Buffalo Bills: jacquies smith

The Buffalo Bills' starters saw their most significant action of the preseason in Saturday's 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here is a breakdown of the defensive snaps, grouped by the order in which players entered the game on defense:

Defensive end
Mario Williams -- 21 of 56 (starter)
Jerry Hughes -- 21 of 56 (starter)
Manny Lawson -- 20 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Jacquies Smith -- 20 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Jarius Wynn -- 12 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun -- 9 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)
Bryan Johnson -- 9 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Small tweak in the middle of the list, with Smith entering the game before Wynn. That was likely due to the Bills being in their sub package at the beginning of the second half. When the Steelers went back to their base personnel, Wynn came into the game. Smith is pushing for a roster spot but may be left on the outside.

Defensive tackle
Kyle Williams -- 19 of 56 (starter)
Marcell Dareus -- 21 of 56 (starter)
Corbin Bryant -- 23 of 56 (entered in second quarter)
Stefan Charles -- 15 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Landon Cohen -- 16 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Damien Jacobs -- 9 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)
Alan Branch -- 9 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: The red flags for Branch get bigger and brighter. He didn't enter the game until the fourth quarter, playing alongside three inexperienced players (Jacobs, Igbinosun, Johnson). If the Bills keep two reserve options behind Williams and Dareus, those spots could come down to Bryant, Charles, and Cohen.

Linebacker
Brandon Spikes -- 20 of 56 (starter)
Keith Rivers -- 11 of 56 (starter)
Nigel Bradham -- 15 of 56 (starter)
Preston Brown -- 29 of 56 (entered in second quarter)
Randell Johnson -- 19 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Stevenson Sylvester -- 18 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Jimmy Gaines -- 6 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)
Xavius Boyd -- 4 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)
Ty Powell -- 0 of 56 (medical/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Seeing a separation between Sylvester, the fifth-year pro, and Gaines, an undrafted rookie. With Bradham suspended, the Bills have an extra roster spot to use in Week 1. It could go to Sylvester.

Cornerback
Stephon Gilmore -- 21 of 56 (starter)
Corey Graham -- 21 of 56 (starter)
Nickell Robey -- 17 of 56 (entered in first quarter)
Ron Brooks -- 18 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Bobby Felder -- 11 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Ross Cockrell -- 25 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Mario Butler -- 10 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Kamaal McIlwain -- 17 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Sam Miller -- 14 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)
Leodis McKelvin -- 0 of 56 (did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: For three consecutive games, Cockrell has exclusively played in the slot. Felder and Brooks were the outside cornerbacks when he was on the field. In a sense, that could be a very good sign for Brooks' roster security. In the event of an injury to Gilmore, McKelvin, or Graham, he could get the nod over Cockrell.

Safety
Da'Norris Searcy -- 21 of 56 (starter)
Duke Williams -- 20 of 56 (starter)
Aaron Williams -- 18 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
JaJuan Harley -- 18 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Deon Broomfield -- 16 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Kenny Ladler -- 14 of 56 (entered in third quarter)
Derek Brim -- 9 of 56 (entered in fourth quarter)
Jonathan Meeks -- 0 of 56 (injured/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Marrone reiterated after the game that Aaron Williams remains a starter. That means the team wanted to get film on Searcy and Duke Williams playing together against the Steelers' first-team defense.
Before the Buffalo Bills switch gears this week for joint practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers, let's circle back on the Bills' Friday night preseason win over the Carolina Panthers.

Here is a breakdown of the defensive snaps, grouped by the order in which players entered the game on defense:

Defensive end
Mario Williams -- 14 of 75 (starter)
Jerry Hughes -- 13 of 75 (starter)
Manny Lawson -- 18 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Jarius Wynn -- 24 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Jacquies Smith -- 29 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun -- 30 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Bryan Johnson -- 22 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Nothing too surprising here. Lawson and Wynn gave Williams and Hughes a breather on the Panthers' touchdown drive in the first quarter. Smith was the first on the field among the remaining three, highlighting his status as a player who could push for a roster spot with a strong remainder of the preseason.

Defensive tackle
Kyle Williams -- 13 of 75 (starter)
Marcell Dareus -- 13 of 75 (starter)
Landon Cohen -- 31 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Corbin Bryant -- 13 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Stefan Charles -- 36 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Alan Branch -- 16 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Damien Jacobs -- 23 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: The shuffle continues at this position, as Cohen and Bryant were the first pair to spell Williams and Dareus in the first quarter. They remained the duo through the first half, until the start of the second half when Charles and, later, Branch saw time. That's not a good sign for the 29-year old Branch, who also played deep into the second half in the Hall of Fame game. His role on the team is tenuous.

Linebacker
Brandon Spikes -- 16 of 75 (starter)
Keith Rivers -- 11 of 75 (starter)
Nigel Bradham -- 14 of 75 (starter)
Stevenson Sylvester -- 25 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Preston Brown -- 20 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Randell Johnson -- 25 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Jimmy Gaines -- 34 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Ty Powell -- 39 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Xavius Boyd -- 12 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Sylvester came on as a fourth linebacker when the Panthers' first-team offense had their heavy offensive personnel on the field. He stayed out there with Brown, Johnson, and the second team defense. The two draft picks have been playing ahead of Powell, whose spot on the 53-man roster would likely come through his contributions on special teams.

