New York Jets beat reporter for the Daily News Manish Mehta is reporting that a notable free agent receiver is heading to Buffalo tonight.
Saints free agent WR Robert Meachem is reportedly going to pay the Bills a visit per Mehta’s report.
Tags: NFL free agency, Robert Meacham
Posted in Inside the Bills
Here’s the special NFL Combine edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Sorry it took so long, but we’ve been a little busy out here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Let’s get going.
1 - Hi Chris,
If Riley Reiff drops in the draft or Jonathan Martin was available when the Bills pick at 10, Could you see the team addressing the left tackle spot instead of more pressing needs on defense?
I think the Bills would potentially have one of the best young O lines in the league when healthy if that was the case, and the infrastructure in place to build a strong offense. A common theme with this lost decade + of losing is the weak play of the offensive line.
Love your Work
CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think there is a distinct possibility that the Bills go offensive line in round one at offensive tackle. There could be a couple of options for them there at 10 and you’re on the money with Reiff and Martin.
I was particularly impressed with Martin after hearing him address the media Thursday here in Indy. He worked under a blue collar coaching staff (Harbaugh) that ran a pro-style offense at Stanford. He’s just so broad shouldered it looks like he’s wearing shoulder pads when he doesn’t have any on. He’s a solid pass protector and I like his finish.
The Bills are talking to Demetrius Bell, who I think they believe can handle the left tackle position, but his injury history is likely a concern. So I think tackle at 10 is realistic. Also I get the sense that the elite pass rusher the Bills would covet is not on their board at 10, meaning there isn’t someone of top 10 value at that need position in their opinion. That would only reinforce the possibility of an OT being taken there.
2 - Hi Chris
Big Bills fan from Dorset, England, love all the updates and news you provide us
People have been saying we need a speedster in the WR ranks, Im unsold on Clowney, if he hit FA would the Bills look to Desean Jackson at all?
Also what do you think of and where would you put Vinny Curry of Marshall, i think he could be a good pick for the Bills and maybe he could fall to the second round, if we got Couples at 10 and Curry in the 2nd round that would be solid wouldnt it?
CB: All indications from the Eagles are that DeSean Jackson would be franchised if a long term agreement can’t be reached. At age 25 they don’t want to lose him for nothing knowing he has value on the open market.
Either way I don’t see him as the type of receiver the Bills are targeting. Yes, they want a deep speed threat, but they also want that receiver to have some measure of physicality to him (a bit bigger than Jackson).
I think a sleeper free agent for that kind of role might be Robert Meacham the New Orleans free agent.
3 – Chris,
I know Stevie wants to stay in Buffalo and I know Nix wants him back, but what is the status of renewing his contract? Also, are the Bills aiming for Vincent Jackson? With him and Stevie, we could actually be a contender. How are Fred and C.J. going to share time? Is it going to be like the Saints’ backfield with a lot of good ‘backs who just switch every down? And finally my biggest concern- this season, the league was predominately run by QB’s and defense. The bills have a QB but no healthy defense. That being said, can the bills make a smart #10 first pick and take Upshaw or Coples and not take an OT. -andrew marshall.
CB: Rapid fire answers. There was progress on a new contract for Stevie made here in Indy on Friday. How close is it is tough to gauge right now. Wanting Vincent Jackson as well might be a lot to ask, but the latest is the Chargers aren’t going to franchise him. His the size, speed addition that could work, whether the dollars do is another story.
As for Fred and C.J., Chan Gailey said there will be instances where they’re on the field at the same time and C.J. and Fred will also split out wide in certain down and distance situations. The way Chan put it is he wants to keep them both fresh while also making full use of their talents.
With their #10 pick, I’m not convinced they’re going pass rusher there, you can read more about that on the home page Saturday, which could mean pursuing a free agent pass rusher.
4 – Chris,
The Bills need a SAM right now badly. As well as a rush DE. We didn’t see much of Morrison and all his 4-3 experience has been at MLB, do you think the Bills would consider he or even a FA like Stephen Tulloch at SAM. I was shocked Tulloch only got a 1 year deal but adding him to Shep and Barnett would be nice if he can transition to outside because it seems the coaches don’t think Sheppard can be anywhere but in the middle.
CB: The Bills have been in contact with Kirk Morrison about being an answer at SAM backer. It makes sense from the Bills perspective because he could also back up Shep in the middle. My guess is Morrison wants to consider other options on the open market, so I’m not certain he’ll just blindly return to the Bills after finding it hard to get on the field last season.
Tulloch is more of an ILB so I don’t know that playing SLB is necessarily a fit for him. He’s a little on the short side to play out there (5’11”).
5 - Chris,
As you know Marcus Easley has been dealt a rough hand since being drafted by the Bills. Has he fully recovered from his illness and will he have a shot at making the Bills No. 2 receiver? Or will he compete at all? At face value, he has at least the proto type body (6’4) of a big receiver that the Bills need in the red zone. Not only could he contribute to a much need depleted receiver core, if he secures one of the WR positions, they the Bills could devote their draft to other areas of need. So I am hoping Bills fans can see what potential Easley has a big receiver and we will have one less area to address with our draft picks.
William Aiken, Schenectady, NY
CB: Easley has been medically cleared to resume his football career. He’ll be back on the field this spring with no limitations as far as I understand it. Now the Bills aren’t counting on him despite the fact that they’re eager to see what he can bring to the offense. He is the prototype size, speed combo that they want opposite Stevie Johnson, but since the first two seasons of his career have been washouts it’s hard to count on him. That’s why they’ll seek other options to add to the competition pool.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Buddy Nix, C.J. Spiller, Chan Gailey, David Clowney, Demetrius Bell, DeSean Jackson, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Jonathan Martin, Kirk Morrison, Marcus Easley, Riley Reiff, Robert Meacham, Stephen Tulloch
Posted in Inside the Bills
Let’s get to another week of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Keep them coming!
1 - Hi Chris,
Thanks, as always, for your helpful, informative coverage of our team. Setting injuries aside, it appears to me that the Bills have a potentially powerful offense. But no matter how good an offense is, it will not overcome a weak defense—note the Packers. Consequently, although I’d love to see the team improve at left tackle, I think it would make the most sense to focus the draft (and free agency) on acquiring a real pass rusher, help at linebacker, and perhaps a defensive back, with a good wide receiver as another priority. My belief is that if you dramatically improve the defense, given the potential excellence of Williams, Dareus and Kelsay, the team has an opportunity to go to the playoffs. I don’t suggest disregarding offensive tackles, but the priority, I think, should be on the defense. I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
CB: I think the Bills front office has made it clear that improving the pass rush is the top priority this offseason. Where they choose to address it is the question. It could be free agency or the draft or both. The price for a proven pass rusher in free agency can get cost prohibitive pretty quick, but there might be a free agent or two that makes sense.
A guy I think would make a lot of sense is Dallas’ Anthony Spencer. Not a guy that’s going to cripple your cap like Mario Williams or possibly even Cliff Avril knowing there will be a line of teams knocking on his door. Spencer is coming off a down season, but has pass rush ability and would likely benefit with a move back to weakside DE in a 4-3 defense instead of OLB in a 3-4 (where he played in Dallas).
That’s where Spencer lined up in college at Purdue and would likely welcome an opportunity to play there again. Without production through the roof the past couple of years he might also be reasonably priced.
So I would anticipate that Buffalo will have that need thoroughly addressed by the time the draft is over and done with in late April.
2 - Hello Chris,
I listen to all of you radio appearances and appreciate all of your coverage on the website and just want to say thank you.
My question is: How you feel about Buffalo taking a guy like NO’s Robert Meachem or NYG’s Domenik Hixon in Free Agency? I see a relatively moderate price tag and a lot of upside. My rationale being that the Bill’s love small price tags that could return big dividends and there is also a proven track record that comes along with them. Other guys I like are INDY’s Pierre Garcon or Anthony Gonzalez who have a little size and hustle to them. INDY is rebuilding so I think we could get them relatively cheap. What are your thoughts? Do you think any of these could be a possibilty in the offseason?
CB: I think the biggest upside comes with Garcon and as such he’ll command the biggest price tag. Now Colts owner Jim Irsay has publicly stated that Garcon and Mathis are two of their free agents that they intend to re-sign. Knowing Reggie Wayne is probably out the door at 33-years old, Garcon could be enticed by that knowing he’d be the top target in Indy. Of course he also might be playing with a very talented, but nevertheless rookie QB. Does he want to go through a growing pain year?
Garcon can run and is freakishly strong on the ball, fitting Buddy Nix’s description of needing a guy that’s open even when he’s not open. Best of all he’ll turn 26 just before the 2012 season. So I’d put him at the top of your list. What I like best about him is he had 70 catches last season without Manning.
Meacham offers the most speed. He runs a 4.4 flat and has 20 touchdowns over the past three seasons. That’s a pretty good number knowing Drew Brees spreads the ball around. He’s got the size the Bills are looking for at 6’2” 217. It’s just hard to definitively say he could take a leap in production as the team’s number 2 in Buffalo. That being said I think he’s a worthwhile risk and would welcome the chance to be a weekly number two instead of fighting to be the number three in New Orleans.
Domenik Hixon is a guy I’m not a big fan of. Only runs a 4.7 and is coming off a major knee injury. He might be even slower now and isn’t a physical guy on the outside. Anthony Gonzalez is another smaller guy. Super smart, but can’t stay healthy.
3 - Chris,
Last year most of the draft gurus were predicting that the Bills would draft the top rated outside linebacker, Von Miller. This year its OLB Courtney Upshaw. How does Upshaw compare to Von Miller?
CB: Upshaw’s game is totally different than Miller’s. Miller is a pure pass rusher whose game is based on speed and quickness. Upshaw’s game is all power and strength. He’s not slow, but he’s not going to blow past guys off the ball. He’s going to drive them back into the QB or knock them on their wallet. Miller is probably more athletic, but Upshaw is a better all-around player in terms of playing the run and the pass.
Some teams even think he could be an OLB in a 3-4. I think that might be possible on the strong side, but I think he can handle DE in a 4-3 even though he’s only 6’1” and change. He’s just so thickly built I think he could hold up at the line.
4 - Hi Chris,
Really enjoy your coverage of the team. My question is: how much better do you think Fitzpatrick can be if he had more time in the pocket? The line played well this year, but I’m convinced the lack of sacks was more due to Fitz’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly. Is improving at LT a higher priority than another stud WR (assuming Stevie stays)?
Thanks and keep up the good work!
CB: Thanks for the kind words. With respect to protection for Fitz you’re right, Chan Gailey’s offense is largely a timing attack. Oftentimes Fitz would get rid of the ball in less than two seconds by design. I think Chan likes using Fitz’s ability to diagnose defenses quickly to their advantage and get the ball in the hands of the playmakers as quickly as possible.
Now I suppose if you added a true deep threat to the passing game in free agency this offseason the team might be more inclined to further solidify the left tackle spot to improve protection that much more to allow more time for those deep routes to develop.
I asked Buddy Nix about whether he feels he has a defined answer at left tackle knowing Bell and Hairston flip-flopped all year due to injury. This was his initial answer, and his answer to my follow up question.
“Demetrius Bell has got all the tools. He’s got the good feet. He’s a good athlete. He’s what you look for at left tackle. The problem with Demetrius is injuries. He started the first four games for us and gets hurt. He missed eight and comes back and plays three and he ends up hurt again. He was rehabbing last year the whole year couldn’t practice all week. All those things enter into it.
“Chris Hairston I think can be a really good left tackle. He’s a rookie. It’s going to take him a little bit. He got some good experience this year. So we at least have a couple of possibilities at left tackle and those are the two. With his length and all that with Chris Hairston, he’s a smart guy and can be a left tackle and play over there and be serviceable for us. Demetrius it remains to be seen. We’re going to try to re-sign him. He’s up.”
Follow up question: Will those two options keep you from seeking a better option there?
“We’re going to draft a tackle if we can. If there’s one there is what I mean. If there’s one there that we think can play we’re going to draft a tackle. You can never have too many tackles. You can move a guy, now you can have exceptions to this, but it’s easier to move a guy from tackle to guard than guard to tackle obviously. So we draft tackles, we’re in pretty good shape at guard and center.”
5 – Chris,
First off great work covering our Buffalo Bills in the offseason. Every year you do a supreme job of getting information to Bills fans all over the nation and for that, thank you. My question is regarding the nature of our first two picks in the upcoming draft. I understand our primary need is to draft a player who can help our pass rush which I couldn’t agree with more. I agree with it so much that i was wondering what is the possibility of the Bills addressing their pass rush needs in both the first AND second round. I have been doing scouting of my own on defensive prospects and have seen Vinny Curry, DE from Marshall showing up on alot of up and coming lists. He is a fine physical specimen who has a whole college career of success (albeit in the FCS) and seems to have a tremendous upside. I think its safe to say if he was in the BCS he would be a first round pick. So Chris what do you think of Vinny and the possibility he last until the Bills second round pick.
Thanks So Much, GO BILLS!
Taylor – Gillespie, IL
CB: Glad you enjoy our coverage of the team. Thanks for your readership and viewership. Vinny Curry had a good week at the Senior Bowl. He’s a high motor guy with good strength and power. I don’t see him as all that different from Courtney Upshaw in terms of skill set, he just isn’t quite as powerful as Upshaw.
The knock on him is he doesn’t have the elite speed to beat NFL tackles around the corner with regularity so some teams don’t see him as a true RDE. A lot of scouts are projecting him to left end because he’s strong enough to hold up over there and offers enough pass rush ability to be productive down the line.
Some do have concerns that his pass rush repertoire is limited, which is what drops him to a second-round prospect. But if he tests well at the Combine he could move into the top half of round 2 because you know what you’re going to get from him every snap.
Tags: Anthony Spencer, Buddy Nix, Chris Hairston, Courtney Upshaw, Demetrius Bell, Fan Friday, pass protection, Pierre Garcon, Robert Meacham, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Vinny Curry
Posted in Inside the Bills