Inside The Bills

Thigpen available?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2010 – 7:41 am

With the report that Chad Pennington is likely to re-sign with the Dolphins possibly as early as today, one has to wonder if his signing would make Tyler Thigpen available via trade.

Pennington would serve as Chad Henne’s backup with Pat White presumably as the designated Wildcat QB. I can’t see the Dolphins jettisoning a guy that was their second-round pick.

Thigpen meanwhile was a signal caller they acquired last year for an undisclosed draft pick when Pennington was lost for the season. I’ve got to imagine they’re not married to the guy and would listen to trade offers.

Thigpen had Bills head coach Chan Gailey as his offensive coordinator in Kansas City in 2008, when Gailey changed the offense to suit Thigpen going to a spread formation with four and five wide receivers a good amount of the time.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-8

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2010 – 2:30 pm

Fan Friday 1-8
First offseason Fan Friday as the coaching search is in full swing. If you have any questions for me you can email me at Here we go.

1. Hey Chris, just a couple Bills-related things on my mind…

First, as you mentioned in your blog post Fitz QB Status, Fitzpatrick is clearly not the starting QB… so has the organization just given up completely on Edwards?  Can (will) we trade him?  Do you know (and can you say) if this is a decision straight from the top? 

I just don’t understand it, really… even though I don’t think Trent will be the long term answer that I hoped he’d be… he seems better than the other options.  (Unless we just admit we’re playing for next year and give Brohm a shot, which you already said they won’t do…)  Craziness!

CB: I think Trent’s fate will be determined by the new head coach. GM Buddy Nix has said he will not make any personnel moves without the new head coach getting an opportunity to evaluate the roster and see who might fit his vision and who does not.

So the possibility exists that he will be back in 2010 and the possibility exists that he will be gone. It rests in the hands of the new head coach.

2. Obviously, the Bills have a lot of holes to fill after the season.  However, the position that seems to be of most importance is the interior of the defensive line.  Marcus Stroud is not anywhere close to the player he use to be.  Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson make plays but are smaller and are better at penetrating with their quickness, they wont be able to eat up blockers. 

How much of the Bills porous run defense can be attributed to the fact that Stroud is getting pushed around fairly easily every play? 

People are always knocking Posluszny, but when blockers are able to get on him, he isn’t free to roam around and make tackles.  I think the biggest priority in the off-season is to find a clog in the middle of that line. 

I know people say we need a QB, but if you can’t stop the opponents run game your not going to win too many games.  What are your thoughts?
Nick in Albany

CB: I’ve always been a big believer in getting your big men first on both sides of the ball. In defense of Marcus Stroud he played most of the season hurt (ankle, knee, neck), so if he didn’t look as explosive as he did last season, there’s your answer. The guy gutted it out in a lost season so I give him a lot of credit for that.

That being said I do believe a DT prospect would be a good add especially this year with such a strong DT class. However, offensive tackle and quarterback are ahead of that on my priority list. The offense is much further behind the defense. It takes priority even though I agree that bolstering the DT position is necessary.

I’m just not convinced the Bills are going to spend big in free agency to land a proven left tackle like a Marcus McNeill, especially in an uncapped year where there could be even more bidding wars between teams.

I think because the DT class is deeper than the OT class that you get your OT first and hope you can get at DT that can play right away in round 2. The DT class just got deeper this week with UCLA’s Brian Price declaring.
3. Hey Chris,
I think the bills should really consider going hard after Tarvaris Jackson in the off-season. I really think since coming back from injury late last season that he really has turned a corner. In the last four games of last season he was 3-1 and threw for 8td’s-1int. This year as a backup he’s 10-15, 159yards, 1td as a backup. I think he could be the answer for the bills at quarterback not Micheal Vick like some people are speculating and not Brian Brohm.

I think they should also go really hard after an elite young wide reciever like Brandon Marshall if the broncos don’t franchise him. I think the bills should then draft two big offensive tackles.

Maybe Trade Lee Evans to San Fran to get one of their first rounders so they can draft an OT and a DT in the first round. Since we have James Hardy and Steve Johnson at wide reciever. If we sign Brandon Marshall, we can play Hardy as the number two receiver and Johnson in the slot. What do you think?

CB: Well that’s a lot you’ve put on the table there. First, the quarterback situation. To me it’s looking more and more like an answer at quarterback might more likely come via trade, and not the draft. There are some respectable prospects, but I don’t know that there’s one you could put on the field right away and give the keys to the offense. So I think trading for a QB is a realistic possibility.

You’d have to pay a king’s ransom to get Kevin Kolb out of Philly so Tarvaris Jackson would come at a lesser price and if your new staff is installing a West Coast offense then Jackson would be a respectable option. I’m not convinced he’s turned a corner, but a consideration nonetheless.

As for a marquee young receiver, the Bills have that in Lee Evans. No one thinks so because he hasn’t put up monster numbers, but if you pair him with a quarterback that’s just above average the production will be there trust me.

Then as you suggested James Hardy can be the number two with Steve Johnson in the slot. It’s time for the young guys to step up at wideout. But there’s no need to go out and make a splash at receiver when you have a guy waiting to produce Pro Bowl numbers with a better line and better QB.


CB: First Chad Pennington has to prove himself healthy and capable of throwing a 12-yard out before he’s even a consideration. I do believe though that the Bills have to strongly consider the possibility of signing a veteran signal caller to serve as a stopgap at QB while a younger QB is groomed for the future, whether it’s Brian Brohm or a draft pick.

I’ve got a lot more draft prep work to do, but I’m not seeing a guy that will be there at 9 that the Bills can put on the field and succeed with right away. And if you draft a QB later, history shows it’s best to let them watch and learn early in their careers.

So I think there’s a lot of merit to the approach you’re suggesting, I just don’t know if Chad Pennington is the mark.
5. Hi Chris!!

My questions are:

1. How is L. McKelvin doing with his injury? I haven’t heard much 
about him during the season.
2. What do see the Bills addressing first during the offseason / draft? QB or OL?
3. Due to our O-line problems. Do you think the Bills should go after M. Vick? He is certainly a good scrambler…

Thanks & take care…

Luis A. Estrada (Puerto Rico)

CB: McKelvin is close to 100 percent. He began running again on the turf field a couple of weeks ago, but told me he’s not 100 percent just yet. We’ll have a story on him this coming week on

I believe the Bills will survey the landscape for a QB they believe can be a stopgap answer for a year or two while they groom a young QB be it Brohm or a draftee, unless Brohm outperforms said veteran.

I don’t see the Bills getting in a bidding war for premium free agents OTs so that might have to be the top priority in the draft.

Finally I understand your reasoning with Michael Vick, but I believe you fix the line and your QB play will improve. Also I think Vick is a running QB in a passing league. So I’m not big on acquiring Vick.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Miami not an explosive team at all

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 11:27 am

In addition to the stat listed in today’s story (More big play chances vs. Miami?) about how Miami’s defense is last in the league in yards allowed per completion (15.46 yds/comp), their offense has an equally ugly statistic.

The Dolphins offense is last in the league in the same exact category. Miami is averaging just 8.28 yards per completion on offense. It ranks 32nd. Part of that could be attributed to Chad Pennington’s infrequent use of the deep ball due to a twice and soon to be thrice repaired throwing shoulder.

For those that are wondering, the Bills are in the middle of the pack in yards per completion at 10.93. Leading the league with averages all at 14 or better are the Colts, Chargers, Cowboys and Packers.

I suppose that number could change with Chad Henne in the lineup now, but I’m not optimistic. In the early going the Dolphins coaching staff will likely focus on high percentage throws with Henne and support him with their strong run game.

If newly acquired Tyler Thigpen gets some action later in the season however, that number might go up. He’s been more apt to go downfield.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pennington out for the year

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2009 – 8:07 pm

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Miami QB Chad Pennington is out for the season.

Pennington suffered a torn capsule in his throwing shoulder and will require season ending surgery. Pennington is reportedly seeking a second opinion from famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Pennington has had surgery on his throwing shoulder twice in his career.

Miami will move forward with Chad Henne, a second-round pick in 2008 as the starter with rookie Pat White the backup.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pennington doubtful for Sunday’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2009 – 2:25 pm

After leaving yesterday’s game against San Diego with an injury to his throwing shoulder Dolphins QB Chad Pennington is doubtful for this Sunday’s game with Buffalo.

That according to’s Peter King, who said as much on NBC’s Sunday Night Football studio broadcast. Pennington has twice had rotator cuff surgery on his throwing arm. If he can’t go Sunday, Chad Henne would get the start with rookie Pat White the backup.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pennington injures throwing shoulder

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2009 – 1:44 am

The Bills travel to Miami in Week 4 and may face the Dolphins other Chad (Henne) at quarterback after Chad Pennington left Sunday’s game with a right shoulder injury.

Pennington has had two surgeries on his throwing shoulder for an injured rotator cuff. What lies ahead for the veteran QB remains to be seen, but he left Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

Joey Porter is also nursing a hamstring injury so the Bills aren’t the only team that figures to be shorthanded this coming Sunday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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