Inside The Bills

Report: Anthony Lynn up for 49ers OC job

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2016 – 9:28 am

Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins head coaching jobs over the last few weeks. Despite having a head coach in place in Chip Kelly, the 49ers are calling him back to see if he’s interested in their offensive coordinator position.

That according to FOX Sports Alex Marvez.


Lynn has long been praised by Bills head coach Rex Ryan as one of the best position coaches in the NFL. He served this past season as Bills Assistant head coach/running backs. Also reported to be in the running for the job is Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and Detroit assistant coach/run game coordinator Curtis Modkins, a former Bills assistant himself under Chan Gailey.

Bills current offensive coordinator Greg Roman did a similar thing last year. After not getting the nod for the Bills head coaching post he eventually took the offensive coordinator job with Buffalo under Rex Ryan.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-14

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2012 – 2:17 pm

Here’s the latest edition of your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris:

Has Chan Gailey maintained a 100% offensive play calling role or has he given some or all of the play calling authority to Curtis Modkins?

Some of the talk this year is about the “Pistol” Offense run by Washington.  Am I correct in my assessment that it is an offense that is an extension of the “Wild Cat” and the only real difference is the Pistol is run with a true starting Quarterback who has the athletic ability to run as well as throw the football?     


CB: Yes, Chan Gailey is still the only offensive play caller on the roster. When first hired, Gailey mentioned that he intended to eventually turn over play calling duties to a coordinator, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Your assessment of the Pistol offense is not wholly accurate. The Pistol just references a backfield formation where the single back lines up directly behind the quarterback, who is in the shotgun. One of the advantages of this look is it does not tip off to the defense which direction a run play is headed.

Washington runs out of that formation with Robert Griffin a good deal, but Chan Gailey first popularized it in the league in Kansas City a few years ago running it with Tyler Thigpen there. The Bills have even made use of it this season at times.


2 – Hello Chris

Thanks for your insight into the organization, my question is with the apparent need for an elite franchise qb in order for a team to not only compete in the league these days but to have a chance to build a team around, and have a chance at the ultimate goal which is to Win the Superbowl, why won’t the Bills draft a QB in every round until we get The guy to Win it, this team has pieces but is lacking the by far most needed piece a elite QB!! Thank you, Tom Neaverth, life long Bills fan 

CB: I can tell you that won’t happen, although the Redskins did draft a pair of quarterbacks last spring (Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins). I can say that the Bills will likely draft one this spring. Here’s what Buddy Nix said on the subject.

“There’s a time in the era that you’re in with the development of your team I think there’s a time when you can move up a round to take a quarterback and I think the time is now for us,” said Nix. “If a guy is there, and they’ll be one out there, if the guy is there then I think we’ll target, as I’ve said before, drafting a good quarterback. We need a good, young quarterback and we’ll do our best to get one.”


3 – Hey Chris,
 I think the game against the Colts was when CJ split out wide and got chased by a linebacker. He beat his guy right at the snap but Fitz missed the throw, my question is, why not try that every game when there’s clearly a mismatch with almost any linebacker vs Spiller and a chance for a big time play?
Thanks, Ryan

CB: I can tell you that it’s relatively rare to get C.J. Spiller matched up on a linebacker. It’s why defensive coordinators spend as much time as they do with their game plans to avoid such mismatches. When the Bills do get them they have to make opponents pay. Unfortunately they were unable to do so in that situation.


4 – Hey Chris,
What was the thinking behind the trade for TJack? And if Nix is talking QB lately it would seem that he thinking of going away from Fitz which is understandable so why not give the guy some reps in practice to see what he has?  Or will this turn out to be another trade that does nothing for the Bills?

CB: Buddy Nix has gone on record as saying the trade was made with Tarvaris Jackson serving purely as an insurance policy at the quarterback position. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback they have hitched their wagon to and they do not intend to make a change at the quarterback position so long as Fitzpatrick is healthy.


5 – Hi Chris –

It was my pleasure to be part of the Bill’s crowd at the Jags game. I saw many excited fans doing their best to back their team. Are the players aware of their fans presence at away games? Do you think it is of any value to the team?

Thanks for your time – Dan Garigen/Bay City, MI

CB: Bills players do recognize Bills fans at away games. In fact at the Cleveland game back in Week 3, when most Browns fans had filed out, more Buffalo fans came down to the lower seats in the one end zone and near the end of the game the players could hear the Bills fans singing the ‘Shout’ song and were pumping their fists at them.

After the game they came over and shook some hands with the fans that made the trip. So you are noticed and heard!


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Posted in Inside the Bills

C.J.’s day vs. Miami ranked #1

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2012 – 1:23 pm

Bills RB C.J. Spiller ranked at the top of the ProFootballFocus list for best single-game running back performances in 2011 with his big Week 16 outing against Miami last season.

The film reviewers and stat lovers at PFF reviewed every carry, pass protection and receiving of every back in the league in 2011 and Spiller’s two-touchdown, 167 yards from scrimmage effort against Miami was tops in the NFL.

1. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills: Week 15 vs. Miami (+6.6)

This may surprise a few, but in a game where Spiller averaged 7.6 yards per carry, added 78 yards in the air and totaled two touchdowns … well, you’ll struggle to find a running back make as significant an impact per snap they’re on the field. What made this so good was that he wasn’t assisted by great blocking, but simply made Miami pay over and over again. Nothing summed his day up like his touchdown with 5:01 to go in Q1.

If you want to watch some of the better plays by Spiller in that game and why he was so successful just check out our film review with offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins in that game as Spiller made our Top 10 Performances of 2011 as well.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Joe D. also on clinic circuit

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2012 – 8:40 am

Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins isn’t the only assistant coach on Buffalo’s staff that’s lecturing about football on the coaching clinic circuit.

As we profiled on the home page today (Saturday) on Modkins is giving a presentation this weekend on offensive systems at the Football Coaches of Canada Convention in Burlington, Ontario. Next week fellow offensive assistant Joe D’Alessandris, Buffalo’s offensive line coach will be north of the border as well.

“I’ll be out in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,” D’Alessandris told

D’Alessandris has his 90-minute presentation next weekend, and much like Modkins will bring film with him as well.

“My lecture will be on pass protection,” he said.

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Fan Friday 2-17

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2012 – 1:58 pm

Less than a week before the NFL Combine. Make sure you keep your laptop locked on for wall-to-wall coverage from Indy beginning on Thursday morning. Now to your questions from

1 – Hey Chris,

My question is in regard to Kirk Morrison.  I thought he was an above average to good NFL linebacker in Oakland, then what happened?  That was only 2 years ago, he’s not even 30, and now he can’t sniff the field?  And if it was the Bills system more than his level of play, why has he not been talked about at all as an option in the new 4-3 defense that is expected to be installed more often next season?  I believe his contract is up, but I haven’t heard or read his name once. 

Thanks again,
Fredonia, NY
CB: Morrison had a tough time getting on the field for a couple of reasons. First, he was signed days before the season opener so he had some catch up work to do. By the time he was fully adjusted to the scheme Kelvin Sheppard had begun to emerge and locked down the ILB spot alongside veteran Nick Barnett.

What’s going to be interesting is with the defense switching to the 4-3 I think he’s going to be a consideration for the strong side linebacker position. Talking to Coach Wannstedt he did express a desire to get Morrison re-signed. I think he’s capable of backing up Sheppard in the middle while also competing for a starting role at SLB.


2 – Hi Chris, 
You do a good job covering the Bills.  I do want to ask why the management wants to change from a 3-4 back to a 4-3 when they have spent two seasons drafting the personal for the 3-4?  I do not see this as a step forward, but rather a waste of the investment in players they have taken the last two years.  Shawne Merriman did not work out, but could be an answer to the pass rush problem. 

As a coach I had to change my defense year to year because my players were not always  suited to what I did the year before the current season.  I made changes in how I played a defense to suit the players I had and schemed to make them more effective.  

The Bills right now have players that could play both even and odd front looks  effectively given the chance to develop and having all  the players able to play.  Maybe a more aggressive defense with

good  technique containing the outside ( setting the edge ) and new wrinkles, which should come with our new defensive coordinator, will make it all work without a mid rebuilding change of plan.

A suffering fan in Arizona,
Max F. Stolzenberg, Jr.

CB: I think to characterize the defensive change as a prompt to rebuild is misguided quite frankly. The Bills played with four down linemen a good deal of the time, but I’ll let Dave Wannstedt explain.

“We played last year about 65-percent of our snaps in nickel personnel, where we actually had four down (linemen) in the game with their hand in the ground. No matter if we had five defensive backs or six defensive backs it didn’t matter,” said Wannstedt. “The point was, if you looked at us, we were doing a lot of things that there’s carry-over within the 4-3 scheme.”

I think there are a lot of players that offer scheme versatility on Buffalo’s defense. Chief among them are Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay. Williams and Kelsay have already played most of their careers in the 4-3 with the Bills. Merriman has never played in the 4-3 in the NFL, but might benefit from dropping into coverage less as a true rush end and is underrated as a run defender.

Torell Troup played defensive tackle in a 4-3 in college and Alex Carrington played defensive end in a 4-3 at the collegiate level. Spencer Johnson was signed in free agency by this team when they were still playing a 4-3 front under the previous coaching regime.

Sheppard played MLB in a 4-3 at LSU and Nick Barnett is more than capable of playing weakside LB in a 4-3. So I don’t really see a rebuilding plan here. I think most of the pieces are scheme versatile enough to hit the ground running with this scheme.


3 – Hey Chris,
I have a few questions about the 4-3 defense we may run under Wannstedt.  If your remember that last time we were a full 4-3/cover 2 defense Byrd had 9 interceptions, now I was wondering how a 4-3 defense differs from a 3-4 as far as secondary scheme goes because in 09 it seemed like we had way more interceptions then in ’10 and ’11.  Also i assume that we will target a nice pass rush DE in the draft and that Kelsay will move back to DE also but who will be the DT I also assume that it will be Dareus and Williams with Johnson and Troup that 3rd and 4th but where would guys like Carrington go?

Thanks Chris,
Josh Hubert, Syracuse NY

CB: I think most of your assumptions are right, although Dwan Edwards might be the other defensive tackle alongside Troup in the rotation. I think a guy like Carrington has to prove he can put pressure on the passer at the end position. He did that at Arkansas State as an end in a 4-3 front (21.5 sacks). As far as the secondary is concerned not a whole lot changes going from a 3-4 to a 4-3. The coverages are largely the same, though the means by which they disguise some looks might be different.

I don’t know that you can tie Byrd’s success as a rookie to the scheme. Personally I think Byrd’s best season was 2011. I felt his all-around game was as good as I’ve seen it. He’s not just a takeaway guy, he’s shown he can be more than that.


4 – Hey Chris,

I remember you mentioning that one of the best things the current Bills management has done is to build the front lines.  I was just wondering if the Bills found that the best player available in the first round was a DT like Devon Still from PSU, would they consider drafting him and moving Dareus to DE like Haloti Ngata has done at times for the Ravens?  Do you think they would draft the DT to continue getting depth at DT?  Or would they go to the next best player not at DT?

CB: The way the Bills operate is they take the best player on the board when they’re on the clock. If there are a couple of players of comparable value and one is at a position of need then they’ll take the player at the position of need.

Devon Still by the way is trumped at the DT position by some underclassmen. Most scouts I’ve spoken with maintain that Michael Brockers from LSU, Jerel Worthy from Michigan State and Dontari Poe from Memphis are all superior to Still.


5 – Chris:

I always enjoy your interviews and film breakdown with the coaches in your top 10 series.  I was wondering if you see a time where Coach Gailey will turn over the play calling to Offensive Coordinator Curtis Modkins, and exactly how much is Coach Modkins involved with the game planning and game day decisions?  What are your thoughts on Coach Bicknell being on the radar for other teams as Offensive Coordinator and eventually getting interviews for Head Coaching Positions? I believe he may be on many teams short list soon.



CB: Thanks for the kind words on our Top 10 Performances of 2011 Series. We enjoyed bringing it to you and for the dedicated fan it’s a great way to get some film room insight from Buffalo’s coaching staff. Our last installment of the series will run this Tuesday.

As for play calling duties Chan Gailey when he was hired did say he would eventually hand off those responsibilities to Curtis Modkins, but I don’t think he’s there yet. I think once Gailey feels as though his offense is a smooth running machine week in and week out, only then might he turn over the reins.

With respect to coach Bicknell, it would not shock me if he started drawing interest around the league for OC positions. Knowing he was a successful offensive coordinator in NFL Europe it would not surprise me at all.

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See where C.J. improved most

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2012 – 8:23 am

Here’s you chance to see where C.J. Spiller improved his game the most in 2011 with our latest installment of the Top 10 Performances of 2011.

Spiller’s Week 14 game against the Dolphins is the latest edition in our Top 10 Series and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins is the one providing insight as we review film of the tailback’s 167 total yard performance that included a pair of touchdowns.

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More work for Brad Smith?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2011 – 8:47 am

This past summer Bills head coach Chan Gailey lamented the fact that he did not have a full offseason to work free agent signee Brad Smith into his offensive playbook due to the NFL lockout. This bye week may afford Gailey and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins some time to add a small package of new material specifically for Smith.

“Maybe so,” said Gailey. “But there’s a lot of things going on other than that. I’m not sure that’s at the top of the list, but it’s certainly on the list.”

Ahead of expanding Brad Smith’s offensive role is addressing the Bills pass rush and refining both offensive and defensive concepts and personnel groupings. Getting a head start on Washington is likely also ahead of putting in material for Smith, but the fact that it’s on the brain of Buffalo’s head coach says something.

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Chan still the play caller

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2011 – 10:53 am

When he was first hired as Bills head coach Chan Gailey said that he would call the plays on offense. Eventually though he said he would hand those duties off to offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins. Entering year two and with a lot of building to do, Gailey is going to remain at the controls.

“Oh yeah,” Gailey said. “I’m doing that. I’m calling the plays this year.”

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Top 10 series features Fred

Posted by Chris Brown on July 19, 2011 – 10:30 am

Our Top 10 Performances of 2010 has reached part 9 with the featured player none other than Fred Jackson.

We highlight Jackson’s 133-yard rushing day against the Detroit Lions in Week 10, with Bills offensive coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Modkins providing the pro coaching expertise on some of Jackson’s better plays on that day.

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Top 10 rolls on with C.J.

Posted by Chris Brown on July 12, 2011 – 9:11 am

Our Top 10 Performance series from 2010 continues with part 7 today (Tuesday) with a special performance from Week 3.

C.J. Spiller’s two touchdown day is reviewed by both offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins and special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven from the Bills film room.

Be sure to check it out.

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Bills well versed on Ponder

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2011 – 11:21 pm

The Bills coaching staff has had the chance all week to get to know the 52 players on the South team roster, but there was one guy they didn’t have to do quite as much homework on. That’s because Florida State’s Christian Ponder is someone Chan Gailey and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins have known since the quarterback was in high school.

“I recruited Christian out of high school so I’ve known him for a long time,” said Gailey.

Gailey was the head coach at Georgia Tech when Ponder was contemplating his options as to where he would play college football.

“We had a prior relationship,” admitted Ponder. “When he was the coach at Georgia Tech they recruited me pretty hard and they were probably my second choice next to Florida State. I actually had a good relationship with Coach Modkins. He was the guy that recruited me personally. It’s good to work with them finally and it’s a pretty unique situation.”

Ponder obviously chose Florida State, but he did it for a couple of reasons. First, his father was a linebacker for Florida State in the 70’s and second he said it was always a dream  to play for Bobby Bowden, which he did for his first three seasons.

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Modkins on sideline now

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2010 – 11:10 am

Early in the season offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins was stationed up in the coach’s booth on game days. Recently he has been moved down to the sidelines. Head coach Chan Gailey told why the move was made.

“We thought that the communication amongst the whole offense is better with Curtis on the field,” said Gailey. “What was happening is with him being up in the booth and me being part time out on the field, watching defense, watching special teams, looking for challenges, all the head coaching duties, the communication wasn’t as clean as we needed it on the sideline.

“He adds that extra level of communication where he knows the whole thing better than anybody. So he’s able to communicate what we need to adjust on offense.”

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Where the coordinators will be

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2010 – 3:10 pm

We all know that head coach Chan Gailey will be on the sideline at kickoff in tonight’s preseason opener, but which coordinators will be up in the booth and which will be on the sidelines?

Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins will be upstairs to be Gailey’s eyes in the sky for the offense. Defensive coordinator George Edwards however, wants to be down on the sidelines.

Gailey will be calling the plays for the offense, which he will relay to quarterbacks coach George Cortez, who will radio the play into the quarterbacks.

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Modkins’ ties to Schobel and L.T.

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2010 – 8:00 am

Bills offensive coordinator/RBs coach Curtis Modkins still ranks in the top 10 of all-time rushers at TCU, which by the way includes former Bills back Kenny Davis, but he has other ties to TCU notables Aaron Schobel and LaDanian Tomlinson.

Modkins was on the coaching staff that recruited Aaron Schobel and he was one of the assistant coaches that recruited L.T.. The only thing was Modkins left to coach at New Mexico after those two players were on the roster.

Modkins not only shares TCU as his alma mater with Tomlinson, but they’re also from the same hometown in Texas and their mothers were classmates in high school. He’ll have a chance to see him twice this season now that he’s on the Jets roster.

Modkins says to this point he hasn’t spoken to Aaron Schobel.

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Seasoned staff so far

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2010 – 12:14 pm

It’s pretty clear that in addition to wanting good teachers and communicators on his staff, Bills head coach Chan Gailey wants experienced coaches based on the hires announced Wednesday.

Here’s a rundown of the years in coaching for the members of his staff thus far.

Giff Smith – 13 years
Curtis Modkins – 15 years
Bob Bicknell – 17 years
George Catavolos – 25 years
Bob Sanders – 30 years
Joe D’Alessandris – 37 years

Only offensive quality control coach Kevin Patullo is young in his coaching career, which is usually the case for assistants in such positions.

Also almost all of the coaches hired thus far have NFL coaching experience.

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Report: Bills to hire Modkins

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2010 – 4:13 pm

According to report out of Arizona, Cardinals RBs coach Curtis Modkins will be hired as Buffalo’s new offensive coordinator.

Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix is reporting that Modkins is headed to Buffalo to become the Bills offensive coordinator.

Per the report the Bills requested permission to speak with Modkins, after a couple days Arizona granted Buffalo permission and were able to come to terms late Friday.

Modkins worked for Ken Whisenhunt just this past season.

As Chan Gailey stated in his press conference last week he himself will call the plays.

Gailey and Modkins worked together in 2008 with the Chiefs.

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