Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 9-23

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2016 – 10:32 am

It’s been a rough start out of the gate. Let’s hope for better results moving forward. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills are the bills confident in their WR corps? With the injuries do you think they should look thru FA to get a DWAYNE BOWE/#2WR

S.Radford@radfordboyz1220

CB: I believe they are confident in their receiving corps. They only kept five receivers on the roster initially and now have six with Brandon Tate. Obviously if Sammy Watkins is out of the lineup for any period of time that would hurt, since there is no other wideout like him on the roster.

I will say that I think Robert Woods is an underrated receiver, who has never really had a chance to shine in this offense. I believe he can make plays. He’s not Sammy Watkins. He’s a different receiver, but the guy is winning on his routes a lot. He’s just not getting the ball.

Goodwin and Salas are competent role players and Powell and Tate offer depth.

I’d like to see LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush split out wide at times to try to get them in space and get yards after the catch.

Is that enough? Only time will tell.

I just don’t think they sign a guy like Bowe unless they’re down a couple of receivers for an extended period of time.
2 – Hi Chris,

Once again when I have a Bills question I am turning to you because you ARE THE MAN.

Can you explain the process of selecting which players get cut and which make the team.

My belief was that the General Manager had the final call, but in listening to Rex Ryan he talks about how he and his coaches have a tough job to do when making the call.

You makes the final call certainly does have a tough job. Can you explain?

Thanks
Bob Hammond

CB: How those decisions are made can vary slightly from team to team. With the Bills I know that Doug Whaley ultimately controls who is on the 53-man roster. Rex Ryan controls the 46-man roster on game day.

There is obviously a lot of input from the coaching staff and the pro personnel department regarding the 53-man roster. It’s not like Whaley unilaterally determines the roster. There is a lot of give and take, and the coaching staff has the freedom to express their preferences, but if a tough call arises, Whaley has final say. Whaley has made that clear on more than one occasion.

 

3 – Chris:
Great work during that very hot training camp.
What impact does it have when a player is waived injured instead of just being waived? Does the waived injured mean the player’s contract is voided, and he has to renegotiate to remain with the club if he clears waivers? How does this designation help the team?

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: When a player is waived/injured they are placed on the waiver wire for a certain time period. During training camp it’s just 24 hours. During that period of time another could put a claim on the player and if awarded the claim that team would inherit the contract.

If the player goes unclaimed, as most injured players do, he reverts back to the team that waived/injured him and he goes on that team’s injured reserve list.

When he’s initially waived/injured he no longer counts toward a roster spot and even if he reverts to the team’s injured reserve he doesn’t count toward a roster spot either.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

With the damage done to the defense thru suspensions and injury, would the Bills go to a 4-3 defense? Or stay with the 3-4? Or maybe have a hybrid of both? Opposing teams are going to be able to run on the Bills with relative ease. I know the run defense played well against the Colts, but this is preseason. I just feel short term the Bills will suffer. Unless, of course, they are able to obtain a very good defensive lineman/end thru free agency. Your thoughts.

Tony Falzone,
Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: Switching to a 4-3 would be unusual. That was Rex’s mistake last season. He tried to blend some of the concepts of Jim Schwartz’s defensive scheme in with his. It led to confusion on the field and a whole mess of other execution issues.

Buffalo’s defense should be better because every player understands the scheme and that allows them to play fast. Sure the extra talent will help when Lawson returns along with Dareus, but the execution should be better across the board.

To this point they’ve had one good and one poor performance.

 

5 – Brownie,

Thanks for what you and your crew continue to do for those of us in a long-distance relationship with our team.

I feel like you may have answered this question or similar in years past, but with our first two regular season opponents just four days apart, how much preparation relied on film from the previous season and what else might go into it? Do the Bills have scout teams assigned to the Ravens and Jets open practices? Is this common for most NFL teams? If so, is this why we tend to see the Bills run scrimmages and such out of base packages, in order to be a bit guarded?

Thanks in advance for your response. Anticipating the end of the drought!

Bob from North Tonawanda via Okinawa, Japan

CB: With the first two games so close together the Bills coaching staff was doing game plan installation in practice before the season was even over. Typically in the offseason the coaches formulate a framework of a game plan for their first couple of opponents on the schedule.

Then the pro personnel department will scout the opponents through the course of the preseason by going to all of their preseason games. NFL clubs cannot attend other teams practices unless there is a charge for admittance.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-9

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2016 – 11:54 am

Finally it’s time for the regular season! Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris…

Was Dan Carpenter’s 2015 season a fluke or is there real concern? And is the rookie Marshall Morgan a legit replacement if needed or might they sign another vet?

Thanks…
Rick McGuire
(mclennon99)

CB: I think Carpenter’s only problem last season was extra points. He was 23-27 on field goals, so his field goal percentage was in the same relative range it always is. He missed four attempts in 2014, three in 2013 and five in 2012 (his last year with the Dolphins).

The extra point issue is difficult to explain. Carpenter has pointed to the fact that his hamstring injury a week before training camp cost him valuable reps. He basically missed all of camp and did not kick much in the preseason. So his preparation going into the season was not what it typically is. His swing wasn’t sharp and the extra point results made it evident.

The good news is this preseason Carpenter appears to be back to his old reliable self. His two 52-yard field goals at Washington on grass pretty much eliminated any doubt that anyone might have that he’s back. So I’m anticipating a solid season from Buffalo’s kicker.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for answering my last question directly. It seems concerning a long term deal for Gilmore that if they can’t make a deal that the only thing left would be to use the tag next year, but that too would result in a high salary based on the existing salaries that are in place.

Bob

CB: I think both sides would prefer a long term extension. GM Doug Whaley said himself it’s going to be a process. I think there are a lot of things that have to be worked out in terms of average annual salary, guaranteed money, bonuses, etc.

There have also been extensions signed by other cornerbacks of late that have soared above the perceived market value for top corners (see: Josh Norman) and have been more in line with what the Bills might be more apt to hand out (see: Darius Slay).

Hopefully the prospect of the franchise tag will be enough of a deterrent for both sides to reach a multi-year extension.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills What is the key matchup you are looking at this Sunday against the Ravens? #GoBills

Karl Feltes@Karl_79

CB: Key matchup for me is LeSean McCoy against Baltimore’s linebackers. I like the matchup for Buffalo because McCoy’s speed and elusiveness is a bad match for the Ravens. Baltimore’s linebackers are stack and stuff types not run and hit linebackers. If Greg Roman can get McCoy isolated in one-on-one matchups in space at the second level he’ll be a very big headache for Baltimore’s defense.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills what do you think about @buffalobills winning 9 or 10 games? #gobills

Magic Mike Ferrara@notwhipped4life

CB: I think it’s realistic. The main reason why is I think Tyrod Taylor’s play at quarterback will take the next step. The advancements I’ve seen in his game has me confident that he’ll be able to pull out two to three games in the end that perhaps the Bills were unable to win in years past. Those two or three wins I believe will be the difference this season.
5 – Chris,

Why does it seem there is no concern for the back-up quarterback position? EJ has shown flashes but his inconsistency of play scares me. Week 7 against the Jags, EJ posted a 19.2 QBR with a 2nd quarter, 3 consecutive play meltdown. This resulted in a fumble recovered for touchdown, interception recovered for touchdown and an interception in a game we should have and needed to win but didn’t.

With Tyrod being a quarterback who isn’t afraid to use his legs, I feel it is more likely the our QB2 keeps us from reaching the Superbowl than the #3 wideout battle, the running back depth or who is going to play OLB with both Lawson’s out. Do you think the Bills will look to add a vet QB before the start of the regular season? How does EJ’s production rank compared to other back-ups in the league? How has his play looked in practice?

Brady from Vermont

CB: I know that a lot of fans lost their faith in EJ Manuel as a backup QB after watching that Jacksonville game. Everyone remembers the three major errors, and I’m not saying they should be dismissed. What also shouldn’t be dismissed is the fact that after those mistakes, Manuel helped the Bills climb back into that game and ultimately take the lead late before a horrible pass interference call on Nickell Robey-Coleman gave the Jaguars an extra set of downs leading to the winning TD late in the game.

After his second interception in the second quarter, which followed his sack fumble that was returned for a TD and his INT that was returned for a TD, EJ Manuel went 8-12 passing for 80 yards on the last two drives of the half with a touchdown pass capping one drive and the other leading to a field goal.

In fact for the rest of the game after those three straight turnover drives in the second quarter, Manuel for the rest of the game went 20-30 passing for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He led the team on drives that helped the Bills score 21 of 28 unanswered points with Corey Graham providing the go ahead TD on an interception return.

As the saying goes adversity often reveals a person’s true character. After that disastrous four or five minutes of the game, Manuel came back and got his team back in the game. I still remember Greg Roman in the locker room after the game telling Manuel that he showed him something in the way he played after those turnovers.

It was a hugely disappointing win, but Buffalo’s offensive coordinator respected Manuel’s resolve and ability to bounce back.

I’m not trying to be an apologist for Manuel, but the guy works his rear end off and I believe is a much better backup than most of what the rest of the league has in their No. 2 spot.

Take a look around the league at some of the names and you’d be hard pressed to find even a few teams with better options.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2016 – 1:08 pm

The 53-man roster is set, for now. More on that here. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think spikes will start in the middle with brown or do you think it will be Zach brown?

Jared Bailey@JaredBailey23
CB: I believe the starting inside linebacker tandem will be Preston Brown and Zach Brown. It’s been that way since Reggie Ragland went down and I don’t see it changing. I anticipate that Spikes will have a specialized role as a run down linebacker. A guy that you’ll likely see in goal line situations or short yardage.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills How good do you think the defense will be without Dareus?

DariousDe’SeanMorgan@darious_morgan

CB: I will say I was encouraged by the way the Bills run defense performed against the Giants after Dareus entered rehab. It was really the last time we saw the starting defense on the field for any significant period of time and they performed well when it came to constricting the rush lanes.

Would they be better with Dareus? Unquestionably. How good without him? I think they can handle the run. It’s pushing the pocket against the pass that I wonder about.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills With no kickoff specialist this year, will Bills try more short kicks to pin opponents inside the 25?

Parasauralophus@lophus89

CB: I think the approach will vary from week to week. I think hanging kicks high with hang time around the goal line will be an approach that’s used. Let your coverage run under it and pin them that way. On game days when it’s not windy they may try to kick outside the numbers inside the five. If it’s windy though there’s a risk of the ball going out of bounds over the sideline and then the opponent has it at the 40.

The caliber of the return man is also a factor. So there are many variables that will undoubtedly alter Danny Crossman’s approach, but I think hanging the kickoff high with hang time might be one of the more popular approaches this season.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills who do you think will slot in for the bills at wr #3? Since the first two spots are locked up with sammy and robert

daniel bruce@danielbruce11

CB: I don’t know that there’s a straight answer for this. The reason why is although Salas is the primary slot receiver, I could see Goodwin getting significant time outside some weeks based on the opponent with Woods moving into the slot in those situations. So I envision Goodwin and Salas sharing that role.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills do you feel we are Super bowl caliber type talent on buffalo bills roster?

J DUB@jdubsbills

CB: I think there is certainly elite talent on Buffalo’s roster. McCoy, Dareus, Watkins, Gilmore, Darby are some examples. Taylor could develop into a premier talent as could some others on the roster. Is it enough to reach the Super Bowl? Let’s get to the postseason first.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-26

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2016 – 11:38 am

Preseason game number three tonight against Washington. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills who will be our tight ends 2 and 3?

JR Mauro @mrsju007

CB: Right now it’s Chris Gragg and Jim Dray. Dray is strictly a blocking TE, who is serviceable in the short area pass game. Gragg has done the most to this point in camp and the preseason. The only other tight end that has flashed is Nick O’Leary. Blake Annen and Jimmay Mundine have had a tough time making plays on a consistent basis.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is it almost a guarantee we grab a roster cut for OL Depth?

Gabriel Erlichman @Gabezababe

@ChrisBrownBills
Think there could be any vet receivers signed before the season starts up?

Paulie Fricano @PaulieFric

CB: Since these questions were similar I decided to group them together. Buffalo’s pro personnel department keeps a close eye on the waiver wire and player cuts as do the other 31 teams. The answer to both of these questions is dependent upon the caliber of player released.

If the front office sees a player waived or released and deems it an upgrade they will have interest. At this point I would put adding depth at offensive line ahead of depth at receiver.

The Bills have a good starting five. If Seantrel Henderson’s return is successful that would be a huge addition for line depth with him and Kouandjio at tackle. On the interior beyond Ryan Groy and vet Fernando Velasco it’s a bit thin.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Hey Chris, how much of an offensive role do you expect from Reggie bush

ryan marx@rmarx188

CB: I think of Bush as an offensive specialist. He’ll be the team’s top return man. His role on offense I expect to be extremely varied. I foresee OC Greg Roman putting together a package of plays for Bush every week. Based on the opponent he could line up out wide as a receiver. He could line up in a split backfield with LeSean McCoy. I don’t expect him to steal many carries away from LeSean McCoy. He’ll have a specialty role that I think will have him on the field for 10-15 plays a game depending on how much they feel his talents can take advantage of that week’s opponent.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills where is Corey Graham on the depth chart? Also hearing a lot about the db outta southern cal, are you as impressed?

kevin dammeyer@dammeyer12

CB: Graham is the starting SS and has performed well throughout camp. Duke Williams has been paired with him the last couple of weeks with Aaron Williams sidelined with his concussion. As for Kevon Seymour, yes he has been impressive. At 6-0 185 he’s got good size for the position and his movement skills are strong.

He’s been running mainly as a second team cornerback with veteran Corey White behind Gilmore and Darby. But he was also used as the first team nickel corner in the slot when Nickell Robey-Coleman went out with injury. Seymour has performed admirably and is threatening to be the third corner on this team behind Pro Bowl caliber players in Darby and Gilmore.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills How much of an uptick in passing volume do you think is coming from Tyrod?

Adam Pfeifer@APfeifer24

CB: I asked this exact question of Greg Roman and his answer was understandably vague since he doesn’t want Buffalo’s opponents getting any idea as to what their plans are for this fall.

Last season the Bills were 31st in the league in pass attempts per game at 27.1. They also led the league in rush attempts. I think there will be a slight shift, but Buffalo is not going to abandon what worked extraordinarily well last year.

So the answer is yes, but not to a great degree. Maybe Buffalo averages 30-32 pass attempts per game. If God forbid LeSean McCoy is injured and out for a few games then I think the pass attempts could jump higher.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-12

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2016 – 11:05 am

We’re on the cusp of preseason game number one for the Bills as they host the Colts Saturday night at 7 pm at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is Aaron Williams’ injury potentially serious? If so, how long would he miss?

@kevinwh1te3

CB: We do not yet know the severity of Williams’ injury sustained at practice Thursday night. He was being evaluated for a possible concussion. We hope to learn more soon, but I think this all but guarantees he will not see any action at safety Saturday night.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills

How has Aaron Williams looked in camp so far?

@JaredBailey23

CB: Williams has admitted that he is taking the path back to full contact slowly coming off his neck surgery. Unfortunately Thursday night’s collision happened without him having any choice as to how involved he wanted to be.

He’s trying to be that leader in the secondary while also balancing the aggressiveness of his play on the field. It cannot be an easy task for him. So hopefully he comes out of the collision with Dez Lewis without suffering a major setback in his road back to full contact play.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you get tired of fans and media having a short rope with GMs and coaches?

@FitzCT

CB: I have been covering this team for the entire playoff drought and then some. I recognize and understand the frustration of Bills fans. They just want a winner, and they’re at the point where patience has run out and if they don’t think a GM or coach is capable of getting the team to the postseason they don’t want to wait around another year to see if the fortunes will change.

But in the NFL time and again it has been proven that continuity pays off more often than not. And constant change does not. Fortunately the Pegulas despite being young in the NFL ownership business understand this. So I anticipate them staying the course beyond this year.

Does that mean they’ll be satisfied if the team doesn’t reach the postseason in 2016? Absolutely not. They want to win, badly. And for that matter so does Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How confident are you in the safety depth behind A. Williams and C. Graham?

@Seeairuhyo

CB: While I am encouraged by what I’ve seen from Robert Blanton in the practice setting and improved play from Jonathan Meeks, whose career has been interrupted by injuries, I need to see more in the preseason before I can feel comfortable with what the Bills have behind the two incumbent starters at safety.

Things look good on the practice field, but I want to see it translate to the game field for some hard evidence that the Bills are going to be okay there beyond their starters.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Hey Chris, if the Bills are in fact able to extend Taylor, would you expect Gilmore to get tagged if no deal is done? #Bills

@Josh_McCarty28

CB: Under your hypothetical situation the Bills could make use of the tag if necessary. Really the franchise tag would only buy the Bills some time in keeping Gilmore on the roster. Common ground ultimately has to be reached if Gilmore is to stay here long term.

I think Buffalo will have to be very creative to make a long term deal palatable to Gilmore in light of where the cornerback market has gone this offseason. Hopefully the Darius Slay deal with Detroit helps stabilize the going rate a bit more.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-29

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2016 – 11:17 am

Training camp is here Bills fans! The wait is over! Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Worst case scenario, if something were to happen to/with Preston Brown, who would be responsible for relaying or making the defensive calls? Is that player currently being coached or taught to fill in if necessary? Will that player be afforded  the opportunity to make the defensive calls during the preseason games, or are we just supposed to hope that everything works out ok without any problems?
Dr. Dennis

CB: I believe if it’s early in the season Zach Brown would be a primary candidate to step in and run things. If it’s later in the year Brown is probably still the first man in, but rookie Reggie Ragland might be ready at that point to run things. Teams always have backup options.

 

2 – Chris,
How about bringing in Jake Long for training camp for RT where we need help desperately. Any chance of that happening in your opinion? Long appears healthy and if he doesn’t work out then they could release him.

Rick

CB: I don’t anticipate that happening. Long was most recently talking with the Ravens in the wake of the retirement of Eugene Monroe, but reports indicate that Long’s knee is not fit to pass a physical. I think with Seantrel Henderson working his way back from his medical condition the Bills feel they have options.

 

3 – Chris,

Given the Bills are playing Ragland and Brown inside, what role is there for Zach Brown? If teams spread out on passing downs having both on the field would leave the Bills at a disadvantage having two ‘thumpers’. Zach Brown is a better coverage LB than the other two. How will he fit into the defense, considering the similarity of Preston and Reggie’s skill set and the need for coverage LB’s?

Josh

CB: Right now Zach Brown is the third inside linebacker. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Zach Brown stepped onto the field in subpackages for coverage assignments. One of the faster linebackers in the league, Zach Brown would be a good fit against backs and most tight ends on passing downs. That’s where I see his role for Buffalo this year.
4 – Hi Chris,

Any information when/where night practice tickets will be available ?

Thanks
Don Palmere

CB: Here’s where you can find all your night practice info.

 
5 – Hi, Chris.

The Bills lost some depth across the board to free agency, but I think especially in the secondary this year, and I was wondering who are the depth players going to be in the secondary this year.

Thanks,
Ian

CB: I think there is depth at both cornerback and safety with a host of options who have NFL experience at both positions.

Among the candidates who figure to man roles who don’t figure to be starters barring a huge training camp and preseason are players like CB Corey White, CB Sterling Moore, S Jonathan Meeks, S Robert Blanton, S Colt Anderson, S Duke Williams, CB Kevon Seymour and CB Mario Butler. There are others battling too like Jonathan Dowling, Sammy Seamster, Phillip Thomas and Javier Arenas.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-22

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 11:39 am

Only a week until training camp opens Bills fans. We’ll be covering it all for you here on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If the Bush ship sails, any chance that Rex gives Ray Rice his last chance?

@GraysonTumult

CB: I really can’t see that happening. With such a greater focus on domestic violence in the NFL these days, which includes a league wide ad campaign to raise awareness on the subject, I can’t see Buffalo taking that kind of step.

Last year’s training camp should serve as a perfect example on the likelihood of that happening. All five running backs on Buffalo’s training camp roster were all injured at the same time last summer and Ray Rice was not brought in. I don’t see that changing if Reggie Bush elects to sign and play elsewhere.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think the Bills pass on signing Gilmore if Kevon Seymour has a great preseason?

@ZWinterberg

CB: While I think your question is a valid one, I believe the likelihood of signing Gilmore to a long term extension has more to do with the market value of top flight cornerbacks than it does with how well Kevon Seymour comes along in the preseason.

I think they’d like to return Gilmore to the fold long term, but the state of the cornerback market might not allow it.

As I’ve stated more than once on this very page, the Josh Norman deal completely turned the market value at cornerback on its ear. Getting $15M per season from Washington after his franchise tag was rescinded by Carolina threw the cornerback market completely out of whack.

If a zone corner can get $15M/yr. then upcoming free agents like Stephon Gilmore who play almost exclusively man-to-man will likely see getting that much or probably more as fair market value. I’m confident the Bills are not going to enter the $15M/yr. territory.

Could I see the Bills going $12.5M/yr. like the Giants free agent deal for Janoris Jenkins this spring?

Yes.

Would that be enough for Gilmore?

I think it would need to have a lot more guaranteed money than Jenkins’ $28.8M has in his contract for it to happen.

The Norman deal unfortunately could push negotiations between the Bills and Gilmore into an area where Buffalo could potentially be fiscally irresponsible as it pertains to the rest of their roster. And the Bills probably won’t, and should not, do that.

I think if Seymour performs well in the preseason it only helps the Bills front office breathe a bit easier should they reach an impasse with the Gilmore camp on a new contract. At least then they would feel like they have a promising prospect in the pipeline to eventually replace Gilmore in 2017 if all hope is lost on a Gilmore extension.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With suspensions and off field stuff at RB, do you anticipate McCoy being very limited through camp and preseason?

@rockydm92

CB: I think the plan all along was to limit LeSean McCoy’s workload through training camp and the preseason. It has less to do with the recent suspension of Karlos Williams and DUI arrest of Jonathan Williams, and more to do with what happened last summer at training camp.

After sustaining his hamstring injury, McCoy was not the same player for the 2015 season. He was still very good, but not the game breaking talent that has made him one of the most dynamic backs in the league.

The Bills want to ensure they have the game breaking McCoy in their offensive backfield come September, so the plan all along was to pace McCoy. Give him enough work where he’s ready for the regular season, but not so much that he runs the risk of injury or going into the season hobbled.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills would Donald Trump still be able to run for president if he succeeded in purchasing the team?

@JLasher10

CB: Based on what I’ve been able to uncover with respect to executive branch government employees and conflicts of interest, there are ethics rules that require them to divest themselves of stock or property only if they are appointed to their positions (e.g. Secretary of the Treasury). Trump however, would be holding an elected position so those rules would not apply to him.

So not having an expert background by any means on government employee bylaws it appears he can continue as CEO and President of his Trump organization while also serving as President of the United States were he elected.

So if his business holdings included ownership of an NFL team that would appear to be permissible as well.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

How was John Miller looking through OTAs?

@JustinWestfall

CB: Keeping in mind that Miller as an offensive lineman is not playing real football in the spring practices as it pertains to his playing duties (full contact blocking) it’s hard to provide you with a true picture of how he performed on the field. That being said I can tell you that Miller has benefitted from an offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning program as opposed to prepping for the NFL Combine and pre-draft workouts.

I just think he’s the kind of player that will make quality advances in his game as a second-year player based on the 12 games of experience he got last year. Keep in mind also that he played most of last season injured with a high-ankle sprain. Now that he’s healthy it’ll be interesting to see how he can perform when he’s 100 percent.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-15

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2016 – 12:03 pm

After a two week vacation Fan Friday returns. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills who is the starting RT, nickel corner, how far apart are gilmore and organization on new agreement?

@ZachDrohweder

CB: The favorite going into camp for the starting right tackle spot is Jordan Mills. Seantrel Henderson has to prove he’s healthy and capable of practicing day in and day out if he’s going to try to win the job back. Cyrus Kouandjio has an uphill battle in front of him to unseat one of them for a starting role.

Nickell Robey is the incumbent and favorite to keep the nickel job, but he’ll have big time competition from Sterling Moore. Corey White is another corner who may factor in there, but Moore will likely be his stiffest competition inside.

As for Gilmore there is no new developments at this point, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change in the next couple of weeks. As has been stated before, the deal Washington handed Josh Norman ($15M/yr) threw the entire cornerback market out of whack. It’s inflated the market beyond where it was expected to be right now and has NFL clubs with top corners concerned they won’t be able to keep them under contract due to where the market was set with the Norman deal.

Norman is largely a zone corner and got paid $15M per year. Players like Gilmore, a man-to-man corner arguably have a tougher job than Norman and are probably expecting at least that much. If Gilmore holds fast to a $15M/yr. contract demand there’s likely to be no new agreement anytime soon. I can’t see the Bills going that high.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Does Jonathan Williams chances take a big hit because of his lapse in judgement? I am really disappointed.

@GraysonTumult

CB: I’m sure the Bills coaching staff is disappointed too after all the encouraging signs they saw from the rookie running back in minicamp. I felt he had a legitimate chance of being the team’s backup to LeSean McCoy. He’ll still be able to compete for that role at training camp, so I don’t know how big a hit this DUI charge will have in terms of where he ends up on the running back depth chart.

Williams’ DUI charges will now be handled in the courts. If he’s found guilty a first offense under the NFL’s revised policy (2014) for DUI will result in a two-game suspension. Based on informed NFL sources that suspension stands a good chance of being imposed at some point during the 2016 regular season.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills where do you think the Bills will rank defensively now that Rex has more guys who supposedly fit his system?

@BenLebo

CB: If everything goes according to plan with Ryan’s more traditional 3-4 scheme, the starting lineup stay relatively healthy and rookies like Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington contribute as expected and Shaq Lawson can be back in time to play more than half the season (10 games?) then I think this defense can flirt with being a top 10 unit again.

Granted those are a lot of variables I listed, but the key here is they feel they’ve greatly improved the coaching staff on that side of the ball with DL coach John Blake, Asst. secondary coach Ed Reed and Assistant head coach Rob Ryan. I think the players on defense also learned a very hard lesson last season when they did not fully buy into Rex’s system. So I believe the motivation will be there to redeem themselves after a down season.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills who’s your sleeper going into training camp to make a big impact, possibly start?

Paul catalano@pfc322

CB: I don’t know about sleepers that will start, but I think Dez Lewis could challenge for the No. 3 WR role. He’s really come on entering his second season and had a solid spring. I think Blake Annen is a tight end candidate who could be Charles Clay’s understudy from a pass catching perspective even though vet Jim Dray is the designated blocking TE. And I think with a strong camp rookie Kevon Seymour could be one of the first corners off the bench if there’s an injury to Gilmore or Darby during the season.

I outlined some top sleepers in our Camp Countdown this week.

 

5 – Chris,

Can you give an update on how Kolby Listenbee looks and his chances to make the roster? He has the straight line speed that no one on the roster has but is raw in his routes. I don’t expect him to win the 3rd WR job but is his long term potential and ability to stretch the field make him have more value than some others? Is he a special teams guy either as gunner/returner?

Josh

CB: Listenbee was very limited in the spring coming off double sports hernia surgery. That was followed by an inflamed pelvis. He’s been here at One Bills Drive since minicamp working to complete all his rehab and get medically cleared. At this point I’m not sure it’s going to happen by training camp. His rehab has had some peaks and valleys.

There’s no debating his playmaking potential knowing his straight line speed is world class, and he figures to be an option on kick returns. It all depends on whether he’s cleared medically to participate when training camp opens.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-24

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2016 – 11:24 am

The offseason break for the players is underway. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for your tireless work on covering the Bills! Here is my question. Will the Bills be able to carry Seantrel Henderson on the Non Football Injury list, while he is attempting to gain his strength, build his weight back up and determine if he can resume his football career? This will open a roster spot for the team through camp and maybe beyond.

CB: Yes, the non-football injury list is an option for Buffalo with Henderson should your scenario prove to be the case come training camp. Henderson was at 306 during minicamp when he was doing workouts in the weight room on his own in practices. He wants to get up to 325 to 330 pounds when he’s back playing again. We’ll know if the five and a half weeks between now and training camp proves to be enough time for him to accomplish that. If not, the NFI list would seem to be a distinct possibility.

 

2 – Chris,

I’m curious if you think P Colton Schmidt had trouble holding for K Dan Carpenter last season?  In his interview with Brian Moorman he mentioned how difficult it was for him to hold kicks, since he never did it in college.  Is it possible the chemistry wasn’t there between the FG kicker and the holder, and the unit suffered as a result?

Thanks,
Ed

CB:
I give Schmidt a lot of credit for being so honest. There were at least two misses for Carpenter last season that I recall which could’ve been attributed to a less than ideal hold by the Bills punter. One was because the snap was off line and there wasn’t enough to get the ball down and spin the laces out, though I can’t remember the game. On the whole though I felt Schmidt acquitted himself well on holds.

I felt the chemistry was pretty solid between the two with the operation of the kick. I expect it to be even better this year based on what I saw in the spring practices.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think that the defense can make it back to a top tier defense in the NFL?
Troy Davis

CB: This is one of the questions we intend to address during our Camp Countdown, which commences on July 4th. I think there are a host of reasons Buffalo’s defense has a chance to be a top 10 unit again. Much of the talent is still on this roster from the last two times they finished in the top 10 (2013, 2014).

They have upgraded their defensive coaching ranks with the addition of Rob Ryan, John Blake and Ed Reed.

Fixtures in the middle of their defense are healthy again (Aaron Williams, Kyle Williams). Rookie additions look poised to make an impact early (Ragland, Washington and eventually Lawson). And no longer is Ryan trying to blend his proven defensive scheme with elements of Jim Schwartz’s scheme that some players clung to in 2015.

 

4 – Chris,

Thanks for keeping those of us on the away team up on how our Bills are doing.

I haven’t heard anything about Nick O’Leary since the one game last year. What’s the story?

Thanks again for all you do.
Go Bills
Ken Remington

CB: O’Leary is a tight end who didn’t see quite as much action in the spring practices as other tight ends battling for the No. 2 job behind Charles Clay. Blake Annen, who we profiled on Buffalobills.com recently and Chris Gragg got the most work after Clay during the team periods of practice. Both run well and offer more size and athleticism than O’Leary. What O’Leary needs to do is highlight his versatility as much as possible when put in a move tight end role or H-back set.

With true fullbacks on the roster though that task may prove difficult. It’s clear the offensive staff was giving Annen and Gragg most of the reps after Clay. Jim Dray is the clear blocking tight end for this offense. So O’Leary has to have a strong camp to outperform one of the other tight ends and stick.

 

5 – Chris,

The Bills just signed another FA RB??  With the uncertainly at both the RG & RT positions, and almost NO depth to provide any real backup for either position, Whaley is worried about RB’s. Wait until there is a injury to the OL. The Bills need to get their act together in a hurry.  What say you??

Fan in TN

CB: After taking a breath you probably saw the main reason Boom Herron was signed as a free agent. Karlos Williams weight gain and lack of availability in the practice setting was the main reason. Without him taking reps, it would’ve put additional strain on the backs still healthy.

After watching five running backs go down to injury last summer at training camp at the same time, I think you could understand why they made the move.

Offensive line has some depth. Granted none of them are household names, but there’s a veteran C/G in Fernando Velasco, a backup guard in Ryan Groy. Cyril Richardson is still on the roster after serving on the practice squad last year.

I respect the concern for a lack of depth. Undrafted rookies usually aren’t the answer for depth in a win now type of season. I think early in camp if it’s obvious their young depth players aren’t coming along I expect they’ll address things up front.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-17

Posted by Chris Brown on June 17, 2016 – 11:36 am

Spring practices have come to a close. Just six weeks until training camp. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Has Dez Lewis secured a place on the roster? And does he have any exp of kick/punt returning? #bills

Dave G@freshie1975

CB: We will have a feature story on Dez Lewis this Monday on how he has advanced his game entering his second season. I think if Lewis continues on his current path he will undoubtedly be on the 53-man roster. But what he did in the spring has to continue in training camp when the pads go on, especially for a 6-4 receiver like Lewis. In fact Lewis’ game should go up another notch knowing how he can assert his physicality on the field. Hopefully that proves to be the case. As I wrote today in ‘What we learned about the Bills in offseason practices’ he has the inside track on the No. 3 receiver role.

His punt/kick return experience is minimal. He had just two punt returns in college and no kick returns.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills how serious is Karlos’s weight issue. Have Gilislee and J Williams over taken him in terms of a roster spot#bills

Dave G@freshie1975

CB: There is no debating that Karlos has a formidable task in front of him. He has so much weight to lose that Rex Ryan said this week that getting him back to his playing weight by the start of training camp might be too much in too short a period of time.

His weight loss has to come in stages. So in late July when players report it’s unlikely that Williams will be at his playing weight of 230 pounds. Depending on what his report weight is Williams practice regimen could be limited to avoid the risk of injury. When you’re carrying excess weight, especially at a position like running back you’re risk of injury increases significantly, with hamstrings being the most susceptible to problems.

So I would expect a similar approach early in camp with Williams where he’s doing individual position drill work and then going to the side to work with the strength and conditioning staff to continue to shed weight.

As for the running back pecking order, it’s clear that the offensive staff is high on Jonathan Williams. In minicamp with LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury keeping him out of team work and Karlos Williams weight keeping him out of team work, Jonathan Williams was first in the rotation at the position followed by Mike Gillislee.

Jonathan Williams has a lot of the same physical skills of Karlos Williams. If Karlos Williams’ weight loss process last into the preseason I think it’s very possible that Jonathan Williams is your backup running back and Gillislee remains the third back as he was last season.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think Kyle Williams will be more effective in a shared rotational role with Adolphus Washington?

i carn’t spel@NickTheCrowe

CB: I believe that Kyle Williams will still be a starter on this defensive line in 2016. Will he play as many snaps as Marcell Dareus or Adolphus Washington? Probably not. But I expect him to start at right defensive end next to Dareus and kick inside at times on obvious passing downs. Washington will man left defensive end with Dareus on the nose.

It’s my belief that Williams is still a very effective and productive player even at 33-years old. I suppose we won’t know for sure until we see how he looks in training camp in return from a bad knee injury that required surgery. But most seem to forget this guy is a four-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman. He’s a grinder. So I don’t see a rotational role for him unless that knee injury robbed him of his trademark explosiveness off the snap.

 

4 – Chris,

Does it concern you that Rex is simplifying his scheme to appease his players?  It concerns me that we won’t be running the same system that has such a long track record of success, because players aren’t smart enough to pick it up.  How did the Jets defense pick it up in the first year, but here we are in year two in Buffalo and they have to simplify the checks.  Not very encouraging.  Maybe this team needs to put a greater premium on intelligence, like Belichick does; you have to be a college graduate to be a Patriot.

Mike S.

CB: After talking to Preston Brown about that very thing I’m not concerned. I asked Brown directly as to whether the defensive scheme has been pared down. He said the only part of the defense that has been “altered slightly” (his words) is there aren’t quite as many pre-snap checks on certain down and distances. Otherwise Ryan’s defensive scheme is largely the same.

The key difference this year is Ryan is no longer blending elements of the old Jim Schwartz scheme from 2014. Rex tried to blend elements of Schwartz’s successful scheme in 2014 with his own as an olive branch to the defensive players who were successful and productive in that system. By midseason he knew it was a mistake.

So going into this season it’s Ryan’s more traditional 3-4 system that has a proven track record in this league for 15-plus years. What’s more the players have completely committed themselves to learning the scheme. So I would not be concerned about the effectiveness of Rex’s scheme. I think it will work with a lot more success this season for the reasons mentioned above.

 

5 – Dear Chris:

Thank you for all of your coverage that you do on the Bills day after day, hope you continue the game day chat box, very helpful.

My question is regarding Shaq Lawson; is there a timetable for his return as of yet? What for surgery/operation was done on his shoulder? Could he potentially miss the start of the regular season and most of training camp, as reports I have read so far have indicated, or could he potentially rehab his heart out in time to make the end of training camp, as shoulder injuries can take time to heal. This is very much concerning me as I have not much info on how long it could be until he gets back to full health.

Sincerely
John from Pennsylvania

CB: I think the most important thing is that Shaq’s surgery was successful. Now the rehab process begins, but rehabbing from this procedure is going to take time, typically four months or more knowing each case is different. So I believe it’s likely that Lawson misses training camp and the preseason. The team has stated he’s also likely to miss the early stages of the regular season.

What benefits the Bills coaching staff is they have time to adjust their plans for the loss of Lawson from their defensive lineup. It’s reasonable to believe he’ll be good to go for at least the second half of the season. At what point in the first half of the season he returns is a timetable that can’t be pinned down until he’s further along in the rehab process.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-10

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2016 – 12:07 pm

OTAs are done, minicamp is next and then it’s just six weeks until training camp. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills who do you think is going to be our rookie of the year?

Leah Fallesen@LeahCF

CB: I think the player who has the best opportunity to be rookie of the year is Reggie Ragland. With Shaq Lawson expected to miss a portion of the regular season coming off shoulder surgery it removes him as a likely candidate. Then add in the fact that Ragland is a recognized name from his widespread exposure at Alabama and that he’ll be playing a position where he can rack up a lot of statistics, and I believe the opportunity is good for Ragland’s play to stand out.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see Sterling Moore as the nickel corner or will Robey keep his spot?

@JaredBailey23

CB: I certainly believe that Moore will be some of Robey’s stiffest competition. His time in the slot to this point has been somewhat limited, though I did see him line up there for a handful of snaps in the open practice session this week.

Moore does have a size advantage on Robey at that role (who doesn’t), but Robey has near perfect technique. He has to otherwise he’s not playing in the NFL. I know the coaching staff like Robey a lot, so I think Moore would have to clearly outplay him to unseat him from that role.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills what receiver has stood out in OTA’s.

@Richkay71

CB: The receiver that has stood out the most has been second-year man Dez Lewis. He’s made a lot of plays. Now Robert Woods has made a ton of plays too in the OTAs, but I think Lewis is the biggest surprise. Lewis has added good lean muscle mass to his 6-4 frame and has not only demonstrated good ability to win on passes in traffic, but has also shown the ability to get separation. He can thank his improved route running for that.

He’ll have legitimate competition in veterans like Jarrett Boykin, Greg Little and Leonard Hankerson, but so far so good for Lewis in trying to nail down a role in Buffalo’s receiving corps.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills who do you think will get the punt/kick return duties for 2016 #bills

@freshie1975

CB: There are a few candidates as seems to be the case every year, but the names have changed. CB  Javier Arenas and WR Walter Powell have seen the most consistent work on returns. It’s safe to say that Marquise Goodwin and Kolby Listenbee will be given opportunities on kick return when available just based on pure speed.

I think Listenbee is a good bet for kick return. Punt return is a bit tougher to call only because both Arenas and Powell will be fighting for roster spots and the job may ultimately fall to someone else, like perhaps Robert Woods who has plenty of return experience.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance Colin Kaepernick ends up in Buffalo?

@JCMcVitty

CB: I’d be a bit surprised if Kaepernick winds up in Buffalo. I realize a lot of people are trying to connect dots knowing that Kaepernick had his greatest success in the NFL under Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Unless the 49ers are giving Kaepernick away and want to cover part of his salary, I don’t believe Buffalo takes a run at him.

The main reason is his $11.9M cap figure. Knowing a Stephon Gilmore extension is a priority for the Bills and that an extension for Tyrod Taylor is likely if he performs as expected I can’t see Kaepernick making much business.

The other reason I could see the Bills not being interested is Buffalo finally has some stability at the quarterback position with Tyrod Taylor as its starter. Adding Kaepernick would bring some uncertainty to the position in terms of depth chart hierarchy. If for some reason Taylor struggled in a game or two and Kaepernick was on the roster, fans would be calling to insert him into the lineup.

Most importantly I don’t know that the Bills or any other NFL club is convinced that Kaepernick would make them decidedly better at the quarterback position. His effectiveness as a quarterback has suffered the last couple of seasons. Kaepernick’s career stats are better than Manuel’s, but his completion percentage is largely the same as EJ.

I get the argument that his game could potentially be revitalized under Roman, but unless you can get him for cheap in terms of compensation and at a severely reduced salary (something Kaepernick has balked at before) I don’t know that it’s a reclamation project I’d be interested in. Whether the Bills are interested would largely hinge on what Roman believes he could accomplish with him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-3

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2016 – 11:40 am

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

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Where has Lavar Edwards lined up? OLB or DE?

Brett Triplett @BrettsterBills

CB: Edwards has lined up exclusively at defensive end through the OTA practices. I think while Edwards has the ideal height to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 system at 6-4, it’s apparent that Buffalo’s defensive coaches believe they have other options with better coverage skills to play that position. Plus Edwards is built in such a way where he can hold the edge in the run game pretty effectively as I see it. So where they have him lined up makes sense to me at this stage.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills how big of a role will Jonathan Williams have year one?

Mark Sciubba @MarkSciubbaDoe

CB: As I mentioned in a blog post earlier this week, I think Jonathan Williams can give Karlos Williams a run for his money as the backup behind LeSean McCoy. Watching his game tape from Arkansas the thing that impresses me most is his contact balance. Just the way he bounces off that initial tackler almost every time and keeps his legs churning for extra yards. I think his thick build fools opponents into thinking he’s just a downhill runner.

He can do that, but he’s also got some elusiveness and speed to pull away from people. Now he’s probably not outrunning some of the faster safeties in the league should he reach the secondary on a play, but he knows angles and has a more diversified skill set than people realize.

The last thing about him is he’s a driven person. He handles adversity very well so I think the challenge of Greg Roman’s voluminous playbook won’t be much of a hurdle for him. That should lead to competent and consistent play and will enable him to push for a bigger role than some might be anticipating from him in 2016.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills Which players are poised to become major team leaders this upcoming season?

Matt Williams @SportingGlasses

CB: I would put players like Preston Brown in that category as well as Sammy Watkins. Those two have embraced the added responsibility of leading not only by example, but vocally as well. In my mind Tyrod Taylor became a major leader last season.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will continue to move Sammy around like they did vs the Jets? Or do u think its game plan specific?

@Jiillyy

CB: While the opponent is always a factor in how offenses make use of their most dangerous weapons, I would anticipate moving Sammy Watkins around to continue. It makes him harder to track, thereby making it more difficult for opposing defensive coordinators to stick to a specific plan designed to neutralize him.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills where do you think eric striker fits on this defense if he makes the team?

Ser Davos Seaworth @matt_faso

CB: I think inside linebacker is the only place where he can line up in this scheme. He’s not tall enough to play out on the edge at outside linebacker. If he makes the 53-man roster, knowing how effective he was as a pass rusher I wouldn’t be surprised if he was utilized in some subpackages as an overload rusher off the edge in obvious passing situations.

But he’s going to make this roster because he’s an impact player on special teams, which I believe is certainly in the realm of possibility.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-27

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2016 – 11:28 am

Week one of OTAs is in the books. Week 2 gets underway Tuesday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris

Thanks for all you do to keep us Bills fans informed! My question is about extending Gilmore and Tyrod. With Gilmore being under contract under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, if he and the Bills were able to strike a long term deal this offseason, does that work like the franchise tag where his new deal would replace his current contract, or is this year’s salary set in stone and they can only negotiate an extension for next year and beyond?

If it is an extension that doesn’t impact his present salary for this season, how would that work with his signing bonus? Would a prorated portion count against the cap this year? Same thing with Tyrod, if the team signed him to an extension so they could keep him at his low salary for this season, if the extension were signed this offseason, would there be any impact on this season’s salary cap from his signing bonus if his salary doesn’t change? Thanks!

CB: New long term deals typically replace the existing one. The club usually does this to more effectively spread out the amortized portions of the contract (e.g. signing bonus). On occasion teams will tack on an extension to the current year, but it’s uncommon.

2 – Chris

Can you give us more insight into UDFA Justin Zimmer. He was the fastest/quickest/strongest tackle in this year’s draft with something like 86 tackles, 13 sacks, 26 tfl, and 4 ff’s.  This kid should have been drafted just based on his measurables alone.  44 Reps/4.85 40 with outstanding short shuttle and 3 cone times- Are you kidding me?  Mo Boehringer got drafted on pure potential and this kid is way more experienced than him, even at Ferris St.  Can Coach Blake morph this kid into the next Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins?  With Adolphus Washington we really strengthened the interior D.

John

CB: One reason why Zimmer went undrafted is because he has short arms. While this might sound ridiculous these are parts of the player measurables that carry weight especially when it comes to line play. If you can’t keep offensive linemen from getting into your chest then you’ll have problems making plays.

Now Zimmer to his credit was ultra-productive at the FCS level. He’s quick and agile and obviously powerful and he’s a hustler. To say he could be the next Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins is a stretch. That being said he’ll be interesting to watch when the pads go on in camp.
3 – Chris,

Last year’s defense was a disappointment. Veteran players could not fully adapt to this complicated front seven scheme then play at a high level. Also, expectations turned out to be unrealistically high.

Is there any way 3 rookies can leap to the NFL, play in this same defensive front, simplified or not, and have success? Or do we need to start managing expectations now to avoid more disappointment?

Thanks,
Ron
CB: First, I’m going to tell you that in this first week of OTAs the players admitted they assumed with an accomplished defensive coach coming in the door that they just expected to be just as good as they were the year before and did not put the required time in to master the defense. Just about every place Rex Ryan has been his players have never had a problem absorbing and implementing the defensive system he employs. They’ve never had a problem playing fast.

Buffalo’s players pretty much acknowledged that a lot of their shortcomings last season were on them because they didn’t buy into the system. That’s changed now, so I’d be interested to see how well they can play in this defense with the talent they have on hand.

Now will it be an adjustment for the three top draft choices? Probably, but their talent will help to carry them until they do have it all down pat. Additionally all three draft choices are workers and committed to being great. Those are all encouraging signs. As we all know the proof will be in the results on the field.

 

4 – Hey Chris ,
Do you think the Bills have any interest in trading for Sam Bradford ? Personally I think he has had a pretty raw deal since entering the league, his first three seasons the Rams had nobody really legit to play with on offense except for Danny Amendola , he tore his acl twice and the Eagles were a mess to begin with before he got there, Buffalo has a lot of good players on offense right now I would be really curious to see who would win the starting job between Taylor and Bradford, thank you.

Alexander, Toronto


CB:
I’d be surprised if the Bills pursue something like this if in fact Bradford is offered up again. The biggest question facing this team is whether or not they have a franchise quarterback. That won’t be answered if you add another QB to the mix. They should stick with Tyrod Taylor this season and see what kind of step forward he can make.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Didn’t the Bills defense want to be the ‘85 bears last year?

Joe gnozzo @joegnozzo51

CB: I don’t think the bar was ever set that high. From a scheme perspective that wasn’t the plan either. Rex’s defense does have some 46 principles to it, but the biggest issue in terms of scheme in 2015 was Ryan’s attempt to blend some of the successful concepts of the team’s 2014 system that helped them finish fourth in the NFL with his own scheme.

The blend did not work by Ryan’s own admission by midseason and the unit never recovered when they tried to eliminate that in season.

This year they’re going to be more of a traditional 3-4 and play strictly Ryan’s defensiv


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-20

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 12:18 pm

Bills OTAs get rolling on Monday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why haven’t Bills looked at Anquan Boldin as he seems to fit what they need a WR. Thanks!

BC72 @bchud1972

CB: I think there could be a number of issues at play here. First, Boldin, though productive last season (69 rec. 789 yds, 4 TDs) is 35-years old. Second, and probably more important is the Bills are probably in a position where they could only offer a veteran receiver the league minimum, and with Boldin a 10-plus year player he would cost $985K. As accomplished as Boldin is I don’t know if he would play a 14th NFL season for that.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Bills have any interest in Dwight Freeney or Greg Hardy?

joseph tadak @jt9591

CB: I don’t see Greg Hardy as a realistic option due to his off the field issues. No one else seems all that interested either. I understand fans trying to connect the dots to a veteran to fill the potential void left by Shaq Lawson’s surgery, which will probably keep him out for a portion of the first half of the season.

I wonder how much of a commitment the Bills would want to make to a stop gap solution. If they were to sign Freeney and he was on the roster beyond Week 1 his contract would be guaranteed even if they released him once Lawson returned to the roster.

I don’t know if that’s a good call for someone who would be a part-time player (pass rush specialist).

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see Gilmore or Taylor getting extended before season, during season, or after if at all?

Grayson Tumult @GraysonTumult

CB: I believe the likelihood of a new deal for Gilmore before/during the season is greater than Taylor. The reason why is the Bills probably want to see Taylor take the next step in his development during the season. Then if they have to back up the Brinks truck to keep him after the season is over, so be it.

The reason Gilmore’s deal will probably take a bit longer is because Washington threw the whole cornerback market out of whack with their contract for Josh Norman ($15M/yr.) after Carolina rescinded his franchise tag, making him a free agent.

With Norman at age 28 getting $15M per year and he’s largely a zone coverage corner, it makes it difficult for Buffalo to negotiate with Gilmore’s camp when he’s 27 and plays a more demanding role at corner as he’s often in man-to-man.

I think top 10 cornerback money is realistic for Gilmore. Top five money might be a different story, and if the Gilmore camp is looking for that it could make for a longer negotiation.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any real worries with Watkins foot? Similar to Dez foot injury that kept him out all year?

jason plunkett @j_plunk

CB: First, Dez Bryant did not miss the whole year. He injured the foot in Week 1 and missed the next six weeks. The Cowboys rushed him back and he struggled through the rest of the season, but suited up and played in eight of the last nine games.

I expect the Bills to go to school on how things played out with Bryant and Julian Edelman for that matter, who also needed a second surgery because he came back too soon in the playoffs.

I’m not a doctor, but based on what I’ve read, Watkins’ Jones fracture, a common injury for NFL wide receivers, usually takes longer to heal (8-12 weeks) than most fractures (six weeks) because the blood supply to that area of the foot isn’t as good as other parts of the body. That’s why the surgery has a screw inserted in that area to promote the healing of the bone.

The Cowboys tried to get Bryant back in six weeks and it was too soon. That’s why I think even though Sammy Watkins will be right around the 12-week mark at the start of training camp I would not expect to see him do much of anything on the field until the second full week of camp at the earliest.

And even then it will be a slow and steady process. Yes, reps with his quarterback are important, but most important is Watkins’ availability on Sundays in September. If the process is rushed risk of re-injury increases.

Being patient with a player of his caliber is difficult for fans, but the payoff is he’ll be less likely to run into future problems with the foot during the season.

 

5 – Chris,

Last year’s defense was a disappointment. Veteran players could not fully adapt to this complicated front seven scheme then play at a high level. Also, expectations turned out to be unrealistically high.

Is there any way 3 rookies can leap to the NFL, play in this same defensive front, simplified or not, and have success? Or do we need to start managing expectations now to avoid more disappointment?

Thanks,
Ron

CB: From what I have been able to gather Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman have reduced the number of checks pre-snap on defensive play calls for this season knowing the problem it presented last season. Whether they’ve found the happy balance between remaining unpredictable while allowing their players to play fast remains to be seen, but the effort was made to make execution of the defensive system easier for the players.

As for the rookies, Adolphus Washington’s position doesn’t require as much pre-snap adjustment as Reggie Ragland or Shaq Lawson. Ragland doesn’t have to run the defense, that will be on Preston Brown, but as GM Doug Whaley mentioned the scheme Ragland ran at Alabama is very similar to that of Buffalo’s defense. Ragland has said there’s a lot of carryover that’s a plus.

Lawson might have the toughest time adjusting knowing he’s likely to miss the offseason practices and some time in the first half of the season. Not having those physical reps could make it hard on the top pick to assimilate himself into the defense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-13

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2016 – 12:42 pm

It’s a special Friday the 13th edition of Fan Friday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills will the Bills bring in a 4th QB to compete for backup position?

Ace Jay Legend @BillsBacker77

CB: I am not anticipating a fourth quarterback coming in to compete. The main reason why is Cardale Jones needs as many reps as he can possibly get to develop consistent mechanics. From his drop backs to his throwing mechanics, Jones needs all the work he can get in the practice setting. If there’s a fourth quarterback here, every rep he takes is a rep that Jones doesn’t get.

With Jones being a long-term investment I can’t see the Bills bringing in a fourth QB, who is a long shot to make the roster anyway, taking reps away from Jones on the back end of the quarterback rotation in the practice setting.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the Bills taking listenbee in the draft how are the chances Goodwin makes the team?

Jared Bailey @JaredBailey23

CB: I think that’s a very valid question. There’s no denying that Listenbee’s speed rivals that of Goodwin. Listenbee also offers superior size and in watching his game tape is really good at tracking the deep ball. He’s coming off sports hernia surgery and also has inflammation of the pelvis, which will take time to heal.

Listenbee may not be getting physical reps in the practice setting until training camp, so unseating Goodwin for a roster spot might take longer than some might anticipate.

Goodwin has been given the freedom to pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympic team to try to compete in the long jump in Rio. If he makes the Olympic team it will cost him time in training camp with the Olympics taking place in August. I believe that will pose the biggest risk for Goodwin losing a roster spot than Listenbee’s presence on the roster.

There are no ‘seat saves’ in the NFL. That’s a crucial part of the NFL calendar to be missing time.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think the drafting of Washington means anything regarding Kyle Williams future with the team?

JBills32 @JLasher10

CB: If you’re asking whether Kyle’s roster spot could be in jeopardy because Washington is on the roster my answer is no. The plan right now is for Washington to be the team’s left defensive end, with Dareus at nose tackle and Kyle starting at right defensive end.

I don’t think it’s any secret that Kyle is on the back side of his career, but I think the Bills would like to get two more seasons out of him (2016 & 2017) as long as he’s interested in doing so.

The hidden additional value with Kyle is his leadership, which was sorely missed in the locker room last season when he went out in Week 6 with his knee injury (see: Mario Williams).

The addition of Washington should be seen as a complement to the games of Dareus and Williams, not a threat.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see the Bills making any FA/Trade moves along the right side of the offensive line?

Kevin @KevinMassare

CB: I don’t think you can ever rule out a possible move with Doug Whaley as GM. If it makes sense and improves the team he’s shown he’s willing to do it. I know Peter King reported last month that the 49ers would be interested in trading former first-round pick OT Anthony Davis, who chose to take a one-year sabbatical from football, and now wants to resume his NFL career.

A proven player who is just 26-years old would probably come at a high price, even after taking off a year. It would be interesting to see what the 49ers would be looking for in return, even though San Francisco GM Trent Baalke has told Davis that he is not interested in trading him.

His cap hit, if his old contract was re-instated, would be just over $5M for 2016, a bargain by most standards for a player of his caliber. But that’s where things could get sticky too. If he is going to be traded, must that team negotiate a new contract with him? A lot of potential hurdles there.

Besides him there are some veteran guard options out there, but I believe the Bills might play the wait and see game. I don’t believe there’s any sense of panic there. I think they feel good about what they have to work with.
5 – Chris,

How do you feel about the Bills 1st round pick considering who was available? Nkemdiche for example. I feel like it was a bit of a homer pick considering Rex wore a Clemson helmet to a press conference. Do you think he was on the top of our board or was Rex being Rex?

Great work as always Chris!  Thanks!

CB: As you saw in our Inside the Draft Room feature and video, the Bills never even thought Shaq Lawson would be available to them there at 19. They had him off the board by the 12th pick in their final stack of the board based on how they thought the first round would fall.

For them Lawson was a tremendous value there at 19. As for Nkemdiche, it was evident that his off the field concerns and on the field concerns were too much for a number of teams besides the Bills. Buffalo just parted ways with a player who did not give his best on the field for the last 10 weeks of last season in Mario Williams. Did you really think they would bring in another player with a history of similar play, especially with their first-round pick?

There was no way that was going to happen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-6

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2016 – 11:33 am

Time for post-draft analysis. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills with the drafting of Williams, can all 4 make the team? Or is he fighting Gillislee for a single spot?

Parasauralophus @lophus89

CB: I think all four could absolutely make the roster. I think Jonathan Williams is going to open some eyes very quickly at training camp. Talented kid with great feet for a downhill back.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills What Undrafted Free Agents do you see having the best chance of cracking the 53 man roster? Matt from England #Bills

Matt Swain @MSwain86

CB: I like LB Erik Striker’s athletic ability on the whole. Even though he’s making a position switch I think Rex and Rob Ryan find a way to find a role for him. Plus I think he can be a demon on special teams. I think G Jamison Lalk’s versatility could really help him. He’s played OT, G and C in his college career. I also like NT Justin Zimmer’s short area quickness, but we’ll see.

 

3 – Chris,

Thanks for all your efforts in keeping us diehard fans up to date.   My question is, with the issues Dan Carpenter had last year in missed extra points and field goals, do you foresee any change? It would be nice to have a player fill both roles for kick offs and field goals, extra points. Kickoffs surely are an important factor in keeping an opponent backed up and a whole field in front of them. But missing an extra point changes future decisions and you are usually down a point instead of tied.

Thanks for your insight.
Gary in Indianapolis

CB: While I understand your frustration with the extra point issues Carpenter had last year, if you look at his NFL track record I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills look at his 2015 season as an aberration. Now that being said the coaching staff isn’t turning a blind eye to what ailed Carpenter last season. Hopefully those days are behind him, but they did bring in an undrafted rookie free agent kicker in Georgia’s Marshall Morgan as competition.

We profiled Morgan’s college career earlier this week.

 

4 – Chris,
How do you feel about the Bills 1st round pick considering who was available? Nkemdiche for example. I feel like it was a bit of a homer pick considering Rex wore a Clemson helmet to a press conference. Do you think he was on the top of our board or was Rex being Rex?

Great work as always Chris!
Thanks!

GaynorGuarantee

CB: Having the privilege of being in the draft room I can assure you he was the top player available for them. As I covered in my Inside the Draft Room feature, the Bills thought he’d be gone in the first dozen picks. That’s how high they had him graded.

The Bills and just about every other team doesn’t let personal attachments affect draft grades. There’s too much investment involved to let that play a factor.


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills Thoughts on Slauson? Does he leave town? Lots of connections to Rex/Kromer. Can play across the line other than LT

Mavin @BillsFanNY

CB: I think the Bills would like to add him and they do have one open roster spot at this point. The money saved by signing Cordy Glenn to his big extension helps make that a greater possibility. Have to see what Slauson is willing to accept if he likes what his role would be, which at this point would be a backup. Not certain he’s ready to accept such a role.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-29

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 5:15 pm

Day two of the NFL draft. Right now the Bills hold the 49th and 80th picks. What do they do tonight? Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Hey Chris, who do you expect with be their at pick 49?

ryan marx 

CB: I think it’s hard to know what’s going to be left if the Bills stay put at 49 overall. If the value on defense keeps getting pushed down they could go on that side of the ball again. Players like Myles Jack, Reggie Ragland and Jarran Reed all figure to go early tonight in round two. But there’s still good talent after that like Kevin Dodd, A’Shawn Robinson and Kamalei Correa. On offense you’ve got Connor Cook, but he’ll probably go in the top two picks tonight.

I took a look at the best talent that’s on the board that might be a good fit for the Bills.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance bills trade up to select a top remaining linebacker?

Zach @ZWinterberg

CB: I don’t think you can rule anything out with Doug Whaley at the wheel. He’s not afraid to make a deal if it makes sense for the team. Based on the old trade value chart the Bills would have to give up a third-round pick to get up to the top of round two tonight from their current spot at 49.

There’s also going to be competition to move up that high with reports that Dallas wants to get up there, probably to take a shot at Connor Cook. Myles Jack and Reggie Ragland would be great for Buffalo, but the price to go to the top of round two might be too much.

Perhaps they choose to wait to see how the first few picks unfold and if one of their top players is still on the board they make some calls.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance Bills move Manny Lawson to MLB now that Shaq is starting OLB opposite Jerry Hughes?

Matt Dermod

CB: Since we saw that transpire late last season I think it’s an option. Manny Lawson is a player that is valued by Rex Ryan. He’s stated more than once that he’s one of the smartest players he’s ever coached. He can fill roles at OLB, DE and inside at LB. His versatility gives the Ryans options.

So while I don’t think it’s the most likely scenario, it’s possible. Personally I think Lawson takes on a jack of all trades role because mentally he’s more than capable of playing different roles week to week.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

Not much is mentioned about Robert Woods and his future with the Bills.  I know he is going into his contract year and has some to prove in 2016.  Do you think the Bills will want to get him under another contract?  I know he had a down year in 2015 due to a groin injury but I think Robert is a very underrated receiver and I would really hate to see him leave the team.  Thanks for all your insight.  Jillian

CB: It’s pretty clear to everyone that the contract extension priorities on the roster are Tyrod Taylor, Cordy Glenn and Stephon Gilmore. I like Robert Woods and I too believe he’s underrated. To his credit he played hurt last season and almost had a 50-catch season.

Unfortunately with the other players in front of him on the list for extensions it’s probably a wait and see situation for him.

 

5 – Chris,

With all the talk about Tyrod Taylor as the starting QB for the Bills and talk about the Bills drafting a QB this year, what has been going on with EJ Manuel?  I have been a big EJ fan since he came in the league and I would like to know what the Bills staff’s plans are for him and what are the chances he will be with the team after his contract is up next year?  What is really preventing him from Starting for the Bills?

CB: Manuel is expected to serve as the backup this season, the final under his rookie contract. What happens beyond that I believe is tied to the other quarterback the Bills acquire, presumably through the draft. If the hypothetical rookie makes a lot of progress and convinces the offensive staff he could handle a backup role in 2017 then Manuel probably is not re-signed. If the progress isn’t happening at a rate the staff feels comfortable with, perhaps EJ is brought back on a short term deal.

As for your last question on what is preventing him from starting for the Bills, it’s Tyrod Taylor. The seventh-highest rated quarterback in the league, a 3.33:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a solid deep passing game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-22

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2016 – 12:46 pm

The last Fan Friday before the 2016 NFL draft. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Are there any areas of concern that we’re overlooking when it comes to the roster? DL and QB are always talked about.

Jordan Hanson @iamthelegenddd

CB: If you’re looking for hidden needs so to speak I think OT, CB and safety are areas that could use some reinforcements. At tackle and safety you don’t know for sure what the future holds for Seantrel Henderson with his health condition and Aaron Williams in his comeback from a neck injury.

Jordan Mills re-signed, but has a one-year contract. So investing at offensive tackle would make sense.

Williams said himself he won’t know for sure if he can continue his playing career until he starts hitting in training camp. Adding a safety even later in the draft would be advisable to cover the organization in a worst case scenario with Williams.

Cornerback might be a position that draws eye rolls from fans, but with the loss of Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks, depth is an issue there even though they signed Corey White in free agency. So there is a good argument to add there as well.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Are the top 3 picks most likely DL, LB, and QB on some order? #FanFriday

NFL Predictor @PredictingNFL

CB: While there is no debate that the Bills want to add to their talent base in the front seven on defense and have made no secret that they need to add a quarterback, to just blindly say those are likely to be their top three picks is foolhardy. The reason why is there’s no way to know what will be sitting on the board when they’re on the clock in any of the first three rounds.

What if there’s an early run on defensive linemen? Do they take one of the top four offensive tackles in round one? They could. What if some cornerback slips to them in round two, who they have with a first round grade? They would take him.

There are simply too many variables to say they’ll address these three positions in the first three rounds. In a perfect world that would be a very logical thought, but as you know that’s not how the draft works.

If the value isn’t right Doug Whaley is not going to force a pick at a need position, plain and simple.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills what would your reaction be to Darron Lee going 19?

James @jarbarian9

CB: I’d be very happy with that pick at 19. Lee is the new wave of linebacker teams need in the NFL. I think as long as your defensive scheme has a way to protect a linebacker like Lee from getting covered up you can maximize his playmaking value. He’d be a very solid pick there at a position that needs an influx of talent. Whether he’s still be on the board will be the big question.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills curious about this so called infatuation the bills have with Kevin Hogan, is there any truth to that and why?

Matt @mattgolden03

CB: I think people are reading way too much into what Doug Whaley said about Hogan about a month ago. Yes, he stated that he thought Hogan would be one of the most pro ready quarterbacks in the class. That is probably true. He played in a pro-style offense, ran a good number of plays from under center and had progressions that he had to read after the snap. Those three things alone will be completely new to most of this year’s quarterback prospects.

Now does that mean the Bills see him as a fit? Not necessarily.

My personal opinion is Hogan is not a fit for Buffalo. After watching him throw at the NFL combine he doesn’t appear to have the arm strength necessary to play in Greg Roman offense that likes to exploit defenses with over the top throws, usually to the boundary. The weather, most notably the wind in Ralph Wilson Stadium would also present a problem.

 

5 – Chris,

What Inside LB’s would be a fit for the Bills scheme in the draft. Do they need a more athletic  player next to Preston? Cravens from USC looks to be a great fit. What other names should we look for?

Josh

CB: Darron Lee is listed as an outside linebacker, but I think he could play the WILL inside. The question is whether he’ll still be on the board at 19. Most mock drafters don’t think so, but I’m hopeful. Cravens is even smaller than Lee, which worries me a bit in terms of being a linebacker fit.

I like Josh Perry a lot, Lee’s teammate at Ohio State, though he probably goes in round 2 or 3. He’s not quite as athletic as Lee, but man is he a reliable, consistent player. West Virginia’s Nick Kwiatkoski is another ILB to consider late on day two or early day three.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-15

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2016 – 1:43 pm

The NFL draft is closing in and the big trade for the top pick has already been made. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –  @ChrisBrownBills do you see Tyrod Taylor being our starting quarterback for the next 5 years? If not, how will they go about getting one?

Avery Baum 

CB: I believe that Tyrod Taylor is Buffalo’s starting quarterback for 2016. Anything after that will be based on how Taylor performs. And though there are media reports touting animosity between the Bills and Taylor’s camp I’m not getting that sense at all. Taylor has a starting job here in Buffalo and if he continues to progress in 2016 he’ll be the starter here for a long time.

The bottom line is GM Doug Whaley has said from the start of the offseason that Taylor earned the right to start this year and if he continues to play well he’ll continue to be the starter and will be rewarded accordingly with a new contract as well. Buffalo has the cap space next year to accommodate an extension. Their cap situation now does not.

At the same time the Bills have to fortify the most important position on the roster with more talent. Whaley said they will add a quarterback knowing that not only Taylor, but EJ Manuel are each in the last year of their current contracts.

Whaley has said he thinks there are a good number of developmental type quarterback prospects in the draft and that with a year or two of grooming there are some that could develop into starting caliber QBs at the NFL level.

So knowing you have a starter now in Tyrod Taylor, why not draft a quarterback that you have time to groom with coaches like Greg Roman and David Lee and see how quickly he can come along.

I think everyone needs to understand that the Bills won’t be drafting a quarterback to compete with Tyrod Taylor this season. They’re drafting a quarterback because they need to add one to their roster that they feel has the potential to grow and learn and eventually compete for a starting role in 2-3 years time.

That’s not only their plan, but aside from Carson Wentz and Jared Goff that’s what this year’s class of quarterbacks has to offer.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is the need on DL really at NT, since Dareus would be more effective as a 5-tech DE? #Bills

Dean Kindig 

CB: I think the versatility of Marcell Dareus’ game (capable of playing anywhere on the DL) gives Buffalo’s scouting department the flexibility of taking either the best defensive tackle or best defensive end on the board if and when they choose to address their defensive line. I think a true pass rusher probably outweighs the need for an interior defensive lineman, but not much.

Looking at this year’s draft class there are defensive tackles who can provide a pass rush from the interior. Knowing that, I truly think how the Bills address their defensive line will come down to who is still on the board when they pick and if the value matches where they’re picking.


3 –
Dear Chris:
Thank you for all the work you put in over the combine and what you do year round is wonderful. My question is with Mario now gone who do you think the bills will draft as his replacement? Also with Kyle Williams on the wrong side of thirty I’m afraid the bills will cut him like they did Fred last year, I really hope we don’t I would hate to see another long tenured veteran leave without seeing a playoff game.

Sincerely: John from Pennsylvania.

CB: First, I’ll say that I absolutely see Kyle Williams on this roster. His play and his leadership were sorely missed last season when he missed the last 10 games of the year. He also restructured his contract this offseason, which I believe only further solidifies his spot on this roster.

As for replacing Mario, I think that player is hopefully acquired in the draft. You typically have to get those players early, but I don’t know if the right value is going to be there at 19 in round one knowing there aren’t a whole lot of elite pass rushers and they go fast.

That’s why, as I mentioned in the prior response, the versatility of Dareus, Kyle and Corbin Bryant gives Buffalo the option of taking the best value at 19 on the defensive line if that’s the part of their defense they want to address. There could be a highly rated linebacker there as well that merits consideration.

All in all I think the front seven will be a major focus early in this draft and their first pick at 19 stands a very good chance of addressing that focus.

 

4 –  @ChrisBrownBills Fan Friday question… Have we looked into QB Brandon Doughty? His #’s are amazing & he’s 6’3. Ideal to grab in 4th!

Sean Joyce

CB: There’s no debate that the Bills have done their homework on Doughty as they do every prospect. My take is while he was tremendously productive (111 career TD passes) there are a lot of drawbacks with the Western Kentucky product. He’s had multiple knee injuries, has average arm strength and is not especially mobile. When he faced better competition he struggled to raise his game accordingly.

I think he projects to the NFL as a backup and a backup only. For me I don’t draft a quarterback unless I think there’s at least some potential to be an NFL starter at some point. Obviously NFL clubs might feel differently, but I think he only fits a west coast system in viewing his arm strength in games.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills would he fit Rex’s scheme?

ProFootballTalk The Patriots didn’t want DL Dominique Easley. Neither did anyone else. https://t.co/QFYRGMP88P

Robin Vs Fred 

CB: First, there’s a reason no one picked Dominique Easley up on waivers. There’s a long injury history there, which is of some concern. Second, he’s a three technique penetrator type and if his explosion is compromised by his injury history he might not be an NFL caliber player anymore.

He doesn’t have the physical stature to change his game and be a defensive tackle who stands in there and grinds. Most NFL scouts did not believe he was capable of being a two gap DT due to his short arms and limited strength. I’m no scout, but I don’t get the sense that he would be a fit in Buffalo’s defensive scheme.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-8

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2016 – 11:50 am

The Bills were busy in free agency this week with a handful of signings and more visitors in today. Let’s get to your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think that the defense’s transition back into a full 3-4 scheme will make them better this year?

Joe DeRosa 

CB: I’ve got to believe it’s going to help. Trying to merge the Bills’ 2014 scheme with Rex’s scheme last year was done in an effort to appease players who were successful in the old scheme. As Ryan himself admitted halfway through last season it didn’t work.

It convinced Rex to go back to what he knows works and that’s his scheme, which is a more traditional 3-4. Now that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to see multiple fronts from one week to the next and from one series to the next. The system is rooted in a traditional 3-4, but what makes Ryan’s scheme so confounding is the variety of fronts that he throws at offenses through the course of a game.

Buy in by the players is critical because his scheme demands complete understanding and mastery of it to execute it properly. Some players didn’t want to commit to that kind of study. One such player is no longer on the roster. Fortunately I think we saw the results of that player buy in over the last two games last season and what it can mean for the defense. Provided that buy in from the players continues and some key adds are made in the draft (couple of starters please?) I think the defense will be better.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills what are the chances bills trade up or down in the first round and why?

Matt 

CB: I think there is a greater likelihood that the Bills move back in round one than move up. First and foremost the Bills need capable and talented bodies for their roster. They not only need to land a starter or two in this draft (LB, DL), they need reinforcements for depth at a few positions too (CB, S, OL, WR, TE).

The two additional compensatory picks in rounds four and six were huge. It’s my belief that Doug Whaley would like to keep all eight of those picks in a perfect world. He’d have to part with some of those if he wants to move up.

The way that moving back in round one becomes a reality is if the Bills have a limited number of first round grades for this year’s class.

Let’s hypothetically say they have legitimate first round grades on just 16 players in this draft class. Perhaps they only have 16 prospects they deem as truly worthy of a first round draft choice. If the Bills are on the clock at 19 and all 16 of those prospects are already off the board, I think moving back becomes more likely.

Whaley and his staff likely have a few players they like that they believe will be there at 19, but if none of them are available why sit there and reach for a player that doesn’t match the value of your pick? Slide back a few slots add another draft choice somewhere on day two and match a prospect with the appropriate value.

 

3 – Dear Chris:
My question is on who the Bills will be looking for in this year’s draft. I know the Bills will be looking to re-tool the defense, and I assume they will be transitioning to a 3-4 with Rex. My question will they be looking for an inside linebacker like Reggie Ragland to put next to Preston Brown or a player with a body type like Nigel Bradham say Jaylon Smith?

Also at D-line will they draft a defensive end like DeForest Buckner/Shaq Lawson, or will they draft a defensive tackle like Jarran Reed or Austin Johnson, plus what do you think our top needs are overall?

Sincerely: John from PA.

CB: I think the key ingredient that needs to be added at linebacker in a prospect is speed. With the league in subpackage defense just about two-thirds of the time you need linebackers who can cover ground and handle coverage assignments with backs and athletic tight ends.

I wouldn’t mind Ragland as a prospect, but I’m not convinced he can cover the type of athletic tight ends and backs we see at the pro level every week. With that in mind I’d prefer a more athletic type linebacker like a Darron Lee.

Bradham was Buffalo’s fastest linebacker and he’s in Philadelphia now, so that speed at linebacker has to be replaced as I see it.

As far as defensive line goes I think both end and DT are both on the table. I don’t expect Buckner to be there at 19 and it’s unlikely that Lawson is either. Both are versatile guys you can position up and down a 3-4 front.

Jarran Reed has a chance to be there. His value isn’t as high because he doesn’t offer as much in terms of pass rush. But I wouldn’t have a problem lining him up at nose tackle and flanking him with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams and let them win on the edge.

 
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will go about training camp differently this year? Due to the top players getting injured last yr..

@Jiillyy

CB: I’m not sure there’s much they can do differently. There are strict guidelines set out in the CBA as to how often players can practice during training camp, days off, etc.

What we witnessed last summer with all five running backs going down I believe was an anomaly. The receivers who went down with injuries late in camp was a domino effect. When you lose two receivers in one day it immediately puts more strain and demand on the bodies of the receivers who are left. It’s more reps for them.

Now to the coaches’ and athletic trainers’ credit they backed things off on the healthy players still practicing, and signed more players to help fill the void.

Training camp is a grind, and the Bills do everything in their power to keep players on the field and healthy. There is also a responsibility on the part of the players to do right by their body day in and day out so they can perform at their best. Their body is their livelihood.

Buffalo does make use of GPS technology to track the workload of players each day at camp, so they’re all closely monitored as a means of being proactive and backing players off when the analytics dictate it’s warranted to prevent injuries before they happen. But nothing is perfect.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills You think there’s a player in this year’s draft that could become Buffalo’s next QB in the event that they can’t keep Tyrod?

Jordan Hanson 

CB: I think that’s difficult for anyone to predict, even those with the trained eye, like NFL scouts, player personnel executives and general managers. I think what you need to keep in mind is Buffalo has every intention of keeping Tyrod Taylor for the long term provided he continues on his current trajectory of performance.

And there’s no reason to think that he won’t. People are wondering why a contract extension hasn’t happened yet for Tyrod. I personally think it benefits both parties to wait for a few reasons.

First, Buffalo’s cap situation for 2016 is not conducive to working out a long term extension for Taylor. The market value at his position alone makes such an undertaking difficult for year one of an extension, which would be in 2016.

Second, the Bills, understandably so, want to see more from Taylor before they make a sizable commitment to Taylor. There’s recent Buffalo history where they jumped the gun in handing out a long term deal to a QB (see: Ryan Fitzpatrick).

I think the Bills want to believe in Taylor as their starting quarterback, but one year of solid production isn’t enough to go on when you’re talking about the multi-million dollar commitment a quarterback contract demands.

Third, Taylor stands to get a much more lucrative contract from Buffalo if he can back up last year’s production with even more production and wins in 2016.

So while it’s true that Taylor’s agent can stand on the table and argue that his client is underpaid this year at $3-plus million for 2016, even he knows that waiting and letting his client perform and build more of a starting QB resume this fall will only benefit his negotiating duties in getting Taylor a lucrative long term contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills