Feeling the Heat

Three straight 7-9 seasons (read: numbing mediocrity) is a recipe for change. Rather than clean out dead weight from those years, the Bills opted to give several players another training camp to prove themselves. Inside, BFR's Tyler Dunne analyzes three players that are on the hot seat at St. John Fisher this summer...

3. Roscoe Parrish

Underused or underachieving? That is the perennial question that has defined Parrish's career with the Bills. In five years, the former 2nd round pick has never had more than 35 receptions in a season.

On the surface, it appears the Bills fail miserably in featuring Parrish on offense. It's not like the team has had a wealth of riches at wideout holding Parrish back. The opportunity has been there his whole career. But despite his slippery quickness in the open field - where Parrish has averaged 14 yards per punt return the last three seasons - he hasn't been drilled into the deadly slot option you'd expect.

No punt returner is worth $4 million per season. And now, Parrish surely won't be playing receiver much. Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, Josh Reed, Steve Johnson and James Hardy will gorge the reps. Parrish's worth is in question. If Jairus Byrd or someone else shines as a punt returner at camp, the nimble Parrish could be deemed expendable.

2. Chris Kelsay

Kelsay is running on fumes. The Bills reportedly tried and failed to trade Kelsay over the offseason. Thus, both sides are stuck with each again. When Aaron Schobel went down with a foot injury, Kelsay was invisible. He lacks elite speed to race around tackles and can't compensate with any go-to moves. Instead he plainly holds his position on the edge (on occasion) and is average against the run. At his price tag of $23 million over four years, that's a rip-off.

First-round pick Aaron Maybin will instantly supplant Kelsay on passing downs and it may only be a matter of time before he takes over for good. Maybin packed on a ton of muscle since leaving Penn State. As you'll see in a BFR feature soon, he's used to facing bigger guys anyway. In high school, Maybin was the fourth-ranked wrestler in the state despite competing in the 275-pound weight class…at 225 pounds.

The Bills desperately need new blood in the pass rush. With Tom Brady back, it's a must. In six seasons, Kelsay has provided zilch in the pass rush, never totaling six sacks in one single year. Time is running out.

1. John McCargo

You wanted to believe Marv Levy, wanted to entrust the guy who last gave you thrills watching the Bills. The legendary head coach took over for Tom Donahoe to replace the former G.M.'s ridiculous fascination of splashy, skill-position signings with hardnosed, core players. After drafting Donte Whitner over Jay Cutler (ouch), Levy traded up to nab McCargo. Head-scratching even at the time, McCargo was widely considered a benefactor of N.C. State's ruthless defensive line (Mario Williams, Manny Lawson).

So far, he's been the team's biggest draft bust since Mike Williams. Well, if you're not counting Operation Toronto. Injury and ineffectiveness are driving McCargo out of the league.

He had a great offseason. McCargo successfully rehabbed from the surgery he had on his ruptured back and pledges to turn a new leaf in 2009. But this sure screams Yao Ming. McCargo has suffered a slew of injuries since entering the league. A defensive tackle that relies on quickness, he has been pounded in the trenches from day one. He's too weak at the point of attack.

New defensive line coach Bob Sanders could find a way to utilize McCargo's talent, could salvage a disastrous career. McCargo wored with the second-team defense during OTAs and minicamp and sounds re-energized. But in three years, he has shown nothing to hint at any of the potential Levy envisioned. Buffalo tried trading him to Indianapolis last year and McCargo failed his physical. This year, the team will simply dump him into the waiver wire if he doesn't perform.

Tyler Dunne is the Publisher of BuffaloFootballReport.com and also writes for the Buffalo News, Olean Times Herald and Packer Report. Contact him at thdunne@gmail.com.


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