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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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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Posted in Inside the Bills

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

Fan Friday 4-10

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2015 – 2:33 pm

The preseason schedule is out with the 16-game regular season slate soon to follow. More on that below. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

#bills when will the 2015 regular season be out?

bailey_pinkston

CB: The precursor to the regular season schedule, the preseason schedule was released this past Thursday. It often signals that the release of the regular season schedule is coming soon. All indications are that the league will release the regular season schedule some time during the week of April 19th.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Petty or Grayson would be the perfect game managers for Buffalo’s new offense. Thoughts please???

mattgolden03

CB: Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson are in that second tier of quarterback prospects after the top two. Both could merit consideration in round two. While I like Petty’s football IQ I still think there will be a steeper learning curve for him than Grayson, who played in a pro-style offense.

Grayson has had to read coverages and progressions. Petty has not. And while I don’t doubt that’s something Petty has been working on it’s just not the same as when the real bullets are flying.

If you believe one of them could come in as a rookie and effectively execute Buffalo’s new offense, which has a myriad of pre-snap shifts, motions and formations I think you might be expecting too much.

Frankly for 2015 you’re better off with either Matt Cassel or EJ Manuel in my opinion, which is why I’d be surprised if Buffalo invests in the quarterback position high in the draft, if at all this spring.

 

3 – Chris,

Given the current coaching staff’s desire to build a tough running team and a physical team,  do you see Justin Blalock as a possible signing to fortify the offensive line now that he is a free agent? Also, what are your thoughts of giving money to signing Mark Ingram over say resigning Spiller. Ingram has shown he can move the chains with power, rip off long runs with quickness and catch the ball.

Thanks,
Patrick

CB: While Blalock is a more than capable veteran guard I don’t believe the Bills want to add any more veterans up front. They have three veteran guards right now in Incognito, Urbik and Chris Williams. It wouldn’t surprise me if they felt that adding another would compromise the growth of a younger player like Cyril Richardson. So if they do add at the guard position I believe it’ll be in the draft, even though I see offensive tackle as a position more in need of depth than anywhere else on the line.

 

4 – Chris,

The Kouandjio article was encouraging to see.  I like to know that some players are working all year to be better and hope it works out for the kid.

What was his problem exactly last training camp?  Was he out of shape? Difficult time reacting? Diagnosing?  You would think his college experience gave him good game speed experience.  Thanks and can’t wait for this season to start!

Steve K
Kenmore, NY
CB: Yes, John Murphy’s article, which followed an interview with Kouandjio by phone certainly painted a picture as to how hard the second-year lineman is working. He was training out in Arizona all winter working on his techniques and getting coaching from former NFL OL LeCharles Bentley.

Kouandjio didn’t place blame anywhere but on himself for how his rookie season went. He said he didn’t think he had a strong enough mindset as he began his NFL career. To a certain degree that’s understandable. He turned 21 just last July and is still young in the game. Stepping up to the NFL level was probably a bit different even than what he experienced as a starter at Alabama in the SEC.

In the conversations I’ve had with him he sounds like his whole approach to the game has changed and he’s going full bore into his second NFL season. Add in the fact that he has hit it off quickly with new offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and he’ll be an interesting player to watch in training camp when the pads go on.

 

5 –  Chris,
FIve years ago I wanted the Bills to draft Ryan Mallett. He was a 1st round prospect, a Heisman candidate, a coach’s son, and a big QB like Big Ben. He fell to NE in the 3rd round, what happened? Why did the Bills not bring him in as compaction with EJ?

Tim Scouten

CB: There’s no debating that Ryan Mallett has a rocket arm for a quarterback. His over the top delivery looks great. Here’s the problem with his game. First, his accuracy. His career completion percentage of 53.2 percent is an issue, which shouldn’t happen for a quarterback with superior arm strength. His decision making is also suspect, especially when he has to get rid of the ball quick. Now every QB is subject to a bad decision or two when hurried. His have been more frequent over the years.

Perhaps the most important skill he’s lacking for Buffalo’s offense is the ability to extend the play. He is a pocket quarterback only. If the pocket breaks down and he can’t get rid of the ball the play is dead. That is not the case with each of the quarterbacks currently on Buffalo’s roster. It leads me to believe that offensive coordinator Greg Roman prefers some measure of mobility in his QBs to extend plays if and when protection breaks down.

Finally, there’s even less of a book on him than EJ Manuel. He’s played in just seven NFL games to EJ’s 14 career starts. If you bring in another unknown quantity at QB you run the risk of not finding out about exactly what he or Manuel can be.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-6

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2015 – 12:04 pm

The NFL Combine is fast approaching and we’ll have full coverage on Buffalobills.com as always. In the meantime let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Would the Bills trade for Kirk Cousins?

RC from D.C.

CB: I think a trade is the least likely avenue the Bills take to acquire a quarterback with NFL experience. Free agency will probably be the first course of action. If they come up empty there then I believe a trade becomes a bit more likely.

The problem is the Bills are already a bit limited in assets they’d be willing to move being down a first and a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. That’s not to insinuate a trade couldn’t happen, but I think it’s near the bottom of the list in terms of the ways they plan to acquire a QB.

The only way it moves up the list is if some team unexpectedly offers a quarterback the Bills weren’t anticipating would be available.

 

2 – Chris,

With Marrone gone, I don’t buy him playing guard. He struggled so much at RT during preseason, I doubt he could move inside. I’d like to see him play tackle. He has an injury history and the Bills should look for free agents instead of moving inside. More upsetting is that the Bills thought he has 1st round potential when Henderson played every snap and looks to be the starter going forward. Where do you see his progression going forward?

CB: I anticipate the Bills will be hitting the reset button with Cyrus Kouandjio with a new offensive staff coming in. I believe the approach under OL coach Aaron Kromer will focus Kouandjio’s attention at tackle. As I’ve said many times, Kouandjio is young in football. He’s just 21-years old and has not been playing the game very long.

He’s one of those players that will need time to mature into a reliable and technique-sound offensive lineman at the NFL level. Kouandjio is learning on the job, but he has the physical tools to be a solid right tackle.

Henderson’s ascent to starter at right tackle was not undeserved. He is an elite athletic talent. He too learned on the job as any rookie does, but has been playing football his whole life. His game is closer to reaching its full potential than Kouandjio’s, but I do expect Kouandjio to be pushing Henderson in camp.

 

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

I think EJ has all the potential in the world. Do you know if he has met or talked to Roman/Rex yet?

SJHNatFan

CB: There are strict rules under the CBA that prohibits contact between coaches and players in the offseason, even in Buffalo’s situation with a new coaching staff. So EJ Manuel and the rest of the roster cannot interact with the staff by phone or in person in any capacity from the end of the regular season until the offseason conditioning program begins in early April. So the answer is no, he has not met or talked with members of the Bills coaching staff.

 

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

With CJ Spiller likely leaving the Bills, do you see the Bills drafting a RB? Or is it more likely they go after a FA?

pioniere

CB: I think your assumption of C.J. Spiller leaving is not an unusual one, but let’s see how things play out first. Should Spiller choose to sign elsewhere however, I believe they draft a running back. They need an influx of youth at the position and the draft is deep with running back talent this year.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Between Gresham, Cameron and Thomas which TE would you be more in favor signing?

xhighway1

CB: I think just about anybody would love to have Julius Thomas. He’s the most dynamic receiving tight end of the three and that’s not just because he’s had Peyton Manning as his quarterback. I believe he’s the most savvy route runner of the three. What I like about him the most is he can use his speed to separate from defenders, and he’s physical enough to wall off defenders from the ball as well.

The rub is he’ll be the most expensive tight end on the market as well. As critical as the tight end is in Peyton Manning and Gary Kubiak offenses I think he’d be one of Denver’s top priorities this offseason.

Gresham is a physical talent that is comparable to Thomas, but he is a career underachiever. Coming out of college he had All-Pro physical talent, but it’s just never materialized the way I thought it would at the NFL level.

Cameron is a talented receiving tight end who creates mismatches, but I worry about his concussion history. Obviously NFL teams would be able to investigate that a lot better than I could, but at a position that’s susceptible to big hits I’d take a long, hard look at his injury history before making an offer.


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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

Fan Friday 1-9

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2015 – 11:44 am

The season is over and the head coaching search is underway. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Can you give Bills fans an update on the picks we get for the Stevie Johnson and Bryce Brown trades and where the picks could be for both players based on their playing time? Is it a 3rd for both players if they have a certain amount of games?

Josh

CB: Both trades were in exchange for conditional fourth-round picks. What most are not aware of is Buffalo was using one trade to facilitate the other.

While I don’t have the exact terms that would have bumped both picks to third-round selections I do know that both the pick acquired in the Johnson trade remained a fourth-round pick, as did the pick Philadelphia is owed by Buffalo.

Since the Bills original fourth-round pick in 2015 was traded to Cleveland in the Sammy Watkins deal, the fourth-round pick acquired from San Francisco for Stevie Johnson must be sent to Philadelphia for Bryce Brown.

So this spring the Bills do not have a first or fourth round selection. They have a second, third, two fifths, sixth and seventh.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for the great coverage and all that you do.  A lot has been made around the NFL about the NFC South and one of those teams making the playoffs with a record less than .500.  My question is that with the Bills finishing with a better record than the NFC South champion (Carolina 7-8-1) will they pick after them in the draft?  The draft normally goes by record but do things change once a team makes the playoffs?  Thanks for the response.

J-P from Corning, NY but now in Frederick, MD
CB: Yes, by rule playoff teams pick after non-playoff teams. So the Bills first-round pick at 19, which is owned by Cleveland comes before Carolina. In fact even the playoff teams with better records who were eliminated Wild Card weekend will pick ahead of the Panthers. The best Carolina can do if they lose to Seattle this weekend is the 25th pick in round one.

 

3 – Chris,

Watching the Bills this season always leaves me thinking how many games would they have won if we had a top QB. Despite some games that Orton played well, he is surely not the guy to lead the Bills to the playoffs. I was wondering if picking up Sam Bradford would be a possibility and keeping EJ as a backup. I was also thinking that even though our offensive line has struggled this year, would we take a QB with our 2nd round pick this year?

-Bennett

CB: Sam Bradford is an interesting consideration. He has more than three times the experience of EJ Manuel in terms NFL starts with 49 on his NFL resume, but what is of concern to me is his completion percentage. It’s 58.6 percent, which is exactly the same as EJ Manuel.

I think the Bills need better than that if they decide acquiring a veteran quarterback is the route to take again this offseason. Now I’ll admit it is slim pickings in terms of the free agent market, and Bradford might be seen as one of the better options available.

Buffalo has limited capital to offer in a trade for a QB knowing they’re without a first and fourth-round pick this year.

The plan going forward concerning the quarterback position is certainly going to be one of the more intriguing developments for the Bills this offseason. And as for taking a QB in round two of the draft I don’t think anything can be ruled out at this point, but I do believe quarterback might be addressed before the draft rolls around.

 

4 – Chris,

How do you assess the prospects of OGs Kouandjio and Richardson? Do they have a chance to start on the Bills’ O-line  or will the Bills be shopping for guards in free agency and the draft next year.

Thanks,
Bob

CB: I think Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson are still seen as long term investments by the organization. As I’ve written here before Kouandjio is still very young in football. He turned 21 during training camp last summer and has not played football his entire life. There is talent there. I just think what he needs is time on the job. Richardson has the physical tools, but they need to be refined more.

With that in mind I think it would be prudent for the Bills to seek NFL ready help at the guard position, especially with Erik Pears a free agent this offseason. The draft is another possibility, but it would have to be addressed early (2nd, 3rd round).

 

5 – Hi Chris,

My question pertains to re-signing several key players. I’ve read that there is some questions about whether or not we can sign Jerry Hughes, and renegotiate CJ and Marcel’s deals to keep them here long term, while also finding some key free agents and solid draft picks. Don’t we have a considerable amount of dead money coming off the books at the end of this year (Fitz, Stevie, Anderson, Lindell)? Overthecap.com says that it is about $21.6 million. With that money freed up, and the expansion of the salary cap don’t we have enough room to work with to bring back Jerry and give Marcel and CJ a raise?

(If this doesn’t make the list of questions on the blog post I would still love to hear your thoughts about where we stand financially going forward and how we can keep our defensive and offensive playmakers in Buffalo.)

Kevin

CB: You’re right there is a good amount of dead money coming off the books. I have seen the dead cap number closer to $24M. Per GM Doug Whaley – they will make every effort to bring Jerry Hughes and C.J. Spiller back into the fold.

There are reports that NFL clubs are expecting the cap to go up about $10M this year, which helps as well. It’s certainly possible that Dareus’ contract will be addressed to reduce his $8M cap figure this year and extend it.

However, I don’t think Dareus’ contract has to be extended in order for the club to formulate competitive offers for Hughes, Spiller and possibly Da’Norris Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills