Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 11-8

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 12:51 pm

Sunday could be a game where the Steelers’ flaws match up well with the Bills’ strengths. We’ll see if Buffalo can end the Steelers’ six-game winning streak against the Bills in Pittsburgh. Here is your latest edition of questions on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Thanks for all that you do for us Fans.

Can you enlighten me about a few of the recent hits the Bills have taken the past weeks? Thad (Lewis) got hit helmet to helmet against the Dolphins and popped his helmet off. Also, the Saints had a similar penalty as well.  Were there any fines accessed by the league?

I couldn’t find any info on these.

Secondly, what is the likelihood that Carpenter is kept on around next year vs Hopkins.

Gary in Indianapolis

CB: I do know that Miami LB Jelani Jenkins was fined for his hit to the tune of $15,750. I never did see if Saints S Chris White was fined. The fines are typically handed down by the league the Friday following the game. The NFL does this on purpose, figuring that the upcoming game carries greater priority and a fined hit from the previous week either A – won’t be asked about or B – will not get reported.

Most helmet to helmet hits on quarterbacks do draw fines even if incidental in nature.


2 – Chris,

I have been very happy with the direction the Bills have taken. The coaching staff, the trades, the free agents, the drafts… Even the trades and FAs they didn’t do. For example, as much as I love Andy Levitre as a player, we couldn’t pay him what Tennessee did.  The one move I question though was not trying to resign Rinehart.  Prior to him signing elsewhere I said to myself ‘I don’t like that we are losing Andy but at least we have Chad’.  He didn’t get a huge deal in SD, so it wasn’t money. Any input as to why they didn’t try to keep him?  Again, every other move they made makes total sense to me, except that one. As much as I loved Wilson he wasn’t worth him salary anymore. Fitz had to go, 8 mill for Andy was too much… But why not 2 mil for a guy who would be starting for us right now if he were here and healthy.

CB: I share your preference in trying to keep Chad Rinehart in the fold. It would not have taken big money to do it, but I have heard there was a desire on Rinehart’s part to follow now Bills former offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. When D’Alessandris wound up on Mike McCoy’s coaching staff in San Diego it made the Chargers a top choice for Rinehart in free agency.


3 – Hey Chris,

Just out of curiosity, why isn’t Ronnie Wingo a wide receiver? Seems like he has more the measurables of a receiver at 6’3″ and 230 pounds than he does of a running back.


CB: He was used as a fullback in college at Arkansas. His build looks more like that of a tailback than a receiver. He is not a long and lanky 6’3”. He’s thickly built, which is probably why coaches over the years stuck him in the offensive backfield.


4 – Chris,

Thanks for your updates for the Bills fans in here southern Nevada. With coach Marrone’s mantra of accountability and availability and making the assumption that the quarterback is the most valuable piece on the chess board, do you think it necessary for the team to draft a quarterback early in next years draft. Manuel’s health issues have to be a major concern for the organization.

Thanks, Hank

Boulder City, NV

CB: While I don’t think your point is without merit, I think it is a premature conversation at this time. The personnel department and the coaching staff need to evaluate Manuel over these last seven games and make a determination on a host of things with respect to his game, the state of the offense and what positions need to be addressed the soonest.

NFL personnel departments often review the entire body of work of each and every player, then the offensive unit is assessed and positional needs are determined thereafter. Manuel has seven more games and that’s about half a season. A lot can change.


5 – Hi Chris,

Just wondering why Coach Marrone says that EJ has to be 110 percent healthy when CJ, Fred, Stevie and others are out there battling through injuries? I know the QB position is obviously important but so are some of the Bills other positions that are banged up. Just wondering the thought process as to why he has to be (Perfectly) healthy when other players don’t. I’m sure he has his reasons as a head coach, and I’m not questioning his decision making, just curious how it works.

Thanks, Tim in Niagara Canada

CB: I think the location of the injury on the outside of the right knee was such that until he was all the way back healthy he would not be able to firmly plant that back leg in the ground and drive off it effectively to throw the football. If the knee injury was going to compromise his throwing mechanics it’s going to impact the consistency of the passing game. So I think that’s where the difference lies in needing him at 100 percent.


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Report: Rinehart to sign with Chargers

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2013 – 1:32 pm

A day after losing Andy Levitre in free agency to the Tennessee Titans, it looks like his backup is headed elsewhere too.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that Bills free agent guard Chad Rinehart is going to sign with the San Diego Chargers.

Rinehart going to San Diego makes sense. He’ll be re-united with Bills former offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, who now holds the same job with the Chargers under head coach Mike McCoy.

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4 teams named as Levitre suitors

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2013 – 7:43 am

With the negotiating window now entering day 2 reports are circulating about the number of teams in pursuit of Bills impending free agent guard Andy Levitre.

According to a report by the Tennessean the Tennessee Titans are in pursuit of Levitre with additional reports suggesting the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears have also expressed interest. Indianapolis has been mentioned as a team interested in Levitre’s services too.

Naturally the Bills are also still vying to retain Levitre before he hits the free agent market officially on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chargers interest, which was reported by San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Kevin Acee makes sense for a couple of reasons.


Levitre is a native of Santa Cruz, CA and the Chargers also employ Bills former offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris as their new offensive line coach under new head coach Mike McCoy. D’Alessandris served in the same capacity under former Bills head coach Chan Gailey.

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Attitude of O-line evident

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2012 – 7:44 am

It’s always been there, but it wasn’t until the Chiefs started trying to take some cheap shots on Buffalo’s playmakers that fans saw just what kind of attitude the Bills offensive linemen have when it comes to protecting their own.

“Attitude starts with Coach Gailey and it continues with (offensive line coach) Joe D’Alessandris, but it starts with guys like Eric Wood that is a highly competitive and he’s got the temperament you want in an offensive lineman,” said Bills GM Buddy Nix. “Erik Pears has quietly got the same kind of stuff and Cordy doesn’t back off. Andy and Urbik those guys will scrap you so that’s exactly what we’re trying to get.”

“It starts with Joe D,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I think that’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a no nonsense hit them in the mouth kind of coach. I think we have players that have the same attitude and they take that into a ball game. You’ve got to have that. I’ve said it 100 times, It’s a tough game for tough people and we’ve got some tough guys up front.”

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Nix on attitude of O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on September 21, 2012 – 11:36 am

Bills fans in attendance at Buffalo’s home opener last Sunday witnessed some of the Bills offensive linemen coming to the defense of their skill position players after Chiefs’ defenders tried to deliver some extra shots at the end of plays in the second half. Bills GM Buddy Nix explained where that attitude of defending your own comes from.

“Attitude starts with Coach Gailey and it continues with (offensive line coach) Joe D’Alessandris, but it starts with guys like Eric Wood that is a highly competitive guy and he’s got the temperament you want in an offensive lineman,” said Nix. “Erik Pears has quietly got the same kind of stuff and Cordy doesn’t back off. Andy and Urbik those guys will scrap you so that’s exactly what we’re trying to get.”

Nix appears every Friday morning at 8 am during the season on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550.

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D’Alessandris on Wood’s progress

Posted by Chris Brown on August 21, 2012 – 6:59 pm

Bills offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris provided his take on Eric Wood’s progress on the heels of his first preseason game action against Minnesota last weekend.

“I think really good,” said D’Alessandris. “I mean, from the type of surgery he had, where he’s come, the reps he’s taking and he got to play about eight snaps last week, so we’ll see. We’ll continue to progress with him. He’s a good leader up front.”

Seeing Wood not miss a beat coming out of the game and returning right to the practice setting it’s anticipated that his snap count will go up in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. Whether he plays the entire time the first unit is out on the field however, might be another story.

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Bills O-line to be honored

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2012 – 12:03 pm

Buffalo’s offensive line will be toasted next Monday evening at a reception at Ilio DiPaulo’s.

Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant, along with co-sponsor, Hanes Supply, Inc. will host a Sports Night to toast the Buffalo Bills offensive line on Mon., May 7. The line will be recognized for giving up the fewest sacks in the league and ranked fifth in the NFL in yards per carry average. 

The event, to be held at Ilio DiPaolo’s in Blasdell, New York, will begin at 6 pm with cocktails, dinner at 7 PM then a Chinese Auction and program to follow.  Tickets are $30.00 each with proceeds to benefit the Police Athletic League of Buffalo.

Members of Buffalo’s offensive line will be on hand and there will be a video presentation by Bills offensive line coach, Joe D’Alessandris.  Also in attendance will be several past & present Buffalo Bills players as well as, the Buffalo Jills. 

Tickets are limited. Call 825-3675 for reservations.

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Joe D. also on clinic circuit

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2012 – 8:40 am

Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins isn’t the only assistant coach on Buffalo’s staff that’s lecturing about football on the coaching clinic circuit.

As we profiled on the home page today (Saturday) on Modkins is giving a presentation this weekend on offensive systems at the Football Coaches of Canada Convention in Burlington, Ontario. Next week fellow offensive assistant Joe D’Alessandris, Buffalo’s offensive line coach will be north of the border as well.

“I’ll be out in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,” D’Alessandris told

D’Alessandris has his 90-minute presentation next weekend, and much like Modkins will bring film with him as well.

“My lecture will be on pass protection,” he said.

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Top 10 goes O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2012 – 10:21 am

Our latest edition of Top 10 Performances of 2011 features Buffalo’s offensive line with offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris providing the expertise on the blocking techniques.

The line blocked for a season-high 217 rushing yards against Oakland in Week 2. See some interesting insight on how the line works together on some of the bigger plays turned in by Buffalo’s front five.

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Top 3 inside on O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2011 – 10:10 am

Bills GM Buddy Nix said back in 2009 in preparation for the draft that spring they had Eric Wood, Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik ranked as the top three guards in the class. Now they have all three. So it wasn’t surprising to see them as the three interior linemen on the starting line this morning with Levitre at left guard and Urbik at right. Wood manned center. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if they were the starting interior three linemen come September 11th.

“That could happen that way,” said Bills offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. “I know this. Urbik has a bright future, Andy has a bright future and Eric does too. All three of them have some great, great skills and ability. Now the object is stay healthy and let the cream come to the top.”

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Wood vs. Suh

Posted by Chris Brown on June 16, 2011 – 9:31 am

In our second installment of the Top 10 Performances of 2010, Bills offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris helps us out.

He breaks down Eric Wood’s dominant performance against the NFL’s rookie of the year in Ndamukong Suh, and believe me Bills fans you’ll enjoy watching this. There are a couple of instances at the end some plays where Suh is getting visibly frustrated because he’s being taken completely out of the play by Wood. Really an impressive game for Wood.

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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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