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Podcast: Gleason, Graham visit Shredd and Ragan

By Tim Graham

Shredd and Ragan pulled off a risky broadcasting maneuver this morning on 103.3 FM. They asked Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason and me to join them on their show -- simultaneously. And, somehow, it worked.

Bucky and I are involved in Shredd and Ragan's fantasy football league with former Buffalo Bills guard Ruben Brown, comedian Nick Bakay and Sen. Mark Grisanti. So the hosts had us on their show to discuss the draft (you don't care) and to preview the Bills season (you might care).

Here was Bucky's response to a question about whether he saw anything during the Bills' 0-4 preseason that fans can latch on to:

"I had really high hopes for this team going into the season. I thought that this was going to be a year in which they would finally break through, and maybe they will.

"But you asked me what I saw in the preseason, and in the preseason I didn't see much. I know that it's real easy to say, 'It's only the preseason. It doesn't count, and we'll see when there's real bullets,' and every other cliché you want to whip out at this time of year. But I really didn't see anything that was overly impressive that was sustained on the offensive side. And I think that there should be some concern there, and there is.

"That's going to be the deciding factor. ... I do have some concerns about the offense, and I have some concerns about [Bills quarterback Ryan] Fitzpatrick."

My take on the Bills' backfield situation:

"What happens with the Bills' backfield at this stage, now that C.J. Spiller has shown that he has picked up the NFL game and that he understands it and he gets the speed of it, which is what he did in those six games when Fred Jackson wasn't out there last year -- he really shined -- now it's up to Chan Gailey

"This is Chan Gailey's responsibility now. It's not up to C.J. Spiller. It's not up to Fred Jackson. Those two guys have established that they know what they're doing out there, and they can be productive. Now it's up to Chan Gailey to figure out how to use these guys.

"Some coaches can do that; some can't. A lot of people look at Chan Gailey and they mention that he's a quarterbacks coach and a quarterbacks whisperer throughout his years in the NFL. He's generally been a coach who likes a workhorse running back. We're talking about Jerome Bettis in Pittsburgh and you can go on down the line through his history.

"He's going to, much like Lindy Ruff with his goaltenders, need to be able to figure out how to use both of these guys to give one guy the proper amount of rest while the other guy's in there, keep them both on the field at the same time, keep them interested at the same time. ... You don't want C.J. Spiller standing next to Chan Gailey on the sideline too much. You want him out there and involved. That's when you have the best production."

Other topics you can hear about in this 19-minute podcast include the strengths and weaknesses of the revamped defense, Fitzpatrick's rib injury, quarterbacks coach David Lee's influence on Fitzpatrick's mechanics and the fact I play Shredd's mom in Week One.

Bucky and I will be on Shredd and Ragan throughout the season. Look for podcasts and updates on the Press Coverage blog.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |