It’s the eve of the final preseason game for the Buffalo Bills, a game where certain players are fighting for a roster spot. We asked the listeners who is on the bubble, who is their bubble player to make the team or not make the team? We received some interesting scenarios on that. We also heard from quarterback EJ Manuel and head coach Doug Marrone who discussed the playing time for the starters tomorrow night, his quarterback, and the leadership coming from the team.
Our first guest was Jim Brandstatter, the radio color analyst for the Detroit Lions. Brandstatter gave us a preview of tomorrow night’s preseason game as the Lions come to Ralph Wilson Stadium. He talked about former Lions head coach and now Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and his time in Detroit and what led to his dismissal. He touched on quarterback Matthew Stafford who had a disappointing season last season and Stafford’s new tight end target, Eric Ebron. Ebron, the rookie out of North Carolina has been a big target in the preseason and is showing his potential value for the Lions.
“What the Lions thought he would be is what he has become. It’s a matchup problem for a defense. He can lineup as a fullback, as a wing like an H-back. He can become detached from the line of scrimmage, kind of like a flex tight end or wide receiver. He gives the defense a lot to look at and he’s got great size and decent speed, so if he gets a matchup against a linebacker or safety, he can beat them and I think that’s what the Lions were looking to add.”
Brandstatter discussed the defensive side of things for the Lions including their defensive front that includes Ndamukong Suh and the recent demotion of Nick Fairley.
As the weekend approaches and the deadline looms for roster cuts, we were joined by Western New York native Greg Gabriel who talked about the making of the 53-man roster. Gabriel is a former NFL team scout and that includes time with the Bills. His recent post on National Football Post discusses who makes the final call on the final roster, breaking down who will fit in each position, and if money is a factor for certain players. When making the call on a certain player, Gabriel says the importance of game play doesn’t always out-weigh what’s being showcased on the practice field. (10 min in)
“It’s part of the equation not the total equation. There’s practice every day. What you do in practice, what you do in the class room that counts. That counts sometimes even more than what happens in games. You can’t control what happens in a game time situation. You go into a preseason game and you want to get someone fifteen snaps but because of the flow of the game you just can’t do that, so you’re not able to evaluate that situation but you have been able to evaluate him every day in camp and on top of that you know what he’s doing in the class room, you know how he picks up your offense and defense, you know what his work habits are, you’ve worked with him every day. It’s really a two part equation and I’m going to say it’s more practice than the preseason games.”
Gabriel also touched on the importance of special teams and how those final roster decisions may rely on how a player can help on special teams.
To round out the show, we were re-joined by Bills VP of Operations and Guest Experience Andy Major. Major updated us on the renovations at the stadium and the feedback he received after the team’s first home game last Saturday. Major said the “wow-factor” for the fans has come from the new Bills Store that is a center stage visual. He also talked about the ease fans had getting into the stadium from the new entry gates. He answered various questions from listeners of the show and discussed what is ongoing with the renovations including various updated signage and how fans can give their feedback on their game day experience.
To hear more from Major and the rest of The John Murphy Show, click below.
Posted in Inside the Bills