Inside The Bills

Mum was the word on Kiko

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 3:23 pm

In our second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ pre-draft series we took an in depth look at how the Bills came to draft a Rookie of the Year in Kiko Alonso last spring. They were sold on him as a player, but they had to know the person too. As high as they were on him they also had to keep their mouths shut when they were on the road in the presence of other NFL scouts.

“He was one of those guys that would come up when you would run into other scouts on the road and they would ask who you have seen and where have you been? How is so and so playing? He was one of those guys I didn’t want to talk about,” said Bills area scout Brad Forsyth. “You didn’t even want to bring his name up because I knew he wasn’t a high radar guy going into the fall.

“You definitely don’t want to alert anybody else to what you’re thinking about him. He’s one of those guys who even though he was at one of the better programs you don’t want to create any more buzz on a guy when you like him as much as we did.”

By keeping quiet on Alonso, who had off the field incidents and a wrist injury, some teams may not have thought quite as much of him as the Bills did last spring.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Bills knew Kiko was a football junkie

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 1:15 pm

In our second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ pre-draft series we took an in depth look at how the Bills came to draft a Rookie of the Year in Kiko Alonso last spring. They were sold on him as a player, but they had to know the person too. Here’s part of how they learned and became convinced Alonso was passionate about football.

Bills area scout Brad Forsyth, who scouted Alonso as one of Buffalo’s western scouts, said there were multiple layers in their scouting of Alonso that depicted Alonso’s love of the sport.

“Talking to him number one and you can just watch him on film and tell. Anytime you put on a film of whatever game you could see it and even when he went out to practice. Sometimes guys can go into a different mode when they’re on the practice field as opposed to the game. Kiko was the same whenever you watched him,” Forsyth said. “He loved to practice, loved to run around and it was full go all the time. The coaches had to hold him back whether it was on the practice field or in the weight room. Sometimes they told him he had to slow down. He’s addicted. As we always say in the scouting business, you’d much rather say ‘Whoa’ than ‘Giddyup’ and he’s a guy you’d have to say, ‘Whoa’ sometimes.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How highly Pac-12 thought of Kiko

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 9:54 am

As we profiled in the second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ pre-draft series – ‘How the Bills came to draft Kiko’ Buffalo’s scouting department in sticking to the process found Kiko Alonso to be the perfect fit for their gaping hole at middle linebacker in the 2013 NFL draft. Scouting Alonso as a player on tape may have been easy, and Buffalo area scouts Brad Forsyth and Matt Hand were pretty certain he’d be a solid NFL player right away. But if they had any doubts they were convinced after hearing coaches from other Pac-12 schools raving about him without even being asked to comment on Alonso.

“When you go to other schools it’s rare that coaches from one school bring up players from another school,” said Hand. “When you’re going through some of the best schools in the Pac-12 and a coach comes up to you and says, ‘That Kiko Alonso is probably the best player in the Pac-12 this year.’ Those are some pretty powerful words when you have a coach at another school saying that.”

It only served to reinforce what Hand and Forsyth thought of Alonso as a player.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-3

Posted by Chris Brown on May 3, 2013 – 2:06 pm

Well Bills fans it was a heck of a draft, one that I think will serve the team very well based on their positional needs. Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Thanks for your coverage of the NFL Draft this past weekend. But of course I have a question. I’ve been watching video on Jeff Tuel and I can’t for the life of me understand why or how this kid wasn’t drafted…I mean, I’m glad he wasn’t because that allowed Buffalo to pick him up. But this kid can make ALL the throws, throws that a lot of NFL QBs can’t. He has a GREAT arm, he’s really athletic, can thread the needle, throw on the run, and throw touch passes on the run. Just hope he gets a legit shot to compete and takes full advantage of it. What do you think?


CB: There’s no question that he has the physical tools to play in the league. What soured NFL clubs on Tuel was he had trouble with injuries. Personally I thought some of his injuries were related to the poor protection and poor talent around him. He does have a solid arm and as Bills scout Brad Forsyth described, “sneaky athleticism.”

The fact that he lost his starting job as a senior scared off NFL clubs. To me he was a victim of circumstance more than anything else. I’ve got no problem giving a prospect with his tool a chance. He just has to stay healthy.


2 – Hello Chris,

Nice call on the EJ pick in the first round…I have a question about Byrd and his agent…I have heard rumors that they are asking for $9 mil per year…That seems a bit steep…How do you think Buddy Nix would handle a holdout situation?


Jimmy from San Diego

CB: I appreciate the kudos. Thanks. Regarding Byrd, I think your figure is a bit off the mark. Buffalo has already franchised him and that figure is $6.9M. Though his agent is a guy that is very good at getting fair market value, $9M per is exorbitant, especially for a position like safety.

I think it’s going to be interesting to see where this leads between Byrd and the Bills, but as Buddy Nix has said the ball is in Byrd’s court seeing that he has yet to sign his franchise tender.


3 – Chris,

Thank you for you is in depth coverage leading up to the draft.  I really enjoyed listening to you on WGR550.

There may be some merit to the idea of letting Manuel sit behind Kolb for a while as he develops, but there could be additional incentive to starting Kolb in 2013.  Many people seem to be hopeful that Kolb will revitalize his career in Buffalo behind a much better O-line than what he had in Arizona.  If Kolb starts most of the 2013 season and looks impressive, he could end up having very high trade value at the end of the year.  Do you think the Bills staff would take something like that into consideration when making the decision?  Am I thinking too far ahead?


CB: First, thanks for the kind words. All of us at bust our tail to bring you as much as we possibly can on the Bills and the draft during that three-day pick parade. I think your theory has some validity. Much of it however, will hinge on how fast Manuel comes along. If he is quick on the uptake and is playing consistent football in training camp and the preseason he could get the nod.

At the same time even the Bills brass has admitted that Manuel is not a finished product. So unless he’s outstanding in his first camp and preseason I do expect Kolb to start the season under center. Knowing New England is the first opponent it might make Kolb an even more likely starter. He beat the Patriots in New England last season while with the Cards. If Kolb plays well he’ll stay in, but I think you know as well as anybody else it all comes down to winning games.


4 – Chris,

Many thanks for keeping us in tune with what is happening with players/coaches and the draft.  I am interested in the status of the proposed improvements to the Ralph.  Will any be completed prior to the start of this season and if so how much?

Keep up the great work for the fans.

Bryon B.

CB: The initial phase of plans deal mainly with the infrastructure or bones of the stadium. That will begin this fall, but much of it won’t be noticeable to fans attending games in the stadium. The more cosmetic improvements (new scoreboards at east end, west end pavilion) won’t begin until 2014.


5 – Hey Chris,

I was just wondering what your thoughts on the Alan Branch signing.  We have seen the Bills try to do this before,  last year they added Mario Williams to Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Chris Kelsay/Mark Anderson.  That one took a few weeks before it looked like they defensive line we all thought we would have.  Also before the 2008 season the Bills added Marcus Stroud to the D-Line that already had Aaron Shobel, Kyle Williams and Chris Kelsay/Ryan Denney.  That one seemed to never workout and Stroud was gone by 2010.  Why do you think the Bills organization thinks that this one could be the one that works?

Thanks for all you do,
Josh,Syracuse NY


CB: My feeling is with a defense that’s going to be attacking a lot they need a player that can command double team attention and fit well against the run. Marcell Dareus is one example of that. Torell Troup could be that, but is unproven. Alan Branch can line up in that edge defensive tackle position for Buffalo and hold the point effectively.

He might not make a ton of plays in that role, but he’ll allow players like Mario Williams and Kyle Williams and Dareus to make more of them.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

QB Tuel has smarts to go with tools

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2013 – 8:50 am

Bills undrafted free agent QB Jeff Tuel has the physical traits that scouts look for in a quarterback. Being injured in three of his four collegiate seasons however, is not. But in addition to his arm strength and deceptive athleticism Tuel has football smarts.

“Talking to his coaches they say he’s extremely smart and very confident once he gets reps in the offense,” said Bills scout Brad Forsyth. “They had no issues as far as his learning and making progressions.”

Tuel despite a trying college career never lost confidence in his abilities. He knows he has to stay healthy for any chance of success in the NFL.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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