Veteran voluntary minicamp is up this week beginning Tuesday and will roll us right into the draft Thursday night. Remember to stay close to Buffalobills.com online and on your mobile devices for full coverage of the Bills 2015 draft class as it happens. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Any shot the Bills can get in on Rivers? Something like EJ and this year’s 2 and 5 or EJ and next year’s 1?
CB: The Philip Rivers trade chatter exists because of the quarterback’s comments, not the GM’s. Rivers has backed off his comments recently. That doesn’t mean that teams won’t be inquiring about the veteran QB’s availability. In a down year for quarterbacks it’ll be interesting to see what NFL clubs would be willing to offer, but I think the asking price would be very high if Tom Telesco even entertains an offer in the first place.
It’s my belief your trade proposals above would have to be improved to make a deal even remotely possible. Not having a one to offer this year I think removes Buffalo from consideration, and that’s if San Diego even decides to talk turkey. In a down year for quarterbacks I wouldn’t want to be hitting the reset button at that position, especially when my QB was an NFL MVP candidate for the first half of the season in 2014.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
2 players #Bills need this draft. MyCole Pruitt and Chris Bonner, what’s your thoughts, opinions?
CB: While I think there are a lot of things to like about Pruitt’s skill set, I don’t know that he’s a match for what Buffalo is looking for at tight end. Buffalo has the versatile playmaker in Clay and a potential athletic understudy in Marqueis Gray. Chris Gragg is a good straight line athlete, so what’s left? In a power run scheme Buffalo needs a tight end that is an accomplished blocker. If they can offer short to intermediate pass catching ability all the better.
Prospects in this year’s draft class who fit that bill as I see it are Ohio State’s Jeff Heuerman and Delaware’s Nick Boyle. Heuerman probably comes off the board in day two and Boyle on day 3. Good, high character players as well.
As for Chris Bonner, I wouldn’t be opposed to using a seventh-round pick on the D-II QB prospect. For a 6-7 quarterback I’m impressed with the way he makes himself small in the pocket to avoid pressure, and then the feet he has for a 6-7 man, Bonner is pretty good at extending plays.
The basics of his arm mechanics are good. He’s got an over-the-top delivery. What he lacks right now is touch on the ball and arc. Too often he throws a laser no matter what type of route he’s targeting. Dropping throws in the bucket on deep outs or putting more loft on an over the shoulder pass are the things he needs work on.
What I think I like best about Bonner’s game is the way he’s able to avoid the inside rush in the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and re-set his feet to deliver the ball. His throws aren’t always great, but a feel for pocket pressure is tough to find in young QBs. I’m confident some NFL team will try to develop him.
3 – Chris,
What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?
CB: I think offensive line will be a major focus at 50 and if the right value is there at offensive tackle or guard I believe that’s where they go. Players I like for the Bills at 50 (assuming of course they’re still on the board) are G/C A.J. Cann, OT Cedric Ogbuehi (provided the knee checks out), OT Donovan Smith and G Laken Tomlinson.
If none of those prospects are on the board at 50 I think that’s when best on the board truly comes into play. A good all-around OLB/DE would make the most sense for me knowing Manny Lawson is entering the final year of his contract, but I think defensive back, inside linebacker, defensive tackle are all on the table there if the offensive line options are gone.
4 – Hi Chris,
I’m a longtime Bills fan now living in Kentucky and really appreciate all the hard work you do reporting the happenings at One Bills Drive. It seems the Bills with the support of the Pegula’s have assembled an all-star coaching staff. Are there any league rules that limit or restrict the number of assistants a team can hire or that can be on the sidelines during a game?
Mark from Louisville
CB: Thanks for the kind words. To my knowledge there is no limit to the number of assistants a club can have on a coaching staff. And you’re right it is an all-star staff.
5 – Chris,
First of all thanks again for the great coverage of the Buffalo Bills. My question is about the offensive line and in particular the two starting tackles from the 2014 season. I recall either Doug Whaley or Rex referring to guard and tackle as a need, I thought the addition of tackle was interesting. I know the Bills have seen Cordy Glenn as a tackle in the past but I’ve heard many times that he could be one of the best guards in football if kicked inside. With a new staff and o-line coach do you think they may see as a guard? If this were to be the case that leaves a hole at left tackle clearly. Leading to my next question which is do you think Seantrel Henderson could swing over to the left side? I thought he had his rookie woes early against some top flight talent (Houston game against Watt) but got better as the season went on. Do you think he could be a starting left tackle? This move would also lead me to believe that Cyrus Kouandjio could have a legitimate chance at winning the right tackle spot. Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on these potential moves.
CB: I think all options are open. Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and my conversation with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer are all consistent. They will look to find what the best combination of five linemen is best for the starting offensive line. That means no move is off the table.
That being said it’s my belief that Cordy Glenn is the best tackle on this roster right now. The coaches might feel differently and they have a trained eye for what works best far better than I do. Asking Seantrel Henderson to flip to the left side is not outlandish, but I think in his second NFL season might be a bit premature.
There’s little question that Henderson has the physical skill set to play on the left side, but his NFL readiness for that position is the key question. I think Cyrus Kouandjio will also be given every opportunity to be an offensive tackle for this team as opposed to guard.
Tags: 2015 NFL draft, Bills coaching staff, Chris Bonner, Cordy Glenn, Cyrus Kouandjio, Dough Whaley, Fan Friday, MyCole Pruitt, Philip Rivers, Rex Ryan, Seantrel Henderson
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Are we looking at a WR1 with Harvin? Watkins WR2. Woods WR3. Harvin, starting combo? Are they looking to add another WR through draft?
CB: I still think Sammy Watkins remains the number one option in Buffalo’s passing game despite the signing of Percy Harvin. Harvin is probably the number two receiver outside in light of the money invested in him. The Harvin acquisition was done to discourage defenses from doubling Watkins.
Woods and Hogan probably work out of the slot more. If Clay becomes Bills property he works the seams and the flats underneath.
As for drafting a receiver, I think that’s one position you can cross off the list unless some phenomenal talent slips to them that wasn’t expected. The reason why is looking at Buffalo’s depth chart right now your top five wideouts look like this.
Easley – for special teams
After that you’ve got Goodwin, Thigpen, Brown, Holley, Thompson and Palmer. Do the Bills keep six receivers this year? Knowing they will be carrying a fullback and need numbers at tight end for Greg Roman’s offense I don’t think seeing six receivers on Buffalo’s 53-man roster is as likely as it was under the previous coaching staff.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
ummm can I just throw this out there? Philip Rivers. Buffalo Bill?
CB: You’re welcome to throw it out there. Yes, Rivers’ contract is up after the 2015 season, and he has said he has little incentive to sign an extension with San Diego. His lack of interest stems from the prospect of the Chargers possibly moving to Los Angeles as they’re currently operating under a year-to-year lease in San Diego.
If he’s not open to negotiating an extension, the Chargers can make use of the franchise tag, which would present San Diego with a cap hit of more than $20M. He’ll be 34-years old in 2016.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco said he has every intention of keeping Rivers a Charger moving forward. So I don’t see him going anywhere unless some phenom quarterback prospect falls in San Diego’s lap.
3 – Chris,
Chris, I’ve seen at least on draft site list LT as a major priority for the Bills. Is there any discussion of moving Cordy Glenn to G?
CB: I think offensive tackle is a distinct possibility in the draft for Buffalo, especially with how they’ve addressed some of their other perceived positional needs like tight end and running back in free agency, though I could see a back or tight end taken somewhere on day three.
Offensive line (tackle or guard) and linebacker are probably the two most pressing positional needs. As for the future position for Cordy Glenn, guard was raised as a possibility under the previous coaching staff.
I think the likelihood of that resurfacing as a possibility hinges on one thing, how much they address the tackle position between now and training camp.
Right now they have just three true offensive tackles on their roster in Glenn, Henderson and Kouandjio. If they draft one on day two they’ll have four and even then I don’t know that they consider such a move for Glenn.
Is it possible? There’s always a chance, especially with a new coaching staff. Is it likely? I don’t think so, based primarily on numbers at the position.
4 – Chris,
I don’t understand why people are saying that the Bills need to draft a running back?
Especially not with a high draft pick when there are more pressing needs on the offensive line. Aren’t Fred Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon enough?
CB: I think the running back need has been reduced, but I’m not opposed to the Bills drafting one late. Here’s why. Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown are both entering the final year of their contracts. Sure it’s possible one might re-sign, but I doubt that both do.
What’s wrong with using a day three pick on a running back that you feel has a chance to push for a roster spot who might surprise you? Late round backs are finding more and more NFL jobs on 53-man rosters than at most other positions. Worse comes to worse you might be able to sneak such a back onto your practice squad, and have someone in reserve who knows the system should a rash of injuries strike.
5 – Hi Chris,
Great job keeping all these Bills fans way out here in the Pacific Northwest in the know when it comes to our Bills!
My question is looking back one more time at last season. What in the world happened to Mike Williams? He seemed to be developing into that deep middle guy and goal line end zone threat. If I’m not mistaken wasn’t his last catch an 80-yard bomb from E.J. Manuel at the tail end of that heartbreaking loss to Houston? Why did he fall off so quickly in favor of Chris Hogan?
CB: Mike Williams’ issues stemmed from his lack of reliability in executing his assignments on offense. Whether it was in practice or in games Kyle Orton made it pretty clear that he didn’t feel he could trust him. Chris Hogan was the complete opposite. He was a reliable player that didn’t have many miscues when it came to executing assignments.
Now Hogan’s emergence wasn’t solely due to Williams’ less than ideal professionalism. I believe he would have moved past Williams in the lineup at some point last season. Williams’ indifference to putting in extra time with the new quarterback in the lineup effective Week 5 just accelerated that process.
Tags: Cordy Glenn, Mike Williams, NFL Draft, NFL free agency, Percy Harvin, Philip Rivers
Posted in Inside the Bills
It’s not often that an NFL team converts 50 percent of their third downs when they’re run game is producing less that 80 yards rushing per game. But that is the case for the Chargers, who come to Buffalo with the sixth-best third down conversion rate in the league. Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided his take on why he thinks San Diego has been able to move the sticks even when their run game isn’t helping all that much.
Not surprisingly, Marrone credits Chargers veteran QB Philip Rivers, who somehow seems to find a way to keep the offense on the field.
“He’s a very good player and I think when you look at them from a standpoint of rushing they’re probably not happy with the average per rush that they have, but they continue to keep running the football,” said Marrone. “What it does is they’ve been in great situations as far as 3rd-and-4 or less, probably more than any other team in the league. When you give a player like Philip Rivers and the skill players that they have that type of down and distance, they’re going to convert more often than not. We’ve got to do a good job of keeping the chains in our favor and getting those tackles for loss and put them in situations where they have to go further to get those first downs. That’s what we’re going to have to do if we’re going to be successful.”
“Mainly, we look for yards per carry,” said Philip Rivers of his team’s run game. “That’s what you look at. Last week, we were pretty balanced, really, almost 50-50 and ended up over 100 yards but per-rush wasn’t really good. In the Monday night game against Arizona, and although that was the 2013 number one rush defense in the league, there’s still no excuse for it. We know we’ve got to run it better and we’re going to continue be more balanced and stick with it. One thing we are, we’re not going to abandon it. We’re going to stick with it because when we’re balanced, that’s when we’re at our best. We all know we’ve got to run it better. And it’s all of us, me included. Getting us to the best runs. And then getting everybody involved in making things go.”
Tags: Bills-Chargers, Doug Marrone, Philip Rivers
Posted in Inside the Bills
UB product Branden Oliver, an undrafted rookie signing of the Chargers this past spring, could see some action Sunday against Buffalo. With starting RB Ryan Mathews not expected to play Donald Brown is the feature back, with Danny Woodhead playing a supporting role. Oliver might see a few touches here and there through the course of the game. San Diego QB Philip Rivers has been pretty pleased with what he’s seen from the former Bull.
“He’s been awesome. He got out there really early back when he got here. Some things he did were just kind of like … I know a handful of us said that said we can’t wait to see him in the preseason games and he didn’t let us down. He was solid. He works hard,” said Rivers. “He really wants to study and just wants to do things right. I see him in Danny and Donald and Ryan’s hip pocket. He asked me stuff last game, little things. He just wants to do things right and he earned that spot on the 53. We’re glad we have him. He’s going to have to step up for us now that Ryan has gone down.”
Tags: Bills-Chargers, Branden Oliver, Philip Rivers
Posted in Inside the Bills
A lot of NFL observers have criticized the Chargers for several years for underachieving as they’ve been stocked with some of the deepest talent in the league the last several years. The last few years they’ve just squeaked into the playoffs thanks in large part to strong finishes. Most are wondering if they’re at it again after posting a December win Monday night to end a six-game losing streak.
“I think that’s when you want to be playing your best football,” said Philip Rivers. “You’d like to not be sitting at 5-7 fighting to stay alive. You want to be playing your best football late in the year. That’s when you want to peak. There have been years where we finished the year off and went 11-5 and went to the AFC Championship and we finished the year off winning 11 in a row and going 13-3.
“Then there have been years like this one when we were 4-8 and we won out and found a way to get in. You want to be playing your best at the end, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to be playing good early. We’re determined to have another great finish to the season. It’ll continue on Sunday trying to get our second win in a row.”
Rivers is 21-2 as a starter in December and a career passer rating of 100.9. Only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is better at 101.9. And Rivers’ home record in December as a starter? 10-1.
Tags: Bills-Chargers, Philip Rivers
Posted in Inside the Bills