Inside The Bills

Report: Kugler to Steelers

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2010 – 9:00 pm

Former Bills offensive line coach Sean Kugler has landed in Pittsburgh.

According to’s Jason LaCanfora, he’ll be announced as the Steelers new offensive line coach. Kugler had to deal with a complete mess in his last season on the Bills staff with respect to his offensive line.

He had five players in all new positions to start the 2009 season with a left tackle that did not have a single NFL start on his resume. By season’s end his two starting offensive tackles and three guards were on injured reserve along with the team’s top two blocking tight ends.

Kugler was forced to field six different offensive tackles tandems and nine different offensive line lineups in 2009, and more than once had to get a newly signed player ready to start in a matter of four days or less (see: Jamon Meredith, Kendall Simmons).

The Bills line was a mess all season, but to lay it at the feet of Kugler would be missing the mark. The Steelers line also has some improving to do, but something tells me Kugler will be able to handle it.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Levitre grades out well vs. Titans

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2009 – 5:47 pm

In an effort to discourage some of the negative feedback I was getting on the live blog during the game and at my AskChris email about Andy Levitre’s play Sunday night I spoke to his line coach, who provided me with some good information that the critics need to hear.

Offensive line coach Sean Kugler confirmed for me that Levitre for the game had one of the highest offensive line grades of all the linemen in that game.

Kugler acknowledges that the rookie got pushed back into the pocket on Edwards’ interception throw, but it was one play.

“He had 50 other plays that were good, solid plays, but fans remember that one play and that’s the life of an offensive lineman,” said Kugler.

Some fans expressed the opinion that Levitre is too small and needs to bulk up. He reported to camp at 295, but because his strength is so good, Kugler doesn’t see the need to add much more weight to his frame.

“He’s in very good shape,” said Kugler. “He’s very strong. I’m not as concerned about the weight thing as maybe some other people are, but as long as he’s functional and he’s strong whether he’s 295 or 300 that’s not a big deal.”

Working hard in practice and with strength and conditioning coordinator J.T. Allaire, Levitre has successfully added six pounds of lean muscle to his frame in just over a week of camp and is checking in at about 301 to 302 according to Kugler.

“With his height that’s a good weight for him,” said Kugler. “That’s kind of his weight. He’s quick at that weight and moves well at that weight and he’s a strong guy. If he were not a strong guy then there’d be a concern, but that’s not the case.

“His range is probably 295 to 305 and that’s where he is right now.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Coach Kugler’s rapport with Trent

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2008 – 7:48 pm

I think everyone remembers and Trent Edwards would like to forget his overthrow to a wide open Robert Royal in the end zone Sunday on a 3rd-and-goal play action pass. Fortunately Marshawn Lynch made it a moot point scoring on 4th-and-goal, but Trent addressed it and joked about it

“I’ve been begging them to call that play all week and I’ve been practicing that fake, I’ve been practicing that throw. I’m not someone to make excuses,” said Edwards with a smirk. “And it’s tough he’s wide open and the wind picked up a little bit. The thing was is I know we’re all professionals out there and we have to play like professionals, but that was pretty bad.”

Edwards also shared that Bills offensive line coach Sean Kugler gave him some ribbing for it when he got back to the sidelines.

“Our offensive line coach came up to me after that play and was like, ‘I could have made that throw.’ I was like, ‘Thanks that means a lot to me.,’” said Edwards. 

Sometimes coaches take the unexpected approach with a player that might be gripping a little after a bad play just to loosen them up. I suspect that was Kugler’s intention. Plus Kugler followed up after Edwards two touchdown runs.

“He came back after those few touchdown runs and said, ‘I don’t think I could run that fast though.’ So it was nice to have him back in my corner after that play,” said Edwards.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2008 – 7:28 pm

Here’s the latest installment. As always if you have a question e-mail me at and I’ll do my best to answer everyone. Just remember you can always check here for answers.

1. Allowing most of the sacks on the line, and the production value being so positive for Kirk Chambers, would a consideration of benching Jason Peters be an option? Also, I find it hard to believe that with such a productive college transition and very good pre-season, that Steve Johnson doesn’t get a lot of playing time at the Wide Receiver position. What are your thoughts? Thank You.
Nolan Cool

CB: I asked Dick Jauron just last week for a progress report on Jason Peters and he told me that while he has missed on a couple of plays that, “he has dominated the opposition far more than he’s been dominated.” He also told me that he has no worries with Peters on the left side. I don’t see the Bills changing anything up front.

As for Johnson I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more of him myself. But there are veterans like Evans, Reed and Parrish entrenched at receiver and even Justin Jenkins has more time on the field than Johnson. The staff is trying so hard to get Hardy up to speed that Johnson is kind of lost in the shuffle.


2. Dear Chris,

I’m thrilled regarding the Lee Evans contract extension.  But one Lee Evans-related issue that is bothersome is how under-utilized Lee is. Lee at the time I’m sending this ranks 35th in the NFL in terms of number of targets to a player. Yes, Lee is great at the long ball, but why don’t the Bills involve Lee more in the short passing gaming (e.g., slants)?

Andy Evens

CB: I think the coaching staff would like to do more of that. That’s why Turk Schonert has been open to moving Lee around in the formations to get different matchups and work different parts of the field. Ultimately however, Lee is the team’s best threat at stretching the field and now that he’s burned a couple of teams he puts genuine fear in teams (see Chargers). As a result I think you’ll see Lee factoring in more heavily to the underneath part of the passing game since teams will be very worried about getting toasted.


3. We have spent a lot of money on the line and I consistently hear good things about the individual abilities of our cast. I’m just wondering why the holes are not opening up? Is it because we are too big and slow? Is there a lack of effort? Problems with the scheme? Poor RB vision? I was just wondering if your observations have focused in on a flaw and I am interested in your response.
Thanks Chris, I enjoy updates
Alex Barnard

CB: Coaches always say that running the ball is an attitude. There’s no doubt Marshawn Lynch has that attitude. There’s no question the men up front have to come off the ball stronger.

From what I see they can’t consistently win that battle at the line of scrimmage. There are glimpses of it improving, but it hasn’t been consistent. The linemen know that and OL coach Sean Kugler knows that. They’re working on it. Hopefully it busts loose soon because with the bad weather on the way they’ll need to run it more.


4. What do you do during the Bills game and do you attend every one? I see that you blog 8 or 10 times during a game. What do you do for the other 2 and a half hours?
Wheatfield, NY

CB: During the game I’m writing the game story for the home page of So as it’s happening I’m writing a story. I’m writing down plays on a steno pad for reference for the story and I’m conversing with my co-workers at Bills Digest and on potential sidebar stories and secondary angles.

I have to file the game story right after the final gun before going down to the locker room, and it’s easier said than done, especially when it’s a close game that could go either way.

I’m also writing a script for our video wrap up package that appears in the media lounge of as part of our post game coverage. And blogging of course.


5. Wondering if we have considered using the Wildcat offense? Especially against the Dolphins. It might throw them off a bit. It would also give our defense some practice against it. Didn’t Freddie do some quarterbacking? Just another suggestion for Turk I guess.


CB: I don’t see Dick Jauron resorting to that. The team is averaging 25 points per game doing what they’re doing. The Dolphins don’t have much firepower at wide receiver so they need something different to increase their production like a scheme of this nature. Not knocking it. It’s worked for them.

However, if the Bills were to run it I think J.P. Losman would be perfect for it. He has the legs to run out of it and obviously would afford an offense much more versatility from a passing perspective out of that set.

Brown is not the best passer, though his TD throw to Fasano was pretty good against the Pats. We’ll see just what kind of a copycat league this is by how many teams adopt this formation.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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