The collective health of Buffalo's receiving corps took another hit Monday when head coach Chan Gailey provided the prognosis on injured receiver Donald Jones.
"It's the same as I thought after (the game), it's going to be a while," said Gailey. "It's not season-ending, but it'll be a while. Four to six (weeks), somewhere in there."
Gailey confirmed that Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain in the first half of Buffalo's win over Philadelphia Sunday. The loss of Jones again leaves Buffalo's receiving corps with four healthy wideouts along with multi-faceted threat Brad Smith.
Buffalo's sideline boss admits they're depth is certainly affected by the loss of Jones, but did not seem inclined to make a roster move right away.
"I'm not sure we need to have any kind of knee-jerk reaction to try to find somebody (right away), but if somebody comes along that looks like he might fit we're always trying to upgrade our football team," Gailey said.
Jones was tabbed as Buffalo's deep threat. Blessed with 4.49 speed the second-year wideout was entrusted with filling the role previously held by Lee Evans, who was traded to Baltimore during the preseason. The Bills do not exactly have another elite speed receiver on the roster, but Gailey isn't concerned as much about speed as execution when it comes to stretching the field.
"We'll try some different things," Gailey said. "We'll work some different ways to get that done. I think we can do it with our packages."
Buffalo's offense has had a rare ability to maintain their high rate of point production despite sustaining losses at the receiver position. First, Evans was traded in the preseason. That was followed by a season-ending injury to Roscoe Parrish and a season-ending medical condition for Marcus Easley in the span of week in September. Now with Jones out the receiving corps is stretched thinner, but it doesn't seem to matter.
"The next guy in line has to step up," said Ryan Fitzpatrick. "Naaman (Roosevelt) stepped up and did a good job and made some good catches for us (Sunday). That's what being in the NFL is about taking advantage of your opportunities."
Roosevelt, who was rotated in the most in Jones' absence contributed five catches for 41 in Sunday's victory all of which came in the second half. He had a pair of big catches on the third quarter scoring drive that was capped by Brad Smith's five-yard touchdown run including a big third down conversion on a 3rd-and-4. His 20-yard catch on a fourth quarter drive converted a 1st-and-15 after a false start penalty.
"Naaman just came through and did a couple of great things for us," said Gailey. "That was big."
Gailey indicated Brad Smith is likely to see more work at receiver as well.
"It's all hands on deck this week and maybe for the next few weeks," he said.
Some way, somehow Buffalo's receiving corps is able to just plug another player in and keep going. Fitzpatrick chalks it up to their offensive scheme.
"Chan does a good job of just plugging guys in in different places," said Fitzpatrick. "It's part of the system. It's easy for the guys to understand and go in at different positions. I think it helps us."
"I don't think we're complicated," said Gailey. "I think we are simple enough where a guy can come in and know where he's supposed to be."
Gailey also credits Fitzpatrick's knack for adjusting to new receivers where he can establish chemistry with the team's newest addition in the span of a week.
"He can adapt to receivers as well if maybe not better than anybody I've been around,"Gailey said. "You can plug somebody in new and he finds a connection with them without a bunch of practice with them. He can develop some kind of feel with the guy and that doesn't happen normally. So he can be accurate to guys without him having a lot of work at the position, which is not an easy thing to do."
"You can't let things like that hold you back," said Fitzpatrick. "You can't let them tie your hands behind your back thinking you can't do certain things. Everybody that's out there is an NFL player and you've got to trust that they're going to be able to help us."