Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 2-11

Posted by Chris Brown on February 11, 2011 – 12:25 pm

Into the offseason we go. Let’s hope things get resolved in short order with regard to a new deal and the 2011 season. In the meantime to your questions from

1 – With Nick Fairley saying that he doesn’t want a cold weather team do you see the Bills staying away from him even if he is available. Also do you see DaQuan Bowers or Marcell Dareus fitting our scheme better. I also understand that Fitz is our starter next year, but if Locker is there in the second could we really pass him up?
Russell from Idaho

CB: I think in all fairness to Fairley, being from Mobile and playing his entire career in the south cold weather is just something he doesn’t know about. Besides he doesn’t get to choose where he goes anyway. The Bills won’t ever shy away from drafting someone just because they might not be a fan of the cold. As much as Fairley might not like cold, I think in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor issue.

As for Bowers, there’s a question as to where he fits in a 3-4 scheme, which the Bills play. His ideal fit is as a 4-3 end. To his credit he does play the run well and at 6’4” 275 pounds he has a freakishly strong upper body. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bills or any other 3-4 team believes he could handle end in a 3-4 scheme. I don’t know if playing OLB in a 3-4 is in the cards for him.

Dareus would be a fit in any system. He could be a DT in a 4-3 or a 3-4 and he could be an end in a 3-4 as I see it.

With respect to Jake Locker, I just don’t see it. Great physical tools, but consistency in his game is an issue.

2 – Do you think the Bills can get two quality ILB’s through the draft and free agency…then move Paul Posluszny to an OLB role? Were that to happen…how do you think he stacks up against someone like Clay Matthews..or Bryce Paup? At least capable of a 10 sack season..playing opposite Merriman?
CB: The draft unfortunately is a bit thin at inside linebacker, but Buddy Nix told me that they need to add two this offseason either via draft, free agency or some combination therein. Even if they do add two I still believe Posluszny stays inside. I don’t see them moving Poz, whose best fit in my opinion is at ILB. He’s good at rushing through the gaps inside. I don’t see him as a 10 sack guy at OLB and as you mentioned they don’t need to make Poz that with Merriman out there.

3 – All the talk about drafting a DT/DE with the 3rd pick makes me wonder, did Torell Troup and Alex Carrington not pan out as the staff had hoped? I haven’t heard much about them heading into the offseason. Any updates from 1 Bills Dr. regarding those two?
Buffalo, NY

CB: I’ll let GM Buddy Nix explain the Bills position on this in his own words.

“Obviously you’ve got to have a big nose tackle,” said Nix in reference to the 3-4 scheme. “We drafted one last year. We’re happy with Troup. We’re happy with Carrington, we just need a couple of more now.”

Buffalo does have enough of a veteran presence on the defensive line with Dwan Edwards and Spencer Johnson. Marcus Stroud is going into his 11th season and John McCargo is unlikely to be back as I see it. So there will need to be new blood on that defensive line this year.

4 – Hey Chris,
How come we never see any Bills head coach on ESPN or NFL Network with a post game speech.  It seems like we see every team but Buffalo.  Do the Bills not allow NFL Films or any other media sources in the locker room immediately after the game? 

D Fischer
Rochester, NY

CB: First, I believe NFL Films has the right to be in any postgame locker room by authority of the league. Second, the Bills haven’t had too many landmark wins that ESPN or NFL Network has felt are worthy to air. Once Gailey and his staff get this thing turned around there will hopefully be more notable victories that are worth publicizing on the major networks.

5 – Chris

The offensive line seems to have gained depth this year with much of it in the middle.  Any chance of one of the starters moving out to right tackle?  Also, Brad Butler has had a year to recover and rest.  Any signs that he may want to return to football?  Thanks.  

Mark in Prospect, KY

CB: The Bills have assembled some depth on the interior thanks in large part to Asst. GM Doug Whaley and his pro scouting staff. That’s why I think there’s a real chance that Eric Wood and Geoff Hangartner compete for the starting center role with Kraig Urbik the likely starter at right guard. At right tackle I believe the odds on favorite to start there is Erik Pears.

I haven’t spoken to Brad, but I did see him recently and all indications I’ve gotten from those close to him is that he’s happy with his decision to retire. I think he’s just got other irons in the fire so to speak.

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Gailey: Butler exit affects us

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2010 – 10:55 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey spoke to the media at the NFL Combine and addressed the retirement of Brad Butler and how it affects Buffalo’s approach.

“Butler’s retirement puts us in a position of need there, maybe more so than we were.”

Gailey went on to say that the Bills may need to add at the offensive tackle position in free agency and the draft.

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Fan Friday 2-18

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2010 – 4:16 pm

Our combine coverage is less than a week away. Draft process heating up. Your questions at Here is this week’s edition.

1 – Chris,

Reports are the Bills are in the market for a new franchise quarterback.  I was curious if the management would look into a QB like Tony Pike out of Cincinnati.  I seen a majority of the games he played in this year. Under Brian Kelly and New UB Coach Jeff Quinn, Pike managed many types of offense.  Not just the spread offense.  I am just curious where he would rank in a draft board.

CB: You’re right he has played in more than the spread, though it has mostly been spread for him. The concerns with Pike are durability and his competitive nature. He’s rail thin at 6’6” and 210 pounds so he’ll have to add some bulk, but I think he throws a nice ball.

There are some that think Pike is too laid back, but others maintain that he’s just a cool-headed signal caller. I suppose everyone has their own interpretation.

He has had some injury issues, but returned pretty quickly from a broken non-throwing arm in his final collegiate season. The so called experts have him no higher than the 3rd round.

2 – When it comes to the QB position I think Clausen is the only QB in the draft who might make it in the NFL, seriously. Bradford looks way too vulnerable to injury, Tebow has bad mechanics, no pro offense experience, and questionable vision, Pike – no body, mediocre arm, Hiller? Lefevour? McCoy – no arm strength, very spread offense oriented, or Snead coming off a pretty mediocre year, lots of interceptions, etc.?. A trade? For whom: Vick? Chris Redman? Russell? Thigpen? Rosenfels? Who’s out there who’d be worth a trade? It looks pretty bleak from here, thoughts?

CB: I do agree that filling the quarterback position won’t be easy, especially with what I believe is a far more restrictive free agent process. That’s why I think there’s a halfway decent chance Gailey has Trent Edwards as part of the competition at quarterback for 2010. I do believe in some way, shape or form they will add another QB to the mix on this roster to also compete for the starting job.

3 – Hello Chris,
Several draft sites have this pick as conditional.
The rumor when the trade was made was that it was a 6th rnd choice.
However, can you determine in view of Peters making the pro Bowl whether that pick could,  as conditional, be higher than the 6th rnd?

CB: From what I have been told it’s a straight 6th, no conditions. So all together the Bills have nine picks this year, with that extra 6th and an extra 7th from the Ko Simpson trade.

4 – With the defensive scheme still up in the air, can you imagine a draft scenario in which the Bills take Rolando McClain with their pick?
Pete Howell

CB: I don’t see them taking McClain unless there’s a run on OTs and one of their considerations is not there at 9 and both of the top QBs are also off the board. I like McClain, but you can argue that the Bills already have 2 starting ILBs in Mitchell and Poz.

5 – Hi Chris, Now that Brad Butler is retiring, do you see the Bills having a heavy draft emphasis on the offensive line? Also, with Julius Peppers probably leaving the Panthers, do you see the Bills making an effort to sign him? With the switch to the 3-4, having a marquee player of Peppers level would have a major impact. Your thoughts.
Tony, Daytona Beach

CB: I don’t think they have any choice. The only tackles on the roster under contract with playing experience are Demetrius Bell, Jamon Meredith and Kirk Chambers. They absolutely need to re-fortify the position with top flight talent. If they can’t find any in free agency, you can make the argument that they need to draft two offensive tackles, with one ready to start right away and that likely means with your first pick.

As for Peppers I think he’s a pipe dream. Yes, he wants to play in a 3-4, but he’s also going to be looking for upwards of $12-15M per season on a long term deal after playing last season at $16M and change.

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Who won’t miss Butler

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2010 – 2:26 pm

Brad Butler’s sudden retirement left a lot of his teammates shocked, and while he’ll be missed by the Bills, the players know there’s one part of the NFL family that won’t be shedding tears over his departure.

Bills guard Eric Wood knows the NFLPA reps that visit NFL players on each of the 32 teams for information sessions will be glad he’s not around to challenge them on any number of issues.

“I’m sure the NFLPA guys will love to see him gone because he’d always give them a hard time when they came in,” Wood told “It was just part of his political nature.”

Butler would apparently get into some hearty debates with the NFLPA reps when they were in town and sometimes Butler’s queries and rebuttals put them on their heels.

That quick wit is sure to serve him well in his future pursuits.

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Politics a pull for Butler

Posted by Chris Brown on February 18, 2010 – 7:49 pm

While it is surprising that Brad Butler has called it a career in his mid-20’s, the pull of politics was always there for Butler.

A government major at UVA, Butler served an internship under the late Jack Kemp in Washington DC and has been a major community service person in WNY.

He’d get into spirited conversations about finance and economics with former teammate Langston Walker.

I didn’t doubt he’d have a career in politics after his playing days, I just don’t think his playing days would be over this soon.

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Wood hopeful right side stays same

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2010 – 10:50 am

With a successful rehab following major leg surgery, Eric Wood is hoping to be ready by training camp. He’s also hoping that one other part of his football future stays the same.

Provided he makes a successful return to the field for training camp he’s also hoping that he and Brad Butler can resume their work together on the right side of Buffalo’s offensive line. Butler is also on the rehab trail in his return from a torn ACL.

“Me and Brad want to be back on the right side again together next year,” Wood told “We only got two games to play with one another last season, but I really felt like we had similar styles of play and similar mentality for the game. And that’s got to pay off in the long run. Toward the end of training camp and right at the beginning of the season I felt like we were really communicating and I feel like we can get back to that.

“But we’ve both got a long way to go and he’s got a little more guarantee on his recovery than mine. I think he’ll be back a little faster than me. But it is comforting to know you’ve got teammates going through the same thing as me. We all have a long way to go to get back.”

It’s hard to predict just what the new coaching staff deems as the right combination up front on Buffalo’s offensive line. And with Wood not a part of the mix during OTAs and minicamp to evaluate line combinations, the staff may not want to rely on a player that while talented is not a lock to be ready for 2010.

One thing that’s certain however, is no one should doubt Eric Wood.

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Meredith a good young pickup

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2009 – 8:47 pm

Jamon Meredith was a good value pick for the Packers this past spring in the fifth round.

I interviewed Meredith at the NFL Combine back in February to ask him about his position switch. He had played two years at left and right tackle, but then his senior year moved inside to guard.

He admitted it was a bit of an adjustment for him, but felt he got better as the season went along. But he’s got long arms so playing tackle I think is something he’s capable of. Some experts had him tabbed as a third-round pick.

We know the Bills like players that are versatile and though Meredith makes them even younger, I think he’s a good acquisition. Smart and tough, I’ve talked to a couple of scouts about him before and after the draft.

Most think he could be a successful right tackle at this level, but some aren’t sure about left tackle in the NFL. But with his guard capabilities he’s a valuable reserve player. If he blossoms he could be much more than that.

I saw Brad Butler today leave the facility on crutches. Tough to see him like that, but he’s keeping a positive attitude. The right mindset always helps so I wished him luck with his forthcoming surgery and rehab.

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Butler out for year

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2009 – 4:55 pm

Dick Jauron has confirmed that Brad Butler is out for the year.

Butler’s knee injury will require surgery though Jauron would not specify about ligament damage.

Jauron also said they will likely be looking for additional O-line help. More to come on home page later.

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Butler, Schouman going for tests

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2009 – 12:43 am

Bills head coach Dick Jauron did not give a timetable on the knee injuries suffered by RT Brad Butler and TE Derek Schouman, but both were to undergo further testing and examination tonight to ascertain the severity of the injuries.

Presumably both will undergo MRIs to see whether they suffered any structural damage to their knees. Butler was able to hobble to the sideline with assistance from the trainers. Schouman’s appeared the most serious as he was carted from the field.

Leodis McKelvin suffered an ankle injury and Shawn Nelson injured a shoulder. Buffalo has just one healthy tight end on the roster in Derek Fine.

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Butler participating in team

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2009 – 11:37 pm

Looks like Brad Butler is participating fully in practice. Good news.

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Butler taped up for practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2009 – 11:06 pm

Brad Butler has his ankles taped up. We’ll see how much action he sees in practice and get back to you.

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Butler participating in walk thru

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2009 – 3:20 pm

RT Brad Butler is participating in the team’s morning walk thru today.

No word on whether that means he’s ready to practice this evening. He may just want to sÞay sharp in light of the time he’s missed.

But just seeing him lining up and getting in a stance is encouraging coming off lower back injury.

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Butler unlikely to play Sunday night

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2009 – 1:25 am

Dick Jauron did not officially rule Brad Butler out of Sunday night’s preseason game but indicated there’s a strong likelihood that he won’t play in the Hall of Fame game.

Butler has been bothered by a lower back injury suffered four days ago.

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Butler sitting

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2009 – 11:24 pm

Brad Butler’s back injury still has him sidelined.

Copeland Bryan and Marcus Smith are also spectators.

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Butler not present

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2009 – 11:22 pm

Brad Butler is not present at tonight’s practice.

He also was not in attendance at the team’s morning walk-thru. We hope to get an update after practice tonight.

Leodis McKelvin is back practicing.

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Butler has back injury

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2009 – 9:50 pm

Brad Butler left practice early on Monday with what Dick Jauron described as a lower back injury.

“Brad kind of hurt his low back in a drill. I didn’t see the play so I don’t know exactly what happened. Bud took him in and examined him and we’ll see where it goes. He’s hoping, he’s optimistic that it’s not a long term thing so we’ll all keep believing that and hopefully that’s what it’ll be.”

Jauron did not rule out the possibility of Butler having to go back to Buffalo for tests.

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Brad Butler leaves practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2009 – 6:59 pm

Brad Butler appears to have left practice early. He was on the field at the outset of practice, but went to the locker room.

We’ll have an update after practice.

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Butler hosting a Sabres bud at camp

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2009 – 1:50 am

Brad Butler and Jonwill be hosting one of his Buffalo Sabres buddies at training camp on Tuesday.

For the night practice Sabres forward Andrew Peters is scheduled to make the trip out to training camp to watch Butler and his teammates.

Butler is a Sabres season ticket holder.

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Fan Friday 6-12

Posted by Chris Brown on June 12, 2009 – 5:26 pm

Fan Friday 6-12
Well minicamp is wrapped up and now begins the six week hiatus until training camp. Something tells me it’s going to move quickly. Let’s get going with the latest installment. Thanks for your questions. Keep them coming at
1. Do you see the Bills extending the deals of any more players on their roster like they did with Stroud? Guys like McGee, Josh Reed, Denney, Whitner, Poz and a few others only have 1-2 years left on the deals. Getting a few of them locked up would be a good move.

CB: I believe that on the list of guys you have that McGee is top priority. He’s still in the prime of his career and has been an outstanding performer for the Bills from day one. He’s a model professional, plays hurt and keeps his nose clean.

That’s the kind of guy the Bills typically lock up long term (see Lee Evans) so I expect that to get done before the 2009 season is over.

As for Reed and Denney the situation is a little different. Reed has had back issues through the course of his career and to his credit he’s fought through them and performed. Knowing how much Trent relies on Reed it wouldn’t surprise me if he was extended, but with some promising young receivers on the rise (Hardy, Johnson), I’m not sure you can say he’s a lock to get an extension.

Denney is in a similar boat. A solid, steady performer, but with the team invested in Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin I’m not sure he’s re-signed long term.

Whitner and Poz I anticipate will be taken care of eventually, but probably not this calendar year.


2. Do the Bills believe Bell is ready to step in and contribute at this time? Going to have to have the O-line do a lot of work to get them to work together for this year with all the new players….also, I wonder if Walker can hold up at left tackle for 16 games? Your thoughts????

CB: I don’t think there’s any doubt that the biggest question mark entering the season will be how far the offensive line can come with all the new pieces.

As for Bell I don’t anticipate him challenging Walker or Butler to start, but I do think the staff believes he’s ready to handle the swing tackle role if he’s able to win that job over Kirk Chambers, who has held it the past two seasons.

Walker’s strength as a tackle is in pass protection, which might surprise some people looking at him. That’s a good thing knowing he’s going over to the left side, but he will be facing some top flight pass rushing talent with the schedule this season.


3. Chris,
Its my understanding that Aaron Maybin weighed about 250lbs. at Penn States pro day, at which he displayed consistant 4.6 speed.  Is it likely the Bills will have him continue his growth atleast 10 more pounds, and if so does his quickness remain the same?

CB: Talking to Aaron about this very subject you need to understand he just turned 21 in April so his frame is still just filling out. He said he’d like to be around 255 by his second NFL season, which I think is sufficient. He’s confident he can maintain his speed at that weight.


4. Hey Chris,
How are contract negotiations going with the rookies? I just saw that Sanchez got his contract and I was just wondering when our rookies are going to be signed. Thanks!

David Rieth
Rochester, NY

CB: Negotiations are just in the preliminary stages with some of Buffalo’s later round picks. I don’t see signings beginning for at least another week or so. However, with San Francisco (which picked ahead of the Bills in most rounds) setting the market by signing players right around Buffalo’s picks early it might grease the wheels a bit. We’ll see.


5. Hi Chris,
I was just curious if the Bills are looking to upgrade the outside linebacker position with what’s still left in the market or are they content with the youngsters they have on the roster.  I also am curious if you know the status of Derrick Brooks?  Is he still looking for work or did he decide to hang it up?  If he is still looking for a contract, do you think the Bills should take a 1 year chance on him until they can develop Nic Harris or Al Bowen?

CB: I believe the club will stand pat at OLB heading into camp. Injury could change that, but I don’t see them pursuing Derrick Brooks, though it makes sense with his familiarity with the system. I think the coaching staff has a lot of faith that Alvin Bowen and Nic Harris can be legitimate competition for Keith Ellison and from what I’ve seen I would agree.

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Fan Friday 5-15

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2009 – 6:35 pm

Jumping right in with another batch of your questions with OTAs set to start on Monday. Let’s get going.

1. Hi Chris,
Hope all is well.  Two questions:
1. I thought Left Guard was an important position on the line or more important than Right Guard.  When we went out and signed Dockery to play LG I thought I read a few things saying that was more important than RG.  If that is true then wouldn’t it seem like the two rookies Wood and Levitre should be flipped with Wood playing LG and Levitre playing RG?

CB: I think the Bills in an ideal world the coaching staff would like to see Brad Butler at right tackle and Wood at right guard. Both play with a nasty demeanor and it’s my belief that Buffalo would like to run behind those two an awful lot this season if that combo pans out as they hope.

On the left side if Levitre can beat out the veteran competition his playing style should mesh well with Langston Walker at left tackle. Both are technicians by trade. So I think in an effort to get the chemistry on the right track quickly in light of all the new faces in new places, that’s the approach.
2. Hi Chris,
How do you think the Bills see John Wendling? He seems like a pretty athletic guy with decent speed and size. Do you see him cracking the starting line up or, at least getting more playing time? Or, is he destined to be a career special teams guy like Josh Stamer or Mario Hagan? He reminds me of Coy Wire. It is a shame not to find a way to get such a talented guy on the field. It seems like the Bills never really found a landing spot for Coy Wire. I hope that doesn’t happen to Wendling.

CB: There’s no question that Wendling is a talented player and solid teammate, but there’s some talent ahead of him at safety. Donte Whitner and veteran Bryan Scott both performed admirably at strong safety last year. Scott’s contract is up after this season so I suppose Wendling could inherit the backup role behind Whitner in 2010.

Other than that he’ll continue to be a solid special teams player and fill in on defense should injury strike.
3. Chris,
Have the Bills made any hint that they are looking at Levi Jones, or any other tackles in free agency?  They are always talking about evaluating free agent talent if they think they can upgrade a position.  Do you know what kind of deal Levi Jones camp is looking for?  Also, any word about Piso Tinoisamoa, the linebacker from the Rams?  How are the talks going?  Are they continuing?

CB: Levi Jones is an interesting option to consider. He’s 29, but he hasn’t played a full season each of the last three years due to injury problems. That’s always a concern for a lineman where durability and availability are hugely important. I think he’s still a good player, but if he’s asking for big money it won’t happen.

He was in the middle of a 6-year $40M dollar deal, and I imagine if he’s looking for comparable money the Bills probably wouldn’t fork it over. I think he’s worth considering, but at the right price.

As for Tinoisamoa it doesn’t sound as if anything is imminent.


4. Hi Chris,
I was wondering…Nelson is going to have to be stronger to be an effective blocker.  Will he be able to stay as flexible to be able to make some of the catches he is able to make now?
Thanks from Salvatore Prezioso.

CB: According to the Bills staff they see him eventually at about 250 pounds, which would only add 10 pounds to his frame. Looking at him in the rookie camp I think he could add that weight (muscle) and still be an effective receiver in the passing game. He’s long and lean and needs to add muscle if he’s going to effectively block on the line. But Nelson and Buffalo’s staff have told me they don’t think he’d sacrifice any speed playing at 250. His catching radius is so expansive that bending and reaching for throws comes naturally to him.


5. Hi Chris, just a couple of quick questions…Is Chris Ellis ever being considered for a move to outside linebacker and is he healthy for this upcoming season?  And is the Samoan linebacker from the Rams being seriously considered?  Thanks for all your time and great updates..Ray

CB: I don’t see Chris Ellis as a LB option. I think they want to continue to develop him as a defensive end in their system. He is healthy. He just had a high ankle sprain at season’s end and since he wasn’t going to be healthy before the end of the season they just put him on injured reserve so they had another roster spot to use for a healthy player.

As for Tinoisamoa they are interested and had him in for a visit Thursday. The visit went well by all indications, but nothing ne

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