Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 7-24

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2015 – 12:17 pm

Less than a week until Bills training camp. Get ready Rochester! Here’s your latest round of questions on email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Do you really need a franchise QB to win the Super Bowl? I refer you to Brad Johnson of the Tampa Bay Bucs. The team went 9-7 the year before, had a new coach and went on to win super Bowl 37. Thoughts on any similarities to the current Bills?

CB: To answer the first question it certainly helps to have a franchise QB to win a Super Bowl because most teams with one are perennially in contention for a championship. Yes, there are Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer examples, but they are few in number.

What Super Bowl-winning QBs, who were a bit better than Johnson and Dilfer, but might not be considered elite like Phil Simms, Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson reinforce is that you need a top flight defense if you don’t have the All-Pro QB.

As for similarities I again point to the defense. Tampa’s Super Bowl-winning defense was number one in the league in total yards allowed, points allowed, touchdowns allowed and passing yards allowed. They were also fifth against the run and tied for sixth in sacks. Buffalo’s defense would likely have to put up a similar type of season this year.


2 – Hi Chris, as always, you do a great job covering the Buffalo Bills.

My question is concerning the possible cut of Fred Jackson. I just feel from a depth standpoint, the Bills need to hang onto him. Obviously, LeSean McCoy will get the bulk of the workload, but Fred Jackson is still a good runner, and excellent pass catcher. If Shady McCoy is injured, you need a proven starter. I’m not sure Bryce Brown, Boobie Dixon or Karlos Williams are ready.

If this is a run heavy scheme, you need a good backup to keep things moving.

Your thoughts,

Tony Falzone,
Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: I feel pretty good about Fred Jackson being on the roster this season. You’re right he is a good insurance policy for McCoy, but more critical to his job security is his effectiveness in pass protection. None of the other running backs, aside from McCoy, come close to his pass protection reads and ability and that makes him valuable for this offense.

Now if one of the other backs suddenly demonstrates a vast improvement in pass protection I suppose that could change things, but I’m not anticipating that knowing it’s another new offensive scheme this season under Greg Roman.


3 – Chris,

I’m very skeptical of the group of QB’s for the Bills this season, and I’d hate to waste a great defensive season, so are there any guys out there like Kyle Orton was last year that the Bills could bring in if things don’t pan out? Or are the Bills going to just play this QB competition out…?  Thanks for your great work Chris!

Sean from California

CB: I understand and respect your skepticism, but there is not a lot out there right now to choose from. Michael Vick is the biggest name out there, but I don’t see Rex Ryan going down that road again after having him with the Jets.

I honestly do not see the Bills looking to add another quarterback unless there is an unexpected release during the preseason or some unforeseen trade option surfaces like the LeSean McCoy deal did in the spring.



4 – Hello Chris:

Thanks for all the 24/7 365 day coverage. I’m a lifelong fan of 55 years born in Kenmore N.Y. now in SLC.

Just a quick question. With our situation on the O-Line, I sure would love to see Evan Mathis in Red White and Blue.

Are we in the running at all? Do we even have the cap space? Are we even trying? Other than questions at QB I see this as our only week spot.

Thanks again,
Jon SLC, UT.


CB: Evan Mathis hasn’t signed anywhere because his asking price is too high. Who blinks first, an NFL club or Mathis remains to be seen.

At this point I think the Bills are relatively comfortable with their guard situation with Incognito and rookie John Miller as the projected starters. Kraig Urbik is the center-guard swing player and there’s some youth in reserve.

If the Bills are going to add anywhere on the offensive line it’s going to be at offensive tackle where they have just four true OTs. Buffalo currently has one roster spot open.


5 – Hi Chris!

As a life-of-the franchise long Bills fan, I have always wanted to know more about the newer players.. those who must fight to get a roster or practice squad position. Look at the 90-man roster, there are some I know virtually nothing about.

I am keenly interested this year in our tight ends. At this moment, we have 7 on the roster. I feel certain that 3 or 4 will be on the 3-man roster, and 1 or 2 on the practice squad. I believe that Clay, O’Leary and Gray are virtual locks, with Gragg or Mulligan as possibilities. In that regard, in your opinion, do Marquise Gray and Chris Gragg have basically the same skill set or might they somewhat complement each other?  Also, Clay Burton seems to have impressed to this point..might he have a slight edge over Gragg for the 53-man roster? He has a larger frame and might offer more room to develop.

Finally, I am intrigued by Chris Manhertz. Does he show enough potential to warrant a spot on the practice squad? If not the practice squad, is there an alternative system whereby he might continue to learn the position and then return next year for another go?

Thanks for the time you have taken in reading this. Have an abundantly blessed day!

Dr. Gary

ps….One of my close work associates is a very loyal Virginia Tech man…very hyped about Tyrod Taylor!


CB: Marqueis Gray and Chris Gragg do not have the same skill set. Gragg’s body type is longer and lankier than Gray, who has a bit wider and thicker frame.

Gray’s greatest asset in the tight end competition is his versatility. He can line up in the backfield as a fullback. He can be a move tight end, an H-back, line up detached or in line, though that’s the part he’s probably working on the most. This will help him in the competition because it caters to a lot of what Greg Roman needs from his tight ends.

Gragg has worked hard on his blocking, but his strength is lining up detached. He’s got great straight line speed. I just don’t know if his skill set is as diversified as Gray’s.

Matthew Mulligan was signed for one reason, his blocking. The tight end position didn’t have a dominant blocker among them until Mulligan signed. Knowing how much Greg Roman incorporates tight ends into his blocking schemes in the run game I think is a major plus for Mulligan’s chances of sticking on the 53-man roster.

As for how many tight ends make the 53, I believe there’s a good chance they keep four knowing how much Roman calls on them in his offensive scheme.



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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-14

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2012 – 2:17 pm

Here’s the latest edition of your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris:

Has Chan Gailey maintained a 100% offensive play calling role or has he given some or all of the play calling authority to Curtis Modkins?

Some of the talk this year is about the “Pistol” Offense run by Washington.  Am I correct in my assessment that it is an offense that is an extension of the “Wild Cat” and the only real difference is the Pistol is run with a true starting Quarterback who has the athletic ability to run as well as throw the football?     


CB: Yes, Chan Gailey is still the only offensive play caller on the roster. When first hired, Gailey mentioned that he intended to eventually turn over play calling duties to a coordinator, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Your assessment of the Pistol offense is not wholly accurate. The Pistol just references a backfield formation where the single back lines up directly behind the quarterback, who is in the shotgun. One of the advantages of this look is it does not tip off to the defense which direction a run play is headed.

Washington runs out of that formation with Robert Griffin a good deal, but Chan Gailey first popularized it in the league in Kansas City a few years ago running it with Tyler Thigpen there. The Bills have even made use of it this season at times.


2 – Hello Chris

Thanks for your insight into the organization, my question is with the apparent need for an elite franchise qb in order for a team to not only compete in the league these days but to have a chance to build a team around, and have a chance at the ultimate goal which is to Win the Superbowl, why won’t the Bills draft a QB in every round until we get The guy to Win it, this team has pieces but is lacking the by far most needed piece a elite QB!! Thank you, Tom Neaverth, life long Bills fan 

CB: I can tell you that won’t happen, although the Redskins did draft a pair of quarterbacks last spring (Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins). I can say that the Bills will likely draft one this spring. Here’s what Buddy Nix said on the subject.

“There’s a time in the era that you’re in with the development of your team I think there’s a time when you can move up a round to take a quarterback and I think the time is now for us,” said Nix. “If a guy is there, and they’ll be one out there, if the guy is there then I think we’ll target, as I’ve said before, drafting a good quarterback. We need a good, young quarterback and we’ll do our best to get one.”


3 – Hey Chris,
 I think the game against the Colts was when CJ split out wide and got chased by a linebacker. He beat his guy right at the snap but Fitz missed the throw, my question is, why not try that every game when there’s clearly a mismatch with almost any linebacker vs Spiller and a chance for a big time play?
Thanks, Ryan

CB: I can tell you that it’s relatively rare to get C.J. Spiller matched up on a linebacker. It’s why defensive coordinators spend as much time as they do with their game plans to avoid such mismatches. When the Bills do get them they have to make opponents pay. Unfortunately they were unable to do so in that situation.


4 – Hey Chris,
What was the thinking behind the trade for TJack? And if Nix is talking QB lately it would seem that he thinking of going away from Fitz which is understandable so why not give the guy some reps in practice to see what he has?  Or will this turn out to be another trade that does nothing for the Bills?

CB: Buddy Nix has gone on record as saying the trade was made with Tarvaris Jackson serving purely as an insurance policy at the quarterback position. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback they have hitched their wagon to and they do not intend to make a change at the quarterback position so long as Fitzpatrick is healthy.


5 – Hi Chris –

It was my pleasure to be part of the Bill’s crowd at the Jags game. I saw many excited fans doing their best to back their team. Are the players aware of their fans presence at away games? Do you think it is of any value to the team?

Thanks for your time – Dan Garigen/Bay City, MI

CB: Bills players do recognize Bills fans at away games. In fact at the Cleveland game back in Week 3, when most Browns fans had filed out, more Buffalo fans came down to the lower seats in the one end zone and near the end of the game the players could hear the Bills fans singing the ‘Shout’ song and were pumping their fists at them.

After the game they came over and shook some hands with the fans that made the trip. So you are noticed and heard!


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Posted in Inside the Bills