Buffalo Bills: Predicting 5 Unexpected Training Camp Cuts
Predicting 5 Unexpected Cuts
Between now and the start of the regular season in September, the Buffalo Bills must trim their 90-man roster down to just 53 players. Cutting a team comprised of some of the most talented, hard-working athletes on the planet almost in half can't be easy, and it goes without saying that the Bills' coaches and managers will have some extremely difficult choices to make.
None of those choices will be made unfairly though, as the theme of this Bills offseason has been 'open competition.' Doug Marrone and the other new coaches in Buffalo have repeatedly stressed the importance of making sure they have the best players on the field at all times. They have accomplished this by declaring open roster battles at virtually every position on the team.
Due to this new coaching philosophy, there may well be some surprising roster cuts. Trustworthy veterans could be outplayed by ambitious rookies, high draft picks could fail to live up and players thought to be a sure thing might prove to be worse than advertised.
Rest assured, every cut will be made with the intention of making the team better, and the end result should be the most talented Bills roster from top to bottom that we've seen in years. Chan Gailey, in his tenure as Buffalo's head coach, often made managerial decisions based on past relationships and rigid game-plans rather than actual results. Under Marrone, that will no longer be the case.
Bills fans should brace themselves for an interesting training camp and be prepared for some surprise cuts along the way. Here are five predictions for unexpected training camp cuts.
Jerry Hughes has improved markedly in every year of his career since being drafted in 2010. Still, in that time, he has only registered a total of 62 tackles, with five sacks and zero interceptions. For a first-round linebacker, these results can only be described as disappointing. The odds of Hughes finally developing into a defensive star now that he's on the Bills are not great, especially with rookie LB Kiko Alonso already turning into the team's defensive anchor. The Bills just traded for Hughes, so it makes little sense to cut him so soon, but don't be surprised if he fails to perform in camp.
If you think the Bills wouldn't dare cut a well-loved veteran kicker, think again. They did exactly that when they released Brian Moorman last season, much to the dismay of their fans. Rian Lindell has been a consistent contributor for Buffalo throughout his 13-year career, but the kicker position has been one of the most hotly contested so far this offseason, and it's quite possible that the 36-year-old Lindell and his diminishing leg strength will be ousted by sixth-rounder Dustin Hopkins.
Now this really would be surprising. You may remember Brad Smith from Chan Gailey's hilariously ineffective wildcat packages, but he's also been one of the Bills best and most consistent supplementary receivers over the past few seasons. It's a new era in Buffalo, however, Smith may no longer have a place with the team. Younger and more explosive athletes now abound on the offensive side of the ball, and if Smith fails to perform as well as Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin or Da'Rick Rogers in camp, he could find himself out of a job.
Count this as the least surprising name on this list. It's a make-or-break season for Troup, as he has only managed to perform on the wrong side of mediocre throughout his three-year career. This cut would mostly be a surprise due to the Bills lack of depth at the defensive tackle position, but unless Troup takes a leap forward in his development, that lack of depth won't matter. He will be cut.
It must be difficult to be a running back on the same team as Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. Choice doesn't have much of a chance to advance up the depth chart, and after five years in the league, we've pretty much seen the extent of what he is capable of. This cut would be surprising mostly thanks to Spiller and Jackson's newly-earned reputations as injury prone. It would make sense to have at least a third string back available on game day, but that role could easily be filled by one of Buffalo's younger, unproven backs. Namely, Kendall Gaskins, Zach Brown or Drew Smith.