Inside The Bills

A Byrd first… and second

Posted by Chris Brown on December 29, 2009 – 7:26 pm

With Jairus Byrd being named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster as a rookie he set a precedent for Bills defensive backs.

No other rookie defensive back has ever been named to a Pro Bowl roster. The last time a rookie defensive back was named to an All-Star team was in 1964, when Butch Byrd was given All-AFL honors after his rookie season.

Byrd is just the third Bills rookie since 1970 to be selected to the Pro Bowl joining Joe Cribbs (1980) and Greg Bell (1984).

He’s the first Bills DB named to the Pro Bowl since Nate Clements in 2004.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-6

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2009 – 3:52 pm

No game on Sunday for the Bills, but Fan Friday rolls on. Here’s some answers for your questions. And remember you can always email me at (

1. Hi Chris,
Do you think the Bills will remain with the huddle for the remainder of the season? I think it helps a lot with a young offensive line when it comes to getting the play count down.

Also I really think some of the most successful plays on offense have been when they move the pocket and Fitzpatrick bootlegs to the right and when they run draw plays with Jackson (it’s a great way to break a blitz). Do you have any information on whether these will become more implemented into the Offense?
Jeremy | Buffalo, NY

CB: I do believe huddling up will continue to be the main approach. The offense has so many other problems right now where if huddling up can eliminate the false start penalties they’re going to stick with it.

As for some of the plays you mentioned I believe moving the pocket is a good idea in light of the deficiencies in pass protection at times. If I remember right on the touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Evans in the Jets game, they rolled Fitzpatrick away from where the pressure appeared to be coming from (left side) and slid protection in that direction to hold it up.

I do like draws plays particularly with Jackson in the lineup, but I’d also like to see the screen game return to the offense. It’s been used sparingly since Week 1.

2. Hey Chris,
I was wondering, why doesn’t the league make every QB wear the double helmet, ala mark kelso, to deter concussions? Why dont you see ANY player, for that matter, wear them?
Thanks, Ryan

CB: The league has a contract with one specific company (Riddell I want to say) to use their helmets, which to this point do not include the extra protection technology being developed by Mark Kelso and a couple of other outfits. One of those outside companies hope to pitch to the NFL their helmets for the sole purpose of preventing head injuries.

But you make a good point. In a quarterback-driven league where they develop extra rules to protect QBs to keep them on the field, to keep offenses entertaining and keep fans in the seats and watching on TV, you’d think they’d be eager to move forward with such helmet technology. It’s coming, but when exactly I don’t know.

3. Hey Chris,
Byrd looks like the next Ed Reed do you see him making it to the Pro Bowl THIS YEAR?

CB: I’d like to say yes, but he’s not on the ballot. A lot of fans have asked how can he not be on the Pro Bowl ballot in light of the season he’s had. That’s the problem, the ballots are printed up before the season really gets rolling so what happens during the season can get a bit lost in the shuffle.

Byrd was not even a starter at the beginning of the season, so being put on the ballot was unlikely back then. That’s not to say he’s not a viable candidate by any means. Heck he leads the league in interceptions. I just think it’s going to be tough because he’s not on the ballot, he’s a rookie and he’s playing for a team that’s doesn’t have a winning record.

4. Hi Chris-
I’ve been thinking about what the Bills do when Whitner & Scott come back from injuries. Byrd has to start. He may be our best draft pick in the last decade.

So I would keep him at free safety, maybe bring back Whitner at strong safety.DW is pretty good at run support & the occasional safety blitz. However Scott may be even better at run support than Donte.

Considering the sorry state of affairs with the linebacking crew, any thoughts on trying Scott at LB? He couldn’t be any worse than Buggs or Palmer were, & Draft doesn’t impress me either. The Bills toyed with the idea of trying Scott at LB during training camp, didn’t they? What do you think of that idea?  I’m comfortable with George Wilson backing up at both safety positions.
Go Bills
Gilbert, AZ

CB: Well the Bills gave Scott some reps at the LB position during the bye week. It looks as though he’s a reserve option if Keith Ellison’s quad injury keeps him out of next Sunday’s game. Donte Whitner however, still is not practicing. That could change next week, but if not Scott will likely be plugged back in at SS.

