Zay Jones has to “earn his way” into Bills lineup

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The Bills wide receiver corps one of the league’s thinner ones heading into training camp, which would seem to bode well for 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones‘ chances of seeing a lot of playing time once September rolls around.

While that may be the case, General Manager Brandon Beane made it clear last week that Jones won’t be guaranteed anything this season. He had a quiet rookie season while dealing with a shoulder injury and missed offseason work after knee surgery, which Beane says leaves him with with work to do this summer.

“He’s not just going to necessarily go right to the top of the line,” Beane said during an appearance on WGR 550, via “He’ll have to earn his way. Part of that will just be just getting his feel. He’s only played with Nathan Peterman. He has not got to play with Josh Allen or AJ [McCarron] yet. So that bond there will just have to form.”

Kelvin Benjamin is the top receiver in Buffalo with Andre Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Brandon Reilly among the other non-Jones options. It’s an underwhelming list that would look a lot better if Jones can make good on the potential the Bills saw when he was at East Carolina.

10 responses to “Zay Jones has to “earn his way” into Bills lineup

  1. All the armchair gms here will point to stats, and his drops(also the hotel incident) as reasons for why he’s terrible. However, he is a deep threat if he can make it on the field. Clearly he was dealing with some demons both on and off the field, but there were a ton of games last season where he had his defender beat up the seam, or on a post and Tyrod just never looked his way. Primary example was the bucs game. I think it was a few plays before that end of half debacle, he was WIDE open running away from everybody, and it gets dumped off to shady. I don’t think we’ll have that problem with any of these QB’s.

  2. I’m still unsure on what they are doing at the Receiver position… They must see potential in the group they assembled because they didn’t go after guys like Dez Bryant or Jeremy Maclin. Also, I’m sure money wasn’t a factor in what they are doing because they have enough cap space to add a couple of bigger named guys if they wanted to.
    Benjamin & Kerley are the only two that can pretty much count on starting.
    Jones-He plays his best out of the slot.
    Dupre-Late round pick of GB with potential on the outside.
    Bray-If he makes the team It will probably be the PS.
    Reilly-Made a lot of noise in year one and has been improving… Outside receiver.
    Streater-If he hadn’t injured himself in camp last season he was a lock to start.
    Holmes-Their best ST player and redzone receiver.
    McCloud-Already showing chemistry with Allen… Has a great chance of sticking.
    Phillips-Undrafted but has a lot of experience.
    Proehl-Ricky Proehl’s son… plays like it too.
    Foster-A Coaching favorite.
    Clay-Bounced from Carolina to Buffalo to Carolina and back to Buffalo again.

    If I had to guess right now: Benjamin/Kerley/Jones to start with Holmes/Streater/Reilly/McCloud as backups with Dupre/Foster on the PS.
    Proehl labeled as RB/WR
    Bray/Clay/Phillips cut.

  3. So, you don’t have a starting QB, but lots of options, no real wide receivers but lots of options, a freak playoff appearance, but we will get expert analysis along with unbridled enthusiasm from bills fans. Oh wait, they are starting over…again

  4. I like what EJ says. Kaelin Clay’s potential is mostly as a returner, though, not so much as a receiver. He’s not bad, but he’s one of those Ted Ginn types who needs to prove that he can make tough catches. The bad thing about Jones is that he worked best last year in his limited action out of the slot, and Jeremy Kerley is a slot reciever through and through. Kerley’s not playing on the outside, and Jones’ speed makes him somebody who the coaching staff will likely want to see on the outside.

    Andre Holmes’ size makes him valuable in the red zone, but he’s not a top three receiver. His ST skills and veteran status make him valuable as a player, as does the lack of a big receiving TE to take his place in the red zone, but if they decide to cut him for salary reasons I wouldn’t be shocked. He’s a good contributor for them though, so I hope he stays on. Rod Streater I think is in most danger of being cut. He’s a veteran who is more expensive than the young guys and hasn’t shown much since his Oakland days. That’s not to say he’s bad, but he’ll have to impress the staff to make them think he’s worth the investment over the young guys.

    McCloud and Proehl were both drafted, so they have a tiny bit of security, but they were sixth and seventh round picks respectively, so they could get cut easily if the team wants something else. Foster and Bray look likely to be cut or go through waivers, and either Reilly or Dupre. The Bills don’t have much size outside of Benjamin and Holmes, so they’ll want one of the 6 foot guys buried on the depth chart. If another guy shows potential returning kicks/punts, Clay will likely be cut as well.

  5. 700levelvet says:
    June 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm
    So, you don’t have a starting QB, but lots of options, no real wide receivers but lots of options, a freak playoff appearance, but we will get expert analysis along with unbridled enthusiasm from bills fans. Oh wait, they are starting over…again

    Don’t get the Dalton touchdown twisted… the Bills earned the Playoffs through winning 9 games in 2017. It doesn’t matter that a win by Cincinnati gave them an edge over a sub-par Ravens team, they made it.
    They do have a starting QB… Josh Allen. The ONLY reason they are not naming him yet is because it’s too early. The QB that will be under center week 1 will be Josh Allen… mark it down. Same Regime… same Process.

  6. The one thing I love about McDermott/Beane is that they don’t hand anything to anyone on this team – it’s earned. Waiting until the start of OTAs to have surgery definitely didn’t help his cause as well as his incident with his brother. The biggest problem with this group is the lack of a deep threat. At this point I wouldn’t assume Jones as a starter. Streater is gonna be a serious challenger.

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