Bills decide to go with 4 for now
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)
The Buffalo Bills have only four receivers left on their roster - at least for now.
Buffalo cut five receivers on Friday. Coach Chan Gailey warned that what one sees now isn't necessarily what one will get next Sunday when Buffalo opens against the Jets.
''You've been around (general manager) Buddy (Nix) and I long enough to know that nothing's ever set,'' Gailey said following a brief walk through on Saturday afternoon. ''We're always looking for different ways to improve our team.''
Still, when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills jumped out to a 5-2 start in 2011 before limping to a 6-10 finish, the high-powered offense got its boost from an array of 4- and 5-receiver sets.
But with just veterans Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, and David Nelson along with rookie T.J. Graham, the Bills may not be in position to employ as many exotic schemes even if running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are split out.
''We got enough to play,'' Gailey said about his thin group of receivers. ''If you got a couple, you got enough to play.''
Three of the receivers cut Friday - Derek Hagan, Ruvell Martin, and Naaman Roosevelt - each caught at least seven passes last season, while 2010 fourth-round pick Marcus Easley and Kamar Aiken were also let go.
Easley was attempting to rebound after missing the past two seasons due to injury, and seemed to solidify his place on the roster with an electrifying 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Buffalo's final preseason game against Detroit.
But Easley fell victim to a numbers game that ultimately found Buffalo keeping kickoff specialist John Potter as well as incumbent kicker Rian Lindell. Easley will likely be placed on the team's practice squad.
The Bills include Brad Smith on their list of receivers, but the 7-year veteran can also play quarterback and return punts. But Smith injured his groin against the Lions, and Gailey isn't sure of Smith's status.
Because of that uncertainty, the Bills decided to keep three quarterbacks - Fitzpatrick, Tarvaris Jackson, and Tyler Thigpen. Jackson was obtained from Seattle last week, but he may not be ready to back-up Fitzpatrick against the Jets.
''The injury to Brad, Tarvaris not being here but a short amount of time, all of that played into it,'' Gailey said. ''You deal with what you are having to make a decision with at that time. A month from now it may be different, but that's where we are right now and that's where we need to be. I have a hard time going into a game without a third guy that can take a snap, and we didn't know if we'd have Brad this week or not.''
Buffalo has also been dealt a blow with rookie cornerback Ron Brooks' foot injury that required surgery earlier in the week. That leaves the Bills with five cornerbacks, including Terrence McGee, who is recovering from offseason knee injury.
Gailey, however, said McGee should be ready to practice on Monday.