Good morning Rumblers,
As we approach the start of training camp; there are a lot of position battles that will be taking place. It should be ultra competitive as guys looks to earn a roster spot, and compete for playing time. Nothing can be worse for a player, than getting injured during training camp, especially if you're roster spot isn't guaranteed.
So for today's Joe, I will list the top 5 players who can't afford to get injured during training camp and consequently be out for any significant time, because if they do they're a GONER! Some of these players either struggled with injuries in the past, or can't afford to get injured because their position is deep with guys ready to take their place. They also might be cap casualties, and by getting injured it makes CHIX decision a lot easier to make.
When I'm done, feel free to dissect my list and make changes where necessary.
This was really tough for me to do; since I like most of these guys, but here we go:
5. DE Chris Kelsay- He's one of CHIX's favorite players, because of his intangibles such as his leadership abilities and his work ethic. He's never produced great sack totals, but as Gailey said "his value to this team can't be measured". But the reality is this, he's will be 33 years old in October; owed $5.75M in 2012, $5.98M in 2013, $6.00M in 2014, UFA in 2015 (thanks DanRoc), and with the pending free agency of Byrd and Levitre, this might be a great opportunity to part ways with an aging player, who may be coming off a major injury. It also doesn't help Kelsay's case, that he will be a back up DE this season and paying $5.75M for a back up DE is way too much money. With the versatility of Spencer Johnson and Carrington to play anywhere on the DL, a possible injury to Kelsay can potentially end his days here in Buffalo. Look for CHIX to try to infuse some young and cheaper talent at that position.
4. DT Torrel Troup- The former 2nd round pick, was drafted to play the nose tackle in the 3-4 defense. But with injuries, lack of production, and a switch back to the 4-3, it's leaving Troup as the odd man out in this competitive DT position battle. With the drafting of Dareus, Kellen Heard's emergence, Dwan Edwards moving to the DT; Troup will be lucky if he makes the team while healthy. Troup is going to have to prove that he can finally stay healthy and make plays, something he's struggled to do since he's been here. Getting injured once again can surely be the ticket that gets him out of Buffalo.
3. WR Marcus Easley- Here's a guy who just can't catch a break. Going in to his third year (usually the break out year for WR's), this former 4th pick has never played in a regular season game and has managed to land on the IR for each of his first two seasons. In his first year, he suffered a major knee injury and in his second year, he suffered from an undisclosed heart ailment. But fans (myself included) still believe that this guy might be a diamond in the rough. With the perfect size and speed combination, he has all the physical skills to be great in this league. However, another setback can and will doom his career here in Buffalo. The position is just too deep heading in to training camp, and Easley needs all the reps that the can get so that he can showcase his skills.
2. Terrence McGee- One of my favorite Bills, is literally on his last leg with this team. When healthy, he's one of the better CB in this league. But the problem is, he hasn't been healthy. The position group has been getting younger and younger, and unfortunately for McGee he's gotten older and frail. In 2009 he missed 5 games, 2010 - 7 games, and in 2011 - 10 games. The good news for McGee is that CHIX decided to part ways with Florence, which means McGee is expected to be the veteran CB on this team. But if he gets injured again, it will be the end of McGee in a Bills uniform.
1. Shawn Merriman- This guy has a lot riding on this season. Another injury not only could be the end of his days here at Buffalo, but can potentially be the end of a career. Merriman has the opportunity to rejuvenate his career and show that "lights out" is back and get paid some serious bucks next offseason. There is no other guy on this list that can kind have the potential impact on this team than Merriman can. A healthy Merriman, with the addition of rest of the defensive line, can really make this team a top 5 defense. The problem is that he's only played in 23 of a possible 64 games in the past 4 seasons, and hasn't showed the same explosion that had made him one of the most explosive pass rushers in his generation. If he shows once again that he can't remain healthy; I think CHIX will finally cut their losses and realize that their investment didn't pay off.
Okay, Bills fans. What do you think of the list? Have at it