Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-16

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2018 – 1:10 pm

Free agency is rolling as is the trade market. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills or on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

I know Beane said the money is spent…but can they still bring back a few vet minimum guys like Leonard Johnson or Cedric Thornton or Deonte Thompson? All were nice contributors and should not cost much

Lead the Stampede
@Jack_WanderS

CB: Beane did say today that they would be able to do some small signings. In my mind that includes things like veteran minimum deals for players like the ones you mentioned. Probably one-year deals.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think bills slow play the draft or swing for the fences? He has now said both ways. Last year he said no price too high for a franchise QB now he saying if a guy falls. What’s your gut saying?

David Ayotte
@Dhayotte75David

CB: I think Brandon Beane said he doesn’t know whether they’ll move up in the draft or not because there is no way to predict that. The reason why is there is no way for him to know for sure if there will be a willing trade partner in the area where he might feel he has to reach to get the quarterback he might want.

That’s the one variable that no one can count on. There may be a team interested, there may not. So as much as you may want to move up there, if you don’t have someone willing to trade out, it’s not going to happen.

I do believe if the Bills truly want to get the quarterback they may or may not covet, they have to get up to the Giants spot at two.

When Washington did that in the 2012 draft, they executed the trade in the middle of March, six weeks before the draft. They had the sixth pick and to move up just four spots they gave up their pick at six to the Rams and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 and a second-round pick.

Then in the 2015 draft Philadelphia moved up from pick 8 to pick 2 just 10 days before the draft, giving up a third and a fourth-round pick in 2015 along with a first-round pick in 2017 and second-round pick in 2018.

If they want to make such a move, I think the Bills do it closer to the draft like the Eagles.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

We know they are moving around to draft a young QB but what’s their plan at WR?

JW Mills.
@JWMiller8050

CB: Right now on the roster they have Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Malachi Dupre, Andre Holmes, Zay Jones, Brandon Reilly and Rod Streater.

I would anticipate with the WR market thin and lacking in the upgrade department that the Bills will draft a wideout at some point in the draft. There are not a lot of speed receivers in this year’s class, but a healthy number of productive players whose talent should translate well to the next level when it comes to gaining separation.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, what is the plan for the interior o-line? Who’s the starting center or is that coming via draft?

Mike Bourg
@Mic_bg

CB: The starting center is expected to be Ryan Groy, who started the last seven games of the 2016 after Eric Wood broke his leg. He’s a great alternative.

The Bills do need to add some youth to the interior and it couldn’t hurt to add some depth at offensive tackle with Cordy Glenn traded to Cincinnati and Seantrel Henderson signing with Houston.

The good news is this is a very good draft class of interior lineman. So finding some new, young talent shouldn’t be terribly difficult.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

After the Glenn trade, experts assume the Bills are going to go up even higher. Is it possible they stay at 12, take one of the big 4 if they fall or just take Lamar Jackson, and then use all of their picks to inject youth into what is currently a very old roster?

Josh McCarty
@Josh_McCarty28

CB: Anything is possible in the draft. Beane is excited knowing if he can’t move up the board that he’s going to get a better prospect at 12 than he would’ve gotten at 21. I doubt they take Lamar Jackson at 12. I don’t think many teams value him that high.

If they stood pat and used all of their picks they could do some real damage and build their roster quickly. They’re the only team in the league with six picks in the top 100. Cleveland is the only team that comes close with five picks in the first two rounds.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-16

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2018 – 11:33 am

Lets’ get right to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hi Chris,

Many thanks for all the updates and info this past season. With all the focus on the upcoming draft is there any chance the Bills look to keep Tyrod with a new OC whose scheme may better fit Tyrod’s skill set? Then look to fill holes with all the draft picks they have acquired and/or hope one of the non-top 5 QB’s are still there at 21/22? I realize it is early in the process as GM Beane noted and a lot could change.

Thank you.
Bryon
Plattsburgh, NY

 

CB: You’re right that a lot can change between now and the week after the NFL draft. That being said, I think there is a real possibility that Tyrod Taylor remains the starter. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the quarterback position in terms of what could be available in free agency and who is affordable in a way that doesn’t cripple a team’s cap situation.

As for new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, he certainly comes in with very recent experience working with a mobile quarterback in Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.

I’m sure there will be a lot of conversations among the offensive staff this offseason as to what, and with whom, their best approach would be to move the offense forward. The passing game was frankly substandard last season. Can Daboll help to improve it with Taylor in the lineup?

That’s the big question.

The next question is what other quarterback talent can the Bills realistically acquire in terms of price tag and/or draft capital.

There may not be defined answers on the draft capital question until a week or two before the draft. And with more demand than supply concerning free agent QBs, the price to acquire one is going up and some teams are likely going to overpay.

I get the sense that Bills GM Brandon Beane isn’t big on overpaying, even at QB.

 


2 –
Hi Chris,

Do you think the Bills will draft another wide receiver? Or do you believe that Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson, and Brandon Tate are sufficient?

Your thoughts,
Tony Falzone
Daytona Beach, FL

CB: Perhaps the most important factor about your question is 60 percent of the players you mentioned are impending free agents. Matthews, Thompson and Tate all have expiring contracts come March.

It’s hard to know what each of those players is thinking, although I do know that Thompson enjoyed playing in Buffalo this past year having spoken with him.

Matthews needs a high-volume passing attack to maximize his value. Over the last three years the Bills are dead last in the league in pass attempts at just over 29 per game. Unless there’s a dramatic shift planned by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, or a significant change at QB, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan Matthews looks elsewhere.

Let’s not forget too that he’s coming off a pair of offseason surgeries, so he may have to sign a one-year prove it deal, and that would only increase his need to find a high-volume passing attack.

Thompson and Tate should be affordable options to bring back to the fold. Hopefully a full offseason helps Kelvin Benjamin blend into the passing game more effectively and Zay Jones takes a big step in season two of his career.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What position do you see the Bills making their biggest-dollar signing at in free agency, presuming they look to make another Micah Hyde-level signing?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I don’t get the overwhelming sense that the Bills will be big spenders in free agency. GM Brandon Beane has made it clear he is still trying to get the Bills cap in a more flexible position and sees free agency as a means to set themselves up for the draft.

To me that means filling some positional holes with value-based signings, not big splash type moves.

If there were to be a signing the level of Micah Hyde this offseason I think it would be at linebacker, defensive tackle or cornerback. And to be clear, not all three, but rather at one of those three positions. That is where they are short on numbers when it comes to starting-caliber players.

It’s reasonable to believe Beane would like to have a starting-caliber player plugged in at one of those positions prior to the draft at the very least.

 

4@ChrisBrownBills

There are numerous reports out there that the Bills have been scouting Josh Rosen extensively, do you think the Bills perceived high interest in him is smoke and mirrors, or will do what’s necessary to go get him?

Michael McMasters
@kidmickey85

CB: To be truthful I’d be disappointed if the Bills didn’t scout Josh Rosen and every other top quarterback prospect extensively. Buffalo’s scouting department wouldn’t be doing their level best if they didn’t scout each QB prospect extensively. It’s par for the course.

To what lengths would the Bills go to land Rosen, or any other QB prospect that may be at the top of their board?

That’s tough to peg, only because I believe it will largely depend on how the top of the board unfolds.

I don’t see the Bills paying a king’s ransom to get to the top of the board. There are just too many other holes for the team to address. Solving the quarterback position for the long term is perhaps the most important hole to fill, but a dozen other teams are looking to do the same thing.

That drives up the cost of doing business to accomplish that.

I think GM Brandon Beane feels out the market both in free agency and the draft and then makes a judgment call on whether it’s worth paying the price to address the QB position in a way that would satisfy him and head coach Sean McDermott.

I realize that’s probably not a pinpoint answer, but it’s the best I can do at this point.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance the Bills draft a 1st round QB AND seek a big name free agent like a Foles, Cousins, or Bridgewater?

Jason Carroll
@jasonlikesfun

CB: I would be surprised if they did both.

The reason why is, if you’re drafting a QB in round one, you’re pretty convinced he’s your long-term answer at the position going forward. If he’s not then you shouldn’t be drafting him in round one.

The thought process is much the same with the free agent QBs you mentioned. If you’re going to land a free agent like Cousins or Bridgewater (provided he’s ruled a free agent – NFL Management Council has to determine this) you’re going to be either be paying franchise QB type money or parting with assets for Foles (who is under contract) that indicates you believe him to be franchise caliber.

If you’re willing to do that in free agency I think you’re committing to that player long term at the position. So drafting a QB in round one as well seems counterintuitive, especially when there are plenty of other positional holes to be filled on the roster.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Thompson leaves practice with shoulder issue

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2017 – 1:56 pm

Bills WR Deonte Thompson stepped out of practice early on Thursday. Head coach Sean McDermott provided an update on his status post practice.

“He’s still being evaluated right now,” said McDermott. “That’s why I went in to check on him. It’s his shoulder a little bit, but we’ll see.”

Thompson will likely be listed as a limited participant for Thursday’s practice. What his status will be for Sunday’s game will be known on Friday. If for some reason the shoulder injury should keep him out of Sunday’s game, Buffalo would likely turn to Brandon Tate or Brandon Reilly.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-27

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2017 – 12:21 pm

We’ll see if the Bills can remain undefeated at home against the Raiders Sunday. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s the best deal we get for Boldin?

Todd Burger Brown
@AllTimeBodacity

CB: Here’s my thought on all this Boldin trade request stuff. First, the change of heart is pretty disappointing. He could’ve made a difference for this offense and he bails after being on Buffalo’s roster for a week. Now two months later he wants to play again? C’mon.

As for trade value for him, I think the market is extremely limited. If Boldin and his agent think they can get one of the three Florida teams to pony up a draft choice for a 35-year old receiver, who may retire again at season’s end, it’s a long shot at best.

I think they’re going to have to extend their search and cast a wider net. How far from his Florida home is he willing to play? Atlanta? New Orleans? Charlotte? All these teams have established passing weapons, much like Miami and Tampa Bay.

To answer your question though I expect the Bills to ask for a defined draft pick. Reason why is if it’s a conditional pick and Boldin doesn’t meet the conditions then the Bills get nothing in return. I can’t see GM Brandon Beane going for any kind of conditional compensation, especially if Miami, a division opponent, for some reason is interested.

Short of a major injury to an important receiver in a team’s offense, I can’t see a trade coming to fruition in the time frame laid out in the letter. So I’d say in all likelihood he doesn’t find a suitable trade partner and sits.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the status on keeping Tyrod around for another season? If he wins this week are we looking at more Tyrod in the future?

Sumpy
@JBrind95

CB: I fully expect the Bills coaching staff and front office to let the season play out. It’s too early now to make an assessment as to what the powers that be at One Bills Drive will do concerning Taylor’s future. Right now Taylor is playing well for the most part, but I think the front office and the coaching staff will need to see where it all goes the rest of the way before determining Taylor’s future. He is under contract for 2018.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

How much Thompson will we see?

Mike
@Super_Strat

CB: Thompson got just 21 snaps last week and posted a 100-yard receiving day. I anticipate he’ll get a good deal more than the 31 percent of the offensive snaps he had last week against the Raiders. Rookie Zay Jones has been getting the most time on the field among the outside receivers, so it’s likely that Andre Holmes’ time on the field could take a hit if Thompson sees more action.

Head coach Sean McDermott said this week that it is a production business and Thompson produced, so I’d expect he gets closer to half the snaps depending on the game plan and whether offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has more two tight end sets as opposed to three wide.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s the chances of the Bills trading for another WR before the trade deadline?

James Gresham
@Slrydaz21

CB: I think anything is possible for the right price. I know many are speculating with five offensive tackles on the roster that the Bills will deal from that surplus to address a shortage somewhere else on the roster. For me that position is cornerback. Of course I think the Bills would be hard pressed to find a club willing to part with a cornerback in midseason for an offensive tackle, unless they were in a supremely desperate situation.

The compensation for the Bills at this point in the year for any player they might part with is more likely to be a draft choice than it is a player of major substance who can help them right now.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do the successes of mobile QBs like Tyrod and Russell Wilson suggest that some teams like #GoBills and #Seahawks might be more interested in Lamar Jackson?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: That seems like a bit of a jump. Yes, Wilson has been successful in using his mobility, as has Taylor, but Wilson also has the second-highest career passer rating in league history (99.3) behind only Aaron Rodgers (104.1) according to Pro-Football-Reference. He’s also in the top 10 all-time in completion percentage (64.6%). So he’s a pretty darn good passer.

I don’t think Lamar Jackson has the passing accuracy right now to be on the same level as Wilson. If his accuracy is an issue in college, it will certainly be one in the NFL where the windows are a lot tighter. Though his completion percentage is better this year (60%), I don’t know that it’ll get where it needs to be to convince teams that he should be a high draft choice.

Fantastic athletic talent, and a rocket for an arm, but accuracy counts more than power and strength. He’s one of the more interesting cases, because he’s a dynamic college QB, but at the pro level it’s hard to see him having just as much success.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-20

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2017 – 12:18 pm

Coming off the bye, the Bills have three of their next four games at home. Time to roll up some ‘W’s. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What are the chances McCoy breaks out Sunday?

Billscentral
@JonKyser

CB: The chances are very good as I see it. Tampa Bay is giving up over 400 yards a game. They have the 30th ranked third down defense. They’ve given up the fifth-most points in the red zone (101) and have played just five games. On the road they’re even worse giving up 500 yards per game. So I’m feeling good about a McCoy breakout Sunday.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How many new special teamers are on the roster this year? Would love to see more Brandon Tate in the offense catching & scoring!!

Steph Go Bills!
@Steph49314851

CB: There’s a host of new players to the special teams units this year.

Andre Holmes, Taiwan Jones, Tanner Vallejo, Matt Milano, Joe Webb, Eddie Yarbrough, Ryan Davis, Deon Lacey, Shareece Wright, Shamarko Thomas, Trae Elston and Stephen Hauschka. That’s just off the top of my head.

It’ll be interesting to see what this week’s addition of Deonte Thompson means. Will he see more time on offense or special teams? Where he’s utilized figures to directly impact where Tate sees his playing time, though after a 40-yard punt return in Buffalo’s last game I anticipate seeing Tate on punt returns.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

All I’ve been hearing are positives about WR Deonte Thompson. Think he’ll make an impact?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: His strengths are gaining consistent separation in his routes and blocking in the run game. I’ll maintain that an overlooked part of Buffalo’s rushing success last year was the job turned in by Buffalo’s receivers when it comes to blocking downfield. Thompson is an underrated player in this area.

I think that quality alone will get him on the field this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

 

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why hasn’t Groy been given a shot at RG?

Brent Seybolt
@bseybolt11

CB: Coach McDermott was asked about Groy this week and he said that he’s in the mix for the right guard spot. But based on his answer my hunch is the coaching staff sees Groy as their backup center and swing guard in the event of an injury.

I think if Groy is a starter at guard, the staff is concerned that they’re exposing both their starting and backup center to injury. There really is no other guy on the roster that can handle the pivot spot as effectively as Wood and Groy. So it’s my belief that it’s a risk-reward thing.

If they don’t believe Groy is demonstrably better at guard than Miller or Ducasse, they likely see it better to have Groy as a healthy backup for center and at guard in an emergency.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Did Bills offer Mabin a PS contract and go with Seamster when turned down? I thought Mabin had potential.

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I know the Bills wanted to bring Mabin back by signing him to the practice squad. What you have to remember is when a player is released they’re a free agent and can make their own decisions. Mabin obviously decided San Francisco was a better option for him.

I don’t know that I agree with him. This defensive scheme is a good fit for him and with only four corners on the active roster he’s one injury away from being back on the 53. So his decision was peculiar to say the least.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Navigating the injuries & staying on schedule

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2015 – 3:28 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan felt the team accomplished all that they set out to do in training camp at St. John Fisher. There are still a couple of weeks before the regular season so final preparations will continue at One Bills Drive. But Ryan admits all the skill position injuries did make it more challenging.

“It certainly doesn’t help. That’s for sure,” Ryan said. “But guys are on top of it. They’re still studying, they’re going through walk throughs, but there’s nothing like getting out here. I’ll tell you what it does, when a guy is not in there, somebody has to step up and when they do they never look back. We had a couple of guys who have really taken off. I think of (Andre) Davis and (Deonte) Thompson, guys who have really stepped up and taken advantage of the situation.”

Ryan said most of the injured will be good to go come the start of the regular season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills getting calls about players

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2015 – 5:49 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said the club has been fielding calls about players on their roster as other teams are hoping Buffalo can part with a player or two at one of their deeper positions. But Ryan is adamant that they’d only entertain a trade if they could get something in return that would help their club.

“I think when people know how deep you are at certain positions they’ll call you,” said Ryan. “Sometimes they call about somebody and it’s like, ‘Dude that guy is going to make the team.’ You know there’s no question. There are several like that. Will Deonte (Thompson) be one of them? That’s a real possibility.

“We’re not just going to, ‘Oh you want him? We’ll help you out and get nothing in return.’ That’s not happening. The only way we’ll trade one of our players is if it can help this team. Other than that, we’re going to be selfish and keep everyone that we can.”

Ryan reference Thompson specifically because in his previous comment, the head coach said they’ve been getting calls about him. Thus far in the preseason Thompson has four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

NFL clubs calling other teams this time of year isn’t uncommon. Teams are often looking for ways to fill holes on their roster now to secure a specific player they covet, rather than hoping said player is cut and then fight 31 other teams to sign him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What waived-injured means for Mike Williams

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2014 – 4:05 pm

With Mike Williams waived-injured today (Monday) to make room for the Bills to sign WR Deonte Thompson, here’s where Williams’ status stands with respect to Buffalo’s roster.

Designated as waived-injured the 31 other NFL clubs now have 24 hours to put a waiver claim in on Williams. If another NFL club is awarded the claim for Williams, the receiver would join that team’s roster and assume the responsibility of his current contract with Buffalo.

If Williams goes unclaimed he will revert to the Bills roster and be placed on injured reserve effectively ending his 2014 season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills