Let’s rewind to training camp shall we? I’m going to take you back to a point where the Buffalo Bills had so much depth and promising young talent at wide receiver. The Bills decided that keeping Lee Evans would stunt the development of the likes of Donald Jones, David Nelson and Marcus Easley. So the Bills dealt Evans to Baltimore to open up playing time for their youngsters.
They cut Naaman Roosevelt signed Ruvell Martin released him and then picked him back up because of all their depth. Now, however, the Bills aren’t deep at wide receiver anymore. It’s the exact opposite.
The latest blow came with news of Donald Jones expecting to miss four-to-six weeks with a high ankle sprain he suffered during last Sunday afternoon’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Buffalo has already lost Easley and Roscoe Parrish for the season on the IR. Nelson has just three catches, one for a touchdown, in the past ten quarters.
So now the real concern for the Bills is that they’ve lost the deep threat element from their offense. Buffalo has found it difficult the past two weeks to throw the football down the field and that was evident last Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t attempt many throws down the field, rather opting for short, three-step drops and getting the ball out quick for short distances. Fred Jackson was utilized heavily as a receiver which is a trend that might continue. It was hard to recall a pass attempt last week that went for longer than ten yards.
At the minimum, the Bills now have just four healty receivers in Johnson, Martin, Nelson and Roosevelt. Chan Gailey’s challenge as a play caller becomes finding innovative and unique ways to stretch the field with limited options to attack deep. That could mean more targets for the tight end Scott Chandler. Increased looks for Roosevelt and increased time as a receiver for Brad Smith. Using Jackson out of the backfield as a receiver has worked well so far this season. And then there’s also C.J. Spiller, who isn’t seeing touches as a running back but now may see his touches increase as a receiver.