Alright Bills fans, the first Sunday of the regular season is finally here! Apologize for the delay today. Let’s get to your questions from Ask.Chris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills.
1 - Chris,
I have a few questions regarding the running back and defensive line rotations:
I remember a few years ago in Kansas City when they had Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, they used a 2 on 1 off rotation. Meaning Holmes would go in for two series and then Johnson would spell him for one. As we all saw, this was pretty effective for them as they were both kept fresh and they both put up solid numbers. Can you see this strategy working with Freddie and CJ?
The second question I have is do you see us shifting Mario Williams inside on obvious passing downs like the Giants did early in Justin Tuck’s career? They have the same general body type to hold their own inside and they’re both freakish athletes. If we put Anderson and Merriman at the ends I think that it would be a pretty formidable pass rushing line even without including Dareus or Williams.
CB: I think your idea in having the Bills mimic what the Chiefs did isn’t a bad one, but right now I think the way in which they intend to get each of them what the staff believes are sufficient touches is by putting them on the field at the same time. I don’t believe they’ll be lined up in the backfield together all that often, but I think they will both be on the field an awful lot. Both of them are capable of splitting out wide or carrying the ball out of the backfield. So there are so many options that I think this approach can work more effectively and keep defenses more off balance.
As for Mario Williams I don’t see him moving inside all that much. It’d be one thing if you had some run stuffing pluggers at defensive tackle, but Marcell Dareus led the team in sacks last season and Kyle Williams led the team the year before. With Dareus and Williams so good at pushing the pocket from the middle on passing downs, I don’t see a need to move Mario inside.
2 – Hey Chris.
I was wondering if you could tell me who tailors the guys uniforms. I noticed that authentic jerseys one can purchase are different than what the players actually wear. I want to tailor my jersey sleeves like how Freddy has his. Thanks Chris.
CB: To my knowledge Nike cuts the player jerseys differently than the jerseys that appear on the store shelves. Nike has specific jersey cuts based on the position a player plays (e.g. wide receiver, longer, tighter torso cut). For the general public those jersey cuts don’t exist presumably because they have to appeal to a broad spectrum of sizes, so they don’t streamline cut them or enlarge them. They have one general cut for the store jerseys.
3 - Hey Chris,
I was wondering with Ron Brooks being the fastest DB, how come the Bills won’t give him a shot at kick return or even punt return? I think Donald Jones is good but I would rather see him in the slot and Easley at the 2nd spot, what do you think? Lastly if Terrence Mcgee comes back fully recovered do you think he will start the first game of the regular season?
CB: First, there are different kinds of speed and quickness. In fact an NFL scout will tell you that speed and quickness are two different things. Brooks has great short area quickness and change of direction skills. He’s also a pretty darn fast straight line runner. As for special teams though, his experience from college is as a gunner, which is where he would’ve lined up for the Bills on their punt team had he not broke his foot in practice a couple of weeks ago.
Buffalo has so many capable returners (McKelvin, Rogers, Spiller, Graham) that there’s no need to force Brooks, with very limited experience, into that role.
4 - Hi Chris,
Bryan Scott has always been a solid backup in the safety position. With his move to linebacker, he seems undersized and unlikely to get on the field as much, not to mention this takes away quite a bit of our safety depth. Why the move to linebacker and do you see the coaches putting him back at safety where he seems to be a more natural fit?
CB: Quite the contrary. Scott is a solid 220 pounds, which is just eight pounds lighter than Nick Barnett (228). And he is going to play more than Kelvin Sheppard in terms of total snaps this year. Scott is a first team nickel linebacker with Barnett and knowing what a passing league the NFL has become you can bet that Scott will be on the field for up to 65 percent of the plays on defense.
In this league of passing all over the yard, you need lighter and quicker linebackers that can help in coverage. Scott is the perfect hybrid for such a role. In fact he was used rather extensively in this role last year.
5 - Chris
Please explain the rules for PUP and PS eligibility and return to active squad. Could McGee or Troup have started the season on PUP and return later when healthy? Also, how many players can dress on game day and are there special provisions for the 3rd “emergency” QB. With Fitz and wildcat QB Smith dressed, will the primary backup also need to be part of the active game roster?
CB: The rules for PUP are pretty simple. If a player is physically unable to perform at the start of training camp a team can place him on Active/PUP, which means he still counts toward a roster spot. That was the case this summer with TE Mike Caussin.
Only players that start the preseason (camp) on Active/PUP are eligible to be transitioned to Reserve/PUP before the start of the regular season. Once Terrence McGee and Torell Troup took to the practice field at training camp PUP was no longer an option in any capacity.
Caussin however, was placed on Reserve/PUP. Under the rules, Caussin, if medically cleared, could begin practicing with the team after Week 6 and still not count toward a roster spot. From the day he begins practicing, which can happen anywhere between the end of Week 6 and Week 9, a 21-day window is open for the team to decide whether they want to add him to their active roster or put him on season-ending injured reserve.
A player can serve up to three years on a practice squad. What wipes out all practice squad eligibility however, is if a player appears in nine games or more in any one regular season of their career. Naaman Roosevelt was an example of this. He served parts of two seasons on the Bills practice squad. So he would’ve still had a year left this year had he not appeared in 10 regular season games in 2011.
Those 10 appearances wiped out his practice squad eligibility this year.
As for game day teams can now dress 46 players. It used to be 45 players and an emergency QB, but that rule was changed last year. So now it’s just 46 players. That’s what made Brad Smith so attractive to the Bills in free agency. His versatility would not be able to be used as an asset under the old rules on a game day because of the third quarterback restrictions, but now with those rules removed, Smith can enter a game anywhere at any time.
Tags: Bryan Scott, C.J. Spiller, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Mario Williams, Nike, practice squad, PUP, Ron Brooks
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills fans in New York City will have a chance to catch up with George Wilson tomorrow night (Tuesday). Here’s where you’ll need to be.
Wilson will be at McFadden’s, the popular game day headquarters of the New York City Bills Backers. It’s located at 800 2nd Avenue (at 42nd St.) in Manhattan from 6:30 pm to ? The Bills safety is in New York as part of the unveiling of the league’s new Nike uniforms.
George may even be taping an episode of his ‘What’s the Word’ program found weekly during the season on Buffalobills.com.
Tags: George Wilson, Nike, player appearance
Posted in Inside the Bills
With Nike taking over uniform and outfitting responsibilities with the NFL for 2012, they’re beginning to unveil some of the design elements for the upcoming NFL season. The latest is their new ‘Vapor Jet Gloves’ design for the skill position players. Here’s a look.
Posted in Inside the Bills
It’s another week of your questions. Let’s get right to them (AskChris@bills.nfl.net).
1 – Chris:
I know the trade deadline has passed, but wouldn’t now be the time to move veteran players (i.e. Lee Evans) to a team like the Chargers or even the Patriots IF the Bills could get multiple picks? By the time the Bills are ready to become competitive Lee Evans may be starting the downside of his career, and I believe the Bills expect (WR) Marcus Easley to become his replacement. Buddy Nix did say he would like to collect more picks to build this team and the only way to do that would be to move assets now that may not help the team when it is ready to win in the distant future.
CB: I don’t think moving Lee is a wise move, even this offseason, for a couple of reasons. First, I think because Evans has played on an unsuccessful unit, his value around the league would be depressed from what it should be and thus the Bills would likely be unable to get fair market value.
Second, if the Bills have a quarterback of the future on this roster next year that they drafted high, you’re going to want a veteran receiver on this roster that said QB can rely on. Don’t underestimate the value of that for a young signal caller, and it’d be hard to get a better receiver for a youngster to lean on than Evans.
2 - Reebok is no longer going to be the supplier of the NFL jerseys and Nike is taking over due to contract expiration. So what are the chances of the Bills getting new jerseys for the next season since most fans are in consensus that our current jerseys are ugly, most want either new jerseys, a modern version of the 90s jerseys, or the throwbacks full time.
Joe From Buffalo
CB: Nike will be taking over with jerseys, but not until the 2012 season, when the current deal with Reebok expires. New Era will also be taking over for hats.
Nike has promised to “dramatically change” the NFL uniform, but they’re referring more to the performance aspects of the jerseys (breathability, body cooling technology, etc).
Nike has no latitude to make any uniform modifications to any NFL jersey whatsoever, but I would anticipate that there will be some NFL teams that apply for jersey modifications in conjunction with Nike coming on board in 2012.
And that would need to be done sooner rather than later knowing that applying to the league for uniform modifications is a 12 to 18-month process. Whether the Bills are in that number remains to be seen.
3 – Chris,
We’re in a “hybrid” 4-3/3-4 which makes no sense at all. We have Kelsay running around in space trying to defend the pass, and we have Maybin bull rushing OT’s and getting buried. No pressure on QB’s, no solid run defense, and no ball hawking defensive backs (0 Int’s for defensive backs this year). This defense ensures that we’re terrible in every phase.
At what point are Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey going to hold our defensive coaches accountable the way they have held our personnel accountable?
CB: I think whenever a team undergoes a dramatic scheme change struggles have to be anticipated. The struggles were not expected to be this severe by anybody including the coaching staff, but there’s no getting around the deficiencies.
I think the heavier run front with four down linemen is a good idea. The only thing I wouldn’t mind seeing is lining up Kyle Williams at end and Marcus Stroud inside. Williams is the kind of player that could do just about anything you need a lineman to do. I’d be real interested to see what he could do on the edge in that look.
It starts with stopping the run and they’re looking for a way to shore that up. If they can then it will create more obvious passing situations, and defensive coordinator George Edwards can get more aggressive with blitz calls, which will lead to some hurried throws and more opportunities to make plays on the ball. Hopefully you see how it all fits together, but as Chan Gailey has said, if you can’t stop the run none of the other stuff even matters.
Once they can address that, they can address some of their other shortcomings.
4 - Chris, what happened with Danny Batten? He was another late round pick who was projected to play at OLB. I know he was injured early in training camp or OTAs, but is he still on the roster? If he is, is there any chance he makes it back into the fold this year?
CB: Danny Batten sustained a severe shoulder injury in training camp that required surgery and was put on injured reserve before the season even started.
The labrum in his shoulder was almost completely torn and he had a couple of ligaments that were damaged as well. One was almost completely torn and the other was partially torn. The head of his arm bone was also compromised (the part that fits into the shoulder socket).
But Batten has done very well in his rehab. Just this past week he began resistance training as he’s now allowed to lift light weights with his surgically repaired arm/shoulder.
He’s also been shifted to an inside linebacker position, which he is studying up on in the classroom. Batten is expected to be full go for the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program next March.
5 - Hello Chris,
I had a question for you, since Ralph Wilson has come out and said a QB is our first priority, is he ready to make the investment and pay the 50 to 75 million that it would take to sign a first round draft pick at QB? Why does Buddy need to go on the road, all we need to know is about three QB’s and I’ve been able to watch them from home every Saturday Arkansas, Washington and Stanford.
CB: First, it’s unclear what kind of salary commitment an NFL owner will have to make to a high draft pick because there is the possibility of a rookie cap being instituted as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. So Sam Bradford’s deal this past summer, which included $50 million guaranteed may soon be a thing of the past.
With respect to Buddy Nix’s going out on the road to scout quarterbacks and prospects at other positions, it’s a necessary part of the scouting process. If you believe you learn all you need to know about a player by watching him play in games you’ll miss the mark far more than you think.
How they play is a big part of the evaluation process, granted, but knowing a prospect’s practice habits, what makes them tick, family background, leadership ability, etc. cannot be accurately gleaned off of game tape alone. As Nix says himself, you have to “smell their breath.”
And the only reason you believe there are just three worthy QB prospects in the draft is because the so called draft experts wrote as much. If you think Buddy Nix is going to take his cue as to who to scout from the media, then you don’t know Buddy Nix.
Tags: 3-4 defense, Buddy Nix, Danny Batten, Fan Friday, Lee Evans, Nike, Ralph Wilson, Reebok
Posted in Inside the Bills