In writing about the Buffalo Bills for going on nine training camps, one of the easiest and most practical tools that I use to knock out the cobwebs of summer and prepare for the return of football is, as I call it, the 'RSP depth chart.' Because as we all know, if we do something regularly, it needs a name with an acronym in it.
I promise, this is not anything ground-breaking or even particularly interesting; it's mostly just useful, and a semi-unique way of looking at a roster from a macro point of view. As the acronym may have given away, it splits players into three groups on a position-by-position basis.
'R' signifies a player that is destined to have any sort of role, big or small, on the 2015 version of the Bills. The meaning of being placed in that group varies from position to position, as you might imagine.
'S' signifies a reserve player (i.e. a player that likely will not have a huge role at his natural position) that has established himself as a bona fide special teams player at one stop or another. Note that "special teams player" does not encompass return specialists, as we're identifying players that can cover kicks and punts, and participate in any aspect of teams. Many players that can play special teams are not listed here, as it's an attempt to weed out the athletes from the established special teams contributors. I was purposely very picky in that regard; several players, Karlos Williams chief among them, have enormous potential in this phase.
'P' signifies everyone else: veteran depth players that have not established themselves as every-scenario special teams options, project players, and routine camp bodies. A lot of players in this category will make the team. Most of them will not.
Again, being listed in any of the "safer" (i.e. R and perhaps S) categories does not necessarily guarantee players those roles - or, in some special cases, probably even a roster spot. This is not meant to be predictive; instead, it's meant to outline where players stand entering training camp in a practical manner. You are, as ever, free to disagree with this exercise's practicality (or sing its praises; we like that too) in the comments section. Hopefully, someone out there finds it as useful as I do. 10 days, friends.
Oh, and before you skim this and wonder openly why there are no quarterbacks on this depth chart: that position is its own beast, especially for the 2015 Bills. There are no special teams considerations at that spot, and for the Bills, the entire position is a project. I'm just trying to save everyone time here. Carry on.
|RB||R: L. McCoy, F. Jackson|
|S: A. Dixon||P: K. Williams, B. Brown|
|FB||R: J. Felton|
|P: J. Conner|
|WR||R: S. Watkins, P. Harvin, R. Woods|
|S: M. Easley, C. Hogan||P: M. Goodwin, D. Lewis, M. Thigpen, D. Thompson, C. Holley, T. Palmer, J. Brown, A. Davis|
|TE||R: C. Clay|
|P: M. Gray, N. O'Leary, C. Gragg, M. Mulligan, C. Burton, C. Manhertz|
|OT||R: C. Glenn, C. Kouandjio, S. Henderson|
|P: W. Hunter, T. Chandler, D. Johnson|
|OG||R: J. Miller, R. Incognito|
|P: C. Richardson, C. Williams, D. Morrell, W. Campbell|
|C||R: E. Wood, K. Urbik|
|P: A. Kupper|
|DL||R: M. Dareus, K. Williams|
|P: A. Carrington, S. Charles, J. Wynn, C. Bryant, A. Fluellen, J. Towns, J. Hamilton, E. Williams|
|ER||R: M. Williams, J. Hughes, M. Lawson|
|P: M. Buchanan, R. Johnson, C. Reed, A. Hudson, B. Larsen|
|LB||R: P. Brown, N. Bradham|
|S: T. Powell||P: J. Gaines, T. Steward, A. Tarpley|
|CB||R: S. Gilmore, L. McKelvin, R. Darby, N. Robey|
|S: R. Brooks||P: R. Cockrell, R. Sweeting, M. Butler, C. Thomas|
|S||R: A. Williams, D. Williams, C. Graham|
|P: J. Meeks, B. Rambo, K. Ladler, W. Miller|