Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-28

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2016 – 11:03 am

Big division game on Sunday. Buffalo needs a division and AFC win badly. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

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?

Bill Pesiridis@Vasili8

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?

Greg Bernhard@GregBernhard

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?

Marc Gump@GumpHutch

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?

Andrew Galley@aGalley_64

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?

jason plunkett@j_plunk

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.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Terry Pegula clears air on ultimatum reports

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2016 – 10:50 am

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.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills family supports Eric Wood at Flights & Bites

Posted by Kelly Baker on October 18, 2016 – 4:27 pm

eric-wood-flights-bites

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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Bills hopeful OT Glenn can return to lineup

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2016 – 2:52 pm

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.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2016 – 9:12 am

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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

With Taylor signed, focus shifts to Gilmore

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2016 – 3:47 pm

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.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley weighs in on Dareus

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2016 – 8:56 am

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.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor built relationships along with his game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2016 – 3:05 pm

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.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

One-year deal players aplenty for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 8:50 am

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.

Bills GM Doug Whaley explained the club’s approach.

“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.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore update

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 3:31 pm

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.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not pursuing FAs Boldin or Freeney now

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 1:23 pm

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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-20

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 12:18 pm

Bills OTAs get rolling on Monday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why haven’t Bills looked at Anquan Boldin as he seems to fit what they need a WR. Thanks!

BC72 @bchud1972

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?

Thanks,
Ron

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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Physicality is Ragland’s best asset

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2016 – 2:49 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley made an appearance on NFL Network’s All Access program and was asked about a comment made by Bills Wall of Famer Darryl Talley.

Talley claimed that Reggie Ragland is the best linebacker drafted by the Bills since Cornelius Bennett. Now in an effort to be accurate, Bennett was acquired by the Bills via trade on Halloween in 1987 in a blockbuster deal with the Indianapolis Colts. Biscuit was also an Alabama product. Either way it’s high praise from Talley. So what did Whaley think of that opinion?

“Time will tell but we’re excited about what he brings to our team,” Whaley said. “As coach has always said, what we want to be is a physical team. We want anybody that comes in to play the Buffalo Bills know that they’re going to have to strap that chinstrap up a little tighter and they’re going to know they’re going to be in a fight. That’s what he brings, physicality.

“And then you add to the fact that the defense he ran in college is very, very similar to the defense we’re going to be running this year. So all of that and then the combination of him coming from a winning program. All of those qualities just made us feel like this is the type of guy we want on our team. To tell you the truth, we thought he would be our pick at 19 so we never dreamed we would be able to get him and Shaq Lawson with our first two picks.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills tried to get a 3rd player with a 1st round grade

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2016 – 2:14 pm

The Bills were obviously very happy to get two players with first round grades on their board in the first two rounds of the draft. On day two of the NFL draft after successfully trading up with Chicago to move to pick 41, Buffalo had two options that they would’ve been happy to take with that new pick at 41. Reggie Ragland was the top option so he was the choice. As the second round wore on however, their option ‘B’ was still available.

As we profiled in our final On the Clock feature – Inside the Draft Room, Buffalo made the trade with Chicago while the Giants were on the clock at pick 40. The reason they felt comfortable consummating the trade with the Bears before the Giants picked was because they had two players with first round grades they were ready to take there. So either way they were sure to get one of the two. In the end both wound up being there.

After taking Ragland however, their option ‘B’ was still sliding.

“The two guys that were there were Ragland and Jarran Reed,” Bills GM Doug Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “When Reed started falling we thought, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We’ve got a chance to get three first rounders with our first three picks.’ That would’ve put us over the edge.”

The problem was it was a long shot. Having already parted with a fourth-round pick along with another four in 2017 in the move up to get Ragland, Buffalo didn’t have a whole lot to work with, but the Bills thought they should at least attempt to find a way back into round two and land yet another player for whom they had a first round grade.

“We knew we didn’t have the ammo because it was so far away, but you’ve got to be greedy and see if there’s a way,” said Monos. “We were trying to come up with a way. You don’t want to mortgage the future. Sometimes you just have to sit.”

Buffalo put a call into some teams in the bottom third of the round. Among them was Seattle figuring it would take less to get up to pick 56, the 25th selection in round two. Seattle however, had plans to move up themselves. Ironically, the Seahawks found a trade partner in the Chicago Bears in the Bills original second-round slot at 49. Seattle moved up and took Jarran Reed off the board.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ragland: Enlarged aorta is a non-issue

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2016 – 9:25 am

Medical reports are hugely important in player evaluations and draft grades heading into the NFL draft. Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith and UCLA’s Myles Jack are probably the two most notable examples in the 2016 NFL draft. Bills second-round pick Reggie Ragland was another linebacker who had a medical issue publicized in the 11th hour leading up to the draft. Ragland didn’t understand why however, since he had been cleared by every doctor that examined him.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ragland explained how his enlarged aorta was checked by every doctor at the NFL combine and by an additional specialist. Who decided to make it an issue is something he can’t explain.

“Going into the combine I talked to the doctor and I got some extra tests done and I was good,” Ragland said. “Then I went to a specialist and she said I was good. Somebody put that out and teams got scared. They thought there was more to it, but there wasn’t. It was just the same. I’m good to go. I just have to get it checked once a year, but I’m good to go.”

Bills GM Doug Whaley said Buffalo’s medical staff completely cleared Ragland as well.

“We would’ve taken him at 19,” Whaley said. “There was no concern at all.”

According to medical research there are several dietary steps that can be taken to keep an enlarged aorta from growing any more and presenting future risks.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Planning for key extensions up next

Posted by Chris Brown on May 3, 2016 – 1:50 pm

The NFL draft has been the primary focus for the better part of the last month and a half. Now with the draft in the rearview mirror the focus of Buffalo’s front office shifts to formulating a plan on contract extensions for some of the more important pieces on the Bills roster.

Stephon Gilmore, Cordy Glenn and Tyrod Taylor are three key players who have a year on their contracts. Glenn was a franchise player and signed his tender. Bills GM Doug Whaley, in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, said he, along with Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf, will enact a plan on addressing the contract situation of all three players.

“Negotiations took a hiatus for draft weekend,” he said. “We’ll regroup this week and set a game plan through to the minicamp. I’ll sit down with Jim Overdorf and reach out and see if we can just keep the lines of communication open.”

When asked if the team has a priority list where they want to get one extension done before another, Whaley indicated that they’ll be working to get all three players extended.

“They’re all the same,” he said. “We’re going to try to work as diligently as possible to get all three of those guys (extended). This is where we want to get to. Have good players on our team and then keep them instead of going out into free agency. We’d like to use free agency for the value guys. So when you have potential stars that we’ve drafted or acquired and they’re on our roster now, why not throw the money at those guys?”

Whaley said he’s “supremely confident” they can fit all three players on extensions under their salary cap heading into 2017 where the Bills right now have more than $50M in cap space. The only player with a true deadline on the horizon is Glenn. He signed his franchise tender, but he and the Bills have until July 15th to negotiate a long term deal, which would replace the current one-year guaranteed contract.

Gilmore and Taylor have until next March before they could even negotiate with anyone but Buffalo.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley assesses Cardale in 2014 & 2015

Posted by Chris Brown on May 3, 2016 – 10:34 am

Any fan of college football remembers Cardale Jones heroic performance in the final three games of Ohio State’s run to the national championship when he helped the Buckeyes defeat Wisconsin for the Big 10 title, No. 1 Alabama in the national semifinal and No. 2 Oregon for the national title. What is not remembered as much is his 2015 season when some struggles and inconsistencies emerged. Bills GM Doug Whaley watched it all and compared his 2014 play to his 2015 play.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, Whaley was asked to compare and contrast Jones’ quarterback play in 2014 to 2015.

“(In 2014) I saw a guy whose arm talent jumps off the tape,” said Whaley. “He was making throws when he was under pressure and getting hit. He was making throws when things weren’t perfect. That’s a key in the NFL because very rarely are you going to have a perfect pocket. So can you put that ball on a rope in that accurate catching zone while people are at your feet? People were bouncing off of this guy. Then you add that he can tuck it and run you over at 250. Those are some pretty special qualities for a quarterback.”

This past season Jones went 8-0 as a starter, but was benched by the Ohio State staff. Here was Whaley’s assessment.

“Saw the same (kind of play), but opponents saw where his weaknesses were,” said Whaley. “People were saying he had some inaccurate games, but his completion percentage at the end of the year was 62 percent, which is not that bad. What you did see was his lack of experience in reading defenses. That’s why we’re saying this guy is not going to come in and right off the bat know everything like a guy who has been in the league or even a guy who has played three or four years in college. This guy has had 11 starts. So he’s a piece of clay we can mold and we think his upside is just untapped.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Ragland a born leader

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2016 – 4:05 pm

The Bills do their best to make the most of their pre-draft visits. Often times they’ll host players in small groups on purpose. It’s designed to get a gauge on a player’s personality makeup. Bills second-round pick Reggie Ragland was on such a visit in Buffalo and by all accounts stood out.

Buffalo had Ragland for both an NFL combine interview and a pre-draft visit, and on the pre-draft visit there were other prospects in town as well.

“We had another guy from Alabama and a couple of other prospects,” said GM Doug Whaley during an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “When you’re sitting down at dinner you’d like to see how they interact with each other, especially their teammates. He controlled the room, not only with his teammates, but with guys from other teams. Everybody says leaders are born, not made. This guy however he got it, he has it.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills draft a rare match of value and need

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2016 – 2:16 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley has been in NFL scouting for about 20 years. Never has he seen the value of his team’s draft board match up so well to the club’s positional needs as they did this past weekend for Buffalo in the 2016 NFL draft.

Buffalo needed to fill some starting roles in their front seven on defense and with tight cap constraints had to rely on the draft to address them. Getting Shaq Lawson at pick 19 when the Bills thought he’d be long gone and then get another player with a first round grade in Reggie Ragland in round two, followed by yet another defensive player in DL Adophus Washington a round after they felt he should come off the board represented a rare occurrence.

“I told the Pegulas this rarely happens like this,” said Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “To be able to have the highest guy on your board… these guys truly filled our needs. To have Ragland there in the second round, where we were thinking that Shaq (Lawson) would be gone in the first round and we were targeting Ragland as our 19th pick, so for us to feel like we got two first rounders in the first two rounds and knowing they’re going to be starters due to need it’s a special draft. Hopefully it turns out years down the road that this was the draft that propelled us to where we want to go.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills unlikely to add at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2016 – 9:28 am

One position that was not addressed during the draft was safety and by the sound of it GM Doug Whaley doesn’t intend to add there any time soon.

With the promising outlook for Aaron Williams in his return from neck surgery and some budget free agent additions, the Bills like their depth there.

“With [Robert] Blanton and Colt Anderson and then Corey [Graham] coming back, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks… we’ve got a glut of safeties there and it is time for one of those guys to step up outside of Aaron [Williams] and if Aaron seems regress or have a medical issues, which we hope he doesn’t, we don’t expect him but injuries play in on it but we think we have some depth there,” Whaley said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills