NfL Preseason 2010: 10 Buffalo Bills on the Roster Bubble
The Buffalo Bills will have to trim their roster, which right now stands at 77 players, down to 75 players by tomorrow, August 31st. After that, the Bills will then have to make the big final cut, which is when they identify the final 53 man roster on September 4th. Then on September 5th, the Bills can name the eight players they want to add to their practice squad.
So, who is possibly playing their final game in a Bills uniform this week against Detroit?
We offer up 10 possibilities that might be hearing the dreaded equipment manager whisper in hushed tones: "Buddy Nix wants to see you in his office". Gulp.
Up for debate is how many linebackers the Bills will actually keep, as the special teams unit is still in a state of flux. It is conceivable that several back up linebackers could make the roster as a special team regular. If that happens, and players like Donovan Woods and Antonio Coleman come to mind, does that make Keith Ellison expendable?
For starters, Ellison was a better fit in the old 4-3 defense. His size is considered too small for the 3-4 alignment. Granted he is one of the better tacklers in the linebacking unit, but is not necessarily thought to be a turnover creating kind of playmaker.
Take the 2009 season as an example. After seven games, Ellison had registered 68 tackles, to go along with no interceptions and no forced fumbles. Not the kind of player to build a defense around.
Chad Simpson may be caught in a numbers battle. He already had to face the uphill battle of trying to pass Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch on the depth chart, but then the Bills drafted C.J. Spiller in the first round and also brought in undrafted rookie Joique Bell.
The way it appears right now, Simpson is fifth on the depth chart behind the four runners mentioned above. He is versatile as he is also an experienced kick returner. However, it is very conceivable that once Fred Jackson is healthy, C.J. Spiller could easily become the main kick returning specialist. In a pinch, the Bills could still turn to Leodis McKelvin, Terrence McGee or Roscoe Parrish.
Simpson has had a good preseason running the ball against second and third team defenses but he is a luxury the Bills probably can't afford.
You might be surprised to read Schouman's name on this list, but let me ask you one question:
When you think of Schouman, do you think of great games, great catches, or of injuries?
See what I mean? He might be expendable since he has such a hard time staying healthy. The Bills just waived Michael Matthews recently for being hurt and they needed healthy tight ends in camp.
Since joining the Bills in 2007 would you care to take a guess of how many games Schouman played versus how many he missed?
The answer is he has played in 13 games and has missed 35 games. Maybe he is just not cut out to be a football player.
Size isn't everything. It is what you do with your size that matters. Hardy was drafted in the second round in the 2008 draft out of Indiana University. At 6'5" he was thought to be a great target for Trent Edwards and could be a force to be reckoned with in the red zone.
Much like Derek Schouman, Hardy has a very difficult time in being able to stay healthy long enough to be a contributor to the team. In two seasons with the Bills, he has played in five games and missed 32 contests. So far in this preseason, Hardy has continued to miss games, as he played in one game and missed two. How much longer will the Bills extend him a rope.
We all are witnessing what a tall receiver can and should do (David Nelson is a great example of another 6'5" receiver that gets it), but we haven't seen enough from Hardy in a long time to know if he is a bust or someone that just needs another chance. His roster spot could go to someone like Chad Jackson or to Naaman Roosevelt, especially since the Bills lost Marcus Easley to season ending IR.
John McCargo demonstrated some potential in the 2009 season and some thought he had started to turn his career around. Then the Bills announced that they were going to be switching to a 3-4 defense, which meant by the pure alignment of the new scheme, there would be a need for more linebackers than there would be for defensive linemen.
McCargo probably wasn't too pleased that the Bills went out and signed free agent Dwan Edwards, and then turned around and drafted Torell Troup and Alex Carrington as defensive linemen. That influx of new talent dropped McCargo down in the depth chart, and firmly in to "roster bubble land". Will he survive the final cut? Guess it depends on how healthy all the linemen are coming out of the Detroit game and if the Bills think they can get by with only six linemen. If they keep seven, he might stay.
Reggie Corner had the chance to impress the new Bills coaching staff as everyone came in to the 2010 season with a clean slate. So, in the first preseason game in front of his new coaches, what did Corner do? He gambled twice on trying to make an interception rather than knock the pass down. Both times his gamble did not work and he got burnt in the process. Not the kind of impression he wanted to make.
Corner has made some plays, and did return an interception for a touchdown this past week against the Bengals. But consistent play is something that Gailey is looking for, and with the great depth that is already part of the Bills outstanding secondary, it would not surprise me terribly if Corner is one of the final Bills cuts.
Naaman Roosevelt is the local boy made good. The wide receiver rookie from the University of Buffalo, had many Bills fans excited about the prospects of him making the team.
By most accounts, the Bills figure to go with six wide receivers. You would think that as of right now, Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish, Steve Johnson, and David Nelson appear to be locks. That leaves three receivers for two spots - James Hardy, Chad Jackson and Naaman Roosevelt, so one of them will have to go.
With Roosevelt, the Bills at least would have the ability to place him on their reserve squad, and then when Hardy gets injured, they could activate him to the roster. It would be a great story if Roosevelt made the Bills, but he is lacking in experience and hasn't been able to make as many plays as David Nelson has to warrant the roster spot just yet. Hopefully, he will continue to work hard and earn his spot.
Cary Harris started to see some action last year due to all the injuries in the secondary. He recorded an interception in the season finale against the Colts.
But as a safety, there are four solid options ahead of him on the depth chart - Donte Whitner, Jairus Byrd, George Wilson and Bryan Scott. The Bills are thought to only be keeping four safeties, so unless Harris can find a way to be an integral part of the special teams unit, his days could be numbered as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
He is the only Trojan on the Bills roster, so that would eliminate the only player with a Southern California connection with the team. Maybe Pete Carroll will want to pick him up.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has already had a very interesting NFL career. Playing for the Bengals, Rams and Bills, he has had a degree of success and is thought to be a solid NFL backup quarterback. The Bills team is in transition, and the Bills are looking for somebody that can be an outright number one QB option. That is not Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The current thought process according to GM Buddy Nix is that the Bills will only be keeping three QB's on the roster. They think highly enough of rookie Levi Brown that they do not want to expose him to another team by placing him on the reserve squad. So, that means that if Trent Edwards and Levi Brown are two of the three quarterbacks, then only one of Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Brohm will make the final roster.
If Brohm makes the team, then Fitzpatrick will undoubtedly be claimed by another team and continue his career as a capable fill in. Of course, if Fitz makes the team, then that means that.......................(go to final slide).
Brian Brohm may be the surprise player of the final cuts. You think I am crazy for writing this, but if you put things in this perspective: how much different is Levi Brown from Brian Brohm? And, which one are the Bills higher on?
Brown is a rookie going through his first training camp. Brohm is in his third year, but is also going through his first training camp, with the Bills that is. Both of these young QB's have started out at the same time, at the same fresh start place in the mind of Chan Gailey.
Due to the way that the Packers treated Brohm like he was a leper, he really does not have that much more NFL experience than does Brown, with the exception of his one NFL start last year against Atlanta.
If after the training camp is concluded, and Gailey does not see much difference in the performance of Brown versus Brohm, he may want to keep Fitzgerald to throw in the fire if Edwards gets injured or suffers another concussion.
This is by far the most intriguing of the Bills final cuts - which quarterback stays and which quarterback goes. What do you think will happen?