Preseason game number two this evening, and great news with Eric Wood and Erik Pears to play about 10 snaps tonight. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills on twitter.
1 – I haven’t heard any updates on David Clowney and how he’s performed in camp. Is there a chance he doesn’t make the roster? His size and speed is intriguing, but it seems like he hasn’t been able to put it all together for whatever reason with his former teams. Do you think Buffalo has the system that could allow him to utilize his talents? Or do you think he was brought in as an extra body for camp, and that the coaching staff is hoping his game finally fully clicks?
keep up the good work,
CB: Clowney has made some plays here and there, but has run strictly with the second team offense. He’s found it difficult to crack the first team lineup. Right now he’s the seventh or eighth receiver in terms of the reps he’s seen in practice.
Yes, he does have intriguing speed, but he’s been outperformed by the other speed receiver on the roster in rookie T.J. Graham. He’s definitely on the bubble and will have to turn in some plays in the preseason games that remain to improve his chances.
2 – Hi Chris:
I have heard it said that T.J. Graham is not a Roscoe Parish remake. But can you explain why he is not simply another Roscoe?
Rick, Portville N.Y.
CB: He’s not a Roscoe clone because he’s a bit bigger in stature at 5’11” and 188 pounds. He’s that wiry kind of strong and he’s capable of lining up outside and make plays on the boundary. Parrish was strictly a slot receiver.
I’ve been impressed with how Graham has progressed and shown an ability to get off press coverage, something I was admittedly worried about going into training camp when the pads went on. But he’s fared well and made plays. Roscoe relied purely on his speed to create separation because he wasn’t strong enough to get off of the jam. I don’t believe that will be the case with Graham.
There’s more to his game than that.
3 – Hello Chris,
After the draft a lot of the draft analyst was talking about Tank Carder and what a deal he was.. but after the draft I have not heard anything about him what’s the deal with him and is he a good player?
CB: Carder is currently running as the third-string middle linebacker in Buffalo’s defense. Head coach Chan Gailey characterized his training camp as ‘Okay.’ Gailey said where Carder has to improve is with mental errors. He’s not alone in the linebacking corps as there are a lot of young players at that position that are still trying to master the defense.
Coverage assignments seem to be the biggest hurdle for a lot of the young LBs.
4 – Hey Chris,
One thing that we have been getting better at and need improvement still is the frequency of penalties in critical downs. Do the coaches work on this, and is there more emphasis on this during training camp? I know the offensive line was pretty good last year at staying put until the ball was snapped and some of the offenders for holding are no longer with the team. Can you elaborate on this and the last few years stats on our improvement. What do we expect out of our rookies coming out of a college to a Pro regime?
Thanks again for your tight coverage of our Bills!
Jim In Tennessee
CB: The Bills were 5th best in the league last season for penalties assessed (fewest). Under Chan Gailey the team has been pretty good in this area. That’s due in part to the fact that Coach Gailey detests unforced errors like false starts. There were a few too many in the first preseason game, but I would expect it to get cleaned up by the time the regular season rolls around.
5 – Chris,
What can you tell us about Scott McKillop? We know that he played under Dave Wannstedt at Pitt where he was an All-American and selected as Big East Defensive Player of the Year. After being selected in the 5th round, of the 2009 draft, by the 49′ers he appears to have had some success at Middle Linebacker while backing up TKO and Patrick Willis before being injured and then released. Is he likely to make the final roster behind Shep?
CB: I can tell you he’s a very instinctive linebacker that has a strong knowledge of the game. He had an impressive first preseason game against Washington and was the team’s leading tackler. Even Coach Gailey said he’s making a strong run at making the squad. I feel the same way. I believe he’ll be the team’s backup MLB and a feature special teams player this season as long as he stays healthy.
Our own John Murphy did a Bills Focus story on McKillop this past week.
Tags: David Clowney, Fan Friday, penalties, Scott McKillop, T.J. Graham, Tank Carder
Posted in Inside the Bills
The last Fan Friday before training camp begins at St. John Fisher. Crazy that it’s here already! Here are the last set of questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net prior to the team hitting the field for final preparations for the 2012 season.
1 - Hi Chris,
About Marcus Easley – I can see him being the “#2″ WR, if not to open the season, at least by the bye. However, I suspect that not many outside of Buffalo even know who he is. In fact, I think that Buffalo’s WR corps is underrated in general… if Easley solidifies the #2 spot, I think the Bills could blow up a lot of teams by running 3-wide or 4-wide.
My question is, in general, how long does it take other NFL teams to get a “book” on a WR, and do you think that Marcus has the game to adapt and succeed?
CB: I’m a big believer in Marcus Easley’s skill set. His work ethic is impeccable. He’s just been the victim of a knee injury and an unforeseen medical condition. I think his game is good enough to succeed at this level.
As for how long it takes an opponent to get a book on a receiver, it depends on their amount of time on the field. If Easley becomes a regular and wins the outside receiver job opposite Stevie most opponents would have a book on him by Week 4. If his playing time is more intermittent then it would take a bit longer because there would naturally be less film on him.
2 - Chris,
I am a little confused about NFL roster limits these days. As I understand it NFL teams can suit up 45 players each game day. That means there are 8 players on the 53 man roster who can’t play on Sundays. Now are these 8 players what is called the practice squad? Or is the practice squad another separate group of 8 players?
CB: NFL teams can dress 46 players on game day, leaving seven players from the active 53-man roster who are inactive for that particular game. In addition there are eight other players that make up the team’s practice squad. The practice squad is made up of players that are not on the active roster. They would need to be called up to the active roster to be eligible to dress and play in a game.
So in essence a team has 53 players on the active roster and an additional eight practice squad players for a total of 61.
3 - Hi, Chris,
First, I’d like to thank you for all the work you do to keep Bills fans informed. My question concerns the linebackers. I’ve seen some people ask you about how many WRs we’ll keep; I’m wondering about the LBs. How many do you see ending up on the roster? Has McKillop shown anything so far? Thank you for your time.
CB: I think with the team moving to a 4-3 defensive scheme that there will not be as many kept on the roster as last season. Buffalo kept 11 linebackers on the 53-man roster last year and 10 the year before. Knowing a couple of those spots have to go toward the defensive line with it being a four-man front I think the number could be trimmed to seven or eight this time around.
McKillop has proven to be a heady middle linebacker. I think his speed still isn’t what it once was coming off of a major knee surgery. We’ll see if he’s faster in camp. This is a fly to the football type defense so speed is a big key for the linebackers.
4 - Chris,
After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick through OTAs and mandatory mini-camp have you seen a marked improvement in his accuracy since he has been working with new QB coach David Lee? I believe this is the most important key to the Bills success in the incoming NFL season. Your comments will be appreciated.
Optimistic Bills Fan
CB: In our one-on-one interview with Fitz he affirmed that his accuracy numbers were as high as they have ever been through the spring workouts. David Lee said Fitz has bought in completely to what he’s teaching and because of that his accuracy has been ahead of schedule in terms of when he thought he would see a difference.
People forget that prior to taking a shot to his chest in the Washington game that Fitz’s completion percentage was 67.7%, which was among the league leaders. And even with a disappointing second half of the season he still had a completion percentage of 62% for the season. So knowing it’s very likely to go up from there should have you encouraged about Fitz’s prospects for 2012.
5 - Chris,
Thanks for all the updates on the Bills, it is appreciated very much! I know the Bills haven’t done any work in pads yet, but how does Alex Carrington look so far as a DT? Also, is there a timeframe for when Torell Troup is expected back? Thanks!
CB: Carrington is not foreign to playing defensive tackle as he played there some in passing situations over the past two seasons, albeit sparingly. In the spring practices he ran with the second unit at defensive tackle, and also saw time with the first and second nickel subpackages as an inside rusher.
What has to be remembered heading into camp was during the spring Torell Troup was not part of the equation since he was still recovering from back surgery. Troup is expected to get full clearance at training camp this week. Once he is back in the mix, he and Carrington could very well be competing for the same role in Buffalo’s defense.
Tags: Alex Carrington, Bills roster, David Lee, Fan Friday, Marcus Easley, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Scott McKillop
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills LB Scott McKillop is looking to reclaim a pro career that was interrupted by ACL injuries. Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, who was his head coach in college, believes his former Pitt MLB is worth the investment.
“He called me and we were talking and he had gone to Atlanta, Pittsburgh… there were six teams trying to sign him,” Wannstedt told Buffalobills.com. ”Around that time was when Chan made the change and we were going to the 4-3 defense and he came up for a visit and we needed linebackers. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
“He and I stayed in contact when I was gone for a little bit,” said McKillop. ”I saw him around Pittsburgh with him being from there and me as well, and we stayed in touch last year.”
Wannstedt said McKillop was a victim of the lockout being unable to rehab with his NFL team at the time coming off ACL surgery last offseason.
“He had no offseason,” Wannstedt said. ”That’s what got him. If there would’ve been a normal offseason he would’ve done all his rehab out with the 49ers. Instead he’s doing his rehab back in Pittsburgh last year coming off major knee surgery. He shows up in San Francisco with a new coaching staff off his own rehab. After a few practice he gets fluid on his knees. So they put him on PUP for three or four weeks and he doesn’t play. Then he gets back healthy and it’s too late and they don’t know who he is and don’t have a feel for him so they release him. So he spent the whole season in Pittsburgh training.”
But Wannstedt knows McKillop very well.
“He’s an exceptional player,” said the veteran coach. ”He graduated in three and a half years so he’s a smart kid. He was a first team All-American. Led the nation in tackles. Tough guy that can play outside or inside. As a rookie he led the 49ers in tackles on special teams.”
McKillop still seems to be favoring his surgically repaired knee, which is understandable. We’ll be able to better assess his chances when the pads go on in training camp.
Tags: Dave Wannstedt, Scott McKillop
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that the Bills have signed free agent LB Scott McKillop to a future free agent contract.
McKillop, a former fifth-round pick of the 49ers in 2009, has spent most of the past year rehabbing after a pair of major knee surgeries. If the report is accurate, the 25-year old LB would be reunited with his college head coach Dave Wannstedt, who coached him in college at Pitt.
Tags: Scott McKillop
Posted in Inside the Bills