Hey Bills fans, we’re finally here! The 2011 opener. Hard to believe after the wacky offseason we had. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Chris, Coach Gailey admitted the Bills lack of depth on the offensive line. Bell isn’t even a top half of the league LT and if he gets injured, we are really sunk. Is there any chance Buddy picks up a veteran tackle like a Flozell Adams or Max Starks as insurance? I just don’t see us being very successful right now due to lack of experience on the depth chart.
Bryan Grosse Ile, MI
CB: Adding a veteran tackle does not appear to be in the cards. Max Starks is coming off neck surgery and is not on any roster. Adams is still out there, but on his last legs. Buffalo added Sam Young off waivers to back up right tackle with Hairston on the left. Not experienced depth mind you, but depth with potential for sure. I understand your concern because even coach Gailey said they don’t have any experienced depth and that it must be developed. Let’s just hope injury doesn’t require the Bills to call on that green depth any time soon.
2 – Hi Chris,
My question is about the Bills quarterbacks. I think that the Bills are in a great situation. I really like Fitz for now because we know he can play but also because he can be a mentor to the younger guys. I think Thigpen and become good, but I am really interested in Levi Brown. I think he has the skills and just needs more reps. Do you think the Bills see him as the potential quarterback of the future? Go bills!! Michael
CB: I think it’s hard to say that they see him as the Bills quarterback of the future. He’s on the practice squad here for 2011 and the Bills made long term investments in both Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith. Now Brad Smith is not a full-time quarterback, but he and Thigpen are ahead of him in the pecking order. That makes it difficult to see Brown suddenly ascending and surpassing both of them come next season.
3 – Jim Leonhard has been a starter ever since he left the Bills. Could you please explain to me why he was ever released by the Bills. The decision to let him go made no sense. Please advise.
CB: Jim Leonhard was unfortunately in a bad spot when he was released by the Bills in 2008. He had been a contributor at free safety appearing in 38 games and making 7 starts at free safety in 2006 and 2007. He split time as the starter at free safety with George Wilson in 2007, a player he largely taught how to play the position after George flipped over from receiver.
Come 2008 however, the Bills had added Bryan Scott in free agency, still had Whitner and wanted to give Ko Simpson a chance to develop at free safety after he missed almost the entire 2007 season with a leg injury. Dick Jauron believed in Simpson’s abilities and chose to make him the starter in 2008. Wilson was his backup and Scott and Whitner were the strong safeties. It left Leonhard as the odd man out.
Of all the safeties Leonhard was the best return man with respect to special teams, but the team already had Roscoe Parrish for punt return duties and the other safeties could help more on coverage teams, so he became expendable in Jauron’s eyes.
4 – Hi Chris,
Now that Lee Evans is a Baltimore Raven, who will be the Buffalo Bills deep threat? Roscoe Parrish is a slot receiver, who has very good speed, but beyond him, who else is there? Stevie Johnson had a great year last year, but he is not a burner. What is your take on this?
Daytona Beach, FL
CB: I think for this season Stevie Johnson will be making the highest number of plays down the field. The offensive staff is hoping Jones develops into more of a downfield threat. Come 2012 I think Easley will emerge into more of the team’s downfield threat. It’s possible if he comes on strong that Easley could provide that for the offense as early as the second half of the season. But being that this is essentially his rookie year I’m not sure the staff or fans can count on that taking place.
5 – Chris thanks again for keeping us so well informed. My question is, could Michael Jasper not make a heck of an offensive tackle, similar to the way Jason Peters was converted after his first year as a tight end/defensive lineman ? Also as I seem to recall Howard Ballard was pretty much a project when he was a rookie. As you’ve reported Jasper has a lot of athletic talent for such a big guy.
Ron from Greensboro,NC
CB: You must’ve read the mind of Buddy Nix and the personnel staff. All along they felt that Jasper was a better offensive line prospect than defensive line prospect. According to Nix, Jasper felt the same way. So the question is why line him up at nose tackle all summer? My feeling is they wanted to develop him on the practice squad this year and groom him without the risk of having him catch the eye of another team. This past week he’s lined up at tackle and guard. He played guard his last two seasons at Bethel.
Tags: Demetrius Bell, Fan Friday, Jim Leonhard, Lee Evans, Levi Brown, Michael Jasper, Roscoe Parrish, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills