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Inside The Bills

3 Bills inactive for game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2012 – 6:33 pm

We all knew OT Erik Pears and DE Mark Anderson were not playing with groin injuries. There’s one other player that won’t make it tonight.

RB Johnny White has been battling an ankle injury all through training camp and the preseason. He too is inactive for tonight’s game.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pears on sideline

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2012 – 10:05 am

Right tackle Erik Pears has been steadily working his way back into team drills the past week. But he’s a spectator at today’s final camp practice.

No word as to whether it’s a rest day or recurrence of the groin strain that kept him out for a week. We’ll get an update after practice.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-10

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2012 – 11:30 am

Well preseason game number one is in the books. Just another four days of camp and the team returns to One Bills Drive. Let’s get to your questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on twitter.

1 - Chris,
I was wondering what kind if influence an improved defense would have on the offensive play calling?  If (IF) this bill’s defense can live up to its billing, will Fitzpatrick need to throw as much?

CB: I asked both Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick this very question a while back. Both indicated that when you’re playing with a lead more often there’s less of a need to take risks. Here’s exactly what they had to say about your question.

“You have a football team,” said Gailey. “You don’t have an offense, a defense and special teams. You have a football team and the objective is to win the game. So you’re always adjusting to what the situation in the game is and if we’re in closer ball games and we have leads you do change your thought process and the way you approach the game. And it allows Fitz to alter the way he approaches the game a little bit. We’ve got to continue to work that because we’ve not been in that situation in the last couple of years.”

I think it allows you to limit the risks you take,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think if you’re in games all the time and not falling behind whether it’s from a poor performance early from the offense or whatever it is, you certainly have to be a smarter and more reserved quarterback. With our offense there are going to be times where we take chances because that’s what makes us good as well. But there’s a balance we have to find there in terms of when we’re taking those chances and when to take the checkdown.”


2 - Hey Chris,

Thanks for your daily articles and updates.  I had a question about offensive tackle based on your latest article.  A lot of scouts seem to believe that both Glenn and Hairston could be great RT’s.  So why is there only competition at LT?  I think Pears played well last year at RT and I’m glad we have him, but I think he still has plenty to prove.  It’s not like he’s an All-Pro, but it seems like he’s just being handed the RT job without having to compete for it.  Why shouldn’t the loser of the LT competition be considered for the starting spot on the right side?  Isn’t it possible that Glenn and Hairston could be the two best OT’s on the team?

Denver, CO

CB: It’s my opinion that Erik Pears had a very good season last year from start to finish. He was a much stronger player after spending an offseason in Buffalo’s conditioning program and put on 20 pounds. His play was rewarded with a three-year contract extension.

Right now he’s working back from a groin strain in camp, so Hairston has been forced to line up on the right side. I think part of the reason RT has been Pears job and his job only (before injury) is because he played very consistently last season and is a veteran presence on what is a pretty young line.

I’m not saying at some point the player that finishes second in the LT competition can’t be the team’s starting right tackle, but I think there’s value in continuity as well and keeping Pears at RT knowing he can do the job is viewed as the best idea by the staff moving forward (provided he’s healthy).


3 - Hey Chris,

My question is who are going to be the backups in the secondary? Where do you see Bryan Scott? Do you see much from Searcy? There was a lot of talk about him when the Bills drafted him but hadn’t heard much.


bigfoot21 here is sunny South Carolina.


CB: Bryan Scott is a linebacker in the nickel packages and that’s really the extent of his role. Da’Norris Searcy as we’ve mentioned several times in our daily Practice Notes reports has been getting time with the starting unit rotating in for both George Wilson and Jairus Byrd. I think the staff wants to try to find a role for him presumably in a subpackage (nickel, dime).

I think sooner rather than later Searcy will be making an impact on Buffalo’s defense. He’s been impressive in the time he’s been with the ones on the practice field. We’ll see what he can do in the preseason.


4 - Hi Chris, thanks for all the information through the years. Living in San Diego, my son and I only see the Bills in enemy territory. I am trying to take him back to Buffalo to show him how a real football crowd is.

My question is does Shawn Powell or John Potter have any realistic chance making this team? Though I like the veterans, these young players look pretty good and it might be time for a change. Again thanks, Art
CB: I think Potter could make the roster as a kickoff specialist and kicker on long field goal attempts 55-yards plus. Chan Gailey has made no secret of his feelings about what kind of a weapon he believes Potter can be if he can prove that he can deliver touchbacks with regularity. He basically told me that if Potter can guarantee the opponent is starting in their own 20-yard line every time then it’s worth using a roster spot.

As for Powell I think he’s got an uphill battle. He has raw talent, but he’s not as consistent or polished as Moorman. In a year where the Bills are gunning for the playoffs you keep the guy you can count on punt in and punt out.


5 - Hi Chris, thank you for taking my question.

Is Vince Young getting the same attention from Coach Lee on his mechanics and decision making as Fitz is? And if so is he seeing any improvement in his game?

I appreciate your insight. Thanks!

- Chris Kenyon (Albany, NY)

CB: Vince Young is being schooled on the same lower body mechanics as Fitz. The same with Thigpen. A quarterbacks coach works with all of his players and David Lee is no different. Young has performed better over the past week of camp with his accuracy. Young’s arm delivery isn’t prototype, but because he’s so tall it’s a throwing motion that can work in the NFL.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nelson does more; Pears back

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2012 – 4:24 pm

Bills WR David Nelson did more at practice Tuesday and RT Erik Pears saw his most extensive work in over a week.

Nelson, who did just individual position drills Monday, factored into some team work Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Pears, who got a good report from a specialist on his strained groin not only practiced for the first time, but even saw some a few team reps to being the team portions of practice. Seeing him suit up in the game on Thursday night however, might be a bit of a long shot.

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Outlook for Pears

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2012 – 7:51 pm

Erik Pears is still not back on the practice field getting reps in any capacity, but there was some good news concerning the right tackle’s healthy moving forward.

Out for the past week plus with a groin injury, head coach Chan Gailey said a visit to a specialist by Pears went well.

“I don’t know yet. We’re going to make that decision tomorrow or the next day. If Erik can’t play, which it looks like right now that won’t happen, both of them will play Hairston and Sam will both play.”

“It looks good to be honest with you,” said Gailey. “He saw the specialist and he gave him some things to work with. It looks like it’s going to pay dividends. He was trying to get out here to practice. I think it looks a lot better than it did three days ago that’s for sure.”

Pears had hernia surgery in the spring, so a groin injury was of some concern to Gailey. But with the current outlook it sounds as if he’ll be back practicing sooner rather than later. However, it would be a surprise if he plays in the team’s first preseason game Thursday night leaving Sam Young and Chris Hairston to likely share the starting right tackle role against Washington.

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Pears, Rogers still watching

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2012 – 2:34 pm

Erik Pears and Justin Rogers are still on the sidelines.

Pears has been dealing with a groin injury since early in camp and Chan Gailey did express concern knowing Pears had hernia surgery in the spring.

Rogers is trying to recover from a pulled hamstring.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Pears very limited

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2012 – 3:21 pm

Bills RT Erik Pears is back practicing in a return from a minor groin injury, but he’s very limited.

He only did individual position drills.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Nelson, Pears still down

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2012 – 5:51 pm

David Nelson and Erik Pears are not taking part in tonight’s practice.

Nelson sustained a bruised knee Saturday. Erik Pears sustained a groin injury Friday described as minor by Chan Gailey.

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New non-participant

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2012 – 2:01 pm

There’s a new non-participant for today’s padded practice.

Starting right tackle Erik Pears is not dressed to practice. He stepped out of practice late in Friday’s session during team work and did not return.

He didn’t line up at the starting right tackle spot in morning walk thru. Sam Young is lined up in his place.

We’ll get an update on his status from coach Gailey after practice.

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What to expect this afternoon

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2012 – 11:10 am

There are a couple of lineup changes that we could see on the practice field this afternoon.

Mark Anderson is expected to rotate back in as the starting right defensive end after Chris Kelsay manned that spot at Friday’s practice. Shawne Merriman could eventually be a factor in that competition, but right now appears to be more of a dark horse candidate as he’s been running almost exclusively with the second unit.

At the starting right tackle spot, it doesn’t appear as though Erik Pears will go this afternoon. He did not line up with the first unit at the morning walk through, with Sam Young taking his place. Pears did step out of practice during the final few series in team work Friday, but it was thought to be in an effort to pace his reps coming off of offseason surgery. We’ll check in with head coach Chan Gailey if indeed Pears does not participate in team work this afternoon.

If Sam Young does in fact move up to the first unit this afternoon as Pears injury replacement look for fifth-round pick Zebrie Sanders to man right tackle with the second unit in Young’s place.

Leodis McKelvin was out on the field for morning walk through and looked to have a bounce in his step so it’s anticipated that he’ll be back practicing this afternoon. He left the field early on Thursday due to illness.

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McGee, Wood update

Posted by Chris Brown on June 21, 2012 – 4:48 pm

Terrence McGee and Eric Wood did not participate at all in the spring practices, but both are on track to be ready for training camp.

Head coach Chan Gailey however, indicated that while both should be cleared they may not have a full workload right from the start.

“Yes they’ll be ready,” Gailey said. “Now whether they can practice every day, it might be every other day to start with and then work them slowly in, but I expect them to be ready to go at camp.”

Other players expected to return to the practice setting in training camp that are coming off offseason surgeries include RT Erik Pears and DT Torell Troup.

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Left tackle update

Posted by Chris Brown on June 21, 2012 – 4:36 pm

Even though Cordy Glenn took all the first team reps at left tackle in the OTAs and minicamp it doesn’t mean he’s got the inside track on landing the starting job.

That according to head coach Chan Gailey, who confirmed that come training camp it’ll be a two-man competition between Glenn and Chris Hairston. Gailey was asked about Glenn’s spring and whether he’s got an upper hand on the blind side position.

“He has the ability,” said Gailey of Glenn. “Now there are a lot of guys with a bunch of ability that are home today. But he has the ability, it’s can he transition that into pads and the speed of the game? Minicamp is just one speed. There’s another speed when you go to at training camp. There’s another speed when you hit preseason games. There’s another speed when you hit the regular season and still another speed when you reach the playoffs. So can you transition with all those speed changes, that’s a different deal. But he and Chris (Hairston) will be working at left tackle. I don’t know who will win that job.”

Hairston worked exclusively at right tackle with incumbent right tackle Erik Pears unable to participate in any of the spring practices due to hernia surgery. He’s expected to be full go come training camp allowing Hairston to compete with Glenn on the left side in late July and August.

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Pears deal reduces list

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2011 – 12:05 pm

The list of Bills free agents is one shorter with RT Erik Pears locked up with an extension today.

The most notable unrestricted free agents for the Bills now are the following players below.

Demetrius Bell
Scott Chandler
Stevie Johnson
Rian Lindell
Roscoe Parrish
Bryan Scott

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Pears, Kelsay go, Wilson on side

Posted by Chris Brown on November 17, 2011 – 4:13 pm

Right tackle Erik Pears and LB Chris Kelsay were listed as limited in practice Thursday, but did most of the work in practice. George Wilson however, remains a big question mark.

“Pears was back and did okay,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I hope he’ll keep coming. We have to list him as limited, but he did a lot.”

As for Wilson’s status Gailey says his strong safety’s chances for Sunday are still very much up in the air.

“He’s still questionable for the game,” he said. “I hope he can get out here tomorrow and do some things.”

If Wilson cannot go on Sunday he’ll be replaced by rookie Da’Norris Searcy.

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Mixed bag on O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2011 – 2:32 pm

The offensive line was getting shuffled around at Wednesday’s practice due to an unexpected absence.

Though preparations for Eric Wood were made with Andy Levitre in the pivot, Erik Pears was a surprise non-participant. Fortunately Demetrius Bell was back practicing along with Chris Hairston. For most of the media viewing portion of practice Hairston lined up at left tackle. Bell got work at left and right tackle. And Kraig Urbik saw a lot of work at right tackle during individual positions drills with Colin Brown lined up next to him at right guard.

Hopefully what is keeping Pears sidelined is nothing significant, otherwise the line could have a different player at every line position from opening day.

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Pears, Nelson not at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2011 – 2:17 pm

It was expected that Stevie Johnson and George Wilson would not practice coming off injuries in last week’s game, but there were a few other surprises at Wednesday’s practice.

Erik Pears, David Nelson and Spencer Johnson are also not practicing. Here’s the full list of non-participants.

Rian Lindell
Stevie Johnson
George Wilson
Erik Pears
David Nelson
Spencer Johnson

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Interesting O-line note

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2011 – 1:13 pm

With Demetrius Bell, Chris Hairston and Andy Levitre all not practicing today, its interesting to see who is lining up at left tackle.

Erik Pears is getting snaps on the left side with Sam Young seeing time at right tackle in place of Pears.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-14

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2011 – 12:17 pm

Big road game at the Meadowlands Sunday. Both teams a bit banged up. Survival of the fittest type game. Now to your questions, which can always be submitted to

1 - Hey Chris,
Very excited about how well the Bills have been playing recently.  In light of the relatively consistent play of Fitzpatrick and Johnson, are the Bills taking a “wait and see” approach to their contracts, or have discussions been ongoing?  They certainly have the cap space this year for big signing bonus checks.  In talking with Fitzpatrick and Johnson, is there any reason to think that either one is not interested in staying with Buffalo after this season? Keep up the good work on the blog!

CB: I do believe that both Fitz and Johnson want to be here long term. They’re both smart enough to know they’ve got a good thing going here on offense with coach Gailey, and the team is being built to be successful for the long haul. Of course money is always the ultimate factor in these negotiations, which makes it unpredictable. I do believe that both players will be re-signed by the Bills in due time. Talks are ongoing with the Fitzpatrick camp at this time.


2 - Hi Chris,
Do you know if there are any contract negotiations going with Fred Jackson?  I realize that his contract isn’t up for a couple of years, but he is seriously under paid, and given his age, he may not have that many more years in him.  It seems to me that the Bills should re-negotiate it to one more fitting his elite status.  They did it with Kelsay when he didn’t need a new contract, let’s do it for Fred who is exactly the class player that we want.  It would send a very strong message that the Bills treat their players right.

CB: The Bills known full well how important Fred is not only to the success of the offense, but the collective psyche of the team. As Ryan Fitzpatrick said himself Fred is “the heart and soul of the team.” His production is undeniable. I just think at this point in time there are expiring contracts for other important players that put players like Fitz and Stevie Johnson higher on the priority list right now. Rest assured that Fred is on the radar as he had a productive meeting with Bills GM Buddy Nix this past week.


3 – Hi Chris,

Of course, a lot of people are comparing this team to the 2008 Bills because of the fast start.  This time around I feel like there’s much more promise than the 2008 team, but what are some of the key differences you see between the two teams?

Thanks for all the great news & commentary!

Aaron Bangerter
Salt Lake City, UT

CB: Great question Aaron. The biggest difference is how potent the offense is now in comparison to 2009. In 2009 the team finished 30th in offense and was the worst in the league at converting third downs and the worst offense in football when it came to scoring touchdowns in the red zone.

To give you an idea, in 2009 the Bills scored 12 touchdowns in 38 trips to the red zone. In just five games this season the Bills have already scored 15 touchdowns in 20 trips to the red zone, and rank first in the league right now. So they’ve already outscored the 2009 team’s red zone touchdown production. The defense in 2009 was just as good at taking the ball away as they set a team record with 28 interceptions that season, but could not stop the run ranking 30th in run defense.

In my opinion the coaching staff top to bottom is superior to the ’08 staff.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the mental toughness of this year’s team. The 2009 team could not rebound when things went wrong after their 5-1 start. When they fell behind on the scoreboard in individual games or things went wrong there was never a counter punch. That is no longer the case. The 2011 Bills are more resilient, more mentally tough and do not give in for anyone or anything.


4 - Any word on Erik Pears? I know the offensive line as a whole is playing GREAT but they never seem to mention how Pears has come in and played well from what I’ve heard.   

CB: Pears has more than held his own on the right side at tackle. He’s a veteran that knows the tricks of the trade. He did an excellent job on Jason Babin last week, as he neutralized the league’s leader in sacks (7). His experience is a good complement to a young, up and coming group across the rest of the front.


5 - Hey Chris,

First off, just want to say how much I appreciate all the work you do for the fans and keeping us updated with all the Bills news.

Last year a few Bills players were in Toronto the week before the game at the New Era hat store. Living in Toronto we don’t get a lot of chances to actually meet the players, so it was a great experience. I was just wondering if you knew if they were planning on having another event like the one last year, and if they are which players would be there.

Any insight you might have on this would be very much appreciated. Thanks again for everything you do.

Dave Bearss

CB: Good news Dave, there will be another event this year at New Era in Toronto. The date of the event is Oct. 24th. Check back at for updates on the event including a start time and what players will be on hand. I’m hearing there will be more details on it in the coming week.

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Hairston to play LT Thurs.

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2011 – 7:50 am

Bills fourth-round pick Chris Hairston played mainly right tackle in training camp. He missed some practice time with an undisclosed injury as well as the first two preseason games. But he played extensively against Jacksonville at both right and left tackle and fared well. Head coach Chan Gailey intends to get him a lot more time in Thursday’s game, but only on one side.

“He played left tackle in college so he had a comfort level at left tackle,” said Gailey in reference to Hairston playing on the right and left side last Saturday. “I think it’s worked out well for him to be able to play both. The way we sit right now he needs to know both so it helps us from a depth perspective as well. We’ll keep him at left this week just so he can hone in on that for an extended period of time and see how he does.”

It makes one wonder if Hairston is gaining an edge on the all important swing tackle job behind Demtrius Bell and Erik Pears. If so, Hairston’s performance Thursday night is of huge significance.

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Right side of O-line review

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2011 – 12:59 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked for his thoughts on the right side of Buffalo’s offensive line featuring newly appointed starters in Kraig Urbik at right guard and Erik Pears at right tackle.

“They’re pretty good communicators, but they’re not as comfortable as the guys on the other side communicating with each other,” said Gailey. “But they’re getting better every day. I think that as they continue to work with each other I think things will get better and better.”

Gailey then added how they intend to work some other players in on that side of the line, indicating that things are far from set in stone.

“(Chad) Rinehart is going to work over there some and if (Chris) Hairston continues to get better every day it’s going to be a fight on that side of the line over there,” he said.

Performance in preseason games are likely to be a major determining factor. Mansfield Wrotto is another candidate as well as Cordaro Howard when he comes off the PUP list.

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