Inside The Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2014 – 8:39 am

For those who have been wondering just how Stephon Gilmore has been performing of late, the answer is pretty darn good. His receiver assignments have not done much at all the last several weeks, and it was much of the same this past Sunday. That’s why Gilmore’s play earned him an All-Star nod from Pro Football Focus for his Week 10 performance.

Each week the stat crunching site puts out an All-Star offense and defense of top performers from that slate of games. Gilmore’s play against the Chiefs made him one of the top two performing cornerbacks. Here’s what they wrote.

Cornerbacks: Chris Harris Jr., DEN (+3.4) and Stephon Gilmore, BUF (+3.1)
Harris continues to play at an impressively high level, not even considering that he’s coming off a knee injury. This week he allowed a mere 8 yards on four completions in his coverage. Gilmore had similar success, giving up just 38 yards from 37 snaps in coverage.
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Peterson, ARZ and Ron Parker, KC
Gilmore hasn’t only been doing well in pass coverage. According to Pro Football Focus he ranks seventh in the league among cornerbacks in run stop percentage, which is a run play that’s deemed a loss for the offense in which the cornerback is a factor.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-7

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 5:12 pm

Alright Bills fans, giant game this week against the Chiefs. Big AFC playoff implications. Got to get a win at home. For now on to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hello Chris,

Thank you for keeping us Bills fans up to date with all the great insider news! My question is very simple. With such a stout defensive line and very talented linebackers, and a talented secondary why is it in your opinion the bills give up so many pass yards?

Jeremiah T.

CB: What the Bills have surrendered in pass defense is somewhat understandable. For the most part the Bills have been a stout run defense all season long. This often forces an opponent to become one-dimensional, like the Jets offense was a couple of weeks ago.

As a result New York dropped back to pass a lot. Tom Brady was a bit of a different story. He got into such a rhythm passing that the Patriots chose to go with a pass heavy approach and it worked for them. The New England game however, has been the exception rather than the rule.

Buffalo is a very respectable 13th in the league against the pass. To be able to couple that with the eighth-ranked run defense is pretty good.

Often times in the league some of the top run defenses in football don’t have a pass defense ranking nearly as high. It’s because their run defense is so effective it forces opponents to pass to gain yards and score points, usually to try to climb back into the game.

When teams with stout run defenses have a respectable lead in games, they’ll often give up pass yards in exchange for killing time on the game clock. To see Buffalo in the top half of the league against the run and the pass is pretty impressive.

 

2 – Chris,

After Chris Hogan’s catch at the goal line against the Vikings, do you think that coach Marrone is gonna use him more every week???

Thanks,

Chris from NY


CB:
I think things are certainly trending in that direction. He has a good rapport with Kyle Orton and Orton trusts him to execute his route assignments and be in the right place at the right time. Hogan is one of the receivers who participates in Orton’s Tuesday throwing sessions on their off day. So that on field chemistry can only grow and get stronger.

Hogan does all the right things to make himself a better contributor in Buffalo’s offense, so yes I do think he’ll see more playing time as the year wears on.

 

3 – Chris:

Thanks for your coverage, research and opinions.

I ask for your opinion on a few things:
A)  Will CJ Spiller opt out of his final year or elect to rebound next year to improve his potential on the free agency market.

B) Do you think the Bills want him back or are they ready to move on?

C) Will Mike Williams get out of the Head Coach’s Dog House or is he done and will not dressed once the receivers are all healthy?

D) Will the Bills continue to carry a Kickoff Specialist since injuries have impacted the roster and Guy’s touchbacks have seemed to decline?


CB:
Here are my answers in letter order.

A – I think he will make himself a free agent to be.

B – I think the Bills will make an effort to re-sign Spiller

C – Mike Williams to his credit is putting in extra work on special teams during the practice week to get on the field that way. It’s hard to really get to the bottom of what’s keeping him off the field, but seeing a player like Chris Hogan emerge, who does all the right things and puts in the extra work and is reliable might be an indicator.

D – Jordan Gay has been a solid kickoff specialist this season. The only reason is touchback percentage dropped recently (it was at almost 75%) was because the Bills faced a couple of teams who give the green light to their returners even when the ball is kicked nine yards deep (Minnesota, NY Jets).

Gay’s benefit to the team is two-fold. First, it saves Carpenter’s leg through the course of the season. It also takes hits off the bodies of the kick coverage men on his unit when he gets touchbacks because they don’t have to go make a play. It’s hard to know where Gay’s role will go in the future, but he’s performed pretty well this season in my opinion.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Last year I wrote you and was kinda hard on you, and I appreciate you writing back, I live in Florida, grew up in WNY. Love the Bills, probably too much,  I was at the New England game, I talked to a lot of folks, CJ Spiller is our question, listen to all of the interviews, please could you pass on to him, he always says, always says he will only take what they give him, nobody will give him anything, take more than what they give him, stay inbounds, put your head down and get another yard. It’s time for this team to get some attitude, the fans are mad, we are furious, we have a good team and it is being wasted.

Chris am I out of line, or do you see players that are not working? I really think this team is only as good as our weakest link. Spiller and Gilmore are terrible, they play with no heart, please pass it on , we do not like watching Spiller running out of bounds, its depressing, thanks for listening, go Bills,

Doug Collins

CB: Don’t worry about the harsh words the last time. I know more often than not it comes from the passion you fans have for your team. No offense taken. As for C.J. and Gilmore however, I don’t think you could be more wrong about them not having heart.

They’re two of the harder working players on the team. Their commitment in the offseason is exemplary and both are often putting in extra time after practice.

You’re not alone in being frustrated that C.J. Spiller isn’t more productive in Buffalo’s offense. Obviously now he’s focused on just getting healthy after his shoulder injury, but Spiller wants to succeed more than anybody.

One thing that I’ve talked to Mark Kelso about in the past is how Spiller might benefit from lining up in the backfield deeper. Spiller is so fast that he gets to the line of scrimmage where the hole should be before it actually opens up for him. Arriving so early the hole is not established and he has to find another option, and often chooses to bounce it outside.

Kelso has explained to me, and it makes sense, that if he lines up deeper in the backfield he’ll arrive at the line of scrimmage in better time with the blocks being executed and the hole will be there for him to exploit.

The Kansas City Chiefs do this with Jamaal Charles. Another speedy back, Charles lines up deeper in the backfield and arrives at the line in proper timing with the linemen. I don’t know that it’s a cure all, but if he’s able to come off I-R before the season is over or let’s hope for the postseason I’d like to see if that could fix things.

As for Stephon Gilmore I think he’s played better as the season has gone on. He’s not giving up big plays and he’s been physical with some of the bigger, stronger receivers this season.

 

5 – Chris,
First off, you do a great job keeping us rabid Bills fans informed and do it in a professional manner. Thanks!
I’m sure you are probably sick of hearing about fans complaining of poor officiating.In the NHL, between the intermissions,the officials watch video and are in contact with the league about the calls they made & missed. They make a concerted effort to get better so they make less mistakes during the game-sort of like a coaching staff making adjustments. Could you please let us fans know if the NFL does this and,if not,WHY?
Players,if they make too many mistakes, get cut. Coaches lose too many games,get fired. There is accountability. Doesn’t seem to be the case with NFL officials.

Tom Dinder

CB: To my knowledge NFL officials do not review their calls from the first half at halftime. First and foremost halftime is rather brief (about 10-12 minutes for officials). Officials are schooled up in the offseason and are prepped for the season by attending NFL training camps to get ready for the preseason and regular season.

I do know that coaches will ask officials to keep an eye on certain things as the game unfolds, but beyond that there isn’t much else that’s done proactively by NFL officials as I understand it.

Thanks for the kind words.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Stephon Gilmore’s BOSE playlist

Posted by buffalobills.com on October 12, 2014 – 9:00 am

stephon_2

This year BOSE, the Official Sound of the Bills, is going to bring insider access to fans by showing fans what songs Bills players listen to on game day.  For 12 weeks during the 2014 season, a different Bills player will be featured in the Player Playlist, presented by BOSE.  For week #6, it’s Bills CB Stephon Gilmore.  Check out the songs Stephon will be listening to on Sunday to get him pumped up before he takes on the Patriots.


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Posted in Corporate, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Fan Friday 9-26

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2014 – 12:12 pm

It’s the start of a big two week road trip in Houston. The Bills are looking to finish the first quarter of the season at 3-1. We’ll have full postgame coverage on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions this week on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

My question is about the Bills offense. During training camp I noticed that EJ is throwing the ball a lot farther downfield; however during the preseason games, and early in the season all the routes seem to be less than 10 yards. Is this due to the play calling or EJ? I’ve heard EJ’s been better during practice, but it’s frustrating to watch him check down most of the time. It reminds me of when we had Chan Gailey and Fitz.

Michael

CB: So far this season EJ Manuel is averaging seven yards an attempt. For those that are unfamiliar with that statistic, even in the pass happy NFL that we know today any yards per attempt average that’s eight or above is outstanding. Only five NFL QBs are averaging eight yards or more per attempt right now. So seven is very respectable.

The other way one can look at it is average yards at the catch. This is where Manuel’s figure is below the league average. Manuel averages 3.6 passing yards at the catch, which ranks 31st in the league. The league average is about six.

Now there are two ways one can interpret that. One Buffalo’s offense doesn’t take a lot of deep shots down the field, which is your contention, and based on the latter statistic it’s understandable why that might be inferred.

The other way to look at it is Buffalo’s offensive staff knows the collection of speed they have out of the backfield and at receiver and believe it’s more important to make the completion and allow the ball handlers to make yards after the catch. Right now the Bills ranks 8th in the league in yards after the catch with 415 yards in three games. That’s a strong number.

It’s my belief that as long as those yards after the catch figures remain in the top 10 in the league, that the passing game approach won’t change all that much. That’s not to say they won’t take four to six deep shots per game, but on the whole they’ll rely on short to intermediate passes believing their playmakers can gain yards after the reception is made.

 

2 – Chris,

Do some NFL coaches have a policy of benching players for a play after they are called for a penalty?  I’ve noticed this fairly frequently just in watching game telecasts. For example, after Scott Chandler was called for a penalty vs Chicago this past Sunday, the cameras showed him standing on the sidelines. Then he was back in on the next play.  Obviously, if a starting QB gets called for a delay of game penalty, he’s not removed, but I’ve noticed both offensive and defensive players coming off the field after a penalty.

Gary Kozlowski

CB: Your observations are pretty astute. I also noticed last week that after Brandon Spikes was flagged for a personal foul last week against the Chargers that he was removed from the game too. Sometimes it’s just the personnel grouping that the coaches choose to put on the field for the next play, which may have been the case with Chandler. I will have to go back and look.

Sometimes it is in fact to get the player off the field and cool off. In an emotional game like football sometimes a player’s competitive emotions gets the best of them as seemed to be the case with Spikes last week. So coaches in an effort to bring a player’s emotions back in line take them out of the competitive environment on the field so they can collect themselves before playing another snap.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

What happened to Stephon Gilmore? He doesn’t even look like the same player we saw in his rookie season. He’s constantly getting beat in pass coverage, and he’s not making plays in run support. He’s becoming a real liability in our defense. I’m curious what the coaches are saying about his play.

CB: I think the coaches are trying to be patient with Gilmore. Coming off of offseason hip surgery and then a groin injury at the start of the season Gilmore is clearly not 100 percent healthy. He’s trying to fight through the nagging groin problem to be available for his team on Sundays. I don’t think there’s any question it has not allowed him to play at his very best.

The encouraging sign I saw this week was Gilmore was on the practice field for extra reps long after practice had concluded. This was a common practice of Gilmore’s, but taxing his body in that fashion was not an option for him while he was rehabilitating or as he worked his way back into the practice setting and lineup.

Seeing that is a major positive because Gilmore is a player whose game gets better when he can maximize his reps during the week. The most important thing to remember is it’s his collective health that’s holding his game back.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for all you do to keep us fans on top of all news concerning the Bills!

My question is concerning the defensive pass rush ideology. This past week against the Chargers it seemed that there were very few blitzes dialed up. I understand that with veteran QBs you have to mix it up, but the defense pretty much rushed four and got no pass rush which lead to the Db’s getting lit up. I’m starting to see major differences between Petitine’s philosophy and Jim Schwartz’s philosophy. Do you feel that less blitzing is what we will see throughout the rest of the season from Schwartz? His philosophy seems to put a great deal of pressure on the secondary….

Thanks for your response.
Bruce

CB: I think most knew going in that Schwartz’s philosophy was not going to dial up nearly as many blitzes as Pettine did last year. Personally I was okay with that if it meant better third down defense and better run defense in exchange, knowing those were two consistent problem areas for Buffalo’s defense over the years.

To this point Buffalo’s defense is 6th against the run and 8th in third down defense. I’ll take less blitzing if this is the trade-off.

I think you also need to consider this. When facing veteran quarterbacks who get the ball out quick, like Cutler and Rivers, and this week with Fitz, Schwartz generally takes the approach that committing a seventh man to coverage is more valuable than committing a fifth man to the rush. If you’re not going to get to the QB with a blitz anyway, you’re better off rushing your front four and dropping a seventh man into coverage, hoping the coverage helps lead to the QB holding onto the ball long enough for pressure to affect his play.

To this point Schwartz’s third down defense more often than not has proven him correct. So until that changes I’m in favor of his approach.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

Great job as always keeping Bills fans updated.  My question really isn’t about on field football items.  Now that the Bills are headed on the road for a couple of weeks what is their travel routine getting ready for an away game?

Many thanks.
Bryon B.
Plattsburgh

CB: Typically the way things work in advance of a road game is they have meetings Saturday morning followed by a situational practice at One Bills Drive where they go over specific situations that might surface in the game. It usually runs less than an hour.

After that players go home to pack their personal items for the trip and head to the airport for their departure time on the team plane.

Once they arrive in the home team’s city they’re typically at the team hotel by 3:30 pm. They’re free to have dinner on their own and then there are meetings with coaches for a couple of hours in the evening before bed check at 11 pm.

Then players head to the stadium Sunday morning, with most of them in the locker room by 10 am or so for a 1 pm kickoff.

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rotation at CB will continue

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2014 – 9:36 am

In Week 1 Stephon Gilmore wasn’t available to play so Leodis McKelvin and Corey Graham started. But come Week 2 Gilmore was healthy along with McKelvin and Graham. Gilmore and Graham started the game, but by game’s end Gilmore had 53 snaps and McKelvin 33 including a late INT. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that the Bills are going to continue rotating their top three corners during games provided all three are healthy.

“All three (are starters),” said Marrone. “I’m not trying to play games. We’ve been rotating them from day one since they’ve been back. I keep saying the same thing. Everyone is trying to pin, ‘Who are the two (starters)? Who are the two (starters)?’ But we’ve got a pretty good deal going if we have three guys.

“I firmly believe, with the level that they’re playing, that those three players will produce more than if it’s just two. We only have an opportunity one or two of those guys maybe wearing out, whereas now we have all three and it’s a long season. We’re in good shape until something separates.”

Marrone means if one of those three is performing really well they’ll see more of the work. Such was the case with Corey Graham. He had a solid Week 1 when Gilmore was out and started in Week 2 where he played 91 percent of the snaps. Gilmore and McKelvin split time in Week 2 with Gilmore seeing 53 snaps to McKelvin’s 33.”

When Marrone was asked specifically if McKelvin and Gilmore’s snap counts would increase he couldn’t give a definitive answer, knowing both are limited by soreness coming off their offseason hip surgeries and Gilmore coming off an additional groin injury suffered right before the season opener.

“I don’t know if I can expect their snap count to increase, only because we haven’t started practicing again this week,” he said. “Again, I think we’re going on basically just how they feel, as far as coming off the injuries from last week. I still think the same thing. If you ask me what the best thing is I would say, ‘Hey, we have three corners that 33, 33 and 33 and play those percentages, we would be a better team.”

Marrone said moving forward they’ll keep playing Gilmore, McKelvin and Graham.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rivers, Gilmore update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2014 – 3:20 pm

There was an update on two injured Bills players, one who left the game Sunday, and the other who was unable to suit up.

Keith Rivers (groin) is listed as day-to-day with his groin injury. Stephon Gilmore who was unable to dress for Sunday’s game with a groin injury is also listed as day-to-day. More will be known about their status for Sunday after Wednesday’s team practice.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore & Watkins go full Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2014 – 2:50 pm

It was encouraging news coming out of Thursday’s practice for the Bills. Two important starters on both sides of the ball were full go in practice, which brightens the outlook for both concerning Sunday’s opener in Chicago.

For a second straight day Sammy Watkins practiced fully in his return from bruised ribs. Watkins moved well out on the field and did not appear to be inhibited during the media viewing portions of practice.

Meanwhile Stephon Gilmore, who was limited on Wednesday with a groin injury, was a full participant Thursday.

“I’m feeling good,” said Gilmore. “I’m just getting my feet wet and just going out there and practicing hard.”

On offense during individual position drills the coaches have been working to get Watkins extra reps with QB EJ Manuel in an effort to make up for the lost time due to Watkins’ absence from most of the last three preseason games.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore feeling good

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2014 – 4:18 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore was limited in practice Wednesday with a groin injury, but feels pretty good just a few days before the opener at Chicago.

“I’m feeling good. I’m just getting my feet wet and just going out there and practicing hard,” he said.

When asked if he sees himself having any problem playing Sunday he said the following.

“I don’t think so. Just going out there getting better and being smart.”

Knowing he and Leodis McKelvin have both been limited in the preseason with both coming off of his surgeries he believes they’ll both be prepared for Sunday’s game.

“I feel like we’re ready to go,” said Gilmore. “We’ve just got to take care of our bodies and go out and compete.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Chandler and Gilmore sat out

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2014 – 8:24 am

In the preseason finale Thursday almost all the starters opened the game on offense and defense. There were however a couple of missing pieces from the lineups on each side of the ball. The offense was missing their starting tight end and left guard. The defense was missing their starting cornerback opposite Leodis McKelvin. Here’s why.

Scott Chandler was reported by the team to have a knee injury. Meanwhile Stephon Gilmore was reported to have a groin injury. The severity of each injury is not known and it’s presumed that both injuries were sustained in practice during the week.

Rookie LB Randell Johnson also suffered an ankle injury. He was a game time decision Thursday and tested it pre-game, but could not go.

WR T.J. Graham also came out of the game with an ankle injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Starting secondary hoping to reunite soon

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2014 – 10:21 am

The Bills are taking a conservative approach with starting CB Leodis McKelvin in his return from offseason hip surgery. He has yet to play in the preseason as he was inactive again against the Steelers Saturday. Though he is being slowly worked back into the practice setting his time with his fellow starters in the secondary has been limited. Stephon Gilmore only began to see more action in practice and preseason this past week. Even though there’s just three weeks before the season opener at Chicago the starters in Buffalo’s secondary aren’t concerned about their limited time together.

“We want those guys to come in when they’re ready,” said S Aaron Williams. “We never want a guy to rush just because one person feels like the whole group needs to be together. I want the whole group to be together when everybody is 100 percent and ready for the season. We’re not going to rush Leo (McKelvin), (Stephon) Gilmore or whoever else is hurt to come back at a fast pace. That’s just going to cause problems later down the road. Whenever they’re ready to come back and feel 100 percent because they know their bodies more than we do then the excitement will come.”

What has kept the secondary from being concerned about fewer reps than usual on the practice field together is the time they’ve spent on the field over the past two seasons.

“Yeah it’s definitely an advantage when you have a few years under your belt together,” said Williams. “You know the chemistry of each other and you know how each person thinks and plays. Leo has a different playing style than Stephon. The fact that Da’Norris and I know that makes the calls a lot faster and a lot easier.”

A beneficial byproduct of McKelvin’s absence has been the opportunity for the rest of the secondary to get used to lining up and playing with veteran free agent signee Corey Graham.

“I’m with Corey every day and I talk to him and try to pick out how he plays. Every meeting we sit next to each other and have conversations about what’s going on and how he thinks and how I play things,” said Williams. “That communication has really helped both of us out especially with our chemistry knowing we have to get ready for the season. Corey has been with us a few months now and I’m starting to learn more and more about him.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills who won’t dress tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2014 – 6:35 pm

Here’s the list of players who won’t dress for tonight’s Hall of Fame game in Canton tonight against the Giants.

CB Leodis McKelvin
CB Stephon Gilmore
TE Tony Moeaki
TE Scott Chandler
WR Marquise Goodwin

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-13

Posted by Chris Brown on June 13, 2014 – 11:32 am

Three weeks of OTAs are over. Only the mandatory minicamp remains next week before the countdown to training camp. As always we’ll have full coverage here on Buffalobills.com. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,
I am hearing a lot of fans chatter about the Bills running back situation.  It’s come to be pretty crowded at the RB position at this point and since the Bryce Brown trade fans seem to think CJ is on the trading block? I don’t buy it myself.  I know that CJ and Fred are FA’s in 2015 and while it makes me very sad I tend to think that will be it for Fred Jackson.  As for CJ I don’t really know if they would like to lock him up long term.

I wanted to get your thoughts and see if you have a feel for what they might want to do.  My take is they brought in Bryce Brown because they liked him but also as insurance for the season and to see what he’s got.  I would also imagine that if they do like him after the year that he would most likely be Fred Jackson’s replacement.  To me CJ Spiller is more than just a running back and I do not believe that he has even scratched the surface of what he can be.  He’s a threat every time he touches the ball and I’m very optimistic that he is going to shine this season.  As long as he stays healthy and the coaches put him in the right situation he should be able to really show what he can be.

Like Sammy said I hope that I see CJ and Sammy play together for a long time to come.  And also what do you think of CJ’s contract situation and the RB market? Do you think that could be beneficial for the Bills or could CJ still demand a hefty contract maybe pending his season?

Thanks a lot, Jillian

CB: I think with the pressure on everybody at One Bills Drive to win this year and make the playoffs the thought of C.J. Spiller being on the trading block is absurd. Yes, C.J. is entering the last year of his contract. It’s my understanding though that Spiller wants to stay in Buffalo long term. For him to sign a long term extension now however, would not be in his best interest. He’s coming off an injury-plagued 2013 and the new offense took some getting used to.

Spotrac.com recently did a great job projecting a long term contract extension for Spiller based on what he’s done in his career to this point and presented a lot of good comp numbers from other backs in the league. Spiller presumably would want more than the $4-plus million they project, and to do that C.J. has to approach, or more likely, exceed his numbers of 2012 (1,244 yards rushing, 459 receiving, 8 TDs) to be able to negotiate more.

At this point Spiller is without an agent though he’s looking to hire one in the not too distant future. It’s my belief that both the Bills and Spiller will let the season play out and regardless of his production they secure a long term agreement that’s beneficial to both sides.

I will add that I am encouraged that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will diversify the ways in which he uses Spiller in the scope of the offense.

2 – Hi Chris,

I personally love the trade to go up and get Watkins, and right now after rookie camp, it looks like he is the real deal. This year is also the year that Stephon Gilmore is supposed to make the jump to an elite cornerback. With minicamp coming up and I’m expecting them to match up against each other, what would the coaches rather see? Watkins showing he is the real deal, but also Gilmore might not be the cornerback they hoped. Or would they rather have Gilmore shut him down, but also raise doubt about whether Watkins was worth what they gave up for him?

Thanks for all your coverage and GO BILLS!
Ethan
Washington DC
CB: In an ideal world for the coaches their head to head play raises the level of both players. That’s the competition that coaches and GM Doug Whaley have talked about all offseason. When the competition level is raised it inherently raises the game of the players involved and that makes the team better.

Gilmore however, is not expected to get a full workload in the team portions of practice next week. Coming off of his surgery he’s expected to be eased back into the practice setting and got a handful of snaps the last week of OTAs.

 

3 – Chris,
Thanks for the great Bills coverage for all of Bills Nation here in the desert southwest. Given the imminent change of ownership and the potential uncertainty that can bring, what is the mood of the Bills employees at OBD. Are people apprehensive regarding salary and benefit restructuring or can everyone, (including yourself) focus and keep it in the background. Thanks and the best of luck.

Hank from Nevada
CB: Our President and CEO Russ Brandon has stated more than once publicly and to us directly that it’s business as usual and we take him at his word. There is no sense in worrying about things we can’t control. So as far as I see it it’s in our best interest to do the best job we can do in the roles that we have until we know more about the future leadership of the organization. Thanks for your concern and well wishes.

 

4 – Chris,

How do you think the coaching staff views Chris Gragg? We keep hearing the Bills don’t have that “new-age” athletic TE on their roster, and if they do it’s Tony Moeaki, but Gragg has an intriguing skill set in my opinion. Is he a guy that they are planning on trying to get more use out of in his second year, or do you think he has an uphill climb to make the final 53?

Thanks!
Josh

CB: I don’t think there’s any debate about Gragg’s athletic skill set. He’s done all the right things this offseason including making it to each of the Bills player passing camps run by EJ Manuel in California and Florida this offseason.

With Scott Chandler limited he had the benefit of getting some first team reps in a rotation with Tony Moeaki and Lee Smith in OTAs.

I spoke to him this past week and he told they’ve expanded his responsibilities in the scope of the offense where he’ll be playing both the ‘Y’ (in line TE position) and the ‘F’ (detached). So there appear to be plans to broaden his role, but he’ll need to outperform both Chandler and Moeaki in camp if he’s going to get any significant playing time this season.

 

 

5 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for the great coverage this off-season. I always look forward to Fan Friday. My Question is in regards to the #3 QB spot. What have Jeff Tuel and, Dennis Dixon been up to this off-season? Tuel showed a lot of promise last pe-season but, clearly wasn’t ready when thrust into the spotlight. I still hold out hope for him. Living in Western Pa. I got to see Dixon play some as a Steeler. The guy has a motor for sure. Do you think Tuel’s spot is safe or does Dixon have a legit chance to overtake him? Maybe try to stash Tuel on the PS?

Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on this.
Scott

CB: At this point it appears that Tuel has the edge on Dixon for the third QB job on the roster. This offseason Tuel has definitely strengthened his body. He’s leaner, but stronger and it’s showing in his escapes from the pocket when a play breaks down and in his arm strength. Dixon is clearly the best athlete when it comes to taking off and running. He would win the footrace of all four QBs easy.

Tuel does have practice squad eligibility, but I’m going to have to check on Dixon. This will be a very hard battle to gauge because their reps on so limited. It’ll likely go all the way to the preseason games before a definitive call can be made.

I will say through the OTA practices I thought Tuel flashed more with the plays that he made.

 

 

 


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Limited work the plan for McKelvin, Gilmore

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2014 – 5:28 pm

For the first time this spring starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore got team work in OTAs Tuesday, with both getting a handful of snaps during 11-on-11 red zone work. But with both working their way back from offseason surgeries, they’re not expected to see much more action than that the rest of the spring.

That according to McKelvin himself who spoke with Buffalobills.com after practice concluded.

“We’ll pretty much just wait until training camp,” said McKelvin. “We’ll probably do a lot of the same as what we did today with red zone work and work our way back in there. You never know there may be a couple of reps where we want to try open field, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Gilmore and McKelvin are both coming off hip procedures in the offseason and they’re taking a slow and steady approach to their return to full participation. Watching from the sidelines is a bit easier for each of them with the other starting corner standing next to him.

“We’re on the sideline watching and watching the guys on film and watching their mistakes and what they do on film,” said McKelvin. “When we get out there we just make sure we’re on top of our task and not over work ourselves, but make sure when we’re out there when we do things right.”

 


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Gilmore hoping to do more next week

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2014 – 12:46 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore has participated on a limited basis in OTA practices to this point. Gilmore is coming off an offseason procedure, and has not done any team work. That could change next week.

“In minicamp they might let me,” said Gilmore. “I can go out there and practice, but we’re being smart about it.”

Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin have both not participated in team work at all during OTAs.


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2 Bills to be on baseball diamond tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2014 – 11:02 am

A pair of Bills players will be toeing the mound tonight in two different states tonight to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at some minor league baseball games.

Stephon Gilmore will be back in his native South Carolina this evening and will throw out the first pitch for the Columbia Blowfish game against the Forest City Owls. Gilmore is scheduled to be on the mound at 7 pm at Capital City Stadium.

Meanwhile Brian Moorman is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s Buffalo Bisons game against Toledo. Moorman is scheduled to take the mound at 7 pm.


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Gilmore listed among top 25 breakout players

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2014 – 10:45 am

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore is still working his way back from an offseason procedure, but Buffalo’s starting cornerback is among the names on a Top 25 list of breakout players for 2014.

Big things were expected from Gilmore in 2013, but a broken wrist suffered in the preseason dramatically hampered his impact on the Bills fortunes last season. CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco has him on his list for 2014. Here’s what he wrote.

Stephon Gilmore, CB, Buffalo Bills — I thought he would be a breakout player last season, but he missed time with a wrist injury. When he played, he still flashed big-time ability. I think this is his year to make a big step toward being on the league’s better corners.

It wasn’t until the last month of the season that Gilmore began to return to full form as a lockdown cornerback. Hopefully he and Leodis McKelvin can stay healthy for most if not all of the 2014 campaign.


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Kouandjio another pre-draft visitor

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2014 – 9:48 pm

Buffalo’s second round pick Cyrus Kouandjio was the Bills’ last pre-draft visitor, but here on draft weekend he’s the second straight player drafted by Buffalo to make a trip to One Bills Drive prior to the draft.

Top pick Sammy Watkins was also one of Buffalo’s 29 pre-draft visits this spring. The last time Buffalo’s top two picks were both pre-draft visitors was 2012 when Buffalo took Stephon Gilmore and Cordy Glenn.


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Clowney just part of Rock Hill football factory

Posted by Chris Brown on February 28, 2014 – 9:00 am

Jadeveon Clowney is going to be a top five pick in the 2014 draft in May. He won’t be the first top 10 pick to hail from Rock Hill, South Carolina. That town in the Palmetto State has churned out pro level football talent for years.

Bills former first-round pick Jeff Burris is from Rock Hill, as well as top 10 pick Stephon Gilmore. And last year Buffalo drafted safety Jonathan Meeks, who is also from Rock Hill.

So what’s in the water in Rock Hill?

“I don’t know. Growing up that’s all we know is football,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “It’s a big town, it’s bragging rights, it’s everything. If you play football in Rock Hill you’re playing it as soon as you come out of your mom. So it’s a great thing to do.”

Rock Hill, which has a population of about 70-thousand, has three 4A high schools in town, Southpoint, Rock Hill and Northwestern.

“I went to the newest high school Southpoint,” said Gilmore. “So did Clowney, and you’ve got Northwestern and Rock Hill high. Meeks went to Rock Hill. All the teams are good. I think Northwestern won the state championship again in football so there’s a lot of talent in Rock Hill.”

Meeks went to Clemson while Clowney and Gilmore played at South Carolina.

meeks-gamecock-cp

Gilmore has been counseling Clowney through the pre-draft process. He was his former teammate in both college and high school.


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Gilmore turns to yoga

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2014 – 2:33 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore has been busy staying in shape this offseason, and he’s added a new discipline to his workout regimen.

Gilmore is doing yoga for the first time ever.

“I just started it this offseason,” Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. “I’m starting to like it. I think it won’t hurt to keep doing it and I think it’s helped me out so far.”

The Bills top corner admits yoga is anything but easy.

“It’s hard. It’s a workout,” he said. “It’s harder than lifting weights because football players are so strong and so tight, yoga is real hard.”

When asked where it helps him most Gilmore just likes the flexibility it’s given him.

“You just feel more loose,” he said. “It’s hard to explain, but your shoulders and your legs, you just feel like a new person.”

Gilmore said his surgically repaired left wrist is “back to normal” as he was back at One Bills Drive briefly on Wednesday for a check up on the wrist. He is still doing rehabilitation exercises to continue to build strength back into the wrist.


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Gilmore also on All-Emerge team

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2014 – 11:19 am

Over the weekend we mentioned how on MMQB’s All-Emerge Team, LB Kiko Alonso was prominently mentioned. There was another up and coming Bills player, who was given even more praise.

CB Stephon Gilmore was highly praised despite a frustrating season that was compromised by a broken wrist that required surgery and kept him out of the lineup for most of the first half of the season. Here’s what was written about Gilmore as MMQB believes he could be one of the top three cornerbacks in the NFL by the time 2014 is over.

Stephon Gilmore, Bills
The popular cornerback debate is Revis or Sherman? By this time next year, it will be Revis, Sherman or Gilmore? Gilmore is lanky, strong and pliable. His 2012 rookie season was every bit as impressive as Revis’s 2007 rookie season. The only difference was Gilmore played in the quieter part of New York. Almost half of Gilmore’s 2013 sophomore season was lost to a wrist injury, but after he got back to 100 percent, he was soon used as a Cover-0 corner on the left side. This season, expect Gilmore, who is more of a stopper than ball-hawk, to be a Cover-0 corner all over the field, following the opponent’s No. 1 receiver.


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