Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bills' pass rush regains depth, options with Kelsay


With the return of defensive end Chris Kelsay to the field, the Buffalo Bills' pass rushing squad regained more than a veteran presence: It now has some much-needed flexibility.

Kelsay practiced individually Monday for the first time since a ligament tear in his neck put him on the sidelines nearly two weeks ago. The 10-year vet was upbeat about his progress, telling reporters he was optimistic about returning for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I am feeling a lot better,” Kelsay said. “The weekend and this past week I have seen significant progress. Looking forward to getting back out there.”

Kelsay, a warrior throughout his career in Buffalo, injured his neck pushing the practice sled during team workouts. He's only missed eight games during his decade-long tenure with the Bills, and he was confident that he would be able to fully practice Wednesday to prepare for the weekend.

Coach Chan Gailey mirrored that sentiment, telling reporters Monday that Kelsay's workout “looked like it went well.”

That's good news for the Buffalo defense, which could use all the help it can get. Despite a strong performance against the Dolphins last week, the squad is still statistically near the bottom of the league, giving up nearly 400 yards per game. The team's sack totals, however, has risen a bit of late, and having Kelsay back in action could allow the staff a bit more options when planning its pressure up front.

“I do not know if we just throw him (Kelsay) out there full boat or not.,"Gailey said. "We might talk about what the best way to handle all of that will be ... That is always big when you can start to get healthy towards the end. If we can continue to do that and do not lose anymore, that bodes well for us.”

In Kelsay's absence, Kyle Moore and the newly re-acquired Shawne Merriman were proficient, both tallying a pair of tackles and a sack against the Dolphins (both of Merriman's tackles were for a loss). Mario Williams also snagged a sack last Thursday, which makes four in his last five games.

Kelsay's return will give some of the pass rushers a bit of a breather during long drives, and perhaps the squad can see its abysmal third-down rate drop down to a manageable level.

Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily