Jets RB Matt Forte didn’t look much different in Week 1 than he has over the last several seasons of his career, which was previously spent in Chicago. He had 155 total yards from scrimmage in the Jets one-point loss. As versatile as Forte is there is one part of the game that isn’t a strength according to Bills head coach Rex Ryan.
“One thing he can’t do is he can’t pass protect,” said Ryan. “He’s a great receiver and he’s an outstanding runner. So his protection? Let’s just say it’s not that good.”
Ryan, not surprisingly, had more favorable praise for Jets backup RB Bilal Powell, who Ryan coached when he was in New York.
“Bilal Powell is a different type of guy,” said Ryan. “Great in protection, decent runner and also a good receiver.”
Powell has been a third down back for the Jets for that very reason and that appears to still be the case now. In Week 1 on the Jets’ 14 third down opportunities Powell was on the field in place of Forte for 12 of them.
The only two he wasn’t was in a 3rd-and-goal at the two-yard line, and it appeared that Forte did not recognize the pass rusher coming off the left side of the Jets’ formation. Fitzpatrick got rid of the ball in time as he typically does. The other was the second to last play of the game when the Jets went empty backfield to put more receivers out on routes.
Expect to see more of the same tonight at New Era Field.
Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Rex Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills
First, a thank you to Bills fans for making the Inside the Bills blog the number one blog in the NFL! Your passion for the Bills is what has made it the top blog in the league for the past two months. Thanks for your readership! Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Dear Chris,
What do you think of Syracuse DE Chandler Jones? I know that he did great while he was at ‘Cuse, but do you think that he is NFL material? And if so what round do you think he will go in? And what team if any will take him in the draft? Or do you think that he will be like Mark Herzlich last year and get signed by a team after the draft?
Thanks for all that you do and keep it up
Chris L, Worcester MA
CB: I’m a fan of Chandler Jones. He’s not a speed rusher that’s going to bend the corner and flat out beat offensive tackles for sacks. He projects as a left defensive end because although he has good initial explosion as evidenced by his 10-foot broad jump and 35-inch vertical at the NFL Combine, he doesn’t have the foot speed to be a true 4-3 RDE. He clocked a 4.87 in the 40, an indication of his lacking long chase speed. He made his plays at Syracuse with anticipation and hustle not pure speed. With prototype size (6’5” 266) and good bloodlines (his brother Arthur plays for the Ravens) he’s likely to be a second or third round pick.
2 – Chris,
Assuming we draft Courtney Upshaw. Do you think we should draft a defensive end in the second round or try to acquire one through free agency? Our current ends seem average at best. They have shown brief glimpses of talent but are not getting the job done in the 4-3. Merriman was ineffective last season (When he played) and I would assume he won’t make the squad next year. Kelsay had 1 great game in his career. Edwards did an OK job but is not a big play maker. Carrington will probably move to tackle. The rest seem like perpetual backups. Any thoughts?
CB: My first thought is I’m not so sure the Bills go pass rush in round one. I’m getting the strong sense that they don’t see an elite level talent at the 4-3 end position to invest the 10th overall pick. Buddy Nix told me specifically that he believes the value at the DE position is in the middle rounds, not at the top of the draft. So I do think we could see an end of two acquired between rounds 2 and 4. I think there’s also a chance that they grab one in free agency. Not a Mario Williams per se, but a more affordable option that won’t prompt a bidding war.
I wouldn’t count out Shawne Merriman. He finally had surgery late last season to correct the problem that had plagued him for three years. The hope is that the procedure will finally enable him to stay on the field and play like the Merriman of old.
3 – Hey Chris,
Great job keeping us informed. What do you think is the greatest need other than pass rusher, and I think we need two. A pair like the Colts have in Freeney and Mathis. Is there any up and coming combo to be out there? Offense would be another speedster, but what about or secondary?
Again Thanks for your time
CB: I think there’s a good chance the Bills add a pass rusher in both free agency and the draft. I don’t anticipate either to be a giant name that most football fans are familiar with. Someone like Jacksonville’s Jeremy Mincey for example, though the Jags are working to re-sign him. In the draft someone between the second and fourth round.
As for the secondary I think they’re in good shape at safety, but Buddy Nix talks about drafting a corner every year. This year is a deep year for cornerbacks so I would anticipate one perhaps being taken in the middle rounds knowing some of their starters Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence are over 30.
4 – Hey Chris,
Thanks for all you do. I have a couple quick questions. I see a lot of similarities in the way Fred Jackson and Matt Forte run and how they are featured in their offenses. With that being said I would like to know your opinion on if you agree and who you think is better? Also with Fred’s contract soon to expire next year and the word is the Bills will re-sign him before the next season starts do you think Jackson and Forte will have similar contracts because of how alike their style of play is? Also what do you think Fred Jackson’s contract length should be and the amount of it? Thanks again.
Mike from Long Island
CB: I think Forte and Jackson are similar in terms of versatility. I believe Jackson is a bit tougher runner and is more adept at making something out of nothing. It’s very rare when the first defender takes down Jackson. The same cannot be said for Forte. Forte probably has a bit more foot speed.
Personally I think Fred is the better all-around player. Unfortunately I don’t think their new contracts will be the same and it’s primarily going to be due to age. Forte is just 25-years old, while Jackson is 31. League statistics are not kind to running backs over 30, and because of that fact, whether they apply to Jackson or not, I don’t anticipate a big money contract extension for Jackson.
The Bears know Forte has a window of production of at least five years. For the Bills it’s harder to predict Jackson’s future production because of his age, though he showed no signs of slowing down until he was injured last season. The cruel fact is that Jackson’s age will likely be deemed a risk and thus the investment in him is unlikely to be as significant as that of Forte. Right or wrong that’s unfortunately the way the business side of the NFL works.
5 – Chris,
Last year sure seemed to be impacted by injuries…and when you think of the number of key guys who were sidelined it makes you wonder….is it a question of poor conditioning, or were they playing at the edge of their physical capabilities, or was it because of poor technique…or is it just a case of bad luck….and all of the above…
Any insight regarding how the coaches feel about this…were the Bill’s more injury prone than other NFL teams? Is there talk of doing anything differently to minimize injuries…. thanks
CB: When Buddy Nix was hired as GM one of the areas he said he wanted to investigate more were the injury problems that have plagued the Bills for the better part of the last five seasons. At his season wrap up press conference this year I followed up on his plans to try and find an answer to that troubling problem. So I will let Buddy answer your question. Here was his response to me.
“We researched everything we know to research and there’s no answer,” said Nix. “We had four guys with ACLs this past year that didn’t get touched, didn’t get hit. Another guy jumping over a pile tears his patellar tendon, Terrence McGee. Fred rolls up on Donald Jones when he’s blocking and he’s out for the year. Everybody has injuries. We all do. The thing you have to stay away from and I said this in the summer – If we could stay away from injuries I thought we could win 10 games. I didn’t tell anybody else except my wife.
“If we could not lose guys for the year, in other words if you lose them and then get them back. Philadelphia. Cincinnati. Some of those teams… New York Giants. Ahmad Bradshaw, the running back goes down but they got him back. The ones we lost we didn’t get back. Those guys were out for the year. You can take a dip in the middle of the year and get those guys back and come on strong toward the end. But that wasn’t the case with us. That’s not an excuse. That can happen anytime.”
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Buddy Nix, Chandler Jones, Courtney Upshaw, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, injuries, Jeremy Mincey, Matt Forte
Posted in Inside the Bills
Chicago starting RB Matt Forte may not play in Saturday’s preseason opener because of a lingering demand for a contract extension.
That according to the Chicago Tribune. Forte considered holding out to get an extension, but reported to camp in good faith hoping a new deal would be consummated. Nothing has happened, so Chicago reporters are openly wondering if Forte will risk injury and play Saturday night against the Bills.
Tags: 2011 preseason, Matt Forte
Posted in Inside the Bills