Inside The Bills

Bills on record-setting sack pace

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 6:59 pm

The Bills did not get the win on Sunday, but their defense continued its torrid sack pace notching a half dozen more against the Chiefs. It’s given Buffalo it’s highest sack total in their first nine games in team history.

The Bills defense is coming off a franchise-record sack season last year when they set a team record with 57. Their 34 sacks through the first nine games this year however, is the most in club annals. Their old mark of 32 was set in 1997.

In their last 5 games, Buffalo has notched 23 takedowns of opposing QBs, the most in a five-game span since club-record 23 set in games 2-6, 1964 and matched in games 11-15, 2013.

“Yeah I mean, this is a really good group, they’re good up front, here at their own place been playing good all year,” said Chiefs QB Alex Smith. “It was tough,I knew coming in that this was a good group at home and they got the advantage when it’s loud and you can’t use cadence. I thought in order that we put ourselves in some bad 3rd downs, you want to stay out of any situation like this and we did. We had penalties and sacks and negative plays and put ourselves in 3rd and longs, and your kind of falling right in their wheel house.”

Marcell Dareus led the way Sunday with three sacks, Jerry Hughes had a pair and Mario Williams had the other.

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Chiefs’ Alex Smith at his best of late

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 10:19 am

He was a cast off in San Francisco, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believed he could win with Alex Smith and if the veteran QB continues playing the way he has of late Kansas City will stay right in the AFC playoff race.

The Chiefs come into Buffalo hot this weekend, winners of their last three in a row and five of their last six. They’re also 3-0 against the AFC East this season. Their offense has been remarkably efficient this season and Smith is a big reason why.

Inside the opponent’s 30-yard line he has the highest passer rating in the league at 120.8. Yes, the Chiefs are a run first team by all accounts, but Smith has been an effective complement. Kansas City is the second-most successful third down conversion team in football (52%), and in the red zone they’re even better. Smith has the Chiefs’ attack converting third down in the red zone at a clip of 68.8 percent, also good for second best in the NFL.

“He’s probably one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the game right now,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “They do such a great job of rushing the football and the short passing game that they’re never behind in the sticks, meaning it’s 2nd-and-5 or 2nd-and-6 or 3rd-and-2. You’ve got to get them off pace and that’s difficult to do.”

In his last six games Smith has completed 71 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and one interception and a passer rating of 109. Smith’s teams are 21-1-1 when he has a passer rating of 100 or better.

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Cards interested in Cassel?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2013 – 2:45 pm

The NFL trade winds are blowing and after the trade between the 49ers and Chiefs for Alex Smith, rumors are swirling that Matt Cassel could be the next QB on the move.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Arizona Cardinals could be interested in acquiring Matt Cassel from the Chiefs.

Cardinals new head coach Bruce Arians would have to change his passing scheme, which does have a reliance on the deep ball knowing Cassel’s arm is average at best. Cassel has also turned the ball over 30 times in his last 18 starts. Still, he might be a better option than what Arizona has right now at that position.

If the Cardinals make a move to acquire a veteran signal caller it would remove yet another quarterback needy team as a threat ahead of the Bills in this year’s draft with Kansas City acquiring Alex Smith. Arizona picks seventh overall, one spot ahead of Buffalo.


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Smith trade removes QB suitor for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2013 – 2:22 pm

The Bills have made no secret they’re in the market for a quarterback prospect in this year’s draft. In the wake of San Francisco’s trade of Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs Wednesday, a quarterback suitor situated ahead of the Bills in the draft has been effectively eliminated.

Now with Alex Smith as their quarterback the Chiefs are expected to address their offensive tackle position with their top pick in the draft. Even in round two, Kansas City’s pick now belongs to San Francisco, which is not in the market for a quarterback.

The only viable threat in front of the Bills eighth overall pick that is likely to take a quarterback is the Arizona Cardinals at seven. Cleveland may consider a signal caller with the sixth pick, but with a multitude of other needs like a pass rushing outside linebacker it’s unlikely to happen.

That means the Bills figure to have a crack at one of the top two quarterback talents in the NFL draft.

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49ers dealers in draft after Smith trade?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2013 – 12:34 pm

After swinging a trade with Kansas City to move Alex Smith off their roster for a second-round pick, the San Francisco 49ers are now armed with 12 draft choices for the 2013 NFL draft. It puts the 49ers in position to make a lot of deals in late April to move up and down the draft board to get whatever prospect they covet.

Part of the reason why the 49ers are likely to wheel and deal is because it’s very unlikely that 12 drafted rookies are good enough to make their veteran laden roster with a host of entrenched starters on both sides of the ball. Drafting 12 players might be deemed a waste if the player doesn’t have a chance to make your roster anyway.

So it opens up the likelihood that San Francisco GM Trent Baalke makes some deals to be in proper position to beat other clubs to prospects they deem as must haves. It certainly bears watching.

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49ers “unlikely” to release Alex Smith

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2013 – 12:13 am

There are fans of quarterback needy teams that were hopeful the San Francisco 49ers would part ways with QB Alex Smith after he lost his job to Colin Kaepernick and the team won an NFC championship. According to 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh that’s not going to happen.

At his press conference at the NFL Combine, Harbaugh said the process has to play out with respect to Alex Smith’s future, but did not entertain an outright release of the quarterback.

“Alex is really playing the best football of his career the last two years. And we think we have the best quarterback situation in the National Football League. Feel strongly about that,” said Harbaugh. “Again, that’ll be a process that plays out. Alex Smith, continuing to be a 49ers or if a trade occurs in the next weeks or months. Those are the two possibilities — most-likely possibilities.”

When asked specifically if Smith would be released Harbaugh said the following.

“It’s unlikely.”

Smith is due $7.5M dollars next season in base salary, far too much for a backup quarterback. If he’s still on the roster beyond April 1st that $7.5M is fully guaranteed and the 49ers would have a $9.75M cap hit. It’s likely that the 49ers approach Smith to ask him to restructure his contract, which has two years remaining. If a restructured deal is palatable to the 49ers and Smith agrees to live with being a backup he’ll stay, otherwise he’ll likely be traded.

Refusing to budge on his current contract at all could presumably make a release more likely, but right now San Francisco’s head coach has made a release sound like a last resort at best.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-11

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2013 – 12:47 pm

Hey Bills fans, an exciting week here at One Bills Drive with the hiring of Coach Marrone and the coordinators Coach Hackett and Coach Pettine. I’ve met all three and I’m encouraged about what they’ll bring to the team in terms of their expertise. Let’s get to your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Just looking ahead at the possibilities of the Bills filling in some holes with Free Agency and how active they might be this coming off-season. I would love for them to make upgrades at corner, wide receiver, and linebacker (quarterback too, but that would likely be addressed in the draft). How much cap space do the Bills currently have to work with in the off-season? I know that re-signing Byrd and Levitre will be top priorities for them, but once they’re taken care of, how much room will they likely have to work with, if any at all? Would love to see Dwayne Bowe in a Bills uniform!

As always, love the coverage you provide for us … please keep up the great work!

CB: NFL clubs do not get the established salary cap for the new league year until March, but it’s projected to be around $121M. The Bills do not provide their cap figures as a team policy. Reports indicate they’ll be around $15M under. That number obviously is subject to change between now and the opening of free agency.

Bills GM Buddy Nix has already said a quarterback may be acquired in free agency. He also mentioned the need to add a “big receiver.” I don’t know if Dwayne Bowe is realistic even though he does want to go elsewhere. His price tag will be high. And you’re right Byrd and Levitre are quality players that would appear to be priorities.


2 – Hey Chris,
There has been a lot of talk about the QB position this year & the year before that & the …well you get what i’m saying . Fitz is a Bills kind of guy, hard working, hard nosed kind of QB. I was hoping & still do that he can be that guy. Going forward though in the draft this year a guy is coming out that fits all of the Parcells requirements to drafting a QB of the future . He is a SEC guy (best college conference) A senior , Has been in the program his full time in college , & is prototypical size for the NFL , good arm & college career but not a lot of people are talking about him & i was wondering your thoughts on him . The guy that i have been talking about is Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, I think he could be a really good QB yet no one is really talking about him . What would your thoughts be on him & his future & the possibility of his & the Bills path crossing down the road ?? Then there is the Alex Smith situation, would you think there would b any for site in that direction as time ticks on ??

Once again Thank you !!
Mr.T from Fort Myers via Nashville
CB: I’m going to be honest and tell you I’m only now getting around to looking at the college players, so I can’t give you an assessment on Wilson. What I can tell you is Alex Smith will not be on San Francisco’s roster later this offseason. I’ve found that if Smith is on the 49ers roster April 1st, his entire 2013 salary will be guaranteed. The price tag? $7.5M. Now that he’s effectively San Francisco’s backup, I can’t see any way that he stays at that price in his current role.

The rub there is if the 49ers wait until the end of March to release him, it puts teams looking for a free agent QB in a bit of a bind. Free agency opens March 12th. Do you sit and wait on the 49ers clipping Smith and bypass other QB talent you might have your eye on? Or do you take what you can get at the opening bell of free agency and address the Smith availability when he’s available? Tough call.


3 – Hi Chris,

I applaud the decision to retain Mr. Nix for continuity. I am keeping my fingers cross for the next few years. My question is as follows.

When reporting injuries, the league uses terms like doubtful and probable, etc. What are all these terms exactly means?

Please keep up with the good work.
C. J. Wong, Ph.D.

CB: The league allows for four possible listings for an injured player. They are Out, Doubtful, Questionable and Probable. There’s no need to explain out, but the league classifies the likelihood of the injured player playing with these designations as follows.

Doubtful – player has up to 25% chance of playing on Sunday
Questionable – player has up to 50% chance of playing on Sunday
Probable – player has up to 75% chance of playing on Sunday


4 – Chris, 

Can you break down the Bills new coaches’ philosophy and scheme? Run heavy or pass heavy? Since the roster was built for spread how does it affect CJ, Fred, and David Nelson? I know it’s very early to speculate with not all pieces in place or other coaches. What type of offense do you think they have run? Great job on the coverage this week. By far best team website and updates by you! 


Our web staff appreciate the kind words. From what I understand from coach Marrone and coach Hackett, they ran a pro-style offense with up tempo capabilities at Syracuse. I’ve been told to think of New Orleans offense, but with a heavier run game component by those that have observed the Syracuse offense the last few years.

Coach Hackett told me that he and Coach Marrone locked themselves in a room and culled together the best of what several offenses have to offer and came up with their current system. They intend to make use of that in Buffalo.


5 – Hi Chris:
First of all, I don’t miss a blog. Keep it up! Where do you think QB Nassib will fall in the draft, and would it be too risky or too much of a reach to go get him? Or what of the possibilities of a trade with Washington for K. Cousins- I thought we should have nabbed him in the draft last year and just missed by a couple of draft selections.

Mike from Orlando, FL

CB: I think at this point it’s hard to judge where Nassib will land, and even after the Senior Bowl, Combine and pro days it’ll be tough to predict where he goes because all it takes is one team to really like him and take him sooner than the so called experts project. That being said most draftniks see him as a second-round prospect. I know Coach Marrone and Coach Hackett have a lot of respect for his game and how he’s developed. However, I don’t think that guarantees they take him in the draft.

As for Kirk Cousins, I think the knee injury suffered by Robert Griffin almost rules out any chance of the Redskins parting ways with Cousins via trade this offseason.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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