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Inside The Bills

Hardy’s big play wiped out

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2010 – 12:23 am

At some point or another the luck has to change for James Hardy. The wide receiver whose time on the field has been limited in the preseason by injury got his most extended time Thursday night, but his biggest play of the night went for naught.

“We were trying to give him a good chance,” said Gailey. “He’d been out so much. We were trying to make sure that he got as many opportunities as he could get.”

Hardy appeared to make the longest play of the night when he pulled in a tipped 65-yard pass from Levi Brown and then fought off another defender to reach the end zone for a 74-yard touchdown. Only problem was the play was negated by a holding penalty.

The receiver kept plugging away and late in the game was targeted twice in the end zone. A fade pass attempt by Brown was off the mark on 2nd-and-goal from the four-yard line. Then on 3rd-and-goal, Hardy ran a slant inside and Brown’s throw was not on the mark for his intended receiver. In fact it went the other way for a 102-yard touchdown return.

To his credit, Brown took the heat for the play.

“I thought I could’ve thrown the ball a lot better than I did tonight. I was really inaccurate on a few of them. The interception I had was just an awful throw. It was an easy throw and I could throw it 100 more times and hit it every time, but for some reason I just missed it. There were a couple like that where I missed and I shouldn’t have.”

Hardy finished with three catches for 23 yards. Still in all that touchdown catch is on tape whether it counted or not, and that might prove more important than the six points in the end.


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Hardy expected to play

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2010 – 12:18 pm

With James Hardy participating in practice again on Thursday, less than 24 hours from his first practice back Wednesday night, the odds are good that he’ll suit up for his first preseason game Saturday night.

“He looked good today,” said Gailey after Thursday’s practice. “I think he is right on track to get back on the field. I think he wants to play, we want him to play and hopefully there’s no residual from today’s practice and he’ll be ready to go for Saturday night.”

Gailey however, is not planning on playing Hardy extensively due in large part to the time he’s missed up until this point with an undisclosed injury.

“It’s not fair to throw him out there a lot with all he’s missed,” said Gailey. “We’ll play him. How much I don’t know, but I think he’ll go out and do a pretty good job. At least that’s what I expect.”


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Hardy practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2010 – 10:13 am

WR James Hardy said his chances of playing Saturday would largely hinge on how he felt today (Thurs).

Hardy is practicing for a second straight day here at One Bills Drive, which is enhancing his odds of playing against the Bengals.


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Hardy update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2010 – 6:45 pm

WR James Hardy is back practicing with his teammates here at One Bills Dr. this evening.

It’s the first time in 15 days that Hardy is practicing. This obviously enhances his chances of playing in Saturday’s preseason game against Cincinnati.


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Gailey to wait and see on adding a WR

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2010 – 8:10 pm

With Marcus Easley undergoing surgery sometime soon and James Hardy on the shelf for a week to 10 days, Buffalo will be down to seven receivers for the Friday night preseason contest. Beyond that Gailey said they’ll wait and see if they need to add numbers at the position.

“I don’t know. We’ll have to see. We have a short week next week so it’s not like we can go out and do a ton between the next two ballgames,” Gailey said. “We’ll make a decision probably during the week next week whether we need to address that for the long term or not.”

Usually coaches like to have enough legs in camp to run routes so as not to overwork their starters, which can make them more susceptible to injury. But Gailey and his staff will have some time next week to weigh their options with a short week before the next preseason game in Toronto the following Thursday.


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Hardy out 7-10 days

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2010 – 7:53 pm

Head coach Chan Gailey said that James Hardy will be out for a bit.

“Hardy is going to be out for probably at least a week to 10 days is what it looks like unless something major happens,” said Gailey.

Hardy obviously will miss the preseason opener Friday night.


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Hardy on sidelines

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2010 – 6:32 pm

WR James Hardy is not participating in tonight’s practice.

He appeared to tweak something late in Tuesday afternoon’s practice on his last reception in two minute drill and was tended to briefly by trainers.

Chan Gailey didn’t believe it was anything significant, but it’s apparently enough to keep him out of tonight’s practice and could affect his ability to play Friday night.

Bad timing for the third-year wideout trying to make a climb up the depth chart. We hope to get an update from Gailey after practice.


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Hardy ready to perform

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2010 – 1:48 pm

He’s been through a lot in terms of injury setbacks the last year or so, but James Hardy is healthy and off to a good start at training camp.

“We have an offensive-minded coach,” said Hardy. “We’ve never had that since I’ve been here. He likes to get the ball down the field. He likes big receivers, so everything is a plus on my end. But at the same time, injuries [have] not let me show my full abilities to him. That’s what I’m doing here in training camp, so he can get a feel of who James Hardy really is because last year no one really [saw] it.”

Hardy had a 35-yard touchdown catch on day one and is showing sharper route running through the first couple of practices. That’s thanks in large part to the extra route running training he did with former NFL WR Torrance Small down in New Orleans this offseason.

“He played for 10 years in the league,” Hardy told Buffalobills.com. “He’s helped me with getting my hips low since he’s a taller receiver. All the things I had to learn before I tore my ACL I had to re-teach myself everything. It just has to be on a consistent basis, dropping the hips and just having quick feet. It’s something like you said the last two years I wasn’t able to work on this during the offseason. So it’s just getting myself prepared to do it on a consistent basis.”

Coach Gailey admitted Thursday that Hardy is right in the mix for the number two receiver role, and Hardy intends to make a run at it even though Steve Johnson currently holds it.

“That’s a good thing for all of us and may the best man win,” Hardy said of the #2 WR competition. “Whoever is starting in game one, not preseason, that’s the best man, so I’m working my hardest to make sure that’s me.”


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Fan Friday 7-2

Posted by Chris Brown on July 2, 2010 – 12:47 pm

Hey Bills fans, we’re into the dead period before training camp, but that doesn’t mean that your questions aren’t welcome (AskChris@bills.nfl.net). Have a Happy 4th everybody.
1 - I was wondering with the changing of head coaches where last year there was a surplus of dbs, Do you see a surplus of wide receivers/tes this year with Gailey being offensive minded.
B. Joyce

CB: That’s an interesting question, though it should be mentioned that Chan Gailey’s predecessor, though he was a defensive-minded coach, two of his four years as head coach he kept six receivers. Most of the time he kept three tight ends.

I think under Gailey knowing his priority on running the ball will likely carry four tight ends with an emphasis on blocking ability. An extra tight end on the roster could mean one less receiver actually so there might be just five instead of six. Plus there are enough quality rookie wideouts on the roster right now that you could conceivably practice squad one or two and live with five on the active to start the season.

The roster decisions should be different this year though than years past.

2 - Hi Chris,

In light of injuries, don’t you think the Bills front office should think about more depth ? NT J’Vonne Parker is still available.   He played in Denver along with Andra Davis.  Mr. Davis is sure to have the skinny on him.    Although Ed Wang was not projected to be a starting LT, certainly there must be some concern by the staff considering this critical position.  Do you foresee any developments on the free agent front?

CB: The good news is Ed Wang will be fine for training camp though he did not make a return to the field before the end of mandatory minicamp. I think depth at nose tackle is not their greatest concern. I think where the depth could be an issue is at the interior offensive line positions.

Outside of veteran Kirk Chambers, who played mostly guard in the spring, there is a combined 3 games of NFL experience for the other seven candidates that play guard or center on the roster. To me that’s a scary thought. So if there are any additions made, I anticipate it to be made there.

3 - Hey Chris,

I know everyone has their questions about the new offense under Coach Gailey that is being implemented and I guess my question won’t be any different. However, mine is concerned with the WR position this fall.  With Lee Evans the obvious #1 and James Hardy emerging as the possible  #2, who do you see filling out the rest of the pecking order for this  position with all the talent we have at that position in guys like Parrish, Johnson, Easley, Roosevelt, Huggins, Jones and anyone else? 
Thanks for all the news as always.

Korey
Ashville, NY

CB: I don’t think Hardy has anything locked down by any means and even he would tell you that. He got off to a slow start in the spring coming off an injury and Steve Johnson had arguably the most consistent spring. Marcus Easley showed big play ability and the rookie free agents all showed they’re capable of playing on this level.

I think Roscoe is the top slot guy, but the #2 WR role is wide open going into camp. I personally would narrow it down to Hardy, Johnson and Easley, but Chan Gailey isn’t doing that.

4 - Chris
We have heard very little about Kyle Williams. Will he be our nose tackle? How is he doing? I know he is a great player but is he a fit at nose tackle and if not who is,and then where would Kyle play?

Ron from Greensboro , NC

CB: Kyle is the starting nose tackle. Defensive coordinator George Edwards realizes Williams does not have the prototypical size of a nose, so he’s going to adjust the scheme accordingly, though he won’t say what those adjustments will be. I believe that when all is said and done that Kyle will play about 75 percent of the snaps at the nose with Torell Troup playing 25 percent. Williams will be in for any and all passing down situations, with Troup giving him a break on some obvious run downs.

5 - Hey Chris
 
Just wanted to know what you think on the Torbor signing? Also do you think that he could start at OLB this year or will it be Kelsay and Maybin getting those posiitons? and if Kelsay and Maybin do take the OLBs will Mitchell get ILB with Poz or will Davis take that away?

CB: A lot of questions there. I like Torbor as veteran insurance. He’s a guy that knows the scheme and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s used as a situational player on the outside, like on run downs with Maybin rotating in for passing situations. Kelsay, Ellis and Batten are the candidates for the strong side LB position.

Mitchell is facing stiff competition from Andra Davis. Mitchell is coming off a major injury and Davis has good working knowledge of the 3-4 system. It’ll be one of the best training camp battles this summer.


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Fan Friday 6-25

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2010 – 1:30 pm

The spring practices are done, now the five week layoff before training camp 2010. We’ll be reporting from St. John Fisher before you know it. To your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hi Chris:
I was wondering if the Bills and in particular Gailey and Nix would be leaning towards one QB over the other. Also, is it true that Brown would get an equal shot at being the starter game 1? For Gailey, how would he improve this offense especially the QB play which has been less than spectacular since Drew Bledsoe left?
 
Thanks,
Bills fan from San Diego: Kevin

CB: If Gailey is leaning toward one quarterback over the others he’s not tipping his hand. Reps have been dead even among the three veteran signal callers. Rookie Levi Brown is a part of the competition according to Gailey, but has received fewer reps than the others. In fact on Day 1 of minicamp Brown got a total of three reps over two practices. The other three for the most part have rotated evenly. So it looks like a 3 man race for training camp.

2 - Hi Chris: What is your assessment of the Buffalo Bills wide receiver situation? They drafted Marcus Easley, who, in his last year in college, had 48 catches for 893 yards, before that he really did nothing. The Bills also signed Chad Jackson, who in his best year caught 13 balls. It seems to me that outside of Lee Evans, they lack a proven receiver (they have holdovers James Hardy and Steve Johnson, Johnson has a bigger upside than Hardy and more talent to boot). Letting Josh Reed go was a mistake, talent does not mean beans if it does not translate into production. Do you see the Bills going after a veteran receiver once again? Do you see any other way?
Tony, Daytona Beach

CB: I think there is no question that there is some talent at the position beyond Lee Evans. Steve Johnson has had a strong spring and if he can carry that into training camp I believe has a real good chance to be the number two wideout. But I think James Hardy and Marcus Easley will also be factors in that competition.

The rookie free agent receivers have also been impressive in Donald Jones, David Nelson and Naaman Roosevelt. The issue to be determined in training camp and the preseason is how well the young receivers can perform in the new offensive system. There are a lot of sight adjustments, option routes and such, and that’s a lot of responsibility to master, especially for a young receiver. Having to think, instead of knowing all those things via experience causes a young wideout to think more than play and that can affect performance.

So while I think the Bill have some talented young receivers, how well they handle and ultimately master the offensive system will largely determine what kind of production and consistency they can deliver.

 

3 - Hi Chris:
 
Have a question about the running back situation for this year. Jackson, Lynch and Spiller all are capable to be the starters this year. Who do you think will have the actual title of the “starting” running back? I’m sure all three will split time but after last season, Fred has to be the front runner. What do you think?
 
Thanks, Eric, AKA Bills backer from Downingtown PA

CB: I think in the end it will be Fred Jackson. I believe C.J. Spiller will see a lot of time on the field both in the backfield and out wide and on special teams. I think we’ll see more than one of them out there at times as well. But I think technically Jackson will be the lead dog, though Marshawn could give him a run.

 

4 - Hey Chris,
First of all GO BILLS!! My question is concerning practices. I have noticed you saying some weather forces the players inside to practice. Are there ever days when they practice in bad weather? If not, wouldn’t that be good to get guys prepared for games in those conditions? Thanks Chris.
Mike
North Tonawanda, NY

CB: In the spring playing on a wet field is an added hazard that the coaches and the training staff would prefer to avoid. Less than stable footing can make players more susceptible to injury so in the spring when you’re trying to keep people healthy for training camp you play where it’s safest and when the outdoor field is slick you move inside.
 

5 - Hi Chris,

Maybe I don’t understand football as well as I thought I did, but I see a lot of people predicting the Bills to be the worst team in the 
league this year, and I just don’t understand the logic behind it.  This is a team that won six games last year, was leading or tied in 
the 4th quarter of five other games, and in a 12th game entered the  4th quarter down only three to the Saints.

The Bills didn’t have the splashiest offseason, but they did add some  key players and outside of T.O. and Josh Reed (and maybe Schobel) really didn’t lose anyone. As critical as people want to be of the O-line and QB situation, we have the same players coming back that won six games last year who ideally will mature a bit and we added a  little competition at those spots as well.

Do you think this season is in as much trouble as everyone is saying, or do we have some hope that the “experts” just aren’t seeing?

Thanks,

Brad

CB: I believe those predictions exist because there are a lot of unknowns for this team. A host of positions are open for competition including the most important (QB) and there is a new coaching staff with new offensive and defensive schemes being implemented.

All of those unanswered questions convince prognosticators on the outside that there aren’t any answers. With no answers they don’t have much hope for the Bills.

But answers will be provided in training camp and once we have more of those answers leading up to the season, we’ll all be able to make a better assessment as to just where this team belongs in the conversation of NFL rankings.


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Fan Friday 6-18

Posted by Chris Brown on June 18, 2010 – 10:29 am

Only a week left of spring practices and then the layoff before training camp. On to your questions (AskChris@bills.nfl.net).

1 - Chris,
I think James Hardy has a very good chance to become the 2nd receiver to Lee Evans. He has all the physical tools to succeed and with his tall, lanky frame is the only WR with those attributes. The question is can he put in the necessary work of running route and reading defenses? What do you think?

William
Schenectady, NY
CB: James Hardy is very much a part of the competition for the #2 WR position. He will get legitimate competition however, from draft classmate Steve Johnson and rookie fourth-round pick Marcus Easley. Easley has flashed a very strong set of hands and has a knack for turning in big plays through the spring practices. Hardy has made plays here and there as has Johnson. We’ll know more when the pads go on in training camp when the game gets more physical, but Easley is known as a physical wideout. His youth will not be the deficiency that some might think it would be in a competition like this.

2 - Chris,

Have the Bills examined the Idea of moving Eric Wood back to his natural position of Center? Especially coming off of his injury, it might be a faster way to get him back. It’s not like Hangartner was a Pro-Bowl caliber player last year and if my memory serves me correctly, Wood was Brohm’s Center at Louisville, so they already has chemistry. I’ve been waiting for a dominant center ever since we picked Mccargo instead of Mangold. 

Line would look like this…  Bell, Levitre, Wood, Green, Meredith….Thanks!

Joe
CB: I get the sense that the Bills offensive staff believes he can help them the most at guard. Plus they are heavily invested in Geoff Hangartner after signing him as a free agent in the 2009 offseason. Your Brohm chemistry point is valid, but to maintain continuity last year for an offensive line that had none of it last season, leaving him at right guard is probably the best move.

3 - Hey Chris, 

With all the talk of trading Lynch and how they won’t get good compensation for a pro bowl back, why not just trade jackson instead?   His value seems to be at an all time high coming off of a solid season in 09 and the speed/power combination of spiller and lynch should be something special.  Just a though as we could definitely use some more draft picks or a LT.
 
Brett in the hot and sunny AK

CB: I think trading Jackson is absolutely crazy. The man put up the sixth best all-purpose yardage season in NFL history last season with over 2,500 yards. On a team desperate for as much playmaking talent as possible it would be insane to move Jackson.

4 - Chris,

In reading Donte’s comment on the different type of training they are experiencing, and the much more rigorous work outs, do you believe they are on the right track? The last three years were unreal with all the injuries. I remember making a comment to you a couple seasons ago that I thought something had to be going on with their training methods to produce so many injuries. Your comment was that I may be on to something. The Bills have had a very good team as starters each year going in but were hampered regularly with replacement players. Do you think this will be a break out year even though they are rookied up.

Also do you think they can learn this system well enough by mid season to make a strong finishing run to the play offs?

Jim from Chattanooga TN
CB: I think Donte said it all. He said the difference between the training last year and this year is like night and day. Donte feels it will make them more physically resistant to injury. I think the greatest this strength and conditioning staff will have on this team is stamina and endurance. There were several games and leads that were lost in the fourth quarter last year because this team simply wasn’t fit enough. That will not be the case this year. The 2010 Bills will have a lot more left in the tank come the fourth quarter.

5 – Hi Chris,
I was thinking back to the last three years and I think one of our biggest problems was that the offence was too predictable and I realize last year the line was also a big factor (and I honestly expect them to be better this year because they will be used to playing together) on first and second downs we ran it and third down were shotgun plays and we didn’t utilize enough people I think they should use a highly rotational offence meaning using a bunch of different personal combinations like 1 play have lee evans, lynch, and james hardy then on the next play c.j. spiller, roscoe parish shawn nelson and klopfenstein and I was wondering what you thought of what you have seen from the offence so far in ota’s. thank you.

CB: The offense is really in its infancy here in the spring and with a quarterback competition going on as well, it doesn’t cater to developing continuity early. Despite that I think you can bank on Chan Gailey’s offense being extremely multiple. His offense doesn’t have a distinct approach to it and that’s on purpose. There are an endless number of pre-snap shifts and motions and personnel groupings change almost as much. I think for the first time in a long time the Bills coaching staff has one of the better offensive minds in the league.


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Fan Friday 6-4

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2010 – 2:33 pm

OTAs and minicamps are in full swing. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for exclusive highlights from the practice field. Let’s get to your questions (AskChris@bills.nfl.net).

1 - Chris,
How are the young group of linebackers looking? Does Aaron Maybin look to be a fit at outside linebacker?  How about Chris Ellis?  Going to the 3-4 makes our linebacker play crucial if we are going to have a good defense.
 
Thanks,
William J. Nason
Woodbridge, VA

CB: Maybin looks the part and I think he’s a lock to be out there in obvious passing situations to take advantage of his pass rushing prowess. I do however see him getting pushed for a role on first and second downs from Chris Ellis, who is stouter against the run.

I also would like to see more of rookie Antonio Coleman when the pads go on in camp. He has some good looking pass rushing moves and I’d like to see them on display in something closer to a game-like setting.

2 - What kind of offense do you see the Bills implementing this season? I hope it won’t be too complex. When trying to jell, simple is better.

Sam Corona

CB:
I think you can bank on there being a strong emphasis on the run game. It’s one of Chan Gailey’s trademarks. A lot of shifts and motions are also staples in his offenses in an effort to throw opposing defenses off, and he does have a lot of them.

The Bills defensive players have already commented on how much more challenging Gailey’s offense is to figure in practice because of all the pre-snap motion.

His offense however, will adapt and change as we move into training camp to fit the strengths of his players, so making a definitive call on what it will look like right now is premature.

3 – Chris,
Any chance we keep all 4 qbs on our active roster come opening day?
Thanks!
A Byrnes

CB: This is an excellent question that I’ve thought about myself. I highly doubt that all four quarterbacks will be kept on the roster.

I think Levi Brown is a lock as a developmental number three quarterback at worst. So the remaining two spots will go to two of the three that were on the roster last season.

In fact it wouldn’t shock me if before the close of training camp one that isn’t deemed an answer as a starter is moved via trade.

4 - Chris:
Am I off base with the thought that the Bills (after round #1) selected players that may not be currently the best at their positions coming out of the draft, but with NFL Coaching have the potential to be better than those players rated higher because of greater athletic upside, work ethic and intelligence?
 
Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think part of what you’re saying is accurate. I believe the Bills newly configured personnel department put a greater emphasis on player work ethic because they’ve grown tired of having even one or two players on the roster where coaches wonder what they’re going to get out of them each and every Sunday. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to ignore supremely talented players that might not have an impeccable work ethic.

I think it’s only safe to say that player work ethic was a bit more of a factor this year, but it was not the end all, be all. You still need talent to win in this league.

As far as intelligence goes, that’s a prerequisite to play in this league and is always considered a major asset.

Since most Bills fans that took issue with Buffalo’s draft class had issues with picks 2, 3 and 4 I will state for the record that Torell Troup, Alex Carrington and Marcus Easley are extremely athletic based on what I’ve seen thus far in the spring camps.

I don’t think the Bills sacrificed anything in the way of pure athletic talent to take hard working players. I think the Bills college scouting and personnel departments were extremely astute in taking talented players that had a work ethic to match.

5 - Hey Chris
I would like to know your opinion on the chance that Stevie Johnson could play opposite Lee Evans as the number 2 receiver. He’s good at the slot position, but I think that Steve would be able to play any position for receiver whether it be slot or wideout.

Thanks,
Chris L.

CB: Johnson has received snaps opposite Lee Evans with the first unit as the flanker or boundary receiver in the OTAs and minicamp setting. He’s very much a part of that number 2 receiver competition. On the whole he’s performed relatively well.

James Hardy is currently his most ardent competitor for the role.
I also would not rule out rookie Marcus Easley who has made some impressive plays thus far this spring and has demonstrated a knack for making the big play.

We’ll see how this competition changes when the pads go on.


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Gailey on non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2010 – 1:47 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked about why some young first and second-year players that could have participated in this past weekend’s rookie minicamp did not. Gailey provided some answers.

Asked about LB Nic Harris, Gailey confirmed that he was not 100 percent healthy coming off a late season knee injury that landed him on injured reserve in 2009.

Harris was seen watching the afternoon practice from the sidelines on Saturday. As for when he’ll return to the practice setting Gailey was not sure of Harris’ timeline off the top of his head.

As for James Hardy’s absence, Gailey offered the following.

“He had something he had to take care of,” said Gailey.

Buffalo’s head coach didn’t elaborate, so it wasn’t clear if it was personal matters or something else.

FS Jairus Byrd is also not fully recovered from hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, though he watched practice from the sidelines on Friday.

Gailey did say that the group of players participating in the rookie minicamp came out of it healthy.


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Fan Friday 1-8

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2010 – 2:30 pm

Fan Friday 1-8
First offseason Fan Friday as the coaching search is in full swing. If you have any questions for me you can email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Here we go.

1. Hey Chris, just a couple Bills-related things on my mind…

First, as you mentioned in your blog post Fitz QB Status, Fitzpatrick is clearly not the starting QB… so has the organization just given up completely on Edwards?  Can (will) we trade him?  Do you know (and can you say) if this is a decision straight from the top? 

I just don’t understand it, really… even though I don’t think Trent will be the long term answer that I hoped he’d be… he seems better than the other options.  (Unless we just admit we’re playing for next year and give Brohm a shot, which you already said they won’t do…)  Craziness!

CB: I think Trent’s fate will be determined by the new head coach. GM Buddy Nix has said he will not make any personnel moves without the new head coach getting an opportunity to evaluate the roster and see who might fit his vision and who does not.

So the possibility exists that he will be back in 2010 and the possibility exists that he will be gone. It rests in the hands of the new head coach.

2. Obviously, the Bills have a lot of holes to fill after the season.  However, the position that seems to be of most importance is the interior of the defensive line.  Marcus Stroud is not anywhere close to the player he use to be.  Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson make plays but are smaller and are better at penetrating with their quickness, they wont be able to eat up blockers. 

How much of the Bills porous run defense can be attributed to the fact that Stroud is getting pushed around fairly easily every play? 

People are always knocking Posluszny, but when blockers are able to get on him, he isn’t free to roam around and make tackles.  I think the biggest priority in the off-season is to find a clog in the middle of that line. 

I know people say we need a QB, but if you can’t stop the opponents run game your not going to win too many games.  What are your thoughts?
 
Nick in Albany

CB: I’ve always been a big believer in getting your big men first on both sides of the ball. In defense of Marcus Stroud he played most of the season hurt (ankle, knee, neck), so if he didn’t look as explosive as he did last season, there’s your answer. The guy gutted it out in a lost season so I give him a lot of credit for that.

That being said I do believe a DT prospect would be a good add especially this year with such a strong DT class. However, offensive tackle and quarterback are ahead of that on my priority list. The offense is much further behind the defense. It takes priority even though I agree that bolstering the DT position is necessary.

I’m just not convinced the Bills are going to spend big in free agency to land a proven left tackle like a Marcus McNeill, especially in an uncapped year where there could be even more bidding wars between teams.

I think because the DT class is deeper than the OT class that you get your OT first and hope you can get at DT that can play right away in round 2. The DT class just got deeper this week with UCLA’s Brian Price declaring.
 
3. Hey Chris,
I think the bills should really consider going hard after Tarvaris Jackson in the off-season. I really think since coming back from injury late last season that he really has turned a corner. In the last four games of last season he was 3-1 and threw for 8td’s-1int. This year as a backup he’s 10-15, 159yards, 1td as a backup. I think he could be the answer for the bills at quarterback not Micheal Vick like some people are speculating and not Brian Brohm.

I think they should also go really hard after an elite young wide reciever like Brandon Marshall if the broncos don’t franchise him. I think the bills should then draft two big offensive tackles.

Maybe Trade Lee Evans to San Fran to get one of their first rounders so they can draft an OT and a DT in the first round. Since we have James Hardy and Steve Johnson at wide reciever. If we sign Brandon Marshall, we can play Hardy as the number two receiver and Johnson in the slot. What do you think?
Rocky

CB: Well that’s a lot you’ve put on the table there. First, the quarterback situation. To me it’s looking more and more like an answer at quarterback might more likely come via trade, and not the draft. There are some respectable prospects, but I don’t know that there’s one you could put on the field right away and give the keys to the offense. So I think trading for a QB is a realistic possibility.

You’d have to pay a king’s ransom to get Kevin Kolb out of Philly so Tarvaris Jackson would come at a lesser price and if your new staff is installing a West Coast offense then Jackson would be a respectable option. I’m not convinced he’s turned a corner, but a consideration nonetheless.

As for a marquee young receiver, the Bills have that in Lee Evans. No one thinks so because he hasn’t put up monster numbers, but if you pair him with a quarterback that’s just above average the production will be there trust me.

Then as you suggested James Hardy can be the number two with Steve Johnson in the slot. It’s time for the young guys to step up at wideout. But there’s no need to go out and make a splash at receiver when you have a guy waiting to produce Pro Bowl numbers with a better line and better QB.

4. CHRIS:  WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE BILLS SIGN CHAD PENNINGTON AS A FREE AGENT, DRAFT A DEVELOPMENTAL QB TO LEARN UNDER HIM AND DRAFT THE BEST LINEMAN OR LB AVAILABLE?  CONRAD FROM ELMA

CB: First Chad Pennington has to prove himself healthy and capable of throwing a 12-yard out before he’s even a consideration. I do believe though that the Bills have to strongly consider the possibility of signing a veteran signal caller to serve as a stopgap at QB while a younger QB is groomed for the future, whether it’s Brian Brohm or a draft pick.

I’ve got a lot more draft prep work to do, but I’m not seeing a guy that will be there at 9 that the Bills can put on the field and succeed with right away. And if you draft a QB later, history shows it’s best to let them watch and learn early in their careers.

So I think there’s a lot of merit to the approach you’re suggesting, I just don’t know if Chad Pennington is the mark.
5. Hi Chris!!

My questions are:

1. How is L. McKelvin doing with his injury? I haven’t heard much 
about him during the season.
2. What do see the Bills addressing first during the offseason / draft? QB or OL?
3. Due to our O-line problems. Do you think the Bills should go after M. Vick? He is certainly a good scrambler…

Thanks & take care…

Luis A. Estrada (Puerto Rico)

CB: McKelvin is close to 100 percent. He began running again on the turf field a couple of weeks ago, but told me he’s not 100 percent just yet. We’ll have a story on him this coming week on Buffalobills.com.

I believe the Bills will survey the landscape for a QB they believe can be a stopgap answer for a year or two while they groom a young QB be it Brohm or a draftee, unless Brohm outperforms said veteran.

I don’t see the Bills getting in a bidding war for premium free agents OTs so that might have to be the top priority in the draft.

Finally I understand your reasoning with Michael Vick, but I believe you fix the line and your QB play will improve. Also I think Vick is a running QB in a passing league. So I’m not big on acquiring Vick.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Johnson/Hardy time?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2009 – 6:06 pm

With Josh Reed downgraded to out, it’s a virtual lock that Steve Johnson will be active Sunday, and there’s a good chance James Hardy could be up for the first time since coming off the Reserve/PUP list Nov. 11.

Johnson has played more in the slot than Hardy, so Johnson figures to see more action than Hardy if both are active, as the former seventh-rounder could split time in that role with Roscoe Parrish.

As we told you earlier in the week, Terrell Owens hinted that Hardy would get some playing time this week against the Falcons on Wednesday.

There had been a school of thought that if Brian Brohm was going to start Sunday (which is still going to be determined at game time) that Hardy could be beneficial to have on the field since he was one of the primary receivers Brohm threw to while running scout team plays the past month.

But interim head coach Perry Fewell dismissed that.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Playing time for Hardy?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2009 – 9:00 am

There were some interesting comments made by Terrell Owens regarding the possible chance for James Hardy to get on the field this weekend.

Owens when asked to reflect on his season in Buffalo commented on how he has helped some of the younger receivers on the roster.

“I’ve been here to help a lot of young guys kind of blossom their skills and perfect their craft,”  said Owens. “James (Hardy) was itching to get on the field and he’ll get his chance this weekend to play a little bit.”

That doesn’t sound overly promising, but it’s a strong indication that he’ll be active this weekend. If it’s accurate perhaps some of the reasoning lies in the fact that Brian Brohm while running the scout team in practice the past five weeks has been throwing mainly to Justin Jenkins and James Hardy. There’s some on field chemistry between Brohm and Hardy, at least more than with some of the starting wideouts, who Brohm only threw to on Wednesday for the first time.

But when interim head coach Perry Fewell was asked about that possibility he was pretty clear.

“That doesn’t make its likely that Hardy would get on the field,” said Fewell. “I’m still interested in getting the best 45 on the field for game day. With our situation we have several people that are out. If I’m able to put James or Steve Johnson on that 45 on Sunday I will do so. That doesn’t mean that if Brian plays or Ryan plays, it doesn’t guarantee that those young men will play.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Injury report update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2009 – 2:33 pm

Here’s the official rundown of injured players for the Bills and their level of participation in practice Thursday. New to the injury list were Nic Harris, who watched practice due to illness and James Hardy, who was limited with a groin injury. DT Kyle Williams practiced on a limited basis.

With respect to Williams specifically, interim head coach Perry Fewell was glad to see the defensive tackle practicing.

“I was very encouraged,” said Fewell. “It’s always good to have him on the football field. Just to have him in a limited fashion was good.”

Did not practice
CB Terrence McGee (knee)
LB Keith Ellison (thigh)
FS Jairus Byrd (groin)
DT Marcus Stroud (knee)
OT Demetrius Bell (knee)
CB Ashton Youboty (ankle)
WR Justin Jenkins (illness)
LB Nic Harris (illness)

Limited in practice
DT Kyle Williams (knee)
WR James Hardy (groin)


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills Inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2009 – 12:13 pm

Here are the Bills inactives.

Roscoe Parrish
Terrence McGee
Keith Ellison
Jonathan Scott
Chris Ellis
Kyle Williams
James Hardy


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Parrish added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2009 – 1:12 pm

Roscoe Parrish was added to the injury report on Friday.

Head coach Dick Jauron revealed that Parrish suffered an injury in practice.

“He twisted his knee during practice,” said Jauron. “And he did not finish, so we’ve listed him as questionable.”

Parrish has been inactive for each of the last three games, so his availability is likely not of any major concern, especially now with seven receivers on the 53-man roster after James Hardy was added on Wednesday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Omon likely to return

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2009 – 4:30 pm

With James Hardy being added to the active roster this afternoon, the Bills have waived RB Xavier Omon, but he’s probably going to return to the team soon.

Omon has appeared in just six career games (four in 2009), so he still has practice squad eligibility. It’s presumed that provided Omon clears waivers that the Bills will sign him to their eight-man practice squad.

Of course that means they will also have to move a player off their practice squad to make room for Omon should that be the course of action they take.

As happy as James Hardy must be getting back on the active roster, he probably is not happy that it comes at the expense of one of his fellow draft classmates of 2008.


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Posted in Inside the Bills