A heavy dose of Naaman
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • October 10, 2011 @ 8:19am
It must be gratifying for Naaman Roosevelt to feel involved in the Bills’ offense again, especially after failing to make the active roster in the preseason. In a true spread scheme—the Bills are one of the few to employ it near-exclusively—myriad receiving options are necessary, and injuries have hacked away at Buffalo’s depth.
Fans don’t trust Ruvell Martin, a career special teamer, as he’s exhibited shaky hands and questionable footing in his opportunities. Without Donald Jones, who suffered a serious ankle injury against Philadelphia, and Roscoe Parrish and Marcus Easley, both already on injured reserve, the Bills’ receiving corps is perilously thin.
Of anyone, though, the former Buffalo Bulls’ record-setter Roosevelt (#18) should be prepared to step in—he did get recalled from the practice squad last year in late November—and the fan-base will absolutely rally behind him (then again, with a 4-1 record, Bills fans will rally behind anyone!). Buffalonians relish seeing another local succeed, rising above adversity to contribute at a high level.
After only one fluky reception last week, Roosevelt’s five catches (on seven targets) for 41 yards are a sign of progress. The St. Joe’s grad’s personal highlight was a third down conversion just after halftime, when Roosevelt managed to hold on to a Fitzpatrick pass over the middle while being clobbered by Philly safety Jarrad Page. Later, Eagles’ corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie allowed Roosevelt a five yard cushion out of the slot, resulting in a 20 yard gain. If limited athletically, Roosevelt is a composed route runner with reliable hands, and both of those qualities are paramount in Buffalo’s pass-heavy offense.
Part of increased involvement in the offense means more blocking duties for Naaman—he bizarrely was a lead blocker for Fred Jackson on one third quarter play and picked up the blitz nicely on a Spiller screen pass. The local product will continue to learn on the fly, but he’ll have a much longer leash for the rest of the season, assuming that Jones’ injury will sideline him for a month or more.