BFR Blog

Your aggregation of news, rumors and quick takes all in one spot. The BFR Blog will guide you through free agency, the draft and all the moving and shaking at One Bills Drive....

Nix/Wilson extras

Dec. 31, 4:45 p.m.

Ralph Wilson's Greatest Hits keep on coming. While introducing the Bills' new GM, Wilson was at no loss for one-liners. Here are some leftover thoughts from today's presser:

---After stepping to the podium, the 91 year-old Wilson lightened the mood immediately.

"I'm here to let you know I'm still around," said Wilson to laughs. "But seriously I'm here to introduce somebody that we've needed for a very long time. Its something that the fans, myself and everybody in the area have wanted. And that is a general manager of football."

A little belated, but right on Ralph. Finally, the Bills have a football guy calling the shots.

---When Wilson announced that Russ Brandon would move a CEO position, he turned and tried to describe what that meant, saying "which is a promotion I guess."

Cue, eye rolls. Maybe Brandon crashed and burned as the GM, but he has been a financial success story. The Bills marketing moves in Rochester (and, yes, Toronto) have yielded gigantic monetary gains.

--- Nix addressed Aaron Maybin quickly, summing up his philosophy as a GM in a nutshell.

"I know everybody has asked about Aaron Maybin," Nix said. "He's a guy you decide in three years." Fair enough. In total agreement here at the BFR. The guy needs time under a new coaching staff. I still like him a lot. He has speed, a work ethic and a willingness to learn. Given a full training camp, Maybin could be starting next fall.

--- Yeah, you don't have to worry about Perry Fewell coming back as head coach. When asked about Fewell, Nix kept things short. He'll want his own coach, a new coach.

"Perry Fewell is a candidate that will be interviewed," Nix said.

--- Nix did not dismiss the notion of bringing in a big-name coach. He understands his team isn't a gold mine, but thinks that may hook big fish.

"I'm convinced that if we don't succeed that it's not his fault," Nix said. "It'll be our fault. I think we can bring one in. Take a team that's down and build it into a winner. I think that will appeal to people."

Eh, can't say I agree. But give Nix credit for trying. Next up, convincing Marty Schottenheimer to return to the NFL. And away we go...

Cowher still an option?

Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.

A month ago, it seemed Bill Cowher told the Bills, 'Thanks but no thanks.'

Hold that dial because maybe Cowher is still a possibility. I'm guessing it's a smokescreen, that Tampa Bay and Carolina still top Cowher's list. Sure sounds like he wants back in. As this article hints, the Bills may be used as a bargaining chip. With two or three interested teams, Cowher can ante up his contract in negotiations. Not a bad ploy.

Then again, if Tampa Bay sticks with Raheem Morris and Carolina sticks with John Fox --- very possible --- maybe the Bills are sitting pretty. Stay tuned.

Ron Wolf wants in?

Dec. 27, 12:15 p.m.

On ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown today, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter mentioned that Ron Wolf may be looking to return to the NFL. Of course, Wolf was the architect of Green Bay's great teams in the 90s.

Would Wolf be interested in Buffalo?

Possibly. It wouldn't be surprising. Wolf jumped at the opportunity to resurrect one small-market team. Why not another? If he can't get bites elsewhere, maybe Wolf considers the Bills.

You have to love the way he brought the Packers back. Wolf had a clear, defined philosophy that was outlined in a must-read, The Packer Way. Just a great read every personnel man should read.

Wolf did the little things other GMs would not. He drafted a quarterback every April, even with Brett Favre. Like pitchers in baseball, Wolf believed a team can never have too many. As a result he stockpiled the likes of Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks and Matt Hasselbeck. It gave the Packers' roster rare, deep value at the game's most important position.

And even though Green Bay was a tiny market, Wolf reeled in big fish in free agency (see: Reggie White). It's all a blueprint Buffalo must follow. Enough complaining about not surviving in today's NFL, Ralph. It can happen. Wolf proved that. So bring him aboard. Wolf would be a perfect fit with the Bills, which lack any semblance of structure in the front office.

The Curse of Coy?

Dec. 26, 11:10 a.m..

You didn't think the Bills could just abandon a stud like Coy Wire and get away with did you?!

Wire, who never quite broke through in Buffalo, has had somewhat of a rebirth in Atlanta. Instead of playing a step behind everybody at safety, he is a rotational outside linebacker.

So now, he faces his old team.

Wire still has several friends on the Bills after playing here from 2002-07. Surely, he is lending a helping hand in scouting for the Bills as the linked article suggests. But to Wire's credit, he only had good things to say about his old, floundering franchise.

"They have a lot of good athletes, some first-round picks on defense" Wire told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I think they are opportunistic. They have a guy who can really rush the passer in (Aaron) Schobel."

Well, for two more games anyways.

A "real player" for Vick?

Dec. 24, 4:10 p.m..

National Football Post says so. The compilation of rumors also includes a tidbit on T.O. Definitely looking like Buffalo and Owens will divorce this offseason. Best for both parties.

As for Vick? Eh. Let's hope this stays as a rumor. It seems like the two sides are destined to join. Rumors have been swirling ever since Vick exited jail. If the Bills get a legitimate G.M., expect these rumors to be squashed for good. Signing Vick is simply the QB-equivalent to the team inking T.O. --- a pure marketing move to re-boot the fan base. On the football field, it's a bad move. Vick is still a marginal passer at best.

Fitzy still banged up

Dec. 24, 4 p.m..

Ryan Fitzpatrick missed his second straight day of practice Thursday and his status remains up in the air for Sunday. With Trent Edwards (ankle) out for the season, Brian Brohm will start if Fitzpatrick can't go.

A hobbled Fitzpatrick was asked by reporters how he felt inside the locker room. He smiled and said, "Merry Christmas."

In other words, we have no idea still. My money's on Brohm. Fitzpatrick has been using crutches. The injury sounds pretty bad. Perry Fewell will wait right up until kickoff, but look for Brohm to get his first NFL start.

This week is Brohm's first-ever work with No. 1 offensive unit. He's learning on the fly. It could get ugly but there's no arguing with real-time NFL experience. Starting will accelerate his career in a very big way.

Should Bills pounce at leftover QB?

Dec. 22, 11:30 p.m..

Right now, the cupboard is dry. Ryan Fitzpatrick (injured), Trent Edwards (injured), Brian Brohm and (welcome back) Gibran Hamdan are Buffalo's quarterbacks.

Have no fear. It's a near-guarantee that that this group will be shaken up in a big way by whoever is brought in as the new general manager. Via draft. Via free agency. Via trade. Via whatever. You have to think the Bills are going to finally give up on Edwards and start fresh. Again.

One reasonable option is to jump at a quarterback that another team gives up on. It worked for the Miami Dolphins. Two years ago, the Jets dumped Chad Pennington for Brett Favre and the Fins made out like bandits. Pennington was a MVP candidate in turning a 1-15 team into 11-5 division champs. If Buffalo wants to go in a new direction at quarterback --- you'd hope so --- but does not want to endure the growing pains of a rookie, there may be Pennington-like options available.

Does Jason Campbell make sense in Buffalo?
Getty Images

The closest parallel this offseason may be Washington's Jason Campbell, who has definitely run his course in D.C.

Campbell has thrown plenty of gutter balls, no doubt. Monday night, the Redskins virtually checked out on the season. The only thing that saved the Redskins from further public embarrassment was this knee-slapper. For many, the face of the Skins' demise is Campbell. He is a pseudo politician in D.C., getting railed by locals at every mistake. Before Monday night's disaster, Campbell appeared to be turning the corner a bit. He ripped New Orleans for 367 yards on 30-of-42 passing with three touchdowns. For the season, he has a respectable 3,138 yards and 18 touchdowns. Certainly not J.P. Losman territory. Campbell has a big arm and can get hot. Thus far, his career has been marred by inconsistency. Not necessarily erratic play.

Other leftover possibilities are San Francisco's Shaun Hill, Cleveland's Derek Anderson, Tennessee's Kerry Collins and Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson. Yeah, I know. Not very exciting. Kind of like getting a bag of marbles from your aunt for Christmas. But, hey, maybe a new G.M. proactively goes after a top-tier quarterback in a trade a la Scott Pioli did in Kansas City for Matt Cassel.

First thing's first. Ralph Wilson must hire a boss. Cleveland did already. Time for Buffalo to find a new direction.

McGee worth every dime

Dec. 22, 10:30 p.m..

Sad news that Terrence McGee's season is over. Talk about a warrior. This guy is made of titanium. All season, McGee has been fighting through chest and knee injuries. More importantly, he continued to play at a high level through it all. Visions of Ted Ginn Jr. abusing a hobbled McGee from 2008 are long gone. He is a keeper, a staple on the Bills' defense.

Wednesday, the 29-year old will finally have shoulder surgery.

On Buffalo's surprisingly effective secondary, Jairus Byrd has gotten the national notoriety. Rightfully so. Byrd has nine picks as a rookie. That's phenomenal. But week-in and week-out, McGee matches up on No. 1 wide receivers head-on. He is a vital glue player for this defense.

Terrence McGee has been a mainstay on Buffalo's 'D.'
Getty Images

So many cornerbacks fail at the kick returner-to-lockdown corner transition. Not McGee. He has passed with flying colors. His speed transferred. Nate Clements is an irrelevant footnote in Bills history now. McGee, who signed a four-year, $27 million contract in the fall, is worth every dime. In his last two seasons, he has seven interceptions and 39 pass breakups. Buffalo is rarely burnt for big plays and Tom Brady's 115 yards on Sunday was his lowest full-game total in 38 games. On a team with countless misfits, McGee is rarity.

Hopefully his surgery goes well and he heads into the offseason strong. Buffalo needs to clutch dearly to players like McGee. Too often --- think: Pat Williams --- they get away.

New England gaining steam

Dec. 20, 11 p.m.

Make it 18-of-20. The Patriots have owned the Bills this decade. In another crushing loss, Buffalo caved late. New England wasn't exactly light's out. Tom Brady had his worst statistical game of the season. But after both the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets lost, the Pats are in total control of the AFC East. Go figure.

Here's a good piece on the Pats' side of things from fellow Syracuse-grad Adam Kilgore. Of course, all the talk in Boston has been about Randy Moss. After the game, New England's wideout rode into his press conference, made a quick statement and departed without taking questions.

"I've been in this league 12 years, man, and I've been through a lot," Moss said. "And these shoulders that I have on my body, you can put the Earth on it. So, just to let you know, I bounce back. I appreciate it."

Sure wasn't a thing of beauty as far as New England is concerned. But to be sure, Bill Belichick wants these grind-it-out games at this point. He knows how talented his offense is. Brady, Moss and Wes Welker will engage in a shootout with anybody. With two straight stingy performances, Belichick's defense is finally gaining momentum.

And by January, the Patriots will be Indianapolis' toughest test after all. Mark it down. Sorry San Diego.

Closer than you think?

Dec. 20, 12:30 a.m.

Buffalo won't lay down under Perry Fewell. Expect a close game at The Ralph today. In my back and forth with Patriots Insider, I went Pats 27, Bills 23. Look for Buffalo's rushing attack to pick up where it left off in Kansas City. Fred Jackson is running angry. And Marshawn Lynch is finally finding a rhythm. Unfortunately, New England is bound to break a few pass plays loose. The chip on this offense's shoulder only got bigger after Randy Moss' half-hearted effort last week. The Pats are sick of talking about the Carolina game, energy Bill Belichick will surely channel into good synergy. They'll come out slinging. Still, this Bills team is fighting for Fewell. They've been in every game since he took over. This should be no different.

Talk all about the game inside the Rockpile game thread.

Fox and Zimmer?

Dec. 19, 12:10 p.m.

Interesting take by Peter King at SI. He mentions John Fox and Mike Zimmer as a good fits in Buffalo with Charlie Weis running the offense. Makes sense. Fox is all but finished in Carolina, where Bill Cowher might as well hire his staff already. And Zimmer has made a bad defense great in Cincinnati, blitzing the Bengals to the top of the AFC North.

While both would be great hires, I'm still sticking with the idea that Buffalo must go offense first. The Bills' 'O' has been a train wreck for a decade. Whoever is in charge must have a rich, proven offensive background. Buffalo needs someone with a focused, go-to scheme.

I know, I know. Beggars can't be choosers. But the Bills must think offense, offense, offense all offseason. It all starts with the right boss and trickles down from there. Seeing how faithful Fox has been in noodle-armed Jake Delhomme, it's hard to say he fits this mold.

Bills special teams getting love

Dec. 18, 3 p.m.

If nothing else this decade, Buffalo's special teams unit has flourished into one of the league's best units. Bobby April has done a number with this group. Nightmares of Frank Wycheck have faded, ever so slowly. And this season, after a rocky start, the Bills' special teams has shaped into form.

Former Bills special teams standout Sam Aiken gave Buffalo props this week. Now a wideout with the Patriots, Aiken said Buffalo's special teams is unique from the rest of the league.

"Yeah, it is," Aiken said. "It's something that they hark on, they definitely hark on it. As you see, year in and year out, they're always in the Top 10 in special teams."

And Aiken has tried to bring some of that to New England.

"I try to if there's something that comes up," he said. "There are more and more guys that are coming along as we meet together day in and day out that eventually they come to know it."

If the Bills want to pull the upset, they'll need to make some noise on special teams. Ryan Denney, get warmed up.

So much for Shanny?

Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m.

Maybe we can all officially suppress dreams of Mike Shanahan at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Looks like he is on a warpath to D.C.

A day after the Redskins signed new G.M. Bruce Allen, they are in talks with the former Denver head coach. Washington definitely has a basket full of pro's over Buffalo for Shanahan. An owner willing to spend, check. Huge market, check. Long-term stability in one city, check. More money, double check.

Buffalo's only advantage would be to offer Shanahan G.M. duties also. In D.C., he'd be third on the totem pole behind Allen and Dan Snyder. Here in Buffalo he'd be at the top of the totem pole. Where Shanahan winds up depends on what he's looking for. If it's power he wants, the Bills can play hardball with anyone.

We'll see what happens but all of this talk about big-name coaches flirting with other teams is certainly a little troublesome. In a couple weeks, a handful of new teams will join the competition, pushing the Bills to the backburner. Might be time for the Bills to target a college coach like Stanford's Jim Harbaugh.

It will be awfully hard to hook a largemouth bass come January.

Paging Mr. Obama....

Dec. 16, 9:25 p.m.

In a teleconference with the New England media today, Ryan Fitzpatrick said he was all set on diving into the business world as late as his junior year of college at Hahhh-vahd.

The Economics major seemed destined for a life on Wall Street.

"Well to be honest going into my junior year that was the thought, that's kind of the path that you take," he said. "You study economics, you go to Wall Street for a few years and then you figure out your life after that and that is probably what I would've done had the NFL not been calling. And really I didn't think the NFL thing was a remote possibility up until after my junior year when agents started calling me and then it was something that I guess I figured I had a chance at. But up until then Wall Street was the plan of attack."

So if the country's recession sinks even deeper after Obamacare, maybe the president will give Fitzpatrick a ring.

Mitchell not happy

Dec. 16, 9:15 p.m.

Welcome to Buffalo, Richie!

After the Buffalo Bills signed offensive guard Richie Incognito today, linebacker Kawika Mitchell didn't hold back. On his Twitter account, the injured linebacker wrote, "BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT THIS YR. THE GUYS A BUM. DIRTY AND ALWAYS WILL BE. REALLY WISH I WAS PLAYIN RITE NOW. SERIOUSLY...I KNO WE'RE N NEED OF OLINE BUT THIS GUY SUKS BALLS."

Not exactly rolling out the red carpet, are we Kawika?

Apparently the two have a history from Mitchell's days in Kansas City. Then again, Incognito has issues with a lot of players. He was voted the dirtiest player in the league in recent Sporting News poll. Just last week he was flagged for two personal foul penalties and released by the Rams.

The Bills, in constant need for offensive linemen, are giving him a quick second life. With fellow street pickup Kendall Simmons recovering from a shoulder injury, Incognito could play sooner rather than later.

And it looks like he's already making friends.

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