Share this article

print logo

Vic Carucci's Bills Mailbag: Penalties, roster moves & McDermott/Beane finding 'their guys'

You have Buffalo Bills questions that you've submitted to me via Twitter @viccarucci.

I have answers.

Vic Carucci: Having a strict disciplinarian for a coach doesn't guarantee anything, including a reduction of penalties. The Bills have had a staggering 25 accepted calls against them in two preseason games, and many others that weren't.

That is beyond ridiculous, even during games that don't count.

The makeup of the roster can be part of the reason. If you don't have enough players willing to take it upon themselves to avoid penalties, that's a problem. So, too, is having players who lack the skills to execute without breaking the rules.

Then, there is making the avoidance of penalties more of a point of emphasis. Sean McDermott told reporters Friday that he was considering having officials at practice, which seems like something that should absolutely be done.

VC: I'm fairly certain there will be more moves. I don't think there will be any additional blockbusters such as the Sammy Watkins/Ronald Darby trades, because the remaining high-end players have contracts that would be much harder to trade than the rookie deals Watkins and Darby are still under. Substantial dead-cap money also makes cutting those high-salaried players prohibitive.

I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Bills shipping second-year linebacker Reggie Ragland to a team that uses a base 3-4 defense and, therefore, would be a better fit for him than Buffalo's 4-3 configuration. Ragland has become a fringe player, which is an unacceptable status for a second-round pick.

I can also see the Bills doing more churning of the bottom of their roster (and maybe even higher than that) in a couple of weeks when teams make the only post-preseason cut-down, from 90 to 53.

VC: I wouldn't say they've "sealed their fate" after one training camp and two preseason games.

For one thing, I believe the Pegulas intend to give them plenty of time and leeway to bring about the improvements they think McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane are capable of delivering. For another, I don't think bringing in "their type of guys" should automatically be viewed as a bad thing or compared to what helped lead to Chip Kelly's failures with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.

McDermott and Beane want high-character, team-first individuals, and there is nothing wrong with that, provided they also are good/great football players. The major roster overhaul they're doing takes more than a year to show the desired results. And with six picks in the first three rounds of next year's draft, there is plenty more quality building material with which they can work.

VC: I would hardly call it "jumping ship." I merely made the point that, based on everything the Bills and anyone else watching them has seen and the uncertainty that had already existed at quarterback before Tyrod Taylor's atrocious performance against the Eagles, it would make sense to give Nathan Peterman some time with the starters in the third preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The rookie has made impressive strides this summer to move into the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. Why not see how he does when surrounded by the first-team offense going against a first-team defense?

That doesn't necessarily mean Peterman would be the starter for the Sept. 10 season-opener against the New York Jets. However, it's hardly a reach to envision him supplanting Taylor at some point this year, during the first phase of rebuilding. Why not give him the chance to do at least some initial preparation?

The preseason-finale against the Detroit Lions won't provide that opportunity, because no starters from either team will be playing.

VC: I think he's a little like a young Dick Vermeil, who I covered during his early coaching days with the Eagles. Super intense. Narrowly focused. Incredibly driven.

As with Vermeil, McDermott is looking to assemble a team that shares his deep-seated beliefs on what it takes to succeed in the NFL.

I would say Vermeil was more blunt with his public criticism of his players, but that was a different time when coaches and many others involved with running teams tended to be a bit less measured with their words.

VC: Absolutely. They cannot afford to go into the season without their No. 1 left tackle and with his backup, Seantrel Henderson, due to be suspended for the first five games of the season and not address the position.

For now, it seems likely that if Glenn isn't ready for the regular season because of his chronic soreness in his left foot, Dion Dawkins will take his place on the left side. That will be asking a lot of the rookie.

I also suspect the Bills will be diligent in searching the waiver wire at the cut to 53 for available tackles.

VC: It's fair to say Taylor wasn't helped by his line, which at times was overwhelmed by the Eagles' pass rush. Jim Schwartz, the former Bills defensive coordinator who is working in the same capacity with the Eagles, occasionally sent blitzers after Taylor. Not blitzing in the preseason is supposed to be an unwritten rule in the NFL because teams generally don't prepare for it.

Another issue for Taylor was his lack of familiarity with his revamped receiving corps that will continue to change once Jordan Matthews returns from the chip fracture in his sternum.

Still, Taylor is a veteran of the league and is entering his third season as a starter. Showing good poise and making good decisions under duress are basic qualities that he needed to show with greater consistency Thursday night. Peterman certainly found himself dealing with some duress when he was in the game, and he displayed an impressive level of anticipation and command.

VC: Hard to say. Experienced starting quarterbacks are hard to find, so my sense is that a team looking for one (and there are a lot of them) would give up something along the lines of a second- or third-round draft pick or perhaps package a pick or picks and a player.

However, keep in mind, if the Bills are trading him because he is playing poorly and they want to make a change, I would expect a pretty soft trade market.

There are no comments - be the first to comment