BBD Editor: Dan Hope
With Saturday’s deadline to cut down the roster to the regular-season limit of 53 players, the Buffalo Bills had a busy day Friday. The Bills released 18 players from their roster, while also placing three injured players on the season-ending injured reserve, in order to cut their roster down to 55 players (the roster was at the 75-player limit prior to the 21 moves, but free safety Jairus Byrd’s roster exemption expires Saturday).
The Bills have not made any stunning releases yet, but they have released a few names who both Ryan Talbot and I had on our final roster projections. Conversely, the Bills have a few players still remaining on their roster who neither Ryan nor I expected to make the team.
Friday’s Cuts (listed in alphabetical order)
LB Kourtnei Brown: Brown was always a long shot to make the roster. He did not see much significant playing time this preseason. He did not play in a regular-season NFL game last season after going undrafted in the 2012 NFL draft.
RB Zach Brown: Zach Brown had some good moments this preseason, but the Bills have a clear hierarchy at running back, which left Brown as the odd man out as the fourth running back in the pecking order.
CB Crezdon Butler: Butler’s release was one of the biggest surprises of the day. He was viewed as a potential fill-in starter at cornerback with Stephon Gilmore injured, but a very poor performance in the Bills’ preseason finale versus the Detroit Lions on Thursday night may have cost him his job. Nonetheless, Butler’s release makes a thin cornerback group even thinner.
G Antoine Caldwell: The door appeared to be open for Caldwell to be the Bills’ swing interior line backup after Doug Legursky was carted off the field with a knee injury on Thursday night. That door was slammed shut quickly when Caldwell was cut Friday. The Bills have very little interior line depth, but apparently did not see Caldwell as being up to the job.
G Zach Chibane: Chibane came in with familiarity of Doug Marrone’s offense, having played for him at Syracuse for the past four years. The undrafted rookie did not play much in the preseason, but is a prime candidate for the practice squad.
FS Jordan Dangerfield: Dangerfield made some plays in the Bills’ preseason finale as a physical safety, but at a position where the Bills have three solid veterans and two drafted rookies, Dangerfield was always a long shot. He could be a prime candidate for the practice squad.
TE Dorin Dickerson: The Bills drafted Dickerson’s replacement when they selected Chris Gragg in the seventh round of this year’s draft. Dickerson is an impressive athlete with some receiving skill, but his career lacks production and he adds nothing as a blocker at the tight end position. Gragg can fill the H-back role that Dickerson would have played, while being younger with more upside and slightly more blocking ability.
CB Kip Edwards: Edwards made some big plays as a cornerback blitzer and in run support this preseason, but he lacks the deep coverage ability to be much of an NFL cornerback. Even on a team with a very weak cornerback situation, Edwards would not provide much help.
RB Kendall Gaskins: Like Zach Brown, the Bills had no room for another running back on their roster, and Gaskins did not do anything this preseason to stand out or differentiate himself in a way that would make him worth keeping.
DT Jarron Gilbert: Gilbert had a solid preseason, but was stuck at possibly the deepest position on the Buffalo Bills roster. He is a promising athlete with decent penetrating ability, but he is not a great run-stopper and was far down the Bills’ defensive tackle depth chart.
CB T.J. Heath: Consistently burned in coverage by the Lions on Thursday, Heath proved that he is not an NFL-caliber cornerback. Heath simply does not have the cover skills to match up with NFL wideouts, and he is not a great asset in run support or special teams either.
WR Brandon Kaufman: A big receiver with good hands and route-running ability, Kaufman had a very promising preseason. Unfortunately for Kaufman, both Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley stepped up even more impressively and earned roster spots at wide receiver. If Kaufman goes unclaimed, he should be a prime candidate for the practice squad.
QB Matt Leinart: When the Bills signed Matt Leinart and traded for Thaddeus Lewis, it was pretty clear from the beginning that they were only going to keep one of the late additions at quarterback. Lewis is younger, has better physical tools and outperformed Leinart on Thursday, so this move came as no surprise.
OLB Keith Pough: Pough is a promising undrafted rookie out of Howard, but the Bills had many pass-rushing outside linebackers ahead of him. That kept Pough off the field on significant preseason snap, and gave him little chance to make the roster.
TE Nick Provo: Provo is little more than a blocker, which the Bills already have at tight end in Lee Smith. Provo was always a long shot.
OL Zebrie Sanders: Sanders did not come close to playing up to his potential after being a fifth-round selection in the 2012 NFL draft. Even on a team with very weak offensive line depth, Sanders did not show anything this preseason to inspire confidence in his ability to help the team this year.
LB Brian Smith: Smith was another long shot at linebacker. He did not see much playing time this preseason and failed to stand out in any way.
C David Snow: Snow would have been a valid choice to keep around as a backup center, but was nothing more than an interior line backup, and the Bills decided to move on without him.
See page 2 for more roster moves and analysis.
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Tags: Antoine Caldwell, Brad Smith, Brandon Kaufman, Brian Smith, Bryan Scott, Buffalo Bills, Crezdon Butler, Cuts, David Snow, Dorin Dickerson, Doug Legursky, Drew Smith, Injured Reserve, Izaan Cross, Jamaal Westerman, Jarron Gilbert, Jordan Dangerfield, Kendall Gaskins, Kevin Kolb, Kip Edwards, Kourtnei Brown, Matt Leinart, Nick Provo, Roster Moves, Roster Projections, T.J. Heath, Thomas Welch, Torell Troup, Zach Brown, Zach Chibane, Zebrie Sanders