Inside The Bills

A look at Dareus giving back to his hometown

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2015 – 1:08 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus was back in his old stomping grounds of Birmingham, Alabama to give back to the community where he grew up.

Dareus donated $100K to the Birmingham Parks and Recreation department to help build and refurbish park and playground sites in the Birmingham community. Here’s a look at when the community donation was made.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-7

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2015 – 11:31 am

We’re a week into training camp and a lot has happened already. Here’s your latest round of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,
You and your team do a great job all year long of keep Bills fans on the up and up.

I was wondering what you think the roster will look like when it gets down to 53?  Right now we have several positions with too many players but they are loaded with talent. WR, CB, RB and even QB have to get cut back or we may not have enough depth at other positions.

I know this is a great time to be a Bills fan but I just want to know what our roster will look like.

Thanks for everything,
Justin from Lynchburg VA

CB: I think it’s a bit early to be predicting who makes the 53. Preseason game performance always have a strong influence on who does and does not make the roster. You are right that WR, CB and RB are deep positions. So is the defensive line.

With respect to quarterbacks, knowing the rest of the roster is deep it would not surprise me if the Bills only kept two QBs, a practice a good number of teams in the league subscribe to nowadays.

How many WRs are kept could hinge on other positions like TE and RB. Defense might prove tough at the safety position where there are a handful of legitimate NFL caliber talents.

Just remember that it’s GM Doug Whaley that has final say on the 53-man roster, while coach Ryan determines who is up or down on game days.

 

2 – Hi Chris:

2014 seems like a lost season for EJ. Aside from what he has said about being more aggressive and trusting his stuff the next chance he gets, what did he learn by sitting and watching? I sure wish he had 12 more games under his belt going into this season.
G. Knight

CB: There are some things that he did learn by watching Kyle Orton prepare for opponents each week. He also learned how to lead an offensive unit from a confident veteran. Manuel specifically said that he learned from Orton how to more efficiently spend his time preparing for an opponent.

He learned what is worth spending extra time on and what isn’t. Unfortunately what happened last year with EJ was supposed to be how his rookie year was to play out. Kolb was supposed to start while EJ sat and learned. Kolb’s preseason concussion derailed all that and EJ was thrown into the fire.

Then he was told to play conservatively by the previous coaching staff last year. Even Doug Whaley admits with the way everything played out it has put Manuel  a bit behind where he should be entering his third season, but you can’t fix the past.

Manuel has to make the most of this opportunity to win the starting job now.

 

3 – Chris,
As much as the Bills need numbers at the tight end position, they currently have two very effective fullbacks in Felton and Conner. Do you think that there’s a chance that the team keeps both of them, using them in a mixed tight end/fullback role occasionally?

Thanks,
Joseph P.

CB: I’ll have coach Ryan answer this one for you regarding two fullbacks.

“I think first off when we got Felton, Jerome was…I thought he was probably, he’s right up there with the best fullbacks in the game,” said Ryan. “So it was an opportunity for us to get a player that we will use, a fullback positon, and one of the top guys if not the top in this league. So it was great opportunity for us to get him.

“John, we weren’t planning on bringing John Conner in. However when he was still out there, it’s like I know he’s a good football player and we want (good football players). At the end of the day were not worried necessarily about hey we’re bringing in one fullback, going to bring this or this. We want the best 53, and I think John will challenge for a position on this team and that’s why we brought him in.”

 

4 – Hey Chris ,

I’ll keep it short & sweet ! What’s the chance (in your mind) of the Bills being with out their Dr. of Defense “MD” Marcell Dareus after this year ?

Thanks Mr. T

CB: We just covered this topic on Buffalobills.com Wednesday. GM Doug Whaley said he’s optimistic they’ll get a deal done with Dareus on an extension to keep him in a Bills uniform. He felt similarly optimistic about getting a deal done with Jerry Hughes.

I think what we have to keep in mind is this is going to be a complicated deal because of the amount of money involved and how it needs to be structured over the multiple years of the deal (e.g. – front loaded money, guaranteed money, bonuses, LTBE incentives, etc.).

 

5 – CB,

Can you break down how the tight ends are playing and lining up during training camp? I’ve heard little about Clay/O’Leary so far. Do you expect them to keep 4 tight ends? Can we expect to watch 3 tight ends sets?

CB: I can tell you that Charles Clay is beginning to show a bit more with each passing day, especially in the passing game. O’Leary hasn’t been much of a factor in the pass game, but I do like Marqueis Gray. I think he’s the best understudy option to Clay in terms of being as versatile as Clay.

Matthew Mulligan is more athletic than he gets credit for and is a pretty good in line blocker. As for formations and personnel groupings we’re less than a week into camp and with as voluminous as Greg Roman’s playbook is the tight ends are only beginning to scratch the surface of what they’re going to be called upon to do this season.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus primed for 2015 season

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2015 – 2:36 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus is ready to wreak havoc this season and some video of his training out in Phoenix at the EXOS training facility provides one example.

Dareus, who has a handful of Bills teammates with him out in Phoenix, was going through some cone drills on the field competing against Giants CB Prince Amukamara. Dareus easily tips the scales at 320. Amukamara goes all of 207 pounds.

In a cone drill that is similar to a short shuttle Dareus successfully outraces Amukamara from the center cone out to his perimeter cone and back. We’ve got the video below and though it’s tough to see Amukamara racing him, he does come into the shot at the end and there are some audible ‘Ooohs and ahhs’ from the onlookers because Dareus beat him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus focused on football, not extension talks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2015 – 11:26 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley called negotiating a contract extension for Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus a “top priority” this offseason. For Dareus it doesn’t sound like it carries quite as much weight.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show Thursday night, Dareus was asked about the progress of contract talks between his camp and the Bills. Dareus doesn’t worry about it as he prefers to focus on his game rather than how much he’ll be getting paid in the future.

“Whatever they’re going to do, they’re going to do,” Dareus said. “It’s not anything that I can focus on right now. It’s out of my hands. I’m just going to continue to do what I have to do for the team because they have me for a year. At the same time I’m going to do the best that I can no matter what they’re paying me whether it’s 100 or two, whatever it is. I’m just going to do the best that I can. I just love my job, so it is what it is.”

Dareus has been training out at the EXOS training center in Phoenix for most of the offseason. He’s also spent time back at his alma mater the University of Alabama. Some of his teammates have been training with him including LeSean McCoy, Stefan Charles, Richie Incognito and Tyrod Taylor.

All the training has Dareus anxious for training camp.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Dareus. “Not being out there on the field… it’s a way of life for me and way for me to escape a lot of things. I just have fun. Of course I look forward to training camp. I miss my guys. We all love each other and want the best for each other. The fans are going to be out there. We really enjoy them coming out to support us every day. It’s something we all look forward to.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Agency that reps Dareus to be bought by CAA

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2015 – 10:11 am

The agency that represents Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus is reportedly in the process of being bought by another agency. Dareus, who has been represented by Todd France’s agency Five Star Athlete Management, will be bought by CAA Sports, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment agencies.

That’s according to a report by Sports Business Daily. Five Star Athlete Management was previously owned by Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, but they had to divest themselves of that holding when they bought the Bills. They did so by selling it back to France, the founder of the agency. France is now reportedly selling it again and will work under the umbrella of CAA. He represents about 50 players including Dareus and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, who is seeking Calvin Johnson money in a long term deal, after being franchised by the Broncos.

Essentially nothing will change in terms of who the Bills negotiate with when it comes to a long-term contract extension with Marcell Dareus, something Bills GM Doug Whaley labeled as the team’s top priority.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus among best turning pressure into sacks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2015 – 12:04 pm

Bills Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus does a lot of things exceptionally well on the football field. But analytic film breakdown site ProFootballFocus has found yet another area where Dareus is among the best in the league.

PFF decided to break down what defensive players most effectively converted a pass pressure into a sack. First in compiling a list from 2007 to the present, Dareus is among a slew of defensive ends ranking ninth in the league over the last eight seasons with a pressure to sack conversion percentage of 21.7%.

PFF 2007 pressure to sack

 

 

 

 

 

Being the only defensive tackle on that list it was not surprising to see Dareus at the top of the list for the highest QB pressure to sack conversion rate in the league since 2007 (21.7%) among interior defensive players. Dareus’ conversion percentage was even better than some of the league’s sack leaders like Houston’s J.J. Watt (18.6%).

pressure to sack dt


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Posted in Inside the Bills

4 Bills on CBS Sports’ NFL Top 100

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2015 – 9:56 am

Taking a page from NFL Network’s Top 100 Players, CBSSports.com is doing their own list, and four Bills appear in their rankings.

CBS columnist Pete Prisco put together a list that includes four Bills players, three of whom man Buffalo’s vaunted defensive line. Here are the players he listed and their number rank.

  1. Marcell Dareus, DT, Buffalo Bills: He has developed into a force in the middle of the Buffalo defense. When his weight is in check, he has the ability to dominate inside. It’s too bad he will miss the opener this season for a league-imposed suspension.
  1. Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills: He had 14 1/2 sacks last season for the Bills as a part of one of the league’s best defenses. Williams had a sack in all but four games last season, getting four against the Dolphins in one game. He’s also solid against the run.
  1. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills: McCoy was traded to the Bills in March in a blockbuster deal that will make him the feature back in Rex Ryan’s ground-and-pound attack. McCoy’s numbers dropped some last season for the Eagles, but he is still only 26. The concerning number is his yards-per-rush went down to 4.2 last season from 5.1 the year before.
  1. Kyle Williams, DT, Buffalo Bills: He had 5 1/2 sacks last season and continued to be a good run player for a smallish defensive tackle because he plays with such good leverage.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bills hope to lock up Dareus by camp

Posted by Chris Brown on May 22, 2015 – 12:29 pm

While the biggest news concerning Marcell Dareus right now was the one-game suspension handed down by the league Thursday for his off the field incident last year in his native Alabama, the Bills intend to provide much better news concerning the Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s future with the club.

That according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said the club would like to have Dareus signed to a contract extension before training camp.

Dareus is entering the fifth-year of his rookie contract. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option last year. Absent a contract extension Dareus would become an unrestricted free agent.

Bills GM Doug Whaley in the wake of their free agent acquisitions this spring stated that getting Dareus signed to a long-term extension was the team’s top priority. With the 2015 draft class under contract, it’s likely that the focus shifts almost solely to getting the Pro Bowl defensive tackle locked up for years to come.

Negotiating a new deal is going to be complicated in the wake of the giant free agent deal signed by Ndamukong Suh with Miami that reportedly totaled $114M over seven years.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-22

Posted by Chris Brown on May 22, 2015 – 11:05 am

Alright Bills fans. OTAs start next week after the holiday, but let’s all be sure to take a moment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we’re privileged to have in this country. Here is the latest edition of questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Hey Chris does this mean that he will not appeal the decision?

JameShoup

CB: All indications at this point are that he will serve the one-game suspension handed down by the league for his synthetic marijuana possession traffic stop in Alabama last year. So I do not anticipate an appeal.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why the NFL moving the extra point Attempt back 15 yards?

johnwhodey

CB: The NFL maintains that the old extra point has become too easy to convert and has become a boring part of the game. In an effort to demand more skill from the kickers and liven the play up they’ve made the extra point a 33-yard attempt instead of 20-yard kick. They’ve also now allowed for the defense to score on the conversion play whether it’s a one-point try to two-point try. So if t’s turned over by the defense they can return it for two points of their own.

As we covered on Buffalobills.com with K Dan Carpenter this week, it will be an adjustment for everyone, coaches, kickers and special teamers.

 

3 – Hi Chris

Thank you for keeping all of us up to date with the greatest NFL team.

The true concern about the Bills is the LB position on the defence. Bradham and Brown bring awesome passion and skill to the team, but it seems like we are missing a legitimate starter at MLB to anchor the unit.  Considering the defensive unit went from 10th to 4th (28th to 11th in rushing), and our lack of overall depth at the position I was surprised at the seeming lack of interest in bringing back Spikes, considering he and Brown were the only major plug-ins on D last season. Am I missing something in this regard?

I thought Spikes had stated publicly how much he likes the Buffalo organization.  Was this a management decision that wants players with greater role versatility, was he not happy being relegated to a 2 down role, was his asking price too rich for the team, or was there some behind the scene discord?  Any thoughts, or updates in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

James Bancroft

CB: With respect to linebacker I agree that depth is still an issue at the position. I think with the unit expected to play a lot of 3-4 veteran Manny Lawson is the natural fit at SAM linebacker, which was the role he played in 2013 in a similar defense under Mike Pettine. So you pick up a LB there.

Preston Brown is the milddle linebacker this season, with Ty Powell backing him up.

There was an interest in bringing back Brandon Spikes, but it was as a depth player. The Bills also had a set price they were willing to pay Spikes, which presumably was the veteran minimum. Spikes chose to wait to see if a better opportunity came up to get on the field more regularly.

He felt that opportunity existed where a couple of their starting linebackers will not be ready to go at the start of the season and he stands a good chance of playing at least early in the year.

There wasn’t any discord. It was just business.

 

4 – Hey Chris!!

Die hard Bills fan here from Toronto!!! Love all u do to keep #billsmafia updated!!!
So here’s my question. I love all the moves we made so far, I think we still have a hole at safety, why don’t we go sign a vet? Bernard Pollard?!?!?
Thx
Drew Martin
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

 

CB: I think the Bills would respectfully disagree that they have a hole at safety. There is a vacancy with the departure of Da’Norris Searcy, but I think they feel good about the young talent they have in the pipeline and a veteran option that they have in their back pocket.

First, Duke Williams is the odds on favorite to land the job. For those that might not be aware, Williams had almost 600 snaps at safety last season as he almost split the work with Searcy 50-50. Williams is better in coverage than Searcy was and is a more physical player.

His main competition will be Bacarri Rambo and Jonathan Meeks. Two athletic players who have a bit more to prove than Williams. A dark horse in that competition will be second-year S Kenny Ladler a former undrafted rookie signee, who made the practice squad last year before suffering an elbow injury that landed him on I-R.

In Buffalo’s back pocket as a safety option is CB Corey Graham. He’s capable of playing safety and Rex Ryan clearly has that option on his radar as well. Personally I think it’s Duke Williams’ job to lose.

So that’s a long way of saying they don’t need Bernard Pollard.

 

5 – Chris,
Thanks for your outstanding buffalo bills coverage! You are the king!

Do you think that the return of Stevie Johnson would have been a realistic option Doug Whaley would have considered had Harvin signed elsewhere?

Thanks again!
Frank

CB: I never got the sense that a Stevie Johnson reunion was ever on the radar. I do know that Stevie enjoyed being back on the west coast near his native San Francisco. So I think his preference was to stay out west, which he was able to do in signing with San Diego.

I know Stevie had his detractors and his supporters here in Buffalo. Sometimes a second go round isn’t always the best idea. I think that applies in the case of Stevie Johnson.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-15

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2015 – 11:41 am

Sorry for the one week hiatus. A lot of news going down last week. OTAs are less than two weeks away. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 –  @ChrisBrownBills

just curious why Bills have Felton and Conner?

nschirra8

CB: Doug Whaley has stated many times that any time they have a chance to make an upgrade they’re going to do so. The John Conner signing this week is an example of that. While I don’t deny that it’s unusual to have two proven fullbacks on one roster, I think Whaley and Rex Ryan subscribe to the philosophy of creating as much competition as possible in the training camp setting.

Conner will push Jerome Felton and that makes both players better. Ultimately Felton is going to be this team’s starting fullback, but if there’s an injury Conner is a fantastic fall back option. Can Conner convince the coaches to make an exception and keep two fullbacks? With the depth of this roster that’s going to be difficult, but you can’t fault a team for trying to get better everywhere and driving up the level of competition.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for your continued pursuit of giving a small market team, big time exposure.

I know the McCoy/Alonso deal has been discussed ad nauseum and much like most Bills fans, I found myself conflicted and constantly flip-flopping on how to feel.  At the end of the day, the organization is making an aggressive play to enhance the offense, which is definitely something I support.  Having said that, seeing that the Bills were willing to commit heavy resources to a running back I’m uncertain of what to feel hypothesizing that we could have signed Demarco Murray for less money and still retained Kiko (whether to keep or to use as a potential trade asset).  Both backs are elite and I don’t wish to jibber-jabber over which one is better, but how can a cogent argument be made that McCoy > Demarco + Kiko?

Keep up the great work.
Best,
Robert F.

CB: While I think most would acknowledge that DeMarco Murray + Kiko Alonso is better than just LeSean McCoy, you’re operating under the assumption that Murray would be interested in signing with Buffalo.

It’s possible he may have been willing to sign with the Bills. We’ll probably never know, but Murray is a year older than McCoy. Unlike McCoy, who avoids the kill shots of defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties, Murray takes big hits. I think one could argue that the cumulative wear and tear on Murray is greater than on McCoy.

Now that doesn’t dismiss your argument that Murray + Alonso would be better than just McCoy, but I’m not convinced Murray would’ve signed here.

 

3 – Hi Chris, thank you to you and your team for all the off season coverage.
I have to think Suh signing this contract hurts us in two ways. 1, he bolsters the Dolphins defense and we have to go up against him twice a year. 2, did he set the market for Marcell Dareus as a free agent? Dareus was considered the best tackle against the run last year, and had more tackles and sacks than Suh. If Marcell doesn’t drop off this year wouldn’t he command the same contract as Suh? We saw what happens without Marcell in the lineup, just look at the Oakland game before and after his injury.  Do you think the Bills can afford to re-sign him, and if so, is that at the expense of asking Mario Williams to restructure his contract or full on releasing him?
Thanks
Paddy

CB: The Bills maintain that their cap structure will allow for a long term contract extension for Dareus. He’s the linchpin of the defensive interior for the long term future.

You’re right the Suh deal did set the market. I think in an ideal world the Bills have Dareus signed to a long term deal before the 2015 season commences. The more he performs on the field the more his price goes up, so it would behoove the Bills to seal a deal before September. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

 

4 – Hi Chris
Do the Bills have any definite plans for Marcus Thigpen? Is he still on the roster? Percy Harvin is arguably a better all-around player, but in all the mentions of Buffalo “weapons” I’ve not once heard Thigpen’s name.

Just curious
@GregTheBillsFan

CB: Thigpen is still on the roster yes. Harvin is clearly a better all-around player. Thigpen was a punt return specialist on this team last season after Leodis McKelvin broke his ankle. And while he did do a good job this roster became even harder for him to make with the offseason additions, Harvin chief among them. With McKelvin expected to be ready by training camp, the team’s primary punt returner will be back in the fold. So Thigpen, though very capable, may get caught up in a numbers game at the receiver position.

 

5 – Chris,
With the addition of Harvin, how do you expected the formations to look like? How does it change the role of Robert Woods, who had a great 2nd half of the season. Harvin might cut into Watkin’s targets, I like to see Watkin’s used more creatively.

Is Goodwin on the bubble to make the roster? I’d like to see a coach that will throw him the ball.

Sean

CB: I think the Greg Roman offense is going to be as multiple as possible with a myriad of pre-snap formations and shifts. So to give you an answer about formations would be like trying to hit a moving target. I expect Harvin to line up outside opposite Watkins, with Woods working more in the slot in this offense. Hogan would work the other slot in four-wide looks.

Based on Rex Ryan’s comments it sounds like Goodwin will get a far better opportunity to prove that he belongs on this roster than he did from the previous staff. I wouldn’t call him a bubble player, but from a pure numbers standpoint he’s going to have a challenge on his hands.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-1

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 11:50 am

The 2015 NFL draft is underway so no need to drone on here. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
With all the crazy coming and goings in free agency/ trades it is hard to keep track of where everyone is. I hope it might be possible, just before the draft, if you could list who we have gained and who has moved on. Thanks for a great job…
Erich

CB: Here’s a look at what was gained and lost prior to the draft this offseason.

Additions – RB LeSean McCoy, QB Matt Cassel, WR Percy Harvin, TE Charles Clay, FB Jerome Felton, G Richie Incognito, QB Tyrod Taylor.

Re-signed – DE Jerry Hughes, WR Marcus Easley, DE Jarius Wynn, WR Chris Hogan, K Jordan Gay, DT Corbin Bryant

Subtractions – OT Chris Hairston, LB Kiko Alonso, RB C.J. Spiller, OT Erik Pears, TE Lee Smith, TE Scott Chandler, S Da’Norris Searcy, LB Keith Rivers

Unsigned FAs  – LB Brandon Spikes

 

2 – Chris,
Thanks for all your great work and coverage. Do you think the Bills would consider Devin Funchess at 50? He’s super athletic and has some height that the Bills don’t have that would be great in the end zone. I think with him and the speed the Bills already have, the receiving core would be amazing.

Michael From Albany

CB: Funchess is one of the bigger enigmas in the draft. There’s no debating there’s some tantalizing talent there. Most NFL clubs see him as a receiver, and compare him to Carolina WR Kelvin Benjamin. I don’t think he plays as big as Benjamin does. He doesn’t fight enough for contested balls and that was in college. NFL cornerbacks could be a rude awakening for him.

He needs to bulk up and get stronger and he doesn’t have a wide frame like Benjamin. He’s an athletic mismatch no question, but I wonder if he can handle the more physical corners and safeties in the NFL. It’s my belief the Bills will look for a tight end type later in the draft to address their in line blocking. I suppose Funchess being the talent that he is would give any NFL club pause. With all the receiving talent they’ve already added I just can’t see him being a day two pick for Buffalo.

 
3 – Hi Chris,

Great job keeping us on the Bills.  As a Bills fan I was sorry to see Scott Chandler let go.  Do you think the Bills will be able to upgrade the tight end position with current players that were back up players by trade or the draft?  I felt he was under rated and poorly used at times.  The fact that New England signed him is an indication of his worth.  Please give me the your thoughts about the reasoning behind this situation.

Arizona Bills fan,
Max F. Stolzenberg, Jr.

CB: From what I understand Chandler was simply not a fit in Buffalo’s new offensive scheme. Greg Roman’s scheme demands a versatile, athletic player at the tight end position, who can line up in the backfield, as an H-back, detached or in line at tight end. Charles Clay does all those things, so they’ve upgraded by virtue of Clay being a better fit than Chandler.

Marqueis Gray also has the potential to fit provided he continues to progress at the position. He’s athletic and versatile too. As I stated above if they do add in the draft I’m expecting them to add a blocker.

 

4 – Chris,
With the team going “all in” for this year, what are the positions of need. Rounds 2-3 are really important on hitting on. Do you expect the Bills to add a guard to potentially start? It looks like Clay will
become a Bill so tight end maybe out? Are there more defensive holes to fix at either safety (Searcy) or linebacker (Alonso). What needs are left and will they skip on best player available and go for most
NFL ready?

CB: I think offensive line is a clear focus for Buffalo. They have just three offensive tackles on their roster and need to go with five to six to training camp. Linebacker is another position in need of numbers. They’ve got just five on the roster and need to go into camp with nine or 10. They could also use another tight end.

Ideally the Bills board offers value at offensive tackle or guard when they’re on the clock at 50 and value at linebacker when they’re on the board again at 81.

As for safety they’re stocked. Duke Williams, Bacarri Rambo, Jonathan Meeks and Kenny Ladler are all young options with potential.

I asked Doug Whaley if NFL readiness with a roster like theirs took precedence over a player with the higher ceiling. He told me no, that the player who has the better upside is the way to go no matter the state of your roster.

 

5 – Chris, as always, super job.

As excited as we all are about the Bills spending spree and the new/re-signed assets, I am concerned about having the monies to get Marcel Dareus and Stephon Gilmore deals re-done before they hit free agency.  Can the Bills find the funds to keep these 2 cornerstones of the defense, who should be around for years to come?

Thomas R. Veihdeffer

CB: The extension for Dareus is priority number one right now and I’m confident they’ll accomplish that. They just picked up the fifth-year option on Gilmore, but I think it’s possible they get an extension done with him as well sooner than the timetable applied to Dareus. The reason being if they can sign him to a contract that has an average annual value that’s a couple of million less per season than the $11M figure he’ll have under the fifth-year option it’s better for their cap situation in 2016.

The Bills like a lot of teams are banking on the recent trend of the cap going up a lot again next season. It’s gone up $10M each of the last two years, which is a sizable jump. They believe they can keep both in the fold and still sign Nigel Bradham and Cordy Glenn long term as well. We’ll see.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills won’t be free agent players next year

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Buffalo Bills made some exciting trades and some aggressive moves in free agency this offseason that has the team poised to bring an end to their playoff drought. But don’t expect the flurry of activity to happen again in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley all but confirmed that with the high-priced players they signed (McCoy, Harvin) and the high-priced players they re-signed (Hughes) or extended (Kyle Williams) they won’t be in a position to spend like that again next March.

“Next year the Bills fans should take vacation during free agency,” Doug Whaley told the John Murphy Show. “Our free agency now, because we’ve drafted so well turns to our own players. Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Nigel Bradham, Stephon Gilmore that will be our free agency next year. We’ll turn into the Green Bay Packers.”

Whaley knows Dareus and Gilmore will command high price tags based not only on their production, but the position they’ll play with Glenn and Bradham not far behind. That’s why the personnel department is hopeful they can land a contributing player or two late in the draft, who will be far more affordable knowing a lot of cap dollars will be tied into the elite core of players.

“With the guys we’ve paid this year and brought in and the guys we’re going to try to re-sign next offseason those guys are going to be high-priced players,” said Whaley. “So to balance that out you have to hit on some fifth, sixth or seventh round players to have that, for lack of a better term, cheap labor and balance out that top heavy end of the price structure in the cap situation with our top end players.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

The second week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is in the books. Veteran voluntary minicamp is a couple of weeks away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Let us talk hypothetically.  TE-OL-LB are obvious needs.  But, should (UCLA QB Brett) Hundley still be on the board for the Bills in round 2, what do you think?

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think GM Doug Whaley will keep all options open in round two knowing he can truly take the best player on the board with few holes on the roster. That being said beyond the first two quarterbacks (Winston, Mariota) I get the feeling that the general consensus around the league is none of the remaining quarterbacks are at a point in their development where they can help right away.

I don’t know for a Bills team trying to win right now that Hundley is a pick worth making in round two. I think they’d rather have a player that can step in and help as a rookie in the event of an injury or push an incumbent starter for the starting role at their respective position.

Naturally we have to see what is left on the board at pick 50, and that’s obviously very hard to predict. I think there will be enough quality talent at Buffalo’s need positions that you listed to convince them to go in that direction more than QB.

 

2 – Chris,

After reading Collision Low Crossers, the book about the 2011 Jets, it seems like Rex values a shutdown corner to take away part of the field, then blitz.

I assume Gilmore is close to being that type of player. Do you think McKelvin can hold up? What players off radar could come in and make plays on the defense where he likes to give all the players playing time (i.e. Robey, Cockrell, Johnson, Meeks, Charles). How do the reserves fit into his defense and which one you see making a big jump in 2015?

CB: First, yes I think McKelvin can hold up as a press corner. He’s coming off the two-best seasons in his career under secondary coach Donnie Henderson. Furthermore Ryan believes he has three capable outside press corners with Corey Graham being the third.

In terms of a reserve player on defense who could make a jump I believe Duke Williams is a prime candidate to start in the safety role vacated by Da’Norris Searcy. He got a good deal of playing time there last season, is a ferocious hitter and has a nose for the ball. The other players you mentioned are only going to take steps forward as well, which speaks well for the depth on defense.

 

3 – Chris,

I am not convinced Matt Cassel is the answer at QB we’ve been waiting for all these years. Will the Bills go after Colin Kaepernick? And if not, why not? He would make sense as a solid franchise QB with a winning track record who fits with a run first offense. I see him as a perfect fit.

Cordially,
Bradley Kaye

CB: While I don’t deny that Kaepernick had success in Greg Roman’s offense in San Francisco, to acquire him he has to be available. With all of the talent that the 49ers have lost this offseason (Crabtree, Gore, S. Johnson, Iupati, Culliver, Skuta, Borland, Willis) I cannot see them parting with the player they handed franchise quarterback money.

 

4 – Chris,

With the team spending lots of money for the 2015, wondering how it will play out in 2016 when they have other players to lock up. Dareus will command a huge contract. Gilmore will need his option picked up. Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham is set to be a free agent as well. These are core guys they like how is it possible to keep them? Next year is big for future free agents. Are they spending too much money now they may have to let one of those guys walk next year? As of now the Bills aren’t done spending and could add more.

Josh P.
CB: I think your concern is a valid one. They’ve already picked up the option on Stephon Gilmore, per Doug Whaley’s comments at the owners’ meetings, so that buys them some time with him. They are interested in extending Nigel Bradham and it would not surprise me if Glenn were on the list as well. Right now Marcell Dareus is the primary focus regarding an extension. After seeing the money that Ndamukong Suh got in Miami, I think we all know that it’s going to be a complicated deal to broker.

Knowing the money involved with be large, it puts a hold on the other players who are in line for extensions because in all likelihood the Bills will need to get creative to make Dareus’ extension work. That deal will undoubtedly have an impact on how and what they can offer to their other young core players.

The good news is that the salary cap continues to go up and up and up. So more room will be created just with the dawn of a new calendar year.

 

5 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean R.

CB: I think the offensive line is a distinct possibility at 50, but not knowing what will still be on the board makes it difficult to pin down. I think guard or tackle are possibilities there. If the right tight end prospect is there in round two I don’t think you can rule it out, but Buffalo has their starter in Charles Clay. Now if they plan to have two tight ends on the field at the same time, which in Greg Roman’s offense is likely a good amount of the time, they might look to find one on day two (rounds 2 & 3).

I see LB depth being acquired later in the draft.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus gives back to childhood park

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2015 – 10:12 am

Bills DT Marcell Dareus will be at the park where he grew up playing youth football this weekend to help with a revitalization effort and make a donation.

Dareus, who grew up playing in Wahouma Park in Birmingham, Alabama, is making a donation of $100,000 to refurbish some of the run down areas of the park while also improving the condition of the landscaping, fields and playground areas.

“I’m really excited to come back to Birmingham and revitalize the park I played in as a child,” Dareus said in the release. “I want the kids who play here to know that they have the same opportunities to succeed as I did. And what better way to do that than to give them a safe and clean environment in which to play.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus to be addressed in time

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2015 – 8:00 pm

Marcell Dareus is entering the final year of his contract in 2015. Buffalo picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last year. But GM Doug Whaley said that the team intends to work on a contract extension for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, just not right now.

Whaley said an extension for Dareus is a high priority, but the club needs to address their current free agents to be first and make some additions in free agency.

“After we get done with all the unrestricted (free agents) and all we have to do this offseason then we would start to broach that subject,” said Whaley.

Dareus is coming off a career-high 10 sack season in 2014.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills young talent ranks favorably

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2015 – 9:39 am

ESPN did a league wide analysis of the young talent on every roster in the NFL. The Bills ranked in the top half of the league with their healthy number of young playmakers.

ESPN Insider Matt Williamson had the Bills ranked 11th in the league when it came to their “farm system” of young talent. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo’s roster.

11. Buffalo Bills

Sammy Watkins, WR (21): He didn’t put up the same numbers as some of the rookie receivers drafted after him, but make no mistake: He is still a supreme prospect. He has great speed and ball skills, but what some might overlook with him is his strength. Every aspect of his game exudes power, from his running style to his aggressiveness attacking the football.

Marcell Dareus, DT (24): The Bills’ excellent defensive line is the foundation of their defense, and Dareus is the anchor in the middle. He dominates in the running game and continues to improve as an every-down player who can get to the quarterback as well.

Cordy Glenn, LT (25): Not the prototypical light-footed left tackle, Glenn uses his great size and wingspan to protect the blind side. He is a top-10 tackle in this league.

Stephon Gilmore, CB (24): Gilmore excels in both man and zone coverage. With Rex Ryan taking over as Buffalo’s head coach, Gilmore should see a ton of one-on-one coverage against the opponent’s top receiver. He’s up to the task.

Kiko Alonso, LB (25): He missed all of 2014 due to an injury, but he along with Brandon Spikes and Preston Brown gives Buffalo one of the best linebacker groups in football.

Others of note: Nigel Bradham, EJ Manuel, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Marquise Goodwin,Cyril Richardson, Bryce Brown, Nickell Roby, Seantrel Henderson, Robert Woods, Preston Brown,Cyrus Kouandjio

The Colts, Patriots and Rams were the top three ranked teams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

4 Bills make PFF all division team

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2015 – 10:01 am

The film reviewers and stat crunchers at Pro Football Focus released their All Diviaion teams for the 2014 season. Four Bills made the squad. Two were expected, two others may have been a bit more under the radar.

Buffalo’s Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus both were named to the defensive line and Corey Graham and Dan Carpenter were the other two Bills honorees. Here’s what they wrote about Buffalo’s players and the seasons they had.

DEFENSE
Edge Defenders: Cameron Wake (MIA) and Mario Williams (BUF)
Just another season for Wake who continues to be one of the premier edge pass rushers in the entire league. Williams benefitted by Buffalo switching back to a 4-3 and allowing him to play with his hand on the ground once again. He clearly still has a knack for getting to the quarterback, but his play in run defense was arguably the best of his career.

Defensive Interior – Nose: Marcell Dareus (BUF)
Dareus continues to improve and has become more consistent on a week-to-week basis. His 10 sacks received the most attention, but his work in run defense is where he really flourished.

Cornerbacks: Darrelle Revis (NE), Corey Graham (BUF)
Unsurprisingly, Revis was again one of the best cornerbacks in football in his first year with the Patriots, making the PFF All-Pro team. Graham wasn’t even getting significant playing time in some games over the first half of the season, but he was easily the best in coverage for the Bills’ secondary. Opposing quarterbacks had a 57.0 QB Rating when targeting Graham, fifth-lowest among corners and only behind the likes of All-Pros Vontae Davis, Chris Harris Jr., and Richard Sherman.

Slot Cornerback: Kyle Arrington (NE)
Arrington shared duties in the slot, but was one of the best in the division. He allowed a reception once for every 12.6 snaps in coverage, the second-best rate in the division (Revis).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker: Dan Carpenter (BUF)
Carpenter did not handle kickoff duties this year, but his work on field goals alone was enough to claim the spot. He hit on 34 of 38 field goals, including 6-of-8 from 50 and beyond.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus wishes former def. coordinator well

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2015 – 6:16 pm

For Marcell Dareus his fifth year in the league will mean another scheme change on defense. While he’s excited about the future he did wish his now former defensive coordinator well.

With Jim Schwartz and the Bills reaching a mutual agreement to part ways, Dareus, in an appearance on the John Murphy Show, was sincere in his appreciation for what Schwartz did in his time with Buffalo.

“I appreciated what Schwartz did for us,” Dareus said. “He gave us some good schemes even though we got caught in a bad position sometimes. We stuck together with each other. We dug ourselves out of some bad situations and we still came out to be one of the top defenses in the league. That wasn’t him or just us, it was all of us going out there and putting it together and coming up with solutions. I’m just excited for him. Whatever road he takes I wish the best for him.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dareus cleared to play in Pro Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2015 – 2:01 pm

Bills DT Marcell Dareus was hoping to play in the 2015 Pro Bowl, but a knee injury suffered in Week 16 put that prospect in doubt. On Tuesday Dareus got the good news he was hoping for.

“I will be in the Pro Bowl in 2015,” Dareus told Buffalobills.com. “I got cleared today so it’s going to be fun. I’m excited, my family is excited and we’re ready to embrace it all.”

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle was named to his second straight Pro Bowl after a career-best 10-sack season in 2014. He was also named 1st Team All-Pro and to the PFWA All-NFL team.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

More honors for Mario, Dareus

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2015 – 1:34 pm

Bills defensive linemen Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus have racked up some all-star awards this offseason with AFC Pro Bowl nods and 1st team All-Pro honors. The two were both named to another award list Monday.

The Pro Football Writers of America named both Dareus and Williams to their All-NFL team. The two obviously made their All-AFC team, which included line mate Kyle Williams. Here’s the entire PFWA All-NFL team.

2014 PFWA ALL-NFL TEAM

Offense
QB – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
RB – Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
WR – Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers ; Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
TE – Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
C – Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
G – Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers; Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
T – Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys; Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns*

Defense
DE – Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills
; J.J. Watt, Houston Texans#
DT – Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills; Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions*
OLB – Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs; Von Miller, Denver Broncos
MLB – Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers*
CB – Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots; Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks#
S –Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks#: Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers

Special Teams
PK – Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
P – Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts
KR – Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
PR – Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
ST – Matthew Slater, New England Patriots


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Posted in Inside the Bills