Inside The Bills

A redshirt year for Cardale

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2016 – 10:52 am

As the team’s third QB, it’s unlikely that Bills fourth-round pick Cardale Jones ever sees the field in the 2016 regular season. His rookie year is largely expected to be the equivalent of a redshirt season. But head coach Rex Ryan maintains that they have a long term plan in place to help grow Jones’ individual game.

“I’ve got a huge plan for him, we do as an organization,” said Ryan. “We will have special projects for him. We are always going to have him up on the game plan and things. There are other things we are doing with this young man as well that I won’t get into. But let’s just say we are trying to build a quarterback.”

Throwing mechanics are expected to be a significant part of the tutoring. Quarterbacks coach David Lee is one of the best coaches in the league in teaching proper quarterback mechanics from footwork to hips and torso to arm follow through.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jones: Fundamentals will push me forward

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2016 – 8:40 am

Bills fourth-round pick Cardale Jones is building his game from the ground up to better fit the pro level. Working on his drops, his throwing mechanics and moving defenders with his eyes are just a few of the basics that Jones is working to perfect. Though he’s a rookie he knows it will push his abilities forward.

“I’d like to improve in every aspect of this game,” said Jones in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “The thing I liked about the fundamentals is how every little fundamental is going to help with how fast our guys are on this level especially on the back end and with the guys up front. So if it helps when your footwork is on point and moving your eyes or moving a defender with a twitch it helps you get that edge over a guy it’s important. They’re so fast and I know they’re trying to get an edge over me.”

Jones is also very happy to be working under quarterbacks coach David Lee. Known as one of the better fundamental teachers in the league, Jones has a healthy respect for his position coach.

“My early impressions of coach Lee are if anyone is better than him at coaching the quarterback position there can’t be many,” he said. ”

The time that he puts in and the passion that he has for not just teaching the game, but the passion that he has about football and the way that he loves all three of us in the room. I can’t ask for a better coach at this level.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jones establishes early trust with coach Lee

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2016 – 9:06 am

As we profiled in our feature story on QB Cardale Jones, Buffalo’s fourth-round pick knows he has a lot of work in front of him if he’s to maximize his potential as an NFL caliber quarterback. Set to work most closely with him in that effort is Bills quarterbacks coach David Lee, a coach he met a few times before rookie minicamp last weekend.

“I met him there (at One Bills Drive on my pre-draft visit) and met him at my pro day and at the combine as well,” said Jones.

Jones is ready to work with Lee, offensive assistant Chris Palmer and offensive coordinator Greg Roman right away. Jones also has an additional connection to coach Lee.

“Me and coach Lee are represented by the same agency,” said Jones in an appearance on the John Murphy Show.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on hand for Ohio State pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 8:59 am

The Bills are a virtual lock to be represented in some fashion at each and every major pro day, and the situation is no different for the Ohio State pro day with a couple of key offensive coaches on hand.

Both quarterbacks coach David Lee and offensive coordinator Greg Roman are on hand to watch QB Cardale Jones throw. That’s because Jones did not throw at the NFL Combine last month after suffering a hamstring injury during his 40-yard dash. He was the only QB not to throw in Indianapolis.

The knock on Jones is that he doesn’t have good anticipation to throw receivers open, lacks touch on underneath and intermediate passes and has questionable decision making. It’s hard to show he’s improved in those areas when he’s throwing routes on air (no defense), but what will be of interest is how he looks under center and how much he’s cleaned up his footwork with QB guru George Whitfield since the college season ended.

Jones is expected to go anywhere between round two and four in the spring and it will largely depend on whether a team falls in love with him and takes him early. If not round four is more likely, as he’s clearly a developmental prospect with great physical tools.

The Buckeyes had the most players at the NFL Combine in Indy last month (14) and they may have as many scouts and NFL coaches on hand today in Columbus as any college campus has had for a pro day this year.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills will provide single voice for EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2015 – 9:15 am

It was widely believed that last season there were too many coaches in EJ Manuel’s ear giving instructions and coaching points that were not consistent leading to mixed messages. It proved to play a factor in Manuel’s performance last season, though Manuel himself has faulted his throwing motion for accuracy problems last season. Accuracy problems he has since corrected through offseason work with Steve DeBerg. The good news is Buffalo’s new coaching staff sounds committed to providing Manuel with a singular voice from the coaches.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Manuel said Rex Ryan’s offensive staff will not subscribe to group instruction when it comes to the quarterback position.

“I know (offensive coordinator) (Greg) Roman allows (quarterbacks) coach (David) Lee to coach,” said Manuel. “That’s the cool part about ‘G-Ro’ is he is going to let his position coaches coach. I’ve even heard him say that. We were critiquing a thing with the receivers where we were wondering, ‘Hey, maybe the receiver should’ve broken that route here.’ And he said, ‘No, don’t worry about that, (receivers coach) Sanjay (Lal) will take care of that.’

“It’s obviously communication, but that’s something I’ve noticed about coach Roman. He’ll let his position guys coach.”

When Manuel was asked if his conservative play last season was a byproduct of the wishes of the former coaching staff, Buffalo’s third-year QB indicated that was indeed the case.

“I think I was doing what I was coached to do,” said Manuel. “Obviously decision making is something that’s extremely important. The main thing is you don’t want to turn the ball over, but now I’m more willing to take chances just because of the confidence I have in my throwing motion and my arm. So more of those vertical passes will definitely be shown.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-20

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2015 – 1:12 pm

It’s day three of our Combine Coverage presented by NAPA. Let’s get to your questions from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

As good of a guy as CJ is..will he really fit Roman’s system?


CB: As GM Doug Whaley has said Roman wants a mixed bag of backs that can do different things. Just because you didn’t see a C.J. Spiller type back in San Francisco’s offense when Roman was running things out there doesn’t mean he can’t use a talent like Spiller in his scheme.

Whaley characterized Bryce Brown and Spiller as the speed backs, Dixon as the power back and Fred Jackson as the pass catcher/pass protector. So it appears Roman would like to have three or four backs to work with, not to mention a fullback.

Additionally Rex Ryan has said that with their coaching staff it’s player over scheme every time, so if they can keep Spiller in the fold they’ll devise a way to make him a productive element in Roman’s system.


2 –  @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think OL Ali Marpet will be there in the 4th?


CB: I think Marpet opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl when he showed he could hang with the top senior talent in college despite playing at Division III Hobart. He’s off to a good start with his workout here at the NFL Combine as well, running the fastest 40 time among offensive lineman with a five flat.

Obviously the 40 time isn’t a major influencer on draft grade for offensive linemen, but Marpet is legitimizing his ability to play at the NFL level. The Bills did meet with him and though he played tackle in college, he projects to guard in the NFL.

Will he be there in the fourth round? It’s possible. He could also be gone in the third.


3 – Chris

Thanks for providing a forum for fans to express opinions and ask questions.
With all the QB’s available in Free Agency, College, Canadian League, other pro leagues, I can’t grasp the Bills unable to develop one over the last 20 years. We seem to have chosen one alone and spend all our resources in proving we were right to pick them, rather than looking for the one who pops out and distances himself from the others. Brady popped out, as did Wilson, Romo, Foles etc. I’d be interested if you think this process will change with the new regime ?

Also, if we have two QB’s, shouldn’t they be similar in style, either mobile or pocket passers, so if one is injured the offense doesn’t have to change to adapt to two different styles, like last year with Manuel and Orton ?

Jim in Florida

CB: I think the Bills are more apt than ever to add another young quarterback to the roster, especially with a thin free agent class of options at the position. Adding two veterans is probably unlikely so a vet and a young player is the most likely combination to fortify the position on Buffalo’s roster.

I found it interesting that Doug Whaley and his personnel department intend to meet personally with every quarterback prospect here at the Combine not named Mariota and Winston. After the Combine they also will dispatch QBs coach David Lee to go and work these quarterback prospects out at or around their pro days. Whaley described their planned search to be exhaustive.

He mentioned this on the John Murphy Show and in addition when asked about the philosophy of drafting a quarterback every year he said he was not opposed to it.

I would think similar style quarterbacks would make sense, but sometimes you’re willing to sacrifice similarity if it means getting a better player overall.


4 – Hi Chris

Could you please explain to me how David Lee, who couldn’t get Jets quarterbacks to play better, is going to help EJ Manuel and any other quarterback we have on the roster ?

Thanks, Dale

CB: Rex Ryan has answered this question. David Lee is an expert when it comes to teaching quarterback fundamentals, and really that’s his main job with the signal callers on the roster. To keep their mechanics sound. That’s easier with some quarterbacks than others obviously, but knowing the worker that EJ Manuel is I would anticipate seeing improvement in everything from Manuel’s footwork, to the consistency of his arm angle, release point, hip drive, etc.

While you may knock the results in New York with Geno Smith, David Lee successfully turned Tony Romo from a third string QB into a Pro Bowl starter. I’ve talked to David Lee about that transformation and he said the only reason Romo was successful was because he wanted to work at it.

Romo needed to make 10-thousand throws to improve his passing efficiency because his release point was too low as a younger player and too many of his passes were getting batted down at the line. But he worked with Lee every day. Knowing that Manuel has a similar work ethic, I think we’ll see a difference with him too.



5 – Chris,

I was very disappointed to see Jim Schwartz leave considering the outstanding work he did with the defense last year especially with stopping the run. Now with Rex Ryan in the fold, the defense will most likely look very similar to what we experienced during the 2013 season under Mike Pettine. With that said, our run defense was not very good under Pettine. Is there real reason to worry it might struggle again with Rex Ryan going back to more of the 3-4 hybrid system that Pettine used? I know we have an outstanding defensive line but they seemed to be in better position to stop the run under Schwartz’s system. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

-Mike from Syracuse

CB: I don’t think there should be a big worry about the run defense. Yes, Schwartz did simplify things, which made it easier to execute. By the same token Rex Ryan defenses have almost always finished in the top 10 in run defense. Buffalo finished 11th last season. So if anything it could improve under Ryan based on the track record of his defenses. Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ryan: With young QB patience a virtue

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2015 – 2:50 pm

Rex Ryan knows what kind of quarterback situation he’s walking into here in Buffalo with the position very much up in the air. He also knows the most talented QB currently on the roster is very young and he’s learned from his experiences with young signal callers before.

“You always want to be patient with a young talented guy,” said Ryan in a radio interview this week on WBEN. “Obviously EJ was drafted in the first round for many reasons. It’s funny because probably 15 years ago everybody would be patient with a young quarterback and now you see these guys coming in and a rookie or two might step forward and do some good things. EJ did. He had some really good moments.”

Where Ryan believes Manuel needs to improve is with the consistency of his fundamental execution and Ryan intends to tab David Lee for that job.

“He’s got to improve fundamentally and I think that’s where it starts,” he said. “David Lee is here as our quarterbacks coach, we’re excited about that. EJ will certainly have that opportunity to be that quarterback. As far as who else is coming in I can honestly say there isn’t a person in our organization who knows that right now. We’re still in the evaluation stage.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

New QB coach Lee had EJ on pre-draft visit

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 1:34 pm

Back during the pre-draft process of 2013, Bills quarterbacks coach David Lee was coaching quarterbacks in New York for the Jets under Rex Ryan. And when the Jets had EJ Manuel in for a pre-draft visit Lee put the Florida State product through the paces.

As Lee explained in an interview down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl with, he wanted to get a feel for Manuel’s ability to absorb information and retain it. He passed Lee’s test with flying colors.

“We flew him in before the draft and I gave him a test,” Lee said. “I gave him a pamphlet to study and told him I was going to test him the next morning. It was long and detailed and he aced it. He didn’t miss anything. No other quarterback that came in did that, but he did.”

Lee believes there’s upside with Manuel because of his work ethic and intelligence.

We’ve just got to cut him loose and let him go play,” Lee said.

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Posted in Inside the Bills & JMS in Mobile

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 2:29 pm and the John Murphy Show are again on location at the Senior Bowl this year in Mobile. Here’s some of the coverage you can expect Tuesday.

On camera interviews with new QBs coach David Lee and head coach Rex Ryan, who was taking in practice Tuesday in Mobile.

On the John Murphy Show tonight live from Mobile (7-9 pm), you’ll hear from head coach Rex Ryan as he discusses the value of being on hand for Senior Bowl practices and his plans for this evening as he meets Buffalo’s scouting department.

The aforementioned quarterbacks coach David Lee will also be stopping by as he talks EJ Manuel and Geno Smith from his previous coaching stop.

And Bills Roundup on all the action that took place with the North and South squads.

It’s all on this week and on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fitz’s popular mechanics

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2012 – 7:30 pm

Ever since the Bills hired QBs coach David Lee, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s lower body mechanics have been a popular topic among Bills fans. With some of the best completion percentage and accuracy marks in practices this past spring, Fitz is expected to take his game to another level this fall. asked Fitzpatrick how he fared with his mechanics in the first preseason game.

A quarterback can practice and rep new throwing mechanics all they want in the practice setting, but live fire is the real test as to whether the motor memory has stuck. Fitzpatrick said after reviewing the game tape with coach Lee that he did pretty well.

“My feet were fine I guess,” said Fitzpatrick. “There wasn’t a drastic, ‘Oh no he fell into bad habits.’ My footwork and stuff was fine. David Lee and I talked about it after the game there was one little thing I did on a play. Again we have a method now and it was ‘You put your foot too far here.’ It was something we could correct on the sideline. Very minor. That being said again it’s a preseason game but the defense was coming at you so it was good to see that I didn’t fall back into old habits.”

The Bills will face another team with a formidable pass rush in the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-10

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2012 – 11:30 am

Well preseason game number one is in the books. Just another four days of camp and the team returns to One Bills Drive. Let’s get to your questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on twitter.

1 – Chris,
I was wondering what kind if influence an improved defense would have on the offensive play calling?  If (IF) this bill’s defense can live up to its billing, will Fitzpatrick need to throw as much?

CB: I asked both Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick this very question a while back. Both indicated that when you’re playing with a lead more often there’s less of a need to take risks. Here’s exactly what they had to say about your question.

“You have a football team,” said Gailey. “You don’t have an offense, a defense and special teams. You have a football team and the objective is to win the game. So you’re always adjusting to what the situation in the game is and if we’re in closer ball games and we have leads you do change your thought process and the way you approach the game. And it allows Fitz to alter the way he approaches the game a little bit. We’ve got to continue to work that because we’ve not been in that situation in the last couple of years.”

I think it allows you to limit the risks you take,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think if you’re in games all the time and not falling behind whether it’s from a poor performance early from the offense or whatever it is, you certainly have to be a smarter and more reserved quarterback. With our offense there are going to be times where we take chances because that’s what makes us good as well. But there’s a balance we have to find there in terms of when we’re taking those chances and when to take the checkdown.”


2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for your daily articles and updates.  I had a question about offensive tackle based on your latest article.  A lot of scouts seem to believe that both Glenn and Hairston could be great RT’s.  So why is there only competition at LT?  I think Pears played well last year at RT and I’m glad we have him, but I think he still has plenty to prove.  It’s not like he’s an All-Pro, but it seems like he’s just being handed the RT job without having to compete for it.  Why shouldn’t the loser of the LT competition be considered for the starting spot on the right side?  Isn’t it possible that Glenn and Hairston could be the two best OT’s on the team?

Denver, CO

CB: It’s my opinion that Erik Pears had a very good season last year from start to finish. He was a much stronger player after spending an offseason in Buffalo’s conditioning program and put on 20 pounds. His play was rewarded with a three-year contract extension.

Right now he’s working back from a groin strain in camp, so Hairston has been forced to line up on the right side. I think part of the reason RT has been Pears job and his job only (before injury) is because he played very consistently last season and is a veteran presence on what is a pretty young line.

I’m not saying at some point the player that finishes second in the LT competition can’t be the team’s starting right tackle, but I think there’s value in continuity as well and keeping Pears at RT knowing he can do the job is viewed as the best idea by the staff moving forward (provided he’s healthy).


3 – Hey Chris,

My question is who are going to be the backups in the secondary? Where do you see Bryan Scott? Do you see much from Searcy? There was a lot of talk about him when the Bills drafted him but hadn’t heard much.


bigfoot21 here is sunny South Carolina.


CB: Bryan Scott is a linebacker in the nickel packages and that’s really the extent of his role. Da’Norris Searcy as we’ve mentioned several times in our daily Practice Notes reports has been getting time with the starting unit rotating in for both George Wilson and Jairus Byrd. I think the staff wants to try to find a role for him presumably in a subpackage (nickel, dime).

I think sooner rather than later Searcy will be making an impact on Buffalo’s defense. He’s been impressive in the time he’s been with the ones on the practice field. We’ll see what he can do in the preseason.


4 – Hi Chris, thanks for all the information through the years. Living in San Diego, my son and I only see the Bills in enemy territory. I am trying to take him back to Buffalo to show him how a real football crowd is.

My question is does Shawn Powell or John Potter have any realistic chance making this team? Though I like the veterans, these young players look pretty good and it might be time for a change. Again thanks, Art
CB: I think Potter could make the roster as a kickoff specialist and kicker on long field goal attempts 55-yards plus. Chan Gailey has made no secret of his feelings about what kind of a weapon he believes Potter can be if he can prove that he can deliver touchbacks with regularity. He basically told me that if Potter can guarantee the opponent is starting in their own 20-yard line every time then it’s worth using a roster spot.

As for Powell I think he’s got an uphill battle. He has raw talent, but he’s not as consistent or polished as Moorman. In a year where the Bills are gunning for the playoffs you keep the guy you can count on punt in and punt out.


5 – Hi Chris, thank you for taking my question.

Is Vince Young getting the same attention from Coach Lee on his mechanics and decision making as Fitz is? And if so is he seeing any improvement in his game?

I appreciate your insight. Thanks!

– Chris Kenyon (Albany, NY)

CB: Vince Young is being schooled on the same lower body mechanics as Fitz. The same with Thigpen. A quarterbacks coach works with all of his players and David Lee is no different. Young has performed better over the past week of camp with his accuracy. Young’s arm delivery isn’t prototype, but because he’s so tall it’s a throwing motion that can work in the NFL.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Test for Fitz’s mechanics to come

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2012 – 1:28 pm

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is very happy with the consistency of his improved mechanics under quarterbacks coach David Lee. And those mechanics have held up in the face of a pretty fearsome pass rush from Buffalo’s defensive unit in camp practices. But Fitz knows that’s not the real test.

“At this point I feel like it is easy to have better mechanics, but it is when you get into the games that it is really going to be the test for me,” he said. “And not just Week 1 through Week 5, it is going to be the whole season. Staying consistent. Staying on top of footwork and different things. That is where it is really going to help me is throughout the season once blitzes are coming and once you are speeding up your footwork a little bit and stuff you do not expect is happening. That is when the footwork is going to be something I have to rely on and that is what I am really looking forward to is him (QB Coach David Lee) staying on me in those times.”

Lee is a meticulous charter of Fitzpatrick’s throws as well as those of the other QBs. He doesn’t just chart the throws during team work (7-on-7 and 11-on-11). He charts passes to receivers against air (no defense), individual position drills and 1-on-1s all in an effort to keep Fitz mindful of his mechanics every time he cocks his arm back.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-20

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2012 – 11:37 am

The last Fan Friday before training camp begins at St. John Fisher. Crazy that it’s here already! Here are the last set of questions from prior to the team hitting the field for final preparations for the 2012 season.

1 – Hi Chris,

About Marcus Easley – I can see him being the “#2” WR, if not to open the season, at least by the bye. However, I suspect that not many outside of Buffalo even know who he is. In fact, I think that Buffalo’s WR corps is underrated in general… if Easley solidifies the #2 spot, I think the Bills could blow up a lot of teams by running 3-wide or 4-wide.

My question is, in general, how long does it take other NFL teams to get a “book” on a WR, and do you think that Marcus has the game to adapt and succeed? 

Brian Park

CB: I’m a big believer in Marcus Easley’s skill set. His work ethic is impeccable. He’s just been the victim of a knee injury and an unforeseen medical condition. I think his game is good enough to succeed at this level.

As for how long it takes an opponent to get a book on a receiver, it depends on their amount of time on the field. If Easley becomes a regular and wins the outside receiver job opposite Stevie most opponents would have a book on him by Week 4. If his playing time is more intermittent then it would take a bit longer because there would naturally be less film on him.

2 – Chris,

I am a little confused about NFL roster limits these days. As I understand it NFL teams can suit up 45 players each game day. That means there are 8 players on the 53 man roster who can’t play on Sundays. Now are these 8 players what is called the practice squad? Or is the practice squad another separate group of 8 players?


CB: NFL teams can dress 46 players on game day, leaving seven players from the active 53-man roster who are inactive for that particular game. In addition there are eight other players that make up the team’s practice squad. The practice squad is made up of players that are not on the active roster. They would need to be called up to the active roster to be eligible to dress and play in a game.

So in essence a team has 53 players on the active roster and an additional eight practice squad players for a total of 61.


3 – Hi, Chris,

First, I’d like to thank you for all the work you do to keep Bills fans informed.  My question concerns the linebackers.  I’ve seen some people ask you about how many WRs we’ll keep; I’m wondering about the LBs.  How many do you see ending up on the roster?  Has McKillop shown anything so far?  Thank you for your time.

John MacGaffick

CB: I think with the team moving to a 4-3 defensive scheme that there will not be as many kept on the roster as last season. Buffalo kept 11 linebackers on the 53-man roster last year and 10 the year before. Knowing a couple of those spots have to go toward the defensive line with it being a four-man front I think the number could be trimmed to seven or eight this time around.

McKillop has proven to be a heady middle linebacker. I think his speed still isn’t what it once was coming off of a major knee surgery. We’ll see if he’s faster in camp. This is a fly to the football type defense so speed is a big key for the linebackers.


4 – Chris,

After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick through OTAs and mandatory mini-camp have you seen a marked improvement in his accuracy since he has been working with new QB coach David Lee?  I believe this is the most important key to the Bills success in the incoming NFL season.  Your comments will be appreciated. 

Optimistic Bills Fan
CB: In our one-on-one interview with Fitz he affirmed that his accuracy numbers were as high as they have ever been through the spring workouts. David Lee said Fitz has bought in completely to what he’s teaching and because of that his accuracy has been ahead of schedule in terms of when he thought he would see a difference.

People forget that prior to taking a shot to his chest in the Washington game that Fitz’s completion percentage was 67.7%, which was among the league leaders. And even with a disappointing second half of the season he still had a completion percentage of 62% for the season. So knowing it’s very likely to go up from there should have you encouraged about Fitz’s prospects for 2012.


5 – Chris,

Thanks for all the updates on the Bills, it is appreciated very much! I know the Bills haven’t done any work in pads yet, but how does Alex Carrington look so far as a DT? Also, is there a timeframe for when Torell Troup is expected back? Thanks!

Steve B.
Fredericksburg, VA
CB: Carrington is not foreign to playing defensive tackle as he played there some in passing situations over the past two seasons, albeit sparingly. In the spring practices he ran with the second unit at defensive tackle, and also saw time with the first and second nickel subpackages as an inside rusher.

What has to be remembered heading into camp was during the spring Torell Troup was not part of the equation since he was still recovering from back surgery. Troup is expected to get full clearance at training camp this week. Once he is back in the mix, he and Carrington could very well be competing for the same role in Buffalo’s defense.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lee glad to have front row seat

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2012 – 8:40 am

Bills QBs coach David Lee has been coaching quarterbacks for 38 years, but the competition that will ensue for the backup job behind Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp next week has him as excited as ever.

“That competition between Vince and Tyler is going to be something special,” Lee told “It’ll be fun to watch.”

Lee will have a front row seat as he’s worked with both players through the spring tightening up some of their footwork fundamentals much like he has with Fitz. Young brings actual game experience to the competition, while Thigpen brings a well-versed knowledge of Chan Gailey’s system with him. It’s likely to come down to the preseason games, but it will figure to be one of the more interesting position battles at St. John Fisher.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lee & Fitz: Mutual respect

Posted by Chris Brown on July 16, 2012 – 8:18 am

As we examine the question of whether Ryan Fitzpatrick can be an upper echelon quarterback in our Top 25 questions until training camp series today (Monday), part of the reason he’s likely to improve is QBs coach David Lee. The reason that Ryan Fitzpatrick and QBs coach David Lee clicked right away is because Fitz was open to trying new things to improve his game. Of course Lee’s 38-year record of improving quarterbacks didn’t hurt either.

“From what I’ve seen I think that relationship is very good and very strong,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I think they both have a great deal of respect for each other. I don’t see any reason that it should be any different as time goes on.”

Lee said he respects Fitz’s toughness. Seeing him get back up after the hit he took from London Fletcher and stay in the game is what sold him. But he also likes Fitz’s demeanor when things aren’t going right.

“I think the biggest thing is in his eyes when he does something good and he does something bad and when he has a bad day, how does he react,” said Lee. “In his eyes is he shook a little? Does it bother him or does he know he’s good and know he’ll get it corrected. I see that (sense of calm) in him. His eyes just tell me a lot about when things go bad. That’s what I like about him right now.”

“Knowing I wasn’t where I needed to be at the end of last year I didn’t think there were a few simple things that I was doing wrong that would be able to fix it,” said Fitzpatrick. “Lee pointed some things out and that’s been really eye-opening for me and something that really will help me improve this year.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fitz’s accuracy trending up

Posted by Chris Brown on June 29, 2012 – 10:45 am

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s completion percentage peaked last season after Week 8 at 67.7% on the season. When the season was over it was at 62%. Is his completion percentage and accuracy trending up as the Bills get set for training camp?

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills QB tells me that his accuracy is superior to that of any other time in his pro career.

“My accuracy this offseason is higher than it’s been in my whole NFL career,” Fitzpatrick told (David Lee) charts everything. He charts when we’re throwing one-on-one, team and even on air. He’s making sure that I’m getting the most out of everything. You see it in the numbers now and hopefully it translates to one the field as well.”

Fitz also talks about the number two receiver job, what he thinks of the left tackle competition and playoffs. Watch the whole Ryan Fitzpatrick interview in the Media Center at

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lee’s coaching more than mechanics

Posted by Chris Brown on June 14, 2012 – 10:42 am

Bills quarterbacks coach David Lee has been lauded by Buffalo’s quarterbacks for his expertise on the mechanics of throwing. Head coach Chan Gailey has even admitted that he’s learned a couple of things from his veteran assistant. But Ryan Fitzpatrick says Lee’s coaching expertise goes way beyond the basics.

“Everybody talks about what David Lee can fundamentally help me with, but we had a meeting this morning where I came in early and we went over some throws from OTAs and my thought process and on trying to play winning football,” said Fitzpatrick during an appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550.

Lee was the Miami assistant coach that revamped the Wildcat formation for the NFL and was a former quarterback himself in college at Vanderbilt where he was named team MVP in 1974.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jaws on Fitz

Posted by Chris Brown on June 12, 2012 – 10:14 am

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski gave his take on the outlook for Ryan Fitzpatrick this coming season.

“With Ryan here’s the thing that I love, and I look at this as a quarterback. When did I get better? I got better in the offseason,” Jaworski said. “Last year there was no offseason and that hurt guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick who needs that work. He’s going to get that work now because he has an outstanding quarterback coach in David Lee. That’s a critical relationship.”

Jaworski, who spent two months this offseason breaking down every pass thrown by the top 30 quarterbacks in the league, believes a lot of what led to Fitzpatrick’s struggles were related to his throwing mechanics.

“I broke down every pass of Ryan Fitzpatrick from last season,” he said. “I watched every ball Ryan Fitzpatrick threw. You see a lot of great plays, a lot of positive plays. But the negative plays, the majority of them are based on mechanics. Improper mechanics hurt him. His mistakes were made when his feet were not underneath him, when he wasn’t balanced. Mechanics are the foundation of playing that position on a consistent basis. What I’m looking forward to is the hard work that he’s going to do and seeing a much more consistent quarterback this season.”

In talking about having David Lee as his quarterbacks coach, Fitzpatrick mentioned how no other coach he’s had at this level really schooled him on the proper mechanics of throwing. When asked about this Jaworski was not surprised.

“I’m not trying to bad mouth NFL coaches. They’re as committed to their work as anyone, but I’ve always said that the quarterback position is the worst coached position in the NFL. What happens is you have a lot of prima donnas that make a lot of money and you’ve got a coach that’s making $200 thousand that’s supposed to be tough and disciplined on them and a lot of times players don’t buy into that because of their stature.”

Fortunately that’s not the case with Fitzpatrick, who has bought in completely to David Lee’s mechanical expertise.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fitz’s three steps

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2012 – 1:20 pm

Here’s a closer look at some of the minute details examined and rectified by Bills QBs coach David Lee with respect to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s footwork and habits that he believes affected the accuracy and consistent power of Fitz’s passes last season.

“Three things, number one is when he was releasing the ball,” said Lee. “I think that Fitz, when he lets that thing go between nine and 12 yards he’s not underthrowing anybody. It’s when he holds it longer and it comes out at 15 or 16 (yards). That’s when the underthrows come into play.

“He does an unbelievable job of looking people off. I’ve coached smart guys, (Chad) Pennington, this guy looks where he’s not throwing better than anybody I’ve ever seen. But when you come back (to your target) you have limited your time as to where you’re focusing in throwing. So he’s so good in looking him off that it hurts him when he comes back (to his target) because he doesn’t have a long enough picture as to where he’s going to intersect the ball and the receiver.

“I told him if we can cut that time of looking him off a little bit just so we can get a little bit of a focus back (he’ll be more accurate).

“Secondly, his left foot has got to be up the field and not pointed out of bounds or the ball is going to leak out of bounds.

“Thirdly is to get his right hip to fire into the throw. I’ve asked him to throw it with your right hip and see how it feels and just trust it. It’s been a lot, but there are reasons that you miss guys out there.”

When changing a quarterback’s release point related to his throwing motion that can take upwards of eight-thousand throws according to Lee, who successfully changed Tony Romo’s release point after a full offseason of training. Only having to change Fitz’s footwork mechanics and time spent looking off defensive backs figures to be shorter.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fitz knows how to throw

Posted by Chris Brown on May 30, 2012 – 11:53 am

There are reports out there about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s work with QBs coach David Lee on his throwing mechanics. Lee is not teaching Fitzpatrick how to throw with respect to his arm. He’s coaching him up on certain mechanical flaws that can create inconsistency in his throwing, and most deal with the lower half of his body.

As we profiled in our story on Fitz’s work with coach Lee last Thursday, most of what Fitz is working on concerns the lower half of his body, especially his footwork. Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be in the NFL if he couldn’t throw. His 62% completion percentage last year despite some mechanical issues with his throwing that weren’t addressed serve as indication of that.

Now with Lee watching every one of his snaps, that percentage figures to be respectably higher in 2012.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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