Wanted to get Fan Friday up early today knowing that I’ll be out at training camp today watching the players roll in. Hard to believe it’s the eve of the first training camp practice. I know fans are just as eager as the players. Here’s some of your latest questions. You can email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net if you’ve got camp questions ready to roll.
1. Hey Chris,
With a deep and talented backfield consisting of Lynch, Jackson, and Rhodes, do you think Xavier Omon could be shifted over to FB? If not I find it hard to believe he will find room on the roster.
CB: You bring up an interesting point. Omon has the body to play fullback. He’s thickly built from top to bottom. But he’s been a ball carrier his entire career. I could see the Bills keeping four backs and McIntyre as the fullback, but the deep receiving corps could compromise that.
With last year’s practice squad back Bruce Hall showing some nice improvement in the spring camps, Omon could help his cause by showing some fullback ability to keep him ahead on the depth chart of Hall. Whether he gets that opportunity is the question.
Since we play the Tampa Cover 2 and 4-3 alignment, how does the offense
get practice against the 3-4 D? After all, all of our Division foes all
run the 3-4?
Thanks . . .Bob
CB: In practice the scout team, consisting mainly of reserve and practice squad players run the 3-4 defense against the Bills starting offense in practice. They run a lot of the same defensive looks that their upcoming opponent runs against them in the practice setting. For all the knocks that Dick Jauron gets from the fan base I will say he is a very good coach when it comes to preparation during the week.
3. I was wondering how our younger offensive players, like Steve Johnson and Derek will be able to contribute. Will either of them be developed enough to possibly start by the beginning of the regular season, or will the Bills continue to bring them along slowly.
CB: I think Fine has a better opportunity than Johnson because the pool of competition is smaller and not as stiff at the tight end position. Derek Schouman is the only real competition standing between Fine and a starting role at tight end. Rookie Shawn Nelson is going to have only a part-time role this year.
But at receiver Johnson right now is fifth on my depth chart with Evans, Owens, Reed and Parrish ahead of him, considering the fact that James Hardy will not be participating. I think Johnson has a chance to overtake Parrish with a strong camp, but that’s a big ‘if.’
4. Hi Chris,
Maybe it’s a tad early to make this observation, but it appears that very few, if any of our early round draft choices will win a starting job by the first game. That could be view as really good thing that our team is already pretty well estabished. On the flip side, we didn’t make the playoffs last year, and with the draft choices we had, we should have found 1 or 2 quality players to step in. I’m all for building for the future, but winning now is pretty important also.
CB: I think that Maybin will be a situational player, but will still make an impact. If he can get between 6-8 sacks and 15-20 QB pressures in a situational role I think that would be a successful season. Byrd has an uphill climb, but if he makes plays in the preseason, he could start at FS. Wood and Levitre have good opportunities to start. I’ll be surprised quite frankly if Wood does not. As for the others they’ll have to pay their dues.
Your point is a good one though, the talent that’s been here was not good enough. That’s why I think the staff will not hesitate to insert a rookie if they prove themselves worthy.
5. Hi Chris,
I feel getting the playoff monkey off the back of the bills is due because of all the injuries over the past few seasons. It just seems there is always that key player that gets hurt, and then the bills don’t make the playoffs.
What I’m really worried about for the BILLS’ is Terrell Owens, and that there is all ready that ‘dirty’ player and coach (somewhere in the league) all ready planning to take him out for the season with a ‘dirty hit’ similar to (in my opinion) the Tom Brady hit. If Terrell Owens gets hit at the knees and is out for the season on the first game – what are the Bills chances? I would see another 7-9 season because they become 1-dimensional team.
My ‘BIG’ question is, is the league watching these hits more carefully? Are they ready to study these ‘dirty hits’?…..Is there a ‘bigger’ penalty coming for these types of hits? I really feel teams will be going after Trent Edwards and firstly Terrell Owens early – to narrow the Bills chances.
Bills better have good backup players and plans, and better protection for QB position, and help from the league (that will not tolerate dirty hits) in order for the BILLS to make playoffs – they need all this to go right.
CB: I think you may have answered your own question with respect to the injuries. I don’t think it’s the injuries that have compromised Buffalo’s ability to be a playoff team as much as the lack of depth on the roster. Without dependable depth it’s hard to succeed in a 16-game regular season. Every team has injuries, but the teams that have quality depth are the ones that survive and keep playing late January.
Pittsburgh had more injuries than anybody last season, but they had quality depth and persevered.
As for Owens I don’t think he’ll be targeted specifically, but I think we all remember the horse collar tackle that ripped up his ankle real good the year the Eagles went to the Super Bowl. The officials in my opinion still don’t police the horse collar tackle enough, but that’s another issue.
Whether the league is watching these hits more carefully, I’d say yes because with the additional rules this year for special teams (no wedge, peel back blocks) they’re taking some of the more violent hits in the game as it is. Guess we’ll have to wait until the regular season to be sure.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Andy Levitre, Bruce Hall, Derek Fine, Eric Wood, Jairus Byrd, Shawn Nelson, Steve Johnson, Terrell Owens, Xavier Omon
Posted in Inside the Bills