Inside The Bills

CB Brooks heads to dentist

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2012 – 4:17 pm

Bills rookie CB Ron Brooks was not in attendance for practice. Head coach Chan Gailey explained why after Wednesday’s workout.

“Brooks was not here,” said Gailey. “He had emergency dental surgery. He’ll hopefully be back in the next day or so.”

With Brooks missing from practice, Crezdon Butler filled in as the team’s fourth cornerback Wednesday.


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NFL debut dream come true for Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2012 – 10:33 am

He had to wait an extra nine weeks, but rookie Ron Brooks dream to play in his first NFL regular season game has finally arrived.

Head coach Chan Gailey said once added to the 53-man roster Brooks would be dressed and play primarily on special teams.

“Basically it plays through my mind every night wondering what it’ll be like to go through a game, not preseason, but an actual regular season,” Brooks told Buffalobills.com. “All day, every day really. But it’s about having myself ready mentally and physically.”


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CB Brooks likely to be activated

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 1:01 pm

It hasn’t happened yet, but at some point prior to Sunday’s game in Houston, CB Ron Brooks is expected to be pulled off of injured reserve and added to the active roster.

That according to head coach Chan Gailey. When asked if there has been thought of adding Brooks to the roster Gailey answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, there has,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a done deal, but that’s the direction we’re headed.”

Gailey said Chad Rinehart, who suffered a severe ankle injury in Week 7, would likely be moved to injured reserve to make room for Brooks on the 53-man roster. The Bills have until 4 pm Saturday to make the move. If and when Brooks is added to the roster he’s expected to dress and play on special teams.


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Fan Friday 10-26

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2012 – 12:30 pm

Here’s the latest edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

The accuracy required to play QB in the NFL is on another level entirely–and at some point, talent is as important as work ethic and practice.  Is it possible that Fitz is turning into a “head case” with all of these adjustments with David Lee and his throwing mechanics?  What, if anything, are the coaches and Fitz doing to try and stem this problem?  The Bills will only go as far as Fitz will take them.  And I fear if he doesn’t revert to something close to what we say early last season, this team won’t improve much or go very far, no matter how much the defense improves or how much talent they put around Fitz.  It’s a QB driven league.  And while there are examples of teams winning SBs with a less than elite QB, it’s not very common.  And his current level of performance certainly will not be sufficient.  What, if anything, can be or is being done?

Thanks again for your coverage of the team.
Jeffrey Suchocki
CB: Ryan Fitzpatrick even agrees with you that his first half of the season has not been what he thought it would be. His completion percentage is admittedly down (61%) from where it was at this time last year (67.7%). I think we should be encouraged by what we saw in the Tennessee game, save for the late INT.

What went by the board in that disappointing loss was the fact that it was clearly Fitz’s best passing game of the season. He even got off to a fast start, something that doesn’t always happen in games for Fitzpatrick either.

He finished that game 27-35 for 225 yards and three touchdowns with the INT and a passer rating of 109.8. The interception aside, that’s the way Fitzpatrick needs to play for this team to have a chance to win every week. His completion percentage of 77% was the highest single-game completion percentage since the Washington game a year ago this week (77.8%).

So I think the hope is that Fitz has begun to rediscover his rhythm in the passing game. Now we just have to hope that the bye week didn’t disrupt that rhythm and he can have a second half of the season, like he had the first half of last season.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

When a player goes on I-R does he still receive 100% of his pay while he is unable to play?
Thank you again.

Bob Hammond
Rochester, NY

 

CB: I’m not going to pretend to know all the ins and outs of the injured reserve rules so I tapped into the expertise of Bills Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf. So with respect to a player getting his full pay when he goes on I-R, the answer is it depends. 

A player who has a split contract (meaning he gets a lower amount if he is on I-R) will get the lower amount of pay if he goes on I-R (there is a league minimum that corresponds to the number of credited seasons). Split contracts are more commonly seen in rookie contracts and with street free agents. 

It’s rare to see a split contract for a marquee player (e.g. a first or second round draft pick). Most rookie contracts do not include the third year as a split amount. So those players more often than not will receive full pay. However, that full pay may be at a lower amount if it has been negotiated in the deal.

 

3 – Hi Chris,
Just wondering when the Bills are going to turn T.J. Graham loose on some fly patterns. I know at the outset the Bills brain trust wanted Graham to have a better knowledge of the playbook, but with his blazing speed, when will they test defenses? The vertical game will just help Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones more. I know the spread offense is predicated on short and medium range passes, but showing the opposition some danger cannot hurt. What are your thoughts?

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl
CB: I think it’s something that bears watching. The deep passing game is not a common focus in Chan Gailey’s offense. He’d rather get the ball out quick and let the playmakers get yards after the catch. That being said Gailey does want to have a role for Graham week in and week out. How big the role gets will likely depend on what Graham does with the opportunities he gets. But stretching the field is certainly something he can do.”

 

4 – Hi Chris,

I was wondering if you have an update concerning Tarvaris Jackson and how he is progressing.  Is there any chance he will overtake Tyler Thigpen as the #2 QB or is the task of learning the system a case of too much too soon?  The reason I ask is actually the potential return of Ron Brooks to the 53-man roster at the end of the month.  His expected role as a gunner on the punt coverage team (not to mention adding an extra CB to the mix) means someone will have to be cut.  Could it be Thigpen?

Thanks much,
Jeff Horn

CB: I don’t know what the chances are that it happens this year. Chan Gailey has said time and again that with no time during the practice week in preparation for a game to get him reps in the offense, Jackson is pretty much relegated to third QB status.

I will say that he did get some reps during the bye week practice this past Wednesday, but I don’t know how much weight should be put on that.

As for Brooks they can elevate him to the 53-man roster Wednesday. If they do they have to move someone else off the roster, but I’m not going to speculate about a guy getting released or not. I don’t think it would be Thigpen however, since his contract is guaranteed by virtue of being on the roster through the first week of the season.

 

5 – CB, 

Many fans are simply upset that the Bills haven’t drafted a QB. Why don’t they go after a developmental raw QB, though he might not pan out, it worth having one for either next year. Buddy Nix has passed on too many quarterbacks that are now successful (Andy Dalton). Buddy said he would want to draft 1 QB every year but only drafted Levi Brown in the 7th round. A QB on the squad could be developed in time by Chan. Both Ryan and Tyler were 7th round picks as well both learned under Chan. 
CB: I respect the frustration. Buddy Nix did say at one point that he’d like to draft a quarterback every year, but he had a roster with a plethora of positional needs that he had to fill out first. Perhaps now that the roster is a bit deeper at a good number of positions he can afford to take a QB in the draft.

Philadelphia has made a habit of this, taking a QB almost every year. Nick Foles is their latest example and he’s the team’s backup QB this season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB Brooks faring well

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2012 – 11:06 am

The Bills designated to return I-R player Ron Brooks has been practicing with the team since last week. He again participated in the team’s only bye week practice Wednesday. Head coach Chan Gailey likes his progress physically, but that’s not going to be the only factor in determining whether he’s ready to re-join the roster.

“He’s come along,” said Gailey. “He’s had no setbacks whatsoever so that’s a positive too. How much he knows and how much he’ll catch up that’ll be a determining factor, but physically he’s fine.”

Buffalo can elevate him to the active roster on October 31st at the earliest.


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Brooks really pleased with 1st day back

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2012 – 4:27 pm

After not practicing with the team for the better part of the last two months due to a broken foot, injured reserve-designated to return CB Ron Brooks was very happy with how his foot responded to his first day of practice back with the team.

“It went really good,” Brooks told Buffalobills.com. “I felt real good. I didn’t have any pain. It’s like I picked up where I left off and it felt better actually than when I was in the preseason. So I tried to push it and see how well it was doing and it held up just fine.”

Brooks told Buffalobills.com that he believes he initially injured the foot early in training camp and may have played in all three preseason games with the fracture in his foot, which has since been corrected with surgery.

Despite the layoff, Brooks doesn’t think he’s got any rust to knock off.

“As far as rust I didn’t really feel like I had any rust,” said Brooks. “It felt really good to be back out. I was excited to be back out there. I don’t think it’ll be a factor of knocking the rust off rather than just getting caught back up to speed and making sure I’m know everything that’s going on and they’re putting in the game plan from previous weeks.

“I’m just going to continue to do what I did when I was in camp and rookie OTAs and come out here and try to get better at my position and do what I need to do.”

 


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Brooks to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2012 – 12:23 pm

As we outlined on the home page of Buffalobills.com, Ron Brooks is in fact practicing today after being medically cleared Monday as the designated to return from I-R player is recovered from his broken foot.

“He’ll do most of the scout team stuff right now just to get him back into playing shape,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “We’ve got to work him.”

Brooks cannot be elevated to the active roster until October 31st at the earliest under the new NFL I-R rules.


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CB Brooks making good progress

Posted by Chris Brown on October 6, 2012 – 10:30 am

Bills fourth-round pick Ron Brooks, who was placed on injured reserve at the start of the season and designated as the player to return to the active roster, is making good progress as his broken foot is healed and he’s begun workouts on his own.

“He has to be out for eight weeks,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It looks like he’s on schedule to be back to practice. He’s on track to be back.”

Brooks isn’t be eligible to return to practice with the team until six weeks have elapsed, which would be Oct. 17th, the Wednesday after the Arizona game. He can’t be added to the active roster for a game until eight weeks have elapsed, which would be Oct. 31st, making the Week 9 game in Houston (Nov. 4th) the first game he’d be eligible to dress and play.

The cornerback was impressive in training camp and had some of the quickest feet in the secondary. He broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, which required a screw to be inserted to promote healing.

“The goal is to be back as soon as I can be,” said Brooks. “I’m encouraged.”

Under the new guidelines an NFL club can return one player on injured reserve to the active roster later in the season (at least 42 calendar days). However, for a player to be eligible for recall they could not be placed on I-R prior to 4 pm on Sept. 4th.

“I sure do like that rule and I think we all know it was put in there for the Peyton Mannings had he been well, but it works for a lot of guys so it’s great.”


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Fan Friday 9-21

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2012 – 1:30 pm

Win number one under the belt. Bills will try to stack another one in Cleveland. But first your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

Can you explain the thought process of putting Ron Brooks on the designated to return I-R? He’s probably their fifth or sixth corner. I would think they would want to save that for someone like Fitz, Fred or Mario. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but there are likely to be more important players that we would want back.

Thanks,
Brad

CB: I’m going to let Coach Gailey handle this one. Here’s what coach said about this decision.

“First of all the person has to stay out eight weeks no matter what,” said Gailey. “So if you waited until Week 6 until somebody got hurt then they could only come back for two games in the season. Second, if you’ve got a guy that was playing extremely well and you didn’t know if he would continue to come on… how many injuries are you going to have at corner? We had a banged up couple of corners anyway at the time. You just make a judgment call and we felt that was the smartest thing to do at the time. If Fred Jackson or Eric Wood had suffered an eight-week injury in Week 1 you’d have second-guessed yourself. That’s life.”

 

2 - Chris:

Considering it’s not one of the bigger Buffalo Bills stories going on, do you think that Dorin Dickerson is going to play a larger role in the Bills offense then what we and the media have all been discussing?  Is Dickerson flying under the radar, with his speed and size might he pose matchup problems for other teams?…like what that team in NE does with it’s Tight Ends?

Thanks & Go Bills!
Doug Glassman
Waltham, MA

CB: I don’t know if Dickerson will become as big a weapon as the tight ends in New England in Buffalo’s passing game, but I think a role for him will emerge. Now the play down at the goal line against the Chiefs was not what anybody had in mind in terms of results, but he is a mismatch in the passing game for most linebackers. He also brings a bona fide H-back to Buffalo’s offense, a role that previously had gone unfilled. I just think it might take some time before Dickerson’s role is fully defined.

 

3 - Hey Chris,

Any chance Potter will be out there for some long distance field goal attempts? I’m thinking end of game or end of half try’s in the 55-60+ yard range where subsequent field position would not be an
issue.

Regards,
johnnybass in NYC

CB: Chan Gailey has mentioned that as a possibility particularly at the end of a half or game. We’ll have to wait and see if such a situation arises.

 

4 – Chris,

Do you know why the coaches decided to use Potter, not Lindell, to attempt the onside kick against the Jets?  I would think that Lindell is much more experienced with that type of kick.

Thanks,
Joe Suszczynski

CB: With Potter handling all the kickoffs, as soon as the opposition saw Lindell out there lining up it would serve as an indication that something different was coming. That’s not to say that the Jets weren’t expecting an onsides kick, but I would tend to believe special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven would like to keep kickoff duties uniform to Potter so if they wanted to pull a fast one in another situation the element of surprise would be there. 

 

5 - Chris:

You being around the team and watching how Buddy Nix is building the roster and how the coaches are developing each unit do you notice similarities between how the Bills and the 49ers are doing things?  I feel the offensive and defensive play calling and talent on the lines are very similar, and if the Bills can add more defensive speed and ability at linebacker and safety as well as at wide receiver they could mirror the 49ers.  What are your thoughts? 

Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think you can draw parallels between a lot of NFL clubs knowing a lot of GMs subscribe to similar philosophies, but as you mentioned the Bills still have some more building to do with depth at LB to approach what San Francisco has at that position. The 49ers have been a bit more apt to sign veteran free agents than the Bills on a year in and year out basis as well. So while the Bills have built their lines much like the 49ers, I don’t think they’re strikingly similar on the whole.


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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 Ask.Chris@bills.nfl.net 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?

Thanks!
-Paul

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?

Thanks
Gerald 

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

Martin knows roster juggling

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2012 – 5:02 pm

Ruvell Martin is back on the roster again after Ron Brooks was moved to injured reserve Tuesday. His addition had to do with special teams abilities as much as anything to replace some of what Brooks did as a gunner. Martin has experienced these last minute changes with respect to the roster before.

Last year he made the 53-man roster with the Bills, but was released just days before the opener after the team picked up OT Sam Young off waivers from Dallas. A week later he was back on the roster when Marcus Easley’s medical condition surfaced forcing him to I-R.


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Brooks named recall I-R player

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2012 – 4:56 pm

With Ron Brooks going on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon, Buffalo has listed him as their “designated to return” player under the new I-R rules.

Under the new guidelines an NFL club can return one player on injured reserve to the active roster later in the season (at least 42 calendar days). However, for a player to be eligible for recall they could not be placed on I-R prior to 4 pm today (Sept. 4th).

By naming Brooks their recall player the club has utilized it’s one and only opportunity to pull a player back off the I-R list. Brooks won’t be eligible to return to practice with the team until six weeks from now (Oct. 17th). He can’t be active for a game until eight weeks from now (Oct. 31st


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Two Bills sidelined

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2012 – 3:33 pm

Just two Bills players are not participating in practice here on Monday. One on offense and one on defense.

CB Ron Brooks and QB/WR Brad Smith both were not practicing. Smith was riding the stationary bike Monday during practice.


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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 Buffalobills.com for the latest on the final roster. For now we’ll get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net 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  
-Showtime.
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.

Matthew
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. 

Thanks,
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

How cornerback might alter roster decisions

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 12:25 pm

The Bills have to get the roster down to 53 by 9 pm tonight, and there’s one position that could compromise the number of players carried at each position.

In the last five days the cornerback position had Terrence McGee suffer a setback in his return from offseason knee surgery and Ron Brooks failed to make the trip to Detroit for the preseason finale due to a foot injury suffered in practice Tuesday. If the coaching staff is unsure as to whether either of them would be available to play Week 1, they may have to carry another cornerback on their roster, which would bring that total to seven. (It’s been widely assumed the Bills were going to carry six cornerbacks on their final roster)

The other option, if the Brooks injury is serious enough, would be to put Brooks on injured reserve and designate him as their player to return to the active roster under the new I-R rules, but that would not be able to happen until Sept. 4th after 4 pm. If they put him on I-R prior to that (today for example) then he would not be eligible to return to the active roster. That makes it even more likely that they carry seven cornerbacks to start the season if the injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brooks doesn’t make trip

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2012 – 10:51 am

Bills CB Ron Brooks did not make the trip to Detroit for the preseason finale.

Brooks suffered a foot injury according to head coach Chan Gailey, who said Brooks got stepped on in practice. He did leave Tuesday’s practice early. With Terrence McGee also not making the trip for this game, Buffalo is shorthanded at cornerback with only five dressing for tonight’s game and Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore only expected to play 10 plays.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brooks leaves practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2012 – 4:16 pm

Bills rookie CB Ron Brooks just left practice moments ago.

He walked off with a member of the athletic training staff. It’s unclear if he sustained an injury. We’ll have an update after practice.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fitz’s wheels getting respect

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2012 – 9:09 am

Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t tuck it and run very much during training camp practices, but he is a pretty mobile quarterback when he needs to be. Apparently some Bills rookies that haven’t been exposed to Fitz’s scrambles were a bit surprised by his foot speed.

In Friday’s practice during 11-on-11, Fitzpatrick finding no one open had to tuck it and run. He busted to the left sideline and was able to get an angle to the sideline to avoid what under live conditions would’ve been a hit from Bryan Scott and rookie cornerback Ron Brooks.

Brooks, who is among the fleetest cornerbacks on the roster was impressed with Fitz’s foot speed. As Fitz headed back to the offensive huddle after the play and passed by Brooks the rookie asked him the following.

“Where’d you get them wheels?”

Fitz just smirked.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-15

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2012 – 11:35 am

OTAs wrapping up today with only mandatory minicamp left before the break. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Chris,

With all the attention the Bills off-season moves garnished (and deservedly so), I feel the Bills special teams are getting overlooked.  I was hoping that you would provide some insight on what you see the Bills doing with the gunners?  I am really intrigued at the prospect of having Leodis McKelvin on one side and Ron Brooks on the other.  McKelvin looked outstanding in the latter part of the year as a gunner and I read Brooks performed very well as a gunner in college.  With that kind of speed and athleticism on the outside I would think the Bills would see a lot of fair catches on punts (even Moorman would have a hard time “out kicking his coverage”).

Thanks
Bill

Displaced Buffalonian in Santa Barbara, Ca

CB: In the OTA setting players like McKelvin and Brooks have been focusing more on defense than anything else, though McKelvin has been in the rotation as a punt returner with C.J. Spiller and Justin Rogers.

Some of the gunners that I’ve seen line up to this point have been Kamar Aiken, Naaman Roosevelt, Ruvell Martin and even David Nelson. Now Roosevelt and Nelson are two players I don’t anticipate seeing out there come the season. They’re probably just being used as bodies for walk through type drills because none of them are running 40 yards down the field live in OTAs.

I could however, see Aiken and Martin as a part of the competition at gunner. I think your suggestion of Brooks is a good one, but we’ll have to see how he handles things when the pads go on and the play gets a lot more physical. But no question he can fly. Other candidates that I would put in the gunner category are David Clowney, Prince Miller and Isaiah Green.

 

2 – Chris,
Am I beating a dead horse wondering what Merriman’s role will be?  Has he ever played in a 4-3 defense?  My football knowledge only goes so far, (not very) but I don’t see him being able to play OLB in a 4-3. So It would seem their options are, play him at DE as part of a rotation, use him like Dallas used Charles Haley, or release him.  I’m wondering about a forth option, playing him inside at MLB.  What does his future look like to you?

Pete Howell
Fairport

CB: I think the Bills are hesitant to give Merriman a prominent role coming off of Achilles surgery. As such I anticipate that he’ll be a part of the team’s nickel pass rush package and other pass rushing personnel groupings. Basically I expect him to be a situational pass rusher to start the season and if he shows he can take on a bigger workload he might begin to factor in more on run downs. It’s truly and wait and see situation. And no, he’s not a middle linebacker.

 

3 – Chris,

Dorin Dickerson would be the perfect short yardage / red zone RB with his size and speed. I wonder if that could be in the works?

CB: Dickerson is going to be used as an H-back if he makes the squad. I think he’s done very well in these OTA practices to carve out a niche for himself in this offense. He’s at least given the offensive staff something to strongly consider as a new option in their offense as a ‘move’ tight end/H-back. At 227 pounds however, he’s not a short yardage guy.

Your best short yardage player on this roster is Fred Jackson, who can earn a yard just about whenever you need it.

 

4 - Hi Chris,

A lot of fans are worried about the #2 WR spot.  We have several guys that can play over there.  I think we missed on that spot this offseason as far as getting that big guy that is not covered even when he is covered, but I think we are still ok and can work on that in the coming years.  I do like the drafting of Graham.  I could see a bunch of guys playing there, but I think the main guys will probably end up being Easley, who looked great last preseason and Brad Smith who played really well during the season.  My question is how do you feel about the #2 WR spot, and these guys going forward and also do you think Brad Smith would be willing to go to WR full time?  Would the coaches like that or do they want him for wildcat plays only?  Also do you think Jones will shift inside now to the slot to share time with Nelson now that Graham is here as well?   

Thank you for your time

 -Showtime.
CB: Unfortunately for Brad Smith I don’t foresee a full time role for him anywhere. He could factor in at wide receiver, but not as a full time #2. I think his presence in a Wildcat type package at QB will be expanded.

The main candidates I see for the number 2 receiver job, removing primary slot receiver David Nelson from the equation are Donald Jones, Marcus Easley and Derek Hagan. I believe unless Easley grossly outperforms Jones and Hagan it will eventually be a two-player race. Jones being the incumbent from last year stands a good chance of remaining in that role.

I do believe long term that Easley offers the best physical skill set for what they want outside opposite Stevie Johnson, but he has to deliver on a consistent basis for that to happen.

The offensive staff wants to be able to move Jones around, particularly inside as the second slot receiver opposite Nelson in the four wide sets. So there will still be opportunities outside for guys like Easley and Hagan.

It’s certainly going to be one of the most intriguing position battles in camp.

 

5 - Hi Chris,
How many receivers do the Bills plan on keeping on the roster for the start of the regular season? Obviously, you have Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, Derek Hagan, and Ruvell Martin. Will another one be in the mix? As always, looking forward to your response.

Tony, Ormond Beach, FL

CB: I think six receivers are a lock for the roster knowing how much Buffalo makes use of the four wide sets. In your listing you omitted Donald Jones, who will make this team barring a complete collapse in training camp. There’s an outside chance that seven receivers are kept if the position numbers allow it, but I’m not anticipating that. I think they keep a couple on the practice squad in the event of injury and keep six.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brooks an intriguing specialist

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2012 – 8:48 am

Fourth-round pick Ron Brooks goes all of six-foot and 177 pounds, but by all accounts hits like a freight train. With 4.37 speed however, Brooks proves that mass times acceleration equals power.

“He’s going to help us on all four special teams units,” said Bills assistant special teams coach Stan Kwan. “But he’s a good punt return blocker. You should see how many blocks he has. He will lay you out. He’s a tough kid, he’s fast and has a nose for the ball.”

Kwan also likes LBs Nigel Bradham and Tank Carder feeling they’ll be helping in special teams roles as well.

“That Florida State kid Bradham… that’s fast for that size,” Kwan said in reference to the former Seminole’s 4.64 40-time. “That is really good. And Tank Carder is a tough kid. He’s a workmanlike type guy. It’s a good group coming in.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills