The release of OL Mike Jasper Monday might have come as a surprise to some, but as we covered in our report on the roster move, Jasper had trouble taking his game to the next level.
“He just wasn’t making the progress that we thought and give him a chance to get him with another team if possible because he wasn’t going to make it here,” said head coach Chan Gailey.
Jasper struggled to play consistently and execute his assignments. He also bent at the waist a few too many times instead of with his knees and wound up on the ground more often than offensive linemen want to in the practice setting.
Tags: Bills 2012 training camp, Chan Gailey, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
The heat may have played a role in a small skirmish at today’s practice.
Robert Eddins and Mike Jasper squared off at the end of the play with Jasper knocking Eddins helmet clean off his head. After the helmet flew things calmed down quickly.
Tags: Mike Jasper, Robert Eddins
Posted in Inside the Bills
Let’s get right to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net for the latest edition of Fan Friday.
1 – Chris,
My questions is; What is the latest with Michael Jasper? He was promoted to the 53 man roster last year. What’s his future with the team?
CB: Jasper was working as a second unit guard this week in OTAs. He appears to have put on some weight, which can happen unfortunately when you’re a big man. Still, he appeared to move well even though it’s far from real football for linemen in this no pads setting.
He’s got an uphill battle. With entrenched starters in Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik at the guard spots and Chad Rinehart coming off a strong 2011 season as the swing guard, it’s going to be difficult for him to make the roster. Add in sixth-round pick Mark Asper, who can play guard and center and the task is even tougher. We’ll know better once the pads go on.
2 – Chris,
I understand that the Bills are moving back to a 4-3 base alignment this season, but are they still toying with the idea of the hybrid? I look at Kelsey, Merriman, and Williams along with hybrids like Bryan Scott and I wonder if the Bills may still cling to having the type of people that could run both systems? – without hardly changing personnel on the field!
An example would be disguising a 3-man front with Kelsey-Dareus-K.Williams-M.Williams with Scott-Sheppard-Barnett this would also allow Merriman to replace Kelsey on obvious passing downs for more pass rush.
With the above Kelsey OR Mario could be Ends or OLBs and Scott could be a LB or SS, it would make it quite difficult for opponents to figure out what the Bills plan to run. It would make the pre-snap read harder as well, though movement would give away a bit of it. This flexibility would also lend itself to easing injury problems at either the lineman or linebackers allowing the best seven athletes to be kept on the field from either group.
Lastly I am hoping the Bills take a linebacker in the draft early. I think Luke Keuchly would make a great choice! He’s plug and play!
Holland Patent, NY
CB: I believe we’re looking at predominantly a 4-3 with run and chase linebackers and penetrating D-linemen. If there’s a switch back to the 3-4 it’ll be for a series or two and no more. I can’t see Dave Wannstedt straying from what has worked best for him over the years especially with the influx of pass rush talent.
3 - Hey Chris,
With the Bills playing back-to-back road games on the West Coast (SF, Arizona) do you think they may consider staying on the West coast in between games?
It seemed to work well for SF last year when they did the same thing in between back to back East coast games.
CB: I think it will be a consideration yes. While going east to play is harder than traveling west (where you pick up time instead of lose it), doing a pair of cross country trips in a week’s time does not help the body as far as players go.
You’re right San Francisco posted a pair of victories after they stayed on Eastern time and beat two good teams in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
Buffalo ironically, has San Francisco and Arizona in back to back weeks in Weeks 5 and 6.
4 - Chris,
What’s the latest on Eric Wood’s rehab and what would you predict our starting OL to consist of for the ’2012 opener against The Jets? It is imperative that the Bills start the season with a healthy OL to get off to fast start. I see Wood as the key to our running game which will free up Fitz for the pass action pass. Just look how we nose dived after Wood’s injury.
To a lesser degree, I wonder if Aaron Williams will be ready to go?
CB: The latest I have heard is that Wood remains on schedule to be ready for training camp. Provided that happens I think the offensive line looks largely the way it did at the start of last season with Levitre at LG, Wood at C, Urbik at RG and Pears at RT. The only question is at left tackle, which appears to be a two-man competition between Chris Hairston and rookie Cordy Glenn. I’d like to see more of Glenn through the spring before making a call on that job.
Aaron Williams looks ready to go. He’s eager to land a starting role and will be pushed the influx of young talent on the roster including Stephon Gilmore, who rotated in and out with Williams at the starting LCB position on Day 1 of OTAs.
5 – Chris,
Thanks for covering the draft and giving insight on the team. I think the number two WR debate is getting a little overblown, since Fitz/Gailey have Stevie, David, Fred, CJ, and Chandler already in the mix. Fred was one of the most targeted players before he got hurt. With only 4-5 penciled in starters (Stevie, Smith, Donald, David, TJ), who do you seen winning the possible remaining spots, since they are in 4-5 sets often? Easley could land on the PS squad. Could Donald play the slot? Or will CJ see more time again at WR?
CB: Your slot suggestion for Donald Jones is very astute. I believe if certain players emerge outside like Easley, who is probably the most physically gifted of the remaining receivers you’re asking about, and Derek Hagan proves capable outside as well it could push Jones inside.
Personally I think Jones could be a more effective receiver inside because he’s a weapon as a blocker in that alignment. He’s a very underrated blocker in my opinion and having a slot guy that could crash down on a linebacker at the second level would help immeasurably in the run game. Plus Jones has the strength to come away passes in tight spaces that are challenged by physical corners.
Aside from the receivers you mentioned above I think Easley and Brad Smith are the next most likely candidates. After that it really is a toss up with special teams abilities potentially the difference maker. Receivers on the roster that have cover teams ability include Ruvell Martin and Kamar Aiken. That could help their cause. Hagan showed a willingness to play special teams too.
Clowney and Roosevelt mostly offer return ability.
Tags: #2 WR, 2012 schedule, 4-3 defense, Aaron Williams, Eric Wood, Fan Friday, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Just one draft choice left to sign for the Bills in WR T.J. Graham. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net for the latest installment.
1 - Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled about the Mario Williams signing. I think if he can stay healthy, we get the Fitzpatrick from the first half of the season, and the rest of the team stays reasonably healthy (which, however, has unfortunately been a problem in recent years), this team can win 9-11 games next year and challenge for a Wild Card spot (I still think they’ve got a ways to go to catch the Patriots for the division crown). Especially since their schedule doesn’t appear to be especially challenging. However, I am worried about Williams’ health. He of course missed almost all of last year after landing on injured reserve in Week 5 after he tore his pec on a play where I’ve watched it a million times and I’m still not quite sure how he hurt himself, and he also missed the last few games of the previous season. Although I don’t believe he missed any time before that in his career, from what I’ve heard it sounds like he was still often playing through injuries, and sometimes it would effect his play negatively. Is he starting to wear down? How concerned should we be about the injury risk of our prized free agent signing?
CB: For those that don’t know Williams tore his pec while sacking Jason Campbell. The injury required surgery to repair the damage and as a defensive lineman playing with a torn pectoral muscle is pretty much impossible. Aside from missing 11 games in 2011, Williams has missed a grand total of three others in his six-year career. So he’s been available on game day for 82 out of 96 games.
Perhaps what’s most important to note is the guy is more than willing to play hurt. That was made obvious in 2010. He had a hernia injury that he played with from the start of the season and didn’t shut it down until Week 15, missing the final three games of the season. Oh and by the way he still had 8.5 sacks playing with a hernia.
At age 27 Williams is entering his prime. His body is not breaking down.
2 - CB,
What is the outlook for Mike Jasper? Will the big man see the field or remain on practice squad? He is certainly an interesting/intriguing player.
CB: For Jasper there is more competition on hand. Already behind vets like Kraig Urbik, Chad Rinehart and Andy Levitre on the depth chart, Buffalo also draft C/G prospect Mark Asper and have Colin Brown, Jake Vermiglio and Keith Williams, who are on par with Jasper at the guard spot.
In addition Jasper has to work harder than most to keep his weight in check, so he’s battling competition and his own weight. We’ll see how he looks in OTAs coming up, but it’s going to be an uphill battle considering who is in front of him on the depth chart.
3 - Chris,
How does Aaron Williams figure into the competition? Can he be a starter? Is Gilmore going to play opposite of him eventually? Thanks!
Chris in Binghamton
CB: Yes, Aaron Williams can be a starter. In fact I envision him taking over the starting left cornerback role. I talked to him about it just this week, which I touched on in my Friday story on Buffalobills.com. That partly due to the fact that Terrence McGee coming off a patella tendon injury is still working his way back.
As for Gilmore he’s the odds on favorite to land the right cornerback job. Top 10 picks are expected to be on the field early and play a lot.
4 - Hi Chris,
With a complete off-season this year what type of impact does the team expect from Brad Smith? I believe Coach had stated it would take him some time to integrate Brad Smith into the offense. Will the Wildcat still have an impact in the NFL or has it’s time passed?
CB: You’re right Coach Gailey did feel with a full offseason that he would be able to incorporate more plays into the offense to take advantage of Smith’s talent. I think the Wildcat package will represent a good part of that, especially with QBs coach David Lee on board now. He was the assistant that brought the Wildcat from college to the pros as an assistant in Miami.
So if there are variations to implement off the straight Wildcat the Bills coaches will have them drawn up for Smith. The only question is how much of a presence will Brad Smith plays have in the game plan week to week?
A lot of that could depend on the opponent more than anything else.
5 - Hi Chris,
Thanks for all the off-season updates. I was wondering if the Bills have pursued Marcus McNeill as a candidate to fill the hole at LT. He’s definitely a proven LT in this league and his size fits the Buddy Nix prototypical offensive lineman, plus I think he drafted McNeill. At this point I was wondering if it is problem with the cap space or if the staff thinks Hairston can step in and protect Fitz for a whole season.
John in Fredonia
CB: I wouldn’t be surprised if Bills GM Buddy Nix, who did have a hand in drafting Marcus McNeill, was monitoring McNeill’s health this offseason. He’s had back and knee problems and missed half the season last year with a neck injury. That’s giving teams pause in pursuing him because coming out of college he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal column.
His agent claimed that McNeill was cleared by a back and spine specialist in mid-March, but teams will want to use their own doctors to make their own assessment.
If Chris Hairston and Cordy Glenn struggle mightily at left tackle in the preseason, I suppose McNeill could surface as an option if he was still on the market. But it’s hard to pin down whether he is too great an injury risk to sign.
Tags: Aaron Williams, Brad Smith, Fan Friday, Marcus McNeill, Mario Williams, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
With the Bills being awarded a compensatory pick for the 2012 draft, we thought we’d take a look at Buffalo’s compensatory pick history since 2005.
The Bills have had just four compensatory picks awarded to them in the last seven years prior to Monday’s awarding of an additional seventh (#251 overall). Here are the players selected with compensatories since 2005. Keep in mind all but one were seventh rounders.
2005 – none
2006 - C Aaron Merz (7th)
2007 - none
2008 – TE Derek Fine (4th), CB Kennard Cox (7th)
2009 – none
2010 – none
2011 – OL Mike Jasper (7th)
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, compensatory picks, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
A handful of current Bills players and a couple of Bills alumni will be working the phones on Sunday afternoon at the Variety Club telethon at the Adam’s Mark in downtown Buffalo.
Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington, Mike Jasper, Alumni Bob Dugan and Will Fowler, Billy Buffalo and the Buffalo Jills are all scheduled to be in attendance between 3 and 4 pm. The telethon will air on Channel 7 with the players answering phone calls and accepting pledges.
This is the 50th annual Telethon for Variety –The Children’s Charity of Buffalo & Western New York which is the longest locally produced Telethon in the world, and the 49th for Channel 7. All monies raised by the Variety Kids Telethon benefit The Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Robert Warner M.D. Center For Children With Special Needs and many other local charities benefiting children that Variety serves.
Tags: Alex Carrington, Bills Alumni Association, Dwan Edwards, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Could the recently called up Mike Jasper see any action against the Patriots today?
Head coach Chan Gailey said earlier in the week that they wouldn’t just call a guy up for no reason, so it’s possible that he could see some time in goal line formations or on special teams alignments like field goal or field goal block.
But unless the game is out of hand come the second half he’s not expected to see much time on offense today.
Tags: Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Happy New Year Bills fans! As always I’ll be on the live blog here on Buffalobills.com during the Bills-Pats season finale, so join me during the game for observations, questions and comments. We’re up right before kickoff. Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Chris,
I would like your thoughts on some of these concerns I find to be “holding” Buffalo back if you will.
Second, with Dareus providing a nice push in the middle of the line, could that help sway our current 3-4 back to the 4-3? Our run “D” is still stale, and with the likes of Williams and Dareus in the middle, teams would very much struggle to establish an effective running attack on us.
Thanks again for all you do for the BILLS!!!!!!
CB: I wouldn’t be surprised if it were up for debate this offseason by the coaching staff. The thought of Williams and Dareus alongside one another in a 4-3 front is intriguing. Of course without a proven pass rushing right defensive end on the roster it’s a hole that would absolutely need to be filled to pull it off.
I also think figuring out the linebacker situation would be next. Nick Barnett is more of a 3-4 inside linebacker, but in a 4-3 he’d presumably have to be outside (probably weak side) at 230 pounds. Problem there is if Merriman makes a successful return and from what I know the odds of that are better than most believe, then you take a strong run defender out of the equation there no matter who you sit down. Sheppard would likely be the MLB in that front and the strong side would again be a position to be filled, though Moats would at least have the size to play there at 252 pounds.
Buddy Nix said two years ago that you don’t want to be flipping back and forth. You want to commit to something eventually, and he indicated committing to the 3-4 was the plan. Plans can obviously change, but they’ve drafted the past two years with the 3-4 in mind. We’ll have to see if any of that changes moving forward.
2 - Hi Chris,
Thanks for taking our questions.
Since Spiller has been starting, I don’t understand why we give up on the run game so early. A good example would be the Miami game. Spiller had about 90 yards on only 12 carries. Early on in the game he had about 50 yards including 2 carries where he gained about 40 yards and scored a TD. The Bills seem to give up on running the ball when the game was still in play, but after passing took over we had 3 INT’s and another Loss. I realize when you get way behind you need to go to the passing game but the Bills give up on the run way too early. What do you think?
CB: Chan has been asked about this more than once by the media and I think the answer is simple. Coach Gailey told me earlier in the year they’re a team that uses the pass to set up the run. Their most popular formation is the 4-by-1 set (4 WRs, 1 RB) though they’ve worked in more two tight end sets in the second half of the season.
That is what their identity is so when they fall behind by more than a touchdown on the scoreboard they have no qualms about airing it out.
I’m in favor of seeing more run game knowing how successful the O-line has been this year in opening holes for the backs this season. Combine that with the fact that Jackson was almost unstoppable this season and the emergence of C.J. down the stretch and you wonder if there might be some consideration for a change in offensive philosophy in 2012 though I wouldn’t count on it. I get the sense that the Gailey and his offensive staff feel the run game is so successful because the passing game sets it up. In talking to Gailey he seems to feel if they just get the passing game a bit more consistent they’ll really be rolling, much like they were early in the year.
3 – Chris,
Hi, thanks for keeping us all updated on everything Bills. My question isn’t Bills related but just a general football question. Why do they keep the stat of Yards Per Attempt instead of Yards Per Completion?
Jimmy in Hamburg
CB: They do keep that statistic, it’s just not commonly listed on most quarterback stat lines. Here is the list of the top 10 QBs for yards per completion through Week 16 (prior to this weekend’s games).
1 – Matt Schaub – 13.93
2 – Tim Tebow – 13.91
3 – Eli Manning – 13.69
4 – Carson Palmer – 13.66
5 – Aaron Rodgers – 13.54
6 – Kevin Kolb – 13.39
7 – Cam Newton – 13.2
8 – Michael Vick – 12.96
9 – Tom Brady – 12.96
10 – Ben Roethlisberger – 12.81
For the record Fitz ranks 30th at 10.88 per completion, but because this is commonly not a statistic relied upon to determine QB effectiveness you often do not see it listed. An example of how it’s not an accurate factor in determining QB play is the fact that Drew Brees ranks 24th in this category.
4 – Chris,
With the season winding down, will the Gailey put some of the untested players in as trial to see what they can do. Most of the drafted rookies have played well, but Aiken hasn’t seen any targets at WR. The team picked up Sam Young but he has been inactive most games. In terms of pass rush, Eddins looks fantastic in the preseason and with the release of Coleman, could he be elevated and given a chance? Same goes with Kyle Moore. Most Bills fans would like to see Jasper but he might still be raw.
Josh – Los Angeles
CB: As you probably saw this week, Mike Jasper was elevated to the active roster. I think if he sees time on the field it will probably be in goal line or field goal barring an injury at the guard position. Kamar Aiken could possibly see time with Brad Smith not expected to play this week, but Derek Hagan has been getting more reps of late.
Robert Eddins is still on the practice squad and unless there’s an injury at tackle I don’t anticipate seeing Sam Young either. Kyle Moore did get a lot more playing time last week.
5 - Chris
The team has made some interesting moves onto the roster and practice squad in the last few weeks. They’ve added several TE, a 3-4 DE and waived Coleman.
What do you think is the driving factor for Whaley & Nix behind these moves? Are these driven by injuries/current needs or do you see these guys as players they want for next year? If so – when do the contracts expire for these recent additions (will they be F/A this offseason)?
The DE move and waiving Coleman seemed odd – given we seem to have plenty of DL and no pass rushing OLB. Are there no 3-4 OLB prospects on other team’s practice squads (like Pitt or GB)?
Tim from Syracuse
CB: I think at this stage of the game the Bills are probably taking a look see at some players they had interest in and want to see what they can do in live games. I believe that was the motivation behind Kyle Moore getting more time on the field this past week. Most of the others have been precipitated by injury.
Most of the contracts of the recent additions expire after this season. However, a few of them are exclusive rights free agents, which make it rather easy for the Bills to re-sign them if they so choose. Some of the younger players can also be re-signed as future free agents, which is done in January to retain those player rights and add them to their offseason roster.
Tags: 4-3 defense, Antonio Coleman, Buddy Nix, C.J. Spiller, Chan Gailey, Fan Friday, Kamar Aiken, Kyle Moore, Mike Jasper, Robert Eddins, yards per completion
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills head coach Chan Gailey said he and GM Buddy Nix will discuss what action they take with respect to whether Kraig Urbik, Mike Caussin or Demetrius Bell go on injured reserve. Knowing Buffalo has just one reserve offensive lineman on the roster the Bills will almost have to put at least one of those three players on I-R to make room for another backup.
Most NFL clubs like to dress 7 offensive linemen for a game (5 starters, 2 reserves). Right now they’ve got 6, with Sam Young a backup tackle.
Buffalo has a pair of guards on the practice squad in Mike Jasper and Keith Williams. Presumably one of those players would be promoted to give Buffalo an extra interior lineman should another Bills lineman go down to injury in Sunday’s season finale.
Tags: Keith Williams, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Time for everyone to catch our breath here in the bye week before the Bills work their way through the last 10 games of a promising season. Keep sending your questions in to AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Let’s get to this week’s questions.
1 - Chris my question is around defense. The Bills still do not have any pass rush that I have observed. Are the Bills trying to design some sort of pressure? Also Shawne Merriman has been non-exsisent so far so what is being done to get him more involved. The Bills will not keep winning without a better pass rush, and more activity out of our linebackers…
CB: You’re right about pass rush production. It’s been lacking. As we reported this week it was at the top of the ‘to do’ list for head coach Chan Gailey and his staff. Buffalo simply can’t get home with four rushers and against the Giants they couldn’t get to Eli Manning when they sent five on almost every third down in the first half. Gailey said part of the problem is they’re not winning their one-on-one battles when they have them. They said they’d harp on improving pass rush technique with the players up front.
Unfortunately I think they’re going to have to rely on scheme a bit more to generate pressure instead of pure talent and that’s not easy. Fortunately Merriman is supposed to be back in the lineup as well as Kelsay, so hopefully things can improve in that area. Otherwise big plays against the Bills will continue to be made.
2 - Hey Chris,
I was Just wondering what the status is on Jasper and if they are working him in to the offensive tackle position, much like they did with Jason Peters before he was traded. If the Bills staff get him going I think they would add great size and run block for the running game.
Secondly, do you think the stadium will get any more upgrades?
Thank you for what you do for the fans everyday!!
CB: Jasper has been working at guard for the past month. The first week in which he was switched to the offensive line he manned the tackle spot, but shortly after the Bills picked up Sam Young off waivers and he’s been at right tackle with the reserves kicking Jasper in to guard. Jasper played guard his last two collegiate seasons at Bethel and it’s probably his most natural position on the offensive line.
He’s got the athleticism to pull from there on run plays, and he obviously has the girth to stand in there against the big DTs in pass protection. He’s also been working even harder to get his weight down more. He’s at 373 now with a goal weight of 360.
3 - Chris,
Has there been any news on either Fred Jackson (2012) or Ryan Fitzpatrick’s (2011) contract extensions? Given their production (especially Freddy – no slight to Fitz, but Freddy has done quite a bit), you’d think and I hope Management will make a motion to keep them.
CB: There’s been a lot of progress with Fitzpatrick’s contract negotiations. I think Fitz will be done sooner rather than later, but to lay out a timetable would be foolish because no one can predict the pace of negotiations. As for Fred I agree, he has outplayed the value of his contract. However, with Stevie Johnson’s contract up after this year I would anticipate that he is taken care of after Fitz.
Fred is still under contract through the 2012 season, so the same urgency to get Jackson a new deal might not be there as for players like Fitzpatrick and Johnson. That being said knowing that Jackson has stated publicly more than once that he’d like to have a new contract, I do know that he met with Bills GM Buddy Nix a couple of weeks ago and that the meeting was very positive.
Does that mean negotiations are going to be kick started? I don’t believe so. I don’t think there’s any debating that Fred is deserving, but there are other players on his side of the ball that have to addressed first.
4 - Hi Chris,
Hats off to the Bills for their great start. I think Fred Jackson is the best running back they have had since Thurman Thomas. Having said that, I am a little concerned over the alarming amount of yards they are giving up on defense. True, they are a plus nine in turnovers and they are doing a great job with that, but they need to stop people better. Based on what I saw in the game against the Eagles, the linebackers are not one hundred percent sideline to sideline, meaning their lateral pursuit is lacking. Teams that run well off the edge will continue to have huge gains. They ran zone blitzes on Michael Vick and they were successful, but they still give up too many big plays. What is your take on this? I will look forward to your answer.
Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl
CB: I think your concerns were fully realized in the Giants game. Without takeaways the yardage allowed was magnified and without a pass rush big plays were more prevalent. Buffalo was also without three starters in the front seven. In addressing the range of Buffalo’s linebackers Barnett has been playing with a bad ankle and Andra Davis is more of an in the box ILB. I think that’s partly why Kelvin Sheppard is getting more and more playing time moving forward. He has sideline to sideline range and can also be utilized as a blitzer. So his mere presence on the field makes them more athletic and versatile. Whether it makes a noticeable difference is something we’ll have to wait and see.
5 - Now that the Ralph is rocking again, selling out the games and the Bills are headed in the right direction how much longer do we need to play one game in Toronto? It is a huge disadvantage for us and we haven’t won there yet.
CB: You’re right the Bills have not won a regular season game in Toronto to this point. With respect to the Bills Toronto Series however, no matter if the Bills sell out every home game at the Ralph, to remain financially competitive in the NFL they need to continue to regionalize the franchise and that includes Toronto. Buffalo by itself does not have the corporate tax base to sufficiently fill premium and luxury seating at Ralph Wilson stadium. It’s big companies that often invest in suites and premium seating.
Part of the Bills Toronto Series aim is to draw more of the large corporate base from Toronto back to RWS for that kind of investment. The state of economics in the NFL, even in the wake of the new 10-year CBA makes it a necessary approach.
Tags: Bills Toronto Series, Fred Jackson, Mike Jasper, pass rush, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Shawne Merriman
Posted in Inside the Bills
In an interview with Buffalobills.com just minutes after he signed his rookie contract with Buffalo, Mike Jasper had a message for Bills fans eager to see him out on the field knowing his 6’4 1/2″ 380-pound frame is rare.
“Get ready,” he said. “We’re coming back to glory. The Bills were the team to beat back in the day. And growing up and seeing those great players before me I just want to continue that. It’s a great organization and I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to make my footprint.”
It’s hard for me to think of another Bills seventh-round draft pick that carried this much intrigue going into a training camp, but now having stood next to him I can see why.
Tags: Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills QB Levi Brown sent a text to former high school teammate and now current teammate Mike Jasper on Wednesday a day before the Bills seventh-round pick arrived at One Bills Drive and signed his rookie contract. The photo almost had Jasper in tears, but it also got his juices flowing for football.
“He sent me a picture of my locker with my name in it,” said Jasper. “It wasn’t official yet, but just to have that motivation coming in and getting ready to sign this contract and get to camp and go to work it was a great thing to see.”
Jasper signed his rookie contract late Thursday morning. He told Buffalobills.com that he’s about 385 pounds and he carries it well. With uncommon athleticism it will be interesting to see how Jasper fares against true NFL competition.
Tags: 2011 Bills Training Camp, Levi Brown, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Hard to believe we’re into June already. We’ve got some uniform tidbits and some roster talk this week so let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and keep them coming.
1 – Chris,
I would like to hear your opinion between Kellen Heard and Michael Jasper. Heard was added to the roster late last season. He is listed as 6’6″ 355lb. DT, signed off of the Raiders practice squad. Then there is the newly drafted Michael Jasper whom I believe is listed as 6’4″ 375. Also listed as a DT. I guess the question is shouldn’t we be just as excited about Heard as Jasper. I am thinking that Heard slipped into the team late last year and mostly unnoticed, but he is a very big man. Jasper was drafted during one of the more exciting times of the season, “the draft”. Your thoughts between these two men.
CB: Well I think it’s clear that both players have a hill to climb to crack this roster. The two of them are likely to be going head to head for what could be the last spot on the active roster at defensive line. Last year Buffalo’s coaching staff kept seven defensive linemen. Right now the top 6 are Carrington, Dareus, Edwards, Johnson, Troup and Williams leaving one spot available provided the rest of the roster falls in such a way to allow for a seventh defensive lineman.
Heard benefits from being here for about six weeks last season. He has familiarity with the system. Jasper is coming in cold and without having played defensive line the past two years. Both are intriguing, but they’ll have to really impress to crack what has quickly become a pretty solid defensive line depth chart.
2 - Chris, everyone keeps talking about how awesome Kyle Williams in articles and blogs and such. I never remember seeing him really stand out last year. I have trouble getting excited about the guy. Can you please do a video montage of some of the plays Kyle Williams made last year to show off what he did well? This I think would go a long ways to getting myself and many Bills fans excited about 2012.
CB: Funny you should ask this question Rob. We have plans to do video pieces on Buffalobills.com of the Top 10 performances from 2010 and Kyle’s game against the Steelers in Week 12 last season is on that list when he had 10 tackles and a couple of sacks and dominated Steelers linemen Chris Kemoeatu and Maurkice Pouncey.
The best part is we have members of Buffalo’s coaching staff breaking down the plays with me in the film room to provide insight on each and every highlight from the players.
The 10-part series will begin on Buffalobills.com on Tuesday June 14th and aside from a brief interruption with our coverage of the uniform unveiling will run through mid-July. So keep an eye out for it. We’re real excited about it.
3 - Chris,
By now, we all know that the regular home and away jerseys are changing. And thanks to Madden, most of us know what they are changing too. But I saw the THROW BACK jerseys are all on sale for the same price as the discontinued jersey, I have to ask…… Is that going away too?
Steven J. Huber
CB: I’ve been told that he team will not be wearing an alternate third jersey in the 2011 season. Just a home and away jersey.
4 – Why did the Bills pick June 24th as the day to unveil the new jerseys?
CB: There were two main factors in June 24th being selected and both of them involve timing issues. The first was late June was the absolute earliest that the new jerseys would be available from Reebok. That’s why the new jerseys were not used during the NFL draft when Marcell Dareus was up on stage at Radio City Music Hall. They weren’t available yet
Changing uniforms in the NFL is an 18-month process with a countless number of stages and steps. It’s not a quick turnaround by any means.
The second timing issue has to do with the Ralph Wilson Stadium turf. Shortly after June 24th the old turf is being pulled up for the new turf scheduled for installation for the 2011 season. Obviously an event on a torn up football field does not provide for the best of venues knowing there will be field access for fans that attend the uniform unveiling.
Hope that clears it up for you.
5 – Chris,
Thanks for all you do. What do you think taking Johnny White in the draft means for the RB situation? Is there possibility for trade with him here?
Also, assuming Fred Jackson starts, can he push for the 2nd RB, starting over C.J.?
Max, Lakeview N.Y.
CB: I think in this day and age of the NFL you need a stable of backs. Last year in the preseason we watched Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson go down in the first half of their first preseason game leaving only C.J. and at the time Chad Simpson.
Most NFL clubs carry three backs on their 53-man roster because it is such a punishing position along with a fullback.
So I’m anticipating White to be the third back behind Fred and C.J. and for him to spell them once in a while when they need a break or in the event of injury while also contributing on special teams where he’s a pretty darn good asset in the opinion of Bills special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven with whom I spoke recently. And thanks for the kind words.
Tags: 2011 uniforms, C.J. Spiller, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Johnny White, Kellen Heard, Kyle Williams, Mike Jasper, throwback jerseys
Posted in Inside the Bills
Time to get rolling with another edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Chris, as Bills fans I think we are prone to believing that change is always for the better. Can you shed any light on the qualifications of the new scouting department that Buddy has brought in? I know Bills fans were eager to move on from Modrak however was his dismissal so Buddy could bring in an old friend’s son and guy he recruited when coaching in 1972? What are the qualifications of the new hires? Do they have a track record and any talent they are specifically credited with finding? How do the new hires’ experience match up to Modrak’s? Am I off base by saying that the Buffalo Bills will now only go as far as Buddy Nix’s eye for talent takes us?
- Colorado Bills Backers
CB: I think you’re selling the new hires short. First, Pro Personnel Director Tom Gibbons was with the organization from the time he started in this business in 1992. He worked with Buddy Nix when he was with the organization the first time and then again when both followed John Butler and A.J. Smith to San Diego. Nix has worked with Gibbons for the better part of the last 18 years. He wouldn’t hire him if he didn’t think he could add to the operation. Granted Cook is a guy that has some close history with Nix as his father coached with Buddy at one time. But to his credit Cook has his own self made resume in scouting.
Cook oversaw the pre-draft process for the Kansas City Chiefs for a dozen years, so he’s most definitely qualified for his current assignment with Buffalo. Buddy Nix made it plain. He only hires people he knows first hand. He’s not hiring people off recommendations.
Now comparing the experience of these two men up against Tom Modrak might not be fair since Modrak has been in the game since the late 60’s. But I believe Nix is confident these guys have an eye for talent that will only deepen the pool of quality players on Buffalo’s roster.
2 - Chris:
We have some defensive linemen who should be real run stoppers – Kyle Williams, Torrell Troup, Alex Carringon and Marcell Dareus. Kellen Heard and Mike Jasper both seem to have some huge upside (no pun intended); any chance we’ll see them this year, or will they be more likely relegated to the Practice Squad? It would neat to see us play the Ravens or Browns with Heard and Jasper on the inside, and Williams and Dareus on the outside.
Mike Allen, Pittsford
CB: I think Jasper has to come a long way in a short period of time (getting shorter with each day of the lockout) to convince the coaching staff he’s NFL ready as a rookie. Both he and Kellen Heard have a much bigger hill to climb with the depth of the defensive front now with Dareus in the fold and Torell Troup and Alex Carrington now second-year players. Buffalo’s staff is unlikely to keep more than six or seven defensive linemen on the active roster. Last year they kept seven, so if it’s seven that last spot could be between Jasper and Heard.
3 - Chris,
Can you break down what you presume to be the starters for the defensive backfield? Listening to Buddy, it seems McGee, McKelvin, and Williams will be in competition for starting. In terms of SS how deep on the depth chart is Searcy? Buddy wants to bring back Drayton, how would that affect Reggie Corner and Rogers? How does the coaching staff plan to better defend the TE, in almost every game a linebacker or safety was burned in pass coverage.
CB: A lot of questions there. Basically if McGee stays healthy and McKelvin is more consistent and no other additions are made or return I anticipate that McGee and McKelvin will be the starters outside. Those are a lot of ifs however. McGee has had trouble staying healthy the past two seasons and McKelvin has not been consistent.
That could open the door for Williams if he has a solid training camp, provided there is one. I don’t believe Williams will do any worse than being the third corner. McGee has been the team’s best run support corner. If staying healthy is still an issue for him they need a good run support corner on the strong side and Williams is the next best option for that.
Corner and Rogers would be corners four and five with other additions likely leading up to the season before final roster cuts are made.
As for Searcy I believe he will push both Bryan Scott and George Wilson for a starting role. He’s bigger than both of them physically and being stouter in the run front is critical for this team. Provided he shows and ability to cover he could be in the mix for that starting SS job, especially if he can muscle up with tight ends.
4 - Why didnt the Bills address o-line or tight end in draft as much in your opinion? And the 7th rounder Mike Jasper the monster d-linemen, will he play some nose tackle or does Williams stay at nose? And finally what happens with Fitz if the Bills miss playoffs again?
CB: I think people are expecting a lot from Jasper because of his athleticism and measurables. I’m not here to sell him short, but rather to keep expectations realistic. He’s got a lot to learn with respect to technique having not played nose tackle the past two seasons. He’s got to make the 53-man roster first. Kyle Williams will start at the nose and his backup will be Torell Troup. Jasper has to convince the staff that he deserves one of the last D-line spots.
As for not addressing offensive line, the Bills drafted a tackle in round four, Chris Hairston who is seen as a right tackle prospect. Tight end Nix said was a position they looked at, but that the board did not fall right with the prospects they had an eye on.
I think the staff believes they can work with Scott Chandler, who was picked up late last season, and Shawn Nelson is still an athletic talent they’d like to find out more about.
Fitzpatrick is the starter in 2011. Beyond that is anybody’s guess because he’s entering the last year of his contract, barring an extension.
5 - Chan wanted to upgrade the pass rush and taking Dareus and Kelvin will help the run game. Are there favorites going forward for the starting edge rushers? Without seeing Merriman on the field yet it’s hard to gauge how good he can be again. Kelsay looked better with his hand on the ground. Moats looked the best in pass/run coverage. Maybin still needs work but Torbor might be a good back up option to. Who do you think Chan likes?
CB: I think the whole pass rush hinges on Merriman. I know, that’s a lot of eggs to put in one basket, but if he’s right the Bills could really make a giant leap forward with their defense instead of steady improvement. If he’s on they could have a top 12 defense. But as you said it’s a wait and see type deal.
I believe Moats will only improve in year two, I’m interested to see what Danny Batten has to offer. Torbor I’m anticipating might move inside where he played for most of the two seasons prior to his arrival in Buffalo.
Who Chan likes is really anybody’s guess.
Tags: Aaron Williams, Arthur Moats, Buddy Nix, Chuck Cook, Da'Norris Searcy, Fan Friday, Kellen Heard, Leodis McKelvin, Mike Jasper, Reggie Torbor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Shawne Merriman, Terrence McGee, Tom Gibbons
Posted in Inside the Bills
Alright Bills fans let’s get this week’s edition rolling with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Chris,
Let the QB questions begin… I’m totally pumped up about Marcell Dareus and the improved defense, but was quite surprised the Bills didn’t pick up a QB anywhere in the draft. With Nix saying the Bills will have 4 QBs going into camp, how do you think this will be handled? Will management bring in a veteran to just fill the spot as back up, or will they go after someone that will challenge Fitz like Kevin Kolb or Vince Young?
CB: Here was Buddy’s most recent comment on the quarterback situation.
“We’ve looked at two or three scenarios. We would like to have a veteran guy that can come in that has played the league. A guy that can go in and finish a game and maybe start a game and give you a chance to win. Now there are two options. We’re going to bring in two guys. If college free agency opens up and we think there’s a developmental guy that has some potential we’d bring him in. If that’s not the case we might sign two veterans.”
To me that sounds like they’re not going to be shooting for the moon with respect to a veteran backup signee. I’d anticipate it being more of a lesser name that they sign than say a Kevin Kolb, that would cost at least a first-round pick or Vince Young, who has some baggage after his fallout with Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.
I think the Bills would prefer to have a veteran backup that knows his role and isn’t going to make any waves to disrupt what is a very good chemistry right now in the locker room offensively.
2 - Hey Chris!!
I had a question about Kyle Williams. With Dareus on board I assume he will play the middle or is that not a given? I would love to see the Jasper kid evolve into a player for us and have him in the middle with Williams and Dareus on the edges. Wishful thinking I know but I the Jasper kid sure looks athletic and hopeful can get in even better shape. Also I read something about Kyle Williams training on LSU’s campus. I will be there for 2 weeks for banking school the end of this month and would love to meet him if he’s there. Can you let me know how I could contact him? Does he have email, twitter, facebook, or a website? Thanks
Only Bills Fan in KY
CB: Dareus is going to line up at LDE in Buffalo’s 3-4 with Kyle Williams at the nose and Dwan Edwards at right end. Dareus will probably kick inside at times in passing situations, but I anticipate Torell Troup to be Williams’ primary backup. Knowing the Bills defense will be more of a hybrid front again this year I’d say expect to see Dareus inside at defensive tackle (probably the one-technique) in the 4-3 looks.
As for catching up with Kyle Williams, he’s not a social media type guy so I’m afraid you’re out of luck there.
And as for claiming to be the only Bills fan in the state of Kentucky, I think George Wilson’s mom in Paducah might disagree with you!
3 - Hey Chris,
Thanks for all your great draft coverage. Looks like the “experts” all liked the Bills draft. Hopefully they’re right this time.
My question is how you see the linebacker situation playing out this year? I saw your post that there is a chance Danny Batten will move back outside after spending some time learning the ropes as an inside backer. However, I almost see inside linebacker as being a weaker spot than outside.
On the outside we have Merriman, Moats, Kelsay, Maybin if the team keeps him, and Torbor played OLB for us last year. On the inside we basically have Davis and the two rookies Sheppard and White, and not much else.
Do you think it is likely that Poz will be back with the team this season? I also know Torbor played ILB with the Dolphins before joining the Bills. Do you have some thoughts on who will play inside and out and who you think are the favorites to win starting jobs?
CB: I think you’ve got the players in their proper spots, though I would anticipate Torbor moving back inside with all the depth you referenced at OLB. I really can’t address free agency due to the lockout situation, but I believe they’ll have the ILB position properly addressed with enough talent and depth.
As for favorites to win starting jobs if Merriman is back to form he’s on the field… a lot. I believe Moats could give Chris Kelsay a run for his money on the other side. Inside Davis should be one starter. Sheppard could push for the other starting role with Torbor also in that mix.
4 - Hey Chris,
First, thank you for all the hard work you do. It makes being a Bills fan much more enjoyable. I am writing to find out whether or not the Bills players received any playbooks or football-related materials during the brief period of time that the lockout was lifted. On Profootballtalk.com, ESPN.com, and others, it was reported that coaching staffs across the league were distributing playbooks and, in some cases, materials pertaining to workouts, diet regimens, etc.. I am curious to know whether or not the Bills fall within this group. Were the coaches able to distribute any football related material to the players before the lockout was reinstated?
Thanks again, and keep up the good work.
A thankful Bills fan
CB: Chan Gailey told us at the end of the NFL draft that they did not hand out playbooks to any players during that brief window of time when the lockout was lifted. Once the ruling came down lifting the lockout Chan Gailey and his staff immediately put a plan into action to begin offseason workouts the following Monday, but those plans had to be scrapped after the temporary stay was passed re-instating the lockout.
5 – Chris,
With the Bills now at 7 D-linemen (K. Williams, Dareus, Edwards, Troup, Carrington, S. Johnson and Jasper), I feel like they will take 6 linemen into the active roster. What are the odds that Jasper makes the team instead of the practice squad? And if he makes the active roster, does it make Spencer Johnson expendable seeing how he is more potent in the 4-3 defense?
What are your thoughts?
Nate in Rochester
CB: First, I disagree with your assessment of Spencer Johnson. He has the versatility to play in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. He played in the 4-3 in Minnesota before coming to Buffalo, and played it here for a couple of years under the previous coaching regime. I thought he had a solid season last year.
As far as Jasper’s chances go I think there are a couple of things working against him. First, he played a lower level of college ball. Some players can overcome that quickly (see: Terrence McGee), but for most it takes a bit longer to develop into a player that can perform consistently against NFL competition. Second, he’s played offensive line each of the past two seasons at Bethel.
He has experience at defensive tackle, but its three years in the rearview mirror and to make the transition back to that position at the highest competitive level of football in a lockout shortened offseason is going to be difficult.
By no means am I doubting Jasper. I don’t know the man. I do know he has a tremendous work ethic as evidenced by his efforts to streamline his body and mold himself into an NFL prospect. He also has smarts and obvious physical ability. How quickly he masters the techniques however, will be the ultimate factor that determines his chances.
Tags: Chan Gailey, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Mike Jasper, NFL lockout, Spencer Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills