Jun 26, 2008
I could do a whole post on Brandon Marshall’s latest escapes, but why bother? It’s safe to say at this point the guy’s an idiot. An extremely talented one, but he’s an idiot just the same. I don’t blame anyone for passing on him in drafts this year because you have to think a suspension is either looming based on his latest news and history or that one is on the horizon and likely to happen based on this off-season’s events.
Today I wanted to catch up on a post I’ve been meaning to write up since last month.
When I went to Buffalo to interview Marshawn Lynch, I was able to stand and watch their practice for about 90 minutes, and I had some observations.
First up, I had never been to the stadium, and I was surprised to see its location. It’s like you’re driving on some small local country road, single lane going in both directions, and then BAM! There’s the stadium. I’m used to these huge stadiums being just off major highways, but that’s not the case in Orchard Park.
I pulled in, and the security guy was really nice, and pointed me to the administrative building. I entered, and sat in the lobby for a few minutes. It was then and there that I truly got a full taste of the frustration of that franchise, while staring at four AFC Championship trophies 6 inches from my head, and 0 Vince Lombardi trophies. I felt bad.
I was then walked into the practice facility, and although I’ve been up close and personal at training camps in the past, there was something intimate about being in an indoor facility. And when a practice isn’t open to the public, man, you do have total access. You hear cursing, ball-busting, and much more, from both coaches and players. What I enjoyed most about the experience, other than watching these athletes do their thing, was taking in the camaraderie and competitiveness of the players. At these practices, it’s still all about making plays, as it is on game day. If a DB would make a play, all the DBs cheered, and if the play was really good, everyone cheered. And on this day, the DBs dominated the offense, which is typical this time of the year.
It’s also amazing to see these guys up close and personal. Marcus Stroud walks by me and he looks like a Mountain. #1 pick Leodis McKelvin, on the other hand, looked like an 8th grader from behind. That dude’s listed at 5’10” but he ain’t no 5’10.” I’m not that big on memorizing NFL player numbers, for some reason I never have even though I am for baseball, so I get a cheat sheet from the Bills with everyone on the current roster, many of which won’t be come September. It’s dangerous standing on this sideline, too, just like refs and coaches in a real game, if you’re not paying attention, you may get hit, and I almost got pancaked by rookie TE Derek Fine.
Here are some other observations from the 90 minute OTA I observed.
- QB Trent Edwards looks like a true pro. He may not have a big arm, but he definitely looks the part. He looks tall and strong in the pocket, and he definitely passed the eyeball test. Based on how efficiently and intelligently he played last year, I think the Bills have themselves a rock solid starter for years to come. I’m thinking he could be a Trent Green type player.
- Those I spoke to about WR James Hardy who studied him on film tell me he’s a bit of a puss and avoid contact, which is not good. But that dude really stood out on the field. He looked like a freaking giraffe out there running compared to the other Bill players (granted, their wideouts and DBs are on the small side). I don’t know if he’ll pan out, but it’s crystal clear that they want him to be a big part of their offense alongside Lee Evans. Ideally, he’s a possession guy over the middle and inside the hash marks, with Evans making plays on the outside and down the field, with a sprinkling in of slot receivers Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed, who both also looked good.
- Probably the best nugget I came away from Ralph Wilson stadium was on backup RB Fred Jackson. That dude was all over the place and I saw him with the first-team offense as much as Lynch, quite frankly. Lynch did look good to me, quicker than I expected and physical. But Jackson was used a lot as a receiver. There is no doubt Jackson will have value this year, especially in a PPR league.
- I didn’t see RB Dwayne Wright, but I did see rookie Xavier Omon, who looked very sturdy. It’ll be interested to see if they roll with both Wright and Omon because they are both bigger backs, so one of them might be gone or headed to the practice squad.
- The TE spot is still up for grabs. Robert Royal (with Cheese) wasn’t practicing, so I saw a lot of the rookie Fine, who looked pretty athletic to me. Veteran Courtney Anderson was there. He was huge, one of the biggest player on the team.
- The offensive line is very big, and looked very talented. This is one of the better lines in the whole league.
- The D-Line didn’t look all that dominate, but I’m not sure what you can take from a workout in shorts. DEs Aaron Schobel and Cris Kelsey looked solid, but not dominate, which is basically what they are when the bullets are firing for real.
- I didn’t get to see JP Losman, since he wasn’t there. I think he had some other obligations, which isn’t a good sign. I was told that he’s not really talking to the media, and one reporter told me he basically talks through his boy Lee Evans. That’s not good.