Inside The Bills

Jauron confident in Van Pelt’s abilities

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2009 – 6:40 pm

For those wondering how confident Dick Jauron is in Alex Van Pelt’s abilities to call a game as an offensive coordinator, a proper description would be, supremely.

“Quite frankly I don’t think that Alex is going to struggle,” said Jauron. “What happens is sometimes you’re successful and sometimes you’re not. But I don’t think he’s going to have problems calling plays. I think he’ll be very organized, think he’ll get them out quickly, and then it’ll just be a function, as I just said, our success or failure and it’s always easier when you’re successful. When it works and you win you’re really smart, and when it doesn’t work and you lose you’re not very smart at all and that’s the way it is. But I don’t see Alex struggling in preparation and I don’t think he’ll struggle on game day making calls or making adjustments.”

What I like most is that Van Pelt will be upstairs in the booth. Being away from the chaos of the sideline can only help. You get to isolate yourself from the rest of the goings on of a game.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Players were concerned about offense

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2009 – 11:09 pm

The Bills players shared a little more information about their concerns with the offense through the course of the preseason on Sunday, two days after Turk Schonert was replaced by Alex Van Pelt as offensive coordinator.

“I think everybody had some concerns about it,” said Lee Evans. “It was one of those things when you play games like that it leaves a type of feeling in your mouth, you always wonder if there’s something wrong and you want to do things to fix it. So, two back-to-back games of not playing well always causes some concern.”

“We had voiced some things with what direction it was going and where it needed to go and coach Jauron made the decision on how he felt and what he felt the offense needed best,” said Trent Edwards. “It’s a combination of everyone, as a whole, every player on the offense, every coach and everyone within the organization talks with coach Jauron and that decision was made based on those collective conversations.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jauron on meeting with Mr. Wilson

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2009 – 11:03 pm

Bills head coach Dick Jauron understandably didn’t provide a whole lot of details on the meeting between himself, Alex Van Pelt, Eric Studesville, GM Russ Brandon and owner Ralph Wilson in Detroit. But he explain why the meeting took place.

It sounded as though Mr. Wilson wanted to get a better feel for the new direction of the offense under Alex Van Pelt, who Jauron confirmed after practice Sunday should be referred to as the offensive coordinator now.

Jauron said he felt at the end of the meeting that Mr. Wilson was comfortable with the changes.

“I did,” said Jauron. “I felt like he was pretty comfortable before we got there. He’s known Alex for a long time, but he hasn’t known him as his offensive coordinator. He wanted to talk to him, he wanted to talk to Eric and he wanted to talk to me and Russ. It was really a good day.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-4

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2009 – 8:42 pm

Well some big stuff going down at One Bills Drive today. Here are some of your questions.

1. Hi Chris:

Lifelong Bills fan from Long Island here. Just got the news about Schonert.
Tough break….but something needed to be done.

Any thoughts from the organization in bringing Kelly in as a consultant or on the staff since he is SO familiar with the no huddle?

Good luck and GO BILLS!!!!!!!!!!
Ed Norris

CB: Jim Kelly has stated time and again that he does not have an interest in coaching. A consultant however, is interesting. That being said, Alex Van Pelt was a reserve QB behind Kelly when the K-Gun was being run here. So Van Pelt knows it just as well as Kelly does.

We’ll see how he approaches the use of the no huddle, which Dick Jauron said will continue despite the firing of Turk Schonert. I’m both happy for Van Pelt and concerned for him.

Yes, it’s a good opportunity, but how many of you would want to be handed a play calling job with 10 days to prepare and you’re facing Belichick? I think Van Pelt is more than capable, but I think he’d prefer to have more than 10 days to prepare, especially since he hasn’t called plays in a game since 2005.

It’s a tough spot. If he comes through he’ll be a hero. He’s got my support, I just wish the circumstances were different for him.
2. Dear, Chris
How is Dominic Rhodes handling 3rd team offence, because with his track record of being a solid # 2 back, with about 8 carries and 7 catches a game throughout his career, but now with buffalo he might get that the first 3 games but after that, he might be inactive with our deep Wr and Db corps. The bills ran w/ 2 Rb’s active last year they’ll probably do it again. Is he banking on Special Teams, im not sure why he wanted to go to the bills, i understand why the bills pick him up. How many years is his contract?
~  Will-O

CB: Rhodes has a 2-year deal with Buffalo. I think they’ll use him for the first three games in the same way they’ve used Fred Jackson when Marshawn was the feature back. Of course with Alex Van Pelt now the play caller that could change.

Rhodes is a proven back and for a smaller guy he runs tough between the tackles. He’s a proven receiver out of the backfield. I think there are several ways Van Pelt and Eric Studesville can make use of him even when Lynch is back with the team.
3. Hey Chris,
 I am completely obsessed with the battle for the NB position. Who do you think will end up getting it since we have so much depth? I think Florence will get it though Corner deserves it. Plus I wish Corner would get the chance because he is starting to really prove himself and make plays. Watching him play on TV, there is something about him that says potential starter and I think getting the younger guy in there will give them a chance to train him to be a starter one day. Plus, though I love Youboty (being an OSU fan and all) but he cant really stay healthy?

Thanks and keep up the great work!
Jim (Ohio)

CB: Thanks for the kind words Jim. As for the nickel back role it’s going to be interesting to see what transpires there. Florence had a stranglehold on the job before he suffered the sprained knee in the Chicago game. He’s expected to begin practicing with the team again the middle of this coming week.

But Corner has really been excellent filling the void. I think the coaching staff prefers Florence only because he’s stronger than Corner physically. And that’s important especially in 3rd and short to 3rd and medium situations. The reason why is if it’s 3rd-and-3 teams usually pass, but if they see a smaller nickel corner sitting in the slot, they’ll try to run right at him to get the first down.

I’m not saying the Corner is not good in run support. I’m just saying that Florence is a little better and would be a little more of a deterrent to teams thinking about running on a 3rd-and-3 if he’s in there. That being said Corner has proven to be more opportunistic in defending the pass. He led the team in INTs this preseason with 3, including one that he returned for TD.

It’s going to be a very tough call, and likely will depend a lot on how Florence looks on the practice field this week.
4. Hey Chris,

 Ive was wondering what your opinion was of the bills offense this year. According to the coaching staff our line is better. Now I have a hard time believing that just becuase of the lack of production. The only good drive the 1st team had going was at the Hall of Fame game when they were driving on the Titans. That ended in a pick becuase of O-line getting pushed back and not being able to create a good pocket. I guess my biggest concern is everyone says this is a make or break yr for Edwards. If the O-line doesn’t get it together I would hate to see Edwards be the fall guy for poor offensive production. I believe he has alot of upside to him and I think if given time to throw he could be a very good franchise QB. What is your opinion on how the Offense will perform from what you have seen in the practices?
Thank you,

Garrett from PA

CB: I think the offense will have its ups and downs this season because of the wholesale changes up front. That degree of change doesn’t just mesh together in a couple of months. I think it could take half a season. Now that doesn’t mean that the line isn’t talented. I think there’s a lot of quality talent up front with this group. Jelling together is what takes time.

I believe this is an O-line that can be better than the one last year. I just don’t know how quickly we’ll see signs of that.
5. Hey Chris,

James Hardy has not practiced yet, right? When do they expect him to be ready? Can he contribute this year?


CB: No, he has not been cleared to practice. The problem is the stamina in his knee isn’t sufficient to get through practice day after day. I expect him to be placed on Reserve/PUP which would give him until the end of Week 6 to build up the endurance in that knee to the point where he can practice with the team again.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tough turn of events

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2009 – 6:34 pm

There’s little question Dick Jauron had to do something to address the state of the offense. Making Alex Van Pelt the team’s play caller was the best option the Bills head coach had at his disposal.

Bringing in a coordinator with more experience and a different system was not an option this close to the regular season.

Jauron hinted as being more aggressive with the play calling, but was clear he did not want to get into specifics as to how they want to tweak the team’s attack.

It’s a nice opportunity for Van Pelt and a tough spot at the same time. Play calling is what Van Pelt has always wanted to do being a former QB, but being thrust into the role with 10 days to prepare for an opponent the caliber of the Patriots is a supreme challenge.

It’s not that I don’t think he’s capable. I have faith in what AVP can do. I just think even he would say he wishes he had more than 10 days to work with.

The Bills will try to make this as seamless a transition as possible, but everyone on the offensive side of the ball is going to need to pull on the rope a little harder now to help Van Pelt and make things better.

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Van Pelt on Pittsburgh radio this afternoon

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2009 – 5:56 pm

Bills quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt will be on the Pittsburgh airwaves later today.

Van Pelt will appear on the Joe Bendel show on Fox Sports Radio 970 AM in the Steel City.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Alex Van Pelt’s amazing story of a night with Derrick Thomas

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2009 – 9:00 am

Bills VP of Player Personnel John Guy is not the only person in the Bills organization that had a close tie to Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.

Bills QBs coach Alex Van Pelt was his teammate for six months with the Chiefs when he was their fourth string quarterback in their 1994 training camp. Van Pelt couldn’t say enough good things about the kind of teammate Thomas was even to the guy that sat fourth on the depth chart at QB. And Van Pelt also has a special story that illustrates how Thomas would go the extra mile to make a teammate or friend happy. Here it is in Alex’s own words.

“Derrick was awesome,” said Van Pelt. “Derrick was one of those guys that cared about everybody on the team. It didn’t matter if you were the fourth quarterback, which I was. He would come out in the preseason games when it was my turn to go in and catch balls to warm me up. He was encouraging and a great teammate.

“We’re leaving River Falls, Wisconsin when we break camp and we’re flying back on the plane to Kansas City. And we had talked about country music before and he knew I was a big Hank Williams Jr. fan. So he comes up to me on the plan and he says, ‘You know I like Hank Williams Jr.? Hank is playing in Wichita tonight, do you want to go?’

“And I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And he told me he’d come by the hotel and pick me up. So we drive an hour to Wichita, and I asked him, ‘Do we have tickets?’ And he said, ‘We don’t need tickets.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Okay, he’s Derrick Thomas, I guess he won’t need a ticket.’

“So we get to the arena and he drives past the guards with no parking pass and pulls right up to the back of the arena and into the arena next to Hank’s tour bus. And the manager and Hank come down and they say, ‘Hey Derrick how are you doing?’

“Two hour later we get to go up on stage with Hank Jr. on stage in front of 14,000 and sing a few lines with him. Afterwards we come back and we’re on his bus and Hank asks, ‘Do you want to go back to Kansas City? There’s a restaurant called Carozos.’ I guess that was their ritual, Derrick and Hank. They would eat there every time he was in town. Now it’s midnight, so he asks his wife, ‘Do you want to take the limo or do you want to fly back?’ And she says she wants to fly, and I’m thinking, ‘What is going on this is crazy.’

“So a guy from Hank’s group takes Derrick’s keys and drives his car back to Carozos and we all get taken to the airstrip and there’s this private jet with all these musical notes down the side. And I’m like, this is a dream. So we fly back to Kansas City and went and had dinner at Carozos until about 4 in the morning.

“It was one of those experiences where you tell the story and people think you’re crazy and don’t believe that it happened. But that was Derrick. He knew me for about six months and just embraced me and took me in.”

“I really enjoyed my time with him there. He was a great teammate and always had that smile on his face, just lit up the room. He was unbelievable.”

When Thomas passed away Van Pelt thought so much of Thomas as a teammate that he made sure that Thomas’ kids had shoes by using part of his Nike contract as a player to outfit his kids.

Van Pelt was also invited as a personal guest to the Derrick Thomas induction party at Canton this weekend.

“I was real honored to be invited to his induction,” said Van Pelt.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kelly has offered input to offensive staff

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2009 – 3:29 pm

Bills HOF QB Jim Kelly has offered some input to the offensive staff with respect to the no huddle approach. Here’s what Jim had to say about it.

“From what I understand they’re going to run a little no huddle offense and I’ve talked to Alex and I’ve talked to Turk about some of the things and whether they implement any of it or not, we’ll see,” said Kelly.

“But I think what I’ve seen looks alright. Now it’s going out there, getting the play into them quick enough and letting them go with it and not… If it’s a no huddle offense let them run the no huddle offense.

“I think they’ll do alright, and you know what? The bottom line is they have no other choice.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jim Kelly golf tourney underway

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2009 – 3:10 pm

I’m out at the 23rd annual Jim Kelly golf tournament this morning. A lot of familiar faces out here.

Talked to Jim, Bruce, Andre, Tasker and Phil Hansen among others.

Among the current Bills taking part that I spotted were John Wendling, John McCargo, Derek Fine, Gibran Hamdan, Paul Posluszny, Jonathan Stupar, Trent Edwards and Matt Baker.

Among the coaches I saw were Tyke Tolbert, Turk Schonert and Alex Van Pelt.
We’ll have full coverage of the event later this afternoon in the media lounge on

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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