Inside The Bills

Gruden on Bills draft outlook

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2015 – 11:28 am

The 2015 NFL draft is just days away and despite coming from an offensive background as a former coordinator and head coach himself, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden thinks Buffalo might fill some of the defensive holes in the draft.

“As far as what they’re going to draft, they’ve made a real good addition to their backfield in LeSean McCoy,” Gruden said. “I’m sure they’re going to look at replacing Kiko Alonso and lost a pretty good safety man (Da’Norris Searcy). So I think they’ll look for some things on defense, but I really like what they did trading up to get that receiver (last year) because Watkins is one heck of a player.”

Buffalo’s primary positional needs are widely seen as offensive line, linebacker and tight end.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gruden on Bills QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 10:28 am

ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden weighed in on the impending Bills quarterback competition that will ensue next week during the team’s voluntary veteran minicamp.

On a national conference call this week, Gruden believes EJ Manuel could be aided by the addition of offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

“They’ve signed some quarterbacks. They’re going to have a three or four-man battle for the position,” Gruden said. “EJ Manuel is still a young player. I think the offensive coordinator coming over from San Francisco (Greg Roman) has dealt with a mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick so maybe that will stimulate and help EJ.”

Gruden is also a big fan of Ryan as an NFL head coach.

“I’ve always liked Rex Ryan,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time over the years with the Jets coaching staff (when he was there) studying football. I really like his system. Getting Rex Ryan will be exciting for Bills fans and I think players will respond to him.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-30

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 10:20 am

Well final cuts will be coming down in the next 24-36 hours as Buffalo’s 53-man roster will be set… at least for the time being. Below we get to some of your more pressing questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
Pro scouts generally agree that E. J. Manuel has excellent athletic ability but concern about his judgement as a QB. Both Rob Johnson and J.P. Losman were good athletically but lacked judgment as a QB. While judgment is difficult to coach, how is the coaching staff doing it differently this time to ensure success?

With rookie coaching staff and the departure of some top players, what is the realistic expectation of the Bills record for this coming season? Recent statistics seems to indicate 3 to 5 wins for the season.
What is the target set forth by the Bills front office?

J. Plessbaut

CB: Manuel is not going to be Rob Johnson or J.P. Losman. He already has demonstrated more poise and good decision making than both of them in two preseason games. What helps Manuel is his dedication to the game and to improve. Johnson and Losman did not possess the same work ethic. They both wanted to excel, but didn’t put the work in to make it happen.

Decision making is something that can be coached and improved and there are lessons that Manuel certainly still has to learn. But he’s way ahead of where those two quarterbacks were at this stage of their career.

As for the target set forth by the Bills front office it’s the playoffs and you typically need 10 wins to qualify.

2 – Chris,
If the other outside corners struggle that are stepping in for Gilmore, do you think it is at all likely the Bills will try Duke Williams as the other starting outside corner?


CB: While I wouldn’t rule it out as an option down the line, I don’t know if it’s the first option they would turn to. The coverage assignments I expect to see out there for Duke is on slot receivers and tight ends.

3 – Hi Chris

Thanks for all your hard work keeping all Bills fans updated on Bills news and information. I have a question about Kendall Gaskins. He looked real good from what I was able to see about his performance. My question is in regards to his position. He is listed as a RB, but he did pick up some blitzes pretty well. If he continues to distance himself and becomes a player that the coaches will want to keep, with a crowded RB position, do you see him being moved to a more blocking/power position like FB? Or do you see him in a returner/RB backup role? His height is in range of a prototypical FB, and at 238 can be a big obstacle in the way of the defense. Thanks

Larry in Tucson

CB: I think Gaskins has put together a nice camp and preseason, but the backfield is crowded as you said. Coach Marrone does want a back that offers a different style to that of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and Gaskins is more of a power back.

I think the roster decision comes down to Gaskins, Brown and Choice for the third RB role. If Gaskins doesn’t get it I see the Bills trying to get him or Brown on their practice squad.

4 – The receiver position is deep and we can’t keep them all.  What is your best guess on how many receivers will be kept on both the 53 man roster and the practice squad?  And who are those players?

I say 7

Stevie Johnson
TJ Graham
Robert Woods
Marquise Goodwin
Marcus Easley
Chris Hogan
Brad Smith

Thanks and Go Bills
Mike in Dallas, TX

CB: Unfortunately I think seven is not going to happen. Six is probably the number.

10, 11, 13 and 88 are locks. I think after that it’s down to 15, 16 and 81 for the remaining spot or two. My thinking is 15 and 81, especially after the injury to Brad Smith last night (ribs).

5 – Chris:

Please thank the crew for all the hard work they put in getting updates and stories for the fans.

I have 3 things I would like your input on:

1.  Why are teams going to the trend of dressing only 7 Offensive Linemen for games?  This is a dangerous practice, especially considering 5 play the entire game Offensively and some on Special Teams (if they stay healthy).  The linemen make contact every play of every snap, the other players can’t say the same on Offense.  Now with the Bills planning to snap the ball 75-80 times per game this increases the potential for injury.  Isn’t that a concern and something to consider in the day of analytics?

2.  How does coach Marrone feel about scrimmaging and practicing against other teams?  Wouldn’t the coaches get a better evaluation on their own players in this situation?

3.  With you being at practice every day watching and asking interview questions to Coach Hackett, doesn’t it seem as though he has many of the mannerisms of John Gruden?  Is he as hands on and enthusiastic as Coach Gruden was on the field?


CB: The practice of dressing 7 linemen has been around for years. With the ability to only dress 46 players total and with there being far more rotation on the defensive side of the ball, they have to make seven work. More plays are solved by better conditioning the linemen though I don’t disagree every added play adds risk for injury.

I’ll have to ask coach Marrone about preseason scrimmaging. In year one however, his staff has so much to get in order and figure out that a scrimmage would complicate that process.

In terms of enthusiasm and being hands on, Hackett mirrors Gruden. But Hackett is always happy. Gruden is always ornery on the practice field.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kaepernick intangibles

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2011 – 8:50 am

Bills scouts addressed the media again this week leading up to the NFL draft and we’ve all heard about Colin Kaepernick’s outstanding athleticism, which is obvious to anyone that has watched him play. So I asked about whether he had all the intangibles that scouts look for from the quarterback position as well. The answer I got was definitive.

Bills scout Rashaan Curry, whose scouting region includes Nevada, called Kaepernick’s intangibles “off the charts.”

“There may not be a better kid in this draft in terms of intangibles,” said Curry. “Now I don’t know that for sure because I don’t cover half the country, but in terms of my portion of the country there may not be a better guy in terms of intangibles than him. A guy who is smart, competitive, works hard and is driven. You get warm feelings when you think about his intangibles. You talk about a kid who not only did what the coaches asked him to do, but outside of that was a leader and dragged guys along with him.”

To further address Kaepernick’s abilities, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden admitted that Nevada’s ‘pistol offense’ does complicate projecting Kaepernick to the NFL, but it’s clear he thinks highly of Kaepernick’s intangibles as well.

“Well, the pistol does make it tough, but you can’t deny production,” said Gruden. “No one’s thrown for 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000. I do think you’re getting a double threat.  You’re getting a guy that has a contagious, charismatic personality – a guy that really wants to compete.  You’re getting an exciting prospect.  Might take him some time, but you’re getting a guy that can run and pass, just needs some development and needs to make the transition to the next level.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another NFL team looking for coach?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 10:15 am

One advantage the Bills have had in their preliminary search for a new head coach is time. Time to get in touch with every one of their top candidates without worrying about getting beaten to the punch by other NFL teams looking for coaches. But they may now have some competition.

Per Pro Football Weekly Editor in chief Hub Arkush, the Chicago Bears have already begun surveying the NFL landscape for a new GM and head coach.

Arkush specifically named Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden while appearing on a Chicago Sports Radio Station. The Bears are denying the report.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Chicago Bears are on Bill Cowher’s list of teams that would “excite him.” And we all know the connection that Shanahan would have with the Bears, with Jay Cutler now playing there.

This isn’t going to be easy.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Indirect Gruden contact

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2009 – 4:24 pm

According to News Channel 4, the Bills already approached those close to former Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden about Buffalo’s head coaching job, but it’s pretty clear that Jon Gruden won’t be coaching next year anywhere.

Gruden instead opted to continue as a TV analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and just signed an extension this past week, despite the team’s best efforts per WIVB-TV.

With the TV money almost as good as the money paid to NFL head coaches it may be harder than some NFL teams think to coax Gruden out of the broadcast chair. There were reports out of New York this week that Gruden was completely committed to staying out of coaching in 2010, and maybe 2011 too.

That’s the one problem with trying to hire these big name coaches, they can afford to wait for the pick of the litter in terms of the best NFL situation in which to succeed. They’re ultimately going to take care of numero uno. By Gruden taking himself off the market, it also only improves the situation for Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren, the offensive-minded coaching candidates because the talent pool of proven offensive minds is now thinner. They’re all likely to wait until the end of the year before making a decision as to where they want to work.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Gruden going back to booth in 2010

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2009 – 10:57 am

ESPN just announced that Monday Night Football analyst and former NFL head coach Jon Gruden will be back in the broadcast booth next season.

Gruden signed a multi-year contract extension with the network according to ESPN.

Hard to say what that means for his coaching future, but I would guess with a new labor agreement still needed between owners and the players union for football beyond 2011, he’s covering his bases. I’ve got to believe there’s an out clause in the deal if the right NFL team offered him a head job.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Puzzling why Jets not interested in Gruden

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2009 – 12:38 am

According to Newsday, recently fired Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is apparently not of interest to the Jets as a head coaching possibility. Gruden, who was on Mike Holmgren’s staff in Green Bay when Brett Favre was there has run the offense that Favre has known for all but one of his 17 years in the NFL.

I guess the Jets aren’t concerned about the Favre factor. I was a bit surprised. In light of all that GM Mike Tannenbaum did to land Favre last season, and the likelihood of not having a major marquee name as head coach, they need a drawing card moving into their new stadium in a year.

Suffice to say there might be a bigger rebuilding effort in New York than some may have anticipated.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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