AFC East: Alvin Bowen
Upon closer inspection, several items are amiss -- and one notable person is a-missing.
Before Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, the Bills gave away team photos as fans passed through the turnstiles at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Former head coach Dick Jauron, fired two weeks ago, was removed from the team photo as though he never existed.
Jauron evidently was seated to owner Ralph Wilson's right when the photo was snapped in mid-September, but Jauron was erased and the rest of the row altered to fill in the vacancy. Interim head coach Perry Fewell is stationed on a back row with the rest of the assistants.
Bills fan Matt Irving grabbed a few of the freebies Sunday. Friend and fellow Bills loyalist Joshua Fitzgerald scanned a copy and posted it on the fan message board at TwoBillsDrive.com.
The Bills' team photo was taken between Weeks 1 and 2. Terrell Owens posted personal pictures from the shoot on his Twitter page Sept. 19.
Besides, there are several lapses of logic to indicate the rubout.
Players acquired before Jauron was fired (tackle Jamon Meredith, linebacker Chris Draft, defensive back Todd Johnson) aren't in the photo. Players cut before Jauron was fired (running back Xavier Omon, linebacker Alvin Bowen) are present.
More telling is the visual evidence Jauron was erased like he was Leon Trotsky.
Other players seemingly were jockeyed around to keep the numerical-order motif, with the player on the left in the first row wearing the lowest uniform number and running through the highest number to the right of the fifth row.
The sequence was interrupted only by Wilson in the center and chief operating officer Russ Brandon to his left in the second row.
So who was depicted in the prominent spot to Wilson's right? Rookie cornerback Jairus Byrd, a fine player. He's tied for the NFL interceptions lead and could be defensive rookie of the year. But he didn't start a game until Week 3.
Furthermore, there's a phantom khaki pant and sneaker underneath Byrd in the team photo. The players are in jerseys and game pants. Coaches are in khakis.
And there's more. Defensive backs Terrence McGee and Ellis Lankster, on the left of the second row, have the same torso. The shadows and wrinkles on their jerseys are identical. The only difference is a doctored digit.
At the right end of the second row is defensive back Cary Harris, who looks like he has been amputated from the left knee down. It appears McGee was sitting in front of him, but was moved up to the second row so everyone could slide toward center and fill in the big blank.
Various body parts have been copied and pasted to fill in spaces that had been covered. Cornerbacks Ashton Youboty and Leodis McKelvin have the same left arm, noticeable by the six-fingered hand dangling from it. Their hands are resting on imaginary legs.
The Bills declined to comment on the photo.
If only Bills fans could wipe Jauron from their brains as easily as he was removed from the picture.
The Buffalo Bills announced Sunday afternoon the eight players who will comprise their practice squad to start the season.
The following players cleared waivers and signed up for the taxi squad:
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The Buffalo Bills have announced their roster decisions that get their team down to the 53-man limit.
They placed receiver James Hardy on the physically unable to perform list and released tight end Travis McCall from injured reserve.
The following players were waived:
- Quarterback Matt Baker
- Running back Dominic Rhodes
- Running back Bruce Hall
- Receiver C.J. Hawthorne
- Receiver Felton Huggins
- Tight end Jonathan Stupar
- Tight end Tyson DeVree
- Offensive lineman Kirk Chambers
- Offensive lineman Brandon Rodd
- Offensive lineman Christian Gaddis
- Offensive lineman Nick Hennessey
- Defensive end Copeland Bryan
- Defensive end Ataefiok Etukeren
- Defensive tackle Derrick Jones
- Defensive tackle Corey Mace
- Linebacker Alvin Bowen
- Linebacker Ryan Manalac
- Defensive back Cary Harris
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Teams have pared down their rosters to 75 players and must get down to 53 by Saturday afternoon.
Players on the bubble have one exhibition game left to make their case for one of those precious spots on the final roster.
Time to check out some projections before Thursday night's preseason finales.
- Brian Galliford of BuffaloRumblings.com outlines who he thinks will make the Buffalo Bills' final cut. Notable: Safety Ko Simpson and linebacker Alvin Bowen get dropped.
- WQAM host Orlando Alzugaray forecasts the Miami Dolphins for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Notable: Running back Lex Hilliard makes the cut.
- Boston Globe reporter Mike Reiss breaks down the New England Patriots. Notable: Running back Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis both make the squad, while tight end Alex Smith and Benjamin Watson fight for the final tight end spot.
- Brian Bassett from TheJetsBlog.com tackles the New York Jets' final roster. Notable: Running back Danny Woodhead and special-teams ace Larry Izzo don't survive.
Each AFC East team still has three preseason games left to play.
Too soon to start filling out 53-man rosters? You bet.
But it's fun to check out some projections now that everybody has played at least one exhibition.
Boston Globe reporter Mike Reiss breaks down the New England Patriots. Notable: running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis makes the squad, while tight end Alex Smith is on the bubble. Tedy Bruschi is the last linebacker in.
I had trouble finding a recent Jets projection, but here is one from just before New York Jets training camp opened from TurnontheJets.com. If anyone has an updated analysis, please post a link in the comments section below.
New York Jets
- In a colorful interview with New York sports-radio station WFAN, rookie head coach Rex Ryan states he isn't intimidated by Bill Belichick's presence. Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News reports.
- Newark Star-Ledger reporter Steve Politi talks to players about the liberating experience of playing for Ryan.
- J.P. Pelzman of the Bergen Record writes the Jets are developing their own defensive identity.
- Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson checks in with outside linebacker Alvin Bowen about the knee injury that wiped out his rookie season.
- Wilson, donning his columnists cap, says receiver Roscoe Parrish is too talented to be buried on the Bills' depth chart.
- The Bills are teaching their defensive linemen how to hand fight with tae kwon do master Joe Kim, writes Buffalo news reporter Mark Gaughan. A side note: Kim became a vogue instructor in the early 1990s, when then-Browns coach Belichick wanted to tap into the skills exhibited by Patriots outside linebacker Andre Tippett, a black belt.
- Miami Herald reporter David J. Neal takes a gander at guard Brandon Frye, who has been elevated to the first team because of injuries.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Nick Schmit writes about defensive end Phillip Merling, the likeliest candidate to take Vonnie Holliday's old spot.
- Palm Beach Post columnist Greg Stoda chats with quarterback Chad Pennington about fending off Chad Henne.
- Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun checks in with Ravens quarterback John Beck about salvaging what happened in Miami.
New England Patriots
- Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork was noncommittal Wednesday about upcoming mandatory workouts, Boston Globe reporter Christopher L. Gasper reports.
- WEEI.com's Christopher Price lists Rodney Harrison's top five moments as a Patriot.
- Boston Herald writer John Tomase takes a look at the outspoken Harrison's new gig on the NBC broadcasting crew.
New York Jets
- Newsday columnist Bob Glauber offers a proposal that will appease both the Jets and displeased running back Thomas Jones.
- Niagara Gazette sports editor Tim Schmitt checks in on the recovery of linebacker Alvin Bowen, who missed his rookie year with a knee injury.
- Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan takes a look at changes in the AFC East through the eyes of the Bills.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Ethan J. Skolnick asks Trace Armstrong what we can expect from a 35-year-old Jason Taylor.
- Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero examines whether the Dolphins really need a so-called No. 1 receiver.
- Palm Beach Post columnist Dave George reminds us athleticism isn't enough to cut it in the NFL.
New England Patriots
- Shalise Manza Young of the Providence Journal takes a look at running back Laurence Maroney's crossroads season.
- Maroney "knows that the time is now for him to prove to Patriots coaches and personnel evaluators that he can carry the load," Mike Petraglia writes for WEEI.com.
- ESPN.com's Seth Wickersham takes a look at the most lopsided divisional rivalries, and the Patriots-Bills make the cut.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It was a lazy Sunday in the AFC East. Three of the four teams took the day off, with the New England Patriots the only ones on the field. They rested Friday.
So what is there to write about, other than whether Brett Favre sat on the aisle or in a window seat on his flight into Green Bay?
Here are some random notes from my travels:
- The Dolphins still have two openings on their 80-man roster after cutting TE Aaron Halterman and G Rueben Riley on Saturday. They recently worked out troubled QB Quincy Carter and have looked into WR Terry Glenn. Hmm? Hmmmmm?
- I had an interesting chat with Jets C Nick Mangold after Saturday's scrimmage. I asked if the O-line was under the microscope with the high-profile acquisitions of G Alan Faneca and T Damien Woody.
"None of our skill guys are going to be able to do anything if we don't block," Mangold said. "That's how you really judge yourself -- if your skill guys have a good game. You take a little pride in that because you don't get too many stats as a lineman. So you always feel a little bit of the weight of the offense on you, but that's part of the fun of being an offensive lineman."
- The Bills' youthful offense has been struggling on installation days, which isn't comforting, but it's understandable. They have a second-year QB (Trent Edwards), a second-year RB (Marshawn Lynch) and a rookie No. 2 WR (James Hardy). The TE position is sorting itself out, and T Langston Walker has been switched to the left side because of Jason Peters' contract dispute.
- Bill Belichick, the only coach to speak with reporters today, addressed the Patriots' backup QBs.
On Matt Cassel: "Matt has had a good camp. He has had a real good off-season. He did a nice job in the spring. ... I am confident in Matt. This is his fourth year so he has a good understanding of what we are doing and he has done a pretty good job of it when he has had the opportunity to play."
On Matt Gutierrez: He is probably as hard a working player as we have on this team, so he's worked hard to get better and build off of last year. ... It will be interesting to see Gutierrez play with a year under his belt. He played last year at this time. He was obviously a rookie but had very few snaps, very little experience and won a spot on the team so it will be interesting to see how those two guys do."
On Kevin O'Connell: "Kevin has made improvement since the spring. This is kind of the second time around in terms of teaching our plays and all that. We taught them all in the spring and then we go back and re-teach them here in training camp. I think that has really helped him. He seems a lot more comfortable and confident and is playing quicker at the line of scrimmage."
- Most scouts viewed Dolphins rookie G Donald Thomas a long-range project when the Dolphins took him late in the sixth round. He didn't play organized football until he was discovered playing pickup hoops at Connecticut. He didn't start until he was a senior.
But Thomas has been Miami's starting right guard for about a week. He has outperformed fourth-round pick Shawn Murphy, while veteran free-agent acquisition Steve McKinney has rebounded slowly from knee surgery.
- Bills rookie LB Alvin Bowen, probably gone for the season after suffering a right knee injury Friday, was looking like a fifth or sixth linebacker. But his biggest value would have been on special teams, where the Bills need bodies.
- Here's a leftover quote I've been meaning to share from Andre Tippett's pre-Hall of Fame news conference in Foxborough, Mass. He was asked, since he wore both helmets, whether he preferred Pat Patriot or the Flying Elvis logo.
"If I had to pick," Tippett said after hemming and hawing, "I just have love for the old Pat Patriot. He just looks like a rugged dude. I would go down a dark alleyway with him any day."
- From my room on the 10th floor of the Long Island Marriott, I can see the Jets' facility on the Hofstra University campus in the distance. But just a long kickoff away from my headboard is decrepit Nassau Coliseum. With the Yankees, Mets, Giants and Jets all moving into new digs, can't people find a way to implode the dump where the Islanders play (or at least attempt to) and build something the long-suffering locals can be proud of?
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
- Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson provides an update on LT Jason Peters' holdout. Peters is giving the Bills the silent treatment. Hard to hammer out a new deal that way.
- Rookie LB Alvin Bowen suffered what appears to be a season-ending right knee injury. The Bills responded by signing former Dolphins LB Donnie Spragan.
- Rochester Democrat & Chronicle columnist Scott Pitoniak takes a look at how the Kawika Mitchell signing will impact the defense.
- Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post catches up with rookie QB Chad Henne about his first training camp.
- Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reporter Harvey Fialkov takes a look at the Dolphins' cornerbacks.
- Rookie DE Kendall Langford has made a favorable impression so far.
New England Patriots
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports from Canton on Andre Tippett's Hall of Fame induction.
- Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal shares his Tippett memories.
- Boston Globe writer Christopher L. Gasper's shares the unorthodox tale of how TE Marcus Pollard made it to the NFL -- much less lasted 14 seasons.
New York Jets
- Despite their seemingly dismal chances of landing QB Brett Favre, the Jets still think they're in the hunt, reports New York Daily News beat writer Rich Cimini.
- Jets coach Eric Mangini isn't too interested where his QB competition is right now.
- Second-year CB Darrelle Revis plans on becoming an elite lockdown defender.