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Inside The Bills

Morrison active

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2012 – 12:13 pm

For the first time this season Kirk Morrison is active for the Bills. Here’s where you’ll see him.

Morrison will be on special teams coverage units today with Arthur Moats on I-R and Chris White out with a hamstring injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Morrison is back

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2012 – 10:28 am

The Bills brought back Kirk Morrison Thursday. Here’s the likely reason why.

With LB Arthur Moats going to I-R and LB Chris White iffy for Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury it leaves Buffalo’s coverage units on special teams without two of their best coverage team linebackers.

Kirk Morrison is well versed in the Bills coverage unit schemes on special teams, and against Dolphins return man Marcus Thigpen experience will be needed. Thigpen had a return for a touchdown in the first meeting between the two teams.

So I’d expect Morrison to be active for the first time this season on Sunday and play on special teams.


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Outlook not encouraging for Kelsay

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2012 – 5:29 pm

Along with the laundry list of injuries that came out of Sunday’s game, the news is not promising concerning veteran DE Chris Kelsay and the torn ligament in his neck.

“Kelsay’s still not good right now,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He’s still not good. I don’t know how that’s going to work out, to be honest with you.”

For now, Kelsay has not been moved to injured reserve with the team choosing to release veteran LB Kirk Morrison, but it sounds as if it remains a possibility.

“We’ve got several options,” said Gailey. “We’re going to look at all of them and make the best decision. We’re going to have to evaluate everything right now.”

Kelsay returned from the neck injury suffered in practice to play against Indianapolis after missing two games, but exited that game before it was over back in Week 12.


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Fan Friday 11-2

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 2:50 pm

Alright Bills fans, second half of the schedule is up and there are two difficult road games on tap. Let’s hope for the best and get to your latest round of questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter.

1 - Dear Chris: 

Do you think Chan will ever not only start CJ, but give him the majority of the carries? I love Fred but he is not the game breaker CJ is and I think if he was on a lot of other teams CJ is a 1800 to 2000 yard man an 12-15 touchdowns. I admire Chan’s loyalty but question its productivity? CJ is a game changing threat every time he touches the ball and keeping him on the bench half the time no longer makes a lot of sense. What do you think? Please let me know what you think, and what Chan might be thinking, if he is at all? Thanks!

Jim

CB: While I certainly believe C.J. is a game-changing back I think we all need to be fair to Fred Jackson and respect the fact that his knee was not right or close to 100 percent until Week 7 against Tennessee. We all saw the old Fred Jackson in that game, which was in stark contrast to what we saw the previous three games in his return from the LCL knee injury.

If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt it’s Jackson. In case you forgot he was lighting the league on fire with numbers similar to what C.J. is doing thus far this season. Right now they’ve got a good balance developed between them. Fred averages 14 touches a game to Spiller’s 13. They combined for over 220 yards of offense against Tennessee, which was the first time that both of them were truly healthy.

I think Spiller can take it the distance on any play and I don’t mind seeing him get more of the work, but Fred’s talents cannot be ignored. Not to mention the fact that in this day in age in the league you do need two backs to get through a season. Week 1 when Fred went down in the first half and Week 3 when Spiller went down in the first half were reminders of that.

 

2 - Hey Chris,
Any chance that Matt Flynn will be available this season or next? And if he is would the Bills be interested?

CB: I think the Flynn contract could prompt them to move him, but the Seahawks need to find a trade partner that believes he’s a starter. His base salary does not fit for a backup because it goes up to $5.25M and then $6.25M. Unless he’s willing to take a pay cut to go elsewhere Seattle might be stuck with him.

And furthermore I don’t see the Bills being interested even if he were available. As Buddy Nix told us he wants a long term franchise quarterback for the future.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Why didn’t Coach Gailey challenge the fumble call in the 4th qtr against the Titans? From the one replay that was shown, it looked like neither the ball or Gilmore were out of bounds. Since this was a critical time and play of the game I was wondering why it wasn’t challenged. Thank you for your time and consideration

Dan Stepanski
Dallas, PA

CB: We at Buffalobills.com wondered the same thing so we took a look at that play on tape and as the ball bounces near the sideline prior to Stephon Gilmore trying to bat it back in bounds, the nose of the ball is right on the line. It’s difficult to determine whether the nose of the ball is making contact with the sideline, but it’s extremely close.

Knowing that’s before Gilmore even tries to make a play on the ball it’s easier to forgive the absence of a challenge there. Gailey did address this play and said they were not given a good enough replay angle to see if the challenge was worth it. At that point in time preserving your timeouts in the game were becoming critical. Granted if a chance to get the ball back is in play you probably challenge it, but without conclusive video evidence you can understand them not throwing the red flag.

Furthermore the officials would’ve been looking at the same replay angle and likely would have let the play stand as a fumble out of bounds due to lack of conclusive evidence.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

I saw Chris Kelsay’s press conference regarding lack of effort, and having accountability. Watching the game, it appeared to me that the Bills’ defensive line was fine, and did have a push in the pocket. However, where I noticed a lack of effort was in the linebacking corp, and some in the defensive backfield. Now, I am a native Buffalonian, and have been in Central Florida for just over five years, and  I am still a die hard Bills fan. In my opinion, the players are either not buying into the scheme, or the players themselves, be it veterans or rookies, are not holding each other accountable.

Coaches are important, but they can preach all day long, the players have to perform. The offense is fine, when Fitzpatrick does not throw bone head interceptions. I am just venting. I want the Bills to do well in the worst way. What is your analysis? 

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: I don’t think there’s any question that the defensive has underachieved. Head coach Chan Gailey did say that Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus both have to do better in particular. The linebackers in the Titans game did mess up some gap assignments, including the one that Chris Johnson took 83 to the end zone.

Here’s the good news, Kelsay in that same press conference said players that were not pulling their weight were going to be shaken down and held accountable. And in our 1-on-1 interview with Coach Gailey that will air tomorrow on Buffalobills.com, he told me his players have found a newfound respect for playing for the guy next to them.

“I think that they understand accountability to each other better at this point than maybe they ever have,” said Gailey. “We made that point of emphasis. I think they understand that better. Hopefully that does carry over to the games.”

Let’s hope it makes a difference on the field.

 

5 – Hey Chris! 

Long time…any chance at letting Morrison suit up and help our struggling defense?  Keep up the good work

Sean

CB: When Coach Gailey was asked about possible lineup changes and about Morrison specifically, he said that Morrison is probably going to be needed in the lineup before the season is over. However, it sounded like he was indicating that somebody in the linebacking corps over a 16-game season is likely to go down and at that point they’d plug in Morrison. So I don’t see the veteran taking somebody’s job right now.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moats, Morrison update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2012 – 11:51 am

It looks like Arthur Moats has the starting strong side linebacker job all but locked up.

Moats will start at SLB for the third time in four preseason games tonight against the Lions. His chief competitor for that job, Kirk Morrison, will again see time at middle linebacker, much like he did against the Steelers last week.

Kickoff tonight is at 7 pm as the game airs live on WKBW-TV Channel 7.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bradham to see work at SLB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 25, 2012 – 3:10 pm

Arthur Moats will be getting the starting nod at strong side linebacker for the second time in three preseason games tonight against the Steelers, but there’s another young LB that will see some time there as well.

After Moats’ night is done, rookie fourth-round pick Nigel Bradham will see time there. He had been seeing more time on the weak side in camp. The coaching staff wants to get a gauge for not only Bradham’s versatility, but how much he can handle mentally in terms of multiple roles on defense.

One note: don’t look at this as a demotion for Kirk Morrison. He’s going to be busy lining up at MLB as we told you here on Thursday. He’s expected to see time there behind Kelvin Sheppard tonight.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Morrison could see MLB snaps Sat.

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2012 – 6:29 pm

Bills LB Kirk Morrison has spent most of his career at middle linebacker. Although he has been mainly lined up on the strong side in direct competition with Arthur Moats, Morrison has also seen a few more reps of late in the middle.

“I think that what we’re doing as a defense is it’s all about being able to play multiple positions and for me having the ability to play middle linebacker for most of my career has helped me out a lot,” Morrison told Buffalobills.com.

Morrison saw a few reps at middle linebacker in the Minnesota game. This week with the audio headset being installed into his helmet Friday it’s likely he’ll see time at middle linebacker again Saturday night.

“It’ll be in there this week,” said Morrison of the communication device with the defensive coaches on the sideline. “We’ll see what happens. There are still some young guys and they want to make sure they give them a look too.”

The coaches likely see Morrison’s experience as a MLB as an asset should Kelvin Sheppard succumb to injury during the season. Knowing Arthur Moats is expected to start at SLB Saturday, Morrison’s versatility figures to be key in securing a final roster spot.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Merriman’s contribution

Posted by Chris Brown on August 20, 2012 – 10:31 am

With the release of veteran Shawne Merriman Monday, most see that there was little that Merriman was able to do on the field in his time with the Bills, due to a chronic injury that never allowed him to return to form. However, there is a mark he did leave on the organization.

Merriman was able to successfully recruit veteran LB Nick Barnett to the Bills last summer as well as LB Kirk Morrison. Barnett went on to have a very productive 2011 for Buffalo, and likely would have been a Pro Bowl LB last season had it not been for Buffalo’s slide out of playoff contention.

Just bringing his name to the Bills roster, Merriman did help to make the team’s reputation on the free agent market a bit more respected.


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Moats to start at SLB Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2012 – 4:25 am

Bills third-year linebacker Arthur Moats has been in a tight competition with veteran Kirk Morrison at the strong side linebacker position. As we profiled on Buffalobills.com earlier this week, it’s a tight race, but defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt is giving the early nod to Moats.

“To be quite honest with you Arthur gets the nudge a little bit,” said Wannstedt. “They are going to split time in the game, but Arthur might have outperformed him a little bit at this point in training camp. So we have real competition right there and how it unfolds, the games will determine that.”

Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed Wannstedt’s decision.

“(Arthur) has earned that opportunity,” said Gailey.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-29

Posted by Chris Brown on June 29, 2012 – 11:25 am

Less than a month until training camp! Haven’t seen excitement like this for a Bills season in some time. Just a reminder that our Top 25 Questions until Training Camp series begins on Saturday. We’ll be filing our inside reports on 25 of the most pressing questions facing the team and the coaching staff as the team makes their final preparations for the season at camp. So be sure to check back daily from now until the players report to St. John Fisher. Now to your questions.

1 - Good day Chris,

I would like your opinion on Mario switching sides to the left side.  I read he’s doing it because his contract is incentive laden and he has so much pull he basically got his way.  Jared Allen punishes QB’s from the right side please give me some hope that all this talk is just drivel .

Thanx
Mike from Nebraska

CB: Just drivel really. Mario prefers to rush from the left side because everything just feels more natural for him over there. I honestly haven’t asked him if he’s left-handed. He was switched back and forth a lot in his time in Houston, and I would anticipate he’ll flip to the right side from time to time with the Bills.

But you put players in the best position to succeed. If he feels he’s at his best at LDE that’s where you put him. Not to mention the fact that he’s supposedly going against a lesser offensive tackle every week from that side knowing most teams put their best offensive tackle on the left side.

 

2 - Hey Chris

I’m anxious to see who they start at SLB and what the deal is with Leodis McKelvin, I like to think he can contribute this season what do you think?

The roster this year has me excited enough I’m going to make the trip to Buffalo and see a game, I want to buy a jersey but Doug Flutie is still my favourite player.  

Would you have any idea where I could find a good one besides Ebay? I appreciate what you do, enjoy. 

Alexander Albanese
Toronto
CB: Going into camp the favorite to play SLB in the team’s base defense is Kirk Morrison. Running behind him on the depth there is Arthur Moats.

As for Leodis McKelvin, he’s always had elite level talent it’s just the consistency of his game that is the issue. If he can put together a strong camp he could lock down one of the outside cornerback jobs and possibly the nickel corner as well. There’s no question he’ll be motivated entering a contract year.

To get a jersey you can go to the Bills Store online.

 

3 - Chris, 

Thanks for your daily coverage on OTAs and minicamp. I was wondering about T.J Graham. With his size do the bills see him as a slot guy or and outside receiver. I know he can fly but is he too small? Also who will start as the #2 receiver in training camp?

Michael

CB: I think your concern about Graham is legitimate. In the spring workouts it’s difficult to ascertain how a receiver is going to fare when things get physical because they’re not wearing pads. That’s why we’ll know a lot more about how physical Graham can be and how well he can bang with physical cornerbacks, and the Bills have a few of them.

The Bills believe Graham is an outside receiver, and that’s where they can make best use of his deep speed. But I do wonder how he’ll do once the pads are on and corners are jamming him at the line. It will certainly bear watching.

At the outset of training camp I expect Donald Jones to be the number two receiver, but that is going to be a heated competition, which we’ll cover extensively in our Top 25 questions until camp series on Buffalobills.com.

 

4 - Chris,

First of all, thank you a hundred times over for your coverage of the Bills. You have a knack for covering the angles that make us fans feel like insiders, even all the way down here in CT.

Justifiably, much of the off-season talk has been positive, celebrating the upgrades at key positions and additions to create positional depth through free agency and the draft. While I agree that this team is markedly deeper and more talented than the 2011 version, I think the D is still dangerously thin at some key spots. The front 4 is stacked and can endure an injury or two, but it is the back 7 that has me worried. What happens if Nick Barnett, as he has in the past, goes down for an extended period? None of the young reserves (Moats, Batten, White) have shown enough to instill confidence that they can step in and compete at a high enough level. If Terrence McGee is unable to regain form, which is a distinct possibility, are Williams, Gilmore, Rogers, McKelvin, and Brooks really ready to shut down the leagues top offenses without a veteran leader?

My question to you is this:

As someone who is with the team every day and has seen the OTAs up close, what are your biggest positional concerns? Where do you think the Bills are the thinnest; meaning we will not be able to remain competitive if a starter goes down? 

Bonus question: My CT crew will be at Hammer’s Lot before the Patriots game on Sept. 30th in full force, as we are every year. What are the chances you make an appearance? 

-Dan S. K.
Torrington, CT

CB: First, thanks for the kind words. Positions of concern for me in terms of depth is like you linebacker. I like the starting linebackers a lot and I believe if Shep were to go down they would shift one of the two veteran outside backers inside. However, the loss of Barnett would be tough. Moats really played well in the spring and I think will be the first LB off the bench behind the vets outside.

I think the DBs will be fine. You’ve got young confident players in that group (Gilmore, Williams, Rogers) and I believe they’ll capably fill roles. In fact it would not shock me if Gilmore and Williams are your starters and Rogers is pushing for the nickel role.

Concerning your tailgate for the Pats game, I unfortunately have pre-game radio responsibilities. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get away, but you’re more than welcome to come say ‘hey’ at our pre-game broadcast location in the Bills Fieldhouse.

 

5 - Hey Chris,

With major upgrades and restored health to our front seven, I see an amazing year for our DB’s in picking off opposing quarterbacks. Is there any talk or expectations you’re hearing from the coaching staff or team regarding an increase in forced turnovers? Thanks!!

Superdoops in NJ.

CB: I’ll let Jairus Byrd answer this question since I asked him just what you asked me.

“It’s hard not to get giddy,” said Byrd. “We’ve talked to the guys on the back end and we are excited about it, but we’re waiting. We do have to feel each other out. The first preseason at the end of camp will be a good indicator about just the time and how we can play things because we’re not used to it. We’ve got to feel each other out to see what that pressure feels like. We’re excited though.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills earn top free agency grade

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2012 – 10:15 am

It’s probably not surprising in light of who they landed, but the Bills are earning some top grades in free agency.

The latest comes from FOXSports.com’s Alex Marvez, who gives the Bills the best grade in the AFC East and one of the best in the NFL. Here’s part of what he wrote.

Buffalo

Impact moves: The Bills stunned the NFL by winning the bidding for defensive end Mario Williams, who was considered the prize of the league’s free-agent class. Fellow end Mark Anderson also was signed, giving new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt the bookend pass-rushers he wanted in Buffalo’s new 4-3 scheme. The Bills re-signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson, middle linebacker Kirk Morrison and tight end Scott Chandler before the start of free agency.

Washington, Philadelphia and Green Bay were the only other NFL clubs to get ‘A’ grades. Denver was tops with an ‘A+’ mark.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-30

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2012 – 10:23 am

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.

Mauricio Grossi
Chicago, Il

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? 

Thank you,
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. 

Larry D
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.

Thanks
Josh

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.

Tom O.

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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stevie pushing for VJax too

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2012 – 11:53 am

Not long after Shawne Merriman personally tweeted free agent WR to be Vincent Jackson, Stevie Johnson followed up with a bit more subtle approach.

Johnson proceeded to tweet his ideal WR lineup for the Bills for 2012, with a certain free agent WR’s name at the front of the line, along with the hash tag, Bills Do It.

Stevie Johnson ‏ VJax, Scoe, DNel, DJones, Nyce, Martin, Clowney, and SJ13! #Bills #DoIt

Johnson even referenced Merriman’s tweet inviting Jackson to get in touch with him as well.

Stevie Johnson Yea @VincentTJackson What @ShawneMerriman said… Hit Me Up Also. 4Real! Its Not About Signing wit BuffCity… (looks away tryna hold smile)

Remember Merriman successfully recruited free agents Nick Barnett and Kirk Morrison last offseason for the Bills.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-24

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2012 – 6:56 pm

Here’s the special NFL Combine edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Sorry it took so long, but we’ve been a little busy out here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Let’s get going.

1 - Hi Chris,

If Riley Reiff drops in the draft or Jonathan Martin was available when the  Bills pick at 10, Could you see the team addressing the left tackle spot instead of more pressing needs on defense?

I think the Bills would potentially have one of the best young O lines in the league when healthy if that was the case, and the infrastructure in place to build a strong offense. A common theme with this lost decade + of losing is the weak play of the offensive line.

Love your Work 

Regards
Matt 

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think there is a distinct possibility that the Bills go offensive line in round one at offensive tackle. There could be a couple of options for them there at 10 and you’re on the money with Reiff and Martin.

I was particularly impressed with Martin after hearing him address the media Thursday here in Indy. He worked under a blue collar coaching staff (Harbaugh) that ran a pro-style offense at Stanford. He’s just so broad shouldered it looks like he’s wearing shoulder pads when he doesn’t have any on. He’s a solid pass protector and I like his finish.

The Bills are talking to Demetrius Bell, who I think they believe can handle the left tackle position, but his injury history is likely a concern. So I think tackle at 10 is realistic. Also I get the sense that the elite pass rusher the Bills would covet is not on their board at 10, meaning there isn’t someone of top 10 value at that need position in their opinion. That would only reinforce the possibility of an OT being taken there.

2 - Hi Chris
 
Big Bills fan from Dorset, England, love all the updates and news you provide us
 
People have been saying we need a speedster in the WR ranks, Im unsold on Clowney, if he hit FA would the Bills look to Desean Jackson at all?
 
Also what do you think of and where would you put Vinny Curry of Marshall, i think he could be a good pick for the Bills and maybe he could fall to the second round, if we got Couples at 10 and Curry in the 2nd round that would be solid wouldnt it?
 
Matt
Dorset, England

CB: All indications from the Eagles are that DeSean Jackson would be franchised if a long term agreement can’t be reached. At age 25 they don’t want to lose him for nothing knowing he has value on the open market.

Either way I don’t see him as the type of receiver the Bills are targeting. Yes, they want a deep speed threat, but they also want that receiver to have some measure of physicality to him (a bit bigger than Jackson).

I think a sleeper free agent for that kind of role might be Robert Meacham the New Orleans free agent.

 

3 – Chris,

I know Stevie wants to stay in Buffalo and I know Nix wants him back, but what is the status of renewing his contract? Also, are the Bills aiming for Vincent Jackson? With him and Stevie, we could actually be a contender.  How are Fred and C.J. going to share time? Is it going to be like the Saints’ backfield with a lot of good ‘backs who just switch every down?  And finally my biggest concern- this season, the league was predominately run by QB’s and defense. The bills have a QB but no healthy defense. That being said, can the bills make a smart #10 first pick and take Upshaw or Coples and not take an OT. -andrew marshall.

CB: Rapid fire answers. There was progress on a new contract for Stevie made here in Indy on Friday. How close is it is tough to gauge right now. Wanting Vincent Jackson as well might be a lot to ask, but the latest is the Chargers aren’t going to franchise him. His the size, speed addition that could work, whether the dollars do is another story.

As for Fred and C.J., Chan Gailey said there will be instances where they’re on the field at the same time and C.J. and Fred will also split out wide in certain down and distance situations. The way Chan put it is he wants to keep them both fresh while also making full use of their talents.

With their #10 pick, I’m not convinced they’re going pass rusher there, you can read more about that on the home page Saturday, which could mean pursuing a free agent pass rusher.

 

4 – Chris,
The Bills need a SAM right now badly. As well as a rush DE. We didn’t see much of Morrison and all his 4-3 experience has been at MLB, do you think the Bills would consider he or even a FA like Stephen Tulloch at SAM. I was shocked Tulloch only got a 1 year deal but adding him to Shep and Barnett would be nice if he can transition to outside because it seems the coaches don’t think Sheppard can be anywhere but in the middle.

CB: The Bills have been in contact with Kirk Morrison about being an answer at SAM backer. It makes sense from the Bills perspective because he could also back up Shep in the middle. My guess is Morrison wants to consider other options on the open market, so I’m not certain he’ll just blindly return to the Bills after finding it hard to get on the field last season.

Tulloch is more of an ILB so I don’t know that playing SLB is necessarily a fit for him. He’s a little on the short side to play out there (5’11”).

 

5 - Chris,

As you know Marcus Easley has been dealt a rough hand since being drafted by the Bills. Has he fully recovered from his illness and will he have a shot at making the Bills No. 2 receiver? Or will he compete at all? At face value, he has at least the proto type body (6’4) of a big receiver that the Bills need in the red zone. Not only could he contribute to a much need depleted receiver core, if he secures one of the WR positions, they the Bills could devote their draft to other areas of need. So I am hoping Bills fans can see what potential Easley has a big receiver and we will have one less area to address with our draft picks.

William Aiken, Schenectady, NY

CB: Easley has been medically cleared to resume his football career. He’ll be back on the field this spring with no limitations as far as I understand it. Now the Bills aren’t counting on him despite the fact that they’re eager to see what he can bring to the offense. He is the prototype size, speed combo that they want opposite Stevie Johnson, but since the first two seasons of his career have been washouts it’s hard to count on him. That’s why they’ll seek other options to add to the competition pool.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-17

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2012 – 1:58 pm

Less than a week before the NFL Combine. Make sure you keep your laptop locked on Buffalobills.com for wall-to-wall coverage from Indy beginning on Thursday morning. Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hey Chris,

My question is in regard to Kirk Morrison.  I thought he was an above average to good NFL linebacker in Oakland, then what happened?  That was only 2 years ago, he’s not even 30, and now he can’t sniff the field?  And if it was the Bills system more than his level of play, why has he not been talked about at all as an option in the new 4-3 defense that is expected to be installed more often next season?  I believe his contract is up, but I haven’t heard or read his name once. 

Thanks again,
Dan
Fredonia, NY
CB: Morrison had a tough time getting on the field for a couple of reasons. First, he was signed days before the season opener so he had some catch up work to do. By the time he was fully adjusted to the scheme Kelvin Sheppard had begun to emerge and locked down the ILB spot alongside veteran Nick Barnett.

What’s going to be interesting is with the defense switching to the 4-3 I think he’s going to be a consideration for the strong side linebacker position. Talking to Coach Wannstedt he did express a desire to get Morrison re-signed. I think he’s capable of backing up Sheppard in the middle while also competing for a starting role at SLB.

 

2 - Hi Chris, 
You do a good job covering the Bills.  I do want to ask why the management wants to change from a 3-4 back to a 4-3 when they have spent two seasons drafting the personal for the 3-4?  I do not see this as a step forward, but rather a waste of the investment in players they have taken the last two years.  Shawne Merriman did not work out, but could be an answer to the pass rush problem. 

As a coach I had to change my defense year to year because my players were not always  suited to what I did the year before the current season.  I made changes in how I played a defense to suit the players I had and schemed to make them more effective.  

The Bills right now have players that could play both even and odd front looks  effectively given the chance to develop and having all  the players able to play.  Maybe a more aggressive defense with

good  technique containing the outside ( setting the edge ) and new wrinkles, which should come with our new defensive coordinator, will make it all work without a mid rebuilding change of plan.

A suffering fan in Arizona,
Max F. Stolzenberg, Jr.

CB: I think to characterize the defensive change as a prompt to rebuild is misguided quite frankly. The Bills played with four down linemen a good deal of the time, but I’ll let Dave Wannstedt explain.

“We played last year about 65-percent of our snaps in nickel personnel, where we actually had four down (linemen) in the game with their hand in the ground. No matter if we had five defensive backs or six defensive backs it didn’t matter,” said Wannstedt. “The point was, if you looked at us, we were doing a lot of things that there’s carry-over within the 4-3 scheme.”

I think there are a lot of players that offer scheme versatility on Buffalo’s defense. Chief among them are Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay. Williams and Kelsay have already played most of their careers in the 4-3 with the Bills. Merriman has never played in the 4-3 in the NFL, but might benefit from dropping into coverage less as a true rush end and is underrated as a run defender.

Torell Troup played defensive tackle in a 4-3 in college and Alex Carrington played defensive end in a 4-3 at the collegiate level. Spencer Johnson was signed in free agency by this team when they were still playing a 4-3 front under the previous coaching regime.

Sheppard played MLB in a 4-3 at LSU and Nick Barnett is more than capable of playing weakside LB in a 4-3. So I don’t really see a rebuilding plan here. I think most of the pieces are scheme versatile enough to hit the ground running with this scheme.

 

3 - Hey Chris,
I have a few questions about the 4-3 defense we may run under Wannstedt.  If your remember that last time we were a full 4-3/cover 2 defense Byrd had 9 interceptions, now I was wondering how a 4-3 defense differs from a 3-4 as far as secondary scheme goes because in 09 it seemed like we had way more interceptions then in ’10 and ’11.  Also i assume that we will target a nice pass rush DE in the draft and that Kelsay will move back to DE also but who will be the DT I also assume that it will be Dareus and Williams with Johnson and Troup that 3rd and 4th but where would guys like Carrington go?

Thanks Chris,
Josh Hubert, Syracuse NY

CB: I think most of your assumptions are right, although Dwan Edwards might be the other defensive tackle alongside Troup in the rotation. I think a guy like Carrington has to prove he can put pressure on the passer at the end position. He did that at Arkansas State as an end in a 4-3 front (21.5 sacks). As far as the secondary is concerned not a whole lot changes going from a 3-4 to a 4-3. The coverages are largely the same, though the means by which they disguise some looks might be different.

I don’t know that you can tie Byrd’s success as a rookie to the scheme. Personally I think Byrd’s best season was 2011. I felt his all-around game was as good as I’ve seen it. He’s not just a takeaway guy, he’s shown he can be more than that.

 

4 - Hey Chris,

I remember you mentioning that one of the best things the current Bills management has done is to build the front lines.  I was just wondering if the Bills found that the best player available in the first round was a DT like Devon Still from PSU, would they consider drafting him and moving Dareus to DE like Haloti Ngata has done at times for the Ravens?  Do you think they would draft the DT to continue getting depth at DT?  Or would they go to the next best player not at DT?
-Chris

CB: The way the Bills operate is they take the best player on the board when they’re on the clock. If there are a couple of players of comparable value and one is at a position of need then they’ll take the player at the position of need.

Devon Still by the way is trumped at the DT position by some underclassmen. Most scouts I’ve spoken with maintain that Michael Brockers from LSU, Jerel Worthy from Michigan State and Dontari Poe from Memphis are all superior to Still.

 

5 - Chris:

I always enjoy your interviews and film breakdown with the coaches in your top 10 series.  I was wondering if you see a time where Coach Gailey will turn over the play calling to Offensive Coordinator Curtis Modkins, and exactly how much is Coach Modkins involved with the game planning and game day decisions?  What are your thoughts on Coach Bicknell being on the radar for other teams as Offensive Coordinator and eventually getting interviews for Head Coaching Positions? I believe he may be on many teams short list soon.

Thanks 

Joe
Blasdell

CB: Thanks for the kind words on our Top 10 Performances of 2011 Series. We enjoyed bringing it to you and for the dedicated fan it’s a great way to get some film room insight from Buffalo’s coaching staff. Our last installment of the series will run this Tuesday.

As for play calling duties Chan Gailey when he was hired did say he would eventually hand off those responsibilities to Curtis Modkins, but I don’t think he’s there yet. I think once Gailey feels as though his offense is a smooth running machine week in and week out, only then might he turn over the reins.

With respect to coach Bicknell, it would not shock me if he started drawing interest around the league for OC positions. Knowing he was a successful offensive coordinator in NFL Europe it would not surprise me at all.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where does Moats fit?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2012 – 11:23 am

Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt provided some details as to where some of his players will fit into his new 4-3 scheme. Kelvin Sheppard will be his MLB and Nick Barnett is going to be on the weak side. So who are the candidates for the strong side. One of them appears to be Arthur Moats.

At 6’0″ 252 pounds, one might think he could serve as a backup to Sheppard in the middle, but that’s not where Moats expects to line up initially come May OTAs.

“We briefly talked and mainly he told me what position I’d be looking towards. It’ll be more on the outside,” said Moats. “When I talked to him it was more in the direction of strong side linebacker. It’s pretty similar to what we were doing (last year) just out of a different alignment. Overall it’s a new experience for me and I’ll be taking it on head first.”

Moats will likely be one of a few candidates for that starting SLB role in Wannstedt’s defense. GM Buddy Nix mentioned the need to add another linebacker either in free agency or the draft. Where Chris White will line up is still a mystery at this point, and Kirk Morrison is a free agent.

Moats, who was participating in a Play 60 community event in Buffalo Thursday said they also talked about what he was doing last year in training camp lining up at inside linebacker and how those things played out. Moats flip-flopped back and forth throughout the season last year between inside and outside linebacker. He anticipates with the system being new that they’ll leave him on the strong side.

“I just look at it as a new challenge and it’s inspiring that they would consider me for the job,” he said. “They feel I’m athletic enough and smart enough to handle it.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Morrison feature

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2012 – 9:59 am

Here’s a feature on Bills LB Kirk Morrison from ProPlayerInsiders.com. Morrison is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-28

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2011 – 11:46 am

The Bills Toronto Series resumes on Sunday at the Rogers Centre. I’m encouraged about this one knowing Chan and his staff has had two weeks to prepare. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hi Chris,                   
With the way our defense is playing very well, as in takeaways, keeping us in games, playing very hard and more, we still rank very low ..26th/29th against the opp. pass/rush.  Why do you think that is?  I’m trying to figure out if it’s because the defense is still meshing, or do we have a lack of talent somewhere or not the right size players yet?  And my last question is, if the draft was today which position do you see as our biggest need or an upgrade to be made?  Yes, I know it is early however at the beginning of the season I could find endless spots including depth I thought we needed, now how the team is playing and everyone doing pretty well, I can’t see too many spots that need help except maybe WR and that is because of injuries only, not because of a lack of talent.  
Thank you for your time 
-Showtime.  GO BILLS!

CB: The problem is pass rush. Buffalo is not getting enough consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. We’ll see if George Edwards and his defensive staff have come up with some new schematics to help the players be more effective in that area, but there is no real proven pass rusher on the roster. Merriman was the only one and he wasn’t the same with his Achilles problem and is now on I-R.

With that in mind it’s the answer to your second question as well. Buffalo needs a pass rusher off the edge that opponents have to game plan for, so I’d have that at the top of the list with respect to the draft next spring.

 

2 - Chris,

What can Bills fans expect from Torell Troup this season? With the possibility of Kyle Williams missing games, this is the perfect opportunity for Troup to stand up and demonstrate that his value as a high draft pick was justified. Also, if the Bills haven’t done so already, they should look into treating Troup’s lingering lower back pain with acupuncture. It may be an unconventional method however, as someone who suffered from LBP myself, I know how effective acupuncture  can be when more traditional means fail. Hope you continue to appear on Rodger Wyland’s Big Board Sports. You are a wealth of knowledge of the Bills’ operation.

William
Schenectady, NY 

CB: Thanks for the kind words. With respect to Troup he’s had two different issues with his back. Without getting into details, the first problem has been remedied and he’s told me the second problem will eventually dissipate as well. He still doesn’t look full speed to me in practice, but he insists he will get better with time. Knowing that it’s hard to predict just what they’ll get from Troup this season. If he does in fact get back to 100 percent I believe you’ll see a much improved player. He worked his tail off this offseason and looked very good in the early stages of training camp. If he gets back to that kind of play he’ll be making plays with regularity at nose tackle.

If not, then I think we’re looking at a situation where he’s a rotational player giving Kellen Heard a break as long as Kyle Williams is out of the lineup.

 

3 - Hi there Chris,

I’m just going to come out and say it, no beating around the brush. Our Buffalo Bills have the best hair in football. You can tell that many members of the team take extreme care in their hair. What saddens me is that there are quite a few members of our team that used to have long, beautiful, rock-star like hairdos (Steve Johnson). . .  Are any Bills thinking about growing back their locks? Or maybe team beards? Dumbledore/ZZ Top beards?

Thanks,
Brenning Greenfield (Crozet, VA)
Canisteo, NY 

CB: I do know that Andy Levitre is working feverishly on a Fu-Manchu mustache, but beyond that and Fitz’s beard, which is supposed to go the distance this season, I’m not aware of any specific hair growing commitments on the part of the players, though Kellen Heard has been growing his for a year a half. He keeps it trimmed though. Erik Pears is growing his beard out. I’ll investigate though to see if there are any others.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

What’s going on with Kirk Morrison? Why is he not getting any playing time? Also how much longer is Aaron Williams expected to be out for?

Thanks,                                                              
Clayton from Buffalo NY

CB: Hopefully you saw my story on Aaron Williams’ progress in his return from a chest/shoulder problem earlier this week. He believes he’s about two weeks away from playing in a game which puts him at the Dallas game.

As for Morrison, he’s strictly a reserve player. He’s an inside linebacker and he’s behind Nick Barnett, Andra Davis and Kelvin Sheppard on the depth chart right now. A good player, but doesn’t have as much time in the system and the playing time is going to Shep and Barnett right now.

 

5 -  Hi Chris!

This old timer has been shouting “Go Bills” since being transfered to Buffalo in ’61 (our second year).   I live now in Gainesville, Florida.  I have a comment and a question.

I hope the younger fans appreciate the website in general and BDC in particular.  In the Super Bowl years fans had to wait for detailed information until “Shout” magazine arrived–sometimes as much as eight days after a game.  Great job, Chris.

Could you give us an insight into what happens at One Bills Drive after a Sunday game?  We know that Tuesday is an off day with practices the rest of the week, but what do the players, trainers, and coaches do on Monday?  What time do they all report?  How long are they there?  What is the routine; what takes place?

Best,     Bill Laney — ( 51 years a faithful fan )

CB: Basically on Mondays, injured players or players that are nicked up get treatments in the training room. Players watch game tape from Sunday’s game with their position coaches and are graded on their performance. Then coaches go over corrections with them. There is also some light conditioning work that’s done with the strength and conditioning staff to stimulate blood flow, which helps get the soreness out of the body sooner rather than later. That’s pretty much it. Thanks for the kind words.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Johnson practices fully

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2011 – 3:19 pm

On Wednesday he was given a rest day for his nagging groin injury, but on Thursday things were back to normal at practice for Stevie Johnson.

According to head coach Chan Gailey, Johnson participated fully.

Also able to practice fully on Thursday was RB Johnny White (ankle), LB Kirk Morrison (hamstring) and DT Torell Troup (lower back).

All four are expected to be available for Sunday’s game in Cincinnati.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Johnny White limited

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2011 – 3:45 pm

Bills reserve RB Johnny White was limited in practice Wednesday.

It’s unknown if White sustained the injury during practice, but he was limited Wednesday with an ankle injury. We’ll have more on White’s situation Thursday.

Meanwhile Kirk Morrison, who has been out the last couple of weeks with a hamstring injury practiced fully Wednesday as well as Torell Troup (lower back).


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Posted in Inside the Bills