Inside The Bills

Injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2009 – 6:05 pm

Not participating in practice at all Thursday were Demetrius Bell, Donte Whitner, Bryan Scott, Leodis McKelvin and John McCargo.

Limited in practice was Kyle Williams. And full go for the first time in almost two weeks was Shawn Nelson. Dick Jauron said that Roscoe Parrish was a little lightheaded at practice and missed a few plays, but after he got some fluids in him he was fine.

Nelson is certainly the best injury news the team has had at that position in a while. It means there’s a decent chance the Bills will have three tight ends at their disposal on Sunday. They went into last week’s game with just two.

The Dolphins’ safeties have had trouble covering tight ends thus far this season, though it should be noted they’ve gone against three pretty good ones in Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates. But Nelson is athletic and could have some opportunitiese to make plays provided he gets through the rest of the week okay.

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Kyle Williams back practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2009 – 4:14 pm

Bills DT Kyle Williams was back practicing after missing Wednesday’s practice.

John McCargo however, is still not practicing with a strained calf.

Shawn Nelson, who was limited Wednesday, had his pads on so his shoulder appears as though it might be ready for contact.

Roscoe Parrish sat out for a portion of the individual drills at the beginning of practice. We’ll get an update from head coach Dick Jauron as to why after practice today.

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DTs Williams and McCargo not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 4:03 pm

Kyle Williams and John McCargo are two more Buffalo defenders not practicing here on Wednesday.
McCargo missed last week’s game with a calf injury. Williams injury is unknown but he appeared a bit banged up after last week’s game.

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Friday injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2009 – 5:03 pm

Both of Buffalo’s starting cornerbacks are nicked up, but Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin are expected to be ready for game day Sunday against the Saints.

Leodis McKelvin participated fully in practice Friday and is listed as probable. McGee practiced on a limited basis according to Dick Jauron and is listed as questionable.

Also questionable is WR Josh Reed (ankle). He was limited in practice for a second straight day Friday.

Shawn Nelson (shoulder) and DT John McCargo (calf) are both doubtful, which could leave the Bills with just two tight ends on Sunday.

Starting center Geoff Hangartner practiced fully on Friday and is probable for Sunday’s game. Roscoe Parrish (quad) also practiced fully and is probable.

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McCargo, Nelson doubtful

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2009 – 4:53 pm

After failing to practice on Friday Bills DT John McCargo and TE Shawn Nelson are both doubtful for Sunday’s game.

McCargo injured his calf in practice on Thursday, but his status is very much up in the air for Sunday. Nelson’s shoulder is a bit tougher to peg. Nelson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday as the coaching staff had him practicing without pads before not practicing at all Friday.

But Nelson told that his shoulder feels a lot better now than it did earlier in the week. So keeping contact on that shoudler to a minimum has perhaps paid off. But being listed as doubtful suggests otherwise.

If Nelson can’t go Buffalo will again be down to two tight ends, a situation they faced heading into the season opener before calling Jonathan Stupar up from the practice squad the day of the game. Buffalo’s two healthy tight ends are Derek Fine and Stupar.

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Nelson, McCargo watching practice

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2009 – 2:55 pm

Shawn Nelson and John McCargo were both watching practice here on Friday.

Nelson and McCargo were both limited yesterday in practice.

Josh Reed appears limited. We’ll get the official designations for all players from coach Jauron after practice.

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Injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2009 – 6:14 pm

Bills head coach Dick Jauron provided an update on the injured players on his roster this week.

WR Josh Reed, who did not practice at the outset Thursday, did do some work and was officially limited in practice. His injury was also mixed up with that of WR Roscoe Parrish on Wednesday. Parrish has a quad strain and Reed has an ankle injury. Parrish however, practiced fully.

C Geoff Hangartner (back) did practice, but also on a limited basis.

“That was a good progression,” said Jauron of Hangartner. “He worked in practice after doing nothing yesterday. He took a number of reps. Not as many as he normally would take, but he took a number of them.”

Buffalo’s two starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin (ankle/fibula) and Terrence McGee (ankle) were both limited Thursday.

“I would say that Leodis moved a little better than Terrence,” said Jauron. “They both were involved to some degree.”

Reggie Corner stepped in for McKelvin last week when he left with his ankle injury. If McGee can’t go Ashton Youboty would be his replacement.

Shawn Nelson was also limited.

DT John McCargo was added to the injury report Thursday with a strained calf. He practiced on a limited basis.

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Fan Friday 9-18

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2009 – 7:11 pm

Getting ready for Week 2. Got some good questions from you. Keep them coming.

1. Hi Chris,
Do you know how the “Bills'” name came about?  And if so, what exactly does “Bills” stand for?
Currently in Baghdad, Iraq and was part of an interesting discussion with some guys the other day.

CB: Here’s your answer on the origin of the “Bills” team name. It goes all the way back to 1946 when in an effort to generate more fan interest and distinguish the All-American Football Conference team from the city’s minor league baseball and hockey teams, which were also called the Bisons, the team ran a contest to select a new name. Over 4,500 entries were submitted, and the “Bills” won out over “Bullets” “Nickels” and “Blue Devils.”

James F. Dyson, though not the only one to suggest Bills with his entry, was named the winner of the $500 grand prize based on his essay comparing the team to a band of “Buffalo Bills.”

When Ralph Wilson founded the AFL club in 1959 they adopted the name left behind by the AAFC team.


2. Hi Chris
I am a long time Bills fan, and am wondering what role you think the following three young players (I like them all) will have on the team come regular season: Steve Johnson, Reggie Corner and Ellis Lankster.

Chris Straus

CB: Right now Reggie Corner is the nickel cornerback. That could change however, once Drayton Florence returns to the lineup. Steve Johnson and Ellis Lankster are two players that will find it hard to be on the active roster on game day when seven players must be inactive. Johnson has a greater chance to make a contribution than Lankster, but it might not come unless there is an injury or two at receiver.


3. Chris- When players look at still photos on the sidelines, what information can they get from that to help during the game?
     Thanks TM

CB: Offensive players are looking at the defense’s pre-snap look and then there will be another photo after that which reveals how they defended the play out of that look. Quarterbacks can see how the opponent disguised a defensive play call on a particular down and distance so if that look is shown again later in the game they have a better idea as to what might be coming on a 3rd-and-medium. That’s just one example, but there’s valuable info they can get off those photos when assembled in sequence.
HI Chris.


4. I am a big Bills fan, and I was wondering what you thought about Dick Jauron’s comments about the 3-4 defense.  And how he said he’s not opposed to using it and that you need the right personnel.  Personally I think our defense is showing improvement but I really think that they need to get out of the middle of the pack and get to the top 10 this season for success.  Though it is far too late to be thinking of this, I think we do have the right personnel for 3-4 defense. You would have Marcus Stroud as the NT, move John McCargo to DE and Spencer Johnson to DE.  Then you move Aaron Schobel and Aaron Maybin to OLB.  And then slide Mitchell into ILB with Paul Pozluszny.  What do you think of this.  I understand it would be impossible to incorporate now but do you think it could have worked?.
Thanks and Go Bills!

CB: It’s an interesting plan you have there with the exception of Stroud at the nose. In his first edition of Marcus’ Mailbag on this week he said he does not consider himself a two-gap nose and would rather play the five-technique (DE) in the 3-4 if it came to changing the front. I think all your other moves are realistic.

Who knows? With a strong DT class coming out in 2010, maybe some more serious thought can be given to that idea in the future. But not this season.


5. Chris,

I hope all is well with you today!  My son and I were curious how Kevin is doing?  Do you plan on doing any updates?

Nashville Bills Backer!!!

CB: I don’t have any updates for you on Kevin Everett. For all of us Kevin will always be a Bill, but now that he’s no longer with the team we don’t keep track of him and his progress as much as we used to. To keep up to speed on what he’s doing I encourage you to go to his website at the following link (below). He’s got a blog page there as well as a link where you can send him an email. I’m sure he’d be glad to reconnect with some Bills fans.

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McCargo staying late

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2009 – 3:19 pm

With the morning walk thru complete there were just 2 people left on the field afterwards. Defensive line coach Bob Sanders and John McCargo.

McCargo was working an extra 15 minutes on pass rush moves with Sanders, who acted as an offensive linemen for him.

Good to see.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2009 – 3:00 am

Head coach Dick Jauron would only say that Drayton Florence and Bryan Scott have knee sprains. He did say that Scott’s is milder, but his injury also involves his ankle. TE Travis McCall also has a sprained knee.

John McCargo suffered a stinger early in the game that lingered longer than expected according to Jauron, so McCargo did not return.

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McCargo limps off

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2009 – 7:36 pm

John McCargo just limped off at the end of the last team series. Center Marvin Philip was also helped off.

Spencer Johnson stepped out as well. Details after practice.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Nelson, McCargo back

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2009 – 6:52 pm

Shawn Nelson and John McCargo are both back practicing. Nelson is back from an ankle injury while McCargo has returned from a tweaked hamstring.

Dustin Fox is also back.

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Other non participants

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2009 – 6:45 pm

Also not practicing today are Shawn Nelson, John McCargo, Marcus Smith, Dustin Fox, Steve Johnson and Ventrell Jenkins.

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Practice participation update

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2009 – 11:26 pm

Non participants at practice are as follows.

Copeland Bryan
Jairus Byrd
Marcus Smith
Dustin Fox
John McCargo
Ventrell Jenkins
Shawn Nelson
Steve Johnson
Also Hardy and Hawthorne

Nelson is close to returning. He was working with trainers this morning.

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Bills getting thin at DT

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2009 – 5:32 pm

John McCargo and Ventrell Jenkins have another DT joining them as spectators at practice this afternoon.

Marcus Smith is not participating leaving just 4 healthy DTs.

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McCargo update, P.K. Sam leaves practice

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2009 – 1:37 am

John McCargo’s injury status was updated by Dick Jauron after practice.

The Bills head coach said he twinged his hamstring just a little bit, similar to the way Marcus Stroud did and Stroud was back practicing after missing just two days.

Meanwhile P.K. Sam left practice with a strained quad. No word on how much time he could miss.

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Stroud back, McCargo, Nelson out

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2009 – 11:35 pm

Marcus Stroud is back practicing tonight. John McCargo, Shawn Nelson and Ventrell Jenkins are not.

Steve Johnson is still not practicing as well.

We’ll have updates as to why McCargo and Nelson are not practicing after practice.

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Fan Friday 3-6

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2009 – 4:36 pm

Here’s the latest installment. Catch up with you next week.

1. Hay Chris,
I was just wondering what your thoughts were about Steve Johnson?
I have the same feeling about him that I had about Fred Jackson, 2 yrs ago when I saw Fred’s Yards Per Carry average in the preseason I thought this guy is money!! Then when he got a chance on the field he proved everything I was thinking. I feel the same way about Steve Johnson , from what I saw at the end of last year in games and also through out the season in practice film and all I can think this guy is money!! Besides at 6 ft 2 in 202 lbs his size is a welcome sight from the current corps that we have . Not knocking Lee , Roscoe or Josh but the extra inches may help ? Any way just wondering what you think ?
So. Fla

CB: I think Steve Johnson has a bright future here, even though the Bills are clearly looking to augment the receiving the corps with a proven vet with the likes of Coles and Galloway coming through here.

It wouldn’t shock me if Johnson is one of the team’s top four receivers in 2009, especially if James Hardy needs more time to get completely right with his knee coming off ACL surgery. The coaching staff is high on him, so I think you’ll see more of him next season.
2. I have a thought for you Chris that you may disagree with but I am very interested to hear your answer.  A team like the Rams at pick number two is looking to Draft an OT with their first pick.  They however have a few older pieces and feel like maybe they could be a good team next year (Bulger, Jackson, Holt).  Would you consider trading Jason Peters to the Rams for the Second Overall pick?  The Bills don’t want to give him the big contract when he has years left, instead we can get a younger potentially equally talented OT in the first round (Oher at 11, Smith at 2, Trade down from two and pick up another first rounder or second rounder and have 4 picks in the first 2 rounds?)
Billy Rom

CB: I would not consider trading Jason Peters. I believe the Bills are planning to renegotiate his contract and resolve that issue. The bottom line is on a team that needs more talent, according to Mr. Wilson himself, you don’t strip the team of some of its best talent, namely Jason Peters. Finding a blind side Pro Bowl caliber left tackle that can play for you for the next 8 years is not something to be taken lightly. Those guys don’t just show up on your doorstep. It wasn’t long ago that the team had been searching for a left tackle. Even though there are some attractive OTs in the draft this year, to me it’s not worth it because they are unknown commodities at this level.

It’s the old bird in the hand or two in the bush deal. I’ve got Peters, I know what type of player he is and with a new contract I trust he’d return to his Pro Bowl form. I’m not trading that away. I wouldn’t mind acquiring Torry Holt however, but in all likelihood he’ll be released before March 17 when he’s due a roster bonus.
3. Hey Chris,
Do you have any updates on Alvin Bowen’s knee, Aaron Schobel’s foot, and Trent Edward’s shoulder? Also want to thank you for comments on OSU TE Brandon Pettigrew.
Jeremiah (Bills fan in FL)

CB: Hopefully you saw our story this week on Alvin Bowen on the home page. He’s hopeful that he’ll be ready for OTAs in the spring. As for Schobel, how much he’ll be allowed to do come the spring remains to be seen, but not needing surgery was a big plus. Edwards shoulder is fine. Just normal soreness after a season of wear and tear.
4. Hi Chris
Longtime Bills fan, in the Air Force and stationed in Cowboys country in New Mexico
Had a couple of questions about McCargo: 
–With the loss of Kollar and hiring of Sanders as DL coach – does that improve McCargo’s chances of sticking or is Fewell or Jauron as down on McCargo as Kollar was?
–Do the Bills have medical concerns on his back that may preclude him from playing again (or was it strictly the Colts having tougher standards)?
–he has a lot of talent – is it lack of hussle or lack of football intelligence and knowing his responsibilities in the D that has some of the coaches down on him?

CB: John McCargo has been working very hard this offseason, coming into the facility at One Bills Drive almost every day to rehab the disc problem in his back. I don’t think there’s any question that Kollar and McCargo was not a good mix as far as the coach/player relationship goes.

I think Bob Sanders is a better fit for McCargo, which is why I have hope that he can still turn into a solid contributor for this team. I don’t get the sense that Perry Fewell or Dick Jauron are as down on him as some might think.

You’re right he has talent. Now he has to show it on the field on a consistent basis and he may just blossom into what the scouts believed he could be at this level from the outset.
5. Dear Chris,
1st of all keep up the blog. I think I check it around 4 times a day. 2nd I agree with the DE pick. I’ve been checking out some mock drafts and a lot have the TE going to the Bills but I see DE like you. Who are some TEs that could be available later to look at? anyone you like that is not getting talked about?

CB: Well they’ve been talked about, but I think some good second round options are Southern Miss’ Shawn Nelson and South Carolina’s Jared Cook. Both have good builds, athleticism and solid pass catching ability. They both need work on their blocking, but a weapon in the passing game is the higher priority. Wouldn’t mind seeing either of those players on this roster.

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Modrak still sees upside in McCargo

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2009 – 9:48 pm

Bills VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak believes there’s still potential for  John McCargo to realize.

Suffering from bad luck with injuries and not exactly meshing with former defensive line coach Bill Kollar, 2009 could be a fresh start for the former first-round pick.

Modrak thinks he still has upside.

“He still has the physical talent,” he said. “It’s not like he became an old man overnight. He’s still quick, he still has the talent. Like all of us he’s got to do it, I’ve got to do it and it’s an important time for him.”

After a trade with the Colts fell through last year, it’s still unclear just exactly what McCargo’s future holds with the Bills, but for now it appears that there’s some support for McCargo getting healthy and getting his career back on track.

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Fan Friday 2-13

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2009 – 4:14 pm

Fan Friday 2-13

More free agency and NFL draft queries in this week’s edition. A reminder that I’ll be at the NFL Combine next week as provides daily coverage from Feb. 19th to Feb. 22nd. I’ll see if there’s a way to find time to answer a few more questions next week.

1. Chris,
I know the Bills need a center and drafting one, even in the first round, will still take time to develop. I was wondering if you know what happened to LeCharles Bentley.  He hurt his knee after signing with the Cleveland Browns a couple years ago and I believe he was out of football this past year. He was one of the top centers in football when Cleveland signed him away from New Orleans. Do you think he is on the Bills radar?

CB: I think if there was an interest in Bentley he would have been signed by now. Bentley recently opened an offensive linemen training academy for high school and college players in the Cleveland area. He was a Pro Bowl caliber center, but apparently NFL teams are too scared off by the three surgeries on his knee in two years. When a guy with that kind of talent is still not on a roster, it’s an indication of what NFL clubs think of his knee. It’s a risk-reward thing and apparently NFL teams think the risk is too high.

2. Chris: Do you think the Bills give any thought to where a player has played in college (warm weather vs. cold)? I went to the last regular season game and was very upset with the number of players who had coats on and I was also upset with Stroud saying he couldn’t wait to get back to Florida. What do you think?

CB: First, I don’t recall Stroud saying that. I think where a player plays geographically is given consideration, particularly at QB, but it is not the end all, be all when putting a final grade on a player. If there’s a supremely talented player that falls into your lap, you don’t discard him because he played his college ball in Mississippi, for example. The SEC conference is widely considered to be the most talented in college football, and not many players down there are from the great white north. You can’t dismiss them because of the weather they played in though I respect your frustration.

3. Early in the year when Leodis got an opportunity to return kicks he wasn’t very impressive.  He seemed to be stutter stepping quite a bit, trying to feel his way.  Then all of the sudden, BAM, he’s electrifying, a threat to take every kick the distance.  My question is, did Bobby April or someone else on the staff sit down with him and if they did what kind of conversation was it?  Did someone tell McKelvin to trust his instincts?  Did they tell him to return the kick as the play is designed?  A light seemed to turn on for him and I’m interested in understanding why.
John Niche
CB: What most people overlook is not only was McKelvin new to the kick return unit, but so were a host of the players blocking for him. The young, inexperienced return team members were also getting accustomed to Bobby April’s scheme, and if you looked at the unit’s progress collectively you saw them getting closer and closer to busting a big return with each passing week. A lot of fans forget McKelvin’s 85-yard return at the end of the game at New England that almost went for a score. Things were already coming together before his big Monday Night return.

On McKelvin’s return against Cleveland he was not touched by one Browns coverage player. That’s impressive work. McKelvin was a big reason why they finished 2nd in the league in kick return, but those young blockers in front of him progressed in the same fashion that he did leading to an explosion of success.

4. Chris~
Why have Flacco and Ryan had such early success as rookies verses Edwards in his second year? Are the supporting casts at Baltimore and Atlanta that much better? or are they just better than Trent?  I recognize that Baltimore has the defense which takes pressure to score away, while Atlanta has the running game that also is a friend to a quarterback. The game doesn’t seem to be too big for them, but sometimes it seems that it is for Trent. Things that concern me about Trent are his durability, and I’ve read where he has a shoulder problem going back to college?. Do you think he was the same after his concussion? He really seemed to be afraid to make throws after that, especially down field.
Just curious what you think,
Thank you,
CB: I think a lot of it has to do with the level of college experience that both Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco had. Both were fifth-year seniors with close to 35 college starts under their belts. They also each had solid talent around them, which allowed them to make more things happen. Delaware is a perennial power in 1-AA. Ryan had the benefit of playing big time bowl games each year. Now Trent did have 31 starts in his college career so he had time on the field, but I feel his development was hurt by the level of talent around him, particularly his offensive line, which was never good his entire college career. That led to injuries.

It also prevented him from playing in bowl games at the end of each season, which is when the stakes are raised and you’re as close as you’re going to get to an NFL atmosphere.

Now on the NFL level I think talent is somewhat of an issue for Edwards compared to Ryan and Flacco. Ryan had a Pro Bowl caliber receiver in Roddy White and a RB that got the ball so much that defenses had to respect Michael Turner. Flacco had a solid run game behind him too and did not have to do much with a dominant defense that could control field position and keep opponents off the scoreboard.

Edwards has Evans and Lynch, which I believe you can argue are comparable to what Ryan has in Atlanta so I respect your argument.

I think seeing how Trent was injured in each of his first two NFL seasons, it’s not unreasonable for you to question his durability. His throwing shoulder was simple end of season soreness, so there is no concern there long term.   

Who is better? I don’t think I’m ready to answer that question yet. I need to see another season of Trent before passing judgment, which based on your stance might already provide you with your opinion.

5. Chris,
My question is with McCargo wearing out his welcome in Buffalo, what is your gut feeling on how the Bills will address the 4th tackle spot? Surely the Bills aren’t going to carry only 3 DTs are they? Corey Mace might be a hard worker but lets be honest we need to stop with the small hustle guys who are nice undrafted stories and actually get a run plugger to pair with Stroud.


CB: I believe that the fourth DT spot is one the team will be looking to upgrade, but there are priorities that I feel come ahead of it. Pass rushing DE, C, OLB, pass catching TE are all of greater importance as I see it.

However, I will say that if there is no good value on the draft board at 11 at any of those positions aside from center, and a DT like Boston College’s B.J. Raji is still on the board, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them grab him at 11. Otherwise they’ll likely grab one in the middle rounds.

6. Chris,
What are the chances that the Bills would go after Owen Daniels??

Robert Murphy

CB: I think first we have to see at what tender the Texans choose to use on Daniels, who is a restricted free agent. It’s unlikely they use the low tender. I expect Houston to use the high tender ($2.198M), which would give the Texans a first-round pick if they chose not to match any offer sheet he receives from the team that signs him. If that’s the case I think most teams including the Bills would be scared off.

Even if he’s given a second-round tender ($1.545M) I think the Bills would be reluctant to pursue him. The deadline to tender RFAs is Feb. 26.

The other thing that frustrates NFL front office men with restricted free agents is you can spend so much time on an offer sheet for an RFA, and if the original club chooses to match, you did all that work for nothing.

I personally like unrestricted free agent Bo Scaife (Tenn) for the tight end need.

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