Enjoy the holiday weekend Bills fans and remember if you’re in the military take advantage of submitting any service photos from overseas, especially if you’ve got Bills gear in the shot. We’re doing a military Bills fan photo gallery tribute on July 4th on Buffalobills.com. Just send your photos and info to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Chris,
Could you clear up some confusion on the part of Bills fans? Many fans have said on the message boards that blue pants are going to be used but just weren’t ready for the recent unveiling.
Hopefully that’s true (although hard to believe they wouldn’t be ready) as I think the blue pants with white tops looks 100% better than white on white (“long underwear” look IMHO). Please clear this up once and for all for all of the fans, the majority of which seem to want the blue pants also. 9 years of white on white was enough!
CB: What I have been told by our people at One Bills Drive is the following. The away uniform in 2011 will feature white pants with a white jersey.
2 – Hi Chris,
Last I heard, NFL Network was still not able to find a team to follow via their reality television show Hard Knocks. They were turned down by the Jets for a second season, the Cowboys and another team I believe.
Are the Bills not interested in this opportunity? Have they contacted NFL Network on this topic?
I for one believe it would help the regionalization efforts with Toronto and getting a more engaged fan base from the north.
CB: You make a valid point, but I’m not in a position to speak for Buddy Nix or Chan Gailey and what they’d decide. Having been around them the past calendar year and seeing how they operate, I’d be surprised to see them sign off on something like that.
They’re both old school football men that just want to go to work and get the job done. Having to deal with cameras following them wherever they go during the busiest time of their calendar year doesn’t sound like it would jive with their way of doing things, but obviously that’s their call not mine.
3 – Hey Chris,
With all the hype going on with Terrelle Pryor I was wondering about other quarterbacks that could be taken in either free agency or the supplemental draft. I am pretty sure Pat Devlin is still on the market and I liked his numbers and physical traits. I also heard he has the intangibles to be a NFL quarterback. Is there any chance the Bills get him?
Tommy from Pittsford
CB: It’s certainly possible that the Bills will add another young arm to their quarterback contingent, but I think it’s far more likely that they add a veteran that they feel is capable of backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick. They already have a young developing arm in Levi Brown, so I would anticipate them adding someone that’s had some time in the league and been on the field a fair amount on Sundays. Buddy Nix said earlier this offseason they may very well add two more quarterbacks, but the fourth in all likelihood would be another passer for camp and if he impresses maybe he sticks around in some capacity. That’s where an additional young signal caller might come into play.
4 – Dear Chris,
Thanks for all you do to keep us fans up to date. That goes double for those of us that have moved away from upstate NY, but still call Buffalo home.
I have a question about the Practice Squad. Can another team just sign a guy off of our Practice Squad any time they feel like it? Do we have to agree to let that player go? Do we get compensated if they take one of our guys? I’d sure hate to see a guy like Jasper or Batten end up in New England and become a real monster that we have to play against twice a year.
Gregg from Fort Worth
CB: Unfortunately yes, another team with an opening on their 53-man roster can pluck a player off of any team’s practice squad at any time. There are some measures the original team can take to prevent losing the player if they covet him. One is to offer him an active player contract (practice squad players make less) and a spot on the active roster.
The Green Bay Packers tried to do that when the Bills went to take Brian Brohm off of Green Bay’s practice squad. They offered a deal equal to that of the Bills contract, but Brohm still chose to leave.
More than 95 percent of the time the practice squad player leaves because the new team that signs him has to keep him on their active roster for at least three weeks, so it’s a genuine opportunity to get on an NFL field on a Sunday, especially if the team they’re going to has had a rash of injuries at said player’s position.
5 – Chris,
Thanks for all your work. I was wondering where you think that Johnny White will be in the backfield. With Fred and CJ carrying most of the load, do you see him more as a returner or do you think he will get some carries. I think he can develop into a complement to CJ once Fred leaves.
CB: I see a lot of special teams work ahead for Johnny White, who can serve in a lot of roles on that unit. I could also envision him being a goal line back as the season wears on. The kid runs downhill… hard. He’s an inside runner primarily, so if they want to take some of the wear and tear off Fred I could see him spelling Jackson a bit here and there. However, if he gets more than 4-8 touches a game on offense as a rookie I’d be surprised, just because of who is in front of him on the depth chart.
Tags: 2011 uniforms, Fan Friday, Johnny White, Pat Devlin, practice squad, Terrelle Pryor
Posted in Inside the Bills
It’s been a fun week at the Senior Bowl here in Mobile. The pre-draft process has begun. Time for your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Chris,
Unless the Bills take a QB with the third pick which seems unlikely do to the talent there on defensive what do you think about the middle round QB’s. Ponder from FSU seems overrated while Pat Devlin and the freakish 6’6′ speedy Colin Kaepernick looks like guys Chan could develop into a throwing quarterback. What do the scouts see of these guys?
CB: At this stage in the game scouts are hesitant to talk much about prospects. They’re still gathering the all important character background information now that they can talk to the players with the college seasons over. They did a lot of that this week at the Senior Bowl. The lobby at the hotel may as well have been a convention hall with all the one-on-one meetings I witnessed by all the NFL clubs.
As for the quarterbacks you mentioned. I love Ponder’s natural leadership and he has the physical skills to play in the league. I just want to be convinced that some of his late game mistakes this past season were a result of him trying to do too much, which could be corrected. Delaware’s Pat Devlin really struggled to complete passes at the East-West Shrine game by all accounts and that won’t fly in Buffalo’s weather, literally. Kaepernick is really intriguing. He’s got prototype size, can run around and make plays on the move and has a solid arm.
I’m really hoping he shows well in Saturday’s game, but even so he’s probably a second rounder at best at this point. I think Ponder has the best intangible/physical skills combination while Kaepernick has the most potential and I like TCU’s Andy Dalton too. He’s a smart quarterback that can make plays and rarely makes mistakes. Those are some of the middle round guys I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Bills uniform.
2 – Can you break down in general terms how the Bills scout college players? Do they travel to games or only break down game tape? Do they have scouts that focus on different regions of the country? And the non Division I schools? Since under Buddy they drafted small school guys like Batten, Moats, Brown, and free agent Donald Jones. How involved is Buddy in the scouting process or does that fall under Modrak. When does Chan fit into the process in looking at future guys? I’m sure lots of Bills fans are wondering how 1 team can look at 7 rounds of college players.
CB: Yes, scouts are assigned to specific regions of the country like the southeast or the west. They occasionally travel to games, but in large part they go to a school in the fall during the season during the week and go watch game tape at the schools. The school’s pro liaison generally sets up a room for all the scouts to make use of on campus.
Scouts look at seniors only at this time and put together full reports on any and all seniors that are believed to be draft worthy. Some schools have two, some schools have eight to 10. All of them must be done. After watching tape all morning, scouts will take in practice that afternoon on campus, and they might talk to an assistant coach to ask about a player’s work habits or talk to the strength and conditioning coach to get a feel for the player’s dedication.
Then it’s on to the next school that week and the process repeats itself week after week for about four months. In the end they usually come up with 350 draft eligible players on their board and about 150 players that they expect to go undrafted, but still might want to sign as undrafted free agents.
Buddy is involved in the scouting process. There were several weeks this season where he was out on the road from Thursday to Saturday and then re-joined the team for Sunday games. The coaching staff usually begins to focus their attention on the draft process after their review of the previous season through film study has concluded. That usually happens now during Senior Bowl week.
3 – Chris,
My question to you is: who are some of the big name free agents from other teams that you could see Buffalo going after in the offseason? Any holes that we could solve this way like the Merriman pick-up. Thanks for the daily info.
Chris in Atlanta
CB: I’ll be honest. I haven’t poured over the prospective free agents list just yet, primarily because we don’t what the state of free agency is going to be without a new labor agreement. They’ll all be in limbo. That being said I do know that Miami QB Tyler Thigpen is a free agent. Knowing his history with Chan Gailey when he was the offensive coordinator with him in Kansas City, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills make a play for his services as a backup quarterback behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
4 – Chris
Just a thought and I would like your feed back. I think and hope that Troup continues to get better. I really like the guy that was added late in the season, (Kellen Heard). I was watching him for a few years until he changed schools. He looks like a beast. What would you think of Heard and Troup rotating in the middle and get Fairley in the first round and have him and Kyle Williams at the ends? That could be a great line up. I think Kyle would be an animal at DE.
CB: Fairley is my personal favorite for the Bills pick, but I’m not sure he’ll be there at three. Heard is a guy that Buffalo wants to see a bit more of so it’ll be interesting to see where his career goes heading into next season. I don’t know if he’s starter worthy.
I’ve asked coach Gailey about playing Kyle at end and he believes that Kyle is so effective inside that he can’t afford to move him to the edge of their defensive front. He thinks he does his best work in there. And yes I do believe Troup will get better as well as Carrington.
5 – Chris
Any chance of the Bills getting compensatory draft picks this year?
CB: Unfortunately Scott I’m not optimistic. The main criteria needed to qualify for compensatory picks is a net loss in free agents. Basically you need to sign fewer than you lose. What also makes it tricky is only certain free agents signed by other clubs or by your club in a predetermined offseason time period qualify. So for example Terrell Owens, who did not sign with Cincinnati until the first day of training camp, would not qualify as a loss because he signed with another club very late.
By my count I don’t have the Bills sustaining a net loss of free agents this past offseason so I’m not expecting them to be awarded any compensatories.
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, compensatory picks, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, Nick Fairley, Pat Devlin, scouts, Torell Troup, Tyler Thigpen
Posted in Inside the Bills