The list of Buffalo Bills currently on the team's Injured Reserve is growing faster than adolescent Christmas lists will be in the coming months. With six players already on IR (TE K. Everett, OL A. Merz, DE A. Wallace, LB P. Posluszny, CB J. Webster, S K. Simpson), the Bills today were forced to add a seventh player, reserve guard Jason Whittle, to that list. This is yet another blow for the injury-depleted Bills, as Whittle was the top reserve at all three interior line positions and was also being utilized as an extra blocker out of the backfield in obvious run situations. His loss means that Duke Preston - who has not yet been active for a game this season - will assume Whittle's roles.
To fill in the roster, the Bills added depth at linebacker by bringing back Kevin Harrison, a player the team cut during final cut-downs just prior to the regular season. How bleak is the situation at linebacker, where the team is down three players (K. Ellison, C. Wire, Posluszny)? For starters, Harrison is assuming the backup MLB role right away. Then, it appears that Leon Joe - signed just before the Steelers game - could start on the weak side, where he's expected to split time with Mario Haggan. John DiGiorgio will play inside, while Angelo Crowell retains his role on the strong side.
Wait - There's Good News Too?
There are some promising signs with two of Buffalo's walking wounded. First, starting linebacker Keith Ellison - out since the pre-season - was seen jogging on his injured right ankle today, a sign that he is progressing with his injury and could be back sooner rather than later. Also, QB J.P. Losman's knee is healing - he has less swelling in it than he has over the past couple days, and Dick Jauron described Losman as "happy about it and feels good". The sooner we can get some of these injured players back, the better - this list is extensive as well, including Losman, Sam Aiken, Ryan Denney, Ellison, Wire and Terrence McGee. For the record, both Aiken and McGee practiced today - likely putting a smile on the face of Bobby April.
Practice Squad Shuffling
Seemingly unconcerned by the loss of their best reserve lineman, the Bills released OG Nevin McCaskill off the practice squad, using that space to sign DL Orien Harris. Harris was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, later signed with the Browns and was used as a defensive end in each team's 3-4 scheme. An immensely gifted athlete, Harris could resurrect his career in a scheme where his athleticism and quickness are better utilized in a pass-rushing scheme. This is an interesting addition, but it's curious that McCaskill was nuked rather than another option.
The team also has a new practice squad QB: Kevin Eakin has been replaced by Gibran Hamdan, most recently of the Miami Dolphins and a star in NFL Europe.