Inside The Bills

What having K Gay on prac. squad does for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on September 5, 2016 – 7:00 am

With K Jordan Gay signed to the Bills practice squad, Buffalo affords themselves options.

With the kickoff specialist on the roster the last two seasons the Bills have finished in the top three in kickoff coverage each of the last two years. Their opponents average drive start has been one of the poorer for their opponents in the league as well. This season they’ve chosen to have Dan Carpenter handle kickoffs.

With the new rule putting touchbacks at the 25, there will undoubtedly be a different approach. Relying on hang time on kicks to somewhere between the five-yard line and the goal line to allow the coverage team to run under it and make plays is one approach among many based on opponent, field conditions, weather and caliber of returner.

Should their new approach to covering kicks not prove as effective as that of the last two seasons, the Bills can still turn to Jordan Gay and resume their previous approach and activate him off the practice squad.

Keeping him there affords them the luxury of keeping him in the fold and up to date on their special teams plans and changes through the season without the specialist costing them a roster spot right now.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills add TE Annen to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2015 – 3:15 pm

For the second time in as many weeks the Bills have added a tight end to the practice squad.

The Buffalo announced Tuesday that the team has signed TE Blake Annen to the practice squad.
Annen originally entered the NFL in 2014 as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. In addition to Philadelphia, the 6-4, 247-pound Cincinnati product has spent time with the Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. Annen appeared in five games for Chicago in 2014, playing primarily on special teams. Annen, 24, is a native of Upper Arlington, Ohio.
Last week the Bills added TE Marcel Jensen to the practice squad.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-4

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2015 – 2:21 pm

As Rex Ryan said his team is out of mulligans. A win streak has to start this weekend against Houston. Here are your latest questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,
My Bills related question is regarding Tyrod Taylor NEVER going under center.  I think this is really limiting our play action and he also very rarely keeps the ball on a read option limiting its effectiveness.  Why is this?  Also – are we every going to throw a screen/quick slant to Sammy or ever get him in motion – this is nearly as intolerable.  I’m also starting to see Robert Woods as a solid #3 with Hogan #4 and dire need of a large WR #2…thoughts?

St. Louis

CB: Taylor has been under center, but it has been relatively rare. You’re right about him keeping the ball a lot on read option plays. In my opinion there were a handful of plays against the Patriots where if he kept the ball he had an entire side of the field open to him with as strong as New England’s defense was flowing in the direction that LeSean McCoy was headed on those plays.

I don’t know if his knee injury has made him more hesitant to take off and run on read option plays. I can’t imagine the coaching staff has advised him against taking off and running on those to protect him, otherwise you wouldn’t call such plays in the first place.

I understand your frustration with quick slants or receiver screens with Sammy. I think if you’re having trouble getting Watkins the ball as was the case in the second half last week why not put it in his hands at the line of scrimmage and see what he can do from there?

The team has two very capable blocking receivers in Woods and Hogan, so it would stand to reason that you could put them all in a bunch formation and throw Watkins the ball. You might only get four yards, but if someone falls down on defense you might get a lot more.

2 – Chris,
There is no doubt Rex is a great motivator, but penalties come when emotion takes over. Emotion can burn out over time and cloud judgement, purpose burns longer and sharpens judgement. Do you believe we get too high early, can Rex channel emotion more at the end of a game than at the beginning?

Jim in Florida

CB: I think you can make an argument that while this team does get off to some great starts, finishing has been a problem. This is most apparent in one particular statistic, which for most of the season has been a strength for the team. Buffalo has the number one run defense in the NFL in the first half. No other team gives up fewer rushing yards in the first half of games than Buffalo. In the second half however, the Bills rank 27th in run defense.

It’s only one arbitrary statistic, but it does speak to the up and down play of the team this season. Buffalo’s most inefficient quarter in terms of points for and against is the third quarter where opponents are outscoring them by almost a 2:1 margin (44 points for; 84 points against).

There are other team stats that point to a drop off in the second half of games as well and in a conversation I had with Manny Lawson he agreed that something has been missing particularly in the fourth quarter of games. He and other leaders have tried to impress a sense of urgency upon the other players, but for whatever reason the units on offense, defense and special teams can’t collectively raise their level of play to a point where they can consistently finish games and win.

3 – @ChrisBrownBills what is up with the D? I understand there are injuries, but this unit is avg/bad after 2 years of solid/elite play.


CB: The struggles of the defense are perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2015 season. A defensive unit that proved capable of switching from Mike Pettine’s scheme to Jim Schwartz’s scheme from 2013 to 2014 and improve to become a top five unit in the league, a solid run defense and the best third down unit in the league has slipped in a lot of areas this season.

There’s no need for me to outline where the fall off has occurred. The players claim that Rex Ryan’s scheme is something they’re still trying to master. Why that is the case this late in the season is unclear. New schemes at most typically take a team 6-8 weeks into the season to fully grasp and play fast on Sundays.

Ryan admitted last week that he made the mistake of trying to blend some of the successful principles of last year’s defensive scheme in with his own scheme. After seeing that wasn’t working he scrapped some of the defensive concepts from last year and went exclusively with his own scheme.

Whether that presented a whole new learning curve midway through the season is unclear.

What is clear is the results haven’t been there. With so much talent on that side of the ball these results were totally unexpected. But facts are facts. Now we’ll have to see what they can scrape together by way of performance over the last five games.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills interest in Kaepernick next year?


CB: I would be surprised if the Bills have interest in Colin Kaepernick. He’s a career 60 percent passer with great athletic ability. Fortunately the Bills have grade ‘A’ intel on Kaepernick as a person, leader and worker from offensive coordinator Greg Roman. If the reports out of San Francisco this season are accurate, Kaepernick lacks in two of those categories.

His skill set is similar to Tyrod Taylor. Taylor however, in my opinion, is a better leader, more dedicated worker and the numbers say a more accurate passer.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can you give us bills practice squad roster as of now?


CB: Running back Mike Gillislee will be called up to the active roster, but he’s currently on the practice squad with the following players.

WR Dezmin Lewis
WR Walt Powell
CB Sammy Seamster
CB Merrill Noel
DE Cedric Reed
LB AJ Tarpley
G Cyril Richardson
TE Nick O’Leary
DT Jerel Worthy

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-11

Posted by Chris Brown on September 11, 2015 – 2:06 pm

As excited as we are for real football on Sunday, we do need to pause to think about the nearly 3,000 Americans who perished in the 9-11 attacks. Never forget. Here is this week’s edition of your questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – What is the process with keeping someone on the Practice Squad….can another team sign anyone from a Practice Squad? Are there any ways to protect someone on the Practice Squad?

Joe Roberts
Orlando, FL
CB: Practice squads consist of a maximum of 10 players typically who have accrued two or fewer NFL seasons as a pro. Each team is allowed a couple of exceptions in which a third-year player can be on the practice squad. To answer your question yes, any team in the league can sign a player off another team’s practice squad. Essentially you should think of them as a free agent with a job in the league.


2 – Chris,

I’m excited for the Bills 2015 season.  I really want to see what Greg Roman does with Buffalo’s offense.  Bills are deep at WR position.  I disagree with some of the posts I’ve read on depth chart.

Sammy is the #1 WR, in my opinion Robert Woods  is clearly #2 ahead of Harvin.  Woods was a great draft pick – Robert Woods consistently gets open on routes and has great hands!  Plus I think he is much more durable than Harvin.  Keep Percy Harvin in the slot as the #3 and kick returns.

What are your thoughts at WR, how many do the Bills keep and how do you see the depth chart.

Randy C,

from Buffalo, currently in D.C.

CB: What is interesting on Buffalo’s depth chart is Percy Harvin and Robert Woods are listed as co-starters opposite Sammy Watkins. So as the coaching staff sees it they’re 2A and 2B on their depth chart. Then it’s Chris Hogan and Marquise Goodwin followed by special teamers Marcus Easley and Marcus Thigpen.

Keeping seven did surprise me. I thought six was a more realistic number. I think the team saw Thigpen as worthy of a roster spot because with Leodis McKelvin to miss the first six weeks of the season they didn’t have a proven punt returner. So Thigpen will handle those duties.

I agree with your thoughts on Woods. I believe with all the attention that’s going to be on Watkins and Harvin and even Charles Clay, Woods will have a lot of favorable matchups this season and make a lot of plays.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do u think Gilmore will cover Johnson this weekend since it seems that Darby has more trouble w/ taller receivers?


CB: The Bills have a ton of respect for Andre Johnson, but I don’t think he’s as big a deep threat concern as he used to be. T.Y. Hilton is the more dangerous receiver, but he’s not going to physically overmatch Ronald Darby. I think Rex Ryan was truthful when he said he would mix it up against Andrew Luck and the Colts offense.

So I don’t anticipate there being a lot of Gilmore following Johnson or Hilton for the whole game. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were certain areas of the field where they put Gilmore on Johnson to match up better physically like the red zone, but beyond that I think the chances are greater they play the receivers straight up and the Bills roll more safety help to Darby’s side.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills are we wearing retro jerseys on Sunday to go with the helmets?#RockTheRalph


CB: Yes, there will be a full retro uniform to go with the throwback helmets. Here’s a look.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>All White Classics for week 1. Go <a href=””>#Bills</a&gt; <a href=””>#RockTheRalph</a&gt; <a href=”″></a></p>&mdash; billsequipment (@billsequipment) <a href=”″>September 10, 2015</a></blockquote>


5 –

How does the HB depth chart looks like? And what is expected out of Karlos Williams? Can he be better than what Fred was?


CB: The way the depth chart is listed at running backs is McCoy, Dixon, Karlos, Brown. Personally I think Karlos Williams is going to get just as much time in the offensive backfield as Dixon, if not a bit more. Maybe not right away this season, but sooner rather than later. His running style is aggressive and downhill and he’s got more straight line speed than Dixon.

Blitz pickup will be where I will be looking most carefully to see who can handle that role that Fred filled so well on third downs. It very well could be McCoy, who is pretty good at it in his own right, but that’s something that will bear watching.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another CB for practice squad vacancy?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2013 – 3:56 pm

With CB Johnny Adams getting promoted to the active roster Tuesday, it leaves the eight-man squad with a vacancy and without a spare cornerback.

Buffalo’s practice squad currently has two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, a quarterback, running back and wide receiver. It’s likely that the Bills add another corner knowing they’re one injury away from having the same problem they had to fix at the position Tuesday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

DT Ross not practice squad eligible

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2013 – 3:49 pm

Bills DT Jay Ross, who was released Tuesday to make room on the roster for another cornerback, unfortunately can’t be signed to the team’s practice squad provided he clears waivers.

Ross is out of practice squad eligibility. The defensive tackle worked his tail off to make the 53-man roster, but demands at other positions unfortunately moved him off the squad.

The East Carolina product figures to be a consideration later this season should he be available as a free agent and injury strike at the defensive tackle position.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills who are practice squad eligible

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 11:45 pm

As the deadline to reduce the roster to 53 fast approaches, here’s a rundown of the Bills players who are practice squad eligible.

Obviously, most of Buffalo’s draft choices will be on the 53-man roster and won’t be considerations for the eight-man practice squad, but among the more interesting names on this list include Marcus Easley, Chris Hogan, Thad Lewis and Zebrie Sanders.

LB Kiko Alonso
LB/DE Jamie Blatnick
DE Kourtnei Brown
RB Zac Brown
DT Corbin Bryant
G Zack Chibane
DE Izaan Cross
S Jordan Dangerfield
LB Marcus Dowtin
WR Marcus Easley
CB Kip Edwards
RB Kendall Gaskins
WR Marquise Goodwin
TE Chris Gragg
CB T.J. Heath
WR Chris Hogan
K Dustin Hopkins
WR Brandon Kaufman
QB Thad Lewis
QB E.J. Manuel
S Jonathan Meeks
LB Keith Pough
TE Nick Provo
CB Nickell Robey
OT Zebrie Sanders
FB Drew Smith
LB Brian Smith
FB Frank Summers
QB Jeff Tuel
S Duke Williams
WR Robert Woods


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-5

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2013 – 12:30 pm

Another week closer to the NFL draft. Keep the questions coming at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Here’s the latest edition for you Bills fans.

1 – Chris,

Due to the advent of a new coaching staff, at what point in time can the Bills coaches give information to existing Bills players with reference to new terminology or verbiage that will be used in calling of plays? Also the new playbook, which would take even more time to put together. Is the timing this kind of information contractually limited by the CBA or otherwise? Or is it simply delayed until all is put together by the staff?                                                         

Thanks, Bill S.
CB: The new coaching staff does get the benefit of an additional voluntary camp here in the spring. Buffalo’s additional camp will run from April 15th to the 18th prior to the draft. At that point classroom work is permitted in addition to on the field work. The offseason conditioning program began on Tuesday. Yes, the timing is contractually limited by the CBA, as well as practice time (e.g. limited time on the field per day, days per week, etc.) So it does present a great challenge for a new staff coming in with constraints put on the amount of practice and classroom time.


2 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering if you might be able to enlighten some of us on practice squad eligibility & whether or not if in any way it counts towards the cap? Or is that a cost that is separate from the cap? I know those guys have to get paid but am unsure about the inner workings of it. Last year that was where we had David Snow stashed at right & I know he went back & forth for a bit, so how much longer would he be eligible?

I do know that they are not secure with the team once they are put there & can be signed away, but can the team offer them more to stay? Or once an offer has been made by another team or are they just gone? I know that in the past we have picked up a few players from other teams squads such as Brian Brohm & have tried to pick up others that either didn’t want to leave or were offered more money by the team we were trying to get them away from to stay – I guess?

I was just wondering if you might be able to clear some of that up for those of us that aren’t as well verse on the workings of that part of the team …

Thanks as always for your time !!

Mr T from Fort Myers Via Nashville

CB: First, practice squad players do not count against the cap. Only the top 51 player salaries count towards the cap, so the two lowest paid players on the 53-man roster don’t even count let alone the practice squad players.

Players are eligible for the practice squad for up to three years provided they do not appear in nine regular season games in one year. If they are in the third year of practice squad eligibility and they’re on the practice squad, whenever there is an opening on the 53-man roster they’re the automatic promotion (See: Gibran Hamdan).

You’re right the players on the practice squad can be signed to the active roster of any other NFL club at any time. There are instances where the team that he’s been with tries to retain him by putting him on their active roster.

It’s funny you mention Brian Brohm because that’s exactly what Green Bay tried to do when they found out the Bills were going to sign him off their practice squad. They offered him the same money that the Bills were offering on their active roster, but it’s the player’s choice. He thought he had a better chance to play in Buffalo with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Hope that helps.


3 – Chris:

It would seem that player evaluations can hinge on subtle differences, to me a player who doesn’t beat or come very close to their 1st 40, may not have the competitive spirit needed to succeed at the next level. I’d rather have someone who fights to the final whistle. Some of the QB’s did not impress at this, I’d rather have a not as developed player with desire, than a strong arm and quit in him. How would you and the coaches evaluate the two 40 times?
Jim from Florida

CB: While I don’t dispute for a second that it’s better to have a player that fights to the final whistle or is supremely self-motivated, I think you may be putting a bit too much weight on a player’s second run of the 40 at the Combine or a pro day.

There are several reasons why a player might run a slower 40 the second time. First, perhaps their get off wasn’t as technically sound. Their footing may not have been as good off the line. I realize this might sound a bit unrealistic, but players will tell you there is a fatigue factor involved from the first run.

I’m sure there are instances of some prospects that don’t fight to the final whistle, but that will be far more noticeable in games on tape than in their second run of the 40.


4 – The off season though the combine has been frustrating because once again I have no clue what the defense is going to look like, so I have no idea who I should be paying attention to. OLB seems to be a glaring need, but is it? It looks to be Bradham and that’s it, but because of the uncertainty surrounding the scheme,  I’m left asking are Kyle Moore, Mark Anderson & Mario Williams DEs or OLBs? Should I be paying attention to the interior D Line guys, guys that are projected as 3-4 DEs? Right now the only projected first round front seven defender who I’m sure can fit into whatever D they run is Ogletree. I used to love this time of year. Any light you can shine on this situation would be appreciated.

Pete Howell

CB: When coach Pettine says his scheme is going to be multiple he means it. Gone are the days where you can sit in a 4-3 or 3-4 and not change things up. A perfect example of this was the way that former defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt chose to sit in the same 4-3 front last season. Despite having great depth of talent on his front line, the same looks became easy to block and counter for opposing offensive line, which is why they weren’t all that effective last season.

Pettine knows to be effective you have to be multiple. Just as it’s difficult for you to not plug DEs and OLBs into roles, Pettine wants opposing offenses to have that same difficulty. He doesn’t want opponents knowing where anyone is going to line up on any given play. Keeping an offense guessing while also possessing an attacking mindset unnerves an offense.

All that being said I think they will line up more in the 3-4 than the 4-3, but roles will shift and change from week to week. Manny Lawson might be a true SLB on first down, but he might shift to a third down pass rusher in passing situations and Mario Williams might kick inside. That’s just one example.


5 – CB, 

Buddy had mentioned following the way the Bengals drafted AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Do you seen a scenario where the Bills go QB in round 1 and WR in round two? What do you think of the possibility of Geno Smith and Justin Hunter? I think these two are the might be the best players available when the Bills will pick in rounds 1 and 2. What are the scouts saying about Hunter, can he separate from DB’s at his size/speed? 
CB: I think this could definitely be a possibility in the first two rounds. Buffalo needs to add a quarterback early. And the value at wide receiver in this draft begins in round two and lasts all the way until round four. Hunter has some intriguing physical skills. He ran a 4.36 at the Combine and is 6’4”, but he’s just 196 pounds and has a lean build, which means he’ll be limited in the bulk he can add.

He also has a reputation for inconsistent hands. That’s why despite first round physical skills he’s expected to last until round two.

As for his separation ability, he’s not considered very good run after catch despite his speed because he’s a straight line speed guy. Elusiveness is not a strength.

Personally I’d prefer Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins in round two if he’s there for Buffalo.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills add OL Williams to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2012 – 4:25 pm

The Buffalo Bills added another offensive lineman to their eight-man practice squad Tuesday.

Buffalo signed free agent G Keith Williams. Williams is familiar with the Bills offense after spending most of last season on the club’s practice squad. He was signed as a futre free agent last January and spent the whole 2012 offseason with Buffalo before he was a final cut at the close of the preseason.

He appeared in all four of the Bills preseason games this past summer, working mainly at right guard. He’s a former sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Williams (6’5″ 330) fills the vacant spot on the practice squad left by C/G David Snow, who was promoted to the 53-man roster late last week. Buffalo now has three offensive linemen on their practice squad.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-7

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2012 – 5:11 pm

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 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.

Go Bills!

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? 

-David, Atlanta
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.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Released practice squad eligibles

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2012 – 8:37 am

Here’s a rundown of the players that were released Friday evening as part of final cuts that are practice squad eligible.

WR Kamar Aiken
OL Mark Asper
RB Zach Brown
LB Tank Carder
OL James Carmon
WR Marcus Easley
DE Robert Eddins
DT Jarron Gilbert
DB Isaiah Green
P Shawn Powell
DB Nick Saenz
OL David Snow
OL Keith Williams

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-31

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 12:57 pm

Today is final cutdown day to get to 53 so stay tuned to for the latest on the final roster. For now we’ll get to your questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on twitter.

1 – Hi Chris,   
I was wondering if there has been any clarity on the TD celebrations over the offseason.  Especially after the Steve Johnson TD in the Patriots game last year.  I know Chan Gailey was asking the league for a clear cut of cans’ and can nots’ after SJ was flagged.  I’d hate to see him have to sit or any of the other Bills for celebrating again.

Thank you for your time  
CB: Here’s what I found in the NFL rule book concerning excessive celebration.

Under Section 1 – Article 3 of the rule book for Prohibited play it reads as follows in subsets d-f.

(d) Prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground. A celebration or demonstration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate or demonstrate after a warning from an official.

(e) Two or more players engaged in prolonged, excessive, premeditated or choreographed celebrations or demonstrations.

(f) Possession or use of foreign or extraneous objects that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop.

The exceptions to it being a foul are if it’s between periods (end of quarter or half) or if a timeout has been called.

It goes on to further state that for (d) it is a penalty if it occurs anywhere except the bench area. (This is why Chad Ochocinco when still with the Bengals retreated to the bench area to do his celebrations)

Furthermore nowhere in the rule book does it state that a celebration that takes place in the stands with fans would draw a flag. Stevie has hinted at going into the stands after scoring a touchdown at the Ralph and sitting in a seat and having some popcorn and watching the extra point play.

As long as no other teammates join him in the stands (group celebration would draw a flag) I don’t know that they could flag him for it. Of course knowing he’s a marked man in the eyes of officials they might deem taking a seat in the first row as excessive and flag him anyway. 


2 – Chris,

Question, obviously the NFL is a business and teams have to manage their finances. Do you think that the Bills will cut veteran talent at the D-line and CB position that is behind on the depth chart to maybe utilize money elsewhere? I see us stacked at both positions. Also, would Chan and Buddy try to trade during the season if we needed depth at say LB or WR positions? I know Buddy likes his draft picks, but
wondering if he would give some up mid season for a trade if the Bills are making a run at the playoffs. Thanks for all you do CB!
Dan in LA

CB: I think the number one priority for any coach is to keep the best 53 players. Yes, Dwan Edwards and Spencer Johnson make good money for being second wave defensive tackles behind Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, but they’re also very dependable and proven players. Knowing how much rotation takes place on the defensive line in the course of a game, I would think they could justify their value to the club.

At cornerback I would disagree with your depth stance. As Buddy Nix always says you can never have enough corners. And as we see now with McGee suffering a bit of a setback in his recovery this past week and Ron Brooks now hurt (foot) suddenly your depth is gone. So again at that position I would say no to thinning the herd so to speak.

With respect to the trade idea, I think they would tend to keep players like the ones mentioned to make a run at the playoffs rather than get rid of them.


3 – Who’s the player with most potential to open some eyes this preseason?

Pete Borini
Clifton Park, NY

CB: As I stated in my training camp awards, Arthur Moats is the most improved player. I also think Nigel Bradham has the potential to surprise some people, and I think Donald Jones can really take a big step this season.


4 –  Hi Chris,

Is Marcus Easley eligible for the Practice Squad?  Since he hasn’t played a down in the regular season, I would have thought so, but I am not sure that this being his third year eliminates that option for the Bills.  It would be great if you could let us know what the exact qualifications are.

Los Angeles, CA

CB: Yes, Easley is eligible for the practice squad. I put the full list of eligible players on this blog last week. Players can serve up to three years on the practice squad. What eliminates a player from being eligible for the practice squad is if they have played in nine regular season games or more in any one season. That’s why Naaman Roosevelt is no longer eligible since he played in 10 games last season.


5 – Hey Chris,

Just a question about Terrence McGee.  Is he still best suited to be a corner?  Wouldn’t it be easier for him to play at the safety spot?  He would be a great backup free safety to Jairus and corners at his age (Champ Bailey comes to mind), sometimes make the switch to safety.  This would help fill a hole at safety and open room for another one of the young and talented undrafted corners to make the roster.  Just a thought. 

Tommy of Pittsford
Go Bills!
CB: Yes, McGee is still corner material. In fact when healthy I would argue he’s one of the two best outside cornerbacks on this roster. Healthy obviously has been the problem. I realize fans are down on him because of his injury history the past two years, but he is still a very capable cornerback.

What fans need to realize is this organization made a decision on McGee when they released Drayton Florence. They decided he was the guy to keep so there’s a commitment there and I anticipate they’ll be patient with his recovery.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rookie minicamp participants

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2012 – 9:12 am

Here’s a rundown of who is participating in this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

We’ll have you covered on the happenings this weekend on First-year players are listed at the top, followed by the rookies (draft picks and undrafted signings). The players with red jerseys (R) are tryout players here for the weekend as they make an effort to earn a spot on the offseason roster.

1st year players
87 – Kevin Brock – TE – 2011 practice squad
93 – Jay Ross – DT – 2011 practice squad
62 – Jake Vermiglio – G – 2011 practice squad
68 – Keith Williams – G – 2011 practice squad
69 – Mike Jasper – G – 2011 practice squad

Draft choices and undrafteds
3 – John Potter – K – Western Michigan 
6 – Shawn Powell – P – Florida State 
7 – Aaron Corp – QB – Richmond 
11 – T.J. Graham – WR – NC State 
27 – Stephon Gilmore – CB – South Carolina 
33 – Ron Brooks – CB – LSU
35 – Chris Douglas – RB – Missouri State 
36 – Delano Howell – DB – Stanford 
39 – Cris Hill – DB – Virginia Tech 
40 – Garrick Williams – LB – Texas A&M 
41 – Nick Sukay – DB – Penn State 
42 – Ian Wild – DB – Mercyhurst 
45 – Tank Carder – LB – TCU 
53 – Nigel Bradham – LB – Florida State 
61 – David Snow – C – Texas
63 – Mark Asper – OL – Oregon 
66 – Zebrie Sanders – OT – Florida State 
73 – Paul Madsen – OL – Colorado State 
77 – Cordy Glenn – OT – Georgia 

Tryout players (wearing red jerseys – R)
1R Taylor Boggs – C – Humboldt State 
2R Zach Brown – RB – Pittsburgh 
3R Vince Browne – DE – Northwestern 
4R Derek Buttles – TE – Maine 
5R Roddell Carter – WR – Alabama-Birmingham 
6R Nick Clark – LB – Alfred
7R Dominic Cook – DB – Buffalo 
8R Gino Crump – WR – Arizona 
9R Dorin Dickerson – FB – Pittsburgh 
10R Sean Ferguson – DE – Mississippi State 
11R Kevin Fitzpatrick – WR – Marist 
12R Corey Hart – DE – Alabama A&M 
13R Johnny Hollins – DT – Texas Southern 
14R Brian Smith – LB – Notre Dame 
15R Byron Mulkey – DB – Buffalo 
16R Nick Saenz – S – Houston 
17R Derek Session – WR – Maine 
18R Bernard Smith – DE – Louisiana-Lafayette 
19R Alex Tanney – QB – Monmouth College 
20R Jeff Thomas – LB – Indiana
21R Logan Walls – DT – Georgia Tech

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills add 2 to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2011 – 2:19 pm

In addition to promoting Mike Jasper to the active roster, Buffalo also added two players to their practice squad.

Buffalo signed WR David Gilreath and OL Jake Vermiglio to the team’s practice squad Tuesday.

Gilreath entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Indianapolis in July. The 5-11, 169-pound Wisconsin product spent portions of the season on the Colts’ and St. Louis Rams’ practice squad. He will wear No. 15.

Vermiglio entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Arizona in July before being released prior to the regular season. The 6-5, 325-pound North Carolina State product spent a portion of the season on the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad. He will wear No. 62.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills add TE to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2011 – 12:55 pm

The Buffalo Bills announced that they’ve signed TE Kevin Brock to their practice squad.

Brock joins Buffalo’s practice squad after being released by Oakland on Dec 6th. The 6-5, 260-pound Rutgers product entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Carolina in 2009. Brock spent the 2009 season with stints on Pittsburgh’s and Chicago’s practice squad.

Brock fills the team’s open practice squad slot as DB Mana Silva was signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ 53-man roster on Tuesday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills add OL, DB to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on November 22, 2011 – 3:13 pm

The Bills signed a pair of players to their practice squad.

Buffalo signed DB Prince Miller and re-signed G Keith Williams to the Practice Squad who replaces OL Thomas Welch. Welch was signed by St. Louis to their active roster.

Miller joins Buffalo after being released by Indianapolis on November 9th. The 5-9, 198-pound Georgia product entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore in 2010. He played in four games with Detroit in 2010. Miller will wear No. 44.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Open spot on practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2011 – 1:16 pm

The Bills practice squad was assembled today, but it only numbers seven. The maximum is eight.

There’s a good chance that rookie TE Zack Pianalto will get strong consideration for that spot after being released from the active roster for TE Lee Smith who was claimed by Buffalo.

Pianalto has to clear waivers first.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Practice squad note

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2011 – 5:54 pm

Here’s the deal with forming the team’s eight-man practice squad.

Beginning at 12 noon, Sunday, Sept 4th ET, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 45-player Active List for less than nine regular season games during each of any Accrued Seasons. A player cannot participate on the Practice Squad for more than three seasons.

Among the more notable players cut by the Bills that have practice squad eligibility are Naaman Roosevelt, Antonio Coleman, Michael Jasper and Kamar Aiken.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Practice squad eligible players

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2011 – 6:00 am

Here’s the list of players on the current roster that are eligible for the practice squad for the Bills should they not make the 53-man roster when final cuts are made on Saturday by 6 pm. There are 33 in all on the current roster.

LS Danny Aiken
WR Kamar Aiken
LB Danny Batten
OL Colin Brown
QB Levi Brown
TE Mike Caussin
FB Jehuu Caulcrick
LB Antonio Coleman
DL Marcell Dareus
DL Lionel Dotson
WR Marcus Easley
LB Robert Eddins
DB Sidney Glover
OL Chris Hairston
DL Kellen Heard
LB Brandon Hicks
DL Michael Jasper
LB Jammie Kirlew
DL T.J. Langley
CB Doyle Miller
DB Josh Nesbitt
TE Zack Pianalto
OL Chad Rinehart
CB Justin Rogers
WR Naaman Roosevelt
S Da’Norris Searcy
LB Kelvin Sheppard
C Mike Switzer
OL Ed Wang
OL Jason Watkins
LB Chris White
RB Johnny White
CB Aaron Williams

Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-1

Posted by Chris Brown on July 1, 2011 – 11:35 am

Enjoy the holiday weekend Bills fans and remember if you’re in the military take advantage of submitting any service photos from overseas, especially if you’ve got Bills gear in the shot. We’re doing a military Bills fan photo gallery tribute on July 4th on Just send your photos and info to me at

1 – Chris,
Could you clear up some confusion on the part of Bills fans?  Many fans have said on the message boards that blue pants are going to be used but just weren’t ready for the recent unveiling.

Hopefully that’s true (although hard to believe they wouldn’t be ready) as I think the blue pants with white tops looks 100% better than white on white (“long underwear” look IMHO).  Please clear this up once and for all for all of the fans, the majority of which seem to want the blue pants also.  9 years of white on white was enough!


CB: What I have been told by our people at One Bills Drive is the following. The away uniform in 2011 will feature white pants with a white jersey.


2 – Hi Chris,
Last I heard, NFL Network was still not able to find a team to follow via their reality television show Hard Knocks. They were turned down by the Jets for a second season, the Cowboys and another team I believe.
Are the Bills not interested in this opportunity? Have they contacted NFL Network on this topic?
I for one believe it would help the regionalization efforts with Toronto and getting a more engaged fan base from the north.

CB: You make a valid point, but I’m not in a position to speak for Buddy Nix or Chan Gailey and what they’d decide. Having been around them the past calendar year and seeing how they operate, I’d be surprised to see them sign off on something like that.

They’re both old school football men that just want to go to work and get the job done. Having to deal with cameras following them wherever they go during the busiest time of their calendar year doesn’t sound like it would jive with their way of doing things, but obviously that’s their call not mine.


3 – Hey Chris,

With all the hype going on with Terrelle Pryor I was wondering about other quarterbacks that could be taken in either free agency or the supplemental draft.  I am pretty sure Pat Devlin is still on the market and I liked his numbers and physical traits.  I also heard he has the intangibles to be a NFL quarterback.  Is there any chance the Bills get him? 

Tommy from Pittsford

It’s certainly possible that the Bills will add another young arm to their quarterback contingent, but I think it’s far more likely that they add a veteran that they feel is capable of backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick. They already have a young developing arm in Levi Brown, so I would anticipate them adding someone that’s had some time in the league and been on the field a fair amount on Sundays. Buddy Nix said earlier this offseason they may very well add two more quarterbacks, but the fourth in all likelihood would be another passer for camp and if he impresses maybe he sticks around in some capacity. That’s where an additional young signal caller might come into play.


4 – Dear Chris,

Thanks for all you do to keep us fans up to date.  That goes double for those of us that have moved away from upstate NY, but still call Buffalo home.

I have a question about the Practice Squad.  Can another team just sign a guy off of our Practice Squad any time they feel like it?  Do we have to agree to let that player go?  Do we get compensated if they take one of our guys?  I’d sure hate to see a guy like Jasper or Batten end up in New England and become a real monster that we have to play against twice a year.  

Gregg from Fort Worth

CB: Unfortunately yes, another team with an opening on their 53-man roster can pluck a player off of any team’s practice squad at any time. There are some measures the original team can take to prevent losing the player if they covet him. One is to offer him an active player contract (practice squad players make less) and a spot on the active roster.

The Green Bay Packers tried to do that when the Bills went to take Brian Brohm off of Green Bay’s practice squad. They offered a deal equal to that of the Bills contract, but Brohm still chose to leave.

More than 95 percent of the time the practice squad player leaves because the new team that signs him has to keep him on their active roster for at least three weeks, so it’s a genuine opportunity to get on an NFL field on a Sunday, especially if the team they’re going to has had a rash of injuries at said player’s position.


5 – Chris,

Thanks for all your work. I was wondering where you think that Johnny White will be in the backfield. With Fred and CJ carrying most of the load, do you see him more as a returner or do you think he will get some carries. I think he can develop into a complement to CJ once Fred leaves.


CB: I see a lot of special teams work ahead for Johnny White, who can serve in a lot of roles on that unit. I could also envision him being a goal line back as the season wears on. The kid runs downhill… hard. He’s an inside runner primarily, so if they want to take some of the wear and tear off Fred I could see him spelling Jackson a bit here and there. However, if he gets more than 4-8 touches a game on offense as a rookie I’d be surprised, just because of who is in front of him on the depth chart.

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Posted in Inside the Bills