TEMPE, Ariz. – Buffalo Bills fans wanting to see some new blood on defense will get their wish Sunday.
While he likely won’t start, fourth-year pro Kyle Moore will be a big part of the team’s rotation at defensive end without Mark Anderson.
“It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting on,” Moore said with a smile as bright as the Arizona sunshine Friday after practice.
Moore probably will be seeing plenty of rookie linebacker Nigel Bradham on the field Sunday. Bradham will take over for Arthur Moats as the starter on the strong side.
Moore appeared in four games last season for the Bills after being signed to their active roster in November from the Detroit Lions’ practice squad. He’s an impressive athlete at 6-foot-6 and 263 pounds with a good wing span.
Moore flashed his potential in training camp, when he beat out veteran Shawne Merriman for a job.
“I went out there and grinded throughout that whole camp and during the offseason. It started in OTAs,” Moore said. “I had to get coach to trust me with the new defense and stuff like that. I had Bob [Sanders, as a position coach] last year, got Giff [Smith] this year. I went through a lot being the odd man out coming into camp with Shawne Merriman and some other guys.
“I worked very hard to get to where I’m at now.”
Moore was inactive for the first four games of the season, but saw his first playing time last week in San Francisco with defensive tackle Spencer Johnson out because of an ankle injury.
“He’s taking this as an opportunity. He’s working hard in practice,” said fellow defensive end Chris Kelsay, who will likely start ahead of Moore. “He’s been around long enough, he knows what’s expected of him and I think he’s going to do all he can to help his team.”
Moore started his career as a fourth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009. He was part of a defense in college at USC that saw seven of its defenders drafted.
Moore started the first seven games of his second season in 2010 before suffering a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder that ended his season. He was released by Tampa Bay before the start of the 2011 season. He has yet to register a professional sack.
Coach Chan Gailey said during training camp that Moore needed to work on becoming a more complete player. Kelsay has seen that in the practice setting.
“We can definitely utilize his pass rush to help us win, but he can play the run too. He’s not just one-dimensional,” Kelsay said.
Before he was hurt, the Bills were using Anderson on about 70 percent of their defensive snaps. If they keep the workload similar, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Moore in on third downs.
“I have a long way to go on both aspects of my game in the pass rush and the run game, but as we continue to go along in the season, I feel like I’m getting stronger and just knowing my plays and the progression of plays is helping me to play the run better,” he said.
“I have the utmost confidence in myself to go out there and do the job. I understand what’s going on out there. I can talk about it all I want, but I need to go out there on Sunday and show it.”
Given that the Bills have just six healthy players on the defensive line, Gailey indicated a move could be made to add depth there before Sunday.
Buffalo has a pair of defensive tackles in Jay Ross and Jarron Gilbert on the practice squad.
Depth is similarly thin along the offensive line, especially with newly signed Reggie Wells not expected to be active against Arizona. That leaves the Bills with just six healthy offensive linemen.
The prospective starter at right guard, Chad Rinehart, is questionable with a calf injury, as is starting center Eric Wood (foot). The Bills have three offensive linemen on the practice squad in center David Snow and guard/tackles Reggie Stephens and Andrew Jackson.
Snow has been with the team since training camp, while Stephens and Jackson joined the practice squad earlier this month.