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Buffalo Bills: Time to Pull the Plug on Brad Smith's Wildcat

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Wide receiver Brad Smith #16 of the Buffalo Bills is chased by middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson #52 of the Cleveland Browns during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Greg MaiolaSenior Analyst IISeptember 29, 2012

The Buffalo Bills brought Brad Smith to their team to make plays. But in reality, they are wasting Smith's talents and keeping him from being productive.

The first step in being able to be a playmaker is being on the field. Through the first three weeks, Smith has four rushing attempts and one reception. His five combined offensive touches only add up to 37 total yards.

Enough is enough.

The coaches worked out Smith as a quarterback throughout the preseason, but he will never be a pocket passer. Through 19 career games with Buffalo, he has thrown one pass, which came in his debut. Chances are he won't be a gunslinger any time soon. There has been more than enough time to create a special package for Smith.

At the end of the day, Smith is simply a question mark. He has four carries for 11 yards this year. If the Bills want to give Smith carries, are they willing to take away carries from C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and even Tashard Choice? Probably not.

If Ryan Fitzpatrick goes down, Tyler Thigpen is next in line and Tarvaris Jackson (remember him?) would probably be activated. So his quarterback role is slim.

That leaves playing wide receiver as Smith's best option; it's where he has been most successful. He has one catch for 16 yards this season and chipped in 23 catches for 240 yards and a score last year.

It is not fair to fault Smith for his lack of production. His hybrid type of position has not done much positive for the offense. It hasn't done any damage either, making his version of the Wildcat a mediocre specimen at best.

The argument that the Bills use this package to force teams to prepare for it is completely flawed. It's not 2007 anymore, defenses knew how to stop the Wildcat. And when the Wildcat quarterback in question has thrown an interception on his only throw and run for 98 yards in 19 carries over two years, he's not exactly posing a threat.

This brings us to a simple solution: make Smith a full-time receiver.

Fitzpatrick can use all the help he can get and Smith, in his brief tenure as a Bill, has enjoyed his greatest productivity at the WR position. When David Nelson went down, Ruvell Martin was brought in to replace him.

All due respect to Martin, but that position should belong to Smith.

No longer the special-teams threat he once was, Smith is rotting on the bench as a Wildcat quarterback. To get the most out of Smith's unique skill set, the Bills must dump any notions of having him play quarterback and, instead, have him catch passes full time.

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