Inside The Bills

Pass rush makes great anticipators

Posted by Chris Brown on June 28, 2012 – 8:27 am

In our feature story on Jairus Byrd on the home page of today we profile why the Bills’ free safety is poised for a breakout season, three years removed from his nine-interception rookie season. Buffalo’s pass rush is anticipated to help make Byrd even more of a playmaker, but Bills secondary coach George Catavolos explains why.

“What makes Ed Reed so great is in the defense he plays with the kind of rush they have the quarterback gets one look,” said Catavolos using the Ravens Pro Bowl safety as an example. “So if the quarterback is looking left he can break that way. He’s getting older so he’s playing zone really deep now, but three or four years ago when the quarterback looked to his left, Reed would be breaking to his (own) right. I remember a couple of times with our own receivers on slants, a four-yard pass, Reed came very close to making a play on the ball.”

This is the kind of anticipation many believe Jairus Byrd will be able to make because he can depend on a consistent pass rush all the more with the talent added up front this offseason. So it at least appears likely that Byrd could approach the interception numbers he had as a rookie in 2009 this season.

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Byrd makes PFF top 100

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2012 – 10:17 am

Bills safety Jairus Byrd has landed on the Pro Football Focus Top 100 players list for the 2011 season.

The film reviewers and stat crunchers at PFF have put together their list of the top 100 performers from last year and Jairus Byrd appears on the most current listing of players on their countdown from 80 to 71. Byrd ranks 72nd (see below).

72. Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills

This was the year where Byrd established himself as one of the league’s top safeties, with a season that earned him our third-highest grade of all his peers (+13.0). He broke up seven passes to go with his three interceptions, while only allowing 51.5% of passes into coverage to be completed. What’s more, for a player who spends most of his time playing deep (84.1% of all snaps), he notched up 35 tackles in run defense, good for 16th of all safeties. He’s a rare beast; a free safety who is active on every play.

Best Performance: Week 16 versus Denver (+3.3)

Key Stat: Missed one tackle for every 14.3 attempts; eighth-best of all safeties.

Byrd’s tackling and angles of entry in the run game were much improved this past season, which helps to explain his increased number of tackles as well as fewer misses (see: Key Stat above). The Oregon product admitted as a rookie that he had to adjust to fitting up the run from the free safety position after playing cornerback in college, but according to his position coach he’s gotten a lot better in that area.

“The thing he struggled with as a rookie was run fits,” said secondary coach George Catavolos. “That was the biggest jump he took first in 2010 and again last season he took another step. And he’s really good at forcing fumbles.”

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Keep an eye on Rogers

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2011 – 9:54 am

Bills seventh-round pick Justin Rogers could very well be the latest of late round picks to pan out for the Bills.

Granted he hasn’t set foot on an NFL practice field, but Buffalo’s defensive staff clearly has a strong faith in his skills and intelligence.

“I think this guy might be the… I don’t want to say surprise of the draft, but I do think this young man has the make up intelligent-wise and physical skills that could be very beneficial for us this season,” Bills secondary coach George Catavolos told

Now a shortened offseason could compromise what Rogers is truly capable of as a rookie with lost practice time this past spring, but the defensive staff is apparently expecting some big things from Rogers sooner rather than later.

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Seasoned staff so far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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