The release of WR Kolby Listenbee might be a surprise to some, but without knowing the details of his condition and his prognosis moving forward (groin/hip), it’s clear the Bills are looking to have all their options readily available and on the field.
Listenbee was widely viewed last year at this time as the eventual replacement for Marquise Goodwin as a field stretching speed receiver. Goodwin was entering the last year of his contract and was not expected to be back in 2017. Listenbee’s groin surgery however, interrupted those plans and he never got on the field last year. Further complications with his pelvis/hip only delayed his return.
Still waiting now to participate in practice, the current front office and coaching staff, which had no real ties to Listenbee waived him with a non-football injury designation.
If he goes unclaimed he will be a free agent so his ties to the Bills are essentially over.
Buffalo’s wide receiving corps isn’t necessarily lacking speed, but Listenbee’s speed was essentially replaced in the form of Rashad Ross. Ross, whose nickname is ‘The Rocket,’ clocked the league’s fastest play in 2015 when he hit a top speed of 21.5 miles per hour on his 101-yard kick return for a touchdown against the Giants.
He also ran track at Arizona State and ran the 100 meters in 10.35.
As much as the Ross addition directly impacted Listenbee, one wonders how it could impact veteran Brandon Tate. Tate is the most proven return specialist on Buffalo’s roster, but he now has competition which has a fair amount of NFL experience in Ross. We’ll see how things play out as we move into mandatory minicamp next week and training camp in late July and August.
Tags: Kolby Listenbee, Rashad Ross
Posted in Inside the Bills
He’s got a long way to go in his current rehab as profiled in our daily Bills Today here on Thursday, but WR Kolby Listenbee is determined to get his career off the ground.
His entire rookie season was wiped out by a double hernia surgery that did not heal as expected requiring a couple of more procedures. Listenbee hopes to be back practicing full go by training camp at the latest, and once he’s back on the field, he’s already got his to-do list.
“I feel like I bring a lot of things to the team,” he said. “I’ve just got to work on small things like route running and confidence. Just knowing the whole entire scheme so I can go out there and make plays. I know Tyrod is here right now so if I can get back on my feet and start catching the ball with him that could build my confidence back up.”
Tags: John Murphy show, Kolby Listenbee
Posted in Inside the Bills
His rookie season was already over before it started as WR Kolby Listenbee was unable to take the field due to complications from his double hernia surgery in March. On Tuesday he had a second surgery to address those complications.
That according to Listenbee’s Twitter account where he explained that he had a metal plate surgically implanted on his pelvis to correct the problem.
The return 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/tuRXFkkrXc
— Kolby Listenbee ™️ (@List10bee_Swagg) December 13, 2016
Tags: Kolby Listenbee
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills was Reggie Ragland outperforming Zach Brown at camp, or was he slated to start due to the resources invested in him?
CB: Reggie Ragland was one of the most instinctive run defending rookies I’ve seen at the linebacker position in a while. Ragland has a much more physical game than Zach Brown and I think that’s what was most appealing to the defensive staff. I believe even if Ragland was healthy that Brown would’ve seen time on obvious passing downs due to his coverage ability.
Ragland out of the gate was probably one of the two best run defending linebackers on the roster with Preston Brown. That’s why he was in the starting lineup.
2 –@ChrisBrownBills Sir when you can, please let us fans know when Shaq going to play & Listenbee?
CB: I fully anticipate that Shaq Lawson will begin practicing with the team next week, but to think he’s going to play at Miami next Sunday after three or four days of practice I believe is a bit unrealistic, even though head coach Rex Ryan talked about Lawson playing right away in Week 7.
We have to remember that Lawson did not participate in a single team practice. His shoulder required surgery after a rookie minicamp practice. He’s never been on the field with any of the other players on defense. He’s never physically repped this defensive scheme with teammates, let alone at game speed.
I would expect him to at least get a couple of weeks of practice in before they begin to blend him into the defensive rotation. My guess would be the New England game provided he comes along and executes consistently in practice.
As for Listenbee, Ryan expressed doubt that he would be practicing any time soon. Here was his comment on Wednesday this week about Listenbee’s availability to practice.
“I don’t have the confidence with that as I do with Shaq,” Ryan said.
Listenbee has had some setbacks in his recovery from double sports hernia surgery. Every case is different and it appears that Listenbee’s recovery is going to take a little longer. If his inability to practice stretches beyond Week 10 then he won’t see the field at all this season.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills will the Bills open up the passing game more this week? Don’t remember too many deep throws past couple weeks
CB: The only deep shots I remember was the overthrow to Woods when he had his man beat down the left sideline in the second half last week and there was another to Goodwin that didn’t connect. I’d like to think there will be a couple more just to loosen up the defense. The 49ers though are really struggling to stop the run, so their weakness on defense kind of plays into Buffalo’s hands, so don’t expect the ball to be flying all that much.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills what’s up with Aaron Williams? Didn’t he leave last week’s game with a shoulder injury?
CB: Last week Aaron Williams left the game with what was reported by the team as a shoulder injury and he was questionable to return. But on the next defensive series Williams was back at his safety position and finished the game.
This week he has an ankle injury and has been limited in practice, but is expected to start.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see an increased role for Bush anytime soon or are his days in Buffalo possibly numbered?
CB: They have certain packages in the offense designed with Reggie Bush in mind, but for whatever reason they’ve chosen not to make use of those to this point. I wouldn’t go so far as to say his days are numbered. I think he’s good insurance behind LeSean McCoy because he’s the only back on the roster that can do some of what McCoy can do.
Tags: Aaron Williams, Bills passing game, Fan Friday, Kolby Listenbee, Reggie Bush, Reggie Ragland, Shaq Lawson, Zach Brown
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills who is the starting RT, nickel corner, how far apart are gilmore and organization on new agreement?
CB: The favorite going into camp for the starting right tackle spot is Jordan Mills. Seantrel Henderson has to prove he’s healthy and capable of practicing day in and day out if he’s going to try to win the job back. Cyrus Kouandjio has an uphill battle in front of him to unseat one of them for a starting role.
Nickell Robey is the incumbent and favorite to keep the nickel job, but he’ll have big time competition from Sterling Moore. Corey White is another corner who may factor in there, but Moore will likely be his stiffest competition inside.
As for Gilmore there is no new developments at this point, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change in the next couple of weeks. As has been stated before, the deal Washington handed Josh Norman ($15M/yr) threw the entire cornerback market out of whack. It’s inflated the market beyond where it was expected to be right now and has NFL clubs with top corners concerned they won’t be able to keep them under contract due to where the market was set with the Norman deal.
Norman is largely a zone corner and got paid $15M per year. Players like Gilmore, a man-to-man corner arguably have a tougher job than Norman and are probably expecting at least that much. If Gilmore holds fast to a $15M/yr. contract demand there’s likely to be no new agreement anytime soon. I can’t see the Bills going that high.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Does Jonathan Williams chances take a big hit because of his lapse in judgement? I am really disappointed.
CB: I’m sure the Bills coaching staff is disappointed too after all the encouraging signs they saw from the rookie running back in minicamp. I felt he had a legitimate chance of being the team’s backup to LeSean McCoy. He’ll still be able to compete for that role at training camp, so I don’t know how big a hit this DUI charge will have in terms of where he ends up on the running back depth chart.
Williams’ DUI charges will now be handled in the courts. If he’s found guilty a first offense under the NFL’s revised policy (2014) for DUI will result in a two-game suspension. Based on informed NFL sources that suspension stands a good chance of being imposed at some point during the 2016 regular season.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills where do you think the Bills will rank defensively now that Rex has more guys who supposedly fit his system?
CB: If everything goes according to plan with Ryan’s more traditional 3-4 scheme, the starting lineup stay relatively healthy and rookies like Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington contribute as expected and Shaq Lawson can be back in time to play more than half the season (10 games?) then I think this defense can flirt with being a top 10 unit again.
Granted those are a lot of variables I listed, but the key here is they feel they’ve greatly improved the coaching staff on that side of the ball with DL coach John Blake, Asst. secondary coach Ed Reed and Assistant head coach Rob Ryan. I think the players on defense also learned a very hard lesson last season when they did not fully buy into Rex’s system. So I believe the motivation will be there to redeem themselves after a down season.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills who’s your sleeper going into training camp to make a big impact, possibly start?
CB: I don’t know about sleepers that will start, but I think Dez Lewis could challenge for the No. 3 WR role. He’s really come on entering his second season and had a solid spring. I think Blake Annen is a tight end candidate who could be Charles Clay’s understudy from a pass catching perspective even though vet Jim Dray is the designated blocking TE. And I think with a strong camp rookie Kevon Seymour could be one of the first corners off the bench if there’s an injury to Gilmore or Darby during the season.
I outlined some top sleepers in our Camp Countdown this week.
5 – Chris,
Can you give an update on how Kolby Listenbee looks and his chances to make the roster? He has the straight line speed that no one on the roster has but is raw in his routes. I don’t expect him to win the 3rd WR job but is his long term potential and ability to stretch the field make him have more value than some others? Is he a special teams guy either as gunner/returner?
CB: Listenbee was very limited in the spring coming off double sports hernia surgery. That was followed by an inflamed pelvis. He’s been here at One Bills Drive since minicamp working to complete all his rehab and get medically cleared. At this point I’m not sure it’s going to happen by training camp. His rehab has had some peaks and valleys.
There’s no debating his playmaking potential knowing his straight line speed is world class, and he figures to be an option on kick returns. It all depends on whether he’s cleared medically to participate when training camp opens.
Tags: Bills defense, Fan Friday, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Mills, Kolby Listenbee, Seantrel Henderson
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills who do you think is going to be our rookie of the year?
CB: I think the player who has the best opportunity to be rookie of the year is Reggie Ragland. With Shaq Lawson expected to miss a portion of the regular season coming off shoulder surgery it removes him as a likely candidate. Then add in the fact that Ragland is a recognized name from his widespread exposure at Alabama and that he’ll be playing a position where he can rack up a lot of statistics, and I believe the opportunity is good for Ragland’s play to stand out.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see Sterling Moore as the nickel corner or will Robey keep his spot?
CB: I certainly believe that Moore will be some of Robey’s stiffest competition. His time in the slot to this point has been somewhat limited, though I did see him line up there for a handful of snaps in the open practice session this week.
Moore does have a size advantage on Robey at that role (who doesn’t), but Robey has near perfect technique. He has to otherwise he’s not playing in the NFL. I know the coaching staff like Robey a lot, so I think Moore would have to clearly outplay him to unseat him from that role.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills what receiver has stood out in OTA’s.
CB: The receiver that has stood out the most has been second-year man Dez Lewis. He’s made a lot of plays. Now Robert Woods has made a ton of plays too in the OTAs, but I think Lewis is the biggest surprise. Lewis has added good lean muscle mass to his 6-4 frame and has not only demonstrated good ability to win on passes in traffic, but has also shown the ability to get separation. He can thank his improved route running for that.
He’ll have legitimate competition in veterans like Jarrett Boykin, Greg Little and Leonard Hankerson, but so far so good for Lewis in trying to nail down a role in Buffalo’s receiving corps.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills who do you think will get the punt/kick return duties for 2016 #bills
CB: There are a few candidates as seems to be the case every year, but the names have changed. CB Javier Arenas and WR Walter Powell have seen the most consistent work on returns. It’s safe to say that Marquise Goodwin and Kolby Listenbee will be given opportunities on kick return when available just based on pure speed.
I think Listenbee is a good bet for kick return. Punt return is a bit tougher to call only because both Arenas and Powell will be fighting for roster spots and the job may ultimately fall to someone else, like perhaps Robert Woods who has plenty of return experience.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance Colin Kaepernick ends up in Buffalo?
CB: I’d be a bit surprised if Kaepernick winds up in Buffalo. I realize a lot of people are trying to connect dots knowing that Kaepernick had his greatest success in the NFL under Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Unless the 49ers are giving Kaepernick away and want to cover part of his salary, I don’t believe Buffalo takes a run at him.
The main reason is his $11.9M cap figure. Knowing a Stephon Gilmore extension is a priority for the Bills and that an extension for Tyrod Taylor is likely if he performs as expected I can’t see Kaepernick making much business.
The other reason I could see the Bills not being interested is Buffalo finally has some stability at the quarterback position with Tyrod Taylor as its starter. Adding Kaepernick would bring some uncertainty to the position in terms of depth chart hierarchy. If for some reason Taylor struggled in a game or two and Kaepernick was on the roster, fans would be calling to insert him into the lineup.
Most importantly I don’t know that the Bills or any other NFL club is convinced that Kaepernick would make them decidedly better at the quarterback position. His effectiveness as a quarterback has suffered the last couple of seasons. Kaepernick’s career stats are better than Manuel’s, but his completion percentage is largely the same as EJ.
I get the argument that his game could potentially be revitalized under Roman, but unless you can get him for cheap in terms of compensation and at a severely reduced salary (something Kaepernick has balked at before) I don’t know that it’s a reclamation project I’d be interested in. Whether the Bills are interested would largely hinge on what Roman believes he could accomplish with him.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Dez Lewis, Fan Friday, Javier Arenas, Kolby Listenbee, Marquise Goodwin, Nickell Robey, Reggie Ragland, Special teams, Sterling Moore, Walter Powell
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills will the Bills bring in a 4th QB to compete for backup position?
Ace Jay Legend @BillsBacker77
CB: I am not anticipating a fourth quarterback coming in to compete. The main reason why is Cardale Jones needs as many reps as he can possibly get to develop consistent mechanics. From his drop backs to his throwing mechanics, Jones needs all the work he can get in the practice setting. If there’s a fourth quarterback here, every rep he takes is a rep that Jones doesn’t get.
With Jones being a long-term investment I can’t see the Bills bringing in a fourth QB, who is a long shot to make the roster anyway, taking reps away from Jones on the back end of the quarterback rotation in the practice setting.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the Bills taking listenbee in the draft how are the chances Goodwin makes the team?
Jared Bailey @JaredBailey23
CB: I think that’s a very valid question. There’s no denying that Listenbee’s speed rivals that of Goodwin. Listenbee also offers superior size and in watching his game tape is really good at tracking the deep ball. He’s coming off sports hernia surgery and also has inflammation of the pelvis, which will take time to heal.
Listenbee may not be getting physical reps in the practice setting until training camp, so unseating Goodwin for a roster spot might take longer than some might anticipate.
Goodwin has been given the freedom to pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympic team to try to compete in the long jump in Rio. If he makes the Olympic team it will cost him time in training camp with the Olympics taking place in August. I believe that will pose the biggest risk for Goodwin losing a roster spot than Listenbee’s presence on the roster.
There are no ‘seat saves’ in the NFL. That’s a crucial part of the NFL calendar to be missing time.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think the drafting of Washington means anything regarding Kyle Williams future with the team?
CB: If you’re asking whether Kyle’s roster spot could be in jeopardy because Washington is on the roster my answer is no. The plan right now is for Washington to be the team’s left defensive end, with Dareus at nose tackle and Kyle starting at right defensive end.
I don’t think it’s any secret that Kyle is on the back side of his career, but I think the Bills would like to get two more seasons out of him (2016 & 2017) as long as he’s interested in doing so.
The hidden additional value with Kyle is his leadership, which was sorely missed in the locker room last season when he went out in Week 6 with his knee injury (see: Mario Williams).
The addition of Washington should be seen as a complement to the games of Dareus and Williams, not a threat.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see the Bills making any FA/Trade moves along the right side of the offensive line?
CB: I don’t think you can ever rule out a possible move with Doug Whaley as GM. If it makes sense and improves the team he’s shown he’s willing to do it. I know Peter King reported last month that the 49ers would be interested in trading former first-round pick OT Anthony Davis, who chose to take a one-year sabbatical from football, and now wants to resume his NFL career.
A proven player who is just 26-years old would probably come at a high price, even after taking off a year. It would be interesting to see what the 49ers would be looking for in return, even though San Francisco GM Trent Baalke has told Davis that he is not interested in trading him.
His cap hit, if his old contract was re-instated, would be just over $5M for 2016, a bargain by most standards for a player of his caliber. But that’s where things could get sticky too. If he is going to be traded, must that team negotiate a new contract with him? A lot of potential hurdles there.
Besides him there are some veteran guard options out there, but I believe the Bills might play the wait and see game. I don’t believe there’s any sense of panic there. I think they feel good about what they have to work with.
5 – Chris,
How do you feel about the Bills 1st round pick considering who was available? Nkemdiche for example. I feel like it was a bit of a homer pick considering Rex wore a Clemson helmet to a press conference. Do you think he was on the top of our board or was Rex being Rex?
Great work as always Chris! Thanks!
CB: As you saw in our Inside the Draft Room feature and video, the Bills never even thought Shaq Lawson would be available to them there at 19. They had him off the board by the 12th pick in their final stack of the board based on how they thought the first round would fall.
For them Lawson was a tremendous value there at 19. As for Nkemdiche, it was evident that his off the field concerns and on the field concerns were too much for a number of teams besides the Bills. Buffalo just parted ways with a player who did not give his best on the field for the last 10 weeks of last season in Mario Williams. Did you really think they would bring in another player with a history of similar play, especially with their first-round pick?
There was no way that was going to happen.
Tags: 2016 NFL draft, Adolphus Washington, Cardale Jones, Fan Friday, Kolby Listenbee, Kyle Williams, Marquise Goodwin, NFL free agency
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills sixth-round pick Kolby Listenbee, who signed his rookie contract today, is known as a speed receiver and understandably so with 40 times consistently in the 4.3s. But when you have that label you often want to show you can be more than that. Listenbee however, had no choice but to fill that role at TCU.
“At TCU I was labeled as a good speed receiver because we had Josh Doctson and he was a possession receiver and a playmaker. So we had to complement each other. We couldn’t have two idential receivers. I don’t like it sometimes getting labeled as a receiver because I know I can catch the ball and coach Sanjay is going to help me get my routes right.”
Listenbee is credited with improving his route running in his final collegiate season, but he’s excited to work with Bills receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who breaks it down to the finest details to get precise routes and timing on game days.
“I want to be an all-around receiver and working with coach Sanjay you can see he’s there coaching everybody up,” said Listenbee. “I’m glad to have somebody who will definitely work with me. Just watching all the veterans I’m taking mental reps right now, but it’s cool to see.”
Tags: 2016 NFL draft, Kolby Listenbee
Posted in Inside the Bills