Defensive end Aaron Maybin, the team's No. 1 draft pick and the 11th overall pick in last April's NFL draft, is on pace to end 2009 as one of the biggest rookie disappointments in club history.
Maybin, who registered 12 sacks as a junior for Penn State last fall, continues to average just 10 to 15 plays per game for the Bills. He has been unable to unseat journeymen veterans Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney on the left side of Buffalo's defensive line opposite Aaron Schobel, earning only backup repetitions.
He has been credited with 11 tackles and no sacks but last Thursday's loss to the New York Jets in Toronto was one of his better games with three tackles.
"I'm good," Maybin said when grilled by reporters about his talent and confidence. "I'm good enough to produce in this league."
At the moment, the Bills' coaching staff obviously thinks otherwise or Maybin would be starting and making an impact.
A long training camp holdout hurt his chances but that was three months ago. Being behind the learning curve, then being too light (a reported 250 pounds), set him back. It's clear to anyone that observes Maybin up close that he'll need a productive offseason of adding size and strength if he's going to pan out as a player worthy of being drafted so high. His weight seems closer to 225 or 230 pounds.
"I think he's improved," said interim coach Perry Fewell, the team's defensive coordinator.
"He's increased his reps in the latter part of this season. It took him awhile to get going. It took him awhile to understand what we wanted and how we wanted it. He really turned it up a notch in practice and he's really been practicing well for us. That hasn't always transferred to the game ... but I think he's getting better every week. I think he's going to be a dynamic player for us. It's very tough to play in this league and I think he will get better and he'll be a top-flight pick. Maybe not at the end of this season but he's going to be a top-flight pick for this football team."
If he's not, the Bills chronic rebuilding efforts will have taken another hit. Maybin will join a long list of first-round picks this decade that haven't worked out.
"Again, it's really tough to play in this league and there are a lot of things like communication that goes on out there so it's more of the mental more so than the physical and then along with the physical he needs to get bigger and stronger. There's no doubt about that," Fewell said. "We knew that coming in. We had a conversation this week about getting bigger and stronger, and that's not going to happen until the offseason for him."
--QB Brian Brohm, a 2008 second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, was signed off the Packers' practice squad and added to the 53-man roster three week ago but isn't likely to see any game action this year. Coach Perry Fewell said it is too late in the season for Brohm to get a fair look and he will finish out the year running the scout team.
--DE Aaron Maybin, the team's first-round pick out of Penn State, had one of his best games as a rookie with three tackles against the Jets last week. He still is limited to backup status, playing about 10 to 15 plays per game. Coach Perry Fewell said Maybin needs to add size and strength to be an impact player and that "won't happen until the offseason for him."
--DL Corey Mace, released on Monday to make room for TE Joe Klopfenstein, was re-signed and added to the practice squad. He fills a spot created by New Orleans' signing of LB Anthony Waters off Buffalo's practice unit.
--OT Demetrius Bell remains out with a knee injury and did not practice for a second day this week. His injury continues to puzzle the team and he remains a candidate to go on injured reserve.
--CB Terrence McGee practiced for a second straight day on his surgically repaired knee and looks to be ready to start Sunday at Kansas City.
--CB Ashton Youboty, slowed much of the year with an ankle injury, practiced more fully and could return to action Sunday at Kansas City. He remains a game-time decision.
--DE Chris Kelsay did not practice due to personal reasons. His status for Sunday's game is unclear.
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