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Inside The Bills

Bills not expected to get compensatory pick

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2014 – 1:24 pm

The NFL typically issues their compensatory picks to the clubs in late March at the owners’ meetings, but the experts out in cyberspace, who have largely cracked the league’s unpublicized formula for awarding compensatory selections in the draft, and accurately predict what teams will get extra picks, don’t see the Bills getting anything additional this spring.

Recently on, compensatory pick prognosticator Jimmy Kempski forecast how the league will award these picks and to which clubs. Based on his projections the Bills will not be awarded any compensatory picks.

One of the main reasons why is a team, first and foremost, must have a net loss of free agents from the previous offseason. Based on past history there are several free agents who do not fall under the “net loss” formula. An example would be restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents who are not tendered by their teams, like David Nelson last year.

So based on those stipulations the Bills broke even on free agents, losing Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart, while signing Alan Branch and Manny Lawson.

Kevin Kolb does not count because he was released by Arizona and not an unrestricted free agent.

The league only awards 32 total compensatory picks a year in the draft. If there has not been enough player movement to warrant the full 32 compensatory picks in that fashion, the rest are awarded as net value picks, usually to teams who lost a free agent that signed for top 10 money at their position.

Such would be the case for the Bills with Andy Levitre, who signed for big money in Tennessee last year. However, with a high rate of player movement last year in free agency these projections indicate that every single compensatory pick this year will be awarded to teams that experienced a net loss in free agents. So teams like Buffalo (with Levitre) and Oakland (with Phillip Wheeler) would not receive a seventh round compensatory as a net value pick.

Their projection list is below with Pittsburgh and Green Bay the only clubs forecast to land picks at the end of the round three, the highest round in which a compensatory selection is given.

3 – Pittsburgh – Mike Wallace
3 – Green Bay – Greg Jennings
4 – San Francisco – Dashon Goldson
4 – Baltimore – Paul Kruger
4 – Detroit – Gosder Cherilus
4 – Baltimore – Dannell Ellerbe
5 – Houston – Connor Barwin
5 – New York Jets – LaRon Landry
5 – Baltimore – Cary Williams
5 – Atlanta – Brent Grimes
5 – Pittsburgh – Keenan Lewis
5 – New York Giants – Martellus Bennett
5 – Baltimore – Ed Reed
5 – Houston – Glover Quin
6 – New York Jets – Mike DeVito
6 – Green Bay – Erik Walden
6 – New York Jets – Dustin Keller
6 – New England – Patrick Chung
6 – Cincinnati – Manny Lawson
6 – St. Louis – Brandon Gibson
6 – New York Jets – Shonn Greene
7 – St. Louis – Bradley Fletcher
7 – Dallas – Mike Jenkins
7 – Cincinnati – Pat Sims
7 – St. Louis – Craig Dahl
7 – St. Louis – Rob Turner
7 – Dallas – Victor Butler
7 – Cincinnati – Bruce Gradkowski
7 – Tampa Bay – Geno Hayes
7 – Atlanta – Will Svitek
7 – Atlanta – Christopher Owens
7 – San Diego – Shaun Phillips

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Posted in Inside the Bills

DE/LB Jefferson has Lawson body type

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2014 – 6:36 pm

Buffalo has been busy signing young talent to their roster since the regular season came to a close. That process continued Thursday as the team announced the signing of DE Willie Jefferson. And Jefferson’s build resembles that of a current Bills linebacker.

Jefferson (6’5” 241), who was on the Houston Texans roster for a period of time last season, looks like a Manny Lawson (6’5” 240) clone at least in terms of body type. He’s long and angular, and that makes it tough for offensive linemen to get their hands on end/linebackers like this because the long arms of the defender often make contact with the offensive linemen first.

The future free agent signing is a bit raw having been on the offensive side of the ball earlier in his college career. In his first two collegiate seasons Jefferson was at Baylor as a wide receiver before he transferred to Stephen F. Austin and flipped to the defensive side of the ball.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes in top 10 territory

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2013 – 1:10 pm

It’s been a productive season for Jerry Hughes in his first year with the Bills, and ProFootballFocus is taking notice. The stat crunchers and film reviewers of every play of every game, have Hughes ranked in their top 10 at the 3-4 OLB position.

Hughes is rated tied for seventh overall among 3-4 OLBs this season. As you’ll see in the PFF chart below, only five of the players listed above him have a higher combination number of sacks, QB hits and QB hurries than Hughes (48). His pass rush rating of 13.9 is also only bested by three other players in the top 10 as well (Houston, Dumervil, Mathis).

Mario Williams and Manny Lawson rank 13th and 22nd overall on this chart.













# of Pen









1  Justin   Houston KC 724 31.8 17.9 3.7 7.6 2.6 0-0 11 8 42 4 32 2 12 38
2  Elvis   Dumervil BLT 479 23.6 23.9 1.2 4.7 -6.2 8-2 10 9 34 1 13 6 0 19
3  Brian   Orakpo WAS 735 23.1 9.3 2.6 9.5 1.7 1-0 9 11 26 2 30 11 5 30
4  Trent   Cole PHI 764 21.2 10.9 -1.9 9.6 2.6 0-0 6 10 26 2 33 4 4 33
5  Tamba   Hali KC 830 21.1 12.6 2.7 4.8 1.0 2-0 12 7 52 0 20 8 7 25
6  Robert   Mathis IND 719 20.3 14.9 -0.3 4.2 1.5 2-0 15 3 33 2 26 2 6 33
7  Aldon   Smith SF 407 13.9 9.8 -0.2 5.7 -1.4 3-0 7 5 22 0 16 2 2 19
7  Jerry   Hughes BUF 529 13.9 13.6 -1.5 4.9 -3.1 6-2 9 5 34 1 22 1 4 19
9  Terrell   Suggs BLT 764 13.8 1.8 0.4 10.9 0.7 3-1 9 13 32 0 48 7 4 46
10  Junior   Galette NO 689 12.8 11.0 0.1 1.7 0.0 3-1 9 11 30 0 23 7 3 26

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Time on field benefiting Hughes’ game most

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2013 – 4:27 pm

Bills pass rusher Jerry Hughes doesn’t deny that he learned a lot in his three years playing behind Pro Bowl ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, but he’s seen his game progress more in 10 games this season than in the previous three.

“It’s helping out tremendously,” Hughes told “It’s always great to sit on the sideline and learn the game from two established vets like those two guys were, but to actually be out on the field with your teammates and playing a full game, playing with the guys, those things you really can’t practice for or hold into account how valuable it is and you get more of a feel for the speed of the game versus watching it on the sideline.”

Hughes said playing behind Freeney and Mathis was a pass rush education, but the impact he’s been able to make for the Bills this season is his most rewarding accomplishment to this point in his career. His teammates also have quickly developed a respect for the way Hughes goes about his business.

“I think just knowing him the way I do a simple mindset, just come in be the best that we can be and try to make a difference here,” said Manny Lawson. “We hear a lot of talk about what the Bills used to be and our mantra is we’re just going to be who we are. Jerry is a very competitive guy. He’s not afraid to ask questions and learn from the coaches and myself just what’s going on. We talk and communicate well on the field and just generally he wants to learn the game and be better at the game and that’s all you can really ask for from a player.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Manny Lawson makes the trip

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2013 – 3:27 pm

He was excused from Friday’s practice by head coach Doug Marrone and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. But has confirmed that LB Manny Lawson has made the trip with the team for tomorrow’s game against the Steelers.

Knowing Lawson’s reason for missing Friday’s practice was not injury related the veteran linebacker is expected to start Sunday on Buffalo’s defense.

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Bills Friday injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 2:32 pm

Manny Lawson is not dealing with an injury, but he was added to the team’s injury report Friday after being excused from practice.

Lawson was officially listed as questionable after missing Friday’s practice to tend to a personal matter. Head coach Doug Marrone intended to talk to the veteran linebacker this afternoon to get a better handle on his situation.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Wednesday Participation   Thursday Participation   Friday Game Status
Kyle Williams DT Achilles DNP FP FP Probable
Marquise Goodwin WR Hamstring DNP LP FP Probable
Robert Woods WR Ankle DNP DNP DNP Doubtful
Thad Lewis QB Ribs FP FP FP Probable
EJ Manuel QB Knee FP FP FP Probable
Manny Lawson LB Non-injury   related N/A N/A DNP Questionable

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lawson’s status up in air for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 12:39 pm

Bills LB Manny Lawson was excused from Friday’s practice by head coach Doug Marrone. The veteran linebacker is healthy, but his status for the game is a bit up in the air.

“Manny Lawson I spoke to him this morning. I excused him,” said Marrone. “It’s not injury related. He’s taking care of some personal issues. I’m going to talk to him this afternoon. I don’t know much about his situation.”

As such Marrone did not give an official status for Lawson for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, but it’s expected that he’ll be listed as questionable.

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Goodwin, C.J., Lawson all working

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 11:56 am

Buffalo has three injured players from a week ago practicing today.

Manny Lawson, C.J. Spiller and Marquise Goodwin are all practicing her at One Bills Drive on Wednesday.

Lawson and Spiller didn’t play last week. Goodwin sustained an elbow injury in last Sunday’s game.

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Jerry Hughes to start

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2013 – 11:52 am

Bills LB Manny Lawson is inactive with a hamstring injury today. He’s going to be replaced in the lineup by another veteran linebacker.

Jerry Hughes will start in Lawson’s place. Look for Nigel Bradham to fill Lawson’s role as well in certain packages.

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Spiller, Lawson doubtful

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2013 – 12:31 pm

Bills RV C.J. Spiller and LB Manny Lawson are both doubtful for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

Neither player practiced at all this week.

“We’ll wait to make a decision on them right up until game time,” said Marrone.

Buffalo has an open roster spot after releasing CB Brandon Burton earlier in the day and could use it to add to the RB position.

Ronnie Wingo is Buffalo’s practice squad running back.

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Lawson has setback

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2013 – 2:31 pm

Bills LB Manny Lawson has been battling his way through a hamstring injury the past couple of weeks, but head coach Doug Marrone felt on Wednesday that the veteran linebacker had a good chance of playing Sunday. That situation has changed after Lawson suffered a setback.

“I said yesterday I really felt good and then we had a setback (Wednesday) afternoon so it’s going to be a day to day thing,” said Marrone. “Obviously he has a hamstring, so that was not the best of news.”

Lawson did not practice for a second straight day and admitted that it’s going to be harder for him to be ready to play at New Orleans.

“Manny is smart and a veteran guy so that’s why it’ll be day to day with him,” said Marrone. “Wednesday when we worked him out in the afternoon it was a setback and (the hamstring) was not where we wanted it to be.”



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Lawson update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 2:09 pm

Head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on Manny Lawson’s hamstring injury.

Marrone said he expects Lawson to be on the practice field Wednesday in a limited capacity. He also said that while its the same hamstring he injured the week before against Cincinnati, but this new injury is in a different spot on the hamstring.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Manny re-aggravates hamstring

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 9:39 pm

A week after leaving the Cincinnati game early with a hamstring problem, LB Manny Lawson again had to exit due to the same ailment. Lawson after helping to make a tackle out on the right flank of the defense.

“The only injury really reported was Manny,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “He has the hamstring.”

Lawson will be re-evaluated on Monday with Marrone expected to provide an update in the afternoon.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Lawson practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2013 – 11:47 am

Bills LB Manny Lawson left last Sunday’s game early with a hamstring injury, but he’s out on the practice field here on Wednesday.

On Monday head coach Doug Marone said that Lawson was fine no problems.

That appears to be the case now, but we’ll wait to see his official injury status post practice.

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Marrone: Lawson good to go

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 5:22 pm

Bills LB Manny Lawson left Sunday’s game with what was reported to be a hamstring injury and did not return. But on Monday head coach Doug Marrone indicated that Lawson would be fine for this week’s game.

When asked about Lawson’s injury status, Marrone stated succinctly that Lawson is good to go.

“He’s good. No problems,” said Marrone.

Having Lawson back in the lineup will be a big help to holding the edge against the run and on coverage assignments. He’s currently third on the team in tackles behind Kiko Alonso and Da’Norris Searcy.

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Kiko diagnosing plays super fast

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2013 – 9:37 am

Bills rookie MLB Kiko Alonso had another solid game last night and with the national TV exposure observers are getting wise to the keen run-pass diagnosis skills that he possesses.

So much so that ProFootballFocus dedicated an entire article to his ability to anticipate Cleveland’s run plays last night. Take a look.

Alonso led the Bills with 12 tackles including one for loss. Manny Lawson had an outstanding game in his own right with seven tackles including one for loss.

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Lawson racks up tackles

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2013 – 7:25 am

Bills OLB Manny Lawson has been a pretty productive player the first three weeks in a Buffalo uniform. That didn’t change on Sunday against the Jets.

He led the team with 14 tackles including one for loss early in the game. Lawson’s veteran presence in the locker room may prove to be just as valuable on the game field. He effectively put the loss in perspective Sunday.

“Football is a roller coaster,” he said. “You have your highs and you have your lows and we did get turnovers and we did give up big plays. It’s just something we have to put in our mindset. We have to continue to make big plays and turnovers, but eliminate the big plays against us. That’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do.”

Buffalo gave up four plays of 40 yards or more Sunday.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Newcomers now primary options at OLB/DE

Posted by Chris Brown on July 23, 2013 – 3:58 pm

With the release of Mark Anderson the pool of competition got smaller at the all important outside linebacker/defensive end position for the Bills. Yes, Mario Williams is the obvious starter for one of the roles, but suddenly it’s a position whose prime candidates to land the other starting job are newcomers.

Free agent signee Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes, acquired in a trade with Indianapolis, are now the prime candidates competing for the role opposite Williams.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had this to say about each of the new acquisitions.

“Manny is a veteran player so we got a good chance to study him on tape. A lot of good reps on tape from when he was
at Cincinnati and also dating back to San Fran,” said Pettine. “He’s a professional and we’re looking forward to taking advantage of his skill set. He’s not just one of the smartest players on the team, but one of the smartest players in the NFL.”

“I think what’s helped him is a lot of their system has the same roots,” said Pettine of Hughes’ time with Indianapolis. “Chuck Pagano coming from Baltimore brought a system with him where a lot of the terminology that was similar so there was a lot of carry over. And he’s another one of those guys that’s been coachable. Coach O’Neil has done a nice job with him spending extra time studying tape and making sure he got in the playbook. I think he’s excited because he sees a role for himself on the team as do we.”

Another option who flashed at those edge positions was first-year player Jamie Blatnick,

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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2013 – 10:11 pm

Here’s the rundown of where you can find Bills players on the radio airwaves Wednesday.

7:00 am – WGR 550 – Kevin Kolb

8:00 am – Sirius XM NFL – Stevie Johnson

4:45 pm – WNML (Knoxville, TN) – Da’Rick Rogers

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Fan Friday 3-22

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2013 – 12:02 pm

Here’s the latest edition of Fan Friday questions and answers from and @ChrisBrownBills. Just over a month until the draft.

1 - Hi Chris……

Why is it that teams are so afraid to trade a first round pick, or pay the first round tender for a star player?

An example that comes to mind is Victor Cruz. Word is that the Giants are going to place a first round tender on him if any team sign him. Is a player of that caliber not worth a first rounder? There are so many first round picks that don’t pan out, especially in Buffalo, I would think that trading for a proven producer would make sense, especially for a position of need that would be addressed in the draft.

L. Briggs

CB: The Giants front office did say that they actually anticipated there might be an offer sheet from a team or two for Cruz. Obviously teams with lower first-round picks might be more apt to do so than a team with a pick in the top half of round one.

His production is proven, but if you’re a team with a lot of needs at other positions, or you’re a team that doesn’t have a quarterback the caliber of Eli Manning you won’t get the same production out of Cruz thereby decreasing his value.

2 – Hey Chris,

The 3 spots that we expect to see the Bills targeting are LB WR and QB with that being said is there any way that the Bills could try to knock out either 1 or 2 of the needs in the FA period? If they could do that, that would allow them to go with the best player available approach and could wait to get a QB till round 2 or 3. 

Thanks Chris,
Josh, Syracuse NY

CB: They’ve addressed OLB with Manny Lawson as everyone knows, but an ILB is still an option along with WR and QB. Buddy Nix has said he thinks the WR position in the draft is deep, which leads me to believe that a WR won’t be added until the draft. Tight end is another position to be addressed so that too has to be targeted. The pickings have gotten slimmer in free agency. I think there is still good value at LB in free agency so I’d anticipate an ILB to be pursued and possibly a TE prior to the draft.


3 – Chris,

Much like you, I strongly believe that teams need to win games upfront on both side of the ball.   With that in mind I am throwing out this prediction as Nix seems to be somewhat predictable:

He will draft Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson at 8, then trade up and take a QB (Tyler Wilson?)

Just wondering your thoughts….

I prefer taking the meat and potatoes players because you can win with less than stellar QB play that way.    It seems like the Bills over the years are too worried about their skill position players (drafting a lot of 1st round RB’s, reaching for Graham, signing TO, etc)

CB: I would be surprised if they go with Patterson at 8. I think with the depth at wide receiver in this draft and the best value at that position being in rounds 2-4 Nix won’t go with a one-year wonder in round one. He typically prefers players with more of a college resume.

I see the Bills going for a receiver somewhere between rounds 2-4. Quarterback will be round 1 or 2. Trading down from eight I think is a realistic possibility to get better value at QB and there are teams I believe that will want to get up in the top 10 to take one of the top end offensive or defensive linemen there.

Trading back into the bottom of round one I believe is a harder ask because Buffalo wants to hold onto their picks only having six right now not parting with picks to move up.


4 – Chris,

What about some of our lesser talked about free agents like Kyle Moore? What’s the likelihood he gets signed to a longer deal with the Bills in the next couple of weeks? I feel like he’s a younger, raw type of athlete that can refine his game to be a decent contributor to the Defense… or at least a replacement for Kelsay. The Bills already have some veteran proven pass rushers on the defense, but I feel they could use a young guy with some upside… for the right price.   

Nate in Rochester
PS- Go Bills

CB: It’s difficult to say exactly how the front office feels about Moore. I’m not sure he’s a fit for a multiple front defense because he’s primarily a 4-3 end in terms of his fit. He’s not an OLB in a 3-4 and I don’t know that he has the bulk to line up as a five technique in a 3-4.

Bills GM Buddy Nix did speak to the Toronto Sun about Moore and he said the following.

“We have things we have to do, and things we have to plan to do to keep our own guys, which we will have some, that in the summer we’ll try to get done before the season, or early in the season. And we have to keep those things in mind.”

I don’t know what you take from that comment, but it doesn’t sound to me like the draft is the main focus right now along with filling other positional holes. I’d be surprised if something with Moore happened before then.

5 – Chris,
I am hearing at the combine many head coaches say that they reach out to the players college coaches as part of the evaluation process. Is coach Marrone and OC Hackett being interviewed about former Syracuse players? What if Nassib or another SU player is on the Bills radar? As the former college coach, is Marrone obligated to take the call?
Kevin from Cheektowaga

CB: I did a story on that very predicament that coach Marrone found himself in because he was getting peppered with questions about his Syracuse players by the friends he had in the NFL coaching ranks. Here’s the story on that very subject and how coach Marrone chose to handle it.

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Posted in Inside the Bills