1 – Hey Chris,
I love these Fan Fridays, and thank you if you get to reading and responding to my question. With Michael Buchanan is it a possibility that he plays defensive end like he did in college and I think in his first year, and moving Jerry Hughes back to line backer as he did some coverage as linebacker as he did is his first year of with the Colts, if I’m not mistaken. So to summarize. Is it possible for that exchange to occur with the possibility if this free agent signing?
Thank you Chris,
CB: Buchanan has lined up exclusively at defensive end since he’s been on the practice field with the Bills. He’s a long and angular player. I think Buchanan will be fortunate to make the 53-man roster knowing the depth Buffalo has on the defensive line. So unseating Jerry Hughes is a pretty big leap to make. That being said I do think Hughes could see some time as a stand-up OLB in some of Buffalo’s defensive looks, where he rushes the passer that way instead of as a traditional end.
2 – CB,
Most teams carry 4 offensive tackles. Right now the Bills have 3. Do you see them signing someone? I assume they hope Cyrus can be their swing tackle or push Henderson. How many guards do you expect to make the roster. Rex wants to keep Urbik but they are very high in numbers (Williams, Richardson, others). They can’t keep all these guys. I hope John Miller wins the job. What your idea of the the line/backups will fare out?
CB: The Bills have a fourth OT in Tyson Chandler an undrafted rookie. There isn’t much on the free agent market in terms of proven talent. I do believe the Bills will try to add a fifth tackle at least for training camp. They need numbers there for reps and in the event of an injury. Knowing how thin the veteran free agent market is it’ll probably be a young player if it happens.
As for guards I think they keep three true guards and Kraig Urbik, who is a center and guard.
3 – Chris,
I appreciate the excellent reporting you provide for all of us Bills fans in Nevada.
How serious was Matt Cassel’s injury and where does he stand in his rehab?
Is there the potential for the tutoring that EJ is receiving from Steve DeBerg to be in conflict with what David Lee will teaching him?
Will coach Ryan or Thurmond be calling the plays on game day?
Hank from Boulder City, NV
CB: Thanks for the kind words. Cassel’s foot injury was a very serious one last season. He is fully cleared to practice and insists his foot is fine. I think when we get closer to game speed in the preseason it’s something to keep an eye on. I’m not saying that because of anything I’ve seen in OTAs. I’m saying that because we know QBs are untouchable in the training camp setting, so in the preseason if he takes a hit or two on that foot it will bear watching to see how it holds up.
As for EJ’s tutoring from Steve DeBerg they did focus on throwing motion, release point and footwork, so I suppose there is a chance that DeBerg’s teachings could conflict with that of Bills QBs coach David Lee. I don’t anticipate there being any major differences however, between the two coaches where it would set Manuel back because the biggest focus was making his throwing motion more compact. Manuel had a bit of wind-up last year and needed to shorten it up. I’m confident David Lee likely came to a similar conclusion watching Manuel’s 2014 tape.
Finally, as it’s been explained to me, Rex Ryan will call the defensive plays on game day.
4 – Chris,
Thanks for all of the excellent year-round Bills coverage. Knowing that the Bills have been among the league leaders the last couple of years in having to play teams off a bye week or extra rest, how does the schedule look this year in regards to that? How many games do the Bills face an opponent coming off a bye or three extra days of rest due to a Thursday night game? Also, do the Bills face any division opponents coming off extra rest?
R.J. Rome, NY
CB: The situation is a bit better for the Bills facing opponents coming off extra rest, but not by much. Buffalo has three games against opponents who will be coming off extra rest. The unfortunate part is they’re all clumped together in the first five weeks of the season, and yes one is against a division opponent.
In Week 2 the Bills will host the Patriots, who will be coming off an extra three days rest by virtue of their season opening Thursday night game against Pittsburgh.
In Week 4 they host the Giants, who will be coming off a Thursday night game in Week 3 and will also have three extra days of rest before facing the Bills.
In Week 5 Buffalo travels to Tennessee to face the Titans, who will have a full extra week to prepare coming off a Week 4 bye.
In Week 15 Dallas will technically have an extra day of rest going into their game against Buffalo because they play Saturday in Week 14, but that will be somewhat negated by the fact that the Cowboys have to travel to Buffalo. So in essence it’s three games.
Washington leads the league this year with five games against opponents with extra rest.
Buffalo has two games against opponents where they’ll have the extra rest and both are against division opponents (Week 9 vs. Miami, Week 11 at New England). Of course in between those two games is a Thursday night road game at the Jets.
Three straight games against division opponents is not a good draw at all, especially when the first two will be played in a four day span (Week 9 vs. Miami, Week 10 at Jets – Thurs. night). Basically the Bills face all three division opponents in a stretch of 15 days with two of them on the road.
That’s probably more of a disadvantage than playing teams off extra rest because of the importance of those games in the AFC East standings. Of course they could be the Packers, who play four division games in a row from Week 10 to Week 13. Ugh.
5 – Hi Chris,
Just wondering what your thoughts are on one last years late round picks, Randell Johnson, and what his chances are of becoming a contributor? I didn’t hear much about him last year, but his instincts and tackling really stuck out to me last summer in the preseason. Now that a lot people are saying LB is a need I’m wondering if he can possibly fill it.
CB: I believe the coaching staff is hoping he can provide some valuable depth at linebacker, and they’re giving him every opportunity to prove himself. Through the OTA practice sessions Johnson has largely run with the second unit at outside linebacker. His length (6-4, 245) is perfect for a 3-4 front. Defensive coordinators look for long body types there.
There is a lot to process in this defense and I feel like he’s working his way through it. Right now I don’t see anyone really pushing him for that outside spot on the second unit, but that could change come training camp. Knowing his assignments well enough to just freely run and hit will be beneficial to his game.
Tags: Bills 2015 schedule, Fan Friday, Matt Cassel, Michael Buchanan, Randell Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills schedule has some exciting matchups this fall, with some big name QBs in early, back-to-back primetime games against division opponents and a run through almost the entire NFC East in a month. Here are some of the more noteworthy items.
1 – Champs in early
Buffalo opens the season against a division champion (Indy-AFC South) followed by the Super Bowl champion (New England). The good news is Rex Ryan is 5-1 in home openers as a head coach.
2 – If you can’t beat ’em…
Between Week 3 and Week 10 the Bills have seven games with six coming against non-playoff clubs from 2014. Cincinnati is the only postseason qualifier they’ll see in that span as the other six clubs (Miami twice) had a combined record of 23-57.
3 – Familiar primetime faces
The Bills primetime games are not only back-to-back, but represent the first time Buffalo has more than one primetime game on their schedule since 2009. They had two primetime games that season and they were against the same two division opponents that season as they are for 2015 (New York and New England).
4 – AFC East Express
Coming off of their Week 8 bye the Bills better be well rested because they’ll have three straight games against division opponents and they’ll do it in rapid succession. With Buffalo playing Miami in Week 9, followed by a Thursday night game against New York in Week 10 and a Monday night game at New England in Week 1, the Bills will have three division games in the span of 15 days.
5 – Road warriors
The Bills better get used to hotel beds come November and December. Over the six weeks of games from Week 10 to Week 15, Buffalo will have five of those six games on the road, including three straight at New York, New England and Kansas City.
6 – Good for ground and pound
As the weather turns in the second half of the season the Bills anticipated ground and pound offensive approach could be a perfect fit for the venues on the schedule late in the year. Six of Buffalo’s last eight games take place north of the Mason-Dixon line, with the other two in Washington and Kansas City.
7 – NFC rinse and repeat
Buffalo knew they were facing the NFC East as their cross conference division in 2015. They probably didn’t think they’d face three of those four teams in consecutive weeks. Aside from their matchup with the Giants in Week 4, Buffalo will square off against Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas in successive weeks from Week 14-16.
Tags: Bills 2015 schedule, Monday Night Football, Thursday night football
Posted in Inside the Bills