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Inside The Bills

Whaley: Keeping Searcy won’t be easy

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2015 – 4:10 pm


The Bills would like to keep all of their unrestricted free agents, but some might be easier to return to the fold than others. Such might prove to be the case with S Da’Norris Searcy.

Searcy is coming off a very successful season as he assumed a starting safety role opposite Aaron Williams and was very productive. But if Searcy is looking to cash in big time on his second contract, like most NFL players, it could prove too steep for the Bills to handle.

“Searcy is going to be a little challenging with Searcy just because we have paid Aaron Williams and there’s some money tied up in that position,” said GM Doug Whaley. “Searcy may probably garner starter money at safety. That’s going to be a little more challenging trying to get that done just because of the cap space dedicated to that position.”

Fortunately for the Bills if they can’t come to an agreement with Searcy they have depth at the position with Duke Williams, Baccari Rambo and Jonathan Meeks still on the roster.

“If he does move on we think we’ve got three guys that will compete and one of those guys is going to come out of there as the starter, but we have two excellent backups,” said Whaley.

On locker clean out day Searcy said as much as he’d like to return he has to put the needs of his family first. We’ll see how things pan out soon enough with free agency set to open in just over a couple of weeks.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Virtue of patience with a young QB

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2015 – 12:54 pm

The Dallas Cowboys were an organization that was very patient with Tony Romo as a young signal caller. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was asked about how important that patience is for an NFL team even though the temptation can be great to pull the plug.

“I would argue that playing quarterback in the National Football League is probably as hard a thing as there is in sports,” said Garrett, a former quarterback himself. “The environment that you create for that quarterback is critical to his success – the system he’s in, the people he has blocking for him, how you’re playing defense, the weapons he has around him, how you call plays – all those things contribute to that. You want to have a guy who wants to be great, you want to have a guy who wants to be in that position.

“It’s a hard job. It really is, to be one of these 32 guys who start for an NFL team. You have to have the right makeup, the right character, and if you try to create that environment for him and he goes about it the right way, you have a chance to be patient for him and have the kind of quarterback that you want.”

Bills GM Doug Whaley has said he continues to believe in what EJ Manuel can be as an NFL quarterback, and though he will likely be part of a quarterback competition this offseason, patience could be rewarded.

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


	
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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley weighs in on where OL stands

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2015 – 1:45 pm

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked whether the interior of Buffalo’s offensive line was a priority to address this offseason.

Whaley has stated previously that they’re going to take a long look at their offensive line this offseason, but he also did not want to dismiss some of the talent they already have in house.

“Some would say that (it’s a priority), but we’re thinking when you get Chris Williams back from injury and another year with (Cyril) Richardson in there and get him more time in there and (Cyrus) Kouandjio played a little guard in there during the season in the practices,” Whaley said. “We think there are some guys there who can compete, but that’s not to say we won’t bring in other guys to add to the fold.”

With Erik Pears a free agent and youth on the roster in the form of Kouandjio and Richardson it wouldn’t be surprising if a veteran free agent guard was added to Buffalo’s ranks.


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Whaley undaunted by no 1st rd. pick

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2015 – 1:10 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is well aware that there are fewer draft picks in his arsenal this spring for the 2015 NFL draft. With no first-round pick and no fourth-round pick, Buffalo has just six total (2 in the 5th). But Whaley and his scouting staff like the challenge of having to find players when they don’t have a premium pick.

“It’s exciting. It’s a challenging time and everybody that knows me knows I’m not afraid of a challenge,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “Our scouting staff feels the same way. Unfortunately we’ve been drafting high recently and that’s a little easier than drafting lower. We want to get to that point where we’re drafting low consistently so that for us is a challenge and we’re up for the challenge and excited about it.”

Buffalo gave their original fourth-round pick with their first rounder in the Sammy Watkins trade. They got a fourth back in the Stevie Johnson trade, but then shipped that to Philadelphia for Bryce Brown. They did acquire a second fifth-round pick from Tampa in a day three trade last year.

“We also look at it this way, we think Bryce Brown is worth a fourth-round pick,” Whaley said on the John Murphy Show. “Any back we get in the fourth round would be just like Bryce Brown. With Sammy Watkins people say we gave up two number ones. But to have a number one wide receiver for the next 10 years we would’ve have had to maybe draft two wide receivers to come up with that. So we think the value is there for both of those and we’re excited about what we can accomplish.”


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Whaley on scouts meeting with Rex

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 10:30 pm

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan met with the Bills personnel department in Mobile Tuesday evening. On Wednesday GM Doug Whaley provided an update on how things went in an interview on the John Murphy Show live in Mobile.

Whaley wanted the head coach to meet his scouts to help explain the type of players he needs for his team to be the best it can be. But Ryan made it very easy for Buffalo’s college scouts.

“He just said, ‘Get me people that love football and that are playmakers,’” said Whaley. “So that opens up the whole board for us and gets us really excited so we don’t have restrictions on the type of guys that we’re looking for.”

Whaley said Ryan’s personality is infectious and had the scouting department fired up when the meeting was over.

“No doubt about it. It’s contagious,” said Whaley of Ryan’s demeanor. “He’s got a personality that people gravitate to and you want to work for him and want him to succeed. For him to succeed he lays out the ground work and they’re easy to work with, like I said before, guys that love football and guys that can make plays. He doesn’t want to say, ‘Hey I want a specific guy, a 6-5 guy that runs 4.6.’ He said, ‘That’s great everybody wants that guy, but find me good football players.’”


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Bills personnel dept. on John Murphy Show

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 4:31 pm

It’ll be the big three from Buffalo’s personnel department on the John Murphy Show tonight on location in Mobile at the Senior Bowl.

John Murphy will sit down with GM Doug Whaley, Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos and Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher to talk about how their meeting with Rex Ryan went and how the Senior Bowl fits into their plans to solve the quarterback position.

It’s tonight from 7-9 pm live from Mobile on the John Murphy Show.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex comments on Jerry Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 9:16 am

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan hasn’t been shy at all about his excitement level for the defensive talent he inherits here in Buffalo. He also believes they’ll keep an important part of that defensive puzzle on the roster.

Impending free agent Jerry Hughes is a player that GM Doug Whaley has already said they want to keep in a Bills uniform for the foreseeable future. In an interview with FOX Sports, Ryan said he intends to see that plan come to fruition.

“I absolutely envision that,” said Ryan. “I think Jerry is an outstanding player. The last two years I’ve been against him and he’s tremendous. I hope he’s still a Buffalo Bill moving forward. Sometimes things happen where that might not be a possibility, but I believe he’s a great player and I hope he’s a Buffalo Bill for a long time.”

 


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Fan Friday 1-16

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2015 – 12:24 pm

It was a historical week for the Bills franchise with the hiring of Rex Ryan as the 18th head coach in team history. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

With the coming to an end what positions do you think need more depth for the offseason besides QB? Offensive line or maybe tight end or defensive end in case Hughes leaves? Can you also explain to fans that the Bills would have taken Eric Ebron, and trading up for Sammy wasn’t as risky as many thought. This year’s list of WRs isn’t as deep.

CB: As for positional needs the guard spot is right up at the top. I think a big running back is another potential need for two reasons. First, it’s unclear as to whether C.J. Spiller will return to the team with the ability to become a free agent this offseason. Second, a power run game is going to need a big back comparable to Frank Gore or Eddie Lacy. Buffalo has a big back in Boobie Dixon, but he was relegated to backup duty under offensive coordinator Greg Roman in San Francisco. Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown are capable, but it might be time to draft a young back to add to the mix. An end/OLB would be a need if Hughes doesn’t return, but they can’t wait on that.

As for last year’s draft, it was my understanding that if the Bills stayed at nine that Eric Ebron was the most likely target, assuming the likes of Sammy Watkins was off the board.

 

2 – Hi Chris,
My name is Ben Cary, a dedicated bills fan from West Seneca studying at Miami University of Ohio. Are the Bills interested in pursuing Jay Cutler, now that the Bears might be shopping him? I think he could fix a lot of our quarterback issues. He has the raw talent to make the plays none of our recent QB’s have been able to. I also think he would find success in our run first offense because he wouldn’t be forced to throw the ball as much as Chicago made him. What are your thoughts?

Has Doug Whaley thought about this as well? I love the improvement we’ve made this year and can’t wait to see what the future of the franchise holds!

Thanks so much
Ben Cary

CB: If the Bills are interested in pursuing Jay Cutler in a trade scenario they certainly can’t state it publicly since he’s property of the Bears. That could open the team up to tampering charges. While there’s no debating that he is physically gifted as a quarterback there is a reason his second franchise is reportedly looking to move him.

I don’t dismiss your point that a run first approach on offense could decrease some of the ill-advised plays Cutler tries to make. While talent is a big asset to have as a quarterback, leadership is a close second and that’s where I think Cutler struggles as a player.

I can’t tell you what Doug Whaley is thinking, but it’s my belief that the Bills will look to add a veteran quarterback to the roster. Whether Cutler is under consideration remains to be seen.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills I see the two lineman the #bills have signed to futures deals are both under 300 lbs. Will this be the trend going forward? More athleticism at guard seems logical, right?

DanielBeaudoin1

CB: Greg Roman’s power run game is pretty multiple. That being said having guards who are capable of pulling is a plus. You also have to be able to push the pile so I don’t know that a trend can be taken from the two most recent OL signings.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills do u believe Whaley that he would take a QB in the 2nd or 3rd if the right one was available? Petty or Hundley. #bills

Srothenburgh

CB: I think Whaley in that radio interview this week was just trying to emphasize the fact that they do not rule anything out with every draft pick they hold. If a quarterback is the best player on the board, and there isn’t a pressing positional need with a prospect that is comparable in terms of grade to said quarterback, then they’ll take a QB. Knowing this is his approach he cannot rule out taking a QB. In reality I see the Bills adding a veteran quarterback this offseason.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

What is a typical NFL halftime like for a team? Does the head coach address the full team the entire time? Do position groups meet? Are the discussions strategic or motivational? Thanks

Sincerely,
Max

CB: At halftime there isn’t a whole lot of time. With the coaches from the booth taking an extra five minutes to get down to the locker room, there’s only about 7-8 minutes to go over things. The head coach will briefly huddle with the coordinators before making decisions on various adjustments for the second half. In most cases the teams breaks off into offensive and defensive groups with their coordinators. They address what has to be corrected and then what some of the adjustments will be. After plotting out strategy the head coach or a team captain might say a few inspirational words and it’s back out to the field.


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Bills will try to bring Spiller back

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan expressed a desire to get C.J. Spiller back in the fold, knowing he can become a free agent this offseason. On Thursday GM Doug Whaley echoed that sentiment.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley was asked if he sees a place for Spiller in an offense that’s likely to be predicated on a power running game.

“We believe so and we’re going to try to do our darndest to get this guy in the fold and get him back,” said Whaley. “I’m sure he’s disappointed with how last year went with the injuries, but we want him to come back with us and get back to the form we know he can play at.”

In his one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com, Ryan spoke of the friendship he’s developed with Spiller from their run-ins at Clemson, Spiller’s alma mater, where Ryan’s son currently plays football.

“I’ve met C.J. and obviously I have a great deal of respect for him having to try to stop him and things,” said Ryan. “One thing I think that he’s going to understand about me is I’m going to tell him what I believe to be the truth. All players seem to appreciate that.”


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Jerry Hughes update

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:37 pm

The Bills have an important impending free agent that they’d like to keep in the fold in DE Jerry Hughes. GM Doug Whaley in an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 confirmed that the club has opened talks with Hughes on a new contract.

Whaley didn’t have a lot of details, since he had been wrapped up in the intense two-week process of finding a head coach.

“We’ve been so consumed with this coaching search that I haven’t been able to talk to (Senior VP of Administration Jim Overdorf) to find out where we stand there and once Rex finishes his staff then we’ll turn our attention to that. But I know Jim has been in touch with his representatives and started the process.”

Whaley intends to get an update on where things stand soon, to see if it’s possible to re-sign him and not let him hit the free agent market.

“We’re excited and we want him back,” said Whaley of Hughes. “He’s a great part of our defense and hopefully we can get it done sooner rather than later.”

When asked if the hiring of Rex Ryan as head coach improves the chances of re-signing Hughes, Whaley could only be hopeful.

“You’d have to ask him,” said Whaley. “I hope he’d be just as excited as we are and the Bills fans are.”


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Whaley on what makes Roman’s ‘O’ effective

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:30 pm

He hasn’t watched a full season of 49er games, but he’s seen enough to be impressed with what Bills new offensive coordinator Greg Roman does to make his offensive unit productive.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, GM Doug Whaley outlined some of the principles of Roman’s offense.

“A heavy emphasis on the run game, but he does it in so many different ways that you can’t get a bead on him,” Whaley said. “He’ll use three backs, he’ll use the pistol, he’ll off set his backs. He’s a multiple type attack running offense. That will give defenses fits. There are certain times if the back is off set to the right, 99 percent of the time he can only go to the left so he does some diversionary things with alignments and formations that makes it really intriguing and hard to get a bead on what he’s trying to accomplish.”

All those formations and pre-snap shifts and alignment changes might make it sound like a difficult offense to absorb and execute, but that’s not how Whaley sees it.

“You would think that, but a lot of it is just concept based,” Whaley said. “I haven’t gotten into the nitty gritty of his playbook, but I know this much, he’s not one of those guys who wants to be a mad scientist and make things so difficult that you have paralysis by analysis. It looks like to me when you watch the 49ers they don’t make a lot of mistakes and they play hard and fast and that’s a telling sign of guys being comfortable with what they’re being asked to do.”


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Whaley’s instant connection with Ryan

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2015 – 2:25 pm

Bills owner Terry Pegula mentioned it in Wednesday’s press conference. GM Doug Whaley cut his teeth in the league in the Pittsburgh organization, a club that identifies with strong, tough defense and a consistent, powerful run game. Rex Ryan comes from a similar mindset from the days of coaching under his father Buddy Ryan. It’s why Whaley felt an instant connection with Ryan during the interview process.

Appearing in an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley explained how what Ryan laid out as his philosophy for successful football instantly appealed to him.

“It was just his philosophy about how to build a consistent team,” said Whaley. “A team that can consistently compete for championships. It’s just my philosophy as I’ve grown up in this business. It’s a philosophy of playing good defense, running the ball and being aggressive. And that helps everything especially your quarterback. That’s something that’s been a mainstay in his philosophy since he started going all the way back to his father. So right there we had an instant connection.”


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Pegulas felt veteran coach was best fit

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 7:56 pm

Terry and Kim Pegula along with GM Doug Whaley and team President Russ Brandon went on a barnstorming tour to find a head coach. As they made their way through a dozen candidates it became clear what they felt they needed in a head coach for their team at this time.

“When we went through this process, we went into it open-minded,” said Terry Pegula. “We interviewed some bright, young coaches and some veteran coaches and Doug and Russ obviously had been through this before a few years ago. Like I said, when we meet the right guy, you’ll know it. When we finally talked to Rex and looked at that staff that he put together, I really don’t think that the Buffalo Bills at 9-7, and I really believe two plays away from possibly being 11-5, needed to have a young coach standing in their locker room.

“I thought we needed to go to somebody who’d done it before and if you look at the record of almost every coach like Rex just mentioned it, new coaches fail generally in their first job and I’m not saying that all the new coaches that are going to get hired are going to fail, but it’s more happening in that direction than it is for them to be successful.

“We just felt that he was our guy and trust me, we had some pretty impressive people that we felt could the Bills coach, but we said, ‘Hey, let’s go after Rex.’ Russ told me, ‘Don’t let him out of the building.'”


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With Ryan on board, hierarchy takes shape

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 3:12 pm

The Bills front office structure has undergone some change since the Pegulas came on board as the owners of the club. Now with Rex Ryan as head coach, Terry Pegula laid out how the flow of information will proceed between himself, his wife Kim and the highest ranking officials in the organization.

“Rex (Ryan), Russ (Brandon), and Doug (Whaley) will report to Kim and myself and that’s the way we’re going to have it moving forward,” said Pegula. “I believe in everyone…I think I’ve said this in the past: my style of business is that no one should be afraid to say anything so we will welcome input from anybody; the coach, the GM, the President, myself, Kim and that’s how we’re going to move forward. You should never be afraid to say anything. I don’t care if it’s sports or other business.”

Team President Russ Brandon further expounded on the duties and responsibilities held by the top three ranking executives under the Pegulas.

“When it comes to the 53 (man roster) and player personnel, that’s under the purview of Doug Whaley,” said Brandon. “The game-day roster and the coaching staff is obviously Coach Ryan and I will have business ops and administration ops and football administration budgets. But as Terry said earlier and as Coach said, it’s not only one direction, it’s one mindset and we’ll be in lock-step in everything that we do as an organization.”

 


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What’s out there at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2014 – 1:08 pm

In the wake of Kyle Orton’s sudden retirement announcement the Bills search to add at the quarterback position this offseason began in earnest Monday. Bills GM Doug Whaley said they’ll need to add one, possibly two quarterbacks to the fold this offseason before spring practices get underway. He also said there’s more than just the draft to add a quarterback and that they would explore all avenues, including free agency and trade. With that in mind here’s a look at the list of notable free agent quarterbacks.

There are some omissions from this list like Tarvaris Jackson, Tyler Thigpen and Thad Lewis, who have already had a go round with the Bills.

Free agent Quarterbacks

Jason Campbell                 UFA       CIN         32

Jimmy Clausen                  UFA       CHI         27

Austin Davis                       RFA        STL         25

Matt Flynn                          UFA       GB          29

Blaine Gabbert                  UFA       SF           25

Matt Hasselbeck              UFA       IND        39

Shaun Hill                            UFA       STL         34

Brian Hoyer                        UFA       CLE         29

Tarvaris Jackson                UFA       SEA        31

Josh Johnson                     UFA       SF           28

Case Keenum                    RFA        HOU      26

Ryan Lindley                       UFA       ARI         25

Jake Locker                         UFA       TEN        26

Ryan Mallett                      UFA       HOU      26

Luke McCown                   UFA       NO         33

Colt McCoy                         UFA       WAS      28

Kellen Moore                    RFA        DET        25

Matt Moore                       UFA       MIA       30

Dan Orlovsky                     UFA       DET        31

Christian Ponder              UFA       MIN       26

Mark Sanchez                    UFA       PHI         28

Matt Simms                        RFA        NYJ         26

Tyrod Taylor                       UFA       BAL        25

Scott Tolzien                      UFA       GB          27

Michael Vick                       UFA       NYJ         34

Joe Webb                            UFA       CAR        28

T.J. Yates                             UFA       ATL         27


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Whaley: Encouraged but not satisfied

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2014 – 5:03 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley will presumably be meeting soon with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula to lay out what was positive and not so positive about the 2014 season for the club. Here’s what he intends to tell them about his assessment of the year turned in by the team.

“Encouraged, not satisfied,” said Whaley. “We took a step forward, but we obviously did not meet our stated goals. There were some good things that came out of the season and there are some things that we have to do better as a whole, as an organization and as a football team and as a personnel staff. Everybody has to strive to get better to get us where we want to go and that’s the playoffs.”


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Starter at QB Sunday may have been different

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2014 – 4:53 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone chose to go with Kyle Orton as his starting quarterback in the season finale at New England this past Sunday. In the wake of Orton’s sudden retirement announcement Marrone admitted Monday had he known of Orton’s plans beforehand it would’ve impacted his QB decision for the Patriots game.

“It would’ve impacted, on how to make a decision on who the best player was to play during that week,” Marrone said. “And I would’ve had to put some thought into it if I had known prior to (the last game).”

Marrone said Orton came to his office first thing in the morning to inform him of his decision to end his playing career.

“I was hoping that Kyle would be with us,” said Marrone of looking ahead to 2015.

When asked if it could be a setback for the position Marrone has the following response.

“It could be. I’m not going to sit here and deny that it’s not going to be,” he said. “We just have to see how it works out and what our plan is moving forward.”


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Fan Friday 11-21

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2014 – 9:01 pm

Despite some crazy logistics this week, here’s Fan Friday with questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Over the past couple of years here are moves that GM Doug Whaley really “hit on”;

(1) Trading ILB Kelvin Sheppard for DE Jerry Hughes = A+

(2) Drafting LB Kiko Alonso = A+

(3) Drafting WR Sammy Watkins = A+,  price was pretty steep, but gives the Bills a legit #1 WR in awhile

(4) Drafting LB Preston Brown + A,  this guy has been a very nice surprise on the defensive side of the ball

(5) Signing QB Kyle Orton = A+  ( I was writing to you back in July for the Bills to sign Orton, glad Coach Marrone finally switched Kyle Orton to #1 QB.  I thought he should have a week sooner, if the Bills had, Bills beat Texans in Houston)

(6) Signing of free agent kicker Dan Carpenter, he’s been clutch when kicks are needed the most.

Question:  Since the Bills do not have a #1 draft pick in 2015 and RB Spiller is not going to command a large contract to resign, can’t GM Doug Whaley take that $$$ and Resign DE Jerry Hughes and extend DT Marcel Dareus long-term ?

Bills really need to try and keep their defensive line together, they are the strength of the team.  I think it was a mistake years ago when the Bills let Pat Williams and Ted Washington depart.

Randy

South FL
CB: I had a blog post on this very subject earlier this week when GM Doug Whaley addressed the future of both Hughes and Dareus this week on Bills flagship station WGR this week. Here’s what Whaley said about Hughes and Dareus.

“Those guys are great players. We would love to have them, and those are the things we’ll discuss at the end of the season, which we do every year,” Whaley said. “We don’t negotiate in the media, but they’ve brought tremendous production to our defensive line and helped to make our defense one of the best in the league and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep them.”

I believe the Bills know the defensive line is the linchpin of their defense and with the unit much improved against the run this season they’ll make a strong effort to keep Hughes in the fold even though three of their highest paid players are their other three starting defensive linemen.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

Big Buffalo Bills fan here in Northern Ireland.  Great job you and John Murphy do in covering the bills.

Couple of questions, how is EJ getting on and what do you think the future is at the qb position the bills this season and beyond this season?

Many thanks
Paddy

CB: Thanks for the compliments. EJ is doing well. Head coach Doug Marrone last week acknowledged that he is making progress with his personal game. We covered some of what he’s been working on since assuming the backup role.

As for the future at the position there are some moving parts there. Orton has a player option for next year in his deal with Buffalo. Manuel is obviously still under contract.

It’s my belief that the last six games will have a lot to do with the direction the team takes at that position. I realize that a good number of outside observers are of the opinion that EJ Manuel’s career is over with Buffalo. I don’t share that opinion.

He still has yet to have a full regular season worth of starts in his time with the Bills (14 starts) and it’s my contention that kicking dirt on him is premature regardless of what his statistics say.

 

3 – Hello Chris,
Thanks for all of the info and insight every week. I am a long time follower but this is my first time writing in. My question is in regards to Mike Williams and all of the Fan unrest in his lack of playing time. I too feel that he has been grossly underutilized. I think a good solution would be to give him reps at tight end in a two tight end formation. We have all witnessed his toughness and willingness to “bang heads” not to mention some good down field blocking.

This could create some real matchup nightmares with the opposition. It would force the defense to cover with a safety because a linebacker couldn’t cover him and it would open up Sammy and company as well. Do you think it could work or is he too”small” for TE? And has anyone at OBD tinkered with this? I would think they would want their big play makers on the field as much as possible. Just a thought. Thanks again!

Greg T.

CB: I believe there is merit to those fans who contend that Mike Williams is talented enough to help this offense, especially in the red zone where the team has struggled of late. Williams was targeted once in the Miami game in the red zone, but the pass was broken up.

Even if they favor receivers like Chris Hogan over Williams between the 20s to get them down the field, and Hogan performed well against Miami, you can certainly make the argument that Williams can help this team score touchdowns in the red zone. Eighteen of his 23 touchdowns scored with Tampa Bay early in his career were within 20 yards.

Hopefully what we saw in terms of his use against Miami only increases down the stretch. Making him a detached tight end is something I don’t think I’d anticipate.

 

4 – Chris,

Can you tell us why the Bills have covered some mid-field, low level seats at RWS?

Thanks for your insights,

Mike Riggie

CB: The reason the first few rows have been tarped is because from a seated position it’s impossible for fans to see over the players and coaches gathered on the sidelines and see the action on the field. As a result those fans in the past would stand, and that would force the fans behind them to stand creating a chain reaction. All the fans behind them would have to continually stand up to see the action every time the fans in the first few rows did so.

The solution was to cover those seats and not sell them to fans to eliminate the problem.

 

5 – Hey Chris ,

Just a quick hit . Seeing as the NFL is said to be a copycat league & the regime before this one at Buffalo & others in the NFL have some success with a 5 wide set how come this OC NEVER uses it ? Especially with the talent at the WR position …

Thanks Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: One of the most popular formations in the league right now is 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR). One of the reasons is it’s one of the more unpredictable formations pre-snap. You can run or pass out of this formation in a variety of ways and a lot of offensive coordinators like that, which is why it’s so prevalent.

It’s Buffalo’s most popular formation this season as well. Five wide basically says we’re throwing, unless you’ve got Michael Vick at QB and you’re running out of a spread set.

The most popular formation under the head coach that preceded Doug Marrone was four wide with one back.

Believe it or not the five wide look isn’t as popular as you might think. Four wide is more popular. What’s interesting is there were a couple of plays last week against the Dolphins where the Bills went five wide. I doubt it will increase in frequency in Buffalo’s offense, but we’ll see.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ production in practice encouraging

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2014 – 12:29 pm

A couple of weeks ago we provided an update on what EJ Manuel has been working on since he was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran QB Kyle Orton. On Tuesday in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Bills GM Doug Whaley addressed where EJ Manuel’s development stands now serving in the backup QB role.

Whaley was asked specifically if he felt it was a lost season for Manuel having only appeared in the first four games.

“We believe it’s not. It goes back to our original plan,” said Whaley. “When we first drafted EJ we had the plan of having a veteran quarterback come in and mentor him until we thought he was ready. When Kevin Kolb went down with an injury it thrust him into the starting role quicker than we expected. Now since then we have re-set to the original plan.

“Since EJ has taken a step back everybody in the building has been impressed with his work ethic. We’ve seen an improvement in the way he attacks practice and his production in practice.”

Whaley also addressed the popular debate as to whether Manuel was ‘Buddy Nix’s pick’ or ‘Doug Whaley’s pick’ in the 2013 draft.

“We were all on board with the pick,” he said. “It’s one of those things when it’s Buddy it’s going to be attached to Buddy, just like Sammy (Watkins) is going to be tied to me. When you’re going through a scouting process especially with the guys in the top four to five rounds you’re going to have five to six opinions. What we do is we collectively come up with a Buffalo Bills opinion. So EJ Manuel is a Buffalo Bills pick and all of us were on board with it.”

When asked how the Bills will know when EJ Manuel is ready for prime time again, Whaley said you don’t for sure until they’re in a real game environment.

“That’s one of those things that you can never really gauge until the bright lights come on,” he said. “What you do have to see is progress and not repeating the same mistakes that he was doing before and improving on anything he needed to when he was in the starting role.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills GM on future of Dareus, Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Bills DE Jerry Hughes is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, while Marcell Dareus still has another year left on his contract, after the team picked up his fifth-year option. Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked if contract negotiations have been opened with Hughes.

Whaley as a matter of personal policy prefers not to have ongoing contract negotiations with players so as not to present a distraction. Buffalo’s GM addressed both Hughes and Dareus.

“Those guys are great players. We would love to have them, and those are the things we’ll discuss at the end of the season, which we do every year,” he said. “We don’t negotiate in the media, but they’ve brought tremendous production to our defensive line and helped to make our defense one of the best in the league and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep them.”

As for Dareus Whaley said it’s been good to see Dareus mature through the course of the year.

“We look at it this way. There’s a maturation process for a lot of players,” said Whaley. “He’s got a difficult situation with his support staff. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do this year. It’s a situation we’ll go over and review and set a plan going forward once the season is over with.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills