Inside The Bills

How Tarvaris will be evaluated

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2012 – 7:46 am

It’s not going to be an easy situation for Tarvaris Jackson tonight against the Lions in Buffalo’s preseason finale at Ford Field (WKBW-TV Channel 7). The task may prove just as tough for the coaching staff when it comes to evaluating his performance.

That’s because with only three days of exposure to Buffalo’s offensive scheme, there is a limited amount of the offense he can effectively execute. In the last full practice before tonight’s game, Jackson got four team reps in 11-on-11 and a handful of others in 7-on-7. So for Buffalo’s coaching staff they have to evaluate Jackson’s performance a bit differently.

“What you have to look at when you’re making a decision like this is potential,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “That’s what you’re looking at. Do we think he can learn it eventually? Do we think that he can play in this system eventually? That’s the decision we’ll have to make because there’s not enough reps. There’s not going to be enough looks to make a clean decision. We’re going to have to make that decision about which direction to go.”

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Fitz can relate to T. Jack’s situation

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2012 – 9:28 am

Ryan Fitzpatrick knows what Tarvaris Jackson is dealing with trying to cram a brand new offensive system in his brain in a span of two weeks.

Fitzpatrick had to do the same thing when he was traded from St. Louis to Cincinnati just prior to the 2007 season.

“It is a tough time to come in because we are not going to start with the basic formation install with him,” said Fitzpatrick. “We kind of start with the game plan next week so you end up doing a lot of memorization each week and he does not really have those fundamentals of the offense to fall back on. Like I said, I did it and it was not the easiest thing in the world. It seems like he is the kind of guy who is really going to work at it.”

Fortunately for Fitzpatrick he only appeared in one game in 2007 for the Bengals and never had to attempt a pass. The following season Fitz started 12 games for the Bengals.

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T. Jack getting team reps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2012 – 4:06 pm

Tarvaris Jackson in his second day of practice is getting team reps.

Jackson is currently taking reps in 11-on-11 and earlier got reps in 7-on-7.

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Spencer glad to see former teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2012 – 8:05 am

Tarvaris Jackson did see one familiar face in Buffalo’s locker room upon his arrival. Former Minnesota teammate Spencer Johnson spent two years with him on the Vikings squad. Johnson believes Jackson is a good add.

“He’s elusive. He’s a great athlete,” Johnson told “He’s got a great arm. He’s going to be a good addition to the team. He can extend the plays with his legs. Don’t ask me how far he can throw the ball with the zip he has on it.”

Johnson was Jackson’s teammate for the quarterback’s first two seasons in the league, including the 2007 season when Jackson was named the starting quarterback and went 8-4 in 12 starts that year.

“He was a young buck then,” said Johnson. “He did a great job for us. Just looking at his record he can win some games. He can help us. He’s a smart quarterback. He did a great job when he was there. I know he’ll be good here.”

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Stevie on T. Jack

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 6:14 pm

Stevie Johnson weighed in with his opinion on the acquisition of Tarvaris Jackson after practice Monday. The Bills top wideout believes the receivers can establish an on field rapport with Jackson relatively soon.

“We will be able to build a relationship in about a week,” said Johnson. “We will have each other down as far as chemistry goes and everything will be smooth. As of now, it is just him getting into the playbook and learning as quickly as possible.”

When asked if two weeks is enough time to play against the Jets effectively should he need to come into the game for an injury, Johnson wasn’t as sure knowing the kind of cram session that time period is going to be for the new quarterback. 

“I believe he will have the basics down, but I cannot say he will have everything,” said Johnson. “I guess that just depends on how much he will pick up on the offense. He has been in the league for a while. I think he will be able to pick up the majority of the offense and be able to play well.”

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Chan doesn’t rule out carrying 4 QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 5:41 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey is in a unique circumstance regarding the quarterback position. His starter is Ryan Fitzpatrick and his number three remains Brad Smith. The number two QB question lingers with Tyler Thigpen, who knows the offense, but has struggled with consistency; and the newly acquired Tarvaris Jackson who doesn’t know the offense very much at all. With the season opener in 13 days Gailey couldn’t rule out carrying four quarterbacks to start the season.

“You never know,” said Gailey. “We’re going to do what’s best for the team, I know that, and it’s not going to be an easy call whatever direction we have to go.”

When asked if he’s comfortable carrying four quarterbacks, Gailey wasn’t certain.

“I’m comfortable with doing what’s best for the team and I don’t know what that is today,” Gailey said. “So let us make that decision later on.”

That decision will have to come by 9 pm on Friday night when the roster must be reduced to 53 players. Tarvaris Jackson is only supposed to play a few snaps at best in the Bills preseason finale at Detroit. It’s unlikely to be enough to give the Bills any sense of comfort that he’ll be able to finish a game in Week 1 or 2 should Ryan Fitzpatrick succumb to injury.

“You’ll have to make a decision,” he said. “I’ve never been in this situation so I can’t tell you how I’m going to do it. We’ll evaluate it and do the best we can and it won’t be easy.”  

If the Bills do feel they need to keep four quarterbacks at least early in the season, it will take a spot away from another position to get to 53. Bills GM Buddy Nix said earlier in the day that you “probably can’t keep four.”

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Jackson’s whirlwind day and a half

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 5:31 pm

Bills QB Tarvaris Jackson hasn’t gotten much sleep having caught the 11:30 pm (Pacific time) red eye flight east last night so he could be in Buffalo for practice Monday afternoon. Here’s a look at his last 24-36 hours in his words.

“My agent called and he told me (about Buffalo), and I actually talked to the GM from Seattle and he said Buffalo gave him a call and said there was some interest there,” said Jackson. “So he said, ‘It’s a possibility, we’ll let you know tomorrow.’ So I went through a regular day going to meetings, lifting and stuff and while I was in a meeting my agent gave me a call and said, ‘Go home and wait for me I’ll give you a call. You’ve been traded.’ That’s how it went down.”

After it was down to his contract being finalized, Jackson hopped the late night flight from the west coast.

“It was 11:30 last night,” he said. “That was my first red eye. I’m not really looking forward to those anymore. It was cool. I was excited about getting here. Whatever it took. As a quarterback playing you just want to feel like you’re wanted. That’s all I really want. So I’m here to do whatever they tell me to do to be the best I can be.”“

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Nix on Jackson’s strengths

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 4:18 pm

The Bills newest quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, is known as a mobile and athletic talent. Here’s what Buddy Nix chose to peg as Jackson’s strengths as a QB.

“He’s a strong-armed guy, good athlete,” said Nix. “He’s played good like I say at times. He throws the deep ball well and a big, strong guy that we think athletically can do what we need to do.”

Nix realizes that Jackson’s physical attributes might not look all that different from those of Vince Young, but with Young things just didn’t pan out.

“Some of the things we do don’t work out like you want them to, but if you don’t keep trying to improve and get better you probably won’t,” he said.

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Thigpen’s future

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 4:15 pm

With the acquisition of Tarvaris Jackson via trade Monday and the departure of Vince Young, the future of Tyler Thigpen with the Bills is an interesting question. Here was Buddy Nix’s answer.

“Tyler again Chan has said this many times, he knows what Tyler can do,” said Nix. “Tyler knows the offense very well, and right now he’ll play a good bit Thursday.”

When asked by if he could see a scenario in which the Bills carry four quarterbacks on the final roster until Tarvaris Jackson is up to speed, Nix said the following.

“We’ve got four now, but Brad is working as a wide receiver right now,” said Nix. “He will be the third quarterback according to what Chan has said so I’m sure that’s right. Probably you can’t carry four.”

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Nix has had eye on Jackson for a while

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 4:11 pm

While some might think that the acquisition of Tarvaris Jackson was in direct response to the failings of Vince Young in Bills uniform, Bills GM Buddy Nix would dispute that. He’s had his eye on Jackson for some time, all the way back to Jackson’s pro day in fact.

“We’ve always kept an eye on him,” said Nix. “I was at his workout when he came out. He worked out at Auburn and I remember very well standing there and watching him throw and go through the workout. So I knew he was talented. Sometimes those guys where they are means a lot. So timing and maybe getting in the right place in the right system he’ll blossom and I hope he does.”

Nix wasn’t specific, but made it sound as though Jackson didn’t become available via trade until recently.

“The timing had a lot to do with when the guy came available,” he said. “It wasn’t like something you could do earlier or whatever. It was just availability and a need to see if we can get better.”

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Monday practice update

Posted by johnmurphyshow on August 27, 2012 – 4:07 pm

New QB Tarvaris Jackson is practicing in the Fieldhouse with his new Buffalo Bills teammates. Jackson is wearing #7 in the red QB jersey. He’s standing beside QBs coach David Lee and
the rest of the quarterbacks. Jackson is eligible for full participation-there’s no 3 day rule since he was on the Seahawks active roster prior to coming to Buffalo. Non participants today include DE Mark Anderson, LB Bryan Scott, and OT James Carmon. We’ll get an update on their status after practice

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Nix on Young: “It just didn’t work out.”

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 4:07 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix commented on the acquisition of Tarvaris Jackson Monday afternoon, but he also addressed what went wrong with Vince Young.

“Vince I don’t want to get into what he can do and can’t do, it just didn’t work out,” Nix said. “Vince did everything he could. He worked hard at it and did everything we asked him to do. It just didn’t work so we go another route. It’s not like we’re thinking (Jackson) can do something that Vince couldn’t do. We just needed to move on and give this guy a try.”

Young had a preseason passer rating of 48.2 in three games with Buffalo.

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Jackson jersey number

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 2:56 pm

Most Bills fans probably figured this one out, but here is the recently acquired Tarvaris Jackson’s jersey number with the Bills.

Jackson will wear number 7, the same number he wore in Seattle and Minnesota on his previous two NFL stops.

The last Bills player to wear jersey number 7 was J.P. Losman.

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How many QBs will Bills carry now?

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2012 – 2:28 pm

Final roster cuts are on Friday, when the team must trim their roster to 53. Quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brad Smith are locks for the roster. Now in light of the trade to acquire Tarvaris Jackson one wonders if all four quarterbacks might be carried on the opening day roster for the Bills.

The reason why is with Jackson so new to the Bills offensive system, it might be hard to ask him to effectively execute the offense in two weeks time should there be an injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1. It may very well force the Bills to carry all four quarterbacks on their roster to make sure they have a signal caller that can execute all aspects of the offense in a very important division game.

That being said, the offensive coaches had Brad Smith working with the quarterbacks up until last week when he moved to receiver with the sole purpose of having Smith know enough of the offense to get them out of a game if there were injuries suffered at quarterback.

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Report: Bills trying to land QB Jackson in trade

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2012 – 6:27 pm

There were multiple reports on twitter that the Bills were trying to acquire Seattle QB Tavaris Jackson in a trade. Now ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that a deal has been struck.

Adam Schefter Seattle has agreed to trade QB Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo for a draft pick, but Bills and Jackson still trying to finalize new contract.’s Michael Lombardi and CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora were first reporting that the Bills were in talks with the Seahawks. We’ll let you know if there are any official developments. Per Schefter’s report the deal wouldn’t be consummated unless an agreement on a new contract between the Bills and Jackson can be reached.


Jason La Canfora‏ Bills are talking to Tarvaris Jackson, and trade is not complete though it is likely. first reported the deal …

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Fan Friday 7-22

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2011 – 11:45 am

With everything else up in the air you can still count on Fan Friday. So here’s the latest installment and keep those questions coming at

1 – Hi Chris,
I wanted to email you because a lot of mis-information at times permeates the message boards re: the Bills. With Coach Wannstedt on board, there is a contingent of Bills fans that feel he will be the de-facto Defensive Coodinator making Coach Edwards the DC in name only. I feel that Chan wouldn’t do something like that and would either fire coach Edwards or come out and say that Coach Wannstedt is the guy from day one.

Can you shed some light on this?
Rich in Pa
CB: As you know Chan Gailey is a straight shooter. His assistants are loyal to him for a reason because they trust him. Naturally every coach at the highest level of football has an ego of some size. I don’t know this, but it’s my belief that Coach Gailey would not have added Dave Wannstedt to his staff if he did not believe in the professionalism of both Wannstedt and defensive coordinator George Edwards.

I have to believe those two men met at length prior to the hiring of Wannstedt so Gailey could ensure that Wannstedt and Edwards would be able to work together in achieving the same goal, which is a much improved defense without letting job titles get in the way.

Wannstedt is the Assistant Head coach in addition to being the inside linebackers coach. Edwards is the defensive coordinator. It’s as simple as that.

Naturally those on the outside are going to speculate that Wannstedt will wield more power because his coaching history is more familiar to fans having been a head coach for two different NFL clubs.

Gailey, Edwards and Wannstedt do not look at it that way. Their commitment is to improving the performance of the team and getting more wins, not who has the best solutions in the meeting room. Gailey trusts that this can be a collaborative effort to make the defense better, but Edwards will be calling the plays on Sundays.


2 – Hey Chris,
Looking forward to the upcoming season!  2 questions for you:
1)  Not knowing the rules of free agency, it’s hard to know what QB’s will be available.   What are your thoughts on Tarvaris Jackson as a back-up/possible quarterback of the future?
2). Steve Johnson had quite the breakout year last year, and that caught most people off guard.   Do you have any thoughts on who may be this year’s breakout performers?

CB: I think with Jackson having a strong background in the West Coast system that he’ll likely go to a team with that offensive system. Seattle is a likely destination for him since his former quarterbacks coach in Minnesota, Doug Bevell, is running the offense there now.

As for a breakout performer, I don’t know that anyone will have the kind of jump in production that we saw from Johnson last season, but players that I believe are on the rise this year for the Bills are Arthur Moats, David Nelson, Torell Troup and Kraig Urbik.


3 – Hey CB,

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions each week.  My question for you is: have the Bills announced a new color scheme for the end-zones after the new turf is installed?  I personally loved the red end-zones from the 90s.  I’m curious if they will change the color or not. 


Thanks a lot,

– Patrick

Sylvan Beach, NY

CB: For those of you that missed it this week, the end zones are royal blue with white lettering and red lining. Here’s a sample photo of it.








4 – Hey Chris,

First, just wanted to thank you for doing a great job keeping the passionate Buffalo Bills fans constantly updated! I know its way too early to have predictions and start looking at power rankings, but with  the lockout just about over, I started looking at some opinions of some “experts” and none have the Bills even in the top twenty teams.

They often refer to how the Bills only one four games but I don’t think they realize how many games we COULD have won if we could just close a game.

I am very optimistic and have a ton of faith in Gailey and Fitz and truly believe next year we will make a gigantic leap and make the playoffs! Granted were in a very competitive division but I still think we can do it! What are your thoughts for next season?

CB: I’ve withheld judgment on the Bills because in this unusual offseason the roster has yet to take shape. There’s a lot of personnel stuff to be settled in a very short period of time.

The fact remains however, that they do play in a very competitive division. Granted the Jets roster could change dramatically in light of their cap situation and number of marquee free agents, but this uphill climb in the AFC East will be challenging.

In addition the Bills have a very difficult schedule with the NFC East on the slate as well as a much improved AFC West. I’m not trying to dodge you, but I need to see where players like C.J. Spiller, Marcell Dareus, Torell Troup and others are at once they get back in.

Young players that are expected to contribute more in year two or as top flight rookies have been the most affected by this offseason in terms of their development. They can greatly impact the success or lack of success of the club this year.


5 – Hey Chris,

With the whole spring workout schedule lost what changes is Chan Gailey going to have to make in preparing for the season?

Webster, NY

CB: In talking to some of Buffalo’s assistant coaches earlier this offseason, they already had put plans in place to simplify the installation of the playbook in training camp. That likely means less volume, fewer plays etc.

I think it’s also possible that play installation could be tied to the framework of preliminary game plans for the first few games of the season. The coaches want to ensure that they can get sound play from their players in the games that count despite the shortened time frame with respect to reps on the field.

So repping those plays that they’re likely to run against the likes of Kansas City, Oakland, New England and Cincinnati in the first month of the season seems advisable. And the coaches have had plenty of time to scout those teams off last year’s film. Granted there will be some changes, but I could see that being a part of what’s different in terms of preparation.

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Fan Friday 1-8

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2010 – 2:30 pm

Fan Friday 1-8
First offseason Fan Friday as the coaching search is in full swing. If you have any questions for me you can email me at Here we go.

1. Hey Chris, just a couple Bills-related things on my mind…

First, as you mentioned in your blog post Fitz QB Status, Fitzpatrick is clearly not the starting QB… so has the organization just given up completely on Edwards?  Can (will) we trade him?  Do you know (and can you say) if this is a decision straight from the top? 

I just don’t understand it, really… even though I don’t think Trent will be the long term answer that I hoped he’d be… he seems better than the other options.  (Unless we just admit we’re playing for next year and give Brohm a shot, which you already said they won’t do…)  Craziness!

CB: I think Trent’s fate will be determined by the new head coach. GM Buddy Nix has said he will not make any personnel moves without the new head coach getting an opportunity to evaluate the roster and see who might fit his vision and who does not.

So the possibility exists that he will be back in 2010 and the possibility exists that he will be gone. It rests in the hands of the new head coach.

2. Obviously, the Bills have a lot of holes to fill after the season.  However, the position that seems to be of most importance is the interior of the defensive line.  Marcus Stroud is not anywhere close to the player he use to be.  Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson make plays but are smaller and are better at penetrating with their quickness, they wont be able to eat up blockers. 

How much of the Bills porous run defense can be attributed to the fact that Stroud is getting pushed around fairly easily every play? 

People are always knocking Posluszny, but when blockers are able to get on him, he isn’t free to roam around and make tackles.  I think the biggest priority in the off-season is to find a clog in the middle of that line. 

I know people say we need a QB, but if you can’t stop the opponents run game your not going to win too many games.  What are your thoughts?
Nick in Albany

CB: I’ve always been a big believer in getting your big men first on both sides of the ball. In defense of Marcus Stroud he played most of the season hurt (ankle, knee, neck), so if he didn’t look as explosive as he did last season, there’s your answer. The guy gutted it out in a lost season so I give him a lot of credit for that.

That being said I do believe a DT prospect would be a good add especially this year with such a strong DT class. However, offensive tackle and quarterback are ahead of that on my priority list. The offense is much further behind the defense. It takes priority even though I agree that bolstering the DT position is necessary.

I’m just not convinced the Bills are going to spend big in free agency to land a proven left tackle like a Marcus McNeill, especially in an uncapped year where there could be even more bidding wars between teams.

I think because the DT class is deeper than the OT class that you get your OT first and hope you can get at DT that can play right away in round 2. The DT class just got deeper this week with UCLA’s Brian Price declaring.
3. Hey Chris,
I think the bills should really consider going hard after Tarvaris Jackson in the off-season. I really think since coming back from injury late last season that he really has turned a corner. In the last four games of last season he was 3-1 and threw for 8td’s-1int. This year as a backup he’s 10-15, 159yards, 1td as a backup. I think he could be the answer for the bills at quarterback not Micheal Vick like some people are speculating and not Brian Brohm.

I think they should also go really hard after an elite young wide reciever like Brandon Marshall if the broncos don’t franchise him. I think the bills should then draft two big offensive tackles.

Maybe Trade Lee Evans to San Fran to get one of their first rounders so they can draft an OT and a DT in the first round. Since we have James Hardy and Steve Johnson at wide reciever. If we sign Brandon Marshall, we can play Hardy as the number two receiver and Johnson in the slot. What do you think?

CB: Well that’s a lot you’ve put on the table there. First, the quarterback situation. To me it’s looking more and more like an answer at quarterback might more likely come via trade, and not the draft. There are some respectable prospects, but I don’t know that there’s one you could put on the field right away and give the keys to the offense. So I think trading for a QB is a realistic possibility.

You’d have to pay a king’s ransom to get Kevin Kolb out of Philly so Tarvaris Jackson would come at a lesser price and if your new staff is installing a West Coast offense then Jackson would be a respectable option. I’m not convinced he’s turned a corner, but a consideration nonetheless.

As for a marquee young receiver, the Bills have that in Lee Evans. No one thinks so because he hasn’t put up monster numbers, but if you pair him with a quarterback that’s just above average the production will be there trust me.

Then as you suggested James Hardy can be the number two with Steve Johnson in the slot. It’s time for the young guys to step up at wideout. But there’s no need to go out and make a splash at receiver when you have a guy waiting to produce Pro Bowl numbers with a better line and better QB.


CB: First Chad Pennington has to prove himself healthy and capable of throwing a 12-yard out before he’s even a consideration. I do believe though that the Bills have to strongly consider the possibility of signing a veteran signal caller to serve as a stopgap at QB while a younger QB is groomed for the future, whether it’s Brian Brohm or a draft pick.

I’ve got a lot more draft prep work to do, but I’m not seeing a guy that will be there at 9 that the Bills can put on the field and succeed with right away. And if you draft a QB later, history shows it’s best to let them watch and learn early in their careers.

So I think there’s a lot of merit to the approach you’re suggesting, I just don’t know if Chad Pennington is the mark.
5. Hi Chris!!

My questions are:

1. How is L. McKelvin doing with his injury? I haven’t heard much 
about him during the season.
2. What do see the Bills addressing first during the offseason / draft? QB or OL?
3. Due to our O-line problems. Do you think the Bills should go after M. Vick? He is certainly a good scrambler…

Thanks & take care…

Luis A. Estrada (Puerto Rico)

CB: McKelvin is close to 100 percent. He began running again on the turf field a couple of weeks ago, but told me he’s not 100 percent just yet. We’ll have a story on him this coming week on

I believe the Bills will survey the landscape for a QB they believe can be a stopgap answer for a year or two while they groom a young QB be it Brohm or a draftee, unless Brohm outperforms said veteran.

I don’t see the Bills getting in a bidding war for premium free agents OTs so that might have to be the top priority in the draft.

Finally I understand your reasoning with Michael Vick, but I believe you fix the line and your QB play will improve. Also I think Vick is a running QB in a passing league. So I’m not big on acquiring Vick.

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