The preseason has been completed, and the only thing separating the NFL from the start of the regular season is to make final decisions on their 53-man rosters. In Buffalo, there are some tough decisions to be made specifically on the offensive side of the ball, but who will survive?
Keep in mind that it's likely the 53-man roster won't be made up completely of players that Buffalo currently has the rights to. Before the cuts come down, here is a projection of who the Bills might keep:
Quarterback (2) EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel Cuts: Jordan Palmer
- The Bills' quarterback position is nearly one of the worst in the league in terms of depth. Thad Lewis was a disappointment in the summer, Jeff Tuel hasn't taken the next step the Bills were hoping for and Jordan Palmer didn't show the necessary arm strength against backups to prove he was worthy of a roster spot. Even though the Bills might only keep two quarterbacks initially, don't expect only Manuel and Tuel to make up this roster. There has to be an additional move coming, they can't go into the season with their current trio, or in this case, duo.
Running Back (4) C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon Cuts: None
- As straight forward as it gets. A talented room that will see a 100-percent rate of return.
Fullback (1) Frank Summers Cuts: Evan Rodriguez
- Rodriguez brings much more in the passing game to the Bills, but they are a run-first offense. The better blocker of the two, by far, is Frank Summers. He also has more experience carrying the ball than Rodriguez who is a transformed tight end. While the athleticism of Rodriguez is intriguing, they need a skull-crushing blocker ahead of their running backs and he isn't that. Summers might not be either, but he's more in the mold than Rodriguez.
(UPDATE: Evan Rodriguez has tweeted that he has been released.)
Wide Receiver (7) Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Mike Williams, Marquise Goodwin, Marcus Easley, Chris Hogan, T.J. Graham Cuts: Naaman Roosevelt, Caleb Holley
- The subtraction of both Thad Lewis and Jordan Palmer on the roster helps make keeping seven receivers on the roster possible. The five locks of the team, at this point, are Watkins, Woods, Williams, Goodwin and Easley. Hogan has had lapses in concentration, and Graham has stepped it up recently. Hogan is still important to the Bills on special teams and they might not want to give up on Graham yet. Will it stay at seven receivers through next week? That's debateable. Keeping anyone else on the cut list over Graham just doesn't make sense at this point.
Tight End (3) Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg Cuts: Tony Moeaki, Dominique Jones
- The Tony Moeaki experiment ends with a result that was predicted by many. The tight end has struggled with injuries ever since college and the 2014 preseason was no exception. He missed four out of five games with a hamstring injury, and barely even played in the one he appeared in. Even though Gragg hasn't done much to garner a roster spot, his athleticism in year two of his career is more intriguing than a perpetually injured player with past history. It may be time to cut their minimal losses with Moeaki and move on.
(UPDATE: Dominique Jones has tweeted that he has been released.)
Offensive Tackle (3) Cordy Glenn, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio Cuts: Chris Hairston
The end is likely near for Chris Hairston. Throughout the summer he has shown to have movement issues against edge defenders and the team's early attempt to move him inside to guard failed as well. The Bills won't cut second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio despite having a poor training camp, and the emergence of Erik Pears as a swing guard/tackle combination removes their need to keep Hairston around.
Offensive Guard (4) Erik Pears, Chris Williams, Cyril Richardson, Kraig Urbik Cuts: Antoine McClain, Jared Wheeler
- This really comes down to Kraig Urbik versus Doug Legursky. While Legursky has more in-game experience at center, Urbik is the bigger and superior player along the entire interior of the offensive line. He has a bigger cap hit, but the Bills can't worry about that now. If Eric Wood goes down with an injury they need someone to step in to help sustain the offensive line. Urbik has the most experience and is the better player.
Center (1) Eric Wood Cuts: Doug Legursky
- Legursky is too small and short-limbed for what Doug Marrone wants in an offensive lineman. He was a suitable stop-gap solution, but the Bills have addressed their offensive line in a big way this offseason which has left someone like Urbik on the outside looking in on the top five.
Defensive End (4) Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Jarius Wynn Cuts: Jacquies Smith, Bryan Johnson
- Although Jacquies Smith put up a good fight during training camp and in spots during the preseason, the Bills might opt to only keep four defensive ends on the roster. Since his return to the team at mandatory minicamp, Lawson has shown he still has some ability at defensive end even though he doesn't fit the new defense all that well. But, the Bills could surprise some and keep Smith around.
Defensive Tackle (5) Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Corbin Bryant, Stefan Charles, Landon Cohen Cuts: Ike Igbinosun
- The five best defensive tackles on the roster have been identified and there isn't much mystery around it. Bryant, Charles and Cohen have all had a terrific summer of work and made the Bills' decision to cut Alan Branch an easy one.
**Linebacker (5) Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers, Preston Brown, Ty Powell, Randell Johnson Cuts: Jimmy Gaines, Xavius Boyd
- Of course, Nigel Bradham does not count against the opening week roster due to his one-game suspension. However, the Bills have liked what they've seen from Preston Brown and Ty Powell which has helped them be the main backups. The only player in question here is Randell Johnson, who has extremely athletic skills, but is raw at this point in his career. They could opt to try and sneak him on the practice squad and use the spot elsewhere.
Cornerback (6) Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Corey Graham, Nickell Robey, Ross Cockrell, Ron Brooks Cuts: Mario Butler, Bobby Felder, Kamal McIlwain, Sam Miller
- Just as straight forward as the running back position, the top six have clearly been identified and there likely won't be any surprises. Ron Brooks had the most to prove in the offseason, and he did.
Safety (4) Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks Cuts: Kenny Ladler, Deon Broomfield
- This could get at least a little tricky due to the injury status of Jonathan Meeks. The severity of his neck injury has not been disclosed at this point in time, and if the Bills so choose, they could opt to put him on an injury list. If that is the case, the Bills could save a roster spot by keeping only three safeties and have Corey Graham serve as a hybrid defensive back.
Kicker (1) Dan Carpenter Cuts: None
Punter (2) Brian Moorman, Jordan Gay Cuts: None
- This might be the biggest surprise of the roster, but it really shouldn't be. The Nigel Bradham suspension allows the Bills to have flexibility at one position for one week. And like it or not, head coach Doug Marrone wants a kickoff specialist on the roster.
"The last two years we’ve lead the league in kickoff returns against us and I just think you’re playing with fire when you keep doing that. I think you can have a big advantage for a couple of reasons. One, you can take that phase out of the game. Meaning that you’ve got thirty-something spots that you need for special teams, the two coverage teams with kickoff return and punt and a lot of times we have starters on that. If you’re a team that makes a decision to kick it out of the end zone 90 percent of the time, you’re saving a lot of shots, you’re saving a lot of reps. And then you take away the opportunities for the other team."
So with the Bradham suspension, the Bills give Gay a one-week tryout to nail down the job. If it doesn't go well, then they move on. If it does, they have a different decision to make.
Long Snapper (1) Garrison Sanborn Cuts: None
**Nigel Bradham does not count against the roster for Week 1 due to his suspension
The Bills desperately need to find a punter because morman couldn't punt for my HS team
Too bad your list starts out so bad!
Because they will determine the success (or more realistically) the failure of the Doug squared regime.
This team is screwed.
This is a team on the brink of implosion. Management knows that they are GONE with the new owner and it is showing ion every decision they make. I understand the "Hail Mary" move by trading for Watkins (who, make no mistake, should be a great player), but banking on Manuel the way they have is downright irresponsible. It is also shocking that they, once again, had no backup plan (depending on BOTH Thad and Tuel was a bit of a stretch. There should have been only one of them on the roster). There is no way they could have thought Manuel was going to be good this year. Its plain to see that he is simply incompetent. Just watch other BACKUP qb's around the league this preseason. The Browns will be picking first this year, and Doug Whaley should never again have a job in football based on how badly he just screwed this team. And that's a shame too, because he has really assembled a very talented team aside of the QB spot--Which is the worst in the league.
I honestly would be happy if they cut EJ. While they're at it, cut CJ too.
Year after year we are stacked at RB but look terrible at QB. Whaley and Marrone tried moving into the 2nd round this year to draft Carlos Hyde. That tells you where the coaches priorities are. Great RBs are nice, several of them are even nicer but c'mon. Year after year we have good runners but look where it gets us..... NO PLAYOFFS! Maybe RBs aren't the answer?!?!
Sucks he didn't work out cause EJ likes to throw over the middle to tignt ends all the time, mostly chandler who has way to many drops, would've been great to get a once really good player back at that spot for this team
buffalo home boys
I always liked Naaman Rosevelt but this year the talent is too deep. Maybe Gaines stays on practice squad.
We don't want to hurt EJ's feelings by drafting a later round QB like Murray or McCarron both of whom would be a decent backup or Gasp! push EJ to the bench. We can give him more time to develop and maybe he won't be the next Ryan Leaf, Ihope I'm wrong. Just one time in an interview can he say something about needing improvement?
Send me a text when Manuel gets cut.
Manuel still here.
Worst QB depth...
In the entire league, our starter is probably ranking around 40-45 in the league so yeah there are many back up QBs in this league that are better than our starter. I really hope we can bring in a QB that was cut from another team, then maybe we can start putting this thing back together.
the talent is too deep? who wrote this John(Mary poppings)Murphy??
...but we DO have a long snapper...who's running this joke?
The only two big homer announcers than Murphy and kelso are Bentley and tasker wonder who pays them
what we need
The offensives line needs to give ej time. Ej will do well if he throws the ball down the field but has to have the time to have receivers open. If Freddie and cj are in we and every team knows we are running the ball. We need to be able to fool the defense. Back in the day Kelly had the best offensives line.