Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 6-8

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2018 – 10:55 am

Just mandatory minicamp left after today. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

McDermott and Daboll seem like a good match. Any observations on them together and do you see any differences from the previous OC? Thanks Chris!

Timothy Filutze
@timothy_filutze

CB: I’ll begin by saying I think the big plus that Daboll brings is he is more relatable to the players than former OC Rick Dennison was. Dennison could interact with the players, but developing a relationship seemed a bit more difficult for him at times. That is not the case with Daboll and the players on offense as I outlined in my story on him last week.

But I’ll let coach McDermott explain the give and take he and coach Daboll have enjoyed thus far.

“We try and take the approach of ‘iron sharpens iron’ really where I’m learning from him, he’s learning from me I this case,” McDermott said. “Again, we’re all learning from one another, so if you just start there, you usually have the start of a pretty good recipe.

“He has an ability to think at a higher level and he understands trends in terms of what’s going on, what’s trending in and around the NFL. Obviously, there has been an adjustment because the system is different than the system we used last year. I believe the players are really buying into what we’re doing and what Brian is doing as well as the entire offensive staff for that matter.”

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Many experts have the Bills taking a big step back this year in terms of wins. Is the reason totally due to the ?? at QB? To me the Bills roster appears much more solid and much deeper than last year, except possibly at WR, which can still change.

Steve Noble
@SteveNo12471507

CB: I think because the quarterback position is an unknown, and there is a new offense going in, it does lead many national pundits to forecast struggle for the Bills. This is commonplace for national reporters, who don’t cover the team on a daily basis. They look at the team on paper, examine the player losses and if in their estimation they outweigh the additions, they often predict doom for that team.

With all the unanswered questions on offense, there is an inherent fear of the unknown by prognosticators. Now in their defense, it’s not like some of those concerns they harbor are unfounded.

There will need to be a good number of players that have to step into more prominent roles this season on the offensive line, defensive end, linebacker, quarterback and wide receiver.

That is a long list.

Couple that with a schedule that has the Bills on the road for five of their first seven games and you can see why the prediction people are down on Buffalo.

The defense will be much improved with the additions made there.

I think the key to Buffalo’s 2018 season will be finding a definitive answer at quarterback and how quickly the offense can get to a point where they’re executing the new scheme in a consistent fashion week to week.

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why is Allen working with the nobodys?

Adam creery
@Adamcreery4

CB: Josh Allen is working with the third team offense because he’s playing catch up. AJ McCarron and Nate Peterman had a three-week head start on learning the new offensive scheme and running plays on the field.

All indications are that Allen is a quick study, but bringing him along steadily is clearly the plan that’s in place. This coaching staff will not rush him through just to line him up with the starting unit.

They will base their decisions on who he’ll line up with solely on Allen’s progress day by day.

When coach McDermott was asked if he’d consider giving Allen reps with the second team or first team in the mandatory minicamp, he wouldn’t rule it out, but it’s apparent they aren’t going to rush him through anything.

“It’s a fluid situation; it’s all part of doing what’s best for A, our football team and B, Josh’s development overall,” said McDermott in how they’re bringing him along. “I’m not going to say I’m not going to do it, it’s just what’s the right thing to do at the right time based on our plan.”

4 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering with guys like Zay Jones & Logan Thomas having surgery’s & not being able to participate in OTA’s do they still show up every day & do the class room stuff with their respective groups in order to further their knowledge of the in coming scheme seeing as there is a new OC & a new offense being installed ?

Thanks for your time !!

Mr. T from Nashville via Barker NY

CB: The answer is yes. They have to be on site anyway for rehabilitation assignments with the athletic training staff, and they do attend position meetings and offense and/or defense meetings. Logan Thomas is already walking around without any assistance, so that’s encouraging.

I just haven’t crossed paths with Zay in the building of late.

 

5 – Chris:

Great work during the draft and year round.

A couple questions:

1) With the new OC and the player acquisitions in Free Agency and the draft do you think the Bills are planning to go to more of a spread offense this year? This may help Josh Allen in reading Defenses and opening more running lanes by taking players out of the box.

2) I expect the Bills to play more of a 4-2-5 Defense. This means more use of Milano, Stanford and Vallejo. I also expect Siran Neal to be listed as a Safety but eventually (a year or two) gain enough size to play LB like Carolina Shaq Thompson. Your thoughts?

Joe
Blasdell

CB: Your first question is an interesting one. I remember when Chan Gailey was head coach he often used a four-wide, one-back set to spread the field to create easier reads for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the pass game, while also creating more natural rush lanes for the backs.

It worked very well for the most part.

It’s hard to determine now if Brian Daboll wants to lean in the spread direction, especially with a quarterback competition to evaluate. Not knowing who your No. 1 QB is makes it more challenging for an OC to put a singular identity on an offense.

As for the defense, the Bills are in a nickel defense close to two-thirds of the time based on the passing nature of the game these days. Coach McDermott often says your nickel corner is basically a starter on defense, based on how often they’re in nickel defense.

I expect the nickel LBs to be Edmunds and Milano this season. Stanford and Vallejo are good options in reserve as both can run and cover.

As for Neal, I can see him playing a hybrid LB role, but full-time LB is something I’m going to hold judgment on. I’d like to see how he can change his body composition next offseason before I’m convinced that’s a role he could take on.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Logan Thomas gets bulk of work with O’Leary out

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2017 – 10:50 am

Nick O’Leary missed his first game of the season with a back injury. The tight end called upon who filled most of the void was Logan Thomas.

Charles Clay naturally led all tight ends with 44 plays (66% of the snaps) with Thomas right behind him with 22 plays (33%) and Khari Lee saw action on five offensive plays (7%).

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-8

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2017 – 11:54 am

Kickoff weekend is here! Finally Bills regular season football. Let’s dial it up Bills fans with your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the D get back into the Top 10 or is the talent level too thin in year one of SM and BB?

Michael Kielma
@bubble_head716

CB: Depth is undoubtedly a concern, particularly at safety and linebacker. But if the Bills can stay relatively healthy, especially on the defensive line, they can flirt with being a top 10 defense. Sean McDermott’s defensive units typically rank high in sacks, run defense and takeaways, all critical elements in defenses that rank in the top 10.

Buffalo’s defensive line will be instrumental in all three of those defensive categories. As long as the front four can stay healthy they can contend for top 10 status.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Predictions on who leads the team in receptions? Dark horse of Charles Clay?

Kyle Yagielski
@DrMrPHD

CB: I don’t think Charles Clay is a dark horse at all. He had 87 targets last season to lead the team and led the team in receptions with 57. Granted that was due in part to the fact that Sammy Watkins played in just eight games, but in Rick Dennison offenses the tight end plays a large role in the passing game. The case will be much the same with Clay this season, especially with all the wide receiver turnover.

So I think Clay is the favorite to lead the team in receptions, with Jordan Matthews as his only real competition.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Shady o/u 100 yards Sunday?

Frank Propis
@Frankpropis

CB: The Jets run front is no joke, even with the trade of Sheldon Richardson. NT Steve McLendon was a nice pickup by New York last year from Pittsburgh. The key will be getting McCoy to the second level on Sunday.

McCoy barely played in the season finale against the Jets, which was kind of a lost game altogether. But in the Week 2 matchup, McCoy average 3.9 yards per carry and finished with 83 total yards from scrimmage.

I think he can do better than that because New York’s linebacking corps is a lot less proven than the group from a season ago. So if you’re asking total yards from scrimmage I say over 100, but over 100 yards rushing, I don’t know. That run front for the Jets is still pretty stout and they’ll be daring the Bills to throw in this game (eight in the box).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

There is talk of “Tyrod not being a fit to Dennison’s system” , why would a coach have a system that does fit current roster? (ex. Rex)

Bryan Watson
@RealBryanWatson

CB: I find it funny how this has become the narrative for Tyrod in this scheme. Both head coach Sean McDermott and OC Rick Dennison have said on the record that Taylor is “a perfect fit” for this offense. Below is the direct quote I got from McDermott way back in March at the NFL combine.

“He absolutely fits what Rick wants to do,” said McDermott in reference to Taylor. “Having said that a lot of players fit what we want to do in our system. It’s a great system. That’s one of the reasons I hired Rick. We look forward to putting pieces together to build this team the right way.”

I think people are forgetting that what we saw offensively in the preseason is not at all what they’re likely to run come the regular season. So until we see that it’s premature at the least to say Tyrod isn’t a fit, especially when his coaches are telling us the exact opposite and with more emphatic language than usual.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the Bills only keeping 5 WR, do you think they have plans for someone like Logan Thomas to be a bigger part of the offense?

Adam Placzek
@iamFlowbee

CB: I do not expect Logan Thomas to be that guy. This is very much a developmental year for him and if he comes on ahead of the expected learning curve, I think he can make some contributions in the passing game in the second half of the season. I think both Charles Clay, as mentioned above, and Nick O’Leary along with Pat DiMarco and LeSean McCoy will be the ones getting extra targets in the passing game knowing Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones and Andre Holmes will be the top three receiving options at the WR position.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-2

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2017 – 11:44 am

Last week of OTAs coming up on Monday with mandatory minicamp to follow. The offseason is winding down. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

In OTA’s during the qb drills which backup qb is getting the most time with the 2s and which will get time with the 3s?

Chris soh
@Chrissohpher767

CB: I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been counting reps for the quarterbacks behind Tyrod. Here’s what I’ve witnessed thus far. Early in OTAs, T.J. Yates did not get many reps at all. That’s because he’s had multiple seasons in this offense going back to his time with Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison in Houston.

It was clear early in OTAs that they wanted to get the younger QBs up to speed with the scheme so Nate Peterman and Cardale Jones were rotated through more behind Taylor.

In week two of OTAs, Yates was rotated in as the second QB.

Here’s how team period snaps often went last week.

Taylor – 3 reps
Yates – 3 reps
Jones – 3 reps
Taylor – 3 reps
Peterman – 3 reps
End of team period.

So Taylor would get six snaps, while everyone else got three during each team period. We’ll see if that changes at all this week.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How’s Zay’s knee?

Buffalo Bills NL
@BuffaloBillsNL

CB: We have not received an official update beyond him being week to week. That being said I did see him here at One Bills Drive this week in the hall. He was walking normally without any hitch in his gait, which is a good sign. Now that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to practice this coming week, but it is an indication that he’s made good progress since sustaining the sprained knee in the first week of OTAs.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is Clay’s contract situation? How much $ would @buffalobills have to eat if they cut him & target Barnidge?

Cory Fountain
@coryfountain

CB: Clay is going to make $4.5M in base salary each of the next three years. The prorated portion of his bonus, which impacts the salary cap, is also $4.5M annually, giving him a total cap figure of $9M each of the next three seasons.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Dennison can get Tyrod to see and use the whole field in passing game, especially the oft-neglected middle of the field?

Matt Dermody
@MDermody88

CB: While I don’t debate that using the middle of the field consistently was a deficiency in Tyrod Taylor’s game, I’d encourage you to look at his last two starts from last season. I thought Taylor took a step forward when it came to reading the middle of the field and making plays between the numbers.

Against Cleveland and Miami, even though it was clear that swing passes and screens were part of the game plan designed to get receivers and backs out in space in both games, Taylor still worked the middle of the field.

In the Browns game five of his 17 completions in the game either went to the middle of the field or hit a receiver coming from the middle of the field on a crossing pattern or drag route. His only incompletion to the middle of the field in that game came on a pass under pressure.

Against the Dolphins, Taylor had his first 300-yard passing game. Again swings and screens accounted for a good portion of the completions, but he found Clay, Watkins and Woods for plays that worked the middle of the field, including the 34-yard flea flicker late in the game to Woods.

That’s why I was disappointed to see him not play in the season finale. I wanted to see a third straight game of him using the middle of the field, but he wasn’t given that opportunity.

To answer your question I think he has a chance to see the middle of the field even better this year knowing that Dennison will probably get him out on the move even more than the offensive staff did last year. That will enable him to see the whole field even better than he does from the pocket.

That’s not to say he can’t make plays over the middle from the pocket. His last two starts in 2016 are an indication that he is learning how. But designed rollouts and bootlegs in Dennison’s offense might have him on the edges even more this season.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I briefly posed this a few weeks ago.

I am fascinated by the athleticism and potential of Logan Thomas. At 6’6″ and 250, he have great movement skills and good speed. Have you heard anything about his progress in converting to TE, or possibly even WR?  I know information may be extremely limited, but I could see him being a real sleeper for us.

Thanks for your time..
Have an abundantly blessed evening
Gary
CB: He has been working at tight end, and while he is still learning the nuances of the position, I agree he has rare athleticism for a player his size. Running full speed he made a one-handed catch in the end zone as he was going out of bounds along the left sideline and got his first foot down and dragged the back toe on the other for a good reception.

Even his teammates were wowed by it.

The good thing is he has a strong teaching coach in tight ends coach Rob Boras. It’s evident to me that the staff wants to try to groom that talent.

Does that mean he can help the Bills this season?

That’s hard to say. He’s still very young at the position, but with the right tutoring and commitment on his part I wouldn’t count him out.


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Posted in Inside the Bills