Here’s the Bills news of note for Feb. 13th.
1 - QB coach Culley a solid teacher
He spent his entire 14-year NFL career in the NFC East, but Brian Mitchell is rooting for the Bills and two of the team’s coaches in 2017.
Mitchell joined the John Murphy Show on Friday to discuss his former college quarterbacks coach, David Culley, and his time spent with Sean McDermott in Philadelphia.
Before Mitchell switched positions and became the NFL’s all-time leader in return yardage and a depth running back, he was a quarterback at the University of Southwestern Louisiana
“He made me a much better passer from high school to college,” Mitchell said. “In high school I threw the ball, and in college I began to pass it. He stays on you, he’s a fair coach, he’s a good motivator and I thank him for me being in the NFL and for where I was because of him.”
Culley himself was a quarterback at Vanderbilt, and Mitchell said that Culley’s experience makes him all the more valuable for whoever will be throwing the ball for Buffalo next season.
“I think you don’t have to play the position to be a good coach at it, but when you played the position, you get a lot more respect a lot quicker from your players,” Mitchell said. “And when you get that respect a lot quicker, you can get past a lot of the silly things early.”
Mitchell played with the Redskins, Eagles and Giants in his career, and was part of the Washington team that beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. After Mitchell’s position switch, he became one of the most explosive players in the league. He is second all-time in all-purpose yardage and has the most yards ever for a non-receiver.
From 2000-2002, Mitchell also got to work with Bills head coach Sean McDermott with the Eagles and had a first-hand look at how he operated.
“Sean learned from one of the best defensive coordinators in the history of the league in Jim Johnson,” Mitchell said. “Sean was always a hard-working guy and he was basically like a sponge. He always absorbed everything he saw and you can see a lot of Jim in his coaching style and if he can go up to Buffalo and be half of Jim Johnson, y’all got some good stuff.”
2 - Bills being pegged to draft Watson
NFL Draft lead writer Matt Miller from Bleacher Report had two Buffalo Bills draft tidbits over the weekend.
Miller compiled his second 2017 mock draft, and provided some context as to why he thinks the Bills will be taking DeShaun Watson with the 10th overall selection.
The Buffalo Bills have to add a quarterback early in this draft, and speaking to a rival GM about that opening, he said, "They'll draft one in the first two rounds, and if I had to pick it'd be [Deshaun] Watson based on what [Doug Whaley] likes and how he thinks," Miller wrote.
With the uncertainty surrounding
Of note, Miller has Mitch Trubisky as the first QB off the board, going to the 49ers third overall. He has Mahomes being taken by the Saints one pick after the Bills in the second round.
Also in the second round, he has the Bills taking Texas A&M safety Justin Evans with the 43rd pick.
Evans is listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and would help to address one of Buffalo’s most glaring needs for 2017. Evans led the Aggies in interceptions in 2017, and posted four games with double digit tackles.
3 - McCoy still measuring high in advanced metrics
Matt Harmon of NFL.com ranked the top running backs against stacked boxes, and McCoy placed third. The metric tries to delve into a running back’s ability against those fronts, whether it is from extra defensive attention or from formations that an offense deploys.
“McCoy saw a stacked box on 21.4 percent of his non-red zone carries and averaged 5.48 yards per carry,” Harmon wrote. “He had seven runs of 10-plus yards, three of which went for 20 or more yards. The offense Buffalo runs will naturally bring more defenders into the box, especially with a mobile quarterback behind center.”
More than 50 percent of Buffalo’s offensive plays in 2016 came out of 21, 12 or 22 personnel, and rarely saw more than three receivers on the field at the same time. Buffalo’s success running against a stacked box wasn’t limited to just McCoy.
“Even as he's aging, McCoy still shows an ability to navigate a crowded front,” Harmon wrote. “Additionally, his backup Mike Gillislee saw an eight-plus man box on 38.6 percent of his 32 non-red zone carries and averaged 5.34 yards per carry.”
McCoy and Gillislee spearheaded the Bills rushing attack, which finished atop the league for the second year in a row, and set a record for most rushing touchdowns in franchise history.