As usual, it was a jam-packed week of Bills and NFL conversation on 'One Bills Live' with Steve Tasker and John Murphy. Here’s a recap of some of the top takes from the past week on the show.
1. ROOKIE LB EDMUNDS DRAWING HIGH PRAISE FROM BILLS VETS
Lorenzo Alexander is getting set for his 12th season in the NFL and the Bills veteran linebacker has seen plenty of young prospects break into the league. But after just three days of Organized Team Activity, Alexander likes what he’s seen from Bills first round draft pick Tremaine Edmunds.
“I would be surprised if he’s not an all-pro player in the next two, three years,” Alexander said Thursday on the show. “I would be surprised, really. Just his athleticism and the way he's handling the information, I would be really surprised if he's not that next great linebacker in his era, like that Luke Kuechly-type.”
The Bills have already put Edmunds with the starters on defense and have started sending in the defensive play calls for him to relay to his teammates on the field. And Alexander admits it’s a big responsibility to put on a rookie.
“It’s a lot” Alexander says. “He's the mike. He’s the quarterback of the defense. So, he’s making the calls, making the checks if somebody's out of alignment. Eventually, he’ll go on to where he can correct people. But right now, I'm trying to help him as much as I can.”
2. AMONG NEW RULES, NEW “CATCH” RULE MIGHT BE THE MOST DEBATED
NFL owners kept busy this spring making changes to the rule book—new rules on kickoffs and helmet hits. But the former head of NFL officiating thinks the change to the catch rule might be the most meaningful change.
Dean Blandino, former vice president of officiating for the league is an NFL rules analyst for Fox Network. Appearing on “One Bills Live,” Blandino says the changes to what constitutes a catch, including elimination of the “surviving the ground” concept were needed. The new standard establishes three conditions for a catch: control of the ball, in-bounds possession, and the ability to perform a football move, such as another step or a lunge.
Blandino thinks there’s enough ambiguity about the “football move” requirement to set up a potential problem for officials.
“There is still subjectivity to it,” Blandino says. “Did he perform an act common to the game or did he have time to perform an act common to the game?’. That's going to be subjective and the officials on the field are gonna have to make that call in real time and it's going to have to be administered consistently in replay so we’ll see.”
3. JOSH ALLEN AN “ELITE TALENT?”
Former Bills offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild did a comprehensive study of this year’s quarterback prospects for NFL Draft Bible this year. A former college quarterback himself, Fairchild had Bills first round quarterback Josh Allen at his quarterback development camp.
Fairchild says Allen has ‘elite talent.”
“I had a chance to work with Josh before and I think he is an elite talent,” Fairchild says. “I don't think you have guys coming out every year that can do the things he can do that will translate into being an NFL quarterback. When I watched him play and had a chance to go back and review his tape he was the number one quarterback in my mind coming out and I think it was an absolute steal for the Buffalo Bills to get him where they did.”
4. UNDRAFTED ROOKIES NOT WORRIED ABOUT GOING UNDRAFTED
The Bills have 13 undrafted rookie free agents on the 90-man roster this spring as they go through Organized Team Activity. Two of them, wide receiver Robert Foster of Alabama, and offensive lineman Gerhard de Beer from Arizona, appeared on “One Bills Live” this week. And both rookies say whether they were drafted or not, they must prove themselves worthy of a roster spot in the months ahead.
Foster is a speedy wide receiver from the Pittsburgh area who ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash. Not being drafted last month doesn’t bother him at all.
“It didn’t matter to me, to be honest with you at the end of the day,” he said. “Like Coach Daboll said, you know, all the coaches say, ‘Regardless of what round you get drafted you’ve got a clean slate’ and I’m taking advantage of it. You know what I mean? I just wanted to make an impact on somebody's team.”
de Beer, a native of South Africa, is also not worried about being passed over in the draft.
“I was fine. I was prepared to sign as a free agent,” he said on the show. “There's 256 people who go every year so to be part of that is a tremendous honor. I would lie if I said I wasn't disappointed, regardless I knew I was getting an opportunity and for me, it's not necessarily what you got but what you make of it. For me, I’m a free agent here. I'm an underdog and I can't wait to prove everybody wrong.”
5. ‘CURIOSITY’ THE KEY FOR PETER KING
It’s a big career move for Peter King, one of pro football’s pre-eminent journalists for decades. He’s leaving Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he developed his “MMQB” weekly column into must-read status for NFL fans.
King will work with NBC Sports and NBC.com starting in July. He came on “One Bills Live” this week to talk about his move, his career, and what he thinks is the most important quality for a reporter covering pro football. “If you don't have a curiosity, you don't really have an interest in this game,’ he said. “If you wake up at 8 in the morning and five of your first 15 thoughts aren't about football, you probably should either cover something else or do something else.”