1. Thomas on transition from QB to TE
Thomas, who threw 52 touchdowns as Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback for three seasons, was drafted in the fourth round by Arizona in 2014 and bounced around the league for several years before making the change to catching passes instead of throwing them.
Thomas was signed to the Bills active roster in November and now hopes to make Buffalo’s roster in 2017. He joined the John Murphy Show to talk about the position switch and the changes around One Bills Drive since January.
“I had to learn a completely different set of ideals, a completely different verbiage, but it’s going very smoothly,” Thomas said. “Thankfully going from quarterback to tight end is a lot easier than going from tight end to quarterback.”
Although initially hesitant to the switch proposed by the Detroit Lions, Thomas soon realized it might have been a career-saving move.
“It definitely lowers your pride a little bit,” Thomas said. “You have to be humble about it and take things in from a full-picture perspective because simply, do you want your career to keep lasting? Or do you want it to end? For me, I’ve always had confidence that I could play quarterback but I always knew my body type, athleticism, speed and I could always catch and if something happens, I could potentially play tight end.”
Thomas, 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, said that his transition has been made much easier because everyone on the offense is learning a new playbook and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has helped players out by easing them into his system.
“So far, everything has been going great. I think [the coaches] are great guys, first of all and then I think they are great coaches, as well,” Thomas said. “If you can trust somebody as a person, it gives you a lot better opportunity to trust them as a coach and that’s what I’ve been blessed with.”
Most importantly in learning the playbook, according to Thomas, has been all that experience as a play caller.
“I think I’m able to pick up on things a lot quicker than say, a rookie, would seeing his first offense,” Thomas said. “After being around awhile, things start to blend together and that helps me.”
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2. Journeyman DE Metz shares unique backstory
Of the 71 players current on Buffalo’s roster, defensive end
Metz played for the Philadelphia Soul for two years in the Arena Football League before spending most of last season playing for the Qingdao Clipper of the China Arena Football League.
The 26-year-old talked to his hometown Pennsylvania newspaper about his fascinating journey and the opportunity he has with the Bills.
“To sign a contract with Buffalo was great, but now it’s about working to make the team,” Metz said. “I know it’s not easy at all. I played at a D-2 school (Shippensburg) and had to take a different route than most guys. But now I’m getting the chance, and that’s all you can ask for. Now I just need to show them that I belong.”
Buffalo is not Metz’s first time on an NFL roster. After winning the Arena League Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2016, he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and spent four days with the team. When that didn’t work out, he decided to go overseas.
When in China, Metz did his best to assimilate into the culture.
“I had scorpion on a stick, duck, snake, and all sorts of animals I didn’t even know about. I tried to learn as much as I could about a lot of things,” Metz said. “It was rare to find anybody that spoke English, but my teammates and I got by. The whole thing in China was great and helped keep me in shape for my ultimate goal.”
Back in the States, Metz is confident that Buffalo is the right place for him to accomplish that ultimate goal.
“This offseason, the Bills were pretty interested in me and brought me in for a workout and signed me right after,” Metz said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. They have a whole new coaching staff and are building.”
3. Talent still available on the free market
Although the height of the free agency period has come and gone, plenty of top NFL talent remains unsigned.
With several positions still needing depth on Buffalo’s roster, Fox Sports developed a list of three available free agents the Bills should take a look at as the offseason continues.
The first name on the list is wide receiver Michael Floyd, who put together a solid career in Arizona before off the field issues—culminating in a DUI arrest—made him unattractive to NFL teams.
Next up is edge-rusher Erik Walden, who recorded a career-high 11 sacks last year with the Colts, but didn’t have more than three in any season before 2016.
Finally, the top name that FOX thinks the Bills should take a run at in the next wave of free agency is cornerback Tracy Porter.
Porter has played for five teams over nine seasons in the league, posting 309 tackles and 13 interceptions. He is best-known for his 74-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIV against Peyton Manning and the Colts as a member of the Saints to seal the win for New Orleans.