Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-7

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2011 – 11:53 am

Big one at the Ralph on Sunday with the Eagles flying in. The only certainty is it’s going to be a very entertaining game. Now to your questions, which can always be submitted to

1 – Chris,

First of all, I think I speak for the entire Bills fan base when I say thanks for all you do with the website, continuously updating the fans with excellent Bills coverage throughout the week… 

My question is: Why isn’t David Nelson ever mentioned as a potential perimeter x or z receiver in the Bills’ system? With his 6’5″ 215 lb frame, I was surprised he was not more of a consideration after Marcus Easley went down, especially after the past few weeks’ performances and perhaps even prior to that. He is a big target with soft hands and good route running ability. Does he lack the speed necessary to get down the field? I believe he ran a high 4.4 to mid 4.5 40 time at the combine, isnt that considered somewhat average? On a side note, I think Kamar Aiken has a bright future ahead of him given the opportunity. I was worried he wouldn’t be signed to the practice squad, great signing. 

Best Regards,
Go Bills!

Rochester, NY
CB: Nelson’s best spot is in the slot. He’s a great mismatch inside because of his size. Outside you need a receiver that is faster and more physical, and Donald Jones has a skill set better suited for that. Nelson is a smooth route runner and knows how to find the holes underneath. He seems to benefit from having ‘two-way go’s’ as a slot receiver, which means he can break his route off inside or outside on the defender. Outside receivers don’t have that option lined up close to the sideline.

I do agree with your thoughts about Aiken. I think there is certainly potential there and he would be an outside receiver option down the line.


2 – Chris,

I was wondering about Troup and his timetable.  I know he has been limited in practice and that is good progress, but I wondering if there was an update.

Thanks again for all you do and has anyone ever told you that you ask really long questions?  Just an observation not a critique.


Andrew F. Browne
CB: Troup’s lower back situation is something he’s dealt with in the past unfortunately. He worked on his core strength relentlessly all offseason in an effort to lessen any strain on his back, but the stiffness resurfaced at the beginning of the year and is now back again.

I don’t know if there’s a solution to eradicating it, but Troup is doing everything he can to make it a non-issue as far as playing on Sundays. I don’t know if it’s going to be a chronic condition that plagues him the rest of his career, but it is concerning.

And yes, I am long winded. I try to cut questions shorter, but it never seems to happen. Not sure why I choose to give a preamble.


3 – Hi Chris,
I was just wondering if you can explain the captains’ C and the significance of the stars underneath – some are solid, some are not. 
Also, where has the pass rush been?  It doesn’t seem like they are getting much pressure on the QBs they faced so far this year. Can Dareus and Williams be that Suh-type player for us up the middle?  Can we get there with the blitz; we haven’t been doing it much this far?
Pat (Oakville, ON)

CB: The stars under the captain’s C represent how many years a player has been a team captain. Each year they are a captain is represented by the number of stars that are gold underneath the ‘C’. There are only four stars under the ‘C’ so if a player has been a captain for more than four years, like Brian Moorman, the ‘C’ is turned gold as well.

As for the pass rush, the Bills had a bit more success against the Bengals, but getting home with four hasn’t proven very fruitful. Part of the reason was the first two weeks against last year’s top two rushing offenses, the focus was the run game. Against Brady and the Patriots they chose to drop 7 into coverage and get hands in the passing lanes knowing getting to Brady rarely happens. But you’re right it has to be more productive moving forward.


4 – Hey Chris,    

Could you tell me what’s wrong with Easley? I was really hoping to see him play this year.     Also how is Merriman’s shoulder? 

Thanks ,   Dale  

CB: I actually saw Easley in the locker room on Thursday this week as he was in to pick up a few things. He spoke at length with Bryan Scott, and afterwards I asked him if he would mind talking about his condition, which forced him to go on injured reserve.

He said he’d prefer to keep his situation private, so I chose to respect that because it’s certainly his right. Whether he changes his mind down the road remains to be seen, but we’ll try to revisit it if Easley’s view on his situation changes.


5 – Hi Chris.

What happened to Bruce Hall, Jon Corto, Felton Huggins, and Ed Wang? The last time we saw Bruce Hall, he was carrying the ball over the goal line. Then he was placed on IR. Were these really season-ending injuries, and if not, why not just release them? Does anyone know what happened to these guys? What also happened to Robert Eddins, for example? Was it really a season ending injury or something that would likely nag him for a few weeks? 

CB: Corto, Hall, Huggins and Wang were all waived-injured when the final 53-man roster was assembled. They had injuries, but were not going to be on the 53-man roster so they were waived. Once they cleared waivers the reverted to Buffalo’s injured reserve list where they currently reside now.

Robert Eddins was in a similar situation, but if memory serves asked for a release from injured reserve, which was granted thereby making him a free agent.

Players with injuries that won’t last the season often do this to have an opportunity to latch on with another NFL club once healthy.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jersey #s for new RBs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2011 – 2:24 pm

The Bills added a pair of new RBs Friday while releasing two others. Here are the jersey number assignments for the newcomers.

RB Bruce Hall will wear 36 (he wore 42 in his first go round with the Bills when he originally signed as a rookie free agent in 2008).

RB Anthony Elzy will wear 39.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills RB signs with Denver

Posted by Chris Brown on February 8, 2010 – 8:37 pm

With former Bills coaches scattered across the league, Buffalo could see a few free agents and unsigned practice squad players plucked from their roster. The first such signing happened late Monday.

The Denver Broncos announced the signing of Bills RB Bruce Hall. A former undrafted free agent signing, Hall spent the past two seasons on Buffalo’s practice squad.

With former Bills RBs coach Eric Studesville, now working in the same role in Denver, he’s obviously very knowledgeable about Hall’s abilities and thought enough of him to sign him.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t wind up on Denver’s practice squad, but since the Bills did not sign Hall to a future free agent contract in January he was free to sign elsewhere.

Knowing Studesville respected his game enough to keep him around on Buffalo’s roster the past two seasons, albeit on the practice squad, it’s likely Hall felt this was his best chance to make a 53-man roster.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Lynch injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2009 – 2:16 pm

Interim head coach Perry Fewell provided an update Monday on RB Marshawn Lynch, who left Sunday’s game in the first half with a shoulder injury.

“Marshawn Lynch, he’s feeling much better today,” said Fewell. “We’ll see (Tuesday) how he feels and continue from there.”

Lynch was labeled day-to-day by Fewell. Having him available for Sunday’s game is critical as Buffalo has just one healthy running back on the roster in Fred Jackson along with fullback Corey McIntyre. If Lynch’s shoulder does not improve quickly enough, the Bills may have to sign another running back.

RB Bruce Hall is on Buffalo’s practice squad.

DT John McCargo, who sustained a calf injury Sunday, is also listed as day to day.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-24

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2009 – 12:09 pm

Wanted to get Fan Friday up early today knowing that I’ll be out at training camp today watching the players roll in. Hard to believe it’s the eve of the first training camp practice. I know fans are just as eager as the players. Here’s some of your latest questions. You can email me at if you’ve got camp questions ready to roll.

1. Hey Chris,

With a deep and talented backfield consisting of Lynch, Jackson, and Rhodes, do you think Xavier Omon could be shifted over to FB?  If not I find it hard to believe he will find room on the roster.
Nate Ross

CB: You bring up an interesting point. Omon has the body to play fullback. He’s thickly built from top to bottom. But he’s been a ball carrier his entire career. I could see the Bills keeping four backs and McIntyre as the fullback, but the deep receiving corps could compromise that.

With last year’s practice squad back Bruce Hall showing some nice improvement in the spring camps, Omon could help his cause by showing some fullback ability to keep him ahead on the depth chart of Hall. Whether he gets that opportunity is the question.


2. Chris,

Since we play the Tampa Cover 2 and 4-3 alignment, how does the offense
get practice against the 3-4 D?  After all, all of our Division foes all
run the 3-4?

Thanks . . .Bob

CB: In practice the scout team, consisting mainly of reserve and practice squad players run the 3-4 defense against the Bills starting offense in practice. They run a lot of the same defensive looks that their upcoming opponent runs against them in the practice setting. For all the knocks that Dick Jauron gets from the fan base I will say he is a very good coach when it comes to preparation during the week.


3. I was wondering how our younger offensive players, like Steve Johnson and Derek will be able to contribute. Will either of them be developed enough to possibly start by the beginning of the regular season, or will the Bills continue to bring them along slowly.

Thanks, Alex


CB: I think Fine has a better opportunity than Johnson because the pool of competition is smaller and not as stiff at the tight end position. Derek Schouman is the only real competition standing between Fine and a starting role at tight end. Rookie Shawn Nelson is going to have only a part-time role this year.

But at receiver Johnson right now is fifth on my depth chart with Evans, Owens, Reed and Parrish ahead of him, considering the fact that James Hardy will not be participating. I think Johnson has a chance to overtake Parrish with a strong camp, but that’s a big ‘if.’

4. Hi Chris,

Maybe it’s a tad early to make this observation, but it appears that very few, if any of our early round draft choices will win a starting job by the first game.  That could be view as really good thing that our team is already pretty well estabished.  On the flip side, we didn’t make the playoffs last year, and with the draft choices we had, we should have found 1 or 2 quality players to step in.  I’m all for building for the future, but winning now is pretty important also.


CB: I think that Maybin will be a situational player, but will still make an impact. If he can get between 6-8 sacks and 15-20 QB pressures in a situational role I think that would be a successful season. Byrd has an uphill climb, but if he makes plays in the preseason, he could start at FS. Wood and Levitre have good opportunities to start. I’ll be surprised quite frankly if Wood does not. As for the others they’ll have to pay their dues.

Your point is a good one though, the talent that’s been here was not good enough. That’s why I think the staff will not hesitate to insert a rookie if they prove themselves worthy.


5. Hi Chris,
I feel getting the playoff monkey off the back of the bills is due because of all the injuries over the past few seasons.  It just seems there is always that key player that gets hurt, and then the bills don’t make the playoffs.

What I’m really worried about for the BILLS’ is Terrell Owens, and that there is all ready that ‘dirty’ player and coach (somewhere in the league) all ready planning to take him out for the season with a ‘dirty hit’ similar to (in my opinion) the Tom Brady hit. If Terrell Owens gets hit at the knees and is out for the season on the first game – what are the Bills chances?  I would see another 7-9 season because they become 1-dimensional team.
My ‘BIG’ question is, is the league watching these hits more carefully?  Are they ready to study these ‘dirty hits’?…..Is there a ‘bigger’ penalty coming for these types of hits?  I really feel teams will be going after Trent Edwards and firstly Terrell Owens early – to narrow the Bills chances.  
Bills better have good backup players and plans, and better protection for QB position, and help from the league (that will not tolerate dirty hits) in order for the BILLS to make playoffs – they need all this to go right.


CB: I think you may have answered your own question with respect to the injuries. I don’t think it’s the injuries that have compromised Buffalo’s ability to be a playoff team as much as the lack of depth on the roster. Without dependable depth it’s hard to succeed in a 16-game regular season. Every team has injuries, but the teams that have quality depth are the ones that survive and keep playing late January.

Pittsburgh had more injuries than anybody last season, but they had quality depth and persevered.

As for Owens I don’t think he’ll be targeted specifically, but I think we all remember the horse collar tackle that ripped up his ankle real good the year the Eagles went to the Super Bowl. The officials in my opinion still don’t police the horse collar tackle enough, but that’s another issue.

Whether the league is watching these hits more carefully, I’d say yes because with the additional rules this year for special teams (no wedge, peel back blocks) they’re taking some of the more violent hits in the game as it is. Guess we’ll have to wait until the regular season to be sure.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McKelvin, Schouman sitting; McGee absent

Posted by Chris Brown on May 28, 2009 – 2:57 pm

Leodis McKelvin and Derek Schouman are not participating in practice here on Thursday.

McKelvin has a right hand injury as he’s watching practice with an ace bandage wrapped around it.

Terrence McGee is not in attendance after suffering a shoulder injury Wednesday.

OT Jonathan Scott is also not participating after getting nicked up in practice Wedenesday.

Bruce Hall is the onlý other new non-participant.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Edwards: team will have to handle any Lynch suspension

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2009 – 5:50 pm

Bills quarterback Trent Edwards was asked about how he and his team intend to handle a potential league suspension of Marshawn Lynch after his meeting with Commissioner Goodell last week.

“Obviously, he’s a big part of our offense,” said Edwards. “He’s one of those players that can change the nature of the game and change defenses. Having that type of player on the field in the offensive backfield gives the defense one more thing to worry about, it keeps the defensive coordinator up later at night, and it keeps the defensive players thinking about one more extra weapon.

“And not having him for, I don’t know what the situation is, I haven’t been following it too closely, but hopefully we won’t miss him for any time, but however much time that is, we’re, just like we say with any other injured player, we need other guys in the system to step up, and I know Fred (Jackson) and Bruce (Hall) and Xavier (Omon) and those guys will definitely fill in if Marshawn’s not there.”

Whatever comes down the pike in the next week or so for Lynch will have an impact. He’s been the team’s leading scorer each of the past two years not counting Rian Lindell. And he accounts for about a third of their offense. Of course Fred Jackson has proven more than capable of filling in for Lynch when he’s gone down with injury.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Not expecting Lynch to play

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2008 – 3:31 pm

It’s by no means official, but I’m not expecting Marshawn Lynch to play today.

His shoulder is simply too painful. They shot him up last week and he could only go a half.

He did not practice Wednesday or Friday this week.

I’m never one to count him out as he’s the toughest player on this team. But I’d be very surprised if he goes.

That means it’s on Fred Jackson, Xavier Omon and if needed Bruce Hall, who was called up from the practice squad on Saturday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hall’s promotion could mean short day for Lynch

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2008 – 5:38 pm

With Bruce Hall promoted to the 53-man roster Saturday it could be an indication that the coaching staff isn’t sure Marshawn Lynch will be able to go for very long or at all Sunday with his bruised shoulder injury.

If Lynch can’t play the Bills would be down to Fred Jackson and Xavier Omon at running back.

So Bruce Hall would be good insurance should there be another injury.

Hall played his college ball at Ole Miss where he was a teammate of the Pats RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Hall has a quick burst and gets thru the line quickly, but does not possess breakaway speed. He’s got some wiggle to his game, but is mostly a straight line runner.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills have good book on Green-Ellis

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2008 – 2:48 pm

Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis may be an unfamiliar name to most in the NFL, but the Bills figure to have a good book on the New England back expected to play a role in the Pats run game on Sunday.

That’s because his former college teammate and fellow running back Bruce Hall is on Buffalo’s practice squad. The two Ole Miss products ran in the same backfield together last season. 

“He’s always been a good straight line runner,” said Hall of Green-Ellis. “He’s a guy that can pound it. That more than anything stands out about him. He’s just a strong, downhill runner.” 

Green-Ellis also passes the eyeball test at 5’11” 215 pounds.

“He looks like somebody sculpted him,” said Hall of his chiseled college teammate. “In college he’d bench 465 and squat over 550. He looks like a create-a-player.”

Green-Ellis is averaging 3.7 yards per carry for New England thus far this season. He also has three touchdowns.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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