Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- With cutdown day passing us by and the Buffalo Bills down to their final 53, the question that is asked for some of the players is 'What went wrong?'
Reviewing the decisions made by the coaching staff and front office at One Bills Drive, I'll do my best to make sense of it all:
DT Dwan Edwards
- Early on in the off-season, it seemed like this would be merely a formality. With Edwards still owed $3.6 million over the next two seasons in base salary, most predicted his demise back in April and May. However, the way Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt both spoke about his play on the field made some readjust their initial premonitions. When it comes down to it, both his annual salary and his position on the depth chart at defensive tackle (fourth) were strong indicators that his time in Buffalo may be over.
LB Tank Carder (Practice Squad Eligible)
- It's not often you see a team give up on a fifth-round selection after just one training camp and preseason, but the Bills elected to do so with the former TCU linebacker. I won't lie, it's a release that left me a bit surprised. I thought Carder showed enough potential throughout training camp to warrant a roster spot. While Carder showed natural physical skills, the one thing Gailey always pointed to was that he needed to be much sharper mentally. That must mean he didn't take very well to the defensive playbook of Dave Wannstedt, and ended up in the wrong positions and coverages throughout training camp. Either way, cutting a draft pick this early on is a surprise.
WR Marcus Easley (Practice Squad Eligible)
- Serving as the apple of many fans' eyes, Marcus Easley has found his way on the outside looking in on the active roster. I thought perhaps his performance against Detroit would have kept him around for another season, with the Bills not wanting to subject him to the waiver wire. However, it seems the Bills were satisfied with their current crop of receivers and let him walk. Easley was way down the depth chart by the time training camp closed up, failing to have even reps with the second-team offense. The writing seemed on the wall right up until that final preseason game in Detroit. It wasn't enough, however.
WR Derek Hagan
- After having a great start to training camp, Derek Hagan has really fallen back with the rest of the pack. He dropped catchable passes in practices at One Bills Drive and just never showed the spark that he had at the beginning of training camp. He's one of those players that if the Bills need him, he'll likely be available on the free agent market. He didn't bring anything on special teams for the Bills and was deemed expendable.
WR Ruvell Martin
- The opposite of Hagan, Ruvell Martin's key contributions were on special teams. With a player like John Potter on the roster, he wasn't valued highly enough to be kept around for kick coverage purposes. He was a fringe player for the roster, and the Bills elected to go light at wide receiver.
WR Naaman Roosevelt
- Every time I looked, it seemed as though a new question popped up from someone about why Naaman Roosevelt wasn't in a good position to make the team. While racking up catches against thrid-stringers in the preseason, Roosevelt failed to discern himself in any other way. He's short, underweight, doesn't run fast, doesn't jump high, can't help on kick and punt coverage and is also buried on the depth chart for punt returners. He's had a good run of training camps, but his time with the Bills is over for the time being.
LB Scott McKillop
- Trying to battle back from a gruesome knee injury, McKillop had to be one of the last cuts for the 53-man roster. However, once his reps on the defensive side of the ball started to get limited with Kirk Morrison being used as the second-team middle linebacker, McKillop lost a good deal of his value. They lose a special teams player that has been noted for his work on kickoff coverage, but yet again John Potter makes someone expendable.
DE/DT Jarron Gilbert (Practice Squad Eligible)
- A mild upset in my opinion. Gilbert came on strong in the final three weeks and made himself in to the fifth-best defensive end option. Unfortunately for him, the backup quarterback struggles very well could have cost him a spot on the roster. He might be someone the Bills want to prune on the practice squad for a season. It's his final year of eligibility for that distinction.
DT Kellen Heard
- An ankle injury and poor conditioning were the reasons that Kellen Heard wasn't able to get out of his hole on the depth chart. At times very productive for the Bills in 2011, Heard just wasn't able to stay on the field and put a consistent enough effort in throughout the past month of workouts. He lost out to Alex Carrington for the final defensive tackle spot.
HB Johnny White
- It was either going to be Johnny White or Tashard Choice on this list, and an ankle injury for White barred him from ever really getting going throughout training camp and the preseason. Choice stepped up his game for the final two preseason tilts and showed some tough, aggressive running. White is yet another draft pick that has been sent packing.
OG Mark Asper (Practice Squad Eligible)
- As does sixth-round pick Mark Asper, who never seemed to get in the good graces of offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris. He struggled throughout camp, showing a sign of life every here and again, but nothing to warrant the Bills cutting a Chad Rinehart or Colin Brown in his favor.
DE Robert Eddins (Practice Squad Eligible)
- The surprise of last year's initial 53-man roster can't make it two-for-two. Playing a different position in this year's preseason than last year's, Eddins couldn't surpass Kyle Moore or even Jarron Gilbert for that matter. He is a bit undersized and gets chewed up by bigger blockers.
OT James Carmon (Practice Squad Eligible)
- Only in his second year of playing offensive tackle in his life, James Carmon showed flashes with his enormous frame (6-foot-7, 320-pounds). However, Carmon was much too sloppy in his technique to warrant legitimate consideration on the roster and fell victim to cutdown day. I do think he is a prime candidate to stash on the practice squad and to try and develop as a long-term project at left tackle. The Bills are void of one of those now, so why not?
OG Keith Williams (Practice Squad Eligible)
- Throughout training camp, Keith Williams never stuck out like a sore thumb for good reasons but never did anything to inspire snark and criticism from those looking on at practice. A backup guard type that I think fell victim to the numbers game, but is someone with some talent. I think he's another one the Bills may think about extending an invitation to their practice squad, again.
TE Kevin Brock (Practice Squad Eligible)
- Injured for a good portion of training camp, Kevin Brock found himself behind Dorin Dickerson and his rather unique skill-set. Creating the types of matchup problems that Dickerson does really puts a player like Brock at a disadvantage. An above average blocker and an average pass catcher, Brock might also find his way on the Bills practice squad.
WR Kamar Aiken (Practice Squad Eligible)
- He was at the bottom of the barrel in terms of wide receivers left on the roster. He stuck with the Bills on the practice squad last year. It might happen again in 2012 if they lose Easley somewhere.
S Nick Saenz (Practice Squad Eligible)
- Once Nick Saenz lost the second-string job to Delano Howell ahead of the second preseason game in Minnesota, he lost out on his opportunity to potentially make this roster outright. Howell's overall tackling ability won out in this competition.
P Shawn Powell (Practice Squad Eligible)
- While he does have big leg, Moorman's placement, hang-time and distance won him the job with a lot of room to spare. Powell might just get a look elsewhere though. He's had some big, booming punts during the preseason contests.
CB Isaiah Green (Practice Squad Eligible)
- An undersized cornerback that was mismatched almost every single time, Isaiah Green made some nice plays here and there at training camp. Unfortunately for him, the six cornerbacks on the roster already were seemingly set in stone before he even got to Buffalo.
OG David Snow (Practice Squad Eligible)
- Throughout training camp, David Snow tried showing some versatility by taking some snaps at center. There were just way too many players on the roster ahead of him to even think about a roster spot.
HB Zach Brown (Practice Squad Eligible)
- A late add to training camp after Chris Douglas went down with an injury, I never thought Zach Brown was a real threat to make the roster.
Here is the 53-man roster as of right now:
Quarterback (4): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tarvaris Jackson, Tyler Thigpen, Brad Smith
Running Back (3): Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Tashard Choice
Fullback (1): Corey McIntyre
Wide Receiver (4): Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, David Nelson, T.J. Graham
Tight End (3): Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Dorin Dickerson
Offensive Tackle (4): Cordy Glenn, Erik Pears, Chris Hairston, Sam Young
Offensive Guard (3): Andy Levitre, Kraig Urbik, Chad Rinehart
Center (2): Eric Wood, Colin Brown
Defensive End (4): Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Chris Kelsay, Kyle Moore