One of the more surprising cuts to come out of Buffalo was Dominic Rhodes. Apparently, he wasn't making much of a case for himself. He was a problem child off the field and never produced on field. I was curious why Buffalo would cut him, especially when starting RB Marshawn Lynch suspended for the first three games of the season. As usual, Buffalo Rumblings blogger Brian Galliford has the goods.
Q: Out of all the cuts this past week, were there any surprises? Dominic Rhodes comes to mind as he seemed like a fairly productive back. What's the skinny behind his loss of a job as well as any other surprises from a Bills' fan's perspective?
Well, you hit it on the head - Rhodes really was the only surprise Bills cut this year, though an argument could certainly be made for veteran OL Kirk Chambers.
As you're probably aware, Rhodes was signed in March as veteran insurance for Marshawn Lynch's three-game suspension. Obviously, he won't fulfill those duties. Rhodes has been in the proverbial doghouse for essentially the majority of training camp; he begged out of the Hall of Fame Game with a knee injury, and when he returned, he promptly coughed up the rock twice (once on a punt return) and was miserable in pass protection. The cumulation of all of that led to his release.
Still, it's a gutsy move for a team that has made an uncomfortable amount of gutsy moves of late. Fred Jackson, who will fill in for Lynch in the first three games, injured his wrist in training camp, and the injury has been described as one that could nag him for much of the 2009 season. As it stands now, Buffalo's two backup runners - second-year pro Xavier Omon and fullback-by-trade Corey McIntyre - have a combined six NFL carries. So despite all of Rhodes' apparent pre-season misdeeds, his release is most definitely a risk.
As for Chambers, he was a useful fill-in at tackle and guard over the past two seasons, and was rewarded with a contract extension this past March. Most thought he'd stick around as veteran insurance at both tackle and guard in the event that either of the Bills starting rookie guards (Eric Wood, Andy Levitre) or converted guard Brad Butler struggled. They have all had their moments; meanwhile, second-year pro Demetrius Bell has developed to the point where he could take over for at left tackle much sooner than anyone had anticipated. The emergence of Bell, plus the investments made in the starters, made Chambers expendable.
I'm not sure I'd call cutting Rhodes a gutsy move, but I would say it's risky. Given Jackson's injury and Omon's and McIntyre's lack of NFL reps, it could be a bumpy road for the Bills' ground game. If I were Belichick, I'd think Buffalo would prefer to air it out more than put the rock on the ground. But I'm just a blogger. Thanks to Brian Galliford for the great info. Check out Buffalo Rumblings for my answer to his question regarding Brady's mindset.