Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-27

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2015 – 1:03 pm

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks Bills fans. Let’s get to what’s on your mind with your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Given the #Bills have only 6 picks N 2 in the top 150 how aggressive should we expect them to be in Undrafted Free agency?

vicious155

CB: I don’t expect the Bills to be especially aggressive in undrafted free agency. Here’s why. The roster is probably as deep as it has been in 10 years. There’s a good chance some of their late round draft choices do not even make the 53-man roster, let alone any undrafted rookie free agent signings.

That being said I believe they will sign a handful of college free agents, but unless some unexpected prospect goes undrafted and slips into the undrafted pool I don’t expect the Bills to go crazy once the draft is over.

 

2 – Chris,

I think Doug Whaley is a very good GM, but sometimes I wonder if he said what he really meant to. A question I had on the press conference he had a little while ago.

He said we would be a run heavy, play great D team until we had a franchise QB. That sounded like he was saying that EJ Manuel was not that guy. If he is saying that they no longer have faith in him. That would be new information.

CB:  I think your assumption is a bit misguided. What Whaley said about the offensive approach is accurate. What he also said about a franchise quarterback is also accurate. After 14 NFL starts he, along with everyone else, doesn’t know if EJ Manuel can be the team’s franchise quarterback. It’s not enough of a sample size to know for certain.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe Manuel could become a franchise QB. Here’s a good comment from Whaley to peg where he and the team stands on EJ heading into 2015 when he was asked about Manuel heading into his third year.

“A guy that has had some ups and some downs and a guy that knows that he has to produce,” Whaley said. “He’s excited. We’ve talked to him. He knows that this is a crucial year for him. He knows he has to step his game up to be consistent. We’ve seen flashes of good things. We’ve seen flashes of some things that he needs to improve on. We know he’s going to put in the work to be the best player he can be.”

 

So by having all this new offensive talent around the quarterbacks and a top five defense, not to mention solid special teams, the quarterback doesn’t have to be franchise caliber right now. If Manuel can win the job and develop into a franchise signal caller in a year or two, then all the better.

 

3 – Chris,

Do you see Randell Johnson as a player on the rise that might fit Rex’s defensive system? He’s raw and a good athlete from what I remember. With Rivers gone and Spikes up in the air, could Johnson see more of a presence on defense? He seems like a good fit on the outside as a pass rusher in 3-4 system.

CB: I don’t think Brandon Spikes’ future impacts Johnson because they have different roles. Johnson at this point is going to be serving as a depth player at LB behind guys like Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes, depending on how the defensive staff chooses to line him up.

Johnson’s length is an asset in a Rex Ryan scheme at OLB. What also helps him is he has some experience from his college days as an outside rusher at Florida Atlantic. I just think it’ll be hard for him to get on the field on defense with all the veteran talent in front of him.

 

4 – Chris,

What do you think of Brandon Bridge as raw QB? Has the arm, body, and speed but its truly developmental. I know all the throws aren’t there yet but he has giant arm? With Roman’s work with Colin, do you seen him as maybe the best fit for the Bills in the draft?

CB: You’re right he is a developmental prospect all the way. He has a lot of the physical tools that NFL talent evaluators look for in a QB. The question is how long will it take? He’s only got 373 career pass attempts in college. He’s played in all of 20 collegiate games. And for his career he’s completed just over 50 percent of his passes. To say he’s green would be an understatement. I’d be wary of a quarterback who needs to step it up as much as he does when it comes to ball location, completion percentage and reading defenses. You just don’t know what he is and is not capable of, so he’s a difficult projection. I’d be surprised if he goes before the sixth round.

 

5 – Hey Chris,
I enjoy all the coverage you and the team provide throughout the year for bills fans everywhere.

With the best player available draft process that seems to be what all the perennial contenders use, does need play into the equation at all?

Thanks again for all your great coverage.

Justin from Eden
Transplanted to Lynchburg Virginia

CB: Yes, need does play into the equation. As Doug Whaley and many other GMs have said before you go with best player on the board, but if there are a couple of prospects on your board closely ranked and one is at a position of need, in that instance you would lean toward your positional need.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-20

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2015 – 11:14 am

Another busy week of free agency for the Bills. We’ll obviously know more on Charles Clay soon. For now your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are we looking at a WR1 with Harvin? Watkins WR2. Woods WR3. Harvin, starting combo? Are they looking to add another WR through draft?

killerbeekevin

CB: I still think Sammy Watkins remains the number one option in Buffalo’s passing game despite the signing of Percy Harvin. Harvin is probably the number two receiver outside in light of the money invested in him. The Harvin acquisition was done to discourage defenses from doubling Watkins.

Woods and Hogan probably work out of the slot more. If Clay becomes Bills property he works the seams and the flats underneath.

As for drafting a receiver, I think that’s one position you can cross off the list unless some phenomenal talent slips to them that wasn’t expected. The reason why is looking at Buffalo’s depth chart right now your top five wideouts look like this.

Watkins
Harvin
Woods
Hogan
Easley – for special teams

After that you’ve got Goodwin, Thigpen, Brown, Holley, Thompson and Palmer. Do the Bills keep six receivers this year? Knowing they will be carrying a fullback and need numbers at tight end for Greg Roman’s offense I don’t think seeing six receivers on Buffalo’s 53-man roster is as likely as it was under the previous coaching staff.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

ummm can I just throw this out there? Philip Rivers. Buffalo Bill?

nschirra8

CB: You’re welcome to throw it out there. Yes, Rivers’ contract is up after the 2015 season, and he has said he has little incentive to sign an extension with San Diego. His lack of interest stems from the prospect of the Chargers possibly moving to Los Angeles as they’re currently operating under a year-to-year lease in San Diego.

If he’s not open to negotiating an extension, the Chargers can make use of the franchise tag, which would present San Diego with a cap hit of more than $20M. He’ll be 34-years old in 2016.

Chargers GM Tom Telesco said he has every intention of keeping Rivers a Charger moving forward. So I don’t see him going anywhere unless some phenom quarterback prospect falls in San Diego’s lap.

 

3 – Chris,
Chris, I’ve seen at least on draft site list LT as a major priority for the Bills. Is there any discussion of moving Cordy Glenn to G?

CB: I think offensive tackle is a distinct possibility in the draft for Buffalo, especially with how they’ve addressed some of their other perceived positional needs like tight end and running back in free agency, though I could see a back or tight end taken somewhere on day three.

Offensive line (tackle or guard) and linebacker are probably the two most pressing positional needs. As for the future position for Cordy Glenn, guard was raised as a possibility under the previous coaching staff.

I think the likelihood of that resurfacing as a possibility hinges on one thing, how much they address the tackle position between now and training camp.

Right now they have just three true offensive tackles on their roster in Glenn, Henderson and Kouandjio. If they draft one on day two they’ll have four and even then I don’t know that they consider such a move for Glenn.

Is it possible? There’s always a chance, especially with a new coaching staff. Is it likely? I don’t think so, based primarily on numbers at the position.

 

4 – Chris,

I don’t understand why people are saying that the Bills need to draft a running back?
Especially not with a high draft pick when there are more pressing needs on the offensive line. Aren’t Fred Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon enough?
LeeD

CB: I think the running back need has been reduced, but I’m not opposed to the Bills drafting one late. Here’s why. Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown are both entering the final year of their contracts. Sure it’s possible one might re-sign, but I doubt that both do.

What’s wrong with using a day three pick on a running back that you feel has a chance to push for a roster spot who might surprise you? Late round backs are finding more and more NFL jobs on 53-man rosters than at most other positions. Worse comes to worse you might be able to sneak such a back onto your practice squad, and have someone in reserve who knows the system should a rash of injuries strike.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Great job keeping all these Bills fans way out here in the Pacific Northwest in the know when it comes to our Bills!

My question is looking back one more time at last season. What in the world happened to Mike Williams? He seemed to be developing into that deep middle guy and goal line end zone threat. If I’m not mistaken wasn’t his last catch an 80-yard bomb from E.J. Manuel at the tail end of that heartbreaking loss to Houston? Why did he fall off so quickly in favor of Chris Hogan?

Glenn

CB: Mike Williams’ issues stemmed from his lack of reliability in executing his assignments on offense. Whether it was in practice or in games Kyle Orton made it pretty clear that he didn’t feel he could trust him. Chris Hogan was the complete opposite. He was a reliable player that didn’t have many miscues when it came to executing assignments.

Now Hogan’s emergence wasn’t solely due to Williams’ less than ideal professionalism. I believe he would have moved past Williams in the lineup at some point last season. Williams’ indifference to putting in extra time with the new quarterback in the lineup effective Week 5 just accelerated that process.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-13

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2015 – 11:44 am

Happy Friday the 13th everybody. It’s been a busy week Bills fans so let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Thank you for all of the work you do for the bills it’s great. I was wondering if the bills were interested in signing guard mike lupati from the 49ers. I don’t know if the 49ers will resign him, but he would be a great fit for the bills. He is one of the top guards in the league and could come to the same offense he’s been in with Greg Roman.

Thank you,
Max

CB: I never got the sense that the Bills had much interest in Mike Iupati. In fact I think their initial plan was to pursue free agent offensive tackles over guards. With a player like Bryan Bulaga now re-signed in Green Bay I suppose the focus could shift to guard. Of course the top guards are already locked up now too.

Where the Bills go to improve their offensive line will certainly be interesting knowing their options on the free agent market are certainly reduced.

 

2 – Chris,

A very good candidate to keep an eye on in the draft is Bo Wallace from Ole Miss, 6’4″, 217 lbs, awesome talent. What do you all think of the Bills chance of bringing him in and taking a long, serious look at him? Might be able to trade up to get him. Let’s hope the Bills include him in their prospects. Maybe you could buzz up the Bills brass and put a “bug in their ear”.

Thanks for your time.
IRT

CB: I don’t envision the Bills spending a draft choice on a quarterback now that they’ve got four on the roster, unless some prospect slips to them in some of the middle rounds that they can’t pass on. Buffalo’s willingness to trade for a veteran QB like Cassel and add a younger QB like Tyrod Taylor to go with EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel it’s hard to think they’d add a fifth.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

I was wondering about Marqueis Gray and what you might know about the new staff’s possible opinion of him. If I remember correctly, he proved to be a very athletic and versatile player. I recall seeing him line up as a tight end, h-back, fullback, and even from various receiver positions. I think a player like him, with such great versatility and decent skills at everything could be a great asset to the bills. And Greg roman has been known to covet versatile guys. What are your thoughts?

Billsmafia for life!
Tommy from Pittsford

CB: It’s hard to know just what the new Bills offensive staff thinks of Marqueis Gray, but what is working in his favor is his versatility. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman covets versatility in his tight ends and Gray is an athlete who can provide that. I think he’ll be given every opportunity to earn a role that will contribute weekly.

 

4 – Chris,

According to Wikipedia the Bills have Tampa Bay’s pick -the 1st pick in round# 5 of the 2015 NFL Draft. Why is that? I dont recall any deal with Tampa Bay other than the one for Mike Williams. BTW I dont see any compensation (6th round pick?) going to Tampa Bay from Buffalo for Williams?

Thanks
LeeD

CB: The Bills swung a trade with the Buccaneers on day 3 of the NFL draft last year. Buffalo gave Tampa their fifth-round pick in exchange for Tampa’s seventh-round pick in last year’s draft, and Buffalo also got Tampa’s fifth-round pick this year (2015). But Buffalo doesn’t have that pick anymore. They sent it to Minnesota in the Matt Cassel trade.

 

5 – Chris:

With a new coaching staff, does the league allow additional practice time,  OTAs for the Bills?  Also, Chris Williams was placed on injured reserve with a back injury.  Was their surgery to correct this condition and/or what is his current physical condition?

Conrad in Elma

CB: Yes, new coaching staffs get the benefit of an additional set of practices to implement their schemes to their new players. So Buffalo will get that extra set of spring workouts, presumably sometime in April.

As for Chris Williams’ back I do not know if surgery was required for his back condition. I do know that he has had back surgery in his past. In his rookie year he needed surgery to take care of a herniated disc. We’ll know more when the players show up next month for the offseason conditioning program.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-26

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2014 – 11:43 am

The end goal of the playoffs unfortunately did not come to fruition this season, but the support of the Bills fans never wavered. One more game up in New England this week. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
I think the reason Buffalo cannot win is because they don’t have a franchise quarterback. The reason they don’t have a franchise quarterback is because of how quickly the head coach and the entire staff get fired. There is no way a quarterback will develop if the system changes continually. There are very good examples of this and I will give one … Peyton Manning.  Peyton Manning managed only two wins his first year yet the management and fan base stuck with him. Why won’t buffalo bills fan base back a quarter back other than Jim Kelly?

Michael from Nebraska

CB: Your points are very valid. This is the value of continuity that I believe team president Russ Brandon was getting at in a radio interview recently. Constant change over the past 15 years (6 head coaches hired, 9 offensive coordinators, 7 defensive coordinators) has unquestionably compromised the development of young talent on the roster because the approach and philosophy of coaches obviously differs.

J.P. Losman may never have been a great quarterback, but having three different offensive coordinators in his five years with the team greatly impacted his improvement as a player. There’s no debating that changing systems requires a period of adjustment for all players. There’s also a period of adjustment for new coaches, who must learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the talent they inherit.

That’s why the dominance of the Patriots in the AFC East has persisted for so long. It’s not only because they’ve been able to enjoy continuity under Bill Belichick, but their success is also the byproduct of a lack of continuity with the rest of the division. The Jets, Dolphins and Bills have all had a good deal of head coaching and coordinator turnover since2000 with New York expected to see more this offseason.

Change can be good for the clubs that choose that course, but the odds are even better that New England will benefit as a result of that change within their division.

 

2 – Hey Chris,
Everyone seems to be singling out the QB play, but personally I don’t think that’s the main issue right now; it’s just the easiest to blame. When I watch Orton, I see a pocket passer who makes probably about 7 or 8 out of 10 throws to open receivers when he’s protected. The problem is we can’t run the ball, so the defense tees off on him when he drops back to pass and that further exasperates our horrible pass protection.

That’s why we can’t make plays down the field, because there isn’t the time to let the play develop.  Every time I see Orton try to wait for a receiver to come open down the field he has to throw it early, and he’s usually still taking a pretty good hit, so it’s not like he’s throwing it earlier than he has to. Also our receivers have struggled to get open quite a bit this year; I imagine a running game would help with play action, which would help our receivers and O-line.

People seem to forget the super bowl quickly, as great as Peyton Manning is, even he couldn’t win without a running game and pass protection.  The plan by this regime was originally to be a dominate run team that plays defense.  And I think Orton is a good enough QB to execute that.  Just look at his stats after 9 games.  To me it shows that he’s capable of passing for around 25 td’s, 12-14 int’s, and around 4,000 yards.  If we can run the ball and play defense that is good enough to win.  With improved o-line play he might even be able to do better than that.

CB: I don’t disagree with some of the points you make here. I do think however, there have been instances where with time to throw, Orton has simple been inaccurate. Against the Raiders there were two plays on the same drive where Orton missed Hogan running an underneath checkdown route when he stepped up in the pocket. He also missed Watkins on a deep out route with clear separation when he was not under duress.

Obviously all quarterbacks miss throws, but his misses are magnified because the margin for error for this offense is smaller than most. That’s because, as you point out, the run game has fallen on hard times this season. If Buffalo still had the number two rushing offense in the league this season, as they had last year, I believe the Bills would be a playoff team right now.

Unfortunately balance has been sorely absent in Buffalo’s offense more than anything else. The last time the Bills had true balance in their offense was against the Jets in Detroit when they won 38-3. Even when they attempted to have balance in Week 15 against Green Bay, though there wasn’t a great deal of production they were still effective enough to get a win with their strong defense.

When the Bills don’t have balance on offense they do run into a lot of the problems you mention. And since those other elements of their offense are just average, when they’re depended upon to solve the offensive problems, they usually come up short on that side of the ball. And that leads to a lack of points and unless you’re close to averaging 23-24 points per game it’s unlikely you’re going to win more than you lose in the NFL.

 

3 – Chris,
When the Bills had to play New York Jets in Detroit and free tickets were given out, is the lost in revenue be distributed or totally absorbed by one or two teams?

C.J. Wong

CB: The Bills, along with most other NFL clubs, has what’s called business interruption insurance. That covers the cost of any financial or revenue losses incurred by having to relocate the Week 12 home game against the Jets to Detroit.

The split of the gate revenue lost for that home game will likely remain the same (60-40). How insurance will determine the revenue lost will likely be based on the number of tickets sold leading up to the game along with a few other estimated variables.

 

4 – Chris,

Regarding the college draft for the Bills organization, how is the player evaluated? Who makes the final decision on the draft? The Bills has to be congratulated for great finds like Kiko Alonso and Preston
Brown. The skill of Marcell Dareus and Sammy Watkins is public knowledge before the draft. How can we avoid the annual blunders, namely T.J. Graham in 2012, E.J. Manuel in 2013 and Cyrus Kouandjio in 2014? E.J. has great disposition. His shortcoming in precision, judgment and often exposes his receivers for big hit is worrisome. I wish him nothing but the best.

Thanks,

CW

CB: Concerning the college draft GM Doug Whaley makes the final call on a draft choice.

Avoiding draft misses like Graham can’t be completely avoided. There are simply too many variables to successfully navigate a team clear of such picks.

Far beyond, height, weight, speed, character and on field disposition are things that no one can truly measure like how a college player’s game will translate to the NFL.

A perfect example is former Bills WR Josh Reed. At LSU Reed AVERAGED 145 receiving yards a game in an era of college football that hadn’t quite exploded into a wide open spread game with inflated numbers. He was the Biletnikoff winner (award for nation’s best college WR) and when the Bills drafted him in round two back in 2002 he was considered one of the steals of the draft.

We all know how that turned out.

Statistical studies have shown that if a team can hit on 40 percent of their draft choices they are doing very, very well. And most NFL clubs don’t even reach that success rate.

I also think it’s premature to call EJ Manuel or Cyrus Kouandjio draft blunders. High draft choices admittedly come with high expectations, right or wrong, but patience with such talent can often be rewarded.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I have a question with regards to offensive creativity.  I feel that the Bills offense is incredibly bland when looking at other teams.  Obviously we will never be the Patriots but when you watch them they go five wide and other times put Edelman in motion all over to create matchups and get separation.  Sammy stays in one spot every time.  We also currently have NO play action.

I feel Orton needs to get under center and create some play action or something – we’re TERRIBLE running the ball out of shotgun.  I understand the slower tempo but where is the imagination and slant routes and deep middle crosses??

I feel like I’m watching Dick Jauron’s offense and our players are so much better now it’s just so frustrating.  I’m also interested in your take on our offensive line coach who no one talks about.  Our O line is regressing due to scheme and technique and I thought this was a questionable hire initially and I think we would do well with some new blood there.

It still is beyond me that we can have a kickoff specialist who can’t kick the ball out of the end zone in DENVER and we leave Mike Williams off roster and have no five wide formations.  Count me in as one who thinks Marrone’s offense is better suited for college than the pros.

Sincerely,

Chris P.

CB: It’s my belief that a lot of the limitations we’ve seen in terms of play calling are rooted in what the coaching staff believes, or doesn’t believe, the unit is capable of executing on a consistent basis. With the struggles of the run game this season to execute effectively, the balance of the offense which is designed to play off a productive run game have been largely compromised as mentioned above.

You can’t have play action if you have a run game that is not producing. If a defense can stop your run game with seven defenders, play action doesn’t draw that safety up into the box to stop the run and leave the secondary with one fewer defender.

I respect the frustration, but with a young receiving corps with no one with more than a couple of NFL seasons under their belt I think the staff is hesitant to expand the scope of the offense for fear of sacrificing what consistency they believe they have.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

The recent history at right tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 12:01 pm

As we covered in the first installment of our ‘On the Clock’ series driven by Michelin and Dunn Tire, ‘Rise of the Right Tackle’ there were several top tackle draft choices, who began their career playing right tackle instead of the more anticipated left tackle position. From 2007-2013 here is a look at the offensive tackles taken in rounds one and two and where they lined up to start their careers.

2007 Rd. 1&2
3 Cleveland Browns – Joe Thomas – whole career at LT
5 Arizona Cardinals – Levi Brown – first year at RT then LT
28 San Francisco 49ers – Joe Staley – first year at RT then LT
42 Indianapolis Colts – Tony Ugoh – LT then out of league

2008 Rd. 1&2
1 Miami Dolphins – Jake Long – whole career at LT
12 Denver Broncos- Ryan Clady – whole career at LT
14 Chicago Bears – Chris Williams – LT then RT & G
15 Kansas City Chiefs – Branden Albert – whole career at LT
17 Detroit Lions – Gosder Cherilus – whole career at RT
19 Carolina Panthers – Jeff Otah – RT then out of league
21 Atlanta Falcons – Sam Baker – whole career at LT
26 Houston Texans – Duane Brown – whole career at LT

2009 Rd. 1&2
2 St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith – whole career at RT
6 Cincinnati Bengals – Andre Smith – whole career at RT
8 Jacksonville Jaguars – Eugene Monroe – whole career at LT
23 Baltimore Ravens – Michael Oher – RT first year, then has flipped back and forth
39 Jacksonville Jaguars – Eben Britton – RT first two years then G
54 Minnesota Vikings – Phil Loadholt – RT whole career
58 New England Patriots – Sebastian Vollmer – LT first year then RT
60 New York Giants – William Beatty – LT whole career

2010 Rd.1&2
4 Washington Redskins – Trent Williams – whole career at LT
6 Seattle Seahawks – Russell Okung – whole career at LT
11 San Francisco 49ers – Anthony Davis – whole career at RT
23 Green Bay Packers – Bryan Bulaga – whole career at RT
33 St. Louis Rams – Rodger Saffold – LT for most of career
64 New Orleans Saints – Charles Brown – RT first three years now LT

2011 Rd 1&2
9 Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith – whole career at LT
17 New England Patriots – Nate Solder – RT first year, now LT
22 Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Castonzo – whole career at LT
25 Seattle Seahawks – James Carpenter – RT first year now G
29 Chicago Bears – Gabe Carimi – RT now G
32 Green Bay Packers – Derek Sherrod – RT whole career
46 Denver Broncos –  Orlando Franklin – RT whole career
63 Pittsburgh Steelers – Marcus Gilbert – RT whole career

2012 Rds. 1 & 2
4 Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil – whole career at LT
23 Detroit Lions – Riley Reiff – whole career at LT
37 Cleveland Browns – Mitchell Schwartz – whole career at RT
41 Buffalo Bills – Cordy Glenn – whole career at LT
42 Miami Dolphins – Jonathan Martin – RT first year then LT
56 Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Adams – RT first year then LT

2013 Rds 1&2
1 Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Fisher – RT first year, now likely LT
2 Jacksonville Jaguars – Luke Joeckel – RT first year, now LT
4 Philadelphia Eagles – Lane Johnson – RT
11 San Diego Chargers – D.J. Fluker – RT
19 New York Giants – Justin Pugh – RT
42 Oakland Raiders – Menelik Watson – RT first year, up in the air for 2014


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-15

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2013 – 1:11 pm

Bills need to put an end to a three-game losing streak. A win over the Jets would be a good way to go into the bye. Here is your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris:

The Bills did not seem to be using Fred Jackson and CJ spiller in the game at the same time very much when they were both healthy this season.  Do you think we will ever see them utilized in a pro set or veer formation?  I just could see that as a great asset to utilize in a fast paced offence.

Thanks,
Chris

CB: Through the first 10 games I’ve got the Bills using their split back formation with Fred and C.J. on just four plays this season. They used it against the Jets in the first meeting in Week 3, so perhaps it’s rolled out again on Sunday.

As for a veer offense, coach Marrone has gone on record saying that’s not something they would do here in Buffalo.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

I  love your articles! With analytics being the buzz did anyone at the bills analyze how how many times we ran the ball between the tackles this year and got less than 4 yards a carry? Not end sweeps.

Thanks,
45 year bills fan

CB: I can’t tell you how many rushes specifically went for less than four yards, but I can tell you after 10 games where the gains have been the most successful to this point this year.

Run direction     Avg. gain              NFL Rank             Total rushes
Left  end              5.9                          11th                         20
Left tackle           4.38                        12th                         37
Left guard           3.89                        14th                         54
Center                  5.21                        7th                           103
Right guard         3.96                        11th                         52
Right tackle         3.61                        21st                         36
Right end             5.71                        9th                           14

3 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for everything you do keeping us fans informed!  I wanted to ask

Depending on how EJ plays down the stretch, and depending on where the Bills are drafting next year, do you think there’s ANY chance the Bills consider taking a QB in the first round next year to compete with EJ?  Or do you think EJ gets 2-3 years before another QB is considered?  (I think it’s too early to tell what the Bills have in EJ yet, but there seem to be some really good QBs in college this year, and this team seems to have all the pieces in place except (possibly) QB to make a serious run next year)

Also, do you think the Bills will consider doing any retooling at the WR position during the bye week?  They seem to have 3 talented WRs in Stevie, Woods, and Goodwin.  But Stevie’s production seems to have gone down since moving to the slot  and Graham hasn’t been impressive so far.  Goodwin seems to be faster and have better hands.

Adam

CB: I’m going to let coach Marrone handle this one. Here’s what he said concerning their investment in EJ. Here’s what coach said about Manuel this week.

“He needs to be out there.  The more he’s out there, the better he’s getting.  Also, I want to make sure everyone understands, I truly believe in this quarterback.

“He’s shown that he can do it.  He’s shown that he progresses during the course of the year, and during each and every play and each and every game.  When I go back and look at it, I see him getting better as the game goes on.  And I think that’s what you see with a young quarterback.

“If we want to sit here, and I say we, it’s all of us now, and we see this young guy, we’ve got to be able to say let’s let this guy develop and let’s go, and he’s going to get better each week.

“As far as his work ethic and how he goes about the game and all those other things, he’s outstanding.  The respect that he has from his teammates is outstanding.  When does it ever come to the point where you are that person, you are that guy, how long does it have to be?  You’ve got to win. You’ve got to consistently win.  A lot gets put on his plate for that, but a lot of the rest of us, including myself and the coaches, we’ve all got to do our part and we’ve all got to play well around him to be successful.”

 

4 – Chris,
I’ve noticed the Bills are lacking a big ‘go up and get it’ WR. Why has Easley seen so few offense snaps? I’ve seen him make great plays on special teams. Why don’t they try him more in the offense. He’s more physical than Graham and Goodwin. He’s still raw but they aren’t giving him the chance to see the field as WR.

Josh

CB: You’re right that Buffalo does not have a big-bodied, jump ball type of receiver, which is part of the reason they’ve had a problem in the red zone of late. They have Scott Chandler, who is a height mismatch, but need a receiver that can work the corners of the end zone on fades and jump balls.

Easley, even if he does not play much between the 20’s, could be part of the team’s red zone package knowing he’s a big 6’2” and 217 pounds. He should get some opportunities Sunday down there knowing Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods are out.

 

5 – I think Believe EJ Manuel would benefit greatly if the bills drafted a good young tight end prospect . Names Like Eric ebron North Carolina, Jace amaro Texas tech, and Austin seferian Jenkins of Washington come to mind. If the bills do not draft a te in the top half of the draft do they look elsewhere for a good te prospect such as a basketball player type . UB’s Javon McCrea who has soft hands and a huge frame  comes to mind . Any Chance the bills are Looking at an option Like This ?

Thanks !

Dustin in Alden

CB: With all due respect I think you’re overlooking Chris Gragg, who finally got some measurable playing time on offense in Pittsburgh. I think he’ll also factor in on offense in the passing game this week with Woods and Johnson out.

Gragg is an athletic pass catcher, who just needs time on the job. He tore his ACL in college and still runs a 4.5 40-time. There’s potential there.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McShay has Bills draft class as hon. mention

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2013 – 10:09 am

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his Top 5 draft class list and though Buffalo did not make the top 5, they did get notable billing as well as some interesting comments related to EJ Manuel’s knee injury.

McShay ranked his top five as follows.
1. Detroit
2. Green Bay
3. NY Jets
4. Chicago
5. Carolina

Buffalo was listed in his honorable mention category. Here’s what McShay wrote.

Buffalo Bills: If EJ Manuel hadn’t gotten hurt and was able to lead the Bills to a couple of more wins, Buffalo could easily have the top-rated rookie class. But Bills fans still have to be pleased with the results. They could wind up with a starting QB, a pair of impact WRs in Robert Woods and Marquise Goodman and a star at LB in Kiko Alonso. A second-rounder, Alonso immediately emerged as a high-impact performer. His instincts, quickness, hands and high-revving motor all stand out on tape. Ultimately, the success of this class will depend upon Manuel’s durability and development.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-13

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2013 – 11:31 am

Week 2 on tap and a win is pretty much a must. Here are some of the more popular questions from you the fans this week. Keep the questions coming on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What are the chances Gilmore is back by the Thursday night game in Cleveland?

BarrieWinegard

CB: Gilmore has made good progress since his surgery on Aug. 26th for his fractured wrist. The cast is off and he’s just wearing an immobilizer brace at this point. But the pins are still in his wrist and there is a lot of rehabilitation in front of him. Head coach Doug Marrone said he felt Gilmore was on the short end of the six to eight week timetable provided from the outset. If he is then, six weeks would put him at Oct. 7th, with a return to practice probably taking place in Week 6 in advance of the Oct. 13th game against Cincinnati.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

You can only use the IR-Return once, on one player. Correct?

AaronTheH

CB: Yes, that is correct. The I-R designated to return can only be used once a season. At this point in the season if a player goes on injured reserve and the club wants to make him their designated to return player, it has to be declared as soon as he’s placed on I-R.

I thought the Bills might make use of the DTR tag on Ron Brooks this week, knowing he was the DTR player last season when he broke the same foot. But head coach Doug Marrone said they don’t believe his situation or that of Marquise Goodwin necessitates the use of the I-R DTR.

3 – Hi Chris,

Always like reading your material & watching your short videos. Keep ’em coming. As a transplanted Buffalo guy living in Reno, I can’t help but be curious about Duke Williams. He’s either been below the radar, or not showing much in preseason. Any observations/thoughts? I watched him play a bunch at Nevada, and was hoping he’d be able to make a go of it at the next level…

Hope the weather in WNY is treating you well. The only time I get nostalgic about it is the fall–leaves changing, and football.

Thanks,
Dan Matteson

CB: Duke has done well throughout the course of the offseason and typically ran with the second unit defense through the preseason. He got four snaps on defense in Week 1, but is going to be spending most of his time on special teams. He played 15 snaps there last week.

Moving forward he’s likely to see more time on defense in certain subpackages as the season wears on.

Say hi to the folks at Black Bear Diner in Reno. Best milkshake I’ve ever had! Thanks for the compliments.

4 – Chris

Thanks for all of the fine coverage of the Bills. From the outside looking in, the whole attitude of the team seemed the change when J. Byrd showed up, is he a poison in the locker room?

Going with the assumption that the quarterback is the most valuable piece on the chess board, do you believe it was a critical error for our former GM to not draft a quarterback somewhere in the first three rounds every year. If you hit on a few, more value at the most important position.

Lastly, even if Manuel plays well, should the Bills draft a quarterback in the 1st round in the upcoming draft.

Thanks for everything from Bills fans in Nevada.

Hank
Las Vegas

CB: I think your characterization of the locker room is a bit off the mark concerning Jairus Byrd’s arrival.

With respect to the philosophy of drafting a quarterback every year, I’m not opposed to it if you are a team with good quality depth at most positions where you can afford to spend a draft choice on a QB prospect every year. The Eagles have traditionally made a habit of this and have shrewdly traded some of those QBs for future draft choices in return (See: A.J. Feeley trade).

If Manuel pans out as most in the organization expect him to, I don’t believe drafting a quarterback in round one will happen. Not only because the team will already have their franchise signal caller, but also because they’re very pleased with who they have behind him in Jeff Tuel.

I don’t think you could completely rule it out, but I would say highly unlikely if Manuel’s career track shows good progress through the course of this season.

5 – Hi Chris,

It was noted that Jamal Westermann made the roster, however i know very little about this athlete. Can you provide a bit of information as to how he made the team.
Thanks & regards
from
Richard in Los Angeles
CB: He’s a fourth-year player that is wholly familiar with coach Pettine’s defensive scheme having played for him with the Jets in New York from 2009-2011. He’s an OLB by trade. Here’s a bit more on him when he initially signed in mid-August.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Draft experts have different job than GMs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on May 6, 2013 – 9:30 pm

He’s seen both sides of it now. Former Bills GM Bill Polian has run draft rooms, as the General Manager of the Bills, the Panthers and the Colts.

And for the last two years, Polian has covered the draft in his role as an NFL analyst for ESPN.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Monday night, the Bills Wall of Famer said he’s just come to the realization than the draft gurus on the air, like Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, and Mike Mayock, have a much different job than the team GMs in the draft rooms.

“When I was a general manager, I always used to think the analysts on television were as far off-base as it was possible to be,” Polian said. “But then, when I got to ESPN and I realized what Mel Kiper and Todd McShay do, what they’re doing is about 180-degrees opposite of what a general manager does.”

“As a GM, you’re just trying to pick the seven best players and then sign 7-10 collegiate free agents that you think are going to help your team. As the process gets closer to draft day, you have winnowed the board down to a very few players from a lot. Conversely, Mel and Todd and to a lesser degree, myself, because I had to know the players, we’re looking at everybody. That’s an almost impossible and incredibly large task. They do a great job of it.”

The entire interview with Bill Polian is available at Buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Posted in Inside the Bills

“It takes two to move in the draft”-Whaley

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 24, 2013 – 9:00 pm

The phone calls are likely to pick up in the next 24-hours. NFL teams will be checking with each other to gauge their interest in making a move in the draft.

Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley says moving up or down in the draft is a lot more complicated than deciding to move.

“Everybody says, ‘why don’t the Bills move down?’ Well, it takes two to move. And that’s something that you can never plan on and you can never predict,” Whaley said, in an appearance on The John Murphy Show.

“And some times, the phone is silent,” Whaley said. “Sometimes the phone is ringing off the hook. The way we go into it, is we always have a plan for picking the player, and we always have a plan for moving down, and how far we want to move down, before we get out of the range of a player who we think is going to upgrade us.”

Whaley said communication among teams will pick up in the next 24-hours. But most teams are not willing to show their cards to the other NFL clubs.

“They wouldn’t tell us what they want,” Whaley said, “but they would tell us more, ‘Hey, you’re ahead of us, we wouldn’t mind moving up. So contact us if you’re on the clock and you’re feeling that.’ Or, ‘Hey, we’re ahead of you guys and we wouldn’t mind moving down.’ They’re not going to sit there and say ‘we’re looking for this player or that player,’ but they will tell us if they have a feeling or propensity to move.”

The entire interview with Doug Whaley is available at Buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley-“Draft Board is set”-fine tuning is final step

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 24, 2013 – 8:30 pm

Less than 24-hours before the names start coming off the board, the Buffalo Bills are set. Assistant GM Doug Whaley says the Bills draft board has been set for the last day or so.

Whaley made the comments in an appearance Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show. He says the scouting staff has been working the last few days to fine tune the board before Thursday night’s first round.

“What we’ll do is take the total body of work,” Whaley said, “the resume from this guy from when we started this process last May, through the fall, through the all-star games and the combine, through the spring information from pro days and visits, and say, ‘From everything you’ve seen, how do you feel about this guy?’ That’s when we fine tune it, and that’s when we put a final grade on a guy.”

The goal, according to Whaley, is to have the board set up and all contingencies accounted for well ahead of the start of the first round.

“Everybody always asks me, is it hectic on draft day? And the answer is no,” Whaley told host John Murphy. “We’re well prepared and we have the board set for our top eight players. As the players get called, we start taking them off our board, and then it becomes our pick.”

“Usually, about one pick before us, we start looking at who’s up there. And there are usually those two or three guys that we thought were the best eight players up there. That’s when the discussion goes, which player out of these two or three guys will we go for.”

The entire interview with Doug Whaley is available at Buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Posted in Inside the Bills

E.J. Manuel wants to be first round pick

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 12, 2013 – 9:30 pm

Florida State QB E.J. Manuel has made a pretty steady climb on the pre-draft rating boards in the last few months. His performance the Senior Bowl, where he was the Offensive MVP of the game, got him started on the right foot this offseason.

And Manuel says his goal all along was to hear his name called in the first round of the NFL draft on April 25th. He made the comments Friday night in an appearance on The John Murphy Show.

“It is important to me,” Manuel said. “It’s one of the things you can be proud of, to say I was a first round pick in the NFL draft. But I know that’s not up to me. All I can really control is how I played in the Senior Bowl, how I looked in the combine, how I interviewed with coaches in the last three months. Those things, I’ve done well in the last three months.”

Manuel has been hovering around the first and second rounds of most mock draft for the last few weeks. But once he’s drafted, he wants to play as soon as possible. Radio Host John Murphy asked the FSU Seminole if he expects to start right away in the NFL.

“I think so,” he answered. “The biggest thing for me is earning the respect of my teammates and coaches. I think everything else will fall into place after that. Once you get guys to believe you can do it, that’s where the qualities of being a starter come from. You have to show you can do it first.”

The entire interview with Florida State QB E.J. Manuel is available at Buffalobills.com\johnmurphyshow


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mort on moving free agency: “Shame on them”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 27, 2013 – 4:00 pm

The idea came up at the NFL Scouting Combine last week–the plan to possibly move the NFL’s offseason timetable.

In an effort to get the NFL Draft into the important May Sweeps period for TV, the idea was floated to push back the major offseason events: the Scouting Combine would move to March,  Free Agency to April, and the Draft would be held in May.

Not a good idea, according to ESPN Senior NFL Analyst Chris Mortensen.

“Shame on them for just having the discussion,”  Mortensen said as the Scouting Combine wrapped up in Indianapolis.

“There’s never going to  be free agency in April.  It ain’t going to happen.  You gotta get union approval.  Why would they do that?  They’re already upset (the union) because it’s March 12th.”

Mortensen says the plan to move the draft back into May is more plausible and has been around for awhile.

“It’s been discussed about five or ten years to put the draft into May,” he said, “to that first week of May.  That’s only pushing it back about one week, that’s not a big deal.  But free agency will never happen in April.  They’ll never get union approval on that.”

Mortensen clearly was irritated that the league is considering moving its’ offseason dates without consulting with football departments.

“It would be nice to see some football people make these decisions, instead of the business and marketing people in this league, which is happening way too often,”  he said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills need QB who can “let it rip”-Mortensen

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 27, 2013 – 3:00 pm

There’s plenty to choose from in the NFL Draft Class this year, when it comes to quarterbacks.  And one of the top ESPN NFL analysts says when the Buffalo Bills look over the QB crop, they should look for a big, strong arm.

ESPN’s Senior NFL Analyst Chris Mortensen had that prescription for the Bills, and every other cold weather team, after the NFL Scouting Combine wrapped up this week in Indianapolis.

“What you need if you’re a cold weather team,” Mortensen said, “is somebody who’s got a big strong arm, big hands,  and somebody who can let it rip.”

The Bills have made no secret of their plans to add a quarterback through the draft.  But Mortensen says that does not necessarily mean they’ll pick a QB in the first round.

“To me, you can wait until the second round,” Mortensen said.  “I think Buddy Nix and Doug Whaley feel like we have to evaluate this position properly and correctly and then pick one and develop that guy.  We always think it should be in the first round.   But take John Dorsey, GM of the Chiefs, he was in Green Bay when they drafted Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick,  got Brett Favre in the second round, Matt Hasselbeck in the sixth round, Mark Brunell in the fifth round, and he signed Kurt Warner as an undrafted free agent.  You still have to evaluate that other group. It’s hard to just pick one.”

After watching the QB workouts at the combine over the weekend, Mortensen came away impressed with West Virginia’s man, Geno Smith.

“Geno Smith did very well here.  I was not surprised, but I did hear from some teams picking in the top ten-this guy helped himself.  Normally, you don’t hear that about  quarterbacks here, because quarterbacks generally cannot go up or down based on what they do here.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mortensen-time to focus on free agents

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 27, 2013 – 1:36 pm

Now that the NFL Scouting combine is history, the next order of business on the offseason calendar is free agency.  Tuesday, March 12th at 4pm is when the free agency period begins.  And ESPN”s Senior NFL Analyst, Chris Mortensen, says teams will have to mix their free agent evaluations into their draft evaluations.

“You’re  looking to put together a combination of free agency, your own free agents, other people’s free agents, and combine them with what you see here in the draft as you continue to evaluate these guys,” Mortensen said, as the annual Scouting Combine wrapped up in Indianapolis.  “Because what you do in free agency, no matter what they say, is still going to dictate some of what you do in the draft.”

Mortensen says despite the lack of “star power” in this year’s draft class, it is loaded with talent.  And he says NFL scouts have plenty of reasons to anticipate drafting some play makers this year.

“The scouts are excited about this draft” he says.  “what it lacks is box office stars, guys like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.”

“To me, it was exciting to see Tavon Austin of West Virginia, a guy we watched get over 500-yards of offense against Oklahoma, 300-of those yards on the ground, a guy people think has some Percy Harvin, some Darren Sproles, some DeSean Jackson in him, I just think all tree pretty electrifying players, and Austin comes out and verifies that he’s really fast.  He runs 4.34 electronicially.  To me, there are still a lot of quality players in this draft. “


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tuesday John Murphy Show Podcast

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 5, 2013 – 5:56 pm

We make way for hockey tonight, so The John Murphy Show is available on podcast. On tonight’s show, we’ll talk with Russ Lande, Director of Scouting for the National Football Post. He thinks Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib is the best prospect in the draft this year, the best overall. Lande has Nassib ranked number one on his list the National Football Post 200 Draft Prospects. We’ll talk with him about that.
Also tonight, Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com joins us to review the free agent QBs available, with the NFL Free Agency period five weeks away.
The John Murphy Show podcast is available tonight at 7pm at buffalobills.com/johnmurphyshow.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-1

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2013 – 12:55 pm

Here’s the latest Super Bowl week edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and from Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – opp57 Jan 27, 7:48am via Web

@ChrisBrownBills is E.J. Manuel a good fit for Buffalo?

CB: It’s hard to say who is and isn’t a fit since there isn’t a definitive approach to what Buffalo’s offense will look like. Yes, we know that the offense will be rooted in the west coast system, but it has been very varied and unpredictable under Nathaniel Hackett when he was at Syracuse. Hackett naturally prefers to be unpredictable.

At the same time Hackett will be looking to improve and advance the offense and suit it to Buffalo’s personnel. Manuel certainly offers the physical skills necessary to play at the NFL level. His decision making and deep ball accuracy have been questioned by some. A good number of talent evaluators out there do not think he’s a finished product suitable to lead an offense from day one.

As to whether he fits what Buffalo wants to do I’ll let Buffalo’s offensive coordinator answer that.

“Everybody could have a chance in a system like this because I could tailor it to them,” Hackett said. “Figuring out everybody across the board and who it is and then trying to fit that person into the system is the biggest critical factor.”

2 – Chris,

I’ve heard it talked about amongst fans for a long time, do you ever foresee the Bills re-aligning to the AFC North by swapping with Baltimore? I think the proximity of Cincy, Cleveland and Pittsburgh would create outstanding rivalries, with all 4 teams being within a few hours’ drive of each other. Baltimore would seemingly be a better fit for the East, being that NY, NE and Miami are all along the coast as well. Your thoughts?

 Nate
Buffalo

CB: I have felt the same way for a long time. When realignment occurred in 2002 I thought that was the best case scenario for the Bills long term, but I think the preservation of classic rivalries like Miami carried the day and kept Buffalo in the East. Geographically it makes way too much sense. Unfortunately I don’t foresee a change, especially with the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry being the fiercest in the NFL in my opinion.

 

3 – NL_RandyK 10:01am via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Hey @ChrisBrownBills what are chances #Bills draft 2 QB’s? Besides backer and maybe free safety, what are other needs?

CB:  I tend to believe that will not be the case. Buddy Nix mentioned a month ago that he said they will try to draft one and perhaps add another in free agency. I think the free agent crop is thin, but it’s my feeling that Nix and his staff would prefer to add a veteran free agent in addition to rookie. Whether the opportunity presents itself to acquire a pair of quarterbacks along those two avenues is another story.

 

4 – Hi Chris….
As always thanks for the great coverage. I wondered what the environment must be like at one Bills Drive now that the GM, Head Coaches and OC and DC are in place….are these guys meeting together to talk about talent….thanks

Bernie

CB:  We have a story that will appear on the website about the nuts and bolts of what the new coaching staff is doing at this time. They’re evaluating cut-ups of the Bills 2012 season by position and as offensive and defensive units. Every player will have a report put together on them by the staff. There will also be a good deal of time spent by the staff on reviewing their offensive and defensive schemes, how they apply to the talent on Buffalo’s roster and how said systems can be improved for the better. All of this takes a good deal of time.

 

5 – Chris
Thanks for your great work.  My question is about Tarvaris Jackson.  Initially, when the Bills traded a draft pick to Seattle for him and became responsible for his 2012 salary, everyone assumed he would become the Bills backup QB and Thigpen (who had been unproductive in pre-season) would be cut.  Then the Bills said Jackson did not know the offense well enough to be the backup, and Thigpen stayed on the roster after final cuts. But Jackson remained inactive for every game, and by mid-season the Bills said it was impossible for Jackson to learn the offense well enough to play because there was not enough practice time to give him snaps with the first team offense.  Jackson remained inactive the entire season and is now an unrestricted free agent. 

If the Bills’ explanation is correct, and it is impossible for a veteran QB to learn the Bills offense during the season because there is not enough practice time, why did the Bills give up a draft choice to get him when training camp was over?  

Bill
CB:  Buddy Nix has said more than once that the Tarvaris Jackson trade was a move made purely for insurance. With the Vince Young situation not working out, Buffalo had a short window to address the vacancy at the QB position without a lot of options out there short of a trade. Jackson was acquired for a seventh-round pick in the event that Ryan Fitzpatrick was hurt and out for an extended period of time. Short of a long term injury to Fitzpatrick, Jackson was never going to see the field.

To be fair to Jackson, he knew and understood the offense. The bigger issue was the previous coaching staff did not see Jackson under live fire before in their offensive system. That gives coaches ulcers when they have to put a player on the field without any prior knowledge of what they’re capable of when the real bullets are flying.

So while Jackson did his due diligence to learn the offensive system he was never afforded the opportunity to execute it in the practice setting due to time constraints. That left the previous coaching staff without any way to develop confidence in Jackson since they never saw him execute it effectively. It was very much a catch-22.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A league ranking of last 5 drafts

Posted by Chris Brown on January 31, 2013 – 3:54 pm

The Bills have had GM Buddy Nix at the helm for just three of the past five years, but even counting the two years prior to his move into the personnel boss’ seat, Buffalo still has a respectable ranking for their draft classes of the past five years.

DraftMetrics.com has put together a comprehensive look at the success rate of each NFL club with their draft choices over the past five years (2008-2012) and subsequently ranked them.

Among the criteria used were:
1 – Total number of games started with earlier years in a player’s career being more heavily weighted.
2 – Number of players drafted that were active for 2012 (injured players that missed the season were not counted)
3 – Average share of annual starts (with all years evenly weighted)
4 – Number of players that were selected as original Pro Bowl players (replacements do not count)

So over the last five years, the Bills rank a very respectable 11th overall. Here’s the whole list.

Five year rankings
Rk  Teams  Index
1 – Chiefs  100.0
2 – Dolphins  95.7
3 – Cardinals  95.0
4 – Browns  93.7
5 – Eagles  93.3
6 – Bucs  92.5
7 – Broncos  90.3
8 – Seahawks  88.3
9 – Patriots  86.1
10 – Lions  84.8
11 – Bills  83.9
12 – Falcons  82.6
13 – Titans  82.5
14 – Packers  81.8
15 – Raiders  80.9
16 – Texans  80.1
17 – Panthers  79.6
18 – Rams  79.1
19 – Colts  75.9
20 – Vikings  75.2
21 – Ravens  73.6
22 – Bengals  72.1
23 – Jaguars  70.1
24 – 49ers  69.9
25 – Bears  67.7
26 – Redskins  64.9
27 – Steelers  61.2
28 – Jets  59.1
29 – Giants  55.6
30 – Saints  55.1
31 – Cowboys  54.1
32 – Chargers  52.7


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-25

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2013 – 12:10 pm

Alright Bills fans, Senior Bowl and Pro Bowl weekend coming up. Naturally a lot of your questions are drifting toward the NFL draft. Here is the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hello Chris,

I watched your interview with Buddy Nix and after seeing the hiring Coach Marrone do you think the Bills will draft a QB in the 1st Round or is a free agent a consideration? Also do you think the Bills would draft a player with off field issues like Tyronne Mathieu (Honey Badger) from LSU if available in later rounds to play as a Nickel corner? Thank you for keeping us fans informed during the Offseason!!         
Thomas Neaverth

CB: I think a first round quarterback is certainly a possibility, especially in light of what Buddy Nix said late last season. He felt that they’re at a point where they may have to draft a QB a round earlier than where they have him graded. A free agent pickup is also a possibility because Nix has said they are likely to add one in the draft and possibly also in free agency.

I’d be surprised if they draft a player with a questionable background like Mathieu. Immensely talented, but I just don’t see it happening, and he won’t be available in later rounds. He’ll probably be a second round pick.

 

2 – Griz78 9:24am via Twitter for Android

@ChrisBrownBills who are the offensive quality control coaches?

CB: Buffalo has two quality control coaches on the defensive side right now. It’s my understanding they intend to hire two more on the offensive side of the ball. On defense Brian Fleury and Jason Rebrovich are the defensive quality control coaches. Fleury is a former college quarterback at Towson and most recently served as secondary coach and special teams coordinator at his alma mater.

Rebrovich has been a defensive line coach at the college level for most of the past 11 years. He most recently served under Doug Marrone at Syracuse as a defensive assistant. He played his college ball at SUNY Cortland. He also has a background in strength and conditioning. Rebrovich is a native of Clarence, NY.

 

3 – Hi Chris:
Where do you think QB Nassib will fall in the draft, and would it be too risky or too much of a reach to go get him?

Thanks,
Mike from Orlando, FL

CB: I think you’re asking if it would be too much of a reach to take Nassib with the eighth overall pick. The answer to that is if you like a prospect enough and believe he can be a franchise quarterback for you then you take him no matter where you’re at.

Nassib coming into the pre-draft process was widely projected as a second-round prospect. But with this not being a banner year for quarterback prospects I would expect his value to rise as we get closer to late April. So it wouldn’t shock me at all if he’s a first-round draft choice come the spring.

 

4 – Hi Chris, 

I really like the hiring of Marrone, and Pettine was a good hire too (he will surely have a more exciting defense than his predecessor). While I have my concerns with Hackett, I now feel like they have committed to something. My feeling is that once you commit you can’t do anything half-heartedly, and that’s why I think they now need to go after Ryan Nassib at #8 overall in the draft. What is the likelihood of this and what would be the advantages/disadvantages? . . . Is Nassib worth that high of a pick, and do you think it would be a wise choice to have HC/OC/QB all from the same program? . . . If that happens, I wouldn’t think trying to nab WR Alec Lemon in the draft would be out of the question either. What are your thoughts? 

Thanks again,
B. Greenfield

CB: I think there is merit to that line of thinking. It’s hard to know exactly what the Bills prefer with respect to quarterback, but they do have an affinity for Nassib and understandably so. They spent the past three years with him as their QB. Most scouts think his game still needs some polish, but he has all the physical traits you look for. Quarterbacks as I mentioned above tend to rise up draft boards late in the process because of the importance of the position.

The obvious advantage is Nassib would walk in the door knowing the offense better than anyone else on the roster. The transition from a scheme standpoint would be seamless. That could also shorten his learning curve where he could focus more on diagnosing defenses. We saw this to some degree with Ryan Tannehill in Miami last year.

The only disadvantage is the expectations would probably be higher on him knowing he’s in the same offense. So if there are early struggles, provided he starts (and we’re really getting ahead of ourselves here), that could potentially backfire I suppose.

With respect to Alec Lemon he had over 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns last season in the Orange offense. He was a late invite to the Senior Bowl. But the receiver class is deep this year. So I tend to think that happening is less of a likelihood.

Nassib is widely seen as one of the top five to eight QBs in the draft. So the odds for him one would think would be greater.

5 – Chris:
We know that the Bills are drafting No. 8 overall in the first round ahead of the Jets, even though both teams finished with the same 6-10 record. What happens in the second round? Will the order be reversed, with the Jets picking ahead of us?

I raise the question because if the Bills don’t believe that there is a QB that grades out worthy of the No. 8 overall pick, they might be targeting that second round pick, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jets draft a QB as well. Especially, now that we have their defensive coordinator, I can see where the Jets might want to try to “one-up” the Bills.

What are your thoughts on this Chris? Thanks for your great coverage.

Dan from Cheshire, CT.
CB: The Bills were in a similar situation last season. They were one of three teams that were 6-10. Miami and Carolina were the others. Since Miami and Carolina only managed six wins against a weaker strength of schedule they picked ahead of Buffalo in round one. The order was 8-Miami, 9-Carolina and 10-Buffalo. In round 2, Miami moved to the back of that group to pick 10th, while Carolina and Buffalo moved up to 8th and 9th in that round. That rotation continued in round 3 (Buffalo – 8th, Miami – 9th, Carolina 10th).

This year, it’s again a three team situation at 6-10, with the Bills, Jets and Titans. Buffalo picks 8th in round one, Jets – 9th, Titans – 10th. In round 2 Buffalo will pick 10th, with the Jets moving up to 8th and Titans to 9th.

So your argument is understandable, but personally I think the bigger concern is Arizona, which will pick 7th or 6th in every round. They clearly need a quarterback and are more of a threat. I think Philadelphia (4th) and Cleveland (6th in round one, 7th in round 2) could also be QB picking threats if their new coaches don’t like what they’ve already got on their roster. And those three teams pick ahead of Buffalo in every round.

For more on determining tiebreakers in the draft order you can read the full process here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-11

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2013 – 12:47 pm

Hey Bills fans, an exciting week here at One Bills Drive with the hiring of Coach Marrone and the coordinators Coach Hackett and Coach Pettine. I’ve met all three and I’m encouraged about what they’ll bring to the team in terms of their expertise. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Just looking ahead at the possibilities of the Bills filling in some holes with Free Agency and how active they might be this coming off-season. I would love for them to make upgrades at corner, wide receiver, and linebacker (quarterback too, but that would likely be addressed in the draft). How much cap space do the Bills currently have to work with in the off-season? I know that re-signing Byrd and Levitre will be top priorities for them, but once they’re taken care of, how much room will they likely have to work with, if any at all? Would love to see Dwayne Bowe in a Bills uniform!

As always, love the coverage you provide for us … please keep up the great work!
Paul

CB: NFL clubs do not get the established salary cap for the new league year until March, but it’s projected to be around $121M. The Bills do not provide their cap figures as a team policy. Reports indicate they’ll be around $15M under. That number obviously is subject to change between now and the opening of free agency.

Bills GM Buddy Nix has already said a quarterback may be acquired in free agency. He also mentioned the need to add a “big receiver.” I don’t know if Dwayne Bowe is realistic even though he does want to go elsewhere. His price tag will be high. And you’re right Byrd and Levitre are quality players that would appear to be priorities.

 

2 – Hey Chris,
There has been a lot of talk about the QB position this year & the year before that & the …well you get what i’m saying . Fitz is a Bills kind of guy, hard working, hard nosed kind of QB. I was hoping & still do that he can be that guy. Going forward though in the draft this year a guy is coming out that fits all of the Parcells requirements to drafting a QB of the future . He is a SEC guy (best college conference) A senior , Has been in the program his full time in college , & is prototypical size for the NFL , good arm & college career but not a lot of people are talking about him & i was wondering your thoughts on him . The guy that i have been talking about is Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, I think he could be a really good QB yet no one is really talking about him . What would your thoughts be on him & his future & the possibility of his & the Bills path crossing down the road ?? Then there is the Alex Smith situation, would you think there would b any for site in that direction as time ticks on ??

Once again Thank you !!
Mr.T from Fort Myers via Nashville
CB: I’m going to be honest and tell you I’m only now getting around to looking at the college players, so I can’t give you an assessment on Wilson. What I can tell you is Alex Smith will not be on San Francisco’s roster later this offseason. I’ve found that if Smith is on the 49ers roster April 1st, his entire 2013 salary will be guaranteed. The price tag? $7.5M. Now that he’s effectively San Francisco’s backup, I can’t see any way that he stays at that price in his current role.

The rub there is if the 49ers wait until the end of March to release him, it puts teams looking for a free agent QB in a bit of a bind. Free agency opens March 12th. Do you sit and wait on the 49ers clipping Smith and bypass other QB talent you might have your eye on? Or do you take what you can get at the opening bell of free agency and address the Smith availability when he’s available? Tough call.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

I applaud the decision to retain Mr. Nix for continuity. I am keeping my fingers cross for the next few years. My question is as follows.

When reporting injuries, the league uses terms like doubtful and probable, etc. What are all these terms exactly means?

Please keep up with the good work.
Regards,
C. J. Wong, Ph.D.

CB: The league allows for four possible listings for an injured player. They are Out, Doubtful, Questionable and Probable. There’s no need to explain out, but the league classifies the likelihood of the injured player playing with these designations as follows.

Doubtful – player has up to 25% chance of playing on Sunday
Questionable – player has up to 50% chance of playing on Sunday
Probable – player has up to 75% chance of playing on Sunday

 

4 – Chris, 

Can you break down the Bills new coaches’ philosophy and scheme? Run heavy or pass heavy? Since the roster was built for spread how does it affect CJ, Fred, and David Nelson? I know it’s very early to speculate with not all pieces in place or other coaches. What type of offense do you think they have run? Great job on the coverage this week. By far best team website and updates by you! 

Thanks, 
Josh 


CB:
Our web staff appreciate the kind words. From what I understand from coach Marrone and coach Hackett, they ran a pro-style offense with up tempo capabilities at Syracuse. I’ve been told to think of New Orleans offense, but with a heavier run game component by those that have observed the Syracuse offense the last few years.

Coach Hackett told me that he and Coach Marrone locked themselves in a room and culled together the best of what several offenses have to offer and came up with their current system. They intend to make use of that in Buffalo.

 

5 – Hi Chris:
First of all, I don’t miss a blog. Keep it up! Where do you think QB Nassib will fall in the draft, and would it be too risky or too much of a reach to go get him? Or what of the possibilities of a trade with Washington for K. Cousins- I thought we should have nabbed him in the draft last year and just missed by a couple of draft selections.

Thanks,
Mike from Orlando, FL

CB: I think at this point it’s hard to judge where Nassib will land, and even after the Senior Bowl, Combine and pro days it’ll be tough to predict where he goes because all it takes is one team to really like him and take him sooner than the so called experts project. That being said most draftniks see him as a second-round prospect. I know Coach Marrone and Coach Hackett have a lot of respect for his game and how he’s developed. However, I don’t think that guarantees they take him in the draft.

As for Kirk Cousins, I think the knee injury suffered by Robert Griffin almost rules out any chance of the Redskins parting ways with Cousins via trade this offseason.


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Posted in Inside the Bills