Inside The Bills

Rex: players must take advantage of this time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2015 – 10:30 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has the utmost respect for the fact that the team’s offseason conditioning program is voluntary, but with new offensive and defensive schemes to implement in classroom sessions there’s a valuable opportunity for his players to take advantage of being at One Bills Drive.

“I think the big thing is the players have to take it upon themselves to take advantage of our strength coaches with Eric (Ciano) and Hal (Luther) and everybody down there,” Ryan told Buffalobills.com. “Take advantage of them. We’ve got to be in shape. That way when you get a chance to get on that field you can show a good account of yourself.

“The mental part of it is huge as well in the classroom. But the physical part and being with our strength coaches and getting themselves ready to play, where you’re not worried about your conditioning to get through the practice, so you can implement what you’re learning in the classroom.”

Players have been reporting on a voluntary basis this morning as today starts the team’s offseason conditioning program.


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Ryan: My new roster will be ready

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2015 – 10:00 am

For the first time in six years Rex Ryan inherits an entirely new roster of players. Back in 2009 when he was named head coach of the Jets, the offseason practice rules were far different from what they are now. There is far less contact in offseason practices and fewer practices overall. So how much does Ryan and his staff have to tweak and change to have the team properly prepared going into training camp with far less time on the field under the new CBA?

“We feel pretty good about the structure we have in place,” Ryan told Buffalobills.com. “Obviously we have great teachers and being able to implement your systems is important. I was kidding Greg (Roman) that I had to bring a cart with our offensive playbook. But we are going to have extensive playbooks on both sides of the ball, but it’s the way we teach the fundamental part of it and getting the foundation is something that we talk about because that’s the critical part. Once you get the foundation set then it just broadens from there.

“We’re confident we’ll get everything done. We’ll have everything going in there and use whatever it takes to win each particular week.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Reed: Bills can make run at Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Andre Reed

We’ve heard Bills head coach Rex Ryan say more than once that they feel they’ve improved their roster to better compete with seemingly perennial AFC East champ and defending Super Bowl champ New England. Bills Hall of Famer Andre Reed took it a step further.

In an interview with Talk of Fame Sports, Reed said with their influx of offensive talent the past few weeks the Bills have the horses to give the Patriots a run for their money.

“It’s going to be an interesting year,” Reed said. “On the offensive side of the ball, we’ve (the Bills) got some guys who can make some plays. Right now, the only asterisk is who’s going to be the signal caller. That’s the only thing the Bills are lacking now; that’s the only question mark on offense. But they do have the nucleus on offense with some of the guys they’ve got to make a run at New England.”

Reed did admit that quarterback is still a question mark and the ‘X’ factor for New England with Tom Brady, but Buffalo’s all-time leading receiver believes the Bills have closed the gap.

“Right now, the AFC … everybody … is making themselves better, and the Bills have definitely made themselves better with McCoy being in the backfield and Rex Ryan being the head of everything. I’m really excited about this year,” Reed said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills players return April 6th

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2015 – 11:00 am

The Bills players will finally meet with Buffalo’s new coaching staff on Monday April 6th. That’s when the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program commences.

Having a new coaching staff affords Rex Ryan the opportunity to start his team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program earlier than other NFL clubs who did not have a coaching change. He will also have the opportunity to hold an additional voluntary veteran minicamp as a new coach with the Bills.

The voluntary offseason conditioning program will run four days a week. We’ll have full coverage of Monday’s voluntary report day here at One Bills Drive on Buffalobills.com to let you know who is on hand. Select players will be available for comment at 12 pm with Rex Ryan addressing the media at 1 pm on Monday.


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Rex: We’re not complete yet

Posted by Chris Brown on March 26, 2015 – 4:05 pm

Although Bills head coach Rex Ryan is very optimistic about his team’s fortunes in 2015, he did admit this week that his squad is not complete just yet.

While out at the NFL’s owner meetings, Ryan acknowledged that there are some adds they’d like to make.

“There are a few things that we probably need that we’re looking at,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to say we need something specific and take away our competitive advantage. We’re not complete yet. We have the draft in front of us and I know we don’t have a first round pick, but there are some good players and it’s a deep draft at several positions. We’re not done improving our team.”


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Whaley weighs in on state of Bills QB position

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2015 – 1:42 pm

On Buffalobills.com today (Wednesday) we covered Rex Ryan’s planned approach in handling the team’s open quarterback competition come spring practices and training camp in the summer. Out at the league’s owner meetings in Arizona, GM Doug Whaley also weighed in on the state of the Bills QB position.

Whaley, while comfortable with where the position sits right now in terms of numbers, is not closing the door on upgrading the position further if the opportunity presents itself.

“We’re going to leave all options open. But right now, we are comfortable going in with a competitive situation with the four guys we have on the roster now,” said Whaley. “Again, we’ve always said we will leave no stone unturned because it is a quarterback-driven league. So until we have a definitive answer at that position, we’re going to keep searching. But we think with the added year of EJ [Manuel] and the competitiveness that Matt Cassel is going to bring in and then Tyrod Taylor and then Jeff Tuel, I think with those four guys somebody is going to rise to the top.”


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Rex: QB competition is open

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2015 – 4:00 pm

The Bills have added a pair of quarterbacks over the past few weeks in Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor. When asked where the quarterback position now stands with offseason workouts on the horizon, head coach Rex Ryan said the competition is open.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan explained where things stand at QB for his squad.

“It’s going to be open. It’s a competition and whoever earns the job will be the guy that’s out there,” he said. “We have some talented guys and we’ll see what happens. You bring in a veteran like Matt Cassel. He’s done some pretty good things in this league. He’s got that veteran presence about him. With EJ back there just going into his third year I really believe EJ is going to improve with his fundamentals having (quarterbacks coach) David Lee here. I love the fact that he’s a gym rat and he’s smart. With our offense being multiple we’ll be able to get out of bad plays, so the mental part of it all of the quarterbacks we have should be able to handle that.

“With Taylor that’s going to be a young man, he’s probably the fastest quarterback in the league. He’s explosive running the zone reads, and we’ll see where he’s at. Then Tuel. We’ve got guys there to work with. That’ll be the important thing. There will be competition, but a person has to earn the job. It hasn’t been handed to somebody.”

A lot of outside observers assumed that Cassel would be handed the job, but that’s not how Ryan is running things.

With four quarterbacks on the roster, most think it will be hard for Ryan and his offensive staff to not at least whittle the competition down to just a pair of quarterbacks going into training camp knowing there just aren’t enough reps to go around and get an accurate assessment of each QB.

Ryan however, intends to run practices a bit different than Bills fans have seen in the past with two offensive units and two defensive units going at the same time on two different fields at St. John Fisher.

“When we get to training camp we’ll do a lot of things on two fields,” Ryan said. “It won’t just be the offense going and the defense going, we’re going to be working on two fields. That’s how you develop young quarterbacks. We’re blessed to have guys on our staff who can really develop quarterbacks.  Greg Roman, Chris Palmer and this is how they did it. You switch whoever is running with the twos on one field and then the ones are on another field. That’s how you get better. We’re going to have that.

“We have some young quarterbacks and we want to make sure that everybody gets the right amount of reps. We’ll have the exact same practice that we have on field one as field two so everybody gets the same reps. You just basically double them up.”


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If not Sanchez, Rex would’ve drafted Harvin

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2015 – 12:49 pm

The Bills recent signing of Percy Harvin raised questions in the minds of some as to just what type of teammate the Bills would be welcoming into their locker room. Both Bills head coach Rex Ryan and receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who both coached Harvin in New York with the Jets, said Buffalo’s current players will be inheriting an exemplary teammate. In fact Ryan did a lot of homework on Harvin when he was coming out of college because he had plans to make the dynamic offensive threat a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan said Harvin would’ve been the Jets’ first-round pick in 2009 had they not made a call to move up and get Mark Sanchez.

“When he came out we did a lot of research on him,” said Ryan of Harvin. “Percy was the guy we were going to draft if it wasn’t Mark Sanchez. We spent like a week (at the University of Florida). So we knew everything about him. I was really comfortable with it. When we brought him in (by trade with the Jets last season) he was everything we thought he’d be. That was a great teammate and a super competitive guy and a great guy to be around.”

In 2009 the Jets had the 17th overall pick in round one. They traded it to Cleveland along with their second-round pick at 52 and three players (Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff and Abram Elam) to move all the way up to fifth overall to take Sanchez. Had they stayed at 17 Ryan said they would’ve taken Harvin, and he would’ve been there. Harvin didn’t come off the board until the 22nd pick to Minnesota.

Ryan believes in Harvin’s will to win and feels he’s a solid teammate as well. That was echoed by Lal, who appeared on the John Murphy Show this week.

“I don’t know that I know what makes him tick, but he and I hit it off from the beginning,” Lal told the John Murphy Show. “We think alike about how players should be coached. I have great respect for what he does and he wants to be coached and coached hard. He just wants to improve and help the team win. That’s the impression that I got.”

Ryan knows about Harvin’s past in Seattle where he had a couple of run-ins with teammates, but things went real well under Ryan with the Jets for Harvin. Ryan even gave an example of what his Jets teammates thought of him.

“One of the highest awards is the Ed Block Courage award that the players vote on and he finished second in the voting after being on the roster just four weeks so that should tell you what his teammates thought of him,” Ryan said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Richardson pumped to have Ryan as HC

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2015 – 2:37 pm


Bills second-year offensive lineman Cyril Richardson was spotted out at Baylor’s pro day Wednesday in Waco and appeared on ESPN-Central Texas radio where he was asked about his new head coach Rex Ryan.

Richardson, like most Bills players, is pretty pumped to have Ryan as his head coach.

“I’m extremely excited,” Richardson said. “Number one I remember when I first started watching ‘Hard Knocks’ and they had the Jets on and I remember watching him do his thing, coach, talk about what he’s doing, talk about who he’s moving around, getting rid of. I thought it was the most entertaining ‘Hard Knocks’ and now he’s my coach. I can’t wait to meet him and the new staff and build off the moves we made in the offseason.”

Richardson also said he believes Baylor QB prospect Bryce Petty will be a successful NFL quarterback.


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Easley big on Rex Ryan

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2015 – 4:45 pm

Marcus Easley, who just re-signed on Thursday, was glad to see that special teams coordinator Danny Crossman was still on the new coaching staff led by new head coach Rex Ryan. Of course he was also pretty excited to see Ryan named as the Bills new head coach.

“I’m a big fan of Rex Ryan,” said Easley. “I’ve talked to several people that have played with him while he was in New York and everyone had nothing but great things to say about him and the way he runs his team, so as you can see from day one it’s a whole new vibe. It’s a whole new atmosphere with him around. I’m very excited for everything he has to offer and bring to this organization.”


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What Gore told McCoy about Roman

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 9:38 am

When RB LeSean McCoy found out he was being traded to the Bills the first thing he did was seek intel on his new coaches Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. After making a call to former teammate Michael Vick for input on what McCoy could expect from head coach Rex Ryan, McCoy called Frank Gore for info on Roman.

In seeking information on how he might be used in Greg Roman’s offense, Gore told McCoy to get ready to touch the ball in a myriad of ways. McCoy shared some of his conversation with Gore in an interview on NFL Network.

“He said that Greg would really get me the ball everywhere on the field, from in the passing game,” said McCoy of his conversation with Gore. “Finding schemes, finding ways to get me the ball, getting the big guys up front in so many different formations.”

McCoy then watched some 49ers game tape to visualize what Gore had told him about the variation of alignments.

 

“Actually watching the 49ers playing them, they did so many different formations to get Frank the ball. That’s all I want,” said McCoy. “I want opportunities to go one-on-one with defenders and I’ll take myself the majority of the time for sure. That’s what I want. I want to be the feature guy that can do things in open space [and] get him the ball guaranteed 25 times a game. I’m not worried about getting banged up. God has blessed me with being healthy; I’ve never really missed games and I think getting the ball deep out of the gun I could really see where I want to go. That’s the best thing about it.”


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McCoy has done homework on Felton

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 7:47 pm

He has never been a teammate of Minnesota free agent Jerome Felton, who is making a visit with the Bills here on Tuesday, but LeSean McCoy is certainly hoping the Bills can land the accomplished fullback.

In fact at his introductory press conference Tuesday when McCoy was asked about Felton specifically he has stats on him at the ready.

“I mean, you just look at his stats in his career; I want to say every running back he’s played with has been one of the top, leading rushers, at least in the top six,” said McCoy of Felton. “Fullbacks, you always kind of know a little bit about their stats. So, hopefully with Felton, they work that out.”

McCoy said he comes to the Bills confident that he’ll be as productive as ever.

“The good thing about Rex (Ryan), no matter what team, he always finds a way to get that running attack going,” said McCoy. “He’s that old fashion of controlling the game by running the ball and playing great defense.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: O-line on our to-do list

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 2:11 pm

In an one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com on Jerry Hughes signing day, Bills GM Doug Whaley said in the wake of keeping Buffalo’s talented defensive line intact, the focus will now shift to the other side of the trenches.

When asked about the possibilities of the defensive front four in 2015, Whaley acknowledge with Rex Ryan as head coach the sky is the limit. He then freely expressed their intentions to address the offensive line as well.

“I think it’s going to be a whirlwind on and off the field for the Bills organization,” said Whaley. “With the continuity of those front four guys coming at you… Rex’s philosophy is to build from the inside out so we’ve got that on the defensive line. Now we’ve got some stuff that we’re going to do on the offensive line to make this a competitive team.”


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Hughes: Bills were impossible to walk away from

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 11:37 am

When the window for NFL clubs to talk with prospective free agents from other teams opened on March 7th, Jerry Hughes was a popular target. And though Hughes acknowledged that his representatives listened, they knew where their client stood in terms of where he wanted to play in 2015 and beyond.

In an interview with Buffalobills.com shortly after re-signing with Buffalo, Jerry Hughes admitted that other teams were in contact with his camp during the three-day contact window, but that his agent knew his preference from the start.

“Yeah there (were other teams calling), but we were still listening to Buffalo,” Hughes said. “I made it clear to them especially from my point of view I made it clear to my camp that (Buffalo) was the place I wanted to be.”

Hughes also said that the hiring of Rex Ryan only added to his desire to return to the Bills.

“Playing on a defense now where Rex Ryan is taking over and he’s the head coach and you hear all the great things from the players all over the league about how much they respect him and love him and how great of a coach he is. With someone like that who is now leading the team you don’t want to miss any type of involvement in that because you know he’s going to bring us all along the right way,” he said. “He’ll get us all moving as one unit. For us to be so close (to the playoffs) I feel like with him taking over, Terry and Kim (Pegula) did a fabulous job adding a couple more guys to the mix it made the team impossible to walk away from.”


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Fan Friday 3-6

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2015 – 12:30 pm

The Bills have been busy this week. Next week free agency opens when more additions figure to be made. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Trent Cole wants to join Shady in Buffalo? Any shot Bills go for that?

_BNewman9

CB: If you’re thinking of signing Cole to replace Jerry Hughes I don’t know that you’re getting comparable value. So if saving money is the aim you could sign Cole, who will be 33 in October and he could serve the team in a rotational role as a pass rusher, perhaps platooning with Manny Lawson much like Hughes and Lawson did in 2013. Cole still has gas left in the tank, but a full-time role might be a lot to ask.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What about Hughes???

netz720

CB: The Bills would still like to get Hughes locked up long term, but it’s my belief that after Justin Houston was franchised in Kansas City and Jason Pierre-Paul was franchised in New York that the Hughes camp looked at the free agent market and likely felt they had an opportunity to be the most coveted pass rusher on the market.

Hughes doesn’t have the off the field issues of Greg Hardy and he doesn’t have the injury history of Brian Orakpo. There isn’t a free agent pass rusher with more sacks over the past two seasons than Hughes’ 20.

So once Houston and Pierre-Paul were franchised it wouldn’t surprise me if Hughes’ asking price suddenly increased. If getting the most money he can possibly get trumps the best possible fit for him to maximize his abilities on the field (Buffalo) that’s his prerogative. We’ll see where it goes between now and March 10th.

 

3 – Chris:

With most of the NFL Teams going to the lighter/quicker defenses because the NFL is more of a passing league, do you think that Rex’s “ground and pound” could give the Bills Offense an advantage if they shore up the OL.

I also feel with this philosophy EJ Manuel will be an improved QB. He will have more windows to throw into once defenses start cheating in the box by playing the run.   There were parts of EJ’s game that were good. Two of which were the 2 min offense and the ability to keep plays alive in the pocket when he didn’t have restrictions put on him.  Your thoughts?

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think your point is an astute one. San Francisco took that approach under Jim Harbaugh and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman back in 2011. As most teams were building lighter and faster lines in the trenches the 49ers bulked up and punched everybody in the teeth. It’s a big reason why their run game was so successful.

I do believe such an approach can work again because the trend in the league is still gravitating toward passing. But if you don’t know what you have at quarterback the ground and pound approach knowing you have a good defense is the best route to take.

 

4 – Chris,

Love your work in keeping a long time Bills fan (50 yrs plus) in touch.
My ? Is..is there a scout assigned to any good players in Canada? Like the
Grey Cup QB’s?  Just wondering.
Thanks for keeping us retired folks
Informed!

John Lowry
Ft. Myers, Fl.

CB: The Bills absolutely scout the CFL. In fact they were one of the first teams in pursuit of former CFL’er Cameron Wake, but he chose to sign with Miami. Buffalo covers any and all avenues where potential NFL talent can be uncovered.

 

5 – Chris,

Thank you for providing continuous coverage of the Buffalo Bills throughout the offseason as it helps us remain interested in the team for 365 days a year!

My question has to do with a recent comment made by Commissioner Roger Goodell.  While I am aware of the uncertainty that comes with Ralph Wilson Stadium and its future, his comment puzzled me to an extent.  Mr. Goodell mentioned that while the Ralph is loved (by him and by many including myself), the stadium cannot compete with the newer parks.

Please feel free to correct me, but to my knowledge the Ralph is one of the bigger stadiums in the league, we, for the most part, have not had problems selling out the tickets, and we have made recent upgrades such as video boards, concession stands, and the likes.

I understand many newer stadiums and sports economics are designed to cater more towards corporations and the use of Personal Seat Licenses.  I’m not sure if the market of Western New York can be said to support the same modern marketing formula as many major cities utilize in the US at this day.  WNY is a unique and rock solid fan base quite capable of supporting the Bills and the Sabres on our own.  Not suggesting that we wouldn’t benefit from a new park, but what did Mr. Goodell mean?

What other “challenges” or shortcomings does the Ralph have in respect to competing with the newer stadiums (that are sometimes smaller than ours and perhaps features not considered in the recent upgrades)?  This is where I am a bit lost and hopefully you can shed some light into this confusion.

Thank you and Go Bills!
Ryan from Arizona State University

CB: You’re not wrong that Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the larger ones in the league, but regular ticket sales no longer provide the kind of revenue that carry a team’s profits comfortably into the black. It’s the luxury suites and premium seat sales that drive the ticket sales revenue streams.

To maximize a stadium’s ability to provide additional revenues NFL owners want more of a focus on the premium seating and luxury suites, which cost more to boost ticket sales revenues ever higher.

A few years ago I would agree that Buffalo’s corporate tax base would not be able to sufficiently fill such premium seating, but with the surge in construction downtown, new businesses coming to Buffalo and the new medical campus coming together in the city there could be the corporate base required to support such an endeavor right around the time when the team and the city make a final determination as to what’s best concerning a future home for the Bills.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-6

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2015 – 11:30 am

The Bills have been busy this week. Next week free agency opens when more additions figure to be made. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Trent Cole wants to join Shady in Buffalo? Any shot Bills go for that?

_BNewman9

CB: If you’re thinking of signing Cole to replace Jerry Hughes I don’t know that you’re getting comparable value. So if saving money is the aim you could sign Cole, who will be 33 in October and he could serve the team in a rotational role as a pass rusher, perhaps platooning with Manny Lawson much like Hughes and Lawson did in 2013. Cole still has gas left in the tank, but a full-time role might be a lot to ask.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What about Hughes???

netz720

CB: The Bills would still like to get Hughes locked up long term, but it’s my belief that after Justin Houston was franchised in Kansas City and Jason Pierre-Paul was franchised in New York that the Hughes camp looked at the free agent market and likely felt they had an opportunity to be the most coveted pass rusher on the market.

Hughes doesn’t have the off the field issues of Greg Hardy and he doesn’t have the injury history of Brian Orakpo. There isn’t a free agent pass rusher with more sacks over the past two seasons than Hughes’ 20.

So once Houston and Pierre-Paul were franchised it wouldn’t surprise me if Hughes’ asking price suddenly increased. If getting the most money he can possibly get trumps the best possible fit for him to maximize his abilities on the field (Buffalo) that’s his prerogative. We’ll see where it goes between now and March 10th.

 

3 – Chris:

With most of the NFL Teams going to the lighter/quicker defenses because the NFL is more of a passing league, do you think that Rex’s “ground and pound” could give the Bills Offense an advantage if they shore up the OL.

I also feel with this philosophy EJ Manuel will be an improved QB. He will have more windows to throw into once defenses start cheating in the box by playing the run.   There were parts of EJ’s game that were good. Two of which were the 2 min offense and the ability to keep plays alive in the pocket when he didn’t have restrictions put on him.  Your thoughts?

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think your point is an astute one. San Francisco took that approach under Jim Harbaugh and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman back in 2011. As most teams were building lighter and faster lines in the trenches the 49ers bulked up and punched everybody in the teeth. It’s a big reason why their run game was so successful.

I do believe such an approach can work again because the trend in the league is still gravitating toward passing. But if you don’t know what you have at quarterback the ground and pound approach knowing you have a good defense is the best route to take.

 

4 – Chris,

Love your work in keeping a long time Bills fan (50 yrs plus) in touch.
My ? Is..is there a scout assigned to any good players in Canada? Like the
Grey Cup QB’s?  Just wondering.
Thanks for keeping us retired folks
Informed!

John Lowry
Ft. Myers, Fl.

CB: The Bills absolutely scout the CFL. In fact they were one of the first teams in pursuit of former CFL’er Cameron Wake, but he chose to sign with Miami. Buffalo covers any and all avenues where potential NFL talent can be uncovered.

 

5 – Chris,

Thank you for providing continuous coverage of the Buffalo Bills throughout the offseason as it helps us remain interested in the team for 365 days a year!

My question has to do with a recent comment made by Commissioner Roger Goodell.  While I am aware of the uncertainty that comes with Ralph Wilson Stadium and its future, his comment puzzled me to an extent.  Mr. Goodell mentioned that while the Ralph is loved (by him and by many including myself), the stadium cannot compete with the newer parks.

Please feel free to correct me, but to my knowledge the Ralph is one of the bigger stadiums in the league, we, for the most part, have not had problems selling out the tickets, and we have made recent upgrades such as video boards, concession stands, and the likes.

I understand many newer stadiums and sports economics are designed to cater more towards corporations and the use of Personal Seat Licenses.  I’m not sure if the market of Western New York can be said to support the same modern marketing formula as many major cities utilize in the US at this day.  WNY is a unique and rock solid fan base quite capable of supporting the Bills and the Sabres on our own.  Not suggesting that we wouldn’t benefit from a new park, but what did Mr. Goodell mean?

What other “challenges” or shortcomings does the Ralph have in respect to competing with the newer stadiums (that are sometimes smaller than ours and perhaps features not considered in the recent upgrades)?  This is where I am a bit lost and hopefully you can shed some light into this confusion.

Thank you and Go Bills!
Ryan from Arizona State University

CB: You’re not wrong that Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the larger ones in the league, but regular ticket sales no longer provide the kind of revenue that carry a team’s profits comfortably into the black. It’s the luxury suites and premium seat sales that drive the ticket sales revenue streams.

To maximize a stadium’s ability to provide additional revenues NFL owners want more of a focus on the premium seating and luxury suites, which cost more to boost ticket sales revenues ever higher.

A few years ago I would agree that Buffalo’s corporate tax base would not be able to sufficiently fill such premium seating, but with the surge in construction downtown, new businesses coming to Buffalo and the new medical campus coming together in the city there could be the corporate base required to support such an endeavor right around the time when the team and the city make a final determination as to what’s best concerning a future home for the Bills.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spiller comments on free agency

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2015 – 1:21 pm

C.J. Spiller was just responding to a question, but his answer has some believing he expects to reach the free agent market on March 10th.

In an appearance on NFL Network’s NFL AM show, Spiller was asked how he feels about being a free agent, with no new contract agreement in place with the Bills. This was his answer.

“To be honest, I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Spiller. “Obviously, you want to stay at a place that you have been there your whole career. But, as both of you guys know, sometimes that doesn’t happen in this business and you have to move on. You thank the organization for what they have done for you and you continue your career somewhere else. I’m looking forward to it. Me and my agent Chad Speck, we have a great game plan set and looking forward to attacking it.”

While you certainly cannot blame Spiller and his representative from having a plan for the free agent market, it also makes it sound less and less likely that the Bills free agent will be back in red, white and blue. Spiller also did say that while he hasn’t spoken to new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, he has studied the 49ers offense and didn’t close the door on a return to Buffalo.

“Anytime an offensive coordinator loves to run the ball, as a running back that’s what you want to do,” he said. “It’ll be a great opportunity if I do happen to go back because I know that both him and Rex [Ryan] want to run the ball; they want to ground and pound. It’ll be an awesome opportunity.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-27

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2015 – 11:39 am

NFL free agency is just over a week away. The Bills are expected to be players. For now let’s get to this week’s edition of questions from you the Bills fans on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

My question is- What veteran quarterbacks do you feel that could be available to help the Bills immediately? Definitely not Cutler, the Bills have already proven once you get under his skin he’s done competing!  Maybe Sanchez?  Do you think he can turn the corner in his leadership and playing ability?

Kevin E.
Colorado by way of Hamburg, NY

CB: Josh McCown is the obvious target right now. I think the Bills will see if any veteran quarterbacks that don’t have a future with their current clubs are released in salary cap moves prior to the start of the new league year before pouncing on another free agent target. Rest assured they are dead set on adding a veteran quarterback to their roster in some way.

 

2 – Chris,

Thanks again for the great coverage of our Bills, my question revolves around the defense going back to a 3-4. How do you see the front seven shaking out? Is Dareus the nose tackle or do we go with him and Kyle Williams at defensive end and add a big bodied space eater? I’m also curious about the linebackers, I’d think you’d put Alonso and Brown inside, Mario on one side and then I’m lost. If Hughes stays in the fold does he play the other side? Where does this leave Bradham who emerged as a solid player? I look forward to your input thanks again.

Will.
GO BILLS!

CB: With respect to the defensive line you have to remember that Ryan’s system is not a traditional 3-4 with a true nose tackle. They don’t have a true two gap, head up on the center nose. They play more of a shade alignment with two defensive tackles. I think Mario Williams will split time at defensive end and outside linebacker depending on the down and distance.

Manny Lawson will shift to strong side linebacker much like he did in Pettine’s defense two seasons ago. If Jerry Hughes is back he’ll presumably rotate in and out with Lawson and likely flip back and forth between and end and outside linebacker role.

As for the full-time linebackers I think it will be a feeling out process for the defensive staff. They have 2013 tape of Kiko Alonso in this defense, but they do not have any feel for Preston Brown in that system. They also don’t have the current version of Nigel Bradham in this defense aside from perhaps the last two games of 2013 when he began to show flashes of his true ability. So how they align those three will take shape through the course of the OTA practices.

The secondary obviously remains largely the same with the decision of free agent Da’Norris Searcy being the only possible departure.

 

3 – Chris,

Has Shane Carden from ECU been on anyone’s radar at OBD? I live in the Carolinas so we get more coverage about this guy. He’s playing in the senior bowl as well. He has reputation for being an accurate thrower (to me this should be the top consideration for a QB). Maybe a steal in the mid/late rounds. Thoughts from the insiders?

John

CB: Obviously the Bills scouting department is aware of Carden. He was a throwing quarterback at the NFL Combine last week. Carden set all kinds of records at East Carolina, but my concern lies with his throwing mechanics and arm strength. I don’t think he has the arm to cut passes through the wind that we often find here in Buffalo come November and December.

A lot of his passes float and hang in the air too long. He also has a propensity to throw off his back foot. There’s no debating his career was a very productive one. He broke all of David Garrard’s passing records at ECU, but I’ll be surprised if he’s taken before the seventh round. At best he’s a career backup in the league by most accounts.

 

4 – Hello Chris,

Thank you for all your hard work keeping those of us away from Buffalo updated on the best team in the NFL!

While I do not dismiss Rex Ryan’s abilities as a coach or motivator, my defining image of his tenure in New York was the newspaper cover image of a Jets clown car with coach Ryan at the wheel.  Traditionally the team has eschewed flamboyant personalities in the past.  Has the team discussed this with him, or can we expect the seemingly endless diatribe of controversy, arrogance and inanity that plagued the Jets?

James

CB: I think you can probably take his handling of his press conference with the NFL media at the NFL Combine as an example of what to expect. He sidestepped several opportunities to be bold with a prediction or two for the 2015 season. He also dodged loaded questions about his former team. So I’m anticipating a little more self-restraint from coach Ryan this year. We’ll see.

 

5 – Chris
It seems that with the restrictions in the NFLPA agreement, it is difficult to work with players except during certain dates in the offseason ?
If we had some interesting players, could a team rather than sign them to a contract, perhaps open a Football Training School with free tuition and room and board to develop their skills? Those popping out would be offered a contract etc. don’t use team coaches, rather qualified instructors with experience in positions we have a need.

Thanks
Jim in Florida

CB: Unfortunately I don’t see the NFLPA agreeing to that in any way. The players fought for time away from the game to reduce the pounding on their bodies through the offseason with limitations on padded practices and live hitting. They’re not going to agree to do that in a separate training academy. Most players do that on their own.

I suppose there could be street free agents interested in that kind of arrangement, but who is paying for it? NFL owners are not going to incur another cost to make that happen. I just think it’s unrealistic.

 


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Spiller: I love me some Rex Ryan now

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2015 – 3:08 pm


Bills impending free agent RB C.J. Spiller appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio Tuesday and discussed his free agent options, leaving the door open for a return to Buffalo. Two factors that may work in Buffalo’s favor are their plans to run the ball a lot and their head coach.

“The Bills made a tremendous hire in Rex Ryan,” said Spiller. “Definitely I think Rex was the guy for the Buffalo Bills. I love me some Rex Ryan now.”

Spiller has a relationship with Ryan having crossed paths several times at Clemson, Spiller’s alma mater, where Ryan’s son is currently a wide receiver.

The Bills back also expressed an interest in offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s system, which will have a strong commitment to running the ball.

“I have been studying some of the 49ers and what they did. He’s a guy who loves to run the football and as a running back that’s what you want a guy that likes to run the ball, no matter what,” said Spiller of Roman. “I think too many times if a run gets stopped for a two-yard gain some offensive coordinators get away from that. But coach Roman sticks to his guns. He’s going to be physical. You’ve got to excited about that as a runner.”

At the top of Spiller’s checklist of things he wants in a team was being a fit in the offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-20

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2015 – 1:12 pm

It’s day three of our Combine Coverage presented by NAPA. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

As good of a guy as CJ is..will he really fit Roman’s system?

LWOS_Brock

CB: As GM Doug Whaley has said Roman wants a mixed bag of backs that can do different things. Just because you didn’t see a C.J. Spiller type back in San Francisco’s offense when Roman was running things out there doesn’t mean he can’t use a talent like Spiller in his scheme.

Whaley characterized Bryce Brown and Spiller as the speed backs, Dixon as the power back and Fred Jackson as the pass catcher/pass protector. So it appears Roman would like to have three or four backs to work with, not to mention a fullback.

Additionally Rex Ryan has said that with their coaching staff it’s player over scheme every time, so if they can keep Spiller in the fold they’ll devise a way to make him a productive element in Roman’s system.

 

2 –  @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think OL Ali Marpet will be there in the 4th?

TheConnorCough

CB: I think Marpet opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl when he showed he could hang with the top senior talent in college despite playing at Division III Hobart. He’s off to a good start with his workout here at the NFL Combine as well, running the fastest 40 time among offensive lineman with a five flat.

Obviously the 40 time isn’t a major influencer on draft grade for offensive linemen, but Marpet is legitimizing his ability to play at the NFL level. The Bills did meet with him and though he played tackle in college, he projects to guard in the NFL.

Will he be there in the fourth round? It’s possible. He could also be gone in the third.

 

3 – Chris

Thanks for providing a forum for fans to express opinions and ask questions.
With all the QB’s available in Free Agency, College, Canadian League, other pro leagues, I can’t grasp the Bills unable to develop one over the last 20 years. We seem to have chosen one alone and spend all our resources in proving we were right to pick them, rather than looking for the one who pops out and distances himself from the others. Brady popped out, as did Wilson, Romo, Foles etc. I’d be interested if you think this process will change with the new regime ?

Also, if we have two QB’s, shouldn’t they be similar in style, either mobile or pocket passers, so if one is injured the offense doesn’t have to change to adapt to two different styles, like last year with Manuel and Orton ?

Thanks;
Jim in Florida

CB: I think the Bills are more apt than ever to add another young quarterback to the roster, especially with a thin free agent class of options at the position. Adding two veterans is probably unlikely so a vet and a young player is the most likely combination to fortify the position on Buffalo’s roster.

I found it interesting that Doug Whaley and his personnel department intend to meet personally with every quarterback prospect here at the Combine not named Mariota and Winston. After the Combine they also will dispatch QBs coach David Lee to go and work these quarterback prospects out at or around their pro days. Whaley described their planned search to be exhaustive.

He mentioned this on the John Murphy Show and in addition when asked about the philosophy of drafting a quarterback every year he said he was not opposed to it.

I would think similar style quarterbacks would make sense, but sometimes you’re willing to sacrifice similarity if it means getting a better player overall.

 

4 – Hi Chris

Could you please explain to me how David Lee, who couldn’t get Jets quarterbacks to play better, is going to help EJ Manuel and any other quarterback we have on the roster ?

Thanks, Dale

CB: Rex Ryan has answered this question. David Lee is an expert when it comes to teaching quarterback fundamentals, and really that’s his main job with the signal callers on the roster. To keep their mechanics sound. That’s easier with some quarterbacks than others obviously, but knowing the worker that EJ Manuel is I would anticipate seeing improvement in everything from Manuel’s footwork, to the consistency of his arm angle, release point, hip drive, etc.

While you may knock the results in New York with Geno Smith, David Lee successfully turned Tony Romo from a third string QB into a Pro Bowl starter. I’ve talked to David Lee about that transformation and he said the only reason Romo was successful was because he wanted to work at it.

Romo needed to make 10-thousand throws to improve his passing efficiency because his release point was too low as a younger player and too many of his passes were getting batted down at the line. But he worked with Lee every day. Knowing that Manuel has a similar work ethic, I think we’ll see a difference with him too.

 

 

5 – Chris,

I was very disappointed to see Jim Schwartz leave considering the outstanding work he did with the defense last year especially with stopping the run. Now with Rex Ryan in the fold, the defense will most likely look very similar to what we experienced during the 2013 season under Mike Pettine. With that said, our run defense was not very good under Pettine. Is there real reason to worry it might struggle again with Rex Ryan going back to more of the 3-4 hybrid system that Pettine used? I know we have an outstanding defensive line but they seemed to be in better position to stop the run under Schwartz’s system. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

-Mike from Syracuse

CB: I don’t think there should be a big worry about the run defense. Yes, Schwartz did simplify things, which made it easier to execute. By the same token Rex Ryan defenses have almost always finished in the top 10 in run defense. Buffalo finished 11th last season. So if anything it could improve under Ryan based on the track record of his defenses.

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills