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Ed Reed to start for Jets; David Nelson will be captain

By Tim Graham

No major announcements when it comes to the scratches for today's game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But the Jets have announced Ed Reed will start at safety. The Jets signed him three days ago after the Houston Texans cut him.

You also can bank on former Bills receiver David Nelson being a captain. Jets coach Rex Ryan likes to do that when his players go up against their old teams.

All the inactives:

New York Jets

  • Quarterback David Garrard
  • Running back Alex Green
  • Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley
  • Guard William Campbell
  • Tackle Ben Ijilana
  • Tackle Oday Aboushi
  • Linebacker Garrett McIntyre

Buffalo Bills

  • Quarterback Jeff Tuel
  • Running back Ronnie Wingo
  • Wide receiver Stevie Johnson
  • Wide receiver Robert Woods
  • Guard Antoine McClain
  • Cornerback Justin Rogers
  • Cornerback Brandon Smith

Leodis McKelvin looking forward to seeing old friend David Nelson

By Jay Skurski

A big smile crossed Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin's face today when asked whether he was excited to see former teammate David Nelson on Sunday.

"Most definitely. You know, it's always good to see David," McKelvin said of Nelson, who spent his first three seasons with the Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Florida. "Just to go against him in a real-live situation instead of at practice, it's going to be very interesting to see what he comes out with."

Nelson signed with the Jets on Oct. 2. In five games with the team, he's caught 16 passes for 199 yards.

"He's been doing a good job. He's hungry. He’s trying to go out there and make plays so he can solidify himself a spot on the roster," McKelvin said. "He's going to be ready to play. You'll have to be on your toes if your lined up against him."

McKelvin also expects it to be pretty noisy on the field.

"We'll get to rapping back and forth, chomping at each other," he said. "I'm looking forward to going at him in a real game."

Nelson made it clear earlier this week that he's got Sunday's game circled on his calendar.

"Anybody who tells you when they play an old team or a team that cut them or something like that, that it's just another game, is lying to you," Nelson said. "This isn't just another game for me, it's going to be personal and I think you'll see that on Sunday." 

Looking back: Buddy Nix's five biggest hits as Bills GM

Ralph Wilson, C.J. Spiller, Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey
You can argue whether the Bills should have drafted a running back with the ninth overall pick in 2010, but you can't dispute Nix selected a good one in C.J. Spiller. (James P. McCoy/News file photo)


By Tim Graham

How will we remember Buddy Nix's tenure as Buffalo Bills general manager? With the help of beat reporter Mark Gaughan, we look back on the past three seasons and four drafts under Nix.

Here are his five biggest hits:

Continue reading "Looking back: Buddy Nix's five biggest hits as Bills GM" »

Kyle Moore signs with Bears; Revolving Bills roster updated

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills lost another free agent.

Kyle Moore, a surprise performer last year on a disappointing defensive front, signed a one-year contract Monday with the Chicago Bears.

Moore, despite being inactive the first four games, started seven straight games in November and December. Moore made 24 tackles, three for losses. He notched the first three sacks of his career.

Analytics website ProFootballFocus.com rated Moore 25th in pass-rushing among all 4-3 defensive ends who played at least 25 percent of their teams' snaps. The site tallied 23 quarterback hurries for Moore, tying him for 30th in the NFL.

Moore had arthroscopic knee surgery in January, but a source informed The Buffalo News the Bills wanted to re-sign him. But last month's acquisition of linebacker Manny Lawson might have made Moore expendable.

Moore was a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fourth-round draft choice in 2009 and eventually landed on the Detroit Lions' practice squad, from where the Bills plucked him in November 2011.

An update accounting of the comings and goings on Buffalo's roster in free agency:

Players who have re-signed

  • • Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
  • • Running back Tashard Choice
  • • Tight end Dorin Dickerson
  • • Colin Brown
  • • Linebacker Bryan Scott
  • • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin

Players whose rights have been retained

  • • Tight end Mike Caussin
  • • Safety Jairus Byrd

Players who have joined

  • • Quarterback Kevin Kolb
  • • Defensive tackle Alan Branch
  • • Linebacker Manny Lawson

Players who have departed

  • • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Wide receiver Donald Jones (New England Patriots)
  • • Wide receiver David Nelson (Cleveland Browns)
  • • Guard Andy Levitre (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Guard Chad Rinehart (San Diego Chargers)
  • • Defensive end Chris Kelsay (retired)
  • • Defensive end Shawne Merriman (retired)
  • • Defensive end Kyle Moore (Chicago Bears)
  • • Linebacker Nick Barnett
  • • Cornerback Terrence McGee
  • • Safety George Wilson (Tennessee Titans)

Comings and goings: Buffalo Bills offseason moves so far

By Tim Graham

And on the seventh day of free agency, the Press Coverage blog reviewed the Buffalo Bills' offseason personnel moves to date ...

Players who have re-signed

  • • Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
  • • Linebacker Bryan Scott
  • • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin

Players whose rights were retained

  • • Tight end Mike Caussin
  • • Tight end Dorin Dickerson
  • • Safety Jairus Byrd

Players who have joined

  • • Linebacker Manny Lawson

Players who have departed

  • • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Wide receiver Donald Jones (New England Patriots)
  • • Wide receiver David Nelson
  • • Guard Andy Levitre (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Guard Chad Rinehart (San Diego Chargers)
  • • Defensive end Chris Kelsay (retired)
  • • Defensive end Shawne Merriman (retired)
  • • Linebacker Nick Barnett
  • • Cornerback Terrence McGee
  • • Safety George Wilson (Tennessee Titans)

Source: Brandon Gibson interested in Bills, but they never called

By Tim Graham

The Miami Dolphins continued to upgrade their offense today.

One of the players they signed apparently wanted to play for the Buffalo Bills -- but the Bills didn't call.

A source informed me shortly after wide receiver Brandon Gibson signed a three-year deal with the Dolphins that Gibson wanted to play with his buddy, Bills receiver Stevie Johnson. The sentiment was mutual, based on what Johnson told the NFL Network about Gibson last week.

But the Bills, said the source, never reached out.

The New York Jets also were interested in signing Gibson and brought him in for a visit, but the Dolphins got him.

NFL.com ranked Gibson the fifth-best receiver available in this year's free-agency group. The Dolphins signed the No. 1 player on that list, Mike Wallace, earlier this week and tight end Dustin Keller. The Dolphins also signed the top available linebacker, Dannell Ellerbe.

Continue reading "Source: Brandon Gibson interested in Bills, but they never called" »

Donald Jones visiting Patriots today; big numbers against them

By Tim Graham

Boston sports-talk host Lou Merloni, the former Red Sox infielder, retweeted my report that wide receiver Donald Jones is visiting the New England Patriots today.

The response from one his followers: "Who the eff is Donald Jones?"

Jones was the Buffalo Bills' second-best wide receiver last season with 41 receptions for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Undrafted out of Youngstown State in 2010, he was a restricted free agent this year. But the Bills declined to extend a qualifying offer, surrendering his rights.

Patriots fans should remember Jones. Bill Belichick certainly does.

He had eight catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots last season. His 68-yard catch and run in Week Four was the Bills' longest play from scrimmage last year.

Jones had five receptions for 101 yards in the Bills' victory over the Patriots in 2011 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

He has played five games against New England. His first was as a reserve, but in the other four games he notched 18 receptions for 319 yards and two touchdowns.

Video: The Bills and the crop of free-agent wideouts


Watch all the segments from the most recent Bucky & Sully Show here.

For the first time, David Nelson shares thoughts on Bills' decision

NelsonRaidersAP
David Nelson's finest moment as a Buffalo Bills receiver was the winning touchdown catch in the final moments against the Oakland Raiders in 2011. (Photo: David Duprey/Associated Press)

 

By Tim Graham

David Nelson doesn't know for certain why the Buffalo Bills decided to let him hit free agency.

The Bills might've wished the fourth-year receiver luck because he won't fit in new head coach Doug Marrone's system or because the $1.323 million qualifying offer was more than they wanted to commit.

Nelson, though, is convinced it's because of the season-ending torn knee ligament he suffered on opening day.

"It's tough for me because I feel in my heart -- and this is just me -- the only reason it's happening is because of the injury," Nelson told me in his first interview since the Bills informed him of their decision.

"I feel if I was able to play last year, things would be different 100 percent. For me that's the reason why; they're not sure if I'll be the same player I've been."

The injury not only cost Nelson a season of production and -- a legitimate possibility -- the Bills a victory or two.

Nelson called it "sobering to re-evaluate" his situation. He's coping with the idea that a twisted knee, while engaged in a meaningless block late in a blowout loss to the New York Jets six months ago, has impacted two seasons.

Continue reading "For the first time, David Nelson shares thoughts on Bills' decision" »

So Bills need receivers; What does free-agent market look like?

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills need to restock the shelves at wide receiver, a process Stevie Johnson talked with me about for a Press Coverage blog posted this morning.

The Bills could add the best receiver in this year's draft class with the eighth overall pick, but they'll have a chance to address their needs in free agency as early as next week.

NFL.com writer Marc Sessler examined the receivers in this year's class and the 11 teams that should be most active in trying to acquire them.

Sessler ranked receivers Nos. 1 through 9 in categories labeled "impact players" (Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings, Wes Welker), "solid starters" (Danny Amendola, Brian Hartline), and "role players with questions" (Brandon Gibson, Donnie Avery, Julian Edelman).

Unless the Bills have their hearts set on using the eighth pick on a wide receiver, I would expect them to aim for someone in the above group. Johnson told me he has been talking up Buffalo to Bowe and Jennings directly.

A year ago, the Bills courted Robert Meachem as soon as free agency began but lost him to the San Diego Chargers. They never found a receiver of that caliber, choosing instead to draft T.J. Graham in the third round.

Graham was a disappointment, and the receiving corps as a whole has deteriorated since they took Meachem to dinner in Allentown. The Bills have announced they don't want Donald Jones and David Nelson back.

Jones and Nelson were ranked Nos. 12 and 13 overall on Sessler's list. They were under the "rotational/situational" heading, right after Domenik Hixon and a washed-up Randy Moss and ahead of Brandon Stokley, Josh Cribbs and Ted Ginn.

Sessler then lumped the rest of the receivers for teams that are desperate or need to fill out a roster. That's where you'll find Ruvell Martin's name along with the likes of Roscoe Parrish, Mike Sims-Walker, Greg Camarillo, Legedu Naanee and Derek Hagan.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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