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Inside The Bills

Marrone spoke of affinity for Williams recently

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:36 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked about Mike Williams down at the league meetings in Orlando last week. It was clear then, even before the wheels really got turning on today’s trade and Buffalo’s acquisition of Williams, that the Bills sideline boss had an affinity for the receiver as a person and a player. Here’s what he said.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Mike. I thought Mike was a heck of a football player,” said Marrone. “We had a lot of conversations. There were a lot of good things that were going on. I had obviously gotten a lot of calls before the draft that year and I told those guys that Mike would do well. We’ve been disconnected from when he left to his time in Tampa, but I liked Mike. I really did. I wish him well. I talked to Jason (Licht) just the other day to see if he was okay because I care about him.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mike Williams has motive to play his best

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:07 pm

Bills newest receiver Mike Williams pending the passing of a physical is the second player added to the roster who is a Buffalo native. And head coach Doug Marrone has made it obvious that’s it’s not by accident.

“I’m real big on people that want to be in Buffalo, that want to play well,” Marrone said. “What I look for are people who want to come to Buffalo and play for a cause great than themselves and play for the people and play for the region. I think that’s important. And I want players who have a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. We all have to do that. We’ve all obviously been out of the playoffs for 14 years and we’re looking for a player who plays with a chip on their shoulder.”

Marrone figures to have that in both Graham and Williams, who will be motivated to play at their best in front of family and friends every week playing for the Bills and their native city. Williams also is coming off a down season after missing most of the year with a torn hamstring, so he’ll be eager to re-establish himself as a playmaker.

“I like the fact that they’re from Buffalo,” Marrone said. “There’s a lot of added pressure when you’re playing in your own hometown.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Williams history at ‘Cuse is just that

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:04 pm

Mike Williams

Bills head coach Doug Marrone saw a familiar receiver added to his roster Friday, pending a physical, with the trade acquisition of WR Mike Williams from Tampa Bay. Williams played his college ball at Syracuse, but left the team prior to the 2009 season knowing he’d be facing a suspension after breaking a curfew with three other teammates. There were other off the field transgressions as well, and so Williams never played for Marrone, whose first season as head coach of the Orange was in 2009. As far as Marrone is concerned, the past is in the past. He’s giving Williams a clean slate with the Bills.

“With regard to our time at Syracuse, I feel that is in the past for both of us,” said Marrone. ” Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League. We look forward to getting Mike into the facility and start our work preparing for the 2014 season once the players are free to report on April 22.”

As for what Marrone feels Williams can add to the Bills passing attack, Buffalo’s sideline boss likes his stature and athletic ability.

“Mike Williams is a competitive, tough wide receiver who has the size and athleticism to add competition to our receiver position group,” said Marrone. “We feel Mike is a player who has the ability to help our team improve.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-28

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2014 – 11:45 am

Pre-draft visits will begin next week. We’ll have you covered here at Buffalobills.com as the draft is just over a month away. Now we turn to some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey CB,

Why are more people not talking about Martavis Bryant?  I saw his combine numbers and at 6 foot 5 I though they were quite impressive.  He was projected by some to go in the late 2nd or 3rd round and I was just thinking.  Wouldn’t that be a steal to get him in the 3rd round?  The bills need a tall receiver that can be a red zone threat.  Thank You

Morgan

CB: There’s no question that Bryant is an athlete after clocking a 4.42 at the NFL combine along with a 10’4” broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. His linear speed is unquestioned, but dropping his weight and getting in and out of breaks is still a bit of a question mark for him. He’s also considered a raw prospect, who wasn’t asked to run a full route tree at Clemson.

My biggest issue with him is his playing strength. Even though he had an impressive 16 reps on the bench it’s difficult to find that strength off the line or in traffic on the playing field in his game. He needs to add muscle to his frame as he goes just 211 pounds and has a slight build. Against the physical cornerbacks of the NFL he’s going to get knocked around. He’s probably a late second or early to mid-third round pick in a deep receiver class.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you believe his lack of “body of work” will lower the #Bills interest in Mike Evans? He just started playing ball.

rockydm92

CB: I think what intrigues most NFL clubs with Mike Evans is his amazing production despite still being young in football. As most talent evaluators see it there is a very high ceiling there knowing when he does gain more experience his production could be even better at the NFL level.

And the reason teams are happy to wait on that potential is because right now even in the NFL he’s a size mismatch and he should be able to produce just off his measurables to start. Then as he hones his game he’ll be an even greater asset to a team’s passing attack.

 

3 -  Chris,

With Jairus Byrd now in New Orleans, do you anticipate the Bills are happy with their current S depth with: Aaron Williams, Searcy, Meeks, Duke Williams?

Also a random question, do you know why the NFL football is nicknamed “the Duke”??

-Jim

CB: As you probably saw this week with our coverage of the league meetings in Orlando, led by our own John Murphy, head coach Doug Marrone is considering lining Corey Graham up at safety as part of the competition. It sounds like he’ll compete for a role there, in addition to cornerback, with Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks and Da’Norris Searcy. Aaron Williams is a lock at one of the safety spots already.

As we outlined in our story on this development this week, Graham isn’t completely foreign to safety.

As for your question about NFL footballs being nicknamed ‘The Duke,’ here’s the history behind it courtesy of the Wilson Sporting goods website.

In honor of the late New York Giants owner, Wellington Mara, one of the most beloved and respected figures in professional sports history, the Official Football of the NFL is called “The Duke”.

Wellington Mara, who spent 81 years with the New York Giants and made numerous contributions to the NFL, was named Wellington by his father, Tim Mara, after the Duke of Wellington. He was given the nickname “The Duke” as a youngster by Giants players.

The NFL first used a ball in honor of Wellington Mara called “The Duke” in 1941 at the suggestion of George Halas, as Tim Mara (Wellington’s father) had helped him arrange for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. to become the league’s official supplier of game balls.

“The Duke” ball was used through 1969 but was discontinued prior to the 1970 season, the first to be played post NFL-AFL merger. The NFL and AFL continued using a Wilson football, but with a new design and no official name. In 2006, the NFL returned the name of “The Duke” to the ball after Mara’s passing in October, 2005.

 

4 – Chris,

I think the two best prospects the Bills should consider are Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Which do you think fits the team better? They would bit the best player available. What chances to you think they might make it to 9? How should the Bills protect a team jumping up to 7 or 8th pick if they find a player they love?

Josh

CB: I don’t disagree that Mack and Watkins are two of the best prospects in the class, but I’d be surprised if either are available at nine. If either one gets past the fifth pick I think a few teams will be making efforts to move up to six or seven to grab them. If both are still on the board when Tampa Bay is on the clock at 7, I think it’d be very tempting for Buffalo to swap spots with Minnesota at 8 to ensure they would get at least one of them. Still, parting with picks is not what the Bills typically do. Then again it’s Doug Whaley’s first draft and we don’t have a track record to work with concerning his approach in a fluid draft situation.

 

5 – Hi, Chris!

What criteria did the Bills and New York Giants, and the rest of the NFL teams qualify to be the selected matchup for the annual NFL HOF Game? Does both the PFHOF in Canton, OH, and the NFL decide which teams to play, is the selection if teams always announced in February, especially after the Super Bowl? Thanks. Llewellyn.

CB:  The league doesn’t have a specific criteria, but the fact that both NFL franchises have some of their most popular all-time players being inducted in this year’s Hall of Fame class in Andre Reed and Michael Strahan does play a factor. The NFL also takes into account the likelihood of fans from the respective teams traveling to the game. Knowing that fans of the Bills and Giants will already be on hand for the induction ceremony, there’s a strong likelihood that many of them will make a full weekend of it and take in the Hall of Fame game Sunday as well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: “Let coaches challenge everything”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 25, 2014 – 2:00 pm

