The Buffalo Bills are looking to Bobby Collins to fill the role of one of their most important offensive players.
Collins will replace tight end Jay Riemersma, who suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sunday in the Bills' 27-14 loss to the New York Jets.
The Bills won't know how severe Riemersma's injury is until they get the results of a magnetic resonance imaging exam, which could happen today. However, it is believed he will miss 4-6 weeks.
"It's not real positive, obviously," coach Wade Phillips said. "He banged it pretty good. We do have a bye week, so that's a positive thing."
It's also a positive that Collins got valuable experience as a rookie starter last year when Riemersma was sidelined with a groin injury.
Collins was a raw small college prospect from North Alabama when the Bills drafted him in the fourth round. But the 6-foot-4, 249-pounder has developed rapidly as a receiver and blocker. He caught three passes for 33 yards against the Jets.
"I thought Bobby did an excellent job," Phillips said. "Bobby doesn't get a whole lot of work. Bobby came in and caught the ball well, blocked pretty well, he did a good job overall. He didn't make many mistakes, which is a positive."
Collins said after Sunday's game that he hated to see Riemersma get hurt, but he is excited to get more playing time.
"When he was out last year I got a chance to play a little more," Collins said. "It's hard to be able to play in the NFL from the sidelines. You learn a lot when you're out there. I hate that he went down, but me and Sheldon (Jackson) have to step up and be a big impact and help the offense."
Jackson, who also got four starts last year, will play more at tight end with Riemersma out. With Jackson going back to his natural position, Sammy Morris will get a chance to play more at fullback and H-back. He started against the Jets and participated in 37 plays.
Phillips has no concerns about how Collins and Jackson will fill in for Riemersma.
"I'm pleased with both of those guys," Phillips said. "Unfortunately, we had Jay out some last year, and those guys came through for us. That's how we recognized them as having a good chance to be pretty good players. I think last year helped them some because they knew they would come in and play."
In other injury news, rookie Corey Moore has a high ankle sprain that will keep him out from two to four weeks. Moore started against the Jets at right outside linebacker because Sam Rogers missed the game with a bone bruise in his shoulder.
Losing Moore hurts because he was counted on to give the team help with the pass rush. But his loss could be felt more on special teams, where he played on kickoff and punt coverage.
Phillips said second-year pro Jay Foreman will get the bulk of the work at outside linebacker until Rogers is healthy. Normally a reserve inside linebacker, Foreman played well outside, recording eight tackles.
"Jay Foreman played 40 plays in the game at the Will (weakside) linebacker," Phillips said. "And Fred Jones was ready to go in the game. With Corey coming in for Sam, they didn't get a whole lot of work there (in practice the week before the game), so it was good that Jay was smart enough and played enough to at least be able to play. He did a good job for us, but we'd like to get Sam back and we'll still have to work the other two guys."
Rogers probably will be limited the next couple of days, but is expected to resume full contact drills next week.
Otherwise, the Bills' injury situation seems to be improving. Inside linebacker John Holecek sprained a ligament in his foot on Sunday, not a knee as was first reported. But Phillips thinks Holecek should play against the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 1.
Guard Joe Panos is less than a week away from returning to the lineup. He was going to play against the Jets before spraining his foot in practice last Thursday.
Defensive end Shawn Price will test his sprained knee this week. He was hurt two weeks ago against Green Bay.
"Those guys, we'll see how they do this week as far as practice, so we'll get a better feel this week on them," Phillips said. "But we think they will be ready for the next game."