Fan Friday has been on a bit of a hiatus of late with Senior Bowl duties last week and the new head coaching announcement earlier last month. But we’re back. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Which position are the Bills most likely to double-dip on the draft? WR? S?
CB: I think this question is a little premature. The steps this team takes in free agency first will largely determine what positional need could get additional focus in the draft. Do the Bills re-sign two of their four free agent receivers? Do they pick up a safety in free agency like Arizona’s Tony Jefferson? When will Aaron Williams’ decision be finalized?
All of these will factor into Buffalo’s direction in the draft in late April.
That being said I will say that both wide receiver and safety are likely to be addressed in some capacity in the draft and free agency.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills will Tyrod be the QB now that all coaching staff is in place???
CB: I think the process has already begun on that front. Bills GM Doug Whaley told Buffalobills.com at the Senior Bowl last week that meetings would begin with the coaching staff once the college and pro personnel departments returned to Buffalo. How long a process that would be to lay out the direction and construction of the roster this offseason was not divulged, but it is underway. He described the meetings that took place this week as preliminary.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills does new WR coach really have any impact on drafting Zay Jones?
CB: Phil McGeoghan, Buffalo’s new receivers coach, coached East Carolina WR Zay Jones the last two seasons after he helped develop Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry from a rookie to a Pro Bowl caliber receiver as receivers coach with Miami.
What McGeoghan can provide more than anything is intimate knowledge on Jones that you can’t get by watching film. What his work ethic is day in and day out on the practice field. What his family life is like at home. What he’s like as a teammate. What drives him, motivates him. These are all things that NFL college scouting departments work to gather on prospects all year, and the Bills scouting department probably has a lot of that information on Jones already.
McGeoghan offers a knowledgeable sounding board to confirm and validate anything and everything on Jones, who I was impressed with last week at the Senior Bowl.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Is 2017 a rebuild year or a try to make the playoffs year?
CB: Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from GM Doug Whaley it’s clear that the only thing this team is rebuilding is their philosophy on how to build a perennial contender. It’s clear that the front office didn’t believe the philosophy of the previous coaching regime was one that was designed to contend year in and year out. Sean McDermott’s coaching model is built to do that.
Now does that mean the team will be contending in 2017? I think we have to see how the roster takes shape through the course of the offseason to better ascertain the team’s immediate fortunes.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is there a chance Daboll joins McDermott’s staff esp. with the W&M connection?
CB: While you are correct that Patriots TEs coach Brian Daboll did coach at William & Mary for one year when Sean McDermott was a player there, from the people I’ve spoken with in New England, Daboll’s intention is to stay put with the Patriots. All indications are he is the heir apparent as the offensive coordinator when Josh McDaniels leaves for his next head coaching job.
For those that don’t know Daboll is also an Orchard Park native, and played his high school ball at St. Francis. With the stability of his situation in New England, I’d expect him to bide his time and move into the OC role there when the time comes.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, 2017 NFL season, Brian Daboll, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Phil McGeoghan, Tyrod Taylor, Zay Jones
Posted in Inside the Bills
Cyrus Kouandjio put together his best season as a pro in 2016. He made five starts and performed admirably at left tackle. That’s what makes his hip injury and subsequent surgery Wednesday so unfortunate.
According to Bills GM Doug Whaley, Kouandjio is expected back by training camp.
“It just came up,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “It was a non-football injury where it happened. It had nothing to do with football. He wasn’t doing any football related activity. He’ll be ready for (training) camp.”
What’s unfortunate is Kouandjio will miss all the reps through OTAs and minicamp, in a new offensive system no less and with a new O-line coach.
Hopefully he can pick up and apply things on the field quickly in camp.
Knowing that Jordan Mills is an impending free agent and Seantrel Henderson’s medical condition still presents challenges, the Kouandjio injury presents more uncertainty at the position.
It would appear that offensive tackle could easily become an even more realistic consideration in the draft now.
Tags: Cyrus Kouandjio, Doug Whaley
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills new head coach Sean McDermott isn’t the only one who does his research. So too did Terry and Kim Pegula when they became new NFL owners. That’s why their power structure of having the GM and head coach report to ownership remains in place.
In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Bills owner Terry Pegula explained the current structure with McDermott now in place as head coach, and added that it’s common practice in the NFL.
“I told (Sean) the GM and the Coach work together,” said Pegula. “Obviously Doug (Whaley) is sitting in the room with him while he is interviewing so he knows if he is hired by this GM, this GM should like him. It is not like we are bringing in a new GM in and hiring him as a coach first. This GM and coach working together and they both answer to the owners.
“He was most comfortable with that because it’s what (Sean) has seen in the past. I believe it’s more common than it is unusual. I don’t have an exact headcount but a lot of teams (operate this way). You do your homework and look at how other teams do things.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, Sean McDermott, Terry Pegula
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills GM Doug Whaley spearheaded the team’s search for a new head coach, and when he presented Sean McDermott to owners Terry and Kim Pegula, Carolina Panthers beat reporter Joe Person (Charlotte Observer) said all indications he got from people in the Panthers organization was that the two sides hit it off.
“It sounded like right from the get go that he and the Pegulas hit things off last week,” Person said in an interview on the John Murphy Show. “I was kind of getting that feedback who were around the situation here in Charlotte. Sometimes it’s just how you relate to people.
“The other thing is this opportunity. He’s 42 now and that’s not by any means old, but a guy like Sean McVay is going to get hired at 30. Sometimes these windows close on good, solid coordinators. He must feel like this is a great opportunity and the timing is right. There are only 32 of these jobs. They’re tough to get, tough to keep, but I know this has long been a goal and dream of his.”
Tags: Bills head coach, Doug Whaley, Sean McDermott, Terry & Kim Pegula
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills at pick 10 in this year’s draft if we let Tyrod walk do we go qb?
CB: We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here because first the head coach has to be in place, then player evaluations by the new staff will chart the course of who is here and who is not here. But to answer your question, in the event that the new head coach elects to move on from Tyrod Taylor I don’t know that drafting a worthwhile quarterback at 10th overall will happen.
I’m a fan of Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer, but knowing there are QB needy teams in front of Buffalo (San Fran #2, Chicago #3, NY Jets #6) I don’t think he even gets to 10 for the Bills to consider. UNC’s Mitch Trubisky is still up in the air on whether he’s staying in school or entering the draft pool.
Kizer played in a pro-style spread system, had the ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and has the physical measurables you look for (6-5, 220). His numbers dropped this past season as the Irish struggled to a 4-8 finish, but it wasn’t all on Kizer. Working with a bunch of first-year receivers after Will Fuller, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise moved on to the NFL, Kizer still had 26 TDs against 9 INTs, even though his completion percentage dropped five percent.
So while I like Kizer and Trubisky, I don’t anticipate them making it to pick 10 and after them I’m not enamored with what’s left to the point where I would use the 10th pick to take one.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale Jones the starting QB next year?
CB: Again this is a ‘predict the future’ question that’s far too difficult to answer. There are too many variables that aren’t even in place to know where Jones will stand on the depth chart. Does the new head coach think he can win with Tyrod Taylor? Does he think Cardale Jones could be part of a quarterback competition in training camp? Does he think Jones could win that competition? Will they be adding at the quarterback position via trade, draft or free agency? Would that quarterback be more NFL ready than Jones, who just saw his first NFL action last week for a quarter?
I think one thing we have to think about is if a new head coach comes in and there’s a new offensive system for Jones to master it’s going to set his development back, as we’ve seen with young quarterbacks here before (e.g. J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, EJ Manuel).
Let me be clear that I’m not saying the changes on offense were the reasons those quarterbacks struggled to develop, but constant change makes it harder for young quarterbacks to succeed and advance their games. All of them saw coaching changes in their time with the Bills.
Jones will be the next quarterback, even if Anthony Lynn is hired because he inherited an offense this past season that he intends to change.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are Bills expected to put tender on Gillislee? What is the tender process, and why don’t teams place highest tender possible?
CB: Restricted free agents are the players teams must decide upon regarding whether to extend them a qualifying offer to retain the right of first refusal, should they be offered a contract from another NFL club.
There are different levels at which a player could be tendered to dissuade other clubs from trying to make a contract offer to lure the player away from their current team.
The new restricted free agent tender levels are usually released by the NFL in early March, though NFL clubs make projections on what the amounts will be.
There is the low tender, which means the compensation due the original club if their RFA player was signed away by another team would equate to the draft round in which they were selected. For Mike Gillislee such a tender would yield a fifth-round pick in return, since Gillislee was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins (2013).
Last year’s low tender was $1.671 million.
If Buffalo values him as something more than that and they want to make it more prohibitive for another team to sign him away they can use the second-round tender, which would make the compensation a second-round pick if the Bills chose not to match an offer from another team.
Last year’s second-round tender was $2.553 million.
The first-round tender last year was $3.635 million, and carries first-round pick compensation.
I certainly understand your question as to why teams don’t just tender everyone at the highest possible level. Sometimes cap constraints keep teams from doing that. They also want to be careful not to overvalue a player to avoid paying said player more than they would like if a long term contract is a route they want to take.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Doug Whaley is so unimpressive, do you know how he continues to sell himself to ownership?
CB: I think what you need to keep in mind is as a fan you only see him in one context, a press conference, question and answer setting. Whether it’s on the radio or on TV you only see Whaley in a Q&A format.
What you don’t see is Whaley’s decisiveness when weighing the value of a trade. You don’t see him in personnel meetings pinpointing positional needs, assessing the talent level of specific players. You don’t see him running draft meetings, the draft room, interacting with players, making tough personnel decisions, finding players on the street at a time when there aren’t many and finding contributors (e.g. Mike Gillislee, Ryan Groy, Justin Hunter).
I know it’s hard to not think about him in the interview context because that’s all the exposure you have to Whaley. Look at the talent he is directly responsible for adding to this roster on the whole and I think you’ll find a lot more hits than misses.
I understand that for a team that has struggled to get wins, the misses are magnified, but there isn’t a GM in this league who has a perfect record. Drafting players is a lot like a batting average. If you hit .400 in landing Pro Bowl type talent in the draft, you’re the equivalent of Ted Williams. You’re in a league of your own. Most quality GMs hit between .300 to .350 in the draft in terms of landing top flight talent that can be the core of your team for years.
The lost piece of the puzzle as I see it for the Bills has been player development by the coaching staffs that have come through Buffalo. The head coaches that have been hired in Buffalo have unfortunately not put the best of coaching staffs together over the years and that has compromised the development of players and maximizing player potential has proven difficult.
That’s not to say there haven’t been good player development coaches over the years. Sanjay Lal, Anthony Lynn and Aaron Kromer are among the best examples on the most recent staff. There are others. Previous assistants that come to mind include Bobby April, Donnie Henderson and Joe D’Alessandris.
Does all this mean that Doug Whaley is blameless? Doug said himself he needs to do a better job. In fact it was one of the first things he said in his press conference Monday. But it’s my personal belief that Doug Whaley is a good personnel man, who knows how to build a team over time and has a plan. We all know the franchise quarterback has been a missing component for some time, and those are hard to find. Other teams that don’t have one have struggled too. Denver lost theirs after winning the Super Bowl and they’re out of the playoffs this year.
Absent that though this roster does have a good deal of talent, and this offseason will provide more opportunity to add to that talent. The key will be hiring a head coach who can implement a vision and structure to unify everyone on the staff and roster to achieve the ultimate goal. Hopefully that new head coach hires the kind of coaching staff that can maximize the talent on hand along with the new talent coming through the door.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills I like Sean McDermott. Do you think he can be a solid leader?
Ronald Krzal Jr
CB: I think knowing the kind of leader a coach can be can only be captured in the kind of long interview sessions that the Bills are conducting now in their coaching search. You can’t look at a resume of offensive or defensive success and determine if a guy is a leader. You’ve got to sit down with a coaching prospect and get to know them to determine that.
Does their philosophy about being a head coach inspire you? Do you think he’s capable of motivating men who have been mired in a culture where the success has been minimal and galvanize them into believing they can do better? Does he come across as a person that people willingly follow and believe in?
Not being in that room I can’t tell you if he can be a solid leader.
I can tell you that I like who he has worked under during his time in the NFL. Andy Reid, Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera are all solid coaching influences. So the people he has worked under is definitely a plus. But that doesn’t qualify Sean McDermott as a solid leader. That’s more about who he is as a person as I see it. And maybe he is that person, but there’s no way for you and I to know that from where we sit.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, Cardale Jones, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Mike Gillislee, NFL free agency, Sean McDermott, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills some people think Bills should experiment Cordy at RT and keep Cyrus at LT thoughts?
CB: What makes this suggestion so interesting is gone are the days where the left tackle has to be your absolute best lineman. Most NFL defenses have two quality pass rushers on either side of their formation. Perfect example is this week’s opponent. The better pass rusher is Cameron Wake, but he lines up on the left side of Miami’s defensive formation, which means he’ll be facing RT Jordan Mills.
So each week it’s not an absolute. The point I’m trying to make is moving Glenn to right tackle is not as big a deal as it might have been 10-15 years ago. Now does that mean that it will happen? That depends.
We have to see how the offseason unfolds in terms of who is retained in free agency and who is not. Jordan Mills is set to become an unrestricted free agent. As a starter on this roster for the last year and a half, he’ll presumably command a pretty respectable price tag.
Knowing that Seantrel Henderson’s long term health is a touch and go situation, if the Bills want to retain Mills they’ll have to put together an offer that is at least competitive with market value.
The caveat here is what the organization thinks of Kouandjio. He’s certainly made some sizable strides with his game this year. Just this week he also stated that he feels he has better motor memory on the left side instead of the right.
Kouandjio’s rookie contract is up after 2017. If they decide they want to invest long term in Kouandjio it could impact the size of any extension offer they might present to Mills.
If Mills is ultimately not retained I think the scenario you suggest could at least be a consideration, knowing that Kouandjio would presumably be elevated to starter opposite Glenn. And knowing Kouandjio feels more comfortable playing the left side, Glenn being flipped to the right is not out of the realm of possibility.
Just keep in mind that a lot of dominoes have to fall to get to that point.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Chris, what the hell is going on over there?!
CB: I think based on some of the national media tweets/reports there is a general perception that the sky is falling at One Bills Drive. Embedded at the facility every day I can say it truly is business as usual. There is no sense of foreboding in the building. Coaches and players are interacting as they typically do. Management is interacting with the coaching staff as they usually do. And there is no indication that anybody is walking on eggshells around here.
As GM Doug Whaley stated in his radio interview Friday morning, the focus is on the Dolphins. And quite frankly if there were coaches and players in the building who weren’t focused on that, then there would be a problem.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are the Bills liking Seymour starting? Do they have faith in Darby to step in next year as a cheaper option to Gilmore?
CB: Much like the first question above, this is something that will be evaluated in the offseason. I know that management and the coaching staff is very excited about Seymour’s potential. I have to say taking the time to watch him work against Oakland’s Amari Cooper when Ronald Darby was out of the lineup, he performed well. His only blemish was getting beat on a double move for a TD. That might sound bad, but his performance on the whole in that game was quite good. It was encouraging to see him step up and play that well.
I think the club wholeheartedly believes in Darby, and I think they’re encouraged about the ceiling for Seymour. In an ideal world they’re able to re-sign Gilmore, but if his asking price is still in the Josh Norman stratosphere ($15M/yr) I just don’t see it happening in Buffalo.
In that case the Bills would have to move on and go with Darby as their No. 1 and Seymour would compete to be the No. 2 with whomever else might be added (free agency/draft).
4 – @ChrisBrownBills #FanFriday Is the lack of a “2 min drill” or urgency at end of half/game more on TT, Rex or Lynn? It’s been 2 yrs of this.
CB: I respect the point you’re making. Part of Buffalo’s success in two-minute situations is about opportunity, but unquestionably part of it has been a reluctance to really push the ball down the field.
This might sound surprising, but Buffalo is ranked 10th in the league in scoring at the end of the first half, when I believe most fans have taken issue with Rex Ryan’s approach offensively. According to Statspass, the Bills have scored 52 points at the end of the half this season, which is slightly above the NFL average (48 pts).
When it comes to points scored on their first possession of the second half Buffalo is tied for sixth in the league with 37 points.
It’s my belief that their success rate coming out after halftime has prompted the Bills to play it a bit more conservative at the end of the first half.
I think an overlooked factor with Buffalo’s decision to be conservative at the end of the first half on offense is rooted in their desire to keep their opponent from scoring before the half expires.
Buffalo’s offense by nature is a ball control offense. With Sammy Watkins out for half the season their ability to have a quick strike scoring drive was severely hampered. It’s my belief that Rex Ryan felt his best defense at the end of the half was an offense that held onto the ball, knowing they’d have the ball again to start the second half in all but a couple of games this season.
Proof of that approach working for the most part this season (it didn’t at Oakland), is Buffalo ranks fifth in the NFL in preventing scores by their opponents at the end of the half. They’ve given up just 27 points all season at the end of the second quarter.
And I credit their offense for holding onto the ball and not giving it back to their opponent almost as much as I credit Buffalo’s defense for that statistic.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills if the Bills, simply by luck of geography, were in AFC South, would futures of Rex, Whaley & Tyrod look much diff right now?
CB: Your question is an interesting one to ponder. Having two games against the Jaguars sounds a whole lot better than two games against the Patriots. Perception can often impact an opinion of the job being done by a head coach, quarterback or organization in general.
I think we can all agree that Buffalo would likely have more than seven wins if they played in the AFC South. So that very well could alter the public opinion of Rex Ryan, Doug Whaley and the team in general.
But that’s not reality. You have to deal with where you are and Buffalo is in the AFC East.
Doug Whaley said they’re not satisfied with where they sit, but they are what they are at 7-7, which is average. They want better, just like all Bills fans do. Only ownership knows if they’re opportunity to achieve better beyond this year will be in the cards.
Tags: AFC East, AFC South, Cordy Glenn, Cyrus Kouandjio, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Kevon Seymour, Rex Ryan, Ronald Darby, Stephon Gilmore, two-minute offense
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills GM Doug Whaley was pretty frank about where he feels the development of Cardale Jones is at this point in his rookie season.
In his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley said for those thinking there’s value in putting Jones out on the field in the final three weeks of the season, they’re mistaken.
“He looks like he still needs some time,” said Whaley. “We’ve said from day one that this guy needed a redshirt year. He’s only played in 11 games in his career so let’s let him learn. Let’s not advance his progression just yet. Let’s just be patient with this guy. Now if something catastrophic happens and we lose Tyrod and EJ and he’s the last man standing then yes he’ll play. But that’s not something that we are planning on or want.”
Tags: Cardale Jones, Doug Whaley
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills We need another big body WR. Especially one that can come in opposite Sammy Watkins. Why didn’t Buffalo jump on M. Floyd?
CB: I was wondering myself why they wouldn’t take a flyer on him. My thinking was with so much rotating through a host of different receivers due to injury, adding another with three weeks left in the season might not have been seen as a productive option. But I’ll let GM Doug Whaley answer that one.
“We talked about it,” said Whaley of putting in a waiver claim. “But with his situation and being a free agent after this season, we thought right now with Sammy coming along, Robert Woods back and Justin Hunter, with the guys we have and the timing they’re developing with Tyrod, we just thought it wouldn’t be a good addition for us at this time.”
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will move on from either Rex and/or Whaley after this season?
CB: I think these last few games will have a lot to do with what happens moving forward. I don’t get the feeling that the front office is in limbo as much.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale going to be the answer or is this just another resting point in a QB search?
CB: There’s no way for anyone to know if Cardale is going to be the answer at QB for the Bills. What Jones is right now is a developmental project who has physical tools and instincts that are worth developing to see if he can be the answer at quarterback down the line.
As Doug Whaley just said on the radio today, he is nowhere near being ready to play in an NFL regular season game. The guy played in 11 college games. Right from the start when they drafted him the Bills looked at Jones 2016 season as a redshirt year at this level.
If he puts together a strong offseason next spring and summer and demonstrates that he’s quick on the uptake he could perhaps convince the coaching staff to open up another quarterback competition. But at this point that looks like a big ‘if.’
And if the offense changes again it will make it even more unlikely since the learning curve for Jones will be on reset.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills do other teams have as many anonymous leaks undermining the Coach / GM / QB on gamedays as BUF? Bills had playoffs on the line.
CB: The timing of the information being released was tied to the reporter’s on camera segment on CBS’ pre-game show Sunday more than anything else. The report was published shortly after he appeared on the network’s programming.
While I don’t debate for a second that the leaks undermining the coach and/or others is unfortunate, I think you’re going on the assumption that the leak was internal. While I don’t dispute that it could be the case, unless that can be definitively ascertained we have to at least be open to the possibility that it could’ve come from outside the organization too. Someone that has close ties to the club, but doesn’t work for the team.
Typical culprits in those cases are player agents, who could very well be serving an agenda for someone inside the club. Sometimes that could be the agenda of the player they represent, especially if they don’t get along with the coaching staff.
Hopefully that helps provide a glimpse as to how many different paths a leak like this could travel.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills are the bills leaning more toward drafting a qb and signing a FA or just drafting one if they do not sign Taylor?
CB: I think that’s an assessment that will be based on what they think of Taylor as a QB, whether they genuinely believe they can do better in the short term. That’s based on who is available in free agency, via trade and in the draft. Neither the free agent market, nor the draft class look all that impressive at first glance. So I don’t see any easy answers out there if the club decides to move on from Taylor.
Tags: Cardale Jones, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Michael Floyd, Rex Ryan, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
All week the Boston sports talk is saying how Rex thinks he won SB with 1st game vs NE. What are his thoughts on that?
CB: I think Rex would laugh first. Then he’d disagree. So the folks in the New England area know, after they shut out the Patriots in Week 4, there was zero celebration in Buffalo’s locker room. They had just evened their record at 2-2 after a disappointing 0-2 start.
As important as New England fans believe their team is, the Bills did not attach any added significance to the victory. They knew who wasn’t playing. In fact Rex even referenced that specifically after the game that Tom Brady was not available.
So if Patriots fans and talking heads on the radio want to characterize Rex as a coach that overblows victories they can, but they’d be wrong in this particular case. If anything Rex and his team took a page out of the New England playbook after that victory because all they were talking about was their upcoming game against Los Angeles in Week 5.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Can Bills play a mistake free game, avoid dumb penalties?
CB: While foolish penalties were definitely a problem for the Bills in 2015, it’s not nearly as big an issue this season. Through the first seven games Buffalo ranks 18th in the league in penalties, so more than half the teams in the league have been flagged more than the Bills.
In fact Rex Ryan’s team has been flagged six fewer times than their opponents this season (49 to 55).
So I think they’re capable of avoiding dumb penalties. They did that last week when the undisciplined Dolphins were getting flagged for a lot of extra-curricular activity after the whistle.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills any news on a trade for a wr?
CB: The problem is at this time of year it’s a seller’s market. Teams looking to acquire a piece for their team are not dealing from a position of strength. The trade deadline is coming and they need help, like the Bills. So most other NFL clubs that are being propositioned are going to force those teams to overpay for an asset.
That being said, Bills GM Doug Whaley said in a radio interview Friday morning on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 that it’s been “rather quiet” on the trade market despite a lot of media speculation.
He did say they will work the phones and if something comes up that they think can help their situation they won’t hesitate.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any idea what the plan is at safety? Blanton/Williams combo?
CB: I’d be surprised if Aaron Williams plays this week after his neck injury last Sunday. When he exited the game Robert Blanton was the first guy in to replace him and then he was subbed out in favor of Jonathan Meeks. Neither player really stood out in the loss to Miami.
Perhaps the defensive staff will use a rotation there based on down and distance and personnel packages like they did at the beginning of the season. Through the first two weeks of the season all four safeties rotated in to play alongside Corey Graham.
Back then it was done to steadily blend Aaron back into the scheme after he missed most of training camp with a concussion. This time around it could be to maximize the strengths of each of his replacements and minimize their weaknesses.
Of course one thing to consider is how New England goes up tempo and prevents their opponents from making personnel substitutions. So they may have to decide on one guy being the main replacement.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Not quite sure how all these IR, PUP, list work. But any chance that Sammy can come back this season?
CB: The Bills have the opportunity to bring one player back off injured reserve to begin practicing after they have been out for six weeks and they’re eligible to activate them to play in a game after they have been out eight weeks.
Whether Sammy Watkins can be that player will be up to the team’s medical staff.
Head coach Rex Ryan did confirm this week that Watkins is out of his walking boot, and that it is an encouraging sign. Whether that enhances his chances of returning is probably too early to determine.
The first eligible date that Watkins could return to practice if deemed healthy enough to do so would be the Friday of the bye week (Nov. 11th). The first date he could dress for a game, again if he’s medically cleared, would be Nov. 27th against the Jaguars.
Tags: Aaron Williams, Bills-Patriots, Corey Graham, Doug Whaley, Duke Williams, Fan Friday, injured reserve, Jonathan Meeks, penalties, Rex Ryan, Robert Blanton, Sammy Watkins, trade market
Posted in Inside the Bills
In an interview with USA Today’s Tom Pellisero, Bills owner Terry Pegula cleared the air on media reports that he gave GM Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan an ultimatum that the team had to make the playoffs in 2016 or they’d be out of work.
— On a report from The Buffalo News that Pegula told Ryan and Whaley near the end of last season to make the playoffs in 2016 or be fired: “The famous ultimatum that I supposedly gave them, I wasn’t even in town that day. I was up at my lake in the Adirondacks.”
— On 2016 as playoffs-or-bust for his football brain trust: “Oh, no way. No way.”
— On how long he envisions Ryan and Whaley leading his franchise: “I don’t even think that’s a fair question, because it’s not even entered my mind that anybody needs to go.”
“Our coach needs to know that, through the good and the bad, there’s stability. The players need to know there’s stability,” Pegula said. “And by the way, that doesn’t help our players any to start reading that their coach is going to get fired.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan, Terry Pegula
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills center Eric Wood hosted his second annual Flights and Bites event in downtown Buffalo on Monday, Oct. 17. The event, which followed the team’s big win over the San Francisco 49ers, featured many players who chose to spend their time off supporting their teammate. Coming together for a good cause, the evening consisted of both silent and live auctions to benefit the Eric Wood Foundation, which seeks to provide aid to families of sick children.
“Just a fun…Monday night, (it’s a) chance for a lot of the guys and coaches to come out and interact with a lot of the fans and raise money for sick children and their families here in Western New York,” said Wood. Especially after a win yesterday (Sunday, Oct. 16), the spirits are always high and people are in the giving spirit in times like that.”
The support from the Bills family proved truly tremendous, as over 30 Bills players and coaches attended the event. The turnout included, Bills general manager Doug Whaley, head coach Rex Ryan, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, safety Aaron Williams, guard Richie Incognito, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, linebacker Reggie Ragland, safety Colt Anderson, cornerback Kevon Seymour, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, kicker Dan Carpenter, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and many more.
For more information on the Eric Wood Foundation, visit here.
Tags: Aaron Williams, Anthony Lynn, Colt Anderson, Dan Carpenter, Doug Whaley, Eric Wood, Kevon Seymour, Kyle Williams, Lorenzo Alexander, Marcell Dareus, Marquise Goodwin, Reggie Ragland, Rex Ryan, Richie Incognito, The Eric Wood Foundation, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field
He’s missed the last two games with an ankle injury. There are no guarantees he’ll be ready this week either, but there is hope that LT Cordy Glenn might be able to return to the lineup.
Bills GM Doug Whaley, in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, said they’ve got their fingers crossed.
“He continues to progress. No setbacks,” said Whaley of Glenn. “We’ll know a little bit more this week when we get back on the field Wednesday and see how he progresses on the practice field if we can get him out there and see how he does this week. Right now we can say there haven’t been any setbacks and are cautiously optimistic.”
Tags: Cordy Glenn, Doug Whaley
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills were without WR Sammy Watkins in last Sunday’s win over Arizona. Long term Watkins’ availability is critical to the success of Buffalo’s passing game. His ailing foot however, is compromising his availability. Bills GM Doug Whaley provided an update on Watkins status in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.
“We lean on our medical staff and if they clear him and say he’s ready to go… the one thing we know for sure is Sammy is a competitor and wants to play,” said Whaley. “So if the medical staff says he’s ready to go and there’s no further damage or anything that can happen to his foot that will set him back for a long period of time then we’re going to let him play because that’s what he wants to do and helps us to keep on stacking these ‘W’s.”
Head coach Rex Ryan said Monday that they’ll see how he gets through the week. He’s hopeful that Watkins comments on social media last Saturday that he was good to go are an encouraging sign, but that he won’t know for sure until he sees him on the practice field.
Tags: Doug Whaley, Sammy Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills GM Doug Whaley was very pleased last Friday to announce that Tyrod Taylor had agreed to a multi-year contract agreement. He’s hoping he’ll get another opportunity to make such an announcement with another talented player on Buffalo’s roster.
With Taylor now under contract, Whaley, in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, said the club can focus squarely on 2017 free agent to be Stephon Gilmore.
“It allows us to put all of our focus on Stephon Gilmore,” said Whaley. “It gives us a chance to say we have one piece of the puzzle done. Let’s try to get another piece of the puzzle done. Let’s not forget the fact that we have high profile players and they’re going to command top dollars. So we’re going to have to try our best to get them done. Will we get it done? We hope so, but it’s going to be process just like Tyrod’s contract.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, NFL free agency, Stephon Gilmore, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
In the wake of the strongly worded team statement from the Bills organization regarding the league-imposed four-game suspension of Marcell Dareus Tuesday, Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, weighed in on where he and the club stands with Dareus moving forward.
“One of the things I’ve enjoyed in my time in Buffalo is the sense of family. Our organization from the Pegulas down preaches a strong sense of family,” Whaley said. “This is a family member who obviously made some bad decisions. He’s got to make better choices in his life. The easy thing is to discard him. So we’re going to stand by him, but again I have to stress, he’s got to start holding up his end of the bargain. We’re going to stand by this guy and support him and hopefully steer him in the right direction.”
When asked how they can convince Dareus to change and stay on the straight and narrow, Whaley said you have to put the ball in his court.
“It’s simple. This is your livelihood and you have to play by the books,” said Whaley in how he’d try to convince Dareus to change. “Do I agree with a 65 mile per hour speed limit? In Pennsylvania it’s 70, but it’s 65 in New York. You have to abide by the rules if you want to make this your livelihood so you obviously throw it in his lap. What is your end game? Do you want to be a guy that violates the rules and is out of the league in a couple of years? Or do you want to be a guy who ends up having his jersey retired like Bruce Smith?
“Until they change the rules we have to abide by them. Our players have to know that no matter what they feel on this issue, the rules are the rules. It’s a privilege, not a right to play in the NFL. If you want to play in the NFL you have to play by their rules.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, Marcell Dareus
Posted in Inside the Bills
Tyrod Taylor deservedly gets a ton of credit for building his game and becoming a starter who performed so well he went to the Pro Bowl in his first year as a starting quarterback. But in a very short amount of time, Taylor also built relationships with coaches and teammates that unquestionably has made him the leader of the team.
“Coming in this offseason he took the bull by the horns and took it up another step,” said GM Doug Whaley of Taylor’s leadership and ability to pull the team together. “He’s galvanized not only the offense, but the defense and the whole team. He’s undeniably the leader of the Buffalo Bills.
“It just shows you that once you have a leader in place and it’s your quarterback and everyone looks up to him, then he holds them accountable. And then those players want to play and study and do the best they can so they don’t let that guy down. That’s an important step to becoming a championship team.”
That’s why Buffalo made the commitment to Taylor in the form of a long-term contract extension Friday.
“Since I’ve walked into the Bills facility my relationship with the coaches and the players has gotten stronger each and every day,” Taylor told Buffalobills.com. “Me and G-Ro (OC Greg Roman) talk very often even through the offseason we’re in communication. Me and the quarterback coach (David Lee) and Rex. Just the players in general we have a lot of guys with the right mindset. We make it easy to be around each other. Coach Ryan does a good job of allowing us to be ourselves and to be who we want to be on the field and off the field. I think just day by day my relationship with the players and the coaches has gotten better.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, Greg Roman, Rex Ryan, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
As the Bills try to see if they can strike a free agent deal with RB Reggie Bush it’s hard not to see the obvious trend Buffalo took when it came to free agents this offseason. The sharp increase in one-year deals for free agents signed by Buffalo was done for good reason, but the number in the 2016 offseason was staggering.
The Bills signed 23 players this offseason to one-year deals between restricted free agents (Corbin Bryant, Jordan Mills), reserve future free agents and unrestricted free agents. From Zach Brown to Corey White almost a third of the team’s 90-man offseason roster signed one-year pacts.
“I think this year it was wholly predicated on the amount of cap space we had,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “What we were looking for was to get guys who had extensive resumes on special teams. A lot of those guys are on one-year prove-it deals. If they’re good maybe they’ll be extended, if not maybe they do enough here where they’ll be able to move on to another team and be a special teams mercenary.”
When it came to defensive free agents, Whaley in concert with head coach Rex Ryan and some recommendations from Rob Ryan acquired players with a measure of familiarity with the Ryan defense. Players like Sterling Moore, Corey White have worked with Rob Ryan before. And being on one-year deals there’s no time to let a player blend himself in steadily.
“Change is uncomfortable for everybody so if you can get a guy that has some familiarity with this defense because it’s a complicated defense, that’s an added bonus,” said Whaley. “A lot of people just can’t step in day one and perform at a high level in this defense because it is so intricate. If you have a guy that’s out there who is familiar with it he’s out there playing instead of thinking.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, NFL free agency, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills are determined to get a long term deal done with Stephon Gilmore, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option a year ago. Negotiating a long term agreement at a premium position like cornerback however is easier said than done.
In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, Whaley admitted cornerback is a top flight position, but as an organization they have to be mindful of other contracts coming up for players they’d like to extend long term.
“For a Rex Ryan defense it’s an important position for how you want to run that defense,” he said. “Again you have a value. Where the juggling process come in, you always want to set a value on a guy, and that’s your first step. But how does your first step affect your next step? So if we put a value on Stephon, but it hinders us from something else down the road that’s when you have to adjust your value on a guy. So it’s going to be a complicated process, but the main thing we’re excited about is both sides want the goal to be for him to come back and sign a contract.”
Whaley remains optimistic that a deal can be struck.
“We’re excited to have Gilmore and we’re excited to have Darby,” said Whaley. “So we have two who we think are top tier corners in the league. Hopefully it’s going to be an exciting season to see them get out there and play 16 games and perform well. And we’ll see how it goes on the business side as well.”
Tags: Doug Whaley, Stephon Gilmore
Posted in Inside the Bills
In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday morning GM Doug Whaley addressed the prospect of pursuing a veteran free agent pass rusher or receiver in light of the recent offseason surgeries for Shaq Lawson and Sammy Watkins.
Whaley said at this point they haven’t made contact with those veteran free agents, though he wouldn’t rule anything out.
“We always keep our options open. We never say never,” said Whaley. “We haven’t reached out and contacted anybody right now. We’re looking at the development of the guys we have on the roster and some of the young guys. But we always keep our options open and our pro personnel department headed by Rob Hanrahan, those guys always keep me abreast of who is out there and we continually update what we call our short list.”
When asked specifically about Boldin, Whaley again reiterated that they want to see how some of the youth on their roster comes along during spring practices.
“We want to see what we have and the development of the guys on the roster in the OTAs,” he said. “Guys like that we look at as consummate professionals. They’re always going to be in shape and if the time comes where we think the guys aren’t progressing like we need them to that’s when you look at a guy like Anquan Boldin or a Dwight Freeney, but right now we want to develop some young guys with an eye on the future saying those guys are out there if for needs sake we need to pick them up.”
It’s clear that Whaley believes time is on his side before the need may arise to make a move of this nature. When you’re trying to develop young players you don’t want to steal reps from them with a vet and delay their improvement.
There is a report that Freeney had a workout scheduled with the Bengals today.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Doug Whaley, Dwight Freeney, NFL free agency
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why haven’t Bills looked at Anquan Boldin as he seems to fit what they need a WR. Thanks!
CB: I think there could be a number of issues at play here. First, Boldin, though productive last season (69 rec. 789 yds, 4 TDs) is 35-years old. Second, and probably more important is the Bills are probably in a position where they could only offer a veteran receiver the league minimum, and with Boldin a 10-plus year player he would cost $985K. As accomplished as Boldin is I don’t know if he would play a 14th NFL season for that.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Bills have any interest in Dwight Freeney or Greg Hardy?
joseph tadak @jt9591
CB: I don’t see Greg Hardy as a realistic option due to his off the field issues. No one else seems all that interested either. I understand fans trying to connect the dots to a veteran to fill the potential void left by Shaq Lawson’s surgery, which will probably keep him out for a portion of the first half of the season.
I wonder how much of a commitment the Bills would want to make to a stop gap solution. If they were to sign Freeney and he was on the roster beyond Week 1 his contract would be guaranteed even if they released him once Lawson returned to the roster.
I don’t know if that’s a good call for someone who would be a part-time player (pass rush specialist).
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see Gilmore or Taylor getting extended before season, during season, or after if at all?
Grayson Tumult @GraysonTumult
CB: I believe the likelihood of a new deal for Gilmore before/during the season is greater than Taylor. The reason why is the Bills probably want to see Taylor take the next step in his development during the season. Then if they have to back up the Brinks truck to keep him after the season is over, so be it.
The reason Gilmore’s deal will probably take a bit longer is because Washington threw the whole cornerback market out of whack with their contract for Josh Norman ($15M/yr.) after Carolina rescinded his franchise tag, making him a free agent.
With Norman at age 28 getting $15M per year and he’s largely a zone coverage corner, it makes it difficult for Buffalo to negotiate with Gilmore’s camp when he’s 27 and plays a more demanding role at corner as he’s often in man-to-man.
I think top 10 cornerback money is realistic for Gilmore. Top five money might be a different story, and if the Gilmore camp is looking for that it could make for a longer negotiation.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any real worries with Watkins foot? Similar to Dez foot injury that kept him out all year?
jason plunkett @j_plunk
CB: First, Dez Bryant did not miss the whole year. He injured the foot in Week 1 and missed the next six weeks. The Cowboys rushed him back and he struggled through the rest of the season, but suited up and played in eight of the last nine games.
I expect the Bills to go to school on how things played out with Bryant and Julian Edelman for that matter, who also needed a second surgery because he came back too soon in the playoffs.
I’m not a doctor, but based on what I’ve read, Watkins’ Jones fracture, a common injury for NFL wide receivers, usually takes longer to heal (8-12 weeks) than most fractures (six weeks) because the blood supply to that area of the foot isn’t as good as other parts of the body. That’s why the surgery has a screw inserted in that area to promote the healing of the bone.
The Cowboys tried to get Bryant back in six weeks and it was too soon. That’s why I think even though Sammy Watkins will be right around the 12-week mark at the start of training camp I would not expect to see him do much of anything on the field until the second full week of camp at the earliest.
And even then it will be a slow and steady process. Yes, reps with his quarterback are important, but most important is Watkins’ availability on Sundays in September. If the process is rushed risk of re-injury increases.
Being patient with a player of his caliber is difficult for fans, but the payoff is he’ll be less likely to run into future problems with the foot during the season.
5 – Chris,
Last year’s defense was a disappointment. Veteran players could not fully adapt to this complicated front seven scheme then play at a high level. Also, expectations turned out to be unrealistically high.
Is there any way 3 rookies can leap to the NFL, play in this same defensive front, simplified or not, and have success? Or do we need to start managing expectations now to avoid more disappointment?
CB: From what I have been able to gather Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman have reduced the number of checks pre-snap on defensive play calls for this season knowing the problem it presented last season. Whether they’ve found the happy balance between remaining unpredictable while allowing their players to play fast remains to be seen, but the effort was made to make execution of the defensive system easier for the players.
As for the rookies, Adolphus Washington’s position doesn’t require as much pre-snap adjustment as Reggie Ragland or Shaq Lawson. Ragland doesn’t have to run the defense, that will be on Preston Brown, but as GM Doug Whaley mentioned the scheme Ragland ran at Alabama is very similar to that of Buffalo’s defense. Ragland has said there’s a lot of carryover that’s a plus.
Lawson might have the toughest time adjusting knowing he’s likely to miss the offseason practices and some time in the first half of the season. Not having those physical reps could make it hard on the top pick to assimilate himself into the defense.
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Anquan Boldin, Doug Whaley, Dwight Freeney, Fan Friday, NFL free agency, Reggie Ragland, Sammy Watkins, Shaw Lawson, Stephon Gilmore, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills