Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bills finally back to having options at receiver


Contrary to previous weeks, the Buffalo Bills receiving corps is healthy, and the depth chart is stocked. For coach Doug Marrone, that leaves some interesting and unfamiliar decisions to be made.

"I think this is the first time where we really have to sit down and see who is going to be the inactives for the game," Marone said Wednesday, via "Before it’s been easy, the guys that were injured were all inactive; we didn’t have to make a lot of decisions.

"Going in to this game, we did have to make a couple decisions on who is going to be up and who is going to be down. I’m excited about that, those are good decisions."

Buffalo's top two receivers are an easy choice this week given the fact that Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods are available. A somewhat tougher call will be the team's No. 3 receiver, which will likely come down to speedsters T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin. 

The youngsters' numbers are pretty comparable to this point, with only 11 receiving yards separating their totals.

The rookie Goodwin, however, has tallied three touchdowns to this point compared to his teammate, and his completion percentage (61.5) is far more reliable than the sophomore's (47.4). Graham has seen more than twice the snaps of his young counterpart though, which could continue given his experience.

Marrone's other decision will be exactly how many receivers to start. In the team's 11 games, Marrone has dressed more than four receivers in around half of their games. In Week 8 against the Saints, he actually dressed six receivers, though the typical move has been to start five and pull either a tight end or a third running back. 

With both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson healthier than they've been this season, that may be a viable option this week in Toronto. The Falcons have allowed 130 yards on the ground per game on average and have struggled to get to the quarterback, so an extra blocker on the field could pay huge dividends.

Who that fifth wideout would be if Marrone goes the five-plus route may be a gut-shot call. Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley have each seen time this season but haven't made much of an impact to this point. Hogan has tallied seven receptions for 63 yards, while Easley has snagged only two catches for 13 yards.

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