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

Gilmore signing one of quickest

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2012 – 12:39 pm

The Bills and every other club in the league has the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to thank for the rapidity with which draft choices in general and specifically first-round picks have signed. It’s less than a month since the 2012 draft and Buffalo’s top pick is already signed along with six others across the NFL. That hasn’t happened in Buffalo in a long time.

Taking a look back as prior Bills first-round picks, I’ve only found two that I can verify signed prior to Gilmore’s May 17th date.

WR Jerry Butler, who was one of two first-round picks in 1979, signed his contract on May 9th, just six days after the NFL draft was held that year (May 3rd).

The only other Bills first-round pick since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that I’ve found to sign before Gilmore was TE Reuben Gant in 1974. He has the earliest signing date of March 26th, but it comes with an asterisk because back then the draft was held in late January instead of late April.

The most recent early signee was OL Ruben Brown in 1995, who signed his rookie deal on June 20th 17 years ago.

It’s undoubtedly a welcome departure from the past couple of decades of lengthy negotiations and holdouts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-5

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2010 – 1:44 pm

I don’t know what it is, but there’s a good vibe going through this building this week. I’m not promising anything, but I feel good about the Bills getting off the schneid this week against the Bears. On to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hey Chris ,

With things at One Bills Dr looking as though a corner may have been turned as far as the offense & all of the other changes that have taken place this year as far as — GM , schemes , personnel , & coaching philosophy , how are the players reacting to it all ?? I’ve always heard that in order for a team to be successful they need to buy into what the coach & staff is selling . Although it looks as though Coach Gailey is definitely doing a lot of good things to change the culture of our beloved Bills , how does it look on the inside ??? Do the players seem to recognize that the changes that are being made are for the better & buying what the coach is selling in spite of the teams record to this point ??

As usual thanks for all you do !!
Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville

CB: I’ll just say that this locker room believes in Coach Gailey and his staff. He’s done a good job of maximizing the talents of individual players and units as well. One example individually is Roscoe Parrish and what he’s done as a receiver. A unit example is the offensive line and what they’ve done the past seven weeks in the run game, going from 87 yards rushing per game to over 114 and improving the yards per carry average from 3.6 to 4.5 in that time.

The players can see Gailey and his staff are making this team a better one week by week. And despite all the losing Ryan Fitzpatrick explained it best concerning Gailey’s ability to lead.

“He’s a guy that with us he’s always positive,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s trying to get us going. He always talks about the talent in the room and what we’ve done this year and what we’ve done successfully. He’s been good. He’s been a guy who keeps us going and I think he’s done a really nice job of that.”

 
2 –  Hi Chris,   
Last season when the Eagles signed Michael Vick they said that there was 2 teams that were in talks with his agent and him.  Also on the program The OT with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, Tony had said that he believed that Vick would sign with the Bills after the one year deal and the team option for a second yr at 5.2 million.

I guess my question to u is, do you believe that in this upcoming offseason that the Bills will try to sign Vick so that we have a proven QB that is only getting better as he is maturing at his position? I would also like to have a QB that is proven and only adds another threat for this team with his legs and he definitely has the arm to play in the conditions that Buffalo presents.
Thanks  
Jon in Tampa (former Lockportian)

CB: I don’t disagree that Vick would be an exciting addition, and you have a better idea of what you would be getting since he’s been playing the past two years, but I just don’t see it happening.

I don’t have any evidence to tell you why he wouldn’t be signed. I just can’t see the Bills bringing him in should be become a free agent. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eagles locked him up long term.

3 – Chris,
I know the Titans were the ones that were awarded Randy Moss, but they were the only team to put in a claim. Why not sign Moss and trade him? Is this something that theoretically would work?  My understanding is based on the way teams get dibs on someone like Moss being cut would be worst record first, and then best record last.  So for example if Pittsburgh wanted him it would be to their benefit to work out a deal w/ Buffalo and give them a 3rd round pick (or whatever he’s worth) to get him.  Most likely any other scenario wouldn’t allow Pittsburgh to get him … theoretically.

CB: Claiming Moss only to trade him would not work because the trade deadline passed in mid-October. I suppose had it been before the league’s trade deadline something like that could potentially happen, but I’m going to have to check to see if that’s even permitted by the NFL.

4 – Chris – Since the Bills picked up Shawne Merriman off waivers do they hold all the rights the Chargers previously did?  If he produces as hoped could the Bills control his destiny next year by placing the franchise tag or even the transition tag on him?
 
Thanks,
BuffaloStu2
Denver, CO

CB: Yes, they do hold all the rights to him. He’s Buffalo’s property now as long as he’s under contract. The Bills inherit his current contract which runs out after this season and pay the pro-rated portion of his salary ($1.7M).

I’m not sure about a franchise or transition tag however, because we don’t know what the rules will be concerning free agents until a new CBA is reached between the NFL and the Players Union. Under the old CBA, yes the franchise and transition tag would be options at Buffalo’s disposal, but that’s all up in the air now.

5 – Hey Chris,
 
I know Ralph has said QB is the top priority this offseason and that really worries me that we will desperately take whoever is the best QB available at our pick in the draft,whether or not he is necessarily deserving of the pick. Personally I think Andrew Luck is the real deal and would take him first overall no question, but if he stays in school like he’s said he will then we take a QB just to take one?

I think Mallett is a little inconsistent and have had character questions and that Locker is far too inaccurate and raw to cut it in the NFL.

I would say to take a tackle but it doesn’t seem as though there’s an elite tackle at this point. If we can’t take Luck, do you think it would make more sense to take a defensive impact player such as Bowers from Clemson or Fairley from Auburn, maybe even Peterson on LSU, a tackle in the second and try to get Luck or someone like a Matt Barkley whenever they declare? Thanks.
 
From,
Tom

CB: I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself. I know a lot of Bills fans already have their eyes on the draft for obvious reasons, but until we know who declares early in mid-January I think we’re all just wasting our breath on what the Bills should, would, could do.
That being said I too prefer Luck.

I’m watching Christian Ponder at Florida State more closely of late. I think his shoulder still isn’t right after a severe separation last season, but in time that arm will heal up and there is no questioning this kid’s toughness and leadership. Need to see more of him though.

One other thing, I love the Fairley kid from Auburn. The guy is a beast on that Tigers D-line.


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Why Thurman appreciates Glanville

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2010 – 8:36 am

Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas has a soft spot for former Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville.

As he mentioned in his draft day memories of 1988, leading up to the draft Glanville was pushing the Oilers hard to draft Thomas, which would’ve been fine with the Houston native.

“Being a hometown guy every time I see Jerry I thank him for pushing the Oilers to have an opportunity to draft me,” said Thomas.

Thomas remembers all the doubters that were out there that weren’t sure if Thomas’ knee would hold up over the long haul after partially tearing his ACL his junior year. So he appreciates the guys that believed in him before he did anything in the NFL.

Of course the Oilers ultimately passed on Thomas in round one of the 1988 draft, choosing instead to take RB Lorenzo White, one of seven to come off the board before Thomas.

Had Thomas been taken by Houston he likely would’ve had 700 receptions in his career in the Oilers’ run and shoot offense, but Thomas wonders about his rushing totals.

“Yeah I probably would’ve caught a lot more passes in that kind of attack, but I also wouldn’t have 12,000 career rushing yards had I played most of my career there,” said Thomas. “They were throwing the ball 40 or 50 times a game. There’s no way I’d be getting 20 carries a game too.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Junior DT could be there for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2010 – 10:13 am

It’s already a great class for defensive tackles in the 2010 draft, but a UCLA DT just made it better.

Junior Brian Price, who wreaks havoc on the field, just declared himself eligible for the draft. At 6’2″ 300 pounds he’s so low to the ground that he’s difficult to move and the guy gets consistent penetration and makes plays as evidenced by his seven sacks this past season and 23 1/2 tackles for loss.

He’s widely considered the third best DT prospect behind Ndamakong Suh and Gerald McCoy. Mel Kiper has Price 10th on his Big Board, which would make him available to the Bills at 9.

I realize that offensive tackle and QB are more pressing positions, but I don’t know if there’s a QB worthy of the 9th pick overall. Price could be a worthwhile option.

I think DT is close third behind OT and QB for Buffalo, and you’ve got to get your big men early. Draft is a long way off. We’ll see.


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Another LT prospect in draft pool

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2010 – 10:00 am

A good offensive tackle class just got a bit better with a junior eligible forgoing his senior season.

Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, Bryan Bulaga declared for the draft.

The Iowa product is 6’6″ 315 and has been compared to former Iowa OT Robert Gallery. Now I know that might cause some to wince, but no one is saying Bulaga is going to be the 2nd pick in the draft.

I’m not going to pretend that I know a lot about Bulaga yet, but I do know this guy makes the tackle pool deeper which is important for the Bills who need an offensive tackle in the draft and free agency.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

QB Clausen to have toe surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2010 – 9:04 pm

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, who declared himself eligible for the NFL draft this spring won’t be doing much at the NFL Combine in late February.

At that point he’ll be too busy rehabbing his toe as he’s scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning to repair two torn ligaments according to ESPN. The injury happened all the way back on Sept. 19 in a game against Michigan State. He played the rest of the season with the injury.

His prognosis is three months with Clausen not expected to throw for scouts until early April.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

QB to Bills in CBS mock draft

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2009 – 1:00 pm

CBSSports.com has Buffalo taking a quarterback with the eighth overall pick.

I’ll have to check to see if their draft order is up to date after Sunday’s games, but Draft analyst Rob Rang has the Bills taking Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen with the eighth pick.

The only quarterback he has going before Clausen is at pick number six where he has the Washington Redskins taking Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford.

Defensive tackles are the first three picks off the board in his mock in Ndamakong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Derrick Morgan.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills will have top 10 pick

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2009 – 12:13 pm

With the best possible record for the Bills being 6-10, Buffalo has clinched a top 10 pick with one game to play.

The Bills are currently 5-10 along with two other teams (Oakland, Seattle) and Chicago, which plays Monday night is 5-9. With no other teams in the league with six wins these four teams can’t catch any one of the teams with seven wins, unless the Bears win tonight.

Tiebreakers for these teams will be determined by strength of schedule. If your strength of schedule is weaker and your team and another team have the same record, you would pick higher under the thinking that your team had an easier schedule and still couldn’t win more games.

So at this point Buffalo will pick anywhere between 7 and 10 in the 2010 NFL draft.


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Oregon St. QB not impressive

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2009 – 11:39 am

Oregon St. QB Sean Canfield was a guy that was thought by some draft experts as a senior signal caller that could help his cause in the draft with a good showing in the Las Vegas Bowl Tuesday night. After his performance in windy conditions, I don’t know that I’d have him as a consideration for the Bills.

On a windy night in Las Vegas, Canfield, who doesn’t have a big arm to begin with, struggled big time. He completed just four passes in the first half as the Beavers fell to BYU 44-20. Canfield was 20-41 for 173 yards and an INT.

He still has the postseason games to make a name for himself and help his draft stock, but those blustery conditions were a good indication as to how he might handle a November day in Buffalo and it didn’t go well.


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ESPN’s McShay likes OT class

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2009 – 6:26 pm

ESPN’s Todd McShay in a national conference call for media assessed the 2010 draft class at the offensive tackle position. Here was his take.

“It’s shaping up to be a good group when you look at a couple of these underclassmen that have already said they are coming out, or we’re hearing reports that they’re leaning that way,” said McShay. “Russell Okung from Oklahoma State is not at that exceptional level like Jake Long out of Michigan a couple years ago, but I do think he’s in the first half of the first round type prospect. … Trent Williams from Oklahoma is the same. Williams struggled this year, but he also made the shift from right tackle to left tackle. When you look at him just physically he had the tools and he was so dominant at right tackle a year ago… I think both of those seniors will be in the first half of the first round. 

“I think one of the most talented tackles in the country is Anthony Davis from Rutgers. He comes with a little bit of baggage, but from a skills standpoint he’s 6’5”, 325 pounds and he can move. If teams clear him and have no concerns about his maturity and the way he’s going to handle the NFL — if you just look at it from a pure talent standpoint — I think Davis has a chance to be the first offensive tackle taken, in the top five to 10 picks.”

McShay had the Bills taking Davis with the 10th overall pick in his first mock draft. With no clear cut top flight QBs in this year’s draft class, offensive tackle would be the next logical place for the Bills to look positionally.


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ESPN’s McShay on the QB class

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2009 – 4:40 pm

ESPN’s Todd McShay gave his take on a national conference call for media members this week on the 2010 QB draft class. Here’s what he had to say.

“With (Jake) Locker out, it will be interesting now to see how the quarterback position shakes out,” said McShay. “You have Sam Bradford coming off the injury who is very talented and certainly from a skills standpoint and potential standpoint belongs in the top 10 to 15 picks. Then Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame, who I’m not as high on as some other people seem to be. I think he’s well-coached and has enough physical tools but I don’t think he’s exceptional physically. I think his arm strength is just adequate. I think he’s thrown a lot of balls up for grabs and he’s not going to get away with that in the NFL. And from everyone I talk to in the scouting community, there are questions about his leadership and how good of a teammate he is and do you want him to be the face of your organization.

“I think its going to be very interesting watching the quarterback position with those two as the first-rounders. Then, where does Tim Tebow go and where does Colt McCoy go? Two of the most decorated college football players in the history of the game. With those four quarterbacks at the top, there’s going to be a lot of buzz about the position, but we may only have one that goes in the first half in the first round which makes it even more interesting.” 
 
There are some other underclassmen that still may declare for the draft like Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, who is a third-year sophomore. The other guy that I’m interested in watching is Oregon State’s Sean Canfield. He’s playing tonight in the MAACO bowl against BYU. He’s 6’4″ 214 and he’s a southpaw. He doesn’t have great arm strength, but he’s completed 70 percent of his passes and thrown for over 3,100 yards along with 21 TDs and 6 picks.

Beavers head coach Mike Riley has see Derek Anderson and Matt Moore (Carolina starter last week) come through his program, but some experts maintain that Canfield could be even better than those two. How much better is the question.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another OT enters draft pool

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2009 – 10:08 am

A junior at the University of Maryland, offensive tackle Bruce Campbell has declared himself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft, electing to forgo his senior season with the Terps.

The 6’7″ 310-pound tackle has been told by the NFL Advisory Board that he could be drafted anywhere between the middle of the first to the middle of the second round this spring.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc has him ranked as the 24th best prospect overall. He’s still considered a bit of a work in progress by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, but had a good 2009 season and his upside is promising.

Another junior that scouts are waiting on is Rutgers OT Anthony Davis, who ranks 14th overall on the Scouts Inc. prospect rankings list.


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Posted in Inside the Bills