Inside The Bills

Tinoisamoa’s choice based on several factors

Posted by Chris Brown on May 30, 2009 – 2:29 pm

With Pisa Tinoisamoa finally choosing the Bears to be his next employer Friday evening, you have to chalk it up to familiarity with the head coach. Lovie Smith, head coach of the Bears, was Tinoisamoa’s defensive coordinator in St. Louis. Smith had input when Tinoisamoa was drafted by the Rams. If he’s going to believe he’s a fit in anyone’s defensive system it’s that of his former DC. But there’s one other important factor in this decision.

Both the Bills and Bears had starting opportunities available, but Chicago plays in a more wide open division than Buffalo in terms of competing for a division title, and a division title equals a playoff berth, and don’t think that playoff pay isn’t a consideration for players still adrift in free agency at this point in the game.

I’m not surprised he took a one-year deal. Maximizing your earning potential isn’t going to happen at the end of May in free agency. He’s no doubt hoping he can put up big numbers this year and cash in next year when there’s no salary cap (as least at this point).

I think Tinoisamoa’s track record shows he could have been an upgrade, but not a dramatic one. Personally I think his stats from last season were a bit inflated in light of how much the Rams offense struggled last year. The St. Louis defense was on the field an awful lot.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-29

Posted by Chris Brown on May 29, 2009 – 7:04 pm

Two weeks of OTAs are down, with only one full week to go before the mandatory minicamp. The offseason is moving along quickly. On to your questions.

1. chris
How concerned are you about our back up QB situation…
Geo… Fort Myers..FL

CB: I would still like to see more of Ryan Fitzpatrick in this offensive system before passing judgment, but Fitzpatrick was a backup candidate that I liked going into the free agency period. So I’m not worried at all. His arm looked like it needed a week to warm up in the OTA setting, but he’s been much more accurate and decisive here in week two.

I think he’s getting a better handle on the system and he throws a nice fade ball in the end zone. He’s not as physically gifted as Trent, but I think he’s more than capable. Gibran could challenge him, but I think ultimately Fitzpatrick will be the backup.

2. Chris,
How much input do you think Buddy Nix had in this year’s draft of the Bills?  I’m curious to know, because of the success that the San Diego franchise had when he was working for them.  Hopefully, his success there follows him here to Buffalo.

Also the axiom that receivers aren’t successful until they’ve been in the league for three years appears to be true more often than not.  Is Shawn Nelson following in James Hardy’s footsteps regarding having a difficult time picking up the complexities of an NFL offense.  Do you agree and do you think his impact will be as minimal as Hardy’s was last year? 
Ed White

CB: I believe that Nix had some input, but he joined Buffalo late in the draft preparation process, so I think his depth of scope will be greater in future years. There’s no question however, that Nix is a scouting mind that Tom Modrak respects and Nix has a firm grasp of the talent down south, where in most cases it’s richest.

As for your receiver axiom, that’s usually the case. Anybody remember Eric Moulds’ breakout year? It was 1998, his third season in the league. Shawn Nelson is working hard here in OTAs, but his head is swimming.

Tight ends coach Charlie Coiner is constantly on him for his route execution and assignment errors. As more college players come to the NFL from the spread offense, more and more of them will struggle to adjust to a pro style offense in year one.

The route concepts and reading coverages are all foreign to rookies that come from that system. It’s going to take some time with Nelson I believe, so I don’t know that anyone should expect too much from him as a rookie.



3. How well are T.O. and Edwards getting along in OTAs? Does Edwards look comfortable with me and do you think T.O. thinks Edwards is “good enough to throw to him.”
Wes Dickson

CB: Judging by the last two days, they’re doing very well. Owens has five touchdowns. Granted the cornerback contingent for the Bills is beat up with McGee, Youboty and McKelvin on the shelf right now, but the 70-yard touchdown play on Friday was impressive. I think both Edwards and Owens have adjusted to one another quite well considering the short time frame. I believe that can partly be attributed to Owens’ experience. He’s had to adjust to different QBs in the past, so it’s old hat for him. And judging by Edwards’ 50-yard bomb he has the arm to get it to T.O..



4. Chris,
Wonder if you can give me any progress report on Rookie FA OT Joel Bell. Only thing I’ve been able to find about him is the Bills signing him after the draft.  I’m sure he will not be a factor this year but I beleive that this kid has some serious upside.

Also, no mention of X Omon??? Is he getting any reps in the OTA’s?? Is he the off man out this year with the Bills signing D Rhodes??
Last, any idea what’s happening with JP Losman?? Just wondering.
Sorry, hard to stay on top of the Bills here in PackerLand, WI.

Thanks for your time,
Tom Blanchard

CB: Joel Bell has been running with the third team offense at right tackle. He’s been working hard in the practice setting, but he’s still a bit raw with respect to technique. He’s still young in football as he only played two years of high school ball and then played at the 1-AA level. The NFL is a big step up, but he’s doing his best to adjust.

Xavier Omon has done well. He’s running fourth on the depth chart behind Lynch, Jackson and Rhodes, so he hasn’t seen a ton of action, but got more carries Friday with Rhodes not in attendance.

He looks stronger as he’s added muscle in the offseason, if that’s possible since he was pretty bulky to begin with. It’s hard to assess the effectiveness of backs in the OTA setting because it’s not full speed with no pads. So hitting the hole isn’t the same.

J.P. Losman is a free agent as of right now. Haven’t heard of any teams expressing interest of late. Be interesting to see if he has to wait for an injury at QB in an NFL training camp to get a shot.



5. Hey Chris,

I was wondering what you think the chances are of the Bills actually signing Pisa Tinoisamoa? After he came in for a visit I haven’t heard too much else about him from Buffalo’s end. I know that the Bears are the other known team that has shown as much interest as the Bills. But I feel that he’d most likely get more playing time here than in Chicago and that because of that he’d be more interested in Buffalo. I think that he’d give the Bills some pretty solid depth with amongst linebackers with Ellison being a more than serviceable backup. Thanks.

Kenmore, NY
CB: I think Tinoisamoa will have to make a decision in the next week or so. With offseason camps ending soon, I’d like to think he’d want to get in and get his feet wet even though both teams have defenses that are similar to what he played in St. Louis.

Schematically he’s a fit for either team. He also played under Bears head coach Lovie Smith directly, who was his defensive coordinator his first couple of years in the league. Perry Fewell was also on that staff as a DBs coach.

I think both teams offer a legitimate chance to start, but he’d likely be just a two down player on both teams. I’m wondering if Tinoisamoa is holding out hope that another team expresses interest late in the game like Tampa Bay, which again plays a similar system and could use linebacker help after casting off Cato June and Derrick Brooks.

I do have to say though that I don’t get the feeling that the Bills or Bears see Tinoisamoa as a high priority signing. Otherwise he would have been signed already.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tinoisamoa off radar for Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2009 – 2:11 pm

The Patriots’ visit with Pisa Tinoisamoa looked to be a passing interest at best. He in addition to fellow free agent linebacker Paris Lenon visited New England recently. And the Patriots have decided that Lenon would be the better fit for depth as New England signed Lenon this morning.

That effectively takes Tinoisamoa off the Patriots’ radar, though it sounds as if their interest was only exploratory in nature to begin with. So it’s back to Chicago and Buffalo, unless another Tampa-2 defense steps in late (Tampa, Indy?).

Posted in Inside the Bills

Tinoisamoa not a fit for Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2009 – 1:29 pm

With Pisa Tinoisamoa finally making a free agent visit to New England to put an end to the ‘Yes he’s visiting the Pats’ or ‘No, the Pats are denying there’s a visit scheduled,’ the only thing that needs to be understood is that Tinoisamoa is not a fit in that defense.

Sure he could bulk up I suppose and play inside, but he’d be little more than a depth player. If he wants a legitimate chance to start his best opportunities are in Buffalo and Chicago.

At least now we know why Tinoisamoa has been reluctant to commit to anyone. He likely wanted to make any and all free agent visits first before deciding where he’d be most interested to play. I haven’t heard of any new potential suitors to this point so a decision on his part could be coming down in the near future.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB Hood off table for Bears

Posted by Chris Brown on May 26, 2009 – 4:45 pm

Well the hope that the Bears would be offering free agent CB Roderick Hood a contract before thinking about LB Pisa Tinoisamoa are dead and gone. Hood has signed with Cleveland, still leaving Tinoisamoa with two pursuers.

The Bills and Bears have both been interested for some time, but it was believed that Hood was the priority for the Bears over Tinoisamoa since the secondary for Chicago needed for reinforcements than the linebacking corps.

But with Hood now in Cleveland, Tinoisamoa appears to still be a viable option for Chicago.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-22

Posted by Chris Brown on May 22, 2009 – 11:00 am

OTAs are underway and fans are checking up on their favorites. Enjoy the holiday weekend everybody. I’ll catch up with you on Tuesday… unless something happens between now and then.

1. Hey Chris,
With OTAs underway, everyone’s really excited to see what’s going on with T.O. I’m more interested in how my boy Marshawn Lynch is looking. How has he fared so far in the OTA sessions? Has he seen less carries to make way for Fred and Dominic?

Macon, Ga.

CB: Lynch has looked explosive and has bobbed and weaved well in and out of traffic and through holes. He also looks smooth in the passing game. I think the second year in Turk’s offensive system is allowing him to play faster, which is a scary thought.

With respect to Fred and Dominic, Rhodes is just getting a handle on the system and is being used sparingly. Jackson meanwhile has been split out a lot, and I mean a lot. More so than he was last year. That’s very telling considering the depth the Bills have a WR. Jackson has been out wide more than Parrish as far as I have seen.


2. hey chris, thanks for taking time to answer the question. besides the potential signing of tinoisamoa, are the bills looking at upgrading their linebacker core by free agency or are they content with who they have on the roster?

CB: I think Tinoisamoa remains an option, but at the right price. He’d be no more than a two down LB for the Bills because I think Poz and Mitchell would still be the nickel LBs, so spending big money wouldn’t make sense. As for upgrading linebacker, I think they’d look at it, but I don’t sense it as being a major pressing issue for them. They’ve got some young talent in Bowen.


3. Hey Chris,
Just wondering,who are the 5-10 walk ons or udfa s that the Bills have brought forward.
Every spring I love these guys because the Bills always gives them a fair shake and because they are there primarily because they love the game.

CB: Well there weren’t as many signed as initially anticipated. The tryout players from the rookie camp that were signed were CB Kyle Ward, long snapper Garrison Sanborn and DE Jermaine McGhee. Sanborn probably has the best chance to land on the practice squad.


4. With the trade of Peters and a big boost to out WR will Buffalo go get some Vet. help for our line so Edwards can have time to throw the ball?? I know in FA there is still Jon Runyan and even ol’ Jonas Jennings do you think we will go after them and if not why???

CB: I don’t see either player as an option. Buffalo has some depth at backup tackle. Kirk Chambers has proven to be a steady swing tackle and Demetrius Bell looks like he’s ready to provide competition for that role. Runyan is at the end of the line and gutted it out last season. Jonas Jennings was injury prone as a young player here. Now that he’s older I don’t see that situation improving. Liked him as a player, but it’s more about availability. As for interior veterans they picked up McKinney and Chambers is working at guard.


5. Hey Chris,
I know we drafted Shawn Nelson who I like a lot but with all the WR we have this year I was wondering what you think about Steve Johnson getting converted to TE. He has the size and body, I like Steve and really hope he gets more playing time but I would really like to see him at TE. No LB will be able to keep up with his speed and his hands are solid I think he would be one of the best TE in the game.
matt from Rochester

CB: It’s an interesting proposal, but I don’t see it happening. I think Johnson has a good chance to see more time on the field. He established a good chemistry with Trent Edwards down the stretch last season and I believe will be featured in the slot during four wide formations. You’re right he knows how to pluck the ball out of the air and can shield defenders from the ball. I think he’s got a bright future.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tinoisamoa will likely have to accept less $$

Posted by Chris Brown on May 21, 2009 – 6:11 pm

With the Times-Picayune reporting that Pisa Tinoisamoa wants starter money, which is what turned off the Saints, I believe the Bills and Bears would balk as well if the free agent linebacker doesn’t lower his asking price. Here’s why.

Whether he chooses to play in Chicago or Buffalo, he’s likely going to be just a two down linebacker. The Bears are not going to pull Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs off their nickel package to make Tinoisamoa a three down player.

The Bills are unlikely to take Posluszny or Kawika Mitchell off of their nickel package either. So there’s very little chance that either the Bears or the Bills buck up for a linebacker that while productive would not be anything more than a two-down player for them.

While I don’t debate that he’s one of the best OLBs left on the market I don’t see either team being convinced to spend quality starter money on him.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills and Eagles best fits for Tinoisamoa

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2009 – 2:32 pm

Pisa Tinoisamoa isn’t ready to make a decision on where he’s going to play in 2009 just yet with visits scheduled for Philly and Chicago next week, but it shouldn’t take him long to see Buffalo and Philly as his two best options.

The reason why is both the Bills and Philly are in a better position to offer a long term deal to the LB than Chicago. The Bears have a lot of money tied up in their linebacking corps, so they’re not likely to offer anything substantial.

Buffalo and Philly are also the two best opportunities for him to start. The Eagles are suddenly young at the LB position, or at least younger than they’ve been in recent years, which is why they’ve expressed an interest in Tinoisamoa, a proven player.

The Bills however, look to be the best fit. He’d be playing in a similar system to the one he played in St. Louis where he has already shown he can be productive and he’d have a great opportunity to challenge for a starting role.

The Eagles however, are in a ‘go-for-it’ year with respect to the Super Bowl and sometimes that’s the tipping point for players especially ones that are still looking for work this late in the offseason who are unlikely to sign for big money.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-15

Posted by Chris Brown on May 15, 2009 – 6:35 pm

Jumping right in with another batch of your questions with OTAs set to start on Monday. Let’s get going.

1. Hi Chris,
Hope all is well.  Two questions:
1. I thought Left Guard was an important position on the line or more important than Right Guard.  When we went out and signed Dockery to play LG I thought I read a few things saying that was more important than RG.  If that is true then wouldn’t it seem like the two rookies Wood and Levitre should be flipped with Wood playing LG and Levitre playing RG?

CB: I think the Bills in an ideal world the coaching staff would like to see Brad Butler at right tackle and Wood at right guard. Both play with a nasty demeanor and it’s my belief that Buffalo would like to run behind those two an awful lot this season if that combo pans out as they hope.

On the left side if Levitre can beat out the veteran competition his playing style should mesh well with Langston Walker at left tackle. Both are technicians by trade. So I think in an effort to get the chemistry on the right track quickly in light of all the new faces in new places, that’s the approach.
2. Hi Chris,
How do you think the Bills see John Wendling? He seems like a pretty athletic guy with decent speed and size. Do you see him cracking the starting line up or, at least getting more playing time? Or, is he destined to be a career special teams guy like Josh Stamer or Mario Hagan? He reminds me of Coy Wire. It is a shame not to find a way to get such a talented guy on the field. It seems like the Bills never really found a landing spot for Coy Wire. I hope that doesn’t happen to Wendling.

CB: There’s no question that Wendling is a talented player and solid teammate, but there’s some talent ahead of him at safety. Donte Whitner and veteran Bryan Scott both performed admirably at strong safety last year. Scott’s contract is up after this season so I suppose Wendling could inherit the backup role behind Whitner in 2010.

Other than that he’ll continue to be a solid special teams player and fill in on defense should injury strike.
3. Chris,
Have the Bills made any hint that they are looking at Levi Jones, or any other tackles in free agency?  They are always talking about evaluating free agent talent if they think they can upgrade a position.  Do you know what kind of deal Levi Jones camp is looking for?  Also, any word about Piso Tinoisamoa, the linebacker from the Rams?  How are the talks going?  Are they continuing?

CB: Levi Jones is an interesting option to consider. He’s 29, but he hasn’t played a full season each of the last three years due to injury problems. That’s always a concern for a lineman where durability and availability are hugely important. I think he’s still a good player, but if he’s asking for big money it won’t happen.

He was in the middle of a 6-year $40M dollar deal, and I imagine if he’s looking for comparable money the Bills probably wouldn’t fork it over. I think he’s worth considering, but at the right price.

As for Tinoisamoa it doesn’t sound as if anything is imminent.


4. Hi Chris,
I was wondering…Nelson is going to have to be stronger to be an effective blocker.  Will he be able to stay as flexible to be able to make some of the catches he is able to make now?
Thanks from Salvatore Prezioso.

CB: According to the Bills staff they see him eventually at about 250 pounds, which would only add 10 pounds to his frame. Looking at him in the rookie camp I think he could add that weight (muscle) and still be an effective receiver in the passing game. He’s long and lean and needs to add muscle if he’s going to effectively block on the line. But Nelson and Buffalo’s staff have told me they don’t think he’d sacrifice any speed playing at 250. His catching radius is so expansive that bending and reaching for throws comes naturally to him.


5. Hi Chris, just a couple of quick questions…Is Chris Ellis ever being considered for a move to outside linebacker and is he healthy for this upcoming season?  And is the Samoan linebacker from the Rams being seriously considered?  Thanks for all your time and great updates..Ray

CB: I don’t see Chris Ellis as a LB option. I think they want to continue to develop him as a defensive end in their system. He is healthy. He just had a high ankle sprain at season’s end and since he wasn’t going to be healthy before the end of the season they just put him on injured reserve so they had another roster spot to use for a healthy player.

As for Tinoisamoa they are interested and had him in for a visit Thursday. The visit went well by all indications, but nothing ne

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tinoisamoa arrived this morning

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2009 – 5:04 pm

I know I promised I’d post the info here, so yes, Pisa Tinoisamoa was at One Bills Drive this morning. I’ve got more on the home page though.

He’s getting his physical this afternoon, which is protocol on all free agent visits. I doubt however, that he’ll be made available for comment in light of that schedule.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB Tinoisamoa familiar to Bills’ staff

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2009 – 2:38 pm

Former Rams LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, who will reportedly make a visit to One Bills Drive in the near future, would not be a surprising free agent target of the Bills. He matches the body type that Dick Jauron prefers for his linebackers, which is lighter and faster. And there’s one other thing.

Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has seen him up close and personal for two years when he coached the Rams secondary from 2003-2004. Having intimate knowledge of a player’s game and the way he carries himself as a professional on a day-to-day basis is something the Bills value highly when considering a free agent.

Tinoisamoa is going to be 28 in July so he fits the typical age range of free agents the Bills like to pursue. He’s still a sideline to sideline range type player and though he’s not considered super stout at the point of attack he tries to use his speed to rush into blocks and stop the run that way.

We’ll see what happens.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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