Inside The Bills

Kouandjio’s fall is unfortunate situation

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2017 – 2:32 pm

Cyrus Kouandjio put together his best season as a pro in 2016. He made five starts and performed admirably at left tackle. That’s what makes his hip injury and subsequent surgery Wednesday so unfortunate. 

According to Bills GM Doug Whaley, Kouandjio is expected back by training camp. 

“It just came up,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “It was a non-football injury where it happened. It had nothing to do with football. He wasn’t doing any football related activity. He’ll be ready for (training) camp.”

What’s unfortunate is Kouandjio will miss all the reps through OTAs and minicamp, in a new offensive system no less and with a new O-line coach. 

Hopefully he can pick up and apply things on the field quickly in camp. 

Knowing that Jordan Mills is an impending free agent and Seantrel Henderson’s medical condition still presents challenges, the Kouandjio injury presents more uncertainty at the position. 

It would appear that offensive tackle could easily become an even more realistic consideration in the draft now. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-23

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2016 – 11:22 am

Merry Christmas Bills fans! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills some people think Bills should experiment Cordy at RT and keep Cyrus at LT thoughts?

Derek Babcock
@armyguy702

CB: What makes this suggestion so interesting is gone are the days where the left tackle has to be your absolute best lineman. Most NFL defenses have two quality pass rushers on either side of their formation. Perfect example is this week’s opponent. The better pass rusher is Cameron Wake, but he lines up on the left side of Miami’s defensive formation, which means he’ll be facing RT Jordan Mills.

So each week it’s not an absolute. The point I’m trying to make is moving Glenn to right tackle is not as big a deal as it might have been 10-15 years ago. Now does that mean that it will happen? That depends.

We have to see how the offseason unfolds in terms of who is retained in free agency and who is not. Jordan Mills is set to become an unrestricted free agent. As a starter on this roster for the last year and a half, he’ll presumably command a pretty respectable price tag.

Knowing that Seantrel Henderson’s long term health is a touch and go situation, if the Bills want to retain Mills they’ll have to put together an offer that is at least competitive with market value.

The caveat here is what the organization thinks of Kouandjio. He’s certainly made some sizable strides with his game this year. Just this week he also stated that he feels he has better motor memory on the left side instead of the right.

Kouandjio’s rookie contract is up after 2017. If they decide they want to invest long term in Kouandjio it could impact the size of any extension offer they might present to Mills.

If Mills is ultimately not retained I think the scenario you suggest could at least be a consideration, knowing that Kouandjio would presumably be elevated to starter opposite Glenn. And knowing Kouandjio feels more comfortable playing the left side, Glenn being flipped to the right is not out of the realm of possibility.

Just keep in mind that a lot of dominoes have to fall to get to that point.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Chris, what the hell is going on over there?!

Andy Mac
@XKC4338

CB: I think based on some of the national media tweets/reports there is a general perception that the sky is falling at One Bills Drive. Embedded at the facility every day I can say it truly is business as usual. There is no sense of foreboding in the building. Coaches and players are interacting as they typically do. Management is interacting with the coaching staff as they usually do. And there is no indication that anybody is walking on eggshells around here.

As GM Doug Whaley stated in his radio interview Friday morning, the focus is on the Dolphins. And quite frankly if there were coaches and players in the building who weren’t focused on that, then there would be a problem.  

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are the Bills liking Seymour starting? Do they have faith in Darby to step in next year as a cheaper option to Gilmore?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Much like the first question above, this is something that will be evaluated in the offseason. I know that management and the coaching staff is very excited about Seymour’s potential. I have to say taking the time to watch him work against Oakland’s Amari Cooper when Ronald Darby was out of the lineup, he performed well. His only blemish was getting beat on a double move for a TD. That might sound bad, but his performance on the whole in that game was quite good. It was encouraging to see him step up and play that well.

I think the club wholeheartedly believes in Darby, and I think they’re encouraged about the ceiling for Seymour. In an ideal world they’re able to re-sign Gilmore, but if his asking price is still in the Josh Norman stratosphere ($15M/yr) I just don’t see it happening in Buffalo.

In that case the Bills would have to move on and go with Darby as their No. 1 and Seymour would compete to be the No. 2 with whomever else might be added (free agency/draft).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills #FanFriday Is the lack of a “2 min drill” or urgency at end of half/game more on TT, Rex or Lynn? It’s been 2 yrs of this.

Joe Maglie@rockdj69

CB: I respect the point you’re making. Part of Buffalo’s success in two-minute situations is about opportunity, but unquestionably part of it has been a reluctance to really push the ball down the field.

This might sound surprising, but Buffalo is ranked 10th in the league in scoring at the end of the first half, when I believe most fans have taken issue with Rex Ryan’s approach offensively. According to Statspass, the Bills have scored 52 points at the end of the half this season, which is slightly above the NFL average (48 pts).

When it comes to points scored on their first possession of the second half Buffalo is tied for sixth in the league with 37 points.

It’s my belief that their success rate coming out after halftime has prompted the Bills to play it a bit more conservative at the end of the first half.

I think an overlooked factor with Buffalo’s decision to be conservative at the end of the first half on offense is rooted in their desire to keep their opponent from scoring before the half expires.

Buffalo’s offense by nature is a ball control offense. With Sammy Watkins out for half the season their ability to have a quick strike scoring drive was severely hampered. It’s my belief that Rex Ryan felt his best defense at the end of the half was an offense that held onto the ball, knowing they’d have the ball again to start the second half in all but a couple of games this season.

Proof of that approach working for the most part this season (it didn’t at Oakland), is Buffalo ranks fifth in the NFL in preventing scores by their opponents at the end of the half. They’ve given up just 27 points all season at the end of the second quarter.

And I credit their offense for holding onto the ball and not giving it back to their opponent almost as much as I credit Buffalo’s defense for that statistic.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills if the Bills, simply by luck of geography, were in AFC South, would futures of Rex, Whaley & Tyrod look much diff right now?

Parasauralophus@lophus89

CB: Your question is an interesting one to ponder. Having two games against the Jaguars sounds a whole lot better than two games against the Patriots. Perception can often impact an opinion of the job being done by a head coach, quarterback or organization in general.

I think we can all agree that Buffalo would likely have more than seven wins if they played in the AFC South. So that very well could alter the public opinion of Rex Ryan, Doug Whaley and the team in general.

But that’s not reality. You have to deal with where you are and Buffalo is in the AFC East.

Doug Whaley said they’re not satisfied with where they sit, but they are what they are at 7-7, which is average. They want better, just like all Bills fans do. Only ownership knows if they’re opportunity to achieve better beyond this year will be in the cards.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex concerned about Glenn’s availability

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2016 – 12:49 pm

Cordy Glenn was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, but could not practice on Thursday due to a nagging back issue. Head coach Rex Ryan is concerned about whether he’ll be available for Saturday’s game against the Dolphins.

“I don’t know,” said Ryan after Thursday’s practice. “We’ll see how he does, but that was not a good sign today.”

Glenn missed a pair of starts earlier this season after he aggravated a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss time in training camp. Cyrus Kouandjio would step in at left tackle if he can’t go on Saturday.

Fortunately RT Jordan Mills was back at practice Thursday after a 24-hour bug kept him out of practice Wednesday.

Here’s a look at Buffalo’s injury report for Thursday. Final status for Saturday’s game is not due until Friday.

DID NOT PRACTICE
OT Cordy Glenn – back
LB Lerentee McCray – concussion

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
G John Miller – hip
FB Jerome Felton – foot
DT Kyle Williams – back
TE Charles Clay – knee
LB Preston Brown – foot
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
DL Jerel Worthy – shoulder

FULL PRACTICE
QB Tyrod Taylor – groin
RB LeSean McCoy – knee
OLB Shaq Lawson – foot
OLB Jerry Hughes – hamstring


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kouandjio likely to step in for Glenn

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2016 – 12:31 pm

Cordy Glenn did not practice all week due to a back injury and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Cleveland. That means in all likelihood Cyrus Kouandjio will spell him at left tackle.

“There’s some real concern there,” said Ryan of Glenn. “We’ve got him as doubtful, so there’s a lot of concern there.”

If he gets the call it would be Kouandjio’s third start of the season. He stepped in for Glenn back in Weeks 2 and 3 when Glenn re-aggravated a high ankle sprain.

OUT
LB Lerentee McCray – concussion

DOUBTFUL
OT Cordy Glenn – back

QUESTIONABLE
LB Zach Brown – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
DT Kyle Williams – back

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kouandjio, Henderson close to return

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2016 – 12:45 pm

For the first time since Week 3, Cyrus Kouandjio was participating on the practice field. He was only limited in practice Friday, but was encouraged by how his recovering ankle held up.

“It felt good,” Kouandjio told Buffalobills.com. “I’m encouraged.”

Kouandjio suffered a high ankle sprain in the win over the Cardinals and had not been on the practice field until Friday. Kouandjio is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but all that time off the field has head coach Rex Ryan thinking he needs a full week of practice heading into a game.

“In a pinch we could probably go with him, but I’m not so sure he’ll be active this game,” said Ryan. “Probably not, but he seems to think that he can go.”

Meanwhile fellow offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson got an entire week of work in after coming off the Reserve/Suspended list. Whether he’s ready to serve as a swing tackle appears to be undecided at this point.

“He seems to be doing pretty well for us,” said Ryan. “I’m excited about him just getting out there and really getting a full week of work in there. We’ll see what that means moving forward.”

DOUBTFUL
DT Marcell Dareus – hamstring

QUESTIONABLE
OT Cordy Glenn – ankle
CB Corey White – shoulder
DT Corbin Bryant – ankle
P Colton Schmidt – quad
OL Patrick Lewis – knee
LB Zach Brown – ankle
S Aaron Williams – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Cyrus Kouandjio – ankle


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kouandjio only focused on getting better

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2016 – 6:34 pm

With Cordy Glenn out for an undetermined amount of time it appears that Cyrus Kouandjio will be the team’s starting left tackle for the interim. Paired up with Ryan Groy and Fernando Velasco who rotated at Richie Incognito’s (sore ribs) starting left guard spot, Kouandjio is focused more on improving his personal game than where he’ll ultimately wind up on the depth chart.

“It’s fun working with the first unit because you get better and faster with them,” he said following Tuesday’s practice. “Everybody on that field is talented and you have a great time out there.”

When asked if his opportunity to work with the starting unit is a bit of an opportunity to reclaim some status he may have lost after he was a second-round pick.

“Me personally I’m out here to have fun,” he said. “I feel blessed because the Lord has allowed me to be out here and keep playing even though I have injuries that other people probably would’ve quit five years ago. I just stay in my Bible and I’m blessed and happy to be out here with the guys. I’m just having a good time.”

Kouandjio has dealt with some knee issues since his college days.

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman has more of a direct outlook on the situation for Kouandjio.

“He’s got to take advantage of these opportunities with consistent play,” said Roman. “It’s that simple.”


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Seantrel Henderson update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2016 – 9:38 am

At the close of the 2015 regular season the status of RT Seantrel Henderson’s future playing career was a bit uncertain in light of an undisclosed illness that was discovered that kept him out of the team’s last four games. Bills GM Doug Whaley at the close of the season expressed uncertainty about Henderson’s future saying they would need to wait on the medical reports back from their staff before they definitively knew where things stood. On Thursday in an appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley said the front office got an encouraging report back on Henderson’s condition.

We got some positive news about his health,” said Whaley. “So we believe he may be able to be in that right tackle position at the start of camp. So we’ll have three bodies and as I’ve always said competition raises everybody’s level of play. We’ll have three people fighting for one position. That’s a good thing for the Bills and the right tackle position.”

Cyrus Kouandjio, who is under contract will be part of that competition and the Bills hope to retain the rights of restricted free agent Jordan Mills to be the third player in that competition come training camp.


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Henderson illness leaves RT spot in flux

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 11:50 am

The Bills drafted a pair of offensive tackles in the 2014 NFL draft hoping to address a shortage of talent at the position. The last two seasons Seantrel Henderson had manned the starting role at right tackle for Buffalo. Diagnosed with an undisclosed medical condition midway through the 2015 season, it’s unclear whether Henderson can effectively continue as Buffalo’s starter moving forward. It’s put Buffalo’s front office in the position of being proactive in case Henderson can’t manage his illness and be readily available each and every Sunday.

The Bills have Cyrus Kouandjio on the roster and Jordan Mills, who stepped in for Henderson for the last five games at right tackle, is a restricted free agent. Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show, outlined their approach to the team’s right tackle position.

“We’ll have Jordan Mills who is a restricted free agent, and so we can tender him and have him,” said Whaley. “Between him and Kouandjio you’ll have two guys battling there. Then hopefully we’ll see what happens with the medical issue for Henderson, but we’re crossing our fingers and hoping he can come back to full strength and then we’ll have three and have some depth if he comes back.”

It’s also possible that the Bills draft an offensive tackle to further fortify the team’s depth in the event that Henderson can’t overcome his medical condition.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT Mills at the ready if needed

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2015 – 4:27 pm

He’s been with the team for more than a month now and feels like he has a good grasp of Buffalo’s offensive playbook. Heading into a critical AFC matchup Sunday against the Texans, the Bills are hoping they have both of their starting tackles against a red hot Houston defense. But Cordy Glenn was limited with a knee injury in practice Wednesday and Seantrel Henderson missed practice due to illness. If not Jordan Mills feels he’s ready to step in.

“You’ve just got to be ready man and just getting the reps in practice and switching in and out at right and left tackle and staying on the film,” said Mills, who took the majority of the first team reps at right tackle in the absence of Henderson at practice Wednesday. “Staying at it at the facility and at home reviewing. Mostly I play on the right side and sometimes I only look at the right side and now it’s making me more adapted to everything. So I see everything now. That’s how you’ve got to look at it anyway.”

Mills was the swing tackle last week at Kansas City while Cyrus Kouandjio was inactive.


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OT Kouandjio out for Sunday’s game 

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2015 – 11:45 am

The Bills had a late addition to their injury report on Saturday. 

The team announced that  OT Cyrus Kouandjio has been ruled out for the Sunday’s game against Miami due to a knee injury. 

Head coach Rex Ryan praised Kouandjio’s play in place of Seantrel Henderson in the team’s Week 7 game at Jacksonville. 

Kouandjio did practice all week so the knee injury must have just cropped up. 

Without Kouandjio the recently signed Jordan Mills becomes the swing tackle for Sunday’s game should Henderson or Cordy Glenn sustain an injury Sunday. 


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Fan Friday 11-6

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2015 – 11:40 am

The Bills will be bringing a bit healthier roster to the table on Sunday against the Dolphins. Let’s hope home field advantage is a reality this week. Here are your latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills why not switch the guards to different sides? Give the youngsters more experienced neighbors.

Snowbird_Killer

CB: I don’t think change is something most offensive coaches subscribe to with their offensive line unless it’s horrific in terms of performance, especially midseason. Based on offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s comments Thursday, about seeing things with the offense getting closer to where they want it, I think they want to push forward with what they have now that starting five are back together with Miller and Henderson returning.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills were the bills ever interested in making a move at the trade deadline?

JaredBailey23

CB: I think what Doug Whaley’s short track record as GM has shown us is he’s never afraid to make a deal if he thinks it benefits the team, but from what I have been able to gather the Bills were not burning up the phones at the trade deadline this past Tuesday.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

I was wondering if you know of any plans of NFL or Buffalo Bills stores that will be selling the red jerseys from this week’s game?

Also, will these now become an alternate going forward that the team will wear once in a while or is it a one night only kind of deal?

Thanks,
Nick Finoia

CB: The Bills Store will have the red jerseys available in store. From what I have been told only LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins jerseys will be available in red. They will also have a Bills color rush hat, sweatshirt and T-shirt available with the red theme too.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in making a purchase – http://bufbills.co/mC0G75

And just to be clear the jerseys will be worn in Buffalo’s Thursday night game at New York against the Jets.

 

4 – Chris,

Following the bye, do you think Cyrus Kouandjio played well enough in London to remain the Bills starter at Right Tackle?

RC
CB: That is not going to happen as Seantrel Henderson returns to the lineup, but it should be noted that both offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Rex Ryan praised Kouandjio’s play against the Jaguars. Ryan even used the word ‘tremendous’ in describing his play.

I think Kouandjio’s play will serve him best next season when the offensive tackle situation could look a lot different than it does now. Cordy Glenn is slated to be a free agent, and will likely be looking for big money. Buffalo can’t keep everybody and knowing the Bills have only bought themselves a year of time making use of the fifth-year option on Stephon Gilmore, who is playing great right now, he’s the priority. Nigel Bradham is also up at the end of the year.

So to get to the point here, Kouandjio’s play this year is likely to carry more weight next year when the team makes a decision on Cordy Glenn. If Glenn is not here I think Kouandjio will get strong consideration for the right tackle job with Henderson the most likely option for left tackle.

 

5 – Chris,

Thank you for all the informative work you do from a long time Bills fan out here in New Mexico.  Do you have any insight into how the Bills coaching staff see Marquise as a player?  From where I sit he is small and injury prone and because of this I don’t think he has been used appropriately.  His asset is pure speed yet he was hurt last year on a pass route that had him stop in the middles of the field (negating his speed asset) and he got his so hard it put him out of the game.  This year a crossing pattern again injured his ribs, and then a kick-off return (the most violent play in the game) injured him.  Why has the staff not used him speed with downfield routes to pull the defense away from the line of scrimmage?  Your thoughts?

Ronald Karaskiewicz  (Ron K.)
New Mexico Bills Backer
CB: While I understand what you’re getting at with Goodwin’s body type being susceptible to injury, I don’t know how realistic it is to take the approach that, we’re only going to run Goodwin on fly routes when he’s in the game.

I think there is merit to taking him off kick return to reduce the number of violent collisions on him, and I suppose you can have him run more outside routes than crossing patterns. The problem is I believe coaches worry that such an approach quickly becomes easy for opponents to figure out. Perhaps if he’s a role player, which in essence he is, you could limit him to quick outs, comebacks, digs and go routes. But coaches would know better than I would as to whether that’s too predictable and whether or not those limitations would take away from his effectiveness on the field.

I suppose the greater end game is to have him available, so at the very least what you’re proposing might be worth a try. That will have to wait until next year however, with Goodwin on injured reserve.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills Trip to Oliver’s Restaurant

Posted by Alexandra Vitale on September 24, 2015 – 11:16 am

I visited Oliver’s Restaurant on Delaware Ave in Buffalo, NY where Cyrus Kouandjo’s fiance, Liz and Jon Richt’s wife, Anna joined me as we learned how to cook a grilled peaches.

They were surprisingly so easy to make. Please see the recipe to make your own grilled peaches at home!

GRILLED PEACH & FRESH RICOTTA SALAD

RICOTTA

1 quart whole milk

¼ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Combine salt, buttermilk & milk in heavy gauge pot. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat & add lemon juice. Remove from heat and let

stand 3 minutes. Skim off fresh ricotta curd at the top of the pot, then place in cheese cloth over colander to strain.

SWEET PEPPER RELISH

1 large red, yellow & green bell pepper

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¾ cup of sugar

Clean peppers by removing seed and pith. Bernoise peppers then combine all ingredients in small sauce pot. Reduce to a syrup like

consistency & remove pot from flame to cool.

Halve one freestone peach & remove pit. Season peach with extra virgin olive oil and light salt. Grill peach over high heat on both sides to

gently mark and warm peach through. Thinly sliced 1 zucchini lengthwise, season with olive oil & salt.

Spread pepper relish diagonally across plate. Place the peach halves on relish.

Quenelle two tablespoons of fresh ricotta and place onto peach halves. Garnish plate with fresh zucchini ribbons, basil chiffonade,

toasted pine nuts, saba syrup & extra virgin olive oil.

  • · ·

We had a great time and will be making our reservations at Oliver’s very soon.

For more information about Oliver’s or to make reservations today please go to www.oliverscuisine.com

Check out the video below!

http://bufbills.co/oTKNqI


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-26

Posted by Chris Brown on June 26, 2015 – 11:32 am

Let’s not waste any time and get right to your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My first question is regarding Karlos Williams.. It is my perception that Buffalo seems overloaded at the Running Back position with quality backs on the bubble to make the team.. LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Boobie Dixon, Karlos Williams, and Bryce Brown are all capable of carrying the football for this team.. Then there are the Fullbacks Felton and Connor carried as Running Backs.. I am not sure how many are going to be carried on the 53 man roster, but 7 is nuts.

I also know the Bills are moving a terrific Cornerback in Corey Graham to Safety, where I think his talents would be underutilized.. Duke Williams is the other option to start, but he seems like more of a reserve player than a starter from what I have seen on television. The question is why doesn’t the coaching staff try out Karlos Williams at Safety, a position he played for 3 years at Florida State before switching to Running Back?

He was a 5-star Safety recruit (2nd rated Safety behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2011) coming out of High School.. I would believe he would be qualified to go back to his old stomping grounds on defense and it would alleviate the dearth of talent at safety and reduce the number of Running Backs.. I am a FSU alum and watched every game to know Karlos is a freak athlete like Bo Jackson.. Really big, really fast and hits really hard.. I personally would love to see him make snot bubbles come out of defenders’ noses en route to a touchdown run, but for the sake of putting the best guys out on the field this makes sense to me.. Your thoughts?

Erik Kuhn

CB: I think while your thoughts of moving Karlos Williams to safety have merit based on his football history, I don’t know if that’s the kind of move you want an NFL rookie to undertake. In Buffalo’s multiple scheme with a lot of pre-snap adjustments putting that on a rookie’s plate who has not played the position in three years is asking a lot.

Not only that, but the safety position is about as deep as the running back position so he wouldn’t be added to a position in need of any more talent.

The Bills seem pretty happy with Williams at running back and he runs with real good body lean for a tall guy. I think they’re committed to keeping him at RB and he can contribute on special teams as a rookie.

I don’t think the team will keep seven backs. I’m anticipating 4 RBs and 1 FB. That’ll leave one RB and one FB on the outside looking in.

 

2 –  Chris,

Do you think it is a fair assumption that Cyrus K. may be a starter this year ???

Go bills…deep into the playoffs and then on the to the S. B.

Best
Richard B.

CB: I don’t think it’s an outlandish assumption to think that Cyrus Kouandjio could be a starter at right tackle. He’s done everything right in the spring practices. The caveat is we haven’t seen the new and improved Kouandjio in pads playing something closer to real football.

We’ll get a better idea when we get to camp just how capable Kouandjio is, but he’s worked his tail off this offseason.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Always look forward to reading these on Friday. I am just recently a huge Buffalo Bills fan as of this season and it did not take long for me to be hooked on following Bills news and especially reading your questions! Last year I was not following the Bills news cycle but I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the QB battle this year.

My question for you is this, if you recall, how does Kyle Orton compare to the current QB battle underway? Has he seemed more of the same completion-wise or by TD/INT? I’m trying to see how any of the new QB’s or even EJ has compared to him.

Thank you so much!
-Brandon DuFrane
CB: This is a hard one to answer only because Kyle Orton did not have the benefit of any of these spring practices with the Bills that just concluded. He didn’t sign with the Bills until Aug. 30th last year, just eight days before the opener and after the preseason had concluded.

Orton felt his way in terms of absorbing the offense. Come season’s end he had 12 starts and finished with just over 3,000 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a passer rating of 87.8.

I think Taylor and Manuel have a better physical skill set than Orton, and Cassel is probably comparable in experience and diagnosing an opposing defense.

It’s also a vastly different offense this year’s QBs are running, but I think Orton would look a lot like Cassel if he were part of the competition in Cassel’s place.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

What ever happened to Cyril Richardson, the 6’5″ 343 pound linemen on the Bills? I haven’t heard anything coming out of camp about him and he had some promise this year after a good off season. What the latest with his development and chances?

Thanks,
Tony

CB: Richardson is still here on the roster. He’s been serving as a guard on the second unit. Most of his snaps have come with him on the right side. I think he’ll be more noticeable when the pads go on at camp and he’s able to exert his physical will on defensive linemen especially in the power run attack Greg Roman has drawn up.

 

5 –  @ChrisBrownBills
What’s the most likely scenario for amount of skill position roster spots…WR, RB, TE?

iamFlowbee

CB: I think as stated above, with a premium placed on tight ends in Greg Roman’s offense, there are likely to be four tight ends kept on the 53-man roster this year. I’d say probably five running backs and possibly just five WRs, though an argument can easily be made to keep six. Whether they have the room on the roster to do so is another question.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-19

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2015 – 11:33 am

The mandatory minicamp is in the books. Six weeks until training camp at St. John Fisher. Let’s get to your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
Is there anybody that is already on the squad that might have torn up the practice fields that we haven’t heard about yet because they didn’t get much playing time?  In other words, is there anybody on the team already that you think is either in line to break out or will push a current starter for a job more than expected?

Thanks,
Tommy of Pittsford

CB: There were a few players who performed admirably in the spring practices that didn’t get much time on the field last year, but I caution that football in the spring is not real football, so take these names with a grain of salt.

Marquise Goodwin had a strong spring. He was turning in plays left and right in the passing game. Now keep in mind that’s without Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin or Aaron Williams running around in Buffalo’s secondary. And the pads aren’t on, which is when the game gets more physical and cornerbacks are jamming receivers a lot harder at the line of scrimmage. We’ll see what he can do at camp.

Cyrus Kouandjio, as we’ve covered on Buffalobills.com, has improved his footwork and balance a great deal. We’ll see how he does in camp, again, when the pads are on.

Two other players that I thought fared well, who could take a step forward this season are S Jonathan Meeks and TE Marqueis Gray. Both made plays in the spring practices and offer high caliber athleticism at their respective positions.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is Harvin slated for both return spots or just punts?

SJHNatFan

CB: From what I witnessed at OTAs and minicamp Harvin is only being used on kick returns. The primary punt return candidates included Leodis McKelvin and Marcus Thigpen.

 

3 – Chris,

In light of the draft where they added 1 TE and one RB, how does this affect the final roster? Roman likes to dress/have 4 TE’s but they

currently have 5 running backs. Are Boobie/Bryce on the cut list to watch? I am not a fan of drafting a developmental running back with a history of violence against women, I don’t see the value in picking a back. Boobie plays special teams as well. Do you see O’Leary as lock to make this team too? Wondering how you might this these position groups look after the draft?

CB: Adding O’Leary and Karlos Williams just deepens the pool of talent at their positions. I like what I’ve seen from both players in the spring practices. O’Leary catches just about everything thrown to him. I agree that there will probably be four tight ends on the 53-man roster.

The tough call will be at running back where Williams has made a good case for himself. You’re also forgetting the fact that they’ll keep one fullback too who factors into the RB equation. So it’s likely they keep 4 RBs and 1 FB and 4 TEs. That could also mean the team only keeps five wide receivers. You’ve got to trim numbers somewhere else if Greg Roman’s offense needs numbers at TE.

 

4 – Chris,

Could you share your thoughts and insights on our offensive line expectations? Our two glaring weaknesses from last season was the inability to protect or provide the QB position ample time to develop consistency in a passing game and the lack of developing a foundation with a running game.

Many feel the offensive line play led to the lack of a better QB play although the argument could easily be spun both ways.  Yet going into this next season our offense is mostly a mystery of what to expect.

Despite the influx of talent brought in during F/A one could argue that we will be no better off than a year ago with the only hope that the new offense and scheme applied will either swing the pendulum one way or the other.  Many feel that controlling the trenches is where it all starts regardless of how skilled your skilled positions are.  Still another unsettling feeling deep in the souls of us Bills fans.

Thanks for you time and efforts.
VanScottM

CB: I’ll start by saying perhaps the two most important additions for the offensive line were coach Aaron Kromer and OC Greg Roman. Both know how to organize and coach line play. That’s where the two biggest improvements were made. Richie Incognito is a perfect fit for a power run game and John Miller has been widely lauded as Buffalo’s best pick in the 2015 draft and is expected to start at right guard.

With Cyrus Kouandjio showing an improved skill set and Cordy Glenn in the best shape of his life I believe the unit can take a sizable step forward this year and perhaps rebound from their 25th ranked rushing attack last season and get back into the top 10.

 

5 – Chris:

A couple of questions:

Whom do you think will take Dareus’ place in game #1?

Do you expect 90 players will be there the first day of training camp or will that number be reduced because of OTAs? Jeff Tuel was just released, but Matt Simms took his place.

Thanks very much.
Tom

CB: Right now the guy the Bills have penciled in to take Dareus’ spot in Week 1 is Corbin Bryant. Rex Ryan confirmed that when asked. Now will it be Bryant exclusively in that spot for the entire game? Probably not. Stefan Charles might rotate in there as well.

I do expect 90 players at training camp. Coaches like to have as many bodies as they can at camp. Knowing the Bills intend to run two team units simultaneously at camp when they go 11-on-11 in practice, having 90 players will be all the more necessary.

 


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Fan Friday 6-5

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2015 – 11:45 am

Another week of OTA practices in the books. Let’s get to your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you think we are getting these (young offensive tackles) ready to step up in case we don’t re-sign Glenn? Some big money contracts are coming.

JameShoup

CB: You’re right there are some big money contracts on the horizon (Dareus, Gilmore, Glenn, Bradham). They can wait a little on Gilmore after picking up his fifth-year option, but the others will need to be addressed.

Knowing the lack of offensive tackle depth on this roster however, I think re-signing Glenn is a must. The only other true tackles on the roster are Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio and undrafted rookie Tyson Chandler.

Yes, they want to get Henderson and Kouandjio as much experience as possible, but Glenn is a cornerstone player. So provided they can make things work under the cap he is an important piece to Buffalo’s offensive puzzle.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What can fans expect with this new offense and all these weapons?

golden1ne

CB: In a word, variety. Greg Roman is going to take advantage of all the weapons on offense with a system based on multiplicity. Multiple formations, pre-snap shifts and motions as well as multiple personnel groupings. I believe LeSean McCoy will still be the engine of Buffalo’s offense this season, but there is talent that can also take the cover off a defense. Roman won’t ignore those options.

The only unknown and hope is that one of these quarterbacks steps up and separates himself from the other two and becomes a reliable trigger man for the passing game.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills

Hey Chris, Rex seems to be building an AFC version of the Seahawks. Duke Williams is a hard hitting safety, has he looked good?

BlackArtVision

CB: Duke has held his own during these OTA sessions, but the physical part of his game is obviously not on display in this kind of setting. I think what Williams has to prove to the coaches if he wants to win the vacant strong safety job is that he can direct traffic with the back seven on defense pre-snap.

The defensive coaches need to have confidence that he can make the right pre-snap calls and dole out checks and adjustments correctly and quickly.

 

4 – Hello Chris,
I know that the team used iPad play books last year.
Was that trial considered a good addition and will the team continue using them?

Thanks for the great work you continue to do with Murph.  I appreciate the closeness to the team that you provide.

GO BILLS!
Pete Tokarczyk
“Born and raised in Buffalo but now living on a mountainside in Kentucky”,

CB: Yes, the I-Pads are back this year. In fact the use of digital devices has become pretty commonplace with NFL clubs the last couple of seasons. The main advantage is coaches are able to update film reviews of practice, the practice schedule and game plans all by uploading revised material that the players can access from their devices.

Players also have access to as much film as they want to review on their own time from the team’s video library.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I am really excited about the team this year with the off-season moves so far. Like many people though, my concern is at the QB position. The coaches have stated that it will be an open competition. The way it looks, unless E.J. Manuel shows major improvement, Matt Cassel will probably start. While I think Matt has the ability to win now and lead us to the playoffs with the talent around him, I don’t think he is the long term answer the Bills need. So my question is, how truly open will the competition be?

P.S. Thank you for all your efforts to bring us a look inside the Buffalo Bills.

Paul M.
Rochester, NY

CB: Rex Ryan has maintained that the competition will provide equal opportunities for the top three QBs and to this point it’s looked that way in OTA practices. Running two offensive units simultaneously has made it possible.

And I don’t think that approach will change until either one quarterback begins to separate himself from the other two or one quarterback falters and can compete with the others. So the first step very well could be the three-man competition shrinking to a two-man race.

It will obviously be the most closely watch element of training camp this summer.


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Fan Friday 5-29

Posted by Chris Brown on May 29, 2015 – 11:44 am

OTAs are underway and the pace of practice is crisp. Players are getting a ton of work in during these sessions. Let’s get to your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills where’s Henderson lining up??

BlackArtVision

CB: In the first week of OTA practices Seantrel Henderson spent most of his time at left tackle with the second unit. Cordy Glenn was the starting left tackle with Cyrus Kouandjio manning the right side. Head coach Rex Ryan and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer have both stated that there will be a lot of rotation in these OTA practices between those top three tackles.

Buffalo has only four true tackles on the roster, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add another before training camp just to have enough at the position to put on the field.

 

2 – Chris

Very disappointed that the Bills are willing participants in limiting access to one of their games, namely, the upcoming game in London. Sure, put it on digital, but also allow for normal distribution so fans less tech savvy or without internet access can have a nice big screen HD experience.

My specific question deals with the TV distribution: will the game just be on in Buffalo, or will other New York markets which normally see Bills’ games—Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton,e.g.—be able to watch on their televisions as usual.

Thanks for the info.
Sincerely,
James Delaney

CB: As it’s been explained to me the London game will be broadcast much like a Monday Night football game. Locally in Buffalo (and Jacksonville) it will be carried by CBS, but everywhere else it will be on a digital platform.

Those rights will be sold in the near future so for those folks in Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton and other upstate locales will have to keep an eye out for which digital platform landed the broadcasting rights. Some outfit like Apple, Facebook or Google figure to bid on it.

It will not be available on Sunday NFL Ticket on DirectTV.

It’s already been speculated that the NFL will probably look to strike a deal with one of those digital carriers who have the ability to stream on mobile devices. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but that’s where the technology is headed.

 

3 – Hey Chris,
I was wondering if u knew what Rex thinks of Jeff Tuel? I liked what I saw and wonder how far along he currently is and if he is going to be given the same chance to win the job.

Thanks
jmcabral86

CB: Coach Ryan has been pretty candid that it’s a three-man competition for the starting QB job and that Jeff Tuel is not one of those three candidates. He has not shared much about his view of Tuel as a quarterback, but to answer your question, no I do not believe, based on coach Ryan’s comments, that Tuel will be part of the competition at any point in this process.

 

4 – Hey Chris, my question is regarding the Bills offensive line.  As much as I am worried about it though, I do think without the draft in the books that we have some good competition.  I especially like the idea of Henderson moving to left tackle and Glenn moving to left guard.  Hopefully with all the work Kouandjio has put in he could work out and be the guy at right tackle with Incognito being at right guard.  My question to you is do you think this is a possibility? I wonder if our line wasn’t successful over the past two years because of the coaching and maybe they tried to force players to fit their scheme and not work to the players strength.  I notice that the coaches we have in place now like to play to the players strengths.  I would love your take on this.

Thanks for all your hard work as always,
Jillian

CB: While I don’t think you can rule out a Henderson to LT and Glenn to G move, I think it’s unlikely. The main reason why is because this team is down in numbers at the offensive tackle position. They have just four true offensive tackles on the roster with the fourth being undrafted rookie Tyson Chandler.

As I mentioned earlier I think they’ll keep an eye on the waiver wire to see if there’s a vet they can add for depth at the tackle position. But if nothing substantial develops on the open market, Glenn is probably the team’s best option at left tackle and Henderson and Kouandjio can fight for the right tackle gig.

 

5 – Chris,

I love reading your Fan Friday column on Twitter.  The coaches have talked about using 2 fields during training camp for the offense.  This is probably to get as many reps for all 4 QBs.  Would Greg Roman consider parking himself on a scaffold in between fields and call the plays using headsets just as in the game?  Thanks for considering my question.

Barry

CB: Rex Ryan addressed this very subject on the John Murphy Show this week. Essentially he said trying to watch both team sessions simultaneously is impossible. But that doesn’t mean they miss anything because they’ve got it all on tape to review. I suppose if he was up on scaffolding he’d have a better vantage point to watch both, but knowing all the pre-snap alignments and shifts that go on coaches want to watch the whole play. Trying to watch both units execute would prove supremely difficult according to Buffalo’s head coach.

“I tried to (watch both team sessions), and your heads on a swivel, you don’t see anything,” said Ryan. “You will pick it all up on tape, though.”

Ryan said this is the first time he’s implemented it as a head coach. He took it from offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who made use of it in San Francisco.

“We said, ‘Let’s give it a shot right now.’ It makes sense for development, especially for the younger players, and also about giving the reps to your quarterbacks,” Ryan said. “As we know, it’s a three man competition, they all need work. It’s not a true competition if you’re not going to give them work. I liked that today.  And I can understand the drill. I’ll be excited to watch the video, too, because now you get twice as many snaps (to evaluate).”
 


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Posted in 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

Kouandjio to be with brother for draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 9:18 am

Cyrus Kouandjio is younger than his brother Arie, but declared early for the 2014 draft and got to the NFL draft a year before him. Now with his older brother a part of the 2015 NFL draft class, Kouandjio will be with his brother and family this weekend.

“We’ll be down in Tampa with my family this weekend with him and watch the draft,” said Kouandjio.

Kouandjio will fly out of Buffalo this morning (Friday) as his brother, Arie, is projected as a third or fourth-round pick. Arie Kouandjio played guard at the University of Alabama. Cyrus followed Arie there out of high school and the two played together on the Crimson Tide’s offensive line with Cyrus playing left tackle and Arie playing guard.

Arie Kouandjio’s multiple knee surgeries are what could hurt him the most knowing medical evaluations differ from one team to the next. Cyrus Kouandjio knows all about that having lived it last year with some teams reportedly failing his surgically repaired knee at the NFL combine last year.

Cyrus has worked hard to calm his older brother’s nerves now that the process is coming to a conclusion.

“I try to tell him having been through the process, whichever team you’re going to you’re going to go to that team,” Kouandjio told Buffalobills.com. “It’s not about the draft, it’s about what you do once you’re on a team. He’s more focused on that and training every day and ready to get it over with.”

 


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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

Kouandjio on new OL coach Kromer

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 9:20 am

Bills OL Cyrus Kouandjio has admitted his mindset wasn’t strong enough for the pro game as a rookie. He feels he’s fixed that now. That combined with a new offensive line coach in Aaron Kromer has given the former second-round pick a new outlook on his NFL career.

Kouandjio in his initial conversations with coach Kromer is optimistic about where things are headed for him personally with the Bills.

“We got into a lot of technique and a lot of protections,” Kouandjio told Buffalobills.com. “I loved hearing that. There are some O-line coaches that teach you and some that just coach you. The ones that just coaches you just tells you what to do on this blitz or with this defensive front, but a teacher teaches you something. They teach you a technique you may have never known before. He teaches you all the little things. I see both in him. It takes a great coach to be a teacher and a coach, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Kromer said all five starting roles on the offensive line are open for competition as everyone will have a clean slate with him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills