Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 11-8

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 12:51 pm

Sunday could be a game where the Steelers’ flaws match up well with the Bills’ strengths. We’ll see if Buffalo can end the Steelers’ six-game winning streak against the Bills in Pittsburgh. Here is your latest edition of questions on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for all that you do for us Fans.

Can you enlighten me about a few of the recent hits the Bills have taken the past weeks? Thad (Lewis) got hit helmet to helmet against the Dolphins and popped his helmet off. Also, the Saints had a similar penalty as well.  Were there any fines accessed by the league?

I couldn’t find any info on these.

Secondly, what is the likelihood that Carpenter is kept on around next year vs Hopkins.

Gary in Indianapolis

CB: I do know that Miami LB Jelani Jenkins was fined for his hit to the tune of $15,750. I never did see if Saints S Chris White was fined. The fines are typically handed down by the league the Friday following the game. The NFL does this on purpose, figuring that the upcoming game carries greater priority and a fined hit from the previous week either A – won’t be asked about or B – will not get reported.

Most helmet to helmet hits on quarterbacks do draw fines even if incidental in nature.


2 – Chris,

I have been very happy with the direction the Bills have taken. The coaching staff, the trades, the free agents, the drafts… Even the trades and FAs they didn’t do. For example, as much as I love Andy Levitre as a player, we couldn’t pay him what Tennessee did.  The one move I question though was not trying to resign Rinehart.  Prior to him signing elsewhere I said to myself ‘I don’t like that we are losing Andy but at least we have Chad’.  He didn’t get a huge deal in SD, so it wasn’t money. Any input as to why they didn’t try to keep him?  Again, every other move they made makes total sense to me, except that one. As much as I loved Wilson he wasn’t worth him salary anymore. Fitz had to go, 8 mill for Andy was too much… But why not 2 mil for a guy who would be starting for us right now if he were here and healthy.

CB: I share your preference in trying to keep Chad Rinehart in the fold. It would not have taken big money to do it, but I have heard there was a desire on Rinehart’s part to follow now Bills former offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. When D’Alessandris wound up on Mike McCoy’s coaching staff in San Diego it made the Chargers a top choice for Rinehart in free agency.


3 – Hey Chris,

Just out of curiosity, why isn’t Ronnie Wingo a wide receiver? Seems like he has more the measurables of a receiver at 6’3″ and 230 pounds than he does of a running back.


CB: He was used as a fullback in college at Arkansas. His build looks more like that of a tailback than a receiver. He is not a long and lanky 6’3”. He’s thickly built, which is probably why coaches over the years stuck him in the offensive backfield.


4 – Chris,

Thanks for your updates for the Bills fans in here southern Nevada. With coach Marrone’s mantra of accountability and availability and making the assumption that the quarterback is the most valuable piece on the chess board, do you think it necessary for the team to draft a quarterback early in next years draft. Manuel’s health issues have to be a major concern for the organization.

Thanks, Hank

Boulder City, NV

CB: While I don’t think your point is without merit, I think it is a premature conversation at this time. The personnel department and the coaching staff need to evaluate Manuel over these last seven games and make a determination on a host of things with respect to his game, the state of the offense and what positions need to be addressed the soonest.

NFL personnel departments often review the entire body of work of each and every player, then the offensive unit is assessed and positional needs are determined thereafter. Manuel has seven more games and that’s about half a season. A lot can change.


5 – Hi Chris,

Just wondering why Coach Marrone says that EJ has to be 110 percent healthy when CJ, Fred, Stevie and others are out there battling through injuries? I know the QB position is obviously important but so are some of the Bills other positions that are banged up. Just wondering the thought process as to why he has to be (Perfectly) healthy when other players don’t. I’m sure he has his reasons as a head coach, and I’m not questioning his decision making, just curious how it works.

Thanks, Tim in Niagara Canada

CB: I think the location of the injury on the outside of the right knee was such that until he was all the way back healthy he would not be able to firmly plant that back leg in the ground and drive off it effectively to throw the football. If the knee injury was going to compromise his throwing mechanics it’s going to impact the consistency of the passing game. So I think that’s where the difference lies in needing him at 100 percent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-19

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2013 – 2:05 pm

Alright Bills fans this is the last Fan Friday before the NFL draft. The “hay is in the barn” as the scouts say, just got to wait and see how the board falls next week. Be sure to check out my 8th annual mock draft next Wednesday. It’ll be entertaining. Here now are your latest questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – dcap22803 Apr 17, 11:27am

@ChrisBrownBills Would #bills be willing to trade down with #falcons and take Nassib at 30

CB: It’s my contention that the Bills would be very interested in trading down. As I covered in my story this week, after asking GM Buddy Nix about trading down, there could be some players for the eighth overall pick if prospects like Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson or West Virginia WR Tavon Austin are both still on the board.

I don’t get the sense that they like the value there at eight for positions they’d like to address early (QB, WR) so I believe if they can move back to an area where they like the value better (late teens or 20’s) and add a draft choice they would do it.

2 – JackJablonski Apr 16, 1:04pm

@ChrisBrownBills Williams to Safety. Does this open up the possibility of CB at pick 8? Dee Milliner, if he falls, or Xavier Rhodes??

CB: I think with Aaron Williams moving to safety it raises the level of importance for addressing cornerback in the draft. Outside of Stephon Gilmore the Bills lack size at corner, so a tough, physical corner is needed out there. If Milliner falls to eight I wouldn’t rule out him being a consideration. At the same time I believe moving back and adding another draft choice could trump it.

But with Williams moving to safety I believe it has made adding a cornerback a necessity at some point in this draft.

3 – Chris,
With our needs at SS, ILB, OLB, WR and QB most likely to be addressed thru the draft, I find it really strange that there has been very little noise about bringing in some quality free agent guards for visits.  It seems like a glaring hole (let’s not forget Rinehart is gone as well).  Have you heard anything on Mr. Nix’s plans for this position?  I would like to see our RBs continue to run hard and whoever are QB may end up being it would be nice for him to be in one piece after a few games.

Go Bills!

CB: I’ll give you Mr. Nix’s exact thoughts about the team’s status at the guard spot. Here is a direct quote from the draft luncheon when he was asked if losing Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart in free agency had altered their approach in the draft at all?

“Not at all,” said Nix. “Not at all, now having said that I know people have said we’re taking one of those top two guards. Our roster in house is better than I think we get credit for especially offensive line. We’re pretty deep there. We’ve got six guards and we think a couple of them can play. Now having said all that before you write that we’re not going to take a guard at number eight, it’s hard to pass up two players like the old boy at Alabama (Chance Warmack) and the kid at North Carolina (Jonathan Cooper). Both of those are great players so you have to give that a lot of thought when they come up.”

When asked as a follow up if he had enough confidence in the six guards on the roster to the point where if they did not draft a guard would he be fine, he said he would be.

To be clear the players they believe offer them ability at guard are starter Kraig Urbik and Colin Brown and Sam Young. Brown and Young rotated in with the starting unit at left guard. If there are no other additions at the position those two are likely to battle it out for the starting role.

Zebrie Sanders, who Doug Marrone views as a tackle first and guard second, could potentially be a part of that competition down the road when he’s healthy.

4 –  Chris,
So I’ve been hearing that Tyler Bray has some of the best upside in the QB class I was wondering what you thought of him and if you think he’s worthy of our second pick. Also if you think that going after Patterson in the first round, Bray in the 2nd or 3rd to have some instantaneous chemistry on offense would be a good idea. Or do you see a prospect at QB worth it at eight and maybe go after the other Tennessee kid, Hunter in the second? I’d live to get some feedback on these thoughts.

Thanks, Will

CB: There’s no debating that Bray can throw the heck out of the ball. He is the only junior eligible in this QB class and is a bit unpolished. I’m a bit concerned about his capability of coming in and being a leader for your football team. He has the physical skills, but there are maturity issues that NFL clubs have been busy investigating.

I respect your thought of instantaneous chemistry, but it would be anything but instantaneous. Patterson is very green and might not be a big time contributor until his third NFL season. Likewise Bray is also not NFL ready right now. So while those two might have chemistry, I’m not sure you’d see it right away on an NFL field against NFL competition.

I do subscribe to your latter suggestion. In fact that’s what I believe will happen in this draft. I believe Buffalo goes quarterback in the first and receiver in the second. Now they may trade back in round one before taking the QB, but I believe there’s a good chance they do that and Hunter is a viable value in round two.

I’m also a fan of E.J. Manuel despite the naysayers.

5 – Chris,

With the Bills being deficient last year at WR (and getting rid of what little depth that they have by releasing Nelson and Jones) on top of not signing ANY free agent WRs this offseason, doesn’t it seem like there’s a VERY good chance they draft Cordarrelle Patterson with their 8th pick? I’m not even saying I want that, but what choice do they have? That position is looking thinner and thinner this offseason. This is assuming they can’t get their franchise QB in the first round…

PS- Go Bills

CB: I think your point is well taken. The Bills need to add an instant contributor at receiver. I believe this will happen in round two. There’s good value between rounds two and four where you can get a player that can help you sooner rather than later. The value at WR is not good in round one until the very end.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills took two receivers in the draft despite the fact that they have just six picks.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Rinehart to sign with Chargers

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2013 – 1:32 pm

A day after losing Andy Levitre in free agency to the Tennessee Titans, it looks like his backup is headed elsewhere too.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that Bills free agent guard Chad Rinehart is going to sign with the San Diego Chargers.

Rinehart going to San Diego makes sense. He’ll be re-united with Bills former offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, who now holds the same job with the Chargers under head coach Mike McCoy.

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Morris glad O-line has had time together

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2013 – 10:40 am

It’s an often used word in the NFL… continuity. Nowhere on the football field is it more important than the offensive line. That’s why Bills offensive line coach Pat Morris is happy to see walking in the door that most of the men up front have played together the past three seasons.

“I think that’s the biggest thing with offensive lines. It is a tight-knit group and they’ve played a lot together,” said Morris. “I’ve always thought that when linemen have played four years or more they’ve really started to reach their potential because they’ve played everybody. I’m excited. I did know all these guys coming out of the draft and most of them were draftable players and I’m happy to hear that for the most part they have played well. So I’m hoping to move them forward.

“I just think if you’ve got a partner that you’ve been with your timing is on, your communication, your awareness and when it’s crunch time it’s a little bit easier. Injuries kind of hurt that, but you’ve got to be position flexible, which I think these guys are in the little bit I’ve seen. All of that is very important for offensive line.”

The only question marks are guards Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart, who are both set to become unrestricted free agents come mid-March if they’re not re-signed.

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Levitre on wanting to be back

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2012 – 10:20 pm

The Bills have some free agent decisions to make this offseason. One of the bigger ones is unrestricted free agent Andy Levitre. Buffalo’s starting left guard was asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how much he’d like to re-sign with Buffalo.

“It’d be a 10,” said Levitre. “There’s great people, great coaching staff and players. I think we’ve gotten a lot more competitive since I first got here and I know the culture is set in place. I know we haven’t been doing well the past couple of years, but I think if we continue to grow the way we have been we’ll be in the playoffs next year.”

Buffalo has already re-signed Kraig Urbik to a multi-year extension. Fellow guard Chad Rinehart is also set to become an unrestricted free agent.

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Report: Urbik agrees to multi-year extension

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2012 – 7:40 am

ESPN AFC East reporter James Walker is reporting that Bills starting right guard Kraig Urbik won’t become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

ESPN is reporting that Urbik has agreed to a four-year $15M extension with the Bills.  A two-year starter, Urbik is one of three notable linemen on Buffalo’s offensive line that was in a contract year this season.

The other two are Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart. Rinehart is currently on injured reserve. Levitre, who has never missed a game in his four-year career and has garnered Pro Bowl consideration, figures to take a bit more time to negotiate.

Rinehart and Urbik both signed one-year tender offers as restricted free agents last offseason.

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Bills could use OL, CB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2012 – 5:25 pm

Buffalo moved some hobbled players to their injured reserve list Tuesday in Terrence McGee and Erik Pears. Now they’ll have to find players to replace them.

The Bills now have two vacant roster spots, but both will presumably be filled by a cornerback and an offensive lineman. With McGee now on I-R it has left Buffalo’s secondary very, very young. The Bills secondary now consists of veteran Leodis McKelvin, second-year men Justin Rogers and Aaron Williams (injured) and rookies Stephone Gilmore and Ron Brooks.

With just four healthy corners, knowing Aaron Williams is out a few weeks, Buffalo will need to add a corner, preferably with some NFL years under his belt. The most obvious choice is Stanford Routt, a veteran cornerback, just cut by the Chiefs.

He was the first free agent visitor of Buffalo’s offseason this past spring, so clearly the Bills had an interest then. Routt has two interceptions in his first seven games with Kansas City this season. He was inactive for the Chiefs game last Thursday night against San Diego. Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said their “relationship was not progressing” as a reason for the release. 

As for offensive linemen Buffalo has some young prospects on their practice squad. OT Andrew Jackson (6’5″ 299), OT/G Reggie Stephens  (6’3″ 320) and G Keith Williams (6’5″ 330). Buffalo has lost Erik Pears and Chad Rinehart to I-R in less than a week leaving them with just C/G David Snow and G/T Sam Young as their only reserves.

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CB Brooks likely to be activated

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 1:01 pm

It hasn’t happened yet, but at some point prior to Sunday’s game in Houston, CB Ron Brooks is expected to be pulled off of injured reserve and added to the active roster.

That according to head coach Chan Gailey. When asked if there has been thought of adding Brooks to the roster Gailey answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, there has,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a done deal, but that’s the direction we’re headed.”

Gailey said Chad Rinehart, who suffered a severe ankle injury in Week 7, would likely be moved to injured reserve to make room for Brooks on the 53-man roster. The Bills have until 4 pm Saturday to make the move. If and when Brooks is added to the roster he’s expected to dress and play on special teams.

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Pears not in attendance

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2012 – 11:22 am

A day after seeing a specialist for an ailing hip, RT Erik Pears is not in attendance at practice here on Friday.

Pears is not practicing along with DE Mark Anderson, who is working on the side and OL Chad Rinehart. Both of those players have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Pears status will be determined following practice today.

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Rinehart, Anderson not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2012 – 2:10 pm

Here are the non-participants at Wednesday’s practice.

OL Chad Rinehart
DE Mark Anderson

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Rinehart injury is long term

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2012 – 11:22 am

Bills OL Chad Rinehart was carted off the field Sunday against the Titans with an ankle injury. Head coach Chan Gailey said Monday morning that Rinehart will be out indefinitely.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Gailey provided an update.

“It’s not good, but it’s going to be long term,” said Gailey. “I don’t know if it’s season (ending), but it’s long term.”

Starting RG Kraig Urbik, fortunately is expected back for the Week 9 road game at Houston and LT Cordy Glenn is likely to return as well.

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Urbik out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Bills RG Kraig Urbik is going to miss a third straight game Sunday after his ankle didn’t respond well to Wednesday’s practice.

“Urbik didn’t make it,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He tried it yesterday and he’s just not there. He will not (play Sunday).”

Urbik practiced on Wednesday and was hoping to do more in practice Thursday, but his ailing ankle did not respond well to Wednesday’s work in practice. Chad Rinehart will again step in and start at right guard in his place.

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Rinehart starting

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2012 – 2:48 pm

Bills OL Chad Rinehart is good to go for today’s game against the Cardinals.

Rinehart will start but whether his calf holds up for the whole game remains to be seen. If he can’t Sam Young would step in.

Posted in Inside the Bills

4 starters questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2012 – 4:59 pm

Four Bills starters are questionable for Sunday’s game with the Cardinals.

Jairus Byrd, Chad Rinehart, Kyle Williams and Eric Wood are all questionable, but head coach Chan Gailey believes all of them will play Sunday.

All four players were limited in practice Friday.

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Rinehart resting up

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2012 – 3:06 pm

Bills RG Chad Rinehart is not participating in practice here at Arizona State Friday, but it was part of the plan.

Head coach Chan Gailey said Thursday that they were so encouraged by the performance of Rinehart in practice Thursday that they decided to rest his calf Friday for Sunday’s game.

He’s working on the side with athletic trainers today.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Rinehart optimistic for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2012 – 7:41 pm

Bills RG Chad Rinehart gutted out last Sunday’s game after he was initially replaced in the starting lineup by Colin Brown, who went down early with a season-ending hamstring injury. Rinehart practiced on a limited basis Thursday, but feels very good about playing on Sunday.

“I’d be surprised if there are any more setbacks,” Rinehart told “They’re doing a good job taking care of me and letting me rest a bit today and that helps a lot with it.”

“Chad got to practice today, he was limited, we probably got a little more out of him than we thought we would,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “So that bodes well for us. We’ll probably rest him tomorrow. We just wanted to see what he had today and it was encouraging.”

“Definitely I felt better than I did Sunday going into the game last week,” Rinehart said. “It’s improved every day and I’ve felt a difference every day so I imagine it’ll be really good Sunday.”

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Rinehart giving it a go

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2012 – 5:23 pm

Chad Rinehart didn’t practice Wednesday, but he’s giving it a shot today.

Rinehart is trying to come back from a calf injury to play on Sunday. We’ll get an update on his status after practice.

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Byrd to be limited, Rinehart to sit

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2012 – 4:07 pm

At practice at Arizona State Wednesday Jairus Byrd was not expected to practice at all, but head coach Chan Gailey said he’ll start the process of returning to full action today, while Chad Rinehart will wait until Thursday.

“They’re going to sit out practice, but they have improved,” said Gailey of Byrd and Rinehart. “Jairus is going to try to do some things in practice today. He probably won’t take team reps or 7-on-7 reps, but he’s going to go through individual drills and do some footwork things and Chad will hopefully get a chance to do some things tomorrow in practice.”

We’ll have a full update on the status of their progress after practice.

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OL Wells unlikely to dress Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2012 – 3:58 pm

Having just signed Tuesday and getting his first practice in today, head coach Chan Gailey said it’s unlikely that new OL Reggie Wells will be dressed to play on Sunday against Arizona.

“It’s not easy to integrate a guy this time of year that has no familiarity with your system at all,” said Gailey. “The great thing is Reggie is a nine-year vet. He probably has heard a lot of different things so he can integrate into the system a lot quicker. I doubt he’ll make it this week, but he ought to be up to speed enough to play maybe the next week.”

If Wells doesn’t dress that would leave Buffalo with just six offensive linemen to dress Sunday counting Chad Rinehart, who is iffy with a calf injury. Typically the team dresses seven offensive linemen for a game, so it’s likely that Buffalo makes another player move with one of their practice squad players, most likely David Snow, who knows the offensive system having been with the club since May when he was signed as an undrafted rookie.

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O-line loses another

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2012 – 7:44 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey already said that Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik won’t be healthy enough to play in this Sunday’s game. New starting RG Chad Rinehart left Sunday’s game with a calf injury and his replacement is out for this week’s game as well.

Colin Brown started for Rinehart Sunday after Rinehart was a last minute scratch for the starting lineup. But Brown left the game with an injury after just a couple of series on offense and didn’t return.

“It’s a hamstring and he won’t make it this week,” said Chan Gailey of Brown.

Rinehart meanwhile is still a question mark as well.

“Rinehart, we’re going to rest him Wednesday,” said Gailey. “We think he’s got a decent chance to make the game.”

If he cannot go Sunday, Sam Young, who replaced him late in Sunday’s game, would step in. With just five healthy linemen it’s likely that Buffalo will have to make a roster move before the end of the week if Rinehart does not improve.

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