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Inside The Bills

Tons of praise for EJ from Spiller

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2015 – 3:11 pm

EJ Manuel, C.J. Spiller
Among the items that C.J. Spiller had on his free agent checklist for a team was a great quarterback. Buffalo’s EJ Manuel is not that yet, but Spiller expressed a belief that the third-year quarterback will get there.

Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio Tuesday, in addition to discussing his free agent options, which include a possible plan to return to Buffalo, Spiller said he believes EJ can be a winning quarterback in the league.

“I believe he will. The thing that I love about EJ the most is his character,” said Spiller. “He was put in a bad situation last year. He was 2-2 and got benched for Kyle Orton. But at the same time that really helped him learn about the quarterback position. He was a young guy and a couple of his receivers came out the same year with him. So I don’t know that he knew how to handle that.

“I think after he watched Kyle Orton orchestrate the offense and demand certain things from guys on the offensive side of the ball he kind of grasped that and took hold of it. Every day he came prepared. He competes at the highest level. He always believed in his ability. I think he’s going to be a great fit and a franchise quarterback that can get a team to the playoffs and have a chance to go and win a Super Bowl. I have nothing but high praises for him. I love the guy. He’s a competitor. I’ll go to bat for that guy any day.”


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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

Ryan: With young QB patience a virtue

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Rex Ryan knows what kind of quarterback situation he’s walking into here in Buffalo with the position very much up in the air. He also knows the most talented QB currently on the roster is very young and he’s learned from his experiences with young signal callers before.

“You always want to be patient with a young talented guy,” said Ryan in a radio interview this week on WBEN. “Obviously EJ was drafted in the first round for many reasons. It’s funny because probably 15 years ago everybody would be patient with a young quarterback and now you see these guys coming in and a rookie or two might step forward and do some good things. EJ did. He had some really good moments.”

Where Ryan believes Manuel needs to improve is with the consistency of his fundamental execution and Ryan intends to tab David Lee for that job.

“He’s got to improve fundamentally and I think that’s where it starts,” he said. “David Lee is here as our quarterbacks coach, we’re excited about that. EJ will certainly have that opportunity to be that quarterback. As far as who else is coming in I can honestly say there isn’t a person in our organization who knows that right now. We’re still in the evaluation stage.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-13

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2015 – 12:44 pm

Don’t forget our NFL combine coverage begins in earnest over the weekend leading up to our coverage in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium Tuesday presented by Napa. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris
Are there specific areas that EJ has improved in by watching Orton from the side lines? Also, how is his relationship with the other players now, compared to before he was replaced by Orton?

Ppante

CB: He told me specifically that he learned about what’s most important to focus on during the week leading up to the game from a game plan and opponent study standpoint. Manuel said in the past there may have been some things he spent too much time on in his preparation that didn’t carry as high a priority as other aspects of his film study.

I also felt he became more accurate in the practice setting when it came to hitting his targets in rhythm and on time. I think we all recognize that it’s a different thing when it’s game speed, but those are two areas where he benefitted by being able to focus on his game for the last 12 weeks of the 2014 season.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Loved this guy coming out of college. What is your opinion of Hoyer? Do we get another journeyman QB or go for a big Trade?

BuffalonianFilm

CB: I don’t think a trade to acquire a quarterback can be ruled out, but the Bills have limited assets in the way of draft choices (no 1st or 4th). Hoyer is a limited NFL QB. I believe everybody recognizes that. I think the more likely scenario is picking up a veteran in free agency and then drafting one in the middle rounds.

 

3 – Chris,

Bills fan from Toronto here. Just having thoughts about our team here…

How much do you think Hughes/Spiller are asking for and how much do you think the bills are willing to give them? Also do the Bills still have their franchise tag and if so would they use it on Hughes?
Is adrian peterson an option if C.J. spiller takes his talents elsewhere (ny jets)?
What are they gonna do about their QB situation??? Are they gonna draft maybe Hundley in 2nd round, sign Mark Sanchez or maybe trade for Sam Bradford or Jay Cutler?

Thanks, MW

CB: It’s my belief that Jerry Hughes’ agent will be looking for pretty big money and here’s why.

Over the last two seasons Hughes is tied for the fourth-most sacks in the league (20) behind only J.J. Watt, Rams pass rusher Robert Quinn and Mario Williams. He’s tied with Cameron Wake and the Saints’ Cameron Jordan. Watt and Williams are the two highest paid defensive ends in the league in terms of average salary at $16.6M and $16M.

They’re followed by Quinn ($14.2/yr) and Carolina’s Charles Johnson ($12.6M). Wake signed his extension back in 2012 and it averages only $6.6M.

Now the Bills will probably argue that Hughes plays with three Pro Bowl players on Buffalo’s defensive line and is rarely seeing double teams. But it’s hard to knock a guy that’s producing, and doing it for more than one year.

I fear that the Hughes camp will be asking for around $10M a season in a long term deal. That could be a tough one to manage knowing that Mario and Kyle Williams are the top two salaries on the club in terms of average salary already with Dareus sixth on the roster.  We’ll see. I don’t think the franchise tag is a realistic option for Buffalo.

As for Spiller it will be interesting to see if there’s a difference of opinion on his true value between he and the Bills. Paying top dollar for Spiller is probably difficult to justify in light of his recent history of injuries.

There’s no debating his home-run talent and he’s a good teammate in the locker room, but with another new offensive system coming in you wonder how he’ll weigh that into his decision on where to play. There’s also no dismissing the fact that the coach who helped him enjoy his most productive season is the offensive coordinator in New York.

Adrian Peterson is a great fit for a power run game, but I’d be surprised if he moves on from Minnesota.

The QB situation for Buffalo is obviously up in the air. They have to see who actually makes it to the free agent market or if there are any trade opportunities that might surface. The draft is probably where they’ll add one too. How early is the question.

 

4- Hi Chris, I have two questions:

  1. Would the Bills draft an additional running back given the fact that Rex Ryan wants to ground and pound?

Two college prospects, Malcolm Brown and Matt Davis seem like good fits, plus they are projected to be drafted in the later rounds.

  1. Besides looking at Mark Sanchez, would the Bills look at Ryan Mallet? Or Christian Ponder? I think Ryan Mallet would be the best fit, because he is younger. Obviously, E.J. Manuel is an option, but he has to read defenses better.

In summary, Rex Ryan has quite a bit of talent to work with, but if the offense is dysfunctional, it will compromise the efforts of the defense. Even a great defense will fold if its on the field for long stretches of time.

Your thoughts,
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: I think there’s a pretty good bet that the Bills draft a running back at some point in the draft. This year’s class is deep at that position, thanks in large part to the junior eligibles that have declared. Buffalo needs to add some youth there and a true pile pusher that preferably has some wiggle to his game and receiving ability.

With that in mind it’s hard to find the perfect prospect. I believe there are a few that fit all of the criteria well enough in this draft. I do like South Carolina’s Mike Davis. Great person and player in the Fred Jackson mold and carries a bit more power behind his pads. Does everything right and has NFL bloodlines with his older brother James Davis a former 6th-round pick of Cleveland in 2009.

You could do worse than guys like Boise State’s Jay Ajayi and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon when it comes to a power run game. Unfortunately a good number of the true power backs coming out this year aren’t big in the receiving game.

At quarterback I don’t know if Mallett is a fit because his skill set is in stark contrast to that of Manuel. I’m not saying he’s off the table, but he’s a strict pocket guy while Manuel has movement ability. How much would the offense need to change from one to the other if there was an injury to the winner of the competition? I know Ryan said Sanchez is a consideration at his press conference, but I’m not sure of that.

I do know that there isn’t a whole lot of quality to choose from.

5 – Chris,

In the new defense, where do you see the linebackers position playing out? Kiko did play well in the 3-4 under Pettine. Preston and Nigel did well in the 4-3, how do they fit into a 3-4 scheme. Nigel isn’t a thumper/ pure pass rusher. Will Manny Lawson kick back outside as a pass rusher, same with Hughes (if he can stay?). Curious how this will unfold since this unit had a great 2014.

CB: This is an interesting question. I think we can expect to see Manny Lawson on the field more, particularly on run downs like we did in 2013, when Jerry Hughes rotated in on passing downs. I’d expect to see Kiko Alonso on the open side at OLB, then it’s probably Bradham and Brown in the middle in a 3-4 look.

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex on having faced EJ in games

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2015 – 1:06 pm

EJ Manuel
Bills head coach Rex Ryan clearly remembers the two times he went against EJ Manuel when he was a rookie QB in 2013. The two games were a major contrast in performance on the part of the Bills quarterback.

In the first meeting on the road, Manuel’s first career road start, he was flustered and struggled to make plays. Buffalo fell behind and the pass pressure was unrelenting. Manuel finished 19-42 passing for 243 yards and a touchdown and a passer rating of 71.8.

“The first time we played him I think we overwhelmed him a little bit,” said Ryan in an interview this week on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “I think we sacked him eight or nine times. But he’s a young guy. Now the next time we came out he beat us so he made some improvements. You could see him getting better.”

Two months later Manuel started against the Jets in Week 11 at Ralph Wilson stadium and was a different quarterback. He completed 20-28 passes for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns with a passer rating of 121.9 in a 37-14 Bills win.

Manuel had his share of scrambles and runs as a rookie with 53 carries in 2013, but in his four games last year he took off and ran just 16 times. Ryan would like to see that number increase.

“The one thing I think we need to embrace and he needs to embrace is he can move,” said Ryan. “Use your legs. Sometimes when it’s not there use your legs and know how to protect yourself and get out of bounds, sliding and things like that.

“You might recall with Mark Sanchez I actually brought in Joe Girardi about how to slide. Do something like that where he feels comfortable sliding. When you look at him early when he first started he was able to use his legs and he unfortunately got hurt running. So you’ve got to protect yourself running in this league too.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-6

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2015 – 12:04 pm

The NFL Combine is fast approaching and we’ll have full coverage on Buffalobills.com as always. In the meantime let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Would the Bills trade for Kirk Cousins?

RC from D.C.

CB: I think a trade is the least likely avenue the Bills take to acquire a quarterback with NFL experience. Free agency will probably be the first course of action. If they come up empty there then I believe a trade becomes a bit more likely.

The problem is the Bills are already a bit limited in assets they’d be willing to move being down a first and a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. That’s not to insinuate a trade couldn’t happen, but I think it’s near the bottom of the list in terms of the ways they plan to acquire a QB.

The only way it moves up the list is if some team unexpectedly offers a quarterback the Bills weren’t anticipating would be available.

 

2 – Chris,

With Marrone gone, I don’t buy him playing guard. He struggled so much at RT during preseason, I doubt he could move inside. I’d like to see him play tackle. He has an injury history and the Bills should look for free agents instead of moving inside. More upsetting is that the Bills thought he has 1st round potential when Henderson played every snap and looks to be the starter going forward. Where do you see his progression going forward?

CB: I anticipate the Bills will be hitting the reset button with Cyrus Kouandjio with a new offensive staff coming in. I believe the approach under OL coach Aaron Kromer will focus Kouandjio’s attention at tackle. As I’ve said many times, Kouandjio is young in football. He’s just 21-years old and has not been playing the game very long.

He’s one of those players that will need time to mature into a reliable and technique-sound offensive lineman at the NFL level. Kouandjio is learning on the job, but he has the physical tools to be a solid right tackle.

Henderson’s ascent to starter at right tackle was not undeserved. He is an elite athletic talent. He too learned on the job as any rookie does, but has been playing football his whole life. His game is closer to reaching its full potential than Kouandjio’s, but I do expect Kouandjio to be pushing Henderson in camp.

 

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

I think EJ has all the potential in the world. Do you know if he has met or talked to Roman/Rex yet?

SJHNatFan

CB: There are strict rules under the CBA that prohibits contact between coaches and players in the offseason, even in Buffalo’s situation with a new coaching staff. So EJ Manuel and the rest of the roster cannot interact with the staff by phone or in person in any capacity from the end of the regular season until the offseason conditioning program begins in early April. So the answer is no, he has not met or talked with members of the Bills coaching staff.

 

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

With CJ Spiller likely leaving the Bills, do you see the Bills drafting a RB? Or is it more likely they go after a FA?

pioniere

CB: I think your assumption of C.J. Spiller leaving is not an unusual one, but let’s see how things play out first. Should Spiller choose to sign elsewhere however, I believe they draft a running back. They need an influx of youth at the position and the draft is deep with running back talent this year.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Between Gresham, Cameron and Thomas which TE would you be more in favor signing?

xhighway1

CB: I think just about anybody would love to have Julius Thomas. He’s the most dynamic receiving tight end of the three and that’s not just because he’s had Peyton Manning as his quarterback. I believe he’s the most savvy route runner of the three. What I like about him the most is he can use his speed to separate from defenders, and he’s physical enough to wall off defenders from the ball as well.

The rub is he’ll be the most expensive tight end on the market as well. As critical as the tight end is in Peyton Manning and Gary Kubiak offenses I think he’d be one of Denver’s top priorities this offseason.

Gresham is a physical talent that is comparable to Thomas, but he is a career underachiever. Coming out of college he had All-Pro physical talent, but it’s just never materialized the way I thought it would at the NFL level.

Cameron is a talented receiving tight end who creates mismatches, but I worry about his concussion history. Obviously NFL teams would be able to investigate that a lot better than I could, but at a position that’s susceptible to big hits I’d take a long, hard look at his injury history before making an offer.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred: EJ can be a starting QB in this league

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2015 – 11:59 am

Fred Jackson was making his way down radio row at the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona and was naturally asked about his teammate EJ Manuel and his future on Buffalo’s roster.

Jackson was asked on the Michael Kay show on ESPN radio if he believes EJ Manuel can be a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL.

“I do think that he can be a starting quarterback,” said Jackson. “He did things where he was trying to take that next step. At practice he talked to Kyle and learned from Kyle. I saw him talking to (Jim) Schwartz after practice asking him what defenses are keying in on and trying to do. He was talking to different guys that played different positions, picking their brains. I think he has to figure out what defenses are trying to make him do and figure out ways to get out of that. He’s a smart guy who can pick up offenses, but once he figures that out it’ll allow him to go to the next level.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-30

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2015 – 11:26 am

It’s Super Bowl weekend, but there’s plenty to talk about concerning the Bills. Here are your latest set of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

The recent public comments of Brandon Spikes and Doug Whaley regarding his future in Buffalo as a upcoming pending free agent did not provide me with much confidence that he will return. Ultimately money and potential playing time will dictate the outcome and with the return of Alonso and big contracts to be spent elsewhere it doesn’t look particularly promising that he will be back in my opinion.

I think a strong argument can be made for re-signing Spikes. He provides attitude, toughness and leadership to the position and helped to significantly improve the team’s run defense this year. He seemed sincere when he recently commented about enjoying playing in Buffalo and gives the impression that he loves playing the game. Sounds exactly like the kind of player we need to retain.  Just wondering what your thoughts are of whether you think there could be a role for Spikes next year with the return of Alonso and if you think the Bills will submit a serious bid to retain Spikes or instead look for the cheaper option of adding depth players behind the projected starters?

Regards
Matt

CB: It’s hard to say what Buffalo’s plans are concerning Spikes. Alonso’s return is a factor, but I think at the right price Spikes could return to the fold, possibly on another one-year deal. I do remember during a conference call this past season that Rex Ryan who was coaching the Jets at the time said the following about Spikes.

“(Brandon) Spikes is one of those guys that I like because he’s a tough guy, a mean guy, a tough a**,” said Ryan. “I like guys that are competitors and that’s why I like him so much.”

Whether Ryan’s opinion of Spikes has any influence remains to be seen, but it would appear that Spikes has an admirer in Buffalo’s new head coach.

 

2 - Hi Chris,

Thanks for all the great coverage you continue to provide.

I was wondering what you think the best approach would be in addressing the quarterback postion.  Also, do you see Mike Glennon as a fit?  I know the Bills were rumored to have liked him coming out of the 2013 draft, and I like much of what I’ve seen from him so far in Tampa.  He should be expendable as the Bucs are expected to take a QB #1 overall.  What’s your take on Glennon’s potential?

Thanks,
Joe

CB: Glennon I felt took a bit of a step back in his second season, which was impacted by a new offense and coordinator. He was also in and out of the lineup with veteran Josh McCown earning the starting job out of training camp. Much like EJ Manuel he is limited with his number of starts after getting only six this past season (19 in his career).

His completion percentage is comparable to Manuel’s (under 60) and he struggled when blitzed this past year. There’s no doubting that his arm strength would be an asset in the conditions the Bills play in at home, but his mobility is limited.

Knowing his skill set is dramatically different to that of EJ Manuel (see: mobility), it’s hard to know if that would be viewed as a negative or a positive or irrelevant by the new staff. I don’t know if Glennon is seen as a match, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills add a young QB in the league or a veteran signal caller either via free agency or a trade.

 

3 - CB,

What do you think the Bills plan of attack for fixing the O-Line? Richardson stills seems developmental and is poor at pass blocking. Pears should be let go and Urbik is average guard. With Williams injured and unclear if he will come back, how many guards do you expect them to bring in? Free agency or draft? It may hard to find a day 1 starter in draft but they need new guys in there.
Thanks!
Josh

CB: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills draft a guard and add one in free agency. Buffalo has some young guys already in the fold as you mentioned, but both Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan made it clear they’re going to bring in competition at positions where it’s warranted.

Erik Pears is an unrestricted free agent. Kraig Urbik is a capable player. Chris Williams should be back healthy in time for spring workouts.

One big plus is the hiring of Aaron Kromer, who has produced at least one Pro Bowl lineman on the teams he has coached the last six years. He’s a proven teacher and developer of linemen, so hopefully the younger players on the roster will take a big step forward in their development and be bigger contributors (See: Henderson, Kouandjio, Richardson).

 

 

4 - Chris,

On a lighter subject, do you think the Bills would consider going back to their Red helmets?  Best years in franchise history were with the Blue uniforms and red helmets.

RC from DC

CB: I would not anticipate that happening. Outside of a throwback type of thing I think you’ll see the white helmets for a long time.

 

 

5 - Hello Chris,

I have really enjoyed the information I have received from your Inside the Bills write ups. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Recently, I read and article on NFL.com, in which Mario Williams was excited about moving to the Linebacker position. To date, that information has not shown up on the buffalbills.com website. I have always believe the 4 3 defense was the best scheme, and our personnel matches that scheme. As our defense was one of the top defenses in the league, I am not clear if Rex and company intend to shift to a 3 4 defense. My thoughts are why? Then there is the statement, ” You don’t fix what is broken”.  Can you shed some light on what is going on with the Buffalo Bills defensive scheme for 2015?

Thanks
Peter

CB: I think I will let defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman handle this one. He was asked this week if he’s going to run a 3-4 or a 4-3 front. Here was his answer.

“(I will run) whatever talent dictates,” said Thurman. “We’ll play a 3-4. We’ll play a 4-3. We’ll get in a Forty-Six. We’ll give them an odd front. It’s whatever our guys do best and we’re going to play to their strengths and when you do that, you’re giving your guys a chance to be successful and that’s what it really comes down to…is those guys that are out there on that field, are you giving them the opportunity to go out and succeed? So it doesn’t matter. The scheme will be dictated by the personnel that we have.”

I don’t think there’s any debating that Rex Ryan’s defense are largely a hybrid scheme that can morph and change. So to label it a strict over or under front would be inaccurate. And I think Mario Williams will see a healthy amount of action up on the line of scrimmage.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex comments on Bills QBs at Super Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2015 – 5:46 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan was in radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday and it didn’t take long before he was asked about the quarterback position for his team. He was asked about both EJ Manuel and where the position is headed this offseason by CBS Sports.

Here was Ryan’s response to the question in his interview with CBS Sports.

“I think first off EJ Manuel is a young quarterback who is going into his third season. I think he can improve and he does some decent things,” said Ryan. “He doesn’t turn the ball over so that’s a positive. David Lee our quarterbacks coach is the best fundamentals coach I’ve been around as far as coaching QBs. So I think EJ can improve.

“But we’re in the early evaluation stages with our roster and free agency is around the corner. I don’t really know who is going to be the starting quarterback and we’ll explore every avenue in adding to that position. But it’s about everybody not just one man. Greg Roman is a great offensive coordinator. He went to three conference champ games he’s got a great track record. He does a lot of things creatively so we might not go three or four wide like they do in New England. I mean if you have Tom Brady go for it. But there are other ways of getting things accomplished and our quarterback will. I know he will.”

 


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Palmer another asst. with young QB history

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 4:07 pm

One of the last assistants announced as part of Rex Ryan’s coaching staff has a lengthy resume when it comes to working with young quarterbacks.

Offensive assistant Chris Palmer has worked in the NFL since 1990 and has coached several quarterbacks early in their careers.

He coached Drew Bledsoe with the Patriots under Bill Parcells when they won the AFC title in 1996.

He coached Mark Brunell, though he was a vet at the time, to the AFC title game.

After serving as head coach for expansion Cleveland and Offensive coordinator for expansion Houston he worked with a young Eli Manning winning a Super Bowl in 2007.

He’s most recently served as OC of Tennessee 2011-2012.

Rex Ryan obviously sees a lot of football wisdom in Palmer and his experience with young quarterbacks can only help the team’s task of further developing EJ Manuel.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-23

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2015 – 1:11 pm

The new coaching staff is coming together. If you missed any of our Senior Bowl or Pro Bowl coverage check it out on Buffalobills.com. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I don’t think Hughes, Urbik, Lawson, Spiller, Spikes or Rivers will return next year as the money will be spent in other areas. I think the Bills will soon extend the contracts of Dareus and Glenn.  Do you have any insight on this?

Thanks,
Joe

CB: I think the Bills will work hard to bring Hughes back into the fold. Spiller is expected to have other suitors. Urbik, Lawson and Rivers are all still under contract. Rex Ryan in a conference call this past season said Spikes was a player he liked because he has a grit and attitude to his game that appeals to him, for whatever that’s worth.

As for Dareus and Glenn, the Bills typically address free agents first before worrying about players that are still under contract, so while Dareus and Glenn are seen as long term building blocks for the franchise I don’t see them getting done in short order.

 

2 - Hi, Chris

Looking for help in understanding what has happened to the offensive line over the past three years.

Fact: Four of the current five starters were also starters on the O-Line in 2012.
Fact: The rushing game produced over 2200 yards in 2012; less than 1400 this year.
Fact: Now former coach Marrone has publicly stated that the problem with the run game is not Coach Hackett’s schematics.

So — if the line has basically the same players, with the same talent, with a couple years more experience, and the techniques and schematics are correct and being taught properly — why has there been such a marked regression in performance, culminating in last Sunday’s horrific 13 yards gained on 13 attempts?

You are close to the scene and obviously can sense better than we fans what is going on.  Please help.

Thanks much,
Jim D.

CB: There were a number of factors at work. First and foremost you had your top two running backs injured for a stretch of the season. Spiller missed seven games. I think anyone on the offensive line in 2014 would tell you that their play regressed from the year before.

In 2012 their offensive scheme ran out of a spread formation, which created bigger running lanes for the backs. That was not the case in 2014 as they chose to run between the tackles more often than not. I don’t know that the approach offensively always fit the backs they had carrying the ball. That combined with an offensive line that took a step back led to the lowest rushing total in team history in a 16-game season.

 

3 – Chris,

All Bills fans are disappointed, but so are the fans of the Ravens, Chiefs, Saints, Eagles, a few of them have $100 Million Quarterbacks !! There will be cries for EJ. You get better by practicing your skills, and proving in practice you’re ready to play. Do you feel EJ has shown he’s ready, how about Kouanjio and Richardson?
Jim in Florida

CB: I think the 12 weeks that Manuel had to focus on his personal game served him well over the last three quarters of the 2014 season. He also learned how to effectively prep yourself as a QB watching Kyle Orton get ready for games each week. From watching him the last month of the season in practice I felt his accuracy was improved. He was no longer thinking and concerned about throwing the perfect ball. He was just throwing.

I’m interested to see him as part of a competition for the starting job next year. Has he shown he’s ready? I don’t think we’ll know until we see him at training camp this summer.

As for Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson they worked to make the most of their reps. It sounds like Kouandjio will be given real consideration at the guard position, even though it’s very new to him. I also believe competition will be brought in to battle the youngsters for roles on the roster.

 

4 - Hi Chris:  I understand that the Bills offense has been unbalanced between run and pass this past year.  What I’m unsure of is the major cause.  Could it be that the running backs were banged up this year?  Could it be that the offensive line never jelled?  Or could it be that most defenses dared us to throw by overloading the box and our pass game didn’t respond as well as hoped?  Like everything in life, there’s usually more than one reason.  But I was wondering if you could shed some light on what might be the most significant factor(s).

Warm wishes for the New Year!
Paul in Portland (Formerly Paul in Beijing)

CB: I hate to give a token answer, but I think it was all of the above. The running backs were banged up this year. There were times when defenses loaded up the box with extra defenders. The offensive line did struggle to jell at the start of the season due to Cordy Glenn’s undisclosed illness, which kept him out of the majority of the preseason. There was also a move by Erik Pears from tackle to guard, there was a rookie at right tackle and starting LG Chris Williams missed half the preseason due to a recurring back injury.

I also think at times the offensive approach moved away from the strengths of their skill position players in an effort to protect the football with more conservative play.

5 – Hello Chris,

First I’d like to say Happy New Year! Thank You for your news and blogs that us Bills fans love to get answers and info from.. your passion for the Bills is the same that we fans have, and you help us to believe.

My question is about the Offensive line.. I am sure most are wanting to know about the QB, but a big fix we need is on the O-line.

I am wondering what your thoughts(and i’ll get the fans thoughts in the comments section after) on

shifting around the line a bit. What about Buffalo using either their 2nd or 3rd round pick on one of the top 2-3 Centers in the 2015 Draft.. like Dismukes from Auburn, Grasu from Oregon, or Gallik from BC. We can then move Wood back to RG where he did well for us in his first 2 years before moving to Center.. he can still call the protections and he shows the ability to move around to run block very well and the aggression.

Then Chris Williams(we lost a lot when he got hurt) coming back to be the LG.. again, we hope he stays healthy. Glenn as the LT and putting the sophomore slump that seems to bite so many and bouncing back. And then Kouandjio and Henderson fighting for the RT position.

So.. LT Glenn, LG Williams, C Best avail in 2015 Draft, RG Wood, RT Henderson/Kouandjio

NE did something like this with a new Center this year in Stork and they seemed to find a good rhythm in the season… and we could even if need be bring in whomever is not the starter at RT out once in a while to line up next to the starter giving us a 6th Lineman as protection if need be.

Just looking for your thoughts.. as far as where instead of going out to get 2 new G’s in FA and maybe in the draft where a good Center can change it all up and be giving us depth also.

Thanks.. have a nice weekend watching the post season.

Brian Moss

CB: I think your thought about moving Eric Wood out to guard, where he began his NFL career is an interesting idea. However, I think the only way it happens is if the Bills bring in a veteran center, not a rookie by way of the draft. If they add an offensive lineman in the draft I would expect it to be more of a guard. But knowing they have a second-year guard in Cyril Richardson and possibly a second guard option in Cyrus Kouandjio they may elect to add a veteran guard as they did last year (Chris Williams).

I think Seantrel Henderson can only improve in his second season if he takes to good coaching with the new staff and his athleticism alone gives him a leg up on Kouandjio for the right tackle job.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New QB coach Lee had EJ on pre-draft visit

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 1:34 pm

Back during the pre-draft process of 2013, Bills quarterbacks coach David Lee was coaching quarterbacks in New York for the Jets under Rex Ryan. And when the Jets had EJ Manuel in for a pre-draft visit Lee put the Florida State product through the paces.

As Lee explained in an interview down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl with Buffalobills.com, he wanted to get a feel for Manuel’s ability to absorb information and retain it. He passed Lee’s test with flying colors.

“We flew him in before the draft and I gave him a test,” Lee said. “I gave him a pamphlet to study and told him I was going to test him the next morning. It was long and detailed and he aced it. He didn’t miss anything. No other quarterback that came in did that, but he did.”

Lee believes there’s upside with Manuel because of his work ethic and intelligence.

We’ve just got to cut him loose and let him go play,” Lee said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Buffalobills.com & JMS in Mobile

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 2:29 pm

Buffalobills.com and the John Murphy Show are again on location at the Senior Bowl this year in Mobile. Here’s some of the coverage you can expect Tuesday.

On camera interviews with new QBs coach David Lee and head coach Rex Ryan, who was taking in practice Tuesday in Mobile.

On the John Murphy Show tonight live from Mobile (7-9 pm), you’ll hear from head coach Rex Ryan as he discusses the value of being on hand for Senior Bowl practices and his plans for this evening as he meets Buffalo’s scouting department.

The aforementioned quarterbacks coach David Lee will also be stopping by as he talks EJ Manuel and Geno Smith from his previous coaching stop.

And Bills Roundup on all the action that took place with the North and South squads.

It’s all on Buffalobills.com this week and on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ryan: Want to work with EJ first

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

Bills fans would like Buffalo’s quarterback situation finalized yesterday. But with a new coaching staff coming in there’s some ground work that needs to be laid. New head coach Rex Ryan said as much over the holiday weekend.

In an interview with FOX Sports, Ryan was asked if he believes EJ Manuel is a franchise quarterback. Though Ryan has coached against Manuel, he doesn’t really know him as a player. He believes he can make a more astute judgment after working with the young QB on a daily basis.

“I think it’s too early to tell right now. We’re still in the evaluating stages of looking at our quarterback situation. I thought of EJ a lot when he was coming out,” Ryan said. “We’ll see first-hand when we get a chance to coach him. I’m excited about him though, I’ll tell you that much. Will we explore possible veteran free agents or draft picks out there? Absolutely. We’re going to explore everything to add competition because that makes your whole team better.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kelly: We have to find out about EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2015 – 7:40 pm

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly is one that gives it to you straight. He’s also kept a keen eye on what goes on at One Bills Drive, particularly at the quarterback position. As we outlined on Buffalobills.com Rex Ryan understandably calls the QB picture unclear. With Kyle Orton retired other quarterback talent will be brought onto the roster to join EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel. Regardless of who is brought in, Kelly said the team has to get clarity on just what Manuel can be for the franchise.

“We need to find out if EJ is going to be the guy,” said Kelly. “I don’t care who you are, Don Shula, Marv Levy, Vince Lombardi if you don’t have a guy behind the center you’re not going anywhere period. If you look at all the teams that are in the playoffs now, look who is behind the center.

“Do I think EJ has a chance? I don’t know because of what he has learned when he was on the sidelines. How much he got out of being on the sidelines. Watching Kyle (Orton’s) positives and negatives of how he played. It’s an opportunity everybody is going to have, but that’s a position they definitely have to get solidified and find out who that person is going to be.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-9

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2015 – 11:44 am

The season is over and the head coaching search is underway. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Can you give Bills fans an update on the picks we get for the Stevie Johnson and Bryce Brown trades and where the picks could be for both players based on their playing time? Is it a 3rd for both players if they have a certain amount of games?

Josh

CB: Both trades were in exchange for conditional fourth-round picks. What most are not aware of is Buffalo was using one trade to facilitate the other.

While I don’t have the exact terms that would have bumped both picks to third-round selections I do know that both the pick acquired in the Johnson trade remained a fourth-round pick, as did the pick Philadelphia is owed by Buffalo.

Since the Bills original fourth-round pick in 2015 was traded to Cleveland in the Sammy Watkins deal, the fourth-round pick acquired from San Francisco for Stevie Johnson must be sent to Philadelphia for Bryce Brown.

So this spring the Bills do not have a first or fourth round selection. They have a second, third, two fifths, sixth and seventh.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for the great coverage and all that you do.  A lot has been made around the NFL about the NFC South and one of those teams making the playoffs with a record less than .500.  My question is that with the Bills finishing with a better record than the NFC South champion (Carolina 7-8-1) will they pick after them in the draft?  The draft normally goes by record but do things change once a team makes the playoffs?  Thanks for the response.

J-P from Corning, NY but now in Frederick, MD
CB: Yes, by rule playoff teams pick after non-playoff teams. So the Bills first-round pick at 19, which is owned by Cleveland comes before Carolina. In fact even the playoff teams with better records who were eliminated Wild Card weekend will pick ahead of the Panthers. The best Carolina can do if they lose to Seattle this weekend is the 25th pick in round one.

 

3 – Chris,

Watching the Bills this season always leaves me thinking how many games would they have won if we had a top QB. Despite some games that Orton played well, he is surely not the guy to lead the Bills to the playoffs. I was wondering if picking up Sam Bradford would be a possibility and keeping EJ as a backup. I was also thinking that even though our offensive line has struggled this year, would we take a QB with our 2nd round pick this year?

-Bennett

CB: Sam Bradford is an interesting consideration. He has more than three times the experience of EJ Manuel in terms NFL starts with 49 on his NFL resume, but what is of concern to me is his completion percentage. It’s 58.6 percent, which is exactly the same as EJ Manuel.

I think the Bills need better than that if they decide acquiring a veteran quarterback is the route to take again this offseason. Now I’ll admit it is slim pickings in terms of the free agent market, and Bradford might be seen as one of the better options available.

Buffalo has limited capital to offer in a trade for a QB knowing they’re without a first and fourth-round pick this year.

The plan going forward concerning the quarterback position is certainly going to be one of the more intriguing developments for the Bills this offseason. And as for taking a QB in round two of the draft I don’t think anything can be ruled out at this point, but I do believe quarterback might be addressed before the draft rolls around.

 

4 – Chris,

How do you assess the prospects of OGs Kouandjio and Richardson? Do they have a chance to start on the Bills’ O-line  or will the Bills be shopping for guards in free agency and the draft next year.

Thanks,
Bob

CB: I think Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson are still seen as long term investments by the organization. As I’ve written here before Kouandjio is still very young in football. He turned 21 during training camp last summer and has not played football his entire life. There is talent there. I just think what he needs is time on the job. Richardson has the physical tools, but they need to be refined more.

With that in mind I think it would be prudent for the Bills to seek NFL ready help at the guard position, especially with Erik Pears a free agent this offseason. The draft is another possibility, but it would have to be addressed early (2nd, 3rd round).

 

5 – Hi Chris,

My question pertains to re-signing several key players. I’ve read that there is some questions about whether or not we can sign Jerry Hughes, and renegotiate CJ and Marcel’s deals to keep them here long term, while also finding some key free agents and solid draft picks. Don’t we have a considerable amount of dead money coming off the books at the end of this year (Fitz, Stevie, Anderson, Lindell)? Overthecap.com says that it is about $21.6 million. With that money freed up, and the expansion of the salary cap don’t we have enough room to work with to bring back Jerry and give Marcel and CJ a raise?

(If this doesn’t make the list of questions on the blog post I would still love to hear your thoughts about where we stand financially going forward and how we can keep our defensive and offensive playmakers in Buffalo.)

Kevin

CB: You’re right there is a good amount of dead money coming off the books. I have seen the dead cap number closer to $24M. Per GM Doug Whaley – they will make every effort to bring Jerry Hughes and C.J. Spiller back into the fold.

There are reports that NFL clubs are expecting the cap to go up about $10M this year, which helps as well. It’s certainly possible that Dareus’ contract will be addressed to reduce his $8M cap figure this year and extend it.

However, I don’t think Dareus’ contract has to be extended in order for the club to formulate competitive offers for Hughes, Spiller and possibly Da’Norris Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Marrone went Orton over EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2014 – 5:21 pm

With Sunday’s game not having any playoff implications for either the Bills or Patriots, a good number of Bills fans were hoping to see EJ Manuel get a start at quarterback in the season finale. Head coach Doug Marrone chose to stick with Kyle Orton and explained why.

“The game means a lot to me. We’re going to play the players that we feel give us the best chance to win,” said Marrone. “That’s just the way that I’m wired and that’s my responsibility to the team. We all have a responsibility to each other and I have to make those decisions each week. So again we’re going to play the players who give us the best chance to win on Sunday.”

Marrone admitted that Orton has not been perfect during his 11 starts for the Bills, but said there are some key areas where Orton helps the team more.

“Kyle has gone in there and it’s been tough,” Marrone said. “There have been times when he’s done an outstanding job and he’s done a good job managing and a good job of being a leader for things that need to be done off the field as well as on the field during practice. Those things are going to help EJ in the long run. Right now we still feel that (Orton) gives us the best chance to win in terms of efficiency, control, things of that nature than EJ or Jeff or any other quarterback that we have.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-19

Posted by Chris Brown on December 19, 2014 – 11:03 am

There’s a lot on the line this week for the Bills. Fun having games that mean something here in December. Try to keep from biting your nails down to the nub Bills fans! Merry Christmas! On to your questions now from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 -  @ChrisBrownBills

How’s the raiders run D stack up against a possible run game?

GmoDLo

CB: We’ll be addressing that in our weekly Scouting Report on Buffalobills.com late today (Friday), but Oakland has struggled to stop the run. They give up 125 rushing yards to their opponents per game. Now that number is a bit skewed, knowing that a good number of their opponents have been up on the scoreboard on the Raiders, and run the ball a lot in the second half to shorten the game and kill clock.

However, they’re a respectable 12th in yards per carry average allowed (4.0). Still it’s worth mentioning that there is no other team in the league whose opponents choose to run on them more than the Raiders (48% of plays overall), so I would expect Buffalo to lean on their run game in this matchup.

Furthermore I think the Bills run game will have a good measure of success against the Raiders, especially after seeing the offense commit to the run game last week with 33 carries against the Packers in a tight game last week. Their 33 carries was the most since the Week 2 win over Miami.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the plan moving forward for the QB situation? Sticking with Orton for multiple years or EJ or free agency?

ZachDrohweder

CB: I think the only thing that we can say at this point is that EJ will be part of the quarterback equation in 2015. Orton has a player option for next season, so that is his call to make, not the team’s. Beyond that I believe everything will be evaluated at season’s end by the personnel department and the coaches. Then a course of action will be laid out with their options prioritized. I know that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but I’m not going to pretend to know the plan when one has yet to be formulated.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chances Jim Schwartz is back?

theadamritter

CB: I think it will be predicated on how many job openings there are for head coaching positions at season’s end. Typically there are about a half dozen every offseason. Buffalo’s defense with their fourth new coordinator and fourth new scheme under Schwartz is rivaling some of the best defensive units in team history. They’re currently in the top five in six major defensive categories (Total ‘D’, pass ‘D’, sacks, 3rd down ‘D’, points allowed, takeaways).

Long story short, if there are six NFL head coach openings, I’d expect Schwartz to be a candidate for about half of them due to his long resume of defensive success, and his five years of head coaching experience at the NFL level.


4 –
Hey Chris,

Was just wondering what it takes to get in touch with Goodell or someone in the NFL look at the refs actions ? Can & will Marrone step up & air these differences ? The Denver game & others this year have had some really questionable calls & actions in game.

CB: I don’t disagree with your disappointment on some of the calls this season, the Denver game in particular. I think in many ways it’s the judgment calls that create the most controversy, but as far as having questionable calls addressed, each NFL team can send in plays to the league’s officiating department to contest them or ask for further explanation or clarification.

Doug Marrone does this on a weekly basis. Unfortunately he and every other coach in the league is not permitted to publicize the results of those league reviews of questionable calls in the days following when the game was played. Really a team doesn’t get much more than an apology of, ‘We’re sorry, we got that one wrong.’

If the officiating department rules that the official who made the call was incorrect in his ruling on the field, they’re graded accordingly.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Rules? Why was the Manziel Fumble/Inc. not ruled Intentional Grounding? Seems as if it wasn’t a fumble, then it was IG.

TomPellvis

CB: It was my opinion that it was fumble. Manziel would’ve been protected under the old ‘Tuck Rule’ if it was still in existence, but since it’s not that was a fumble play as I saw it. He double clutched, but in no way was trying to throw the ball. The officials as you know ruled it an incomplete pass. I think the reason they could not rule intentional grounding was because first and foremost Manziel was outside the tackle box. When that happens an intentional grounding call is off the table.

Even if he was in the pocket the direction of the pass could not be ascertained since it essentially bounced off of Kyle Williams and into the end zone. Had the “pass” (ahem… fumble) traveled far enough to determined its direction/target then perhaps the official would’ve been able to make a judgment call on intentional grounding – again had he still been inside the tackle box. That however, was not the case on that play.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-12

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2014 – 1:25 pm

Time for another edition of Fan Friday. On to your questions now from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

What are the illuminated numbers for when the Bills are on Defense? We sit on the visitors side of the Bills Stadium and often wonder if it signals to the defense.

Tony Pariso
CB: The fluorescent number cards held up by a Bills sideline assistant when the Bills defense is on the field is a cue card. The number on it identifies the personnel grouping of the opposing offense on that particular play. For example, a card that has an 11 on it means 11-personnel, which is one back, one tight end and three receivers. If it’s a 22 that means two backs and two tight ends. The number in the tens column identifies the number of backs in the grouping. The number in the ones column identifies the number of tight ends in the grouping.

Knowing you’ve got five lineman and a quarterback, you can do the math to figure out how many receivers you need to get to 11 total players based on the number of backs and tight ends.

It’s just a simple identifier tool for the defense so everyone is on the same page and can focus on the defensive play call and any pre-snap checks.

 

2 – Chris:
In the week that the Bills had to play the Jets in Detroit it was stated by Coach Marrone that it was a tough week because he prefers a set routine in preparing the team and he feels the players like a set routine. The way the team performed and had energy against the NY Jets after all the upheaval with the weather, do you think coaches should re-think the need to have a set routine?  Do you think by following the same routine a team could get stale and cause players to lack energy and concentration.  I feel it may be best to change practice routines and schedules during the season which may keep players sharp and fresh.

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think the coaching staff makes an effort to tweak certain aspects of the practice week to keep players on their toes, but largely football players and coaches are creatures of habit. I don’t know that it’s fair to take one isolated performance in a neutral site situation with a lot of upheaval to the normal schedule and let that convince you that the schedule should be altered every week.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

Is it possible that the Bills will give a free agent a chance at being the franchise QB? I am actually targeting Kirk Cousins from the Redskins. He has one year left on his contract, but I really don’t see him as a fit for the Buffalo Bills. Obviously, EJ Manuel will be given another chance, but Cousins is a bomber, and I think it would be exciting to watch Cousins with our current wide receivers. I would most definitely keep Kyle Orton as insurance, he has more than proven himself.

Your thoughts,
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: I think the quarterback position could be a very fluid situation this offseason. You have EJ Manuel under contract and I still believe you have to work with him and develop him further. Giving up on him after just 14 starts seems foolhardy. Ryan Tannehill didn’t look like much in his first two seasons, but now in year three he’s demonstrated bona fide progress and has grown into the role for Miami. The Dolphins stuck with him and he’s rewarding them for that despite a change in offensive system this year.

Whether the Bills choose to stick with Orton as the veteran or bring in another is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to offseason decisions that must be made.

 

4 – Chris,

Can you give fans an update on the RT position. How has Henderson been doing? Fans are probably upset at Cyrus’ development since he got beat out by a 7th round pick. What is the future for Cyrus. I really don’t see him playing guard in the future. The Bills thought he had first round talent. I know Henderson may have been a steal. With no first round pick next year, it looks bad their 2nd round pick can’t be active on game day.

CB: Henderson has had his share of ups and downs this season. He has had some steady games and some unsteady games, but that inconsistency is to be expected with a rookie who is starting at this level for the first time. His athleticism and physical gifts are unquestioned and his work ethic has been pretty solid all year.

Cyrus Kouandjio is much younger in football than Henderson. Henderson played four years of college ball and all through high school. Kouandjio played two years of high school ball and declared early for the draft. Kouandjio is also just 21-years old.

He’s still growing into his body frame. Kouandjio needs to get stronger and needs reps. I think the team has to be patient with him and let him grow and learn for a couple of years. In time he could very well justify being a second-round pick, and the Bills knew when they picked that they’d have to wait on him a bit.

Kouandjio will never have the athleticism or feet that Henderson does. That’s God-given. Had Henderson not had all the off the field red flags, he’d have likely been a first-round pick for what it’s worth. I believe Kouandjio will be a contributor in time, but that’s what it’s going to take before he maximizes his potential. Time.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Now that TV networks hire former referee’s for insight during the broadcast, would the Bills be able to hire a former ref to be on the staff and be on the sideline to assist the Head coach with challenge calls for example?

Thanks Travis

CB: That’s a pretty clever idea. Knowing how there seems to be an expert for every part of the football operation, why not a former official on your staff? I’ll have to check to see if there are rules against doing that. The only thing that I could see preventing that is a coach being concerned that it would indicate that he doesn’t know the challenge system well enough.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-5

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2014 – 11:20 am

The biggest December road game in quite some time is just two days away. Nice to see a game that matters here at this point in the season for the Bills. On to your questions now from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hello Chris
I have a couple questions. When will the coaching staff see that the QB play was not the problem? EJ could throw a pick a game and not fumble. Plus he had the strength in the pocket plus agility to avoid half the sacks Orton has had. It is play calling I feel. We run such a mellow offense. Out of 73 starts for Orton he has 8 comebacks. EJ had I believe 4 in just 14 starts. We should have let him continue to develop. Orton has continually been trying to make up for his mistakes. (Pick six in Detroit. That game should have never been that close)
Secondly do they hope CJ may come back with the IR they placed him on? Thanks again for all your coverage of the best team in sports.

Jedediah
Palm Coast, FL

CB: Your numbers for Orton and Manuel are pretty much on the mark. Orton does have eight fourth quarter comebacks in his career. Manuel has one fourth quarter comeback and three game-winning drives, one of which came in Week 1 against Chicago in overtime with the score tied.

I think head coach Doug Marrone explained the quarterback move for what it was. At the time Manuel was struggling to complete passes with consistency. He was missing open targets and it was costing them yards and points and that ultimately costs you games.

Marrone had to decide between development of EJ Manuel or winning games. Winning games trumped Manuel’s development. Orton doesn’t have the physical assets that Manuel possesses. That’s obvious.

What Orton does have however, is the knowledge of where to go with the football regardless of the situation or defensive look. He can diagnose disguised coverages faster and his knowledge allows him to make decisions quicker. I think that results in Orton being more willing to give his receivers opportunities to make plays by taking a bit more risk than Manuel was willing to when he was in the lineup.

That being said Manuel has been working hard on his personal game and I think being able to focus on just himself the last two months has helped Manuel immeasurably. Whether he gets another opportunity this season will likely be tied to Orton’s health.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think Hughes trade value is? Would you package him and Spiller for a first rd. Pick?

crazyeyes7711

CB: First, I will say I don’t think it’s the primary intention of the Bills to trade either player. In an ideal world they keep both players in the fold. Will it happen? That depends on the intentions of the Hughes and Spiller camps.

In your hypothetical trade situation I think you’re underselling Hughes and Spiller as a package. Hughes is going to have double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons and is just entering his prime. Spiller is still an elite physical talent no matter what his rushing production numbers say. One first round pick for both of them is far from an acceptable offer.

A first and a second round pick is what would be more equitable. We have to remember that they’re both former first-round draft choices themselves.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s Goodwin’s % to play?

8three7six6zero

CB: If you want to know if he’ll dress on Sunday I think there’s a decent chance that happens knowing some of Buffalo’s top receivers are nicked up. He can serve as insurance. If you want to know how many snaps he’ll get that’s tough to peg. He got all of two snaps last week on offense and was targeted once. After Marcus Thigpen’s debut performance on returns last week Goodwin is unlikely to re-assume those duties.

Goodwin has just 70 snaps on offense this season. That’s partly due to him being unavailable due to injury, but that’s more than 100 fewer snaps on offense than Mike Williams (194), who has been inactive for three games. Goodwin has been out of the lineup for six games.

The former third-round pick has just six targets this season and one catch for 42 yards.

 

4 -  @ChrisBrownBills

What position will be the top priority to improve in the offseason?

JaredBailey23

CB: I think the clubhouse leader position-wise is the offensive line. Though the unit has played a bit better of late there just hasn’t been enough consistency up front, so I could see that being addressed in the offseason. Where they come down on the quarterback position is something else that bears watching.

Other positions could be added to the priority list based on potential player departures in free agency.

 

5 – Chris,

I understand that opponents are working on eliminating Sammy’s impact on games and work on keeping him from beating them. That said, I still think they are under utilizing Sammy, specifically on WR screens. It would be one thing if they were running WR screens on the opposite side of the field as Sammy, but the majority of the time Sammy is lead blocking. I saw this at least two times on Monday night’s game.

I get what Marrone is saying, but their actions don’t always coordinate entirely with what they say.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Elliott

CB: They have worked to find more ways to get Watkins the ball. We saw some receiver screens last week against Cleveland. I think there would be some merit to stacking receivers at the line with Watkins being the wideout who is second in line on the stack. That could help him gain early separation.

Watkins was targeted nine times last week, but had just three receptions. Part of the problem at times was ball location. Watkins has a wide catch radius, but even he couldn’t make the play on some errant throws. The timing and execution has to be better when Watkins is targeted.

We’ll see if they can get that fixed against a pair of very aggressive corners this week in Denver.


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Posted in Inside the Bills