Several Buffalo Bills were playing for their roster lives in Thursday’s preseason finale. Let’s take a look at how some of the roster bubble performed against the Chicago Bears.
QB AJ McCarron
The quarterback was bad for most of the game but led a stellar fourth quarter comeback that may have been enough to save his job. He finished 13 of 34 for 156, three passing touchdowns, six rushes for 54 yards and another score, and led the team to 25 unanswered points to win the game.
RB Taiwan Jones and Travaris Cadet
Jones got no time in the game at all, but it’s unlikely it’s because his roster spot is safe. Cadet played nearly 30% of the offensive snaps and averaged more than 12 yards on his six carries.
TE Logan Thomas and Nick O’Leary
While both players were in the starting lineup, it was Thomas who played the entire game while O’Leary eventually sat on the bench. Thomas played well down the stretch of the game, nabbing a total of three catches for 40 yards including a 23-yard bullet.
WR Ray-Ray McCloud III, Austin Proehl, Brandon Reilly, Rod Streater, Malachi Dupre
Perhaps the most muddled position on the roster, the Bills receivers were all over the place in the feverish comeback. Perhaps the biggest news was the late knee injury to McCloud, which could end his season before it began. We don’t know the severity of the injury yet. Reilly, Proehl, and Dupre were all in the game late while Streater subbed out earlier. It’s very much in the air and it wouldn’t surprise me if none of these players made the final roster.
OT Marshall Newhouse and Conor McDermott
Newhouse played a lot of snaps for being a veteran most thought would be the swing tackle. McDermott played more but was in after Newhouse. Nehouse gets the edge now, but Buffalo will be scouring the waiver wire for an upgrade.
OG Wyatt Teller
Definitely secured his spot on the roster with his play on Thursday night. He’s a developmental prospect, but he flashed good things.
DT Adolphus Washington, Tyrunn Walker, and Ricky Hatley
Washington definitely showed flashes of what has kept him around. He is probably safe. The newly-signed Walker earned more snaps than Hatley, which is not a good sign for Hatley who was in the game until the end.
DE Terrence Fede
Fede got the start for the Bills at defensive end as the top four defensive ends didn’t play. It will come down to numbers. If they keep five defensive ends, it looks like that’s Fede’s job. If they keep four, he’s out.
LB Deon Lacey, Xavier Woodson-Luster, and Tanner Vallejo
All three started and Lacey had a few brutal missed tackles. He finished with five tackles while Vallejo added four, with Woodson-Luster tallying three. Vallejo played 100% of the defensive snaps and 72% of the special teams snaps. Lacey and Woodson-Luster played a ton of snaps, too. Who knows where the coaches are leaning here.
CB Breon Borders, Levi Wallace, Lafayette Pitts, and Ryan Carter
Borders may have played his way onto the roster with a nice interception against the Bears. Wallace plays more special teams, so that could be a factor. How many safeties do they keep? That could be the determining factor at cornerback.
SS Dean Marlowe
Getting the start at safety, Marlowe ended the game second in tackles with five. He came up with some nice run fills Thursday night and will be the team’s fourth or fifth safety. How many cornerbacks do they keep?
P Colton Schmidt and Jon Ryan
Schmidt had three punts, Ryan had one. Ryan’s went 47 yards. Schmidt averaged 43 yards including a touchback on a very short field. I don’t think Ryan has done enough to overtake the younger Schmidt.
Roster cuts are due by 4 p.m. on Saturday.