Cornerback
Stephon Gilmore -- 16 of 75 (starter)
Corey Graham -- 15 of 75 (starter)
Nickell Robey -- 11 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Ron Brooks -- 20 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Bobby Felder -- 22 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Ross Cockrell -- 27 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Mario Butler -- 30 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Kamaal McIlwain -- 17 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Michael Carter -- 25 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)
Leodis McKelvin -- 0 of 75 (did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: What stands out the most is that the Bills continue to use Cockrell exclusively as a slot cornerback in preseason games. He still received a healthy dose of reps, but at some point it would make sense for the fourth-round pick to get some game experience on the outside. Instead, the Bills used a combo of Felder -- who signed with the team during training camp -- and Brooks as their outside cornerbacks behind the starters.

Safety
Aaron Williams -- 16 of 75 (starter)
Duke Williams -- 15 of 75 (starter)
Da'Norris Searcy -- 12 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Jonathan Meeks -- 47 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Deon Broomfield -- 48 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
JaJuan Harley -- 12 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Derek Brim -- 0 of 75 (injured/did not play)
Kenny Ladler -- 0 of 75 (injured/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Searcy being bumped from his starting role could have been a result of him not practicing last week because of a family emergency. He saw a small dose of reps in the second quarter and was off the field after that. Duke Williams remains a "rising" player to watch. He and Searcy were the top safety combo in practice over the weekend, with Aaron Williams running with the second team. Duke Williams' first 15 months in Buffalo were quiet, but he's been coming on strong lately.
(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they potentially fit in 2014.)

Name: Jacquies Smith

Position: Defensive end

Age: 24

2013 stats: None; spent most of season on practice squad.

Chance of making 53-man roster: 35 percent

Why he should make it: If there's one player on defense who we could see unexpectedly sneaking onto the 53-man roster, it's Smith. The Bills aren't that deep at defensive end following a scheme change this offseason. They'll need pass-rushers outside of Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes. The top backup should be Manny Lawson but there are still questions about how he'll be able to get to quarterbacks off the edge. When Williams and Lawson were out during OTAs, Smith saw action with the first team. If he can hold off Jarius Wynn, a late free-agent addition this offseason, Smith can earn the job as the fourth defensive end.

Why he shouldn't make it: Smith hasn't played in a regular-season NFL game, so he's still entirely unproven. He had a strong showing this spring, but so did Kourtnei Brown early in training camp last year when Williams was out with a foot injury. Brown wound up getting hurt and is now out of the NFL. Smith was productive as a pass-rusher in college but Brown's rise and fall is a reminder of the hit-or-miss nature of long-shot prospects. It may just not work out.

Closest competition: Lawson, Wynn, Ikponmwosa Igbinosun

Practice-squad decisions loom for Bills

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
5:00
AM ET
On Friday, the Buffalo Bills will practice for the final time this season. It will be the last chance for the members of Buffalo's eight-man practice squad to impress the coaching staff.

On Monday, the first day of the offseason, the Bills will have the option of signing players on their practice squad to "future" contracts that will begin at the start of the 2014 league year in March. If re-signed, the practice-squad players become members of the 90-man offseason roster.

For the practice-squad players who aren't re-signed, their contracts will expire after a week. They can then sign elsewhere, including with playoff teams.

Here is look at the Bills' current practice squad and how things might unfold with each player next week:

Quarterback Dennis Dixon
Signed: Oct. 8
Quick take: It's doubtful that Dixon has a future in Buffalo, but given their uncertain situation at quarterback, he could stick around for the offseason as an extra arm.

Wide receiver Cordell Roberson
Signed: Oct. 29
Quick take: It would be an upset if Roberson didn't sign a future deal. The undrafted rookie has good size -- he's 6-foot-4 -- and that's just what the Bills need at receiver. The Stephen F. Austin product makes an ideal developmental project.

Wide receiver Brandon Kaufman
Signed: Dec. 10
Quick take: Like Roberson, Kaufman is an undrafted rookie with excellent size (6-5, 215 pounds). He spent all of training camp in Buffalo, and could have another chance to crack the roster this summer if re-signed.

Offensive lineman Edawn Coughman
Signed: Sept. 2
Quick take: This was Coughman's second season in the NFL and he spent all of it on the Bills' practice squad. He's a small-school prospect, having played in Division II at Shaw University. The Bills are looking to get bigger along their offensive line, and at 6-4 and 313 pounds, Coughman fits the bill.

Offensive lineman Jamaal Johnson-Webb
Signed: Dec. 3
Quick take: Johnson-Webb is an undrafted rookie who is already on his fourth NFL team, which often signals that he has drawn the interest of scouts. His size (6-6, 306 pounds) could be one reason why.

Defensive lineman Ikponmwosa Igbinosun
Signed: Nov. 12
Quick take: "Ike" is a second-year player from Southern Connecticut State. The Bills don't have much of a need at defensive line, but he could still stick around into the offseason.

Linebacker Jacquies Smith
Signed: Oct. 15
Quick take: Smith had a strong junior campaign at Missouri, landing him on the Lombardi Award watch list in 2011. Even as a senior, he tallied five sacks and forced four fumbles, so he has some upside as a pass-rusher. If the Bills feel like Smith is developing, expect him to remain in Buffalo this offseason.

Cornerback Mario Butler
Signed: Nov. 19
Quick take: The Georgia Tech product has now exhausted his practice-squad eligibility, which could make him less appealing for the Bills in 2014. At 6-1, he has ideal size for his position, but time could be running out for the 25-year-old to take the next step in his NFL career.

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