Inside The Bills

Merriman sitting

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2011 – 6:43 pm

Head coach Chan Gailey said he would err on the side of caution with Shawne Merriman, and so a day after Merriman’s practice was cut short due to muscle tightness, he’s a spectator again tonight.
The tightness as he described it is in his right leg. Other non-participants tonight included some new players in Dwan Edwards and Mansfield Wrotto.

Here are the other non-participants.

Justin Rogers
Kelvin Sheppard
Chris White
Chris Hazley
Shawn Nelson
Chris Hairston
Kellen Heard
T.J. Langley
Craig Davis

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Right side of O-line review

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2011 – 12:59 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked for his thoughts on the right side of Buffalo’s offensive line featuring newly appointed starters in Kraig Urbik at right guard and Erik Pears at right tackle.

“They’re pretty good communicators, but they’re not as comfortable as the guys on the other side communicating with each other,” said Gailey. “But they’re getting better every day. I think that as they continue to work with each other I think things will get better and better.”

Gailey then added how they intend to work some other players in on that side of the line, indicating that things are far from set in stone.

“(Chad) Rinehart is going to work over there some and if (Chris) Hairston continues to get better every day it’s going to be a fight on that side of the line over there,” he said.

Performance in preseason games are likely to be a major determining factor. Mansfield Wrotto is another candidate as well as Cordaro Howard when he comes off the PUP list.

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Looking to add a tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2011 – 3:16 pm

In the draft luncheon Bills General Manager Buddy Nix reiterated the need for an offensive tackle. “I think we need another tackle in some way. A guy that either as a rookie or if and when free agency starts, we’d like to get another tackle.”

The current tackles on Buffalo’s roster are Demetrius Bell, Mansfield Wrotto, Erik Pears, and Ed Wang.

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Bills looking to add OT

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 9:06 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix in addressing those premium seat holders in attendance at the State of the Bills event in downtown Buffalo Monday night addressed the need to add an offensive tackle.

Nix only mentioned it in passing as he praised his pro personnel staff for adding some quality young linemen off waivers last season in Chad Rinehart, Kraig Urbik and Mansfield Wrotto, all of whom saw playing time last season and all of whom are under contract for next season.

 “We also need another tackle,” said Nix. “We need a tackle through the draft or through free agency, if and when that happens.”

Nix stated that they’re pretty pleased with what they got from Erik Pears late last season, another free agent pickup during the season as he appears to be the odds on favorite to land the starting right tackle job in 2011.

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Pears could start Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2010 – 4:26 pm

For those that may not have noticed free agent pickup Erik Pears was rotated in at right tackle with starter Mansfield Wrotto on Sunday. Head coach Chan Gailey provided some details on the plan there moving forward.

“Erik had come in and shown some good things and we wanted to watch him play,” said Gailey. “We started the game kind of two series for Mansfield and one for Erik. When we got to the fourth quarter we let Erik play most of the fourth quarter so we could get him on film and see what he could do.”

When asked if Pears could start on Sunday in the season finale he didn’t rule it out.

“Sure,” Gailey said. “To be honest with you where we ware right now anybody that’s played any amount of time has a chance to start this week.”

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Note about Wake’s sacks

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2010 – 11:46 am

We came up with an interesting note about Cameron Wake’s sacks here on

Our crack staff through film study saw that all 14 of the outside linebacker’s sacks have come against right tackles off the left side of Miami’s formation. When we asked Wake about it, he claimed he did not know that and said he’s comfortable rushing off either side, but head coach Chan Gailey doesn’t see it that way.

“He looks to me to be faster off the edge to our right, their left,” said Gailey. “And they move him around a lot. It’s hard to find him. You have to make sure you scheme ways to find him and give some help because he is a really good pass rusher.”

Bills right tackle Mansfield Wrotto did notice that fact through film study and knows he’ll need to be ready Sunday.

“Obviously a large percentage of his sacks have been against right tackles,” Wrotto said. “He plays very little on the (right) side. I guess it’s a comfort level probably for him. A lot of his sacks are speed. He forces tackles to flip their hips. He’s great off the ball. That’s one thing that gets tackles off their rhythm. It’s just something that’s progressed over the last couple of weeks and I’ve watched him do that.”

Wake had a sack and a couple of batted passes in Buffalo’s season opener against the Dolphins. We’ll have much on Cameron Wake in our Bills Focus weekly matchup feature which can be seen in the media center at later this afternoon.

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Wrotto the right tackle now

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2010 – 5:51 pm

OL Mansfield Wrotto was supposed to platoon at the right tackle spot with rookie Cordaro Howard, who has started the last three games, but after Howard suffered a shoulder injury Sunday, Wrotto appears to be the starter moving forward.

“Cordaro got that shoulder banged during the first half and couldn’t start the second half,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “But Mansfield was playing okay and after watching the tape I have high hopes for Mansfield. I think he can step in there and be a solid player for us at that position. Cordaro’s shoulder is just too weak right now to go play a whole ball game. So we’ll let Mansfield go play that spot for a while.”

Wrotto felt good about his adjustment to right tackle, a position he had not played in a game since college, having been primarily on the left side in his three-year NFL career with Seattle.

“It is different foot work-wise, but I’ve been practicing both sides the past couple of weeks,” said Wrotto. “Coach D’Alessandris really pushed me to know more than one position and it helped me out a lot on Sunday.”

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Howard, Wrotto to platoon

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2010 – 12:30 pm

Bills starting right tackle Cordaro Howard is not expected to be playing there full time on Sunday against the Bears.

Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed to that the intent is to platoon Howard and Mansfield Wrotto. Wrotto has been with the team since he was signed to the practice squad in Week 5. Promoted to the active roster a week later, Wrotto has acclimated himself to Buffalo’s offensive scheme and line calls to the point where Gailey is ready to give him some playing time.

“Yes we are,” Gailey told when asked if Howard and Wrotto will platoon at right tackle. “I think that’s the way we’ll go into the game. Now how much (playing time) each of them gets whether it’s two-thirds, one-third, 50-50, 75-25 I don’t know right now. I think we’ll have to get in the game and see how that goes, but I do anticipate Mansfield getting in the ball game.”

The Bills are likely concerned that the Bears may target the undrafted rookie (Howard) and move pass rusher Julius Peppers from his right end position over to the left side to face Howard. Wrotto is a four-vet with 18 games of NFL experience, a full season more than his fellow Georgia Tech alum. Either way Gailey has made no secret this week that they intend to double team Peppers for virtually the entire game.

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Playing time for Wrotto

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2010 – 3:16 pm

With veteran OT Cornell Green going to injured reserve to make room for LB Shawne Merriman on the roster, the starting right tackle job looked like it was going by default to undrafted rookie Cordaro Howard. But head coach Chan Gailey has different ideas.

Gailey indicated Thursday that Howard could be part of a platoon situation with four-year veteran Mansfield Wrotto.

When asked specifically if Howard would continue as the starting right tackle, Gailey responded with the following.

“He and Mansfield Wrotto will probably both play at that spot,” Gailey said.

Buffalo’s head coach did not elaborate on how playing time might be divided between the two, but Wrotto does have more NFL experience than Howard. Originally signed to the practice squad in Week 3 and promoted to the active roster a week later, Wrotto has appeared in 18 games including five starts, all of which came with the team that drafted him the Seattle Seahawks.

Howard has had his moments and his struggles in his first two NFL starts. Here was Chan Gailey’s assessment after his first NFL start at Baltimore.

“He did okay for the first time out,” said Gailey. “That’s a tough place to go play in a tough situation for your very first start in the NFL. And I thought he held his own. He didn’t grade out high, but he held his own. Toward the end, he got tired and a little sloppy in technique, but the guy went out and played 80 plays in what we consider heat coming from Buffalo against a very good defense. So, I thought he held his own.”

Wrotto, now entering his second month with the club has a good handle on the offensive system and blocking assignments, so if the offensive staff likely feels comfortable putting him in the lineup at some point to see if he fares any better than Howard.

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Other right tackle option

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2010 – 3:20 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey had an answer that appeared to leave options open for him and his coaching staff with respect to the starting right tackle role. With Cornell Green out injured for the foreseeable future, Gailey was asked if Cordaro Howard would be his replacement.

Gailey’s response did not exactly make it sound like Howard was a permanent answer to Green’s absence.

“Right now, yes,” said Gailey confirming that Howard would step in at right tackle.

Howard has done a nice job stepping in for the likes of Andy Levitre (Week 2 at GB), and spelling Demetrius Bell for a series or two here and there and last week stepping in for Green at the end of the game. In fact he outperformed Jamon Meredith to the point where Meredith was moved off the roster. But there is one player on the roster that I believe could possibly supplant Howard in the near future before Green is healthy enough to play again.

Mansfield Wrotto, a four-year veteran, has 16 NFL games under his belt and learned how to play offensive tackle in the NFL at the elbow of Walter Jones, one of the best two tackles of the last generation (Jonathan Ogden being the other). Wrotto has spent all of two weeks with the Bills, so getting the playbook down is the main task for him right now. Yes, he’s played more guard in the NFL, but he played tackle for Gailey and offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris at Georgia Tech.

“He’ll probably end up as a tackle for us,” Gailey told “I don’t know where exactly right now, but I think he’ll end up being a tackle. He’s played left tackle and guard when he was in Seattle. He’s a versatile player. He’s very strong. He’s got a low center of gravity. He’s a 310 to 315-pound guy at just 6’3”. Now the negative about playing tackle is he doesn’t have that big long reach that you would like, but he has great feet and a good understanding of the game. We’ll see how it works out.”

Certainly no promises in that statement either, but Wrotto has experience on his side. If he can get the Bills playbook down he could certainly push Howard for playing time with Green on the shelf.

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