Inside The Bills

Bucs WR Jackson questionable

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2013 – 4:30 pm

Tampa Bay WR Vincent Jackson has been limited in practice all week and now he’s a question mark for Sunday’s game with the Bills.

Jackson is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis Friday. Jackson is battling a hamstring injury. Fellow WR Chris Owusu is also questionable with a hamstring problem.

Backup DE Da’Quan Bowers was added to the injury report Friday with a knee injury.

Starting G Carl Nicks meanwhile is out with a foot injury.

CB Darrelle Revis is probable.

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Revis practicing, V-Jax absent for Bucs

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2013 – 12:52 pm

Buffalo’s opponent this week, Tampa Bay does have their top cornerback practicing this week, but their top receiver was missing in action during the media viewing portion of practice for the Bucs Wednesday.

That according to Bucs beat reporter Rick Stroud, who tweeted as much.

Revis left last week’s game early with shoulder and chest injuries. We’ll have the full official Bucs injury report later today.

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Skins out of VJax running?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2012 – 8:18 pm

The Washington Redskins have long been rumored to be major players for free agent WR Vincent Jackson, but in light of Monday’s report that they’ve been docked $36 million in cap space by the league, one wonders if they’ll be able to compete for a free agent receiver that will cost as much as Jackson.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Redskins and Cowboys were both docked cap space for improperly front loading contracts in 2010 during the uncapped year. Since all of their contracts were accepted by the league office, it’s hard to ascertain how this alleged violation will be enforced once the free agent bidding begins Tuesday at 4 pm.

The Redskins had $40 million in cap space this offseason to work with, but this kind of a cap hit could be crippling even though the Redskins can spread the $36M docking over this season and next season. The Cowboys were hit with a $10 million dollar blow to their cap space.

It’s hard to see the Redskins and Cowboys taking a sideline seat in free agency knowing their owners are two of the heavy-hitters when it comes to spending in the free agent market. But their $44M in docked space is reportedly going to the other 30 teams and divided equally. So their space per the league isn’t there to utilize. Things sound very fluid, but if the league is taking a firm stance on this there’s no way the Redskins can make a play for Vincent Jackson as has been reported.

UPDATE: One league source has informed me that the Redskins plan to fight it, but if enforced will move as much as $27M of that lost cap space into next year to stay under the cap. I’m also hearing that Jackson is not a player that’s going to be actively pursued by Washington, but we’ll see.

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Stevie pushing for VJax too

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2012 – 11:53 am

Not long after Shawne Merriman personally tweeted free agent WR to be Vincent Jackson, Stevie Johnson followed up with a bit more subtle approach.

Johnson proceeded to tweet his ideal WR lineup for the Bills for 2012, with a certain free agent WR’s name at the front of the line, along with the hash tag, Bills Do It.

Stevie Johnson ‏ VJax, Scoe, DNel, DJones, Nyce, Martin, Clowney, and SJ13! #Bills #DoIt

Johnson even referenced Merriman’s tweet inviting Jackson to get in touch with him as well.

Stevie Johnson Yea @VincentTJackson What @ShawneMerriman said… Hit Me Up Also. 4Real! Its Not About Signing wit BuffCity… (looks away tryna hold smile)

Remember Merriman successfully recruited free agents Nick Barnett and Kirk Morrison last offseason for the Bills.

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Merriman hitting recruiting trail?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2012 – 9:48 am

Bills LB Shawne Merriman was instrumental in recruiting the likes of Kirk Morrison and Nick Barnett to Buffalo last offseason. Is he at it again with a former teammate?

Merriman recently tweeted to his former teammate with the Chargers Vincent Jackson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday at 4 pm. Whether he’s being serious or sarcastic is up to you.

Shawne Merriman ‏Yo hit me @VincentTJackson hit me its not about signing with @buffalobills I swear ***fingers crossed behind the back***

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Add another big name WR to FA mix

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2012 – 10:50 am

With a free agent wide receiver list expected to be littered with veteran talent, one of the more prolific wideouts of this generation has announced his return to the game after sitting out the 2011 season.

Randy Moss announced online that he’s interested in playing football again. He’s 35-years old so he’s likely not going to be all that attractive to some clubs still building with an eye for the future. But a team that feels their close to getting over the hump will strongly consider Moss provided his workout proves he’s still got it. 

Wouldn’t be shocked if he winds up with the Patriots again. Don’t really think he’s what Bills are looking for at his age and stage of his game.

Other veteran FA receivers expected to hit the market include Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and possibly Marques Colston.

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Vincent Jackson to hit market

Posted by Chris Brown on February 8, 2012 – 10:03 am

With the Chargers publicly saying that WR Vincent Jackson will not be franchise by the club, there’s more and more sentiment pointing to the deep threat wideout hitting the free agent market.

That according to’s Jason LaCanfora, who said the following on NFL Total Access on the NFL Network.

“I don’t see any way he’s back there,” LaCanfora said. “The Chargers won’t franchise him, they’ve come out and said that. There’s been acrimony between the two sides over the years and there are too many teams that need receiving help, St. Louis, San Francisco and Tampa are some teams off the top of my head. Somebody is going to give him big bucks.”

Other clubs like Chicago and Seattle may also be looking for a top flight wideout.

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Fan Friday 1-27

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2012 – 11:33 am

Another set of questions from to answer as the draft and free agency become more and more the focus with each passing week. Let’s get started.

1 – Hey Chris,
I have heard several rumors that Dwayne Bowe would like to be reunited with Chan Gailey.  Any thoughts on Buffalo being so far under the cap trying to sign Bowe and/ or Stevie or even going defense and making a run a pass rusher that we desperately need like Mario Williams

D. Fischer
Rochester, NY

CB: Just rumor at this point. It’s only natural to see Bowe or San Diego’s Vincent Jackson linked to the Bills as potential free agent targets. NFL personnel men just like anyone else in any other line of work prefer to go with what they know, and Chan Gailey knows Bowe from being his offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Similarly Buddy Nix knows Vincent Jackson from his time in San Diego’s front office.

All that being said both of those players fit the description that Nix gave at his season wrap-up press conference. Both are the kind of receivers that are “open even when they’re not open.” They’re both big wideouts and their timed speed is almost identical (Jackson-4.51 to Bowe-4.52), which ironically is right where Eric Moulds timed out during his career.

Would I be shocked if Buffalo made a play on one of them in free agency? No.

I would be shocked however, if both of them made it to free agency. The absence of both players in their respective offenses would be crippling to their quarterbacks. As much as GMs A.J. Smith and Scott Pioli may not want to get into the stratosphere with respect to a long term contract for their top receiver, the way the league is headed they’ll need to bite the bullet.

It’s a passing league, and if your offense lacks a go-to guy you’re sunk.

As for Mario Williams, he’ll probably be available after the production that Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed provided Houston in the absence of Williams after his season-ending pectoral muscle tear. The two combined for 17.5 sacks.

Williams injury history the past two seasons is a bit of a concern so investing heavily could give some teams pause, but it’s not likely. It’s hard to argue with his ability and with the likelihood of the Bills moving to a 4-3, I think he’s a better fit for that system than Houston’s 3-4. I just see a bidding war for Williams and that’s something the Bills typically aren’t a part of.

I think the Bills may add a free agent veteran pass rusher, but I don’t see it being Williams. The highest ticket pass rusher I could see the Bills possibly, and I stress possibly, pursuing is someone more like Cliff Avril if he somehow makes it to the market. In the end, I think the Bills address their pass rush in the draft, and early.  


2 – Hey Chris,

This new GM for the Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, I only know one “football” Reggie McKenzie—the Bills O-lineman from the 1970’s.  Is this the same guy??? 

Matthew S. Kerr
Dayton, OH
CB: No, it’s not former Buffalo offensive lineman Reggie McKenzie. He was a former 10th round pick out of Tennessee by the Raiders and played for seven seasons in the NFL as a linebacker. He played for the Raiders (85-88), Cardinals (89-90) and 49ers (92).


3 – Chris,
You have had two years now to watch Buddy Nix and his approach to the draft.  While it is always a fluid process during the actual draft because you never know who the teams ahead of you are going to select, do you have a sense that the 1st round selection this year will be a “pass rusher” as opposed to say an offensive tackle or wide receiver?

And do you see Buddy’s first “pass rusher” pick to be a defensive end vs an outsider linebacker?

Bills’ fans all seem to have their favorite pick whether it is Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus, Melvin Ingram, etc.  Do you have a player you like as a defensive end “pass rusher” for the Bills?

Thanks for all you do Chris.  Hope you are enjoying the ‘off-season’.
Tim N.

CB:  If the right pass rusher is there at 10 the Bills will draft a pass rusher, provided they do not land a high ticket one in free agency beforehand. If the pass rusher is taken 10th overall it will be one that can play defensive end in a 4-3 in my opinion.

I prefer Courtney Upshaw at 10 myself. I do like Ingram, but I’m not certain he can be a 4-3 defensive end and that uncertainty, if the Bills brass shares it, doesn’t make him a proper value at 10. Mercilus is a one-year wonder so there’s a boom or bust risk there that I don’t see the Bills taking at 10. Perry is a 4-3 defensive end, but I think he has to have a really good workout at the NFL Combine to have a chance to move past Upshaw on the board.

Coples is clearly the best of the bunch in terms of pure talent, but he’ll go no later than 7.


4 – Hi Chris,

With Wannstedt now running the defense, I wanted to ask about the front seven situation. Assuming the Bills decide to predominantly go with a 4-man front, as most people think they’ll do, I was wondering about what that would mean for our linebacking corps. Do you think we’d have to add a couple of typical 4-3 linebackers to adjust to that system (namely on the strong and weak side)? Do you think we have enough linebackers presently on the roster that could easily fit those new roles? Or would they prefer to go with just 2 linebackers and play nickel most of the time? 

Thanks Chris,

CB: I’m anticipating that they’ll add a 4-3 SLB in free agency to start on that side. I think it’s hard to say what Wannstedt’s preferences would be with respect to guys like Sheppard and Barnett in terms of who mans the MLB spot. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Barnett, because of his athleticism and cover ability, is the best fit for the weak side LB position, which should put Sheppard in the middle. Moats, Batten and Chris White will battle for reserve roles in all likelihood. Shep and Barnett would also be the nickel backers as I see it, unless Bryan Scott is re-signed to serve in one of those roles as he did last season.


5- Chris:

With your background and knowledge as a former Bills Beat Reporter for radio and now working as Lead Journalist for Buffalobills.Com, what can you tell the fans to help us stay optimistic that the 2012-2013 Bills will actually challenge for a playoff spot next year?  What is the organization (top to bottom) doing differently from past Bills Administrations that indicate the team is actually going in the right direction, because with each passing year of losing records and missed playoffs it becomes more and more difficult to accept what we are told by Bills Management. 

Joe, Blasdell 

CB: If I had to pick one specific thing that the Bills current management is doing differently than they have in the past it’s investing in the lines. Previous front offices either did not invest in the lines enough or missed badly on their investments (e.g. Mike Williams, Derrick Dockery, etc.) with the exception of Eric Wood and Andy Levitre in 2009 draft.

The investments made under Buddy Nix have been good ones and most of them haven’t broken the bank (e.g. Dwan Edwards, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Chad Rinehart). And how refreshing was it to see them draft Marcell Dareus third overall last season?

I think the Bills stand a good chance of investing in the defensive line again this year in the form of a pass rushing defensive end. So although the wins have not been there to this point I think we can all agree that the lines on both sides of the ball are noticeably better.

Not ideal yet, but significantly better and likely to see more improvements this offseason (offensive tackle, defensive end). It’s that approach that encourages me that the winning is on its way because it all starts up front.

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No talks for Chargers & WR Jackson

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2012 – 11:00 am

It’s still early in the offseason and reports have indicated that the two sides may begin talks after the Super Bowl, but to this point the Chargers have not opened talks with their top receiver Vincent Jackson on a new contract.

That according to Jackson himself, who told as much at the Pro Bowl this week.

“There hasn’t been any communication as far as contracts go,” Jackson said.

Jackson did state a desire to re-sign with the Chargers, but obviously it all comes down to money. The receiver’s camp is likely going to come in north of $10M a year knowing they were asking for that much two years ago. San Diego is more likely to accept something in the range of $8.5 to $9.5 per season. That would slot him in between Atlanta’s Roddy White and Miami’s Brandon Marshall, probably where he belongs in terms of productivity.

There would obviously be interest on the open market for Jackson, should he reach free agency in mid-March as he’s one of the few premiere veteran free agent receivers with deep speed.

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Chargers Chambers doubtful

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2008 – 8:34 pm

San Diego WR Chris Chambers failed to practice for a third straight day Friday and as a result is listed as doubtful and not expected to play on Sunday. That’s good news for a Bills secondary that’s dealing with a bit of the injury bug themselves with Terrence McGee out and Ashton Youboty a dicey game time decision for Sunday.

The Chargers look as though they’ll be without WR Buster Davis, who is also doubtful with a groin injury. Of course that didn’t hurt San Diego much offensively last week when they hung 30 points on the Patriots with Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd rolling up a combined 209 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Also doubtful for the Chargers is OLB Jyles Tucker, who has missed the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. His backup Marques Harris is probable with a hamstring after practicing fully all week.

RB/KR/PR Darren Sproles (ankle) is listed as probable after participating on a limited basis the last two days. FB Mike Tolbert (ankle), LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) and safety Eric Weddle (shoulder) are all listed as probably and expected to play.

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