Sorry for the one week hiatus. A lot of news going down last week. OTAs are less than two weeks away. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
just curious why Bills have Felton and Conner?
CB: Doug Whaley has stated many times that any time they have a chance to make an upgrade they’re going to do so. The John Conner signing this week is an example of that. While I don’t deny that it’s unusual to have two proven fullbacks on one roster, I think Whaley and Rex Ryan subscribe to the philosophy of creating as much competition as possible in the training camp setting.
Conner will push Jerome Felton and that makes both players better. Ultimately Felton is going to be this team’s starting fullback, but if there’s an injury Conner is a fantastic fall back option. Can Conner convince the coaches to make an exception and keep two fullbacks? With the depth of this roster that’s going to be difficult, but you can’t fault a team for trying to get better everywhere and driving up the level of competition.
2 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for your continued pursuit of giving a small market team, big time exposure.
I know the McCoy/Alonso deal has been discussed ad nauseum and much like most Bills fans, I found myself conflicted and constantly flip-flopping on how to feel. At the end of the day, the organization is making an aggressive play to enhance the offense, which is definitely something I support. Having said that, seeing that the Bills were willing to commit heavy resources to a running back I’m uncertain of what to feel hypothesizing that we could have signed Demarco Murray for less money and still retained Kiko (whether to keep or to use as a potential trade asset). Both backs are elite and I don’t wish to jibber-jabber over which one is better, but how can a cogent argument be made that McCoy > Demarco + Kiko?
Keep up the great work.
CB: While I think most would acknowledge that DeMarco Murray + Kiko Alonso is better than just LeSean McCoy, you’re operating under the assumption that Murray would be interested in signing with Buffalo.
It’s possible he may have been willing to sign with the Bills. We’ll probably never know, but Murray is a year older than McCoy. Unlike McCoy, who avoids the kill shots of defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties, Murray takes big hits. I think one could argue that the cumulative wear and tear on Murray is greater than on McCoy.
Now that doesn’t dismiss your argument that Murray + Alonso would be better than just McCoy, but I’m not convinced Murray would’ve signed here.
3 – Hi Chris, thank you to you and your team for all the off season coverage.
I have to think Suh signing this contract hurts us in two ways. 1, he bolsters the Dolphins defense and we have to go up against him twice a year. 2, did he set the market for Marcell Dareus as a free agent? Dareus was considered the best tackle against the run last year, and had more tackles and sacks than Suh. If Marcell doesn’t drop off this year wouldn’t he command the same contract as Suh? We saw what happens without Marcell in the lineup, just look at the Oakland game before and after his injury. Do you think the Bills can afford to re-sign him, and if so, is that at the expense of asking Mario Williams to restructure his contract or full on releasing him?
CB: The Bills maintain that their cap structure will allow for a long term contract extension for Dareus. He’s the linchpin of the defensive interior for the long term future.
You’re right the Suh deal did set the market. I think in an ideal world the Bills have Dareus signed to a long term deal before the 2015 season commences. The more he performs on the field the more his price goes up, so it would behoove the Bills to seal a deal before September. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
4 – Hi Chris
Do the Bills have any definite plans for Marcus Thigpen? Is he still on the roster? Percy Harvin is arguably a better all-around player, but in all the mentions of Buffalo “weapons” I’ve not once heard Thigpen’s name.
CB: Thigpen is still on the roster yes. Harvin is clearly a better all-around player. Thigpen was a punt return specialist on this team last season after Leodis McKelvin broke his ankle. And while he did do a good job this roster became even harder for him to make with the offseason additions, Harvin chief among them. With McKelvin expected to be ready by training camp, the team’s primary punt returner will be back in the fold. So Thigpen, though very capable, may get caught up in a numbers game at the receiver position.
5 – Chris,
With the addition of Harvin, how do you expected the formations to look like? How does it change the role of Robert Woods, who had a great 2nd half of the season. Harvin might cut into Watkin’s targets, I like to see Watkin’s used more creatively.
Is Goodwin on the bubble to make the roster? I’d like to see a coach that will throw him the ball.
CB: I think the Greg Roman offense is going to be as multiple as possible with a myriad of pre-snap formations and shifts. So to give you an answer about formations would be like trying to hit a moving target. I expect Harvin to line up outside opposite Watkins, with Woods working more in the slot in this offense. Hogan would work the other slot in four-wide looks.
Based on Rex Ryan’s comments it sounds like Goodwin will get a far better opportunity to prove that he belongs on this roster than he did from the previous staff. I wouldn’t call him a bubble player, but from a pure numbers standpoint he’s going to have a challenge on his hands.
Tags: DeMarco Murray, Fan Friday, Jerome Felton, John Conner, Kiko Alonso, LeSean McCoy, Marcell Dareus, Marcus Thigpen, Marquise Goodwin, Percy Harvin, Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills
Dallas RB Felix Jones, who has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain might be ready to return to the Cowboys lineup on Sunday against the Bills.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Jones went through a rehab workout Monday and did some cutting off the recovering ankle for the first time. All signs were encouraging and owner Jerry Jones stated that the running back has a chance to return this week.
Even if he does it’s expected that he’ll have a reduced role in light of the injury and the emergence of his backup DeMarco Murray. Murray in Jones’ absence has run for 466 yards on 55 carries and is averaging almost 8.5 yards per carry.
Tags: DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Jerry Jones
Posted in Inside the Bills
A lot of the Senior Bowl prospects here in Mobile have former college teammates that have gone on to the NFL before them, and they’re often good at offering advice and giving their younger teammates an idea as to what’s coming in the course of the pre-draft process. But no one has quite the resources that Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray has at his disposal.
Pitt OT Jason Pinkston has Carolina’s Jeff Otah. USC DB Shareece Wright has Taylor Mays, but Murray has them all beat as he stays in contact with three of the top four draft choices from the 2010 NFL draft.
“I’ve talked to Sam (Bradford), Trent (Williams) and Gerald (McCoy). They all told me the same thing, come out here be yourself and have fun, but the number one goal is to compete and this is the biggest job interview that I’ll ever have in my life,” said Murray. “It all comes down to coming out here and playing hard. That’s what it comes down to.”
Oklahoma had three players come off the board in the first four picks with Bradford going to St. Louis, McCoy to Tampa Bay and Williams to Washington. A fourth, Jermaine Gresham went 21st overall to Cincinnati. Add in the fact that Murray will exchange the occasional text with the running back he succeeded in Adrian Peterson and odds are Murray will be ready for anything through the rest of the pre-draft process.
Murray is forecast by some as a late second or early third-round pick.
Tags: DeMarco Murray, Senior Bowl
Posted in Inside the Bills