There were more than a few surprise final cuts made by the Bills on Saturday as they released 20 players from the roster to arrive at the necessary 53 for the regular season. Al Wallace was placed on injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason finale Thursday night. Anthony Hargrove will be placed on the reserve-suspended list to be the 22nd player removed from the active roster.
Buffalo clipped a few familiar veteran players as Craig Nall, Jonathan Smith, Shaud Williams and Mike Schneck were released. Second-year players that played a role on the club last season in Brad Cieslak and Terrance Pennington were also released.
Nall sounded like he knew his days were numbered in a Bills uniform when he spoke after the final preseason game Thursday night.
"There's going to be an opportunity for me somewhere at some point where I'm going to get a chance to go in there and prove that I'm capable of playing in this league," said Nall after the Detroit game.
It wouldn't be surprising to think that the Bills tried for the past 24 hours to trade the quarterback who did not play poorly in the preseason aside from a fumbled exchange.
Smith was again the victim of a numbers game at wide receiver.
Pennington perhaps is the biggest surprise. The second-year offensive lineman had intended to be the team's backup swing tackle for both Jason Peters and Langston Walker. But Kirk Chambers had a strong training camp and apparently convinced the staff that he was a superior option for the role.
Cieslak was viewed as a virtual lock serving as the backup to Ryan Neufeld in the fullback position, but the coaching staff obviously felt differently. However, rookie seventh-round pick Derek Schouman who also saw work at the fullback position was a cut too. Matt Murphy who was considered a bubble player performed consistently throughout camp and earned a spot on the roster as a result.
The Bills also cut seventh-round pick C.J. Ah You, which was a bit of a surprise in light of the fact that veteran Al Wallace was placed on injured reserve. Buffalo hasn't cut draft picks in the recent past to get to 53.
The Bills now has just four healthy defensive ends on the roster. Aaron Schobel, Chris Kelsay, Eric Powell and Ryan Neill, whose long snapping prowess in the preseason convinced the staff that Schneck was expendable.
Schneck was a single purpose player, while Neill can help at defensive end and elsewhere on special teams besides just long snapping.
Injured defensive end Ryan Denney was carried on the roster and will likely be inactive indefinitely.
The remaining cuts consisted of players who were deep on the depth chart and had trouble making a significant impact in the preseason.
Some positions that have a large number of players include safety where the staff elected to keep five including sixth-round pick John Wendling and receiver turned safety George Wilson. Buffalo also kept five defensive tackles and five defensive ends.
The Bills can begin to assemble their eight-player practice squad at noon Sunday. Buffalo will ultimately have a total of nine as international player allocation Daniel Watts will serve on the team's practice squad all season.
Here's the complete list of players who were cut Saturday.
C.J. Ah You
Al Wallace on injured reserve