How teams view coaching input on scouting

Posted by Chris Brown on March 18, 2013 – 8:17 am

While we covered how Doug Marrone and his coaching staff have input in the college scouting process on the home page of this morning, it’s interesting to see how other NFL clubs work that dynamic in preparation for the NFL draft. Here’s a sampling from NFL GMs and coaches as to how they handle it.

“It’s a team approach,” said San Francisco GM Trent Baalke. “The coaches aren’t sitting in the draft room with us, but at the same time there is a stage when they are going into the process. And that stage starts with the combine. So we look forward to bouncing things of each other because it’s all about finding players that fit the system. That’s all we’re looking for.”

“I always use the saying that the scouts help bring the information to the bridge, and without the coaches, you can’t cross the bridge,” said Miami GM Jeff Ireland. “You have to have both involved in this evaluation period. I want all eyes on all players. The mental aspect of the scheme fit is important to us. We have our coaches talk football, so they get involved in that regard. I think it’s a very important aspect of things. The final decision, it’s a collective process.”

“The one thing I think that helped us last year was our scouts and our coaches had a huge meeting and identified what it takes from a characteristic standpoint and skill set standpoint to function in our schemes, offensively and defensively. By getting everybody on the same page, we identified guys as a Viking fit.

“Is this guy going to fit what we need him to do in his particular position? There are guys that are very good football players, but they may not fit from a scheme standpoint. But our coaches get very heavily involved.”

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Fan Friday 7-8

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2011 – 11:20 am

Hey Bills fans, hope you enjoyed your 4th of July holiday. Time to get back to it and answer your questions.

On a side note I’ve been getting some questions sent to me at the Bills message board and I feel compelled to tell you I rarely check that inbox, due mainly to time constraints. So if you have a question you’d like answered I highly recommend emailing me directly at It’s your best bet.

1 – Hey Chris, quick question about the jersey unveiling. Who was wearing the authentic jersey tops? The soldiers or the retirees?



CB: The jerseys that the members of the military were wearing are the official on-field jerseys that the players will wear on game days. The player jerseys are made of stretch mesh, a Reebok fabric that provides players with superior breathability and better range of motion.

The jerseys are also 20 to 30 percent lighter in weight, depending on the player’s size, due to Reebok’s ability to reduce cut lines and seams for a high performance fit.

Each jersey is specifically tailored to the exact specifications of each player. Those on-field jerseys are not available for retail sale.

The retail Authentic jerseys that are sold at The Bills Store are close replications of the on-field jerseys. However, they are not constructed of stretch mesh and they do not have the same “shrink wrap” fit that NFL players generally require. The retail Authentic jerseys are heavyweight jerseys that are finished with twill numbers and names. While they are not quite as form fitting as their on-field counterparts, the Authentic jerseys do have a tapered silhouette.

The retail Replica jerseys are a lighter weight jersey with screen printed numbers and names. They have a more generous cut and are more loose fitting.

The jerseys that the alumni wore for the unveiling event were blank Replica jerseys that were finished with twill numbers and names. Each of those jerseys were one-of-a-kind creations that allowed for the alumni to be able to slip the jersey on over their shirt and have twill numbers that would be easily visible to the crowd in attendance at the uniform launch event.

Hope that clears things up.



2 – Chris,

I was looking around on other NFL message boards the other day and I read that the Bills have one of the smallest scouting departments in the league. Is there any way to find out how many scouts the Bills do actually have? It would be interesting to compare it to teams such as Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and any other reputable teams that have had a good history when it comes to drafts.


CB: Counting Bills GM Buddy Nix, who does a good amount of scouting and Assistant GM Doug Whaley, who is going to spend more time working on the college side of the Personnel Department, the Bills actually have 14 college scouts.

Truth be told that’s one of the larger staffs in the league. Pittsburgh has 10, San Diego has 10, Indianapolis has 9. The smallest staff has always been Cincinnati, which doesn’t even have a college scouting staff. They rely on their coaching staff to do their scouting for them primarily off college tape.



3 – Hello Chris.
My question for you is while the players are locked out, does that interfere with contract signings?  If not, if the season is started in the next week, or so, would there be a plethora of signings for rookies, or are deals being made right now, with the owners & agents? So that way, they will be able to start training camp immediately?

Thanks for bringing great Buffalo Bills news, to fans like myself.

CB: Thanks for the kind words and your readership. NFL clubs cannot have any contact with players or agents about new contracts for players who are currently without a contract. It would be a fruitless pursuit anyway without knowing what the new rules are concerning the signing of players under a new collective bargaining agreement.

What is likely to happen is there will be a short free agent signing period where as you predict there will be a plethora of signings (both undrafted rookies and veteran free agents). I would anticipate that there will be an initial period for teams to re-sign their own players whose contracts have expired before an open period.


4 – Chris,

What was the reason behind the discrepancy between color order of the jersey number and piping on the pants (navy blue, red, royal blue) and the sleeves (red, navy blue, royal blue) of the white jersey? Thanks.

Erik D.

CB: From what I have been told about the new uniforms the intent was to match the sleeve stripes with the sock stripes.


5 – Chris,

Steve Johnson has been my favorite player since he was a rookie in 2008. I have only nice things to say about him, but when it comes to 2011 (pending on a season being played), I don’t think he will be able to put up the same numbers as 2010. What do you think?


Chris L. from Lancaster

CB: I believe there’s no debating that he will draw the majority of double team attention in 2011 as opposed to Lee Evans. We saw a good deal of that down the stretch last season and Johnson’s production suffered. I however, believe Johnson’s production drop off was due more to the absence of Roscoe Parrish, who was lost in Week 10 to a broken wrist.

When he went out of the lineup, it allowed opposing defenses to focus more on Evans and Johnson with cover 2 looks and bracket coverages. They committed to letting rookies like David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt prove they could beat them instead of taking their chances with Evans and Johnson. On occasion those rookies did beat them (See: Cleveland victory). With Parrish back in the fold for 2011 I believe Johnson will get enough opportunities to have comparable numbers, but some of that will hinge on how productive his teammates can be when he is double teamed.

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Posted in Inside the Bills