The 32 player nominees for the third annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award have been finalized by the NFL. Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. Buffalo’s nominee is DT Kyle Williams.
The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr.
The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The panel is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, December 16. From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The award is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
Last year, the players selected Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders as the recipient of the 2015 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals was the inaugural winner of the award in 2014. The winner selected by the vote of the players will be announced during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Saturday, February 4 on FOX, the night before Super Bowl LI.
Tags: Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills head coach Rex Ryan gave an injury update post practice on Friday on a couple of starting defensive tackles.
Kyle Williams missed practice, but it was due to illness not an injury. Meanwhile Marcell Dareus practiced on a limited basis and according to Ryan he didn’t do a whole lot.
“We said limited and we mean really limited,” said Ryan. “We hope the fact that he did a little something today is hopefully a good sign.”
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
DT Kyle Williams – illness
DT Corbin Bryant – shoulder
WR Brandon Tate – concussion
OT Cordy Glenn – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
RB LeSean McCoy – hamstring
LB Jerry Hughes – hand
WR Robert Woods – foot
LB Lerentee McCray – knee
LB Lorenzo Alexander – hamstring
RB Reggie Bush – groin
DT Marcell Dareus – groin
WR Marquise Goodwin – concussion
Tags: Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Rex Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills center Eric Wood hosted his second annual Flights and Bites event in downtown Buffalo on Monday, Oct. 17. The event, which followed the team’s big win over the San Francisco 49ers, featured many players who chose to spend their time off supporting their teammate. Coming together for a good cause, the evening consisted of both silent and live auctions to benefit the Eric Wood Foundation, which seeks to provide aid to families of sick children.
“Just a fun…Monday night, (it’s a) chance for a lot of the guys and coaches to come out and interact with a lot of the fans and raise money for sick children and their families here in Western New York,” said Wood. Especially after a win yesterday (Sunday, Oct. 16), the spirits are always high and people are in the giving spirit in times like that.”
The support from the Bills family proved truly tremendous, as over 30 Bills players and coaches attended the event. The turnout included, Bills general manager Doug Whaley, head coach Rex Ryan, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, safety Aaron Williams, guard Richie Incognito, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, linebacker Reggie Ragland, safety Colt Anderson, cornerback Kevon Seymour, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, kicker Dan Carpenter, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and many more.
For more information on the Eric Wood Foundation, visit here.
Tags: Aaron Williams, Anthony Lynn, Colt Anderson, Dan Carpenter, Doug Whaley, Eric Wood, Kevon Seymour, Kyle Williams, Lorenzo Alexander, Marcell Dareus, Marquise Goodwin, Reggie Ragland, Rex Ryan, Richie Incognito, The Eric Wood Foundation, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field
Rams DT Aaron Donald is a dominant player. He leads the league with 25 quarterback pressures in just four games. It’s an impressive number and Donald has shown he can completely wreck an offensive game plan by himself. What’s interesting is when it comes to getting the best play out of Donald the Rams believe that less is more.
Last week against Arizona for example, Donald was playing every other series. After the first defensive series for the Rams, Donald rotated out. He didn’t return until the following series. Donald played more in the second half, but his snap count was surprisingly low.
Fewer snaps however, appeared to allow Donald to provide more impact. He had five tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the game that was recovered by Los Angeles in their 17-13 win. Donald played in a total of 49 snaps.
In fact so far this season the Pro Bowl defensive tackle has played just under 74 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, down almost five percent from last season.
Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito, who is likely to see a lot of Donald Sunday, has a theory.
“His whole game is explosion, so the Rams are trying to keep him fresh,” said Incognito. “He’s not a big guy so he relies on his speed and quickness.”
It’s true Donald is one of the smaller defensive tackles in the league at just 6-1 and 285 pounds. If he played 75-80 snaps per game going against bigger offensive linemen all day he’d be more likely to wear down.
“He’s an undersized guy number one at 285, so not big by defensive line standards,” said Rex Ryan. “He’s energetic and they want to keep that at a high level. They rotate a lot of those guys in there. They have good depth on their D-line. But he’s a guy that clearly jumps out on tape. They want him at a peak energy level so he can do what he does.”
Here’s a look at Donald’s snap count percentages from each of his three NFL seasons.
2016 – 73.7%
2015 – 78.9%
2014 – 67.4%
Just for a sense of contrast, Bills OLB Jerry Hughes has played 98 percent of the snaps this season. Even 33-year old Kyle Williams has played more than 82 percent of the snaps for Buffalo this season.
Tags: Aaron Donald, Bills-Rams, Jerry Hughes, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
Coming out of last Sunday’s win over Arizona, Kyle Williams was credited with four tackles, a sack and a pair of quarterback hits. On Wednesday the league made a scoring change to boost Williams stats even more.
At the 8:04 mark of the first quarter of last Sunday’s game, Williams teamed up with Lerentee McCray for a sack of Carson Palmer. However, upon further review it’s clear that Williams was responsible for the sack from the beginning, so the league instead of giving Williams a half sack is awarding him the whole sack.
So Williams finished the game with 1.5 sacks.
That brings Williams career sack total with the Bills to 37 to put him in a tie for eighth place on the Bills all-time list with Sherman White.
