1. While the Buffalo Bills were conducting their search for a general manager, I spent some time texting back and forth with a league source who has a strong knowledge of the candidates. His take on Brian Gaine was simple: "Excellent resume."
I couldn't help but think of that text when the Bills announced Monday that they have hired Gaine as their Vice President of Player Personnel. Simply put, there's a lot to like about the hire. Perhaps the No. 1 question about the guy who did get the job, Brandon Beane, is about his scouting experience. With Gaine on board, that's much less of a concern. It also's a good sign that Beane is comfortable enough to bring Gaine in knowing that he was also a candidate for the GM job. The Texans have done a solid job in roster building (outside of quarterback) and Gaine gets a lot of credit for that, so much so that the Bills interviewed him for their GM position, as have multiple other teams around the league.
That's not to say that Gaine's hiring will be a guaranteed success. Fellow News Sports Reporter Tim Graham and I had some fun on Twitter pointing out the Bills once acquired Mario Williams AND Mark Anderson or Rex Ryan AND Greg Roman or Derrick Dockery AND Langston Walker (hat tip to Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak for that one). With that being said, though, it's impressive that the Bills were able to hire two of the four candidates they interviewed for general manager.
2. Is T.J. Yates' roster spot safe? Most would agree that at this point, it probably is. But one of the interesting things to watch over the spring practices and particularly at training camp will be the progress of young quarterbacks Cardale Jones and Nathan Peterman. If both prove worthy of a roster spot, that would force the Bills to carry four quarterbacks, which isn't ideal. That assumes, of course, that Yates holds onto the backup job behind Tyrod Taylor.
It wouldn't shock me if that doesn't happen. While Yates is the "veteran presence" in the quarterback room, I question just how important that really is. He'll need to show he's clearly better than Peterman and Yates to earn a roster spot, because most would agree that if anything happens to Taylor, the Bills' chances of success in 2017 will be drastically reduced. If Taylor were to get hurt midway through the season with the Bills at, say, 5-3, it would make sense to turn to Yates if the team thinks it has a realistic shot at the playoffs. But if Taylor were to come out of the lineup with the Bills out of the race, there would be no point in playing Yates. It would be much better at that point to see what one of the young quarterbacks can do.
If both Peterman and Jones both show enough promise to be kept on the roster, it would be wise to just install one of them as the backup and move on from Yates.
3. Seeing wide receiver Kolby Listenbee on the sidelines as the Bills started rookie minicamp last week was a disappointment. Now more than a year after being picked in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, Listenbee still hasn't been cleared to practice.
"Kolby is on schedule," coach Sean McDermott insisted after the practice. "He is attacking the rehab everyday. I love his attitude and his approach. The trainers are doing a fantastic job of working with Kolby. He’s been back on the field a little bit doing some rehab. I’ve gotten a chance to get to know him and I love where he is and where his mind is right now. So, that is a step in the right direction and a start for us moving forward."
It's hard to imagine Listenbee really being "on schedule" given how much time he's missed. If he's unable to participate in spring practices, he'll be behind heading to training camp, no matter how much studying he puts in. Listenbee's speed is intriguing, but it doesn't mean anything if he's on the sidelines.