Inside The Bills

Bills front men excel

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2009 – 12:27 am

Sunday was a good game for Buffalo’s running back tandem as they combined for their most productive day of the season as a duo, but there was another Bills duo that did every bit as well at their respective positions.

Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel had big games for Buffalo’s defensive front. Kelsay set the tone early for the defense with a sack and forced fumble (KC recovered). And in the third quarter, his quarterback hit on Matt Cassel led to an interception by Terrence McGee.

“It was supposed to be a three step drop I believe because it was like a draw set for me so I had to overlap and was getting ready to retrace and come back on the draw, and Terrence had good coverage so he ended up rolling out and we got good pressure off the back side and I ended up coming up and he held long enough for me to get a hit on him and he threw the ball to Terrence,” said Kelsay.

Kelsay also had a tackle for loss.

Schobel meanwhile had a quarterback hit, a pass breakup and a tackle for loss, along with one of the bigger plays of the game. On the 4th-and-goal at the Bills one-yard line, Schobel beat Matt Cassel to the corner on the naked bootleg attempt and dragged him down for a seven-yard loss as the Chiefs came away with nothing.

“We played well, we let that one go so on the statistics it won’t look good for rushing yards, but we got after them in passing situations and the secondary caught balls they should have caught so we had a pretty good day,” said Schobel.

Fellow defensive lineman Spencer Johnson had a sack as well as the linemen accounted for three of their four in the game.


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Fan Friday 10-23

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2009 – 4:33 pm

We’ll see if the Bills run defense can slow down the Panthers this week. Gotta put the game in Jake Delhomme’s hands for Carolina and hope he’s still throwing a lot of his passes to the opposition (10 INTs). Let’s get to your questions (AskChris@bills.nfl.net).

1. Hi Chris,
 
I was wondering if the Bills have any three-step-drop passes in their offense.  It seems that the protection is not going to hold up for five and seven step drops.  Is this something that the offense has looked at, or has it not been an issue until the protection has broken down? 
 
Thanks,
 Mike in Lancaster

CB: You bring up a good point. In Jim Kelly’s column this week on Buffalobills.com he mentions how more three step drops would help take pressure off the offensive line in protection and allow Evans and Owens to run routes where they can get yards after the catch.

I have to believe the offensive staff has looked at that a lot. And hopefully the touchdown play to Evans against the Jets will encourage them to make more use of it.
2. Hey Chris,
 
What’s the feeling on Ashton Youboty?  I thought he was doing really well starting last year before he went down to injury.  He’s not mentioned much anymore for the defensive backfield?  Are the other guys that much better?  Any word how Ko Simpson is doing in Detroit?  Thanks.
 
Joe (Norwich, NY)

CB: Youboty had a good training camp. It’s just that Reggie Corner and Drayton Florence had better ones. Youboty proved last year he can be a reliable player, but Corner has made more plays on the ball and Florence is probably the most physical corner on the roster.

Youboty has played sparingly as a result. He’s simply running behind those guys on the depth chart. Nothing more to it than that.

As for Ko Simpson he’s lining up at strong safety for the Lions, but he’s a backup. He’s appeared in four games seeing time on special teams. He’s made one start on defense. Simpson has four tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.

 

3. Chris, If the Bills continue to slump this year do you see them taking a run at USC S Taylor Mays? The guy is a freak, who can help a run and help a pass. With Donte being able to play SS and FS do you think Mays would be in the mind of the coaching staff come Draft Day?

CB: I think it’s kind of early to talk draft, because to know what this team needs is very much up in the air at a lot of positions. How does Kawika Mitchell come back from his season ending injury? What happens with free agents like Terrell Owens and Josh Reed? We can’t really peg position needs this early in the game.

That being said Taylor Mays should be a top 10 pick. I just think further fortifying the lines on both sides of the ball might prove to be the priority.
4. Hey Chris
If Kyle Williams and Chris Kelsay do not play who will start in their place?

CB: I think Chris Kelsay will play. If he can’t go Ryan Denney would start in his place on Sunday. Kyle Williams is going to be a game time decision. If he can’t go Spencer Johnson would start in his place.
5. Since Buffalo’s defense has given up more than 1,000 yards on the ground in 6 games, can you believe the players explanation of poor gap responsibility, or is it that we’re simply getting outplayed physically at the point of attack and the second level.  Other than Stroud we don’t have really another big body on the the line, just high motor fineness players.  What do you think?  With the injuries to the line backing core early in the season, could we see the average rush per game numbers go down eventually with defensive signal caller in Poz back in the line up?
                        -Mike

CB: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has said he feels the defensive line is doing a good job with their assignments, but referenced the secondary and their inconsistency as part of the problem. He also said the frequent rotation of new players through the lineup at linebacker and safety has not helped.

Personally I think they’ve been really struck by the loss of Bryan Scott. In my opinion he’s the best run defending safety. With him out the last 3 games the Bills have given up an average of 246.3 rushing yards per game.

Keith Ellison told me that poor gap responsibility is just a lack of focus. Nothing else. I think the players have also been guilty of overpursuit at times where they flow too far to the ball to go make a play and leave their assigned gap leaving the team vulnerable to a cutback run.

It’s got to get fixed in a hurry especially with the run game they’re facing this week.


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Kyle Williams shoulder

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2009 – 3:33 pm

Kyle Williams addressed the state of his shoulder injury with the media, which has kept him out of practice each of the past two days.

“It’s getting better, just trying to get a little of the strength back and just trying to determine whether the pain is from the trap that I pulled off or from the separation. It’s kind of a minute by minute deal.”

Williams said he’d like to try and play, but isn’t sure the training staff would let him in his condition.

“It’s obviously not my decision because I would try it,” he said. “I tried it after I did it (last) Sunday and I just couldn’t do anything. I’ll just keep treating it and hopefully I’ll be able to go on Sunday. But I think that’s what our coaches and training staff is here for. They’re going to try to protect guys from themselves especially my case because I’d probably need something like that because I want to go. But they’re being really cautious with it because it’s a pretty significant deal.”

Williams official status for Sunday’s game will be announced after Friday’s practice, but it certainly does not sound promising. That would mean Buffalo is down to three defensive tackles for the game in Marcus Stroud, Spencer Johnson and John McCargo. Ryan Denney is capable of kicking down inside on passing downs.


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Spencer Johnson race this weekend

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2009 – 1:01 pm

Bills DT Spencer Johnson is just one of the hosts of the AMAZING RACE Buffalo benefit on Halloween Sat. Oct. 31st  at Erie Community College’s Williamsville campus.

Win 20 tickets to a Bills game for you and your friends, and be guests of Spencer Johnson! Bills fans are invited to join Johnson and other sports celebrities on Halloween at 2:00 pm. A live auction and silent auction of collectible Bills memorabilia also highlights this event.

Based on the popular television show, teams of 4 individuals will race along a course that includes a series of fun-filled challenges that involve a combination of skill, intellect and teamwork. The team that finishes all the challenges and reports back to the final check point first, will win 20 tickets to a Bills game and be special guests of Spencer Johnson.

Course challenges include obstacle course, brain teasers, relays, sports, and trivia questions, just to name a few. A special prize will also be awarded for best costume. The goal of the event is to raise funds for the Spencer Johnson Adopt.A.High School Academic Initiative, which offers academic and SAT/ACT prep assistance to under-served students in area schools. For more information about the event and to register, visit www.SpencerDJohnson.com.


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Spencer Johnson’s Amazing Race

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2009 – 3:16 pm

Bills DT Spencer Johnson is just one of the hosts of the AMAZING RACE Buffalo benefit on Halloween Sat. Oct. 31st  at Erie Community College’s Williamsville campus. 

Win 20 tickets to a Bills game for you and your friends, and be guests of Spencer Johnson! Bills fans are invited to join Johnson and other sports celebrities on Halloween at 2:00 pm. A live auction and silent auction of collectible Bills memorabilia also highlights this event.

Based on the popular television show, teams of 4 individuals will race along a course that includes a series of fun-filled challenges that involve a combination of skill, intellect and teamwork. The team that finishes all the challenges and reports back to the final check point first, will win 20 tickets to a Bills game and be special guests of Spencer Johnson.

Course challenges include obstacle course, brain teasers, relays, sports, and trivia questions, just to name a few. A special prize will also be awarded for best costume. The goal of the event is to raise funds for the Spencer Johnson Adopt.A.High School Academic Initiative, which offers academic and SAT/ACT prep assistance to under-served students in area schools. For more information about the event and to register, visit www.SpencerDJohnson.com.


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Brown’s Best – Week 3

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2009 – 3:25 pm

Not a whole lot to be proud of after Sunday’s game, but the defense certainly turned in some solid plays for three quarters of the game. Here’s the rundown.

BEST STOP: Chris Kelsay, Kawika Mitchell – Their tackle on Reggie Bush on 4th-and-2 forced a rare New Orleans turnover on downs. Buffalo now has a fourth down stop in each of their three games this season.

BEST SACRIFICE: Brian Moorman – The Bills punter took a wicked shot from Jonathan Vilma just as he released his 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Denney. Moorman paid a price for those points.

BEST SOLO PLAY: Aaron Schobel – With New Orleans threatening at the Bills’ 32, Schobel backed his offensive tackle up into Drew Brees, reached around him stripped the ball, sacked Brees and then recovered the fumble.

BEST THIRD DOWN PLAY: Chris Kelsay – The Bills defensive end sacked Drew Brees on a 3rd-and-8 forcing the Saints to punt again late in the first half.

BEST SERIES: Spencer Johnson, Kyle Williams, Chris Kelsay – After the Bills went three-and-out on offense early in the fourth quarter down seven, Buffalo’s defense did the same to New Orleans offense. Spencer Johnson stopped Pierre Thomas for no gain on first down, Kyle Williams pressured Drew Brees into an incompletion on second down and Kelsay got pressure on Brees on third down to force another errant throw, and ultimately a punt.

BEST EFFORT: Fred Jackson – Despite being a focus of the Saints defense for a good portion of the game, Jackson still managed to put up 97 yards from scrimmage on the day.

BEST TACKLER: Chris Kelsay – He was one of the leading tacklers with eight in the game, had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. Honorable mention to Bryan Scott.


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Fan Friday 9-18

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2009 – 7:11 pm

Getting ready for Week 2. Got some good questions from you. Keep them coming. AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1. Hi Chris,
 
Do you know how the “Bills'” name came about?  And if so, what exactly does “Bills” stand for?
 
Currently in Baghdad, Iraq and was part of an interesting discussion with some guys the other day.
Thanks,
Mark

CB: Here’s your answer on the origin of the “Bills” team name. It goes all the way back to 1946 when in an effort to generate more fan interest and distinguish the All-American Football Conference team from the city’s minor league baseball and hockey teams, which were also called the Bisons, the team ran a contest to select a new name. Over 4,500 entries were submitted, and the “Bills” won out over “Bullets” “Nickels” and “Blue Devils.”

James F. Dyson, though not the only one to suggest Bills with his entry, was named the winner of the $500 grand prize based on his essay comparing the team to a band of “Buffalo Bills.”

When Ralph Wilson founded the AFL club in 1959 they adopted the name left behind by the AAFC team.

 

2. Hi Chris
I am a long time Bills fan, and am wondering what role you think the following three young players (I like them all) will have on the team come regular season: Steve Johnson, Reggie Corner and Ellis Lankster.

Thanks
Chris Straus

CB: Right now Reggie Corner is the nickel cornerback. That could change however, once Drayton Florence returns to the lineup. Steve Johnson and Ellis Lankster are two players that will find it hard to be on the active roster on game day when seven players must be inactive. Johnson has a greater chance to make a contribution than Lankster, but it might not come unless there is an injury or two at receiver.

 

3. Chris- When players look at still photos on the sidelines, what information can they get from that to help during the game?
     Thanks TM

CB: Offensive players are looking at the defense’s pre-snap look and then there will be another photo after that which reveals how they defended the play out of that look. Quarterbacks can see how the opponent disguised a defensive play call on a particular down and distance so if that look is shown again later in the game they have a better idea as to what might be coming on a 3rd-and-medium. That’s just one example, but there’s valuable info they can get off those photos when assembled in sequence.
HI Chris.

 

4. I am a big Bills fan, and I was wondering what you thought about Dick Jauron’s comments about the 3-4 defense.  And how he said he’s not opposed to using it and that you need the right personnel.  Personally I think our defense is showing improvement but I really think that they need to get out of the middle of the pack and get to the top 10 this season for success.  Though it is far too late to be thinking of this, I think we do have the right personnel for 3-4 defense. You would have Marcus Stroud as the NT, move John McCargo to DE and Spencer Johnson to DE.  Then you move Aaron Schobel and Aaron Maybin to OLB.  And then slide Mitchell into ILB with Paul Pozluszny.  What do you think of this.  I understand it would be impossible to incorporate now but do you think it could have worked?.
 
Thanks and Go Bills!
Kevin

CB: It’s an interesting plan you have there with the exception of Stroud at the nose. In his first edition of Marcus’ Mailbag on Buffalobills.com this week he said he does not consider himself a two-gap nose and would rather play the five-technique (DE) in the 3-4 if it came to changing the front. I think all your other moves are realistic.

Who knows? With a strong DT class coming out in 2010, maybe some more serious thought can be given to that idea in the future. But not this season.

 

5. Chris,

I hope all is well with you today!  My son and I were curious how Kevin is doing?  Do you plan on doing any updates?

Darin
Nashville Bills Backer!!!

CB: I don’t have any updates for you on Kevin Everett. For all of us Kevin will always be a Bill, but now that he’s no longer with the team we don’t keep track of him and his progress as much as we used to. To keep up to speed on what he’s doing I encourage you to go to his website at the following link (below). He’s got a blog page there as well as a link where you can send him an email. I’m sure he’d be glad to reconnect with some Bills fans.
http://www.thekevineverettfoundation.org/AbouttheFoundation.asp


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DT Johnson limited

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2009 – 6:24 pm

Head coach Dick Jauron called Spencer Johnson limited in his return to practice on Thursday.

“It was good to have Spencer back at all today,” said head coach Dick Jauron. “So we’re a little bit optimistic there.”

Drayton Florence practiced sparingly and did not do any team work. Derek Fine did not practice at all.


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Florence practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2009 – 4:00 pm

For the first time since his injury Aug 15th Drayton Florence is practicing.

Florence however, appears limited.

Derek Fine is the only non-participant as Spencer Johnson is back practicing fully.

We’ll have an update from coach Jauron after practice.


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Spencer Johnson’s Amazing Race contest

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2009 – 1:48 pm

On Halloween this year Spencer Johnson along with some other sports celebrities will be holding the 1st Annual Spencer Johnson Amazing Race in Buffalo.

All middle, high school, and college students are invited to compete.  The goal of the event is to raise funds for the Spencer Johnson Adopt-A-School Initiative, which offers academic and SAT/ACT prep assistance to under-served students in area schools.

Based on the popular TV show (The Amazing Race), teams of 4 individuals will compete for 90 minutes in a series of fun-filled pit stops that involve a combination of skill, intellect and teamwork.   The team that finishes all the challenges and reports back to the final check 
point first, will win 20 tickets to a Bills game and be special guests of Spencer Johnson.  A special prize will also be awarded to best 
costume.

Potential pit stops may include trivia questions, obstacle course, puzzles, relay race, brain teasers, agility drills, basketball, 
trivia, bowling, softball, soccer, golf, to name a few.  A handicap scoring system will be in place to ensure fairness and safety for all 
participants.

The date of the event has been set for Halloween Saturday, Oct. 31st, from 2-4 pm, at a local campus still to be determined.   All area schools and students are encouraged to participate.  For more information about the event and to register,  visit www.SpencerDJohnson.com.


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Players not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2009 – 3:34 pm

Here’s the list of players not practicing today.

Drayton Florence
Demetrius Bell
Spencer Johnson
Derek Fine


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Players not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2009 – 7:54 pm

There were just a few players not practicing Sunday.

Drayton Florence, who is working on the side, Derek Fine, Demetrius Bell, Chris Kelsay and Spencer Johnson.


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Stroud could be out a week

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2009 – 3:58 pm

Marcus Stroud’s strained hamstring could keep him on the shelf up to a week.

Head coach Dick Jauron said his defensive tackle could be out from 5-7 days with the ailment. Stroud himself called the injury minor after tweaking his hamstring in practice Saturday afternoon.

Spencer Johnson has been playing in his place with the first unit.

In other injury news, it appears that Justise Hairston’s season is over. The running back was injured during individual position drills in the first practice Saturday morning and did not return. Jauron indicated that the injury could be season ending.


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Spencer Johnson camping already

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2009 – 5:41 pm

Bills DT Spencer Johnson already started camp… his own that is, with his 1st annual Youth Sportsfest in his native Alabama.

More than 300 youth residents had the opportunity to join Johnson and other sports celebrities at the event which was held at Johnson’s high alma mater, Southern Choctaw HS.

The primary focal point of the Sports Festival was the free football and cheerleading camp, where local youngsters were provided with the opportunity to learn valuable insights from some NFL players in regards to what it takes to be successful in school, sports and life. 

Each participant also received excellent instructions from the HS coaching staff and also had the opportunity to get autographs from Spencer and his NFL friends.

Several youngsters also joined Johnson’s fan club.

Johnson is one of several Bills players to conduct a camp in their hometown community this offseason.


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Stroud’s football camp this weekend

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2009 – 1:34 pm

Marcus Stroud will be holding a free football camp day in his native Brooks County, GA this Saturday and he’ll have a bunch of teammates in tow with him.

Stroud’s camp, which is open to all players 13 and younger, will also feature fellow Bills Spencer Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Donte Whitner, George Wilson who have committed to help Stroud out. Former Bills teammate Robert Royal will also be in attendance along with a couple of Stroud’s former Jacksonville teammates, John Henderson and Mike Peterson. Seattle’s Chris Spencer is also supposed to be there.

The camp is being held at Brooks County’s Veterans Stadium. Contact information for the camp is available at the bottom of this write up.


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Spencer Johnson hosting camp in mid-June

Posted by Chris Brown on May 26, 2009 – 2:06 pm

After June minicamp is over for the Bills, Spencer Johnson will be holding a physical fitness camp of his own in his native Alabama. Called the Spencer Johnson Sportsfest, the two day event is for area youth and goes from June 16-17 in Gilbertown, AL.

Former Bill and former Johnson teammate Pat Williams as well as Vikings DT Kevin Williams will be on hand for the two day event. It looks as thought basketball will dominate the first day of activities with football taking up most of day two with a cheer clinic as well.

For more information you can go to Spencer Johnson’s website.


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Lynch at offseason workouts

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2009 – 6:27 pm

Marshawn Lynch was taking part in offseason conditioning workouts this week. The program is voluntary, but it was good to see Buffalo’s feature back in town getting some work done in the weight room earlier this week.

Spencer Johnson was another veteran player that was spotted taking part at One Bills Drive as well.

The voluntary program usually runs four days a week for the players with weekends off.


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No problems with this mock

Posted by Chris Brown on February 9, 2009 – 8:42 pm

The National Football Post just issued their third mock draft (yep they all just keep churning them out don’t they?) and I have to say I like the way I see their first round falling.

For those that would like to see a defensive end fall to the Bills it doesn’t happen. NFP has Everette Brown going to the Browns (how fitting) at 5 and Brian Orakpo going to the Packers (now a 3-4 defense) at 9.

For round two they have the Bills taking Southern Miss TE Shawn Nelson.

They also have all of the top four offensive tackles off the board in the top 8 picks including Alabama’s Andre Smith going first overall to Detroit. I think seeing all four go in the top 8 picks might be a bit of a stretch, but I subscribe to their thought that one of the top QBs won’t go until 10 when the Niners take Matt Stafford in their mock.

But what I like best is they have the Bills taking BC’s B.J. Raji with the 11th pick, with the reasoning that with no value for a pass rusher at 11, beefing up the defensive interior is a very attractive second option. I couldn’t agree more.

Stroud and Raji lining up next to each other with Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson rotating in. I like the sound of that a lot. Somehow though I see Raji going earlier to be a future anchor in a 3-4 system (Green Bay at #9?).

But I’m all for grabbing a big DT if the right value isn’t there for the Bills at 11. I also like Ole Miss’ Peria Jerry a lot, but not sure if he’s a proper value at 11.

They also have the Bills taking Southern Miss TE Shawn Nelson in round two. Again no problem with that either, though I’d prefer a veteran free agent signee at that position like Tennessee’s Bo Scaife.


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Why Mace was added to the roster

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2008 – 5:11 pm

The Bills were facing a shorthanded situation on the D-line Sunday with Chris Ellis (now on I-R) and Copeland Bryan both listed as questionable for the game.

With Ellis now out Spencer Johnson will get snaps at both end and D-tackle. But that would have left Kyle Williams and Marcus Stroud as the only other D-tackles and with Buffalo’s linemen used to a heavy rotation they’d likely be gassed by the 4th quarter if they didn’t have another guy.

Mace can play at end and tackle much like Johnson so the Bills should be ok at both spots now even if Bryan can’t play the whole game with his foot injury.


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Shortage at end?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2008 – 5:40 pm

With Copeland Bryan and Chris Ellis both questionable and participating only on a limited basis in practice this week, Buffalo could enter the game with just two defensive ends Sunday.

Spencer Johnson can kick out and play some end to give both Kelsay and Denney a break, but they only have three defensive tackles counting Johnson.

If there are only six defensive linemen on Sunday Buffalo’s rotational scheme might require a roster move. Corey Mace would be the likely call up in such a situation, should Bryan and Ellis be unable to play.


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