Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 7-1

Posted by Chris Brown on July 1, 2011 – 11:35 am

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 Just send your photos and info to me at

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

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.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-24

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2011 – 12:34 pm

Big uniform unveiling tonight. Should be a lot of fun. For now let’s answer your questions to pass the time before the big show. Remember you can submit your questions at

1 – Hey Chris, 

I know I asked you about the Bills trading for Tebow, but with all the talk about Pryor, do you think that the Bills will do something with him? I think if we get either one of them they can sit behind Fitz and learn. Chan likes mobile QBs so this could be a good opportunity to get one and let him learn. What do you think?


CB: First as I’ve stated in the past I don’t think Tebow is the one on the trading block in Denver. All indications are it will be Kyle Orton if anyone is moved. With respect to Pryor the only reason he’s getting so much attention is because of the Ohio State NCAA investigation and his subsequent separation from the program. Most experts believe his game is still lacking in several areas.

That’s not to say he’s not capable of playing in the NFL, but most have said an NFL club would spend a 5th to 6th round pick on him in the Supplemental draft at the most.

My belief is that teams looking at their quarterback position will compare Pryor to the class of quarterbacks due out next spring in the 2012 draft and determine whether he’s someone worth investing in now or if they’re better off waiting for what’s available in the draft pool next year.


2 – Chris, 

Can you break down the strength and weakness of the Bills O-Line? Are they a better run blocking or pass protecting team? I think the unit was underrated in passing and Ryan didn’t appear to be sacked as much as previous QB’s. In some games the injured O-line was often stuffed at the line. Bell and Wood both had a somewhat healthy season too. Will Wang and Hairston push and compete for a starting job as well. 


CB: I think individually some of them are stronger in run blocking than pass blocking and vice versa, but the unit as a whole is still working on their identity in terms of what they do best. Part of the problem, as you pointed out, was the unit was beset with injuries and began the season with two tackles that could play despite not being 100 percent healthy. The run game got better as the season wore on, and most of the linemen would agree that while they did improve their pass protection they’d be the first to credit Fitz for getting the ball out quickly and making them look good at times.

Hairston and Wang will compete with the incumbent starters, but I think in the end Erik Pears and Demetrius Bell will start at tackle in 2011.


3 – Dear Chris,

As always good job on keeping all of us fans up to date on all the
news from 1 Bills Drive. Thank you very much and keep up the good work!
Now to my deep concerns .
Throughout all of the labor talks there have been a few owners and managers whose names have always come up in the negotiations process. The likes of Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, Scott Pioli, and Bruce Allen come to mind first. Now I know at times a representative from every club had to be present for meetings, but it just seems that the bigger market reps are the ones we always hear about. Is this because they are the only ones really doing the negotiating for the owners or is there more to it that I am not understanding?

My concern is that the smaller market teams are not being represented fully and that their concerns in the labor talks are not being heard. The more money that players are allotted will affect the overall budget for every team and high price free agents making more money would not be afforded by smaller market teams such as our beloved bills case in point would be that it would be even harder after negotiations for a smaller market team to remain competitive due to
the increase in player wages.

Can you please shed some light on these subjects? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again.
Norwich, CT

CB: The reason owners like Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft are often in the press is because they’re high profile owners with nationally recognized franchises. Both men are also part of the 10-person Labor Committee for the owners, chiefly responsible for helping to bridge an accord with the players. In fact here is the entire list of Labor Committee members for the owners.

Pat Bowlen – Denver
Mike Brown – Cincinnati
Clark Hunt – Kansas City
Bob Kraft – New England
John Mara – NY Giants
Mark Murphy – Green Bay
Jerry Richardson – Carolina
Art Rooney – Pittsburgh
Dean Spanos – San Diego

As you can see the labor committee representation is split down the middle between the large and small market clubs. Cincinnati, Green Bay, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and San Diego are considered the small market reps. Obviously small market ownership feels comfortable with this balanced representation.

Your concerns are not uncommon. I remember when I hosted the conference call with Bills season ticketholders and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the biggest concern was revenue sharing and it’s a valid concern. Here was the commissioner’s reponse to those concerns.

I can tell you with the NFL one of the things I’m proudest of is we continue to find ways to share new revenue. Our system right now close to 80 percent of our revenue is shared amongst the clubs. That’s one of the core reasons that the system works and why the Buffalo Bills have the financial ability to compete. You always have to evaluate that system and balance that system to make sure as the economics of the league changes, as revenue growth changes that you continue to have a system that will allow that revenue to grow, but also share it in a way that will allow the fundamentals of the league continue to be successful. I know our ownership has always stepped up to that and we will continue to do that to make sure that everyone has the financial ability and we can make sure that the Buffalo Bills and every other small market come into the season with the ability to be competitive.

The commissioner also went on to point out that the biggest revenue source for NFL clubs is the television revenue and that is shared equally amongst the clubs. I realize that the most recent talk about mandating teams to spend very close to the cap every year (no salary floor, no salary ceiling) in some reports could be discouraging, but I think a lot of that still has to be sifted out. That’s where having proper representation on behalf of the small market clubs on the owners’ labor committee is essential.


4 – Hey Chris, 

Just want to thank you for always being on top of things with the Bills and for keeping us Bills fans informed. I have 2 questions I hope you can answer. I like what the Bills did in the draft this year. I still see some gaping holes though and wonder what your thoughts are on addressing them:  I see us needing a QB (either a backup for this year or franchise QB going forward), a cornerstone OT (I don’t see one on our roster just a few passable OT’s for now), a TE, and an OLB ( I am hopeful Merriman comes back healthy and I like Moats potential…. but that is still just potential). Do you feel any of these will be filled this year in FA and do you see other needs that I didn’t mention that we need to have addressed ASAP?


CB: I think even the Bills themselves admitted that they wanted to either land a future franchise QB or a veteran to be a backup to Fitz. Based on how things played out in the draft it’s safe to assume they’ll be trolling for a backup whenever there is a free agency period.

At tackle I think there’s a bit more there than meets the eye. Defense was the pressing need in the draft and as a result it took precedent over some of the positions that you listed.

It’s hard to predict how aggressive the Bills will be in free agency because the new rules in a new CBA could alter strategies with respect to things like “dead money” on a cap and absolute dollars where it’s on your books right now and not pushed into the future. So we have to see what the rules will be before we can judge how a team like the Bills will approach free agency.


5 – Chris,

Can you explain the eligibility rules for the practice squad? Is there a number of games a player can dress and be on the active roster then to be switched to the squad? How many players are allowed on the squad? Could players like Howard, Roosevelt, Donald Jones, Ed Wang land on the squad since they maybe behind the pecking order at OG and WR?

CB: Players can typically spend two seasons on a practice squad. There are stipulations that allow for a third year, but I’m not going to get into those here. Once a player has dressed for nine NFL games he is no longer eligible for the practice squad. So for example, when Jim Leonhard in his first season with the Bills appeared in nine games, he was no longer eligible for the practice squad.

Practice squad sizes can hold a maximum of eight players.

Howard appeared in 10 games as a rookie last year and Jones in 15. Both would no longer be eligible for the practice squad to my knowledge. Wang and Roosevelt who each appeared in six games are still practice squad eligible.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Practice squad eligibility

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2010 – 8:09 am

Below is a list of the players on Buffalo’s roster that have practice squad eligibility. The eight-man practice squad will be assembled a day after the 53-man roster is set.

Brian Brohm
Levi Brown

Andre Anderson
Joique Bell
C.J. Spiller

Rodney Ferguson

Donald Jones
David Nelson
Naaman Roosevelt

Andrew George

Sean Allen
Demetrius Bell
Nick Hennessey
Cordaro Howard
Andre Ramsey
Ed Wang
Jason Watkins

Alex Carrington
Rashaad Duncan
Torell Troup

Antonio Coleman
Chris Ellis
Arthur Moats
Donovan Woods

Cary Harris
Dominique Harris
Lydell Sargeant

Posted in Inside the Bills

NT Harvey chance for practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2010 – 3:01 pm

Of the three players released by the Bills today to get the roster to the required 75, it’s possible that Lonnie Harvey has a chance to land on the practice squad.

Harvey was on the squad for the last half of the 2009 season. Facing so many 3-4 defenses this season, the Bills offense could benefit from a scout team nose tackle like Harvey in the practice setting each week. Buffalo’s first four opponents this season employ a 3-4 front.

Of course the coaching staff that put him on the practice squad last season is vastly different from this year’s coaching staff, so it’s difficult to predict what their intentions might be.

The practice squad is expected to be announced on Sunday Sept. 5th, the day after final roster cuts are made.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pratice squad made up mainly of call ups

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2009 – 6:54 pm

The philosophy on practice squads can vary from team to team. Some prefer to develop players with potential there, while others make sure they have players they feel they’ll be able to count on for the 53-man roster in case of injury to one of their active players. This year the Bills have players that fit more into the latter category.

Arguably six of the eight practice squad players are likely call ups should there be a shortage at their respective positions. Injury at LB and Alvin Bowen is the call up. Injury at RB and Bruce Hall is the man. Same for receiver with Hawthorne and Huggins, Mace and Stupar.

The only real developmental players are rookies Cary Harris and Nick Hennessey.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills practice squad eligible players

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2009 – 2:00 pm

Here’s the list of practice squad eligible players for the Bills.

I did not include rookie draft picks taken in the first five rounds as they’re likely to make the roster. One notable player that is not practice squad eligible and on the bubble is Jon Corto. After playing in all 16 games last season on special teams he is ineligible for the practice squad. The rules state if you’ve been dressed for 9 or more regular season games in your career the practice squad is no longer an option.

QB Matt Baker
LB Alvin Bowen 
LB Marcus Buggs
OL Chris Denman
TE Tyson DeVree
DE Ataefiok Etukeren
OL Christian Gaddis
RB Bruce Hall
CB Cary Harris
WR C.J. Hawthorne
OL Nick Hennessey
WR Felton Huggins
DT Derrick Jones
CB Ellis Lankster
DL Corey Mace
LB Ryan Manalac
RB Xavier Omon
LB Ashlee Palmer
C/G Brandon Rodd
WR Shaine Smith
TE Jonathan Stupar

It should be noted that Lydell Sargeant and Marcus Smith cleared waivers and are now on I-R for the Bills. So they are not an option for the practice squad even though they both have eligibility.

Posted in Inside the Bills
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