Is Young a wildcat option?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2012 – 12:30 pm

Vince Young is now on board after agreeing to terms with the Bills Friday. By most accounts his workout was impressive in terms of his passing accuracy and touch with receivers he had not worked with prior. But the comment by GM Buddy Nix leads one to believe that this addition could be more about Young’s legs.

Nix made the following comment when it was announced that Young had agreed to terms.

“He brings with him some unique physical abilities that most are aware of and that will make the competition interesting,” said Nix.

Both Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith are mobile quarterbacks with Smith being the team’s wildcat option quarterback. Could Young offer wildcat potential as well? He certainly seems athletic enough to be worthy of consideration.

Head coach Chan Gailey does value mobility in his quarterbacks, but who earns wildcat duty might prove to be the most interesting part of the quarterback competition behind Ryan Fitzpatrick on the depth chart.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fitz developing a drawl

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2012 – 10:21 am

Ryan Fitzpatrick hopes his mechanics are even sharper under new quarterbacks coach and strict technician David Lee this season. What he is trying to avoid however, is the development of a southern drawl being surrounded by a host of coaches and players in his position room with southern accents.

“I don’t have any sort of accent,” said the Arizona native. “Being around Buddy (Nix) and Chan (Gailey) and now Coach Lee… they’re all so southern. And Tyler (Thigpen) even I just find myself slipping into a drawl every now and then. I’m telling you it happens. I’ll say some phrase that I’ve never said before.”

Nix is an Alabama native, Gailey hails from Georgia and Thigpen is from South Carolina. David Lee however, is a Missouri native, but he’s likely picked up a bit more of a southern dialect having spent most of his coaching career in the SEC.

No word if ‘y’all’ has been uttered by Fitz as of yet, but he does admit that certain words are coming out of his mouth with a bit more of a southern dialect.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills Michael Vick impersonator

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2011 – 3:04 pm

Every NFL club uses reserve players and practice squad players to emulate the talents of a key player on the opponent’s roster. This week Buffalo has one of their reserve quarterbacks running the scout team offense as Michael Vick.

Some reporters thought the scout team QB might be practice squad DB Josh Nesbitt, who played option quarterback at Georgia Tech, but head coach Chan Gailey had someone else in mind.

“We’ll work on that with some different drills to get (ready for Vick),” said Gailey. “Right now Tyler (Thigpen) will be it.”

Michael Vick just finished speaking to Buffalo reporters on the weekly conference call and was asked for his thoughts on opponents finding someone to emulate him in practice.

“That’s tough,” he said chuckling. “That’s hard to find. Good luck with that.”

When told that the Bills are using Tyler Thigpen to be him Vick didn’t think it was a bad idea.

“Yeah, Tyler can move around a little bit,” Vick said.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-30

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2011 – 12:29 pm

3-0 looking to go 4-0 in Cincy. Let’s see if the boys can keep it rolling. Keep sending your questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris, 

In looking at the changes in the roster since Chan has taken over it looks like almost every position player can either line up at different spots or play more than one position. Brad Smith can play QB,KR, and some WR. Every O-Lineman can swing around and most DB’s can play n the box or go deep into coverage. Who besides Fitz is locked into one position? Can you explain his thinking? Are they losing talent for versatility? How is he maximizing the roster?  

Thanks, 
Josh

CB: Chan and his staff like players that are versatile because it affords the staff more flexibility and also provides better depth without tying up as many roster spots. Even at receiver, all of the wideouts are required to know all the positions. This enables them to line up anywhere in the formation on any given down making it harder for opposing defenses to match up.

With the possible exception of their offensive tackles, they also like having offensive linemen that can play two positions, knowing they only like to dress seven linemen for a game.

The only other players really locked into one position are probably Shawne Merriman and the tight ends, though the tight ends factor in on special teams. So versatility helps with game plan and depth. Pretty valuable.

 

2 – First I would just like to thank you for how you keep us updated on everything Bills.  My question is, have you heard anything about signing Fitzy long term and was Thigpen’s contract future starter money or normal backup money?

Thanks, Jimmy in Hamburg

CB: To my knowledge talks are ongoing with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the team. As for Thigpen he signed a three-year deal, but not for starter money.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

First, thanks for always keeping us fans well informed. I was watching the KC game and I saw one of their safeties blitzing Fitz, and I started wondering, with coaches being able to communicate with QBs during the game, are they able to speak to Fitz while the play is happening? Are they able to warn him mid play of a blitz? Or is the audio shut down once the huddle is broken?

Aaron

CB: The communication is shut off with 15 seconds left on the play clock. It’s rare that a team breaks the huddle in time for a quarterback to get up to the line in time to be counseled by a coordinator through the radio headset.

 

4 – Chris thanks for all your great inside news for our Bills. I check your column several times a day even in the off season. The O-line didnt give up a sack. The one thing that bothers me is I dont see Fitz looking off the safeties. I haven’t seen any pump fakes, or rotating to the other side of the field. I know I cant see everything going on from tv, or even at the games, but it appears he commits to one side of the field on a given play. It doesn’t take away from the terrific job he is doing, and the success the Bills are having. Just something I have noticed. Please tell me the films prove different.

Thanks Gary

CB: Gary, I’m afraid watching the game on TV is betraying you. Fitz does a great job of looking off the safeties. Sometimes he does it so quickly off the snap that perhaps you don’t see it. TV viewing doesn’t cater very well to observing this trait in Fitz’s game, but he is very, very good at it. I would recommend you look up our Top 10 Performances from 2010 in the media center at Buffalobills.com and look for Fitz’s game against Baltimore or Cincinnati and you’ll see how he freezes the safeties in those games. Believe me he’s good at it.

 

5 – Chris,

Do you think it is time for the Bills to part ways with Roscoe Parrish?  I like him as a player, but he just cannot stay on the field.  I don’t think the Bills are losing anything by going with David Nelson full time in the slot.  What are your thoughts?

– Chris in Binghamton

CB: I’m not going to deny that he’s been battling injuries of late with his last two seasons finding him on injured reserve. He’s not a big body, but he is dynamic and pretty tough for an undersized player.

I agree that the team loses very little in terms of production in the slot with David Nelson in there because he’s just as big a mismatch as Roscoe, just in a different way.

I just know that Chan Gailey values Roscoe’s talents, so I’d be a bit surprised if they cut ties with him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-16

Posted by Chris Brown on September 16, 2011 – 12:37 pm

Alright, Week 1 was a good one. Hopefully another ‘W’ Sunday for the home opener. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
Buddy and Chan often use the phrase “get bigger” can you explain what they mean football wise. They have let smaller sized players go. All their TE and OL seem to be tall strong blocking types. Aaron Williams is a big corner. Does they view this on ever position? How does big translate onto the field. Have big guys doesn’t mean they are great athletes or even good football players. I understand the 3-4 needs players with more bulk. Can you explain the football philosophy on both offense and defense?

CB: There really isn’t a whole lot of football philosophy here. It’s more physics if you want to know the truth. Mass times acceleration equals power (my physics teacher would be proud). Buffalo’s offensive and defensive lines lacked mass and thus power. Both Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey saw their men in the trenches getting pushed around way too much last season and felt they had to get bigger. They are now. Eric Wood is 20 pounds heavier than the departed Geoff Hangartner. Scott Chandler is 272 pounds.

Marcell Dareus is 35 pounds heavier than Marcus Stroud. Alex Carrington added 23 pounds of muscle to his frame and Torell Troup added 10 pounds of muscle. Kellen Heard goes 340. The linebacking corps is bigger as well. It’s all about holding up against the run on that side of the ball and you need guys that are big enough and talented enough to stand their ground. That’s really all it is.

 

2 – Hi Chris, just wanted to know if you know what Donald Jones’ time was in the 40-yard dash? Lee Evans was a burner, and if the Bills are hoping to replace Evans, they better hope that one of those young receivers can at least be a speedy as Evans was. If the Bills lack a vertical threat, the opposing defenses will not respect our passing game as much. I will look forward to hearing your answer. Tony, Daytona Beach, FL

CB: Coming out of college, Jones was clocked at 4.49 in the 40. That’s above average speed and a player like that is capable of making plays downfield. Eric Moulds ran a 4.51 coming out of Mississippi State, and you remember the downfield plays he made in his career with Buffalo. Evans ran a 4.41.

 

3 – Hey Chris,
What’s the deal with Ruvell Martin making the team who had maybe a week of exposure to the offense and Naaman Rosevelt who has had several years of exposure? I think Bills fans would like to know more about the particulars in choosing Ruvell Martin over Naaman Rosevelt.
Best,
Stephen A. Naetzker from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

CB: Truth be told, it was a bit of surprise to those of us that follow the team. Not because Ruvell isn’t capable, but because he had only been with the club a week. But head coach Chan Gailey said he was consistent in the time he was here, and sharp as a tack picking up the system. He’s also 6’4” and 212 pounds. So he does offer a bit more size than Naaman (6’0” 201).

Ultimately, I think what helped him most was his performance as a gunner on the punt coverage team. Yes, Naaman offers special teams ability as well, but mostly as a kick returner and Buffalo has kick returners in Brad Smith and C.J. Spiller. So Martin offers more on coverage teams, which is where they needed more help. I don’t know that it was the deciding factor, but it definitely played a role in the decision.

In any event Roosevelt is on the practice squad and I’d expect him to be a call up should there be a long term injury at receiver.

 

4 – Chris, How do some of the players with limited stats or star power like Robert Eddins, Donald Jones, Arthur Moats, Justin Rogers, David Nelson, Kamar Aiken, and Danny Batten hit the scouts radar screen. Only Nelson played at a big school. Since these guys don’t have high ceilings, combine stars but seem to be very motivated football players. Can you shed some light on how these guys separate themselves from “camp bodies” and how they are found.

Thanks!

Go Bills

CB: There are advance scouting services that NFL clubs participate in collectively like BLESTO. The scouts working for BLESTO (who also sometimes work for NFL clubs simultaneously), put together the initial work on the junior prospects the year before they enter their final collegiate season. The size of the school matters little. They scour the country and the big fish in the small ponds are found just as readily as the top talents at big programs. Once they’re on the radar it’s up to the individual NFL clubs to follow up and make their own assessments as to whether the prospect is worthy of draft consideration or consideration as an undrafted free agent signing.

 

5 – QB David Garrard has been released by the Jags. Is he a better option than Thigpen? Thanks, David W.

CB: I don’t see David Garrard interested in being a backup quarterback for an entire season. I think he’s looking to land somewhere, where the possibility of starting sooner rather than later is real, and Fitz is the entrenched starter in Buffalo.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-12

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2011 – 5:10 pm

Well I know there will be questions about the trade, but there are some other issues on your mind too. Remember submit questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net and it could appear here.

1 – Hello Chris and thanks for the continued updates.  I’ve been a Bills season ticket holder from Rochester for years (and again this year) and have just moved to Charlotte NC so your updates are very welcomed.  A lot has been made of the Bills lack of TE.  David Nelson came on at the end of last season and most of his catches seemed to be out of the slot and up the middle of the field.  What are your thought on him possible putting on a few lbs as he ages and becoming a solid TE for the Bills in the future.

Thanks for you continued coverage.

Dave, newly transplanted to NC
CB: Ironically David Nelson has bulked up, to 221 pounds, which is about 13 pounds of lean muscle more than last season. That being said I don’t see him as a tight end in this offense. A lot of what he’s asked to do in the slot is similar to that of a tight end anyway and now with 13 more pounds on his frame he’ll be able to block more effectively. But he’s still 25 pounds shy of a typical NFL tight end, so I don’t see that as a true option for him. I feel like you take away from his game if you do that.

 

2 – I am sure you will get this question alot.  With the new CBA have the Bills free agency plans changed?  Will they be more active?

Ronald
Atlanta, GA

CB: Buddy Nix said flat out that the new CBA and all of its rules have not changed their approach to building the team the way they see fit. So in essence no their free agency plan will stay the same, no quick fixes, no big splashes.

 

3 – Hey Chris-
 
I know that free agent signing cant be made offical till friday at 6 but what do you think about Tyler. I really like Thigpen, he did okay in K.C.  I was also wondering if he could push out Fitz, I fell that Buffalo needs to let all players fight for their jobs.  We saw it back in the 2009 preseason with Edwards and Fitz, Fitz outplayed Edwards in the preseason but they still started trent becuse they said that Fitz was never there to unseat Trent and then Trent goes out and drops to 2-5 before we end the season at 6-10

CB: The key to the signing of Tyler Thigpen was the fact that he had a foundation of knowledge in Buffalo’s system. With no spring workouts to get a new QB up to speed, getting one who knew the system coming in was a must. As for this season however, Fitz is the starter, end of story and Thigpen has been told as much.

 

4 – Chris, 

I understand that Lee Evans was not a big part of the offense last year.  I understand that we have a lot of depth at the receiver position.  How can we justify letting Lee Evans go for a 4th round pick?  I believe he’s worth at worst a 3rd round pick and I don’t see how we get better this year or in the future with this move.  Lee Evans is a consummate pro.  Please shed some light on this for all of us.

Thanks,

Bob

CB: The market value for receivers has been very depressed ever since Randy Moss with four good years left in him was acquired by New England from Oakland for a fourth-round pick. So increasing the value in return was not going to happen.

As for justifying the trade, all I can say is I have it on good authority that Evans wanted to move on. I don’t know that he asked for a trade, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

I don’t know that the offense will produce more right away without Evans, but I do think that in time this receiving corps will outproduce Evans over his last two seasons. My pick to ultimately replace Evans in the ‘X’ receiver role is Marcus Easley.

5 – Chris, a lot has been made of Maybin showing up to camp weighing only 228 lbs, but I want to know about Dareus.  I know he is a big man, but I read he weighed in around 340ish.  Did he show up to camp heavy and overweight?  I thought he played last year at least 20 lbs lighter than that.  Thanks for keeping us all in the loop,
John
Youngstown

 

CB: Yes, he did report to camp at 343 pounds, but by those I’ve spoken to he can carry it. It hasn’t affected his agility or stamina. I suppose we’ll know for sure by watching him in the preseason games, but I haven’t seen it affect his play at all. He was 319 at the combine though.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New QBs get on same page w/WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2011 – 10:32 am

New Bills QBs Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith are making every effort to get on the same page with their new corps of receivers. Naaman Roosevelt, who is featured on the home page of Buffalobills.com today (Tuesday), explains what’s discussed with signal callers that are trying to nail down timing.

“Just understanding how you run routes and what you do to get open,” Roosevelt said. “As a receiver people use different techniques to get open. Whether it’s Tyler or Fitz or anybody when we’re on the side and not in the lineup in practice we talk and see what the receiver saw and what the quarterback saw and just try to get used to what everybody does and I think we’re doing a good job of that.”

Thigpen for the most part has been on target with most of his throws to this point. Roosevelt believes Thigpen’s familiarity with the offense is helping him with the timing. For Smith there’s a lot more that’s new for him, but he too has begun to find a groove with the wideouts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2011 – 10:03 pm

Here’s the rundown of where Bills players will be appearing on the radio airwaves Monday morning.

Naaman Roosevelt – Norton in the Morning; 97 Rock at 8:00 am

Tyler Thigpen – Morning Bull; 103.3 The Edge at 8:15 am


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What Gailey told Thigpen

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2011 – 9:30 pm

When the Bills were able to begin recruiting and negotiating contracts with free agents on the market, head coach Chan Gailey made sure he gave it to Tyler Thigpen straight from the beginning.

“When I called Tyler I told him exactly the situation,” said Gailey. “Ryan (Fitzpatrick) is the starter and there’s no question about that. You can compete and work and see how close you can get and that’ll be good, but Ryan is the starter.”

Thigpen obviously accepted those terms for the 2011 season, but he’s signed beyond that, so it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds beyond this fall. Thigpen looked particularly sharp on Friday as his accuracy was pretty consistent and his decision making was even better. His arm looks live, which is to be expected knowing it’s only day two for him, but the early signs are very encouraging as the Bills have clearly upgraded their quarterback contingent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday running Q&A

Posted by Chris Brown on August 5, 2011 – 7:07 pm

Good evening Bills fans. Glad you could join me. As promised I’m going to be answering your training camp questions here tonight. So you know you can still submit your questions to my email account at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I’ll be submitting as many of those questions with answers as possible below, so keep refreshing this page as I’ll be adding answers as I move through them. Hopefully your question or one very similar to your question gets answered tonight, otherwise I’ll get to your question in a future Fan Friday post or answer it personally. Just understand training camp is my busiest time of year, so I’ll get back to you as best I can. Thanks for your participation. Let’s get to your questions.

1 – Chris, 

How will the CB battle shape up in camp? In there a set starter or is the position up for grabs. With Drayton back does that push Aaron Williams to 4th slot. I liked Justin Rogers alot when they drafted him. It would be a waste for him not to play or even get cut due to 4 guys ahead of him. How many will the Bills keep on the opening day roster. 
Thanks 
Jack S.
 
CB: I think right now the entrenched starters are Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence. McGee has looked like his old self and the defensive staff has even experimented with him in the slot. I believe the top three are pretty much locked down with McKelvin being the third man in right now. Aaron Williams would need to have an amazing preseason to dislodge one of those guys from the top spot and Reggie Corner is primarily a slot guy, but those are the top 5. Williams got off to a great start, but with more installation he’s fallen behind a bit on the execution end.
 
2 –What should be the expectation for Marcus Easley this season? He will be raw and coming off injury coming into the season but he looks like a future number 1 receiver with both size and speed. Given that he has missed a year and didn’t break out until his senior year, how much will he be on the field. Is he likely going to be inactive on game days or can he challenge for the 3-4 receiver role. Excited to watch him in camp. Thanks for the great reporting year round.

Tyler 
 
CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think it’s tough to peg right now. There’s no question he’s got talent and if he develops he could have a bright future. I’m not ready to go as far as to say number one receiver talent because we just haven’t seen enough of him. Unfortunately I think the coaching staff is in the same boat. They saw flashes last spring, but not much else because of his knee injury last year and now his hyperextended knee. He should be back in the next day or two and hopefully he can stay healthy to get his career off the ground.
 
 3 –Chris, 

Given the need for both OLB and ILB’s, how many total do you expect to make the opening day roster? It looks like Merriman, Kelsay, Barnett, and Davis will be the starters. With backups like Moats, Shep, Torbor. But what about the fringe players like Coleman, White, Maybin and Batten. Will they carry this many? Is there one guy on the outside? How will Chan mix in a large number of players to fit both the 3-4/4-3 hybrid? 
 
CB: For a 3-4 defense teams usually carry 8 linebackers with backups for each spot. You’re guess is pretty well on with Merriman, Kelsay, Barnett, Davis and Moats, Shep and Torbor. Guys like Coleman, White, Batten and Maybin will be fighting for one, possibly two spots if they choose to keep 9.
 
 4 – Dear Chris,
Thanks for all the constant updates for us fans.  I am wondering if the bills are interested in Jared Gaither.  He would be a big help to our tackle problems.  If not him are there any other free agent tackles worth looking at? Thanks again and go BILLSMike from Cheektowaga
 
CB: This is a name that’s come up an awful lot from fans over the past calendar year. I don’t debate that adding more talent at offensive tackle would be welcomed I’m just not convinced it’s going to happen before the season. Jared Gaither is a guy that was available for trade and no one went after him because he had some back issues. Back issues with linemen are nothing to sneeze at. It may explain why the market has been lukewarm for him. Only the Raiders were poised to sign him and it fell apart in the 11th hour. He’s talented, but Gailey and Nix want high character guys that have a passion for the game, and in NFL circles I don’t know how many people stamp Gaither as that kind of player.
 
 5 – Did the Bills make an attempt for Zach Miller? He would have been a great addition. A dominant TE is something the Bills have lacked for years. Any chance they go after Kevin Boss?
Thanks,
Josh T.
 
CB: To my knowledge they did not pursue him. Miller is definitely a talent, no question and yes, the Bills have not had a dominant pass catching tight end. Boss by the way signed with the Raiders today. I just think with Chan Gailey’s frequency of using 4-wide sets and the depth of the receiving corps right now the need for a mismatch type threat at tight end is greatly reduced.
 
I will say that Scott Chandler, who was picked up off waivers last year from Dallas, had a very good afternoon practice today. A couple of touchdowns and for a 6’7″ 272-pounder he runs well and gets good separation. An impressive showing for him for just his second day of work since re-signing as a restricted free agent.
 
6 – Hey Chris,
I was wondering a couple things.  What’s the status on the Bills contract with St. John Fisher?  Are they going to stay there or are they leaving?  The practice field situation definitely makes it tougher.  Also, every year the team has ALWAYS done 2 or 3 full team autograph sessions before practice.  They are usually announced before a night practice session and it’s a way for the fans to get whoever they wanted, including some of the players that are impossible to get.  I was wondering if they are going to do that this year?  And if not, why?  That’s a very popular thing and it draws lots of fans to camp for those night practices.  Plus it’s also a way to give back.  Thanks for the reply.
 
Michael

CB: I do know the Bills contract with St. John Fisher is in its last year, but the decisions that are made beyond that are way above my pay grade. I, like you, do not know what the future holds with respect to training camp here. As for giving back to the fans I do know that the next night practice on Saturday (8/6) will include a bunch of contests and giveaways as well as a fireworks show following practice. With respect to a full team autograph session I have not heard anything, but if there is news on that front I’ll pass it along.

7 – Chris,

 I know that Buddy has said in the past that he wants to build this team through the draft. But with the biggest free agency in years why weren’t we more aggressive in free agency? 
Joe from Webster
Season ticket holder (section 130)

CB: Joe, I think we’ve heard Buddy address this question before. The Bills plan for building this team into a consistent winner will be done primarily through the draft and any remaining holes will be filled by free agents that aren’t going to break the bank. Yes, they have a lot of cap room, but the amount of cap room the team has isn’t going to change Buddy’s approach.

I know a lot of fans complain to me all the time about why we’re not more aggressive in free agency. What you need to realize is there are teams in the league that have been very successful with the formula that Buddy is adhering to. Indy, Pittsburgh and San Diego draft well, re-sign their own and fill holes with affordable free agents. Two of those teams have won Super Bowls and all three are perennial playoff teams. It’s a proven way to build a perennial winner, the catch is that it takes time and Buddy said as much when he took the job.

8 – Chris,
 
How has Aaron Maybin looked in training camp thus far?  I read something saying that he weighed in under 230.  I also read something saying that Daryl Talley was giving him a lot of individual attention and answering his questions.  Is Maybin big enough to be seriously considered as an OLB?  Has Talley’s tutoring helped him make any plays in camp?  Based on some of the comments Gailey has made about Maybin in the past, and the fact that he wasn’t allowed to dress for so many games last year, I have to assume that Maybin needs to show something during the preseason this year if he hopes to stay on the team.  I really had high hopes for him when he got drafted.  Does he seem to be making any progress? 
-Brendan, Las Vegas

CB: Well Brendan you’re right about Maybin’s weight. His reporting weight at the start of camp was 228 pounds. It does make it harder for him to stand in and hold his ground on run plays or maintain leverage on an outside rush. As for what he needs to show in this camp I’ll leave it to coach Gailey who addressed that subject today after practice.

“Aaron (Maybin) tries hard every time he walks on the field,” said Gailey. “The key for him is being productive on the field. He has to become a consistent player against the run and a consistent pass rusher. He has work to do, he’s not there yet. So we will see how he continues to develop but he has a long way to go.”

9 – I’ve noticed that their appears to be an amazing family atmosphere among the players and coaches of the Bills. Guys really appear to want to work hard for the guy next to them and not necessarily for the big pay day that could ensue. What would you say the impetus behind that has been?
Josh D.

CB: I’d give coach Gailey the credit for that. I said last year that his toughest task in his first year as head coach was to eradicate the losing culture that had enveloped this team over the past decade. It took him more than half the season, but he vanquished it and got the players to rally around each other and pull for one another.

There’s a sign in the Bills team meeting room that coach Gailey put up on the front wall it reads, ‘The STAR of the team is the TEAM.’ Hopefully that explains the approach Gailey has demanded from these players.

10 – Chris – Greetings from Arizona – we survived the wildfires and looking forward to Bills football!!.

Offense is looking good. What do you think of the offensive line ( I am mostly concerned about left tackle) and any chance the Bills make a run at a TE (Bo Scaife was still there this morning).

Larry Kordosky, Hereford, AZ

CB: Glad you folks out west are alright. I think there are some real concerns about the offensive line particularly with respect to pass protection outside the organization on the part of fans and it’s hard to blame you. The line still has an awful lot to prove. I think Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears are certainly capable, but we’ll know a lot more about what they can do as a group when we get to the preseason games especially with some pass rushing talents like Julius Peppers and Elvis Dumervil in the first two preseason contests.

Update – Bo Scaife signed today with Cincinnati.

11 –Chris,

Do you expect the organization will renegotiate contracts with Fitz, Stevie, and any of the other guys before the season or do you think they will wait and sign them to deals with terms that begin next year?
Thanks,
Nick

CB: I do expect a new contract for Stevie for sure. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a bit more tricky a situation. I can’t predict a timetable for when either of them might re-sign. No one can predict how negotiations will unfold, but it’s clear that Johnson can be a premier weapon in the passing game for several years. With Fitz it’s not that easy. Fitz is the starter this year, no ifs, ands or buts. Beyond that it’s hard to know what the Bills are thinking. And so I believe they could take more of a wait and see approach with him. If Fitz is lighting it up in the first half of the season I believe it helps his cause.

12 – Chris,

Along with many of your fans…I really appreciate your insight on what’s happening with the Bills.  I’ve been a Bills fan for 40 years.  I like what Buddy and Chan are trying to do by building the Bills using the draft.   Having said that though, with all the cap room we have…is there still a possibility for a Tackle or Tight End pick up…with all the weapons at Fitz’s disposal…it would be great to see him have that ½ second more he needs to make this team productive. 

Thanks for your thoughtful reporting!  

Now living in South Florida Sunshine…but still a Buffalo Bills fan.
Eric

CB: As I mentioned earlier I don’t see the cap room changing the front office approach as to how they’re going to build this roster into a perennial playoff contender. I respect your point about better protection for Fitz. I just think if there was an offensive tackle they wanted bad enough they would’ve signed him. They did pursue Tyson Clabo, but Clabo really wanted to stay in Atlanta. And mismatch tight end as I said just isn’t a priority in Gailey’s style of offense.

13 – Chris,

Thanks for asking our questions, and for all of the work you do. I’ve been curious about the Brad Smith signing. Chan has made comparisons to Kordell and Brad Smith said he signed with Buffalo because he liked what The Bills had in mind for him. Is it possible that Gailey’s plan might be to have Smith be a possible QB in the future? Might we expect to see he and Thigpen battle for Fitzpatrick’s replacement maybe 2 years down the road?
Love the signing from a Special Teams, Wildcat, and Reciever prespective  but is there more to this?
Thanks Again,
Brandon
 
CB: It’s tough to say whether there is more to this, but I think the long term commitments made by the Bills to both Thigpen (3 yrs) and Smith (4 yrs) could lead one to speculate that they’ve thought about the position beyond just 2011. What their plans are long term is anyone’s guess, but I believe your theory is not outlandish at all.
 
Thigpen looked very, very good today. His standing on the roster this year will be no higher than the #2 QB, Chan told him that when he called him as a free agent. Fitz is the starter this year and that’s final. I’ll have more on this in my Practice Notes write up tonight.
 
14 –  How do the late round picks and UDFA’s have any chance of really having a shot at making the roster, especially an offensive player ?  Because they don’t have the benefit of knowing the playbook at all.

 
Thanks, Tim H
Spencer, NY
 
CB: This might be the toughest year in football for an undrafted rookie to make a 53-man roster coming out of camp, and you’re right it’s due completely to the lack of OTAs and minicamps in the offseason. They came in cold when camp began and had to pick things up on the fly. Even coach Gailey admitted that veteran players are more entrenched in their roles than in perhaps any other preseason because the coaches are secure in their knowledge of what those players can and cannot do.
 
With the rookie free agents there isn’t enough of a base of knowledge on any of them because they didn’t see them through the spring. This creates more guess work with respect to the evaluations of those players on the part of coaches and coaches don’t want to guess, they want to know. So unless someone really, really shines, it’s going to be very, very tough for rookie free agents to make the squad. We’ll see.
 
15 – What do you think will become of Levi Brown with all of these new quarterbacks here? Do you think he will go back to be number 3, or do you think he has earned the number 2 position? I’m guess with Thigpens’ experience  he’ll go back to being 3. I personally would like to see him get a chance to play at some point.

Thanks Chris, Bills reporting is 2nd to none compared to all other football teams, (which I really need now that I moved to Atlanta) keep up the great work!
CB: Appreciate the compliments. With respect to Levi Brown, I think he’s in a bit of a tough spot. Like we mentioned long term commitments were made to both Thigpen and Smith and I get the feeling that coach Gailey likes having a 3rd quarterback that’s multi-dimensional that he can use on game day for more than holding a clipboard. Levi might be caught in a numbers game here, but there is one other option for the Bills with him and that’s the practice squad. We’ll see how he performs in the preseason.
 
Joseph DeLallo
 
16 – Chris,

Though I am sure someone else will probably ask…how is Michael Jasper fairing at DT?
Thanks,
Geoff from Hungary
 
CB: Wow wasn’t expecting a question from that part of the world. Jasper is currently running with the third team defense at nose tackle. He’s got uncommon athleticism for a 385-pound man. In 1-on-1 drills he’s won more battles than he’s lost as he effectively walks interior linemen back into the pocket. That being said he is a very raw talent. He has a lot of technique work to brush up on having not played defensive line for more than two years.
 
The true test of what he’s capable of will come in the preseason, but he’s an interesting prospect to watch no question. I’m just amazed at how a man that big can be proportioned as well as he is.

17 – Hi Chris:

How is Demetrius Bell looking so far in camp?  Also, should one of the offensive tackles go down, is there any indication at this early stage as to who may be the swing tackle?

Thanks,
Rick Shields

I would like to know who the ‘1’s are currently in practice. I know the depth chart is a fluid thing but reports are that the starting DL at least once was Dareus, Troup and Williams.  Would like to know if that was true?

Steve in Corning

CB: The defensive starters in the team’s base defense are as follows.

DL – Dareus, Williams, Edwards
LBs – Kelsay, Davis, Barnett, Merriman
DBs – McGee, Wilson, Byrd, Florence

Now there are several different subpackages where the personnel groupings are very different and the Bills run a lot of these during the practices, particularly nickel lineups with the offense going 3 wide so often. So that is where some of the misinformation is coming from. Even I made a mistake last week when I thought rookie Da’Norris Searcy was running with the second team defense for a few reps here and there. Actually he’s running with the second team nickel package. I’ll try to come up with an easy way to view the lineups. Maybe I’ll put that together tomorrow here on the blog.

Well folks, that’s all the time I’ve got. I’ve got to still put the Practice Notes together for tonight. Some good performances turned in by Chandler, Donald Jones, Terrence McGee and others. I’ll have it all to you in about an hour. Thanks for participating and hope to do it again real soon.


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Thigpen running with twos

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2011 – 7:25 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey didn’t waste any time throwing Tyler Thigpen into the fray.

After taking reps behind Levi Brown in individual position drills, Thigpen was the #2 QB behind Fitz in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 team work.

Levi Brown went with the threes. Brad Smith was sprinkled in for some reps.


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QB rotation

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2011 – 6:48 pm

Here’s the QB rotation at tonight’s practice.

Fitz, Brown, Thigpen, Smith.

 


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New QBs tip hat to Fitz

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2011 – 11:27 am

Buffalo’s newest quarterbacks are doing what they can to master the offensive system as quickly and efficiently as possible. They’ve credited a new teammate for helping them get acclimated, namely Ryan Fitzpatrick.

For Brad Smith, who is coming in cold, he’s not only appreciated the help in the meeting rooms from Fitz, but just observing him on the practice field the past few days and how he handles the offense.

“When I came here, of course he’s very book smart but on the field he is incredibly under control, knows where he is going with the football and knows what everyone is doing,” Smith said. “These last couple of days I have picked up a lot from him.”

Tyler Thigpen already had some prior knowledge of the system, but has appreciated the assistance from Fitz.

“He is helpful,” said Thigpen. “He’s a great guy. I’ve known him for about three years. We played against each other when he was in Cincinnati and the last two years he has been here. He’s a great professional and has been helpful to me since we’ve been here.”


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Debut of Barnett, Smith, Thigpen

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2011 – 7:30 am

It’ll be an interesting night practice today with the new signees able to participate for the first time in training camp provided 50% plus one of the players ratify the CBA with the final details being agreed upon between the league and NFLPA.

A majority is expected to vote in favor of the new CBA by 4 pm, which would allow Nick Barnett, Brad Smith and Tyler Thigpen to all be on the field tonight along with Drayton Florence who re-signed with Buffalo. Head coach Chan Gailey is looking forward to it.

“Obviously I’m looking forward to that,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I think our whole team is looking forward to getting everyone on the field and allowing us to have a full complement of players. There are quite a few from that group that we expect to be on the field next year.”

Restricted free agent TE Scott Chandler will also be participating for the first time along with long snapper Garrison Sanborn, who re-signed as an exclusive rights free agent.


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Flo keeping up with workouts

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2011 – 1:50 pm

Bills players with new contracts signed after the lockout cannot practice until the new CBA is ratified by the NFLPA. As Bills GM Buddy Nix said however, those players can work out on their own, and that’s just what Drayton Florence is doing.

DraytonFlorence Just finished great workout at midtown athletic club top notch facility. Coming back for tomm for yoga class.
 
Florence is just one of the players that can’t practice right now along with TE Scott Chandler, LS Garrison Sanborn, QB Tyler Thigpen, QB Brad Smith and recent signee LB Nick Barnett. I’ve got to believe all of them are staying on point working out on their own so they’re as ready as possible when they can rejoin their teammates on the practice field.

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Thigpen’s developers

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2011 – 8:29 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey had to work with second-year QB Tyler Thigpen in Kansas City back in 2008 after losing Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard to injuries. Going into that season Thigpen had attempted all of six passes in the NFL. That’s why Gailey is confident that Thigpen now in his sixth NFL season should be an even better player than the one he remembers in KC. What’s interesting is who Thigpen credits for helping him develop his game in the interim.

When asked where specifically he feels his game has improved he pointed to his fundamentals.

“The coaches in Miami did a really good job with me fundamentally,” he said. “Also from the mental aspect, I feel like I learned football and the way the game’s played being around Chad Pennington and Chad Henne.  Those two guys are great studies of the game.  Being able to sit there and follow behind those guys, learn the way they study film, the way they game plan each and every week.  I definitely feel like I’m a better football player, I know the game.  When I got to Miami, QB coach David Lee did a really good job of helping me understand the game. I give a lot of credit to Pennington and Henne, too. Those guys helped me out a lot.”

Thigpen isn’t the first quarterback to sing Pennington’s praises as a tutor teammate. One specific fundamental where Thigpen feels he’s improved the most is with his footwork since he last played for Gailey.

“I think footwork is the biggest thing for me as a quarterback in my game,” he said. “As long as my feet are right I pretty much feel like I can make any throw. I feel like I’ve definitely become a lot more accurate.  That’s one of the things as a quarterback, you have to be accurate.” 

 


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Thigpen, Smith jersey numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2011 – 8:33 am

Though they can’t practice yet, here are the jersey numbers for Brad Smith and Tyler Thigpen.

Smith will wear 16 like he did with the Jets, while Thigpen will wear 4 like he did in KC.

Here also are the draft pick jersey number assignments.
Dareus 99
Williams 23
Sheppard 55
Searcy 25
Hairston 75
J. White 35
C. White 50
Rogers 42
Jasper 69


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Why Bills signed Thigpen, Smith

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2011 – 9:03 pm

Yes, Brad Smith has rare versatility and yes Tyler Thigpen has a prior working history with Chan Gailey and should get re-acclimated to the offense rather quickly, but there was a bigger reason why Buffalo signed these two quarterbacks.

In addition to being accurate and able to do all the throwing and decision making at quarterback, Thigpen and Smith, much like Ryan Fitzpatrick are very mobile. Having all three quarterbacks cut from the same cloth is a huge plus for an offensive coordinator and head coach Chan Gailey admitted as much.

“That is something Buddy (Nix) and I talked about,” said Gailey. “The more similar you can keep quarterbacks; you don’t have to have different game plans for different people. That is a real advantage for us as an offense. Maybe this year, more so than any other year, that’s an advantage.”

Last year that wasn’t the case for the Bills. Fitz’s backup Brian Brohm wasn’t quite as mobile as Fitz or Buffalo’s two newest signees. Should Fitz have been injured and unable to complete a game last season, play calling would have to change somewhat to accommodate Brohm’s skill set.

With these three QBs in the fold, that won’t be the case thereby preventing the need to have contingency plans at the ready.

 

 


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QB Thigpen’s considerations

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2011 – 11:33 am

Miami free agent QB Tyler Thigpen is considering a handful of teams as possible landing spots in free agency and Buffalo is on the list.

That according to Miami Herald Dolphins reporter Jeff Darlington, who posted Thigpen’s list of considerations on his twitter account.

JeffDarlington Free agent quarterback Tyler Thigpen has his eyes on these potential landing places: Tennessee, Buffalo, Minnesota, Seattle and Arizona.

Thigpen has a prior working history with Bills head coach Chan Gailey, when he ran Gailey’s offense in Kansas City in 2008, so in a shortened offseason for players that are going to new teams, going to a club with an offense that’s somewhat familiar could be appealing. Veteran free agents cannot sign contracts until Friday at 6 pm.

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One less QB option?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2011 – 9:43 am

Although Miami Dolphins free agent QB Tyler Thigpen wants to play for a team where he has a chance to start, he could be a backup QB option for the Bills in 2011. The new CBA rules, when there is a new CBA however could complicate his ability to move to another club.

Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland on Thursday addressed his team’s quarterback situation, and indicated that if Thigpen is deemed a restricted free agent under the new CBA rules that they would bring him back. That according to the Palm Beach Post.

If he qualifies as an unrestricted free agent the report indicates that the Dolphins would let him sign elsewhere.

Thigpen has a history with Bills head coach Chan Gailey when Gailey ran Kansas City’s offense with Thigpen as the starter in 2008.

Buffalo’s backup quarterback in 2010, Brian Brohm is expected to be a restricted free agent this offseason depending on what the new CBA rules will be.


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