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Five players to watch

Posted Sep 1, 2011

It’s the last opportunity for several players to prove they belong on Buffalo’s 53-man roster, which must be finalized by 6 pm on Sept. 3rd. Here’s a handful of players that either need to have a strong showing Thursday night, or have to get quickly acclimated to regular season play after missing time due to injury.

1 - LB Antonio Coleman (#59) – Coleman and a few other linebackers will be fighting for some of the last spots on the 53-man roster Thursday night as the influx of veteran talent (Barnett, Merriman, Morrison) has ratcheted up the competition level. A good showing off the edge from the OLB will do nothing but help his cause.

2 - LB Kirk Morrison (#58) – The newly signed linebacker is expected to see a fair amount of work in this game, especially knowing the starters in front of him won’t be on the field very long. Morrison has been in several defensive systems, so seeing how he adjusts on the fly will be interesting to watch.

3 - TE Shawn Nelson (#89) – After missing almost all of training camp with an undisclosed injury the tight end was back on the practice field Monday, and had to ramp up his preparations quickly after a long layoff. Nelson will need to prove he’s still a mismatch in the passing game with his main competition Mike Caussin showing well to this point.

4 - CB Justin Rogers (#42) – The seventh-round pick saw his first action in the Jacksonville game coming off an ankle injury posting a pair of tackles in the game. He’s expected to get significantly more time against the Lions as the coaching staff hopes to get a long look at the Richmond product.

5 - LB Kelvin Sheppard (#55) – The third-round pick missed each of the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. Sheppard will get the opportunity to play a ton as the defensive staff wants to expose him to as much NFL game action as possible before the real bullets start flying. He’ll line up at inside linebacker.