Inside The Bills

Pats hosting Locker

Posted by Chris Brown on April 12, 2011 – 12:43 pm

The New England Patriots are viewed by most to have primary needs at defensive end, outside linebacker and wide receiver. So why are they hosting Washington QB Jake Locker on a pre-draft visit?

New England did this last year as well hosting Tim Tebow on a pre-draft visit, but ESPN is reporting that the Patriots may very well be looking for an eventual successor to Tom Brady. Locker figures to still be on the board in the bottom half of round one. Brady, who turns 34 later this summer, is signed through 2014.

What the Patriots do have is a pair of first-round picks at 17 and 28. They can address an immediate need at 17 and possibly make a luxury pick at 28 in the form of a top-rated QB. Earlier in the offseason there was a lot of talk that the Patriots were taking inquiries into the availability of the 28th overall pick via trade, knowing they had the first pick in round two just five selections later.

But as the ESPN report points out, New England has no bona fide proven QB talent behind Brady on the roster, with former undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer (2009) currently the backup.


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Fan Friday 4-1

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 12:31 pm

No pre-draft smoke screens here, even on April Fool’s Day, though you’ve got to wonder if it’s a good idea for Da’Quan Bowers was wise to schedule his pro day on this date. Guess it’s better than Friday the 13th. Anyway on to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Chris, 
Can you break down what the scouts think about the three best mobile QB in the draft, that being Newton, Locker, and Kaepernick. Judging on Chan’s desire for a guy that can move out of the pocket and what round they can be had (NEWTON 1) (LOCKER/Kaepernick 2-3), who makes the most sense for the Bills just on talent and ability to drop back to be a full time passer. I think Kaepernick seems like a great talent and has put up better numbers than most QB’s. Locker could also develop better. He’s got major arm and legs. How interested are the Bills in Locker and Kaepernick compared to the rumors of Cam?

Jack

CB: Most draft analysts have these three guys specifically ranked Newton, Locker and Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been criticized for having a long wind up, but he has worked to shorten his delivery. Locker timed the fastest at the combine running a 4.5 flat, but Kaepernick (4.53) and Newton (4.58) were right behind him.

Kaepernick and Newton are two of only three QBs (Tebow is the other) to pass for 20 and rush for 20 touchdowns in a single season.
Kaepernick has the longest track record being a four-year starter and was extremely consistent in terms of production. With Locker the same cannot be said, though he improved in some areas of his game each year. Newton had only one year of major college football as a starter, but it was a special year obviously taking what was largely an average team and leading them to a national title. He and Nick Fairley made an average team an elite team with their talent.

What is certain is all three are athletes. All have guns for arms and all three can run.

I’m a fan of Kaepernick having the chance to interview him at the Senior Bowl one-on-one. He just came across well. I did not have that chance with Locker or Newton, though I was on hand for their group interviews at the combine.

With all three of these guys there is going to be an adjustment period. Newton and Kaepernick come from spread offenses. Locker has two years in a pro-style offense under Sarkisian at Washington.

Newton played in a superior conference, which is partly why most see him at the top of the board because he got it done despite facing elite athletes. Locker and Kaepernick however are not far behind.

How interested the Bills might be in each of these guys is tough to peg because of the way NFL clubs tend to mislead as much as they tell the truth. Even Buddy said 10 percent is truth this time of year. So for me to tell you who they think fits them best would be just guess work on my part. We do know that Newton visited, something that Locker and Kapernick have not done to this point.

2 - Hi Chris,
I know the SS position is kind of up in the air right now with Whitner only being tendered, but not re-signed and the top free agents signing to other teams. What do you think the chances are of George Wilson becoming a starter? In my opinion the guy has done a tremendous job whenever he has filled in. Being a converted receiver one would think consistent playing time would only help him perfect his craft.
Dan
From Western, MA
 
CB: I think George Wilson could contend for the starting role at strong safety in 2011. Bryan Scott is still in the fold as well. So as things are currently constituted with respect to the roster, those two are the prime candidates.

3 - Hey Chris,
Just want to start by saying I’m a big fan of yours and I think you do a great job for the Bills and their fans.

I just have a few questions regarding the D Linemen in this years draft and their values. I understand the combine means a lot to coaches and scouts but does Marcell Dareus’ performance really put him ahead of Fairley? I wasn’t able to watch Dareus as much as I did Fairley due to Auburns success but from what I saw in the National Championship, he looked un-blockable. And my last question is whether Da”Quan Bowers fits into the Bills defensive scheme for next year. He is such an athletic guy and I personally would love to have him line up for us but do you think he’d be able to handle the DE position in both the 3-4 and the 4-3?
Thanks for your time,
Mark from New Jersey

CB: Thanks for the kind words. With respect to Dareus just watch his performance in the National Championship game against Texas in 2010. Not only unblockable, but how about a 319-pound man making an interception and running almost 30 yards for a touchdown? Oh and throw in a knockout shot on Colt McCoy. Dareus, much like Fairley was this past January, was the Defensive MVP.
Dareus in all likelihood is not going to have the sack numbers of Fairley at the NFL level, but he is a superior run stopper and does push the pocket with consistency, which prevents quarterbacks from stepping up to elude pressure from defensive ends. Both Dareus and Fairley are special talents.

Dareus has just done it for longer (2 years) than Fairley (1 year).

With respect to Bowers, I thought head coach Chan Gailey had an interesting response to a question he got earlier this week from a Bills season ticket holder in a Tele-Forum we conducted on Tuesday. He was asked if Bowers was a fit for Buffalo’s base 3-4 scheme. Here is coach Gailey’s answer.

“He is an explosive player. He really is. He can make things happen as a pass rusher coming off the edge. He plays the run better than people give him credit for. I think that if we ended up taking that guy we’d find a place for him. We’d make it work. You can’t take a guy that is that good of a player and not make him fit in to what you’re trying to get done defensively. We’re not going to pass up a very, very good football player just because he might not fit perfectly. We’ll adjust to get good football players on our team.”

Knowing the Bills have intentions of playing a hybrid defense that employs 3-4 and 4-3 looks, I don’t think they’re going to rule anyone out even if they’re pegged by some as one scheme only defensive ends as has been the case with Bowers. Bowers is largely viewed as a 4-3 left defensive end.

But back in February I talked to C.J. Spiller, his former college teammate, about him and he believes Bowers is strong enough to play end in a 3-4. He’s 6’4” and 275 pounds and freakishly strong in the upper body. But it seems clear that the Bills wouldn’t shy away from him provided there isn’t a talent they have rated higher on their board when they pick.

4 – Hi Chris,
It looks like we have a lot of holes to fill especially with the release of Marcus Stroud, and potential free agents Drayton Florence, and Donte Whitner. I cannot help but think that we do not have enough depth at our DB’s position and believe we have more depth at the DT position. I think Leodis Mckelvin has regressed, and Terrance McGee cannot stay healthy in order to finish a season strong. I believe this is very problematic but I have not seen this concerned expressed on the Bills site. Do we have other DB’s that can fill in?

In light of this and assuming that we do not address these needs in free agency, I think we should go with CB, DT, or DE with our 3rd pick, also our second pick should be DT, DE, or perhaps ILB. Also, I would think Kaepernick would be a better selection at our 34th pick than Cam Newton at our 3rd overall. I cannot help but think about the the pressure the coaching staff will face if they draft Cam Newton. If Fitz starts to fizzle, then I can see the fans cheering, “Start Cam now!” The last thing we need is this pressure and distraction.

What say you!?

Best,

Stephen from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

CB: Your point about the cornerback contingent is well taken. I think the Bills staff still believes they can make Leodis a more consistent corner and I think McGee will be given every opportunity to prove he can stay healthy because when he’s healthy he’s a solid corner. Reggie Corner is still on the roster as well and would likely serve as the nickel. But they do need to add talent at cornerback. This year’s draft class has only three prospects considered first round material, possibly four. For the Bills that’s good news, because hopefully it leaves some quality prospects to choose from in the middle rounds where the value should be relatively good.

As big a talent as Patrick Peterson is I’m a proponent of helping your defense in the front seven first. As for Cam Newton the kid is a talent. Granted there are some questions there, but the Bills will have done their due diligence on him and anyone else that plays quarterback to determine if any of them are potential franchise type QBs.

5 - Looking at the current roster in seems they need to develop a future ILB that can play the 3-4 and a SS. Do you expect Buddy to meet these needs in the draft? Who are the top players in the draft they may target? It would seem likely for the Bills to draft a linebacker but I haven’t heard anything on safety after losing on Sanders.
Thanks
Sean

CB: Buddy has told me himself in an interview on Buffalobills.com from the Senior Bowl that he feels they need to add two inside linebackers this offseason. Absent free agency, they’re likely to come in the draft. Who they’d target is tough to say, but they’ve had LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard in for a visit and had him down at the Senior Bowl for a week. Buddy also went to North Carolina’s pro day to see their two inside linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant. Beyond that I really don’t have any other names for you.
With George Wilson back in the fold I don’t see safety as a pressing positional need for them.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Locker to work out for Denver

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 8:22 am

Washington QB Jake Locker will work out for the Denver Broncos just two days after his pro day.

That according to the National Football Post. The Broncos have been taking a look at some quarterback prospects in the draft class despite having Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn on their roster, including Colin Kaepernick. Tebow would seem like a similar type player to the athletic Locker and Kaepernick, so the interest is somewhat puzzling.

Locker has already had a private workout with Tennessee.


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Lombardi calls Locker ‘a project’

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2011 – 9:47 am

Washington QB Jake Locker a year ago was considered a lock to be a top 10 pick had he entered the 2010 NFL draft. A year later he’s expected by most analysts to still be a first-round pick, but NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi paints a much different picture after watching his pro day.

Lombardi called Locker “a project” quarterback after witnessing Locker’s pro day Wednesday.

“I think he’s a project,” Lombardi said. ”I think he’s a potential starter. I don’t think you can believe, if you draft Locker, that he can be the guy to come in and turn your franchise around next year. It’s going to take time, and you must have the patience to handle the project to get him to where he is a pro quarterback.”

Lombardi took it a step further on his twitter account saying that Locker is not a first-round prospect in his book.

Locker’s strength is his elite athleticism, but with accuracy being a consistent knock on his game most likely agree with Lombardi’s assessment that Locker won’t be an instant answer to an NFL team’s quarterback deficiencies. Whether that keeps him from being a first-round pick or not remains to be seen.


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Early reports on Locker

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2011 – 3:48 pm

Jake Locker’s pro day was solid if not spectacular according to early reports coming in.

Locker’s passing efficiency against air might not be considered all that impressive, but knowing that accuracy is one of the knocks on his game that’s out there, having a solid day in terms of completion percentage was important. Here’s NFL Network reporter Albert Breer’s initial report.

AlbertBreer Jake Locker finishes up completing all but two of 45-or-so throws. Nothing to go crazy over — it IS against air — but a good day for him.

There was another report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune as well.

JuddZulgad Jake Locker started 36-for-36 at his Pro Day and had two incompletions in 40 some passes.

UPDATE: Here’s a full report from the Star-Tribune


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Sparse HC turnout for Locker

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2011 – 1:59 pm

The head coaching turnout for Jake Locker’s pro day at Washington is reportedly sparse.

That according to NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi, who posted that just one was on hand to this point for Locker’s workout.

michaellombardi So far only 1 head coach—Seattle’s Pete Carroll here at Jake Lockers pro day. Im thinking Locker must have some private workouts scheduled

Going up to the University of Washington is a haul for a good many of the NFL clubs that are in the eastern half of the U.S., so it wouldn’t be surprising if most clubs were satisifed to dispatch their area scout for the workout, or perhaps the GM or college personnel directors are on hand instead. Especially considering the fact that most coaches are hosting prospects for pre-draft visits at their NFL facilities this time of year.


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Fan Friday 3-25

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2011 – 1:42 pm

Time for your Fan Friday questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Keep them coming and have a good weekend everybody.

1 - Hi Chris  
I have been thinking the Bills should go defensive tackle or linebacker at #3 overall.  What do you think about them taking Robert Quinn, potentially, the next Bruce Smith? If they don’t put him at End then put him at Linebacker. The guy has everything the Bills are looking for as far as pass rush, and explosiveness, with one year less of wear and tear on the body. 
 
Go Bills !!!!
Thanks,  Dale

CB: The wear and tear argument is a good one with respect to Quinn, but most NFL talent evaluators worry about the one less year of development. Quinn is a great raw talent and will probably go in the top 15 because of his high ceiling, but he’s also a risk and might take longer to adjust after a year away from football. As a result some teams might not feel comfortable investing a top 10 pick in a guy that might not be able to give you instant impact in year one.

2 – Hi Chris,
Everyone seems to be predicting that the Bills will take a QB with their pick at #3, but I’m not buying it.  Can you give me your prediction on how many team “need” a QB and would take one in the first round if he was the right guy?  I’m thinking there are 4-5 potential first round QBs (Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Mallet) and one of them should fall to Bills in the Second or even third round.

Thanks,
Kevin
Ashburn, VA
 
CB: The only way the Bills take a QB at 3 is if they’re convinced that one of the top prospects is a franchise type quarterback, otherwise they pass. But there are a number of teams with a quarterback need in the top half of round one. As I see it you’ve got the following.
Carolina at 1
Buffalo at 3
Cincinnati at 4 (Palmer wants out)
Arizona at 5
San Fran at 7
Tennessee at 8
Washington at 10 (McNabb to be moved)
Minnesota at 12

In reality the only quarterbacks most analysts see going in the top 12 are Gabbert or Newton. Mallett and Locker have character and accuracy issues respectively and might not even come off the board in round one, though QB value tends to get inflated on draft day. We’ll see.

