Inside The Bills

Practice update

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

Here’s the rundown of who is not practicing here at One Bills Drive on Wednesday.

Terrence McGee
Keith Ellison
Terrell Owens
Aaron Schobel
Kyle Williams

OT Jamon Meredith appears to be working in practice on a limited basis as well as Donte Whitner. But we’ll get an official update from head coach Dick Jauron later this afternoon.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Scott gets reps at LB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2009 – 1:26 pm

Bryan Scott was getting reps at outside linebacker in practice Tuesday.

This is not the first time it has happened as the strong safety has taken reps there before as an emergency option. That again appears to be the case, and with the extra time during the bye Scott is getting a refresher.

“I think it’s more just in case of emergency and make sure that I’m prepared,” said Scott. “I probably won’t have to do it, but just in case you want to be ready.”

Scott took reps at LB last year when the LB unit was shorthanded. With Keith Ellison nursing a quad injury the staff apparently wanted to give Scott some extra reps there so there is an emergency option they feel comfortable with behind rookie Nic Harris, should he be forced to step in like he did last week when Ellison left the game.

“It’s just a different read so instead of being eight yards off the line of scrimmage you’re down in the box all the time. It’s fine.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Postgame injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2009 – 6:20 pm

Buffalo lost four players to injury in the game and none of them returned to action before the game was over.

Head coach Dick Jauron after the game confirmed that Aaron Schobel and Jairus Byrd suffered groin injuries. Byrd had been dealing with a nagging groin problem for a little while prior to today’s game according to Jauron.

Right tackle Jamon Meredith suffered a sprained MCL. No word on his prognosis.

Keith Ellison suffered a quad strain and could not return to the game.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Thurs. player radio appearances

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2009 – 4:54 pm

Here’s the list of Bills players scheduled to appear on local and national airwaves on Thursday.

Keith Ellison – Morning Bull, 103.3 The Edge @ 7:15 AM. If you’re outside the listening area you can also listen online.

James Hardy –1260 WNDE in Indianapolis @ 2 PM

Terrence McGee – Sirius NFL Radio with Marty Schottenheimer & Solomon Wilcots @ 1:50 PM

Seth McKinney – 97.5 ESPN Radio in Houston @ around 2 PM

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-23

Posted by Chris Brown on October 23, 2009 – 4:33 pm

We’ll see if the Bills run defense can slow down the Panthers this week. Gotta put the game in Jake Delhomme’s hands for Carolina and hope he’s still throwing a lot of his passes to the opposition (10 INTs). Let’s get to your questions (

1. Hi Chris,
I was wondering if the Bills have any three-step-drop passes in their offense.  It seems that the protection is not going to hold up for five and seven step drops.  Is this something that the offense has looked at, or has it not been an issue until the protection has broken down? 
 Mike in Lancaster

CB: You bring up a good point. In Jim Kelly’s column this week on he mentions how more three step drops would help take pressure off the offensive line in protection and allow Evans and Owens to run routes where they can get yards after the catch.

I have to believe the offensive staff has looked at that a lot. And hopefully the touchdown play to Evans against the Jets will encourage them to make more use of it.
2. Hey Chris,
What’s the feeling on Ashton Youboty?  I thought he was doing really well starting last year before he went down to injury.  He’s not mentioned much anymore for the defensive backfield?  Are the other guys that much better?  Any word how Ko Simpson is doing in Detroit?  Thanks.
Joe (Norwich, NY)

CB: Youboty had a good training camp. It’s just that Reggie Corner and Drayton Florence had better ones. Youboty proved last year he can be a reliable player, but Corner has made more plays on the ball and Florence is probably the most physical corner on the roster.

Youboty has played sparingly as a result. He’s simply running behind those guys on the depth chart. Nothing more to it than that.

As for Ko Simpson he’s lining up at strong safety for the Lions, but he’s a backup. He’s appeared in four games seeing time on special teams. He’s made one start on defense. Simpson has four tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.


3. Chris, If the Bills continue to slump this year do you see them taking a run at USC S Taylor Mays? The guy is a freak, who can help a run and help a pass. With Donte being able to play SS and FS do you think Mays would be in the mind of the coaching staff come Draft Day?

CB: I think it’s kind of early to talk draft, because to know what this team needs is very much up in the air at a lot of positions. How does Kawika Mitchell come back from his season ending injury? What happens with free agents like Terrell Owens and Josh Reed? We can’t really peg position needs this early in the game.

That being said Taylor Mays should be a top 10 pick. I just think further fortifying the lines on both sides of the ball might prove to be the priority.
4. Hey Chris
If Kyle Williams and Chris Kelsay do not play who will start in their place?

CB: I think Chris Kelsay will play. If he can’t go Ryan Denney would start in his place on Sunday. Kyle Williams is going to be a game time decision. If he can’t go Spencer Johnson would start in his place.
5. Since Buffalo’s defense has given up more than 1,000 yards on the ground in 6 games, can you believe the players explanation of poor gap responsibility, or is it that we’re simply getting outplayed physically at the point of attack and the second level.  Other than Stroud we don’t have really another big body on the the line, just high motor fineness players.  What do you think?  With the injuries to the line backing core early in the season, could we see the average rush per game numbers go down eventually with defensive signal caller in Poz back in the line up?

CB: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has said he feels the defensive line is doing a good job with their assignments, but referenced the secondary and their inconsistency as part of the problem. He also said the frequent rotation of new players through the lineup at linebacker and safety has not helped.

Personally I think they’ve been really struck by the loss of Bryan Scott. In my opinion he’s the best run defending safety. With him out the last 3 games the Bills have given up an average of 246.3 rushing yards per game.

Keith Ellison told me that poor gap responsibility is just a lack of focus. Nothing else. I think the players have also been guilty of overpursuit at times where they flow too far to the ball to go make a play and leave their assigned gap leaving the team vulnerable to a cutback run.

It’s got to get fixed in a hurry especially with the run game they’re facing this week.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-16

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2009 – 1:47 pm

Fan Friday 10-16
We plow ahead into Week 6. The Bills might be struggling, but we press on with Fan Friday. Questions go to

1. Chris,
Quick question.  With the injury to Poz, who on the defense has the ‘headset’ in the helmet?  Is it Buggs, or is it Ellison?  Thanks.
Lifelong Bills Fan, Ex-WNYer now living in Maryland

CB: Well when Poz first went out and was replaced by Marcus Buggs, Buggs had the radio helmet. When he was replaced by Kawika Mitchell, he had the radio helmet. And finally when Mitchell was hurt last week against Cleveland, Keith Ellison grabbed the radio helmet.

But with Poz expected to start this week (he’s probable), Poz will have the radio helmet with Ellison as the backup provided he plays. Catch all that?


2. Chris,
I was wondering why McGee hasn’t been taking kickoffs in place of McKelvin? In my opinion, McGee was one of the best kick returners we had in many years. Thanks!
Steve Barker
Fredericksburg, VA

CB: Truth be told Buffalo’s kick return average has improved from the first week McKelvin went out until now, albeit marginally (20th to 18th). That being said, you will get no arguments from me about putting McGee back there. He’s one of the best kick returners I have ever seen. However, he is nursing a sore knee so giving him extra work really isn’t an option this week.


3. Chris,
Has the NFL addressed the possible expansion of the 53 man roster due to all the injuries on every club,every year?
Al in Syracuse

CB: I don’t see it changing because more players means more payroll and less profit for NFL owners. I know coaches would like to see it, but unless the new CBA negotiations add games to the regular season schedule (18 game regular season) I can’t see the roster size increasing.


4. Chris;
Thanks for taking my question.  Do you think Coach Jauron has any thoughts on playing Jamon Meredith to see what he has?  I do not see the Bills doing much this year and with Butler on I-R.  At least get some game action with Meredith and see what he can do.  He can’t be any worse.
Also, why was Seth McKinney playing goal line defense in Miami?  Was it merely a case that McCargo was inactive and they needed an extra wide body?

CB: Jamon Meredith is expected to start Sunday with Jonathan Scott out due to an ankle injury. So it seems they’re willing to try him there, but making your first NFL start on the road alongside another rookie is a precarious situation as I see it. Guess we’ll find out what he can do in a hurry.

As for McKinney, you’re correct. McCargo was inactive for the Miami game, so with just three defensive tackles active, they needed another wide body in there for goal line defense.


5. Hi Chris,
2 part question for you:
1. Wondering how James Hardy’s rehabilitation is going with his knee? I think I remember you writing that the Bills have the first 6 weeks of the season to decide whether or not to bring him to the active roster or to permanantly place him on IR for ’09. 
2. If they bring him back, which player comes off the roster at this point?
Thank you,

CB: James is doing very well. What can happen after Monday Oct. 19 is he can become eligible to begin practicing with the team if they feel he is ready to do so. That would begin a 21-day practice period in which he can practice with the team, but he does not have to be added to the active roster during that time.

At the end of the three week practice period the team must decide at that time whether to add him to the active roster or put him on season-ending injured reserve. And yes another player would have to be waived to make room for him on the roster. Who that player is would be up to the coaching staff.

The staff does not have to begin practicing him this week. They could wait another week or two weeks to begin the 21-day practice windown period.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Injury report update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2009 – 1:44 pm

Here’s the status rundown of Bills players for Sunday’s game.

Out – RT Jonathan Scott (ankle), SS Bryan Scott (ankle)
Questionable – LB Keith Ellison (knee)
Probable – CB Terrence McGee (knee), WR Roscoe Parrish (thigh), LB Paul Posluszny (arm) WR Josh Reed (fibula), SS Donte Whitner (thumb).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Two Bills out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2009 – 12:58 pm

The Bills will be without SS Bryan Scott and OT Jonathan Scott on Sunday.

Both players were ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets by head coach Dick Jauron.

Questionable for Sunday are Keith Ellison (knee).

When asked how he feels about Sunday Ellison said, “I’ll be alright.”

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A different LB sitting

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2009 – 10:56 am

Paul Posluszny looks to be full go again in practice here on Friday, but another starter is not practicing today.

After being limited in practice Thursday with a sore knee Keith Ellison is not practicing at all.
If he can’t go Sunday Buffalo could have two rookies starting on either side of Poz provided he starts Sunday.

Posted in Inside the Bills

LB, WR added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2009 – 1:51 pm

The Bills had a couple of additions to their injury report on Thursday.

Keith Ellison was limited with a sore knee and Roscoe Parrish was limited with a sore thigh.

Terrence McGee was limited with his sore knee and Josh Reed was again limited with his leg injury.

Bryan Scott and Jonathan Scott did not practice.

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Bills supporting their coach

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2009 – 6:12 pm

Though the season hasn’t gotten off to a good start for the Bills no one is pointing fingers at anyone but themselves after a 1-3 start.

In fact when asked by the media about standing behind Dick Jauron and the team’s coaching staff, players were quick to do so.

“Absolutely,” said Kyle Williams. “We’re behind everybody in this organization. We’re behind the head coach, the O-coordinator, the D-coordinator and all the players. We believe in one another and we just have to go out and win football games. That’s what it’s all about.”

“Yeah definitely,” said Keith Ellison. “We have a lot of faith in our coaches and a lot of confidence in our team. All of us are 100 percent behind them. We’re going to get this thing turned around.”

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Brown’s Best Week 2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2009 – 3:06 pm

Sorry for the delay this week, as this usually posts on Monday afternoons, but with all the news Monday we got a little behind. Here’s some of the best of the unnoticed from Sunday’s game.

BEST TONE SETTER: Kyle Williams – His tackle of Cadillac Williams for a five-yard loss on the second play from scrimmage, got Buffalo’s defense amped up for another strong day in terms of run defense. The Bucs managed just 57 yards on the ground.

BEST ADJUSTMENT: Trent Edwards – On 3rd-and-1 at the Tampa 32, Edwards checked out of a run play based on the Bucs’ defensive look and took advantage of the one-on-one matchup outside with Lee Evans, hitting the wideout with a well thrown ball for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

BEST PRESSURE: Kyle Williams – The Bills defensive tackle got enough heat on Byron Leftwich to force him to hurry a checkdown throw to Cadillac Williams, which was overthrown right to Donte Whitner for a 76-yard interception return for a TD. He had three QB hits in the game.

BEST DEFEAT OF A SCREEN: Terrence McGee – The Bills #1 CB slipped underneath a Bucs’ blocker and dropped Cadillac Williams for just a one-yard gain on what looked like a well executed screen play by Tampa at the outset.

BEST SHOESTRING: Bryan Scott – Scott was ‘johnny on the spot’ with his shoestring interception on a deflected pass off the body of Bucs WR Sammie Stroughter.

BEST GUTS: Dick Jauron – Electing to go for it on 4th-and-inches at his own 35-yard line while in control of the game (17-7) early was a gutsy call. It showed faith in his offensive line and they responded allowing Trent Edwards to get two yards on a sneak. Of course the Bucs added on to the yardage with a ridiculous facemask penalty when Edwards helmet was ripped off at the end of the play.

BEST OPEN FIELD TACKLE: Terrence McGee – His wrap up on Bucs RB Earnest Graham in the flat was important. There was just one defender behind McGee further up the sideline on that swing pass. McGee’s tackle held the play to a three-yard gain.

BEST HUSTLE: Roscoe Parrish – The Bills speedy wideout sprinted 72 yards to run Bucs safety Sabby Piscitelli down from behind after a turnover on a fumble by Buffalo.

BEST STOP: Marcus Buggs, Donte Whitner – The two defenders stoned Derrick Ward for a one-yard loss on a 4th-and-1 at the Bills 43 forcing a turnover on downs in what at the time was a six-point game.

BEST REDEMPTION: Terrell Owens – After letting a potential long touchdown pass slip through his hands in the first half, Owens made good on his second opportunity pulling in a 43-yard touchdown catch from Trent Edwards to put the game on ice in the fourth quarter (30-14).

BEST OMNIPRESENCE: Keith Ellison – For the second straight game, Ellison was the team’s leading tackler. After his 15-tackle performance in Week 1, he came back with another 10 in Week 2. He also had a sack wiped out be penalty and a QB hit.

BEST STAMINA: Fred Jackson – On a day in which Jackson had 35 touches and rolled up 197 all-purpose yards, it was impressive to see him bolt 43 yards late in the fourth on his second to last carry of the game.

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Buggs at MLB is first option, but others exist

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2009 – 7:44 pm

With Paul Posluszny out (broken arm) for Sunday’s game, Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell confirmed that Marcus Buggs will be their guy at MLB Sunday when the Bills host the Bucs. But there is a plan ‘B’.

Plan ‘B’ is OLB Keith Ellison, who is responsible for knowing the MLB position as well.

“We’ll also put Keith Ellison in there,” said Fewell. “He’ll also assume that duty. We’ll try both those guys. We have a third plan also.”

Fewell chose not to reveal what that third plan is, but he did say if it’s necessary to move Ellison into the middle that the player taking Ellison’s spot on the strong side would be rookie Nic Harris. But going into Sunday’s game it’s going to be Buggs in the middle calling the defense.

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Brown’s Best Week 1

Posted by Chris Brown on September 15, 2009 – 6:31 pm

For those not familiar with Brown’s Best we chronicle some of the less noticed plays and performances of the most recent game to recognize contributions made by players or units that otherwise would have been overlooked in many cases. So here are the Week 1 honorees.

BEST STUFFERS: Keith Ellison, Kyle Williams – The two veteran defenders stopped Laurence Maroney cold on a 4th-and-1 at the Bills 40-yard line to force a turnover on downs. Ellison finished the game with a career-high 15 tackles.

BEST STUFFER PART II: Marcus Stroud – The big fella had two tackles for loss and a tackle for no gain in the game where the Patriots averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.

BEST THIRD DOWN STOP: Aaron Schobel – The Bills pass rusher sacked Tom Brady for a 10-yard loss on a 3rd-and-6 early in the game to force a punt.

BEST THIRD DOWN STOP PART II: Schobel, Leodis McKelvin – The two defenders teamed up to stop Kevin Faulk on a 3rd-and-goal at the Bills three-yard line for just a one-yard gain forcing New England to kick the field goal.

BEST DOWNFIELD BLOCK: Andy Levitre – The rookie guard got out in front of Fred Jackson on one of his handful of screen plays and busted Jackson loose for a 21-yard gain on the team’s first touchdown drive.

BEST START TO A CAREER: Shawn Nelson – The rookie tight end’s first career reception was an 11-yard touchdown catch to get Buffalo on the board.

BEST ANGLE: George Wilson – The Bills special teamer took a sound angle on punt returner Wes Welker to wrap him up despite being the first downfield and a lot of open space for Welker to work with.

BEST ONE-HANDED GRAB: Aaron Schobel – His one-handed snare of Tom Brady’s attempted dump off pass to Sammy Morris for an interception was impressive. Almost as impressive as his 26-yard return for a TD with Morris draped on his back.

BEST RUN AFTER CATCH: Fred Jackson – All five of his catches were screen passes, but Jackson averaged an astonishing 16.6 yards per reception. Jackson showed how the screen game could be key for Buffalo’s efficiency on offense this season.

BEST MAKEUP YARDAGE PLAY: Trent Edwards – After back-to-back plays in which there was a run for a four-yard loss and a sack for a six-yard loss, Edwards on 3rd-and-20 at the New England 38 stuck a dart in to Derek Schouman over the middle for a 16-yard gain. The play didn’t get a first down, but put Buffalo back in the field goal range for Rian Lindell who put a 40-yarder through.

BEST WORKHORSE: Fred Jackson – The guy had 140 all-purpose yards and accounted for 49 of the 62 yards on Buffalo’s 14-play drive in the fourth quarter to put them up by 11 with 5:30 left to play.

BEST LEAP: Bryan Scott – The Bills safety climbed the ladder to intercept New England’s two-point conversion attempt intended for Ben Watson with 2:10 left.

BEST DECISION MAKER: Alex Van Pelt – The new coordinator crafted a game plan that was good enough to win the game for the Bills accentuating the strengths of Buffalo’s young players while limiting their weaknesses.

BEST IMPROVEMENT: Trent Edwards – The Bills quarterback looked like a different signal caller than the one in the preseason. He displayed poise in the pocket, made good decisions with his arm and feet and put Buffalo in position to win the game late. He finished the game with a 114.1 passer rating.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-14

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 1:25 pm

Training camp is winding down, with three days left at St. John Fisher after today. Still some time before the regular season however. Let’s see what you’ve got for me this week.

1. Hi Chris,
Do you think one of the reasons the Bills have been reluctant to deal with the strong outside linebacker spot is because they plan on using Maybin there (as well as DE)?
Mark (State College, PA)

CB: I don’t believe that’s the main reason why, but it could be a factor. The Bills defensive staff really likes what they’re getting out of Nic Harris so far in the preseason. I believe he’ll push Keith Ellison, but ultimately experience will win out there. But Maybin I believe will be used as a rush linebacker in addition to getting snaps at defensive end. I think where he lines up will depend a lot on down and distance.


2. Hey Chris,
I was lookin at your Q&A regarding safties.  You didn’t mention Ko Simpson.  So you think he will be cut this training camp?  I think
that would be a shocker, considering he is young and his experience.  But I guess I can see, with the addition of Byrd, they may not have
the room. Do you think the Bills may look at trading him?

Shawn Sieracki
Dallas, Texas

CB: I think Ko Simpson is a bubble guy in this camp due mainly to the presence of Byrd. Though he hasn’t set foot on the practice field yet, Byrd was taken in the second round for a reason, to get on the field sooner rather than later. Buffalo did not get a single INT from their safeties last season. That has to change. Byrd had 17 INTs in college in three seasons.

If he shows any kind of promise in the preseason games he plays in and doesn’t look lost, he could be a starter before this season is over. Either way he’s a lock to make the roster.

In all likelihood the team keeps five safeties. Right now here’s my list of who I think they keep. Whitner, Scott, Wilson, Byrd and Wendling. Wilson and Wendling make it because they’re more valuable special teams players than Simpson.


3. Chris,
Nice job on the site.  How do you see the O-line situation developing…the situation at guard has been often discussed, but a couple of situations I am interested in is (1) Demetrius Bell – probably not a starter this year, but from what I saw last year it seems like he might have the athletic ability to be a LT – do you see him starting in yr 3 or 4?  Also, what do you see happening at backup center, Brandon Rodd or have somebody like Seth McKinney cover backup at guard and center?

CB: With Bell I think they see him as the heir apparent to Langston Walker, who three years left on his deal counting this season. I believe Bell is left tackle caliber. He’s certainly athletic enough. I think he’ll be the team’s swing tackle this fall.
At center Brandon Rodd has done okay as the backup. You’re right Seth McKinney does have NFL experience there, but he has not seen reps in the pivot thus far. I think he would be an option though. I don’t anticipate them putting Eric Wood in there either, despite the fact that he played there in college.


4. Hey Chris, 
I’ve noticed in most of your articles dealing about the LB position, you always mention Ellison only having two players to battle with for the starting position, Bowen and Harris. Why isn’t Pat Thomas mentioned at all? Is Thomas battling for a back up position behind Kawika or Poz? If Thomas isn’t being considered to battle with Ellison, do you see him actually making the team?
Brian Craig (Walworth, NY)

CB: Pat Thomas is battling for the backup MLB role with Marcus Buggs. It’s been a heated competition with the two of them flip flopping back and forth in the backup role behind Poz. As for Ellison his greatest competition looks like it’s going to be Harris. Bowen has been largely on the weak side in camp.


5. Hi Chris,
The battle to land a spot on the roster at corner is one that I find most intriguting on the Bills this season. How many corners do you figure will make the roster? Which ones?

CB: I think the top four or five corners are easy to determine, but do they keep a sixth is the question. McGee, McKelvin, Florence, Youboty and Corner all make the roster as I see it. Then if they decide to keep a sixth I believe it’s Ellis Lankster. Cary Harris and Lydell Sargeant probably go to the practice squad.

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Ellison and DB Harris visit sick kids

Posted by Chris Brown on July 14, 2009 – 1:25 pm

Though they are still enjoying their offseason out on the west coast, last Tuesday, Keith Ellison and sixth-round pick Cary Harris spent an afternoon giving back, with kids at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.

They did a bunch of activities with the kids interacting with them for most of the afternoon. Joining them was Keith’s brother Kevin Ellison, a draft pick of the Chargers. Also in attendance were USC football players Taylor Mays, Will Harris and Kevin Thomas.

This is the second time Keith and Kevin Ellison paid the kids at Childrens a visit as well as Harris. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is affiliated with USC through the Keck School of Medicine.

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Hard to see SLB not being Ellison

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2009 – 1:19 am

With the strong side linebacker job Keith Ellison’s to lose, and his best competition expected to be two players that do not have NFL experience (Bowen, Harris) it’s hard to see the four-year veteran being the starter come September and here’s why.

If you read our training camp question 19 on the home page it’s clear the coaching staff values playing experience at the NFL level. And in a season when making the playoffs is pretty much a must I’ve got to believe that the staff will feel more comfortable with a savvy vet like Ellison on the field.

The only thing that trumps that as I see it is a remarkable playmaking preseason by Bowen or Harris.

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Fan Friday 7-3

Posted by Chris Brown on July 3, 2009 – 2:45 pm

Happy 4th of July weekend everybody, and thanks to our service men and women who keep us a free country so we can continue to celebrate that independence. Now onto your questions.

1. Chris,
Which safeties, free safeties and corners will make the 53 man roster? How will they impact Whitner’s play? Thanks

CB: I think the safeties that make the roster are Whitner, Scott, Byrd, Wilson and Wendling. Wilson and Wendling because of their value to special teams. If Byrd comes along quickly and has a monster camp he could start at FS which would move Whitner to full time SS. If Byrd takes longer to develop, Whitner will be the FS and Bryan Scott the SS.
As for cornerbacks I think at least five make the roster.


2. Hi Chris,
I’m concerned about the outside LB spot vacated by Angelo Crowell. Who’s going to start? It’s obvious that Keith Ellison can’t remain the starter. Are the Bills content and certain that Nic Harris is the answer?

CB: It’s Ellison’s job to lose. He’s clearly got the edge in experience and is a heady player to begin with. His main competition will be Alvin Bowen and Nic Harris. We’ll see what shakes loose in camp and the preseason.


3. Dear Chris,
Is Trent Edwards a leader of this team or not?
It is a question I don’t hear much asked but it is very important for the future of the team.
Is Trent Edwards a leader? Is he considered a team leader? Is he a leader in the locker room? Does he take command during games and lead? Does he have that Kellyesque field general mentality that we need. I’m starting to have my doubts.
What’s your take? If you could answer this question, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you for your time.
Die Hard Bills Fan,
Jack Harmsen
Buzzards Bay, Ma

CB: I think Trent Edwards can be a leader for this team. By no means is he as in your face as Kelly was because he doesn’t have the same personality. What complicated his stepping into a leadership role last year was the presence of J.P. Losman. It’s very hard to step forward and lead when the guy that used to do that is standing behind you.

As a young starter I think Trent really wrestled with that last year. It’s also hard to lead when you haven’t accomplished a lot yet in your career. When you’ve been there and done that it’s easier to take charge. I think Trent will be a more demonstrative leader this year because Losman is gone and the coaching staff has given him a huge vote of confidence with the added offensive responsibilities he now has.


4. Hey Chris,
I just read about T.O. having some of the mini camp workouts being shot for a VH1 show.  With other things already causing a bit of a distraction (off the field issues) do you think this is something that could’ve been shut down?  Do you think it’ll affect the players and coaches focus as we try to rebuild with the new acquisitions?

CB: First of all, to my knowledge the VH-1 cameras will not be allowed at One Bills Drive in any capacity during practices or the regular work day for the players. So affecting player focus doesn’t appear to be an issue. The show isn’t about football at all, but rather Owens’ off the field life. So the only person who could be distracted is Owens and I don’t see that happening as hard as he practices and plays. The game is too important to him.


5. With pretty talented depth at Cornerback, do you see McKelvin as an elite corner in the league now that he will be starting on the other side of McGee?

CB: I think Leodis McKelvin has the potential to be an elite cornerback in the league, yes. It is my contention that he will be a Pro Bowl cornerback in the near future. Probably not this year, but it will happen in the next 2 to 3 years in my opinion. I think he can be that good.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-5

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2009 – 8:25 pm

OTAs are almost over and then it’s three days of minicamp before the six week break. Hard to believe training camp is around the corner. On to your questions.

1. Hello Chris,

What are the chances the Bills trade Kelsay with or without Parrish to get Scheffler? Denver needs to improve their defense and we need to get a TE badly. We also have Maybin now… And shouldn’t we sign one of the remaining free agent linebackers? It seems like if we could be put this all together, the Bills could be a real competitor this year. What do you think?



CB: I don’t see it happening, mainly because Denver has recently come out and said how much they intend to make use of Scheffler in their offense. Some might see that as window dressing to move him, but knowing that Kyle Orton won’t be slinging it downfield nearly as much as Cutler did for Denver, makes Scheffler that much more valuable as an intermediate receiving threat. Minus Cutler Denver will need to hold onto all the offensive talent they’ve got and Scheffler is too valuable to part with.


2. Chris,
What is the situation with Shawn Nelson?
How much are Xavier Omon and Marcus Smith being used in practice?  Do they have a reasonable chance of making the 53 man roster?  Do you see the team keeping a backup center, and if so, who?  Do you think Chris Ellis is making much progress, I expected a little more from him last year (I know you can’t expect too much from rookies).  Are any of the undrafted guys making much of an impression (maybe Ashlee Palmer?)
Thanks for the updates.

CB: Shawn Nelson was dealing with some personal issues this week according to head coach Dick Jauron. He’s expected back next week. 

As for Xavier Omon and Marcus Smith, one is seeing more time than the other. Smith is being rotated in with the second team defense. He subs in for Spencer Johnson and has done okay. Again it’s hard to assess line play in the OTA setting because there isn’t live contact and hitting in the trenches. He’s an interesting prospect after he spent last year on the practice squad.

Omon’s reps have been limited with Lynch, Jackson and Rhodes ahead of him. In fact Bruce Hall, last year’s practice squad back has seen more reps than Omon this week. We’ll see if that continues, and if it does Omon has an uphill climb to make the roster.

Ellis is progressing. He’s working with the second team on defense and sharing reps with Copeland Bryan on the right side. Again line play is not something you can asses in the OTA setting. We’ll see how far he’s come when we get to training camp.  


3. Hi Chris,  just a question on who you believe will emerge as our starting strong side linebacker….is it possible that Mitchell will be moved to the strong side and a smaller linebacker will take over on the weak side…thanks again for all your insight…Ray

CB: I think that’s a tough one to answer. So everyone is clear Keith Ellison plays the strong side with Mitchell on the open or weak side. That’s been the same through OTAs. I think it’s Ellison’s position to lose. His greatest competition at the spot will be Alvin Bowen and rookie Nic Harris. Ellison is obviously the most experienced in the system and one of the smartest players on the team. That goes a long way with this staff. I think one of the other two candidates will have to show greater playmaking ability and equal smarts to take the spot away from him.


4. Hey Chris,
Following the Bills in the OTAs this year, I’m noticing Aaron Schobel was participating early on but now has been absent for a while. Is everything okay with him? I’m hoping he hasn’t re-injured his foot or that it wasn’t quite healed after all. Pease let us know.

CB: Schobel is fine. He was here for the first week of OTAs and has chosen to skip the remaining voluntary practice sessions which run through Monday. He’ll be here for the mandatory minicamp which begins on Tuesday. In the time he was here he said his foot felt good and that he was encouraged by how it responded to three straight days of work. Hopefully that continues through minicamp.
5. Chris, you’ve wrote a lot about “would be” sacks, and I was wondering how the offensive line is doing? Do you think that they show any early signs of meshing well together? I know that it takes time to get the cohesiveness down, but I feel this season’s success hinges on just that happening. On paper they have a team that can contend for a playoff berth, but I really think that it comes down to the o-line.
Thanks…Bryan – Canandaigua NY

CB:  I agree with you that a lot of Buffalo’s offensive success will hinge on the offensive line’s ability to jell with five guys in five new positions up front. As for the pass pressure and ‘would be’ sacks a lot of them are coming on blitz calls, which at this point in time the offensive line isn’t always ready to handle and adjust to. That’s part of why it’s so important for the starting five, whoever they wind up being, spend as much time together as possible.

That being said I will say that Seth McKinney and Geoff Hangartner did a heck of a job picking up a blitz by Paul Posluszny and it enabled Trent to hit Lee Evans for a 65-yard touchdown play.

We’ll get a better assessment in training camp and the preseason.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Radio appearances

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2009 – 6:48 pm

Keith Ellison and Dominic Rhodes will both be on the air in Canada Tuesday.

Ellison will appear on the TEAM 1040AM in Vancouver, BC some time between 9-noon ET. You can listen live here

Dominic Rhodes will be a guest on The Fan 590AM in Toronto at 8:05 am (Tuesday).  Audio will be available at their online site.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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