Inside The Bills

Spence doing team work

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2012 – 3:14 pm

Spencer Johnson is back in team drills.

He’s taking reps in 11-on-11. He had missed the past two days with a bruised shoulder.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Spence sees new vets jelling

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2012 – 8:32 am

Bills DL Spencer Johnson new there would need to be some adjustments made by the defensive players this year moving to Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3 scheme. There would also be the adjustment of blending in free agent adds Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. To this point however, Johnson sees things coming together quite well.

Johnson believes the chemistry between the new additions on the defensive line has been so smooth and developed so quickly because Williams and Anderson are veteran additions with long resumes in the league.

“With Mario and Mark they’ve been in the league for a long time,” Johnson told “They know football, they’re smart guys and they’re playmakers. Playing defensive line here you have to be a smart guy. You have to recognize formations and know what’s going on around you. So they fit in just right.”

After a season of playing out of position a lot at OLB in the team’s previous 3-4, Johnson is pumped to be in a 4-3 system that attacks upfield.

“It’s great,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been playing my whole career through college and when I was in Minnesota we ran the same type of 4-3 style of defense. So it really suits us. It suits us better as a defense as a whole, not just a defensive line. So everybody is excited about where this thing can go and penetrate and make plays and get after the passer.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spencer update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2012 – 3:16 pm

DL Spencer Johnson is not doing any team reps today.

He did position drills, but his bruised shoulder has him on the side for team.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Spencer’s shoulder good

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2012 – 12:21 pm

Spencer Johnson stepped out of practice early with a shoulder injury Saturday night, but Johnson insists it’s not a big deal.

“It was just a little freak accident,” Johnson told “A bruise, but I’ll be fine. It’s getting better every day.”

Johnson has put together a solid camp despite lining up at both end and tackle on the defensive line. Ideally the coaches would like the versatile defensive lineman to spend most of his time at DT, but he’s also learning DE in Dave Wannstedt’s system in case he’s called upon there due to injury.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shep, Spence finish early

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2012 – 9:31 pm

Kelvin Sheppard and Spencer Johnson both stepped out of practice early. Head coach Chan Gailey had an update on both.

“He’s got that same issue that’s still bothering him,” said Gailey of Sheppard. “He’s in and out, I think in the long term he’ll be fine.”

Sheppard is still dealing with an undisclosed medical issue.

“Spence has got a banged up shoulder that’s just bothering him,” said Gailey of Johnson. “I don’t think it’s anything major. They said he’ll be back soon. I don’t know if it’ll be tomorrow, but it’ll be soon.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-25

Posted by Chris Brown on May 25, 2012 – 11:45 am

Happy Memorial Day weekend Bills fans. Don’t forget those servicemen and women that made the ultimate sacrifice. May they all rest in peace. Let’s press on with your questions from

1 – Hey Chris,

I’m hoping you can give us some idea how our line plays out after Kyle, Mario, Anderson and Dareus. Do Kelsay and Merriman split time on the left end with Kelsay playing run downs and Merriman playing pass downs? I assume Dwan Edwards and Troup are tackles. Are Carrington and Spencer Johnson tackles or ends? Are Moats and Batten ends or linebackers? Do you think all of those players even make the team?

Thanks and Go Bills,

CB: From what I have heard Dwan Edwards is now a defensive tackle and to me that makes sense in a 4-3 scheme. Troup obviously is still a defensive tackle. Carrington and Spencer Johnson are both ends, with the ability to kick inside to defensive tackle on obvious passing downs should a rotation be needed. Moats and Batten are both outside linebackers. Kelsay would presumably be a run defending end with Merriman and Anderson pass rushing options on obvious passing downs.

Do all of them make the team? I’m not so sure they do.


2 – Chris,

With the upgrade to the pass rush, it is still to be determined how much better the Bills’ run defense will fair. Pass rush was an issues that needed to be fixed with Mario and Anderson. However, the last two years the Bills run defense has been last and 28th in the league. I feel this part is being ignored by the team in some degree. Even when the Bills were using the 4-3 they gave up lots of yards. How will the switch to the 4-3 contain the “big plays the team gave up. It is still a question how the 3 LB’s will shape up in new positions. Obvious a healthy Kyle is part but what else do they need to do since they appear in pass rush mode instead of stop the run. 

Thanks always, 

CB: When they went to the 4-3 they were still giving up rushing yards because they didn’t have Kyle Williams, Torell Troup and Shawne Merriman (a very underrated run defender) in the lineup. The players they get back healthy this offseason is what will improve the run defense, more so than the scheme.


3 – Chris,

Short and simple.. how is our center doing? haven’t heard anything about Eric’s rehab. Wood love an update:) 

Eric (displaced fan in AZ)

CB: Wood is progressing well, but won’t be doing any real on the field football-related stuff until training camp. That’s the timetable.


4 – Hey CB,

I was looking through the remaining free agents and I saw that there are still some decent free agent WR’s. Do you think there is any chance of the Bills still picking a receiver up? Or OT? 

Thanks, Carter

CB: I would never rule anything out. Buddy Nix always says you never know who might become available late in the free agent process, like Nick Barnett last year. That being said, Chan has said time and again that he likes his group of receivers on the roster already. I think an offensive tackle is added only if Hairston and Glenn struggle mightily.


5 – Hi, Chris, 

Last pre-season, the Bills said that they had too many good receivers, so they traded Lee Evans. Roughly a year later, they say that a deep threat receiver (e.g. Lee Evans) is near the top of their needs list. What has changed? Have they re-evaluated those “too many good receivers” and decided that they are not so good after all?

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

CB: First, the Bills were trying to publicly show some respect for the years that Lee Evans gave them. They didn’t publicly say they felt he was a player in decline, but that was their opinion and ultimately why he was traded. That was the main impetus, not because of who they had. They did feel by moving Evans off the roster it would allow more of their young talent to blossom, chiefly Marcus Easley, who is a deep threat and a huge target. That was compromised however, when his medical condition ended his season before it began just days before Week 1.

They’ve added additional deep threats in T.J. Graham and David Clowney, so there’s some insurance this time around and Easley is medically cleared and ready to get his career off the ground.

BONUS: Chris,

Thanks for keeping BillsNation in the loop with your work.   I’m curious if you could give us a sense of what the Bills main objectives are in OTA’s?   Clearly assimilating new players from free agency and the draft is job 1, but what else do they view as important during OTA’s?

Tony C.

CB: I think getting the defensive players up to speed with the new defensive scheme under Dave Wannstedt is at the top of the priority list. Second, there are a lot of new pieces that have to get accustomed to playing with one another in that front seven. And third, there’s a very good chance that a second-year CB and rookie CB will be starting on the boundaries in Aaron Williams and Gilmore, so getting them ready will be huge.

On offense it’s finding a definitive answer at left tackle, being more consistent on third downs, getting Marcus Easley ready for the season, finding a true number two threat opposite Stevie Johnson and finding a way to get Jackson and Spiller on the field at the same time.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-30

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2012 – 10:23 am

Hard to believe we’re 26 days away from the NFL draft! Get up to speed on the top 5 prospects at each position with our video position previews in the media center at where you hear from almost every one of the prospects profiled. Let’s get to your questions.

1 – Chris,
I like Nix’s stance on picking value over need, but since OLB is a definite need, if Terrell Manning from NC State is still available in the 3rd, do you think he’s what the Bills are looking for? He seems like a pretty quick, tough, instinctive player. Also, is there any chance TE Coby Fleener is going to be available for us in the 2nd round, & if so, would the Bills go for him? I know they’re high on Chandler, who had a good year, but you can’t deny Fleener’s ability/athleticism. Last, is there any chance the Bills trade out of the #10 pick? I just can’t see them taking a (right) tackle with Pears playing as well as he did & DE/OLB seems like a reach. Unless some fluke-ishness, a-la last year w/ the Locker-Gabbert-Ponder run,  happens in those 1st 9 picks & CB Claiborne is still available, I don’t see anyone being worth what we’d have to pay a #10 pick. I’d rather trade the pick altogether for a proven vet, Mike Wallace anyone? Thanks for all your work keeping us displaced Bills fans in the loop.

Mauricio Grossi
Chicago, Il

CB: A lot of questions here. First, Terrell Manning to me is a boom or bust player. Most believe he should’ve returned to N.C. State for the 2012 season and I’m one to agree. He just doesn’t make enough plays. He’ll flash here and there, but he doesn’t have great football instincts. Manning overruns a lot of plays in my opinion. He has pass rush ability, but I think the better overall player is his teammate Audie Cole. After Cole ran in the 4.6s at his pro day I felt better about him being a LB target in the 3rd or 4th round. He played mostly SLB, but was moved to MLB this past season for the Wolfpack.

He’s a smart, instinctive player with good physical ability. At 6’4” 246, he’s got prototype size for the strong side LB spot and would be a great young prospect to line up behind veteran Kirk Morrison. I met him at the Combine and liked what I heard. The dude’s hand swallowed mine (10 inch hands). I think he also could serve as a backup MLB.

Stanford’s Coby Fleener is now being talked about as a late first-round pick after his monster pro day last week. I don’t know that he’ll go that high, so you’re right about him probably being there for Buffalo in round two. I just don’t see tight end being a priority. Chandler I believe still has some potential to reach. Last year was his first year as a full-time starter. I think he can do even more this year.

As for trading out of the 10th overall pick. I think it is very realistic. If Buffalo doesn’t like what is on the board at offensive tackle in terms of the value matching up at pick 10, and they don’t believe WR Michael Floyd is right for the 10th pick either, I could see them making an effort to move back five to 10 spots and picking up an extra choice. Of course they need to find a trade partner to do that.

Your dream of getting Mike Wallace by the way are remote at best. All signs point to him being re-signed by Pittsburgh.


2 – Hey Chris,

I really appreciate all the work you do in keeping us informed on the Bills.  My question is about Memphis DT Dontari Poe.  Heard he blew people away at the combine with his athleticism for his size of 6-4 and 346 pounds.  I know we have Williams are Dareus in the middle, but Poe reminds a lot of people of another guy the Bills passed on Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata.  Curious if you think the Bills would give any consideration to drafting this guy or would they rather address a bigger need? 

Thank you,
Jeremy from San Antonio
CB: While Poe is an intriguing prospect and should be no worse than a mid-first round pick, I don’t see Buffalo going the DT route. The Bills have a lot of depth on the interior with Torell Troup on the road to recovery from back surgery, Kellen Heard and now Dwan Edwards as a likely DT in the new 4-3 scheme.

Buffalo’s positional demands at OT, WR, LB and CB trump DT.

And while I like Poe as a prospect, he’s not Haloti Ngata.


3 – Dear Chris,

Is it plausible the Bills would consider using one of their 4th round picks on Kellen Moore? I think he has potential be a great backup for Fitz. His accuracy would fit well into our offensive scheme. Many are casting doubts on his ability to perform at the next level, but it seems Buffalo has built a 1st class culture through acquiring players with a chip on their shoulder!  

Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your great coverage. 

Larry D
Fort Collins, CO  

CB: Being a guy of small stature myself I always root for the guys that aren’t blessed with the physical gifts that the elite prospects possess. But it’s even hard for me to look past Moore’s physical limitations. Being under six-feet tall wouldn’t be as much of an issue if he was on the higher end of the athleticism meter. Unfortunately he’s not. He lacks agility and escapability and that hurts him at the NFL level because at his height he’s going to need to move around a lot to find throwing lanes to throw through, much like Doug Flutie did. Moore can’t move like Flutie.

He’s super intelligent and anticipates throws really, really well. He puts good touch on the ball as well, but driving the ball downfield isn’t something he’s going to do. I suppose he could survive as a backup WCO QB, but I believe he’ll be a successful offensive coordinator in this league before he’s a successful quarterback. A sixth or seventh-round pick at best.


4 – Chris,

Love the offseason coverage. Can’t wait until draft day! Can you breakdown who is in the mix to fill the rush/SAM LB in the new defense? Who are the best 43 LB in the draft that could fill the void?  Hightower (Alabama) Lewis (Oklahoma). Where do players like Chris White and Robert Eddins (who looked great in preseason ) fit into the new LB scheme. The team needs depth at LB at all 3 positions.


CB: As it stands now Morrison would be the starting SLB going into camp with Moats backing him up over there and last year’s sixth-round pick Chris White in that mix too. On the weak side it’s Nick Barnett and Robert Eddins, who is under contract and is a rush LB. I anticipate Shawne Merriman to be a pass rushing end on the open side (right side) so he’s out of the mix. I believe Bryan Scott could be part of competition as well knowing he played a hybrid LB role in the team’s nickel package last year.

As for draft prospects that fit the 4-3, Hightower to me is an ILB and probably a second-round prospect. Lewis is an interesting player because he’s got a lot of physical talent, but since the Oklahoma coaches never found a spot for him it’s hard to know what he is exactly. He also had some academic issues and it was recommended to him that he turn pro. Also said to have some maturity issues so he doesn’t sound like Bills draft material. North Carolina’s Zach Brown (WLB), Boise State’s Shea McClellin (SLB), Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and N.C. State’s Audie Cole (SLB) are all guys I feel better about.


5 – I’m puzzled about the status of Alex Carrington.  He played as a 4-3 defensive end in college and in the 3-4 this year they played him at linebacker, even though he is around 300 lbs.  He must have quickness to play linebacker and I heard he increased his strength dramatically coming into last season.  Therefore, why isn’t he mentioned as a candidate to be one of the starting defensive ends in the 4-3?  Thanks for being willing to answer our questions.

Tom O.

CB:  The reason why you don’t see him being mentioned as a DE in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense is because he’s likely to be a defensive tackle. Carrington added lean muscle to his frame last year and came into camp at 305 pounds. He was miscast as an OLB, but he along with Spencer Johnson were the best answers they had in terms of setting the edge in the run front with Merriman out of the lineup. Now in the 4-3 Carrington is likely to be a wave player on the interior. I believe he’s capable of playing a LDE role in a 4-3, but there he would be a backup to Mario Williams.

The Bills are going to have some tough decisions to make on the defensive line this summer where they currently have 16 players.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kelsay awarded 3rd sack

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2011 – 4:04 pm

Chris Kelsay, who arguably had his best game in a Bills uniform last Saturday, was awarded a third sack in the game.

His hit on Tim Tebow that led to the 17-yard interception return for a touchdown was originally ruled a quarterback hit and INT. The league has since changed it to a sack and forced fumble. So Kelsay’s stat line now reads 9 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss.

Kelsay (5) is now just a half sack behind Marcell Dareus (5.5) on the season for the team lead.

Spencer Johnson now has a fumble return for a touchdown instead of an interception return for a touchdown.

More importantly the Bills defense, which had set a new record with five interception returns for touchdowns in a season, are now tied with the original team record of four set back in 1960.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spence, Nelson back

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2011 – 11:07 am

Two players that haven’t practiced all week are back on the practice field today (Friday).

David Nelson, who missed practice Thursday due to illness is practicing.

Spencer Johnson is back practicing as Chan Gailey indicated he would after missing Wednesday and Thursday with a calf injury.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kelsay out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2011 – 4:00 pm

Chris Kelsay missed a second day of practice after his calf injury resurfaced late last week and was ruled out of Sunday’s game by head coach Chan Gailey.

“He’s going to be out,” said Gailey.

That means Danny Batten is likely to get the start again in his absence. Batten started for Kelsay last week against the Jets with Spencer Johnson on the other side at the Jack LB position.

Kelsay, who is known as a fast healer had hoped to recover in time to be ready for Sunday’s game, but now is just going to do what he can to be ready for the Dolphins the following week.

“I’m hoping for as soon as possible,” said Kelsay. “You can’t really put a time frame on an injury and different guys heal differently. I’ve always been a fast healer so I’m just going to work my tail off, get the treatment and rehab and be out there as soon as I can.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Merriman void a group effort

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2011 – 3:25 pm

With Shawne Merriman on injured reserve, head coach Chan Gailey confirmed that filling the void left by the veteran linebacker will be a group effort.

“We’ll play a rotation of several guys in there,” said Gailey. “We get (Chris) Kelsay back, which is great. We’ve got Spencer (Johnson), Danny Batten, Arthur Moats and Antonio Coleman is back. It gives us some flexibility about who can go in there. We’ve just got to keep guys fresh and let them keep going at the quarterback.”

Batten started for Merriman in the Week 6 game at New York. Spencer Johnson started in place of Kelsay in that game, but Kelsay is back in the lineup this week. Coleman is not expected to be part of the rotation this Sunday as he get re-acquainted with the defensive scheme and some of the changes that have been made since he was released.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moats likely OLB full time

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2011 – 3:00 pm

With Shawne Merriman going on injured reserve Tuesday, it’s a good bet that Arthur Moats will be remaining at outside linebacker the rest of the season.

Losing Merriman for the season leaves the Bills dangerously thin at outside linebacker with Danny Batten, Chris Kelsay and Moats as the only true outside linebackers. Spencer Johnson has also played out there in certain packages. It’s unclear right now if the Bills will use the vacant roster spot to acquire another outside linebacker.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moats staying outside

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2011 – 9:12 am

Arthur Moats has been a linebacker in motion from the time he arrived at One Bills Drive last year as he’s transitioned from inside linebacker to outside linebacker and back and back again. For now though he will stay at outside backer.

Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed as much due primarily to the injured Chris Kelsay.

“We’ve got to put him out there right now,” said Gailey of Moats. “We’ve got to leave him out there especially while Chris (Kelsay) is out. We’ve got to leave him out there.”

Gailey was encouraged by Moats’ performance Sunday against the Eagles, which included a quarterback hit leading to an errant throw and interception.

“He did a nice job,” said Gailey. “He wasn’t perfect. He hadn’t practiced there a lot so I think as he gets more work there maybe he’ll continue to give us a little juice off the edge.”

With Kelsay not expected to return to the lineup this week Moats should again be part of the rotation of players that included Spencer Johnson and Danny Batten at Kelsay’s OLB position.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stevie, Troup probable for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2011 – 12:04 pm

Bills top wideout Stevie Johnson is probable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Johnson is still dealing with a nagging groin injury, but practiced fully for a second straight day after sitting out Wednesday’s practice.

From the beginning of the week, Johnson insisted that he will be on the field on Sunday, and it appears as though that will be the case.

For the first time this season Torell Troup may also be available. The defensive tackle’s lower back flared up in Week 1 and only now is it right. Troup practiced fully all week long and should be back in his rotational role at nose tackle behind Kyle Williams.

Spencer Johnson is also expected to play. Coming off a hip injury last Sunday, Johnson practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is expected to go. He too is listed as probable.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stevie practices fully

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2011 – 3:13 pm

Bills WR Stevie Johnson participated fully in practice Thursday according to head coach Chan Gailey.

“I know Stevie did everything,” said Gailey after practice. “He and Spencer did everything.”

Bills DL Spencer Johnson (hip) also returned to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s session.

Torell Troup (lower back) also is doing “better” in Gailey’s words. He practiced fully each of the past two days.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Spencer working with OLBs

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2011 – 1:43 pm

It’s not the first time ever, but it is the first time in the regular season that veteran DL Spencer Johnson is working in position drills with the outside linebackers.

On Wednesday Johnson worked with OLBs coach Bob Sanders and rest of the OLBs. During training camp Johnson along with Alex Carrington worked some with the OLBs. Carrington with an impressive camp and preseason earned that nickel OLB pass rush role and has spent the better part of the last month with the OLBs. But on Wednesday Carrington was working with the defensive linemen, while Johnson was with the OLBs.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-20

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2011 – 11:30 am

Alright Bills fans let’s get this week’s edition rolling with your questions from

1 – Chris,

Let the QB questions begin… I’m totally pumped up about Marcell Dareus and the improved defense, but was quite surprised the Bills didn’t pick up a QB anywhere in the draft.  With Nix saying the Bills will have 4 QBs going into camp, how do you think this will be handled?  Will management bring in a veteran to just fill the spot as back up, or will they go after someone that will challenge Fitz like Kevin Kolb or Vince Young? 

Jacksonville, FL

CB: Here was Buddy’s most recent comment on the quarterback situation.

“We’ve looked at two or three scenarios. We would like to have a veteran guy that can come in that has played the league. A guy that can go in and finish a game and maybe start a game and give you a chance to win. Now there are two options. We’re going to bring in two guys. If college free agency opens up and we think there’s a developmental guy that has some potential we’d bring him in. If that’s not the case we might sign two veterans.” 

To me that sounds like they’re not going to be shooting for the moon with respect to a veteran backup signee. I’d anticipate it being more of a lesser name that they sign than say a Kevin Kolb, that would cost at least a first-round pick or Vince Young, who has some baggage after his fallout with Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.

I think the Bills would prefer to have a veteran backup that knows his role and isn’t going to make any waves to disrupt what is a very good chemistry right now in the locker room offensively.

2 – Hey Chris!!
I had a question about Kyle Williams. With Dareus on board I assume he will play the middle or is that not a given? I would love to see the Jasper kid evolve into a player for us and have him in the middle with Williams and Dareus on the edges. Wishful thinking I know but I the Jasper kid sure looks athletic and hopeful can get in even better shape. Also I read something about Kyle Williams training on LSU’s campus. I will be there for 2 weeks for banking school the end of this month and would love to meet him if he’s there. Can you let me know how I could contact him? Does he have email, twitter, facebook, or a website? Thanks 

Wes Dickson
Only Bills Fan in KY

CB: Dareus is going to line up at LDE in Buffalo’s 3-4 with Kyle Williams at the nose and Dwan Edwards at right end. Dareus will probably kick inside at times in passing situations, but I anticipate Torell Troup to be Williams’ primary backup. Knowing the Bills defense will be more of a hybrid front again this year I’d say expect to see Dareus inside at defensive tackle (probably the one-technique) in the 4-3 looks.

As for catching up with Kyle Williams, he’s not a social media type guy so I’m afraid you’re out of luck there.

And as for claiming to be the only Bills fan in the state of Kentucky, I think George Wilson’s mom in Paducah might disagree with you!

3 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for all your great draft coverage. Looks like the “experts” all liked the Bills draft. Hopefully they’re right this time.
My question is how you see the linebacker situation playing out this year? I saw your post that there is a chance Danny Batten will move back outside after spending some time learning the ropes as an inside backer. However, I almost see inside linebacker as being a weaker spot than outside.

On the outside we have Merriman, Moats, Kelsay, Maybin if the team keeps him, and Torbor played OLB for us last year. On the inside we basically have Davis and the two rookies Sheppard and White, and not much else.

Do you think it is likely that Poz will be back with the team this season? I also know Torbor played ILB with the Dolphins before joining the Bills. Do you have some thoughts on who will play inside and out and who you think are the favorites to win starting jobs?
CB: I think you’ve got the players in their proper spots, though I would anticipate Torbor moving back inside with all the depth you referenced at OLB. I really can’t address free agency due to the lockout situation, but I believe they’ll have the ILB position properly addressed with enough talent and depth.

As for favorites to win starting jobs if Merriman is back to form he’s on the field… a lot. I believe Moats could give Chris Kelsay a run for his money on the other side. Inside Davis should be one starter. Sheppard could push for the other starting role with Torbor also in that mix.

4 – Hey Chris,
First, thank you for all the hard work you do. It makes being a Bills fan much more enjoyable. I am writing to find out whether or not the Bills players received any playbooks or football-related materials during the brief period of time that the lockout was lifted. On,, and others, it was reported that coaching staffs across the league were distributing playbooks and, in some cases, materials pertaining to workouts, diet regimens, etc.. I am curious to know whether or not the Bills fall within this group. Were the coaches able to distribute any football related material to the players before the lockout was reinstated?
Thanks again, and keep up the good work.
A thankful Bills fan

CB: Chan Gailey told us at the end of the NFL draft that they did not hand out playbooks to any players during that brief window of time when the lockout was lifted. Once the ruling came down lifting the lockout Chan Gailey and his staff immediately put a plan into action to begin offseason workouts the following Monday, but those plans had to be scrapped after the temporary stay was passed re-instating the lockout.

5 – Chris,

With the Bills now at 7 D-linemen (K. Williams, Dareus, Edwards, Troup, Carrington, S. Johnson and Jasper), I feel like they will take 6 linemen into the active roster. What are the odds that Jasper makes the team instead of the practice squad? And if he makes the active roster, does it make Spencer Johnson expendable seeing how he is more potent in the 4-3 defense?

What are your thoughts?

Nate in Rochester

CB: First, I disagree with your assessment of Spencer Johnson. He has the versatility to play in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. He played in the 4-3 in Minnesota before coming to Buffalo, and played it here for a couple of years under the previous coaching regime. I thought he had a solid season last year.

As far as Jasper’s chances go I think there are a couple of things working against him. First, he played a lower level of college ball. Some players can overcome that quickly (see: Terrence McGee), but for most it takes a bit longer to develop into a player that can perform consistently against NFL competition. Second, he’s played offensive line each of the past two seasons at Bethel.

He has experience at defensive tackle, but its three years in the rearview mirror and to make the transition back to that position at the highest competitive level of football in a lockout shortened offseason is going to be difficult.

By no means am I doubting Jasper. I don’t know the man. I do know he has a tremendous work ethic as evidenced by his efforts to streamline his body and mold himself into an NFL prospect. He also has smarts and obvious physical ability. How quickly he masters the techniques however, will be the ultimate factor that determines his chances.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-13

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2011 – 12:30 pm

Happy Friday the 13th everybody! Let’s get to your questions from, which is where you can submit your question.

1 – Chris,
The long snapper is always mystifying to most NFL fans. As they only play on punting and field goals. In terms of Garrison Sanborn, he hasn’t played any time at offensive line. With roster spots so key, why don’t the Bills get a player to snap and also play in some capacity.  It would make sense for Wood or any other interior lineman to play this position. What is the teams philosophy for the position considering  he is on such few plays?

Jack S.

CB:  The long snapper has been a specialized position for the better part of 20-25 years. Mastering the velocity and accuracy is practically an art form. Yes, there are other players on Buffalo’s roster that can do it in a pinch, but NFL clubs have made it clear they’re willing to devote a roster spot to that role. It’s obvious they feel it’s worth it and Chan Gailey, who was once a special teams coach, feels the same way.

Your point however, is valid. For a guy that’s in on about 15 plays a game it’s certainly one that’s short on quantity. Obviously NFL coaches favor the quality of the performance at that position more.

2 – Chris,
Last year Buddy and Chan were very busy all year adding O linemen,recievers,TEs,linebackers etc. So many it is impossible to know who we still have and who we have let go. I checked the “transaction” file and it doesn’t help and needs to be upgraded.

Do we know who of all those additions still have a chance to stay? I know that after the draft and then the additions of UDFAs and all those others. I’m going to go crazy trying to figure out who is who?

Thanks for any help you can give us.

CB: Since there is no CBA there are no rules as to how many accrued seasons a player must have to be an unrestricted, restricted or exclusive rights free agent. With no rules there is no way to designate the free agent status of players whose contracts are up. As such it’s more difficult to determine who is more likely to stay or go. Hence your crazy state of being.

When it’s all settled it’ll come into better focus.

3 – Hey Chris,
First off, thank you so much for all you do with keep my fellow Bills fans and myself up to date on our beloved team, even through our YEARS of struggles.  With the release of the 2011 schedule, once again it looks like a real tough one, 2nd toughest in the NFL, I looked back at the last 5 years.  Four of the last five years we have played both Super Bowl teams.  The other year we played one.  What are the odds of something like that happening?  I think before they started this rotational schedule, they use to determine opponents by records?  Do you think it’s just poor luck of the draw or that the NFL should reconsider their strength of scheduling rules?  I know they never know which teams are going to do well, but 9 of the last 10 Super Bowl teams seems ridiculous!!  Thanks again for everything and as always GO BILLS and GO 2011 NFL SEASON!!
Best regards,
Lancaster, NY

CB: First, thanks for the kind words. I understand your frustration, but the rotational schedule is what it is. Now the Bills did have a much easier schedule in 2008 when they began with three of their first five games against the pitiful NFC West and got off to a 5-1 start. Part of Buffalo’s strength of schedule can be directly attributed to the Patriots regular season dominance. They went 14-2 last season and that sharply shifts the winning percentage of their opponents. But they also face teams like Cincinnati and Denver, teams that were right there with them at the top of the draft board with the same 2010 record (4-12).

Sometimes a team will have the unfortunate timing of facing an intra or inter conference division that has quality from top to bottom (NFC East). The AFC West had been struggling in recent years with the exception of San Diego, but Kansas City has rebounded and Oakland was even at .500 last year. The strength of divisions sometimes go in cycles and it’s just a matter of when your team is up to play them.

4 – Chris,

I have been an avid Buffalo Bills fan for years, I know how we got the name Bills, but what does it (Bills) mean or stand for?


CB: So you know the story of the essay contest to name the AAFC team back in 1946 and the winning essay was written by James Dyson.

He compared the team to a band of “Buffalo Bills.” He wrote that while the legendary Indian Scout William “Buffalo Bill” Cody helped trailblaze the American Frontier, the football team was opening a new frontier in Buffalo sports.

So in essence the Bills are a band of trailblazers I suppose for lack of a clearer definition.  

5 – Chris, 

Can you help to break down the rotation of players in both 4-3 and 3-4 system coming into camp? It’s seems a given that Marcell and Kyle will be on the field in both schemes for a majority of the plays. Will Troup now have to be 3rd in line to play nose or 3-technique? In 3-4 DE, does Carrington have a chance to push Dwan for a starting chance? 



CB: The coaches will obviously make those decisions, but here’s what I envision them doing. In a 3-4 set it should be from left to right Dareus, Williams and Dwan Edwards. Carrington and Spencer Johnson are the two rotational ends with Torell Troup the backup nose.

If they choose to go to more of a 4-3 look in the subpackages, Dareus will likely kick inside with Williams. Carrington, who is one of the better pass rushing ends would likely be on the field as well, with possible a stand up linebacker on the right side next to Williams.

In a straight 4-3 I’d expect it to be left to right Dareus, Troup, Williams, Edwards.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

The battle for Stroud’s spot

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2011 – 12:21 pm

With Marcus Stroud no longer on Buffalo’s roster there’s a vacant starting role on the left side of the Bills defensive line. Here are the candidates currently on the roster that will be in the mix to win that spot.

Alex Carrington – The Bills 3rd-round pick in 2010 didn’t get a ton of playing time, but saw the field more in the second half of the season. Head coach Chan Gailey felt that Carrington intially played the pass better than the run when he got on the field, which he felt was to be expected in light of his pass rush success at Arkansas State. The bottom line is Gailey felt Carrington improved, and faith in his improvement is partially borne out in the release of Stroud.

Spencer Johnson – Johnson is a reliable veteran player that again spelled the injured Dwan Edwards admirably last season in the starting lineup, something he’s done in his time with the Bills before. He offers versatility as he can kick inside on passing downs and is a steady performer.

These two guys are the players that are the primary contenders now. Obviously a high draft choice or free agency acquisition (if there is free agency) can change this, and I would anticipate additions being made this offseason.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills take sides in title gm

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2011 – 2:12 pm

Certain players in Buffalo’s locker room will be taking sides in tonight’s National Championship game between Auburn and Oregon.

Jairus Byrd is the only Oregon alum on Buffalo’s roster, so he’s outnumbered 3 to 1 by the likes of Antonio Coleman, Spencer Johnson and Reggie Torbor, who all played their college ball at Auburn.

Before all the players went their separate ways in the offseason, Torbor decided to leave Byrd with a parting gift. As he left the locker room, Torbor left a bright orange Auburn T-shirt behind in Byrd’s locker.

“He knows the deal,” said Torbor with a smile before walking out.

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Posted in Inside the Bills