Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 8-16

Posted by Chris Brown on August 16, 2013 – 12:30 pm

Preseason game number two tonight against the Vikings and a big night for Kevin Kolb. Here are some of your latest questions for this last edition of Fan Friday before the end of training camp. Keep the questions coming on email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I’m sure your sick of comments and questions about Jairus Byrd but my question I didn’t hear many talk about is this: did the Bills (or Byrd for that matter) consider that Byrd may have a tremendous year and increase his value even more next year leading to an even high price tag? If the Bills do what they are hoping he will do during his franchise year did they not cost themselves more money by not coming up a little higher to sign him this year? Or, if that was a consideration, does that not tell us there will be no attempt to sign Byrd long term after this season and this season is nothing more than a bridge to get one of the Williams’ ready?


CB: Bills GM Doug Whaley has gone on record saying they will still pursue a long term contract agreement with Jairus Byrd after the regular season concludes. At this point you have to take Whaley at his word as the team’s new GM. In my experience Whaley usually means what he says.

Now all that being said there is some merit to the argument of signing a player to an extension a year prior to their contract being up. If for example, the Bills are convinced that Alex Carrington is going to have a monster season in this the last year of his contract, they might opt to try to sign him before this season starts.

Is there a risk? Absolutely. He could have a down year or sustain a career-threatening injury. But there’s a risk in every decision an NFL GM makes. That’s why their salaries are where they are. When there’s a significant call to be made, they’re paid to make significantly more right decisions than wrong ones.
2 – Hi Chris,

I am a former season ticket holder (tunnel endzone) from the glory days of the late 80s and early 90s now living in SC.  Thanks for all you do to keep out of town Bills fans up to date.  I’m intrigued by the Bills corps of receivers.  I have heard about the speed of Graham and Goodwin.  Do you think either has the route running ability to be the next Victor Cruz inside?  I have heard about the route running ability of Woods.  Does he have the potential to be a Wes Welker inside bracketed between Stevie, Graham, and Chandler?  Da’ Rick is also interesting.  Where do you see him in this mix?

As far as team analysis I see our biggest areas of need as the O Line (need a tackle and two guards), an outside linebacker that can rush and compliment Mario, and a second corner to pair with Gilmore as I feel McKelvin is too small and better suited to slot defender. Your thoughts?

John in SC

CB: Woods is a polished route runner, but he’s not a Wes Welker. Welker’s quickness in and out of cuts is rare. Woods is a sharp route runner, but he wins more on hesitation, change of speed and shoulder fakes than pure quickness. Stevie Johnson is the primary slot receiver. Woods would be the number two.

To say one would have similar production to Victor Cruz has more to do with the quarterback throwing him the ball than their own exploits.

Da’Rick Rogers is strictly an outside receiver. Big and physical with soft hands, he needs more discipline with his route running, but when he gets it he could explode.

McKelvin right now is the best option to line up opposite Stephon Gilmore when healthy. At 5’10” 185 his size is adequate and his arms are long, which helps in coverage. Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers and Nickell Robey are considerably smaller in stature and better suited inside. McKelvin is probably best as a boundary corner.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is up with Mario? How come he doesn’t interview after practice? Did they ever say what it was with his foot?

CB: He does usually once a week during the regular season and occasionally during training camp. Last night he did not stop for an interview because he had to get treatment with the athletic trainers. Head coach Doug Marrone did not say it was his foot that needed treatment. During camp there is typically an assortment of bumps and bruises that players experience that needs attention, especially linemen who endure more physical contact than other players.

I’m not trying to be a Mario apologist here, but even if it was his foot that necessitated the treatment I’d at least take comfort in the fact that he’s trying to take care of what’s nagging at him.
4 – Chris,

I appreciate the work you do on the Bills site, nice job.

A few points – when it comes to Byrd I think the Bills want to let this season play out and let some of their young safeties get some game reps (I.e. Searcy, A Williams, D Williams, Meeks) and see where they stand at the end of the year. While I think Byrd is a very good all-around player, the one thing I think he lacks, is that he is not a particularly big hitter, and I think that can change a defense when their safeties will hit.

The O line position that I think is more important than left guard is right tackle. Who do you think the right tackle will be, and how good of play do you think the Bills will get from that position?

We hear so much about the Bills up tempo offense but to me, that is not really an offense. Conceptually, in terms of routes, blocking schemes and personnel groupings, what do you think the Bills offense will look like?

Do you think the Bills need a legitimate big back? Certainly, CJ is a supreme talent, but to me, he is a space player, and to me 20 touches a game would be ideal. To me, Fred is a good all-around player, a good pass protector, a good screen game back, and a runner who makes his yards on a combination of vision, balance and using his blocks. But I think the Bills would benefit from a legitimate big running back. I think such a player could help on the goal line, third and short, and be a good complement to CJ and Fred. What do you think?


CB: Okay a lot to cover here. First, I disagree with your assessment that Jairus Byrd is not a hitter. He absolutely is a hitter. Evidence of that comes from the fact that since the 2009 season, no other safety in the league has more forced fumbles than him. He’s got 10. That being said the bigger hitters of the current contingent are Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams.

Right now I think the right tackle will be Erik Pears, who finally appears recovered from groin and hip problems the past two seasons. He’s moving as well as I’ve seen him and he’s as tough as they come. Chris Hairston, who is still on PUP, may very well miss all of training camp as he has not been moved onto the active roster yet.

Couple that with the fact that Sam Young and Thomas Welch have been unable to unseat him and it looks like Pears’ job to lose.

Concerning the Bills offense yes it will be up tempo, but it is a unique system that no one else is running. So I’ll give you the details that won’t give up the brilliance behind it. The easy identification is that it’s fast, but it’s also multiple personnel, slightly more run than pass (probably 52% to 48%) with stretch the field components. It has West Coast system roots with a physical edge to it.

It won’t be complicated, just fast and multiple in terms of looks.

If Fred Jackson is not the kind of goal line back you want because you don’t think he’s big enough Kendall Gaskins is the only back in camp (who isn’t a fullback) that is bigger. He’s 6’1” 238 and he can lay the lumber. He’s had a nice camp, but whether he can unseat Tashard Choice remains to be seen.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

how’s Carrington doing? Was projected as breakout player but haven’t heard much about him?


CB: If you haven’t heard or seen much you might be living under a rock. He’s been a routine component of our highlight reels on Bills Roundup every evening we cover the day that was in training camp. I’ll let defensive coordinator Mike Pettine give you the assessment of the kind of camp he’s had (high praise).

“He’s a guy that we have a saying where we talk about playing like Bill, tough, competitive, productive, relentless, all the traits that we’re looking for in our guys,” said Pettine. “You go right down the list and he’s every one of them. He’s a guy that loves football, wants to get better, wants to get coached hard, asks the tough questions and it just shows up in his play.

“He’s probably our most technically sound guy up front. We emphasize to our guys that we want to get knock back on the offensive line and he’s probably our most consistent guy doing that, but the position he’s in I don’t think he’s going to show up on the stat sheet as much from a scheme standpoint. But to me he’s going to be one of the more important pieces of our defense.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL visitors not surprising

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2013 – 3:34 pm

The Bills hosted a pair of free agent offensive linemen at the team facility today. After trying several options at the vacant starting left guard spot it appears as though Buffalo is trying to see if they can add some experience to the competition.

Through the spring practices the Bills have lined up Colin Brown, undrafted rookie Zach Chibane, Chris Scott, David Snow, Thomas Welch and Sam Young at guard at one time or another. Toward the end of the OTA practice sessions Welch lined up at guard for the first time in his tenure with Buffalo after playing exclusively at offensive tackle.

Both Tyronne Green and Doug Legursky, who visited Tuesday, have at least one year of starting experience under their belt. Green started 13 games in 2012 and Legursky 10 games in 2011. Combined the pair have 45 starts in their NFL careers. Here’s a look at the combined career starts and game appearances of the half dozen guard candidates currently on Buffalo’s roster.

Colin Brown – 12 games, 2 starts
Zach Chibane – 0 games, 0 starts
Chris Scott – 2 games, 0 starts
David Snow – 5 games, 2 starts
Thomas Welch – 11 games, 0 starts
Sam Young – 18 games, 4 starts
Totals – 48 games, 8 starts

Now these numbers do not mean that any of the players listed above are not capable. In fact Snow and Young availed themselves well on the interior when asked to step in for injured starters last season. But the fact is that NFL coaches rest a bit easier when they can start a guy that’s been there before and proven it on a consistent basis.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line calls to be handled by vets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2012 – 10:26 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey chose not to reveal the lineup for his offensive line Sunday. It’s left the question out there as to whether it will be Kraig Urbik at center or rookie David Snow. Whoever is not at center will be at right guard. Even if Snow is at center against the Rams Sunday, don’t expect him to be making the line calls. That will be handled by two veterans up front for the Bills.

Head coach Chan Gailey answered in the affirmative in his weekly conversation with when asked if Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik will be handling a lot of the pre-snap calls on the line no matter where Urbik lines up.

“Oh yes,” said Gailey. “A lot of times when you have two new guys playing next to each other that’s not the easiest thing in the world either. You really have to communicate all the way out. The good thing about Sam (Young) is he’s played, he’s been a pro so I think he’ll be able to communicate back in whatever is necessary to communicate back in.”

Urbik also gave indication that he and Levitre would be handling the line calls before the snap.

“Whether I’m at guard or center I’m going to be help (David) Snow and Sam (Young),” said Urbik. “We’re going here, or we’re going here, that way there is no guesswork and no thinking. We’re just going. I think Andy (Levitre) and I are going to be doing most of the communicating no matter what.”

“The communication is one of the biggest factors, but we’ve been working with those guys,” said Gailey of Snow and Young. “We’ve had communication with them for quite a while, almost the whole season now. The speed of the game is what they’ve have to adjust to. The other three guys are used to the speed of the game, they’re not. It’s going to be a challenge for them to adjust to the speed of the game. And this is a tough defensive front to make that adjustment against.

“This is probably the biggest challenge we’ve had all year. With the quality of players they have on their front, they play so hard and so fast. They’re quick and strong. They’re as good a defensive line as we have faced all season. We have our work cut out for us with two new guys on our offensive line. It’s a challenge for our football team.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey holds O-line cards close to vest

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 1:29 pm

The Bills know what their lineup is going to be on their offensive line come Sunday against the Rams, they just don’t want St. Louis to know. Head coach Chan Gailey chose not to reveal who would line up at center in place of the injured Eric Wood.

When asked what he was willing to reveal regarding his re-shuffled offensive line for this week, Gailey offered the following.

“We’ll have five,” said Gailey. “Every play we’ll have five and sometimes we’ll have six, but that’s about as far as I want to go on that. We know what we’re going to do, but I don’t want to talk about where everybody is going to play.”

Last Sunday after Eric Wood exited the game with a torn MCL in his left knee, right guard Kraig Urbik moved to center and rookie David Snow came on to replace Urbik at right guard. Sam Young stepped in at right tackle for the injured Chris Hairston, who has since been moved to injured reserve.

The other possible lineup would be David Snow at center and Urbik remaining at his right guard spot. Either way is comfortable for Urbik, who made five starts at center last season for Wood.

“I felt comfortable going in there last game when Eric got hurt and I’ve had a lot of practice at center so I feel comfortable there,” said Urbik.

Whether the offensive staff has chosen to change that alignment for this week remains to be seen.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

RBs, TEs ready to assist in pass pro

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2012 – 9:30 am

Veterans on Buffalo’s offense realize they’ll have to assimilate rookie OL David Snow and OL Sam Young into the lineup in short order this week in preparation for the St. Louis Rams Sunday.  

Although Ryan Fitzpatrick typically gets the ball out quick, the Rams are a formidable pass rushing front as they’re currently tied for fourth in the league in sacks with 34.

“They do a great job of rushing the passer and (Chris) Long will be a challenge over there for Sam (Young). That’ll be a real challenge for him. But to be honest with you they rotate through a lot of guys that can play. This might be overall as athletic a defensive front and a powerful combined with quickness defensive front as we’ve played all season.”

Long has seven sacks this season and fellow DE Robert Quinn has 8.5. Buffalo’s tight ends and running backs assure they’ll be ready if help is pass protection is required.

“It’s something that we’ll be aware of,” said Fred Jackson. “We would like to see what those guys can do, though. We’re going to have some things in the game plan where we may be doing some things over there, chipping here and there,  but I think that will be dictated by how they handle it. 

“If they’re doing fine, we’ll let those guys handle it on themselves, and just do what we do.  If we feel like we’ve got to get over there and give Fitz a little bit more time back there, it’s something we’re accustomed to doing and it won’t be hard for us to adjust to that.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey not locked on C-G combo

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 12:54 pm

As the Bills head out on the practice field this afternoon, it will begin the final stages in making a decision as to who will start at right guard and who will start at center for the Bills on Sunday.

Most observers are expecting starting right guard Kraig Urbik to shift to center in place of the injured Eric Wood, much like he did last season, and undrafted rookie David Snow to come in at right guard to replace Urbik. That’s how the pair ended the game last Sunday after Wood left with a torn MCL in his left knee.

“We’re going to work them both and I’m not sure which way that’ll go to be honest with you,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “We’ll have to wait and see which way is the best way to go by the end of the week.”

Snow played center all through the offseason workouts and training camp with Buffalo, but in his four years at Texas he was a two-year starter at guard and spent his other two collegiate seasons at center.

Gailey said he has a drop dead date to cement the lineup for Sunday, but would not reveal that timetable to the media.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line loses another

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2012 – 7:44 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey already said that Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik won’t be healthy enough to play in this Sunday’s game. New starting RG Chad Rinehart left Sunday’s game with a calf injury and his replacement is out for this week’s game as well.

Colin Brown started for Rinehart Sunday after Rinehart was a last minute scratch for the starting lineup. But Brown left the game with an injury after just a couple of series on offense and didn’t return.

“It’s a hamstring and he won’t make it this week,” said Chan Gailey of Brown.

Rinehart meanwhile is still a question mark as well.

“Rinehart, we’re going to rest him Wednesday,” said Gailey. “We think he’s got a decent chance to make the game.”

If he cannot go Sunday, Sam Young, who replaced him late in Sunday’s game, would step in. With just five healthy linemen it’s likely that Buffalo will have to make a roster move before the end of the week if Rinehart does not improve.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Outlook for Pears

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2012 – 7:51 pm

Erik Pears is still not back on the practice field getting reps in any capacity, but there was some good news concerning the right tackle’s healthy moving forward.

Out for the past week plus with a groin injury, head coach Chan Gailey said a visit to a specialist by Pears went well.

“I don’t know yet. We’re going to make that decision tomorrow or the next day. If Erik can’t play, which it looks like right now that won’t happen, both of them will play Hairston and Sam will both play.”

“It looks good to be honest with you,” said Gailey. “He saw the specialist and he gave him some things to work with. It looks like it’s going to pay dividends. He was trying to get out here to practice. I think it looks a lot better than it did three days ago that’s for sure.”

Pears had hernia surgery in the spring, so a groin injury was of some concern to Gailey. But with the current outlook it sounds as if he’ll be back practicing sooner rather than later. However, it would be a surprise if he plays in the team’s first preseason game Thursday night leaving Sam Young and Chris Hairston to likely share the starting right tackle role against Washington.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

What to expect this afternoon

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2012 – 11:10 am

There are a couple of lineup changes that we could see on the practice field this afternoon.

Mark Anderson is expected to rotate back in as the starting right defensive end after Chris Kelsay manned that spot at Friday’s practice. Shawne Merriman could eventually be a factor in that competition, but right now appears to be more of a dark horse candidate as he’s been running almost exclusively with the second unit.

At the starting right tackle spot, it doesn’t appear as though Erik Pears will go this afternoon. He did not line up with the first unit at the morning walk through, with Sam Young taking his place. Pears did step out of practice during the final few series in team work Friday, but it was thought to be in an effort to pace his reps coming off of offseason surgery. We’ll check in with head coach Chan Gailey if indeed Pears does not participate in team work this afternoon.

If Sam Young does in fact move up to the first unit this afternoon as Pears injury replacement look for fifth-round pick Zebrie Sanders to man right tackle with the second unit in Young’s place.

Leodis McKelvin was out on the field for morning walk through and looked to have a bounce in his step so it’s anticipated that he’ll be back practicing this afternoon. He left the field early on Thursday due to illness.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Young lines up on both sides

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2011 – 4:14 pm

Newly signed OL Sam Young lined up at both right and left tackle during the course of practice Wednesday as he tries to get acclimated to his new surroundings and more importantly his new playbook here in Buffalo.

“I am going to ask as many questions as I can right now,” said Young, who has been projected by GM Buddy Nix as a right tackle. “Whether it is from the guys or the coaches, I showed up five minutes ago so I am just trying to soak it all in right now. And like I said get in the book tonight and tomorrow and get rolling in order to be as sharp as I can.”

Young, who was claimed off waivers from Dallas by the Bills, has had the benefit of facing the likes of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer in practice every day the past year or so and believes it has only made him a better player.

“I went up against him all the time,” said Young of Ware. “That was the best thing that ever happened to me was being able to go up against him and Anthony Spencer day in and day out. He would bull rush me and then he would tell me exactly what he saw, so I was learning from him and bouncing ideas off of him. The guy is as good as it gets so it was a great opportunity for me to learn from him and really to improve.”

Young also said it was nice to see a familiar face in Buffalo’s locker room in TE Scott Chandler, who played in Dallas with Young last season.

“I had him as a roommate for a couple of road trips in Dallas so it was nice seeing him when I walked in the locker room,” he said.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Young’s jersey number

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2011 – 7:19 am

Newly claimed OL Sam Young has his jersey assignment with the Bills.

He’ll be wearing No. 71.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix on Bills new OL Young

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2011 – 8:43 pm

In an afternoon appearance on the Shredd and Ragan show on 103.3 The Edge, Bills GM Buddy Nix gave a thumbnail scouting report on newly signed OL Sam Young, who was claimed off waivers from the Cowboys Tuesday by Buffalo.

“I (scouted) Sam coming out of college and so did Doug Whaley and Doug Majeski and Tom Gibbons.  Most of the guys in our office saw him,” said Nix. “Joe D’Allesandris, our offensive line coach, was familiar with him from the preseason.  He’s a huge man.  He’s a very smart guy and he brings an attitude with him and we need more of that.  He’s got a little nasty in him.  He’s a much better run blocker than a pass blocker.  He’s a lot better than he was coming out of college.  He played with Hudson Houck down in Dallas and Hudson does a good job teaching technique.  He’s not a great foot athlete being at that size.  He finishes blocks and he’ll help our running game.  We’ll play him at right tackle.”

Now Nix doesn’t mean start at right tackle, he means that’s where Young will line up in practice with the second unit. But it was clear with only Chris Hairston as a backup tackle option on the roster they had to add another tackle to the mix.

“That’s the reason you’ve got this guy (Sam Young) and some more,” Nix said. “We’re good in the middle. We’ve got depth in the middle. We’ve got Andy Levitre that can play center. We’ve got Kraig Urbik that can play center. And actually Colin Brown can work some at center. Joe D works everybody in there ‘cause if you lose a center you know it could shut you down.

“But we’ve only got one backup tackle and he’s a rookie (Chris Hairston). He’s trying to back-up both sides and that’s tough because it’s more learning for him. We think he’s going to be a really good one. But if you put him in one place and leave him he’ll help you quicker.

“So that’s our thinking with this guy. He’ll be at right tackle and he’ll be our backup at right tackle if he does what he did in Dallas.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

OL Young adds to depth

Posted by Chris Brown on September 6, 2011 – 4:40 pm

The Bills are trying to develop their depth, particularly at offensive tackle. That’s why in the last two days they’ve moved a defensive lineman on the practice squad to offensive tackle and added another in Sam Young, who was claimed off waivers.

Rookie Chris Hairston is the only reserve lineman that played at tackle extensively this preseason, until today’s (Tuesday) addition of Young, who was claimed off waivers from the Cowboys.

Practice squad player Michael Jasper was flipped over from nose tackle to offensive tackle on Monday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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