Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 9-15

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2017 – 12:19 pm

Week 2 is a step up in competition with the Panthers on the road. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are the Bills more prepared to play against mobile QBs like Cam due to practicing daily vs Tyrod Taylor?

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: In training camp the defense went against Tyrod, but during the regular season they face a scout team quarterback. Fortunately for the Bills defense that scout team QB is Joe Webb. Not only is Webb wholly familiar with the Carolina offense, having run it the last couple of years, but he’s also extremely athletic and is a good mimic of Newton as a player.

So the defense should be well prepared for the real thing on Sunday.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who, in your opinion, needs to “show up” in Carolina this week?

Bryan Metz
@BryanMetz11

CB: In a word everyone. I know the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs last year, but Newton couldn’t throw the last month and a half of the season before undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. This is a talented team that was a perennial playoff team with three division titles under their belt and an NFC title. So all 11/11ths need to be performing on Sunday for the Bills to have a shot at a win.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, been reading CAR trying to limit Newton leaving pocket. I get he’s the franchise & a lot of $$ is committed to him, but bad idea, no?

Andrew Farrell
@andrewj_farrell

CB: They’re trying to reduce the number of hits Newton takes and he’s free game the minute he declares himself as a runner. All those hits wore his body down and we witnessed the effects of those last season.

I don’t see Newton as anything close to an elite pocket passer. He’s never had a completion percentage above 60 percent in his career. Which is a shame because he has the physical stature to make plays with bodies hanging on him. That’s what makes this season so intriguing with him.

Can he transition to being a successful pocket passer as he gets close to the midway point of his career? He’s not going to have his legs forever.

 

4 – Chris,

Members of the Bills practice squad are free agents.  Can the Bills retain a player after another team claims them?

Steve O’Brien

CB: There are ways that a team tries to retain a practice squad player they’d like to develop. They can either, A, pay them more money on the practice squad or B, make room on their active roster to hold onto them. Often times players choose to stay with the club they’ve been with just because of scheme familiarity and the chance to play right away.

Going to a new team, especially within the season, can be a tougher transition to the field. But players do tend to go if they think there’s a better opportunity to get on the field and stay on an active roster long term.

 

5 – Chris,

Obviously the Jets win doesn’t prove much, but how good does Tyrod have to be to keep his job going in to next year? Is it playoffs or bust? Just imagine the weapons we could add in next years draft with all of our picks if we’re not using them to trade up for a QB.

Frank from Long Island

CB: With respect to Tyrod’s game, as long as he continues to make strides in working the middle of the field in the passing game, and is consistent with his ball location and timing in this offense, he could play the whole season. While his play is certainly tied to how strong a hold he has on the starting job, I don’t know if his play has any impact on the team’s plans at the position for the future.

This is shaping up to be one of the better quarterback draft classes in some time. So if the Bills believe they have to land one of them, they will do their level best to make that happen, regardless of who is on the roster now or how Taylor plays.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-8

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2017 – 11:54 am

Kickoff weekend is here! Finally Bills regular season football. Let’s dial it up Bills fans with your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the D get back into the Top 10 or is the talent level too thin in year one of SM and BB?

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: Depth is undoubtedly a concern, particularly at safety and linebacker. But if the Bills can stay relatively healthy, especially on the defensive line, they can flirt with being a top 10 defense. Sean McDermott’s defensive units typically rank high in sacks, run defense and takeaways, all critical elements in defenses that rank in the top 10.

Buffalo’s defensive line will be instrumental in all three of those defensive categories. As long as the front four can stay healthy they can contend for top 10 status.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Predictions on who leads the team in receptions? Dark horse of Charles Clay?

Kyle Yagielski
@DrMrPHD

CB: I don’t think Charles Clay is a dark horse at all. He had 87 targets last season to lead the team and led the team in receptions with 57. Granted that was due in part to the fact that Sammy Watkins played in just eight games, but in Rick Dennison offenses the tight end plays a large role in the passing game. The case will be much the same with Clay this season, especially with all the wide receiver turnover.

So I think Clay is the favorite to lead the team in receptions, with Jordan Matthews as his only real competition.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Shady o/u 100 yards Sunday?

Frank Propis
@Frankpropis

CB: The Jets run front is no joke, even with the trade of Sheldon Richardson. NT Steve McLendon was a nice pickup by New York last year from Pittsburgh. The key will be getting McCoy to the second level on Sunday.

McCoy barely played in the season finale against the Jets, which was kind of a lost game altogether. But in the Week 2 matchup, McCoy average 3.9 yards per carry and finished with 83 total yards from scrimmage.

I think he can do better than that because New York’s linebacking corps is a lot less proven than the group from a season ago. So if you’re asking total yards from scrimmage I say over 100, but over 100 yards rushing, I don’t know. That run front for the Jets is still pretty stout and they’ll be daring the Bills to throw in this game (eight in the box).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

There is talk of “Tyrod not being a fit to Dennison’s system” , why would a coach have a system that does fit current roster? (ex. Rex)

Bryan Watson
@RealBryanWatson

CB: I find it funny how this has become the narrative for Tyrod in this scheme. Both head coach Sean McDermott and OC Rick Dennison have said on the record that Taylor is “a perfect fit” for this offense. Below is the direct quote I got from McDermott way back in March at the NFL combine.

“He absolutely fits what Rick wants to do,” said McDermott in reference to Taylor. “Having said that a lot of players fit what we want to do in our system. It’s a great system. That’s one of the reasons I hired Rick. We look forward to putting pieces together to build this team the right way.”

I think people are forgetting that what we saw offensively in the preseason is not at all what they’re likely to run come the regular season. So until we see that it’s premature at the least to say Tyrod isn’t a fit, especially when his coaches are telling us the exact opposite and with more emphatic language than usual.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the Bills only keeping 5 WR, do you think they have plans for someone like Logan Thomas to be a bigger part of the offense?

Adam Placzek
@iamFlowbee

CB: I do not expect Logan Thomas to be that guy. This is very much a developmental year for him and if he comes on ahead of the expected learning curve, I think he can make some contributions in the passing game in the second half of the season. I think both Charles Clay, as mentioned above, and Nick O’Leary along with Pat DiMarco and LeSean McCoy will be the ones getting extra targets in the passing game knowing Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones and Andre Holmes will be the top three receiving options at the WR position.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-4

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2017 – 11:15 am

We’re less than a week away from the first preseason game. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Bruce Ellington was just released by Niners. Any chance we pick him up or kick tires in him?

Jose Torres
@Sweetcubanito

CB: I don’t think you can rule anything out when it comes to GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott’s diligence in re-shaping and upgrading this roster. If they think there is even the slightest chance that a player like Ellington can upgrade their roster they’ll bring him in for a workout. And that could lead to a signing.

Ellington is on the smallish side at 5-9 and 197 pounds. A lot of writers out in San Francisco were expecting him to have a breakout season in 2016, but he tore his hamstring in the preseason and it cost him the entire season.

If the Bills have an interest there will be an extensive physical performed with that hamstring a major focus.

I did have the opportunity to watch a lot of Ellington in college at South Carolina, and he was a clutch player for the Gamecocks. I still remember his six-catch, 140-yard and two touchdown performance in the bowl game against Wisconsin in 2012.

The game of a successful college receiver doesn’t always translate to the NFL, but it’d be interesting to see what Ellington could offer. When you’re his size you have to be an exceptional athlete and Ellington is. He runs in the mid-4.4s, has almost a 40-inch vertical and has excellent change of direction skills.

He’s just 25-years old. So I’d be in favor of working him out and seeing how he looks. If he’s better than anyone I’ve got on the roster now why not take a look?

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Heard possible rumors of Bills trading Reggie Ragland. Also he hasn’t had that great of a camp so far. What’s the scoop with RR?

Beast of the East
@Luther4212

CB: This is obviously always subject to change, but as of Thursday I have it on good authority that not one call had been placed to the Bills inquiring about Reggie Ragland.

I think people have to realize that Ragland is coming off a major injury. No one has seen him on game film in two years. Why another NFL club would have interest in a player on which there is no game film since an ACL injury and who has no NFL experience is curious to me.

NFL personnel people usually want concrete evidence that a player is fully recovered and capable before they’re willing to part with any assets of their own.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Lots of talk about Streater in WR competition. Haven’t heard much on Holmes how’s he look? #bills

Fitz
@afitz54

 

CB: Streater, as we’ve covered in our Top 3 things to know at Bills Camp reports has had a strong first week. He’s been as involved in the passing game as any other receiver on the roster. That means two things, first, he’s getting consistent separation from defenders and the quarterbacks trust him.

Unfortunately Andre Holmes has not made plays through the first week when they’ve been there for him. He had a defender beat on a deep post and Taylor put the ball right over his shoulder and he couldn’t complete the play, which would’ve gone for a touchdown. There have been a couple of other plays he didn’t finish through the course of the first week.

There’s a lot of time left between now and the start of the regular season. They haven’t even played a preseason game yet and that’s where players can really help their case, but Holmes has to start making some plays in practice and carry it into the preseason games.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How many running backs and full backs will the Bills keep?

Greg Alongi
@galongi

CB: This is going to be a tricky one. My belief is they’ll keep five.

I think the locks right now are McCoy, J. Williams, DiMarco and Tolbert. Tolbert might be a 10-year vet, but the guy can still get to the corner when carrying the ball and should have a role as a short yardage and goal line back. He’s also better as a receiver out of the backfield than I initially thought.

So Joe Banyard, Taiwan Jones, Cedric O’Neal and Jordan Johnson will essentially be fighting for one roster spot as I see it. And special teams will have a hand in determining who it is.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who will be the nickel cornerback in your opinion, and will Rambo move up the depth chart at safety?

zak Mendoza
@Zdozer

CB: It’s only a week of practice at camp so far, but Kevon Seymour may be making a move at nickel corner. He was sprinkled in for some first team nickel reps in the slot on Thursday, and Leonard Johnson got most of those through the course of the first week.

We’ll see if they continue to alternate first team nickel reps at Friday evening’s practice and over the weekend on Sunday. Right now it’s too close a race to call and again preseason game performance will have a lot to say about who winds up landing that role.

As for Rambo, he’s been rotating in with the second team at safety the last couple of days, but that’s been mainly due to the fact that Shamiel Gary has moved up to first team with Micah Hyde held out with his sore hip.

Rambo has to be assignment sound to convince the defensive staff that he can be trusted out there knowing he’s new to the system. This defense needs a player with his experience, so if he can be sharp on the field, he’ll wind up one of the backup safeties behind Hyde and Poyer. Again preseason game performance will be key.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-28

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2017 – 10:13 am

Camp is underway at St. John Fisher. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hi Chris,
First off I just wanted to thank you for keeping me informed over the years being a displaced, and soon to be reunited, WNY Bills fan. I look for your stuff daily!

This is pertaining to Mike Tolbert. I see a lot of hype on Pat DiMarco, which is understandable. I see nothing on Tolbert. Will he even make the roster? Living in SD for the last 30 years I have followed the Chargers as well and really like Tolbert. I was wondering if you think he will make the cut, and if he does will be utilized at all?

Thank you
SD Bills fan
RH

CB: I think Tolbert is going to be given every opportunity to make this roster. He’s seen as a valuable locker room presence by Sean McDermott. Building the culture here is job one for McDermott and Tolbert could be one of his best allies in the locker room to cultivate that. Now he also has to be able to contribute on the field.

I believe he’s underrated as a receiver out of the backfield and can serve as a short yardage and goal line back. Add in his abilities on special teams and I do think there’s a way to have both Tolbert and DiMarco on the roster.


2 –
Dear Chris:
I’ve looked over our roster and have noticed a lack of depth particularly at DE and safety, and I’m not so sure about Will linebacker either. Are the Bills still looking to add guys? What are your thoughts?

Sincerely, John from Pennsylvania

CB: With respect to defensive end I tend to agree with you. The starters are solid with Lawson and Hughes, and Lorenzo Alexander could line up there on obvious passing downs. But Ryan Davis and Max Valles are the second teamers. Davis has NFL experience, but has been a role player for most of his career. Valles has never appeared in an NFL regular season game.

So it’s understandable to feel uneasy as a fan when there is no proven track record for the guys the team will be counting on behind the starters.

At safety they improved their depth this week with the signing of Bacarri Rambo, whose entering his fifth season in the league. But much like defensive end there is a lot of unproven talent there. I like what I’ve seen from Joe Powell, but again behind starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer there isn’t much NFL experience.

WILL linebacker is improved with the addition of Gerald Hodges in free agency and draft choices Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo will likely be battling for second string roles.

The bottom line is with a new GM and personnel department and a new coaching staff the roster turnover on the back half of the roster will be particularly high as the decision makers try to shape the squad in the image they feel fits the team identity and demands the best.

You can’t fill every position with supreme depth in your first year on the job, but that won’t mean that Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott won’t be trying to do so.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills

Moving the chains is so important in West Coast offense. Could we see Daikiel Shorts edge out guys like Powell and Lewis? Can Shorts be anything but slot?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: Shorts is a sleeper player for sure in this camp. He can play outside in my opinion. He’s 6-1, 202 and knows how to gain separation right before the catch point. The key here will be his ability to execute the route assignments consistently. This is a precision and timing offense, so if Shorts can be dependable for his quarterbacks and make plays in the process, he’ll have a shot. At the very least I see this kid landing on the practice squad.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills

Any insight to the Stevie hoopla? Is this really a thing?

Geoff Harkins
@GeoffHarkins

CB: Everything I’m hearing about Stevie Johnson is he’s happy in retirement. John Murphy Show co-host Donald Jones, a former teammate of Stevie’s still talks to him a lot and there doesn’t appear to be any desire on Johnson’s part to try to resuscitate his NFL career. As much fun as it was to watch Johnson play, his offseason training regimen was basically playing basketball. His herky-jerky route running style was effective, but put an enormous amount of strain on his groin muscles and as he got older he missed time on the field with the 49ers and Chargers the last few seasons. Now 31, and with a lot of off the field interests, I see Stevie enjoying other pursuits rather than football.


5 –
Chris:
Cardale Jones is traded for a conditional pick. What does the mean exactly? Conditional on his making the team? Conditional on how many games he plays in? Making the practice squad count?

I read it was for a late round pick. Does that mean it can be 5th – 7th round?

Thanks very much
Tom
CB:
The team doesn’t confirm trade terms, but I’ve heard from my sources that it’s a conditional 7th round pick

What the terms are to improve the standing of that pick could be anything. It could be if he wins the backup job it improves to a sixth-round pick. It could be if he makes six starts it improves to a fifth-round pick. It could be any number of conditions that the Chargers and Bills came up with to make the trade suitable to both parties.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-8

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2017 – 11:36 am

OTAs come to a conclusion today with mandatory minicamp to follow on Tuesday. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the latest update on Jeremy Maclin? What percentage would you say Bills have of signing him?

Beast of the East
@Luther4212

CB: Maclin is going to take his time to make a decision in what appears to be a two-horse race between the Bills and Ravens. He wants to talk to his wife about where the best fit might be. Maclin has a wedding to go to this weekend, so I don’t get the sense that a decision is imminent.

Looking at both clubs, nationally people believe that the Ravens history of being a contender gives them an edge, but over the last three years the Ravens record is 23-25 and the Bills record is 24-24. You could certainly argue that there are more playmakers on offense in Buffalo than Baltimore.

As for percentages, I base this on gut feel, not any information I have on what Jeremy Maclin wants because only he knows what’s important to him. I just think what the Bills have to offer in terms of opportunity and team success with him as an addition is a bit better than the Ravens.

With that in mind I’d peg it at 60 percent.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How does Sammy look? Hopefully he has a healthy season.

Brandon Gallagher
@bgallagher2610

CB: Watkins is clearly not pushing himself right now. He was operating at half to three quarter speed in practice this week. At this point in time there’s no sense in really putting a lot of torque on his surgically repaired foot.

What did encourage me was whenever Sammy was lined up for a rep, Tyrod Taylor made sure to step under center to throw to him in individual position drills even if he wasn’t up in the quarterback throwing rotation. Knowing snaps are scarce with Watkins, Taylor is making a point of getting every one he can to re-establish their chemistry.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who is the sleeper UDFA that could make the team?

I Just Want To WIN@JKolba

CB: It’s still not real football here in the spring with no pads on and no thud type practice. All that being said I think punter Austin Rehkow will push Colton Schmidt for the punting job and is helped by the fact that he can also kick off and kick field goals in a pinch.

One of the tight end prospects (Jason Croom, Keith Towbridge) could have a chance just from a numbers standpoint and the lack of proven players at the position.

RB Jordan Johnson has flashed at times, but doesn’t get many snaps in practice. Brandon Reilly and Daikiel Shorts have both made plays too, but when the pads go on they’ll have to demonstrate an ability to get consistent separation when the corners can get more physical.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are the Bills taking a win now or long term approach?

Jackson Mitchell
@Jacksonmitch816

CB: As head coach Sean McDermott said himself their decisions are split 50-50 between short term and long term. It’s evident to me that McDermott wants to be competitive and win games now, but there is an organizational eye also cast toward the future.

So I think you’ll see a mix of roster decisions to serve both of those ends moving forward.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see the Bills making a play for Barnidge even if they sign Maclin? What about Decker if they miss on Maclin? #FanFriday

GJohnston
@Johnston_GB

CB: I think that could only happen if Barnidge took a veteran minimum deal, and that’s one reason why he’s still unemployed. He’s waiting on starter type money. I would anticipate Decker to do the same. His situation is a bit different because he’s coming off shoulder surgery, but still he’s going to command starter type salary and I don’t think the Bills can fit more than one of those onto their roster in a fiscally responsible way knowing Sammy Watkins is going to be a long term contract decision next offseason.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-2

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2017 – 11:44 am

Last week of OTAs coming up on Monday with mandatory minicamp to follow. The offseason is winding down. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

In OTA’s during the qb drills which backup qb is getting the most time with the 2s and which will get time with the 3s?

Chris soh
@Chrissohpher767

CB: I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been counting reps for the quarterbacks behind Tyrod. Here’s what I’ve witnessed thus far. Early in OTAs, T.J. Yates did not get many reps at all. That’s because he’s had multiple seasons in this offense going back to his time with Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison in Houston.

It was clear early in OTAs that they wanted to get the younger QBs up to speed with the scheme so Nate Peterman and Cardale Jones were rotated through more behind Taylor.

In week two of OTAs, Yates was rotated in as the second QB.

Here’s how team period snaps often went last week.

Taylor – 3 reps
Yates – 3 reps
Jones – 3 reps
Taylor – 3 reps
Peterman – 3 reps
End of team period.

So Taylor would get six snaps, while everyone else got three during each team period. We’ll see if that changes at all this week.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How’s Zay’s knee?

Buffalo Bills NL
@BuffaloBillsNL

CB: We have not received an official update beyond him being week to week. That being said I did see him here at One Bills Drive this week in the hall. He was walking normally without any hitch in his gait, which is a good sign. Now that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to practice this coming week, but it is an indication that he’s made good progress since sustaining the sprained knee in the first week of OTAs.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is Clay’s contract situation? How much $ would @buffalobills have to eat if they cut him & target Barnidge?

Cory Fountain
@coryfountain

CB: Clay is going to make $4.5M in base salary each of the next three years. The prorated portion of his bonus, which impacts the salary cap, is also $4.5M annually, giving him a total cap figure of $9M each of the next three seasons.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Dennison can get Tyrod to see and use the whole field in passing game, especially the oft-neglected middle of the field?

Matt Dermody
@MDermody88

CB: While I don’t debate that using the middle of the field consistently was a deficiency in Tyrod Taylor’s game, I’d encourage you to look at his last two starts from last season. I thought Taylor took a step forward when it came to reading the middle of the field and making plays between the numbers.

Against Cleveland and Miami, even though it was clear that swing passes and screens were part of the game plan designed to get receivers and backs out in space in both games, Taylor still worked the middle of the field.

In the Browns game five of his 17 completions in the game either went to the middle of the field or hit a receiver coming from the middle of the field on a crossing pattern or drag route. His only incompletion to the middle of the field in that game came on a pass under pressure.

Against the Dolphins, Taylor had his first 300-yard passing game. Again swings and screens accounted for a good portion of the completions, but he found Clay, Watkins and Woods for plays that worked the middle of the field, including the 34-yard flea flicker late in the game to Woods.

That’s why I was disappointed to see him not play in the season finale. I wanted to see a third straight game of him using the middle of the field, but he wasn’t given that opportunity.

To answer your question I think he has a chance to see the middle of the field even better this year knowing that Dennison will probably get him out on the move even more than the offensive staff did last year. That will enable him to see the whole field even better than he does from the pocket.

That’s not to say he can’t make plays over the middle from the pocket. His last two starts in 2016 are an indication that he is learning how. But designed rollouts and bootlegs in Dennison’s offense might have him on the edges even more this season.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I briefly posed this a few weeks ago.

I am fascinated by the athleticism and potential of Logan Thomas. At 6’6″ and 250, he have great movement skills and good speed. Have you heard anything about his progress in converting to TE, or possibly even WR?  I know information may be extremely limited, but I could see him being a real sleeper for us.

Thanks for your time..
Have an abundantly blessed evening
Gary
CB: He has been working at tight end, and while he is still learning the nuances of the position, I agree he has rare athleticism for a player his size. Running full speed he made a one-handed catch in the end zone as he was going out of bounds along the left sideline and got his first foot down and dragged the back toe on the other for a good reception.

Even his teammates were wowed by it.

The good thing is he has a strong teaching coach in tight ends coach Rob Boras. It’s evident to me that the staff wants to try to groom that talent.

Does that mean he can help the Bills this season?

That’s hard to say. He’s still very young at the position, but with the right tutoring and commitment on his part I wouldn’t count him out.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-12

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2017 – 5:11 pm

Happy Mother’s day to all the moms out there. Big weekend for the Bills with rookie minicamp. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

IYO what’s the first move, Bills related, that our new GM need to do?

Jean-Pierre
Jobin@jp_bills

CB: He’s got to get a pro personnel department assembled and then a college scouting department hired right after that. The business of the NFL doesn’t stop, so Beane knows he has to hit the ground running and get his front office departments in place sooner rather than later.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s going on with Boston? Did he come in for a visit, is he going to join the team?

Jamal
@mrmajic73

CB: He signed with the Chargers.
3 – Dear Chris:

With the draft now complete I’ve looked over our roster and have noticed a lack of depth particularly at DE and safety, and I’m not so sure about Will linebacker either. Are the Bills still looking to add guys, as I know names like Jairus Byrd and Gerald Hodges are still available. What are your thoughts? Do you think the Bills will kick the tires on these guys?

Sincerely, John from Pennsylvania

CB: Defensive end is an underrated positional need in terms of depth, more so even than safety I believe. Will linebacker is another. These are areas where new GM Brandon Beane will really have to beat the bushes to find talent that fits.

Byrd is an interesting idea as is Hodges, but I think the price will have to be right knowing Buffalo doesn’t have a ton of money left under the cap.

They were after Boston as mentioned above, but he signed with the Chargers.

Beane will need to use his expertise to find good bargains who can improve the depth at DE and S and somehow some way find a player capable of challenging for that starting WLB role.

4 – Chris,

At one point, McDermott said that his number 2 receiver was already on the team.  That didn’t encourage me.  With Sammy still on the mend and with Zay Jones likely the slot receiver, who will be number 2?  Do either of the recently signed undrafted wideouts show any promise?

Paul B.

Lancaster
CB: OTAs begin next week and we’ll have a better handle on what’s on the roster at that point. I think you should not rule out Zay Jones as a No. 2 receiver. He could very easily line up at flanker opposite Sammy if he puts together a strong spring and camp. Andre Holmes is likely to be his stiffest competition along with Philly Brown.

We’ll get a better feel for it over the next two weeks.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will the Bills have a Kids day game this preseason?

Tim Szczodrowski
@T_Szczodrowski

CB: From what I’m hearing it’s going to be the preseason opener, but nothing has been confirmed at this point. The team will issue details soon.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-5

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2017 – 11:45 am

The NFL draft is now in the rear view mirror, and there a GM search underway. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, do u see the Bills possibly reaching out to Eliot Wolf, Scot McCloughan or Louis Riddick about the GM opening?

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: I believe the Bills initially cast out a wide net, but it will probably be whittled down quickly to a handful of candidates whose philosophy on building and sustaining a roster lines up as parallel as possible to that of head coach Sean McDermott.

As for Eliot Wolf, Scot McCloughan and Louis Riddick it’s hard to know what will appeal most to the Pegulas. Knowing they went with a young, energetic and driven head coach in Sean McDermott, could they be looking for a similar type in a GM? Or do they go in the opposite direction and find a roster builder with a ton of experience.

Wolf has that even though he’s just 35-years old.

McCloughan, who also cut his teeth in the Green Bay organization in the personnel department under Wolf’s dad, Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, was just pushed out of the Washington organization after personal problems reportedly surfaced for the second time in his career. I don’t know that he’d be a consideration.
Riddick would appear to be a natural consideration having worked with McDermott before in Philadelphia. He was a scout with the Eagles and rose to the position of Director of Pro Personnel there in the span of two years. They worked together for three years there.

Brandon Beane has already interviewed.

It’s certainly no one’s call but the Pegulas, but a strong football guy would be good so coach McDermott doesn’t get spread too thin between coaching and personnel. Someone that can capably run the college and pro scouting departments.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Well now that they not picking up Sammy 5th yr option, do you think he’s really gonna play hard or no?

Kia
@Bufbillsfan4lif

CB: I think you might be missing the whole point of why the Bills did not pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins. It’s a question of being healthy, not respect for his talent.

I know that coach McDermott made it clear to Watkins in his talks with him that they value him and want him to be a part of this team for the long term, but they can’t risk guaranteeing $13.2M knowing if his injury re-occurs, the one he has yet to fully recover from a year later, that they’re on the hook for that money next year whether he plays or not.

If they didn’t have to make this decision until mid-September, they might have a better idea of what to expect from Watkins health-wise. But he’s not even cleared for football related activities, so there’s no way to know now. It would be a fiscally aggressive risk to put up that kind of money not knowing how fast and how effectively his foot is going to come through his second rehabilitation after surgery.

And if he is healthy and plays all 16 games and has a monster season, you sign him to a big long term deal or the franchise tag is there if necessary and he remains in the fold.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Out of the recent draft picks, who will have the biggest impact this upcoming season?

Cierra Livecchi
@Seeairuhyo

CB: My pick is Zay Jones. I was in Mobile and watched him all week at the Senior Bowl and while he wasn’t the only player who impressed me, what stood out to me was how complete his game seemed to be. I didn’t witness a drop by him all week, his route running was sharp for the most part. The only part of his game that was hard to get a handle on in the practice setting was his blocking.

Interviewing him down there and at the NFL Combine it’s evident to me that he’s got his head on straight. His dad was an NFL player, so his biggest influence is someone who knew what it took to be a professional. It has to give the Bills confidence that Zay will know how to carry himself as a professional too.

Also in terms of opportunity the No. 2 receiver role is going to be up for grabs. Andre Holmes and Philly Brown are probably his stiffest competition. Jones is just so consistent I think he has a real shot at that job and if he lands it I think he has the biggest impact.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will Ragland start? Or will it be Preston B. In the middle with Humber and Alexander on the outside?

korey kennedy
@koreykennedy3

CB: We’re a long way from determining starting roles, primarily because Ragland still isn’t fully cleared to participate in the offseason conditioning field work, let alone football related activities. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks when OTAs start.

Here’s the thing that I believe a lot of people are overlooking. Many simply assume that whoever is not the MLB between Brown and Ragland will be on the bench.

I’d be very surprised if that proves to be the case.

I believe that whoever loses out in the battle for the starting MLB job will be the team’s starting strong side linebacker. Brown played there some in college at Louisville. And Ragland was used as a blitzer at Alabama so he’s been on the edge as well.

From what I’ve heard Alexander will be a jack-of-all-trades linebacker in this defense. His role will be largely determined by the opponent that week, down and distance and game plan. ‘Zo could sub in more on the strong side or the weak side depending on the week.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With that extra 1st rd pk in next yrs draft. Do u feel they will use it as ammo to move up (if needed) to get a QB?

CHRISTian McCaffrey
@BroJackson_

CB: I think we have to pump the brakes on expecting to get a quarterback. First, we have to see what Tyrod does this season.

Second, and probably more important, most of the top quarterbacks in college do not have to declare for the draft. USC’s Sam Darnold, perceived to be the most highly touted, will be a redshirt sophomore next year. He could easily go back to school and come out in 2019.

Rosen will only be a junior, Allen a junior and both of them after two years have started in 19 and 16 games each.

Knowing the perceived best talents could stay in school, I think you focus on what the extra first round pick gives you, which is options. That’s what counts here.

If there are top flight QB prospects in the draft class and you want to move up the board to get one, the Bills should be able to do it.

If they’re not in the class, the Bills will still have the ammo to move up or down the board as they see fit. Having options means power. To have that in round one can help you upgrade your roster in a hurry.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-21

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2017 – 12:14 pm

The draft is almost here! On to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Will O.J. Howard make it to the bills at pick ten?

Jordan Branch
@BuffaloBranch83

CB: I think every Bills fan should hope so. Buffalo would be running the card up to the table if he was still on the clock. Howard in my estimation is one of the six truly elite prospects in this class along with Garrett, Thomas, Fournette, Adams and Lattimore. You could make a strong argument for Hooker, Allen and McCaffrey too, but those are the top six as I see it.

In order for Howard to get to 10, I think at least one of the quarterback prospects has to come off the board in front of them. Ideally two of the perceived top QBs go in the top 10. That would push more of the truly elite talent down the board so the Bills have a chance to get one.

Cross your fingers.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills What is the likelihood of Buffalo trading back into the first round?

The Polish Mafia
@AdamPia

CB: If you’re talking about moving back into the bottom of round one, I just don’t see it. Here’s why. More than one NFL talent evaluators has confirmed for me that the difference in talent level and upside from player 11 or 12 and player 49 or 50 is negligible. So to give up what is already a limited stash of draft choices (currently six) to move back into the bottom of round one to get a player who likely won’t be all that different from one you will get at 44 in round two seems ill advised.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills If the Bills pick up the option for MG, can they allocate some of that $4m into a signing bonus so it won’t be such a heavy cap hit?

JuJu
@JuAintRight

CB: As I understand it the Bills have to match the terms of the contract, which would eliminate any option to restructure the deal initially. I have to check and see if and when, for example they want to extend his contract further to spread out cap hits, when they would be allowed to do so.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

If u were 2 use cereal 2 convince Whaley/McDermott who 2 draft #1, what cereal (best cereal) wld u use and who would u be convincing them 2 draft?

Joshua Smith
@YhoshLM

CB: To answer this question accurately I think you’d need to know what players were available when Buffalo was on the clock. I take my cereal very seriously. I’d prefer Lattimore or Adams and would go with Rice Chex and Cap’n Crunch on those. Lattimore can check anybody he lines up against and Adams can run and hit.

In round two I’d go with Honey Smacks (formerly known as Sugar Smacks) because I want them to take WR Zay Jones there. So the Frog on the box signals my affinity for Jones. I ‘Dig ‘Em.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, I know it wouldn’t b a pick that would go over with most Bills fans? But can u c the Bills drafting McCaffrey?

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: You’re right it wouldn’t be popular, but it wouldn’t be a reach or outlandish pick at all. I’m pretty confident McCaffrey goes in the top 10 somewhere. Personally I don’t think he gets past Carolina at eight. The reason why he’s so valuable is because in addition to his elite physical skill set is he can legitimately be lined up at receiver in addition to running back. He can also help on returns.

So a player with his multi-faceted production and athletic measurables to match signals top 10 talent. Not to mention his dad had a successful career in the league with Denver.

If the Bills pick him the narrative will be, ‘here they go again replacing running backs like they did with McGahee and Marshawn and Spiller.’ If the Bills don’t match the Gillislee offer sheet that line of criticism will be even louder.

What will be lost in such a scenario is the veritable matchup nightmare McCaffrey would be no matter where he lines up on the field. I believe he’s an elite talent, so he fits the value at 10.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-7

Posted by Chris Brown on April 7, 2017 – 11:30 am

Draft day is closing in. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Could the Bills be legitimately in the hunt for Sherman?

Crowe
@KookaberraCrowe

CB: I don’t see Buffalo as a realistic trade partner with the Seahawks. Here’s why.

Seattle is looking to cut their payroll and get younger. Draft picks are what they are after in exchange for Sherman. With the Bills possessing just six picks in this year’s draft, which is known as a deep class with great value in rounds two through four, I can’t see the Bills parting with picks to inherit a 30-year old corner making the kind of money Buffalo themselves chose to avoid when they let Stephon Gilmore walk.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills

What do you think the bills biggest need is heading into the draft? #fanfriday #gobills

I Just Want To
WIN@JKolba


CB:
I’m not trying to hedge here, but I believe it’s linebacker and cornerback. They need premium athletes at both positions, which is why I think if the value is right that’s what they look to address early in the draft.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there anything at this (admittedly very early) point to differentiate Sean McDermott from his lengthy list of unsuccessful predecessors?

Paul Lane
@BfloBizDATA
CB: While I think it’s easy to differentiate coach McDermott from his immediate predecessor knowing their approach to coaching is diametrically opposed, we all know that his abilities on game day as a coach are complete unknowns. No one has seen him operate as a head coach on the sideline on game day.

So while there have already been several encouraging signs (assembling a proven staff, connecting with players, clear vision for the team, adding a specific kind of player talent) all people care about in the NFL are the results. And until everyone sees how he arrives at those results there’s no way to differentiate coach McDermott from those who came before him.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Kyle Williams will need to be replaced soon and has been injured more often the last few years. Which draft 17 or 18 do they replace him in?

Michael Cybulski
@Brockv5Michael
CB: First, I would like to point out that with the exception of the 2015 season when he played in six games, Kyle Williams has played in 15 games or more in four of the last five seasons.

That being said I do believe that depth on the interior of the defensive line is an underrated positional need for Buffalo in this draft. Unfortunately the depth on the defensive line is better on the edge than on the interior in this class.

I could see them looking for a good mid-to-late round value at defensive tackle. I like UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes. He performed well at the Senior Bowl and could still be there in round five. That’s right where Buffalo landed Kyle Williams back in the 2006 draft.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

If Joe Mixon is still available late, do you think the Bills would draft him? What round would be good enough value to offset PR headache?

Andy
@AndyThinksStuff

CB: Mixon is going to be in different places on a lot of teams’ draft boards, and there will be some boards where he doesn’t appear at all. Knowing the talent that Mixon possesses I believe round four is where a lot of teams will feel comfortable selecting him. As you know Buffalo doesn’t have a fourth-round pick, so I don’t know if the Bills will ever have the opportunity to match the risk with the value.

And as we’ve seen in the past there is usually one team that is willing to roll the dice and takes such a prospect a lot earlier than most anticipate.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-31

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2017 – 12:35 pm

The NFL draft is a month away! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills If we stay put @ 10 because lack of trade partner how much can we gain trading back in second round, pick wise?

@taylor_degeorge

CB: A lot of it would depend on where the Bills would be moving back too. If they slide back 10 spots to pick 54 in the draft, for example, it would require an additional late third or early fourth-round pick going to Buffalo to make the value work. If Buffalo was to move all the way to the bottom of round two it would require a high third-round pick in addition to make that work.

In essence Buffalo could conceivably recoup an additional third-round pick or a fourth-round pick (something they currently don’t have) to move back in round two.

That might not seem like much, but in this draft it’s valuable knowing the depth at a handful of positions in this class.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Can you offer some insight on Zach Brown’s situation and why the Bills let him move on? Seemed like a good, young, Pro Bowl LB. Thanks!

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

CB: I think what often stands in the way of a player the caliber of Zach Brown reaching a new deal, with the Bills, or anyone other team for that matter, at this stage of free agency is simple. It’s money.

No NFL team including the Bills has signed Brown to this point because his asking price is probably too high.

I understand where Brown is probably coming from. His value has probably never been this high since he was a second-round pick as a rookie. He led his team in tackles, played most of the season with a broken hand and went to the Pro Bowl (albeit as an alternate).

He probably believes that should count for something and I don’t disagree with him.

But ultimately players can’t control what the market is willing to pay, and it’s clear three weeks into free agency that the market is not in line with what Brown wants to play for at this point.

3 – @ChrisBrownBills wouldn’t Ruben Foster make sense to make the defense complete and dynamic?

Michael Minutella@MichaelMinutel4

CB: Reuben Foster is a dynamic player and linebacker is unquestionably a need position for the Bills. He is certainly fast enough and has the range to be a weak side linebacker in a 4-3 system. Foster has also demonstrated the necessary cover skills to fit that role. It’s a player who certainly makes sense at 10 and likely fits the value there.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills If the Bills were to go DB at 10, realistically (assume Adams Latt Hooker gone) who would be your pick #bills

Bill Carr@billcarr_10

CB: I think other options that could be considered at 10 at defensive back would almost exclusively be corner at that point if the top two safeties are off the board. Lattimore is the only lock top 10 cornerback, but another consideration could be Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey.

Beyond him I don’t know that the value fits at 10 for another defensive back. LSU Tre’Davious White is someone to consider, but there seems to be mixed opinion on him so I don’t see him going quite that high. Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie I think is going to come off the board sooner than some might expect, but 10 is probably too early.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Preston Brown a good fit at the outside linebacker role in the new defense or is he too slow?

@JaredBailey23

CB: First, I think you’re jumping the gun a bit here in assuming that Preston Brown is going to play outside linebacker. I think Reggie Ragland and Preston Brown will each be lined up at middle linebacker and let the coaches decide who ultimately lines up where. Knowing the entire defensive staff is new I anticipate that this will take some time in the spring to spell out specific roles.

All that being said, if Brown was to move outside I think he could be a fit on the strong side, a spot he played some in college at Louisville. He’s certainly strong enough to set the edge and fill the other duties of that position. He wouldn’t be as good a fit in the weak side role which requires top end speed, range and cover ability.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-10

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2017 – 11:06 am

Free agency is up and running! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think that the signing of Micah Hyde rules out a Safety in the first round of this year’s draft?

Chris Devaney
@cdevaney

CB: While that would seem logical I don’t know that you can make that conclusion knowing the draft approach of the Bills under GM Doug Whaley. They typically go with the best player on the board having seen them operate the last few years in the draft room. So I don’t think it precludes them from taking a safety in round one if the value is right.

That being said, if they have grades on two players who are really close and one is a safety and the other is a corner or receiver then they’d likely go with the greater positional need.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the departure of Lynn and Roman why do the #Bills still continue to throw free agent $$ at the FB position?

Ryan Coyle
@rcoyle76

CB: I’m going to let coach McDermott handle this one since he answered it directly at his press conference Thursday evening.

“Fullback is a big part of this offense, and let’s say this: it’s not limited to playing the fullback position,” said McDermott. “There’s versatility within that position, and what Mike brings to the table – as you mentioned, Mike Tolbert. I had the chance to be around Mike for a number of years in Carolina and I know what he brings to the table in terms of leadership, intangibles again, and what happens in that locker room on Monday through Saturday.

“So that’s a big part of it, and then Mike’s versatility on the field with the ability to play fullback, line up at fullback and then also transition to the halfback position and carry the football, and he’s done that extremely well. I had a front-row seat to observe what Mike’s skill set is, both on and off the field, and that was key for us. You’re talking about a guy that’s been to a Pro Bowl, and that’s really no different to [Patrick] DiMarco, in this case.”

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see the #bills signing more big name free agents? If so, at what position?

Dale Griswold
@dale_griswold

CB: I don’t necessarily expect big household type names. Their cap situation is getting a bit tight. But I do see them trying to fill a few more positional holes on the roster. It wouldn’t surprise me if receiver or offensive tackle were on the list after incurring some losses at receiver and some uncertainty at tackle (Mills a free agent, Henderson-health).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills How do you think the Bills are going to adress the WR position? They lost talent there the past two offseasons and it hasn’t been replaced.

Ben
@bufbillsthought

CB: As briefly mentioned above I expect the Bills to address the receiver position in some form in free agency, likely with a player they can sign to a fiscally responsible contract (one that doesn’t cripple their cap situation). And I would anticipate them trying to grab another in the draft.

The numbers situation there demands some attention with two free agent losses already (Woods, Goodwin).

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Groy a realistic option for Right Tackle? #bills

Bill Carr
@billcarr_10

CB: Donald Jones and I discussed this very topic when I was on the John Murphy Show Thursday. I think we first need to see what additions are made if any at the offensive tackle position in free agency or the draft before we can gauge just what kind of option he would be on the edge.

From a skill standpoint I think he certainly has the size (6-5, 320) and ability to play on the edge. He’s lined up there at times in a pinch. Sometimes it was as an overload tackle in run formations. We all know he can play guard or center. Whether Groy can play right tackle full time for 16 games is a question really only OL coach Juan Castillo and the offensive staff can answer knowing this offense is going to change.

I think Groy really came a long way as a player last season and he impressed me in his last seven games at center. But I think we need to let the dust settle in free agency and see what the Bills acquire before we pencil him in for edge duty.

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-3

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2017 – 11:36 am

The NFL Combine is in full swing. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for full coverage. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Saw the Bills may be interested in Trevor Siemian. If they trade for him, think they will draft a QB?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: We’re probably getting way ahead of ourselves, since the first shoe that has to drop is Denver acquiring Tony Romo. Only then would that make Trevor Siemian expendable. We all know the connections with Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison having worked with Siemian the past two years, so logically it makes sense. The compensation required would be the rub.

If Denver wants draft picks that would be a problem. Buffalo only has six this year, the lowest number in the 2017 draft. Parting with those is probably not in the Bills best interest especially if they want anything higher than a five. Buffalo doesn’t even have a four to offer this year.

As we go deep down this rabbit hole, if they were to somehow acquire Siemian I don’t think they draft a QB because that would give them three young quarterbacks (Siemian, Jones, draftee) and there’s no way the offensive staff would have enough time to capably develop all three. If they acquire Siemian the likelihood is they add a veteran free agent as I see it.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Report says “not many options out there” … Then why would Tyrod negotiate?! That’s like calling him stupid, something he’s not #Bills

Nick Wojton
@Nick_Wojton

CB: I think you’re only looking at this one way. I agree that Tyrod in terms of getting the best contract he can has no incentive to renegotiate. If he’s allowed to become a free agent there’s a good chance he makes just as much money, if not more on a free agent market where he would probably be the top QB option.

Here’s a reason why I think he does at least consider renegotiation. He said he wants to return to the Bills in 2017. It’s clear that he’s proud of what he and the Bills offense has accomplished the past two seasons, which includes a top 12 and top 10 finish in scoring despite having a defense that has grossly underachieved the past two years, despite some major injury absences in those two years on the offensive side of the ball (Clay, McCoy, Watkins, Woods in 2015) (Watkins, Woods, McCoy together for 5 games in 2016).

Now with Sean McDermott on board the defense is expected to take a demonstrative step forward. That alone helps Buffalo’s offense.

Taylor said he believes they’re close to breaking through and ending the franchise’s playoff drought. Whether you believe him or not, I get the sense he wants to see things through in Buffalo as an established leader. Taylor is a different breed of cat. He knows that talent on the Bills roster intimately. If he signs somewhere else he’ll be hitting the reset button.

If he renegotiates he helps create more room under the salary cap to help fortify the roster. That helps him.

Taylor doesn’t just think in dollars and cents for himself. He’s a very selfless player. He wants to be successful on the field first and foremost. Those things count for something in his book.

We’ll know soon whether or not renegotiation was able to come to fruition.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Could Bills reunite with Jairus Byrd?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: Jairus Byrd is expected to be released on the first day of free agency (March 9th) due to his cost prohibitive contract and his lack of production. After posting 22 interceptions in his first five seasons with the Bills, he’s had just three in his three seasons with New Orleans. In Byrd’s defense he’s been part of a defense that has languished near the bottom of the league. There has not been a lot of help up front in creating hurried throws or errant passes for Byrd to prey upon.

The speculation about Byrd coming back to the Bills makes sense. His father Gil Byrd is the team’s secondary coach. At 30-years old and not a lot of production he would presumably come at an affordable rate.

There’s no debating that safety is a positional need for Buffalo. But again, let’s wait for his release to take place first. Then we’ll see how realistic a possibility it would be.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is Brandon Marshall an option for the #Bills?

Not1Day
@Not1Day

CB: Marshall is still a wide receiver who can make plays in the passing game. He can’t run anymore, but he is still a physical wideout who can create separation with his body when the ball arrives. Marshall will be 34-years old in three weeks. That’s not a good thing.

Even though Marshall became a primetime player under Rick Dennison in Denver (2006-2009) with three consecutive 100-catch seasons that was a lifetime ago.

I can only see Marshall as an option if he’s extremely affordable.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is there a sideline-to-sideline LB on the #Bills’ roster if Whaley doesn’t sign Zach Brown?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: No, there is not. Brown is the only player with true sideline to sideline ability on the roster as I see it. Preston Brown and Reggie Ragland can run, but not in the way needed for the weak side role in McDermott’s 4-3 defensive scheme. You need a true athlete there. Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham is a prospect who fits the profile. I’m curious to see how he runs, but he’s seen as one of the better athletes at OLB in the class.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-24

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2017 – 11:32 am

The NFL Combine commences next week. We’ll have full coverage here on Buffalobills.com from Indy. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – How does the Bills present personnel stack up for going back to a 4-3 defense?  Presumably Dareus and Kyle Williams would be the tackles, but are the other defensive linemen currently on the roster suitable to play end in a 4-3, and how do the current linebackers fit such a scheme?

Duane Tananbaum

CB: It’s my contention that the personnel is better suited to a 4-3 defensive front, especially the defensive linemen. Dareus and Kyle will be given the opportunity to get up the field and penetrate. Shaq Lawson said he prefers a 4-3 scheme since that’s what he played in at Clemson. Jerry Hughes has had his most productive seasons as a Bills player in a 4-3 scheme.


2 –
Dear Chris:

With the hiring of Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator, do you think we’ll be running his defense or McDermott’s with Frazier calling the plays? I know both are DCs and don’t want “to many cooks in the kitchen” again like last year. Also do you know if Kyle Williams likes these guys enough to comeback.

John S.

CB: I think one of the main reasons that Leslie Frazier was so attractive to McDermott as a candidate is because there is a good amount of carry over between the two schemes they’ve employed over the years. It’s my belief that it will be more of McDermott’s approach that will be implemented in Buffalo.

And as far as too many cooks in the kitchen, that won’t be an issue. McDermott is extremely thorough and any and all duties and responsibilities will be clearly spelled out for everyone on the staff.

Kyle had positive comments on McDermott after he spoke with him a couple of times by phone. Hopefully it’s enough to convince to keep playing.

3 – Chris,

If Aaron Williams can’t make it back next season and decides to retire, will the Bills see any kind of cap relief from his contract?

Thanks,
Tom

CB: He’d be a cap savings of just over $1.7M if he retired. That wouldn’t be much on a projected cap of $168.1M.

 

4 – CB
Besides QB, there are few positions groups lacking depth or set to be free agents. How do you think the team will address CB, S, right tackle, OLB, and WR. Gilmore, Woods and possibly Zach Brown will command money and I’m not sure they can be retained.

It seems a large task for Whaley to fill positions with so many free agents. The Bills will have to spend money to retain players. Which positions will be filled during the draft or free agency. How aggressive will they be during free agency to find players that fit the new coaches’ scheme?

Josh P.

CB: I think as they have done in years past they’ll be fiscally prudent in signing free agents. They’ll stay away from the high-priced players that are in high demand and focus on the tier two type players that are more affordable and offer better value.

I put together a list of potential free agent fits last week.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills As much as I LOVE the top 10 talent in the draft, should we trade down to get more picks?

Love your insight, Thanks!

Charlee DeGeorge
@CharleeDegeorge

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I’d be in favor of trading back and collecting more picks. The Bills did a good job of that in 2013 when they traded back in round one and got Kiko Alonso out of the deal in round two. I think the likelihood of that happening will hinge on how the picks fall in front of Buffalo at 10, not only in terms of the prospects the Bills like who may or may not be there, but for other NFL teams with a prospect in mind looking to get up to 10.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-17

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2017 – 11:30 am

Veteran cuts are happening around the league as team’s look to create more favorable fiscal situations with their cap. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

With the coaching shakeup we head in the off season with a new head coach, and with our limited cap space for next year already, do you see the following players being in a Buffalo uniform next year?
Tyrod Taylor?
Lesean McCoy?
EJ Manuel?
Charles Clay?
Goodwin?
Stephon Gilmore?
Jerry Hughers?
Kyle Williams?

CB: Taylor is a true question mark. As I said last week I think it’s a situation that could go either way.

McCoy, Clay and Hughes are back. As long as Kyle Williams wants to continue playing I believe he’s here as well.

I’d be surprised if Manuel was re-signed. Goodwin is unlikely knowing they drafted his replacement last year in Kolby Listenbee, who offers the same speed and more size.

Gilmore will depend chiefly on the money he demands.
2 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering with everything aside do you see Whaley re-signing Robert Woods this off season?  Also, do you think they will give Mike Gillislee a contract and get him locked up?

Thanks as always,
Jillian

CB: I think unless the Bills bowl him over with a contract offer that he’s going to test the market. Woods numbers could put him in line for a contract that averages about $9M a season. If there’s a competition for Woods, I don’t see the Bills getting in a bidding war for him.

I do believe they try to sign Mike Gillislee to a long-term contract rather than tender him for one year.
3 – Chris,

I don’t think Tyrod Taylor has proven he can read defenses and make NFL throws over the middle.  I can’t see paying that much for a running QB.  With that in mind, do you think Doug Whaley would target QB Mike Glennon in free agency.

RC from DC

CB: I know it was only one example, but his performance against Miami in Week 16 was an encouraging sign of progress in throwing over the middle. He found targets there with consistency when the Dolphins were daring him to throw there. Taylor threw for over 300 yards in that game.

If the Bills elect to pursue a free agent like Mike Glennon, it would be a complete 180 in philosophy with respect to their quarterback. That’s not to say that it’s wrong, but it would be a vast departure from what they’ve done previously.

Taylor’s skill set is capable of fitting into OC Rick Dennison’s offensive scheme. They’ve worked together before. That’s why I believe the possibility still exists that Taylor is here in 2017.

For what it’s worth, Taylor has a higher completion percentage and a better touchdown to interception ratio than Glennon, who is strictly a pocket passer. Then add on Taylor’s 500 rushing yards a season and in my opinion you’ve got a better option in Taylor than Glennon. But that’s just me.

 

4 – Chris,
My Question is this: Obviously I’m very frustrated with the play of Dareus and Hughes, after they signed huge contracts.

Dareus, specifically, has not produced like a 95 million dollar player should IMO, along with his suspension and injuries.

Is there any chance we try to trade him in the off-season or release him after the 2017 season (if I understand his contract correctly) ?

-David from Rochester

CB: I don’t think trading Dareus is realistic. If you did he’d be a $14M cap hit and put more than $30M in dead cap on your books.

It’s my contention that this new defensive scheme will get back to maximizing the strengths of both Dareus’ and Jerry Hughes’ game, which is getting up the field and penetrating and putting heat on the quarterback.

The scheme under DC Leslie Frazier and coach McDermott will allow them to attack, which is what they like to do best. Dareus was forced to stand in the gaps and grind with offensive linemen under Rex Ryan and let the linebackers run and make plays. Dareus is a playmaker. He was miscast in Ryan’s system.

Hughes is also a more effective player in a 4-3 scheme. It’s where he had back-to-back 10-sack seasons. So I’d give it the 2017 season to reassess if the struggles of Dareus and Hughes were self-inflicted or if they were a victim of a scheme that didn’t fit either of them.

 

5 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for everything you do in regards to covering the bills. If the bills let Woods walk, do you think Kendall Wright from Tennessee could be a possible addition? Reports say he is leaving and could need some new scenery. I feel like he could catch on well with the bills in the slot.
Thank you,
Max

CB: There’s no question that Wright would be a more affordable option than Woods. He’s not as athletic as Woods and is probably a slot receiver only. What will be of concern to potential suitors is the fact that Wright has not made it through a 16-game season since 2013, when he had a 94-catch season, which was his only 1,000-yard receiving year.

Buffalo has experienced all too many problems in recent years with receivers who are not available due to injury. Knowing Wright has an injury history could be a deterrent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-10

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2017 – 11:32 am

Into the offseason we go. Franchise and transition tag window opens next week with the NFL Combine and free agency on the horizon. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills rank the following in likelihood from high to low. Romo, tyrod, rookie qb, someone else not mentioned starting.

Jonathan Yedin
@jonyedi

CB: I’m going to put Tyrod first on this list only because he’s on the roster and under contract. Right now he’s the path of least resistance. He’s an asset that’s already here. A lot of national reporters are operating under the assumption that he’s as good as gone. I don’t subscribe to that contention. I believe it could go either way.

A rookie quarterback is a distinct possibility because regardless of what happens with Tyrod Taylor the team will have to add at the position. Obviously if the team moves on from Tyrod it would only increase the likelihood of that happening, and then this would move to the top of the list in terms of likelihood. But even if Taylor remains a Bill, EJ Manuel is a free agent. They’ll probably need another arm.

Romo is probably more likely to end up in Chicago, Houston or even Kansas City. At age 37 and with a long injury history it’s not an investment that looks all that attractive. There’s no denying his talent and his won-loss record, but at this point in his career the risk seems higher than the reward.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills Tyrod unwilling to take a pay cut (don’t blame him), does that cement his dismissal?

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo
@darcangel21

CB: The reports that Tyrod is unwilling to restructure his deal with the Bills makes sense. First, despite the popular opinion that his contract is cost prohibitive, Taylor would be tied for 16th among starting quarterbacks in terms of average salary if the Bills pick up his option.

The past two seasons Taylor has finished seventh and ninth in Total QBR (ESPN metric).

Business-wise Taylor knows in a thin free agent quarterback market that he would be at the top of the free agent list if he was released by Buffalo, where he could potentially sign an even larger contract than the one he has with Buffalo.

Does it cement his dismissal?

I think that’s a strong way to paint the situation. While a lot of NFL business decisions are made because of money, I think the bigger factor in this particular decision is the collective opinion of the Bills front office in terms of whether they believe they can do better at the position than Taylor.

The front office has understandably been tight lipped on that subject.

That doesn’t mean money won’t be a factor. It’s probably 1A. But you have to be convinced that your product on the field can be more consistent and productive with someone besides Taylor. Then the next step is determining if that someone you have in mind is an asset you can realistically acquire.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills You’re in charge on Draft Day. Do you take QB Trubisky or WR Williams?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: This is a pretty easy decision to make based on what I think will happen in the draft. Of course as I’ve mentioned in this column before we’ve yet to see what’s acquired by the Bills in free agency. That could change their approach in the draft.

But in an effort to provide an answer I will say that this quarterback class does not appear to possess more than one prospect who is going to help a team on the field this year.

Trubisky is probably the closest thing and he’s a quarterback who couldn’t get on the field before this past season. All that being said I don’t think Trubisky falls out of the top three picks. Cleveland, San Francisco or Chicago all need quarterbacks, so one of them will take him off the board long before Buffalo is on the clock.

Going under the likely scenario that he’s off the board my preference in this particular draft is to wait on drafting a quarterback. None of the other QB prospects are NFL ready and that will continue to be a trend with the college game separating further and further from the NFL game (no huddling, no audibles, no calling plays). So that would leave me taking Mike Williams at 10 under your parameters.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills Which RFA’s do you think the #bills will tender and at which comp. level?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: I think it’s a lock that they tender Mike Gillislee and Ryan Groy. Both had exceptional individual seasons for the Bills last year. In fact I think it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to sign both players to long term deals to keep their cap figures more manageable.

Colton Schmidt had a bit of an up and down season last year. With a new coaching staff there’s always the chance that they could prefer someone else to Schmidt. Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is still on the staff so that may help Schmidt’s cause.

The other thing to remember here is tendering Schmidt at the low level does nothing in the way of compensation protection. Schmidt was undrafted, so tendering him at the low level only gives you right of first refusal.

I’d be surprised if IK Enemkpali is tendered a qualifying offer.


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills any time frame on Kyle Williams’ decision on retirement?

Ian Campbell
@comedianian98

CB: When we spoke to Williams at the Pro Bowl it was clear he was still decompressing from the season. He did say he was encouraged by his initial conversations with new head coach Sean McDermott, and it’s clear his teammates are trying to get him to return.

I would anticipate that the club would ask that he make a definitive decision before free agency opens in March.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-3

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2017 – 11:15 am

Fan Friday has been on a bit of a hiatus of late with Senior Bowl duties last week and the new head coaching announcement earlier last month. But we’re back. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Which position are the Bills most likely to double-dip on the draft? WR? S?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: I think this question is a little premature. The steps this team takes in free agency first will largely determine what positional need could get additional focus in the draft. Do the Bills re-sign two of their four free agent receivers? Do they pick up a safety in free agency like Arizona’s Tony Jefferson? When will Aaron Williams’ decision be finalized?

All of these will factor into Buffalo’s direction in the draft in late April.

That being said I will say that both wide receiver and safety are likely to be addressed in some capacity in the draft and free agency.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills will Tyrod be the QB now that all coaching staff is in place???

Craig McNair
@craigm5408

CB: I think the process has already begun on that front. Bills GM Doug Whaley told Buffalobills.com at the Senior Bowl last week that meetings would begin with the coaching staff once the college and pro personnel departments returned to Buffalo. How long a process that would be to lay out the direction and construction of the roster this offseason was not divulged, but it is underway. He described the meetings that took place this week as preliminary.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills does new WR coach really have any impact on drafting Zay Jones?

@K_Cleetus23

CB: Phil McGeoghan, Buffalo’s new receivers coach, coached East Carolina WR Zay Jones the last two seasons after he helped develop Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry from a rookie to a Pro Bowl caliber receiver as receivers coach with Miami.

What McGeoghan can provide more than anything is intimate knowledge on Jones that you can’t get by watching film. What his work ethic is day in and day out on the practice field. What his family life is like at home. What he’s like as a teammate. What drives him, motivates him. These are all things that NFL college scouting departments work to gather on prospects all year, and the Bills scouting department probably has a lot of that information on Jones already.

McGeoghan offers a knowledgeable sounding board to confirm and validate anything and everything on Jones, who I was impressed with last week at the Senior Bowl.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Is 2017 a rebuild year or a try to make the playoffs year?

Jon Alhart
@JonAlhart

CB: Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from GM Doug Whaley it’s clear that the only thing this team is rebuilding is their philosophy on how to build a perennial contender. It’s clear that the front office didn’t believe the philosophy of the previous coaching regime was one that was designed to contend year in and year out. Sean McDermott’s coaching model is built to do that.

Now does that mean the team will be contending in 2017? I think we have to see how the roster takes shape through the course of the offseason to better ascertain the team’s immediate fortunes.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there a chance Daboll joins McDermott’s staff esp. with the W&M connection?

Vicious Sid
@vicious155

CB: While you are correct that Patriots TEs coach Brian Daboll did coach at William & Mary for one year when Sean McDermott was a player there, from the people I’ve spoken with in New England, Daboll’s intention is to stay put with the Patriots. All indications are he is the heir apparent as the offensive coordinator when Josh McDaniels leaves for his next head coaching job.

For those that don’t know Daboll is also an Orchard Park native, and played his high school ball at St. Francis. With the stability of his situation in New England, I’d expect him to bide his time and move into the OC role there when the time comes.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-6

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2017 – 11:49 am

We’ve hit the offseason early again Bills fans. No question, it stinks. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills at pick 10 in this year’s draft if we let Tyrod walk do we go qb?

Eddie Barnard
@eddie_barnard

CB: We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here because first the head coach has to be in place, then player evaluations by the new staff will chart the course of who is here and who is not here. But to answer your question, in the event that the new head coach elects to move on from Tyrod Taylor I don’t know that drafting a worthwhile quarterback at 10th overall will happen.

I’m a fan of Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer, but knowing there are QB needy teams in front of Buffalo (San Fran #2, Chicago #3, NY Jets #6) I don’t think he even gets to 10 for the Bills to consider. UNC’s Mitch Trubisky is still up in the air on whether he’s staying in school or entering the draft pool.

Kizer played in a pro-style spread system, had the ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and has the physical measurables you look for (6-5, 220). His numbers dropped this past season as the Irish struggled to a 4-8 finish, but it wasn’t all on Kizer. Working with a bunch of first-year receivers after Will Fuller, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise moved on to the NFL, Kizer still had 26 TDs against 9 INTs, even though his completion percentage dropped five percent.

So while I like Kizer and Trubisky, I don’t anticipate them making it to pick 10 and after them I’m not enamored with what’s left to the point where I would use the 10th pick to take one.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale Jones the starting QB next year?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: Again this is a ‘predict the future’ question that’s far too difficult to answer. There are too many variables that aren’t even in place to know where Jones will stand on the depth chart. Does the new head coach think he can win with Tyrod Taylor? Does he think Cardale Jones could be part of a quarterback competition in training camp? Does he think Jones could win that competition? Will they be adding at the quarterback position via trade, draft or free agency? Would that quarterback be more NFL ready than Jones, who just saw his first NFL action last week for a quarter?

I think one thing we have to think about is if a new head coach comes in and there’s a new offensive system for Jones to master it’s going to set his development back, as we’ve seen with young quarterbacks here before (e.g. J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, EJ Manuel).

Let me be clear that I’m not saying the changes on offense were the reasons those quarterbacks struggled to develop, but constant change makes it harder for young quarterbacks to succeed and advance their games. All of them saw coaching changes in their time with the Bills.

Jones will be the next quarterback, even if Anthony Lynn is hired because he inherited an offense this past season that he intends to change.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are Bills expected to put tender on Gillislee? What is the tender process, and why don’t teams place highest tender possible?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Restricted free agents are the players teams must decide upon regarding whether to extend them a qualifying offer to retain the right of first refusal, should they be offered a contract from another NFL club.

There are different levels at which a player could be tendered to dissuade other clubs from trying to make a contract offer to lure the player away from their current team.

The new restricted free agent tender levels are usually released by the NFL in early March, though NFL clubs make projections on what the amounts will be.

There is the low tender, which means the compensation due the original club if their RFA player was signed away by another team would equate to the draft round in which they were selected. For Mike Gillislee such a tender would yield a fifth-round pick in return, since Gillislee was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins (2013).

Last year’s low tender was $1.671 million.

If Buffalo values him as something more than that and they want to make it more prohibitive for another team to sign him away they can use the second-round tender, which would make the compensation a second-round pick if the Bills chose not to match an offer from another team.

Last year’s second-round tender was $2.553 million.

The first-round tender last year was $3.635 million, and carries first-round pick compensation.

I certainly understand your question as to why teams don’t just tender everyone at the highest possible level. Sometimes cap constraints keep teams from doing that. They also want to be careful not to overvalue a player to avoid paying said player more than they would like if a long term contract is a route they want to take.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Doug Whaley is so unimpressive, do you know how he continues to sell himself to ownership?

PJ Persichini
@PJP3rd

CB: I think what you need to keep in mind is as a fan you only see him in one context, a press conference, question and answer setting. Whether it’s on the radio or on TV you only see Whaley in a Q&A format.

What you don’t see is Whaley’s decisiveness when weighing the value of a trade. You don’t see him in personnel meetings pinpointing positional needs, assessing the talent level of specific players. You don’t see him running draft meetings, the draft room, interacting with players, making tough personnel decisions, finding players on the street at a time when there aren’t many and finding contributors (e.g. Mike Gillislee, Ryan Groy, Justin Hunter).

I know it’s hard to not think about him in the interview context because that’s all the exposure you have to Whaley. Look at the talent he is directly responsible for adding to this roster on the whole and I think you’ll find a lot more hits than misses.

I understand that for a team that has struggled to get wins, the misses are magnified, but there isn’t a GM in this league who has a perfect record. Drafting players is a lot like a batting average. If you hit .400 in landing Pro Bowl type talent in the draft, you’re the equivalent of Ted Williams. You’re in a league of your own. Most quality GMs hit between .300 to .350 in the draft in terms of landing top flight talent that can be the core of your team for years.

The lost piece of the puzzle as I see it for the Bills has been player development by the coaching staffs that have come through Buffalo. The head coaches that have been hired in Buffalo have unfortunately not put the best of coaching staffs together over the years and that has compromised the development of players and maximizing player potential has proven difficult.

That’s not to say there haven’t been good player development coaches over the years. Sanjay Lal, Anthony Lynn and Aaron Kromer are among the best examples on the most recent staff. There are others. Previous assistants that come to mind include Bobby April, Donnie Henderson and Joe D’Alessandris.

Does all this mean that Doug Whaley is blameless? Doug said himself he needs to do a better job. In fact it was one of the first things he said in his press conference Monday. But it’s my personal belief that Doug Whaley is a good personnel man, who knows how to build a team over time and has a plan. We all know the franchise quarterback has been a missing component for some time, and those are hard to find. Other teams that don’t have one have struggled too. Denver lost theirs after winning the Super Bowl and they’re out of the playoffs this year.

Absent that though this roster does have a good deal of talent, and this offseason will provide more opportunity to add to that talent. The key will be hiring a head coach who can implement a vision and structure to unify everyone on the staff and roster to achieve the ultimate goal. Hopefully that new head coach hires the kind of coaching staff that can maximize the talent on hand along with the new talent coming through the door.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills I like Sean McDermott. Do you think he can be a solid leader?

Ronald Krzal Jr

@Ronnie_Krzal

CB: I think knowing the kind of leader a coach can be can only be captured in the kind of long interview sessions that the Bills are conducting now in their coaching search. You can’t look at a resume of offensive or defensive success and determine if a guy is a leader. You’ve got to sit down with a coaching prospect and get to know them to determine that.

Does their philosophy about being a head coach inspire you? Do you think he’s capable of motivating men who have been mired in a culture where the success has been minimal and galvanize them into believing they can do better? Does he come across as a person that people willingly follow and believe in?

Not being in that room I can’t tell you if he can be a solid leader.

I can tell you that I like who he has worked under during his time in the NFL. Andy Reid, Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera are all solid coaching influences. So the people he has worked under is definitely a plus. But that doesn’t qualify Sean McDermott as a solid leader. That’s more about who he is as a person as I see it. And maybe he is that person, but there’s no way for you and I to know that from where we sit.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-30

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2016 – 11:28 am

A lot of change this week, with more to come this offseason (23 unrestricted free agents). Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills 

What is the general mood/feeling amongst the players right now, post Rex firing?

Matthew Rule
@MatthewtheRule

CB: I think players are disappointed and feel some measure of guilt, knowing the results on the field played a role in the decision that ownership made on Rex Ryan. At the same time there are some players like Sammy Watkins and other vets, who in the wake of the change made at the head coaching position feels there needs to be more discipline and harder coaching at the top.

Knowing there are 23 unrestricted free agents on this roster, there are also a number of players who are going to be supremely motivated to good the best possible product on tape this Sunday. Chief among them is EJ Manuel, who has an opportunity to put fresh game tape out there to show where he has advanced his game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Why are the Bills the way that they are?

Christopher Gump
@gumpcd0315

CB: I think the easiest way to explain it is when you haven’t found a viable solution for your head coaching position, you have to make a change in an effort to find the right fit and improve. But that constant change also makes it hard for a team to gain traction and make progress. That’s where this team is right now.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who is more likely to re-sign with Buffalo, Gilmore or Woods?

Dave
@Billsfanhanes

CB: Good question. I’m not going to pretend to know Doug Whaley’s priority list, but I think Gilmore is probably a more important component. As encouraging as Kevon Seymour’s rookie season has been, keeping Gilmore in the fold would be a good thing. For that to happen though I think his presumed asking price will have to come down a bit.

As for Woods, it’s a hard one to gauge. I think the organization respects Woods’ game and his willingness to play hurt. But the market for receivers with his kind of production will put him close to $9M per season. If the team wants to add a different kind of skill set to the receiving corps, then it might be hard to justify that kind of spending for Woods.

I’m not saying he isn’t worth it. I just don’t know if in Buffalo’s offseason planning they deem that kind of figure to be money well spent when they’re likely to look at other options, and other positions for that matter, where they need help.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Are we looking at keeping Hunter? I think he’s a good fit in our O.

Jamal
@mrmajic73

CB: This is one of those other options I was referencing in the above answer on Woods. There is no debating that Hunter’s skill set is tantalizing. The Bills aren’t the first team to be attracted to his physical skill set. What they have to determine is whether Hunter has the sense of urgency and professionalism to do things the right way every day, in every practice and in every game.

Hopefully they’ve been around him long enough (three quarters of this season) to have a healthy handle on the type of work ethic he has and whether a quality receivers coach (Sanjay Lal is one by the way) can develop his game further.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Seems DBs took a step back this year. What impact do you think the loss of Donnie Henderson had on the defense this season?

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

CB: I certainly understand the question because the consistency of defensive back play did take a step back this season, or at the very least was inconsistent. When asked specifically about it, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, who is a former cornerback himself, did admit that lapses in technique proved to be their biggest issue.

What’s tough to answer is who at fault for that? Is it the coaches for not drilling it more often in practice? Is it the players for not adhering to it enough in game situations?

You have to believe if the coaching staff knows technique is the problem in a game (e.g. Week 2 against the Jets), then they’re going to emphasize it more in practice. Are they drilling it in a way for players to effectively understand and apply properly? Are the players equipped physically to execute the technique being taught, or must a different approach be taken? Are the players being professional in trying to fix the errors they made in previous games?

You can get pretty deep down that rabbit hole before you find an answer.

I think the defensive back play did see a noticeable uptick in the second half of the season, so there was effective coaching and player improvement. This team is going to finish in the top 10 in pass defense. Part of that is due to the team’s struggling run defense, but pass defense has improved since some of its struggles in the first half of the season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-23

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2016 – 11:22 am

Merry Christmas Bills fans! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills some people think Bills should experiment Cordy at RT and keep Cyrus at LT thoughts?

Derek Babcock
@armyguy702

CB: What makes this suggestion so interesting is gone are the days where the left tackle has to be your absolute best lineman. Most NFL defenses have two quality pass rushers on either side of their formation. Perfect example is this week’s opponent. The better pass rusher is Cameron Wake, but he lines up on the left side of Miami’s defensive formation, which means he’ll be facing RT Jordan Mills.

So each week it’s not an absolute. The point I’m trying to make is moving Glenn to right tackle is not as big a deal as it might have been 10-15 years ago. Now does that mean that it will happen? That depends.

We have to see how the offseason unfolds in terms of who is retained in free agency and who is not. Jordan Mills is set to become an unrestricted free agent. As a starter on this roster for the last year and a half, he’ll presumably command a pretty respectable price tag.

Knowing that Seantrel Henderson’s long term health is a touch and go situation, if the Bills want to retain Mills they’ll have to put together an offer that is at least competitive with market value.

The caveat here is what the organization thinks of Kouandjio. He’s certainly made some sizable strides with his game this year. Just this week he also stated that he feels he has better motor memory on the left side instead of the right.

Kouandjio’s rookie contract is up after 2017. If they decide they want to invest long term in Kouandjio it could impact the size of any extension offer they might present to Mills.

If Mills is ultimately not retained I think the scenario you suggest could at least be a consideration, knowing that Kouandjio would presumably be elevated to starter opposite Glenn. And knowing Kouandjio feels more comfortable playing the left side, Glenn being flipped to the right is not out of the realm of possibility.

Just keep in mind that a lot of dominoes have to fall to get to that point.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Chris, what the hell is going on over there?!

Andy Mac
@XKC4338

CB: I think based on some of the national media tweets/reports there is a general perception that the sky is falling at One Bills Drive. Embedded at the facility every day I can say it truly is business as usual. There is no sense of foreboding in the building. Coaches and players are interacting as they typically do. Management is interacting with the coaching staff as they usually do. And there is no indication that anybody is walking on eggshells around here.

As GM Doug Whaley stated in his radio interview Friday morning, the focus is on the Dolphins. And quite frankly if there were coaches and players in the building who weren’t focused on that, then there would be a problem.  

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are the Bills liking Seymour starting? Do they have faith in Darby to step in next year as a cheaper option to Gilmore?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Much like the first question above, this is something that will be evaluated in the offseason. I know that management and the coaching staff is very excited about Seymour’s potential. I have to say taking the time to watch him work against Oakland’s Amari Cooper when Ronald Darby was out of the lineup, he performed well. His only blemish was getting beat on a double move for a TD. That might sound bad, but his performance on the whole in that game was quite good. It was encouraging to see him step up and play that well.

I think the club wholeheartedly believes in Darby, and I think they’re encouraged about the ceiling for Seymour. In an ideal world they’re able to re-sign Gilmore, but if his asking price is still in the Josh Norman stratosphere ($15M/yr) I just don’t see it happening in Buffalo.

In that case the Bills would have to move on and go with Darby as their No. 1 and Seymour would compete to be the No. 2 with whomever else might be added (free agency/draft).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills #FanFriday Is the lack of a “2 min drill” or urgency at end of half/game more on TT, Rex or Lynn? It’s been 2 yrs of this.

Joe Maglie@rockdj69

CB: I respect the point you’re making. Part of Buffalo’s success in two-minute situations is about opportunity, but unquestionably part of it has been a reluctance to really push the ball down the field.

This might sound surprising, but Buffalo is ranked 10th in the league in scoring at the end of the first half, when I believe most fans have taken issue with Rex Ryan’s approach offensively. According to Statspass, the Bills have scored 52 points at the end of the half this season, which is slightly above the NFL average (48 pts).

When it comes to points scored on their first possession of the second half Buffalo is tied for sixth in the league with 37 points.

It’s my belief that their success rate coming out after halftime has prompted the Bills to play it a bit more conservative at the end of the first half.

I think an overlooked factor with Buffalo’s decision to be conservative at the end of the first half on offense is rooted in their desire to keep their opponent from scoring before the half expires.

Buffalo’s offense by nature is a ball control offense. With Sammy Watkins out for half the season their ability to have a quick strike scoring drive was severely hampered. It’s my belief that Rex Ryan felt his best defense at the end of the half was an offense that held onto the ball, knowing they’d have the ball again to start the second half in all but a couple of games this season.

Proof of that approach working for the most part this season (it didn’t at Oakland), is Buffalo ranks fifth in the NFL in preventing scores by their opponents at the end of the half. They’ve given up just 27 points all season at the end of the second quarter.

And I credit their offense for holding onto the ball and not giving it back to their opponent almost as much as I credit Buffalo’s defense for that statistic.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills if the Bills, simply by luck of geography, were in AFC South, would futures of Rex, Whaley & Tyrod look much diff right now?

Parasauralophus@lophus89

CB: Your question is an interesting one to ponder. Having two games against the Jaguars sounds a whole lot better than two games against the Patriots. Perception can often impact an opinion of the job being done by a head coach, quarterback or organization in general.

I think we can all agree that Buffalo would likely have more than seven wins if they played in the AFC South. So that very well could alter the public opinion of Rex Ryan, Doug Whaley and the team in general.

But that’s not reality. You have to deal with where you are and Buffalo is in the AFC East.

Doug Whaley said they’re not satisfied with where they sit, but they are what they are at 7-7, which is average. They want better, just like all Bills fans do. Only ownership knows if they’re opportunity to achieve better beyond this year will be in the cards.

 


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