Inside The Bills

Derrick Brooks has a job

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2009 – 5:27 pm

Free agent LB Derrick Brooks has a job. It’s just not the one everyone was expecting.

Brooks is joining Sirius NFL Radio. Every Friday throughout the season, the longtime Bucs star will host The Red Zone live from 1:00 – 3:00 pm with former Bills lineman Ross Tucker.

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Derrick Brooks visiting Saints

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2009 – 5:13 pm

The Saints are short-handed at LB and are bringing a couple of veterans in for visits including 11-time Pro Bowler Derrick Brooks.

With Stanley Arnoux out for the season, Dan Morgan retiring… again and Mark Simoneau out indefinitely with a torn triceps muscle, Gregg Williams defense needs reinforcements at LB.

So New Orleans is bringing in Brooks as well as veteran ILB Derek Smith who has played for the 49ers and Chargers.

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Making the case for Derrick Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2009 – 3:32 pm

I know Bills fans have discussed ad nauseaum this offseason ever since this perennial Pro Bowl LB became available. But Derrick Brooks is still out there. And the St. Petersburg Times makes a great case as to why this future HOF LB should not be a free agent right now.

The story mentions a lot of prospective teams, five in fact, not one of which is the Bills, who would be a fit scheme-wise.

If I were and the Bills and if I was interested (I said IF), I’d try to sell Brooks on the fact that Buffalo’s defensive coordinator Perry Fewell worked under his former LB coach Lovie Smith and employs a dramatically similar scheme (no cram study required on playbook).

I’d use the signing of Terrell Owens as an example of how the Bills are anxious to win now, something that would appeal to Brooks who wants to go to a winning situation.

Finally I’d also mention that he’d have an opportunity to face his old division (NFC South) playing in Buffalo, so there would be a great deal of familiarity for him with respect to opponents. And he’d get to face his former team in Week 2.

Again it’s a big ‘IF’, but if someone goes down in camp to injury and Brooks is still out there I know who I’d call.

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Veteran LB Brooks still holding out hope

Posted by Chris Brown on July 3, 2009 – 2:33 pm

Free agent LB Derrick Brooks is still holding out hope that the phone will ring… eventually.

Brooks in a radio interview with ESPN, he feels he can still bring something worthwhile to an NFL team.

“Like I said, four years ago we did an extension and I was committed to playing fifteen years,” said Brooks. “Back then, hopefully all of them would have been in Tampa but like I said, that’s a milestone that me personally, I committed years ago to make. And like I said, there’s enough interest out there from teams to keep the fire burning. So I’ll continue to stay in shape and we’ll see what happens.”

I don’t think the Bills, though they could be deemed a fit for Brooks, would be overly interested unless there’s an injury to one of their projected starting linebackers and he might very well be off the market by then.

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No offers for Pro Bowl LB Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on June 22, 2009 – 4:54 pm

I know a lot of Bills fans have been wondering why an offer wasn’t made to perennial Pro Bowl LB Derrick Brooks, who was released by the Buccaneers earlier this offseason. Apparently there are a number of teams in need of linebacker upgrades that are choosing to go younger over proven.

According to’s Peter King, Brooks has said he has yet to receive a contract offer from any NFL team.

Hard to believe no one deems him worthy of a roster spot. Brooks told King he’d like to play at least one more year.

All I know is you could do a lot worse than Derrick Brooks, and for the Bills and other teams that have employed a similar defensive scheme to that of Tampa Bay, you can come up with more reasons to have him on your roster, than not.

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Fan Friday 6-12

Posted by Chris Brown on June 12, 2009 – 5:26 pm

Fan Friday 6-12
Well minicamp is wrapped up and now begins the six week hiatus until training camp. Something tells me it’s going to move quickly. Let’s get going with the latest installment. Thanks for your questions. Keep them coming at
1. Do you see the Bills extending the deals of any more players on their roster like they did with Stroud? Guys like McGee, Josh Reed, Denney, Whitner, Poz and a few others only have 1-2 years left on the deals. Getting a few of them locked up would be a good move.

CB: I believe that on the list of guys you have that McGee is top priority. He’s still in the prime of his career and has been an outstanding performer for the Bills from day one. He’s a model professional, plays hurt and keeps his nose clean.

That’s the kind of guy the Bills typically lock up long term (see Lee Evans) so I expect that to get done before the 2009 season is over.

As for Reed and Denney the situation is a little different. Reed has had back issues through the course of his career and to his credit he’s fought through them and performed. Knowing how much Trent relies on Reed it wouldn’t surprise me if he was extended, but with some promising young receivers on the rise (Hardy, Johnson), I’m not sure you can say he’s a lock to get an extension.

Denney is in a similar boat. A solid, steady performer, but with the team invested in Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin I’m not sure he’s re-signed long term.

Whitner and Poz I anticipate will be taken care of eventually, but probably not this calendar year.


2. Do the Bills believe Bell is ready to step in and contribute at this time? Going to have to have the O-line do a lot of work to get them to work together for this year with all the new players….also, I wonder if Walker can hold up at left tackle for 16 games? Your thoughts????

CB: I don’t think there’s any doubt that the biggest question mark entering the season will be how far the offensive line can come with all the new pieces.

As for Bell I don’t anticipate him challenging Walker or Butler to start, but I do think the staff believes he’s ready to handle the swing tackle role if he’s able to win that job over Kirk Chambers, who has held it the past two seasons.

Walker’s strength as a tackle is in pass protection, which might surprise some people looking at him. That’s a good thing knowing he’s going over to the left side, but he will be facing some top flight pass rushing talent with the schedule this season.


3. Chris,
Its my understanding that Aaron Maybin weighed about 250lbs. at Penn States pro day, at which he displayed consistant 4.6 speed.  Is it likely the Bills will have him continue his growth atleast 10 more pounds, and if so does his quickness remain the same?

CB: Talking to Aaron about this very subject you need to understand he just turned 21 in April so his frame is still just filling out. He said he’d like to be around 255 by his second NFL season, which I think is sufficient. He’s confident he can maintain his speed at that weight.


4. Hey Chris,
How are contract negotiations going with the rookies? I just saw that Sanchez got his contract and I was just wondering when our rookies are going to be signed. Thanks!

David Rieth
Rochester, NY

CB: Negotiations are just in the preliminary stages with some of Buffalo’s later round picks. I don’t see signings beginning for at least another week or so. However, with San Francisco (which picked ahead of the Bills in most rounds) setting the market by signing players right around Buffalo’s picks early it might grease the wheels a bit. We’ll see.


5. Hi Chris,
I was just curious if the Bills are looking to upgrade the outside linebacker position with what’s still left in the market or are they content with the youngsters they have on the roster.  I also am curious if you know the status of Derrick Brooks?  Is he still looking for work or did he decide to hang it up?  If he is still looking for a contract, do you think the Bills should take a 1 year chance on him until they can develop Nic Harris or Al Bowen?

CB: I believe the club will stand pat at OLB heading into camp. Injury could change that, but I don’t see them pursuing Derrick Brooks, though it makes sense with his familiarity with the system. I think the coaching staff has a lot of faith that Alvin Bowen and Nic Harris can be legitimate competition for Keith Ellison and from what I’ve seen I would agree.

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Fan Friday 4-3

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2009 – 3:24 pm

Another Fan Friday as we inch closer to the NFL Draft. Got some interesting questions this week. Keep them coming at

1. Chris
In college Brad Butler played right tackle. Do you think the Bills would think about switching Brad Butler and Langston Walker. Brad is quicker and Langston would be a monster inside?


CB: I don’t see this change happening. Walker is best on the edge in my opinion and I felt had a very good season in 2008. Moving to left tackle for the opener in place of the ‘not ready’ Jason Peters, then back to right tackle was yeoman’s work.

Butler I believe is the type of player you want inside. A guy that likes to mix it up and get nasty. I don’t know that Brad is necessarily quicker than Walker. Just because Walker is 366 pounds, don’t assume the man can’t move. His feet are well above average for a man his size.

2. What’s happening with Chris Ellis? He was our 3rd rounder last year after all, his injury has set him back no doubt, but we haven’t heard any word on him lately? Is he healing well? Will he be the force we want him to be, allowing us to maybe go after one of the other needs that early at 11, like OL or TE where a lot of people are looking at players to fill gaps. Is Chris doing well enough for us to put DE at a second pick this year? If he’s not, than I sure hope we go DE -1st, and find some prospects to mold like we seem to do so well for our other positional needs.
-Jonathan Wyman

CB: I think the team still has a lot of faith in what Chris Ellis can do for the defense. He is healthy and he’s here participating in the offseason conditioning program. I believe he needs to get stronger physically to hold up better against the run. It could get him more snaps this year.

The bottom line however, is the jury is still out on him so adding more pass rush talent is necessary and early. They need a pass rusher that was dominant at the college level. Someone that can make an impact as a rookie. You only get those kinds of players at 11. Aaron Maybin, Everette Brown and Brian Cushing (a LB) are the three I would target.

If it’s Cushing in round one I probably wouldn’t address DE until round three knowing the team needs offensive line or tight end help. Cushing can help on the pass rush.

The unconfirmed reports about Cushing testing positive for steroids would end my preference for him as a player if they proved to be true.

3. Chris,
       Wondering if Derrick Brooks is a possiblilty to help us with the Cover-2 Tampa defense ?
    Todd Logan

CB: I think the Bills will see how they fare in the draft at the LB position before they entertain the possibility of adding a player like Brooks.

4. Any word on Schobel’s foot injury?  Will he be able to be the force he once was and help the pass rush?  He is the rock of that line.

CB: Schobel is recovering nicely. Surgery as we reported back in early February will not be necessary. Whether he can be the force he once was as a pass rusher is a question only Schobel can answer through his play. He can say he feels fine and that he’s back to normal, but his play will be the only ammunition he has and he knows that.

5. Chris,
            What are your thoughts and opinions on Larry English, and him fitting in as a Buffalo Bill?  Also do you think we could draft him in the 2nd round, or will he probably be scooped up by then?  With his size and athleticism I believe he is a Terrell Suggs type player where he could play LB or DE…….What do you think he will be more of? 
Thanks – Showtime.

CB: If the right team likes English he could be off the board at the bottom of round one. After running a 4.74 and 4.79 40-times at his pro day I think that’s a possibility. There are some teams that are concerned that he might not be strong enough to hold up as an every down DE in a 4-3 system. I believe he can.

For a DE it’s more about explosiveness and with a 36-inch vertical and a 1.59 10-yard dash I believe he has the burst to be productive off the edge. He’s a little short at 6’2”, which is why some teams consider him a 3-4 OLB.

He has a similar issue to that of Everette Brown. Brown gets more of the benefit of the doubt having played in the ACC. Playing in the MAC knocks English down a peg by some talent evaluators, right or wrong.

I think if the Bills don’t get a DE in round one, English is definitely an option in round two, provided he’s still on the board.

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