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Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane talks importance of special teams in roster decisions

A viable path to the roster

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane addresses the media prior to training camp and candidly addressed a number of questions. With the team’s depth and overall talent level rising, Beane was asked if the Bills can have players who only come in for special teams work such as Andre Roberts, the elite kick returner who left for the Houston Texans this offseason.

“Special teams is important to us and I think we’ve put an emphasis on that,” said Beane. “We would have loved to have kept Andre [Roberts], but the cap dollars, cap going down...we had to pick and choose.”

The general manager then brought up Taiwan Jones, who the team re-signed in March. Beane pointed out that for Jones, “that’s his number-one thing is a special teams player, especially a gunner. He’s an elite gunner.”

Tyler Matakevitch, who similarly lives and breathes special teams, was another player Beane mentioned by name.

“He did such a great job and has brought a leadership element to our special teams. So we’re still always going to put a lot of emphasis on our teams. But yeah, it’s important for those guys that are not frontline starters to play two, three, four phases for us and that’s what we emphasize.”

Beane continued and indicated that special teams play in and of itself is one way onto the roster—a fact they aren’t shy about telling the players.

“Sean and I do meetings with all these guys as they check into physicals. And that’s one of the things we emphasized [before camp] to them is, hey listen, if you do not win that starting job you better be in [special teams coordinator] Heath Farwell’s hip pocket. And you need him telling us how much he needs you on these two or three phases. That’s how you’re going to get a jersey on game day.”