Inside The Bills

The reason Dawkins subbed at guard, not Groy

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2017 – 8:59 am

When Richie Incognito had to step out of Sunday’s game after getting his ankle rolled when he got cut by a Bucs defender, there looked like there was a decision to be made as both Ryan Groy and Dion Dawkins looked to the offensive staff to see who would sub in for the Pro Bowl guard. Eventually it was Dawkins, who would go in to play most of the rest of the series for Incognito. But that decision was more a matter of rule following than preference.

Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison knew that Groy was not even an option as a substitute at guard because of where Groy was lined up on the previous play.

“Richie went out, and Ryan’s [Groy] our substitute, but he was an eligible receiver the play before, so he cannot be an ineligible [player] (on the next play),” said Dennison.

Dennison is 100 percent correct. In the NFL rule book under Section 3, Article 2 – Returning to original position, it states the following.

ARTICLE 2. RETURNING TO ORIGINAL POSITION

A player who has reported a change in his eligibility status to the Referee is permitted to return to a position indicated by the eligibility status of his number after:

  1. a team time out;
  2. the end of a quarter;
  3. the two-minute warning;
  4. a foul;
  5. a replay challenge;
  6. a touchdown;
  7. a completed kick from scrimmage;
  8. a change of possession; or
  9. if the player has been withdrawn for one legal snap. A player withdrawn for one legal snap may re-enter at a position indicated by the eligibility status of his number, unless he again reports to the Referee that he is assuming a position other than that designated by the eligibility status of his number.

Since none of the above had occurred, Groy was not an option to play guard after lining up as an eligible receiver on the previous play. Fortunately, Dawkins handled the impromptu assignment just fine.

“Dion’s experience and his talent allows him to play different places,” Dennison said. “That’s great for us, the more versatility you have, that’s what we ask our wideouts to do, that’s what we ask our tight ends to do, and certainly that’s the same thing as a lineman. If he understands the scheme, we can put him in there. He was very successful, obviously, that was a big play for us.”

Now after the first play that Dawkins went in at left guard, Groy could’ve gone in at left guard at that point, but the offensive staff elected to leave it alone for the rest of the series until Incognito returned.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-20

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2017 – 12:18 pm

Coming off the bye, the Bills have three of their next four games at home. Time to roll up some ‘W’s. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What are the chances McCoy breaks out Sunday?

Billscentral
@JonKyser

CB: The chances are very good as I see it. Tampa Bay is giving up over 400 yards a game. They have the 30th ranked third down defense. They’ve given up the fifth-most points in the red zone (101) and have played just five games. On the road they’re even worse giving up 500 yards per game. So I’m feeling good about a McCoy breakout Sunday.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How many new special teamers are on the roster this year? Would love to see more Brandon Tate in the offense catching & scoring!!

Steph Go Bills!
@Steph49314851

CB: There’s a host of new players to the special teams units this year.

Andre Holmes, Taiwan Jones, Tanner Vallejo, Matt Milano, Joe Webb, Eddie Yarbrough, Ryan Davis, Deon Lacey, Shareece Wright, Shamarko Thomas, Trae Elston and Stephen Hauschka. That’s just off the top of my head.

It’ll be interesting to see what this week’s addition of Deonte Thompson means. Will he see more time on offense or special teams? Where he’s utilized figures to directly impact where Tate sees his playing time, though after a 40-yard punt return in Buffalo’s last game I anticipate seeing Tate on punt returns.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

All I’ve been hearing are positives about WR Deonte Thompson. Think he’ll make an impact?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: His strengths are gaining consistent separation in his routes and blocking in the run game. I’ll maintain that an overlooked part of Buffalo’s rushing success last year was the job turned in by Buffalo’s receivers when it comes to blocking downfield. Thompson is an underrated player in this area.

I think that quality alone will get him on the field this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

 

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why hasn’t Groy been given a shot at RG?

Brent Seybolt
@bseybolt11

CB: Coach McDermott was asked about Groy this week and he said that he’s in the mix for the right guard spot. But based on his answer my hunch is the coaching staff sees Groy as their backup center and swing guard in the event of an injury.

I think if Groy is a starter at guard, the staff is concerned that they’re exposing both their starting and backup center to injury. There really is no other guy on the roster that can handle the pivot spot as effectively as Wood and Groy. So it’s my belief that it’s a risk-reward thing.

If they don’t believe Groy is demonstrably better at guard than Miller or Ducasse, they likely see it better to have Groy as a healthy backup for center and at guard in an emergency.

 

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Did Bills offer Mabin a PS contract and go with Seamster when turned down? I thought Mabin had potential.

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I know the Bills wanted to bring Mabin back by signing him to the practice squad. What you have to remember is when a player is released they’re a free agent and can make their own decisions. Mabin obviously decided San Francisco was a better option for him.

I don’t know that I agree with him. This defensive scheme is a good fit for him and with only four corners on the active roster he’s one injury away from being back on the 53. So his decision was peculiar to say the least.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Factors in decision on Groy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 15, 2017 – 8:01 am

The L.A. Rams offer sheet to Ryan Groy was signed by the restricted free agent Tuesday. The reported terms are two years, $5M with a reported $3.5M guaranteed. It will be interesting to see the Bills course of action. Here are some factors that could impact the decision to match or not to match.

Buffalo recently tried to lure free agent OT Andre Smith to sign with them, but he has chosen to re-sign with the club that drafted him, Cincinnati. Do the anticipated dollars devoted to a hopeful Smith signing now get partially allocated to match the offer sheet signed by Groy?

Groy is a versatile asset for an offensive line. He can play center, guard or even tackle in a pinch. He proved himself more than capable in the final seven starts at center last season.

Perhaps even more important, Eric Wood is entering the final year of his contract and will be a free agent following the 2017 season. Wood is only 30-years old and can certainly play a few more years, but Groy is a fairly sizable investment decision that must be made by the club.

Buffalo does have a backup center in Patrick Lewis, but he’s strictly a center as most with a trained eye see him. 

We’ll know in a few days.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Rams to sign Groy to offer sheet

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2017 – 6:38 am

Bills restricted free agent Ryan Groy will reportedly sign an offer sheet with the L.A. Rams today. 

That according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan and Mike Rodak. 

Groy was tendered a qualifying offer by the Bills, but it was the low tender which in Groy’s case carries no compensation. It’s reportedly a two-year offer sheet. 

The Bills will have five days to match the offer or lose the lineman. 

Former Bills O-line coach Aaron Kramer is now with the Rams staff. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-10

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2017 – 11:06 am

Free agency is up and running! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think that the signing of Micah Hyde rules out a Safety in the first round of this year’s draft?

Chris Devaney
@cdevaney

CB: While that would seem logical I don’t know that you can make that conclusion knowing the draft approach of the Bills under GM Doug Whaley. They typically go with the best player on the board having seen them operate the last few years in the draft room. So I don’t think it precludes them from taking a safety in round one if the value is right.

That being said, if they have grades on two players who are really close and one is a safety and the other is a corner or receiver then they’d likely go with the greater positional need.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the departure of Lynn and Roman why do the #Bills still continue to throw free agent $$ at the FB position?

Ryan Coyle
@rcoyle76

CB: I’m going to let coach McDermott handle this one since he answered it directly at his press conference Thursday evening.

“Fullback is a big part of this offense, and let’s say this: it’s not limited to playing the fullback position,” said McDermott. “There’s versatility within that position, and what Mike brings to the table – as you mentioned, Mike Tolbert. I had the chance to be around Mike for a number of years in Carolina and I know what he brings to the table in terms of leadership, intangibles again, and what happens in that locker room on Monday through Saturday.

“So that’s a big part of it, and then Mike’s versatility on the field with the ability to play fullback, line up at fullback and then also transition to the halfback position and carry the football, and he’s done that extremely well. I had a front-row seat to observe what Mike’s skill set is, both on and off the field, and that was key for us. You’re talking about a guy that’s been to a Pro Bowl, and that’s really no different to [Patrick] DiMarco, in this case.”

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see the #bills signing more big name free agents? If so, at what position?

Dale Griswold
@dale_griswold

CB: I don’t necessarily expect big household type names. Their cap situation is getting a bit tight. But I do see them trying to fill a few more positional holes on the roster. It wouldn’t surprise me if receiver or offensive tackle were on the list after incurring some losses at receiver and some uncertainty at tackle (Mills a free agent, Henderson-health).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills How do you think the Bills are going to adress the WR position? They lost talent there the past two offseasons and it hasn’t been replaced.

Ben
@bufbillsthought

CB: As briefly mentioned above I expect the Bills to address the receiver position in some form in free agency, likely with a player they can sign to a fiscally responsible contract (one that doesn’t cripple their cap situation). And I would anticipate them trying to grab another in the draft.

The numbers situation there demands some attention with two free agent losses already (Woods, Goodwin).

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Groy a realistic option for Right Tackle? #bills

Bill Carr
@billcarr_10

CB: Donald Jones and I discussed this very topic when I was on the John Murphy Show Thursday. I think we first need to see what additions are made if any at the offensive tackle position in free agency or the draft before we can gauge just what kind of option he would be on the edge.

From a skill standpoint I think he certainly has the size (6-5, 320) and ability to play on the edge. He’s lined up there at times in a pinch. Sometimes it was as an overload tackle in run formations. We all know he can play guard or center. Whether Groy can play right tackle full time for 16 games is a question really only OL coach Juan Castillo and the offensive staff can answer knowing this offense is going to change.

I think Groy really came a long way as a player last season and he impressed me in his last seven games at center. But I think we need to let the dust settle in free agency and see what the Bills acquire before we pencil him in for edge duty.

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-10

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2017 – 11:32 am

Into the offseason we go. Franchise and transition tag window opens next week with the NFL Combine and free agency on the horizon. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills rank the following in likelihood from high to low. Romo, tyrod, rookie qb, someone else not mentioned starting.

Jonathan Yedin
@jonyedi

CB: I’m going to put Tyrod first on this list only because he’s on the roster and under contract. Right now he’s the path of least resistance. He’s an asset that’s already here. A lot of national reporters are operating under the assumption that he’s as good as gone. I don’t subscribe to that contention. I believe it could go either way.

A rookie quarterback is a distinct possibility because regardless of what happens with Tyrod Taylor the team will have to add at the position. Obviously if the team moves on from Tyrod it would only increase the likelihood of that happening, and then this would move to the top of the list in terms of likelihood. But even if Taylor remains a Bill, EJ Manuel is a free agent. They’ll probably need another arm.

Romo is probably more likely to end up in Chicago, Houston or even Kansas City. At age 37 and with a long injury history it’s not an investment that looks all that attractive. There’s no denying his talent and his won-loss record, but at this point in his career the risk seems higher than the reward.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills Tyrod unwilling to take a pay cut (don’t blame him), does that cement his dismissal?

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo
@darcangel21

CB: The reports that Tyrod is unwilling to restructure his deal with the Bills makes sense. First, despite the popular opinion that his contract is cost prohibitive, Taylor would be tied for 16th among starting quarterbacks in terms of average salary if the Bills pick up his option.

The past two seasons Taylor has finished seventh and ninth in Total QBR (ESPN metric).

Business-wise Taylor knows in a thin free agent quarterback market that he would be at the top of the free agent list if he was released by Buffalo, where he could potentially sign an even larger contract than the one he has with Buffalo.

Does it cement his dismissal?

I think that’s a strong way to paint the situation. While a lot of NFL business decisions are made because of money, I think the bigger factor in this particular decision is the collective opinion of the Bills front office in terms of whether they believe they can do better at the position than Taylor.

The front office has understandably been tight lipped on that subject.

That doesn’t mean money won’t be a factor. It’s probably 1A. But you have to be convinced that your product on the field can be more consistent and productive with someone besides Taylor. Then the next step is determining if that someone you have in mind is an asset you can realistically acquire.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills You’re in charge on Draft Day. Do you take QB Trubisky or WR Williams?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: This is a pretty easy decision to make based on what I think will happen in the draft. Of course as I’ve mentioned in this column before we’ve yet to see what’s acquired by the Bills in free agency. That could change their approach in the draft.

But in an effort to provide an answer I will say that this quarterback class does not appear to possess more than one prospect who is going to help a team on the field this year.

Trubisky is probably the closest thing and he’s a quarterback who couldn’t get on the field before this past season. All that being said I don’t think Trubisky falls out of the top three picks. Cleveland, San Francisco or Chicago all need quarterbacks, so one of them will take him off the board long before Buffalo is on the clock.

Going under the likely scenario that he’s off the board my preference in this particular draft is to wait on drafting a quarterback. None of the other QB prospects are NFL ready and that will continue to be a trend with the college game separating further and further from the NFL game (no huddling, no audibles, no calling plays). So that would leave me taking Mike Williams at 10 under your parameters.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills Which RFA’s do you think the #bills will tender and at which comp. level?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: I think it’s a lock that they tender Mike Gillislee and Ryan Groy. Both had exceptional individual seasons for the Bills last year. In fact I think it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to sign both players to long term deals to keep their cap figures more manageable.

Colton Schmidt had a bit of an up and down season last year. With a new coaching staff there’s always the chance that they could prefer someone else to Schmidt. Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is still on the staff so that may help Schmidt’s cause.

The other thing to remember here is tendering Schmidt at the low level does nothing in the way of compensation protection. Schmidt was undrafted, so tendering him at the low level only gives you right of first refusal.

I’d be surprised if IK Enemkpali is tendered a qualifying offer.


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills any time frame on Kyle Williams’ decision on retirement?

Ian Campbell
@comedianian98

CB: When we spoke to Williams at the Pro Bowl it was clear he was still decompressing from the season. He did say he was encouraged by his initial conversations with new head coach Sean McDermott, and it’s clear his teammates are trying to get him to return.

I would anticipate that the club would ask that he make a definitive decision before free agency opens in March.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Groy to start, Rex feels good about Dareus

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2016 – 2:03 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan put the starting status of a few positions up for grabs this week in practice in an effort to foster competition and improve consistency. On Friday he only confirmed who will be manning on starting role on Sunday.

“We’re going to start (Ryan) Groy at center, but that’s really the only lineup change that I’m comfortable saying right now,” said Ryan.

As for Marcell Dareus, who is battling his way through a groin injury, Ryan is optimistic that his defensive tackle will be able to suit up in Cincinnati.

“I don’t want to ‘cat’ myself, but I’m feeling pretty good about the big man,” he said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-18

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2016 – 11:38 am

Do or die time for the Bills this weekend in Cincinnati. Got to decide if they want to be part of the AFC playoff race Sunday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills FF,any thought to Incognito going to C and Groy LG? Groy has been ok at G when needed but IMO was a factor in SEA loss at C

@Seanjoy93765788

CB: When there’s a significant loss on the offensive line, as is the case with Wood lost for the season to a broken leg, coaches often want as little disruption as possible when addressing the void in the lineup. Ryan Groy is expected to be the answer in the pivot.

First, and probably most important, Groy has operated as the swing center-guard since spring camps. He’s snapped to all three quarterbacks on the roster. He’s played a number of roles across the front including guard, tackle eligible and tight end on run plays. That equips him with a firm working knowledge of what everyone is doing on every play, which provides him with the wherewithal to make pre-snap checks efficiently and consistently.

Knowing how critical the communication is from the center in Buffalo’s offense, having Groy with the knowledge base necessary is essential in the pivot.

I’m not saying that Richie Incognito couldn’t play center, but with literally zero reps there since the day he arrived in Buffalo it’s not something you can just ask him to do with a week of practice. Incognito is a Pro Bowl guard. Moving him to address the need at center would be like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Which goes back to the old adage that you don’t change two positions to address one.

Groy at center makes the most sense as I see it.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

The collapse of the secondary is it players or coaching that’s to blame?

@radfordboyz1220

CB: Stephon Gilmore said it’s on the players to make plays. It’s his opinion that the coaches are putting them in position to make plays on the ball. That would seem to run in concert with Rex Ryan who said the majority of the issue is technique related.

Opponents are taking a different approach in attacking the Bills DBs and more often than not the Bills coverage players are not making the necessary adjustments in their coverage technique. That means playing proper leverage as a defender, footwork, driving to the hip of the receiver. All those things factor in, but based on what the coaches and players are saying it’s player error more than anything else.
3 – Chris,
Why doesn’t Time Warner Cable carry the Buffalo Bills  programming on MSG in my area?

I looked online and it lists the shows on the guide where I live, but when you tune in it shows all NYC programming. But it will show the Sabres games. I am confused about this.

I live in Wayland, NY 14572 which is in northwestern part of Steuben County. My understanding is that everybody west of Syracuse would get the Bills programming. If you could find a reason for this it would be greatly appreciated thanks

William

CB: From what I have been told MSG only provides their WNY programming like our Sunday pre-game show, Bills All Access, at 11 am and the Rex Ryan Show (Sundays 11:30 am) as far as Rochester. If you draw a vertical line on a map from the middle of Rochester down through the rest of WNY everyone west of that line gets WNY programming on MSG. If you are east of that line, which I believe you are in Wayland, you get MSG’s NYC programming.

My solution for you would be to contact Time Warner Cable and demand MSG’s Western New York programming. You live in WNY, so it only makes sense.

 

4 – Chris,

I really would like to see Robert Woods as a Bill for the next 4 years. Can you give us an idea of what salary he is expected to command in free agency?

Thanks
Joe Roberts

 

CB: Woods is on pace to set single-season career highs in receptions and receiving yards. His market value based on his average numbers the first four years would approach $9M per season. That might seem exorbitant, but that’s what the market bears.

Jacksonville’s Allen Hurns just signed a four-year deal this year for just over $40M. His numbers are marginally better than Woods, so it’s reasonable to think that Woods could command a contract in the neighborhood of $9M/year knowing the receiver market isn’t flush with players in their low to mid-20’s with his kind of experience.

Woods is just 24-years old. The only players with comparable age and superior numbers are Alshon Jeffery, Michael Floyd and Kamar Aiken.

I’m not optimistic that the Bills would pay that kind of money for Woods, knowing they’re likely to pay Sammy Watkins big money when his rookie deal is up, provided he can find a way to stay healthy in the next year or so of course.

5 – Chris
We heard an awful lot about Dez Lewis this offseason and with all the injuries at WR why hasn’t he been brought up to the 53 we’ve brought up 1 WR off the practice squad but not Dez not sure I understand has he fallen off I mean we really need help and he seemed to help last year and it was reported that he worked hard in the offseason and looked like he had improved in training camp what’s your thoughts

Thanks, Steve
From Kentucky

CB: Dez Lewis looked like a world beater in the spring practices and appeared like he had a chance to make an impact as the team’s third receiver. But when the pads went on in training camp he disappeared. He has never been able to re-establish the same kind of consistency in his game since.

It’s disappointing to see, but it’s a different game when the pads go on and some players can make the adjustment and some can’t. Hopefully Lewis can re-capture some of what made him look so promising in OTAs this past spring.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills injury report update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2016 – 12:36 pm

Here’s a look at who will be sitting out Sunday’s season opener in Baltimore. This year under the new injury report policy no longer will players be listed as probable.

OUT
S Colt Anderson – foot
CB Kevon Seymour – hamstring

QUESTIONABLE
QB Cardale Jones – rt. shoulder
G Ryan Groy – ribs
RB Jonathan Williams – ribs

Jonathan Williams and Ryan Groy are both expected to be available for the game after both practiced fully on Friday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills