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Inside The Bills

Nix still playing role for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2014 – 1:40 pm

He’s listed as a Special Assistant for the Bills, and was to help the organization in a variety of football-related roles. One of those roles includes scouting the talent at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this week.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Bills GM Doug Whaley said he likes being able to lean on his predecessor as a sounding board and talent evaluator.

“He’s a great resource for me and I would be remiss if I didn’t use him,” said Whaley. “Any major decision or free agent we think about bringing in and ask him what he thinks. After this BLESTO meeting we’ll give him a list of the top rated guys and have him look at those guys. We’ll give him some of the free agents that we’ve pegged as interesting. So he’s a resource and with that wealth of knowledge I’d be remiss if I didn’t pick his brain and use him to our fullest advantage.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where Whaley saw flashes of Sr. Bowl talent

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2014 – 10:34 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley has been paying close attention to every aspect of practice play at the Senior Bowl this week. In an appearance on the John Murphy Show he outlined the positions where he saw some of the most impressive play so far.

“There’s a depth at every position. I can’t say that one position is any stronger than the other, but there have been some pass rushers who have been flashing, some edge rush guys,” Whaley said. “I’d say that has jumped out to me the most. You have some receivers with size and that’s always intriguing because in this business big wins.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Browns have no offer for Pettine yet

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2014 – 8:55 am

Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had his second interview with the Cleveland Browns Tuesday night in Mobile, but reports indicate the club will interview other candidates and have not offered the job to the sharp defensive play caller.

That according to a report. Reports have indicated that the Browns will interview Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and plan to interview Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a second time. So at this point the Bills and Pettine are again in a holding pattern.

Bills GM Doug Whaley admits it puts them in a tough spot.

“It’s a concern for us because even though you do have a plan the longer it goes it may throw a wrench in that plan and also it’s probably frustrating for coach Pettine,” Whaley told “You’d really like to hear an answer one way or the other as soon as possible so he could get a staff together.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offer sheets going out to Bills FAs soon

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2014 – 11:02 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is actively scouting prospects at the Senior Bowl, but before he left Buffalo, he along with President and CEO Russ Brandon and Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf put their priority list together of their own free agents. The ones at the top of their list are likely to receive offer sheets soon.

“We ranked them and prioritized them and put a value on each guy,” said Whaley. “With our cap space it shouldn’t prohibit us from doing what we need to do. In this business you can’t get everybody, but we have a priority list and we’ll go down that list.

“We’ll get to work on our guys before that (March 11th) deadline because we have exclusive negotiating rights. Jim Overdorf is at home crunching the numbers right now to get some offer sheets ready to send out to their agents.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills ready if Pettine departs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 21, 2014 – 8:24 pm

The Cleveland Browns are on the clock, when it comes to selecting their next head coach. And the Buffalo Bills are watching closely, with Bills Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine getting a second interview for the job.

Bills GM Doug Whaley confirmed to late Tuesday in Mobile that Pettine was getting a second interview with the Browns.

“Right now, I think he’s having an interview as we speak,” Whaley said. “If he does get it, we will be happy for him, but we do have a plan in place. We just hope this resolution comes sooner rather than later.”

Whaley would not detail what the Bills plan is regarding replacing Pettine, if he gets the Cleveland job. But he said it’s been discussed, and Head Coach Doug Marrone is ready to spring into action.

“Coach has identified a couple of guys and as soon as we hear one way or another, if it’s good news for Pettine, than we’ll just enact our plan that we have in place,” the GM said.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills again have value plan for free agency

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2014 – 7:25 pm

When it comes to their own free agents they’ll do whatever they can to keep their priority players in the fold, but as far as free agents out in the market, the Bills plan to take a value approach much like they did last year.

That was Doug Whaley’s answer when asked by the John Murphy Show Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. He intends to make quality value signings like that of Manny Lawson, Alan Branch and Dan Carpenter.

“I think we’re going to stay that course, value picks, guys that can come in and contribute and we get a real good return on our investment,” said Whaley. “We just set it up before we came down here. We set up the unrestricted free agents by position. What we’ll do is we have certain positions that we think will be interesting to us and we’ll pull out certain guys that we think we’ll be able to look at and talk to or try to get and when we get back we’ll give it to the coaches and have a free agent board set up just like a draft board by position and regardless of position.

“We call them dust settle guys. After all the dust settles, but we can target guys now. We’ll see when the dust settles, but we can also go to them on day one and say this is what we’re willing to offer, but they’re not going to be big splash guys.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone on Pettine situation

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2014 – 4:02 pm

Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine remains in contention for the vacant Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy after interviewing with the AFC North club last week. There are reports he will interview a second time with Cleveland. Bills head coach Doug Marrone commented on how the situation may impact his team if things work out for Pettine in Cleveland.

“Obviously Mike has done a great job even prior to coming to Buffalo and obviously did a great job for us this year,” Marrone told “We’re in a profession where people are going to recognize that. We’re very happy for Mike.”

“Obviously he’s in a process that Cleveland controls right now. They’re getting ready to make decisions and we’re there to support Mike and help him and if it goes well and he has the opportunity to go then Doug (Whaley), myself and Russ (Brandon) have already met and we’re ready to do what we have to do for our organization.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-17

Posted by Chris Brown on January 17, 2014 – 1:26 pm

Don’t forget to check in on our Senior Bowl coverage all next week on Here’s the latest edition of your questions on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hello Chris,

Well, another year like all years.  Just wait fans, we have something started here!!!  Marrone’s first mistake will be not letting Hackett go.  As I have said previously, loyalty is Marrone’s achilles heel.  He won’t know how to “can” Hackett so we are stuck with him.  What really stinks is that another year has slipped away and this team still has multiple problems to address.  Where do we even start with the next draft?  Please don’t draft another Alabama player!  We let players like Levitre sign elsewhere and then we say we need to address our weakness at offensive line.  Does this make any sense?  It is just one wasted draft choice after another on positions we could have fixed with players already selected.  When is this team going to address an age old problem at the tight end position?  Successful teams have tight ends who stretch the field.  When are the Bills joining the 21st century?  Sad leadership to say the least. I won’t even get started on the QB position.

Jim (Skaneateles)
CB: Jim, I respect the frustration. You fans have waited a while for a winner, but regarding your question on losing Levitre in free agency, keeping a player at a non-priority position at what would’ve been an exorbitant price ($8M plus a season) was unrealistic. Tennessee chose to spend big money on their offensive line and where did it get them?

They ranked 22nd in offense, 14th in rushing and 21st in passing. They were 19th in scoring. As coach Marrone said recently guard is position where you can develop a player into a competent to strong contributor. Offensive tackle and center are where you need the bona fide stars.

As for the tight end position, I think the new staff with GM Doug Whaley is looking to address the need for more athleticism at that spot. Tony Moeaki and Chris Gragg were the first steps in that direction. We’ll see where it goes this offseason.

Concerning your criticism of Hackett I think it’s misguided. Hackett had to curtail the variety and tempo of his offense to accommodate not one, but three “green” quarterbacks over the course of the year who were all spending their first year in his offensive system. Circumstances compromised his talent for calling plays. I’m confident the offense will expand and diversify considerably next season.


2 – Chris,

As always, thanks again for being a great source of Buffalo Bills information. We appreciate your feedback.

Can you explain the recent signings of 7 players to reserve/future contracts? The team moved quickly to sign these 7 right after the end of the regular season. What is this type of contract?

Bob Hammond

CB: Those contracts are typically reserved for players who were on a team’s practice squad during the regular season. If the team would like to keep those players on the roster through the offseason they must be signed to a reserve/future contract. If memory serves they have a week from when their season ends to sign their practice squad players otherwise they’re free to be signed away by other clubs.

Essentially players that the club believes can still be developed into something more are signed to these kinds of contracts, which are modest in nature.


3 – Chris,

With the release of WRs coach Ike Hilliard, would the Bills seriously consider bringing in Andre Reed to take over as WR coach ?  I think Reed would be a great choice. Andre had great work ethic in Buffalo and was as tough as they come running routes over the middle.

Randy C

CB: While I do not debate the qualities you described of Andre Reed’s game, it’s hard to say it’s a move that will be made. His coaching resume is very, very short though he is coaching in the NFLPA bowl on Saturday. I get the sense that coach Marrone wants someone with a more lengthy coaching background.


4 – Hi Chris,

I was looking at wide receiver free agents for this year, and I see that Eric Decker from the Broncos is a free agent after the playoffs. Would the Buffalo Bills pursue Decker and possibly make an offer?

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl
CB: Yes, Decker is scheduled to become a free agent. I don’t think there’s any question that the Bills have already demonstrated a concerted effort to add size at the receiver position with the reserve/future signings of Ramses Barden (6’6”) and Chris Summers (6’4 ½”). But they need a proven answer with size at receiver. Decker is certainly a proven player, but I think they want the big receiver on their offense to also be a bona fide number one target. I don’t know that Decker can be that.

I feel that a lot of his production is a byproduct of the fact that opponents scheme to limit DeMaryius Thomas and Wes Welker and Decker becomes the beneficiary. Without a similar supporting cast, I’m not sure what you could count on with Decker in terms of production.


5 – Chris

When I see the names of Jason Peters and Karlos Dansby on the list for 2013, I think what if they were playing for the Bills now…… Two big problems solved…….Dansby is a run stopper as MLB, and Peters as T is one of the best.  Why don’t we as fans make the Bills FO accountable for their errors of poor decisions re. personnel choices……….And throw in there, their choice of ST coach……..Last season the FO thought Dansby as washed up… Hello, over the hill………..The Bills FO is on the clock in order to get their act together for 2014……………………

Tim in TN, Bills Fan
CB: While I understand your frustration in seeing talent flourish elsewhere instead of on Buffalo’s roster, your Bills history is a bit cloudy. The team wanted to keep Jason Peters and were willing to renegotiate his contract, which had two years left on it, but after he held out and then threatened to hold out again the next season it was clear that keeping Peters in Buffalo was going to be monumentally difficult.

So he was traded to Philadelphia for a first, fourth and sixth-round pick. When you have a player that doesn’t want to play for your team it’s hard to even make them happy with more money.

As for Karlos Dansby the Bills brought him in on a free agent visit so to indicate the front office thought he was washed up is just wrong. He chose to look elsewhere to sign essentially using Buffalo to drive up the market price for his services.

Both have been accomplished players, but if they don’t want to be here you’re not going to win with them on your roster.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Barden part of Bills trend at WR

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2014 – 6:37 pm

With the Bills signing five more reserve/future free agents Thursday it’s clear that big is going to be a theme at the wide receiver position.

WR Ramses Barden is the most recent example of that approach, which began with the in season signings of practice squad receivers Cordell Roberson (6’4″ 210) and Brandon Kaufmann (6’5″ 215). Barden measures in at 6’6″ and 224 pounds. His NFL career has been mainly restricted to a reserve role in the New York Giants offense. From 2009 to 2012 he appeared in 29 games, but recorded just 29 catches for 394 yards (13.6 avg.).

The 28-year old has a clocked 40 time of 4.56, which puts him in the same company as Stevie Johnson.

Buffalo also added Liberty product Chris Summers, who measures in at 6’4″ and 213 pounds. He spent the 2012 season on Minnesota’s practice squad as well as the entire 2013 offseason with the Vikings. He didn’t make the squad however, as he was cut when the roster had to be reduced.

Counting Kevin Elliott, who is working his way back from a torn ACL, Buffalo now has five receivers on the roster that are 6’4″ or taller. Bills GM Doug Whaley has made a concerted effort to increase the size at receiver.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Aaron would love to have Byrd back

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2014 – 10:41 am

It’s a decision that ultimately not up to him, but Bills S Aaron Williams would love to have fellow safety Jairus Byrd back for next season and beyond in Buffalo’s secondary.

Williams and Byrd appeared to hit it off after Williams transitioned to safety and Byrd re-entered the lineup in Week 6 after dealing with a foot injury early in the year. Byrd even credited Williams with keying him into a play that was coming from the Jets in Week 11 against the Jets pre-snap that led to one of his two interceptions in that game.

Williams believes their combination in the defensive backfield is already one of the best in football, which is why he’d like to see that partnership continue.

“That decision is above my pay scale, but I would love to have Jairus Byrd back,” said Williams. “We have a great chemistry. He’s been with me since I got here, and he’s taught me a lot, especially at the safety position. He’s helped me excel at my game in that area.

“We’re honestly the best safety duo in the NFL. Say what you want, I don’t know any other safety duos that put up the same numbers as Byrd and I. With that kind of expectation, with that kind of chemistry and duo, I don’t see why they wouldn’t bring him back. We do a great job together, we make plays and we put leadership in our defense.”

Buffalo GM Doug Whaley said they are in the business of keeping good players and acknowledged Byrd is one of them, but Byrd is the one who has the power to choose where he’ll play in 2014 and beyond.

Williams even left a signed number 23 jersey of his in Byrd’s locker on locker clean out day thanking him for what he did to help him progress at safety this past season.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-3

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2014 – 11:57 am

Happy New Year Bills fans! We can only hope that 2014 will hold much better fortunes for the team. In fact hopefully this Fan Friday edition next year will be talking about the postseason with the Bills in it. Here’s your latest edition of questions on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills is dareus being traded for being late to meetings just smoke?

Guy Rosenbarker Jr.@rosenbarker

CB: I did not hear that rumor and would be stunned if that happened. Here’s where I believe coach Marrone and Doug Whaley stand on Dareus. He just had his most productive season in the NFL. He’s 23-years old. He’s done some irresponsible things as they pertain to the team (chronic lateness). Marrone has said they have addressed the issue. Dareus, to his credit, faced the music in the postgame locker room after his first half benching and sounded remorseful. He has to live with that feeling of letting his teammates down all offseason. I think the Bills see that as a motivator for Dareus moving forward and it should be.

Perhaps the most important thing to come out of Dareus’ postgame comments last week were his references to being a leader. Obviously coach Marrone told him he expects Dareus to be a future leader on the team, and that he can’t help lead a team when he can’t be a responsible professional himself. But it’s clear the path they see Dareus traveling with this team. Hopefully Dareus can see it too.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills With @jairusbyrd can they start negotiating now?


CB: Yes, now that the regular season is over they can resume negotiations with Jairus Byrd on a long term contract extension provided the Byrd camp wants to negotiate. Byrd’s last public comments on the John Murphy Show were that he was open to returning to the Bills on a long term contract. Of course he’s open to anything that might come his way.

Bills GM Doug Whaley said this week they will make him an offer in an effort to keep him long term. Whether it’s enough to convince the free agent safety remains to be seen.


3 – Chris,
With the roster in evaluation mode, who are the 2014 Bills free agents? How high is Carrington on the Bills list? Will the Bills be awarded a high pick for Levitre?

CB: Hopefully you saw my blog earlier this week listing the free agents. With Alan Branch already re-signed it gives Buffalo some leverage with Carrington. I’m sure they would like to add Carrington back to the fold, but he’s got to prove he’s healthy coming off his torn quadriceps suffered back in Week 3. I talked briefly to Carrington a couple of weeks ago and he’s said his rehab has gone quite well.

The Bills tried to re-sign Carrington right before the season started, but were turned down by Carrington’s agent, who also happens to be the same agent for Jairus Byrd. The market will be considerably softer for Carrington due to the injury, so the Bills can probably afford to provide just a reasonable offer to get him back on the roster.

As for a compensatory pick it begins and ends with a net loss of free agents. I don’t believe they had a net loss of free agents knowing they signed Manny Lawson, Alan Branch, Kevin Kolb and Doug Legursky while losing Andy Levitre, Chad Rinehart and Kyle Moore (who did not make Chicago’s roster).

Levitre’s large salary could net a compensatory for Buffalo, but we’ll have to see which signings the league qualifies as free agent losses. Moore’s small salary upon signing with the Bears may be excluded.


4 – Hey Chris,
My question is in regards to the players during off season. Do the players with injuries going into the off season continue rehabbing with the Bills training staff, Drs., etc at the Bills facility? What about the players whose contracts are up after this year? Is it now their own responsibility to find ways of rehabbing injuries outside of the Bills organization?

Thanks Chris, Tim in Niagara Ontario

CB: To my knowledge it is usually at the player’s discretion as to where they would prefer to rehab. Some have chosen to rehab here in town in the offseason (e.g. Marcus Easley). Others have chosen to rehab back home and then come in for periodic check-ups with the Bills medical and training staff.

For players whose contracts are up after this season, they technically can still rehab with the Bills because their contracts do not expire until March 11th. But that is not usually what players in that situation choose to do.


5 – Chris:
Great job of coverage again this year, so thank you for all of your consistent hard work in keeping Bills fans on top of what is going on.

Looking ahead to the 2014 season, it looks like the Bills will be facing the AFC West and NFC North teams due to the rotating schedules. So, that means the Bills will be tested by the likes of Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Drew Stafford, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill, to name a few.

Do you think the upcoming schedule plays any role or factor in how the Bills will view the importance of bringing back Jairus Byrd for 2014, based on the level of quarterbacks that the team will face next year?

Besides Byrd, any news or updates on players that the Bills are trying to sign to contract extensions before they hit free agency? Thanks Chris.

Dan in Cheshire, CT

CB: Thanks for the compliments Dan. Much appreciated.

While the list of quarterbacks for Buffalo’s opponents in 2014 is impressive I don’t know that it’s a determining factor in how vigorously the Bills will pursue a new contract with Jairus Byrd. I think the decision on how determined they’ll be to re-sign him has already been made. Now they will simply try to execute that plan. Byrd’s value is already established in their eyes. Naturally Byrd has a value himself. That likely wasn’t impacted any more or any less by the quarterbacks they’ll be facing this coming season.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Need 16 games for baseline on EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 1:05 pm

There really wasn’t any doubt that EJ Manuel is this team’s starting quarterback moving forward into 2014, but head coach Doug Marrone and GM Doug Whaley were asked about it specifically in their season-ending press conference Monday. Whaley was also asked how long it takes before a personnel evaluator definitively determines that a quarterback prospect has what it takes to be successful on a consistent basis in the NFL.

“I think you have to go case by case basis,” Whaley said. “You would like to have a guy at least have 16 games under his belt, and one year of continuity with receivers and practice time to get a baseline. That’s going to be tough to do with EJ right now. I can’t give you a specific timeline, but I think you know when you know.

“It’s hard to put in words, but after so many games, you get a feeling, alright this guy’s got it, or this guy needs some more time in development, or this guy doesn’t have it. That’s one thing that I have full confidence in the coaching staff that we’ll get every resource we have available to EJ to be successful.”

Manuel only made 10 starts this season due to a pair of knee injuries in 2013.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where does QB Lewis stand?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 11:54 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone both reiterated EJ Manuel is entrenched as their starting quarterback heading into 2014. Thad Lewis after a late preseason trade moved all the way up from the team’s practice squad to the backup role. With a year left on his contract, where does his performance in his five starts for the Bills leave him on the depth chart?

Whaley was asked specifically about Lewis and his hold on the backup role. Buffalo’s GM left the door open to an addition being made this offseason that could further upgrade the depth at the position.

“We are pleased with Thad. We brought him in on a trade; he came in and was very serviceable,” said Whaley. “We look forward to his further development, but again we will not hold ourselves back from picking a person that would help us take a winning step.”

Knowing the collective lack of experience at quarterback in 2013 for the Bills, which was compromised when Kevin Kolb was lost for the season, Buffalo seems likely to try and add a veteran quarterback to their ranks in the offseason when free agency opens in mid-March, especially if Kolb does not intend to resume his career in 2014.

The free agent pickings however, appear slim with the more noteworthy veteran QBs being Chad Henne and Josh McCown. Jay Cutler is set to become a free agent, but he’s not seen as a realistic option knowing he’ll be looking to start somewhere if it’s not going to be back in Chicago.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offer to be made to Byrd, Carpenter

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2013 – 5:58 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley said they intend to pursue some of their own free agents vigorously between now and the start of free agency. Chief among them Jairus Byrd and kicker Dan Carpenter.

“We’re going to leave all options on the table. We had a conversation myself and Russ (Brandon) sat and talked to Jairus and we’re going to make an offer to the guy,” said Whaley. “We’re going to try to keep him to the best of our ability. We’re in the business of collecting good players and he’s a good player.”

When asked if making use of the franchise tag could happen again, Whaley did not rule it out.

“That’s always an option,” said Whaley. “We’re not going to back ourselves into a corner and eliminate any possibility of trying to retain a good player.”

Dan Carpenter, who tied a team record with 33 field goals made (Steve Christie, 1998), said he’s keeping his options open, but Whaley made it clear he too will try to be re-signed.

“Absolutely,” Whaley said. “Russ (Brandon) and I talked to him and we’re going to reach out to his agents pretty soon and see if we can try and get something done.”

Whaley also said they intend to present Brian Moorman with an offer too.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin & Byrd working pre-game

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2013 – 4:39 pm

Jairus, Leodis 2

Bills DBs Leodis McKelvin and Jairus Byrd are being put through a pre-game workout to assess their availability for tonight’s game against Cleveland.

Head coach Doug Marrone and GM Doug Whaley along with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine are all looking on as the two are being put through the paces. Here’s a look.

Jairus, Leodis


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley not pursuing trade of Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2013 – 3:50 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley has no intention of trading S Jairus Byrd and that’s what he told veteran NFL reporter Dan Pompei.

In an interview with Pompei he was asked if he planned to trade Byrd. This was Whaley’ response.

“We have not discussed trading him, and it isn’t anything we are pursuing,” said Whaley. “We would listen to any call on any player, but we’re looking to get him back on the field.”

Byrd is questionable for tonight’s game against the Browns.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Browns DC Horton interviewed for Bills job

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2013 – 9:21 am

Cleveland defensive coordinator Ray Horton has the Browns defense off to a good start. They currently rank third in the league in total defense, fourth against the run, ninth against the pass and 11th in sacks per play. It makes one realize why Buffalo interviewed him for their head coaching post this past January.

When the Bills were searching for a new head coach out in Arizona, they interviewed Horton, who had just finished running the Arizona Cardinals defense under Ken Whisenhunt, whom the Bills also interviewed.

Horton has a strong defensive resume and had a prior working relationship with Bills GM Doug Whaley with the Steelers organization. Obviously in the end Doug Marrone was deemed the better choice.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2013 – 5:38 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players and execs on the local and national radio airwaves Thursday.

7:15 am – Many Lawson on The Howard Simon Show (WGR 550)

7:20 am – Doug Marrone on w/ Brady and Lang (Fan 590)

8:30 am – Stevie Johnson on w/ Janet and Nick (Kiss 98.5)

9:10 am – Thurman Thomas on The Howard Simon Show (WGR 550)

9:30 am – Thurman Thomas on w/ Janet and Nick (Kiss 98.5)

2:00 pm – Doug Marrone on w/ Rich Gannon & Zig Fracassi (Sirius NFL Radio)

2:15 pm – T.J. Graham on the Bryan Hayes Show (TSN Radio)

2:20 pm – Doug Marrone on w Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo (ESPN)

4:00 pm – Doug Marrone on w/ Dave Naylor (TSN Radio)

5:20 pm – Doug Whaley on w/ Bob McCown (Primetime Sports, Fan 590)

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-23

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2013 – 11:48 am

Camp is over and the third preseason game, the most important for the starters is the next on the docket. Now to your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris –

Thanks for keeping us updated daily with what we hope is a little bit of inside information.  I have a question about the management structure in the front office.  Over the past three years Buddy Nix made no bones about the fact he did not negotiate contracts — that was the exclusive bailiwick of Jim Overdorf, who presumably got his marching orders from Mr. Wilson.

With Russ Brandon taking over as President and Doug Whaley assuming GM duties, is this still the mode of operation?  Does Doug as GM have any authority to say “I want this guy” to get a deal done, or is he beholden to the number Overdorf (who reports to Brandon) says is the Bills’ top dollar?  Does Overdorf have any obligation to take the sides’ respective “final positions” to (preferably) Whaley or (probably) Brandon for a final decision?

Personally, I like the stance Buffalo took with respect to the Byrd situation, but I’m curious as to who has the final say in contract negotiations.

Appreciate any insight you can provide.
Thanks again and Go Bills!

Eric Haase
Season Ticket Holder since 1990

CB: As Doug Whaley outlined the other day in a radio interview Jim Overdorf, the Senior VP of Football Administration takes the lead on contract negotiations. He keeps Whaley and Russ Brandon in the loop on developments and consults with them on the state or direction of negotiations.

I don’t know this for sure and Whaley did not spell it out, but I think going into the negotiation all parties involved in the Bills front office know where the line is on a specific contract, so I don’t believe the checking back with decision makers needs to happen. I think the line is drawn in the sand with respect to their budget beforehand.

2 – What’s up Chris

I have a question about the usage of E.J Manuel in year 1. If he doesn’t win the job out right do you think that Nate Hackett will install a package for him so he can get some game experience and slowly work him into the starting role. Or do you see him doing more of the holding the clip board work.

Brian in South Carolina

CB: I think this QB competition is an all or nothing thing. You’re either the starter or you’re not. So if Kolb moves forward as the starter whether by earning it or due to Manuel’s injury, I’m not sure they switch things for a series or two just to get EJ some exposure.


3 – Chris, camp is coming up, very quick. I am very excited!

I noticed a parallel between the way Zimmer in Cincinnati uses hybrid linebackers (Maualuga), the way Pettine is starting to with us. I believe the two systems will have a lot of similarities in disguising looks, etc. Do you see the same and also, think that is becoming a trend in 3-4 schemes? What is your opinion of hybrids or twiners, in general?

Thank you for your excellent coverage over the years. The fans appreciate it.

CB: The similiarities are not by accident. Marvin Lewis and Pettine were both schooled under aggressive 3-4 defensive principles. Lewis in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher and Pettine in Baltimore under Rex Ryan. Zimmer first learned the 3-4 defense under Bill Parcells. Both have morphed into hybrid-front schemes. Disguising looks is more effective when you have hybrid players because the opposing offense cannot identify whether a certain player is a linebacker or a safety (e.g. Bryan Scott), or a DE or an OLB (e.g. Jerry Hughes). As Pettine has said himself, versatility is the strength of his defense. I would imagine Mike Zimmer feels the same.


4 – Hi Chris. Thanks for all the information you provide for Bills fans that live outside Western NY. I have always enjoyed reading all your posts. My question is:

With the Bills analytics dept using GPS to better monitor performances during practice, how will they measure these same variables when it comes to full contact games? Are the players allowed to wear these devices during games, or will they only be used during practice? As the season progresses I would imagine that analyzing data from each game from each player might help training staff find potential for injuries and keep them out a couple days of Practice that next week to give them time to recover before they go out and hurt themselves in a practice or other setting.  Thanks again for all the info you provide.

Larry in Tucson

CB: Unfortunately as it’s been explained to me the NFL prohibits GPS tracking devices to monitor performance in games. You’re right they would certainly help in matching the data to the results, or determine based on player load whether resting them is warranted. We already saw an example of that in training camp when Kiko Alonso was held out of the Minnesota game and a couple of practices because his player load was through the roof.

5 – Hey Chris,
Appreciate all the work you do and insight you provide. I remember Stevie saying at one point that under Chan Gailey the receivers were able to have some freedom with running their routes just as long as they got to their spot at the right time. I was curious if Doug Marrone will still allow Stevie to run his routes as he has been.  I feel like Stevie has a unique skill set with the way he gets open and shakes defenders. I see the other receivers gearing towards running more quick crisp routes which matches their skills. I’m hoping the staff does recognize Stevie’s abilities and can get creative with him. I was curious of your thoughts or if you had any insight regarding Stevie and how he fits in their offensive plans. I’m really looking forward to his season. It’s about time he gains some respect around the league. One last thing do you know if the Bills are sticking with the blue away pants this year?

Thanks for your time, Jillian CT

CB: Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett shed a little light on this subject. He and receivers coach Ike Hilliard have reined Johnson in a bit in some areas with his improvisational route running. Hackett emphasized the timing of the quarterback’s footwork with the precision of the route as the reason why.

Johnson will still have opportunities to go with the ‘herky jerk’ as he calls it, he just won’t make use of it as often.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Byrd will have “ground to make up”-Bills GM

Posted by johnmurphyshow on August 20, 2013 – 3:00 pm

The Bills are still locked in a stalemate with Pro Bowl Safety Jairus Byrd, who has yet to sign his franchise tender. And one day before the team breaks training camp, GM Doug Whaley says Byrd will have to play catch-up once he signs.

“He’s going to have some ground to make up,” Whaley told reporters Tuesday at noon at St. John Fisher college.

“A lot of it is just installation and the mental part of it,” he said. “It’s a new system, and it’s an intricate system. Safeties do make a lot of calls, so he’s missed that.”

“But he’s a professional. I know he’ll come in here ready to work and try to contribute as soon as possible.”

Byrd was given the franchise tag back in March and the two sides were unable to reach agreement on a long term contract for the safety before the July 15th deadline. That means if and when he decides to play, Byrd will likely play for the one-year franchise tag salary of $6.9-million.

Whaley says there’s nothing new to report on the Byrd situation. And he says the team still holds out hope that he’ll sign his tender offer and report soon.

“We hope he gets here before the season opener,” Whaley said, “but only he can tell us on that one.”

“It’s not frustration, because we know that the only thing that can happen is that when he gets in, we’ll just put the playbook in front of him and hopefully he’s in shape and we just go from there.”

The entire press conference with Bills GM Doug Whaley is available here

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Posted in Inside the Bills