Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-1

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2017 – 12:37 pm

The first of two in a month against the Patriots coming up on Sunday. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Which poison will the Bills pick on Sunday? Focus on stopping Gronk? Or focus on stopping Dion Lewis and the resurgent New England running game?

Parasauralophus
@lophus89

CB: I think they’ll try to make the Patriots offense as one dimensional as possible. But that’s hard for a number of reasons. Brady is a big reason, but the other key reason is New England has very effectively diversified their offense. They no longer rely primarily on a short passing game. Brandin Cooks gives them a deep threat for the first time since Randy Moss was running go routes for them.

That only enhances their short pass game by creating more space underneath.

Couple that with two very multi-faceted backs in Burkhead and Lewis and you quickly see the problem. They have answers for whatever aspect of their offense you focus your attention on neutralizing.

Take away Gronk, they’ll go to Cooks over the top.

Keep Cooks in front of you and don’t give up anything deep, and they nickel and dime you to death with the backs out of the backfield and Amendola on short crossers.

The best plan for Buffalo is to slow their run game, since aside from their three-game slide, they’ve done an excellent job of that. Then do what you can to slow Brady.

Even pressuring Brady has its pitfalls. He’s the highest-rated passer in the league under pressure with a rating over 100.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Shaq Lawson finally be a key factor in this game?

James Henderson
@jchenderson84

CB: I respect the tone of frustration here. The guy is a first-round pick and a pass rusher by trade. He also has Jerry Hughes, a respected pass rusher on the other side. It’s certainly logical to think that Lawson should be capable of having a greater impact on games from a pass rushing perspective.

Fact is it’s going to be difficult for any pass rusher to have a major impact on the game. The Dolphins last week hit Tom Brady a lot. They had a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception and still lost by 17 to the Patriots giving up 35 points.

I believe Lawson will be able to generate pressure at times. Heck, his first career sack was of Tom Brady. But take over the game is just not something I think he’s capable of at this point in his career.

Reason being is Lawson is a power rusher, not a speed rusher. And until Lawson capably develops counter moves to some of his favorite initial rushes, he’s not going to be consistently effective series in and series out. And that’s on Lawson to perfect those counter moves to be the best pass rusher he can be.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Milano ever see more time on the field?

Drew
@swampnone710

CB: I think that is happening incrementally from one week to the next. Since Ramon Humber returned to the lineup he’s been playing a rotational role.

The best part of his game right now is his speed and penetration into the offensive backfield on run plays. He’s very aggressive.

At this point, there are still a time or two where he gets crossed up by the offense particularly when they show a different look. Knowing the Patriots are pros at targeting inexperienced players and isolating them, the Bills will need to be judicious with their usage of Milano.

His time is coming, but to expect to see him out there a ton might have to wait until next season. He needs more experience, which I realize you get by playing, but that is why they’re sprinkling him in without exposing his lack of experience at the cost of the defense.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you think 9-7 will be good enough to make the playoffs

Darek
@drock252

CB: This year in the AFC, I do think 9-7 will be good enough to get to the playoffs. The main reason being that you have three teams with five losses already and two of them hold playoff spots (KC, Balt.). There are also three teams with six losses, two of which are in the AFC West with the Chiefs in the Raiders and Chargers. Cincinnati is the other.

With five games to play and none of these teams playing great football right now, it’s hard to believe one or two of them is going to run the table the rest of the way. In fact, they’re all likely to lose one or two games at least. That would put a couple of these teams in a situation where they’ll be in contention for a playoff spot with seven losses.

The key for Buffalo is not to fall into a tie with either Cincinnati or Los Angeles for the obvious reason that they would lose out on the head-to-head tiebreaker to those clubs.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills
I’m sure neither would admit it publicly but do you think Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott now regret any of the players they either traded, cut or did not re-sign? Zach Brown and Robert Woods are two that come to mind.

Rick McGuire
@mclennon99

CB: I don’t believe in the positions that both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott hold that you can ever have regret for the kind of calls they have to make unless they feel it was handled poorly. The actual move or in the two players you’ve referenced, non-move, is a decision they are willing to live with for all of its pluses and minuses.

With Woods, the issue there was the money he was going to command on the open market. The Bills were simply not going to pay $8M a season for Woods.

As for Zach Brown, there’s no debate he’s a wildly productive player, but it’s my understanding that in his sit-down with coach McDermott prior to free agency, when he was still under contract to the Bills, that they didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things.

Brown is a bit of a loose cannon as a teammate. He also got into shouting matches with former head coach Rex Ryan after games. Last year’s Chiefs game in particular. Whether Brown was right or wrong with his argument with Ryan is immaterial. The fact that he did it in front of the rest of the team and undermined his coach’s authority is just something that would not fly with the new regime.

That’s what I admire about coach McDermott. He’s not afraid to part ways with a talented player if he doesn’t fit the mold of the player type he needs to win his way.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-31

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2017 – 12:35 pm

The NFL draft is a month away! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills If we stay put @ 10 because lack of trade partner how much can we gain trading back in second round, pick wise?

@taylor_degeorge

CB: A lot of it would depend on where the Bills would be moving back too. If they slide back 10 spots to pick 54 in the draft, for example, it would require an additional late third or early fourth-round pick going to Buffalo to make the value work. If Buffalo was to move all the way to the bottom of round two it would require a high third-round pick in addition to make that work.

In essence Buffalo could conceivably recoup an additional third-round pick or a fourth-round pick (something they currently don’t have) to move back in round two.

That might not seem like much, but in this draft it’s valuable knowing the depth at a handful of positions in this class.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Can you offer some insight on Zach Brown’s situation and why the Bills let him move on? Seemed like a good, young, Pro Bowl LB. Thanks!

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

CB: I think what often stands in the way of a player the caliber of Zach Brown reaching a new deal, with the Bills, or anyone other team for that matter, at this stage of free agency is simple. It’s money.

No NFL team including the Bills has signed Brown to this point because his asking price is probably too high.

I understand where Brown is probably coming from. His value has probably never been this high since he was a second-round pick as a rookie. He led his team in tackles, played most of the season with a broken hand and went to the Pro Bowl (albeit as an alternate).

He probably believes that should count for something and I don’t disagree with him.

But ultimately players can’t control what the market is willing to pay, and it’s clear three weeks into free agency that the market is not in line with what Brown wants to play for at this point.

3 – @ChrisBrownBills wouldn’t Ruben Foster make sense to make the defense complete and dynamic?

Michael Minutella@MichaelMinutel4

CB: Reuben Foster is a dynamic player and linebacker is unquestionably a need position for the Bills. He is certainly fast enough and has the range to be a weak side linebacker in a 4-3 system. Foster has also demonstrated the necessary cover skills to fit that role. It’s a player who certainly makes sense at 10 and likely fits the value there.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills If the Bills were to go DB at 10, realistically (assume Adams Latt Hooker gone) who would be your pick #bills

Bill Carr@billcarr_10

CB: I think other options that could be considered at 10 at defensive back would almost exclusively be corner at that point if the top two safeties are off the board. Lattimore is the only lock top 10 cornerback, but another consideration could be Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey.

Beyond him I don’t know that the value fits at 10 for another defensive back. LSU Tre’Davious White is someone to consider, but there seems to be mixed opinion on him so I don’t see him going quite that high. Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie I think is going to come off the board sooner than some might expect, but 10 is probably too early.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Preston Brown a good fit at the outside linebacker role in the new defense or is he too slow?

@JaredBailey23

CB: First, I think you’re jumping the gun a bit here in assuming that Preston Brown is going to play outside linebacker. I think Reggie Ragland and Preston Brown will each be lined up at middle linebacker and let the coaches decide who ultimately lines up where. Knowing the entire defensive staff is new I anticipate that this will take some time in the spring to spell out specific roles.

All that being said, if Brown was to move outside I think he could be a fit on the strong side, a spot he played some in college at Louisville. He’s certainly strong enough to set the edge and fill the other duties of that position. He wouldn’t be as good a fit in the weak side role which requires top end speed, range and cover ability.


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Posted in 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

Kelso: Roles for Hughes & Lawson will change

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2017 – 2:22 pm

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today, there will be some changes under new head coach Sean McDermott for Buffalo’s defense. Not only will it be the seventh new scheme in nine years, but players will be on the move in terms of their role in the new system. Chief among them the outside linebackers in the previous system.

Bills radio analyst and former safety Mark Kelso, explained how decisions must be made on players like Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson and free agents to be Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander.

“From a personnel standpoint who is going to be a defensive end now,” Kelso asked. “Is Jerry Hughes now considered a defensive end? He might be a little light on the outside, but you’re probably not going to make him an outside linebacker because then he would be off the ball. He’s a pass rusher that needs to be on the ball. Shaq Lawson would be a defensive end in that scheme, which means he’ll be defending on the line of scrimmage most of the time and not dropping into coverage.”

Hughes did enjoy a pair of 10-sack seasons in 4-3 schemes with the Bills.

Kelso also said that Zach Brown would be a good fit as a weak side linebacker if the Bills can re-sign him.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Harvin, Z. Brown not at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2016 – 3:03 pm

The Bills got an extra practice in on Monday coming off their bye week, but there were a couple of notable players not in attendance during the media viewing portion of practice.

LB Zach Brown and WR Percy Harvin were not in on hand Monday. No word from the team as to why, since an injury report does not have to be provided by the club until Wednesday. We should know more at that time if both are still absent from practice.

Meanwhile Corbin Bryant (shoulder) and Brandon Tate (concussion) were still sidelined and unable to participate due to injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-21

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2016 – 11:28 am

Big division game this week. Good to see McCoy practicing here on Friday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the plan for Zach Brown after the season? He’s played at such a high level, any plans to re-sign him?

COLIN SCHULTZ
@Schultzy0620

CB: At the rate he is performing I would be stunned if the club didn’t make efforts to re-sign Zach Brown. He’s currently on a one-year contract. Brown has proven himself as a valuable every down player. Even though Reggie Ragland will be back in the fold next season, Brown is simply too versatile and plays well off of Preston Brown inside.

Even if the team was to start Ragland next year, I would expect Brown to play a role in the subpackages knowing how strong he is as a coverage player. So I’d look for the Bills to make every effort to keep him in the fold.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any plans to get Justin Hunter more involved in the offense?

Natalie Roberts
@nr_roberts

CB: I would say that’s a given more out of necessity than anything else. Hunter is a big target who can run. As the offensive coaches have said they’re working on Hunter’s sense of urgency, more so in practice, to do everything the same way that he does in a game so he’s as prepared as possible. As he gets more and more familiar with the offensive scheme I would expect his role to increase provided he continues to perform.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With Sammy out and Woods being banged up, any chance Bills make a deal for a WR before trade deadline? Alshon Jeffery?

Bills_Chick
@Bills_Chick

CB: While I would never rule out a trade knowing Doug Whaley’s willingness to listen to just about any offer, I don’t see Jeffery as a viable option. First, he’s way too expensive. He’s playing on the franchise tag this year at $14.55M. So he’s going to be expecting giant money after this year.

I would also expect the Bears to ask for a king’s ransom knowing they need to rebuild that roster with talent. Chicago has one of the weakest rosters in terms of talent in the NFL (San Fran and Cleveland are the others). And to trade away assets for a guy you may only have for 10 games is not a wise move.

Buffalo is winning right now with the pieces they have. If that changes pursuing a trade might become a more realistic option for them. They have until Nov. 1st with the trade deadline pushed back a couple of weeks from where it used to be.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Good lord! This is week 3 for Dareus and the hammy? Is it really the hammy or is he just badly out of shape? Weird

Joe bach@jbach127

CB: I’m not going to pretend to be a doctor or an athletic trainer, but I have pulled my hamstrings multiple times in my more athletic days as a college athlete. I can tell you that hamstring pulls can sometimes take up to four or five weeks before the muscle tissue has healed to the point where they can withstand the burst in acceleration needed in athletic competition.

Here’s what you have to understand. A hamstring pull or strain will feel fine when a recovering player is jogging or slowly builds up their speed. That doesn’t happen in an NFL game, maybe ever. It is a game played in five to 10 second increments where linemen go from an idle stance to 100 miles per hour in a second.

Dareus’ entire game as a defensive lineman is based on explosion or instant acceleration.

A hamstring pull becomes vulnerable when the athlete makes a sudden burst to get to a ball or take down a ball carrier in Dareus’ case. It’s the demand put on the hamstring muscle when a burst of speed is made that it can pull again if not completely healed.

Dareus has to explode out of his stance about 50 times a game, so his hamstring muscle has to be healed number one, and then have enough strength and endurance built back into the muscle before he can go out and play 50 snaps at top speed. Otherwise it will pull again and you’re looking at another three to five weeks with him on the sideline.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills what can we expect from Shaq?

Adam Smolka
@A_Smolka_17

CB: I think we can expect to see Shaq Lawson play a decent amount of snaps, maybe 20-30 if I had to guess. He’s apparently been pretty impressive in practice this week. I know he had an interception on a pass to the flat in practice Wednesday. If he comes out like a house on fire, it could be more.

Knowing Lerentee McCray is coming off a knee injury I would anticipate that Lawson could get some of his snaps that he gets rotating in for Alexander and Hughes, even if McCray is dressed and able to play.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-14

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2016 – 11:15 am

Week 6 and the Bills are going for four in a row. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills was Reggie Ragland outperforming Zach Brown at camp, or was he slated to start due to the resources invested in him?

@Bills_Chick

CB: Reggie Ragland was one of the most instinctive run defending rookies I’ve seen at the linebacker position in a while. Ragland has a much more physical game than Zach Brown and I think that’s what was most appealing to the defensive staff. I believe even if Ragland was healthy that Brown would’ve seen time on obvious passing downs due to his coverage ability.

Ragland out of the gate was probably one of the two best run defending linebackers on the roster with Preston Brown. That’s why he was in the starting lineup.

 

2 –@ChrisBrownBills Sir when you can, please let us fans know when Shaq going to play & Listenbee?

@buffsyear70

CB: I fully anticipate that Shaq Lawson will begin practicing with the team next week, but to think he’s going to play at Miami next Sunday after three or four days of practice I believe is a bit unrealistic, even though head coach Rex Ryan talked about Lawson playing right away in Week 7.

We have to remember that Lawson did not participate in a single team practice. His shoulder required surgery after a rookie minicamp practice. He’s never been on the field with any of the other players on defense. He’s never physically repped this defensive scheme with teammates, let alone at game speed.

I would expect him to at least get a couple of weeks of practice in before they begin to blend him into the defensive rotation. My guess would be the New England game provided he comes along and executes consistently in practice.

As for Listenbee, Ryan expressed doubt that he would be practicing any time soon. Here was his comment on Wednesday this week about Listenbee’s availability to practice.

“I don’t have the confidence with that as I do with Shaq,” Ryan said.

Listenbee has had some setbacks in his recovery from double sports hernia surgery. Every case is different and it appears that Listenbee’s recovery is going to take a little longer. If his inability to practice stretches beyond Week 10 then he won’t see the field at all this season.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills will the Bills open up the passing game more this week? Don’t remember too many deep throws past couple weeks

@A_Smolka_17

CB: The only deep shots I remember was the overthrow to Woods when he had his man beat down the left sideline in the second half last week and there was another to Goodwin that didn’t connect. I’d like to think there will be a couple more just to loosen up the defense. The 49ers though are really struggling to stop the run, so their weakness on defense kind of plays into Buffalo’s hands, so don’t expect the ball to be flying all that much.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills what’s up with Aaron Williams? Didn’t he leave last week’s game with a shoulder injury?

J Christensen-Sharpe@Snowbird_Killer

CB: Last week Aaron Williams left the game with what was reported by the team as a shoulder injury and he was questionable to return. But on the next defensive series Williams was back at his safety position and finished the game.

This week he has an ankle injury and has been limited in practice, but is expected to start.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see an increased role for Bush anytime soon or are his days in Buffalo possibly numbered?

Nathan Bonner@NateB422

CB: They have certain packages in the offense designed with Reggie Bush in mind, but for whatever reason they’ve chosen not to make use of those to this point. I wouldn’t go so far as to say his days are numbered. I think he’s good insurance behind LeSean McCoy because he’s the only back on the roster that can do some of what McCoy can do.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Zach Brown leading the league

Posted by Chris Brown on October 3, 2016 – 10:40 am

Zach Brown’s extraordinary productivity to start the season was somewhat chalked up to the fact that the defense for the Bills had spent a lot of time on the field in Weeks 1 and 2, both losses for Buffalo. But the Bills defense was on the field for less than 24 minutes Sunday and Zach Brown had 18 tackles, a pair of forced fumbles, three tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a sack. He now leads the league in tackles with 52 on the season. Here’s a look at who’s on his tail for the NFL tackle title.

Defensive Player Statistics
  Player Tkl Ast Comb Sack Sk Yds TFL QH Int PD FF FR
Zach Brown 35 17 52 1 4 4 3 0 0 2 0
Luke Kuechly 34 12 46 1 7 4 2 1 3 0 0
Craig Robertson 29 12 41 0 0 4 1 0 2 0 0
Jerrell Freeman 28 13 41 0 0 4 0 0 1 0 0
Reshad Jones 24 16 40 0.5 0.5 4 0 0 3 0 0

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Thurman: Very few things that Z. Brown can’t do

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2016 – 9:59 am

Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman is not one to hand out praise easily. So when he had some for Bills ILB Zach Brown it served as indication as to just how productive he has been through the first three games this season.

Zach is a very talented individual,” said Thurman. “Physically he’s as gifted as most linebackers in this league. He can run, he can hit, he can cover, he can tackle well, he can blitz. I mean there’s very few things that he can’t do. Anytime you see a guy that has talent, you want to maximize that talent, get it out of him, and Zach’s playing at a high level for us right now.”

Brown is tied for the league lead in tackles with 34.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2016 – 1:08 pm

The 53-man roster is set, for now. More on that here. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think spikes will start in the middle with brown or do you think it will be Zach brown?

Jared Bailey@JaredBailey23
CB: I believe the starting inside linebacker tandem will be Preston Brown and Zach Brown. It’s been that way since Reggie Ragland went down and I don’t see it changing. I anticipate that Spikes will have a specialized role as a run down linebacker. A guy that you’ll likely see in goal line situations or short yardage.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills How good do you think the defense will be without Dareus?

DariousDe’SeanMorgan@darious_morgan

CB: I will say I was encouraged by the way the Bills run defense performed against the Giants after Dareus entered rehab. It was really the last time we saw the starting defense on the field for any significant period of time and they performed well when it came to constricting the rush lanes.

Would they be better with Dareus? Unquestionably. How good without him? I think they can handle the run. It’s pushing the pocket against the pass that I wonder about.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills With no kickoff specialist this year, will Bills try more short kicks to pin opponents inside the 25?

Parasauralophus@lophus89

CB: I think the approach will vary from week to week. I think hanging kicks high with hang time around the goal line will be an approach that’s used. Let your coverage run under it and pin them that way. On game days when it’s not windy they may try to kick outside the numbers inside the five. If it’s windy though there’s a risk of the ball going out of bounds over the sideline and then the opponent has it at the 40.

The caliber of the return man is also a factor. So there are many variables that will undoubtedly alter Danny Crossman’s approach, but I think hanging the kickoff high with hang time might be one of the more popular approaches this season.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills who do you think will slot in for the bills at wr #3? Since the first two spots are locked up with sammy and robert

daniel bruce@danielbruce11

CB: I don’t know that there’s a straight answer for this. The reason why is although Salas is the primary slot receiver, I could see Goodwin getting significant time outside some weeks based on the opponent with Woods moving into the slot in those situations. So I envision Goodwin and Salas sharing that role.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills do you feel we are Super bowl caliber type talent on buffalo bills roster?

J DUB@jdubsbills

CB: I think there is certainly elite talent on Buffalo’s roster. McCoy, Dareus, Watkins, Gilmore, Darby are some examples. Taylor could develop into a premier talent as could some others on the roster. Is it enough to reach the Super Bowl? Let’s get to the postseason first.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Zach Brown, Tyrod revisit Wk 5 tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2016 – 10:21 am

In Week 5 last season Tyrod Taylor pulled a game out for the Bills against the Tennessee Titans, but suffered a sprained knee as a result and would go on to miss the next two games. The injury happened on a tackle made by former Titans and current Bills linebacker Zach Brown.

Brown actually caught Taylor from behind on his longest run of the game and was flagged for a horse collar tackle on the play. Taylor despite the knee injury suffered on the play, stayed in the game. The Bills won 14-13.

Brown said that Taylor is cool about the play even though it cost him the next two games last season.

“Yeah me and Tyrod have joked about it,” said Brown. “I told him that we’re on the same team now so you don’t have to worry about me ever catching you again. I’m probably the only linebacker in the league that could catch him. I told him, ‘You’re my guy now.’ But we have a long history going all the way back to our annual battles between Carolina and Virginia Tech.”

Brown played at North Carolina and Taylor at Virginia Tech. The two schools square off annually.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Is that Preston or Zach Brown?

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2016 – 4:18 pm

Their jersey numbers are one digit apart. They have the same last name and they play the same position. Sooner rather than later Preston Brown and/or Zach Brown will probably need to add a first initial to the back of their jerseys to tell the difference between them when viewing them at a distance.

“Both of us are big too so one day they put Preston’s jersey in my locker,” said Zach Brown. “I was like, ‘Hold up. It’s a great number, but this isn’t me.’”

Now Preston and Zach are deciding who it is that will get their first initial added to the back of their jersey.

“I was messing with him about it,” said Zach Brown.

The two linebackers have served as good competition for one another, though it’s clear that Preston Brown is the starting inside linebacker alongside Reggie Ragland.

“We’re competitive and we go out there and just have fun,” said Zach Brown. “If you have fun everything goes good. At the end of the day it’s a game. It’s our job, but it’s a game so you’ve got to have fun.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-29

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2016 – 11:17 am

Training camp is here Bills fans! The wait is over! Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Worst case scenario, if something were to happen to/with Preston Brown, who would be responsible for relaying or making the defensive calls? Is that player currently being coached or taught to fill in if necessary? Will that player be afforded  the opportunity to make the defensive calls during the preseason games, or are we just supposed to hope that everything works out ok without any problems?
Dr. Dennis

CB: I believe if it’s early in the season Zach Brown would be a primary candidate to step in and run things. If it’s later in the year Brown is probably still the first man in, but rookie Reggie Ragland might be ready at that point to run things. Teams always have backup options.

 

2 – Chris,
How about bringing in Jake Long for training camp for RT where we need help desperately. Any chance of that happening in your opinion? Long appears healthy and if he doesn’t work out then they could release him.

Rick

CB: I don’t anticipate that happening. Long was most recently talking with the Ravens in the wake of the retirement of Eugene Monroe, but reports indicate that Long’s knee is not fit to pass a physical. I think with Seantrel Henderson working his way back from his medical condition the Bills feel they have options.

 

3 – Chris,

Given the Bills are playing Ragland and Brown inside, what role is there for Zach Brown? If teams spread out on passing downs having both on the field would leave the Bills at a disadvantage having two ‘thumpers’. Zach Brown is a better coverage LB than the other two. How will he fit into the defense, considering the similarity of Preston and Reggie’s skill set and the need for coverage LB’s?

Josh

CB: Right now Zach Brown is the third inside linebacker. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Zach Brown stepped onto the field in subpackages for coverage assignments. One of the faster linebackers in the league, Zach Brown would be a good fit against backs and most tight ends on passing downs. That’s where I see his role for Buffalo this year.
4 – Hi Chris,

Any information when/where night practice tickets will be available ?

Thanks
Don Palmere

CB: Here’s where you can find all your night practice info.

 
5 – Hi, Chris.

The Bills lost some depth across the board to free agency, but I think especially in the secondary this year, and I was wondering who are the depth players going to be in the secondary this year.

Thanks,
Ian

CB: I think there is depth at both cornerback and safety with a host of options who have NFL experience at both positions.

Among the candidates who figure to man roles who don’t figure to be starters barring a huge training camp and preseason are players like CB Corey White, CB Sterling Moore, S Jonathan Meeks, S Robert Blanton, S Colt Anderson, S Duke Williams, CB Kevon Seymour and CB Mario Butler. There are others battling too like Jonathan Dowling, Sammy Seamster, Phillip Thomas and Javier Arenas.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tyrod’s tackler in Tennessee was LB Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2016 – 2:14 pm

On Monday the Bills signed free agent LB Zach Brown to address a need at inside linebacker. Brown comes to Buffalo with a dubious distinction from his play last season as it pertained to the Bills fortunes in 2015.

Brown is the Tennessee Titans linebacker who was responsible for injuring QB Tyrod Taylor on his 23-yard scramble for a first down in the 14-13 win in Nashville last season. Taylor suffered a sprained MCL on the play, though he finished the game.

Appearing on the John Murphy Show, Brown said it was never his intent to injure Taylor’s knee on the play.

“I remember that game,” Brown said. “I was guarding Clay and I just happened to turn around and I saw him running and I said to myself let me get him down before he got the first down. I rolled up on the back of his knee.”

Brown was flagged for a horse collar tackle on the play even though he did not horse collar tackle Taylor. Brown grabbed more of Taylor’s name plate on the back of his jersey, which now under a new NFL rule will be deemed a penalty.

“That’s where that new rule came from,” said Brown. “You can’t grab anybody by the name plate anymore. Tyrod is a real good scrambler. He can get out of sticky situations. With him you’ve got to keep him in the pocket. He can throw too, but when he can run he’s a dangerous guy because he’s very fast.”

Taylor would miss the next two games, two games that Buffalo would lose against Cincinnati and Jacksonville.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB Zach Brown liked vibe at 1 Bills Dr.

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2016 – 2:05 pm

It had almost been a full month into free agency and LB Zach Brown hadn’t been drawing a lot of interest. But it didn’t have him antsy about finding a home. Appearing on the John Murphy Show, Brown talked about how Buffalo expressed interest and he’ll be lining up for the Bills in 2016.

“I just kept praying and had faith in God that (an opportunity) was going to come. The Bills called and it was a great chance because I was thinking they’ve got a great defense,” said Brown. “Great defensive line, great cornerbacks and Rex and Rob (Ryan) and they just got my man coach (defensive line coach – John) Blake up there. The pieces of the puzzle are there so I said, ‘I’d love to join the crew.’”

Brown had met Rex Ryan before as he had a pre-draft visit with the Jets when Ryan was the head coach there, so he had some familiarity with him. During his visit Brown said he liked the collective vibe in the building and wanted to be a part of it.

“It was good. It’s a great feeling and everybody here wants to win so it’s a good atmosphere,” he said. “They’re going in the right direction so for me I wanted to be a player who could come in and get them to where they want to go.”

Brown said he plans to attend the team’s offseason conditioning program to get to know his new teammates.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB Brown, CB White are key pre-draft adds

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2016 – 4:10 pm

The Bills added a pair of value free agent players to their defense in LB Zach Brown and CB Corey White. Both have about 50 NFL games worth of experience and Brown is a proven starter. That’s why he’s expected to compete for the starting job alongside namesake Preston Brown in Buffalo’s defense.

More importantly Brown and White provide much needed experience and talent at two need positions prior to the arrival of the NFL draft. Armed with eight picks Buffalo is expected to address their defense more than once at the end of April. But prior to the signing of Brown and White one could argue that the Bills would’ve had to add two linebackers and at least one cornerback. Now the pressure to do all of that in the draft is noticeably reduced.

Zach Brown is a three-down linebacker with drop and cover skills. Prior to his arrival, the inside linebacker depth chart beyond Preston Brown included Kevin Reddick, AJ Tarpley and Tony Steward.

Buffalo liked Brown over free agent Bruce Carter, who visited last week due in part to speed, something the Bills linebacking corps still needs to add more of come the draft. Defensively it’s a subpackage league and linebackers that can run, cover and hit are the ones who are in demand. Carter has since signed with the Jets.

White offers depth at cornerback, a position that was also short on experience after Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks departed via free agency.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Brown & White combine numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2016 – 10:44 am

The Bills are hosting a pair of free agent players today (Monday) in LB Zach Brown and CB Corey White. We thought we’d take a look back at some of their NFL Combine numbers from when they were drafted in 2012.

Brown has always been a top flight athlete. He ran a 4.5 40 time at the combine at 244 pounds. He also had a 33 1/2-inch vertical and a nine-foot eight-inch broad jump.

While White didn’t run quite as fast as Brown, posting a 4.55 40 time, he had a 37 1/2-inch vertical and a 10’6″ broad jump and a solid 6.72 3-cone drill.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB snaps have favored Brown, Choice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 5:16 pm

The battle for the third running back spot on Buffalo’s roster has been tight. Tashard Choice is widely seen with the edge going into tonight’s preseason finale, but Kendall Gaskins and Zach Brown are in close pursuit. Here’s a look at how the reps through the three preseason games have played out, knowing Brown and Gaskins figure to get a big dose of work tonight.

Gaskins, who has the fewest offensive snaps to this point, is hoping extra snaps will allow him to get into the flow of the game more effectively.

“(With more work) the coaches will be able to see a lot more rather than just a short period of time,” Gaskins told Buffalobills.com. “I have to be able to get into the rhythm of the game the whole time. So I’ll be able to show more than what I’ve shown before.”

RB offense snap counts thru 3 games
Tashard Choice                  58
Zach Brown                        50
Fred Jackson                      46
Frank Summers                 38
C.J. Spiller                            37
Drew Smith                         34
Kendall Gaskins                  30

RB special teams snaps counts thru 3 games
Frank Summers                 29
Tashard Choice                 19
Kendall Gaskins                 5
Drew Smith                        4
Zach Brown                        3
C.J. Spiller                            0
Fred Jackson                      0


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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB Brown happy for opportunity

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 8:45 pm

Newly signed RB Zach Brown was glad to get the call he was waiting for from the Bills or any other NFL club for that matter. But if any team had given him an idea they were interested it was Buffalo.

Brown got a three-day tryout opportunity with the Bills during rookie minicamp and was hoping there would be some kind of follow up opportunity.

“I did a real good job there,” said Brown of his tryout weekend with Buffalo. “I got good feedback. I just felt like I did a real good job so anything could happen.”

Brown is now in Bills camp, but is at a deep position of running back.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New RB limited

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 11:34 am

Newly signed RB Zach Brown will be on the practice field this afternoon, but he won’t be able to do everything.

As part of the new CBA, by rule players that have not been with a club at the start of training camp cannot practice in pads for three days. That means that this afternoon and for Friday’s practice Brown will only be able to do individual positions drills and any other non-contact work. On Saturday he’ll be able to put the pads on.

It’s somewhat of a safety measure designed to get a player that hasn’t been in the practice setting up to speed to reduce the risk of injury.


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Posted in Inside the Bills