Inside The Bills

Fine’s injury a bit of a surprise

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2009 – 10:19 am

Derek Fine going to injured reserve with a knee injury came as a bit of a surprise.

He finished last week’s game at Tennessee and was not mentioned as an injured player after the game along with Demetrius Bell and Ashton Youboty.

It’s possible that Fine could have been playing with the injury, much the way Terrence McGee played with his knee injury for four games before getting a minor surgery.

With Fine going to injured reserve it’s obviously a more severe situation than that of McGee’s as the prognosis is likely six weeks or more, which would make holding his spot on the active roster pointless.


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Bills enter game with 2 TEs

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2009 – 7:12 pm

With Shawn Nelson inactive with a shoulder injury the Bills enter today’s game with the Saints with just two healthy tight ends.

Derek Fine and Jonathan Stupar will be the only TEs dressed.

It will be interesting to see how Buffalo’s approach offensively will be tweaked by OC Alex Van Pelt.

Through the first two weeks the two tight end set has been a popular one for the Bills, but they won’t be able to use it as much today.

The slot receivers (Parrish, Reed) will need to help more than they have in the underneath passing game. Steve Johnson is also active today and could factor in if the Bills go to more of a spread look being light on tight ends.


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Fine practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2009 – 4:06 pm

Bills TE Derek Fine is practicing here on Wednesday.

After Jonathan Stupar was waived, it wasn’t surprising to see Fine practicing with his teammates.

Not practicing were Paul Posluszny and Chris Kelsay. Kelsay however, was in attendance watching practice.


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Practice update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 11, 2009 – 3:01 pm

Just two players are not practicing here on Friday.

Derek Fine and Drayton Florence are not participating lessening their chances for playing Monday night.

Head coach Dick Jauron did not want to rule them out completely on Thursday. We’ll see if that changes today.


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DT Johnson limited

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2009 – 6:24 pm

Head coach Dick Jauron called Spencer Johnson limited in his return to practice on Thursday.

“It was good to have Spencer back at all today,” said head coach Dick Jauron. “So we’re a little bit optimistic there.”

Drayton Florence practiced sparingly and did not do any team work. Derek Fine did not practice at all.


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Florence practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2009 – 4:00 pm

For the first time since his injury Aug 15th Drayton Florence is practicing.

Florence however, appears limited.

Derek Fine is the only non-participant as Spencer Johnson is back practicing fully.

We’ll have an update from coach Jauron after practice.


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Players not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2009 – 3:34 pm

Here’s the list of players not practicing today.

Drayton Florence
Demetrius Bell
Spencer Johnson
Derek Fine


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Players not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2009 – 7:54 pm

There were just a few players not practicing Sunday.

Drayton Florence, who is working on the side, Derek Fine, Demetrius Bell, Chris Kelsay and Spencer Johnson.


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Bell and Fine not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2009 – 3:18 pm

Demetrius Bell and Derek Fine are not practicing again today.

Bell was labeled questionable by coach Jauron for Thursday’s game. Fine is probably doubtful at this point.


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Derek Fine has hamstring injury

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2009 – 6:14 pm

Bills tight end Derek Fine missed practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury.

Head coach Dick Jauron isn’t optimistic about Fine playing on Saturday night.

“Derek tweaked a little hamstring,” said Jauron. “That was disappointing. I don’t know where that’s going right now. Initially we thought it was minor, but even a minor one I don’t feel good about this week.”

That will leave Buffalo with just three healthy tight ends going into the game with Derek Schouman, Shawn Nelson and Jonathan Stupar. Undrafted rookie Travis McCall is also out injured and has not practiced all week.


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Player radio appearances Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2009 – 2:36 am

On Monday the airwaves will be full of Bills players making appearances.

On Buffalo’s flagship 97 Rock, Gibran Hamdan will be on the air at 7:30am. He’ll be followed by Kawika Mitchell at 7:45 and Trent Edwards at 8am. You can listen live online.

On 103.3 the Edge in Buffalo, Terrell Owens will appear on the Shredd and Ragan show, but a specific time has not been set.

Rochester’s Brother Wease will be hosting Derek Fine at 7:30am and Geoff Hangartner at 7:45am on 95.1 the Fox.

And John DiTullio will have Bryan Scott on his late morning show on 1280AM in Rochester some time in the 10 o’clock hour.


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Fan Friday 7-24

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2009 – 12:09 pm

Wanted to get Fan Friday up early today knowing that I’ll be out at training camp today watching the players roll in. Hard to believe it’s the eve of the first training camp practice. I know fans are just as eager as the players. Here’s some of your latest questions. You can email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net if you’ve got camp questions ready to roll.

1. Hey Chris,

With a deep and talented backfield consisting of Lynch, Jackson, and Rhodes, do you think Xavier Omon could be shifted over to FB?  If not I find it hard to believe he will find room on the roster.
Nate Ross

CB: You bring up an interesting point. Omon has the body to play fullback. He’s thickly built from top to bottom. But he’s been a ball carrier his entire career. I could see the Bills keeping four backs and McIntyre as the fullback, but the deep receiving corps could compromise that.

With last year’s practice squad back Bruce Hall showing some nice improvement in the spring camps, Omon could help his cause by showing some fullback ability to keep him ahead on the depth chart of Hall. Whether he gets that opportunity is the question.

 

2. Chris,

Since we play the Tampa Cover 2 and 4-3 alignment, how does the offense
get practice against the 3-4 D?  After all, all of our Division foes all
run the 3-4?

Thanks . . .Bob

CB: In practice the scout team, consisting mainly of reserve and practice squad players run the 3-4 defense against the Bills starting offense in practice. They run a lot of the same defensive looks that their upcoming opponent runs against them in the practice setting. For all the knocks that Dick Jauron gets from the fan base I will say he is a very good coach when it comes to preparation during the week.

 

3. I was wondering how our younger offensive players, like Steve Johnson and Derek will be able to contribute. Will either of them be developed enough to possibly start by the beginning of the regular season, or will the Bills continue to bring them along slowly.

Thanks, Alex

 

CB: I think Fine has a better opportunity than Johnson because the pool of competition is smaller and not as stiff at the tight end position. Derek Schouman is the only real competition standing between Fine and a starting role at tight end. Rookie Shawn Nelson is going to have only a part-time role this year.

But at receiver Johnson right now is fifth on my depth chart with Evans, Owens, Reed and Parrish ahead of him, considering the fact that James Hardy will not be participating. I think Johnson has a chance to overtake Parrish with a strong camp, but that’s a big ‘if.’
 

4. Hi Chris,

Maybe it’s a tad early to make this observation, but it appears that very few, if any of our early round draft choices will win a starting job by the first game.  That could be view as really good thing that our team is already pretty well estabished.  On the flip side, we didn’t make the playoffs last year, and with the draft choices we had, we should have found 1 or 2 quality players to step in.  I’m all for building for the future, but winning now is pretty important also.

Thoughts?
Kevin

CB: I think that Maybin will be a situational player, but will still make an impact. If he can get between 6-8 sacks and 15-20 QB pressures in a situational role I think that would be a successful season. Byrd has an uphill climb, but if he makes plays in the preseason, he could start at FS. Wood and Levitre have good opportunities to start. I’ll be surprised quite frankly if Wood does not. As for the others they’ll have to pay their dues.

Your point is a good one though, the talent that’s been here was not good enough. That’s why I think the staff will not hesitate to insert a rookie if they prove themselves worthy.

 

5. Hi Chris,
 
I feel getting the playoff monkey off the back of the bills is due because of all the injuries over the past few seasons.  It just seems there is always that key player that gets hurt, and then the bills don’t make the playoffs.

What I’m really worried about for the BILLS’ is Terrell Owens, and that there is all ready that ‘dirty’ player and coach (somewhere in the league) all ready planning to take him out for the season with a ‘dirty hit’ similar to (in my opinion) the Tom Brady hit. If Terrell Owens gets hit at the knees and is out for the season on the first game – what are the Bills chances?  I would see another 7-9 season because they become 1-dimensional team.
 
My ‘BIG’ question is, is the league watching these hits more carefully?  Are they ready to study these ‘dirty hits’?…..Is there a ‘bigger’ penalty coming for these types of hits?  I really feel teams will be going after Trent Edwards and firstly Terrell Owens early – to narrow the Bills chances.  
 
Bills better have good backup players and plans, and better protection for QB position, and help from the league (that will not tolerate dirty hits) in order for the BILLS to make playoffs – they need all this to go right.

Scott

CB: I think you may have answered your own question with respect to the injuries. I don’t think it’s the injuries that have compromised Buffalo’s ability to be a playoff team as much as the lack of depth on the roster. Without dependable depth it’s hard to succeed in a 16-game regular season. Every team has injuries, but the teams that have quality depth are the ones that survive and keep playing late January.

Pittsburgh had more injuries than anybody last season, but they had quality depth and persevered.

As for Owens I don’t think he’ll be targeted specifically, but I think we all remember the horse collar tackle that ripped up his ankle real good the year the Eagles went to the Super Bowl. The officials in my opinion still don’t police the horse collar tackle enough, but that’s another issue.

Whether the league is watching these hits more carefully, I’d say yes because with the additional rules this year for special teams (no wedge, peel back blocks) they’re taking some of the more violent hits in the game as it is. Guess we’ll have to wait until the regular season to be sure.


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Fan Friday 6-19

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2009 – 7:25 pm

We’re in the doldrums before training camp, but there are still some issues to discuss concerning the team. You can always submit questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1. Hi Chris-
Any truth to the reports that the K-Gun is returning to the Buffalo offense?
If so…what are your thoughts.
-Jeremy Reiner
CB: I think it’s safe to assume that some elements of the K-Gun offense are being incorporated into Buffalo’s offensive scheme with their no huddle package. But the K-Gun in its entirety I think is unrealistic.

I like that the Bills are turning to the no huddle more to make it more difficult for defenses to substitute and get set pre-snap. Of course the Bills offense has to prove it can sustain drives with consistency as well because if they can’t it puts a lot more pressure on the defense to stop people.

Knowing coach Jauron comes from a defensive background, I’m not sure you should expect to see an overwhelming amount of no huddle. I believe it will be used more, but if you’re looking for more than half a game of no huddle week in and week out I think you’re getting your hopes up.

 

2. Would it be a bad idea if Mr. Nelson got reps as fullback, not only to improve his blocking skills, but to add a fullback weapon ala ‘that guy from Lewiston.’
Sean

CB: I’m assuming you’re talking about Shawn Nelson. At 6’5” putting Nelson at fullback even on the move is a bad idea as I see it. First, blocking as a fullback is different than as a tight end. Linebackers are often coming at you with a head of steam as opposed to a defensive end butting heads with you at the line.

Second, the coaching staff has already made a point of keeping the information flow to Nelson at a manageable level as they have him focused primarily on route running within the offensive scheme, knowing that’s where he can help them the most as a rookie. The blocking will come later since they have two other tight ends to handle it.

And that guy from Lewiston, Moose Johnston and Nelson are two completely different players.

 
3. Has there been any thought given to asking Bruce Smith in to some of the camps to work with Maybin???  Given his skill set, Bruce has a lot to tech a guy with Maybin’s raw physical talents

Steve Ward
Miamisburg, OH

CB: That’s not a bad idea, but I just don’t see Bruce interested in coaching. I know Steve Tasker has volunteered his time to help Bobby April on occasion with special teams skills, but Bruce was such a great player. As Phil Hansen once explained to me, Bruce could contort his body in a way that no one else could in terms of bending the corner. He’d run upfield straight, while his upper torso was turned 90 degrees and hand fighting the offensive tackle.

Marcellus Wiley once told me he tried to do what Bruce did and just kept falling down. So what Bruce knows how to do I’m not sure can be effectively applied to most players on Buffalo’s roster today.

 
4. Chris,
 
Why isn’t Tom Modrak given more credit for the outstanding job he does on day two of the draft (ex. McGee, Ellison, Williams and Butler)?  By the way, this year’s 4th (TE-Nelson) is a home-run.
 
Guy Devitt

CB: I think the reason is pretty simple. The team hasn’t been successful in terms of winning records and playoff appearances. So as a result those associated with the team aren’t recognized outside of the walls of One Bills Drive for the good work that they do.

I think Modrak’s record as a talent evaluator speaks for itself, well beyond just what he’s done with the Bills. Everyone forgets how much heat he took as GM in Philadelphia when he took Donovan McNabb instead of Ricky Williams with the fifth overall pick. I think that has to be one of his best calls and for it to come with a top five pick was big.

 
5. Chris,

Who from last year’s draft class will have an impact this season?  I know everyone is counting on McKelvin and Hardy but I’m very interested in how Alvin Bowen and Chris Ellis will do coming off of injuries.
 
Thanks,
John

CB: I think that Derek Fine has a chance to make an impact with the starting tight end job up for grabs after the release of Robert Royal. I anticipate he and Derek Schouman to battle it out for the top job. But Fine has looked good in the passing game and has a good chemistry with Trent Edwards. Not that Schouman doesn’t, but I think Fine’s got a shot.

Ellis is flying under the radar with all the hype surrounding top pick Aaron Maybin. I’m really interested to see what Ellis can bring to the table in camp when the pads go on. I think Bowen is also capable of pushing veteran Keith Ellison for the starting outside linebacker job. So you’re on the mark with some guys to keep an eye on.

Reggie Corner could land the nickel job as well and Demetrius Bell could be the swing tackle behind Butler and Walker. Not a bad draft class huh? (See Modrak question 4).


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Youngsters who impressed most at spring camps

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2009 – 8:07 pm

When football is played in helmets and shorts it really lacks the physical element, which is probably the signature element of football. So keeping that in mind and knowing more of the skill position players had a greater opportunity to shine, here are the top young performers from Buffalo’s spring workouts that could do a lot more for the club come the 2009 season.

Stevie Johnson – The second-year wideout made the most of his reps, which at times were more frequent than they’ll likely be at training camp with veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. But his route running was sharper than as a rookie and his hands were consistent. Johnson will have a role on this team in the fall despite the depth at the position.

Derek Fine/Derek Schouman – The reason I list them together is because they worked off each other throughout the spring workouts. Fine looked really good through the first half of the spring schedule while Schouman was on the shelf and then when he returned Schouman was the main target at the tight end position. It should be one of the more interesting position battles come training camp with one being the starter.

Reggie Corner – The second-year cornerback may have had the best spring of any player on the roster. Turning in plays day in and day out, Corner is in the midst of making that big leap in improvement from year one to year two that coaches look for in a player. Based on spring performance he’d be the favorite for the nickel corner role heading into camp.

Ellis Lankster – The consistency isn’t there yet in his game, but what rookie with all of 18 NFL practices under his belt in a new scheme is a consistent player? Lankster made plays on the ball often enough to open some eyes. If that continues in camp he could have a legit chance at the 53-man roster.

Aaron Maybin – Most of his reps came against the second team offense, but Maybin’s ability to bend the corner was apparent even in a non-contact setting as he flushed quarterbacks from the pocket several times during OTAs and minicamp.


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Fan Friday 3-20

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2009 – 5:53 pm

The draft is only about a month away, but there are still some free agent questions out there from you the fan. In addition to answering some of the more popular questions here, I’ve also been responding (as much as possible) personally to your emails as well. I’m a bit behind on them, but plowing through them as best I can.

Remember you can always email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net on anything Bills. Here we go.

1. Hello Mr.Brown,
 
I would like to know what you think about the Julius Peppers situation in Carolina! Do you think the Bills would be bold enough to sign him, if he is available? Also I was watching NFL network and Mayock said that the TE’s in this draft class are mostly good receiving TE’s not so much blocking classic TE’s, wouldn’t it be more advantageous to pick the best available Offensive Lineman? To help the run and also keeping Trent upright. Since Fine and Schouman, I feel performed okay when given the chance.
 
Regards,
Paul K.
Montreal,Q.C. Canada

CB: First, the Julius Peppers situation. I don’t see the Bills as a serious player because Peppers is likely to get upwards of $13-14 million dollars a year in a new contract. That’s too steep for a lot of teams including Buffalo.

I believe the Bills will address their pass rush in the draft.

As for the tight end position in the draft, Mayock is right, there are a lot more pass catchers than blockers at the tight end position. I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Bills, who have rarely if ever had a dynamic pass catching threat at the position.

I think Schouman and Fine are both good all-around tight ends, but I think the team would like to add a game breaking threat in the passing game there. Of course the staff considered Royal their best blocking tight end last year, which is why he retained the starting role in 2008. So even if they take a pass catching threat at the position, they will likely still be looking for a true in-line blocking TE too.

I think that’s why so many mock drafters have Pettigrew going to the Bills because he fills both of those roles better than anyone else in the draft for Buffalo. But if Buffalo stays at 11, I’m not sure the value is right to take him there.

2. Chris,
My question to you is: What if the Bills are on the clock at 11 and Maybin, Brown and Orakpo along with Defensive Tackle B.J.Raji are gone and one of the top Left Tackles, Jason Smith out of Baylor for example, is available; could you see the Bills drafting him and trading Jason Peters for a 1st round draft pick to a team that may need one like Detroit (20th) and Philadelphia (21st or 28th)?  There is no doubt that Peters is a gifted athlete but with another off season of potential hold outs by him and his agent, do you think it would be beneficial to the team to stop these distractions and get down to business?

Sincerely,
Dan

CB: That’s a tricky scenario. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe won’t be there, but I understand your point. Michael Oher and Andre Smith should be there at 11, and with the way things are going regarding an extension for Jason Peters, what you’re proposing is more realistic than some might think.

If the Jason Peters situation is still unresolved come draft weekend, I can see the team moving him for a first and middle round pick, maybe more, maybe less. Acquiring an additional first round pick should give the Bills the luxury of taking one of the top four offensive tackles in the draft at 11.

I’d prefer Michael Oher to Smith because Oher is arguably the most athletic tackle in the draft. His instincts still need to be developed, but his athleticism makes up for a lot of those shortcomings that should get better in time. Oher could play on the left side, Smith cannot at this level as I see it.

Now keep in mind that they could address another position at 11 like linebacker in this scenario and get one of the bet of the bunch, whoever they determine that to be and if they’re down in the early 20’s with their other first round pick as you suggest, they could grab Arizona State OT Eben Britton, but he is more of a right tackle at the NFL level according to most scouts.

Things could certainly get very interesting for the Bills on draft weekend.

3.  Hey Chris,
 
I have seen all your blogs and answers to Fan Friday Questions on Brown, Orakpo and Maybin. Just wondering what your thoughts were on 3 other pretty good prospects: Michael Johnson, Paul Kruger and Tyson Jackson. Are they all stretches at #11, or is it conceivable that one of them may still be available in Rd 2?
If they were, it is possible to go after Raji at #11, a DE in Rd2 and maybe trade up to get one of the top 3 TE’s, Coffman maybe? Talk about hypothetical!
 
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I think that Johnson and Kruger will both be available in round 2, but Jackson will be gone before the Bills pick at 42. Jackson is more of a 3-4 end anyway.

Johnson has freakish physical ability, but is raw and inconsistent. As a result I don’t know if he’ll be able to handle a full time role as a rookie, so that keeps him out of the first round.

Kruger’s upside is a bit limited as I see it. He’s got great straight line speed, but I’m not certain that he’s strong enough right now to hold the point against the run in the NFL. He’s also not that elite explosive type end (ran a 4.79 and 4.83) so he is probably a late 2nd to early 3rd round prospect.

A guy I’d consider in the round two is Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin. He’s more of the quick-twitch athlete you’re looking for to boost a pass rush. I think he could come in right away and help on passing downs, which is what Buffalo needs.

4. Chris,

What are your thoughts on the restructuring of Jason Peters’ contract?  I believe that his holding out at the beginning of the year impacted the team in a negative way.  It seemed that it ruined the whole chemistry of the O-line.  As we all know, it wasn’t until the Monday night game when the run game started to get going.  I wasn’t impressed all season with the protection of Trent Edwards.  Honestly, I don’t know how Peters was elected to the Pro-Bowl.  Do you foresee a possible trade, renegotiation, no action, or something else? Thanks for your time. 
-Joe Maciag

CB: From what I understand the two sides have yet to close the gap on a new contract. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills still work to come to a resolution until the NFL draft, and if there is no progress my feeling is they may look into trading him prior to draft weekend. It’ll be unfortunate if it comes to that, but it takes two parties to make an agreement work and if the Bills can’t get some kind of compromise from the Peters camp it doesn’t leave them with too many other alternatives. And I don’t believe they’d be interested in dragging a contract renegotiation through another season.

5. Chris

I know DE is the considered the most pressing need but you and others
have mentioned how the top guys in the draft may not be able to stand
up to the run or are straight ahead rushers, etc.  I’m just another
hopeless Bills fan, but if BJ Raji is available at 11, I’d take him. 
(Full disclosure:  I’m a BC grad but that’s pure coincidence in this
case.) Raji looks like a safer bet and more of a sure-fire thing.  If
Stroud and Raji are pushing in, it might free up the current DE’s. 
I’ve gotten a little sensitive to how the Bills have used some earlier
picks.

Kelley Yost
Fairport

CB: I’ve got no problem with taking Raji at 11 if he’s there and a couple of the top speed rushers are already gone. In fact I think he’s the best secondary option to Everette Brown, though Aaron Maybin is tempting.

Your point about Raji and Stroud is valid, but I still think you could add talent at end in the second round with a Connor Barwin, for example if you took Raji at 11. So I’m not opposed to that approach at all. Heck I wanted Haloti Ngata back in 2006 (no offense Donte). I just believe in getting your big men early.

6. Chris,
Does JP Losman have any suitors or teams expressing interest?  I mean I always supported JP and was actually excited when he got a shot to play this past year but he did so awful.  Is it a possibility we might see JP in the CFL???
Thanks
RF

CB: From what I’ve heard the Denver Broncos were interested in J.P. as a backup, but Chris Simms signed with them before Losman’s agent could enter into any hard core negotiations with Denver. Other than that I’ve heard very little as to interest in him by other teams.

I think his physical ability will convince some team to bring him in as a backup.

You are right that his play last year didn’t do much to help his cause so I’m not confident he could be part of a competition somewhere for a starter’s job. I think he’s got to take a backup role somewhere and hope he gets a chance to step on the field to prove he’s capable.


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Royal subtraction raises TE position need

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2009 – 10:06 pm

With the release of veteran TE Robert Royal, Buffalo now has three tight ends on their roster (Fine, Schouman and Stupar) who combined have a total of 18 NFL starts. All of those belong to Schouman (13) and Fine (5).

And while I certainly have faith that Fine and Schouman in expanded roles can provide more production than they have thus far, it’s clear the Bills want to add more playmaking talent to the position.

Offensive coordinator Turk Schonert said he wanted to have four or five in training camp this summer. At least one of those two remaining tight end spots has to be filled by an in line blocker and the other a playmaker. Preferably one guy answers both needs, but good luck finding that in free agency.

Oklahoma St. TE Brandon Pettigrew looks like he has the potential to be both. And now taking him with the 11th pick is a far greater possibility, whether he’s considered a solid value there or not. He’s the only two-way TE in the draft that you could start next to a tackle as a rookie.


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Fullback profile might change for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2009 – 8:31 pm

With limited production at the fullback position in 2008 and Corey McIntyre a free agent, Buffalo’s coaching staff is re-assessing how they make use of the fullback role in their scheme.

“Right now we’re evaluating our offense and what we did last year and how much we used it,” said offensive coordinator Turk Schonert of the fullback position. “We haven’t determined how much we’re going to use the fullback this year. We have some tight ends that we can put in the backfield as well, they’re versatile guys. All of that evaluation is happening right now. I don’t know how much we’re going to use that guy and what type of guy that’s going to be.”

With fullbacks harder and harder to find in the college landscape, Schonert sounds as if he might be leaning toward using tight ends Derek Schouman and Derek Fine on occasion in that role and even Fred Jackson, meaning that a true lead fullback would be phased out, especially considering the fact that the Bills were more productive in the run game out of the two tight end formation.

“We were more productive in the run game there and that’s something we’re going to look at,” said Schonert. “Our productivity with two backs in the backfield, in some cases with Fred Jackson in there with Marshawn was very productive for us because you don’t know if we’re going to be a two back or a one back offense with Marshawn out there too.

“We have to look at those things and see how much we’re going to use a two back or a one back and the thing with Fred or the two tight end system, we could be a one back or a two back. It gives defenses problems where if you put a true fullback in they know you’re going to be a two back and scheme for it.”

If the Bills do in fact bring in a fullback in free agency or the draft it will likely be a more athletic fullback that can do more than just lead block.


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Derek Fine’s high school jersey to be retired

Posted by Chris Brown on January 31, 2009 – 7:14 pm

Bills TE Derek Fine will have his high school jersey retired at his Oklahoma high school next week.

Fine wore #20 in high school. He wears #86 for the Bills.


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Fan Friday 1-16

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2009 – 4:54 pm

Here’s the latest installment of Fan Friday. As most of you know by now you can email your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I try to respond to everyone either personally or here on Fan Friday.

1. Chris,    
     Do you think the Bills will sign a veteran QB in the off-season.  I realize that Trent has not done terrible job, but he has not exactly done a good job.  It seems like the game is moving too fast for him still and he doesn’t anticipate his receivers, he waits for them to be open, then throws it, and by the time the ball gets there the window is already closed.  Also, I wonder if he’s the long term solution for this team considering he’s always nicked up and doesn’t play well in cold weather.  Please tell me this team is going to get a play maker at QB like McNabb, Bills fans need some hope after this season.

CB: I don’t think a playmaker like Donovan McNabb is realistic because those kinds of players are usually not out on the free agent market. You usually have to give up something significant for that kind of talent. The Bills will be in the market for a backup quarterback because J.P. Losman will be looking for opportunities elsewhere.

I’ve stated a few times that I think Byron Leftwich might be the best available free agent this offseason. I say that because Kerry Collins only wants to be a starter, and he’s also a free agent. Now Leftwich might be able to find an opportunity where he’ll be given the chance to start (e.g. Chicago) and that would make Buffalo far less attractive, where I’m assuming only the backup job will be what’s offered.

So to expect to see some juggernaut QB get signed to play the role of backup is unrealistic as I see it. You may have to settle for a Ryan Fitzpatrick (who I like), Chris Simms or some other veteran that is accustomed to the backup role and would be more accepting of it.

 

2. Hey Chris,   
 
        A while back on Fan Friday you said something about we can’t compete for Haynesworth or Suggs in the offseason. My question is why not considering other teams sign a big player almost every year, we never really sign a player like that.  Also who do you think we can bring in during free agency considering we need another good DE to get to the QB.  And do you think we can spend the money to bring in Kurt Warner. We need a better QB that can throw touchdowns. Kurt Warner is a leader, that can throw a lot of TDs, Trent Edwards really doesn’t.
 
The needs as I see them are all over the board, but the biggest two are QB and DE

-Showtime

CB: I don’t disagree that there are several needs. Perhaps I should have been more clear with respect to Haynesworth and Suggs. First of all, I don’t think Haynesworth hits the market. He’s too vital for the Titans to let him go. I think Suggs could get away with Bart Scott and Ray Lewis also set to become free agents for Baltimore. Suggs would arguably cost the most due to the higher price tag for pass rushers.

The reason I don’t think the Bills will be able to compete for Suggs is there will be a number of teams competing for him on the free agent market if he gets there. The Bills historically don’t like to get into bidding wars for players, and there will be numerous bidders for Suggs. I’d be very happy with Bart Scott though to upgrade the linebacking unit.

 

3. Chris,
  I recently heard that JP Losman will not be returning to the Bills next season because of another poor showing during this past season.  Do you think any other team in the NFL would pick him up because of that reason?  Thanks.

Jim Brown
Lancaster, NY

CB: It has less to do with his poor showing and more to do with the fact that he’s an unrestricted free agent. Losman also wants to pursue an opportunity where he’ll have a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job.

Even though there are NFL teams in need of quarterback help, in light of how he performed this past season when called upon, I’m not confident he’ll be able to get such an opportunity. I think he’ll have to accept a backup job and hope he gets another shot. He’d be wise to go to a team with an offense that suits his strengths, which is making plays on the run and throwing downfield.

 

4. Hey Chris,
 
What’s up with all the criticism of Poz lately?  People on the message board are calling him a bust, you yourself said you’re “willing to give him another year.”  What are people expecting from this guy that we aren’t getting?  The dude is in on practically every tackle and there are way weaker positions on this defense than MLB.  Why aren’t people calling out a guy like Keith Ellison or Chris Kelsay instead?
-Muzz

CB: I was puzzled by the negativity over Poz too. I think those people that saw Poz play at Penn State were a bit spoiled because he not only made the routine plays, but the big ones as well, a lot of them. Now in the pros those big plays have been fewer and further between and people that saw him play in college think something is wrong. I personally think those big plays will become more and more frequent in year three. In essence this past season was his rookie year after playing all of 2 1/2 games in 2007. He was usually a half step away from making a lot of big plays in 2008. He said himself he wants to make more big plays and no one puts in more time in the offseason than this guy. I really believe it’ll come. Keep the faith.

 

5. Hey Chris,
I agree with your assessment of drafting a pass rushing defensive end. Who would you like to see in a Buffalo Bills uniform?
 
What the Bills need to do with the tight end position, Do you think we should draft, sign a FA, or get the current ones more involved?
 
God Bless The Buffalo Bills!
  
Alex – San Juan, P.R.

CB: First, I’d appreciate it if you could send some of your gorgeous weather up this way. We’re freezing our rears off in Buffalo today. Now back to business.

As I’ve said I’d like to see the Bills use their top pick on a pass rusher. I was very impressed from what I’ve seen from Everette Brown (FSU) and Brian Orakpo (Texas) this year. What I like about them is their brute strength, which will be important at the pro level when it comes to standing in there against the run.

I would like to do a little more research on them before definitively stating that I think they’re the best fit for the Bills. There are some other candidates as well.

If the Bills elect to go the free agent route, I’m concerned because I don’t see them winning a bidding war for Julius Peppers or Terrell Suggs as I stated above. The young free agent talent at DE is not overly impressive. Chauncey Davis had four sacks lining up opposite John Abraham. Antonio Smith had 3.5 sacks lining up opposite Bertrand Berry (who is also a FA, but on the downside) and Corey Smith (Detroit) isn’t much to get excited about either. That’s why I think the draft is the best route to take.

As for tight end the only free agent I’d consider this offseason is Bo Scaife (Tennessee). He had a productive year (58-561-2 TDs) though he’s not going to stretch the field and he’s not any bigger or better for that matter than Schouman or Fine. But his numbers have improved the last couple of years. But if the right game-breaking prospect is on the board in the second or third round (Chase Coffman – Missouri?) I’m not opposed to going that route at all.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Friday player radio appearances

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2008 – 8:01 pm

On Friday morning rookie TE Derek Fine will be on 103.3 The Edge in Buffalo on with Morning Bull at 7am.

And Jabari Greer will be on the Voice of the Bills 97 Rock (96.9FM) at 7:45 with Norton in the Morning.


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Posted in Inside the Bills