Inside The Bills

Manuel’s decision making largely positive

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 7:13 am

Not all of his decision were sound on Sunday, but EJ Manuel made better and better judgments as the game went along. Here’s a closer look at EJ Manuel’s first NFL outing as we examine his decision making on some of his better plays in Sunday’s win over Indianapolis.

4:43 left 1st quarter – 3rd-and-6 at Colts 48 – Indianapolis shows cover-2 man defense and Manuel after going through his progressions chooses to tuck and run to a huge area of green space to his left and gains 24 yards on a scramble.

“I liked when they go ahead with two-man and it’s a critical third down and you see him run it and make a big gain,” said Doug Marrone. “I think those things are important for what we have to do moving forward.”

The drive ended with a field goal.

12:23 left 2nd quarter – 3rd-and-3 at Colts 20 – Off a three-step drop Manuel turns and fires in rhythm to Chris Hogan working a slant route over the middle for a seven-yard gain and first down.

11:16 left 2nd quarter – 3rd-and-2 at Colts five-yard line – Same drive and the Bills call a rollout for Manuel hoping the Colts would continue to play the receivers with inside technique so Manuel could put a pass on the outside shoulder of the receiver for a touchdown, but the Colts changed their coverage on the play with the defensive back playing outside technique. With a linebacker closing on Manuel and nowhere to go with the ball Manuel opts to throw it away out of bounds.

“He thought it was a great decision,” said Manuel of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. “Rolling out don’t try and make a play doing too much by trying to force a ball in there and then you get a deflection or an interception. We already have points. We’re in the red zone so throw the ball away and try to get three.”

Buffalo got a field goal on the drive.

1:13 left 2nd quarter – 2nd-and-5 at Bills 37 – Another three-step drop play where again Manuel is in good rhythm, cocks and fires a strike to Robert Woods working out of the slot for an eight-yard pickup and a first down.

:19 left 2nd quarter – 2nd-and-9 at Colts 17 – The Colts play cover two leaving Dorin Dickerson one-on-one down the seam. Manuel put the ball on his inside shoulder away from the defender in coverage to lead Dickerson into the end zone.

“I was just reading the defense there and they had two high safeties and Dorin ran the middle read and he was open and I just threw him the ball,” said Manuel.

“The two minute drill was impressive,” said Marrone. “We’re on the minus 5 and we’ve got three timeouts and a minute 50 left. To do that it’s very impressive no matter who you are so I was excited about that.

“What I’m looking for is how they react to things and are you just going to get better and better as the game went along. Not to say that he was settled in and everything was fine, that’s what it looked like. Now you just have to wonder how it’s going to be going forward, but you’re seeing some good things. I’ll tell you for a young guy going in there in my opinion I was very pleased.”

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Bills injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 12:39 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an injury update coming out of their preseason victory over the Colts Sunday.

“(Dorin) Dickerson came out of the game, but I think we’re going to be fine there with just a left ankle,” said Marrone. “Ron Brooks he was fine. He went in there on special teams, it’s just a tight left hamstring.

“(Thomas) Welch just had a facial laceration. A cut so it’s not anything like any (concussion) symptoms. That’s not what it is. (T.J.) Heath just had a right quad contusion. Just got a pop in the quad.

“We came out of that game really healthy so I’m really excited about that.”


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Dickerson asked to go back to TE

Posted by Chris Brown on May 31, 2013 – 3:13 pm

As we reported on Tuesday in our OTA Practice Notes, Dorin Dickerson was back working with the tight ends. The lack of bodies at the position due to injury was deemed to be part of the reason, but head coach Doug Marrone also said the switch was requested.

“There were three tight ends missing that I was aware of and most of it was due to injury,” said Marrone. “Another had a personal matter that he needed to attend to. Dorin Dickerson we thought would have a good opportunity to go to receiver and play for us. He came to us wanting to go back to the tight end position. So I think we have a player right now that can really do a good job of playing both positions for us.”

“Just going to try it out a little bit and see how it feels,” Dickerson told earlier this week. “We’re down a couple of guys so it’s good for me to be versatile and see what I got at tight end, too.”

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Dickerson tweets he’s re-signed with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2013 – 4:50 pm

Just hours after Bryan Scott tweeted that he’s re-signed with the Bills for 2013, H-back Dorin Dickerson has tweeted he’s done the same.

Dickerson was used sparingly last season by the previous coaching staff. It’ll be interesting to see what the new offensive staff may try and do with Dickerson in their offensive scheme.

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News good for Dickerson

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2012 – 3:58 pm

Dorin Dickerson was carted off the field last Sunday, but things are looking up for him playing this week in the season finale against the Jets.

“I think he’ll be able to go (Sunday),” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He practiced yesterday and today so I think he’ll just get stronger as long as we don’t have a setback tomorrow.”

Dickerson’s availability is critical for Sunday’s game with Scott Chandler on injured reserve and Lee Smith the only other healthy tight end on the roster.

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7 Bills limited

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2012 – 4:11 pm

Seven Bills players were limited in practice Wednesday.

Dorin Dickerson was back at practice just three days removed from being carted off late in the loss to the Dolphins last weekend with an ankle injury.

Mark Anderson was also on the practice field on a limited basis as he tries to get back on the field for the last game of the season. He hasn’t played since Week 5.

“We’ve almost kind of hit a wall with him coming back, but he’s going to try to go and he wants to,” said head coach Chan Gailey of Anderson. “It’s not from lack of want to, it’s not coming as fast as we had hoped at this point. It went very fast for a while and it’s kind of hit a wall.”

Here’s the rest of Buffalo’s limited players from Wednesday’s practice.

LB Nick Barnett – knee
WR Marcus Easley – hamstring
CB Justin Rogers – foot
LB Chris White – hamstring
C Eric Wood – knee


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4 injured Bills to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 26, 2012 – 1:01 pm

There were a host of injured Bills that either missed last week’s game or were injured this past Sunday. Fortunately a bunch of them are well enough to practice here on Wednesday. Head coach Chan Gailey ran down the list of guys that will be able to get back on the field today.

Gailey began with Dorin Dickerson, who was carted off the field last weekend, but will practice.

“Looks like he’s going to be able to go and practice today. So it looks like he’ll be okay,” said Gailey. “(Marcus) Easley is going to go. He’s going to try to do some things in practice. Chris White is going to try to do some things in practice today. I don’t think any of them will be what we term practice, but limited practice.”

When asked about Mark Anderson’s season long knee rehab, Gailey said Anderson would practice, but they still don’t have a clear picture for him on Sunday.

“We’ll see what he’s got,” Gailey said. “We’ve almost kind of hit a wall with him coming back, but he’s going to try to go and he wants to. It’s not from lack of want to, it’s not coming as fast as we had hoped at this point. It went very fast for a while and it’s kind of hit a wall.”

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Chandler’s injury requires surgery

Posted by johnmurphyshow on December 24, 2012 – 2:38 pm

The Bills wasted no time putting TE Scott Chandler on the injured reserve list today, ending his season with one game to go.  And Head Coach Chan Gailey says Chandler’s going to need surgery, after tearing the ACL in his left knee.

“It’s a knee.  It’s bad.  He’ll have to have surgery.  I think it is an ACL,” Gailey told the media Monday.  He said the injury is bad enough that it might mean Chandler would not be available at the start of next season.

The news on backup tight end Dorin Dickerson is much better.  Gailey says his ankle injury does not appear to be serious, and he might be able to practice this Wednesday.  Dickerson is expected to be available to play Sunday in the season finale against the Jets.

Gailey was asked if the Bills need to sign another tight end to the roster for Sunday.

“We’re looking at all the different things we might have to do between now and Wednesday to see what we need to do,” he said.

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Dickerson injury not bad

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2012 – 10:33 am

While Scott Chandler’s knee injury was labeled, “not good” by head coach Chan Gailey after Sunday’s game, the news is better for Dorin Dickerson, who was also carted off the field.

Head coach Chan Gailey making his weekly appearance on WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday morning, said Dickerson may even be back in the lineup on Sunday.

“It wasn’t as bad as they thought,” said Gailey. “All of that was precautionary. It looks like that he might have a chance to get back this week. I don’t know that he’ll practice Wednesday, but he could get back this week.”

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Chandler injury “not good”

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2012 – 9:02 pm

Bills TE Scott Chandler made a big play over the middle in the passing game in the first half, but was injured on the play as well. He had to be carted to the locker room. Head coach Chan Gailey provided an update after the game.

“Scott doesn’t look good at all,” said Gailey. “It’s a knee. I saw him in the locker room on crutches.”

Chandler on his Twitter account said he’ll know more on Monday after he gets an MRI.

His replacement in the game, Dorin Dickerson, also left with an injury and had to be carted off. He too will be re-evaluated on Monday.

Though Dickerson consistently executed his assignments according to Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills QB admitted they did lose something when Chandler went out of the game.

“You lose a good amount with Scott not out there in terms of mentally and his feel for the game and we kind of have a good connection,” said Fitzpatrick. “It was unfortunate to see him go down with the injury he went down with. You lose a lot when you lose a player like that.

Da’Norris Searcy sustained a hand injury. It appeared to be the same hand he injured earlier this season, though it didn’t cost him any time on the field.

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Dickerson, Jones absent

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2012 – 11:17 am

There are two new Bills not participating in practice here on Friday.

Dorin Dickerson and Donald Jones aren’t practicing today. Jones was limited in practice the last two days with a calf injury.

Dickerson is a new addition to the injury report.

Chris Kelsay and Mark Anderson are also not practicing again today. Neither have practiced all week and are not expected to play Sunday.

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Fan Friday 11-9

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2012 – 4:05 pm

Sorry for the delayed posting of Fan Friday. Got bogged down with some extra work this week and some Friday roster moves. Here is the latest edition of questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter.

1 – Hey Chris,

I have three things that I am very curious about and am interested to see what you have to say.

First off I wonder every week why when the defense is struggling so badly why Chan has not approached Dave Wannstedt about being on the sidelines during games. It may seem like a small matter,but when you look around the league the top defenses seem to have their coaches very invested in the games as well. I mean isn’t it beneficial for the players to be able to come off the field, and sit there with Dave and say look this is what they’re doing?

Secondly, I don’t understand why Chan seems to not believe in the idea of putting Hairston on the right side when Cordy comes back. Hairston has done a fine job on the left side, and Pears play has been fairly poor. It just seems like it would really benefit the team to have five young guys in there playing together for the long term.

Thirdly, the offense seems to have trouble on third downs largely in part to the absence of Nelson. His big body was always a safe play for Fitz. So I wonder where is Marcus Easley at? He has the size and hands to be very helpful in the middle of the field. Donald Jones has done a nice job in the slot, but his small stature seems to make it a less viable option, and the team has struggled to convert those 3rd and 7,8 that Nelson would often convert.

Thanks for your time,
Colt in Sacramento

CB: A lot of stuff there. I don’t know that moving Wannstedt’s location is going to make him call a game any differently.

With respect to Hairston he’s at right tackle right now. In Erik Pears’ defense he had been playing at less than 100 percent from the beginning of the season and only got worse physically as the season wore on. I feel it affected the consistency of his play this year. Hairston is a great option at right tackle moving forward.

There’s no question that the offense needed an adjustment period without Nelson. The guy was the second leading receiver on the team last year. Easley got called up to the active roster this week so you’ve got your wish.

2 – Hey Chris,

Have you talked to Chan about more opportunities for Dorin Dickerson & T.J. Graham? Dorin could be utilized in two tight end and would be a match up nightmare for a linebacker or safety. T.J. could be employed on end arounds & quick slants, as well as the deep ball to strech defenses. Even if not completed, at least it could back the safeties up for the run game as well as for Stevie & the boys. What are your thoughts on this. Thanks,

Tommy P. Buffalo Bills fan 4 life

CB: As a matter of fact I have asked Coach Gailey about both players. So here are his answers for you.

First on Dickerson and why he hasn’t been a bigger part of the game plans.

“It’s been a matter of the teams we’ve played and the defenses that we’ve played and what we’re trying to get done offensively,” Gailey said. “He’s not done anything wrong and he’s not done anything bad. It just hasn’t fit to this point. We’re hoping as the season goes on it does fit.”

On Graham
“The one thing you can’t do is force things. I go back to the analogy I used earlier in the season. C.J. was in the same spot, lots of talent, just hadn’t quite learned all the nuances of the game yet,” said Gailey. “You try to put him in there too much then you’re putting him in a bad situation. With the passing game it’s even more so because now not only are you putting him in a bad situation, but if the understanding isn’t there you’re putting Fitz in a bad situation. You’re trying to get the ball here and T.J. doesn’t understand what you’re trying to get done with a route or a concept and it doesn’t come out right. You want to involve him and we want to keep trying to work with him, but we’ve got a ways to go.”

“He’s very talented, he’s going to be a very good player, but he’s not there yet. We’ll continue to work with him.”

3 – Hi Chris,

As a long time Bills fan, I knew (just like most Bills fans) that the Titans were going to score. WHY didn’t Gailey call time out and save 40 seconds of clock?  That would have made a big difference and given Fitz a chance to methodically move down the field.  Has anyone asked him about that decision?  We also need to start blitzing more, and Chan need to say that Wannstedt.

Go Bills,


CB: Chan was in a tough spot, calling timeout saves time for the opponent that’s trying to score. As a coach you’re hoping your defense gets a stop, knowing they need a touchdown to win and can’t settle for a field goal. In that spot you’re up six and you’re using the clock almost as an added means of pressure.

4 – Chris,

A lot of Bills fans have been excited about Marcus Easley since he was drafted.  Now that he’s on the 53 man roster will he dress for games, let alone have a role on offense?  If they found a way to get him involved he would be a tough player to defend with his measurables.  We need a player like him that can go up and get it. 

Thank you,
Ryan from Colorado

CB: I think the thing with Marcus Easley was he has build up speed and is very fast and can get behind defenders deep, but with this offense predicated on short timing routes they need receivers to get open and create separation quickly. That’s not the greatest asset in Easley’s skill set. I think that’s ultimately why he didn’t make the 53-man roster at the start of the season.

Obviously he’s improved in that area to the point where the Bills want to give him a shot in games now that he’s on the roster, but I would expect his role to be rather limited down the stretch.

5 – Hey Chris,
Any chance that Matt Flynn will be available this season or next? And if he is would the Bills be interested?

CB: I don’t really see that as a match for the Bills. He certainly could be available with the way Russell Wilson has been playing. There’s a chance they may not want a backup that’s pulling down over $5M in base salary with a cap hit of $7.25M. The problem here is unless someone wants Flynn as a starter, and I’m not sure anyone does in light of how lukewarm the free agent market was when he was a free agent last offseason, moving that contract off their books to another team won’t be easy.

I think Seattle may see if they can renegotiate his deal first. If he won’t take a pay cut they’re probably going to have to release him outright. If he were to become a free agent I still don’t see the Bills being interested. GM Buddy Nix has said the plan is to add a future franchise quarterback in the draft.

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Bills 10 longest pass plays this season

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2012 – 9:27 am

Buffalo’s passing game hasn’t delivered quite as many big pass plays as they did at this point last season. In 2011 Buffalo was tied for 13th in the league with 13 pass plays of 25 or more  after six games. This year they stand 23rd with nine. Below are the Bills’ 10 longest pass plays so far this season along with how far the pass traveled through the air on the play.

10 – Tie – 24 yards – Scott Chandler TD from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 24 yards) vs. New England – Week 4
24 yards – Dorin Dickerson from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 0 yards) vs. New England – Week 4

9 – 27 yards – C.J. Spiller from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 0 yards) vs. Kansas City – Week 2

8 – 29 yards – Stevie Johnson TD from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 14 yards) vs. NY Jets – Week 1

7 – 30 yards – C.J. Spiller from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 25 yards) vs. NY Jets – Week 1

6 – 32 yards – C.J. Spiller TD from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 6 yards) at Cleveland – Week 3

5 – 34 yards – Fred Jackson from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 31 yards) vs. New England – Week 4

4 – 35 yards – Brad Smith from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 25 yards) vs. New England – Week 4

3 – 43 yards – Scott Chandler from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 11 yards) vs. Kansas City – Week 2

2 – 49 yards – Stevie Johnson from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 7 yards) vs. Kansas City – Week 2

1 – 68 yards – Donald Jones from Fitzpatrick (distance of pass – 7 yards) vs. New England – Week 4

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Fan Friday 9-21

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2012 – 1:30 pm

Win number one under the belt. Bills will try to stack another one in Cleveland. But first your questions from and @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Can you explain the thought process of putting Ron Brooks on the designated to return I-R? He’s probably their fifth or sixth corner. I would think they would want to save that for someone like Fitz, Fred or Mario. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but there are likely to be more important players that we would want back.


CB: I’m going to let Coach Gailey handle this one. Here’s what coach said about this decision.

“First of all the person has to stay out eight weeks no matter what,” said Gailey. “So if you waited until Week 6 until somebody got hurt then they could only come back for two games in the season. Second, if you’ve got a guy that was playing extremely well and you didn’t know if he would continue to come on… how many injuries are you going to have at corner? We had a banged up couple of corners anyway at the time. You just make a judgment call and we felt that was the smartest thing to do at the time. If Fred Jackson or Eric Wood had suffered an eight-week injury in Week 1 you’d have second-guessed yourself. That’s life.”


2 – Chris:

Considering it’s not one of the bigger Buffalo Bills stories going on, do you think that Dorin Dickerson is going to play a larger role in the Bills offense then what we and the media have all been discussing?  Is Dickerson flying under the radar, with his speed and size might he pose matchup problems for other teams?…like what that team in NE does with it’s Tight Ends?

Thanks & Go Bills!
Doug Glassman
Waltham, MA

CB: I don’t know if Dickerson will become as big a weapon as the tight ends in New England in Buffalo’s passing game, but I think a role for him will emerge. Now the play down at the goal line against the Chiefs was not what anybody had in mind in terms of results, but he is a mismatch in the passing game for most linebackers. He also brings a bona fide H-back to Buffalo’s offense, a role that previously had gone unfilled. I just think it might take some time before Dickerson’s role is fully defined.


3 – Hey Chris,

Any chance Potter will be out there for some long distance field goal attempts? I’m thinking end of game or end of half try’s in the 55-60+ yard range where subsequent field position would not be an

johnnybass in NYC

CB: Chan Gailey has mentioned that as a possibility particularly at the end of a half or game. We’ll have to wait and see if such a situation arises.


4 – Chris,

Do you know why the coaches decided to use Potter, not Lindell, to attempt the onside kick against the Jets?  I would think that Lindell is much more experienced with that type of kick.

Joe Suszczynski

CB: With Potter handling all the kickoffs, as soon as the opposition saw Lindell out there lining up it would serve as an indication that something different was coming. That’s not to say that the Jets weren’t expecting an onsides kick, but I would tend to believe special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven would like to keep kickoff duties uniform to Potter so if they wanted to pull a fast one in another situation the element of surprise would be there. 


5 – Chris:

You being around the team and watching how Buddy Nix is building the roster and how the coaches are developing each unit do you notice similarities between how the Bills and the 49ers are doing things?  I feel the offensive and defensive play calling and talent on the lines are very similar, and if the Bills can add more defensive speed and ability at linebacker and safety as well as at wide receiver they could mirror the 49ers.  What are your thoughts? 


CB: I think you can draw parallels between a lot of NFL clubs knowing a lot of GMs subscribe to similar philosophies, but as you mentioned the Bills still have some more building to do with depth at LB to approach what San Francisco has at that position. The 49ers have been a bit more apt to sign veteran free agents than the Bills on a year in and year out basis as well. So while the Bills have built their lines much like the 49ers, I don’t think they’re strikingly similar on the whole.

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Fan Friday 9-14

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2012 – 1:57 pm

Week 2 and the home opener for the Bills. Let’s hope the results are better than last week. On to your questions from and @ChrisBrownBills

1 – Hey Chris,

Do you know if we will ever get a graphic on our scoreboard every time Mario Williams gets a sack like Houston used to do for him (check it out on youtube)? I’m not saying it’d have to be as elaborate, but it’d really get the fans pumped when he, or any of our staunch D-linemen get a sack. 

Nate in Rochester

CB: From what I understand there are some plans in the works for something like that, but I don’t know when it will be unveiled.

2 – Chris:

In seeing the success of (K) John Potter in the preseason, and the talent he has in being able to kick touch-backs consistently, I can’t say that I would disagree with Chan Gailey opting to make him a permanent fixture on the special teams for kick-offs.  We’ve all discussed the pro’s: less injuries, saving Rian Lindell from tackles/block action, no huge returns, field position…etc.  The pro’s greatly outweigh the discussed ‘con’ of giving up one of the 53-man roster spots.  However, in watching the preseason games, I feel like this will effect Rian Lindell more then people are discussing. Wouldn’t you think that kick-offs are a large part in allowing kickers to stay loose and confident for when the time comes in a game for a longer field goal?  I’m worried that Lindell might have a rougher go this season due to a change in his routine.  Do you think that is a valid concern?

Thanks & Go Bills!
Doug Glassman
Waltham, MA

CB: You might be over thinking it a bit. By not having to do kickoffs, which require a different technique (i.e. kick for hang time) he’s now only really kicking one way (for FGs). With Potter handling kickoffs it will save his leg, thereby making long range kicks more realistic and allow him to focus on kicking one way all the time.

3 – Chris,

Will the Bills use Dorin Dickerson as an extra receiver in the four wide receiver sets? What I saw of him on the training camp clips, he is a very valuable weapon in the passing game.
Ormond Beach, FL

CB: I think the Bills coaching staff sees him as a mismatch in the passing game. He’ll most likely be used as an H-back in Buffalo’s offense. However, I think his role in the game plan will be largely dependent upon the opponent each week. But yes, I would anticipate seeing him as a guy split wide at times, or motioning before the snap.

4 – Chris,
Who is the funniest player in the Bills locker room?? Or maybe give me the top two… Thanks for all you do!

-Displaced fan from Cali

CB: I don’t really witness a whole lot of joking around among the players, but I will say that Fred Jackson and Nick Barnett are notorious pranksters always pulling stuff on their teammates.

5 – Why do they call George Wilson ‘The Senator’?


CB: George Wilson got this nickname from the media, mainly because he is such a good quote. Journalists often look to reliable, quotable players to provide an accurate pulse of the team, a poignant comment on a teammate or a worthwhile perspective on any football topic. George does that. Sometimes his answers are long, but they’re worth it and at times his answers have a style that would fit in the political arena. I believe it was the Buffalo News’ Jerry Sullivan that first dubbed him ‘The Senator’ and it stuck.

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Fan Friday 6-15

Posted by Chris Brown on June 15, 2012 – 11:35 am

OTAs wrapping up today with only mandatory minicamp left before the break. Let’s get to your questions from

1 – Chris,

With all the attention the Bills off-season moves garnished (and deservedly so), I feel the Bills special teams are getting overlooked.  I was hoping that you would provide some insight on what you see the Bills doing with the gunners?  I am really intrigued at the prospect of having Leodis McKelvin on one side and Ron Brooks on the other.  McKelvin looked outstanding in the latter part of the year as a gunner and I read Brooks performed very well as a gunner in college.  With that kind of speed and athleticism on the outside I would think the Bills would see a lot of fair catches on punts (even Moorman would have a hard time “out kicking his coverage”).


Displaced Buffalonian in Santa Barbara, Ca

CB: In the OTA setting players like McKelvin and Brooks have been focusing more on defense than anything else, though McKelvin has been in the rotation as a punt returner with C.J. Spiller and Justin Rogers.

Some of the gunners that I’ve seen line up to this point have been Kamar Aiken, Naaman Roosevelt, Ruvell Martin and even David Nelson. Now Roosevelt and Nelson are two players I don’t anticipate seeing out there come the season. They’re probably just being used as bodies for walk through type drills because none of them are running 40 yards down the field live in OTAs.

I could however, see Aiken and Martin as a part of the competition at gunner. I think your suggestion of Brooks is a good one, but we’ll have to see how he handles things when the pads go on and the play gets a lot more physical. But no question he can fly. Other candidates that I would put in the gunner category are David Clowney, Prince Miller and Isaiah Green.


2 – Chris,
Am I beating a dead horse wondering what Merriman’s role will be?  Has he ever played in a 4-3 defense?  My football knowledge only goes so far, (not very) but I don’t see him being able to play OLB in a 4-3. So It would seem their options are, play him at DE as part of a rotation, use him like Dallas used Charles Haley, or release him.  I’m wondering about a forth option, playing him inside at MLB.  What does his future look like to you?

Pete Howell

CB: I think the Bills are hesitant to give Merriman a prominent role coming off of Achilles surgery. As such I anticipate that he’ll be a part of the team’s nickel pass rush package and other pass rushing personnel groupings. Basically I expect him to be a situational pass rusher to start the season and if he shows he can take on a bigger workload he might begin to factor in more on run downs. It’s truly and wait and see situation. And no, he’s not a middle linebacker.


3 – Chris,

Dorin Dickerson would be the perfect short yardage / red zone RB with his size and speed. I wonder if that could be in the works?

CB: Dickerson is going to be used as an H-back if he makes the squad. I think he’s done very well in these OTA practices to carve out a niche for himself in this offense. He’s at least given the offensive staff something to strongly consider as a new option in their offense as a ‘move’ tight end/H-back. At 227 pounds however, he’s not a short yardage guy.

Your best short yardage player on this roster is Fred Jackson, who can earn a yard just about whenever you need it.


4 – Hi Chris,

A lot of fans are worried about the #2 WR spot.  We have several guys that can play over there.  I think we missed on that spot this offseason as far as getting that big guy that is not covered even when he is covered, but I think we are still ok and can work on that in the coming years.  I do like the drafting of Graham.  I could see a bunch of guys playing there, but I think the main guys will probably end up being Easley, who looked great last preseason and Brad Smith who played really well during the season.  My question is how do you feel about the #2 WR spot, and these guys going forward and also do you think Brad Smith would be willing to go to WR full time?  Would the coaches like that or do they want him for wildcat plays only?  Also do you think Jones will shift inside now to the slot to share time with Nelson now that Graham is here as well?   

Thank you for your time

CB: Unfortunately for Brad Smith I don’t foresee a full time role for him anywhere. He could factor in at wide receiver, but not as a full time #2. I think his presence in a Wildcat type package at QB will be expanded.

The main candidates I see for the number 2 receiver job, removing primary slot receiver David Nelson from the equation are Donald Jones, Marcus Easley and Derek Hagan. I believe unless Easley grossly outperforms Jones and Hagan it will eventually be a two-player race. Jones being the incumbent from last year stands a good chance of remaining in that role.

I do believe long term that Easley offers the best physical skill set for what they want outside opposite Stevie Johnson, but he has to deliver on a consistent basis for that to happen.

The offensive staff wants to be able to move Jones around, particularly inside as the second slot receiver opposite Nelson in the four wide sets. So there will still be opportunities outside for guys like Easley and Hagan.

It’s certainly going to be one of the most intriguing position battles in camp.


5 – Hi Chris,
How many receivers do the Bills plan on keeping on the roster for the start of the regular season? Obviously, you have Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, Derek Hagan, and Ruvell Martin. Will another one be in the mix? As always, looking forward to your response.

Tony, Ormond Beach, FL

CB: I think six receivers are a lock for the roster knowing how much Buffalo makes use of the four wide sets. In your listing you omitted Donald Jones, who will make this team barring a complete collapse in training camp. There’s an outside chance that seven receivers are kept if the position numbers allow it, but I’m not anticipating that. I think they keep a couple on the practice squad in the event of injury and keep six.

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Dickerson excited about opportunity

Posted by Chris Brown on June 7, 2012 – 4:07 pm

Dorin Dickerson might not have been a high profile free agent signing, but he’s certainly gotten a heck of a lot of reps with the first team offense through the first two weeks of OTAs.

The main reason why is Dickerson is a true H-back, a position that hasn’t really existed on Buffalo’s roster the past two seasons. With inventive offensive coaches like Chan Gailey and Curtis Modkins, Dickerson has seen a lot of the field in that role on offense as the staff likely determines whether he can be a capable new functioning component of their offense.

“I look at it as a good opportunity,” he said. “I’ve just got to fine tune my skills and do what I can do. This is probably the best opportunity for me since I’ve been in the league so I’ve just got to take advantage of it.”

If Dickerson can convince the coaching staff he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster he’d likely be the team’s third tight end. More on this can be found in OTA Report – Day 5 on the home page of


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Posted in Inside the Bills
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