The chances for Bills LB Shawne Merriman to play in Sunday's game against the Giants were remote at best. He was listed as doubtful following Friday's practice. On Saturday it was made official as Merriman's status was downgraded to out.
Merriman's Achilles problem that's plagued him on and off the past two seasons flared up on him in practice Thursday. It kept him out of practice Friday and again on Saturday. Merriman did not make the trip with the rest of the team to New Jersey for Sunday's game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
With Merriman and fellow veteran linebacker Chris Kelsay out with a calf injury the Bills could start a pair of second-year players at both outside linebacker positions in Danny Batten and Arthur Moats.
"They've been thrust in there a little earlier than maybe a lot of us hoped they would have to be in there," said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. "We were hoping to bring them along slowly. I know they'll compete and they're intelligent and will play as hard as they can play. And the good thing about them is they'll play with speed. They play as hard as you can play every snap they're on the field. They embody what our football team is about I believe so I trust they can get the job done."
Batten is expected to start in place of Kelsay, as he did last week against Philadelphia. Sunday will be his second career start.
Moats meanwhile is expected to take Merriman's position on the open side. He has four career starts all of which came in his rookie season last year.
Buffalo has also recently made use of Spencer Johnson at the outside linebacker position on the strong to hold the point of attack.
Gailey said Friday that Merriman's condition would be re-evaluated during the team's upcoming bye week.