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Receiving corps shorthanded, but undaunted


Buffalo's receiver position has already taken its share of injury hits this year going all the way back to training camp. Unfortunately little has changed since then and entering their Week 7 game against Jacksonville in London. The Bills could be without three of their seven receivers this weekend.

Marquise Goodwin is already out of the equation on injured reserve after sustaining his second rib injury this season. Sammy Watkins made the trip to England with the team, but is in a walking boot after leaving last week's game in the first half with an ankle injury. And Percy Harvin did not travel as he's been excused for personal reasons.

Left to fill the void this week are Chris Hogan, Robert Woods, Denarius Moore and Marcus Easley, who is expected to return this week from a shoulder injury.

"We're hurting a little bit at that position. It's okay though. Robert and myself, Denarius Moore, Marcus (Easley), so we have some guys," said Hogan. "Obviously we're going to miss Sammy, Percy and Marquise, but I think that Robert and I are confident in our abilities and Tyrod (Taylor) with our communication and our relationship with him is pretty good. We're confident going into this game that we're going to be able to make some plays."

"We're just trying to get everybody locked in and have everybody know the details of their assignments," said Woods coming off the practice field Wednesday. "We're limited in numbers and everybody has to be ready to go and step up and make plays for the offense."

Woods and Hogan are expected to start Sunday with Easley and Moore playing supporting roles. Knowing all four wideouts have roles on special teams too, the receivers are curbing their reps in practice so they're not leg weary entering Sunday's game knowing their play count against the Jaguars is likely to be high.

"I feel like the conditioning is there," said Woods. "It's kind of one of those things where you want to be ready to go on Sunday so you limit your reps during the week, but take off and explode on Sunday."

It's also very likely that the Bills will get some help from the tight end position. Charles Clay is the most targeted player on Buffalo's roster this season (45). The player expected to see the biggest spike in time on the field Sunday however, is TE Chris Gragg.

A former receiver himself, Gragg has very good straight line speed and can present mismatches.

"We have a lot of skill players down, especially at receiver, so kind of like last week (offensive coordinator Greg Roman) and my coaches have told me that they want me to step up and they're going to get me some balls in the passing game," said Gragg, who has six receptions on six targets this season. "That's something I've been waiting to hear for a long time. I've been doing a lot of things on and off the ball, but if I can get involved in the passing game I know that's one of my great strengths and I'm ready to help out."

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is unaffected by the changes in the lineup. Though a bit of question mark himself coming off a knee injury, Taylor believes the depth of talent on the roster will come through Sunday.

"Our personnel changes each and every week as far as what our game plan is and what we like with our personnel going against their defense," said Taylor. "Coach Roman does a good job of scheming up plays. Everybody has to be ready and I think everyone is. We have confidence that everyone is ready to step up and make those plays."

Goodwin, Harvin and Watkins are also the three fastest wideouts on the roster, but the healthy receivers insist there's a big-play dimension to their games as well.

"I think Robert and I have that explosiveness as well," said Hogan, who has the second-longest reception for the team this season at 46 yards. "So I think it's just a matter of us doing our job, getting open and catching the ball and making plays. I think we can surprise some people with our explosive ability."

Buffalo is facing the 22nd ranked pass defense in the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. They also rank 26th in completion percentage allowed at 68.5 percent.

Photos from the Buffalo Bills visit to London, UK, in the week leading up to the game against the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

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