It’s tough to say how it’s all going to play out with all the variables, but I think if Ellison plays, Scott starts at SS. If Ellison sits we just might see Scott at LB with Wilson staying at SS in the starting lineup, provided Whitner can’t return. It all depends on how comfortable the defensive staff would be in playing rookie Nic Harris.

5. Hey Chris,
 Being from Ohio I got to finally watch the Bills again (after the season opener) vs the Browns then again vs the Jets. I noticed in the Cleveland game that Byrd was all over the field. So I ask you this, is it too early to jump on his bandwagon and make the argument for defensive rookie of the year? Has Buffalo ever had a DB start off this hot before?


CB: Don’t think it’s too early at all. His stiffest competition right now is Houston LB Brian Cushing, who you saw turn in some big plays against the Bills last week. He’s leading all rookies in tackles and has made game changing plays with forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, sack and interceptions.

Right now I see it as a two-horse race, but Byrd is the real deal. We’ll see if any other rookies join the competition in the season’s second half.

Whether or not a Bills defensive back has ever started as hot as Jairus Byrd (7 INTs in 8 games and 6 starts), the answer is yes. Butch Byrd, the franchise’s all-time interception leader with 40 in his Bills career actually has seven interceptions in the first six games of 1969. The only problem was he didn’t post another interception the rest of that season.

Henry Jones (1992) had six interceptions in his first seven games and Nate Odomes (1993) had six in his first eight in their career-high interceptions seasons, so they were pretty close to Jairus. 

The Bills’ record holders for most interceptions in a season (Billy Atkins-1961, Tom Janik-1967) got off to decent starts as well, but not as good as the rookie Byrd. Atkins had seven interceptions in his first 10 games and nine in his first 11 games that season before finishing with 10.

Janik had six interceptions in his first 12 games, but had a three interception game in Week 13 that season to have 9 heading into the final game where he posted one more pick to finish with 10.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Byrd wants to surpass elder Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2009 – 4:58 pm

Bills NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month Jairus Byrd has a father that was a pretty accomplished NFL cornerback in Gil Byrd, a former San Diego Charger, who had 42 interceptions in a nine-year career. The younger Byrd however, is interested in eclipsing that INT total in his career.

“Before I even came in, my goal was always to be better than him,” said the Bills rookie. “Whatever he does I want to break whatever he does. It’s competition so that’s without being said.”

When asked if his dad has argued that his son has it easier at free safety than he did at corner, Byrd said his dad has made no excuses.

“No, he hasn’t argued anything,” said Byrd. “It’s just an interception is an interception.”

And Byrd is off to a heck of a start with five interceptions in five career starts, including back-to-back games with two. It took Gill Byrd his first two seasons to log five interceptions.

The elder Byrd also did not a very successful NFL defensive back for a father.

“He’s always basically kind of told me things to look out for; things not to do and things that I should do,” said Byrd. “It kind of gives me a heads up beforehand so I know what I’m getting into that others might not have.”

All that tutelage along with some good instincts are already paying off.

There’s also one other Byrd that Jairus Byrd will pass if he’s able to eclipse his father’s interception total of 42 in his career. Provided he remains a Bill for most of his career he could also pass Bills Wall of Famer Butch Byrd, who still holds the franchise record for interceptions with 40.

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Byrd matches other Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2009 – 2:28 am

Bills rookie FS Jairus Byrd matched a Bills Wall of Famer and 50th All-Time Team member of the same last name with an interception feat thanks to his two picks Sunday.

Byrd is the third Bills rookie to post an interception in three consecutive games.  He’s the first to achieve the feat since Butch Byrd in 1964 (games 9-12).

Byrd also posted his fourth and fifth interceptions of the season.  He’s the first Bills rookie to post five interceptions in a season since Jeff Nixon (6) in 1979.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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