5 bubble Bills we’re pulling for
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 22, 2011 @ 10:55am
We know your preseason routines, Bills fans. You pick up a 12-pack of Natty Ice, sit on your couch with a few friends and yell relatively obscene phrases at the TV—while nearly catching a whiff of the icy Ralph Wilson Stadium air that you’re so eagerly anticipating.
Halfway through the NFL preseason schedule, we have taken a long look at the personnel (although the second half of the Broncos game was a snoozer!). Major problems exist, for sure—the current offensive line wouldn’t be able to block Aaron Maybin, while injuries are killing the wide receiver corps. Instead of flailing our arms wildly in disgust, here are five players we hope will survive the ominous roster cut-down (from 90 to 75 on Aug. 30; to 53 on Sept. 3):
1) Robert Eddins, linebacker, #48: Dude is everywhere—I kept looking at the numerical roster to see who this #48 cat was. An undrafted rookie from Ball State, Eddins is transitioning from mid-major defensive end to NFL outside linebacker—that’s a lot to chew. With 5 tackles and a sack over two games—and plenty of media attention for a UDFA—Eddins stands a chance of being one of the final additions to the squad. Practice squad could also be in the cards, though other NFL teams can freely pluck players off other practice squads. (Here’s a helpful pre-draft profile of Eddins.) Likelihood of making the 53-man roster: 30%.
2) Jehuu Caulcrick, running back, #30. Teams almost never carry two fullbacks, and incumbent Corey McIntyre is an exceptional special teamer and sound lead blocker (although the Bills like to include Spiller and Jackson in their two back sets). There may simply not be enough space for the renowned cook and Clymer native, despite his special teams value, youth (he’s 28, four years younger than McIntyre) and affordable contract. If against-all-odds stories made a difference in roster moves, Caulcrick would never get cut. Likelihood of making the 53-man roster: 10%.
3) Loyce Means, cornerback, #44: It’s hard to root against a fellow named “Loyce.” To our knowledge, he’d be the first player named Loyce to ever suit up in an NFL game. Cool name aside, Means was also ranked as the second-best UDFA corner by sportsline.com. With the starting secondary looking particularly shaky against Denver—Bronco QBs connected on 21 of 27 passes—Means could earn an opportunity to shine in the final preseason contests. If gimpy draftee Justin Rogers fails to suit up for the Bills in the preseason, Means could eke his way onto the 53-man roster. Likelihood of making the 53-man roster: 25%.
4) Kellen Heard, defensive tackle, #72: Our Kellen Heard love-fest continues because, well, he’s a tank. Although he wasn’t as disruptive against Denver as he was vs. Chicago, Heard must be terrifying to see across from the line of scrimmage—like “drawer-messing” kind-of scary. Plus, he has the stamina to play more than two snaps in a row—take that, Michael Jasper! BuffaloBills.com beat writer Chris Brown thinks Heard is a lock to make the team. Likelihood of making the 53-man roster: 85%.
5) Bruce Hall, running back, #36: If Bruce Hall was an animal, he’d be a woodchuck. “Scamper” and “scurry” are two verbs I’d use to explain his low-to-the-ground, feet-whirring running style. Creepy animal comparisons aside, Hall tallied 40 yards on five carries on Saturday—looking like the most electrifying Bills back. After all, C.J. Spiller looked startled by the concept of “blitz pick-up,” and Johnny White kept running sideways before being thrown painfully to the turf. Hall won’t make the team unless injuries strike, but he’d be a valuable practice squad player. Likelihood of making the 53-man roster: 2%.