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

McCoy, Milano headline injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2018 – 3:07 pm

It was pretty good bet that LeSean McCoy wasn’t going to practice on Wednesday after suffering an ankle injury in last Sunday’s game and that proved to be the case. Another new addition to the Bills injury report was Matt Milano with a hamstring injury.

CB Shareece Wright also is still in the concussion protocol and didn’t practice. Here’s a look at the Bills full injury report.

 

 

DID NOT PRACTICE
LB Lorenzo Alexander (rest)
RB LeSean McCoy (ankle)
LB Matt Milano (hamstring)
OT Jordan Mills (ankle)
WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder)
DT Kyle Williams (rest)
CB Shareece Wright (concussion)

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
QB Joe Webb (ankle)


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-22

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2017 – 11:39 am

Merry Christmas and happy holidays Bills fans! Two games to go and still playing meaningful football. Don’t know if everyone expected that. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Besides a Bills win, what is the one thing we should be hoping for to help bills get into playoffs? I know there’s a bunch of scenarios but u get one choice.

David Ayotte
@Dhayotte75David

CB: Well if you’re going to pin me down like that I’d go with a Ravens loss to the Colts on Saturday. That not only gives Baltimore a seventh loss overall, but a key loss in the common games tiebreaker (should it come to that) with the Bills.

A Tennessee loss this week wouldn’t carry quite the same weight because they’re playing an NFC opponent (Rams). A Kansas City loss to Miami doesn’t carry as much importance for Buffalo either. And if the Bills win this week as you propose, it doesn’t matter what the Chargers do, so that’s my answer.

For more on who to root for this weekend, you can take a look at the full slate of games to keep an eye on right here.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who gets the most snaps covering Gronk this week? White? Hyde? Milano?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I’m anticipating a mixed bag of coverage assignments for Gronkowski. I don’t think there’s any question that he is the main weapon Buffalo has to stop. I believe the primary players who will be assigned to him will be Hyde and Milano, but much like they did in the first meeting, they could sprinkle some coverages in with White on him.

It’s certainly a matchup to keep an eye on.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is your view on Preston Brown’s year?

JR Mauro
@mrsju007

CB: I think Brown has had a solid season. I never believed that the problems on defense last year with illegal substitutions and guys wondering what the play call was were Brown’s fault. This year’s execution on defense is validation of that belief as I see it. Coaching was largely to blame for the defensive struggles last season.

Brown is a solid middle linebacker, who can anticipate and diagnose offensive plays and will not make mistakes. Will he ever be a dominant, take-over-a-game type backer? Probably not, but he’s a reliable performer that you can win with.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Two questions: 1 – Estimate on snap % for Benjamin this week?

2 – What pop tart is the best pop tart?

Joshua Smith
@YhoshLM

CB: I think a safe bet is about 60 percent of the snaps on offense. That’s where he’s been each of the last two weeks. Even in the Colts game where he aggravated his knee again due to poor footing, he played 41 snaps (61%) and last week against Miami he played 37 snaps (59%).

Regarding your second question, I’ve never been a fan of Pop Tarts, but I can tell the winning flavor in my household is Brown Sugar Cinnamon.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Would you trade the 2 first round picks PLUS next year’s first to the browns for the first overall pick this year?

Darek
@drock252

CB: That’s a lot of draft capital to surrender. I’d be more willing to part with the two firsts and a second this year rather than three firsts. This of course is under the assumption that I’m convinced that the top QB on the board is as sure fire a franchise caliber QB as there is, not only in this year’s class, but next year’s as well. If I’m convinced I pull the trigger, even if I’ve got to throw in an extra fourth round pick or something.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-1

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2017 – 12:37 pm

The first of two in a month against the Patriots coming up on Sunday. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Which poison will the Bills pick on Sunday? Focus on stopping Gronk? Or focus on stopping Dion Lewis and the resurgent New England running game?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I think they’ll try to make the Patriots offense as one dimensional as possible. But that’s hard for a number of reasons. Brady is a big reason, but the other key reason is New England has very effectively diversified their offense. They no longer rely primarily on a short passing game. Brandin Cooks gives them a deep threat for the first time since Randy Moss was running go routes for them.

That only enhances their short pass game by creating more space underneath.

Couple that with two very multi-faceted backs in Burkhead and Lewis and you quickly see the problem. They have answers for whatever aspect of their offense you focus your attention on neutralizing.

Take away Gronk, they’ll go to Cooks over the top.

Keep Cooks in front of you and don’t give up anything deep, and they nickel and dime you to death with the backs out of the backfield and Amendola on short crossers.

The best plan for Buffalo is to slow their run game, since aside from their three-game slide, they’ve done an excellent job of that. Then do what you can to slow Brady.

Even pressuring Brady has its pitfalls. He’s the highest-rated passer in the league under pressure with a rating over 100.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Shaq Lawson finally be a key factor in this game?

James Henderson
@jchenderson84

CB: I respect the tone of frustration here. The guy is a first-round pick and a pass rusher by trade. He also has Jerry Hughes, a respected pass rusher on the other side. It’s certainly logical to think that Lawson should be capable of having a greater impact on games from a pass rushing perspective.

Fact is it’s going to be difficult for any pass rusher to have a major impact on the game. The Dolphins last week hit Tom Brady a lot. They had a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception and still lost by 17 to the Patriots giving up 35 points.

I believe Lawson will be able to generate pressure at times. Heck, his first career sack was of Tom Brady. But take over the game is just not something I think he’s capable of at this point in his career.

Reason being is Lawson is a power rusher, not a speed rusher. And until Lawson capably develops counter moves to some of his favorite initial rushes, he’s not going to be consistently effective series in and series out. And that’s on Lawson to perfect those counter moves to be the best pass rusher he can be.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Milano ever see more time on the field?

Drew
@swampnone710

CB: I think that is happening incrementally from one week to the next. Since Ramon Humber returned to the lineup he’s been playing a rotational role.

The best part of his game right now is his speed and penetration into the offensive backfield on run plays. He’s very aggressive.

At this point, there are still a time or two where he gets crossed up by the offense particularly when they show a different look. Knowing the Patriots are pros at targeting inexperienced players and isolating them, the Bills will need to be judicious with their usage of Milano.

His time is coming, but to expect to see him out there a ton might have to wait until next season. He needs more experience, which I realize you get by playing, but that is why they’re sprinkling him in without exposing his lack of experience at the cost of the defense.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you think 9-7 will be good enough to make the playoffs

Darek
@drock252

CB: This year in the AFC, I do think 9-7 will be good enough to get to the playoffs. The main reason being that you have three teams with five losses already and two of them hold playoff spots (KC, Balt.). There are also three teams with six losses, two of which are in the AFC West with the Chiefs in the Raiders and Chargers. Cincinnati is the other.

With five games to play and none of these teams playing great football right now, it’s hard to believe one or two of them is going to run the table the rest of the way. In fact, they’re all likely to lose one or two games at least. That would put a couple of these teams in a situation where they’ll be in contention for a playoff spot with seven losses.

The key for Buffalo is not to fall into a tie with either Cincinnati or Los Angeles for the obvious reason that they would lose out on the head-to-head tiebreaker to those clubs.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
I’m sure neither would admit it publicly but do you think Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott now regret any of the players they either traded, cut or did not re-sign? Zach Brown and Robert Woods are two that come to mind.

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: I don’t believe in the positions that both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott hold that you can ever have regret for the kind of calls they have to make unless they feel it was handled poorly. The actual move or in the two players you’ve referenced, non-move, is a decision they are willing to live with for all of its pluses and minuses.

With Woods, the issue there was the money he was going to command on the open market. The Bills were simply not going to pay $8M a season for Woods.

As for Zach Brown, there’s no debate he’s a wildly productive player, but it’s my understanding that in his sit-down with coach McDermott prior to free agency, when he was still under contract to the Bills, that they didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things.

Brown is a bit of a loose cannon as a teammate. He also got into shouting matches with former head coach Rex Ryan after games. Last year’s Chiefs game in particular. Whether Brown was right or wrong with his argument with Ryan is immaterial. The fact that he did it in front of the rest of the team and undermined his coach’s authority is just something that would not fly with the new regime.

That’s what I admire about coach McDermott. He’s not afraid to part ways with a talented player if he doesn’t fit the mold of the player type he needs to win his way.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-10

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2017 – 12:02 pm

The second half of the season is upon us. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who should be feared more in Sunday’s game against the Saints: Drew Brees, Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: It’s Brees. The way he manipulates defensive backs with his pump fakes, shoulder fakes and eyes only makes him more effective. I don’t know that I’ve seen a more consistently accurate QB than him ever. Kamara is a multi-dimensional weapon who needs to be accounted for, but it starts and ends with Brees.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do u foresee the Bills trying to re-sign Wr J.Matthews and CB EJ Gaines? 2 players they traded for!

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: I expect Jordan Matthews to be high on their priority list. Gaines’ future in Buffalo I believe will hinge on his availability the rest of the way this season. I like Gaines personally and think he’s an effective cornerback when healthy. The issue is his week to week availability has not been there and Sean McDermott does place a priority on that.

I’m not saying I know that will hurt his chances of returning, but it could be a factor in how high a priority they place on returning Gaines to the fold for 2018 and beyond.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Any chance Milano starts this week since it appears speedier linebackers will be needed to stop the strong screen game?

J Christensen-Sharpe
@Snowbird_Killer

CB: I don’t expect Milano to start, but it’s clear to me that he has something to offer the defense in coverage assignments underneath. That is an area of the field that the Saints look to exploit.

I think Humber is underrated in coverage, but Milano has some pass coverage instincts you just can’t teach, which likely stem from his time as safety early in his college career.

Last week against the Jets, Milano was used in some subpackages on obvious passing downs. He also got 10 snaps, but I’d expect that to continue.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills
Should the Bills only draft a QB if they think that person would be better than Peterman? Fans loved Peterman preseason so will be interesting to see reactions comparing him to this years class if Bills dont take a top prospect

Bryan Watson
@RealBryanWatson

CB: My personal opinion is you should draft a QB every year. Knowing Chiefs head coach Andy Reid subscribed to that approach when he was in Philadelphia, I believe it’s possible we could see a quarterback drafted next spring by Buffalo.

The fact that Peterman is on the roster doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight in preventing them from drafting another one as I see it. The bigger question is whether they believe that a QB prospect that they could draft is an upgrade in comparison to Peterman, and I suppose Tyrod Taylor as well.

For Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott it’s about upgrading the roster. If a player is an upgrade, at any position, it’s a viable possibility in the draft or through any other means the club can add a player.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who is going to leading the charge Sunday?

Stittlo
@stittlo

CB: It will be former Bills RB Antowain Smith.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Clay, Milano limited in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2017 – 3:16 pm

The big news Wednesday was how Marcell Dareus and Cordy Glenn were both sidelined at practice due to ankle injuries. But a couple of key special teamers and Buffalo’s starting tight end also were unable to practice fully.

Charles Clay, Matt Milano and Colt Anderson were all limited in practice Wednesday. LB Deon Lacey was also limited. Here’s a look at Buffalo’s full injury report.

BBSP_6162_Injury-Report-by-UBMD---Excel-Header

DID NOT PRACTICE
LB Lorenzo Alexander – rest
DT Marcell Dareus – ankle
OT Cordy Glenn – foot/ankle
DE Shaq Lawson – foot
RB LeSean McCoy – rest
DT Jerel Worthy – concussion

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
S Colt Anderson – foot
TE Charles Clay – knee
LB Deon Lacey – hamstring
LB Matt Milano – hamstring


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Posted in Inside the Bills