Inside The Bills

Hamdan or Brohm?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2009 – 5:13 pm

With Gibran Hamdan on the roster it’s a strong indication that perhaps both injured quarterbacks for the Bills might not be ready for Sunday’s game at Atlanta.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards both nursing significant ankle injuries, the staff obviously felt adding a fourth QB was a necessity and Gibran Hamdan is the right kind of insurance. There isn’t another quarterback out there that knows Buffalo’s system better than Hamdan, who has been immersed in it for the past three seasons.

If it comes down to a decision between Hamdan or Brohm because Fitzpatrick and Edwards are not available, I’d expect to see Brohm start. After all this coaching staff waived Hamdan to acquire Brohm. But if the staff is concerned about having to water down the offense too much to accommodate Brohm, I wouldn’t rule out Hamdan.

Hamdan has a better familiarity with the system and has worked with the skill positions players on offense for a much longer time than Brohm. Still Brohm is viewed as a better all-around talent. It’ll be interesting to see what Perry Fewell has to say in his Wednesday afternoon press conference, which we will carry live on Buffalobills.com. Fewell is scheduled for 2:30 pm.


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Perry Fewell press conf. carried live

Posted by Chris Brown on December 21, 2009 – 11:25 am

Interim head coach Perry Fewell will be holding his game wrap up press conference at approximately 12:15 pm here on Monday. Buffalobills.com will carry that press conference live.


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Fewell on Brohm prospects

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2009 – 3:09 pm

Interim head coach Perry Fewell was asked if there would be an opportunity for Brian Brohm to see time on the field, if there is another passing performance on Sunday that fails to have the desired production as has been the case the past two games.

“I don’t know how far he is along in the development of our offense because he doesn’t take the reps in our offense. He takes the reps with our scout team,” said Fewell. “So to put him in that position might be a recipe for failure for him. It might not give him the best opportunity. It might not show us what he really can do. But you never say never. You approach each day and situation as it comes and you never rule out a possibility.”

At this point it’s doubtful that Brohm takes the field, but should the pass game continue to struggle as it has the past two games, Fewell does not want to rule it out as a possible option. Whether it actually happens is another story.

Here are Brohm’s thoughts on how he’s absorbing the offense.


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Fewell press conf. carried live

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2009 – 11:24 am

Interim head coach Perry Fewell will be addressing the media shortly at approximately 11:30 am. Buffalobills.com will carry it live.

Here’s where you can watch the press conference live.


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Fewell takes blame for long TD

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2009 – 5:10 pm

The Bills defense had one of their better showings in the win over Kansas City. The only blemish was a 76-yard TD run by Jamaal Charles, but Buffalo’s head coach faulted himself for the result of that play.

“It was a blitz,” said Fewell. “They caught me in a blitz. I thought I had some tendencies on them and they caught me.”

Charles had a large hole to run through as he went untouched for the score to make it a 3-point game, but the Bills defense closed out the game in a 16-10 win.


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Fan Friday 12-11

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2009 – 1:26 pm

The snow has been flying late this week in Buffalo. Crazy wind and at least a foot of snow in most places. But we still bring you Fan Friday as always here on the Inside the Bills blog. As always you can email your questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1. Hi, Chris,
With the talent level the Bills have at running back, why don’t they have Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson in the backfield at the same time? They could pound opposing defenses continually, and keep our defense off the field. This would take pressure off of the QB, and maybe put the Bills in position to win more games. The offensive line as it stands right now, is having issues pass blocking. Just a thought…
 
Tony Falzone, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: There has been more of this in recent weeks, but not a ton more. I think that set presents a lot more options for the Bills offensively and also affords better pass protection with both Lynch and Jackson back there. We’ll see if there are more snaps with that look over the final four games, but I agree it has a lot of potential for an offense that has struggled all season.

2. Chris,

I know it’s very early in the process, and I keep hearing the Mr. Wilson wants to hire a GM to hire a coach (you could probably say how true that is better than me,) but I had a couple of names I was hoping to get your feedback about for a potential new coach.

1. Brian Billick: While I don’t know how well he actually knows quarterbacks like he claims– I do know he won the Super Bowl with the Ravens, and even when they struggled before he was fired, they played great defense. He seems like he wants to get back to coaching, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Buffalo.

2. Russ Grimm: He was a finalist for the Pittsburgh and I think Arizona job as well, before Whisenhunt was hired– so I get the impression the guy has something management likes. He’s a firey presence that helped change the culture of the team in Arizona in a VERY short time period…exactly the kind of change Buffalo needs. Also, the guy has an o-line background, and ours desperately needs work.

3. Pete Metzelaars: I know Pete is relatively green… but he was a blink of Tom Moore’s eye from being the OC in Indy this year before he and Mudd decided not to retire. Also, I get the impression that just the timing of some of the early 90’s Bills going into the HOF these past years, that the Bills and its fanbase are reconnecting with those teams. What better way to do it than to bring in one of the pieces that got us there? At the very least in an OC capacity.

I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine any of these guys commanding the kind of money the Cowhers or Shanahans of the world do… so maybe they’d be a fit here?

I’m curious to know your thoughts

Matt
Farmington, NY

CB: I think Billick and Grimm are worthwhile candidates. Grimm would certainly put attention where it’s needed on the offensive line. Heck with Grimm at the helm they may draft a tackle before a QB, which I’m not opposed to. The Dolphins showed that could work drafting Jake Long and then Chad Henne. Cleveland had the right idea too with Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn. Quinn is actually playing a bit better of late.

As for Metzelaars I think he is too green for a head job. Wouldn’t mind making him an assistant on this staff, Frank Reich as well for that matter. I think Cowher and Shanahan are unfortunately long shots at best.

3. Hey Chris,
Are the bills done with Trent? Why go back to Fitz again? I think you go with trent, for better or worse, to see if he’s your franchise guy, your thoughts?
thanks,
Ryan
CB: I’m afraid that ship appears to have sailed. Players have made no secret even to the media that they prefer having Fitzpatrick in there. No doubt they made those preferences known to the coaching staff as well. So my feeling is Trent will remain the backup for the rest of the season barring injury.

I don’t think there’s any question that Edwards is physically superior to Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick is more willing to take chances in the passing game and he has seen the whole field better when he’s been in there. As to whether Trent is still considered franchise material, I think that’s a determination that may also have been made already, but under a new regime that’s always subject to change. Time will tell.

4. They had a crowd of 51,000 people. We could have sold 70,000 in Ralph Wilson stadium, w/ the large majority cheering loudly for our (undermanned) Bills.

I’m no marketing guru, but how is this putting more money in the franchise’s pocket? Simply because it’s guaranteed money? We haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years and we still get near sellout crowds for most games in Buffalo. The players have repeatedly said the fans support gets them pumped up.
  
Given the 3 tepid performances so far in Toronto, including the preseason game, it’s hard to see that we are expanding our fan base playing there. The Canadian fans may enjoy seeing the NFL, but they are hardly there to cheer on our home team.

I was pretty skeptical of the idea in the first place. I don’t think it has helped the Bills as a team, or the franchise, or even (cynically) Ralph Wilson himself.  Help me out, Chris. What am I missing?
 
Pete
Gilbert, AZ

CB: The Bills sold the Toronto Series to the Rogers group for $78 million. It equates to $9.75M per game, which is almost double what the franchise pulls in for a regular home game, and far more than that for a preseason game. So that’s a major revenue benefit, which is important in the league’s big market/small market climate right now.

If 2010 goes off without a salary cap, which is looking more and more like reality, this regionalization effort will be more important than most fans realize. It will continue to help to keep the team financially competitive.

Though it may be hard to see how the games in Toronto are helping the fan base, 15% of the season ticket base is from southern Ontario. And figures show that number is now increasing thanks to the team’s annual presence in Toronto.

Believe me when I tell you the decision makers for this franchise understand that it’s a bitter pill to swallow for Bills fans that respect the franchise’s tradition and home field advantage with respect to the 12th Man. But this is a necessary step to keep the team financially viable and competitive in a league where the ‘haves’ are continually trying to make life more difficult for the ‘have nots.’
The Toronto Series helps to keep the team financially viable, while staying in Buffalo.

5. Chris,
Do you see the Bills keeping Perry Fewell around after the season is over?  I like a lot of Bills Fans, like his attitude and think he will be a great loss on the Defensive side, and the same goes for Bobby April. What do you think?
 
Thanks,
Bill
Frederick, MD

CB: I do think both Fewell and April have a lot to offer, but a new head coach generally likes to bring in his own people. I think April has the resume to be offered a job on the staff, no matter what head coach comes in, but I doubt he will take it. It wouldn’t surprise me if April felt passed over for the interim head coaching job, especially with Assistant Head Coach as part of his title under Dick Jauron.
It’s my belief April will be moving on after this season is over, and make no mistake it would be a great loss.

As for Fewell, unless a new coach coming in is a big believer in the Tampa-2 scheme he too is likely to be looking for work elsewhere. It sounds cruel, but these men know its part of the business. I like what Fewell has done in his stint as interim head coach, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the organization determines that they have to wipe the slate clean and turn the page on all that is associated with the Dick Jauron era.


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Byrd’s injury improving

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2009 – 5:20 pm

Bills rookie Jairus Byrd has been gutting his way through the past month of games as his ailing groin was not expected to be 100 percent again until the offseason when he could get the proper rest. But interim head coach Perry Fewell indicated otherwise Wednesday.

When asked about Byrd, who has played on a rotational basis due to the nagging injury stated that Byrd’s condition has improved.

“He’s getting better every week,” said Fewell. “He’s feeling stronger every week. We had a conversation (Wednesday) and he lets me know on a weekly basis as to how strong he feels. I feel good about his progress and his rehab.”

Fewell wasn’t ready to go so far as to say that Byrd’s snaps will be increased significantly as a result of his improved condition. But it’s a good sign that the rookie ballhawk could be out on the field more than he has been in recent weeks.


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Jackson still lead back

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2009 – 3:00 pm

Marshawn Lynch had some good looking carries on the drive in which he scored on a 15-yard run, but according to interim head coach Perry Fewell, Fred Jackson is still the lead back.

Fewell was asked why Lynch did not get more carries after averaging 10 yards per rush on six carries (60 yards).

“We ran the ball 23 times and passed it 24 times,” said Fewell of Thursday night’s game. “Fred is still our featured back. We’re just trying to get our playmakers the football. It wasn’t a conscious effort to not give Marshawn the football. We felt like Fred could run behind this scheme a little bit better at that particular time.”

Jackson finished the game with 13 carries to Lynch’s six. For more on why the decision was made to make Jackson the featured runner in Buffalo’s offense you can examine some more interesting statistics on the two backs at Buffalobills.com.


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Bills to report back Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2009 – 1:54 pm

After three games in 11 days the Bills were given the weekend off by interim head coach Perry Fewell.

“Monday will be a work day,” said Fewell Friday. “I thought the players needed this day physically to recover. I’m still deciding as to how physical the Monday practice will be. But I feel the weekend off will regenerate them physically.”

Both the Bills and the Jets showed some tired legs come the fourth quarter and the players admitted as much.

“You could definitely feel it,” said Bryan Scott. “I think guys on both sides of the ball could feel it. You could see the Jets, their offense was huffing and puffing a little bit. We were out there a little bit saying, ‘Wow.’ You could feel it a little bit, but that’s when you just have to dig deep and keep going.”

“You could see that both teams weren’t as crisp as they might expect to be,” said Fewell. “A Sunday to Thursday game will do that. You could see it in the play on the field.”


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Comments on Fewell

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2009 – 9:21 am

A couple of NFL Network analysts and former head coaches themselves had a couple of comments concerning Perry Fewell’s interim head coaching job during their NFL Network ‘The Coaches Show.’

Steve Mariucci and Mike Martz both offered their take on how Fewell has to approach things from here on out.

“He’s got to be himself. He can’t be Dick Jauron, he can’t be Marv Levy… he just has to win some games and let the chips fall where they may,” said Mariucci.

“He’s very sharp – this is a terrific pick for a head coach,” said Mike Martz. “He did a great job as coordinator and he has the respect of the players. I love the guy.”

Now Martz had Fewell on his staff as an assistant in St. Louis, so his comments should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if Martz was angling for a possible offensive coordinator position under his former assistant if in fact Fewell becomes a finalist for the permanent head coaching job for the Bills.

The NFL Network will carry Thursday night’s Bills game with an 8:20 pm kickoff. Locally in Buffalo the game will be aired on WKBW-TV Channel 7.


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Perry Fewell press conf. today

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2009 – 9:34 am

With the short week leading up to the Bills-Jets Thursday night game, Perry Fewell will have his weekly press conference on Tuesday instead of the typical Wednesday.

Fewell is scheduled to address the media at 1:30pm. You can watch it live on Buffalobills.com.


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No pads practices this week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2009 – 9:00 am

Interim head coach Perry Fewell has had his players don the pads in practices twice a week, despite the fact that it’s late in the season, in an effort to instill a more physical style of play. But that won’t happen this week.

With the short week, Buffalo’s players need to heal up before playing on Thursday.

“We will have walk-through practices, they won’t be padded full-speed practices because you’re coming off a game on Sunday,” said Fewell. “And so we must try to keep our players fresh but give them good information.”

This is a common practice when the next game is four days away from the last one. Pounding on each other in practice in a short week makes for dead legs in the second half of games on Thursdays. The Bills are trying to avoid that so they can build on what was a very successful fourth quarter this past week when they outscored Miami 24-0.


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Bills 4th qtr changes perception

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2009 – 11:37 pm

The Bills were known as a team that folds in the fourth quarter. In 8 of the 10 games Buffalo had played heading into Sunday they had been tied or leading entering the 4th quarter and lost five of those eight games. Not being able to finish was more fact than perception. But the Bills began changing that contention Sunday.

Proof of that came in Dolphins WR Greg Camarillo’s comments after the game Sunday. When asked how Buffalo has changed since October when they first faced them in Week 4, his answer was revealing.

“They stuck with it,” he said. “The Bills teams of the past would have a long drive against them and they might put their heads down, but this team stuck with it. At the end of the game they the plays and we didn’t.”

In less than two weeks Perry Fewell has gone a long way in convincing this team they’re capable of better and that fighting to the end of games despite the postseason not really being in the cards is impressive.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how Fewell will be able to get this team to finish this season after the way they finished on Sunday.


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No Monday update from Fewell

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2009 – 6:47 pm

Interim head coach Perry Fewell will not be giving a wrap up on Sunday’s game Monday.

It’s due to the fact that the Bills have a very short week of preparation with their next game coming on Thursday night against the Jets.

Fewell will address the media again on Tuesday in his weekly press conference. We’ll pass along a time when we have one and carry it live here on Buffalobills.com.


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Prep work already on Jets

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2009 – 7:45 am

While Buffalo’s coordinators are squarely focused on today’s opponent the Dolphins, with a short week coming up other members of the staff have already taken the preliminary steps to prepare for their next opponent the New York Jets with that game just four days away.

“Coordinators won’t really get into that preparation,” said interim head coach Perry Fewell. “But our other coaches began that process Friday and Saturday to create the shell of the game plan so it’s ready for the coordinators. I don’t want the coordinators to watch another opponent so they can focus on the Miami Dolphins.”

Fewell is obviously including himself in that comment as defensive coordinator. So while he and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt have not seen any Jets tape in preparation for the Thursday night game coming up this week, Buffalo’s other assistants have already put some elements of the game plan against New York together.


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Wood still not back from Jacksonville

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 5:38 pm

As of Wednesday Bills RG Eric Wood was still not back from Jacksonville as he’s still in the hospital for observation.

That according to the Associated Press, which also reports that Wood is expected to return to Buffalo Thursday.

“He’s still in the hospital in Jacksonville and everything is going well,” said interim head coach Perry Fewell Wednesday afternoon.

When asked if Wood’s injury might be career threatening, Fewell indicated he’s doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“I don’t think so,” said Fewell. “I can’t answer that question, but I just know that everything went well and we hope to have him home soon.”

Wood broke both his tibia and fibula in last Sunday’s game when the full body weight of Jaguars DL Montavious Stanley landed on Wood’s left lower leg.


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Fewell asks for fan support

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 3:33 pm

With a 1-8 record in their last nine home games, Bills interim head coach Perry Fewell is hoping the fans can provide some added inspiration.

“It is difficult to come home knowing you’ve only won one game at home,” said Fewell. “It has been difficult. All I can say is I need you there. We need our fans there. This is ideal weather conditions to have the Dolphins come in and play them here. And that was part of the reason for going outside (to practice) this week. We look forward to the opportunity to going out and playing in these type of conditions on our home turf.” 

Fewell had his players out in the rain, though he was not expecting it to rain that much. Still he felt playing out in the elements served a purpose.

“It made us focus and concentrate,” said Fewell of the weather. “I loved that it rained a little bit out there because the receivers had to focus and concentrate on the ball a little more. I wanted to get their attention from a details standpoint and the weather was not a distraction. It made them focus more. So we had a good crisp practice. I just felt like it was important to put the pads on and we live in the North Atlantic, you train in the North Atlantic.”


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Sparano knows Fewell

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 2:38 pm

Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano when asked about Perry Fewell taking over as interim head coach for the Bills reminded everyone that he and Fewell once coached together.

Sparano was the tight ends coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2002. Fewell was the secondary coach for the Jaguars on that same coaching staff.

“Perry was always a strong leader and got the most out of his players,” said Sparano. “And that’s what I saw on the tape from their game last week. Guys were playing hard for him.”

Fewell offered the following on his recollections of Sparano as a coach back in 2002 when they were together on the Jaguars staff.

“Good football coach,” said Fewell. “Very thorough, very knowledgeable, detailed in his work. You could see big things coming out of Tony, and I’m very happy for what he has done and what he’s doing there.”


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Fewell press conference live at 2:45

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 1:04 pm

Bills interim head coach Perry Fewell will be delivering his weekly press conference here on Wednesday at 2:45 pm.

You can watch it live on Buffalobills.com this afternoon.

Fewell is expected to address the QB situation and the status of Marshawn Lynch, who was practicing today as well as an update on Eric Wood.


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Bills practicing in rain

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 11:57 am

The Bills are outside practicing in the rain today.

The team rarely practiced out in the elements under Dick Jauron.

Interim head coach Perry Fewell is fired up again today. In an effort to get better focus Fewell momentarily stopped practice and shouted, “Get it right! Let’s get it right!”


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