Tags: Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
He missed the last 10 games of the season and eventually underwent knee surgery. It wasn’t the first time Kyle Williams went under the knife. After 10 seasons in the league however, his latest rehab and recovery never led him to think once about retirement.
In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sporstradio 550, Williams said retirement never crossed his mind.
“This offseason has been tough,” he said. “It’s been hard, but I can’t (retire). I’m such a day-to-day guy. I worry about what I can do today to get better. There are dark days in every rehab where you hit plateaus and you’re thinking you’re not getting any better, but you keep grinding and building and building and building. It hasn’t crossed my mind yet, and as soon as it does I will (retire) because if it crosses your mind that you don’t want to play anymore or you’re done, and you just keep going you’re either going to get yourself hurt or you’ll be a discredit to your teammates.
“I’m not there yet. I don’t plan on being there for a little bit. So I just plan on working and hopefully help this team get to the playoffs and do some special things because I want to be on that field when it happens. That’s what I’ve worked for.”
Tags: Bills training camp, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills DT Kyle Williams isn’t on the practice field just yet, but he is watching practice film every day. And practice film was a topic of discussion during an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.
Appearing on the Schopp and the Bulldog show, Williams was asked about defensive line strategy and film study to help put him in position to succeed. Williams explained his approach in the film room and then taking it onto the game field.
“It’s very intricate,” Williams said. “When you’re watching film you’re watching guys’ feet, guys’ hand position. How he blocks this run, that run. How he blocks this pass set. How he sets on first down, second down, third down. Then it goes into formations, backfield sets, down and distance. Where’s the tight end? Where’s the back? You have to process a lot of information. Some guys process a book in three seconds, some guys can only do two sentences in that amount of time. Players are different.
“Then there might be a guy over there and they like to do this and when they do that this guy like this set and this will work against that set. So you have to think about a lot of things rapidly to be able to compete. If you can do that you can have a great edge of making an educated guess of what you want you do and when to do it.”
Williams said he won’t save a specific approach on a play until a crucial time in the game. If he sees an advantage on any play he takes it.
“I’m not going to save anything because if I can beat you from the first snap, I want you to beat you from the first snap until the 50th snap of the game,” Williams said. “I want you to be thinking about it. I want you to think, ‘Okay that’s my protection that I like to do when I just have to stop a guy and he was coming and he just got a pressure or a sack.’ I want him to know that I know that I’ve got him. So there’s a cat and mouse game, but there’s a lot going on in there.”
Tags: Bills training camp, defensive strategy, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
There was no debating that Buffalo’s defense struggled to not only execute, but to even get plays called or changed before the snap by the opposing offense. It led to problems for most of the season. Those problems no longer exist as Kyle Williams sees it, but in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Williams explained what transpired last season.
On the Schopp and the Bulldog show, Williams was asked why Rex Ryan’s defense was not as similar to Mike Pettine’s 2013 scheme with the Bills as perceived by outside observers.
“I think you always have growing pains when you’re changing coverages and defenses and doing all kinds of different things,” said Williams. “It’s similar, but it’s not. There are different things going on. I think some guys’ plates may have been overloaded. I think Rex and even some guys have admitted that. I think (this year) we’re going to carry a volume of defense to be successful, but we’re not going to inundate guys to the point where they can’t think, kind of a paralysis by analysis type thing.”
Then they delved into how to go about determining if a scheme or the volume of a scheme is too complicated?
“You can sit in calculus or trigonometry class with the teacher in front of you and spout back the answer, but when they lay the test down in front of you, and you have a certain amount of time to do it, you may know it, but you might hesitate and that can be the change in the game,” said Williams. “That’s what happens. You can get the answers right and correct things on the practice field, but in a game when this guy motions to number three and this is what you have to change it to and all it takes is the half second where everything gets set behind and then you struggle. Your only eraser is going back to the bench because you gave up a 60-yard touchdown.”
Williams believes all those problems have been addressed and rectified because he’s seen a vast improvement in on field communication and in execution.
“I think we’ve got a good thing going right now,” Williams said. “Just from watching film our mental errors are way down through the first few days of camp. Even in the OTAs and minicamp and watching all that go on. The communication is better. What we’re running is a little clearer in terms of what’s expected. I’m excited. We’ll see where it goes.”
Tags: Bills Radio Network, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
While the intensity of practice Monday went on in front of them, the longest-tenured player on the roster had a long talk with a second-year running back in need of some guidance.
Kyle Williams took a long walk with Karlos Williams during Monday’s practice at Bills training camp. The four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle was a fifth-round pick just like the second-year running back. While Kyle Williams’ career was on an upward trajectory from the time he put a Bills jersey on, this past offseason for Karlos Williams has taken a dubious turn.
Reporting to minicamp overweight in June, his weight problem has not improved a whole lot at the outset of camp. That combined with a league-imposed four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy has him on a short leash at a position that just got deeper with the signing of Reggie Bush.
All the credit that Karlos Williams built up as a dynamic rookie, who tied for the team lead with nine touchdowns, is just about gone, and Kyle Williams, a leader on the team for years took it upon himself to dispense some much needed advice to the second-year back.
The pair walked together around the practice field, taking three full laps. The discussion focused on the steps Karlos needs to take to stabilize his pro career and family life at home. After the conversation was over, Kyle, who is still on Active/PUP went to do more rehab work. Karlos went to observe the rest of practice and take mental reps.
Here they are as their conversation reached a close.
Will the message sink in? Only Karlos knows the answer.
Tags: Karlos Williams, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills Has Dez Lewis secured a place on the roster? And does he have any exp of kick/punt returning? #bills
CB: We will have a feature story on Dez Lewis this Monday on how he has advanced his game entering his second season. I think if Lewis continues on his current path he will undoubtedly be on the 53-man roster. But what he did in the spring has to continue in training camp when the pads go on, especially for a 6-4 receiver like Lewis. In fact Lewis’ game should go up another notch knowing how he can assert his physicality on the field. Hopefully that proves to be the case. As I wrote today in ‘What we learned about the Bills in offseason practices’ he has the inside track on the No. 3 receiver role.
His punt/kick return experience is minimal. He had just two punt returns in college and no kick returns.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills how serious is Karlos’s weight issue. Have Gilislee and J Williams over taken him in terms of a roster spot#bills
CB: There is no debating that Karlos has a formidable task in front of him. He has so much weight to lose that Rex Ryan said this week that getting him back to his playing weight by the start of training camp might be too much in too short a period of time.
His weight loss has to come in stages. So in late July when players report it’s unlikely that Williams will be at his playing weight of 230 pounds. Depending on what his report weight is Williams practice regimen could be limited to avoid the risk of injury. When you’re carrying excess weight, especially at a position like running back you’re risk of injury increases significantly, with hamstrings being the most susceptible to problems.
So I would expect a similar approach early in camp with Williams where he’s doing individual position drill work and then going to the side to work with the strength and conditioning staff to continue to shed weight.
As for the running back pecking order, it’s clear that the offensive staff is high on Jonathan Williams. In minicamp with LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury keeping him out of team work and Karlos Williams weight keeping him out of team work, Jonathan Williams was first in the rotation at the position followed by Mike Gillislee.
Jonathan Williams has a lot of the same physical skills of Karlos Williams. If Karlos Williams’ weight loss process last into the preseason I think it’s very possible that Jonathan Williams is your backup running back and Gillislee remains the third back as he was last season.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think Kyle Williams will be more effective in a shared rotational role with Adolphus Washington?
i carn’t spel@NickTheCrowe
CB: I believe that Kyle Williams will still be a starter on this defensive line in 2016. Will he play as many snaps as Marcell Dareus or Adolphus Washington? Probably not. But I expect him to start at right defensive end next to Dareus and kick inside at times on obvious passing downs. Washington will man left defensive end with Dareus on the nose.
It’s my belief that Williams is still a very effective and productive player even at 33-years old. I suppose we won’t know for sure until we see how he looks in training camp in return from a bad knee injury that required surgery. But most seem to forget this guy is a four-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman. He’s a grinder. So I don’t see a rotational role for him unless that knee injury robbed him of his trademark explosiveness off the snap.
4 – Chris,
Does it concern you that Rex is simplifying his scheme to appease his players? It concerns me that we won’t be running the same system that has such a long track record of success, because players aren’t smart enough to pick it up. How did the Jets defense pick it up in the first year, but here we are in year two in Buffalo and they have to simplify the checks. Not very encouraging. Maybe this team needs to put a greater premium on intelligence, like Belichick does; you have to be a college graduate to be a Patriot.
CB: After talking to Preston Brown about that very thing I’m not concerned. I asked Brown directly as to whether the defensive scheme has been pared down. He said the only part of the defense that has been “altered slightly” (his words) is there aren’t quite as many pre-snap checks on certain down and distances. Otherwise Ryan’s defensive scheme is largely the same.
The key difference this year is Ryan is no longer blending elements of the old Jim Schwartz scheme from 2014. Rex tried to blend elements of Schwartz’s successful scheme in 2014 with his own as an olive branch to the defensive players who were successful and productive in that system. By midseason he knew it was a mistake.
So going into this season it’s Ryan’s more traditional 3-4 system that has a proven track record in this league for 15-plus years. What’s more the players have completely committed themselves to learning the scheme. So I would not be concerned about the effectiveness of Rex’s scheme. I think it will work with a lot more success this season for the reasons mentioned above.
5 – Dear Chris:
Thank you for all of your coverage that you do on the Bills day after day, hope you continue the game day chat box, very helpful.
My question is regarding Shaq Lawson; is there a timetable for his return as of yet? What for surgery/operation was done on his shoulder? Could he potentially miss the start of the regular season and most of training camp, as reports I have read so far have indicated, or could he potentially rehab his heart out in time to make the end of training camp, as shoulder injuries can take time to heal. This is very much concerning me as I have not much info on how long it could be until he gets back to full health.
John from Pennsylvania
CB: I think the most important thing is that Shaq’s surgery was successful. Now the rehab process begins, but rehabbing from this procedure is going to take time, typically four months or more knowing each case is different. So I believe it’s likely that Lawson misses training camp and the preseason. The team has stated he’s also likely to miss the early stages of the regular season.
What benefits the Bills coaching staff is they have time to adjust their plans for the loss of Lawson from their defensive lineup. It’s reasonable to believe he’ll be good to go for at least the second half of the season. At what point in the first half of the season he returns is a timetable that can’t be pinned down until he’s further along in the rehab process.
Tags: Dez Lewis, Fan Friday, Jonathan Williams, Karlos Williams, Kyle Williams, Mike Gillislee, Shaq Lawson
Posted in Inside the Bills
Kyle Williams won’t be participating in OTA practices and he won’t be on the field for mandatory minicamp. So what about training camp? Williams said that plan has not been mapped out yet.
“You know I think we’re just going to kind of gradually build on every day through OTAs, even into training camp,” said Williams. “The main goal circled is making sure we’re ready to go in September. How much or how little of training camp? I don’t know. I don’t think that plan has been totally put together yet. But definitely gearing toward getting ready to play when it matters.”
Williams is six months removed from surgery and said he’s getting better. Being an experienced and cerebral player it shouldn’t be an issue for the defensive lineman missing as much time as he is.
“Doing more and more every day,” he said. “I don’t foresee any problems. I’ll be ready to go.”
Tags: Kyle Williams
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
1 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see Tyrod Taylor being our starting quarterback for the next 5 years? If not, how will they go about getting one?
CB: I believe that Tyrod Taylor is Buffalo’s starting quarterback for 2016. Anything after that will be based on how Taylor performs. And though there are media reports touting animosity between the Bills and Taylor’s camp I’m not getting that sense at all. Taylor has a starting job here in Buffalo and if he continues to progress in 2016 he’ll be the starter here for a long time.
The bottom line is GM Doug Whaley has said from the start of the offseason that Taylor earned the right to start this year and if he continues to play well he’ll continue to be the starter and will be rewarded accordingly with a new contract as well. Buffalo has the cap space next year to accommodate an extension. Their cap situation now does not.
At the same time the Bills have to fortify the most important position on the roster with more talent. Whaley said they will add a quarterback knowing that not only Taylor, but EJ Manuel are each in the last year of their current contracts.
Whaley has said he thinks there are a good number of developmental type quarterback prospects in the draft and that with a year or two of grooming there are some that could develop into starting caliber QBs at the NFL level.
So knowing you have a starter now in Tyrod Taylor, why not draft a quarterback that you have time to groom with coaches like Greg Roman and David Lee and see how quickly he can come along.
I think everyone needs to understand that the Bills won’t be drafting a quarterback to compete with Tyrod Taylor this season. They’re drafting a quarterback because they need to add one to their roster that they feel has the potential to grow and learn and eventually compete for a starting role in 2-3 years time.
That’s not only their plan, but aside from Carson Wentz and Jared Goff that’s what this year’s class of quarterbacks has to offer.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is the need on DL really at NT, since Dareus would be more effective as a 5-tech DE? #Bills
CB: I think the versatility of Marcell Dareus’ game (capable of playing anywhere on the DL) gives Buffalo’s scouting department the flexibility of taking either the best defensive tackle or best defensive end on the board if and when they choose to address their defensive line. I think a true pass rusher probably outweighs the need for an interior defensive lineman, but not much.
Looking at this year’s draft class there are defensive tackles who can provide a pass rush from the interior. Knowing that, I truly think how the Bills address their defensive line will come down to who is still on the board when they pick and if the value matches where they’re picking.
3 – Dear Chris:
Thank you for all the work you put in over the combine and what you do year round is wonderful. My question is with Mario now gone who do you think the bills will draft as his replacement? Also with Kyle Williams on the wrong side of thirty I’m afraid the bills will cut him like they did Fred last year, I really hope we don’t I would hate to see another long tenured veteran leave without seeing a playoff game.
Sincerely: John from Pennsylvania.
CB: First, I’ll say that I absolutely see Kyle Williams on this roster. His play and his leadership were sorely missed last season when he missed the last 10 games of the year. He also restructured his contract this offseason, which I believe only further solidifies his spot on this roster.
As for replacing Mario, I think that player is hopefully acquired in the draft. You typically have to get those players early, but I don’t know if the right value is going to be there at 19 in round one knowing there aren’t a whole lot of elite pass rushers and they go fast.
That’s why, as I mentioned in the prior response, the versatility of Dareus, Kyle and Corbin Bryant gives Buffalo the option of taking the best value at 19 on the defensive line if that’s the part of their defense they want to address. There could be a highly rated linebacker there as well that merits consideration.
All in all I think the front seven will be a major focus early in this draft and their first pick at 19 stands a very good chance of addressing that focus.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Fan Friday question… Have we looked into QB Brandon Doughty? His #’s are amazing & he’s 6’3. Ideal to grab in 4th!
CB: There’s no debate that the Bills have done their homework on Doughty as they do every prospect. My take is while he was tremendously productive (111 career TD passes) there are a lot of drawbacks with the Western Kentucky product. He’s had multiple knee injuries, has average arm strength and is not especially mobile. When he faced better competition he struggled to raise his game accordingly.
I think he projects to the NFL as a backup and a backup only. For me I don’t draft a quarterback unless I think there’s at least some potential to be an NFL starter at some point. Obviously NFL clubs might feel differently, but I think he only fits a west coast system in viewing his arm strength in games.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills would he fit Rex’s scheme?
ProFootballTalk The Patriots didn’t want DL Dominique Easley. Neither did anyone else. https://t.co/QFYRGMP88P
Robin Vs Fred
CB: First, there’s a reason no one picked Dominique Easley up on waivers. There’s a long injury history there, which is of some concern. Second, he’s a three technique penetrator type and if his explosion is compromised by his injury history he might not be an NFL caliber player anymore.
He doesn’t have the physical stature to change his game and be a defensive tackle who stands in there and grinds. Most NFL scouts did not believe he was capable of being a two gap DT due to his short arms and limited strength. I’m no scout, but I don’t get the sense that he would be a fit in Buffalo’s defensive scheme.
Tags: 2016 NFL draft, Brandon Doughty, Dominique Easley, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
Kobe Bryant, who wraps up his NBA career tonight after 20 seasons, is the exception nowadays rather than the rule. With the free agency era alive and well in just about all of the major professional leagues, Bryant is a rarity having spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. We decided to take a look to see what Bills players played the most games and spent their entire NFL career with Buffalo. Here’s the top 10 list, which includes one active player.
1 – OT Joe Devlin (1976-89) 191 games
2 – LB Mark Pike (1986-98) 170 games
3 – C Kent Hull (1986-96) 170 games
4 – QB Jim Kelly (1986-96) 160 games
5 – DE Phil Hansen (1991-2001) 156 games
T6 – DE Chris Kelsay (2003-2012) 147 games
T6 – DE Ben Williams (1976-85) 147 games
8 – DT Kyle Williams (2005-current) 136 games
9 – DE Aaron Schobel (2001-2009) 133 games
10 – CB Tony Greene (1971-79) – 128 games
Bryant after tonight will have played in 1,346 career games for LA.
Tags: Jim Kelly, Kent Hull, Kobe Bryant, Kyle Williams, Phil Hansen
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills DT Kyle Williams had an abbreviated 2015 season after a knee injury cost him the last 10 games of the year and required surgery. In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Williams provided an update on where he stands physically as the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program fast approaches.
“It’s going great. I’m getting back into full-fledged working out,” Williams told the John Murphy Show. “It was slow going at the beginning. But it’s moved along well and now I’m getting ready for a football season now rather than rehabilitation. That’s always a good thing.”
Williams did lament the fact that he missed the final two thirds of the season feeling he could’ve helped not only on the field, but in terms of leadership saying there were some communication issues in terms of roles on the defense that he felt he could have helped smooth out.
Knowing Rex Ryan intends to get back to his style of defense, after his attempts to blend his scheme with elements of Buffalo’s defense prior to his arrival didn’t work, Kyle is eager to be a part of what has made Ryan’s defenses so successful over the years.
“I know what Rex’s style of defense is, it’s one that causes trouble for offenses,” Williams said. “I’ve seen it first hand. I’m ready to go to be a part of it.”
Williams will be the recipient of the Athletes in Action Call to Courage award this weekend at Frank Reich’s annual event in Buffalo.
Tags: John Murphy show, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
Our NFL Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts continues today from Indianapolis both on Buffalobills.com and on the John Murphy Show. For now here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – Dear Chris,
First off, I’d like to say I appreciate everything you do to keep us Bills die hards informed during the off season.
My question is with a lot of needs to be addressed and not too much cap room to use in free agency do you see the bills trading down in the draft to acquire more draft picks? You keep hearing how deep the draft class is so I feel trading down will help us address a lot of our needs.
Thank you again for everything you do,
Dave G from Niagara Falls
CB: It’s interesting that you bring this up because I just asked GM Doug Whaley about that very possibility in our 1-on-1 interview on Buffalobills.com, which I made a note of in our Bills Daily Dish this morning out here at the NFL Combine.
Whaley said he’s open to adding picks if the opportunity presents itself. You’re right that with a tight cap Buffalo has to make the most of their draft picks, but right now they have just six (no seventh). So while I think they’d like to stay in the first round I don’t think they’d be opposed to moving back a few spots if it meant adding to their lot of selections.
Their cap situation is going to be pretty restrictive so adding picks to add players in what is considered a draft deep in value rather than elite talent behooves the Bills to look for deals that can land them more draft choices. And we all know Doug Whaley isn’t afraid to make a deal.
2 – Chris
I need your keen insight. This seems to be a good year for drafting a QB, I’m concerned if we pass at 19, when we get a chance at 51, the good ones will be gone ?? If many of the top ones don’t go in first 18, Dallas, Cleveland , San Diego, Rams, Saints etc. will grab one. My biggest fear is the Jets and Patriots draft one after us. A lot of top QB’s are aging out.
Could we sign Tyrod to a 4 year contract, if we hit on one, we will be primed to continue to win ??
CB: I think you might be getting a little carried away. Doug Whaley has stated more than once that while there isn’t a lot of top end, elite QB talent in this draft there is very good depth at the position for talent that he feels offers enough to develop some prospects into eventual starters. That’s a perfect scenario knowing it’s very likely that Tyrod Taylor gets an extension from the Bills after a promising first season in 2015.
That’s why I expect the Bills to wait until the middle rounds to draft a quarterback. There will be good talent in rounds three to five that can be brought along behind Taylor. I don’t get the sense that Buffalo will strike early at QB unless someone falls into their lap that they weren’t expecting.
Rounds 3-5 look like the window where picking a QB is most likely to occur based on how their draft board shakes out.
3 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for constantly keeping us informed over the off season.
My question is about Lesean McCoy’s contract, but also all contracts in general when it comes to the league’s personal conduct policies. If you are in violation of something and face suspension, or do something that hurts the team’s image, can that player be released without any salary or can penalty to the team? And to be more direct, can the Bills release LeSean McCoy over this incident if he is found to be at fault?
CB: To my knowledge a team would not be off the hook in terms of the salary cap hit that cutting or releasing a player like LeSean McCoy would leave behind. As I understand it a player must have a morality clause in their contract that specifically states what kind of behavior would render their contract with an NFL club null and void.
As the team has stated though we should let the investigation play itself out because there are an awful lot of conflicting reports being circulated out there as to what really happened.
4 – Hey Chris’
I read an article that the Bills even with the estimated increase of the cap for the next league year expected to jump to $155 mill that the Bills are still over with the contracts they have, & the article outlines how they can free up about $27 mill of cap space by cutting some other players & or redoing their contracts.
Another way that could free up some cap space is if the Bills were to try & re-work Kyle Williams current contract. Do you think that Kyle might be willing to do so given the fact that he is coming off an injury & he is in the later stages of his career.
Many teams good at keeping a team good would probably cut someone like Kyle say if it were the Pats just to continue building for the future. So I would think it would be a good thing for both if Kyle could finish his career here in Buffalo but maybe do it at a home town discounted price. That could quite possibly put the Bills into the $30 mill + range of cap space enough to sign Glenn, Incognito, Gilmore, & Bradham to long term contracts …
Thanks for your insight !
Mr. T formally from Fort Myers now in Nashville
CB: While I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills approached Kyle about renegotiating again (they tacked another year on his deal last offseason) they’re limited in what they can do to get his cap figure down short of having him take an outright pay cut. He’s 32-years old and has a cap figure of $8M. He’s still a productive player, but injuries have been catching up with him. At the same time his leadership is valuable as evidenced by what happened to the defense after he left the lineup in Week 6.
It’ll be a tricky situation, but hopefully with as good as the Bills have been to him over the years he might be willing to reduce his salary a bit to help the cause. We’ll see if it’s a road the Bills choose to travel.
The good news is they’ve already made some salary cap headway by getting Charles Clay restructured, which we reported last night, and moved their unused cap space from 2015 in the amount of $4.4M to 2016.
5 – Chris,
There is lots of discussion about acquiring a possible #2 WR to play opposite Sammy Watkins, but no mention of using Dez Lewis in that role. He has the height (6′ 4″) and plenty of speed. Was the coaching staff still very unsure about him at the end of the 2015 season, or is he a real possibility for the #2 spot, especially if he builds up his strength during the offseason?
CB: While I think Lewis will get a good look from the staff this offseason and in training camp, he’s really got to come on and play more consistently to make a jump that far up the depth chart. I know a lot of people weren’t overly impressed with Robert Woods season last year, but you need to remember the guy played hurt with a torn groin for almost the final three quarters of the season. His separation ability was greatly hindered by that injury. I’m interested to see how he comes back from that injury in 2016 before we start actively looking for other options there.
And at this point there are some other options now on the roster like Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin that will bear watching.
Tags: 2016 NFL draft, Dezmin Lewis, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, LeSean McCoy, Robert Woods, Salary cap, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
Our NFL Combine coverage presented by NAPA begins on Tuesday and will continue through the week from Indianapolis both on Buffalobills.com and on the John Murphy Show. For now here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – Chris,
Thank you for all of your fantastic insight throughout the season. I have a question about the Bills defensive line moving into next season. When we line up in a 3-4, where do you suspect Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams will be located? Also, connected to that, it seems like a lot of websites suspect we will require another 3-4 defensive end in the draft but I was wondering if you thought players such as Wynn, Carrington (if re-signed), Corbin Bryant, Worthy or Edwards could fit that bill so we could focus our draft on other needs.
CB: I think the good thing about Dareus or Kyle is their versatility and athleticism allow you to play them as a five technique end or at nose tackle. The main reason many draftniks predict the Bills will need another defensive end is they also suspect push coming to shove with Mario Williams cost prohibitive contract.
But you do make a good point. Jarius Wynn is coming back from ACL surgery that cost him the 2015 season. I expect Corbin Bryant to be extended a qualifying offer by the Bills as a restricted free agent. Signing a difference maker at defensive end is unrealistic based on the team’s cap situation, so the draft is the most likely path for the Bills to acquire one.
2 – Hey Chris,
First off I thank you for answering our questions and keeping hope alive to those of us who reacted harshly after playoff elimination. (Ugh.. 16 years…)
My question is about where Buckner and Bosa likely stand on the draft board? Are there any other sizable DEs that are valued as a round one selection? In your opinion where should the Bills focus with their number one? Is there a drop off in depth enough that it becomes likely to pursue a LB instead of the D-Line? (Is that already likely given uncertainty with Bradham?) Finally do you foresee finding our true #2 WR in this draft class?
-Already hoping in OR
CB: I don’t expect Buckner or Bosa to still be on the board when the Bills pick 19th. With respect to their top pick in round one, I think the safe assumption is they address the defensive side of the ball. I think picking a position however, is unrealistic.
I think we can all agree that the deepest defensive position in the draft is probably defensive line, so that’s a good thing for the Bills, who will likely need to add there with Mario Williams uncertain future and Kyle Williams now on the back end of his career. But to say they’ll pick a defensive lineman isn’t something anyone can accurately predict now or even in mid-April.
We have to see what decisions are made with players on the roster now, who is added and where in free agency in March and what Bills free agents are re-signed. All those variables can change the draft picture considerably before we get to late April.
As for finding a true No. 2 WR in this class, I think it’s possible, but not likely based on some of the other positional needs particularly on defense that appear to be more pressing at this point. May have to stop gap that role in 2016 and address it more effectively in 2017. Can’t do everything in one offseason.
If we cut Mario, sign Glenn/Richie…what’s realistic for rest of FA? Eric Weddle or Damon Harrison possible?
CB: If those things happen the Bills are going to have to be bargain shoppers even if they make a few other cuts to the roster to save money against the cap. That means Weddle is not expected to be an option. Damon Harrison is possible provided there isn’t a heavy market interest in him.
That’s why GM Doug Whaley said they’re looking for ‘dust settle’ guys. Guys who they can sign without getting into a bidding war. For reference I would look at the kind of players they signed in the 2014 offseason. Players like Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, Boobie Dixon. Affordable, budget-conscious free agents that can come in and fill a role and improve the depth of the club without messing up the team’s cap situation in the current season and the season or two that follows.
4 – Chris,
Do you think Nick O’Leary will get more looks at Tight End in the upcoming season? Also it seemed that Seantrel Henderson was getting praised for his play his rookie year, but was much maligned this past season. Has he regressed that much or is it the system change that troubled him?
Chris G. from Nashville
CB: I think seeing Nick O’Leary called up to the active roster late in the season was an encouraging sign for the kind of look he’ll get this offseason and in training camp. I don’t think it’s any secret that no one really seized the No. 2 TE role behind Charles Clay last season. O’Leary was stuck on the practice squad, MarQueis Gray suffered a forearm injury that required surgery and wound up on injured reserve and Chris Gragg only flashed at times with limited opportunities to make a true impact.
Seantrel Henderson regressed because he was dealing with an undisclosed medical condition that kept him out of the last five games of the season. Whether he’ll be able to get his condition under control so he can effectively continue his career is something we’ll all be waiting to see this spring.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
CB: The Bills have said it’s their preference to get Nigel Bradham back in the fold for the foreseeable future. At the same time they know that with a tight cap situation and depending on the size of the contracts for Glenn and Incognito, being able to offer Bradham a contract commensurate with fair market value might be easier said than done.
If Bradham reaches the market because the Bills can’t offer quite the money he might be looking for due to their cap situation then it might prove difficult to get him re-signed.
Tags: defensive scheme, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams, NFL free agency, Nick O'Leary, Nigel Bradham, Seantrel Henderson
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills What’s the biggest lesson learned between Wk1 and Wk16 defensively with this team?
CB: I think the biggest lesson learned by the players was that if there was more accountability player to player on defense, there would’ve been unanimous buy in and the defense would’ve performed more consistently and been more effective in Ryan’s scheme. That didn’t happen until after the embarrassing defensive performance at Washington when the players that did buy in called out the players who didn’t. We saw improved collective play from the defensive unit after that.
I believe the biggest lesson learned by Rex and the coaches is just how multi-faceted a lot of their defensive talent is particularly some of their defensive linemen like Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes specifically. Dareus and Williams are athletic enough to play end in a 3-4 look and Hughes can be an end in a 4-3 look or an OLB in a 3-4. He’s that versatile.
There are other examples at LB and in the secondary, but Rex has expressed that a year with those players has provided him with a better grasp of everything that players like that can do, not just their primary strengths.
2 – Hey Chris,
Here is my concern. It seems to make more sense for a coach to change their scheme to fit the players than change the roster to fit the scheme. Why has Rex Ryan, the great defensive mastermind who was figured out and canned in NY, been reluctant to implement a scheme where our star defensive line can pass rush like they have proven they are good at doing and rely upon a better cover based defense? We consistently get beat while trying to change in and out of “complex” blitz packages that always seem to come up short while letting the QB find a quick under or hot route. What should we expect for the future I’m so desperately trying to not give up on? Suddenly find myself hoping for a Sean Payton and Jim Schwartz led team and I can’t stand the coaching turnovers.. But I have to admit Ryan’s defensive scheme is old news…
-Losing faith in OR
CB: Rex took steps to try and mold his defensive scheme to the talent of the personnel. As mentioned above Ryan admitted that he is in a much better position to coach to some of the players’ versatile strengths now that he knows the depth of their talents having worked with them for a year. I know that’s small consolation in light of how the defense underachieved, but I don’t think it’s something that should be taken lightly.
Rex referenced Jerry Hughes specifically saying he now realizes that Hughes is so much more than a hand in the dirt type, rush the passer player. That he can do a number of different things well. He also said the big difference he noticed at the end of the season was that players were finally giving him answers when he asked for their opinion.
It was his contention that his offer to the players from the very beginning of the season to give him feedback fell on deaf ears until the last two games. Rex in making in-game adjustments would ask for the opinion of the players. Until the Dallas game he said those appeals were not met with answers and he couldn’t understand why.
Once he got some more input from players we saw the difference. Buffalo’s last two games were their best back-to-back defensive performances of the season in terms of points allowed (6 and 17). And that was without a handful of defensive starters (Darby, Gilmore, A. Williams, K. Williams, Bradham). So Ryan is encouraged that the proper give and take now exists between the players and himself and the value of that should not be discounted.
3 – Happy New Year Chris:
Do you think the Bills organization will make a play for Miami Dolphins Olivier Vernon?
Thanks from a true Bills fan in NewportNews, Va.
CB: I would be surprised if the Bills pursued Olivier Vernon only because he’s going to command a sizable price tag and GM Doug Whaley has made it clear that they’re going to be pursuing “dust settle” type free agents. The focus this offseason will be for the Bills to re-sign their own, chiefly Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn.
Buffalo’s cap situation needs some restructuring this offseason before we reach free agency and Bills Senior VP of Football Administration, Jim Overdorf will be tasked with that as he has in the past. But knowing the priorities that Incognito and Glenn are combined with their cap situation I wouldn’t expect to see a top tier free agent like Vernon to be on the Bills radar.
4 – Chris,
Hypothetical of course. Just what if, with all the defensive needs and offensive tackle needs, Laquon Treadwell and/or Connor Cook were available at pick 19? How are we going to fill our need at receiver? Not in free agency as per Whaley’s statement and later in the draft will not fill that need either.
CB: I do believe the Bills will make efforts to land a true No. 2 receiver that can draw attention away from Sammy Watkins. Robert Woods played more than half the season with a severe groin injury and might be best suited for the slot. Percy Harvin is a player the Bills would like to return to the fold, but has to get healthy first and is not a lock to return.
I know the Bills would like to add size to the position as evidenced by the reserve/future signings of Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin. But I don’t think they’re putting all their stock in those two wideouts.
Unfortunately this year’s receiver class doesn’t offer a lot of quality size. There are 6-1 and 6-2 guys aplenty, but the 6-4 and 6-5 targets of quality just don’t exist in this year’s class. I suppose there could be a prospect or two that could possess a ‘big receiver’ game because they play bigger than their listed size. I’ve still got homework to do on the 2016 draft class, but Treadwell would be a tempting option.
Personally I don’t think Connor Cook is worthy of a first-round pick. In a draft without a lot of elite QB talent I suppose it’s possible he’ll be moved up a lot of draft boards as the draft draws closer due to supply and demand, but Treadwell is a more worthy first-round pick to me than Cook. That being said I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills found better value at another position in round one.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills What are the fates of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes? Are they staying or leaving?
CB: I feel good about the playing futures of Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes in Buffalo. I’ll actually have more on Kyle Williams in a story on Buffalobills.com slated for Monday. Hughes is a cornerstone piece for this defense moving forward, which is why he was signed to the long term contract extension last offseason.
Mario Williams situation is a lot more precarious, chiefly due to his cost-prohibitive contract. I think it would be difficult for any defensive player to live up to a contract that has a cap figure of almost $20M for 2016 ($19.9M). With Buffalo’s cap situation in a restrictive position right now, addressing Mario’s contract will probably be pretty high on Jim Overdorf’s to-do list.
There are a few paths they can take with it as we all know. What kind of steps Mario and his agent are willing to take is the big question.
Tags: 2016 NFL draft, Bills defense, Connor Cook, Fan Friday, Jerry Hughes, Kyle Williams, Laquon Treadwell, Mario Williams, NFL free agency, Olivier Vernon, Rex Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills DB Leodis McKelvin did not practice on Thursday. It was the first practice session he’s missed since coming off the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list.
McKelvin was absent due to illness on Thursday. No word on whether he’ll be back on the practice field Friday. DT Kyle Williams (knee) was the only other non-participant.
OT Cyrus Kouandjio (knee) was a limited participant with a knee injury.
Tags: Kyle Williams, Leodis McKelvin
Posted in Inside the Bills
He’s missed the last two games with a knee injury suffered in Week 6 against Concinnati and according to head coach Rex Ryan, Kyle Williams is going to miss his third game.
In his weekly radio appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan said that Williams is trying like crazy to heal up and get well, but indicated he won’t be fit to play against New England Monday night.
“I don’t think he’s going to be ready to go this week,” said Ryan of Kyle Williams.
If Williams in fact can’t play in New England next Monday its expected that Corbin Bryant will continue to start in his place.
Tags: Bills Radio Network, Kyle Williams, Rex Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills