Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-19

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2010 – 1:15 pm

On the heels of some starting caliber free agent additions for Buffalo’s defense here is the latest installment of Fan Friday. As always questions can be sent at And you can review my blog scroll right here instead of just a post at a time if you’re playing offseason catch up. Let’s get going.

1- Hey Chris, I’m a grad student down at Penn State and have seen a lot of Jared Odrick, and he seems to be a really good player. I think that he would be worth a late 1st round, early second round pick. Do you think he would be a good NT? What do you think the odds are of the Bills being able to pick him up, whether they take him at rd 2, pick 9 or trade up/down for him?

CB: I like Odrick’s game a lot. I don’t think there is anything about his game that an NFL head coach would be wondering about on Sunday. This guy gives maximum effort every snap. I think he’s capable of filling a role at nose tackle, but I don’t think he can be a full time NT. I think his ideal position is as a 3-4 defensive end.

Knowing that I think it’s unlikely that the Bills make a move for him whether it is up or down the board. That being said I think your range for him is dead on, late first, early second-round pick.

2 – Chris,
I thought the Bills did a pretty good job getting young linebackers like Harris and Palmer…they seem to me like they would have the athleticism to be good 4-3 linebackers…but I’m not sure where they fit in a 3-4. Do you think they might move Harris back to strong safety and in general what do you think the plan is with the linebackers?

CB: A lot of Chris’ with questions this week. I thought that Harris moving back to safety could be a possibility until the team re-signed veteran Bryan Scott. With Scott and George Wilson tendered as a restricted free agent, I believe it’s less likely that it happens.

Nic Harris however, does have the frame to add some muscle mass in my opinion, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of plans the new staff has for Harris. As for Palmer he was released by the club and is better suited to a 4-3 system.

3 – Hey Chris,
I agree with you that the Bills should draft an Offensive Left Tackle in the first round. That said, what quarterbacks that are either Free Agents or could be acquired via trade, would you go after?

CB: Truthfully, I wasn’t impressed with most of what was out there and available. The Seahawks traded for Charlie Whitehurst who has barely played in the league. Cleveland acquired Jake Delhomme coming off a career worst season. It’s tough times if you need a QB.

That’s why it would not surprise me if the Bills spent most of their roster shaping efforts addressing their other positional deficiencies this year (OT, NT, LB, TE) and let this year play itself out at QB. Then based on the performance of whichever one of the QBs that plays make a wholehearted effort to address the position once and for all in 2011.

4 – Chris,
Do you think Rashaad Duncan or Lonnie Harvey are viable DT candidates in the 3-4, or are they still too raw? We haven’t hear much talk about John McCargo as a NT prospect in the 3-4 – where do you see him? What about Corey Mace as a DE? Do you see Chris Kelsay or Chris Ellis as OLB candidates in the 3-4, or would they not be fast enough off the edge?
Thanks, Mike, Pittsford

CB: I think Duncan and Harvey will both be given an opportunity through the offseason and in camp to show the new staff what they’ve got. With nose tackle currently a position that’s short on proven talent, it’s a good opportunity for both of those young men.

As for McCargo, I’m concerned about his future. He doesn’t look like a fit at all in this system and he has struggled mightily with his consistency. He has tools, he just doesn’t use them often enough. Mace was not re-signed. Kelsay and Ellis will be OLB candidates.

5 – Chris,
Not sure I thoroughly understand the thinking of those who feel we need to draft a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft. This is especially true in light of the fact that the two top rated QBs are injured and still have questions about their potential.

Also, what good it does us if we get a QB but cannot protect him as was the case last year. My thinking is that we need a solid offensive LT with our first pick followed by the best DT on the boards in Round 2.

We should then be looking to LB in Round 3. Build the nucleus first and then get a driver to run it hard and fast.

Also, any thoughts about trading a future pick to gain an extra pick this year, especially given we are moving to a 3-4 defensive alignment? As always appreciate the coverage your provide to us Bills fans outside the western New York area.

Jim Allentown, Pa.

CB: Jim, you’re speaking my language. OT first, provided one of the top 4 are there at 9 (worried a bit one might not be there now) and then best NT on the board in round two. I’m thinking the Bills have the same idea we do, which is spend this offseason filling the other holes and then go hard core after a QB or do whatever you have to next year to get to the top of the draft board to get Jake Locker. And because that could very well be their approach I think trading a 1st or 2nd round pick from 2011 is unlikely.

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Palmer ready to fill

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2009 – 9:10 pm

Rookie Ashlee Palmer’s goal was to be a starter in this league some day. Never did he think he’d get the opportunity to prove himself so soon in his career.

Palmer was having a promising training camp before a high ankle sprain sidelined him after the first preseason game in Canton.

“I’m kind of like right where I want to be. I’m coming into a situation where they had starters already set and me being undrafted and I had really thought I was going to make the practice squad with me being hurt, but I end up making the roster and that set things off from there,” Palmer said. “I have special goals for myself and one of them was to become a starter in the league one day and I get that opportunity this week.”

Palmer is viewed as a fit for Buffalo’s ‘Tampa 2’ scheme which preaches 11-men to the football. Being a linebacker with a lot of range Palmer can get to the ball quickly. The question is how comfortable does he feel in the system?

Though the scheme he played in his senior season at Ole Miss nothing like Buffalo’s system, he played almost the exact same defense the year prior as a Rebel.

“At Ole Miss we ran a lot of man so the scheme was totally different,” he said. “But I ran this style my junior year at Ole Miss under Ed Orgeron. But it’s just a difference in terminology and getting used to that. Not a big difference.”

Watching him all offseason and preseason, he was one of the more impressive rookies athletically. The only other rookie that may have been more athletically gifted was Ellis Lankster, so you can understand why the Bills staff is going to put him out there and give him a shot.

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Some moves at LB

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2009 – 4:09 pm

After giving up over 200 yards rushing each of the past two weeks it looks like there could be some changes at linebacker.

Rookie Ashlee Palmer was lining up at Wednesday’s practice in Kawika Mitchell’s spot on the outside with Mitchell moving inside to MLB. Three weeks ago when defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he had a plan ‘C’ in addition to his initial two linebacker lineups after Poz’s injury, this had to be it.

If this is what they decide to do on Sunday I’m totally in favor of it. Mitchell is a stouter run defender (6’1″ 253) and has experience in the middle, which is where he played in Kansas City. 

We’ll have more information on this possible lineup change this afternoon from head coach Dick Jauron who has a press conference scheduled for 2:45pm.

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Sporting News has Bills special teams ranked #1

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2009 – 1:53 pm

After finishing last season as the top ranked special teams unit, the expectations are there to be #1 again.

The Sporting News has the Bills special teams holding the top spot in their preseason rankings.

Bobby April’s unit does not appear to have the same degree of turnover it had last season when several veteran specialists departed via free agency. With the core of the units intact and promising newcomers like Nic Harris, Ashlee Palmer and Ellis Lankster the group should not miss a beat this season.

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Jersey number changes

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2009 – 7:16 pm

Rookies Ellis Lankster and Ashlee Palmer have both changed their jersey numbers.

Lankster is now donning #25 and Palmer is now wearing jersey #59.

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LB Palmer to go

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2009 – 10:58 pm

After a couple of practices late this week undrafted rookie Ashlee Palmer will play tonight.

Though he’s only expected to see time on special teams coming off his ankle injury if his ankle holds up well I think he might see time on defense too.

This guy was Kawika Mitchell’s backup and was playing well before the ankle injury in the HOF game.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Two linebackers return

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2009 – 3:33 pm

After each missing more than a week of action linebackers Pat Thomas and Ashlee Palmer are back practicing.

We’ll have an update as to just how much they do later.

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2009 training camp awards

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2009 – 4:43 pm

With training camp coming to a close it’s time to hand out our 4th annual training camp awards.

Most entertaining player – Roscoe Parrish – T.O. certainly had his moments, but Parrish from start to finish in camp drew the most oohs and ahhs from the fans with the catches he made and the defenders he juked.

Most improved defensive player – Chris Ellis – As camp wore on Ellis’ confidence grew with the pinnacle coming in the Bears preseason game when he had a sack and forced fumble as well as a fumble recovery. Ellis has taken a big step forward from year one to year two.

Most changed player – Paul Posluszny – This guy’s demeanor on the field has changed significantly. He’s taken full command of the team’s defense and you can see it and hear it in his voice. In year three Buffalo’s MLB is a confident player that’s ready to lead as well as become a playmaker. Trent Edwards is a close second here for a lot of the same reasons.

Most improved offensive player – Demetrius Bell – the offensive tackle has begun to mesh his solid athletic ability with the techniques required to play effectively on the line. He may not start this season, but by mid-season he might look starting caliber.

Most impressive rookie – Ellis Lankster – Helped by the fact that he was a seventh-round pick, Lankster carried his strong spring in OTAs into training camp and did not disappoint. Constantly around the ball, Lankster was among the team leaders in interceptions and pass breakups in camp. Eric Wood was a close second here.

Most consistent veteran – Kyle Williams – The defensive tackle put in his typical solid camp and got consistent penetration during run game segments and fared well during one-on-ones and team work. Honorable mention to Lee Evans and Josh Reed.

Most surprising player – Ashlee Palmer – The undrafted rookie linebacker got a long look in the spring from the coaches and they liked what they saw as they had Palmer running with the second unit. We had him as a training camp sleeper and he made plays in the HOF game, but an ankle injury has unfortunately curtailed his progress. Jonathan Stupar gets an honorable mention here.

Most inspirational player – Marshawn Lynch – Whether he’s joking with an offensive teammate to remind them they have to make a play or trash talking the defense to get them to play harder, Lynch is his own way pulls the best out of his teammates on both sides of the ball. He’s doing it in a much different way, but it’s leadership.

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Non-participants for practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2009 – 2:07 pm

Here’s the rundown of non-participants in addition to Florence and Owens for practice.

Matt Baker
Travis McCall
Pat Thomas
Ashlee Palmer
Corey Mace
Marcus Smith

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Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2009 – 11:18 pm

Here’s the list of non-participants for tonight’s practice.

Matt Baker
Felton Huggins
Drayton Florence
Bryan Scott
Xavier Omon
Pat Thomas
Ashlee Palmer
Marcus Smith

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Owens not at preseason game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2009 – 3:40 am

Terrell Owens along with Buffalo’s other injured players LB Ashlee Palmer and LB Pat Thomas were not in attendance at the Bills preseason game Saturday night. Head coach Dick Jauron did not require that they be on hand for the preseason contest.

“No, with Terrell we encouraged him not to be here and stay off the foot,” said Dick Jauron. “It’s doing well. We didn’t think he needed to be here. We certainly didn’t want him on the sidelines nor any of our other injured players.” 

During the regular season injured players that are inactive for the game usually watch from the press box level so as not to risk further injury should a play spill over the sideline.

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Not a whole lot at practice Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 4:58 pm

The Friday practice before Saturday’s game was more walk through type stuff as the offense and defense worked against sets and looks they’re likely to see in their game against the Bears.

There was some team work, but it did not appear to be full speed. Ko Simpson was back practicing after missing Thursday night’s session. Felton Huggins was also back, so their chances of playing Saturday are somewhat improved.

LB Pat Thomas, LB Ashlee Palmer and WR Steve Johnson along with Terrell Owens are not expected to play.

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No T.O. at walk thru

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2009 – 2:37 pm

Terrell Owens (sprained toe) is not in attendance at the team’s morning walk thru on Wednesday.

LB Ashlee Palmer (ankle) is also absent.

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Bills have open roster spot

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2009 – 4:32 pm

With the Bills’ re-signing of Antwain Spann and two reserve players waived/injured, there is an open roster spot available to the club.

I think the most likely positions where there could be an addition are linebacker and defensive end. Linebacker because Ashlee Palmer was injured during Sunday night’s game. He was not at walk-thru this morning.

Defensive end is another possibility because if Copeland Bryan is still not ready to return from a hamstring injury (though I’ve gotta think he has to be close) they may need another player there.

Right now Kelsay, Denney, Schobel, Ellis are the only healthy ends, though Mace could kick out there for reps if necessary. Of course if Aaron Maybin could be signed this week none of that would be necessary either.

Which position do you think should be addressed?

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Jersey number changes

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2009 – 12:22 am

After hearing a couple of fans confused with some of the linebackers due to some number changes here are the jersey assignments after changes were made just prior to camp opening.

LB Nic Harris is now #54 (was #49)
LB Ashlee Palmer is now #64 (was #61)
DT Ventrell Jenkins is now #65 (was #64)
DT David Lindquist is now #75 (was #76)
TE Jonathan Stupar is now #88 (was #87)

Hope this helps you folks that are coming out to camp.

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Lankster and other rookies arrive

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2009 – 5:01 pm

7th round pick Ellis Lankster along with a few of the undrafteds are on campus.

Undrafteds Ashlee Palmer, Jermaine McGhee and Lydell sargeant just arrived.

Vet Pat Thomas as well.

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