| More

Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
Brought to you by:

Tracking the Bills' march to 53

The Buffalo Bills, like all other teams around the National Football League, have to get their active rosters down to just 53 players by 4 pm on Saturday, August 30. As the reports of releases come through, we'll compile them all right here and give instant analysis along with it.

The Bills are at 75 players, and with the Nigel Bradham suspension (who doesn't count against the roster for the first week), they only have to release 21 players to get down to 53. Who will go?

Here is what has happened so far:

UPDATE: The Bills have announced the release of 10 players

QB Jeff Tuel
Analysis: Although not completely surprising considering the string of bad performances Jeff Tuel had throughout practices and the preseason games, the Bills felt like the time was right to let Tuel walk. The Bills always had high hopes for Tuel as a longterm potential backup, but he just didn't make the necessary strides in his second year to warrant a spot on the active roster. In 2013, the Bills were scared to cut Tuel because of how well he showed in the preseason games. Perhaps this move is to try to sneak him on to the practice squad and keep him in house. Either way, Tuel will not be a part of the initial 53.

WR T.J. Graham
Analysis: After two disappointing seasons with the Bills, the team has finally decided to move on from former third-round selection and wide receiver T.J. Graham. The wideout struggled with confidence and with his hands at the beginning of training camp, and could never overcome the positive play exhibited by both Marcus Easley and Chris Hogan for the majority of the summer. The final stats on Graham: 31 games, 16 starts, 54 catches, 683 yards and three touchdowns.

OL Doug Legursky
Analysis: The Bills signed Doug Legursky in 2013 to compete for the starting left guard job and underwhelmed in his time on the field. Upon entering the offseason, the team made it a priority to upgrade the offensive line in any way possible, and did so by adding three rookies and signing a free agent. In a battle with Kraig Urbik near the end of training camp to be thebackup center, Legursky's small stature and poor performance lost the battle.

DE/DT Ike Igbinosun
Analysis: The Bills remove their swing defensive lineman off the roster in one of the mandatory nine cuts they need to make on Saturday. Igbinosun filled in at both defensive end and defensive tackle throughout training camp and held his own. His release means the Bills are only keeping four defensive tackles from their training camp roster on the regular season set of 53.

S Kenny Ladler
Analysis: Armed with many accolades from his days at Vanderbilt, an early injury at training camp took a lot of momentum away from Ladler in his attempt to make the 53-man roster. It was going to be a hard position to crack as it was. The two main backups (Duke Williams & Jonathan Meeks) were both draft picks by this regime in 2013.

S Deon Broomfield
Analysis: Along with Ladler, Broomfield couldn't seem to crack into the top four safeties on the roster despite making some solid plays throughout offseason workouts and during training camp. The undrafted free agent rookie showed an eye for the ball at times, but it wasn't enough to unseat either Duke Williams or Meeks.

LB Jimmy Gaines
Analysis: The team's other native of Buffalo, Jimmy Gaines made a valiant effort to stick to the roster. The Canisius High School graduate and undrafted free agent made positive plays in coverage during camp, but faced stiff competition at linebacker from the start. The Bills are very intrigued by the trio of Preston Brown, Ty Powell and Randell Johnson, which made Gaines' quest for a roster spot a tough one as that trio progressed through the preseason.

WR Caleb Holley
Analysis: Holley followed up a successful tryout at rookie minicamp by impressing the coaching staff of the Bills throughout training camp. The undrafted rookie wideout made tough catches in some difficult areas -- especially in the red zone -- to catch the eye of many. Holley will likely be in consideration for the practice squad if he clears waivers.

DE Bryan Johnson
Analysis: He'll be best remembered for the training camp fight with center Eric Wood and tight end Scott Chandler, but Bryan Johnson had a solid training camp as an undrafted free agent rookie. There were times where he made some of the previously cut offensive linemen look a bit foolish, but he also had reps that resulted in him getting engulfed by the blocker. Johnson had some good speed off the edge, but it wasn't enough to get past Jacquies Smith and get a spot on the active roster.

OL Antonie McClain
Analysis: The Bills gave McClain a few opportunities throughout training camp to prove that he belonged on the Bills active roster but failed to deliver on all of them. The team tried McClain at both tackle and guard to see if he could provide the versatility, only to find that he was suited much better as an interior offensive lineman. McClain loses out to both fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson and Kraig Urbik as the top interior reserves.

The Bills announced the release of 10 players and the placement of three players on to Injured Reserve. The roster is currently at 62, and subtracting one spot for Bradham, they'll need to cut eight more players by Saturday afternoon.

P Brian Moorman
Analysis: It's the end of an era once again for the longtime Bills punter. First arriving to the team in 2001, Moorman had only a brief hiatus following his first release from the franchise before returning last season as the team's top punter. It wasn't a stretch to see that Moorman struggling during the preseason games, which was the ultimate reason for his reason from the team. The Bills will either see if Jordan Gay can handle both punting and kickoff duties, or look elsewhere to fill that role. Either way, this might be Moorman's last stand in Buffalo.

QB Jordan Palmer
Analysis: It wasn't an especially great debut and audition for Jordan Palmer. While no one doubts his smarts and coaching-like qualities that have kept him in the league for a long time, Palmer just didn't have the desired zip on passes and tipped his hand to defenders one too many times on Thursday. This leaves the Bills with two quarterbacks on the roster. The expectation is that they would look to fill in with a third through trade or free agency.

DT Landon Cohen
Analysis: The first surprise cut of the day belongs to the Bills letting training camp standout and defensive tackle Landon Cohen go. Cohen was one of the most disruptive linemen for Buffalo against the backups in practice and opponents in preseason games, often reacting quickly to the snap to get some pressure in the backfield. His release means the Bills will likely only keep four defensive tackles, but a name to keep an eye on now is defensive lineman Ike Igbinosun. He has played both end and tackle this summer, and his versatility might have earned him a spot. Stay tuned.

TE Tony Moeaki (IR)
Analysis: It's quite simple with Tony Moeaki. The Bills loved him. They thought he could be an X-factor at the tight end position if he could stay healthy. As they learned, like the Kansas City Chiefs before them, the 'if' never came to fruition. Moeaki suffered a hamstring injury early into training camp that kept him out of 80-percent of the team's preseason games in 2014. Even the one he dressed for, Moeaki barely played in the second half. It was a shot worth taking for the Bills, but they'll once again have to go with Scott Chandler and Lee Smith as their primary tight ends.

FB Evan Rodriguez
Analysis: It was an open competition between Rodriguez and Frank Summers to be the team's one and only fullback on the roster. They had two differing styles: Rodriguez was the pass catcher and Summers was the more established blocker out of the backfield. Due to the profile of their quarterback and what the Bills are shaping their offense to be in 2014, Buffalo opted for the player that fit the running mold the best.

WR Naaman Roosevelt
- It was a nice story for Roosevelt to return to the Bills for training camp, but the odds were stacked against him upon his arrival. With already at least seven receivers ahead of him, Roosevelt never was able to stand out from the crowd. The St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute and University at Buffalo graduate will be on the lookout for another job in the league once again.

TE Dominique Jones
Analysis: Jones was a late addition to the roster, but got a lot of playing time through training camp due to all the injuries early on. Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Tony Moeaki and Chris Gragg all missed some time, while Jones soaked up the snaps. It wasn't enough for him, unfortunately. He's a shorter, stocky player that can move a lot better than he looks. He just failed to provide the Bills with something they didn't already have at the position.

LB Xavius Boyd
Analysis: Boyd was added late into camp and had a lot of young linebacker types ahead of him on the depth chart. With Preston Brown, Ty Powell, Randell Johnson and Jimmy Gaines all making plays throughout camp, Boyd was the lowest man on the totem pole once the first cuts were announced.

CB Kamaal McIlwain
Analysis: The Bills got their first look at McIlwain during mandatory minicamp as a tryout player. He stood out and made a few plays even without being with the team for that long, and once they found a crack on the roster they added him immediately. McIlwain played both tough and physical at the beginning of the camp, but as practices racked up he wore down.

CB Sam Miller
Analysis: Added once the Bills decided to part ways with the often beaten cornerback Michael Carter, Miller kept with receivers much more capably then his jersey's predecessor. Unfortunately for him, there wasn't much room for upward mobility on the cornerback depth chart: it was all pretty much decided once Ron Brooks started having a solid training camp.

OL Jared Wheeler
Analysis: A late addition, Wheeler didn't get many reps even during practice as the odd man out along the third-team offensive line. Once a few transactions and injuries occurred, Wheeler got in and held his own. The swing center/guard didn't have the preferred experience to be the team's interior backup and failed to unseat either Kraig Urbik or Doug Legursky.

CB Mario Butler (IR)
Analysis: After getting some solid time on the field during training camp while Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin each returned slowly from their offseason surgeries, Butler suffered an injury (ankle) of his own. His chances were slim to start, but the injury took away any ambiguity from the Bills' impending decision at cornerback.

CB Bobby Felder (IR)
Analysis: Felder was another late addition for the Bills during training camp and didn't stand out nearly as much as McIlwain or Butler. An injury to his groin sealed his fate and landed him on the injured reserve.

The list will be updated as more moves have been reported or announced.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

Tags :  
Topics : Sports
Social :
Locations : Buffalo
People : Chris GraggDominique JonesEvan E-RodEvan RodriguezFrank SummersLee SmithRod RodriguezScott ChandlerTony Moeaki

Recent Posts