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Doug Marrone on release of Da'Rick Rogers: 'We feel that we have better players'

By Jay Skurski

Da'Rick Rogers' production with the Buffalo Bills simply never lived up to the hype.

Because of that, he's now a former Bill.

Rogers was one of five players released this morning, an unceremonious end to a brief career that began as an undrafted free agent in April. Rogers' size (6-foot-3, 208 pounds) and production in the Southeastern Conference with Tennessee in 2011 (67 catches, 1,040 yards, nine touchdowns) led many to believe he had the potential to be the steal of draft weekend — despite the character concerns he came with. Rogers was booted from Tennessee for multiple failed drug tests, and played last season at Tennessee Tech.

But throughout training camp, he was stuck behind players like Marcus Easley, Chris Hogan, Brad Smith and Brandon Kaufman on the depth chart. In Saturday's preseason game at Washington, Rogers did not get an offensive snap.

"He definitely has skill," Bills coach Doug Marrone said today of Rogers. "Along with DeMarco Sampson, who's played well for us in the preseason, but I think when you look at the production of that group, and who's produced for a long period of time, it's just a matter of, it's just as simple as, we feel that we have better players on the roster right now than the players that we released. That's what I've communicated to them."

Marrone said Rogers' production right now, more so than his potential in the future, factored into the decision. In three preseason games, he finished with just one catch (which went for a 6-yard touchdown against Indianapolis).

"I'm a big believer on the production part of it right now rather than what are we going to get down the road," the coach said. "So I think all those players that were released have the ability to play, but we feel as an organization that we just have better players right now."

Along with Rogers and Sampson, the Bills also released conerback Jumal Rolle, defensive back Dominique Ellis and center Ryan Turnley.

Day 17: Stephon Gilmore fine after a scare

By Jay Skurski

PITTSFORD -- Buffalo Bills fans can take a deep breath.

Second-year cornerback Stephon Gilmore left practice this evening at St. John Fisher College to have his right foot looked at, but coach Doug Marrone said afterward that he should be fine.

"It was just a toe," Marrone said on the practice field at St. John Fisher College. "Obviously we kept him out here, so it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Just a re-taping and he should be fine."

Gilmore was looked at by head trainer Bud Carpenter on the sideline, with Marrone and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine stopping by to check in on him. After putting his cleat back on, he watched the rest of practice.

The Bills were without defensive tackle Jay Ross tonight, who was dressed for practice, but was excused as his wife was set to deliver a baby.

Missing practice were quarterback EJ Manuel and defensive end Kourtnei Brown, who rode a stationary bike on the sideline.

Highlights from the two-hour session on the turf field included an interception by defensive lineman Marcell Dareus off a tipped ball thrown by Jeff Tuel. Dareus then had the sold-out crowd of about 5,000 at Growney Stadium roaring as he rumbled to the end zone.

Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso continues to make plays, as he knifed into the backfield to blow up a run play by Zach Brown, then came back to break up a pass over the middle three plays later.

Linebacker Manny Lawson came in for a sack of Tuel during the second set of 11-on-11 drills, and a short time later things got testy.

After a completion to Brandon Kaufman, cornerback Jumal Rolle got over-aggressive in trying to rip the ball out after the play was whistled dead. Kaufman replied with a shove, then Rolle ripped his helmet off and gave a violent shove back before teammates intervened.

On the next play, linebacker Arthur Moats and guard Zach Chibane exchanged words after a brief skirmish.

In the fourth and final 11-on-11 session of the night with Tuel at quarterback, Crezdon Butler recorded an interception that he took back for a touchdown.

The Bills’ final practice at St. John Fisher comes Wednesday, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Rookies account for all points but 6 in Bills' record-setting exhibition

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Buffalo Bills set a club preseason record Sunday with 44 points against the Indianapolis Colts.

Rookies played a part in all but six of those points. They scored on offense, defense and special teams. A rookie quarterback took each snap.

"Man, I told the guys before leaving the field, as a unit we did really well," third-round pick Marquise Goodwin said. "We got a lot of things that we can work on.

"The rookie players came in and we did what we were supposed to. We did our job ... and made the Buffalo Bills organization look good out there."

Goodwin, a third-round pick, scored on a spectacular 107-yard kickoff return. Undrafted quarterback Jeff Tuel threw touchdown passes to undrafted receivers Da'Rick Rogers and Brandon Kaufman. Undrafted cornerback Jumal Rolle returned an interception for a touchdown.

The only veteran to score a touchdown, tight end Dorin Dickerson, caught a 17-yard strike from first-round pick EJ Manuel.

Sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins kicked two field goals and two extra points.

Second-round pick Robert Woods didn't get into the end zone, but he was an important part of Manuel's touchdown drive at the end of the first half. Manuel connected with Woods three times, twice for first downs, on the series.

"We're very proud," Manuel said. "We're all really good friends. Obviously, this is just the first preseason game. We have a long way to go. But I think we're starting to get ourselves some confidence."

Rookie quarterbacks took every Bills snap because Kevin Kolb didn't play. Manuel was 16 of 21 for 107 yards and a touchdown. Tuel completed his first nine passes and was 19 of 23 for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Neither threw an interception.

Second-round linebacker Kiko Alonso had three tackles and a pass defensed.

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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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