity in the coming days.


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Caldwell’s to-do list

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2013 – 11:49 pm

One of Buffalo’s newest offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell is expected to be part of the competition for the vacant left guard spot. Of course Caldwell has a few other things to take care of before he’s competing effectively in Buffalo’s offensive scheme.

Caldwell took in practice last night having just joined the team and knows little about the scheme at this point. The four-year vet aims to change that sooner rather than later.

“I think it starts off the field more than on the field,” Caldwell told Buffalobills.com. “I’ve got to hammer the film room, hammer that time with the coaches. I think that’s important to really speed up this process that I’m in right now. Then come out here and try to translate things that I’ve learned in the meeting rooms out here on the field and that’s going to be important to getting in there and being able to battle.”

Caldwell has 19 starts in his NFL career, which is two more than Doug Legursky (17) and 18 more than Colin Brown (1). Legursky has appeared in more NFL games (50) than Caldwell (39). Still, most of Legursky’s starts have come at center, not guard.

Caldwell once he’s up to speed is going to add to the talent level at that left guard competition.


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Bills new linemen bring welcome competition

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2013 – 4:57 pm

Buffalo’s signing of free agent OL Antoine Caldwell and Tony Hills brings experienced competition to camp for the team’s front line.

Caldwell is a quality pick up this late in the offseason. With four years of experience under his belt on a successful team (Houston), he’s expected to compete for the starting left guard job with Doug Legursky and Colin Brown.

Hills has largely been a reserve player in his career, but has more playing experience than some of the younger offensive tackles on the roster. GM Doug Whaley is also very familiar with him as a player having been with him in Pittsburgh from 2008-2009.

Caldwell will wear jersey number 73 while HIlls will wear 76.


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OL visitors not surprising

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2013 – 3:34 pm

The Bills hosted a pair of free agent offensive linemen at the team facility today. After trying several options at the vacant starting left guard spot it appears as though Buffalo is trying to see if they can add some experience to the competition.

Through the spring practices the Bills have lined up Colin Brown, undrafted rookie Zach Chibane, Chris Scott, David Snow, Thomas Welch and Sam Young at guard at one time or another. Toward the end of the OTA practice sessions Welch lined up at guard for the first time in his tenure with Buffalo after playing exclusively at offensive tackle.

Both Tyronne Green and Doug Legursky, who visited Tuesday, have at least one year of starting experience under their belt. Green started 13 games in 2012 and Legursky 10 games in 2011. Combined the pair have 45 starts in their NFL careers. Here’s a look at the combined career starts and game appearances of the half dozen guard candidates currently on Buffalo’s roster.

Colin Brown – 12 games, 2 starts
Zach Chibane – 0 games, 0 starts
Chris Scott – 2 games, 0 starts
David Snow – 5 games, 2 starts
Thomas Welch – 11 games, 0 starts
Sam Young – 18 games, 4 starts
—————————————-
Totals – 48 games, 8 starts

Now these numbers do not mean that any of the players listed above are not capable. In fact Snow and Young availed themselves well on the interior when asked to step in for injured starters last season. But the fact is that NFL coaches rest a bit easier when they can start a guy that’s been there before and proven it on a consistent basis.


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OL Brown had a long rehab

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2013 – 10:53 am

OL Colin Brown, who re-signed with the Bills today, saw his 2012 season cut short by a hamstring injury. But it wasn’t any pulled muscle. It was about the most severe hamstring injury one could have.

Some older Bills fans might remember when Andre Reed tore his hamstring away from the bone and missed a large portion of the 1995 season. Colin Brown, who was starting at right guard in Week 5 at San Francisco, had a very similar injury in that game. Brown tore his hamstring from the bone.

Rehab takes three to six months. I saw Brown in the hallway at One Bills Drive last month and he said he was just getting back to full strength in his affected leg. With the Bills signing him to a new contract it can be presumed that he’ll be healthy for the offseason conditioning program this spring.


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O-line loses another

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2012 – 7:44 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey already said that Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik won’t be healthy enough to play in this Sunday’s game. New starting RG Chad Rinehart left Sunday’s game with a calf injury and his replacement is out for this week’s game as well.

Colin Brown started for Rinehart Sunday after Rinehart was a last minute scratch for the starting lineup. But Brown left the game with an injury after just a couple of series on offense and didn’t return.

“It’s a hamstring and he won’t make it this week,” said Chan Gailey of Brown.

Rinehart meanwhile is still a question mark as well.

“Rinehart, we’re going to rest him Wednesday,” said Gailey. “We think he’s got a decent chance to make the game.”

If he cannot go Sunday, Sam Young, who replaced him late in Sunday’s game, would step in. With just five healthy linemen it’s likely that Buffalo will have to make a roster move before the end of the week if Rinehart does not improve.


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More O-linemen down for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2012 – 11:29 pm

The list of injuries unfortunately grew after Buffalo’s latest loss to San Francisco, and it took place exactly where they can ill afford to have them, on their offensive line.

Just two series into Sunday’s game, Colin Brown, the right guard filling in for Chad Rinehart suffered a hamstring injury and was lost for the game and presumably their next game at Arizona. Rinehart stepped in and played most of the game, but re-aggravated his calf injury and had to exit as well.

That left reserve offensive tackle Sam Young to play right guard in the second half Sunday. With Kraig Urbik and Cordy Glenn not even making the trip west for the week in Phoenix neither are expected to be ready to return from their ankle injuries.

It leaves Buffalo with just Chris Hairston, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood and Erik Pears as their only healthy offensive linemen. They’re expected to call up at least two, possibly all three offensive linemen on their practice squad.

C/G David Snow is the most familiar with Buffalo’s offensive system. He was an undrafted signee back in May and went through all of training camp and preseason with the club. So he’s the most likely call up.

G/T Reggie Stephens and G/T Andrew Jackson were just signed by the club last week following the injuries to Glenn and Urbik as insurance. Unfortunately one or both might be pressed into action depending on the severity of Rinehart’s calf injury.

Presumably one of the newer call ups would be schooled up only on the game plan for this week’s matchup with Arizona. Of course the Cardinals defense will be no easy task. They were the third-stingiest defense in the league going into Week 5 in terms of points allowed per game. They were also third in the league in sacks per play prior to this week’s games.


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Jasper update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2012 – 9:44 pm

Head coach Chan Gailey was asked for an update on how G Mike Jasper is faring in camp and the preseason. Here was his response.

“Michael is struggling,” said Gailey. “Michael has got to learn his assignments. He’s got to learn to play physical every snap. A big, strong guy that’s got a lot of talent as we all know, but he’s got to be more physical and he’s got to continue to push through on assignments.”

It’s certainly going to be an uphill battle for Jasper to make the roster. Chad Rinehart is the primary reserve guard. Then there’s second-year man Colin Brown, who plays guard and center, sixth-round pick Mark Asper who plays guard and center, but has had his ups and downs too. Keith Williams is another guard who spent time on the team’s practice squad as well. There’s a lot of competition there.


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The end gain from ’11 injuries

Posted by Chris Brown on May 22, 2012 – 8:15 am

For Buffalo’s offensive line 2011 was a juggling act from week to week with all the injuries the unit suffered. They ultimately persevered, but with everyone expected to be healthy for 2012 there’s a hidden benefit that came out of all those man games missed.

“It’s a little easier with the amount of snaps that me and Andy (Levitre) were getting at center last year,” said Kraig Urbik. “In training camp I’ll get a lot of reps at center too. It was just unfortunate. We couldn’t help the injuries. It wasn’t like we were running and got hurt. Guys fell on your legs and stuff like that. It was unfortunate, but part of the game.”

Buffalo used a total of three players at left tackle last season and four at center (Wood, Levitre, Urbik and Colin Brown). Getting Urbik and Rinehart back in the fold however, will do wonders for continuity.


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Brown to remain at center

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2011 – 6:19 pm

His first series was a little shaky when he had to step in for the injured Kraig Urbik at center, but Colin Brown, who saw his first live action at center in his career eventually settled in and was steady for an offense that found some rhythm in their most recent win Saturday.

“Colin was a little shaky early with the snaps and then he settled down and did a better job,” said head coach Chan Gailey.

With Urbik’s injury considered “not good” by Gailey, the Bills head coach confirmed that the plan is for Brown to finish the season in the pivot on Sunday in Foxboro against the Patriots. 

“Right now it’ll be Colin that’ll play in there,” said Gailey.

It’ll be a heck of a first NFL start at center for Brown, who will be facing perennial Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork.


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Rinehart just nicked

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2011 – 12:45 pm

Starting RG Chad Rinehart did not practice on Friday, but it’s nothing that has Buffalo’s offensive staff overly concerned.

“Rinehart just tweaked something in his shoulder and we held him out,” said head coach Chan Gailey after Friday’s practice. “We don’t think it’ll be an issue at all on Sunday.”

Rinehart has manned the right guard spot ever since Kraig Urbik moved inside to center in Week 12. He’s listed as questionable. If Rinehart can’t go Sunday, Colin Brown would start in his place.


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Rinehart not on hand

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2011 – 11:26 am

A new absence at practice Friday was starting right guard Chad Rinehart.

Rinehart had practiced all week leading up to today (Friday), but was not on the practice field during the media viewing portion of practice. He’s been starting at right guard in place of Kraig Urbik, who has moved to center and started there the past two games.

Replacing Rinehart in the starting lineup at practice was Colin Brown.


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