Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-5

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2014 – 11:20 am

The biggest December road game in quite some time is just two days away. Nice to see a game that matters here at this point in the season for the Bills. On to your questions now from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hello Chris
I have a couple questions. When will the coaching staff see that the QB play was not the problem? EJ could throw a pick a game and not fumble. Plus he had the strength in the pocket plus agility to avoid half the sacks Orton has had. It is play calling I feel. We run such a mellow offense. Out of 73 starts for Orton he has 8 comebacks. EJ had I believe 4 in just 14 starts. We should have let him continue to develop. Orton has continually been trying to make up for his mistakes. (Pick six in Detroit. That game should have never been that close)
Secondly do they hope CJ may come back with the IR they placed him on? Thanks again for all your coverage of the best team in sports.

Jedediah
Palm Coast, FL

CB: Your numbers for Orton and Manuel are pretty much on the mark. Orton does have eight fourth quarter comebacks in his career. Manuel has one fourth quarter comeback and three game-winning drives, one of which came in Week 1 against Chicago in overtime with the score tied.

I think head coach Doug Marrone explained the quarterback move for what it was. At the time Manuel was struggling to complete passes with consistency. He was missing open targets and it was costing them yards and points and that ultimately costs you games.

Marrone had to decide between development of EJ Manuel or winning games. Winning games trumped Manuel’s development. Orton doesn’t have the physical assets that Manuel possesses. That’s obvious.

What Orton does have however, is the knowledge of where to go with the football regardless of the situation or defensive look. He can diagnose disguised coverages faster and his knowledge allows him to make decisions quicker. I think that results in Orton being more willing to give his receivers opportunities to make plays by taking a bit more risk than Manuel was willing to when he was in the lineup.

That being said Manuel has been working hard on his personal game and I think being able to focus on just himself the last two months has helped Manuel immeasurably. Whether he gets another opportunity this season will likely be tied to Orton’s health.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think Hughes trade value is? Would you package him and Spiller for a first rd. Pick?

crazyeyes7711

CB: First, I will say I don’t think it’s the primary intention of the Bills to trade either player. In an ideal world they keep both players in the fold. Will it happen? That depends on the intentions of the Hughes and Spiller camps.

In your hypothetical trade situation I think you’re underselling Hughes and Spiller as a package. Hughes is going to have double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons and is just entering his prime. Spiller is still an elite physical talent no matter what his rushing production numbers say. One first round pick for both of them is far from an acceptable offer.

A first and a second round pick is what would be more equitable. We have to remember that they’re both former first-round draft choices themselves.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What’s Goodwin’s % to play?

8three7six6zero

CB: If you want to know if he’ll dress on Sunday I think there’s a decent chance that happens knowing some of Buffalo’s top receivers are nicked up. He can serve as insurance. If you want to know how many snaps he’ll get that’s tough to peg. He got all of two snaps last week on offense and was targeted once. After Marcus Thigpen’s debut performance on returns last week Goodwin is unlikely to re-assume those duties.

Goodwin has just 70 snaps on offense this season. That’s partly due to him being unavailable due to injury, but that’s more than 100 fewer snaps on offense than Mike Williams (194), who has been inactive for three games. Goodwin has been out of the lineup for six games.

The former third-round pick has just six targets this season and one catch for 42 yards.

 

4 -  @ChrisBrownBills

What position will be the top priority to improve in the offseason?

JaredBailey23

CB: I think the clubhouse leader position-wise is the offensive line. Though the unit has played a bit better of late there just hasn’t been enough consistency up front, so I could see that being addressed in the offseason. Where they come down on the quarterback position is something else that bears watching.

Other positions could be added to the priority list based on potential player departures in free agency.

 

5 – Chris,

I understand that opponents are working on eliminating Sammy’s impact on games and work on keeping him from beating them. That said, I still think they are under utilizing Sammy, specifically on WR screens. It would be one thing if they were running WR screens on the opposite side of the field as Sammy, but the majority of the time Sammy is lead blocking. I saw this at least two times on Monday night’s game.

I get what Marrone is saying, but their actions don’t always coordinate entirely with what they say.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Elliott

CB: They have worked to find more ways to get Watkins the ball. We saw some receiver screens last week against Cleveland. I think there would be some merit to stacking receivers at the line with Watkins being the wideout who is second in line on the stack. That could help him gain early separation.

Watkins was targeted nine times last week, but had just three receptions. Part of the problem at times was ball location. Watkins has a wide catch radius, but even he couldn’t make the play on some errant throws. The timing and execution has to be better when Watkins is targeted.

We’ll see if they can get that fixed against a pair of very aggressive corners this week in Denver.


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-17

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2014 – 10:22 am

Big bounce back week for the Bills as they host Minnesota. Just have a feeling the run game will be rediscovered. On to your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why isn’t Kraig Urbik starting? Is it stubbornness or the right call or something else in your opinion?

Richkay71

CB: Coach Marrone has been asked about this quite a bit this season. Based on what he’s said it sounds like he and the offensive staff would like to give rookie Cyril Richardson the opportunity to grow into the position. He said as long as Richardson, and Seantrel Henderson for that matter, are still showing signs of improvement in their play they’ll remain in the lineup.

As for Urbik specifically, here is his most recent answer as to why he hasn’t considered re-inserting Urbik into the starting lineup at either one of the guard positions.

“We feel comfortable what his role is for the team right now,” said Marrone of Urbik’s role as backup center. “If someone’s not playing well or not improving, I think (a change is) a possibility. We talk about that too.  I think those (rookies) are getting better in there.  And collectively, we’ve got to keep them coming along.  It’s an option with him. We’ve got Kraig backing up a lot of positions inside.

“I think his versatility is his strength. I think he has good versatility. If we want to put him in there he has the ability to be a starter and go in there and play. He gives us experience. He’s our best option if something were to happen with Eric Wood, and to be ready in case we ever do anything.”

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will the bills be as predictable as last week? First down, run. Second down, run. Third down, pass.

lux_brian

CB: Contrary to what you might think the Bills threw a good deal on first down last week. In fact on first down they had 12 runs and 15 pass attempts. Granted in the second half they were behind and had to throw more, but even in the first half they had eight runs and six pass attempts. Here were the results.

1st half  rush figures – 8 carries, 29 yds, fumble lost
1st half pass figures – 6 pass attempts, 7 yards, INT, sack – fumble lost, 2 incompletions

2nd half rush figures – 4 carries, 6 yds
2nd half pass figures – 9 pass attempts, 24 yards, touchdown, 5 incompletions

Against Detroit the week before the Bills ran on first down 11 times and threw 21 times. So until the propensity to run on first down becomes predictable we’ll take a closer look at the play calling by the offense.

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

How much do the Bills spend on real scouting and that’s both Collegiate & Pro CFL/NFL?

RickFreiheit

CB: There’s no way for me to get you the budget line for the Bills scouting operations, but I can tell you that the personnel department has upwards of 20 scouts, counting GM Doug Whaley. There are pro scouts, who do the advance scouting of future opponents and put together reports on every prospective free agent in the league. They will also take a look at CFL talent.

The college scouting department makes up the bulk of the group and they are scattered across the country. Each scout is assigned to region of the country and they are assigned to all the schools in their territory, with some overlap between scouts so they can get more than one opinion on a prospect.

The Bills as an organization have long believed in the value of scouting when it comes to building a roster and that has not changed one iota under Doug Whaley.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why do u think they haven’t used Sammy in the screen game? It was what he did the most in college and excelled at it.

ryancobello

CB: I’m not sure why he hasn’t been used more in the screen game. They have run a handful of receiver screens this season, and Mike Williams is an excellent blocking receiver as is Robert Woods. What I like most about your idea is it is an easy way to get the ball in Watkins’ hands regardless of what the opposing defense is doing coverage-wise.

You’re right he did excel at it. Whether it is something the offensive staff turns to more moving forward however, remains to be seen.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

My question has to do with the offensive line.  If Orton can improve the play at the QB position even just a little this team can make a run at the playoffs. However all the QB attention has hid some issues on the offensive line.  This offensive line is massive in size but for some reason seems to get very little push and obviously lacks in mobility compared to smaller, quicker lines.  What is most disconcerting is that when they run between the tackles there is little space for Freddy or CJ.  Most of their run yardage comes when they bounce it outside and get around the edge with their speed.  I guess my biggest problem has to do with their philosophy of getting BIG linemen as opposed to smaller more athletic guys that you tend to see on successful teams like the Patriots.  Do you think outside of QB, the offensive line is the biggest area of needed improvement and should Marrone be held responsible for this since that is his area of expertise?

Thanks,
-Danny

CB: Coach Marrone himself admitted that the line play up front needs to be better. Against some of the better defensive fronts this season Buffalo’s offensive line has had trouble winning at the line of scrimmage. It’s a bit surprising in light of their size as you mentioned. All that size has left them a bit less mobile for screens and pulls.

I agree with coach that the line play has to be more consistent and not just in the run game, but in pass protection as well. They’ve got to raise the level of play quickly, and that won’t be easy with a couple of rookies learning on the job.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-10

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2014 – 11:32 am

It’s been a historic week for the Buffalo Bills franchise. Sunday should be electric! For now let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,
Brandon Spikes only signed a one year deal in the off season, do you think the Bills will try and wrap him up long term?

Paddy, Vancouver Canada

CB: Spikes was brought in for a reason, to improve the team’s run defense. I think the one-year contract is very indicative of the club’s approach. It appears to be a let’s see how it goes approach. So it’s my belief that the powers that be will see how Spikes’ season plays out, and come the offseason they’ll assess his value and potential contributions for the team’s future.

I can say that in talking to Spikes he likes his teammates, coaches and the atmosphere here in Buffalo. He brings additional value with his veteran leadership, but I think it’s only fair for both sides to allow his full body of work to be reviewed before making any future decisions.

 

2 – Chris,

The #1 weakness for Bills is the Offensive Line. Same story for the past 14 years. Right now, I have no faith in either Right Guard or Left Guard. Our O-line has been a disaster.  I hope Richardson can play better than Chris Williams (who the Bills front office paid way too much for a below average guard).  I think the Bills front office should have done a better job in free agency at the guard position.

Not sure the Erik Pears experiment is going to work out.  With Pears at guard he has not been effective pulling for screen plays, sweeps or trap plays.

Question: I love Wood at center, but if the Bills guard troubles continue, perhaps the Bills could play Urbik at center and play Woods at guard again.

Next year Bills need to Upgrade – O-Line, Tight End position and perhaps Quarterback if progress is not made this season.

Randy
South Florida,………….   Thank you Terry and Kim Pegula!!!!

CB: Concerning your question about Eric Wood, I think he is at his most valuable position at center. That’s not to say he couldn’t play guard, which he did early in his career with the Bills. It seems as though they’re interested in letting Cyril Richardson learn the ropes when Chris Williams’ back doesn’t allow him to play.

That being said your idea isn’t a bad one. Kraig Urbik is the team’s backup center, so it is an option if the offensive staff feels it’s necessary to make a different kind of change at guard. I just think Wood is so valuable making the calls and performing in the pivot that I’d be hesitant to move him.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

My question is regarding the switch from Manuel to Orton.  My understanding is that the Bills are under pressure to win now, EJ just isn’t where he needs to be and so Marrone needed to make the decision before the losses got out of hand.  My question is, do you think that the plan they had going into the season regarding EJ and the offense is not working?  I mean the O-line is really struggling which is making the run game struggle which forced EJ the past 2 games to throw over 40 times. I wonder if part of this move is not only about winning but it could also be about protecting EJ and his psyche. So now Orton will come in and fans seem to think that he can do a better job, but he also needs the same formula as EJ, a good O-line a strong run game and defense and I’m worried that the Bills have a bigger issue than just QB. I was just wondering your thoughts about that.

Thanks for all your time, Jillian
CB: I think based on everything we’ve heard from coach Marrone on this subject that it was purely a performance decision. As coach Marrone said when he initially made the change at quarterback, he needs more production from that position. He was not getting enough positive plays from the quarterback position in the passing game and it was compromising their effectiveness on offense.

We’ll see where things go with Kyle Orton now in the lineup, but this is a performance-based business and I believe that was the crux of coach Marrone’s decision.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills How do you think the the Bills stop the short/quick passing game of the Pats this week

statmedic327

CB: Flooding the short passing lanes with defenders can help to disrupt some of the rhythm that Tom Brady relies upon in the Patriots’ passing game. How the Bills choose to do that remains to be seen. The general consensus by those outside the organization is to pressure Tom Brady, but that’s easier said than done even with a Buffalo defense that leads the league in sacks.

Kansas City had an awful lot of success rushing four and dropping seven into coverage. They dropped linebackers and their box safety into zones and defended the middle of the field pretty well, which is where Brady likes to work with his tight ends and Julian Edelman. Buffalo could take a similar approach if they so choose. They have comparable personnel to the Chiefs up front and at the second level.
5 – Hello, Chris,

In addition to your written work and videos on BB.com, I really enjoy your regular updates on the JMS.  You are very frank and insightful on those calls and I look forward to them each week.

My question relates to a subject I have not heard one person in the Buffalo print media nor BB.com family address since the announced QB switch – Kyle Orton’s motivation/determination.  I have always thought Orton has all the necessary QB skills.  Most importantly, he has the ability to read a defense and deliver the ball to the open receiver.  I felt EJ was sadly lacking in both case aspects.  However, I do not question EJ’s heart.  He took a beating the last two weeks and seemed to courageously get back on his feet and put the last hit behind him every time.  Do you think we can expect that with Orton?  My biggest concern regarding his signing apparently “out of retirement” was the possibility he was just looking for a paycheck to hold a clipboard and mentor EJ.  After nine years of bouncing around the league, does he have the personal motivation to lay it on the line for one more chance at football glory?

I have not heard nor seen anything, other than the circumstances around his signing, to create that doubt, but I have not seen nor heard anything to suppress it, either.  We will know soon enough, I suppose, once he gets under center.  However, it would be great to hear from inside the Bills family that Orton is the committed to going into combat with his teammates.  I truly believe the Bills have the skill players to make big plays on a consistent basis with a bunch of hungry young players surrounding a decent QB, and I hope the QB can mirror their intensity.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks!
Walter
CB: I appreciate the kind words. I think there is a measure of motivation for Kyle Orton with this current opportunity. In talking to him he admitted to me that this team is constructed in much the same way as the 2005 Chicago team he had to quarterback as a rookie after Rex Grossman was injured.

Their defense was outstanding, they had good special teams and a strong rushing attack with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Orton didn’t have to go out and win games there, and he may not have to do much of that here.

The benefit for the Bills is he’s a much wiser quarterback and a much more seasoned leader now than he was then.

I do believe the motivation could be at its highest this week, knowing his former head coach in Denver Josh McDaniels, is on the other sideline. McDaniels buckled to the pressure in Denver to start Tim Tebow, despite the fact that Orton led the Broncos to a 6-0 start.

I don’t know this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that coaching/organizational decision sticks in Orton’s craw perhaps more than any other. I don’t know that it does, and I’d never expect him to ever say that, but looking at all the decisions that went against him in his playing career, if I put myself in his shoes that one would sting the most for me.


Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-31

Posted by Chris Brown on May 31, 2013 – 4:31 pm

Time for the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey Chris

Concerned that the offensive line went unaddressed so far in this off season. Seems we lost 2 of our 3 best guards to free agency. Do you know of any plans to address this?  If not I sure hope EJ can run as fast as reported as he might be running for his well being.

Ray
The only bills fan in New Hampshire

CB: I think there will still be time to address the offensive line in the summer if the Bills personnel department and coaching staff feels it needs to be addressed. I believe with the team not playing real football yet with pads on, it’s been difficult for the staff to assess whether or not an addition needs to be made. I believe the team is in good shape at the tackle position. Obviously the guard position saw two players that played an awful lot of football walk out the door. I’m confident if a position needs to be addressed it will be by this front office.

 

2 – Chris,

We need our receivers to be at top speed by opening day. We need them working with someone like Jerry Rice right now. Like Eric Moulds did on the offseason. Remember the difference that made with Eric?

CB: The receiving corps is young agreed. The comments from the coaches are that this offense caters to aiding younger receivers so they can contribute sooner. You talked about the team needing someone that’s been successful in the league. The Bills already have that in receivers coach Ike Hilliard. In fact Coach Marrone tipped his hat to Hilliard based on how the young receivers performed during OTAs.

“I think a lot of the credit goes to Ike Hilliard and knows what it takes for a young player to make a team because he’s been through it before,” said Marrone. “Those types of experiences with some of our coaches that have an NFL background, we talk to our players all the time about it. But I think it means a little bit more when it comes from a coach that has already done it.”

 

3 - Hi Chris,
Now moving forward to the 2013 season, I have a few questions: why did the bills swap linebackers with Indy, and pick up Jerry Hughes? Is Hughes better than Kelvin Sheppard? As far as the coaching staff, do you feel that the Marrone regime will hold players more accountable than the Gailey regime did? Do you anticipate EJ Manuel being the starter when the regular season commences?

As always, looking forward to your input.

Tony, Ormond Beach, FL

CB: The Bills made the trade I believe for one major reason. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said the strength of his defense is its versatility. Jerry Hughes is a more versatile player than Kelvin Sheppard. Sheppard in this kind of defense would probably have been just a two-down linebacker. Hughes is a better athlete that can line up at more than one position and might be more effective in the impact he can make for this defense than Sheppard would have been.

Marrone has been all about accountability since he got here, not only with the players being accountable to one another, but he wants the players to hold him and his coaches accountable too.

Projecting EJ Manuel as the starter is a bit premature. Though he has coach Marrone encouraged, I think we really won’t know how ready Manuel is until we see how he performs in the preseason games.

 

4 - Hey CB

How is Pears looking in practice!!, I here he is getting healthy and should be in good shape by pre-season!!

clickrjp – a fan

CB: Pears over the past week or so has slowly worked his way in to the team portions of practice. It’s been a long road back for Pears after injuries slowed him in 2012, but he saw his most extensive work in team portions of practice Friday. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come for the right tackle come the mandatory minicamp next month.

 

5 – Chris,

First off you & John Murphy are my only means of Bills info(all the way in Memphis). Keep up the good work guys. My question is with the acquisitions of 2nd rd Robert Woods,3rd rd Marquise Goodwin,& Undrafted FA Da’rick Rodgers, which I’m excited about especially Woods & Rodgers, so with us getting Goodwin to possibly be the slot guy. Where does that leave T.J. Graham?

He’s a layover from the last coaching staff & not Marrone’s guy. Where does he fit? & throw a talented a Brad Smith in the mix. How are they get all of this talent on the field with Stevie? Is it gonna be a rotation or what? Man I really wanna know.

Draper Jackson
Patiently waiting in Memphis,Tn

CB: I think T.J. Graham has been the most consistent receiver in the OTA practices. He looks like a player that’s ready to take a sizable jump in performance this year despite the new offense. Brad Smith was another consistent performer with Stevie Johnson missing most of the OTAs, it afforded them a good deal of snaps in practice.

I would tend to believe that the Bills keep six receivers on the roster. All of the aforementioned wideouts are firmly in that mix. It’s not going to be an easy call when it comes to picking the fifth and sixth receivers, but Graham is not one you need to worry about. Heading into the mandatory minicamp he’s positioned himself well for a notable role in the offense.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Sanders a guard option?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2013 – 8:16 am

With the free agent departures at guard this offseason for the Bills it has fans wondering what the options are at guard. Colin Brown was re-signed and Kraig Urbik is in the fold long term. Buffalo has some other young options on the roster, but one of the better ones could be last year’s fifth-round pick.

Buffalo was not a healthy team at offensive tackle last season, but that figures to be different this year. With Erik Pears finally healthy after a 2012 season marred by groin problems, he along with Cordy Glenn and Chris Hairston forming a pretty solid top 3 at the position. Sam Young saw time on the field last season as well, though most of it was as a fill-in guard, not his natural position at 6’7″. Matt Welch is still another candidate.

That leaves Chris Scott, David Snow and possibly Zebrie Sanders. In an interview with Buffalobills.com Sanders, who played tackle in college and in training camp last summer, admitted he hadn’t given guard much thought.

“It hasn’t crossed my mind,” Sanders told Buffalobills.com. “I’ve been really focused on just getting back out there. I’ve always followed the mentality that the best five players will play and I’ll be happy just to be out there whether I’m tackle or guard, as long as I’m on the field. Wherever the coaches feel it’s best for me to play and wherever I can be the most help to the team I’ll be in that position.”

With all the tackle candidates on the roster and guard a bit thinner in numbers it wouldn’t be surprising if Sanders is lined up inside at times as the new coaching staff searches for viable options there.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix on attitude of O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2012 – 11:36 am

Bills fans in attendance at Buffalo’s home opener last Sunday witnessed some of the Bills offensive linemen coming to the defense of their skill position players after Chiefs’ defenders tried to deliver some extra shots at the end of plays in the second half. Bills GM Buddy Nix explained where that attitude of defending your own comes from.

“Attitude starts with Coach Gailey and it continues with (offensive line coach) Joe D’Alessandris, but it starts with guys like Eric Wood that is a highly competitive guy and he’s got the temperament you want in an offensive lineman,” said Nix. “Erik Pears has quietly got the same kind of stuff and Cordy doesn’t back off. Andy and Urbik those guys will scrap you so that’s exactly what we’re trying to get.”

Nix appears every Friday morning at 8 am during the season on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line ranks pre-2012

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2012 – 12:41 pm

The Bills offensive line was bolstered by the addition of three draft choices a couple of weeks ago. Now O-lines across the league are being re-ranked based on those additions.

Rotoworld took the latest stab at it ranking Buffalo in the middle of the pack. Here’s their assessment.

13. Buffalo Bills

LT: Cordy Glenn
LG: Andy Levitre*
C: Eric Wood*
RG: Chad Rinehart*
RT: Erik Pears*

Top reserves: OT Chris Hairston, OG Kraig Urbik*, OT Sam Young, OT Zebrie Sanders, OG Michael Jasper.

Overview: The Bills’ 2011 offensive line graded out as the NFL’s top pass-protecting unit, according to both Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders. Though no doubt assisted by Ryan Fitzpatrick’s quick release, Buffalo allowed a league-low 23 sacks, which is another strong vote for the argument that elite left tackle play isn’t necessarily a difference-making NFL quality. The Bills feel they improved on the left by stealing Glenn with the 41st pick in the draft, and bring back incumbent Hairston as a talented, tested backup. Similar players Urbik and Rinehart will vie for the right guard job. Wood is returning from a torn right ACL, but should be close to 100 percent by camp and has been a dominant center when healthy. While this group lacks household names, its combination of continuity, athleticism, and impressive scheming makes it quietly a top O-Line.

http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/40484/179/2012-offensive-line-rankings?pg=2


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills O-line to be honored

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2012 – 12:03 pm

Buffalo’s offensive line will be toasted next Monday evening at a reception at Ilio DiPaulo’s.

Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant, along with co-sponsor, Hanes Supply, Inc. will host a Sports Night to toast the Buffalo Bills offensive line on Mon., May 7. The line will be recognized for giving up the fewest sacks in the league and ranked fifth in the NFL in yards per carry average. 

The event, to be held at Ilio DiPaolo’s in Blasdell, New York, will begin at 6 pm with cocktails, dinner at 7 PM then a Chinese Auction and program to follow.  Tickets are $30.00 each with proceeds to benefit the Police Athletic League of Buffalo.

Members of Buffalo’s offensive line will be on hand and there will be a video presentation by Bills offensive line coach, Joe D’Alessandris.  Also in attendance will be several past & present Buffalo Bills players as well as, the Buffalo Jills. 

Tickets are limited. Call 825-3675 for reservations.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Why guards, centers going earlier

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2012 – 10:33 am

The last few years in the NFL draft there have been more and more interior linemen drafted sooner rather than later, when it used to always be the offensive tackles that came off the board first. While tackles still go high, prospects like Buffalo’s Eric Wood (1st round) and Andy Levitre (2nd round) have gone in the first two rounds, and this year’s class offers some similar type prospects.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper was recently asked why interior linemen are becoming more and more prevalent in the early rounds, and Kiper feels it’s not just based on talent alone.

“I think it’s because of the defensive tackles and the ability to get that push. This year the one player is (Stanford guard David) DeCastro. Fundamentally, technically, everything about him is top notch. Only knock is he’s a pure guard. You can’t hold that against him when you rate him though and he’s 12th on my board.  Somewhere in that top 15.

“Cordy Glenn at Georgia is another kid that’s intriguing because he played left tackle this year and held up very well, played guard in the past and could be a right tackle in the NFL. Then of course Peter Konz, the junior center from Wisconsin, but his only issue is durability. Missed multiple games each of the last three seasons with injuries, but with his size and coming out of the Wisconsin program that’s developed a lot of good O-linemen you think of him early to mid-second round.”

Talent is still the top determining factor, but defensive play has probably played a role. Either way it again appears as though there are a healthy number of interior linemen that will be selected on the first two days of the draft.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

A peek at Bills O-line chemistry

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2011 – 12:23 pm

Most fans know the important of chemistry to an offensive line. A lot of that chemistry can be built off the field, which is what Buffalo’s offensive linemen do with their quarterback.

Here’s a Sporting News piece on what Buffalo’s offensive linemen do on Fridays with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

 


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Tip of hat to O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on September 11, 2011 – 9:25 pm

They’ve been much maligned this preseason, but on Sunday the offensive line did top notch work in the 41-7 victory.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked just once  and though the statistics say he was hit five other times, I personally only recall seeing a pair of legitimate shots. Head coach Chan Gailey tipped his hat to his linemen as well.

“The key to the whole thing is pass protection and I think we got sacked one time,” he said. “Erik (Pears) let the guy get around the corner. We got hit maybe two more times, but other than that Fitz was able to stand back there and see things and throw it where he needed to throw it. The pass protection was huge for us.”

If the pass protection stays the course the Bills will be putting up a lot of points this season.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fred on O-line rotation

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2011 – 9:26 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson was asked about the offensive line rotation that’s been going on the last few days at left guard with Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart and how it affects him as a running back.

“It’s tough to adjust,” he said. “You try to jell with the guys that are up there and then you get things that throw off your mentality. It’s one of those things you have to be able to adjust to. Injuries happen during the season, so you want to adjust to whoever is in front of you and pickup on what they’re doing as fast as possible.”

Buffalo’s offensive staff is no doubt looking to nail down their starting five on the line as soon as possible to have as much cohesiveness as they can muster going into the season opener.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Screen game has potential

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2010 – 8:47 am

Screens and draws are two elements of Buffalo’s offense that have been noticeably absent the past few years as they’ve been run rather infrequently. That could change this season.

The Bills had a pair of well executed screens in Saturday night’s win over Cincinnati. One went to Corey McIntyre and picked up 16 yards, while the other went to C.J. Spiller and picked up 26. One of the main reasons for that success were the key blocks delivered by Buffalo’s offensive linemen who got downfield.

“They did a good job,” said Chan Gailey of his offensive linemen. “We’ve got some pretty good athletes up front that can run, so that’s got a chance to be a pretty big part of our ball game before it’s over with.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

OT Green a likely game day decision

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2010 – 8:05 am

Right tackle Cornell Green has participated in practice all week coming off a knee injury suffered in practice the week before, but head coach Chan Gailey wants to wait on making a final call on Green’s availability for Thursday night’s preseason game in Toronto.

“There’s a chance. I think we have to see. He went (Monday) night, went again (Tuesday). Let’s see how he feels come Thursday night,” said Gailey.

With Demetrius Bell and Eric Wood expected to see some brief action, if Green is able to play it would be the first time the projected starting five offensive linemen would be together in live action.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line left to right

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2009 – 7:30 pm

Here’s the Bills lineup on the offensive line for tonight.

LT Jonathan Scott, LG Andy Levitre, C Geoff Hangartner, RG Kendall Simmons, RT Kirk Chambers.

This is the same lineup as the week before, just the second time that has happened this season.


Tags:
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills O-line confidential

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2009 – 2:30 pm

The Buffalo Bills offensive linemen gathered together for an evening of food and conversation, and somebody invited the tight ends to come along too.

It’s an entertaining interaction from Buffalo’s men up front courtesy of NFL.com. Good for a few laughs for sure.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2008 – 7:28 pm

Here’s the latest installment. As always if you have a question e-mail me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and I’ll do my best to answer everyone. Just remember you can always check here for answers.

1. Allowing most of the sacks on the line, and the production value being so positive for Kirk Chambers, would a consideration of benching Jason Peters be an option? Also, I find it hard to believe that with such a productive college transition and very good pre-season, that Steve Johnson doesn’t get a lot of playing time at the Wide Receiver position. What are your thoughts? Thank You.
Nolan Cool

CB: I asked Dick Jauron just last week for a progress report on Jason Peters and he told me that while he has missed on a couple of plays that, “he has dominated the opposition far more than he’s been dominated.” He also told me that he has no worries with Peters on the left side. I don’t see the Bills changing anything up front.

As for Johnson I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more of him myself. But there are veterans like Evans, Reed and Parrish entrenched at receiver and even Justin Jenkins has more time on the field than Johnson. The staff is trying so hard to get Hardy up to speed that Johnson is kind of lost in the shuffle.

 

2. Dear Chris,

I’m thrilled regarding the Lee Evans contract extension.  But one Lee Evans-related issue that is bothersome is how under-utilized Lee is. Lee at the time I’m sending this ranks 35th in the NFL in terms of number of targets to a player. Yes, Lee is great at the long ball, but why don’t the Bills involve Lee more in the short passing gaming (e.g., slants)?

Thanks.
Andy Evens

CB: I think the coaching staff would like to do more of that. That’s why Turk Schonert has been open to moving Lee around in the formations to get different matchups and work different parts of the field. Ultimately however, Lee is the team’s best threat at stretching the field and now that he’s burned a couple of teams he puts genuine fear in teams (see Chargers). As a result I think you’ll see Lee factoring in more heavily to the underneath part of the passing game since teams will be very worried about getting toasted.

 

3. We have spent a lot of money on the line and I consistently hear good things about the individual abilities of our cast. I’m just wondering why the holes are not opening up? Is it because we are too big and slow? Is there a lack of effort? Problems with the scheme? Poor RB vision? I was just wondering if your observations have focused in on a flaw and I am interested in your response.
 
Thanks Chris, I enjoy updates
Alex Barnard

CB: Coaches always say that running the ball is an attitude. There’s no doubt Marshawn Lynch has that attitude. There’s no question the men up front have to come off the ball stronger.

From what I see they can’t consistently win that battle at the line of scrimmage. There are glimpses of it improving, but it hasn’t been consistent. The linemen know that and OL coach Sean Kugler knows that. They’re working on it. Hopefully it busts loose soon because with the bad weather on the way they’ll need to run it more.

 

4. What do you do during the Bills game and do you attend every one? I see that you blog 8 or 10 times during a game. What do you do for the other 2 and a half hours?
 
Robert
Wheatfield, NY

CB: During the game I’m writing the game story for the home page of Buffalobills.com. So as it’s happening I’m writing a story. I’m writing down plays on a steno pad for reference for the story and I’m conversing with my co-workers at Bills Digest and Buffalobills.com on potential sidebar stories and secondary angles.

I have to file the game story right after the final gun before going down to the locker room, and it’s easier said than done, especially when it’s a close game that could go either way.

I’m also writing a script for our video wrap up package that appears in the media lounge of Buffalobills.com as part of our post game coverage. And blogging of course.

 

5. Wondering if we have considered using the Wildcat offense? Especially against the Dolphins. It might throw them off a bit. It would also give our defense some practice against it. Didn’t Freddie do some quarterbacking? Just another suggestion for Turk I guess.

John

CB: I don’t see Dick Jauron resorting to that. The team is averaging 25 points per game doing what they’re doing. The Dolphins don’t have much firepower at wide receiver so they need something different to increase their production like a scheme of this nature. Not knocking it. It’s worked for them.

However, if the Bills were to run it I think J.P. Losman would be perfect for it. He has the legs to run out of it and obviously would afford an offense much more versatility from a passing perspective out of that set.

Brown is not the best passer, though his TD throw to Fasano was pretty good against the Pats. We’ll see just what kind of a copycat league this is by how many teams adopt this formation.


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Pass protection has been great

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2008 – 6:11 pm

Buffalo’s pass protection has been good for the whole game thus far. Edwards has been throwing a lot to the backs (Jackson, Lynch) who have caught six passes already, but Trent has had a lot of time back there and his stats prove it. Entering this current drive he’s 14-15 for 125 yards and a TD. Passer rating 123.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills