Buffalo's Revolving Door Won't Help
By Jo E. Prout
The Bills are spinning heads as they continue to fine-tune their roster. In the last 10 days, Buffalo has dismissed multiple players mid-season and added in others, which lends the question: How dysfunctional are the Buffalo Bills?
They fired punter Shaun Powell after losing to the Cleveland Browns, even though one punt does not lose a game. The Bills replaced him with a team favorite, Brian Moorman, a 12-year veteran who was released earlier this year.
Buffalo released linebacker Marcus Dowtin and cornerback Johnny Adams this week, replacing them with linebacker Ty Powell, from the New York Giants’ practice squad, and cornerback Brandon Smith, who was promoted from the Bills’ practice squad.
Also this week, the Bills announced that Buffalo had claimed and was awarded offensive lineman Antoine McClain to the 53-man roster off waivers from the Oakland Raiders. The Bills’ counter-action? They released offensive lineman Sam Young.
If observers’ heads weren’t spinning watching the revolving doors at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the quarterback merry-go-round would surely make them dizzy.
The Bills signed quarterback Dennis Dixon to the practice squad this week. Dixon, who spent time with the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad last year, practiced with the Philadelphia Eagles this summer but was released by them before the regular season.
Dixon’s signing became necessary when Bills’ quarterback E.J. Manuel was injured in the Browns game and back-up quarterback Jeff Tuel filled in with a lackluster performance.
The practice squad quarterback, Thad Lewis, however, overshadowed Dixon’s signing when Lewis made headlines this week. Head coach Doug Marrone promoted him above Tuel for the Cincinnatti Bengals game, even though Lewis joined the team just before the season began.
“A lot of these guys that we’ve acquired, whether we’ve acquired them late, we want to see what they can do,” Marrone said this week. “We like their skill sets, so we’re going to try to bring them up and get them out there. This is about playing and being productive and winning. Let’s put them out there on the field and see if they can do it.”
Why not? But, if they could do it, wouldn’t they have already been doing it somewhere else?
This week, Marrone’s list of walking wounded was long: wide receiver Stevie Johnson, kicker Dustin Hopkins, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Manuel, cornerback Ron Brooks, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, and on and on. What is a coach to do?
“We break the season up in quarters,” Marrone said. “We’re concentrating on Cincinnati right now, but knowing prior to this it was going to be a tough quarter, one game at home, three on the road.”
Buffalo has had a tough season so far. If the team had a choice, it might give up on the season and let its rookies play to gain experience, but the Bills can’t do that – one of their rookie quarterbacks is injured.
“We have a six game stretch right here that we have to do a good job, and I think that it’s going to say a lot about who we are and what we’re doing,” Marrone said this week. “That’s really the truth. The guys are playing extremely hard, which is one thing I’m excited about. We have to make plays. We have to get over the top and we have to win in these games that have been close. That’s what we keep striving for.”
The end result of the Bills’ roster shuffle may be a team that can come back from last place in its division. Will the team's reconstruction midseason be successful? Perhaps. If the revolving door doesn’t improve the team’s standings, fans will be sure to see a few more scapegoats pushed out of Buffalo.