For the eighth time in the last 10 years an undrafted rookie free agent has made Buffalo’s 53-man roster. Two such players did it this year.
OLB Robert Eddins and TE Zack Pianalto both made the 53-man roster today for Buffalo.
“Eddins showed up a lot,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He did a great job. He showed up on defense, in games, in practice and on special teams, he did a lot of things very well. We were encouraged by what he may be able to develop into at some point in time.
“Zack is the same way. Zack Pianalto showed some flashes. He nursed that hamstring for a long time. But we saw enough glimpses and flashes and got a feel for his demeanor towards the game that we thought he would be a positive force in the future.”
Eddins had a strong training camp and preseason, which included two sacks, which he logged against Denver and Jacksonville. Pianalto had six catches for 59 yards in the preseason and joins fellow UNC alums Da’Norris Searcy and Johnny White on the opening day roster.
Tags: Robert Eddins, Zack Pianalto
Posted in Inside the Bills
I can smell the season opener! Can’t wait for the Bills to try to exact some revenge on the Chiefs after that horrible overtime game last year. Final cuts are coming on Saturday. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - I was wondering how you see the defensive rotation going forward. I think both Dareus and Kyle Williams are going to get heavy exposure, but who will be manning the other side? Will that spot still be open comeptition? Where do you see Alex Carington fitting in, and do the coaches think he is ready for a more full-time role?
Ryan V, Rochester
CB: Carrington will have a bigger role this year, but it will be as more of a pass rushing linebacker in their nickel package, where he’s made some plays this preseason. He will also factor in on some subpackage duty at his more traditional defensive end role.
As far as that starting DE position on the right side, it’s Dwan Edwards’ spot to lose and fellow veteran Spencer Johnson has been pushing him with a strong preseason in his own right. I think Edwards and Johnson both did well this summer and it’ll be up to the coaches to decide who they feel should be the starter.
2 - Chris,
How are we in terms of offensive line depth? I’ve read that after the starters it’s a bit thin & even at least one of our tackles might be average at best. What’s your take?
CB: I can tell you that even Chan Gailey has said they have no depth, and that they need to develop it in the youth they have on their roster. I think the odds on favorite to be Buffalo’s swing tackle is fourth-round pick Chris Hairston.
He played both left and right tackle in the last preseason game against Jacksonville and did okay for his first game action, having missed the first two preseason games. He’s still got some work to do with his technique, but he’s got experience at left tackle having played there a couple of years in college and is a smart, heady player. The coaching staff clearly likes his potential, so it’ll be down to guys like him, Ed Wang and Cordaro Howard to represent the tackle depth on this roster.
3 - Assuming Byrd is starting at one safety spot, who is the front runner for the other spot? George Wilson? Also, what was the main reason the Bills did not re-sign Whitner? It seems that Searcy is a similar player to Whitner, does that explain his drafting and the letting go of Whit?
Seems as if Naaman is playing well in camp so far, does he have any chance of sneaking into a top 4 receiver spot?
CB: Lot of questions there. Yes, George Wilson is the starting SS and I don’t see that changing between now and the opener at KC. With Whitner it was a case of him asking for the moon in terms of money and secondly burning some bridges here with the organization. Cleaning out everything from his locker right after exit meetings did not go over well. He wasn’t even on hand for reporters for locker clean out day. I think the Bills already made their decision on him, which in part likely prompted the drafting of Da’Norris Searcy. Searcy however, is a much stouter player than Whitner as he goes about 223 pounds. Whitner was 206.
Roosevelt did have a solid camp before his ankle injury in the Denver game. I’m pretty confident he makes the roster.
4 – Hey Chris,
I am curious about Brad Smith and where he is lining up when he’s not at QB. Is he going to push for the 3rd or 4th Reciever role? or is he mainly a kick returner/ wildcat QB?
Frank from Jupiter, Florida
CB: I don’t believe that Brad Smith will be full time in any one position. I think he’ll be a slash role player just like Kordell Stewart was. He’ll line up at QB in short yardage situations and Wildcat formations and he’ll split out at WR on occasion and also take part in kickoffs, though this new kickoff rule might render that moot with all the touchbacks we’ve seen. Where do I see him lining up the most? At QB this season.
5 - Chris,
Thanks for the updates in camp. Who do you think will make the roster of the TE’s in camp? Chandler seems to be the favorite and has caught a lot of balls with the 1st team. Nelson is hurt again. The player that has looked good is Mike Caussin. He seems to maybe be a downfield TE. How many TE’s will make the roster? Will they keep a practice squad player or maybe have 4 TE on the roster.
CB: Glad you enjoyed our camp coverage. I see the Bills keeping three tight ends. Scott Chandler and veteran David Martin I think are safe bets, but after that it’s the coach’s call in terms of who they like better. Shawn Nelson’s injury hasn’t helped him and yes, Mike Caussin has performed well. Rookie Zack Pianalto has also turned in some nice play at times. Caussin and Pianalto are both practice squad eligible, but I think it’s going to be very close for that third spot.
Tags: Alex Carrington, Brad Smith, Chan Gailey, Chris Hairston, Fan Friday, George Wilson, Mike Caussin, Naaman Roosevelt, Scott Chandler, Shawn Nelson, Zack Pianalto
Posted in Inside the Bills
First cuts are due on Tues. Aug. 30th, but less than 10 players need to be trimmed from the roster to get down to the required 80. Final cuts are Sept. 3rd when the roster has to get down to the customary 53. Remember send your questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Let’s get going.
1 - Chris,
Could you tell Bill’s fans who the leading undrafted players that might make the roster? It would seem that the TE Pianalto and one of the inside lb’s would have a decent chance above some of the other positions. Is there a dark horse guy that might break out even if there aren’t getting reps that would have a chance to make the roster/impress the coaches?
Thanks for the daily updates. Great work.
CB: You’re not wrong to think Pianalto would have a chance to make the roster just because the other candidates at that position for the third tight end job are largely unproven as well. That being said I think Mike Caussin has done more this summer than Pianalto and in my estimation would land the third tight end job. I don’t know how realistic it is for any undrafted rookies to make the final roster. They’ve really been put behind the eight ball with no spring camps or a real chance to make an impression.
That being said the two undrafted rookies that I feel have done the most on the practice field are OLB Robert Eddins and WR Kamar Aiken. Does that mean they’ll make the roster? Probably not, but practice squad spots are a strong likelihood for them as I see it. Then again I don’t make those decisions.
2 – Hi Chris,
I was wondering since it seems to be more injuries this year, mostly pulled muscles or tweaked older injuries. Is that a byproduct of the lockout? Do other teams seem to have more injuries as well or am I just over analyzing what we’ve seen at the beginning here. Also looking for an update on the current injuries. Thanks a lot for all your coverage it keeps us all up to date what’s happening especially now with everything moving so fast with the lockout ended.
Rich in Rochy
CB: I know coaches have been very concerned about there being a greater risk for injuries due to the long layoff from real football. We’ve seen some of that in the practices and preseason games already. Unfortunately I think it’s only going to increase in the regular season when guys are really going all out for 60 minutes, though I hope I’m wrong. As for the injuries just stay close to the Inside the Bills blog and the home page at Buffalobills.com for injury updates.
3 – Chris,
I am a Rochester native and now live in State College and have been a huge fan of what you’ve done in covering the Bills. Thank you so much. My question is:
The Bills have Brad Smith listed as a quarterback on the depth chart and I understand that he will be used in Wildcat formation. However, will we see him lining up more as a receiver? He seemed like more of that type of player with the Jets, and he was effective that way.
State College, Pa.
CB: He’ll be used at receiver from time to time yes, but it won’t be for the majority of the time. I’d expect to see Smith on the field anywhere from 8-15 plays a game on offense. What the split is between QB and WR I think will vary week to week depending on the opponent.
4 – Hi Chris,
First off thanks for all your training camp news updates. My question is about roster cuts and if they will be moved back time-wise since the holdout delayed training camp and everything else? And in your opinion is Marcus Easley on the outside looking in to make the cut because of last years injury and now his knee again this year?
CB: They have not moved the date of the first roster cut which is Aug. 30th, but they did change how many cuts need to be made. A lot of clubs didn’t want their roster reduced to 75 that quickly because of the time crunch as you mentioned. They only have to get down to 80 players by next Tuesday.
With respect to Marcus Easley he’s making steady progress and with a good showing on Saturday I think he’ll lock down a roster spot. I believe the Bills will keep six receivers and I believe he’ll be one of them.
5 – Hi chris,
It sure looks like the bills defense is going to be a lot better.
With Spiller and Jackson in the backfield how do you think they will split carries? Will it be like KC with Charles and Jones or will Jackson be the feature back with Spiller as a chance of pace back?
CB: The coaching staff has tried to give Spiller more opportunities to get him up to speed, but Jackson at this point is still the better all around back. That being said I would anticipate that Jackson still gets the majority of the work with Spiller more of a change of pace and split wide more often.
Tags: Brad Smith, C.J. Spiller, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Marcus Easley, Zack Pianalto
Posted in Inside the Bills