Inside The Bills

Kouandjio putting himself in tackle mix

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2015 – 12:32 pm

Bills second-year tackle Cyrus Kouandjio has put in a lot of work this offseason after admitting his mindset was not right for pro football as a rookie in 2014. All that work is beginning to pay off as Kouandjio has put himself in the mix at offensive tackle.

“Right now he’s getting a ton of reps, but there’s going to be competition there, no question about that,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “He’s looked good. He’s had a good offseason, so we’ll see what happens when the pads come on.”

Kouandjio lined up at the starting right tackle position this week in OTAs, while fellow second-year tackle Seantrel Henderson manned the left tackle spot with the second unit.

“We’re just rotating guys through, they’ve been switching left-right, even with Kouandjio, even with all three of those tackles we’ve been switching them,” said Ryan in reference to the pair of 2014 draft choices and veteran Cordy Glenn.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-24

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 11:32 am

Veteran voluntary minicamp is up this week beginning Tuesday and will roll us right into the draft Thursday night. Remember to stay close to Buffalobills.com online and on your mobile devices for full coverage of the Bills 2015 draft class as it happens. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any shot the Bills can get in on Rivers? Something like EJ and this year’s 2 and 5 or EJ and next year’s 1?

RealSteveRhodes

CB: The Philip Rivers trade chatter exists because of the quarterback’s comments, not the GM’s. Rivers has backed off his comments recently. That doesn’t mean that teams won’t be inquiring about the veteran QB’s availability. In a down year for quarterbacks it’ll be interesting to see what NFL clubs would be willing to offer, but I think the asking price would be very high if Tom Telesco even entertains an offer in the first place.

It’s my belief your trade proposals above would have to be improved to make a deal even remotely possible. Not having a one to offer this year I think removes Buffalo from consideration, and that’s if San Diego even decides to talk turkey. In a down year for quarterbacks I wouldn’t want to be hitting the reset button at that position, especially when my QB was an NFL MVP candidate for the first half of the season in 2014.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

2 players #Bills need this draft. MyCole Pruitt and Chris Bonner, what’s your thoughts, opinions?

mattgolden03

CB: While I think there are a lot of things to like about Pruitt’s skill set, I don’t know that he’s a match for what Buffalo is looking for at tight end. Buffalo has the versatile playmaker in Clay and a potential athletic understudy in Marqueis Gray. Chris Gragg is a good straight line athlete, so what’s left? In a power run scheme Buffalo needs a tight end that is an accomplished blocker. If they can offer short to intermediate pass catching ability all the better.

Prospects in this year’s draft class who fit that bill as I see it are Ohio State’s Jeff Heuerman and Delaware’s Nick Boyle. Heuerman probably comes off the board in day two and Boyle on day 3. Good, high character players as well.

As for Chris Bonner, I wouldn’t be opposed to using a seventh-round pick on the D-II QB prospect. For a 6-7 quarterback I’m impressed with the way he makes himself small in the pocket to avoid pressure, and then the feet he has for a 6-7 man, Bonner is pretty good at extending plays.

The basics of his arm mechanics are good. He’s got an over-the-top delivery. What he lacks right now is touch on the ball and arc. Too often he throws a laser no matter what type of route he’s targeting. Dropping throws in the bucket on deep outs or putting more loft on an over the shoulder pass are the things he needs work on.

What I think I like best about Bonner’s game is the way he’s able to avoid the inside rush in the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and re-set his feet to deliver the ball. His throws aren’t always great, but a feel for pocket pressure is tough to find in young QBs. I’m confident some NFL team will try to develop him.

 

3 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean Robbins

CB: I think offensive line will be a major focus at 50 and if the right value is there at offensive tackle or guard I believe that’s where they go. Players I like for the Bills at 50 (assuming of course they’re still on the board) are G/C A.J. Cann, OT Cedric Ogbuehi (provided the knee checks out), OT Donovan Smith and G Laken Tomlinson.

If none of those prospects are on the board at 50 I think that’s when best on the board truly comes into play. A good all-around OLB/DE would make the most sense for me knowing Manny Lawson is entering the final year of his contract, but I think defensive back, inside linebacker, defensive tackle are all on the table there if the offensive line options are gone.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

I’m a longtime Bills fan now living in Kentucky and really appreciate all the hard work you do reporting the happenings at One Bills Drive. It seems the Bills with the support of the Pegula’s have assembled an all-star coaching staff.  Are there any league rules that limit or restrict the number of assistants a team can hire or that can be on the sidelines during a game?

Thank you,
Mark from Louisville

CB: Thanks for the kind words. To my knowledge there is no limit to the number of assistants a club can have on a coaching staff. And you’re right it is an all-star staff.

 

5 – Chris,
First of all thanks again for the great coverage of the Buffalo Bills. My question is about the offensive line and in particular the two starting tackles from the 2014 season. I recall either Doug Whaley or Rex referring to guard and tackle as a need, I thought the addition of tackle was interesting. I know the Bills have seen Cordy Glenn as a tackle in the past but I’ve heard many times that he could be one of the best guards in football if kicked inside. With a new staff and o-line coach do you think they may see as a guard? If this were to be the case that leaves a hole at left tackle clearly. Leading to my next question which is do you think Seantrel Henderson could swing over to the left side? I thought he had his rookie woes early against some top flight talent (Houston game against Watt) but got better as the season went on. Do you think he could be a starting left tackle? This move would also lead me to believe that Cyrus Kouandjio could have a legitimate chance at winning the right tackle spot. Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on these potential moves.

Go Bills!
Phil Dabowl

CB: I think all options are open. Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and my conversation with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer are all consistent. They will look to find what the best combination of five linemen is best for the starting offensive line. That means no move is off the table.

That being said it’s my belief that Cordy Glenn is the best tackle on this roster right now. The coaches might feel differently and they have a trained eye for what works best far better than I do. Asking Seantrel Henderson to flip to the left side is not outlandish, but I think in his second NFL season might be a bit premature.

There’s little question that Henderson has the physical skill set to play on the left side, but his NFL readiness for that position is the key question. I think Cyrus Kouandjio will also be given every opportunity to be an offensive tackle for this team as opposed to guard.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills won’t be free agent players next year

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Buffalo Bills made some exciting trades and some aggressive moves in free agency this offseason that has the team poised to bring an end to their playoff drought. But don’t expect the flurry of activity to happen again in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley all but confirmed that with the high-priced players they signed (McCoy, Harvin) and the high-priced players they re-signed (Hughes) or extended (Kyle Williams) they won’t be in a position to spend like that again next March.

“Next year the Bills fans should take vacation during free agency,” Doug Whaley told the John Murphy Show. “Our free agency now, because we’ve drafted so well turns to our own players. Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Nigel Bradham, Stephon Gilmore that will be our free agency next year. We’ll turn into the Green Bay Packers.”

Whaley knows Dareus and Gilmore will command high price tags based not only on their production, but the position they’ll play with Glenn and Bradham not far behind. That’s why the personnel department is hopeful they can land a contributing player or two late in the draft, who will be far more affordable knowing a lot of cap dollars will be tied into the elite core of players.

“With the guys we’ve paid this year and brought in and the guys we’re going to try to re-sign next offseason those guys are going to be high-priced players,” said Whaley. “So to balance that out you have to hit on some fifth, sixth or seventh round players to have that, for lack of a better term, cheap labor and balance out that top heavy end of the price structure in the cap situation with our top end players.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

The second week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is in the books. Veteran voluntary minicamp is a couple of weeks away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Let us talk hypothetically.  TE-OL-LB are obvious needs.  But, should (UCLA QB Brett) Hundley still be on the board for the Bills in round 2, what do you think?

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think GM Doug Whaley will keep all options open in round two knowing he can truly take the best player on the board with few holes on the roster. That being said beyond the first two quarterbacks (Winston, Mariota) I get the feeling that the general consensus around the league is none of the remaining quarterbacks are at a point in their development where they can help right away.

I don’t know for a Bills team trying to win right now that Hundley is a pick worth making in round two. I think they’d rather have a player that can step in and help as a rookie in the event of an injury or push an incumbent starter for the starting role at their respective position.

Naturally we have to see what is left on the board at pick 50, and that’s obviously very hard to predict. I think there will be enough quality talent at Buffalo’s need positions that you listed to convince them to go in that direction more than QB.

 

2 – Chris,

After reading Collision Low Crossers, the book about the 2011 Jets, it seems like Rex values a shutdown corner to take away part of the field, then blitz.

I assume Gilmore is close to being that type of player. Do you think McKelvin can hold up? What players off radar could come in and make plays on the defense where he likes to give all the players playing time (i.e. Robey, Cockrell, Johnson, Meeks, Charles). How do the reserves fit into his defense and which one you see making a big jump in 2015?

CB: First, yes I think McKelvin can hold up as a press corner. He’s coming off the two-best seasons in his career under secondary coach Donnie Henderson. Furthermore Ryan believes he has three capable outside press corners with Corey Graham being the third.

In terms of a reserve player on defense who could make a jump I believe Duke Williams is a prime candidate to start in the safety role vacated by Da’Norris Searcy. He got a good deal of playing time there last season, is a ferocious hitter and has a nose for the ball. The other players you mentioned are only going to take steps forward as well, which speaks well for the depth on defense.

 

3 – Chris,

I am not convinced Matt Cassel is the answer at QB we’ve been waiting for all these years. Will the Bills go after Colin Kaepernick? And if not, why not? He would make sense as a solid franchise QB with a winning track record who fits with a run first offense. I see him as a perfect fit.

Cordially,
Bradley Kaye

CB: While I don’t deny that Kaepernick had success in Greg Roman’s offense in San Francisco, to acquire him he has to be available. With all of the talent that the 49ers have lost this offseason (Crabtree, Gore, S. Johnson, Iupati, Culliver, Skuta, Borland, Willis) I cannot see them parting with the player they handed franchise quarterback money.

 

4 – Chris,

With the team spending lots of money for the 2015, wondering how it will play out in 2016 when they have other players to lock up. Dareus will command a huge contract. Gilmore will need his option picked up. Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham is set to be a free agent as well. These are core guys they like how is it possible to keep them? Next year is big for future free agents. Are they spending too much money now they may have to let one of those guys walk next year? As of now the Bills aren’t done spending and could add more.

Josh P.
CB: I think your concern is a valid one. They’ve already picked up the option on Stephon Gilmore, per Doug Whaley’s comments at the owners’ meetings, so that buys them some time with him. They are interested in extending Nigel Bradham and it would not surprise me if Glenn were on the list as well. Right now Marcell Dareus is the primary focus regarding an extension. After seeing the money that Ndamukong Suh got in Miami, I think we all know that it’s going to be a complicated deal to broker.

Knowing the money involved with be large, it puts a hold on the other players who are in line for extensions because in all likelihood the Bills will need to get creative to make Dareus’ extension work. That deal will undoubtedly have an impact on how and what they can offer to their other young core players.

The good news is that the salary cap continues to go up and up and up. So more room will be created just with the dawn of a new calendar year.

 

5 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean R.

CB: I think the offensive line is a distinct possibility at 50, but not knowing what will still be on the board makes it difficult to pin down. I think guard or tackle are possibilities there. If the right tight end prospect is there in round two I don’t think you can rule it out, but Buffalo has their starter in Charles Clay. Now if they plan to have two tight ends on the field at the same time, which in Greg Roman’s offense is likely a good amount of the time, they might look to find one on day two (rounds 2 & 3).

I see LB depth being acquired later in the draft.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-20

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2015 – 11:14 am

Another busy week of free agency for the Bills. We’ll obviously know more on Charles Clay soon. For now your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are we looking at a WR1 with Harvin? Watkins WR2. Woods WR3. Harvin, starting combo? Are they looking to add another WR through draft?

killerbeekevin

CB: I still think Sammy Watkins remains the number one option in Buffalo’s passing game despite the signing of Percy Harvin. Harvin is probably the number two receiver outside in light of the money invested in him. The Harvin acquisition was done to discourage defenses from doubling Watkins.

Woods and Hogan probably work out of the slot more. If Clay becomes Bills property he works the seams and the flats underneath.

As for drafting a receiver, I think that’s one position you can cross off the list unless some phenomenal talent slips to them that wasn’t expected. The reason why is looking at Buffalo’s depth chart right now your top five wideouts look like this.

Watkins
Harvin
Woods
Hogan
Easley – for special teams

After that you’ve got Goodwin, Thigpen, Brown, Holley, Thompson and Palmer. Do the Bills keep six receivers this year? Knowing they will be carrying a fullback and need numbers at tight end for Greg Roman’s offense I don’t think seeing six receivers on Buffalo’s 53-man roster is as likely as it was under the previous coaching staff.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

ummm can I just throw this out there? Philip Rivers. Buffalo Bill?

nschirra8

CB: You’re welcome to throw it out there. Yes, Rivers’ contract is up after the 2015 season, and he has said he has little incentive to sign an extension with San Diego. His lack of interest stems from the prospect of the Chargers possibly moving to Los Angeles as they’re currently operating under a year-to-year lease in San Diego.

If he’s not open to negotiating an extension, the Chargers can make use of the franchise tag, which would present San Diego with a cap hit of more than $20M. He’ll be 34-years old in 2016.

Chargers GM Tom Telesco said he has every intention of keeping Rivers a Charger moving forward. So I don’t see him going anywhere unless some phenom quarterback prospect falls in San Diego’s lap.

 

3 – Chris,
Chris, I’ve seen at least on draft site list LT as a major priority for the Bills. Is there any discussion of moving Cordy Glenn to G?

CB: I think offensive tackle is a distinct possibility in the draft for Buffalo, especially with how they’ve addressed some of their other perceived positional needs like tight end and running back in free agency, though I could see a back or tight end taken somewhere on day three.

Offensive line (tackle or guard) and linebacker are probably the two most pressing positional needs. As for the future position for Cordy Glenn, guard was raised as a possibility under the previous coaching staff.

I think the likelihood of that resurfacing as a possibility hinges on one thing, how much they address the tackle position between now and training camp.

Right now they have just three true offensive tackles on their roster in Glenn, Henderson and Kouandjio. If they draft one on day two they’ll have four and even then I don’t know that they consider such a move for Glenn.

Is it possible? There’s always a chance, especially with a new coaching staff. Is it likely? I don’t think so, based primarily on numbers at the position.

 

4 – Chris,

I don’t understand why people are saying that the Bills need to draft a running back?
Especially not with a high draft pick when there are more pressing needs on the offensive line. Aren’t Fred Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon enough?
LeeD

CB: I think the running back need has been reduced, but I’m not opposed to the Bills drafting one late. Here’s why. Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown are both entering the final year of their contracts. Sure it’s possible one might re-sign, but I doubt that both do.

What’s wrong with using a day three pick on a running back that you feel has a chance to push for a roster spot who might surprise you? Late round backs are finding more and more NFL jobs on 53-man rosters than at most other positions. Worse comes to worse you might be able to sneak such a back onto your practice squad, and have someone in reserve who knows the system should a rash of injuries strike.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Great job keeping all these Bills fans way out here in the Pacific Northwest in the know when it comes to our Bills!

My question is looking back one more time at last season. What in the world happened to Mike Williams? He seemed to be developing into that deep middle guy and goal line end zone threat. If I’m not mistaken wasn’t his last catch an 80-yard bomb from E.J. Manuel at the tail end of that heartbreaking loss to Houston? Why did he fall off so quickly in favor of Chris Hogan?

Glenn

CB: Mike Williams’ issues stemmed from his lack of reliability in executing his assignments on offense. Whether it was in practice or in games Kyle Orton made it pretty clear that he didn’t feel he could trust him. Chris Hogan was the complete opposite. He was a reliable player that didn’t have many miscues when it came to executing assignments.

Now Hogan’s emergence wasn’t solely due to Williams’ less than ideal professionalism. I believe he would have moved past Williams in the lineup at some point last season. Williams’ indifference to putting in extra time with the new quarterback in the lineup effective Week 5 just accelerated that process.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills young talent ranks favorably

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 9:39 am

ESPN did a league wide analysis of the young talent on every roster in the NFL. The Bills ranked in the top half of the league with their healthy number of young playmakers.

ESPN Insider Matt Williamson had the Bills ranked 11th in the league when it came to their “farm system” of young talent. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo’s roster.

11. Buffalo Bills

Sammy Watkins, WR (21): He didn’t put up the same numbers as some of the rookie receivers drafted after him, but make no mistake: He is still a supreme prospect. He has great speed and ball skills, but what some might overlook with him is his strength. Every aspect of his game exudes power, from his running style to his aggressiveness attacking the football.

Marcell Dareus, DT (24): The Bills’ excellent defensive line is the foundation of their defense, and Dareus is the anchor in the middle. He dominates in the running game and continues to improve as an every-down player who can get to the quarterback as well.

Cordy Glenn, LT (25): Not the prototypical light-footed left tackle, Glenn uses his great size and wingspan to protect the blind side. He is a top-10 tackle in this league.

Stephon Gilmore, CB (24): Gilmore excels in both man and zone coverage. With Rex Ryan taking over as Buffalo’s head coach, Gilmore should see a ton of one-on-one coverage against the opponent’s top receiver. He’s up to the task.

Kiko Alonso, LB (25): He missed all of 2014 due to an injury, but he along with Brandon Spikes and Preston Brown gives Buffalo one of the best linebacker groups in football.

Others of note: Nigel Bradham, EJ Manuel, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Marquise Goodwin,Cyril Richardson, Bryce Brown, Nickell Roby, Seantrel Henderson, Robert Woods, Preston Brown,Cyrus Kouandjio

The Colts, Patriots and Rams were the top three ranked teams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-23

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2015 – 1:11 pm

The new coaching staff is coming together. If you missed any of our Senior Bowl or Pro Bowl coverage check it out on Buffalobills.com. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I don’t think Hughes, Urbik, Lawson, Spiller, Spikes or Rivers will return next year as the money will be spent in other areas. I think the Bills will soon extend the contracts of Dareus and Glenn.  Do you have any insight on this?

Thanks,
Joe

CB: I think the Bills will work hard to bring Hughes back into the fold. Spiller is expected to have other suitors. Urbik, Lawson and Rivers are all still under contract. Rex Ryan in a conference call this past season said Spikes was a player he liked because he has a grit and attitude to his game that appeals to him, for whatever that’s worth.

As for Dareus and Glenn, the Bills typically address free agents first before worrying about players that are still under contract, so while Dareus and Glenn are seen as long term building blocks for the franchise I don’t see them getting done in short order.

 

2 – Hi, Chris

Looking for help in understanding what has happened to the offensive line over the past three years.

Fact: Four of the current five starters were also starters on the O-Line in 2012.
Fact: The rushing game produced over 2200 yards in 2012; less than 1400 this year.
Fact: Now former coach Marrone has publicly stated that the problem with the run game is not Coach Hackett’s schematics.

So — if the line has basically the same players, with the same talent, with a couple years more experience, and the techniques and schematics are correct and being taught properly — why has there been such a marked regression in performance, culminating in last Sunday’s horrific 13 yards gained on 13 attempts?

You are close to the scene and obviously can sense better than we fans what is going on.  Please help.

Thanks much,
Jim D.

CB: There were a number of factors at work. First and foremost you had your top two running backs injured for a stretch of the season. Spiller missed seven games. I think anyone on the offensive line in 2014 would tell you that their play regressed from the year before.

In 2012 their offensive scheme ran out of a spread formation, which created bigger running lanes for the backs. That was not the case in 2014 as they chose to run between the tackles more often than not. I don’t know that the approach offensively always fit the backs they had carrying the ball. That combined with an offensive line that took a step back led to the lowest rushing total in team history in a 16-game season.

 

3 – Chris,

All Bills fans are disappointed, but so are the fans of the Ravens, Chiefs, Saints, Eagles, a few of them have $100 Million Quarterbacks !! There will be cries for EJ. You get better by practicing your skills, and proving in practice you’re ready to play. Do you feel EJ has shown he’s ready, how about Kouanjio and Richardson?
Jim in Florida

CB: I think the 12 weeks that Manuel had to focus on his personal game served him well over the last three quarters of the 2014 season. He also learned how to effectively prep yourself as a QB watching Kyle Orton get ready for games each week. From watching him the last month of the season in practice I felt his accuracy was improved. He was no longer thinking and concerned about throwing the perfect ball. He was just throwing.

I’m interested to see him as part of a competition for the starting job next year. Has he shown he’s ready? I don’t think we’ll know until we see him at training camp this summer.

As for Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson they worked to make the most of their reps. It sounds like Kouandjio will be given real consideration at the guard position, even though it’s very new to him. I also believe competition will be brought in to battle the youngsters for roles on the roster.

 

4 – Hi Chris:  I understand that the Bills offense has been unbalanced between run and pass this past year.  What I’m unsure of is the major cause.  Could it be that the running backs were banged up this year?  Could it be that the offensive line never jelled?  Or could it be that most defenses dared us to throw by overloading the box and our pass game didn’t respond as well as hoped?  Like everything in life, there’s usually more than one reason.  But I was wondering if you could shed some light on what might be the most significant factor(s).

Warm wishes for the New Year!
Paul in Portland (Formerly Paul in Beijing)

CB: I hate to give a token answer, but I think it was all of the above. The running backs were banged up this year. There were times when defenses loaded up the box with extra defenders. The offensive line did struggle to jell at the start of the season due to Cordy Glenn’s undisclosed illness, which kept him out of the majority of the preseason. There was also a move by Erik Pears from tackle to guard, there was a rookie at right tackle and starting LG Chris Williams missed half the preseason due to a recurring back injury.

I also think at times the offensive approach moved away from the strengths of their skill position players in an effort to protect the football with more conservative play.

5 – Hello Chris,

First I’d like to say Happy New Year! Thank You for your news and blogs that us Bills fans love to get answers and info from.. your passion for the Bills is the same that we fans have, and you help us to believe.

My question is about the Offensive line.. I am sure most are wanting to know about the QB, but a big fix we need is on the O-line.

I am wondering what your thoughts(and i’ll get the fans thoughts in the comments section after) on

shifting around the line a bit. What about Buffalo using either their 2nd or 3rd round pick on one of the top 2-3 Centers in the 2015 Draft.. like Dismukes from Auburn, Grasu from Oregon, or Gallik from BC. We can then move Wood back to RG where he did well for us in his first 2 years before moving to Center.. he can still call the protections and he shows the ability to move around to run block very well and the aggression.

Then Chris Williams(we lost a lot when he got hurt) coming back to be the LG.. again, we hope he stays healthy. Glenn as the LT and putting the sophomore slump that seems to bite so many and bouncing back. And then Kouandjio and Henderson fighting for the RT position.

So.. LT Glenn, LG Williams, C Best avail in 2015 Draft, RG Wood, RT Henderson/Kouandjio

NE did something like this with a new Center this year in Stork and they seemed to find a good rhythm in the season… and we could even if need be bring in whomever is not the starter at RT out once in a while to line up next to the starter giving us a 6th Lineman as protection if need be.

Just looking for your thoughts.. as far as where instead of going out to get 2 new G’s in FA and maybe in the draft where a good Center can change it all up and be giving us depth also.

Thanks.. have a nice weekend watching the post season.

Brian Moss

CB: I think your thought about moving Eric Wood out to guard, where he began his NFL career is an interesting idea. However, I think the only way it happens is if the Bills bring in a veteran center, not a rookie by way of the draft. If they add an offensive lineman in the draft I would expect it to be more of a guard. But knowing they have a second-year guard in Cyril Richardson and possibly a second guard option in Cyrus Kouandjio they may elect to add a veteran guard as they did last year (Chris Williams).

I think Seantrel Henderson can only improve in his second season if he takes to good coaching with the new staff and his athleticism alone gives him a leg up on Kouandjio for the right tackle job.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle, Cordy sick; Dareus, Watkins limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2014 – 4:10 pm

injury-report-header

 

 

 

 

Bills DT Kyle Williams and OT Cordy Glenn were both absent at practice Wednesday due to illness. Limited in practice were a handful of players including DT Marcell Dareus and WR Sammy Watkins.

Stepping in for Glenn at left tackle was Chris Hairston and filling in for Kyle Williams was Stefan Charles.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Jarius Wynn DE Knee DNP
Chris Gragg TE Knee DNP
Kyle Williams DT Illness DNP
Cordy Glenn DT Illness DNP
Dan Carpenter K Right Groin LP
Bacarri Rambo S Hamstring LP
Sammy Watkins WR Hip LP
Marcell Dareus DT Hip LP
Chris Hogan WR Hamstring LP
Robert Woods WR Ankle LP

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line looking to sharpen things up fast

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Buffalo’s offensive line again had their share of struggles at the line of scrimmage. The men up front are well aware of the issues they have to address, correct and improve moving forward. And it won’t be easy going up against one of the most physical defensive lines in football.

“We have to do a better job. That’s evident,” said Eric Wood. “We’re going to keep working and get this thing figured out because we’re not doing a very good job up front right now.”

“The offensive line, we have to do a better job with the small things,” Cordy Glenn said. “I  know we said it the last few weeks, but it’s far enough along in the season where we can’t keep doing the same thing every week.  We gotta take more pride in what we’re doing and just help the team out better so we don’t get in those bad situations so much.”

Stunts and twists by opposing defensive linemen have proven to be a problem since Week 3 and each opponent after that has turned to stunts and twists as well experiencing success. Glenn knows they have to neutralize it or the twist/stunt games will continue.

“We got to look at the film but until you stop it they will keep doing it,” he said. “We just have to figure out how to stop it this week and focus on that a little more. It’s a little bit of communication, just being on the same page, the same rhythm , just being comfortable with each other over there.”

As head coach Doug Marrone sees it the consistency with execution is what he wants most of all.

“They could play better. What I get hung up on is the consistency,” he said. “There are times when there’s a great pocket and no one around him. There are times where there’s not a great pocket around him. That’s what gets you frustrated, that lack of consistency. That’s what we’re going to need to become more successful, doing the things well, and that’s what gets you over the top. I think a lot of the units on the team were able to see that. There’s a picture of how we want things done and when we go out there we have to recognize when it’s not right, what was the problem? It starts from a numerous amount of things.”


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Fan Friday 9-12

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2014 – 12:29 pm

Perhaps the most anticipated home opener in a long time and it’s Miami on top of it. It’s been a heck of a week for Bills fans with all the positive news. Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question to you:

Could you see the Bills putting Cordy Glenn at LG because it seems like they are deeper at tackle than they are at guard? I know they have experimented with him there a few times but it just seems like they don’t have an answer at LG at all even with the Williams signing. I would go from left to right: Henderson, Glenn, Wood, Urbik (or Richardson or Williams) and Pears. With an injury to a T you could then slide Glenn back to LT and put Henderson at RT. I think this gives you the best 5 up front.

Thanks!
Dave
twitter: DTaylor716

CB: I think the way things looked in Week 1 the front five that coach Marrone has put together looks pretty good and should only get more and more comfortable together as the weeks wear on. I think the key thing to remember here is to have your two most athletic linemen on the edges now that most NFL clubs have speed rushers on both sides, which the Bills will see this week with Miami’s Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

I did an in depth piece on this regarding how important the right tackle has become in the league now knowing NFL defenses are putting speed on both sides.

Buffalo’s two most athletic linemen by far are Cordy Glenn and Seantrel Henderson. So putting them at the two tackle positions is the best way to go as I see it.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

My question regards the slot position- both how we plan to defend it and attack other defenses with it.

I’ve read recently about the “big nickel” package- subbing out the nickel corner for a third safety to better match up against the monsters that are being put into the slot now-( see Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski).

Do you see Nickell Robey’s stature as a liability against these bigger slot receivers and is there a plan in place to get a better matchup if we need to? Would this involve Corey Graham coming on potentially or having Searcy Williams and Williams all out as safeties at once? As much as I love Robey- he’s incredible- I just forsee a long day for him trying to cover Gronk in the slot.

Conversely- do you think there is a plan in place to attack smaller nickel corners with our offense? I notice that neither Hogan nor Woods are exactly giants- I wonder if we will see Mike Williams or one of our bigger guys slide inside to slot to take advantage of some potential mismatches.

Thanks for everything you do for the Bills and us fans!

Tim
Ovid, NY

CB: I think what you saw last week was in Buffalo’s nickel at times they’ll make use of Duke Williams as a hybrid linebacker. Similar to the way Bryan Scott and Da’Norris Searcy have been used in years past, Williams has the physical game to help in the run game, if there’s a draw play or something on third down, but also possesses the cover skills and physicality to handle coverage assignments.

Aaron Williams has the size and physical style to match up with a bigger player in the slot too as does Nigel Bradham, who is back this week. So I think Robey can still serve in his role and should a size mismatch present itself Buffalo has enough options to deploy against a larger slot receiver/tight end.

 

3 – Hi Chris!!

First of all, thank you for your great work keeping us Bills fans always well informed. Quick question. Are the Bills planning to wear their white alternate jersey this season? If so, which game?

Thanks Chris & take care!
Luis Estrada
(Puerto Rico)

CB: The only other jersey being worn is the white throwback jersey this Sunday for the home opener along with the standing red Buffalo helmets.

 

4 – Chris,

Love the coverage year round. Helps for a non-local Bills fan. Can you explain the reasoning behind Pears playing RG? He only practiced a few times there and has zero game experience at guard. In the preseason game, he look lost there. Why don’t they keep him at tackle. You had Robert Woods as your camp MVP, so why has he slid down the pecking order at WR? I see him more as outside threat instead of slot. I would like to see him on the field every play.

Thanks
Josh P.
CB: Pears did have some limited experience at guard from his days with the Raiders, though it was only a few games about five years ago. Still I think aside from his first snaps there against Tampa’s Gerald McCoy in the preseason he’s fared well. Pears is also great snap by snap counsel for rookie Seantrel Henderson. Henderson has told me having Pears there is invaluable for him.

Head coach Doug Marrone knows offensive line play, so if he believes this is his best five then I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how it plays out.

As for Robert Woods, he was my camp MVP because he brought it every day and outperformed the other receivers on a more consistent basis. Yes, Sammy Watkins turned in the highlight reel plays, but Woods is a guy who is going to get you first downs more consistently. In the NFL it’s about keeping the offense on the field with first downs. That’s where Woods helps you most.

And don’t worry Woods will be moved around a lot this season because he’s the most versatile receiver on the roster in my opinion.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

First day of practice every week is Wednesday. So what does the team/players do Monday Tuesday? Chill or group watch film or ??

RealBryanWatson

CB: Usually on Mondays injured players come in early for treatments. At 9 in the morning there’s a designated weight lifting group. At 10 am there’s a stretch and run conditioning period. Then there’s a second weight lifting group later in the morning. That’s followed by a team meeting at noon. Then they have a special teams meeting followed by offense, defense meetings. That’s where they review game film from Sunday and make corrections.

On Tuesday most players get a jump on the upcoming opponent by studying film while the coaches spend the day putting together the game plan for Sunday. Generally though Tuesday is the players’ day off.  


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Glenn, Henderson could be special duo

Posted by Chris Brown on August 20, 2014 – 6:58 am

On Monday the Bills made a big time switch on their offensive line when Cordy Glenn was fully cleared for practice. Seantrel Henderson, who had been filling in at left tackle was flipped to right tackle where he played in college. Though head coach Doug Marrone has maintained all along that he’s still trying to find his best five linemen, he has no doubt that Glenn and Henderson are two of them.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 this morning on the Howard Simon show Marrone was asked about the two tackles who are currently lining up in starting roles on the left and right side. By the sound of Marrone’s responses the two tackles are likely to be fixtures at their positions.

Marrone was first asked about Cordy Glenn and how he’s looked in his return from a medical condition that kept him off the practice field for much of camp.

“He looks good, really good. I mean really good,” said Marrone. “He looks better than he did last year. He’s moving well, the term fresh legs is what people say out on the field. But he worked hard through that medical issue to make sure that his weight was down and that he was stronger. That takes a lot of discipline from his end not to blow up weight-wise and he looks good.”

When asked if he feels rookie seventh-round pick Seantrel Henderson is starting caliber in this league right now the Bills head coach didn’t hesitate.

“No doubt. No doubt. I think (I feel that way) because I’ve been around that position my whole entire life,” said Marrone. “He’s a heck of a football player. A heck of a football player. You have seen it on TV. What’s there not to like? He’s probably one of the biggest guys, he has the most muscle mass. He probably has the quickest feet along with Cordy Glenn.

“He’s a bright kid. He’s smart. His work ethic is outstanding. He’s been everything that people obviously didn’t say about him when he was coming out which is why we were able to get him in the seventh round. I think he understands that and there are periods in time when people can change and one of them is when you go from college into this league. He understands that. We have to do everything we can to not only keep him progressing on the field, but off the field. He is a very talented football player and there’s no telling how good he can be.”

The thought of Glenn and Henderson together as bookend tackles is something Marrone believes could be special for a long time.

“We have an opportunity now that if (Henderson) keeps coming the way he keeps coming to have maybe the best (tackle) tandem in the league.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin returns to 11-on-11

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2014 – 11:21 pm

Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn wasn’t the only player who saw team work for the first time in a while Monday night. Leodis McKelvin, who was sprinkled in for team work late last week, but did not play in last Saturday’s preseason game was participating in team reps in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11.

His best play was the pass breakup he had on a post route by Chris Hogan across the middle of the end zone. McKelvin appeared to be playing trail technique and reached his front arm out as the pass arrived to knock it away for an incompletion.

It was the first play McKelvin has made in a while, which explains why he let out a giant, ‘Owwwwoooh!!’ after making the play.

Hopefully it’s a sign of a lot more plays to come.


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Wood: Glenn is a rare talent

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2014 – 9:19 pm

It was a good sight for Buffalo’s offensive linemen to see Saturday night. Cordy Glenn in a helmet again. And though he was and will be limited in practice for a good while, just seeing him drop into his kick slide again had his teammates excited.

“Yeah he looked good out there in individual drills,” said Eric Wood. “We’re going to take it slow with him. He’s had some time off, but definitely excited to have him back.”

Wood was asked how long he thinks it’ll take Glenn to sharpen his game back up. The Bills center doesn’t see it taking all that long.

“It shouldn’t be. Cordy has pretty rare genes when it comes to offensive linemen,” said Wood. “He was born with a ton of strength and a ton of athleticism. The little nuances and techniques will take a little bit of time, but it shouldn’t take too long.”

For Wood and the other linemen they weren’t caught off guard by Glenn showing up on the practice field. In fact Wood knew what was coming.

“I expected it to come this week,” he said. “It is what I expected, but excited to have a caliber of player like Cordy Glenn, one of the best left tackles in the league in my opinion to add to our lineup.”


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Marrone on Glenn’s situation

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2014 – 8:59 pm

Bills starting left tackle Cordy Glenn was out doing light exercises on the other practice field away from the team Monday as he worked with an athletic trainer. Following Monday’s practice head coach Doug Marrone addressed Glenn’s designation on the Non-Football Illness list.

Marrone was asked if he knew when Glenn would be able to return to practice. At this point it sounds like the Bills head coach is at the mercy of the recommendations of the medical staff.

“I don’t know that,” he said of Glenn’s potential return to practice. “It’s a medical condition. I’m preparing to go on as if he’s not playing, which he’s not. So I’m just waiting for the doctors and I can’t speak about the condition because it’s something that happened outside of football.”

When asked if he thought Glenn would be playing eventually Marrone could only be hopeful.

“I’m planning on him playing,” he said. “Right now he’s not there, so I have to plan with him not being there. When he’s there then we’ll plug him back in.”

Rookie seventh round pick Seantrel Henderson manned the starting left tackle spot on Monday.


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Hairston at LT in place of Glenn now

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2014 – 7:13 pm

Seantrel Henderson was slate to line up at left tackle in place of Cordy Glenn who is on the non-football illness list, but Henderson went to the locker room with a trainer before the team portion of practice.

Stepping in is Chris Hairston at left tackle next to Chris Williams on the led side in place of Glenn.


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OL Henderson working in Glenn’s place

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2014 – 6:14 pm

As Bills GM Doug Whaley indicted Friday, rookie 7th round pick Seantrel Henderson is working in place of Cordy Glenn at left tackle.

Glenn is on the non-football illness list. Henderson filled in for Glenn in minicamp back in June as well.


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Whaley: Henderson to start at LT w/Glenn out

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2014 – 9:01 pm

With Cordy Glenn on the Active/Non-Football Illness list the starting left tackle spot will be vacant for the team’s first training camp practice Sunday night at St. John Fisher. Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show tonight confirmed that it will be rookie seventh round pick Seantrel Henderson manning the role.

“Seantrel Henderson we know his demons off the field and we feel he has control of those things. With Cordy being out going to be our starting left tackle right now,” said Whaley. “He’s a talented guy and we feel if he didn’t have those demons he would’ve probably gone in the first round. So we’re excited to see him translate that (talent) to the field.”

Henderson certainly possesses some of the best athleticism of the young offensive linemen on the roster. Here’s a previous blog we did on Henderson during minicamp in June when he originally stepped in for Cordy Glenn with the starters and didn’t do too bad. Note the quote from RB Anthony Dixon.


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Marrone guiding Henderson

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2014 – 7:32 pm

Marcell Dareus is not the only personal project for Bills head coach Doug Marrone this offseason. Marrone said earlier this spring that he’s in conversation with Dareus every day whether it’s in person or by phone to help him through his issues which are mainly off the field. Marrone is also working closely with rookie OT Seantrel Henderson, but his assistance with the seventh-round pick are mainly on the field.

Thrown into the fire in the minicamp as the starting left tackle with Cordy Glenn sidelined by illness, Henderson was still adjusting on day one, but on Thursday he got his feet under and won his share of plays against Jerry Hughes and Manny Lawson.

What has Henderson encouraged about his progress is having a head coach who has an offensive lineman’s background.

“Coach is always helping me with my technique,” said Henderson. “It’ll be the smallest things that a rookie can do wrong like myself and he’ll see it just because he’s been in the game for a long time in college all the way up to the NFL and he played offensive line. So this is his craft and he’s helping me all the time and I’ve never had a head coach who was into the offensive line like that so I feel like that’s a good thing for me.”

Henderson fell a long way in the draft mainly because of his off the field issues, but it’s clear that his new teammates in Buffalo recognize his immense physical talent. That’s why when interviewing Henderson Thursday, Anthony Dixon’s chime in comment on the way by myself and Henderson was most telling.

“He’s going to be a beast and we’re going to get him right,” Dixon said.


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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 5-23

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2014 – 12:22 pm

OTAs are coming up next week. In the meantime enjoy the holiday weekend and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for all the great draft coverage! I personally loved the way the Bills really focused on beefing up the offensive line this year, in addition to the Watkins pick of course! It seems like some great picks at truly great value. I was wondering, if Seantrel Henderson pans out – and he has 1st round talent at LT, could he eventually start there, with Glenn moving to LG? Don’t get me wrong, Glenn is a really good LT, but I imagine a starting line of Henderson, Glenn, Wood, Richardson/Urbik, Kouandjio being among the most dominant lines in the entire league. Thoughts on this?

Thanks again,
Josh

CB: While you certainly have every reason to be optimistic I think you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself. I think all of the linemen drafted this year have talent, but it’s hard to project their immediate future until the pads go on in training camp. There are some proud veterans on this roster so the influx of young talent will ramp up the competition. Henderson most definitely has the skill set to play in the NFL. What he needs to demonstrate is consistency not only in his play, but in his commitment as a pro. Kouandjio might need a little time on the job before he’s challenging Erik Pears for a starting role and we’ll see what Richardson can do.

The picture you’re painting might be more realistic for 2015, and with the way Cordy Glenn played last year, I’m not sure he’ll be on the move even then if that level of play continues.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why would @buffalobills ever pick Bon Jovi’s Lawyer to help sell the team?

MarkSciubbaDoe

CB: I think you need to understand that the Bills organization was seeking one of the most renowned firms when it came to managing estates and trusts. Proskauer was named “Law Firm of the Year” for Litigation–Trusts & Estates in U.S. News-Best Lawyers 2014 “Best Law Firms,” the only firm to receive this prestigious designation in that category. So this is more of what led to the decision to retain them.

It just so happens that Proskauer Rose, which has a gigantic client base in their entertainment department, also has represented Bon Jovi. It’s not clear if they still do at this time. I would think that relationship no longer exists otherwise it could be construed as a conflict of interest.

 

3 – Hey Chris,
There has been a lot of varying reports trying to explain the compensation the Eagles will be receiving for the Bryce Brown trade.  Most of those reports are very confusing to read and have people scratching their heads.  Correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t we basically trade Stevie Johnson for Bryce Brown straight up?

Whatever we get for Stevie is what we give to Eagles?…right?  Only exception to this line of thinking or simplification is if we end up getting a 3rd for Stevie because he performs and Bryce underperforms we only are on hook for a 4th….right??

BTW…loved our draft.  Loved the aggressiveness of Whaley.  It was very refreshing and sent a jolt of excitement in the fan base.  Even if it doesn’t pan out I’m still glad he was aggressive.  When u r 6-10 forever and u keep the same draft approach its by definition insane.  Everyone is saying playoffs or bust.  Honestly if we go 9-7 and EJ looks like he takes steps fwd…I will see this season as a success.  Looking fwd to getting out of this 6-10 rut!
Thanks for your time and go Bills!
Tim
NJ

CB: Here’s the easiest way to look at it. If the compensation from the 49ers remains a fourth in 2015, it goes to the Eagles. If Stevie Johnson hits undisclosed performance benchmarks and improves Buffalo’s conditional pick from San Francisco to a third, then the fourth-round pick the Bills owe the Eagles would push forward to the 2016 draft, since they would not have a fourth-round pick to give Philadelphia in 2015.

Bills fans should root for Stevie to do well in San Francisco this season. If he excels Buffalo will have seven picks in 2015 (a 2nd, two 3rds, two 5ths, a 6th and a 7th).

 

4 – Chris,

Thanks for all your news that you provide to Bills fans outside of the Buffalo area.

My question is regarding the off-season training of EJ, while not at the Bills facility. Knowing that OC Hackett, scaled back the offense last year; is there anything that EJ is doing during the off-season to get a much better understanding of the playbook?? or is EJ just working on his mechanic’s ?? Seems like a little waste of time, if EJ is not in some way learning a bit more of the playbook during this down time.

Thanks
Don Busching
Norwalk, VT

CB: EJ has been diligently working on every aspect of his game. That includes mechanics (footwork, deep throws), playbook and working with teammates having worked with some out in California this offseason on their own. I’m confident people are going to see a different EJ on the field this year.

 

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Russ Brandon and Doug Whaley are always quoted as saying that they will “do whatever it takes to make the Buffalo Bills a better football team.”

With that understanding, how does trading away Stevie Johnson (1,000 yard/season, 26 TDs, veteran WR, one more weapon for EJ Manuel) make the Buffalo Bills a better football team?

At the very least, Stevie would draw coverage away from Sammy Watkins!

This is such a typical move for the Bills–make progress with the drafting of Sammy Watkins, trade away good talent in Stevie.  It’s similar to the Marshawn Lynch trade.  Draft CJ Spiller, trade away pro-bowler Marshawn.  I just don’t understand.  What are the Bills not telling us?  On paper these moves make no sense.

Please help me, and many Bills fans, have a better understanding.  PLEASE no “company line” answer.

Michael Mirras
Discouraged Season Ticket Holder

CB: On the field here’s is why the move was made. Buffalo acquired Mike Williams by trade, a true outside receiving threat with proven touchdown production. They traded up to get the best receiver in the draft in Sammy Watkins, another true outside threat. Williams will draw attention from Watkins.

Perhaps even more important Robert Woods is a receiver this coaching staff believes in a lot. There was more than one assistant who believed by the end of last season that he would be the best receiver on the roster. That dynamic changed with Williams and Watkins added to the roster. In order to help Woods flourish in the current corps of receivers Stevie had to be moved from the slot receiver role so Woods could fill it.

It’s believed that Woods can be an even more productive receiver in the slot. Right now he has the most chemistry with EJ Manuel as OTAs are set to begin. What’s more his precise route running provides more consistency for a quarterback looking to take the next step in his on field performance than the unconventional route running of Johnson.

As Doug Whaley has said the aim this year is to help EJ Manuel take the next step in his development as a franchise quarterback. Providing him with the most dynamic receiver in the draft and a proven scorer in Mike Williams, both of whom can high point the ball as well as anyone, and then a reliable receiver in the slot in Woods they believe will enhance Manuel’s chances of succeeding.

In essence it was a bit of musical chairs and when all the moves were completed at the receiver position Johnson did not have an available seat. He would’ve been the team’s fourth receiver at a hefty price tag moving forward.


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