Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 6-8

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2018 – 10:55 am

Just mandatory minicamp left after today. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

McDermott and Daboll seem like a good match. Any observations on them together and do you see any differences from the previous OC? Thanks Chris!

Timothy Filutze
@timothy_filutze

CB: I’ll begin by saying I think the big plus that Daboll brings is he is more relatable to the players than former OC Rick Dennison was. Dennison could interact with the players, but developing a relationship seemed a bit more difficult for him at times. That is not the case with Daboll and the players on offense as I outlined in my story on him last week.

But I’ll let coach McDermott explain the give and take he and coach Daboll have enjoyed thus far.

“We try and take the approach of ‘iron sharpens iron’ really where I’m learning from him, he’s learning from me I this case,” McDermott said. “Again, we’re all learning from one another, so if you just start there, you usually have the start of a pretty good recipe.

“He has an ability to think at a higher level and he understands trends in terms of what’s going on, what’s trending in and around the NFL. Obviously, there has been an adjustment because the system is different than the system we used last year. I believe the players are really buying into what we’re doing and what Brian is doing as well as the entire offensive staff for that matter.”

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Many experts have the Bills taking a big step back this year in terms of wins. Is the reason totally due to the ?? at QB? To me the Bills roster appears much more solid and much deeper than last year, except possibly at WR, which can still change.

Steve Noble
@SteveNo12471507

CB: I think because the quarterback position is an unknown, and there is a new offense going in, it does lead many national pundits to forecast struggle for the Bills. This is commonplace for national reporters, who don’t cover the team on a daily basis. They look at the team on paper, examine the player losses and if in their estimation they outweigh the additions, they often predict doom for that team.

With all the unanswered questions on offense, there is an inherent fear of the unknown by prognosticators. Now in their defense, it’s not like some of those concerns they harbor are unfounded.

There will need to be a good number of players that have to step into more prominent roles this season on the offensive line, defensive end, linebacker, quarterback and wide receiver.

That is a long list.

Couple that with a schedule that has the Bills on the road for five of their first seven games and you can see why the prediction people are down on Buffalo.

The defense will be much improved with the additions made there.

I think the key to Buffalo’s 2018 season will be finding a definitive answer at quarterback and how quickly the offense can get to a point where they’re executing the new scheme in a consistent fashion week to week.

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why is Allen working with the nobodys?

Adam creery
@Adamcreery4

CB: Josh Allen is working with the third team offense because he’s playing catch up. AJ McCarron and Nate Peterman had a three-week head start on learning the new offensive scheme and running plays on the field.

All indications are that Allen is a quick study, but bringing him along steadily is clearly the plan that’s in place. This coaching staff will not rush him through just to line him up with the starting unit.

They will base their decisions on who he’ll line up with solely on Allen’s progress day by day.

When coach McDermott was asked if he’d consider giving Allen reps with the second team or first team in the mandatory minicamp, he wouldn’t rule it out, but it’s apparent they aren’t going to rush him through anything.

“It’s a fluid situation; it’s all part of doing what’s best for A, our football team and B, Josh’s development overall,” said McDermott in how they’re bringing him along. “I’m not going to say I’m not going to do it, it’s just what’s the right thing to do at the right time based on our plan.”

4 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering with guys like Zay Jones & Logan Thomas having surgery’s & not being able to participate in OTA’s do they still show up every day & do the class room stuff with their respective groups in order to further their knowledge of the in coming scheme seeing as there is a new OC & a new offense being installed ?

Thanks for your time !!

Mr. T from Nashville via Barker NY

CB: The answer is yes. They have to be on site anyway for rehabilitation assignments with the athletic training staff, and they do attend position meetings and offense and/or defense meetings. Logan Thomas is already walking around without any assistance, so that’s encouraging.

I just haven’t crossed paths with Zay in the building of late.

 

5 – Chris:

Great work during the draft and year round.

A couple questions:

1) With the new OC and the player acquisitions in Free Agency and the draft do you think the Bills are planning to go to more of a spread offense this year? This may help Josh Allen in reading Defenses and opening more running lanes by taking players out of the box.

2) I expect the Bills to play more of a 4-2-5 Defense. This means more use of Milano, Stanford and Vallejo. I also expect Siran Neal to be listed as a Safety but eventually (a year or two) gain enough size to play LB like Carolina Shaq Thompson. Your thoughts?

Joe
Blasdell

CB: Your first question is an interesting one. I remember when Chan Gailey was head coach he often used a four-wide, one-back set to spread the field to create easier reads for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the pass game, while also creating more natural rush lanes for the backs.

It worked very well for the most part.

It’s hard to determine now if Brian Daboll wants to lean in the spread direction, especially with a quarterback competition to evaluate. Not knowing who your No. 1 QB is makes it more challenging for an OC to put a singular identity on an offense.

As for the defense, the Bills are in a nickel defense close to two-thirds of the time based on the passing nature of the game these days. Coach McDermott often says your nickel corner is basically a starter on defense, based on how often they’re in nickel defense.

I expect the nickel LBs to be Edmunds and Milano this season. Stanford and Vallejo are good options in reserve as both can run and cover.

As for Neal, I can see him playing a hybrid LB role, but full-time LB is something I’m going to hold judgment on. I’d like to see how he can change his body composition next offseason before I’m convinced that’s a role he could take on.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-1

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2018 – 11:28 am

Two weeks of OTAs down, one to go. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who is the fastest WR?

Randall
@Randallj86

CB: Here are the 40 times of each player from their pre-draft testing, fully recognizing that for some veteran players this was up to five or six years ago.

Robert Foster 4.41
Austin Proehl 4.41
Brandon Reilly 4.42
Zay Jones 4.45
Rod Streater 4.46
Quan Bray 4.50
Kaelin Clay 4.51
Malachi Dupre 4.52
Andre Holmes 4.53
Ray-Ray McCloud 4.53
Jeremy Kerley 4.56
Kelvin Benjamin 4.60
Cam Phillips 4.84

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can a QB on the roster provide a more consistent passing offense than Tyrod Taylor? Where do you think the passing offense will rank by seasons end? Top 10, middle, or to align with previous seasons…bottom 3 in the league? I’m hoping for middle (15 to 18)

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: While I think it’s fine to hope for middle of the pack in terms of passing game rank for the Bills in 2018, it’s almost impossible to peg where they’ll end up for a host of reasons.

First, this is the first year with Daboll’s offense, so it will take time to really have it humming in the regular season.

Second, without knowing who the starting quarterback is, much less how he’ll perform in this offensive scheme, it’s a challenge to accurately predict where they’ll end up too.

I think everyone knows it can’t be 31st again. That’s just not good enough.

That being said, I think your range of 15 to 18 is reasonable to hope for knowing all the elements that will be new this season (scheme, QB, play caller).

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Many will gauge the success of this year’s draft by how Edmunds and Allen pan out….to me this draft will be defined by the success of Taron Johnson, Siran Neal, and Wyatt Teller. Do you think they will have impact this year?

Steve Noble
@SteveNo12471507

CB: Of the three draft choices you mentioned I think the player to most likely have an impact this season is Taron Johnson. He’s currently battling with Phillip Gaines for the slot corner role, and I’m anticipating that to be one of the tighter position battles.

Teller and Neal both have good potential, but for Teller, there are a couple of vets in front of him at guard and Neal appears to have the biggest transition to make coming from a small college program at Jacksonville State.

Part of his issue is the long-term plan for him is to have him fill multiple roles defensively (corner, safety, slot, hybrid LB) and that is going to take time. So I don’t see him on the field much this fall on defense. He’s got a lot of learning to do.

 

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Bodine over Groy baffles me. Groy bigger and did extremely well replacing injured Wood in past. Cincy media long reported Bodine as soft against beefy D-lines in Cinci. What jumps out at u why Bodine, other than maybe game starts (albeit not good ones) and familiarity w/McCarron?

Bill N
@williamkevin24

CB: First and foremost, Bill, it’s early. For linemen, the real football doesn’t begin until the pads go on. Yes, Bodine has been primarily running with the first team at center in OTAs, but as OC Brian Daboll said Thursday, “It’s a rep chart, not a depth chart.”

You’re right that Groy is a bigger more massive lineman than Bodine, but the behemoth defensive tackles are becoming fewer and further between. With more spread formations and up tempo offenses, giant defensive tackles aren’t commonplace like they were at the turn of the century.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think Keith Ford has what it takes to be our 2nd RB? I love Shady but I don’t think we have 3dwn RB if he goes down.

Egg
@Ratatuip

CB: While I’ll admit I need to see more of Keith Ford before passing judgment on his playing ability, I will disagree with your assessment that there isn’t another three-down back on Buffalo’s roster. I believe Travaris Cadet’s game is most similar to McCoy’s on the roster.

That’s not to insinuate that Cadet is on McCoy’s level, but he’s not far off. He’s a shifty runner, who can make defenders miss and he is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield.

Ford is fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot with vets like Ivory and Cadet behind McCoy and a special teams ace in Taiwan Jones.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-18

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2018 – 1:01 pm

OTAs get rolling next week. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you think that Josh Allen has a legitimate chance to start for the Bills this season? Additionally, do you think the Bills themselves hope it’s Mcarron for this season? #FanFriday

GJohnston
@Johnston_GB

CB: I think the fact that coach McDermott has called it an open competition makes it a possibility, but even coach and GM Brandon Beane have cautioned that Allen has some catching up to do.

I don’t think anyone can debate that Allen is the most physically gifted of Buffalo’s three quarterbacks, but at the NFL level that only takes you so far.

Allen comes across as a player that knows and can process the game, but it’s unquestionably a step up in competition that he hasn’t experienced before.

We all really need to see him execute in an NFL atmosphere on the field to see if he can make steady progress and perform consistently. If he can do those things then he legitimately has a chance.

As for your question about hoping McCarron plays this season, I think the only hope coach McDermott has is that who he starts at quarterback is a difficult decision because the competition is a tight one.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you feel they are done at addressing the WR position?

Paul Jeffrey III
@paulthegreat9

CB: As GM Brandon Beane said they’re always looking to upgrade their roster wherever they can and however they can. He did give indication that he anticipates some veterans could be out on the market later in the free agent period.

If that comes to pass I would anticipate the Bills kicking the tires on receiver prospects.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see the two new receivers that we drafted making the way into starting lineup with (Benjamin, kerley, Jones). Josh Allen vs AJ McCarron? Who do we think can win more games?


Jacob Kurtz
@JacobbMarley

CB: Again, much like the quarterback position, who has a starting role at receiver will be predicated on who performs best at the position through the course of the spring, summer and preseason games. Coach McDermott has created a culture of competition up and down the roster because competition brings out the best in terms of what a player has to offer.

With respect to Allen and McCarron, none of us have seen enough of either of them at this level to be able to determine who is going to start, much less who would win more games.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s behind stockpiling so many defensive linemen? Is it purely a “competition” at training camp thing?

Garnet Barnsdale
@gocashking

CB: I believe it is largely rooted in developing competition. Most of us could probably figure out who the top six defensive linemen are going to be who are going to be active on game days, but competition for the last one or two positions is how Buffalo found Eddie Yarbrough last season.

So it’s a healthy exercise and may the best man win.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s our starting offensive line looking like now? Any change on the right side?

Sexual Pancake
@KeeslerThe

CB: If the Bills had to play a game tomorrow, they’d go with what they know. They know that Ryan Groy can play guard or center and that Russell Bodine can play center. They also know Dion Dawkins can play left tackle, Vladimir Ducasse can play right guard and that Jordan Mills can play right tackle.

That’s probably your starting five if you had a game this weekend, but they don’t. So with the exception of Dion Dawkins, the other four positions are subject to change based on the competition that exists on the roster.

Marshall Newhouse, John Miller and Wyatt Teller probably represent the most noteworthy competition.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-4

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2018 – 12:16 pm

The Bills certainly made the 2018 NFL draft interesting, especially for round one. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, Now that the draft is over. What is your make of it? Thanks

John Supple
@JohnSupple2

CB: In taking a look at Buffalo’s 2018 draft class, I was impressed with what Brandon Beane was able to pull off in round one. Getting his future franchise QB and a top 10 non-QB talent in the class was masterful. I don’t think many of us anticipated that Buffalo would be making two picks in round one when all was said and done. They not only did that, but traded up twice and still made it happen. Remarkable.

I liked the Harrison Phillips pick a lot. Dude is stupid strong and depending on which stat service you reference had 100 tackles last year as a nose tackle at Stanford. An insane number for a player who was consistently lining up head up on the center in a zero or head up on a guard (two technique) in a 3-4 front.

Both Taron Johnson and Siran Neal flashed at the Senior Bowl. Neal might need a little time on the job making the jump from FCS ball, but Johnson looked like he belonged.

I think the sleeper pick is Wyatt Teller, who could compete for that vacant left guard spot.

I’m very interested to see where Ray-Ray McCloud lines up because Clemson moved him around a lot. I also want to see what kind of return ability he brings to the table.

Proehl as a route runner is as tight as I’ve seen in a seventh-round pick in a while.

What would I change? I don’t know that I’d change much. Buffalo was limited in what they could on day two after the two moves up in round one, and it’s hard to argue with the Phillips pick, since he was one of my favorite prospects in the entire class.

You could argue there was some better talent in terms of size at receiver on the board when they took McCloud, but it’s not a major issue as I see it.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Has there been ANY evident interest shown to your knowledge in any of the remaining free agent receivers (Dez, Decker, etc…)?

Cole Parker
@Cpark9901

CB: I believe the Bills are going to wait for the right fit. While I don’t argue that the number of proven receivers on Buffalo’s roster is limited, that doesn’t mean you just sign a veteran free agent because he has experience. I doubt they sign Eric Decker because they had the chance to do so last offseason when he was a cap casualty and passed then.

Dez Bryant, as Brandon Beane said, is a player who can still help an NFL club, though not in the game breaking way that he used to. There was a great write up detailing his lack of separation on a Dallas-based site I read last week. I believe that is why interest for the veteran wideout has been limited across the league to say the least.

You need to remember where Buffalo is at with this build. Having young receivers on their roster they’ll want to get them reps to develop. A veteran on this roster, even for one season, can compromise that development because he’s then stealing those reps.

That’s not to say the Bills wouldn’t sign a veteran receiver, but it’s my belief they want to see their young receivers perform in OTAs before they ascertain whether they need to add a veteran presence.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the consensus biggest hole left on roster at this point?

Bryan Watson
@RealBryanWatson

CB: I think the personnel department has done a credible job of plugging the biggest holes with capable talent. There is still a lack of proven talent at receiver and linebacker, which could cause some fans a bit of concern. Cornerback is another area where they might be a bit light on proven depth.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

When will we get to see Allen throw ?

Mike Reisch
@MReischMike

CB: That will happen next week when the Bills have their rookie minicamp with the first practice scheduled for Friday. Look for the video report – Bills Minute – on buffalobills.com to see clips of Allen throwing at practice.

 

5 – Chris,

David Culley is a QB coach with much more experience coaching WRs than QBs. Will the Bills bring in a QB consultant or specialist to groom our new franchise quarterback?

—Big Al
Rockford IL

CB: I asked GM Brandon Beane in a one-on-one interview, who would be spending the most time with Josh Allen to ensure he’s getting the one-on-one development time he needs to maximize his treasure trove of physical talent. Here was his answer.

“We understand all his strengths and he has a lot of them,” said Beane of Allen. “Like all these guys everybody has various flaws and Josh knows them and has been working on them. You could even see in the Senior Bowl he had cleaned up his footwork working with (his quarterback trainer) Jordan Palmer.

“It doesn’t mean he’s fixed and ready to go, but he’ll continue to do those things. (Offensive coordinator) Brian Daboll and (Quarterbacks coach) David Culley will work on all the fundamentals with him. Josh is going to come in here and he knows he’s got work to do physically, mentally to catch up on the playbook. He’s got a lot to do. We’ll do that on his timetable.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-20

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2018 – 11:04 am

The last Fan Friday before the 2018 NFL draft. Buffalo has a lot to work with. Cross your fingers that they get everything they’re after. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
What’s your gut feeling? Trade up or stay put at 12? And, if you had to guess – who’s the QB prospect they want?

John Green
@JGreen_PRsports

CB: I believe the Bills will exhaustively work to find the right move that they believe works best for them in terms of positioning and value. Whether they feel that has to happen before the draft or after it begins is the big question for me.

As for the QB prospect they want, I’m going to tell you it’s been like Fort Knox upstairs. GM Brandon Beane has made it clear to his staff to keep a tight lid on things and Beane himself has said the circle of people who are in the know about their draft leanings is very, very small.

Beane knows how important this draft is to their long range vision for this team. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that they’ve been as tight lipped a group as I’ve seen pre-draft.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills
Who is your favorite QB prospect? Not who you believe the Bills would take, but who would you take Chris?

Brett Triplett
@BrettsterBills

CB: I’ve been on record for a while saying I like Josh Rosen the most in this class. I’d be happy with a couple of other QB prospects too. He just has the passing skills that you need in a QB at the NFL level. Accuracy, ability to read defenses, solid mechanics, smarts. I also think his personality criticisms are overblown.

I know I’m in the minority, but I’ve also got Mason Rudolph in my top four. I really like his body of work and skill set.

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

In your gut, if the Bills are faced with a “doomsday scenario” of 4 QBs taken in the first 5 picks (and Buffalo not being one of them), do you think the Bills take Jackson at 12, or do you think they wait for the next tier of Rudolph/Lauletta/White/Falk, etc?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I have to think Jackson would be an option, but what I grapple with concerning Jackson and matching him with the Bills is his skill set is very similar to that of the quarterback they just traded to the Browns. The only big area where Tyrod Taylor and Lamar Jackson differ in terms of their passing skill sets is Jackson seems to get through his progressions more consistently and his strength is hitting targets between the numbers (middle of field).

Taylor’s strength was hitting targets outside the numbers, but he wasn’t as effective over the middle.

So I’m not convinced the Bills would draft a QB with a similar set of skills to that of Taylor.

I would hope Mason Rudolph would be a consideration in light of my aforementioned comments about him. As for Lauletta, there’s nothing with him that will wow you, but he is consistent and makes plays.

White and Falk are players who probably aren’t coming off the board until round 3 at the earliest and that’s late round 3 as I see it.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, good morning. My question is what do you expect the Bills to target in rounds 4-6 assuming some of the pressing positions get addressed early (qb,lb,wr)?

Tony Chimera
@ChimeraTony

CB: I think with the depth at cornerback, running back and the interior offensive line, those are logical positions that will have viable options to choose from on day three.

We have to remember that Vontae Davis is only signed for one season. So cornerback is a position in need of depth with E.J. Gaines, Shareece Wright and Leonard Johnson no longer on the roster.

In fact, I think cornerback could be addressed sooner than day three if the right prospect comes up when the Bills are on the clock.

Guard prospects go about 15 deep with draftable grades, so there should be developmental talent come day three. And there are running backs to be had, who could contribute in a reserve role in that range.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Chris, with the Bills having the 2nd most draft capital besides Clev. Do u think the chances r good that the Bills move up to draft a QB? Nobody should b able to outbid us?

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: While that is true in terms of draft capital in the 2018 draft, the great equalizer for the other NFL clubs in terms of trade capital are future draft picks.

For example, a team like the New Orleans Saints down at pick 27 really only have the draft capital in their 2018 arsenal to get up to 20 in round one. But if they decide to offer a first-round pick in 2019, suddenly they have the ammunition to get up as high as pick four, if you weigh the Saints first-round pick in 2019 to be a middle of the round value.

So if a team is desperate enough, or competitive enough, they could be willing to part with future assets to level the trading playing field.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-13

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2018 – 11:50 am

Happy Friday the 13th Bills fans! The draft is fast approaching. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
For a team without a consensus starting QB for the last 22 yrs, does trading up to take 1 of a deep class of QB prospects in the 2018 draft constitute “reaching”? Can Beane/McDermott afford to kick this can down the road?

Keith Archie
@ASCREEN07

CB: I think we are all of the belief that all the stockpiling of Buffalo’s draft capital, which is at a record level in terms of assets, was not done to add nine players to the roster (their total number of picks). It was done to provide them with the ammunition to get a quarterback in this year’s class.

For a plan that has likely been a year in the making, I find it hard to believe that the Bills will not make every attempt to trade up to grab one of the QB prospects they feel is worth the price of moving up the board to select.

Although there will be a couple of options in next year’s draft at QB – Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, Washington’s Jacob Eason, Missouri’s Drew Lock – those players, with the possible exception of Stidham, have to show dramatic improvement on the field in 2018 to be in the same category as the QBs in this class.

Now is the time to strike and the Bills have the assets to make it happen.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills
How do you think Ryan Groy fits into our plans moving forward? Especially without Incognito.

Mark Kammerdeiner
@billsfannum1

CB: I think we’ll have a better idea on that post-draft. It’s my contention that the Bills will add some youth to their offensive line in the draft. The question is will they make additions early in the draft or late? That will likely be determined by what assets they choose to part with in a trade up scenario in round one.

If they add an interior lineman relatively early (rounds 1-3), and it’s a guard who has a chance to start right away then I think Groy is competing for the starting center role. If it’s a late round addition, then I think Groy is more likely to line up in a starting guard role and will compete with John Miller.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills
Are the Bills interested at all in Mason Rudolph or Lamar Jackson? Is it even possible that they stay at 12 and take either of those guys or are they definitely going after one of the other four? Namely Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen.

Waves
@BethelWaves11

CB: I believe the answer to this is in Buffalo’s preparation. They’ve scouted and done their due diligence on all of the top 6 quarterback prospects. Truth be told there’s something to like about all six of the top QBs, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they were intrigued by any one of these top QB prospects.

I’m sure they probably have two that they covet the most, but when you’re sitting at 12 you have to know for certain who you believe is ready to compete for the starting job now and who is a year away and slot your quarterback prospects accordingly.

As for your question of if it’s possible they take Jackson or Rudolph at 12, in the draft anything is possible, especially at the QB position, where in most cases on draft day their value tends to get pushed up the board because teams get nervous about missing out.

There are a few cases over the years where a QB slides, but more often than not QB value moves up, which is why Rudolph even in the 12-20 range of round one wouldn’t surprise even though most values on him as little as two weeks ago had him late one to early two.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Hey Chris, what’s the plan for the Middle LB spot? I’m sure they’re going to take someone with one of their first 3 picks, but was curious who you’d think would be a fit, especially if they trade up? I like Jewell from Iowa in Round 2 assuming they make jump up in round 1.

Michael Morgante
@md_morgante

CB: This is a position I’m legitimately concerned about because the draft is thin at true ‘mike’ linebacker types. Knowing they could part with draft assets to address QB, I worry that some of the better options at MLB won’t be there for Buffalo.

I do like Jewell as a prospect because of his productivity and instincts, but he might not have all the requisite measurables to excel as a three-down MLB. He has some coverage liabilities to his game in terms of lateral movement and change of direction skills, so I wonder where the Bills value on him would lie.

I believe there are some outside linebacker prospects who could project to ILB, like BYU’s Fred Warner or Vanderbilt’s Oren Burks. NFL teams will have to try to see if some of these OLB prospects are capable of moving inside because the ILB crop is so thin.

Burks is a guy I think could easily project inside because he’s played there before and possesses the cover skills necessary to that position.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why is it taking so long to move to top 5? Everyone knows the #bills are looking to trade

Chetan Rakieten
@chetanrakieten

CB: I don’t know this for sure, but I would think that the Bills, or any other team interested in possibly moving into the top 10 or top 5, have laid the groundwork for a possible trade with another club, but a lot of those decisions are predicated on what players come off the board first.

Let’s just say hypothetically that the Bears want RB Saquon Barkley, but don’t think they’ll get him at 8. Maybe they don’t have the assets to get up to 2, so they’ve talked with Browns at four and the Broncos at five.

Even if they have a deal in place with the Broncos at 5 to move up, there is no sense of pulling the trigger on a deal unless they know Barkley is available. So if Barkley somehow slides past the Browns at four on draft day, then the Bears call the Broncos and pull the trigger to move up to five to take the RB.

That’s why a lot of trades do not happen until draft day.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-30

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2018 – 11:30 am

Happy Easter Bills fans. Here is the latest edition of Fan Friday with your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

QB, Middle Linebacker, & Wide receiver are the obvious choices as to which positions will most likely be addressed in the early stages of the draft. Aside from those is there a position that may be taken early that could be a surprise to most of us?

DarrellF29
@DarrellF29

CB: I think defensive tackle is a position that could be addressed if there’s a good value when they’re on the clock in round one or two. Cornerback is always a position where every team is looking to add depth, but knowing it’s very deep at corner this year, they’re likely to wait on that.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What sort of linebackers have the Bills been looking at in the second round of free agency, and what might they look at on the draft for that position?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I think you saw that GM Brandon Beane confirmed at the owners meetings this week that free agent LBs Will Compton, Karlos Dansby and Mike Minter have all made free agent visits.

As for the draft, inside linebacker is thin this year with about one legit prospect per round. Outside linebacker is a bit deeper, but in terms of who they’re looking at the only real answer I can provide is prospects who fit the prototype of what the defensive scheme demands.

The major prerequisite in terms of skill set is the ability to run and cover. If a linebacker prospect can’t drop and cover excelling in this scheme is more difficult.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, can u see the Bills looking into the RFA WRs that r available? Maybe W.Snead or C.Meredith?

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: The options you mention make sense mainly because both were tendered by their clubs as the original draft round tender ($1.9M), so if they are signed away from their current clubs, no compensation needs to be provided since both Snead and Meredith were undrafted rookies.

The tricky part is you’d arguably have to pay one of these receivers more than the $1.9M they were tendered at. Plus, Meredith and Snead was something more than a one-year deal.

Buffalo has about $15M under the cap and with nine draft picks right now they’ll need to devote about $10M to their rookie pool. GM Brandon Beane always likes to leave a nest egg so they have money to sign players in preseason or during the season in the event of injury.

So if what Meredith and Snead are looking for is far north of $2M per year, I don’t know that the Bills can be players for either of them.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any “Williams” in the draft we should be aware of?

David Ayotte
@Dhayotte75David

CB: The only one that comes to mind is Texas OT Connor Williams. He’s projected as a first-round pick by many draft prognosticators. Some teams see him as a guard because he has only 33-inch arms. But he shouldn’t last much past the early stages of the second round according to many NFL talent evaluators.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Thanks for all the inside scoops and off-season details, for the thousands of fans like myself… How much is Brian Daboll involved this time of yr? (Who can he talk to, work with, etc?) Can he talk to/work with McCarron/Peterman?

Brian Rossignol
@BrianRossignol1

CB: Daboll is currently working with the staff of offensive assistants he inherited to get everyone on the same page with his offensive scheme. I’m sure he’s also contributing with respect to draft prospects through film review and reports, but as far as McCarron and Peterman, he can’t talk to them about ‘X’s and ‘O’s until they come back for the initial stages of the offseason program in mid-April. That’s by rule under the CBA.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-23

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2018 – 10:13 am

Happy spring Bills fans. Still waiting for the snow to exit for good here in the B-lo. On to your questions from Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are they trading up in the draft?

Bryon Decker
@bryon1963

CB: I think this is an interesting question only because there are many possible answers. First, I do think GM Brandon Beane will try to trade up. The problem is no one at the top of the draft wants to move down to 12.

I think there’s a good chance Buffalo has to take a rung-by-rung approach to use a ladder analogy. If your ultimate goal is to get to the Giants pick at two, the most important thing is to find out how far down the board New York is willing to move.

Word is they covet DE Bradley Chubb (in wake of JPP trade to Tampa) and G Quentin Nelson. Both are likely to go in the top 5 to 7 depending on how the run on QBs plays out at the top of the board.

So the Giants likely do not want to move out of the territory where they know they can get at least one of them. That means their floor for moving down is probably pick 6, which now belongs to Indianapolis.

It’s very likely that the Bills will have to make an initial move into the top 10 first to an area that’s appealing to the Giants in terms of moving down. So a trade with the Colts at 6 is probably step one, before you can talk turkey with the Giants about their pick at two.

The alternative is overpaying from your current spot at 12 to get straight up to 2. That likely means giving up both your ones this year, your one next year and probably something else.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Although you never say never, it looks like the Bills may not be able to get in to the Top 3 of the draft at any price – if the QB(s) they like go off the board, what might a Plan B for the Bills at QB look like now that Taylor is in Cleveland?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: As unappealing as your scenario might sound to Bills fans, Buffalo’s front office must have a contingency plan or plans. That contingency plan is probably taking the best player available at 12, and then they have to determine whether they believe one of the second-tier QBs is someone they can develop into a starter.

Do Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph have what they believe it takes to progress and be a successful starting quarterback in a couple of years? Are they worth the investment?

If they don’t believe they are, then you may have to explore other options if you think you need more than AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman at QB. Do you trade for Nick Foles?

These are all things that have to be considered and weighed by the front office.

The good news is this. GM Brandon Beane is a personnel man who doesn’t tie his emotions to what does or does not happen regarding transactions involving his team or around the league. He’s a cool customer who doesn’t panic. I’m confident he’s thought this whole thing through hundreds of times and has more than one plan in accomplishing what he has set out to accomplish in this year’s draft.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What are your thoughts of the Bills using Shaq Lawson as trade bait to sweeten the pot of any attempt to move up in the draft?

The Duke Of Blasdell
@laduke1969

CB: Trading Lawson isn’t a realistic option. The main reason being that his cap hit right now is $2.8M. If the Bills were to trade him, his cap hit would more than double at $6.07M per overthecap.com and spotrac.com, two of the more respected salary cap monitoring sites.

GM Brandon Beane has worked hard to clean up what was a salary cap mess when he arrived. Moving Lawson via trade would be counterproductive.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why have the bills been completely absent in the WR market? It’s a pretty significant need

Bromandudeguy
@Bromandudeguy2

CB: It’s a valid question, especially for a passing offense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season. Kelvin Benjamin fully healthy gives you a number one, though he’s not the traditional number one receiver that most clubs have. After that it’s a mixed bag with Zay Jones, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Brandon Reilly, Quan Bray and Malachi Dupre.

I never believed the Bills were going to be early players in the free agent market for a receiver. Knowing it’s not a strong class of wideouts in the draft, a lot of teams overpaid for receiver talent on the free agent market.

I do admire the Bills resolve to not join the spree of overspending, but there’s no question they need help at the position.

This isn’t an excuse as much as it is a fact. When you’re cleaning up a bad cap situation and you’re trying to fill out a roster that has multiple holes, it’s hard to plug them all in one offseason. Receiver, quite frankly, may just have to wait a bit to be sufficiently addressed.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Getting sick of QB talk, so I’m interested in who the best MLB prospects are in the upcoming draft. If Beane/McDermott have something other than a QB in mind, which LB could you see them spending the #12 pick on?

Joshua Smith
@YhoshLM

CB: Unfortunately it’s a pretty thin crop. There’s essentially one legit MLB prospect per round. If the QB thing doesn’t work out and the Bills stay at 12, Georgia’s Roquan Smith would be a hell of a consolation prize to drop into the middle of your defense. Guy is day one starter and playmaker.

After him the drop off is significant.

Texas’ Malik Jefferson is talented, but he’s too aggressive and doesn’t read plays well. Often overpursues and can be fooled by good QBs.

Virginia’s Micah Kiser is as sharp as a tack, but doesn’t have the coverage skills to be a three-down LB in Buffalo’s system.

Iowa’s Josey Jewell is an intriguing player who looks like he checks all the boxes. Even though he’s not fast on the watch, he plays faster and checks all the boxes. He’s probably a third-round prospect.

Azeem Victor from Washington was suspended twice this past year so he probably doesn’t fit coach McDermott’s profile. Wisconsin’s Jack Cichy is a nice player, but missed all of last season with a torn ACL and has an injury history before that.

Memphis’ Genard Avery has some great workout numbers, but I just don’t see it translate to his play on tape.

Hopefully some of the OLB prospects like Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch and Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter can project inside. Otherwise it’s slim pickings.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-16

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2018 – 1:10 pm

Free agency is rolling as is the trade market. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills or on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

I know Beane said the money is spent…but can they still bring back a few vet minimum guys like Leonard Johnson or Cedric Thornton or Deonte Thompson? All were nice contributors and should not cost much

Lead the Stampede
@Jack_WanderS

CB: Beane did say today that they would be able to do some small signings. In my mind that includes things like veteran minimum deals for players like the ones you mentioned. Probably one-year deals.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think bills slow play the draft or swing for the fences? He has now said both ways. Last year he said no price too high for a franchise QB now he saying if a guy falls. What’s your gut saying?

David Ayotte
@Dhayotte75David

CB: I think Brandon Beane said he doesn’t know whether they’ll move up in the draft or not because there is no way to predict that. The reason why is there is no way for him to know for sure if there will be a willing trade partner in the area where he might feel he has to reach to get the quarterback he might want.

That’s the one variable that no one can count on. There may be a team interested, there may not. So as much as you may want to move up there, if you don’t have someone willing to trade out, it’s not going to happen.

I do believe if the Bills truly want to get the quarterback they may or may not covet, they have to get up to the Giants spot at two.

When Washington did that in the 2012 draft, they executed the trade in the middle of March, six weeks before the draft. They had the sixth pick and to move up just four spots they gave up their pick at six to the Rams and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 and a second-round pick.

Then in the 2015 draft Philadelphia moved up from pick 8 to pick 2 just 10 days before the draft, giving up a third and a fourth-round pick in 2015 along with a first-round pick in 2017 and second-round pick in 2018.

If they want to make such a move, I think the Bills do it closer to the draft like the Eagles.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

We know they are moving around to draft a young QB but what’s their plan at WR?

JW Mills.
@JWMiller8050

CB: Right now on the roster they have Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Malachi Dupre, Andre Holmes, Zay Jones, Brandon Reilly and Rod Streater.

I would anticipate with the WR market thin and lacking in the upgrade department that the Bills will draft a wideout at some point in the draft. There are not a lot of speed receivers in this year’s class, but a healthy number of productive players whose talent should translate well to the next level when it comes to gaining separation.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, what is the plan for the interior o-line? Who’s the starting center or is that coming via draft?

Mike Bourg
@Mic_bg

CB: The starting center is expected to be Ryan Groy, who started the last seven games of the 2016 after Eric Wood broke his leg. He’s a great alternative.

The Bills do need to add some youth to the interior and it couldn’t hurt to add some depth at offensive tackle with Cordy Glenn traded to Cincinnati and Seantrel Henderson signing with Houston.

The good news is this is a very good draft class of interior lineman. So finding some new, young talent shouldn’t be terribly difficult.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

After the Glenn trade, experts assume the Bills are going to go up even higher. Is it possible they stay at 12, take one of the big 4 if they fall or just take Lamar Jackson, and then use all of their picks to inject youth into what is currently a very old roster?

Josh McCarty
@Josh_McCarty28

CB: Anything is possible in the draft. Beane is excited knowing if he can’t move up the board that he’s going to get a better prospect at 12 than he would’ve gotten at 21. I doubt they take Lamar Jackson at 12. I don’t think many teams value him that high.

If they stood pat and used all of their picks they could do some real damage and build their roster quickly. They’re the only team in the league with six picks in the top 100. Cleveland is the only team that comes close with five picks in the first two rounds.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-9

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2018 – 11:34 am

Free agency is the next item on the NFL offseason docket. The market opens Thursday afternoon at 4 pm. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills or on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What other players may be on Buffalo’s radar that were recently cut? Seems like the plan is to fill out the roster with low cost value players that won’t count against the comp formula. Also, do you anticipate the Bills signing any of their FAs to more than a vet minimum deal?

Michael McMasters
@kidmickey85

CB: I know a lot of Bills fans are chomping at the bit for RB DeMarco Murray, but I believe the Bills have their veteran backup to McCoy in Chris Ivory. If I had to guess, I think it’s more likely that any future additions at running back take place in the draft.

As for signing a free agent to more than a veteran minimum deal, I think it could happen, but not more than two to three times this offseason.

As much as the Bills want to fill out the roster, they’re also trying to achieve a salary cap future that provides them with more flexibility.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Gut feeling. Do they make a deal to get into that top 6-8 and draft a qb?

Mike F
@NYCJayhawk

CB: It’s hard to believe they won’t at least try to move up the board, IF the board falls a particular way. And that’s a big if. If a player or players they covet are off the board quickly, or sooner than they anticipated, I think that would negate any effort to move up the board.

However, if one of the prospects the Bills hold in high regard slips even a little bit further than anticipated, I could see them making a run at him.

Where on the board does that happen?

That’s hard to peg. Brandon Beane did say at the Senior Bowl that he didn’t want to pay a king’s ransom, and in most cases that’s what is required to get into the top five. Does that mean they’re only looking at the back half of the top 10 as a target area?

I don’t think there are any absolutes because the draft is such a fluid, ever changing entity.

When you have 32 teams thinking 32 different things about 250-300 different players, the unanticipated is bound to happen.

I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but with the draft the whole thing is a crapshoot.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

First of all, it was great seeing you and John at the combine! Could you comment on Lamar Jackson? I was a little disappointed in what I saw… seemed tentative

Steve Olsson
@steve_olsson

CB: Good to meet you guys too. I think Lamar Jackson was as advertised. While his completion percentage did improve his junior year, it’s still a part of his game where the consistency must improve. His ball location doesn’t often allow his receivers to gain yards after the catch, often forcing them to adjust to the pass.

Anticipation throwing is not something that’s frequently witnessed on his game tape. He is far and away the quarterback prospect with the greatest ability to extend the play, but I think he will need time to adapt to the pro game.

He reminds me of a shorter Colin Kaepernick, and in the right scheme he could be dynamic. I just wonder how quickly he’ll take to the NFL game, knowing some of the parts of his game that need refinement.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chances they keep Tyrod and draft Lamar Jackson in a scenario like Kansas City did last year.

Timothy Filutze
@timothy_filutze

CB: I don’t think you can rule anything out. The reason why is you don’t know, exactly anyway, how the free agent QB market will unfold and what that will prompt some teams to do if they miss out on a free agent QB they had their eye on (See: Cousins).

It could prompt them to make a trade offer for a QB like Nick Foles or Taylor.

Even Brandon Beane can’t predict what’s going to happen, which is why he said he expects Taylor to be on the roster right now. But if he gets an offer for Taylor that he can’t refuse, that could obviously change things.

As for Lamar Jackson, I think the Bills, much like every team right now, are entertaining all options if they believe it upgrades their quarterback position.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Should the Bills look to add a bigger hitter at SS and move Hyde down to the slot corner position?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: If you can find a 220-pound safety who can hit and also cover then you can consider that. But where the league is now, the primary prerequisite for a strong safety is to have the ability to cover and not just tight ends and backs, but slot receivers as well.

This has weeded out a lot of bigger safeties who lack cover ability. Ten to 15 years ago 220-pound strong safeties were more prevalent in the league. Now 220-pound players are lining up at linebacker.

The passing league has mandated greater emphasis on finding athletes, who can run, cover and hit on defense. This often means lighter, faster players.

So I don’t see finding a bigger safety who can hit as a priority for the Bills this offseason.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-2

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2018 – 11:39 am

It’s our live from the NFL Combine edition of Fan Friday. Let’s get to your questions from Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hello Chris,

I really look forward to getting your insight every Friday. My question is in regard to the salary cap situation. From what I have seen the Bills cap situation gets very good in 2019. Do you sense that Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott may opt to fill holes this year other than at QB, since the price of franchise free agents is expected to be quite high with the demand from other teams you have cited and the price in draft capital the Bills would have to give up to move to a top five slot in the draft?

Thanks,
Mike V.


CB:
Yes, you are correct, the Bills salary cap situation should improve even further in 2019. With respect to quarterback I don’t think their cap situation is going to keep them from pursuing one if they know it will upgrade the position.

I understand your premise, but quarterback trumps everything as I see it, so if you have the opportunity to land what you believe to be an answer at the position, you take a swing.

GM Brandon Beane told me this week that they will consider free agent options at QB and compare those options to the QBs they have on the roster. Now I don’t expect them to be in what will be a bidding war for Kirk Cousins, but there will be other viable options out there.

The same principle applies in the draft. If you’re convinced that one of the QB prospects is the long term answer at the position, you make every effort to land him. If that means parting with the draft capital you’ve accumulated it’s worth it.

Of course, all that being said there has to be a willing trade partner. It’s a two-way street.


2 –
Hey Chris,
Do you think Buffalo would be willing to trade a package of high draft picks for the opportunity to select any of the quarterbacks besides Darnold, Rosen and Allen?  Also, do you think they would be willing to try and sign Sam Bradford in free agency? I know he gets hurt all the time but he can still throw the ball as good as any of the other free agent quarterbacks.  Thank you.

Alexander, Toronto

CB: I think the general consensus in the league is Darnold, Rosen and Allen are the three top prospects. So trading up a package of high draft picks as you suggest for one of the other QB prospects besides those three seems unlikely.

Mayfield’s measurables and the widespread belief in the NFL community that Lamar Jackson should consider wide receiver as his NFL position figure to have them come off the board somewhere between 11 and 25.

I realize it only takes one team to think otherwise to change that, but that appears to be what a good number of teams are thinking.

As for Sam Bradford, yes he still has a good deal of arm talent, but his lengthy injury history will be a deterrent for some teams. I think Bradford is an option if you have a world class offensive line in terms of pass protection.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Brandon Beane mentioned wanting to get a power RB to complement McCoy. Do you foresee Buffalo filling this need in F/A or the draft? With guys like Stewart and Ivory available and guys like Freeman and Chubb projected to be 3rd to 4th round picks, which route do the Bills take?

Michael McMasters
@kidmickey85

CB: This is a decision that will depend on whether a free agent RB agrees to the price that Buffalo is willing to pay. Otherwise the Bills will turn to the draft. It’s one scenario where the team will be dealing from a position of strength because there are multiple options in both the draft and free agency.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, can u see the Bills targeting C Ryan Jensen in FA? OL coach J.Castillo coached him in Balt.

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: Jensen stepped into the starting lineup for the Ravens in 2017 as a fifth-year player. I can’t pretend to know how he fared this season. I didn’t see enough of Baltimore’s games.

I will say that head coach Sean McDermott in an appearance on the John Murphy Show admitted that Ryan Groy is the heir apparent at center for Buffalo in terms of replacing Eric Wood.

Now I don’t think that rules out the Bills perhaps pursuing another interior offensive lineman in free agency, but I get the sense that they like Groy, who is entering the final year of his current deal. So I could see them having Groy start in the pivot, see how he fares and if he’s performing well perhaps they extend him.

Yes, Jensen is only 26, but I think he’ll be looking for starter type money and I get the sense the Bills are looking for interior depth that could grow into starting roles down the line with players who are affordable. That’s more likely to be found in the draft where the interior offensive line depth is very strong this year.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

What might be a realistic compensation value for Cordy Glenn if the Bills decide to trade him?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: This one is hard to answer because different teams will place a different value on landing a starting caliber left tackle. For the teams that need an immediate answer at the position, the value would be higher. For a team that has a young left tackle on their roster that isn’t ready yet, the price they’d be willing to pay would be less because they believe they have a player that could fill the role in a year or two.

I think a good jumping off point would be what Seattle gave to Houston for Duane Brown, which ultimately became a second and third-round pick with a fifth-round pick going with Brown to Seattle. Brown is a 32-year old offensive tackle. Glenn will turn 29 in September.

Glenn is also under contract for three more seasons.

So between his age and his contract I’d like to think the Bills would be asking for at least that much, if not a bit better.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-16

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2018 – 11:33 am

Lets’ get right to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hi Chris,

Many thanks for all the updates and info this past season. With all the focus on the upcoming draft is there any chance the Bills look to keep Tyrod with a new OC whose scheme may better fit Tyrod’s skill set? Then look to fill holes with all the draft picks they have acquired and/or hope one of the non-top 5 QB’s are still there at 21/22? I realize it is early in the process as GM Beane noted and a lot could change.

Thank you.
Bryon
Plattsburgh, NY

 

CB: You’re right that a lot can change between now and the week after the NFL draft. That being said, I think there is a real possibility that Tyrod Taylor remains the starter. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the quarterback position in terms of what could be available in free agency and who is affordable in a way that doesn’t cripple a team’s cap situation.

As for new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, he certainly comes in with very recent experience working with a mobile quarterback in Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.

I’m sure there will be a lot of conversations among the offensive staff this offseason as to what, and with whom, their best approach would be to move the offense forward. The passing game was frankly substandard last season. Can Daboll help to improve it with Taylor in the lineup?

That’s the big question.

The next question is what other quarterback talent can the Bills realistically acquire in terms of price tag and/or draft capital.

There may not be defined answers on the draft capital question until a week or two before the draft. And with more demand than supply concerning free agent QBs, the price to acquire one is going up and some teams are likely going to overpay.

I get the sense that Bills GM Brandon Beane isn’t big on overpaying, even at QB.

 


2 –
Hi Chris,

Do you think the Bills will draft another wide receiver? Or do you believe that Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson, and Brandon Tate are sufficient?

Your thoughts,
Tony Falzone
Daytona Beach, FL

CB: Perhaps the most important factor about your question is 60 percent of the players you mentioned are impending free agents. Matthews, Thompson and Tate all have expiring contracts come March.

It’s hard to know what each of those players is thinking, although I do know that Thompson enjoyed playing in Buffalo this past year having spoken with him.

Matthews needs a high-volume passing attack to maximize his value. Over the last three years the Bills are dead last in the league in pass attempts at just over 29 per game. Unless there’s a dramatic shift planned by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, or a significant change at QB, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan Matthews looks elsewhere.

Let’s not forget too that he’s coming off a pair of offseason surgeries, so he may have to sign a one-year prove it deal, and that would only increase his need to find a high-volume passing attack.

Thompson and Tate should be affordable options to bring back to the fold. Hopefully a full offseason helps Kelvin Benjamin blend into the passing game more effectively and Zay Jones takes a big step in season two of his career.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What position do you see the Bills making their biggest-dollar signing at in free agency, presuming they look to make another Micah Hyde-level signing?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I don’t get the overwhelming sense that the Bills will be big spenders in free agency. GM Brandon Beane has made it clear he is still trying to get the Bills cap in a more flexible position and sees free agency as a means to set themselves up for the draft.

To me that means filling some positional holes with value-based signings, not big splash type moves.

If there were to be a signing the level of Micah Hyde this offseason I think it would be at linebacker, defensive tackle or cornerback. And to be clear, not all three, but rather at one of those three positions. That is where they are short on numbers when it comes to starting-caliber players.

It’s reasonable to believe Beane would like to have a starting-caliber player plugged in at one of those positions prior to the draft at the very least.

 

4@ChrisBrownBills

There are numerous reports out there that the Bills have been scouting Josh Rosen extensively, do you think the Bills perceived high interest in him is smoke and mirrors, or will do what’s necessary to go get him?

Michael McMasters
@kidmickey85

CB: To be truthful I’d be disappointed if the Bills didn’t scout Josh Rosen and every other top quarterback prospect extensively. Buffalo’s scouting department wouldn’t be doing their level best if they didn’t scout each QB prospect extensively. It’s par for the course.

To what lengths would the Bills go to land Rosen, or any other QB prospect that may be at the top of their board?

That’s tough to peg, only because I believe it will largely depend on how the top of the board unfolds.

I don’t see the Bills paying a king’s ransom to get to the top of the board. There are just too many other holes for the team to address. Solving the quarterback position for the long term is perhaps the most important hole to fill, but a dozen other teams are looking to do the same thing.

That drives up the cost of doing business to accomplish that.

I think GM Brandon Beane feels out the market both in free agency and the draft and then makes a judgment call on whether it’s worth paying the price to address the QB position in a way that would satisfy him and head coach Sean McDermott.

I realize that’s probably not a pinpoint answer, but it’s the best I can do at this point.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance the Bills draft a 1st round QB AND seek a big name free agent like a Foles, Cousins, or Bridgewater?

Jason Carroll
@jasonlikesfun

CB: I would be surprised if they did both.

The reason why is, if you’re drafting a QB in round one, you’re pretty convinced he’s your long-term answer at the position going forward. If he’s not then you shouldn’t be drafting him in round one.

The thought process is much the same with the free agent QBs you mentioned. If you’re going to land a free agent like Cousins or Bridgewater (provided he’s ruled a free agent – NFL Management Council has to determine this) you’re going to be either be paying franchise QB type money or parting with assets for Foles (who is under contract) that indicates you believe him to be franchise caliber.

If you’re willing to do that in free agency I think you’re committing to that player long term at the position. So drafting a QB in round one as well seems counterintuitive, especially when there are plenty of other positional holes to be filled on the roster.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-9

Posted by Chris Brown on February 9, 2018 – 11:44 am

The 2018 offseason is in full swing now with the Super Bowl behind us. Lets’ get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
IMO their biggest hole, besides QB is at LB. Do you feel they will address this in FA or the draft? I believe we need a experienced MLB.

Tim Feathers
@tbill538

CB: Linebacker is unquestionably a hole because of who they could potentially lose to free agency. Preston Brown and Ramon Humber are both free agents. That’s two starting caliber players. Obviously, they could re-sign one or both, but it will be interesting to see if Brown wants to test the market, knowing a player’s second contract is usually the big money one.

Also the Bills would undoubtedly like to get faster at the linebacker position. I believe the team’s decision on Brown will ultimately determine their course of action at linebacker. If he’s back I see them supplementing the position primarily with the draft. If not, it’s likely to be a mix of free agency and the draft.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will Bills look to replace Brian Gaine? I really liked their front office acquisitions last off-season and hope they try and maintain multiple quality personnel and GM types
BC72
@bchud1972

CB: I think that’s to be determined. With Lake Dawson also up for the Panthers GM job, Buffalo could lose two members of their scouting department. I think when GM Brandon Beane knows whether Dawson is back or not he’ll then assess the duties of those men and decide if they need to replace either by promoting from within and hiring from the outside.

You are right though, Beane assembled a heck of a staff in year one, and the pursuit of some of his hires is a strong validation of that.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the money that Smith and Jimmy G got, so the Bills a) pickup TT option and draft a guy to sit behind him for a year similar to Smith or b) pickup his option and trade him as it would still, at $18 million, be cheaper than signing some of the higher end FA right now?

Ryan Cox
@RyanACox34

CB: Getting Tyrod to renegotiate his deal last offseason was an astute move by the Bills. Though some still see the $18M cap hit as tough to swallow, it’s a very reasonable deal. And the chance of them going another season with Tyrod at QB while drafting a QB to groom is possible.

It’s hard to predict which way it will turn, knowing there will be quarterback options in free agency, potentially by trade if the Eagles are willing to listen to offers for Nick Foles and in the draft.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Would you personally trade the #Bills’ 21, 22, and RD3 to Denver for the fifth-overall pick if Rosen and Darnold are off the board?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: I personally wouldn’t. I think those two are by far the top two QB prospects from all the scouting people I’ve talked to around the league over the last few months. Unless you feel players like Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph are right there with them and still on the board I don’t make that deal.

I think you only give that draft capital up for one of the best QBs in the draft, not QB three or four, especially since I feel there is a drop off that’s more sizable than pick 2 to pick 5.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
What are the chances they re-sign Gaines?

Zach Kozoduj
@koz9130

CB: I think there’s a legitimate chance they’ll make an effort to re-sign him. It all depends on the supply and demand in free agency. The market will have some decent talent available if players don’t re-sign with their current clubs (e.g. Malcolm Butler, Rashaan Melvin, Trumaine Johnson), but I don’t think the Bills want to pay giant money.

Gaines durability issues (he’s missed 26 games over last 3 seasons) figure to make him a more affordable option, plus he’s just 26-years old. So his affordability makes him a realistic re-sign candidate. The only thing that changes that is if they can find a more durable player without having to pay significantly more.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-2

Posted by Chris Brown on February 2, 2018 – 3:45 pm

Happy groundhog day Bills fans! The offseason begins in earnest after Super Bowl weekend. Let’s get prepared with your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will the #Bills go after Kirk Cousins?

Jon-Erik
@jonerik0619

CB: I think it’s difficult to provide a straight answer to this question. The reason why is this is a very unique situation. I can’t remember the last time a quarterback of this caliber, without an injury issue (See: P. Manning, Brees) had a strong chance of hitting the free agent market.

While I think it would be only natural for the Bills to be interested in a player who over the last three seasons ranks third in completion percentage (67%) fourth in passing yards (13,176), eighth in touchdowns (81) and is tied for first in pass plays of 25 yards or more (113), the first question is does he make it to the free agent market?

There’s a good chance that one of the many teams interested in Cousins will blink and try to orchestrate a trade with Washington for Cousins to avoid competing with the other clubs for his services in free agency.

Having not seen the Beane-McDermott duo in action for a full offseason it will be interesting to see what they value more.

If they do in fact have a strong interest in Cousins, are they more willing to give up draft capital to land the QB via trade?

Or are they more willing to compromise cap space by outbidding competitors for Cousins should he hit the free agent market and hold onto their draft assets?

Knowing the Bills have a lot of holes to fill, their draft assets would appear to be a priority, but the chance to land a QB with franchise-caliber numbers (whether you believe in Cousins or not) could trump that.

That’s what makes the Cousins sweepstakes so compelling. What are teams that need a proven producer like Cousins at QB willing to give up to get him?

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chances they trade up w/#Broncos if Denver gets Cousins? Also, opinion on Lamar Jackson’s NFL projection?

Lars Lewis
@larslewis12

CB: Again a major hypothetical. The price to move into the top 10 this year might require more than most years because of the demand to get into prime quarterback territory this year. The price is likely to be too steep to get into the top 10. I believe if a QB slips for whatever reason down to 10 or 11, then I believe a trade up is more likely,  but the Bills won’t be alone in that kind of pursuit.

As for Lamar Jackson, I’m in the Bill Polian camp on the Louisville QB. He’s a ridiculous and rare athlete with the ball in his hands. But I don’t think Jackson is a quarterback in the NFL. His accuracy still isn’t consistent enough to keep drives alive in the NFL.

I do think he can be a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

A recent mock draft had the Bills drafting back-to-back DTs in the first round and addressing QB in the 2nd round. Do you think there’s any chance of that happening?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: The draft is so far off and so many things can happen between now and then that just about anything is possible. Right now the Bills have only Adolphus Washington and Ricky Hatley under contract at DT. If Kyle Williams chooses to continue playing then I think back-to-back DTs become unlikely. But if not, there is a gaping hole in the middle of the defensive interior. So it’s not outlandish to think that could happen.

QB in the second round is also possible if they can’t get up the board to prime QB territory. There are so many variables with trades and free agency that you can’t narrow down the possibilities at this point.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see Ryan Groy taking over the starting Center position or do the Bills need to add one in the draft?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: As we addressed in our filling the void story on Buffalobills.com this week, I believe Groy is the odds on favorite to take over the starting center role. Drafting a center isn’t a common occurrence unless there’s a stud in round one or a good value on day two (See Minnesota’s: Pat Elflein).

I do expect the Bills to address the depth of their offensive line both at tackle and on the interior. A versatile player who can duplicate what Groy did as a backup center and swing guard would be a good add.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills.

What do u think will happen with Cordy Glenn? #GoBills

People Over Profit 🏽️@Jiillyy

CB: The first thing that has to happen is he has to get healthy after undergoing a procedure on his foot. All indications are he is doing well in his rehabilitation and will be ready for the start of the offseason conditioning program in April.

He has proven that he’s a solid starting left tackle in this league. If the Bills are committed to clearing more cap space, Cordy Glenn would be a logical option knowing his cap figure is the second-highest on the team for 2018 next to Tyrod Taylor.

There are always teams looking for quality pass protectors, so if that proves to be the plan moving forward it would not be difficult to find interested parties.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-19

Posted by Chris Brown on January 19, 2018 – 11:26 am

We’ll have full Senior Bowl practice coverage next week Bills fans, so keep it close to Buffalobills.com and the John Murphy Show! Now to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think Rudolph could be a target pick for bills? Keep some draft capital get him at 21?

Brian
@Bhainsy

CB: Right now Rudolph is a bit off the pace as a QB prospect from the top four (Darnold, Rosen, Allen, Mayfield), due primarily to the fact that NFL clubs don’t know what his mental processing skills are on a football field. He has all the physical tools to be a pocket passer in the NFL, but he played in a very simple offense. So calling plays, diagnosing coverages, reading progressions, taking snaps under center are all unknowns. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Rudolph won’t be practicing this week at the Senior Bowl. He could’ve begun to answer some of those questions by putting his decision making during team periods of practice on display.

I think at this point it’s very realistic that he’ll be on the board for the Bills in the early 20’s. He’s currently projected as a late one, early two by some of the more respected draft prognosticators.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills

Do you foresee Shady becoming more of a change of pace back/third down back to preserve his career a few more years? It would be nice to get a solid move the chains type bruiser for early downs…thoughts?

Alan C
@alancolic

CB: McCoy did not show any signs of slowing down whatsoever in 2017. That said, he’ll be 30-years old for 2018. I personally see him as one of the exceptions to the popular rule that running backs decline after their 28th birthday. The main reason being his running style doesn’t expose him to big time hits which cause the most wear and tear on the body.

I am however, in favor of getting a capable back who can reduce the workload on McCoy. The Bills did a good job managing his carries. He averaged 18 carries per game in 2017, which I think would still be manageable for McCoy going forward. But introducing a steady backup, who can get five to 10 carries per game would be advisable to prolong McCoy’s freshness through the latter stages of the season, especially if there are playoff games in January where the offense will naturally lean on him more.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills

Chicken-egg situation: do the #Bills draft a QB with skill set that fits what Daboll wants to do? Or design offense around whatever QB they draft?

Tyler Moss
@TyLynnMoss

CB: While I believe there is some consideration to the style of offense the Bills would prefer to run in drafting a quarterback prospect, I don’t think it would preclude the Bills from taking the player they believe to be the best prospect at the position when they’re on the board.

It’s not the best example, but Cam Newton, a player who was drafted in Carolina when both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott were there wasn’t an ideal fit for a pro-style offense. He was not a pure passer and he never played in a pro system, but he was far and away the best prospect at the position.

So, in general I think most NFL clubs tend to focus on drafting the best player at the position, then worry about how they’ll make use of his skill set.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think Cordy Glenn’s future is with the Bills? If they move on, does he have trade value with that contract?

Josh McCarty
@Josh_McCarty28

CB: Step one for Glenn is to get back to full health following the latest procedure on his foot. By all accounts he is doing very well in his rehabilitation and is on track to be full go for the start of the offseason conditioning program in April.

I do understand why there is speculation about Glenn being a trade option for the Bills, knowing how well Dion Dawkins performed at left tackle in Glenn’s absence.

Taking that hypothetical situation a step further, it’s obvious that Glenn’s cap figure for 2018 ($14.45M) is second only to Tyrod Taylor ($18M) on Buffalo’s roster.

But to move Glenn via trade or outright release prior to June 1st would only give Buffalo a cap savings of $4.85M with $9.6M in dead money still on their books.

If the Bills moved him after June 1st, such a move becomes more fiscally responsible.

The cap savings would be more than $11M and the dead money would be cut by two-thirds ($3.2M). However, moving a player via trade that late in the offseason is rare, but quality left tackles with a proven track record and just 28-years old are not easy to find. So even that late in the game I think he absolutely has trade value.

Just knowing how much GM Brandon Beane wants to continue to clear dead money off the Bills cap so they have more flexibility in their spending going forward, I find it hard to fathom them trying to move Cordy Glenn prior to June 1st knowing the cap implications mentioned above.

NOTE: For those wondering if you can designate a player you intend to trade as a post-June 1st designation, it doesn’t appear that you can. When you designate a player as a post-June 1st cut, the contract is immediately terminated and the team no longer holds any rights to the player.

So it would appear to be impossible to designate a traded player as a post-June 1st trade, because the team technically would not have the rights to said player, and thus no commodity to trade. The actual trade, as mentioned above, would seemingly have to take place after June 1st for the aforementioned cap savings to be realized.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

If Bills lose Gaines to free agency, does corner become high draft priority?

Patrick Schrader
@Pjschrades16

CB: If you’re down a starting caliber corner and you don’t feel you have an adequate replacement on your roster, then yes it does become a priority. Knowing that Leonard Johnson is also a free agent could increase the positional need even more.

So if Gaines doesn’t return, I think positionally it becomes a priority, but I’m not ready to peg it a draft priority. Let’s see what free agency can bring the team first if necessary.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-5

Posted by Chris Brown on January 5, 2018 – 12:24 pm

The wait is over Bills fans! Playoff football and your team is in the dance! Enjoy it! Now to your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If Shady doesn’t play, you think we still have a good shot at winning?

Took
@AnthonyBitting

CB: I think the task becomes a lot more difficult. McCoy is engine that runs the offense. He represents a third of the team’s total yards from scrimmage this season. Even coach McDermott admitted you cannot replace him. He’s one of the top five backs in the league.

Though I like what Marcus Murphy has brought to the table in his short time with the Bills and seeing offensive coordinator Rick Dennison use Mike Tolbert effectively last week (inside runs only), I believe they could make the run game functional.

Is that enough to win? Probably not. I think they would also need to win the turnover battle and finish a plus-two for a shot at a victory.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, is the RD5 pick from Jax a done deal?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: That is correct. The Bills conditional sixth-round pick that they acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars for Marcell Dareus has improved to a fifth-round selection in 2018 by virtue of the fact that the Jaguars advanced to the playoffs.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Win or Lose, what did this season mean for McDermott/Beane? I feel like just because of the playoff berth they are probably going to be in a solid place here for the next 5 years. (Of course, in exception to a total meltdown the next two years)

x-Dylan Nowak
@DylanNowakArt

CB: Making the playoffs obviously helps any coach-GM combination in the NFL. I don’t know if you can project five years of job security for them, but they’re certainly on firm footing. It’s clear that Terry and Kim Pegula believe in what coach McDermott has established in terms of how the team operates on a daily basis. It’s evident that McDermott is a coach that players will follow.

The way he was able to get the team to hang together after a three-game losing streak, that has sunk many Bills coaches in the past, is what convinced me that the mental toughness of this team, that has been so poor in the past, had changed. I didn’t know if that meant playoffs this year, but the culture of this team after falling into all the common pitfalls year after year has finally been given a solid foundation.

The playoff berth only helps that.

Beane in his first year has shown he’s not afraid to swing a trade, even if it’s not popular publicly. He and McDermott are in lock step as to how to build a team for the long haul and sustained success.

The Pegulas have the right people in place at the important decision-making positions. It’s onward and upward from here.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

1: How does KB13 match up against JAX corners? 2: What candy bar is the best candy bar?

Joshua Smith
@Yhosh

CB: Benjamin is a tough matchup for any corner, but Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are both going to the Pro Bowl for a reason. They’ve combined for 10 interceptions. Benjamin usually lines up as the Bills ‘Z’ receiver or flanker on the right side of the formation, which would pit him against Ramsey.

Ramsey is a long corner. He’s 6-1 with long arms. His ability to mirror his opponents routes is impressive. There is very little separation on most plays he defends. That being said, what Benjamin offers is a wide catch radius.

He’s also capable of shielding a defender from the ball with his giant frame. This should offer Tyrod Taylor opportunities to make plays even if Ramsey is blanketing Benjamin, which shouldn’t be difficult for Ramsey at all.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Anyone else being brought up at RB?

Andrew Ten Eyck
@Andrewteneyck1

CB: If anyone is elevated to the active roster at running back due to LeSean McCoy’s availability with his ankle it would be Aaron Green, who they signed this week. Green is a quick and elusive back with good burst. I believe even if called up before the game he’d likely be used in an emergency situation only. The primary backups are Marcus Murphy and Mike Tolbert.

The Bills have until 4 pm on Saturday to call a player up from the practice squad to the active roster.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-29

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2017 – 10:46 am

It’s come down to Week 17 Bills fans. Let’s hope for a win and some help. Here is this week’s edition of questions and answers from Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who is our left tackle next year? Any chance they can trade Glenn in draft for higher/additional pick?

CB: I think with the second half of the season that Dion Dawkins has put together it would be hard to see them changing that next season. That means Cordy Glenn, who has one of the highest cap figures on the roster could be a potential candidate for a trade.

The issue there however, is proving that he’s got a clean bill of health after all his foot and ankle problems. If they can do that then he could be a viable trade option.

If in fact such a scenario comes to pass it would not be a poor reflection on Glenn at all. He’s been a solid left tackle for the Bills in his time here and earned the contract he got.

But as the players know it’s a business in the end and if a club can find a more affordable way to fill an important position like left tackle without much difference in performance they would be wise to do so. Dawkins is on his rookie contract.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Would you rather slip into the playoffs this year or miss out and have a toe to toe battle with NE for the divison (and likely wildcard) next year?

Jesse Parrish
@jesse_parrish

CB: I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t have both. As coach McDermott said this week, every year is so different because the construct and development of your team changes so much from one year to the next.

So why not get into the playoffs this year and challenge the division champs next year? Bills fans don’t have to settle for one or the other.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Due to Baker Mayfield’s lack of measurables, do you feel Buffalo can stay where they are in regards to draft position and select him with their first 1st rd pick?

Michale McMasters
@kidmickey85

CB: Mayfield’s height will be the biggest bone of contention with Mayfield. There aren’t many six-footers who have excelled in the NFL. Drew Brees and Russell Wilson are the exceptions.

Mayfield has the bowl game coming up and the Senior Bowl in late January to impress the NFL scouting community one more time.

Many feel he will impress, make effective amends for some of his off the field issues and move up the board.

Unfortunately quarterbacks always rise up the board come draft night because they’re such a coveted commodity. So seeing Mayfield last into the late teens on draft night seems to be unlikely as I see it.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

What purpose does Colt Anderson serve? He’s super injury prone and you cut a decent young safety for no reason

Randolph Pope Jr.
Pope3949

CB: Colt Anderson is a core special teamer, who was re-signed this past offseason to serve primarily in that role.

Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman likes having veteran players he can trust on his units. Anderson is one such player.

I too believe Trae Elston is a player who has some promise, but they released him in another roster move earlier this season and were able to bring him back. I wouldn’t be surprised if they re-signed him as a future free agent in January.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Draft a young quarterback in the first round or make a run at Kirk Cousins?

Andrew Madden
@Lexingtonagent

CB: if there is any chance that Kirk Cousins is realistically attainable you make the deal over drafting a QB. He’s a proven commodity. You don’t get that with whomever you might be able to draft.

Cousins is entering the prime of his career and has been in the top five in passing yards I believe each of the last three years, with his production this year perhaps his most impressive work with a severely reduced cast around him.

If you can get Cousins without paying through the nose you go get him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-22

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2017 – 11:39 am

Merry Christmas and happy holidays Bills fans! Two games to go and still playing meaningful football. Don’t know if everyone expected that. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Besides a Bills win, what is the one thing we should be hoping for to help bills get into playoffs? I know there’s a bunch of scenarios but u get one choice.

David Ayotte
@Dhayotte75David

CB: Well if you’re going to pin me down like that I’d go with a Ravens loss to the Colts on Saturday. That not only gives Baltimore a seventh loss overall, but a key loss in the common games tiebreaker (should it come to that) with the Bills.

A Tennessee loss this week wouldn’t carry quite the same weight because they’re playing an NFC opponent (Rams). A Kansas City loss to Miami doesn’t carry as much importance for Buffalo either. And if the Bills win this week as you propose, it doesn’t matter what the Chargers do, so that’s my answer.

For more on who to root for this weekend, you can take a look at the full slate of games to keep an eye on right here.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who gets the most snaps covering Gronk this week? White? Hyde? Milano?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I’m anticipating a mixed bag of coverage assignments for Gronkowski. I don’t think there’s any question that he is the main weapon Buffalo has to stop. I believe the primary players who will be assigned to him will be Hyde and Milano, but much like they did in the first meeting, they could sprinkle some coverages in with White on him.

It’s certainly a matchup to keep an eye on.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is your view on Preston Brown’s year?

JR Mauro
@mrsju007

CB: I think Brown has had a solid season. I never believed that the problems on defense last year with illegal substitutions and guys wondering what the play call was were Brown’s fault. This year’s execution on defense is validation of that belief as I see it. Coaching was largely to blame for the defensive struggles last season.

Brown is a solid middle linebacker, who can anticipate and diagnose offensive plays and will not make mistakes. Will he ever be a dominant, take-over-a-game type backer? Probably not, but he’s a reliable performer that you can win with.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Two questions: 1 – Estimate on snap % for Benjamin this week?

2 – What pop tart is the best pop tart?

Joshua Smith
@YhoshLM

CB: I think a safe bet is about 60 percent of the snaps on offense. That’s where he’s been each of the last two weeks. Even in the Colts game where he aggravated his knee again due to poor footing, he played 41 snaps (61%) and last week against Miami he played 37 snaps (59%).

Regarding your second question, I’ve never been a fan of Pop Tarts, but I can tell the winning flavor in my household is Brown Sugar Cinnamon.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Would you trade the 2 first round picks PLUS next year’s first to the browns for the first overall pick this year?

Darek
@drock252

CB: That’s a lot of draft capital to surrender. I’d be more willing to part with the two firsts and a second this year rather than three firsts. This of course is under the assumption that I’m convinced that the top QB on the board is as sure fire a franchise caliber QB as there is, not only in this year’s class, but next year’s as well. If I’m convinced I pull the trigger, even if I’ve got to throw in an extra fourth round pick or something.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-15

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2017 – 11:55 am

Big division and conference game with the Dolphins this week. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If the #Bills make the playoffs do you see Kyle Williams sticking it out for one more year?

Adventures with Dan
@DanHocieniec

CB: I don’t get the sense from Kyle that his decision on continuing his career is tied to the playoffs. Yes, he wants to play on a team that is successful, but I think it’s more about how his body feels. If he believes he can still perform at a level he is satisfied with and whether mentally he can get through the grind of another season.

I will tell you this. In talking to him about his physical health, he did tell me that having had both of his Achilles repaired after bone spurs were removed from his heels just a year apart from one another, he believes his “wheels” are a bit younger than that of most 34-year olds.

I believe he can still be a productive player going into next season, and if they can draft a bigger, sturdier defensive tackle who can command double team attention it should free Williams up more to make the plays we’re used to seeing from him. Fingers crossed.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think Tyrod has to do for the rest of the season to be a bill next year? Or do you think his fate as a buffalo bill is over?

Craig Renaud
@Renaud14C

CB: I believe if the Bills as an organization believe they can do better than Tyrod Taylor that they will move on from him. While I would certainly feel bad for Tyrod if that were to happen, knowing what a dedicated professional he has been in his three seasons here, that is just how the league works.

It’s a cut-throat league. A team is always looking to upgrade at all positions, but quarterback perhaps more than any other.

Last offseason, Buffalo did not feel they could do any better than Tyrod and he was retained, albeit at a reduced price. It was clear this season that coach McDermott wanted to see what Nate Peterman could offer the offense.

What it all comes down to is the staff’s evaluation of Taylor’s performance at the end of the season, and whether they feel they can advance the offense further with another option that’s realistically available.

 

3 –  @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think this is Jordan Matthews surgery is good for another team and not us?

Bills MR. E
@iamdmre

CB: I know what you’re getting at here. Jordan Matthews is going to be a free agent in March. Here’s the challenge in re-signing Matthews if the Bills are interested in doing so. Matthews’ value as a receiver has been hurt by two things. One, his injuries this season and two the lack of a productive passing game.

If I’m Jordan Matthews I need to know what a prospective team’s quarterback situation is before I sign. That’s obviously in the best interest of a receiver. There’s a good chance Buffalo’s quarterback situation may not have a definitive resolution by the time free agency opens in mid-March.

That could complicate the task of convincing Matthews to re-sign with the Bills.

Of course after an unproductive season and coming off knee and ankle surgery it’s hard to know if Matthews will have all that many suitors should he hit the market.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are there significant injuries on the Dolphins?

Buffalo Fan
@rw952

CB: Starting DE Andre Branch, C Mike Pouncey and CB Cordrea Tankersley look like the biggest question marks for Miami this week in terms of regular contributors. Whether any of them are declared out later today is tough to peg right now. I’d expect all of them to at least be questionable for Sunday.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

As Gillislee has been a regular scratch for the Pats, do you see him being released in the offseason and if so, do the Bills try to resign him?

Troy Rossignol
@rozzimbt

CB: The Patriots are known as a cost-conscious club, but his cap figure actually goes down in 2018 to just $2.4M. Even for a backup running back that’s not a break-the-bank type contract at all. I suppose he could be a roster cut option since he would leave no dead money on New England’s cap next year, but he represents less than 1.5 percent of team’s cap.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-8

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2017 – 12:13 pm

It’s a gotta-have-it game on Sunday. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there any indication that Dennison Is on the hot seat?

Del Smith
@delsmithmusic

CB: I don’t get that sense right now. The performance and production of the offense will be reviewed and evaluated at the end of the season by head coach Sean McDermott. As I see it the key in the evaluation of the offense was whether it was held back by the play at quarterback or by the play calling of the coordinator. It could very well be a combination of both.

There are other factors as well. The constant churn at wide receiver due to in season additions and injuries. The offensive line having a hard time changing to a completely different blocking scheme from the one they had a lot of success in a year ago.

The future direction of the offense will hinge on where McDermott felt they came up short and why and what parties were most responsible for those shortcomings.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think Bills will make playoffs? Yes or No?

Charles Barber
@bubbabarber77

CB: The AFC playoff picture is too convoluted to give a yes or no answer. With four games to play, the Wild Card spots are a jumble at best. Three different teams could still win the AFC West. The Bills obviously want the Chargers to win the West, so they don’t have to worry about the head-to-head tiebreaker with that team, knowing they have head-to-head edges over Oakland and Kansas City in a Wild Card tiebreaker scenario.

I did see that Football Outsiders in the playoff simulations had the Bills with a 43 percent chance of making the playoffs if they finish 9-7 with their only loss coming at New England. If they finish 8-8 they reach the playoffs in less than one percent of their simulations.

I think that pretty much paints the picture right now. It’ll be an uphill battle, which is usually the case when you need help from other teams.

 

3 –  @ChrisBrownBills

With the addition of Benjamin will the Bills start throwing the ball more? That would help open McCoy

Why am I
@AlwaysN_Trouble

CB: I think assuming the Bills will throw more with Benjamin in the lineup is a bit of an oversimplification. This is a team that remains rooted in a run-first philosophy and understandably so. With Benjamin on the field there will be more opportunities for the Bills to make plays in the pass game because he’s capable of making a play even when he’s covered due to his length alone.

But his insertion into the lineup won’t dramatically change the run-pass tendencies. It just gives them a more reliable option. That could increase pass attempts to a degree, but I don’t see a sharp increase overall.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any news on why Henderson isn’t playing? He has to be better than mills

Hayden Ricci
@haydenricci

CB: Well as for right now, Henderson had a setback this week with a back injury and may not even be available. When he was active and in the lineup as a sixth lineman or tackle eligible the last couple of weeks head coach Sean McDermott had this to say about Henderson.

“I think he’s done a good job,” said McDermott. “He’s obviously a big body that has some power and length to him. So he protects the quarterback well and can fire off the ball and move the line of scrimmage. He’s done a good job for us so far.”

I think Henderson’s five-game suspension really set him back in terms of consideration in unseating any starting tackle. He served as the swing tackle the last few weeks, but now with this back injury he’s got another setback to get through.

He’ll be an interesting decision for this coaching staff in the offseason. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. He has uncommon athleticism for the position and great length and strength, but his opportunities have been limited.

I know one team that would scoop him up immediately in free agency and that’s Jacksonville. Henderson was a pick Marrone got to make at the end of the draft by former GM Doug Whaley back in 2014.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With Charles Clay’s knee issues and contract size will the bills move on due to “availability issues”? And when would the best time to do so be?

Schmian Schmampbell
@comedianian98

CB: For an offense that doesn’t exactly have a bounty of consistent playmaking weapons it’d be hard to part with Charles Clay going forward. His cap figure actually holds steady for the remainder of his contract. It was $9M this year and will be the same next year and the year after that. Knowing the cap itself will likely go up $10-12M each of the next two years, his hit in terms of percentage of Buffalo’s cap is lessened each year.

While the new front office has made it clear they’re not shy about cutting what they feel are not good values on their roster, it’d be hard to say that about Clay, who even now despite missing three games, still leads the team in receiving yards. If your top tight end is still producing better than any receiver on your roster in a year where your pass game is struggling I think it only emphasizes his value all the more to your offense. That’s a reason to keep him as I see it.


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Posted in Inside the Bills