3 - Hey Chris,
My question is in regards to Christian Ponder of FSU. As Gailey has clearly stated that Fitz is his starter going forward at this point, would Ponder be a nice addition to this team. I have seen Ponder play the last 3 years and have seen his skills as well as his flaws. It seems to me that he can play at the NFL level with the right coaching staff and teammates. He has good arm strength and decent accuracy. I know his durability would be a main factor in his NFL career. With Gailey and the rest of the coaching staff, as well as guidance from Fitz, I believe he would be a great asset to our Bills team for little money. Your feedback would be great on the thought of Ponder to the Bills in Rnd 3 or 4. Thank you and as always “GO BILLS” and “GO FITZ”!!!!!!!!!
Daniel

CB: Unfortunately I don’t see Christian Ponder lasting until round 3. I think he goes in the top half of round 2. After an injury-riddled senior season, he’s had a productive pre-draft period. He performed well at the Senior Bowl on Chan Gailey’s South team taking MVP honors. In the games I’ve seen him play the leadership comes naturally to him. He’s not afraid to take chances and he’s really smart. He’s also played in a pro-style offense at Florida State so the transition for him figures to be shorter than other QBs in this class. Personally I like him as a talent. Some so called experts say he’s best suited to play in west coast system, but I think his ability can take him beyond that.

4 - Chris,
Like you, I think Ryan Fitzpatrick did a great job at QB this past year and don’t believe Buddy will draft a QB at 3.  Last year Buddy said the Bills need playmakers and then drafted one.  I believe he will duplicate exactly what he did last year, he will first draft a playmaker with pick #3 ( Peterson think Revis, Von Miller think Mathews or Green think Fitzgerald), then focus on the defensive front seven in rounds 2-4 along with a developmental QB and maybe a TE.
 
So, could you please name some of the 3-4 DEs and ISLBs that would be available in rounds 2-4, along with the names of QBs better suited to the what the Bills do.  I’m thinking a smart guy who can process information like RF but with a stronger arm.  Also, a few TEs as well.  I truly believe that Buddy and Chan are turning this team around. 
 
Thank you for your great work and keep it coming!  Go Bills!!
 
Michael

CB: Here you go.
ILBs in round 2 – Martez Wilson – Illinois; round 3 – Kelvin Sheppard – LSU, Quan Sturdivant – UNC, Colin McCarthy – Miami; round 4 – Greg Jones – Michigan St., Nate Irving – N.C. State

DEs in round 2 – Cameron Heyward – Ohio St., Christian Ballard – Iowa, Jabaal Sheard – Pitt; round 3 – Allen Bailey – Miami, Pernell McPhee – Miss. St.; round 4 – Pierre Allen – Nebraska, Rickey Elmore – Arizona, Greg Romeus – Pitt

QBs that could fit in the Bills scheme really doesn’t apply because Chan Gailey always adjusts his scheme to fit the players as evidenced by what he did in going from Neil O’Donnell to Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh. The good thing about that is it could open the Bills up to more possibilities if they choose to take a QB.

TEs – round 2 – Kyle Rudolph – Notre Dame, Luke Stocker – Tennessee; Round 3 – D.J. Williams – Arkansas, Lance Kendricks – Wisconsin; round 4 – Jordan Cameron – USC, Rob Housler – Florida Atlantic, Virgil Green – Nevada
 
5 – Chris, 
Can you break down what the scouts think about the three best mobile QBs in the draft, that being Newton, Locker, and Kaepernick.  Judging on Chan’s desire for a guy that can move out of the pocket and what round they can be had (NEWTON 1) (LOCKER/Kaepernick 2-3), who makes the most sense for the Bills just on talent and ability to drop back to be a full time passer. I think Kaepernick seems like a great talent and has put up better numbers than most QB’s. Locker could also develop better. He’s got major arm and legs. How interested are the Bills in Locker and Kaepernick compared to the rumors of Cam?

Jack

CB: Most scouts in the league that I’ve seen quoted anonymously are concerned with Locker’s inconsistencies in terms of accuracy and decision making. Great athlete, but accuracy in the NFL where the windows are smaller is key. With Newton it’s the offense he comes from and concerns about his character and work ethic. Again a great athlete with loads of potential, but playing QB in the NFL is a lot more than being athletic are the issues for scouts. Finally Kaepernick, again fantastic athlete, but comes from a pistol offense where they spread things out. But he was a four-year starter and has consistent numbers. His mechanics have been knocked (long wind up), but he’s clean as far as the intangibles and as a leader. Pretty sharp too. All these NFL teams have to determine if these QBs are franchise type material. That’s the question that must be answered.

As far as how interested the Bills are, that’s tough to say. Locker, Newton and Kaepernick haven’t been in for pre-draft visits to this point. That obviously could change in the coming weeks. Chan believes mobility is important, but doesn’t rule out QBs that are as mobile necessarily. Here’s what he said at the combine about mobility in a QB.

“I think you have to be able to adjust. Mobilty helps, yes, but if you don’t have a mobile quarterback and he’s your best quarterback then you better find a way to be successful without having mobility involved in it. We did it with Troy (Aikman) in Dallas. Troy wasn’t a bootleg type guy, but we did it a little bit just to keep them honest. You have to adjust. Whoever your best player is you adjust around what they do.”


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Locker to work out for Vikes

Posted by Chris Brown on March 15, 2011 – 8:04 am

According to the National Football Post, quarterback prospect Jake Locker will work out for the Minnesota Vikings today.

Locker also has workouts with the Titans and Seahawks. Seattle has been the most popular destination for Locker in mock drafts with the 25th pick.

UPDATE: According to NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora, Locker also has workouts scheduled with Tennessee and Denver. Got to think Denver believes Locker could be there at the top of the second round.


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Locker, Kaepernick lead 40s

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2011 – 11:08 am

Washington QB Jake Locker and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick not surprisingly are the leaders in the early unofficial 40 times from the quarterbacks.

Locker ran an unofficial 4.52, while Kaepernick ran an unofficial 4.53. If Locker’s time holds up it would be the fourth fastest 40 time by a QB since 2000, while Kaepernick’s would tie for fifth best since the turn of the century.


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Locker working w/old Jets QB

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2011 – 1:18 pm

After the NFL combine QB Jake Locker is going to be working with a former Jets starting quarterback to sharpen his game.

“I’m working with Ken O’Brien right now in Irvine, California,” said Locker. “I’ll be out there for a couple of more weeks before I head up to Seattle and throw with the receivers I’ll throw with on my pro day.”

O’Brien is from the heralded quarterback class of 1983 which included Jim Kelly, John Elway and Dan Marino. Locker said he’ll be working on his movement and throwing in the pocket and his accuracy, which has been one of the bigger criticisms to his game.


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Newton to throw, Gabbert won’t

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2011 – 9:59 am

According to the Associated Press, Auburn QB Cam Newton will throw and participate in all drills at the NFL combine later this week. Meanwhile one of his competitors to be the first QB off the board, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert will forgo the opportunity to participate in drills.

Newton plans to fully participate and told the AP he wants “to be transparent” through the whole draft process. A smart move in light of the off the field questions that surrounded him this past college season.

Gabbert will reportedly skip all throwing drills, but Washington’s Jake Locker and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick will participate. Buffalobills.com’s coverage of the NFL combine begins on Thursday.


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Fan Friday 2-11

Posted by Chris Brown on February 11, 2011 – 12:25 pm

Into the offseason we go. Let’s hope things get resolved in short order with regard to a new deal and the 2011 season. In the meantime to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – With Nick Fairley saying that he doesn’t want a cold weather team do you see the Bills staying away from him even if he is available. Also do you see DaQuan Bowers or Marcell Dareus fitting our scheme better. I also understand that Fitz is our starter next year, but if Locker is there in the second could we really pass him up?
Russell from Idaho

CB: I think in all fairness to Fairley, being from Mobile and playing his entire career in the south cold weather is just something he doesn’t know about. Besides he doesn’t get to choose where he goes anyway. The Bills won’t ever shy away from drafting someone just because they might not be a fan of the cold. As much as Fairley might not like cold, I think in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor issue.

As for Bowers, there’s a question as to where he fits in a 3-4 scheme, which the Bills play. His ideal fit is as a 4-3 end. To his credit he does play the run well and at 6’4” 275 pounds he has a freakishly strong upper body. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bills or any other 3-4 team believes he could handle end in a 3-4 scheme. I don’t know if playing OLB in a 3-4 is in the cards for him.

Dareus would be a fit in any system. He could be a DT in a 4-3 or a 3-4 and he could be an end in a 3-4 as I see it.

With respect to Jake Locker, I just don’t see it. Great physical tools, but consistency in his game is an issue.

2 - Do you think the Bills can get two quality ILB’s through the draft and free agency…then move Paul Posluszny to an OLB role? Were that to happen…how do you think he stacks up against someone like Clay Matthews..or Bryce Paup? At least capable of a 10 sack season..playing opposite Merriman?
 
CB: The draft unfortunately is a bit thin at inside linebacker, but Buddy Nix told me that they need to add two this offseason either via draft, free agency or some combination therein. Even if they do add two I still believe Posluszny stays inside. I don’t see them moving Poz, whose best fit in my opinion is at ILB. He’s good at rushing through the gaps inside. I don’t see him as a 10 sack guy at OLB and as you mentioned they don’t need to make Poz that with Merriman out there.

3 – All the talk about drafting a DT/DE with the 3rd pick makes me wonder, did Torell Troup and Alex Carrington not pan out as the staff had hoped? I haven’t heard much about them heading into the offseason. Any updates from 1 Bills Dr. regarding those two?
Josh
Buffalo, NY

CB: I’ll let GM Buddy Nix explain the Bills position on this in his own words.

“Obviously you’ve got to have a big nose tackle,” said Nix in reference to the 3-4 scheme. “We drafted one last year. We’re happy with Troup. We’re happy with Carrington, we just need a couple of more now.”

Buffalo does have enough of a veteran presence on the defensive line with Dwan Edwards and Spencer Johnson. Marcus Stroud is going into his 11th season and John McCargo is unlikely to be back as I see it. So there will need to be new blood on that defensive line this year.

4 - Hey Chris,
 
How come we never see any Bills head coach on ESPN or NFL Network with a post game speech.  It seems like we see every team but Buffalo.  Do the Bills not allow NFL Films or any other media sources in the locker room immediately after the game? 

D Fischer
Rochester, NY

CB: First, I believe NFL Films has the right to be in any postgame locker room by authority of the league. Second, the Bills haven’t had too many landmark wins that ESPN or NFL Network has felt are worthy to air. Once Gailey and his staff get this thing turned around there will hopefully be more notable victories that are worth publicizing on the major networks.

5 - Chris

The offensive line seems to have gained depth this year with much of it in the middle.  Any chance of one of the starters moving out to right tackle?  Also, Brad Butler has had a year to recover and rest.  Any signs that he may want to return to football?  Thanks.  

Mark in Prospect, KY

CB: The Bills have assembled some depth on the interior thanks in large part to Asst. GM Doug Whaley and his pro scouting staff. That’s why I think there’s a real chance that Eric Wood and Geoff Hangartner compete for the starting center role with Kraig Urbik the likely starter at right guard. At right tackle I believe the odds on favorite to start there is Erik Pears.

I haven’t spoken to Brad, but I did see him recently and all indications I’ve gotten from those close to him is that he’s happy with his decision to retire. I think he’s just got other irons in the fire so to speak.


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Locker headed to Sr. Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2011 – 11:08 am

University of Washington QB Jake Locker has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Locker accepted the invite over the weekend and will play for the North team in the 62nd annual Senior Bowl tilt.

Locker chose to return to school for his senior season in 2010 instead of declaring himself eligible for the 2009 NFL draft. There are questions out there about his game after an up and down season, but he looks to dispel those questions with a strong showing during Senior Bowl week.

“I hope to be able to show people that I am a very effective and efficient passer and that’s one thing that I think is in question,” Locker said.  “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to have a chance to prove that I’m capable of doing that. Also just being able to get around the guys and enjoying it and having a good time with it and play the game of football for what it is—a game and have fun with it and make the most of it.”

Buffalobills.com will provide coverage during the practice week leading up to the Senior Bowl with Chan Gailey’s staff coaching the South team for the Senior Bowl this year.


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Fan Friday 11-5

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2010 – 1:44 pm

I don’t know what it is, but there’s a good vibe going through this building this week. I’m not promising anything, but I feel good about the Bills getting off the schneid this week against the Bears. On to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hey Chris ,

With things at One Bills Dr looking as though a corner may have been turned as far as the offense & all of the other changes that have taken place this year as far as — GM , schemes , personnel , & coaching philosophy , how are the players reacting to it all ?? I’ve always heard that in order for a team to be successful they need to buy into what the coach & staff is selling . Although it looks as though Coach Gailey is definitely doing a lot of good things to change the culture of our beloved Bills , how does it look on the inside ??? Do the players seem to recognize that the changes that are being made are for the better & buying what the coach is selling in spite of the teams record to this point ??

As usual thanks for all you do !!
Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville

CB: I’ll just say that this locker room believes in Coach Gailey and his staff. He’s done a good job of maximizing the talents of individual players and units as well. One example individually is Roscoe Parrish and what he’s done as a receiver. A unit example is the offensive line and what they’ve done the past seven weeks in the run game, going from 87 yards rushing per game to over 114 and improving the yards per carry average from 3.6 to 4.5 in that time.

The players can see Gailey and his staff are making this team a better one week by week. And despite all the losing Ryan Fitzpatrick explained it best concerning Gailey’s ability to lead.

“He’s a guy that with us he’s always positive,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s trying to get us going. He always talks about the talent in the room and what we’ve done this year and what we’ve done successfully. He’s been good. He’s been a guy who keeps us going and I think he’s done a really nice job of that.”

 
2 -  Hi Chris,   
Last season when the Eagles signed Michael Vick they said that there was 2 teams that were in talks with his agent and him.  Also on the program The OT with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, Tony had said that he believed that Vick would sign with the Bills after the one year deal and the team option for a second yr at 5.2 million.

I guess my question to u is, do you believe that in this upcoming offseason that the Bills will try to sign Vick so that we have a proven QB that is only getting better as he is maturing at his position? I would also like to have a QB that is proven and only adds another threat for this team with his legs and he definitely has the arm to play in the conditions that Buffalo presents.
Thanks  
Jon in Tampa (former Lockportian)

CB: I don’t disagree that Vick would be an exciting addition, and you have a better idea of what you would be getting since he’s been playing the past two years, but I just don’t see it happening.

I don’t have any evidence to tell you why he wouldn’t be signed. I just can’t see the Bills bringing him in should be become a free agent. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eagles locked him up long term.

3 – Chris,
I know the Titans were the ones that were awarded Randy Moss, but they were the only team to put in a claim. Why not sign Moss and trade him? Is this something that theoretically would work?  My understanding is based on the way teams get dibs on someone like Moss being cut would be worst record first, and then best record last.  So for example if Pittsburgh wanted him it would be to their benefit to work out a deal w/ Buffalo and give them a 3rd round pick (or whatever he’s worth) to get him.  Most likely any other scenario wouldn’t allow Pittsburgh to get him … theoretically.

CB: Claiming Moss only to trade him would not work because the trade deadline passed in mid-October. I suppose had it been before the league’s trade deadline something like that could potentially happen, but I’m going to have to check to see if that’s even permitted by the NFL.

4 - Chris – Since the Bills picked up Shawne Merriman off waivers do they hold all the rights the Chargers previously did?  If he produces as hoped could the Bills control his destiny next year by placing the franchise tag or even the transition tag on him?
 
Thanks,
BuffaloStu2
Denver, CO

CB: Yes, they do hold all the rights to him. He’s Buffalo’s property now as long as he’s under contract. The Bills inherit his current contract which runs out after this season and pay the pro-rated portion of his salary ($1.7M).

I’m not sure about a franchise or transition tag however, because we don’t know what the rules will be concerning free agents until a new CBA is reached between the NFL and the Players Union. Under the old CBA, yes the franchise and transition tag would be options at Buffalo’s disposal, but that’s all up in the air now.

5 - Hey Chris,
 
I know Ralph has said QB is the top priority this offseason and that really worries me that we will desperately take whoever is the best QB available at our pick in the draft,whether or not he is necessarily deserving of the pick. Personally I think Andrew Luck is the real deal and would take him first overall no question, but if he stays in school like he’s said he will then we take a QB just to take one?

I think Mallett is a little inconsistent and have had character questions and that Locker is far too inaccurate and raw to cut it in the NFL.

I would say to take a tackle but it doesn’t seem as though there’s an elite tackle at this point. If we can’t take Luck, do you think it would make more sense to take a defensive impact player such as Bowers from Clemson or Fairley from Auburn, maybe even Peterson on LSU, a tackle in the second and try to get Luck or someone like a Matt Barkley whenever they declare? Thanks.
 
From,
Tom

CB: I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself. I know a lot of Bills fans already have their eyes on the draft for obvious reasons, but until we know who declares early in mid-January I think we’re all just wasting our breath on what the Bills should, would, could do.
That being said I too prefer Luck.

I’m watching Christian Ponder at Florida State more closely of late. I think his shoulder still isn’t right after a severe separation last season, but in time that arm will heal up and there is no questioning this kid’s toughness and leadership. Need to see more of him though.

One other thing, I love the Fairley kid from Auburn. The guy is a beast on that Tigers D-line.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-19

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2010 – 1:15 pm

On the heels of some starting caliber free agent additions for Buffalo’s defense here is the latest installment of Fan Friday. As always questions can be sent at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. And you can review my blog scroll right here instead of just a post at a time if you’re playing offseason catch up. Let’s get going.

1- Hey Chris, I’m a grad student down at Penn State and have seen a lot of Jared Odrick, and he seems to be a really good player. I think that he would be worth a late 1st round, early second round pick. Do you think he would be a good NT? What do you think the odds are of the Bills being able to pick him up, whether they take him at rd 2, pick 9 or trade up/down for him?
-Chris

CB: I like Odrick’s game a lot. I don’t think there is anything about his game that an NFL head coach would be wondering about on Sunday. This guy gives maximum effort every snap. I think he’s capable of filling a role at nose tackle, but I don’t think he can be a full time NT. I think his ideal position is as a 3-4 defensive end.

Knowing that I think it’s unlikely that the Bills make a move for him whether it is up or down the board. That being said I think your range for him is dead on, late first, early second-round pick.

2 - Chris,
I thought the Bills did a pretty good job getting young linebackers like Harris and Palmer…they seem to me like they would have the athleticism to be good 4-3 linebackers…but I’m not sure where they fit in a 3-4. Do you think they might move Harris back to strong safety and in general what do you think the plan is with the linebackers?
-Chris

CB: A lot of Chris’ with questions this week. I thought that Harris moving back to safety could be a possibility until the team re-signed veteran Bryan Scott. With Scott and George Wilson tendered as a restricted free agent, I believe it’s less likely that it happens.

Nic Harris however, does have the frame to add some muscle mass in my opinion, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of plans the new staff has for Harris. As for Palmer he was released by the club and is better suited to a 4-3 system.

3 - Hey Chris,
I agree with you that the Bills should draft an Offensive Left Tackle in the first round. That said, what quarterbacks that are either Free Agents or could be acquired via trade, would you go after?
Bob

CB: Truthfully, I wasn’t impressed with most of what was out there and available. The Seahawks traded for Charlie Whitehurst who has barely played in the league. Cleveland acquired Jake Delhomme coming off a career worst season. It’s tough times if you need a QB.

That’s why it would not surprise me if the Bills spent most of their roster shaping efforts addressing their other positional deficiencies this year (OT, NT, LB, TE) and let this year play itself out at QB. Then based on the performance of whichever one of the QBs that plays make a wholehearted effort to address the position once and for all in 2011.

4 - Chris,
Do you think Rashaad Duncan or Lonnie Harvey are viable DT candidates in the 3-4, or are they still too raw? We haven’t hear much talk about John McCargo as a NT prospect in the 3-4 – where do you see him? What about Corey Mace as a DE? Do you see Chris Kelsay or Chris Ellis as OLB candidates in the 3-4, or would they not be fast enough off the edge?
Thanks, Mike, Pittsford

CB: I think Duncan and Harvey will both be given an opportunity through the offseason and in camp to show the new staff what they’ve got. With nose tackle currently a position that’s short on proven talent, it’s a good opportunity for both of those young men.

As for McCargo, I’m concerned about his future. He doesn’t look like a fit at all in this system and he has struggled mightily with his consistency. He has tools, he just doesn’t use them often enough. Mace was not re-signed. Kelsay and Ellis will be OLB candidates.

5 - Chris,
Not sure I thoroughly understand the thinking of those who feel we need to draft a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft. This is especially true in light of the fact that the two top rated QBs are injured and still have questions about their potential.

Also, what good it does us if we get a QB but cannot protect him as was the case last year. My thinking is that we need a solid offensive LT with our first pick followed by the best DT on the boards in Round 2.

We should then be looking to LB in Round 3. Build the nucleus first and then get a driver to run it hard and fast.

Also, any thoughts about trading a future pick to gain an extra pick this year, especially given we are moving to a 3-4 defensive alignment? As always appreciate the coverage your provide to us Bills fans outside the western New York area.

Jim Allentown, Pa.

CB: Jim, you’re speaking my language. OT first, provided one of the top 4 are there at 9 (worried a bit one might not be there now) and then best NT on the board in round two. I’m thinking the Bills have the same idea we do, which is spend this offseason filling the other holes and then go hard core after a QB or do whatever you have to next year to get to the top of the draft board to get Jake Locker. And because that could very well be their approach I think trading a 1st or 2nd round pick from 2011 is unlikely.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jake Locker update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2009 – 4:03 pm

Bills fans who were hoping to see a 2010 NFL draft class deepen at the quarterback position are no doubt going to be disappointed with the decision reportedly made by Washington Huskies QB Jake Locker.

According to the Associated Press, Locker has chosen to return to school next year for his senior season instead of declaring for the draft.

Locker has first round talent, but does not have a long track of success at the collegiate level. Washington went just 5-7 this season despite Locker throwing for 2,800 yards. But another season under Steve Sarkisian will do him well. He’ll only get better. For the Bills sake however, I wished he was part of this year’s draft class.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

QB Locker still deciding future

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2009 – 1:02 pm

Washington junior QB Jake Locker is still trying to figure out whether to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the draft.

The Tacoma News Tribune provided a list of factors weighing into his decision.

Locker is widely forecast as a top 10 pick in next spring’s draft should he decide to make himself eligible for the 2010 draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

QB Clausen in 2010 draft pool

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2009 – 2:32 pm

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen has made it official. The junior is entering the 2010 draft pool.

Clausen made the announcement at a 2:30pm press conference at the school. ESPN is reporting that Notre Dame WR Golden Tate is also declaring himself eligible for the draft.

Clausen is considered one of the top 3 QB prospects in this year’s draft class joining Washington’s Jake Locker and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford. Bradford however, is more of a question mark as he will be rehabbing from shoulder surgery.


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Posted in Inside the Bills