I've been on the road this afternoon, and in listening to my favorite sports talk radio station, I heard a few reports about the Bills' lineups and personnel that I felt compelled to discuss with you all this evening. Most of these are reported at the official site of the Bills, but there were a couple of talking points I'd like to throw in as well:
With Jim Leonhard declared out until after the bye week, the Bills are about to make a move I've longed for since July - Donte Whitner will see plenty of time at free safety against the Cowboys, while veteran Bryan Scott will fill Whitner's role at strong safety. It speaks volumes about the Bills' current depth (i.e. John Wendling and George Wilson) that they would rather switch positions with Whitner to make room for a guy who has been with the Bills for three weeks in Scott. I firmly believe that this move will work gloriously for the Bills - Whitner's in a better position to make plays, they're fielding their most experienced duo of safeties, and they'll likely be stronger against the pass and run for it. Keep an eye on Whitner at free safety - if he excels, he may just stay there.
Jabari Greer is looking forward to the move as well:
Speaking of Greer, there are rumors circulating that even when Ashton Youboty returns to full health (he missed practice today and may not play against the Cowboys), the AFC Defensive Player of the Week will remain the starter.
If this is true, the Bills are walking a fine line - I think it's clear that Greer deserves the nod, but based on Youboty's draft status and the overall "plan" that we perceive with this team, he needs to be on the field as much as possible. I anticipate Youboty becoming the nickel back, with him coming in to supplant Greer on the outside on passing downs so that Greer - a far quicker athlete - can cover the slot receiver. One concern: if he starts, how well can Greer support the edge rush in run support? Look for Dallas to get Marion Barber on the outside rush to Greer's side all night Monday.
Good news on the Keith Ellison front - the youngster, who has been out since the pre-season finale, practiced in full today. While it's certainly not set in stone at this point, there's a good possibility that Ellison could start on Monday Night, bringing a little experience back into the linebacking corps. Don't bet the house on this happening, but it could be one more small step toward the vain hope of containing Tony Romo if Ellison is able to play this week.
DE Ryan Denney, LB Coy Wire, S Jim Leonhard and LB Kevin Harrison (who will likely land on IR by week's end) have been declared OUT for the Cowboys game. Denney, however, practiced on a limited basis - great news, considering we need all the DE help we can get right now.
One last note: while Anthony Hargrove's suspension is up, he's not yet on the active roster. Hargrove has been placed on an exempt list, allowing him to practice with the team this week, but he won't be able to play in this game unless he's placed on the active 53-man roster. It's anticipated that he'll be activated once Harrison goes to IR, but it's not set in stone, either. Please, please, please Coach Jauron - put Hargrove in there. We can't have Jason Jefferson and Ryan Neill playing end for us anymore; seriously, it just can't happen. I'll guarantee this: if Hargrove doesn't suit up, there will be a lot of puzzled Bills fans out there.