Mortensen keeps a close eye on all 32-NFL teams, including the Buffalo Bills. He sat down with The John Murphy Show at the NFL Combine this week, and offered five observations on the Bills franchise:
1. REX RYAN WAS A "NATURAL" HIRE FOR THE BILLS
"When he sits down with the Pegulas, Rex comes off as a smart football guy," Mortensen said. "He's had success. If you have to compete in the AFC East, he's certainly had success against Bill Belichick. And that's the team you'll always have to beat as long as Bill Belichick is there. Rex was a natural hire for them."
2. RYAN'S BLUEPRINT FOR 2015 LOOKS SOLID
"Having a dominant defense is great," Mortensen told host John Murphy. "Jim Schwartz did a terrific job. Obviously they have talent on that side of the ball. Offensive line--that will get fixed. Greg Roman is known for that Ground and Pound, and that's a nice, tricky catch phrase, but you still need a quarterback."
3. IT MAY BE TOO SOON TO GIVE UP ON EJ MANUEL
"Probably. I think the problem we have with this league is that it has totally changed," says Mortensen. "Since 2011 when rookie wage constraints came in, meaning you don't have to spend as much on first round draft picks, there shouldn't be this rush to get them out on the football field. Let's have a transition. It took Aaron Rodgers three years. Carson Palmer sat out a full year. That's the way it used to be—let them sit, let them learn, get them some playing time. But the problem is fans get impatient, because 'he's a first round pick or a second round pick.' Media questions it, and there's more media than ever. And the owners' expectations sometimes gets out of whack. A guy may not have been ready."
4. THE OFFSEASON APPROACH TO PERSONNEL-BUILDING AROUND QB
"I think you have to do that unless you hit on finding the quarterback," he said. "That's half the teams in this league. So do your team building. Build the back end of the roster, your practice squad. You gotta build depth. You gotta build your team until all of a sudden, boom, the right quarterback comes alone. Or you hit it with a Russell Wilson in the third round or a Tom Brady in the sixth round. That's the exception, not the rule. You have to build your team and you can't force your hand on a quarterback if you really don't believe in it."
5. ON THE BILLS SIGNING RICHIE INCOGNITO
The 6-3, 319-pound veteran offensive guard originally entered the NFL in 2005 as a third round (81st overall) pick of the St. Louis Rams.
"I liked it," Mortensen said. "I know there were teams even the year he got suspended, there were teams going on a playoff run that were trying to monitor to see if he'd be available. He's right on the cusp of being a Pro Bowl player or just below that. He brings a physicality. The guys in the locker room do like him. Is there immaturity there? Obviously, things got out of hand in Miami and that was part of the problem with leadership. I look at it as a really good signing by the Bills. I think the guy's a good football player. I think one of the things coaches have been frustrated with Richie in the past is the penalties. You don't want a 15-yard penalty. I think Richie has learned from his experience. I think they got a good football player."
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