None of the five players the Buffalo Bills have on injured reserve -- quarterback Kevin Kolb, wide receivers Kevin Elliott and Brad Smith, fullback Drew Smith and tight end Mike Caussin -- are eligible for NFL's injured reserve-designated to return list. Their seasons are over.
That's because those five players were put on injured reserve before the team had established its 53-man roster.
To be eligible for the IR-designated to return label, a player must first be on the 53-man roster. Any time after 4 p.m. Tuesday, a player then can be placed on the list.
In the Bills' case, they have one injured player who may qualify. That is guard Doug Legursky, who suffered a knee injury Thursday in the final preseason game against the Detroit Lions. If the Bills did put Legursky on the list, it would keep him out for the first eight weeks of the season.
The team has already said cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who is out with a broken wrist, will not be put on the list, because they believe he will be ready to play in fewer than eight weeks.
PITTSFORD -- Three times already in training camp, the
Buffalo Bills have expressed dissatisfaction with their tight end depth.
Before the first air horn, they cut Mickey Shuler. The
Bills added Nick Provo on Aug. 4. They waived Mike Caussin on Wednesday.
Rookie tight end Chris Gragg knows he's not supposed to pay
attention, but it's difficult when a player at his position isn't there one day
or a new guy shows up.
"It just shows you that this NFL is a business,"
Gragg said after Wednesday night's practice at St. John Fisher
College. "You try
not to really think about it. You hear about it in the media and Coach tells us
the business of the day, everyday. You just try to focus on your job."
That can be difficult when your father is keeping such close
tabs on roster spots and makes it a point to keep score.
"I try to block it out, just focus on your job at hand,"
Gragg said. "Coach Marrone told us [Tuesday] in the team meeting, when you
think about stuff like that and you're always worried, it can affect your play,
and I just don't want anything to affect my play.
"I think if I put everything good on film, I think I
have a good chance to be on the team."
Gragg's NFL career began well Sunday against the
Indianapolis Colts. He started along with Dorin Dickerson in a two-tight
formation and saw more snaps than any other Bills tight end. Gragg called it
"a great experience."
He took 57 offensive snaps. Provo was next at 32 plays, followed by Lee
Smith with 16 and Dickerson with 15.
Gragg caught two of the four passes thrown his way. His
catches went for 6 and 8 yards. He had one drop.
"I would probably give myself a B," Gragg said. "I
never try to give myself an A. I mean, it was my first game.
"I know I had a pretty good day blocking. I know that's
one of the things my coaches want to see from me, could I block at the NFL
level? I think I did that."
With only four preparation days between games, Gragg is
eager for Friday night's exhibition against the Minnesota Vikings. It'll be his
first game in Ralph Wilson Stadium and a chance to square off against a high
school and college teammate, Vikings receiver Jarius Wright.
The quick turnaround between games provides a healthy
whirlwind for Gragg, who doesn't have enough downtime to dwell on NFL
"You just look at the schedule and know the cut days
are coming close," Gragg said. "That's the only thing. When the cut
days get closer, it might be a little harder. Right now, I'm just getting
prepared for Minnesota."
As focused as Gragg is supposed to be on the here and now,
he admitted he's already looking beyond next Wednesday, the last day of
training camp at St. John Fisher.
"It's been hard, especially my rookie year," Gragg
said. "It's been a long year. From January, I've been living out of
suitcases, getting ready for the combine, getting ready for rookie minicamp and
things like that. ... I'm ready for it all to be over and get settled."
PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills have made a pair of roster
moves today, cutting injured tight end Mike Caussin and signing former New York
Jets linebacker Jamaal Westerman.
Caussin has been sidelined for most of his NFL career. He
signed with the Bills in 2010 after failing to make the Jacksonville Jaguars
roster as an undrafted rookie out of James Madison.
Caussin had all five of his NFL catches and both career
starts in 2011. He suffered a knee injury at the end of that season and missed all
of 2012. He had missed two weeks of this year's training camp with a hip injury.
Westerman played for Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
with the Jets. Westerman played 36 games over his three seasons there and
recorded 5.5 sacks. He split time with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona
Cardinals last year, but had just one sack in three games.
Westerman is 6-foot-3, 255 pounds. He went undrafted out of Rutgers in 2009.
Tight end Nick Provo, who played under Bills coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse, was signed Sunday by the team.
Provo, 24, participated in the Bills' voluntary minicamp in April on a tryout basis. The 6-foot-4, 249-pounder set a Syracuse school record for career catches by a tight end, with 92. His 1,027 receiving yards were the second most in school history for a tight end.
Provo signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012, but was released prior to the start of the regular season.
The Bills need some depth at the position, as Scott Chandler is being eased into the lineup after surgery to repair a torn ACL, and reserve Mike Caussin injured his hip Friday.
To make room on the roster for Provo, the team released offensive lineman Hutch Eckerson.
The Buffalo Bills closed their spring practices today with a lot of red-zone work.
Once again, quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel split most of the work, with Kolb getting the first snaps for the starting unit. Once again, the defense probably was a little ahead of the offense, which is to be expected at this point in the offseason.
Coach Doug Marrone on the end of the team's three-day minicamp and five-week spring workout schedule:
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.
Here is a breakdown of the Buffalo Bills' 2013 free-agent class
and what their designations mean.
Unrestricted free agents (13)
Teams have exclusive negotiating rights, but once
free-agency begins, players are free to negotiate with other clubs. Original
team receives no compensation if the player signs elsewhere.
The original team has the option to place a franchise tag on
one unrestricted free agent (a guaranteed one-year salary at the average of the
five highest-paid players at the position or a 20 percent raise, whichever is
greater) or one transition tag (a guaranteed one-year salary at the average of
the 10 highest-paid players at the position).
"Exclusive" franchise tags prohibit the player from negotiating
with other clubs. A team that uses a "nonexclusive" franchise tag on a player and
then declines to match an offer sheet from another club will receive two
first-round draft choices from that team. Transition tags offer no such
• Jairus Byrd, safety
• Tashard Choice, running back
• Tarvaris Jackson, quarterback
• Spencer Johnson, defensive end
• Andy Levitre, left guard
• Ruvell Martin, wide receiver
• Corey McIntyre, fullback
• Leodis McKelvin, cornerback
• Shawne Merriman, defensive end
• Kyle Moore, defensive end
• Chad Rinehart, offensive lineman
• Bryan Scott, linebacker
• Tyler Thigpen, quarterback
Restricted free agents (3)
The player may negotiate with other teams. But if the original
club extends a qualifying offer to the player, then it retains right of first
refusal to match any outside contract offer. There are three types of qualifying
offers, offering different levels of payment and draft compensation if the player leaves.
ERFA's are free agents in name only. They are players with
two years of NFL experience or less and have expiring contracts. They may not
negotiate with other clubs. If they are extended a contract offer, they must accept
or not play at all.
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.
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.
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.