Inside The Bills

DT Heard lands with Rams

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2012 – 12:11 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey said long before final cuts were made that there were going to be some good players trimmed from Buffalo’s roster that would play elsewhere. DT Kellen Heard was the latest example.

Heard signed with the Rams. St. Louis needs DT help after their top pick Michael Brockers went down with a high ankle sprain. He also benefited from the fact that his former defensive line coach in Oakland is the current defensive line coach in St. Louis in Mike Waufle.

Despite being cut loose by the Bills, Heard was grateful for the time he got to play in Buffalo.

I knew it was a normal numbers game,” Heard told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.. “It was nothing against Buffalo. They gave me a great opportunity and I love the organization for that.”


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Good news for DT Heard

Posted by Chris Brown on August 15, 2012 – 11:32 am

Bills DT Kellen Heard limped off the practice field Tuesday night as the team took x-rays of his injured right leg. Head coach Chan Gailey had good news however, on Heard’s condition.

“Tests were negative and he fought through (practice),” said Gailey after Wednesday’s final practice session at St. John Fisher. “He wasn’t 100 percent, but he made it through practice and will get better in the next two days and may be able to play.”

Heard has been battling high ankle sprains and other leg ailments since the spring.

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Scott and Heard updates

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 6:51 pm

Bryan Scott and Kellen Heard returned to the fold in practice Saturday, but one had a heavier workload than the other.

Scott, who missed Friday’s practice with a thigh contusion, was back practicing in full on Saturday doing all team work. Heard however, only participated in individual position drills coming off of an ankle injury that kept him out for a week. Having missed most of the spring practices due to the same ankle being injured, team doctors examined Heard’s ankle further to see if they had missed anything in their diagnosis. Gailey got that report back.

“No, it was nothing major that they had missed,” Gailey said. “It was what they thought originally. It’s just taken a lot longer. He’s one that thye say we’ll get back and get to start work with him on Monday.”


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2 return on defense

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 2:07 pm

The Bills defense will have 2 players back from injury in the fold.

Bryan Scott is back from a thigh contusion and Kellen Heard is back from an ankle injury.

We’ll update their level of participation as practice wears on.

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Heard heads to locker room

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2012 – 3:04 pm

DT Kellen Heard appears to be done for the day after sustaining some kind of injury or ailment.

It happened during 1-on-1 pass rush drills. Heard tried to walk it off but has retired to the locker room early.

It also appears that S Josh Nesbitt has seen his day end early as well.

We’ll get details on both after practice.

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Who’s left for the nose?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2011 – 10:19 am

With both of Buffalo’s top two nose tackles on injured reserve in Kyle Williams and Torell Troup, the Bills have just a couple of options left to man that demanding spot when they go to their 3-4 front.

Of late the Bills have played a lot more 4-3 looks against the Dolphins and Jets the past two weeks. Whether that continues remain to be seen. But if they do go to their 3-4 front, Chan Gailey shed some light on how things would shape up personnel-wise at the nose.

“It’ll be a mix,” Gailey told “Kellen (Heard) will probably play the first snap in there, but it will be a mix. We’ll roll all those guys in there to keep everybody fresh. Our defensive line coach Giff Smith does a great job with that group and has them ready to be interchangeable.”

Gailey also said that Marcell Dareus would be part of that mix.

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Picture at nose tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2011 – 10:48 am

With Torell Troup going on injured reserve Buffalo’s options for a 3-4 nose tackle are down to two.

Realistically only Marcell Dareus and Kellen Heard are capable of being an effective nose tackle in a 3-4 front for Buffalo now. Of late the Bills have played more of a 4-3 front, so the loss of Troup might not be that severe.

Based on what Chan Gailey said last week regarding 4-3 vs. 3-4 injury could prompt Buffalo’s defensive staff to play more 4-3 than 3-4 the rest of the way.

Some of it has to do with who’s healthy and who’s not, who we think can play, what we think the best matchup is as far as run game vs. tight end, throw vs. back out of the backfield. You take all of those things in consideration, it’s never just one thing,” said Gailey last week.

Buffalo has played more 4-3 each of the past two games, including last week against the Jets when Troup was inactive.

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Troup-Heard combo?

Posted by Chris Brown on October 16, 2011 – 8:23 am

With Kyle Williams very iffy for today’s game against the Giants, the Bills have options at nose tackle.

Buffalo is expected to have Torell Troup at the healthiest he has been all season as he practiced fully the entire week for the first time on the year. If Williams winds up being inactive, Troup is expected to start in his place. The Bills also have the luxury of having the very capable Kellen Heard as a rotational nose behind Troup. 

Depth up front has been a problem in recent years, but fortunately that is no longer the case for the Bills. And if for some reason Troup’s back issues resurface in the game don’t be surprised if Marcell Dareus kicks inside to help fill the void. Of course this is all predicated on if Kyle Williams is inactive.

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Troup struggling with back

Posted by Chris Brown on October 6, 2011 – 3:13 pm

Bills DT Torell Troup finally got over some lower back problems last week and played in his first game of the 2011 season at Cincinnati last week. But the back problems have resurfaced and are keeping him out of practice.

Troup practiced Wednesday, but missed Thursday’s session.

“Troup is struggling with that back again,” said Gailey. “He’s going to have a hard time making it this week.”

With Troup’s chances of playing this week decreasing by the day, Kellen Heard would be the man to fill Troup’s rotational nose tackle role should Troup be ruled out for Sunday’s game.

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No Troup might shift things

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2011 – 6:20 pm

With Torell Troup out for Sunday’s game, it could shift the assignments on Buffalo’s defensive line.

Alex Carrington could prove to be the most affected. Manning a nickel OLB pass rusher type role thus far in the preseason, he may have to play more of a down lineman role in Buffalo’s defensive line rotation. Kellen Heard, who had been playing a lot of end, figures to shift inside to nose tackle, with Carrington likely to spell him at end.

We’ll see how it all shakes out Sunday.

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Players who aren’t 100%

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2011 – 6:41 pm

There are a few Bills players that will dress and play tonight against the Bears that are not 100 percent. They’ll be closely monitored by the Bills staff and their playing time could be shorter than some of the others.

DT Torell Troup
DL Kellen Heard
LB Antonio Coleman
OL Chris Hairston

So if you see one of them exit the game sooner than anticipated it’s likely due to a nagging minor injury. Troup of course will have a big club wrap on his broken right hand.

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Fan Friday 6-3

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2011 – 12:09 pm

Hard to believe we’re into June already. We’ve got some uniform tidbits and some roster talk  this week so let’s get to your questions from and keep them coming.

1 – Chris, 

I would like to hear your opinion between Kellen Heard and Michael Jasper.  Heard was added to the roster late last season.  He is listed as 6’6″ 355lb. DT, signed off of the Raiders practice squad.  Then there is the newly drafted Michael Jasper whom I believe is listed as 6’4″ 375.  Also listed as a DT.  I guess the question is shouldn’t we be just as excited about Heard as Jasper.  I am thinking that Heard slipped into the team late last year and mostly unnoticed, but he is a very big man.  Jasper was drafted during one of the more exciting times of the season, “the draft”.  Your thoughts between these two men.


CB: Well I think it’s clear that both players have a hill to climb to crack this roster. The two of them are likely to be going head to head for what could be the last spot on the active roster at defensive line. Last year Buffalo’s coaching staff kept seven defensive linemen. Right now the top 6 are Carrington, Dareus, Edwards, Johnson, Troup and Williams leaving one spot available provided the rest of the roster falls in such a way to allow for a seventh defensive lineman.

Heard benefits from being here for about six weeks last season. He has familiarity with the system. Jasper is coming in cold and without having played defensive line the past two years. Both are intriguing, but they’ll have to really impress to crack what has quickly become a pretty solid defensive line depth chart.


2 – Chris, everyone keeps talking about how awesome Kyle Williams in articles and blogs and such. I never remember seeing him really stand out last year. I have trouble getting excited about the guy. Can you please do a video montage of some of the plays Kyle Williams made last year to show off what he did well? This I think would go a long ways to getting myself and many Bills fans excited about 2012.

Rob Conner

CB: Funny you should ask this question Rob. We have plans to do video pieces on of the Top 10 performances from 2010 and Kyle’s game against the Steelers in Week 12 last season is on that list when he had 10 tackles and a couple of sacks and dominated Steelers linemen Chris Kemoeatu and Maurkice Pouncey.

The best part is we have members of Buffalo’s coaching staff breaking down the plays with me in the film room to provide insight on each and every highlight from the players.

The 10-part series will begin on on Tuesday June 14th and aside from a brief interruption with our coverage of the uniform unveiling will run through mid-July. So keep an eye out for it. We’re real excited about it.


3 – Chris,

 By now, we all know that the regular home and away jerseys are changing.  And thanks to Madden, most of us know what they are changing too.  But I saw the THROW BACK jerseys are all on sale for the same price as the discontinued jersey, I have to ask…… Is that going away too?

Steven J. Huber

CB: I’ve been told that he team will not be wearing an alternate third jersey in the 2011 season. Just a home and away jersey.



4 – Why did the Bills pick June 24th as the day to unveil the new jerseys?


CB: There were two main factors in June 24th being selected and both of them involve timing issues. The first was late June was the absolute earliest that the new jerseys would be available from Reebok. That’s why the new jerseys were not used during the NFL draft when Marcell Dareus was up on stage at Radio City Music Hall. They weren’t available yet

Changing uniforms in the NFL is an 18-month process with a countless number of stages and steps. It’s not a quick turnaround by any means.

The second timing issue has to do with the Ralph Wilson Stadium turf. Shortly after June 24th the old turf is being pulled up for the new turf scheduled for installation for the 2011 season. Obviously an event on a torn up football field does not provide for the best of venues knowing there will be field access for fans that attend the uniform unveiling.  

Hope that clears it up for you.



5 – Chris,

Thanks for all you do. What do you think taking Johnny White in the draft means for the RB situation? Is there possibility for trade with him here?

Also, assuming Fred Jackson starts, can he push for the 2nd RB, starting over C.J.?

Thank you,
Max, Lakeview N.Y.

CB: I think in this day and age of the NFL you need a stable of backs. Last year in the preseason we watched Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson go down in the first half of their first preseason game leaving only C.J. and at the time Chad Simpson.

Most NFL clubs carry three backs on their 53-man roster because it is such a punishing position along with a fullback.

So I’m anticipating White to be the third back behind Fred and C.J. and for him to spell them once in a while when they need a break or in the event of injury while also contributing on special teams where he’s a pretty darn good asset in the opinion of Bills special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven with whom I spoke recently. And thanks for the kind words.

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Fan Friday 5-27

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2011 – 12:47 pm

Time to get rolling with another edition of Fan Friday with your questions from

1 – Chris, as Bills fans I think we are prone to believing that change is always for the better. Can you shed any light on the qualifications of the new scouting department that Buddy has brought in? I know Bills fans were eager to move on from Modrak however was his dismissal so Buddy could bring in an old friend’s son and guy he recruited when coaching in 1972? What are the qualifications of the new hires?  Do they have a track record and any talent they are specifically credited with finding? How do the new hires’ experience match up to Modrak’s? Am I off base by saying that the Buffalo Bills will now only go as far as Buddy Nix’s eye for talent takes us?
– Colorado Bills Backers

CB: I think you’re selling the new hires short. First, Pro Personnel Director Tom Gibbons was with the organization from the time he started in this business in 1992. He worked with Buddy Nix when he was with the organization the first time and then again when both followed John Butler and A.J. Smith to San Diego. Nix has worked with Gibbons for the better part of the last 18 years. He wouldn’t hire him if he didn’t think he could add to the operation. Granted Cook is a guy that has some close history with Nix as his father coached with Buddy at one time. But to his credit Cook has his own self made resume in scouting.

Cook oversaw the pre-draft process for the Kansas City Chiefs for a dozen years, so he’s most definitely qualified for his current assignment with Buffalo. Buddy Nix made it plain. He only hires people he knows first hand. He’s not hiring people off recommendations.

Now comparing the experience of these two men up against Tom Modrak might not be fair since Modrak has been in the game since the late 60’s. But I believe Nix is confident these guys have an eye for talent that will only deepen the pool of quality players on Buffalo’s roster.

2 – Chris:
We have some defensive linemen who should be real run stoppers – Kyle Williams, Torrell Troup, Alex Carringon and Marcell Dareus. Kellen Heard and Mike Jasper both seem to have some huge upside (no pun intended); any chance we’ll see them this year, or will they be more likely relegated to the Practice Squad? It would neat to see us play the Ravens or Browns with Heard and Jasper on the inside, and Williams and Dareus on the outside.
Mike Allen, Pittsford

CB: I think Jasper has to come a long way in a short period of time (getting shorter with each day of the lockout) to convince the coaching staff he’s NFL ready as a rookie. Both he and Kellen Heard have a much bigger hill to climb with the depth of the defensive front now with Dareus in the fold and Torell Troup and Alex Carrington now second-year players. Buffalo’s staff is unlikely to keep more than six or seven defensive linemen on the active roster. Last year they kept seven, so if it’s seven that last spot could be between Jasper and Heard.

3 – Chris, 

Can you break down what you presume to be the starters for the defensive backfield? Listening to Buddy, it seems McGee, McKelvin, and Williams will be in competition for starting. In terms of SS how deep on the depth chart is Searcy? Buddy wants to bring back Drayton, how would that affect Reggie Corner and Rogers? How does the coaching staff plan to better defend the TE, in almost every game a linebacker or safety was burned in pass coverage. 

CB: A lot of questions there. Basically if McGee stays healthy and McKelvin is more consistent and no other additions are made or return I anticipate that McGee and McKelvin will be the starters outside. Those are a lot of ifs however. McGee has had trouble staying healthy the past two seasons and McKelvin has not been consistent.

That could open the door for Williams if he has a solid training camp, provided there is one. I don’t believe Williams will do any worse than being the third corner. McGee has been the team’s best run support corner. If staying healthy is still an issue for him they need a good run support corner on the strong side and Williams is the next best option for that.

Corner and Rogers would be corners four and five with other additions likely leading up to the season before final roster cuts are made.

As for Searcy I believe he will push both Bryan Scott and George Wilson for a starting role. He’s bigger than both of them physically and being stouter in the run front is critical for this team. Provided he shows and ability to cover he could be in the mix for that starting SS job, especially if he can muscle up with tight ends.

4 – Why didnt the Bills address o-line or tight end in draft as much in your opinion? And the 7th rounder Mike Jasper the monster d-linemen, will he play some nose tackle or does Williams stay at nose? And finally what happens with Fitz if the Bills miss playoffs again?


CB: I think people are expecting a lot from Jasper because of his athleticism and measurables. I’m not here to sell him short, but rather to keep expectations realistic. He’s got a lot to learn with respect to technique having not played nose tackle the past two seasons. He’s got to make the 53-man roster first. Kyle Williams will start at the nose and his backup will be Torell Troup. Jasper has to convince the staff that he deserves one of the last D-line spots.

As for not addressing offensive line, the Bills drafted a tackle in round four, Chris Hairston who is seen as a right tackle prospect. Tight end Nix said was a position they looked at, but that the board did not fall right with the prospects they had an eye on.

I think the staff believes they can work with Scott Chandler, who was picked up late last season, and Shawn Nelson is still an athletic talent they’d like to find out more about.

Fitzpatrick is the starter in 2011. Beyond that is anybody’s guess because he’s entering the last year of his contract, barring an extension.

5 – Chan wanted to upgrade the pass rush and taking Dareus and Kelvin will help the run game. Are there favorites going forward for the starting edge rushers? Without seeing Merriman on the field yet it’s hard to gauge how good he can be again. Kelsay looked better with his hand on the ground. Moats looked the best in pass/run coverage. Maybin still needs work but Torbor might be a good back up option to. Who do you think Chan likes?

Jack S.

CB: I think the whole pass rush hinges on Merriman. I know, that’s a lot of eggs to put in one basket, but if he’s right the Bills could really make a giant leap forward with their defense instead of steady improvement. If he’s on they could have a top 12 defense. But as you said it’s a wait and see type deal.

I believe Moats will only improve in year two, I’m interested to see what Danny Batten has to offer. Torbor I’m anticipating might move inside where he played for most of the two seasons prior to his arrival in Buffalo.

Who Chan likes is really anybody’s guess.

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Fan Friday 12-18

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2010 – 2:39 pm

It’s Miami week and Chad Henne has lost his last six starts at SunLife Stadium. We’ll see if the Bills can make it seven. Now to your questions from
1 – Chris,

I am a diehard Bills fan, and though this season has been as tough as I can remember, I love to see how hard the players have fought for their victories as well as their narrow defeats.  What bothers me is that during every game, you can almost count the seconds until they have a costly fumble at an inopportune time.  This past week was full of them. I’ll let Fitzpatrick slide on the interceptions, because sometimes he’s just trying to make a tough play…but the fumbles are so easy to prevent.  It started with Nelson’s fumble against Baltimore, and has continued every week.  What is the coaching staff doing to teach better ball protection?  Sometimes, you just need to stop fighting for the extra yard, and hit the deck – as Mike Wallace did during the overtime period against Pittsburgh.  Get what you can, and get down before you get stripped.  If Nelson does this, we beat Baltimore and possibly gain the confidence to win a few more close games.  Nevertheless, Go Bills!  You’ve got a lot of fans who will support you through everything.

Syracuse, NY

CB: Ball security has been an issue no question. Buffalo is tied for third in fumbles through 13 games played with 26. Only Arizona (28) and Oakland (29) have more. More importantly the Bills are fifth in the league in fumbles lost with 12. On Carolina, Denver, the Giants and Tennessee have more.

I asked coach Gailey about this problem a couple of weeks ago. Here was his response.

“The ball has been out way too much the last few ball games. That’s something we harp on and talk about every week. So you just have to get back to it with these guys. You make them concentrate on it and work on drills each week. It’s not something that you ever take for granted. It’s something you work on and concentrate on each week.”

Truthfully, there’s only so much a coaching staff can do to keep guys from fumbling. In the end it’s the players on the field that have to remember proper ball security.

2 – Hey Chris,
I was wondering what a day in the typical work week looks like for players and coaches.  When do they all arrive, where do they go?  What do they do?  When do they leave?  Also, I assume for home games they are expected to arrive at the stadium by like 9:30 or 10:00, but for away games, when do they fly out?  Do they always fly, even if they are only going to, say, Cleveland?  Are they expected to bring anything they’ll want, or does the team have someone make sure they have 180 sweatbands and gloves?  I know this is not “on the field” stuff, but its stuff that I really wonder about. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions.
Jimmy (Fairport)

CB: Coaches work a lot more hours than players. Typically 15 to 16 hours a day. Their longest day is Tuesdays. That’s typically when they put the game plan together for the next game. They also lay out the practice schedule for the week in terms of play installs and situational football. For them it’s a seven-day work week.

For the players their day typically starts at 7am. Lighter days of work are usually Monday and Friday. On Mondays they review game film from the previous game and get treatment for injuries. Some may begin to watch tape of the next opponent. Tuesdays are their day off.

Wednesday is the beginning of prep for the next game with meetings (offense, defense) and positional meetings (DBs, LBs, QBs, etc.). Practice is in the afternoon and most watch film on their own Wed-Fri. after practices.

Saturday practice is typically situational football, before they leave to travel in early afternoon for away games. They always fly to away venues, even Cleveland. Equipment staff packs bags for players Friday. Players just bring an overnight bag on their own.

Players have choice of early bus, second bus or late bus to the stadium on game day. Last one usually arrives around 9:45 for a 1 pm game. After away games they’re on buses back to the airport and wheels up about 90 minutes after the game is over.

3 – Hey Chris,
I was wondering if we were going to see any of Brian Brohm or Levi Brown this year?  There are only 3 games left and the playoff picture has been painted so it seems that it would make sense to start evaluating talent for next year.  Would it not?  I think that we know what we have in Fitzpatrick and it would be interesting to see how Brohm and/or Levi would fair not that Gailey has effectively implemented his offensive scheme.  I look forward to your thoughts!
Eric from Rochester, NY

CB: Barring an injury to Fitz I would not expect to see either of them this season. Fitz has earned the right to finish the season and it’s my belief that Chan Gailey and his offensive staff feel they know everything they need to know about Brian Brohm and Levi Brown.
4 – If there is a lock out this offseason what happens with the draft? Will there be one this year and another next year with the same order?
Nicholas Flickinger

CB: The 2011 NFL draft will go on as scheduled. I’ve made a personal inquiry as to whether the date of the draft (April 28-30) might be moved up knowing the current CBA expires March 3. I was told by the league office that the draft date is set.

As for the 2012 NFL draft I’m not anticipating it will be affected because the labor issues should be solved by then.
5 – Chris,
What are the chances of seeing DT Kellen Heard on the field soon? What are the details on the length of his contract?
With the worst rushing defense in the league, it wouldn’t hurt to see him get some snaps, especially against a run-heavy Dolphins team.

CB: I think it’s a long shot to see him on the field. The Bills have made a point of bringing in a lot of talent off the waiver wire and other places to see if they are players that can help them from a depth perspective or perhaps more NEXT season. Here’s what Chan had to say about Heard to give you a better idea.

“We want him to learn,” said Gailey. “If we get an injury or two he may have to go in there and play at the end of the season here, but we really don’t have any expectations right now. We just want him to learn and see how he moves around and how he picks up things. He does have to be ready though just in case. He’s a guy we wanted a closer look at in the practice setting.”

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