Inside The Bills

Marrone explains release of WR Rogers

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2013 – 3:26 pm


Bills head coach Doug Marrone was asked about the team’s Monday release of WR Da’Rick Rogers and he made things plain.

“He definitely has skill, along with DeMarco Sampson who has played well for us in the preseason,” said Marrone of the two receivers that were moved off the roster. “But I think when you look at the production of that group and who has produced for a long period of time, it’s just as simple as we feel we have better players on the roster right now than the players we released. That’s what I communicated to them.

Marrone also explained that he’s interested in keeping players that can help this team right away not down the line.

“I’m a big believer in the production part of it right now rather than what we’re going to get down the road,” he said. “All the players that were released have the ability to play, but we as an organization feel that we just have better players right now.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone: With Da’Rick it’s about consistency

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2013 – 4:42 pm

Da’Rick Rogers turned in another big play in practice on Monday morning. It was a 49-yard pass play with Rogers gaining separation to make a catch along the right sideline to put Buffalo’s offense in the red zone on the first play of a two-minute drill. It’s that type of ability that got Rogers his current opportunity in Bills training camp despite his past transgressions. What he’ll need to do to stay on Buffalo’s roster, according to head coach Doug Marrone, is turn those flashes of playmaking ability into constants.

“With Da’Rick you see a lot of potential out there where he can go ahead and make plays and physically beat people,” said Marrone. “Then other times he’s getting down a little bit or maybe feeling a little sorry for himself. Whatever it may be then you don’t see that consistency in him. Right now it’s a little bit up and down. Again we’ve just got to get it where it’s constantly going up and he should be a fine player.”

Marrone gave an example of how Rogers approach to the game might not be as structured and focused as that of some of the other rookie wideouts.

“What you see with some of the younger players and where I think the separation has come from, Robert Woods for example, has been out there every day consistently doing well and winning routes,” said Marrone. “Da’Rick you’ve seen flashes of him being able to win, so it’s just a matter of consistency. When we came up here what we’ve talked with the players about is that mindset. Going out there every day and trying to win and handling adversity.”

Rogers has certainly proven he has talent, but it’s apparent he still has to prove to his head coach that he can handle the day in and day out demands of being a pro.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-16

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 12:30 pm

Preseason game number two tonight against the Vikings and a big night for Kevin Kolb. Here are some of your latest questions for this last edition of Fan Friday before the end of training camp. Keep the questions coming on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I’m sure your sick of comments and questions about Jairus Byrd but my question I didn’t hear many talk about is this: did the Bills (or Byrd for that matter) consider that Byrd may have a tremendous year and increase his value even more next year leading to an even high price tag? If the Bills do what they are hoping he will do during his franchise year did they not cost themselves more money by not coming up a little higher to sign him this year? Or, if that was a consideration, does that not tell us there will be no attempt to sign Byrd long term after this season and this season is nothing more than a bridge to get one of the Williams’ ready?


CB: Bills GM Doug Whaley has gone on record saying they will still pursue a long term contract agreement with Jairus Byrd after the regular season concludes. At this point you have to take Whaley at his word as the team’s new GM. In my experience Whaley usually means what he says.

Now all that being said there is some merit to the argument of signing a player to an extension a year prior to their contract being up. If for example, the Bills are convinced that Alex Carrington is going to have a monster season in this the last year of his contract, they might opt to try to sign him before this season starts.

Is there a risk? Absolutely. He could have a down year or sustain a career-threatening injury. But there’s a risk in every decision an NFL GM makes. That’s why their salaries are where they are. When there’s a significant call to be made, they’re paid to make significantly more right decisions than wrong ones.
2 – Hi Chris,

I am a former season ticket holder (tunnel endzone) from the glory days of the late 80s and early 90s now living in SC.  Thanks for all you do to keep out of town Bills fans up to date.  I’m intrigued by the Bills corps of receivers.  I have heard about the speed of Graham and Goodwin.  Do you think either has the route running ability to be the next Victor Cruz inside?  I have heard about the route running ability of Woods.  Does he have the potential to be a Wes Welker inside bracketed between Stevie, Graham, and Chandler?  Da’ Rick is also interesting.  Where do you see him in this mix?

As far as team analysis I see our biggest areas of need as the O Line (need a tackle and two guards), an outside linebacker that can rush and compliment Mario, and a second corner to pair with Gilmore as I feel McKelvin is too small and better suited to slot defender. Your thoughts?

John in SC

CB: Woods is a polished route runner, but he’s not a Wes Welker. Welker’s quickness in and out of cuts is rare. Woods is a sharp route runner, but he wins more on hesitation, change of speed and shoulder fakes than pure quickness. Stevie Johnson is the primary slot receiver. Woods would be the number two.

To say one would have similar production to Victor Cruz has more to do with the quarterback throwing him the ball than their own exploits.

Da’Rick Rogers is strictly an outside receiver. Big and physical with soft hands, he needs more discipline with his route running, but when he gets it he could explode.

McKelvin right now is the best option to line up opposite Stephon Gilmore when healthy. At 5’10” 185 his size is adequate and his arms are long, which helps in coverage. Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers and Nickell Robey are considerably smaller in stature and better suited inside. McKelvin is probably best as a boundary corner.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is up with Mario? How come he doesn’t interview after practice? Did they ever say what it was with his foot?

CB: He does usually once a week during the regular season and occasionally during training camp. Last night he did not stop for an interview because he had to get treatment with the athletic trainers. Head coach Doug Marrone did not say it was his foot that needed treatment. During camp there is typically an assortment of bumps and bruises that players experience that needs attention, especially linemen who endure more physical contact than other players.

I’m not trying to be a Mario apologist here, but even if it was his foot that necessitated the treatment I’d at least take comfort in the fact that he’s trying to take care of what’s nagging at him.
4 – Chris,

I appreciate the work you do on the Bills site, nice job.

A few points – when it comes to Byrd I think the Bills want to let this season play out and let some of their young safeties get some game reps (I.e. Searcy, A Williams, D Williams, Meeks) and see where they stand at the end of the year. While I think Byrd is a very good all-around player, the one thing I think he lacks, is that he is not a particularly big hitter, and I think that can change a defense when their safeties will hit.

The O line position that I think is more important than left guard is right tackle. Who do you think the right tackle will be, and how good of play do you think the Bills will get from that position?

We hear so much about the Bills up tempo offense but to me, that is not really an offense. Conceptually, in terms of routes, blocking schemes and personnel groupings, what do you think the Bills offense will look like?

Do you think the Bills need a legitimate big back? Certainly, CJ is a supreme talent, but to me, he is a space player, and to me 20 touches a game would be ideal. To me, Fred is a good all-around player, a good pass protector, a good screen game back, and a runner who makes his yards on a combination of vision, balance and using his blocks. But I think the Bills would benefit from a legitimate big running back. I think such a player could help on the goal line, third and short, and be a good complement to CJ and Fred. What do you think?


CB: Okay a lot to cover here. First, I disagree with your assessment that Jairus Byrd is not a hitter. He absolutely is a hitter. Evidence of that comes from the fact that since the 2009 season, no other safety in the league has more forced fumbles than him. He’s got 10. That being said the bigger hitters of the current contingent are Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams.

Right now I think the right tackle will be Erik Pears, who finally appears recovered from groin and hip problems the past two seasons. He’s moving as well as I’ve seen him and he’s as tough as they come. Chris Hairston, who is still on PUP, may very well miss all of training camp as he has not been moved onto the active roster yet.

Couple that with the fact that Sam Young and Thomas Welch have been unable to unseat him and it looks like Pears’ job to lose.

Concerning the Bills offense yes it will be up tempo, but it is a unique system that no one else is running. So I’ll give you the details that won’t give up the brilliance behind it. The easy identification is that it’s fast, but it’s also multiple personnel, slightly more run than pass (probably 52% to 48%) with stretch the field components. It has West Coast system roots with a physical edge to it.

It won’t be complicated, just fast and multiple in terms of looks.

If Fred Jackson is not the kind of goal line back you want because you don’t think he’s big enough Kendall Gaskins is the only back in camp (who isn’t a fullback) that is bigger. He’s 6’1” 238 and he can lay the lumber. He’s had a nice camp, but whether he can unseat Tashard Choice remains to be seen.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

how’s Carrington doing? Was projected as breakout player but haven’t heard much about him?


CB: If you haven’t heard or seen much you might be living under a rock. He’s been a routine component of our highlight reels on Bills Roundup every evening we cover the day that was in training camp. I’ll let defensive coordinator Mike Pettine give you the assessment of the kind of camp he’s had (high praise).

“He’s a guy that we have a saying where we talk about playing like Bill, tough, competitive, productive, relentless, all the traits that we’re looking for in our guys,” said Pettine. “You go right down the list and he’s every one of them. He’s a guy that loves football, wants to get better, wants to get coached hard, asks the tough questions and it just shows up in his play.

“He’s probably our most technically sound guy up front. We emphasize to our guys that we want to get knock back on the offensive line and he’s probably our most consistent guy doing that, but the position he’s in I don’t think he’s going to show up on the stat sheet as much from a scheme standpoint. But to me he’s going to be one of the more important pieces of our defense.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Da’Rick anxious to face Cordarrelle

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2013 – 9:42 am

When Da’Rick Rogers takes the field Friday, he’ll get a chance to play against an old friend. Rogers and Vikings first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson were never teammates together at Tennessee, but they’ve traveled in a lot of the same circles in football.

Rogers is excited to play against Patterson. The two of them did a lot of work together in preparation for the NFL Combine and NFL draft. Rogers is hopeful the two can share time on the field.

“I’m one of the gunners and I’m on kickoff,” Rogers told’s Nate West. “So I’ve been looking on punt return and kick return, watching him go to work. I’m excited to see him play and get out there and make a tackle on him.”

Rogers described Patterson as electrifying, saying he has never seen a receiver his size change direction the way Patterson does. He expects Patterson to use his speed to make plays.

Although Rogers and Patterson don’t play together anymore, the two have similar personalities. Rogers said if he gets the chance, he’ll talk some trash.

“He’s a talker too, so I know we’ll be out there jaw-jacking at each other,” Rogers said.

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Battle tight among secondary WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2013 – 10:15 pm

It seems as though the top four receivers slots are pretty much set with Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin manning those roles. Beyond that however, the battle for spots five and possibly six is heating up in the wake of the team’s preseason opener.

Chris Hogan was targeted three times and made a pair of receptions for 11 yards. That included a third down conversion on a 3rd-and-3 that led to a field goal for Buffalo. In fact all three times that EJ Manuel targeted Hogan was on third downs as Hogan worked primarily out of the slot Sunday.

Da’Rick Rogers was targeted just once in the game, but made the most of it earning praise from head coach Doug Marrone on his six-yard touchdown reception.

“Da’Rick Rogers really set the guy up nice, pushed him outside, ran the slant, scored the touchdown,” said Marrone.

Marcus Easley not only led all receivers in Sunday’s game with seven receptions for 94 yards, but now stands tied for the league lead in receptions after preseason Week 2 with Miami’s Chad Bumphis. He’s also second only to Bumphis in receiving yardage. Bumphis has 111 receiving yards.

Three of his receptions came on the first touchdown drive of the second half that was capped by Rogers. They went for 9, 29 and 13 yards respectively. He then caught four more balls on the next drive as Jeff Tuel was locked in on him for another 43 yards, good for more than half of the 68 yards on the drive.

“There were a lot of routes that we won. Easley made a couple of nice plays,” said Marrone.

And Brandon Kaufman tried to make himself a part of the conversation with a pair of catches for 34 yards, including a difficult grab along the sideline and a touchdown reception.

“I thought those guys were winning quite a bit out there. It’s got me interested moving forward,” said Marrone. “The one thing is those guys are going to have some opportunities and when they have those opportunities they’ll be able to separate themselves and we’ll keep evaluating. The good thing about it is that may be a tough decision down the road for us in how does that break up with those receivers? But that’s not a bad thing. I think we’ve got guys where all those guys I know can play at this level.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Receiver listings most interesting

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2013 – 4:17 pm

depth-chart-bbcomThere aren’t a lot of surprises on the Bills first unofficial depth chart. At receiver though where there will be a lot of jockeying for position and roles, it worth noting how things are laid out here at the outset.

The top four receivers listed on the depth chart are Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. The next sets of pairings are as follows.

Brad Smith and Chris Hogan
Marcus Easley and Kevin Elliott
Da’Rick Rogers and DeMarco Sampson
Brandon Kaufman and Terrell Sinkfield

There are obviously still four preseason games to be played so these positions are likely to be shuffled somewhat before the preseason is over. Just knowing there are eight receivers in the mix for one or two of the final receiver spots should make for some heated competition.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Things looking up for WR Rogers

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2013 – 12:51 pm

Undrafted rookie Da’Rick Rogers had nothing promised to him when he signed with the Bills. But less than a week into training camp Rogers has looked strong, fast and consistent in the opportunities he’s had during the team periods. Head coach Doug Marrone has been impressed as well.

“I think he stepped it up from OTAs and minicamp,” said Marrone. “I think he’s in better shape than he was before. That’s a credit to him and the conditioning people and what he did in the offseason. He’s done some nice things. He’s had some separation. He’s a big receiver with strong hands. He’s going to be competing for a roster spot.”

Rogers has been rewarded with some snaps with the first unit on offense at times. We’ll see if those opportunities increase in frequency in the coming days.

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Fan Friday 7-26

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2013 – 11:50 am

Training camp is here as the players will be voluntarily reporting to camp today. The official report date is Saturday with the first practice Sunday night. We’ll have full coverage on with daily video reports (Bills Roundup), daily written practice reports and feature stories both written and video. As always this Inside the Bills blog will be updated constantly each day with extra news and tidbits of Bills information that you’re always looking for.

Continue to send any question you might have during the course of training camp and leading up to the season at my email or on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

For now let’s get to your latest edition of questions from those two places.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who do you think will make the bills at 5th/6th receiver?


CB: I think the best candidates for those roles entering training camp are Da’Rick Rogers, Chris Hogan and Kevin Elliott. Those three turned in the most plays in the spring practices. Obviously that can change because when the pads go on the game gets considerably more physical and it can change how effective a receiver is depending on his character makeup and mettle.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the Patriots turmoil do you see us closing the gap significantly this season? Will it be a competitive game week 1?


CB: Greg Bedard on the new Monday Morning Quarterback Column site did a great piece on how Bill Belichick has successfully navigated the Patriots through crises before from the QB change from Bledsoe to Brady, to the predicted revolt after Lawyer Milloy was released days before the season started and signed with the Bills, to Brady’s season-ending ACL injury back in 2008.

I think their depth of talent is thinner than it was during those setbacks, so the Patriots might slip a bit, but I don’t foresee a collapse. New England is a very consistent organization and Belichick is a master adjuster. He will only be more motivated to succeed with outsiders doubting his club.


3 – Chris,
Straight to the point: Of the 5 teams we play on extra rest how many of those games are played at home and by home I mean in Buffalo not Toronto? Clearly playing the Jets twice one of them will be away just curious about the rest of ’em.

Thanks for digging into the schedule you found some pretty compelling info that truly should be addressed. I may with my spare time look at schedules past for this discrepancy. I agree this is an issue worth citing. Keep up the great work!

Dominic Spaccio
Montour Falls NY

CB: Two of the five games in which their opponent coming off extra rest is at home. Those two are the Jets and Cincinnati. The Bills also face Atlanta at home after the advantage of their own bye week is neutralized by the fact that the Falcons are coming off a Thursday night game and will have 10 days rest between games while the Bills have 14. The Dolphins, Jaguars and Jets will come off extra rest to face Buffalo in their own home stadiums. Here’s the full story for those that missed it.


4 – Chris,
I understand that the GM has final say on draft day, free agent signings and undrafted signings. The GM assembles the talent pool.  What about the other end of the process – cutting from 90 players to 54 (or whatever the number is)?  It seems to me that whereas the GM is in the best position to draft (having scouted all year), the coach might be in the best position to make final cut decisions having worked closely with the players.  How do the Bills handle this?

Patrick in Indianapolis

CB: Roster decisions concerning player cuts are typically handled by the coaching staff with the head coach making the final call. General managers and personnel directors assemble the talent, but the coaching staff decides who he wants to keep.

That’s not to say that a general manager doesn’t have input, he does, especially on close calls for final roster decisions. That’s when a GM might be asked to offer an opinion.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the Bills use Gragg, in a similar way the Patriots used Hernandez? Using his speed to play a TE/WR hybrid?


CB: I think Gragg, who ran a 4.5 40-time at the Combine, best of all tight ends, is capable of lining up in a detached role almost like a tight receiver. So yes, I think he could be a hybrid type option in the Bills passing game for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. It just depends how he fares when the pads go on at camp. He certainly flashed as a receiving threat in the spring practices.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2013 – 10:11 pm

Here’s the rundown of where you can find Bills players on the radio airwaves Wednesday.

7:00 am – WGR 550 – Kevin Kolb

8:00 am – Sirius XM NFL – Stevie Johnson

4:45 pm – WNML (Knoxville, TN) – Da’Rick Rogers

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills rank 2nd in undrafted FA haul

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2013 – 2:45 pm

There’s a respectable amount of talent among Buffalo 16 undrafted rookies that agreed to terms earlier this week. So much in fact that’s Gil Brandt has the Bills right at the top of the league in terms of their undrafted free agent haul.

Brandt ranked Buffalo second in the league behind only Jacksonville. Here was his assessment of their undrafted free agent crop.

2) Buffalo Bills

Key signees: Brandon Kaufman, WR, Eastern Washington; Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State; Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech; Keith Pough, LB, Howard.

The Bills were looking for receivers, and that’s what they got; Kaufman is a good possession type of guy, while Rogers has great speed. Tuel, who has the measurables and arm strength you want in a quarterback, was stuck on a very poor team in college. Pough looked good in workouts and at the combine.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills competed with 14 teams to land WR Rogers

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2013 – 11:55 pm

The Bills knew they liked the talent of Tennessee Tech WR Da’Rick Rogers. The problem was so did half the NFL, so after the draft was over it was far from a sure thing that Rogers would agree to terms with the Bills. But Rogers came to Buffalo for a few reasons, which Bills GM Buddy Nix laid out.

Nix appearing on the John Murphy Show laid out the reasons why he felt Rogers saw Buffalo as a good spot for him.

“There were 14 teams after him after the draft and we were able to get him,” said Nix. “I think there were a lot of reasons (President and CEO) Russ (Brandon) and (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim (Overdorf) have been pretty close with his agent. Plus his agent also represents Robert Woods and they had worked out together during the pre-draft process and knew each other.

“I think Da’Rick felt comfortable here. Plus he was one of our 30 (pre-draft) visits and he sat in my office and I told him how it would be here. He can either make a living playing football or get a job. I think he understands, plus he went to dinner with our coaches here and I think he liked it.”

Nix believes Rogers understands he’s got to make good on this opportunity.

“This guy is talented and he can play,” said Nix.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills had a 1st/2nd round grade on Da’Rick Rogers

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2013 – 5:15 pm

The biggest name among the 16 undrafted players the Bills signed Monday undoubtedly belongs to WR
Da’Rick Rogers. The Tennessee Tech wideout was not drafted after three failed drug tests at the University of Tennessee. He finished his college eligibility with some pedestrian numbers put up last year, at Tennessee Tech.

But Bills GM Buddy Nix says the team had a first-to-second round grade on Rogers, when it came to football ability. The Bills GM talked about Rogers on The John Murphy Show.

“Being from Tennessee, I’ve known his background,” Nix said. “He’s from Calhoun, Georgia, I knew him when he was playing in high school. The guy’s got tremendous talent. He’s made some bad decisions. It’s gotten him in trouble. Got him out of the University of Tennessee, from an All-SEC performance in his sophomore year, and he goes to Tennessee Tech where he has a so-so year. He played down to the level of competition, really. But this guy’s talented. He can play. The ball’s in his court. He goes by the rules, and does like he’s supposed to, or he goes somewhere else.”

Nix said the Bills had several meetings with Rogers prior to the draft, and he sat down with the talented receiver in Orchard Park when he made a visit to One Bills Drive. At that meeting, Nix spelled out for Rogers what the team expected from him.

“He was one of our thirty visits,” Nix said. “He sat in my office, and I told him how it would be here, and what we expected. He can either make a living playing football or get a job. I think he understands that.”

The Bills GM says Rogers experience of being bypassed in the draft despite having first round ability, may serve to motivate him moving forward.

“I think he’s humbled. I think he’s probably got a chip on his shoulder.”

The entire interview with Bills GM Buddy Nix is available here

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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Da’Rick Rogers says he’s a Bill

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2013 – 8:50 pm

With the undrafted free agent market playing out Saturday night it looks like the Bills landed a quality receiver in Tennessee Tech WR Da’Rick Rogers, who made a pre-draft visit to Orchard Park on April 10th.

That according to the receiver himself who tweeted that he’s agreed to join Buffalo as an undrafted rookie free agent.

Though Rogers does have off the field concerns after getting kicked out of the Tennessee program for failed drug tests, the risk is minimal as an undrafted player. Buffalo thought very highly of his route running ability.

“He’s the most polished of those three Tennessee receivers in my opinion in terms of route running and all that,” said Bills scout Tom Roth in reference to Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter, who Rogers played with at Tennessee before finishing up at Tech. “He reminds me physically of Eric Moulds, that body type. That’s what I thought when I saw him. A big, physical, muscular guy. Explosive. He had a 39-inch vertical. He ran a 4.48 at the Combine. He’s got all the physical stuff.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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