Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 1-7

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2011 – 1:23 pm

Into  the offseason we go. Let’s get to your questions for this week from askchris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
Wondering what the rules are for I-R players in terms of being able to attend team meetings, watch film, etc – to be taught/coached on techniques?  Also, if they recover from their injury during the season and are cleared medically, can they participate in walk-throughs or drills? Or can they be on the field and at least listen to the coaches?  Who from the Bills takes advantage of this and who tends to stay away from the team?

CB: I-R players can sit in on team meetings and watch film as much as they want. As for the practice field they can’t be out there getting instruction from coaches, even if cleared medically. Players vary in terms of who hangs around to watch tape and attend position meetings and team meetings. A couple of examples of players that did this past season were rookie Danny Batten and Marcus Easley.

2 - Hey Chris, I’m writing about the defense and where you think there is room to upgrade players. When I think about the guys we have I can’t really point to one of them and say we need to get rid of them. Do you think some of the guys who changed positions still have room for improvement as far as learning their new positions? Or are they just not physically suited for the 3-4?
Dan from Western MA (I hate the Patriots!)

CB: I think the defensive line could use another quality player either at defensive tackle or defensive end. I really like Auburn’s Nick Fairley with Buffalo’s top pick. There’s a good chance he’ll be there when Buffalo is on the clock. Linebacker needs an influx of talent as well though Shawne Merriman could be a big help there. Based on who the Bills could lose from their secondary in free agency (Florence, Whitner, Wilson, Youboty) they may need to add there as well.

I do think that some of the players that made a transition in terms of position still have room for improvement. Chan Gailey said that they plan to go with a multiple look front next season so that could change things a bit in terms of roles.

3 - Chris,
I know we aren’t really looking at WR’s but I can’t help but notice Vincent Brown out of San Diego State and the massive game he had against Navy.  I was just wondering where he is expected to go in the draft…how good people really think he is. 

Also, are you amazed at how well our low round and free agents are doing when our top round picks are barely blips on the screen.  It makes you wonder.

CB: Vincent Brown (6’0” 195) was a dynamic receiving weapon for the Aztecs for almost his entire college career. He’s considered by many to be one of the top 10 prospects at the receiver position. That figures to change a bit once all the juniors declare, but there’s no denying his production. In that Navy game he had eight catches for 165 yards and a TD, and much of his college career read the same.

Brown caught 209 passes for 3,110 yards and 23 touchdowns in his San Diego State career. With 4.5 speed, Brown is said to have strong hands with good initial explosion off the line. Personally I have not seen him play, but he’s considered by draftniks to be 3rd or 4th round pick.

With respect to Buffalo’s later round picks, it is crazy to see that they have a 7th-round pick at left tackle (Bell), a 7th-round pick at WR (Johnson), a 5th-round pick at nose tackle (Williams) and a 7th round picks (not theirs) at QB (Fitzpatrick). I think the Bills have been very good at hitting on their late round picks. They also have to hit some more home runs on their early picks too.
4 – Chris,

Based on how well all the receivers flourished this season, will there be enough roster spots for the guys next year with Roscoe and Marcus seemingly coming back to the active roster. I’m assuming they will not keep 7 active guys. Evans, Stevie, Roscoe, David, Donald, Marcus, and Namaan. So who seems the odd man out? And how far behind will Marcus be as the undrafted guys will be 1 year vets?

Thanks,
Sophie Berg

CB: This is a question that a lot of people will have their eye on next summer. It’s arguably the deepest position on the roster. I think that’s partly why Chan Gailey, when asked if Lee Evans will be off their roster next year (via trade), said he doubts it, but that he’d never say anything is impossible.

I think the reason he left that door open a crack is because the Bills come next summer could have too much talent at receiver and might be in a position where they can deal from that position of strength to help their talent level at another position where they might be lacking.

If the group does remain intact however, I think that Roosevelt would be the odd man out. He’s just not quite as physical as Donald Jones, which is why Jones made the roster over him at the start of the 2010 season. Roosevelt is still eligible for the practice squad in 2011, so I would expect him to wind up there if all seven are back for next season.

Easley will be a bit behind because he doesn’t have NFL experience of any kind (preseason or regular season) under his belt like everyone else, so there will be an adjustment there. But in watching him all spring and summer until he got hurt in camp, this kid is going to be a player. I think he’ll be neck and neck with David Nelson for that 4th WR role.

5 – Do you think the Bills will get two tight ends, like the Patriots did in the draft? I’d like at least two more added. Nelson’s third year is like his first two…I don’t want to be without the two tight ends we can have by way of draft.

CB: I think you’re expecting a lot out of the Bills with that wish. What New England did was unusual drafting tight ends back to back. Buffalo has a ton of positional needs, so using two of their eight picks on tight end seems misguided despite how little pass game production they get out of that position.

On Buffalo’s roster the better pass catchers are at receiver anyway and David Nelson and Roscoe Parrish can capably work the middle of the field.

Here’s what Chan Gailey said with respect to addressing the tight end position.

“Everybody wants one,” he said of game breaking tight ends. “I like them. But what I’ve found through the years is, you don’t find any (John) Mackeys anymore – a guy that can block and can go run down the field and make plays. They can kind of do one or the other fairly well or maybe one or the other really well but you don’t find that combination very much anymore so you try to massage the offense to get the blocker in there when you want to run the football and get the receiver in there when you want to use one for passing.

“You still are searching for a way to develop that guy that does a little bit of both pretty well and we haven’t had that guy. Maybe we can find one, maybe he’s on our roster now, maybe he’s not – that can do both of those well enough that you’re not tipping off the defense what you’re doing when they go in the ball game.”

Gailey sounds as though he’d love to have one, but there is the headache of not tipping your hand offensively based on the personnel you have on the field. If the tight end is a one-dimensional player it tips off the defense, and as he said finding a complete package TE is hard these days, especially with all the spread offenses in college.

I think they draft one tight end at best and I don’t expect it to be early. If they draft any position more than once I expect it to be linebacker.


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