Inside The Bills

Wang out for Saturday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2011 – 8:07 am

Bills OT Ed Wang did not practice Thursday and is not expected to dress for Saturday’s preseason home opener against the Jaguars.

“Ed got a pretty good hit on his shoulder,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He’s going to be out a few days. I don’t think he’s going to make this game.”
 
Wang had been running with the second unit at left tackle. He was replaced in practice by Cordaro Howard, who is also expected to replace him in Saturday night’s game. 

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Chan on O-line depth

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2011 – 7:51 pm

With Demetrius Bell currently out with a shoulder strain, it’s forced some very inexperienced offensive tackles into some important roles at left tackle, namely Ed Wang (starting in Bell’s place) and Cordaro Howard (getting 2nd team reps). For head coach Chan Gailey it only emphasizes the urgency to get the younger players up to speed should there be an injury during the season.

“We don’t have a lot of depth right now,” said Gailey of his offensive tackle position. “Ed (Wang) has played none and Cordaro (Howard) played very little last year. So we really don’t have any depth at that position. We have to develop it, and that’s what training camp is about to develop that. We’d love to have had some more time to do it, but you take what you’ve got.”

When asked if offensive line is a worry every year and a work in progress, Gailey answered in the affirmative.

“It always is (a work in progress),” he said. “They are the one group that has to have the most consistency, cohesiveness, communication. They’ve got to be on par every day with that or you’re going to be in trouble.”


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OL Howard’s outlook

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2011 – 7:22 am

Cordaro Howard got his first work on the field Sunday as he came off PUP. So what is the timetable for him to be 100 percent again?

Howard admits he’s not all the way back yet. He still has to build up the strength and endurance in his surgically repaired shoulder. That why his reps won’t be what they are for the other linemen. And while Howard is practicing he’ll also still have to continue doing exercises to get the shoulder back right.

“It feels good,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming and I’ve been working hard at it. I’ll continue with the rehabbing and continue out here with the reps.”

Howard, who figures to be in the mix for the swing tackle job behind projected starters Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears, isn’t sure just when he’ll be back to normal. He doesn’t have a target date.

“Not specifically, just whenever they feel I’m ready and I feel I’m ready the same way,” he said. “That’s definitely going to be the day. It’s not set as one day. I’m just trying to progress toward it.”


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OL Howard back from PUP

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2011 – 2:59 pm

Bills OL Cordaro Howard has been taken off Active PUP and is practicing.

Howard is coming off offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and damaged rotator cuff.

We will let you know where he lines up when the Bills get into team drills.


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Right side of O-line review

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2011 – 12:59 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked for his thoughts on the right side of Buffalo’s offensive line featuring newly appointed starters in Kraig Urbik at right guard and Erik Pears at right tackle.

“They’re pretty good communicators, but they’re not as comfortable as the guys on the other side communicating with each other,” said Gailey. “But they’re getting better every day. I think that as they continue to work with each other I think things will get better and better.”

Gailey then added how they intend to work some other players in on that side of the line, indicating that things are far from set in stone.

“(Chad) Rinehart is going to work over there some and if (Chris) Hairston continues to get better every day it’s going to be a fight on that side of the line over there,” he said.

Performance in preseason games are likely to be a major determining factor. Mansfield Wrotto is another candidate as well as Cordaro Howard when he comes off the PUP list.


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Cordaro Howard update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2011 – 11:31 am

Bills OL Cordaro Howard, who made the squad as a rookie and appeared in 10 games with four starts, is still on the Active PUP list. He’s been feverishly rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulder after suffering a torn labrum and rotator cuff damage last season. At this point in camp however, he’s not quite ready to return to practice.

“It’s coming along pretty good,” he said. “It’s been tough rehabbing every day, running every day staying in shape. Now we’re just testing it to see where it is in terms of strength. It was a successful shoulder surgery and the way the offseason went I took care of my business. To this point it’s just not where it needs to be.”

Howard, who played guard and tackle last season, still needs to work on getting the shoulder up to NFL game strength while also building the muscles in his shoulder to the point where they have the endurance to last 60 to 70 plays in an NFL game.

“That’s it,” he said. “Everything else is fine in there and has been evaluated by the doctors and everything. Now we’re just worrying about strengthening it.”

As for a timetable Howard says he hopes to come off of PUP by the end of camp, which is around Aug. 18th. That could enable him to play in at least the Bills last two preseason games, giving him enough preparation for the 2011 season.


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OL Howard, CB Corner on PUP

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2011 – 5:57 pm

Two Bills players will start camp on PUP.

Head coach Chan Gailey said Cordaro Howard and Reggie Corner will start camp on PUP.

“They are in the process of rehabbing,” said Gailey. “They are fine, but it is going to take them a little bit longer to get ready for practice.”

Gailey did not put a timetable on the two players. Both players can begin practicing as soon as they are able to pass a physical.


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Pass protection rankings

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2011 – 8:55 am

The stat counters and film reviewers at Pro Football Focus have released Part I of their Pass Protection rankings.

They’re going from worst to first and calculated their findings by taking Pressure per play and multiplying it by the average number of pass blockers per play (multiplied by 1,000). Buffalo ranked 20th in the league. Here was their synopsis for the Bills.

20.  Buffalo Bills (1.71)
Improvement from the Bills. Demetrius Bell isn’t even an average left tackle yet, but he was much better than 2009, and Fred Jackson seemed to finally begin to get what picking up the blitz was all about. But players like Cord Howard still get beat far too often, and the interior is all too readily pushed back. That will need to improve. With Ryan Fitzpatrick still at quarterback they at least have a guy who knows how to avoid sacks.

Pressure Per Play Rank: 21st
Sack % of Pressure Rank: 12th
Average Number of Blockers Per Play Rank: 19th

It would seem to me that the PFF folks were unaware that though complementary of Bell they did not realize he was coming off microfracture surgery and did not feel back to 100 percent until after the bye week last season. Cordaro Howard was learning on the fly as an undrafted rookie. The comment about the interior makes one wonder about how the center position might shake out from the 2011 season knowing there will be competition there between Geoff Hangartner and Eric Wood.


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Surgery for Howard

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2011 – 9:42 am

Since most of Buffalo’s players in need of surgery had their procedures performed prior to the end of the season, the Bills do not have many players headed for offseason surgery. One offensive lineman however, will need some work done.

Rookie Cordaro Howard, who played through a painful shoulder injury up until the last two weeks of the season when he was placed on injured reserve will have shoulder surgery according to Chan Gailey.

Howard, an undrafted rookie, started four games as a rookie including three at right tackle and offers promising depth on Buffalo’s offensive line heading into 2011.


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Rinehart to start at RG

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2010 – 4:35 pm

Bills OL Chad Rinehart made his fifth career NFL start and first in two seasons Sunday and fared particularly well. So well in fact that he won’t be rotating in for Cordaro Howard. Instead he’ll be starting at right guard against the Dolphins.

“Actually Chad played a lot better than I anticipated he would,” said Chan Gailey. “We’ll go through the rest of the week, but the way he played he certainly deserves to start this week and we’ll see how we handle the rotation and how we work that. Cord came out of the game pretty sore so that might have something to do with it in itself.”

With Howard essentially playing hurt the rest of the season with a shoulder problem that prevents him from maintaining his full strength through the course of a game, Rinehart rotated in for certain series in the game. But with Howard hurting Rinehart may play the full 60 minutes Sunday in Miami.

Ed Wang is an alternative as a rotational guard if Howard is unable to go Sunday.


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Right guard change

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2010 – 6:00 am

Earlier in the week Bills head coach Chan Gailey indicated that the right guard spot would be manned this week by Cordaro Howard and Ed Wang against the Browns today. That plan sounds as if it has been changed after the conclusion of the practice week.

“I feel good about Eric at center,” Gailey told Buffalobills.com. “The challenge is replacing him at right guard. The combination of maybe Chad Rinehart and Cordaro Howard, we’re going to have to play both of those guys in there to bolster that spot to the point where we have a winning player at that spot.”

On Wednesday Gailey said that Howard and Wang would “probably” split the right guard duties on Sunday, but it’s pretty clear that it will now be a combination of Rinehart and Howard.

Rinehart, who was promoted to the active roster earlier in the week, has four NFL starts in his career all of which came with Washington in 2009 at guard, so he has a bit more experience than Wang. It sounds as if he’ll spell Howard, who is still not fully recovered from a shoulder injury that he sustained last month, throughout the course of the game.


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Split duty at right guard

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2010 – 12:54 pm

Last week when Kraig Urbik had to move to center to replace Hangartner, rookie Cordaro Howard stepped in at right guard. But he won’t be the only lineman manning that spot through the course of Sunday’s game against the Browns.

Head coach Chan Gailey said there will be a platoon type situation at right guard this week.

“We’ll probably have to play (Cordaro) and Wang in there at guard,” said Gailey. “Cordaro is not 100 percent healthy, so we’ll probably have to take two guys and make a whole game so to speak.”

Howard has been playing through a shoulder injury. Wang saw his first NFL action on offense last week when he stepped in at left guard against the Vikings after Andy Levitre had to play center following the losses of Geoff Hangartner and Kraig Urbik to injury last Sunday.


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Fan Friday 11-25

Posted by Chris Brown on November 26, 2010 – 2:50 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Bills fans. Lets’ get to the questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Hey Chris I was wondering if you thought Andrew Luck was worth waiting until the 2012 draft to try and get if he doesn’t come out this year and the Bills can then focus on the defense in the 2011 draft, possibly taking Marcel Dareus or another 3-4 DE in the 1st  and possibly Jerrell Powell for a NT with the 2nd round pick if he is still there.  After that I think they should try finding Linebackers and depth for the O-line and hope they finish low enough to get Luck next year or trade up to get him. I don’t think there is another QB worth taking in the top 5 this year.  What do you think?

Thanks,
Ben

CB: I’m not all that enamored with some of the other QB prospects that could be in the draft pool either, at least top five pick enamored. I think Ryan Fitzpatrick has at least given the Bills the option to fortify their defense at the top of the draft, with the play he has provided thus far this season.

Now it should be noted that the schedule the rest of the way gets considerably tougher for the Bills and that could change how this picture looks right now. But there is no debating the way Fitz has helped to not only lift the play of the offense, but the team as a leader.

2 – Chris, 
Who are the upcoming free agents on the Bills roster? Which players qualify to become restricted free agents, exclusive free agents, or just regular? How do the undrafted rookies like Coleman, Nelson, and Howard fit in to free agents?

Thanks,
Dawn (New Paltz, NY)

CB: Here’s who I’ve got so far, though I haven’t double checked with the personnel people that have the official list upstairs.
ILB Akin Ayodele (9)
QB Brian Brohm (3)
S Jon Corto (3)
ILB Keith Ellison (5)
CB Drayton Florence (8)
RB Quinton Ganther (5)
DT John McCargo (5)
OLB Shawne Merriman (6)
ILB Paul Posluszny (4)
S Donte Whitner (5)
S George Wilson (5)
OG Mansfield Wrotto (4)
CB Ashton Youboty (5)

Now as far as who is an unrestricted or restricted free agent is up to what the terms of the new CBA will be. The current labor deal expires March 1st, so players entering free agency will not know what their free agent status is until a new agreement is reached. Consequently the Bills and the 31 other clubs will not know as well. Suffice to say that top priority free agents like Paul Posluszny will probably be re-signed prior to the expiration of the CBA.

As for undrafted rookies like Coleman, Nelson and Howard they’ve all been signed to three-year contracts, so they’re all signed through 2012.

3 – Hi Chris,
I’m a fan of Kyle Williams. Adjusting to a new position in the new 3-4 scheme certainly can’t be easy for him, but he seems to be doing a decent job, all things being considered. However, I wonder if they could get better output from him if they kicked him outside to the defensive end position? Personally, I prefer the idea of having a really big-man play nose tackle to clog that middle lane (similar to a Wilfork). With that in mind, do you think Troup could be ready to fill that position soon on a ful-time basis? I think if they could get Williams to play at a lighter weight to help improve his speed and mobility a bit (say drop 10 – 15 lbs. or so and play at around 290), he could be a very productive defensive end. What are your thoughts on that, and, do you think there’s any possibility of the Bills actually trying that down the road?
 
Paul
Toronto

CB: Truth be told, Williams has been far better than decent inside. He’s been downright dominant. I too shared your opinion that being one of the more athletic defensive linemen, he might present more problems at end, than at the nose. I think down the line when Torell Troup gains more experience leaving him at the nose and kicking Williams outside could be a subpackage/passing down look for the Bills. I just don’t see it as an option this season. Acquiring more depth at nose would help to spur such a development.

4 – Hey Chris,
I live in Florida and I was wondering if the Bills players sign autographs on the road. Last year I went to Bills at Dolphins and got good seats behind the bills bench hoping that I would get a chance at T.O.’s autograph or like every fan, a ball. I didn’t stay after the game to see if they hung around after it was over, so I am curious whats the best way to get an autograph while at a miami or other away game?I’d like to get CJ on his rookie card., that would be sweet.
 
Frank,
Jupiter, FL

CB: First of all hoping to get an autograph prior to a game is a tough thing. You have to be in the stadium early during pre-game warm-ups and even then you’d have to be almost in their direct line of sight. A lot of times players don’t like to be bothered prior to the game, so you really don’t stand a good chance of getting one to be honest.

Post-game is even harder.

What I would suggest is sending your Spiller rookie card to C.J. at One Bills Drive, with a self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed.
Players don’t open fan mail until they have time to sit down and read it. If you think about it, it’s the best time for an autograph request. As long as you do all the work with the return envelope you make it easy for them and that’s the key. So here’s the address to send it to C.J. or any other player.

Player name
One Bills Dr.
Orchard Park, NY 14127

5 - Hey Chris ,

With Kyle Williams getting all this national attention on how good  he’s playing (#2 defensive player in the NFL) without much help around him according to certain articles , and in the shadow of Chris Kelsay getting a new contract extension. Wouldn’t it be smart to get this guy a new contract ASAP !! I don’t know how long his contract is for?? But these are the type of players that the Bills need to reward with an extension to build the team and make it viable once again in the NFL & the fans eyes .
Just Brainstorming – GO BILLS

Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville

CB: Well you’ll be happy to know that Kyle signed an extension after the 2008 season so he’s signed through 2012, and at pretty affordable money in light of what he’s done the past two seasons. So there’s no need to worry, Buffalo’s prime Defensive MVP is locked up for the foreseeable future.


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Merriman not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2010 – 1:34 pm

Shawne Merriman is not on the practice field for the Bills here on Thursday.

Merriman sustained a lower leg injury Wednesday. Head coach Chan Gailey will provide an update after practice.

OL Cordaro Howard is the only other non-participant at practice.


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Wrotto the right tackle now

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2010 – 5:51 pm

OL Mansfield Wrotto was supposed to platoon at the right tackle spot with rookie Cordaro Howard, who has started the last three games, but after Howard suffered a shoulder injury Sunday, Wrotto appears to be the starter moving forward.

“Cordaro got that shoulder banged during the first half and couldn’t start the second half,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “But Mansfield was playing okay and after watching the tape I have high hopes for Mansfield. I think he can step in there and be a solid player for us at that position. Cordaro’s shoulder is just too weak right now to go play a whole ball game. So we’ll let Mansfield go play that spot for a while.”

Wrotto felt good about his adjustment to right tackle, a position he had not played in a game since college, having been primarily on the left side in his three-year NFL career with Seattle.

“It is different foot work-wise, but I’ve been practicing both sides the past couple of weeks,” said Wrotto. “Coach D’Alessandris really pushed me to know more than one position and it helped me out a lot on Sunday.”


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Howard, Wrotto to platoon

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2010 – 12:30 pm

Bills starting right tackle Cordaro Howard is not expected to be playing there full time on Sunday against the Bears.

Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed to Buffalobills.com that the intent is to platoon Howard and Mansfield Wrotto. Wrotto has been with the team since he was signed to the practice squad in Week 5. Promoted to the active roster a week later, Wrotto has acclimated himself to Buffalo’s offensive scheme and line calls to the point where Gailey is ready to give him some playing time.

“Yes we are,” Gailey told Buffalobills.com when asked if Howard and Wrotto will platoon at right tackle. “I think that’s the way we’ll go into the game. Now how much (playing time) each of them gets whether it’s two-thirds, one-third, 50-50, 75-25 I don’t know right now. I think we’ll have to get in the game and see how that goes, but I do anticipate Mansfield getting in the ball game.”

The Bills are likely concerned that the Bears may target the undrafted rookie (Howard) and move pass rusher Julius Peppers from his right end position over to the left side to face Howard. Wrotto is a four-vet with 18 games of NFL experience, a full season more than his fellow Georgia Tech alum. Either way Gailey has made no secret this week that they intend to double team Peppers for virtually the entire game.


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Playing time for Wrotto

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2010 – 3:16 pm

With veteran OT Cornell Green going to injured reserve to make room for LB Shawne Merriman on the roster, the starting right tackle job looked like it was going by default to undrafted rookie Cordaro Howard. But head coach Chan Gailey has different ideas.

Gailey indicated Thursday that Howard could be part of a platoon situation with four-year veteran Mansfield Wrotto.

When asked specifically if Howard would continue as the starting right tackle, Gailey responded with the following.

“He and Mansfield Wrotto will probably both play at that spot,” Gailey said.

Buffalo’s head coach did not elaborate on how playing time might be divided between the two, but Wrotto does have more NFL experience than Howard. Originally signed to the practice squad in Week 3 and promoted to the active roster a week later, Wrotto has appeared in 18 games including five starts, all of which came with the team that drafted him the Seattle Seahawks.

Howard has had his moments and his struggles in his first two NFL starts. Here was Chan Gailey’s assessment after his first NFL start at Baltimore.

“He did okay for the first time out,” said Gailey. “That’s a tough place to go play in a tough situation for your very first start in the NFL. And I thought he held his own. He didn’t grade out high, but he held his own. Toward the end, he got tired and a little sloppy in technique, but the guy went out and played 80 plays in what we consider heat coming from Buffalo against a very good defense. So, I thought he held his own.”

Wrotto, now entering his second month with the club has a good handle on the offensive system and blocking assignments, so if the offensive staff likely feels comfortable putting him in the lineup at some point to see if he fares any better than Howard.


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3 Bills questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2010 – 12:01 pm

A couple of defensive backs and a linebacker are questionable for Buffalo’s game Sunday at Kansas City.

“(Jairus) Byrd, (Terrence) McGee and (Keith) Ellison are all questionable,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “Cornell Green is out.”

Gailey said that Byrd, McGee and Ellison will all be game time decisions.

McGee is believed to be the biggest long shot to play. Though he participated in practice all week he was limited. Byrd has a better chance of being in the lineup Sunday.

Cordaro Howard will get his second NFL start this week at right tackle in place of Green.


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OL Howard ready to start

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2010 – 10:46 am

With veteran RT Cornell Green expected to be on the shelf this week and possibly for a couple of weeks to come, rookie OL Cordaro Howard feels comfortable stepping in.

“This is a big opportunity to start in the NFL,” said Howard. “I just plan on going out there and taking advantage of it. I’ve been preparing for a few weeks now, spelling all those guys out. So, I’ll just see how it goes.”

Howard feels like he has a very good handle on the assignments at right tackle, helped by his appearance in most of the games this season, including the end of the Jacksonville game at right tackle after Green was injured.

“I’m real comfortable in his system. It’s not a big transition,” he said. “I’ve been playing guard and tackle for three years and moving back to the same system everything pretty much came back.”

Howard will have his hands full Sunday with Ravens LDE Corey Redding and SLB Jarrett Johnson, but head coach Chan Gailey has confidence in the rookie.

“One thing I’d say about Cordaro, the game doesn’t seem to be too big for him,” Gailey said. “He goes out there and handles his business. It doesn’t matter what the situation is or who he’s lined up against. (But) it will be a challenge for him this week.”


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Other right tackle option

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2010 – 3:20 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey had an answer that appeared to leave options open for him and his coaching staff with respect to the starting right tackle role. With Cornell Green out injured for the foreseeable future, Gailey was asked if Cordaro Howard would be his replacement.

Gailey’s response did not exactly make it sound like Howard was a permanent answer to Green’s absence.

“Right now, yes,” said Gailey confirming that Howard would step in at right tackle.

Howard has done a nice job stepping in for the likes of Andy Levitre (Week 2 at GB), and spelling Demetrius Bell for a series or two here and there and last week stepping in for Green at the end of the game. In fact he outperformed Jamon Meredith to the point where Meredith was moved off the roster. But there is one player on the roster that I believe could possibly supplant Howard in the near future before Green is healthy enough to play again.

Mansfield Wrotto, a four-year veteran, has 16 NFL games under his belt and learned how to play offensive tackle in the NFL at the elbow of Walter Jones, one of the best two tackles of the last generation (Jonathan Ogden being the other). Wrotto has spent all of two weeks with the Bills, so getting the playbook down is the main task for him right now. Yes, he’s played more guard in the NFL, but he played tackle for Gailey and offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris at Georgia Tech.

“He’ll probably end up as a tackle for us,” Gailey told Buffalobills.com. “I don’t know where exactly right now, but I think he’ll end up being a tackle. He’s played left tackle and guard when he was in Seattle. He’s a versatile player. He’s very strong. He’s got a low center of gravity. He’s a 310 to 315-pound guy at just 6’3”. Now the negative about playing tackle is he doesn’t have that big long reach that you would like, but he has great feet and a good understanding of the game. We’ll see how it works out.”

Certainly no promises in that statement either, but Wrotto has experience on his side. If he can get the Bills playbook down he could certainly push Howard for playing time with Green on the shelf.


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