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Injury to Leodis McKelvin Brings Panic to Buffalo Bills’ Secondary

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COMMENTARY | With budding star cornerback Stephon Gilmore -- the No. 10 selection in the 2012 NFL draft -- and Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd both sidelined by injury, the Buffalo Bills were already running low on viable options in the secondary. And that was before cornerback Leodis McKelvin left with a hamstring injury during the Week 3 loss to the New York Jets.

With McKelvin on the shelf, Jets quarterback Geno Smith repeatedly picked on Justin Rogers, who allowed an astounding 247 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions.

"Obviously Justin had a very tough game -- we all know that," Bills head coach Doug Marrone said Monday. "We appreciate his competiveness in that and we'll have to see what's the best combination we have out there and what gives us the best opportunity to play well and perform at a winning level."

In McKelvin's absence, the Bills were also forced to move Aaron Williams -- a recently converted safety -- back to a position for which he was no longer seen fit: cornerback. The situation, moving forward, is hardly ideal, according to Marrone.

"Ideally, we like him at safety," Marrone said of Williams. "If you're talking to me about, 'Hey, if you had everybody going, would Aaron Williams be at corner?' No. He went in there and he played well. I think that we're very fortunate to have a player that has that type of ability, but make no mistake we like him at corner -- we love him at safety."

The only other cornerbacks on the roster at present are undrafted rookie Nickell Robey and recent signees Brandon Burton and Johnny Adams.

"The elephant in the room -- and everyone knows -- is that Gilmore is out, Leodis is out, Byrd's not playing and we moved Aaron Williams," Marrone said. "You're looking to attack and you're going to attack the secondary. The one thing I've always realized about this league is no one ever feels sorry for you. You've heard that expression before and it's really the truth. For us, it's kind of next man up and high expectations; it's an opportunity; let's go out there and play. We have to see what we have to do as coaches, from a schematic standpoint to see when and where to help those guys and give them some help."

Charles Roberts covers the NFL's Buffalo Bills and the University at Buffalo football program. His work has appeared in several local and national publications. Follow him on Twitter: @cHartleyRoberts.

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