The NFL has already slightly expanded the instant replay rule this week, by voting to use the league’s Officiating Command Center to consult with on-field officials during replay reviews.
If Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone had his way, the replay rule would be expanded even more.
He things coaches should be able to challenge any call on the field.
“Whether you have two challenges, three challenges, to protect your team, put it upon the coach, so he has the right to challenge anything,” Marrone said Tuesday at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando.
“If he challenges it and loses, obviously he loses his challenge. If you feel it’s a play that is a game changing type play, he should have the ability to challenge that play just to get the call right.”
Marrone made the comments in an appearance on The John Murphy Show podcast from the NFL meetings. The entire interview will air tonight.
The New England Patriots have proposed a replay system that would allow coaches to challenge any official’s call, except on scoring plays. That proposal is not expected to get much traction this week at the meetings.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on board with two rules changes

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 25, 2014 – 1:05 pm

There may not be a revolutionary revision of NFL playing rules this week at the owners meetings in Orlando, but there already are some changes.
After meeting Tuesday morning, NFL teams voted to adopt two rules changes.
One proposal extends protection of “roll-up blocks” from behind to include such blocks from the side.
The other change adopted allows the on-field official to be in contact with the Officiating Command Center in New York for every instant replay review.
Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone says as a former offensive lineman, and offensive line coach in the league, he is strongly in favor of the roll-up block rule.
“Being a former offensive lineman, from a player safety standpoint, obviously we don’t want that,” Marrone said, in an appearance on The John Murphy Show. “We don’t want people rolling up people or on the back of their legs.”
NFL teams also approved use of a limited centralized replay review system, with Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino and his staff consulting with the on-field officials during reviews.
The entire interview with Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone will be aired tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: Graham to get a look at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2014 – 9:42 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone appearing at the NFL league meetings coaches breakfast Tuesday morning revealed that free agent signee Corey Graham could be a candidate for one of the starting safety roles in Buffalo’s defensive backfield.

A cornerback since he entered the league, Graham is seen as a candidate to replace Jairus Byrd. That according to the voice of the Bills John Murphy, who is attending the league meetings in Orlando.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Super Bowl of Lobby Watching

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 24, 2014 – 11:57 am

It’s the Super Bowl of lobby watching–day one of the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

BuffaloBills.com is here with complete coverage of the three day event and we’ll be broadcasting The John Murphy Show live from the meetings tonight and Wednesday night.

NFL personnel have gathered in the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Hotel in Orlando for day one of the sessions. The entire group, coaches, GMs, and top level club executives, held a meeting in one ballroom at 830 Monday morning, and then the group broke up around 10am. Head Coaches, GMs, and other football personnel went to a Football Operations session at mid morning. Later today, the NFL Competition Committee, chaired by Rich McKay, will hold a news conference to discuss some of the propsals on the table.

The Bills are represented here by President and CEO Russ Brandon, General Manager Doug Whaley, the club’s Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning, Mary Owen, the Senior Vice President of Football Administration, Jim Overdorf, and Head Coach Doug Marrone.

As of noon on Monday, the media gathered here at the Ritz Carlton have spent the day loitering outside the meeting rooms, taking video and pictures of NFL luminaries going from meeting room to meeting room, and waiting for the morning meetings to recess so that we can talk to the principals. We expect things to pick up shortly.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Britt looking for a fit

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 21, 2014 – 6:37 pm

Free agent wide receiver Kenny Britt wrapped up his visit to One Bills Drive Friday afternoon and went on his way. He told reporters at the stadium that after visiting the Bills, Redskins, Patriots and Rams over the last few days, he expects to make one more visit, to the Carolina Panthers.

And Britt insists it’s not money that he’s after in his next NFL contract, it’s a good situation.

“To tell you the truth it’s the environment, the people,” Britt said. “I’m trying to get a great feeling about everything. Right now, it’s not about a contract, right now it’s just about going somewhere where I can establish myself and get back to the fun of football, and hopefully the coaching staff can help me.”

