Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 4-3

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2015 – 11:45 am

The team’s offseason conditioning program begins on Monday. Prep for 2015 begins. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for all you do to keep Bills fans informed.

The perception in Tennessee seems to be that Andy Levitre has not lived up to his contract.  If he gets released, do you see any chance of him coming back to Buffalo?  Do you think that would be a good move at this point for the Bills?

Thanks.
Jason T
Philadelphia, PA
Go Bills!

CB: I wouldn’t rule it out, but I believe it’s unlikely. Levitre is still young enough to command a pretty sizable contract so were he to be released I think he’d still cost a hefty amount. And with Buffalo’s limited cap space now I don’t know that he’d fit from a fiscal standpoint.

 

2 – Hey Chris ,

WOW !  I can see this McCoy trade blowing up in the Bills face! Personally I think Whaley has made a HUGE mistake! He GAVE away a star in the making not to mention with the contracts of Hughes this year, Dareus & Gilmore next year & others he has screwed up the amount of the cap that he will have to work with & who he will be able to keep beyond next year.

Not to mention that if CJ had any thoughts of working with the team by seeing what he was worth as a FA & coming to the Bills & asking what kind of deal they could give that is gone because they instead of doing what they said trying to bring back their draft picks totally alienated CJ!

It was once said that they meaning the Bills were going to build through the draft & wanted to keep their own. Building through the draft is much more cost effective! If there was any chance of them picking up say Gurley that is probably gone to with the Shady deal. If they would have offers CJ $8 Mil a year he probably would have taken the deal & saved them cap space .

I really hope this pans out but I think it will back fire & make us look like what the rest of the league already thinks of us, a laughing stock
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville
CB: I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. Yes, there is no question the Bills gave up a good, young player in Kiko Alonso, but when you have the opportunity to land one of the top three running backs in the league who is just entering his prime and you’re coming off a season in which you finished 25th in the league in rushing you pull the trigger.

Buffalo had the fourth-best defense in the league last year without Kiko Alonso on the field. Alonso is coming off his second career ACL and also had shoulder surgery last year. I’m not saying he can’t come back from that, but that’s a lot of wear and tear on a 25-year old body.

To compare McCoy and Spiller is apples and oranges. McCoy can run inside and outside and handle a heavy workload. As much as I respect C.J.’s game history tells us a heavy workload more likely leads to injury for him.

The cap concerns you have were alleviated with McCoy re-doing his deal, which contained an extension to spread his money out more.

Concerning your comment on building through the draft, the Bills aren’t deviating from the philosophy. This was an offer that was presented to them out of the blue. When you have an opportunity like the Bills did to land McCoy you take it no matter what your philosophy is as to how to build your team.

With all due respect I think you need to put a little more faith in Doug Whaley as a GM.
3 – Chris,

With Kiko gone, who fills his spot inside? I think he would have been valuable and isn’t easily replaceable as people think due to the fact that he is a 3 down linebacker who can drop into coverage. Will they bring back Spikes?

CB: Spikes does remain an available option, but I think the Bills are only willing to re-sign him at their price. Buffalo has two capable three down linebackers in Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown. I expect the Bills to draft a linebacker in the middle rounds to build their depth and would expect them to look for an athletic backer. Manny Lawson probably moves back to more of a SAM linebacker role in Dennis Thurman’s defense so that brings another veteran to the LB corps.
4 – Chris,
How do compensatory picks work?  I know generally that if a team loses more free agents than it signs, they get awarded pick(s).  But how do you have a team if you’ve lost more players than you have received?  I don’t get it.

As a follow up, this has been an interesting offseason so far.  Do you see the Bills optimizing to try to acquire compensatory picks?

 

Thanks!

Len in NYC
CB: The basics of determining compensatory picks begins with a net loss of free agents as you mentioned, but there is a myriad of particulars as to what free agent signings count and what ones do not. For example if a free agent is signed after June 1st (now May 12th per reports) it doesn’t count toward your plus-minus free agent total. There are several other stipulations that govern the final total that’s too much to get into here.

Baltimore is one of those clubs that has turned acquiring compensatory picks into an art form. Very often they wait to sign free agents until after June 1st (now May 12th) so they don’t count toward their total and they’re routinely among the clubs getting the most compensatory picks the next year for their free agent losses.

As for the Bills, the acquisition of Clay (who from what I’ve been told will count), Harvin and Felton have Buffalo ahead of the game with Pears, Spiller, Searcy and Lee Smith signing elsewhere. So I’ve got the Bills at minus one. We’ll see how it all shakes out next March.

 

5 – Chris,

A question on free agency. If an agent is dealing with team “A” and team “B” and say one team comes in  higher than another, but the player prefers playing for the team with lower bid who has the final say. Does the agent have the right to say I’m working for you to get the highest salary possible? Is the player bound to sign the best offer?  With Josh McCown signing with the Browns, was the three-year deal probably the factor? It seems in the past for a veteran type backup two-year deals were the going rate .

Thanks for keeping us fans in the know, your the best.

Wally James
Fredericksburg ,Va

CB: Thanks for the kind words. Per your question the answer is no. Players hire the agent, not the other way around. So players determine ultimately who they want to play for. Now agents will sometimes try to steer or convince players to take the offer with more money, and in many cases they do. Some players do forget to think for themselves and do what they want and blindly follow their agent’s recommendation. But most know it’s their career and their decision.

Concerning McCown my understanding is Cleveland was willing to pay McCown a lot more than the Bills were willing to offer, so it was more about the total committed dollars than the length of the contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills GM Whaley making the pro day rounds

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2015 – 1:29 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is a scout at his core, so the personnel evaluator naturally gets to as many pro days as possible. So it was not surprising to see his name listed among the front office executives at the University of Miami pro day.

NFL Network reporter Lindsay Rhodes reported that Whaley is on hand at Miami’s pro day in Coral Gables today among a host of other GMs and coaches.

Among the more notable prospects in this year’s draft class from the U are OT Ereck Flowers, TE Clive Walford (who pulled his hamstring and is not running), LB Denzel Perryman, RB Duke Johnson, WR Phillip Dorsett and CB LaDarius Gunter.

Here’s a shot of Whaley observing at the Miami pro day from Dolphins beat reporter Omar Kelly.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-27

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2015 – 1:03 pm

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks Bills fans. Let’s get to what’s on your mind with your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Given the #Bills have only 6 picks N 2 in the top 150 how aggressive should we expect them to be in Undrafted Free agency?

vicious155

CB: I don’t expect the Bills to be especially aggressive in undrafted free agency. Here’s why. The roster is probably as deep as it has been in 10 years. There’s a good chance some of their late round draft choices do not even make the 53-man roster, let alone any undrafted rookie free agent signings.

That being said I believe they will sign a handful of college free agents, but unless some unexpected prospect goes undrafted and slips into the undrafted pool I don’t expect the Bills to go crazy once the draft is over.

 

2 – Chris,

I think Doug Whaley is a very good GM, but sometimes I wonder if he said what he really meant to. A question I had on the press conference he had a little while ago.

He said we would be a run heavy, play great D team until we had a franchise QB. That sounded like he was saying that EJ Manuel was not that guy. If he is saying that they no longer have faith in him. That would be new information.

CB:  I think your assumption is a bit misguided. What Whaley said about the offensive approach is accurate. What he also said about a franchise quarterback is also accurate. After 14 NFL starts he, along with everyone else, doesn’t know if EJ Manuel can be the team’s franchise quarterback. It’s not enough of a sample size to know for certain.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe Manuel could become a franchise QB. Here’s a good comment from Whaley to peg where he and the team stands on EJ heading into 2015 when he was asked about Manuel heading into his third year.

“A guy that has had some ups and some downs and a guy that knows that he has to produce,” Whaley said. “He’s excited. We’ve talked to him. He knows that this is a crucial year for him. He knows he has to step his game up to be consistent. We’ve seen flashes of good things. We’ve seen flashes of some things that he needs to improve on. We know he’s going to put in the work to be the best player he can be.”

 

So by having all this new offensive talent around the quarterbacks and a top five defense, not to mention solid special teams, the quarterback doesn’t have to be franchise caliber right now. If Manuel can win the job and develop into a franchise signal caller in a year or two, then all the better.

 

3 – Chris,

Do you see Randell Johnson as a player on the rise that might fit Rex’s defensive system? He’s raw and a good athlete from what I remember. With Rivers gone and Spikes up in the air, could Johnson see more of a presence on defense? He seems like a good fit on the outside as a pass rusher in 3-4 system.

CB: I don’t think Brandon Spikes’ future impacts Johnson because they have different roles. Johnson at this point is going to be serving as a depth player at LB behind guys like Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes, depending on how the defensive staff chooses to line him up.

Johnson’s length is an asset in a Rex Ryan scheme at OLB. What also helps him is he has some experience from his college days as an outside rusher at Florida Atlantic. I just think it’ll be hard for him to get on the field on defense with all the veteran talent in front of him.

 

4 – Chris,

What do you think of Brandon Bridge as raw QB? Has the arm, body, and speed but its truly developmental. I know all the throws aren’t there yet but he has giant arm? With Roman’s work with Colin, do you seen him as maybe the best fit for the Bills in the draft?

CB: You’re right he is a developmental prospect all the way. He has a lot of the physical tools that NFL talent evaluators look for in a QB. The question is how long will it take? He’s only got 373 career pass attempts in college. He’s played in all of 20 collegiate games. And for his career he’s completed just over 50 percent of his passes. To say he’s green would be an understatement. I’d be wary of a quarterback who needs to step it up as much as he does when it comes to ball location, completion percentage and reading defenses. You just don’t know what he is and is not capable of, so he’s a difficult projection. I’d be surprised if he goes before the sixth round.

 

5 – Hey Chris,
I enjoy all the coverage you and the team provide throughout the year for bills fans everywhere.

With the best player available draft process that seems to be what all the perennial contenders use, does need play into the equation at all?

Thanks again for all your great coverage.

Justin from Eden
Transplanted to Lynchburg Virginia

CB: Yes, need does play into the equation. As Doug Whaley and many other GMs have said before you go with best player on the board, but if there are a couple of prospects on your board closely ranked and one is at a position of need, in that instance you would lean toward your positional need.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley weighs in on state of Bills QB position

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2015 – 1:42 pm

On Buffalobills.com today (Wednesday) we covered Rex Ryan’s planned approach in handling the team’s open quarterback competition come spring practices and training camp in the summer. Out at the league’s owner meetings in Arizona, GM Doug Whaley also weighed in on the state of the Bills QB position.

Whaley, while comfortable with where the position sits right now in terms of numbers, is not closing the door on upgrading the position further if the opportunity presents itself.

“We’re going to leave all options open. But right now, we are comfortable going in with a competitive situation with the four guys we have on the roster now,” said Whaley. “Again, we’ve always said we will leave no stone unturned because it is a quarterback-driven league. So until we have a definitive answer at that position, we’re going to keep searching. But we think with the added year of EJ [Manuel] and the competitiveness that Matt Cassel is going to bring in and then Tyrod Taylor and then Jeff Tuel, I think with those four guys somebody is going to rise to the top.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills were jumping when they landed McCoy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2015 – 1:37 pm

It’s been widely reported that Buffalo’s trade for LeSean McCoy happened quickly. In the span of about a half hour the trade was completed. What hasn’t been revealed is just how excited the Bills front office was when they landed the dynamic running back.

In an interview on NFL Network’s Total Access show, GM Doug Whaley shed some light on the jovial nature of the room after they had completed the trade for LeSean McCoy.

“There was more than a ‘holy cow’ moment,” said Whaley. “There was a lot of jumping around, a lot of hugging and a lot of celebration.”

Whaley, who previously explained how the trade went down to Buffalobills.com, mentioned who called from the Eagles front office to initiate the talks.

“I got a call from Ed Marynowitz from Philadelphia and he proposed the trade,” said Whaley. “At the time, they were looking for picks and we didn’t have any ammo because we traded our first round pick this year for Sammy Watkins. So we told him to look at our roster and he called back in about 10 minutes and the deal was done. It was unbelievable. It was a great testament to the Eagles organization, Chip Kelly and Ed. For us, we were actually at an off-site meeting with everybody that needed to be informed about it with our owners and our head coach and our offensive coordinator and our president. It just came together like that. It was unbelievable.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: 1st week of free agency unprecedented

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2015 – 1:51 pm

The first week of free agency had a different element to it. Not only were there player trades, but they included some of the largest names in the game. Haloti Ngata, Jimmy Graham and a handful of others were on the move. As Bills GM Doug Whaley watched it all unfold and made a couple of trades of his own, he admits there was an unprecedented nature to the start of this year’s free agent period.

“I’ve been in this 20 years and that was probably the most activity I’ve seen on the trade front in terms of the quality of players,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “I think it’s just the byproduct of teams trying to get better and teams trying to move assets and get something in return. It was also a byproduct of the salary cap. Having some players that are maybe a little higher in the salary cap and you’ve got to do some adjustments just to try to keep your team relevant.”

Seeing such quality talent on the move was unusual, but it was chiefly tied to one thing. Money.

“It’s all money. You sign these guys and they have cap numbers and when you first sign them it’s great,” Whaley said. “Then you get down the road and you add pieces here and there and then you stop and realize you have to reduce your cap number and if the guy balks instead of trying to get nothing for him you offer him up in a trade and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

In year’s past when NFL clubs knew a team had to move an established veteran player with a high cap figure, most would not swing a trade and instead just wait until the player was cut and try to sign him as a free agent. In this new league year that hasn’t happened.

“I think people are starting to see if you really want this guy remove all doubt (and trade for him),” Whaley said. “You can sit and wait, but then you’re competing with other people. Now you may have to give up something, but at least you get the guy you want. If you want the guy, do what you have to do to go get the guy.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Bills debating on offer for Clay

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2015 – 3:50 pm

The Bills have hosted Miami transition player Charles Clay the past two days, but when it comes to an offer sheet Buffalo is still mulling over the kind of offer they’d like to put in front of the tight end.

That according to Bills GM Doug Whaley. In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio Whaley said an offer sheet is still being considered.

According to reports, Clay intends to make a free agent visit with Cleveland as well.


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Jerome Felton update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Bills have a few players in for free agent visits here Wednesday at One Bills Drive. Free agent TE Charles Clay, FB Jerome Felton and QB Tyrod Taylor are all meeting with coaches and touring the facilities. GM Doug Whaley laid out where things stand with Felton at this point after he arrived in town Monday night.

Whaley was asked in the press conference that introduced QB Matt Cassel, who came via trade with Minnesota, if there’s a deal in place with the free agent fullback.

“No, we do not,” said Whaley. “We’re in the midst of negotiating. That’s one of those things where you bring him in town. They’ve got to get a feel for us, we’ve got to get a feel for them. They have to take a physical. It’s a whole process and then once everybody agrees that we should start talking numbers then we start talking numbers.”


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Charles Clay update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 12:44 pm

Miami free agent TE Charles Clay is in the midst of a visit at One Bills Drive where he’s meeting with coaches and taking a physical. Bills GM Doug Whaley commented on where things sit with Buffalo’s interest in signing Clay to an offer sheet being the Dolphins transition player.

“That’s what we’re determining now with the visit and have him talk to the coaches because it has to be a mutual thing. It’s up to him which offer he takes back,” said Whaley of Clay. “That’s why it’s important for him to get in here, talk to the coaches, take a physical and get a general feeling of what we can offer him and he can offer us.”

When asked what their strategy is in terms of putting an offer sheet together Whaley painted a picture of just how uncertain the outcome of the offer sheet process is.

“Our strategy is if we do decide to do something like that you put your best foot forward and hope for the best,” said Whaley.

If the Bills do sign Clay to an offer sheet, the Dolphins would have five days to match the offer to keep the tight end in Miami.


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Whaley on reports of Kyle Williams extension

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 12:38 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked about the reports that the team is signing DT Kyle Williams to a contract extension. Here was his response to the media.

“We’re not going to talk about contracts,” said Whaley. “When that gets finalized, at the appropriate time we’ll talk about it.”

Buffalo might be looking to create more cap space in 2015 and extending Williams contract another year, as has been reported could help in that regard.


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Report: Titans to land free agent S Searcy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 12:47 pm

It was not expected that the Bills would be able to keep free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy in the fold moving into 2015. Now as the window of free agency is poised to open there are reports as to just where the safety is headed.

According to the Tennessean, Searcy is going to sign with the Tennessee Titans at 4 pm when the market opens.

 

Bills GM Doug Whaley has stated since the NFL Combine last month that trying to re-sign Searcy was going to prove difficult. With Searcy looking for starter money and big money already being doled out to Devin McCourty in New England (5 yrs, $47.5M) and Buffalo heavily invested in Aaron Williams, paying big money for Searcy just wasn’t feasible.

Fortunately Buffalo has a lot of safety talent on the roster. Duke Williams, Baccari Rambo, Johnathan Meeks and Kenny Ladler are all young players who will vie for the starting job left vacant by Searcy.


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Report: Bills targeting TE Clay, FB Felton

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 8:19 am

The free agent speculation has already begun. The latest concerning the Bills has them in pursuit of a free agent tight end and fullback.

That according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora, who is reporting that Buffalo is targeting Miami free agent TE Charles Clay and may also be in the hunt for Minnesota free agent FB Jerome Felton.

Clay isn’t much of a surprise as he fits the mold of a versatile tight end, something that offensive coordinator Greg Roman likes to have in his offense. GM Doug Whaley also said last month at the NFL Combine that the team would be in need of a fullback with a power run scheme set to be implemented as well. Felton is widely considered to be the best fullback on the market.


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Other NFL teams tried to get to Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 2:18 pm

The Bills still did not have free agent Jerry Hughes signed, sealed and delivered when the league’s three-day negotiating window opened on March 7th, three days prior to the start of free agency. The three-day period allows NFL clubs to contact prospective free agents of other teams to express their interest and gauge a player’s willingness to consider moving on to another club. Here’s where things stood as the negotiations with Buffalo and the Hughes camp carried into the weekend.

There were a handful of teams that got in touch with the Hughes camp, but it was evident that enough progress had been made between Hughes and the Bills according to GM Doug Whaley.

“I think they were so close (with us) that we felt very good about it,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “But in this business until that contract is signed you’re always going to have a bit of nervousness to you, but (Bills Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf kept us abreast of the negotiations and he felt real strongly about getting the deal done.”

Hughes admitted there were other teams that contacted him.

“Yeah there (were other teams calling), but we were still listening to Buffalo,” Hughes told Buffalobills.com. “I made it clear to them especially from my point of view I made it clear to my camp that this was the place I wanted to be.


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Whaley: O-line on our to-do list

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 2:11 pm

In an one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com on Jerry Hughes signing day, Bills GM Doug Whaley said in the wake of keeping Buffalo’s talented defensive line intact, the focus will now shift to the other side of the trenches.

When asked about the possibilities of the defensive front four in 2015, Whaley acknowledge with Rex Ryan as head coach the sky is the limit. He then freely expressed their intentions to address the offensive line as well.

“I think it’s going to be a whirlwind on and off the field for the Bills organization,” said Whaley. “With the continuity of those front four guys coming at you… Rex’s philosophy is to build from the inside out so we’ve got that on the defensive line. Now we’ve got some stuff that we’re going to do on the offensive line to make this a competitive team.”


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Bills trade for Hughes not lost on pass rusher

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 1:06 pm

Money is what usually does all the talking for NFL free agents, but for Jerry Hughes, though well compensated by the Bills, there was another key factor – his opportunity to finally play after he was acquired by the Bills.

Hughes toiled in Indianapolis his first three NFL seasons as a backup who rarely saw the field on defense. His work ethic never wavered, but he did wonder if he’d ever be able to prove himself as a professional.

Then Buffalo GM Doug Whaley swung the trade that sent LB Kelvin Sheppard to the Colts for Hughes. Despite not having much NFL game tape to go on the fact that the Bills wanted him meant something to Hughes and he never forgot it. It was a major reason Hughes wanted to continue his career in Buffalo.

“Doug Whaley to kind of come about me in the way he did in that trade, showed that someone wanted me,” Hughes said. “When someone wants you, you want to come back. You want to put your best out there and give it your all. Want to go out and win a couple championships and make it memorable. When someone goes about a trade like that, I definitely want to give it back in full.”


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Bills do not use franchise tag

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2015 – 4:14 pm

The deadline for teams to make use of the franchise and transition tags has come and gone and the Bills chose not to use either.

Bills GM Doug Whaley confirmed it Monday afternoon.

“We have chosen not to use the franchise or transition tags this year,” said Whaley.

There was some speculation as to whether the Bills would make use of the franchise tag on free agent to be Jerry Hughes, but that obviously did not come to fruition

The free agent market opens on March 10th.


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Fan Friday 2-20

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2015 – 1:12 pm

It’s day three of our Combine Coverage presented by NAPA. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

As good of a guy as CJ is..will he really fit Roman’s system?

LWOS_Brock

CB: As GM Doug Whaley has said Roman wants a mixed bag of backs that can do different things. Just because you didn’t see a C.J. Spiller type back in San Francisco’s offense when Roman was running things out there doesn’t mean he can’t use a talent like Spiller in his scheme.

Whaley characterized Bryce Brown and Spiller as the speed backs, Dixon as the power back and Fred Jackson as the pass catcher/pass protector. So it appears Roman would like to have three or four backs to work with, not to mention a fullback.

Additionally Rex Ryan has said that with their coaching staff it’s player over scheme every time, so if they can keep Spiller in the fold they’ll devise a way to make him a productive element in Roman’s system.

 

2 –  @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think OL Ali Marpet will be there in the 4th?

TheConnorCough

CB: I think Marpet opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl when he showed he could hang with the top senior talent in college despite playing at Division III Hobart. He’s off to a good start with his workout here at the NFL Combine as well, running the fastest 40 time among offensive lineman with a five flat.

Obviously the 40 time isn’t a major influencer on draft grade for offensive linemen, but Marpet is legitimizing his ability to play at the NFL level. The Bills did meet with him and though he played tackle in college, he projects to guard in the NFL.

Will he be there in the fourth round? It’s possible. He could also be gone in the third.

 

3 – Chris

Thanks for providing a forum for fans to express opinions and ask questions.
With all the QB’s available in Free Agency, College, Canadian League, other pro leagues, I can’t grasp the Bills unable to develop one over the last 20 years. We seem to have chosen one alone and spend all our resources in proving we were right to pick them, rather than looking for the one who pops out and distances himself from the others. Brady popped out, as did Wilson, Romo, Foles etc. I’d be interested if you think this process will change with the new regime ?

Also, if we have two QB’s, shouldn’t they be similar in style, either mobile or pocket passers, so if one is injured the offense doesn’t have to change to adapt to two different styles, like last year with Manuel and Orton ?

Thanks;
Jim in Florida

CB: I think the Bills are more apt than ever to add another young quarterback to the roster, especially with a thin free agent class of options at the position. Adding two veterans is probably unlikely so a vet and a young player is the most likely combination to fortify the position on Buffalo’s roster.

I found it interesting that Doug Whaley and his personnel department intend to meet personally with every quarterback prospect here at the Combine not named Mariota and Winston. After the Combine they also will dispatch QBs coach David Lee to go and work these quarterback prospects out at or around their pro days. Whaley described their planned search to be exhaustive.

He mentioned this on the John Murphy Show and in addition when asked about the philosophy of drafting a quarterback every year he said he was not opposed to it.

I would think similar style quarterbacks would make sense, but sometimes you’re willing to sacrifice similarity if it means getting a better player overall.

 

4 – Hi Chris

Could you please explain to me how David Lee, who couldn’t get Jets quarterbacks to play better, is going to help EJ Manuel and any other quarterback we have on the roster ?

Thanks, Dale

CB: Rex Ryan has answered this question. David Lee is an expert when it comes to teaching quarterback fundamentals, and really that’s his main job with the signal callers on the roster. To keep their mechanics sound. That’s easier with some quarterbacks than others obviously, but knowing the worker that EJ Manuel is I would anticipate seeing improvement in everything from Manuel’s footwork, to the consistency of his arm angle, release point, hip drive, etc.

While you may knock the results in New York with Geno Smith, David Lee successfully turned Tony Romo from a third string QB into a Pro Bowl starter. I’ve talked to David Lee about that transformation and he said the only reason Romo was successful was because he wanted to work at it.

Romo needed to make 10-thousand throws to improve his passing efficiency because his release point was too low as a younger player and too many of his passes were getting batted down at the line. But he worked with Lee every day. Knowing that Manuel has a similar work ethic, I think we’ll see a difference with him too.

 

 

5 – Chris,

I was very disappointed to see Jim Schwartz leave considering the outstanding work he did with the defense last year especially with stopping the run. Now with Rex Ryan in the fold, the defense will most likely look very similar to what we experienced during the 2013 season under Mike Pettine. With that said, our run defense was not very good under Pettine. Is there real reason to worry it might struggle again with Rex Ryan going back to more of the 3-4 hybrid system that Pettine used? I know we have an outstanding defensive line but they seemed to be in better position to stop the run under Schwartz’s system. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

-Mike from Syracuse

CB: I don’t think there should be a big worry about the run defense. Yes, Schwartz did simplify things, which made it easier to execute. By the same token Rex Ryan defenses have almost always finished in the top 10 in run defense. Buffalo finished 11th last season. So if anything it could improve under Ryan based on the track record of his defenses.

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills to meet with all but 2 QBs at Combine

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2015 – 12:19 pm

The Bills won’t be meeting with Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota at the NFL Combine, but every other quarterback prospect in Indianapolis will have a face-to-face meeting with Buffalo.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday morning, Bills GM Doug Whaley confirmed that his personnel department will meet with all but the top two signal callers at the Combine, either in a formal or informal setting.

“We’re going to meet with all of them except for the top two,” said Whaley. “You’ve got to do your due diligence on all of them because you never know if you’ll be able to a get a guy or if all of them will be available and you’ve got to be able to rank them and go with the best.”

Whaley also said in an appearance on the John Murphy Show that they’ll be very extensive in their efforts to get a firm grasp of all the quarterback prospects in this class.

“That’s what we’re going to do, an exhaustive search with the quarterbacks just looking at these guys not only here at the Combine, but we’re going to send David Lee, the quarterbacks coach out to work those other guys out,” Whaley said. “That’s another avenue where we can add a guy. We can add two or one in free agency and one in the draft. But we’re going to try to get the best guys out there to help the Buffalo Bills win.”

When asked about the approach by some NFL clubs that draft a quarterback every year, Whaley wasn’t against such a strategy.

“That’s a possibility,” he said. “Until you hit on one (drafting) quarterbacks and cornerbacks (every year isn’t wrong) because it’s a passing league that’s an approach some subscribe to and I’m not opposed to it.”

Here’s a list of all the QB prospects at the Combine not named Winston or Mariota.
Bryan Bennet – SE Louisiana
Anthony Boone – Duke
Brandon Bridge – So. Alabama
Shane Carden – E. Carolina
Cody Fajardo – Nevada
Garrett Grayson – Colorado St.
Connor Halliday – Washington St.
Brett Hundley – UCLA
Jerry Lovelocke – Prairie View A&M
Sean Mannion – Oregon St.
Nick Marshall – Auburn
Bryce Petty – Baylor
Blake Sims – Alabama


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Incognito doesn’t remove OL from needs list

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2015 – 9:39 am

The Bills first free agent signing, G Richie Incognito, certainly lessens the need Buffalo has in addressing their offensive line this offseason. However, GM Doug Whaley still intends to pursue more additions for their group up front whether it’s free agency or the draft.

“It lessens it a little bit because you’ve got a former Pro Bowl guard,” said Whaley. “It’s no mystery that our guard play was lackluster last year. We have to get better up front there’s no mistake about it and we think that’s a piece that can help us get better up front. Again we will look at everything.

“Our philosophy in building this team is to not only have great starters, but great backups. So that depth, that’s what we’re looking for. Injuries are a part of the game and if someone goes down we want that backup to go in and that expectation doesn’t dip.”

Whaley mentioned guard and tackle as position players they have in mind for the offensive line.

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus to be addressed in time

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2015 – 8:00 pm

Marcell Dareus is entering the final year of his contract in 2015. Buffalo picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last year. But GM Doug Whaley said that the team intends to work on a contract extension for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, just not right now.

Whaley said an extension for Dareus is a high priority, but the club needs to address their current free agents to be first and make some additions in free agency.

“After we get done with all the unrestricted (free agents) and all we have to do this offseason then we would start to broach that subject,” said Whaley.

Dareus is coming off a career-high 10 sack season in 2014.


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Posted in Inside the Bills