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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 11-23

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2012 – 12:51 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Bills fans. Here’s the latest edition of questions from you the fans at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris, 
Short passes are good if the QB makes good throws but that is not the case with Fitz.  He is having trouble on possession throws and deep throws as well, perhaps playing tight with all changes made to how he throws?  Which begs the question how does the coaching staff change their coaching and change alignments to get optimal results from their players so fans do not have to read every week that the loss is on us from the players? The results when repeated over and over are on the coaching staff and how they drill, align, condition, and make things as easy as possible for players to understand and use on the field.  We are in last place, do you see this changing?  Do we now have to win the division to get to the playoffs?

CB: Actually Ryan Fitzpatrick’s accuracy is up considerably. Over the last four games he’s completed more than 68% of his passes (96-140 – 68.6%) with five touchdowns against two interceptions, which translates  to a passer rating of 94. He’s raised his completion percentage on the season over those past four games from 58.9% to 62.5%.

As for alignments, Chan Gailey is a master at altering alignments to get defensive players to cheat ever so slightly to enhance the potential gains on plays that often catch that defensive player paying for cheating to one half of the field or the other.

Both the offensive and defensive staffs drill proper alignment and assignment, but they can’t go out on the field and execute too. That’s why the players have put the blame on themselves primarily. They insist that their game plans that they get from the coaching staff are sound, but the execution is not.

Last week against the Dolphins, the run defense was as sound as it’s looked all season. The players chalked it up to fitting up gaps and holding them effectively along with sound, fundamental tackling. All of those elements have not been consistently present for the defense, though it looks like it’s on an upswing looking at the last few outings. 

As for the AFC playoff race, catching the Patriots looks to be a difficult task. They’re three games back and New England has the series sweep head-to-head. The Wild Card is what should be targeted first, knowing there is still a cluster of teams between 4-6 and 6-4, which right now is good enough to hold a Wild Card spot in the AFC.

 

2 - Hey Chris,

Big fan of the Bills down in Staten Island. We are rare down here but we are strong. My question is about Tarvaris Jackson. Why did we trade for him if he never dresses for games? My thought was that if he doesn’t play at all it impacts the draft choice that we have to give Seattle. I know Fitz is Chan’s guy, but I feel his confidence isn’t there and a shake-up might help him. Any thoughts?

CB: As I mentioned above, Fitzpatrick has been much more consistent in the last four games, but Jackson’s status as an inactive player each week to this point has frustrated more than just you. I get several emails each week about fans wanting to know why Jackson doesn’t even dress. I’m still working to confirm this, but we believe that if Jackson is dressed for six games or more this season, Buffalo’s conditional seventh-round pick which was sent to Seattle to acquire Jackson, becomes a sixth-round pick. With six games left in the season, we’ll see if Jackson is suddenly active in a couple of weeks.

 

3 - Hi Chris,
Regarding the Bills offense, when they go against teams, why don’t they open up with the no huddle, score a couple of touchdowns, then go to the two tight end formation and control the football? Obviously, in terms of opponents, they cannot open up the same way with every team, but why not incorporate a portion of that for most of their games? Success with either approach would be a key, but I just think that if they approached their game planning a little smarter, they may in better shape than they are in right now. Obviously, the spread offense is the main objective, but a wrinkle here or there could mean the difference between a win or a loss. They have two very good running backs, which are being underutilized. Even if a team shuts down their running game, a short pass attack all the way down the field mixed in with runs would work too.  

Regarding the defense, I think Dave Wannstedt needs to blitz more. I know his reasons for not doing so, but teams are never going to be afraid of our defense unless we show more aggression. We have good talent all the way around, I think our coaching on both sides of the ball is the problem.

Your thoughts,
Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl
CB: I would not be surprised if we so a no huddle approach used in the coming weeks as a surprise element, whether it’s to start a game or to start a second half. I think the struggles of the defense in the first half of the season forced Chan Gailey and the offensive staff to move away from it. But with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing better football and the defense more consistent of late I think there’s a greater likelihood that it’s utilized at some point in the near future.

Your call for the defense to blitz more is a common one among fans. We saw some run blitzes against the Patriots a couple of weeks ago, but if the front four continue to improve blitzing might not be as necessary a change-up as it may have been just a few weeks ago.

 

4 – Chris,
Since the Bills offense is predicated on quick passing and short routes.   It seems a few of their WR’s are ill suited for this offense (Graham and Easley) who are more speed guys and less polished on short routes.    It seems to me a Naaman Roosevelt, although not a huge special teams contributor, would do well in this offense with good routes and great hands.   David Nelson also thrived in our offense and he won’t be confused with a speedy WR.   It seems as though if Roosevelt was running that post route rather than Graham, the Bills may have beaten the Pats.   Your thoughts whether our we’ve been drafting truly fit our schemes
Thanks
-Jim

CB: I think your question is a valid one. Roosevelt is a good fit for the quick underneath stuff that the Bills employ, but they already have those kinds of wideouts on the roster in the form of Nelson (though he’s on I-R) and Donald Jones. Even Stevie is that kind of wideout. The idea of drafting Graham is to further diversify the offense. They just have to wait on Graham to develop before that happens.

So that’s really the approach there with Graham on the roster. Easley is another example of that, deep speed to stretch the field and diversify the offensive approach.
5 – Chris,

I wanted to address the “Fitzpatrick Situation”. A few weeks ago, Buddy Nix acknowledged the need to upgrade the quarterback position, which was in stark contrast to his and Chan’s position on the issue 11 weeks ago. My fear is this seems to be set in motion more by public opinion than cognitive thought and, given the incoming crop of potential rookie quarterbacks, a draft pick may be sacrificed to appease the fan base rather than invested on more pressing needs in the secondary and linebacking corp.

Thanks for all you do.
Rob

CB: To be clear Buddy said they’re in a position now where if there’s a quarterback prospect they like that can be a franchise type quarterback that can play for the next 10 years, they’re in a position now where they can afford to sacrifice draft choices to get that guy.

Nix has also said that even if they draft one early it doesn’t mean he’s going to be thrust into the starting lineup right away. He’ll compete and play when he’s ready. The Bills GM gave no indication that the team would be turning away from Fitzpatrick as the starter next year. I believe everyone incorrectly assumed that if the team drafts a QB high that it automatically means Fitz is out when I think the opposite might be true.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Roster move down to WR or RB

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2012 – 6:14 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked what the impending roster move would be with David Nelson soon to go to injured reserve. The question is whether they add a running back or wide receiver.

“We’re still in the decision making stage about how exactly we’re going to handle that scenario,” said Gailey late Monday afternoon.

Buffalo does have capable receiver talent available with knowledge of the offensive system in practice squad receivers Kamar Aiken and Marcus Easley. Naaman Roosevelt, who has spent two years in this system is on the street and is capable of working out of the slot, which was Nelson’s primary role.

It should be mentioned that Donald Jones got a ton of work in the slot this past spring and summer and is expected to fill that role at least in the short term.

When asked if they might add a running back with the open roster spot, Gailey said it’s “possible.”

Buffalo currently has no running back on their practice squad, and they might just bide their time on adding a running back until they know the exact prognosis of Fred Jackson coming off his knee injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WRs still tightly bunched

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2012 – 11:35 am

Buffalo’s wide receivers are all jockeying for defined roles in the group for the 2012 season. Through the first week of camp things are still packed pretty tight from one wideout to the next.

“We’ve got some good players,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “Nobody has distanced themselves from the other group greatly. It’s close in a lot of places. We’ve got some receivers, every time I look up somebody else is making a play which is good. It makes the decision tougher, but at the same time it’s good to have people making plays. It’s better to make a decision from people making plays than having to decide who to keep and nobody makes a play.”

Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones were most noticeable the first couple of days of camp. Then David Nelson and Derek Hagan turned in some plays, followed by Kamar Aiken and Naaman Roosevelt. Then Marcus Easley and T.J. Graham on Sunday, so Gailey’s assessment is very accurate.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-13

Posted by Chris Brown on July 13, 2012 – 11:15 am

Less than two weeks until training camp. Hard to believe it’s almost here. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. And keep sending them in. I usually get to everyone eventually.

1 – Hi Chris:
Do you think the Bills will carry seven wide receivers for the regular season? They are very deep here, and based on competition, I would say that maybe Naaman Roosevelt and Derek Session do not make the final roster. What are your thoughts? 

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl
CB: I do not think they keep seven wide receivers. As I outlined in our Top 25 Questions until training camp series, I foresee the coaching staff keeping just five with a couple on the practice squad. I don’t dispute that it is a talented group, but in each of the past two years Chan Gailey and his staff have kept just five receivers. The main reason last year being that Brad Smith as the third quarterback can also serve as a wideout. This affords them some wiggle room at the position. Plus with talents like Kamar Aiken, who still has practice squad eligibility they can keep a reputable talent there if needed due to injury.

Six receivers (not counting Smith) is a remote possibility, but seven will never happen.

2 – Chris –

Hoping you might post this “question” (and your response) in your “Fan Friday” blog on bb.com.  I continually find fellow Bills fans bemoaning the presence of DE Chris Kelsay on the roster.  Kelsay has become a lightning rod of sorts — many fans believe he has underperformed, they don’t understand why he was extended by Nix, and they feel as though he should be a roster cut.  I’ve grown tired of defending him myself, so I hoped you could give the perspective of the organization as to why they believe Kelsay is a valuable piece of the puzzle.

Thanks as always for your contributions,

Eric Haase
Durham, NC
Bills Season Ticket Holder since 1990

CB: I think the reason Chris Kelsay doesn’t garner the respect of some Bills fans is because they pigeon-holed him as a pass rusher. Kelsay is not a pass rusher by trade. He’s said it himself. He’s a well-rounded defensive end that when given an opportunity can log some sacks (see Week 16 vs. Denver last season). But his game is predicated on being good at everything. Not elite, but solid. His leadership both in his work ethic and what he says in that locker room carry weight as well.

The fans with whom I’ve spoke over the years that aren’t a big fan of Kelsay’s, almost all of them say he doesn’t get enough sacks. I’m confident the misperception of him as a pass rusher from the time he came to the team in 2003 is where a lot of this disappointment in his game is rooted.

3 - Hi Chris,               

It was fun getting updates on how the players are doing in the OTAs and being excited about the upcoming season.  One player I hadn’t heard anything about is Fendi Onobun.  How is he doing?  I thought it was great when we acquired him as there have been a number of athletic basketball players that have become really productive as tight ends.  Do you see him figuring into the Bill’s plans?  Thanks.

Cliff

CB: Onobun is an athletic talent no question about that. The problem is the game is still very new to him coming from a college basketball background. As a result the nuances of the game do not come naturally to him yet. The coaching staff is eager to work with him and develop him, but I would expect him to reside on the practice squad this fall.

4 - Whats up Chris?

Thanks for the weekly insight, but I have a two part question with us drafting T.J. for the other side for Stevie how is he looking so far? Does look like he will have a chance to start opening day? & last I know Stevie gave Stephon his props & corner was 1 of our weaknesses last yr, so how does Stephon & Aarron look so far & could either have shutdown capabilities?
Thanx Chris          

Draper Jackson Memphis,TN

CB: T.J. has definitely made progress. He made more plays in the passing game as OTAs came to a close and ran into spring minicamp. That being said I want to see how he handles things when the pads go on in training camp. It’s a different game against physical corners when the pads are on and closer to what Graham can expect out there on Sundays.

In fact Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore would out muscle him for the ball in the spring. Now that they’ll have a chance to work normal contact on him within five yards it’ll be interesting to see how he handles all of it. Training camp and preseason will tell us a lot about what to expect.

Williams and Gilmore looked very good in spring practices. I think those two will only benefit when the pads go on knowing both have a physical style to their play on the corner. It wouldn’t shock me if both wound up being the starting outside corners come Week 1.

5 - Chris,

Last season, I felt that the plays called in the Bills wildcat formation were predictable and unimaginative. Now that we have added a more talented QB in Vince Young to the wildcat formation, do you foresee the Bills using this package more often in ’12 and with Young in there do you predict that he will be throwing the ball more from that position as well. I don’t have the numbers but it seemed that Brad Smith’s arm was never utilized in the wildcat thus giving the Bills’ opponents a lame, predictable and ineffective offense. Will Young provide the wildcat offense with more plays throwing the ball. Chan seemed to have no confidence in Brad Smith’s ability to throw the football.

Thanks for your diligent and thorough coverage as we impatiently wait for this anticipated season to begin. 

William
Schenectady, NY

CB: The reason the Bills Wildcat package looked so limited last year was because the Bills could not sign free agents until a week before training camp. It prevented the Bills from fully incorporating Brad Smith’s talents into the offense because without spring practices like OTAs and training camp there was no forum to experiment with plays and effectively evaluate what he can and cannot do. Chan often lamented that fact during training camp.

Now with a full offseason Smith will again be the featured Wildcat QB and it’s my contention that he will throw more. Here’s a quote from quarterbacks coach David Lee for you to chew on regarding what they were trying to get out of OTAs and minicamp with respect to Smith’s capabilities.

“Every day the script for him is at the end of the OTAs determine what he does best,” said Lee. “What are Brad’s four best passes from empty? What are his four best passes with six-man protections? We’re trying to find out what he does best right now.”

Presuming they gathered that information in the spring practices the coaches will now install what they feel gives them the best chance for success in that package during training camp and make use of it with Smith at the right times during the season. Make no mistake, Smith is the Wildcat QB.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills players help in VY workout

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2012 – 10:27 am

During Wednesday morning’s Vince Young workout at One Bills Drive a handful of players on Buffalo’s roster ran routes for the free agent quarterback.

Wide receivers David Nelson, Donald Jones, Naaman Roosevelt and Marcus Easley all participated and caught passes from Young.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Big play Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2012 – 11:21 am

With the new statistical measure ‘toxic differential’ gaining popularity in determining an NFL team’s success, we thought we’d take a closer look as to just what players were providing the big plays for the Bills this past season.

There are some obvious candidates, but here are the players that turned in all of the 20-plus yard plays in the run and pass game for Buffalo in 2011.

Players with plays of 20 yards or more in 2011
1 . Fred Jackson (18)
2. Stevie Johnson (13)
3. David Nelson (7)
4. Naaman Roosevelt (7)
5. C.J. Spiller (6)
6. Scott Chandler (4)
7. Brad Smith (3)
8. Donald Jones (2)
9. Derek Hagan (2)
10. Kevin Brock (1)
11. Ruvell Martin (1)

It’s not surprising that Jackson had the most 20-plus yard plays on the season. Even though he only appeared in 11 games in 2011 he still seemed to have at least one big play every time out. Perhaps the most impressive though is Naaman Roosevelt, who probably had significantly fewer snaps than Scott Chandler, David Nelson and C.J. Spiller. Yet Roosevelt was tied for third most plays of 20+ yards.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin, Roosevelt update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2011 – 12:39 pm

Leodis McKelvin and Naaman Roosevelt both practiced again on Friday and are expected to play Sunday against the Titans.

Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed after Friday’s practice that both players would be listed as probable for the game.


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Leodis, Naaman good shot for Sun.

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2011 – 4:02 pm

Leodis McKelvin returned to the practice field on Thursday coming off a rib injury and Naaman Roosevelt practiced for a second straight day. It’s left head coach Chan Gailey optimistic about their chances of playing against the Titans Sunday.

“(Leodis) was limited and did a good job and it looks like both will be in good shape to play this week,” said Gailey.

McKelvin was injured when a Jets players speared him on a late hit following his recovery of a muffed punt. No flag was thrown on the play.

Roosevelt missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury, but practiced fully Thursday after being limited Wednesday.


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Roosevelt returns

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2011 – 2:10 pm

Bills WR Naaman Roosevelt has returned to the practice field here on Wednesday.

Roosevelt didn’t practice at all last week with a shoulder injury and missed the Jets game.

We’ll have the extent of his practice participation later this afternoon.


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Injury updates

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2011 – 4:11 pm

Here’s the latest on Buffalo’s injury list with a couple of players likely to get back in fray at practice this week.

George Wilson, who has missed each of the last two games with a neck stinger, is hoping to get back on the practice field late in the week.

“I don’t think he’ll make Wednesday but let us see how he’ll do Thursday to Friday to Saturday,” said head coach Chan Gailey.

Leodis McKelvin is expected to be fine after taking a shot to the ribs following his fumble recovery on the Jets muffed punt.

WR Naaman Roosevelt, who was inactive this past weekend with a shoulder injury, has a good chance to return to the lineup this week.

“He’s better,” said Gailey. “Naaman’s got a chance this week. His shoulder’s feeling a lot better. They’re going to look at him again (Tuesday)  and let me know about whether he can practice Wednesday or not. It may be Thursday, but there’s a possibility of getting him back Wednesday.


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George, Naaman update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2011 – 11:07 am

Its not looking good for George Wilson and Naaman Roosevelt for Sunday’s game.

Wilson and Roosevelt are not practicing again today. Neither player has practiced this week. Both are likely to be declared doubtful at best.

Wilson missed last week’s game as he still recovers from a neck stinger. Roosevelt is dealing with a shoulder injury.


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Nelson says he’ll practice Thurs.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2011 – 3:51 pm

David Nelson was one of three receivers not practicing Wednesday along with Stevie Johnson and Naaman Roosevelt. The good news is Nelson said he’ll be back on the practice field full go on Thursday.

“I’ll be back full go tomorrow,” said Nelson. “So I’ll be good to go. After the performance last week I’m very eager to get back on the field and get to work.”

Nelson was dealing with the stomach flu last week and had trouble keeping food down. He also took a big shot on the interception return for a touchdown on a pass that went off his hands. Nelson expanded on all that he was dealing with last week while still trying to play.

“It was a combination of things,” he said. “It was a rough week last week. I rolled my ankle a bit in the Dallas game. I had the stomach flu last Thursday. I didn’t eat for two or three days. I tried to come out and didn’t feel good before the game, then I got hit and it flared some things back up and I just couldn’t get right. The staff didn’t feel it was in my best interest to come back out in the second half and that was that. But I’ve got some food in the last couple of days and I’m back to feeling good again and being the player and person I was so it’s time to get back and make some plays.”


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Move needed at WR?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2011 – 4:39 pm

With only four healthy receivers and a sore Stevie Johnson, Buffalo’s coaching staff is taking a wait and see approach to addressing their receiving corps.

With Roscoe Parrish out  more “long term than short term” as head coach Chan Gailey put it, he’s still not committed to adding to the roster at the receiver position. That decision sounds as though it hinges on what they hear from doctors about Parrish’s ankle injury suffered Sunday.

“Let’s see how the reports go,” said Gailey. “He’s supposed to see some more people later this week. We’re going to look at all the possibilities. There are some good guys that we know that are available and if it looks like it’s more long term than short term with Roscoe then we may have to make a move. If it’s not as long term as we think then we may not. We may just wait and see.”

If the Bills choose to wait until later in the week and hear the prognosis or course of action for Parrish’s injury before making a move, if a move is needed it’ll likely be one of the team’s two practice squad receivers, Kamar Aiken or Naaman Roosevelt.

Roosevelt has more game experience having appeared in six games last season for Buffalo, but Stevie Johnson’s injury could play a factor in such a decision as well. Aiken at 6’2″ and 210 pounds is a true outside receiver, while Roosevelt is more a slot wideout, though he has lined up outside. Should Johnson need to be paced through games with his groin injury, Aiken could be a better fit knowing David Nelson is technically filling Parrish’s role already.


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Urbik, Parrish out indefinitely

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2011 – 4:31 pm

Sunday’s win for the Bills did not come without a price, RG Kraig Urbik and WR Roscoe Parrish are both out indefinitely after sustaining injuries against the Raiders.

“Kraig is going to be a few weeks and they’re re-evaluating Roscoe, but it’s going to be a while on Roscoe,” said Gailey. “Guys that we weren’t exactly planning on are going to have to come on and play.”

Urbik was replaced in the game by Chad Rinehart at right guard. Roscoe’s role was filled by David Nelson. With Parrish on the shelf for a while, Naaman Roosevelt figures to be a strong consideration for promotion to the active roster from the team’s practice squad.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-16

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2011 – 12:37 pm

Alright, Week 1 was a good one. Hopefully another ‘W’ Sunday for the home opener. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
Buddy and Chan often use the phrase “get bigger” can you explain what they mean football wise. They have let smaller sized players go. All their TE and OL seem to be tall strong blocking types. Aaron Williams is a big corner. Does they view this on ever position? How does big translate onto the field. Have big guys doesn’t mean they are great athletes or even good football players. I understand the 3-4 needs players with more bulk. Can you explain the football philosophy on both offense and defense?

CB: There really isn’t a whole lot of football philosophy here. It’s more physics if you want to know the truth. Mass times acceleration equals power (my physics teacher would be proud). Buffalo’s offensive and defensive lines lacked mass and thus power. Both Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey saw their men in the trenches getting pushed around way too much last season and felt they had to get bigger. They are now. Eric Wood is 20 pounds heavier than the departed Geoff Hangartner. Scott Chandler is 272 pounds.

Marcell Dareus is 35 pounds heavier than Marcus Stroud. Alex Carrington added 23 pounds of muscle to his frame and Torell Troup added 10 pounds of muscle. Kellen Heard goes 340. The linebacking corps is bigger as well. It’s all about holding up against the run on that side of the ball and you need guys that are big enough and talented enough to stand their ground. That’s really all it is.

 

2 - Hi Chris, just wanted to know if you know what Donald Jones’ time was in the 40-yard dash? Lee Evans was a burner, and if the Bills are hoping to replace Evans, they better hope that one of those young receivers can at least be a speedy as Evans was. If the Bills lack a vertical threat, the opposing defenses will not respect our passing game as much. I will look forward to hearing your answer. Tony, Daytona Beach, FL

CB: Coming out of college, Jones was clocked at 4.49 in the 40. That’s above average speed and a player like that is capable of making plays downfield. Eric Moulds ran a 4.51 coming out of Mississippi State, and you remember the downfield plays he made in his career with Buffalo. Evans ran a 4.41.

 

3 - Hey Chris,
What’s the deal with Ruvell Martin making the team who had maybe a week of exposure to the offense and Naaman Rosevelt who has had several years of exposure? I think Bills fans would like to know more about the particulars in choosing Ruvell Martin over Naaman Rosevelt.
Best,
Stephen A. Naetzker from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

CB: Truth be told, it was a bit of surprise to those of us that follow the team. Not because Ruvell isn’t capable, but because he had only been with the club a week. But head coach Chan Gailey said he was consistent in the time he was here, and sharp as a tack picking up the system. He’s also 6’4” and 212 pounds. So he does offer a bit more size than Naaman (6’0” 201).

Ultimately, I think what helped him most was his performance as a gunner on the punt coverage team. Yes, Naaman offers special teams ability as well, but mostly as a kick returner and Buffalo has kick returners in Brad Smith and C.J. Spiller. So Martin offers more on coverage teams, which is where they needed more help. I don’t know that it was the deciding factor, but it definitely played a role in the decision.

In any event Roosevelt is on the practice squad and I’d expect him to be a call up should there be a long term injury at receiver.

 

4 - Chris, How do some of the players with limited stats or star power like Robert Eddins, Donald Jones, Arthur Moats, Justin Rogers, David Nelson, Kamar Aiken, and Danny Batten hit the scouts radar screen. Only Nelson played at a big school. Since these guys don’t have high ceilings, combine stars but seem to be very motivated football players. Can you shed some light on how these guys separate themselves from “camp bodies” and how they are found.

Thanks!

Go Bills

CB: There are advance scouting services that NFL clubs participate in collectively like BLESTO. The scouts working for BLESTO (who also sometimes work for NFL clubs simultaneously), put together the initial work on the junior prospects the year before they enter their final collegiate season. The size of the school matters little. They scour the country and the big fish in the small ponds are found just as readily as the top talents at big programs. Once they’re on the radar it’s up to the individual NFL clubs to follow up and make their own assessments as to whether the prospect is worthy of draft consideration or consideration as an undrafted free agent signing.

 

5 - QB David Garrard has been released by the Jags. Is he a better option than Thigpen? Thanks, David W.

CB: I don’t see David Garrard interested in being a backup quarterback for an entire season. I think he’s looking to land somewhere, where the possibility of starting sooner rather than later is real, and Fitz is the entrenched starter in Buffalo.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Roosevelt signed to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2011 – 8:02 am

Buffalo native Naaman Roosevelt is back with his hometown team.

Roosevelt was signed to the Bills practice squad this morning (Wed.). The main reason why was when the Bills claimed OL Sam Young off waivers, thereby adding him to their 53-man roster, they released WR Ruvell Martin. That left the team with only five receivers on the active roster.

Buffalo has WR Kamar Aiken on the practice squad, but it seems as if the staff would like to have seven wideouts readily available among their 53-man roster and eight-player practice squad contingent. The subtraction of Martin led to the addition of Roosevelt.


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Players can only hope

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2011 – 6:57 am

When it comes down to roster decisions it lies in the hands of the Bills coaching staff. That’s what makes final cuts so nerve wracking for the players. They’ve hopefully done all they can on the field to make their case, but in the end they know it’s not up to them.

Bills WR Naaman Roosevelt explained what the players are usually doing come cut down day, which is today (Saturday).

“Hope for the best, pretty much,” said Roosevelt. “There’s not much we can do right now.  Hope for the best. It’s in God’s hands right now.  So just hope for the best, that’s pretty much it.”


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Fan Friday 9-2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2011 – 10:30 am

I can smell the season opener!  Can’t wait for the Bills to try to exact some revenge on the Chiefs after that horrible overtime game last year. Final cuts are coming on Saturday. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - I was wondering how you see the defensive rotation going forward.  I think both Dareus and Kyle Williams are going to get heavy exposure, but who will be manning the other side? Will that spot still be open comeptition? Where do you see Alex Carington fitting in, and do the coaches think he is ready for a more full-time role?

Thanks again,
Ryan V, Rochester
CB: Carrington will have a bigger role this year, but it will be as more of a pass rushing linebacker in their nickel package, where he’s made some plays this preseason. He will also factor in on some subpackage duty at his more traditional defensive end role.

As far as that starting DE position on the right side, it’s Dwan Edwards’ spot to lose and fellow veteran Spencer Johnson has been pushing him with a strong preseason in his own right. I think Edwards and Johnson both did well this summer and it’ll be up to the coaches to decide who they feel should be the starter.

 

2 - Chris,
How are we in terms of offensive line depth? I’ve read that after the starters it’s a bit thin & even at least one of our tackles might be average at best. What’s your take?
John H.

CB: I can tell you that even Chan Gailey has said they have no depth, and that they need to develop it in the youth they have on their roster. I think the odds on favorite to be Buffalo’s swing tackle is fourth-round pick Chris Hairston.

He played both left and right tackle in the last preseason game against Jacksonville and did okay for his first game action, having missed the first two preseason games. He’s still got some work to do with his technique, but he’s got experience at left tackle having played there a couple of years in college and is a smart, heady player. The coaching staff clearly likes his potential, so it’ll be down to guys like him, Ed Wang and Cordaro Howard to represent the tackle depth on this roster.

 

3 - Assuming Byrd is starting at one safety spot, who is the front runner for the other spot? George Wilson? Also, what was the main reason the Bills did not re-sign Whitner? It seems that Searcy is a similar player to Whitner, does that explain his drafting and the letting go of Whit?

Seems as if Naaman is playing well in camp so far, does he have any chance of sneaking into a top 4 receiver spot? 

Thanks,
Dave
Buffalo, NY

CB: Lot of questions there. Yes, George Wilson is the starting SS and I don’t see that changing between now and the opener at KC. With Whitner it was a case of him asking for the moon in terms of money and secondly burning some bridges here with the organization. Cleaning out everything from his locker right after exit meetings did not go over well. He wasn’t even on hand for reporters for locker clean out day. I think the Bills already made their decision on him, which in part likely prompted the drafting of Da’Norris Searcy. Searcy however, is a much stouter player than Whitner as he goes about 223 pounds. Whitner was 206.

Roosevelt did have a solid camp before his ankle injury in the Denver game. I’m pretty confident he makes the roster.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

I am curious about Brad Smith and where he is lining up when he’s not at QB. Is he going to push for the 3rd or 4th Reciever role? or is he mainly a kick returner/ wildcat QB? 

Frank from Jupiter, Florida

CB: I don’t believe that Brad Smith will be full time in any one position. I think he’ll be a slash role player just like Kordell Stewart was. He’ll line up at QB in short yardage situations and Wildcat formations and he’ll split out at WR on occasion and also take part in kickoffs, though this new kickoff rule might render that moot with all the touchbacks we’ve seen. Where do I see him lining up the most? At QB this season.

 

5 - Chris, 

Thanks for the updates in camp. Who do you think will make the roster of the TE’s in camp? Chandler seems to be the favorite and has caught a lot of balls with the 1st team. Nelson is hurt again. The player that has looked good is Mike Caussin. He seems to maybe be a downfield TE. How many TE’s will make the roster? Will they keep a practice squad player or maybe have 4 TE on the roster. 

Thanks 
Sophie

CB: Glad you enjoyed our camp coverage. I see the Bills keeping three tight ends. Scott Chandler and veteran David Martin I think are safe bets, but after that it’s the coach’s call in terms of who they like better. Shawn Nelson’s injury hasn’t helped him and yes, Mike Caussin has performed well. Rookie Zack Pianalto has also turned in some nice play at times. Caussin and Pianalto are both practice squad eligible, but I think it’s going to be very close for that third spot.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR decisions won’t be easy

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2011 – 7:45 am

The wide receiving is steeped in talent, which is a good thing. What isn’t good is the likelihood that the Bills may have to part ways with a receiver capable of playing in the NFL.

Naaman Roosevelt, who did not make the 53-man roster coming out of camp, was on the team’s practice squad as a rookie before being called up for the final six games last season. He knows how stiff the competition is at the position.

“It’s good competition,” he said. “It makes you work harder and gets you better.  I definitely think all around, from all of the receivers, they’re definitely great receivers.  It’s definitely going to be hard, and we’ll definitely compete just to make the team, so that’s all I’m trying to do is compete.”

Roosevelt is not expected to play in the preseason finale due to an ankle injury suffered against Denver.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Naaman to miss rest of preseason

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2011 – 5:24 pm

Bills WR Naaman Roosevelt looks as though he’s not going to be available for the last two preseason games.

Roosevelt, who has been one of the most consistent players in camp, suffered an ankle sprain in the Denver game.

“He got that ankle rolled up and it’s going to be a couple of weeks with him,” said head coach Chan Gailey.

That would rule him out for not only Saturday’s preseason home opener against Jacksonville, but also the preseason finale the following Thursday against Detroit.


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Posted in Inside the Bills