Tag:Chan Gailey
Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:55 pm

Report: Bills, Stevie Johnson exchanging numbers

Johnson and Buffalo are reportedly talking contract. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

One of the guys we listed as a possible franchise-tag target last week was Bills receiver Stevie Johnson, who's coming off his second-straight season of 1,000-plus receiving yards. It just seems crazy that Buffalo would let their top passing weapon leave town for nothing.

And it sounds like they're not planning on it -- Rodney McKissic of The Buffalo News reports Thursday that the Bills and Johnson's agent, C.J. LaBoy, have begun preliminary discussions on contract negotiations.

McKissic writes that the two sides "have exchanged proposals and are expected to meet at next week's NFL Combine." LaBoy reportedly countered an offer from the Bills last week on Monday, which means there's probably a high- and low-end of a deal for Johnson established. (Presumably neither side is planning on negotiating against itself from the get-go.)

Johnson's contract negotiations should be interesting. He'd stand to make $9.4 million, all guaranteed, if he gets the franchise tag. And he could conceivably get real paid if he hits the open market and is one of the top wideouts available to teams.

Taking a look at wideout numbers over the past two years, via Pro-Football-Reference.com, Johnson's in pretty good company. He's one of just a few wideouts who caught more than 75 passes for more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in each of the past two years, along with Marques Colston (also a potential free agent), Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Roddy White.

Football Outsiders isn't quite as generous with their similarity score for Johnson (although, granted, it doesn't include 2011 yet). Put more layman-ly: Johnson's not regarded as an elite wide receiver quite yet.

Perhaps part of that is his penalty-inducing touchdown celebrations. (Although he told us that he was "done" doing those.) Then there's Johnson starting one game and catching 12 balls his first two years; Colston's a guy who was missed in the draft, but he emerged immediately.

Johnson won't get Santonio Holmes ($10 million per) money. And Buffalo probably won't pay him $8 million a year. But Johnson's production over the past two years warrants a deal that'll pay him something near that range that other wide receivers -- T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Sidney Rice anyone? -- have gotten recently.

Plus, as our own Pete Prisco noted on Thursday, there are a couple teams where Johnson would fit nicely if the Bills decided not to work out a deal.

That, plus the large number attached to the franchise tag, give Johnson some pretty nice leverage over the Bills in the coming weeks.

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 5:35 pm

Gailey won't discipline Johnson, who texted Plax

Posted by Will Brinson

During Sunday's game against the Jets -- a 28-24 loss by Buffalo -- Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson made what he called "a bad decision" when he decided to mock Plaxico Burress for shooting himself in the leg during a touchdown celebration. (See: above.)

Johnson's all but sure to hear from the NFL about his touchdown celebration in the form of a fine, and considering he cost his team 15 yards by falling to the ground, there was a chance that Bills coach Chan Gailey might discipline Johnson as well. But that's not the case as Gailey said on Monday he wouldn't punish the wideout.

"The league handles all of that. I don’t have to worry about all that. The league handles the discipline part of it," Gailey said Monday. "The question you always ask yourself, it’s always the question of if I have benched everybody for every dumb mistake that was made there wouldn’t be any coaches or players out there because we’ve all made dumb mistakes. I try to address it, make sure everybody understands exactly the impact it has on the team and then do you sit there and say are we going to punish the team or are we going to punish the person? Who are you going to punish?
Week 12 Recap

"That’s always the question. These are men. They’ve got to understand exactly what’s at stake and they’ve got to understand actions reap consequences and consequences affect the team."

Gailey also added that Johnson's decision to mock Plaxico's shooting incident "bothered" the coach because he doesn't think other players should "make fun of people."

Plus, making fun of people you work with and play twice a year comes with the bad side effect of creating an awkward personal situation. So it's good to hear that Johnson apologized to Plax.

"I didn’t talk to him on the phone. I just shouted a text message," Johnson said Monday. "He responded and everything’s cool. It’s an unfortunate situation with me being immature like that. I talked to him and he responded and it was cool."

Johnson's celebration, as noted in Monday's Sorting the Sunday Pile, isn't the bigger issue with his game. The fact that he proceeded to drop other balls and potentially cost his team a win is the bigger problem.

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Posted on: November 23, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 5:54 pm

Bills place Fred Jackson on season-ending IR


Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the season quickly spiraling down the drain, the news just got much worse in Buffalo. The Buffalo News reports the Bills have put running back Fred Jackson on the injured reserve list with a fracture to the fibula bone in his right leg.

While meeting with reporters earlier today, Bills coach Chan Gailey said Jackson, who left last week’s game with what was termed a calf injury, won’t play Sunday vs. the Jets, but Rapid Reporter Mark Ludwiczak wondered if Jackson's injury, sustained last week against the Dolphins after he carried the ball seven times for 17 yards, could keep him out the rest of the season.

Turns out that was indeed the case. And it wasn't an injured calf muscle. It was a broken leg.

"Fred's not good, and I know he'll miss this one," Gailey told reporters Wednesday morning. "Then we'll have to decide what happens from there."

Sorry, Mr. Jackson

Entering last Sunday's game, Jackson had been the league's top rusher, and he's been one of the feel-good stories of the year. He also seemed poised to cash in on a new contract for his production this season (934 yards, 5.5 rushing average, six touchdowns).

On Monday, Gailey said there was a chance Jackson could play. "He’s banged up but we’ll have to wait and see,” Gailey said. “I don’t know if I can give you a good answer right now. He’s hurting and I doubt he would practice early in the week but we hope to have him late in the week."

But it's been clear that Jackson's success the past two seasons caught the organization off guard.

"I don't think anybody foresaw how good Fred Jackson was going to be," Gailey said earlier this month. "When we drafted (C.J. Spiller), we thought there would eventually be a need there that has not shown itself to be. It's not his fault. Fred Jackson's playing extremely well right now. How do you take him out of the ball game? Receiver is not (Spiller’s) natural position, so we'll just have to see how it works as time goes on. It may be one of those things where this year he doesn't get as involved as we all would maybe have thought he might. That's the way it is."

Now that’s out of the question, meaning Spiller, who’s spent much of his time the past month at the receiver spot, will return to running back in Jackson’s place. For a former first-round draft pick that largely has been considered a bust since he was drafted, this will give Spiller quite an opportunity to shine.

UPDATED 5:52 p.m. ET: The Bills announced they have claimed running back Tashard Choice off waivers. This season, Choice already has been waived by the Cowboys and, on Tuesday, by the Redskins.

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Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:16 am

Jackson one reason for Spiller disappointment

SpillerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Fred Jackson has been so effective these past two years -- some would say “so surprising,” although Jackson wouldn’t use that verbiage -- that it’s made C.J. Spiller, the Bills first-round pick last year, and free agent pickup Brad Smith all but irrelevant in Buffalo’s offense this season.

Which, quite frankly, has surprised those in the Buffalo front office, especially considering Spiller was supposed to do great things after leaving Clemson.

"I don't think anybody foresaw how good Fred Jackson was going to be," Bills coach Chan Gailey, said via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "When we drafted (Spiller), we thought there would eventually be a need there that has not shown itself to be. It's not his fault. Fred Jackson's playing extremely well right now. How do you take him out of the ball game? Receiver is not (Spiller’s) natural position, so we'll just have to see how it works as time goes on. It may be one of those things where this year he doesn't get as involved as we all would maybe have thought he might. That's the way it is."

Since Jackson has been so good for Buffalo’s offense -- he’s averaged 5.6 yards per carry (a league-leading 913 yards overall on the season), he’s scored six touchdowns and he’s made 34 catches -- the coaching staff moved Spiller to receiver earlier in the season. But he’s only got 13 catches and 18 rushes this year, and for now, he’s biding his time.

"I'm playing behind a great player in front of me, and I'm trying to soak up as much as I can from him," Spiller said. "Sooner or later my opportunity is going to come and I'll be ready. I'm not discouraged and I'm not going to stop working. I'm going to continue to be prepared and be ready to go."

The problem with Smith is that he’s been used mostly in the Wildcat offense the Bills occasionally use, and lately, that scheme has become almost non-existent for Buffalo. Smith also was hurt by the lockout, meaning he had no offseason with his new team and, therefore, couldn’t learn the offensive intricacies, and by the new kickoff rules which have limited his abilities as a returner.

"I didn't come with any preconceived thoughts," Smith said. "I was hoping to (play more), but it hasn't necessarily been that way. As a competitor and a player I want to be out there. I'll keep working, stay focused and be ready to help the team at any time."

For now, though, it looks like Jackson isn’t ready to give away any of his playing time.

“We did draft C.J. last year. I knew I had to keep working and keep working, even at the beginning of (last) year when I had my hand broken,” Spiller said in a September edition of Five Questions (or more). “I had to keep plugging away at it. I was accustomed to working and seeing how things work out afterward. But C.J. still wants to play, and he still wants to start. That’s what we’re here for. I expect nothing less of him.”

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:37 pm

Bills lose NT Kyle Williams for season

K. Williams has been placed on the IR list (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Kyle Williams, perhaps the best defensive player many people don’t know much about, was placed on Injured Reserve by the Bills, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. Though Williams hasn’t talked about his injury, saying only that it’s bothered him since training camp, it’s thought that bone spurs have been irritating his Achilles tendon, and last week, Williams wasn’t sure if surgery would be needed.

It’s an unfortunate blow for Williams, who said last week that he was still hopeful he could play this season. But the Pro Bowl nose tackle, who had missed only two games in the previous five years, apparently wasn’t healing in a way that would be conducive for him to play this season.

Even if the average fan -- or, considering he finally got to the Pro Bowl only last year, the average player -- doesn’t give him his credit, the Bills recognized his importance before this season, signing him to a six-year, $39 million contract with $17 million guaranteed.

The good news (if there is such a thing in a case like this) is that Buffalo will get to give No. 3 draft pick Marcell Dareus more action in Williams’ spot. But the loss of Williams definitely will hurt.

"You never breathe easy when you lose an All-Pro player," Gailey told the team website. "That is a huge loss for our football team when he’s not in the game. Not only by his play, but by his leadership and the energy he brings to the game."

Considering the Bills are in the thick of the AFC East race, the first time Williams has been a part of something ilke that during his time in Buffalo, the injury is extra frustrating for him.

“Sitting around watching that massacre was not fun,” Williams told the AP last week. “I can tell you, my wife had to leave and take my kids to go to dinner.”

And this was when the Bills were shutting out the Redskins.

“It’s fun to win, but it’s not a lot of fun to watch,” he said. “I am happy … I hope I can come back to play. But it won’t feel the same unless I can go out and help.”

Which means Williams won’t really be happy until next year.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 9:05 pm

Is $59 million for Fitzpatrick really worth it?

FitzpatrickPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the Bills have given quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a reported six-year contract extension worth $59 million with a $24 million guarantee, I just don’t know if it makes sense.

He’s been solid the past two seasons as Buffalo’s No. 1 guy (and he’s been better this year than he was last season), but I can’t erase the visions of his play in 2008 when he replaced an injured Carson Palmer in Cincinnati. I thought he was nothing more than a backup then, and though, in a few ways, he’s proven that he is a capable starting quarterback, you have to wonder how long his career peak will last.

And if this deal ultimately will be worth it for the Bills.

As CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge writes, “I just wonder why they were in such a rush. I mean, the guy has been a backup most of his career, then broke into the starting lineup off and on the past two years after Trent Edwards fizzled. Now, six games into the season we've seen enough to believe he's a franchise quarterback? Geez, I don't know. I mean, he's 15-17 as a starter with Buffalo.”

I have little doubt that the Bills love the guy (obviously), and I know he’s a Harvard-educated man that plays the game in a smart way. Plus, pairing him with coach Chan Gailey might be the best thing that ever happened to Fitzpatrick. But $59 million for Fitzpatrick seems like a steep price to pay for a quarterback who’s probably hit the ceiling on how well he can play.

Hell, maybe I’m wrong. After all, Fitzpatrick went from being a backup who played minimally during the first three years of his career to a guy who commands nearly $10 million a year. The odds of that happening -- and Fitzpatrick could probably give us the exact figure -- could not have been good.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:18 am

Report: Bills, Fitzpatrick close on new contract

The Bills have no plans of letting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick get away this offseason. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the former seventh-round pick out of Harvard who was destined for a life as an NFL backup quarterback, is close to getting a shiny new contract from the Bills. The two sides have made significant progress the past two weeks, according to multiple reports, and the hope is that a deal is in place shortly.

Buffalo is on their bye week, and the organization has closed the building through the weekend, which means that talks are temporarily on hold. Still, the 4-2 Bills owe much of their early-season success to Fitzpatrick, who has been one of the league's best quarterbacks (66.3 completion percentage, 1,477 passing yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs).

According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, Fitzpatrick's new contract is expected to pay him somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million a season, "but the sides still were trying to resolve issues such as guaranteed money (the Bills traditionally keep those figures relatively low)."

ESPN's Chris Mortensen hears something similar, noting that Fitzpatrick's new contract should fall in the $9 million-to-$12 million range, and adds that the Bills QB is in the last year of a three-year, $6.9 million deal he signed as a backup. His base salary is $3.195 million for 2011 and "it's expected he will be paid at least in the range of Kansas City's Matt Cassel, who signed a six-year, $63 million contract with the Chiefs."

The annual salary is considered "second-tier" quarterback money, which is about where Fitzpatrick falls at this stage in his career. He's not yet elite, but certainly something more than just a reliable starter.

A full set of predictions for the 7th week of the season! Charles Barkley joins Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms, and Warren Sapp for a super-sized web-exclusive from Inside the NFL.

After taking care of Fitzpatrick, expect the Bills to start working on new deals for wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running back Fred Jackson, two players who have blossomed under second-year head coach Chan Gailey. If Buffalo and Fitzpatrick can't come to an agreement, the organization almost certainly will franchise him in 2012.

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 1:05 pm

NFL Winners/Losers and experts live chat

Posted by Will Brinson

The world is a far better place when there are clear and distinct delineations between who is a winner and who is a loser. Since actual football records only do so much of that for us, let's dive into who's winning and who's losing a quarter of the way into the 2011 NFL season.

BUT FIRST -- we need to talk. No, seriously, let's chat -- starting at 1:00 pm ET on Wednesday. You can tell Pete Prisco his Power Rankings are awful, ask fantasy questions or just yell at me for not including [insert your favorite player's name here] in the winners list below. Either way, come on by.

Carolina Panthers: Yes, the Panthers are 1-3 and that is not what you would call winning. But this season, thanks solely to the early emergence of Cam Newton, is already eleventy billion times better than 2010, when the Panthers went 2-14. In fact, I'd argue that Carolina could lose out the rest of their schedule -- and they could! -- and it would be a better season than last year, when they despondently limped to the worst record in the NFL. There are plenty of arguments to be made against Newton's performance thus far (namely: he's posting some garbage-time stats and he's made plenty of rookie mistakes), but there's little doubt that Carolina landed themselves a franchise quarterback, and did so at a very reasonable cost.

Detroit Lions: This is a case where the record actually does match up with the placement. Matthew Stafford could go here, as he's proving himself to be a potentially elite quarterback. So could Calvin Johnson, who's vaulted himself into the pole position when it comes to wide receivers in the NFL. And so could Jim Schwartz, as he's clearly the best "new" head coach in the NFL. Which is why the organization as a whole gets the nod, since they've somehow managed to justify the hype and make the early Thanksgiving game -- a Packers-Lions matchup -- more meaningful than it's been in years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick/Fred Jackson: The oft-overlooked offensive duo that drives the Buffalo Bills are in full-on resurgence mode early in the season, with Jackson sitting at fourth in the NFL in rushing yards being the most obvious example. Fitzpatrick's been pretty spectacular himself even if his total passing yardage only ranks him 13th in the NFL. Passing yards can be misleading anyway -- he's thrown nine touchdowns to three interceptions and completed 63.4 percent of his passes. Most importantly, the Buffalo Bills are 3-1, something no one saw coming. They were so hot at one point this season that Fitzpatrick was impossible to book for an interview this season and both he and Jackson are working their way towards new, big-money contracts.

Matt Hasselbeck: Mentioned it in Sorting the Sunday Pile, but Hasselbeck is seeing a serious return to dominance as a result of his move to Tennessee. He's got 1,152 yards in just four games -- last season he barely crossed over 3,000 in 14. His average yards per pass is all the way up to 8.9, and his passing yards per game, 288, is currently the highest of his career. It helps to play for a coach that puts an emphasis on the offensive line, of course, and is willing to keep blockers at home in order to make sure Hasselbeck doesn't get touched and is able to throw the ball deep.

Darren Sproles: Arguably "the Saints" could be on this list ... just for landing Sproles. Has a guy ever fit what Sean Payton wants to do better than the diminutive Kansas State-star-turned-Chargers specialist? We used to think that Reggie Bush was the king of Payton's offensive scheming, and he did fit what the offensive guru loves to do, but Sproles, with better big-play burst, is the perfect addition to the already explosive Saints.

Gary Kubiak: First of all, kudos to the Texans for correctly playing the 2011 offseason. We've said this before, but they failed to draft for secondary help, which seemed weird, but now looks genius, especially since they went out and signed Johnathan Joseph in free agency. He's been a difference maker for Houston, and not just because he represents better value than Nnamdi Asomugha already. Kubes, on the other hand, is sitting at 3-1 and has a pretty clear path to a division title, the Titans success notwithstanding. Obviously the Texans aren't locked into the 2011 playoffs just yet, but their chances are looking pretty good right now, and that'll do a lot to justify his return for this season.

Matt Forte: Another topic in this past week's SSP, Forte is mauling defenses this year -- even if they are the Panthers! -- and forcing the Bears to pay him this offseason. For whatever reason, Chicago believed that Forte wasn't worth the cash and didn't pony up before 2011 began. That's fine, and that's their prerogative. But if they want to keep him, Forte's success this year is going to make it expensive.

NFL Fans: In just a few hectic weeks, fans of football went from "OMG, we might not get football at all this year" to "OMG, football is more exciting to watch than at any period of time, ever." We've seen scoring cranked up, we've seen incredible storylines (Lions, Bills, oh my), we've seen incredible comebacks (four 20-pointers in the last two weeks) and we've seen no truly noticeable ill effects of the missed offseason. If there are any complaints, it might be the new kickoff rules and the lack of consistency on replays. The former everyone who's not over now will be over by the end of the year, and the latter can be fixed. It's a good time to be an NFL fan.

Todd Haley: That Haley ended the quarter-season mark on a high note, with a victory over Minnesota, is a good thing. Otherwise the Chiefs might be starting at an 0-4 start and his seat would be somehow be hotter. It's really an unfathomable dropoff from winning the division in 2010. Haley's been victimized by a lot of key injuries -- Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles all went down for the year -- but things weren't all that good with the win against Minny, as Haley managed to get in a screaming match with Matt Cassel.

Tony Romo: It amazes me that Romo can't do anything right. Or, maybe, he can't avoid whatever he does being scrutinized to the nth degree. After Week 1, when he threw a terrible pick against the Jets that cost him the game, he was a goat. Then he injured his ribs against the 49ers, led the Cowboys to victory and he was a hero. Then he played with busted ribs against the Redskins, overcame his entire team stinking the joint up and morphed into a different person that we knew.  Then came the Lions loss. Romo tossed back-to-back picks that Detroit took to the house and everyone hopped off the "I heart Romo" bandwagon and back on the "Choker" train. It's not fair to Romo because it's not all his fault, but none of that matters to anyone that applies the labels.

Ben Roethlisberger: For years, the Steelers have managed to succeed despite a porous offensive line. That's mainly because Roethlisberger's strength is keeping a play alive by being a physical beast. But even he's struggling to fight through the Steelers inability to block, and suddenly Pittsburgh's in a precarious position at 2-2 with Roethlisberger banged up. Of course, he missed time for non-injury reasons last year, and he also suffered through injuries and the Steelers line was also terrible last season. Still, it's hard to fathom Roethlisberger staying healthy if he keeps getting destroyed at this rate.

Kyle Orton/Donovan McNabb: Because quarterbacks seem to be succeeding at an earlier stage than ever before, there's immediate cries for the next guy any time a veteran struggles. Orton and McNabb, neither of whom is putting up great numbers thus far in 2011, are the best examples because of the two guys -- Tim Tebow and Christian Ponder, respectively -- who sit behind them. Both Orton and McNabb are slightly under 60 percent in terms of completion percentage this season, and while neither one is lighting up the scoreboard with touchdown passes and passing yardage, it's important to remember that one (Orton) is running a John Fox offense and the other (McNabb) is on a team with Adrian Peterson.

Juan Castillo: The Eagles shipped out Sean McDermont because Jim Johnson's shadow was too much to overcome. And then they brought in Castillo, who coached Philly's offensive line for 12 years. Yes, that's offensive line. Given that the Eagles added both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the offseason, it looked like it might not matter. But Castillo's new-age "don't tackle" defense hasn't gone over well against an opponent yet, and the Eagles find themselves 1-3 primarily because they simply can't stop anyone. Sure, they're tough to pass on ... unless you have a good tight end. And if you don't, and you happen to have a decent power running game, you don't even have to worry about it.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com