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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

S Dixon says he met with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2014 – 3:30 pm

Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon is a big time hitter and spent some time with the Bills this weekend.

Forecast as a fourth-round pick, Dixon confirmed he met with Buffalo for an interview. He was used in a couple of different roles for the Bears including a hybrid nickel linebacker-safety role not that different from the role played by Buffalo’s Da’Norris Searcy.

He is active in run support and has decent coverage ability. Dixon is expected to run in the mid-4.5s Tuesday.

The Baylor safety was ejected from the TCU game this past season for targeting and was suspended for the first half of the following game against Texas as a result. Dixon said he has not been asked about the ejection by any of the teams that interviewed him to this point.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills Friday injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2013 – 2:41 pm

We already know that Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods are out for Sunday. Here’s how the rest of the injury report shapes up for the Bills with S Da’Norris Searcy the only remote concern.

Searcy was only able to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday, but is listed as probable and is expected to play.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation   Friday

Game Status

Kyle Williams

DT

Achilles

FP

Probable

Robert Woods

WR

Ankle

DNP

Out

Stevie Johnson

WR

Groin

DNP

Out

Da’Norris Searcy

S

Hamstring

LP

Probable


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy limited, but looking ok for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2013 – 3:52 pm

Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy missed Wednesday’s practice, but participated on a limited basis on Thursday leaving head coach Doug Marrone encouraged about Searcy’s availability for Sunday’s game.

“Searcy looked good,” said Marrone. “No issues there. Unless he has a setback during the week he should be in great shape.”

Here’s the Thursday updated injury report for the Bills.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation   Wednesday

Participation   Thursday

Kyle Williams

DT

Achilles

DNP

FP

Robert Woods

WR

Ankle

DNP

DNP

Stevie Johnson

WR

Groin

DNP

DNP

Da’Norris Searcy

S

Hamstring

DNP

LP


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy back practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2013 – 11:54 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday that S Da’Norris Searcy was expected to practice on Thursday. That has proven to be the case.

Searcy is dressed and participating in practice. Marrone indicated that it would likely be on a limited basis.

Searcy’s hamstring stain suffered last week was considered minor.

Not practicing are Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Lawson good to go

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 5:22 pm

Bills LB Manny Lawson left Sunday’s game with what was reported to be a hamstring injury and did not return. But on Monday head coach Doug Marrone indicated that Lawson would be fine for this week’s game.

When asked about Lawson’s injury status, Marrone stated succinctly that Lawson is good to go.

“He’s good. No problems,” said Marrone.

Having Lawson back in the lineup will be a big help to holding the edge against the run and on coverage assignments. He’s currently third on the team in tackles behind Kiko Alonso and Da’Norris Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Byrd glad to see action again

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2013 – 11:18 pm

Bills FS Jairus Byrd was back on the game field for the first time in nine months Sunday, but was not a full-time starter against the Bengals. Still the safety was happy just to be lining up with his defensive teammates again.

“It felt good,” said Byrd. “It felt really good. You take this game for granted sometimes, and it was really good just to get back out there and be with my teammates and get in the swing of things and play again.”

Byrd was used as a third safety in some of the defense’s subpackages, while Jim Leonhard and Da’Norris Searcy served as the base defense safeties.

“We had a lot of packages going in they just kind of rotated us around and just kind of disguised a little bit,’ he said. “It was good to get back out there.”

Whether Byrd’s role increases or changes moving forward remains to be seen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills DBs on high alert with Browns throwing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2013 – 8:51 am

With the Browns leading the league in pass attempts and averaging almost 46 pass attempts a game, Buffalo’s secondary is going to be on high alert.

The main concerns are TE Jordan Cameron, who leads the team with 30 receptions and five touchdowns, four of which have come in the last two games. WR Josh Gordon is another go-to guy with 28 targets in the last two games.

Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy, fresh off a four pass breakup performance against Baltimore is well aware that passes figure to be flying everywhere when they’re on the field.

“You’ve got to be alert regardless especially now that the NFL is becoming a passing league,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t necessarily have one specific guy they go to especially with this team. They love to spread it around so pretty much everybody is live so we have to cover everybody.”

“Any time you get big physical receivers, quarterback s like to throw it up and give them a chance, figuring that the worst thing that’s going to happen is an incomplete pass,” said Jim Leonhard. “We get challenged every week.  We realize that being a young secondary, we’re going to get tested every week.  This Thursday is not going to be any different.”

The added challenge for the Bills is the likelihood that they’ll have more moving parts in the defensive backfield this week with Aaron Williams (low back) and Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) still on the mend.

“We’ve got to make sure our communication is down pat, which is going to be tough with the short week and all, but with the extra meeting time we have, we just are making sure we’re on one accord and get these guys covered,” said Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2013 – 11:40 pm

After a solid performance that included a tone-setting coverage tackle on the opening kickoff to his eight tackles, fumble return for a touchdown and a sack, Da’Norris Searcy is going to be on the local airwaves Monday morning.

Searcy will appear on the Howard Simon show on the Bills Radio Network on WGR Sportsradio 550 at 8:40 am.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-16

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 12:30 pm

Preseason game number two tonight against the Vikings and a big night for Kevin Kolb. Here are some of your latest questions for this last edition of Fan Friday before the end of training camp. Keep the questions coming on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I’m sure your sick of comments and questions about Jairus Byrd but my question I didn’t hear many talk about is this: did the Bills (or Byrd for that matter) consider that Byrd may have a tremendous year and increase his value even more next year leading to an even high price tag? If the Bills do what they are hoping he will do during his franchise year did they not cost themselves more money by not coming up a little higher to sign him this year? Or, if that was a consideration, does that not tell us there will be no attempt to sign Byrd long term after this season and this season is nothing more than a bridge to get one of the Williams’ ready?

Thanks,
Ron

CB: Bills GM Doug Whaley has gone on record saying they will still pursue a long term contract agreement with Jairus Byrd after the regular season concludes. At this point you have to take Whaley at his word as the team’s new GM. In my experience Whaley usually means what he says.

Now all that being said there is some merit to the argument of signing a player to an extension a year prior to their contract being up. If for example, the Bills are convinced that Alex Carrington is going to have a monster season in this the last year of his contract, they might opt to try to sign him before this season starts.

Is there a risk? Absolutely. He could have a down year or sustain a career-threatening injury. But there’s a risk in every decision an NFL GM makes. That’s why their salaries are where they are. When there’s a significant call to be made, they’re paid to make significantly more right decisions than wrong ones.
2 – Hi Chris,

I am a former season ticket holder (tunnel endzone) from the glory days of the late 80s and early 90s now living in SC.  Thanks for all you do to keep out of town Bills fans up to date.  I’m intrigued by the Bills corps of receivers.  I have heard about the speed of Graham and Goodwin.  Do you think either has the route running ability to be the next Victor Cruz inside?  I have heard about the route running ability of Woods.  Does he have the potential to be a Wes Welker inside bracketed between Stevie, Graham, and Chandler?  Da’ Rick is also interesting.  Where do you see him in this mix?

As far as team analysis I see our biggest areas of need as the O Line (need a tackle and two guards), an outside linebacker that can rush and compliment Mario, and a second corner to pair with Gilmore as I feel McKelvin is too small and better suited to slot defender. Your thoughts?

Thanks,
John in SC

CB: Woods is a polished route runner, but he’s not a Wes Welker. Welker’s quickness in and out of cuts is rare. Woods is a sharp route runner, but he wins more on hesitation, change of speed and shoulder fakes than pure quickness. Stevie Johnson is the primary slot receiver. Woods would be the number two.

To say one would have similar production to Victor Cruz has more to do with the quarterback throwing him the ball than their own exploits.

Da’Rick Rogers is strictly an outside receiver. Big and physical with soft hands, he needs more discipline with his route running, but when he gets it he could explode.

McKelvin right now is the best option to line up opposite Stephon Gilmore when healthy. At 5’10” 185 his size is adequate and his arms are long, which helps in coverage. Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers and Nickell Robey are considerably smaller in stature and better suited inside. McKelvin is probably best as a boundary corner.

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

What is up with Mario? How come he doesn’t interview after practice? Did they ever say what it was with his foot?
Thanks
jvsafy

CB: He does usually once a week during the regular season and occasionally during training camp. Last night he did not stop for an interview because he had to get treatment with the athletic trainers. Head coach Doug Marrone did not say it was his foot that needed treatment. During camp there is typically an assortment of bumps and bruises that players experience that needs attention, especially linemen who endure more physical contact than other players.

I’m not trying to be a Mario apologist here, but even if it was his foot that necessitated the treatment I’d at least take comfort in the fact that he’s trying to take care of what’s nagging at him.
4 – Chris,

I appreciate the work you do on the Bills site, nice job.

A few points – when it comes to Byrd I think the Bills want to let this season play out and let some of their young safeties get some game reps (I.e. Searcy, A Williams, D Williams, Meeks) and see where they stand at the end of the year. While I think Byrd is a very good all-around player, the one thing I think he lacks, is that he is not a particularly big hitter, and I think that can change a defense when their safeties will hit.

The O line position that I think is more important than left guard is right tackle. Who do you think the right tackle will be, and how good of play do you think the Bills will get from that position?

We hear so much about the Bills up tempo offense but to me, that is not really an offense. Conceptually, in terms of routes, blocking schemes and personnel groupings, what do you think the Bills offense will look like?

Do you think the Bills need a legitimate big back? Certainly, CJ is a supreme talent, but to me, he is a space player, and to me 20 touches a game would be ideal. To me, Fred is a good all-around player, a good pass protector, a good screen game back, and a runner who makes his yards on a combination of vision, balance and using his blocks. But I think the Bills would benefit from a legitimate big running back. I think such a player could help on the goal line, third and short, and be a good complement to CJ and Fred. What do you think?

Chris

CB: Okay a lot to cover here. First, I disagree with your assessment that Jairus Byrd is not a hitter. He absolutely is a hitter. Evidence of that comes from the fact that since the 2009 season, no other safety in the league has more forced fumbles than him. He’s got 10. That being said the bigger hitters of the current contingent are Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams.

Right now I think the right tackle will be Erik Pears, who finally appears recovered from groin and hip problems the past two seasons. He’s moving as well as I’ve seen him and he’s as tough as they come. Chris Hairston, who is still on PUP, may very well miss all of training camp as he has not been moved onto the active roster yet.

Couple that with the fact that Sam Young and Thomas Welch have been unable to unseat him and it looks like Pears’ job to lose.

Concerning the Bills offense yes it will be up tempo, but it is a unique system that no one else is running. So I’ll give you the details that won’t give up the brilliance behind it. The easy identification is that it’s fast, but it’s also multiple personnel, slightly more run than pass (probably 52% to 48%) with stretch the field components. It has West Coast system roots with a physical edge to it.

It won’t be complicated, just fast and multiple in terms of looks.

If Fred Jackson is not the kind of goal line back you want because you don’t think he’s big enough Kendall Gaskins is the only back in camp (who isn’t a fullback) that is bigger. He’s 6’1” 238 and he can lay the lumber. He’s had a nice camp, but whether he can unseat Tashard Choice remains to be seen.

5 - @ChrisBrownBills

how’s Carrington doing? Was projected as breakout player but haven’t heard much about him?

TerryBdattd

CB: If you haven’t heard or seen much you might be living under a rock. He’s been a routine component of our highlight reels on Bills Roundup every evening we cover the day that was in training camp. I’ll let defensive coordinator Mike Pettine give you the assessment of the kind of camp he’s had (high praise).

“He’s a guy that we have a saying where we talk about playing like Bill, tough, competitive, productive, relentless, all the traits that we’re looking for in our guys,” said Pettine. “You go right down the list and he’s every one of them. He’s a guy that loves football, wants to get better, wants to get coached hard, asks the tough questions and it just shows up in his play.

“He’s probably our most technically sound guy up front. We emphasize to our guys that we want to get knock back on the offensive line and he’s probably our most consistent guy doing that, but the position he’s in I don’t think he’s going to show up on the stat sheet as much from a scheme standpoint. But to me he’s going to be one of the more important pieces of our defense.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills have contingencies at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2013 – 10:09 am

While the Jairus Byrd franchise tender remains unsigned by the Pro Bowl safety, Buffalo hasn’t sat idly by hoping the situation get resolved sooner rather than later. Buffalo drafted a pair of safeties and transitioned Aaron Williams from corner to safety early in the spring practices.

Williams showed promise as he was one of the two leading interceptors in the spring workouts in Buffalo’s secondary. His confidence appeared to grow, as well as the confidence the defensive staff has in him.

“I think he’s ahead of schedule of where we thought he would be,” said Mike Pettine of Williams. “He’s flashed just the things that we saw in him as far as being a safety. He’s had some interceptions and obviously his range his ability to get sideline to sideline is obviously something we’re going to take advantage of.”

Buffalo also drafted a pair of safeties in the middle rounds in Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks. Though it appears that Williams will see some time at cornerback too. Da’Norris Searcy, Dominique Ellis and Mana Silva are other options that have seen time with the top two defensive lineups in the spring.

None of them have Byrd’s experience and none of them are proven commodities at that position in the NFL. It’ll certainly be a position that bears watching in training camp whether Byrd signs and reports or not.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Martin back

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2012 – 11:34 am

Bills WR Ruvell Martin was excused for personal reasons this week and missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but is back practicing here on Friday.

The only non-participant in practice is S Da’Norris Searcy, who has already been declared out for Sunday’s game against the Jets.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy, Martin not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2012 – 2:16 pm

Only a pair of non-participants at Bills practice today.

Da’Norris Searcy and Ruvell Martin are not practicing. We’ll have a post practice update.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy to miss finale

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2012 – 1:14 pm

Bills S Da’Norris Searcy will miss the season finale against the Jets due to injury.

Searcy suffered a groin injury against the Dolphins Sunday and won’t be ready to play this week according to head coach Chan Gailey.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kyle, Searcy limited

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2012 – 4:07 pm

DT Kyle Williams and S Da’Norris Searcy both returned to practice Thursday, but did not do everything.

“Searcy was back and he was limited, but looked good,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “Kyle was the same thing, limited as well.”

Williams returned to practice a day earlier than he did the previous week and is expected to be fine to play on Sunday against the Titans. Williams and Searcy are both dealing with ankle injuries.


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Searcy back, Urbik sits

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2012 – 2:10 pm

Da’Norris Searcy is back practicing after sitting out Wednesday’s practice, but Kraig Urbik may have taken a step back.

After practicing Wednesday on a limited basis Urbik is not doing anything here on Thursday.

We’ll get an update on his status after practice.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy to rotate with Wilson

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2012 – 10:50 am

It happened in Week 1 and it will continue in Week 2. Defensive co-captain George Wilson will rotate at strong safety with second-year player Da’Norris Searcy.

That according to head coach Chan Gailey, who confirmed to Buffalobills.com, that Searcy has earned playing time on defense.

“We’re just trying to let both of them play,” said Gailey. “Da’Norris has earned the right to play some with his play. So we’re trying to keep them both fresh and let them play.”

The rotation is just one of many for the Bills. Justin Rogers is expected to rotate at the nickel with Leodis McKelvin, Terrence McGee is expected to rotate at left cornerback with Aaron Williams and Erik Pears is expected to rotate at right tackle with Chris Hairston.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-10

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2012 – 11:30 am

Well preseason game number one is in the books. Just another four days of camp and the team returns to One Bills Drive. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills on twitter.

1 - Chris,
I was wondering what kind if influence an improved defense would have on the offensive play calling?  If (IF) this bill’s defense can live up to its billing, will Fitzpatrick need to throw as much?

CB: I asked both Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick this very question a while back. Both indicated that when you’re playing with a lead more often there’s less of a need to take risks. Here’s exactly what they had to say about your question.

“You have a football team,” said Gailey. “You don’t have an offense, a defense and special teams. You have a football team and the objective is to win the game. So you’re always adjusting to what the situation in the game is and if we’re in closer ball games and we have leads you do change your thought process and the way you approach the game. And it allows Fitz to alter the way he approaches the game a little bit. We’ve got to continue to work that because we’ve not been in that situation in the last couple of years.”

I think it allows you to limit the risks you take,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think if you’re in games all the time and not falling behind whether it’s from a poor performance early from the offense or whatever it is, you certainly have to be a smarter and more reserved quarterback. With our offense there are going to be times where we take chances because that’s what makes us good as well. But there’s a balance we have to find there in terms of when we’re taking those chances and when to take the checkdown.”

 

2 - Hey Chris,

Thanks for your daily articles and updates.  I had a question about offensive tackle based on your latest article.  A lot of scouts seem to believe that both Glenn and Hairston could be great RT’s.  So why is there only competition at LT?  I think Pears played well last year at RT and I’m glad we have him, but I think he still has plenty to prove.  It’s not like he’s an All-Pro, but it seems like he’s just being handed the RT job without having to compete for it.  Why shouldn’t the loser of the LT competition be considered for the starting spot on the right side?  Isn’t it possible that Glenn and Hairston could be the two best OT’s on the team?

 Thanks,
Ed
Denver, CO

CB: It’s my opinion that Erik Pears had a very good season last year from start to finish. He was a much stronger player after spending an offseason in Buffalo’s conditioning program and put on 20 pounds. His play was rewarded with a three-year contract extension.

Right now he’s working back from a groin strain in camp, so Hairston has been forced to line up on the right side. I think part of the reason RT has been Pears job and his job only (before injury) is because he played very consistently last season and is a veteran presence on what is a pretty young line.

I’m not saying at some point the player that finishes second in the LT competition can’t be the team’s starting right tackle, but I think there’s value in continuity as well and keeping Pears at RT knowing he can do the job is viewed as the best idea by the staff moving forward (provided he’s healthy).

 

3 - Hey Chris,

My question is who are going to be the backups in the secondary? Where do you see Bryan Scott? Do you see much from Searcy? There was a lot of talk about him when the Bills drafted him but hadn’t heard much.

Respectfully,

bigfoot21 here is sunny South Carolina.

 

CB: Bryan Scott is a linebacker in the nickel packages and that’s really the extent of his role. Da’Norris Searcy as we’ve mentioned several times in our daily Practice Notes reports has been getting time with the starting unit rotating in for both George Wilson and Jairus Byrd. I think the staff wants to try to find a role for him presumably in a subpackage (nickel, dime).

I think sooner rather than later Searcy will be making an impact on Buffalo’s defense. He’s been impressive in the time he’s been with the ones on the practice field. We’ll see what he can do in the preseason.

 

4 - Hi Chris, thanks for all the information through the years. Living in San Diego, my son and I only see the Bills in enemy territory. I am trying to take him back to Buffalo to show him how a real football crowd is.

My question is does Shawn Powell or John Potter have any realistic chance making this team? Though I like the veterans, these young players look pretty good and it might be time for a change. Again thanks, Art
CB: I think Potter could make the roster as a kickoff specialist and kicker on long field goal attempts 55-yards plus. Chan Gailey has made no secret of his feelings about what kind of a weapon he believes Potter can be if he can prove that he can deliver touchbacks with regularity. He basically told me that if Potter can guarantee the opponent is starting in their own 20-yard line every time then it’s worth using a roster spot.

As for Powell I think he’s got an uphill battle. He has raw talent, but he’s not as consistent or polished as Moorman. In a year where the Bills are gunning for the playoffs you keep the guy you can count on punt in and punt out.

 

5 - Hi Chris, thank you for taking my question.

Is Vince Young getting the same attention from Coach Lee on his mechanics and decision making as Fitz is? And if so is he seeing any improvement in his game?

I appreciate your insight. Thanks!

- Chris Kenyon (Albany, NY)

CB: Vince Young is being schooled on the same lower body mechanics as Fitz. The same with Thigpen. A quarterbacks coach works with all of his players and David Lee is no different. Young has performed better over the past week of camp with his accuracy. Young’s arm delivery isn’t prototype, but because he’s so tall it’s a throwing motion that can work in the NFL.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bell, Searcy earn praise

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2012 – 8:46 am

The stat crunchers and film reviewers at Pro Football Focus took a closer look at who was “trending” up this season in the AFC East this past season and Buffalo has two players singled out for some praise.

In their AFC East write up in the category of most improved was OT Demetrius Bell. Granted he missed eight games with a broken collarbone, but by their evaluation standards he improved most from 2010 (when he was essentially playing on one leg) to 2011. Here’s what they wrote.

Demetrius Bell: From (2010) -13.0 to +6.8
When Bell first started for the Bills in 2009 he looked out of his depth. He wasn’t quite so bad in 2010, but he looked far from competent at the left tackle spot. He did just doing enough to make you think that he warranted another try if nothing else. Still, his performance in his 401 snaps this year was something of a surprise, with Bell giving up just a sack, hit, and pressure on his 252 pass blocks. It would have been nice to see more of him, but what we did see suggests the Bills may have been right to show patience.

In the category of deserving of more snaps was former fourth-round pick Da’Norris Searcy. Here’s what they wrote.

Da’Norris Searcy: +2.7 on 231 snaps
It may be tough for Searcy to find more playing time with the combo of Jairus Byrd and George Wilson having been such a good one this season. The Bills’ fourth-round pick in 2011 showed he had something, most notably with a standout display against Miami in Week 11. A flash in the pan, or something more, only more playing time will tell.

George Wilson is an unquestioned leader on defense, played very well in 2011 and was the quarterback of the secondary, but Searcy will provide a strong push for playing time. It will likely be one of the more intriguing training camp position battles this summer.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Searcy chops dreds

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2012 – 2:33 pm

Knowing football players can be tough to recognize with all the time they spend in helmets, it might not be a big deal, but Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy has changed his look (haircut).

Searcy chopped off all of his dreadlocks that he had during the 2011 season. Here’s his twitter avatar as proof.

 

 

One note, the last Bills players to completely shed their dreadlocks was Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones and that turned out pretty well. We’ll hope for similar results for Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills