James Hall latest to visit

Defensive end and cornerback could infuse young defense with 15 combined years of experience. It'd be a reunion for Hall, who played under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron in Detroit.

Hall Visits Orchard Park

Aaron Schobel (seven years, $50.5 million) and Chris Kelsay (four years, $23 million) combined for only nine sacks last year after signing heavy contracts. As every-down ends, the duo often appeared worn down and Buffalo's defense plummeted to 31st in the league.

A new strategy may be in the works.

Defensive end James Hall visited the Buffalo Bills' facilities Thursday. Hall was cut loose by St. Louis early in March, before they'd have to pay him a $500,000 roster bonus (in addition to his '08 base salary of $3 million).

Hall has spent seven of his eight seasons in the NFL with Detroit, where he registered 11.5 sacks under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron in 2004. For his career, Hall has 35.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 335 total tackles. In 2006, Hall suffered a shoulder injury after seven games with the Lions and was placed on injured reserve. He was subsequently dealt to the Rams for a fifth-round draft pick. Last year in St. Louis, Hall was nagged by an injury injury and made only 2.5 sacks with 53 tackles.

Despite different injuries bothering Hall for each of the past three seasons (in 2005 Hall fought through a groin injury), Buffalo may envision Hall as a part-time pass rusher. Many teams throughout the league have employed this strategy with great results. The New York Giants rotate three DE's (Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck), and led the NFL in sacks. Green Bay also benefited by moving Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila to a third-down pass rusher role after KGB struggled as a full-time starter. After only 14 sacks in two seasons as an every-down end, Gbaja-Biamila had 9.5 sacks in his first 11 games in 2007.

Fresh legs may be all Hall, 31, needs to shake off an array of injuries and return to his 2004 form. Buffalo has seen Hall at his best. In the Lions' 20-17 win over the Bills in 2006, Hall sacked J.P. Losman three times.

James too

As previously reported on the BFR, Philadelphia cornerback William James also visited Buffalo. James, formerly "Will Peterson," has enticing size (6-0, 200 lb.) to match up against big receivers.

After five seasons with the Giants, James was released due to his persistent back problems. With the Eagles last year, James made six starts in 14 games, filling in for Lito Sheppard. He had 31 tackles and one interception with the Eagles.

James is battle-tested, having played some of the NFL's best wide receivers in the NFC East for the past seven seasons, including Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress. In Buffalo, James would be expected to compete with Jabari Greer for the starting spot opposite of Terrence McGee.

Tyler Dunne is the Editor-in-Chief of the Buffalo Football Report. Contact him at thdunne@gmail.com


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories