Matt Cassel didn’t play a snap on Sunday in the Cowboys loss to the Bills. Cassel, who the Bills traded to Dallas for a fifth-round pick in September, started seven games for the Cowboys before being benched in Week 15. Despite being beaten out for the Bills starting job by Tyrod Taylor, the two quarterbacks caught up with one another after Buffalo’s 16-6 victory.
“It went very good. Matt is a friend of mine of course,” said Taylor. “He spent some time here in Buffalo. I was able to learn from him. We talked about the season and some personal life too. It was a great conversation. He’s a great guy.”
Cassel’s replacement in the lineup, Kellen Moore completed 42 percent of his passes for 186 yards and an interception. Moore had a passer rating of 48.6.
Tags: Kellen Moore, Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills have a very small book on Kellen Moore and his skill set. He’s got all of half of one game of film for Buffalo’s defenders to digest in the Dallas offense. So in a case like this players spend more time studying scheme than the individual talents of Moore.
“It’s probably more so scheme study,” said Manny Lawson of preparation for the week. “What we really have to do is remember he is coming into his first career start. Kind of just throwing him in there, so expect a lot of the running game. They have a really talented offensive front and talented backs so why not? But he is a smart quarterback. He’s able to understand defenses and he’s able to pick up a blitz, so we also have to be alert to him passing the ball and try to disguise what we’re trying to do.”
Fortunately for the Bills they’ve seen Moore more than most having played the Lions every preseason while Moore was on their roster. Head coach Rex Ryan did admit that things can change in terms of tendencies when the quarterback is left-handed, which is the case with Moore.
Tags: Kellen Moore, Manny Lawson
Posted in Inside the Bills
The game day forecast for the Bills-Cowboys game may lead to even more run game than initially planned by both teams. Heavy winds are in the Sunday forecast and that could mean a lot of Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee for Buffalo and plenty of Darren McFadden for Dallas.
“I would think so,” said Rex Ryan of the likelihood of a heavy rushing attack for both teams. “I think with the weather, I think we’re gonna get a lot of run. I mean it sounds like we’re gonna get some Buffalo wind and so I think that’ll probably lead to the fact that we’ll probably see more run.”
Kellen Moore played his college ball at Boise State in Idaho where the weather can get nasty, but his arm strength leaves him limited when it comes to throwing in windy conditions. Tyrod Taylor’s arm strength leaves him in better position to cut passes through the wind.
Tags: Bills-Cowboys, Kellen Moore, Rex Ryan, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday for Week 16, but they won’t be seeing former teammate Matt Cassel at quarterback. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett confirmed that he will be starting Kellen Moore at quarterback Sunday against Buffalo.
According to ProFootballTalk, Garrett made the announcement this morning on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. Cassel had started each of the Cowboys last three games after Tony Romo re-injured his collarbone in Week 12. But he was benched on Saturday night against the Jets after ineffective play and replaced by Moore.
Moore was 15-25 passing for 158 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in his first ever regular season action on Saturday night against the Jets.
Cassel was traded by the Bills to Dallas back on September 22nd in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick.
Tags: Bills-Cowboys, Kellen Moore, Matt Cassel
Posted in Inside the Bills
Hard to believe we’re 26 days away from the NFL draft! Get up to speed on the top 5 prospects at each position with our video position previews in the media center at Buffalobills.com where you hear from almost every one of the prospects profiled. Let’s get to your questions.
1 – Chris,
I like Nix’s stance on picking value over need, but since OLB is a definite need, if Terrell Manning from NC State is still available in the 3rd, do you think he’s what the Bills are looking for? He seems like a pretty quick, tough, instinctive player. Also, is there any chance TE Coby Fleener is going to be available for us in the 2nd round, & if so, would the Bills go for him? I know they’re high on Chandler, who had a good year, but you can’t deny Fleener’s ability/athleticism. Last, is there any chance the Bills trade out of the #10 pick? I just can’t see them taking a (right) tackle with Pears playing as well as he did & DE/OLB seems like a reach. Unless some fluke-ishness, a-la last year w/ the Locker-Gabbert-Ponder run, happens in those 1st 9 picks & CB Claiborne is still available, I don’t see anyone being worth what we’d have to pay a #10 pick. I’d rather trade the pick altogether for a proven vet, Mike Wallace anyone? Thanks for all your work keeping us displaced Bills fans in the loop.
CB: A lot of questions here. First, Terrell Manning to me is a boom or bust player. Most believe he should’ve returned to N.C. State for the 2012 season and I’m one to agree. He just doesn’t make enough plays. He’ll flash here and there, but he doesn’t have great football instincts. Manning overruns a lot of plays in my opinion. He has pass rush ability, but I think the better overall player is his teammate Audie Cole. After Cole ran in the 4.6s at his pro day I felt better about him being a LB target in the 3rd or 4th round. He played mostly SLB, but was moved to MLB this past season for the Wolfpack.
He’s a smart, instinctive player with good physical ability. At 6’4” 246, he’s got prototype size for the strong side LB spot and would be a great young prospect to line up behind veteran Kirk Morrison. I met him at the Combine and liked what I heard. The dude’s hand swallowed mine (10 inch hands). I think he also could serve as a backup MLB.
Stanford’s Coby Fleener is now being talked about as a late first-round pick after his monster pro day last week. I don’t know that he’ll go that high, so you’re right about him probably being there for Buffalo in round two. I just don’t see tight end being a priority. Chandler I believe still has some potential to reach. Last year was his first year as a full-time starter. I think he can do even more this year.
As for trading out of the 10th overall pick. I think it is very realistic. If Buffalo doesn’t like what is on the board at offensive tackle in terms of the value matching up at pick 10, and they don’t believe WR Michael Floyd is right for the 10th pick either, I could see them making an effort to move back five to 10 spots and picking up an extra choice. Of course they need to find a trade partner to do that.
Your dream of getting Mike Wallace by the way are remote at best. All signs point to him being re-signed by Pittsburgh.
2 – Hey Chris,
I really appreciate all the work you do in keeping us informed on the Bills. My question is about Memphis DT Dontari Poe. Heard he blew people away at the combine with his athleticism for his size of 6-4 and 346 pounds. I know we have Williams are Dareus in the middle, but Poe reminds a lot of people of another guy the Bills passed on Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata. Curious if you think the Bills would give any consideration to drafting this guy or would they rather address a bigger need?
Jeremy from San Antonio
CB: While Poe is an intriguing prospect and should be no worse than a mid-first round pick, I don’t see Buffalo going the DT route. The Bills have a lot of depth on the interior with Torell Troup on the road to recovery from back surgery, Kellen Heard and now Dwan Edwards as a likely DT in the new 4-3 scheme.
Buffalo’s positional demands at OT, WR, LB and CB trump DT.
And while I like Poe as a prospect, he’s not Haloti Ngata.
3 – Dear Chris,
Is it plausible the Bills would consider using one of their 4th round picks on Kellen Moore? I think he has potential be a great backup for Fitz. His accuracy would fit well into our offensive scheme. Many are casting doubts on his ability to perform at the next level, but it seems Buffalo has built a 1st class culture through acquiring players with a chip on their shoulder!
Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your great coverage.
Fort Collins, CO
CB: Being a guy of small stature myself I always root for the guys that aren’t blessed with the physical gifts that the elite prospects possess. But it’s even hard for me to look past Moore’s physical limitations. Being under six-feet tall wouldn’t be as much of an issue if he was on the higher end of the athleticism meter. Unfortunately he’s not. He lacks agility and escapability and that hurts him at the NFL level because at his height he’s going to need to move around a lot to find throwing lanes to throw through, much like Doug Flutie did. Moore can’t move like Flutie.
He’s super intelligent and anticipates throws really, really well. He puts good touch on the ball as well, but driving the ball downfield isn’t something he’s going to do. I suppose he could survive as a backup WCO QB, but I believe he’ll be a successful offensive coordinator in this league before he’s a successful quarterback. A sixth or seventh-round pick at best.
4 – Chris,
Love the offseason coverage. Can’t wait until draft day! Can you breakdown who is in the mix to fill the rush/SAM LB in the new defense? Who are the best 43 LB in the draft that could fill the void? Hightower (Alabama) Lewis (Oklahoma). Where do players like Chris White and Robert Eddins (who looked great in preseason ) fit into the new LB scheme. The team needs depth at LB at all 3 positions.
CB: As it stands now Morrison would be the starting SLB going into camp with Moats backing him up over there and last year’s sixth-round pick Chris White in that mix too. On the weak side it’s Nick Barnett and Robert Eddins, who is under contract and is a rush LB. I anticipate Shawne Merriman to be a pass rushing end on the open side (right side) so he’s out of the mix. I believe Bryan Scott could be part of competition as well knowing he played a hybrid LB role in the team’s nickel package last year.
As for draft prospects that fit the 4-3, Hightower to me is an ILB and probably a second-round prospect. Lewis is an interesting player because he’s got a lot of physical talent, but since the Oklahoma coaches never found a spot for him it’s hard to know what he is exactly. He also had some academic issues and it was recommended to him that he turn pro. Also said to have some maturity issues so he doesn’t sound like Bills draft material. North Carolina’s Zach Brown (WLB), Boise State’s Shea McClellin (SLB), Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and N.C. State’s Audie Cole (SLB) are all guys I feel better about.
5 – I’m puzzled about the status of Alex Carrington. He played as a 4-3 defensive end in college and in the 3-4 this year they played him at linebacker, even though he is around 300 lbs. He must have quickness to play linebacker and I heard he increased his strength dramatically coming into last season. Therefore, why isn’t he mentioned as a candidate to be one of the starting defensive ends in the 4-3? Thanks for being willing to answer our questions.
CB: The reason why you don’t see him being mentioned as a DE in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense is because he’s likely to be a defensive tackle. Carrington added lean muscle to his frame last year and came into camp at 305 pounds. He was miscast as an OLB, but he along with Spencer Johnson were the best answers they had in terms of setting the edge in the run front with Merriman out of the lineup. Now in the 4-3 Carrington is likely to be a wave player on the interior. I believe he’s capable of playing a LDE role in a 4-3, but there he would be a backup to Mario Williams.
The Bills are going to have some tough decisions to make on the defensive line this summer where they currently have 16 players.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Alex Carrington, Audie Cole, Chris White, Coby Fleener, Donta' Hightower, Dontari Poe, Dwan Edwards, Fan Friday, Kellen Moore, Kirk Morrison, Nick Barnett, Robert Eddins, Ronnell Lewis, Shawne Merriman, Spencer Johnson, Terrell Manning
Posted in Inside the Bills
Win No. 1 is in the books and the Bills have a very winnable game Sunday against a reeling Cincinnati squad. Getting mixed feedback from fans on winning right now as some want to lock up the top pick with the worst NFL record. I don’t see that happening because Carolina is a far worse team and Buffalo has made strides the last month. They’re playing better football. Now to your questions from the AskChris@bills.nfl.net file.
1 – 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.
CB: I think you can rest assured knowing that GM Buddy Nix is not going to desperately do anything. As I mentioned last week, we have to see which underclassmen declare in mid-January before we can really assess the landscape of what will be available to the Bills. At that point we’ll also know where Buffalo will be picking in the draft order.
Know this, Buddy Nix worked primarily under John Butler during his first stint with the Bills. Butler worked under Bill Polian, who openly stated that the top two positions on a football team in terms of importance were QB and a pass rushing DE or OLB depending on your defensive system.
I’ve seen a lot of Fairley and that kid is impressive. He jumps off the TV screen. I haven’t seen as much of Bowers, but of the tape I’ve watched it’s evident he’s a special talent. In fact, there’s one part of his game that resembles Bruce Smith. Bowers can drop his inside shoulder and his inside hip and flatten himself out at almost a 45 degree angle and still maintain his pass rush speed to get to the quarterback.
There are very few pass rushers that can do that. Marcellus Wiley told me when he tried to do some of the things that Bruce could do he would fall down. I’m not saying Bowers is Bruce Smith, but I am saying that on the surface it appears he has some similar athletic traits in his game to that of the Hall of Famer.
Just know that Nix is not going to have his hand forced with their top pick. I think he proved that last spring when he took Spiller despite glaring needs at other positions. If the individual talent at a position of need doesn’t fit their spot on the board he won’t reach to fill it.
2 – Hey Chris ,
I’ll make this quick – What do you think about Kellen Moore ?? All the kid does is win !!
Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville
CB: Moore has shown the ability to perform in the clutch and you’re right he is no question a winner. His greatest strength is his knowledge of the game. A son of a football coach, Moore is a football nerd. As a kid he used allowance money to buy college game tape off the internet.
Since he was a sophomore his college staff was so impressed with his knowledge and scouting of opponents that they would often incorporate plays he liked into the game plan. To my knowledge they still do this.
What’s going to steer NFL GMs away from Moore are his physical limitations. He’s a 6’0” 187-pound pocket passer. He’s not all that mobile and his arm is adequate at best.
His football intelligence will get him drafted, but it will be hard for talent evaluators to overlook his physical deficiencies. I think he’ll be a mid to late round pick (4th to 6th), but I wouldn’t mind having him on my team as a backup. It should be noted that he is a junior, so he still has a year of college eligibility left.
He gets knocked for being a system quarterback, but I think he’s more than that personally.
3 – Chris:
It starting to look like Alex Carrington is falling into the potential bust category. How is it that a young Defensive Lineman can’t get on the field for this team that has major Defensive issues stopping the run and rushing the passer?
CB: I think you’re way off the mark here on Carrington. First of all Carrington is playing a position where there are experienced veterans in front of him (Johnson, Stroud, Edwards). That combined with the fact that in a 3-4 you really only need five defensive linemen active for a game and you see the numbers game where Carrington gets caught.
So I think to even attribute bust in the same sentence as Carrington is misguided at best. When you have proven veterans in front of you on the depth chart, that’s what is going to keep you off the field more than anything. It has less to do with his ability and more to do with the ability of the vets.
4 – Hi Chris,
Couple of questions for you. First, regarding free Agency this off-season, what notable players on the Bills roster have contracts that are expiring? Specifically, where do players like Whitner and Poz stand (I think theirs may be up soon) and do you foresee them being offered new contracts, or do you think Nix/Gailey may be looking to move in a different direction once the season is over?
Paul in Toronto
CB: Here are the names according to my records. I believe I have most of them. Paul Posluszny, Donte Whitner, George Wilson, Ashton Youboty, Keith Ellison, Brian Brohm, Drayton Florence, Jonathan Stupar and Garrison Sanborn.
I would think that Poz is a top priority with Whitner and Florence other notable considerations. I think keeping a quality long snapper is also important so I anticipate Sanborn will be back.
All that being said, with the labor uncertainty there’s no definition as to who is restricted or unrestricted based on accrued seasons before there is no CBA to go off of. A couple of these players are likely to be re-signed prior to a new CBA regardless of what the new rules become because the organization deems them important pieces for their future. But the absence of a CBA won’t make the process any easier.
5 – Chris,
One question about the Bills has really been bugging me: a couple of years ago Leodis McKelvin was a fantastic kickoff returner for Buffalo. C J Spiller seems awful tentative on kick returns. Why does McKelvin not return kickoffs? Does Coach Gailey not know that McKelvin is an electric return man? Maybe you could ask him that the next time you interview him.
CB: It looks like you’re going to get your wish Lee due to injury. Spiller is out Sunday against Cincinnati and McKelvin is slated to handle both kick and punt return. Personally I thought he was robbed last week on his 78-yard return on a very questionable holding call against Jon Corto. I thought Corto had him locked up legally and was driving his man down the field.
I do like that McKelvin is getting this opportunity. I think the Bills staff was so eager to get Spiller on the field, and knowing he’d be worked in slowly on the offensive side, returns were a way to get him extra touches. They also wanted McKelvin to focus more on defense because his consistency series to series had been an issue. In my opinion he played his best game of the season against Detroit last week.
Tags: Alex Carrington, Buddy Nix, C.J. Spiller, Donte Whitner, Fan Friday, Kellen Moore, Leodis McKelvin, Paul Posluszny, Ralph Wilson
Posted in Inside the Bills