Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen has second interview with Giants for vacant GM position

Joe Schoen today had his second interview for the Giants’ vacant general manager position, the team announced Monday.

Schoen is the first candidate to have a second interview.

According to the team, Schoen met with president John Mara, chairman Steve Tisch and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara at the team’s Quest Diagnostics Training Center. He also sat down with other members of the team’s front office and toured the facility.

The Buffalo Bills’ assistant general manager, Schoen has 20 years of scouting and executive experience in the NFL, including the last five in Upstate New York. He joined the Bills in 2017 after spending most of the previous decade in the Miami Dolphins’ front office, including the last four as the team’s director of player personnel.

Schoen’s first year in Miami was 2008 when he began a five-year stint as one of the Dolphins’ national scouts before spending the 2013 season as their assistant director of college scouting.

The 42-year-old Schoen led Miami’s preparation, assessment and acquisition of potential professional and collegiate free agents. He was heavily involved in Miami’s NFL draft, including evaluation and draft board construction while also serving as a key liaison between the coaching staff and personnel staff.

The Giants are looking to hire a general manager and coach after GM Dave Gettleman retired and the team fired head coach Joe Judge.

Heinicke hopes to keep the momentum going against Buffalo

The Taylor Heinicke show rolls into Buffalo(1-1) as the Washington Football Team(1-1) battles the Bills on Sunday.

Heinicke, who led Washington on a game-winning drive against the Giants last Thursday, will make his third career start on Sunday, but unlike his other starts, this game will be on the road, and he’s excited about the challenge.

“It’ll be my first road game starting like you said, but it’s at Buffalo with fans, so it’s going to be loud,” Heinicke said on Tuesday. “There’s going to be some silent count stuff that we’re working on this week. It’s a good defense, and we’re excited for the opportunity and the challenge.”

Against the Giants, Heinicke threw for 346 yards, two touchdowns, interception, which got him a lot of attention last week; Heinicke, who was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015, doesn’t want last week’s success to impact his play against Buffalo.

“My biggest thing is I don’t want the success from last week to equal the non-success of this week if that makes sense,’ he said. “Sometimes, a lot of people get caught up in how they played the previous week, and it hurts them the next week. So, we had a long weekend, it was nice to enjoy it, but once Sunday and Monday came around, it was time for Buffalo. So again, the biggest thing is to keep doing it every week, and that’s the goal.” 

If Heinicke can continue to play well, the 28-year-old could be Washington’s quarterback of the future, which could put him in line for some endorsement deals, like promoting Heiniken beer, which he said he enjoys drinking.

“I’m trying, man; I’m trying,” Heinicke said about trying to get a Heiniken endorsement deal. “At some point, I might just start calling out Bud Light (joking)…

“My agent said that they had sent me a 24-pack at home, never received it. And they said they can’t deliver to my address when there’s a gas station a block away that has Heineken.”

Obviously, the endorsements won’t come if he’s not playing well. However, if he can keep it going, this would be a great story, and while beating the Giants is good, defeating Buffalo on the road would be even better for Heinicke and Washington. 

Bills Stadium will have new name after naming rights deal

The Buffalo Bills announced today that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York will be the new naming rights partner for Bills Stadium. Effective immediately, the home of the Bills will now be named Highmark Stadium.

“We are proud to welcome Highmark to the Buffalo Bills family and we are thrilled to partner with them on a new naming rights deal for our stadium,” said Kim Pegula, Owner/President of the Buffalo Bills. “We are confident that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is committed to maintaining their status as a healthcare and philanthropic leader in our region. We look forward to many years of working together with their team creating great memories at not only NFL football games but at many other health and wellness events and community celebrations.”

“The Bills are a beloved institution in Western New York, and there is no better way for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to show that we plan to continue to be part of the fabric of this community than through this partnership. Together with our long-time partner, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, we envision this stadium to be an all-encompassing asset for our region and beyond,” said David W. Anderson, CEO, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “Highmark Stadium is the proud home of the Bills. It will also become home for future events that enhance the health and overall well-being of our community.”

Fans can expect to see the signage transformation completed over the coming months and will be in place by the kickoff of the Bills 2021 season in September.

Bills’ Allen: ‘We gotta find a way to finish in the end zone’

For most of their game against the Jets on Sunday, it was not pretty for the Buffalo Bills, but fortunately for them, there are not any style points for wins in the NFL. Behind six Tyler Bass field goals, the Bills(5-2) defeated the lowly Jets(0-7) 18-10 at MetLife Stadium.

Buffalo’s defense made it a long day for the Jets. After leading the Bills 10-6 at halftime, Buffalo shutout New York in the second half. Ultimately, they sacked Jets QB Sam Darnold six times and intercepted him twice.

On offense, Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw for 307 yards and ran for 61 yards, but they were not able to score touchdowns, which Allen said is on him.

“It was a situational football type of win today,” Allen said after the game. “It took all three phases, but we can do a better job on offense, myself, emphasize there myself. We could do a better job and put some more points on the board and make it easier living for our defense.”

Buffalo had 422 yards of total offense on Sunday, so they could move the ball against New York, but according to Allen, penalties hurt the Bills, and Buffalo finished the game with 11 penalties. 

“i think we did a good job of moving the ball,” Allen said. “Obviously, the stats speak for themselves. We gotta find a way to finish in the end zone. It’s gotta be better on my part. Couple penalties pushed us back and put us in bad a position, and shoutout to T-Bass(Tyler Bass) for obviously making those field goals and getting us the win.”

In the end, a win is a win, and now Buffalo will host the New England Patriots next week.

“It’s a division win,” Allen said. “These aren’t always going to be the prettiest of wins, and we understand that, so we’ll take them when we can get them.”

This was a game Buffalo had to have, and a loss to the jets would have been inexcusable. With the Patriots struggling, and the Dolphins going to a rookie quarterback, it appears the Bills are the class of the AFC East. Now, they must continue to show it as the season progresses.

Buccaneers sign RB LeSean McCoy

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed running back LeSean McCoy, the team announced on Tuesday.

According to his agent, it’s a one-year deal. 

McCoy, 32, a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, ranks in the top 30 in NFL history in rushing yards (22nd, 11,071), yards from scrimmage (27th, 14,868), and rushing touchdowns (28th, 73).

Over 160 career games, including 141 starts, he has totaled 11,071 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns on 2,447 career carries (4.5 avg.). 

The 12-year veteran has also been a factor in the passing game throughout his career, hauling in 503 receptions for 3,797 yards and 16 touchdowns. His 5.0 scrimmage yards per touch rank seventh in NFL history among players with at least 2,500 career touches.

Since entering the league in 2009, McCoy ranks second in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, trailing only Adrian Peterson. Among running backs during that span, McCoy ranks second in receptions, third in receiving yards and fourth in receiving touchdowns. He also leads the league in both scrimmage yards (14,868) and first downs (550) since his debut season, while ranking second in scrimmage touchdowns with 89.

McCoy won a Super Bowl title with the Kansas City Chiefs last season, contributing 465 rushing yards (4.6 yards per carry) and five total touchdowns for the Chiefs in 2019.

Bills’ McDermott on backup QB spot: ‘I’m very confident in Matt(Barkley)’

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the physicality of the NFL, teams in the league must have as much depth as possible.

In reality, at any point, and at any time, players could contract the virus. 

So, when you look at the Buffalo Bills, they have their quarterback in Josh Allen, who led the team to 10 wins and a berth in the playoffs last season. At this point, if something were to happen to Allen, Buffalo’s backup QB would be Matt Barkley. 

In two appearances last season, the eight-year veteran threw for 359 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions, so some believe Buffalo needs to upgrade the backup quarterback position. However, Bills head coach Sean McDermott has a lot of confidence in Barkley.

“Very confident. I’m very confident in Matt for a lot of reasons,” McDermott said last week. “All that being said, you know competition is good to have. A competition at that position and competition across our roster. And I think Brandon and his staff have done a good job of providing that. So we’ll just see how it plays out. Right. Obviously, you look at Josh and the growth that Josh and the time that he’s put in. The growth that he’s shown to this point and what we expect to get from him moving forward, and then you’ve got to have depth in this league; you guys know that depth is important. At every position. In this case, the quarterback position in particular.

“So, you know, I think the reality of this year in particular is what happens if said player comes down with the virus and so even more important that that you have depth and quality depth. In this case, as you mentioned at the quarterback position and any position for that matter, so it’s something that we take seriously, making sure that our depth is what we need it to be.”

Behind Allen and Barkley, is rookie Jake Fromm and third-year quarterback Davis Webb III. The 29-year-old Barkley is not a bad backup, and in 2018, he started one game for the Bills, which he performed well and led Buffalo to victory over the Jets. Could the Bills find a better backup? Probably, but Allen did play all 16 games last season, so maybe it won’t even be an issue.

If they decide to upgrade the backup QB position, Colin Kaepernick is out there, but he has not played in three seasons, so who knows what the 32-year-old Kaepernick would be, but if the Bills lose confidence in Barkley, Kaepernick might be worth a look. 

Bills’ DC on Fromm: ‘I really believe our guys will give him the benefit of the doubt’

Bills rookie QB Jake Fromm is under fire after a text conversation from 2019 was released on Thursday. In the conversation, Fromm, who was talking to a friend, said the following when talking about guns:

“But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors,” before adding, “Just make them very expensive, so only elite white people can get them, haha.”

Fromm later apologized, and said in a statement that he did not consider himself an “elite white person.”

Here is Fromm’s statement:

On Thursday, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier gave his thoughts on the situation.

“As I mentioned earlier, we’re still getting to know Jake as a teammate, none of us have been in the locker room together but based on what he said to the team today, I know, I really believe our guys will give him the benefit of the doubt,” Frazier said.

“They’re looking forward to communicating with him and encouraging him. And it definitely sounds like he’s learned from this mistake. One of the things we talked about, and I mentioned it earlier, was the fact that love has to overcome hate. It’s easy to just continue down that hate hate hate road, but that’s not where we want to be. If we want to change this, there has to be a reciprocal effort on both sides. And we have enough guys on our team that want to see change for the better. I know those guys are going to give Jake every chance to prove that those words that were echoed, I don’t know how long ago it was, that was a teachable moment for Jake, and that he’s learned from it and he’s drawn from that moment. So I know our players are going to reach out to him, in the next 24 to 48 hours as well.”

What Fromm said was wrong, but it appears he may have been joking. In reality, if everybody’s private text conversations were made public, a lot of people would come under fire. 

Therefore, we should give Fromm the benefit of the doubt.

Bills’ GM on Fromm: ‘I just felt like he was too good to value to pass up’

Not many people expected Georgia QB Jake Fromm to be available in the 5th round of the NFL draft, including the Buffalo Bills, but he was there, and the Bills made a move.

Buffalo selected Fromm with 167th overall pick in the draft on Saturday. Fromm, who skipped his senior season at Georgia to enter the NFL draft, threw for 2860 yards with 24 touchdown passes in only five interceptions last season.

According to Bills GM Brandon Beane, Fromm was not on his radar entering Saturday.

“I wouldn’t have told you going into today that he was on our radar, but we had him in a spot that you just can’t ignore, and we gave him his due,” Bills GM Brandon Beane said via a conference call on Saturday. “This guy, he’s a winner at the highest level of college. You look at all the guys that come out of the SEC…this guy came in. He’s got all the intangibles. He’s smart. When I went down to that school to watch him practice, at that point, they didn’t know if he would come out. They said he loves being the guy at Georgia, and he loves just being there. They said this guy would be there 11, 12 at night with the coaches walking out the door at the same times the offensive coaches are. Just a guy who loves everything about the game, the full process, the preparation, and that matters.

“Listen, if he had a big-time cannon arm, or he was 6-5, those types of things, he would have gone day one. He’s got all the other things. Fair question, I’ll go ahead and jump to it. He’ll have to earn a spot here, but just too good to pass up. He’ll come in; obviously, Josh [Allen] is our starter. Matt [Barkley] has been an excellent backup for us. I don’t know if he’ll be able to knock Matt off. We’ll see about that. But we could definitely go with two quarterbacks, we could go with three quarterbacks. Davis Webb has not got a real chance to show us what he can do. He’s still in the mix right now. Again, anytime you can add a good football player…. quarterbacks a premium position. I just felt like he was too good to value to pass up.”

The Bills do have Matt Barkley under contract for the 2020 season, but it seems logical, if Fromm is ready, that he could assume that backup spot to Josh Allen in the near future for the Bills. 

Bills’ GM on Diggs: ‘It’s my job, and my personnel staff’s job to add weapons’

Last season, the Buffalo Bills did what many thought they could do, and that is make it to the postseason. Buffalo finished 10-6 and made the playoffs in 2019. Unfortunately, the Bills would fall to the Texans 22-19 in OT in the wild-card round of the playoffs. 

In 2019, the Bills had a very good defense, which finished third in total defense and second in points allowed. However, at times on offense, it was a struggle for Buffalo. The Bills finished 24th in total offense and were 23rd in points scored, so with those numbers; Buffalo needed help on offense, which they may have found in WR Stefon Diggs.

Buffalo sent a first-round pick, fifth-round pick, and sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft for Diggs and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft.

Diggs, 26, had 63 catches for 1130 yards and six touchdowns last season in Minnesota.

Today, Bills GM Brandon Beane, via a conference call, discussed the acquisition of Diggs. 

Q: I know there’s been some reporting and sourcing on how exactly the Stefon Diggs trade came about. Can you just kind of give us in your own way a timeline of how things unfolded for you?

Beane: “Yeah, so it was that Monday, the negotiating period started around noon, so you know late afternoon, I don’t know exactly the time. Four or 4:30, somewhere in there. We reached out and just kind of, as we do, you know all the time we hear rumors on, some of the same rumors we heard at the trade deadline last season on guys. I think it was pretty open that we were, we were snooping around midseason to make a trade for another receiver, and we just couldn’t find a deal that worked for us. And you know, Stefon was one that we had looked into at that point, along with some other guys. And, you know, Minnesota was not willing to part with him at that point, but we checked back in, and it didn’t seem like a definitive 100% no. They just said, ‘Listen we’re not shopping him. We just agreed to a contract a little over a year ago.’ So talked to them, and they just said, ‘Listen, we’ll listen, but it’s got to be something, because you know we got to replace this guy, and he’s our number one receiver.’ And so did that. Then you know we were talking to other receivers agents, working through seeing what was available, what our options were. And then at the end of the night, I told Minnesota, ‘Hey, we’ll circle back.’ And they, they were starting to get a little antsy because they were getting pressure, you know, there were some other teams involved. And so, we worked on it probably around 9:45 or so, and I think 20 to 30 minutes later, we got it knocked out.”

Q: Why was this a move that you felt like your team needed to make at this particular time.

Beane: “Yeah, I mean, I said it at the end of season press conference. I blamed myself as much as anybody. It’s my job and my personnel staff’s job to add weapons to help run Brian Daboll and his staff, help our quarterback, help Sean. And so one of the things that I thought we still needed, hence I was referring to us snooping around at the trade deadline was finding somebody opposite John Brown to pair with Cole Beasley. And, again, the draft was is stacked with receivers as well. We’ve talked about that before. But I think it became ever-present with what’s going on around us, that we don’t know what kind of offseason we’ll have. And I just felt like it was going to be really hard, unless I trade it up really high to find a guy that I know could walk in, day one. Let’s just say it’s August before we get back to things. You know, I just felt a proven commodity was worth this. The trade value of this move probably moved us up three to four slots from 22, might of got us to 18 or 19, not as high as I thought we had to get to get one of those premier guys that I knew would walk in the door, even August 1, and be ready to roll.”

Q: Do you consider Stefon Diggs almost like your first-round draft pick? And how are you guys doing the draft preparation given everything going on in the world?

Beane: “It is one of those things where I view it that’s our first-round pick. The way I’m viewing it with the draft capital that we moved to acquire him is we moved up, let’s just say four spots. We traded up there, and we got him. And we know the player. It’s just a more proven thing right now. And again, what we’re dealing with. What did weigh into it is, I know this guy knows ball and we’ll be able to understand the verbiage of our system quicker than, a lot of this stuff in college is all signaled in. A lot of these guys aren’t in huddles, so the biggest transition for these receivers beyond the routes and the physical stuff is just hearing these long play calls in the huddle and processing in their head from as little as ‘Do I go left? Do I go right? Am I on the ball? Am I off the ball?’ Now I got to start reading what coverage they’re in to know what route they are in. You know all those things, the mental part is so hard, and that’s why I think so many receivers, we talk about all the time probably one of the higher bust rates across the league. I think it’s more mental than physical.”

Without Brady, HOF Andre Reed believes Buffalo is the best team in AFC East

In reality, when you talked about the AFC East, it was the Patriots and everybody else. New England has won the division 11 years in a row, including winning the division in 2019.

However, Tom Brady is now in Tampa, so that changes things in the AFC East, which means the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets now have a chance to win the division. The most logical choice to take over the AFC East would be the Buffalo Bills, who finished second in the division last season after going 10-6 and securing one of the wild card spots in the AFC. 

According to Hall of Fame WR and Bills’ legend Andre Reed, Buffalo is the team to beat in the AFC East. 

“Obviously, it opens up the door in the AFC East,” Reed told TMZ Sports about Brady leaving the AFC East. “What team now? Is it going to be the Jets with Sam Darnold. Is it going to be the Bills, who have taken that next step? I’m thinking it’s going to be the Bills to be the class of that division this year…

“You can never count nobody out, but it’s a big move for the AFC, for the league, but not for New England.”

Reed, who has watched his Bills and other teams suffer because of Brady, is happy to see Brady leave the AFC East.

“I’m sure Tom is going to be alright wherever he goes,” Reed said. “However, he finishes his career, whatever team he’s with. Just glad it’s not the AFC East anymore.”

For the first time, in a long time, what will happen in the AFC East is a mystery. If we were picking today, we would probably say the Bills. They have a solid quarterback in Josh Allen, they added Stefon Diggs, and Buffalo has a very good defense. A lot can and will happen in the next few months, but if I had a few dollars lying around, I probably would put it on the Buffalo Bills winning the AFC East in 2020.