Inside The Bills

Bills cover unit not fooled on planned throwback

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2014 – 9:31 pm

There were reports by the local daily papers in New York/New Jersey that the Jets may have something up their sleeve this week on special teams in the return game. On Sunday the Bills were ready.

In the third quarter after a 36-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter put the Bills up by 10 (27-17) the Jets had a trick play called on the ensuing kickoff return. Bills kickoff specialist Jordan Gay kicked the ball nine yards deep in the end zone. As he kicked off the Jets had Percy Harvin in the right side of the end zone to return and there was another Jets player lying face down in the green part of the end zone hoping to go undetected by Buffalo’s cover unit. That player was T.J. Graham.

Gay’s kick went to Harvin nine yards deep in the end zone as he came out with the ball to the goal line, Graham jumped to his feet to receive a called lateral pass. The problem was the Bills kick coverage team had two players in front of Graham convincing Harvin that the lateral pass was not there to be attempted. Instead he tucked it and got what he could.

“We were trying to do a throwback,” said Harvin. “The defense sniffed it out pretty well. I saw the defense closing in on him, so I decided to tuck the ball, and make the best out of the play.”

Harvin was tackled at the Jets’ three-yard line by Ron Brooks. The Jets went three-and-out on offense and punted.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins & Carpenter get Week 5 recognition

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2014 – 11:38 am

Their performances in Week 5 were critical to the Bills come from behind victory at Detroit. That’s why both Sammy Watkins and Dan Carpenter were recognized by Pro Football Focus in their weekly awards.

The PFF’s Week 5 All-Star team included Carpenter and Watkins. Carpenter for his game-winning 58-yard field goal and Watkins for his clutch behind the head, juggling grab to set up the field goal the play prior. Watkins also had six other receptions in the game. Here’s what PFF had to say about the two clutch performers for Buffalo.

Wide Receivers: Vincent Jackson, TB (+3.5) and Sammy Watkins, BUF (+3.2)
The Buccaneers couldn’t quite hold on against the Saints yesterday, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Vincent Jackson, four missed tackles forced and 144 yards through the air giving him the highest grade of any receiver this week so far. For Watkins it’s been an up and down rookie season so far but we definitely saw the positive this week, slowly but surely making the Bills look smart for picking him up in May’s draft.
 
Kicker: Dan Carpenter, BUF: A close battle between a few kickers, but ultimately the game winner from 58 yards sealed the deal for Carpenter here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL investigating laser pointer interference

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:26 pm

It happened on a few occasions in the game. There was a green laser pointer being used by someone in the stadium at Ford Field Sunday and they were trying to distract QB Kyle Orton and holder Colton Schmidt on pass plays and attempted field goals. Kicker Dan Carpenter was the first to notice it.

“When I noticed it they were shining it on Colton on the 50-yard attempt,” said Carpenter. “It was shining on Colton (Schmidt) on the hold. As far as that goes I guess I understand that the NFL Security is looking into it to see if they can figure anything out.”

Carpenter’s 50-yard attempt was no good off the upright. The kicker would not say whether the laser pointer affected the quality of Schmidt’s hold on the kick.

Kyle Orton also was the subject of the attempted distraction during the game.

“Early on I felt it a couple of times right after I got the ball, so I communicated with the refs and with coach Marrone and let him handle that,” said Orton.

Marrone said after the game that NFL Security is handling the investigation to see if they can ascertain through film review of the game the origin of the laser pointer.

“We told the NFL security on the miss, that there were some lasers we could see down on the carpet,” said Marrone.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills go back to back on Spec. Tms. POW

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2014 – 10:13 am

In Week 1 it was K Dan Carpenter earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. In Week 2 C.J. Spiller took the honors thanks in large part to his 102-yard kick return for a touchdown, Buffalo’s first six-point score of the game in the win over Miami. It’s not often that players on the same team win the conference Player of the Week honor back to back.

In fact this is the first time Bills players have won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors back to back since 1994 when P Chris Mohr in Week 2 and Steve Christie in Week 3 won in consecutive weeks.

One could make the case that Carpenter could’ve won the award again in Week 2. After his 11-point performance including the game-winning FG in Week 1 at Chicago, Carpenter had a 17-point day against Miami.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New elements of kicking game fare well

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2014 – 9:22 pm

Heading into Sunday’s season opener, the Bills had a new kickoff specialist and a new punter. Coming out of their overtime victory special teams coordinator Danny Crossman has to be pretty pleased with how they performed.

Colton Schmidt in his first ever appearance for the Bills had five punts in the game. Four of them he dropped inside the 20-yard line effectively flipping the field for most of the contest. His net average was an outstanding 43.2, just a tenth of a yard above his preseason average when he was still with the 49ers.

Buffalo’s coverage unit was good too, but two of Schmidt’s punts were fair catches. In total the Bears had minus-one yard on two punt returns Sunday.

Kickoff specialist Jordan Gay had six kickoffs, five of which went for touchbacks.

“I didn’t see the stats, but we talked about rookie punter versus rookie punter (in this game) and we talked about from the special teams challenge was going to be the field position battle,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “Early on (Schmidt) had the not so good one out of the way early and then he hit some really good punts. We let them out the one time on the pass interference call when we had them down there on the six. On our kickoffs the one time they brought it back we stopped them. Our specialists did a nice job.”

Marcus Easley had a pair of tackles on coverage teams and Dan Carpenter was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals including a 50-yarder.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Hopkins a kickoff specialist only

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2014 – 11:01 am

It’s early in camp and Dan Carpenter has taken all the FG attempts. Dustin Hopkins has only taken kickoffs in practice. On Tuesday head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Hopkins is strictly a kickoff specialist.

In fact Marrone stated that kickoff specialist is the role Hopkins has to try and land.

“He had to tr to make the roster as a kickoff specialist,” said Marrone.

Carpenter is coming off a career season where he hit on almost 92 percent of his kicks in 2013.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hopkins kicks well

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2014 – 10:49 am

He’s seen by most outside the building at One Bills Drive as a potential kickoff specialist for Buffalo with Dan Carpenter signing a sizable free agent deal with the Bills this offseason. But Dustin Hopkins is working to make the place kicking job a stiff competition as well. On the last day of minicamp Hopkins may have provided a sign of things to come.

Erratic in last year’s training camp, Hopkins’ performance on Thursday was in stark contrast. Both he and Carpenter had the opportunity to kick field goals in the final special teams segment of minicamp practice Thursday. Carpenter after going 8-for-8 on attempts Wednesday went 5-for-6 on Thursday with his only miss coming from 50 yards out. Hopkins meanwhile was a perfect 5-for-5. Below are their attempts kick by kick along with the results.

Carpenter                                           Hopkins
28 yards – right hash – good        32 yards – left hash – good
30 yards – left hash – good          35 yards – right hash – good
37 yards – right hash – good        41 yards – left hash – good
39 yards – left hash – good          48 yards – right hash – good
50 yards – right hash – wide rt.  53 yards – right hash – good
53 yards – left hash – good


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carpenter was perfect

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2014 – 2:26 pm

One last note from Bills minicamp day 2. During a special teams segment coordinator Danny Crossman had the field goal unit running through a series of eight attempts with Dan Carpenter taking all of them. Here’s how Carpenter fared.

1 – 32 yards – right hash – good
2 – 34 yards – left hash – good
3 – 36 yards – left hash – good
4 – 38 yards – right hash – good
5 – 42 yards – right hash – good
6 – 45 yards – left hash – good
7 – 46 yards – left hash – good
8 – 48 yards – right hash – good

A perfect 8-for-8 for Carpenter. We’ll see if Dustin Hopkins gets an opportunity in today’s final minicamp practice.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-30

Posted by Chris Brown on May 30, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Week 1 of OTAs is in the books and here are some of your latest questions about the team from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

what role does Hairston have? He played well until his injury but is a holdover. I hope he gets a fair shot

homeslice5484

CB: Hairston right now is running mainly with the second team at left tackle. He hasn’t received a ton of reps in the team setting. We’re guessing it’s due in part to the fact that he hasn’t played any form of football on a field in almost a year after landing on the non-football illness list in 2013. He’s looked a bit rusty this week, which is understandable, but if he can regain the form that made him a very capable swing tackle two years ago, Buffalo’s line depth becomes that much better.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the resigning of Dan Carpenter, what does this mean for Dustin Hopkins, he was injured, but he is the real deal…..

Jay C@SWFLChiver

CB: Carpenter is coming off a career year and the second-most accurate season in Bills team history. Unless he has a complete meltdown in training camp or the preseason Carpenter will be the place kicker. The key for Hopkins will be to demonstrate he can be a dynamic weapon on kickoffs by booting everything through the back of the end zone for touchbacks. Coach Marrone has said he’s not opposed to keeping two kickers if they can both prove they would be of great value to the team.

The trouble for Hopkins is his groin injury was severe and took a long time to heal. As a result he’s rusty entering OTAs having been unable to kick. He has to get his swing back and he has to do it in short order to convince the coaches that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.

 

3 – Chris,
With the Bills not making a move during draft for a tight end, how do you think the position will shake out behind Chandler? Do you see the Bills keeping Lee Smith? I like Chris Gragg as development tight end with good speed. What do you think he chances are to make the final roster? Tony Moeaki still is a question mark to me, since he has hardly played in 2 years. Can Gragg stick and lineup as be juke type of TE? Or is too small to beat LB/DB?

CB: Right now Scott Chandler is not participating in team work after coming off of offseason knee surgery. So that has opened up more opportunities for the likes of Tony Moeaki and Chris Gragg when it comes to the passing game. Lee Smith is primarily a blocker though he can work the short areas. In the first week of OTAs Moeaki and Gragg have seen the most action.

Moeaki is the most athletic in the group. His transition from catch to turning up field is very, very smooth. Gragg has very good straight line speed for a man his size (6-3 244), but like some of the other tight ends is not sudden in his movements when it comes to route running. He’s long-limbed which always helps in the passing game, but I would put Moeaki ahead of him.

We’ll know more about both players once the pads go on at training camp, but from a pure playmaking perspective Moeaki is going to be pushing Chandler.

 

4 – Chris,

With Watkins and Williams in, Graham would seem to go down to 5th on depth chart. Given they need special teamers like Easley/Hogan. How do you think this will play out? Goodwin and Graham are just too similar. I liked Hogan more as slot/special teamer. Could they trade Graham? Or will he have to fight for a spot in camp?

CB: I think Graham will have to fight for a spot on this roster. There is suddenly a lot of depth at receiver and Marquise Goodwin has the added advantage of being a pick made by the current regime, not one that was inherited like T.J.. The problem is Graham is not participating in any team work due to an offseason procedure. He can offer return ability to special teams, but Leodis McKelvin handles punts and Goodwin handles kickoffs.

Making things tougher Chris Hogan has had a solid first week of OTA practices. So when Graham is again full go in the practice setting he’ll have to really turn it up.

 

5 – Chris,

There has been much talk about the defensive formation Jim Schwartz is going to deploy this year.  He has been successful with the Wide 9 approach but with the personnel moves we have made, it appears to me that we may see as much of the 4-3 Under deployed by Mike Pettine as we will of a pure Wide 9.  Bringing in Spikes and moving Alonso upgrade the two linebacker spots and Rivers provide competition for Lawson.  That and the lack of another “pure” defensive end leads me to believe our defense is going to as varied as we saw last year.  Just hope it stays as agressive.

Appreciate your thoughts on this and as always, very much appreciate your insights and reporting on the comings and going at OBD.

Regards,
Jim
Macungie, Pa.

CB: I don’t think you have to worry about the defense staying aggressive. Talking to some of the men up front this week (Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus) the defense is all about being aggressive and getting up field. They feel it will cater well to what their strengths are across the defensive line.

Now that being said Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes have some big adjustments to make as they will be full-time defensive ends in Jim Schwartz’s system. Mario will presumably man the left side and Lawson and Hughes will split the job on the right side.

We’ll be able to ascertain how it’s all coming together when the pads go on in July.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-11

Posted by Chris Brown on April 11, 2014 – 12:53 pm

The Bills pre-draft visits were in full swing this week. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for more visit updates in the weeks to come. For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,
Thank you for keeping me informed for the last  decade. Before I only had the newspaper to go by and it was very slow and incomplete.

Three or more of these eleven  players Jake Mathews, Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Eric Ebron, Mike Evans, Kahlil Mack, Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley, Justin Gilbert and Jadeveon Clowney will be avilable to the Bills for sure. If any of the top three QB’s are added to the mix then Buffalo can even be more selective.

I think the top 9 will go like this 1) QB/DE, 2) WR/DE, 3)&4) QBs, 5)QB/LB ,6) OT, 7) OT/LB,8)QB and Buffalo will choose Mack, Lewan, Watkins or Evans in that order depending on their availability.

I actually think the Bills will take an OT because it affects the most players. Players such as the RBs, the QB and the WR/TEs directly. No other position does this. I hope they get Lewan but if Mack is available I would go with him first because the defense wins FB games and Mack would push our “D” past Seattle in my modest opinion.

How do you see it at this point in time?

Thanks
Ken

CB: It’s hard to know exactly what will fall to the Bills at nine as the teams in front of them, for the most part, need a lot of different building blocks. That means they could go in a number of different directions with their top pick. Knowing the QB class is far from intriguing outside of Manziel the popular speculation now is that only two QBs will go in the top 8, with Teddy Bridgewater looked upon as the QB falling out of the top 10.

Jacksonville at three is one of those pivot type picks, where what they do could largely impact the teams right behind them. They’re now thought to be considering a QB in round two rather than round one and will look to add a difference maker at another position on offense (Sammy Watkins?) after loading up on defense in free agency. I still think they’re still considering a QB, especially if Bortles is still on the board.

Mack will not make it to nine, no way, no how. So cross him off your list. Cleveland is unpredictable as to what they might do as are the Raiders at five. Atlanta is expected to go OL or DL and it will depend on which player is ranked highest on their board among those two positions. Tampa Bay is a virtual lock to receiver and take Mike Evans. Minnesota is likely to take a QB knowing the mess they had at the position last year and it could be Manziel there.

So what should be there for Buffalo? Probably one of the top three OTs (presumably Lewan), Ebron and C.J. Mosley. I don’t see Justin Gilbert or Anthony Barr as part of the equation there. Whether the Bills have another player or two ranked as high is unclear.

The most talented of the three I mentioned (Lewan, Ebron, Mosley) is probably Ebron, who one could argue also has the most upside. Lewan and Mosley kind of are what they are. They’ll both be very solid pros and should be in an NFL starting lineup right away, but Ebron has a chance to be special and that could give him the edge there. We’re all guessing, but the most important factor is how things play out in front of Buffalo.

 

 

2 – Chris,

Pardon me, but my brain is working overtime on the Bills.  With Carpenter in the fold where does this leave Hopkins?  Thought he was supposed to be the new guy with the strong leg.

Jim (Skaneateles)


CB:
It puts Hopkins in a tough spot. First of all he’s trying to come back from a bad groin injury on his kicking leg side. Second, he’s competing with a veteran kicker who put up the second most accurate FG kicking season in team history. With the money invested in Carpenter by the Bills, Hopkins is going to need to have the training camp of his life to unseat Carpenter.

Now head coach Doug Marrone is not opposed to carrying a second kicker as a kickoff specialist, which is a role that Hopkins could most definitely fill. However, the roster numbers have to work out right to keep a second kicker for such a luxury. We’ll see how it plays out this summer.

 

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Huge fan of yours and the Bills obviously. Just wondering about the Corey Graham signing. Will he be competing for second cornerback position with Leodis?  And if not, how will that affect Nickel Robey’s playing time, if at all?  Do you think it was a big contract for a potentially 3rd string corner or will his special teams play make up for it?

Thanks,
Brendan

CB: As I’m sure you and most other fans have seen coach Marrone has said he intends to make Graham a part of the safety competition with Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks and Da’Norris Searcy to fill the spot left by Jairus Byrd. He’ll also be the first guy in on the boundary at corner if McKelvin or Gilmore are sidelined by injury. As for Robey he will hold onto the role if Graham lands the safety spot next to Aaron Williams.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

I was just curious, if team a wanted to trade a player for a pick in the draft, and the traded player ended up failing the physical for team b, what would happen?  Would the player(s) selected with the traded pick pick(s) go to team b and the player that failed the physical would return to team a?  Or would something else happen?

Thanks,
Tommy

CB: Yes, if a player did not pass the physical for his new team the trade would be nullified and any and all assets exchanged in the deal would revert back to their original clubs. That’s what happened several years ago when the Bills tried to trade John McCargo to the Indianapolis Colts. He failed his physical with the Colts due to a back problem they cited and the trade was nullified.

 
5 – Hi Chris,

Just wondering what your thoughts are on the Bills seemingly not attempting to keep Carrington or Moats. There was so much talk last summer about how well Carrington was coming along and now they could seem to care less about keeping him. I wouldn’t imagine it’s because of competition from other teams as he hasn’t proven himself on the field for any stretch of time.

Also looking at Rivers career he hardly seems like an upgrade from Moats. They both seem to be in the same kind of position as fill in LB’s struggling to get more snaps. Also what is the deal with Chris Williams? NFL.com says he graded out terribly last season. To be honest I’m less than pleased with where the offensive line has gone under Marrone. In Gailey’s last season we had the fewest sacks and CJ’s yards per carry were through the roof. Marrone’s supposed to be a line guy and during his first year we were at the bottom of those stats and seem content to downgrade from Levitre to Williams at LG. Do you know anything we dont about where this might be going?

Dan

CB: I have it on very good authority that the Bills offered Carrington a contract extension before the 2013 season, but he and his agent (the same one as Jairus Byrd) turned it down. Three weeks later Carrington tore his quadriceps tendon and went on I-R in a contract year. Moats was presented with a contract offer this offseason and he chose not to take it thinking he could do better. Whether he did or not we may never know, but he signed a one-year veteran minimum deal with a $65K signing bonus.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-4

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:24 pm

The 2014 draft is just over a month away and the pro days are winding down. Among the big ones left are Penn State (April 8), LSU (April 9) and Georgia (April 16).

For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,

If a scenario happens where say the big 3, Clowney, Mack and Watkins were gone and either/or Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel fell to the Bills at #9. Do you see any chance the Bills would have interest? I’m of the mind that we need to give EJ Manuel a healthy and fully educated season to see if he’s the man. That being said if a team sees a potential franchise QB drop into their lap I guess you do have to consider it.

Enjoy your work Chris,
Thanks Wally James
Fredericksburg ,VA

CB: That’s an interesting scenario you’ve painted. I think the Bills have been clear that they are all in on EJ Manuel as their franchise quarterback. As tempting as it may be to draft Johnny Manziel if he is there at nine, you have to look at this the way the Bills or any other NFL franchise would.

They invested more than a year of research, scouting, testing and projecting to make their determination that EJ Manuel is fully capable of being their franchise quarterback and excelling for them on the field. That kind of commitment mandates that you do everything you can as an organization to help him succeed. Drafting a quarterback ninth overall this year, no matter who it is, does not achieve that mandate.

If the value at nine is right for a player who can more effectively help EJ Manuel on the field this year on offense then another player will be the pick. Not Johnny Manziel. If the value is not right then I see the Bills moving back to allow another club to trade in to take Johnny Manziel and gain valuable picks in the process, not unlike they did last year (See: Kiko Alonso).

 

2 – Chris,
Thanks for all you do. With all of the cuts of high priced veterans (Revis, Peppers, etc) do you anticipate Mario Williams to survive the length of his contract in Buffalo?   Or do you anticipate the Bills parting ways to free up $16+ million in cap space.

-Jim

CB: High-priced players sometimes do not see the end of lucrative contracts, and you’ve provided more than one example above. When contracts aren’t guaranteed, as is the case in the NFL, there are no guarantees a player will see the end of it with the club that signed him.

That being said the Bills are among the most fiscally responsible teams in the league and rarely put themselves in a position of having to fire sale the roster. The last time it happened was in 2000 when late GM John Butler, being so tied to Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed compromised the team’s salary cap health until he unfortunately had to cut all three on the same day.

It served as a lesson to this organization to not fall into such a situation again.

So while I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a day coming when the Bills do decide to part ways with Mario Williams prematurely, I think they also try to maintain a measure of responsible spending to allow for a couple of lavish contracts on the roster.

 

3 – Chris,
As always thank you and everyone who help to inform Bills nation. My question is on the defensive side,  now that Byrd is gone for sure who do you see stepping up next to Williams? I know Searcy saw a good deal of time last season in spot duty for Byrd early on(along with Leonhard), but do you see him as a full time starter? I really like him as a third safety you can put in the box and play on special teams personally.

Do you think Duke Williams could be the next guy or Meeks maybe? Or maybe a replacement could be found in the draft. Also what do you make of the defensive end position as a sleeper positional need? Do you see any of the “tweeners” (Hughes or Lawson among others) possible switching to or back to the d-end position? Or do they stay at linebacker? Look forward to hearing what you think thanks again!
Will

CB: Doug Marrone has given indication that Corey Graham will be given an opportunity to play safety alongside Aaron Williams, so he’ll be part of the competition and I like the open-minded thinking there. He’ll be in direct competition with Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks. I really liked what I saw from Williams in both the practice setting and the preseason last year. I think his athleticism caters well to the versatility you need nowadays at the safety position. He played corner at Nevada so coverage assignments down on the line aren’t an issue for him.

We just didn’t see enough of Meeks last year with the injury to know what he can offer. Searcy while capable of playing safety really carved out a niche for himself as a nickel LB. He had a very productive season there so I’m not sure the coaches will want to mess with that.

As for defensive end, I think the priority is getting Jerry Hughes signed to a long term deal as he enters the final year of his rookie deal. Provided they can get a deal done they should be okay there.

With coach Marrone saying at the league meetings last week that they’ll primarily be a 4-3 front defensively I do see Hughes and Lawson joining Mario Williams as the primary defensive ends in Jim Schwartz’s defense. Whether they decide to add through the draft remains to be seen, but that’s a pretty darn good trio.

 

4 – HI CHRIS,
I am absolutely delighted that the Bills have re-signed K Dan Carpenter,but I am perplexed as to why the Dolphins released him. Was he a problem in Miami or was it a money situation??
Regards from
Richard
Los Angeles

CB:
The Dolphins found him expendable because they drafted a kicker in the middle of the fifth round last year in Caleb Sturgis. Miami was apparently disappointed in Carpenter, who had struggled a bit early in the 2012 season and was hurt for the last two games that year. The investment in Sturgis practically predetermined how the “competition” was going to turn out in Miami last summer.

What I enjoyed was watching Carpenter succeed on almost 92 percent of his attempts, almost half of which came from 40-yards plus. He finished tied for 10th in the NFL in field goal accuracy and only two kickers ahead of him (Gostkowski, Tucker) had more attempts from 40-yard plus than him.

Meanwhile Sturgis finished 29th in field goal accuracy at 74.6%.

From 40-yards plus last season Carpenter was an impressive 14-for-17 (82.3%) including 4-for-6 from 50-yards plus. Sturgis was 11-for-17 (64.7%) and he played half his games in Miami. Carpenter had seven games in Buffalo.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I have a hypothetical question for you. If Sammy Watkins was still available when the Bills are picking do you think they may pass on him because he is reportedly to be represented by Eugene Parker? I think it would be a fair observation to say that Eugene Parker is developing a reputation for causing the Bills front office grief when it comes to contract negotiations with Jairus Byrd and Jason Peters being prime examples.

From an outsiders prospective if the Bills were to select Watkins and he performs as expected, then we would only have him for the length of his rookie contract before he ventures off to “greener pastures”. Do you think teams are impacted by who the players selects as their agent when deciding who to draft particularly in the first round?

Regards
Matt
CB: I don’t believe that NFL clubs factor in the agent for the player when assessing their grade for the player on their draft board. Knowing that I tend to believe the Bills and every other NFL team chooses a player based on his ability on the field, potential, character makeup, passion for the game and fit for their team. So if Sammy Watkins is on the board at nine, which I don’t think will happen, then I see the Bills running the card up to the podium with his name on it.

Your point is a valid one, but the opportunity to get one of the best prospects in the entire class at a position of need trumps any concern you might have about him staying with the team for his second contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Parameters set for Carpenter?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 28, 2014 – 10:36 am

Bills kicker Dan Carpenter is a player that GM Doug Whaley said they’d like to re-sign this offseason after he set career highs in field goals made (33) and field goal percentage (91.7%). With fellow kicker Graham Gano reportedly signing in Carolina, the parameters for a deal for Carpenter might be a bit clearer.

According to CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora, Gano has agreed to a new four-year deal.

Carpenter’s long distance numbers are pretty comparable to Gano’s. He was 14-16 from 40-yards plus last season including 4-6 from 50 yards or more. Gano was 11-13 from 40 yards plus, but 6-6 from 50 yards or more. Gano is also one of the most accomplished kickoff specialists as he was third in the league in touchbacks last season with 63. Carpenter had 34.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowboys deal for K Bailey sets bar high

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2014 – 2:22 pm

The Bills have already stated their desire to bring free agent to be Dan Carpenter back into the fold as their place kicker, but after the Dallas Cowboys re-signed their kicker Dan Bailey to giant extension Thursday, it’s going to prove to be a bit more difficult.

The Cowboys signed Bailey to a reported seven-year extension worth $23 million, which will pay him an average of $3.3M per season. He made his last 21 field goal attempts this past season, which left him 28 for 30 on the season. He also ranked fourth in the league in touchbacks with 52 in 2013.

His big leg on kickoffs is probably the additional asset he brings to the table that Carpenter does not, so perhaps that gives the Bills negotiating room with their kicker. But Carpenter was also 33 for 36 in 2013 and kicked in Buffalo in seven of the team’s 16 games.

Leave it to the Cowboys to drive up the market value.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How much erasing extra pt would cost kickers

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2014 – 12:38 pm

Kickers are routinely the highest scorers on their respective teams each and every season. The only field player in 2013 to eclipse 100 points was Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles with 114 and he still didn’t even outpace his kicker teammate Ryan Succop, who had 118. But if the extra point goes away, which has been raised as a possibility by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it could cost NFL kickers big when it comes to points scored.

The top 25 scoring kickers in 2013 averaged just over 126 points with New England’s Stephen Gostkowski the league leader at 158 points.

Those same top 25 scoring kickers also saw an average of almost 40 of their points come via the extra point.

For Bills kicker Dan Carpenter his 131 point season would be reduced to a 99-point season if the extra point no longer existed. He’d still be the team’s leading scorer for 2013, but that would not be the case for every kicker in the league.

Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop’s point total would drop from 118 to 66 since 44 percent of his points came on extra points this past season. Nineteen of Succop’s points would go directly to teammate Jamaal Charles, who had 19 touchdowns assuming Andy Reid chose to stick with the seven points a touchdown would give his team if the new rules were applied eliminating the extra point.

Other team leading scorers that would change under the new proposed rule would include the following assuming teams took the straight seven points a TD would net on its own instead of trying for eight:

New Orleans
old point total – Garrett Hartley – 107, Jimmy Graham – 96
new point total – Graham – 112, Hartley – 66

Denver
old point total – Matt Prater – 150, DeMaryius Thomas – 84
new point total – Thomas – 98, Knowshon Moreno – 91, Julius Thomas – 84, Eric Decker – 77, Prater – 75

Dallas
old point total – Dan Bailey – 131, Dez Bryant – 78
new point total – Bryan – 91, Bailey – 84

Chicago
old point total – Robbie Gould – 123, Brandon Marshall – 76, Matt Forte – 74
new point total – Marshall – 86, Forte – 86, Gould – 78

Detroit
old point total – David Akers – 99, Calvin Johnson – 72
new point total – Johnson – 84, Joique Bell – 58, Akers – 57

Cincinnati
old point total – Mike Nugent – 107, A.J. Green – 66
new point total – Green – 77, Marvin Jones – 70, Nugent – 54

Philadelphia
old point total – Alex Henery – 114, LeSean McCoy – 66
new point total – McCoy – 77, Henery – 69


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kicker market already set for Carpenter?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 9:09 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley made it clear on Monday that kicker Dan Carpenter is a free agent that the Bills will be pursuing moving forward. Carpenter’s 2013 season is admittedly very hard to ignore after he tied Steve Christie’s franchise record for makes in a season with 33, and set the record for most 50-yarders in a season with four. So what would it cost to retain the kicker by way of contract extension? To a certain extent the bar on the kicker market has already been set.

The Bills can thank the Chicago Bears. They re-signed K Robbie Gould last week. The third-most accurate kicker in NFL history despite kicking on grass in Chicago his whole career, just signed a reported four-year $15M extension with $9M guaranteed.

Gould was 26-29 on field goal attempts this season for a success rate of 89.7 percent. He also had hit 12 straight from 50-yards plus over the past couple of seasons before a 66-yard attempt at Minnesota in Week 13 broke the streak.

Carpenter meanwhile had a higher success rate in 2013 at 91.7 percent, the second-best in Bills team history.

Both kickers had a comparable number of attempts from between 20 and 40 yards (Carpenter – 19, Gould – 18) so the percentages aren’t skewed in favor of either kicker.

Gould is 32-years old, Carpenter is just 28, but Gould has a longer and more proven track record. He’s an 86 percent kicker for his career. Carpenter isn’t far behind at almost 84%, but he has 81 fewer attempts. He’s also just a 53.8 percent kicker from 50-yards plus where Gould is an impressive 76.2 percent kicker.

Touchback percentage could be a sticking point for Carpenter. Over the past three years, with the kickoff line up at the 35, Gould has had touchback percentages of 54.4, 58.5 and 45.2 percent. League touchback percentage was down this season. Gould’s ranked 15th in the league.

Carpenter’s touchback percentage the past three seasons was 57.4, 47.6 and 41.5 percent, with the first two figures coming from his days of kicking in Miami. Carpenter ranked 21st in the league in touchback percentage this season.

Buffalo does have a kickoff specialist on the roster in Dustin Hopkins, but the groin injury that landed him on I-R was a significant one.

The Bills intend to make Carpenter a competitive offer, but it’s unlikely that it will be close to Gould’s deal ($3.5M per season). Knowing the Bears far exceeded the 2013 franchise tag for kickers and punters ($2.977M) it’s hard to see the Bills even reaching that territory for a kicker that simply doesn’t have the same track record.

Carpenter said Monday he’s keeping all his options open and would not rule out a return to Buffalo.

“I’m open to anywhere,” he said. “I haven’t even spoken with my agent yet about it. My wife and I are going to sit down and have a talk after we start finding out what’s going to happen and make the best decision for my playing days and also our family.”

And for those who might think that kicking in Buffalo could be a deterrent for Carpenter remember he kicked at the University of Montana in college.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offer to be made to Byrd, Carpenter

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2013 – 5:58 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley said they intend to pursue some of their own free agents vigorously between now and the start of free agency. Chief among them Jairus Byrd and kicker Dan Carpenter.

“We’re going to leave all options on the table. We had a conversation myself and Russ (Brandon) sat and talked to Jairus and we’re going to make an offer to the guy,” said Whaley. “We’re going to try to keep him to the best of our ability. We’re in the business of collecting good players and he’s a good player.”

When asked if making use of the franchise tag could happen again, Whaley did not rule it out.

“That’s always an option,” said Whaley. “We’re not going to back ourselves into a corner and eliminate any possibility of trying to retain a good player.”

Dan Carpenter, who tied a team record with 33 field goals made (Steve Christie, 1998), said he’s keeping his options open, but Whaley made it clear he too will try to be re-signed.

“Absolutely,” Whaley said. “Russ (Brandon) and I talked to him and we’re going to reach out to his agents pretty soon and see if we can try and get something done.”

Whaley also said they intend to present Brian Moorman with an offer too.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carpenter closing on Christie

Posted by Chris Brown on December 25, 2013 – 10:05 am

Bills kicker Dan Carpenter has put together one heck of a year. With one game remaining he’ll have a chance to set the franchise record for more field goals made in a single season.

Carpenter is currently 31-34 on field goal attempts this year, good for the second most accurate kicking season in team annals (91.2%). If he puts just three attempts through the uprights Sunday at New England he’ll break Steve Christie’s mark set in 1998 when he made 33 field goals.

Carpenter is also an impressive 13-16 from 40-yards plus this season (81.25%), which is already better than Christie’s 40-yard plus percentage in his record setting season (10-14, 71.4%).

Here’s a look at the top three seasons of most field goals made in franchise history.

Overall 1 – 19 20 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50+ PAT
Player Season G M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Lg M A Pct Pts
1 Steve Christie 1998 Buf 16 33 41 80.5 1 1 100.0 10 12 83.3 12 14 85.7 9 11 81.8 1 3 33.3 52 41 41 100.0 140
2 Scott Norwood 1988 Buf 16 32 37 86.5 1 1 100.0 10 10 100.0 15 16 93.8 6 9 66.7 0 1 0.0 49 33 33 100.0 129
3t Dan Carpenter 2013 Buf 15 31 34 91.2 0 0 - 13 13 100.0 5 5 100.0 10 11 90.9 3 5 60.0 55 30 30 100.0 123
3t Steve Christie 1995 Buf 16 31 40 77.5 0 0 - 13 14 92.9 13 15 86.7 3 6 50.0 2 5 40.0 51 33 35 94.3 126

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Carpenter honored by Clayton

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2013 – 6:36 pm

Bills kicker Dan Carpenter had a 13-point day in Buffalo’s 19-0 win over Miami. It was enough to earn him a special teams honor from ESPN’s John Clayton.

Clayton named him his special teams player of the week. Here’s what he wrote.

Special teams: Former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter got revenge on his old team by going 4-for-4 on field goals in the Bills’ 19-0 victory over Miami.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

K Carpenter added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2013 – 11:35 am

Bills K Dan Carpenter was added to the Injury Report for tomorrow’s game against Miami with an illness.

His game status is Probable.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-29

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 12:05 pm

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving Bills fans. Here is your latest edition of queries on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey Chris
Long time Bills fan from Sacramento. First, thanks for all your hard work, you and John Murphy are a great team. You guys are my only source for my Bills fix until Sunday. My question is about the D-fence. With the Bills being bad against the run once again, why not put Alan Branch in the middle full time with Dareus. I know we want to change things and be multiple, to keep the offense guessing and confused. But it seems like we are setting the edge much better this season with Manny and company. Just curious on obvious running downs why not keep the bigs in the center.

Thanks
Jake B

CB: Hopefully you’ve seen that the run defense has improved. A big reason why is because Branch, who has stepped into Alex Carrington’s role as the five-technique (line up opposite outside shoulder of RT) is effectively holding the point of attack on run downs.

At times Dareus has been lined up at end, but that’s been on pass downs at times. With Dareus and Williams working so well off each other inside, it makes more sense to keep Branch at the strong side end position.

 

2 – Chris

As you watch the Bills games and other NFL games, do you believe the best way to build a team is to put almost all of your salary cap into the offense?  We are built to run right now and put money into the defense (which I am happy about) but if a defensive back touches the receiver- illegal contact, pull a jersey-pass interference, hits too hard – defenseless receiver 15 yards.

I now would have put the money into Andy Levitre or would attempt to draft or gain the best free agent offensive lineman in football and get blue chip receivers, tight ends.  I hope the NFL doesn’t think this arena style football is that great to watch.  It’s irritating to know that it’s this unbalanced for the defense.  The defense isn’t there to stop the offense, just slow them down until the clock runs out.

Thanks – TM

CB: I don’t debate for a second that the rules are slanted toward the offensive side of the ball, but to put the majority of your cap resources into your offense is foolish. Yes, it’s an offensive game, but that’s all the more reason to have a defense with the talent and ability to shut opponents down.

There aren’t too many one-sided teams that have won it all in the NFL. Perfect example is the 2007 Patriots. One of the most dominant offensive teams in NFL history did not win the Super Bowl. That was partly due to the fact that they were facing a team that had the defensive talent to shut them down. In the end the more balanced team won the NFL title that year.

 

3 – Hey Chris,
What’s up with K Dan Carpenter? Are the Bills happy enough to resign him to a longer contract or will they go with the injured rookie draft pick with the big leg next season?  Are we in for another kicker competition at SJF next summer?

Thanks
Lou

CB: There’s no question that Carpenter has been rock solid for Buffalo’s kicking game. There is essentially no book on Dustin Hopkins at this level. If Carpenter could be re-signed at reasonable money I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him competing with Hopkins at next year’s training camp.

 

4 – Chris,

Just wondering with the bye week this week and some weaker teams coming up, do the bills look past teams like Atlanta and Jacksonville and start preparing for the patriots or the big rivalry with the dolphins? And now that E.J. is back in the grove of things is he allowed more freedom to change his plays at the line of scrimmage?

Ron G
St. Catharines, On

CB: I think any coach or player would tell you that the minute they look past the opponent they have that week is the time when you lose a game you’re not supposed. The level of importance for each game in a 16-game schedule is so high that no team, coach or player can afford to look past any opponent.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I have recently been reading a couple of your responses to fan posts about the possibility of adding a big (or taller) receiver to our WR corps. which brings me to a question. If we need a big receiver why didn’t we keep one of the two that we had in David Nelson or Brandon Kaufmann? Nelson wasn’t a great receiver but had proven to be useful in the red zone & has since proved to be a target for the Jets . Brandon Kaufman was talked about in the preseason to have very soft hands & he also was a taller WR that with some experience could have been put to good use in the red zone & other places.

I know that one of the WR we have now would have had to been let go more than likely & to this point TJ has been pretty inconsistent when it comes to depending on him to make the tough catches (talking prior to the last game of course) so he would have been & still would be my candidate to have let go to keep either of the 2 I have asked about especially seeing as Easley has become a ST ace .

I also know that Stevie has been fighting injury this year so his production hasn’t been that good, but if his numbers were so good at the outside position what was the reason to try him in the slot given the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” question . Because prior to this year when we had Roscoe usually the smaller WR was used in the slot & Goodwin had a very good showing in that position last week . Once again I turn to your expertise to clear up some of my questions & again I thank you for your time & what you do to keep us all informed !!

Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: When it comes to adding a big receiver to the roster I think that is something they are looking to develop rather than acquire via a big investment either in the draft or via free agency. Buffalo has a few “big” receivers on their practice squad and I-R. Kevin Elliott, a player I was impressed with in the spring camps, unfortunately tore his ACL, and is on I-R, but goes 6’3” 205.

Tommy Streeter (6’5” 215) and Cordell Roberson (6’4” 205) are a pair of practice squad receivers, who would add some big time size to the receiving corps.

I’m not expecting Buffalo to heavily invest in a big wideout via the draft after using 2nd and 3rd round picks this past spring.

Perhaps if some of their practice squad prospects do not develop as they hope they could sign a veteran WR with size that’s affordable.

As for Stevie’s production I blame it primarily on the very in flux situation that occurred at QB with the injuries at that position and the learning curve that EJ Manuel traveled until recently.


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Posted in Inside the Bills