AFC East: Dorin Dickerson

Buffalo Bills on the bubble: Offense

August, 22, 2013
The third preseason game typically serves as the final tune-up for any NFL team's starters. The few dozen players who are locks to make the 53-man roster figure to see action into the third quarter, before taking it easy in the preseason finale.

For those players still battling for roster spots, the extended action for starters leaves them with their last, limited opportunity to make an impression.

The Buffalo Bills play their third preseason game on Saturday against the Washington Redskins. That will lead into a hectic final week of August, with the 75-man cutdown (Aug. 27), preseason finale (Aug. 29) and 53-man cut-down (Aug. 31) rapidly approaching.

Here's a look at three players on offense for the Bills who are squarely on the roster bubble and may need a strong performance Saturday to survive final cuts. On Friday, we'll take a look at three defensive players in the same situation:

Marcus Easley
The fourth-year receiver led all Bills receivers with 43 snaps in last Friday's preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings. The top four receivers for the Bills are set, but Easley could still earn a joint role on offense and special teams. He did his part on special teams on Friday night, playing 12 snaps in that phase of the game. However, the Bills could still choose to go with Brad Smith (who projects to have a larger role on special teams) or Chris Hogan (who has shown good route running and catching ability), leaving Easley off the roster.

Dorin Dickerson
Dickerson is a bit of an enigma, having spent parts of his career as a wide receiver, H-back/fullback and tight end. The Bills' new coaches tried him at wide receiver this offseason, but he approached the staff with concerns about shedding weight to play that position. He later returned to tight end and has been in the mix for a roster spot. Dickerson's best hope for making the squad, though, is his versatility. A strong showing on Saturday could put him in line for a role as a "utility player" on offense.

Kendall Gaskins
An undrafted rookie from Richmond, Gaskins is a "tweener." At 238 pounds, he played fullback in college but has taken snaps at running back this preseason. He showed some burst last Friday against Minnesota, gaining 16 yards on just three carries. Similarly, he'll have to make the most of the few carries he'll likely see on Saturday. Gaskins is battling Frank Summers, who is a true blocking fullback, and Zach Brown for the final spot in the Bills' backfield. Getting involved on special teams on Saturday would help Gaskins' case to make the roster.
On Thursday, the Buffalo Bills placed tight end Mike Caussin on injured reserve, one day after he was waived/injured with a hip injury that kept him out of most of training camp.

Caussin hadn't played in a game for the Bills since December 2011, spending all of last season on the physically unable to perform list, but he would have been in the mix for a roster spot this preseason if healthy.

Instead, the Bills will continue to lean on Lee Smith, a fifth-round choice of the New England Patriots in 2011 who has settled into a role with the Bills, starting seven games last season. At 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, Smith is known as a hard-nosed blocker, but has caught just eight passes in two NFL seasons.

The Bills have an emerging threat at tight end in veteran Scott Chandler, who had 43 catches and six touchdowns in 2012 before a torn ACL ended his season in late December. Just eight months removed from surgery, the Bills have eased Chandler back into action during training camp.

Head coach Doug Marrone said that Chandler will likely play in Friday's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, but even with Chandler on pace to start in the regular season opener, it's surprising that the Bills did not bring in another tight end this offseason as insurance.

While the Bills anticipate using three-wide receiver formations frequently and making use of their running backs in the passing game, another injury to Chandler could limit the Bills offense.

Beyond Smith, the Bills' options at tight end are Dorin Dickerson, a converted wide receiver with limited NFL experience, and a pair of first-year players: Chris Gragg (seventh round) and Nick Provo (undrafted). At this point, all are back-end roster or practice-squad level players.

The Bills have a first-year general manager in Doug Whaley who will need several seasons to develop depth across the roster, an important component for any team over the rigors of a 16-game season. But right now, it's not hard to imagine that tight end is one position where the Bills know they are thin.

AFC East links: Reuniting with Garrard?

March, 7, 2013
Buffalo Bills

Veteran Bryan Scott has reached agreement on a new contract that keeps him in Buffalo for the 2013 season.

The Bills on Wednesday tendered tight end Dorin Dickerson, who was an exclusive-rights free agent.

Miami Dolphins

Quarterback David Garrard is interested in joining the Dolphins, but right now the feeling isn't mutual, writes Adam H. Beasley of The Miami Herald.

Could cornerback Chris Houston be a free-agent target of the Dolphins?

New England Patriots

Eric Wilbur of "The daily Wes Welker update has been like reading 'The Far Side,' a morning update that is beginning to delve into absurdity. Depending upon whom you speak to, Welker is either thoroughly committed to finishing the job here in New England, or he’s ready to cut bait and return to Miami for a big paycheck. And you just know that if it’s the latter, Patriot fans will react with a venomous vigor that we can already smell percolating."

Todd McShay has targeted cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson for the Patriots in his latest mock draft .

New York Jets

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the 49ers have minimal interest in trading for cornerback Darrelle Revis.

The New York Post reports that Revis wants to remain with the Jets.