Inside The Bills

Texting in the draft room

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2014 – 11:17 am

With our exclusive access to the Bills draft room on draft weekend we brought you a lot of behind the scenes coverage with our Bills Focus piece on the first two days of the draft for Buffalo as well as our On The Clock – presented by Michelin piece on Whaley’s Decisive Decision Making. There were some other interesting notes about the goings on in the draft room.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, President & CEO Russ Brandon and Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos were all texting a fair amount during the draft. It was most noticeable on day 1 and less so on days 2 and 3. Whaley confirmed for Buffalobills.com that they were staying in touch with other NFL clubs.

“You’re texting because it’s a faster and more efficient way just to make contact with people, especially in the draft room where things can get a little hectic, there might be a phone ringing,” said Whaley. “So it’s just as easy.”

At the start of the draft there was a lot of texting with other teams ahead of them at ninth overall.

“We were making contact with teams ahead of Cleveland just to see what they were thinking,” said Whaley.

Monos, Brandon and Whaley were each assigned different clubs to stay in touch with during round one.

“With that many teams you want to delegate different guys to talk to different teams so you’re not mixing up your information,” Whaley said. “That’s where mistakes can happen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley outlines decision to draft Henderson

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2014 – 2:08 pm

He was a highly touted high school prospect coming out of high school, but he’s had his share of missteps in his college career, which is why he slipped all the way to the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday. OT Seantrel Henderson went 237th overall to the Bills and GM Doug Whaley explained the thinking behind the selection.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley outlined why they felt with their last pick in the 2014 draft that Henderson was worth a flyer.

“It boils down to talking to the person and finding out where he is mentally,” said Whaley. “With Seantrel we talked to him at the combine and before we drafted him and he understands that this is his last shot. So we thought the value of taking him in the seventh round with the talent he has was a good pick for us. Knowing he’s all in and he knows there won’t be any tolerating any kind of misconduct or misstep we were comfortable with it.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: We’re calm and prepared

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 5:38 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley might be entering his first NFL draft as the trigger man for Buffalo, but he and his personnel staff enter the 2014 draft confident and composed.

“It’s an exciting time for myself, all the scouts, the team, the coaches and the region and the Buffalo Bills fans,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “A high level of excitement, but we’re calm and we’re really prepared for what comes our way.”

Whaley said whether they make a move up the board or stay at nine they’re fully confident they’ll land a quality impact player.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What GMs weigh in trades up and down board

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 3:37 pm

NFL GM’s will be faced with big time decisions in terms of moving up or down the draft board and if the compensation is right to make a deal. Bills GM Doug Whaley said you weigh different things when you’re trading up as opposed to trading down.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley explained the difference in what’s considered between a move up the board and a move back.

On moving up
“It’s a combination of everything. You weigh the player, the compensation that you’re giving up,” said Whaley. “You weigh how he can affect our team, not only this year, but in future years compared to what you’re giving up. So there are a lot of different dynamics that go into that.”

On trading down
“Trading down is a little different. Do you feel comfortable enough to trade away from someone you can get at ‘X’ that you won’t be able to get at ‘Z,’” Whaley said. “So is that talent level equal to the compensation that you can pick up. So it’s a fine line and juggling act and it’s an inexact science.”

Whaley also explained how they have dividing lines on their board separating certain prospects from others.

“Our draft board is set up and there’s a line of guys that we would trade up for, there’s a line of guys we wouldn’t trade away from and a line where this is as far as we would go,” he said. “Those play into our thinking and conversations with other teams.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Teams in top 10 jockeying with each other

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 1:24 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley in an interview with Buffalobills.com talked about where the competition lies with respect to improving one’s position on the draft board.

“Right now I would say just from our conversations that there’s more competition moving inside the top 10 than teams trying to get in the top 10,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com.

As Buffalo’s GM reads it teams in the top 10, while they may be interested in moving somewhere else among the top 10 picks, they’re not very interested in moving outside of the top 10.

“That’s because you’re going to get a really good player in the top 10 and you don’t want to take yourself away from a really good player,” said Whaley. “It’s all relative. It depends on what your needs are and what you’re really trying to accomplish in this draft.”

Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff, who is armed with 10 total draft choices including the sixth overall pick, and is also reported to be interested in making a move up the board said last week that he expects movement mainly within the top 10 as well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Draft choice value aided by larger player pool?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 7, 2014 – 11:57 am

With 100 extra underclassmen in this year’s player pool there is a prevailing thought outside NFL front offices that picks for each of the 32 NFL teams carries added value. While there’s no question that the largest additional pool of talent in the draft’s history has helped in making the 2014 class deeper, the enhanced value of draft choices this year might not be as dramatic as some might believe.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, in a one-on-one interview during the Buffalo Bills Draft Special presented by New Era, set to air tonight at 7 pm on WKBW-TV Channel 7 in Buffalo, admits the value of everyone’s draft choices is enhanced to some degree, but doesn’t believe the value of a fourth-round pick would be more like a third-round pick in other years.

“You may not get a third round talent in the fourth round, but you can get a fourth round talent throughout the whole fourth round, or a third round talent throughout the whole third round,” Whaley said. “So it’s deep, but I believe you’ll get a lot of value wherever you pick in this draft.”

See the full interview with Whaley, relive EJ Manuel’s 2013 draft experience with Buffalo’s starting QB and watch film of prospects with Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos. It’s all tonight in a one hour special on WKBW-TV Channel 7 at 7 pm.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-2

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2014 – 11:45 am

The draft is next Thursday (finally). Here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net about the draft and other topics concerning the Bills. Be sure to follow our wall to wall draft coverage on Buffalobills.com and live on the @johnmurphyshow, which can be found on the Bills app or locally on WGR Sportsradio 550.

1 - Hey Chris,

In my opinion, Coach Marrone’s biggest mistake in year one was not having an experienced NFL quarterback on the roster to fill in for EJ. Boy, did the Bills ever pay for that oversight. How, then, is it possible that Doug Whaley has NO PLANS to sign a veteran QB for 2014? Can you shed some light on the thinking at One Bills Drive? Because it sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Also, something I thought to be a no-brainer now looks as though it’s not going to happen……Why haven’t the Bills signed Jim Leonhard?!?

Thanks for everything,

Kenny in Indiana
CB: I would argue that it was not an oversight. They had Kevin Kolb on the roster. He was supposed to be EJ’s backup, but a preseason concussion landed him on injured reserve two weeks before the season started. The free agent market was a barren landscape of quarterback talent. Fortunately they swung a trade to land Thad Lewis, who is a player the front office and coaching staff is very high on as a backup.

He is the reason why they chose not to pursue a veteran free agent option. He’s had a year in the system and he and EJ now have a full time quarterback coach, who by the way worked previously with both of them (EJ at the Senior Bowl, Thad in Detroit).

As for Leonhard my only guess is he was seen as an ideal fit in a new defensive system last year that he was wholeheartedly familiar with and could teach to the younger players. Now with the scheme change he may not be seen as quite the same fit.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

The transition from Buddy Nix to Doug Whaley has seemed to go very smoothly.

My question is about Doug Whaley’s basic draft philosophy. Buddy Nix was on record saying he didn’t like to move in the draft, whether it was up or down.

I would love to see the Bills move down in the 1st round this year, pending a dance partner, to get more pick(s).  There appears to be a lot of talent in the 2nd & 3rd rounds. Do you think Doug Whaley will be more proactive to move down in the draft than Buddy?

P.S.  I hope 2014 is the year you get to report about more wins than losses!
Trade Down Tim

CB: I do think that Whaley is more aggressive by nature to make a deal. He was very honest about keeping all options open with their pick at nine. That includes trading up, which I think is a distinct possibility. We’ll see what happens, but at the pre-draft press conference I was encouraged by this comment from Buffalo’s GM.

“If you have a calculated system, and you use that approach, and the deal makes sense, and you see hey, we can move down to this point and still get a guy that we’re excited about, pick up another pick, then don’t be afraid to make the deal,” Whaley said.
3 – Chris,

I saw a rumor going around on nfl.com saying that Houston is “trying very hard to move down to acquire draft selections” and that Buffalo is a potential trade partner.  I would like this move and I hope Buffalo goes for the #1 pick.  I would love to see them pick up Greg Robinson or Sammy Watkins.  Do you think this is a good possibility?  Who do you think they would be chasing after to give up picks to make sure they land?

Thanks,

Alec……..Adams, NY

CB: I tend to doubt the Bills will move up to the top spot. Even the Bills at nine would have to give up an awful lot to make that happen. That being said I do think that moving up to a spot between 4 and 6 is a possibility if the right player is still on the board for them. There’s no way to gauge the likelihood of that happening because there’s no way to tell whether the compensation offered will be accepted for such a move to occur. I do think if the right talent is sitting there on the board Buffalo will at least make an attempt to make something happen.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

With the passing of Mr. Wilson how will this affect spending for the organization in the coming months? Certainly, the staff had a license to spend when he was alive but given that his estate needing to be settled, was a plan put into place so the day to day and free agent spending would not have cash limits. I  just wonder when a player needs to be paid millions of dollars to sign who writes that check now?

Thanks,
Chris Z.

 

CB: As team President and CEO Russ Brandon and GM Doug Whaley said at the pre-draft press conference their operations as a football club are unaffected moving forward. Here are their direct quotes.

Doug Whaley – “The ownership situation has no bearing on us trying to win football games.”

Russ Brandon – “In regards to the ownership transition, it’s business as usual in every facet of our operation.”

 

5 – Chris,

Does Austin Seferian-Jenkins fit what the Bills are looking for in an athletic tight end? Does he have the speed to be a juke type of tight end? I think he’s the second best tight end beside Ebron. Is he a viable candidate in round 2?
CB: He is a round two prospect so I suppose he is an option if Ebron isn’t the pick in round one, but I just don’t see him as a fit for Buffalo. He is a giant man, but he does not have the athleticism of Ebron. Apparently no one else does in the class at the position either. Seferian-Jenkins has above average athleticism for a tight end his size (6’5 ½” 262), but there are work ethic questions about him and some off the field issues. There’s not a lot of wiggle to him after the catch as he generally tries to run through defenders. He’s still a work in progress when it comes to blocking.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-25

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2014 – 4:22 pm

The draft is less than two weeks away. Feels like we’ve been waiting forever. For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
Can you give some new insight  on how defensive ends will work under Schwartz? Besides Mario it seems like Bills have other options. Hughes was better as an OLB and I don’t see him as every down because of his size. Lawson also has never played DE as well. Do you see this as a major draft need? I feel worried that the sacks/pass rush will fall off because of the scheme change.

CB: While you are right that Lawson has very limited experience as a full time defensive end having played mostly in 3-4 defensive schemes in his career, he is an expert leverage player. So although long and wiry I believe Lawson can make that transition, most likely on the right side. He’s been up on the line enough in his career to know how to handle such a role. Of course the proof is in the pudding.

As for Hughes it’s certainly possible he’s reduced to a pass rushing role, but I think that’s something that will play out in the spring camps and training camp.

I do agree that it is somewhat of a hidden need for Buffalo that isn’t talked about much. They do need to find another fit for Schwartz’s scheme knowing things are changing.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Last year attending Bills training camp at St. John Fisher, it appeared to me that EJ Manuel had an extremely good long ball. His release was quick, the throws were accurate, and the offense was often successful completing those long throws. However during the season I did not often see EJ attempt long throws. I wonder did you see the same thing I did at camp? If so, have you any thoughts about why they didn’t make all that many long passing attempts during the season?  Do you think we might see more of a long passing game this year?

Thanks,

Bernie


CB:
Last year the aim was to keep the offense on the field so deep throws, while potentially rewarding don’t provide a high success rate. With a young QB running things, the plan was to string together high percentage plays and not create too much risk. That’s why Buffalo ran the ball so much last season (most rushes in the NFL in 2013).

Provided EJ demonstrates more efficient decision making, particularly when under duress, through the offseason and preseason I do anticipate more long passes per game. Realistically though unless there is a flaw in an opponent’s secondary there are usually not much more than half a dozen of those kinds of plays attempted by one team in a game.

 

3 - Hi Chris.

Thanks for keeping everybody posted during free agency.  It’s certainly appreciated.

With the new CBA, is it legal for teams to have something like a “behavior clause” in a players contract?  For example “you lose  X number of dollars if you get more then 3 personal fouls this season” or you lose X number of dollars if you get in a fight with the media” etc.  I know Marrone is all about accountability and I think this would be a great way to increase accountability by hitting them where it hurts the most.  If that isn’t legal, could it be part of an incentive clause?  “No personal fouls equals a bonus at the end of the year, etc…

 

Thanks for your time.  Can’t wait for football season.

Harold

CB: To my knowledge morals clauses are permitted, but that doesn’t mean a player’s agent is going to openly accept it. In a good number of cases, the penalties handed down by the league for violation of personal conduct and substance abuse policies are pushed as sufficient deterrents by agents to avoid such morals clauses. However, if the money is significant a player is typically more accepting of the morals clauses that can sometimes come with it.

 

 

4 – Dear Chris,

Can you help me understand what the Bills are doing at both guard positions?  They just seem not to value that position very much on offense.  Kraig Urbik is an average player at best, and they seem to have a bit of a revolving door going on the left side.  Neither Colin Brown or Doug Legursky played very well last year.

Now they have signed Chris Williams, a move that attracted a lot of criticism from various sources, saying that he was the weakest link in a poor Rams line last season.  Why would the Bills want to bring such a player into Buffalo?

I would have thought they would like to better protect the huge investment they have made in EJ  Maunuel.  Can you provide me with some insight about what the Bills brain trust is thinking here?

Thanks and Regards,
Cameron Morrison
CB: I think we sometimes fall victim to media assessments of players and treat it as gospel. In the case of Chris Williams I think he’s a decided upgrade at left guard. As I’ve mentioned on my blog I watched three of his games last year against the #1, #5 and #6 ranked defenses last season, all of which he had to face twice since they were his division opponents in the NFC West in Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.

Williams was steady and reliable in all three games, all the first meetings against each of those teams. He didn’t have any busts and performed well in both run and pass. Was he super spectacular and making eye popping plays? No, but he was effective and truthfully that’s all you need at left guard.

Knowing he’ll be playing in between two of Buffalo’s best starters in Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood should stand to raise his game another peg. Much like Williams I think Urbik is a steady player at right guard.
4 – Hey Chris,
What are your thoughts on the Bills saying that they’re good with their current qb situation as well as having their free safety in the roster already?! It’s mind boggling to me considering the mess they got into when EJ got injured. They didn’t have the confidence in Searcy/Williams/Meeks when Byrd had his injury to start the season, but now they do? Is it just pre-draft strategy or do you think they honestly believe it?

Thanks, Ryan

CB: I do think they believe it. Doug Whaley and his personnel department as well as the coaching staff has an enormous amount of confidence in EJ Manuel. They are also very high on Thad Lewis as a backup prospect. Now with Lewis’ former quarterbacks coach in Detroit now here in Todd Downing, they’re even more confident that Lewis and Manuel for that matter can both take the next step in their respective development.

As for safety I think they do genuinely believe in the talent they have on the roster. Aaron Williams is likely to be the free safety with the strong safety spot filled by one of the candidates trying to land the job. I really was impressed with what I saw from Duke Williams last year in the practice setting. I didn’t see enough of Meeks who was hurt and Da’Norris Searcy had his best season last year as a hybrid subpackage linebacker.

You have to remember the Bills drafted in advance of losing Byrd in last year’s draft when they took Williams and Meeks back to back in rounds four and five. They prepped for that loss. Now the defense is changing so they’ll essentially be rookies again. Knowing that the Bills picked up veteran Corey Graham, who granted has been a cornerback most of his career, but will be in the mix at safety as well.

I think they’ve done a good job of covering their bases there.

 

5 – Chris,

I don’t see the Bills drafting a right tackle in the draft because historical they don’t draft lineman that high. The Bills have depth at WR and TE but need that one big play-maker. Even with Chandler back and lots of speed wideouts, what director do you think they might go in rounds 1-2. Mike Evans and Eric Ebron will probably be on the board with Watkins gone. Which player do you think the Bills will covet more? What are the chances they pick either of them at 9?

CB: It’s hard to know for sure what the Bills think since they lock up their draft board like every other team. I will say that both players are dynamic difference makers for a passing game and both would be a huge help to EJ Manuel.

As we’ve drawn closer to the draft I think it’s becoming less likely that Mike Evans is still on the board at nine. He’s most likely to go to Tampa at pick 7 as they are in dire need of receiver help. Ebron is more likely to be on the board at nine.

I believe if the top tackles are off the board and Evans is gone as well, Ebron might be the best option left.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Open to moving up in draft

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2014 – 12:04 pm

pre-draft-lunch-presser-twBills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 was asked about the prospect of moving up from their pick at nine in round one of the 2014 NFL draft in light of the reports linking Buffalo to moving up the draft board.

When asked specifically if he’s okay with moving up the board on May 8th, Whaley said the Bills are open to it.

“Not a problem as long as it’s not detrimental to our team down the road. It’s going to be a calculated risk, but if we think this guy is going to get us over the hump and get us into the playoffs, which is our stated goal , then why not make the deal?”

Whaley went on to say they’re open to moving up or moving down.

“The way we set up our board there are a certain amount of players that we won’t trade away from and then there are a certain amount of players where if the opportunity presents itself we’ll trade up to go get and there’s also a mark where we will trade down to. So there are all different situations,” said Whaley. “We don’t know how it’s going to fall, but if you prepare for every event you should be ready and there should be no panic.”

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills final draft board process starts Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2014 – 11:34 am

They had a preliminary draft board in place in advance of the NFL combine, but starting next week the process of finalizing the Bills draft board begins.

Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday morning confirmed that he and his college scouting department will begin finalizing their board next week.

“We have some medical meetings with our medical staff and then our scouts come in this weekend and we’ll be hunkering down on Monday at 9am and get started then,” said Whaley. “We do have a preliminary board set that we put together right before the combine and these meetings we’ll get input from the coaches and tinker with the board a little bit.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Super Bowl of Lobby Watching

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Britt looking for a fit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-21

Posted by Chris Brown on March 21, 2014 – 11:39 am

Free agency is still up and running, but the focus will steadily move toward the NFL draft. In the meantime we answer some of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,
In putting on your Draft Hat, who do you think the Bills will draft over the first three rounds? By position I would to see a LB, OL, TE.  It would not surprise me if they trade down in the first round again in order to gain additional picks.

Thanks very much, as always I appreciate your input.

Bob Hammond
Rochester, NY

CB: I think based on what they’ve acquired in free agency to this point (2 LB, 1 G, 1 CB, 1 RB) it has not changed much. Here’s why. I see the three positions you mentioned along with WR as their top four needs. Though they have added a pair of linebackers who each figure to have starting roles and play a lot, the depth at linebacker is not where it needs to be. So I do expect them to take a linebacker. I’m just not sure it’s going to be early.

On the offensive line with Erik Pears entering the final year of his contract and Chris Hairston’s status still up in the air pending a medical re-check this spring, offensive tackle is a position I expect to be addressed in the first two rounds. The same goes for wide receiver preferably one that is 6’3” or taller.

Tight end could be a consideration if the right kind of game breaking talent is there, but absent that opportunity I don’t think we see one added to the roster.

 

2 – Chris,

With so many underclassmen declaring for the draft. Do you anticipate a richer pool of undrafted free agent? 

Harris W.

CB: I think that is a very safe assumption. In fact talking to some NFL GMs at the NFL combine most of them seem to be more excited about the quality of talent they’ll be able to sign after the draft is over. With 100 underclassmen declaring for the draft this spring, it’s essentially three extra rounds of prospects that won’t get drafted. So the undrafted pool might be the deepest ever.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for all of your combine coverage, its great. My question is about the draft. I think that the Bills need to surround EJ with more weapons before addressing the O-line in the later rounds. What do you think about getting Ebron or Watkins in the first and then someone like Gabe Jackson or Cyrus Kouandjio in the second? Or maybe a Martavus Bryant in the third? He is a big fast receiver that we are looking for. I think Ebron and Watkins would be a great explosive weapon for EJ. What are your thoughts?

Go Bills!
Mike 

CB: I think there is depth at offensive tackle where you could find a starting caliber player in round two.

If Sammy Watkins is there at nine the Bills will sprint up to the podium with the card. However, I’d be stunned if he’s still on the board past Oakland at five. I think ninth is too high for Ebron. I’d consider Texas A&M’s Mike Evans.

An offensive tackle I like for round two is Tennessee’s Tiny Richardson. If there’s a run on tackles late in round one however, I’m worried he won’t be there. We’ll see.

 

4 – Hello Chris,

I am struggling to figure out why the Bills are not on the QB needy teams list? What evidence was provided last year that EJ Manuel is at all capable of winning games yet alone a super bowl championship? His short passes were off target and thrown with way too much velocity. His deep ball was nonexistent. I’ve been a Bills fan for over twenty some odd years since I watched Ronnie Harmon drop the ball in the end zone in Cleveland. I have never felt compelled to ever write before but Myself and many, many others cannot sit by and watch another 3 years of this kid stink it up. Please tell Russ, Doug , Jim O, and Coach to move up and get the A&M kid. Everyone knows EJ is not the goods.

At the very least can someone at least acknowledge this and stop trying to convince themselves by trying to convince us, You don’t move back in the draft if you think the guy is the “guy” you take him at 8 or whatever they picked last year, Seriously I’m begging. I listen to Murphy and I realize how difficult it’s becoming to even be fan of this team any longer. We don’t need a receiver or tight end…We need a Quarterback! 

Thank you and enjoy your work.
Paul

CB: I’m going to respectfully disagree with you here. Ten NFL starts does not a career make. If that was the case Troy Aikman would’ve been run out of Dallas on a rail when they went 1-15 in his first NFL season as a starter. Buffalo’s personnel execs are all in on EJ Manuel, so giving up on him after 10 games, which truth be told had some encouraging and discouraging performances, would be foolhardy after investing a first-round pick.

You have to trust in your coaches to develop him and his work ethic to lead to appreciable improvement. You’re entitled to your opinion just like everyone else. I just think no matter what side of the fence anyone is on concerning EJ, all of it is premature.

 

5 – Chris,

The Bills QB’s: EJ, Tuel and Thad Lewis
Do you envision the Bills adding depth at the position in the draft say an Aaron Murray or Zach Mettenberger who may fall due to knee injuries, and may be perfect for the Bills to groom behind EJ this year.
Or do you think they prefer someone with more experience?   Along the lines of: Josh freeman, Chad Henne, Josh McCown

-Jim

CB: I’m going to let Bills GM Doug Whaley handle this one with a recent comment he made on the radio last week.

This was his response when asked in a radio interview if they planned to add a quarterback in free agency or the draft.

“At this time no, but again we will keep all options open,” Whaley said.

Whaley then went on to indicate that they’d be fine going into camp with the three quarterbacks on their roster (Manuel, Lewis, Tuel) along with their practice squad QB who was on the roster last year.

“Comfortable, very comfortable and then you throw Dennis Dixon in,” he said. “All those guys are going to be another year in the system, so if you bring someone else in they’ll be new in the system. So we’re comfortable with where we are with the quarterback position.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

With Chandler back Whaley liking TE group

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Bills fans might not see much difference than that of a year ago, but with Scott Chandler back in the fold, Bills GM Doug Whaley believes their talent at tight end covers every requirement of the position.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley gave his thoughts on the tight end group on Buffalo’s roster.

“I like the skill set that our tight ends bring to our roster,” he said. “You’ve got Lee Smith and his primary role is a blocking tight end. You’ve got Chris Gragg and the speed aspect he brings to the table. Chandler brings the size and then you have Tony Moeaki if you look in his past he’s a good combination guy with receiving skills and blocking. We’ve got the gamut covered so we think we’re pretty solid, but that doesn’t prohibit us from getting anybody that we think might be an upgrade.”

When asked if Moeaki’s role could be larger in 2014, Whaley confirmed that’s their intent.

“That’s the plan, but again it’s competition and we expect it to be heated competition,” he said. “We’re excited and as I always say competition makes everybody elevate their game.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Adding another QB not likely

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 10:34 am

This week the Bills parted ways with veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb. With three “green” quarterbacks on the roster, there is some thought outside the organization that they might consider adding a free agent with more experience to compete for a backup role. Bills GM Doug Whaley put that thought to rest Friday.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley confirmed that right now there are no plans to add another quarterback though he would not completely rule it out.

“At this time no, but again we will keep all options open,” said Whaley.

When asked if the team would feel comfortable going into training camp with the three quarterbacks currently on the roster, EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel, Whaley said they would be.

“Comfortable, very comfortable and then you throw Dennis Dixon in,” he said. “All those guys are going to be another year in the system, so if you bring someone else in they’ll be new in the system. So we’re comfortable with where we are with the quarterback position.”

Dixon was on Buffalo’s practice squad as a quarterback last season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley pleased to plug Williams in on Bills OL

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2014 – 1:12 pm

His free agent visit to the Bills on the first full day of free agency was a sign that Chris Williams was an early target for Buffalo to fortify their offensive line. Now that he’s in the fold, GM Doug Whaley couldn’t be more pleased.

“We’re excited about this start to free agency and our plans moving forward,” said Whaley. “With the signing of Chris Williams, I am particularly excited about the direction our offensive line is moving in because we wanted to address this position and we feel like we filled the need with a very good player.”

Williams also brings guard-tackle versatility to the offensive line as one of the only guards on the current roster that can also kick out and effectively play tackle in a pinch. Here’s a shot of the GM with his newest guard right after Williams signed.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Winter storm may impact Bills FA plan

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2014 – 4:49 pm

The Bills have a free agent plan in place, which is expected to include visits by free agent players, perhaps as early as Wednesday. Mother nature however, may have something to say about those potential plans.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Western New York beginning 2 am Wednesday and lasting through 2 am Thursday. The storm is forecast to dump anywhere from 7-12 inches of snow on Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs. That could complicate arrivals at the Buffalo-Niagara International aiport, something GM Doug Whaley is well aware of.

“With looking at the weather you try to get him in here as soon as possible,” he said in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “And knowing guys have a lot of dance cards we don’t want to get them skipped over if we can’t get them in. So it’s a tricky situation and we’re going to try to do the best we can.

“We’ve got faith in the Buffalo airport that they’ll stay open at least for a little while, or don’t cancel flights the whole day. So we’ll work as diligently as possible to get these guys in.”

Of course if the Bills can get a free agent visitor in before the storm hits, it could make getting out of Buffalo for the free agent player more difficult. That could help provide the added time needed to consummate a deal.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron ready to step up at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2014 – 1:19 pm

Bills safety Aaron Williams, who was just signed to a contract extension last week, appeared on NFL AM Monday morning and was asked if he’s prepared to be the team’s number one safety if free agent Jairus Byrd signs elsewhere. Here was his response.

I’m prepared to be the guy if he’s gone,” said Williams. “I wasn’t able to be with him the first six games of the year with his foot injury and didn’t have the chance to be with him during training camp with his negotiations of trying to get a long-term [contract] last year. So if they need me to fill in for his role, we have guys behind us that are ready to step in and be productive for our team.”

Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked that same question, if Byrd signs elsewhere does he think Aaron Williams could be a number one safety. Whaley had a one word answer.

“Absolutely,” he said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills plan to be active in free agency

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2014 – 10:51 am

NFL free agency is fast approaching as teams can begin negotiating with agents for unrestricted players as early as Saturday with signings permissible Tuesday at 4 pm. Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon addressed the level of involvement the team will have when the market opens.

Brandon appeared on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 this week and confirmed they will have a presence in the market next week.

“We’ll be active in free agency,” Brandon said. “We have a master plan on everything related to our current roster and going into free agency. And that starts right at the conclusion of the season from the Senior Bowl to the Combine and obviously there are pro days throughout the country over the next month. Our scouts and Doug (Whaley) and our player personnel people will be all over doing that. We have a plan going into free agency and a master plan tied into the entire roster.”

At the same time GM Doug Whaley has said repeatedly that they will not be pursuing “big splash” players. Whaley said they will pursue players of value not unlike the ones they picked up last offseason like Manny Lawson and Alan Branch.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brandon on chain of command in front office

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2014 – 10:46 am

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon thought it was ridiculous to even question how it functions, but when asked how personnel and contract values are set in Buffalo’s front office, he provided an in depth answer to eliminate any doubt as to how things trickle down from GM Doug Whaley when it comes to football and salary cap decisions.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Brandon explained how personnel and salary cap decisions are delineated.

“I have great belief in our structure, and let me be real clear about this,” said Brandon. “When Doug Whaley was brought in as general manager he was given sole responsibility for the 53-man roster and the value equation on each player. So the composition of the roster and the value on players are totally his responsibility. So he directs the ceiling on each negotiation and he has full salary cap at his disposal and he’s empowered to deploy it as he sees fit.

“My belief is the general manager position is all about personnel and all about player acquisition. (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf is our lead negotiator on each contract. He takes his direction from the GM chair. He is one of the most respected individuals at his craft in this business.

“Every team has a lead negotiator. Jim and I and (Player Personnel Analyst) Kevin Meganck and Doug Whaley sits in on that as well. Quite frankly I don’t want Doug worried about which legal clause to put in a contract when he’s at a pro day, which he is (doing now). But make no mistake he sets the ceiling on each player and how the composition of the roster looks.

“I will tell you this, this organization has never been in more lock step. To offer any other commentary on that is really nonsense and sophomoric in my opinion.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills