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

Moeaki out indefinitely, Gragg to return soon

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2014 – 9:15 pm

The Bills were down numbers at tight end, which is what prompted the signing of TE Dominique Jones Saturday. The hamstring injury suffered by Tony Moeaki is going to keep him out indefinitely, while Chris Gragg’s dehydration that forced him to be hospitalized for a couple of days won’t be back until the second full week of camp.

That according to head coach Doug Marrone.

“We’re waiting for Chris (Gragg) to come back, which hopefully will be sometime next week,” Marrone said. “We’re not sure so I’m not going to go on record again but we hope that he will be back sometime next week. And with Tony (Moeaki), he’ll be out not for the whole camp, but he’s going to be out for a significant amount of time. And when I say significant, I think it’s very difficult to define. If you’re out three or four days in camp, that’s a lot of reps on everybody for what you’re trying to get done. So, hopefully we’ll be able to get him back quickly.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-20

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2014 – 2:39 pm

Spring practices are over and there’s just a month to go before training camp opens. Here now are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills

What do you think about Buffalo going after Jason Babin possibly? They did show interest in 2012 #LetsGoBuffalo

TheGoodfella28

CB: While their depth at defensive end is not ideal I don’t know that they could make that kind of a veteran investment in the position. Buffalo has a lot of money tied up in their defensive line and adding another player who would not come cheap might be a bit unrealistic.

 

2 – 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 preseason 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: I’ll have a story up on Buffalobills.com Saturday morning on Jeff Tuel. In my opinion he’s raised his game a peg or two. It’s clear to me he worked on his body in the offseason. He’s leaner and looks quicker on read option play keepers. Where he’s raised his game the most is his decisiveness in the pocket. He senses pressure and knows when to step up and he has shown a willingness to stick the ball into tight windows to make plays. There were times during the OTAs where he had the most impressive looking throws of the day.

I think he’s not only got a lock on the number three job going into camp, I believe he will provide healthy competition to Thad Lewis for the backup job.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

The recent comparison you made between Moeaki and Gragg today was interesting.

Gragg ran a 4.35 shuttle at pro day. Athletically Gragg seems superior in just about every test if you now include the pro day shuttle in his draft class and with Moeaki. Sub 4.5 40 at 244, 37.5 vertical, 4.35 shuttle…. great results.

However, Moeaki comments are encouraging. From a test comparison, the statement that Moeaki is the most athletic is surprising. Would be interesting to see a square out drill with both of them to see how they do. Shuttle or 3 cone is about closest to that.

Thanks
Mike

CB: I’m not sure there’s a question here, but I can tell you while Gragg is better on the stopwatch when it comes to football Moeaki is the smoother route runner. He transitions better from catch to turning up field. He also adjusts to the ball more effectively when it’s not on target.

That’s not a knock on Gragg, who is an athlete, but Moeaki’s body type, which isn’t as long-limbed as Gragg lends itself to being a more fluid athlete.

 
4 – Chris,

Thanks for all of the great reporting for “Bills Nation” out here in southern Nevada. Observations from OTA’s have indicated that E.J. is experiencing the same footwork and inaccuracy issues that have plagued him throughout his career. I believe he has had his own personal quarterbacks coach for a number of years. Why would he hire an offseason coach/mentor that has not been able to correct these problems?

Hank K.

CB: Thanks for the kind words. During OTAs EJ and the receivers were still working on getting their footwork lined up. With the precision needed in this passing game under coach Hackett, the quarterback’s footwork has to be in lockstep with that of the receivers. I intend to ask coach Hackett how much margin for error there is with that approach, but watching it on the field there doesn’t appear to be much. Unfortunately that’s how fine you have to cut things to be consistently successful in the NFL Sunday after Sunday.

In spring practices with new receiving targets on the field (Watkins, M. Williams, Moeaki) there’s going to be an adjustment period and I think we witnessed that in the OTAs. In minicamp the precision was improving. Hopefully that continues going into camp.

And to be clear it’s not a technique thing with EJ as much as it is a timing thing concerning the footwork. Yes, occasionally Manuel’s footwork will suffer in a pressure situation as it would for any QB, but on the whole the disconnect comes when the footwork of the QB and receivers are not timed up from the snap as it’s been explained to me.

 
5 – Hey Chris,

Love your insight and love for the Bills keep up the great work. I’ve a proposal I think the Bills should really consider about trading Fred Jackson or releasing him. They need to go with CJ Spiller and Bryce Brown. With the addition of Bryce Brown and also Anthony Dixon they have two power backs that are younger and faster than Fred Jackson. I’m a big fan of Fred Jackson as a football talent and as a leader, but why get Brown and Dixon and still keep Jackson.

Virginia’s biggest Bills fan.
CB: I’m going to disagree with your proposal. First, Jackson is still a more than capable back in this league. Some might not see him as a bell cow type back anymore, but his value is undeniable. He’s still the best pass blocking back on the roster, he’s an offensive spark for the team and he’s more than a respected leader. He’s the pulse of the locker room.

The additions of Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are to improve their short yardage success and to have a viable back in reserve should C.J. Spiller or Jackson get hurt, as was the case last year when both had to gut out games on one bad wheel last season. With as much running as this team intends to do they’ll need all four of them.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Couple of vets return to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2014 – 11:15 am

There were two veteran players that returned to the offensive side of the ball at OTAs Tuesday.

WR Mike Williams and RB Anthony Dixon were both absent for Monday’s voluntary session, but both are back working with their teammates today.

TE Tony Moeaki is also participating after sitting out Monday’s session.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills TEs not worried about respect

Posted by johnmurphyshow on May 30, 2014 – 5:00 pm

Before the draft a month ago, many experts pegged the Bills biggest need as tight end. More than a few draftniks had Buffalo choosing TE Eric Ebron from North Carolina in the first round.

We know how that played out. And now after one week of OTAs, the Bills tight ends held over from last year are making big plays in the workouts.

Scott Chandler had one of the best catches of the first week-a leaping grab over the middle on a pass from EJ Manuel. Tony Moeaki has been a consistent and solid pass-catcher in the first three workouts. And second-year man Chris Gragg has caught more than his share of passes.

It makes you wonder how much of a need the tight end position really was.

The most veteran member of the tight end group, Scott Chandler, says outside perceptions of the Bills returning tight ends don’t carry much weight with him.

“We know what we’ve got,” he says.  “I’ve played with all of these guys for two years now. I think we know what it takes to be successful in this league. We’ve got a group of smart guys and that’s an underrated quality. If we pay attention to what you guys are talking about all the time we’re going to be in trouble. We just focus on what we need to do.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-30

Posted by Chris Brown on May 30, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Week 1 of OTAs is in the books and here are some of your latest questions about the team from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

what role does Hairston have? He played well until his injury but is a holdover. I hope he gets a fair shot

homeslice5484

CB: Hairston right now is running mainly with the second team at left tackle. He hasn’t received a ton of reps in the team setting. We’re guessing it’s due in part to the fact that he hasn’t played any form of football on a field in almost a year after landing on the non-football illness list in 2013. He’s looked a bit rusty this week, which is understandable, but if he can regain the form that made him a very capable swing tackle two years ago, Buffalo’s line depth becomes that much better.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the resigning of Dan Carpenter, what does this mean for Dustin Hopkins, he was injured, but he is the real deal…..

Jay C@SWFLChiver

CB: Carpenter is coming off a career year and the second-most accurate season in Bills team history. Unless he has a complete meltdown in training camp or the preseason Carpenter will be the place kicker. The key for Hopkins will be to demonstrate he can be a dynamic weapon on kickoffs by booting everything through the back of the end zone for touchbacks. Coach Marrone has said he’s not opposed to keeping two kickers if they can both prove they would be of great value to the team.

The trouble for Hopkins is his groin injury was severe and took a long time to heal. As a result he’s rusty entering OTAs having been unable to kick. He has to get his swing back and he has to do it in short order to convince the coaches that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.

 

3 – Chris,
With the Bills not making a move during draft for a tight end, how do you think the position will shake out behind Chandler? Do you see the Bills keeping Lee Smith? I like Chris Gragg as development tight end with good speed. What do you think he chances are to make the final roster? Tony Moeaki still is a question mark to me, since he has hardly played in 2 years. Can Gragg stick and lineup as be juke type of TE? Or is too small to beat LB/DB?

CB: Right now Scott Chandler is not participating in team work after coming off of offseason knee surgery. So that has opened up more opportunities for the likes of Tony Moeaki and Chris Gragg when it comes to the passing game. Lee Smith is primarily a blocker though he can work the short areas. In the first week of OTAs Moeaki and Gragg have seen the most action.

Moeaki is the most athletic in the group. His transition from catch to turning up field is very, very smooth. Gragg has very good straight line speed for a man his size (6-3 244), but like some of the other tight ends is not sudden in his movements when it comes to route running. He’s long-limbed which always helps in the passing game, but I would put Moeaki ahead of him.

We’ll know more about both players once the pads go on at training camp, but from a pure playmaking perspective Moeaki is going to be pushing Chandler.

 

4 – Chris,

With Watkins and Williams in, Graham would seem to go down to 5th on depth chart. Given they need special teamers like Easley/Hogan. How do you think this will play out? Goodwin and Graham are just too similar. I liked Hogan more as slot/special teamer. Could they trade Graham? Or will he have to fight for a spot in camp?

CB: I think Graham will have to fight for a spot on this roster. There is suddenly a lot of depth at receiver and Marquise Goodwin has the added advantage of being a pick made by the current regime, not one that was inherited like T.J.. The problem is Graham is not participating in any team work due to an offseason procedure. He can offer return ability to special teams, but Leodis McKelvin handles punts and Goodwin handles kickoffs.

Making things tougher Chris Hogan has had a solid first week of OTA practices. So when Graham is again full go in the practice setting he’ll have to really turn it up.

 

5 – Chris,

There has been much talk about the defensive formation Jim Schwartz is going to deploy this year.  He has been successful with the Wide 9 approach but with the personnel moves we have made, it appears to me that we may see as much of the 4-3 Under deployed by Mike Pettine as we will of a pure Wide 9.  Bringing in Spikes and moving Alonso upgrade the two linebacker spots and Rivers provide competition for Lawson.  That and the lack of another “pure” defensive end leads me to believe our defense is going to as varied as we saw last year.  Just hope it stays as agressive.

Appreciate your thoughts on this and as always, very much appreciate your insights and reporting on the comings and going at OBD.

Regards,
Jim
Macungie, Pa.

CB: I don’t think you have to worry about the defense staying aggressive. Talking to some of the men up front this week (Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus) the defense is all about being aggressive and getting up field. They feel it will cater well to what their strengths are across the defensive line.

Now that being said Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes have some big adjustments to make as they will be full-time defensive ends in Jim Schwartz’s system. Mario will presumably man the left side and Lawson and Hughes will split the job on the right side.

We’ll be able to ascertain how it’s all coming together when the pads go on in July.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-9

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2014 – 5:47 pm

1 - Chris,

Great reporting and look to your articles before anything else in print, keep it coming. We were missing 40% of our O-line last year compared to previous year.  It showed, difficulty running over the middle; and getting Spiller or Freddie out in space(screen passes etc.) seemed a rarity compared to the previous year.  Much is made of acquiring that big receiver which would be great but to me strengthening the O-line is the first priority. A better offensive line allows EJ more time in the pocket to go through progressions, keeps him safer, allows receivers to get further downfield for long ball, a better running game, and frees up TE’s for the passing game instead of helping out with pass protection. Whether the top 3 tackles are off the board or if the Bills opt for a top TE or wideout, can they get a quality starting RT tackle in the second round??   Your thoughts?

Freddie

CB: I think offensive line could certainly use some reinforcements. Whether there’s a starting caliber player might depend on where the Bills see a player like Nevada’s Joel Bitonio. He played tackle, but is he a guard in their eyes? Cyrus Kouandjio is a tackle, but still raw and has to learn on the job. The talent entering round two tonight would seem to favor tight end a bit more. I do like Bitonio and I think Jack Mewhort is an underrated lineman too. But again Mewhort is seen by some clubs as a guard and not a tackle. I like Antonio Richardson from Tennessee, but I don’t know that he’ll go in round two. Kouandjio might be the best option even though there are teams concerned about his knee.

 

 2 – Chris,

I was wondering if the Bills made an attempt to resign Jim Leonard? Also I was wondering if Leonard got the majority of snaps while Byrd was out in the beginning of last season? In my opinion the defense actually played better without Byrd in the beginning of the season. They seamed more consistent against the run on early downs and better on third down. Did the Bills attempt to keep Leonard around for another season or do they have really seem to have faith in getting a quality starter out of Searcy, D.Williams, or Meeks? Also how much of a rotation is there at the safety positions? Are the two starters out there for most of the game or do they come out for subpackages and clear running situations? Thanks for your feedback.

Dan
Western MA

CB: Jim Leonhard is still a free agent. He’s best suited for the Rex Ryan style defense, which he knows like the back of his hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs with Cleveland at some point. He did tell us at the end of the year that he wants to play one more season and then he’s going to retire. It’s time for Buffalo, which is changing defensive schemes to get some younger players on the field there.

 

3 -Hey Chris,

Thanks again for all your hard work. Do you know how much the NFL takes weather into consideration when making schedules? I’m frustrated as the cold is one of Buffalo’s advantages and the 2 hot weather teams we play at home (San Diego and Miami) are scheduled for our first 2 home games and not only do we only get 1 December home game but our last 2 home games are against the Browns and Packers, the 2 cities that play in colder weather than us! Just looking for your thoughts an if you think we’re getting a raw deal similar to the byes/long rests our opponents got last year (noticing the Jets got a long rest and their bye for our 2 games for 2nd year in a row also). Thanks again.

Sean from Staten Island

CB: Believe it or not the Bills actually request that they have as few December home games as possible because they often prove difficult to sell out. That request was honored by the league this year as Buffalo has just one December home game this season.

 

4 – Hi Chris…as a former season ticket holder for 20 years and now a resident on Naples Fl I enjoy keeping abreast of the Bills moves through your reports and the website.  Thank you.

My question is why there is not more enthusiasm about Tony Moeaki and his potential contributions at tight end. Wasn’t he once considered a dynamic player when with Kansas City.  If the bills believe he can deliver they could concentrate on other areas rather than go tight end in the draft.  Your thoughts on Tony please…

BobbyG, Naples Florida

CB: I can tell you that GM Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone are excited about him. They feel he can recapture the production that made him a dangerous threat in the passing game. He’s battled injuries, but if he can stay on the field he can definitely be a contributor.

 

5 – Chris,

Does Jenkins fit what the Bills are looking for in an athletic tight end? Does he have the speed to be a juke type of tight end. I think he’s the second best tight end beside Ebron. Is he a viable candidate in round 2?
CB: I think Seferian-Jenkins could be a fit. He’s not the most athletic tight end, but he is athletic for his size. He has some run after catch ability, but he’s not going to be juking anybody out after the catch. He can be a productive weapon and I think in a thin tight end class he’ll be somebody’s second round pick.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

With Chandler back Whaley liking TE group

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 12:10 pm

Bills fans might not see much difference than that of a year ago, but with Scott Chandler back in the fold, Bills GM Doug Whaley believes their talent at tight end covers every requirement of the position.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley gave his thoughts on the tight end group on Buffalo’s roster.

“I like the skill set that our tight ends bring to our roster,” he said. “You’ve got Lee Smith and his primary role is a blocking tight end. You’ve got Chris Gragg and the speed aspect he brings to the table. Chandler brings the size and then you have Tony Moeaki if you look in his past he’s a good combination guy with receiving skills and blocking. We’ve got the gamut covered so we think we’re pretty solid, but that doesn’t prohibit us from getting anybody that we think might be an upgrade.”

When asked if Moeaki’s role could be larger in 2014, Whaley confirmed that’s their intent.

“That’s the plan, but again it’s competition and we expect it to be heated competition,” he said. “We’re excited and as I always say competition makes everybody elevate their game.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-7

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2014 – 2:06 pm

Buffalo’s coaching staff is now complete with the hiring of Rob Moore as receivers coach. Now preparations for the NFL Combine will ensue. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills

With some mock drafts saying TE Eric Ebron for us that would be a huge upgrade and the big addition the offense needs. Can Buffalo afford Byrd and LT Albert?

JamesKnapp

CB: I think Branden Albert is unlikely based on what Bills GM Doug Whaley said on the John Murphy Show last week. He indicated that they will continue to take a measured approach to free agency and not break the bank on high-priced free agents. Albert would certainly fit into the high-price category.

Here’s what Whaley said at the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago.

“We were extremely happy (with our free agents last year),” Whaley said. “I think we’re going to stay that course, value picks, guys that can come in and contribute and we get a real good return on our investment. They’re not going to be big splash guys.”

That being said I do believe they will make every effort to re-sign Jairus Byrd to a long term contract extension.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Thoughts on Rob Moore ? Cuse guy!

Mikefromplayers

CB: I know Rob Moore’s coaching experience is not lengthy on paper, but having met him here at One Bills Drive and being very familiar with his playing career from the time he was in high school I believe he has a lot to offer Buffalo’s receiving corps. He has an interesting approach that I think will cater well to both the youth and the proven vet in Stevie Johnson in the receivers room.

For those that don’t know his playing career all that well he was a two-time Pro Bowl receiver in his 10-year career and was 1st Team All-Pro in 1997 when he led the league in receiving with 1,584 yards on 97 catches and eight touchdowns.

I anticipate his transition to this staff will be seamless having worked with Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett in the past.

 

3 – Hi Chris,
Thanks for your continued hard work into the offseason. My Question is in regards to this upcoming draft. Buddy Nix always had the take the “best player on the board” Mentality. Do you see anything changing now with Whaley, and maybe start drafting more with the mentality of positional need??

I think the Bills are a lot closer to being a legit playoff team and its only a few “holes” that need to be addressed, And not just take a player just because they are a good football player.

Thanks, Tim in St.Catharines Ont.

CB: I don’t think GM Doug Whaley would debate that they still have a few positions in need of a upgrade. The difference now compared to a few years ago is they don’t have a dire need to plug a hole at almost any position.

Could they use a top flight size WR, a game breaking TE or a young offensive tackle? Absolutely, but they won’t be in deep trouble if they don’t. And with that in mind I think now more than ever they can truly go for the best player on the board.

I think if they’re in a situation where player grades between the top two or three players on the board is negligible they’ll address what they feel is a position of need, but beyond that Whaley seems to believe now more than ever they can go best player on the board regardless of position.

 

4 – Hi Chris,
Thanks for all your info you translate to us fans! My question is, why did we not see what Moeaki or really what Gragg had to offer this season near the end?  Why do teams sign players and never play them? It’s not as though Moeaki was a practice squad player. I really thought the Bills would have liked to see him get on the field and show what he can bring! Your thoughts??
Eileen in Niagara Ont.

CB: I think the offensive staff did want to make more game day use of the two tight ends, but game situations and circumstances compromised those plans. I can say that both players will be in the fold all offseason, which should afford the coaching staff more than enough time to gauge where both should appear on the depth chart as well as the roles they might play.

Also remember that even though the fans didn’t see much of them, the staff saw Gragg every day in practice for all of 2013 and got a month-long look at Moeaki in the practice setting to make some judgments on him. So while the book on those two for fans might be short, it’s not for the coaches. They’ll have a plan for both of them.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

A quick question about Stephon Gilmore. I’ve wondered why he has been so inconsistent and the game against the Steelers indicated to me some of his problems. In a game against a smaller receiver like Antonio Brown, Gilmore seemed overwhelmed and slow. I think his problem is that he plays like a smaller player when he should be using his size as an advantage over smaller receivers by jamming them at the line. Why doesn’t Gilmore play more like Revis? The talent, in my opinion is there, but I feel Gilmore is being used incorrectly.

Thanks,
Tommy in Pittsford


CB:
I think you’re missing the obvious here. Gilmore’s broken wrist, which required surgery prevented him from using the greatest strength of his game. His ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and steer and muscle them around is 75-80 percent of his game. The guy played with one arm and one hand for essentially 10 games last season. He had pins in his wrist.

Essentially he had to play cornerback completely different than he had ever done before, which is why in your words he played like a smaller corner than he looked. When he finally was fully healed you began to see the Gilmore everyone expected. Unfortunately the injury made 2013 somewhat of a lost year for him.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moeaki to lean on playing experience

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2013 – 12:47 pm

Bills TE Tony Moeaki will be up and active Sunday against the Dolphins. How much time he’ll see on the field remains to be seen, but Moeaki has been working hard to master the game plan and playbook since he arrived. He knows only being immersed in Buffalo’s offense for just a little over two weeks won’t make it easy, but he’s not using his lack of exposure to the Bills scheme as an excuse.

“It’ll be a challenge, but I always take pride in knowing the x’s and o’s and knowing my assignment and trying to be accountable if my number is called,” Moeaki told Buffalobills.com. “So I’m going to do my best and if I’m not sure about something, I’ll ask the QB to make sure I do know. I’ve been picking things up pretty good and just little things every day and I feel like I have a good grasp on that going into the game.”

Buffalo’s coaching staff has been happy with what they’ve seen from Moeaki, who has demonstrated good athleticism and up field transition after the catch. Moeaki is a very smooth route runner and will bring added athleticism to Buffalo’s tight end position.

“I just go out there every day trying to get better. I’m trying to learn the playbook at the same time, while sharpening the fundamentals because coming off an injury and not playing regularly on Sundays I’m just trying to pull it all back together and make sure I’m ready. I have playing experience so I’ll be leaning on that as well.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moeaki to be active Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2013 – 12:31 pm

For the first time since he joined the team as a free agent signee a couple of weeks ago, TE Tony Moeaki will be active for Sunday’s game against Miami.

Moeaki has been practicing for just over two weeks and has been impressive in the practice setting.

We’re trying to see what he can do,” head coach Doug Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “He’s a player who has had some productivity prior to him being hurt.  What I’ve seen from him on the field is that productivity. I’ve seen him moving as well as he did before the injury. That’s exciting. He’s a heck of an athlete. I think we can get a lot out of him and now we’ve got to get him on that field.”

“I’m excited,” Moeaki told Buffalobills.com. “I’ve got to be ready for anything to happen. Injuries, stuff like that. I’m not quite sure how many plays I’ll get, but I’m going to be ready and I’m just excited to get out there and put on a Bills uniform for the first time.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-13

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2013 – 2:31 pm

Down the stretch they come. Bills at Jags Sunday, but first your questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,

Two quick questions-  Kyle Williams had surgery on each of his Achilles tendons, and both procedures were successful as reported.  Why is he still constantly on the injury report with this problem and needing to be rested during the practice week.  Is it a long recovery thing or a permanent condition?

Also, during the Atlanta game, I noticed when E. J. Manual came up to the line of scrimmage he had his mouth guard stuck in his face mask about half the time.  With the increased focus on him avoiding injuries, how is it that the coaches or other players weren’t on him about that?  Maybe he has trouble talking with it in, but forgets to replace it before calling the signals.

Thanks.
DR

CB: Kyle Williams Achilles’ surgeries were not to repair ruptures. They were to repair fraying and to remove bone spurs that were rubbing on his Achilles. To repair it they had to detach each Achilles, remove the bone spurs, repair the tendons, and then re-attach them.

Rehab for those procedures are typically 4-5 months. Those Achilles in the line of work that Williams does get very sore and stiff after games. So the coaching staff affords Williams an extra day of rest to recover on Wednesdays.

Just think for a second about having double Achilles surgery and then grappling with 300-plus pound guys 60 times a game and you’re holding your ground and driving up field relying on those two Achilles to power your body forward.

That’s a lot of stress and wear on those tendons each week.

As for EJ’s mouthpiece, he takes it out at times when he needs to communicate with the O-line pre-snap. Sometimes it’s because it’s an option play that he wants to change from a run to a pass. Sometimes it’s to change a protection. But talking with that thing in your mouth is almost impossible for a QB.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

I saw a press conference recently that Doug Marrone conducted in the aftermath of Buffalo’s 34-31 loss to Atlanta. Based on that, It seems like he is still changing the losing culture in the locker room. Earlier this week, the Bills had signed Tony Moeaki. Just wondering if this was because of the turnover suffered by Scott Chandler?

It appears to me that whoever the player is, no matter how talented they are, if they are not committed to winning (or at least if he sees it that way), he will get rid of them. Now, I have no problem with that approach, but will he over time overturn the whole roster? He had a private meeting with Stevie Johnson, ( is Stevie Johnson not committed to winning?) Is this a sign of things to come?

I do believe the Bills are better than last year in terms of competitiveness, but they still do need a running back, two linebackers, and a receiver. I guess time will tell. I do believe that Doug Marrone is superior to Chan Gailey in terms of attitude, and holding players accountable. He is also wonderful with the press. Your thoughts,

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl

CB: As I said on the radio earlier this week, there are roster changes on every NFL team every year, but I foresee changes here in Buffalo that will surprise some people in the offseason. This first year, Marrone has been very thorough in making assessments of the players on this roster and whether he can win with them his way.

If he feels he cannot they will not be here long term. And let me be clear in saying what can earn a player a ticket out of here sooner rather than later goes far beyond athletic ability. Work ethic, commitment to team and professionalism are all qualities that are coveted by Marrone and his staff too.

In fact in some cases lacking in one of those three areas might lead to a player dismissal (cut or traded) even if said player has the ability to help them win.

Da’Rick Rogers should’ve served as a prime example at the beginning of the season. A ton of ability, but no professionalism or commitment to team.

If players on this roster didn’t get that message then, they may end up learning the hard way.

 

3 – Chris

Thank you for your coverage for us Bills fans!!

I have very good thoughts about Wingo and his abilities and really see him as a possible replacement for Fred Jackson in time.  Hes got the talent to be a great offsetting tandum with Spiller…Now that we will get the chance to see how he performs I have a question about the future of the franchise.  The Bills are almost rebuilt, missing a few pieces to having a very competitive team.  If Wingo performs well the rest of the season can you see maybe the Bills trading away Fred Jackson and running with Wingo.  I love Freds leadership and still believe he has a few great seasons left in him.  But his age and injuries catching up faster and faster each year so why not get something for him to bring more youth and promise to the team?

CB: I believe you’re getting ahead of yourself here. Wingo’s playing time will not be sufficient enough to make that kind of assessment, unless Spiller or Jackson sustain a season-ending injury.

I think Wingo is a player of interest to the Bills, but this is a guy they need to develop through this coming offseason to help him improve. Unseating other players is just too premature right now.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for your hard work to keep us fans up to date with the Bills. After watching this past game against the Bucs, I noticed that not 1 deep ball was attempted, and it seems like the bills offense has had success with it in the past. Coach Marrone said they may have to “scale” things back a bit for E.J Manuel. Could that be an indication that he just may not be ready yet to play in this league? This is a very young Football team and I was wondering if its just as simple as these Rookies and second year players having to “learn” how to win in the NFL?

Thanks Again, Eileen in Ontario

CB: I think the worst thing that happened to rookie QBs in the NFL was the rapid success of Andrew Luck, RG III and Russell Wilson. Due to the fact that three rookies succeeded in their first year as starters, it created the false premise that rookies QBs on the whole can succeed right away.

There are instances where that can happen, but more often than not it doesn’t. EJ Manuel has started just 10 games. In the words of Coach Marrone he has a lot to learn.

When he talked about scaling things back it was because since the second Jets game they have been increasing the amount of things on his plate to see how he would handle it. He didn’t handle it well in Tampa, so now they will cut back and simplify.

It’s the typical approach with a rookie QB. See how much they can handle and if it’s too much cut back.

 

5 – Chris,

I realize you want to create a winning culture with a young team with a new coaching staff but it’s clear this is not the team that can produce winning football. So I’m curious on what your outlook for the last three games is, I’ve been ready to settle for draft picks since the Pittsburgh game but many people may oppose tanking the rest of the year for picks.

Also I was wondering how you’d grade EJs performance this year, I personally like his attitude and demeanor  but he looks like a new born baby when he plays within the pocket it’s just painfully awkward to watch. He also just looks odd when he throws, consistently putting it over the heads of targets or in the dirt, I’m not sure why but do you think this is correctable through footwork?

Last question is about the draft we obviously need  a linebacker, guard and maybe another tackle but a big wideout seems to be a popular pick but where do they fit into our receiver room, seems that Stevie, TJ, and Robert are fixtures as the top three while we struggle to work in Goodwin. So who gets bumped out probably Marcus Easley but do we really draft a “big wideout” to be our fifth or sixth wideout? Or do you anticipate more fluctuation at this position in the offseason? As always keep up the great work covering our Buffalo Bills, and I look forward to your responses.

Will

CB: You have to win the remaining games as I see it. You’re never going to change the losing culture unless you win. If you can win these last three it helps in that effort.

EJ has had his ups and downs this season like any rookie quarterback. I think he has what it takes, but it’s going to take some time for him to put it all together. We all need to remember he’s made 10 starts.

As for team needs I agree with your linebacker and offensive line adds as well as a big receiver. I also think a big back would be prudent to groom as an eventual replacement for Fred Jackson.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moeaki getting acclimated

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2013 – 12:59 pm

Bills TE Tony Moeaki has now spent about a week and a half with his new teammates in what is a new offense for him. So is he any closer to dressing for a game on Sunday?

Head coach Doug Marrone did not make any promises for Sunday, but feels Moeaki has made good progress with each passing day of practice. By the sound of things for this week, it might be difficult to have him among the 46 active players on Sunday.

“We’ve just got to do a good job of getting him acclimated and learning,” said Marrone. “I like a lot of what he’s doing out here. Then it’s just a matter of how we get him up (active Sunday) and can we get him (active). Sometimes those things take care of themselves. Sometimes you can’t really get that done.”

If a player like Kiko Alonso, who is questionable, cannot play Sunday due to injury (knee) that could create an opening among the 46 actives to make Moeaki active. Otherwise it sounds unlikely that he will dress this week.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moeaki “smooth” in first Bills practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2013 – 2:27 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone took the long layoff of 12 weeks into account when preparing to evaluate newly signed TE Tony Moeaki in his first Bills practice Thursday. Marrone was pleased with what he saw as Moeaki looked sharp in his first session with his new teammates.

“I thought he did some nice things out there,” said Marrone. “It’s the first day back. He’s been out for a while, but he looked good. Normally you’re going to be a little bit rusty, but he looked very smooth.”

With only a month to get a look at Moeaki the coaching staff is trying to force feed the tight end as much of their playbook as possible so as to more effectively evaluate how well he can fit in Buffalo’s offensive scheme.

“We try to cram it and do as much as we can and see what he can retain and keep evaluating him,” said Marrone. “Obviously we brought him in here for a reason and the question is can he get back to the level of play when he was in this league and playing because when he did play he was extremely productive.”

Buffalo’s sideline boss isn’t convinced that Moeaki will have enough time to make an impact this season, but they’re going to do their best to make that happen.

“That’s our goal, whether that happens or not is going to depend on the progress,” he said. “Sometimes you may be forced into that situation from an injury standpoint and sometimes you can play yourself into that situation. It’s going to be evaluated and we’re excited about having him.”

Marrone did say that Moeaki is not expected to be active for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

“I don’t think so,” said Marrone. “I think it would be very difficult to get a player ready to go when you bring him in during the middle of the week.”

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Moeaki has former teammate in locker room

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2013 – 4:35 pm

Bills newest tight end Tony Moeaki has never had to latch on with another NFL club late in the season. He spent his entire NFL career with Kansas City. That’s why he’s glad he’s got a former college teammate in the Buffalo locker room to help him get up to speed sooner rather than later.

Moeaki was college teammates for two seasons with fellow TE Scott Chandler at Iowa.

“I came when he was a junior and we both worked together there in two tight end sets for two years so I know Scott pretty well,” said Moeaki.

With only four games and a month of practices to show his ability to the coaching staff, Moeaki sees the value of having a former teammate on the roster.

“It helps to have a friend on the team at the same position that you’ve played with, especially in this situation, new city, new team, so it’s nice,” he said.

Chandler will be also be able to give advice on how best to jump in and assimilate himself late in a regular season with a new club, since that’s exactly what he did with the Bills when he was claimed off waivers by Buffalo almost three years ago to the day (Dec. 3rd, 2010).

He practiced with the club over the final month of the season and appeared in the last four games, mostly on special teams. Chandler also posted one catch for nine yards before winning the starting tight end job the following season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills