Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-3

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2017 – 11:36 am

The NFL Combine is in full swing. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for full coverage. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Saw the Bills may be interested in Trevor Siemian. If they trade for him, think they will draft a QB?

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: We’re probably getting way ahead of ourselves, since the first shoe that has to drop is Denver acquiring Tony Romo. Only then would that make Trevor Siemian expendable. We all know the connections with Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison having worked with Siemian the past two years, so logically it makes sense. The compensation required would be the rub.

If Denver wants draft picks that would be a problem. Buffalo only has six this year, the lowest number in the 2017 draft. Parting with those is probably not in the Bills best interest especially if they want anything higher than a five. Buffalo doesn’t even have a four to offer this year.

As we go deep down this rabbit hole, if they were to somehow acquire Siemian I don’t think they draft a QB because that would give them three young quarterbacks (Siemian, Jones, draftee) and there’s no way the offensive staff would have enough time to capably develop all three. If they acquire Siemian the likelihood is they add a veteran free agent as I see it.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Report says “not many options out there” … Then why would Tyrod negotiate?! That’s like calling him stupid, something he’s not #Bills

Nick Wojton
@Nick_Wojton

CB: I think you’re only looking at this one way. I agree that Tyrod in terms of getting the best contract he can has no incentive to renegotiate. If he’s allowed to become a free agent there’s a good chance he makes just as much money, if not more on a free agent market where he would probably be the top QB option.

Here’s a reason why I think he does at least consider renegotiation. He said he wants to return to the Bills in 2017. It’s clear that he’s proud of what he and the Bills offense has accomplished the past two seasons, which includes a top 12 and top 10 finish in scoring despite having a defense that has grossly underachieved the past two years, despite some major injury absences in those two years on the offensive side of the ball (Clay, McCoy, Watkins, Woods in 2015) (Watkins, Woods, McCoy together for 5 games in 2016).

Now with Sean McDermott on board the defense is expected to take a demonstrative step forward. That alone helps Buffalo’s offense.

Taylor said he believes they’re close to breaking through and ending the franchise’s playoff drought. Whether you believe him or not, I get the sense he wants to see things through in Buffalo as an established leader. Taylor is a different breed of cat. He knows that talent on the Bills roster intimately. If he signs somewhere else he’ll be hitting the reset button.

If he renegotiates he helps create more room under the salary cap to help fortify the roster. That helps him.

Taylor doesn’t just think in dollars and cents for himself. He’s a very selfless player. He wants to be successful on the field first and foremost. Those things count for something in his book.

We’ll know soon whether or not renegotiation was able to come to fruition.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Could Bills reunite with Jairus Byrd?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: Jairus Byrd is expected to be released on the first day of free agency (March 9th) due to his cost prohibitive contract and his lack of production. After posting 22 interceptions in his first five seasons with the Bills, he’s had just three in his three seasons with New Orleans. In Byrd’s defense he’s been part of a defense that has languished near the bottom of the league. There has not been a lot of help up front in creating hurried throws or errant passes for Byrd to prey upon.

The speculation about Byrd coming back to the Bills makes sense. His father Gil Byrd is the team’s secondary coach. At 30-years old and not a lot of production he would presumably come at an affordable rate.

There’s no debating that safety is a positional need for Buffalo. But again, let’s wait for his release to take place first. Then we’ll see how realistic a possibility it would be.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is Brandon Marshall an option for the #Bills?

Not1Day
@Not1Day

CB: Marshall is still a wide receiver who can make plays in the passing game. He can’t run anymore, but he is still a physical wideout who can create separation with his body when the ball arrives. Marshall will be 34-years old in three weeks. That’s not a good thing.

Even though Marshall became a primetime player under Rick Dennison in Denver (2006-2009) with three consecutive 100-catch seasons that was a lifetime ago.

I can only see Marshall as an option if he’s extremely affordable.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is there a sideline-to-sideline LB on the #Bills’ roster if Whaley doesn’t sign Zach Brown?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: No, there is not. Brown is the only player with true sideline to sideline ability on the roster as I see it. Preston Brown and Reggie Ragland can run, but not in the way needed for the weak side role in McDermott’s 4-3 defensive scheme. You need a true athlete there. Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham is a prospect who fits the profile. I’m curious to see how he runs, but he’s seen as one of the better athletes at OLB in the class.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Renegotiation a possibility with Tyrod

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2017 – 10:26 am

With the deadline to make a decision on what to do with Tyrod Taylor’s contract option just over a week away, the Bills have a couple of directions they can take. Obviously picking up the option is one choice. Allowing him to become a free agent is another. Trading him in some kind of sign and trade arrangement is another possibility as is a contract renegotiation. In an interview with Buffalobills.com, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan believes renegotiation is a realistic option.

“When they did that contract (last August) I think both parties would tell you they knew that this was a possibility because the number was so big,” Caplan told Buffalobills.com. “The thought around the league was the Bills would not roll over that option. They would look to renegotiate if Tyrod Taylor played well enough. And he did play well. I think the Bills also have to look at it and if it’s not going to be Tyrod, who is it going to be?

“Quite frankly in free agency other than Mike Glennon who is a true unrestricted free agent, you’re looking at trades. There’s not much out there. To me then you’re looking at the draft if you don’t bring back Tyrod. Not that many options out there if you do not bring back Tyrod.”

As for the likelihood of other NFL quarterback needy teams calling the Bills to see if they could pry Taylor away from them via trade, Caplan believes there will likely be calls, but again the existing option on the contract is a number most NFL clubs don’t want to inherit.

“I would expect them to at least get some calls just to see what the Bills are going to do with him. You mention that option. It’s a little bit cost prohibitive to do that. You’re talking about 30.75 million fully guaranteed to roll over the option. But the thing is in advance and I know they were doing it here. Doug Whaley is going to talk to, I think he actually talked to them at least once, Adisa Bakari, Tyrod Taylor’s agent, they’ll get that ball rolling. Here’s the deal next week, the time is compressed here. It won’t come down to March 11th. I’m sure it’ll come down a couple of days before that where the Bills will make their final decision. That’s why the combine is so important. You can get face to face time. That is very important it’s a lot better than doing it over the phone.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock says he’s a Tyrod Taylor fan

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2017 – 4:49 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock went for about two hours answering questions on a national conference call. When the subject of Tyrod Taylor came up and his future with the Bills, Mayock expressed the opinion that Taylor could be a capable contributor to a winning team.

“First and foremost I’m a Tyrod Taylor fan,” said Mayock. “I understand that the question here is more about cap dollars than it is about whether he’s a capable quarterback. We started out this conversation talking about the dearth of quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s a capable quarterback. Is he a franchise guy? No, I don’t believe so. But he doesn’t turn the football over, but when you complement him with a strong running game and a good defense it’s a winning formula.

“I kind of like the kid. I know Sean McDermott probably has to look at this guy and say, ‘Hey he doesn’t turn the ball over. If we play good defense we have a chance of being pretty good pretty quickly.'”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-17

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2017 – 11:30 am

Veteran cuts are happening around the league as team’s look to create more favorable fiscal situations with their cap. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

With the coaching shakeup we head in the off season with a new head coach, and with our limited cap space for next year already, do you see the following players being in a Buffalo uniform next year?
Tyrod Taylor?
Lesean McCoy?
EJ Manuel?
Charles Clay?
Goodwin?
Stephon Gilmore?
Jerry Hughers?
Kyle Williams?

CB: Taylor is a true question mark. As I said last week I think it’s a situation that could go either way.

McCoy, Clay and Hughes are back. As long as Kyle Williams wants to continue playing I believe he’s here as well.

I’d be surprised if Manuel was re-signed. Goodwin is unlikely knowing they drafted his replacement last year in Kolby Listenbee, who offers the same speed and more size.

Gilmore will depend chiefly on the money he demands.
2 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering with everything aside do you see Whaley re-signing Robert Woods this off season?  Also, do you think they will give Mike Gillislee a contract and get him locked up?

Thanks as always,
Jillian

CB: I think unless the Bills bowl him over with a contract offer that he’s going to test the market. Woods numbers could put him in line for a contract that averages about $9M a season. If there’s a competition for Woods, I don’t see the Bills getting in a bidding war for him.

I do believe they try to sign Mike Gillislee to a long-term contract rather than tender him for one year.
3 – Chris,

I don’t think Tyrod Taylor has proven he can read defenses and make NFL throws over the middle.  I can’t see paying that much for a running QB.  With that in mind, do you think Doug Whaley would target QB Mike Glennon in free agency.

RC from DC

CB: I know it was only one example, but his performance against Miami in Week 16 was an encouraging sign of progress in throwing over the middle. He found targets there with consistency when the Dolphins were daring him to throw there. Taylor threw for over 300 yards in that game.

If the Bills elect to pursue a free agent like Mike Glennon, it would be a complete 180 in philosophy with respect to their quarterback. That’s not to say that it’s wrong, but it would be a vast departure from what they’ve done previously.

Taylor’s skill set is capable of fitting into OC Rick Dennison’s offensive scheme. They’ve worked together before. That’s why I believe the possibility still exists that Taylor is here in 2017.

For what it’s worth, Taylor has a higher completion percentage and a better touchdown to interception ratio than Glennon, who is strictly a pocket passer. Then add on Taylor’s 500 rushing yards a season and in my opinion you’ve got a better option in Taylor than Glennon. But that’s just me.

 

4 – Chris,
My Question is this: Obviously I’m very frustrated with the play of Dareus and Hughes, after they signed huge contracts.

Dareus, specifically, has not produced like a 95 million dollar player should IMO, along with his suspension and injuries.

Is there any chance we try to trade him in the off-season or release him after the 2017 season (if I understand his contract correctly) ?

-David from Rochester

CB: I don’t think trading Dareus is realistic. If you did he’d be a $14M cap hit and put more than $30M in dead cap on your books.

It’s my contention that this new defensive scheme will get back to maximizing the strengths of both Dareus’ and Jerry Hughes’ game, which is getting up the field and penetrating and putting heat on the quarterback.

The scheme under DC Leslie Frazier and coach McDermott will allow them to attack, which is what they like to do best. Dareus was forced to stand in the gaps and grind with offensive linemen under Rex Ryan and let the linebackers run and make plays. Dareus is a playmaker. He was miscast in Ryan’s system.

Hughes is also a more effective player in a 4-3 scheme. It’s where he had back-to-back 10-sack seasons. So I’d give it the 2017 season to reassess if the struggles of Dareus and Hughes were self-inflicted or if they were a victim of a scheme that didn’t fit either of them.

 

5 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for everything you do in regards to covering the bills. If the bills let Woods walk, do you think Kendall Wright from Tennessee could be a possible addition? Reports say he is leaving and could need some new scenery. I feel like he could catch on well with the bills in the slot.
Thank you,
Max

CB: There’s no question that Wright would be a more affordable option than Woods. He’s not as athletic as Woods and is probably a slot receiver only. What will be of concern to potential suitors is the fact that Wright has not made it through a 16-game season since 2013, when he had a 94-catch season, which was his only 1,000-yard receiving year.

Buffalo has experienced all too many problems in recent years with receivers who are not available due to injury. Knowing Wright has an injury history could be a deterrent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-10

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2017 – 11:32 am

Into the offseason we go. Franchise and transition tag window opens next week with the NFL Combine and free agency on the horizon. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills rank the following in likelihood from high to low. Romo, tyrod, rookie qb, someone else not mentioned starting.

Jonathan Yedin
@jonyedi

CB: I’m going to put Tyrod first on this list only because he’s on the roster and under contract. Right now he’s the path of least resistance. He’s an asset that’s already here. A lot of national reporters are operating under the assumption that he’s as good as gone. I don’t subscribe to that contention. I believe it could go either way.

A rookie quarterback is a distinct possibility because regardless of what happens with Tyrod Taylor the team will have to add at the position. Obviously if the team moves on from Tyrod it would only increase the likelihood of that happening, and then this would move to the top of the list in terms of likelihood. But even if Taylor remains a Bill, EJ Manuel is a free agent. They’ll probably need another arm.

Romo is probably more likely to end up in Chicago, Houston or even Kansas City. At age 37 and with a long injury history it’s not an investment that looks all that attractive. There’s no denying his talent and his won-loss record, but at this point in his career the risk seems higher than the reward.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills Tyrod unwilling to take a pay cut (don’t blame him), does that cement his dismissal?

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo
@darcangel21

CB: The reports that Tyrod is unwilling to restructure his deal with the Bills makes sense. First, despite the popular opinion that his contract is cost prohibitive, Taylor would be tied for 16th among starting quarterbacks in terms of average salary if the Bills pick up his option.

The past two seasons Taylor has finished seventh and ninth in Total QBR (ESPN metric).

Business-wise Taylor knows in a thin free agent quarterback market that he would be at the top of the free agent list if he was released by Buffalo, where he could potentially sign an even larger contract than the one he has with Buffalo.

Does it cement his dismissal?

I think that’s a strong way to paint the situation. While a lot of NFL business decisions are made because of money, I think the bigger factor in this particular decision is the collective opinion of the Bills front office in terms of whether they believe they can do better at the position than Taylor.

The front office has understandably been tight lipped on that subject.

That doesn’t mean money won’t be a factor. It’s probably 1A. But you have to be convinced that your product on the field can be more consistent and productive with someone besides Taylor. Then the next step is determining if that someone you have in mind is an asset you can realistically acquire.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills You’re in charge on Draft Day. Do you take QB Trubisky or WR Williams?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: This is a pretty easy decision to make based on what I think will happen in the draft. Of course as I’ve mentioned in this column before we’ve yet to see what’s acquired by the Bills in free agency. That could change their approach in the draft.

But in an effort to provide an answer I will say that this quarterback class does not appear to possess more than one prospect who is going to help a team on the field this year.

Trubisky is probably the closest thing and he’s a quarterback who couldn’t get on the field before this past season. All that being said I don’t think Trubisky falls out of the top three picks. Cleveland, San Francisco or Chicago all need quarterbacks, so one of them will take him off the board long before Buffalo is on the clock.

Going under the likely scenario that he’s off the board my preference in this particular draft is to wait on drafting a quarterback. None of the other QB prospects are NFL ready and that will continue to be a trend with the college game separating further and further from the NFL game (no huddling, no audibles, no calling plays). So that would leave me taking Mike Williams at 10 under your parameters.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills Which RFA’s do you think the #bills will tender and at which comp. level?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: I think it’s a lock that they tender Mike Gillislee and Ryan Groy. Both had exceptional individual seasons for the Bills last year. In fact I think it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to sign both players to long term deals to keep their cap figures more manageable.

Colton Schmidt had a bit of an up and down season last year. With a new coaching staff there’s always the chance that they could prefer someone else to Schmidt. Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is still on the staff so that may help Schmidt’s cause.

The other thing to remember here is tendering Schmidt at the low level does nothing in the way of compensation protection. Schmidt was undrafted, so tendering him at the low level only gives you right of first refusal.

I’d be surprised if IK Enemkpali is tendered a qualifying offer.


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills any time frame on Kyle Williams’ decision on retirement?

Ian Campbell
@comedianian98

CB: When we spoke to Williams at the Pro Bowl it was clear he was still decompressing from the season. He did say he was encouraged by his initial conversations with new head coach Sean McDermott, and it’s clear his teammates are trying to get him to return.

I would anticipate that the club would ask that he make a definitive decision before free agency opens in March.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-3

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2017 – 11:15 am

Fan Friday has been on a bit of a hiatus of late with Senior Bowl duties last week and the new head coaching announcement earlier last month. But we’re back. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Which position are the Bills most likely to double-dip on the draft? WR? S?

Dean Kindig
@TCBILLS_Astro

CB: I think this question is a little premature. The steps this team takes in free agency first will largely determine what positional need could get additional focus in the draft. Do the Bills re-sign two of their four free agent receivers? Do they pick up a safety in free agency like Arizona’s Tony Jefferson? When will Aaron Williams’ decision be finalized?

All of these will factor into Buffalo’s direction in the draft in late April.

That being said I will say that both wide receiver and safety are likely to be addressed in some capacity in the draft and free agency.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills will Tyrod be the QB now that all coaching staff is in place???

Craig McNair
@craigm5408

CB: I think the process has already begun on that front. Bills GM Doug Whaley told Buffalobills.com at the Senior Bowl last week that meetings would begin with the coaching staff once the college and pro personnel departments returned to Buffalo. How long a process that would be to lay out the direction and construction of the roster this offseason was not divulged, but it is underway. He described the meetings that took place this week as preliminary.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills does new WR coach really have any impact on drafting Zay Jones?

@K_Cleetus23

CB: Phil McGeoghan, Buffalo’s new receivers coach, coached East Carolina WR Zay Jones the last two seasons after he helped develop Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry from a rookie to a Pro Bowl caliber receiver as receivers coach with Miami.

What McGeoghan can provide more than anything is intimate knowledge on Jones that you can’t get by watching film. What his work ethic is day in and day out on the practice field. What his family life is like at home. What he’s like as a teammate. What drives him, motivates him. These are all things that NFL college scouting departments work to gather on prospects all year, and the Bills scouting department probably has a lot of that information on Jones already.

McGeoghan offers a knowledgeable sounding board to confirm and validate anything and everything on Jones, who I was impressed with last week at the Senior Bowl.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Is 2017 a rebuild year or a try to make the playoffs year?

Jon Alhart
@JonAlhart

CB: Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from GM Doug Whaley it’s clear that the only thing this team is rebuilding is their philosophy on how to build a perennial contender. It’s clear that the front office didn’t believe the philosophy of the previous coaching regime was one that was designed to contend year in and year out. Sean McDermott’s coaching model is built to do that.

Now does that mean the team will be contending in 2017? I think we have to see how the roster takes shape through the course of the offseason to better ascertain the team’s immediate fortunes.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there a chance Daboll joins McDermott’s staff esp. with the W&M connection?

Vicious Sid
@vicious155

CB: While you are correct that Patriots TEs coach Brian Daboll did coach at William & Mary for one year when Sean McDermott was a player there, from the people I’ve spoken with in New England, Daboll’s intention is to stay put with the Patriots. All indications are he is the heir apparent as the offensive coordinator when Josh McDaniels leaves for his next head coaching job.

For those that don’t know Daboll is also an Orchard Park native, and played his high school ball at St. Francis. With the stability of his situation in New England, I’d expect him to bide his time and move into the OC role there when the time comes.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dominik: Puzzle for Bills starts at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2017 – 10:18 am

Ex-NFL GM Mark Dominik, now an ESPN NFL analyst likes the staff that new Bills head coach Sean McDermott has put together in Buffalo. Now comes the task of crafting and reshaping the roster and the big decision obviously lies at quarterback. As Dominik sees it the situation concerning Tyrod Taylor’s future with Buffalo is a compelling one.

“You’ve got the interesting situation with Tyrod,” said Dominik. “But there’s a big puzzle to be put together on quarterbacks in general, whether it’s some of the veterans that are out there like (Jay) Cutler and (Ryan) Fitzpatrick. And where does Kaepernick fit. So they’ve got their work cut out for them.”

What Dominik feels is working in favor of the new coaching staff is they have day-to-day working familiarity with Taylor, thanks to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison’s season with Taylor in Baltimore in 2014 when he was quarterbacks coach.

“The good thing is Dennison has worked with a lot of different quarterbacks if you look at his track record over the last few years,” said Dominik. “Tyrod Taylor has been with him before. They’ve got to get it right.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-6

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2017 – 11:49 am

We’ve hit the offseason early again Bills fans. No question, it stinks. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills at pick 10 in this year’s draft if we let Tyrod walk do we go qb?

Eddie Barnard
@eddie_barnard

CB: We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here because first the head coach has to be in place, then player evaluations by the new staff will chart the course of who is here and who is not here. But to answer your question, in the event that the new head coach elects to move on from Tyrod Taylor I don’t know that drafting a worthwhile quarterback at 10th overall will happen.

I’m a fan of Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer, but knowing there are QB needy teams in front of Buffalo (San Fran #2, Chicago #3, NY Jets #6) I don’t think he even gets to 10 for the Bills to consider. UNC’s Mitch Trubisky is still up in the air on whether he’s staying in school or entering the draft pool.

Kizer played in a pro-style spread system, had the ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and has the physical measurables you look for (6-5, 220). His numbers dropped this past season as the Irish struggled to a 4-8 finish, but it wasn’t all on Kizer. Working with a bunch of first-year receivers after Will Fuller, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise moved on to the NFL, Kizer still had 26 TDs against 9 INTs, even though his completion percentage dropped five percent.

So while I like Kizer and Trubisky, I don’t anticipate them making it to pick 10 and after them I’m not enamored with what’s left to the point where I would use the 10th pick to take one.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale Jones the starting QB next year?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: Again this is a ‘predict the future’ question that’s far too difficult to answer. There are too many variables that aren’t even in place to know where Jones will stand on the depth chart. Does the new head coach think he can win with Tyrod Taylor? Does he think Cardale Jones could be part of a quarterback competition in training camp? Does he think Jones could win that competition? Will they be adding at the quarterback position via trade, draft or free agency? Would that quarterback be more NFL ready than Jones, who just saw his first NFL action last week for a quarter?

I think one thing we have to think about is if a new head coach comes in and there’s a new offensive system for Jones to master it’s going to set his development back, as we’ve seen with young quarterbacks here before (e.g. J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, EJ Manuel).

Let me be clear that I’m not saying the changes on offense were the reasons those quarterbacks struggled to develop, but constant change makes it harder for young quarterbacks to succeed and advance their games. All of them saw coaching changes in their time with the Bills.

Jones will be the next quarterback, even if Anthony Lynn is hired because he inherited an offense this past season that he intends to change.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are Bills expected to put tender on Gillislee? What is the tender process, and why don’t teams place highest tender possible?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Restricted free agents are the players teams must decide upon regarding whether to extend them a qualifying offer to retain the right of first refusal, should they be offered a contract from another NFL club.

There are different levels at which a player could be tendered to dissuade other clubs from trying to make a contract offer to lure the player away from their current team.

The new restricted free agent tender levels are usually released by the NFL in early March, though NFL clubs make projections on what the amounts will be.

There is the low tender, which means the compensation due the original club if their RFA player was signed away by another team would equate to the draft round in which they were selected. For Mike Gillislee such a tender would yield a fifth-round pick in return, since Gillislee was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins (2013).

Last year’s low tender was $1.671 million.

If Buffalo values him as something more than that and they want to make it more prohibitive for another team to sign him away they can use the second-round tender, which would make the compensation a second-round pick if the Bills chose not to match an offer from another team.

Last year’s second-round tender was $2.553 million.

The first-round tender last year was $3.635 million, and carries first-round pick compensation.

I certainly understand your question as to why teams don’t just tender everyone at the highest possible level. Sometimes cap constraints keep teams from doing that. They also want to be careful not to overvalue a player to avoid paying said player more than they would like if a long term contract is a route they want to take.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Doug Whaley is so unimpressive, do you know how he continues to sell himself to ownership?

PJ Persichini
@PJP3rd

CB: I think what you need to keep in mind is as a fan you only see him in one context, a press conference, question and answer setting. Whether it’s on the radio or on TV you only see Whaley in a Q&A format.

What you don’t see is Whaley’s decisiveness when weighing the value of a trade. You don’t see him in personnel meetings pinpointing positional needs, assessing the talent level of specific players. You don’t see him running draft meetings, the draft room, interacting with players, making tough personnel decisions, finding players on the street at a time when there aren’t many and finding contributors (e.g. Mike Gillislee, Ryan Groy, Justin Hunter).

I know it’s hard to not think about him in the interview context because that’s all the exposure you have to Whaley. Look at the talent he is directly responsible for adding to this roster on the whole and I think you’ll find a lot more hits than misses.

I understand that for a team that has struggled to get wins, the misses are magnified, but there isn’t a GM in this league who has a perfect record. Drafting players is a lot like a batting average. If you hit .400 in landing Pro Bowl type talent in the draft, you’re the equivalent of Ted Williams. You’re in a league of your own. Most quality GMs hit between .300 to .350 in the draft in terms of landing top flight talent that can be the core of your team for years.

The lost piece of the puzzle as I see it for the Bills has been player development by the coaching staffs that have come through Buffalo. The head coaches that have been hired in Buffalo have unfortunately not put the best of coaching staffs together over the years and that has compromised the development of players and maximizing player potential has proven difficult.

That’s not to say there haven’t been good player development coaches over the years. Sanjay Lal, Anthony Lynn and Aaron Kromer are among the best examples on the most recent staff. There are others. Previous assistants that come to mind include Bobby April, Donnie Henderson and Joe D’Alessandris.

Does all this mean that Doug Whaley is blameless? Doug said himself he needs to do a better job. In fact it was one of the first things he said in his press conference Monday. But it’s my personal belief that Doug Whaley is a good personnel man, who knows how to build a team over time and has a plan. We all know the franchise quarterback has been a missing component for some time, and those are hard to find. Other teams that don’t have one have struggled too. Denver lost theirs after winning the Super Bowl and they’re out of the playoffs this year.

Absent that though this roster does have a good deal of talent, and this offseason will provide more opportunity to add to that talent. The key will be hiring a head coach who can implement a vision and structure to unify everyone on the staff and roster to achieve the ultimate goal. Hopefully that new head coach hires the kind of coaching staff that can maximize the talent on hand along with the new talent coming through the door.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills I like Sean McDermott. Do you think he can be a solid leader?

Ronald Krzal Jr

@Ronnie_Krzal

CB: I think knowing the kind of leader a coach can be can only be captured in the kind of long interview sessions that the Bills are conducting now in their coaching search. You can’t look at a resume of offensive or defensive success and determine if a guy is a leader. You’ve got to sit down with a coaching prospect and get to know them to determine that.

Does their philosophy about being a head coach inspire you? Do you think he’s capable of motivating men who have been mired in a culture where the success has been minimal and galvanize them into believing they can do better? Does he come across as a person that people willingly follow and believe in?

Not being in that room I can’t tell you if he can be a solid leader.

I can tell you that I like who he has worked under during his time in the NFL. Andy Reid, Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera are all solid coaching influences. So the people he has worked under is definitely a plus. But that doesn’t qualify Sean McDermott as a solid leader. That’s more about who he is as a person as I see it. And maybe he is that person, but there’s no way for you and I to know that from where we sit.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Back-to-back team rushing titles rare

Posted by Chris Brown on January 5, 2017 – 11:35 am

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com Thursday, the Bills run game had another league-leading year to make back-to-back seasons at the top of the league in rushing yards. Over the last 20 years only two other teams have been able to lead the league in rushing in back-to-back years. Here’s a look at the other two NFL teams who have pulled off the feat in that span of time.

The Atlanta Falcons led the league in rushing for three consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2006. Those teams were led by Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn. Vick, much like Tyrod Taylor, ran for a lot of yardage to boost the Falcons rushing attack.

Vick had significantly more rushing production than Taylor has had in Buffalo. He rushed for 902 yards in 2004, 597 in 2005 and an astounding 1,039 in 2006. Atlanta led the league in rushing all three years.

The other team to go back-to-back were the San Francisco 49ers in 1998 and 1999. In ’98 their QB Steve Young helped the rushing total with 454 yards on the ground to go with Garrison Heart’s big year (1,570 yards rushing). Then in 1999, Charlie Garner was their top rusher (1,229 yards rushing) and Jeff Garcia took over at quarterback and though not the rusher that Young was, still had 231 rushing yards.

Vick’s Falcons had the three highest per game rushing totals of all three teams. In 2004 they averaged 167 rushing yards a game. In 2005 it was 159.1 and in 2006 it was an eye-popping 183.7 rushing yards per game.

Buffalo averaged 152 and 164.4 the past two years.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor among Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on January 1, 2017 – 11:30 am

Tyrod Taylor will finish the season with 15 starts as he is Buffalo’s inactive quarterback for the season finale against the Jets today. EJ Manuel will start and Cardale Jones will be the backup. Here’s the full list of Buffalo inactives.

QB Tyrod Taylor
WR Dezmin Lewis
CB Stephon Gilmore
OT Cordy Glenn
TE Logan Thomas
TE Gerald Christian
DL Adolphus Washington


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lynn: All 3 Bills QBs could be up Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2016 – 4:23 pm

The Bills interim head coach knows he’s starting EJ Manuel at quarterback on Sunday. As for how the depth chart falls behind Manuel, that’s still to be determined.

Anthony Lynn indicated on Thursday that Cardale Jones could very well be the No. 2 QB on Sunday against the Jets, but that’s not set in stone. In addition he didn’t rule out the possibility of Tyrod Taylor being active too.

“Cardale definitely has to be ready to play,” Lynn said. “If something happens to EJ he has to be ready to go in. Right now it looks like he will be (the No. 2 QB), but possibly all three quarterbacks could be up as well.”

Buffalo has not had all three quarterbacks active on game day once this season. Cardale Jones has been inactive all season.

Tyrod Taylor got a veteran’s rest day on Thursday, so Manuel got the starter’s reps while Jones got the backup reps and ran the scout team offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Glenn, Gilmore, Kyle unable to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2016 – 3:32 pm

Three of Buffalo’s starters weren’t able to go in practice Thursday.

OT Cordy Glenn, CB Stephon Gilmore and DT Kyle Williams all were unable to practice. Glenn and Kyle both have back injuries. Glenn missed last week’s game and hasn’t practiced yet this week. Williams has cut back his practice workload to play last week and might be doing the same this week.

Gilmore is still in the concussion protocol so Kevon Seymour might get the start if Gilmore can’t play Sunday.

QB Tyrod Taylor was given a veteran’s rest day according to head coach Anthony Lynn.

“He got a veteran’s day off,” said Lynn. “It’s a lot easier to be off your feet and staying inside rather than being out here on a turf field for two or three hours doing nothing. So I gave him a veteran’s day off.”

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OT Cordy Glenn – back
CB Stephon Gilmore – concussion
DT Kyle Williams – back
QB Tyrod Taylor – rest day

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
G John Miller – hip
WR Sammy Watkins – foot

FULL PRACTICE
LB Lerentee McCray – concussion
LB Jerry Hughes – hamstring

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

EJ knows how Tyrod feels

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2016 – 3:48 pm

The decision to go with EJ Manuel as the starter this week after Tyrod Taylor has started the first 15 games has made for an awkward situation in the quarterback room this week. While all three quarterbacks have accepted it, it’s a situation that makes things a bit uncomfortable for everyone involved. No one knows that better than EJ Manuel.

“Of course anytime something like this happens… I know when I was a starter and I got replaced it was awkward for me,” said Manuel. “Even coming to practice the next day it just felt weird. So I’m sure it is a little different for him.

“At least for me it was good to get back in the saddle and get some timing with those receivers and tight ends. It was good for me.”

Taylor chose not to speak to the media on Wednesday.


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Players weigh in on QB decision

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2016 – 3:44 pm

The players on offense are focused on winning the season finale despite all the upheaval in the wake of head coach Rex Ryan’s dismissal as well as Assistant head coach Rob Ryan. But going into the game with EJ Manuel as the starter at quarterback instead of Tyrod Taylor felt a bit strange for some of them.

“Yep, that’s the business side of this,” said Richie Incognito. “As much as we’d like to say this is a game and go out there and have fun, there’s a big business behind this. That’s what it boils down to. That’s a business decision that was made. As players you’ve got to be professionals and handle that and we rally behind EJ. Now it’s EJ’s turn to go out and show what he can do and we’re excited about it.”

“I don’t think it’s fair, but that’s the business part of it. It is what it is,” said Robert Woods of the quarterback change. “That’s part of the game. There’s money involved and there’s playing involved. That part is the money part and that’s their decision and all we can do is just go out there, play with EJ [Manuel] and win the game.”

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor not a glove guy

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2016 – 10:44 am

Last Sunday Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger wore a glove on his throwing hand in the cold conditions of last week’s game. But Tyrod Taylor chose not to do so. With temperatures for today expected to be much the same, Taylor isn’t changing his approach.

“No, I’m not a glove guy,” said Taylor. “I like to feel the football. I think us being on turf kind of actually helps us. When it’s grass, the field gets a little muddy but hopefully it doesn’t get too bad.”

Snow is also in the forecast, although not as much is expected as last week’s home game.


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Fan Friday 12-16

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2016 – 11:38 am

Got to take care of business against a team that is young and lacking talent Sunday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills We need another big body WR. Especially one that can come in opposite Sammy Watkins. Why didn’t Buffalo jump on M. Floyd?

Kevin Ward
@ItsTheSooperman

CB: I was wondering myself why they wouldn’t take a flyer on him. My thinking was with so much rotating through a host of different receivers due to injury, adding another with three weeks left in the season might not have been seen as a productive option. But I’ll let GM Doug Whaley answer that one.

“We talked about it,” said Whaley of putting in a waiver claim. “But with his situation and being a free agent after this season, we thought right now with Sammy coming along, Robert Woods back and Justin Hunter, with the guys we have and the timing they’re developing with Tyrod, we just thought it wouldn’t be a good addition for us at this time.”
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will move on from either Rex and/or Whaley after this season?

nickellion79
@nickellion79

CB: I think these last few games will have a lot to do with what happens moving forward. I don’t get the feeling that the front office is in limbo as much.  

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale going to be the answer or is this just another resting point in a QB search?

Joshua Lewin
@OneBuffalo39

CB: There’s no way for anyone to know if Cardale is going to be the answer at QB for the Bills. What Jones is right now is a developmental project who has physical tools and instincts that are worth developing to see if he can be the answer at quarterback down the line.

As Doug Whaley just said on the radio today, he is nowhere near being ready to play in an NFL regular season game. The guy played in 11 college games. Right from the start when they drafted him the Bills looked at Jones 2016 season as a redshirt year at this level.

If he puts together a strong offseason next spring and summer and demonstrates that he’s quick on the uptake he could perhaps convince the coaching staff to open up another quarterback competition. But at this point that looks like a big ‘if.’

And if the offense changes again it will make it even more unlikely since the learning curve for Jones will be on reset.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills do other teams have as many anonymous leaks undermining the Coach / GM / QB on gamedays as BUF? Bills had playoffs on the line.

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: The timing of the information being released was tied to the reporter’s on camera segment on CBS’ pre-game show Sunday more than anything else. The report was published shortly after he appeared on the network’s programming.

While I don’t debate for a second that the leaks undermining the coach and/or others is unfortunate, I think you’re going on the assumption that the leak was internal. While I don’t dispute that it could be the case, unless that can be definitively ascertained we have to at least be open to the possibility that it could’ve come from outside the organization too. Someone that has close ties to the club, but doesn’t work for the team.

Typical culprits in those cases are player agents, who could very well be serving an agenda for someone inside the club. Sometimes that could be the agenda of the player they represent, especially if they don’t get along with the coaching staff.

Hopefully that helps provide a glimpse as to how many different paths a leak like this could travel.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills are the bills leaning more toward drafting a qb and signing a FA or just drafting one if they do not sign Taylor?

Jared Bailey

@JaredBailey23

CB: I think that’s an assessment that will be based on what they think of Taylor as a QB, whether they genuinely believe they can do better in the short term. That’s based on who is available in free agency, via trade and in the draft. Neither the free agent market, nor the draft class look all that impressive at first glance. So I don’t see any easy answers out there if the club decides to move on from Taylor.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Taylor, Watkins take extra time on the field

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2016 – 9:27 am

The connection between Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins last season was unmistakable in the second half of the year. Watkins averaged 100 yards receiving per game over the last nine games of 2015 and had six of his nine touchdowns over the final six games that year. This year Watkins foot kept him off the field far too much and the on field chemistry between Taylor and Watkins has suffered. So the duo has spent extra time on the practice field to re-establish the connection.

Last week there were a few instances where they didn’t read Oakland’s coverages the same way and a couple of chances for big plays were squandered. This week Watkins worked with Taylor on the non-verbal communication.

“Tyrod is doing a great job with doing great stuff after practice with those signals,” said Watkins. “That’s one thing that hurt us. That play we could have definitely scored off of. We had the right call, and we can’t have that. We can’t have hiccups like that. So he’s been clearing it up after practice, we have been going through the signals and stuff.”

When asked how far off they are from having the same connection as they had last year, Watkins feels there’s a good deal of ground to cover.

“We were totally different last year because I had more time with him and I was healthy and I was with him,” he said. “Right now, it’s about getting back on that right page. We have to do it quick, like I said, we are trying to make a playoff run. But we aren’t too far off, really it’s up to me. I have to get open, and if I get open, he will throw the ball. That’s my job and his job is if I’m open to throw the ball. Both sides we both have to do our jobs.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-9

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2016 – 12:26 pm

It’s a do or die week for the Bills. Step 1 of as win four straight scenario for Buffalo’s playoff aspirations. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Dennis Thurman said D is still a work in progress. Nearly 2 years have passed what are the issues? Players or the scheme?

David Marciano@rockydm92

CB: I think there are a lot things that have cropped up along the way for the defense that have compromised its consistency. Last year losing Kyle Williams and Aaron Williams, two main directors of communication last year was a big issue. Mario Williams dissension was another problem as was Rex Ryan’s decision to try to blend some of the successful concepts from Jim Schwartz’s scheme in with his. He admitted himself that was a mistake.

This year I think the absence of Marcell Dareus (suspension/injury) for half of the season hurt, as well as the loss of Aaron Williams again. That compromised the consistency of play at safety.

Adding Rob Ryan to the staff improved red zone defense greatly in the first half of the season. It’s hard to determine why the goal to go defense has struggled so much of late to devalue what were impressive numbers when they were defending inside their own 20.

The other big problem this year has been a lack of takeaways. After getting 12 in the first six games, the Bills have just two in their last six games for a total of just 14, and they both came in Stephon Gilmore’s two interception game at Cincinnati. Fourteen takeaways is seventh-fewest in the NFL.

Then I think there is an issue with mental toughness. The ability to respond when adversity strikes. Players have admitted that it is an issue that has proven tough for them to overcome.

We’ve all witnessed substitution problems with changing personnel groupings and getting calls in on time before the offense snaps the ball. It has happened far too often for an NFL club, and stretches back even to last season. That has to get fixed. There’s no excuse for having 10 men on the field or 12 men in the huddle. That’s an operational, chain of command type thing that has to be rectified.

The scheme has been tweaked and changed over the past two years to try to reduce the volume and allow the talent of the players to come through, and the miscommunication on plays has been reduced. Players admit they still struggle with responding and making something positive happen when the opponent steals the momentum of a game.

So in a long-winded way I think both scheme and the players are responsible for the shortcomings of the defense.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills 

Hey Chris,

Another year of great work man! Why has Jerel Worthy not been in lineup more? When hes been in, was making plays.

Dave@billsguy34

CB: I don’t disagree with your assessment. Since Marcell Dareus has come back the defensive line rotation has usually left Worthy as the odd man out. However, Adolphus Washington has been getting less playing time of late. The last four games he’s gotten 18, 20, 24 and 10 snaps. Worthy’s snap counts have been 22, 10, 1 and inactive.

Washington and Worthy to me are similar players. I think Washington has hit a bit of the rookie wall, so perhaps Worthy sees a bit more time down the stretch.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills is it a possibility that Sammy Watkins or Cordy Glenn gets traded at the end of the season always being injury prone?

S.Radford
@radfordboyz1220

CB: I think trading Watkins or Glenn is highly unlikely. Glenn is the team’s most talented lineman. Even Eric Wood would tell you that. He just signed a giant extension and has missed just two games this season with a high ankle sprain. He’s not going anywhere.

While I understand your frustration with Watkins lack of availability due to injury it doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a dynamic, game changing player. You don’t trade that commodity away. You have him at an affordable price on his rookie contract next year, so seeing how healthy he can stay in 2017 is definitely worth it knowing how he can change the complexion of a game.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills how many 4th Quarter comeback wins does Tyrod have?

Henrik Ek
@leroyek

CB: By my count he has two. Last year Week 5 at Tennessee and this season Week 12 against the Jaguars.

 

5 – Hi Chris;

As always many thanks for keeping Bills fans current on the team.  The past couple of games I have gotten the feeling that Rob (and Rex) are calling more of the defensive plays than Dennis has been.  I felt all along that would be the case once Rex brought his brother on board.  Is this actually the case?

Bryon
Plattsburgh NY
CB: I took a look at this last week in Oakland and it appeared that Assistant HC Rob Ryan was calling the plays from the sideline with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman organizing personnel groupings. Earlier in the year Thurman was calling the plays, but it seems like those duties have vacillated back and forth through the course of the season. Based on observation it seems like Rob Ryan has handled more of those responsibilities the past few games. We’ll try to get that confirmed this coming week.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: Gillislee looks good for this week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2016 – 6:03 pm

A hamstring injury suffered in practice last week cost Mike Gillislee an appearance in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. But head coach Rex Ryan is optimistic that Gillislee will be fit to return to the lineup this weekend.

“I think everything looks good,” said Ryan of Gillislee. “So hopefully he’s on track to return this week.”

Gillislee is the team’s third leading rusher behind LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor.


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Hunter happy being TD maker

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2016 – 8:50 am

He’s been on the roster for two months now and Justin Hunter has made just seven receptions. Seven catches might not seem like much until you realize that four of them have gone for touchdowns.

Fifty-seven percent of Hunter’s catches have resulted in touchdowns making the tall, angular receiver as the team leader in receiving touchdowns this season.

Tyrod Taylor’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Hunter proved to be the game-winning points, but Hunter had to climb the ladder to make the catch.

“I guess he knows the background,” said Hunter of his fellow Virginia native. “I’ve got a 40-inch vertical and it came in handy. He trusted me on that play.”

One of the main reasons Hunter has not made much happen between the 20s is because he’s mainly on the field when the team reaches the red zone. As long as he keeps scoring that role is fine with Hunter.

“I’m  not going to complain about it,” he said. “They keep coming like that, I’ll take them however they come. As long as we get in the red zone, it’s my zone.”

 

 


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