Photos from the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
The NFL Combine is not just a showcase for the 320 draft prospects. It always serves as the unofficial start of the offseason, with more than 1,000 NFL media types converging on Indianapolis. The Buffalo Bills eventful offseason was a popular topic of discussion on The John Murphy Show during the broadcasts from the combine. Here's what some of the top media observers interviewed on the show had to say about the Bills moves so far:
1. HIRING REX RYAN
John Clayton, ESPN.com Senior Writer:
" I think Doug Marrone did a very good job coaching this team and making it better. But you can argue that maybe getting Rex Ryan is a little bit of an upgrade. That's encouraging too. Are they a contender for a wild card? Yes."
Chris Mortensen, ESPN NFL Analyst:
"When he sits down with the Pegulas, Rex is a smart football guy. 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. BILLS 2015 APPROACH: DEFENSE RUN GAME EFFECTIVE QB
"One thing you know with Rex, he's going to keep the defense in the top five, and that's encouraging. That keeps you in game. Now, the quarterback is going to be the one that gets you over the top and wins some of those close games in the fourth quarter. The only model is play defense, run the football, and hope you're close enough so that your quarterback can get you over the top."
"Having a dominant defense is great. 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. I've heard Rex was effusive on our set about EJ Manuel."
3. EJ AND HIS FUTURE WITH THE BILLS
Albert Breer, NFL Network National Reporter:
"I think the one thing Greg Roman showed in his tenure in San Francisco is the ability to rebuild the quarterback and adapt to the type of player that quarterback is. That's why I think part of the reason you bring in Roman is what you think he can do for EJ. I think having Roman there at least gives him a chance. And then of course you have to bring in competition."
Matt Bowen, Bleacher Report Writer and former Bills DB:
"What you need is more production at the quarterback position. Could it be EJ? Sure it could. There's not a big enough pro resume for him yet. You can't tell me he's not ready to play quarterback. You can't tell me he's never going to be a quarterback. You don't know that yet. He needs more time on the field. Maybe it is EJ. If it's not, then you look at the veteran free agent market."
4. THE BILLS QUARTERBACK SOLUTION
Bill Polian, ESPN NFL Analyst and former Bills GM:
"There has to be a veteran, there's no two ways about that. Greg Roman's going to take the right approach. If EJ Manuel can do it, Greg will put him in a position to do so because he's not going to put a huge burden on him. It has to be the right veteran and the process has to go forward.
Obviously the two top guys are not within reach now (in the draft), because of the lack of a first round draft choice. But who knows, there might be somebody down below who's the answer. Frank Reich was a third round pick, Joe Montana was a third rounder, Russell Wilson was a third rounder. Maybe there's somebody there who will eventually be the guy."
"This isn't a great quarterback class beyond the top two, so you have to get creative. Look at what Seattle did, how they found Russell Wilson. They kept throwing darts at that dart board—Matt Flynn, Charlie Whitehurst, they brought back Hasselbeck for a year, Tarvaris Jackson, and then they eventually found Russell Wilson. If you're the Bills, you keep throwing darts at the dartboard. You bring in competition. You try to have three solid quarterbacks in camp and you see what happens. That to me would be the smart way to go now. You spend your upper draft capital at other positions to make the situation around the quarterback better."
"Do you draft another one? I don't think so. I think you go out and get one of these free agents, whether it's a Mark Sanchez, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown, that comes in and can compete and give you a little bit of a security blanket as you build the identity of your team. "
5. SIGNING RICHIE INCOGNITO
"I liked it. 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 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."
"I don't think Richie is a horrible person. My experience being around him, look, maybe I've got a skewed view of this because I was in a fraternity in college. A lot of the stuff you saw it felt like boys will be boys gone too far. And then one step leads to the next step to the next step and you never think it's going to get out there. I don't condone what happened. But I don't think Richie is malicious. He's got some demons in his past and he's worked to take care of that. He was out for over a year! I think he's paid the price. Now, the leash is shorter. You already messed up; the standard is way up here now. You probably can't be involved in any of the locker room stuff now. But I think he's paid the price and he deserves a second chance.
He'll bring an attitude to the Bills. That's what Rex was looking for. It will be interesting to see how Richie Incognito looks in 2015 versus where he was two years ago and how he's grown."