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Roscoe Parrish May Be Slotted for a Big Year in Buffalo

Thomas CasteloneContributor IJune 22, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Roscoe Parrish #11 of the Buffalo Bills returns a punt against the San Francisco 49ers  on November 30, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The 49ers won10-3.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

During the Bills three-day mini-camp in early June, Roscoe Parrish made it clear that he was frustrated in how he’s being utilized in the Bills offense.

Parrish is one of the most dangerous and explosive return men in the NFL, but the Bills have used him on and off as a receiver since drafting him as the 55th overall pick in the 2005 draft.

Parrish’s main role in Buffalo has been coming out of the slot in three-receiver sets, but ESPN’s John Clayton reported in April that the Bills were shopping him to other teams just before the draft.

The report said that Buffalo was looking to move Parrish because they were deep at receiver. However, the fact is that for whatever reason, the former University of Miami standout has never been able to make the same impact at receiver that he has in the return game.

In four seasons with the Bills, Parrish has caught 97 passes for 1,052 yards and five touchdowns.

Those aren’t terrible numbers, but one would think that a player with Parrish’s elusiveness in the open field would find the end zone more often than roughly once a season.

In contrast, Parrish has three touchdowns as a return man. His career-high in receptions came back in 2007 when he caught 35 passes for 352 yards.

It’s kind of a catch-22 situation for Parrish and the Bills. Parrish is certainly a talented individual, and it’s understandable that he wants to be on the field more often.

However, the numbers don’t back him up, because when he is on the field, he doesn’t always produce.

Parrish does have the support of one very important member of the Bills: quarterback Trent Edwards. Here is what Edwards told Buffalobills.com during mini-camp about Parrish:

“He’s one of best slot receivers we have. It’s just a matter of putting him in a position to win and putting him in a position where he’s comfortable and he understands what he’s supposed to do. And that comes with practice, that comes with getting him his reps in practice, and then actually performing in the game.

“He’s one of the most exciting guys on our team, so we need to find a way to get the ball in his hands, and I’m working with Turk (Schonert), I’m working with Alex (Van Pelt) to try to come up with ways we can do that. That’s definitely a weapon we need to take advantage of.”

If you read what Edwards said, it speaks volumes about Parrish’s situation in Buffalo. Edwards is basically saying both sides need to do better.

The coaching staff needs to do a better job of putting Parrish in position to make plays, but on the other hand, Parrish needs to go out and actually produce more in game situations.

I think Edwards summed it up perfectly. Parrish is one of the most explosive players on the Bills roster, so it makes no sense not to take advantage of that kind of game-breaking talent on offense. As a quarterback, Edwards is just telling it like it is.

Edwards sees what kind of weapon he has in Parrish and he wants that weapon on the field where he can utilize him. Now it’s time for Parrish to walk the walk and go out and make plays.

The Bills brought in Terrell Owens this offseason, and Lee Evans remains one of the most underrated players in the NFL. The duo should give Buffalo one of the top receiving tandems in the NFL.

Josh Reed is consistent, if not spectacular, and Stevie Johnson showed some potential at the end of last season. Not to mention last year’s second-round pick James Hardy, along with improving Justin Jenkins, so the Bills certainly aren’t hurting at the receiver position.

Yet none of those players possess the quickness and elusiveness that Parrish brings to the slot. Parrish says he wants a bigger role in the offense, and the Bills say they will do what’s best for the team.

If both sides get their way, I suspect Roscoe Parrish will have a big year catching passes out of the slot in the Bills offense.

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