Inside The Bills

Injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2009 – 1:04 pm

Terrell Owens heads a list of four players that are questionable for Sunday.

Owens missed practice again Friday due to illness though he was in team meetings at One Bills Drive.

The other questionable players for Buffalo are LT Jonathan Scott, WR Justin Jenkins and reserve OT Jamon Meredith. FS Jairus Byrd is probable.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Practice update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2009 – 11:01 am

Terrell Owens is the only absentee here on Friday as some players on Buffalo’s injury report are back practicing.

The team is practicing in the stadium and OT Jonathan Scott looks to be full go as he practices for the first time this week coming off his eye injury suffered last Sunday.

Jamon Meredith, Justin Jenkins and Jairus Byrd have all been limited in practice this week, but all three are again participating here on Friday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Owens absent

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2009 – 12:11 pm

Bills WR Terrell Owens was not at practice Thursday during the media viewing portion of the workout.

Interim head coach Perry Fewell is expected to address Owens’ absence after practice is over.

In attendance, but not practicing were G Kendall Simmons and OT Jonathan Scott. WR Justin Jenkins appeared to be limited.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Three Bills out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2009 – 12:43 pm

Three Bills players are out for Sunday’s game and all of them are on the offensive side of the ball.

OT Demetrius Bell, TE Joe Klopfenstein and WR Justin Jenkins are all out for Sunday’s game.

Bell is the only starter and Jonathan Scott is expected to make his third straight start at left tackle in place of Bell. Kirk Chambers is expected to start at right tackle despite being listed as questionable.

Also questionable are G Andy Levitre, FS Jairus Byrd, DE Ryan Denney and LB Chris Draft, but all four are expected to play Sunday.

TE Shawn Nelson, who was added to the injury report Thursday with a shoulder injury, is listed as probable after practicing fully Friday. Ashton Youboty and John McCargo are also probable.

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Practice update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2009 – 11:58 am

Just a couple of offensive players are not participating here at practice Wednesday.

Kirk Chambers is on the side working with trainers, Demetrius Bell and Justin Jenkins are not in attendance.

Terrence McGee and Ashton Youboty are trying to practice, but both appear limited.

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Parrish, Jenkins sick

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2009 – 5:11 pm

Both Roscoe Parrish and Justin Jenkins missed Wednesday practice due to illness.

Interim head coach Perry Fewell said they don’t believe it’s something serious like the flu, but are still trying to determine that.

“We hope 24 hour bug, but it’s day to day,” said Fewell. “We don’t’ think it’s anything that’s major but it’s day to day.”

Both players have been essential contributors to special teams, though Parrish has been inactive each of the last four games.

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WR Johnson to be active this week?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2009 – 4:22 pm

With Josh Reed (quad) not practicing for a second straight day and Roscoe Parrish (ankle) working through an ankle injury, the chances appear greater that second-year WR Steve Johnson could dress this week.

Johnson has been inactive for the first two games this season. But that could change on Sunday. Even if Reed and Parrish are able to play on Sunday, Johnson might be on the 45-man game day roster this weekend in case Reed and Parrish are unable to make it through the whole game. The offensive staff will also have Justin Jenkins as an option.

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Stupar re-signed to practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2009 – 2:04 pm

After clearing waivers late Wednesday afternoon, the Bills re-signed TE Jonathan Stupar to their practice squad.

Stupar was waived Wednesday to enable the team to re-sign veteran WR Justin Jenkins back to the 53-man roster.

Jenkins was released Monday afternoon to call up Stupar for the Monday night game as Buffalo had just two healthy tight ends.

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Stupar had to get called up

Posted by Chris Brown on September 14, 2009 – 8:16 pm

The call up of TE Jonathan Stupar to the active roster had to be made.

With Derek Fine out with a hamstring injury the Bills had only two healthy tight ends for tonight’s game. One injury and things would get real interesting. So they activated Stupar and released Justin Jenkins.

It wouldn’t shock me if once Fine is healthy they bring Jenkins back to the roster and re-assign Stupar to the practice squad.

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Fan Friday 8-21

Posted by Chris Brown on August 22, 2009 – 12:59 am

Another training camp is in the books, but preseason continues, and Aaron Maybin is in. Here’s some of your latest and greatest questions. Keep them coming.

1. Chris;
Every time I see Trent get ready to throw the ball, he keeps looking right at the receiver. Don’t you think,as I do,that the opponents see that and know exactly where to go? Shouldn’t he try to bluff a little?
Sonny, LF.

CB:  While I agree that looking off safeties before delivering the ball to the primary or secondary target is important, I do not agree that Trent does that every time he throws the ball. In fact I think he’s improved in this area a lot over this past offseason.

I’m not saying he’s perfected looking safeties off down in and down out, but I think he’s made significant strides in that area of his game. The only time I’ve seen him stare down a receiver so far this summer is on his interception in the Hall of Fame game. He did look at Lee for a bit on that play. Other than that he’s been much better.

2. Chris: With Marshawn Lynch sitting out the first three games of the year, do you think Fred Jackson and Dominic Rhodes can shoulder the load? Will teams respect the Bills’ running game, given that their primary weapon is not there?
With the changing of the offensive line, do you think the Bills’ will successfully protect Trent Edwards?
Tony Falzone, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: I think the Bills running game won’t drop off much with Jackson and Rhodes, and one team that respects Jackson more than anyone is New England after he ran for over 100 against them in the season finale last year. With that ridiculous wind they knew he was going to run and they still could not stop him. I think Rhodes and Jackson are more than capable for three games.

As for the line protecting Trent I think it will be a work in progress. Even coach Jauron is expecting some growing pains. It’s a lot to pull together in one offseason, but if this no huddle can work effectively at top speed it could help mask some of those growing pains up front.
3. Hi Chris,
I was wondering, with all the talent at the WR position this season, how many WR’s do you see the Bills keeping and who do you think that it will be?

I mean Evans, T.O. and probably Reed are the obvious choices, but after that? What are the chances for Parrish, Hardy, Steve Johnson and the other WR’s currently on the roster.
Thanks for taking you time to answer the questions of the non-US fans and go Bills!
Niels Wester, Denmark

CB:It’s certainly going to be a tough set of decisions for that position. You’re right the top five right now are Evans, Owens, Reed, Parrish and Johnson. In two out of the three previous seasons under Jauron they’ve kept six receivers on the 53-man roster. In all likelihood the sixth receiver will be James Hardy.

Justin Jenkins I believe deserves an awful lot of consideration. He’s improved his route running a great deal and is one of the two best gunners on the special teams top ranked punt team.

Logicall it’s hard to see how a coaching staff as much as they would like, can keep seven receivers. They’d be pulling away from some other position. However, there is one way I could see them keeping seven receivers and that’s with the extra roster spot they’d have at their disposal due to the suspension of Marshawn Lynch.

Effective Sept. 5, the Bills could and probably will put Lynch on the reserve/suspended list and he would not count toward a roster spot when the roster is reduced to 53. With that extra spot at their disposal they could choose to use it on a seventh receiver.

Three weeks later when the Lynch’s suspension is over they’ll have to make a decision again to make room for Lynch on the roster. But who knows, there could be an injury at the receiver position over those first three weeks and suddenly they’re down to six receivers.

I know it’s probably unlikely, but with the Lynch suspension they’ll have an extra roster spot to play with. Maybe just maybe they keep seven WRs.
4. Hi Chris,

How is Alvin Bowen coming along? I know he had a good training camp last year but went down due to injury. Does he have any chance at starting over Ellison?


CB: Bowen is doing well. Since Ashlee Palmer suffered an ankle injury in the HOF game Bowen has moved up to the second unit at weak side LB behind Kawika Mitchell. However, I do not think he displaces Ellison as the starter. The most likely candidate to do that is rookie Nic Harris, who is having a solid preseason.

5. Hey Chris,
I’m reading an article from Pat Kirwan of and it says that the Bills plan to implement some 3-4 defense this year. I was wondering if you had any idea how often that will happen, and what the line-up would be in such a formation?
I assume Stroud in the middle is a given, and on the outside Schobel and Kelsay? Or would they potentially mix in Spencer Johnson, for more of a typically large 3-4 DE?
What about the linebackers? Who becomes the second ILB with Poz? Would Maybin get some opportunities as a pass-rushing OLB?
Thanks Chris!

CB: No information as to how often we might see it this season, and I haven’t seen it in the camp practices at all under the live team work setting. I think the main reason for considering it is Aaron Maybin. Much like you do I do foresee them sometimes using Maybin as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 kind of look. That would obviously only be in obvious passing situations, so that’s when I’d be on the lookout for it.

Since it would be a passing situation I’d also expect to see Schobel and possibly Chris Ellis at the ends.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Players rolling in

Posted by Chris Brown on July 24, 2009 – 3:47 pm

A few veterans are already on campus at St. John Fisher for report day.

Josh Reed, Justin Jenkins and Fred Jackson are already checked in to their rooms.

We’ll keep you posted on the roster as players arrive.

Right now we’re hearing T.O. Is going to be arriving this evening, but that’s unconfirmed. Players have to be here by midnight tonight.

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Ravens need a wideout

Posted by Chris Brown on July 14, 2009 – 12:36 pm

With the surprising announcement by Derrick Mason that he’s retiring, the Baltimore Ravens are suddenly in desperate need for receiving help for young quarterback Joe Flacco. And I know one team that has a surplus of talent, should they not like anything on the free agent market.

Truthfully though there’s still a lot of good talent on the market right now. I think the best fit for the Ravens would be Amani Toomer. Big, tall wideout with veteran savvy who can still catch 60-75 passes for you and get you 6 touchdowns.

Plaxico Burress (legal issues), Marvin Harrison (too old) and Matt Jones (drug problems) are other options, but all of them have warts. Jerry Porter is another vet out there. Toomer is the fit as I see it.

If not the Ravens may look to make a trade and the Bills have a cupboard full of quality receivers. I think the top 3 (Evans, Owens, Reed) are untouchable. Reed has too good a rapport with Edwards, who relies on him heavily. Anyone after that I believe is fair game should the Ravens come calling.

It would be hard not to see Baltimore looking to land a veteran wideout. With Mason retired Baltimore has just Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams with their third receiver being Marcus Smith according to the Baltimore Sun. The only true vets after Buffalo’s top three are Roscoe Parrish and Justin Jenkins.

I think the Ravens will talk to Toomer first and go from there. And yes I know Mason said he’s only 99% sure, but Marv Levy always said, “If you’re thinking about retirement, you’re already retired.”

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Fred Jackson tendered

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2009 – 4:01 pm

Bills exclusive rights free agent Fred Jackson has been presented with a qualifying tender offer according to ESPN AFC East blogger Tim Graham. At this point the team has not confirmed the tender.

A tender offer to an exclusive rights free agent ensures that the player can only negotiate a new contract with his current club and cannot entertain any outside offers.

The deadline to tender Buffalo’s remaining restricted free agents (Gibran Hamdan, George Wilson and Keith Ellison) is Thursday at 4pm.

Restricted free agents Justin Jenkins and John DiGiorgio have already signed multi-year deals with the Bills.

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2009 restricted free agent tender amounts

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2009 – 5:07 pm

For 2009 the restricted free agent tender amounts have gone up again and are really becoming cost prohibitive for NFL teams. Once again there is a low tender, middle tender and two high tenders that teams can use on players to not only give them the right of first refusal if said player is presented with an offer sheet from another team, but increased draft pick compensation as well.

Here are the tender amounts

Low tender – right of first refusal & original draft pick – $1.01 million

(So if Keith Ellison were tendered at this level by Buffalo, another team signed him to an offer sheet and the Bills chose not to match they’d be compensated with a 6th-round pick since Ellison was a 6th round draft choice)

Middle tender – right of first refusal & 2nd round pick – $1.545 million

(Compensation is a 2nd round pick if original club chooses not to match any offer sheet)

High tender – right of first refusal & 1st round pick – $2.198 million

Highest tender – right of first refusal & 1st and 3rd round picks – $2.792 million

(When Michael Turner was a RFA two years ago he was tendered at this highest level)

The crazy thing is even the low tender is a big number now at over $1M. I’d expect more and more teams to sign restricted free agents to long term deals for less money per season than this low tender if they want one of their restricted free agents back in the fold. Buffalo did this with Jabari Greer two years ago. They didn’t tender him at all and re-signed him to a modest two-year deal.

They should be able to do that with the likes of George Wilson, Keith Ellison, Gibran Hamdan, Justin Jenkins or even John DiGiorgio, who is coming off ACL surgery, depending on who they want back.

Dustin Fox is the only other RFA, but in light of the fact that he did not make the opening day roster last year, I’m not confident he’s a top priority on this list.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Huggins and Hawthorne have a chance

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2009 – 3:24 pm

Of all the future free agents (2008 practice squad players) re-signed by the Bills, Felton Huggins and C.J. Hawthorne are two of the most promising as I see it.

Huggins and Hawthorne both have 4.4 speed and pretty reliable hands. Huggins is still young at the position, but came a long way last offseason and had his best training camp. If Steve Johnson wasn’t drafted last spring, I think Huggins would have made the squad.

Hawthorne is cat-quick and gets in and out of routes in a hurry. He’s that classic smurf receiver. Unfortunately NFL teams are always looking for more size at the position. But both are good players to have in reserve should injuries hit the receiver position. And if they can each take another step forward with their games this offseason they may be able to push people on the 53-man roster.

If Justin Jenkins is not tendered as a restricted free agent, one may even make the team.

As for the others, I think they’re going to take a long look at Marcus Smith. The defensive lineman offers some versatility similar to Spencer Johnson as he could kick out to end if need be, but appears to be more of a DT.

We haven’t had the luxury of watching him much in practice during the regular season, but I’ll be keeping my eye on him in OTAs this spring. The staff likes his potential. The Bills will be in the market for a fourth DT if they decide to part ways with John McCargo, but it’s unclear how that situation will play out right now.

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Fan Friday 1-9

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2009 – 4:19 pm

As always you can send your questions to me at and I’ll get back to you either personally or here on Fan Friday. Here we go.

1. Hey Chris,
I started to see draft talk on some sites this week. I know this is a bit premature, but how do you see the Bills going this year? Could this be a year were trading for a player may make more sense than making a first round pick?

CB: I doubt that the Bills are going to cough up their first round pick in a trade this year. I’m hoping the Bills take a defensive end with their top pick, provided the depth of talent is still there. I wanted to Buffalo to take a defensive tackle in 2003, but by the time the Bills were on the clock they were all gone and they took McGahee. But that would be my preference this spring.


2. Chris-
Is it too early to call James Hardy a bust and do you think the front office will add another receiver this off-season in case he is not able to contribute immediately next season?

CB: I think that is a possibility, but more so because James Hardy has a torn ACL to rehab from. He’s not a bust. Eric Moulds didn’t have a breakout season until his third year. The ACL is the issue. It’s usually 7-9 months before a player can come back. He tore it on Dec. 14, so he may not be full go for training camp. Missing all those spring practices and OTAs will hurt his development so I think they do need to add another receiver even if it’s just for a one or two-year deal.


3. Dear Chris,
Who do you think the Bills might pick up in this year’s free agency market?  There are some very high profile defensive ends (Suggs, Peppers), and some solid centers (Birk, Brown, Saturday, Meester) up for grabs.   The Bills have attempted to solve their biggest problems in the free agency market over the past two seasons.    Do you think they will try to make a splash at either of these positions?

CB: I think Birk and Brown are realistic. Saturday and Meester are more at the end of the line. As for DE Suggs and Peppers they will cost too much and Peppers has already been negotiating with Carolina to re-sign.

I believe the Bills get their pass rusher at the top of the draft this spring.


4. Hey Chris,
Were any Bills named pro bowl alternates?

CB: Yes, I blogged this a while back. Marshawn Lynch and Marcus Stroud were Pro Bowl alternates. We’ll see if someone pulls out of the game with an injury.


5. Chris,
What is the contract status with regards to free agents, both restricted and un- restricted.
Thank you for your help,

Mike Czerwonka

CB: Unrestricted – Kirk Chambers, Angelo Crowell, Melvin Fowler, Jabari Greer, Teddy Lehman, J.P. Losman, Corey McIntyre, Duke Preston, Jason Whittle.

Restricted – John DiGiorgio, Keith Ellison, Dustin Fox, Gibran Hamdan, Justin Jenkins, George Wilson.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills-Dolphins inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2008 – 7:59 pm

Buffalo Bills
17-Justin Jenkins
25-Xavier Omon
33-Jabari Greer
65-Jason Whittle
77-Demetrius Bell
87-Jonathan Stupar
94-Aaron Schobel
5-Trent Edwards – 3rd QB

Miami Dolphins
14-Chris Hannon
41-Joey Thomas
61-Shawn Murphy
71-Lionel Dotson
75-Nate Garner
81-Joey Haynos
90-Rodrique Wright
9-John Beck – 3rd QB

Lineup changes for the Bills
No. 7 J.P. Losman will start at quarterback
No. 92 Ryan Denney will start at defensive end
No. 28 Leodis McKelvin will start at cornerback

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-28

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2008 – 7:35 pm

Fan Friday 11-28

Here’s the latest edition. If you have a question you’d like answered just e-mail me at

1. Why haven’t we been utilizing James Hardy in the red zone, more specifically inside the five? 


CB: That’s a good question. While it’s been no secret that Hardy is still working on grasping the playbook, having him run a fade pattern in the end zone doesn’t appear to be something that requires a lot of playbook retention. I saw Hardy on the field in the red zone on one occasion last week at KC, but he did not run a route into the end zone.

I understand that he might be coming along slowly in terms of the entire offense, but there’s no denying he’s a physical mismatch in the red zone and would create coverage dilemmas for an opposing secondary.

2. What do you think the chances of Teddy Lehman eventually stepping in for Ellison to provide more strength are?

CB: I think they’re remote unless Ellison is injured and Lehman is healthy. Right now Ellison is nursing a lingering ankle injury and will be a game time decision for Sunday. Unfortunately for Lehman he’s not healthy to fill the void if called upon because he has a hamstring injury of his own. Right now Bryan Scott would be the next guy to step in at linebacker.

Ellison is a heady player with a bit more athleticism than Lehman and it appears that is what the coaching staff covets at that position especially with stouter linebackers alongside Ellison already in Poz and Mitchell.

3. Dear Chris,
The offensive line appears to have regressed significantly this season.  It seems to me the biggest change has been Coach Jim McNally’s retirement; your thoughts?
Dick Sheehy

CB: There’s no question the offensive line has had its share of problems this season. However, I don’t think coach McNally’s retirement is the only change. Peters was a holdout curbing his development into an elite tackle, Butler was out for three games and they got so thin inside at one point that Kirk Chambers had to play guard. Now I’m not completely excusing the offensive line of criticism because of injuries, but they do play a factor.

With all due respect to coach McNally, the run game and effectiveness in short yardage were issues for this line last year. Marshawn Lynch only has four 100-yard rushing games in his career counting his day against the Browns. So it’s not like they were ripping yards off in huge chunks last year either. And on 3rd-and-1 last season Buffalo was one of the last teams in terms of conversion percentage in the league.

I actually think they have some of the same problems from last year to be honest.

4. Chris,
I was wondering if you had a complete and up-to-date list of Buffalo’s free agents for 2009. I did some research and here’s what I’ve got so far:

CB: Here you go
Unrestricted free agents – Angelo Crowell, Kirk Chambers, Melvin Fowler, Jabari Greer, J.P. Losman, Teddy Lehman, Corey McIntyre, Duke Preston, Jason Whittle.

Restricted free agents – John DiGiorgio, Keith Ellison, Dustin Fox, Gibran Hamdan, Justin Jenkins, George Wilson

5. Hey Chris, i was wondering, from everything that i’ve read so far, tolbert is saying that steve has a better grasp of the bill’s offense and that he’s better at adjusting to the defense he’s seeing, if that’s the case, why has it taken so long to get him involved in the offense? i’m not saying replacing reed (when healthy), but being in there in place of hardy earlier in the season.


CB: I think it’s due primarily to the fact that the grasp of the offense only started to happen for Johnson these past couple of weeks. Only in the past couple of weeks did the light bulb really go on for Johnson is how I understood Tyke.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills-Browns inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2008 – 12:21 am

Buffalo Bills
17-Justin Jenkins
25-Xavier Omon
65-Jason Whittle
77-Demetrius Bell
82-Josh Reed
94-Aaron Schobel
97-John McCargo
10–Gibran Hamdan – 3rd QB

Cleveland Browns

30-Gerard Lawson
42-Hamza Abdullah
47-Lawrence Vickers
58-Beau Bell
79-Scott Young
83-Steve Sanders
86-Martin Rucker
11-Ken Dorsey – 3rd QB

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills-Dolphins inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2008 – 3:49 pm

Buffalo Bills
13-Steve Johnson
17-Justin Jenkins
25-Xavier Omon
26-Ashton Youboty
60-Brad Butler
77-Demetrius Bell
94-Aaron Schobel
1–Gibran Hamdan – 3rd QB

Miami Dolphins
18-Ernest Wilford
30-Casey Cramer
61-Shawn Murphy
71-Lionel Dotson
75-Nate Garner
90-Rodrique Wright

Lineup changes for the Bills:
75 Duke Preston will start at center.
65 Jason Whittle will start at right guard.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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