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Offensive Assessment Of Buffalo Bills Personnel

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 9: Roscoe Parrish #11 of the Buffalo Bills looks for running room after catching a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 9, 2009 in Canton, Ohio. The Titans defeated the Bills 21-18. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Michael LicataContributor IAugust 26, 2009

NFL teams need a two back system now because of the punishment that players take and the long haul of a 16 game schedule. The Buffalo Bills have three quality running backs and should be in good shape if one of them misses a prolonged period of time. 

One quiet but good signing by the Bills was the addition of Dominic Rhodes to add depth to the backfield. Rhodes brings a wealth of experience and a Super Bowl ring to a somewhat inexperienced group of running backs.

Rhodes will fill in nicely as a complementary back when Marshawn Lynch misses the first three games of the regular season serving his suspension. It will showcase Rhode’s ability to spell starter Fred Jackson during the three games. The games will also serve as a showcase for Jackson as a featured running back.

Dynamic Bills return man and wide receiver Roscoe Parrish will be showcasing his talents in these remaining preseason games in the hopes of being traded or catching on if he gets caught in a numbers game. He’s a fun player to watch on kickoffs and Turk Shoenert has been looking for ways to get him the ball, but it’s usually been feast or famine with Parrish. He’ll do something electric like return a punt for a touchdown or lose 10 yards on a bubble screen.

Parrish is good, but the team has spent a lot of money on former first rounder Leodis McKelvin to return punts. James Hardy should get a lot of reps at wideout once he returns from knee surgery, and second year man Steve Johnson is more technically sound than Parrish. Parrish wanted a trade this past offseason, but it looks more likely he’ll be dealt as other teams have injuries at wide receiver.

Bills fans should be concerned about the inexperience at tight end. Derek Shouman is entering the season as the number one on the depth chart, but every one knows that it’s rookie Shawn Nelson that’s going to get a lot of the reps on throwing downs. Bills fans know that the tight end is a key part of the no-huddle offense. The Bills’ version was named after tight end Keith McKellar.

Nelson is big, quick and creates a lot of match-up problems for opposing defenses. Once the season goes on, I expect him to have a major impact on the outcome of games. Second year man Derek Fine should show Nelson better blocking techniques so that Nelson will become a complete package at the position.

It will be interesting to see if the Bills incorporate the wildcat formation into the no-huddle offense. The no-huddle lends itself to quick scores, but if run right it could add a lot of gadget plays too. To see Lynch or Jackson take a direct snap and run up the gut after a long completion to Evans would ignite Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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