STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
QB EJ Manuel was named the starter for the game against the Steelers Saturday night. Head coach Rex Ryan said he earned the chance, but all three quarterbacks will get time with the first unit, so it may not mean much at all that Manuel will go first.
RB Fred Jackson has been practicing the past four days and he will play against the Steelers.
WR Robert Woods is unlikely to play due to a sore hip.
WR Sammy Watkins continues to be held back in practice due to general soreness in his glute and possibly his surgically-repaired hip. He won't play against the Steelers.
WR Percy Harvin has been back on the field, but hasn't really participated in practice due to his sore hip. Head coach Rex Ryan said he's shooting to play in the preseason finale against Detroit.
WR Deonte Thompson, who has been making a push to win a job, left practice early Thursday and may miss the Steelers game with a foot injury.
RB Boobie Dixon, out since the second day of training camp with a calf injury, said he's about 70 percent and hopes to play in the preseason finale at Detroit Sept. 3.
RB LeSean McCoy won't play again in the preseason, and head coach Rex Ryan said he remains "cautiously optimistic" about his return in time for the season opener.
RT Seantrel Henderson has all but won the job in his competition with Cyrus Kouandjio.
RB Bryce Brown, who has been out about two weeks with a hamstring issue, was practicing Thursday, but it's uncertain whether he can play against Pittsburgh.
WR Austin Willis signed with the team on Saturday. He is an undrafted rookie free agent out of Emporia State who was with the Raiders until his release on Aug. 18. To make room on the roster, DT Jeremy Towns was released.
WR Chris Hogan suffered a knee sprain in the victory over Cleveland and it looks like 2-4 weeks before he's ready to return.
FB Jerome Felton had a minor undisclosed injury that kept him out of practice Saturday, but head coach Rex Ryan said he'll be fine.
LB Tony Steward has been given additional reps due to the season-ending knee injury to Ty Powell. The rookie sixth-round pick figured to make the team based on special teams, but now he's backing up starter Preston Brown.
QB Tyrod Taylor started against Cleveland, played the first half, and completed 7 of 10 passes for 65 yards, while rushing four times for 41 yards.
RB Bronson Hill, who has no chance to make the team, rushed for 25 yards and caught the game-winning two-point conversion with 1:31 left.
TE Chris Gragg has had a pretty good camp, and he caught three passes for 56 yards against the Browns. He has a real chance to make the team.
CB Ronald Darby bounced back from a rough NFL debut against Carolina and made two interceptions of Browns starting QB Josh McCown.
BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Tight end has become a rather interesting position for the Bills. Charles Clay is the No. 1 guy and he'll play in almost every situation, but the battle behind him has taken some turns. Third-year player Chris Gragg, who has done virtually nothing in his first two seasons, has made a big push in the last week and had a nice performance against the Browns with three catches for 56 yards. He now looks like the No. 2 man. Marqueis Gray, who joined the Bills late last year, has struggled with drops, and sixth-round draft pick Nick O'Leary has done very little in camp or the games to get noticed. Thus, Matthew Mulligan, who is solely a blocker, may have the inside track at the No. 3 position. Both O'Leary and Gray have been disappointing, and while it's tough to predict how the numbers will play out on the roster, both seem to be on the bubble and need to make something happen or they'll end up unemployed like Chris Manhertz and Clay Burton, tight ends the team released in the past week.