1 – Chris,
I know the Bills need some help at linebacker, would it ever be a possibility that Mario move to outside linebacker and have a backup defensive end play where Mario played? What are your thoughts.
CB: While addressing a perceived deficiency is important for a personnel department, it’s not the best idea to take a premier player and reduce his effectiveness for your defense to satisfy that perceived deficiency.
If you take Mario Williams and move him further away from the ball, you reduce his effectiveness as a pass rusher. Williams is coming off his most productive season. More often than not I expect Buffalo’s defensive staff to keep him up on the line as a true defensive end.
Does that mean that Mario will never line up at OLB in what is expected to be a multiple and hybrid front? No. He’ll probably see some time in a stand up LB role, but I expect it to be at the line of scrimmage.
Having Mario Williams drop might make sense as a decoy on a play or two, but Mario Williams is getting paid a lot of money to go get the QB, so he’s not the answer to address a LB deficiency.
2 – Hi Chris, big fan of fan friday, keep up the good work.
Been a huge Bills fan forever and currently part of the Bills Mafia in Ft. Lauderdale.
From your previous Fan Friday your thinking 5 receivers, so if you lock in Watkins, Harvin, Woods and Easley-I believe is a lock because of his new contract and special teams that’s 4 so does that mean Hogan or Goodwin are battling for final receiver spot or are you not counting Easley as a receiver in this scenario?
Thanks buddy, keep up great work and god job with the Bills Focus pieces.
CB: I indicated that keeping only five receivers was a possibility if they decide it’s more important to keep four tight ends for their offensive scheme. I don’t know if it’ll be absolutely necessary for them to do that knowing they’re keeping a fullback.
If it comes down to just five wideouts it’s probably Hogan and Easley as 4 and 5. If it’s six Goodwin is the guy that probably sticks. Rex Ryan has an appreciation for Goodwin’s speed and that is likely to trump a fourth tight end when it comes to roster decision time, but Goodwin has to maintain his level of play from the spring in training camp and the preseason when the pads are on and cornerbacks get considerably more physical.
Thanks for the kind words.
3 – Chris,
First and foremost, I really like the way you keep us informed. Your answers are very specific and detailed, no fluff. You really know what is going on with all things Bills, and it is appreciated.
I’m intrigued with two undrafted players, Tyson Chandler and A.J Tarpley. These type of players can be good finds and really round out our depth. Can you comment on each and your opinions as to where they land–the 53 man roster or the practice squad.
Thanks again Chris for your excellent coverage, we appreciate it.
CB: I appreciate the sentiments. Tyson Chandler is a player that I think could have a future in this league, just not in 2015. For a man his size I think he’s got pretty good feet. He just needs time to develop and I anticipate him winding up on Buffalo’s practice squad. He’s got some tools that warrant investment.
Tarpley is a guy that has to make his hay on special teams. He’s a heady player who has to have the camp and preseason of his life to leapfrog young players on the depth chart like Randell Johnson and Jimmy Gaines. Practice squad is probably his best bet.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
going into training camp, who has the inside track on the 7th starting position for the front 7 on D?
CB: What’s interesting here with this question is most people assume that Buffalo will have a true 3-4 front and in this hybrid scheme I don’t see that being the case. The way they lined up in camp they had four across the front with Mario, Kyle, Dareus and Hughes and at the second level it was Lawson, Brown and Bradham. I think that’s a lock for the front seven no matter how they decide to line up.
5 – Good morning, Chris.
I am hoping for some reassuring insight on the recent history of Wayne Hunter. Reports say he last played for the Rams in the 2012 season. Has he been out of football that entire time? It is disconcerting to think an aging player who has not been on a team in two years might be considered worth signing, even if he was added for training camp numbers. Is that customary, and no big deal, or does it reflect a desperation about the O-Line that is even worse than expected?
As always, your coverage of the Bills is outstanding, and a necessary staple for fans who love the team. Keep it up!
CB: Hunter is an insurance signing. Partly due to Seantrel Henderson’s spring, in which he didn’t make the first impression he had hoped on the new offensive staff. Henderson has time to redeem himself, but the Bills want a vet they feel they can rely on in the event of injury.
You need to look at Hunter as veteran insurance as a possible swing tackle, extra tight end in short yardage situations. Nothing more, nothing less.
Tags: 2015 Bills training camp, 53 man roster, A.J. Tarpley, Fan Friday, front seven, Mario Williams, Tyson Chandler, Wayne Hunter
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – Chris,
My question to you is lately the Bills have brought in guys i.e. Wayne Hunter, Matthew Mulligan to add to our depth. In your opinion do these guys have a chance to make the team or are they just filling positions because we are running basically two teams in practice now.
I know Rex likes his ex-players and both have a history with him. It appears Seantrel Henderson is losing ground on his position and is it possible that Hunter was signed because the coaches don’t like what they see in Henderson?
Also we cut Lee Smith who was basically a blocking tight end and now we bring in Matthew Mulligan essentially the same type player is there a concern that the tight ends on the roster outside of Charles Clay can block effectively? We have had Chris Gragg the last few years and he has not impressed as either a receiving or blocking tight end. Would love to hear your thoughts and again thanks for all you do for us!!! Let’s Go Buffalo!!!!
CB: The signings of Hunter and Mulligan are for very specific roles. Not leading roles mind you, but roles where Rex Ryan wants a veteran player he feels he can trust. Hunter is a player who struggled as a full-time starting right tackle in his last season with the Jets, but as a jack-of-all-trades role player in 2009 and 2010 for the Jets, Hunter excelled as a swing tackle (first off bench in event of injury), a blocking tight end in jumbo and short yardage packages and even as a defensive tackle in goal line formations.
Mulligan will serve in a blocking capacity as well. So you know Lee Smith wasn’t cut. He was a free agent and got big money from Oakland. Buffalo wasn’t going to pay Smith upwards of $3M a year. Mulligan is a reliable veteran blocker and is a much better value.
2 – Hey Chris,
I watched your 1 on 1 interview with Greg Roman and I found it interesting when he said that whichever QB is in there on game day will be the franchise QB in his opinion. I was curious of your reaction and thoughts to that? That’s a pretty bold statement. Do you think that one of these 3 guys just may have shown something in OTA’s and minicamp for him to say that? I also thought maybe he just meant that when one of these guys shows he can understand and fully command Romans offense then it means he is Romans “franchise guy”? Whatever it means I am very confident in Roman and whoever he chooses to be the guy.
CB: I didn’t interpret Roman’s comment as an indication that one of the three QBs showed him franchise QB ability. If that was the case the guy would be the starter already.
I think he was simply saying when one of the QBs separates himself from the others that he will be the franchise guy because he’ll be the starter. That being said, depending on that QB’s performance who the starter is could be subject to change. Let’s just hope whoever wins the job performs well enough and consistently enough to hold the job for the whole season.
3 – Hey Chris
Want to start off by saying thanks for the great work you put in. Keeping us all updated on the team for us not in the Buffalo area.
My first question is about EJ. I can’t say I was a big fan of us drafting him first round overall. That being said I think he is working hard. I would like to see him get a real shoot this year. I know this is an all in season for the bills. With all the free agent adds. So I get why they are trying to have so much competition but I feel he needs to get a full season in. He wasn’t that bad last year. Don’t get me wrong he wasn’t that good either.
I feel with all the competition going on can be a bad thing as well. I feel whoever wins the job we need to stick with regardless and not switch guys after a few bad games. The whole team gets hurt this way since none of the QBs are the same style.
My second question is about Fred Jackson. They keep talking about cutting him. I think that would be the dumbest moves we make this year. I think he works hard and he makes plays but more importantly he is a captain and a leader. I think we need that more than anything with all these high profiled playmakers on the offense side of the ball. I think he might be our best shot of these guys playing as a team.
CB: As I stated in the above answer the ideal situation is that the QB who wins the starting role holds onto it the whole season. That means he’ll be performing consistently and effectively and that’s good for the offense. You’re right there are contrasting styles between the three, so keeping that position consistent with the same person helps the other 10 players on offense.
As for Fred Jackson, I think the things working in his favor more than anything else are his leadership and his pass protection. LeSean McCoy might be the only back on this roster who knows how to pass protect as well as him. If you can’t trust a guy to pick up blitzes and make pre-snap adjustments to be in position to protect your QB, you can’t put that guy on the field.
The offensive coaches can trust Fred. I think the only thing that puts his job in jeopardy is if he struggles to get through camp and perhaps looks a step slow. Knowing how well he takes care of his body I don’t see that happening.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
CB: I think your premise is a bit of an oversimplification. Offensive coaches will base their starting QB decision on a myriad of factors that will go far beyond the protection capabilities of the men up front. I think the offensive line’s pass protection would have to represent a jail break on every pass play in the preseason to move this kind of factor high enough on the priority list in why they choose one QB over another.
5 – Hey Chris,
Thank you for keeping us Bills fans well informed, you are doing a great job, keep up the good work.
Now my question may be the same old song, but as fans it is very important to us; The Quarterback Position. With the three QBs splitting reps with the first team, does that give enough time for the #1 guy to develop a relationship with the WRs, TEs, and the backfield?
Also since none of them have set themselves apart from the others, does that mean that the coaches aren’t pleased with any of them or are all 3 looking that good? Everyone hoped that Matt Cassel would come in and at least get it done for this year. Since he does not have a contract extension yet, is that saying anything about how he is doing? Thank you
CB: Your first question is a valid concern. Rex Ryan has said that he will take as long as he needs to pick the right guy. I don’t question for a second that picking the right guy is the most important factor in all of this. A close second however, is making a decision that leaves enough time to get that starter ready for the regular season.
With all three splitting reps it inadvertently compromises the on field chemistry between the QB and the 10 other starters on offense. After witnessing Kyle Orton step right in last year with no preseason or training camp snaps perhaps it’s not as big a deal as some might think.
But with a new offensive system as varied as Greg Roman’s, deciding on a starter with a preseason game or two left on the schedule would be ideal because it should afford the starter enough time to get fully in tune with the rest of the starting unit.
Tags: 2015 Bills training camp, EJ Manuel, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Greg Roman, Matthew Mulligan, QB competition, Rex Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, Wayne Hunter
Posted in Inside the Bills
After narrowly failing to qualify for a spot on the US team for the World track & field championships in China in August, Bills WR Marquise Goodwin is going to participate in one more major track and field competition before training camp.
Goodwin is listed as a participant for the US team in the Pan American Games later this month in Toronto. The receiver will again be competing in the long jump. The dates for the event are July 21st and 22nd, which is just over a week before Bills training camp begins at St. John Fisher.
Goodwin is one of 43 US male athletes competing in the games. He told the AP last month after failing to qualify for the World Championships that he was headed “back to football,” but apparently this new opportunity surfaced and he chose to participate.
Last month Goodwin needed to finish in the top three as the US track and field championships to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing, but finished fourth with a best jump of 27-feet 5 1/2 inches.
Tags: 2015 Bills training camp, Marquise Goodwin, Pan American Games
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman has a great deal of talent to make use of on offense. He also has an offensive playbook that contains a great deal of creativity and variety. But what will Roman lean on more in his first season as play caller for the Bills? His talent or his creativity.
Roman addressed that delicate balance in his sit down with Buffalobills.com.
“I think it’s going to come down to execution,” said Roman. “What can we execute effectively? There are a lot of teams with talent, but not all of them win. We’ve got to find our formula for winning and everybody has got to grab a shovel and start digging or grab an oar and start rowing. Here the hero of the team is going to be the team. It’s going to be every offensive lineman, receiver, tight end, quarterback, running back in the game doing their job and being a force multiplier for the guys around them.
“It takes all 11 guys taking care of their business, so I think we have tremendous potential to be a very prolific winning team here. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up, but training camp is here now so it’s time to get digging or start rowing to get to where we’re playing at a high level of efficiency. The creativity part I’m going to have to let you let everybody kind of wait and see on that.”
Tags: 2015 Bills training camp, Greg Roman
Posted in Inside the Bills
Sammy Watkins underwent a procedure on his hip after his rookie season with the Bills reached a conclusion. Though Watkins is able to work out to participate in some capacity in the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program, head coach Rex Ryan said not to expect to see Watkins doing much in the way of football related work until August.
“My understanding is Sammy is doing really well,” said Ryan. “We’re not going to see him out there until training camp. But he should be full go when we get to training camp.”
Watkins said he is feeling good.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m just getting back to working out, having fun with the guys,” Watkins said. “I’m just happy to be with the team and great coaches. I just have to keep getting better.”
Watkins in encouraged by his progress and is on board with the regimen prescribed for him by the team’s athletic training staff.
“I just believe in our staff. They’re doing a great job. I’ve just got to keep working hard,” he said. “Everything has been going good. I’m healing. They’re working me out the right way. They keep me motivated and I’ve just got to keep getting better.”
Tags: 2015 Bills training camp, Rex Ryan, Sammy Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills