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Inside The Bills

Bengals sign kicker

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2010 – 4:00 pm

The Bengals replaced injured K Mike Nugent Tuesday signing Aaron Pettrey.

Pettrey was with the Lions for part of their training camp kicking in just one preseason game. According to Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat reporter Joe Reedy, Pettrey is good on kickoffs, but inconsistent on field goals.

Advantage Bills if it’s another close one Sunday, though Leodis may not have as many kick return opportunities as hoped if this guy is kicking them through the back of the end zone.

The Bengals also signed OL Andrew Gardner and OL Kirk Chambers after losing RT Andre Smith to a broken foot last week.


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Practice update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2009 – 11:58 am

Just a couple of offensive players are not participating here at practice Wednesday.

Kirk Chambers is on the side working with trainers, Demetrius Bell and Justin Jenkins are not in attendance.

Terrence McGee and Ashton Youboty are trying to practice, but both appear limited.


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Injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2009 – 12:20 am

There were two injuries to come out of the game Thursday night.

Kirk Chambers suffered an ankle injury and did not return.

Chris Draft suffered a shoulder injury.


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Simmons expected to start

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2009 – 7:51 am

Bills newly signed guard Kendall Simmons has spent all of five days with his new linemates, but it’s apparently enough to convince Buffalo’s offensive staff that he’s ready to start against the Dolphins today.

The seven-year veteran is expected to start at right guard in place of rookie Eric Wood, who suffered a season ending injury last week against Jacksonville when he broke both the tibia and fibula in his left leg in a horrific looking sequence that ultimately required surgery.

Simmons is eager to make his first start since Sept. 29, 2008.

“I’m as ready as I’m going to be,” Simmons told Buffalobills.com. “I really have to give credit to Kirk (Chambers) and Geoff (Hangartner). They’ve helped to direct me on any plays where I might be unsure pre-snap and that’s allowed me to play more and think less.”

Though a veteran player, Simmons is still translating all of the new terminology of Buffalo’s offensive scheme, but with two vets on either side of him, with Chambers expected to start at right tackle and Hangartner at center, Simmons believes he will be able to act and react instead of hesitate due to indecision.


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Chambers to start at RT

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2009 – 12:30 pm

With Jonathan Scott not making the trip (personal reasons) reserve OT Kirk Chambers will start at right tackle for the Bills today.

Rookie OT Jamon Meredith is active for today’s game, but is coming off a sprained MCL and is not 100 percent. He was only able to practice on a limited basis this week.


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OT Scott out for game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2009 – 6:34 pm

In the latest round of bad luck for Buffalo’s offensive line, OT Jonathan Scott, who was ready to return after a three game absence, is out for Sunday’s game.

Scott did not make the trip due to undisclosed personal reasons. He’s been declared out for the game.

Rookie Jamon Meredith had filled in for Scott at right tackle the past three games, but is questionable for Sunday’s game.

The only other healthy tackle on the roster besides left tackle Demetrius Bell is Kirk Chambers, who finished the game against Houston after Meredith went down with a knee injury.


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Demetrius Bell not practicing again

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2009 – 4:12 pm

LT Demetrius Bell was not practicing again on Thursday due to his groin injury.

Jonathan Scott has been taking reps at left tackle in his absence with Kirk Chambers at right tackle.

Also not practicing were Donte Whitner, Bryan Scott and Leodis McKelvin.


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OT Scott is Bell’s likely replacement

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 9:43 pm

Even though veteran Kirk Chambers stepped in for Demetrius Bell when he injured his groin in last week’s game, RT Jonathan Scott is technically the team’s swing tackle. So if Bell, who did not practice Wednesday, cannot go Sunday in Miami, it’s likely that Scott will man the blind side with Chambers at right tackle.

According to Dick Jauron he has no problem starting Scott on the left side if it comes to that.

“Jonathan has played both sides,” said Jauron. “We’ve flipped him a lot as the swing tackle so he’s gotten work in both areas, as has Kirk. We’ll work our way through the week and then kind of decide what we want to do. But I’m comfortable with Jonathan. Thought he did a nice job for us on Sunday playing on the right side.”

In Chambers time with the Bills he has seen more time at right tackle than left. He last played left tackle in a game back in the season finale in 2007 when he filled in for an injured Jason Peters against Philadelphia, while Langston Walker stayed on the right side.


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Nelson limited; other updates

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 7:10 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson was limited in practice Wednesday. Having him available for Sunday’s game could help the passing game in the middle of the field.

In other injury news Kyle Williams sat out practice with a groin injury as did LT Demetrius Bell. Jonathan Scott, who started at right tackle last week, flipped over to the left side in practice Wednesday and presumably would start there if Bell can’t play, meaning Kirk Chambers would play right tackle.


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Chambers likely to re-inherit his role

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2009 – 8:37 pm

I was one of those that was surprised to see Kirk Chambers released when final cuts were made last week. But now seeing what the staff’s plan was all along with respect to Langston Walker, it was probably a move they had to make with Chambers until they could move Walker off the roster either via trade or release.

You’ve got to believe the past few days that the Bills were seeing if there was any trade interest in Walker, but this close to the regular season the only NFL teams interested in a starting offensive tackle is one that has lost a starting OT to injury.

The Bills are fortunate that no other NFL club picked up Chambers in the interim. He’s a valuable reserve lineman and I believe will re-assume the role he’s held the past two seasons as the team’s swing tackle with Demetrius Bell now moving into the starting lineup.


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Chambers not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2009 – 2:51 pm

Kirk Chambers is not practicing. We’ll have an update as to why after practice.

That means Andy Levitre will get all the 1st team reps at LG.

Other non-participants for practice are Steve Johnson, Shawn Nelson, John McCargo, Copeland Bryan, Marcus Smith and Dustin Fox,with Hardy and Byrd still on PUP.


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Fan Friday 6-12

Posted by Chris Brown on June 12, 2009 – 5:26 pm

Fan Friday 6-12
Well minicamp is wrapped up and now begins the six week hiatus until training camp. Something tells me it’s going to move quickly. Let’s get going with the latest installment. Thanks for your questions. Keep them coming at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1. Do you see the Bills extending the deals of any more players on their roster like they did with Stroud? Guys like McGee, Josh Reed, Denney, Whitner, Poz and a few others only have 1-2 years left on the deals. Getting a few of them locked up would be a good move.

CB: I believe that on the list of guys you have that McGee is top priority. He’s still in the prime of his career and has been an outstanding performer for the Bills from day one. He’s a model professional, plays hurt and keeps his nose clean.

That’s the kind of guy the Bills typically lock up long term (see Lee Evans) so I expect that to get done before the 2009 season is over.

As for Reed and Denney the situation is a little different. Reed has had back issues through the course of his career and to his credit he’s fought through them and performed. Knowing how much Trent relies on Reed it wouldn’t surprise me if he was extended, but with some promising young receivers on the rise (Hardy, Johnson), I’m not sure you can say he’s a lock to get an extension.

Denney is in a similar boat. A solid, steady performer, but with the team invested in Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin I’m not sure he’s re-signed long term.

Whitner and Poz I anticipate will be taken care of eventually, but probably not this calendar year.

 

2. Do the Bills believe Bell is ready to step in and contribute at this time? Going to have to have the O-line do a lot of work to get them to work together for this year with all the new players….also, I wonder if Walker can hold up at left tackle for 16 games? Your thoughts????
Thanks,
Joseph

CB: I don’t think there’s any doubt that the biggest question mark entering the season will be how far the offensive line can come with all the new pieces.

As for Bell I don’t anticipate him challenging Walker or Butler to start, but I do think the staff believes he’s ready to handle the swing tackle role if he’s able to win that job over Kirk Chambers, who has held it the past two seasons.

Walker’s strength as a tackle is in pass protection, which might surprise some people looking at him. That’s a good thing knowing he’s going over to the left side, but he will be facing some top flight pass rushing talent with the schedule this season.

 

3. Chris,
Its my understanding that Aaron Maybin weighed about 250lbs. at Penn States pro day, at which he displayed consistant 4.6 speed.  Is it likely the Bills will have him continue his growth atleast 10 more pounds, and if so does his quickness remain the same?

CB: Talking to Aaron about this very subject you need to understand he just turned 21 in April so his frame is still just filling out. He said he’d like to be around 255 by his second NFL season, which I think is sufficient. He’s confident he can maintain his speed at that weight.

 

4. Hey Chris,
How are contract negotiations going with the rookies? I just saw that Sanchez got his contract and I was just wondering when our rookies are going to be signed. Thanks!

David Rieth
Rochester, NY

CB: Negotiations are just in the preliminary stages with some of Buffalo’s later round picks. I don’t see signings beginning for at least another week or so. However, with San Francisco (which picked ahead of the Bills in most rounds) setting the market by signing players right around Buffalo’s picks early it might grease the wheels a bit. We’ll see.

 

5. Hi Chris,
I was just curious if the Bills are looking to upgrade the outside linebacker position with what’s still left in the market or are they content with the youngsters they have on the roster.  I also am curious if you know the status of Derrick Brooks?  Is he still looking for work or did he decide to hang it up?  If he is still looking for a contract, do you think the Bills should take a 1 year chance on him until they can develop Nic Harris or Al Bowen?
 
Thanks,
Kevin

CB: I believe the club will stand pat at OLB heading into camp. Injury could change that, but I don’t see them pursuing Derrick Brooks, though it makes sense with his familiarity with the system. I think the coaching staff has a lot of faith that Alvin Bowen and Nic Harris can be legitimate competition for Keith Ellison and from what I’ve seen I would agree.


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Fan Friday 5-22

Posted by Chris Brown on May 22, 2009 – 11:00 am

OTAs are underway and fans are checking up on their favorites. Enjoy the holiday weekend everybody. I’ll catch up with you on Tuesday… unless something happens between now and then.

1. Hey Chris,
With OTAs underway, everyone’s really excited to see what’s going on with T.O. I’m more interested in how my boy Marshawn Lynch is looking. How has he fared so far in the OTA sessions? Has he seen less carries to make way for Fred and Dominic?

Jay
Macon, Ga.

CB: Lynch has looked explosive and has bobbed and weaved well in and out of traffic and through holes. He also looks smooth in the passing game. I think the second year in Turk’s offensive system is allowing him to play faster, which is a scary thought.

With respect to Fred and Dominic, Rhodes is just getting a handle on the system and is being used sparingly. Jackson meanwhile has been split out a lot, and I mean a lot. More so than he was last year. That’s very telling considering the depth the Bills have a WR. Jackson has been out wide more than Parrish as far as I have seen.

 

2. hey chris, thanks for taking time to answer the question. besides the potential signing of tinoisamoa, are the bills looking at upgrading their linebacker core by free agency or are they content with who they have on the roster?
 
ryan

CB: I think Tinoisamoa remains an option, but at the right price. He’d be no more than a two down LB for the Bills because I think Poz and Mitchell would still be the nickel LBs, so spending big money wouldn’t make sense. As for upgrading linebacker, I think they’d look at it, but I don’t sense it as being a major pressing issue for them. They’ve got some young talent in Bowen.

 

3. Hey Chris,
Just wondering,who are the 5-10 walk ons or udfa s that the Bills have brought forward.
Every spring I love these guys because the Bills always gives them a fair shake and because they are there primarily because they love the game.

CB: Well there weren’t as many signed as initially anticipated. The tryout players from the rookie camp that were signed were CB Kyle Ward, long snapper Garrison Sanborn and DE Jermaine McGhee. Sanborn probably has the best chance to land on the practice squad.

 

4. With the trade of Peters and a big boost to out WR will Buffalo go get some Vet. help for our line so Edwards can have time to throw the ball?? I know in FA there is still Jon Runyan and even ol’ Jonas Jennings do you think we will go after them and if not why???

CB: I don’t see either player as an option. Buffalo has some depth at backup tackle. Kirk Chambers has proven to be a steady swing tackle and Demetrius Bell looks like he’s ready to provide competition for that role. Runyan is at the end of the line and gutted it out last season. Jonas Jennings was injury prone as a young player here. Now that he’s older I don’t see that situation improving. Liked him as a player, but it’s more about availability. As for interior veterans they picked up McKinney and Chambers is working at guard.

 

5. Hey Chris,
I know we drafted Shawn Nelson who I like a lot but with all the WR we have this year I was wondering what you think about Steve Johnson getting converted to TE. He has the size and body, I like Steve and really hope he gets more playing time but I would really like to see him at TE. No LB will be able to keep up with his speed and his hands are solid I think he would be one of the best TE in the game.
matt from Rochester

CB: It’s an interesting proposal, but I don’t see it happening. I think Johnson has a good chance to see more time on the field. He established a good chemistry with Trent Edwards down the stretch last season and I believe will be featured in the slot during four wide formations. You’re right he knows how to pluck the ball out of the air and can shield defenders from the ball. I think he’s got a bright future.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Edwards on TD throw to T.O.

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2009 – 7:42 pm

Trent Edwards was asked about his 60-yard bomb for a TD to Terrell Owens during the first OTA practice session. Edwards offered the following.

“It was a pump route,” said Edwards. “We had run a route, which is just a deep route the play before and I had missed my read and I wanted to do it again on the opposite side to Terrell, and it was just a matter of putting the ball up and allowing him to make a play and that’s kind of what we need to do here.

“That’s why we brought him in here to do that and that’s why we brought in those guys up front, because they need to block for me. They need to block and allow us to make plays and throw the football like that.”

Interesting that Edwards referenced the offensive line, in particular the new guys in Hangartner, Wood and Levitre. In all likelihood those three will be entrusted with keeping the pocket intact long enough for Edwards to deliver on those kinds of plays.

Wood and Levitre didn’t begin with the first unit. Kirk Chambers was at left guard and Seth McKinney was at right, but both were replaced for reps during series by Wood and Levitre. It’s evident that the coaching staff wants them in the lineup sooner rather than later, and after making them first and second round picks this spring you understand why.


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Fan Friday 4-24

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2009 – 6:40 pm

On the eve of the draft we dispel some rumors and answer some final questions. If you had a question that did not get answered here, be sure to check the live chat we held at noon earlier today (Friday).

1. Chris, will the Bills make any overtures for Peppers??? Or would this be too much for the Bills’ to handle….or impractical??
D. Stratz

CB: Any overtures for Peppers are unrealistic for the Bills and a lot of other teams, and that includes the Patriots. The reason why is Peppers is reportedly looking for Albert Haynesworth type money. Most teams can fit that kind of contract into their budget. It’s going to be interesting to see what pans out on that front because the Panthers are really hamstrung by his situation.

 

2. What are your personal thoughts on Connor Barwin? Personally I like his high motor, versatility and passion for the game. Where, if at all, would Buffalo have him on the draft board?

Nick from Sodus, NY

CB: I like Barwin a lot. He’s extremely athletic and explosive. I see him as a defensive end for the Bills, though he’s probably capable of playing OLB as well on the strong side. To lead the Big East in sacks in his first year as a DE was impressive. As for where the Bills have him on their board, I don’t know, but I think he’s a safe bet to be a late first or early 2nd round pick. Bills may have a shot at him at 28.

 

3. Hi Chris.
With respect to your article on left guard I must say that I am still on the (Alex) Mack Truck Train! With Hangartner it would be a perfect match. If Mack isn’t ready, he could
start out at left guard. But with his smarts and low center of gravity, he might just start out as starting center. Now, how do we draft him? Well, we could take a TE with #11, or a pass rusher, and trade up to get Mack at the end of the first round. Or we could trade down in the first round. What is your take?
Pete

CB: Now armed with the 28th pick, Mack is a much more realistic possibility. Down there the Bills should be able to get the best interior linemen in the draft if they wanted. My feeling however, is that if they do get a pass rusher up at 11, they’re more likely to take a tackle at 28 (Eben Britton?) to fill the void left by Jason Peters. That way they could transition Demetrius Bell or Kirk Chambers inside at left guard.

 

4. Hello Chris,
 
Hope all is well!  Thanks for the in of this offseason so far!  Where do you think Pat Thomas fits in?  Seemed like an under the radar visit and signing.  I hope he is not looked at as a starter.
 
Also, how is Alvin Bowen doing?  Has he bulked up?  I saw he is listed at 222 lbs, would he maybe be better suited at SS.  Seems like he is built like Kerry Rhodes. 
 
Just wondering.
 
Thanks,
Greg Grzymala

CB: Pat Thomas is a reserve linebacker as I see it. I believe the Bills will look to fortify the SLB position in the draft this weekend. Thomas could help as a backup on the strong side or in the middle.

As for Alvin Bowen his rehab is going very well. He may be on the field for OTAs in mid-May. He’s added bulk to his frame and he’s a linebacker all the way.
5. Chris,
With Jason Peters traded, what are your thoughts of Demetrius Bell being groomed as his replacement at Left Tackle? Is there a decent chance of it? For some reason, I think he could turn out to be a better option for us than if we drafted say, Oher.
Thanks,
- Jeff

CB: I think the Bills are hopeful that Bell develops into a LT prospect. I don’t know if he’s there yet, but he has the potential and could be playing over there in a year or two if things go right. Right now I see Langston Walker as the LT, with either Bell, Kirk Chambers or a high draft pick on the right side. Oher I believe is an option though at 11.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-13

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2009 – 3:52 pm

Here’s this week’s installment and to give you all a break I spared you Terrell Owens content. Believe it or not most Bills fans want to know about some of the unresolved issues facing the team like the offensive line situation involving the vacant left guard spot, Jason Peters and the draft. Let’s get started.

1. Hi Chris:
 
Two questions.  One, did you see the team having to make a choice between Greer and McGee this off-season, in that if we signed Greer we’d have had to let McGee go next year?  Second, what in your opinion will the Bills do to help their DE position?  With Schobel still a potential injury problem, Kelsey not providing a rush threat, and Ellis and Bryan not showing much yet doesn’t this position have to be addressed in free agency?  Thanks.

CB: I believe that Greer and McGee were part of one decision looking toward the future. I believe if the Bills re-signed Greer at $6M per season or more, it would’ve meant that McGee would have to find employment elsewhere after the 2009 season. Buffalo can’t invest heavily in three corners because it would pull investment money away from other positions.

I think knowing the Bills obviously didn’t offer Greer that kind of money, seeing that he signed in New Orleans for $4.6M per season, is an indication that they probably valued McGee more as a cornerback all along, and as much as I liked Greer, I tend to agree with that assessment.

I’d expect McGee to get an extension either right before the 2009 season starts or right after the season ends.

As for addressing the pass rush in free agency, the market was really thin at the position with respect to pure pass rushers. That’s why Houston overpaid for Antonio Smith. He’s not a premier pass rusher, but came close to getting paid like one.

I think the Bills and a lot of other teams see the draft as their best option for addressing the pass rush.

 

2. Hey Chris,
 
I know there is a lot of talk about the needs of tight end and defensive end to be taken care of in FA or the draft but I was wondering about the Bills options for center.
 
What about getting someone like Eric Ghiaciuc of the Bengals.  Could he be retained for say a two – four year deal? That would be an option in FA.
 
As for the draft I think with where the picks stand and the other pressing needs we have at other positions, we probably won’t get Alex Mack or Max Unger. But would the Bills go for someone like Antoine Caldwell from Alabama or Jonathan Luigs from Arkansas in the third?
 
I’d like to get your take on these options.  Thanks
Matt from Michigan

CB: With Geoff Hangartner on board, he’s the odds on favorite to start at center, but I think the Bills will draft some line depth. I like Alabama’s Antoine Caldwell too. Guy plays nasty and tries to bury people. Gotta love that. Luigs is more of a technician.

Think they’ll need a guard/center combo guy or maybe just a guard. I like LSU’s Herman “House” Johnson. Met him at the combine, has had some weight issues, but dropped 20 before the combine and is now at 364. Dude is huge. Probably a second or third rounder.

Wouldn’t mind adding a veteran guard in free agency.

 

3. Hi Chris,
Assuming Trent has a good/great year this year, when would he be offered a new contract?  He is in his last year of a three year contract, correct?  What would be the salary range be?
Thanks,
Whitney from Los Gatos

CB: Trent’s rookie contract doesn’t expire until after the 2010 season. I would think if Trent has a productive season and makes further progress in his game that they’ll look into signing him to an extension next offseason or perhaps sooner. The salary range will be dependent upon his statistics and how far the team goes in 2009. We’ll see.

 

4. Chris,

The Bills are obviously in need of a starting guard because we could not consistently run the football or protect the quarterback with Dockery.

I know the Bills have a few players that could fill in but I’m not excited about making any of them a starter.  There is just a handful of decent FA’s available and I don’t think one of them have visited Buffalo.

I heard a rumor we were interested in disgruntled guard Brian Waters from the Chiefs but he is older and would probably require a trade involving a draft pick.  Do you think there is any chance we would take Orlando Pace and make him a guard?  How do you think the Bills will fill this position?

Greg – Albany, NY

CB: I’ll actually have a story on the guard situation next week on Buffalobills.com, so stay tuned for that. But I believe both Kirk Chambers and Demetrius Bell will be given an opportunity to work at the left guard position through the spring OTAs.

I’m not saying they’re going to be the answer, but they’re both strong considerations in the minds of the offensive staff.

You’re right about Brian Waters. He’s a Pro Bowl guard, so he would come at a significant price in terms of a new contract and in terms of compensation (3rd round pick?). Orlando Pace is too tall to be a guard in my opinion.

The Bills just got rid of a player that was making too much money at guard. They need to invest in their left tackle, but if their LT, as reports have indicated, is asking for too much, then perhaps trying to acquire Waters becomes more realistic.

I also expect them to draft at least one interior lineman for depth, maybe two. Chicago just released Terrence Metcalf, who has been a career backup, so a vet might be signed for depth as well.

5. Chris,
What is the level, if any, of the progress being made between Peters and the FO for a new contract?  Do you believe it will be done by summer?

I’ve also heard rumors of a possible deal involving Peters to Philly, what’s the possibility and what is his value in such a deal?  I’m having a hard time believing there is a fair compensation for losing Peters, one of a handful of lockdown left tackles in this league currently.

I’ve seen failure after failure to draft such a talent in the first round and we have the cap room to pay the man what he is due at this point, I feel we should get the deal done, pick up one of the free agent linebackers and attack the draft at TE and DL/OL, what’s your take in the remainder of the offseason?

CB: Well according to reports the two sides still have some middle ground to cover. I’m hopeful it gets done prior to the draft. If not, the club MAY elect to move Peters. I don’t know that, but in all likelihood, the Bills would stand to get the most value for Peters at that time when teams are looking to fill positional needs.

Philadelphia is an obvious potential landing spot IF the Bills believe getting a new contract for Peters is a lost cause. The Eagles have a pair of first round picks and three fifth round picks. I don’t see why a 1st (21 overall) and a 5th (5th pick in 5th round) can’t be acquired for a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle. That seems reasonable. Heck maybe they can get more (1st and 4th).

Of course that would increase the likelihood of having to take an OT 11th overall to fill a huge need. In a perfect world I’d prefer to re-sign Peters to a long term deal and I have to believe the Bills would prefer that too. Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and you know how good Peters can be. As promising as some of the premier OTs in the draft are, they are unknown commodities at the NFL level.

As for the rest of the offseason, I’d like to see a veteran linebacker added for the strong side and a veteran guard (even if it’s a backup) for depth. I think most of the remaining holes can be addressed in the draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Chambers will offer possibilities

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2009 – 4:33 pm

With the announcement that Kirk Chambers has re-signed with Buffalo, I wonder if they have expanded their plans for the veteran offensive lineman.

Largely a swing tackle the past two seasons for Buffalo, and pretty good in that role I might add, he also made one start at guard last year for an injured Brad Butler against New England in Week 10.

It’ll be very interesting to see if the Bills offensive coaches see him as a possible answer to their vacant left guard position after the release of Derrick Dockery. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but if Demetrius Bell has come along enough at tackle, they may want to hand him the swing tackle role and move Chambers inside to guard.

Just something I think that will be considered by the Bills offensive staff.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-20

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2009 – 3:24 am

It’s been a busy couple of days so I apologize for getting this up so late. You can send questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I answered more questions this week figuring there would be more draft related questions, but nothing on the combine. Catch up with you next week.

1. Chris,

I know you think a pass rush DE is our likely 1st round pick, and other Mock Drafts have us picking a TE with that first pick (which I think is a huge reach at 11) but what about Aaron Curry, OLB from Wake? Assuming Crowell doesn’t re-sign after his issues with the front office this past season, we will be looking at hypothetically losing not only depth if Ellison doesn’t re-sign, but also potentially our starting OLB.

Todd McShay has the Seahawks picking him at #4, but I don’t see it– especially with glaring needs like WR, and people like Michael Crabtree likely being available when they pick. Curry is big, physical, and has the high motor that the Bills love (ie Kyle Williams)– so why not Curry at 11?

Thanks Chris,

Matt, Beverly MA

CB: I wouldn’t rule Curry out as a possibility, but I’d be surprised if he’s there at 11. I suppose it’s possible, but this guy is super on the field and super off. Squeaky clean and a playmaker. Jerod Mayo went 7 last year to the Patriots. I can’t see him dropping to the Bills at 11, but if he does I wouldn’t mind the Bills taking him at all. He’s one of the safest picks in the draft.

2. Chris with Mr. Wilson stating that our beloved Bills lack talent what do you see as a realistic off season as far as resigning our own or free agents go? Very interested in your response.
Scott Eustace

 

CB: I think some of the restricted players could be retained in addition to Jenkins and DiGiorgio like Keith Ellison and Gibran Hamdan, but I think Angelo Crowell will be allowed to test the market. If it’s lukewarm and he has trouble getting offers I think the chance of him returning increases. As for Greer, I fear that his asking price will be too high. Buffalo is heavily invested in Leodis McKelvin and could probably re-sign Terrence McGee to an extension as an alternative. I think Kirk Chambers and Duke Preston stand a good chance of being re-signed, but I think both would be reserve players if the Bills acquire what they want to in free agency and the draft.

3. Hey Chris,
I don’t agree that it is imperative to find an experienced backup QB. I think Trent will be fine. Of course the game is still a bit fast for him, he has only played a little more than one season. The second time he saw the 3-4 defenses and 8 in coverage he handled it. (The running game wasn’t exactly helping the first time through those teams either!). No one works harder wants to learn more, and don’t you think we may already have a decent backup??
Thanks, Ray Perez
Rochester

CB: While I agree with some of what you’ve said, I think an experienced backup would be a welcome sight for the Bills quarterback position. Talking to Turk Schonert at the combine today he too would like an experienced backup.

The reason why is he believes a veteran, that knows his role, can really help Edwards with some of the nuances of the game that he may not have experienced extensively as of yet. The problem is the free agent pool at quarterback is so thin that I don’t know that they’ll find a good fit for the Bills.

Finding an experienced backup, that knows his role, is actually a way to help Trent (and the team) not to threaten him with competition.

 

4. In your opinion, what needs to be upgraded more, offense or defense? I am of the opinion that offensive success is more due to strategy (ie: playcalling), and defensive success is more due to talent. I’d like to see the Bills draft defensively. Also, do you think Schonert will finally implement the no-huddle? It’s something the OC’s have talked about for a couple years now, but we’ve yet to see. What are your thoughts?
-John, Rochester NY.

CB: I think both offense and defense need to add playmakers. When opponents can double Lee Evans and shut down the passing game, that screams for more talent, despite the fact that I think Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish are good complementary receivers. The added talent has to come at tight end to help Reed in the middle of the field. On defense you’re right another pass rusher, and outside linebacker that can start are two big pieces that need to be added.

As for the no huddle Turk Schonert addressed why they didn’t use it as much at the Combine today. I’ll let him explain.

“We didn’t use it a lot, not like we wanted to for various reasons,” said Schonert. “We’d use it for a series and we actually used it in the fourth quarter of the Oakland game and it helped us win the game and wore them out. We started a couple of games in no huddle, but we didn’t execute and weren’t very good so I got out of it in the first quarter.

“Last year we had to back off a little bit at the start of the season because of Jason’s (Peters) holdout. All of a sudden he’s coming into a terminology change so we had back off at the beginning of the season due to that. Then Josh (Reed) gets hurt, he’s out three games and we had a rookie flanker in there. Then Trent (Edwards) got hurt. We kind of hit these roadblocks that kept us from using it as much as we wanted to.”

As for 2009, Schonert said that they plan to use it more.

“We’re going to continue to work on it, we like it, we want to use it,” Schonert said. “But we’re going to use it, try to improve it and plan on having it in our arsenal.”

 

5. Hey Chris;
Is there any chance the Bills keep Greer? It would be tough to watch another player that has developed into a dependable starter at a vital position walk (Winfield, Clements). It would seem they want McKelvin to take that starting role with Youboty as the nickel, and Corner as the dime. It would be great to see McKelvin battle Greer for the starting role, with the player finishing second be the nickel. Greer seems to always come to camp prepared to compete, and would push McKelvin to do the same, or become the nickel, which would still give them 3 top corners, and solid depth.
 
The need for a solid starter at weak side linebacker needs to be addressed. How do you see the Bills taking care of that need? Crowell?
 
Thanks;   Dan from Williamsville

CB: As Russ Brandon told me today at the Combine they’ve maintained an open dialogue with Greer’s representatives, and have made it clear that they would like to bring Greer back. The problem is the money. My guess is that Greer’s agent is looking for $7-$9M a year in light of some of the recent contracts signed by comparable corners (Kelvin Hayden, Corey Webster). I can’t see the Bills committing that kind of money to Greer as much as they’d like to retain him. I think he hits the market.

As for the strong side linebacker position (Mitchell plays the weak side), there are options in free agency like Tyjuan Hagler, who could come in familiar with the system having played in Indianapolis in similar scheme. I think Morlon Greenwood would be an affordable option too.

 

6. Hey Chris,
 
I heard the Lions are leaning toward giving Culpepper the #1 spot and releasing Kitna.
How would Kitna fit in as a back up to Trent? How much do you think he would cost? Would any team look at picking up Kitna as a #1?
 
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I think Kitna would be an interesting option. I think the first thing that has to be clear is that Kitna is willing to accept a backup role and realize in Buffalo he would not be able to compete for the starting job. As long as he can do that, I think he could be a capable backup. Kitna has always been prone to at least one big mistake in games, but as a backup that’s less likely to happen. He has seen a lot in this game and could probably assist Edwards in the quarterback room.

 

7. Hey Chris,
 
I really like Eric Wood (out of Louisville) at center.  I am a U of L fan so I have been able to watch this guy for a while.  Where do you see him going in the draft itself and could the Bills use him?
 
Thanks
Mike Lundert

CB: There’s no debating that the Bills need help at the center position. Jason Whittle, Duke Preston and Melvin Fowler are all free agents. I think Preston is the most likely to be re-signed before free agency opens, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they seek another veteran player, and add another interior linemen in the draft. It could be a player like Wood, who figures to go late 2nd to top half of the third round.

I like the way Wood finishes plays, but according to the experts drive blocking is where he needs to get better. I liked some of the tape that I saw on him and he seems to get to the second level pretty well. I think he’d be a good player to groom behind a veteran center to eventually take over the job in a couple of years.

8. Chris,
 
I know this may sound crazy but consider this. I  don’t think the Bills want to spend the money that Peters would be looking for thus making him an unhappy Bill. Trade for a top 5 pick and another solid pick. Bills won’t want to pay for a top 5 pick so trade down to near 10. Use the pick to get another tackle. Trade into top 10 with the other pick from Peters trade to get one of the top DE’s. Then use second round pick for TE?
 
After seeing what you wrote about the other OT getting big money I think there is trouble ahead with Peters.
Thanks,
Dave

CB: Sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. If it were up to me a bird in the hand (or in this case a franchise left tackle) is worth more than two in the bush. You have a bona fide Pro Bowl caliber left tackle on your team that is unhappy because he feels he’s underpaid, and he played like it last season.

I believe the Bills will find a way to rectify that situation in the form of a new contract for Peters. They’ll have to make some roster decisions to do so, but left tackle is the second most important offensive position after quarterback and you’ve got a guy that can play eight to 10 more years. I’m confident that if Peters gets a contract he is happy with he will be back to Pro Bowl form on the field.

 

9. Chris,
 
My question is what likelihood do you think there is that the Bills draft Pettigrew. He has character issues and I have to believe we will be very gun shy. A lot of the pundits have us drafting him with the first pick. I say “no way.” Have a good one.
 
Mark Tate

CB: I think Pettigrew is a very impressive player. He’s the only major all-around tight end and will be a first-round pick. His off the field blemish stemmed from a house party and he was charged with assaulting a police officer when he “elbowed” one in the chest as he was dispersing. Rest assured the Bills just like every other team will investigate it fully.

I felt Pettigrew came across well in his interview with the media. He seems very focused on his career and excelling at the next level.

I’m still a bit apprehensive about making him the 11th pick in the draft. There aren’t many picks of tight ends between 8 and 15 in the last 15 years that have proven worthy of a selection that high. Tony Gonzalez is one of the few exceptions.

And I think if you’re taking a tight end that high he has to be Tony Gonzalez good.

 

10. Chris,
 
What do you think about Torry Holt being traded to the Bills in a Stroud-esq. trade? He makes perfect sense considering he has two years on his contract, and we will have a solid receiver alongside Evans while Johnson and Hardy are learning the system and will prove to be the real deal or not. He’s played well on a terrible team and before this year had 83 receptions on a team that drafts top 5. He had a slight dip with comparable numbers to Lee Evans. With Holt, Edwards will have another great target and a better learning curve.
My concern is his transition from 6 games in a dome to 6 games in swirling winds and cold weather. He respects the Bills as he’s said prior to playing us and wants to be traded.
What do you think the likelihood is of us bringing him in and what would it take?
 
Thanks
Jonathan – Westchester, NY.

CB: I think it would take probably a third or fourth-round pick, but I’m just guessing. Holt is on the decline, but I like your thinking in terms of another weapon to work opposite Lee Evans. Holt is still respected by opposing defenses so it’s not a bad idea. A veteran receiver is what is needed not more youth.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-9

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2009 – 4:19 pm

As always you can send your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and I’ll get back to you either personally or here on Fan Friday. Here we go.

1. Hey Chris,
 
I started to see draft talk on some sites this week. I know this is a bit premature, but how do you see the Bills going this year? Could this be a year were trading for a player may make more sense than making a first round pick?
 
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I doubt that the Bills are going to cough up their first round pick in a trade this year. I’m hoping the Bills take a defensive end with their top pick, provided the depth of talent is still there. I wanted to Buffalo to take a defensive tackle in 2003, but by the time the Bills were on the clock they were all gone and they took McGahee. But that would be my preference this spring.

 

2. Chris-
Is it too early to call James Hardy a bust and do you think the front office will add another receiver this off-season in case he is not able to contribute immediately next season?

CB: I think that is a possibility, but more so because James Hardy has a torn ACL to rehab from. He’s not a bust. Eric Moulds didn’t have a breakout season until his third year. The ACL is the issue. It’s usually 7-9 months before a player can come back. He tore it on Dec. 14, so he may not be full go for training camp. Missing all those spring practices and OTAs will hurt his development so I think they do need to add another receiver even if it’s just for a one or two-year deal.

 

3. Dear Chris,
Who do you think the Bills might pick up in this year’s free agency market?  There are some very high profile defensive ends (Suggs, Peppers), and some solid centers (Birk, Brown, Saturday, Meester) up for grabs.   The Bills have attempted to solve their biggest problems in the free agency market over the past two seasons.    Do you think they will try to make a splash at either of these positions?
Jack

CB: I think Birk and Brown are realistic. Saturday and Meester are more at the end of the line. As for DE Suggs and Peppers they will cost too much and Peppers has already been negotiating with Carolina to re-sign.

I believe the Bills get their pass rusher at the top of the draft this spring.

 

4. Hey Chris,
Were any Bills named pro bowl alternates?
-Sean

CB: Yes, I blogged this a while back. Marshawn Lynch and Marcus Stroud were Pro Bowl alternates. We’ll see if someone pulls out of the game with an injury.

 

5. Chris,
What is the contract status with regards to free agents, both restricted and un- restricted.
Thank you for your help,

Mike Czerwonka

CB: Unrestricted – Kirk Chambers, Angelo Crowell, Melvin Fowler, Jabari Greer, Teddy Lehman, J.P. Losman, Corey McIntyre, Duke Preston, Jason Whittle.

Restricted – John DiGiorgio, Keith Ellison, Dustin Fox, Gibran Hamdan, Justin Jenkins, George Wilson.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills-Patriots inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2008 – 4:47 pm

Buffalo Bills
11-Roscoe Parrish
23-Marshawn Lynch
33-Jabari Greer
58-Teddy Lehman
71-Jason Peters
77-Demetrius Bell
79-Jonathan Scott
7-J.P. Losman – 3rd QB

New England Patriots
29-Lewis Sanders
41-Ray Ventrone
42-BenJarvus Green-Ellis
54-Tedy Bruschi
65-Wesley Britt
74-Billy Yates
93-Richard Seymour
Lineup changes for the Bills
22-Fred Jackson will start at RB in place of 23-Marshawn Lynch
73-Kirk Chambers will start at LT in place of 71-Jason Peters
28-Leodis McKelvin will start at CB in place of 33-Jabari Greer


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Posted in Inside the Bills