Big uniform unveiling tonight. Should be a lot of fun. For now let’s answer your questions to pass the time before the big show. Remember you can submit your questions at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Hey Chris,
I know I asked you about the Bills trading for Tebow, but with all the talk about Pryor, do you think that the Bills will do something with him? I think if we get either one of them they can sit behind Fitz and learn. Chan likes mobile QBs so this could be a good opportunity to get one and let him learn. What do you think?
CB: First as I’ve stated in the past I don’t think Tebow is the one on the trading block in Denver. All indications are it will be Kyle Orton if anyone is moved. With respect to Pryor the only reason he’s getting so much attention is because of the Ohio State NCAA investigation and his subsequent separation from the program. Most experts believe his game is still lacking in several areas.
That’s not to say he’s not capable of playing in the NFL, but most have said an NFL club would spend a 5th to 6th round pick on him in the Supplemental draft at the most.
My belief is that teams looking at their quarterback position will compare Pryor to the class of quarterbacks due out next spring in the 2012 draft and determine whether he’s someone worth investing in now or if they’re better off waiting for what’s available in the draft pool next year.
2 - Chris,
Can you break down the strength and weakness of the Bills O-Line? Are they a better run blocking or pass protecting team? I think the unit was underrated in passing and Ryan didn’t appear to be sacked as much as previous QB’s. In some games the injured O-line was often stuffed at the line. Bell and Wood both had a somewhat healthy season too. Will Wang and Hairston push and compete for a starting job as well.
CB: I think individually some of them are stronger in run blocking than pass blocking and vice versa, but the unit as a whole is still working on their identity in terms of what they do best. Part of the problem, as you pointed out, was the unit was beset with injuries and began the season with two tackles that could play despite not being 100 percent healthy. The run game got better as the season wore on, and most of the linemen would agree that while they did improve their pass protection they’d be the first to credit Fitz for getting the ball out quickly and making them look good at times.
Hairston and Wang will compete with the incumbent starters, but I think in the end Erik Pears and Demetrius Bell will start at tackle in 2011.
3 - Dear Chris,
As always good job on keeping all of us fans up to date on all the
news from 1 Bills Drive. Thank you very much and keep up the good work!
Now to my deep concerns .
Throughout all of the labor talks there have been a few owners and managers whose names have always come up in the negotiations process. The likes of Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, Scott Pioli, and Bruce Allen come to mind first. Now I know at times a representative from every club had to be present for meetings, but it just seems that the bigger market reps are the ones we always hear about. Is this because they are the only ones really doing the negotiating for the owners or is there more to it that I am not understanding?
My concern is that the smaller market teams are not being represented fully and that their concerns in the labor talks are not being heard. The more money that players are allotted will affect the overall budget for every team and high price free agents making more money would not be afforded by smaller market teams such as our beloved bills case in point would be that it would be even harder after negotiations for a smaller market team to remain competitive due to
the increase in player wages.
Can you please shed some light on these subjects? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again.
CB: The reason owners like Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft are often in the press is because they’re high profile owners with nationally recognized franchises. Both men are also part of the 10-person Labor Committee for the owners, chiefly responsible for helping to bridge an accord with the players. In fact here is the entire list of Labor Committee members for the owners.
Pat Bowlen – Denver
Mike Brown – Cincinnati
Clark Hunt – Kansas City
Bob Kraft – New England
John Mara – NY Giants
Mark Murphy – Green Bay
Jerry Richardson – Carolina
Art Rooney – Pittsburgh
Dean Spanos – San Diego
As you can see the labor committee representation is split down the middle between the large and small market clubs. Cincinnati, Green Bay, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and San Diego are considered the small market reps. Obviously small market ownership feels comfortable with this balanced representation.
Your concerns are not uncommon. I remember when I hosted the conference call with Bills season ticketholders and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the biggest concern was revenue sharing and it’s a valid concern. Here was the commissioner’s reponse to those concerns.
I can tell you with the NFL one of the things I’m proudest of is we continue to find ways to share new revenue. Our system right now close to 80 percent of our revenue is shared amongst the clubs. That’s one of the core reasons that the system works and why the Buffalo Bills have the financial ability to compete. You always have to evaluate that system and balance that system to make sure as the economics of the league changes, as revenue growth changes that you continue to have a system that will allow that revenue to grow, but also share it in a way that will allow the fundamentals of the league continue to be successful. I know our ownership has always stepped up to that and we will continue to do that to make sure that everyone has the financial ability and we can make sure that the Buffalo Bills and every other small market come into the season with the ability to be competitive.
The commissioner also went on to point out that the biggest revenue source for NFL clubs is the television revenue and that is shared equally amongst the clubs. I realize that the most recent talk about mandating teams to spend very close to the cap every year (no salary floor, no salary ceiling) in some reports could be discouraging, but I think a lot of that still has to be sifted out. That’s where having proper representation on behalf of the small market clubs on the owners’ labor committee is essential.
4 - Hey Chris,
Just want to thank you for always being on top of things with the Bills and for keeping us Bills fans informed. I have 2 questions I hope you can answer. I like what the Bills did in the draft this year. I still see some gaping holes though and wonder what your thoughts are on addressing them: I see us needing a QB (either a backup for this year or franchise QB going forward), a cornerstone OT (I don’t see one on our roster just a few passable OT’s for now), a TE, and an OLB ( I am hopeful Merriman comes back healthy and I like Moats potential…. but that is still just potential). Do you feel any of these will be filled this year in FA and do you see other needs that I didn’t mention that we need to have addressed ASAP?
CB: I think even the Bills themselves admitted that they wanted to either land a future franchise QB or a veteran to be a backup to Fitz. Based on how things played out in the draft it’s safe to assume they’ll be trolling for a backup whenever there is a free agency period.
At tackle I think there’s a bit more there than meets the eye. Defense was the pressing need in the draft and as a result it took precedent over some of the positions that you listed.
It’s hard to predict how aggressive the Bills will be in free agency because the new rules in a new CBA could alter strategies with respect to things like “dead money” on a cap and absolute dollars where it’s on your books right now and not pushed into the future. So we have to see what the rules will be before we can judge how a team like the Bills will approach free agency.
5 – Chris,
Can you explain the eligibility rules for the practice squad? Is there a number of games a player can dress and be on the active roster then to be switched to the squad? How many players are allowed on the squad? Could players like Howard, Roosevelt, Donald Jones, Ed Wang land on the squad since they maybe behind the pecking order at OG and WR?
CB: Players can typically spend two seasons on a practice squad. There are stipulations that allow for a third year, but I’m not going to get into those here. Once a player has dressed for nine NFL games he is no longer eligible for the practice squad. So for example, when Jim Leonhard in his first season with the Bills appeared in nine games, he was no longer eligible for the practice squad.
Practice squad sizes can hold a maximum of eight players.
Howard appeared in 10 games as a rookie last year and Jones in 15. Both would no longer be eligible for the practice squad to my knowledge. Wang and Roosevelt who each appeared in six games are still practice squad eligible.
Tags: Chris Hairston, Ed Wang, Fan Friday, NFL labor, practice squad, revenue sharing, Terrelle Pryor, Tim Tebow
Posted in Inside the Bills