But head coach Chan Gailey conceded Monday chances are slim Maybin will turn around another lost season.
MaybinThe Bills deactivated Maybin for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens. He wasn't hurt. He simply hasn't been good enough to contribute to one of the NFL's worst defenses despite being the 11th overall draft pick last year.
"He has to continue to improve his all-around play and that includes special teams," Gailey said. "And to be honest with you, it gets harder and harder because this is game planning. It's not going out and practicing to see who wins spots right now.
"If somebody doesn't play well, then you give them another chance. If somebody keeps playing well, you might not get another chance right now. So it just depends on how other people do."
An injury might be Maybin's best bet to get back on the field. Even when active, he was playing only a few snaps a game.
What made Sunday's benching even more notable is the game in M&T Bank Stadium was Maybin's homecoming. He's from Ellicott City, Md., and considers Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis a mentor. Maybin and Lewis work out together in the offseason.
"He's upset," Gailey said. "He should be. I would expect him to be. He wasn't happy when I told him, and hopefully it'll generate the next time he gets an opportunity [into] better production."
The timing, Gailey said, was coincidental.
"I don't send messages," Gailey said. "We play the people that we think are going to help us win, and we felt like those other two outside linebackers gave us a better chance, especially in special teams to help us win the game."
Maybin still is searching for his first NFL sack.
The Bills recently shifted back to a 4-3 defense. While Maybin is a better fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker, the Bills ran a 4-3 defense when they drafted him. So if he's such a bad fit, the front office should get much of the blame for his inability to make an impact on a team that needs defenders badly.
Although Maybin's plummeting in significance, Gailey said the Bills won't give up on him.
"I think you're wrong as a coach if you lose complete faith in a player," Gailey said. "I think every player goes through ups and downs and goes through a learning curve in certain defenses and certain situations.
"You have to keep coaching them, which we'll do. You keep trying to improve their play, and you keep trying to get them to understand ways to get better for each and every individual that's out there. ... If you lose complete faith in a player, you ought to not have him around."
The Bills had two first-round draft choices healthy and inactive Sunday. Defensive lineman John McCargo, who the Bills traded up to select 26th overall in 2006, hasn't gotten into a game this year.