The Buffalo Bills named their team captains Monday, but starting quarterback EJ Manuel was not one of the six players.
Cornerback Corey Graham, running back Fred Jackson, linebacker Brandon Spikes, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, defensive end Mario Williams and center Eric Wood were selected by their teammates as captains for the 2014 season.
"The players did it," coach Doug Marrone said of the vote. "If you look at it, it's mostly veteran guys that have been around. I think that position has leadership qualities in it just by the position itself."
The Bills made a significant and much needed upgrade to their quarterback position Saturday by signing 31-year-old Kyle Orton, the best available option on the free agent market.
The 10th-year veteran had been released by Dallas in July, and while there were reports that he was going to retire, he was actually weighing his options, and Buffalo is a good landing spot.
Orton immediately becomes the No. 2 quarterback behind Manuel with Thad Lewis and Jordan Palmer waived and Jeff Tuel placed on the practice squad. It is too early for the Bills to give up on Manuel, their first-round draft pick in 2013, but he has not been impressive to date.
"It's better," Marrone said of the quarterback situation with Orton signed. "Kyle is much better for us. He's an experienced veteran. He's what we were looking for and we were fortunate to get him.
"We wanted those guys to step up and play better. When they didn't, we had to go out and make some moves."
Orton is 35-35 as an NFL starter with Chicago, Denver and Kansas City, and has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 15,019 yards with 83 touchdowns and 59 interceptions.
Kyle Williams and Jackson are fourth-time captains for Buffalo while Wood is a second-time captain. Mario Williams, Spikes and Graham are all first-time captains with the Bills.
Each player will have a letter "C" affixed to their uniform to signify this honor. Their responsibilities include assisting in the on-field communication with the game officials.
"It's an honor when you're voted by your peers and it's a lot of responsibility," Marrone said.
In May 2007, the NFL introduced the team captain initiative with the purpose of supporting and recognizing the importance of team leadership. The initiative has been strongly endorsed by the NFL head coaches and by the six-member NFL Player Advisory Council that was established by commissioner Roger Goodell in conjunction with the NFL Players Association.
--Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is day to day after aggravating an injury to his ribs in the preseason finale. He practiced Monday but the team would not commit to how much he will practice Wednesday.
The Bills also announced that the team reached an injury settlement with tight end Tony Moeaki and released him from the reserve/injured list. He was placed on the list Aug. 29.