Inside The Bills

Value of the combine for NFL GMs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 24, 2014 – 8:30 pm

Tuesday is the final day for the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. And a former high profile NFL GM says the combine is an essential part of the scouting process for teams in the league.

Former Bills, Panthers and Colts GM Bill Polian says it’s the medical exams and the weighing and measuring that are the most important part of the six day combine.

“First of all, it’s absolutely critical to get the medical information,” Polian said in an interview on The John Murphy Show from the combine. “And this is the most efficient way to do it, and Indianapolis happens to be the most efficient place to do it because the hospital is literally right across the street.”

“The second thing is the interviews and the psychological testing that goes on,” he said. “And then finally, the benchmarks, the forty yard dash, the jumping drills, the triangle drill, the shuttle drill-all of those things are critically important because they make the difference between, let’s say first rounder and perhaps a third rounder.”

Polian offered a recent example of how measurable, height and weight, make a big difference.

“Russell Wilson for example measures under six feet tall,” he said. “He’s a Super Bowl winning quarterback and no one would doubt his ability, but he was drafted in the third round because he’s under six feet tall. The measureables are important to us, because what they do is eliminate mistakes and that’s what we’re trying to do in each round, keep the mistakes to a minimum. So they’re very important.”

The entire radio interview with Bill Polian is available here


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Polian still excited about Reed in HOF

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 24, 2014 – 7:50 pm

His mind might be on 40-times and bench presses at the Combine this week, but former Bills General Manager Bill Polian is still gratified by the election of Andre Reed to the Hall of Fame.

Three weeks ago, Reed was elected to the Hall in high eighth year as a finalist. And speaking on The John Murphy Show Monday night, Polian said he couldn’t be happier.

“I was overjoyed,” Polian said. “It’s been so long for all of us associated with Andre and working hard behind the scenes to try to get him elected. It was just such a relief and a joy to see him in because he richly deserves it.”

Polian said it was unfortunate Reed had to wait so long before he got the call to the Hall.

“He should have been in four or five years ago and it happened. I was getting worried very frankly that it might not happen if we went beyond this year. Marv and I and Jim and Thurman and Bruce have been telling everyone we could –listen, this is Andre’s year, this is Andre’s time. And fortunately the electors listened to us.”

The complete interview with former Bills GM Bill Polian from the Combine in Indianapolis is available at Buffalobills.com


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DE Clowney on the defensive

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 23, 2014 – 11:50 am

In terms of sheer athletic ability, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney is near the top of the list of the prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But the doubts about his work habits and approach to the game that cropped up during his final year with the Gamecocks carried over into the NFL Scouting Combine this week. Clowney’s coach at South Carolina threw a couple of logs onto the fire earlier in the week when he talked about the talented defensive end.

Steve Spurrier told the NFL Network “He was OK. It wasn’t like Marcus Lattimore, you know, every player is a little different. His work habits are pretty good, they’re not quite like Lattimore, a Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, some of those guys, but when the ball is snapped he’s got something no one else has.”

On Saturday, when Clowney met the media at the combine, he was quickly asked about Spurrier’s comments.

“I don’t really have nothing to say about it,” he answered. “I believe I did work hard. You pull out any practice tape from last year, you’ll see that. That’s what I told them. I’ll tell everybody that. I will always be working hard. No matter where I end up I am going to work hard and give a team everything I’ve got.”

Clowney gets a chance to show his stuff in on-field workouts with the linebackers and defensive linemen on Monday.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here


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Support for Sam from Missouri teammate

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 23, 2014 – 10:51 am

Missouri DE Michael Sam was the focus of attention at the NFL Scouting Combine Saturday, less than two weeks after his public announcement that he is gay.

And a Missouri Tigers teammate voiced his support for Sam when he took the podium in Indianapolis. DE Kony Ealy, regarded as the 2nd best defensive end in the draft (after Jadeveon Clowney) says he’d go to war with Michael Sam any day.

“A loving brother, he’s caring to the team,” is how Ealy described Sam at the combine. “He’s always singing, which gets on my nerves sometimes, but other than that, he’s just fun to be around, fun to play with. I know at the end of the day he’s gonna do his job. No other guy I’d rather go to war with.”

Ealy is a 6-5, 275 pound pass rush specialist who left Missouri early to enter the draft. He’s projected to be a mid-1st round pick in the May NFL draft.

He said he has little doubt that Michael Sam will be able to handle all the attention he’s getting since his dramatic announcement earlier this month.

“Like a professional,” he responded, when asked how Sam will deal with the scrutiny. “He’s not a college player anymore, he’s a professional and I expect him to handle it no other way, just go
in there and do his job and make plays.”

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here


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Bridgewater believes he’s the best

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 23, 2014 – 9:00 am

When the quarterbacks start throwing at the combine Sunday, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater won’t be one of them. He will run but not throw this week in Indianapolis.

But in Bridgewater’s mind, he’s already done enough to merit consideration at the top of the NFL Draft in May. In face, he thinks the Houston Texans should chose him number one overall.

“Yes, no doubt. I feel that I’m the best quarterback in this draft,” he told the media Saturday.
“I’m not just going to sit up here and say it. There’s obviously actions that have to back up these words,and I’m just confident in myself and my capability to be able to play this position. I’m just going to go out there and prove that I’m the best guy.”

Bridgewater says there’s one major factor that separates him from the rest of the quarterbacks.

“The biggest thing I think is my accuracy,” he said. “This past season, I was able to complete 71 percent of my passes. My third-down passing completion percentage was pretty much off the charts, my pocket presence. I’m a competitor. Each day I go out there and I’m eager to learn, remain a student of the game, and I think that right there just separates me.”


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Big weekend for UB linebacker

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 22, 2014 – 6:10 pm

There are going to be a lot of eyes on UB Bulls Khalil Mack when he takes the field at the NFL combine with the rest of the linebackers Monday. And many observers may wonder how a relatively obscure prospect at the start of last fall became one of the top prospects in the draft playing for Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference.

Mack says he’s proud of the UB football program and the coaches who helped develop him into a top draft prospect.

“We have good talent, we have great coaches,” he told reporters Saturday at the combine. “We had Coach Turner Gill who recruited me. We have Jeff Quinn who came in and stamped us with a great staff-Coach William Inge and Coach Lou Tepper, my linebacker coaches when I was there. I feel like they help us get ready for this great league.”

As far as the combine, Mack has an agenda for his on-field workouts.

“I can show that I have good feet, I have good hands,” he said. “But…I feel like I showed all I have on film, and hopefully I can stamp it this weekend.”

Mack measured in at 6-2½, 251 pounds at the combine, but those numbers don’t seem to impress him.

“That’s pretty solid,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter-height-weight—I like to play football.”
For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here


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Khalil Mack “I love Mike Mayock”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 22, 2014 – 5:10 pm

He hasn’t played a down of football since the UB Bulls ended their season in late December. But linebacker Khalil Mack has seen his stock in the NFL draft shoot up like a rocket since then.

At the NFL combine in Indianapolis, NFL Network Draft Analyst Mike Mayock told a Minneapolis radio station Friday night that Mack is at the top of his list–the number one prospect in the NFL Draft.

Mack had nothing but thanks for Mayock when he took the podium in Indy Saturday afternoon.

“Mike Mayock’s the man, he’s the man,” Mack said. “I want to prove him right. I’ve been working hard these past five-six weeks and I’m ready to grind and get out there and work out.”

Mack indicated he doesn’t feel any extra pressure after getting Mayock’s seal of approval.

“The thing about Mike Mayock, again, I love him..” he said, “but I just want to keep proving myself. I want to be the best. I don’t know who you guys talk to but in anything, my dad always taught me, you want to be the best in anything and everything that you do.’

Mack and the rest of the combine linebackers are scheduled to work out on the field Monday in Lucas Oil Stadium.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here


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Draft guru has confidence in EJ Manuel

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 22, 2014 – 1:30 pm

After fifty years dealing with NFL personnel, former Cowboys exec Gil Brandt knows how to evaluate players. And he believes Bills QB EJ Manuel is going to make it.

“Manuel is a guy that’s going to get it done,” Brandt said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was a guest on The John Murphy Show from the combine in Indianapolis.

Brandt says he made the decision to invite Manuel to New York for the first night of the draft last year, when others thought the QB would not be chosen in the first round.

Now a Senior Analyst for NFL.com, Brandt had this assessment of Manuel after his rookie season with the Bills:

“He probably doesn’t have as much ability as some people in this league. But he’s going to get it done because he works at it and he has a great relationship with players, which for a quarterback is important.”

Host John Murphy asked Brant where Manuel would stack up among the quarterbacks available in this year’s draft, a class that includes stars like Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater.

“I haven’t stacked this one up yet,” he answered. “But I still think he’d be a first round pick.”

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here


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Gil Brandt: “Schwartz first choice in the draft”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 22, 2014 – 12:30 pm

Gil Brandt has been around the NFL for more than fifty years and he’s a familiar figure again this year at the NFL Scouting Combine.

And Brandt absolutely loves the Bills hiring of former Lions Coach Jim Schwartz as their new Defensive Coordinator.

“I think they got the first choice in the draft, really,” Brandt says. He was a guest Friday night on The John Murphy Show at the combine.

“I think Schwartz is really, really good,” he said. “I don’t know what happened (to him) in Detroit. But in Jim Schwartz they got not only a wonderful person but a really good football coach.”

There’s been some speculation that the Bills might overhaul their defensive scheme next season as they transition from Mike Pettine’s defense to Schwartz”s. Not a problem, according to Brandt.

“I would think that Jim is going to try to do things that are best for players,” he told host John Murphy. “I don’t think he’s stuck on a system, I think he’s stuck on what can my players do best. I talked to him the other day and he’s really excited about it. A lot of times when guys get fired they go into a funk for awhile. He was just the opposite.”

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Telesco says WR group at Combine is strong

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 22, 2014 – 11:30 am

Now in his second year as General Manager of the San Diego Chargers, and in his 20th year in the NFL, Western New York native Tom Telesco should feel comfortable around the NFL Scouting Combine.

And as he looks at the group of players assembled in Indianapolis, Telesco says one position group stands out.

“I’d say the receiver group is really strong, that’s probably one of the better groups,” Telesco said Friday night in an appearance on The John Murphy Show from the combine.

Overall, Telesco says the inclusion of more than 100-underclassmen in this year’s draft class means the pool of talent is as strong as it’s been in years.

“Even before any of the juniors declared, we thought the senior class was very strong,” he said. “We look at it more in terms of not just the first round, but the whole draft from top to bottom. You take a strong senior class and then an unusual amount of juniors declared this year. A lot of them are good players. It is a really strong draft”

For Telesco, a product of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs (N.Y.), having that much talent means there’s pressure to produce in the draft.

“You’ve got to find a player in every round, not just the first round, so we have some work to do,” he said.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Marrone excited about welcoming Stevie back

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 20, 2014 – 2:28 pm

Head Coach Doug Marrone sounds like he’s ready to welcome veteran wide receiver Stevie Johnson back with open arms, once the veterans return to One Bills Drive this spring.

Marrone addressed Johnson’s status during a session with Buffalo area reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He responded to a report published by CBS Sports.com that called into question the coaching staff’s belief that Stevie was committed to their team concept.

“I wound up texting Stevie and he got back to me, we had a great conversation,” Marrone said. “I told Stevie, listen, I’m excited about getting started with you. I’m excited about you coming in and being healthy and getting this team going. Whatever else you’re hearing is not coming from me. But if you hear anything else make sure you call me.”

Marrone said he believes the report originated from CBS around the time of the Super Bowl earlier this month. And he said his most recent telephone conversation with Johnson served to clear the air.

“It was a good positive conversation we had in the last week,” he said. “After that happened, I found something with CBS Sports that didn’t really quote a source from the Bills. That kind of stuff concerns me. You don’t want distractions like that for your players in the offseason.”


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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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