Inside The Bills

Right now Bills among most youthful

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2013 – 9:11 am

Though the Bills roster is going to see some additions soon with just 50 players on it after final cuts, right now it’s one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.

The Rams are first at 24.98 years of age, followed by the Browns (25.25) and the Bills rank third (25.3).

The whole list courtesy of Philly.com is right here.


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Undrafted makes roster again

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2013 – 4:48 pm

It was somewhat of a forgone conclusion knowing that Jeff Tuel was going to make the 53-man roster, but for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons an undrafted rookie has made Buffalo’s final roster for the regular season.

Tuel along with CB Nickell Robey made the 2013 roster with both surviving the final cutdown to 53. Here’s a look back at the undrafted rookies that made the roster over the past 12 seasons.

2002 – RB Joe Burns, DE Grant Irons, OL Mike Houghton
2003 – LS Jon Dorenbos, WR/KR Antonio Brown
2004 – S Rashad Baker, CB Jabari Greer, DE Constantin Ritzmann, RB Shaud Williams
2005 – S Jim Leonhard
2006 – LB John DiGiorgio
2009 – LB Ashlee Palmer, LB Garrison Sanborn
2010 – LB Antonio Coleman, OL Cordaro Howard, WR David Nelson, WR Donald Jones
2011 – LB Robert Eddins
2012 – S Delano Howell
2013 – QB Jeff Tuel, CB Nickell Robey


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Bills roster is shy of 53

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2013 – 4:48 pm

The Bills made a lot of player moves over the past two days and they’re nowhere near from done. Here’s why.

Buffalo with all of their player releases are actually under the 53-man roster limit. The team currently has just 51 players. Head coach Doug Marrone wasn’t shy in stating that they intended to scour the waiver wire as well as explore other avenues to acquire players.

Buffalo figures to add a quarterback where it’s currently just EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the active roster. At the much-needed cornerback position where they entered the day with just four healthy CBs (five total counting injured Gilmore), they added CB Brandon Burton, claimed off of waivers this afternoon. Buffalo also has just three inside linebackers on the current roster. They would presumably want to add a fourth.


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CB Butler hoping for the best

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 9:48 am

Bills CB Crezdon Butler had a golden opportunity to fill the void left by the injury to Stephon Gilmore. In a battle with Justin Rogers and to a lesser extent T.J. Heath, Butler needed a solid performance to put him in the running to start Week 1 against New England. He was less than pleased with his play Thursday night.

“It was alright; a couple of mishaps in my technique that resulted in a couple of catches,” said Butler. “I just have to go back, look at film and evaluate myself.”

Suffice to say the coaching staff has evaluated Butler and all the other players vying for roster spots as the roster needs to be trimmed to 53 by 6 pm Saturday.

“It’s just going to happen regardless,” said Butler of the roster decisions. “They have to get down to 53 and you just try to do everything so you’ll be on that roster and we’ll see Sunday. At the end of the day, a decision is going to be made. And you just have to go with it.”

Head coach Doug Marrone said he felt his reserve cornerbacks needed to be more effective in press coverage.


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Bills final roster trends 2006-2012

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 6:15 am

Here’s a breakdown of what the final 53-man roster looked like by position over the last seven seasons when the roster was reduced at the end of August. Certain coaching staffs had their preferences, which might make predicting the direction Coach Marrone and his staff take a bit challenging with this being his first season with the club.

The only positions that should be relatively easy to call in terms of numbers are the specialists (3), the running backs (4) because it seems likely that they’ll carry a fullback and tight end (3). Beyond that the numbers could vary by one or two to what they’ve been in the past based on some of the injuries (Kolb, Gilmore).

Position                2006       2007       2008       2009       2010       2011       2012       2013
QB                          3              2              3              3              3              3              4              ?
RB                           4              5              4              3(1 sus)  4              4              4              ?
WR                         6              5              6              6              5              5              4              ?
TE                           3              3              3              3              2 (1 sus) 3               3              ?
OL                           9              8              9              8              9             8               9              ?
DL                           8              10           9              9               7              7              8              ?
LB                           7              7              6              7              10           11             7              ?
DB                          10           10           10           11              10           9               10           ?
ST                           3              3              3              3              3              3              4              ?


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Where Marrone sits with WR corps

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 1:06 am

The wide receiving corps was a group that was going to lead to some difficult decisions for Doug Marrone and his coaching staff come roster cut time. With the deadline to reduce the roster to 53 coming at 6 pm Saturday, here’s where Marrone stands concerning his receivers that are likely to stick.

“Right now I feel very comfortable with five or six of those players right now,” he said. “I think you’re going to look at the game (Thursday night), but there’s a body of work for people. It’s been tough for them with Kevin (Kolb) being hurt and then Jeff (Tuel) being in there and EJ (Manuel) being in there and then bringing in two other guys.

“My point on that is I weigh a little bit more on what they’ve done in the past than just (one game) evaluating them. I feel good about that position and if we put the right guy out there we can make some good things happen.”

Marcus Easley probably helped himself the most on Thursday with a long 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, the only touchdown against the Lions.


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Fan Friday 8-9

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2013 – 4:01 pm

Time for another camp edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Check Buffalobills.com for game previews on the written and video side of the Bills-Colts preseason opener Saturday.

1 - Hi Chris,

I’m starting to get excited about the upcoming season, and that excitement has generated some questions regarding Stephon Gilmore.  Will Mike Pettine try to use Stephon in the same way he used Revis?  Is Stephon capable of being a shutdown corner in the same category as Revis?  If he isn’t quite there yet, would Mike put Stephon on the #2 receiver, then shift coverage to the other side?  I’m just curious what is going though Mike’s mind regarding Stephon and how that would influence his play calling and scheme.

Thanks,
Kevin B.
Ashburn, VA

CB: I believe Pettine feels very comfortable using Gilmore in some of the same ways he utilized Revis. What we have to remember is Gilmore is a bigger, stronger corner than Revis and runs just as fast as him. There will be a lot more man coverage in Pettine’s defense than we saw last season. Here’s a taste of what Pettine thinks of Gilmore as a player.

“Here’s a guy that is really good and wants to be great,” said Pettine. “And to me the thing that’s been the most impressive is his preparation, how hard he practices every day, how competitive he is. He doesn’t want a ball caught on him in walk-throughs, let alone practice. And he’s a guy that prides himself in being on-point with his technique and Donnie Henderson has done a great job with him, with some of his technique things getting it cleaned up. Super coachable, he rarely makes the same mistake twice. Usually when he does make a mistake, he knows right away what it was.”

2 - @ChrisBrownBills any update on sj13?

Naitik1978

CB: He’s not going to play in the preseason opener and likely won’t play in the second preseason game next week against Minnesota. Hamstring pulls can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, so depending on the severity he might not be ready until the final preseason game or right before the regular season.

3 – Chris:

Living far away (Alberta, Canada) the access to information wasn’t always as easy as you make it now.

I’d like to hear a comparison of enthusiasm from the previous coaching staff to the new Marrone staff. This off season seems to have a very optimistic tone to it not just from the people at OBD, but the media and fan thoughts as well. When the previous regime took over was the excitement and anticipation as apparent as it is now? After 13+ years of suffering, we have all learned not to get too far ahead of ourselves but I can’t remember an off season to feel as potential-filled as this one.

Thanks,
Rob in Edmonton

CB: I would confidently say that Marrone and his staff have invigorated this roster like no one that has come before them in this non-playoff era (2000-2012). I think Mike Mularkey came the closest in energizing the team in the same way in his first year. But Marrone and his staff have taken a different approach, be it through positive messaging posted throughout the building, a symbiotic accountability between the players and the coaches or the cutting edge approach schematically to the game.

All of it has this roster believing that they can change the fortunes of this team for the better this year.

4 – Hey Chris, appreciate all the work you do and insight you provide.

I remember Stevie saying at one point that under Chan Gailey the receivers were able to have some freedom with running their routes just as long as they got to their spot at the right time. I was curious if Doug Marrone will still allow Stevie to run his routes as he has been.  I feel like Stevie has a unique skill set with the way he gets open and shakes defenders. I see the other receivers gearing towards running more quick crisp routes which matches their skills. I’m hoping the staff does recognize Stevie’s abilities and can get creative with him.

I was curious of your thoughts or if you had any insight regarding Stevie and how he fits in their offensive plans. I’m really looking forward to his season. It’s about time he gains some respect around the league. One last thing do you know if the Bills are sticking with the blue away pants this year?

Thanks for your time,
Jillian CT

CB: Your question is very similar to one that was asked of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who said the following when asked if Stevie would be permitted to run routes in his unorthodox, never the same way twice style.

“We’ve kind of narrowed (his improvising) down some,” said Hackett. “I think that’s what it was originally and I think that Stevie has understood what we’re trying to accomplish and I think having Stevie and the quarterback feel the timing so he understands which routes he can be a freelancer on. And what are the routes where the quarterback is going to give him some time?

I think that’s about all of us getting together, not just wide receivers over here and quarterbacks over here. Coach Hilliard and coach Hackett all coming together with the guys and saying, ‘This is what we’re trying to accomplish. This is when you can go to work. This is when we need you right there.’

As long as he sees where all that fits in it’s just going to get better and better.”

5 – Hi Chris, love Fan Friday.

An annual question is whether the team should keep 3 or 2 QBs.  Obviously, the final 53rd spot is at stake.  This year, more than ever, I would think the Bills should keep 2 QBs, since there is no way Jeff Tuel would ever be picked up to an active 53 roster on another team and, thus, could be saved away in the practice squad.  In addition, if we are down to Tuel at QB, then we probably will need a miracle for that game.  What are your thoughts?

Given all the youth in this team, I would hate to lose or risk losing a young, promising DB, WR or LB (or release a vet DE when the Bills have plenty of money to spare) in order to keep a 3rd QB.  As an emergency QB, we have Brad Smith, anyway (and we can bring up Tuel if one of the QBs is injured).

A Bill in LA

CB: I think the points you make are valid, and those are the decisions that Coach Marrone and his staff face. They’ll be asking that very question, ‘What do we sacrifice if we keep a third quarterback on the active roster?’

Most coaching staffs take the approach of keeping the 53 best players, within reason knowing they need a certain number of players at particular positions.

Coach Marrone said the other day that he’s liked Tuel ever since he was in college at Washington State and he has an uncanny knack for connecting on the deep ball with his receivers. We’ll see if that continues in the preseason games, but I believe Tuel is a player that Marrone covets, so I think he’ll get strong consideration for the 53-man roster.


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Receivers on roster history

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2013 – 10:14 am

With our examination on how many receivers the Bills new offensive staff may choose to keep on the roster this season in our Top 25 questions until training camp, we take a look back at what the previous regimes did in terms of their roster totals at wideout.

Going all the way back to 2006, it’s surprising to see that the numbers were actually greater further back than they are now, though Brad Smith was not counted toward the receiver total in 2011 and 2012.

Position                2006       2007       2008       2009       2010       2011       2012
WR total                  6              5              6              6              5              5              4


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Chan on why they carried 4 QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2012 – 2:28 pm

A lot of fans were surprised to see the Bills carry four quarterbacks on their 53-man roster after final cuts came down Friday night. Head coach Chan Gailey explained why it was a route they had to take.

“The injury to Brad (Smith), Tarvaris (Jackson) not being here but a short amount of time,” said Gailey after a walk through practice Saturday. “All of that played into it and you deal with what you’re having to make a decision with at that time. A month from now it may be different, but today that’s where we are and where we need to be. I have a hard time going into a game without a third guy that could take a snap and we didn’t know if we would have Brad this week or not.”

Based on Gailey’s comments it doesn’t sound as if four quarterbacks will be carried for very long on Buffalo’s roster.


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Bills roster is likely to change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2012 – 1:34 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked several questions about his 53-man roster. The Gailey comment that carried the most weight was the strong indication that the roster is going to be changing over the course of the coming week.

“I think you’ve been around Buddy and I long enough to know that nothing is ever set,” said Gailey. “We’re always looking for different ways to improve our football team. I doubt that what you see today will show up next Sunday.”

Gailey put his team through an hour walk-through session on the team’s grass field today.


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Released practice squad eligibles

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2012 – 8:37 am

Here’s a rundown of the players that were released Friday evening as part of final cuts that are practice squad eligible.

WR Kamar Aiken
OL Mark Asper
RB Zach Brown
LB Tank Carder
OL James Carmon
WR Marcus Easley
DE Robert Eddins
DT Jarron Gilbert
DB Isaiah Green
P Shawn Powell
DB Nick Saenz
OL David Snow
OL Keith Williams


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Roster breakdown

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 8:29 pm

Here’s the breakdown by position for Buffalo’s 53-man roster

QBs – 4
RBs – 4
WRs – 4
TEs – 3 (counting H-back Dickerson)
OL – 9
DL – 8
LBs – 7
DBs – 10
ST – 4


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Reserve players that made it

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 8:18 pm

Here are some of the more notable players that successfully fought for a roster spot. Congrats to all of them.

S Delano Howell
DE Kyle Moore
FB/TE Dorin Dickerson
OT Sam Young
C-G Colin Brown
LB Chris White
K John Potter


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Roster number history under Gailey

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 1:29 pm

With final cuts to get the roster to the required 53 coming later today, here’s a look at how the position numbers have fallen each of the past two years under Chan Gailey for the opening day roster.

Position       2010       2011
QB                          3              3
RB                           4              4
WR                         5              5
TE                           2 (1 sus)3
OL                           9              8
DL                           7              7
LB                           10           11
DB                          10           9
ST                           3              3


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How cornerback might alter roster decisions

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 12:25 pm

The Bills have to get the roster down to 53 by 9 pm tonight, and there’s one position that could compromise the number of players carried at each position.

In the last five days the cornerback position had Terrence McGee suffer a setback in his return from offseason knee surgery and Ron Brooks failed to make the trip to Detroit for the preseason finale due to a foot injury suffered in practice Tuesday. If the coaching staff is unsure as to whether either of them would be available to play Week 1, they may have to carry another cornerback on their roster, which would bring that total to seven. (It’s been widely assumed the Bills were going to carry six cornerbacks on their final roster)

The other option, if the Brooks injury is serious enough, would be to put Brooks on injured reserve and designate him as their player to return to the active roster under the new I-R rules, but that would not be able to happen until Sept. 4th after 4 pm. If they put him on I-R prior to that (today for example) then he would not be eligible to return to the active roster. That makes it even more likely that they carry seven cornerbacks to start the season if the injury.


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K Potter hoping he did enough

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2012 – 2:14 am

Bills kickoff specialist John Potter was perfect on kickoffs for touchbacks in the preseason going 8-for-8. He was the only kicker in the league in the preseason to have a perfect mark for touchbacks… until Thursday night.

Potter nailed his first two kickoffs in the preseason finale against Detroit for touchbacks making him 10-for-10 on kickoffs. Then to start the second half, Potter booted the opening kick four yards deep in the end zone and it was returned to the 19-yard line for a 23-yard return.

On his next kickoff later in the third, he only kicked off two yards into the end zone allowing Nate Hughes to return it to 19 yards to the Detroit 17. He finished the preseason with 11 touchbacks on 13 kickoffs.

“I feel pretty good about how I kicked off except for a few kicks—a few shorter ones in this game and one in the first game,” Potter said. “But overall, I’m pretty happy with how I performed so far.” 

Potter’s kickoffs have gone for touchbacks so frequently that most thought the kickoffs to start the second half were short on purpose to get the coverage team some live practice on returners, but that wasn’t the case.

“On those ones, I wasn’t trying to hit it my hardest,” he said. “And maybe at that point, later in the game, you don’t have the adrenaline flowing so you got to hit it a little bit harder.  That’s something I need to get a handle on, and start working on in the coming weeks. 

When asked if the two non-touchbacks would factor into the final equation on whether Potter makes the 53-man roster.

“It’s all part of it,” he said.

Final cuts are due at 9 pm Friday evening.


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Bills that are practice squad eligible

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2012 – 7:00 am

With roster reductions taking place this week, a factor in some of that decision making is the practice squad eligibility of players. Here are the players on Buffalo’s roster that still have practice squad eligibility.

WR Kamar Aiken
G/C Mark Asper
LB Nigel Bradham
CB Ron Brooks
RB Zac Brown
LB Tank Carder
OT James Carmon
TE Mike Caussin (on Active/PUP)
FB/TE Dorin Dickerson
WR Marcus Easley
DE Robert Eddins
DE Sean Ferguson
DL Jarron Gilbert
CB Stephon Gilmore
OT Cordy Glenn
WR T.J. Graham
CB Isaiah Green
S Delano Howell
CB Prince Miller
DE Kyle Moore
TE Fendi Onobun
K John Potter
P Shawn Powell
DT Jay Ross
S Nick Saenz
OT Zebrie Sanders
WR Derek Session
C David Snow
S Nick Sukay
OL Jake Vermiglio
LB Chris White
OL Keith Williams
OT Sam Young

The following free agent players are eligible to be signed to a Practice Squad:

1. Players who do not have an Accrued Season of free agent credit; or

2. Players who have one or more Accrued Seasons, but who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during each of such Accrued Seasons (Note:  any player who has an Accrued Season during which he was on the Active List for nine or more regular season games is not eligible for the Practice Squad).

A player may serve on a Practice Squad a maximum of three seasons.  However, a player who has served two seasons on a Practice Squad, as defined below, is permitted to serve on a Practice Squad in a third season only if the team by which he is employed that season has 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment

The Bills have to reduce their roster to 53 by 9 pm on Friday Aug. 31st.


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Bills will be on the lookout

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2010 – 4:09 pm

Though the team’s 53-man roster is assembled it’s not necessarily set.

The Bills personnel department will be hard at work scanning the waiver wire for positional upgrades.

With only two tight ends on the roster in Jonathan Stupar and J.P. Foschi it’s reasonable to think they may even add a TE at the expense of another position if the right upgrade can be found.


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Couple of undrafteds have a shot

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2010 – 3:44 pm

Buffalo has a good history of landing undrafted rookies that ultimately make the roster and it appears it could happen again this weekend.

In six of the last eight years at least one undrafted rookie free agent has made the Bills opening day roster. Here’s the list of Buffalo’s undrafteds that will have their fingers crossed on Saturday.

OL Sean Allen
RB Andre Anderson
RB Joique Bell
OLB Antonio Coleman
TE Andrew George
SS Dominique Harris
OL Cordaro Howard
WR Donald Jones
WR David Nelson
WR Naaman Roosevelt


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Predicted 53

Posted by Chris Brown on September 4, 2009 – 10:00 am

Well folks here are the 53 players I’ve selected for who I think the Bills staff picks for their 2009 roster. It wasn’t easy as there were several players that I believe are NFL caliber, that I could not keep on the squad due to numbers more than anything else. Buffalo’s coaches will have some dilemmas on the back half of the roster.

I have a few explanations for my choices at the bottom.

So it’s clear, this is my best educated guess. The coaches know better than I do anyway as to what they need and where on their roster.

QB – (3) – Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gibran Hamdan
RB – (3) – Fred Jackson, Dominic Rhodes, Xavier Omon — (Marshawn Lynch on Reserve/Suspended list)
WR – (6) – Lee Evans, Terrell Owens, Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish, Steve Johnson, Justin Jenkins — (James Hardy on Reserve/PUP)
TE – (3) – Derek Schouman, Derek Fine, Shawn Nelson
OL – (8) – Demetrius Bell, Brad Butler, Kirk Chambers, Geoff Hangartner, Andy Levitre, Seth McKinney, Langston Walker, Eric Wood
DL – (9) – Ryan Denney, Chris Ellis, Spencer Johnson, Chris Kelsay, Aaron Maybin, John McCargo, Aaron Schobel, Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams 
LB – (7) – Alvin Bowen, Marcus Buggs, Keith Ellison, Nic Harris, Kawika Mitchell, Ashlee Palmer, Paul Posluszny
DB – (11) – [CB (6) - S (5)] – Jairus Byrd, Reggie Corner, Drayton Florence, Ellis Lankster, Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Bryan Scott, John Wendling, Donte Whitner, George Wilson, Ashton Youboty
ST – (3) – Rian Lindell, Brian Moorman, Garrison Sanborn  

Practice squad (8) – OL Chris Denman, RB Bruce Hall, WR C.J. Hawthorne, DT Corey Mace, DT Derrick Jones, C/G Brandon Rodd, WR Shaine Smith, TE Jonathan Stupar.   

Explanations – Ko Simpson does not make this roster because Jairus Byrd is a long term investment and George Wilson and John Wendling are more valuable special teamers. Simpson is a good player, but I had to chooses a player that I think will be the victim.

I expect to see Marshawn Lynch on the reserve/suspended list to save the team a roster spot. Better to put it to use the first three weeks of the season even if it’s for a player that’s only helping you in the practice setting.

I believe James Hardy will be put on Reserve/PUP giving him another month and a half to build up the stamina in his knee so it’s ready to undergo the rigors of practice and games day after day, week after week. He’s a long term investment. Another six weeks is not going to cripple his development.

In light of how much the Bills’ offense intends to run the no huddle I don’t see FB Corey McIntyre making the roster. In their no huddle attack a fullback is almost never on the field. Goal line might be the only time. Otherwise its base set is a 3-by-1 look (3 WRs, 1 back). Good fullback, good special teamer, but I just don’t see it.

I expect the coaches to keep 3 QBs for a couple of reasons. Hamdan is a confidante of Edwards and he and Fitzpatrick are valuable sounding boards for him. Both have also done pretty well in the preseason.

I like Copeland Bryan a lot as a player, I’d have him on my team if I were picking, but I’ve got him in a numbers game at DE, plus he had trouble staying healthy this preseason and availability on Sunday is a very important factor that coaches consider. I suppose a veteran end could be another option here because Bryan has made some impact plays (2 FRs, sack and FF). That’s probably the toughest choice there.

I’d have put Jon Corto on the practice squad in a heartbeat if he wasn’t going to be on the 53-man roster, but he’s out of practice squad eligibility.

There are only eight offensive linemen on this 53-man roster and I would not rule out a signing off the waiver wire by the Bills if the right veteran is out there at a reasonable price.


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