Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-23

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2012 – 11:19 am

The NFL draft is just about a month away. Let’s get to your questions from

1 – Hey CB,

Thanks for all of your hard work reporting on the Bills–it’s really appreciated.  I was just wondering if you could layout the off season calendar from OTAs to Training camp and explain the new guidelines under the new CBA opposed to years past? 

CB: You can find all the OTA and minicamp dates right here. As far as OTAs go players can only go against “air.” In other words no offense vs. defense, no kickoff team vs. kick return team. Team drills can only be run against air and there are no one-on-one drills allowed either. Also during the first phase of OTAs there are no helmets worn and obviously no pads or shells without any live contact.

In the second phase of OTAs helmets can be worn, but there is still no live contact and therefore no pads or shells. A maximum of 10 practice days can be scheduled over this three week period, with no more than three days over each of the first two weeks.

For the mandatory minicamp coaches can have two-a-days on two of the three total practice days, but there are still no contact drills or use of pads allowed.

So in summation contact drills, unit vs. unit drills and one-on-one drills are now prohibited.  

And per the CBA each team is required to film all of these OTAs and minicamp practices and hold onto them until a month into the regular season in case the league wants to review them to make sure the rules are being followed.

2 – Chris,

I could use some clarification on how the salary caps works under the new CBA.  My understanding is that the salary cap is the most that a team is allowed to spend on player contracts, and under the new CBA that was reached last year, every team has to spend up to 99% of the cap beginning in the 2012 season.  I also understand that teams that were under the cap last year have the ability to roll that money over to next season to spend extra money.

Any additional info on this topic would be greatly appreciated. 

Las Vegas


CB: The way it was outlined in the new CBA was confusing to a lot of people because the league talked about collective team spending and then in the next breath individual team spending. It kind of muddied the waters with respect to what each team has to commit to spending-wise. I’ll try to present it as simply as I can (no easy task).

League-wide there has to be commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. That means all the teams collectively. If the league’s 32 teams fail to reach the 99 percent level then the league has to make up the difference.

In 2011 and 2012 there is no salary cap floor (minimum). That does not kick in until 2013. At that point each individual club is committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. 

For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap. Again if the 32 teams do not reach that figure the league makes up the difference.

So starting next offseason there is technically a salary cap floor for all NFL clubs (89% of cap), but as far as the higher percentage, that’s a figure the league’s teams have to reach collectively.

The most important thing to remember is it’s not cap space, it’s cash spent by the clubs. That adds up a lot quicker than cap space knowing contracts with respect to the cap can be spread out over the length of the deal. Hope that all makes sense.


3 – Chris,

These two months of speculation of the draft are like sitting in a closed room, watching the walls of its paint dry. I am impressed with your tenacity for finding new information and working your sources for the fans of the Bills. I wonder how many Bills fans are aware that we could have picked Ron Gronkowski in the second round of 2010, instead we picked DT Torell Troup. Belichick had the next pick and he rewarded his Pats with what turned out to be the best TE in the business. I’m sure Buddy hasn’t forgotten that snafu as another draft approaches.

There are some really good quality picks for TE in the early second round. Did you think Buddy will take a chance on one of them? And who do you think is the best pick between Dwayne Allen, Orson Charles or the Stanford TE? It’s high time the Bills paid respect to a such versatile position with a huge upside.

Go Bills!
Buffalo Bill

CB: First, I wouldn’t call taking Torell Troup a snafu. Yes, Gronkowski has panned out to be a tremendous talent, whose value has largely been maximized by a very good coach and outstanding quarterback. Troup has been mired by a persistent back problem his first two seasons, but with his back issues rectified I think he’ll prove to be a solid contributor. Only time will tell.

As for the TE position this year, Stanford’s Coby Fleener is the most complete. After clocking a 4.45 at his pro day he’s probably not going to be there in round two. That leaves Dwayne Allen from Clemson and Orson Charles from Georgia. Both are lacking a bit in size, and some NFL scouts consider them H-backs more than true tight ends.

I believe Allen’s hands are a little better than Charles’, but both are pretty good blockers. Allen looks a bit stronger physically than Charles. Both have good intangibles. I think it’s going to come down to whether a team wants a more versatile TE or not. If they want versatility I think Charles can line up in more places than Allen. Allen however, is stronger and a more natural pass catcher.

Both could come off the board in round 2.


4 – Chris,

Love the Bills’ coverage year round. There seems to be changes in the wind with the 10th pick. It appears they might lean towards Left Tackle. But at that spot, is that the best player available? Reiff and Martin both have concerns. I know they would like to add a tackle but both players have just as much risk as Ingram, Coples, and Upshaw. I would like to see them trade down or draft Floyd from ND. A sure handed big receiver with speed. Floyd would be a great addition across from Stevie and give Fitz targets. What’s your assessment on Floyd, LT.  Need vs value at pick 10?

CB: This is the great debate for the Bills heading into the draft. Reiff and Martin are widely viewed as players worthy of coming off the board between 10 and 15. Floyd has enhanced his overall stock with a solid Combine workout and squeaky clean senior year off the field.

Truthfully the debate isn’t need versus value. They need a starting left tackle and a number two wide receiver. The question is what is Buffalo’s draft grade on Martin, Reiff and Floyd? If the grades are close I think they pull the trigger at left tackle because they need a starter there. It’s harder and harder to find a capable starting left tackle with each passing round. This draft is deep at receiver and you can arguable get a quality player in round three, though he won’t have 4.47 speed that Floyd possesses.

What we also need to remember is if the grades on Martin, Reiff and Floyd are not close to that of the 10th pick Buffalo could trade down from there and re-group presumably armed with an additional pick.


5 – Hi Chris,

I know that Buddy and Chan want a deep threat that is open even when he isnt, and they dont see a pass rusher at 10, would it not make sense to go after Mike Wallace, if they gave him enough money in year 1 Pittsburg wouldn’t be able to sign him and they would have the scariest deep threat in the league, which should open things underneath for everyone else to shine even brighter
Thanks from North of the Border

CB:  I think the premise of your thought is a good one. You know what Mike Wallace is being a proven deep threat in the NFL. However, where things get sticky is in the money you would have to commit to Wallace. After committing number one receiver dollars to Stevie Johnson there’s no way they’d be able to do the same with Wallace, who will absolutely be looking for big, big money.

When you consider the fact that the Bills told Robert Meachem to take the four-year $25.9M deal from San Diego, it was an indication that $6.5M per season for their number two receiver is too steep a price as they see it. You’re not getting Mike Wallace for less than $6.5M per season so it makes giving up the 10th pick not worth it. I’m sure the Bills would love to have Wallace, but I don’t see Buffalo willing to accommodate Wallace’s contract demands after what went down with Meachem.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills waive a safety

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2010 – 2:07 pm

Not long after the close of the team’s mandatory minicamp, the Bills parted ways with one of their rookie safeties.

Rookie free agent safety Brett Johnson was waived by the club Friday afternoon just hours after the last spring practice.

Johnson was in a difficult numbers game from the beginning with veterans at both strong and free safety. Johnson was a free safety in his time in Buffalo, but his reps on defense were very few and far between.

The only rookie safety left on the roster is undrafted Temple product Dominique Harris.

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Wang and Bell update

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2010 – 10:07 am

It looks like getting back on the practice field for Ed Wang and Demetrius Bell will have to wait until training camp.

Wang and Bell are both spectators here at One Bills Drive on the last day of Bills minicamp.

Wang was injured earlier this month in OTAs while Bell never took the field this spring as his rehab from knee surgery continues.

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Byrd back

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2010 – 3:21 pm

After not participating this morning FS Jairus Byrd is back on the practice field this afternoon.

Byrd is one of a handful of players who is having their reps scaled back.

Kawika Mitchell, who participated in the morning practice is watching this afternoon. Marcus Stroud is also not on the field for the afternoon practice following his morning participation.

Derek Schouman however, has been a spectator for all of Thursday as has Jamon Meredith and Ashton Youboty.

New to the non-participant list this afternoon is LB Reggie Torbor.

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Afternoon update

Posted by Chris Brown on June 23, 2010 – 5:07 pm

The afternoon practice update has been added to the Day 1 – Minicamp report. Check the media lounge later for exclusive highlights of  Wednesday’s action.

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Wood, Mitchell watching

Posted by Chris Brown on June 23, 2010 – 2:58 pm

Though they both participated in practice Wednesday morning at the Bills mandatory minicamp, Eric Wood and Kawika Mitchell are not practicing this afternoon.

Both players are rehabbing from injuries and Chan Gailey said they’re participation will be monitored closely.

Other players that are being monitored are Marcus Stroud and Terrence McGee.

Corey McIntyre left practice early due to illness.

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Where will Torbor line up?

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2010 – 5:18 pm

Newly added LB Reggie Torbor played inside linebacker in the 3-4 system in Miami, but he also played outside linebacker when he was with the New York Giants. Where will he line up with Buffalo?

Odds are he’ll line up at inside linebacker, where defensive coordinator George Edwards (who was his position coach in Miami the last 2 years) knows what he’s capable of in a scheme of this nature. He was an attractive commodity to the Bills because he’s familiar with the 3-4 system, and he has inside-outside versatility according to coach Gailey.

We’ll let you know where he lines up in our continuing coverage of Bills minicamp which wraps up Sunday and Bills OTAs which resume on Tuesday.

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Nelson glad to be back

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2010 – 12:45 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson missed a few OTA practices this week, but is glad to be back on the field with his teammates.

“Everything is going pretty well,” said Nelson. “I’ve been kind of going back and forth. I’ve had a personal conflict back at home. I just want to work hard when I’m here and make the best of it. Just work hard and work with my teammates and build a relationship with those guys and learn how they play on the field so we can correlate with each other.”

Nelson jumped right back into the fray and made some plays in the passing game. He feels he’s also improved his blocking and his overall strength, which will be important knowing the emphasis Gailey’s offenses typically place on running the ball.

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Some jawing at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2010 – 5:00 pm

The defense had the better of play on day one of minicamp Friday and it prompted them to challenge their offensive counterparts all the more with some talk.

Donte Whitner got things going when he anticipated a screen play and started yelling, “Screen, screen.”

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hearing this changed the play and Whitner had a few more words for the offense indicating it was a good idea to change it.

From time to time offensive players told defensive players to simmer down and be quiet. But the defensive players kept egging the offensive players on, and it became all the easier with the number of plays they were making.

Reggie Corner however, made sure to point out that it’s all in the name of good competition.

“It makes it a lot more fun out there for everybody,” said Corner of the chatter back and forth. “Those that talk have to make plays, but it is respectful and it’s designed to get the guy going against you to go harder in practice.”

Practice has been spirited this week and the talking has been part of the reason for it.

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Poz trying to add a few

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2010 – 11:25 am

Paul Posluszny looks very fit and maybe even a bit quicker on the field during the first couple of weeks of spring practices. But in no way is Poz any lighter. In fact he’s trying to take his weight in the other direction.

“I’m right around the 240 mark right now,” said Posluszny. “If I could be at 242 that would be better.”

Poz played last year at 238 pounds. In the 3-4 system with less ground to cover having a fellow backer on the inside with him, Posluszny wants to add a little more lean muscle mass.

“It’ s all about being bigger, faster and stronger, so I’d like to gain two or three pounds here,” he said.

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Easley getting deep

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2010 – 11:05 am

Bills 4th round pick Marcus Easley has a reputation of having deceptive speed, and he’s been demonstrating that in practice here Friday.

Easley got by his cover man for a deep touchdown, his second in two days. He had another a short time later, but couldn’t quite run down the pass.

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Lynch update

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2010 – 10:16 am

Despite reports that Marshawn Lynch is in town, it doesn’t appear as though he’s going to be practicing at Wednesday’s OTA workout.

According to’s Adam Caplan, Lynch arrived in Buffalo last night.

But as of 10 am his locker stall was untouched and unoccupied. Player meetings began long before that time this morning, so odds are while he may be in town, he’s unlikely to be out on the practice field in about an hour.

It’s just a guess, but the start of voluntary minicamp on Friday seems to make sense as he’s indicated in interviews recently that he would begin practicing at the end of the week.

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Exclusive OTA coverage

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2010 – 1:42 pm

Organized team activities (OTAs) for the Buffalo Bills are set to get underway Tuesday and will have exclusive coverage as OTAs and minicamps run through the month of June.

Daily video reports in Bills Roundup, including exclusive highlights of the day’s action. 

Daily written reports including player developments and the top performers.

And player interviews as well as comment from head coach Chan Gailey.

Here’s the rundown of the OTA and minicamp schedule for this week along with a note as to when coach Gailey will be available. Here’s the full spring practice schedule which runs through late June. 

Voluntary OTAs
Tues. May 25 –  Practice 12:05 – 1:35 pm (Coach Gailey avail.)
Wed. May 26 – Practice 12:05 – 1:35 pm
Thurs. May 27 – Practice 12:05 – 1:35 pm

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Waived players would have been in numbers game

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2009 – 6:39 pm

Of the five players that were waived by the Bills this afternoon, there wasn’t one that would not have been caught in a numbers game at his position.

Blake Costanzo was a solid special teams player, but at linebacker right or wrong he had about eight fellow linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart.

For the other players it was much the same case. Cornerback Kyle Ward’s chances were limited with two draft picks at the same position (C. Harris, Lankster) and a lot of experienced talent as well (McGee, McKelvin, Youboty, Corner, Florence).

Same goes for OT Joel Bell, who was the team’s fifth or sixth offensive tackle. The Bills have three reserve tackles with playing experience already in Demetrius Bell, Kirk Chambers and Jonathan Scott.

DLs John Faletoese and Gerald Washington were also buried on the depth chart as they ran with the third team defense all spring.

With the roster count at 75 and eight draft picks that don’t count until signed, the Bills will have to make room for three more draft picks when signings draw nearer.

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Why C.J. Hawthorne was on crutches

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2009 – 3:40 pm

Bills wide receiver C.J. Hawthorne did not participate in any of the spring workouts from rookie camp to mandatory minicamp due to injury. And that injury apparently did not get better as Dick Jauron explained why Hawthorne, who was walking under his own power until Tuesday when he was seen on crutches.

“C.J. in a cast right now and will be for a few more days,” said Jauron. “It’s a leg issue. C.J. has had some surgery and as far as I know C.J. should be ready for camp.”

Undrafted rookie offensive lineman Nick Hennessey also suffered a leg injury during practice in the final OTA Monday. His chances are being ready for training camp are a little cloudier according to Jauron.

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Lynch’s injury

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2009 – 3:34 pm

Marshawn Lynch did not participate in the last two helmet practices with his teammates in minicamp on Tuesday and Wednesday. His injury was outlined by head coach Dick Jauron.

“He got stepped on and his foot kind of swelled up,” said Jauron. “So we sent him for x-rays and tests, and nothing is broken, but it was still swollen and sore.”

Lynch was favoring the foot a bit walking around on the sidelines at practice. But it’s not considered serious.

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Final minicamp practice brief

Posted by Chris Brown on June 11, 2009 – 2:38 pm

Just a short walk thru for the Bills on the final day of minicamp.

it lasted about 40 minutes.

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Lynch and Parrish watching

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2009 – 2:36 pm

Marshawn Lynch and Roscoe Parrish are not participating in practice for day 2 of minicamp.

Lynch is dealing with an undisclosed ailment, while Parrish tweaked his right calf early in practice Tuesday.

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Owens on Romo as opposed to Edwards

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2009 – 7:34 pm

Terrell Owens was asked a handful of questions about adjusting to his new team and new offensive scheme at the close of practice Monday. One asked him how much he’s had to adjust from catching passes from Tony Romo to Trent Edwards.

“It’s really not a difference,” said Owens. “You have two different quarterbacks, so it’s just a different system. The routes are pretty much the same with a few variations here and there. It’s all about just going out there and executing, him dropping back and going through his reads and progressions, and delivering the ball. It’s about us going out there and just making plays for him.”

Owens didn’t elaborate on what makes Romo and Edwards two different quarterbacks, but by pointing to the system it sounds as if Owens is saying it’s different because the respective offensive systems are geared to the different strengths of the two signal callers.

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Nelson at minicamp practice

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2009 – 6:11 pm

Shawn Nelson was back with his teammates at mandatory minicamp Tuesday. He also made a couple of nice receptions in the passing game. Check out Bills Roundup in the media lounge later this afternoon for his highlights and many other exclusive plays from practice only on

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