Britt said he met with Bills GM Doug Whaley and Coach Doug Marrone in Orchard Park Friday. He says the meetings went well, and he got a chance to tell the Bills brain trust what he can bring to a team.

“I’m a big physical receiver,” he said. “I play the game with a passion. I’ve been here (in the NFL) five years, so the mental part of it is easier than it was in my rookie year. I bring a lot to a team, emotionally, because I have a real passion about the game and I love it. Hopefully I land somewhere good and emotional just like I am.”

Britt said he expects to have a decision on his next team in the next 2-3 days.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New mock has new OT at 9 for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Of late Michigan’s Taylor Lewan has been the popular offensive tackle pick projected to the Bills with their choice at ninth overall. One of the newer mock drafts, however, has Buffalo getting one of the other top three offensive tackles in the class.

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco has Buffalo taking Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews. Here’s his assessment.

9. Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M: I will stick with the idea that Matthews is their guy. They could move Cordy Glenn to the right side.

I disagree that Glenn will be on the move. Doug Marrone has said he was very pleased with Glenn’s play last season, so I’d be surprised if they decide to move him for 2014. If the Bills draft a tackle I tend to think he will line up on the right side if he’s able to overtake incumbent starter Erik Pears.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-14

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 3:54 pm

Free agency is in full swing with the Bills nailing down three new players in the early going. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for updates throughout free agency. For now let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

Jim Schwartz is obviously a good good coach and the Bills Defense did some really good things last year under Mike Pettine. My question is how likely will Coach Schwartz try to “not fix what ain’t broke” and keep some/most of the good stuff from last year (even though they may not be his concepts) while adding his own flavor to improve thing that do need to be improved, like run defense for example?

Thanks in advance.
Grant Folkard

CB: In talking with coach Marrone about this during the offseason the way he’s explained it is Coach Schwartz is going to keep most of the terminology the same. The reason this isn’t a big burden for him is because he spent a couple of seasons as a defensive assistant under then Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Mike Pettine also coached in Baltimore where the defensive system and terminology remained the same even after Marvin Lewis left to coach in Cincinnati. So a lot of the calls and checks will not only be the same, but sound the same.

As for the run defense Marrone is wholly confident that Schwartz, whose defenses have enjoyed tremendous success against the run, will dramatically improve the unit’s performance in this area as well as third down defense.

 

2 - Hey Chris, long time Bills fan.
Wondering if you could shed some light on a few things.

First with hiring a former head coach for D coordinator, what are the chances he stays longer than one season? Do you think this was something that was discussed in private between coach Marrone and Jim Schwartz? And if not how big of a problem would this be for Dough Marrone heading into his 3rd season.

Also with Todd Downing being a QBs coach, with out ever playing the position. Is this fair with all the pressure being put on EJ? I read that EJ really likes him but don’t we need experience there? Playing? To mentor EJ and the struggles that come along with being a QB..

Thanks Jacob

CB: I don’t know that anyone can predict how long a coordinator is going to remain in his current post in the NFL. There are too many variables at work like the number of head coaching vacancies at the end of the year, how effective Schwartz is in his first year here, how successful the team is and coach Schwartz’s own personal aspirations.

Coach Marrone can’t have that kind of talk with Schwartz because no coach in the NFL is going to hold an assistant back from an opportunity at a head coaching job. That’s just not the way it works.

When you hire quality people that’s the risk you run, but I’d rather have the quality coach that’s in demand.

As for Todd Downing he has played the quarterback position. I cannot find his college background, but he did play semi-pro ball in the Mid-America League for the Minnesota Maulers and won a league title there in 2002 as their quarterback. So the position is not foreign to him at all.

I’d like to think coach Marrone’s track record of hiring assistants in the short time he’s been the Bills head coach should tell you he’s not going to hire someone who is not qualified to help the player at the most important position on the field.

 

3 - Chris,

I’ve seen several posts in which you referenced the “12th Man”.  Does the team officially call its fans the 12th Man or is that just a personal reference?  I’m having a huge argument with some Seahawk fan coworkers about whether anyone besides the Seahawks is officially allowed to use that term.

Thanks.
Cliff Hogg

CB: The 12th Man was adopted by Bills fans long before the Seattle fans started using it. The first football outfit to coin the phrase however, was Texas A&M University. They’re credited with the first recorded use of the term in 1922 when coach Dana Bible was running out of players in the Dixie Classic against defending national champion Centre College. In the stands he noticed a student who tried out for the team, but did not make the varsity squad and promptly told him to suit up and be ready in case he was needed. The volunteer player, E. King Gill, ran to the locker room and suited up and got back out to the field. He never entered the game, but became known as the 12th man.

So the Aggies have got dibs on everybody, but concerning your argument the 12th Man was popularized in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In 1988 Bills fans set an all-time single-season NFL attendance record of 622,793. Fans were then honored as the ‘12th Man’ and inducted onto the Bills Wall of Fame in 1992.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

I ask you if Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, or Eric Ebron are there at nine which one helps EJ in his evolution more? Or do we go as we have in the past & pick up a O linemen later such as Z. Martin & go with a player like Mack if he is there seeing as the defense thing lingers.

Thanks !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: I think going by the best on the board approach that the Bills usually take it would be hard for me to think that Ebron or Matthews will be rated higher than Watkins. Most experts see him as a top five talent and I have not heard the same consensus for Matthews and certainly not for Ebron, though he is a special talent.

I think any one of those three would be of great help to Manuel in different ways, but GM Doug Whaley will take the player that helps the team the most. And that likely involves Manuel to some degree, but that’s the all-encompassing view a general manager has to take.

 

5 - Morning Chris, Happy Friday!

I was wondering how the Bills go about setting up their needs in free agency and the draft.  I was wondering how much emphasis they put into the upcoming 2014 schedule? For instance, we will have to face guys like Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall, receiving corps from Green Bay and Denver.  Do they look at the defensive fronts, the AFC East is getting better defensively, not to mention teams like Houston and Detroit.  So basically how much does that affect their decision making when it comes to the importance of positions that are needed for the team?  Thanks for your hard work, and I hope you enjoyed Indy at the combine!

Go Bills! Jillian

CB: We did enjoy Indy very much. Glad you watched our coverage of the NFL combine. Your question is a good one. Typically opponents in a given year do not impact their decision making all that much in free agency and the draft. Teams like Chicago and Green Bay, which the Bills see only once every four years is not what you usually base your personnel decisions on.

That being said I do know that some moves are made with a team’s division opponents in mind. You’re facing those teams every season, twice a season and you have to beat them to win your division and get to the postseason. So the personnel make-up and strengths of teams like New England, the Jets and Miami could play a role in some decision making.

Again it’s not an overwhelming factor, but those teams are taken into consideration knowing they stand in the way of a playoff berth.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone key in Williams decision to sign

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 12:33 pm

There are a host of reasons why free agent OL Chris Williams chose to sign with the Bills, but it was clear that the prospect of having a former offensive lineman as a head coach played a pivotal role.

“Just talking with him, being able to talk to an O-line coach who was an O-lineman there were things that he can address with me right away that will help me elevate my game and we talked about it,” said Williams of his conversation with Marrone on his free agent visit, that turned into a signing. “I’ve never played for a head coach who was an offensive lineman and that was super exciting for me. I’m just excited to have to end up with two offensive line coaches on staff and both of them will help me with my game. You’ve got to love that.”

DSC_7736

Still, just 28-years old, the former first-round pick believes he can still improve as a player with offensive line coach Pat Morris and Marrone on the staff.

“Coming in here with coach Marrone and coach Morris I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I’m going to continue to develop my game because I’m always trying to work to get better and I think it’s a great opportunity here to do that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-7

Posted by Chris Brown on March 7, 2014 – 11:50 am

Free agency negotiating opens Saturday, Tuesday afternoon deals can be signed. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Can you give Bills’ fan an update about Chris Hairston? Is he injured? I would like to see him compete for right tackle. What do the coaches think of him? Do you see RT as a position of need?

CB: The Bills have not provided a medical update on Hairston to this point, however, when asked by a Bills fan as to whether he’ll be ready for spring workouts in April, Hairston said he would be (see below).

@C_Hairston75 Are you full go this spring? #Bills

— Bernie Lomax (@Welborn9) March 4, 2014

@Welborn9 yes

— Chris Hairston (@C_Hairston75) March 4, 2014

 

Hairston was on the non-football illness list last season, but he appeared to have a physical ailment in training camp. Whichever cost him his entire 2013 season is unclear. Even if he is cleared to resume his career in the spring I think the Bills will be a bit leery in counting on him and putting all their eggs in his basket as right tackle competition for Erik Pears.

So in the end I think they do look for offensive tackle help in free agency or the draft.

2 – Chris,

Why does it seem like everyone thinks we need  a WR and a TE ? What`s wrong with the core we have now? All our WRs except Stevie have 2 yrs. or less experience with room to grow. And Scott Chandler may not have the speed, but he can block, catch and find ways to get open. He may not be high profile, but he`s a guy that comes to work every play. If anything we need some run stuffing LBs.

Thank You!
Mike

CB: A lot of fans naturally gravitate to the playmaking positions so it’s not surprising that many of the Bills faithful are focused on a big WR or game breaking TE. Of course GM Doug Whaley has said more than once that a receiving talent that plays big would be a huge help to the passing game and EJ Manuel.

I don’t think that focus means fans don’t think some reinforcements need to be added at linebacker. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills add a linebacker in free agency and another in the draft.

3 – Chris,

With all the talent at the offensive tackle position this year in the draft, many draft analysts have the Bills selecting one with their first round pick.  In my opinion, this would be a mistake.  Offensive tackles are not nearly as valuable in the NFL as they were 20 years ago, and do not directly affect the outcome of a game like WRs, LBs or Safeties do.  With that said, I think the Bills need more game-changing playmakers (like WR/LB) of which many of the best are found in the first round of the draft.  So my question is do you think the Bills are better off with an offensive tackle round 1 or someone at a skill position like WR?

Thanks,
Eric from Hamburg

CB: I think both OT and WR are positions that need to be addressed by the Bills in the draft. Fortunately for Buffalo they are two of the deeper positions in the 2014 class.

In determining the better option at ninth overall, a lot will depend on what falls to them at nine. There’s only one, possibly two receivers worthy of the pick at nine. Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and some are now making a case for Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. I’m not certain the value is there for Evans as a top 10 talent, but he’s close.

If one of the top three offensive tackles is there for Buffalo at nine it’d be hard to pass up as I see it. Those players being Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

I wouldn’t rule out Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio provided his knee checks out. I think he’s underrated.

I respectfully disagree with your assertion that offensive tackles aren’t nearly as valuable now as they used to be. I think they’re more valuable because offenses are passing more than ever and with offenses going to more spread formations offensive tackles need to be able to pass protect one-on-one more effectively than ever.

So I think it is a worthy pick at nine for Buffalo if the value is there with who is available.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

When the Browns raided the Bills coaching staff I was afraid we lost valuable pieces of the puzzle. Coach Marrone  not only found great replacements but quite possibly upgraded the staff not to diminish the wonderful job done by Mike Pettine. Does it show the respect Doug Marrone has garnered around the league that he’s able to bring in such quality coaches?  It must send a signal that Buffalo not the worst landing spot for coaches.  As a longtime fan I always remember the woeful staff Kay Stephenson put together back in the 80′s. Is it a telling story on how head coaches are able to put together his staffs?  Thanks for the good work……..
Wally in Fredericksburg , Va

CB: I think Marrone is a respected coach and I think the talent that’s on this roster helps sell the job of defensive coordinator as well.

Your point about the Stephenson staff is duly noted. Unfortunately that’s been repeated by other head coaches who came after him, most notably Gregg Williams and Dick Jauron. Both did not hire strong staffs and it hurt player development, which is perhaps more important than ever in the league now.

Marrone is a refreshing step forward in that respect.

5 – Hi Chris

I follow the bills everyday on the mobile app, diehard fan who grew up in Buffalo, but reside outside of Indianapolis, and watches every game via the Sunday Ticket.

My Question- I know we have a lot of young receivers on the roster, and this past year was a year of developing and see who we got. I remember Chris Hogan catching my eye in the pre-season and the broadcasters talking about how they call him 7-11 because he was always open, in which he was, and he seemed to be catching majority of what was thrown to him. That was the first game against colts. Then I didn’t see him much out there til later on in the season, and again, when he finally got a chance, they referenced him as 7-11, always open, and he would get open and catch the ball. Very curious to why they wouldn’t play him more and mix it up more if he is “always open”. I don’t remember him not contributing much when he did get to line up. Seems like any time his number was called, he truly did get open and caught balls. But his number barely got called.

Thanks, Dustin
Indianapolis

CB: Thanks very much for you insatiable interest in everything Bills. With respect to Hogan, the good news is he was just tendered by the Bills as an exclusive rights free agent, so once he signs his contract tender he’ll be back on the roster for 2014.

Hogan does have reliable hands and runs consistent routes. The fact of the matter is there are receivers ahead of him on the depth chart that have simply been blessed with more talent.

The 7-11 thing comes from a nickname he picked up while with the Dolphins in training camp when Miami was the featured team on the HBO series Hard Knocks.

A lot of times receivers get caught up in a numbers game at the position and often don’t make the 53-man roster. Then if they do finding consistent playing time is an even bigger hill to climb. This is where Hogan finds himself on Buffalo’s roster.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Schwartz & Henderson combo solid for ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2014 – 12:41 pm

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore and had Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as a defensive assistant and Bills secondary coach Donnie Henderson as his secondary coach as well. He believes the combination of the two on Buffalo’s defense will do a lot to raise their overall performance to an even greater level than where it was in 2013.

“Schwartzy is a tremendous mind with ideas and energy and obviously I think the world of him,” said Lewis. “He’s done a great job as a coordinator and a head coach and now he’s taking a step back to be a coordinator again.

“Donnie is a guy who I owe a lot to. He’s a tremendous secondary coach who does a great job with the players. He’ll be a great extension and great resource for Jimmy on how to attack and how to defend. And that’s what you want. When you’re in that coordinator’s chair you want a guy that can come in and help you with the plan and if you ask him a question he’s going to give you a creditable answer that you can rely on.”

Henderson has also been a defensive coordinator in the NFL, as well as Bills LBs coach Fred Pagac.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills head coach hopes Chandler is back

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 4:41 pm

He’s set to become a free agent in a couple of weeks. Bills TE Scott Chandler is coming off a career-best season in terms of receptions and receiving yards in 2013. Head coach Doug Marrone, speaking at the NFL Combine Thursday is hoping the veteran tight end is back on the roster next season.

“Hopefully we can get Scott back,” Marrone said. “I think Scott did a heck of a job for us. He’s in the same situation as Jairus. I talked to Scott after the year, I thought he did a great job.  I thought he was a guy who tries to lead well, he does everything we asked of him.  I’m hoping he decides to come back, I really do.”

Chandler led the team in receptions and receiving yards last season and is just 27-years old.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New assistants give Bills added QB acumen

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 4:33 pm

Buffalo’s new offensive assistants, QBs coach Todd Downing and senior offensive assistant Jim Hostler will provide many benefits to the offensive staff. One of which is the ability to adapt to whatever their quarterback picture looks like come training camp.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said the quarterback coaching experience of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, combined with Downing and Hostler has put them in a position where they’ll be able to handle any QB roster combination in 2014.

“I think we don’t want to ever put ourselves in a position where as an organization we can’t get the best thing out there (on the field) for us,” said Marrone. “That’s a collaborative thing between myself and Doug (Whaley) and Russ Brandon and Jim Monos and (Director of College Scouting) Kelvin (Fisher).

“So for us what I felt is we brought in a quarterback coach, one who has worked with EJ before. We brought in Jim Hostler who I’ve been with and knows the system that we have. We’ve set ourselves up where we can go ahead and get a veteran quarterback if that’s what Doug would like to do. We can draft a quarterback if that’s what Doug wants to do. Or we can stay status quo if that’s what we want to do. So we’re prepared as a staff to go in any direction.”

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kolb going through medical process

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 4:08 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone met with the WNY media on Thursday at the NFL Combine and provided an update on QB Kevin Kolb.

“What I was told is there is a process and the medical process, he’s still going through it and we’re waiting for him to come back for another medical check, which is coming up,” said Marrone.

Buffalo’s head coach said he believes Kolb will be back for that medical check prior to the end of the league year March 11th.

“I believe so,” said Marrone. “I believe it’s the first week of March.”

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone says Michael Sam is “courageous”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 20, 2014 – 4:00 pm

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A week ago, the hot topic in the NFL was the announcement from Missouri LB Michael Sam that he is gay. And that announcement is expected to generate a media frenzy Saturday when Sam and the rest of the rookie linebackers meet the media at the NFL Scouting Combine.

On Thursday, Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone issued his first public comment on Sam’s pronouncement. Marrone talked to the Western New York media at the combine.

“I think it’s courageous of him to come out and say what he feels and I think people should do that,” he said. “It would be awful to not be able to say what you feel or what you believe.”

Marrone said like all the other draft prospects, Michael Sam’s NFL credibility will be judged on the field.

“When it comes down to the NFL, it always comes back to the same thing—can you perform well enough to help your team win. I think that’s what everyone gets evaluated on here.”

As far as the possible impact Sam might have in an NFL locker room, Marrone dismissed that as much of a factor in Buffalo.

“We have a great culture in our building, I think we have a great culture in our locker room,” he said. “I think our players are open to, as far as the organization, we’re open to bringing in anyone who can help better our football team, win games and help our community.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on Byrd: “I love him”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 20, 2014 – 3:15 pm

With two and a half weeks to go before the start of NFL Free Agency, there’s no doubt about where the Buffalo Bills stand with their most prominent unrestricted free agent.

Head Coach Doug Marrone told reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis today he hopes the Bills can keep Jairus Byrd on the roster and avoid losing him to another team, and he said as much to the veteran safety.

“I told Jairus I have nothing but great things to say, nothing but great things to recommend,” Marrone said, referring back to his end of the season exit interviews with Bills players. The Head Coach says the personnel department knows his feelings about Byrd.

“Now that goes to Doug Whaley and it goes to management and they try to come up with something and see what’s best for both parties,” Marrone said.

“I love him, I really do. He did an outstanding job for us.”

The Bills used the franchise tag on Byrd last season and have the option to do the same again this year.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What Bills focus is during interview process

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 2:49 pm

Over the next few days here at the NFL Combine the Bills and 31 other teams will be interviewing prospects for 15 minutes at a time in the evenings to get a better feel of the player and what kind of person he is. However, with a lot of prospects practicing their answers ahead of time it’s become more and more difficult to get a gauge on just what makes a player tick. Buffalo has a bit different approach to the whole thing.

They rely on their area scouts to handle the background information on players and to find out more about what makes a player tick, their work ethic, their passion for the game, etc. What GM Doug Whaley, his personnel staff and head coach Doug Marrone focus on is a player’s football IQ.

In an one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, Marrone explained the approach they take during their 15 minutes each with prospects.

“For us we more try to gear it towards football,” Marrone said. “We’ll go in and do a lot of prep work. The prep work for us is going back and cutting out tapes of them playing and then putting those tapes on and having them explain things to us. That takes out all the prep work and everything they have to do. They can’t go back to a whole season and remember everything. We do it that way and we concentrate on the football thing and let the scouts that do the background. We let them handle that.”

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills