On paper, it looks like Bills WR Naaman Roosevelt had a monumental challenge ahead of him if he had any hopes of making the Buffalo roster in 2011. Undrafted out of the University of Buffalo, as a rookie Roosevelt spent most of the 2010 season on the Bills’ practice squad, only earning a promotion to the main roster following injuries to Roscoe Parrish and Lee Evans. He a bit of success, hauling in nine balls for 139 yards in six games, but he hardly set the world on fire.
Now Roosevelt is back in Buffalo’s training camp, trying to compete for a job at the Bills’ deepest position. With Lee Evans, Stevie Johnson, Roscoe Parrish, David Nelson, and maybe Marcus Easley and Donald Jones in front of him in the pecking order, it seemed to me that Roosevelt would be a victim of the numbers game and would really struggle to make the team.
But I guess not. As it turns out, head coach Chan Gailey LOVES this guy:
“He is a great young player. He really is a great young player,” a smiling Gailey told BuffaloBills.com. “God didn’t give him a lot of speed. God didn’t give him a lot of size, but I tell you what he makes the most of what he’s got. He’s a great young player. I’m excited to see what he does in the games this year. He did great when we put him in there last year.” (emphasis added)
Now, a lot of coaches throw around meaningless praise in the media that fans should probably ignore. Chan Gailey is not one of those coaches. The man is a straight-shooter and very frank with the media. If he says it, it’s because it’s what he thinks. And what really jumps out at me here is two things:
1) Chan Gailey was smiling when he talked about Roosevelt? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Gailey smile. Ever.
2) He said he’s excited to see what “Roosevelt does in the games this year.” Does that mean that in Gailey’s mind Roosevelt has already made the team?
If Roosevelt has really won over the coaching staff, that’s pretty impressive. Roosevelt is hardly a physical specimen, but apparently he’s basically been flawless in camp. According to BuffaloBills.com, Roosevelt has yet to drop a single pass in practice thus far…and that’s counting drills, live scrimmages, everything. That kind of consistency will certainly not hurt one’s case to make the team.
So assuming Roosevelt has made the team, how do things shake our for the Bills at wide receiver? How many receivers does the team keep? Could Donald Jones or Marcus Easley get cut? Would the Bills really keep as many as seven receivers?
In any case, it’s nice to see that the Bills have real talent and competition at one position, anyway.